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School stuff 

Sometimes I think the best thing about getting older is the fact that it puts my junior high years further behind me. I get to relive those trying times through my kids though, and sometimes I think it’s more heart wrenching than when I was experiencing things myself. 

Jacob has settled in to his new school well and has made what seem to be a good circle of friends. But there’s one kid…. There’s always that one kid …  who seems to thrive on making his life more difficult. That kid who calls him names. 

I had a long talk with his teacher today about this teasing/bullying. We spent at least a half hour problem solving. I am so happy that he has this teacher – someone who he likes and trusts, who genuinely likes him, who knows the type of person he really is, and who has his back and wants to solve the issue. 

That was enough of a reason for my happiness moment, she finished our conversation by telling me that it was obvious from our talk what a close relationship he and I have. She reminded me that teens only  open up to people they feel safe with and trust. She said it was really nice to hear how lovingly I talked about him and how I was concerned about making sure he had a comfortable environment to learn in. She said relationships like that come only through consistent and caring work and that it showed in the type of person that he is. It made my heart glow in a beautiful happiness moment. 

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Let’s go riding in the car

We do a lot of driving now that we are living in the country. Most of the time I love it – I take backroads whenever I can so it’s usually stress free driving. This has opened up for us is a lot of time spent together without any other distractions (besides saying ohhhhh look at the sunrise, or look at all the deer, or are those cows out on the road?) and a great opportunity to really talk to each other.

My happiness moment today was driving home with my boy. It’s a bittersweet happiness moment as he was unloading on me all the stress and worries he has about being a 14 year old boy. Sad because I hate to see him struggling with anything, I still wish I could jump in and put a bandaid on everything to make it better. But, it was my happiness moment because it was a beautiful reminder of the bond we share, of the trust he has in me that he will tell me everything that is going on at school. Life at 14 can be difficult, confusing, fun, scary, happy, upsetting, and hormonal – often all at the same time. I feel so honoured that he is taking me on his journey into adolescence and grateful that he’s secure and feels safe enough in our relationship to share things with me.

Love that kid

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Snowballs and laughter 

We had our first substantial snowfall this morning! Well, for me I wouldn’t use exclamation marks as I still have frostbite memories on my ears and cheeks, but the kids were so excited to see the white stuff coming down.

Jacob had the day off from school, so he was looking forward to getting out and playing in his winter wonderland.

I met him at my mom’s, where he tried to pull a fast one on me by hiding and pelting me with snowballs. I scored best mom of the day when I turned and casually threw one that went right in his face. As he was laughing I pelted him again – perfectly on the nose. Thank goodness i hadn’t packed my snowballs hard. He was all impressed with my aim, and I didn’t tell him I had been aiming for his stomach.

We had to go into town where we were surprised to find there was no snow at all on the ground. We laughed at how funny our car looked piled still in snow while it was clear everywhere else. We both got out of the car at the grocery store, turned and looked at each other, grabbed handfuls of snow off the car, and had an impromptu snowball fight in the parking lot.

A man was standing behind Jacob watching us and laughing. He wanted to know where we got all the snow from. As we walked into the store Jacob turned to me and said “well mom, I don’t know about you, but this was my happiness moment for today”. I love that he is also making sure he has a happiness moment each day.

I agreed with him, but inside I thought and my other happiness moment was getting you with that snowball….

However when we arrived home he got me back…

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Fall back….into bed

Today was a day that began with many plans. We were going to try a new church. Well, really it is an old but new church. It’s the one my grandma went to and I have fond memories of sitting in service with her. We were going grocery shopping – you know, so we could eat today and tomorrow. We needed to buy gloves and water and a few other boring household things. 

Instead we did nothing. Well, not entirely nothing…. We had naps, watched a movie, and ate. Jenna actually managed to do her homework and I did some coursework for my Ayurvedic class. Jacob spent some quality time cuddling with Ella the cat. 

We needed this day of rest. Yes, there were other things that I wanted to get done, but all of us really needed a quiet day to recharge. 

  
Something I’m really learning to honor is that when my body or soul says it needs rest that I need to listen to that. Otherwise what seems to happen is my body rebels against me and I have to suffer the consequences- usually being down and out for much longer than a day. 

Today’s happiness moment is being able to celebrate a day of quiet with my monsters. It’s nice to just slow down and really enjoy them. 

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Boo!

   
My happiness moment today was Halloween evening. We went to my cousin’s place and had supper and then the kids went out trick or treating. 

This was awesome for many reasons. This cousin and I are very close in age and spent a great deal of our childhood and youth playing together. We have stayed close, but miles have kept us apart for over 10 years. Being able to reconnect and strengthen that friendship is a great gift in my life. 

Our kids are all at different ages and stages, and yet they all get along and enjoy being together. I smiled watching them all head out to get candy. 

We had a beautiful meal and a relaxing visit afterwards. Times like that haven’t been very common in recent years for us and it’s a blessing to be able to do that. 

After we got home the kids sat with their stash and picked out a few treats to keep. By a few I mean less than 10. I was proud of them as I didn’t give them a limit. But, the rule is if you want the Halloween Witch to come and leave you a present you have to leave out most of your candy. We usually wait an extra day, but they wanted to do it tonight. I’m a big supporter of that. I hope the Witch brings something cool! I’d like a new pony. 

 

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True love 

 

Today my happiness moment was watching Jenna cuddle with Abu the Cat. Jenna has waited forever to have a cat she can snuggle with and carry everywhere. 

These two are great friends and a great match for each other. Abu came to Jenna at a time when she really needed someone to hug and cuddle with whenever she wanted to. I’m grateful for both Abu and Aladdin. 

Seems fitting on national cat day to have my happiness moment be about a cat!! 

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Boot to the head 

  
Poor little Jenna came to the car today in tears. She’d been hit in the eye with a frisbee and was sore and upset. Of course the first thing that went through my brain was boot to the head from the Frantics. 

Because most funny things in my brain go back to thr Frantics, Kids in the Hall, or Mr. Bean. I can’t look at a pie, hear the word areas, or stand in line (is this the line? I’ll bet you’re the line) without bursting into uncontrolled giggles. Boredom often leads me to pinch peoples’ heads, and everything else is Mr. Bean. 

Poor Jenna. I did get myself together and give her the sympathy she needed though. 

Yesterday I blogged about  security and confidence and how important it was that our little house is feeling more settled and safe all the time. Jenna told me that as soon as she got hurt, her first impulse was to run into the school and see if her aunt (my cousin) was there. She said I know she’s always at school and I knew she would make me feel all better. I wanted to be with my family. Someone who loves me. 

And that is what this is all about. Living in a way where we have our tribe around us knowing that we are safe and cared for, and that we can make others feel the same. 

That was my happiness moment. Jenna feeling  that wherever she is here there is someone who has her back and will give her a kind hand. We aren’t made to go through this life in isolation and I’m so grateful that we don’t have to anymore. 
On a different note, Dad died 5 months ago today. I don’tknow how I feel about that, but I feel like it bears noting. Miss you Dad xoxo

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Security and confidence

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out my emotions on safety and security, and how that has affected who I am today. I have spent a lot of time feeling unsafe, or like there was a real lack of security in my life. It’s been something I’ve craved and sought after, but I often felt like I was chasing rainbows – hopeful, but uncertain that I would ever reach my desire.

With a lot of work, and a lot of help, I’m finally beginning to realize in my body and soul that I’m safe and that I can be secure. The fact that we are back home and surrounded with love and support of our people has played a huge role in that. Also though, I have been working like a madwoman to release all the old fears and misconceptions and grief I’ve carried along with me for too long.

All of our house pets have been adopted from shelters. They all have had some kind of abuse or neglect before they came to live with us, so they all arrived in the house with a lot of fear and a lack of security.



Over the years I have watched Dottie settle into (kind of) a more normal and calmer version of herself. She’s very attached to me – I am her security blanket if you will – but she’s more trusting and calmer than she was 8 years ago when she first came to live with us. Ella too has calmed into a more secure and loving cat. She’s gone from her strict rule of being “close but no touching”,  to sitting on my keyboard, purring, while I’m trying to type this blog.

Abu and Aladdin were the last members of our little tribe to join us. They both were pretty insecure and fearful when they arrived. They had good reason to feel that way too as their young lives had involved a lot of turmoil. 2 months later I’m seeing that they’re getting more secure and trusting with us.

Having faith and trust in the people (or animals) you live with with is so important. If we can’t feel safe and secure, we don’t have the confidence to spread our wings and fly, we can’t let our guard down and open our hearts to those around us. Feeling safe is, I believe, one of the most important things in life.

Today I was at Jenna’s teacher conferences. One of her goals is to be more confident in school and speak up for herself. I’ve watched how the kids are relaxing into life here and thriving with the sense of security that comes with having a strong support system in our lives. She’s so much more confident and brave than she gives herself credit for, but I was proud of her that that was one of her goals. Making sure we all feel safe and loved is what it’s all about.

My happiness moment today was hearing about what a great job she’s doing at school – how she’s part of the leadership group, how she’s making friends, how she’s starting to feel like she belongs there. My wish for my kids (and me too) is that they spend the rest of their lives feeling safe and secure and loved.

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Cameras, Swans, and Dad

My sister and I spent part of the weekend dividing up Dad’s cameras. It’s something I know he would want us to do, but a very difficult thing nonetheless. Dad loved taking pictures, and he loved sharing them with his loved ones. We know that he would want us to keep on taking pictures and capturing family memories.

I was fiddling with my camera this afternoon and noticed that there were still photos Dad had taken left on the memory card. It seems he took them this time of the year (or maybe it was early spring) because the swans were on the slough just like they are now.

He has some amazing swan photos, the ones on my camera aren’t some of his best work. But, it was both my happiness moment, and a  sadness moment to open them up and take a look.

I have lots of memories in my head that I will take with me forever of Dad and of our family unit. However, having these tangible memories he made for us helps my heart heal a little bit more. It reminds me to get out and look at the swans, to go out walking, to admire the mountains and the barn, to jump into life every chance I get.

I’m noticing the farther I’m getting into my days of happiness the more that happiness is truly becoming part of my life. I still look for my moment each day, but I’m getting happier and happier all the time. Happiness in the core of my being is becoming more a way of life and I’m so grateful for that.

a couple of Dad’s photos

DSC_2617 DSC_2594

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