Monday, March 26, 2007

I am woman!

I've been feeling very connected to my family recently. My own little family that is. I've let go of the feeling that I had to contribute in some financial way and am focusing on contributing in other ways that I am rich in.

I used to think that if I brought in a bit of money, that Cary wouldn't have to work as hard or much. I also thought that I would somehow be thought of as more valuable or interesting or clever if I was able to bring money in. Over the years, I have dabbled in different things that I thought might be the way to go to bring in a little extra income while still being a full time Mama. They did not bring in a lot of money, they only added to my stress level and took me mentally away from my family for longer than I care to admit.

When I think back to when I was a little girl, I loved to play with the couple of dolls I had. I couldn't wait to be a mother. I loved to play with young children and do babysitting. Then I joined the workforce and saw the recognition that can come with having a paid position. And the fun that came with the things that the money could buy.

I was 32 when Sami was born and I was ready to be a mother. I had gotten a lot of wild girl ways out of my system and I was ready to settle. Being a mother was the best thing that happened to me. It touched me deeply and I was so satisfied. Somewhere along the way as we started spending more time with other mothers, I found myself comparing myself to some of the other Mamas. For example, the homeschooling mother of 4 who ran her own successful online business and childbirth education classes who also found time to write a book. Ok, she had family living nearby and I'm sure they helped out but got me thinking. Other Mamas were working from home or, I felt, just doing a better job of being a Mama. I started to feel inadequate on many levels. How long have I wasted feeling like this? I felt like I should contribute financially to the family and do something of significance to the world. I've started several websites that have never been finished or published.

I've come to the acceptance that this is not the time for me to do those things. This time in my life is meant to be devoted to the family, what could be more significant than that? I am back in touch with my strong Mothering connection including the type of Mama I want to be and the type of life I want for my children. This is where I make the most important difference in the world - in their lives. There will be time later for me to devote more time to changing the world. In the meantime, I'll do it in whatever way I can that does not detract from my goal of being the Best Mama I Know I Am. I am valuable and interesting and clever right now with what I do.

I no longer feel concerned about other peoples judgement when they ask me what I do and I tell them I am a full time Mama. But I will not say that I am "just" a Mother because I am so much more than that. I will tell them with passion that I have the Best job in the world - I am a Mother, a Wife, a Lover which all wraps itself neatly into the statement "I am Woman!". Perhaps the significant difference I can make in the world (besides the differences I make in the lives of my family which is huge in itself), is that by letting other people see how proud and passionate I am about this role, I can make changes in their attitudes. When I have extra time, I will still work on one of the websites but I won't aim to make it as big as I thought it should be before it gets launched. I'll launch it small and add to it as I can.

I am so proud of my relationship with Cary. I feel grateful to have a mate that makes me feel like a woman and supports me in being a Mother. The love and respect he shows me fills me with gratitude. I am also grateful that I don't have to get paid work because he values what I do so much that he is happy to provide that. It frees me up to focus on the areas of life that are my strengths - loving and nurturing, which are priceless. I know I have the best gifts right here in this home with these awesome people. I feel fulfilled and satisfied. Every day I have the chance to create my day the way I want it. I want it full of love and adventure and joy. And you know, you get what you focus on!

Come on 42, this is going to be a GREAT year! I am woman, I am proud...look out!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Early morning

It's very early in the morning and, once again, I am awake. It's so rare these days that I can sleep a whole night through. I try to sleep, but once my mind is awake, it likes to take advantage of the quiet to think about things.
The kids had last week off school. In the beginning, they were not well with a fever but towards the end of the week, they were much brighter though still not 100%, so we took a short trip up to Brisbane. We looked around north Brisbane on the coast, saw my brother and came back the next day. We did not like that area so we are fully focused on the Sunshine Coast and just need to narrow down where in that area. I'm excited. This whole process has been interesting. I thought I was free-spirited enough to just pick up and go when we first thought about it but then emotions and some practicalities got involved. I thought about the friends we'd made here, the school, the quiet beautiful area we live in, the fact that we had only recently moved and I was enjoying feeling settled. But now I feel unsettled and restless and eager to go. I had to work through all of the feelings that came up and acknowledge that they were valid. But I also realised that some of the fears surfacing came from a lack mentality, from me thinking that it couldn't be as good somewhere else. I know that some of the friends I've made here will keep in touch, and that there are new friends waiting to be made. I know that there are other beautiful areas waiting to be explored and appreciated. I know that there are plenty of options regarding the children and "education" and that the children are more adaptable than I was giving them credit for. I have been working on strengthening my relationships with my children - really connecting with them, giving them more affection and one-on-one time and communicating in a more honest and open and direct way. I am feeling stronger as a parent and as a person. I am putting my family first instead of spreading myself too thin by trying to work on other projects and do other things. By keeping the family strong, we can do anything together!

On the way back from this recent trip, as we got closer to home, Sami said that she did not want to go home, she wanted to keep travelling around. I told her about a classmate of hers that would soon be leaving to travel around Australia with her family indefinitely. Sami's eyes got wide with excitement and thought that sounded like a fabulous idea.

I've started looking around this house and seeing things that I don't use or want anymore. We're going to have a big clean out in the garage which still has boxes of things there from my previous life here and things we had sent over from the USA. Then I'm going to start a box for us to put items in for a future yard sale to have just before we move (if I can wait that long!). Our house isn't junked up, but I want to keep on top of things so that it doesn't get to that level again.

Nicholas is growing so fast and is moving into a whole new stage which is very fun. His use of verbal language is increasing and his imagination is taking off. He's like AJ's little shadow at times but also definitely has his own opinion on how things should be. And loud...oh my goodness. Was I ever wrong for thinking he would be the quiet one!

So life is good. I'm glad we have the 3 extra months here to just enjoy the great things about this area while we are here and plan how we want things to be when we do move.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Our recent trip north was interesting. The day we arrived was the hottest and most humid they'd had for years. Cary, Sami and Nicholas do not do well in the humidity and we were wondering about our plan to move there. After talking to several locals and realising that this was not typical weather, we pursued our fact-finding mission. We looked at several areas and houses. We narrowed down the area we like and almost put an application in on a rental house. At the last moment, we decided to go back to our plan of waiting another 3 months and focusing more on business and make sure that area will be suitable for a base. Cary has had some interest in the idea of importing American cars and we would be closer to the port of Brisbane. But would we be close enough? Should we be even closer in? We still love the Sunshine Coast but need to look around a bit more. Maybe if we go about 15-20 minutes inland, we can get some land and have a big vege garden again.

While we were away, we bought a 1995 Toyota Landcruiser with dual fuel. Petrol and LPG (liquid petroleum gas). The gas is much cheaper than petrol and more environmentally friendly. So we feel good about the choice and have a much nicer, larger vehicle to travel in than the small station wagon I bought when we first arrived.

We did not make it to the homeschooling group as I was getting rather stressed and overwhelmed by the thought of moving, trying to find a place, wondering if it was the right time, etc. I could not then make a decision concerning a change in the children's education. Mostly because I doubted my own ability to be able to homeschool again. Some families make it look so easy. I find it hard to give everyone what they need, especially with a toddler being so needy. I feel like I let Sami and AJ down on our last go around, neglecting them at times and just not doing enough with them. In my heart, I know that I would like to do homeschooling again, but it would have to be a bit different. I would need to establish - and stick to - a rhythm. I would need to allocate time for myself most days, but to not get so caught up in my own projects that I ignore the rhythm. I would need to find suitable external classes in music and crafts for Sami and whatever AJ would like. I need to find more patience and remember that I didn't learn all of the times tables the first couple of times - it took a lot of reinforcement. My children may not remember our family rules and values, which give us comfortable boundaries of what is acceptable, the first 5 or 20 times either. It takes patience, love and reinforcement. In the past I have been too laid back as a parent, not wanting to cause any damage to the children's self-esteems. But in the process, I've not been fair to them with not establishing clear boundaries so they don't always know how far they can go with something. I would get myself so frustrated that I would build up steam and eventually blow my top (so much for saving their self-esteeem ah dear). I would need to find a great community of like-minded families. That is something I really enjoy about the Steiner school. Sometimes when we drop the kids off, we spend an hour at the school chatting to the friends that we've made. Sometimes we'll go to the beach with them for the day, or out to lunch, or for a barbecue after school. We've done more socialising as a family and as a couple in the short time we've been here than we ever have. Of course the fact that Cary is not working all the time makes that a lot easier, and having great weather to be out in also helps. So what else would make homeschooling work again for us? A real shift in knowing how learning occurs, remembering and recognising that learning is happening all the time whether we're watching tv, playing at the park, or reading a book. Remembering respect for the unfolding nature of the children. Being more mindful of daily moments. Not having huge to-do lists that take away from spontaneity. Living more gently with myself, my family and my environment. I also need to deeply consider where the children would thrive best. We have had so much swirling around here trying to decide what to do and where to go that, for now, I think they are in the best situation at the Steiner school. If we can get settled somewhere, then we can reconsider.

Besides all of the above, I've been swirling in my mind about life in general. As I approach my birthday, I feel myself questioning my satisfaction with my alignment. Am I living life as deeply as I could? Am I satisfied with compromises I've made? Where does my focus need to be for the next 12 months? Which of my projects should I be working on? This birthday I will be 21 for the second time. What are the most important lessons I've learned from the past 21 years? What do I hope to do better in the next 21 years?

I've come a long way, I just need to clarify where I'm going and how I'm getting there.
Gentle strength and compassion are keys. As are Gratitude and Giving.

Enough rambling for now, time to try and get some more sleep. The kids have been passing a fever around and now it's Nuke's turn though Sami's still not over it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

More adventures

This past week has been a roller coaster ride for me. After deciding that we would take a possible move slowly and really think about it, we seemed to be starting to organise such a move much more quickly than I'd thought we would. The fact that our lease is up here at the end of the month was spurring us on. I've lost a lot of sleep trying to think things through in the quiet of the night. We decided it would be a good time to just go for it. However, after making that decision and actually telling people, I got very emotional. I thought "it's only been 6 months since I left a lot behind in the USA, now I've got to start again...again!" The facts that I was sleep-deprived and pre-menstrual didn't help and I spent about 24 hours crying at the drop of a hat. So we decided to wait 3 more months.

While we had been away, I enjoyed the freedom and flexibility and it reminded me strongly of when we were homeschooling. Once we got back and got into the school rhythm, I started thinking about the things about school that Sami enjoys - the stories that the teacher tells, learning the recorder and songs, drama and other languages. She likes some of the seated work. In a Steiner/Waldorf school, the approach to learning is very different to a mainstream school. It's very beautiful and Sami seems to respond to that. But there are some things about school that she just doesn't seem comfortable with. I don't need to go into it now, but it's had me weighing up all sides of the story. I've been so focused on Sami's feelings about school, that I wasn't paying much attention to AJ. He just seemed to fit right in and be having a good time. I have noticed some changes in his behaviour and it wasn't until the past week that I was able to put it together with what is happening at school. He's been playing more with some different kids and they are a bit disruptive He's been coming home with a cranky attitude and is getting distant. He used to greet me after school with a big hug, now he looks as though he doesn't even see me. The Steiner Kindergarten is a warm and beautiful place full of things to inspire the imagination. It's like a beautiful day care facility as academic education does not start until Class 1 in Steiner ed. But the last couple of days had me really thinking about whether it's the right place for AJ. Then weighing that up with Sami's stuff and I realised that maybe we really should move sooner rather than later.

We're leaving tomorrow for another little trip to the Sunshine Coast to look at areas, maybe some houses for rent and also to meet some of the local homeschoolers. I've been in touch with the co-ordinator of the local homeschool groups. There are at least 160 families in the area, a lot of whom follow the "natural learning" style that we used to. While we are up there, a lady who is quite big in the "natural learning" movement in Australia, will be giving a little seminar on the topic. We're going to go along which will be a great way to meet other families in the area, especially for the kids to meet other kids and (hopefully) get excited about moving there. And it will be good for Cary and I to reinforce the mindset that goes along with this lifestyle. I'm excited, though a bit overwhelmed at what may be coming up and all that is involved with moving again.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

more photos from our trip etc

This mornings sunrise

Sami on the beach, Hastings Point NSW, just south of the Gold Coast. The sand is a bit whiter than here.

Cary and Nuke playing in one of the pools in the resorts we stayed at. Nuke will stand on the edge of the pool and make sounds that we know mean "three two one blast-off" and he jumps by himself into the water into the waiting arms of one of us.

Sami digging a hole and AJ running into the water, Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast, QLD

Photos from our trip to the Sunshine coast

Just before we left, here's Nuke on the kids computer, headphones on his head. He tries to do everything he sees the other two doing.

We stopped off at the Byron Bay lighthouse which is located on the eastern most point of Australia's mainland. That's Nicholas and I in the foreground. Nicholas is trying to climb the fence. He will try to climb anything, he's like a little monkey!

The kids and I at Hastings Point Beach a little south of the Gold Coast. Look at how tall Sami is getting!

Sami having a quiet moment on the beach.

My 3 boys looking out to sea.

Sunday Sunrise and the Sunshine Coast

Right now I am sitting in my home in Moonee Beach. From the window to my left side, I am watching a magnificent sunrise while listening to the pounding surf and the birds waking up. Just a few minutes ago, a kangaroo hopped along the road in front of me. (When I lived in the USA, people would ask me "do kangaroos really hop down the street?". I would tell them "no, I've never seen that.". But I lived in city suburbs for most of my previous life here so of course they wouldn't do that there. But they really do here!)

We just got back from a little trip up north along the coast. Cary really hasn't seen a lot of Australia and we decided it was time to just take off. We spent a couple of days on the Gold Coast which is an area slightly south of Brisbane (the capital of the state of Queensland). It's like a mini Las Vegas with beautiful beaches. After living in Las Vegas, Cary is finding our current area a little slow. He's been enjoying the decompression time, but is now longing for something else. We came to the conclusion that the Gold Coast was not it for us - too crowded and crazy. So we went to one of my all-time favourite areas - the Sunshine Coast which is about an hour north of Brisbane. As soon as we drove into the area, we felt a click. Cary liked it straight away. It has an abundance of fantastic beaches, rows of unusual shops (not the typical franchised shops), a very creative, laid-back feel and did I mention the beautiful beaches? We do have great beaches where we are and they are never crowded. On the Sunshine Coast, the beaches are a bit more crowded but the sand is whiter and softer. There are lots of rivers for kayaking or boating. The Glasshouse Mountains are slightly to the west and an interesting place to explore. It is an area that does not really experience 4 seasons, just various degrees of warm and wet. But I love that and Cary liked the area so much he feels he could adapt (as long as there was air conditioning in the house which is not a typical thing here). We walked into a fruit shop there and it smelled SO good. And it seemed to me that the fruits there even tasted better.

The lease on our house here is up in one month. We were very tempted to move up to the Sunshine Coast now but have decided to take it slow and give it some more thought. So we drove back to Moonee Beach yesterday. When we left the SC, we both felt a little sad. When we arrived back here, we were not excited about being back. Another thing I came to realise - I really miss the freedom of home/unschooling. We'd like to take more trips and I don't want to have to time them around school. If we were homeschooling now, I think the kids would be excited to move now. But Sami wants to spend a bit more time at her school and AJ doesn't want to leave Summer-Rain (his best friend). So we have some things to think about.

I need to download all of the photos I took while we were away and I'll post them next time.

Have a beautiful day!