Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Culture clash?

Cary sent me this photo that he took recently near his brothers place in Indiana. The Amish horse and buggy hitched to a post outside the walmart. Hmm.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

more recent pics

An afternoon stroll a few days ago..
Sand, surf, sun, sticks & sweet Summer!

sliding down little sand hills...

and sinking into the sand!

A Stroll along a beachside path earlier today...

We love the fitness track at Burleigh Heads that runs alongside the beach.

Here's Nicholas & AJ doing dips and playing on some push-up bars. You can see the ocean behind them.

Summer on the pec-deck. If you notice behind her and to the left, you can see the top of some steps..

this is the view down those steps.

I just love this - the sun sparkling on the ocean. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE it here? How much I feel fulfilled? How content I feel here? Oh yeah. Happy, happy, happy!

AJ on a balancing beam. There are 5 stations close together here with a kids playground on the other side of the walking / biking track. Probably so parents can workout with more variety while their kids play. Most of the stations have a larger space in between them.

Nicholas on the balancing beam. There's that beautiful ocean again through the photo. What a way to work out! It also sounds sooo good and smells great and looks fantastic.

recent photos

What's eating the fish? We've been finding fish like this on "our" beach recently. Sometimes just one, sometimes several, sometimes none. Once we even saw one still in the water, barely alive, still trying to breathe, but not able to swim. I'll have to ask the Surf Lifesavers when I see them again.

This was at a homeschool gathering that had a science theme for the day. One of the Dad's is a Scientist and was happy to share some basic science knowledge and experiments. This photo shows what was supposed to be an experiment measuring the time it took to run 10 meters with different loads on the tarps. As most of the kids are unschooled, it took on a whole new twist and became a sledding game! I'm not sure how happy the scientist was after that!

AJ & friends

Annette & Summer - we're sitting in the car of the roller coaster right before Summer's first ride on it.

Easter Bunnies!

Dewy spider's web hanging from our clothesline.

Nicholas holding a little house he made (with some help from Mum) at a homeschool woodworking day recently. The bit of bark on the side has a window in it. The long piece on the top is a "diving board for the fairies". Love it!!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Can you believe he's 8?!!!

Happy Birthday AJ!
We spent the day at Sea World where AJ was in heaven patting and feeding sting rays, watching the dolphins play, the fairy penguins, sea lions, a polar bear, sharks, and a huge assortment of marine life. AJ & Summer went on only a couple of rides as the lines were too long due to it being a glorious warm sunny day and school holidays. So it was rather crowded, but we knew it would be so we only planned on wandering around enjoying the day. We had so much fun!
AJ had 'birthday power' all day so he had chosen the food for the day and where we went. He chose a healthy form of cocoa pops for breakfast, cheese balls, caramel popcorn, pbj's and goodie bags with favourite candy for the day, party pies and sausage rolls for dinner and marble cake with chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. Just about the perfect day for this 8 year old I'd say! We just wished that Cary could have been here.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

An evening with The Doctor

Funny weather lately. Rain on and off..warm, cool...never quite sure how to dress. It was sunny when we woke up yesterday so after breakfast we got ready to ride our bikes to the creek so the kids could play with their new butterfly / fish nets. As we got on our bikes it started to rain gently. Oh well...should I drive? Maybe...nah, let's just ride. So we did. By the time we got to the creek, it had stopped and it stayed fine. The kids had great fun trying to catch little fish and just splashing around while I hung out on the shore chatting to my man in the USA on my little pink mobile phone.

The afternoon saw us at the playground. Nicholas spent the whole time being AJ's shadow. Doing everything AJ did. Nicholas thought some other kids were picking on him and started telling them off. He is not afraid of speaking up when he perceives a wrong, but sometimes he speaks too soon. Nicholas told me with great passion everything that had happened. I went with him and spoke with everyone and they were able to figure things out and went off all together playing happily. No grudges, just "lets move on and have fun". - The things we can learn from children!

After dinner, we all sat down to watch "The Biggest Loser". Just the title of that show was enough to put me off it for a couple of years, but when we were in the caravan, with very limited tv options, we did start watching it. Through that, the kids have learned more about the importance of taking care of their bodies, and how much the state of our body can influence the state of our minds. The majority of the contestants start out with very low self-esteem, but as they improve their health, their esteem rises also. I don't happen to agree with a lot of the methods they use, and I think a lot of it is probably acting anyway so I don't take it too seriously. In the past week, it was towards the end of this series when the contestants "face their fears" in an extreme way - jumping off the ski of a helicopter into a lake, white-water kayaking, sky-diving, etc. This obviously had an impact on Summer as she talked about this before going on the roller coaster with me at Movie World this week. Twice!

Nicholas fell asleep after "BL" but it was too early for the rest of us. We have been getting 'Doctor Who' DVD's from the library that are filling in the gaps from episodes we haven't seen on tv. As well as enjoying again some of our favourite episodes. Not the older hokey episodes with the cheap sets and costumes, but the episodes from 2005. Oh they are sooo good! Our favourite show for sure. Last night we watched three episodes from the end of series two. I have been waiting for these and was not disappointed. As we got further into it, the kids got closer and closer to me on the couch until we were sitting there tightly squeezed like a sandwich. A squashed sandwich. On the edge of the seats. Laughing, in suspense, and then crying. I love the way these shows weave so many threads around each other and still leave possibilities open.

We recently bought a larger musical keyboard. The kids have been playing around with tunes and the different instrument sounds and effects to see how close they can come to replicating the "Doctor Who" theme. They also have been getting DW books from the library and enjoy telling each other different new facts about The Doctor and the show that they've found out. So the Doctor is weaving its way through many aspects of our lives and our learning with many possibilities still open...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

playing is to fitness as living is to learning

For 12 years my body has been either pregnant &/or nursing. That phase is coming to an end with nursing only happening around bedtime these days. Therefore, my need for extra calories has decreased. My jeans are a bit tighter in my thighs and belly as my mind got a hold of that concept after my body did.

For months I have not been carrying Nicholas much as he has gotten much stronger and fitter. Therefore, I have not been getting the extra workout that lifting a child up and down all day gives. My arms are getting softer.

And hey, I am definitely in my 40's so there have been some hormones starting to do different things. Just subtle effects but letting me know that, as much as my mind thinks otherwise, I am just not going to be young forever.

So basically, my metabolism has slowed down. I accept this and choose to do something about it rather than get upset by the few extra pounds. The best way to rev it up is by exercise. Not just for the physical benefits, but the mental ones as well. For a former personal trainer, you'd think this would be a natural. But I find myself with the mindset of my former clients "ugh...will this take long?..". But then I think about it and remember the high that comes after a really good workout and the buzz that comes from having a fit and toned body. So that encourages me to get some kind of extra movement in every day.

I am lucky to have two young boys who NEED to run and play and muck about. If they don't have a daily outlet for this, they will go absolutely feral about 6:45pm, just as I'm sitting down to relax. Our girl also needs the exercise for her own health, but she has very little internal drive to get it. Well, unless it involves swimming or biking or swimming or an easy hike or swimming. So we aim to find a way we can all enjoy fun movement together. Even if we can't swim every day.

We've had a lot of rain lately so we've been a bit slack and stayed home. Yesterday we went for a drive through some of the countryside near us, fantasising about where we might want to live. Then we stopped at an overcrowded indoor play center and decided to pass on that. So we went to the undercover playground at the Hungry Jacks / Burger King with our pre-made sandwiches and bottles of water. The kids played for about an hour then I noticed the sky clearing. We went home, chatted with the neighbours for a while then walked to the beach.

It was magnificent! Lots of sea foam from the wild seas due to the recent storms. The beach was actually closed for swimming due to the conditions. I've rarely seen that happen. We ran, we played, we built sandcastles, we drew in the sand, we wore boots of foam and pretended we were walking on the clouds, we saw broken bits that had come from large shells, and pieces of soft coral and a dead puffer-fish (still puffed).

When we were in the caravan, we were out and about all the time. We lived a more active life. Being in the house, we are not as active. In the summer it was easy to be active and cycle and walk and swim. But in the rain, that's a bit harder. So maybe the solution is to just do more when we can. And the thing about going to the beach, and the playgrounds and the hikes is that they don't feel like "exercise". It feels like fun and play and with the added bonus that we all are getting fitter and stronger. So the process of play naturally gives us fitness.

Kind of like unschooling. The lessons of life just manage to work their ways into our days under the disguise of living! Every day we learn more, we grow more, we are more. Our children are free to explore their outer worlds and their inner worlds. It is so exciting to be a part of that, to watch, to listen to their insights, to see them interact with others, to see them at peace with themselves as they do their own thing, to help them when they ask. Sometimes it's a huge lesson in trust and patience for me too, but the joy of seeing them shape their minds and their lives is so worth it.

It's a beautiful day...(rain and all!)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Always growing

Thanks for the "happy birthdays"!

In the photo taken from the lookout on the hike, our house is in amongst those on the right. It takes us about 10 minutes to walk up to that lovely long beach.

In the '44' post, I wrote that I was both calm and excited. Later I thought that they may seem like opposites. But I feel them both. I feel an inner calm - a peace and Knowing that, whatever happens on the outside, I can handle it and deal with it coming from a place of that calm and holding my own Truth.

This state is becoming more and more my usual state. For so long, it would be something that I would only catch glimpses of every now and again. Now it is something that I experience daily. Sometimes I slip out of it for a while. But those slips are becoming less frequent. The most significant slip happened a few days ago. I had let things stack up - I was really tired, I had not been drinking enough water and therefore I had a headache, I had not been eating enough. And, my Mum was here. The last time I saw my Mum, we had a major disagreement. That was almost a year ago, and in the meantime, phone calls have been very good as we had worked through that. But actually seeing her, I became aware that I was holding some tension, just waiting for some kind of negativity to come from her. Well, ...the negativity came, but not from her. I attracted it, but it came from a stranger. It came when I had all the other things (tired, dehydrated, hungry) happening. What did I do? I just walked away. I chose not to get into an ego battle with that person, I chose to just do what was best for my spirit. As soon as it happened, I realised what had happened and why. It did not take me hours to figure it all out. I knew straight away the mental process behind it all, and the fact that my physical state had also contributed. Within seconds of walking away, I had realised this and felt good that I was walking away from the negativity. I said to myself "I'm better than I used to be". Instead of beating myself up for what I "should have" done to prevent that situation, I was proud of myself for choosing the way that gave me back my own strength and clarity and truth. I was not upset with the stranger, in my mind, I actually thanked them for giving me the chance to handle this in a new way.

So from that came a deeper commitment to take care of myself - to drink enough water, to keep my body nourished with enough food, to get more rest.
Even though we are spiritual beings having a human experience, we can't live too much in either dimension while we are here. We need to take care of this physical body and we need to take care of the spirit as well. Maybe it's that balance that I'm getting better at.

So I also feel excited that, through this Peace and awareness, I am always growing, I am feeling both deeper within and more expansive as that energy radiates out. I am excited that, with all of the travelling and moving around that I've done, this journey within still holds a beautiful feeling of adventure. I am excited as the more I go deeper, the more I love what I find and the way that helps me BE.

I am in love with this life.