Thursday, November 27, 2008

Drama & Music ~ Summer

Summer has now finished her homeschoolers music and drama classes for the year and enjoyed the end of year concert. In the photo above, the girls in the class did a mime where Summer played a ballet teacher, the rest of the girls were her students. She left the room for a moment and while she was gone, the girls put on some rock n roll music and danced around crazily. She came back in, appeared to be horrified and sent them out of the room. When they were gone, she put the rock music back on and let loose. funny.

This photo above was taken during the music section. The kids were so good, I wished they had done a longer performance.

Happy girls at the end of the show.

Summer played a witch, and had the largest role, during the main play which was a send up of Sleeping Beauty.

The morning of the concert, I was not sure if we would make it as the car was playing up again. However, it decided to behave in the afternoon after I had spent an hour looking into rental cars or taking the bus and train. I've had two mechanics look at the car and they couldn't figure it out. AJ just has two more weeks of gymnastics and then we really don't have anywhere we have to be and can use our bikes for most of the trips we need to make, except when it's raining which it has been doing a lot lately. Our garden is loving it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Creek time

Once again, blogger is putting my pics on in reverse order. oh well, I'll have to start loading them in reverse order.

We've been getting a lot of rain showers lately. Not every day, but most days have at least a little shower. Nicholas was excited to go to the creek to try out his new rash shirt ('rashie' as they are called here). He had chosen it himself and thought the pirate skull & crossbones was much better than the other options of crocodile, shark or nothing. So yesterday, in between showers, we drove to the creek. The car seems to be doing ok on short distances only. As we couldn't ride, and I thought it too far too walk, especially if it started to pour down, so we drove. We pretty much had the creek to ourselves. The beach had a lot of debris on it from the wind and rain knocking leaves and twigs out of the trees. And the sand seemed darker than usual. But we had a lot of fun, as usual.

The boys making drippy sand castles.

The creek is right next to the caravan park that we used to live in. That's Summer sitting under the green and white umbrella on the sand and you can see some caravans behind her. We often go for a wander through the caravan park and reminisce.

It's such a peaceful spot. Unless it's the weekend and there are boats out skiing on the creek.

Our Summer girl.

Playing next to or in the water is the thing the kids love doing together the most.

Our little pirate....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


We've been spending a lot of time at home lately. Firstly with the chickenpox, and now with a car that's playing up. We still have our bikes, right? Well not since Sunday when Summer's bike broke. The frame just snapped. Next - strong legs and an excellent bus system.

It's like we're meant to spend more time here though. So we're making the most of it. I don't think it's just the things we are doing here, it's the mindset shift it's creating as I think about how we can be more efficient and self-sufficient.

I've been thinking a lot about food - diet - nutrition lately. So many 'experts' claim to have found the best diet, suitable for everyone. I recently tried eating only raw foods again, eating low fat and simply. I started out feeling great, but didn't stay that way. So at the moment I'm eating fresh foods throughout the day and often have something cooked vegan at dinner time with a large salad. I'm reading a lot about human evolution specifically regarding diet. I'll have more to say on this in another post, but right now, it's time to put my mommy hat back on and tend to my tribe.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Christmas without Santa

My kids have been very curious about the 'truth' about Santa for quite a while. Last Christmas, Summer was starting to question the whole Santa concept, but for the sake of the boys, I explained that Santa is the spirit of Christmas and spoke about that rather than the guy living in the North Pole with the sweatshop..oops, workshop of elves making toys. AJ was so into the whole Santa thing last year, and his excitement was contagious. However, he was a bit disappointed on Christmas morning when he didn't get the things he had asked for. I think he felt a bit ripped off by the man in the red suit who had said he would "see what he could do" about getting AJ a Nintendo Wii system, among other things.

But recently AJ decided to give him another chance and wrote out a huge long list of things that he wanted. Oh gee I thought, he's really going to be disappointed this year. But he was also questioning the whole concept. He wanted to believe but was listening to Summer and her doubt. I mentioned the whole spirit of Christmas theme again, but they weren't really buying it. AJ was hanging onto his belief in an effort to hang on to some of that childhood magic, but at the same time, wanted to be in on a secret that he was sensing was being kept from him.

I couldn't take it any more. As AJ's list was getting longer, the questions were coming faster. I had to weigh up major disappointment on Christmas morning after a big build up to the day in his mind, or bursting a bubble right here and now. When he asked me again "is Santa real?", I just knew that it was time. I took hold of his big balloon bubble and let the air out as slowly as I could. Summer was fine, just glad to finally know what was going on and her suspicions had been confirmed. AJ looked a little sad, but we all had a magical discussion about the spirit of Christmas. I shared stories of some of my childhood Christmas celebrations. We spoke about making Christmas more meaningful and how we could (now) focus on other aspects of Christmas besides presents. We spoke about keeping Christmas magical in other ways. The conversation turned around and we were discussing advertising and marketing strategies and how we can look at ads and see behind the glitz. Nicholas had been sitting quietly (a rather rare thing when he's awake) throughout most of the conversation and then added a rather involved comment on babies being given dummies/pacifiers and wondered why he had never had one. (?Don't know where that came from.) But we were able to turn that one back around to the Christmas discussion somehow. When I was speaking, Summer and AJ listened with such interest and respect. They did not interrupt me, or fight with each other and they gave each other the same courtesy when they were speaking. It's as though we all knew it was a significant moment.

Sitting there, watching my two older kids grow up just a bit more, was a very special time. I feel a mixture of sadness and relief and happiness that we can change the direction of our Christmas celebration to one that I think will bring a lot more meaning. It was a moment that I wanted to go on and on, but the children were getting tired and decided to go to bed. It will always be in my heart.

Beach Bike & a lesson

I forgot to mention, when we went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, it started out a beautiful, warm sunny day. Half way through we were sitting down to watch a bird show and got poured on. It turned quite chilly too. Luckily I keep a change of clothes in the car for the kids so they were able to get dry and warm up a bit. The next day it rained most of the day and it felt like winter. I even made vegetable soup for dinner. But the day after...absolutely glorious beach weather so that's what we did. With our handy dandy beach bike trailer all set to go, we had a great time. Everything that we need (including the yellow dump truck!) we are able to get in the box or strapped on the trailer. I still get several admiring comments every time we go out.

After my recent episode of 'losing it' that I posted about, I spent some time trying to figure out why that happened. I certainly would not have acted like that if I had friends here. Is the fact that I felt alone part of the frustration? I realised that I may not have a physical friend here, but that God is always here. So I made a couple of little signs that say "God is here", and put one in the office area and one in the kitchen. They remind me that I am not alone, and that I do have a friend here so I can relax and perhaps even think twice about my own behaviour and the example I want to set. It's working well for me.

Wild Things

Why did all of the photos I just put in come on in reverse order to what I did them? Oh well.

We had a 50% off coupon to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. I am not a fan of places with animals in captivity, but for the sake of education, especially for AJ who just loves animals and birds, I decided it was too good a deal to pass up. We looked out the window on tuesday morning. It was a beautiful day (though I should have checked the weather channel). So off we went.

The kids and a new friend. They loved the large kangaroo area as they could pat lots of roos. Unlike the wild roos we had living near us 2 years ago who would bound away if we got too close.

The kids got to hold a baby croc. I did too and was so surprised that it was so soft! Now I understand the attraction to its skin for shoes and other fashion accessories. (I certainly do not agree with it though.) It was just beautiful to hold. The kids also got to hold a snake and a possum but those photos did not come out very well. I could have purchased the photos their on site photographer had taken for $12.50 each ..cough cough. I don't think so. I'll stick to our blurry pics. I felt kinda bad for the animals that everyone was holding and what they must be feeling. Were they scared? Were they used to it and therefore ok with it? I don't know, but my kids now have a better knowledge of those critters.

This is a mama and joey. It is the same pair as in the next photo. Check out how squished in that joey is in the pouch. It's face and feet are hanging out, upside down. Comfy!?

This little train went around the park. It had about 7 carriages behind it that each carried 10 people. Of course we had to ride it quite a few times.

Kids pretending to be crocodile hunters.

During the eel feeding, many of these long eels came to shore to feed on day old male chicks from a hatchery. Which is what the guy is holding in the tongs. I almost threw up. The guy doing the presenting said several times "we get the chicks for free!!". Barf.

During the pelican feeding, we learned that the male pelicans get 'coloured up' at mating time. They get the blue stipe along their beak and some other blue bits and their feet and legs go blue as well.

We have these flowers growing on a tree in our backyard. They start out white and the colour changes to this dark pink and sometimes goes white again before going pink again. We did an experiment and put some blue food colouring in the water to see if that would change the colour of the petals, but it only went up the stem. Maybe if we'd left it in longer it would have gone further, but the flower started wilting.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

good example... not

Tonight I showed my kids how NOT to deal with frustration. And boy oh boy do I feel lousy about that. But, they were very understanding and forgiving. It was a few minutes of me ranting and raving and included some throwing of cushions just for some extra dramatic effect. Yeah. Real good example mum.

Yesterday (Friday) we went out in public for the first time in over a week. We did go out in the car on Monday to take the kids to their classes, but I didn't get to socialise as I had to stay with Nicholas and his chickenpox. We're used to being able to go out whenever we want so the forced isolation was a bit challenging. I felt trapped for a while until I realised that if I made it a choice - that we were choosing to stay home rather than we HAD to stay home - it could be so much nicer for my head. And it was. But we were excited to go out again. When I got on the road, I felt crowded by all the other traffic. We went to a mall to get a few supplies and I realised it was fairly quiet compared to usual, but it still felt like too many people there.

I want to connect with others. But I don't want crowds.

I want to live simply. But I don't want to live alone, or too far from others, or some of the conveniences of a town.

I want to be a part of a community in real life. I am greatly appreciating some online connections, but it would be nice to connect face-to-face too.

We went out again today. First we went to some yard sales. My favourite purchase was a carpet sweeper. Works well too and saves plugging in the vacuum. Plus, the kids think it's "fun"!!! I'm looking for a push mower. Most people I'm talking to about them say "oh they're too much hard work". Unbelievable. We've become a rather lazy society. I can't stand the smell of a petrol mower - or the noise. I want a push mower for a kinder effect on the earth and I think it would be a good workout. And my kids will probably think it's fun too!

Nicholas' favourite purchase today was a kids size Spiderman fold out foam couch. He has dragged that thing around with him everywhere in the house this afternoon. And now, he's sleeping on it.

After the yard sales, we went to a health food store that was having some raw food demos going on. I was excited to go and sample some goodies and meet some folk that I'd been chatting with online. We got there and there were lots of people in a small space. I didn't get to chat much because I got overwhelmed and my kids were also feeling that I think because they started fighting and Summer was saying 'but it's RAW food mum...we hate that". I explained that it's something that interests me and I have been looking forward to connecting with some new friends. It just wasn't the place to do that though so we left, though I felt the first niggling of frustration as the social interaction I'd been needing and looking forward to, didn't really happen. The kids did not like the gourmet foods, but they all loved the raw ice-cream.

Late in the arvo I made a big salad and sat down for the first time that day, to enjoy some quiet (the kids were busy) and eat. 30 seconds after I sat down, the boys both found me and "mum....question / comment....mum. question etc..mum...". I started getting a little agitated, but let it go and thought about something a beautiful friend sent me. Something about motherhood being about self-sacrifice and from that comes grace and from that comes true beauty or something like that. I gave the boys some attention and then they went off again. After that, lots of little things piled up on top of each other. The place was a mess, the kids had been fighting, there was washing to fold, dinner to get, etc...I had to let my frustrations out. Then I apologised and rearranged the furniture a bit. The energy just wasn't flowing the way things were and I think that was bothering me too. It feels sooooo much better now. The kids didn't want the vege sausages I cooked them for dinner. They usually love them. They wanted fruit (raw food!) instead. go figure!

So now my angels are sleeping. And tomorrow is a new day, and we're planning on making it a very happy one. Hope yours is too.