31 January 2011

Nearly-Spring Inspirations

Last week was kind of dark, for me. I probably could have been better prepared for it as my hormones are most definitely waxing and waning more strongly at the moment, and the least I could have been doing would be making sure I was getting trace minerals in my diet... Alas, Thursday began with me having to take myself for a cold walk at silly o'clock in the morning after a long night of wakeful baby and not-very-well husband.

The weekend brought a true break in the clouds, and I'm feeling restored to myself now, though still a little in need of solitude in my day. I love the New Moon! I did a huge ammount of spring cleaning again though, and found my journal (!) so every day when Martin gets in from work I'm going to take a few minutes to paint or write (alone) and just the thought of that few minutes a day is cheering me. :)
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Imbolc and Candlemass are big themes this week. We have drawn Brigid/Briget pictures and written spring songs, and read stories today. The Waldorf Main Lesson Book for the bits and pieces that we are busy with is somehow casting a magical spell over Jenna's desire to finish things and create work of astonishing attention to detail.
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Sometimes I get this feeling of "oh God, I'm being Sucked In" with things like this, but I'm trying to find a comfortable place between theory and real life. Sometimes I read something and want to throw out all the good we have found just to try some fascinating theory, but usually common sense reigns that tendancy in... And looking at my children reminds me that the search for the good in these things is to serve the needs of real people not to push them to fit anothers' ideal.
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I did a table-top play of St Brigid's Cloak, on a playsilk scene, and of course Jenna then wore her own cloak all day... On my to-do list, good hooded cloaks for all three of them... Waldorf learning is taking us to places of beauty and truth, but it is just a tool, just a way of being more ourselves. Waldorf inspired unschooling. Yes, I've said it before, it sounds strange, but it works beautifully for us. :)
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A walk to the park. Nothing coming close to looking like rushes for Brigid's Crosses. Well, there is plenty of today left... and plenty of Grace to cover the moments when we don't live up to all we wish to be, and don't get done all that we feel needs to be done.
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27 January 2011

Hello!

You don't get many pictures of me. Often lack of confidence, ALWAYS an unexamined feeling that documenting *them* is more important than documenting me. Martin took this picture, and I sidelined it to blog a selection of *other* pictures from that day instead. *sigh*
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I hope I post as fair a percentage of the unbalanced and crazy and miserable moments as of the wonderful, joyful and inspiring ones. Yet I cringe at putting pictures of myself here, in spite of the prolific posting. Somehow it's more comfortable to share the intimate thoughts and feelings than it is to share my own image. You would not believe how much I dithered about even saying this.

The only reason I can think of is that writing feels comfortingly anonymous and unselfconcious. I feel so much less natural putting a face to my name, so much less comfortable with my outer self.

I can't help thinking how sad that is, that even though *generally* my body image is positive, I avoid the camera. I really don't like the idea of being invisible in our family memories. I don't want to look back and always have been the one behind the lens. If you get more insecure ramblings at the same time, sorry, but at least I do fully intend to stop hiding!

26 January 2011

Not a Baby

Last night, Rowan picked up the Ostheimer baby wolf, and started calling, "woofie, where is it woofie, where woofie gone?" I realised she was looking for mama wolf, so I hunted through the basket, and passed it over.

She made mama and baby kiss, and then laid them down on their sides and declared, "woofie sleep!"

Ahhh she is so little, and so cute, and ahhhh she isn't allowed to grow quite so fast!

A moment later I was singing Rowan a lullaby, and she had brought the wolves over really gently and laid them (still apparently asleep) on my arm. She was stroking them as she nursed and drifted.

Then she sat bolt upright, and said, "sheep, sheep" so I asked if she wanted me to sing "sleep baby sleep" again and she shook her head, no, "sleep WOOFIE" she said. Yes, I said, wolfie is asleep.

"NOOOO sleep woofie SING!"

So I had to sing her wolves a lullaby.

25 January 2011

Finding our feet

This is the old normal in the new space. I'm feeling the beat a bit more, a bit more capable of living up to my own ideals and also a bit more able to let go of perfect. Besides, where we are right now might not be perfect, but it is right where we need to be. I have that much faith, at least.
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The clearing and cleaning still feels so good. I had grand plans yesterday, but today I think a little bit here and there is quite enough.
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These spaces sing to me, little bits of goodness I can remind myself of in my days, the reminders of the sacred and worthwhile.
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The play in the new spaces is just the same, and also brand new. See?
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Some watercolours from last week. Left to right is Jenna's picture of her with Leni, Morgan's "scary fireworks" mostly in black (lol) and Rowan's, um, well I was painting my legs but for some reason mummy kept telling me to take Peter Paintbrush for a walk over here, so... hehehe
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Little tomato-stained faces from more raw soups.
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No pictures of cake. Well, you know how cake does around here. ;)

It's all OK. All of it. The univited strains and scary moments and the bits of myself that I don't like to look at too closely and the challenge of meeting the present as a gift sometimes... It's all OK. Because I'm here for a reason.
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Though... it helps that Rowan slept through last night for the first time in over a week, and woke up cheerful and cuddly. ;) And before breakfast, I baked another cake. :)

24 January 2011

A bare minimum

This weekend has been stressful. We did that thing again where I think a bill has come out and it hasn't and the money gets spent on food and new wellies for the baby and... Our phone and internet were cut off for three days. Again. I feel pretty incompetant in the Grown Up Managing Life stakes. Plus, family stuff going on, well, just imagine that bit, OK? ;)

Sunday evening we did our usual early nights, thorough tidy around, clear the dishes and prepare everything for the morning. So this morning started off so smoothly and blissfully. Alas, by the time we got past circle time and into an activity, one of the big ones left the kitchen door open and the baby made snow with the last of our soap flakes.

After cleaning that up, my mum rang, and I cried on her a bit. Can't things be simple for me, ever? I feel like it's a fault in me, not in how things are, because doesn't everyone else cope with this normal everyday stuff? Mum suggested that she take the two big ones out for a walk. I had a better idea.
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The disgruntled face here is because she wanted the camera!
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This afternoon I sorted my kitchen junk drawer, started to clear the hall, and made pizza and cake. The girls helped, a bit, and played some more, and listened to some more Storynory, and... We are OK.

I think, if I can "just" get us out in the fresh air every day, provide regular snacks, take deep breaths, keep this home environment useable, read to them, and pray without ceasing, what could go wrong? It doesn't look like a tall order written down (well, most days it doesn't look too bad) but between the desire and the action there is this gap. What I want to accomplish and what I do... This is life in the gap, I suppose.

Can I hold in me the tension between what I want and what I am capable of? Can I be imperfect, fully and joyfully? Can I let go of should and ought, yet still have ideals, still believe in doing better tomorrow than I did today? Tonight I need to let go of those questions, go light a candle and take a bath and wash away today. I'm so grateful though, that for everything that felt wrong with my day, there were those moments - on the green under the grey, walking in light.

20 January 2011

Carving Away

Chip chip chip at what I have and am. There is some rubbish that I have been carrying around for a long time, and it's hard to lay down the burden and remember to leave it there when I walk away.

Sometimes it's not enough to bring good things in to my life, I have to find space, things to let go of, ways of looking at myself and other people that no longer serve. More rambling, sorry.

These disjointed words fall away like sawdust. Like skin shed snake-like.

I am raw underneath. It hurts to bring things out into the open. Jenna came to me a couple of days ago and told me that I shouldn't talk about it if it makes me sad. I told her that I need to, that if I keep the sadness inside it only gets worse.

I have been feeling hurt with my Church family. I was avoiding too much thought on it, but an unexpected visitor calmed and comforted me by simply listening. As they left, I felt lighter. And I think it's time to face my feelings about community and being non-conformist. Love is worth the risk.

But there are plenty of other things I need to carve away at too, things harder to face. Things like my character and not being my mother. Things like how fluid identity is and whether I am living out certain changes of heart. Things like freedom, practicing what I preach, and not binding myself so tight to non-essential ideas.

Tis the season for inner work, and making space. Tis the season for leaving behind my old skin. Tis the season for creeping out of winter's cocoon.

19 January 2011

Room for Living

We finally did the big move round in this crowded downstairs space! This part of my Spring Clean I was really dreading, but maybe that just helped me get it all done earlier in the year.

I loved the toy area like this, such a visible presence in the room. But it has been an issue with toys falling down behind the radiator - not to mention two shelves being mostly inaccessible. And the huge TV unit really really did need to go.
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So, all change. :) You know that stage when things look worse before they get better? We did that a couple of days ago. This is just at the point when I felt the tide was turning and I could once more cross the room without injury.
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This little table surface is so important to us, for drawing and reading, for setting up scenes at a nice height. I couldn't decide quite how to have it in the new space. But this, well, it kind of works. If only I could get rid of the horrible gas fire we never use!
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The kitchen/role play area is now here.
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The sofa now has a good view of the PC screen for DVD and Youtube watching, hoping to wean us off the actual TV - not for philosophical reasons but for the sheer space it would give us to get rid of the old screen.
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Toy shelves - more accesible for play now.
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The window is no longer covered, which means the room is so much brighter. Downside, I now really HAVE to clear the window ledge of junk! The big bookcase has had a total makeover and oh I love it, everything so accessible and beautiful and so many little bits of unschooling inspiration strewn around on there.
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But *phew* what a lot of cleaning and tidying we did. :) *proud moment*

Note, yes, I did honestly think that by making the photographs display slightly smaller I may be able to pretend my house is not actually so messy and full of stuff as all that. On balance, I think it failed at disguising how far we have to go to simplicity! ;)

17 January 2011

Town-y Walking

Pixie Roo on my back. She walked about a mile of the trip into town today, though she was so tired when we got there she slept in the sling until we were almost ready to come home again!
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Morgan being a tree on the corner park.
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Three girlies watching for trains - we saw two today.
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Town, well, the less said the better. My voice must be nearly gone - "put that down", "come here", "stay close", "look where you're going", "PLEASE JUST LISTEN TO ME!" I think partly I talk more than I need to, partly I pretty much need to either hold their hands or live with the idea that I have to verbally make sure they don't vanish...

And partly I just have higher expectations of my children than of adult strangers... I tell them to look out for people, excuse themselves, look where they are going - but people generally walk right over them even if they are doing everything perfectly. *sigh*

The people in Lush are always nice, even though we almost never buy anything. Two people wanted to know where my beautiful amber necklace came from, and the children were given some water to play in while I browsed. We came away with one glittery bath bomb.

Everywhere else we needed to go was crowded and noisy and unfriendly. No wonder I do all that kind of job online these days. Why did I need blutack that much anyway? Surely there must be an alternative? And I know I can get good notebooks elsewhere.

Anyway, at least the wholefoods shop was the haven it always is. One member of staff got the two older ones drinks in the cafe area and another (off duty) sat with them and listened smiling as they talked his ears off.

The lady on till duty chatted to Roo and followed her around picking things up as she took them down - an was so positive and lovely about the ear-aching shrieking Roo performed when I thawrted her attempts to open a jar of molasses. She has "a mind of her own", she is wonderfully determined, such a "bright funny little character". I was also told more than once that she thought I was wonderfully calm and she admired how patient I was, which shows the danger of trusting appearances I guess lol because I felt I'd been a horrible nag all day LOL.

Well, home now with our shopping, and peaceful once more. Colcannon for tea, and then more of the yummy chestnut mouse/torte/cake stuff... :)

15 January 2011

Where I want to be

This week I have struggled with finding my place. I feel like some kind of emotional detox is going on, like the frustration and exhaustion has to seep out of my pores and find a voice before I can feel peaceful again. I am out of balance, wanting to be somewhere other than here.

I am spring cleaning. In so many senses. What fits, what do I need, what should my life contain? How can I take these thoughts out, discard what is no longer healthful, shine and replace what I need for the road ahead? Clearing the physical clutter feels like emotional work, bit by bit feeling less out of control, more serene. Turning attention to forgotten corners feels almost spiritual. What am I forgetting in my inner life, what am I neglecting that could be transformed by love and truth?

This family, they are respite to me right now. When I look at them, I feel more at home.
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I am the opposite of feeling touched out, this week. I am touched in. Craving company and laughter.

I took Jenna to the cinema on Friday, just me and her. We saw Dawntreader. It was much scarier than the book, but good. Though of course I don't like that large parts had been so messed with - I can understand the film makers wanting it to be more a coherant whole and less fragmented, but that is one of the charms of the book after all. (And leaving aside that I will always be annoyed at the Pevensie children winning out because they are so Good, rather than because of the Grace of Aslan!) Jenna made me laugh so much when we came out of the screening and she said, "It was a bit different to the book. The book is WAY better! But can we still get the film on DVD?"

During the scary bits she sat on my knee and held my arm tight wrapped in hers. At the end, she cried, real deep sobs, at Lucy saying goodbye to Reepicheep. Her very favourite part of the book, and the film too now I think. She does love Reepicheep so much.

Today we needed the cobwebs blowing away, so we chose the most beautiful blustery places we know.
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After a short walk in the grounds, we head in to the fascinating historical nature collections.
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Back outside, dusk is falling (isn't that just one of the most delicious phrases in the English language?) and the sky is a glowing grey.
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The wind has picked up, and Morgan battles against it.
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The world is so incredibly beautiful, every bare detail of it.
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This path touches my heart every time we walk this way. So many feet have trodden here, worn these small neat bricks into ruts, so many hopes and dreams and characters and needs and gifts have passed over them.
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I still long for the sea breezes, and salt tang. I still feel a little strange and floating. I still long for the spring, or anything to change. But right now, I am back to knowing that where I need to be is... well, right here.