Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Few More Monkey Mia Pics....

Early morning at the beach.

Waiting for the dolphins.

Deserted beach.
Eden playing at the watersedge.

Very hard life for the boys.

Just layin' about.

Miya ocean-gazing.

Eden could (and did) find a playground in the middle of nowhere.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Are We Flippin' Well There Yet?!


We are in Monkey Mia, though, home of the dolphins. I am sitting in a darkened room while the baby sleeps next to me, with the Olympics on the telly and the computer happily on charge. Apparently July, with it's lovely mid-20-degree days and clear, blue, sunny skies is a busy time of year here in Paradise! Luckily Unfortunately for us, this meant that all the camping sites were being used by German speaking youngsters in brightly painted minivans, with tans that completely belie the fact that this is undoubtedly the first time they have seen real sunshine since they were born. We parted with a small fortune and rented a small bedsit room with a shared ensuite. We then parted with another small fortune and rented the adjoining bedsit so that a) we have our own UN-shared ensuite, and b) we have a hope of actually getting the kids to sleep (while we watch the Olympics in the other room.)

Roadtripping with kids is slightly different to roadtripping without them. They really do ask, "Are we there yet?" an extraordinary number of times. And the pleasures of snoozing in the passenger seat of a cruising vehicle seem lost on the small ones.

Anyway, we'll be here in Monkey Mia for a couple of days, before moving on to Exmouth. Tomorrow morning we are going to feed the dolphins on the beach here, and do some swimming and fishing. And, because the ocean aint big enough for them, the girls want to go for a splash in the resort pool, too.

Some pics for you from the trip and this evening's jaunt on the beach.

My super stylish and oh-so-grown-up Miya at Eneabba Roadhouse.

Only in Australia....

Spunky in his tea cosy.

The beautiful beach at Monkey Mia.

Water pixies - thank goodness for warmer evenings!


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Live Simply....

Photo pinched from here.

Today, I closed my facebook account. I feel freer. I am happy with my decision to do this. Reading Rhonda's post at Down to Earth (and the comments that follow it) was what finally tipped me over the edge of that decision.... it is something I have thought a lot about, and even tried once, but never really committed to. Now I am more aware than ever that Facebook doesn't help me to live simply, it doesn't motivate me to love my children better, it doesn't help me get those daily tasks done and it doesn't give meaning to my life.

Today, also, we finish the final preparations for our trip to Broome. An ultimate exercise in living simply - living out of our car for a month. Simultaneously, we are packing the house ready for our house move, a few days after we return from Broome. Packing is a tedious, time consuming, thankless activity but it does allow me to thoughtfully consider every item that goes into each box - do I really need this? Does this enrich my life? I have sold a lot of unused/not needed possessions over the past few weeks, with even more going to one of the local opshops. Packing may be thankless, but decluttering, well, THAT I love!

We leave tomorrow (providing everything gets done!) and I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to do this trip. Our lives are truly blessed. We will thinking of many while we away, particularly loved ones who are getting married, and those who are having babies. I look forward to catching up with you all in real life.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dates With My Daughters

Life is crazy here at the moment. We leave on our four week road trip to Broome in a week, and move the weekend we get back, so we have been busily preparing, not only for the holiday, but also for the move. Decluttering, donating to charity, selling unwanted goods, cleaning out each room, sorting.... it has been keeping us very busy.

Next week is the girls' last week at their current school. Eden is completely nonplussed, saying she didn't even want to go anyway because there are naughty boys at school and they bother her. Miya is, true to form, a little more complicated. She hasn't been enjoying school, to the point where we cut her school days back from three days a week to two days a week (and even then she had quite a few 'sick' days). We couldn't ever get to the bottom of why she disliked school so much. We floated the idea of homeschooling with her, but she wasn't overly impressed by that, either. But when she realised that she would be going to a new school once we move, she became quite unsettled by that, too. I think it has been playing on her mind a bit, as some of her classic 'stress' behaviours are coming to the fore.

On the weekend, Nath and I decided that I needed to take a couple of breaks from the busy-ness, so that I could take each of the girls on a 'date', one at a time. Miya decided she wanted to go to the riverside cafe here in town for a pink milkshake, then a walk around the river bridges. Eden wanted to go to a cafe on the river in Perth for lunch. Shaking aside the niggling, annoying voice inside my head complaining about the cost, I thoroughly enjoyed two afternoons' worth of fun with my lovely girls.

Miya is still worried about school - both her last week at her current school, and the change to her new one (which, incidentally, Nath and I are very hopeful about). But I do hope that we can create a soft place for her to fall when her burdens become too much.

Miya and I on the Northam footbridge.

The beautiful Swan River near Woodbridge.

Ok, maybe the cost WAS worth it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Books We Are Loving

It is unlikely to come as a surprise to you that we in this house love books. I thought I would share some of the books currently in rotation (and by 'in rotation', I mean left open next to the bed, on the carpet near the rocking chair, on the couch and on the toilet floor)

'The Granny Square Book'. I was so excited to receive this parcel upon my return from Melbourne - the only problem was, I had no idea who it was from! A bit of asking around revealed that it was my birthday present from Mike and Annette. A very happy girl was I. I've been wanting to learn to crochet for awhile now, and, after picking up some crochet hooks from my local 'Pay It Forward' site, I'm ready to go.

'The Sand Bucket List'. This little gem was found by a friend of mine while we browsed a bookshop. It's quite literally a list of things to do with your kids before they grow up. From the silly (go around blindfolded for an afternoon) to the socially responsible (spend some time in a place where you are the minority) it is full of little treasures that have totally inspired me to recreate the time I spend with MY little treasures.

'Down To Earth'. The author of this simple-living book, Rhonda Hetzel, writes the blog of the same name and is a wealth of common-sense, homemaking and simple living knowledge and ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

'Charlotte's Web'. I bought this classic from Savers in Melbourne for Miya, as she is really into having chapter books read to her at the moment. She loves going to the library and borrowing these truly awful Rainbow Fairy chapter books, so I am slowly introducing her to good children's literature. The whole family is loving this one.

'Saving Our Children From Our Chaotic World'. Maggie Dent (her website is here) is a bit of a guru in child development. I love her emphasis on nature, her work on resiliency and her focus on creating safe and happy childhoods. Looking forward to getting stuck into this one (must stop getting distracted first.... hmmm, I wonder if this book will have something to say about that??)

'Eco-friendly Crafting With Kids'. This one is awesome. It's written by blogger Mini-Eco (website here) and has some fantastic ideas on sustainable crafting, including making your own crayons and chalk, and utilising the recycling bin and the natural environment. We are going to enjoy delving into this one :) The girls have already enjoyed making cakes with 'chocolate', 'strawberry' and 'vanilla' playdough.

Hope you are all well!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Snaps

Some projects completed...

The pin-up board and glass whiteboard I have been meaning to make for ages. I'm quite happy with how they turned out.

Our table all set up ready for dinner with friends, complete with the pretty little placemats I made for the occasion (in the nick of time - I was still top-stitching them when my friends arrived!)

Some opshop finds....

Brannen in his beautiful vintage highchair I found in our local opshop. The lady told me it was for dolls only as it doesn't meet Australian safety standards.... I might need to tie him in with a belt! I just love it, though.

My $5 opshop dress, so retro! Here's the pattern on it, close up:

Some weekend footy....

Some fun with the kids.....

Miya catching 'fairies' in a jar. Yes, my bedroom is possibly a touch dusty. She would try to catch the 'fairies' and was becoming quite disheartened when she couldn't see them shining in the jar. I'm so glad I snapped this pic of the sun hitting the jar, because she was pretty thrilled when I told her that I thought maybe fairies became invisible when they were captured, but sometimes, just sometimes, you could see them shining in photos.

 Bike ride and a play with friends in the park. It is pretty darn cold here these days but the sun is usually still shining, so we are lucky enough to be able to enjoy getting out and about for walks and bike rides during the day. Miya is an awesome bike rider (with training wheels) and Eden is.... well..... getting there.

Hope your weekend was fabulous!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lazy Weekend To-Do Lists

I love weekends. They stretch out before me from my vantage point on Friday night like an unblemished landscape, a blank canvas waiting to be filled. I love the promise of lovely, lazy days; or busy days in the kitchen; or time spent with friends; time for sewing or reading; or trips to the park with the playground-obsessed kids in tow - all in between the week's washing, tidying and cleaning.

The problem is, I tend to want to do all of the above. I write imaginary lists in my head, not really accounting for how long each task will take. Unsurprisingly, I am usually slightly disappointed on a Sunday night when I realise my imaginary list has only half of its items imaginarily crossed off. I remember Mike once saying on a holiday we spent with them that Annette likes to 'suck the marrow out of each day'. Well, that's me every weekend.

So, now I make real lists. Not the rigid, 'I have to do absolutely everything on this list' kind. Just lists of things I'd like to do, this weekend or next, or even next month. It's kind of a collection of ideas. (Sometimes Nath has to remind me of this - slow down, Nicole, take a breath, hey, do something radical and have a nap even!)

Taken at 9:00am this morning - it was minus two overnight here.
This weekend? Well, it's been cold here, inspiring me to start that patchwork bedspread I've been meaning to make, backed with the purple woolen blanket that was my aunty's as a young girl in the 50s.

I'm also taking Mezz's idea of making a whiteboard from a framed piece of material - and making a matching framed pin-up board as well.

 We have dinner guests tomorrow night, a belated birthday celebration. I'm doing a curry feast, with dahl, poppadoms, raita, chutney, curried cabbage, saffron rice..... and, the star of the night, this lime and coconut goat curry. I've made it before, and I think it is now my favourite curry.

I bought a lovely cream tablecloth today at the Salvos, big enough for even our oversized feast-worthy table, and I plan to quickly make some placemats and serviettes to brighten it up.

So, what's happening in your world this weekend?

Love to you all.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

To family near and far....

I'm getting tired of Facebook. It's easy, it's fast, it's convenient.... it's kind of like the McDonalds of communication (and you know that is no compliment!). I stay on there to keep in contact with different groups of people in my life, but it tends to forget it's place in my life, and I find myself wasting precious time on there.
My trip to Melbourne recently was bittersweet; it was a very emotional and draining week - supporting Rach, attending Nate's funeral, being away from Nath and the girls and all with a very heavy, often unhappy wee little man as a travel companion. I was tired and ready to be home by the end. However, it was just so lovely reconnecting with David and Joy, Mezz and Bazz and the kids. I often forget to touch base with them, and other people who are not on Facebook much. I am a lazy communicator.
What I loved most was the simplicity (and meaningfulness) of their lives - their beautiful eclectic homes made me crave my own home, and the conversations around living the way we live was a wonderful reminder of why we are on the journey we are on.
I am slowly, slowly reducing my time on Facebook.... slowing down my life in general, really, as I grow more and more fond of calm and quiet days at home. I really do love blogging but have found it hard not to get swept up in blogging 'stuff' - you know, when you read one blog, and click onto another, and another, and suddenly, you have been sat for a couple of hours reading; obsessing over who is reading, followers, stats, etc etc; and suddenly, it isn't my creative place anymore.
So I'm trying out a bit of 'slow blogging' - the kind where I write as often or as little as I like only tell close family and a couple of friends about it, promote it not at all, lay out our days here and use it as a tool to keep our loved ones 'close by'.
I hope you enjoy reading about our lives, seeing the pics of our little family and keeping up to date.
Love to you all.
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