Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April pix

AJ recently turned 7! How did that happen? He had a fun day with lots of fun with friends around him all day.

Cary left for the USA the day after AJ's birthday. Dear Nicholas cried for about an hour after we dropped him off at the airport, he misses him so much. He still can't talk to him on the phone as he gets too upset.

We had some friends come and camp next to us for 5 days. Unfortunately, it rained most of their visit. They really wanted to go to Sea World so we went too. I have a big problem with live animal shows, but thought I'd go and see how my kids reacted to large animals in relatively small enclosures. Our friends really wanted to see the dolphin show and we went to that. After that I could not go to any more animal shows. I kept thinking of the dolphins I've seen in the wild and how they have the entire ocean to swim in - they remind me of my unschooled children, free and yes, a little wild. The dolphins in the show were like the straight-A students at school who knew very well when to jump through the hoops or dive or perform some trick. Their performance was appreciated by most of the audience, but I kept wondering if the dolphins were happy. Some of them had been bred in captivity and some had been rescued. Did those born there feel the pull for a different kind of life, a longing for something but just not sure what? Or did they just dutifully do what they were taught because that's all they knew? See, it reminds me more and more of people and school. I know when I was at school, I felt the longing for something else which I later realised was freedom.
Anyway, we did go to the waterski show which was very good. And as the weather was kind of rainy, there were not too many people there so the kids go to go on all of the rides over and over. Some of the rides they just stayed on, without getting off and needing to line up again, others they did line up again, but the wait was very short. Summer really surprised me by going on the flume ride, which goes up a steep hill, around a bit and then down a steep waterslide, about 5 times and then going on the Pirate ship twice - and sitting way up the back too!

Two of our friends and Summer on the right, on the pirate ship.

Before Cary left, he bought this old Land Cruiser. The kids (ours and others from the park) think it's a great place to play!

AJ riding a friends chopper bike with his daredevil side-kick, Nicholas. Several days ago, our little guy said "I'm more Noo Noo". And he has been very clear ever since that he wants to be called Nicholas instead of the nick-name he'd been happy to use before then.
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kids pix

AJ's birthday morning, with a little help from Summer reading the cards and Nicholas helping with the unwrapping. They are sitting on AJ's bed, which becomes the dining table and seating during the day. Summer's queen bed is behind them.

Photo of N at sea world Sesame Street performance. He's not very familiar with SS as he doesn't watch much tv so he was trying to figure out what on earth the colourful crazy critters were all about.

AJ bobbing for apples - something some other travelling homeschooled kids in the park wanted to do one day.

AJ and friends
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This is kind of a rear side view of our set up. I've been meaning to post these photos here for a while. Then we had a bunch of rain and I changed things and have kept changing things and they are much better now. The actual caravan / trailer is much roomier inside than it looks. The gazebo folds into a wheeled carry case smaller than a set of golf clubs. The white walls are a thin, but very effective (in keeping out rain and wind) material. We have walls all the way around and they have zippers in the center of each side. We only use one side as a door way, the side that joins the awning area. Because of all the rain we were having, Cary put up a tarp on one side of the awning and was going to put up a huge tarp over the top of the awning and out the front a fair way so that we could still look out, but the rain would not come in. However, constant rain and winds before he left prevented him from doing that. I have since put up a temporary wall angled out the front of the awning using an old tarp. I used spring loaded clamps to connect it to the edge of the awning and hammered some tent pegs through the holes along the edge into the ground. I thought that way I can just unclamp the clamps when it was nice weather (which is has been for the past 9 days in a row!!) and roll the tarp down and still be able to look out. But I actually haven't done that as there were a lot of people in the park due to school holidays and I liked having a bit more privacy as there were vans and tents blocking our view of the water anyway.

This past weekend was the Anzac Day long weekend and I have never seen the park so full. Only a few spots were vacant and they were probably from people who booked ages ago but couldn't make it at the last minute. There were no big motorhomes or 5th wheels (not that we get many of them anyway). There were a ton of tents, trailer tents (that pull out of a box trailer to provide hard floors above ground level and pull-out kitchens - very clever and many different styles), pop-ups like ours and regular caravan/travel trailers.

Summer rides a bike!!

At sea world. AJ on the left and Summer 2nd from the right.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

life flows on..

Time has been rolling blissfully by. Even the rain (yes, more and more rain), and the wind do not bother me like they once did. I feel warm from the inside out. I have not been using the computer much at all which has been kind of nice. We've had some running around to do (although these days I do less running and more strolling at a leisurely pace) and our place seems to be a central hangout for a lot of the kids in the park which is a lot of fun.

With the fall here, my seasonal inner need to bake was singing out so I bought a little counter top oven which was immediately christened with two loaves of pumpkin-orange bread, much to my families delight. I'm not much of a cook and I prefer simple, mostly fresh foods. I don't like cooking dinner, but I do like to bake breads, and sometimes cookies. I only have that urge when the weather is cool.

Yesterday we got Nicholas a little bike from an op shop. He's very proud of his red bike and looking forward to riding with his siblings and friends.

We've experienced lovely connections with various people and families staying in the park recently. There's been a mixture of families here on school holidays and others here for a spiritual retreat at a large center across the road. Such and interesting mix of people that we all get to enjoy.

It's AJ's birthday tomorrow and Cary leaves for the US the day after that. I'm going to go and get the baking pans out!


Monday, April 07, 2008

a simple life

I have been on the journey towards living more simply for years now. It's taken small steps forwards, backwards, around in circles...kind of like a dance.

Being here now, after doing the mental and physical work it's taken to get this far, I have found that it has become a very real and deep part of Who I Am.

The recent events with my Mum did not get under my skin like it would have in the past. I was able to deal with it and move on very quickly. I have no need or room for excess emotional baggage.

I'm sleeping more deeply and feel an inner peace that gives me a constant underlying feeling of calm, more often than used to be the other way around. It is something that I have been searching for for many years.

Sami (who now wishes to be called Summer), is/was still able to push my buttons. I was aware of it happening and made a decision that I did not want that to happen any more. It was not how I want our relationship to be. She had been spending a lot of time with a new friend but was a bit frustrated by the way the other friend tried to control Summer so she would come home and take her frustration out on me rather than alienate her new friend. I changed the way I reacted and stopped reflecting her frustration (my previous pattern) and gave her the love and safe space to vent she was really looking for.

Touching on the subject of names, I never really felt that Samantha suited our girl but liked Sami and she grew into both of those names. Summer was a name that I had considered while I was pregnant but then wasn't sure about naming a child after a season (even if it is my favourite season...I thought "what if she doesn't like summer, but is more an autumn or winter girl?") Anyway, there were other names I liked, but Cary did not. We did want a nice girls name that could be shortened to a tom-boy name and that's when we compromised on Samantha. Our girl has been saying for years that she didn't like those names or the name Anya which is what AJ called her from the time he first started to talk and which became a family name for her. A few days ago, she announced she wanted to be called Summer Jasmine Rain. She said that the name Summer just felt right and seemed to fit better. It certainly does suit her.

I have no problem with her changing her name if she wants. I think it's a valuable thing to do as we are constantly re-creating our selves and our identity as we move around the cosmic spiral coming in to Being Who We Really Are. A name is an outward expression of that and if she feels more free and in touch with that, I fully support her and anyone else who wishes to do that. Personally, I would change my name to River - sometimes deep and quiet, sometimes bubbly and fast, but always moving towards the goal of rejoining the Source (ocean/God).

I'm in such a great place right now on all levels. Very happy..

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Enjoying life

Thanks to friends for the comments on my previous post. To the friends that emailed me, I will get back to you - I have not been online much at all, but will catch up soon. I've actually been enjoying just BE-ing. Taking time to enjoy our water view, to listen to the wind through the trees, to be in the moment as much as I can remember.

I'm reading 'Conversations With God book 3' at the moment. Enjoying it slowly and letting it absorb as I go. A couple of nights ago I was wide awake in the middle of the night. I got the book and went outside and sat under the stars to read with my little headlamp on. I'd read a bit then spend time enjoying the magnificent sky. It was a brilliant setting to enjoy such a book. Really easy to Be in the concept that we really are All One.

Big news - the day after my birthday, Sami started riding her bike! She'd been on and off it a few times but hadn't really wanted to ride it strongly enough. I guess she got to a point where she wanted it so much that she was able to get over her fears and focus on the goal. Having her own bike, getting a new larger seat and a bell for it and seeing AJ having so much fun on his bike all contributed to her desire, but ultimately, she had to overcome the 'stuff' going on in her head that was stopping her. Cary held the seat while she got used to the balance and pedaling, walked around the block with her two or three times and then she was off! She now jumps out of bed in the morning and jumps on her bike. She is so excited about riding! It has increased her confidence in herself and she is more comfortable socially. She's mixing with the other kids here a lot easier, and will even go up to new people to chat to them. It is such a change from the Sami of a week ago. She puts so much pressure on herself that she talks herself out of something before ever really trying. Or she used to do that. This has been interesting for us to see how learning happens with her. She often says things like "I'm stupid". Boy, does that bother me! Being such an optimist and after years of positive affirmations etc, I don't know where she comes up with this. I used to say something like "no you're're very smart, loving, etc". That just didn't work so then I started saying "well, if that's what you think, then that's what you'll get. If you want to think that you can do this, then you'll be right about that too. It's totally your choice." She used to get annoyed at me for saying this, but I'm pretty sure she's given it some serious thought.

What else has happened this week?...After deciding against getting a house, we drove past a place with a "for rent" sign out the front that Cary wanted to look at. We called the owners and they came over. They were coming over anyway for an open house for it. Everything seemed to be falling in line. It was a nice enough place with a lot of room for Cary to store cars etc he'd have for sale. Cary seemed excited about that and I thought "if we get approved, then it must be meant to be". That night, the owners called and said that out of all of the applicants (rentals are very competitive here at the moment), they'd like to offer the place to us. I was not excited at all. So much for being "meant to be" - it just wasn't feeling right. After sleeping on it, thinking of all angles, Cary and I chatted about it the next day and decided to turn it down. I can't give up this lifestyle, I just love this freedom and outdoor living!

So we've been back and forth to the camping store looking at different options to make the outside a bit more protected but still open. We've put up a tarp on one end of the awning, angled down to the ground and at the other end, we put up one of those easy set-up gazebos with 'solid' walls on it. The walls are made of a very lightweight material but they give excellent protection from the wind and rain. In there we have our little fridge, the front-loading washing machine that I picked up from a yard sale for $40 (one load of washing at the laundry here costs $4 so it won't take long to be in front), the breadmaker sits on top of the washing machine, we also have two folding 4 shelf cupboards - one for clothes and the other is a pantry, and two plastic 5 drawer units, one for towels and one for craft supplies and games. The gazebo is 3m x 3m and we also have room for a few camp chairs in there (if it's too windy or wet to be outside) and a couple of other plastic storage boxes.

In trying to live more consciously, I do consider the type of material that our purchases are made from. If I buy something new, firstly I think "do I really need this?", then I think about what will happen to it when we've finished with it - can it be recycled? Living this lifestyle, I also need to consider weight for when we are traveling and the weather in case things get wet. The other factor is space so things that fold or stack are great. I'm happy with the way things are coming together and the choices we're making.

In the area outside of our camper, under the awning, we have our long folding table and bench seat as well as a folding 'camp kitchen' shelf which has a little 2 shelf zippered cupboard on one side under a flat top and an open shelf on the other side under another flat surface that our two burner stove sits on. Our plates, cups, mixing bowls and saucepans live in that. On the long table, we have a toaster, kettle, toaster oven, water jug and a little two drawer plastic unit for cutlery, wooden spoons, scissors, and all those other little kitchen bits and pieces.

I have remembered to charge the batteries on my digital camera so I will get some pics later today and post them soon.

Have a great day everyone!