It is a sunny winters day today. The girls are on the couch watching Play School in their pyjamas and I’m gearing up to clean their bedrooms. The smallest is sitting next to me doing some drawing and intermittently yelling at me if I don’t take a texta lid off fast enough. I’m finishing my luke warm coffee and knowing my time sitting is coming to an end.
Today we’re doing some tidying, meal planning, and a few other bits and pieces before heading to our local Winter Solstice later this afternoon. Things have been incredibly busy lately with both KB and I writing reports or marking for school/uni and we’ve barely had time to take a breath. I’m not someone who thrives on busy-ness, I much prefer white space in life and do almost anything I can to preserve it. Lately that has been impossible, contradicting almost everything I’m learning at Yoga Teacher Training! But it has provided me with a different platform to practice my learnings, and I suppose a window into what normal life would be like for many of my future students, who may or may not have an awareness of the importance of creating space in life, let alone the tools to do it.
So I have a toddler on my lap now, precariously lashing out at my keyboard, which means this post is coming to an early end. I’m off to tidy, potter and think about how I can carve out some time (because to carve out time is sometimes necessary when finding time is difficult) in these remaining short days to think about how to move forward as our days begin to stretch out and lengthen once again.
What are you letting go of this Winter Solstice? What are you moving towards?
Last weekend it was the Winter Solstice down here in Aus. For the second year in a row we went in to a community celebration organised by some dedicated and hard working family of mine. What an expert bonfire-mulled-wine-lantern-making family I do have! And all I did was front up on the night to enjoy the festivities and complain about all the hoards of people.
Celebrating the Winter Solstice is only something I started doing three years ago when I made it my mission (when Birdie was barely out of the womb) to celebrate every damn celebration I could so that I could say that My Family Has Traditions. I went a little crazy, even so far as to write them all down on brainstorm chart. I am so embarrassing, I hope I didn’t write about that on this blog somewhere because it really was just a little OTT. Three years down the track I’m really happy to say that of the 75 billion traditions I decided we would suddenly celebrate out of the blue with no rhyme or reason, the Winter Solstice is one that we have stuck with. It really is such a beautiful thing to recognise the seasons around us, to pay attention and to pay some sort of homage to the earth and the coming and going of the light and the history of such things. It fits in with our desire and effort as a family to work with the seasons, to eat seasonally, to live mindfully.
If I could tell my new-mother self one thing (actually this is not the one thing I would say if I could only say one thing but for now I will just say this one thing) I would tell her to take heart – never fear – for as a little tiny family evolves, traditions do come, even without the chart.
I had no time after Christmas to post a little update. Four days post the big one we were packing and cleaning and packing and tidying and packing and trying to get organised. It felt like groundhog day trying to get us and the kids out of here. On the 28th we were finally On. Our. Way. down to our family’s little country hideaway. We got back today and we are lucky enough to be heading off again on Thursday in the opposite direction to spend time with the other side of the family on the coast. I feel blessed to have these little hideaways that our parents generously allow us to visit. Without them we would not be in a position to have a holiday for a very long time.
Christmas came and went and for us is always spread out over a couple of days with the various groups of family we have. It was the first year that our biggest kid really got into the spirit of it all and went to bed tingling with thoughts of Father Christmas, reindeer and surprises to open the following morning. I remember those days so well and am reliving the thrill of it all through her big brown eyes.
Like I have spoken about before, I am very conscious of not have a house full of discarded toys, but instead having meaningful and well loved things to play with. The biggest attends Montessori once a week so much of our play is inspired by the beautiful Montessori setting, but I also really love Steiner environments and philosophies as well. I am not qualified in either and what we do is just a mix of things I have seen, liked and feel comfortable with.
She was given a lot of lovely gifts on Christmas Day, which I predicted, so at home that morning she just had a few simple presents to open, the main one being a secondhand doll’s house that I found on a local Buy Swap and Sell group. Well worth checking out on Facebook to see if you have one near you! I was so thrilled to find this secondhand as I feel uncomfortable about our throw away society, and like to re-use things where possible and instill this value in my children. I couldn’t care in the slightest that my child is getting something that isn’t ‘brand new’ and if anything I think it adds to the character and value of many of the things she owns. The well loved doll’s house in the picture above is a perfect example of this, I love it, and I think I am having more fun playing with it than she is!
This Christmas was probably the most joyful day I have had, the build up, the advent calendar, the excitement… I really am loving Christmas again and am so pleased to be starting new traditions with my little family. I should probably admit now that at 11pm on Christmas Eve I realised that I didn’t have anything for the littlest as I had spent so much time focussing on the biggest. Bad Mother Alert!!! Luckily I had a few things in the shop that I could wrap up at the last minute. Sorry darling baby.
What traditions do you celebrate with your kids? Do you celebrate traditions that you didn’t as a child? I’m interested to know as we started celebrating Winter Solstice last year which is something we never did as kids in my family. This year we will also celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day to show our friends and family how much we love and appreciate them (puke, sorry.)
* Does my littlest not remind you of a tiny wee possum? She is such a little pixie.
Yikes, what a view, hey. This has been my life, [pretty much] for the past five days. I have my first naturopathy exam on Monday, for clinical nutrition. Then it’s over and out until 2013, as next semester my only homework will be growing my bub and come October, learning how to be mama to two, not just one! My back is killing me from sitting at the desk or table, and I feel like most some of this stuff is getting caught in the sticky webs of preggy brain inside my head and from there, not going many places at all. We’ll see.
After a tough time today dropping off and saying goodbye to a dear friend of mine at the airport (sigh xxx), I came home to some cheer, as I have been nominated for two separate blogging awards, lucky me! Thanks so much to Michaela from Babushka Mama for passing on the Reader Appreciation Award to me! And Pamela from The Ripple Effect 2009 for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award. How exciting folks, two in the one day! Michaela and Pamela, you’ve made my day – I promise I’ll do all the things I’m supposed to in regards to following this up next week after my exam is done and dusted. At the moment any question I answer will probably say something like “vitamin c is a great antioxidant” or “triglycerides” when I’m meant to be saying “my favourite colour is green”… which it is, by the way.
I hope you all have a lovely week, and if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere (the whole hemisphere? I’m not sure…) it’s Winter Solstice tomorrow. Yay. Welcome light. Warmth. Spring. In a while. Onward and upward. Etc. To be honest, I love winter. I just want a teensy bit of light for my morning walk so I can stop picturing monsters, orcs and aliens jumping out of the bushes at me. Which is quite unrealistic. But in the dark as I’m traipsing around with my dog, my belly barely fitting into my jacket, the sound morphed by the beanie covering my ears, tree branches and shadows reaching out towards my face, my imagination tells me it really could happen.
Dragged my sorry self off the couch on Tuesday and vowed our house would be a Tinker Bell Free Zone, for one day. We’ve now made it through two Tinker Bell free days and both feel a lot better for it. I can imagine when Baby cottons onto the fact that Tinker Bell comes in times of ill health only – at this point – that there might be a few cases of fake coughing about.
I decided we’d make a start on our first ever nature table – or in our case, nature shelf. Wasn’t entirely sure what to do, although I’ve seen a few photos of some awesome ones. I got the idea to make some winter stars here, and I’m afraid I’m not linking to the correct post as it was a few days ago that I stumbled across it and now can’t find the correct one that had the tutorial to make the stars. We didn’t have any tissue paper, but I figured using scribbled on drafts of my last uni assignment was better for the environment anyway…
It might look like we spent a long time collecting and searching outside in the wilderness, but in reality we went into our front yard for about four minutes, in which time Baby was much more interested in picking clovers and checking the letterbox than finding winter’s treasures.
Nevertheless, it’s a start. We don’t have any of the fancy Waldorf decorations to turn this into something that could end up on pinterest. But it’s ours! If I can get my head around blanket stitch any time soon there might be a gnome or two to add to this. Baby has also requested a winter fairy (Tinker BELLL!!!!) to which I have smiled and given my best elusive “Oh, yes, great idea, Mummy will definitely give that her best shot” type of response. I tried looking up a few basic felt tutorials for winter fairies and gnomes. All I can say is it’s amazing what people consider ‘basic’. Basic, people! (If you do have a tutorial suitable for beginners, feel free to link to it in the comments!)
A few plans with extended family were cancelled yesterday. It was then I realised I hadn’t had a day of doing ‘nothing’ for… when was the last time we just Stayed At Home? Isn’t it terrible that I really don’t know? Baby has had days at home when I have been at work, but we’ve always had something ‘on’ on the other days – even if it was just meeting friends for a walk.
Yesterday I decided – we would do nothing. Just stay at home. Use the time of winter solstice to have some quiet time, some warm time, some slow time. Just be and flow through a day without leaving our little nook in the world. Appreciate everything we have, the life we lead… so much we have to be thankful for.
:: Hey, Suki! Come back!
:: I’m not like other babies! Seriously!
:: Hmm, this stuff isn’t half bad. One for me and one for you?
:: Quick peek at the veggie patch… oh dear…
:: Some warming candles, and a DVD from the library for tonight…
:: being thankful for the little things, little snippets of time, little moments.
*I had a wonderful day, but I know that sometimes looking at someone’s life through the ‘blog lens’ can make it seem unrealistic. So, to put all this in context… I didn’t take photos of the moment I stood on Sophie the Giraffe and nearly induced a heart attack upon hearing her squeak, or the liner full of poo which I threw on the floor while I was changing Baby, only to have it land upside-down, or the tantrum that Baby threw when I was making lunch and couldn’t pick her up as soon as she demanded, or her spitting all the food out that I put time and energy into making, or the moment I looked around the house and wondered what to do for the long afternoon hours stretching ahead before Prince Charming arrived home… Real life includes all these moments. It’s our choice to pick and choose which ones to focus on.