Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Body Image and The Power of Words

This week I engaged in a conversation with a young lady about body image, specifically her body image, in which I challenged/encouraged her that the words she had heard from childhood were not true. This led to reflection upon my body image, perceptions I have held over from my childhood. It highlighted to me that the words that are said to a young girl/boy linger long into adulthood, in my case decades.  What others say to us help form our thoughts about who we are, how we look, and these images may actually be not true.

Firstly I wish to emphasis that I have a reasonable healthy sense of self, I'm mostly happy with how I look and my body shape is not something I have more that fleeting thoughts about, even as a teenager it wasn't something I agonised about but the words of two pivotal family members (both now deceased) were said and they were believed.  I thought that I was a "big boned girl like my grandmother" that I "was chubby" and had "big thighs" and that I was often "putting on weight". Whilst I didn't allow these comments to overly bother me, nor were they a major focus of my teenage years, I heard them and they were believed.  For decades I had a perception of myself that wasn't true!

The 'story' I believed was, 'I was a chubby child and teen but when I meet my husband to be and fell in love the weight fell off and I became a slim woman', because I was told so. Over 20 years of married life with a man who loves me and my body has been wonderful for my self image, I believe what he has to say about my body. Over time I've given fleeting thoughts to my younger self image and had niggling doubts that I perhaps my perception wasn't correct, particularly as none of our children have body shapes that tallied with my younger self image and surely statistically with ten children they can't all be like their father, some must be 'like me'?  As time passed I came to believe that my bone structure changed, that I once I was 'bigger boned' when a child/teen and then my bone structure changed and became thinner when older. (cause well, yeah your bones can change. eye roll)

I initiated a conversation with my mother on the topic this week and she alternated between being horrified that unbeknownst to her I had held this perception of myself for all these years and the ludicrousness of my younger self image.  "But you were a skinny child and a skinny teenager!" she kept exclaiming.  "Why have we never discussed this?" she wanted to know.
"Because there wasn't anything to say" I answered, "I thought it was just obvious I had big bones and fat thighs". She is torn between being bemused and horrified that this "skinny child" thought she wasn't.

As a teen with my baby brother
The words of others, whether intentional or of a throw away nature have power, a power that lingers. Today my challenge to you is to ask yourself, is the image, past or current that you have of yourself true? Comments that have had a negative effect, that were said about your: hair, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, chin, face shape, arms, shoulders, breasts, hips, waist, thighs, calf, feet etc, are they really true?!

*I wish to clarify I see beauty in all 'shapes and sizes', this post is more in the nature of addressing mis-perceptions of one's image.

Friday, 10 April 2015

My Daybook: April 10th, 2015

Outside my window...
the sky is lightening as the day 'grows older', the children are beginning to awaken

I am thankful...
  • to have had five precious days with our boys and Carpenter's girlfriend home.  Always a busy time when our lads are home, creating many memories within a short period of time
  • to have been able to celebrate our Einstein's 18th birthday, all together
  • that Jelly Bean's injuries weren't worse than they were! They could have been very easily. Praise the Lord they weren't!

I am thinking...
my brain is always revolving, many thoughts swirl about, today's include:
  • household projects, plans and possibilities
  • lesson direction for Term 2
  • photography dreams
  • thoughts of Anna Maria far from home in England

Learning all the time...
Easter holidays here, we have a 2 week break.  I was considering only taking one as the end of term was rather disrupted but... there are many household projects that that could do with attention

Celebrating the liturgical year......
we survived the Easter Triduum, always a huge week for us, with four Masses/services in three days, including serving practices for our boys, and this year the practice for the enacting of the Station of the Cross on Good Friday, plus the organising of costumes

From the kitchen...
multiple pavlovas and cheesecakes have been on the menu, with salads and cold meats and chocolate, way too much chocolate

I am creating...
all about upcycling clothes still. I really scored at the opshops this week for myself, altering larger stretch knit skirts and dresses into smaller sizes for myself, easy project

I am working on...
turning my house 'upside down' well that is when I settle on a plan.  I want to move the 'toyroom' to a different location, but which room to switch about... the games room? the learning room? perhaps even the library or study?? Ah the luxury of having multiple rooms, I'm blessed indeed

I am going...
to my brother's engagement party tomorrow, dress code is cocktail, needing to google what 'cocktail' looks like for PC and the children

I am hoping...
for a hugely productive Term 2. It just feels as if the 'years are running away', already we have graduated three children and I'm highly conscious that Michelangelo will be 16 in three months and he'll be graduating before I know it too

I am praying...
for our beloved daughter far from home in England, praying she is creating marvelous memories

I am pondering....
body image, a discussion, led to a realisation, more thoughts on that coming soon

I am reading...
recently read A Spoonful of Sugar - Brenda Ashford
Written by a 91 year old lady who was a nanny in Britain for 62 years!!!! Absolutely fascinating and interesting

I am listening to......
downloads of Read Aloud Revival podcasts on reading, needing to rejuvenate our commitment to quality literature here, sadly we've slipped into too much twaddle

I am hearing...
as I type I have youtubes of '..Got Talent' shows running as background music. I enjoy listening to beautiful singing voices as they are 'discovered'

I am struggling...
with motivation, not sure if it's energy or self-discipline that's the problem

Clicking around...
I've discovered Instagram!! Oh Instagram love, I'm drawn to photos of children, providing me with plenty of inspiration and ideas for improvement

Around the house...
house extension work has drawn to a halt, we're needing to plan the next step, my choice is to lay floorboards over the floor sheeting in a few more rooms, PC is thinking packing piers to prepare for the new decking section in preparation for laying a new roof over the 'old section', stay tuned, to see which direction

One of my favorite things...
family, always family:)
Not only did we have 5 days with our two oldest lads and special lass, but PC's mother and some of my siblings were able to join us for Einstein's birthday.  My two sisters and our two youngest brothers, it's not often all three of 'us girls' are together and with just the youngest two boys it was a different dynamic.  Though the other three 'boys' were missed

A few plans for this week...
  • engagement party tomorrow
  • massive shed clean up too, PC has requested help to clean his shed, oh be still my heart! I love restoring order up there:)
  • restore regular routine to our household and catch up on sleep. With the boys home there have been way too many late nights, partying 24/7
  • returning all children to their bedrooms, 8 family members staying over for differing lengths of time during the past five days has meant revolving children in and out of their beds, it's time for order to be returned

A little peek at my day...
  • our boys left at 6am this morning, praying throughout the day for their safety on the road
  • beginning some of my holiday projects, first up is creating tags for the toyboxes
  • fixing my sewing machine, if I can, it seized up last night whilst I was altering a skirt 

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Happy 18th Einstein!!!

Happy 18th Einstein:):) xxxxx
What a special day to share with our impressive young man

You are unfailingly patient with your siblings
a wonderful trait you apply to all you interact with

Blessed to have a few extended family members (26 for lunch) 
join us to help celebrate your birthday, which we celebrated on Easter Monday

We miss you greatly far away in the Big Smoke but feel privileged to see you grow in your new independence

You and this bro, best mates, living together again

We are so proud of the young man you are
We love you immensely Son, Happy Birthday xxx

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Easter Triduum 2015

 As always the Easter Triduum is a huge weekend in our home, four Church Masses and Services in three days tends to equal that. The Youth of our Parish solemnly and meditatively enacted the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday morning as part of our devotions.  Princess was Mary the Mother of Jesus and Michelangelo was Simon of Cyrene.

Painting easter eggs on Easter Saturday is a much anticipated event, a part of our family culture.  We've been painting eggs as a family for over a decade now, a tradition begun when Anna Maria was a young girl and this was one of many moments in which she was sorely missed. Her first Easter from home, far away in England. 

Another 'must do' was the making of the mega chocolate 'egg'. This tradition was begun a few years ago, the brainchild of Carpenter's. The children pool resources to purchase copious amounts of chocolate, which is melted down, and marshmallows and snakes, which are diced and thus a mega 'egg' is created.  This year they managed to find a 'mold' for a bunny which weighed in at 6.1kg!

 Early Easter Sunday morning our two oldest boys and Carpenter's girlfriend arrived home, they are home for several days. PC's mum arrived just before Mass on Holy Thursday night so we have had a full house for celebrating the Triduum.  Easter Sunday was a day of celebrating Our Lord's Resurrection and family togetherness:)

Of course the day is never complete without the traditional Easter egg hunt. 
A wonderful weekend indeed, the only woe was Anna Maria's absence. 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Happily Ever After

The last few weeks have been rich weeks, time blessed with lots of love and family. 
Three weeks ago our niece Anna was married to Bryce

PC and I were blessed to attend and had the opportunity to enjoy 

time together, just us and our baby. 

Photo Credit: Jessica Kneipp

This weekend we gathered together once again as our niece Sam married Luke

Photo Credit: Mark

Oh my what a location! and truly the Groom's speech ranks up there as one of the most heartfelt and love filled I've ever heard.

PC's siblings all together with his mum, a special occasion indeed:)  

Photo Credit: Mark
My sisters-in-law, our m-i-l and our niece.
Special times indeed and the weddings have only begun with many younger nieces and nephews weddings still to celebrate

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Children Still Climb Trees...

On Monday afternoon I sent the children outside to play.
"Go outside and play, you've been inside too long" an hour later, as I was about to call them in to get ready for swimming lessons I heard screaming. They were playing near the shipping containers up next to the cattle yards, I took of running to find...a child running towards me calling, another clinging up a tree very high and our ten year old daughter Jelly Bean, on the ground next to the fence crying in pain and her arm looking suspiciously ....odd.
"My arm's broken Mum, I want to go to the hospital!"

She had fallen from over 4.5 metres, onto the cattle yard fence, fortunately she denuded the tree of most of its branches as she hurtled down.  I say fortunate as although this later accounted for many scrapes and bruises the branches also did break her fall some what before she landed with a crash upon the fence. In hindsight the children all admit that a silky oak is not a safe tree with reliable branches, and it won't be on their future climbing plans. 

Logistics were undertaken, JB was bundled into the car, her brother in the tree was rescued via a ladder, Daddy was rung and set to meet us at the hospital and we were off.  

Perhaps it was the sight of us carrying a bleeding ten year old into the hospital, perhaps it was my immediate explanation, "She fell out of a tree from 4 to 5 metres high" but we have never been whisked so fast into Accident and Emergency before.  They undertook a complete trauma check on her; spine, neck, chest, pelvis, legs and arm, several times over the next few hours and into the next day. They also constantly monitored her and we were sent for a thorough x-ray.  Very, very fortunate the only damage she sustained was to her arm,  even my untrained eye immediately knew looking at the x-ray that her arm was broken and I just knew it was going to need surgery.

After a few hours we were finally transferred up to Children's Ward where PC and I tagged teamed staying with Jelly Bean at the hospital for the next couple of days. As Bella still feeds through the night PC took the night shifts as well as parts of the days.  Children's Ward was busy this week with six children in residence. 

One of JB's wishes was that her siblings would come and visit her in hospital, she was requesting this even when still in Accident and Emergency. Hospital visiting was all a new experience for us as JB is only our second child to have an overnight stay in hospital and our first to have surgery, well except for Carpenter's wrist surgery pre-Christmas, though he was far away in the City without us, quite traumatic. 

The hospital staff were wonderful and the orthopedic surgeon was fantastic. Unfortunately due to the operating schedule it wasn't until 3pm the following afternoon that JB was wheeled in for her surgery. JB's biggest fear of surgery was that she might awake mid-op, the nurses, surgeon and anesthetist were most patient in reassuring her that it wouldn't happen. Still she was nervous. 

The surgery was successful and the surgeon was extremely happy with his handiwork, the plate and screws lined the bone up nicely.  The surgeon was rather young and when he invited me to look at the x-rays, he rather made me smile, he was quite chuffed with his handiwork, but then he had every right to be proud.  Generally surgery to repair a ten year old's humus bone is not necessary but due to the break in this case it was decided it was, as it transpired, it was the correct decision as when they went in it was discovered that her radial nerve was stretched over the ragged edges of the bones.

Much happier once the surgery was over, though she was quite groggy for a while after, lightheaded and still in considerable pain. Finally though two days after the traumatic event, we were released and able to come home, which by this stage made JB quite happy. She won't be able to play soccer this season which will be quite a blow to her as it sinks in.

The children assure me that they haven't given up tree climbing but they certainly won't be climbing any more silky oaks, they shall be more selective in their tree choices. I'm insisting that the height they climb should be taken into consideration too!
The chief registrar said to us twice, "She is very, very lucky to have not sustained any other injuries falling from such a height's good to see children still climbing trees and not inside on a computer".

Friday, 20 March 2015

Blog Tour: Gentle and Creative

Want to climb aboard with me as we embark upon another blog tour?
Last week we toured Aussie Farms and didn't we view some lovely, eye catching blogs:)
Join me today as we spread the blog love and visit with some ladies who personify gentleness and creativity.

Karen at Pieces of Contentment is a dear friend and also a distant cousin, Karen lives locally and we have been friends for nearly seventeen years. A friendship with somebody as special, gentle and wise as Karen has an impact and she has modeled and taught me much over the years.  In some ways we appear similar we both; have a strong Faith in Our Lord, are mothers of large families, Karen has eight blessings, we homeschool and more recently we've shared a love of blogging and photography. Yet in many ways we also differ, Karen is so naturally creative and I stand in awe, her gentleness and creativity just shine through her blog.  Do visit, you won't be disappointed. 

Ginny at Small Things lives in Virginia, America with her husband and seven children. They live in a tiny house with seven children which has it's challenges, I know, we also lived in a tiny house with seven children. Ginny is a fellow Catholic and she also homeschools. Their home is on acreage and they spend much time outdoors exploring, gardening and enjoying animal husbandry. Ginny is very creative and is passionate about knitting.  I am particularly drawn to Ginny's photography and words, she sees beauty amidst the ordinary mess of life. 

Arianne at Still Parenting lives in America with her husband and five children, she has a strong belief in Our Lord and homeschools. Arianne is of course creatively talented in numerous mediums and has the ability to see the 'stillness' in the everyday busyness of life with children. Her words, her photos reflect this and in turn inspire me to see the beauty in the everyday.  

Lydia at Small Town Simplicity lives with her husband in Michigan with their six children and they are expecting their seventh. She is is a Christian and a second generation homeschooler who is educating her own children. Lydia has various creative talents, she loves to knit, all these knitting blogs I must admit I can't knit, and like myself she is just beginning to stretch herself with photography. Lydia is also very creative with words and I love her Mindful Mothering Mondays, ther are always so profound.  

Four gentle, creative ladies do drop in for a visit.
Have any other Gentle, Creative blogs to share?

This Week in Learning: March 20th, 2015

Maintaining a regular record of our learning continues to elude me.  Sharing the highlights of the past three weeks albeit a rather patchy recording:

  • Jem has powered through the first book of AAR Level 1, however I currently have him revising all the word cards he has covered thus far.  I tend to skip the revision but now can see how important regular revision is. 
  • Whilst Jack Jack is faithfully reading Hey Jack and Zac Powers, he hasn't get 'exploded with enthusiasm' and taken up reading on his own
  • When I noted to Jelly Bean she hadn't been reading for a while she explained she had 'nothing to read', really in our house?! However a library visit rectified the problem and she came home with a bundle of books and has been enthusiastically reading since.
  • The older two children are always reading, though currently I would deem their reads more on the 'fluff' side.  It's a stage I know but one I need to be certain they don't visit for too long. 
Audio Books
  • Audio books are all the rage at the moment, different listeners enjoying different sets; Winnie The Pooh, Famous Five, Deltora Quest and HIVE
  • Currently using lists with most of the children and very happy with where they are at. Showing excellent promise
  • Using AAS with Michelangelo and seeing results:)
  • Continue to see the advantages of dictation which I am undertaking with the two oldest children. Sometimes you can wonder, "Is dictation worth it?" Seeing the results of maintaining dictation for years I can only say a resounding, "Yes!" 
  • Constantly trying to correct Jack Jack's ds and bs, he avoids writing them correctly.  Jem informed me today that, "Mum everybody has different ways of writing!" Um no, no go. JJ does however have lovely handwriting as do all our middle and younger children. It was just our four oldest who struggle in this area, I often wonder why, was it them, was it me..??
  • A comprehension lesson with Jelly Bean on 'Jason and the Golden Fleece' sparked a rabbit trail. JB wanted to know if he did recapture his city and depose of his uncle, so off we went reading about Greek mythology. I just love those moments in education, they don't happen often but when they do... this is what it's all about:)
  • Really, really happy with the old school texts I'm using with JB and JJ. Such a wonderful mix of grammar and writing.  They are learning so much and finding the study of grammar and writing interesting.  Some days they combine together and use just on book, it's not about finishing the book but about learning the subject matter. 
  • Still struggling with my logistics in having a set lesson for writing with the older children, though have improved in some areas of logistics. 

  • Steady progress, everyone humming along nicely.  Putting in the effort and understanding well. 
  • Our local homeschool group is currently in the midst of a science workshop.  We have hired a highschool science tutor for the older children, he is covering mostly physics and chemistry with them.  The younger children are also concentrating on physics with a mix of theory and hands on activities run by the parents. 
  • Princess continuing with her Extreme Weather studies
  • Michelangelo watching youtubes on Space and Nova
  • Younger children watching National Geographic DVDs
  •  Various mega maps and smaller maps being traced and locations are marked by each child. Some are working on Australia, another on North America and another on Ireland.
  • Splurged on A Child's Introduction to the World: Geography, Cultures and People, happy thus far.  The 'litmus test' is always, 'is there any misinformation about Australia?' you'd be surprised at what misinformation Americans have about Australia, then maybe you wouldn't') All Aussie information is nearly accurate, only one mis-information, though as usual the book is American-centric with multiple pages on the USA in comparison to a double spread on other continents. 
  • Reading John of the Sirius to the younger children, the fictional story of a marine's son who came to Australia on the First Fleet. Totally based on real happenings and truly one of the most popular books in our library.  The children are begging me to "read more"! Love it, special memories:)
  • Princess is devoting hours and hours of research to World War 1, really digging deep. Part of the success is I prepared set answers for her to search for.
  • Michelangelo completed Song of the Scaffold and researching the French Revolution.  I'm needing to compile some research and essay questions for him too.  Years ago Anna Maria studied the FV so I'm just needing to polish up the questions I wrote back then.
Picture Books
Electrical Wizard How Nikola Tesla Lit Up the World - Elizabeth Rusch - Brilliant!!
Queeen Victoria's Underpants - Jackie French & Bruce Whatley - Very interesting
Guess How Much I Love You - Sam McBratney - Sweet
The Chicken Thief- Beatrice Rodriguez - Well done, though it is a wordless book (which aren't really my 'thing')
Puffling - Margaret Wild - Good
Clancy & Millie & the Very Fine House - Libby Gleeson - So so
Two Little Bugs - Mark & Rowan Sommerset - Lame
The Little Eskimo - Davide Cali - Odd
Rose Meets Mr Wintergarden - Bob Graham - Nothing exciting