29 April 2011
25 April 2011
If you ever feel like your child won't learn outside of school, won't ever read, or write, or count, or any of the other things they are supposed to do by the end of schooling... Remember what brought them here. To where they are now. How they learned to smile, to poke out their tongue. They learned to sit up and crawl. They learned to walk and talk... Could you have stopped them? I very much doubt it. No matter how much you wished that time would just slow down or stop still, because it's all so fast... They just kept on growing. And learning.
Tiny owlet is trying to crawl. She's doing it so much faster than her sisters did and as much as we'd like her to stay small, in this moment, she is determined. She wriggles her arms and legs like mad when she sees her sisters dancing. She wants to do that too. She will learn. Just try stopping her.
23 April 2011
So far this Easter, we've had sick owlets in our nest. We've been a little cooped up. Times like these, I remember big owlet's kindy teacher's parting words, "Remember in and out breath". It helps it flow so much easier, keeping the day moving with a mix of concentrated tasks (breathe in), and relaxing and playing (breathe out). We've eaten hot cross buns while counting treasure...
Felted eggs with friends...
Danced around in our pyjamas to our fave records... Rediscovering our love for vinyl.
Made nests from the long tussock grass in the garden, then painted and scribbled on eggs with watercolour paints... One for each of us...
And snuggled and watched our littlest owlet as she begins to work out how to move forward (eep!). I should also mention the extraordinary amount of decluttering we've been up to. Making space to breathe again.
How's your Easter, so far? xx
22 April 2011
18 April 2011
As I mentioned earlier, sharing our passions with the owlets is a fantastic way to spark their interests and it shows them how we like to get involved in things, in life. But in the daily grind it can be tricky to keep doing all the things you love. Things get put away in cupboards for when you have more space, or time. For when babies are grown. And you forget. Well, last weekend we moved the owlets into the blue sky room together. They requested to share again (they had been anyway) and this weekend we found ourselves with a room to spare! Luxury! So... we now have a space. A space to escape for some quiet time, to dream or to read. It is also a space for music. It's filled with guitars and a keyboard, flutes, recorders, drums, accordions... more! All pulled out of cupboards and out from under beds... And there is music! Huz is excited to have a dedicated space to indulge in some music making. I've even dusted off my flute and had a go, showing the owlets that its ok to make MANY mistakes and how to make a good sound occasionally. I've been talking about returning to flute for years... perhaps this is my time? Tiny owlet thinks it's hilarious and soothing sitting on my back while I (attempt to) play...
Another thing the owlets love is screen printing. They know how much I love it. How instant it is and clean and messy all at once. And how you can make something practical out of it. They know I used to do lots of it back in my Uni days and how I'd like to return to it again. One day. So they demand that we do it on occasion. On this particular occasion though, The thought of mess and screen printing everything we could see and all before breakfast got the better of me and we ended up freezer paper stenciling instead. But it was fun. And I've located the screen and squeegee for a quiet moment...
Finally, yesterday, we also found time for me to go out to have lunch with a friend. On my own. At a posh restaurant! Oh my! I did feel strange and grown up. And I remembered a little bit what it is like to be just me. When I came home, the owlets showered me in hugs and kisses and big owlet told me she thought it was great that I got some time to myself. And then we went for a swim. And I told them how I like to swim. How I used to do it lots. And I tore up and down the pool a few times until my arms could swim no more. And I plan to do it again soon. Modelling healthy relationships, and the importance of trying new things, pushing yourself, making mistakes and enjoying life... Can there be any lesson more valuable?
16 April 2011
After a week of rain, stuck indoors, what more is there to do than jump in the car for an adventure? To have hot chocolate and jam sandwiches by a waterfall...
And hunt for fungi. Appreciating the tiny things. Loving Autumn.
Then a quick visit to the wood museum, lolly shop and home again...
Hope your Saturday was fun too. xx
13 April 2011
Cute huh? She's 5 months tomorrow - eep! Here she's wearing a gorgeous handmade frock given to us by lovely family friend, a handmade onesie by moi and leggings made from refashioned socks, also designed by me, a lifetime ago. When I took her out in this outfit the other day, someone asked me "how old is he?" She always gets called He. If I bother correcting the admirer, they usually tell me it's because she doesn't have hair... or because she's wearing blue. A colour which happens to suit her. I'm often amazed at how strong that colour association is. To the point where a dress is overlooked because of its colour. It's something I've found quite amusing when selling my lovebird onesies at markets too. The onesies are navy and white, so the first impression is boy, then the blue bird reaffirms that. But the red love heart!? Well hearts are for girls! Or are they? Usually the customer works through the confusion and buys it for their boy or girl, but it's interesting to see them challenged. What I find most interesting of all is just how recently these colour teams were picked and why. Perhaps it demonstrates the importance and power of colour as a branding tool...
Buyers from the big department and chain stores tell us that pink is for girls, with purple running a close second. And often that is all they will stock. I remember the frustration when a buyer handed us a colour palette to work with of their forecasted "hot colours of the season" and they were all pink. Or purple. Apparently red, or green, or yellow didn't sell. Don't even think about brown or orange and never, ever blue. And then a wander through the boys department! Navy, black, khaki... blue in most shades or sometimes beige or grey. Seldom any real colour. And most certainly never pink. I remember the bagging Huz copped for wearing a pink shirt to our wedding... Imagine if my owlets had been boys!!
My owlets seldom leave the house wearing pink, although it may be one of the colours used somewhere in the mix. The two bigger owlets have been through a pink phase each. I've not restricted their access to the colour, but always made sure other colours are represented in their wardrobes. It seems that the pink phase happens at around 3 or 4 years old when they are starting to understand boys and girls and the gender roles society places on them. But it also happens at a time where they are reaching for independence. Pink is a very nurturing colour, the colour of love and warmth. It's quite natural that they would be attracted to it. I've noticed several boys around this age finding an affinity for pink too (whether it is encouraged or not). It makes sense. Which is why I find it so sad that these restrictions are placed on colours. Especially at such a young age, from birth. To me, colour can be such a nurturing thing. I've found myself drawn to colours at times of need. As a mother, green is what brings calm to my days. Red is for strength. Orange got me through a miscarriage or two and felt very healing. My girls love yellow for sunny days and chocolate brown when they are being detectives. Colour always should be playful and nurturing and free.
Ooh P.S: Did I mention the sympathy I get when I tell people tiny owlet is a girl? "Oh well, don't worry, keep trying, love" is what Huz and I usually hear. Imagine! We do sometimes wonder what life would be like with a boy around. Would it be different? I like to think not too much, I don't know that we'd do much differently and he probably would wear the odd pink grosuit. And then I look at other families, like Kate's, with three girls all similar age gaps to ours, but a few years down the track and I think, well that's just lovely, thank you! No need for sympathy at all ;)
Ooh and PPS: Thank goodness for handmade!!
Ooh PPPS: Check this article out : Hot pink-toenailed boy in J. Crew ad sparks controversy
12 April 2011
Actually, if I'm really being honest about it, my birthday yesterday was, well... blah. It's been one of those years where everyone's been terribly busy and under pressure and it seemed to happen for everyone all at once. Gifts were in the mail, or I had to shop for them myself, to be reimbursed at a later date. Big owlet was prepared, with a lovely card she made for me last week and I spoke to my family and my oldest friend on the phone. There were 30-ish beautiful messages on Facebook too... which are very lovely and all, but they just seem a bit, well, removed from reality? Like everyone is at arms length. I suppose that's what happens when you spend time socialising online. I've been very lucky to become real life friends with so many people I've met online and have built community around me with them, but when everyone's busy and assumes I am too because they've just seen my latest status update, a couple of lines on facebook will suffice. I've done it too. Lots of times.
In the afternoon, after I watched the postie drive by, Huz took time away from work so we could go out for a special meal that I didn't have to cook and, because it was Monday, many of the new places we wanted to try were closed. Or the ones that were open didn't have anything the owlets would eat beside toast. And so after an hour and a half of looking for something suitable, we dragged the extremely hungry whinging owlets into a cafe we knew where they ate toast and our meal was, well... blah. The rest of the afternoon was spent with Huz driving around and waiting in the car or doing blocks while I ran in and out of shops for a few owlet-free moments to buy myself a new, urgently needed, practical mama bag. To no avail because everything I saw was too expensive or impractical or, well... blah. Then on the way home, Huz was feeling desperate to relieve the day's blahness. We stopped at the local shop so he could pick up a birthday cake, but they were all, well... blah. So he bought some tiny strawberry tarts instead. Then in his rush to present them before owlet bedtime, he shoved the candle in one, wrong side up and (rather amazingly), lit the holder instead of the wick. The flame blew out before it got to me. So we tried another candle. In hindsight, it's hilarious. But at the time, it felt like the Lamest. Birthday. Ever.
Now the point of this post was not to host my own pity party. Really, I know how lucky I am to have spent the day with my lovely family. I know everyone tried and it's a busy time of year. And birthdays are probably overrated. We should be telling the people we love that we love them all the time... But I did learn a few things yesterday.
1. Don't rely on social media for personal interactions. Work on real life friendships more.
2. Take time to send cards and gifts to people I know and love and make sure they are on time. Just in case everyone else is busy too.
3. Try harder to make things by hand, or choose gifts that are from the heart.
4. Don't rely on others to make the day special, but put just as much effort into showing myself some love and respect.
So, in that spirit, I'm making today a do-over of yesterday. April 12th will not exist in this house for this year. I'm looking out for the postie while tidying up, lighting the first fire of the year and cooking myself a delicious birthday dinner. With cake. And we will celebrate in style, dammit! I may even buy myself a gift. Or make one. And wrap it up, just because.
11 April 2011
We're a bit blasé about formal academic learning around here these days because we understand that learning happens naturally as part of our day to day. Every now and then though, I remember I'm supposed to be putting some consideration to it as part of our registration as home educators. The other day I noticed a friend mention the record keeping they were doing and thought "oh gosh, that's right!!" Then I thought about what we'd been up to during the week...
Reading letters from pen pals, writing replies and working hard at making them legible... An impressive feat! Little owlet found this one most challenging. She dictated the letter to me, then copied my writing because she can't read yet, but her letter recognition really came along in the process - and she stuck with it!
We've been playing some new (to the owlets) board games. Battleship and Yahtzee. That's maths covered. We remembered Battleship after some map reading in the car after our big drive home on Wednesday. Lots of numeracy and literacy involved there too, with geography on the side ;) Little owlet likes to count the markers in Battleship because that's what she's up to lately. Multiples of anything are to be counted. She's also been working on her number and letter recognition in the lifts when we go into town. For the moment, she gets to press the buttons in the lift because that's what she's working on. She's been playing with an old laptop too, pressing the keys, saying the letters and counting how many keys there are. Oh and helping me assemble Ikea furniture - lots of counting there! Then of course there are our old faves like cooking - measuring out half or 3/4 cups. Or counting pocket money and working out how many animal toys it can buy. Or reading stories to each other. Or singing to little owlet and counting her cute little toes, fingers and teeth! Yup, learning happens all the time!
If you'd like to join in and show us how learning happens at your house, please add your link below. Then go for a wander and see natural learning in action in other families. It's always so inspiring to me and good to share the journey.
8 April 2011
7 April 2011
Huz and I had a few spare moments last week while the bigger owlets were at Mary Poppins with Mum and tiny owlet slept in the sling. It was raining so we wandered into a newsagent. I remembered to look at Country Style magazine because Michelle's beautiful kitchen (and beagle) was featured this month. I was flicking through, Huz peering over my shoulder, when we saw... Elsa wearing that skirt that I made. The one I sold to Michelle on the day that she made Huz cry... I've seen things I've designed in magazines before, but this was just a little more special because my hands made it. And it's so lovely to see it worn. I think I might make another one a little bit like it....
In other owlet news, I've decided to put my market career on hold for now... perhaps for a long while. Yesterday I withdrew from the Autumn Market I had planned to have a stall at. I won't be at the Christmas one either, and that feels ok. I do so love meeting people and chatting to them. Getting personal feedback on the things I've made. But there's so much preparation involved... so many nights spent at the machine or weekends spent cutting and labeling and having everything just so. And really I should be spending time making stuff for them. My owlets. And sometimes me.
So I'll be popping bits and pieces in my shop from time to time and you can always drop me a line and ask if I'll whip up something for you if you see something you like. But it may take a little while and it may not be often... because I'm knee deep in owlet cuddles and giggles and making the most of every minute, while I can.
When we boarded the boat to come home Tuesday night, I remembered how much I once loved Melbourne. I remembered being younger and looking out over the city at night and thinking of all the opportunities the city held. I knew all its nooks and crannies and I loved it. As we drove through horrendous traffic onto the boat on Tuesday I saw the water, the beach, and relaxed immediately. I realized that I no longer love that city at all. I love the people who live there, but it is no longer my home town. The wind gently whipped up a couple of tiny waves and I felt excited to be heading somewhere where nature is part of my everyday. The wind, the sun, mist, rain, bush, mountains, the river... all play an important part in our weeks in Hobart, although we often don't notice or appreciate them. And so after a rather rocky trip home, we were so glad to arrive to a cool, misty morning...
Which turned into a golden sunny day. The road ahead was finally clear of traffic and we drove happily home. Each of us so relieved to be here, there was, amazingly, not a complaint to be heard. Not even a peep from tiny owlet! And now home we are, all in one piece and so appreciative of what we have. We've pledged to take our next holiday on this beautiful island. Family and friends, you'll have to content yourselves with visiting us here for a little while. There will always be a place at the table or a comfy pillow for you should you wish to wake up where the air is crisp and peaceful and golden... xx
PS. They make pretty good coffee here too, if you know where to look ;)
4 April 2011
I suppose we could call it a holiday, but I'm pretty sure by the time we make it home, we'll be needing another one! What a whirlwind week!! We've been in Melbourne visiting family and friends and squeezing as many activities into our days as time and sore feet will allow. I'm so glad that we have the freedom to spend time with our owlets doing things like this. So glad that they have opportunities to learn everyday wherever and whenever they need. Here's where we've been learning this week:
A big boat
The National Gallery of Victoria
The Arts Centre
A naming day celebration
A music studio
The car (oh yes, lots!)
Shops in this rather multicultural corner of the world
Hanging around home with extended family
And we still have a day left!! There has been cooking, foreign language learning, conversation, food appreciation, climbing, science, art appreciation,gymnastics, geography, maths, history, music, bouncing, reading,... No wonder my feet and my brain hurt!
Where have you been learning this week?