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Finding the Simplicity in Me

Taking a Moment…

What does taking a moment mean to you?

Ed & I have been crazy busy. The Things in general keep us hopping. Then getting our home and the barnyard things ready for the winter to come. School,which means a lot of teachers meetings and beginning of year appointments. Kids bringing home germs and virus’ so generously shared by all the other little things at school.

So,can we say it’s been hectic?!

So hectic that we don’t always have time to take a moment for ourselves. It’s so needed too, as we need to stay connected as a couple. Something parents in our situation often forget to do.

We have a rule that we always sleep together. For  us that often means me falling asleep on the couch and Ed staying with me even though he’d probably be much more comfortable in our bed. However, these are the sacrifices we make as a couple to stay connected.

This morning we took a much needed moment together. With an early appointment, we grabbed a coffee and hot chocolate and headed to the waterfront.

The sun was out and warm,with that calming quality only the fall sunshine has.

The water was calm, and boats were mirrored in the water, beautiful shimmering images.

We watched a couple of seals surface and dive as well as a crane.

It was quiet and calm, and we both stared out on the water. Ed commented he should have brought his camera, but I am secretly glad he didn’t because now that image is saved in my heart as a moment we took together.

As we stood side by side, even as busy as we have been, I felt the calm of the moment and the strength of our love & commitment to each other as well as to the Things.

We’ve been blessed in this life to find each other and these simple moments refills our energy.

It’s so important important in this crazy day and age to take a moment…

 

Free Range Parenting – MUST Read!

This is an amazing read. Having raised my 2 boys in Calgary & Montreal originally, Stephanie Lands’ article resonates deeply with me. While I am very blessed to now live in a small village where my daughter does “free range ” at 6, within reason, I know how lucky we are.

At The Establishment, Stephanie Land takes a hard look at the ways in which parenting choices intersect race and class, and explains why, as a low-income mother, she fears raising her daughter “free range.”

via Free-Range Parenting Is a Privilege for the White and Affluent — Discover

All Things Unique… Living with ASD & then some

What does a picture of a boy fishing have to do with this post? Nothing. Except Thing 2 rarely lets me get a picture, unless he is lost in the moment and in his world…or I nag. This is a picture of him lost in his moment, and I love it.

So let’s talk about ASD & then some…

Recipe for a modern family living with LD’s….Learning Disabilities, and all Things Unique.

Let’s start  with a  cup of ASD…

Autism Spectrum Disorder…

Throw in a pinch of ADD…

Attention Deficit Disorder..

A dash of ODD…

Oppositional Defiance Disorder…

Stir in a handful of Adjustment Disorder with Disturbed Mood, and a little DCD, Developmental Coordination Disorder….and what do we have:

A blended family with all Things Unique….

The Things of course are our 6 Children, we have a busy,busy,active, dramatic, unique life!

I  am far from being an expert on any of these issues, but for the past 18 yrs it’s been something very real, very present and a part of something I have had to deal with in my everyday life.

Out of the 6 Things, 5 of them have have a mix of this recipe and it makes them unique and wonderful beyond what words can describe.

Today though and for past 2 weeks what’s been heavy in my heart is working with Thing 2. My second born baby boy, who is now a young man of 16.

Living with such unique children,  there are sure to be posts in the future about each of them and their uniqueness. Today however, this is a post from my heart about Thing 2.

Thing 2, my sweet baby boy, who was different from the moment he came into this world. A sweet gentle child, so misunderstood by the world, and for so long by me.

At a young age he was diagnosed as ADD, ODD, DCD & Adjustment Disorder with Disturbed mood. My mothers heart knew there was more, but I kept being told no.

Years of therapists, psychiatrists, medications that didn’t work.

Looking at my son, the child who barely hugged me and when he did was distant. The child I wanted to cuddle,hold, love and who pushed me away.

A dreamer, an artist, a poetic heart living in a world that wasn’t quite aligned with ours. Always standing just outside of it. Not quite caring about the past, not quite getting the idea of tomorrow, living mostly wholly in the moment.

Never quite understood.

Until now…

New psychiatrist. One who listened to my concerns and really listened to my son.

For years I asked….Is Thing 2 Autistic.

For years I was told no.

For years therapies and medication and strategies that didn’t work for this wonderful dreamer.

Today though, what my mother’s heart has known all along. There was something different about Thing 2 that never matched with all the diagnoses made. There is something wonderfully different and unique about this gentle giant of mine.

Yes, he IS ASD, he is in the Autism Spectrum. You know what. It made sense all those years ago. It makes sense NOW, and now he can start getting the appropriate help.

My mothers heart knew all along. It was sad that it took this long, but it rejoices now because I know that this is what makes him so wonderfully unique and it’s not up to me or the doctors or the world to try and change him with pills and strategies that DO NOT WORK.

He is Thing 2. He is ASD. He is wonderful and unique and with love and understanding we will teach him to navigate his world and ours.

When he  was told he was ASD, he looked at me and said “Mom, I am just me.”

You know what Thing 2. Yes, yes you are. My golden child.My baby boy. You are just you. Never change, happiness and success will come to you just as you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living in the Moment with Goats !

It’s amazing how busy the Things can make life! I sat down  2 months ago to start this post. It feels like it was just yesterday.

All the Things are now back to school and I feel the emptiness in the house and it makes this post so much more relevant now that I think about it. They are my constant companions and as demanding as the Things for my attention, yet as comforting to me as a traditional pet like a dog. I once read that goats were very much puppies with horns, and when I go outside and seeing them playing on Thing 5’s old slides and climbing toys, I smile and think, yes, they are just puppies with horns.

Here we have 2 goats, Ruby and Yang. Ruby is an alpine doe and Yang is Alpine/Nubian buck. I would love for them to breed but at the moment they really don’t seem to be inclined to. One day I will add more to our tiny herd.

I could get into all that goes into caring for them, however, when I am out with them that is not what I am thinking of.

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Selfie time with Yang.

When I am out with them, I think about how delicate and beautiful these animals are. Sometimes sitting in the barn with them having a coffee watching and listening them munch on their hay quietly, I can close my eyes and re-center myself and think nothing but about being in that moment.

I love their gentle,accepting nature. Their funny,playful antics. I love how when I go out and call their names they come running because they know I have a treat for them. They’ll push my hand gently trying to find it, pull at my pockets of my sweater looking for their sweets, then they lean up against me as they munch happily as I scratch between their horns and gently stroke their necks.

Every thing about them makes me smile.

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Thing 6 feeding Ruby some mash

Their amazing temperament and gentle nature makes them ideal pets for children. The Things are always happy to feed them their mash and you can always see the smile on their face and hear their giggles when the goats lick and nibble at their fingers looking for more. I love saying “Who’s bringing them a treat” and hearing a chorus of “ME!” come from the littler Things.

I love my goats! I love that caring for them makes me forget about all the worries of the world and reminds me there in then, in the moment, what really matters. It reminds me why I came here to live life simply.

What is more basic and simple than enjoying happiness in the moment. What is more important than creating simple happiness that bubbles over and floats across the yard in the form of childrens giggles?

I guess any animal can create this feeling, you just have to make time for it and recongize it.

Simple things bring happiness to all.

 

 

The Heartache of a Step Parent

Five months ago I became a step-mother for the first time in my life.

At 41, I have three children of my own who are 17, 16 and 6. The two oldest being boys and the youngest a girl. Having raised two boys who were already teens, I thought I was more than adequately prepared to be a step-mom to my boyfriends three boys who are now aged 6, 8 & 13.

I thought it was ideal. My daugher who is 6 would have two playmates in her age group and life would be wonderful, full of rainbows and unicorns, family outings and laughter.

I thought I was prepared for the challenge. I love children and I love being a mom.

Nothing, though could prepare me for the realities of step-parenting, most of all nothing could have prepared me for the love I have for these 3 boys, or the heartache being a step-parent.

Being a parent is my greatest joy. My greatest accomplishment. I love my 3 biological kids with all my heart.

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Sprintime walk to the shore with the 3 youngest. Photo Credit: Ed LeBlanc

Being a step-mom brings me the same joy. It’s no different than if they were my own.

 

I cheer them on when they are doing good, I support them when times are hard. I hold them when they get hurt and cry. I clean their cuts and bandage them up. I wash their clothes, cook them meals and I make their beds. I love them and hug them and treat them like my own.

I hand out “time-outs” when they get out of hand, and I explain why I did it. I tell them I love them and send them on their way after.

I want them to enjoy life and all it has to offer same as I watch mine do.

I treat them like my own.

But they aren’t my own.

That’s a heartache I never expected.

I am not their mother, I have no say. I can only do what I can do to make them laugh and smile when they are here with us for short periods of time.

I registered my daughter and my step-son for baseball this summer, and the adults had agreed Ed & I would take them to ball.

Yesterday, his mother decided that was not to be so and demanded back  his equipment. She says she’ll take him. He said that he was told he didn’t have to go and that Ed & I had cancelled ball and he couldn’t go anymore anyways.

My heart broke into a thousand peices when I saw the look on his face, heard what he had to say and saw the confusion in his eyes. This child didn’t know what to say and you could see the hurt in his actions. I tried to understand, but asking him questions only seemed to hurt him more.

But I am not his mother. I am only a step-mother. I stand helplessy by with tears in my eyes and a broken heart for this child.

Images of him on the field laughing and playing with his friends as we cheer him on run through my mind and I am sad for him that this may have been taken away, and I don’t know why. I can only guess and assume, but I can’t change it because I am only a step-mother, even though my heart loves him like a mother.

Tonight I will take my daughter and watch her run out on the field and play with her friends. I will cheer her on and proudly watch her play.

But I know, that that lump in my throat won’t go away because he won’t be on the other field and I won’t be able to cheer him on tonight.

I thought being a step-mom would be easy, I was so very wrong. Loving a child is easy, seeing their pain and losing time with them, it’s a whole new heartache no one warned me about.

I only know how to be a mother, a mom, a mommy.

I don’t want to compete with their mother. I just want to be allowed to love them as much and see them smile.

I’ll be thinking of you tonight kiddo, and I hold a secret hope in my heart that I will see you on the field laughing and smiling and having fun with your friends.

 

 

 

Looking for the Simplicity in me…

4 years ago, my family and I made the decision to leave the city and move to the East Coast in search of a simpler life.

Four years ago, I planned that blogging would be a big part of my life. I planned to slow life down for us and live a simple life.

However, is anything ever that that simple?

The best laid plans of men and mice often often go awry.

 John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

Let’s fast forward 4 years.

Much has changed. Sometimes change happens immediately. Sometimes it takes time. Sometimes change requires a catalyst, a life changing event, tragedy or even just a momentary realization.

Here I am, 4 years after almost to the date I started the change, many events have finally brought me to the change I started 4 years ago.

Now, I invite you to follow our journey as we live the daily challenges of change, and searching for the simplicity in life.

Today, 4 years after I started on this journey, my partner and I face the challenges of a mixed family. Raising 6 kids between the ages of 6 and 17 years old. Maintaining and renovating a house that is over 100 years old and many other challenges in South West Nova Scotia, Canada.

I am finding the simplicity in me and loving it.

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Tusket, Nova Scotia, Photo Credit Ed LeBlanc

 

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