Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My son. My beautiful son turned 5 this month. There is a difference between girls and boys. Girls grow up and need their mom. They call for advice, wedding help and just a nice chat. I hope that my girls will grow up to be close to their mom. Sons. Sons are different. I have noticed throughout the years that a son will grow up and find a wife. A mate. He will then turn to HER for advice, wedding planning and just to chat. There will be another woman caring for my son. Sure there are circumstances in each family that change that dynamic but in general, this is what I have found. So when my sons get a year older it almost feels like a year closer to independence. A year closer to not needing kisses on knees, to not praying with mom that nightmares stay away and a year closer to being further away. Sure us moms all look at our lives now and think ... oh how nice it will be when I can take naps when I want, when I can take some special interest classes that we want and when we can sit and have a tea without stopping to wipe a bum. Ah, the freedom. But at what cost? No more asking how we can see God. No more little hand made crafts just for you. No more holding hands around the dinner table for prayers. No more "Mom, can I just stay up for 10 more minutes?" No more telling them to brush their teeth. No more kisses and hugs goodnight. No more being the center of someones universe. I do want my children to grow up and experience life but at the time they are ready.
Here is an example.
Cohen who is 5 asked me at the dinner table.
Cohen: Mom, when do I get to go to school?
Me: Why do you want to go?
Cohen: Because I can play with all of their toys.

He is ready. No, not ready for school. Ready for some independence. Once a week he has Sunday School. We decided to let him stay for the hour on his own. If anyone knows Cohen, he has no filter. He says the funniest and most embarrassing things at times. He gets in your personal space and doesn't realize it. This was a big step for us.
When I dropped him off I had a hard time walking out the door. I was just down the hall but still. All through the sermon I thought of him. Oh, I didn't tell them that he still goes in the girls washroom. Will they take him to the men's? He would look under the stall and ask whatever unfortunate soul was in there if he was done yet. Maybe I should go and make sure they know. I stayed put. I am not going to lie! I did peek in on him and he was doing fine. My little boy.
Am I ready to let go a bit. Yes, I can do that. For him. That is what my role is. I am his mom. The person who is there to listen to him. To know when he is ready. To not push or coerce him into a situation he is not comfortable with. He is moving into independence on his own. Good for him!

I have been cranky with the kids lately. Pregnancy related...I know. I was feeling down because of the yelling. I had the wonderful idea of throwing flour all over the kitchen/kids/counters (you name it) and watch them laugh. And laugh WITH them. It was a lot of clean up but well worth it! While the flour will be gone from my kitchen the memories and pictures will last a lifetime.
It is nice to let go sometimes.

Monday, November 29, 2010


It looks like I will be blogging again!

1st reason is I am not sick anymore. YAY!

2nd reason I have realized that I can still upload pictures on here.

A lot of normal family things have happened in the last month. Halloween, Track and Field Outing, Vet Outing, Park days, time in the forest, walks, laughter, crying and noise.

We took our annual pictures in the local forest and there is one of them. I always feel the closest to my family when we are alone in nature.
The second picture is of Ricky at the apple farm. We all went and had a good time but I especially liked this genuine smile.
The third picture is of the Track and Field Outing. They had races, long jump, frisbee throwing and much more. We then went down to the cold beach and made sandcastles.

Right now we are going to the homeschool co-op and learning about explorers, exploring under the sea and space. This is more for the kids to have a good time than it is for educational purposes.

I am really enjoying our family dynamic. I love how the kids play nicely (at times) with one another. Amelie can play with Ricky or Reagan or Callum ... you get the idea. They play with different kids every day and I like to see that. I hope this is what is to come as they grow together.

I have been working on my dads quilt. It is almost pieced together and then the quilting will begin.

Christmas is fast approaching. We are much more ready this year. Of course we are not finished with presents but we also have 3 birthdays in December so we are concentrating on those as well.

We have been a family. A normal family who giggles, whines, argues, plays jokes, games and is pretty much always together. Just the way we like it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You must wonder what we are doing. At least, I like to think you are. ;)

The kids have been doing wonderful.

Amelie has been reading Magic Tree House as much as she can. I really should write down which ones she has so we can get more! She can tell time now. For some reason this took a while to click with her. She is so quick to catch on to everything but telling time was a toughie.

Ricky loves to draw and write what is happening in the pictures. She continues to comfort any who need it. She still likes to be on her own when out at the park. I see her exploring and really looking into things when she is alone. Ricky also has no problem interacting but prefers being on her own.

Cohen is well...Cohen. Saying a tonne of really sweet, funny things. I think he may be noticing personal space now. One can only hope! lol. He has been playing a lot of make believe with Reagan. His favorite book right now is This Rocket. THANK GOODNESS it is short because he wants to hear it daily.

Reagan...read the post below. Seriously though, she has calmed down the last couple of days. OH and she has decided to wear underwear and not have accidents. Have you ever heard of a parent who tries to keep a diaper on their child and that child demand to take it off and use the toilet successfully. I was literally trying NOT to potty train her until I wasn't sick. Yes, I hate the words potty train. She isn't a dog but I don't have the brain capacity to think of something better at the moment. Her and Cohen have library time on Tuesdays and they enjoy the special time with mom or dad.

Callum is starting to talk more now. Sure no one else understands him but he tries. ;)
He has good naps and is very easy going. He is really starting to like books much to my chagrin at the moment. I mean, you can only say BEAR and point so many times! BUT I do do it because a love of books is important to us.

Ron is moving on to day/afternoon shift work. YAY!!!!!!!!!!! I can have my husband back from midnights!
We are looking for a van with 8 passengers. That should be fun.
I felt flutters yesterday so little brazilian nut (that is apparently the size of baby) is doing well.

I have been quilting and I am hoping for a new sewing machine soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I am at a loss. I have always been able to reason with my children. I respect them...except for one. I have this 3 year old that is impossible. The tantrums, screaming and crying is enough to drive someone mad. For every.little.thing she throws herself on the floor and has an all out battle with whatever object is around. She turns angry and is irrational. Do I think this is her fault? No. If I dig deep enough I will see that I haven't been fair with this little one. She is fire all on her own but I haven't dealt with it in the best way. I get busy with her other siblings and I have not taken the time to figure her out and help her. I think at this point I hold a grudge. I mean she is so incredibly irritating that I just want to put her in a relax time and be done with it. I want to punish her and make her stop. This is not the way I want to parent. I want to be there with loving arms and help her. I want to be her rock instead of her mountain. From this moment forward I am going to try harder with her and give her special attention to form a stronger bond with this little fireball. :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We have some wonderful news!! We are adding the last member to our family in May. This is why I have not written. I have been sick and whiny. Who wants to hear that? Be back soon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First: Happy Anniversary to my awesome husband! 9 years today. :)

I was really wanting to watch a cheesy, highschool movie and the stores here in town didn't have it. I went to a nearby town to get it. (The Last Song) I was watching it later on at night and it stopped close to the end. I can't stand DVD's. Can we get VHS's back? So anyways, the next day I called the store and asked them if they had another copy. When I got into the store there was an older man (say 60's) behind the counter. He had the movie ready for me and handed it over. He asked me if I would be bringing the movie back that night. I explained that I may not be able to because I had plans that evening. He literally tilted his head down and looked at me over his glasses. Are you serious? So this brought back my teenage years. It brought back the awkwardness and frustration the adults brought me. Just because of my age I was suspicious and looked down upon. We live in a society where the young AND old are not respected. Children have no say. They are placed in an institution and made to stay there. It sounds eerily familiar as they grow old. They will be placed in a nursing home without a say. Why do we place all of our respect to the middle aged? I am hopefully raising my children to respect the elderly as well as the young.
I try very hard to respect my children and not fall into what society feels is right. They are little people with thoughts and feelings. This is a reminder to not look over my glasses at my children when they tell me something just because they are children.
They will be respected, loved and honored just as I hope I will be respected, loved and honored as I grow old. Isn't that the way it should be?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A million emotions at the fair

We went to the fair last night. I heard that the prices were ridiculous. They were. One of the downsides to having 5 children is money. Taking that many children to the fair is either a fortune or the kids miss out on rides, games and treats. I was considering not taking them but they were SO excited I didn't want to disappoint them. I prayed while going in because I didn't want my children to feel like they were missing out.
We had $35 to spend. Yikes! $10 of this was just getting in. How were we going to do this?
We got enough tickets for them to be able to go on one ride each.
Reagan chose a kiddie car ride. The guy working the ride allowed Cohen to go on with her for free so she didn't get scared. So two kids for the price of one! We then headed over to this climbing rope maze because that was Ricky's pick. It was only 3 tickets instead of 4 so Amelie got to go through with her. This was working out wonderfully! We then head over to the bumper cars because that was Cohen and Amelie's pick. We had enough to let Ricky go on too! I was actually praying in the line that they would allow me to go on for free with Cohen so that he could drive himself. I mean, what is the difference if the car is being used anyways, right? Wrong! They had so.many.rules regarding safety that Ricky couldn't go on.
Cohen had to be tall enough to go on the cars. He was. BUT he had to go on with someone taller than the next line. Amelie had to be taller than the highest line. She was. So Cohen and Amelie went in the same car. Ricky wasn't taller than the tallest line and didn't have someone taller to go with. :( He wouldn't let me on with her without tickets (because we all know how much adults get out of this ride!) Grrrrr! I was SO MAD! Ricky was bawling and I felt awful for her.
We had 4 tickets for her still so she chose to go on a roller coaster (a smaller one) Now I am terrified of rides (heights) so my stomach was in my throat watching Amelie and Ricky on it. (He let Amelie for free to go on with Ricky) They were trying to smile when they went by but they were terrified. (So was I just watching them)
Well while the girls are on this ride (shudder) this wonderful man allowed Reagan and Cohen to go in the jumping castle. We only paid for Reagan and he told Cohen to get in too. When the girls were done their ride he opened up the jumping castle and told them to get in too! By this time I am holding back tears. They had a great time in there. I told him thank you because the kids couldn't go on many rides. He said he likes to let kids on for free especially when he sees big families. Was that an answer from God? I think so.
Just before we left we bought a bag of cotton candy. We sat in a circle on the grass and ate our chunk of it. The feel would have been completely different if they all had their own bag.
We have such a close and together family full of love. I love my life!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I could go into the annoying conversation I had with another mom at swimming lessons about unschooling but I am not. I am focusing on my children and how proud I am of them. Amelie and Ricky can now SWIM! What a relief! Cohen is like a little fish in the water. A very loud fish.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In my quest in finding my most favorite blogs I have found the most touching, amazing blog!

I feel selfish keeping it all to myself. (And his 165 followers)

He is an unschooling dad who shares his feelings, thoughts and life with the blogging world.
It is captivating and raw.

Here it is: www.justabaldman.blogspot.com

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I am Neely

I have a hard time with labels.

I have a hard time looking around the corner of the box.

A while back I joined a gym. I bought some sporty clothes with running shoes. I observed what people wore and how they wore their hair. It was a whole different style.
If you know me, you know that I dress either "normal" or in a natural style way. I buy Organic food and would love to live in the woods wearing only natural materials.
If you haven't noticed already, these are two different styles. Some days I wash my hair with vinegar and baking soda and some days I want a wonderfully smelling shampoo and conditioner.
So this makes me an eclectic style.

Being a Christian.
Lets face it. There is a group for every interest and every religion. I am a Christian. I felt like I fit in with the Christian "group." Then I come to realize I may not have the same views on some topics. For ex. I don't believe that children from other countries will go to Hell because they were taught something else and were not exposed to Christianity. I actually tried to force myself to believe every.single.thing about Christianity but if I am true to myself, I just don't. So does this mean I do not fit in with the group? There is another group I don't completely fit in.

As you know, I completely believe in the philosophy of unschooling. I see the results daily.
I see how radical unschooling can work but I don't fully follow that. My children eat what they want and how much they want. If they want thirds they are more than welcome yet if they don't want more than 3 spoonfuls, that is ok too. I don't go so far as allowing them as much junk as they want. I am not against that for other families but not for mine. They have a bedtime. Would you consider me a relaxed unschooler? Where is my label? Where is my title?

I have come to realize that I do not fit into a mold. I do not fit in a perfect, little box that can be placed on a shelf quietly. I do not fit into society's shape. I am not a sheep.
I am a loving mother and wife. I care greatly about others and help as much as possible. Isn't that what is the most important?
I am Neely.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Food Control

Ahhhhh Food! Food can be a beautiful thing. It nourishes your body and gives you the pleasure of so many wonderful tastes. Food can gather a family from busy times either around the dinner table or our favorite...on the grass having a picnic.
Or food can be a disastrous, relationship stopping thing. Food can be used as a crutch or used as a form of control from a parent.
I have seen many a fight over food between child and parent. I have heard threats such as these, "You stay at that table until you are finished!", "You won't get any dessert!", You will go to bed without any dinner!" What is this teaching them? My control over this situation is superior to the way you feel. It doesn't matter if you like the food or if you are not hungry.
When was the last time you heard a spouse say to another spouse, "You eat that food or you get nothing!" Hopefully never. So why is this so appalling for an adult but not for a child. One word...RESPECT. When you respect your child you care whether they like a food or not, whether they are hungry or not and LISTEN to and HEAR them.
Now what will happen if you listen? Are you afraid they will run all over you and demand the world? Are you afraid they won't have all of the nutrients they need? Are you afraid they will starve themselves? Or are you afraid of losing control?
Before I had Cohen I prided myself on how my children ate. How twisted is that? Oh my children eat whatever I give them! Until I had Cohen.
From about the age of 1, Cohen has been extremely picky. He will not eat most foods. He would literally not eat pizza if it was cut into a square. If I forced him (which I remember quite clearly doing one time) he would gag and bawl. This left me bawling as well. That incident was everything control and nothing respect.
I respect my son enough to put out the extra effort of learning what he will eat. Enough effort to prepare him something separate. Enough effort to take his feelings and self esteem into account.
He will not eat casseroles, most veggies (umm all veggies), some fruit, stews, meat (except nuggets) and the list goes on. Lets list what he will eat! Bread, peanut butter, jam, grilled cheese, pizza (just cheese), garlic bread, perogies, chicken nuggets, bananas, raisins, grapes, blueberries, apples, watermelon, cherries, cheerios, juice with veggies in it, almond milk. That is the basic foods he will eat. Look how much I have to work with! He will try some food that we are eating and will sometimes decide he likes it. Like this morning he ate a nuts and fruit granola bar! How exciting!
I feel it is more important to instill closeness and respect with my children than control over what they eat. He is one very healthy little boy not only physically but emotionally as well.

Friday, August 13, 2010

We took a trip to the recycling plant. I was surprised to see the excitement about the ins and outs of recycling. I thought they would be all over the big machines mashing up the bottles and cans. Even Cohen was picking up the information. Ever since the kids have been telling me to recycle and how. This is an important lesson that I wouldn't have thought to give. We go about our days and I will share information on what *I* feel is important and the kids can retain it or not. Recycling is important.
Ron and I have finally decided on a goal. We are saving up to buy land up North. Then while we live here we are going to build a self sustaining house and then move on out there. Sure this will take a while but well worth it. How could I not have thought to give the kids more information on how important it is to recycle?

Monday, August 9, 2010

'Raw' from an unschooling ma

I bet you guys think I am an awesome mom. That I have the laundry finished and never yell at my children. I am sorry to disappoint you but that is not the case.
I was reading a blog the other day and she had shared some 'rawness' in her post. I thought about how I never share that side of me with anyone but my closest family and friends. I like to portray myself as the perfect parent while our days are not perfect.
When people read this I would like it to help them. I am human. You are human. We all have our secret little moments that we keep to ourselves. I am going to share a bit about me and how I feel. The Raw side of me.
I am a guilt parent. I read so many books about how to be the best parent I can be. I don't read the mainstream ones but the gentle parenting books. I love to read. The negative side of that is guilt. My guilt to not live up to the perfection I want. I yell. Sometimes for a whole hour I am in a foul mood and say mean things. Things like..."Only babies poop in their underwear!" That was my doozy today. :( When I get frustrated I have a hard time guarding what I say. Sure I have a sit down afterward with said child but it still makes me feel like a horrible parent and that I am damaging who they are. My worst comment came a few years ago when I hurt Ricky somehow. I don't remember what happened. Like I picked her up too roughly or something like that. She said, "You hurt me!" I then said back, "I'm glad I hurt you." Isn't that the worst? Of course instantly I apologize and sometimes have a few tears. It doesn't make it right though.
Sometimes I will sit for hours and read a book! If it is a good one I can totally tune my children out and read. I take care of them but the house falls apart. They may ask for something and get the response..."When this page is done." I have always wanted my children to know how important they are but sometimes I think I fail that by my actions.
I "cook" chicken nuggets and perogies at least once a week. Sandwiches maybe twice a week. I am not a home cooked meal kinda gal. I do want that though. I want to be that mom who has dinner cooking all day and placed on the table with the family all sitting together. Last wk I went for a bath and a book while my family ate. I needed a break when Ron woke up. I did order a good vegetarian slow cooker book that I am looking forward to. I see many more home cooked meals on the horizon.
I have doubts on occasion about unschooling. I don't doubt the philosophy. I doubt my laziness as a parent. Some days there isn't anything fun that we have done together. Doing art together, reading, singing... We are working on this. But I always seem so sure of myself and my parenting but I am not. I have doubts like the best of them.
On the flip side, I am always there for my children. I will never put them in a situation that they are not comfortable with. I am their rock. I cuddle/hug/kiss them endlessly and they know how much they are loved. I am very open with my feelings and they are open with theirs. We are a very close and attached family. I feed them nutritiously and teach them about God.
I know that my children are wonderful and beautiful children. They are amazing. I just need to start seeing that in myself more.
So there it is. Raw from an unschooling ma.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

When to let go

We were given three Monarch caterpillars at a homeschool meeting. You wouldn't think caterpillars are so picky with which food they eat but they are. Monarch's eat milkweed.
We were lucky enough to go through the process of caterpillar to butterfly. In the first picture, you can see one green cocoon and two caterpillars hanging upside down just about to turn. The green then turns to black and shortly after the butterflies emerge. How wonderfully beautiful. Through this process I witnessed a strong resemblance to raising my own children. You take care of them and then set them free. That is the short version of it. If you are me, you go more in depth with that thought.
I find that society is very quick to rush their little children to independence. The 1st's are celebrated with great enthusiasm. Moms hands hold baby Ruth's tiny hands as she guides her steps. A cheer erupts at a 1st tooth emerging. Baby sleeps through the night and mom gets awed "lucky you's" from friends and family. When I had Amelie and Ricky I was right in with the crowd. I was that mom rushing my babies to grow. Proud when they spoke their first word and calling Ron at work when they laughed for the first time. Sure memories are to be had there but what was I really celebrating? With my youngest children I allowed them to follow their own rhythm. I let them walk when they were ready and let Cohen decide when he was ready to use the toilet. It seems parents are in such a hurry to get them potty trained and sleeping through the night. This comes with Crying It Out Methods or Baby Sleep Training methods. This comes with accidents in pants and frustrated parents. (And maybe a few poops on the floor. Who can forget that?) Part of Unschooling is trusting in your children to know what they "need" to learn at any given time. It doesn't stop there. They eat when they are hungry (no waiting for dinner here!), they play when they want and sleep as long as they want. I allow their independence in a different way. I don't rush them into life but allow them to live their life. Too soon our children will be headed out the door into the big, wide world and we will be thinking...where did the time go?
I notice that I am very On with my children. Some may say I am overprotective or overbearing. I am THAT parent who is always there allowing my children to come to me if they need. I am at arms reach when my two year old is climbing high on the monkey bars. I am at ears reach when my daughter comes running into my arms in tears because her friends are being mean. I am there. I am their mom and there is no where else I would rather be. Literally. Am I hindering their independence? Am I stunting their growth? Phooey! I am their rock. I am their net when they fall...and they will fall. I am safe. I am mom.
I let go when my child is the only one in the sandbox, munching away. I let go when my child makes up a song about bums. I let go when my children drink rootbeer floats for dinner.
I am not in a rush to see them grow up and go. Why not allow our children the independence they crave (food, sleep...) and stop trying to shove their independence at them so they will grow up faster? I know I am in no hurry to let go.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is Imagination a thing of the past?

Some cardboard pieces Ron brought home from work.

The kids playing with the blocks TOGETHER.

A noodle box Cohen was using as a garage for his cars.

Cohen emerging out of a cocoon as a butterfly.

In my teenage years I remember having a discussion about imagination and how times have changed. I still think and reflect on that conversation. When I was young I was outside climbing trees, catching frogs, making forts and making mud pies. (Yes I was a tomboy) I am not going to get into why our children are not going outside like we used to. (maybe another post) I am going to talk about WHAT we played with. I don't recall using plastic guns that have a million sounds built into them. I don't recall legos that had the design planned for you on the box and the exact amount of pieces. I don't recall plastic kitchens with miniature food. What I do recall is running around the house with sticks for guns and making the sounds, building with legos WHATEVER I wanted to make and grabbing blankets to make picnics with real food. Sure I had skip-its and those toys that you stood on and bounced, slinkies and skipping ropes. I am not completely against plastic toys at all. I don't sit at birthday parties brooding and picturing landfills overflowed with this long forgotten garbage. I do however picture the children's imagination seeping out of them. When we have toys that make every sound, light up in every different color and jump when you say jump, it takes that away from the child. In our house we have two toy boxes. One for toys and one for cars/trucks, tracks (basically Cohen's toy box) My children much rather a large cardboard box or some paper and new crayons. My child's imagination is much more important to me than a surprised look on a holiday. What would we do with a world full of people using their imaginations?
Recently I received a "Blog with Substance" award from Leslie. My it felt good to be recognized! Since, I have been collecting 10 blogs that I can pass this on to. Here are the rules...

•Thank the blogger who awarded it to you.
•Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using ten (10) words.
•Pass it on to 10 other blogs which you feel have real substance.

I tend to over think things so that ten word philosophy may take me a while. ;)

And guess what! I won 3 wonderful books!!! Check out Leslie's blog and you will see! I don't win things very often so when I do it is very exciting!!!
THANK YOU Leslie for making my day. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I lost our 4yo son today. Time inched by as I searched for him.
We went to homeschool park day so we had plenty of friends around. I started to watch for him on the equipment and noticed he wasn't there. It is a large play area. I wasn't worried for the first minute because there is a smaller park area next to the large one. I went there and he wasn't there. I went to the large pavilion picking up speed. There was a daycare eating lunch there. Cohen could have easily slipped in there and started eating someones lunch. Not there. There is a fenced in swimming pool that I looked over :( and then alerted my friends that he was missing. This is when I started crying. It had been at least 8 minutes. I started yelling his name and moving quick. He isn't fully aware to not run in traffic and the pool was right there. Did someone take him? Is he crying alone for me? I had to push those thoughts from my mind and keep searching. All this time I have no idea if someone else is watching my other children (I was guessing they were) because my mind was solely on finding my little boy. I remember crying and saying I can't find him. Then another mom I didn't know said he was in the girls washroom. She said he was telling her his life story as he went poop. That sounded like my Cohen. I rushed in and there he was pooping away without a worry. You know how parents get mad at their children for taking off? That didn't even cross my mind. The only thing I wanted to do was scoop him up in my arms and kiss him and hug him and be as close to him as possible and never let go. I did have to wait for him to finish because he takes FOREVER but I got my chance. This was a reminder for me to not stress about the insignificant things in life. AND to hug them more than I already do.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A day in the life of us

When I was considering unschooling I wanted an idea of what our days would be like. It took a lot of research before I became comfortable with this lifestyle. From time to time I panic. Cohen doesn't know all of his letters! Ricky isn't reading fluently yet! Look at what THAT family is doing! On occasion, the doubts sneak in on me. One day I decided to watch my children closely and see what they are learning throughout the day. I was shocked at how much they learned while playing and following their own interests.
Yesterday I decided to take pictures of our natural day. I say natural because I didn't coerce activity just for a picture for the blog. I went about my day and grabbed the camera when I chose. This is our everyday life.
I challenge you. All of you unschooling bloggers. Put a camera in hand for the day and capture your everyday moments. You will be surprised at how much your children are doing! Or maybe you have already come to this conclusion. When you record your day, please let me know so I can read about your daily life caught on camera. :)

This is at about 8am. When my eyes are only slightly open, my children are rolling themselves up in blankets. I wouldn't mind a bit of TV time at this moment because it takes me a while to wake up. I do enjoy their laughter with coffee in the morning though!

Here is breakfast. Apples with granola. Ok ok, granola bars. ;) Did you know one of my pet peeves is sugar cereal? I can't stand it! Really, what is the point of it? I like to start their day with something nutritious.

Reagan, Cohen and Callum are playing on the windowsill with cars. It looks nice and sweet here but all.morning.long Callum and Cohen fought over the big transport truck. Still waiting for them to notice the TV ;)

Amelie is looking for a snack in the fridge (SHE JUST HAD BREAKFAST!! lol) and found and onion sprouting. She just HAD to put it in water to see if it will grow more. I can't wait for the lovely aroma this experiment will bring!

Cohen noticed two paper towel rolls and uses them as binoculars. He realizes it doesn't make objects closer like the ones camping did. This didn't last long. They ended up being used as a megaphone by Ricky.

Ricky got this awesome fashion dummy from my mom. You have a bunch of different squares of fabric and place it around the dummy. Ricky has formed many a cute outfit. Here, Reagan is trying her hand at fashion.

I look over and see Ricky, Cohen and Reagan piled on the couch reading. Ricky is improvising with a French book.

Callum is oblivious while he plays with his bus.

Amelie is writing a song to perform for her family. I wish I had a video camera for the song. :( She is so serious while performing.

Reagan decides to perform her own song up on the windowsill while we all smile and give praise.

The kids can't resist a moment like this! They all jump up on the windowsill and sing "I love you" while they rock back and forth. Yup, the best moment of my day!

And the day ends with the kids in costume. Did they sleep like this? Maybe. ;)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Valedictorian Speech - WOW


Monday, July 26, 2010


Sometimes posts don't need words. I am tired from watching the kids around water and I am tired from unpacking twice in one week. Our dryer is dead so we have mountains of laundry! Ya, sometimes posts don't need words.

Friday, July 23, 2010

What would society think?

Do you ever feel the need to go? Head on out into the woods into seclusion? Growing up I have always wanted to fit in. I wouldn't wear an article of clothing if it was not in fashion. Even if I liked it. Don't get me wrong. I wasn't into brand names either but I did worry about what others thought. Since having children I have found a whole new idea of what is important in life and clothes doesn't even make it on the radar. Sure we need clothing for protection from weather and to feel comfortable. Clothing is also a way of segregating people. People that shop at high end stores are better. They can afford the clothing. High end clothing means high end people. People are judged by what they wear. Plain and simple.

Why can't we be judged on how kind we are? By how much we volunteer? By who opens doors and who pays for the next person in line at Tim Hortons, just because. I have 5 creative children who often choose what they want to wear, how they wear their hair and what they wear on their feet. They have been seen in the supermarket with rubber boots on a sunny day, winter sweaters during spring and holding umbrellas in the snow. Does it really matter? Is it really that important to follow society? I enjoy seeing the stripes and spots together and the pink and red and yellow and green and purple and brown strewn across my children in creative twists and creative places. Do I really want to squash their individuality? I believe the pictures here show you my answer.

We have also been known to get wet, fully clothed. Not only do we like to get wet but we like mud and sand and dirt and bugs and leaves and muck and and and... And guess what we love even more than that! Getting naked after! They strip down and we toss them into the van. This makes for some fun memories and pictures. :)
Run, play, get dirty, be yourselves and thrive.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If you fill up a container with water and dish soap, you can occupy your children for hours!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The answer to my prayer

I prayed that while we were gone on our mini vacation we wouldn't get negative comments about our parenting style. I can handle a negative comment from people who don't understand from time to time. I can handle a frown or a puzzled look from time to time. I can handle judgmental questions from time to time. I am confident in how we parent and it gives me a feeling of relief when I look at my children and how they flourish. What I was dreading was a constant stream of negative comments from family. Within any family there will be members that disagree with something...anything...everything. As long as we follow our instincts we can't go wrong.
We have to be confident in our decisions. I am not speaking only of ourselves here. I am speaking of all parents. Parents who vaccinate. Parents who don't circumcise. Parents who unschool and parents who work and send their children to daycare. We have to stand up and say, "This is our decision and we are happy with it." That's it. This weekend a relative was trying (in vain) to start a debate about homeschooling with my husband. *I* would have gotten frustrated and probably would have shown it. He was being judgmental and condescending. My husband was quiet and shrugged his shoulders. He doesn't feel the need to defend our choices because he is confident. I hope to fully achieve what he has. Calm. Silence. Confidence.
Anyways, the answer to my prayer was Mr. Bill. We were given the privilege of staying at his house for the weekend. What made this visit so special wasn't the size of his house. It wasn't the cool microwave or the vacuum that could suck up the chair if it wanted! It wasn't even the wonderful hospitality we received. It was how he was with my children. He made eye contact. He got down to their level. He greeted them with a smile every.single.time and he answered their unending questions. This man was very busy getting ready to give his daughter away and was surrounded by children who wanted candy and wanted conversation. He made them feel IMPORTANT. I could go on and on and on about how adults need to treat their children with more respect (because this is how I feel) but I am going to leave off with a comment from Mr. Bill. This comment was the answer to my prayer and helped me through the rest of the weekend. My children were strewn across his floor with puzzles and toys. He was stepping over them trying to get by and I said, " Sorry about the maze!" He replied while walking away..."Amaze...ing."

Yes Bill, that about sums up our weekend at your house.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Only in my house

This is what I get to see every night when I rock Reagan to sleep. I lay her in my arms in the rocking chair and look down at her. When I start to sing she looks up at me with awe. She watches me until her eyes will no longer allow her. They start to roll and she rubs her eyes. Soon her eyes will remain closed and a few minutes from now her body will start to switch and then relax into sleep. For about 5 minutes she is sleeping but not yet deep sleeping. When I look down at this beautiful, peaceful face I wait for her mouth to fall open. Then I know she has completely let go. I will still hold her for a few more minutes though. Special moments like these makes me fall even more in love (if that is even possible) with her. Nothing else matters in the world than that vulnerable little face. Her head relaxed on my arm, her hand placed gently on my chest, her perfect little mouth open and her eyes seeing only what she can see. I am allowing myself more of these moments instead of dirty laundry moments. The moments where my heart quickens and my blood pressure rises. The moments where I am frustrated and yelling because it can only be MY house that looks like chaos. It is only my house with half eaten apples behind the couch, cheerios strewn across the floor and fingerprints on the windows. It is only MY house that the beds aren't made and dirty laundry has a mind of its own. BUT it is only MY house that I have a perfect little Reagan become a part of me again as we rock.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Rambled thoughts on Unschooling

I wholeheartedly believe in unschooling. I believe in the philosophy. When I researched this topic it gave me that aha moment that I was searching for. You know that feeling of "this is right." There is a myth or misunderstanding among non-unschoolers as well as people that don't do public school. Unschooling is a parent not wanting to put the time and effort in to properly teach their child. This couldn't be more untrue or opposite. I find with unschooling there is a 24 hour rule. I do not sit at the table and teach for two, three, four hours and then feel finished for the day. I do not have a list that I put tiny check marks to appease myself. I do not have a stack of book reports or marked tests. I am however, always on. I cannot tell you how many questions my children ask. Why is the sky blue? How long would it take to travel around the world? What does about mean? Would a feather sink in water? ALL DAY I am answering questions, looking up info on the computer, helping them find books for their answers, reading to them, discussing with them and so much more. People ask, "Do you homeschool in the summer?" How could we not? Learning is a natural extention of our daily lives. I shouldn't even say extention, should I? It is who we are. Life is learning. It happens naturally in our lives. We don't close a book and say, "Well, done learning! Go play." Every little aspect of our lives involve learning. From gathering leaves, jumping in leaves, catching bugs, watching TV, laughing, interacting, being alone... Unschooling is LIFE. I find it interesting yet confusing how people think school helps with socializing and learning. Not only does it help but it is a necessity in aiding that. That couldn't be further from the truth. Why do we need to send our children, 5 days a wk to a group of 100 children to learn socialization and facts? We are so brainwashed as a society. Ok, going off on a tangent. lol..
Even among homeschooling/unschooling families there is an uppity attitude. Some homeschoolers think that unschooling families couldn't possibly learn the way we do. Some unschooling families are very picky about the term unschooling. If you coerce your child in any way you are not unschooling. Almost like you can't earn the name unless you do it exactly the way it says. You would think homeschooling families would be more open considering we hear it from all sides and we would stick together. Most times, yes. BUT there is politics in this circle as well. It makes me want to head up North, seclude ourselves and explore nature to its fullest. Hmm..but then we wouldn't be socializing and we would end up abnormal. ha

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Why worry?

So I am a worry parent. I worry about my children. I worry about finances. I worry about what people think. I worry I worry I worry. I think I take after my grandma in that way.
This is Ricky. She is my second oldest. She is quiet and tends to keep to herself. She is not really interested in math or science. (She does like gooey things in her hands if that counts) I find with unschooling you have to be ok with ALL of your children's learning styles. My oldest daughter is very academic. Loves math. Loves reading. She is quick and understands concepts well past her age. I have worried that Ricky doesn't have the want to learn. The yearning to learn new things. Who am I kidding here? She has a lot of interests. They just don't fit in with the societal mold of what is important to know. This beautiful child of mine is so very artistic. She loves design and she loves art. She is very precise when she creates her art. Dancing in pretty flowing skirts is her all time favorite. Always has been. This sweet girl has the biggest heart I have ever seen. If a sibling fall or is hurt she is right there to console with a concerned face. If a child is crying for something she has she is more than happy to hand it over to make them smile. What is really more important in life? I have learned my answer from my 6yo daughter. Love, compassion, passion, giggles, emotion, yearning to learn and being yourself. If I were Ricky, I would definitely love myself too!