Category Archives: Everyday Family

{ this moment }

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week.

A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savour and remember.
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This Moment 014:: The work in process often found in my 6 year old’s hands.

:: His own design.

:: He decided he needed green wool.

:: Then after an agonising two day wait, he had the opportunity to choose his own colours at the Nundle Woolen Mill.

:: One very focused, excited boy stitching up his very own pattern.

:: Boy and project often found snuggling close to Mummy on the couch as we stitch together.

:: Sweet moments to savour and remember.

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Inspired by Soulemama
Linking up with A Picture, A Moment

Lens and Layout Workshop

 

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I’m pretty excited to be writing this post right now. Simply because it is me who is actually writing it, which means I was there! Although almost two weeks have gone by, I still smile to myself whenever I think about this weekend, the workshop and the fact that I had this opportunity to be there. Lens and Layout, put on by Jaclyn, Trish and Ronnie - three very talented, lovely, gracious, professional ladies who were perfectly happy to answer all the silly questions I threw their way, gave their time to teach us what they know and do so well, and laughed and chatted the day away, like we had all been friends forever.

It was made all the more fun (and special) because I shared the experience with my sister. Actually it was a random message from her, with a link to this workshop, asking whether she should book 1 ticket or 2 which brought us both there. Obviously I wasn’t going to let her go without me… but the logistics of me getting there were just a wee bit harder. But I got it all figured out and the end result has been the most fantastic weekend.

After 17 hours of driving, a short sleep in some, ahem, cheap (but clean, comfy and safe) digs in the city, a breakfast experience which set the tone for the day and surely equals any food experience I’ve ever had (what a location, and just around the corner from our hotel and the workshop, yeah) and we were there. Giggling like excited girls, just a little stressful moment as we took the wrong turn but that turned out just perfect in the end, we left my husband and son to spend the day exploring Sydney and entered a photographic studio – simply the perfect setting for such an event.

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We explored our cameras and I found buttons which I never knew existed, took photos, threw some confetti around, took more photos, wore some funky socks, took more photos, drank tea from authentic vintage tea cups, took more photos, ate some delicious food, took more photos, fiddled with the camera settings, took photos, uploaded photos and played with them on the computer. All in all it was such a good day, a perfect blend of learning new things, enjoying a day in Sydney with my sister, challenging myself in photography, design and blogging and simply enjoying the day in it’s entirety.

 

 

Preparations

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Looking ahead over the next few days and I foresee about 26 hours driving – in the passenger seat. So the essential preparations are in full swing. Much hand stitching and crocheting was first to be packed followed by a couple of good books to read. Yes, essential preparations indeed.

Blueberry Picking

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It’s a yearly event, much anticipated by young and old alike. The picking of blueberries – which of course involves much eating of blueberries at the same time. This year we almost didn’t make it, a new home, longer distance to travel etc. But when we realised this would possibly be the last day of the year they would be open to pick you own berries, it didn’t take much convincing – we just had to go.

Bright and early we bundled still half asleep children into the car with the promise of a fun morning ahead. The weather was beautiful (a welcome break from the searing heat of recent weeks) and the location picturesque. This time we even had Daddy along for the first time which added to the fun – someone started a blueberry throwing contest, hmmmm I wonder who…..

After scouring the blueberry rows and filling most of our tubs we found a few bedraggled rows of raspberries. With the observant eyes of the young ones we even managed to score a few handfuls of those – a favourite in this family.

As we were packing up to leave I set out the picnic rug between the rows of berry bushes for a well earned cold drink (of home made raspberry cordial no-less, I planned that well, didn’t I…). A picture perfect way to end such a fun morning and refresh some very happy, tired, blueberry filled, delighted children (and adults). Now we have a freezer bursting with fresh, delicious, organic blueberries and recipe ideas circulating from everyone in the family. Yum.

Welcome 2014

 

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It’s a time of year I always anticipate with excitement. A new year just beginning. An opportunity to sit down and think about the life we live, the dreams we have, the ideas we desire to bring into reality, the priorities we have in life…..

Having said all that, I’m not one for resolutions or making promises I know I can’t possibly keep. But rather, I see the value in stepping back and thoughtfully planning this life we are privileged to live. A time to dream and plan rather than make empty promises. So with the busyness that usually accompanies our Christmas/New Year time (delightful, fun, joyful, family-filled days), it’s now – already a week into the new year – that I’m finding the space to think, dream and plan. And what an exciting prospect that is. A whole new year full of promise and opportunity, just waiting to be lived.

I’m fully bursting with excitement and have a notebook getting filled with ideas, dreams and goals. It’s shaping up to be a fantastic year ahead, I just know it. I’ve began writing, with a pen and paper, a journal once again. This was a the request of my biggest son who enjoys our time together as we write, he writes his journal but me typing away at the computer keys just wasn’t quite the same. I had to agree, so I found a notebook given to me 4 years ago from a special group of friends (you original Nourished girls are such a wonderful group of women), a touching note written in the front cover and have made it my goal to write whatever I want in there this year – just whatever fills my heart and mind each day. This may come as a surprise, for someone who loves writing as much as I do, but I haven’t really kept a proper journal like this for years. I’ve kept notebooks of this, that and the other but not just a journal filled what what makes up my heart each day (or as often as I get to write) – no pressure, no restrictions, no ideas of what I should include, just a place for me.

So much of what fills me with excitement are the little things, the small changes I make to our everyday family life and the little family traditions I want to continue or begin. The picnics we plan to take more often as a family, the afternoons spent stitching by the sandpit which I intend to continue, the sewing and knitting projects I’m helping my daughter with, the woodworking  which my two older boys are enjoying at the moment, the camping adventures we have planned, sharing more family dinners by candlelight – all the little things which make this life of mine so rich and blessed. Oh yes, there are bigger dreams and plans swirling around as well but my full priority is placed on the little moments which are truly the big moments.

I hope your 2014 is shaping up to fill you with joy, peace and hopeful anticipation.

Today

Today I am:

  • Cooking some fresh bread, muffins, roast dinner…..
  • Listening to my two big children help each other with their school work
  • Snuggling my littlest
  • Helping my 6 year old make sense of the jumble of letters found on a page – otherwise know known as ‘learning to read’
  • Smelling coffee brewing
  • Writing lots of words
  • Teaching my growing girl a new song on the piano
  • Reminiscing as I have taught this song to dozens of children over the past 16 years
  • Savouring the sweet giggles and smiles which fill this house
  • Remembering to go slowly through the day – finding beauty everywhere I look
  • Packing my newly finished crotched bag with a stitching project – ready to go when I’m needing a ‘project on the run’
  • Studying rocks with my two youngest
  • Picking fresh herbs from the garden – basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary
  • Sorting buttons with my daughter
  • Planning the next books for us to read aloud as a family - The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B.White is a popular request from the little ones (I just need to get a copy of it)
  • Helping little hands thread beads on a string
  • Baking ‘yummy’ sand muffins – in the sandpit with my little ones
  • Washing sand off little toes
  • Sweeping sand off timber deck floor
  • Vacuuming sand off tile house floor
  • Finding sand in more nooks and crannies
  • Thinking that the sand play was definitely worth all this cleaning up afterwards
  • Singing crazy, fun, happy songs
  • Tapping out the cup song which I two of my little ones perfected yesterday along with me (not sure about those Gaelic words though….)
  • Wondering how to entertain tired little ones on a hot, muggy afternoon
  • Remembering the privilege it is to teach and train these little ones at home all day
  • Smiling as I watch my children play together – generally with a happy vibe
  • Loving having this place to call my home
  • Smocking a bright green sundress for my girl
  • Drawing signs for make believe shops
  • Shopping in make believe shops
  • Buying my kitchen utensils from make believe shops because I need them to cook tea with
  • Tasting the afternoon tea concoction made by my biggest boy – consisting of a delicious mix of herbs, cream cheese and almonds – YUM
  • Sharing a meal with a new found friend
  • Relaxing in the quietness of the evening

What I’m Learning – Busyness does not equal Importance

It’s a common misconception to think that busyness equals importance. Somehow it gets into our heads that one equates to the other. Although I make a very conscious effort to live my life simply and purposefully take time each day to simply enjoy my life and the people I share it with, I still find myself with the mindset that I must rush onto the next thing – whatever that may be.

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I was reminded of this today. Here I was gifted with a whole day before me. No plans, no agenda, only two children and myself in the house. What should I do? Where should I start? Brad left to go hiking with two of our boys and as they drove off I found my mind in a spin. I had ideas aplenty. Plans continuously circling round my headspace just waiting for the peaceful moments to be brought forth into reality. So here I found myself, not sure where to start. A whole day to make the most of, I felt the pressure. This was such an unusual occurrence for me. Time. Space. Quiet. I needed to make it productive and worthwhile. Or so I thought…

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I quickly set the two children up with some painting and I hid myself in my studio. The sewing table was strewn with a project in process. Beauty spilled forth from the fabrics – floral, pink, aqua, fine chord = yes please. But I looked around and didn’t know where to start or what to do. I was floundering with too many plans and ideas. Too much to do. I opened my computer and checked the mail, browsed a few blogs, looked at some photos of a friends wedding yesterday…. wasted a bit more time…. then realised I had two beautiful children singing as they painted some cardboard, medieval castles. They seemed so happy, peaceful and simply enjoying this day and the company of each other. So I dropped my grand plans and went to join them. I decided that these two children are so precious and I wanted to share in their contentment with life at the moment and simply enjoy their company.

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My day had begun with a whirl of busyness inside me. I had this false idea that for this day to be meaningful it had to be productive. And to be productive meant being busy. But with gratitude I now look back and realise I approached this past day with ‘SLOW’ as my motto. Enjoy the little moments, sit with these children, enjoy the stages they are at, shower love upon them and allow them to shine today.

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While I feel refreshed, rested and as though I have really connected with these two delightful beings which I’m honoured to call my children, I have also accomplished so much. I haven’t been busy in mind or hand, yet the product of the day has equated to several things ticked of the to-do list. What a delightful way to meander through this life of ours. With a stillness of spirit and a determination to go slow and enjoy the moments along the way.

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PS. As part of my determination to go slow and leave the pressure of achievement behind today, I determined to leave my camera packed snugly away in it’s case as well. So I’m sharing some of natures spring beauty with you today. I took the photos last weekend as we meandered around some stunning gardens.

A week of contrasts

 

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These weeks of ‘holidays’ flow at a different rhythm. It’s been a week of stark contrasts. Somehow slower, yet busier. Filled with delightful events and family gatherings while still allowing time to stop and just enjoy this life I live and the people I share it with. Celebrating milestone birthdays with the extended family. Hours spent playing with fabric and thread in the studio (I’ll show you the results in the coming days when life returns to a steadier routine). Driving many, many, many miles. Quiet cups of tea mixed with busy days of trying to fit everything in. Unexpected visits from a sister followed by a couple quiet days dedicated to enjoying my only child at home – a very cute 2 year old. Organising and preparing for the new term ahead while taking a trip back down memory lane. All added together it makes a truly delightful way to spend our days. Now I’m off to collect my three big children, who have been holidaying with Grandparents, before enjoying the extra long weekend ahead, dedicated to celebrating beautiful friendships and discovering new places together.

What I’m Learning – Being Present

Stitching It was plainly obvious that something was not working in my daily rhythm. The afternoons from when my littlest woke from his sleep till he went to bed at night – sometimes far later than he needed – were not pleasant. My littlest was displaying plain naughty characteristics and I was becoming a more cranky Mummy by the minute. Each afternoon was turning into a battle. I would dread it. The older children were missing out on my focused attention and any response I gave was certainly not in a loving tone of voice. The littlest, well, he just got into anything and everything he knew he wasn’t allowed. And my husband would arrive home every day to a very frazzled family and a wife ready to explode.

Not a good way to live. And if this was only an odd day here or there, I’d just let it pass. But it was becoming a daily occurrence. Now, I’ve learnt a thing or two about this parenting lark. Until this point I had been battling a strong-willed 2 year old and ‘locking horns’ with him. And as you wiser Mums out there know, this is a rather unproductive way of approaching a situation such as this. So I got to thinking, the problem wasn’t really his behaviour. Because that was just the outward action, it wasn’t the cause of the problem. What was the cause? What was it that this littlest one of mine needed? Why did he seem so angry at the world? What was going on inside him for this to be the outworking?

I decided to give one day to observing him and giving him lots and lots and lots of focused attention, in an effort to break the cycle of our rather unpleasant afternoons. That’s when I discovered the answer. I was getting distracted each afternoon. Not completing enough in his sleep time and feeling short-changed. Then I would spend the afternoons in a distracted state. Maybe reading some blogs or checking facebook or googling something or…….. but I was feeling unfulfilled myself and was giving my attention to a screen rather than my family. (Humbling moment, I realise the cause is more about me than the little one.)

Now that I realised the my littlest one was really just needing a Mummy to be present and not distracted in the world of www’s and smart phones. What a relief. So I’ve set up a new afternoon rhythm around here. And it’s working wonders. The entire family is more content, less arguments, Mummy is happier which seems to trickle through to the whole family. I tend to greet my husband with a smile instead of a ‘I can’t take this any longer’ type of desperation. Just changing my afternoon to become present with my children for an hour or so has made a massive difference. And we all like it.

And, well, I almost feel a bit embarrassed telling you the simplicity of it all. What do I actually do? Well, I turn off all screens after the children’s rest time. Unless I need to make a phone call or something, well that’s fine, but not to have them around to waste my time and take my attention. And I, wait for it, this is the big, big, big change. I make a deliciously, hot, freshly ground, coffee. Take some embroidery and sit on our back deck. Yup. That’s it. Basically I take an hour out of my ‘feeling bored’ ‘wasting time’ afternoon and do what I would chose to do if I ‘had more time’ (win, win all around). The little one plays happily in the sandpit or back yard with minimal attention from me. But he knows I’m there to help him or watch him or give him attention if he needs it. The older children come and go. Different every day. Sometimes they join in the play outside, sometimes one will sit and chat with me (which I enjoy immensely), sometimes they might pick up a project and stitch alongside me, sometimes they might be busy inside. But everyone is productively enjoying the time.

Needless to say, I’m now LOVING my afternoons instead of dreading them. And our family is a much more content entity as a result of me taking an hour or two each afternoon to enjoy the outdoors with a coffee and embroidery in hand. What a delightful answer to a problem.

What I’m Learning – Gratitude

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It was a book from the library which instigated the search. A trip back through the memory lane found within my photos. I read the last pages while snuggling my littlest to sleep yesterday, tears streaming down my cheeks and a lump in my heart. The story was titled ‘The Quilt’ and the making of such was the theme found from the beginning until it ended with a funeral. The funeral of the elderly lady of whom the story was written. It was fiction and my logical mind was telling me that it’s all just a story. But the words really hit a chord within. I think these past few months have drawn up a lot of my emotional reserves and it was the beauty of this story which overwhelmed me with raw emotion and gratitude.

How could I let a moment such as this pass? I had to do something, so I went browsing my old memories. Reflecting on the good times I’ve been privileged to share with some very special people in my life. Remembering why we have chosen to live our lives this way. Seeing anew the amazing blessing this family of mine, immediate and extended, is. And generally just viewing the whole world through renewed eyes as my heart overflowed with gratefulness.

It’s really the only way to live, this life of thanksgiving. It brings the whole world into focus and places the important things in front of those which are least important (to-do lists have a habit of doing the opposite). It makes me realise the value of spending an hour sitting outside, watching my children play and chatting with my oldest son. That’s the important stuff which doesn’t achieve any task crossed off the list. But of the highest value in the big scheme of life.

A simple fictional story which my littlest son pulled off the library shelf last week and I decided to leave it in the book basket and bring it home. It seems like a random coincidence, but I wonder. It’s touched me deeply and given me new perspective. And for that I am grateful.

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