Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Busy Days

Yesterday was my 38th birthday.  It passed in a bit of a blur as we had a VERY busy day.

In the morning we had a Presentation Day assembly at our children's school.  We had received a letter informing us that one of our children would be receiving an award of some sort.  I suspected it may have just been Abby's year 6 graduation certificate, but we were happy to attend anyway as she was also singing in the choir.

We were very pleasantly surprised and proud of our children when, as well as the graduation certificate, Abby was also awarded the Rosalie Kerr School Library Award, meaning her name has been engraved on a shield that lives in the school foyer awards cabinet, and she received a $25 voucher to a book store.  Tim and Ben each received a class award for 'Enthusiasm for Learning', each with a $10 voucher to the book store.

As soon as assembly was over we took the kids from their classes and dashed home to have a quick lunch and leave for an interview at a church we are in the process of talking with about a pastoral position next year.  In the afternoon we had an interview with the church deacons, which was informative, encouraging and tiring.  This was followed by pizza for tea at a lookout where we had a view of the town which may be home to us next year.

The church had arranged accommodation for the night for us, and when we returned there the kids went crazy.  They had a ball taking silly photos with my new ipad (a combined birthday/christmas present for Simon and I).  Sometime during this silliness and hysterical laughter, I realised I had received a message on my phone.  A quick check showed it was from my Dad, informing me that my very ill Grandfather had just died.  Not quite the birthday present I wanted, but somewhat of a relief also, knowing he was healthy and well in heaven now, and no longer suffering with the dementia and physical impairment that has plagued him over the last few months.

Grandad was a wonderful, loving, godly man.  I am proud to be his grand daughter and I will miss him incredibly.  

Today was also an incredibly busy day.  We had an interview with the principal of a school in the area, then an interview with the Pastor of our prospective new church and, after a quick lunch, another meeting with some of the key leaders within the church.  Our children have been incredibly well behaved over the last two (very boring for them) days.

Now we are tired, grieving, excited, daunted and feel like we are in a bit of a fog.  It's been a very big few days. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

School Camp and life in general.

Today I farewelled my two biggest babies as they head off to their school adventure camp.  They will be canoeing, rock climbing, doing archery, having a disco and doing the high ropes course, among other things.

I found it interesting to note my reactions as school camp approached.  Abby and Tim were both very excited, Simon was pretty calm and assured me they would enjoy camp, but I have been very on edge and nervous about it.  I mostly put it down to being a mother and worrying they may forget to take something they need, but as we actually said good bye at school I began to feel physically sick.

I have only vague memories of a school camp I attended in year four at school.  I don't really know what happened on camp, but I'm pretty sure I ended up on my bed in tears and I never attended another school camp after that.  I managed to avoid every camp by begging to not go, or by getting 'sick' the morning camp started.  Watching my own children head off to camp has brought back all the emotion I felt every time my own school camps were drawing near.  I am left now to just pray that they have a wonderful time and see it as a fun and exciting memory, not a black mark on their past.

However, I suspect that some of my emotion and stress lately is due to accumulated stress over the past few months.  What do I have to be stressed about?   There are a few things happening.

In 10 weeks and five days we must move out of our current home.  I have no idea where I will be moving to.  Simon does not yet have a job for next year, and we don't know what to do if he doesn't get one sometime very soon.  That is probably some cause for my stress levels to elevate a little.

Relating to this move is a feeling of inadequacy on my behalf.  I don't really feel cut out to be a pastor's wife.  I'm not sure I can get over my naturally introverted ways and give out as I feel a pastor's wife should. Anywhere with a large crowd of people has been a struggle for me lately, and church has felt especially difficult.  I have a constant struggle with feeling socially inept in large groups, and the more this happens the more I feel unsuited to being a pastor's wife.

Simon is feeling the pressure of his last few weeks of study and the thousands of words he must get written during that time (and the reading needing to be done before writing those words).  He is also feeling the pressure of next year, and I find myself trying to be calm and hold it together because me falling apart is not going to help his stress levels.

Added to this is an almost 9 month old baby who, whilst being absolutely adorable and mostly placid and content, still doesn't sleep through the night, leaving me with a general feeling of exhaustion from the moment I wake in the morning.  She is also becoming increasingly mobile, leaving me feeling as though I have no time to clean the house, let alone sort and pack everything we own to move to an unknown location.

Then, of course, there are the daily issues related to family life; squabbling and bickering among the children, and issues related to being a godly, wise and consistent parent.

Before this sounds too much like I am whinging, I have to say that amidst all this I am confident that God has a plan for us, and He does know what He is doing.  There have been good things happening also.  The last week of the holidays has been enjoyable, and I find myself somewhat dreading the return to school days, making lunches and rushing through the morning to get ready on time, instead of being able to wake up slowly and allow the children to set the pace for the day and enjoy each others company (which they have been doing a lot more lately).

Not long ago, I reread some of the older posts on this blog, written just before our move to Sydney.  I found them to be very encouraging, especially the first one I wrote after we got here, where I said "Here I sit in my beautiful new home, wondering why I wasted any time last year worrying about how my family would cope with a move to Sydney."  God blessed us and provided for us SO well throughout our last move, and I KNOW He will do so again.  I try to remind myself of this daily.

My prayer at the moment is that God will show us His plan (sooner rather than later…) and that we will continue to see evidence of His work in and through our lives as we follow Him to… wherever.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Today Elizabeth has been very sooky at home.  She was fine when we went out to Bible study this morning, but her time at home has been filled with tears and a desire to be held constantly.  I offered baby toys and more baby toys, and then some other different baby toys.  Nothing pleased her.  She grizzled her way around the floor finding any 'non-baby' toys she could on the floor, close to the edge of the couch, or getting them while sitting on my knee.  She also found the nappy bag.  She would then chew on things until they were taken away or got boring.

So far she has attempted to devour:
the TV remote,
one brother's sword (it's okay, it's only a toy),
another brother's light saber (also only a toy),
her sister's ruler,
the box of wipes,
a clean nappy,
some clean clothes,
the couch,
her socks,
her toes,
the floor,
a bookmark from the school book fair last week and
a pamphlet about the Sydney Jewish Museum.

Trying to cram in all the information about the Jewish Museum (See all the toys she refused to play with…)


I think I need to be creative with toys for the next little while and maybe put away her familiar toys, at least for a week or so.

And in case people were wondering, she is not crawling yet, but she somehow manages to wiggle around on her bottom and covers a lot of floor space this way.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Update on my letter to Target...

This morning I received an email from the Target Online Team in response to the complaint I made regarding their lingerie advertisement.  This is what they said:

Good Morning Esther,

Thank you for taking the time to write to us regarding our recent intimate apparel television commercial.

We want you to know that we take all of our customer’s concerns seriously and it’s certainly not Target’s intention to offend anyone. As a result of ongoing feedback, we have slightly amended our television commercial to remove particular images that made viewers uncomfortable. This amended commercial is on air now.

Thank you once again for writing to us, we appreciate having the opportunity to respond to your concerns. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there’s anything further we can assist with.

Kind Regards,

Online Team

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Target lingerie ads on TV

Target has a new ad on TV for lingerie.  I saw this ad a few nights ago and commented to Simon that I was glad it was past 'family viewing' time because some of the poses are very sexualised.

Today as I was feeding Bethy, I turned on the TV and a movie was just starting.  It was an old movie about an escape attempt from a POW camp during WWII.  This is a subject I am quite interested in, so I continued to watch and the boys sat down to watch it with me.

I was VERY disappointed when the Target lingerie ad came on during Sunday afternoon family TV viewing time.  I hoped the boys would not be paying attention, but I noticed they sat up and watched with interest and some embarrassment as a series of women paraded around in their underwear, a couple with provocative and suggestive poses.

So, I did something I haven't done before.  I looked up the Target website and registered a complaint about their ad, and the time it was used in.  I don't know if it will do any good, but I am glad I have done something.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Feeling like a bit of a silly mother...

Today I had an 'Ah ha!' moment about one of my children and why he is the way that he is.  This insight actually would apply to all of my children to some degree, but this one child in particular.

My children frequently ask me for 'screen time', which to them means playing some form of electronic game, either DS, PSP, X-Box or computer.  I have concerns about how much time a child should spend on 'screen time', so we have a daily limit of 30 mins, (which is sometimes extended to 1 hr as many games are hard to complete without some longer play times).

One of my children in particular will ask, beg, plead for screen time and may end up in tears if it is denied.  Today, after an episode of crying, I decided to find out why he feels the need to have screen time.  That's when I had my Ah-ha moment.  He is definitely an introvert, and in a crowded house, with two brothers sharing his room, he NEVER has any place to go to just be alone.  Screen time is his form of time out from everyone, and that's why he gets so upset when he misses out on it.

After some discussion about it, he agreed that if we could find some way for him to be alone and have time out from others, he wouldn't feel like he had to have screen time so much.  Now I just need to figure out how to create a space for the boys where they can go to have time out when they need it.

I feel like a bit of a silly mother to have taken so long to register that the boys need alone time and space for themselves.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympic thoughts...

As we all know the Olympics are in full swing at the moment.  I have enjoyed watching my children get excited, and I have been tempted to give in to their requests to "stay up, just till the next ad break", because I know they are enjoying watching, even when Australia loses.

As I listened to the coverage the other day, without being able to actually see the TV from where I was, I was reminded of this poem by Banjo Paterson.

The Riders in the Stand

There's some that ride the Robbo style, and bump at every stride;
While others sit a long way back, to get a longer ride.
There's some that ride like sailors do, with legs and arms, and teeth;
And some ride on the horse's neck, and some ride underneath.

But all the finest horsemen out -- the men to Beat the Band --
You'll find amongst the crowd that ride their races in the Stand.
They'll say "He had the race in hand, and lost it in the straight."
They'll show how Godby came too soon, and Barden came too late.

They'll say Chevalley lost his nerve, and Regan lost his head;
They'll tell how one was "livened up" and something else was "dead" --
In fact, the race was never run on sea, or sky, or land,
But what you'd get it better done by riders in the Stand.

The rule holds good in everything in life's uncertain fight;
You'll find the winner can't go wrong, the loser can't go right.
You ride a slashing race, and lose -- by one and all you're banned!
Ride like a bag of flour, and win -- they'll cheer you in the Stand.

Banjo Paterson

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Learning about the goldrush

Abby and Tim have been learning about the goldrush at school.  Today they had a special dress-up day as a part of this section of their curriculum.  It has been the most exciting thing at school for several weeks.  Abby tells me that it was the only thing anybody would talk about at recess and lunchtime.

We recently found some old clothes of Abby's (from when she was about 18months old) and Abby wondered if Bethy could fit into them just for the trip to school.

Here they are.  Tim is dressed as a miner and Abby is dressed as the owner of a boarding house.  Bethy is dressed as a cute baby...

Last night I suddenly had a brilliant idea for how to crochet a bonnet for Bethy.  After the kids were in bed I pulled out some yarn to see if my idea worked. Unfortunately I forgot to put it on for the photo with Abby and Tim, but we remembered for going to school.  She fell asleep in the car on the way home so I got a picture of her then.  I'm quite pleased with how the bonnet turned out.

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I've been inspired to create beanies lately, and once I started I've had requests for more.

My first attempt at a beanie for Elizabeth

A second blue girls beanie

Beanie for a little man I hope to meet in a few weeks time when he makes his arrival in my neighbours family

 Pink pompom beanie for Bethy

Bethy being a little un-cooperative in modelling her pink pompom beanie.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Family Fun Mothers Day

Today is Mother's Day and I have had a lovely day.  Bethy woke me to wish me a happy day several times in the wee hours, but she smiles so adorably that it's impossible to be grumpy with her.  The other children piled in to my room not long after 7am to present their Mother's Day gifts for me.  I received vouchers for breakfasts in bed, massages, cups of tea and babysitting for Bethy along with their handmade cards.  There was also the obligatory chocolate, mugs, pens and aprons, but all very nice ones that I really like.

After church and our monthly church lunch we decided to have a family fun afternoon.  We were going to go into the city on the train, but the children were not enthusiastic about that idea, so instead we went somewhere I have been wanting to go for quite awhile.

Elizabeth Farm was originally the home of John and Elizabeth Macarthur, famous for their merino wool (although it seems they may have promoted themselves somewhat more than was really justified).  The oldest part of the house was built in 1793 and it has been largely unchanged since 1830.  Tim had already been here on a school excursion and Ben is coming here later this year, so they were both quite excited to go.

The kids had fun pretending they lived here.
Ben at the writing desk
Abby washing clothes
Ezra relaxing on the front verandah
Tim playing with a stick and hoop
Bethy, just being cute (and Simon).
As for me, I fell in love with this little study.  It is bright and sunny and looks out onto the garden.  I'd love a room like this in my dream house.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I realize my blog has been a bit slow lately.  (Well, okay, since you mention it, I'll admit, it has been VERY slow lately).  I could list a whole lot of reasons why I haven't been writing, but they would just be excuses, so I won't waste your time with them.

To help make things a bit more interesting, I have decided to occasionally repost a story that I have written as an entry into the FaithWriters (an online Christian writing group) writing challenge.  I haven't entered any challenges for a very long time, but I looked up my own profile tonight and made myself cry with one of my entries, and realised that (in my opinion) some of the things I wrote were quite well written.  Feel free to ignore it when I drop in an old story of mine, but I am hoping that by sharing I will begin to feel inspired to get back into writing, so I am really sharing for my benefit more than yours.

The way the writing challenge works is that we are given a word or phrase and have to write something about that topic, between 150 and 750 words.  The first one I'll share is the one that made me cry tonight.  The topic was 'Siblings' and I wrote this in 2008.

Warning: Contains heart breaking themes for some mothers.

I wanted a twin brother!

Being a big brother didn’t turn out quite how I’d expected it too. I mean, I didn’t even want to be a big brother in the first place. I told my Dad quite clearly what I wanted. I asked him for a twin brother, just a tiny bit older than me and as like me as two peas in a pod, just like the Miller twins. They always have a heap of fun playing tricks on folks and I’ve noticed that generally in families with more than one kid, the older kids get in a heap more trouble, even if the younger kids did the same thing. I didn’t want to be the oldest, no sir-ee.

That day in the shed when dad asked if I would like a brother or a sister, I told him straight out what I wanted, but I guess he just didn’t listen close enough. I could hardly believe it when he and Momma came home with a tiny little baby wrapped in a fluffy pink blanket.

Now, I don’t deny she was a cute little baby, but she wasn’t a twin brother. I reckon it would have been quieter around the house if Dad and Momma would have just listened to me in the first place. She was one noisy little girl. I couldn’t understand why all of a sudden I wasn’t allowed to make a sound around the house, and yet that little baby girl screamed all day and all night.

My poor Momma seemed like a different person. Her beautiful blue eyes were always full of tears and she hardly ever brushed her hair. When I was just a little boy, I remember Momma used to let me pass her the hair pins as she carefully piled her hair up on top of her head. For ever so long after Emily-Sue came to live with us, Momma’s hair just hung down her back, looking tangled and sad.

I remember the first day Momma did her hair again. It was the same day Emily-Sue laughed. Momma and I were kissing her little wriggly toes when all of a sudden she let rip with a big baby giggle. Momma laughed too and when Emily-Sue finally fell asleep, Momma brushed her hair, piled it up on top of her head and then came and held me in her arms for the longest time. She told me she was sorry she had been busy and then she let me help her make sugar cookies. We ate most of the dough before they got cooked, so we had to make a second lot so Dad could have some too.

I guess after that I didn’t mind so much about Emily-Sue not being a twin brother. As she got bigger, she got more fun too. When she started crawling, we played chasing games around the table legs. Momma would laugh and laugh at us as she did her chores. One day we dragged the toy box out in the middle of the room and Emily-Sue started chasing me around it. After a bit, I was getting sore knees, so I just went and sat nearby and watched. She didn’t see I had stopped and she went on crawling around and around that box for ages. Momma and I had a good laugh about that one.

I still remember the morning Momma found her laying still and blue in her crib. We tried and tried to get her to breathe again, but she just wouldn’t. Momma lay on the floor and cried and cried until I ran next door and got Mr Thompson to come and see what had happened. After that the house seemed all full of strange people and they took my beautiful baby sister away. Now Momma’s eyes always have that sad far-away look in them. I can always tell when she’s thinking about Emily-Sue.

Sometimes we just sit and hold each other and cry. I don’t want a twin brother anymore, but I’d give anything to have my Emily-Sue back again.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More Grandparents

Today we visited Simon's Grandparents.  His Nanna has been in hospital for about 8 years with Alzheimers.  Papa visits her every single day.  He is a living example of faithful love in sickness and in health.

Nanna was very alert and quite interested in Bethy.  She smiled several times when she saw Bethy and seemed to be trying to speak to her.

I hope my children realise how blessed they are to still have four great-grandparents still living and setting such a wonderful example for them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I love my Grandma and Grandad.  I have SO many memories of them and of holidays spent roaming around their 300 acre farm in Gippsland.  In my mind, they will always be the fit, acitve, healthy and perpetually busy people from my childhood memories.


They have grown old. (People tend to do this, and it is a good thing really, as the alternative is death.)

Over the last few months my Grandad has been overcome by Alzheimers and Dementia.  For some people it is a slowly progressing disease, but for Grandad it seems to have overtaken him rapidly and intensely. 

My Grandparents have just celebrated 69 years of marriage. Some family members want Grandad put into care to ease the burden on Grandma.  This brings a whole range of problems and concerns for those responsible for making this choice.  If they are seperated, or he is in a strange environment, he becomes distressed and unmanageable and Grandma feels like she would be breaking her marriage vows to desert him in a time of sickness.  And yet... she is exhausted beyond belief just surviving through each day. 

I find it hard to visit them.  I want to remember them as the fit, healthy people I knew, and yet I also want to treasure every moment I have left with them.


Today we went to visit them and had the opportunity to introduce Elizabeth to them.  Grandad knew us (most of the time) and was glad to have a cuddle with Elizabeth.  Bethy is the youngest of approximately 35 great-grandchildren (I don't know exactly how many great-grandchildren there are as I have 21 cousins and I have not kept in touch with which ones have had babies in the last couple of years).

I love my Grandparents and am proud to be a part of their continuing legacy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Crazy Hair Day

Today is crazy hair day at school.  My four big children have had very different feelings about this day.  Ezra has been dreading it for more than a week, even asking to stay home.  Tim and Ben spent a long time last night planning and practicing exactly what they would do with their hair, and Abby shrugged her shoulders and gave me permission to do 'whatever' with hers.  This is what we ended up with:
Instead of 'crazy hair', Ezra chose to have 'handsome hair'.

Tim and Ben with their carefully planned 'crazy' hairstyles.

Abby with my creation inspired by a comment Simon made about Star Wars movies.

All together, ready to go.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


 Bethy is getting chubby, and we think she gets cuter by the day.  Here are some photo's of the last week for family who are far away.

She loves to look at faces now and seems to be trying to have conversations sometimes.

Talking to Abby

Talking to Daddy
She also enjoys cuddles with her siblings.

Abby put her to sleep for me, which made all three of us (Abby, Bethy and I) happy.
Her neck is getting stronger by the day and she LOVES tummy time.
 She is even cute when she is not smiling and she is a normal baby who cries and has grumpy times.

Grumpy looks (sick of having photo's taken???)
Crying "Pick me up!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

More favourites...

I am loving being mum to a new baby again.  I am also loving having the time to watch the older children enjoy having a baby around.

Bethy has decided that it is better to sleep with lots of noise from siblings or to be held in Mummy's arms (or both if possible).  On Saturday I had finally gotten her to sleep in the pram downstairs and had shooed the three oldest children outside.  Ezra kept hovering around and asking if he could kiss "Baby Girl" (as he calls her).  I explained several times that she had just gone to sleep and I needed her to be left alone, so no kisses just now.  Not long after I overheard him saying to himself "Stop it lips!"  I asked what he was talking about and he replied "My lips keep wanting to kiss baby girl and I can't make them stop." 

Ezra also likes to sing to her.  He sings "Baby girl, baby girl" to the tune of "Spider Pig" from the Simpsons.  I'm not sure where he learnt this as, to the best of my knowledge, he has never watched The Simpsons, and even I didn't realize where the tune came from until Simon told me. 

I have also discovered the most effective way of waking the children for school is to put a happy, awake baby in bed next to them for a minute or two, and then remove her and encourage them to come down stairs and eat breakfast with her.  They love having a quick cuddle in bed, then they get up far more willingly and there is less complaining all around.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Long Time...

It's been a long time since my last post, and so much has happened that it's hard to know what to blog about or where to start.

Christmas has been and gone.  We had a quiet christmas at home, with no obligations to visit anyone or rush here or there.  In some ways it was nice to not have the fuss and bother, and yet... my favourite part of the day was a long 3 way skype visit/conversation with family who are far away.
We felt the love of family with piles of gifts from near and far,
we had 'stockings' in the style I grew up with,

and we made a delightful mess.

After Christmas was over we began the waiting game.  We were waiting eagerly for our special new arrival.  After being advised by a doctor that our baby would probably arrive early and it was vitally important that I get to a hospital as soon as I suspected I was in labour, we decided to take it easy and not venture too far from home.  We did manage a trip to the beach and a few other outings, but not as many as I had hoped.

Finally... on Monday the 16th of January (TWO days late, thankyou Dr...), at 2:59pm, our beautiful new Princess made her arrival, weighing a hefty 4250grams (9lb 6oz).
Elizabeth Faith Gellert
So far she has been loved, cuddled, kissed and generally doted on by all her siblings, as well as her Daddy and Mummy.  I am daily amazed again at the miracle of a baby, at how perfect are their tiny fingers and toes, andhow beautiful her eyes are and the cute little faces she makes when she is sleeping and ... well, everything really.  God has been VERY good to us.

Bethy, so far, has been a very good baby.  I'm not sure if it's because she is number five and has to fit in, or if she is just naturally easy going.  She cries when she is hungry, needs a nappy change or has a tummy pain, but otherwise whe sleeps or lays quietly observing what is going on in the world around her.  If she is left alone for awhile when she is awake she will give a little cry, not a distressed cry, but a "Hello, is there anyone to talk to?" kind of a cry.  When the kids were still at home, she rarely had moments of being left alone, so this week she is learning that Mummy and Daddy can't spend all day looking at her (even though they would like to).

Some highlights of her life so far are:

    *Ezra's delight on arrival at the hospital as he told me "I'm not the youngest anymore!  I'm a BIG brother!"

    *Watching Tim's gentleness and patience as he cuddles her or talks to her in her waking moments.  He has been SO helpful and adoring of her.  Almost every morning he knocks softly on our door, asking if he can come in and look at her as she is sleeping.  He has trouble getting out of the car while she is still in her carseat, as he just wants to stop and look at her and kiss her.  (Makes it hard for the kids behind him who do want to get out and can't get past him though...)

    *Watching Ben read to her and point out pictures in the book he's looking at, and seeing his disappointment at not getting to cuddle her in bed (not that I like to see him so sad, but it's nice to see he loves her so much).

    *Watching Abby hold her, tell her stories and chat to her about life in general.

    *Having Ezra give a running commentary on her as we prepare tea.  He stood near her and every few minutes he would come bounding across the room to gleefully declare "She did another pop-off!" or "She's got the hic-cups.  I didn't give them to her, see I haven't got hic-cups, but somebody else gave them to her!"  Each declaration was followed by a delightful little giggle from him and then he'd rush back to her side to wait for the next thing to happen.

And now... she has decided it is lunch time, so I will have to stop.