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2007 May » Philoxenos


Free cookbook

26th May 2007

Free cookbook

This week I discovered a new blog that I’m really enjoying, The Homespun Heart . I’ve been reading through her archives and back in 2005 she gave a link for SunMaid Raisins, saying they were giving away a free Gooseberry Patch cookbook. I went to the link and it still works! So go get your free cookbook. I’ve got one Gooseberry Patch book and I really like it. So go! It’s free!

posted in Kitchen stuff | 1 Comment

26th May 2007

Thank you, Lord

… for a warm fire in a warm house on a cold night.

… for food in the cupboard and fresh fruit in the fridge.

… for milk for my children.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

22nd May 2007

Post #105 disappeared!

The weirdest thing happened! I wrote a post to go with the May Day Weight Loss Challenge, I posted it to my site, signed the Mr Linky on Tales from the Scales and just now when I went back to re-read it, it was gone! The Mr Linky link just goes to nowhere. Where did it go??? And of course now my blog thinks this is post #105. Grrrr.

posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

17th May 2007

bobbing head

My husband just walked up behind me and laughed at me. I turned around and said “Whaaat?” I honestly had no idea. He then mimicked what I had been doing. You see, we have all of our music on the computer, all 28 days worth (I’m not kidding, it’s ridiculous). Late this afternoon our little boy just was not settling down, so I put him in his little bouncy chair and set the music on random. Music often settles him, as does the vacuum cleaner, which gives me more motivation to vacuum.

When you have as much music as we do with so much variety, you just never know what you’re going to get. Well, the music is still playing. And at that very moment it was some kind of rap/hip-hop stuff and, apparently, I was sitting here bobbing my head to the music. He thought it was very amusing. Me? Not so much.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

17th May 2007

early to bed…

… early to rise? Not around here! No sir. At our house we have a mandatory wake up time of no earlier than 7 am for the children. They usually wake up before 7 but they have to stay in their beds. My husband and I usually get out of bed sometime between 6 and 6:30, so this allows us time to get up, have a shower, get dressed, talk to God, read our Bibles, etc before the kids get up and then there is no quiet to be had anywhere in the house. It’s the best thing we ever decided to do, second only to our mandatory quiet time in the afternoon. I like mandatory. It means it happens, no questions asked and if for some reason we stray from the norm it’s just a special treat and not to be expected.


Now that my oldest daughter is going to preschool three afternoons a week, she isn’t getting her quiet time in the afternoon, during which she will sometimes sleep. Today is Thursday so she went to preschool three days this week. Three days without a quiet time. Three days of lots of playing and running around. And that makes one tired little girl. We had dinner at 5pm, had baths and all the kids were in bed by 6:30pm. I LOVE IT!!! It means by 7pm I’ve got the house picked up, kitchen cleaned and I can do more fun things like read blogs :) So although I’m still dealing with the issues of sending her to preschool, I like the extra time in the evenings that it has created.

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments

16th May 2007

Why do I feel like a failure?

My daughter started preschool yesterday. Here in New Zealand they have free preschool, which they call kindergarten, from age 3. The idea is a child goes for two years then starts school when they turn 5 (they have rolling enrolments). They start off going three afternoons a week from 12:30-3, then when they turn four they  start going five mornings a week from 9-11:30. It’s a great programme and I’ve only heard good things about it.

My husband and I have been discussing for over a year the idea of homeschooling our children. There are a variety of reasons but one of them is that we believe we are their best teachers, particularly when they’re little. So when our oldest daughter approached three, we discussed again whether or not we wanted to send her to kindy. We decided no. One of the main reasons being that it wasn’t going to gain us anything (we have quiet time in the afternoon so it’s not like I get more free time) and it was going to cost us a lot (keeping younger children awake in order to drop off/pick up sister). I made much more of an effort to do ‘preschool’ things with her and that seemed to work.


Lately, mostly since the baby was born in March, she’s been getting antsy. Really antsy. Obviously I’m not able to spend as much time with her because I now divide myself between three children instead of two. We now have three children that can get sick instead of two. If one of her siblings is sick then I can’t take her over to a friend’s house to play. Also, my husband has started a new job which means he needs the car sometimes. When he worked from home I had use of the car whenever I wanted essentially. So I don’t always have a car to take the kids places and some friends live too far away to walk. So we’re spending a bit more time at home than we used to. Not that I went out all the time, but probably once a week we’d go to a friend’s house to play and we spend Wednesdays at church in the morning and Thursdays at Bible study, which she loves.

As I wrote here life last week was difficult, particularly Friday. I realise that’s part of life, but I really wasn’t coping well. My husband and I talked about strategies to deal with it and we discussed having our oldest start kindy three afternoons a week. We are intending to move the end of July so it would only be until then. I contacted the kindy on Monday and they said she could start the next day. She LOVED it. Talked about it all morning and then talked about it all morning again today. She just waved goodbye and off she went.

So why do I feel like a failure? I feel like if I were a better mom (better organised, more fun, more whatever) she wouldn’t be so keen to go to kindy and she’d be happy to stay at home with her brother and sister. And then I’m thinking “How in the world am I going to manage to homeschool her for real? Like for real school, not just preschool?” And the answer is - I don’t know. We’re not totally set on homeschooling. It’s not like we think sending our kids to public school is a sin or anything.

I have a lot more to say about this, but I’ll leave it for another time. In the meantime, I’m going to focus on the good things - she finally has some place to paint and I don’t have to clean it up!

posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

15th May 2007

May Day Weigh In

Okay, I have good news and bad news.

Good news: I didn’t gain any weight!

Bad news: I didn’t lose any weight either.

Good news: I exercised 5 out of 7 days!

Bad news: I ate a few too many muffins.

Good news: I felt hunger again after having forgotten what being hungry really felt like.

Good news: I drank heaps of water and absolutely no caffeine.

So, the good news outweighs the bad news, and that’s good news!

posted in Uncategorized | 15 Comments

12th May 2007

A bit of introspection

Yesterday was not a good day. I’ve actually had a bit of a stink week, really. Sick kids, sick husband, the sickness requiring samples of bodily waste to be delivered to the lab, sickness requiring numerous nappy changes and much linen washing. Sickness which means that I can’t take the kids out because one of them is sick, so none of them get to go anywhere. This, of course, produces antsy children, which in turn produces a very antsy mother.

So, yesterday I pretty much started to lose it. No, I would say that I actually lost it. No yelling and screaming (from me anyway) but I just got to the point where I thought “Okay, I think I’ll just walk away now and go somewhere else where I only have to take care of myself. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.” I handed the crying baby to my husband and told him that I was going for a drive. My oldest daughter trailed me to the door saying “Please don’t go away Mummy. Where are you going? When are you coming back? When are we going to have dinner? What are we going to eat?” I don’t remember exactly what I said to her, but I think I just ignored her and shut the door. I climbed into the van, put the keys  in the ignition and bawled my eyes out. I was shaking and sobbing and crying out to God for help. I simply could not go on another moment. I drove out of the driveway, not quite sure where I was headed. I really wanted to drive to the airport, charge a ticket to the US on my credit card and go visit my mommy so she could take care of me. This had a few problems: 1) I didn’t have my passport with me; 2) there wasn’t enough breastmilk in the freezer for the baby and 3) Mom and dad would give me a hug and stick me straight back on the next plane back to my husband.  My second thought was to go visit my friend and cry on her shoulder but she has three kids of her own, all of whom have also been sick with similar stuff, and it wasn’t a good time of the day. I hate to mess with her schedule. So, I drove around the block a few times and then came home.

When I arrived back home, I just sat in the car for a few minutes feeling very drained and not at all prepared to go back inside and face my family. I just felt so incredibly overwhelmed with the things that needed to be dealt with. And I’m not talking about laundry and housework. I’m talking about discipline issues and trying to manage the boredom and character training, all that kind of stuff. I sent a text message to my mother-in-law which I believe said somethindog like “Things are not going well. I’m not coping. Please help.” She texted back and asked what the problem was. I explained that the baby has been either crying or sleeping (he’s not at all the happy baby that my first two were and I really don’t know what the problem is), the oldest has been whining and disobeying all day, and the middle one has been crying at the drop of a hat all day. Basically, someone in our house has been crying all day. She wrote back to say that she would call me when she got home and we could decide what to do. She called me about 15 minutes later and asked me how things were going (by this time I was in the house) and I burst into tears again. She said okay, we’re coming over. We’ll sit down and talk about what’s going on and then we’ll take the girls for the night so you can get some rest.

Before they arrived my husband, who is really rather bewildered by all my emotions and also still feeling quite sick himself, told me that he just wanted the two of us to get out and have a chance to talk. So I fixed a quick dinner for the kids while we waited for their grandparents to arrive. When they arrived, we went for a drive and talked. I was able to dump all the things I was feeling and he was able to respond and ask questions. In the end we both felt very drained. We didn’t have a list of magic answers, but at least we had shared with each other and I felt somewhat better having told him what was going on in my head.

We got home and my in-laws took the middle daughter for the night. We put the other two kids to bed and I went to sleep at 8:30 pm. The baby still woke twice in the night, but I woke up at 7 feeling rested. I went for a walk, knowing that the baby wouldn’t wake for another hour. My husband slept in and my oldest daughter sat reading books on our bed next to Daddy.

The morning went very smoothly. No fights. No crying. No whining. I don’t think I raised my voice once. As I later reviewed the morning, trying to figure out what in the world made the difference, I came up with a few things.

1) My oldest two children are only 22 months apart. The younger one (20 months) desperately wants to do whatever the older one is doing. This causes more fights than I even want to think about. The older one is happy to play by herself and often does, but the younger one has rarely been required to play alone and so she needs to learn. We are going to institute some play alone time for each of the girls, where they have to play by themselves in their room for a length of time each day.

2) We must have one-on-one time with each of the children each day , even if it’s just ten minutes. They each need to know that they will have time with mum every day.

3) Most importantly, we have got to have a routine. This way they know when they have their alone time and they know when they have time with mum and when we play together, etc. I’ve been thinking about routines for a while but I know now that this is an absolute must.

About 9am the phone rang and it was a good friend that lives nearby. She’s the mother of my sister-in-law and she’s fantastic with my girls. She asked how things were going and I said that Friday had been a bad day and we’re just trying to recover. She asked what she could do and I said, well, what are you offering? :) She said, let me take *** for a few hours today. So we arranged to drop her off just after lunch and pick her up before we went to get our younger daughter from her grandparents’ house.

Another lesson I learned : When help is offered, accept it. I’m usually pretty good about this and every time a friend offers to have a child over to play, I’m very grateful. Our daughter had the best time this afternoon. She got to run around with their dog, they went for a walk, they played on the playground and I think best of all, she was the centre of attention for a couple of hours. She thrives on that. I know that the world doesn’t revolve around her, but she needs to feel special like that.

So, it’s the end of Saturday  night and I’m about to head to bed. This has been more of a brain dump than a blog post, but I wanted to get it written down for my own benefit. I don’t want to forget the lessons that I’ve learned the last 36 hours.

And for those of you  that might be worried, I’m not going to run away and leave my family. When I contemplate it, it makes my heart hurt. I never want my little children to ask where their mummy is. I don’t want my selfishness (and that’s definitely what it is) to take away their family. And since I’ve admitted that I’m selfish, I’ll share with you the prayer that I prayed at some point last night when I was just trying to stop being numb.

I prayed something like this “God, I need your help. I cannot do this alone. I know that being a mother and a wife is hard, stinkin’ hard. And I simply don’t know what to do.”

I wish that I could say a bird flew down and gave me a note from God. But it didn’t. I didn’t get a text message either. But I did hear, and continue to hear, him say “Don’t worry. You don’t need to know everything because I do.”
So, I’m heading to bed now, praying that tonight is the night my  son sleeps through until morning but knowing that’s highly unlikely. I’m going to go pray over each of my children, thanking God for the gift he’s given me and praying that I can somehow manage to not screw up their lives. I’m going to give my husband a big kiss and wish him a goodnight as he finishes watching some TV movie. Then I’m going to get into bed and think about the things I’ve learned and wakeup tomorrow morning and hopefully still remember them. But in case I don’t, I’ve written it all down here and I can read it again and remember.

posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

9th May 2007

May Day Challenge, Day 1, afternoon

Updated to add: I got the blog fixed. My husband can do that HTML stuff and figured out it was because I had centered the May Day Challenge button. So he uncentered it and voila! It was fixed. Isn’t he the best? 

I realise that I’m micro-writing here, but on the first day of a big life change like this, small is good. Oh, and I have no idea what’s happened to my blog. It all started when I inserted the May Day button. Everything’s gone all wonky. Will have to wait until my husband gets home to fix it. He’s smart like that.

Anyway, it’s now 3:54 pm and all I’ve eaten since lunch is a carrot (while I was chopping carrots for dinner) and some big glasses of water. I was waiting for the kids to wake up and have afternoon tea with them but they’re still sleeping (aren’t they angels?) and now it’s close enough to dinner (we eat just after 5 pm) that I’ll wait. And I must start my own challenge, which will be called “How to write a post without excessive parentheses”.

So, how do I feel? Besides hungry? I feel thinner. I realise that feeling hungry isn’t the goal, but feeling hungry makes me realise how many times I’ve eaten when I’ve NOT been hungry. I’ve eaten just for the sake of eating. And that’s why I’m fat. Now, I want to eat because I’m hungry. And it’s okay if I have a bit of chocolate cake. It’s all in moderation. Chocolate cake is part of life but it doesn’t have to become my life. Oooh, that’s deep.

And now the real challenge begins: the over timer just went off and two loaves of Zucchini Bread are coming out. One is going with my husband tomorrow to the men’s Bible study at church. The other will be sliced and frozen for snacks for my kids and hubby’s lunches. At least if it’s frozen it’s not in plain sight. I’ll have to stick the carrot very far into my mouth while I’m slicing so as not to tempt myself.

posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

9th May 2007

May Day Challenge, Day 1

It’s only 1 pm but I feel the need to do another quick post on this weight loss thing. The kids are all asleep and I can spend a bit more energy writing rather than dealing with a child clambering onto my lap as I type. Very distracting.

I went out to the mother’s group at church this morning, but I was prepared! Not only did I have the usual assortment of nappies, changes of clothes for the kids, toys and drink bottles, I had two apples and a pear for myself. I am always bombarded by cookies and cake when I go and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to say no if I didn’t have an alternative. So I found myself in good conversation with a new friend, valiantly ignoring the chocolate cake. I went upstairs for our study and sat and ate my apple and pear. They’re in season and really really crunchy good ones. So score one for me!

The afternoon will be the biggest challenge. This is the time, after the kids go to bed for the afternoon, that I usually eat more than I should. Fortunately my husband came home at lunch and took the rest of the apple cake back to work with him to share with the guys. There are a few plain cookies in the cookie jar, but I’m going to ignore them. I know that the first few days are the absolute worst and after that, when I start to see the results of my efforts, I get pumped and it gets easier.

I’m going to have a big drink of water and then take a nap. That always helps the time go by quickly :)

posted in Uncategorized | 0 Comments