Sharing of lives…

Yesterday my family spearheaded a block bbq. 

It actually went extremely well. More than 15 families came and all brought food.  We shared dinner and where I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough food….we had loads of leftovers.

I got to meet and chat with many neighbors. Some I’d met at the block easter egg hunt we held in April.   Some were new faces. 

All were happy to be there and were looking for ways to make connections.  In our world today we are so busy we don’t even know how to meet and connect with our neighbors.

I think that deep down many of us wish we lived in a different time.  One where we sit on the porch and chat with our neighbors as our kids ride their bikes up and down the block.  A world where it’s ok and normal to go ask your neighbor for a cup of milk or sugar.  A place where your neighbor knows you by name and greets you with it and a smile.

So, it is my goal to do something to help those who want this too, on our block to actually get it.

And the blessing in it all yesterday….the feeling g of being a part of something bigger than myself.

I also had the opportunity to chat with a neighbor and apologize for my son’s behaviour and give an explanation and a pre-apology.  This led to an open conversation  and my vulnerability about my imperfect child allowed her to open up about hers.  That was the biggest blessing yesterday.  That and meeting and building relationships with 30 of our neighbors who are becoming our friends.

One neighbor even asked her friend to come.  She’s a professional clown.  She made balloon animals for all the kids and brought them all their own clown noses.  The kids loved it!

So, July and August and September we will do it all over again.  Next week I will sit down with one of the neighbors and plan it out and make a flyer for my kids to deliver….

My weekend….

Well this weekend has begun.  I have dropped 4 kids at youth group and have come home with my youngest 2 to watch a bit of pvr.

I haven’t watched TV apparently since April 23.  So we have many shows to choose from.

The little kids are helping me sort the old easter eggs so I can pack them up for next year.

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Jason is off to men’s retreat this weekend.

Tomorrow afternoon  is the block bbq I have spearheaded.  It should be fun to meet many of our neighbors.

Sunday afternoon we have another long overdue bbq with old friends.

So this weekend will be busy and social and I may even get around to sorting the basket full of stuff I cleared off my dresser earlier!

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Gratitude. ..

I do not have the words to express our gratitude right now.  Thank you to the person who is paying for our kids to go to camp.  It means more to us than you will ever know!  Sometimes we feel like we are drowning.  But it is moments like this that remind us we are not alone and people love us and care for us and our family!

And this morning we had our first assessment meeting for our son.  It went amazingly well!  She actually told us to fill out the questionaire from the point of him not having our assistance and guidance so that he can be accurately assessed for what he has and not how he is currently managing it.  That felt really good to hear.  I sometimes get discouraged – if we are handling him right or well or what we could be doing different or better; so to hear this was extremely encouraging!

Now to fill out the 3 questionaires and deliver his teacher hers to do…

My life…

There is so much flying around inside my brain right now that I want to say.  Probably several posts really….so I will just write and see where it takes me.

For a brief moment this morning, I thought I could sort through some easter egg shells and chuck and pack away as appropriate and watch some pvr this afternoon.  It was a brief moment.

This weekend I am having a yard sale.  Yard donation really.  I need to purge my home of clutter.  Since a larger home is not in the near future, I need to stop storing stuff for it.  The excess and clutter must go or my sanity will.

I don’t really want to have a yard sale.  I’d rather just donate it.  But we have a different reality.

We will be spending about $5000 between May and August to get our youngest son the help he needs and the help we need, to help him better.

This means other things will have to go.  No camping trip to Oregon on the ocean beaches.  And more likely than not, no summer camp for the kids this summer either.  Money is simply finite.  No matter how much I wish it wasn’t or how much I want them to go.  If the money isn’t there it just isn’t.

So I’ve decided our yard sale is a donation sale and the money will go to helping send the kids to summer camp.  There is absolutely no way the $1100 will be raised.  But maybe we can somehow send a couple of kids.  Perhaps they will each have to decide if they are willing g to take some birthday money to help pay to go.  I don’t actually know what that reality will end up being.  Right now I am simply focused on the $2100 I have to pay by the end of the month.  Over and above the $500 I already paid last week.  One step at a time.

What this got me to thinking about though was….am I feeling guilty for no good reason.

I feel like my youngest so  Co Stanly gets shafted.  We tire of putting in the required effort and commitment so all the kids but him get to do things.  This happened with highland dance.  And soccer too.  Although he did actually play for 4 seasons and I coached all of them.

I wonder if the overly active child wants to do things the others are doing more to not feel left out than because it’s where their heart is.  I don’t have an answer for this.  But I am pondering it.  I wonder if there are other things our youngest would find more suited to his high energy level.  And that I would find more suited to my pocketbook.

Our son is likely ADHD.  We will get a answer late July.  But that answer will change very little.  We won’t be giving him Ritalin or any other drugs.  We will be looking into some other options.

We prefer to teach him to manage himself and learn self control.  We prefer to change how we deal with him and accomadate him as necessary.  But we walk a fine line.  Already his siblings often think he gets away with things they don’t.   And honestly sometimes he does.  A lot less now than a few months ago though.

I would prefer my kids to see how we handle their brother as simply a life lesson in the uniqueness of each person  and the need to deal with people on an individual basis sometimes.  I don’t know if they’ll ever see it this way.

It is true that our youngest when sent to the car from the playground will go o  everything he passes on his way.  But he will almost always make it to the cat at the same time as us walking.  My other kids get in trouble for continuing to play I stead of going to the car.  But they don’t make it to the car at the same time as me walking when they do it.  He can be compulsive.  And it is easier to just go with it, as long as the end result is what I was wanting, than to fight him on the “how” and cause a meltdown.

I’m learning to help him and guide him more.  And he’s learning to stop his meltdowns a lot faster.  But it is all a learning process.

My goal is to equip him with the tools and supports he needs to be a contributing member of society as an adult. I want him to be able to overcome his issues and turn them from issues into blessings.  With the right guidance and help the very things that some see as handicaps to be overcome can actually be great assets.

His difficulty transitioning subjects….great at finishing a task completely
His inability to sit still…allows him to find things to do to keep himself busy
His need to be a helper….a great servant leader
His need to be first…strives to always do his best

We have a long ways to go before we see these all happen.   But my point is that they CAN happen.  And I intend to do my best to equip him for success.

As for my other kids….one day I hope that see that I have done my best to equip each of them individually and uniquely for their own personal success.  Just his is a little more obvious at this moment.

So my challenges continue.  But I am up for the challenge.  And somehow my pocketbook will be too.  It just means sacrificing somewhere else.  But honestly, as parents we do this every single day for our kids…

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Thriving in a small house….

Almost a year ago we moved.  We downsized and got rid of half of our stuff (seriously no exaggeration).

We moved into a smaller 3 bedroom house.  The plan was to save money so we could buy our own home.

However braces have since happened and that has made saving money very difficult.

Yesterday I met up with an old friend.  She’s visiting from out of town.  She has 4 kids and pays twice in rent as us and the market should be triple.  Her home is the same size as ours, although she has a garage.

What she has that we don’t is good purging.

I realized that I have spent the last year hanging onto stuff we don’t have room for, but I want to have in a larger house.

So, while we got rid of SO much stuff a year ago…I need to do a huge purge now.

This time I need to be realistic about the space we have right now.  Storing things to use later in a larger homes that we may never have is simply hampering my life now.

I love to host and have people over.  We have had pretty much no one over in this house.  I am embarrassed at the size and the clutter.  I have allowed this to bleed into my entire social life.  I just don’t feel like socializing at all.  And frankly avoid it pretty much at all costs.

So, it is time to look at our house and its’ contents with new eyes.  Time to get rid of the stuff that is holding us back.  Time to find even better ways to store the stuff we need.  And time to open up some space to breathe.  It’s time for me to accept that in our home when we have 7 kids staying there…the stairs are an acceptable chair.  Time to change the way I see our home and how it functions.

Since we are here for at least another year it is time to stop being held hostage by our stuff and the small house we live in and instead embrace what it offers.  The closer relationships we hope to build in these confined quarters.

The truth is it is only our oldest son and me who really complain  about the size of our home.  The girls who are 3 in a bedroom rarely even mention  it.  And then when they do it is about who isn’t helping clean it.

Time to embrace our reality and find ways to thrive in it instead of fight it….

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