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Sunday, April 27, 2014

We will end MS!

What a weekend! A weekend of friends! We were invited to a birthday party, two BBQs, we conquered notch hill pushing our 50 pound daughter to the top, we finished fundraising and our team raised $2000.00 for MS while running 10km! 
 We enjoyed live music!
 We will end MS!
 Our 10km run started there!
 AND we're heading over there!
 We finished!
"If we can, you can - lets strive to make a difference, and not just with MS - with everything!"

Friday, April 25, 2014

Allow difference

Every early morning I enjoy sitting with a tea and/or coffee scrolling the news feed on facebook. I'm completely guilty. Then sometimes when my brain tells me to write - I write. Anyone who comments or posts on the internet opens themselves up for not only sharing their lives, but for criticism. An opinion is an opinion. While in the midst of writing a book, like this blog, I am opening myself up to being judged amongst our world. Regardless if I'm a grammatically struggling novice writer, or an educated University English Professor, I will be judged regardless what I write. Although I have huge admiration for anyone that openly shares their lives through writing. I love writing. I love learning. I love sharing our experiences and lessons regardless if they're right or wrong. Something great about a book is, you can take what you want from it and leave the rest behind. Not everything is going to work within your life and fact, every one's lives are different. Here I am, a mother of sixteen challenging children, one grand baby, I cook, I bake and I sometimes act like it's the year 1932, while believing we all should live how we want to live with freedom of expression (yes tattoos, dreadlocks, whatever) Freedom of choice, having pride on who we are (yes, even being gay) and I can openly write, share and hopefully change just one person's perspective on having compassion for everything and everyone.  I'm raising my children to hopefully not judge, and too not quickly throw out an opinion against another because they look different, or act different because we're all the same underneath our skin. It doesn't matter what car we drive, how many children we have, or even what we believe - because we all belong to each other. I have a quote from Mother Teresa located on the side of my blog that I personally believe and love. If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. Criticizing someone I believe is based either from fear, and/or ignorance. After reading some articles on facebook, scrolling on other people's lives, sometimes commenting (without judgment) I found myself writing about all of us. We're all the same. You might not be as crazy as I am, for example, the other day I pushed a loaded Costco cart in the back of my wheelchair van just to take a picture for my husband because he dared me too. I did it right in front of the Costco doors where some employees did not think that was funny, and I embarrass my children singing, and dancing. I smile and talk to strangers all the time. Life is meant to be unique. My advise today is lets not criticize ones life but embrace it because you'll never know what an amazing person you might meet, or an enlightenment you might learn. I will leave you with more Mother Teresa Quotes - she was one special lady. "We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do"
"Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier"
"Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do... but how much love we put in that action."
"Allow difference in your heart, without it our world would be boring" - Me.


"Have fun, and enjoy life - as long as you don't harm anyone, yourself and/or end up in jail!" lol






Thursday, April 24, 2014

Endless discoveries

This season equals more hiking! I'm so excited to find new places, to introduce more of our children to the great outdoors! Backpacking into the wilderness is a complete surreal feeling. Being in the middle of no where, with no services - it's complete silence except for the crackling of the trees, and the whistling of the birds. Hiking with sixty pound packs for hours, (sometimes all day) is a feeling of accomplishment like no other. After a day of backpacking, then setting up your tent and eventually relaxing on the ground is honestly amazing! I am so excited! Our first hiking trip is in May - so I've been preparing. Not only am I gearing up for over night hiking trips, I have been researching new magical places for day excursions. Have you heard about the hole in the wall near Port Alberni? Apparently it's a must see and "all of us" will head there on a day trip soon!



 
Have you heard of the wheelchair accessible Centennial Trail located near the Strathcona Provincial Park. It's a paradise accessible for every-body located on Mt. Washington!


 
How about the Wickaninnish Bog Walk located in Tofino?

 
Now....I have hiked Cape Scott. As I remember it, it was a long hike. Although I found out something totally awesome! For the less adventurous, and if you only have a weekend - you can use a re-surfaced trail which ends at the shore of San Josef Bay! This is on my definite list with some of our children! I have been to several places in our world and I have to say; we have the same beauty right here on our own beaches! If you've never been to Cape Scott - you have to go! The picture seen below is just a glimpse of many amazing breath taking sights!

 



Another amazing place accessible by wheelchair is the Ed MacGregor Park located in Sooke. An elevated boardwalk that has switchbacks through forests and into the ocean. Also located in Sooke, is the Sooke Potholes. Potholes of fresh water heated by the sun can also easily be accessed with strollers.

 
 
I could go on and on with tons of places to walk in for a day, or hike in for a weekend, or hike in for a week. We live in an area "Vancouver Island" that beauty is at our doorstep. I believe the great outdoors is the best environment! For me, an hour a day outside refreshes my spirit, can you imagine what a hike would do!? Tis the season....I have been preparing. At Costco they have smaller packs that are great for 10-15 year olds for $60.00 or an adult that just wants to do a day hike. AND I was extremely excited to pick up my pocket rocket, an ultralight, fast boiling canister stove that weighs only 3 oz and a 2 person light weight pot set that weighs 21.3 oz! (Seen Below) This is all we will need hiking, and yes even for a week and for many people!




 
You're probably wondering how on earth will I cook for several people with this? We're out in the wilderness tired from hiking with nothing better to do then sit down over a pocket rocket and cook two meals at a time. It's not an issue. Rule of thumb, you carry your own dishes. 1 fork, 1 spoon, 1 bowl and 1 cup. Use and wash. Leave the electronics at home except for the camera....and we will be ready for endless discoveries! Are you as excited as I am!? I have lots more places I could share, but please, I would love to hear about your hidden wonders, and where they're located. Lets not keep beauty to ourselves.......and if you're ever interested in joining us, let me know! My pocket rocket can handle you!
 

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit. - Edward Abbey

There is many people living in condominiums in a city that have never experienced the true beauty and surreal atmosphere of the great outdoors. I know people that believe we are hill-billies (believe it or not) but they admitted they admired our life. I wouldn't trade my yard for theirs.....I embrace what's right in front of us to its fullest potential and that's what I call living.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Chocolate!? WHY!? lol

Easter morning was interesting. My husband and I decided the night before not to hide our children's Easter baskets out in our yard due to rain, so we hid them underneath a blanket at our kitchen table. (Seen Below) It was one of the most bizarre mornings. Our children sat around the table eating their breakfast, not even questioning what was underneath the blanket. After breakfast, they asked if they could go outside and look for their Easter baskets. I said, "sure" and off they went....after awhile they came in stating that they couldn't find anything! That's when I revealed the baskets on our kitchen table!
 The baskets! "TOO MUCH CHOCOLATE!"
 The chocolate Fondue! "WHAT WAS I THINKING?!"
 The Norwegian homemade whipping cream cone!
After attending a Easter Hunt we decided it's all about socks next Easter. Chocolate!? Sugar!? AND a raining weekend!? What were we thinking!? Cooped up children on sugar isn't a smart idea. Practical and smart solutions to substitute sugar is our future goals. Did you know the Easter Bunny was originally created from the German Lutherans? To celebrate the season of Easter tide, the Easter bunny would deliver eggs to "good" children, the same idea as Santa Claus. I think all of us (society) just follow suit. I know we follow (we're guilty) because it's fun developing childhood memories. Dreams, and magical moments equals a commercial money making world. I often state to my husband that we can still have the dreams, the memories and magical moments without the fantasy's of the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.....but the legends will continue to exist within our home if my husband has anything to say about it. lol I guess I will eat chocolate and toast to that! 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The tattle box

 

When you have a large family with many children you have to think outside, (well in this case) inside the box. Many of our children tattle tale on each other daily. The tattling is completely unnecessary. For example, "He is staring at me!" So we have come up with the "Tattle Tale Box" It's our new centre piece for our kitchen table. When the tattling is ridiculous, our children will have to write out their tattling, signing their name and entering inside our tattle box. At the end of the week, my husband and I will empty the box, and our children that haven't tattled, wins! A technique we're hoping will curb the unnecessary tattling! Having many children tattling is a common occurrence daily, and usually it's about getting their sibling in trouble for something not that important. Of course tattling can be an effective way to know important details, and incidents BUT usually this isn't the case. Nonetheless, this is something we're going to try in hopes to stop useless tattling. Another great fact about this box is; it will help our children academically read, write and spell while learning the difference between what's important to share and what's not. It will be monitored, and only our children with the "unnecessary" tattles will be asked to write and enter the tattle box. Parenting is interesting. You have to be creative, and try different ideas. Experiment and see what works........there is many hand books that help give ideas, but there is no handbook designed for every family. What I know for sure, there is no hand book for ours. lol So we will see what happens......

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"I'm a father!"

I can't express enough on how I'm loving a four day weekend! This was a busy week. Thursday was interesting. We triple booked our day. Besides homeschooling, we had horse riding (20 minutes away) Taekwondo (15 minutes away) plus one of our son's birthday parties was (45 minutes away) in the opposite direction. While juggling school, and our other responsibilities, planning our year end celebrations (fishing charters) and several different field trips my husband and I were obviously running in several directions. One of the funniest moments was when my birthday son's friend's father introduced himself to me. "Hello, I am Jeremy's father" and while shaking my hand I responded, "Nice to meet you, I am Landon's father" Now let me tell you....it was an awkward moment. Meeting for the first time, probably the last, I completely messed up that introduction. He looked at me with a slight smirk, and I can tell he wasn't sure why my introduction came out that way....but while laughing I corrected myself saying, "I mean, I am his mother" Oh well.......first impressions isn't everything right!? Besides introducing myself as a man, and I could hardly speak English at my sons birthday party, I am now writing on my blog! There is no doubt there is days like today. All I can say other then "busy" - it was entertaining being around us. This week was exhausting. The celebration of life was life altering for me, and then our oldest daughter moved to Vancouver. Our second oldest daughter's boyfriend started a full time job, then he passed his learners for driving, and we are now currently looking for a nice two bedroom place for their little family to move into. This week felt like a whirlwind of changes. It's a bizarre feeling having adult children moving, while still raising children as young as two years old. Our family nest is shifting, and it's shifted enough that I now have my own craft and business room once again! "Can you vision that happy dance I'm now doing as a man!?" I can now continue writing my book! I can work on those albums I started years ago for each of our children. That's 16 personalized albums! I can guarantee within our busy life, gender and grammar confused I will finish what I've started! That's me. Concluding, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Easter weekend.....leaving me with 12 unfinished baskets (too finish) for our younger kiddos! No problem.




 Easter Egg Grass Heads (waiting to grow hair)
 Our own sour cream container measuring scale
 "Happy Easter!"
"Happy Birthday to our 8 year old son!"
 
 
 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Attend where your heart is"

Grandma Crystal, Grampa Joe, Our oldest daughter, and second oldest son
 Grampa Joe and my husband's and I first birth son, now age 14
 
 
 
I'm going to share something. In the past there was some important people to me that passed away and I didn't attend their funeral or celebrations of life. I wanted to remember them alive and in my own unique way. I didn't want to attend their funerals because I didn't internally want to believe they died. I didn't want to witness others mourning, and I didn't want to feel a loss and in some twisted way, I didn't think I was important enough to attend in the first place. I regret not attending and paying my respects. Occasionally I think about what these people meant to me, and I feel so self absorbed protecting myself without paying my respects, sending my love, finding closure and most importantly supporting others during their grieving. I hid. I was a coward. I found excuses not to attend. It was selfish of me. Today I attended a celebration of life with my first family, and with my first husband. My ex-husbands grandfather passed away. An individual that embraced me as his granddaughter for twenty four years. I never had grandparents and when I married my first husband, his grandparents were mine. Both passed now but I have so many fond memories. Their door was always open. Even after my divorce, and in a new marriage, my new husband was welcome. I can write about countless stories although I will keep this post strictly to what I want to share. I attended what I would call, my grandfathers celebration of life today. I seen family that I haven't seen for years. It's unfortunate that someone has to pass in order for people to get together although it brought me a new enlightenment. A different outlook, and a new beginning for me. As we hugged, and we all caught up with each others lives, and reminisced about "Grampa Joe" I realized I am no exception to loss. I can't hide, and as we age, loss becomes more frequent. As other family members stood up and told their stories, and explained their relationship they had with Grampa Joe, my heart started to pound contemplating if I should speak. I questioned myself if I was "important enough" to speak after all these years. Then while everyone was mingling, munching on sandwiches I walked towards where Grampa Joe's remains and pictures laid before everyone....and then I spoke for the first time in my life about someone who was dear to me. I started by stating I will never feel regret again missing an opportunity to pay my respect to someone I loved and to share what they meant to me. We aren't alone in this world, we all will have awkward moments, situations that we feel that are unbearable but ultimately the most important fact that exists, even after death, we are all equal. Today after many years, I had a good conversation with my ex husband. I admit, I had a lot of resentment, and I cried out on my deck a few days ago questioning, "Can I forgive? Forget?" "Am I worthy attending this celebration of life?" My answer, and what I want to share is....it doesn't matter what the difficulty is, we can and are able to forgive, we are able to forget and I am (we all are worthy) of and for each other. Forgiving doesn't mean that you're going to have that person in your life, it means peace within yours. 41 years old and I'm still having enlightenment's to share with all of you. Leaving the service today I felt that Grandpa Joe blessed me with not only remembering his kind and giving heart, his open home, and all his talents.....I felt his presence, his love and his reassurance that I was that granddaughter worthy OF his love. From now on.......I will remember today, a day that was embraced and full of love, a day not only to celebrate an amazing man, it was a day of affirmations. To confirm that all of us are worthy, we are all special to each other and we can all change just given the chance. My chance was given from my ex-mother in law. (I hate to introduce her in that way) But she messaged me, hoping that I could attend her fathers service today. A message I will never forget. Long story longer, when I say we're equal, I mean in a worldly way - we all will experience loss, we all feel and question ourselves, what we have to constantly remember is life is too short, that dash in between our birth and our death needs nourishment, needs to keep connections while we're alive. We need daily to say, "I love you" or to say how important you are....even if we can't see each other during our busy schedules. This is for anyone that's in your heart. It shouldn't take a service to remind us to live compassionately with or for each other, and my own lesson learned is funerals, celebrations of life (whatever you call them) are not just important to everyone else attending, it's important for ourselves, for our own closures. I will never say, "Goodbye" because anyone who means a great deal to me, will forever remain in my memories and within my heart. Rest in peace and thank you Grampa Joe, and my beautiful ex-mother in law for reconfirming that I am worthy, and I belong where my heart still loves, and my mind still remembers.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pipers Lagoon, a perfect photo reflection

Sunday was a perfect day for a picnic!
 The perfect log!
 Some of us (seen above)
 Grandma & Grand babe
 Sunday was perfect for pictures!
 Perfect for climbing rocks!
Perfect for walking the beach and finding crabs!
 Perfect for throwing rocks into the ocean!
 Perfect for us!
 And perfect for being silly!
 A day for perfect views!
Love the outdoors! The outdoors is always perfect!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Productivity - love it - we can do anything!

Thursday, Friday and Saturday were great. While finishing up with home school, on Thursday afternoons two of our daughters attend therapy horse riding and care. Our littlest daughter with CP has never been on a horse. On Thursday (with assistance) she was riding on a horse for the first time! Unfortunately because my husband and the trainer was assisting, there was no pictures taken but I'm hoping I can share one with you soon! Something so simple yet so complicated for some can be one of the most memorable moments in ones life and that it was for our littlest daughter. On Friday after home schooling and piano lessons I attended a night out to "What woman want" It was a night of fashion shows, entertainment and hundreds of woman. It was good, interesting nonetheless. Then Saturday rising bright and early I made bannock for an AEP. (Adoption Education Panel) I speak on these panels a few times a year. I enjoy sharing our experience and knowledge after over ten years of adopting. I was very proud of my eight year old son that always attends with me. He plays the Native drum at the end, counting in his head he gets the beat every time. After our AEP, five of my boys attended a introductory session with Taekwondo. I signed up five of our boys today. We're very excited. The training will consist of physical fitness, discipline, respect, self-defence, self confidence, leadership, and mental alertness. It leads into competitions, and into the Olympics. This is perfect for our children. Our youngest is five that started today! Arriving home, my husband had a bon fire ready for our children to roast wieners. I automatically started thinking "summer can start tonight" and it did! Inquiring minds are always asking on how we do everything we do....even at the AEP, that's a common question. My answer, "One day at a time" With patience and organization you can do anything and I can't stress this enough. It seems we keep adding to our plate. Yes we do. Some days I think, "What are we doing?" "We can't do this anymore!" Then it's like I come back into my reality, and I know we can, like the little engine that could. Dedication once grasped is an amazing trait. Changing the subject, we have collected (just with our neighbors) $118.00 for our MS (Multiple Sclerosis) 10km run for April 27th. If you would like to support this fundraiser, I have the forms and you will receive a tax receipt in the mail. You can also support by attending the run. Please RSVP me for details! It's a great event! Our family supports MS because I have several family members that have MS including my younger sister. Regardless if it's MS, Cancer, or an Adoption Fundraiser, it's worth donating. ALSO please remember May 10th! Our adoption potluck event! I've received many RSVP's and it will be fun for everyone! I guarantee it! Too conclude, here is some pictures I'd like to share seen below.....


 Fried Bannock
 Push-ups!
 Two of our sons ready to go!
 Our weenie roast!
 "Grandma, can I please have a hot dog?!" "Please!?"
 
Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.
Gail Devers
 
 
If we can, you can - me.
 
 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How full is your dash?



Have you considered what the line means between the birth and death date?

Today I watched an absolutely beautiful short video about a very small punctuation mark and its significance in our lives. The Dash, by Linda Ellis and Mac Anderson, is motivational, inspirational, thought provoking, and a great a-ha to get your creative juices going.

Have you ever thought about your life as a dash (-) that exists between your birth date, and the date you leave your physical experience on this earth? The hyphen that is found between these two important dates in your life contains so much more information than can be said in one eulogy. The dash is one size and one size fits all, but what you have contained in that single small line is determined by you and you alone.


In that small space of ink is all your dreams, your achievements, your gratitude, your forgiveness, your successes, your dreams, your goals, your passion, your fulfillment, your joy, your peace, and your balance. It links you to the friends you have made, the children you have nurtured, and the people you have touched. It holds the mark you leave behind in this world.

We don’t realize how punctuation can affect our lives until it is pointed out to us. It has been said that the period should be used sparingly, when writing our intentions and self-affirmations, as it tends to signify to the universe the finality of that thought—when thoughts are never final but always evolving. The dash or hyphen is not just a pause in written communication or a bridge between thoughts. It can signify all that we are in our physical and spiritual presence.


If you put your life’s journey into this perspective you will see that there is no room for regrets, fears, opinions of others, negative energy, and guilt because you want to stack that little line with only the best your life has to offer. There is absolutely no room for spiritual garbage.


So think about this tiny piece of punctuation and reflect on your life so far. Have you filled your dash with everything you have wanted to store there so far? What more can you accomplish or wish to strive for? Set an intention give some thought to your dreams and goals and see how you can branch out further from your comfort zone and grow and evolve into the perfect person you were born to be.


“They say such nice things about people
at their funerals that it makes me sad
to realize that I’m going to miss
mine by just a few days.”
-Garrison Keillor

Monday, April 7, 2014

Oprah's, The life you want weekend!


"OH MY!" After years of trying to see Oprah, I and a long time friend of 15 years are finally attending a Oprah weekend in Seattle in November! Oprah has always inspired me. She is one of the most incredible woman I've followed. I am so excited! Here is what Oprah has to say.....



Oprah Winfrey

"All of my life, I have wanted to lead people to an empathy space. To a gratitude space," Oprah Winfrey says. "I want us all to fulfill our greatest potential. To find our calling and summon the courage to live it." Friday, Oprah takes the stage in a profound, moving and intimate one-woman show. She brings her story and vision to life, creating a transformative journey for every person in the audience. Saturday, Oprah unleashes that energy, leading a day-long gathering of thousands, with hand-picked "life trailblazers," each of whom brings a unique power to connect, dig deep and open hearts and minds. From teaching to conversation to one-on-one connection, to music, laughter and breathtaking moments, this will be an unforgettable life experience!"

 Some of her quest speakers are Iyanla Vanzant, Rob Bell, Elizabeth Gilbert and Deepak Chopra, MD.

All I have to say is, "Live your best life!" Create your "Ah ha" moments! We do! "Thank you Oprah for you!"

 


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The dark unknowns....

 
This weekend was one of our daughter's fourteenth birthday. We have several immediate birthdays a month accept for June, October and December. For our children's birthdays they get to choose what they want to do. For our daughter this weekend she wanted to go shopping. Shopping with children can be detrimental to your health! It can be extremely exhausting especially when your child has no clue on what she wants. Standing, contemplating, breathing heavily deep in thought was our shopping experience. This is one of my daughters who has special needs. So without further explanation, it was time consuming. Patience is complete key, time is not a priority and 100% supportive help from me was a must. As soon as an item was chosen (by me) there was all smiles, and shopping moved forward. After awhile I started receiving blank stares, shrugging of the shoulders.....I asked, "What's a matter?" "I'm tired of shopping" was my daughters response. I thought, "YES" we have completed our mission! The reason why I chose to write about my daughter's experience shopping is because it's a daily ongoing mission continually processing life's simplistic tasks for many of our children especially hers. She turned fourteen but she's mentally like a four year old. Of course she wants to go shopping on her fourteenth birthday, she's fourteen! Although cognitively a four year old has no patience, nor can make decisions for themselves. It's over stimulating. For a toddler, if you give them a choice of a red or blue freezie, toddlers can't decide or they would want both. That's like our daughter. As my children's mother I'm constantly educating myself on their special needs, I'm constantly observing and trying to understand but yet sometimes.....I just want them to think for themselves. (I have seen their light bulb) I also believe that they need the opportunities to try, to make decisions on their own, and that's where I stood in several stores waiting for my daughter to make a decision for herself. I've always wished that I could jump into my children's minds for at least fifteen minutes just so I could have a better understanding on how they think. As much as we educate ourselves, we will never understand everything. I find myself daily asking, "Why would you do that?" and with no comment, I receive those shrugging shoulders. Fetal Alcohol affected children are the same way, there is no cause and effect processing, many times mischievous behavior is completely spontaneous with no thought behind on the why. I completely feel sympathetic for my children that suffer mentally because life is just too over stimulating. Then being "different" is isolating. Did you know that most of my children don't get invited to a birthday party? I don't remember when the last invite was......only a couple of our children will get phone calls from their friends. Often when I think about how simplistic some of my children's lives are, it's not simplistic at all. It's confusing, and it can be dark with all the unknowns. We use a lot of pictures and life stories to teach some of our children although (for example) with our littlest daughter I find nothing works to teach her patience, and to calm her when she's hiperventaliting because she doesn't understand what we are doing in the grocery store. Our littlest daughter is turning seven this July. Her teeth haven't fallen out "yet" We are starting to read her stories about loosing her teeth, showing her clay models and adding teeth to her puppets with velcro to hopefully adapt "that concept" of loosing her teeth will be "ok" Right now I can't imagine how we are going to get her loose teeth pulled with her sensory issues and lack of understanding. My littlest daughter still doesn't understand nor "cares" to eat. My husband and I maintain her weight daily with 24/7 nibbles and syringing. Right now her weight is maintained but for how long? When she starts loosing teeth, will the changing of her mouth with her sensory issues make feeding worse? A dark unknown. She's turning seven but mentally she's only sixteen months, our little man who is now 29 months has passed her mentally and physically. She's the light of our life, simplistic in many ways but like our fourteen year old, the understanding of choosing a red or blue freezie isn't an option and that makes life challenging. Spending time shopping with my fourteen year old daughter reminded me once again that unfortunately she's stuck cognitively at age four. As much as it tested my patience, it saddened me. She's aging physically and that's it. (Not that I didn't know this) Our neurologist explained everything about many of our children, it just hits close to my heart on every birthday on how mentally nothing really changes. It's hard to think she's fourteen while standing in the baby doll section not knowing what to buy. I don't know what the future holds, I do know my husband and I are here 100% for our children and we will do the best we can; as they will do the best they can throughout their lives.... even if it's in the dark with so many unknowns.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Raising knights in 2014


 
I was looking over a Middle Ages unit about how a boy became a knight in the Medieval times with one of my sons. I started thinking about how time has changed. Boys becoming knights had to be a son of a knight, lord, a wealthy merchant or someone who held title and position in the court of the king. Training started at the age of six and at the age of thirteen the boy was promoted to squire (a shield bearer) focusing on combat. He was a knight in training. The ceremonies leading up to becoming a knight would consist of fasting for days, they would engage in prayer and contemplation. This was a very honorable task for young men (children) to accomplish and become a knight between the ninth and sixteenth centuries. If you weren't born and carried the requirements within your heritage, you were simply a peasant, working hard and barely meeting your daily needs in the village. Life was hard starting at a young age. There wasn't a choice not to work. Even when I was a child in the 1970's-1980's I didn't have a computer, an Ipod, a cell phone....and I remember helping my parents work outside in the yard, my sister and I did dishes every night. We had an expectation to be a part of our family and that means working and supporting as one. When we did play, it was outside climbing trees, making mud patties, and catching bugs. Time sure has changed from young boys becoming knights, and children enjoying (wanting) to play outside. When we wanted to see our friends, it was face to face. Today it's via internet. Apparently we have tons of friends through the internet but we've never met them....we never interact with them face to face. I have been asked from our seven year old for an ipod, our ten year old has asked for a cell phone."Absolutely not" I have explained around age thirteen is when they "might" get an ipod. For now, on a daily basis (weather permitting) our children are told to play outside. I don't care if it's swinging from a tree, jumping on a trampoline, playing basketball, riding a bike - whatever it is, it has to be done outdoors. We have a chore list, and our children take turns nightly doing dishes, they are expected to keep their own rooms clean, and bring their laundry to the basket. If they make a mess, it's their mess to clean. Homework always comes first. On weekends we allow some friend time, but it's also very important to maintain "family" time. My fifteen year old son today told me he was going downtown.......I then re-explained that "No, you are not going down town" I'm not a parent to be "told" it's by permission only. So unfortunately he's not going down town. Our government is our Country's best for many things, although I don't agree with on how our government has allowed by law to give rights to our children at such a young age. Age twelve a child can go into any health unit and obtain birth control in confidence without the permission of their parent. Their response to this, "It's better this then a surprise pregnancy" (For me, I believe this is educating children to sneak around their parents, teaching them they don't need to communicate with their parents to get what they need) At age sixteen a teen can do whatever they want but the parents are responsible for their actions until nineteen. I think if a teenager is given more rights, then they should also be responsible for them. Like driving for example. I find (after raising already four teenagers) that they learn quickly what they can and can not do. They learn they have the power and I truly believe that's the fault of our government. There is more disrespectful youth destroying our neighborhoods, stealing and becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol then ever before. Back in the sixteenth century thirteen year olds weren't demanding electronics and talking back to their elders, they were becoming squires, and honorable knights.  Respect is what's missing.  It's amazing how powerful children think they are. Unfortunately for our children, threats don't scare me and foster care isn't an option but respect is. It starts at home......children need to practice compassion for everyone (too not bully), they need to learn to have respect for their elders (regardless who it is), they need to respect the law, their parents and rules within their home. They need ongoing support from their parents to accomplish this regardless if they like it or not. Anti-bullying day is a great idea, although a day doesn't correct this issue - at home does. When I thought about the squires becoming knights during the Middle Ages, I thought we can still have knights in 2014 and into our future - it's all about early intervention at home. A bit of a task starting with older children, but as a parent I truly believe with time, patience, "respect for your child", having values and keeping consistent rules and valid expectations, we can raise some excellent knights. I will continue to try my best.... and I will toast to that!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

You can change with an open door, and an open heart.....you can do anything and love everyone!

 
Our days are full. Besides public school, we are homeschooling five days a week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday's I have three educational assistants, every Wednesday we have a speech therapist working with three of our children, we have an occupational and physio therapists that come see three of our children bi-weekly. On Friday's we have piano lessons, while adding therapeutic horse care and lessons on Thursday afternoons and swimming lessons on Wednesday's. In total we have seven professionals that come to our home Monday-Friday. That's not including any medical professionals that we see on a routine basis nor adding our public school children's list of needs. People ask, "How on earth do you do it!?" "How can you deal with a constant stream of individuals coming in and out of your home daily!?" At first, I didn't think we could handle it. I thought "Agh.....this is going to be exhausting" But this is what I've learned and how I feel now. I definitely LOVE our breaks where this is no school, there is no daily responsibilities and our routines are slack. Breaks where I don't have to prepare, plan, order school supplies, make lunches, counsel throughout our days plus continue with household chores, and constantly cook having dinner precisely at 5pm, and where 7am breakfasts can slide until later. However breaks don't stop our taxi service but at least it's a more relaxed atmosphere. (Life does slow down during breaks) Breaks are awesome BUT I've learned to love everyone that comes in our door. All our education assistants, all our therapists, our doctors, almost everyone that works with our family, with our children - even the public school teachers! (Ha ha) I look forward seeing everyone. Everything (everyone) can be and/or feel unsettling at first, especially meeting people that are working with your children for the first time, for the first few months even.....but after awhile everyone becomes settled, and comfortable with each other. We start understanding our roles, and our wishes;  simply to enhance our children's lives. I have learned so much these past few years working along side our therapists, our educational assistants and homeschooling our children. I feel I am closer with my children then I have ever been. From nutrition, to mobility, to cognitive, through speech including sign language and educationally I am involved. After spring break was over, I felt this "Agh"......but after two days back into regular routine I'm feeling more of a "AH HA" moment. This is my life. I love being busy. Being productive. Constantly involved, learning and teaching along side my children. I love everyone that walks through my door. They all have enhanced our lives, and I truly believe we have enhanced theirs as well. Yes, they all have a job to do, it's a job but as time moves, we are connecting together more then just the career entails. My daughters PT (physio therapist) brought her ultrasound machine to spend time on my tennis elbow (for example) All of us have shared our private lives, and I'm always offering fresh baked goods. lol We all attend some outings together such as field trips, walks and just out for coffee. When I've written about adoption, and on how adoption has brought us more family then just the children we adopted, it has brought us previous foster parents, and birth family.....it's the same as adding multiple professionals - we become closer, and eventually it's not an issue having continuous people coming into our home, they belong. Most of everyone that comes daily just walks in. I told them, "Don't knock, just come on in" and there's always a very warm welcome and a yelling, "HELLO" from a littlest daughter. I have been there where I questioned homeschooling, questioned and worried about how exhausting our life will be having so many children, or having so many people in our life.....change isn't easy. Any type of change regardless what it is can be difficult to process and get accustomed too. I can tell you.....I have worried, stressed and procrastinated over everything and all the changes in our life. I can also tell you all those feelings are normal and don't ever doubt yourself that you can't do something, or you can't handle a change, or adapt to something, or someone new in your life. You can. Life is full of transitions and I can guarantee with patience, and with believing in yourself, your family and all those extra people in your life - it will be enhanced in more ways then one. Long ago, before adoption, before any professionals existed in our life, and before homeschooling I wouldn't be able to write this post. I had compassion for people but more of a closed door, today my door is wide open and I'm confident that whatever and/or whoever walks through it, we can welcome and I know - you can too!



 

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Wayne Dyer

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw

AND to conclude......"I hope everyone that is reading this is having a really good day. And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes you have an opportunity to change that'