Monday, October 15, 2012

You give them an inch....

I have fabulous news! The BEST! Anabel is sleeping through the night!! *Cue angels singing "Hallelujah!" here*

Oh, hang on a minute... what's that?

Wait.... I take that back...

Anabel WAS sleeping through the night.....

Ugh... and so begins our sad tale...

Anabel has always been an on and off sleeper. Sometimes she has been awesome, sometimes she has been terrible. The worst weeks she was waking up - I am not exaggerating - four or five times a night. Three times a night between the hours of 7pm and 6am were very normal for a very long time. And just when we would train her out of it to sleep through, something would happen; she would get sick, or teething, or whatever. ugh.. so so hard.

Well, we finally, after many nights of crying it out and soothing techniques, finally got her sleeping through the night. At long last, the struggling was over! And for about 5 weeks or more she has been a perfect angel from 7pm to 5am when I would give her a bottle and she would stay down until around 6.30am. Life has been awesome..

Until the night....
I gave her....
that darn bottle...

I know!! I bought it upon myself! She was really upset and it hadn't happened in so long, and it was around 9.30pm and I said to Juan, "Once wont hurt, she's been so good, and I just want her to calm down. She's so upset..." He warned me what would happen, he practically begged me not to do it, but I refused to believe that our perfect sleeper could ever revert back to her evil ways.

I. was. wrong.  Oh, how wrong I was!! From that fated night a week ago, she has now been up and crying for water some nights every couple of hours. I have once again resorted back to sitting in the rocking chair watching her watch me, as we both dare eachother to crack. But you know the worst part of all? No, it's not the agonized cry that wakes me at 2am, nor the desperate plea as her chubby little hand holds out that empty plastic bottle, nor the ear-wrenching wails we hear as we lay there letting her 'cry it out' for the past two nights...
Nope. It's the heavy *sigh* I hear from Juan's side of the bed as we lay in the darkness, and I know exactly what he is thinking...

"I told you so".

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the worst noise in the world.

I'll keep you posted. ;)

I have no idea what to call this post....

So much is going on around me as I sit here writing this. But I don't want another day to go by without me getting my thoughts and feelings on paper. Lucky for you, you don't hear the music of 'Rio' blaring from the T.V, or Anabel walking her miniature barking panting plastic toy dog along the hard tiles from one end of the house to the other. "ruff! *pant* ruff! roo-roo! *pant*".. ugh..

But I digress. What I really want to talk about is how my life has changed. For the better. And this goes so much deeper than the fact that Bel is sleeping through the night. (well, was... see the next post for depressing details...)

I am better, stronger; and I want to tell you why. Now, for those of you reading this who do not belong to our Church, this may sound a little... preachy. But it's my life and my reality, which is what you've come here to read, so I hope you'll hear me out and understand that I'm not forcing my beliefs on to you, but rather that I really want to get this out to the world and have this as a written record for my children to refer to when I'm not there to sit with them and tell them. In a way I feel like shouting it from the rooftops (!!) but I guess the World Wide Web will just have to do ;-) .

For months I had been struggling in every possible way; Mentally, spiritually, emotionally. I felt as though I was standing on a log in the middle of a lake, and instead of sitting comfortable and still, the log was wobbling to and fro, shaking from side to side. My life being the log, felt out of control; out of focus. I wasn't depressed or helpless; rather, I was confused and afraid. I didn't know what I believed anymore. I was waiting for something, someone, to say something that would make it all better, to make everything return back to normal. But no one did. Juan was so supportive and understanding, he always made me feel better, but I knew it was up to me to make the difference within my-self.

So I started serving others more. This helped. I asked myself self-evaluating questions and I looked for answers. This helped too. I continued praying daily and I continued going to church every week. This really helped in the moment, but I found in the times I wasn't participating in 'spiritual' things, after a short time I once again felt lost and confused about it all.

That's when I decided to start reading. I didn't read a self-help book or a 'happy thoughts for a happy day' book. I just decided to read the same book I had read so many times before. I read The Book of Mormon - Another Testiment of Jesus Christ.  Just 10-20 minutes a day. Sometimes only 2-5 minutes. For years througout my life I had read it along with The Bible many times. I had even served an 18 month voluntary mission for my church where I shared my beliefs and shared this book with countless people every day. It was a great experience and I stood and declared of many things about our Christian faith. I spoke of my love and belief in Jesus Christ, and I taught people about ancient prophets and apostles from the scriptures, as well as the Prophet and Apostles living today.

And even though I meant every single word and every day I spoke of the importance of The Book of Mormon and how it can bless us and help us in our life, I never really felt of its absolute power and promise until these past couple of months. I have been told in talks and by teachers in lessons countless times of the changes that can come to people's lives through reading The Book of Mormon. I believed them and I had also felt the spiritual upliftment and confirmation for myself that it spoke truth and that it was written by ancient Prophets of God, just like the Bible was. I knew it could heal people and change hearts. But until it was my heart that needed healing, I didn't fully understand.

But now I do. I began reading it every day, like I had many times in the past. But it had been a while since I had really dedicated myself to deliberately making time in my day to read it. At first nothing much happened; just a little more calm; a comfortable feeling that made me feel less anxious and confused. Then over time I noticed I was looking forward to reading it. I was really getting a lot out of it. I was understanding it better than I ever had before, and things were jumping out that I had not noticed. I felt like I was reading it with new eyes; eyes that were desperate to learn and to be taught. I was reading it because I needed it. And that was when I noticed the changes.

I began to feel differently as a mother and home-maker. I wasn't raising my voice as much, and things I once found irritating didn't seem so annoying. I found myself being less judgemental towards others. I felt more empathy and I was able to sympathise and appreciate others' feelings and thoughts. I felt myself growing stronger spiritually. I felt I knew myself better and understood more fully what I really did believe. I felt power within myself and I felt strong enough to stand more firm for who I am and who I want to be. My thoughts became more focused. I wasn't confused anymore. And if doubts entered my mind I finally felt the energy to answer them with resounding confidence that the doubts were wrong and I knew I was right.

It wasn't an overnight process. It wasn't even a weeks-long process. This has been going on for months. I have had so many ups and downs during this process of self-discovery and renewal, I'm almost dizzy from it. :)  But this I know. I was confused and afraid. I was doubting everything I believed. I wondered whether I should walk away from everything I had been taught, for fear that it was wrong; that what I had thought I knew, and what I had professed to be the only truth was actually not.... I was terrified. The log I was wobbling on was spinning out of control, and I had fallen off. And so I was forced to discover myself again. From the bare roots of who I am and what I actually believe.

Now, I'm no longer sitting on a log in the middle of a lake. I'm now standing on a firm, solid ground. The foundation beneath me is no longer shaking, and I no longer feel fear. My faith in God, my faith in Jesus Christ, my faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and my faith in myself has been restored. I know exactly who I am and why I am here on this earth. I no longer feel vulnerable or weak. I no longer wonder if I'm wrong or right. I know I am right. I know it with every piece of my being. I feel my old and broken heart has been replaced by a new, fuller one.  And I want everyone to know that it is because of The Book of Mormon.

Despite serving a mission and literally standing on sidewalks and preaching about Christianity, I never imagined I would ever be sitting here writing these words for all to read. But I want to shout it out there. I want my kids to know where they can look to for strength and truth. I want them to stand firm as Christians by not allowing the world and others' opinions to influence their own truth and what they stand for as members of Jesus Christ's church. I want them to listen to the living modern-day Prophet when he tells them to read The Book of Mormon every day as a source of strength and peace. I want them to know that I know without any doubt that it was this book that literally saved me. It helps me be a better mother and it reminds me who I am and why I am on this earth.

Obviously I could go on and on, but I've said what I wanted to say. I've had kids running up to me and I've made lunches, wiped tears, put down for naps, refilled bottles, changed DVDs, and listened to endless whinging and wigning during the process of writing this post, but I'm glad I did it.

And on that note, I'm going to step down from my soapbox and go continue being a mum now. ;-)

Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

During Carmen's visit we took all the kids to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. When I say 'all the kids', I mean Irma's Lucia and Bella, Carmen's Elly, Noah, and Jacob, and my three, so yeah, it was pretty full on with eight kids under the age of six...

Nevertheless, it was lots of fun. :-)  And the kids got to do things they had never done before, like feeding kangaroos! It was so funny to see how each of the kids reacted to them from the moment we spotted them. Some were practically running over to them begging them to eat! Others were approaching cautiously and nervously reaching out to pat very tenderly... And then there were my kids...

First Eadie...

 She walked up quite confidently to the large animals and held out the pellets for it to eat. But instead of holding out her hand and letting the kangaroo nibble it out of her palm, she dumps it in front of the poor thing onto the floor.. The kangaroo kind of looked down at it and then back up at her, and you could just see it thinking, "I have kids coming up to me all day letting me eat out of their hands.. you don't really think I'm going to lick that off the ground, do you?" Well, apparently she did, because no explaining how the system worked would convince her to hold out her hand. But she loved patting and touching them, so I know she was excited about the experience anyway.

Oh yeah, and she found a really cool feather.... She just HAD to put it in her Dora Bag, which she carries with her EVERYWHERE. Do not get me started about Eadie and her Dora Bag.....

Next, Vettoria:

Tori, as usual was quite hesitant to approach the kangaroo, which was to be expected. It took a fair bit of coaxing to take the nervous little photo above. But, in usual Tori style after assessing the situation and not wanting to be the only one who didn't give it a try, she nervously held out her hand and let the kangaroo nibble the pellets. And then she loved it! She couldn't get enough. By the end of the feeding time, she was walking around the field picking up dropped bits of food (probably dropped by Eadie ;) to collect and feed to the kangaroos.

Then there was Bel:

Oh. My. Goodness.

This chick is fearless! Like, she literally ran up to the kangaroos and practically threw herself on them. She just thrust out her hand and rubbed their fur as if it was a family-owned cat. There was no stopping her! I had to pull her little hand away again and again for fear she would poke the poor animal in the eye or pull its ear too hard! It was quite the spectacle. But very Bel. :-)

The rest of the day was filled with "oohing" and "aahing" at all sorts of animals; crocodiles, emus, koalas, platypuses (which was actually the thing they wanted to see the most... go figure?), kookaburras, dingoes, and pretty much every other Australian animal you can think of. But the best part was watching the kids play together. Just watching Tori and Elly walk next to each other reading their maps was precious:

Here are some more pics of our adorable little cousins. 

We miss you guys!! xx

A Sad Goodbye..

We were fortunate enough to spend some time with Carmen and her kids before their family took off to live in Perth... forever. :-(   That's right, the Dunbars are gone. Well, OK they have been 'gone' for years now while living in Emerald, but knowing they were just a 10 hour drive away made them feel closer...somehow... But now they live literally over the other side of the country. So I don't know when we will get to see them again, but hey, Juan is offered contracts over in Perth all the time, so maybe... possibly.. one day? Hmm.. it's a long way to move.. But we'll see.

ANYway, while they were here we were able to hang out a bit. My kids absolutely love Elly and Noah. Tori brings up Elly's name at least once a day. She has a photo of the two of them stuck on her bed. They really do get along like a house on fire, I think they will always have a special bond because of how close they have been as little girls.

One night they had a sleep over and I was able to get some pics which they were only too happy to pose for ;-) :

Too cute!!

Some lost pics found ... yay!!

I stumbled across these pics from Juan's birthday which I thought I had lost! Very happy to have them to keep for our family. It was a great night - and my first ever white chocolate cheesecake - WITH sparkles!! 
Again, Happy Birthday baby. xx 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hitting the big time!

Guess what? I've been asked to be a guest blogger on Patches of Heaven! What is that, you ask? It's a blog written by some friends of mine, and I really like it. It's fun and interesting and I am very excited to be a small part of it. It took me a couple of days before is settled on what to write, but when cake decorating hit me, I knew it would be perfect. So I'm writing about the very awesome topic of the different ways to use Molding Paste. How exciting! ;)

Also, I have more fun news. I started another blog! The Family Montes is more of a public journal to record our family goings on, but my new blog, Interrupted Ramblings ( is written for the readers, as a way to entertain them with my random thoughts and things. I'm really excited about it; it pushes me to complete projects, and bring lots of ideas to reality. So fellow readers, please check it out and Join me there!
But fear not, this blog will continue to be updated regularly so you will still get your fix of Montes mayhem :)

To check me out for my big guest blogger debut on Patches of Heaven go to . Hope you enjoy!