Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

Life is a great big adventure just waiting for you to climb aboard.

February 6, 2013

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They have the whole world to explore. It’s kind of magnificent.

I don’t know whether they will stay close to home or roam far away, but all their adventures will be big. We are trying new things, on land and on sea, we are learning that every day is full of possibilities. Even Tuesdays in the grey month of February.

You never know when you will be surprised by sunshine, by a boat you never thought much about, by laughing and crying and just being.

Yeah. It’s magnificent.

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Super Snort!

February 5, 2013

Every parent thinks their kids are geniuses. Let’s just get that out of the way.

That being said, I do think mine are very bright, in different ways. Snort has always been a designer, an engineer. If he sees something on tv or in life that he thinks is cool, he will engineer it. Like building a bike rack on top on his little tikes car when he was one. And you people should SEE what he’s done to the superhero house this morning!

He’s also very active, in imagination and body. What that looks like in a structured class, like say football, is that he love his coach and the other children. He likes the very active exercises. But he is also the class comedian. He will happily follow instructions to try something new, but when it becomes repetitive or is too easy, he quickly loses interest. He has a gag of pretending to fall over while shouting, ‘Woah!’ The other boys think this is hilarious and all copy him. His coach doesn’t think it’s so awesome….though Snort has told me, ‘Coach thinks I’m funny! I fall over and say WOAH. I am funny!’

So Snort has a reputation in football of being, shall we say, a free spirit. If his friend’s baby brother is crying on the sidelines, he will refuse to play and instead will hold hands with the baby, sing to him, and try to cheer him up. He is a happy go lucky, imaginative, funny little boy.

He is the child who quickly processes what his coach says, and decides whether it is worth paying attention to. He’s the one most likely to be gleefully finding ways to circumvent the system and do the exercises in a more efficient way, or throwing himself into a pile of footballs while, of course, dramatically yelling,’Woah!’

So imagine my surprise when yesterday the coach set up a particularly complicated exercise. He had cones numbered 0-9, and he sort of threw them around all higgilty pigglty. Basically, if you were looking down and had an aerial view, he was making a dot to dot and the completed picture was chaos. The parents were all laughing because we knew this shit was not going to go down.

In theory it was simple enough. Slowly dribble the ball (at this point I was already imagining another Snort debacle, as his only speed is RUNNING) to the consecutive cones, gently having the ball tap each cone before moving on to the next. You and I might have trouble with the football control, but could at least manage eventually.

Imagine six three year olds bumbling around. Just try. Like little feral kittens.

So the coach is explaining, Snort is just staring into the air and occasionally grinning at his friends, the coach admonishes them to pay attention. I am already laughing and all the adults are trading snide comments about what a cute disaster this is about to be.

That’s when the kids stand up. I don’t really pay very close attention until I notice that my kid has separated from the pack. Then I start watching him. He carefully gets to cone four, then glances around to find the next. He moves smoothly and surely and gets to cone nine a full five minutes before the first of the other kids. His coach is surprised and exclaims, ‘Snort! Wow!’ All the other parents, I notice, have dropped into silence. My own mouth may be hanging wide open.

The next exercise, the cones are set up so you have to zigzag between them. A much easier thing, and yet when they are all sat at zero and the coach asks which cone they need to go to next, only Snort (who again looked like he wasn’t paying attention) pointed at the number one and said, ‘There.’

And this little escapade reminds me, yet again, why Snort will excel outside of the modern school system. His brain is bright, thinks around the edges of problems, builds better way to do things even as the expected behaviour is to maintain the status quo. He has strong, sensitive morals and follows his own sense of what is right….and while happy enough to engage with his coach, he does so only when it makes sense (though he isn’t a ‘naughty’ boy!). He will do a task to see if he can, and once he knows he can he doesn’t want to repeat it again and again just to get approval from his coach. He is gleefully and joyfully himself, and draws the other children to him. He engages in tasks that are more complicated because he is often bored by simpler things, so he makes his own fun, his own challenges.

He’s altogether a wonderful person, and I feel lucky to know and learn from his exuberant, creative, and loving approach to life.

Tribal wanderings.

February 4, 2013

I have so much I want to say. But I’ve been hit with this brutal combo of having a cold and having insomnia. Not very conducive to me being coherent in the evenings. I want to write about playing piano, the social worker’s visit, dead people, my kids’ first job. But I’m just too damn tired!

Part of that is also being I am so damn busy. My lacklustre motivation has faded somewhat, leaving behind a parent who was only in the house for two days last month. How is that possible?! Of course we still have lots of free play at home, but we have been increasingly going out and doing things. It’s nice.

The other nice thing is the creation of my tribe. Considering we haven’t even lived here a year yet, I feel pretty plugged into a network of like minded people who also happen to be parents. I’ve met people from my blog, local home education groups, the kids’ sports classes, and even Facebook. Today we met a family who basically lives round the corner – we became friends on Facebook as we lived in the same city and were both in the same facebook home education group. They came over today and it was good times.

So we now have some families we really like. We live in an area ripe with things to do, if also somewhat more rainy than the surrounding areas. I can even navigate to a few basic areas without needing to rely on Debbie, my sat nav. Life seems good.

I am regaining the spirit of adventure (and skills of survivorship) I had before we moved, more willing to venture out to new places further afield. I will soon be trying to meet up with Lady and babies, though I have not yet asked her, despite the fact that they live a whopping two or three hours away. And once my sister moves to Country B, well, I hope that is as awesome as I think it will be. I really want to soak up her Blondieness while I have the chance, before the wandering bug bites her again and she is off to Germany, to Colorado, to Brazil.

As our last official year school-less comes to an end (though our first year of officially not being in school is just around the corner!), I want to help my children and myself explore the world and our potential. I want to get out in the mud more, to hear other people’s stories more, to learn from the world around us and the people we meet. And how lovely to be able to do these things with a growing network of good friends by our side.

Toys R Us employs superheroes!

January 15, 2013

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So, I am not one to mention company names on my blog, but today I was so blown away by the customer service in Toys R Us I am happy to do so. While it normally isn’t a regular haunt for us, we’d gone to buy some presents for an upcoming birthday party. The kids each had a crappy helium balloon – not purchased at Toys R Us – tied to their backpacks. As I was finishing up paying, I heard heartbroken sobbing.

Snort’s balloon had untied and floated up to the ceiling, which is easily forty feet high. Coconut began to sob, too, begging me to get Snort another balloon. Both were crying like a world tragedy had occurred, which I suppose it had, in their world view.

The woman who’d served me immediately said, ‘We’ll get that down for you!’ She got another staff member, and they covered another helium balloon in sticky tape and added enough string to allow it to reach. After minutes of unsuccessful fishing, they decided to switch to this huge other balloon which was a bit more helium-y and also had more surface area. They went through the whole ordeal of preparing the balloon again, and lo and behold, a balloon was returned to my son!

I was blown away by the whole thing. Coconut and Snort were overjoyed to have the balloon back, and I was grateful for the opportunity for them to learn that people can go completely out of their way to try to make someone else’s day a bit better.

The most awesome thing was that these two people looked like professional balloon fishers; this was obviously not their first time rescuing a balloon and saving a child’s day. It was inspiring and human and awesome.

I AM ALIVE!!!!

January 4, 2013

This is probably the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging. Here is  my litany of excuses…I mean, updates:

  • Aussie came to stay with her two little ones – Walnut and Travolta. Snort and Coconut were overjoyed to have their friends back, with the addition of a cute baby to fawn over. Since their departure, Walnut and Spiderman play a very big part in bedtime stories, by request. Aussie got sick, as did her kids. Before I realised just how sick she was, I ate some leftovers from a bowl she’d had. That is what Got Me Very Sick. Luckily neither of my kids fell prey.
  • The aforementioned Very Sick.
  • Those Christmas stockings. I’m not sure whether to use ‘fucking’ or ‘amazing’ as the adverb to describe them. I stayed up till 1:30 am on Christmas Eve morning so the kids could get them a day early and their splendor not lost amidst a haze of presents. You guys, they are beautiful. So beautiful that I would seriously have commissioned someone to make us stockings if I saw these as a sample. Don’t get any ideas, though. I’m not about to open a business. But they are perfect, exactly what I wanted, and handstitched to last a lifetime.
  • iPad. Since my sister gave me her hand-me-down iPad in the summer, blogging has taken a bit of a hit for me. Not only because of soul destroying games like Candy Crush Saga, but also because I write longest and best on a real keyboard.
  • Adventures – lots of them. New giant playgrounds, train rides with Santa, museum trips, and on and on and on.
  • Me. When TMD is home, literally all I want to do is lie in bed and read….if I can avoid Candy Crush Saga. I am seriously debating whether something is medically wrong with me, the amount of time I could just lie in bed and luxuriate. However, I am lax to take these wonderings seriously, because I think the only thing I could be diagnosed with is Parenting Young Children (PYC). I hear PYC is a well known and documented creator of exhaustion.

I’m sure I have more excuses tucked away here or there, but largely I’ve had a good few weeks. TMD has been home from work for an extended holiday break – we celebrate Christmas in a purely secular way, for those who wonder, and will probably celebrate Yule next year as well – and it’s been amazing having her home. She’s had a chance to dabble in our daily lives – trips to a cafe for shortbread, children ripping the house apart, etc. I wish we were independently wealthy so she could be here ALL THE TIME.

My other wish is a for a nice, reliable printer. We haven’t had one for a good long while, but as we get further into our home education journey, I realise just how useful one would be. I am also attracted to one that would print photos (though I suppose they all do, nowadays, ye whippersnappers) but only if that is actually cheaper than paying someone else to print them.

Have you all had a nice holiday? Lots of holiday angst…I mean, joy? I sincerely hope so. I know *I* had a great time hanging out with the relatives I just unfriended on facebook, namely because I clearly made my BIL very uncomfortable. I am sad about this. But as TMD says, all we need is an apology and we’re back in business.

In other news, my little sister is moving to Country B (!) possibly this month (!) and while she’ll be in the capitol, she’ll hopefully live on OUR side of it so she’ll be a mere two hours away. Very different from 7,000 miles away! She is a techie sort of gal, so we will be entering the land of more blogging, perhaps. If we aren’t constantly in the capital stalking Lady and her kids and visiting my sister! The kids’ schedule now involves classes of one sort or another on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which is perhaps not ideal for visits.  We also have a weekly home ed group on Thursdays that lasts all day, but that is totally optional and does not cost six million gazoombas per term.

And one more thing. Our new Wednesday activity is swimming, and we started this week. I don’t know what I expected, but it was not that my children were, in fact, adults. Three of the five kids in the class are totally new to swimming lessons, and so I expected some sort of water confidence build up. But no, lo and behold, we are preschoolers (or preunschoolers, in our case!!), and 3-4 year olds are hardcore. It was one teacher and assistant, no parents required. Swimming laps from the get go. LAPS. I know. They looked so grown up and awesome!

Snort and Coconut were fucking STARS. While I don’t much hold with giving automatic respect to someone just because they are an adult, I did explain that water can be dangerous, which is why you need a grown up helper. I explained their helper would be the swimming teacher, and they listened and followed instructions…and most importantly, just BEAMED the whole time. When they weren’t making their concentration faces, anyway. It couldn’t have gone better, especially as they are by far the youngest in the group, and I look forward to next week.

Coco did swallow a bit of water when she went under, and was not well pleased, so that may be a hiccup. But judging by the amount of imaginative play devoted to swimming lessons since Wednesday, I think we’re okay.

Nothing says awesome like day18, 19, or 20 of my menstrual cycle.

December 10, 2012

I gained three pounds on holiday. Not too bad, considering I found out they had Oreo milkshakes on offer.

Not too bad until you consider that when numbers go up on the scale, I get in a funk and usually lose motivation for a week. So, yeah, I gained three pounds this week, too. Pretty awesome, hey? In two weeks I managed to undo all the weight loss of the previous five weeks! Score! And then I stopped writing here because I was embarrassed.

My preperiod crazies were in full force last week, which contributed to my inability to stay on track. They probably also contributed to a rageful frenzy of unfriending relatives on Facebook (after months and months of just ignoring ongoing criticism I decided it was better to avoid them online).

But it also contributed to my making a big point of reaching out to much loved and longlasting friends, and I talked on the phone, skyped, texted, emailed to my heart’s content. We also met up with Lauren and her daughter (actually, that was a day or so before the crazy really kicked in!), which was nice and a reminder of how busy and fun days can be when you leave the house for day long epic adventures.

I also spent some time yesterday creating new home education picture thingies, one of which is BEAUTIFUL but I won’t post here as you can see the kids’ butts. I’ve also started the Christmas stockings, which look nice and have given me something to focus on in the off moments when I am not shoving food in my mouth. Ha.

But tomorrow…

Tomorrow is a big, big day.

Aussie is coming to our house with Walnut and her new baby, who has not been nicknamed by me yet. They are visiting from Australia and staying at our house until Saturday night!! We cannot wait. I also can fit ALL of us comfortably in my car, so that’s cool. Secretly Aussie and I are hoping the three older kids keep each other distracted away from us, the long suffering adults, so we can hide and drink tea. Her baby can just stay attached to her boob, so that means she and I can PARTY.

You know, when we aren’t actually paying attention to our gaggle of three year olds. It will be such a relief and joy to see her.

14 st 5. 41 pounds lost! And musings on disappearing disability.

November 25, 2012

Two pounds lost this week, though if I’m honest this has been the hardest week so far to control my eating. I’m falling back into my chocolate-salt-chocolate love affair, albeit with much smaller portions. But it is a bad slope, a hard to control slope, and one better avoided. I am sure it’s not a coincidence that I got my first headache yesterday since this new determination of weight loss (now many weeks have I been doing this? Someone please tell me. Maybe four?).

Tomorrow we go away on holiday. This will be tricky. When I was in weight watchers before I remember the leader saying we had three choices on holiday: still lose weight, relax a little and aim to maintain weight, or go fucking crazy because you are on holiday and just lose the weight when you get home. He said all three were valid choices. I think I will aim for number two.

I am still strongly in the mindset of getting this weight off. Interestingly, my knees have started to hurt. Bowen therapy is doing such amazing wonders for my pelvis (this new lady I have is like a miracle worker) that I think my body is starting to allow me to feel other pain that the hardcore pelvis pain has drowned out. I remember how good it felt to be at a good weight. I remember the total absence of hip and knee pain. I remember how good it was to walk into any shop and be able to find something cute, in my size, in minutes.

And, damnit, I remember wearing overalls/dungarees. Over here no one wears them, except perhaps butch lesbians?, but I wore them. And I miss them! Not sure I could wear them in public again, but oh…..I want to return to dungaree living.

I remember it all and I want that again. The freedom of movement, the comfort of clothes, the lack of pain. I was emailing, uh, Lady, and said to her that I still can’t believe I’m not in that wheelchair. In my mind, I remember the total emotional pain and complete inability to walk. It lingers. Yet I’m still surprised to see a picture of me in a wheelchair almost a year after they were born. In fact, the last time I used a wheelchair was only this past March.

I still have physical pain, still have days where walking is tough and scary, but I also get glimpses of my old life. My life pre disability: the particular way I used to cross my legs, ankle to knee, when I sat. Wearing a crossbody bag. I do these little things again, mostly without noticing or thinking about it. And it makes me wonder about a third life, a post disability life. Is that possible? Can it be possible?

I’ll always have the arthritis from the SPD. I’ll always need to return to Bowen therapy to help maintain my careful, still very new, balance. I’ll always be getting older, one day at a time, with bad genes that tend toward knee replacements and lower back pain.

But. But.

But.

On the pendulum of pain, life, joy….is it possible to swing ever closer to the side of my old physical capabilities, away from the extremes of not walking and wheelchairs? For the first time in years, a small part of me really believes the answer is yes.

Paging Dr. Coconut, we have a Snort shaped orthopaedic emergency.

November 23, 2012

This afternoon I wanted to video an hour of the kids’ play somehow, without totally getting in the way or reminding them I was there. I settled for sitting with my back to them at the table and listening in.

My attention was first drawn when Snort came over to say he needed x rays. Coconut ushered him back towards the play kitchen. He said his knee was broken, and she laid him back gently on the floor and proceeded to give him an x ray with a wooden spoon. While wearing an oven glove as radiation protection.

She then said he needed medicine, so they went to the pharmacy, located at the foot of the stairs. He proceeded to fall and apparently break both arms, so she exclaimed that he needed a wheelchair. They worked together to try out possible wheelchairs and construct one together.

Eventually they made their way back over to the floor area which was designated the hospital. He laid back on the floor, plasters were applied to both arms, and Coconut used her treasured syringe (a crappy blunt end syringe, a real one) to administer pretend medicine. By this point she was wearing her doctor’s coat, surgical mask, and glasses. Snort, of course, was bottomless….which is why I’m not sharing any of the fabulous pictures I did manage to sneak.

Their imaginations, cooperative play, and integrating their real world experiences through storytelling continue to amaze me on deeper levels each day. Both delight in listening to oral stories and telling their own. Snort likes to recreate movie scenes in novel ways. Coconut reads books to me often. They really are creating their own worlds, and they are having so much fun doing so. I look forward to seeing how this play develops as they age, and if their play now casts hints about the adults they will become.

But mostly, I sit quietly, trying to fight my natural urges to take pictures, because in these moments of sitting back and observing, I find much joy.

That awkward moment when you hope a new friend doesn’t secretly think you suck, because you wrote a whole blog post about how much she does NOT suck.

November 18, 2012

How are your Sundays going? Oh, good to hear, excellent. Mine? Well, you know, it’s just your run of the mill meeting of a new friend that you happen to LOVE as much in real life as you do in emails/texts. So, really, not run of the mill at all.

About a week ago, though it feels much longer, this woman commented on the blog that she’d been reading for ages (I need to think of a suitable blog name. Her real name screws me up because for a brief period in time it was THE name we were going to name Coconut!), and the next thing you know there’s like an instant friendship. I am a very sociable person, but I have to say it takes a lot for me to become real friends with someone. I can hold back in regards to initiating things, texting,etc.

This lady* was bizarre (in a nice way) because it felt easy from the get go. You guys, I smell real friendship in all its poop flavoured, panini tasting, random conversations sort of way. And she has twins! I managed not to bite, squeeze, or eat her babies today, though it was hard.

Of course, her ass doesn’t live in our town. There is only one of you that lives in our town, and that is the problem. More of you people should move here immediately! We could form a commune of people with free range children, hot chocolate, and puddle stomping. So seriously consider it.

I guess there ends my friendship crush entry of the day. Every time I meet someone I like I just feel a weird relief, I have to say. Hoping to see more of her and her delicious children soon….also hoping I thaw out from our afternoon outdoors sometime soon.

*My kids call all women ‘ladies.’ I feel all gross and not feminist like at ALL, so I am trying to introduce the word ‘woman’ into their vocabulary. Imagine my horror when I referred to someone as a lady accidentally in this entry! Ladies are either older, slightly disheveled cat lovers or women wearing hoop skirts and trying to marry into a good family. I must break this habit. I must!

Water car crashes take two, friends, and DIY plaster cast fixes.

November 13, 2012

My Facebook profile was the source of very funny and detailed discussions regarding the whole car crashing into the water thing. In addition to the handful of people who knew where I was coming from, including a friend who actually refuses to drive over water without opening a window, there was more than a few who took the absolute piss out of me.

Especially when someone else said we might as well drive wearing life jackets, when I raised the non-swimming children issue. Another person suggested just always driving with the windows all down, since those life jackets would keep us warm. The same friend mocked a picture of me sat in our parked car yesterday, telling me to watch out for water…because you never know.

She is right. You DON’T ever know.

Ha.

In other news, coconut’s cast seems to be slowly unravelling. It’s gone softer and softer, and the edge of the hard plaster bandage part is coming off. I used a glue stick to attempt to stick it back on. Wasn’t very successful. I guess my Dr Google medical training is defunct because it didn’t tell me to keep medical grade plaster of Paris in the house at all times.

Regardless, her unravelling cast, her, Snort, and I had a lovely morning at a local city farm with the little girl Coconut classes as her best friend. Lots of autumnal leaf throwing, delicious cafe food (for the grown ups, anyway. The kids were only interested in chips/fries.), and a nice walk. Sunday we are meeting another new friend in a place I’ve been wanting to go since we moved here. She described it as a sort of outdoor utopia. Let’s hope the weather is nice.

I was thinking this morning about building my own tribe. I am steadily meeting more and more people I really like. We are getting out and about a lot. Broken arms and snotty noses aside, things are good.