This morning was the first attempt at homework for the third graders. While not too challenging, the options had Clover in tears. She is quite used to following a set of instructions and completing a task. The kid loves a good workbook. However, these homework items were a bit more broad and open. The instructions require the kids to dig a little deeper and think about how they would approach the task and not just how to follow rules. Knowing how much pure enjoyment Clover finds in her copy of Wreck This Journal, I dug out another of Keri Smith‘s amazingly creative books called How To Be An Explorer Of The World. I also had some blank notebooks that I thought might be perfect as little field journals for the twin adventurers. As the assignment the twins had picked was one that asked them to create a short piece of creative writing around an object they had found in nature, we decided a treasure hunt in the neighbourhood with the newly made field journals was in order. Before we left, we practiced how to be really purposeful observers by making a list of ten things we had not noticed right where we were. From scents to how the couch felt, we were trying to look with more than just our eyes.



We were quite successful on our adventure walk as well with interesting bark that felt like soft leather, vibrant butter coloured moss on only one tree, a branch of flowers bursting free of its fence and tiny roses that smelled delightful despite their shabby appearance. The winners though were crazy long green pods which hung off a bush and smelled like snap peas when split open. 



We finished our walk at the ultimate treasure spot, the op shop. Flush with pocket money, the twins came home with six books, two model airplanes and one stuffed pink penguin for $16.00 total. We even got some maths in on the walk home as they tallied the price tags and split their bill.



I remember third grade being a revolutionary time for Gemma and I can already imagine this will be a heck of a year for the twins as well.

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Gee was I ever optimistic when I thought I would have the new website design ready to go by Tuesday! It is now Wednesday and while I have just gotten my big girl off to her first high school camp, my old design has not budged. I can see the changes on my end, but it isn’t ready to be released into the world quite yet.


I am laughing at my relentless enthusiasm. Oh well, I know now why I have been putting it off for the last few years. There is so much minutia to check and double check. Each of these little details lead to another discovery and suddenly I am building a completely new page. Frankly, I am not organised enough to control the workflow of redesigning a website. Good thing that isn’t my actual job!


I just want to get back to writing about life and sharing the photographs I am making.

I even missed my posting my own images for my personal #photographinghappiness project this month. The idea that we will be concentrating on for this next month is Light. This will be added to Moments and Perspective to build the skill set of not only taking great pictures, but seeing all the elements that go into meaningful photographs. I guess I need to swap my perspective here and see this not as a failure or delay, but just a part of the always imperfect process!


See you back here soon.

 

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New design rolling out here… I need to update things since it has been about three or four years of this look and no portfolio! Pardon my dust while I do this all myself. If something looks broken, it might just be! But don’t worry, I will be back with something beautiful to look at. I hope. I guess I’ll never learn if I don’t try and frankly, I need to stop being afraid of crashing!

Time to fly!

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Brought to you by Bupa

I’m not one for resolutions, but I do like beginnings and appreciate a bit of direction to get motivated. To me, resolutions can seem restrictive in their binary results of either succeed or fail. I am more apt to actually make progress when I start to set to work on a broad plan. With that in mind, I am setting up the theme for our upcoming personal projects.

Last year was all about the theme, “Do Good” and by keeping those two words at the front of my mind, I was able to create my Within The Keep project.

Going forward into 2017 I am going to focus on “Build Strong” because I think that we can and should continue with the good we are doing. This unfolding year will be about strengthening our family team. It isn’t that we are not a close or loving family already. No, it’s just now that the kids are older, I am finding life is less about simple crisis management and more about building on the bonds we have cultivated.

 

The kids are really their own people with individual interests now, instead of little ones who go along with whatever the adults decide. Like any family, we have distinct personalities that make up our team. Yet, the funny thing is, despite our differences, we all have one thing in common, the need for “me time.”

So how are we going to build a strong team family in 2017 if we need time apart to thrive?

Good question! For us in the past, it’s usually meant looking forward to holidays in a new location full of fun distractions. However, this year, with a new pool in the backyard and a high-schooler who is playing cricket three times a week, we won’t be going on any exotic family vacations for a while. Yet, when we have had staycations in the past, we would find that for us, there could be too much togetherness. So I took an idea that commonly refers to design theory and put it to work for my family…Less is more.

No really, for a family like ours, little by little, together, with our own breaks in between is how we will thrive. And ten minutes is all we need to start. When I was little, my mother would stop randomly during the day to have what she called, time out for loving, when we would just drop the chores and cuddle. Now as a mother myself, my favourite time with my own children is when we read together.

Anyone can find ten minutes in their busy day to focus on family. Those ten quality minutes will lead to more. To build anything, one must start piece by piece, little by little.

It is already working for us. The other day we went to the Bupa Family Day to celebrate the cricket season at the MCG. Gemma had earned the opportunity to experience a master class in bowling and batting with two modern day cricket greats, Peter Siddle and Alyssa Healy! I realised that a master class is like our family plan. That short session spent with Peter and Alyssa was quality time, and Gemma came away with an amazing new level of confidence and skills. The pieces they placed will become part of Gemma’s whole cricket career as she grows.

Gemma and cricket stars Peter Siddle and Alyssa Healy

Gemma Bupa cricket master class with Peter Siddle and Alyssa Healy

Gemma bowling to Alyssa Healy

In the car on the way home, Kieran described it as the best day ever. He did not get the master class and he isn’t really all that interested in cricket, so I wanted to know what it was that made it great for him. The answer was simple; it was the little moments with us. We were not forcing anyone to do everything together, but we did come together as a family.

There were so many little activities that we could do, from plastic cup pyramid stacking competitions to nail biting rounds of jenga and connect four. We even had a few overs of backyard cricket under the shade of the MCG. We rotated around activities, spending time with each other as different pairs. Sometimes we were just a cheerleader for the others as they played, giving us time to be alone while still being part of the whole.

Bupa TeamFamily at the MCG

These small moments are what remind us why we are good together and exactly what makes us a stronger team.

Our family might sound a bit like yours, or maybe you all are the complete opposite of us! Whatever your family looks like, you can find more ideas on how to build a strong team family on the website that Bupa has created just for that purpose.

 

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I’m not sure where it comes from, but suddenly life here is about planes and flight. When Kieran likes something, he doesn’t just become interested he actually obsesses. Currently he is gathering all the knowledge he can on the history and science behind flight in books we borrowed from the library. He is getting a head start on flying lessons with flight simulators on the iPad and we have built our first model plane. So much fun taking him to the park today and tossing our best effort in the air. Over and over. 

He thanked me as we walked home and all I could think to say was “my pleasure, son” because it is such a pleasure to be a part of something so exciting like a child learning of the possibilities ahead of him.

We are going to go watch planes landing soon. Any other ideas to help him explore this new passion?

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