Author Archives: CrazyJoyfulMama

About CrazyJoyfulMama

Who am I? I am a Mom with 4 beautiful children. I drink too much coffee, enjoy good beer, and love TV. I love my husband (and his beard). We unschool and gently parent.

Not Back to School Bash!

Standard
Not Back to School Bash!

I co-admin a local unschooling group. There are a couple hundred members on the spectrum of unschooling, but it hasn’t been very active in the past couple of years. Parents occasionally ask questions. There has been the random meetup. I have been wanting to get the group more active, but hadn’t really figured out how to.

As the school year was approaching for all the kids around us, I had the sudden desire to get the unschoolers and relaxed homeschoolers together to celebrate another year of living life together at home. So I went out of my comfort zone and created an event for a “Not back to school” park day and potluck. I shared it around our various local forums to spread the word.

As the day approached, I didn’t know how it would turn out, but the kids were excited. I figured even if only a couple of people came the kids would have a park day at least. I was so pleasntly surprised, however, at just how successful the day went. We had over 50 people come. There was lots of food.

There was hours and hours of running and playing. Imaginative games, Pokémon talk, and interesting conversations.

We had chalk, and someone brought a few toys.

Kids of varying ages came, which was awesome. I set out our Not Back to School sign for everyone to sign or draw something on for an awesome group collaboration.

We even had a brief thunderstorm. Everyone gathered under the shelter, eating and taking. Hailey pulled out her tablet and kids gathered around her to check stuff out with her. I won’t show everyone because some people may not prefer their kids pictures online, but it was a fun sight.

Winter played with his brother and friends for hours too, and enjoyed some dirt fun.

Even after more than 5 hours of play it was tough to get the kids to leave. We met so many new awesome people, and reconnected with some we hadn’t seen in a while. There were kids that had never been to school, and kids in their first year staying home. Many parents were so happy to get together and excited to get the group active with me. It was a fun day and the kids are happy to officially mark another year staying home!

Advertisements

Unschooling Today 8/20/2018

Standard
Unschooling Today 8/20/2018

The schools are starting all over the place this week. Our city starts on Wednesday, and we seem to be one of the last. I am not buying into the back to school hype at all. We couldn’t be happier to keep living our life without school. I am actually hosting a fun “Not back to school” playdate for our local unschooling group. The kids are super excited about it, and hopefully I will have time to write about it once it happens.

Another Monday. I try not to be a downer about Mondays. We don’t have to get up early because of the day of the week. The only thing that changes is Papa goes back to work. Yet, lately Monday’s have still felt difficult. I don’t know if it is because we are in this season of change with the baby only being 12 weeks, or if it is because our weekends have been busy so the kids are overstimulated a bit. Some of both likely. Today started out tough. My toddler was being very rough with his brother. The toilet clogged and overflowed. Some people woke up grumpy. Etc.

After breakfast, we got the day back on track with some outside play. This almost always helps the mood around here, especially for my 5 and 2.5 year old. We headed to the back yard and they played, rode on the jeep, went back in for costumes, and played some more. Hailey was up by this time. We watched a little of YouTube with her when we were inside too. After the boys were finished outside, I made everyone a snack and offered to read some new library books to the kids. We sadly hadn’t gone to the library and ages. It may have had something to do with library fees owed…cough….cough. They boys picked out a bunch of books and we sat at the table and read.

I laid the little ones down for a nap, then got up and made lunch. I chatted with Hailey and Elijah while they were playing on their tablets and ate. The baby woke up. I asked if the kids wanted to play Roblox with me while I nursed. They really love it when we play together. We played for a while, then when Winter woke up from his nap I took him back outside to play. Elijah followed shortly after and they worked together to get cups of water and pour it into an outdoor pan. They said they were making an ocean.

Hailey is off now at Kung Fu class. Elijah is playing the virtual reality headset job simulator game. The rest of our night will probably include more outdoor play, some tv, dinner, some more library books, ice cream, and definitely some coffee for the adults.

Those days you wake up in a bad mood.

Standard
Those days you wake up in a bad mood.

Yeah today was one of those days. The classic “woke up on the wrong side of the bed” type of days. It seemed the kids were upset before we ever left the bed, the baby needed a diaper change, the dog refused to go out, and I just wanted to make breakfast. I felt myself withdrawing and just wanted to start the day over.

It’s like the universe just knows you are already struggling. It’s the type of day where you just feel kinda sad. Then every little things seems to go wrong. You drop everything, coffee spills, kids keep getting hurt, trash tips over. And on and on. Maybe on a good day these normal things are mild frustrations that you just breeze through, but on this type of day each thing just piles up.

These are the days it’s easier to slip up and yell at the kids. It is much more difficult to stay mindful and present for me, and when my mind wanders my gentle parenting tools seem farther from reach. I don’t mean to sound so negative, but this is an honest picture of where I was at today. I don’t always have sunshine and rainbows type of days even though we unschool and believe in gentle parenting.

I have come far in how I handle these days. Years ago I would just try to get through it telling myself it was okay if I snapped at the kids a bit because everyone has bad days. They’ll be alright. Truly if it happens, and sometimes it does, they will be alright. That does not mean it’s okay if I give myself permission to take out my mood on them though. They are not responsible for my feelings, my hard day.

So about halfway through our day, I laid down the two youngest for a nap. I had managed to stay fairly calm despite my mood. I had set us up a relaxed, slow paced day and expectations were realistic. Then, just as my toddler just falls asleep I hear it. I hear my older two in a very loud argument. I wasn’t surprised. Kids have an amazing ability to pick up on our vibes. Often, my bad mood translates into a similar mood for them. My 5 year old seems particularly sensitive to this.

I jumped out of bed hoping to quiet the fight before it ended the much needed nap of my toddler. I was frustrated and wanted to yell. I wanted to threaten something mean in that moment. I even started to. The words began to come out of my mouth. But I stopped them. That is one thing I’ve gotten better at through my years of practice. I do not have to continue my tantrum. I don’t have to finish what I started if it isn’t going to help our connection.

So I stopped. I stopped my thought and set up the kids in the way we do so that I could help facilitate problem solving and good communication. I heard each child out, validating and paraphrasing. I reframed it back to the other child. We figured out what each kid was feeling and how it led to the behavior. We talked about how we might handle things differently next time. I really didn’t feel like handling it that way at that moment, but again, the kids are not responsible for my feelings.

Then I invited them to play a game with me. I had imagined spending the toddler nap time watching a TV show and hoping the others would play together while it happened. It was clear that wasn’t in their capability at the time. Their behavior was telling me they needed connection with me. So I invited them to play. Elijah set up legos on the table, while Hailey set up a board game. So I played Legos in between my turns. Hailey destroyed me in Sorry. Elijah liked his Lego man beating up mine.

Now they are playing together and getting along I’m sitting on the couch, window open, feeling a breeze. Maybe I’ll get to watch a few minutes of TV after all.

Our day has many hours left in it, and I don’t know if it’s going to not be one of those days anymore. I still feel kinda blah, but I certainly feel much better than earlier. Play is good for me too apparently.

Unschooling Day 8/8/2018

Standard
Unschooling Day 8/8/2018

I wanted to share our day yesterday. Some schools around us are starting already. I spent a few minutes organizing a Not Back to School event for our local unschooling group. It takes place in a week and a half or so.

Our morning started out as usual. The boys started playing magnatiles together. Winter said he built a barn and Elijah made piggies for it.

Grandma came to visit for a bit. Everyone always enjoys that.

Winter played outside and made mud cake. Then Elijah helped him decorate it. Baths immediately followed.

Elijah painted for a few minutes.

Hailey played on Minecraft quite a bit yesterday. Elijah asked to play too, so she took some time to show him the controls. He got the hang of it fairly quickly.

I laid Winter down for a nap. Those are becoming fewer and farther between. When I came out the kids were looking up QR codes for Mii characters to add onto their DS.

Papa came home and cuddled with Dexter while I cooked.

Hailey and Winter played outside and in while I cooked. After dinner, the kids were ready to dye their hair. They had picked out stuff a few days ago. It was their first time and they were so excited.

That was our day!

Unschooling Today 8/01/18

Standard

Here again with a peek into our day today. I woke up today with a positive mindset and consciously decided today was going to be a great day. I find this comes more naturally to me when I’ve been listening to Pam Laricchia’s Exploring unschooling podcast regularly.

Our morning started with breakfast and coffee for me as usual. Elijah was excited that he was 24 hours fever free, which meant he could hug and kiss the baby.

After breakfast, I read a book to Winter, and played a pretend game with Elijah. Hailey was watching YouTube during this time. We then went outside. It’s been unexpectedly cool around here, which I’ve enjoyed. Winter picked me dandelions from around the yard.

The kids played on the swing set for a bit and climbed the dome.

We headed inside for lunch and relaxed watching TV. I laid with the two youngest and actually got them both asleep!

Hailey and Elijah played the Wii for a bit. I cleaned a little. I invited the kids to play Uno with me and they both excitedly agreed. We played a few hands together, and then a couple more after Winter woke up.

Hailey went to play the Wii some more. I needed to start dinner soon, so I set out some cloud dough. This was a new thing I wanted to try. The kids enjoyed it and played for about an hour with it.

Hailey and Elijah are now playing a pretend game together, while I juggle nursing the baby and finishing dinner. I know more YouTube will be in our evening, and probably more play and books.

Feel free to share about your day in the comments!

Volcano!

Standard

My husband loves just about every subject matter that could be labeled as science. Luckily, the kids seem to really enjoy experimenting and watching various videos with him. Elijah in particular would experiment daily if he could. He loves to make his own experiments, follow our science kit, and do experiments as a family.

Papa wanted to show them the classic volcano science project. So we built volcanos out if some dough that papa mixed up.

It was so hard to wait for them to dry. Elijah wanted to check on the progress daily. We decided against painting them this time, because as soon as they were dry the kids were ready to go. So this past weekend it was time to make the volcanos erupt!

I foresee us repeating this one, maybe even with different colors.

Some quick pics from our week

Standard

I have shared most of these on our Facebook page, but wanted to have it all in one place. We’ve still be hanging around the house mostly during the week, besides one evening trip to Grandma’s house so Papa could work on her car. Anyway, this is some stuff from our week.

She is writing a book. She’s been writing a chapter a day with pictures included.

Hailey wrote the alphabet on our bricks. The boys have been walking back and forth singing the letters with me. Elijah wanted to do it forwards and backwards, so now I can expertly sing the ABC song backwards 🤣.

These boys sometimes fight hard, then play even harder. Winter looks up to Elijah and copies him, and Elijah takes pride in teaching his little brother life lessons.

Here they are joined together to fight the bad guy aka our poor tree 🤣.

My daughter went to some garage sales with her Grandma and Great Grandma today. She came home with a bunch of stuff to create a home for something she’s pretending is a caterpillar. She said she is “really into caterpillars right now”. Apparently that started yesterday. 🐛

Coincidentally, shortly after she got home I spotted this on our porch. They were excited to observe (but not touch!). We looked it up and found out it is an American Dagger Moth caterpillar. So we read a bit about those. Now, Hailey wanted to show her younger brother The Very hungry caterpillar story on Netflix while I search for the book.

Last night, Elijah asked to make some candy with his Zombie science candy kit. We did a few of those but didn’t snap pics.

We also had a playdate with friends. I didn’t get any pictures of them running around and having fun.

That’s been our week!

Summer has started!

Standard

Summer has started! It’s kind of strange, since our summers and our other days of the year are not much different in many ways. Yet still, the days are longer, we play outside later, and seem to crave more adventure.

The kids are in want of fun and adventure more so than usual. We stayed indoors more than usual this past winter. By the time spring really came (and it was delayed around here) I was huge and pregnant and not feeling up to as much.

Our days have varies quite a bit these past few weeks. Much it has been spent getting to know and love our newest family member.

Meet Dexter

We have been taking it easy, allowing everyone to adjust. Routines have been off, sleep has been less, and more patience has been needed by all. We are settling in and finding out groove a month later.

Hailey has been doing tons of artsy stuff lately. She’s been drawing pictures, creating new Pokémon, making her own stickers, and anything else she can think of. She’s also been watching lots of Pokémon YouTubers. Both bigger kids have been playing Roblox often, and sometimes together.

Elijah and Winter have been playing outside a ton. Squirt guns, chalk, and just running around have been a good majority of our days sometimes. Picking mulberries have been popular with all the kids.

Papa took the kids to our favorite farm for playtime and activities.

We also checked out an airshow. The kids watched planes fly and perform tricks. There favorite parts were actually getting to check out the inside of some different aircrafts.

They also got inside a helicopter and got to strap in, which Hailey thought was awesome.

We went to our local children’s museum for Father’s day. They always have fun in their different favorite areas.

Our days seem to be play it by ear style right now. We are saving our outings for when Papa is home most of the time. Low expectations and lots of snuggles is the motto of our life right now.

Freebirth of Dexter Lee

Standard

This post is going to be quite different than my usual, but as this is my space and my life, I want to have an official birth story typed up. If birth stories and pictures aren’t your thing, than you probably want to skip this post.

The Birth Story Of Dexter Lee Bartoe

I was 41+1 weeks pregnant Friday, May 25, 2018. That afternoon I had taken a nap with my toddler, and my husband came to lay and chat when he got home for work. I was telling him how I was feeling emotional at seeing all the babies born the past few days and getting anxious to meet our 4th little one. He was being reassuring as usual and feeling my belly. He thought the baby felt fairly low, a noticeable difference from a day or so before. As he was feeling around, the baby moved in an odd way and I felt a large sharp pinching sensation. I joked that the baby was trying to pinch him and to leave my belly be. We got up and decided it we should go get some dinner as it was 6:30 already.

At the restaurant, the pinching feeling continued. I noticed that I wasn’t having my usual evening practice tightenings, but instead the pinching feeling would come and go. It was rather uncomfortable, and not like anything I had felt before, and definitely not like contractions. I mentioned that the baby was still pinching me, and my husband asked if I wanted to leave. I said no, I was fine, it was just odd. We finished, and as we left I sent my best friends a message to our group chat around 9pm saying that something was different, these pinching sensations were fairly consistent, and I hoped that meant I would get a baby over the weekend. But as we arrived home, the pinching went away and was replaced by deep pressure, that I recognized as contractions. At 9:34 I messaged back saying that actually I think I might be in labor.

I told my husband that I was thinking this was it for sure. He picked up the floor and took out the trash. I organized the supplies on a table in my birth room. He started filling the pool.

labor 3

At 10pm I was standing and talking to him about how I think this will end up being a fast birth, although nothing felt intense yet, the waves were happening often. As I said this my water started leaking. I laughed and said, “Well there starts my water.”

Water broke

I couldn’t believe it, as in the past water breaking usually meant transition and baby around the corner, but here I was easily setting things up only having to stop to take a few breaths with my eyes closed during the waves.

labor

The other kids noticed the pool, and my toddler excitedly yelled “Pool! Baby coming Mama?” I told them that it was baby time, but we didn’t know how long it would be so they might want to go watch a movie and we would call them in to see when it was time. I snapped a quick picture with my bigger two kids and they went off.

Last pic with big kids

About 40 minutes before he was born

I felt a more intense wave and decided I should go to the bathroom before hopping into the pool. I had two contractions on the toilet, and that was not a comfortable position for me. I made my way back to the room and was feeling hot, so I was excited to see that hubby set up a fan for me. I turned on a beautiful cello artists music and decided that although it was early, I wanted to try the water.

space lights

I had a couple contractions that seemed as if they were very close together. I could feel baby moving down inside me, which was such a strange wonderful feeling. I was not afraid or overwhelmed. I felt so connected to my body and my baby. The contractions were one on top of another at this point, but I never had that “I can’t do this, it is too hard” feeling like in previous labors. I just felt like I was on top of it all. It wasn’t a choice I was making, I just was there. The waves were intense, the work was getting hard, but it felt so meaningful. I felt grateful for it. I just low moaned my noises and rubbed my hands on the towel near me. I felt a contraction that had a pushy feeling at the end. I told my husband, “I think I am feeling pushy.” The next contraction the fetal ejection reflex started, and I felt my body began working to get my baby out.

pool labor 2

In between the waves I said, “If the kids want to see, tell them because it is happening”. I heard them come into the room. They were so excited. I could hear my toddler saying “baby is coming one minute”, and my 5 year old was excitedly asking questions as his Papa was trying to get him to settle down. My 8-year-old was quietly watching. She had decided last minute to watch. I had a couple more very intense waves with my body bearing down forcefully. I felt the strong sting of the ring of fire, which is the only part of the entire experience that felt overwhelming. I knew my baby was coming soon. I felt excited that I would be meeting him or her shortly. I was focused. A few more contractions happened with my body pushing for me. I was on my knees leaning over the pool, so I couldn’t see. In my mind, I thought more of baby was out. I could feel baby moving and my Mama Bear instinct kicked in and I yelled “Nobody touch the baby” a few times. Hubby later told me that just the head was out, no one was near the baby. I realized that what I had felt was just the baby moving and my body working hard to turn those big shoulders we had joked about when I was pregnant. Another wave or two and my body pushed the shoulders out which felt like a second ring of fire. Baby was out into the water at 11:05 PM. I flipped over and held my sweet precious little one, who was so quiet with eyes shut. I didn’t worry for a second. I felt so connected to this baby as I looked and talked. Baby cried a bit and looked at me finally.

Baby just born kids 2 fav

I kissed the baby over and over. I looked down to see we had a boy! Another beautiful, 3rd boy. Without thinking, I yelled to my daughter who had begged for a sister, “It’s a boy Sissy, I’m sorry!” She told me she didn’t care and was so happy. I looked at my baby and just thanked him for being my partner. That is what the labor felt like, a partnership in which we worked together and communicated. I felt so at peace, so safe.

I did it face

I got out of the pool about 10-15 minutes later and gave a big push and the placenta plopped into the bowl.

We cut the cord around 2 hours later, nursed and snuggled, and then weighed and measured him. 10 lbs 21.25 inches long. What a big boy! I didn’t tear at all and am healing well.

2 year olds

Standard

I don’t believe in “terrible twos”. I do believe the words we chose to say or think about a situation changes out perception. I know this can be a tough stage as a young one tries to figure out where they can be independent and when they still really need help, all in the middle many cognitive growth spurts in language and functioning. I have so much empathy.

I’m on my third 2 year old. My first was a higher needs kid and all her years have had some big cough spots. My second was much more easy going, although super physical in a way I had never experienced.

This little guy is much more the typical 2 year old experience that people refer too. He is so much fun, but wants to be fiercely independent without all the skills to do so which feels overwhelming and frustrating for him. He has also been on a very late sleep schedule for a long time now, so that has its own challenges. I’ll be honest and say, many days lately my empathy has been more forced, my patience thin. I’m tired, pregnant with my 4th, and sometimes wish I could just speed up this stage. I know I *really* wouldn’t want that.

All that to say, that no matter how long you’ve been on the peaceful parenting journey, sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes you catch yourself thinking things that go against what you know to be your real core values. I’m searching my toolbox to find ways to feel more centered and present again. We are all learning.