my homework.

guys! i’ve gone back to school! 

it’s pretty scary, intimidating and did i mention scary???

years and years ago i started my women’s studies degree at the the local university here in town. i loved the program. then i became pregnant with bear and took some time off, returning part-time when bear was about 18 months old. i completed almost half of my degree when the university stupidly discontinued the entire program. it was devastating for me as a woman, as a mama and as a student. when i was pregnant with lion i took my last course at the uni towards my degree.

i always knew i would return to my studies when i was ready. it took me a while to find the courage to head back. the thought of sitting in a lecture hall with 21 year old’s really intimidated me. plus, i wanted to get my health back in order after dealing with my pituitary tumour for a few years. now that the boys are both in school full time i have decided to gently enter the world of academia myself. i was accepted at athabasca university where i will be completing my women and gender studies degree online. to easy my way in i am only taking one class; an english composition course. it’s mandatory for me to complete in order to graduate.

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for fun, i thought i would share my first piece of homework. lotds of people are curious about my back-to-school life! i had to read about paragraphs and write my own introductory one to share with my prof. 

 

Paragraph 1

It is a miserable November Friday here in south western Ontario. The furnace is pumping away trying to warm up the house my coffee is brewing in the kitchen all the while our two cats, Leo and Poppy, have found cozy, warm spots to curl up for their usual morning naps. My kids are at school hopefully enjoying whatever fun kindergarten and grade 2 have to offer. My husband is off in the big city today enduring work meetings, while I putter around our home completing homework assignments and various household tasks. Our life looks and sounds like the lives of so many other families, but it is unique, because it is ours. The routines we struggle through, the adventures we enjoy all make our little family unit special. We have survived another week of morning wake-ups and nightly bedtime shenanigans, of meetings with teachers and anxiety inducing specialist appointments. Now, the weekend is rolling in with the cold rain, blowing the fallen leaves around like empty thoughts. We are all ready for a few days without routine, without alarm clocks and the warmth our family and home create.

it’s not going to get graded, it’s for an assessment to see that i capable to complete this course.

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this weekend the kids and i have been busy crafting, crafting, crafting so keep checking back to the blog for all the fun pictures and tutorials!

and, we had our first real snow fall!!!! WOOHOOO!!!!

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first snow, bear and lion blog

this weekend the kids and i have been busy crafting, crafting, crafting so keep checking back to the blog for all the fun pictures and tutorials!

 

xo, mama lola

clarity : my kid was bullied.


fall, muskoka

i hope everyone had a lovely thanksgiving weekend.

we celebrated up at the cottage with family. we enjoyed the warm temperatures, sunshine and time together. but, this post is not about our weekend up in muskoka. it’s about the complexities of mothering, parenting and realities of school life for our kids

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remember a few weeks ago when i wrote about our struggles with the whole back-to-school transition. i shared how bear especially was having a hard time with things. well, after some subtle mama investigating, you know the kind where you pretend to be busy with something while asking questions about school, so as not place any obvious pressure on your kid. well, after a few minutes of this with bear it all came spilling out, he was being bullied. yes, two days into the new school year this kid who has been a problem in the past was at it again.

as the pieces fell into place, i understood where my kids “bad” behaviour was coming from. once in the safety of his own home he was unloading all of the stress and anxiety building up inside of him during the school day. obviously his little brother was an easy target and bore the brunt of the unleashing. my heart broke the more i thought about those first 10 days of grade 2 for him. of course as his mama i took on all kinds of guilt, about not protecting him better, not piecing things together sooner and just feeling guilty for his pain. 

after all the necessary conversations with teachers, the other child’s parents, bear’s behaviour completely changed. he was back to his old self. the kid who is  making up his own jokes, thinking about pokemon all day everyday and building his latest and greatest lego invention!   

i’m not sure the anti-bullying campaigns at schools are effective. bear has never been up front about problems with his peers; it is always something that as his parents we have had to figure out. the school is reluctant to get involved, although there seems to be a lot of the right things being said, it’s just that nothing is being done. from where i sit there is a lack of accountability, which is very frustrating. i don’t want to play the blame game, but if my kid was doing things to hurt other’s i would want to know. right?

things at school have calmed down for bear, i think. i have asked subtle questions and direct questions, i have shared my own experiences from my school days in the hopes to keep the lines of communication open with him. he is my anxious guy who takes things and carries them inside, blaming himself. i want so desperately to take away all of his hurt, but i know that it not realistic. i have to instead teach him to stand-up for himself not by hitting back, but by using words. i have to encourage him feel confident in telling a teacher or adult if he or someone else is being bullied. these are hard things. even for adults.

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fall, muskoka, look out

mothering is the hardest job i have ever taken on. it is not at all wheat i expected. the deep emotional twinges of pain and love i feel for my children is astonishing. although it is difficult and exhausting, i wouldn’t change any of it. i feel like the luckiest gal around with the best set of kids ever! and, i realize my opinion is quite biased, but so be it!

xo, mama lola

the robbery


we’ve had a tough week transitioning back to the school routine. there have been chaotic mornings, injured kids and awkward dinners prepped by yours truly.

but, to make our week even more stressful we had a theft in our home. 

on saturday evening lion, now 5 years, touched the stove while DH was cooking dinner. poor kid burnt the tip of his finger, which meant there were lots of tears for a lot of hours that evening. we all know that even the smallest burn can really hurt for a long time! so, at bedtime lion fell asleep with his finger in a bowl of ice water as DH was reading harry potter to the boys. but, then he woke up when his finger moved or something causing the pain to kick in all over again, meaning the tears started all over again as well.

i was on the couch watching tv and playing scrabble on my phone when i heard the crying start. i put my phone on our dining table on my way upstairs. it was about 9pm when DH headed out to get more ice. he came back after about 10 minutes, but i sent him back out to see if the pharmacy had any lotion or potion to help with the burn site. as i sat with my wee guy trying to help him through the pain he kept repeating “i shouldn’t have done that”. augh, my heart! we talked about learning from our mistakes and trying not to feel badly about our choices. DH finally came home and we got the boys settled.

when we returned downstairs to watch a movie i was scanning the rooms for my phone. as a creature of habit i was confused why i couldn’t find it, but DH suggested we just wait until the morning when there is day light to do a proper search. so in the morning before even having breakfast we searched, high n’ low moving furniture, crawling on our hands and knees, calling it, texting it… then i got this weird, sinking feeling… what if someone had stolen it? DH thought i was being dramatic, but when hour 3 of our search still turned up nothing he too was becoming suspicious. he called the phone company and had service to my phone cut off. then we got a text from our service provider saying we had used up 75% of our data for the month.

BOOM! confirmation. right there. stolen phone.

DH called the police.

a police officer arrived, took our statements and told us it sounded like a crime of opportunity to him. the thief had seen DH pull out of the driveway in our car and thought hey now’s a good time. when the thief walked in they would have heard my lion screaming upstairs from his burn injury! that’s the part that angers me most; we were in our own family crisis when this random person did this horrible, selfish thing to us. sure our front door was unlocked, but we were home! i had just been on the couch a few minutes earlier!

in the past couple of days i have shared this experience with others, and to my shagrim i have heard similar tales of theft. we live in a city of about 100, 000 people, and we had assumed that moving from a city of millions to something smaller would make life safer. i guess not!

lessons learned:

  • keep your doors locked, even when home, ALWAYS!
  • always turn porch light on at night
  • keep valuables, like electronics hidden from windows
  • everyone is a target. doesn’t seem to matter what neighbourhood, street or city you live in. (see next point)
  • some people just suck!

i don’t think i’ll ever see that phone again.

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i am sad that i have lost so many fun pictures and videos from our summer adventures (oh, another lesson learned… back up phone stuff!) i’m irritated that my home has this peculiar feeling of violation still floating in the air. i am confused as to whether or not i can open the windows on the main floor; should i lock them when i head to the grocery store? i am pissed that there are people in this world who don’t care about what’s right and wrong, about common decency and who only care about their own selves. i will ride this wave and let go of these feelings moving onto the next chapter of our life. i will not let this person squirm into my mind or mess with my psyche. things will be fine.

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stay safe friends.

xo, mama lola

lion started kindergarten.


oh my, what a huge milestone we have reached as a family, but really it’s one our littlest has achieved with such confidence and joy. yes, as a family we got to this goal, but really it’s our lion who has started school with serious zest! i’m so proud of him, i could burst! as a teeny baby, as soon as lion became aware of his big brother he has been working hard to catch up to bear. he has always wanted to do and be just like bear, in that adorable little brother way, which as his mum is heartbreakingly cute to see.

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now, that he gets to go to the same school as his big brother… HUGE! from the get-go lion has been brave and eager to go, marching confidently into the kindergarten classroom forgetting to even say bye to us, his bleary eyed parents! here in ontario kindergarten is all day, every day and to acclimatize the newest students they start off with only two hours of school on day and then they get a day or two off, go for a full day, more days off and then they go full steam. it’s called staggered entry and for younger siblings it can be confusing and difficult, because their older sibs are still going to school, going through those routines and so lion’s start to school was kinda long.

 

and, my lion still naps… yes, still at 4 years of age! so, i only send him 3 days a week. i did the same with bear as well, as i think all day, every day school for such little people is too much to handle. on the days lion does not go to school he plays in the morning or goes to swimming lessons and then crashes for 2-3 hours.

 

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his teachers have shared no concerns and say he is a pleasure in the classroom. one of the teachers was bears teacher for two years and she remarked that it is incredible how different my two boys are! and, it’s true. bear struggled greatly with transitioning into school and i think he was quite jealous that his brother was allowed to stay home with mum, while got shipped away to some scary new place. (read more about bears first days of school HERE) lion now has a huge advantage being the little brother, as he is already very familiar with the school routine. he knows what drop-offs in the morning and pick-ups in the afternoon look like, he recognizes some of the teachers, he has been inside the school a million times over the years and he has his big brother at school down the hall. these are all huge advantages that bear never felt, making him anxious and scared at school often.

 

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i am so proud and excited for my kids this year. they are happy,  they are growing up and experiencing new adventures together, which is what i always wanted for my kids!

 

xo, mama lola

family camp nee kau nis.

 

family camp, it is something that almost everyone with kids seems to participate in somewhere, sometimes during the summer months. and, this year we joined the masses deciding to join friends at the family camp they have been attending for years. camp nee kau nis is a quaker based camp, but you don’t have to be quaker to attend camp, but you do have to know the right people! (wink)

 

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we arrived to a peaceful, beautiful place nestled in the trees overlooking a lake. most people had arrived the previous day and were settling into the routine. we arrived after lunch and were greeted by my dear blogging friend dilovely who tried on a new hat this year as co-director of family camp (which she wore stunningly, by the way). and, with wide open arms was my dearest, darling friend for a million years. it felt good to arrive.

 

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this cabin below, zavitz, was our home. it was clearly a space that had hosted many visitors in it’s day. i could just imagine young campers giggling away whispering in the dark with their flashlights about the silly antics they had gotten into earlier that day, who had a crush on whom and what swimming trick they had mastered!  the cabin was huge, with four beds (two sets of bunk beds) and a double bed perfect for this mama to stretch out it!

 

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our home away from home was a sweet space with lots of room for us to spread out. it had electricity, which was handy and a tiny corner sink behind the door.

 

once we had arrived, unpacked the van some people headed down to the beach. lion was excited and eagerly changed into his bathing suit, while my bear became overwhelmed by his anxiety. new places, new people, new routines, new expectations are all so difficult for him.

 

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all of our days started with the loud banging of a GONG! yup, the kitchen staff went around to each cabin and hit a horrible gong to make sure everyone was up n’ at ’em! all of the meals were communal events held in nelson hall. as you walk into this big room you could feel the history and friendship pulsing in it, there were posters and pieces of art lining the walls, a bookshelf tucked away on a corner with all sorts of books and lotsa tables with benches.

 

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in the mornings after breakfast was meeting for worship (read more HERE). that’s when we all came together as a community of friends and were together in silence. sometimes someone would share a thought or a feeling they were experiencing, but it was time of quiet, peaceful contemplation. usually it was done outside the meeting house under big shady trees, where we could listen and watch the splendour of the natural world surrounding us. sometimes if it was rainy or cold so we gathered inside the meeting house. i loved these times of quiet with so many people. people from all over canada and even europe; people of all kinds of backgrounds, ages, interests, passions and families. sometimes the most powerful communications with ourselves or others can happen in and through silence.

 

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well, meeting for worship was about an hour, but there was no way all of the kids could sit still and quietly for that long, so the hope was to share meeting with them for 15 minutes and then they could take off to the playground and participate in the children’s programming.

 

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the volunteers who ran the kids programming were AMAZING! the crafts were super fun for all of the kids there and they ranged from wee tots to tweens! there were toys and activities for the kids to busy themselves and a very friendly vibe. even i got my craft on!

 

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bunting collage

programming included story time and yummy snacks as well.

 

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tether ball… as an adult this was terrifying to watch as the near misses were astonishing! there were also lots of bang-on hits to the head, back, legs and kids crashing into each other. but the comrodery and team work this game brought out in the kids was really fun to see. initially not everyone knew how to play, so the kids taught each other the rules and would help out the newer players. sometimes there were big size differences between teams (that’s what happens when 6 year olds play with 10 year olds!) so the kids figured out ways to make things more fair and equitable… all without any adult intervention! oh, it was fantastic!

 

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tether ball always had a captive audience.

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every afternoon there was swimming down by the beach. oh, it was wonderful! i don’t really have any pictures from there, because i was having too much fun playing with all of the kids! the  beach was small, but the water was warm and shallow enough for kids of all swimming abilities to feel comfortable, play and swim. it was awesome! my bear and lion were super confident in the water, which is such a relief.

 

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this wee miss loved the beach!

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dancer mum’s rehearsing for talent night!

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all campers are expected to help out at camp, so we’re divided into teams that rotate through several chores. here some lovelies are washing the dinner dishes and below the kids from our team were helping out with the drying. chores are a way to contribute to the community living. nobody minded doing chores… well, except my bear. he sure did complain and put up a fuss, but when it time to work he was ready!

 

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we had a cook-out one evening, where everyone ate outside and then we roasted marshmallows! it was so fun (and buggy), and someone even brought out their guitar for a sing-a-long. who doesn’t love some yellow submarine and wheels on the bus with the mallows! then the skies started to darken and word got around that a big storm was heading our way, so we ended the night early and headed back to our cabins.

 

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we had some anxious times, some homesick moments, but they were perfectly rounded-out with the new friendships and the connections we re-established with friends. we laughed and cried, we ate yummy food until our bellies were jolly thanks to the amazing kitchen staff, learned bits and pieces about about the passive traditions and beliefs the quakers hold.

 

thank you so much having us camp nee kau nis.

xo, mama lola

toronto day : MRI results!

a few weeks back i blogged about my sad MRI friday, the worry that i carry before getting my results and the general anxiety surrounding my previous tumour…  read more HERE. well, i got my result mid-july.

on july 16th i took the bus into the big city where i met my mum as soon as i got off the bus. we had some time spare before my big annual appointment at the hospital, so we decided to meander our way there. we strolled along dundas street, weaving through the crowds. on my mum’s suggestion we popped in a some of the small galleries across from the AGO. aaah, we saw some beautiful, breathtaking art. art that makes you stop and really look at the details and soak them in. my mum is an artist and listening to her analyse the art was awesome; her attention for detail, eye for colour and knowledge of art was super educational to me.

 

then we contunied walking along dundas street heading west, through china town and the construction there, up into kensington market. i took a picture of courage my love, a store i visited regularly as a youngster growing up in toronto. i used to head down there on the spadina bus!!! remember those ol’ things?! in kensington i strolled through memory lane floored that so many of the stores are still there from 20 years ago!!!

we stopped in a tiny cafe for a snack. i was a nervous wreck and couldn’t really eat.

toronto day

1:30pm was my appointment time. once a month the neurology department holds a pituitary clinic, so people with specifically pituitary issues comes for follow ups then. they also have an aneurysm clinic monthly. so n that clinic day  i looked around the waiting room and noticed that everyone is of a very specific generation, they all looked like baby-boomers. there was nobody else like me there.

at 2:30pm we were called in for my appointment. my poor mum came in with me, because i had asked he to, but i’m sure she was just as terrified as me!  we walked into a room with a large table with various people sitting around it,doctors and med students. first my endocrinologist (hormone doctor) said my blood work came in clear and normal, which was a HUGE relief. she asked a few questions about my weight and my periods, finishing that she had zero concerns! woohoo! then it was time for my neurologist to look at my MRI images which they display on a  huge screen for everyone to see. she said calmly that everything looked great, no sign of any re-growth or tumour. she asked about the kids and if i was going to have more kids. she finished the appoitnment by saying she though i looked wonderful! phew! as my mum and i walked out of the office, i threw my arm around her and did a small jig grinning hugely, with tears in my eyes, no tumour, i am healthy and good to go!

 

after that my mum and i both had more pep in our step as we headed north along bathurst to bloor street.  our shoulders had dropped and smiles were on our faces; the honest kind that come from your eyes and your heart,not just your mouth. finally at spadina and bloor we found a lovely crepe cafe with an authentic french atmosphere. we sipped real espresso and ate delicious savoury crepes.  just as we finished and were ready to head to the bata show musuem it started to pour! so we tucked under a tiny umbrella, walking arm-in-arm trying to avoid the huge growing puddles! at the museum there was an exhibit called “fashion victims” about the history of the dangers of textiles. it was a small exhibit, but wonderfully curated loaded with interesting information and detail.

 

because it was wednesday and i was in the mood to celebrate, we heded back down to dundas street via the U of T campus. the rain had stopped and the streets were packed with young people rushing around. the air was fresh. at the AGO wednesdays after 6pm are free admission, since it was only about 5pm we first had a celebratory glass of wine. the exhibit we were going to see was henry moore’s sculptures and francis bacon’s paintings. again, my mum’s knowledge of art cameflowing out as she told all about the artists and their art. the special exhibit turned out NOT to be free, but the rest of the gallery was.

 

my bus was leaving toronto at 8pm, so slowly we made our way in that direction. we had walked a wonderful loop inside the core of the city that was once my home. i felt energized after a day without the kids, relieved about my health and reconnected to my mum. as the bus rolled out of the city heading down to the highway, i felt very nostalgic; i have memories from so many intersections and corners of this city with all sorts of people.

 

but, i was ready to go.

to go home.

 

xo, mama lola

my emotional MRI and more.

 

on friday i had an MRI done. it’s an annual one that gets done to see whether or not the pituitary gland tumour that was removed almost four years ago has returned. pituitary gland tumours are typically cancer free, as was mine, and usually quite simple to remove. my situation had a catch though, as i was pregnant with lion when my tumour was diagnosed, so i was treated at a special hospital with fancy specialists and had a nightmare c-section. all because of this dang tumour.

in the brain tumour community cancer free tumours are not described as benign. all brain tumours reek havoc on the lives of people living with them and their families.

 

my annual check-ups for my tumour always fall right around lion’s birthday, which makes this time of year especially emotional for me. this year i was trying to push away all of the scary memories and focus on all of the good that we are surrounded with. but, then on friday as my MRI time got closer, my anxiety started to increase, my throat got tight, and i felt completely alone in my memories and fears.  DH hadn’t acknowledged anything before heading to work that morning, so 45 minutes prior to my appointment i texted him an angry message “today is not a normal day for me“. and, maybe he was taking cues from me to be chill about the day,but regardless, i was hurt.

 

so, i arrived at the hospital, nervous as heck only to see DH sitting there in the waiting room. he squeezed me tightly, kissed my forehead and whispered sweet words into my ear . he left the hospital once i was checked-in as the kids were with various friends, so someone had to be available as our phones didn’t work inside the hospital.

 

i sat in a horrible vinyl chair listening to a conversation between old  friends who had randomly crossed paths there at the MRI waiting room.  they shared stories of the heartbreaking medical ailments that had brought them there. as i sat there my throat was still tight and i was fiercely fighting back tears. i was remembering my family’s own heartbreak on lion’s birth day; a day when he entered this world in terrible stress to strangers taking him and whisking him away to the NICU. i was under a general anaesthetic for his birth, because there were concerns about my tumour literally exploding and killing me if i pushed him out during a vaginal birth, or if i had an epidural for a c-section like most women.  so i was out cold. because of this DH had to wait outside the operating room for the birth, so that meant our wee baby was born alone. lion had complications and was kept in the hospital for a week. all because of that dang tumour.

 

four years ago when we got home, i had a baby, toddler and a tumour to deal with. i have never wanted others to think i was looking for pity or attention; so instead of sharing my situation and asking for support i have been very internal about most of it. after my surgery in november 2010 to remove the tumour i was back home mothering within days without the necessary recovery times. i never asked anyone for help, because i didn’t want to be seen as weak.  i was so tired, in terrible pain and overwhelmed, but i tried my best to hide all of that and just kept on trucking. part of it was  i also felt like a fraud; like our experience with my tumour wasn’t bad enough to warrant attention or support.

 

so, back to friday when all of these memories brought with them deep waves of emotions that came rushing through me as they prepped me for the MRI. my IV was placed, painfully, my contrast liquid tubes set, the mask to trap my head during the MRI was locked into place and then with a push of a button they put me into this dark terrifying tube. if you’ve never had a MRI here’s a link to what it sounds like… CLICK HERE.  i don’t suggest listening to the whole thing, but i do recommend turning up your volume and jumping ahead every so often to see the range of horrible sounds and noises that machine makes! my MRI’s last about 30 minutes. during those long  minutes in the machine on friday i cried. tears were gently streaming into my ears. i thought of my lovely boy; he exudes love and shine. he giggles easily and cares deeply for others. i thought about him when he was first born, how fragile he looked all wrapped in tubes that were attached to various beeping machines. i also thought of my bear, who in those early days of lion’s life was shuffled around from one house to another, to the hospital all in a blur of confusion and fear. he was only two-and-a–half. and, i was also thinking of my sweet DH who in those months and days was trying so desperately to hold it all together. he never showed his fear to me, always trying to put on a brave face even if i did see right through it. he had been standing outside the room where his son almost died watching the red lights flash in the hallway, listening to the alarms and then seeing the staff intubate him and rush him away. how completely terrifying. luckily today lion is healthy,vivacious and read to roll!

 

after i was done on friday, i got changed and walked to my car. drove home and didn’t want to see anyone. i sat on my couch and cried. i sobbed. my body shook as huge tears rolled down my face. i had to let it all out before the kids came home with DH. when they walked in the door they held a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me.

 

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sharing my story here is a form of therapy for me. i think of my blog as a journal where i record our favourite recipes, craft projects, summer camping trips and also some of the not-so-fun or glamorous health experiences. i hope that talking openly about my dang tumour will open the doors for other’s to share their struggles, even if they are not medical.

 

fingers crossed for wednesday! that is when i head into the big city to see my neurologist and endocrinologist toreceive the results of this emotional MRI and blood work done a few weeks ago.

 

xo, mama lola

end of school year.

i realize this is kinda late, as school ended a few weeks ago now, but here i go anyways…

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my oldest, bear is now 6.5 years old and he just finished senior kindergarten. it’s off to grade 1 in the fall! it’s not a huge accomplishment or anything, but things will be shifting for him as he leaves the kindy yard and switches over to the “big kids” side, as the faces and friends in his class will change. leaving kindergarten also means less play, more structured learning and new teachers. all of this new stuff will for sure trigger his anxiety as he learns to navigate through all of it. actually, i think he’s already anxious about the transitions that are upcoming. transitions, big and small are a struggle for him and the looming changes in september are no different. i have planned a pretty relaxed summer with lots of free time to play alone or with friends. he’s going to one camp this summer for 5 days where he’ll be learning about all kinds of nature things! i’m hoping he can chill te next few months before we step back in to the school routine.

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my youngest, lion is now 4 years old and he is entering school system officially in september. he finished a year of pre-school, which was all montesorri based play-learning so going to junior kindergarten will be a shock to him; at school all day, having to toilet alone, learning to eat lunch with his peers and just navigate the day-to-day routines of the school day will be quite stressful. although he doesn’t struggle with anxiety like his brother, entering school will be a hurdle that will exhaust him deeply. the kid still naps about three days a week!!! that’s why i’ve decided to only send him part-time to school. it’s what i did with bear when he was starting school and it worked out really well.

 

i’m hoping that my assumption that i know my kids best, and know their needs best is true. especially when it comes to their education and experiences at school!

 

but, here’s to a great summer! i am so proud of my guys forall they have accomplished in their learning this passed year!

xo, mama lola

june at the cottage!

we played hookie from school and headed to the cottage at the end of  june for the solstice weekend. the weather was hot and sunny during the day, with cool breezy evenings. it was perfect summer weather!

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there was the issue of the pollen floating grossly on the water, but we got over that quickly.  we had to or otherwise there wouldn’t have been any swimming! the boys were both in swimming lessons since january and boy have they paid off. their confidence has soared, as has their ability to actually swim!

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the kids have been in swimming lessons since january and boy has it paidoff! their confidence has soared,as has their general ability to swim. it makes being around water a little less stressful with each visit. in these pics the kids are in life jackets, but they did do some dips and swims without them as well (closely supervised of course!) bear’s anxiety contributes to his tension around water, but he is slowly overcoming some of those fears. once he is in the water his anxiety melts away, demonstrating the therapeutic nature of water!

lion, on the other hand is fearless, jumping in the water and wanting to swim far to the floating dock! his little body gets cold quickly, so his lips turn blue way before he is ready to get out of the water!

 

bubbles, beer and mosquitoes… how canadiana!

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we ate such good food. bubba and patty brought excellent salmon,while for dessert we gorged on all sorts of melted marshmallowy treats! YUM!

 

what kind of summer adventures have you and your family gotten into so far?

xo, mama lola

mothering. harder than it looks.

we’ve been experiencing some tricky parenting times. there has been so much going on in our lives recently, and those busy times have taken a toll on our family dynamics. honestly, things have turned to$hit!

 

bear has been a lot to handle. his behaviour has been out of this world difficult. our mornings and evenings have book ended our days with all sorts power struggles masked under screaming and shouting and lotsa tears (and not just his)!

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when i am tired, i can lose my temper quickly, reacting poorly to the situation at hand. heading into this busy week i made a conscious decision to stay cool, offering instead extra love in hugs and kisses and other positive reinforcements. i have focussed on the beautiful, funny, intelligent and creative choices my kids have made, instead of attacking the ugly, messy and unsafe decisions. somehow doing that is harder for me, especially when we are all tired and feeling maxed out. i realize now that sometimes it’s as though i’m waiting for my kids to screw up, instead of expecting sweet success from them. i know that is a horrible thing to admit, but i think it comes from my own habit of yimmering on about stuff that doesn’t deserve my constant attention, rather than focussing on things that do.

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so, once i incorporated extra hair tussles, tickle times and just gentle loving touches into our day, we all seem to have cooled our jets and changed our attitudes. there has been an obvious decrease in the general volume at our house, which in turn has decreased tensions and tears. dear hubby suspected a while that a lot of bear’s “acting out” comes from good ol’ fashioned sibling jealousy and i think he is right. sibling rivalry is a powerful force, often appearing at the least obvious of times.

 

i wish, as a mama to these amazing boys, that i would just always remember to give more during the most trying of times instead of pulling away. when my kids are being jerks all day every day, that is when i must shower them with kisses and pull out some great thing did in between all the jerkyness, and focus on the good.  i know to some this may seem so obvious, and as i sit here and type this, it does seem so freaking obvious, but in those dark days of chronic power struggles it is impossible to see, never mind put into action.

 

i am only human and i too make mistakes when it comes to mothering stuff. i am constantly learning and trying to remember to be stronger and turn the volume down and to just SHUT UP sometimes.

 

this is so much harder than i ever could have imagined.

 

 

xo, mama lola
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