Parenting confirmation… 

As a parent we are making hundreds of decisions for our children every single day.   Decisions that we hope will help our children to become the adults we dream them to be.

As parents we try our best to model what we want our children to become.   We try to instil values and morals in our children that we hope will become a deep part of our children and will be adopted by them as things they deeply value as adults.

As parents we are stuck in the little picture,  even while trying our best to parent in the big picture.  We are bombarded with little picture failure on a daily basis.   And very rarely we see the big picture successes.  In fact some of the little picture big failures are actually signs of big picture big successes.   I see this frequently with our youngest son.   And I find myself realizing that some of his failures today are really successes.   His immense independence and amazing and creative problem solving that get him into trouble today… Are actually the exact values and traits I want him to have fully developed in the future.   Perspective.

This year our oldest daughter moved to high school.   She chose to attend a school downtown.   So every single day she takes public transit through downtown.

Recently I became aware of something she has done and does do that gave me such pride in her.   It came up in conversation that some mornings she sees a cold homeless person  and offers to buy them coffee.   She has do e this several times.   Sometimes the person won’t even come inside the McDonald’s with her but wits outside.   Sometimes they do come in.  But she does this completely on her own.   She doesn’t get an allowance or any money from us.   It’s her babysitting money.   It was a moment that I realized that despite all the parenting fails clearly here is a success.   Perspective.

Last year I found out that our oldest son would sometimes purchase gift cards and give them to the homeless when he saw them.   Something he did privately and also completely out of his own money he had worked for.   Another parenting success.

So for all the parenting failures,  keep perspective.   It’s getting into their brains and is forming their character.   And sometimes the little picture failures are really a part of the big successes you are striving so hard for.

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School’s Back… 

Well,  school’s back.   The summer is over and I am back to work.   Early mornings return and schedules resume.

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This year we have 5 kids at 5 different schools. And one is being home schooled.   I am pretty happy with the teachers and courses each of the kids has.

And today is our first day back at homeschooling.   I’ve decided to ease us back this week and next week we will start our weekly expectations.

Months ago I had my son’s grade 3 Homeschooling plan approved.  Last night I sat down and reviewed it and sorted through his stuff from last year.   I made my weekly evaluation forms for the first month and figured out how much work we need to accomplish each week to complete grade 3 on time.

I decided what we would study first in science and I decided that each week we will try to have a field trip of some sort.

Homeschooling isn’t the plan I had for Keilan,  but it’s what he needs.   And we managed to survive last year,  so we will make it this year too.

As much as I hate routine,  I also am grateful for it.   It helps the days go more smoothly and predictably.   Predictability is important for Keilan.   It helps him be more successful.

So today I put back on my hats of school bus driver and homeschooling teacher.   And I hope and pray we have a successful year full of learning and accomplishments and learning emotional management and finding social success.

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Today we made our school rules and went to a couple playgrounds we will write a story and go on a bike ride and do some math too.   And that’s OK.   That is a successful start to a new year for us!

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First Aid Training…. 

Many,  many years ago I took my first first aid and CPR etc, etc course.   It was a requirement of being a day home provider.   But I never even once used the training.   Never had any need.

I took it again  a few years later as a school bus driver babysitter for safety meetings.   Again,  never used it.  Not even for my own kids.   Nope,  no stitches or broken bones.  No major injuries really… Except Katie cutting her thumb on the glass inside a picture frame – she took it apart I stead of sleeping; or Kieran using nail polish to do Katie’s eye makeup; or Karyssa falling down the basement stairs and landing on  Kieran’s hockey card binder at the bottom (all of these were when they were under 3).  But all of these incidents didn’t use my first aid training they just used my common sense.

I took first aid training 2 more times.  Once for Deaning summer camps and once for church.  And again, I’ve never used it in those places.

In fact, the only time I’ve had to assess for broken bones and internal bleeding and back injuries is with our youngest son.   And it seems like I use my knowledge every so my weeks.

So, I’m really glad I’ve kept up my first aid  certification.  It’s a good to thing to have.   After all you never know when you will need it… Like today when our son went from going at a brake neck speed on his bike to stop –  instantly,  when he used the front brake first and only.   Then he went crashing head first with his bike landing on top of him.  Nope,  no internal bleeding or broken bones.

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The Long Break… 

I realize I haven’t blogged in 6 weeks.   But I just couldn’t.   For the first time in as long I felt like writing.

What I realized, was that I blog in the quiet.   I blog in the peace and the calm.

Well,  there hasn’t been much of that at all this summer.   Not that it’s been a hard summer,  but many days are long. The girls are easy.   Keilan isn’t.

Today as my kids play at the campground playground I feel peace and space to write.

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For now there is no conflict or behavior to manage. Just kids playing for hours… Of course there is the bribe of ice cream afterwards when we run to town for some groceries… But hey whatever works!

So our summer has been full of fun and new memories.   We’ve gone to the enchanted forest and Skytrek and D-Dutchman dairy and Craigellachie.

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We’ve been to a huge music festival.

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We’ve been kayaking

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and hiking and made trips to the science center

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and zoo.

We’ve gone to Calaway park.

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We’ve gone Pokemon hunting so many times.   In fact it has really drawn us together in a strange sort of way.   We’ve voluntarily cleaned our church every week for the last 6. We’ve camped

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and had backyard pool parties.

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We went to summer camps and even sent Karyssa to Ontario.

We’ve helped friends move.  We went to the stampede and the parade.

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And had sleepovers.

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And for walks in the rain.

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We went to a wedding.

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Keilan and I even laid on a picnic table under the stars and watched the clear sky for a whole half hour straight,  which for him is like an eternity.   We looked and pretended to make our own dot to dot pictures in the stars.

I’ve been mad and frustrated more times than I can count.   I don’t have a perfect family.   But I have a real one.   I have literally thrown my hands up in the air and left Keilan with his sisters and I went out.   Anywhere and nowhere.   Just to get away from the frustration of having a child with ADHD and ODD.   Luckily,  my girls are all old enough to watch their brother which allows me to get a break sometimes. Keilan and I have gone to so many parks and playgrounds.  We’ve been berry picking.

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We’ve gone on so many walks.

My bed has somehow become the family bed and for hours and hours the 4 younger kids and I have sat watching Netflix! We watched Last Man Standing and Full House and Fuller House and Switched at Birth and now we have started Gilmore Girls.  Now we are camping at gull lake for a week.   Then it’s back to school.   That means no more late late night TV binge watching or book reading. It means back to getting out of bed early and back to driving bus.   Not that I mind… But I am a night owl by nature and I love staying up late and NOT getting up early!

With school returning it means returning to homeschooling.   Luckily we didn’t completely stop this summer.   But it means getting back into routines and creating new ones.

It also means 5 kids at 5 schools and trying to keep all that sorted out! I honestly knew I’d one day have 5 kids at 3 schools.   But I never thought I’d be homeschooling; and I never thought I’d have every child going to a different school! But I do.   So I better get their schedules worked out!

And that has been our summer… Warts and all…

Blessings…

In life there are days were the blessings are just so front and center.  And there are days when you have to search to see them.

Today is a day where the blessings are right in front of me.  No, literally, right in front of me.  As I drive behind Jason driving our new to us truck and in it is a new to us refrigerator and in my van is a new to us dresser.

We spent several days with family.  And although it was a short visit, it was fun nonetheless.  In fact Kianna said as we drove away, “Our little cousin is the absolute cutest toddler I’ve ever met!”.  She and her siblings had fun berry picking with their cousins and playing in the big hot wheels jeep.

With us living so far from all our family on both sides, our visits are usually only a couple a year.  So when we do get together the kids sure enjoy it!  (So do we!)

Now I think we have a different problem…we are becoming vehicle hogs…and with a 17 year old still not desiring to get his license and a 14 year old not desiring to get her learner’s…we may have to start getting rid of one or two.  Or more likely they will die on their own as their mileages are anything but low!

Every Dollar app for  Android…

Dave Ramsey has a free app for budgeting called Every Dollar.  The problem is it’s only for Apple. ..that is until now.

I’ve been waiting for them to release the android version.

Finally it’s out!

I was so excited today when I got an email saying I could download the Android version!

This morning I downloaded it and have been working on our budget ever since.

This app is amazingly simple.  Even a person who is not terribly computer literate can easily figure it out.  I have already entered most of our budget items.  I have changed the names on budget line items.  I have done all sorts of tweeting and personalizing.

However, the features I’ve really been waiting for are that Jason and I can both access the same budget from our own phones.  Meaning we can in real time be completely current on our budget.

It also lets you easily set up “funds” to monthly budget for annual expenses.  So things like Christmas, school fees,  vacation, birthdays, etc.

It tallies your budget as you go so it shows you how much money you have left of your income to “spend” or allocate.  And as you “spend” your money in real time and input it into the app it shows you what you’ve spent and where and what of your budget is left.

At the end of the month any excesses in your alloted budget then can be moved to savings or debt repayment or whatever.

It is zero based budgeting, so you literally budiet every single dollar.  I’m at “approximate” person and round to the nearest $5.  Jason is a bean counter and likes every penny accounted for.  So this makes it easy for me to simply input the exact amount I spent when I spend it, which makes him really happy.

The other piece I love…is it completely FREE!

I highly recommend this app.  It is totally user friendly and dummy proof (I can use it😆).

Back From Camp…

If there is one single thing that I do not regret doing with my children, it is sending them to Christian sleepover camp.

My children have all been going since they were wee wee little things.  Kieran was 3 when I counselled at Rookie camp and brought him and his baby sister Katie along.

Keilan has been going since he was a baby too.  I was dean and brought along my kids.

My kids really didn’t have a choice but to love Pine Lake Christian camp.  They spent at least one camp a summer there for most of their lives.

My kids all love Pine Lake Christian Camp.   They look forward to going.  And they get great teaching and build solid long lasting relationships.

Today when I picked up my oldest 2 from high school camp they both were full of stories.  Which isn’t always the case.

My son was talking of “calling” in regards to his future.  And our conversation held a depth that wasn’t there before.  He was challenged to seek a deeper relationship with God and he clearly had done much thinking on this.

Katie was no different.  The friendships made and continued to grow were evident in her stories.  She too grew spiritually.

I am so glad that my kids have the opportunity to go to this camp each year. Their spiritual maturity grows so much in this setting.

I truly wish all kids had the same opportunity.  The lessons learned and the relationships forged can never quite be duplicated outside of camp.  Try as you might there is just something about living together with other people of the same values and beliefs for a week that changes a person.  And until you’ve experienced it you just don’t truly understand it.