April 30, 2014

#wholeheartedjournal collective | 09

In Amelia's own words - who curated this lovely selection for us this week - this has been, "quite possibly the hardest thing I've done!!" There is the most amazing collection of photos that have grown over the past months and we encourage you to take a scroll the next time you're browsing Instagram. It's truly amazing! This week is filled with a colorful contrast of adventurous and quiet moments - the perfect mix.

All images were user-submitted via the #wholeheartedjournal tag on Instagram.
Drive in night fun!   @leahkua
Shopping cart shenanigans.  @gizandchip
The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure.  @homeinthehive
Standing outside rocking him into calm, poor poorly Ned.  @dollyandfife
Another from Easter weekend with grandma & grandpa - so fun to see my parents light up when Alder is around... love overflows.  @pitterpatterclunk
She is joy & wonder & curiosity distilled.  @me_and_orla
Breakfast blueberry danishes for everyone... unless Olive gets to them first!  @thelittleredbutton
Cranky pants is running the show today and only wants to sleep in the middle of the king.  @mmaanda

April 28, 2014

week 9

“Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either.” ― Elizabeth Zimmermann
I've been knitting, in fact I have been crafting a lot lately, similar to yoga, I find the practice centering… On the other hand, Elijah, my [kind of] willing model of the creative outcomes, seems to find this time as an opportunity to express his uncensored spirit… and this I should say, is quite okay with me. xx
Here's a bit of honestyI told myself that I'd never buy billions of (clearly girl-targeted) princess things for my daughters. I would never shop in the pink, gender appropriate store aisles and would only have a small collection of sustainable wooden toys. It's unavoidable. Toy accumulation happens. Princess happens. My daughter is the coolest girl on the planet, though. She appreciates all things pink, yet is completely fascinated by trucks and Captain America and her Papa's video games; children are blissfully oblivious to society's standards.
This past week we've been on a little family holiday in the country. We decided that in order to be completely together, we would 'switch off' for the time we were away. And so it was that watching TV was replaced with reading books, playing ipad games exchanged for doing puzzles, mountains of toys were traded for a just small handful + big imaginations. The normality of everyone off in various places – school, work - was put on hold and momentarily relieved for long walks together then warming up by the fireside.
A time to be together, even if it's folding washing.
Simple chores for an 8 year old.
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.” ― Roald Dahl

April 25, 2014

heart to heart: belinda kypriotis

Today's Heart to Heart is with Belinda Kypriotis, a mother of three beautiful children. In this chat with Lou she shares her experience of balancing working life with mothering, the importance of letting go the feelings of guilt, and listening to your heart. Set within the parameters of Facebook messenger, here is the unedited, unscripted chat between two mothers - enjoy!

Belinda Kypriotis
mother, teacher, photographer  |   billyandaugust.com 
- - -

Lou: Well let's start with the basic details... your name, how many children? Is mothering your full time occupation? If not, what else fills your time? Do you have a web presence where our readers can find out a little bit more about you?

Belinda: My name is Belinda, I have three beautiful children who make my heart melt. Lotus is 13, Noah is 10 and Parker is 18 months. Mothering isn't my full-time occupation. We own Kindergartens. I currently work full-time. My husband parents full-time. I muse over at www.billyandaugust.com I share my images on Instagram: Billy and August and I have a Facebook page www.facebook.com/billyandaugustphotography

Lou: You have such a wonderful family! How do you balance it all?

Belinda: I have tears as I type this because I don't! For many years I have strived to find that 'perfect balance' and I have been left feeling deflated with a sense of failure. This year my intention was to be imperfectly me and with 'balance' find my own and not compare. I had to accept that I can not do it all and be grateful that I have a supporting husband who can assist and that didn't me failure.

It's so true isn't it! 'Balancing it all' assumes that everything is working perfectly... I'm yet to meet a mother who feels like she has got the balance completely right. How does your husband feel about being a stay at home parent?

It is his calling. When we had children my husband and I agreed that one of us was to always be at home with the children. Noah was 1 when we purchased our businesses and my husband resigned from his full-time career and for a period of time left his music career to be completely present at home. I recall a dinner with friends a few years later and one of them offered Brad a unbelievable job. He declined it there and then and said, 'No amount of money can replace the job I was called to do. Be a full-time father'. In that moment I cried and gave blessings for the unbelievable man I married.

Oh wow! That really is incredible. What a special, special man you have! We should interview him one day... Going back to the very beginning of your mothering journey, what did you expect mother hood to 'look like' before Lotus was born?

He would love to, I am sure. Mothering before Lotus looked a whole lot different in my head. I expected a completely different reality than I was living. I expected a movie fantasy. I was 23 when I had Lotus. None of my friends had children. I was lonely; I was not receiving the family support I envisioned I would have. I felt disconnected and desperately needed someone to say to me 'you are doing an amazing job'. Brad worked during the day in hisfull-time position and in the evenings he worked with his band. I never expected the pressure I felt to do things 'perfectly'.

So with the reality of motherhood apparent, how long did it take you to find your feet as a mother?

When I stopped looking for outside influences dictating me on what it should look like.

Is this advice you would give to new mums?

Absolutely. When I birthed Parker, my midwife gave me advice that I use everyday, 'Trust your instincts, parent intuitively'

That's really wonderful advice!

What is it like being a mother to a teenager and a toddler at the same time?

I think like every mother who has more than one children, I find it difficult spreading myself between the three. When Brad and I decided we would like another baby, we had a family meeting and were prepared if Lotus and Noah didn't want another sibling, we would really have to honour that because having another baby was going to change the dynamics of our family. We have included them in every decision we have made when it comes to our family. I believe that having Lotus and Noah at Parker's birth moved them so profoundly that that 'love' comes through always. I haven't been too challenged yet because we are all aware of each others different needs . We all communicate very honestly.

Has having Parker given you an opportunity to do anything differently? Things that you may have learnt from your experiences in Lotus and Noah's pregnancies/births/early childhoods?

Yes it has. When I fell pregnant with Parker I thought this was my opportunity to get it right because I had so much guilt attached to what I recognised as past mistakes with parenting. What I became aware of was, I am much older, I have grown into a mother of two and a mother of three and those 'guilts' I see as lessons. I am no longer the same person so why stay attached to those guilts and getting it right when I believe there is no such thing. Perfection is boring. I am honest with my children, I say sorry if I need to, I explain, I learn. I trust my instincts, tomorrow is a new day, you can always start over. I don't wish anything away (even those bad days) and try not totake any part of motherhood for granted.

Absolutely! Too often our vulnerabilities cause us to downplay the darker side of motherhood, we tend to share the brighter moment instead, when really, they exist together.... Can you share a moment or experience of the good and the bad? Things we wouldn't necessarily share because they aren't "pretty" ... For instance I feel like often I'm portraying a very cheerful home and lovely children when in reality people yell, or hurt each other, and my dining table is always covered in folding... 

When Lotus was born, control crying was they way I was told to get her into a routine and sleep. I felt guilty every time I did it. My intuition told me it was not for us, but a 'professional' told me it was. When Noah was born, I did a little of both although I don't recall the control crying as much. When Parker was born, I did many things differently. I knew you can't over love a child too much. Believe it or not, someone once told me you could. When I was very sleep deprived with Parker one day and exhaustion got the better of me and I felt insane, I called a help line. The information I received didn't match my beliefs. When I hung up the call, I couldn't believe it took me so long to realise that as a 'pre-school teacher' I don't expect all children to fit aformula, why would I expect my child. That is when I surrendered. I continued not to control cry, I continued to co-sleep and we found our own beautiful rhythm.

I love this. No two children are the same, even your own... Between your job and the huge commitment to your family, what do you enjoy doing for YOU. How do you recharge?

I express my creativity through photography, as that is a very dominant part of my personality. I write and read. And then there is yoga and meditation for my soul. Oh, and recently I have started crocheting.

I'd love to learn to crochet - it looks very therapeutic!

Extremely therapeutic.

Belinda you know I could chat all day but you've got to get back to work and I have a shouty baby who needs a cuddle... Before we finish, can you share a proud mama moment? You know the one where you sigh and think 'yes, this is all worth it!'

Birthing Parker at home with Lotus, Noah and Brad.

Would you like more?

Nope - that's a massively proud moment! There's no prouder moment.

Thanks so much for chatting my dear.

Thank you. I have sat still and drunk two pots of tea.

You're the best - thanks for your beautiful honesty x
Photo composites 5 and 6 by Belinda Kypriotis all other images by Louise Buma

April 23, 2014

#wholehearted collective | 08

We loved your captions so much last week that we decided it's something we should do from now on! These intimate and colorful selections were curated by Tamara - it's a beautiful week of cuddles, quiet conversation, sink baths, and Easter traditions. Hoping that everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend with the ones they love most.

All images are user submitted via the #wholeheartedjournal hashtag on Instagram.
"A serious conversation about pokemon happened right here" (@twintagekaren)
"Family Traditions" (@mamafence)
"conked". (@deshaigh)
"coloring eggs"(@petiamphotos)
"Midwife in Training. She melted me today." (@anappetiteforcolor)
"First picnic" (@circleofpines)
"It's been a while since they've bathed in the sink" (@kelceyandrus)

April 22, 2014

week 8

Tom is the first boy in our family since my Dad was born in '59. Skipping a generation doesn't even matter. The bonds he has with my Dad are strong and everlasting (much like the old farm-bike.. note the dog in crate!)
Have you ever "lost" your child in your own home? Took us a good ten minutes to find her... she camouflages well!
Young hearts, run free!
Love simple family rituals.
“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” ― Albert Einstein…
...So this is what it looks like when you are being attacked by a shark whilst playing a kazoo!
Slowly, but surely, you will get there.
It's so good to have all three of them in the frame again (and a seagull).

April 18, 2014

heart to heart: kirsten rickert

Today, Claire speaks Heart to Heart with Australian born Kirsten Rickert - a visual artist & creative director based in New Jersey with her husband and two young daughters. During a spontaneous and unedited chat session, Kirsten opens up about her experience of raising children across the seas from her own family. She speaks passionately about the environment, nurturing creativity in children, and finding the courage to follow your heart.

Kirsten Rickert
mother of 2, visual artist & creative director  |  kirstenrickert.com

- - -
Kirsten:  Hi Claire!

Claire:  Hello! How are you? Thanks for taking some time out to chat with me :)

Kirsten:  My pleasure! Excuse my typos in advance.

Claire:  Haha... ditto! How are you feeling after stepping out of your role at Papier Mache?

It was huge. I feel great to be free, and feel it was the right choice, but it is like breaking up with a really hot guy...when you see him around you think, "was crazy to let that go!"...ha! But you know we make these choices and  you just have to sit with the discomfort and keep listening to the inner voice guiding us on our best possible path.

Ha, I can imagine! What a great analogy. I think sometimes we hang on to things because we feel like we ‘should’... it's really liberating to listen to your inner voice isn't it?  I think as mothers we are always turning down opportunities for one reason or another (family, time etc). And of course, priorities are always being reevaluated, don't you think?

Yes this is very true. Papier Mache is very cool and, it was a privilege to work with the team, and now someone else’s dream will come true to work with them!

Absolutely... doors are always opening and closing....

For me this choice was actually about wanting to put my energy into environmental awareness, and I felt an inner conflict...and so decided to dedicate my creativity as best I can to causes. 

Your passion for the environment  really comes through in your work. I love following you on Instagram and watching you celebrate the natural world and all it's seasons... whether it be making flower crowns in the spring, a giant teepee out of branches in Autumn... magical igloos in winter! Do you think your intense passion for nature stems from your upbringing in Byron Bay (renowned for it's natural beauty)?

Yes, the alternate energy of the far north coast is in my veins. I will always be that little girl with rich red volcanic dirt between my toes. I feel blessed to have been born into the amazing community. I wish there were more places like that in the world. I am always looking for something like it. I spent most of my childhood at Tregeaglewhich is between Alstonville and Lismore, then moved down to Byron as a young adult.

I've read a little about you on your website and you have such an interesting story. Can you tell me about making the move from Australia to the U.S?

Sure, I have been coming and going from America since my 20's, living and working in San Diego, and Alaska, and then I ended up completing my Arts degree at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Cam and I had been dating in Australia and and then I decided to study in NYC. Cam came to visit me while I was studying. Then I went off back to Alaska again, and so Cam came to visit me there too. We fell pregnant with Maya in Sitka, and then went back (home!) to Byron Bay Australia. After  having Maya, Cam wanted to have a 12 month working holiday in NYC, so off we went again...and we never left...another baby later and we have been here 6 years. Sorry long answer.... 

No, that's great - you've had a busy few years! You've got two daughters... how old are they now?  

Maya is 7 and Elle is 5.

Love having girls :) Do you ever feel torn between your two homes or crave that same kind of upbringing for your girls? I see you come home to visit often... Do you still have a lot of family back home?

I try really hard to stay present so I don't get torn...but it is hard. I do miss Australia and the lifestyle, Australia is an amazing place to raise children and yes, I miss my family, and I am sad that they do not have the joy of seeing my children each day and that my children miss out on them. But with saying that, we have wonderful life here and the experience is so different than the subtropics I grew up in, I just love the distinct seasons here. We try and go back to Australia every second year, but goodness it is expensive! We often talk about moving back one day and building a house in the rainforest on my Aunt and Uncle's property near Ballina. I am not sure what the reality of that is, but that is our "if we move back to Australia" dream...so many dreams!

It's important to have dreams :) We holidayed in NYC just over a year ago. We LOVED it! Shame visas are so tricky with the U.S or we might just be there doing a "12 month working holiday" too ;)

Yes we were fortunate with the US visa situation because I am an American citizen...and so Cam was able to get residency and the girls are dual citizens.

Motherhood can be really isolating - even when your family are around. Did you ever get those feelings of isolation raising your girls across the seas from your own family?

Yes, and no...I always pictured that I would have my Grandmother near by, whom I am very close to, and my Aunt who was at the girl's births, when I raised my children...so that has been hard at times. We skype every week, which is not the same as the girls having sleep overs with their Great Aunt, but I am grateful they have a strong bond despite the distance. I don't know that I felt isolated though because I can easily talk to Grandma for an hour on skype and it fills my heart with love. 

It's such a different world we live in today - how fortunate are we that (with the help of modern technology) we can go off and pursue dreams, have adventures and yet still maintain such strong bonds with family and friends in far flung places. It's pretty wonderful.

Yes... talking on social media with my old friends might not be quite the same fun as going out dancing with them 20 years ago was, but now we get the pleasure of nostalgia and the pleasure of sharing our journey of motherhood together. We have moved a lot over the past 6 years. Manhattan to Park Slope Brooklyn, then Ditmas park Brooklyn, then Monclair NJ - all all of which are within 45 mins of each other, but all totally different worlds. Through all of that I really had to find happiness with my own company and the company of the girls and not looking or needing a lot of friends. I have always made friends, but each time we moved, well, you know how it is! The moment I let go of that external need of friends it brought a lot of peace. It is not to say I don't need friends, but I don’t expect them or take it as a given. Good friends are precious, and they can be like hidden jewels when you move a lot. The girls are my best friends. I rarely without them and if I am without them, I miss them! 

I am definitely one for quality over quantity when it coms to friends. You say your girls are your best friends - is this something you imagined would be the case before you became a Mum? What did you imagine motherhood would "look like"? How is the reality different?

Hmmm...I am definitely living my dream (well one version of it, or perhaps, my other dreams will be next chapters?). Today the girls were walking hand in hand down the path from the library with their little coats and neat long braids down their backs and I was struck with how blessed I am to have these sweet daughters (my husband is ok too -  ha!).  I have had to be brave with some of the things I have dreamt of, like homebirthing and homeschooling. I have had to work to make the dream come true, and at some points I did not believe I could, but you have to just keep that spark alive in you, and hope that the universe and those you are close to, support your dreams without you having to force it.   

From chatting to you today and hearing fragments of your story, I'd say you were a really courageous mother! It takes guts to make those big decisions and follow through. And to get that satisfaction that you have just described when you see your hard work paying off right before your eyes... that feeling must make it all so worth it. Would you say you were courageous? 

Yes I am pretty courageous...I am a bit wild too (although I would say that is within in a conservative family).

Wild is good! I think all mothers are a little wild on some primitive level. I'm probably a bit more of a closed book than you, sometimes finding it a challenge to expose that side of myself - but there''s no denying it's there... childbirth definitely brings it out in you!

I have always had the guise of an artist, and I have loved this because it has mean't that I feel like I am "allowed" to think creatively - even in my role as a mother.

I love the idea of "creative" mothering...

Yes, creativity is so very important, I actually think that nurturing my children's creativity and imagination is one of my most important roles. Creative people are problems solvers and in this day and age, our children, the next generation are going to have some serious global problems to solve.

I love your forward thinking. Do you think it’s easy for mothers of small children to get caught up in the day-to-day, not focusing enough energy on the long-term? Educating our kids about these global issues is so important... I'm inspired to start taking more initiative!

Oh yes, I am going crazy over world events. Today I friend of mine who lives in China was wondering if her daughter was going to be able to go outside because it was getting dangerously close to being a "red flag" day - which means air pollution is so bad that children must be kept indoors. This is real, this is happening, today, now.

Gosh, scary! I worry about putting insect repellent on my child... and your friend has to worry about her child even leaving the house! Craziness!

It is very sad, all children deserve to feel earth is a safe place. We are all responsible for the damage, but especially women. Every single person on earth was born from  woman, and as a mother I feel so connected to the damage being done.

Yes, as mothers, we do share the weight of these huge responsibilities... of nurturing our little people, the next generation.... and speaking of little people, my littlest has just woken up so I’m afraid we’ll have to sign off for now as I am hopeless at one-handed typing!

Oh you sweet mama. Ok, we shall sign off! I look forward to Wholehearted Journal growing! So exciting, it is a beautiful thing. Thank you for chatting - we should talk more. I think we are doing the same things, just in a different way. Mothers are amazing and through them we can heal, or better still stay healthy. Love being a mum! Thanks Claire xo

Thanks so much, Kirsten...I’ve loved getting to know you more. How wonderful to have you here at Wholehearted Journal. We will most definitely stay in touch! Speak soon gorgeous mama xo

all images provided by:  kirsten rickert

April 16, 2014

#wholeheartedjournal collective | 07

Scenes of a blue, new spring: radiant skies, dirty feet, precious new life, and the welcome return of our sweet, sweet sun. Over on my side of the world, (and some of yours too!) spring has officially sprung and it is glorious. What I loved most were some of your captions that accompanied the photos this week....  -- Kate

sometimes when you're sick, you just need naps and hugs • love is what makes you smile when you are tired • after school is for climbing trees, drinking smoothies, and shooting the breeze • they are up to no good! • she sleeps with dirty feet • immediate skin to skin • kinda lovin' the warm weather • nature, sunshine, family and good food •    (in no particular order)

All images are user submitted via the #wholeheartedjournal hashtag on Instagram.
image by @ali__dover
image by @earth_mamma
image by @lacystroess
image by @shelleybopeep
image by @nicole_humphrey