Sunday, 8 January 2017

Christmas Reflections

Happy New Year!!  I truly hope that this year is starting off well for you.

How was your Christmas and December holidays?  I'd love to hear all about what you did and how you felt about everything.

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season ended I reflected on how things went and what I might do differently next year.

This is all I could manage to capture for a Christmas photo

Now don't get me wrong.  I love Christmas and had a wonderful time with my family.  The boys's excitement just makes it all so much more enjoyable.  Oh I wish you could have seen how thrilled TJ was opening his stocking.  It truly made my day.

What I did really like was talking about things before hand with the boys.  We made a list of their favourite Christmas activities and tried to fit them all in.  I also did my best to keep things simple and not to over schedule.  This all went very well. We also kept the gifting simple but perfect for each child.  They were so excited to give each other items they'd specially chosen too.

Another thing I loved was that their toys came alive this year!  No creepy Elf on the Shelf for us. It was just for the fun of it.  I had heard of Dinovember but we don't own any dinosaurs, so our stuffed animals had all the fun. You'll have to check our the FB posts on our page to see all the funny things the toys did for more than a month!! It was super fun at first, but there were some days that I wasn't in to it any more.  Perhaps a shorter time if we do that again.

Toys being silly

What got me thinking was that as Christians, Jesus was pushed aside far more than I'd have wanted.  We didn't really focus on Santa much, but just the silly toy, fun things to do, excitement over gifts and such took our focus away from the reason we celebrate in the first place.

Unless I made some major changes I'm sure this will happen again next year.  As the boys get older I'm sure they'll appreciate and understand more.  I mean they do know why we celebrate Christmas and we do try to focus on that, but...

Baking is so much fun
So I was thinking that maybe before Christmas we could do things as usual.  Just enjoy all the fun holiday activities and excitement that ensues.  But perhaps in the quiet afterwards we could turn towards Jesus and be able to give more attention to him.  I know that many families celebrate Epiphany and so we wouldn't be alone in that.

So what are your thoughts?
How do you balance it all??

 I think it's good to reflect on things. My hubby and I talked a bit too about how things felt a little different this year.  As we get older we recognize that the magic of the season seems more for the kids than us, and that felt oddly noticeable for me this year.  Hmmm...

How did your Christmas go?
Anything you'll be changing up this year?

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Parenting is tough!!!

Parenting can be hard.  I love my kids I really do, but as I sit here tonight reflecting on the day... let's just say it was rather a hard one.  I'm drained and too tired to do anything even though my to do list is a mile long.  My darling husband is feeling the same way.

Let's just say this right now to get it out of the way.  My way of parenting will be different than yours.  We have different children, beliefs, priorities and such.  I'm okay with that if you are.

My middle son is six years old.  For those of you familiar with Waldorf education you will have heard of the 6 year change.  Yup it's a real thing and we are dealing with it right now.  I know it shall pass and well will all be okay because we've already weathered this storm with our oldest.  I'd say it's more of a crazy rollercoaster ride with big emotions to navigate.

There different ways of approaching a child with strong feelings that come across as defiant, angry, aggressive, bad tempered, annoying... my list can go on about the ways MJ has been acting lately.  Of course there are fabulous things too about the little guy, but today was full of big feelings that came out with hitting, name calling and ignoring direction.

A few weeks ago with our first snowfall

We do our best to have firm loving boundaries.  When MJ did something really hurtful or dangerous today I did as many would do and gave a punishment (took away his screen time).  When it happened later in the day he lost his evening TV time too.  I don't usually take this approach but I had already given multiple warnings, reminders, talks, time outs... Anywho late afternoon was horrible around the house.  He was so upset and angry with everyone and took it out on all of us.  It got worse and he burst into tears.

I'd like to say now that I was able to diffuse the situation quickly but we have other children in the home, dinner and other things going on.  So it is complicated and difficult.  Surely you understand.

When I finally got some alone time with my little boy his feelings burst out.  He shared how he felt his punishments were unfair, he wanted his screen time back.  He was showing us how mad he was.  Inside he felt like he wanted to put a garbage can full of poop on my head because he was so upset that he lost his Wii time because he had forgotten the rules (we've been struggling with dangerous maneuvers on the couch).  So that is why he put his empty smelly garbage can on me.  We cuddled and talked some more about what he had done, who he had hurt, what would be a better way to deal with it all.  We are still working on how to remember the rules, but instead of loosing all his screen time he asked if he could take on extra chores for the couch stunts.  As for hurting his big brother he asked if TJ could get extra Wii time and an apology.

I totally could have stuck to my guns today.  MJ would be denied any screens as punishment for loosing control.  But instead I chose to connect with my little boy.  We talked about his feelings, why things happened, what we could do differently.  I chose to deal with his heart and our relationship.  Yes I changed my mind, but I am glad I did.  The rest of the evening went great and he was much calmer.  I learned a lot about what he is dealing with these days.

Will he go wild again?  Of course!  Will he hurt his brothers again? Probably tomorrow morning.  Will we have to have more discussions?  YES! and I'll do that first before jumping in with empty threats.

Life is a journey.  It is hard, messy, rewarding and wonderful.  I am so glad to be on this ride with my boys.  Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Oh such exciting news (no it's not a baby)

I am so excited to share with you a new way to clean your home!  Can you imagine cleaning almost your entire house with just water and a microfiber cloth?!  Seriously I can't get over how the Norwex company is changing our lives.

It all started out because a friend asked me to do her a favour and host a Norwex party to get her business going.  I figured I had nothing to loose, so I agreed.  She also asked if I wanted to come to an event with her, get a free gift and maybe win a prize.  I'm all over free stuff and I needed a night out.  At the end of the meeting I discovered that they had a special offer that month to sign up for only $10.  The starter kit that month (September 2016) had several cloths I wanted and it was an offer I couldn't refuse.  It all took off from there! I love the flexibility in my hours, the wonderful people I meet and being able to help support my family.  I believe in these product and can't wait to share them with you.

So what makes these cloths so special? Check out this video It is all about the microfiber!

I love the whole mission of of Norwex.  Who wouldn't want to change the world!  I also love how much support I have ben getting from behind the scenes.  I really am having fun with this.

My biggest supporter is my oldest son.  TJ couldn't wait until we got our own mop.  It is officially his mop that I may borrow!  As soon as an order arrives her happily helps me sort out orders, and test out new products.  I'm sure we will be seeing more of his sales techniques and demos on my Facebook page. MJ now calls the FedEx truck the Norwex truck because they have been coming here with deliveries often.

I would love to share my new passion with you.  You can learn more about cleaning with Norwex through my website, Facebook page and special VIP Facebook group!

Facebook Page CleaningJoyfully
VIP Customer Group Meaghan's Norwex VIP

Monday, 12 September 2016

Who's plans do we go with today?

I'm putting myself out there today... No answers, just pondering. I'm struggling with my homeschool ideals (method, plans...).

This year I feel a pressure to do 'more' with my boys.  Last year we unschooled and had a new baby added to our family. There was a lot of adjustment with that and and I didn't see as many measurable projects that the boys were into.  This year I have some plans.

My plan is to use our Waldorf stories along with some different math sources, Reading A-Z and a few other things.  The boys are supposed to do a little school work for me in the morning and then do their own projects/interests, playing the rest of the day.  Of course there are chores, activities, field trips and such mixed in too.

But what if they have their own plans?

I mean I made my lessons fun and kept things short.  Some days things flow beautifully.  And others don't.

This morning MJ became deeply engrossed in Playmobil right after breakfast (he has been making his own kits and looking up instructions online).  TJ wasn't quite awake yet and went off to listen to a Magic Tree House audio story.  Should I have pulled them from what they were doing to follow my plans?

I decided to take the baby outside to play instead.

Later TJ did come out to join us.  He wasn't particularly busy so I strongly (told him he had to) encouraged him to work on his form drawing outside with me.  He is learning the cursive letters for his name right now.  MJ came outside and began building a motor with his spare parts. Then they started trading parts, planing and building together.  I reminded them of my plans, but they said they had other ideas.  Together they poured over car manuals and went back outside to plan their next build.

So I am sitting here asking myself.  Who's plans do we follow today?

To some it may appear like my boys are being defiant and I should make them come inside to do their school work.  To others it looks like I am imposing my own agenda on these creative souls.  I personally am referring to the goals I set out for our home.  Our mission statement if you will. And it looks like their building project falls more in line with what I really want for our family.  So I will not interrupt unless I have to.

Come visit us on Facebook to see photos of what we've been up to!!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

If I don't make them, how will they ever learn to _______?

You fill in the blank.

Because we unschool and don't follow a specific curriculum or schedule, people often worry and wonder how my children will ever learn anything.  I have had it suggested to me that my boys take some classes or lessons so that they learn to listen to another adult and learn to sit quietly.  I can see where they are coming from (a traditional view of school settings) but I often wonder why?  Why do they have to?

Anywho I'm getting away from myself here. Today we went to a new church.  At this church the children stay in the service for a while before going to their class.  My boys have only done this once before, a few years back.  My point is that children a fully capable of understanding a situation and know how to behave appropriately.  They can look around to see what others are doing.  They may not be perfect, but they can do their best.  My boys both sat quietly without me between them.  They followed along, drew quietly on the bulletins and were awesome!  I didn't threaten or bribe.  We don't practice this behavior daily.  They understood that we are quiet in church and did their best.  I was one proud mama!!  I also model how to interact with others and they copy.  My boys are very comfortable talking with adults and answering questions for themselves.  In fact they love to chat.  I was so pleased that I fought the urge to stay at home this morning.

Oh, another bonus is that we went to the church down the street so the boys rode their bikes.  I was a little more tired from pushing the stroller to keep up.  I think I'll be getting a bicycle seat for the baby as his birthday gift.

In case you are wondering how these children of mine will learn to read and write without structured lessons??? They are curious and can't help but pick it up.  I read to them, they learn the alphabet and start sounding things out.  some times it takes some direct instruction (and that is okay too). The excitement of getting a word correctly motivates them to keep going.  TJ was so proud the other day to read to us.  MJ is thrilled to be starting to read too!  So we may be slower that their school friends but, it comes more naturally with less of a fight.  And writing happens that way too.   During the service MJ wrote a letter A (he was so pleased with how perfectly he wrote it). This turned into his whole name.  Next he asked how to spell different words and wrote some things down.  No lesson, just doodling quietly during the church service.  The boys also practice their writing with cards, notes, lists and other things that naturally come up in our day.

The lessons that stick with us the longest are the ones that we sought after and wanted to learn.

Don't forget to follow along with our journey on Facebook.
I'd love to hear what you are doing too.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

My kids don't need pretty Pinterest crafts!

I love Pinterest, I really do.  But often my view is cluttered with perfect, neat, prescribed crafts and activities for children.  being creative should be about the process, not the end result!

Looking back over the photos I have taken since my last post, I have noticed that the boys prefer open ended creative toys and loose parts.  They have been spending hours playing lego together, along with making up games with other small toys.  Outside they have been building, creating, and playing on the swing.  It is true about just needing to add water and kids will again play for hours.

Honestly my boys would prefer being in nature to a man-made playground.  Baby JJ love loves to be outside too.  I think our favourite times are spent outside, in dirty, trees and exploring new trails.

Here are some highlights of the past month.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Tinkering and Loose Parts

I love loose parts and how kids can engage with them.  Rather than prescribing a craft or activity, it is fascinating to see what children will create and make with a collection of loose parts.

Our latest adventure with lose parts were on a larger scale outside.  MJ decided he wanted to build a tractor. The two older boys scoured the yard for bits and pieces.  They asked daddy to look in the crawlspace for anything he could give them.  I also suggested using the extra bicycle and broken scooter.

TJ disassembling the bicycle
MJ's pile of parts

And there began a week full of  creating, imagining, trading, designing, negotiations, building and more!

What started of with MJ's desires led to TJ wanting to join in.  So then they needed to decide who would get the parts and deal with some big feelings there.  Over the course of the week we all worked through several major trades and negotiations.  I was so glad to help them calmly though these discussions.  I am proud of how we managed to come up with trades that made everyone happy.

The boys came up with some really cool creations.

Bike with scooter attached to the front

Stationary bike
playing with loose parts and water
MJ's tractor like creation

Then Daddy found something awesome on the side of the road!!  He called me up with a nervous voice and explained that he had a long story but he was injured.  Luckily he was just down the street so we drove over to discover that he had found a free lawn tractor (with a snow blower attachment).  He also crushed his finger trying to lift it into the truck.

TJ's carrying trailer
Trailer turned into a rickshaw

It was a family adventure loading it into the truck on the side of the road.  Daddy got his finger looked at eventually (he'll be fine although he is in pain and now the finger is infected). Now that this awesome tractor is home, MJ wants to take it all apart to use the pieces to build his own tractor.  We get the feeling he thinks life is like Lego.  We'll see how this plays out.  TJ is super excited that the tractor runs and can't wait to fix it all up.

The awesome new tractor

Any Tinkering happening at your place?  Hope you'll share some ideas with us!