Living Small, Dreaming Big

It’s 2018. 2018! I remember in meetings at work years ago discussing goals that would be achieved by “2020”. It seemed so far away, so futuristic, so unreal. And now, it’s almost here.

I know some people say resolutions are a waste of time, but personally I love the ritual of sitting down on summer nights towards the end of December and early January, reflecting on the year that was, re-grouping, and conjuring up plans, ideas and visions for the year ahead. It’s cathartic and positive and motivating. I think, anyway.

Last year I wanted to find more clarity in my day-to-day life, and I wanted to follow an authentic path – whatever authentic for me (and us) is. I think I have managed to find that in 2017. Or, at the very least, begun to understand what that means.

This year, I want to find more discipline in my life. I don’t want this to be misunderstood for something harsh and rigid. A lot of my inner frustration is born from not following through on things or yearning to do something to the point that I’m complaining about not doing or being that thing… when in reality, I am the only thing standing in my way. For me, it’s more around putting effort into myself and having the structure, groundedness, application and routine, the discipline, to infuse my life with the things that sing. Think yoga and meditation, eating fresh and abundant plant-based foods and taking the time to prepare them, cooking and walking. Think less screens, more fresh air. All those good things that sometimes need to be built into a routine, lest forgotten. In addition, this year once again brings changes to our life as a family unit; I’m starting a new (permanent, finally!) part time job at a not-for-profit in a fortnight, and I’ll also be teaching slow flow and prenatal yoga (if you’re local and keen, send me an email for details). In order to keep things calm and level-headed, there will need to be a strong sense of routine, predictability and… discipline to get everything done and keep everyone happy.

Another thing I’m passionate about is working on my handmade wardrobe. Last year I made this, this and the jumpsuit from this collection among some other things I worked on and drafted up myself with my partner in crime, my Gran. I get such a thrill out of putting something on in the morning and realising that I made it myself. So I’ll be doing more of that this year too.

Aside from that, we have some camping trips planned, some walks, some mini-adventures and a whole lot of slow, calm, home-y type things.

What about you, what’s on the horizon?

2017

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The last of the tinsel has been swept away and those airy-fairy days between Christmas and New Year, when you don’t know what day or time it is, have come to an end. 2017 is here and, quite frankly, it couldn’t have come soon enough.

Last night, KB and I got the girls to bed and set ourselves up on our front deck, with a candle lit, a glass of prosecco for me and an ale for him, some nibbles and our notebooks. Over the past few weeks I wondered if we should invite some friends over, or get out and about on New Years Eve, but as we sat there together and reflected on the past year, and on what we want to achieve this year, I couldn’t think of a better way to be spending the night, or a better person to be spending it with.

2016 was a big year for us. My grandpa died on my birthday and I was there to witness – my first real experience of death and it knocked my socks off in the saddest of ways, Bird started school, the Pixie started kinder, my Mum broke her leg, the baby turned one, KB started a new job, I worked on a six month community development project, I walked 30km for Fred Hollows, KB began training for the rip swim

To cut a long story short, we were busy and I was emotional for the majority of the year (KB is the stable, sensible one in moments of overwhelm – I am pure chaos).

For us, 2017 is all about toning things down a notch and a fresh perspective. It’s about being authentic to our own truth, in our day to day activities as well as our broader life choices and actions. It’s about maintaining calm.

We do have some exciting things on the horizon. KB is starting a new position at work, dropping down to four days a week so he can be at home with the girls one day a week. Which means, with any luck, that I will be writing on Thursdays! We will see how that goes, and whether or not we can afford it, but we’ve decided to give it a red hot go. We have been working towards it for a long time, and we’re both so excited for him to have the chance to have some more family time, and for me to have some creative time. I have also enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training and start in a month. It’s something I have wanted to do for years, but to be honest, I never thought I would actually commit. I’m hoping it will help me find some clarity in this crazy modern life we lead.

Other than that we plan to move house this year, and we are slowly but determinedly decluttering and preparing. It feels a bit like shedding: old things, old thoughts, and stuff that has come to the end of its time with us. More on stuff in another post.

Last year I wrote out a long list of things I wanted to do in 2016. I got bored of the list fairly quickly, although I did manage to tick most of them off. In the spirit of toning things down, I’m not writing a big huge list this year. We already have plenty to do with all of the above, so I’ll leave it at that for now and go with the flow.

What do you have planned for 2017?

Running the Xmas Gauntlet

Processed with VSCO with a7 presetIt’s the 11th of December and, up until Friday night, I had done absolutely nothing (zip, zilch) to prepare for Christmas. Friday night I went to bed at 7.30pm with a cup of herbal tea, a piece of dark chocolate and my laptop, and finally ordered some Christmas presents. For children, my first stop for gifts is always here. For the girls I like to stick to the little poem: something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read. It helps to keep things simple and, for me, takes away some of the overwhelm and decision making.

I like to make most of our gifts for extended family and my niece (and this year, my new nephew!) and (if you’re family, stop reading here!) this year I’m trying my hand at these for adults and my usual combo of these and these and perhaps these for kids. Our family have really downsized our present regime over the past few years and now just give small token gifts to show our love and appreciation. My only issue with the adult pressie that I want to make is that I can’t find pine resin here in Australia, and I also don’t know if it is sustainable even if I were to find it… if anyone knows what I’m talking about and has any tips, please email me or comment below! I’m planning on making a little gift set of perhaps two or three for each couple/adult in the fam, just as a token, and because I’m sick of my usual gift of granola!

Yesterday we finally got a tree so I’m feeling like we are back on track. I also sewed a pair of shorts, finished a geranium dress for a friend and tidied my sewing stuff. I just have a few more birdie said orders to get through before I can close up shop for Christmas.

Christmas can be such an overwhelming time. I have friends who feel so much pressure to make things and be all homemade and festive, but they work outside the home and have children and the juggle is stressful. I have friends who spend a lot of money on gifts and give to a lot of people. We all have our own challenges and stressors this time of year. For me, it has been a slowly evolving thing: building traditions within my own family unit, figuring out what works best for us, what we can afford, what we enjoy, what we are and aren’t prepared to do. Figuring out what Christmas means to us, as a non-religious, anti-consumerist family. What is left for us here if we don’t believe in God (in the Christian sense) and we are worried by consumerism!?

For us, it’s simple: family. Time to share and enjoy each other. Time to celebrate giving small and meaningful gifts, and teaching our children about people who are less fortunate than us. A girlfriend of mine has been such a role model for me in this area. Every year she gets her children to choose and wrap and deliver a present to someone in need (whether it is for a shopping centre Christmas tree or other charity). She’s done it with her children well before they would have understood what they were doing, and now it’s so ingrained in them it is something they naturally think about and have empathy for.

I’m not always good at keeping things simple, or sticking to what (I think) we believe in at this time of year. I get stressed and run from here to there. I get caught up with the Jones’s. I do! But I try to patiently bring myself back to my own values and ideals. I guess this happens a lot in life generally, not just at Christmas.

I have more to say on this topic but this will do for today. I’m sitting in our front yard in the shade of the trees while the girls play with dirt and cockatoo feathers. I’m needed to assist with a cup of gum leaf tea so I had better get back to it. I hope all your Christmas plans are going well, if you choose to celebrate it!

comings and goings

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetAs we have travelled back and forth between the city and the beach there has been a lot of time for pondering and dreaming: the very best part about January, don’t you think? Our plans for 2016 are now down in black and white and now we simply have to put them to action to make them real.

This year we bought ourselves a big yearly calendar for our wall so we can plot out our ideas and activities.

It’s a big year for all of us, with my little Bird starting school and the Pixie beginning her kindergarten years. I imagine there will be tears and nostalgia as we immerse ourselves in our new rhythm come February, but hopefully good things are coming too. It’s important for us to maintain a sense of calm and purpose when starting new things, I think.

During our comings and goings we’ve been…

// listening to Open Season by the High Highs

// reading My Darling Lemon Thyme

// watching The True Cost… again…

// eating brown rice bowls, roast veggies, salads, kim chi, hommus and nuts… basically anything tasty and real that can easily be thrown together come 5pm

Looking forward I am slightly nervous about KB heading back to work in a couple of weeks but the good news is Term 1 is only eight weeks long, I’m sure I can survive that…!? I’m trying not to think about it too much, for now, and just hanging happily onto these long summer days with my family.

homecoming

2015-12-27 15.35.18It’s always a strange thing, walking into your house after you’ve been away. Everything is still. When we arrived home from the beach a few days ago there was some folded washing on the table and a discarded toy near a doorway; quiet remnants of us. It’s especially strange coming home after Christmas when there are new things in the house. These days it is mainly new toys that greet us; Bird spent a good 45 minutes on her top bunk absorbed with new books and little knick knacks while I made an attempt at pulling dinner together out of the things we brought home (sweet potato chips, almonds, avocado, sliced cucumbers, a bowl each of rice with butter and garlic, and some fruit: slightly strange mix but surprisingly satisfying).

A couple of days later some of the washing has been done, some of the clothes unpacked and a small sense of rhythm has returned to our days. We plan to get some things done around the house this week and head back to the coast next week to make the most of the warmer weather.

This morning I stayed home while the others went to the park, and did some writing and other admin for a new project I have been lucky enough to be hired for. It’s a short term community consultation project for a not-for-profit which I can do from home and on weekends – I can’t actually believe my luck!

Other than that we spent a good couple of hours soaking up some sunshine and drinking coffee with our notebooks, dreaming up some goals and plans for 2016. I feel like we’ve turned to a new page, we’ve been down in the lovely, intense and deep trenches of pregnancy, birth and babies for over six years, and now we are slowly emerging, all five of us, new and evolved and ready for the next phase of our lives. I can feel it in my bones, in the way I lift my face towards the light and see the possibilities ahead.

Tomorrow, on the new moon, I’m going to share some of my goals for this year. What about you, do you have any ideas for this new and fresh year? What inspirations are you chasing?

it’s 2016!

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Tell me, are there big things in store for you this year?

We are taking stock with family for a couple of weeks in the country. Breathing the air, going for walks, drinking chai and of course hitting the local op shops.

Hope you’re doing the same, wherever you might be.

xx