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

painting flower pots!

now that the growing season is here i want to share a favourite project that my boys love to do… paint terracotta flower pots!

painting flower pots, mother's day, gift idea, kids crafts

it’s a wonderful way to be creative, while also learning about how things grow. my kids made each of their grandmother’s a painted pot for mother’s day and planted a geranium in them. they were so proud of their

 

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all you need are some pots, paints, brushes and we used a spray sealant to try to protect the pots from water.

i love using ice cube trays as paint trays instead, as they don’t tip over easily and the paints can be mixed well in the deep slots. my kids often paint outside as the tidying up is so much easier. plus, if they get paint all over it’s not a big deal!

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TA-DAA!

check out these lovely flower pots!

painted flower pots, kids crafts, mother's day, gift ideas, gifts for grandmothers painted flower pots, mother's day, gift idea

i love how carefree the kids are when painting. they do not get inhibited with concerns about what other’s may think of their creations. they just create completely in the moment, enjoying the paint and colours, but most importantly the process.

happy painting and planting to you!

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

summer bucket list!

i know, i know summer doesn’t officially start until the 21sth, but the lush grass and green trees, blooming flowers and warmer temperatures have me yearning  for summer.

 

i booked the kids into their one camp months ago, our family camping trips have been planned and we have so many fun carefree days ahead, i just can’t wait to start filling them with all kinds of adventures.

 

here’s my bucket list for the summer; i couldn’t fit everything we will hopefully do, but it’s definitely a great starting point!

 

summer bucketlist

 

what do you have planned with your family?

 

what are your summer traditions?

xo, mama lola

stamping with food & natural treasures!


stamping with food, stamps, nature crafts

my kids love to paint and be creative. so, when we headed up to the cottage for the may long weekend i decided to plan a fun activity for the boys to try out. there are so many posts and pins about painting and stamping with food. i was a little weary at first, as the thought of wasting perfectly good food for crafts seemed so arrogant, but i found ways of negotiating around. for example, only painting with the tops of peppers and bottom of the celery stem. we also gathered some lovely natural items we found on the forest floor, like a bird’s feather, cedar branches and various leaves.

 

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to get started i had all of our supplies ready and waiting for the kids.  i cut the food items, placed a few colours of paint on some tupperware container lids, got our paintbrushes out,  set out a container of water for rinsing the paintbrushes, placed paper under rocks so they wouldn’t fly away and made sure my camera battery was charged! haha!

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painting, like eating, is so much better outside. the mess is easier to deal with and there’s something wonderful about listening to the birds sing while being creative. we also lucked out with a sunny day with only a light breeze. there is so much inspiration in the nature that surrounds us.

 

i hope you get a chance to do this craft with your kids!

xo, mama lola

change is good.

 

a song to start this blog post. love tracy chapman… click in the link below to listen as you read.

> > > new beginning : tracy chapman

 

kids room

 

we have been dealing with some behavioural issues with our 6 year old bear recently. he has been deliberately mean to his brother in a way that seems so cold and calculated. one night bear was having a hard time falling asleep; not sure if it’s the longer days, or maybe he’s just not quite ready to fall asleep at 7:30pm. anyhow, suddenly at 9pm, just as dear hubby and i were settling in to watch “downton abbey” we heard crying coming from our room where lion had fallen asleep. DH ran upstairs and there was bear antagonizing his sleeping brother and waking him! i couldn’t believe it!!!

so, then the gears in my mama brain started to turn, trying to figure out how to not let something like this happen again.  then an idea popped into my head, what if i re-arrange the furniture in the kids room, maybe that would inspire change in behaviour. the boys sleep in bunk beds and bear has always been in the top bunk, but i then i thought if i switch them, it would allow bear on the bottom bunk easier access to books, that he could read on his own for 15 minutes or so after lion falls asleep.

i was quite nervous about the new arrangement in their room, worried one would love it and the other would hate it. lion saw the switch up before we headed for school pick-up and he said “wow! this is amazing! how did you do it?” couldn’t help but smile at such an honest reaction. once we got home from school bear ran upstairs, as he knew there was a surprise waiting for him! he too seemed amazed that i could have moved the furniture myself (do i really come across as weak?!?!). he was especially thrilled with the idea of staying up a little later than his brother and reading on his own.

 

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kids room

well, it’s been a few days now in the new arrangement has been a total success! the boys love their new sleeping spots and bedtime shenanigans have decreased! yahooooo! it’s amazing how something so simple and easy can really make a big difference in the kids lives. i didn’t spend any money, all i did was shuffle some of the furniture around, which was tricky as the room is quite small. clearly the energy in the room has changed for the better (knock on wood).

what kinds of changes have you made in your parenting that has had a big effect in your kids’ behaviour?

what i need to remember is that sometimes implementing small changes can have big results. it’s not always about behaviour charts, counting to 3, or empty threats.

 

lesson learned!

xo, mama lola

moving forward from my birth stories.

spring.

 

it is the season in between the births of my winter baby and my summer baby. it is a time of newness. new grass, new leaves on trees and new attitudes for me. this spring is not any different. i’m the kinda gal that tends to dwell on things, creating holes filled with self-doubt for myself to get stuck in. i think back on passed events coming up with different scenarios of how i could have dealt with specific situations differently; what if i asked this or said that, what if i had never gone there and so on and so on. it’s a useless skill, one that i have mastered and it can actually be quite detrimental to my mental health, because sometimes, i cannot stop.

 

but, there is one area where it seems like i am moving on in. the births of my children. the births of my kids were vastly different, each experience holds it’s own regrets and what ifs, and traumas. but, with time it seems as though i am able to move on from them and perhaps stop blaming myself for everything that didn’t go as i had hoped. to read the birth stories of my bear and lion click here >>> my birth stories.

 

every action and thought has a ripple effect in this world. so much of what happens in a day is the consequence of something else, and sometimes those consequences are things you can’t change or control, but have to just accept. both of my children’s births were complicated in there own way, and so much of what was happening in those scary days and hours leading up to their arrival was out of my hands. as so many mother’s do, i felt tremendous guilt for somehow failing my boys. for ruining their entrance into this world. i felt especially heavy about my lion’s birth as there were so many serious complications and mishaps. watching your child fight to stay here, to stay alive is a terrifying ordeal, but to feel guilty for it, even though there was nothing i could have done to prevent any of the bad things from happening, what a heavy load to carry.

 

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but, today things are different. a handful of years have passed and my heart has had time to heal. i have slowly come to terms with the past, because today i have two incredible little boys in my life. these boys keep me on my toes; everything they do is with all of their being, and with so much honesty. their child-like naivete is inspiring, their continued curiosity keeps me learning, which i am so grateful for!

 

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time has not healed my wounds, but it has instead given me an opportunity to grow and recognize my role and responsibility on those birth days.

i have been guilty for feeling guilty.

 

it’s time to move on!

xo, mama lola

where is spring: i am losing myself.

i know much of the talk recently for so many of us has been this epic, long winter. it has been cold and snowy, and when i say cold and snowy i don’t mean your typical winter freeze! i mean exceptionally cold temperatures that have dragged on for months, topped off with exceptionally high snow fall, which has led to a winter of great efforts! initially, we all loved the winter activities we were able to jump into so quickly but, now i think my mental health is on the edge. i am trying to hold on, but i feel myself slipping into a sadness, a lethargy and a feeling of total, blah.

 

my insomnia is back. last night i was up until 2am, thinking and thinking about all sorts of things. i tip-toed downstairs, found my computer, sat down to blog a little, then i checked-out pinterest and after an hour decided to go back to bed. recently, the pain in my neck that travels all the way down the right side of my body is back, as well. i had it last spring and it completely immobilized me for a few days. i am trying to keep my head up, but sometimes it feels as though i am fighting against my own body.

 

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the kids are exhausted by the weather as well. last year at this time, we had enjoyed many warm spring like days wearing only raincoats or sweaters, instead of still piling on our woolies, snow pants and parkas. they are completely disinterested in tobogganing or going on winter hikes or going ice skating; they want to run and play without the restrictions of snow. i get it, cuz SO DO I! on the weekend is was pretty cold on sunday, but dear hubby got the kids out to play after some serious convincing, and the guys had a great time! i think their mental health is affected by this long, never ending winter as well. they are eager to get back on their scooters and bikes, fly kites and make some awesome mud pies!

 

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check-out their amazing work in -10c conditions, where the snow is covered with ice making it hard, instead of compact and easy to build with. they really got serious about building their igloo; bear stayed inside organizing ice blocks that his little brother was delivering to him. the team work they demonstrated was quite touching.

 

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i am hoping to find some energy and motivation soon.

i want to play outside, get dirt under my fingernails and watch as the trees all come back to life. it is impossible to even think about gardening, as there are snow mountains 2-3 meters high in our front and back yards. it will take a long time for all of it to melt!

 

how are you coping with this winter?

what’s the weather like where you are?

 

happy tuesday to you!

xo, mama lola

this moment.

as inspired by souleMama; one photo from our week, no words, only an image to sum up our time as a family. one that captures a moment in time and is a visual reminder of where we were at this time in our lives.

this moment

please feel free to leave a link to your this moment from this past week in the comments.

xo, mama lola
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