Thursday, February 28, 2008
While reading all of her little stories about real-life experiences she'd had, I came to the conclusion that I don't care to "rough it". Well, for any more than a week anyway. I guess what we are doing could be called "comfort camping". We have power and we have running water right next to us. We don't have it coming in to the van as the tap is too low and too close to some electrical appliances. With very little bench space, we opted to cover the sink and use it as a bench rather than have a sink that Nicky would find too tempting to splash everywhere.
As most of Australia has experienced drought conditions, up until recently with all of this lovely (?) rain, there are signs around about conserving water. The showers at some parks we've stayed at even have little waterproof egg timers that time a 4 minute shower. Yes, this is a good thing to make people more aware of water consumption, but it also depends on the pressure you're using. In the shower we have, it has an awful squeal in the pipes unless the pressure is turned way up. So I almost feel like I'm using enough water for two showers unless I deal with the ear-piercing squeal.
However, the book did prompt me to get the cloth napkins back out and make a few other changes to reduce the amount of waste our family produces. It reminded me to be aware of excess packaging when buying food (or anything) and to recycle wherever possible.
We are living about as simply as we can at the moment. Comfortably, with computer, tv, dvd and a new Playstation 2. - We went with the 2 rather than the 3 at this stage because it was cheaper and the games are much cheaper too. With more rain this week, we just did one of those rare spur-of-the-moment splurges. AJ was so excited that he was actually jumping and skipping all the way to the car.
But the thing about this camping life - I'm about done.
We've had too much rain and this place is too small and my gypsy self is fading - she's feeling satisfied and is ready to retire. And I'm ok with that. She's dreaming of a simple cottage with a big vege garden and herb patch. Sounds blissful.
The kids are showing signs of wanting something more stable. AJ really wants a dog, and Sami needs more of a rhythm and she wants to try some classes in drama and music.
I know I've gone back and forth about living this lifestyle. I like the exploring new places part. I just really hate the packing up and moving part. Later today we need to take every thing out of the old camper and try and pack it into two cars. Then we'll drop off the old camper to be worked on and pick up the new camper. We'll take it to the new area and clean it out - after just having had the A/C put on, it might need a good clean. Then we'll move all of our stuff into it. We did get a storage unit in the new area yesterday. That was an adventure in itself in trying to find a decent place. Large yellow pages ads can be misleading we've found. Anyway, we've already dropped off some of the excess stuff at the storage unit. We just can't seem to do it any more simply. We Need a certain amount of stuff - surfboards, books, craft stuff, empty boxes from electrical appliances still under warranty just in case we need to take them back, etc.
So we'll go to the new park, right near the beach, in the new caravan. I'm sure we'll all feel a lot better once we're settled in. We'll check out the area, find some other unschoolers, find some fun classes for the kids, and if we all agree that it's the right place for us, we will look for a house.
Monday, February 25, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Anyway, I was going to blog about all that, but decided instead to blog about unschooling and what that means to us. I actually prefer the terms 'natural learning', 'life learning', or more appropriately, just 'life' and 'living'. We see the whole world as our 'classroom' and life and all of it's wonderful opportunities as our potential curriculum. We see learning happening all the time and there is no distinction between a trip to the museum or playing cards or doing puzzles or reading a comic book or running around or going shopping or just lazing about in the pool.
This is a lifestyle, based on respect for each other. A lot of Trust that life is unfolding as it should for each of us. A lot of communication and connecting with each other so that we stay aware of the needs and desires of all members of the family. And just getting out and doing a lot of interesting things. En-Joy-ing all the moments.
We are all learning, all the time. Lessons of all shapes and sizes. Lessons in life that cannot be graded. Lessons that are constant and therefore, life itself. It's full of flavour and challenges and incredible joys and love and connection.
And I wouldn't have it any other way!
Friday, February 22, 2008
The five pounds I am trying to lose will not budge. What's going on? I used to be a Personal Trainer for goodness sakes! I just cannot get myself motivated for any major workouts. I'm eating right and staying active but I used to do less than this and have no problem losing weight. I wake up tired and stay tired a lot of the time. I just feel out of balance. I don't know if it's 13.5 years of being vegetarian, or 11 years of being pregnant and/or nursing that are just taking me to my limits. Maybe it is all the rain we've had, maybe it's being away from the beach. Maybe it's that I'm not making time to read an inspiring book.
I don't know.
I was getting down on myself for all the unfulfilled goals I've had. But, I'm trying to see it like going to the department store of possibilities. Trying different ideas on, seeing how they feel by coming out of the dressing room and parading around in a new outfit for a while. Then seeing something in a new colour or style that might be a better fit and doing the same thing. Sometimes leaving the store with nothing, sometimes with some accessory that will just improve the current wardrobe I already have. Sometimes leaving with a brand new look that might last a long time, or just a little time.
Even so, I was still feeling a bit down, wondering why I don't stick with things that initially seem so exciting and just, well, right.
This morning, as I was trying really hard to think about some of lessons from books I've read recently, I opened my email to find this quote from Abraham:
You want the desire because it is the idea or the goal or the Creation that is responsible for a good amount of Life Force to flow through you. The main event is the Life Force that is flowing through you, not the manifestation. And if you don't believe us now, wait until that manifestation has popped, and realize that its power to draw life through you will be greatly diminished. That's why you keep wanting another goal and another goal and another goal... Excerpted from a workshop in Kansas City, KS on Sunday, September 27th, 1998
So I started feeling better. I've created an amazing amount of Life Force throughout my life. I've dared to step outside of the box and at least explore possibilities. We have worked through a lot of conditioning and personal issues to get our lives to a place where we can be even more flexible and we continue to refine and change things as we grow and change and the needs and desires of each of us is considered.
I will continue to frequent the department store of possibilities....and enjoy every moment!
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
We went into the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) today with some new homeschooling friends. There is an Andy Warhol exhibition on and we went to a special part of that designed just for kids. So we got there about 11 am and the place was over run with school groups. We hung back but were given preferential entrance into the 'silver cloud' room - a room with lots of huge rectangular silver helium-filled balloons. The idea was to lie down and watch the balloons float around, but they were too much fun to hit around the place too. (I didn't find out the reason behind this room - was this something that Andy used to do on a regular basis? Probably a good activity in various altered states!) There was a computer game about Andy's life and an area where people were filmed for their "15 minutes of fame" which was shown on a large screen next to the filming area after each segment was filmed. And there were photo booths which took the above photos that we emailed to ourselves.
After the GOMA, we had a picnic lunch next to the river. The kids enjoyed rolling on their sides down a grassy hill while the Mums chatted. Then we wandered over to the museum and looked at some of the animal displays. There are so many different kinds of animal, insects and birds on display. AJ was asking questions about how they got them all. He connected that most of the display animals etc were alive at one stage.
That was our main excitement for today. Yesterday we met the local unschoolers group and had a fabulous time with them hanging out at a park. I am so grateful that we found them. They are all so lovely and we all feel like it's the right fit for us.
In other news, our new caravan is slowly getting closer to being ready. The delays have been a bit frustrating but we're making the most of our time here.
I've been wanting to blog about other stuff going on here, but it's so hard to get a quiet moment to compose my thoughts that I feel I've been blogging about surface stuff. Oh, I should put my headphones on and turn on my MP3! Another use for it. I'll try that next time.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Excerpted from a workshop in “The Law of Attraction, The Basics of the Teachings of Abraham” on Saturday, July 1st, 2006
All Is Well
Friday, February 15, 2008
When we went to the mall yesterday, I did not like the boxed in feeling and was longing for a nice long hike. But we made the most of it. As usual, interesting conversations came about regarding the people we saw. There was a lady in full Chinese dress promoting some Chinese extravaganza so we chatted with her for a while. A lady with a white cane prompted questions from AJ about how it might feel to be blind, or even deaf or both. Followed by his own experiment about how he might cope. The usual parade of women dressed in robes and veils led to further Sami's observations and curiosity about different religions and cultures. We will follow that up next time we go to the library.
The kids also spent some time going up and down the escalators. We looked at all of the different food available at the food court and took time to watch the preparation of different kinds of Indian and Greek food and talked about that and again, about different cultures. We went to the game arcade and AJ checked every machine to see if there were any coins in the coin return. Often he is lucky in this but there was nothing yesterday. There were however, a large number of teenagers there, considering it was school time. We watched some teens on the dance machine and they were really good. AJ has especially become interested in hip-hop kind of dance after watching "So You Think You Can Dance" on TV. He's asked to do a class in that so I've started looking for one in the new area we're going to.
A trip to the mall would not be complete without a stop at the game store to play Guitar Hero. We've been thinking of getting a gaming system and spent a while chatting to one of the assistants at the store who was very helpful. And patient with this techno newbie. He suggested the Nintendo Wii over the X-box 360 or Playstation 2 or 3. But then realising we'll probably get Cary to buy games when he's in the US as they're cheaper there, he suggested the PS3 as it's 'region free'. I managed to keep up with all the lingo as he was talking about the different systems. He was very curious about life in the USA and dreamily rolled his eyes when I told him we used to live in Las Vegas.
Sami looked at different fashions and talked about different styles of dresses. She looked at some of the other girly things as well. We spent a while in the newsagents looking at magazines and Nicholas played on a coin-operated tractor, without any coins being put in it. He loves that tractor and I know it's a minimum of a 10 minute stop every time we go past it.
As it was Valentines Day, we looked at all of the people walking around with bunches of flowers and big soft teddy bears. We talked about the idea of the holiday and why we don't get into all of the fuss surrounding the day. We don't believe in being extra loving on one particular day because the culture says we "should". And buying unnecessary gifts because someone made up the idea that we are supposed to. We aim to live with the Valentine spirit every day. That goes for Santa and the Easter Bunny too.
That was the main parts of our little excursion. Other things happened like stopping to watch the donuts coming out of the machine, and just so many other interesting little conversations and observations. I love this! I love watching my kids put things together in their minds. Yeah.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
As we are planning on moving on again soon, I've been inpired to do a cleanse of our stuff and set aside anything the kids, or we, are not using anymore. Books, toys, general bits and pieces we've somehow aquired. - I'm sure it breeds when we're not looking! When I've finished, we'll donate the things to a thrift store. Sami and AJ would like to have a garage sale and sell the things they no longer want but we really don't have enough to do that. Maybe we can give them some extra pocket money instead.
As I was going through one of the storage boxes, I found a little box containing a brand-new MP3 player that I'd been given as a bonus for signing up with a phone carrier over a year ago. AJ was very interested in it and his interest prompted me to try and figure it out. It actually didn't take long. I had put it aside thinking it would take too long to read all of the instructions and do anything with it. But I'm hooked now! I've downloaded some of our favourite CD's and figured out how to work the FM radio! I'm impressed with myself.
Something you may not realise is that I was born when people still listened to LP records, before the home computer was even something one might imagine as possible. I was in school when colour TV became a thing that everyone had. And waaayyy before mobile phones. I'm not afraid of technology, it's just that I don't have a desire to keep up with the latest unless it's something that I can really use and benefit from - like the internet. And now, without a CD player in the camper, I have discovered the joy of MP3. It suits our lifestyle in that it's so compact. AJ is having a great time playing with it and I will show him how to download CD's to it. I might not get it back! Hmm, I might have to look into those I-Pod thingys I keep hearing about!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
We need to do a few things to the new van to be able to get an Australian compliance plate and then get her registered. We also are getting the airconditioner unit put on top that Cary had sent over in the camper. When the new camper is done, we will get the old one spruced up and ready for sale.
I've gotten used to this campground. It's not too far from the motorways, markets, shops and it's really easy to get into the city - about a 20 minute drive from here to where we park. We've got to know some of the long-termers here and have a comfortable complacency starting to happen. We have looked at a lot of other caravan parks but have not found anything better. Until yesterday when we found the perfect spot for us! It's about an hour south of here, but right on a creek and across the road from a beautiful beach. It's close enough yet far enough from a really popular tourist destination that has a lot of different and interesting attractions. It's also close to the hinterland with beautiful rainforest walks and waterfalls. There's a wild life sanctuary in the next suburb and a new eco-village being built. We will move to the new campground after we've gotten things sorted out with the campers here.
It will mean we will be further away from the lovely un/homeschool groups we've recently met so we might not make it to their gatherings every week. So I'll start looking for more unschoolers in the new area. I just know there out there!
It's nice to keep things moving and interesting. Never a dull moment here!!
Friday, February 08, 2008
I do want to make one day each week that the kids and I go into the city to explore the museums, art galleries, etc. We went to the state library last week with a really lovely unschooling group. The library had a large area with a good assortment of games to play including a huge snakes and ladders game that you had to walk on to play. In another section of the library, they had a long low table with lots of arts and crafts supplies to create with. There were also dress-up clothes, puppets, a dollhouse, computers with kids games on them and other fun things. We easily spent 5 hours there, because of all the interesting things to do and the wonderful company.
We do a lot of driving and I've got to say, I really enjoy driving with my kids. The conversations that come up can be so silly or interesting or warm and fuzzy. Chatting with my kids can make an hour long trip seem a whole lot shorter.
All of the children seem interested in maps. AJ loves collecting pamphlets on different tourist attractions that look interesting to him, or he thinks one of the rest of us would be interested in. These brochures usually have maps on them which he likes to figure out. Nicholas loves Dora the Explorer and loves simple maps like the one that she has. He sometimes find them in books. Sami has been interested in reading the big street directory and has been doing most of the navigating lately. She has a good sense of direction.
I really love my kids. I love my hubby. I love our life.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
a toothy / toothless AJ 6.5yrs
On Australia Day we went to a place near the city called Southbank. It's a huge area alongside of the Brisbane River that has cafes, restaurants, a rainforest walk, playgrounds, a man-made beach and this fabulous rocky river wandering through it. (At one end of Southbank there's also a museum, science center, library, art gallery, and performance arts center. All huge city-size versions of those.) The kids had a great time throwing rocks from one section to another, banging small rocks on the larger ones, building dams and just lazing around like the above Sami mermaid.
Cary has the green sleeves, sitting on the edge. Nicky is just in front of him and Aj is to the right in the black after just having thrown a rock into some deeper water. That activity kept him busy for a long time. There's something therapeutic about throwing rocks into water. And it's just plain fun too!
Down behind Cary is another path that goes along the river. Directly across the river is the city of Brisbane.
Nicky thoroughly enjoyed the rock throwing action as well!
Monday, February 04, 2008
In tradition of the award, I am passing on the award to others that inspire me....
I was going to list them separately, but I realised that the reason I enjoy reading them so much is all basically the same. These five women, as well as Queen B inspire me because of their courage to be real. They are true to themselves, their passions, their families and are flexible and creative in living the very best life they can. I mean really living - following their own path, falling down, getting up again, and soaring, but not afraid to fall again. Taking this life to the depths and heights it can offer, and then sharing some of the insights gained along the way in a witty, eloquent and downright real way. Thank you ladies. You are all amazing and beautiful and I love ya!
To find out more about the award, go to Writer's Reviews. ..that link should be fixed now.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
We'll go out later to the library that we recently discovered and joined. The kids love it because they all got their own library cards and can check out themselves scanning their own books and things. Oh, and it has an x-box, the internet, dvds and even some books! The kids area has a bunch of cushions for people to sit on and look at books. My boys thought it was much more fun to put all of the cushions in a big pile and take a running jump into them. At least the kids area is way down in the back corner. I think the favourite find all round was a Doctor Who DVD. We are all fans and we hadn't seen the episodes on this one. The library is located within the huge mall up the road so when we go there, the kids can also have fun going up and down in the elevator and on the escalators. Good stuff to do on a rainy day!
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Nicky just loves the water. He's become very confident at the pool and will take a running leap into the pool and then swim under the water to where I am. Which is always close to where he's jumping in. He will swim about 8 feet (probably more if we tried it but we haven't) by himself and loves to swim from me to the wall or steps or Cary or Sami and then back again and do this over and over and over. Not bad for a 2.5 year old!
I must post more photos soon.
Friday, February 01, 2008
Being near the city, the prices are pretty high and the competition is fierce. Most places get at least a dozen families looking at them. At least half of those put in applications and of course the family where both parents are working get the place.
I've been considering all of that plus the fact that we would have to buy all the things you need for a house - lounge suite, dining table, beds, fridge, washing machine etc. Long-term, fully furnished places are very rare. I realised that I just did not want to do that. We looked at other caravan parks and realised that we were already staying in the nicest one. We then looked at one of short term furnished cabins here in the park. Very nice, expensive, but not out of the question. We walked in and saw the big fridge, nice furnishings, proper bathroom, and one big box that it was all in. Now the fridge was the best part as we recently discovered some fabulous markets just up the road from where we are. Oh my golly - fruit and veg that smell soooo good and taste wonderful. Back to the cabin. We looked at it when it was raining so it did look tempting at first to have some extra space. But we couldn't get past the boxed in feeling so we decided to pass. We surrendered to our nomadic life and the freedom it gives us. We decided to make this life a little bit nicer so we moved to a new site that has it's own private bathroom. No more emptying the porta-loo, no more walking 5 minutes to have a shower. It's amazing how much we appreciate these little niceties. Our own flushing toilet and hot shower! woo hoo!!
This new site looks out over a beautiful green grassy area and gets a beautiful breeze. At this stage, we plan on staying here for about 6 weeks. That gives us time to do a lot of the city things, get our new camper sorted out and try out some of the different homeschooling groups.
We met with one hs group yesterday - a 'natural learners' group. Big group, it had a lot of teenagers in it and not so many younger kids. The group has been going for 15 years - so I guess it started when the current teens were tots. We all met at some caves about an hour away where there is a glow-worm exhibition. We learned a lot about glow-worms, like the fact that the females shine the brightest. Nicholas wasn't so sure about being in the very dark cave so we pretended the lights were stars and it was night time. The thing my kids remember most about the day was this little poem: