How the old feels new…

Usually, Labor Day week-end brings with it a certain sting to the heart. The time when summer is over, the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life resumes and for the last 2 years, school was officially upon us. So I’m sure you will understand how this year, we are all a bit at a loss on how to feel.

We live 2 blocks away from the elementary school my daughter attended for kindergarten and 1st grade. So every morning since September 30th, we have been watching a parade of glum little kids heading towards the school, 20 paces behind their parents, mumbling, rubbing their eyes, with their parents coaxing them to please walk a little faster or else they will be late to work. I know all this because the window is opened and the now Northern wind brings their conversations into my house. I feel for them. No one wants to push their kids to go faster, but you have to. Time moves faster than you want it to and you try to keep up.

We were rarely one of those families. We had our mornings, but Little Miss was always very excited about school. So you can imagine how surprised I was when she announced last March that she wanted to give homeschooling a try.

We talked long and hard about her motivations. The first, you probably won’t be surprised, was that she didn’t want to have homework anymore. A kid is a kid is a kid after all! We all had a good laugh and then pressed on a bit about what other reasons she might have. Her answers surprised me : she was tired of the stop watches that made her feel stressed out during her reading exercises, tired of having her questions left unanswered when they didn’t relate to the curriculum or worse, tired of being told to ask her parents to look up the answers with her when she would get home. She told us she loved her friends, but they rarely wanted to play the games she wanted to play and she was tired of always playing princess. Other concerns of hers included how little she got to speak English over there since they do not offer advanced classes at an elementary level and how anxious the intense reward system made her feel. “Everybody cares so much about being the best mom, it’s just no fun.”

So 6 months later, here we are… watching her friends walk by and planning our day. Today, we are having another homeschooling family over for arts and crafts. We found out a little girl at her dance school, with whom she spent part of the summer in dance camp with, is also homeschooled so we are creating a connection. A connection based on shared values and interests. But before that, we will be doing a bit of reading (that SHE chose) and a bit of writing (again, about something SHE chose) and she will feel pride, satisfaction and joy.

I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone. And I used to be one of those people. (A few of my friends reading this are probably chuckling right now.) But for now, it feels oh SO very right.

It is a whole new world my friends, and it looks pretty bright to us!

Hope all of you are having a wonderful day. ❤

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Almost a year

Almost… since I’ve stepped away from this place, since last I’ve opened my heart on these pages. The last year was one of redefinition, self-exploration, connection as a family and of finding out who and what we not only are, but who and what we want to be.

In my last post, I was conflicted. Lacking identity, I didn’t know how to relate not only to my blog, but to everyone else around me. I had questions that needed answered and the only way I could do that was to closely look inward and figure me out in the short and long term. And all though I feel as though I have a pretty firm grasp on it finally, I know I will always be searching a bit. But the difference is that I’m okay with that now.

Much has changed here. A series of attempts (not always successful) at a life that seemed ideal has lead us to a simple conclusion : that no life is ideal. More importantly, no model of life seen anywhere is ideal for anyone but the people living that life. The model needs to be your own, the only one walking in your shoes is you and the only reality is the one you make. It was a hard lesson, hard on the ego, hard on our dreams. But we’ve made new dreams and now, with a bit of time for reflecting, those dreams are better, because they are our own.

So another year begins. (Funny how the beginning of the school year has always felt more like “New Year” than January 1st to me.) We have decided to homeschool our Little Miss (not so little anymore) while our Little Man goes to preschool 3 days a week. His social environment therapy is going well and we felt that we should benefit of the early intervention while we still can. 2nd grade is upon us and our lives are calmer. Sitting here watching the kiddos in our neighborhood walk by, heavy backpacks on, heading into their first day while my kiddos happily play in the living room brings me peace. Our days are filled with much imagination and freedom now. Formal learning is spread out and minimal, leaving more room for exploration and discovery. Next year, when Little Man turns 5, we will be full time homeschoolers. Therapy will be a fraction of what it is right now and we will make our own way. I’m grateful for everything they have given us in these first years of adaptation and acceptance, but I feel it will soon be time to fly away from that “nest”.

As time moves forward, I hope to reconnect with people I’ve missed and meet new ones.

Stop in and say hello if you feel like it, I would love to know how you are.

 

Posted in Family Life, Homeschooling, Simplicity | 16 Comments

October

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Coming back to this space has been hard. I’ve missed all of the wonderful people that I’ve met here, missed the conversations and the feeling of community, but I’ve also been paralyzed  by writer’s block. Mostly, my writer’s block stems not from me having nothing to say, but mostly from me being so out of focus.

When I started this blog, it felt as though my path was clear. I knew what I wanted from life, I knew where I wanted our home and our hearts to go and we had a steady plan on how to get there.

Then, life happened.

Plans get changed, then they get postponed, then they are scrapped all together and new plans are made. Before you know it, you are not the person you were when you started your blog and you ask yourself “where do I go from here?” and “What is this blog about anyway?”

Our family life is wonderful, but it has also been taken over by Little Man’s therapy. But, I don’t want to be an autism blog. Although I think I have a good handle on what works for our family, I don’t feel I’m in any position to tell people how they should go about things. And it feels like all the facts about autism are out there, I am not needed to drive the point in any further. But autism being a major driving force in our home right now, that left me with so much to say, but no idea how to say it and NOT become an autism blog.

I can’t really have a homesteading blog because for now,  our homesteading projects have been put on hold. When gardening season arrived, we were neck-deep in therapy, school, home renovations and planning our first family vacation in almost 3 years. Our soil analysis was shot, the amount of amending needed to have any kind of decent production would have cost a fortune and because of personal health issues and impending surgery (I’m healing well, no worries), there was no way we could see ourselves taking on a homestead this summer. So we let 60% of our gardens go fallow, planted buckwheat and concentrated our efforts on a few of our newer beds. When a late June frost killed all of our warm loving plants, we took it as a sign from the Universe that we had made the right decision.

I so want to find my quilting and crafting voice again, but for now, I’m truly not a quilting or crafting blog. But that should change very soon. I am officially the proud owner of a few days a week “sans” kiddos and I plan on making the most of it as soon as I can sit up for longer than a few minutes at a time. (Abdominal surgery sucks!)

Where does all this new-found time come from? Let me explain : Among the many changes in our lives comes Little Man’s debut in part-time preschool. We were blessed to receive a phone call offering us a 2 day a week space available in this local preschool that is adapted for special little people. They have a full-time specialized education staff, a cooking staff trained in food issues, sensory facilities and a “the more we are outdoors the better” philosophy that was too good to pass up. And he has been thriving : He is making friends, letting go of some of his rigid behaviors, using pictograms to speak and has even started saying “Bye” and “Allo” on a regular basis. Their Montessori inspired focus of independence and life skills has been amazing and little man can now partially dress and undress himself. brush his teeth, put together his own snacks and help in family chores like clearing the table, putting away his toys and helping with yard work.  He has been going for a month now and they are tickled with how well he is doing. So much so that the rehab center has deemed him ready to move to a more intensive therapy schedule. He will be starting proper occupational and speech therapy in addition to multiplying his in-home (and at preschool) therapy sessions. It will require a lot of commitment, but the potential is limitless.

Moving along, I’m really not a food blog. I love sharing my recipes and I love baking and cooking, but the kitchen has been more convenient than creative as of late so not much to say there. But Little Man’s taste buds have been relaxing a bit. Maybe it is eating away from home 2 days a week that has made it happen, but we are finding ourselves able to feed him a lot of new things lately. So we are again feeling this desire to experiment and discover.

Last but not least, when I first started sharing our journey here, I had a deep down desire that MAYBE, I would become a homeschooling mama. That has clearly not happened. So no, I cannot be a homeschooling blog. As some of you know, Little Miss made me understand very early on that she wanted to go to school. Staying home was not an option. Many told me that I should have followed my gut and kept her home, but I truly would not have felt as though I would have respected her wishes. Now, I haven’t yet decided for Little Man. We still have a few years to go. But being honest, after seeing how much progress he’s made in just a few weeks of being exposed to a more structured setting, my heart is slowly accepting that school might be the way for him as well. But luckily in life, things are not always black and white and I may get my wish at least partially. More on that very soon!

So here I am. Seasons have passed, things have changed, I am finding and redefining myself again and my space is still here. Not an autism blog, not a homesteading blog, not a quilting or crafting , food or homeschooling blog. But I am still here. So if you don’t mind, I will keep my blog for a little while longer, and the name will remain the same : Family, because it is the corner-stone of who I am, Faith, because without it I would be lost, Food, because it is always good to eat and Fabric, because my creativity is slightly out of my reach right now, but I’m closely gaining on it and once I catch up, I don’t plan on letting go.

 

 

 

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39/52 – Her & Him (Catch-up)

A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2016.

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Little Miss :  Although you turned 6 a few weeks ago, we celebrated your birthday with your little friends from school this past week-end.  It was our first experience having a bunch of your friends over without any adults but m and your dad. I won’t lie, we were a bit nervous. Our home is not a typical home and where most have party games and Disney themes, we have mud kitchens and trampolines, so we didn’t know how your friends would react. Oh how happily surprised we were. What a great group of friends you have my love. You have surrounded yourself with creative, respectful, energetic and happy individuals and that just makes me smile from ear to ear. When I asked you why you had connected with them, you said things like “because she loves to invent stories and we laugh all the time”, “he is super active and likes to run around with me and never gets tired” and “because she always listens when I talk”… Keep finding these people who speak to your heart and soul my love. They will be your greatest treasures as you navigate these uncertain waters. And they are welcomed here any time you would like! ❤

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2016.

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Little Man :  Do you realize I bought that colander 18 months ago? Again and again I tried, getting you to “pleeease” put one pipe cleaner into a whole. As much as I like to think I’m over all these “milestone moments”, there are still parts of me that crave that concrete measuring stick. I walked into the room this week and found you going at it with one of the most intense “focus faces” I’ve ever seen on you. When the pipe cleaners would bend, you would straighten them out and start again. You did not stop until they were all in and then came over to show your dad and me what you had done. “Chill mom! I’m doing just fine!” is what your heart constantly tells me. You are more than fine my sweetheart, you are golden! ❤

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

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38/52 – Her & Him

A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2016.

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Little Miss :  What do you do when a few days before her 6th birthday, your darling girl asks for a mushroom identification guide and a Sherlock Holmes sized magnifying glass as a birthday present? You go out and you buy them because if I needed any more proof that you are the most amazingly inquisitive, imaginative, resourceful and unique Little Miss, here I have it. You surprise me everyday… what an old soul you have. Thank you for challenging me each waking moment. You keep me young, always learning, always striving for more. You inspire me so much. Happy Birthday my love. May your next trip around the sun be filled with discoveries beyond your wildest dreams.  ❤

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2016.

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Little Man :   You devilish Little Man! You are starting to get bolder in your actions and you test me constantly to find out what is okay and what is not. You are developing quite a sense of humour and you love getting reactions from us… even if it’s not the best reactions sometimes. Either way, I love the way you look for us now, always searching behind you for our gaze, our stare. It,s a wonderful feeling to know that as much as we look for you, you look for us too. ❤

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

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37/52 – Her & Him

A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2016.

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Little Miss :  It is the beginning of fall here and we are all grateful for it. You have been loving our nature walks, asking for them even early in the morning before school starts. My kiddos are like me, they love cool weather and filtered light. The days will go by quickly now my love, before you know it, we will be covered in snow. So live these next few weeks to the fullest, enjoy the breathless beauty and that generous heart of yours. ❤

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2016.

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Little Man :  There is such a sense of peace in your stare when we are out in the dim delicate morning light these days. Like you know inside of you that the days are growing still, soon it will be more dark than light. You are sleeping better, eating with more appetite and embracing those layers so much better this time around. You have grown up so much in just one year my love. All the last little bits of you that reminded me of that plump toddler are now gone and watching you make your way through the world is just beautiful. ❤

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

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36/52 – Her & Him (Summer Catch-up)

A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2016.

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Little Man : There is a look of equal exhaustion, amazement and confusion in your face that pretty much sums up our big night downtown Old Quebec on Labor Day week-end. We had been promising your sister that as soon as the days would shorten, we would spend an evening in town, long enough to see all the lights come on. It is always such a treat for her and this year, it was a treat for you too. But it wasn’t the lights that had you so transfixed, squeezing the playground mulch in your hand, laying there still as a rock…

A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2016.

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(continued )… it was your sister, floating in mid-air above you, watching the sunset. Very few times am I able to truly see what you see. But this time, it was so clear. What a wonderful shared moment we all had. And what a glorious evening! ❤

Little Miss : How fearless you have become! Over the course of the summer, you’ve mastered so much of your body, its strength and potential. I feel like you have blossomed into such a confidant and self-aware person over the last few months.   You have some true grit my amazing girl! I’m so proud. ❤

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

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