15 Minutes

You can do anything for 15 minutes.

I used to love this idea. At the time, I was trying to get my home and my “stuff” under control. We had a lot of stuff and it was hard to wrap my head around sorting through it all. But 15 minutes at a time? I could do it 15 minutes at a time.

Fast forward to today. I still have clutter – as long as I’m living that will probably be the case – but it’s mainly under control. So my 15 minutes these days is being applied to something else. I have gotten out of the habit of exercise, out of the habit of getting moving. I keep meaning to. I’ve bought the shoes. I have the clothes. But whenever I think about getting off the couch and getting outside to do anything, it seemed like too much time and effort was needed to make a difference.

Jon Acuff reminded me about the idea of 15 minutes. That something done just 15 minutes a day can make a big difference over time. He does a challenge of sorts each summer – choose 1 thing and commit to practicing/doing it for at least 15 minutes a day. When I saw the challenge I thought, “I can do this. I can go for a walk for 15 minutes a day. Or do a short body-weight workout. Yup. I can do this.” So I printed the checklist and here we are, 4 days in, and even with a day off because of some physical ailments, I’ve already crossed off 8 squares on that chart of 100 squares. That’s more exercise in 4 days than I have had in weeks. I’m pretty happy with that!

Jon said to pick one thing. Because I like to buck the “rules” a bit sometimes and I like to go above and beyond, I added another “something” to my 15 minutes challenge – writing. Simple things. Deep things. Fun things. Regular life things. Just write. Some days that is going to mean a blog post. Other days it’s just going to be me writing in a notebook or on a piece of paper. I want it to become a habit again rather than just something I do randomly. And I can do anything for 15 minutes!

15 minutes. 25 hours. It adds up. I can’t wait to see the results of those 15 minutes when the summer is over! I’ll try to share my progress here weekly – on Mondays. Should be interesting…..

Want more information about the DO SUMMER challenge? Check it out here!

3-2-1…GO!

“Buh-bye!” Liam called to my friend and her kids as they pulled out of the driveway this morning. She’s  is Emily & Isaac’s home teacher for this next year of school. We had just spent the previous 2 hours going over the Student Learning Plans for both of the kids.

As I sit here with all these plans going through my head, I have to admit that I feel a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of what we are taking on. Transitioning from going to school every day to homeschooling is a HUGE transition, especially at the ages my kids are at – Grade 8 & 9 respectively. It’s a decision that hasn’t been made lightly and is one that, especially now, I am feeling excited about. But OH MAN! I also feel like someone is standing behind me, as I stand on the edge of a platform looking down into the pool below, saying “1-2-3….!” and about to push me over the edge.

The nerves are starting to kick in and I am feeling both a rush of excitement at what is coming as well as fear. This homeschooling thing is about to get VERY real here in our home!! EEK!

So much to do in the next few weeks as we prepare for the start of school, so many questions need answered. What are our days going to look like? Where in the house are we going to do our schooling? How are we going to handle things like lack of motivation or desire to school? How am I going to handle the responsibilities of house and home and now school?

WHAT IF WE HATE IT???

That last question is really the one that has me the most nervous. I am confident that not enrolling my kids in the local high school for the coming year is the best thing for them. But despite the fact that I am sure of that, and I am confident that enrolling them with Traditional Learning Academy is going to be a good fit, I’m still a little concerned – no matter how great our next year might look on paper, what if we can’t stand spending so much time together? What if we can’t find a good balance between work and fun? What if the kids’ won’t listen or we end up butting heads all the time? What if the whole thing just ends up being an exercise in frustration?

On the flip side of those nerves and questions is the excitement. My friend and I had fun making plans and it’s going to be even more fun to finalize and execute those plans. It’s going to be great to see how the kids handle the project based learning we’re planning for them. I have high hopes….and I’m counting on the fact that hundreds of families embark on this journey together every year and do so successfully. Plus Traditional Learning Academy has a fantastic program and we have a great group of people backing us.

So I guess it’s time….

3 – 2 – 1 – GO!!!

In My Head

Tonight is one of those nights when I have so many thoughts in my head that I want to put down on paper but none are really flowing or they just aren’t worth publishing. It’s the worst kind of “writer’s block” ever – at least when I have NOTHING in my head to write about I can usually find a prompt somewhere to get things started. On night’s like tonight I can’t sleep because of all the thoughts but I also can’t quite corral them all to get them out so the chatter quiets down.

Some of the thoughts swirling around in my head tonight center on the following topics: marriage, parenting, high school relationships, babies, tent trailers, future dreams, writing a book, Flylady principles, stamping & card making, business ideas, complicated romances, babywearing & wraps, breastfeeding, sleep. Yea….there’s a lot of thoughts. Some that might be worth sharing at some point and others that will remain just where they are – in my head.

Also in my head tonight is the plans for tomorrow – we’re heading out to where Jillian & Ian live and have their market garden. Jillian is Tim’s daughter. We’re going out to help them with harvest tomorrow. Then home to tidy the house, nap and prep dinner – we’re having my Aunt & Uncle over for dinner tomorrow. It’s going to be a good day….if only I could get some sleep! I really need to get out of my head!

Does that ever happen to you? What do you do to quiet the chatter?

No Apologies Here!

*Just to clarify…

I want to clarify that this post didn’t come as a result of anything family said this last week. I have found myself speaking apologetically about a variety of child-related things when speaking to others for quite some time. I simply became much more aware of this when we were visiting family last week because I had several of the same conversations with a bunch of people as happens when you are seeing a bunch of people for the first time in a while.

Some of the judgements I have felt in the last 18 months have been felt because there have been judgements. Some have simply been things I perceived but were really just me projecting my own insecurities into the situation. Whichever the situation, as parents, we don’t need to feel like we have to apologize for doing our best for our kids.

 

We just got home from a week in Edmonton with family we don’t see very often. It was a great visit! But I came away aware of something I have started doing that I really don’t like. I was apologizing for things I really don’t need or want to apologize for.

We’re doing things a little different than might have been done 12, 13 years ago when my older kids were babies. We’re definitely doing things differently than they were done 25 – 30 years ago when Tim’s kids were babies. We’re doing what works for us as a family. We feel good about the choices we are making and they are working for us. I was really surprised, then, to find myself justifying or apologizing or even feeling a little bit of guilt about when we were talking with various people this last week.

We wear our baby. I rarely use the stroller. Liam is on my back or cuddled against my chest. He’s happiest that way when we are out in public. I love the closeness as much as he does. It really works for us. And besides, have you seen how beautiful carriers and wraps are these days?? Not to mention how comfortable they are for everyone involved!! I was really surprised by how many eyebrows were raised when we were out and about around Edmonton this week – I felt like the only person on the planet who wasn’t using a stroller. And I found myself apologizing for being different in this way.

Mid-Morning Nap snuggles.

Mid-Morning Nap Snuggles

We are still nursing. Liam is going to be 18 months old soon and he LOVES the boobies!! Some days breastmilk is providing the bulk of his nutrition. Other days he is totally into his food and only nurses when he’s thirsty or tired. We ALWAYS nurse to sleep for naps and bedtime. Those sleepytime snuggles and nursing times are long and cherished. He often won’t go to bed without them, especially for naptime. A typical nursing day has him nursing for 7 long sessions (30 – 45 minutes at a time) and several short ones (5 – 15 minutes). It affects my sleep. It dictates the rhythm of our day. It influences how our family functions all around. But it works for us. And yet I was apologizing and almost feeling sheepish about it when people we don’t often see realized this about us.

We are looking at homeschooling our kids starting in September. This decision has come after much thought and consideration of our kids needs as well as considering a number of other factors. It’s a big commitment on our part. We’re aware of the potential challenges. We’re certain this is what is best for us at least for the next year. We’re confident in this choice and are excited about the possibilities. And yet I felt, more than once, like I needed to apologize for this choice.

These are just a few examples.

But why am I apologizing??!! These are the things that work for our family. These are things that have been thought about, talked about, agreed on or simply have evolved because they are what works for us. Some things are things that are pretty standard for families in this time. Other things are a little out of the norm. But whatever the case may be, I DON’T HAVE TO APOLOGIZE FOR PARENTING MY KIDS THE BEST WAY I KNOW HOW. I don’t have to apologize or explain why my husband and I do things the way we do. We aren’t breaking any laws, we aren’t putting our kids in harm’s way, we aren’t neglecting them or depriving them. The only thing we are doing is living our lives in ways that work for our family the best we can figure and sometimes that means we’re doing things that you’ll agree with and sometimes that means we’re doing things you wouldn’t do. Either way it’s okay.

I’m not going to apologize or justify why we do what we do any more. And if you find yourself doing the same thing, you don’t need to apologize either. Only we know what really works for us! Everyone else may have their opinion, they might make different choices, but just because what they think might differ from you, doesn’t mean you’re wrong or they are wrong. We’re all just DIFFERENT! If we could just agree to be different, to embrace those differences and maybe even be willing to engage in conversation about those differences so as to learn more about each other and ourselves, we would all feel a lot less pressure and a lot more confidence.

Own your choices!

Embrace the differences!

Confidently walk through life with your family.

Haters are going to hate. Doubters are going to doubt. Don’t allow them to rob you of your confidence and resolve to do what is best for your family. No More Apologies!

Poke. Stick. Ouch. Instincts

Tomorrow is going to be an interesting day. We’re starting off the morning with Liam’s first round of immunizations. I’m prepared for some flack. We’re a full year behind according to the recommended schedule for vaccines. It’s already raised some eyebrows with our local health unit when I have called to book this appointment “When were you last here & which shots did he receive? Oh you haven’t been here? He’s had no shots before?? Oh. Um. Well. K.” Awkward silence. However, I am going to raise a few more eyebrows tomorrow when I refuse, or rather postpone, two of the three shots he’s slated for. Yea. That’s going to go over well.

I’m not actually against immunizations. In fact, I can see how beneficial they are. I’ve heard how harmful they can be. I know the arguments are fraught with extreme emotion on both sides. I’m not interested in arguing or choosing sides. I am interested in my child.

I have chosen to delay my son’s immunizations based solely on my gut instincts. I have chosen to delay them as well as stagger them because I have felt very uneasy about having them administered to my child before now. I still don’t feel comfortable with him getting all of the ones recommended all at one time. So we’ll be scheduling a few appointments over the next few months. By the time he’s 2 years old he will have had all of the ones he’s supposed to have just a year behind. I feel good about that. My husband is okay with that. It’s what works for our son and our family.

Here’s the part that makes me wonder about my gut instincts though – I never felt this way with my older two children when it was time for their shots. On schedule at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months & a year I took them into the local health unit and they received those pokes in the thighs and arms. They received every shot available at the time. I didn’t have a moment’s doubt or hesitation. I knew it needed to be done and I did it.

So why the difference? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is this: I’ve been a mom for almost 14 years now. Whenever I have had a gut instinct about something, I’ve had a choice – listen to it or ignore it. I trust my instincts. I can’t remember very many occasions when I have regretted listening to them. That doesn’t mean I blindly follow whatever my stomach is telling me – I do research. I talk to others who have been where I am contemplating going (or not going). I pray. I seek advice from professionals. I gather as much knowledge as I can and then, at some point, I sit back and check my gut.

If there is any message I wish I could tell every new mom unsure of things, every experienced mom facing a tough decision – listen to your heart. Trust your instincts. Don’t ignore them. The outcome may be veiled from view and the possibilities may be scary at times but trust. You’ve got this.

 

*Due to the nature of the “to immunize or not to immunize” debate, any comments with regards to that from EITHER SIDE in ANY tone will not be approved. I AM NOT HERE TO DEBATE THAT ISSUE!! I will be delighted to approve any comments that deal with the heart of this post if they are respectfully worded. Thanks. – Jocelyn