Friday, September 26, 2014

SOTW round two

  It's come full circle and my middles are doing Story of the World for the first time. I really enjoyed doing it when my big kids were little so this will be a fun adventure from the Nomads to ancient Egypt again. We have teamed up with another lake family for a weekly SOTW co-op.
I love doing studies like this in a group not only does it cover the selected material but many other areas as well. For example creativity, They learn to complete a task with group effort.  Finding ways to overcome obstacles and hearing new ideas and perspectives from other moms or children.
They learn to be flexible willing to change ideas and plans. Every week we rotate homes so the children learn to be hospitable sharing their space and things.  Us moms enjoy the Friday afternoon coffee chat once the children are done and off playing in the forest.

Our first week we built homes like the Nomads.  This was hours of outdoor creative problem solving skills.

whimsical school days

 Our theme for autumnal (fall) equinox, leaves, books, warmth, poems, and cider...
We have been loving our water colors this week creating all kinds of leaves and pumpkins to decorate our learning room.  Water colors flow, blending into one another in beautiful, unexpected ways. The end result is wonderful no matter how young the little artist.

I ordered this lovely fall bundle of books for my younger children. They are really well done covering a wide area of topics. Including weather changes, planting pumpkins in the spring to the growth process, why leaves change etc..

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

feeling fall...

         Oh, that autumn light. Am I the only one trying to savor every autumn day? It's bittersweet, this fall light and the changes it brings, watching the colorful leaves flutter to the ground reminds me that nature's cycles are mirrored in our lives. Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that have ran their time but  there's comfort to be found in it, too. ~deep breath~  And so,  I follow it, and photograph it, and bask in it when I can.
With the changes in light I find I'm in need of a little blog break as we transition seasons and all that comes with that.
Be well, friends!

Friday, September 19, 2014

this moment..

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

September dance..

  This time of year is like a delicate dance.... The September dance. . These babies of mine are getting older but not just the twins all of them. Their interest in the world beyond our doors increases, we find ourselves looking at the calendar each night, chatting and devising a plan of attack for the day that follows. Dance classes, gymnastics, homeschool coops, teenage work schedules, PT/OT medical appointments and the list goes on and on.....with a home and small farm to manage it adds up fast . My head spins a little trying to find our balance and grove... I bet you all feel it. Back to school ( I know some of you have waited weeks for this), back to work, back to it -
As I embrace all the exciting new things ahead for all of us this season, I gently remind myself  to breath and love these little people in a way that no one else can. That in fact, this is my job as Mama to stay strong and steady, to breathe deeply, to walk slowly through these wild and full days. To be the anchor of home.
These days.. these amazing glorious days... I will one day wish for them back. .. The messy pile of books read, the art made, the paint dried on the table, dolls, blocks played with and nine children snug in bed sleeping soundly under one roof.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Open Doors

        The Heart and Stroke Foundation contacted us this week asking if Henry could be the poster child for our province this year. They will be sharing his story/journey with more than 8000 children through out our province. What's even more awesome is our whole family will be involved. My children will be sharing in the schools about heart disease in the family and Henry will be introduced at different schools and events giving us opportunity to share our story. Talk about an awesome homeschool experience! All of this brings so much awareness of CHD babies and their families. I am beyond excited about this! God is so GOOD and he has took one of the hardest trials of our life to bring love and awareness to others.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

in sickness and in health......

 Chris and I celebrated 16 years of marriage this past August. We are a great team, our marriage has never been one that "needs work" it's just kind of unfolded along the journey. But despite how good things are for us and how deep our love is studies tell us 80% of marriages with medically fragile children end in divorce.

 I remember 10 months ago sitting in a rocking chair in our room on the heart unit when our clinic nurse came in and pulled up a chair to talk. She tried the best she could to lay out what raising a child like Henry would be like. She gave a small list of things to do and not do, things to not worry about and things to worry about. Then she said "you guys need to take care of each other, this isn't going to be easy".
I brushed her off, don't be crazy she has no clue who we are and how strong our marriage is. She left the room with Chris' chair in front of mine.  Seamus sleeping on his chest, Henry in my arms with so many lines. I looked him in the eyes and whispered "we can do this....right?"  ~sigh~ little did we know what the next ten months would look like.

In sickness and in health.... never did it cross my mind that those vows would be because of the health of my child.  We saw very fast when you have a child with complex needs your marriage all of a sudden takes a back seat and it takes deliberate focus to bring it back to priority. We need to remind our selves that our marriage is the glue that holds this family together.
It's no shock the added stresses, rigorous 24hr around the clock med schedule, saturation monitoring, are his lips blue, work of breathing, feeding pump rates, vomiting endless vomiting, tubes being pulled out, surgeries, transfers you get the idea...

When your child has significant medical needs you need a divide and conquer plan. For us this looked like Chris taking care of all the logistics and I take care of the babies. Chris does the night tube feeds while I pump.  We survive on very little sleep but we are finding ways to connect during those middle of the night times. You can often find Chris snapping photo's with his cell phone of sleeping babies at 2am.

We have also found it's vital for us to have alone time and decompress. That looks different for both of us. For me it comes in the form of homeschool meetings and out for coffee. 

For Chris is looks like grabbing one of our teens and going to a movie. We both come back feeling energized and ready to keep going. Every couple is different but for us we know how important it is to remember who we are. Most of all it's important to have GRACE and lots of it... The Frozen song "Fixer Upper'" says it perfect  "you make bad choices if your mad, scared, or stressed" We refuse to be a statistic! This is part of God's perfect plan for our family and while in moments of fear it's easy to forget, God has had mercy on us and allowed us to have our bad days opposite of each other so we are there for one another.

It take continuous, vigilant effort but it is so worth it to beat those odds.