30 December 2010



Its been a pretty amazing year for our little family. Not without day to day dramas and little issues here and there, but on the whole a happy one. Here's what we're grateful for:

- three healthy, happy children
- two healthy, happy grown ups
- a house full of love
- a lovely neighbourhood in a beautiful part of the world
- friends who we can ask for help from and help out in return
- food growing in our garden, despite neglect
- creative freedom
- family who nurture us... I'm looking at you Maree!!

There's really not much in this world that we need right now and that's a good thing. Feeling satisfied with enough. When Huz asked if I had any New Years' resolutions to make, I couldn't think of one. I reckon that's a good thing too. I feel like, generally, we are on the right track. Well... ok there are a few things I might like to do... Here's what they are:

- find ways to give a little more this year. To my local community and beyond
- remember to stay in the moment whenever I can... ah, yes... mindfulness
- take a holiday
- keep prioritising my health
- find my love of cooking and gardening... I seem to have mislaid it.

So the year has ended pretty well. A new baby, awesome christmas, time off for Huz, time to do things we haven't had time for before... like berry picking!

Yesterday brought another beautiful surprise. I became a godmother! A beautiful wee woman named Nell entered the world. She chose a brilliant family to be part of and I'm very humbled that they chose me to be her godmother. I'm hoping to get some time next year to get to know her and find ways to send her loads of love.

How about you? Has your year ended well? I'm hoping you've managed some bright, sparkly moments... Thanks so much for reading and for being so supportive of our little owlet family. Here's to a brilliantly abundant 2011!! Wishing much love, health and happiness for the year to come, from our family to yours .xxxxx

29 December 2010

tiny owlet's birth day... or, what I did this year.

This time last year I posted about the year that was and resolutions for the new year... sleep more and be awesome. Wrapped within that was the hope that we might finish the year with a new owlet in the nest. My year pretty much focussed on that. Getting through each day, growing a small person and nurturing my loved ones... and I did it! I'm certainly managing to sleep more, we have a tiny owlet and if I wasn't awesome the whole time, the year certainly has ended on an awesome note... If you feel like reflecting on it with me, read on. I've written down tiny owlet's birth day in a bit of detail. You'll need a cuppa.


This is the story of a much longed for babe, two years in the making… Our journey towards baby number three was a lesson in trust, love, loss and surrender. In April 2009, we lost Pippin, almost halfway through pregnancy. His birth taught us all that we were capable of and that things just happen sometimes and with loads of love, you get through. Then in September of the same year, we lost another little one. More lessons in trust and patience. This time I really had to listen. Put my health first. Remember to stay in the moment. A tool that might just come in handy when mothering three.

In February of 2010 I discovered I was pregnant again. This time I needed to focus on each day as it came. For the rest of the pregnancy, I endeavoured to savour each moment that the babe was with me. No need for tests, just love and trust and listening to the babe and myself. It felt so free. So gentle. Over the months I came to know the baby inside quite well. People would ask if I had any inclination as to whether it was a boy or girl… I didn’t. What I did know was who the baby was. A gentle and happy little soul.

By November I had pretty much withdrawn from the outside world, staying cocooned in my little nest, waiting for her arrival. Friends and family sent their warmest wishes and beautiful blessings to us as we waited. Tightenings happened gradually, building and slowing for a couple of weeks as the official “due date” came and went. One night labour started in earnest, the pool was filled, midwife was called and Huz and I swayed through each contraction together… all night. I’m sure I was pushing for a little while there too… By dawn, everything had stopped. Something was not right. A visit to my GP that morning confirmed that I had passed a kidney stone instead of a baby… The baby was well though, still happily kicking away and waiting for the right moment.

That afternoon, Mum arrived and looked after us all beautifully as I recovered from my first attempt at birthing. I worked through pain, exhaustion, anger, sadness, grief, impatience, and frustration over the next few days. Labour was stop, start, stop for days. Enough with the lessons already!

On a sunny Sunday morning I woke up somewhat renewed. This was the most pregnant I had ever been, even with two babes who had arrived later than their “due dates”. I was extremely large, with a belly full of baby, but feeling surprisingly energetic. Uh huh. That night, about an hour after I had fallen asleep, I rolled over a little and felt a sharp pain and a POP!! “What was that?” “Oh… Uh-oh!!” I reached for a towel that was at the end of the bed and asked Huz to get up. “My waters just broke” I said, waddling down the hallway. “Oh ok,” he replied, a bit dazed... He called the midwife and began filling the pool, then quietly asked “so, what does this mean?” “Um… BABY!”

The next few hours saw me swaying in the lounge room, turning the music and the heater on, watching Huz and the midwife fill the pool, trying desperately to heat it up. By the time it was ready, so was I. My midwife asked a couple of times if I’d like to check the baby’s heart rate. “No. Not right now.” I replied and she held my hand, looked into my eyes and said “I’m happy if you are, Lauren”, before popping behind the curtain. The pool was like a big warm hug for my tired, cold legs and feet and I swayed some more, waiting until I absolutely *had* to sit down. Ahh the relief of that warm, beautiful water all around me. Then I shivered… transition… the vocalisation began. First gentle and like a song. I kept my mouth and lips very loose too and blew raspberries as the tightenings grew stronger. I pushed and slept between pushes. Huz held my hands and stared into my eyes.


At some point, my midwife popped her head through the curtain we had across the door and suggested I bring the noises down from my head to my diaphragm, making them deeper to assist with the pushes. Ah-ha! Much better. What she heard then brought tears to her eyes as she heard my body work towards bringing the baby down through my pelvis. Huz hopped in the pool, standing behind me. I needed some help. His hands assumed the position he remembered so well from Little Owlet’s birth day. This time was different though. Instead of kneeling on all fours, I needed to be upright. Huz was buckling under the pressure. My full weight pushed against him as I roared with each push. I ROARED!! Deep and long and LOUD!!! This was hard work. “Help!” I cried as my back felt like it was splitting in two. “Come on baby!” I almost called the midwife into the room, feeling the need for a wise woman nearby, but saw her silhouette through the curtain, felt satisfied with that and continued on… I watched the candle from my blessingway and women’s circle flicker on the mantelpiece and remembered the wise words of my friends. “Smile with each tightening”. I smiled. “You know what to do”. I did.

Huz felt my hips shift and open up. I roared again and so did he as I pushed back into him. His back ached. Mine moved and shifted as our baby moved closer to us. RING OF FIRE!!! Of course, Johnny Cash ran through my head as I stopped pushing, opened my mouth wide and breathed for what seemed like an eternity... “What’s that down there?” Asked Huz, looking over my shoulder. “Is it a head?” I felt around… A soft cheek, a tiny ear! “No, It’s a baby!” And with that, I grasped her with both hands and pulled her into my arms. I scooped her up to my chest and sat down, as Beck played in the background. She opened her eyes, cooed a bit, blew a raspberry and smiled. “Talk to your baby” said the midwife as we said our first hellos… Then a tiny cry. The door burst opened and in came the owlets, smiling, a little nervous and giggly after hearing all my weird and wonderful noises. I looked into those deep, dark eyes and saw the beautiful gentle soul I knew so well. “Shall we see if we have a brother or sister?” I asked the girls. Then we unwrapped our little bundle and laughed when we saw she was a girl. Another beautiful wee woman to love!!


She snuffled at my breast and latched on perfectly as we told the owlets and Mum her name. Her beautiful big placenta was born and we hopped out of the pool for a little rest by the couch and to gaze at our gorgeous girl as the sun rose. She was heavy! Much heavier than her big sisters at birth and her head was bigger too. That explains all the hard work… Life slowed right down at this point. We stayed in bed for three days, then introduced her to the rest of the house and later the garden. Slowly exposing our tiny one to light and sound. Watching her gradually unfurl. Soaking up each moment she is here with us and so happy she is finally in our arms.


28 December 2010

unschool tuesday... because natural learning happens everyday...

working 2

working 3






Here's what the owlets did today:

played with their makedo kits - possibly the most perfect gift ever when you are seven
learned about recycling, shapes, construction, how things work
painted plaster figures craft kit
learned about colour mixing
watched some kids shows
made music with Huz
washed the back wall of the house
played outdoors for hours in the new space we made for them
big owlet seems to have been working on a calendar on the blackboard and she is writing with confidence now.

Here's what we did today:

cleaned out my wardrobe - in preparation for new overlocked clothes
mowed the lawn
held the baby
did some washing
caught up with our midwife
hovered and enjoyed watching the owlets play, build, paint and learn
cleaned up the back porch, creating a space for us, a space for the owlets and reminding them that we have a backyard

27 December 2010

silly season part two :: celebration


I think it may have been the best christmas ever! How was yours? Our day started as we were woken, not by owlets, but by the grandparents and aunt and uncle knocking on the door at 8am :) First, stockings were opened, then the owlets handed out the gifts one by one... it took a while. It's been a good year... I was especially lucky this year. Not only did I get a tiny owlet to snuggle but Mum and Dad spoilt me absolutely rotten... See if you can guess what they gave me...



An overlocker!! I could have cried!! All this time I've been making things for the owlet shop and finishing them in a rather painstaking fashion, doing my best to avoid rough edges... wishing for an overlocker one day. I have a feeling things are about to get crafty around here very soon.


Big owlet was most impressed by her sewing kit... and the little video camera she received from the grandparents too! Something she will most definitely get loads of use out of. She's rather taken with vlogging and we expect all those protests of "I'm learning to make movies", while we nag her about all the time she spends in front of a screen, may actually may have some truth to them. Expect to see more from her as she plays and learns.

Of course, the best thing is often the bag or box the gift comes in...


The rest of the day was spent in the usual fashion. Silly hats...


A feast. Thank goodness Mum cooked this year!!


Then the obligatory post feast snooze...


So much to take in for tiny owlet's first Christmas, hence the thoughtful expression, I expect.


Now to contemplate the year that was as we spend some time hanging out together. I hope your family was as blessed as ours was. So much to be thankful for. xx

silly season part one :: preparation


Well I surprised myself and managed to make a gift or two... A sewing kit for big owlet. We found the tin at a garage sale across the road. The fabrics and most of the other bits and pieces were from my own stash.


For little owlet, a peg doll kit. Also thrown together with bits and pieces we already had.


And gingerbread stars to go with lavender bags for family and friends...


The rest of the time was spent hanging out with the family, decorating gingerbread and wrapping gifts. Lots of fun :)

Activity Advent-ures

day 19 :: go out for bubble tea
day 20 :: go looking for summer treasure
day 21 :: celebrate summer solstice
day 22 :: go out for breakfast
day 23 :: make a gingerbread house
day 24 :: play frisbee in the park

PS. I'm having a week off unschool monday because, erm... well... I'm not sure what day it feels like today. Its just part of the beautiful holiday blur. While I type though, the owlets are engaged in some sort of craft activity... learning is afoot!

20 December 2010

unschool monday :: looking for summer


Apparently summer is here... It has been slow to start, but that's ok. We've been rather preoccupied. Still, we're trying to take a moment here and there to look for it...

beach 2

A little climbing...

beach 4

And fossicking...

beach 3

I'm sure it will turn up. My family are here now and their summer holiday vibe is rubbing off on us. We're looking at our magic beach through their eyes... Lazy days ahead and perhaps less thought into our unschool days as we just get on with things. But still, opportunities for learning happen all the time...


Today when we got home from our beach wander, we found our favourite tree in the process of being cut down. If you look closely you can see two men in a cherry picker cutting down the beautiful, enormous eucalypt we could see from our bedrooms and the lounge room. We loved staring up at the branches when we walked past on our walks home from the beach... Sadly, eucalypts have a reputation for dropping branches and, although this particular tree posed no threat, its owners must have been a little nervous. As I type this, it has disappeared. The owlets have asked a great many questions, about all sorts of things... Like what the neighbourhood looked like when the tree was here and the houses weren't, or what it might look like if all the trees were cut down. Will a new tree grow in its place? Years of growing and gone in a few short hours... Lots for an owlet to comprehend. Perhaps we are the only ones who will miss it...

18 December 2010



Trimming the tree. Its a beauty this year. Most years we make a trip to a patch of bush near a pine plantation and cut down a runaway weed. They are actually a bit of a problem in the bush in these parts, so we're doing a good thing... it feels just a little bit norty too, which makes it all the more fun ;) Most of our decorations are handmade. I'm hoping that we can have a couple of handmade ornaments survive from each year and remember the time we made them in years to come...


Of course you have to scoff a box of choccies while decorating...


The owlets usually decorate wrapping paper each year. Repurposed art. If we don't get around to that, we wrap with fabric instead.


We've been making some gifts too, little bags filled with lavender collected on our morning walks...

I must say the weeks have flown by. The family are flying in over the next couple of days for a holiday in my neighbourhood, a chance to meet tiny owlet and the first christmas we've spent together in a while. Its pretty spesh.

Activity Advent Catchup
Day 11 :: go garage sailing
Day 12 :: hunt for a Christmas tree
Day 13 :: decorate the tree
Day 14 :: all go for a walk at lunchtime
Day 15 :: fancy dress dinner
Day 16 :: Huz reads a christmas story
Day 17 :: make wrapping paper
Day 18 :: dance party in the lounge room

17 December 2010

last minute shop business!


I've just muddled my way through making and delivering this lot of skirts, onesies and clips to the Wilderness Society Shop at Salamanca Place. If you happen to be in Hobart and just happen to need something for an owlet you know, be sure to pop down there and have a look at their beautiful range of children's clothes, accessories, toys and books. My own owlets will be receiving some beautiful bits and pieces this year, mostly organic or fair trade... not so much hand made this time and purchased mostly online in between naps and nappy changes. I must say I'm rather chuffed that the postie brought the last of the presents today and we're good to go. I'll still put a couple of last minute handmade things together... For big owlet, a sewing kit. For little owlet a peg doll decorating kit. Tiny owlet will be receiving an owlet baby clothing bumper pack! I''m so excited to finally have my own tiny person to dress in owlet onesies an pants and kimono tops and...


So the owlet shop will most likely be a little quiet for the next few months as I enjoy the summer with the family and catch up on making long requested things for my little ones and my nest. If there's something you need, that's not available in the shop, let me know. I'm always happy to do custom orders.

I'll be doing even fewer markets in 2011. I am hoping to make the owlet online shop even better, with some new stock and a bit of tweaking. I have a few ideas for some new lovely pieces which I'm hoping to launch in Autumn. I'm rather excited about it really! I was feeling a bit uninspired a few weeks ago, but a little break has done wonders, so I'm hoping to return to the sewing machine with a little inspiration some time in the new year. x

13 December 2010

unschool monday :: order and chaos

table work

I've always found parenting to be a balancing act between elements of order and chaos. In the ebb and flow of our weeks we'll have days where everything goes smoothly. We've all had fun, tried a few new things and the living areas end up fairly orderly by the end of it all. Then there are those days. The owlets have certainly learned some things, but there's been fighting and things lost or broken. Nothing seems to flow right, everything gets on top of us and by the time Huz walks through the door, it looks like a cyclone has hit. Usually at least one of the owlets is running through the house naked and the other is screaming or hurtling by on a scooter or something like that... Ahh its just normal family dynamics, I know, but I do rather prefer the smooth, orderly days and falling into bed feeling like we've made the most of it.


I've been reading around on other blogs and talking to friends and I know I'm not alone. Even in unschooling there's room for order. An element of chaos helps and surrendering to that will help keep your sanity, but I've found for it all to mesh right, aiming to maintain the order is what works best for us. Even when the owlets were tiny I remember the need to stop and tidy up the toys momentarily, otherwise the play would stop, and things would get out of hand. If all the toys were on the floor in a big pile, they couldn't see what was what. They didn't know what to play with and there was nowhere to play if they wanted to. Fighting started, things would get broken and the cyclone swept through while I ducked for cover, usually behind a computer screen. Now I know to stop everything and clean. First, there's the daily tidying that we do to keep on top of things. Sometimes just whipping around and putting a few things away on my own, but usually these days the owlets tidy as they go too... with some reminding, but they understand the benefit of being able to find things.


Sometimes I'll have to set aside a little more time. Cleaning out the craft cupboard seems to be a seasonal job... When I do it the owlets seem to get all inspired again. Perhaps its an attempt to restore some of the chaos, or maybe its the ultimate in strewing. This is little owlet's shelf in the craft cupboard. The basket is full of her works in progress while some other little bits and pieces she's enjoying working with are placed at her eye level, ready for when she flings the door open or wanders past.


Every now and then there are the really big jobs we've left and seem to get to once each year. Recently we sorted through all the random and had a big de-clutter and throw out. Then the other day I sorted through the enormous box of pencils and dried up markers. Yay for throwing stuff out and finding homes for things!!


Then we cleaned up all the crayons and gave them a new life, combining big owlet's love for craft with little owlet's love for cooking. The fabulous thing is that we cleaned up, restored order and found inspiration for a whole new bunch of activities and creative projects... oh dear... here comes chaos again!!

Share your unschool monday by adding to the link below.

11 December 2010

advent day 11 :: Aretha


Get it? Big owlet just did. She's loving playing with words at the moment. So when I popped on Aretha for our wreath decorating activity this afternoon, as per our cheesy family tradition, she was delighted. I'm guessing there's only another year or so where we'll get away with that without too much eye rolling... We opted for a quick and easy revamp of last year's wreath, adding a few eucalypt leaves, flowers and fruits.


Day 10 :: Make decorations for the tree.
Day 9 :: Watch a family movie - we watched Fantastic Mr. Fox. Brilliant!!

PS. Thanks for the gorgeous comments on Thursday's post. Its so lovely to know we're not alone sometimes, huh?

9 December 2010

in the trenches...


Tough parenting day. They do happen here, despite the sunny, happy photos and words you often see and read. I don't usually write about them because I like to look back and remember the positive stuff if I can. In the interests of keeping it real though, I'm willing to share that today was one of those days. Laundry piling up. Crumbs and crunchy bits sticking to my feet. Sour milk smell in my clothes, my bed, everything! Two feverishly sick owlets to nurse and a newborn who went from mellow to cranky in the blink of an eye and stayed that way all day... Certainly a tricky hiccup in our first full week with Huz back at work. Of course, the minute he walked through the door, I handed the screaming baby to him, she fell asleep immediately and calm fell upon the house for a moment or two. I do rather wish we really did live in a village at times like this, but right now I'm happy for a quiet house, a big bowl of ice cream, Huz beside me and a comfy bed to collapse into. Here's to a good night's sleep and a fresh start for tomorrow!

8 December 2010



A very surprising gift arrived for tiny owlet last week. It came in an enormous box and is larger than life size. It's standing on top of the speaker in the lounge room, keeping an eye on proceedings...

Activity advent update ::
day 2 - eat fish and chips by the water
day 3 - make ice cream sundaes
day 4 - go garage sailing
day 5 - put up the christmas lights
day 6 - have breakfast for dinner - this may need to happen more than once ;)
day 7 - write a christmas song
day 8 - crazy hairstyles at dinnertime

6 December 2010

unschool monday :: one thing leads to another

99 luftballons

Ever try and follow the patterns of thought and conversations that flow, in your family, during a day? On those days where we have been too busy to think much about what the owlets are up to as we go along, I'll sometimes sit and ponder... what did they learn today? Recounting the conversations from breakfast to bedtime, I'm often surprised to find that they've learned a whole lot and grasped some new concepts.

On this particular morning, we dressed tiny owlet in a new outfit given to us by Jacquie. Big owlet commented on how many balloons were on the onesie, which led to a discussion about Nena and eighties music... we commented on how Nena's film clip reminded us of Feist's. We talked about inspiration and how one artist can be inspired by another... then as the owlets danced, they realised that the song was sung in german. Interesting...

Huz went to work and a short while later big owlet was looking at Poisson Rouge and speaking chinese and french. "Mum, I want to learn to speak some more languages!" she yelled out while little owlet and I buzzed around the kitchen as part of our daily baking ritual. "Mhmm, ok..." I replied. We've been incorporating some languages where we can, but its time to get serious now. I love that she tells me when she's ready. Later on, big owlet and little owlet played for hours in a made up language, stopping to translate for us occasionally. Then big owlet asked Huz to record an impromptu song in said language, complete with translation... apparently language affects melody too which I found quite interesting... So there you have it. Something as simple as dressing the baby leads to new concepts, new skills and new creative pursuits. Unschooling in action.

What does natural learning look like at your house? Please join in and share your unschool monday.

2 December 2010

my creative space...

pink bird

A couple of orders have rolled in this week, so I'm digging out the sewing machine for a last blast for the year. I'm hoping to make a couple of bits and pieces for gifts too, but that will have to wait until the last minute... as usual...

Pop over to Kirsty's for the last creative space of 2010. It's been fun! Thanks so much for hosting Kirsty!

1 December 2010

on the first day...


Summer is here!! So is advent! Although we're not religious types, we look forward to this time of year with much enthusiasm. The owlets love waking on December 1 and finding our activity advent calendar hanging from the mantlepiece. They love the tradition of finding their favourite activities and sometimes new ones inside each envelope. It does help the days pass and we manage to get lots of stuff done in the lead-up to christmas too, whilst reminding us all to have a bit of fun amongst the busy-ness of this time of year. It also takes a little focus off christmas day, but rather helps us focus on spending time as a family. So here's our calendar this year with origami paper cups made by big owlet.


And here's today's activity. Its one of our favourites each year... makes for interesting conversation for Huz too. He rather likes challenging gender stereotypes I suspect.

PS. yes, we considered painting tiny owlet's teeny toes, but got the guilts about all the nasties in nail polish. We did think she'd look pretty cool with tiny black toenails though ;)

30 November 2010

spring clean

spring clean

The last day of spring. The last day of a super busy and exciting season in the owlet nest. The last day of Huz's leave and the last day of our babymoon... so naturally we decided to do a complete declutter and spring clean of all things belonging to the owlets! They seem to have accumulated a vast array of stuff... spilling over from their bedrooms and into the rest of the house on a daily basis. Too many boxes of random...Huz and I were feeling a little overrun. The mess of a day's play and learning was becoming a little too much. Then there was the thought that Christmas is on the way and there might be more stuff to cram into those rooms. Impossible!! So we tipped out all the boxes of random, found homes for everything, threw out the homeless bits, the broken bits, the things we didn't love. The owlets rummaged in their rooms for things they had finished playing with so they could donate them to charity in time for Christmas. Next we moved some furniture around and set up the little kitchen in the lounge room again, complete with a reading nook. Then I tackled the craft cupboard... It took all day. Now I'm exhausted. But its clean and we can think clearly again. And the owlets have rediscovered so many things. A perfect way to end our little time of renewal. Bring on summer!!