Monday, December 27, 2010

We Are The Light

As I sit here reflecting on the Christmas holiday, I am overcome with joy and sadness. I have always wanted to create community. So wherever I am, I make sure all are introduced and try and find common ground amongst strangers, so they can have a conversation. I am constantly organizing gatherings of friends or the neighbor kids to build relationships. It is my calling. So as my family begins this transition from our neighborhood, to another one, I am sad. We know it is the right time for us to move. We need to find a space we feel good in. A space for all of us, to live, home school, play, relax, work, etc. We have cultivated many friendships on this street. We know we are lucky and that it is rare that neighbors even talk. Many people are so rushed and self centered that they pull right into their garage and never say hi. When we are running around we still greet our neighbors. I feel it is more important than rushing off to our location.

So after five years of the Community Christmas tree, we finally decided to do something new. I have seen my parents street light luminary bags all the way down the street on Christmas Eve. It was always so beautiful. I really wanted to do this and told a few neighbors we would. So I bought white lunch bags, tea light candles and kitty litter. At about 3 p.m. a few families headed out with wagons in tow, to line to luminaries all in a row. The kids took turns pouring kitty litter in the bags and placing a candle in the bag. We lined the street with 160 bags. People were slowing down and asking what we were doing and when we would light them? We invited all to come out and see the magic at 6 p.m. When we at started the lighting, a few neighbors came out to help and in about 10 minutes, all the candles were lit. It was breath taking! Absolutely amazing! There were about 12 families that came out in ahhh. We stood around visiting, sharing hot chocolate and Christmas plans. while admiring the simple gesture of lights. Some neighbors reintroduced themselves and others shared fun memories.

The bags stayed lit for quite awhile. As I hustled around, setting up for Christmas morning, I kept glancing out the window at the lights. I felt so good to see the lights and how happy the people were. The last time I glanced most of the lights were out. It was about 10:30. There was one light right in front of our house. I got chills. I said to my husband, "honey, you know what that means?" He said, "yes, we are the light." I said, "yes we are." Then he said, "you are the light."

As we woke up the next morning and saw the bags lining the street it still had a sense of beauty. We were so busy with the kids and family we didn't have time to pick up the bags. We planned on doing it Sunday morning, but it had rained so, the clean up would require a large garbage being rolled up and down the street, with a shovel. My husband left to run an errand and the bags were still there. When he returned the bags were gone. Some good neighbor had done a good deed and cleaned the street. What a surprise. We were left to wonder who had been the angel. We had to except the love we received by giving the light to others.

When we first looked at this house, a neighbor in her seventies, came out and handed me oranges, because I was pregnant with my first. She was the light on the street. She would wave to all, greet them and come to a fast halt in her car, just to get involved in a conversation. She loved the gatherings we created, especially the community Christmas tree. She would buy all the kids on the street Advent calenders and gave treats to all who stopped buy. She passed away, suddenly 2 years ago, November. All were shocked and completely saddened. That year we bought a giant icicle star, to put on the 15 ft. tree out front. It was for Inge. She was there in spirit. This year I took that star and put it on our inside family tree. It matched my snowflake theme. The star shines so bright. Her house is still in the family and her son dropped by Sunday afternoon with a gift. I opened the card and it said, "The holidays aren't always easy, but with the glow of every candle and the twinkle of every Christmas star, may happy memories warm your heart and light the way to a perfect season and hope filled New Year." He then added, "thank you for bringing so much sunshine to my mothers life!" I opened the package and there was one of her Hummels, a fine collectible figure of a boy and girl, made in Germany. She had quite the collection. My heart melted and I was later brought to tears when I shared it with my husband.

So as the season comes to a close and you are reflecting, ask yourself what can you do to be the light in someone else's life? Imagine if everyone did this? What a kind world we would live in?How joyous and peaceful it would be. Be the light. It doesn't have to be a big gesture, it could just be a smile or a hello. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lifting the Spirits of Others

We live in a old established neighborhood. We have been here for 10 years. My husband and I have worked hard to create community with our neighbors. We greet people as they walk by, we wave to cars, we visit with neighbors. We have held monthly dinners, block parties, Halloween parties, bike parades, book drives, toy drives, collected for stone soup projects, hunted for the Leprechaun's gold, held cookie making parties, everyday play dates on the lawn, Lego club days, etc. As you can tell we have created a good thing.

In 2005, my husband decided to get a 15 foot tree and temporarily plant in in the front yard for Christmas. We sent out invitations to all the neighbor's to come to the first annual community Christmas tree. We asked all to bring an ornament to decorate, a dish to share and toy to donate. It was a huge hit! We had 100 people on the front lawn. They were eating, drinking, laughing, decorating the tree, taking family photos in front of the tree, meeting new neighbors and reconnecting with old. When it was almost time to light the tree, the local fire station would come and show the kids the truck, pass out stickers and hats, then collect the toys. We always had a big countdown to light the tree. It was such a beautiful sight to see the tree lighting up the street. This party went annually for 5 years!

We would take the neighbor kids out to a local tree farm, choose the biggest tree we could handle and cut it down. Then came the dragging it to the truck and hoisting it up. Once we got home we would dig a 3-4 ft. hole in lawn to lower the trunk into and stake it down. We would have big hay bales around it to act as support and were great seats at the party. We would gather tables from the neighbors to set up an elaborate potluck of appetizers, crock pots, desserts and even a chocolate fountain. We had a fire pit that kept many warm, long after the crowd had died down. The party would start around 3 and often go till at least 9! The kids loved the tradition of going to the farm, riding around in the old Ford truck, drinking hot cocoa and eating donuts. The best part was being able to party and play outside with their friends in the dark. As the years went on, the neighbors would come and go and outsiders were invited in, to share the good spirit of the street. We were real proud of how a simple tree could bring people together.

In 2009, things changed and we held our last tree party. We went out to the tree farm without any help from friends, and cut down the biggest tree we had yet. Four adults and one kid pulled with all our might to get that tree in the truck. My 5 year old just laid on the ground and laughed at how we were barely moving and inch. A worker, who was smaller then me, came over to help, and some how we got it in the truck. I know there was some help from the angels that day! When we got home, the guys on the street helped put it in the ground. As I got ready for the party there was one neighbor who saw we could use some help. He stayed all day and decorated the tree. It was amazing to see his love and dedication. He really took pride in what he was doing. It was the best tree we had yet! Another angel sent to me that day. The party went on, it wasn't the biggest, maybe 50 people. I had some moments in the party that I noticed change in the neighborhood. Some people didn't come, others stayed in and peered out instead of joining. It was fun for those who came, but I had a bit of sadness that times were changing and that this would be my final year of hosting.

This all leads to this year, 2010. I didn't host the Halloween party and the kids were still upset about that, then they quickly realized, we may not have the tree party. My 9 year old, said, "mom you can't drop all of our traditions!" So, after much debate and some grieving at the passing of a tradition, we decided to have a block decorating party. A day for neighbors to come out decorate their homes, visit with others, share some snacks and hot drinks. We thought we would buy red bows to hang on all the trees on the street. We also looked up some different charities and decided to go ahead and hold a toy drive. Our home was the gathering place to drop off toys, donate money for the bows and share a snack. As we returned from the tree farm at 12:15, I rushed to the store to be back by 1 for a gathering that I was looking forward to. It was simple, no stress and different. A way to gather people and share the holiday spirit. I quickly realized that many people probably hardly read the invite and assumed it was the same old tree party. They started to come with big platters of food, I scrambled for plates and silverware. They brought hot drinks and needed cups. Then came the rain, we all quickly pushed the tables into the garage and porch and tried to stay dry. This didn't stop the kids from playing, building forts, swinging on the rope swing, eating cookies, shooting baskets and staying warm by the fire. It was a disappointment to others when they found out we weren't doing the tree or the fire fighters weren't coming.

I felt sad about the change, but knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. I have been trying to gently prepare our neighbors for the future. We are having a baby and need more room for my homeschooling and my husbands office. We have had so much fun in our 10 years here and have made some great friends. We know we can create this type of community wherever we are. As I walk down the street or even take a quick glance, I see the red bows, and it is really pretty! A simple way to remind others that we care and appreciate them as a part of our unique community. I realized this is missing in many neighborhoods. As I was buying 60 bows at the dollar store, the gal ringing me up said, "what do you need all the bows for?" I said, "we are decorating the street, by hanging the bows on all the big trees." She looked at me and said, "Why?" I was shocked, and saddened that she didn't get the point. Greet your neighbors. This is the only life you have here, enjoy it to the fullest, make it special and memorable, even if you don't have kids, you are worth it and so are others. Happy Holidays!

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Day After

As I sit here looking at the pile of sale ads, dishes from Thanksgiving and the bags to unpack, I am a bit overwhelmed. I just read a friends blog about making lists and how it will help you feel like you accomplished something. I will do this, after I get off the comfy couch and write for the first time since Halloween.

My life has been busy blessed the past few months in ways I couldn't have planned. In August and September I had the experience of being with a friend who was near the end of his life. I was fortunate to spend time with him and share my special thoughts about our relationship. How often do you share with people what they mean to you in a specific way? Two weeks before he passed I found out I was pregnant with our third baby. I was thrilled and not sure how to share such happy news, at such a sad time in my life. I found myself reflecting on life, birth and death and their similarities. It became important to me to be sure my friend felt safe and secure in this unknown time. I started seeing a possible future for my work I do with families. I may, at some point when my kids are older, work with hospice and help people transition from life to death in a peaceful way. As I helped plan with his celebration of life, I felt the need to remind people to cherish what they have daily. To not hold on to regrets, to make special traditions. Meanwhile I was holding on to this beautiful secret of life.

When I finally had a ultrasound picture and was about 12 weeks, we decided to share the news with our kids. They were thrilled and immediately started sharing the news with everyone we knew! With the news of a baby, brought up the concern of space. We are a family of 4 almost 5 and my husband has to have a office for work, we also home school. So, we are starting to evaluate the space we have and what is best for our family. We are starting to declutter every space and as we do this we are able to see what is really important and what we need. We have had 2 grandma's go through some health changes that have made us more aware of the constant change in life. We are close with our family and want to help as much as possible. We know there is a possibility of having a family member live with us and they will be a welcomed addition.

My husband has also had the opportunity for a new job, which I always feel so blessed when he is in demand. He was faced with a decision to take a job for more money and another organization or to move up within the team he works for and get a raise. He decide that family was the most important. So he will stay with his team and be here more. I am excited for him to be around more with this pregnancy, than the other 2.

So, as I sit here, realizing that I still have list to make in order to go out of town for 2 more Thanksgivings, I am blessed in simple ways. I have family, friends, a warm home and a job. I need nothing. Going shopping doesn't even appeal to me, we have too much. So, as you sit and reflect on the traditions you have for the up coming holiday, see how you can simplify to enjoy what you have. Make experiences come to life. Not just wrap a bunch a plastic toys that will be over looked in a few weeks. Do things for others. Recycle and share you talents and passions. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Halloween Candy Fun

We are all about health and wellness, except when it comes to Halloween candy! I believe that traditions are important and kids have fun memories of trick or treating. For the last 5 years we have a had a huge party. It was originally created because the kids were little and we didn't want them to go trick or treating. Well as kids change, so do traditions. They are older and understand the concept of collecting a lot of candy. They were so exciting they both made a map of the neighborhood, planning their route! We went to three different areas, in an effort to see friends and family along the way. After returning the kids began to trade candy. Then they started sorting their candy. The next day it continued again. We then made a candy bar graph. They then did addition problems to figure out how much candy they had in all.

We heard about this program called Operation Gratitude, where local dentists collect candy and send it to the troops. We decided to divide our candy in three groups, the troop pile being the biggest. We then went and asked kids on the street, our park day friends and family to donate to the cause. We found a local dentist who was participating and brought the candy there. The receptionist was thrilled to see us walk in with four grocery size bags of candy! We got to help weigh it all in a teeny scale. We came up with 28 lbs.!!! Shocking! The next part was a surprise for he kids, the dentist pays $1 per pound of candy. So when they were handed $28 in ones, they thought they were rich!! We also made cards to send to the troops. This was a great community project and a nice way to share the sweets.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I'm Having a Art Sale, Today!

My children are budding artists, of course it runs in the family. Monday night James suggested that Cade have a sale at Second Saturday. Often small vendors will set up on the sidewalks downtown and sell their work. Well Cade was so excited, he insisted on doing it the next day. He made a sign that said "Art Viewing and Sale." He planned to serve lemonade and probably sell the painting for $10 a piece. As a momma, I was trying to be encouraging, but also wanted him to be successful. I suggested it just be a preview for Second Saturday and that he could except donations. Well he was determined. At about 20 minutes before kids got out of the school around the corner, he ran and hung his sign. He sent his sister inside to make lemonade and set up the art table. I helped hang the art work on a rope line with clothes pins. As children came home they stopped by and were served lemonade and looked at art work. Cade didn't expect any money from them, although a few put in a quarter. They would comment on their favorite pieces and ask questions about the water color technique. After the 3 families had walked by, he then went and invited our elderly neighbors. He told them he was selling paintings for $5 a piece. They said they would come in a half and hour. When they came, the kids greeted them politely and served them lemonade. The couple asked how much it was to go through the tour and Cade said a donation would be fine. Cade proceeded to take them to each painting and discuss the colors, movement and overall feeling he had. They were so impressed by his excitement and ability to share what he had done. They paid $2 for the tour and thanked him. Cade then asked if they would like to take a painting home. They discussed which one impressed them and decided on the sunrise to hang in their garage; where they hang out every morning. They asked how much the painting was and Cade said they paid enough. What a bargain and deal for our friends. He didn't focus being greedy to get the money he wanted for some toy, just the process and enjoyment he gave to this couple. They complimented our family for the nice things we do and how we get them involved. It made their day and mine!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Cycle of Life

I sit here this gloomy morning, trying to embrace the quiet house. I am saddened by the passing of a dear friend for over 20 years. I was searching the Internet for the perfect quote to try and send my condolences to the family. There are no words I can say to make it better, especially with the loss in my heart.

We live in a society that hardly talks about the death process. We expect that when we are old we will die. We don't expect that a young 39 year old can die. We also hardly talk about birth, just the horror stories. I have had the honor of working with pregnant couples for 9 years. Over this time, I have observed some needs that humans have. During that time I have had a few grandparents pass or be near death. In those experiences I have seen some similarities with birth. There are three types of relaxation that the body goes through: physical, mental and emotional. With either situation, you want to help the person be comfortable physically. This is the easiest part and often the only issue covered in birth and death. It is easy to rub a sore muscle or give a pain killer. The next two types of relaxation are what I feel are missing in both cases. I prepare my couple for all three, but they really have to embrace them, because they will not have much support if in a hospital setting. If they have a home birth, a midwife is well aware of physical, mental and emotional relaxation and has the tools to help you. I assumed when you are going through the death process and have hospice in the home, that they would cover all three. I was saddened to see my friend getting the best physical care, but I felt something was missing. I had a wonderful conversation with him 3 weeks ago about life and death. I talked about how fortunate he was to be at home with his family to care for his physical needs. I asked him what he was thinking about mentally. I talked to him about places to go to mentally, like a ocean, river or mountain top. Then we talked about the emotional side, the feeling safe with the process and the people helping him. He seemed touched by the gesture of my concern for the whole experience. He kept grabbing my hand and saying I love you. I told him about how the memories were going to keep his spirit alive. I have so many pictures that are of fun times. As he no longer wanted visitors I also recognized the need to retreat, to go inward. Mom's who are birthing naturally need to go into a deep trance like state to focus on nothing but what is happening. If they have unresolved issues it will hold up the birth process. The mind is powerful and can keep the body alive. The other part that I thought was nice, was the dark and calm environment. As I was there to help the last week, I represented the calm, strength and courage. I just kept telling him what a great job he was doing and how he was handling this part of the journey. This process has brought some clarity to me and also helped me recognize a special calling I may have. In birth and death it should be peaceful, feel safe and beautiful. This can be done with some guidance, as in birth you may hire a doula, in death a special friend. I feel honored that he was a part of my life. Today I will embrace my family and feel the love we share.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Being Present

My new strategy this year in school is to be more conscious and present. As we start our day, I pay attention to important details like moods, amount of sleep, eating patterns, dad's travel schedule, etc. If any one of these areas are off, it can effect the flow of the day. The children will be focused on other things and not school work. This is a skill in itself, to adjust the day as we go. I have always thought the topics being taught need to be relevant to their life and what they are interested in. I have an overall theme for the month and we address the subjects across the theme. I ask the kids about field trip ideas and fit those in to the year plan.

So, the other day daddy had a 3 hour conference call. We had to try and be quiet the whole time. This fell on the only day we have to stay home and have uninterrupted learning opportunities. I wasn't sure how it would go, but we did great! We did a lot of Lego building, which is math and science. They also practiced presenting their projects, fielding questions as well. We decided to make a newsletter for all the activities we do on the street. Each child reported an article about their interests. Cade's story was about the Lego club and Josie's was about the baby club. We read about a girl immigrating from Europe and her experience on the boat. We saw that the wealthy got to have tea and play cards. So, we did the same! When daddy came out we were on the ship (table) drinking tea and playing cards (uno). What a fun way to incorporate history, social studies, geography, math, manners, etc. This book also reminded us of the gold rush days festival, we went to a few weeks ago. We made the best of our day and it didn't look at all like the traditional classroom lesson. That's the thing about homeschooling that is the greatest, you get to play and learn with your kids! You really know where they are at, what they understand and when to move on. I have learned it is ok not to finish something. Sometimes, I have had a culminating project idea in mind and they are not interested anymore. The experience is enough to build a learning record in their mind that they will refer to for years.

In order to be present, you have to be flexible, which isn't my strong point. I have always had big expectations and get disappointed when they don't happen. Take each moment as it happens and watch your children, see how they are enjoying the activity or not. Take what they are getting out of the experience and build on that. If they are collecting praying mantis's and having fun with friends, why not make green ice cream and call it praying mantis cream! There is no right or wrong, what you are doing is right!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Lesson on Sports Injuries

My son is a super soccer player! He plays hard and shows determination when facing an opponent. He had practice the other night and was doing a drill, where you run full force at the other player and try to kick the ball. He was so excited, jumping around, preparing mentally, then the coached yelled go!! He took off and the other kid kicked my son right in the knee. He fell right down and didn't pop back up like usual. I sat back, as the coaches encouraged him to get up and walk it off. He hobbled over to the side and fought back tears. The coaches and parents were giving suggestions for drugs to give him, including vicadin! He made it to the car. We decided to try our natural approach, of remaining calm, assessing the situation and following the RICE procedure. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate. Along with this technique, we began treatment with our first aide kit of Young Living Essential Oils. First started with the Ortho Ease massing oil, it warms and goes directly into the skin and blood stream. Then we applied Thieves, which was chosen because it has cloves, which is a anti inflammatory. I used Abundance for the ginger in it, also anti inflammatory. All these oils are pure, grown in organic soil and distilled at the highest quality. The oils raise the frequencies, bring life back to the area, rubbed on and the person. We are seeing good results, without the side effects of drugs!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to CENTER Yourself in the Midst of the Storm

I spoke last week, at a homeschool conference. The workshop was called, "You Can Have Balance." Funny thing was, I wasn't feeling very balanced last week. As I drove off, from my house, to run a few errands and check in for the conference, I found myself overwhelmed and feeling like a hypocrite. How can I tell these people, who I are paying to see me, how to have balance?! I then recalled my tool for centering myself and began the affirmations and deep breathing. I was able to move forward through my night and a had a great workshop! I would like to share the centering sequence I found useful.

C-come to a complete stop and say to yourself "I am completely stopping."
E-embrace the moment and say "I am embracing this moment."
N-name your work, what is it you need to accomplish right then? Say, "I am going to do:_____"
T-trust your resources (what help do you have, who will help you if your are drowning ?) Say, "I trust my resources."
E-expect nothing, drop all set ideas of how you want it to go. Say, "I expect nothing."
R-return with strength, saying, "I will return with strength."

This sequence, when written on cards around the home, will soon be memorized and can help you center anywhere! It will take you 1-2 minutes to do the sequence. Isn't it worth your sanity and relationships around you, to take the time? You Can Have Balance!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back to School Balance

As we start a new year of homeschooling, I tend to get these big ideas. I think I can plan this perfect schedule and the kids will wake up happy to do anything I show them! Ha! I spent the first day of school (according to the charter we use) cleaning the desk that was a huge pile all summer! Meanwhile my kids had a blast on a field trip with the substitute! My husband took them to the SF Zoo! What a great start to a new year.

I took the time to write down all my ideas for every subject. Including curriculum that I plan to use, theme ideas, party ideas, classes to take or host. The next day I read the kids a book called My Head is Full of Colors. It is about a girl who wakes up everyday with her head filled with colors, animals, people, books. She has these wonderful adventures. I then had the kids draw their head and what it is full of. I wanted them to draw their interests so I can be sure to individualize their learning. We then went over my ideas and they shared the ones they were interested in. I now feel I have a good idea what to cover. I think it is important to look at each child and how they learn, whether it be visual, auditory, kinesthetic, etc. You need to write up or at least verbalize your educational philosophy for the year. This will include goals. My hope is that we can gradually move away from our unstructured summer, to a more activity filled learning adventure.

As the children sense the change they go through some adjustments. If they are not liking a lesson I am presenting, I try to adapt to what they need from it. You have to be flexible with homeschooling. Funny I have a hard time being flexible in life! I like structure, order, routine and rules. Right now I am working on a workshop called "You Can Have B-A-L-A-N-C-E." I have created a flip book that addresses all parts of balance. All though I feel a bit off right now, I know it will be a good reminder of the simple changes I can work on. I look at the book and am quickly reminded of body, area, love, aroma, now, centering and embracing. I can usually pin point the area I need to address. So, as you start a new year, remember balance and that you can have it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Need Peppermint!

I am raising my children to be in touch with their bodies. I have introduced them to The Everyday Nine Collection of Young Living Essential Oils. I have taught them that if you focus on a symptom it will manifest. They know what oil to use in order to prevent a illness from manifesting. I have been using these therapeutic grade oils for 2 years and I can honestly say that the investment in our health has been worth it! I have always thought prevention is the key and understanding nutrition, exercise and the mind/body connection was crucial.

So, last night my daughter went to lie down and yelled out, "I need peppermint". I said, "do you have a tummy ache or having a hard time relaxing for bed?" She got up and went quickly to get the peppermint. I said, "are you ok?" She said, "I'm conscious! I feel like I'm going to barf." I said,"Nauseous?" She said yes, as she began inhaling peppermint, took a drop in water and began this deep breathing relaxed face, staying calm. Looked like a mom in labor, welcome the power, and don't panic! She never did vomit, and she felt much better within a few moments. I know it works because I ofter have a nauseous feeling and will take a drop of peppermint on my tongue and I instantly feel relief!

Are you in charge of your health or do you go to the doctor at the drop of the hat? Do you have a reference book that tells you what oils to use for every symptom you can imagine? I do and I am happy that I can pass this knowledge on to my kids, just like the old days when little grandma used to make mint tea from the leaves in her yard and rub the muscle that was sore. Young Living Oils is a great way to feel passionate about health and become your own natural healer.

Friday, July 16, 2010

We're Together

My husband works very hard year round. He travels quite a bit to places most people only drive through. During the summer he gets to go to cities all over California. We try very hard to be together when we can, so we decided to go to Bakersfield with him. Many people laugh when you say that you are vacationing in Bakersfield. We have had a fun filled trip and feel blessed to step out of our normal routine. We have been to a bug museum, a movie, the pool, the Dollar Tree, shopping, a natural history museum, a army/navy store, a baseball game. We have driven many miles, eaten a lot of good food, hit a bird, driven down a wrong side of a one way street. We have made friends for the day, meeting a curator, a geologist/paleontologist, people at the pool. We may not go to big places and the heat maybe unbearable, but we are together, creating memories that will last forever!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Family Traditions

When I think about growing up, I remember happy traditions with family. I remember birthdays in the backyard, with homemade games and cakes. I remember writing plays for family gatherings, to celebrate the first Thanksgiving, etc. I remember big Christmas parties, with the whole extended family and lots of presents! I remember my grandpa's crab soup, and singing a silly song with the family, called Crabs for Christmas! I remember, him teasing and making up names for the grand kids. I remember Oma's eggnog, that got stronger over the years. I remember lots of new loves coming and going from the family, always being welcomed and hugged. I remember my house being the place for kids to come and play. These memories are good and I have tried to create new one's for my children. I know we are lucky to have so many cousins near by. I realize that you can't choose your family, but they are a big part of your world and make who you are today. That maybe hard when you start looking at your qualities. Wondering where did I get that? As I sit and reflect on a weekend at a family reunion, I think about how hard I laughed and the pictures I took and the memories we shared. I had a great time. I learned a lot about different members and how it was to grow up long ago. Wow, how things have changed in relationships, gender roles, child rearing, and much more. I hope to continue the bonds that were strengthen this weekend, with the use of technology. We are fortunate to have so many ways to share our life. I will try, even more, to foster relationships with family, because it is important. You may not like everything about your family, but being conscious about the things you don't like, can help you make changes for the present and future. Love your family, spend time together, don't take them for granted, talk with them, share stories and pictures, laugh! This will create balance in your world.

Friday, July 2, 2010


With the holiday weekend approaching, I sit here and think about the word freedom. The state of being free, independence. Wow, how thankful I am to have so much freedom. Independence, privilege, familiarity, unrestraint, liberty, exemption, liberation, immunity, license. What does freedom mean to you?

I am a woman, who was given the opportunity to go to school and follow my passion of working with children. I can wear things that make me feel good and not have to follow the strict rules of the past. I can tell the truth, knowing that being genuine is a better quality than trying to look perfect. I am pleased I can homeschool and follow the philosophy that suits my children best. I enjoy the freedom to change that style anytime if it is not working. I am a natural childbirth teacher, and have recently branched out on my own! I find it liberating, to not have to be bound to the Bradley outline and to individualize my class. I am a holistic healer. I can use Young Living Essential oils, to heal the cause of problems, not mask them. How free I feel to look up a symptom and treat it myself! I can sit on my front lawn and share a bottle of wine with a friend. I think that we take freedom for granted. We sit here in the United States and forget that it is not like this in other countries. So, as I come to a close, I will be mindful this weekend of the freedom I have. I will continue to appreciate the small things and to focus on the positives. I will fly my flag and celebrate with family. I am blessed!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Balance Rocks

I have this beautiful blue rock, with the word balance on it. I have it by my bed, to help remind me to remain calm and try to create balance everyday. I bought this rock. I have since decided that I like this rock so much, that I would like to paint some river rocks and give them out. I have been collecting rocks for a few weeks, looking for round, smooth, flat rocks. I sat down last week and painted 8 rocks. I tried to make simple designs, then covered them with a sealer.

For my birthday, I had the pleasure of hanging out with a few friends. I took all 8 rocks with me. We sat at a local wine bar and enjoyed a few tastes and good conversation. At the end I pulled out my rocks and placed them on the table. I told my friends to pick a rock that they like. The girls started touching them, feeling them in their hands, checking out the designs. They picked rocks based on how it felt in their hands. I felt good to be able to share such a simple tool that works for me.

The act of painting the rocks, sharing the rocks and touching the rock is all simple forms of meditation. It only takes a few minutes a day to change your life. So as you sit thinking you don't have time to meditate, grab a rock and place it somewhere that will remind you to focus on your breath, positive thoughts, the now. You can create balance. As you have more positive days, you find more purpose and fill your days with passion.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Positive Thinking

I have been aware of the mind body connection for about 9 years. I truly understand it and believe it. I know that if you focus on the symptoms, you will get that cold. I know that if you don't understand birth, that when you get a intense contraction you will automatically feel pain. I know that if you focus on the positive side of things, you will be happier. There is a way to focus differently, that can change how you see things. It takes a lot of practice, but is well worth it. The down side to this consciousness, is you will notice people who don't think this way and will want to help them change the way they see things. This may sound familiar, if you have read or seen The Secret. It is explains the law of attraction. If you think it, you will get it. It may not be immediate, but it will happen. If you are in a bad mood, this is what you will attract from other's. If you focus on the bad traffic, it will not get better.

I know as a mom, I set the tone for the day. If I am off, so is everyone else. So how do I handle that responsibility? I try to create balance, by getting up early and having a 1/2 hour minimum, to myself to focus on the good things. When my children wake up, I am ready to handle the challenges. If I lose it, so will they. If I stop and focus on the truths, the good things in a situation, than I can help shift focus. I have been teaching my kids this tool. The other day my son said, "you treat me like a slave because I have to do work." I responded with, "that is not a truth. The truth is, you have to do jobs before you go out and play." As they get upset, they will often point out the negative side and feel worse. So, I will help acknowledge that frustration and try to help them focus on the positive side. This method takes time and patience. It helps shift the way you look at your kids. You may begin to see the good qualities and state the positive, instead of focusing on what you'd liked changed.

So, where do you start? As frustration starts, try and see the positive. There is something small in every situation. If you have a hard time finding something, look for a beautiful item to focus on the details. For example as my mind wanders and I feel overwhelmed with the piles to clean up, I look for one spot that brings me joy. I will stare at that area and feel the calmness, then move forward with my task. As I focus on what I want and need, it becomes possible. Positive thinking can only bring good to your life.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Open House

As homeschoolers, we often do lessons and activities that nobody sees. I turn in a sample of each subject area to my educational advisor, once a month. As a former public school teacher, I enjoyed open house. It was an opportunity to shine and show off your best work. We have attended a few open houses and decided it would be nice to share our work with other's. If you are out there and are homeschooling I encourage you to do an open house. We made invitations and handed them out to neighbor friends and a few family members. We baked some snacks to share. We hung art work and put books and unit studies out. We also included trophies and team photos. I had a slide show on my lap top of photos from the year. Everything is a learning opportunity, so include it. The kids were excited to share their work and hang out with friends. I found a few mom's spending time looking at the big collage books I made. They said they like this better that public school open house, because you aren't as rushed. What a great way to end the school year and let your kids know how proud you are! We ended with a blast of a diet soda bottle and mentos out front! The kids screamed and laughed! What a blessing to be able to see that excitement in learning, daily!

Friday, June 11, 2010

He Changed His Mind, Again!

Well, after three weeks of trying to decide what job was the best choice, and turning one down and then asking for the opportunity back, he has made a final decision. I am happy that my husband has come a long way, from baseball being his number 1 love, to his family taking the spot! I was hoping he would coach to be closer to us, but this was not the job that would give us more quality time together. I also appreciate how we continued to talk and discuss the options, in a loving way. What an opportunity to grow as a couple and focus on what we want for our future. I finally heard my husband say that he is trying to create more balance in his life. I love it!

We have implemented many tools to keep us connected while he is gone. We will have to continue these and add other's as we embark on a job with more travel, but less stress for him. When he is happy we will be too. Some of the tools we use are:
**daddy pillows or hugs, with his t-shirts on their pillows. We also put a long sleeve shirt on his office chair so they can go in and get a hug from daddy.
**We take pictures daily of simple activities and email them to him immediately. He then calls throughout the day and has a few clues as what we are doing and what to ask about.
**We send simple text messages to let him know we miss him and thank him for all he does for us.
**We sometimes make a count down chain to rip off a loop daily. It gives the kids an idea of when he will come back.
**We have also tracked him on a map. What a great way to learn geography.
**The gratitude journals, we started a few months ago, are going well! We try to say something we appreciate or a conversation or activity we liked with dad. We can go back and read the positives when we are missing him.
He always seems so thrilled to know we are thinking of him and do appreciate him. It makes it all worthwhile for him. See the vision for yourself and other's and they will join you! We can be more conscious.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Out of Balance?

When I feel out of control or out of balance, I try to remember my balance workbook. There are different areas for each letter of balance. I know it is hard to step out of your frustration and regain balance, but with training it is possible. So here is an overview, off the top of my head. Some food for thought for those of you reading, who want more from everyday.

B-body, what are you doing to nourish your body, are you breathing slowly, deeply, with purpose? Are you stretching and thanking your body for all it does for you? Are you drinking water and filling your body and brain with nourishing foods?

A-area, do you have a space that you can go to regroup when the storm hits? Are you surrounding yourself with things you love or clutter? Is there sunshine in your home?

L-love, surround yourself with love, be loving, give what you want from others, find time to do loving things for yourself, maybe just sit in the sun for five min.

A-aroma, are there scents that remind you of a relaxing place or moment? Find an essential oil that you can diffuse, inhale, apply. I love Valor by Young Living Essential Oils, it helps me balance, when I am in my special area, refocusing. Amazing how deep inhaling and applying an oil can raise your frequencies! I'm alive!

N-now, are you focused on the past and all you can't get done? Stop and focus on the now, the present breath, the present task. Pay attention to the small details of beauty, nothing like looking at a rollypolly in the middle of the day. What a way to refocus!

C-center, do you have a routine or some affirmations to help you center? I take a set of six affirmations, to say on the inhale and exhale. I am completely stopping. I expect nothing. I am doing my work. I trust my resources. I embrace this moment. I return with strength.

E-embrace, take time to practice these steps, to implement them, to memorize them, to stop in the middle of the storm and try to ask yourself these questions. It takes practice to be conscious and to be loving and to remain positive.

I am not perfect at it, but I've only been practicing for about 2 years. This BALANCE concept is fairly new to me. I try to remember that is is all about balance in every aspect of my life. When I wake up I try to drink a cup of water, before my coffee. We eat we mostly whole foods, but will go to a b-day party at a cheesy pizza joint, if it means celebrating life! When my kids are challenging, I stop to center, remembering to trust my resources, and ask for help, to get a break. I still love them and will be a better mom after I have had some me time. So when you think, oh I can't have balance, start small, with one area. Amazing how simple steps can lead to big life changes!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Don't Assume You know my Views

I am a bit shocked at google ads! I decided to publish my blog with the intention to share tools with other's on homeschooling and balance in life. Along with this I thought I'd try the ad option to earn a few dollars. Well you don't get to pick the ads. I have just published my last post and see a political ad on my blog! I would rather not go there. I know many homeschooler are conservative Republicans and are keeping their kids home for many different reasons. I am educating my kids at home to present a well rounded view of our world. I want them to make informed decisions, as I think everyone should. Please look at the ads if they fit your philosophy, but do not assume I support the view of the ad. I actually don't care for the news or commercials!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

What is Success?

I have these neighbors who are in their 80's. I can tell time by them, because they go to breakfast at 9 a.m. and coffee at 2 p.m. I love that they have routine. I am amazed how loving they seem at all times. They hold hands when they walk, sit together to watch the neighbors and don't talk badly about each other.When I think about my relationship, I hope to have what they display daily. I know that there are ups and downs in relationships and kids can change the dynamics quickly. So I have been trying to add more loving interactions since September. I don't have a Hallmark type of guy, so I have to appreciate his bouquets that he does present. He may not give a card on Valentines day, but he'll take the kids out to give me a break. He does everything for our family and really takes his job seriously. He wants to be the best dad ever. My neighbor told me today that he has never seen such a loving dad, who plays with them, holds them when they are sad, teaches them manners, ect. He knows it is hard because he travels so much, but he tries when he is around to make memories, the kids will never forget! We were recently presented with some different job opportunities. It was a few weeks of stress, trying to decide what is the best choice for my husband, our family and his career. Wow, how lucky we felt to have a few jobs to choose from. We almost felt guilty to be talking about whether or not to take more money or less? Then I realized, good things happen when you do good things. All is the way it is supposed to be and to make change is uncomfortable and takes courage. I feel like the American dream is a bit out of balance. People get caught up in making the most money possible to have more stuff. We have enjoyed a little extra for a few years, but now we have decided to have my husband follow his dream and heart. He will return to coaching, where he can actually make an impact on individuals lives. This decision has led me to reevaluate what success looks like. I believe finding a passion and making a living at it is success. Being happy with your life, no matter where you live, enjoying your family and spending time with them. As a homeschool mom, I am always trying to show what we are learning and how it is relevant to our world and future. Being successful should not be based on money or where you live or what you have. It is sad to see people losing jobs and homes, what they thought defined them. Enjoy your family, your home, make a special place to sit and relax in, bring love in your home and be the light for other's. Do what you love! Love what you do!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm Only Human

I have been wanting to share this blog with people for awhile now. I refer to it as my private blog. I'm pretty simple when it comes to technology, hence the no frill blog. I wish I were an expert in balance, but I'm not, I'm just a regular mom. I do lose it and I feel bad about the way I handled situations. I look at my piles and wonder if I will ever get control of those areas. I am constantly making lists then losing those in a pile and starting again. I wish I could write a blog that told a perfect story. But that would be a lie, which makes me wonder what other people are saying, is it all true? I had this water bottle the other day at gymnastics. It has been all over, and has fallen quite a bit. The bottom is no longer flat, so it is hard to get it to stay balanced to stand. I stood it on the wall while talking to other moms and we watched it teeter and fall. I said it's life in a bottle, always trying to stay balanced without falling! The mom's laughed and then started sharing, "yes, I feel like that, always about to fall over, but still able to get by." This reminds me of when I first had a baby and saw all these mom's telling these beautiful stories. I looked at my world and thought what am I doing wrong? Then I saw real moms tell real stories on Oprah. I was so happy to hear all the real thoughts. Some people were horrified! They couldn't believe women would go on and tell what they were really feeling. I'm thinking it is time for this show to run again. Maybe I should do a show on how to create balance and how it really looks day to day. So, as I write this I realize that I should share this blog. I can only be opening conversations between mom's to be real. I think having a open heart and the courage to say what you feel is good for your family. Please read and return whenever you feel the need for balance or to get a laugh. I try to post weekly, and if I don't you know things are extremely busy and this has been at the bottom of the list. Yes, I am human!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

It is all a Test

Well, what a challenging day! I started at 7 a.m. sending my husband off for Oregon for a few days. Then decided to call Comcast to deal with a billing issue and slow internet. At the same time had my parents come pick up my car, to drop off because the check engine light went on over the weekend. I am suddenly on the phone for an hour, my son is then crying and upset due to a new toy left in daddies car, which is now at the airport! I'm on hold trying to comfort him, then my phone needs to be charged. I had a challenging time trying to calm down, then I get a mixed up call from the OB office saying I have labs to get done, so I can try and conceive. I'm confused, I have had 2 kids! Comcast calls back twice, the car place three times, I wind up trying to get the info. straight on a part I have never heard of! Then make the decision to get the work done! I felt that I made a informed decision, based on the lack of knowledge I have about cars! I then talk with a neighbor about the car, he says I've been ripped off! AHHHH. I have my parents, thank goodness, to take me and kids to my son's baseball game. The team was making errors and I couldn't stop yelling!!! My son did play hard and got some great hits! We finally crawl into bed, and there in his bed is the new toy!! What a crazy day! I am proud that I held it together, barely! The light went out and my son said, "let's do our gratitude journal." I am pleased.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yes, I am Balanced

I had a very busy day starting with yoga, ending with a talk on How to Create Balance with Essential Oils. In between was running the kids back and forth to classes, making food trays for a potluck, preparing for the talk, watching a movie that made both my daughter and I cry, and trying not to lose it completely. I am a first born and have these expectations of myself, that involve trying to be my best, perfect. I also try to think of every detail and try real hard to present to different learners, this takes a lot of time. I had to lean on my husband a few times today, my friend and my mom. I have learned that asking for what you specifically need is a good tool. I try not to feel guilty in asking others for help. I always find it ironic when I am trying to present something that it seems I am the one having a hard time doing it! I then feel like I am a hypocrite. I think the best lesson I learned today is that if you strive for consciousness and living in the now, that even in the mist of the storm, I know I can make it out. I CAN HAVE BALANCE.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

I had a nice mother's day, pretty mellow with not much planning involved. I got to sleep in, had juice brought to me by my boy, then breakfast from my husband. My kids made planters with marigolds, a bit of sunshine on a cloudy day. I got more calls, cards, texts, facebook posts then any year! Kind of ironic, I was just fretting on Thursday, how I had not gotten any cards out!! I always give to the mom's. I just couldn't find the energy or time to send anything. Then I was pleasantly surprised when I got so much attention. Guess the saying, "what goes around comes around" is true! Thank you!!

I was fortunate to go to the Spiritual Life Center today and hear some great music and mom's speak about motherhood. They posed a few questions: what is the greatest joy of motherhood, the biggest surprise, something you learned about yourself, something you wish you had known before hand? As I sat and listened to these women, I was wondering how I would have answered. So without much thought, here it goes!

The greatest joy I find is how much I love I have for them and how I love to be around them and miss them when they are gone! The fun we have and how they make me laugh so hard!! (I have to write it down to remember the funny sayings!) The biggest surprise is how hard it is to do everything that I want to do! I used to be so organized, clean and on time. I also am surprised how hard it is to parent and make the perfect decision and to discipline well and not have them get mad at you! The thing I have learned about myself is that I don't have to be perfect or know all the answers. I am a good mom and my kids are lucky. I have a lot of patience and parent right from the heart. I follow my gut and stick up for my kids at all costs. The thing I wish I knew before I had kids was they don't all follow the textbook. You may be a good teacher and have studied Child development, but they are individuals. There will be challenging days, but you can get through it and your kids will still love you! I would not change my life, I am lucky to have two healthy children and am able to stay home with them. I know I am doing the right things by helping them on their journey through life! It is a big job, I'm the woman for it!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Going With The Flow

Easier said then done! I have this ideal school day in my head, and even after almost 4 years, I still have a hard time being flexible! One of the reasons I like homeschooling is so we don't have to get caught in the crazy hustle and bustle of day to day school routines. We can go with the moment, hang out with daddy when he is home, go to places at off times. Well, this is also what tends to throw me off! My husband was home this morning getting ready to travel and he needed help with laundry. So, the kids watched a short movie, while I tried to get his stuff together. I can do this, right? Well as soon as he left and the kids were ready, I'm still in my robe and we haven't done a pinch of school work! I found myself going around the home staring at piles and projects not wanting to start any because it was school time. Well this continued until, I called my mom for encouragement. We decided that my son was discovering a lot, building a monster tank with K-Nex. I then gathered the kids to go to the car wash, where we would explore different types of jobs. We quickly found out that the car wash had gone out of business!! There went that lesson. What happened to my fun Friday I was trying to implement or was it fast Friday? Today felt like flop Friday! I am really good at looking at everyday activities and making them sound educational. My kids will often try and convince me to let them play a game or watch something because it is about science or math. So here it goes: life skills, making bed, getting dressed, sticking to a routine; movie: Pippy Longstalking-homeschooled child, manners, imagination exploration; K-Nex building, symmetry, science, math; thrift store shopping- price comparisons, math, more/less than; gymnastics-P.E.; calendar- math, scheduling, priorities. Well, I maybe stretching it today, but when I saw my 8 year old boy pick up a Star Wars book and read out front by the tree, I knew that it was worth it!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Real Homeschooling

We just had a wonderful day with our Waldorf Inspired Homeschool Friends. We celebrated May Day, with songs, a May pole, great food and games! The multi-ages surprised me with their ability to get along, form teams and play capture the flag for hours! The little ones were exploring and making mud pies. The parents were relaxing, talking and grazing. I was listening to many homeschoolers and their experiences and asking about their philosophy and what their schedule looks like. It always amazes me to hear how different school looks to each person. I think we have similar goals, to treat our kids as individuals, show them respect and help them learn at their pace. Just some of our goals, but how we reach them is the difference. When you start homeschooling it can be challenging to figure out your rhythm and routine. I am ending our fourth year and feel like I got it down now. Of course there are days I wonder if I am doing enough, but I trust my kids to tell me when they are ready for more. My son is almost nine and is starting to express that he wants to read more. Yay, it will probably be much easier now that he showing interest. He went to the library and checked out Scooby Doo and Stars Wars books! When you start out you are also trying to find support, so we tend to go online and read other experiences! The only problem is people make it look all great. They don't tell you the bad days or the days that you do no school. They don't tell how they threaten to send their kids to traditional school when they are not cooperating or how they pack them up and go to the library so they won't be distracted. They don't tell you about the days they have a lesson planned and the kids get sidetracked with snails. Well I noticed this problem when I had a baby, the mom's who always said it was perfect. Then came a show on Oprah, where real mom's tell it all! I loved it, calling a new mom, saying "I knew the other mom's were lying!!" I never understood that, I tell the truth, I feel it helps people connect. So I'm here to tell you- anything you are doing is right, you are covering what you are supposed to that day, your children will be fine and they are lucky and so are you!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day

Earth Day should be every day, but it is great that we have had an awareness for 40 years!! Yesterday the kids and I went to our local grocery store and handed out recycled bags for people to reuse. The store gives a $.05 credit for each bag you bring in. We were anxious and excited, of course the kids were a bit shy at first. We handed people bags saying "free bag for Earth Day." We got a mixed response. People were a bit shocked that we had nothing to sell and we were giving away something for free. There were a few people who ignored us and some who didn't understand due to the language. We did observe a few people bringing their own bags and using paper bags. We were quick to cheer them on! What a great homeschooling lesson. We went over rules of working in public, i.e. we don't apply lipstick or brush hair while approaching someone! We don't slouch and frown when working, we stand tall and proud, a smile goes a long way! We even befriended a homeless woman, she was thrilled to get a new bag and pleased that she was treated like everyone else. Next year we will go bigger!! I think a week of awareness will reach more customers. A poster contest to bring the light on the hazards of plastic bags. My kids even designed a long gown out of three paper bags. My daughter also had a clutch purse out of a bag! Fashion show anyone? I think the main lesson here, was you can make change, even if you are 6 and 8 years old!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Find a Mantra

If you are like me, you have good days and bad. It often seems we can go along and have 5 good days and then bam, a crazy day occurs! This can be difficult to handle. I have found that breathing is usually not occuring. I will hold my breath, tense my shoulders and neck. If I stop and say breathe, then I will release tension almost immediately, I like the word breathe, and will say it to mommas as I see they looked hectic. I also find the aroma of some oils relaxing. I will take a few deep abdominal breaths, while inhaling a lavender or peppermint oil. I have also found a song that I heard at my unity based church. I heard this group called Here II Here perform a song called I am Holy. I can still feel the chills from when I heard it. I like to sit and listen to this song when I need a break. I held my daughter for 10 minutes today while we closed our eyes and really felt the music. She was much more calm after the song. This is what I call a mantra. You can use this tool to stay relaxed, present and calm. It does take lots of practice. Research says that it can take as long as 3 months to change habits, Breathe! Did I mention it is free!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

State Testing

So, one reason I do not care for our traditional educational system is the state tests. I do not feel that they are an accurate measure of how truly individual our children are. They all learn differently and at different speeds. I have a background in Child development and feel that our system isn't always presenting information at the right time. Also pushing the curriculum down at the lower levels. The kids are the same. We expect so much out of young kindergarteners, that I often see 2nd /3rd graders already hating school or feeling burned out. Well, with that said, I decided to homeschool and follow a Waldorf inspired curriculum. I haven't pushed reading on my son, till this year. We have been playing with letters, sounds, words, reading books since his toddler years. It is amazing how smart he is and well rounded, and his details when he writes stories are fantastic. I do go through a charter and they like to see 95% of their students take the state tests. Today was the first day of the test. He was anxious to get it over with and wanted to know how much they would read to him. I was hoping he would try his best, not leave any blank and feel good about the effort he made. He came out saying it was hard, and like a real school. He liked the math because she read it all. I feel good that I gave him the experience and am curious how well he did. I had set up the experience really positively and the teacher was kind and helpful keeping that going. It is really hard sometimes to know what is the right thing to do. I want his self esteem to stay high, not get damaged by a bad experience. So far, so good!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Family Virtues

We all strive to teach our children good morals and virtues to try and master. Well last year I found this book, The Family Virtues Guide, Simple Ways To Bring Out The Best in our Children And Ourselves. What a wonderful way to introduce a virtue a week and review throughout the year. We have made a fall tree with the virtues written on leaves, a Christmas tree with the virtues on ornaments, a love corner with virtues hanging on hearts and now we are making a virtues garden, with the virtues on flowers. Yesterday I had my 5 year old practicing handwriting, by tracing the old virtues. My 8 year old and I did spelling practice, reviewing the letter clusters and rules of vowels. What a lesson for life. As each virtue comes up we have a situation that we discuss, whether it involves a neighbor, friend or family member, it has been great to refer to the virtues, saying "that is not one of our virtues"or "is that the way we treat people?" It only takes a few minutes a week to introduce the virtue and the kids feel empowered when they have the tools to deal with all types of situations.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Simple Treasures

One tradition I started a few years ago is to say the best part of your day at the end of dinner. It has led to many discussion on life and how to look for the good in things. Often if they didn't get to play with a friend, they will say that nothing was good. I then have to help remind them of the fun they did have.

Another simple thing I do almost daily is write things down on the fridge to remember the good things. I started this five years ago when my daughter was born and was having a hard time focusing on the good, because I was always tired and the 15 minute naps were never enough to regroup. I take a blank piece of paper, write the month and year at top and the kids initials. I try to keep the process as stress free as possible. It has been so funny to go back and reread the comments they have made.

The last simple thing I started doing a few weeks ago was to set my phone alarm for every hour. I had had a conversation with a friend that told me about a meditation retreat, where they would ring the bell hourly, you had to stop and meditate. Well we thought we need a Momma Monk that lives our busy life and can actually stop and breathe or focus on something good. I then thought of my fancy phone and promptly set the alarm for a lovely harp sound. It goes off and has a space for a positive affirmation. The morning one says "you will have a great day." The one before dinner says "get ready for a yummy dinner." The last one reminds me how lucky I am. My son heard the alarm and I told him that it said to be greatfull for what we have and that we are lucky. He said "does it automatically send that out?" I said, "I set it!" He thought it would be good to have one that said we would have a great day in school!

Simple tools for real moms!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bagua Workshop

Wow, what an uplifting day!! I had the opportunity to attend a Bagua Workshop held at my therapists office. I actually feel she is more of a life coach for me, I of course have no problems :)!

The day was the first day of spring and she had incense burning in the entry way, we got sprayed with lavender and anointed our hands and inhaled lavender oils. We then chose an angel card with one word on it. There were about twelve participants, 3 being men. We all shared our card with each other and gave a word that came to mind. My word was Enthusiasm! What a perfect word for me. I love new things that are to help bring focus and clarity.

After that we looked at images and shared what we felt when we looked at them. We then shared color cards and read what each color stood for. My color was pink which represented the relationship corner and love.

The Bagua board, as I understand it is like a vision or dream board. It has nine quadrants and each is represented by colors, images, words and helps bring consciousness. We did a few meditations throughout the day to help keep our mind and body connected to the experience.

My paid friend had worked in the past in gerontology. She used to ask people what they were grateful for and one guy said he was grateful to be vertical! She then posed the question to us . We went through all the different phases of life, 18 and under, 20, 30, 40, ect. all the way to 100 years old. We wrote down our thoughts on what we would be grateful for at that age. It was enlightening to see how we always wanted connection with others, health and happiness. We get these things in different ways at different parts of our lives. We then received a gratitude box, mine was in the shape of a heart. We wrote 5 things down that we are grateful for. Mine were qualities I like about myself. We are supposed to write things down everyday and when we are having an off day, to read them.

We were fed wonderful food, of course I would have been happy with peanut butter and jelly as long as I didn't have to make it!! During lunch we chatted and I met this amazing woman whom works with pregnant drug addicts, in recovery. We shared our passion for informing women and being there for the babies.

After lunch we finally learned about the nine quadrants for the board. It was then time to find pictures that meant something to us from old magazines. I found it interesting how people went about this process differently. Some were cutting each picture as they came to it. I like flipping through the magazine quickly and ripping out any picture that grabs my eye. I had so many pictures I was wondering if my board was going to be too cluttered like my home and life! This process took 3 hours!! Including gluing the pictures in the different sections. We then put our boards out and blessed each person. It was powerful to be allowed into people private lives, via the board. I was amazed by how my life overlaps in many areas. I also noticed that I am so focused on my family and career, that my relationship corner seemed to be lacking. I look forward to continuing looking at my board daily so as to manifest the things I want for 2010. I feel so confident in this process and attention to the law of attraction, that I hope I can share it family and friends!

Poor Choices

Ok, so we live close to juvenile hall. We have driven past and the kids have asked what it is. I have said that boys or girls who make poor choices in life get sent there. I was trying to keep it general! Well that was months ago. Fast forward to yesterday! My 8 year old son, Cade was making some poor choices with his interactions with his sister. He then made a poor choice with a friend. I didn't have the details that he and the friend were playing a throwing stick game. I have the philosophy that if you do bad things, bad things are going to happen to you. So if you play with sticks, you run the risk of getting hurt. I felt I may have overreacted and felt bad when we got home. He was sitting quietly on the couch, so I went up to him and said, "do you want to talk about what happened today?" He said, "ok, I'm ready for you to take me to juvenile hall." He was serious, I burst in to laughter, although I really didn't think it was funny. Guess it time to be more clear what type of poor choices I'm taking about!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Leprechaun Craziness

Well, after a long ski trip yesterday, the kids weren't too tired to remember the leprechaun! He has been visiting us for at least 5 years. My mom caught a small doll like figure when she was a kid and the doll has been passed to my kids. Every year he appears in March. We decorate and make his bed. This year he would hide daily and the kids would enjoy finding him and taking pictures. One day he was left at my parent's home and he even went on an adventure there. My mom took pictures in every spot he hid! The kids later wrote a story about his adventure at Oma's. Last night as we were trying to get to sleep, the kids set a very elaborate trap! They even left potatoes to catch him. They were successful and caught the little doll. So at 6:30 this morning we were up, following the clues to fill his pot of gold. Now the leprechaun had so much fun at our home, he forgot to go to our best friends house down the street! My friend told her kids he must have been on a different time zone! Whoops, should really try to keep the kids from bragging how much the leprechaun loves them!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Kite Got Stuck, I'm Moving Out!!

Monday was a very windy, wild day! Too cold for me, but just right for daddy, our two kids and two neighbor kids! He took them to the school around the corner to fly three kites. My 8 year old son was gracious enough to share his big kite with his 5 year old sister. She of course is small and trying to manage it was quite challenging. She got the kite stuck in the phone lines and my son was quite distraught. My husband managed to get it down. Well after some coaxing, he let Josie try again. When they got home they were so happy to have so much fun with their friends at the school yard. After dinner we have a tradition where you tell the best and sometimes worst part of your day. Well Cade said the best part was flying the kite, the worst was Josie getting it stuck in the line! Of course she felt bad, and he had a way of making her feel a bit worse. We talked with him, had him apologize for making her feel worse, pointing out how it all worked out. After dinner Josie had me write down her dictation in a card addressed to all of us. She said it was going to be sad.

It said: Dear Dad, Mom and Cade, I have been very happy to stay with you. Now is the time I'm going to move on. Tomorrow, I'm going. Love, Josie

I tried to hold my composure as she called us all in for something very serious. She asked daddy and I to open the envelope, she then proceeded to try and read it. She then needed me to whisper the words in her ear. As she read it I let out a crazy sad cry! She was laughing so hard at how sad I was. She told us she would move to her cousins in Oregon. She packed her suitcase and has been living out of it for three days! Oh, she did go out front and come to my front door, pretending it was a hotel and asked if I had room for her to stay! Of course I do!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We Got Cable TV!

Well, we finally joined the majority and got cable TV. I have been limiting TV since the kids were little. Heck, I watched TV on mute for my son's first 2 years of life! I am really trying hard to censor what they see, I believe that they are so impressionable and don't need the stress of the everyday news or media to worry them or influence them. They are happy when they get to watch something and I have tried to relax a little, so I can have a break from the non stop play time or teaching. I do have a hard time not feeling guilty! I just want them to enjoy simple things and to build on their passions and imagination. Sounds good, well, my husband really wanted to have cable for the past 8 years. He travels so much that I don't see the point. I do feel he works so hard, that he should have the simple pleasure of watching what he wants. So here comes the compromise. I did not object loudly to a new TV. Now the cable. I let the kids watch a show tonight, and had a hard time seeing how the kid shows are really appropriate for young kids. I know most people don't see any problem, but I do. When they characters are dressing like adults, in revealing outfits, talking about adult relationships and bullying each other, I can't believe that that's the norm!!! I have a hard time trying to keep balance when we are home all day, my husband travels a lot and I don't hardly get a break. It is going to be a challenge that I feel I must fight. I will let the children watch some shows, as long as they are age appropriate, by my standards, not the cable guy's!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Is this right?

The advantage of homeschooling is to meet individual children's needs. It is difficult sometimes to stay true to your beliefs living in the society we live in now. I find this true for any alternative choice I try to make with my family. I will be going along thinking all is well, then someone questions what I'm doing. Or they will mention what their child is doing and I start to wonder is my kid behind? If you follow the Waldorf method or look at studies from Europe, my kid is right on track. They do not introduce reading until the age of 7-8. Children in a traditional setting are often forced to fit in the box and not allowed to explore outside of what is written in the teacher's plan book. I remember this from being in the classroom. You are just trying to keep everyone in control, while getting through a whole lesson, in each subject everyday. This will insure that you finish the workbooks, so the children will pass all tests and meet all the standards, to move to the next grade level. Ha! What about the poor second language learner or the child who doesn't get any help at home or the child who is a kinesthetic learner, who needs to be moving at all the time! They are constantly in trouble and then really aren't going to get the right education! I am constantly trying to meet my 8 year old boy and 5 year old girl's needs, which are very different. At the same time I am trying to break my mold that I was raised in and taught in. The fun thing about homeschooling is that if you look at it like an adventure, you will get where you are supposed to be eventually. It is not a race, you will hit bumps, you will have doubt, but for the most part you are very lucky to have an opportunity to learn with your child! One day at a time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

100 Day Party

Well most traditional Kindergarten's celebrate 100 days in school. Well I have fond memories of fun parties when I was a classroom teacher. So Josie and I threw a party for her! She invited a few neighbors and had a blast. We measured 100 inches on the sidewalk and they created creatures that same length. We also measured 100 feet. We decorated paper glasses in the shape of 100. We followed clues written on 100 dollar bill copies. They went all over the yard to find a box of 100 jellybeans. They played hide and seek, had a bike parade and played basketball. Many ideas stemmed from her and she led them. I saw her confidence build as she was the youngest kid, but allowed to be the leader! It was a simple party, followed by some 100 day books, and 100 day soup! Which she and her brother said was the best! I love days where learning can occur through play! Lots of math, cooperation, P.E., reading, art!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fun Friday

Sometimes when the week has had some unexpected events, I must try and come from a different angle in school. I had the kids choose some games to play while I got ready for the day. They had fun playing blind folded hide and seek. They spent 1/2 hour listen to sounds to try and find each other! I then took this idea and hid 8 items related to Presidents day. They had to hunt for the items. They truly enjoyed this and then were excited and ready to learn for the day! All went well until my 8 year old decided he was done. This is the challenge of homeschooling. The ability to stop when needed and resume later, or not :}

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Josie wants to get married!

So, when you are going to teach a homeschool lesson, you have to be flexible.

My five year old was set on getting dressed in her gown, with her flowers and getting married. My plan was to have her do a Spanish lesson with grandpa. I told her, "wow, you are going to get to be married and talk about love, and make Valentines, all in Spanish!" She was thrilled to know I listened and her needs were being met.

Now that we have marriage figured out, time for babies! Ha!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Everything's connected

I love how everything in my life is somehow connected! Teaching, natural childbirth, homeschooling, essential oils, GAPS diet, Spiritual Life Center, yoga, meditation, natural healing, ect. When I am open to what I feel passionate about, things make sense. I feel so lucky to have the time to do what I love. Please stay around and enjoy my new adventure into blogging. What a better way to stay connected and inspire others out there!

Things I find fascinating

  • Bagua Board/ Dream board
  • Balanced Birth Approach
  • Birthing From Within
  • E Is For Ethics
  • Homeschooling
  • The Bradley Method Of Natural Childbirth
  • The Family Virtues Guide
  • The Power of Wisdom
  • Waldorf
  • Young Living Essential Oils
  • Zen in Ten Seconds