Holidays

September 26, 2013 § Leave a comment

Firstly, they are never long enough.

We sneaked these few days of relaxation in before the school term officially ended, giving us a leisurely three whole weeks off from the school routine. The girls were terribly excited to be going somewhere new to sleep, and their fervour was infectious.

Packing and organising for a family of seven is a daunting task, so I made the boys responsible for their own clothes and things, leaving me with three kids, myself, and all the general food and bits and bobs. It helped knowing we were only journeying an hour out of Sydney, to a town with large grocery stores. The idea of camping, although seductive and simple sounding and something I would like to do again, is just too overwhelming to undertake right now.

Our holiday house was perfect for large families, complete with a deck that was fenced, so little Robin could walk around outside and see the ducks and geese in safety (he refuses to remain indoors these days).

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Which brings me to the boats….two kayaks and a blow up dinghy…..the main attraction of this particular holiday house. Lily jumped in one kayak and off she went like a pro, despite never having been  in a small boat before! Samuel too loved the lure of the water, and William just loves anything physical where he can prove how strong he is!

On the first morning we all went rowing, me, Zara and Robin in the dinghy with Sol rowing. Robin trailed his fingers in the still water and we watched ducks, birds and water dragons bask in the sun as we glided along. Sol and I were just remarking how we would be happy to float for hours when clouds quickly covered the sun. In all of two minutes we were being drenched by fat, hard, cold raindrops. At first it was slightly exciting, but after the rain increased the littlies and I became panicky and asked to be rowed home….but now there was a wind to round out the storm. Try as he might, Sol could not make headway against the breeze that was determined to push us out to the sea. We sheltered under some willow trees on the banks before braving the rain to make it back home. Poor Robin was glued to my chest and remained that way even after a warm shower…it was an adventure, for sure.

The rest of the time was spent basking in the sun at the beach. With children ranging in age from 14 down to one, it can be hard to find family activities to suit everyone. Thankfully the beach fits the bill, providing there are waves for the big ones to test themselves against, while the littlies play along the shoreline.

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It is bliss having children so tired out from physical exercise that they fall asleep themselves after dinner. Meals are simple, washing up takes only a few minutes, games are played. The kids bask in having their parents with them whose only task is to play with them.

Life, which has felt rather heavy and demanding lately, was flowing, giving Sol and I a much needed break from the heavy. Of course once we return home it doesn’t take too long for the old stresses to press back in. But hopefully, the break has fortified us a little. It was an opportunity to step back and view our lives from a little distance….and I have returned with a few resolves.

The first being, to continue the holiday vibe by making the most of this warm, spring weather.

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A few days away….

September 23, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Late Night

September 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

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After dinner….

We fill the bath. To or sometimes three children get in, and sometimes an adult too! By the time we dry off, most of the water is over the floor. Robin loves to splash.

It’s crazy time as we try to get our girls ready in their jammies. They love to run and jump on our bed. Robin does not like getting dressed: the result is a speedy attempt to get something on him before he squirms away. Same with the girls.

We read a book, one for each girl. That means two books. One parent lies with the girls and tickles/massages them to sleep, while the other one cleans up the kitchen. Often Sol is at work of an evening, so I work at turbo speed to get the kitchen done while the girls play in the bath. The boys babysit Robin while I lie with the girls.

Samuel’s bedtime is next. We always have a book that we read together of a night, aloud. He loves lots of snuggling.

Once I usher William to bed, and finally get Robin to sleep (he seems to have the latest bedtime of all!), it is finally my time.

I should be going to bed as early as I can. Life is busy.

But I can’t resist a late night moment for myself. I often make a hot chocolate, sometimes a plain old cocoa and milk (dairy free of some kind), sometimes gourmet hot chocolate with peanut butter, coconut cream and cocoa nibs.

I have my favourite perch on the couch. Sometimes I read, sometimes I write, sometimes just see what late night TV is happening for a little while. It is my time to slow down and reflect on the day now past.

A little window in time, when responsibilities don’t exist. The house is still. And so am I.

Making Way

September 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Yesterday I welcomed eleven children and their parents for my final Playgroup day.

I read something recently, it was Kathleen Turner’s autobiography, which discussed choices, and how to make them. Kathleen described how she would delay, and delay some more the making of a decision, until there is only one decision left to make. Of course, that will be the right one!

I was intrigued by this idea, and I must confess, didn’t really understand it at first. I’ve mentioned a little on this blog the turmoil that is currently boiling along in my life. I’ve been sitting with it for quite a few weeks, knowing that things need to change but not knowing how. I was noticing that every Monday evening my breasts would engorge, and I would get lethargic and achy. I’m a mother five times over now, so I know the signs of mastitis as soon as they arise.

And then there was the day itself: holding space and energy for everyone, leading the day, singing, crafting, baking, connecting with the children, and mothers. Cleaning up, setting the toys back to their rightful places ready for the next group. I have been in this role for five years and absolutely loved it.

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Hand made hobby horses: an amazing craft project.

Hand made hobby horses: an amazing craft project.

But….

I could feel my energy being drained, rather than topped up. Or maybe I just haven’t had much energy to give in the first place. Quickly, and all at once I came to know Kathleen Turner’s experience. Once the idea floated to the surface of my mind I knew it was the only choice to make. And so I made it, quickly, decisively and cleanly.

I know I will miss the space, miss the group and especially miss the three other leaders – though of course it is not the end of our friendship. In five years we have built playgroup into a supportive, dynamic community of like minded people. We have changed locations – making that happen was no small feat.

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Hand rolled beeswax candles as parting gifts.

Hand rolled beeswax candles as parting gifts.

With the struggles I have had with home and family organisation this year, Robin’s illness, and the needs of the other children, I feel completely at peace about giving my all to them for the next little while. I do have one eye on the future however, now that Robin is happy to spend entire days with his grandmothers. An eye to my next challenge outside the home. I’m not in a hurry, but nor am I resisting it (though I do feel a little nervous). Day by day, I am finding a place of trust that all things happen in perfect time.

 

A sense of Community

September 6, 2013 § 1 Comment

I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with Facebook.

I love being connected to friends I don’t see face to face anymore. I enjoy giving people little glimpses into my world. And I have developed acquaintances into friends through Facebook.

Sometimes I worry about privacy and posting photos of my children, data collection and ‘Big Brother’. I have been bullied on Facebook. I have censored myself at times, afraid of what certain people may think of me.

About the time Robin was born I made a radical decision: I gave permission to be myself. In my experience, especially with this blog but also on Facebook, the more I let my vulnerabilities show, the more I feel my community around me in a loving way.

Robin began walking this week. It felt as big an achievement as man first walking on the moon! At just on eighteen months, he has taken his time. We have had concerns regarding his development and growth ever since his illness, and although we do see development occurring (slowly), this walking milestone feels so significant: a concrete achievement that allay some of my fears and bring Robin closer to being just a normal toddler.

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As he recovered from the acute symptoms of his illness late last year, I thought it was over. It has been a shock to realise that we are still facing consequences from his illness over one year down the track. I often feel sadness at the thought that I have missed out on many of the joys of babyhood with Robin, but what is now stronger is the deep resolve to support him in whatever way necessary.

I’ve shared much of his journey with my Facebook community. When we first went to hospital, it took me a couple of weeks to reveal where we were, and the serious nature of his illness. The prayers, well wishes and messages people wrote kept me going at some very dark moments. They literally did. I read them and re-read for months afterwards.

Now, when I post that he is walking, or growing, or doing well, I get lots of ‘likes’. I feel my community there with us, sharing our journey through both the ups and downs. Sometimes I think that I am giving others as much as they give me by inviting them to share our journey.

And I think: this is how it should be. So right now, I love Facebook for allowing me to feel part of a community in a very modern way

 

Spring Activities

September 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

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The school that now only two of my children attend had its Spring Festival this past weekend. Unfortunately I did not get any photos on the day, but I can bring  you a sample of the seed pod babies I made for the parent craft stall.

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And yet another photo of rainbow dyed felt… 100% wool of course.

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Finally, samples of material for a skirt for Zara. I dream of being able to sew nearly all of my girls’ clothes. In reality only one or two pieces per season get finished, or even started. This skirt will be a kind of patchwork-y, ruffled, decorated mish mash of contrasting materials that hopefully will pull together to make an attractive whole.

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The Movement of Spring.

September 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

I’ve been a little quiet on this blog lately: much has been happening – both in daily life but also within.

I began a personal growth course, which just happened to coincide with some turbulence in some close relationships. I became stuck. Lots of fear erupted inside me, and in thought and emotion, I froze. And I find it difficult to write from that space.

But as Winter’s grip fades, and the strength and movement of Spring charge into the days, so too is there movement inside me. As the sun shines, the breeze breathes life into everything again. Into me.

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Today I decided to hasten some inner movement by beginning some de-cluttering. I went through all the children’s old clothes – a bag to my sister in law who is expecting, and another bag to my sister who has twin girls a little younger than my Zara. The sense of a small load off was immediate.

Then I tackled our entryway – which has long been a pile of shoes (for six people!), bags and clothes. Our nice ‘keyspot’ table was covered in junk mail and receipts, pens, coins, jewelry and other stuff. In keeping with my goal for this year of more order in the home, I have felt for a while that the first scene in our home lets us down in this regard. So now:

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A lovely lavender shoe shelf. Ten minutes after Husband arrived home from work I walked by to find his shoes strewn on the floor in front of the newly installed shoe shelf! Needless to say he received a few words…..

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My precious Buddha statue sits there as well. It has been with me from my early twenties, when the choice of a spiritually conscious path was awakened within me. These two acts of organisation have prompted a little relaxation within. There is still much to be looked at, resolved, forgiven. I am sure the healing winds of Spring will assist.

 

 

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