30 December 2012

Yuletide Cheer

There is no way on Earth that we could have missed the fact that Christmas was coming. The Littles made sure of it. Every time we were in the car and they saw the decorations hanging off the street lamps, they would let out (sometimes) small squeals from the back.

Squeak was particularly excited about the idea of Christmas but was disappointed that there was no presents under the tree when she awoke every morning. She wanted I'Mass, with special emphasis on the i!, to be here already.

 ( side note before I forget: I just love the fact that she couldn't get her mouth around Christmas but it does not beat Owlet's smallest who called it Goosecheese. That is award winning cuteness dipped in treacle right there! )

The day before, Husband and I helped The Littles put together a gingerbread house. As a way of expanding and creating new traditions, I thought I would pull from my ancestral Germanic roots - plus it's gingerbread, hello?!  I think both of the girls had great fun in helping Husband building it and I think we all had fun eating it.

haus

Imp woke up early the next day but allowed her mother to lie in for just a little while longer. Daddy wasn't so lucky, I'm afraid. Soon her and Squeak were up and racing to the lounge room. Stockings were raided; presents unwrapped and inspected. Clear favourites appeared to be magnifying glasses to inspect the bugs outside, craft kits and the percussion set. Imp squealed at her surprise present from relatives overseas (she got a My Little Pony) while Squeak was rather taken with her knitted Monster I made her.


bag

I felt so grateful this year for the thoughtful gifts from Husband and The Littles. A beautiful handbag, which I patted for the longest while when no one was looking. Some gorgeous sunglasses and some new funky chunky red jewelry. Last but not least, a new teapot in red. If you have not guessed it already, red is one of my favourite colours.

It was a day with just the four of us which ended with a lovely dinner by candlelight. Earlier in the day, I had  messaged my Eldest to wish him a Merry Christmas. I hope it was for him.

xmas

17 December 2012

Christmas Approaches

wreath


Another year is nearly over and another Christmas is just around the corner. Our tree is finally up, 100 percent plastic as dropping pine needles would do my head in, and has been decorated with many ornaments. Some are handmade by The Littles and myself; another one by mother when I was younger which hung on my parent's tree. Others have seen better days, like the vintage mice with one mouse looking rather sorry due to her eyes falling off, but each hold a treasured memory.

 Last night, Husband suggested that we take The Littles for a drive to see the Christmas lights. They had a lovely time, sometimes showing their excitement with high pitched squealing. We had to remind them that squealing can hurt each others ears, especially in a car, so the high pitched was replaced with little "squees" and loads of seat dancing.

This will be our last Christmas in our current town, as next year we are planning on packing up and moving interstate. Nothing like throwing caution to the wind and seizing new opportunities elsewhere. Chapters are slowly closing.

30 November 2012

The Independence of Squeak

Our little Squeak is a feisty shade of two. She refuses to be left behind and wants to do exactly what her big sister is doing. Even though there is three whole years of growing and learning between them, Imp is determined that this is not an obstacle.

The other morning, she told me that she wanted some toast for breakfast BUT I wasn't allowed to butter it. "I do it"

And so she did. My baby girl is growing up so quickly.













27 November 2012

Captured



The moment Squeak grabbed a guitar and joined in with her Daddy


12 November 2012

And then came the rain

Just when I think we have it sorted and we settle in a cosy nook of contentment, it all degenerates into a mess. The vibe within the house changed. Like dark clouds which start to loom, we could hear and feel the storm approaching.

Some call it parental burnout and from what I have read very recently, which means late last night when I should have been fast asleep next to Squeak, is the frequency that it can occur in parents who homeschool and don't take time out for themselves. Our identity is swallowed up by our want to do the right thing by our children; to always be there for them whenever they need, which is fine to a certain point. However, once the point has been meet and pushed passed, that is when things can start to spiral out of control.

Many parents talk about setting boundaries for their children as way for them to learn. But what about us? Where are the boundaries for us as parents where we say "ok now it's some Mum/Dad time?" Why do we not give ourselves the same level of respect? And when we don't, how do we react?

Coming back to what has happened here was a revolt of sorts. I needed time to feed the synapses. To immerse myself which wasn't to do with homeschooling or parenting. I asked for moments of "me time" from The Littles but my requests were refused, which made me feel a level of resentment. I suspect now, through the wonder of hindsight, that they felt this and soon they were playing up (which is a term I really don't like to use because that is what children are supposed to, right? It it their role to challenge). Requests to do what I thought were rather simple things were ignored and I could feel my expectation bar start to rise after each episode of "no" happened. Power struggles emerged between Imp and Squeak; more so Imp attempting to exert herself over her sister who, quite frankly, really doesn't take her sister's shit very lightly. Husband and I joke that she will be the one that we will have a bank account named after called "Imp's bond money" - except we are deadly serious. She is the most independent and feistiest child I have ever met. Her spirit and thoughts are already forged so deep that I will enjoy watching her journey unfold.

The more these episodes between The Littles and I occurred, the more I felt myself retreating. The more they felt Mama pull away, the more grandiose their actions became. I delved deeper into my screen to escape, the more they jumped up and down to get my attention. The more they did this, the more I could feel myself fill up with frustration. And so the cycle continued. Husband would come home from work and could just see how my day had been by the look in my eyes. One afternoon, he sat on my window seat in the bedroom while I just let off steam like a human pressure cooker. He quietly listened, gently reassured me that The Littles did love their Mama and that maybe I should just drop my expectations of them and ultimately myself.

"So what do I aim for then? What should be my level of a good day?" I asked him.
"The kids breathing, fed and happy. That is really all you have to worry about" was his reply.

The next day, when I could feel things starting to become unsettled, I made them change direction. On went the aprons and we baked. I set up the ingredients that they needed and sat back, as much as I could, while they went about the task of mixing the batter for brownies. I watched as they negotiated taking turns of mixing and ultimately, who got to lick the spoon and bowl.

 It was a good moment as it made us all just stop and breathe. They felt satisfied because they accomplished something plus they got a delicious treat at the end of it. The mood within the house shifted again. Even if it is only for a little while.


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Two days later it was like the universe also felt the change, as the sky grew dark and then it rained. Just like within the house itself, the long spell was broken. We haven't had a really drop of rain since July so it was quite lovely to feel the sky just let go and expel all that rain.





Also linking with Owlet for Unschool Monday

6 November 2012

Snippets of home


Some latest pics of our little nest. I do like this house so much more than the last one.


window
Lucy 830 copy
flower
hydranga
splinters

31 October 2012

Rewind


I have been without my computer for a few days due to an interesting virus caught while looking at some things on Pinterest (a heads up for all of us who have a lovely time pinning to our hearts content). Because of this, I have not added all my programs back in so photos these week are brought to you by my trusty iPhone and the wonder that is instagram.

So...what have we been up to this past week? No such sit down learning as such but we all worked on balancing, either figuratively or metaphorically) and working with our hands.

There was climbing and balancing involved



Some first morning cooking lessons with The Husband (bed hair included for all)



Mama attempting to tunnel through with some Christmas presents for The Littles (occasional swearing optional.)



And finishing up with some hands on baking



They didn't even last the day.



Hooking up, even though a few days late with Owlet for Unschool Monday.

24 October 2012

Escaping



".....Okay, the window is open. What do we do now milord?"
" I say we take our chances and go for it. Jumping out on the count of three. 1... 2...."
"She's coming!!!"
"Abort mission"


Drying



Note to self: Toy Story is not a reality program.

21 October 2012

Its the Show

show14 show (9) show (4) show (17)

It was a hot late afternoon when we ventured to the local show and we only stayed for a short time. However The Little got their pony rides and zooming down the superslide.


 Joining in on Sunday Snippets with {tinniegirl} 


sunday snippets by tinniegirl

14 October 2012

Just like me

Caught

13 October 2012

Our Spring Nature Table

One thing I have been itching to do since we moved here is to get a nature table set up, but everything else seem to get in the way. Unpacking, rearranging, more unpacking, more rearranging.

Finally we are settled and time has been made to create our nature table. This is still a new thing for us so we are feeling our way through this slowly.  Everyone has taken part by adding their own special touch to it. I even roped in The Husband to make a seasonal tree for us.



Joining this week with The Magic Onions ~ Friday Nature Table



11 October 2012

The Painted Sky

20121010-sunset 017 

The glorious sunset this evening. Was simply breath taking.

8 October 2012

Breadmaking | Unschool Monday |

We mix the dough,



We knead the dough,



We let the dough rise,
We punch the dough and pat the dough



It grows before our eyes.
Hot, brown loaf from a little ball,



It rises up to feed us all.
Shea Darian


This was our first attempt at baking with The Littles. They really enjoyed getting their hands into the dough and kneading it. There were squeals of excitement; sounds of patting and regular looking through the oven door to see their creations turning a golden brown.

The recipe I used came from the blog connected to the Inner West Steiner Playgroup:

http://innerweststeinerplaygroup.wordpress.com/how-to/our-yummy-bread-recipe-2/

Linking up with Owlet for another Unschool Monday

5 October 2012

Captured


cap-ture To succeed in preserving in lasting form

24 September 2012

Breathing In and Breathing Out | Unschool Monday |

It is a scientific fact that you cannot hold your breath forever. The body will spontaneously respond to get its systems back up and functioning normally again.  As is what is happening here at Unicorn Manor. I could choose to spend my time white knuckling and holding my breath, refusing to make any concrete steps towards "schooling" Imp. Or I could put on my Big Mama Pants™, breathe out and get on with it. I decided upon the Pants™

I am taking steps to try and have reached out to the homeschooling community here in the area to see if there are any Waldorf inspired homeschoolers that we can connect with. Now we wait for a response.

Breathe In.

Part of my weekend was spent conversing with Kestrel in regards to how to start creating Circle Time for Imp and Squeak, who may be too little yet to want to be involved but we will see.

Breathe Out.

I listen out for Imp and Squeak and there is nothing. Silence. Oh shudder.

Breathe In.

house 025 copy

My concern was unfounded as I find them raiding their craft box to do some beading. *whispers* I could almost call this "handwork?" Yes?


house 023 copy

Breathe Out.

I take the moment to leave them to concentrate on their work and type out this post. Then I hear raised voices of frustration from The Littles as they attempt to negotiate who can have the fairy plate with the beads on it. Negotiations sound intense and soon I hear stomping of bigger feet across floor boards.

Breathe In and Out in rapid succession.



house 001

Rolling with the Owlet crew on another Unschool Monday.


PS. Since writing this post, The Littles got out the glitter. Pass me a paper bag.

17 September 2012

The Homeschooling Wobbles

Now that Imp is five, the question of schooling is starting to permeate our bubble in many different forms. Most are innocent comments from well minded people and family who generally assume that she will attend the nearest school. Some feel to be more than just a case of genuine curiosity.

We attended our usual playgroup a few weeks back and interesting conversation ensued while the children were playing. It started off innocent enough with the question of where Imp would be attending school. When I suggested that we would most probably homeschool, the politeness of the conversation soon unraveled. I was informed that I was doing my child and other children a disservice by not putting Imp into school. That others would benefit from the wonderfulness that is my child (that part I do agree with, Imp is so very awesome) and I was being selfish by keeping her to myself.

Sigh.

I tried to explain that the reason my daughter has the personality she is does is because she is not in a place where others attempt to shape her into something that THEY demand. To force her to conform to a certain way which pleases the masses. However, it was dismissed. Then when asked what style of homeschooling I was thinking of doing, I mentioned that I was seriously looking into a Steiner based education. Closed minds and deaf ears felt the need to mock. To state that Steiner children were odd; they didn't know how to socialise in the real world; that the sooner the schools change their curriculum to fit in the rest of us, the better off they would be.

I felt shattered. Angered that I had to even attempt to justify my position. I found her bluntness to be extremely hard to handle and it took a lot of strength to not blow a gasket in front of everyone. Then the worst thing of all happened, it made me question myself.

Am I doing the right thing by Imp? Most children her age are already on the educational conveyor belt. I haven't even begun. Where do I begin? How do I begin? I have frantically searched for solace from other homeschoolers. I look at the fantastic blogs like Bowl of Stones, Like a bird, and Owlet and all I see is the effortlessness that these fantastic Mamas are just getting on with teaching their children. Smiling faces, enthusiastic learning, the joy and colourful world that is these individual families feel almost unachievable.

Imp is now asking about school. A game of pretend at the moment for her is putting on her back pack and going to school. She tries to rope me into this by calling me "Teacher." I feel myself resisting this because I am stuck in moment of self doubt. Fixed on a seesaw of deliberation. When homeschooling entered our world, it was really out of left field and it was a necessity as The Eldest was suffering where he was. It was nothing that I had really wanted to be a part of but, he needed me to step up for him so, I did. However, now that it is mostly up to me and Husband to make the choice, I found myself wavering. Most definitely wobbling.




Joining the amazing Owlet today for Unschool Monday

11 September 2012

Renaming

The House of Chaos now ceases to be. Well the name at least. We are not moving any time soon and our little house is becoming more like a home every day.

On a whim, which is where I live on occasion, I indulged in some online window shopping which quickly turned into me actually purchasing goods. One particular night, I discovered a little gift for a new home with more than a passing nod to Imp's love of horned equines.



Welcome to Unicorn Manor. Imp just loves it and squealed with delight (only to her delight, the rest of us were losing our balance due to the pitch) when she saw it. Husband was bemused. Mission accomplished.

5 September 2012

Captured



One handed dinosaurs like to soak their large feet in yoghurt. Thanks Squeak.

cap-ture  To succeed in preserving in lasting form

28 August 2012

Taswegia - still going!!

I had really hoped to get back to this sooner but this House of Chaos has been struck down with some viral bug which has made The Littles and their Mama very unwell. So finally I can get back to this with what is my favourite photo of the trip.




This gorgeous house which still has the original advertising painted down the entire side of the building. Just stunning.

15 August 2012

Taswegia | Part Two |

Let me tell you about Woodbridge.

It is small. Very cute and "Escape to the Country"esque yet small. However, it does have something which is worth stopping for.

That is the local shop which is part tiny supermarket, part museum and part lolly shop. Yes, you read it correctly -  a lolly shop. For sweet tooth's like me, this could be dangerous. I prided myself on showing restraint and holding onto my camera tightly instead of rifling through my purse for loose change.



Looks innocent enough. I mean, the Mayor appears to be up to something, according to the paper. However this shop looks quiet and unassuming.



So I see they have a few different flavours and types here for sale. Nice little variety. Oh wait, is this just a teaser to the rest of it?



Behold!! The Aladdin's Cave of sugary evil. Diabetic coma, anyone?




After you have eaten so much sugar that you are now at the point where you have forgotten your own name, and your tongue is pulsating to its own little rave, you can attempt to crawl into these comfy little huts. However this may require the ability to shrink. This would be quite amusing for others, who have not partaken in tripping the candy fantastic, to watch and I suspect they may do something more sane with these, like use them as bird houses.





I personally cannot stand the taste of Aniseed but I did take a photo of this for The Husband who was stuck back in our home state looking after The Littles. I suppose I should have bought him some but I have promised him that when we move down, I will show him how to get to the shop to buy his own. That is the kind of person I am; kind and generous to a fault.



10 August 2012

Taswegia | Part One |

This defines serendipitous to me.

I became friends with a wonderful woman, who I met through our connection as being crazed stunt birthers in our spare time. Well, not "stunt" but we are both homebirthers. I previously waxed lyrical about how I am member of Kestrel Fan Club and my sadness at her departure from this area. She has since moved back to her beloved Hobart and guess where the Homebirth Australia conference was to be held?

Serendipity....

I eagerly flew down to start my week with the Recruitment Officer for Come Live in Tasmania. I was also speaking at this years conference was so a little nervous and was eager to get that part over and done with. Unlike last years conference, I only took one photo and this was of the ceiling in the Baha'i Centre.



 Here are a couple of shots which I took on my iPhone as I had left the camera at the house for the day.


The gorgeous and impressive Mount Wellington with her fantastic organ pipes on display. She is this ominous presence which looms over Hobart like an ancient guardian. I felt myself checking her out every morning as we drove down the hill to see what she looked like. Some mornings, she was decorated by a fluffy grey hat. A couple of times, she was delicately draped in white. I can definitely understand the magnetic type pull that she has on people.



The next day we then made our way out to gorgeous little town called Kettering, where the children attend Eurythmy classes. This was the site that greeted me. I swoon over cottage gardens and I swear this one was out to impress. How could I not record such beauty?

On the way back, we stopped so the children could check out one of the local shops. Luckily, the camera was in the car this time and I can't wait to show you what was inside. But it will have to wait until the next time I post.


6 August 2012

Moving - forwards, onward and upwards

The last two weeks in July buzzed by like a blur. We have successfully moved from one house to another. It was a frantic time for all involved, and The Littles really did struggle with the uncertainty and boredom which comes from being left to conjure up their own fun while the parents tried to get everything done.

Keys returned. Farewells done. We bid our former home goodbye which had more bad points about it than good. Farewell tiled floor which was cold and an acoustic nightmare. Farewell mold which would regularly return like an unwelcome visitor.

There were tinges of sadness as well. This was the house that Squeak was born in. I had plans of taking a photo with Squeak standing on the very spot entered this world. She wasn't interested in doing this. In fact, she refused to set foot in the door and would scream if I attempted to coax her into the house. A very interesting moment which I did not expect to to happen.

We also had to say goodbye to our beloved chickens. We all cried when they were taken away by their new owners. I will always have a soft spot my chookies.

 Our new home is just lovely. It is an Art Deco home with a fireplace and lovely original features. There are still some unpacking to do, as it was not long after we moved that I jetted down to Hobart for Homebirth Australia Conference. The next few posts I will talk about the beautiful area's surrounding Hobart so stayed tuned (yes I know, teasing!). A chapter of our lives has closed and now a new one is beginning.

Want to see some photos? I had to use for phone for these as my poor camera was packed away in a box somewhere, probably feeling rather disgruntled that I chose an iPhone over the superior loveliness of my DSLR. I made it up to to her by taking her to Hobart with me.



That is the light in my kitchen. It has a swoon factor of 10!




There are three sets of these gorgeous double doors in the house.




There is nothing more cozy than hearing the crackle of the fire, feeling the warmth on your face and watching the soft glow that is thrown across the room.




A designated feature area for all my colourful plates and mugs! Practical yet snazzy. Oh and look at that delicious subway tile. Drool!!

I will stop here for now as too much gorgeous can be hazardous. Til next time!