Friday, December 6, 2013

Family Health and Wellness - Our journey into Paleo

I can't believe that I just had to google my own blog to find it - it's been that long since I wrote anything. Sad... But I am back :) Well, for the moment anyway!

So much has changed. We are all a little older, a little more awesome and better looking! Oh and Job is back home too :)

Lets see if I can find a current photo - this may take me another week....................

Camera battery is flat, I have no family photos on my phone - and then I remembered that we have some family photos from Lani and Chelseas' baptism two months ago.

So here we are on the 12th of October 2013:

Told you we were better looking ;)

So, I wanted to write a blog about following a Paleo diet and how is has been sucessful for us (with our various health issues) I was going to wait until we were experts and had been eating whole foods for a while. I wanted to be the 'poster paleo girl' but honestly, as long as there is chocolate around, that may never happen!!
We really have had some positive changes in our family and I wanted to record them in case I forget when I do reach expert status - plus by then I'll be way too old to rememember our beginnings to good health!
So what the heck is 'paleo???!' Many people call it a paleo diet. I'm not a fan of that term as it suggests 'deprivation' or 'calorie counting' - urghh, neither of which sit comfortably with me. I probably wouldn't do it justice to try and define it correctly but basically, it means eating as a hunter
and gatherer. Consuming foods that mankind did many years ago, before agriculture and modern food processing stuffed it all up. It includes foods that we could hunt or find - meats, fish, nuts, fruits and vegetables etc.

If it comes in a box with a long list of ingredients, its not paleo.
We have been eating this way now for around two months, actually, we probably started just after that photo (above) was taken. Our Healthy eating has been a gradual journey. I have refined the kids food over time to get to where we are now. Many people leave behind a SAD diet (Standard American Diet - or Standard Australian Diet as is our case) and jump right into Paleo. I applaud them, completely, but for us, it has occured slowly. Making the transition over time has been good not only for the kids, but for me who has to modify and learn new ways of cooking.
Many families are quite content with their childrens diets. They have no problem walking into the grocery store and picking up bread, cereal, biscuits etc. I understand completely as that was me too....and not very long ago. A couple of years ago, a standard breakfast for my kids was weetbix and toast. Biscuits for school snacks and a sandwhich for lunch. If nutrigrain or rice bubbles were on special, they went into the trolley too. I even bought the kids cocopops or fruit loops for special occasions like birthdays and Christmas - I cringe at that thought now.
My childrens little bodies have been screaming out in protest for a long time and while I have spent years trying to figure out the cause of their physical and often emotional stress, I have been feeding them all the wrong things. That is why I dont judge other families. I did the best with the knowledge I had at the time and as I have learned more, I have done better. Its very confusing for parents, mothers especially as they are usually the ones who shop and cook for their families. The TV and supermarket shelves are saturarated with misleading information. Cereal boxes with claims of calcium and fibre, muslie bars and even biscuits that are marketed as being 'perfect for lunch box snacks,' roll ups and yoghurt that contain 'real fruit.' The list goes on. Its nearly impossible to navigate your way around the grocery isles to find safe, healthy and nuritious food. The other fact that I have learned (the hard way) is that the health food isle is one of the worst!

So anyway, sorry, I have to get off my soap box....
 I only began questioning food when my eldest was 1 (he is now 11)
I thought I was feeding him a healthy diet but he devolped abdominal cramping. He would cry in pain on and off for a couple of days after consuming certain foods - it turned out to be grapes that upset his stomach. This sensitivity developed over time with more severe reactions of vomitting, body rashes, high temperatures and migraines. A paediatrician confirmed my suspicion of a fructose allergy. He had one serious reaction that landed him in hospital. It wasnt very common aparently. He also had repeated ear infections which lead to him having grommets. Her would get sick after eating lollies and chips with articificial colours and flavour enhancers. I felt sorry for him when he went to birthday parties and would let him eat some party food - only to have him pay for it for the next 48hrs and leave me feeling extremely guilty.
Then Benny came along and for all JJ sensitivities, Benny had more. He was diagnosed with anaphilaxis to nuts and animal hair - again, we found out the hard way. He has a cows milk and egg allergy and is intolerant to wheat.
Here's a quick summary of the others:
Lani - Intolerant to Apples, canola, yeast, chicken, wheat and developes adominal pain from nitrate consumption (found in deli meats)
Lisia: Intolerant to sugar (in large amounts) grapes, prunes, sultanas, commercial strawberries, jams and nitrates. She is allergic to penicillin and Elastoplast.
Teancum: Cows milk intolerance, egg allergy, not sure about wheat as I knew by then not go give it to him. He is allergic to panadol and nurofen - which sucks when he is sick!
I wont go through all the kids stories as it will take too long, but you get the picture. Their bodies could not cope with the food that was going into them. They reacted in a negative way whenever they consumed any of the above foods - and more....
So for years, I have tried to stay away from heavily processed foods, artificial colours and especially flavour enhancers, seriously, flavour enhancers shouldnt even be legal!
Then we were dealt with a serious blow last year when Lani (who was six at the time) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Food came much more into my focus and I had to learn how to count carbohydrates and be particualry vigilant about foods that would make her blood sugar level rise too high. For the first time, I learned about the Glycemic Index and the impact food has on blood sugar.
For the most part, I was careful about what the kids ate. I still let them eat junk for birthdays - always with some cost. I didnt want to be a burden at other peoples homes or social get togethers either so we would break healthy eating for those occasions too.
Then earlier this year, Job left. I was on my own with five kiddos. I still had to monitor Lanis blood sugar levels at least twice a night, feed tank who at that stage was feeding 2-3 times EVERY night plus I resettled him a handful of times too. Sisi only slept through every second or third night. Sometimes her nights were quite bad, she would throw herself on the floor and scream. I never knew why. I knew she must have eaten something but it was always hard to figure out what. Its also hard for other people to understand as the kids generally seemed happy during the day. I used to joke that my kids turned into pumpkins at night. I considered posting a short video here of what happens to Sisi during the night as I recorded a few seconds of one of her episodes a couple of nights ago. This sort of behaviour used to be common. Since eating well, it hasnt happened and I suspect this isolated incident was due to some dessert she had over the weekend (while we were out at a social get together) and maybe compounded by a piece of bacon she had the following morning (containing nitrates) I have decided not to include it as its a little distressing. It also may embarrass her. She's a beautiful little girl and I hate seeing her so upset. I took some footage so that I could talk to her about it the next day. As I suspected, she couldnt recall it. She didnt believe me when I told her how she screamed and rolled around the floor for ten minutes - until I showed her.
So anyway, I started to become exhausted. I wasnt getting enough sleep plus my diet was awful. I often grabbed something on the run - usually high in sugar to give me a hit of energy. Chocolate became the norm for me. I cooked well for the kids but I lived on sugar pretty much. I was tired most of the time and my body ached. I missed Jobs back rubs. But I kept positive and had great help from mum who visted us. One moment will stay in my mind - The kids asked me to jump on the trampoline with them. My body was wasted but I didnt want to let them down - especially as I was trying to fill both roles, playful dad wasnt around and I didn't want them missing out. I managed a couple of minutes on the trampoline before I had to send one of the kids inside to grab my asthma pump! It was a wake up call for me. From that moment I began reading - as much as I could about nutrition and good, healthy food. I wanted to re energise my body so that I could keep up with my kids. I didnt want to be the tired mum anymore. I couldnt do anything at that stage about my bad nights and lack of sleep, but I could at least try and nourish myself so that I could be more present and physically stronger during the day.
I learnt about organic food. I always assumed eating organic was only for the posh, rich or extremists. I read about the dangers of pesticides, herbisides and other chemicals used to preserve and treat food. I was introduced to the world of genetically modified ingredients. I learnt about the dangers of Soy - which Benny had been on up to that point. I read about raw dairy and grass fed organic meats.
It was a massive turning point for me. I realised I had been letting other people decide what my children should be eating. It goes against my basic nature to hand my childrens well being over to anyone else, so why was I doing it with food? I started shopping at the organic shop in town, fortnightly, then weekly. I started using high quality meats and dairy. I cut wheat consumption down for those still eating some wheat and introduced more beans and legumes. I waited for the massive feeling of wellness that I expected to accompany our good diet. I dropped 4kgs in two weeks watching what I was eating and trying to balance carbs and proteins. In the past, I was a massive carb eater, my entire diet was made up of carbohydrates. I had porridge or museli on the morning with milk, folllowed by toast (made from organic Kamut flour) Lunch was a salad sandwhich and dinner was meat and potatoes. I often left the meat - especially red meat. I filled any hungry gaps with something sweet - more carbs. So when I started eating better, I increased the protein and cut out the sugar. Like I said, I dropped weight, but I was still tired. Very tired and occasionally I felt weak. I didnt notice any change in the kids, but was happy that they were eating better quality food.
I really wasn't interested in eating healthy only to loose weight. Dropping some kilos would have been an added bonus but more than anything, I wanted to feel better and have more energy. I couldnt stand feeling like I was trudging through concrete every day. I ended up going back to my naughty sugar ways, but felt so much better for doing so. I still slumped in the afternoon and was tired most of the time but the sugar gave me small instant boosts.
I continued to read and stumbled across a blog that really helped me. This mother has five children like I do and she lives an amazingly healthy life. She provides nourishing food for her family every day and as a nutritionist helps clients reach their health goals and overcome disease. She was invited to be a guest speaker at wellness conference in America. After reading many of her articles and listening to her and other health experts, I began learning more about grains. I tuned in to the recent 'gluten summit' and listened to doctors, experts in their fields, talk about nutrition and the link between food and disease. I learned about wheat and grains and how they are not good for our body.
It is interesting to just quickly note at this point that obesity, heart disease, diabetes and cancer didnt exist before the agricultural revolution. I wont go on about grains because I dont want to get too preachy again (too late?!) but I decided that we would stop eating inflammatory foods (meaning foods that cause inflammation in our bodies - sometimes this can go undetected for years and then finally present as disease, or it can manifest quickly and cause adverse reactions to foods). This meant cutting the wheat, grains and dairy.
Its funny when I think back just a few months and remember how strange the paleo concept was to me. I heard of doctors being able to heal their patients from heart disease, arthritis and even cancer by cutting out grains and dairy. What's left to eat??! I thought, too extreme for my liking.
What would I feed my kids if they couldn't have cereal, toast and sandwhiches??! But once I understood how our body is effected in such a negative way by wheat and grain consumption, the choice was easy. I started educating the kids, in bits and pieces. They have been champions. Once they also understood what their food choices meant for them physically, they were happy to give them up.  There have been moments where they have struggled and missed some of their favourite foods (like two minute noodles) but as a whole, they have been really happy with the change.
So two months in and we are feeling great :) The positive results started happening quickly. Benny has dropped a significant amount of weight and has a lot more energy. He is enjoying running for the first time. Actually just yesterday he ran rings around the front garden, waving at me through the window saying "Look mum, look how fast I can run now!"
J.J is happy that he doesnt have to apply any cream at all to his eczema and dry skin - he was applying it each night before bed. He has no problem with fructose anymore.
Lani never complains of a stomach ache (which she used to do every second day) She can now eat as much chicken and apples as she likes without side effects. She lost just over a kilo but the best part is that her blood sugar levels are stabilsing. For the first time in a year, we no longer have to wake up and test her through the night. We still have the odd bad night - usually a hypo once a week, but in comparison to testing twice a night, its great! Her total daily dose of insulin has dropped by 50%. Since she is no longer eating foods that spike her blood sugar level, she doesnt need as much insulin to keep it down.
Sisi now sleeps through the night - every night - hip hip hooray!
After only three days without grains, Tank started going through the night without feeds. I still resettle him a couple of times, but it is fast now and only takes a couple of seconds.
Job started later than the rest of us. It took him a while to let go of his bread. He has been really supportive of me and the kids but he hasn't stopped eating all the bad stuff yet. I dont push him - especially since I haven't kicked my bad chocolate habit yet. He is slowly converting :) He eats all the same meals as us. He still loves to have his hot chocolate every night with milk and sugar. Just this last week he is noticing increased energy. Even when he hasnt had much sleep, he isnt exhausted like he used to be. He has now lost all desire to eat bread, and is happy for me to spend the extra shopping money on good nutrition.
For me, I think it was day 5 when I noticed my athsma and hayfever had disappeared. I always went to bed with my asthma pump and a toilet roll for my runny nose. Now I go to bed with nothing. My favourite part is the energy I had been so desperately craving. The afternoon slump has gone - no need for nana naps. I dont need as much sleep as before and I no longer wake up feeling like I got hit by a truck during the night. I wake up ready to go. I can run (a bit) with the kids and stay on the trampoline without having an asthma attack! I have lost a little weight too - not a lot but I think thats only because I have been naughty and indulging in chocolate. We dont have working scales anymore so I cant report how much but there is a difference, I can see it when I look at that family photo above. Here's a photo of Lani and I on that same day two months ago:
and here I am right now - sitting on the couch with Benny:

Job is laughing at my photo, he's saying "Look at mum Ben!" Then he says to me "You did something to your face to make it look bigger!" I assured him I didnt and showed him the rest of the photos from that day....same face. He keeps laughing, lol.
Here's Benny two months ago......and two days ago.

We are not on a diet, not at all. We have only cut out bad foods and replaced them with good ones. The kids are free to eat as much as they want at meals and snacks. The only food I sometimes restrict is fruit (only in excess.) My kids will eat 10 pieces a day if I let them. Fruit is full of lots of goodies like fibre, vitamins and minerals but it is also high in sugar.

There is no noticible change in the others - as far as weight goes. I can see some in the girls but that's because I am mum :) As I said before, this wasn't about loosing weight, but it happens naturally as a result of being healthy. Our health is so important to me - especially as we have autoimmune disease in our family. Athsma, Ezcema, Allergies, Anaphilaxis and Diabetes. The best protection I can give my kids is through nutition. I try to make sure that each meal is nutrient dense.

I still have so much to learn. There are many other aspects to being healthy - like exercise.  I will also start introducing fermented foods and drinks into our diet to give us healthy probiotics. I'm sure we also need more vitamin D and Omega 3s, so we'll supplement those soon. If the paleo police were to read this, I'm certain they could find many things I'm not doing correctly. Its ok though, I am not perfect - not even close. Sometimes I let my kids eat things they shouldn't. I often feel pressured by others (non intentionally) to let my kids eat what everyone else is eating. This is the part I find difficult. If others could see what my children have to suffer by eating bad food then they probably wouldn't encourage it. For the most part though, friends and family are supportive. I always talk about good food in a positive way with my kids because I truly believe it is good for them, I want them to be able to make good food choices. It is hard for them sometimes though. This morning Lani confessed that she hides whenever she has hard boiled eggs in her lunch box because the other kids tease her. Today Sisi came running out of kinder with a giant smile on her face becuase it was her turn to receive a candy cane from the Christmas Avent calendar. Look how excited she was:

I wasn't about to rip it out of her hands and march into kinder to growl at the teachers for giving her candy laced with sugar, artificial colours, flavours and goodness knows what else. She ate it happily and even shared some with Tank. I dont expect Sisi to be able to make good food choices yet as she is only 5. The bigger kids are finding it easier to say no to foods that make them feel less than good - especially Benny. I will take something off them though if I know for certain that it will cause a bad reaction. I'm not sure yet how to refuse bad food without offending someone. Kids parties are particularly hard and to be completely honest, I intentionally missed two that Sisi was invited to last month because I knew that she would end up sick if she went and ate the party food. The alternative was to take her and not let her eat anything, which would be too cruel. It's a tricky dilemma and I am still learning how to deal with those situations.

So here we are, Paleo babies really, learning and growing together in good health - not always perfect but doing the best we can. Eating lots of healthy food and enoying the positive benefits. I should include that following a paleo lifestyle isnt only for people like us with food intolerances, but for anyone looking to gain back vitality and strength. If you want to feel and look awesome, you should give it a try. I can't imagine ever going back to the way we were eating before. I have briefly covered the foods that we dont eat. In a future blog post, I will share all the delicious food we do eat. Good food tastes so much better. Except in the case of chocolate - that always tastes good!! I love a quote I saw on my brother in law's facebook page a while back:

'There is no such thing as junk food. There is food and there is junk.'

Oh and before I sign off - yes finally! For any of my LDS friends or family who may be wondering if cutting out wheat and grains contradicts the word of wisdom, I can explain to you that it doesn't. In fact eating good whole foods that God intended man to eat completely supports it. I wont go into detail here as this blog entry is long enough! But if you want to know, just ask me :)

Time for bed!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Worth the frustration

I've mentioned a few times now how much I am enjoying the school holidays. One of the other novelties I am really loving is not having to rush scripture study. Most school mornings are hectic and sometimes when I look at the clock and can see that we have minus 2 minutes to get out the door, I grab our scriptures and rush through a verse or two. I commit the kids to ponder the verse during the day, choose the right... and then chase them out the door! When we're extra pressed for time, I quote one from memory or get the kids to recite on of the articles of faith :)
More often than not though we have a good fifteen or so minutes. The kids love it when I read the friend to them. We mix the mornings up with; scripture reading (each taking turns to read), reading stories from the friend, learning and reciting articles of faith and reading and discussing quotes from our latter day prophets.
I am really glad that we have been doing it long enough now that it is becoming a habit. Job and I always tried to get daily study in with the kids, but eventually we let other distractions get in the way.
It can be difficult finding the time each day but as I am discovering now, after a couple of months of doing it consistently, it is definitely worth it.

Not every day runs smoothly though....

After a bad night with Tanky last night, this morning was thrown out of whack. We didn't end up reading our scriptures until this evening. We had just finished dinner and I called the kids into the loungeroom. The boys had been assigned some reading from the Doctrine and Covenants for Sunday School so I figured we could all read it together. The first difficulty was getting Benny and the girls to come as Benny had only just dressed himself and Lani and Sisi up as Navy officers. They had some imaginary activity going on that they weren't interested in stopping. Once they finally joined me on the couch, we couldnt find any copies of the D&C (on account of our bookshelf being so disorganised at the moment!) I reluctantly agreed for the kids to use their ipods. I wasnt the least bit suprised when Benny scrolled through his ipod, mucking around while the rest of us read. Each time it was his turn we had to wait while he found the section. Sisi got bored and made her way to the computer to watch the trailer for an upcoming Percy Jackson movie. Normally I get Sisi involved somehow or at least try and have her sit still and stay with us for scriptures, but tonight in my frustration (at trying to get the kids to follow along while Tanky grizzled on my lap for a feed) I just let her sit quietly at the computer - I told the kids to leave her there 'at least she'll be quiet' I said.
Turns out the headphones for the computer are broken so she ended up grizzling the whole time too because she couldnt hear anything. JJ missed a lot of the verses because he was at the computer trying to help Sisi. My efforts at bouncing tanky on my lap to keep him quiet were completly futile as I kept ploughing through the verses one by one, stoping at the bigger words to discuss their meaning. There are only seven verses in section 4. Thank goodness for that small mercy! It felt like 70 tonight. It took a long time and by the end I was grumpy. It was a 15 minute disaster!

Luckily, most times are much nicer - and I dont get so grumpy ;)

Yesterday morning was one of those times. I got the kids together in the loungeroom after breakfast. I went to the shelf to get the scriptures and saw this book. I decided we'd read it instead.

The kids have been learning the song in primary with the same title "If the Saviour stood beside me."
We went through each beautiful page, stopping at many of them and discussing what they meant. Sisi insisted that this was a picture of her with Jesus.

Its a really lovely book with beautiful illustrations

We talked about how amazing it would be if the Saviour came to our home. I told the kids how rivoted I would be to each word that came out of his mouth, if He were in our home and how we'd sit and listen to him all day and forget to eat.

That ended up leading to a discussion about the Saviours life and many of the miracles he performed. I shared story after story with the kids and each time I finished one, JJ asked me to tell another. We started talking about the loaves and the fishes (prompted by me telling them we'd forget to eat if we were listening to Jesus) We covered some of the discussions and teaching moments he had with his Disciples and the stories and examples he used to teach them. I cant remember how we eventually moved away from talking about the Saviours ministry, but I ended up sharing the story from the book of Kings....about the poor widow who shared her food with Elijah.  I told them about how the prophet asked this poor widow for some water and some food. She explained that she didn't have any bread, only enough flour to mix a small portion with oil to feed herself and her son. She told Elijah that this would be their last meal before she and her son died. I felt the spirit and got emotional as I spoke. My kids hardly ever see me cry and I felt them all look at eachother. JJ's eyes started watering and Lani who was already sitting beside me, snuggled in closer and started kissing my cheek as I continued talking. I told them that the widow faithfully obeyed Elijahs request and fed him with her last portion of food. I told them how hard it would be for me if they were starving and I was asked to give up their food. I wasn't sure if I had the same faith that the widow did. I taught them about true obedience and what it means to give up everything to become a disciple of Christ.
We finished our scripture time together and continued on with our day but I was left with an immense feeling of gratitude. Grateful for the beautiful spirits that I have the privillege of raising, and grateful to be able to raise them in such a beautiful country. I am grateful for the moments of spiritual clarity that come when reading the scriptures with my children.  All that we need to know to return back to Heavenly Father is contained in these simple truths of the gospel. It strenghtens my testimony to share them with the kids each day. I know that sharing my testimony of the Saviour and my love for Him is the most important work I will ever do. For that knowledge, I am especially grateful.

So for me, scripture study with my children is like many other aspects of family life. Sometimes its messy, noisy and disorganised. Sometimes its hard to find the time. Sometimes I get frustrated. Sometimes I get grumpy.

But sometimes it brings a wondeful feeling of peace and assurance. Sometimes I feel so much gratitude. Sometimes I wonder if I could love my children any more.

And always........always, it is worth it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mining in the backyard

People have been asking me how I am coping with the school holidays. The truth is I am really enjoying them (so far!) I love not having to rush in the mornings. Not rushing in the mornings leads to late breakfasts, which create afternoon lunches which throw dinner way out of whack. It doesn't worry us though, its nice not to have to follow a schedule. It's closer to my nature and personality just doing what we want to, when we want to. Having the whole day ahead of me with nothing planned feels like having a blank canvas with which the kids and I can paint a big beautiful mess on. The last few days we have been trying to get to the skate park but the weather hasn't been so friendly.
I allow my kids to watch TV and or play their ipods in the mornings during the school holidays. It helps keep the early birds quiet while the others are still sleeping. Unfortunately for me, Tanky is the earliest bird in the family and he generally wakes and least two of his siblings up with his noise. He sleeps next to me in bed and when he's awake for the day (usually at 6am) he likes to let us all know with very loud goo-ing and ga-ing plus some banging on the walls! He is so noisy that as soon as he wakes, I quickly pick him up and whisk him out to the loungeroom before he wakes his sisters (who also sleep in my room)
The kids help me clean up the house each day before we get going. This is another quirk for me, I have helpers now in the morning. Although they help clean they also help mess it all again, and they usually do so at lightning speed! My kids love to play outside and will usually spend half the day out there. Today was cold and rainy. The weather never deters Benny. He plays outside as soon as he is dressed. Some mornings he is scooting up and down the driveway at 6.30am. Never mind the early hour - its always freezing at that time of the day. I always know when he is outside because he leaves the back door open and the rest of us freeze!
This morning he was outside early again. He whinged outside of the kitchen window waiting for one of his siblings to play with him. Explaining that it was too cold out there for the rest of us only made him more grumpy. Lani and JJ played board games together until the Sun came out. Benny waited patiently in the backyard for Lani and when she finally went outside, he sent her back in to put on a pair of his army shorts. He likes to dress up and has made matching outfits to Lani and Sisi to wear.
So once they were dressed appropriately, they set to work building a mine. The other three kids came inside when it rained.....but not Ben. He did eventually come in when it poured though :)

I watched them on and off from the kitchen window as they dug a big hole and collected rocks. I went and had a closer look just before I called them in for dinner. Benny insisted on being the one to explain to me what everyones' Jobs were. Lani looked for rocks (gold) and handed them to Benny who washed and dried them. JJ was in charge of breaking the bigger pieces of Gold into smaller ones.

It wasnt until Benny was explaining how the mine worked that I noticed the towels - and not just one towel. There were about 6 of our the mud. He said "It's okay mum, they were already dirty, they're the old ones." We have old towels for cleaning etc but I knew they weren't dirty as I had just washed and folded a whole heap of them. JJ picked one up to show me that it was old and holey.

That one might have been but there were a whole heap more - not to mention the brand new teatowel he is using to dry his rocks. Mum bought us that one last time she visited, lol - at least its black I guess.

                      That red towel is definitely one of our good towels that belongs in the bathroom

And so is that blue one....... and white one laying in the dirt! I love Bennys big imagination but sometimes I wish it didn't include making quite so much mess!

      Every day of the holidays is a new adventure for Benny - and a new load of washing or cleaning for me!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Our first outing as Six

The first weekend after Job left, I was a little nervous to be home on my own with the kiddies. It sounds silly to me now because I am starting to settle into a groove most days. It is definitely diffcult looking after the children on my own but also very rewarding. I am really enjoying spending time with them and watching them achieve in their music and sporting endeavours. I'm also glad that they are happy. The kids and I are close but being on our own now is making us even closer - and I am really enjoying that. Sisi is still a bit of a struggle for me at the moment. I think partly because I am very busy and sometimes lack the patience to meet her needs (or demands!) and also because her hearing needs to be assessed. I'm looking forward to her finally having her hearing test done. Maybe when she can hear better, she'll begin to listen. Maybe ;)
So anyway, the first weekend I felt quite aprehensive. I called the Rogers on the Friday, hoping they had something planned for the Saturday. I told them that whatever it was, we were tagging along!
I had seen pictures of the Allum Cliffs on Lisa's and Simone's blog and suggested we go there. I'm glad we did, it was a beautiful walk, followed by a breathtaking view. According to the sign, the short trip took 45 mins return. Took us and our 10 kids a lot longer than that ;)
As we unloaded our cars, the kids took turns running up and down the path. Making their usual amount of noise and ensuring that we wouldnt be seeing any wildlife on this walk - or hopefully other people! There were too many steps to take the pram so I carried Tank and loaded up Kymbo and the kids with all our food and drinks - thats what family are for right? To bring the food.

The kids had fun on the wooden structure which was situated a third or so into the walk. We stopped here on the way back and had our lunch (which for interests sake was chicken and chip sandwhiches, followed by chocolate cake and grapes.) - As long as there's a fruit or vegie in there somewhere, I'm a good and responsible mother.

Benny and Joe
The Old Lovebirds :)

My cute little man

Kym and Joes' cute little man

Most of the cousins...minus Charlotte and Flynny

The view from the lookout

My babies. I love this photo.


The new us.

It was a nice day. I was glad to spend some time seeing the beauty of Tasmania on a day when my stomach felt like it was doing flip flops. It doesn't do it quite so much anymore. Weekends are still a bit hard but hopefully as time goes on, it will get easier - especailly when my mum gets here! lol

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hard to write

I've been very aprehensive about this blog entry. I feel like I cant continue with the rest of our family blogs until I get this one out of the way. I've been trying to figure out how to skip it all together, but many of my future entries wont make any sense if I omit this one.

I think that most of my friends who are reading this will already know - and I'm sorry to those of you in Melbourne - or wherever else you may be who dont, but....Job and I have separated.

In writing about him leaving, I'm scared that the spirit of our family blog is being tainted. And that now there may be a huge hole in the fabric of our experiences. I don't know......I hope not. I hope to still be able to capture the special moments in our childrens lives. I still look forward to documenting pieces of their lives and our life together.

Although Job is not with us anymore, we still miss him and he misses us. We talk to him each day and are looking forward to him visiting us for Easter.

I haven't attached a photo this time as any picture I think of just makes me sad.

Thank you to dear friends who have made the last two weeks a little easier xx

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Please stop growing!

Have I mentioned before that my kids are growing WAY too fast for my liking?!
Obviously the growing spurt is most obvious with Teancum who is crawling all over the place now.
I love how kids go through phases of doing something particularly cute. Sometimes I'm glad to see the end of a phase when its not so particularly cute - like Sisi's latest statement of the month "Shut up your bum bum!" or the variation "Shut up your bum bum - willy!"
I must have around 100 or so photos of Tanky with his mouth wide open, about to devour someones face. Usually its one of us, but occasionally he's tried to eat a friend, or stranger who's been close enough for him to grab. He's been doing it for so long now. It's a phase I really enjoy and I dont want him to grow out of it. 
I doubt Lani does either, especailly as she is the prime recipient.

Unfortunately for us he is already 8 months old.  I know a tooth must be just around the corner.

                     I dont imagine anyone will be letting him bite their faces then! :(

Monday, February 11, 2013

I need my mum!


As scrum-diddli-umpscious as Tanky is - and he IS just that, he is also many other things.....such as

Constantly Hungry...and
Constantly wakeful (or whatever the terminology is for 'never sleeps!')

He's a baby, right? That's what I've been telling myself since he was born. Even when other babies his age starting sleeping for length at night, or other babies started their solids at around 6 months of age or even the simple beauty of watching other babies feed from their mums while laying comfortably across mums lap.

Tanky has his own way of doing all these things. I knew he was a complete individual in hospital when I saw other mums pushing their babies around in their little plastic cribs. Those cribs are great. Mums can nap and eat for example while they have their hands free. Not me though, my hands were not free. I had to ask midwives to hold him so I could grab a quick bite to eat between feeds! If I put him down, he cried for me to cuddle him. I cuddled him in bed each night so I could get pockets of sleep.

Hahaha, he is so naughty that its cute! I wouldn't change him for the world and I'm so blessed and privileged to have him as my beautiful chubby boy. But I am also very tired. 

Mum has been ringing each week and checking in on me. She knows that there is way more for me to do now with Lani and her monitoring. She knows how cheeky Tanky is and how he doesn't let me sleep much at nights. She also knows things in my personal life have been rough lately. She offered many times to come over and help but I reassured her that I was fine. I knew it would eventually pass, I thought that soon Tanky would start to sleep. But it still hasn't passed and I still haven't slept ;) I am learning that there is only so much I can do. I am learning I have limits!

I kept telling mum 'I'm fine, I'm fine."

And then one day I wasn't fine.

Mum came over as soon as she could and is here to help for 6 weeks.

I have the best mum ever!!

I also hope the six weeks go by very very slowly :)

Mum is staying with the Rogers as they have more room for her. She comes to our house to help out on the afternoons and evenings when Job is not around. Its great having her around during dinner time. With her help, I am finally able to get something ready for dinner (instead of the usual cereal nights) and get the kids off to bed at a reasonable hour. She helps me with the housework and spends time with the kids, but what I love the most is having another pair of (strong) arms to hold the Tank. I love watching her get to know him and his quirky little personality. He makes her laugh too. He is such a funny boy.

He loves to smootch

He loves to cuddle (and chew on necklaces)

He loves to stare at you if he thinks you are eating something that he isn't

He loves to be held and fed

And he loves to cry for his mummy

Just like I cried for mine!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

School is back on!

Where did the holidays go???

They flew by so fast.

I can't believe we have a grade 5 this year, that means only two more years until high hoo! I need to stand on my kids heads and stop them from growing. Actually JJ will be taller than me soon. Crazy...

And Sisi started kinder today!! She was so gorgeous. Benny helped her get ready this morning
The bigger kids started back at school two days ago, but we thought we'd wait for Sisi to start before we took photos. Here's the kiddies this morning...

 Sisi was very proud of her new school bag. I love how Lani did her hair. You can't tell from the picture but her bandana is inside out. I guess it matched the straps on her bag - twisted and inside out :)

We walked the kids to school. The boys went on ahead with Louis while the girls stayed with us.

We never have to ask Lani to look after her younger siblings. She just does it. Her and Sisi chatted to eachother as they walked hand in hand the whole way there. I walked behind them saying repeatedly to Job "Aren't they cute?....Sisi is so cute!" She was suddenly a mature little school girl. Very different the the usual little four year old that runs all over the place when we walk to school.

Lani has a teacher who is brand new to the school and fresh out of uni. She is lovely and happy to look after Lani's diabetes needs. Lani was a bit embarrassed today during her music class when I tested her levels. She hid behind the dividers at the back of the classroom. She has never hidden her diabetes before so I am hoping its all part of getting back into the swing of school. Her teacher is going to read the same book Mrs Atckins read last year to the class. I think it will help her to feel accepted  by her new class mates.

Benny has one of  JJ's old teachers this year. He is also one of our friends from church. Benny has been enjoying the games and magic tricks they have been doing in class.

JJ's also very happy. He has a great teacher and has all but one of his mates in his class. One of the things I love about JJ is that I can always kiss him hello and goodbye in front of his friends - and he kisses me back

It was nice to walk all the kids to their classrooms again today. The most exciting part of the morning though was having Sisi with us. The big kids wished they could come with us to drop her off but her kinder begins just after school starts. The kinder is attached to the school so we only had to walk next door. She bumped into the Rogers this morning too and had some pre kinder hugs and kisses.

When we arrived at kinder, she looked for her name on the welcome poster. The teacher then helped her find her bag spot and showed her where to put her fruit. She kept saying to me "I don't want you to go mum."

       She settled down at the play dough table and once we thought she was happy enough we said goodbye.

Job and I then enjoyed the walk back much quieter than we're used to without Sisi :)

We did some shopping and lunchtime came around so quickly. We went and picked up Sisi together as it was her first day. We were eager to see how she went without me. Our older kids all cried for the first few months of kinder so I had no expectations that Sisi would be comfortable straight away. I asked the staff to call me if she became too upset.....but she was fine! Better than fine. She had a great time. She ran out to me with a huge smile on her face.

Good on you Sisi. We are so proud of you and the big girl you are becoming.

Even big kinder kids still need a rest.....and so do kinder dads it seems :)