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Remembering Why I Blog…

It’s been a while since I have written here. I have thought up many blog posts in my head but have been unable to prioritise writing them for most of the winter. It comes way way down the list of things I need to do. So that’s why there have not been any.

And I still struggle with the idea of blogging itself. If I want to cultivate a brand, persona or sell something than sure add blogging to the marketing/branding/pr toolkit. So then….[called away by crying toddler who just will not go to sleep without my hand on his face (trying to get them to go to sleep on their own)]..why do I do it? {that question was in relation to blogging not how I help my children sleep!! Funny.}

A very strong feeling is that I don’t want to document my life or constantly think about if it is worth documenting in that moment but just want to live it. I have a separate daily diary for special little moments and a camera of course for a quick snap on instagram (but even that takes time and a questioning of whether the moment is worthy or not). But everyone (I follow online) is doing it so why shouldn’t I – maybe something good will come of it. Maybe this is part of the blogging/writing journey.

So, let’s go back to my first post back in February.

A new start. A way to capture me as I am right now. A way to write, to hone in and to grow and evolve. This is the beginning (hopefully) of something new and exciting. Something beyond motherhood and homekeeping.

Yes. As I read through all the other blog posts I am pleased I did write them. I remember and they trigger a memory of me as I was then and everything I have achieved while still being a mama. This IS a way to document my life – for me. If you enjoy reading it that’s wonderful and I welcome comment but mostly this is for me. My thing amidst a multitude of children things!

But, maybe I just need to remember that it doesn’t have to be a regularly scheduled event. When it happens it will happen.

Here’a quick run down of a few things I have achieved lately and what’s coming up in my life.

  • Visit to Vancouver with two little boys for a lovely wedding. Feasted on blueberries and raspberries that were in season from Wholefoods!
  • Made a paper mache small size hot air balloon with my children to help. Now hanging from the ceiling. Inspired by this one from Kate’s Creative Space.
  • Made a full size 2.5m high x 1.8m wide family tree. The boys and I painted the tree and then we made leaves and I stuck their ancestors on it. Now we say hello to them each morning.
  • A move towards a more plant based diet based on the teachings of Deliciously Ella, Kimberly Snyder and Sarah Britton My New Roots. Feeling better (although still exhausted from midnight feeds).
  • A daily exercise programme – I said to myself that all I had to do was one exercise a day – just one and then I was achieving my exercise goal. Now that has morphed into a range of 5-6 exercises focusing on my core. I found most of the series of exercises on Pinterest and that’s all I do. No big unachievable half hour or 45 minute session for me to feel like a failure because I didn’t get to it!
  • Started learning to play the Ukelele. A number of the mothers from Playcentre are doing it and we have some fun jam sessions.

Coming Up

And much more of course. But those are things just for me. Can this be my special place to be selfish??! Hope you don’t mind.

Lots of blogging ideas but lets just wait and see what I end up doing! And that’s ok.

Off for some dairy free icecream and a some quiet time (boys were super noisy today!).

End of another week

It’s the end of another week already. Haven’t I just written the last post, which mostly would read the same! School holidays have started and I will need to be more creative about what we will do each day. A trip back to Christchurch for a wedding for next weekend and maybe even that night free from children (really?).  So this week will be about watching the weather (snow showers expected) and getting ready to go (what will I wear / packing the car for the long road trip (books, snacks, toys)). Oh and possibly a yoga class tomorrow night – yay!

So I leave you with some great links to read:

I can hear the rain falling now.  Time for a cuppa.

This week I…

This week I…

Made a wreath – after years of wanting to I did it! On a drive around Queenstown last weekend I spied some beautiful pine tree branches that had fallen onto the road in some recent winds. Into the back of the car they went which left it smelling lovely and pine scented. Then on one of the more colder days we had this week (-6 degrees C!!!) we ventured outside to dig up the frozen sandpit and I made the wreath. It did take two days of outside play and managing the boys but so pleased. It has held up well already in a southerly storm and looks so good. Very wintry. Now for some mulled wine!
baked : chocolate scones and bliss balls
cooked : my favourite noodle recipe (here from My New Roots). I could eat it everyday.
drank : lots of Rooiboos tea with Almond Milk
read : Buddhism for Mothers by Sarah Napthali and Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fford
wanted: to find a way through and back to myself
played: a lot! I was a digger, a truck, a chicken eating food, a horse, a train track developer, an air traffic controller, a sky diver, a dancer and a pilot
decided: that I need to look after myself. Angry, frustrated days (or just afternoons) are not okay for anyone and it’s time to really shift out of the negative thinking and stop struggling with motherhood. It is better to “embrace the fluidity”. But, how…
wished: to be able to do yoga everyday. Actually I wished to just go to the loo by myself without someone yelling for me!
enjoyed: the pizza at The Cow in Queenstown. Sitting in old stables in front of a fire after some ice skating!
waited: for my children to get ready a lot. Or at least waited for them to let me help them get ready while also allowing their independence. An art in itself.
liked: the lovely Yoga for Menstruation sequence by Yoga for Adrienne and watching Peaky Blinders.
wondered: about what it will be like to fly to Vancouver with two small children. Arghhh! Are we crazy!!
loved: the moments of peace, sitting in the sun with a cup of tea, watching my children play together and giggle backwards and forwards, lots of baby kisses, my 17mth old coming up to me from behind and wrapping his arms around me and saying “Mama, Mama” in his small voice, the beam on my 3 and a half year old’s face as he pushed the penguin around on the ice skating rink and the ever changing views of the Southern Alps from my windows!
pondered: when or if we will ever be in our own “dream” home, our country home.
considered: finding a yoga class or training to be a yoga teacher.
watched: the fireworks for the beginning of the Queenstown Winter Festival
hoped: to do some yoga – and I did, yay!
marvelled: at the amazing questions my oldest asks occasionally like “are there volcanoes on Venus?” And that I didn’t slip over on any of the treacherous black ice on Friday morning! And that getting out some really old un-cookable mung dahl for my boys to use as digging material inside has lasted days – the best activity ever!
needed: to remind myself that it is okay to be lazy and still at this time of the year.
smelled: lots of pine!
wore: lots of layers. Two layers of socks and leggings and jeans and so many on top. It was so cold earlier in the week.
noticed: that sometimes I just don’t breathe and that makes it all more stressful.
knew: that if I didn’t keep finding a way to wholeness then I will not be the mother my children need.
thought: lots of negative thoughts this week. Low self-esteem and then the “I’m not good enough” story and “I’m a bad mother” story and then “I really should do x, y, z”. Lots of brain work to do next week!
sorted: through my lovely pinterest pins to work out what I might wear to a friends wedding in two weeks. Elegant, stylish, warm and child friendly!
bought: lots of new staples for the pantry.
got: an adult colouring in book. Yes, I did and that’s okay. Whatever works! But, then had to buy a special one for the eldest as he wanted to colour in it!
disliked: our broken rental garage door. In this cold weather it stops a foot from the bottom and takes about 10 goes before it goes all the way up. Not good when it is -6!
opened: up a returned book I had lent someone Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Looking forward to getting some more tips.
giggled: at my eldest wanted to dance with no clothes on!
felt: mostly okay with stabs of unhappiness. Sometimes I just don’t want to be a mother. I don’t want to be pushed, pulled, prodded, climbed on, demanded of, yelled at etc. I just want to be able to breathe and not feel so frustrated with boundary setting and whininess and general “normal” toddler behaviour. Some days are lovely and others overwhelming and I wonder when will I be more.
snacked on: dates filled with almond butter.
coveted: a full night’s sleep.
helped: the eldest to pick out letters – so amazing how the brain learns!
heared: people shouting in amazement as they parachuted down to earth near our house!
looked: for a way to be okay with the long game of motherhood

**Thanks to Jodi from Practicing Simplicity for the list and inspiring me.

wreath small

Mugs

How often do we need to drink something? Water, tea, coffee, alcohol, smoothies and juices. And really we only need a glass for cold drinks, a mug or similar for hot drinks and your favourite alcolholic beverage vessel like a wine glass.

And yet I can count about 20 mugs in my drinking vessels drawer in the kitchen and I have just bought these lovely ACME mugs after seeing them at lunch at the new Bespoke Kitchen here in Queenstown. Hmmm…that’s 4 more!

ACME Union Mug

What is it about mugs? Is it because they’re easy decoration? It’s not just me…I know of others 😉  I love the simplicity and weight of the ACME mugs. And weight and how much they hold is important when having that all important and nourishing cup of tea (like our current favourite of Blood Orange from Stir Tea).

And tea (or another hot drink in a mug) does more for the soul than anything else I know. I love the saying “Where there’s tea there’s hope” (attributed to Arthur Wing Pinero). So maybe the vessel is important for providing the ability to nourish and keep us going.

When they arrive I will clear out a lot of the others. Really at most we only need 4! But, do I keep the lovely old beige stripe ones from Country Road, or the one’s with the vintage Spitfire, Hurricane and Tiger Moth? Or the beautiful floral patterned ones from Cath Kidston? Is it just a form of collecting? Do mugs say anything about us as people and our preferences? It would probably say about me that I can love both simple and minimalist style as well as the floral, English Country Cottage look! Is there an in between?

I want to pare back and lead a life with more simplicity so maybe it is time to let go of some!

How about you? How many mugs in your life?

Winter Projects

A list of the things I am interested tackling, starting, exploring or finishing this Winter:

  • Growing microgreens – a good project for kids too
  • An art area for my children
  • Exploring the Sacred or Divine Feminine and aligning to the cycles
  • Finishing the photo book for last year
  • Making Rose Hip Syrup
  • Making a wreath, new potpourri and clove studded oranges and other decorations for the house
  • Downloading the Winter edition of Whole Family Rhythms
  • Celebrating mid-Winter and Matariki
  • Selling or donating unnecessary items
  • Continuing to explore plant-based wholefoods for everyday eating and maybe starting to have the same meals each day of the week for more family routine and stability (although I do tend to get bored with this).
  • Continuing to somehow build some form of exercise into my day – if my children will let me! Even if it is some slow yoga.
  • Blogging more as a form of creativity, writing and reminding.
  • Movie nights with my lovely.

Do you have any special winter projects?

Winter Living

Living amongst the mountains and snow means I am really feeling Winter. And it has really only just started. Others living here will hit the slopes and ski/snowboard their way through winter. But, that just isn’t my thing. And this year I want to make winter as important as any other season rather than just trying to ignore it and push through to Spring.

Winter is about turning inwards, snuggling up inside duvets and extra layers and being still while the earth regenerates for a new Spring re-birth. One of my favourite books The Way of the Happy Woman by Sara Avant Stover is on my bedside table for a catch up on Winter living. In her Winter Reflections she writes

“…As women we are labyrinths, continually winding our way to the center and back out again. Our lives are endless processes of becoming. May each season, each heartbreak, each birth, each death, each sunrise and sunset remind you to live fully, feel fully, and digest everything through your heart. It’s not always easy, but it’s the only way to truly come alive. When you forget, you can always start again…..the Way is in you!”

So I have been thinking about Winter traditions and rituals in order to truly feel the season, to come into my centre and back out again.

  • Go Slow – now is the time to turn inward and sit and I think it is important for my children to do so too so they can feel the season and start to become more in tune with the it and how it affects them. There is no rush to get to Kindy or playcentre (unlike school in later years) so why hurry. Find a fire and let them sit (safely) in front of it with a hot chocolate and some hot chips. Let them play and not run around doing things all day everyday.
  • Change the family rhythms in order to match the season. A great resource are the guides from Whole Family Rhythms. Lots of ideas for art and craft too.
  • Pared back Simplicity – in order to go slow, be lazy and turn inward life needs to be kept simple. Keep the chaos at bay. And yet let go too and not worry about the mess. Letting go of all of those things I don’t really need to do in order to be simpler in my living. The washing can wait so I can sit with a cup of tea and play with my children.
  • Walks – as much as possible get outside and breathe the fresh mountain air, notice the drops of dew or old snow on the plants and trees and the mushrooms and moss. There are lots of nature walks around Queenstown that we can do. It is just so beautiful here – a great opportunity to feel nature and the season, to feel the changing textures and changing weather.
  • Be warm and cozy – so wish we had a fire to just sit and stare at. One day… But also need to remember to not get stuffy and on good days to let the air in the clear out the fluff inside and in the house! That also means that for our adventures we need to ensure we are layered up in the warmest clothing. The boys now have good snow mittens and I am about to buy these new wellies from Joules. Lots of thick socks, scarves and hats.
  • Moisturise – keep the dryness at bay with lots of good moisturiser such as Rhino Repair from Oasis. It is the best ever and made in North Canterbury so it’s local support. And lots of water or tea!
  • Forage – I have found a stash of wild rose hips growing amongst the matagouri. I’m a little excited about the find so I can feel like I am really foraging and will pick some to make rose hip syrup to keep the colds at bay. I am reading All Good Things Around Us by Pamela Michael and illustrations by Christabel King. Published in 1980 it’s a vintage pressie from family that looks like it will be great for recipes for foraged plants and flowers.
  • Celebrate mid-winter & Matariki – the Winter solstice is just around the corner so we will have a little dinner celebration to mark it. We will also celebrate the Maori New Year or Matariki with some star gazing and a dinner at Playcentre. And possibly venture into Queenstown for the Winter Parade or other activities of the Winter Festival.
  • More Reading – I love books and love new books. New ones to pour through during the cold winter nights (post kid’s bed time) are on a plant-based wholefoods theme:
  • Light Candles – love the ambience of candles. We always light a candle at dinner time to provide a routine and rhythm for our children but I think it will be nice to light more during the night once they are asleep. Simple beeswax are the best.
  • Decorate the house – we are living in a rental but we could still add a few things to cozy up the house or add a festive touch. Deep reds, greens, browns and greys. I think we need a few new cushions or rugs. I also bought a couple of these lovely organic cotton star pillowcases from Nature Baby for the boys and added copper LED fairy lights to their room. The blankets are all out and strewn over the back of couches as well. I also want to try making a wreath (again) for the front door. There are lots of places I can snaffle plant material – pines and rose hips for a start. As well as clove studded oranges. Maybe I could find a branch of pine tree to put in a corner and hang dried apple decorations from it (#ideasgettingbeyondtimeIhave). I do love the interior décor of Danish company tine k. A few more ideas here on Pinterest.
  • Nourishing Food – hearty soups, root vegetables, porridge, nuts and dried fruit are all in use at the moment. As well as lovely little muffins. This is what fuels our bodies at this time of the year and I am looking for more ideas from the new books above. And definitely some mulled wine. A good mulled wine is warming and the spices are very evocative of mid-winter.
  • Nourishing Smells – memories are often associated with smells and I love the scents of winter. Pine, orange, clove, cinnamon, nutmeg. I have  a great little potpourri I made a few years ago with pine cones foraged from Conical Hill in Hanmer Springs and homemade dried oranges. New  clove studded oranges and this potpourri will come out to scent the house.
  • Be still and listen – take the time to be lazy and just sit and listen to what comes up and dream a little which leads to…
  • Think and Evolve – have a think about how we will want to change come Spring. What can we let go of and what do we need to nourish? What areas of my life need attention and what do I need to do to move forward?

I have a few projects too and an overseas trip in August but otherwise it will be feeling the everyday, watching the weather change around the mountains and (trying not to get bored or cabin fever) and remembering to just be lazy and let it go, be still and dream. And play in the snow!

What are your winter traditions and rituals?

On being grounded

We have moved to Queenstown and change is still our constant companion. New places, new adventures, new kindy and playcentre, new weather, new house noises and quirks, new shops and resources, new people, new drives, rooms still untouched and not ordered etc.

So in the midst of this change it is hard to create ways to be grounded. And the earth is still moving under our feet too with an earthquake two weeks ago. Too close a reminder.

A valued fellow nurturer gave me this advice:

“When you can’t ground directly through the earth start with water and then go through the sand and then you will find rock. Like a boat hanging from its mooring in a river or lake or ocean just drift with the currents and bob with the movement until you can ground yourself further.”

And this is what I am holding onto. Creating small moments of grounding with the larger currents of our lives. A downward dog here, a walk there (especially amongst the amazing beauty of Queenstown), some baking, music and dancing and cuddles.