Wednesday, December 30, 2009


We had a lovely Christmas day. The children woke us up at 4:50am, super excited for the day...

Nicholas in a calm moment..

and AJ when he opened his ipod touch...

Summer also received an ipod touch and they have been running through our monthly internet allowance to the point that we had to disconnect the Wi-Fi until the next billing cycle so that we can have a little left to do our stuff on the net.
My brother and sister-in-law visited for a few hours on Christmas morning which was really lovely. We played, ate, went to the beach and had a really cruisy day. No stress. Full of joy though, and simple pleasures.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I have a stack of Christmas cards on my desk but have not gotten around to writing on any of them. What on earth have I been doing?!!

Cary is coming home tomorrow!!!!! He will be here until May.

In case I don't get the cards written and sent...please know that I wish everyone a very happy and joy-full holiday season.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy 12th Birthday!

What a happy day she had...

markets, phone calls, gifts, chocolate, ice cream, fish n chips for lunch:

home made american-style pumpkin pie for her b/day cake (as per her request):

visitors, playing at the beach, watching movies and eating pizza.

Yeah, an excellent day for this 12 year old!

Happy Birthday Sunshine Girl!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Road trip photos..

AJ at "Captain Thunderbolts" cave:

Beautiful country sunset:

'Helping' cousin Katie and Uncle Bob set up their new pool. It turned into a very fun water fight for all, including those of us out of the pool, but some water did manage to stay in the pool so it could fill up:

On our way from my sister's place to my Mum's place, AJ saw a sign for a small chocolate factory. Which we just had to investigate. The kids enjoyed the free samples but the factory itself was not actually producing anything at the time. The best thing about the stop was the fantastic little museum just next door. The gentleman on duty there was very happy to explain different pieces to the kids and even encouraged them to play with the things!!!!!! They wrote with old pens that needed to be dipped in ink, they tapped messages in morse code and they particularly loved playing with the old telephone exchange in the photo below. This exchange was used in the town of Bagnoo at the post office. It opened in 1928 with one subscriber and was used for 50 years. The museum had two other telephones set up around the place that were connected to the exchange and the kids had a blast calling each other on the old phones.

On a drive with my Mum, we stopped for a play at Rainbow Beach. It was a bit crowded though - must have been 3 people on the beach at the time (!).

The boys loved the spider web...Nicholas climbed all the way to the top too.

There is this lovely big grassy hill in the town where my Mum lives:

which is great fun to run and roll down:

View from the top of the hill at sunset:

And now we are back home, safe and sound. The kids and the car all traveled well. We are getting back into our rhythm here, always on the lookout for new adventures and detours along the way!

Gifts in our garden:

Bushland beauty:

Beach magic:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

a little trip...

Life has been rolling along merrily for us lately. I love this time of the year with few clothes on and warm weather and tropical fruits and playing with friends and swimming in the ocean.

Cary is still in Vegas and the kids and I decided to take a little road trip to visit family. So often when I have taken trips, I wonder what it would be like to live in different areas I drive through. This time though, I was aware of deeply appreciating the beauty and the changing landscapes, but feeling no desire to move anywhere. I was enjoying being on the road, on an adventure. And I'm looking forward to going home again. We recently decided to extend our lease by another 6 months and I am very glad. I don't think we could find a better area to live in. At least for now. I don't want to stop taking trips, whether they are a few days or a few months or more. I think I've just found a nice balance within myself. And I've accepted our area as "home".

Our trip took several hours more than it should have due to some car trouble, but we ended up getting to my sisters house with the children and I happy and in one piece. The car however, had lost it's muffler and wasn't so happy. As we were part way over the Great Dividing Range, we lost one of the supports that holds the muffler up. I rigged it back up with a bungy cord. Knowing that would have a limited life span due to the heat, I was keen to get to my sisters house as soon as possible. But I could not resist a turnoff for "Thunderbolts cave". Captain Thunderbolt was a famous Australian bushranger and I just love that part of Australian history. We took the 3.4km round trip detour. It was a country area with just a few cows along the way so we could well imagine Captain Thunderbolt riding through there and we tried to imagine what he looked like and what he thought about and how he lived. I was fascinated by the cave, even though it was obviously not in the condition it was when C.T. hid there. There was a sign nearby saying that the cave had been deeper. Still, the fact that he had been there, was rather exciting to me.

A bit further down the road we lost the other muffler support so I used a belt to tie that end up. I noticed that the bungy was beginning to fray so I braided some hemp yarn and Summer finger knitted some cotton yarn and I used those little ropes to add to the support. Because we were delayed, we got to enjoy a magnificent sunset over pasture land. If we'd been further along, the sunset would have been hidden by trees. Such a beautiful gift! With 10kms to go to, thinking we would make it OK, I came to some recent roadworks, slowed down but hit a bump I just couldn't see in the dark. came the muffler except it did hang on where the belt was supporting it. I dragged it down the highway until I could find a safe place to stop. I pulled over and thought I should just let it cool off and then put it in the back of the car and go the rest of the way. The stars were coming out and they were so pretty! Another gift! We had stopped in front of a house set back a little way on a country property. After a while, the man of the house must have noticed me sitting there with the emergency flashers on and came out to ask if we were OK. I told him what had happened and he agreed that it would be OK to drive and helped me put the muffler in the car. My brother in law had already insisted on coming out to help me so I needed to wait for him. The country man offered us a drink. AJ said that we were out of water so he took one of our water bottles and filled that and brought us about 20 big oranges from his orchard...another gift!

If we had not taken the detour to the cave, we probably would have made it to my sisters house with the muffler still on, but we would not have had that adventure. Or all of those gifts! What happened to the car is a minor inconvenience. But it actually increased our joy of the day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

life learning here and now

I just read a great post titled 'Unschooling Thoughts' at Fall Down To Fly. The author, my friend Miranda, describes so eloquently the style of learning we also live by. Recommended reading for anyone wanting to know more about unschooling. Thanks Miranda!


I love it when the Universe confirms my direction with some kind of sign. In this case, it came after my recent ramblings on staying put in one place vs. moving around. I was at the library with the kids and a book caught my eye and drew me to is called 'Raising Global Nomads' by Robin Pascoe.

Just as I had concluded, her advice on page 5, when she was talking to some teens at an international school in the UK about what she was going to tell their parents: "Make sure your children know you love them; make them feel safe; protect them without overprotecting them, so they can learn to stand on their own two feet." and, "despite all the moving around, they, as loving parents, are your true home and bedrock of support."

I admit to flicking around the book, not feeling the need to read the entire thing. I found this other gem on pg 204:

Travel writer, essayist, and global soul Pico Iyer has written that "global citizenship does not mean giving up a sense of roots so much as extending our sense of what roots involve." It is my belief that parents ground their children with roots made of love and respect. The family's values, beliefs, and traditions are like the branches of a tree; the enriched childhood produces colourful foliage. Some leaves may appear later than others, but that's fine, too. It takes a lot of trees to create a forest, just as so many unique cultures make up our world.

I know this, and it is very kind of the Universe to show me that I really am on the right path.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Raw Drugs...and, how to get a Real Life...

I get regular emails called 'The Daily Raw Inspiration' from Jinjee at I really liked this one so I thought I'd pass it on...

Finally the scientific raw community is standing up and warning us about Raw Cacao! I absolutely love this talk that Dr. Brian Clement of The Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida gave about the dangers of Raw Cacao, and more particularly, how to get a real life instead of one that relies on stimulants!!!

Interviewer: I remember reading somewhere in one of your articles that you don't recommend raw cacao

Dr. Clement: That's for sure. Raw Cacao is a recreational food with a downside.

Interviewer: Everything else I've read says its good for you.

Dr. Clement: Of course, enthusiasts, people selling raw cacao are going to tell you it is good for you.

Interviewer: Can you please tell me why you do not think of it as good....

Dr. Clement: It is one of many "False Foods and Substances" (which is also the name of an article by Dr. Clement). There are many popular culture trends within the living food community. The pop culture trend of raw cacao is dangerous because chocolate, raw or not, is a stimulant and acts exactly like caffeine. Scientists at Florida Atlantic University told me that eating just 1 of the beans is like taking a gram of caffein.The reason we like these recreational foods is because we're really not ready to do what's right. We're not ready to eat what's going to build our bodies. We still want to have fun and we want to pacify our addictions. And nobody I know just eats raw chocolate. You put ungodly things that are high, high, high sugars like Agave syrup with it. Of course, the same people who tell you raw cacao is good are going to tell you Agave is low glycemic, is good for you. The real scientific community found that agave acts much the same way that corn syrup acts in your body. And so why you like it is because it is giving you a stimulant, its giving you a high, and its feeding your sugar monster. And just because someone who is not a scientist tells you that its good for you, you want to be pacified and go ahead and do it. My hope is that everyone gets to the point where food is no longer a recreational activity....That you get to the point where food is a fuel, and now you have fun in your life because you have a real life.....That food is no longer the ritual that gives us a high, gives us a kick, or pacifies a monster.....That we eat food and now we have life, we have fun, we have true recreation, we do sports, we're outside, we're with nature, we fall in love, we have good friendships, - that's what life's about. Its not food focused. Food focused is what I was at one point because I was trained by the culture that all of us live within and reside within that food was a social norm, that food was something you did to pacify your emotional state.... And so I became very good at it....I became 240 lbs. good at it! And the fact of the matter is until you develop a confidence in yourself, a security in yourself, and honor yourself, and understand yourself a little bit, and have the joy of life - you are going to use addictive substances like food. If food is not enough for you you'll go right on to booze, which is a drug, or even worse than that. And all of us seemlingly today want a stimulant to live, including raw chocolate and agave syrup, rather than becoming conscious enough so you don't need any of that and you're just enjoying that consciousness and just enjoying yourself because you see the goodness in life!

To hear Dr. Clement's talk and for loads more information about the dangers of raw cacao visit.... Joy!Jinjee

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's a beautiful day....

Such a magical, wonderful day! We started off with a cuddle, then some water, a little fruit and a walk to the beach. We passed several kids on their way to school and not one of them looked happy. And here we were, going to 'school' at the beach! Along the way, the kids stopped to look at bugs and climb trees and poles and we stopped for a while to watch a new cement driveway being laid and evened out. We have some of our most amazing conversations while walking or driving in the car. Today was no different and we discussed a variety of topics that is just too long to write here.

When we got to the beach, I was taking in the absolute beauty of the day and the water, when a couple of homeschooled kids we knew came running up to us. What a surprise to see some friends there with their Mum! We chatted for ages while the kids swam and built sandcastles and dug holes with connecting tunnels. Our friends are staying nearby while their new home is being built. What a truly lovely surprise.

Our friends had to go after a while and my kids and I went on the walk we'd planned, skipping through the waters edge and loving every single moment. The sun was getting hotter and we made our way home, smelling some of the beautiful flowers along the way.

I called Cary and had a nice long chat with him. I feel him with us, even though he is on the other side of the world. He is working so much though and I wish he would take some time off to go do something fun.

It's still only mid-morning, but so far, I feel like it has been a magical day because I feel so connected to my man and my children and my self and my part of the world and the whole ocean and the sky and love and spirit. I am so full of gratitude that I could almost burst into a zillion sparkling pieces right now...

Monday, November 09, 2009

another PS...

continuing my train of thought from the last post.... one of my main concerns has been my family. So many people say "children need stability and security". Maybe so. But do they really get that from living in one house for 18 years? Maybe if it's a nurturing home. And then so many of them move away to seek their own place in the world, often moving far away from their families.

I have wondered if I have somehow done a disservice to my children by moving them around. I mostly feel this when they talk about friends we've known along the way, and when they ask when can we get some pets. Apart from that, they are amazingly flexible and eager when we announce a new plan. I really don't think they've been harmed. Rather I think they've learned early the value in adapting; that change is a part of life; that whatever we need, we always manage to find; that you get from life what you think you will - if you plan on having fun, you will but if you think something is going to be hard work or painful, you're right about that too.

Lately I've been focused on thinking that we need to have a more definite plan. But as I've been striving to figure how and when and where and all that kind of thing, I've been mentally absent from my kids.

I came to the conclusion that, no matter where we are or what happens, our children will develop their own inner stability and security by knowing that they are loved and very worthy of an abundance of natures gifts. That they do not need material things to fulfill them, and that relationships with other people and themselves are more precious than gold. I remembered that raising these kids to be fully aware of Who They Are is my main goal - where we live and whatever else happens, is not as important as that. I Trust that that will continue to unfold the way it is meant to. I'm not going to over-think it anymore. Trying to force it will just create more long blog posts as I try to figure it out...especially if it's 1:30am in the USA and I can't call Cary to rattle on about this. And it will just take me away from where I really want to be...and where I am going right now... to connect with my kids.

PS.. and some reflecting

As a PS to my previous post, I want to add that the way I plan on making the rest of my life "magnificent", will not be by focusing on the 43.? years I supposedly have left, but by living as if today was my last day. I think that is a key to getting the most from life.

Some people experience a 'mid-life crisis' about this time, but perhaps that's just the people who have felt that they have not been able to live authentically so far, that the real them has been hidden by a mask their whole life. The mask of who they think they should be, not who they really are. And of feelings of being trapped by their current position in life and feeling that they have never really lived their dreams.

I have no need for a 'crisis'. I took off my masks a long time ago. I have achieved many of my goals.

I am finding myself reflecting more, perhaps I'm approaching an inner crossroad.

When I was young, I loved the house and the area where we were living. Surrounded by bush, near a creek and a lake and not far from the beach. I imagined that this house would always be my home base. That it would be the place I came home to visit after I had moved out, the place where my children would gather with their cousins, the place where the whole family would sing Christmas carols together while sitting on the verandah or swimming in the pool.

But when I was 13, my Dad was transferred to another area and we had to move. I went kicking and screaming and was a bit of a 'bad' girl for a year or so. But eventually, I started to calm down and regain that sense of security. I didn't find it in the house or in my family, but it came from inside of me. I realised that the move had shaken me off the merry-go-round / carousel that I had been on, and helped me discover the thrill of the roller coaster of life. And that no matter where I went, I'd still have ME.

I became a seeker of experiences of all kinds, I partied hard, I was a fitness fanatic, I scuba dived, went up in a hot air balloon, climbed to the top of Australia's highest mountain, I married, divorced, moved, changed jobs, changed cars, changed hair styles, explored, read, hiked, biked, travelled etc. How lucky am I to have lived on a tropical island?! How many people dream of that?! How lucky am I, that while living there, I reached an absolute realisation that I was Whole...that I didn't need any person or any thing to complete me...and then I met Cary, who enhances my life. He encourages and even fuels the pursuit of my dreams and does not see me as restless or crazy. He sees me as an adventurer on the sea of life, a pioneer in sometimes radical thinking in action, and the lover he has shared other lifetimes with.

So at this crossroad, a part of me is wondering if it is time to settle down- to plan on staying put in one place. I know I've spoken about wanting a little farm for a long time, but do I just idealise the opposite of what I have? (Not that I am doing a lot of travelling at the moment, but we are not sure of where we will be in another 6 months so that holds a similar feeling to travelling.) Isn't that a trick of the ego to keep one from staying connected to our true selves? There are things about having our own place that are very appealing - being able to have pets again, growing our own food - they are the main ones about the actual place. Opening the circle wider, we would also have a greater chance of being a part of the local community, helping and sharing and growing together. I wonder if having a place would give our children a sense of security. What if we didn't keep the place for whatever reason, - would they feel angry that their 'home' had been taken away from them? Or would their years of experience of not staying in one place have taught them that things are just temporary anyway? Would we all become so attached to the place and our 'things' that we forget how connected we can feel to the rest of the world when we don't have a lot of stuff? Can we maintain non-attachment so that our spirits remain free?

I'm concerned that if we do settle, I will feel trapped on the carousel. It's nice and pleasant and has little ups and downs and goes round and round in a predictable manner. Would I miss the thrill of the roller coaster? The loops and curves and ups and downs, but then right back up again, and when the ride is over, screeching in to stop, whooping and with a huge grin on my face saying "let's do it again!".

If we settled and went with the carousel option, we have the chance to build ...I almost said security, but I don't feel like anything is secure anymore. The world is on the brink of major change. I think we would build attachments to the land and the people and animals around us. But people can change. People we thought were friends can decide that they don't want that anymore. The land is vulnerable to bushfire and floods. Animals die. Nothing is permanent.

If we go with the roller coaster / travel option, we have to chance to experience the world. To not be held anywhere by commitments or 'stuff'. Our children get to see so much more, they get to experience different cultures and get a much broader view of life on earth. Does there have to be a goal when travelling? Surely the different experiences gives one a deeper sense of the world that may lead to an expanded sense of the self.

Pros and cons for both. It's time to close my eyes and listen to the song of my soul and see what is sung....

This post has been sitting for several days. I've been trying to feel the best way for us. Every option has an element of risk and a potential for great joy. We get more of whatever we focus on.

I know it's possible to make life whatever I want - thrilling, predictable, or's all in my mind.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

half way...

According to the Vitality Compass on the Blue Zones website, I will live 88.1 years. Which means that I am very slightly over the half-way point in my life. If I choose to believe that.

I am going to make them magnificent!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Vegetarian and the Fish

AJ has been talking about going fishing for a couple of months now. My brother Geoff and his wife, Viv, came to visit about the time his interest started. I know that they like to fish so I asked if they would like to teach AJ and they were keen. We just had to arrange a time that suited everyone, which came last weekend. Even though they live on a houseboat, it's on dry dock at the moment. So he hired a party pontoon and we enjoyed cruising out past Bribie Island.

Sometimes we stopped at some quiet beaches, sometimes we stopped in the middle of the water. Here's Uncle Geoff showing Nicholas how to use a hand reel:

And all of the kids in the water having a go:

I am a vegetarian, but not one of those that eat fish! When people find out I'm veg, they often ask me "do you eat chicken or fish?". Well if I DID, that wouldn't make me a vegetarian now would it? Why do people think that being a vegetarian just means you don't eat cows? Or that chicken and fish somehow aren't meat? I no longer go into a big rant about it, but if I'm asked, I just chose it to be an opportunity to enlighten the asker in a gentle way.
I initially became a veg without intending to. Over 15 years ago I tried the 'Fit for Life' program. After 6 weeks I realised that I had not eaten any meat in that time and I'd never felt better in my life! So I stayed veg. Cary turned veg for quite a while too, and his focus was more on the animal rights side which encouraged my interest in that area. We were members of PETA for a couple of years and that sort of thing.
So I went along on this fishing expedition, with no intention of getting involved. I completely handed the reins over to Geoff and Viv in that department, and I enjoyed being on the water, hanging out with family, the sunshine, the peace, the breeze. Totally accepting the fact that other people eat fish and the fact that AJ was so interested in learning about it. But not wanting anything to do with it.
So we were stopped at one quiet area in the water, and everyone else had some kind of line in the water. I was just sitting back enjoying the moment. I noticed that Nicholas and Summer were getting their hand lines close and I didn't want them to get tangled so I suggested that Nicholas moved over next to where I was sitting. I helped him get positioned and as I was suggesting he hold his hand reel on the inside of the boat (so it didn't accidentally fall in) and he can just hold the line in the water on the outside of the boat like 'this' (and I held the line)....we got a bite! I was so shocked that I let go of the line, not wanting there to be a fish on it really. But there was and Nicholas was jumping up and down so I pulled the fish up. Nicholas was sooooo excited! I was still in shock. Luckily it was too small so it was released. But it was the only fish caught that day so he was pretty pleased with himself.

Uncle Geoff let all of the kids have a turn of driving which they thought was fantastic!

Thanks G & V...we had a great time!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

natural parenting

From the time Summer was born, we have been doing "attachment parenting". It's based on tribal child-raising practices. I have just come across this great article by Sagacious Mama, of why western style AP doesn't always work as well as it does for the tribal mamas. Basically, it's because we do not live in tribes. Of course! But how many of us try to replicate those philosophies - carrying our babes in slings during the day, sleeping with them at night, being there for every single moment?... Tribal mamas share those things with other family members. They are not the sole provider of care, and even when they are caring for their babes, they are surrounded by support 24/7, unlike western mamas who might get that kind of support just a couple of hours a week.

I am not saying that western-style AP cannot work, but perhaps there is a way it can work better than it is. I know there have been many times when I've felt drained and lost sight of who I am as a person and as a wife, in my attempt to be the best AP mama I could be. I think we need to start by better gentler with ourselves. Knowing it's okay to say "no" to requests that would over-stretch us, knowing it's okay to put ourselves first sometimes, knowing it's okay to have a trusted friend or family member stay with our kids for a while so we can have a date with ourselves or our partner.

In the absence of larger tribes, I see the value in extended families sharing a home, or at least sharing some land. Community living is becoming much more popular as people are realising that they have been missing something by living in crowded cities, yet so isolated from community.

I am proud of the way I have parented my children so far. I do wish though, that I would have had someone say "it's okay to let others be involved in this - it won't give your mama power away, your children will still love you". Maybe they did say that, but I wasn't listening because I thought that others would then do it their own way and not my way and that would be confusing for the kids. So..much better to have a stretched out mama who was sometimes too tired to be any thing for any one. No.

I cannot change the past, but I am ready to actively create my future that includes settling in an area where we can stay and form bonds and be a part of a community. A blend of tribe and western life. I don't plan on giving up the internet or libraries or my car. I do plan on growing food and growing friends and growing family and growing... connections. To find a balance of being present for my children, and being in touch with who I am, and not being afraid to share either.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Following Your Heart...

"...and what does it mean," I asked, "to follow your heart?" She laughed and beat on her drum. "So you want my secret recipe?" she said. I said yes.
"To follow your heart is as simple as closing your eyes and listening to the rhythm of your soul song. Once you find the beat you will always walk in tune..."

- from 'The Persistence of Yellow' "a book of recipes for life." by Monique Duval

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I've been reading the Ringing Cedars (Anastasia) series of books. At times I've felt incredible joy, at times I've felt as though my relatively simply life could be oh so much more simple and meaningful. The books are waking up parts of me that I already knew and showing how it could be possible to live a life even richer in connection to the earth and spirit and others. They have me questioning so many details of my life - from noticing little things like new shoots and natural gifts (more often than I already did), to bigger things like where and how I live, eat, think, act, speak, etc. As I continue this journey, the 'coincidences' increase, my awareness expands and at times I feel very sensitive. I'm trying to process these new (old) thoughts and feelings and I am longing for some absolute quiet, -no man-made sounds only the sound of the ocean or the bush...which I'm just not finding. Maybe accepting that is a part of the process.

It is time for the Jacaranda trees to show their glorious purple colours. We went for a drive through some country-type areas 10 minutes from our house where I tried to capture the colour, but this does not do it justice.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Peace fun

We went to a Peace Walk in Byron Bay on Sunday. It was a part of the - the actual part of the world march in Australia was happening in Sydney, but this was a local gig to support that effort and help raise the energy. The theme: "We want Peace and Non-Violence".
AJ's foot :

Nicholas walking a little labyrinth that I drew in the sand.

Summer and a new friend drawing "the biggest peace sign" in the sand.

To get to this event, we had left our place in beautiful sunshine and drove almost an hour, into rain and cool weather. The weather was not very nice and we thought the Walk may be cancelled. But we parked, wrapped ourselves in towels and blankets and wandered down to the beach where the walk was to take place. We found one other family there - a homeschooling mama (who had arranged the walk) and her three kids. The rain held off for a while so we played on the sand to see if anyone else wanted to brave the weather. No one did, but it was ok because we had a fabulous time! We clicked so well with this other family, like we had been friends for a long time. We ended up going back to their place for the afternoon. The kids found plenty to amuse themselves...the pegs were a big hit! -

Friday, October 02, 2009

a conversation...

Nicholas ran up to me and asked "Mama, are we real?"
Trying to understand his meaning, I slowly said "wellllllllll, if we are not real, what else could we be?"
Nicholas: "Robots"
Me: "hmm, I guess that depends on how awake we are. I think you are very real!"
Nicholas, with a huge grin: "Yeah!"

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Original Play

Here is a link to a little video about Original Play by Playing By Heart author, O. Fred Donaldson . He talks about there being a big difference between how a lot of people play with their kids (because we just didn't know any other way), and how animals in the wild play with their own kind. A lot of play with kids, especially boys, is based on rough-housing, wrestling, tickling - with an underlying feeling of it being controlling and agressive. In nature, animals will still wrestle, but in a much more fluid manner - imagine dolphins gliding over and around each other, rather than ramming into each other.

There are three parts to this series, if you have limited time, just watch the second part.

Click on Original Play, then Original Play again and then the part you want to watch.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

a hike and a park..

We went for our favourite hike yesterday...

did a little climbing and saw some whales playing in the ocean. Yeah, I love it here!

Today we went to our local park..this is the main play structure. If you click on the photo you'll see up close all of the 'do not climb' signs (I guess they have to cover themselves to prevent a lawsuit)

So, of course, my climber boy climbs up on top:

And shows what he thinks of the sign!

cheeky little monkey!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

about AJ

As we walked along the beach, AJ stopped to pat yet another dog and talk to its owner. He was quiet for a while after that and then suddenly announced "I think I'll be a vet when I'm older". I said "ok". Then he asked what he would have to do in order to be that and I spoke about going to University, the little bit I knew of Vet studies from a friend who had started going that route, and what the work would involve. He was quiet for a while and mulled things over.

AJ has always been a "thinker". When he was two his favourite book was one one airplanes - it showed cross sections of large planes and detailed photos of engines and other technical stuff. He prefered books that had photos of real things, not drawings or cartoons. When he was three he knew his way around the computer well enough to turn it on and off properly and get to fun games on the 'net. He likes to observe people and animals and things and has incredible patience when he is watching animals or trying to grasp some new bit of knowledge. He'll often see things from a different angle to how I see them, or will see some fine details I never even noticed. He's never in a rush and takes his time in life....whether it's a game or a meal that may take him an hour to finish as he often wanders around in between taking bites as if food was just something to just fuel his body, not a big deal. He's always had that approach, even when he was nursing. He is usually very gentle and sensitive and considerate, and sometimes we see a very fiery side when he feels wronged like when his chatterbox brother keeps interrupting him.
When he was 7.5 yrs, he started reading. Just from years of being read to and a recent interest in learning it for himself, and also asking some questions about what different letter combinations were. One moment I was reading him a story then he suddenly said "now let me read to you". And he did. He loves joke books and currently has a huge pile of them out from the library. He loves to read jokes to us all in the car whenever we go anywhere, even if it's a 2 minute trip. It drives Summer batty as some of the jokes aren't all that funny and a lot of them I need to explain the humour behind the joke, but I love that he likes to try and make us laugh.

Obviously AJ has been giving thought to what he wants to do when he is older. So in the past two weeks, he's explored the Vet option a little more, also - becoming a pilot and owning a large jet, a small aircraft, two helicopters, an army jet, and (something else, I forgot). Also, doing animal rescue and being able to care for the animals on his farm; owning an internet company and inventing some new tools to assist everyone who uses the net (he specifically mentioned some ideas); being an explorer - he is particularly interested in the Bermuda Triangle at the moment.

During the course of all of these ideas, with him wandering around with me as I pull weeds or hang out washing, a constant excitement in his voice as he talks to me about how he could do all of these different things, I brought up the subject of where he might want to live. He seemed shocked to think he would ever possibly want to live anywhere else except near me. Summer and Nicholas were around for that conversation and they agreed that they were also going to stay with us. I suggested that we get a big bit of land and we can all have our own area so AJ can keep his animals safe in his bit while Nicholas rides motorcycles around his bit and Summer and I have big vege gardens, fruit trees etc.

Then that sparked off many days of them each planning their own houses, how to build it - what are the options?, who is going to build it, how big, how many rooms, basement?, garage, etc. What they are each going to call their places and so many other details. I love unschooling and how one idea leads to another and how much freedom there is in exploring each option until they are ready to move on! And I love that, even knowing my faults, my kids still love me and want to stick around for a very long time. (At the moment anyway, I am fully aware that that may change.)

I can learn a lot from AJ, especially his patience. In some ways we are very similar. Both Aries, both born in the year of the Snake, both of our blood runs cool and we prefer the warm weather, we both prefer simple food. I was a very fussy eater when I was a kid, as is he, so I've never made a big deal of it for him. Where he is a thinker, I am a feeler. I too, can be very fiery when provoked although I am mellowing with age, or maybe, finally, a little maturity. He is very much in the moment and aware of so much more than a lot of people give him credit for. I can easily drift into that feeling of being Present when I slow down and allow myself to just Be with him.
AJ loves to play with his sister and brother, but if Summer doesn't want to play, he'll annoy the heck out of her to get any kind of attention from her. That has been bothering me as I want her to feel comfortable and safe in her own home but sometimes he just pushes her a bit too far. I needed to write this to remind myself of some of the wonderful things that AJ is. I'm glad I did.
Life is full of so many exciting boundaries in the mind of an unschooled child!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dust storm and rockclimbing by the beach...

We had a freaky dust storm here a few days ago. Very eerie! The sky was orange and the sun looked like it was blue. We were out when it hit but went home and closed all of the windows and stayed in until it had well and truly passed.

The local city council put on some free rockclimbing in a park not far from us. They had four climbs up an 11 meter portable climbing wall. AJ made it to the top of all of them!

The wall was right next to the beach:

Nicholas had wanted to decorate his feet before we went out. (he had a little help):

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back to calm..

I've been feeling so calm for weeks. Whenever I felt myself getting out of alignment, I was aware and able to get back on course almost right away. I felt so full, so in love with my life and my family.

Then something happened that made me very sad and confused. I can't go into details here. While I was trying to process that, I didn't realise that the old ego was worming it's way into work by bringing to mind things that hadn't been bothering me at all and then making a big deal of them. Suddenly I was feeling irritable and a little bothered that I couldn't get a moment to myself. Nicholas' constant chatter seemed very loud. AJ seemed to be on a mission to break a world record in annoying his sister who kept complaining to me and the cycle went round and round until I finally found myself snapping and acting in a way that I felt was just not very nice. I knew I needed to exercise, to get out and move the energy around. Summer has a cold and doesn't feel good. I can't leave her at home and it wouldn't be fair to drag her on a long hike. I cleaned the house and did some yardwork, but still there was a vague feeling of discontent within me, like an itch I couldn't quite reach.

As I attempted to find the real source of my bother, my kids became more wild which distracted me even more which made me even more bothered. Oh dear.

Yesterday we went to the creek. I was very pent up and needed to move. Nicholas got on a new blow-up dolphin ride-on pool toy and I pushed him on that while I walked across the netted swimming area - back and forth, gradually getting deeper and letting my body adjust to the cool water until I was too deep to walk and I pushed him while I swam. Then AJ joined us on a boogie board and we raced across several times, laughing and playing and releasing. It felt so great to get back to Me. We lay on the sand digging holes and tunnels and making sand castles, we swam some more, back and forth. Summer swam a bit, played on the sand and just enjoyed the healing sunshine.

I noticed a mother calling her child for him to get some more sunscreen on. He was about 3 yrs old and very busy playing in the sand. When he didn't come right away, his mother started shouting at him and he started running away. Then the father came after him, grabbed him and took him up to the mother. The child ran, the father got angry and ran and grabbed and took him up again and forced him to sit in a time out. When the child ran again, he was grabbed, hit, yelled at and again, forced to sit and be ignored. It made me very sad to watch. What had started as a matter of concern (applying sunscreen), became an issue of control ("you WILL listen / do as I say") and coercion. When then child attempted to have his side heard, realised it was not going to be and then demonstrated his will, he was punished.

I was sad for the little boy and could see his heart breaking a little bit and he sat, ignored, will broken for now. I tried to not be judgemental of the parents as I realised that when I got out of balance the day before, I had not been listening to my children very well either. I did not go to the extremes that the father had in this case, but I just wasn't very nice. Instead of wallowing in guilt, I increased my resolve to maintain my own calm. To be even more aware of my own Being and when things are throwing me off track and to give priority to staying balanced instead of putting it off. Because when I don't give me enough attention, it affects everyone and makes it harder for everyone to get back on track. When I am calm, the whole family has a harmony around us. Even disagreements with the kids are resolved quickly and respectfully. Even when things seem rough outside, I can manage to remember that we are ok, no matter what happens, and all is well.

This most recent even threw me as it was so unexpected and caused me to wonder about a lot of other things that I thought I knew well. But it's ok and I'm learning from it. I'm learning to appreciate more deeply the people in my life right now. And I'm learning to be grateful for all experiences that come into my life, even the ones I don't expect and that cause some pain. Because everything reminds me of the person I really am and the kind of person I plan on being in another 5 years, 5 months, or 5 minutes. And that is

Connected - to myself, to Spirit and to others;
Aware - of all the little and big things that bring joy into our lives and cause shifts in the harmony of our days;
Loving - out of love flows kindness and patience and respect and trust and joy and depth and everything good;
Me - authentic me, with my flaws and my greatness and my goals and my feelings and experiences and interpretations. And gentle acceptance of all of that.

Yep, that the person I am - CALM.

The more I can maintain that, the greater the ripple effect will be...

Saturday, September 19, 2009


I am so excited - the morning air seems to have lost its crispness! There is a definite warmth underlying the first cool breath of morning air. Summer is coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In the past few weeks...

AJ now has a climbing partner for the backyard clothesline:

AJ has been talking a LOT about going fishing. He's never been before and we see a lot of people fishing whenever we go to the creek. So the kids got their little butterfly nets and we went to the dock next to a park near us. The fish were too quick to catch, but the kids had fun trying.

My Mum was visiting and we went for a drive to a part of the rainforest called the Natural Bridge. In involved a short hike through this:

..crossing over a little creek...

..before getting to the Bridge (which was really more like a big hole in a big rock):

You used to be able to swim in there, but sadly that's been banned.

The view from the top of the "bridge":

Afterwards we went to this fantastic playground. Not fantastic because of the equipment, but because of the setting. The huge gum trees, the massive rocks behind it, a large grassy area around us, a little creek running alongside....and no one else around. We felt so free being there.

In roof of the picnic gazebo, we had a little visitor as we were eating lunch:

..This little mama and her mate were very busy building their nest.

After lunch, Grandma taught the kids how to make bows and arrows out of sticks and string:

..they worked great!

Playing on the sand - Summer and Lucille (the dear, sweet baby of our good friend Tanja. Tanja also has a 5 year old son, Matti who is Nicholas' best friend.)

Playing in our new little pool in the backyard:

I love this photo of Summer. She sometimes calls herself Sam now as some people couldn't remember to call her Summer after so many years of calling her Sami. She doesn't mind. Several days ago she decided to cut her hair short. Just made a big pony tail and snipped it off. She is very happy with it shorter and keeps grinning at herself in the mirror, rather chuffed with herself. I love this photo of my calm, content Summer Sam, with her short hair, in natural setting of the creek and the bush that she loves. And I love the t-shirt too!

AJ sucking on a cup. His lips looks looked so funny when he was doing this.

AJ practicing his balancing: