Reality

In the years to come, when people ask me when my dreams became reality I will tell them it was last week, the first time I walked through the front door of the home we are currently buying. You see, it wasn’t up until last week that I had been inside the property. The reasons why? Well that’s a long story, so pull up a comfy chair :).
We have been looking for the perfect property for about six months. We knew the area we wanted to buy in and had even put one property under contract, which I can now say fortunately fell through. Funnily enough, only I had seen that previous property before we put in an offer. So, the last three months, after that property fell through, have seen us traveling down south every weekend to traipse around all number of varied properties. Some were too big, too small, some had lush pastures but irreparably run down houses, some had lovely houses but not enough land, no creek. Basically, the kids were sick of the constant road trip, DP and I were sick of the whingeing and, to be totally honest, we thought this particular property was a long shot at best. You see, this particular property was one of the first properties I saw on the internet when we first started narrowing down an area. It was a property that was gorgeous and WAY out of our price range. But it was always in the background as a benchmark.
The previous week we had seen a property which was passable. The house was great but there was barely enough land and no creek. However, we felt the pressure of a deadline. We wanted to be in our new home before the new school year so that Zara could start school without disruption and hopefully before the end of this year so Leo could have some time at his new school before his little but much more outgoing sister started.
So DP took the drive and saw the property. When he came back we discussed all the pros and cons, the money we could afford and what we should do. DP said that the property was “special” and coming from him that is a lot (he tends to see the cons and not the pros). So we decided to make a low one time offer, at the maximum we could afford and then when that was rejected we would offer on the property with the nice house but no creek and very little land. The offer was made on monday morning. Tuesday came and no answer, we began to wonder. If they hadn’t rejected it out of hand, maybe they were truly considering it. Either that or they were so disgusted it didn’t rate an answer! On Wednesday we got our answer. To our total and utter shock, and the agents as well, they had accepted our offer. Now we were to begin the process of buying our dream property……that I had never seen.
Understandably, DP was worried. So, the following weekend we drove down to walk around the bottom of the property and look at the creek (!!!) so I could get a feel for it.

I loved it! It had everything and if DP was happy with the house then I was too. But over the coming weeks it became apparent that 1.He was still worried I wouldn’t be happy there and 2. He wasn’t very observant (he he). I was beginning to have trouble picturing myself in a new place without having seen it. Plus, most of my questions, were there built ins? Was there a chook run? What were the gardens like? And so on were met with “I don’t remember” or “I don’t know”. After waiting until the contract was unconditional (so as not to stress the people selling that we might be having second thoughts) we arranged for myself and the kids to go and take a look through.
The moment I drove along the driveway, along the ridge from the road to the house I began to feel the excitement that had been lacking up until now. The first thing I saw were the fruit and nut trees lining the driveway. The fact that there was citrus was easily apparent from the oranges, lemons and limes fruiting on the trees. There were also a number of other trees which the agent and I later determined to be macadamia, pecan, peach and pear with a few yet to be determined. Next I saw the three bay compost near the three sectioned chook run (great! two less things to build) with cemented edging to keep the dingoes out. I steeled myself for the house. DP had been talking it down for a while now and had openly said he was worried I wouldn’t like it. I walked through the car port (beside the big double garage – destined to be our workshop and brewery) past the entertaining area (with grape trellis, small vegetable garden and barbecue) dragged the kids past the play equipment (a homemade cubby house and swings) to look at the house. I took out my notepad and began making notes. In the kitchen there is a pantry as well as ample cupboards. A brand new slow combustion stove (one of the few new things in the house, most of it is made from recycled timbers) heats the water as well as being used for cooking and heating in the house during the winter. The rooms are lovely and big. It is simple, but it is all I need and, for that matter want. After looking through the house (yes there are built-in wardrobes, in every room) we surveyed the huge vegie patch, the kids tested the cubby house, we tasted some orange and then drove down to look again at the creek. Just before we left the agent asked Zara to choose a black or red sold sticker to put on the for sale sign, it was cheesy but perfect too. I drove away barely containing my excitement and as soon as I had mobile service I texted DP to tell him how much I loved it.
So, I have finally found the excitement and with it my motivation. There is a picture in my head of where it is we are going and what awaits us. I still have moments of “what are we doing?” but mostly I can’t wait to get there and start the work that is our dream. I really don’t have to wait that long, 11 sleeps to go……

It Really Is All About Respect

As we drive about town in our car I generally have our radio tuned to the one radio station here that I consider “safe” for my news hungry 7 year old and my worrisome 5 year old. It is a christian radio station which intersperses its music with parenting tips, most of which are pretty good (once you tune out the “god” bits). This afternoon we were listening to a tip and I was honestly hit with an “Ah Ha!” moment. Its funny how something you have kind of thought about and tried to practice can really hit you all of a sudden like that. The program was talking about the need to foster respect with your children.

Respect has always been a crucial point to our parenting style. Unfortunately sometimes it has been a rather one sided type of respect. I seemed to have love and respect bundled up and thought that love equaled respect. Recently I have begun to realise that my lack of self respect was having strong implications to both my children’s idea of respect and my parenting. I have always been one of those people who wants to keep people happy, often to the detriment of myself. In doing so, this has seen my children develop a rather warped version of respect where they feel entitled to respect but don’t in turn respect the boundaries and requests of others. When I don’t respect myself I also tend to drain my reserves quicker, which in turn leads me to turn into the parent I don’t want to be.
I have a lot of well meaning people telling me I need to nurture myself, take time out etc. But it has become apparent to me that what I really need is to respect myself. I need to realise that I deserve respect, that without respecting myself first I can’t truly respect my children. They need to see how to respect others while also balancing their needs for respect. At the moment we are all trying to unlearn our not so respectful habits. All of us. This has been very difficult, particularly for the older members of the family. I am learning that I deserve respect and that sticking with that is a good thing for everyone.

It is such a balancing act being a parent. I find that my growth as a person and as a woman has happened predominantly during my time as a parent.

A Bittersweet Goodbye

A little under 3 weeks ago we said goodbye to our home of 10 years. It was a hard few days, for all of us. I know that sounds indulgent and a little sappy, but there are a lot of memories tied up with that house.
My partner and I bought the house before we had kids and before we were married. All three of our children were conceived there. One was born there.

We have loved, we have fought, we have broken up, we have come back together and we have become a family there.

So, the day before we left we took some time to enjoy the parts of the house that were important to us. Its funny how it wasn’t the inside (where we probably spent more time) but the outside that we found more important to us.
We did one last harvest

The last harvest


The vegie garden was hard for me to say goodbye to. It has really come on in the last year.

The newest bed


Old bed coming to life


We harvested a load of eggplants and lemons

mmmm Eggplant!


and there were still plenty of things that were on their way to being ready to harvest.

Strawberries ripening


Bumper lemon crop


I just hope the new owners appreciate those fruits of our labour.

Of course the kids had different things that they would miss. All three were sad about us not being able to bring the cubby house. That daddy had built with his two little helpers.

The great cubby building


Bye bye cubby


Okay, so they don’t look sad there, but they were.
Leo was sad that we were leaving his favourite climbing tree (although we are hopeful that our new place will have wonderful climbing trees).

The well climbed jacaranda


Then there was the sandpit, built by daddy and Leo. All three kids have spent a huge amount of time in the construction which was built on a whim one weekend (and I have cleaned sand out of carpets for years thanks to it – the happy kids were worth it though!). Leo decided that he should build one last sand castle and we should photograph it – so here it is.

The next day the movers arrived to take us to our Brisbane rental, amongst much excitement from the kids at the movers moving our stuff, Quinn being particularly impressed at the up close “Tructor”.

I think the move was harder because we were moving into uncertainty. We are hoping to make our sustainable tree change, but we don’t know where we are headed yet. So, for the first time in what seems like forever, we are back to renting. The change from a lowset house on a large block with room between neighbours, to an innercity highset house with neighbours right THERE has also been hard for all of us. But we know it is worth it, because it means a change for a better in the long run. So although the goodbye was hard, the hello will be much better!

Mini Food Forest (Part 1)

I have always loved the idea of a food forest for a garden. A mini jungle that is diverse and full of wonderful things to eat and look upon. I guess that is my vision of sorts for when we move.
For the last few months whilst attention and labour was focussed on the house and the prettiness of the garden, the producing gardens have been neglected. In my backyard there are two producing beds. The first was built for me by my father as a gift when I was pregnant with my first child.

1st garden bed at 6mths in much wetter times


Unfortunately it is in a spot that is too hot and dry most of the year. The trees in the neighbouring yard which were just bushes when we bought the house now tower over the patch and block the rain whilst also sucking away what little water it does get. It is also up against a fence which reflects heat back onto the garden. Although that bed has never been a resounding success it hasn’t been a complete failure and I have learnt alot about gardening from it.
The second bed is about 9 months old and is really flourishing.

Flourishing 2nd garden bed


It was made when the council felled trees during a creek clean up and I rescued some of the logs before they were chipped. It is in a position that gets the morning and afternoon sun but is in shade in the middle of the day thanks to the house.
Even though both beds have been neglected, the second bed is still producing with eggplants,

Hidden eggplants and eggplant flower


strawberries, capsicums and chillis

Chilli plant which has small flower buds


on the way as well as lots of different herbs being used constantly.
The second bed has a few plants growing but most have past their prime or died before they got there. In the process of packing up the shed yesterday I found all my seeds, most of which were now out of date and a few packets that weren’t. So today, I let the kids go nuts and plant all the seeds in that first bed, where ever and however they wanted. Some were sprinkled liberally, some were buried deep and some were just thrown around at random. One thing is for sure, whatever survives will have a lovely randomness to it. There will be no rows of carrots here and stands of corn there. But I kind of like that idea, you rarely see such monocultures in nature.
So being a dry bed, our mission now is to keep it moist.

Leo watering away


Which, of course, the kids love to help with,

even if they do water the wrong bed (apparently its more fun to water the plants that have flowers).
So now, we wait and see what grows and where!

Harvest

A small harvest

More of a test for me and posting pics, but here is the harvest from our garden yesterday. From the fruits of our labour we enjoyed a delish moussaka for dinner tonight.