Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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.

Freebirth of Dexter Lee

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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

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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.

Unschooling Life in the New Year So Far.

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Hi all! Yes we are still here, living our life and having fun. I wanted to update with some of what’s been going on in our lives lately.

I took a little break for the holidays, and we enjoyed those in a relaxed laid back way. We all got sick on Christmas and the week after, recovering in time for our annual New Years eve snacks and game extravaganza. We started the New Year right away with an experiment. By 12:10am Papa was throwing boiling water into our freezing weather and making instant snow.

We have had lots of inside the house, more restful days hiding from the cold. Plenty of time spent using our new Christmas arts and crafts supplies, playing with Playdoh, taking colored bubble baths, building with Magnatiles, playing Wii, and watching shows.

My mom bought us a family pass to an aquarium about an hour away. We took out first visit there. Each kid had a favorite part from petting sharks to observing the penguins. Elijah enjoyed playing photographer for much of the day capturing lots of the fish on film.

We took a field trip to a local trampoline park set up for homeschoolers. We filled the place to capacity. The kids are excited to do this again in a few weeks.

Elijah had dental surgery. Although that was nerve wracking, he did great and we loves him through it.

We have played a few Wii games as a family. Mario Party has been pretty popular. The virtual reality headset came back out for some roller coaster simulations. Papa made this a full experience with the kids sitting in a chair that he picked up and turned, as well as a fan blowing for the windy effect.

We’ve also had a few playdates with our friends. That’s always a favorite.

We’ve been doing lots of baking. Some things we’ve bakes recently have been fresh bread, muffins, and banana bread. Yum!

We had a couple big snow storms. The boys really wanted to play. Elijah threw snowballs and made snow angels. Papa pulled Winter around the yard in a sled.

It warmed up to 50°F, and we headed to the park. There was lots of melting snow and ice which captured the kids interest. They had fun walking on ice, slush, and splashing puddles. They also threw snowballs at the pond to see which areas the ice cracked.

Hailey has continued her martial arts class and belt testing is coming up soon.

That wraps up our January so far. Hope your New Year is going well.

I don’t fear daylight savings anymore. 

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Daylight savings time. I used to go with the rhetoric of how awful it had to be, because everyone else complained; and truthfully, when we pressured ourselves with early time commitments, I’m sure it did have its challenges. 

Back then, I was very much still discovering who I was and what I believed as parent. I caught myself parroting what I heard others say. That was the normal. I wanted to fit in. Not only in my words, but my actions. I did many things differently, but I also conformed in ways that were hard for me. Get up early, rush to a million activities. Go go go. 

Not now though. Now my kids can sleep and wake as they need. We adjust each day and go with the flow, sometimes earlier, sometimes later. Hailey did wake up earlier than usual today, not because the clock was changed, but because of an excited little brother who made a bit too much noise. That’s okay. We can figure out what we need as the day goes on. Our morning was free to take it as slow as we needed it to be.

We ate breakfast, the kids watched a bit of a movie, checked on their birds nests they made for the back yard, and found ladybugs on the porch as I sipped my coffee. Winter demands I take pictures of anything he deems interesting. 

I am thankful that this day won’t throw us off the week and that we have no strict schedule to adhere to. I know that can’t be everyone’s reality. My husband will still have to sleep at his normal time, even if the kids are still up. I could look at that as putting more “work” on me. I don’t look at it that way anymore. I love this life.