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Don’t mind me – I’m just trying… August 4, 2009

Posted by dreamom in family, Fears, Goals, Happiness, Home, Homeschooling, Life, Parenting.
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It was suggested to me some time ago that when Mom’s use the word ‘trying’ that they are setting themselves up for failure.  I listened intently, and added some thoughts of my own, and decided that it is true.

I volunteer for an organization which comes along side breastfeeding mom’s and offers various types of support as needed.  I hear Mom’s say “I am going to try to breastfeed” all the time.  If I had a nickle  for every time I heard it, I would be a rich woman indeed.  (Feel free to give me a nickle when you use that term with me! lol).  My thought was always ‘FANTASTIC! They are going to try!’  What was pointed out to me though is that in saying that they are leaving the possibility open for failure, and thus reducing their commitment (as to not look to do more than trying) and increasing the chance of…  non-success.  In hindsight this makes perfect sense to me, and I can see that playing out in the people I have ‘trying’.  The solution?

It was also suggested that what we as parents should do is just make a decision – such as “I am going to breastfeed” (which incidentally what I did unintentionally).  If things aren’t going well, and your life is falling apart, you aren’t receiving sufficient support, and you feel trapped – you don’t just gradually make little consessions here and there – eventually slipping out of breastfeeding without noticing it – you make a new decision.  Perhaps saying “I will now be  pumping to supplement one feed” or some such thing as to make it manageable, yet maintain control and having a clear idea of where you stand.

I found this to be a fantastic way of looking at things and have been trying to rephrase my parenting strategies as to tell myself, as well as others that I am committed to said strategy.  For instance, I am no longer ‘trying’ homeschooling.  I AM homeschooling.  When and if I see a need to make a new decision regarding the education of my children (for which I can choose – sadly for one child I am stuck with whatever I can manage to get from the PS system…), I will.  This has made all the difference for me. I can plan things without fearing looking foolish, and I can order curriculum without ‘hoping’ not to waste money.  I can tell the kids that we ARE doing such and such today without hoping I wasn’t just wasting everyone’s time on something that might not work…

Today I began to read a book in preparation for the birth of baby #4.  I know that when I tell you the topic that many of you will choke on your tea, water, etc. and say “Why on earth would you try something like that!?”  It is on having a Diaper Free baby.  I was first introduced to Elimination Communication (EC) by a good friend (who I miss dearly) from Guelph.  I was skeptical too – although I hope I was nice about it…  The first time I was handed the baby and was asked if I could ‘pee her’ (at maybe 2 months), and I did the whistle cue, and that sweet baby started to pee – I was convinced!  I tried to start with Jordan at that point, but he was nearing 10 months and having nothing of it…  Keep in mind I was ‘trying’.  I did start attending the EC meetings and met other Mom’s (besides my friend) who were, or had done this style of infant hygiene with success.  I knew that this was indeed something I wanted to do – if only Jordan was willing…

Now with baby #4 getting closer, I started reading the book to refresh my memory of what I was hoping to embark on, and build up my knowledge bank so I would be ready.  Tonight as I headed for bed I set down the book, and with renewed vigor thought “I will have to try that.”  At that moment it hit me.  I was only planning to try.  I was in other ways getting the diapers organized, thinking about where to put them so they would be handy.  I was pondering getting disposables for the icky umbilical cord days.  I was only trying.  I was excited to try, but even for something as non-life threatening as diapering decisions I was getting my emergency plan in place and planning my escape route.  I would like to say that going diaper free is more daunting than breastfeeding, thus relieving myself of the commitment to the decision, but that is just not the case.  I was lucky to have access to the support I needed and the stubborn drive to get through the bumps, and the fact that I gave myself no other option for infant feeding.  Baby was getting my milk.  Period.  I was not going to pump for the nursing years because that is way too hard.  Period.  Somehow the baby and myself were going to figure out the dance of milk transfer from me to baby.  Period.  There was no word ‘try’.  EVER.

If I am going to plan to succeed with this I am going to have to erase the word ‘try’, and insert the word ‘do’.  Period.  If I was having this baby in Guelph I would know that I would have the support of my dear ECing friend, and the group of women who met to support each other in this diaper choice that was so against the norm.  Here in good ol’ Manitoba I don’t have that.  My friend Mhairi is supportive – although having not done it herself… yet 🙂  That is all I know.  Heck I have been a bit of a black sheep here for having cloth diapers.  (When mom’s see the diapers or covers they beam and say “OH!  You have cloth diapers!”  Like they have just found water in the desert…)  It is going to be hard to not try.  It is going to be harder still to just do it.  I can’t wait to start explaining my taking my infant into the bathroom at…  anywhere!  I DO know that it is achievable, and I do think that it is a wise choice (in the end) for Mom, baby, and the environment – but this is going to take an AWFUL lot of doing!

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This is Canada Day, right? July 3, 2009

Posted by dreamom in family, Happiness, Home, Life.
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Okay.  So although it kind of sucked that Kevin had to work Canada Day, and we missed the Canada Day Beach Blast – today is about making up for it.  What is the benefit of having Canada Day on a not Canada Day?  Everything it open.  There is no limits to what we can do to have some serious family fun.  Alright, alright – no limits is a stretch…  There is the issue of money – that is a limit.  Time is a limit – it DOES have to fit into a day…

So.  What is on the radar?  #1 is geocaching – it is cheap, fun (as long as you steer clear of the mosquitoes), and the kids do enjoy a ‘treasure hunt’…  We might just spatter that in anyway…  #2 is visiting FortWhyte Alive.  It looks like a really great place to go, and learn and enjoy various aspects of Manitoba nature.  This is near the top of the list – although it is not the best time for us to spend the money on it…  We’ll see…  #3 would be yard work.  I have a garden that is DESPERATE for weeding, a lawn that is desperate for weeding – to make room for the grass… I don’t know if that is fun though – assuming that we want to have fun…  #4  The ever present housework.  Laundry to fold, clutter to put away – er I mean throw out, cleaning to do, unpacking to do…  I feel (and so far have not been disappointed) that it will be there tomorrow – or the day after that, or the one after that…  in fact I HAVE been disappointed when it WAS still there!  lol!  I can safely say that since the sun is shining, and it is a BEEEautiful warm day – #4 is out.  Maybe we will blend the rest – who knows…  Stay tuned!

Geocaching July 2, 2009

Posted by dreamom in family, Happiness, Life.
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I have been curious about geocaching for quite some time now.  It was something out of my reach as we had nothing that resembled a GPS.  With my husband having received a GPS (Garmin Nuvi 550) for his birthday/Father’s Day, my interest was peaked.  It has a geocaching feature which always popped up the message that you needed to log onto www.geocaching.com to make use of the feature.  I was certain that it would require a fee, and never looked into it.  With the visit of my urban loving, high-tech, self acclaimed  computer nerd brother I was driven to research the possibility in an effort to properly occupy him, and make his visit enjoyable.

To my surprise, although you can pay for a “Premium Membership”, you can quite effectively geocache with the free account that is also offered.  After logging on and finding out that there were about 100+ geocaches in my immediate area, we did a test geocache trip in the evening of June 30th.  After the caches “No Parking”, and “ELKS” resulted in us running from the vicinity in an effort to outrun Manitoba’s unofficial bird (the mosquito) – we were feeling a little down, and frustrated.  We decided that we would try one more, and pack it in, as the kids were needing bedtime.  We attempted the site called “Friends Always”.  Not too surprisingly it is near the Morden Friendship Centre.  This one we poked around, a little puzzled, and then we found it!  Kevin spotted it first – a ‘hiding in plain sight’ kinda thing, in the end.  At this point I was anxious to do more – but the hubby and kids both needed their beds (Kevin had a 6:30am start on Wednesday) so we headed home.

Jon and I procured Kevin’s GPS to combine a walk around Morden to take pictures of the sites, and to continue our geocaching adventure.  After Kevin had left for work I was surfing around, making sure the local cache sites were loaded into the GPS, and realized that – Yes.  There is an app for that!  I swiftly downloaded the geocache app for my iPhone.  Now I am set to go, anytime.  No loading to the GPS – just grab the phone, and check for local sites!  🙂  By late morning Jon and I were on our way – I had my phone, he had the GPS, and the kids were in the stroller.  We set off for the one that is literally within sight of our house, in Livingston Nature park.  Although we did find it, dutifully signed the log, and traded a small toy for a spare pen (we had forgotten to grab one), we tore out of there having only lost a pint of blood to the ‘squiters…  From there we left for “Morden Park”, then “Dead Horse” (creek, that is.)  We were on a roll – but the kids were hungry, and the idea of being on a treasure hunt was losing it’s appeal.  We paused for a break and a snack at Dairy Queen, and headed off for “Info”.  This one got us.  It is described as a micro cache (one of the trickier ones to locate), and the coordinates place it in or near the Porta-Potty.  Since said Porta-Potty is in a parking lot the near is ruled out fairly easily.  The in was not to thoroughly investigated as it was in the words of another cacher – ‘odourific’.  Strike one.

We pushed on, and headed for the east side of town towards “Hot Stuff” Hot Stuff– that was found in very short order, and provided a good chuckle.  After this we headed South for “The Place” and after a few puzzling moments in the middle of a parking lot – found it.  We went slightly south-west to “Tiger, Tiger”, and found one of the best hiding spots of the day – another ‘plain site’ one – and a good one at that.  During this stop we took a break – I rested while the kids slept (since our “Hot Stuff” stop), had some water, and gave my aching muscles a break, while Jon took some pictures of our rail yard and the surroundings.  During the stop Jordan awoke, and was in desperate need of a diaper change, which after some battling I managed to do.  Once this was done we were ready to go.  We headed off for “Suncatcher” via Stephen St. so that Jon could take some pictures of our bustling down-town (albeit less bustling due to Canada Day).  At the Suncatch were once again bested.  Nestled among trees and buildings made our GPS readings jump around, and after searching as much as we could while my stamina was quickly fading, and Jordan was now running around, it was logged as our second DNF of the day.  We headed on to Milne park, and snapped up that cache fairly quickly with a little looking around.  Took another little break, and headed for “Hockey Boy”.  Due to the fact that it is a small town, and no location is a huge mystery – and the path on the GPS gave away the fact that “Hockey Boy” had a drive-thru, we figured out pretty quickly that it was at Tim Horton’s.  With renewed energy we headed that way, and searched for what was described as an “Ultra-Micro cache” until Kevin came to get us after getting home from work.  By this time Libby had woken up, and was assisting in the ‘treasure hunt’.  Sadly we left with that being the last DNF of the day.

Once home I forced myself to make hamburger patties and cook them up on our brand new $12 Charcoal BBQ.  It did a great job, and I was surprised that I liked cooking with charcoal – although I have to do some more learning about it.  $12 seemed like a reasonable test – since a disposable one was $8.

Once supper was done, I was DONE.  I walked well over 5kms, pushing a stroller most of the way, and carrying a pack with the camera, iPhone, water, etc.  That added to the fact that I am 22 weeks pregnant, and not typically too active – I was beyond exhausted.  That doesn’t explain why I have been awake since 5am – but I am hoping to go back to bed when I am done this post…

Gearing up for the week, months ahead… February 22, 2009

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Goals, Happiness, Home, Life, Parenting.
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So, today got off to a bad start.  I believe that the root of that would have been my blogging at 4:30 in the morning, instead of sleeping.  My problem tends to be that when I am stressed I tend to sleep poorly.  I know that I shouldn’t feel stressed or anxious about the upcoming move – after all, God knows where we will live, and how we will manage, and has all that looked after.  There is always a disconnect between knowing it, and living it though…

I ended up crawling into Kyle’s bed with him last night – I was not the only one  up all night – All three kids were moving about the house at various points in the night in search of other sleeping arrangements.  Once I was in Kyle’s bed, I did sort of, sleep okay – just short…

I woke up at 8, and due to not being prepared, had to be at church for 8:30.  Right as I was walking out the  door of the house I got a call from the church saying that the teacher on the schedule had talked to me about being unavailable for this week due to being involved in the service.  I did remember that conversation, and I at this point realised that I had never dealt with that.  Not only was I going into the lesson at 11am unprepared, I might also be teaching the 9!  Luckily the teachers husband was willing and able to take on the class, and I helped by preping his craft for him.  Whew!  That was a close call.  That was also the reminder I needed that I can no longer perform this role effectively, and I made it a priority to fill my remaining weeks of teaching.  On the 8th I have a coordinators meeting, and if no one has come forward by then – I will go ahead and step down with no one to pass the torch to.  I know that I can’t keep doing this…

After church my husband and I decided that we would do the run to Ikea to get bunk-beds and the bedding that the kids are in need of, and that we need to get before we leave Ontario.  It started out fine, but after a while I was frustrated that I wasn’t getting the support of my husband (who preferred to disappear – thankfully with the kids), the kids were melting down because that is what kids do in a large chaotic environment, and Kevin was melting down because that is what Kevin does in a large chaotic environment.  By the time we left we were all in a tizzy.  We decided that we would treat everyone to a cinnabon, and trekked across the city to get one.  We got there to find that they were closed.  Closed and sold out according to the grumpy lady in the store…  At this point we threw in the towel and went to Pizza Hut for supper.  I turned out to be quite pricey, but at least we got home in time to get our pre-fed kids in bed…

I am sitting here planning to go to bed early – as soon as Jordan is ready in fact.

Merry-Go-Round January 27, 2009

Posted by dreamom in family, Goals, Happiness, Home, Life.
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About a year after the fiasco about Winkler – Kevin has been offered, properly offered a job in Manitoba.  This time it is Dupont, and the town is Carman, but they are so close that Winkler is the closest Lablaws, Walmart kinda town.

I am excited.  After several years of the student life, and ther reams of failed attempts to find jobs locally, Kevin and I are both ready to move on.  It is not without challenges, of course.  First of all is the fact that this moves Kyle further away from his Dad.  Although this is not our first choice, it is manageable.  Already his Dad lives in Montreal, so it is not a matter of him slipping around the block to see him now.  On the other hand, we are able to take advantage of some of his Dad’s business trips to sneak in a visit.  The challenge that Winkler will present is that the visits will have to be more planned.

The kids are another challenge.  It is hard for kids to see how a move will affect them, and as such cause them concern.  The key is that this move is going to give them an opprotunity to see a part of Canada in a context that they might not see other parts.  We will get to meet people, experience living in one of the prarie provinces, and widen our base of experience.

I need to run!  Much packing needs to be done…

Preparing and Field and Waiting for the Rain August 2, 2008

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Happiness, Life, Parenting.
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With the demise of the job in Manitoba, I have really been wondering why.  Why did they contact us?  Why didn’t it work out?  Why didn’t God respond to the faith we had that he would provide?  When I bring these concerns to my friends, the general comment is ‘Are we ready?’.  Now my friends don’t really know that we aren’t ready, but suggest it as a possibility.  I have felt ready.  I have mentally been preparing for a move, we had our notice in ‘just in case’, and we had started to mention to the kids about moving.  It has been brought to my attention that we might be more prepared to move, than for the lifestyle that would follow moving.  At first I rejected this idea.  Who wouldn’t be prepared to have an employed member of the household?

The fact of the matter is that I have relied heavily on my husband for a lot of the day to day stuff, which has decreased my belief in myself, and decreased the belief that my husband has in me to run the house.  Since the Masters is at a difficult stage, than he also naturally looks for areas to procrastinate, and by his believing that I can’t do things at home without him, I offer that excuse freely.

Where do we go from here?  I am making a concerted effort to regain the confidence in myself, and prove to my husband that I can do my share, and give him the time and space to do his work.  It is going to be a bit of a daily battle – upon reflection this is a pattern that we have had since very early in our marriage, when I was pregnant with my daughter.  With daily encouragement, and help from God, I know that this is a pattern that I can change.

My one fear is that this realization has come too late for this job in Chatham.  Only the coming days will tell.

Fueling the Dream July 3, 2008

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Happiness, Homeschooling, Life, Parenting.
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This last little while has been a weird time for me.  I switched medication levels and have found something that is really working for me.  At the same time though I am finding that I am buckling under the stress and pressure of our situation.   This month we are completely relying on a mixture of our parents and anyone else we can scare up to pay our bills.  We are waiting to hear about the outcome of a couple of jobs and this is really the end of the line for us.  If one of these jobs don’t work – Kevin is going to have to leave his Masters undone and get whatever job he can find.  That is a daunting fact after 5.5 years put into it.

We pray earnestly, and it just gets delayed more and more.  I am not sure what the purpose is in this.  I trust that God does have something planned, but for the life of me I don’t know what, or if we are even headed in the right direction.  We just continue to pray and pray,and wait for God to give us an answer.

I think that is one of the most difficult aspects of all of this as well.  I want to participate in so many things this summer, and experience so many things with the kids, but we can’t.  Even with the help we have we are falling short.

On the other hand, now that school is over for the summer I have been homeschooling Kyle.  I am so proud of him!  He has been working 4-5 hours a day on school.  I have a math program that he is eagerly devouring.  We have a printing program, phonics program, and a general language program, and even though it is Kyle’s most difficult subject he is working hard on it without complaints.  For Science and Social Studies we are going very Charlotte Mason.  I am loving it.  The biggest issue with it right now is that Jordan is terribly cranky, and difficult to handle, and we haven’t figured out what to do with him yet.  That will come with time, and I suspect with the teeth that are trying to break through!

In regards to the title, the only thing fueling the dream right now is prayer.  Prayer, prayer, and more prayer.  Feel free to add us to your list  🙂

Manitoba June 2, 2008

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Happiness, Life, Uncategorized.
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To be honest I never dreamed about living in Manitoba… I liked it when we drove through, but didn’t consider it inhabitable, for us anyway…

In April someone called my under-employed husband about a job there, and suddenly it is on the radar.  At the time it seemed like the most monumental decision, and since then the process has been long and arduous.  At first we were given a week to think over whether it was something we would consider.  After two days we decided that it was, and waited anxiously for the next step in the process.  Unfortunately the next step was to wait.  And wait.  After a month the company contacted us called once again.  This time my husband had two job postings sent to him, and two weeks to get the application into the HR department.  This time around the postings were not very well advertised, which on one hand gives me hope.  On the other hand I know that none of this will come to pass if it is not the will of the Almighty God.  That scares me.  I should let you know here that in the four years that I have been married, the eight years that I have been a mother, and thirtyish years prior to that I have oft heard God say “No”.  And by heard I mean had a seemingly open door slam in my face.

This in mind, it was a timely sermon on Sunday when the pastor reminded us that God’s is powerful, and is able to do what ever he needs to do, but that God also only wants the very best for us.  His will is not for us to have second best, but the best.  It will be hard if I find out that God once again is wanting to keep us here.  I am dreaming of the wide open spaces, the big skies, and the trek it will take to get there.  Right now I can’t even imagine anything better than what might await us in Manitba.

The dark side of dreaming May 13, 2008

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Typically we think of dreams as good. Goals to be achieved, and happy thoughts that we like to linger on. Then you are sleeping one night, and you are being chased, or crushed, or something of the like and you can’t seem to wake up. Finally you wake up with a gasp, but it isn’t over. The dream you want to leave behind is the one that follows you for the day, or week – until finally one day you find yourself lingering on a happier dream again.

That is kind of what my life feels like. I am being chased by the ideals of what I want, and what I want to be like and accomplish – and I can’t quite force myself into consciousness so that I can escape the fear and dread that continually wells up in me. I remember the happier dreams, but right now I just want to escape the darkness that threatens to never subside. I find myself longing for that unsettled feeling that follows the dream because at least then I know it is over, and I can at least cautiously try to leave it behind me.

You would think that when the worst thing you experience is in your head that you can control it. Dreams aren’t like that though. They sweep you away into a world without rules, the impossibly good can happen as easily as the impossibly bad.

Right now I want to wake up. I want to have control. I want to see a change in my circumstance, but I can’t. It is not only up to me, and no one else sees the urgency. The only person who can help doesn’t understand the context of my experience. They aren’t wrapped in the same darkness, even if they do have a darkness of their own.

So here I sit. Seeking out the light, praying to my heavenly Father to reach down and pull me out of the darkness, and dreaming in the darkness of the days when my mourning will be turned to dancing by the grace and power of He who leads me.

Sitting at the Precipice April 10, 2008

Posted by dreamom in Faith, family, Goals, Happiness, Life.
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One week ago our life was normal. Normal for us, anyway. Last week my husband answers a phone call at dinner that sent our week in a tail-spin. Really nothing changed per se. The guy at the other end of the phone was calling from a respected company suggesting that my husband consider a position doing his dream job. The catch? The position would be in Winkler Manitoba.

For those who are not familiar with their Canadian geography, that would be 2000kms away. That is a big shift in the ‘dream’. I have not got anything specifically against Manitoba, short of the fact that I have had very little experience with it. That is the reason that this possibility is both exhilarating and terrifying. Thus the precipice.

On one side is the familiar. It is a free fall of living day to day. It is a constant rhythm of trusting that God will move and act, and that the people you love will respond to your need. It is a constant need. My husband and I dream of being financially independent, and of being able to make choices in life, instead of doing things, or not doing things out of a lack of resources.

On the other side is something that we did not go looking for, but appears to have landed in our lap. We are afraid to rest our hopes in it because it seems too good to be true. On the other hand we know that if this comes to be, that it is God’s handiwork. That being said – it is daunting to think of moving to an unknown area and starting fresh.

Both options are terrifying, and regardless one of them will be the outcome. Daily – hourly – possibly more – I cry out to God that I trust him. I believe that he is telling me… “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.'” (Jeremiah 29:11-13) I am seeking him, and all he has said is “Wait”. Part of me is okay with that. I have been much more patient that I thought I would. I know that whatever happens, that God will be there, and that he will faithfully provide. My anxiety is coming more from a blossoming excitement that I am afraid to let out, incase I am going ahead of God instead of following him.

I am not sure if there is a lesson in this situation, but there is certainly a test. Am I willing to live the life I intend to. Will I seek after God’s will, or charge off to carry out my own agenda? Will I let God direct my life, or try to direct it myself? I am trying. I am praying to God. I am searching the scripture for the words that he wants me to hear. So far the only words are “wait”, “trust”, and “I am in control”. So here I sit. At the precipice. Waiting to see where God will lead. Praying for the strength to do what he asks. Ready to close my eyes, fall over the edge – knowing that I will land in his arms, and soar on wings like eagles; run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.