Monday, July 31, 2006

Summer Fun

We've been going to the local public pool a lot this summer. I don't know why we haven't done that in previous years. Anyway, it is so refreshing to go there. Not just because it's well over 100 degrees most days and the water feels wonderful. But because it's never crowded and that makes it so much nicer than going to one of the public pools over the hill in Henderson.

The local pool has a main pool which looks like a square, 25m in length. It's divided in half with half open for free play and half divided into lanes for lap swimming. Most days we go, I like to do some laps. When we first started going, my shoulders would be starting to ache about lap 6 but after another lap, it's like they got into the groove and it feels like I'm just flowing along, part of the water. I like to do at least 20 laps. Sami sometimes swims alongside me. She's taught herself a lot of new tricks this year as well as swimming freestyle strokes. Sometimes she and I will both get a kickboard and just kick up and down the lap lanes. She's strong and I have to work to keep up with her! I think I have more strength in my upper body from lugging children around for so long so I'm much faster in the water when I can use my arms.

The pool center also has a large wading pool for kids 7 and under. AJ and Nicholas like to hang out in there. Nicholas gets himself out, walks off to get some toys and gets back into the pool by himself. He's getting very independent! AJ just got brave enough to stick his head under the water and open his eyes. He used to panic when his face would get wet. He has a big crush on one of the lifeguards there. Her name is April and she is so nice to him and all the kids. The last time we were at the pool, both Sami and AJ learned how to do cannonballs. Once they started, there was no stopping them! AJ still likes to wear a lifejacket when he's in the main pool and doing the cannonballs and he's getting very confident.

The other pool they have is a diving pool and it's 12'6" deep. They have two diving boards, one is about 5' off the water, the other's about 18' off the water (guessing). In my life, I've often watched diving on the tv and been fascinated. But I've never dived off a board before. It looked so different from diving off the edge of a pool. I've been watching all the people dive off the two boards at the local pool. Some of them are very young children - fearless little people and very inspiring. I thought "if they can do it, so can I!" I watched and waited until there were not many people in line and walked up to the lower board. Cary and the kids were watching and Cary said my very first dive off that had hardly any splash - just like an olympian. Urged on by that comment, I put too much thought into my second dive and totally blotched it. Then I went to the big board. As I started climbing the ladder, I could feel the adrenalin starting to pump. I got to the top and walked half way out and turned to look back at Cary and the kids who looked so far down. For a split second, I almost turned around but decided to conquer my fear and walk straight into it, or off it in this case. I got to the edge and jumped feet first into the water. It was so exciting! I'll work up to doing something more graceful, but this was a start and I was pleased. I've never enjoyed heights and don't think I could ever jump out of an airplane and have no desire to want to try that. When I got out of the water, I said to Cary "now it's your turn!" He also does not like heights and he jumped off the high board with about as much grace as I had done.

We are about half way through the worst part of the heat. July and August are so very hot here. But our visits to the local pool as a family as well as getting together with our friends and just hanging out at home reading books and playing and watching movies, are making these hot and lazy days of summer very enjoyable.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The next step

Cary flew to Los Angeles yesterday to go to the Australian Embassy to submit a passport application for Nicholas. The first passport app. has to be submitted in person. We had to arrange an interview time and I was told to allow half an hour though it usually only takes 15 minutes. I wasn't sure how long it would take Cary to get from the airport to the embassy so I allowed a little extra time in case of traffic. He got there about 45 minutes early and there was no-one else waiting. He asked if he could get it done early but was told "oh no, we have other appointments". Cary looked around the empty waiting room and thought "really, who, the invisible man?" He saw the lady who was going to do the interview buzzing busily in the background and she eventually agreed to do the interview a few minutes early. He stood on the other side of 2" thick bullet-proof glass and gave her the application. She looked it over, went to take a couple of photocopies (she wouldn't accept the ones that I had included even though there was nothing wrong with them!) took the money and that was it. Cary said it took less than 5 minutes!

I'm glad he didn't fly over just for that or we'd have been pretty peeved. After the embassy, he went to an "approved" doctor (there are 4 in LA and none in Vegas) and had his medical done for his Australian Immigration Visa. He said it was in a very very bad part of town. He was the only white person there and he was wishing he wasn't carrying the laptop with him. The process took about 2 hours, but it's done now and he's home safely.

That should be everything we need to do to get him into Australia. The next step is just to wait until they decide to process the application. Unless they're too busy buzzing back and forth interviewing invisible people.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Sunday 23rd July

As a note to my previous entry, normally, I wouldn't encourage my kids to enter an eating contest, but after I saw the small servings they were dishing up for AJ's age group, I ok'd his entry. The prize that he won was a coupon for a free blizzard ice cream from Dairy Queen. He cashed that in today, ate a few bites and put the rest in the freezer. He always knows when he's had enough of any kind of food.

My computer is running very slowly at the moment which is annoying!

'Whale Rider' was another great movie we watched again recently. Sami was right into it, though AJ couldn't stay interested.

I've been thinking about my journey as a mother. When Sami was born, my world revolved around her. I did not disturb her nap times and I spent many hours on the floor with her, reading and playing. With AJ, I still would not disturb his naps but I had less time for both kids to entertain them as much as I had previously. Now with Nicholas, he just fits in around whatever else we are doing.

People often ask me if we are going to have any more children. I'm open to another one, but I'm also perfectly ok if that doesn't happen. I think I'm ready to move on to a new phase.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I scream you scream we all scream for ice cream

We all went up to the local public pool again today. They were giving away free ice cream and had an ice cream eating contest. AJ LOVES ice cream. He was in heaven. He decided to enter the 5 and under division, and he won! Ok, there was only one other kid in that section, but he was still thrilled.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Bits n Pieces

Several days ago, the ants came marching back into our house - just 24 hours after Cary and I were commenting on how we hadn't seen any ants for a while. I had rediscovered my 'Clean House, Clean Planet' book and looked up natural remedies for ants. The first one, liquid soap and water, didn't seem very effective. The second one was pepermint oil and water in a spray bottle &/or peppermint oil on a cotton ball wiped along the ant track. AJ wanted to help so he chose the spray bottle and I wiped with the cotton ball. I noticed that the ants just went around where I wiped. AJ was doing a fine job with the spray bottle. The ants were only in the office this time so when AJ was finished, we closed the door. We took two small paper cups with some honey in them and put them outside the office window to help draw the ants out. I didn't need to go back into the office until the next morning. I was greeted with a very pleasant peppermint fragrance (so much nicer than nasty chemicals!) and zero ants!

I got my hair cut a few days ago. Just trimmed and shaped a bit. I do want it to grow long again. I imagine myself as an older lady with a long silver braid down my back. In the winter I shall wear overalls and a purple shirt. In summer I'll wear yoga pants and a funky shirt my grandkids have painted for me.

Nicholas is walking all over the place. I love catching the tender moments when Sami or AJ hold his hand while walking up the hallway or sooth him if he falls.

I think if I put a red pointed hat on Nicholas, he would look like a garden gnome (without a beard). He's just so cute and chunky.

I feel really tired at the moment so I'm rambling. I really should get to bed. Hey Ros - "good night, God Bless, sweet dreams and don't forget to say your prayers"! (The last thing my sister and I said to each other many days that we shared a room as kids.)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Movies n stuff

Cary and I watched a good movie a few days ago called "Last Holiday". Queen Latifah plays a working class gal who is told that she has 3 weeks left to live. So she decides to live fully for the time she has left.

The kids and I recently enjoyed "An Angel for May" about a boy that goes back in time and helps a girl named May. I won't give too much away, it was just a nice story.

We all really enjoyed "Delivering Milo". It's about a soul that doesn't want to be born but he gets a short while to come to earth and check things out. Very good.

I know there were some others but that's all I can think of for now. I like movies with a message and preferably some laughs too. I can't stand violent movies.

Last week I took the kids to see a storyteller at a local rec center. He was very good and incorporated some little eyeball finger puppets into the some of the stories. They were so cute so I ordered some which got here really quickly. They were at . They have been providing a lot of fun around here as we try out different ways to dress them up with hair and hats etc.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I am going to try and post some photos:

Hiking in Sedona, Nicholas' first birthday...then back to the motel for a vegan b/day cake.

We have a walker!

Yesterday, at 13 months and 5 days old, Nicholas really started walking! He's been cruising the furniture for 2 or 3 months, and walking with assistance for about that long too. On his first birthday, he took a single solo step. Since then, he has been working on his balance by standing up and letting go of whatever he was holding on to. He would take a couple of solo steps and gradually a couple more over time, especially with AJ's encouragement. But yesterday, Nicholas just got up and started walking right across the room by himself. He thought he was so clever that he kept doing it! Sami and AJ were just amazed and would clap and cheer each time he did it, which made him want to keep doing it again! Pretty soon he'll be running after them.

Some other things the kids have been up to recently...

Sami and AJ spent quite a while one morning last week weighing water - they wanted to see how much water they needed to put in the little measuring jug to make the scale reach 16oz, then the same thing with ice. I need to get a bigger food scale again. I picked one up at a rummage sale recently but accidentally left it there.

AJ got a box of little plastic animals, mostly dogs, at a yard sale on Saturday. It also came with some doggy accessories and a little house. The $2 we paid for that has given Sami and AJ at least 6 hours of play. They have been having such a good time with them!

We've been reading a lot of books lately. The local library has their 'summer reading program' going on at the moment. For every 12 picture books or 5 chapter books that the kids read or have read to them, they get a free book to keep and a chance to win a prize. Last week they both won a prize and were very excited about that. The prizes are small, Sami chose a giraffe bookmark and AJ chose a leopard slap-on bracelet out of the treasure chest.

Sami is growing up. Sometimes I look at her and get a glimpse of the teen or adult she will be. I think partly is because her front teeth have grown in. After 6 years with no front top teeth, she just seems older now. She's getting so tall and she is solid and strong. I sometimes forget that she is only 8 years old. I remind myself to enjoy doing all the young girl things with her while I can because that time will be over before I know it. She is so helpful around here. She's always picking up toys that Nicholas has strewn about. I think that's because she prefers things to be neat though.

I am so blessed!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

My Man

I am so lucky! Sometimes I think about all the strings the Universe pulled to get Cary and I together. Amazing! Two people on opposite sides of the world, destined to be together when the time was right. The first time I held his hand on the night we met on Hamilton Island, I knew we had been together before and that this was something very special.

Here we are, 12.5 years later and I love him more all the time. Life with him is never dull! Sure we've planned things that haven't worked out, but I would prefer that than knowing I was staying put in the same place indefinately. He works hard to provide a comfortable lifestyle for the kids and I and totally supports me staying home with them. He is also constantly looking for ways to do more with our finances, to spread the nest eggs. I like the idea of having adventures rather than expensive material things.

I love the intimacy we share on many levels. It just gets better!

Sure, things aren't always great and we've had some challenging times. But I remember all the strings that were pulled to bring us together and know that we're meant to be together. We always come through shining.

I love that he supports my individuality. He has always encouraged me to follow my dreams and goals. He listens when I talk, even if he's in the middle of something else, he will stop and give me his full attention, even if I'm just rambling on. I have learned so much from him and the love he gives me supports me in learning more about myself.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Snakes and Rocks

After the recent events involving snakes, I decided to look up my animal Medicine Cards to see the significance of the snake. These cards come from Native American Indian traditions. So the key word for the snake is 'transmutation' some of the main comments are - "exemplified by the shedding of Snake's skin. It is the energy of wholeness...teaches you on a personal level that you are a universal being. Through accepting all aspects of your life, you can bring about the transmutation.. If you have chosen this symbol, there is a need within you to transmute some thought, action or desire so that wholeness may be achieved.."

Interesting. I recently had a ring made that has four words stamped on it "love peace whole trust". I chose the first 3 words as a reminder of my true essence..I am love, I am peace, I am whole (and therefore, I am perfectly ok just as I am, I do not need to compete or compare myself with others or do anything special to make myself better). The last word, 'trust' I had put on to remind myself to trust in the Greater Power that has more control over my life than I do. When I glance at the ring, the word that is showing at the time, is always the one that I need to be reminded of. It has seemed to be on 'whole' a lot lately.

Nicholas is cutting 3 molars and one eye tooth. Ouch! He's been awake a lot at night though generally ok during the day with the help of some homeopathic tablets and gel. He has been getting up earlier than usual. This morning he, and therefore I too, were up a bit after 5am. I decided to go for a walk so I put him in the stroller and off we went. I've been walking several times recently and he has been quite happy in the stroller. He seems to like the little folding stroller but did not like the bigger stroller I got for him a while back. Maybe the smaller one makes him feel more snug.

Anyway, so we had a nice 40 minute walk. When I got home, Sami and AJ were up and playing. We all had some breakfast and piled in the van to take Scooby for his run. When we got to our usual spot, I was feeling tired and wasn't up for hiking so I suggested we just explore the area near the van. I put Nicholas on a blanket while Sami, AJ and I looked at different rocks and brought some back to the blanket for Nicholas to bang together joyfully. We sang songs and watched some flying bugs dance in the air. Someone had dumped some dirt and rocks there and we found some smooth rocks and river rocks that we decided to bring home and paint. When we got home, Nicholas and I washed the rocks. Thanks to N, they got washed several times each. I enjoyed the grounding experience of holding the rocks while wetting them. I checked our paint supplies which were very low. As we needed several miscellaneous items besides more paint and brushes, we decided we'd take a run to Wal-Mart. I was still feeling tired and wasn't sure if it was a good idea, but decided to make it as quick as possible.

All went well and we got back home in time for lunch. I was waiting for N to take his nap so that we could paint. When that finally happened, I was in the middle of doing something else that I wanted to finish first. Sami couldn't wait so I put some paper down on the dining table and went to finish my other job. When I came back 5 minutes later, she and AJ had emptied all of the new paint onto the paper and they were mixing it together. Sami had her entire arms covered. She had put paint in AJ's hair. There was paint on Sami's chair, the floor, their clothes and I lost it. The cute litte plaster characters they had chosen at the store to paint today were sitting there half-painted and wide-eyed like innoncent bystanders. I had envisioned a peaceful painting playtime together and they had turned it into a huge wild mess. I was not happy and made that very clear. I think I over-reacted due to tiredness and I also needed to eat. Sami went to one bathroom to clean up and in the process made a huge mess in there. AJ went to the other bathroom, touching all the walls on his way. We finally got everything cleaned up, right before Cary got home. I really blame myself. I should have put the other job on hold to go and paint with the kids. But I really thought they would not have done that, at least to that extent. Sami has always loved to paint herself but usually she'll stick to her paint project first.

Cary had to go to the Post Office so he took Sami and AJ with him. I found a few other paints and sat down to paint a rock. I wanted to paint a rock to put by our front door with the message on it "Peace Welcome Here". After the earlier incident, I thought I should add a big "Please!". I felt more grounded and peaceful painting the rock. I did it fairly simply so I wouldn't detract from the message. I was happy with the finished result and left it to dry. When Sami got home, she saw it and decided to add a whole lot of dots and squiggles to it without asking me. She proudly showed me what she'd done and I just had to smile. Somewhere in all those colours and chaos is a message of peace. Kind of like my life.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I made cookies last night. I cheated and used a box mix from the health food store. The thing is, they actually turned out well for a change. Breads I can do, cookies don't usually work for me. They were (I use the past tense as they disappeared very quickly) chocolate chip cookies. I've been eating a lot more chocolate lately. I've never really been much of a chocolate lover, but in the past year or so, I've found that a little bit on stressful days helped me through. Chocolate therapy. Better for the body and less expensive than drugs! I've probably had more chocolate in the past month than I have in the past 5 years combined. But I'm over that now. Probably because we're unpacked again, are moving forward towards moving to Australia and maybe because I've started taking a little apple cider vinegar in water several times a day. I think it's helping to balance my body in several ways. Maybe it will help me reduce the much higher amount of fat I've been consuming lately. Between extra fat and chocolate, I've put on a few pounds. But I am really liking bananas and peanut butter together. Slap some nut butter on a sliced banana, or put in a smoothie with some soy milk and a little carob powder, or just mash it up with some honey. Frozen bananas with nut butter, carob and just a little milk blended together make a very easy ice cream. YUMO! But I am starting to feel like I need to reduce the amount of fat in my diet.

Yesterday our neighbour warned us that another neighbour had spotted a rattlesnake when they were walking their dog in the desert a couple of days ago. (The day before I had bought a toy rattlesnake at a yard sale for Nicholas.) I was thinking about how rarely I've seen a snake in the wild in all my years of living next to the bush and hiking. Actually only once. I wonder if that is partly because I never expected to see one and did not focus on them. This morning as we got to our spot to run Scooby, I made a mental note to stay on the main path as there might be less chance of seeing a snake. Then I got deeply engrossed in thinking about our plans for Australia. Scooby was bounding off the path all over the place chasing bunnies and lizards. Sami was behind me readjusting the new hydration backpack she got. AJ ran ahead of me pretending to be a hawk. Nicholas was snuggled next to me in the sling. I was looking down at the ground, but not really seeing it until suddenly a very well camoflauged snake slithered in front of me. It was the same colour as the sandy dirt, about 3 feet long and about 2 feet in front of me. It brought me back to reality and the present moment as the shock of seeing it had me let out a girlish squeal. The rest of the walk I was grounded in the present, aware of my surroundings and I felt a hightened awareness of all life around me both seen and unseen. I felt a deep respect and appreciation for nature and the natural lessons life provides. Interesting how snakes were coming to me - the toy one, the talk of one, the thought of one, then the actual sight of one. I was born in the year of the Snake too.

Last night it really hit me (again) about the sacredness of my children and my role in their lives. Not just as the birth vessel, but the Guide in their early years. It is so easy to get caught up in the daily stuff of life that I tend to not see the bigger picture. I think with less material stuff in our house, we are free-er to connect more with each other. I have such an important job here. These 3 souls are entrusted to me for a short time. Not to shape them, but to water their seeds of individuality, to encourage their shining selves to share their light with the world. No longer will I feel that I am "just not doing enough" with my talents. I am. I am a Mother!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Finally unpacked

I have over 100 unread emails that I'm tempted to just delete. Last night I unpacked the last box back into our house. I have a large pile of papers and things to sort through, but apart from that, we're officially all moved back in. I have been thinking about how to live more simply while still providing an interesting environment for the kids and a calm, uncluttered environment for Cary and I. I think I'm getting there. I got rid of 3 tall bookshelves, two smaller bookshelves and two little tables. With less furniture, there is less temptation to put stuff on it. We have three boxes of kids toys and games in the garage that I will rotate with the stuff currently in the house. I put all of the little people and animal dolls in a big container and set up the wooden castle and tree house on top of the train table (with the train set stored underneath for now). Sami and AJ have spent hours playing with all of that. I also left a large closet empty so that the kids can keep using it as their "secret clubhouse".

I have not found my funky purple couch yet. I did get two folding purple mushroom chairs for temporary use. We were at a yard sale yesterday and saw a little green and tan striped two-seater in very good condition. Cary bargained the price down to $80 but then pulled back and told me that he really didn't want to get it as he just wants to get to Australia and doesn't want to get anything else for the house. I was very pleased to see that drive in him. So I'll look for my funky purple couch when we get down under!

I have been so busy getting the house back together that our food supplies got very low. Cary came with us to Whole Foods today and we did a huge shop to restock. We had lunch there then came home and unpacked. Then we headed up to the Boulder City public pool and enjoyed a very refreshing swim for about 20 minutes before a thunderstorm started moving in. So, back home to get into our PJ's and watch a movie.

Earlier today we took Scooby for his daily run in the desert. He needs that or he'll just get pent up and drive us all nuts. We take him to an area where we can just let him run free. It's been interesting for us. We see lots of wild bunnies and lizards. A couple of weeks ago we even saw a coyote. The coyote was about 100 feet away and just stood and looked at us for about 20 seconds then went on his way. We've seen evidence of other coyotes with bunny remains in various conditions.

We've been thinking a lot about whether to take Scooby to Australia with us or not. He is a great dog. A bit of a blockhead sometimes, but he has a great heart, is gentle with the children, very protective of me and an excellent watchdog. He is a sweetheart. But the whole process to take him over - vet visits, crate training, the actual flight and then quarantine. I don't know if I want to do that to him. My friend Cat has offered to take him. I know he adores her and she would give him a great home. She has other dogs that he would love to play with. I think he would be happier there. It's a hard decision but one that we need to make soon.

Oh good, more rain is starting to fall. How lovely!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

From rain to sunshine

I didn't sleep much last night. I was feeling so sad about Sedona. I had been looking forward to so many different aspects of it, including the school for the kids. I really thought that they would have enjoyed it. They have been fighting so much lately, I thought they would have enjoyed a break from each other as well. So I lay awake thinking about everything. At 6am I was woken with a loud thunderclap right over our house. It was so nice listening to the rain that followed.

I decided to focus on moving to Australia. I looked on the net and found some more Steiner schools that I haven't already visited on trips there. I want to incorporate more Waldorf ideas back into our lives now. Maybe I'll start a waldorf-inspired life-learning group here (WILL).

Today is the 4th of July. Cary is at work and when he gets home we need to unload the truck with our stuff in it that's sitting out the front of our place. I have some ideas of how to re-do the place and I'm looking forward to getting things set up. I think there will be a lot less stuff in here and several boxes staying packed until we get to Australia.

It is beautiful and sunny now. Gotta go, there's a little baby crawling beneath me trying to turn the computer off.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Spring Cleaning

Thursday morning I was feeling very very low and upset. I almost didn't go to the Lifeleaners event at the Children's Museum. I had a lot of phone calls to make to stop the connection there (Sedona) and disconnection here of utilities etc. I felt so confused and didn't feel like facing anyone. But I knew my kids would enjoy the day so I decided we'd go. We got to the museum late of course and my friends there were so wonderful that I soon felt so much better. I was able to joke about the situation and start thinking about the postitive side of this.

When I told my sister about the change in plans, she was amazed. I really thought I was out of here this time...I got so much closer than I have any other time! My sister mentioned the cliche of how when one door closes, another one opens. I told her that this felt like one door had opened and been slammed shut in my face. She said it was more like a revolving door. Yeah, that too. Especially as we'll be staying in the same house here and nothing has really changed on the outside, but it feels like a lot has changed.

I started to thinking about what I'd learned from this whole experience. I see several lessons. One is the example I was to my children on how to deal with stress. I don't think I past this test very well so I'm sure the lesson will be repeated. Another lesson was in my attachment - not just to physical things, but to ideas and imaginings of how things may be. Another lesson is in the amount of control I actually have over my life.

So what now? Well the house is almost empty so it's a good time to do some spring cleaning. I'm doing a little, but I've got a crew coming in on Monday to give the whole house a good scrub from top to bottom. Tuesday is a public holiday which means Cary will be home. So we are going to unload the truck. I'm enjoying having less 'stuff' around so I'm going to give more thought to what I want to put back in the house. We had gotten rid of our old beat-up couch so we are looking for a decent one to replace it. I told Cary I want a funky purple couch. He said "whatever you want". "Damn right" I said.

Where do we go from here? Maybe Panama, maybe Australia. Who knows? I'm not sure anymore.

Sami and AJ have accepted this all so easily. When I told them we would not be moving, they just said "ok" with the same tone as when I had said we were moving. Sami later said that she had been looking forward to playing at the new house with the secret closet. Our hall closet is currently empty. So I hung a couple of sarongs on the door side of the closet, and put some cushions and a blanket in there and the kids are thrilled with their new 'secret closet'.

Nicholas is teething and has two big molars coming through. We've been so busy lately. Things should be getting back to "normal" around here in another week. Or more.