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iSonto #49

This week we are thankful for the fun morning we spent creating little pictures for our doll house, "framing" them with paper and laminating them.

It was one of those rare times where an activity with my children actually happened in the pleasant way I imagined it!

Elnathan was always eager to watch Daddy go in the morning.

 Mercy was happy to dress up Bill as, apparently, a "stripy elephant".

Bill was moving further! It was so cute when he crawled out the door.

One memory verse we practiced was "Be kind to one another" Ephesians 4:32.

From garden to tummies . . . the first broad beans in a risotto.

A book we enjoyed together was "Things People Do", part of our Sonlight P 4/5 Curriculum. You know that you're onto a good thing when the children keep bringing the book to the dinner table to show Daddy what they learned!

Encouragement, ideas and inspiration came from the Girltalk blog. A post about the kind of young women the church needs was perfect tonight as I've been thinking over the need to embrace rather than resent the massive learning curve that is raising little children. There are so many great posts on this blog I've been perusing the archives in the few spare moments over the past two weeks.

One funny moment was seeing the children with their massive pieces of cake at a friend's party! Three layers for three years of life. Each child started pleading for a different bit of the bird decoration . . . please may I eat the tail, the feet, the beak, etc. It was the most perfect afternoon garden party.


iSonto #48: cubby progress, bye to Gramps, and spider families

This week we are thankful for the progress Dave made on the cubby, and the little people darting through it.

We had some last happy days with Dave's Dad before he left for Queensland. Here he is with his namesake baby William.

We heard a good sermon this morning on the necessity of us all receiving wisdom and instruction and discipline.

Elnathan was full of enthusiasm for "the spider family" under the house. He and Mercy often visited their "house" for parties.

Mercy was was calling herself "Missing Crown Affair" this week, after reading the book with me a few times.

Bill was starting to teethe and cry more. He also now crawls, sits up, and rolls, learning these skills quickly in the last couple of weeks. Here he is with "Fred". Gran Gran gave Fred to the children during her visit, which we all enjoyed.

From garden to tummies . . .

Lettuce and spinach for Gramps' last dinner with us.

 A book we enjoyed together "Snugglepot and Cuddlepie" by May Gibbs.

One memory verse was "May my prayers be set before you like incense" from the Songs for Saplings ABC.

Encouragement, ideas and inspiration came from "When I Don't Desire God by John Piper.

One funny moment was Elnathan informing us very seriously that if we had three children we would have to move house, because otherwise the beds would not fit, we would have to put one in the living room, and climb over it to get to the bathroom.


iSonto #47, for old times sake.

It is nearly a year since my last iSonto post!

We are thankful for the gift of a Thermomix, courtesy of anonymous donor A.D.Mirer . . . we have our guesses, but no admissions on the part of a key suspect. This machine is proving useful for soups, curries, porridge and more.

More on the thanks list includes Gramps visiting from South Africa, a warm day, spring leaves, a preschool curriculum we enjoy, and learning the power of 5 minute tidy ups every hour.

  Elnathan was counting with beads. I love having little things like this around the house!

Mercy was always happy to go on an outing. I think we have the cutest back seat these days!

Billy was continuing his career as a dream baby. 8 months yesterday and a delight to us all.

One memory verse was "you shall not lie" Exodus 20: 16. We are still repeating the last iSonto's memory verse about pleasant words a lot . . . and it is still one of our main challenges! Any tips would be appreciated :)!

From garden to tummies . . .

Silverbeet and spinach.

A book we enjoyed together was "The Baby on The Way", a sweet library book about an African American 10th child.

Encouragement, ideas and inspiration came from "Large Family Logistics" by Kim Brenneman, a wonderful book for families of any size, even smallish ones like us! I have found this book invaluable in getting our busy little household more under control.

One funny moment was Billy laughing at Nate pressing on his tummy.


Daily Gifts #3

"Whatever things are lovely . . . think on these things" Philippians 4:9 

* Nate's prayer: "Thank you God that I love Billy, thank you that he is such a sweet little baby". The picture above is of Bill in Nate's "car" made from cushions with the baby gym as a windscreen.

* Nate creating "machines" out of puzzle shapes.

* Lifting my head to see baby looking at me intently with a huge sunbeam smile

* Baby's dummy (pacifier) prevents short naps.

* Dave exclaiming often about what a pure gift Bill is to us.

* Reading Randy Alcorn's Heaven and realising that God will fulfill our godly dreams in eternity, if not now.


Daily gifts: cubbies everywhere, dummy victories, and more!

* Nate did not wake us at all the night after giving up his dummy!
* Nate eagerly putting on his shoes to take his dummy to the outdoor bin after being promised a toy store trip in exchange!

* Mercy reading the Bible to Billy (who has a funny habit of sticking out his tongue)
* Nate showing Billy his colours using different objects "look Bill, this is red" etc.

* Enthusiastic tiny people finding cubbies in the fern corner and under their outdoor table. Our yard is still for them an adventure. 

* Nate: "We are having  a very exciting day, we posted three letters and now we are going to the park". Walks to the post box and park from our house are rare for us this year. This walk went perfectly, with the two children holding onto the pram all the way there and back.


Daily Gifts

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4

* Dave's progress on making a cubby house out of the old wood from our dismantled deck. Here are the three children sitting on the floor.

 * Sunshine in the back yard making an unseasonably warm winter's day, perfect for Elnathan creating "boats" . . .

 . . . and "train tracks"!

* Chances to simply hold baby softness and feel him breath

* Mercy "I was in the house when Nate was a baby. I moved in."

* Four nights of being able to stay in bed for 8 +  hours, coming at just the right time when Dave's workload culminates.

Daily Gifts is a new weekly post I am planning, to express some of the undeserved joys we receive from God.


Reflections on our days with one child

 Last year a friend asked me this question:  "I was wondering if
you had your time over what you would have enjoyed more or done
differently when you only had one child." Here is my answer.

In the short space of time in which I had only one child, I am glad that I  . . .

* Always aimed to "redeem the time", knowing that future days could be much busier. I did this even before the second pregnancy when Elnathan was nine months old, but especially afterwards!

* Mainly devoted nap times to things like education research and completing craft projects, or to necessary rest and cleaning. God is kind to many of us as mothers in gradually removing that time for personal pursuits. It seems like a luxury now that I used to set aside half an hour a day, at a set time during a nap, to email/blogging/ necessary Internet activities like paying bills. However, at the time that was actually a way of "redeeming the time" through limiting Internet use to that time. It seems like even more of a luxury that I used to have an uninterrupted hour or so to work on quilts. However, now when I look around the house I am extremely grateful to have these projects completed and adorning the home. It really lifts the spirits to see their colourful beauty. Our goal must be to love God and love others with whatever time and resources we have available, and I did that to the best of my ability at that time.

* Established a flexible routine for Nate that was invaluable when Mercy came, including room time, nap, and DVD time.

* Always allowed him lots of freedom outdoors to touch the dirt or inspect garden veggies after they were picked, or roam the house.

My regrets from this one child stage include . . .

* Comparing myself with other mothers and getting upset because they could do more physically, or do things faster, or feeling guilty because I had more time free for non-essentials. As you know, chronic pain limits how much I can lift my child, clean the house, and much more! So comparisons were foolish. I am still trying to gain the skill of learning from others, and their example, without comparing myself to them. I think it is important not to compare ourselves to other mothers, but to rather seek to use our situation to the glory of God. Sometimes Mums say "you only have time for that because you have x number of children, or your children are x age". The truth is that our circumstances are all so different that it is hard to compare! It is not wise to try (see  2 Corinthians 10:12). A Mum with only one difficult baby may have less available time than a Mum of three peaceful children in a good routine. Our job is to encourage each other in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. We are to embrace our own circumstances and really apply ourselves to making the best of them. I often fall short of this goal, and have to repent, but I do believe that it is important to try not to compare ourselves to others. It would be better to point other Mums to God's word or simply to encourage whatever good they are doing.

* Spending very little time playing with my tiny boy. I read to him a lot but rarely just stopped to interact with him in his simple play.

* Saying "no" to Elnathan many times a day, and encouraging very little. Much of my attention toward him was negative. Thankfully I began to recognise this error around 20 months, and change, but some damage was done.

* I observed/heard about a parenting philosophy in which you left things out (like bins) to train the child not to touch them. Now I wish that I'd just put them away and minimised temptations for him. At one point we were trying to teach him not to pull any books off the shelf, but we were much better off once we gave him his own shelf. He was so happy with that, and left our books alone! "Do unto others" comes to mind. How would I want to be treated if I was a toddling baby just discovering the world? Training in obedience is vital, but we don't need to do that with unnecessary temptations. More recently I listened to Doug Wilson talks ( on loving little ones. He encourages parents to have as few rules as possible, but to enforce them rigorously. Our home should be a garden - think of the Garden of Eden, there was only one thing they were not to take!

* It would have been good to spend more time writing out a vision or philosophy for homemaking and parenting, while I had the time. This may have held me steadier during difficult periods. Now I want to do it but time is scarcer!

* Not establishing regular times for Dave and I to have "dates" at home or elsewhere in which we focused deliberately on building our marriage and listening to one another. We got by well with one child. Later with the second child we discovered after breaches occurred that we needed focused time. Establishing this pattern earlier may have averted pain later.


Elnathan is Four!

Our firstborn turned four in May. You can tell we are busy because I am only posting about the event in July! Elnathan Michael Drew at four is . . .
  • Full of stories about cars and his "imagination house" and "imagination children". 
  • Drawing cars and houses at every opportunity
  • Loving his "preschool stories" from Sonlight
  • Eager to try out crafts and puzzles
  • Becoming helpful in the kitchen!
  • Able to pray with us each day, and great at singing his Songs for Saplings ABC Bible verses
  • Showing Mercy all kinds of pretend play options which she quickly adopts
  • Bursting with health and energy
  • A great sleeper who often stays in bed until 7 or 8am
  • Much better in church
  • Making impressive block constructions
  • Learning to serve and to love inviting people home
  • Warming our hearts with statements like "You look lovely today" and "I love the quilt you made".
  • An adoring older brother who loves to give Bill things "Look Mum, he is happy I gave him a book", grins from ear to ear in response to Bill's smile, and dances in circles for him. Here is a picture of "our baby" who smiles like this in response to almost any attention! All we have to do is talk to him and this is what greets us.

The last two and a half years since Mercy was born have been incredibly busy, and the learning curve has been steep. The past year was particularly challenging. Yet there is an abundance of joy. I exchange computer time for snuggles on the couch, my craft projects for eager tiny hands learning to coordinate paper and scissors, and a quiet house for cries of "Mummy". As we try to tell Elnathan often, you are a gift from God and He is good! 


A response to Tasmania's Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) bill

Dear Hon. Michelle O'Byrne and the Department of Health and Human Services,

Please reconsider your support for the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) bill. As you are aware, current Tasmanian laws already allow for the termination of pregnancy where it two doctors consider that it would be more difficult for a woman to continue with the pregnancy than to terminate it. Making abortion in the first 24 weeks accessible without any health reason would not promote the health of women or their unborn children.
Please consider the following points:
* This bill fails to promote true choice for women. Those who will not be involved in referring for abortion are penalised, but there are no similar penalties for counselors who fail to fully inform women of their options other than abortion. To truly be about choice, this bill would need to also stipulate penalties for such counselors or clinic workers as well as for any family member or partner involved in pressuring a woman to have an abortion.
* This bill fails to ensure women have true freedom of choice through failing to stipulate the information they must be offered for informed consent to be in effect. For example, will they be informed of the development of their unborn child and all their other options? This bill reduces current protections for women through removing the requirement that they be counseled about their options.
* Later abortions carry with them a greater risk of abortion related grief and trauma, and therefore it is not in the interests of women to treat them like any other medical procedure. Experience in Victoria shows that later abortions increase when physical health requirements for them are removed.
* The facts about the development of the unborn child leave us in no doubt that a death occurs in every abortion, leaving the remaining family members bereaved. Therefore, the law should provide some protection for these vulnerable members of the human family.
* This bill hinders the freedom of choice of health professionals and counselors to refuse to have any involvement in providing abortion access where it is not necessary to save the life of the woman.
* This bill hinders freedom of speech through hindering peaceful protests such as those I have been involved in with my children outside the Victoria St clinic in 2011. I went to these events out of sincere love for those involved in a practice I consider to be damaging. I should have the freedom to continue to do so.

Kind regards,
Sherrin Drew


Introducing William (Bill) Huon Drew

We are thanking God for many answered prayers in the birth of our son William Huon Drew on February 19th at 6pm. The home birth we planned was quick and uncomplicated. Dave and our midwives were a great help, as was the warm birth pool, and Sherrin is recovering more easily than in the past births. Bill weighed 4.15kg and is 55cm long. This picture is of William on his first outing with the family at ten days old. We have been grateful for easier feeding this time as well.

The name we have chosen expresses God's provision to us in people, places and things. We have named him William after his paternal grandfather and maternal great grandfather. Dave's father William turns 70 this year so the timing seems perfect! Sherrin's late grandfather was also named William but was always called Bill. So we have chosen that as his shortened name. We met in the Huon Valley, and Sherrin spent the first six years of her life there. One of Dave's research projects involves ancient Huon pine, and it was also one of Grandad Bill's favourite woods for his many beautiful woodwork projects.

The picture above is of the other children meeting their brother for the first time. Elnathan (3 1/2) and Mercy (2) have been thrilled with their new brother, another answered prayer! They are full of questions about him. Mercy lavishes him with affection and copies his hand movements! They both love to ask questions about him and give kisses.

Here are a couple more pictures. It is a lovely time of year to have a baby and the garden is flourishing! We gave the children special gifts to help them celebrate bring a big brother and sister, including a family of little dolls with a baby and baby furniture.


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