28 February 2014
It feels like we finally got our mojo back this summer. Our love for this tiny island and all the wonderful things in it. We've been all over the place and spending long days, weeks, with friends old and new.
First in Melbourne with the ease of family. Then home again and off to camp… Before coming back home and welcoming a beautiful family of new friends who merged with ours so brilliantly that it felt odd when they were no longer here. Extended time living with others, especially witnessing the dynamics of other families, brings a wonderful new perspective to how we live our own daily lives. Even for kind of introverted sorts like me and Huz. What a gift! I highly recommend it, sharing your space with other families... Villages are wonderful things!
This last beautiful month has been like one giant, relaxed party. One huge out-breath as we cram in all the things before the shortened days and hibernation of Winter kick in. The light is changing. We can feel it coming and yet we are still holding out for summer to stay a while… We'd have been off adventuring right now if we'd run with our hearts again this weekend… Gosh we love summer...
Stay tuned for an update on where we've been. It's been wonderful! And we'll be off for Autumnal adventures again soon!
Right now, it's time for a freshen up. We're locating all the cosy things, still making the most of the daylight, gardening and harvesting, tidying up, dusting the neglected corners of our home, breathing in and boiling the kettle.
This blog has had a much needed, long anticipated freshen up too with a lovely new banner. Thanks so much to the remarkably generous and always wonderful Phoebe Wahl. I do love it so…. I think just about every room in our nest has something of Phoebe's on it and now both my blog and our Spiral Garden store do too. I don't think its possible to have too much whimsy and wonderful in your life, is it?
Have you had a wonderful summer? I hope so!
Hope there's whimsy and wonderful in your world this weekend too… xx
27 February 2014
This year we finally got ourselves organised at our homeschool co-op and organised a summer camp. It really was such a highlight. All weekend with some of our favourite people, creating a village for Tiny Owlet to explore and make her own. Long days for owlets to talk, laugh, swim and play with friends - the biggest ever sleep-over! And friendships forged and strengthened for me and Huz too.
We shared skills, learnt new ones, shared food and looked out for the smallest in our tribe. We got comfy with each other and relaxed. An observation Huz made on the way home was the caring, gentle nature of communicating between families, together and with each other. Not a voice was raised in anger or threat to a child. Which made for peaceful and relaxing days. Gentle parenting rocks!
Camp seemed like a turning point for our little (now not so little) group. One that has cemented a core of us together and will see this thing we started grow and flourish. Hopefully even on the rainiest wintry-est days. It seems like, just maybe, we have built our village. Found our tribe.
I've had a few readers ask, so I'll pass on how we started our co-op soon. But for now, we're remembering fondly and planning the next camp. Tiny is asking most days when it's time to go on co-op camp. For her, village living felt right. And I can't wait to make that happen again.
3 February 2014
We carried on today, doing our usual thing. We've been keeping (albeit a little loosely) to a rhythm that has brought a considerable amount of calm to our home. Balancing in-and-out-breath in that Waldorfy way, working with head, heart and hands... It makes sure everyone gets a break or attention when they need. Sometimes it all goes out the window, but that's ok... We've wafted in and out of it over the years and this is how things seem to roll best for us during the day... So I thought I might share it...
The owlets were up at sunrise today, dressed and out the back door, excited to resume a game from the night before, called wolves and panthers... or something like that. Huz and I stayed in bed procrastinating for as long as possible before Little Owlet dragged Huz out to see the crepuscular rays poking through the clouds. I got up too... eventually. When I finally work out that going to bed early is a good thing, I'll be sure to get up early too. Promise.
Somehow it arrives at the table and we all sit around and light a candle. Tiny likes to make us hold hands and sing a rousing rendition of "Blessings on the Blossoms" before we eat and chat about our day. Owlets clear the table as we kiss Huz goodbye.
Big Owlet and any other interested owlets sit with me at the table and we spend some time researching her project of interest. Right now Big Owlet is doing a version of a Steiner/Waldorfy main lesson approach. We wander off on tangents lots. She spends time reading, writing and drawing in her book.
Little Owlet and I read a small book or verse for her to base her recipe of the week on. If she's feeling motivated, she begins writing a recipe down for her cookbook. Or we pop into the kitchen and cook her recipe. Usually she mixes this with playing with Tiny Owlet. Today they're on a bus.
Usually outside, with fruit. Sometimes around the table with teapots and pikelets. Time to run around outside while I hang washing and potter in the garden. Tiny collects the eggs. She's usually nude.
Handwork. This might be knitting, pottery, building things out of boxes, art, woodwork, cartooning, felting... whatever we feel inspired to work on. On Wednesdays we usually spend some extra time in the garden working on our nature/art journals. On Fridays Big Owlet usually focuses on art.
We flop on the lounge and watch a movie or documentary while we eat lunch. Usually I try to make it tie in with whatever we've been talking about that day.
We go for a walk in our neighbourhood. Sometimes along the beach. Sometimes to the community garden. Sometimes to the cafe for milkshakes. Everyday is different and everyday we find something new.
When we get home we put the kettle on, grab snacks and head for different corners of the house for some quiet time. Often the Owlets will hop online and play Minecraft with friends. Tiny will pop Peppa Pig on the iPad and wander between that, toys and the occasional visit to me. I check emails, work on Spiral Garden and research ideas for things to do with the Owlets if I need to. Sometimes Huz comes home early and he and the bigger Owlets head off for Kung Fu training or Big Owlet takes a drama class and the other owlets and I visit the library and meet up with Huz.
I pop on dinner, Huz arrives home, we eat and help a very tired Tiny get ready for bed. Most days, the two bigger Owlets relax after dinner and head to bed a while later. Sometimes an Owlet will stay up for some one-on-one time with us. Usually Huz and I work and watch something lighthearted before crawling to bed much later than we should.... and we begin again.
Unless tomorrow we decide to go to a friend's place or the beach all day. Or we spend the day with all our buddies at co-op. Or we get carried away with cooking or drawing or watching movies or something else... And that's the best thing about it. The freedom to change it up when we want to. Comfort and freedom. In and out breath. Balance.
2 February 2014
So I've been giving a little thought over the past while about judgement, being judged, judging others. Here's what I think...
It isn't helpful.
This is where my dislike for labels comes into play. They allow us to quickly categorise so we can arrive at a judgement of a person or a thing sooner. So we can work out if they are for us.
It can feel hurtful to be misunderstood. Misjudged. And, especially on the internet, we humans can jump to conclusions and misjudgements rather quickly. We have a lot to learn about this still-so-new method of communicating and sharing thoughts. We get it wrong. Often.
This space here, where I write my observations of my family life and often through my owlets' eyes has, on a few occasions, been seen as judgmental. Perhaps you've felt it too? The mind can play tricks like that. It can make one's exclamation of joy seem like a personal attack on one's own character or choice of lifestyle. It can make us feel defensive. A happy owlet at my house can mean your owlet is somehow deprived. Which we both know isn't really true. Reading about another's happiness or choices can lead to reflection on your own, for sure. But is it a judgement of your situation? Most likely not. Usually it's just me soothing my own soul and remembering to take note of the good things...
A couple of weeks back, I ventured onto a local Facebook chat group. I've been and left before for various reasons; mostly I'm just too busy to have it constantly in my feed. This time it seems I was there to figure out my thoughts on judgement. One member posted a fairly provocative article. It had slightly defensive undertones from an author who had likely been judged for her position. It was an opinion piece on bodily autonomy and kids. I happened to mostly agree with it. It was about hair. Just hair. No life and death thing. Unsurprisingly, many of the comments responding to the post were fairly judgmental and leaping to rather ridiculous conclusions. There was no real person to converse with, so it was all in, in that special one-sided way that happens on the internet... Anyhow, I felt uncomfortable about it. And not because it felt like judgement of me - it could have, given the state of Tiny's hair these days, but this wasn't particularly bothering me. What I felt most uncomfortable about was the assumption and statement that anything on the internet is up for scrutiny and judgement. If you put it out there, you're asking for it. I disagree.
Using one's judgement to figure out the right path forward in life is a helpful thing. Passing judgement on others is often hurtful. Instead of reacting in a defensive way, instead of feeling like the other person's way of life is threatening yours... Instead of feeling like you need to poke a heap of holes in the other person's argument/lifestyle/beliefs, maybe stop and think about it a bit... Sure, let them know it challenges you. Perhaps do some work on that yourself. Listen. Talk it through if you can. Let them know you disagree if you must. Maybe provide some insight on why you might think that and some information on why. Hopefully they'll understand it as helpful rather than judgmental...
But try not to belittle and try not to judge them to be bad people. And most certainly don't expect that they are judging you back. Probably they're just happily doing their own thing, getting on with living. Maybe they're letting you know that they think it's great just incase you might too. The internet can be a wonderful place for learning and communication, especially if we don't let judgement get in the way.
Have you ever felt judged?
Have you ever read a blog and felt self-concious about your life?
Have you ever felt a bit judgmental about something that challenged you?
How'd you move through that?
Happy week, lovely ones. xo