I don’t know how long it’s been since I posted a general family update. Probably too long.
Josiah is three and a half now, actually only four months away from being four. While he continues to learn new words and new skills, he is definitely lagging behind his same aged peers.
He is, as you can see, finally working out what “colouring in” means.
He doesn’t have the gene mutation that would cause him to have Dravet’s Syndrome, so we are kind of back to square one, knowing that he has epilepsy or a “seizure disorder” and global developmental delay, without really knowing why or what the long term prognosis is.
We are currently considering putting him in an early intervention preschool where he can access more 1:1 activities, more people keeping an eye on him and his progress and he can interact with same aged peers – some of whom will also have disabilities and some of whom won’t. We are on the waiting list and will see how we feel about it all in the meantime.
He still loves trains and diggers, although he is enjoying Chuggington a little less, and getting into Dinosaur Train, looking at books and colouring in. He also asks me to draw trains for him numerous times a day.
He can be a lot of fun but, like all three year olds, he can also get up to a lot of mischief….
I’ve beginning to think that I need a break from technology. Well, actually, perhaps (more accurately) social media. Blogs, forums, Facebook… They are all just filling my head… “my mind is racing, filled with lists of to do and things I’ve done”. On a bad day I get “tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching”, although usually about home education or home ideas, rather than doctrines!
It’s not that I think that what we’re doing is bad. Sometimes I get distracted by “good” which draws me away from “best”. Sometimes I do come across a really great idea that would enrich our children’s learning… But that activity may not be best for our family right now. Sometimes I am looking for ideas, a solution to a problem that we’re having. It’s so easy to Google up an answer, in fact you google up seven million things you could read in answer to your question. What happened to asking a REAL person, with skin and hair and eyes to look into while you talk to them? Or, in the absence of a knowledgeable person in your life, a recommended book. The Internet is still useful, however having a quick look at how well reviewed a book is on Amazon or Koorong or add-your-favourite-book-website-here is a world away from googling for answers. When you’re reading (most) blogs you have no idea of who the writer is, what his/her kids (or business or home or…) really look like. You can’t see that person’s fruit. While that is still true of a book author, the author has had to go through the vetting process of publishers, book sellers and reviewers. You can also check out the author’s qualifications (if any), their credentials and sometimes read a sample of their books online.
Blogs and forums are still beneficial. Forums, especially, are designed for conversation. You can ask questions and have them answered, and come back with more questions. Blogs can give you recommendations of books or new ideas for systems for your home or home school or kitchen or… Whatever it is that you read blogs about. While the information on a blog is more up to date than the information in a book, it just doesn’t have that same authority.
Blogs and forums have their place and purpose. Right now, in my life, they have become more of a hindrance than a help. What a technology/social media hiatus is going to look like, for me, I don’t know. I’ll probably unsubscribe from a few lists and Facebook pages. I’ll try not to read the blogs I often read… How long will it be for? I don’t know. As long as it is useful, and hopefully not too much longer.
Have you ever taken a break from social media or technology? What did it look like? Did it help?
As at one day out I have clocked up 976 mins of exercise and 908 squats. I still have one workout to go, but I’m not going to get enough minutes. Depending on which weights I do, I may or may not make my squats goal (my legs workout gives me 110 squats in one hit). But that’s ok. Life intervenes and messes up our best laid plans sometimes. I had a migraine one Wednesday, so missed my Zumba-Chi Ball double up (120mins right there). Then the following week I found the room too humid and was getting dizzy so missed part of Zumba and all of Chi Ball (another 105mins). Those two incidences not happening would have meant I achieved my goal. My Tuesday class was dropped (not enough people coming). Weekends have been much crazier than I would like.
I’ve now worked out a new rhythm of workouts for the week that should enable me to get to Spanish most weeks, get in some good workouts and still have the occasional evening at home! My plan is that Monday nights will be Spanish. Tuesday nights (when Mark has Bible Study anyway) will be weights at the gym. Wednesday nights are Zumba, followed by Chi Ball. Thursday nights are either a “Bar” class (aerobics and weights) or a “Step” class. I’d like to fit in a workout on a Friday but since Friday afternoon is my almost-child-free time, it will depend on what I need most each week. Then sometime Saturday (or Sunday evening if I get caught short on time) I will do another weights workout. I have three weights workouts I can do so I should get them all done once about every ten days or so (or twice in three weeks). If I can manage to stick to my plan, and throw in a few other bits of exercise – a walk or a Friday workout – I should be able to meet my 1200mins goal.
May book goals:
- Finish reading Leviticus.
- Finish the last few devotions in Made to Crave.
- Read two books.
I’ve finished Leviticus and Made to Crave. I’ve just started Daniel, so I’d like to read Daniel and then an Epistle in June. I’m also using a study called Biblical Womanhood (it takes me a few mornings to get through each study) so I’d like to complete that in June if I can also.
As far as two books goes… I know I read The Rosie Project and The Fix. I can’t remember if I read any others, I probably did! So I met that goal anyway. This month I’d like to re-read Change Your Thinking.
So, there’s my goals for June!
Life has been crazy of late. If we could travel back eighteen months in time, you would find me burnout and in the process of enrolling children for school in 2012.
Zoe and Reuben started school in February. Then, in the second week of school, we found out I was pregnant.
We had appointments for occupational therapy, counseling, speech therapy, neurology, psychology, general practitioner, prenatal midwifery, ultrasound, blood tests, and probably other things that have since faded into the haze.
In October we welcomed Ariadne into our family.
In November we mourned the sudden and unexpected death of my father, and our children’s Grandpa.
In December Zoe and Reuben finished up at school.
In January we began homeschooling again.
We’ve had a lot on our plate. Life is always going to be messy with seven people living in an average 3 bedroom house. Life is always going to be crazy with five children. Life is always going to be crazy when you have children with special needs and disabilities.
And in it all, I feel like I’ve been swept under a wave and I haven’t found which direction the sun is yet, to be able to resurface. A wave made of clean, unfolded clothes and concerns over multiple-diagnoses and new stages of parenting and sleep-deprived nights and dirty dishes and a mental list of jobs to be done that exceeds available time for the next few months…
As I previously posted, for the benefit of all, we are taking a more relaxed approach to home education at present. We are focusing on relationships and working on diligence. We are stripping back to basics. The basics that our family need, and not what “basics” might look like in any other family. For us, that includes regular heavy exercise for me. Going for a walk doesn’t cut it. I need to sweat it out and have moments when I wonder if I can finish this workout and the ecstatic sense of achievement when I make it to the other end… That exercise is essential to my mental health. I am going to classes and lifting weights. I do at least three classes a week and two weights sessions. I try to fit in a bit more if I can, but it varies. Life with five children is crazy, remember?
I need to learn to take better care of myself. I need to allow myself time out each day – maybe that’s ten minutes having an uninterrupted shower, or ten minutes in the solitude of the master bedroom, reading and studying the Bible, maybe that’s reading a book while the children have quiet rest time, or maybe that’s getting out to the gym (or Spanish class) in the evening. On a good day, it would mean all of those things. Looking after myself means not filling up my few almost-child-free hours a week with errands. Looking after myself means letting go of the shoulds and coulds and holding on to the needs and a few wants (on a good day). Looking after myself means eating well, drinking plenty and getting to bed at a decent hour.
Looking after our family means time to play games together, time to work together (on projects like the garden or on housework like folding the mountain of clean, unfolded clothes we have… Looking after our family means leaving time for downtime, or a day out if we’re up to it. Looking after our family means being not so busy, and having time to listen and watch and just pause.
Focusing on relationships means not seeing playing games as something to tick off the to do list. My children are not a to do list. They may provide me with more things to do, but they are not just another thing to tick off the to do list. My morning devotions and Bible reading is not something to tick off the to do list – it is part of a relationship. I am task focused and introverted. Focusing on relationships is a challenge for me. I need to build those relationships while still finding time to recharge so that I am not running on empty; so that I actually have something to give our children.
Focusing on diligence is making sure the work is done. And done properly. And if it’s not, consequences are enforced. Those consequences are outlined ahead of time, and are clear. Focusing on diligence means praise and rewards for a job well done. It means inspecting work, properly. It means that sometimes we miss out on something nice, because the work is not done.
In all of this, I need to make sure that Mark and I are continuing to build our strong marriage. Without regular maintenance it will start to deteriorate. We need time together, especially time when we are not busy or desperately needing to go to sleep.
As a family, we need to work out how our lives need to look in order to get and stay in a healthy place. Life will still be crazy, it will always be crazy, but life with a little less overwhelm would be good.
Overwhelmed doesn’t equal burnt out. Overwhelmed doesn’t mean depressed. Overwhelmed is actually a pretty normal response to the numerous things that have gone on in our lives over the last eighteen months or so.
Getting out from overwhelmed means working out what help we need, accepting it when it is offered and actually asking for it when it is needed and no one is offering. Getting out from overwhelmed means finding the surface and working out what we can do before the next wave (which will come) forces us back under. And when it does force us back under, it is having the skills and knowledge to find the surface and get back up to the air as quickly as possible. It’s signalling a life guard, grabbing a floatation device or swimming back to land (or at least somewhere we can stand). Getting out from overwhelmed means dropping all the things that are weighing me down. It’s putting down the duckie.
So, my friends, we need help. We need your prayers. If you’re local, we could do with some practical help. An hour or two of babysitting so I can run some errands (and not fill up my precious Friday afternoons with errands) or go to the gym. An hour or two of washing the dishes while I wipe and put them away or clean up the kitchen or sitting with me, chatting, while we fold that mountain of washing. A meal or two. Or an errand run for me.
Overwhelmed needs to be a temporary state. We need your help to make sure that happens.
Quite some time ago I outlined our plans for Term One (and in some cases, the whole year). I thought it was about time I reviewed Term One and outlined our plans for Term Two.
I think the key word for term one was CHANGE. A lot of our plans changed in term one. And now in Term Two (since we’re a good way through already… whoops!).
At present, we are taking a more relaxed approached to our schooling, as we travel through a season of stress. We are trying to focus on building up the relationships in our home, and work on diligence for all of us.
I am also reconsidering how much to share on the blog, about our children’s lives – how much of their life is “mine” to share and how much should I leave for them to tell themselves, in whatever way they want to?
More to come…
My April Goals were:
April Book Goals
Finish Parenting From the Inside Out and read two chapters of The Hobbit.
April Fitness Goal
1000 mins exercise
April Diet and Nutrition Goal
I just want to keep eating cleanly, focusing on as little processing as possible.
April Weight Loss Goal
Lose 1.5 kg if possible.
I exercised for 1309 mins in April, but otherwise didn’t achieve my goals. I’m not 100% certain about the weight loss goal since I haven’t actually weighed myself but I don’t think I’ve lost that weight. But that’s ok. Moving on to May!
May Book Goals
- Finish reading Leviticus.
- Finish the last few devotions in Made to Crave.
- Read two books.
May Fitness Goals
- 1200 mins exercise
- 1000 body weight squats. Weighted squats (ie squats where I’m holding extra weights) count for 2 squats.
May Diet/Nutrition/Weight Loss
- I’ve slacked off a little of late, so I’d like to get back to simpler, cleaner eating. Real food. Minimal sugar.
- I’d like to make sure I maintain my weight (ie don’t put any on) or lose up to 1.5kg. I’m happy with either .
Sometimes, on any long journey, it can be easy to get discouraged by the long journey ahead, and easy to forget how far you’ve come already. I’ve gotten a bit worn down this week – neck pain (ten days and counting), unsettled nights and a few extra workouts – and suddenly, all the hard work required seems scary. So, I’ve decided I will write down some of the things that have changed or improved, as a marker for the future but also to acknowledge that I *have* made lots of progress.
- I’ve EASILY been achieving my mins of exercise goal the last few months, even without the “easy” exercise of walking with the kids each day
- I have lost weight (although at this point I’m not sure how much)
- I’m changing my body shape (and others are noticing!)
- I’ve had to intentionally up the intensity of my Zumba workouts, because I’m getting fitter
- I’ve tried – and come back to – a boxing and bootcamp style class called Tuff Stuff
- I’ve started working out twice a week with weights (legs one day, chest-shoulders-triceps another day)
- I can squat like a boss!
- I’ve cut out most of the refined food and almost all of the refined sugar from my diet, and I’m not missing it!
- I’m eating better than ever before
- I’ve dropped two sizes on the bottom half
- I’ve dropped one to two sizes on the top half (breastfeeding plays a part in not having lost as many sizes up top)
- Although I don’t have the figures, I know I’ve increased my muscle mass and lost a lot of fat – something the scales don’t recognise
- I’m finding that I can just have a taste of something (a bite of Nana’s Cherry Ripe Slice, one chip) and not feel deprived but also I stop at just that one taste, don’t over do it and have no need to feel guilty
- I just don’t crave the junk I used to crave
- I don’t even buy junk to have in the house 90% of the time, and a half eaten tub of ice cream (from family dessert) can sit untouched for weeks.
- Hey, I even skip dessert or have some frozen berries instead and don’t feel deprived.
- I don’t even like chocolate that much anymore.
- I tend to crave exercise, water and sleep more than anything else!
- I don’t have a guilt-based relationship with food. I can have a treat, treat it as a treat, and not feel guilty or not turn it into a junk-binge.
- I’ve basically “broken up” with my scales – they now live in the garage. The scales weren’t telling me how much my body shape was changing, how much fat I was losing, what clothes size I was wearing…
No I’m not at my ideal size/weight. Yet. Yes, I have a long way to go. But I’m making changes, making progress. And I’m NOT GIVING UP!
I have goals. I need to improve my core strength. Increase the weights I’m lifting. Add in one more day of weights per week (biceps and back). And the day to day challenge of staying on track.