Category Archives: Family

Unschooling today 2/7/2019

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Today was a relaxing, sweet day. We’ve had some tough days this week. Our van is out of commission for a long while, so we’ve had more home days than usual. I’m trying my best to help the days flow, but some built up frustration has definitely reared its head this week. That made today feel extra nice.

After breakfast, the kids and I all watched some monster mob school on YouTube. These are hilarious videos with the minecraft mob monsters. Lots of laughing by all.

I made some snack plates, while we all hung around chatting and listening to music. My 8 month old loves to dance, and it’s adorable. We all love it.

The boys helped me make a batch of baking soda clay. It was our first time, and they were super excited to try it. While it was cooling down I made us all some tea.

I invite the kids to come on the porch with me and watch the rain. Elijah decided to stay inside playing minecraft but everyone else came out. It was a perfect time to make potions with the rainwater.

When we got chilly, we all headed in. The clay was ready, and each kid set to work.

They can’t wait until they dry so they can be painted. It’s going to be a few days, so lots of patience needed.

My 3 year old moved onto Playdoh next. I cleaned up a little, while the kids played. I played a little roblox with Elijah. Then they hung out together, while Winter pretended to be a superhero.

Dinner was made, more music, more minecraft, and probably some books here soon.

Just a simple, fun, down day!

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My kids are braver than me

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While browsing Facebook the other day, I came across a screenshot of a conversation that so very accurately described my childhood.  49938988_1965298690184873_3182184653071056896_o

I have had anxiety for, well forever I guess. As long as I can remember. At times, it was pretty bad. I was the kid afraid to make a mistake. I was the kid afraid the world was going to hurt me, or those I loved. I thought in worst case scenarios. I also was the very smart kid that got excellent grades and never caused trouble. I was the kid that almost always listened, and the idea of breaking a rule was completely foreign. I was also the kid who was terrified to try new things, for I failed at something, than maybe I wouldn’t be thought of as smart anymore, and smart was all I felt I really knew about myself. I thought failure was bad, so I took very few chances trying anything new. New became very scary to me quite honestly.

When I was dating my now husband, I never had met someone who was so very not afraid. He would try anything, and laughed at himself when he screwed up. He encouraged me to step out of my comfort zones, and bother literally and figuratively, held my hand when I was in the middle of an anxiety attack. I have grown a lot since I was that scared child. I still have anxiety, but I have also developed a lot of tools to help. I still get scared, but I am slowly trying new things.

My daughter Hailey (8 years old), is much more like her father when it comes to trying new things. She has a lot of self confidence, and doesn’t stick herself in a box. She is dynamic and proud of it. Even though she has a perfectionist streak like me, she also seems to be learning to go with it when things don’t turn out. She took an advanced art workshop last month. She used a wood-burner for the first time, and grabbed the wrong spot and burned her fingers pretty badly. It was a big deal. The next day, I talked with her about it and asked her if it would stop her from trying it again. She said “Well, at least I know what not to do next time. Of course it won’t stop me from trying again. Nothing can stop my art!”. I was shocked and in awe of her courage. If that had happened to me, I probably would have been too afraid to ever try again. But she took it in stride and learned something from it.

I started thinking about all the smaller things that I had still been too afraid to try for fear of failure. I wanted some of that bravery, courage, and self confidence that she shines with. I told Hailey that she has inspired me to be brave. Cooking is one of my passions. I really enjoy being in the kitchen and trying new recipes. I love food. For years, I wouldn’t veer from a recipe until I had tried it many times. Why risk it? Because sometimes something amazing gets made. So I have been allowing myself the creative freedom to throw things together guided by my taste and instincts in the kitchen. I have been giving myself permission to make a mistake and learn from it. It may seem like taking a risk in the kitchen is insignificant, and maybe in the grand scheme of things it is, but it might as well be climbing a huge mountain. I am conquering fear and self doubt.

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This weekend I made homemade sushi. I had built this up in my head as big and difficult. Past me would have put it off for years, but instead I took it in small steps. I watched some you tube videos one day. Read some recipes another day. Bought a few things at the store another day. Then I decided I was just going to try. If it didn’t turn out, I could put it all in a bowl and enjoy it. It turned out great. Not perfect, but that is okay. I learned some things for next time too. It was yummy for sure.

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So yeah, it starts small. But it matters. I am thankful. Thankful that my kids don’t have to be defined by one characteristic like smart. They can be lots of things, and they can make lots of mistakes. It is okay to do things that scare you.

New Year, New Words

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The first day of the year always seems to feel particular sentimental. I am not really one for new years resolutions, as I strive to always be growing and committed to healthy change. However, the idea of picking some words to focus and guide my growth does appeal to me. I had not had the energy to put much thought into it, and decided that it would come to me naturally. The universe delivers, and the past 3 days have shown me what I think I want to meditate on this year.

                                                   Play

                                                             Adventure

                                                                               Flow

It really started the day before New Years Eve. My husband and I had some big, much needed, deep cleaning goals. Things that get put off after you have a baby and are in survival mode, but eventually you have to face the music and just tackle. We got the cleaning done, and more than I expected. The whole day was different than my typical deep cleaning day though. This time, we remained playful all day. Clutter often stresses out my anxiety (another issue I am working on), and cleaning but not being able to get it all done (because kids and life) is sometimes frustrating. But on this day we had dance parties, sing offs, told jokes, and just laughed. We communicated well, and just enjoyed one another company while working. Staying connected, playful, and going with the flow just made the whole day so much sweeter. I want more of that. More playful days, even through our regular everyday tasks and responsibilities. Play doesn’t have to be reserved for the cool outings we go on. Playfulness is a state of mind.

I like to listen to Pam Laricchia’s exploring unschooling podcast in the mornings while I make breakfast. Sometimes they talk about having an adventure mindset. It is kind of like the old saying “it is about the journey, not the destination”. Not being set on a fixed outcome, and looking at the whole thing as an opportunity for adventure. We do not always know how it is going to turn out, plans do change unexpectedly, and things are not how we picture every time. That doesn’t mean the time is wasted or we have to be upset, but instead, we can try to enjoy the adventure. We can find good, fun, play, love, growth, and learning in all things if we don’t assume we know the ending and keep our minds open.

Flow is another thing they talk about on the podcast. We all know the people in out lives who are the go with the flow type. My husband is. I am most certainly not. I don’t strive to be someone completely different than I am. I am a planner, organizer, and this is very helpful to accomplishing the goals of our lives. But as I said above, sometimes plans need to change or just unexpectedly change, and being willing to accept that is apart of life and not let it put me in a funk, is always something I need to work on. Every day is a flow. Sometimes we get really into a project or a game and we just flow with it. Sometimes we are in a season of lots of outings, and we flow with it. Sometimes we need to be home more and we flow with that. More flow, more flexibility, more acceptance of what is.

So those are my words that I want more of in my life this year. I have had a good start today. We spent our New Years day playing roblox together, chatting, watching Doctor Who, playing Kirby, hanging out, making art, and eating yummy snacks. Here is to a great 2019!

 

The day after Christmas

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Christmas is officially over. We enjoyed our Christmas season quite a bit, but I’m still feeling relived it’s over now. I’m ready to move on and feel excited for the new year.

The kids have been playing with our new things all day today. We really tried to focus on useful gifts, experiences, family gifts, and creative things. We got a Nintendo switch and that was a hit. Last night we all played a game of Mario party together. They wanted to play Kirby Allies as soon as they woke up.

There has also been a mix of Pokémon play, pretend play with their new plush toys, and scratch art. I’ve brought snack plates to them since no one wanted to stop playing to eat.

The kids were gifted these excavating kits. Some have dinosaur bones, others have gems and other little things inside.

Elijah had an idea to try to put some of the “dirt” in hot water to see if that will help the process move along easier.

Winter was gifted a book that was a favorite in a library haul a whole back. It’s called “The book with no pictures”. He had me read it over and over, with silly exaggerated voices of course. Then Hailey wanted to read it to him.

Lots of Christmas candy has been consumed today too. I found these cute little chocolate sleigh and reindeer kits. Yum!

Grandma came by for a visit too. The kids played on the sit and spin for a bit, and Dexter took a turn.

A little bit of minecraft time happened as well. Right now, Elijah is watching a shark documentary, and Hailey is playing a Pokémon battle game on the switch.

I hope your holidays were wonderful!

Unschooling Today 8/20/2018

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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.

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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

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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

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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!

Some quick pics from our week

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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!

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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.