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I Am Mother Hear Me Roar! πŸ˜

We had KFC for dinner tonight. Yes, I know, it’s junk food, it’s unhealthy, my children even gleefully call it the Kids Fattening Centre and yes, I later on felt guilty about feeding it to them.

I was beating myself up about how I had spent money unnecessarily ($29.95), how I should have been more organised, planned my day better. I was fretting about wrecking our health, not sticking to the weekly menu plan….. and then the penny dropped….. This was ONE meal out of seven! I never once in my self flagelation considered all the other six dinners that I had lovingly planned, prepared and served. And these meals weren’t just dinners out of a jar. They were all cooked from scratch also on days, much like today, which were also crazy busy.

Meals like Butter chicken, beef stroganoff, lubia (a lamb based Lebanese inspired dish), shepherds pie and more… You get the picture?

How is it that it is so easy for us to focus on the things we didn’t do and never once even consider patting ourselves on the back for all the amazing things we HAVE done.

I think it is time we all stop and take stock. In the grand scheme of things does it really matter that we had KFC on a day that, amongst other things, I was up at dawn to get my older children to their part time job on time, in the city after lunch for an excursion with the younger three, then back in time to drop my son to his football training?

No. I don’t think so.

So tonight I am celebrating that I am quietly, humbly, a MOTHER!

A mother who can do

Every thing some days,

Most things most days,

Some things every day


Not every thing, every day!

Oh and by the way, that chicken was quite tasty too! 😜


With much love from my home to yours,

Jacqueline xx

How Do You Cope? 6 KIDS!!

“I don’t know how you do it. I can’t even handle two”

I hear this a lot. When Simon and I set out to have a family we knew we wanted four children. That was one of the things that brought us together. When we got to four, five was definitely planned and then six became the icing on the cake.

I can’t claim that they are all angels. Each and every one of our children test us. Thankfully, not all at the same time.

So how do I do it? My husband is away nine months of the year and I homeschool. The buck pretty much stops here. I am the CEO, CFO, GM, president, chauffeur, housekeeper, nurse, physician, drill sergeant… Bottom line is, I am a mother. One thing I am not, and never can or will be is their father. That is a role solely reserved for their dad.

Yes, my faith helps me a lot. I could not do anything without His divine grace and mercy but all those times when I am put to the test I am also supremely human. I do the best I can and sometimes the best I can manage on the day is to be angry, grumpy and unreasonable. On other days my best is getting all the schoolwork done, the house spotless and a couple of gourmet, chef inspired meals on the table served with a smile.

My point is I am not perfect. No one is. I have bad days just like everyone else. I try not to beat myself up about it. I apologise, I get up, I move on, Β I keep going forward. I try to learn from my mistakes. That’s how I do it.

My family is my safe haven. They see the best and the worst of me but at the end of day we are a family and on those days when I feel like giving up and walking out (and I have had a few of those) I remind myself that our children are human too. They have their bad days and their very good days too, just like me.

At the end of the day our main goal is to show our children that perhaps one of the most valuable things we could teach them is that we are all human trying to do our best and tomorrow is a new day and we can all try again. In our family, we do second chances.

Peace everyone! ❀

Its The Simple Things

This weekend just gone was one of the best we have had this year. We drove to York on the Friday afternoon – about an 100km from Perth. The local priest, Fr. Stephen invited Simon and I to stay in the presbytery with him while the children pitched a tent in the backyard. The next morning Simon and the kids waved me off and went to explore quaint, historic York as I rode back to Perth with the 98.5 Sonshine FM Morning Cafe _ Ride for Hope on their last day of an epic 500km ride from Albany.

It was a beautifully scenic ride. I have truly missed my bicycle and that feeling of freedom while I am riding.

Simon and I then ended the day at a Marriage Encounter Love Circle meeting.

The next morning we were up bright and early again for the children’s first Little Nippers session on the beach. Over 2 hours of surf and beach skills later it was home for a quick shower and change then off again to a late Oktoberfest party with a young German family we met through mutual friends.

Full on but immensely satisfying.

This last weekend has really driven home to me how its the simple thing that make for some of the most amazing memories and rewarding experiences. We spent hardly any money but the children haven’t stopped talking about the great time they had. The smiles on the children’s faces over the weekend were priceless. The company of good friends sharing cultures, conversations, food and drink is immeasurable.

The truth about big families

A good friend (who has 6 children just like us) e-mailed me this article today and it is definitely worth sharing…

For all my friends who wonder how on earth I do it… this is for you… EVERYTHING in the article could have come from my keyboard.


The truth about big families.

I am not panicking yet

It has been a Good week… Busy but good. Yes, every week in our house is busy but this week felt especially busy.

Mostly this week has revolved around getting the kiddos curriculum right. Who knew there was so much amazing stuff out there to cater for all levels of education and all types of learners. This is the year that we are striking out on our own and I am excited.

Learning and the DESIRE to learn is a precious gift. It is also something that I want to foster as a lifelong love and I could see the ACE program slowly extinguishing that love in my children. I’m not saying that the ACE program that we were using was bad. It is a fantastic program but it just did not suit. I found it too prescribed and lacking the flexibility that we needed to allow us to supplement, adapt or explore different learning styles, areas and possibilities.

Sport has also featured a little this week. I am a much happier person after I go for a run or cycle. Unfortunately my right knee is not in a happy place lately and while I know some of my problems are due to lack of conditioning and improper bike set up I have to remind myself that I am not as young as I used to be. Impatience will cause more long term injury if I don’t take it slow enough for this poor body to adapt to this new torture I expect it to endure!! πŸ˜€

We also have a new student from China living with us for a few weeks. Our home stay kids don’t normally take up much of my time but this young man has obviously been very sheltered and molly coddled his whole life and is lacking the basic confidence and independence that we expect from a 20 year old. I understand that a large part of his immaturity is cultural. The one ‘precious’ child policy doesn’t help and this is his first time he has ever left home. It is just very unfortunate and a little unfair that it is now the “real worlds” responsibility to grow this young man into an adult.

All in all, at the end of week 3, things are on an even keel. We have one last week of Vacswim left and hopefully all the books and bits I have ordered arrive in time for us to start “school” at the same time the official school year starts.

Oh and did I mention I am rather excited??!! Β πŸ™‚

Ripples In Week 2

Two weeks of Vac Swim down, two to go and we have had our first ‘drama’ sessions for the year. It started with jelly fish infested waters and ended with our first attempt at running away from home… With 3 apples and a small rug I didn’t think No. 1 was going to get very far.

I have to admit jelly fish stings are not very pleasant but it is a tough love attitude around here. So, “Toughen up princess!” was the order of the day. I am really grateful that the teachers also supported that attitude.


Level 7 Vac Swim In The Bag!!

She finally did get on with the rest of her lessons for the week and even passed level 7!! YAY!! (I knew she would – but she had to get over the jelly fish phobia first and actually swim!!)


Level 4 Here We Come!!


Too Easy!! Bring On Level 8!!

My other 3 Vac swimmers all passed too!! WooHoo!!

Towards the end of last week I was congratulating myself on how lucky I was that I had gotten to 12 years of motherhood without any of my children even once telling me that they hated me… And so guess what happened? Yup! No. 1 didn’t actually say it to my face but I got a letter with a litany of hates… I’m thinking I’m gonna keep that and give it to her when her daughter turns twelve!! Hahahaha!!

Oh the joys of girls, pre-teens, puberty and adolescents!! Just think, I only have another 5 more kidlettes to go!

Watch Out 2013, Here Come The Anthonys

Week 1 – January 2013

It is that time of the year when I look back at the year just gone and wonder if things could get any crazier this year… It is also traditionally New Years resolution time… I usually make it a point not to make any resolutions but I thought I would do something different this year.

My two resolutions are to start running again and to post here at least weekly. Seems easy enough… I’ve already gone for my first run – 4km on new years eve, and today, my first blog post for the year. Off to a great start already!!


So far 2013 has been good. The kiddies swimming lessons at the beach are in full swing. 6.30 is an early start for children who are used to getting up after 8. This week we have only had 3 days of lessons due to New Years Day falling on Tuesday but things are rolling along nicely. I think, after 6 years we have fine tuned our beach visits to perfection!! We have not been late once or forgotten any food, drink, goggles or towels!!

I have only good things to say about Vacswim. For less than $60 a year for four weeks of lessons for 4 children what do I have to complain about? The best thing about these lessons is that my children have learned to swim.

So just to emphasise this point here. I DID NOT need to pay mega bucks for baby/ toddler swimming lessons for years on end. My children can swim and I no longer feel like a neglectful mother for not availing them of the opportunity to have lessons that at such a tender age, they will promptly forget!! There are plenty other ways I bond with my children and besides, I don’t like getting wet!

Mummy is Currently Targeting “Getting Jobs Done”

This has been an on-going battle for sometime and I finally decided to draw the line. After trying a myriad of rewards, star charts, even beans in jars I decided to be brutal instead. If assigned jobs are not done in a timely manner or fashion then ALL the older kids would lose the use of the computer for the day.

2 weeks into this exercise and my house was falling apart but I was starting to get their attention. The first protest was “It is not fair that EVERYONE loses their screen time if only one of the children is slack” Easy fix!! I even had a few answers

1) Everyone lives in the house therefore everyone is responsible for keeping it tidy.

2) If everyone pitched in and did their part then everyone would benefit and all the jobs would be done a lot faster and everyone would have less to do overall.

3) They wouldn’t have a grumpy, over-worked mum,

And the answer that I think got through the best was,

4) If even one of the jobs is not done, i.e. toilet or floors or packing/ unpacking the dishwasher then EVERYONE ‘suffers’ and therefore everyone should share the consequence…

It makes sense to me!!

The next beauty was, “If we went to school the house would be neater ‘cos we wouldn’t be home to make a mess!” Yeah right Miss M!! If you went to school you would have more on your plate because you would have a full day at school and then have to come home and clean up anyway!!

Then I got the argument “But our friends get paid when they do their chores”

I have to admit this was a little tougher because even before any of the kids were bornΒ I had decided that there would be no monetary incentive for any chores done in the house. The point is, do YOU get paid to clean your house? This is their house too, not just mine. When they are older and if they can afford to then they can hire their own housekeeper!!

Up till now the kids weren’t too fussed but the jobs were not getting done either.Β  Oh trust me, I have been tempted many a time to give in and pay the kids but I haven’t yet and I do wonder if it would really make any difference. Definitely, in the short term things would be spotless. But consider the fact that I have 6 kids! I would probably bankrupt myself AND still have a messy house anyway!!

More importantly I wonder what sort of example would it send if I did renege on the no monetary incentive ‘rule’. Am I over analysing the issue if I think this is the start of a slippery slope? If I can’t stand my ground on a smaller issue and not be swayed by a little, sustained protest then what happens when it comes to the stuff that is really important? Like my faith and moral values?

Yes, there will be some things that I have and will change my mind about but on issues that matter to me I have to make a stand. I need to pick my battles and in the battle between living in a respectable home or living in a dump, unfortunately, kids, you are going to lose!

Into week three and there is light at the end of the tunnel!! They are due to get their computer back in a day AND the dining table and counter tops are clean, the sink is empty and the dishwasher is humming away and not one sound of protest. There was even light hearted bantering happening around the tea towels… Wow!!

Something has to be said about sticking to your guns.

Let me clarify something here too. I did not have kids so I could have free slave labour. (Although I do joke about that with the kids) I believe very strongly that I am raising adults and not promoting perpetual childhood. With that in mind, knowing that one day they will move out and set up homes of their own whether with a spouse or house mates, I do not want my adult children to be the one that everyone has to pick up after or have to house train. Remember, there are 8 of us. Throw in pets and a never ending flow of children’s friends and house guests, that makes for a fair bit of mess and dirt. We also live in a big house. It therefore makes more sense if everyone pitches in. I do my own fair share of the house work and I am certainly not having coffee and cake while they vacuum!!

I’ll let you know how things are progressing in a couple of weeks!!

Family Ties Can Be Painful!! ;>

It doesn’t happen often enough but when it does it is always great. I am talking about conversations with my brother. Sure distance is an issue, he is in Singapore and I am in Australia but these days with modern technology and things like Skype and Facebook there really is very little excuse. Don’t get me wrong, Leon and I get along famously but more than anything I am just guilty of getting so busy and getting caught up with all the crazy stuff we do in this fun house that I neglect some of the more important things in life. The things that matter.

In the course of our conversation food was mentioned – we are Asian after all – and then Leon mentioned he had a foot injury… hmmm…. after asking a few questions I mentioned my own pedi woes and thanks to the miracle of the internet Leon was able to google plantar fasciitis while we chatted and lo and behold all the symptoms fit… Given, plantar fasciitis (PF) is a pretty common complaint but what are the chances that we should both start having the same problem around the same time? And now that I am thinking about it, our mother has been suffering for a long time from heel spurs, which is related to the same condition. So maybe there IS family tie there… Who knows? I can’t recall reading anywhere about PF being a genetic condition.

So pain in the foot aside, I am pleased to report that I have started running again. It took me ages to drum up the courage but a few weeks ago I was at a relay marathon cheering on my Keep 0n Tri-ing mates and one of the ladies was struggling. Colleen was to run 5km but had never run that distance before and I could see she was as nervous as anything. As she set off I thought to myself, “She needs some help and support” so I dumped all the gear I was carrying with one of the girls who had already run her leg and raced off after Colleen.

I was very proud of Colleen, she put up with my inane chatter the whole way and she did not stop once. AND I was running again!! My foot was a little sore after but I was running again!! And the next day the offending foot was fine!! Wow!! It was an exciting moment for me. I did not realise how much that little injury had scared me. I was even thinking of my curtailing my budding Triathlon adventure!! How silly of me!!

Since the Western Australian Marathon Club (WAMC) Relay Marathon, the kids and I have run another 5km in the Women’s Classic fun Run and the family are now proud WAMC members!! I have also tried running 5km around Kings Park with the kiddos but sometimes the spirit just loses to the flesh and I chose their weak flesh day!! Oh well, there is the Pancake run coming up and food is always a good incentive to go harder!!

A final note, the Misses M & J have both been complaining about sore feet too… Could it be? At their age? I ran a lot more than they did at the same age… Or are they just imitating mum?

Sometimes Life Just Gets In The Way

Ok, so I haven’t posted for a while… Over a week. Wow, as they say times goes faster when you are having fun!! Actually, I was MEGA busy. First up there was our curry fund raising event that I made 6 different curries for and then the event itself. Naturally I forgot to take photos of EVERYTHING so I am a little bummed about that. BUT on the up side we would have had at least 100 people come through in spite of the rain AND even better, we raised $700 for our Conquer Cancer Ride!! Woo Hoo!!

I was also involved in the Western Australian Marathon Club Relay Marathon with my Keep On Tri-ing buddies. I pulled out of my 14km leg of the relay ‘cos a few weeks ago I popped something in my foot which meant I couldn’t walk, much less train for the event. I did end up running with Colleen on the last 5km leg to lend some moral support. Well, at least I hope I was giving support and not being an annoying, distracting pain with my constant chatter!! The point is I WAS trying to distract Colleen because she looked SO nervous before the run and she had never run 5km before… YAY Colleen!! You did it without stopping once!! So proud of you!!

Besides all that I also worked on the Sunday morning, giving my little communications lecture to 17 engaged couples as part of their marriage preparation course. That is always interesting and very rewarding.

And then there was the echocardiogram. Now THAT was an experience. I have been “suffering” from high blood pressure since I got pregnant with number 6 and it has just never gone away. (Number 6 turns 3 this Sunday) So as part of a routine check-up/ assessment, my wonderful nurse practitioner Mr. Adrian Large, I get to go for this diagnostic test… It involved a lot of wires being stuck all over my chest and back, ultrasounds of my heart and then a jog on a treadmill… great fly on the wall conversation… “Oh so you’re a triathelete, ok, I think we will put you on the high accelerated speed.” “Huh?” “Oh that just means the treadmill will start speeding up and inclining faster”… “Oh…”

Hahaha… As daunting as it sounded, the run was actually very easy. The hard part was when they made me get off to ultrasound my heart again while I was still puffing from the run… THAT was tough, trying to hold my breath while the sonographer did her thing!! I haven’t gone back to get the results yet but I guess no news is good news right? I’ll make that appointment for next week.

And of course there are my wonderful children, their activities and our homeschooling. I read this marvellous quote the other day by Chris Hedges.

“We’ve bought into the idea that education is about training and “success”, defined monetarily, rather than learning to think critically and to challenge. We should not forget that the true purpose of education is to make minds not careers. A culture that does not grasp the vital interplay between morality and power, which mistakes management techniques for wisdom, which fails to understand that the measure of a civilisation is its compassion, not its speed or ability to consume, condemns itself to death.”

And this ladies and gentlemen is a pretty summary of why I do what I do and what I am trying to achieve with my children. Mr. Hedges definitely has a new fan… Now I just have to figure out now how to link his feeds/ blog to mine… Everyday is a new learning opportunity!!

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