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