Sunday, December 27, 2015


At one point or another on Christmas day all of my children, save for J, said that Christmas was about love (for food, for family, for being together, or just for love's sake.) It was a wonderful thing to here. Christmas has always been about stuff for me, and it's been a big issue. I always wanted my Christmases to be toned down. And they were for awhile, especially when we were really involved in the Waldorf Community. I am grateful for that time, and proud of myself for all the hand made things we used to do, and maybe the fear that existed a bit in grandparents to get the children the things they really wanted to. Now the grandparents are doing what they want to do (which makes me happy, because life should be about satisfying your own needs, and not constantly worrying about satisfying someone else's requirements), we have less time for hand made, and we are not longer as Waldorf. I still see the value in having a wooden, albeit more expensive, animal and farmhouse over a plastic one as I feel the play will be warmer and more involved, it is not crucial - it is not the be all end all. What is most important is that my children know what Christmas is about - and I think we have achieved that. Parenting level: expert.

We went around to all the grandparents houses. It was chaotic. It was a lot. Our kids handled it as best as they could given the change in routine, the late bedtimes, and the influx of new and shiny things. I am glad the hoopla is over. I am excited to do Christmas pizza next year, instead of a dinner.

I am trying not to be a Grinch, I really worked on it this year. In some ways I succeeded, but I was tested in a lot of ways buy a few things, and I failed a few of those tests. I am grateful I had the support of my partners to remind me to breathe and relax and do what I needed to do to manage everything.

So from my family to your family have a wonderful rest of 2015, enjoy your entry to 2016 and be gentle on yourself and others.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I hate Star Wars. Really, I do. But the kids freaking love it. M as a matter of fact is learning to read because of Star Wars, BigR is also kind of catching on to reading through Star Wars and K, well she could already ready. But really, I'm sick of hearing about Padme (who K pronounces PadMee), and Maul, and even J is into Backa and Solo (cute, but still, arg!). We have only watched one movie, we are planning on watching Episode 5 soon, and then this will only increase, this will only get worse - I am afraid. But yay, interests I guess.

What else is going on? Well, the Christmas season is coming, in like 9 days. With Glassman not working we planned to do a toned down thing, but we received from very nice gifts that have helped us immensely and to which we are eternally grateful for. It is still toned down compared to a lot of people's I think, but with 8 people in the house, even if people only get 3 gifts, that is still 24 presents under the tree. OH! Speaking of the tree, this year we got the tree that did not want to be a tree for us. It would not stand. We tried tying it up, we tried using blocks to support it, we tried using rocks - we tried everything - it would NOT stand. Finally we got a bucket, put the bucket in the stand, put the tree in the bucket and put gravel rocks in with the tree to hold it. It is standing, but I know that one day I am going to wake up and come out of the bedroom to a fallen tree. Several times a day you can hear a parent shout "Don't touch the tree!" It's to be looked at only.

We have my work Christmas party on Friday, Santa will be making a visit (J will love it!), then Glassman's family party on Sunday, then Craftymama's dad's on the 23rd, my mom's on the 24th, and then Craftymama's mom's on the 26th. So much for boxing day open house where all the grandparents come. I don't like all of this traveling around and multiple Christmases. But I suppose it's only fair, they travelled to us to many times in Duncan, that we can move around for them.

I am trying to enjoy Christmas more this year. Nor focus on the expectations, and just let things go more. It was working up until the tree debacle, and decorating when there were 9 people here and the kids were absolutely insane and the house was a mess and I was just trying to make some memories dammit! I am enjoying it more, overall. I am not a complete Grinch, but there are certainly things I could do without.

I have a some days off from work that I am looking forward to, well, not really financially speaking, but it'll be good to have some days off to mentally and emotionally recharge. I am trying to take responsibility for my emotions and do some self care things. So far it hasn't really been working, but the point is I have started to try, and I have an amazing doctor and an even more amazing support system at home.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Life isn't Always Perfect

Relationships aren't easy. They are a lot of work. Add into the mix the fact that we don't have just one relationship going on like you would in a monogamous relationship - we have 4: Craftymama & Glassman, Glassman & Myself, Myself & Craftymama, and the three of us together. That's 4 relationships that need nurturing and time and patience and everything else.

Yes, it's definitely worth it.

Lately, though, it has been challenging. The relationships aren't connecting on the levels they need to be and some of us are feeling left out, lonely, like we don't fit in, or that our other needs aren't being met.

We have tried to have some discussions about some of these specific issues, but I think the root of the problem is we are trying to do to much. We have the usual chaos that is having 8 people in a house, plus Glassman isn't working so there is that stress, which adds to the money stress. Then Craftymama is trying to get her school organized and ready to open at least part time in the new year, which is a lot of both physical work and mental work. Then there is me, and really I am the only one I can really speak for. I am trying to work on all my mental issues in a variety of ways: each of which very different and yet still vital to my health, plus I am trying to expand my parenting tool repertoire, then there is the whole working towards becoming a funeral director which I am making small strides towards. It's hard to keep all the balls up in the air and not drop some from time to time. We have to find priorities and hold those ones up the longest.

For me, I am looking to connect with people. All of our interactions seem to be about bills or surface stuff, or major meltdown issues. There is nothing in the middle, nothing that helps us feel we are truly connected to each other through our minds, hearts, and bodies.

Perhaps I am asking too much. Part of this polyamory thing is recognizing that not just one person can meet all your needs, and it's not fair to ask them too. Am I happy with what I have? I think so, I certainly love who I am with, and I love being with them. It's only when I think about what I feel 'should' be happening or how things ought to be that I begin questioning and wondering if I am truly happy. I am mentally stimulated at work, my boss and I follow similar trains of thought, so I really do enjoy having discussions with him, that need of mine is being met at work - why does it need to be met at home? The important thing is that a person's needs are met, it doesn't really matter how, does it?

Maybe I just go searching for problems? But I do think there are some things we need to work on, in fact I know there is; it's simply a matter of figuring out what's important and what can wait - while at the same time juggling all those aforementioned balls.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Throwing your hands up in the air and surrendering

Sometimes you just have to give up and surrender. I am doing that. I am surrendering to the fact that I was unable to get through to someone very close and dear to me. I was unable to make them see why the choice they were making was not in their best interests. I failed, and so I surrender to the fact that this wasn't my fault. It is not on me. It is on them. I cannot always control what people do, even if the choice is obvious.

However, there is a part of me that is angry and offended, and will continue to be so. They made the wrong choice. Someone got hurt, someone was not given what they deserved. I am angry on their behalf. I am offended.

On another note, today many good things happened in my home:

  • The kids had an epic cushion pile on the couch and were jumping and diving into it with full glee. Even J was going all out, that child has no fear at all!
  • K and I went out on our street to sell her last box of girl guide cookies. She loved it and did a great job, I am so proud of her. 
  • J thanked me for reading him a book. I know this doesn't seem like much but it was adorable and he really is the most polite child at 2 - it's incredible. 
  • R's reading has really taken off, he was reading a new Star Wars book tonight and it has grown leaps and bounds even in the last week. 
  • Glassman actually made dinner tonight and it was successful albeit a little off recipe ;)

On a frustrating note one of our two laptops is hooped. Glassman's super cheap one doesn't play videos, can't ever be unplugged or moved from its location and is only for writing (like I'm doing now, and glassman's novel he is working on). We had one that worked for playing netflix and what not, and it's now dead - so that's great. I wish we could invest in a new computer, but that's not possible, so we will be looking at another cheap one. Yay! 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Accepting can be scary

So I have been thinking about this whole unschooling journey and, honestly, I am scared. What if my kids grow up and they aren't these successful, creative, confident adults I have pictured in my head? What if the delayed reading, or writing really does affect them? What if the lack of having to prove oneself to a teacher prevents them from having motivation to do better? What if? What if? What if? What if?

Rather than dwelling on those disturbing feelings, I started to be mindful with them. I let them be. I let them sit there and slowly, I began to unfold some thought patterns. I realized that all of my worries came back to people thinking or even *blaming* my children's shortcomings on me, as a parent, because it was me who made this choice. (However, if my kids came to me with logical intelligent reasons and wanted to attend more formal schooling, that is always a possibility, so this isn't always just going to be my choice). There are many downfalls and opportunities for failure while attending school. What if they join the increasing amount of youth who are developing mental illnesses because of the pressure and lack of play while attending school? What if the forced early ready and writing causes them to lose their natural love of such creative and healthy outlets? What if having to prove themselves to an outside authoritarian causes them to lose their internal drive to succeed?

The difference, though, is that attending school is the norm. There are two possibilities if any of these things were to happen from my kids attending school. Either we wouldn't notice them, or think they were a problem (like childrens' hatred of reading) because it is the status quo. We, as a society, tend to believe that children hate reading, or they hate learning in general - we don't even question those notions anymore. The other option is that the system itself would be blamed. Either there was too much or too little pressure from the teacher, an over crowded classroom, too much or not enough recess, not the right foods offered in the cafeteria - and the list goes on. It would be the systems fault.

But, it wouldn't be mine as a parent. It wouldn't be mine because I was doing what was expected of me. The responsibility isn't on me. The fault isn't on me. Like I said, the blame isn't on me.

It's fear. I am afraid of of people blaming me. I am afraid of my kids failing (although, if they are happy......really....what is the true definition of failure...) and everyone's, mostly my family's, eyes going to me.

As I see it, with unschooling and the lifestyle we have chosen, what my kids do and do not learn is on them. They have the choice here. We provide them with the enriching environment to learn and to thrive and they use their natural, biological, intrinsic motivation to seek the information they need. They do this by mimicking us, asking us questions, reading, or any other number of options. If they fail to meet goals (might I just interject and say that I hope the only goals that matter to them are the ones they set for themselves) then it is on them. The responsibility is on them. It is not on me. I, as a loving individual and parent, will support, help, remind, encourage, and let my child be free - and in doing so I believe I will be giving them the tools to succeed.

Now if only it wasn't for that pesky fear.....

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Body Autonomy Starts with Yourself.

Who am I to say that I want my kids to love themselves and be able to accept themselves for everything they are if I can't do it myself. I posted a few weeks back about learning to love myself in my tiger bathing suit, and yet it is still something I struggle with. Doing what I want to be doing for me and not for anyone else. I feel like I am going through what I should have gone through in my early 20's now. It's not a mid-life crisis it is a finding myself, it is a learning to love myself. I've proposed to my partners that we focus on our health and try to eat better in a further effort to lose the weight that plagues me, I have gotten Craftymama to dread my hair completely, time will tell if it will all stay in this time, and I put another hole through my face: vertical labret to be exact. I like piercings and tattoos (I got a new tattoo a month or so ago in fact, yay for saving birthday money!). I like the adrenaline rush, I like everything about it. I love how it feels. 

This is my body. This is my Self. My family accepts me and loves me who I am. My kids love me for who I am - even with all my flaws. The least I can do is try to do the same. 

Speaking of my family and my partners - our anniversary is coming up. October 28th is what we are calling our official anniversary. It is kind of complicated how everything got started so there is no official date of starting or when we sat down and said "yes, we are committed now." It's been 6 years now. 6 years in a polyamorous relationship. It has been tumultuous and simultaneously wonderful. I have learned about love, and communication, and trust and just what should make up a healthy relationship. I have two people who will stand by me and with me while I go through my mental health issues. I have two people to help coparent and love all my children. I have two people who will fix the sheets on the bed in the middle of the night because I can't sleep when they are wrinkly. So we are coming up on 6 years - it is incredible. I am incredibly lucky, and blessed, and happy to be with the both of them. As they have told me on multiple occasions, I am a challenging person. I know this. I know how amazing it is that I am with people who both get me and help make me a better person at the same time. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Body Autonomy - Enough Said.

Click on the above text to read the whole article. It really is a great article to think about when raising or interacting with children. They are their own people, they are their own beings and deserve our respect, and one of the ways we can do that is by respecting their choices when it comes to their bodies. 

No, my family is not perfect. We still struggle with respect in all forms available - including food choices, But we are working on it. We are trying to be better. It is our goal for our children to feel that we respected them as individuals and allowed them to express their own desires. I hope they feel loved and supported.

Everyone does the best job they can with the information they have. Maybe this will be new information for you. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

DITL: Friday September 25th, 2015

A date with J and a drink with family.

Obligatory morning selfie :)


First I had to drop this guy off at work. I feel like I've been dropping him off for years. I guess it has been over 8 years now!

Then it was off to a doctor's appointment to discuss my fluctuating moods. The photo on the right is one that I have been obsessed with in his office - I'd honestly like to buy it. 

 I returned home to find K and M on the computer playing Minecraft and Craftymama, well, crafting.

I load J into the car, he gives me his serious face, but is really excited at getting to go in "Mii Mii's Car!"

When you are walking with a toddler we must touch everything and look at everything. This wall was not an exception. 

Then it is off to Starbucks for an oat bar for J, a long time favourite, and a coffee for me. A day with a toddler is going to be a long day.  

Then we went off to Value Village to get some winter clothing for the kits. J was fascinated by all the different vehicles he was allowed to hold!

Then we went to Beach Acres. I have done this walk with all the kids. All of them, save for BigR, have gone on my back. I love this trail. It is beautiful and peaceful and oh it just fills my cup. This may be the last time J lets me wrap him :(

Pretty waterfall - you follow this river all the way down.... the beach - where you can watch the boats come and go. 

Handsome J climbed this big log to play his cars which he carried down the trail with him. Cars go everywhere! 

Read the bottom of that text...the climb up did suck. J wanted to do it, but often went nugh nighs on the many stairs because he was so tired. However, he wouldn't let me wrap him. Took 20 minutes to walk down and an hour and 10 to walk back up.

Snack time in my car. 

Then it was off to the mall for something to do. I got J a car cart because his little legs were tired from the big hike. He was thrilled - and then even more thrilled when I got him popcorn!

These are the moments I want to remember. His hand won't hold just two of my fingers for too long. 

Then it was off the the library. Though instead of books, J dove into bean bags, and climbed into shelves.

Back to this place to pick Daddy up. This was his face when he saw Daddy's truck. We were very excited.

First we buckled....then we fell asleep.

So of course, upon waking at home he had to nurse. 

While I created dinner. I made my version of some sort of chinese food and the kids loved it! I don't know if I'll ever be able to recreate it! 

Shortly after our late dinner the littles went to bed with kisses and the bigs had their computer turns playing Minecraft and googling Harry Potter things - while the baby watches. 

While I sit with my feet up. Entertaining a toddler out of the house all day is hard work!

To end the day we have some drinks - make some nachos - and watch Greys Anatomy. 

A good day! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

My Weekend and my Chaos

So we all know I am diagnosed Bipolar II and Borderline Personality Disorder. Through the course I've what I just learned was 18 different medications, 4 forms of therapy, and at least 14 ECT sessions I found balance. That balance became waivered and last week I entered a depression and began hearing voices. I alerted my psychiatrist to this right away and he prescribed some medication which I reluctantly began taking. Two days after starting it the voices went away but mania set in. I was manic for a few days and it was fun, it always is. Then it got out of hand. I took 4mg of ativan in a 2.5 hour time frame and it did little to slow me down. My family needed to sleep so I was taken to the hospital where I was essentially sedated for the next 20 hours. I spent 2 nights in the hospital, from Friday until Sunday and when I told them I was not ready to go home because I still felt agitated and the beginnings of a depression (which is common after a manic episode), and I didn't think that was a good combination - they let me go anyways.

So Sunday, I went to a Nanaimo Free Learners event being held downtown and talked to some people about children's rights to education. That served well to distract me enough from what was coming. But it came. I have entered a depression again. I am working with a therapist and we are getting to the roots of my beliefs about myself - a lot of which originated in childhood. No I wasn't abused or anything in childhood, frankly, I had a pretty good childhood. But I was subject to a lot of negative talk directed towards me by people who were supposed to be my friends and people who were in trusted positions. The messages they sent to me are what I now believe about myself. I now have to work at re-hard wiring my brain so I no longer fall to those apparently faulty notions about myself. That will take work and I am not there yet.

My work is struggling. I have had to take a a few days off and I have not caught up and have not had the motivation to catch up. I am terrified of losing this job like I did at Salvation Botanicals because of my illness. I have been forthcoming with my bosses as well as my coworkers as to what's going on with me, and I am hoping they continue to understand. I am also hoping this passes really really soon.

I have been in some pretty dark places in the last 4 years, and I am scared of going back there. I am scared I'm heading there now - and I know I will if I don't do something. Problem is I don't know what to do. I can only distract myself so much. I can't rely on the medication, which are not completely working. I only see my therapist every two weeks, and the work we do takes time and is slow. I need tools and resources now. I see my psychiatrist on Friday, so there is that. I like him, he has been with my from the beginning. Craftymama and Glassman continue to support me, and I continue to be open with my kids so that they both know I am struggling and can see me working to improve, not giving up - that's an important lesson for them. Of course, I don't give them the scary details, but they do know that my brain thinks differently than theirs, and sometimes I think bad thoughts which make it hard for me to do things, and sometimes I have to go to the hospital to get help. I think that's good for their ages.

So I am hoping not to stay in this mind set for long. I am hoping it just passes or I find something I can do. In the mean time, I am surviving day to day - moment to moment - and sometimes that's all I can do.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fall is Upon Us

So Fall is upon us - though not officially for a few more days I guess. The days have gotten darker and colder and it rains now. Craftymama is in her glory - she loves fall. I am already missing the long summer days. I hate waking up when its still dark. Soon I will leave for work when its dark and leave for home when its dark as well - no daylight for this girl!

K had her birthday:

I have some one on one time with each kid for their birthday and with K we went out for coffee and then to the yarn store - don't worry she got decaf. This is the second time she has gone out for coffee on her birthday, I think I'm gonna have a starbucks addict on my hand. She received lots of doctor and space related things - her two main interests right now. NanaJ was around to show her how to use a stethoscope which was very exciting for her. I can't believe she is 8 now.

What other things are happening? Well, most other kids went back to school and our kids are reaping the benefit of empty parks and swimming pools which is awesome. They went to a science discovery thing today and had a ton of fun. M is even learning how to read, I hear he is doing quite well but he is very quiet about it and I don't want to push him to show off his new skills.

The boys are obsessed with star wars and lego - and M with fighter planes. LittleR is obsessed with me - still.

The activities have started. M is in soccer - one practice and one game a week. He runs way faster than any of the other kids but is lacking in soccer skills so he is timid to touch the ball. BigR got to bring a pocket knife to his Cub meeting because they are going camping this weekend - I am stoked for him, he is going to love it oh so much. K started Brownies and apparently already has a best friend. I still don't know what to do with LittleR - do I have to do anything? Will someone else make this decision for me?

As for the three of us? Glassman is going to be having some days off because work is sporadic - he is writing lots. Craftymama is marketing up a storm for her school and already has people talking about her which is incredible! And me..well...I'm still plugging along. Still working. Same old Same old.

Friday, September 4, 2015

What I Learned From a Tiger

These are not true colours - it is much more neon and bright!
So this is my bathing suit. It's neon rainbow with a tiger face on it. It happened on one foul trip to WalMart. The kids were all really into swimming and really wanted to swim with us, and I didn't have a bathing suit. So Craftymama and I went to WalMart, because it's cheap. She saw this one and dared me to try it on.

Here's the thing. I've gained weight, I know it, everyone who knows me knows it. It makes shopping for clothes a depression inducing adventure. Now, imagine going bathing suit shopping. I looked at my other options, there were no plain black suits - none. I could have two pieces, tankinis, or things with fringe and cut outs. I tried this neon tiger face bathing suit on.

Let me tell you. It looks horrible. It is not suited to my body type, it is high cut where it shouldn't be, and low cut in other awful places. It doesn't make my boobs look good - in fact it pancakes them flat. Did I mention it's also bright and attention grabbing.

I bought it.

I bought it for one main reason at the start: if I was going to look awful in every bathing suit anyways, because I hate my body, then I should just pick the ugliest one for laughs. It's better to laugh than cry right?

Well, the kids absolutely love it. J breaks out in giggles yelling 'kitty' every time he sees it. LittleR loves the rainbow and the other kids just think its funny. It's providing smiles all around. It's also taught me a thing or two....

What I Learned From Wearing a Neon Tiger Bathing Suit:

  • It's okay if people laugh at me.
    • They do. People look at me and I see them giggle. It really is a bright thing, and people just stare and then they laugh to their friends or to themselves. At first I would feign confidence and pretend like I didn't care. Now, I don't care. This bathing suit was cheap, and it makes my kids happy. Why does it matter what other people think of me? I will never see them again. Further, at least I made them smile - it's always a good thing if you can make another person happy if only for a fleeting moment. 
  • It's okay to laugh at yourself.
    • Also very true. I used to laugh at myself because I would just be joking with other people making fun of me, but really I would just be hating myself the whole time. This tiger has taught me to actually laugh at the things I do. Again, it's better to laugh than cry. 
  • Personal growth does not come from hating yourself. 
    • Until very recently I believed that I couldn't improve my mind or my body unless I hated it enough. I believed that I wouldn't be motivated to change unless I was truly disgusted with what I had become. Well, when I first got this suit, and I first put it on - I couldn't have felt worse about myself. It's ugly and it looks like shit on me. It was only after I embraced it and the way I looked in it that I became motivated to change. I am currently wearing it about 3 times a week minimum to go swim lengths at the pool in an effort to lose weight. I wear it proudly. It will be a gloriously happy day and a sad day when this suit is too big for me!
  • Going outside your comfort zone can be exhilarating. 
    • I normally try to hide with my clothes. To blend it, to not stand out. This is the opposite of that. I can't help but stand out. It's kind of fun and exciting to be different and to go against the grain. Normally speaking, someone of my size would wear a plain, probably black, swim suit, with a cover up. It's not normal to see something so bright. I like being different. I have always been proud of being different, and this has given me confidence to be different in my clothing and to not be so hard on myself for what I can and can't wear. (I have since bought a skirt! I never wear skirts!)

One purchase made out of self-hatred and a dare from Craftymama. One purchase has changed my perspective on myself. It's a remarkable and very welcomed thing.

Now let's hope these revelations stick around for a bit and are not forgotten too easily.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

2015 Video

Watch this video...the kids are getting so big. Tears and happiness and all sort of emotions. Oh the feels. The goal for Craftymama is to do one of these every year. We need to take more videos of the kids so she has lots of choice. We will never regret taking video or pictures - ever!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Family is Family

My family is growing up, we are changing, we are growing - together. We are creating wonderful family memories, and I am just in love with them all. 

the three of us.

All my boys trying to sword fight - even at the beach! 

The kids enjoying their ice cream cones at the waterfront. 

LittleR took this picture of herself. 

The boy loves to be naked!
Unschooling, the theories and practices, are leaching over into other areas of our parenting and it's been wonderful. The kids no longer have 'bedtimes' per se, instead they have a time in which they have quiet time in their rooms. They are welcome to read books, play lego quietly or talk to their sibling. We did this for a couple of reasons. First, it's their bodies and their sleep schedules and they do need to learn some autonomy. Second, there is nothing anymore that says they need to be up at a specific time so if they want to sleep in they can. Third, everyone's sleep schedules are different. Some people need more, some less, some sleep better in early evening, some are night owls - who are we to impose these on the kids, why shouldn't they be able to figure it out on their own. If, when they are older, they get involved in something that requires them to be up at a certain time then that is when they will learn to do that. Part of unschooling is learning how to do things when you need them or when you are interested in them. I would rather my kids know their own sleep needs then for me to arbitrarily tell them they need to go to bed at a certain time because I say so.

They have been swimming oh so many times this year and their abilities in the water have progressed so much. They have gone to water parks, play grounds, beaches. We have taken them on day trips up island, evening visits to another town because we are able to stay up later for these things. We have had picnics and done so many things. Memories are being created.

The three of us are also doing well. We are communicating better and I am getting used to involving glassman in my mental illness so that a) craftymama doesn't have the whole burden and b) we cna begin to build a relationship on trust. We all share a room now, though that has been the case for a couple of months. Glassman still has a room downstairs with his shit in it that is really just taking up space that we could use for something else. We need to fix that. We are happy :)

Monday, August 17, 2015


I started therapy last week. I also had my first reiki session. I am trying to make big personal changes; "take chances, make mistakes....get messy" as The Magic School Bus always told me.

It took a good 4 or more years to get my bipolar under controls, to get the actual hormones and chemicals in my brain to work closer to how they are supposed to. Now I am trying to get my Borderline Personality Disorder things under some sort of management, and to do that I need to face some of my root issues, some of the mistakes that I've made, and some of the mistakes of other people that I have been a victim of.

Therapy will help with the more...surface issue. I am hoping to learn mindfulness. I am hoping to learn some tools to help when things get overwhelming, as they frequently do, or when my gut tells me to do something that I really know I shouldn't be doing.

Then there is my spiritual healing. I firmly believe we all need to take care of our spiritual health, it is vital to happiness and to success. What better way to start taking care of myself spiritually than by having my energy cleansed and refocused through Reiki. Now, do I believe it is the be all end all of therapies? No, I don't think anything is. I merely think it is a tool in a journey.

I am also hoping to do a short mindful self compassion course in October, as well as my Vipassana Meditation in November. I am also really hoping and trying to make the right connections to attempt an ayahuasca ceremony as I have believed for years that doing so would strengthen my core and allow me to grow. I am also attempting to meditate at least 20 minutes per day - though that is proving difficult, and my therapist won't be happy I haven't been doing it because it was part of my homework.

I am also trying to remove negative people from my life, and not let people treat me poorly just because historically that's what I have taken from them. It's a challenge, and it is sad. But it must be done.

On a semi related note, I went and saw the movie Inside Out with BigR and K as well as NanaJ and my niece who was in town. K and my niece had so much fun together, and I know my nephews and my boys would get along together so well, what with their love of soccer and lego - that I have invited them all over to my house for a weekend to hang out. I think it'd be fun and my house is big enough to house them all. I haven't heard back from SisterE yet, but I am hopeful she will let our children be close even if we can't be.

Speaking of Inside Out though, it was a great movie for showing kids how emotions work and how every emotion is valuable and important. There were so many feelings during that movie, and they expressed the emotions so well. It was just such a great movie - I really enjoyed it, even though it is supposed to be for kids.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Then and Now

About 5 years ago

How the hell did this happen? They are all so big! There is another one of them! Same swings, same kids, same park - completely different life now. It went by too quickly, it always does. In 5 more years, I will look back on today's picture and be amazed at how little they are now. It's all perspective. All the days are painfully the same and yet little by little they grow up and become the amazing people they are becoming. I am so proud of each and every one of them for forging their own path and being their own individuals. They are strong children. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


So we are almost, almost, done signing the kids up for some activities this coming fall.

BigR will be doing Boy Scouts. We did originally have him signed up for this while living in Cobble Hill but that troop or group or whatever it's called folded and we didn't find a new one. He is excited to earn badges and really enjoyed going for the short time he went. He is also really into playing guitar, as he was front row at the Keith Urban show at Sunfest this year. Glassman and I will have to break out ours and maybe show him a thing or two - if I can even remember.

K will be doing Girl Guides. We wanted to sign her up for a St Johns Ambulance Cadets Group - so she would learn first aid, and all the medical stuff she has really been interested in but after trying to make contact with them for several months we have given up. Guides will be a good opportunity for her to talk to people, which she loves doing.

M will be going into Soccer. Honestly, I do not look forward to this. Being a soccer parent, I hear, is cold and wet and it's a very long season. But he really wants to do it, so who are we to say now based on superficial kind of pathetic reasons. He is a natural runner for his age because he is so tall and has always loved watched soccer so this will be a good fit for him I think. He is also excited about cleats - he really wants cleats.

LittleR..there is the tricky one. She did the equestrian camp and I would love to put her into that but its out of our price range. She is also doing rock climbing right now (both gifts from grandparents for her birthday) and she seems really good at that - she has always loved to climb. K has influenced her into wanting to take dance but anyone call tell she doesn't actually want to do that. I don't know what to put her in, like at all. We could stick with rock climbing, but it is a bit on the expensive side as well. Ugh, I just don't know - but registration dates for things are closing in on us fast.

As for J..well his interests consists of nursing, cars, trucks, chasing kitties, grandpa, being wrapped on my back and the water. He will continue to do those - unscripted. He is also becoming quite the swimmer - kind of. He is walking on his hands while kicking his feet in the water and when it gets too deep he like flails his arms around, without being scared, to keep his head above water. I am hopeful he will be our kid that won't go through a being terrified of the water phase.

As for activities for the adults...well, glassman continues to work on his novel, or a new one as he finished his first and is letting it sit for awhile before proofing it. He is also working on some short stories. Craftymama is working hard on her center for education - networking, planning meetings, advertising etc. It's really coming along and she is putting a lot of energy into it. I'm proud of the both of them for following their dreams. And me? Well, I'm still plugging along trying to figure things out for myself as a person and what not. So, I don't really do activities, I kind of just exist at the moment.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Piggy Backing on a Previous Post

I posted before about letting our children be their own people. Craftymama has been reading this book about What every parent should know about schools - and I read a chapter of it last night, and was not surprised, but reaffirmed in a lot of things that were mentioned.

One of the quotes that stood out to me was:

"Our lack of trust in our children points to something even deeper - our over-identification with them. "My child is an extension of myself. If they look bad, I look bad. Their performance is a reflection of my parenting""

We don't trust our children, as a society, to pick their own direction, their own educational paths, their own activities - if any. Instead, we thrust them into a building for 8 hours a day for forced education on facts that don't really matter to them, that they will never use, and will forget as soon as it's not needed anymore.

When they do poorly at school, we are embarrassed to tell our family, we shame our children, we may even blame ourselves for not pushing them hard enough, not spending enough time on homework or goodness knows what other reason we, as parents, will find to blame ourselves for. When they do well, we sing their praises - we tell people, we congratulate them - whether or not their good performance was indicative of actual effort or merely luck. We teach them, by our own reactions, that their value as both a student and as a person comes when they perform to a certain set of standards and give the answers that are expected. Their worth as individuals should not come down to whether or not they can regurgitate information onto a sheet of paper, their worth as a person should come down to more intrinsic values (kindness, empathy, compassion, honesty etc) and children cannot and will not learn that if they are not given the opportunity to.

I trust my children to learn these values. I also trust them to fail - which is something very personal I hope to touch on soon here. I trust them to learn the things they need to learn to succeed in life. They are their own people, they are not extensions of me. I may guide them, I may assist them, I may nurture them - but at the end of the day they have to be able to stand on their own two feet.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Education Reformation

A few months back I posted THIS entry about letting my kids be their own people, letting them develop their own interests and personality, and being proud of whoever they are and whoever they become.

A way we are honoring that commitment to our children is by an education style known as Unschooling. It is something that appealed to me back when K was little, but after meeting Craftymama, and the chaos of having so many kids, we didn't think we could do it. Craftymama had always been into the Waldorf style of learning and after seeing the kindergartens I was sold on it too. I should have taken more stock of the grades program - because that wouldn't have sat right with me. Every child, however, should have the experience of a waldorf kindergarten. Not necessarily in a waldorf school - but the environment of being made to feel important, not less than, developing strength and confidence and imagination - it was a wonderful experience, and I am genuinely sad that we pulled LittleR a year early and that J won't get to go at all.

However, once we got to the grades, all the things that I hated about school began popping up. They even did for Craftymama who wasn't sold on the idea of unschooling when I first proposed it back when we were friends all that time ago, Initially we just pulled BigR out of school and Craftymama attempted waldorf homeschooling him - they were both miserable. Slowly, almost organically, it grew into more unschooling. I will admit, I was nervous. She was so against it before, and to now see her embracing it felt...well...I don't know how it felt, but I was nervous for it's success.

So what is unschooling? Wikipedia tells me that, technically:

"Unschooling is an educational method and philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning. Unschooling students learn through their natural life experiences including playhousehold responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, mentors, and social interaction. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities initiated by the children themselves, believing that the more personal learning is, the more meaningful, well-understood and therefore useful it is to the child. While courses may occasionally be taken, unschooling questions the usefulness of standard curricula, conventional grading methods, and other features of traditional schooling in the education of each unique child."

For example, one of BigR's first educational breakthroughs came in the form of a book he put together all about Egypt. He practiced his writing, he learned history, he learned about different cultures - all because he wanted to - there was no force, no coercion - it was pure interest.

When it comes down to it and you really think about it, all the most vital and important skills children have learned have not been forced or coerced out of them. They learned how to suck, whether from bottle or breast on their own. They learned how to roll over, how to crawl, and then how to walk - simply because they had a drive to, a need to. They learn a language, their first language, purely by imitation - on their own. Learning happens organically. By sending our children to school, where learning is something that is forced upon them, we are teaching them that learning, that education, has to happen within the confines of a crowded room, during the hours of 8:30-3:30 5 days a week. By instilling in them a love of learning, we are showing them that this learning can happen anywhere, at any time, from any one. There doesn't need to be a prescribed teacher, a perceived God of knowledge who holds our children's futures in their hand. We can direct our own futures. We are in charge of our own education.

Does this mean that our kids play all day? Well mostly, yes. However, there is a wide spread belief that a large part of learning occurs through play. There are also important, non 'educational' benefits to play as well - they learn cooperation, problem solving skills, group dynamics, conflict resolution and a whole host of other skills that are essential to being an adult. However, they also learn. They learn what they are interested in. They each have different styles - BigR is meticulous and wants to be perfect at something before going onto the next. K jumps around from subject to subject, not really mastering anything but gathering a huge abundance of information about a lot of things. M and LittleR are still little - they have interests, but they are short lived. They are working on reading, and writing - but we don't make them sit at the table and do it all day. They ask Craftymama to make out copy sheets, or read lines from books for them to copy. M is really into Star Wars, I have been learning a lot about Wookies and Han Solo through this.

That's the other important thing. We are not afraid to say "I don't know" to our children. That phrase is a door opening to a whole new subset of knowledge and possibilities for both us and our kids. When we have to go on google and look something up - they learn and we learn. We are showing them that this process never stops. It is never too late to learn something new.

Is this adventure a bit scary? Well yes. We are throwing our complete trust in the education of our children into the children themselves. But there is empowerment in that. Empowerment for them to take control of their own lives. It is a different road, but we certainly aren't alone, there are a lot of unschoolers, radical unschoolers, democratic schoolers, and free schoolers out there - all holding a common child led belief.

If we don't let kids take some control of their lives, their bodies, and their minds now - who are we to thrust that upon them at 18? What skills have we given them when they hit that magical age that will equip them to deal with being adult and being self sufficient and self motivating. It is our job to prepare them. That's why we have chosen unschooling - because we feel it prepares them the best, and gives them the best chance at a happy and successful future.

Monday, June 29, 2015

What a month!

This month has been a whirlwind! I mean, June is already a busy month what with both R's birthdays...but this one takes the cake.

I would like to write more about the kids' education plans, and I hopefully will - but for now..just the bare bones.

At the beginning of June we lost our second car. We had already lost old crappy, and then the cradle on the white car rusted out and was shot. It would have been over two grand to fix it and the car isn't worth that much. It was crushed into a cube. My amazing work has been allowing me to use their extra car, but we were still without a way to get glassman to work. So..he went to live with his dad and rode a bike to work every morning. He would come home on weekends to see everyone. It was awful. All the kids, especially J missed him terribly. All the kids made him something for Father's day - it was adorable.

On June 10th, Big R celebrated his 9th birthday.
This is how I remember Big R. This is what he looked like when I first met him. Obsessed with cars, strong believer in gnomes and magic, silly, and just a joy to be around. Nearly immediately after meeting him I began to be around him and part of his upbringing every day. By the time he was 3.5 I was living with him, and becoming his mii mii. I will never forget the first time he called me that. I cried. I feel honoured that he has accepted me and loves me the way he does.
This is Big R on his birthday. Cars are boring. He has no time for 'boring adults.' He got an Ipod Shuffle as a gift and he likes listening to it and drowning everyone out. He still plays pretend every once in a while, and he still really wants to believe in magic. He is a very intelligent, very quiet boy. He is very sensitive and very in tune with his emotions. He feels strongly. He is growing up. It's scary and amazing to be part of that process.

Little R's birthday was on the 24th, but inbetween these two days some things happened. So, we our lease was originally up on June 15th, the landlord agreed to extend it to the 30th because the little kids weren't done school until the 19th. On the 23rd, Craftymama is in contact with me because the landlord is there freaking out and yelling at her. She is having a panic attack so I leave work and come home wherein the landlord and I get into an argument. He demands that we leave immediately. He calls me liar. Accuses me of a bunch of things. Threatens me with jail. I no longer felt safe in the house and neither did craftymama. So...we got a truck. We called glassman home from work and we started packing. My employers showed up with 3 trucks and 3 men to help us as well as dinner. I cried from their generosity. We loaded up a moving truck and a pick up truck in 5 hours and were done. The truck was stored at another friend's farm, with the pick up truck stuff in storage there until we could grab it. We then went to craftymama's dad's trailer and stayed there for a night before they told us to use their house and they would stay at the trailer.

So the next day, the 24th, is Little R's and Craftymama's birthdays.
This is my squishy. She was short and she was small and she was loud. She grounded me and brought me more into myself. Her birth was amazing and powerful and an experience that I will hold onto for as long as I can. She nursed and wanted to be with me - all the time.
Now she is my Little R. She is still short. She is still loud, and she still wants to be with me and near me all the time. She follows me around. She is feisty and she has opinions (especially about bananas). Her currency is cookies, she loves cookies. She is her own unique weird person now. She says weird one liners that I also hope I will be able to store away and remember as she gets older. 

This is also craftymama who celebrated her birthday on the same day. She is an amazing mother to our children, and an amazingly beautiful woman. I cherish every moment I get to spend with her, and she has helped me and supported me so so much over the past years. She is stronger than even she realizes. We fit - and its wonderful. 

So, we were going to go back to the house to clean, but the landlord has forbidden us from going on the property. He made accusation of theft and called the RCMP. He refuses to return the security deposit and has told us we owe him money for utilities but won't show us the bills. He also has our mail. I am not sure what happened. A week before this happened he had talked to the landlord of our new house and given us a glowing review and said he was sad lose us, and then a week later this happened. I'm thinking something has happened in his personal life and he is taking it out on us. I am trying to have compassion, and trying not to feel angry - but its hard. 

So we lived at Craftymama's dad's for 3 days and then our new landlord let us move in early to the new house - thankfully. So we did that on the 27th. Glassman and I unloaded the truck, we set it up. We are just missing the stuff from storage as I need a pickup truck to grab that stuff.

It's wonderful to be back in Nanaimo. We're home. This is where we should be. It sucks that I am commuting to work every day - but I love my job and I work for amazing people, and I know in my heart that my home and my family are in Nanaimo. 

It's been a whirlwind of a month between birthdays, cars, and houses. But I have been surrounded by amazing people who have held me and lifted me through all of this. The world continues to show me that it is a good place, even when I am in my darkest of times. It continues to provide me with examples true human compassion and empathy. I just need to remember all these things. 

Life is starting over - again. We are here. We are adjusting. We are home.