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:


A few photos from our trip on "the strip":


Blue Man Group (wax figures)


M&M World (one of the kids favourites)

Riding at the front, upstairs on the double-decker bus (the highlight of the day for the boys!)

What's a trip to Vegas without a photo of the famous sign?

Back home, inspired by our trip,
Summer created...

Blue Girl!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

This moment...

I'm sitting at my desk, listening to the birds outside of my window. It's a little chilly this morning but looks like it's going to be a beautiful sunny day. It's not long since we left the USA. Our last weeks were so full - not just with things we did, but with joy and love. We flew to Baltimore and stayed with Aunt Barbara and Uncle Kent - such a warm and wonderful visit..thank you so much for everything! We were able to spend extra time with Cary's Dad and sister before going to a very fun family reunion. We were so happy that we went on this trip, it was so special to reconnect with family members we had not seen for many years.

During our last week in Vegas, we spent as much time as possible with friends and Cary. I don't remember the details of all of the things we did, but I do remember the feelings of connecting and my heart feeling joyful.

Since returning here, I have maintained that feeling. I'm especially grateful for family and friends. And sunshine and the ocean and birds and bugs...