Monthly Archives: January 2014

project 12

Last year, I attempted project 52, but failed miserably when the nausea hit.  This year I thought I’d like to try again but for monthly records rather than weekly. Why?  Because, even when you think you’ll remember the daily sweetness forever, you forget.  I thought I might even include a section for tidbits of my own month.

So here goes…

Poppy

Poppy:

  • Next month, you turn the big Oh-Five and you want to have a strawberry cake with blue icing and candles and pizza.  You’ve told me who you’d like to invite.  You want a Frozen themed party complete with an Elsa dress because we went to the “movie house” and watched it before Christmas and you’ve been quite taken ever since.
  • You’ve been writing your name for quite some time now (a year maybe?), but have just started showing interest in writing other letters this month.  You struggle with “S”, but do a really nice job and seem to be a natural, but begin to balk as soon as I ask for more.
  • Last night you got your 4-6 year vaccination.  Daddy and I contemplated the best way to prepare you for it and decided to tell you two days in advance.  We also told you it would hurt, but by the time you said “ouch” it would be over.  You freaked at first, but got braver as time passed.  When the time came, you were so brave and then ran out to tell Daddy and Silas “I got a shot!”.  You were very proud of yourself.
  • You continue to go to bed late.  Sometimes you stay up until we go to bed and other nights you tell us when you’d like to go to bed earlier.  You sleep through the night and wake between 7am to 9am.
  • You still refuse to eat veggies, but you LOVE fruits, meats, bread, and dairy.  We don’t heavily restrict junk food, but when you’ve had enough you stop and tell us you’ve had enough.
  • You love playing with your dolls and ponies.
  • Back in the fall, you had a bad cough and would wake in the middle of the night EVERY night coughing like crazy.  Daddy would take you downstairs, he would give you a steamy bath, then you’d eat a fruit juice freezie and watch Sponge Bob until the coughing had settled.  It was a nightly ritual for a couple weeks.  Now, most nights before you go to sleep, you ask Daddy to take you downstairs for this little ritual.  Which makes me hope you forever remember those midnight dates with Daddy.
  • Your favourite colour is pink.
  • You love having your nails painted.
  • You HATE having your hair done.
  • You love drawing people and sometimes animals.  You don’t draw backgrounds or the sky yet, but you’ve begun drawing bodies instead of just heads.  You also like to draw the universe which I find so interesting.  Your preferred medium seems to be paint, but it always ends with water and paint pooling and drawn EVERYWHERE including on your brother so we have taken a little break from that.  It may be time to get some more.
  • You don’t really care what you wear as long as it is comfortable.
  • You are madly in love with Clementine.  When she fusses, you run to her and comfort her by saying “It’s okay, I’m right here.  Poppy’s here.  I’m not a monster, I won’t hurt you.  We’re all right here.”
  • You fidget like crazy.  You bounce everywhere you go.
  • You love My Little Pony Equestria Girls and can often be heard singing the cafeteria song.  This is the song that has inspired you to enjoy spontaneous dancing again.

Silas

  • You are 3 and a half.
  • You never miss an opportunity to make us laugh.
  • You notice all the little details (you’re a lot like Mama).  The new bedding, the new plates, the tiny piece missing from your cookie or cracker, the new welcome mat.
  • You love watching and being a “Hero” and “saving he day!”.
  • You also love having your nails painted.
  • You are incredibly particular about what you wear and especially, incredibly particular about what jammies you wear.  Your favourite pair are the Halloween ones Nana bought you and Poppy two years ago.  They are full of holes, the feet have been cut off and are threadbare, but they are still your first pick.
  • You are an early to bed, early to rise type.  You’ve begun telling us when you’re tired and we take you upstairs to your big boy bed, tuck you in and leave the light on where you fall asleep.  You’ve been known to forgo the evening snack of  frozen yogurt so you can go to bed.
  • You love fruit and are only slightly more adventurous with veggies.  You will eat carrots and corn, so that is something.  You don’t like meat.
  • I often find you climbing the counters and eating butter.
  • You refuse to draw on paper and instead prefer finding bits of charcoal from the woodstove to doodle on our walls, the large TV unit we made, the wood box, the windows, etc.  You still aren’t drawing people or things though you did draw one “person” on the floor one day with charcoal.
  • We went to the doctor’s office for Poppy and Clementine’s vaccinations last night and, even though you weren’t even getting a check up, flipped out when we got there.  You screamed and clung to Daddy in the waiting room until Poppy came out to tell you proudly that she had her shot.  Hopefully you don’t do that when it is your turn.
  • You still refuse to potty train.  You will sit on or stand by your little potty and make pretend pee sounds, but have not had success yet.
  • You enjoy snuggling by the fire with one or both dogs in the morning and throughout the day.  You still play with your “freckle” (eyebrow) or that of the dogs.
  • When Poppy kisses you, you say in a swoony sort of voice “Oooooh, she’s soooo awesome!”.
  • You hate having your hair cut, but have no trouble cutting your own.  Sigh.
  • You have a habit of carrying around and sleeping with random objects and toys.  Last night it was a red balloon, a few nights ago it was a brass apple and a calculator, a few weeks ago it was an old caulking gun.  Other items include fly swatters, strainers, wooden spoons, forks, a whisk, the Hulk and Ninja Turtle toys, a pastry brush, the soup ladle, a book by the Dalai Lama because it was your cookbook, another book about Islam because the author looks like Harry Potter, a broken tire pump.  It is kind of poetic.
  • You can count up to ten items (sometimes 12) and know most of your letters, numbers, colours, etc.  You have no problem remembering names and details about animals and love dinosaurs.
  • Me: Do you guys want some milk?
    Silas: Does it have Vitamin D in it?
    Me: Um, yes. I think so.
    Silas: Oh, great! I love Vitamin D

Clementine

 

  • Oh my.  You are sweet.  Daddy thinks you’re the most smiley of all our sweet things.
  • You settled into a night time routine fairly quickly and effortlessly.  You fall asleep while nursing and then usually wake once or twice per night.  Some nights it is four times, but you always go back to sleep quickly.  It’s a blessing.
  • You are the tiniest of our babies and still fit in some three month outfits.  Your brother and sister only fit into those for a few weeks if at all.
  • You never shed your baby hair and you were born with a lot of it.  I am quite certain it will be curly just like Mama’s and Poppy’s.
  • You are a very content baby.  Sometimes I will get caught up in doing something and suddenly wonder where I left you.  You’re usually in your exersaucer just watching the world or you’ve fallen asleep in your play pen though I like to hold you as often and as long as your brother and sister will allow before they make requests of me.
  • When you’re tired you will often start to babble loudly and you have fallen asleep in your exersaucer.
  • You look at everything with wide eyes and usually a smile.
  • You have a knack for knowing when I am just about to sit down to yummy meal and demand to be fed yourself.
  • You made strange for the first time a couple of weeks ago when friends visited.  It may have been his hat.  You did it again the other morning when Daddy sat in front of you without his glasses on.
  • You got your first shots last night.  After the first one you recovered quickly, but the second one required a big hug and nursing to calm you down.

Mama

 

  • You’re tired and stir-crazy, but madly in love.
  • You are itching for change so you did a DIY ombre on your hair.  It wasn’t a disaster, but you wouldn’t mind a professional cut and colour…even though you have trust issues with hair dressers
  • You have shopping dreams.
  • You fantasize about a second car.
  • You’ve been wearing the same jogging pants since…Monday?
  • You suddenly enjoy painting your fingernails and feel a twinge of guilt every time you do it.
  • Reeses peanut butter cups are rocking your socks currently.  As well as the Ruffles ranch chip dip (AKA creamy crack).
  • Nearly everyday you wonder if you should throw in the towel and send the kids to school, but then something wonderful happens and you remember why you wanted to do this in the first place.   This is hard, but worth it.
  • Honestly, homeschooling three kids under 5 is a lot like “teaching” stoners with a wicked case of the munchies.
  • You’ve lost 7lbs of the overall 40lbs you’d like to lose by following old school Weight Watchers.  You feel better already.  You know it isn’t rocket science, but it gives you the structure you need.  Don’t give up on yourself.
  • You find it hard not to turn into a drill sergeant when teaching Poppy how to write letters.  She is good at it, but she needs to go at her own pace.  Don’t take the fun out of it.
  • You would love to find a sustainable way to make a little extra cash for the household each month.  Writing would be ideal, but you seem to have a case of writer’s block.
  • You are teaching yourself how to cook Indian food and enjoy learning how to layer all those decadent spices.
  • You’d like to re-learn French…if only you had appreciated the daily french lessons from grade 4 through 10.  Sigh.
  • You’d really like to get a large, meaningful, family tattoo on your shoulder, but feel a big twinge of guilt when you think about that as well.
  • You’re still learning that you get to do this homesteading, parenting, homeschooling gig however you feel is right and good.  You don’t need to paint yourself into a corner.
  • You’re getting better at trusting your gut when it comes to parenting.
  • You’ve decided to plan a once in a lifetime, balls to the wall family Disney World/Harry Potter trip in 2017 by doing the 52 week savings plan.  You’re ridiculously excited.
  • It took you the better part of a day to write this post (between all the mama jobs).

 

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Posted in 52 portraits, celebration, family, homeschooling, life, Uncategorized, wellness | 2 Comments

soul fever

To be honest, I don’t know where to begin.

Life is good.

That seems as good a place as any.

We are blessed in so many ways.  I am blessed with a wide eyed, smiley babe who warms my heart and smells ever so sweetly, a fiercely brilliant little boy who doesn’t miss a beat or a chance to make us laugh, and an intensely loving, super adaptable, whip smart little girl who will turn 5 next month.  I am blessed to be madly in love with a bearded husband who is ever-present and, after 10+ years, still makes me weak in the knees.  We are blessed with a warm home in the country, freezers and cupboards full to overflowing with food, warm duvets, hot coffee and tea, wonderful friends and family, perfect health, good benefits, a great job, chortling chickens, playful and ever tolerant pets, good books lining our shelves, and a toasty woodstove to and dry our clothes and roast marshmallows by.

And yet.

And yet, I seem to be suffering some sort of social media induced soul-fever.  An overwhelming brain fog.  It isn’t postpartum depression/anxiety.  The fog and fever was far worse when I was pregnant than it is now.

You see, I feel it is brought on by spending too much time online.  I love Pinterest, I do.  It is like crack for this creative, visually driven girl.  I don’t buy magazines for the pretty pictures anymore because I know I can find it all and more on Pinterest.  It is loaded with inspiration and ideas and homeschooling resources.  Hell, it was stumbling on this pin that inspired me to actually write this very post!  But I find myself constantly comparing our humble little cabin to the perfect homes I see online and forget to be happy with what we have.  Facebook connects me to the people I miss as well as to the people I’ve never even met in the real world.  I am grateful for all the people, kind advice, and heated debates I have acquired and participated in via Facebook, but I can’t deny that it also gives me a false sense of a social life.  Both of these sites have their merits, but they also fill my brain with anxiety-inducing posts and pins about the dangers of wearing deodorant or bras at night or hot dogs, and radiation making its way across the sea and land, and house fires, and car seat fails, and kidnappings, and missing children, and how TV rots your brain, and vaccine fear mongering, and conspiracy theories, and allergies, and other people being stellar parents, and crafts we will never do, and 4 year olds reading, and perfectly pretty houses and paint colours, and luscious hair, and thinspiration, and clean eating, and too good to be true recipes, and really funny memes, and how to organize and clean, and be more productive and yell less.

And then there are the pictures and videos we take and post.  Though I love having a record of the daily and monumental events, it seems kind of pointless when you weren’t fully present in the original moment, no?  Louis CK says it better than I ever could.  This became very apparent to me when Poppy had her ears pierced a couple of months ago.  Like an idiot, I was trying to capture the video (for Mike who was at work and unable to be present) and was still fumbling with the phone while my mom swooped in to comfort her after the deed was done.  It should have been me.

All this to say, I am not quite sure how to find the balance.  I don’t blog much anymore because the world is full of bloggers saying so much of the same and I honestly don’t know that I have much more to bring to the table.  I would be lying if I said I weren’t struggling with the feelings of isolation since moving to the country.  I miss being able to walk downtown with children in strollers and strapped to my chest in order to get some social interaction and window shopping in.  The trails are too deep for little ones to navigate for any length of time and the highway we live on is not suitable for afternoon meanderings.  The days are so very long when we are left without a car.  That is the only thing we would change about our move to the country, but it is financially out of the question for now.

Social media fits conveniently into a day with 3 children under 5.  10 minutes here between snack demands requests, bum wiping, clean ups, homeschooling, and meals.  30 minutes there while the baby nurses and falls asleep on me.  Homschooling consists mostly of free play mixed with 15 minute stints of writing our letters, drawing pictures, reading books, and using the iPad.  To be honest, the days feel long and aimless for me.  Though it is a perfect pace for young children, I crave productivity and structure for myself.  I read books and attempt to crochet, and rearrange furniture but my mind wanders and my attention is pulled away.  My days are fragmented.  So the pace of the internet fits my day, but it also drains me.  My mind feels an awful lot like our living room; disheveled and lacking focus.

We recently listened to an interesting Freakonomics podcast about parenting.  The conclusion was that obsessive, over-scheduled parenting (that seems very much the norm on social media) is pointless and the best thing we can do for our children is to be happy and kind.  Makes sense, no?!  Seriously, I want to tattoo those words on my forehead.  We don’t do too many activities or crafts with a set outcome because it inevitably makes feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and impatience bubble up in me.  I am driven by the outcome while the kids are in the moment and it rarely ends well.  I know my kids are far better off with a basket full of crayons, paper, scissors and glue to use at their own discretion than any Pinterest craft and a results-driven mama. We do extracurricular activities because they’re enjoyable and provide the social interaction we crave and need.  The path of least resistance and genuine inspiration really is the best and happiest path with these tender ages.

I have no answers.  Perhaps it is a little bit of precisely this type of mourning mixed with a wicked case of Pinterestitis and social media fever.  Whatever it is I find myself aching for depth and joy and inner work; a lonely run, and finding my breath and pose on a yoga mat, and scrawling my messy handwriting across pages of a forgotten journal; belly laughs and company who stay late into the night, and window shopping; boundaries and limits and wild things.

We’ve become quick masters of self editing.  I find myself wishing I could remember what it felt like to just be…(Once again, Louis CK nails it)  .  To be alone with ourselves and our thoughts without comparison, input or labels.

I shall leave you with this as I ponder my next step. (source unknown)


go gently + be wonderful

e.

 

Posted in family, feather + anchor, homeschooling, life, Uncategorized, wellness | 16 Comments