Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Why we're are out of it...

My two little men have had the worst virus ever, one after another, the past week. It starts as a rash, which then become fluid filled blisters... it involved massive ulcers in their mouths and throats, fevers and lots of crying.  I only got pics of the beginning of the second round - its been that hectic.

The blisters... 

There has been very little no sleeping, eating or smiles for over a week.

There have been many tears (not just theirs) much helplessness and frustration.

The start

There has also been a little cooking, and a little crafting, so hopefully I can share that with you soon.

We also have some big news to announce, although to do it justice it needs its own post - very separate from this one.

Each of these spots have become blisters like on his little feet. 

Ashers arms are now COVERED in massive fluid filled blisters - I cant take his vest off to even take a picture. He gets too upset - and at bath time with a sobbing little poppet in my arms,  my camera was the furtherest thing from my mind.

The tiny blisters are now bigger than mu finger nail ... 

Hopefully we will be back soon. Just as I felt like we were getting things back on track - KAPOW... hand, foot and mouth disease.

Im so glad this isnt normally contracted by adults. SO glad. I would take it on if it meant saving them from the pain, but I certainly am glad Im not having to play nurse while incubating this little viral plague myself.

Much love, back soon. x

Saturday, 19 March 2011

To lay down and to give.

Sunshine beckoned us to the local common. The ducks needed a little food, and the kids were after a little mud. Levi was very keen to go puddle jumping, but alas, no puddles. Lots of mud, but sadly lacking in puddles.

I do try very hard not to covet other peoples material possessions, but beautiful property is a weakness. In many ways I feel a deep longing in my heart to have the finance to own a beautiful, large home, like one of these, off a private drive, just on a quiet common.

Asher perched on a private drive.

Then I wonder, if we were blessed such that we had the provisions to afford such a luxury, if we would have the heart to be so selfish. In so many ways I desire an even more "comfortable" life than I have now, even though we want for nothing we need. I desire the best educations in exclusive schools for my boys. I long for a massive kitchen with endless cupboard space and a separate pantry. Yet, even now, we could live well with SO much less. 

I'm not sure about where that line falls for us. Where the line between living in abundance and blessing falls while we are still able to give generously to those in need. The Word is uncomfortably clear on its instructions about money. 90% of scripture with regard to money is an instruction to give.

1 John 13: 16
16   This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Proverbs 21: 13
13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered.

Proverbs 28: 27
27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.

1 Timothy 6: 17
Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 1 Tim. 6:18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. 1 Tim. 6:19 By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven--it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well.

I could go on and on forever listing what the word says about money. But thats not why I started writing this, so let me try and be focussed. Im just not sure where that line lies for us, but I do know this one thing. I want to give MORE. We are generous people, by nature. We love feeding people, blessing people, hosting people, loving on people with gifts, helping out where ever we can. But I cant honestly say that we GIVE to the POOR.

My humanness demands a life of comfort. A life of excess, one where we stock pile and stash. Where we save so that we have more to spend. A bigger house. Its not all selfish, either. My desire for a large home is God-given - I'm certain of that! I desire to be able to use my home to harbour the broken, love the lonely, heal the sick, nurture the weak. My desire for an excessive sized dining room is so that I can love others and bring them into "family". But I need to separate out, often, the things which are desires to outwork our families calling and those which are born straight out of my humanness.

I really desire to live more simply in order that we might have more to give to the poorest and the neediest. One of my biggest frustrations with having moved to a 1st world country is being further removed from the realities of poverty that where so much geographically closer and more raw in Africa. Where practical giving was so easy to do. Where you knew exactly where your money went. You could see the face of the child who's belly would be filled by your simple gift. You could meet the baby who would sleep warmer with that blanket.

I heard today that Sandra Bullock gifted in excess of $1 000 000 to the cause in Japan this week. She was reported to be heart-broken at the tragedy unfolding, and felt compelled to help. We could all argue that she could have given more, that it makes little difference to her, that its a publicity stunt. Any which way you spin it doesn't change the fact that she has given, generously, into a place where there is severe lack. And I question, if I had more to give, whether I would simply absorb it into living more extravagantly or whether we would be bold enough to live more simply, in order to give.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Joy Joy Joy!

Two nights ago I took this picture, while Levi was watching a movie, to take into our appointment with the Dr we really don't like who just happens to be the best paediatric ophthalmologist ever. He also happens to be Levi's ophthalmologist. You know when you think, "maybe is just me" or "maybe he is just having a bad day (every time we see him)"? Well. He has no bed-side manner. In fact, I'd go so far as to say he has a big black-hole that sucks in everything around him where his bed-side manner should be. He is rude, he doesn't greet or bother with names. He mumbles. He makes annoying noises to get your kid to look at him - and the kid does look at him, but only to shoot him a "do I look like a puppy to you dude?" death stare.

I called a friend who I knew had worked as a scrub nurse in a few paediatric theatres locally, to ask who the best person to move Levi's eye care to, was. She said there was one really good guy. Just happens to be who we are already with. A doctor who may have stomped his feet like a child in theatre and thrown a scalpel or two in his day. But a doctor who, despite this, is somehow the best at what he does. Kids eyes.

I've given up on trying to get a straight story out of said doctor. I no longer have the need to deal with him, or his secretary. All because somehow, by the grace of our all knowing God, Levi's seemingly eternal wait for surgery is over. The date we were given last week was June. Today I got a call to say that they have a slot for his surgery NEXT Wednesday. I don't care about the million people who I'm sure are ahead of us in the que - they called us and I took the opening. I haven't even looked at my diary to see what I was going to be doing next Wednesday... Nothing is more important. I also don't care that the doctor said they wouldn't do it sooner privately because we needed to wait till June for some reason, and now he is doing it next week. Like I said - we cant get a straight story out and that no longer matters.

Once this is all over and done with - like maybe next Thursday!!!- I will write a long post detailing the whole story about Levi's eyes, as I realise looking through my posts on it you'd swear it was state secret, the way I've so cryptically avoided all the details. Truth is I've just been avoiding having to deal with all of the emotions that came with those details. Hopefully, come a week from today, those details will all just form part of a long miserable story with a big fat happy ending.

For now I get to rejoice in the new concerns of general anaesthetic and creative ways to keep him from ripping the cannula out of his arm. I've never been happier. More happy family news announcements to follow tomorrow. I cant let them out all in one day!

I'm sorry if some of this doesn't make sense. I have nappies to change and no time to proof read. Horror.


Monday, 14 March 2011

"Everything Free" Banana Bread

This amazing recipe has no wheat, no egg, no sugar and no dairy. You'd never say so from the delicious result. The only downside to this recipe is you do need a food processor or blender.

Banana Bread 

1 cup oats
1/2 cup  olive oil or canola or sunflower oil
180g pitted dates
2 cups very ripe bananas
1/2 cup soya flour
1/2 cup rice flour (I used brown rice flour from our local farm stall shop)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of soya/rice milk. You could use ordinary cows milk here if thats not an issue for you.
1tbs of honey (optional if your bananas aren't very ripe)
1 cubed banana, some currants or up to 100g of chopped nuts.

Grease and line the base of a medium sized loaf tin (or muffin pan) and preheat the oven to 160C/320F. Remember to reduce the temperature by 20 degrees if you are using a fan assisted oven.

Blend the oats in a food processor until it forms a fine powder. Turn out into a large mixing bowl. Add the soya flour, the rice flour, the baking powder, the bicarb and the salt to the mixing bowl, and combine with a wooden spoon.  Next blend the bananas, oil and dates in the food processor until they form a smooth paste. If you feel that your machine is taking strain and the dates are too hard and sticky, add half of your milk at this point and continue to blend until its mostly smooth.

Turn the banana paste out into the flour mix and fold in until well combined, adding the balance of the milk as you go to keep the mixture manageable. You could add a cubed banana or some chopped nuts at this point if you like.

Pour into your prepared tin and bake for 60-75 minutes. Don't open the oven before the 50 minute mark or you'll risk it collapsing on itself.


1 cup measurement is 250ml or 8.5 imperial ounces. Cup measurements in this recipe are loosely filled not tightly packed.

This loaf will freeze well wrapped in cling film, or in a freezer bag. Defrost at room temperature for a few hours or in the fridge overnight.

Banana bread ALWAYS tastes better the next day. Always.

Cakes - For a Guy

Have you ever had to make a cake for a man? All the short cuts of flowers and pearls would be lost on him. They always say "as long as it tastes good" in response to "whats important?". But I like chic. I like pretty. Making a cake masculine and still striking was something I was afraid of getting wrong. Im not a fan of those hamburger cakes or baseball field cakes, although I did once make a superhero cake for a friend's husband when he turned 30.

This cake was for a 21st - thats a big birthday where we're from - and for a dear friend, so I didn't mind putting a bit of work into it. I used their family's coat of arms which was very sentimental for him.

Vanilla soaked sponge layered and covered in vanilla buttercream.

Covered in mushroom coloured fondant, which I dyed by hand. 

I piped the coat of arms on freehand using brown royal icing. I may have cursed a lot once or twice. I don't normally curse. I was quite pregnant with Asher at the time and he took great delight in kicking my "piping elbow" resting on my bump, jolting the piping bag with it.

I loved making this cake - it was relatively quick to do, turned out masculine enough and tasted delicious. What ideas do you have for manly cakes?

He loved it which is the most important thing! And it did taste really good.

Friday, 11 March 2011


What is happening to families in the Asian Pacific Basin is unimaginable. I've been been playing this all day. He is enough. He is the ultimate comfort. Its no good just feeling sorry for the people of Japan, as a good friend of mine said: WE need to stand in the gap

Neh 1 vs 4 "When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayer before the God of Heaven."

Join us is morning with and praying for the people of this mighty nation! 

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Loving kindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

Let me all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.

In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting,
As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and power on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee.

No love is higher,
No love is wider,
No love is deeper,
No lover is truer.

Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.

Listen here .

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Waiting Game and unrelated sweet photos.

These sweet pics are of Levi and Kayla leaving a birthday party last weekend. They are completely unrelated to the rest of this rant post. But they make me happy :)

Levi's squint is not something I've gotten around to writing about much recently. I find it stressful. Thinking about it and all the admin that's been involved makes me angry. So for the sake of my emotions I tend to have a minimal contact policy. Dealing with only what needs dealing with, as it happens.  As we hoped it was mostly sorted, just waiting on a surgery date, I didn't see the point in mentioning it.

Its debilitating to feel helpless when it comes to your babies. Knowing how it frustrates him, how it makes his life difficult, how it affects his behaviour. Knowing there is nothing I cant do. Knowing that the doctors and hospital staff who are the ones who COULD help are not being helpful. Its torture. Infuriating.

So, we are back to another wall. Another hic-cup. Another "he said" .."she said". Its been over a year now what we've been trying to just get this sorted.

Hopefully I'll have good news by my next post.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Different from each other.

I've not posted in over a week. I haven't even been anywhere, but I might have been a little distracted by something completely selfish. I'll tell you all about it when I'm ready to own up to it. Im just not there yet. 

Last week our temperatures crept up to a balmy 12C/53F. There were very few clouds and even though the sun didn't stretch up very high from the horizon, we were fooled into believing that spring really was coming. I say "fooled" because the weather that's followed seems positively polar in comparison. 

After our "swimming" episode a couple of weeks back, Levi has been desperate to get out into the garden to go "swimming" again. It had rained, just a bit, and the sun dropped lower than the fence line, but he seemed unwavering in his desire to "swim".  The bath was not acceptable. 

After realising that the cold was unlikely to do him any harm, I capitulated. I put a kettle of boiling water in with the water from the hose to remove the sharp icy edge (which wasn't acting as the deterrent I'd hoped) and let him be. 

For about half an hour while Levi played, Asher just stood in the doorway, looking very confused. He had no desire to even put a foot outside let alone join Levi in the water. I counted my lucky stars that my sweet, baby angel was less of a daredevil. Content with observation. 

What I didn't count on, was the seed that Levi's actions would sow. The next morning, we dressed the kids early for our morning kiddies party and let Bella our pup out for her toileting. I spotted Ash darting out the door behind her, and crossed the kitchen, dropping things in the bin and the sink as I went, to see where he was headed. I watched helplessly as he ignored his name being yelled and put one shoe'd foot over the side of the "pool", immediately followed by the other. He dropped to his bottom with a giggle and happily splashed around for a second, until the icy wet soaked through his pants, his tights, his socks, his top. 

He was unpleased. It wasn't the fun he was expecting. And we were left with no dry shoes for the party. 

Having kids who are so different in the ways the do things from each other makes parenting a challenge. You can't apply the same parenting methods to each and just expect them to work. You cant expect that they will in enjoy the same things. You cant always bank on what you know. Turns out Asher is a little daredevil, in his own, calculated little way. It took half an hour of watching and countless hours past for him to decide he wanted to give it a go, but he still tried it. 

I've learned a lesson about how his little mind works. Another piece of the Asher puzzle. He has surprised me and made me laugh. 

And he has made me realise that we need to get him a second pair of shoes. Just in case. 

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