Monday, May 18, 2009

counting down...10...9...

Nine days until we leave for Vegas. Our internet will be cut off tomorrow so I'll post sometime after we get there.

Breathing deeply....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Q: How do bees travel?

I write my best blog posts while I'm still in bed with my eyes closed. When I try to remember them when I actually get up, it's like they get shaken off with the last bits of sleep.

Often I sit down to write but then I get interrupted a whole bunch of times and what comes out in the end is something different to what I had thought would come out. So often I feel as though my posts lack something because I haven't been able to maintain my thought track while writing. But then I wondered - why am I blogging? ? ... I blog because it's easier than writing 20+ emails at a time to tell family and friends what we've been up to. I blog because I've kept a diary since I was about age 10 and I've always enjoyed the release of writing. I blog because maybe someone else out there might be feeling the same way and it's always comforting to know you're not alone. And maybe, some of the things we do might even inspire someone else to follow their dreams.

My realisation from yesterday has had me wondering....How can I maintain my balance and the wonderful state I feel when living a simple life? How can I keep that mindset when life gets more complicated? What is it that causes me to lose balance and slip into old patterns?

I know some of the physical reasons that I get off balance - insufficient sleep, not eating enough or eating the wrong kinds of things, not enough water, not enough exercise and lots of things that have to be done. BUT, it is ultimately my thought processes behind all of those things that lead me to have a magical day or a miserable day. So, how do I maintain that peaceful, connected, joyful mindset I have when I am truly living a simple life? And, is it possible to maintain that when my life is not-so-simple?

I think it comes down to awareness. Remembering to balance too much doing with time out to BE and touch base with how I am. Even just to take a moment to go within and see how I feel. I think I should have done that more in the past few of weeks. To make sure I didn't slip into old patterns. To remind myself it's ok to take a break. To remind myself of the kind of example I want to be for my kids. Do I want them to associate stress with being cranky or with being calm? I know all this stuff. I just forget sometimes. But, my forgetting times are getting further and further apart and for that, I know that I am better than I used to be and I will not beat myself up.

I am back to feeling so alive! So excited! The material stuff around me does not matter. The things to do will get done. Or not. Either way, it's ok. It really is all good!

And now, a word from AJ who has been next to me reading animal jokes:

Q: What do you give a sick bird?
A: Tweetment

And the answer to the title of this blog: They take the buzz!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Experiencing Being

Cary should be pulling in to Vegas about now, after driving almost 2000 miles. Driving 15+ hours a day. I'm excited to see him again! And our friends and family there too!

There have been times in the past few weeks when I've felt rather stressed with organising this trip and other busy-ness going on. As it's started to come together, I've relaxed a bit, but still didn't quite feel as relaxed as I did several months ago.

This afternoon, the kids and I took a walk through the great caravan park where we used to live not far from here. As we walked along the creek, I started shifting gears. As we walked into the caravan park, my mindset changed. I chatted to everyone I met along the way and I got back in touch with how I felt when we lived 'on the road'. How I did not feel attached to material things. How simple and easy life was. How much lighter and richer my days were. How grateful I felt and how full. How I took time to notice nature every day - the bugs, the birds, the water, the mountains, the sky, the colours, the sounds - and how connected I felt to all of that.

Living in the house, I realised today that I've lost touch with a lot of that. Sure, there are some things that are nice about the house - more personal space when it's cold or rainy or dark out, and ... um.. I guess more space to store food and craft supplies. We probably still have more than we need in the way of toys and general stuff.

Now I can read about living simply and it sounds great. But actually experiencing it - knowing it from the point of living it and reconnecting with that place in my heart brings me great joy. It is harder to maintain that when I let my life get too complicated with stress and things that have to be done and before long, I've slipped and become attached to those situations and material things in my life.

This reminds me of unschooling too. I can read all about unschooling, but then I start to feel I'm not doing enough, or my kids are so different to the model ones I read about, and doubts start to creep in. Then I get stressed and slip and become attached to how things "should" be.
But then I get to actually experience unschooling - to get a glimpse of it working in our life, to see my kids make amazing connections, to figure out how to read a new word, to work out some math in their heads because they can see how it applies to a real life situation. To hang out with other unschoolers and realise that our kids are all so wonderfully free and perfect in their own way. And in actually experiencing it, I know it from the point of living it and I reconnect with that place in my heart that "gets" this, and I feel great joy and know that all is well.

So it's when I try to do too much and think I'm not doing enough that I feel stress and doubt. When my balance leans too much towards doing, and not enough towards Being.

So then I remember that I don't need to read or do or have something, I just have to BE the best me I can, in this moment. Being a part of communities of like-minded folk also helps my mind to remember what my heart never forgets. Real people, real lives, real good!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sea World today...

As we only have 13 days before we leave, we've been milking our passes to the theme parks that will expire while we're away. Twice this week we were at homeschool events that were held kind of close to Movie World so we went there afterwards. Monday, Summer had her hs drama class, then Wednesday we went to a hs social gathering where one of the Mums had arranged an elaborate 'world explorer' treasure hunt kind of thing complete with little challenges at each station with a theme from a different country. The kids got stamps in their little passports she'd printed up for the day and really enjoyed the activity. I'd told the kids in the morning that, seeing as how we'd only be one exit off the motorway from movie world, we'd go there afterwards. AJ was still keen after several hours of playing but Summer said "do we have to go to Movie World?" Nicholas wasn't very keen, but once we got there, we all had a good time. Summer has been enjoying some of the bigger rides and has been a regular on the batwing which involves her and 15 other strangers sitting, facing out, four a side around a 60 meter pole. They are lifted up the pole at 4.5G's. Then dropped and lifted up again and dropped, gradually getting less high each time. I tried it once. And that was enough for me.

So as Summer and AJ go on some of these kind of rides, Nicholas and I just hang out. Sometimes we go on the carousel, or one of the other little kids rides, but mostly he'd prefer climbing on the fake rock decorations they have, or just watching his brother and sister.

So as time is running out, we decided to make one last trip to my favourite park - Sea World. For a long time I had a 'thing' against sea world and the whole 'animals in captivity and being used for human amusement' argument. But, I've relaxed on that. Sea World does do a lot to help rescue animals and to educate the public to be more aware of the effect of our choices on the environment. As well as more awareness about the animals and marine life. I've spoken with some of the staff that are directly involved with the animals and marine life there and their dedication and affection towards even the oddest looking fish is heart warming.

So today we went to Sea World with beautiful weather. First up, a trip on the skyway:

Gosh they can be so cute!

Nicholas climbing on some of the fake rock things.

Summer, Nicholas and I on the flume ride, that my kids call the 'Viking ride' because of the shape of the canoes. Nicholas surprised me by wanting to go on this - 3 times!
I was bummed that the Corkscrew roller coaster was not working today as they were repainting it, but we were offered free entry into the water park to make up for it. The water park has a large pool, a fun play pool for little kids, and several big water slides. There were not many people there, probably because we're half a month away from winter and the water was pretty chilly. But hey, once you got numb, you didn't really feel it! No, it wasn't that cold, and we did get used to it. Summer and I didn't have a change of clothes with us, but were just wearing 3/4 pants and a t-shirt anyway. I just splashed around with Nicholas while the other two went on the big water slides. Then we all lounged around and got dry before heading back into the Sea World park and going on some more rides.

Had to include a photo of a dophin because they are so beautiful!
And then this is what happens to tired little boys who play hard all day:

Dear Little Monkey - couldn't even make it until dinner time.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Lucky girl...

I love my home. I love our life here. Knowing that I'll be leaving it for 12 weeks has me appreciating it even more.

When I was in my teens and twenties, I thrived on adventure and drama and created a lot of both in my life. When I first left Australia to go to the USA, I was excited and care-free and thirsty for even more adventure. Even though I enjoyed it greatly, there was a little something missing and every trip back to Oz from the US had me excited because deep down, I knew I was going "home". I am deeply grateful for the 12.5 years I had in the USA, for our life as it was there, for our friends, and for the many, many lessons I learned.

In several weeks, I'll be leaving Oz to go and visit the people and places I'd been saying I missed. It will be really really good to see those people again. And I can tell, it will be really really good to come back home after that.

I feel so comfortable here, so content. I think I have finally "settled down". One more move to a little farm and some road trips within Australia will fill my life to overflow. I am so very lucky, so very blessed.

Our week..

Busy week last week -
Monday, Summer started back at drama class and then, as we were pretty close to Movie World from there, that's where we spent the rest of the day. AJ finally decided to go on the roller coaster and loved it! He went on the fairly mild one, not the super fast one, but still, this one is fast enough when you haven't ever been on one before. Then he and Summer went on it over and over and over. AJ would put his hands up as it went, something that Summer isn't ready to do yet. We also went on the big bumper cars...about 20 times. Nicholas loved driving them and I would sit next to him with my foot across on the pedal.

Tuesday we caught up on some things around here. I think that was the day I booked our flight to the USA after a huge amount of frustration that I will not bother you with.

Wednesday we had an excellent time with the Northern Rivers homeschoolers. We had a 'mathematican' come along for a presentation on 'the magic square of 3'. I loved it and when Summer realised that she was learning how to draw mandalas, she was excited. AJ has continued to draw the pattern we learned there since he's come home and I know we'll be doing more with this. After the presentation, the kids ran and played while the mums chatted for hours.

Thursday was the library and grocery shopping and playing with the neighbours.

Friday was Sea World all day. We got there just after it opened and were pleased to see that it was much less crowded than the last time we went there. We went on the skyway first and enjoyed the aerial view of the park and looking over the dolphin pools. Then to some rides. I was feeling very brave and decided that this was the day to conquer my fear of the "corkscrew" roller coaster. The one that goes up really high, around a fast bend, then way down and around in a loop and then around a bend and through the sideways corkscrew part before another bend and back in. I went straight up to the ride, no line to wait, got in, sat down and strapped in before I could even think about it. As it started to go I thought "uh oh...what have I done?!" I closed my eyes for a moment to center myself as we were climbing up the big steep hill and I heard someone say "'s sooo beautiful!". I looked around and to my right I saw the ocean and to my left I saw the mountains. It really was beautiful. I felt fantastic and thrilled and, instead of screaming as we went down and around, I was laughing with absolute delight. My comment when we pulled in - "that was just too short - I'm going to do it again!". And I did. Three more times. Couldn't talk the kids into going on it with me, but they're thinking about it for next time. Nicholas did go on the flume ride where you sit in a canoe kind of boat on a water track, go around and up and around and then down a steep drop and get sprayed with water. He loved it and went on that three times. Surprised me. And of course we spent time in the underwater viewing area, just admiring all of the fish. The day flew by it was such fun.

Saturday we got up early and went to some garage sales, got two ladies bikes for $10 (total). They just need a couple of minor adjustments but can be ridden as they are. We have bikes, but Summer needs a bigger one and it will be good to have a spare in case of visitors. We also found a few other treasures. Then we went to the farmers market and Amy, my niece who moved to Brisbane to go to Uni this year, came down for lunch and to play for the afternoon.

So now it's Sunday. I woke up entirely too early (again). I think french toast for the kids for breakfast and a bike ride to the creek will fill up this morning. Then a trip into the mall for AJ to spend some birthday money. We'll probably end up at the game store I think. AJ likes to think everything through very well before making a purchase so we could be there for a while.

It's another beautiful day. The mornings are getting a little cool, but the days have been just lovely. (big sigh of contentment)