"Although I speak from my own experience, I feel that no one has the right to impose his or her beliefs on another person. I will not propose to you that my way is best. The decision is up to you. If you find some point which may be suitable for you, then you can carry out experiments for yourself. If you find that it is off no use, then you can discard it." Dalai Lama...

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Nearly there!!!

Christmas presents wrapped (nearly).
Food for Xmas period bought(nearly).
Cards all delivered(nearly).
Presents that need delivering done(nearly).
House sorted and decorated ready for the big day(nearly)
Emily fit to burst with excitement(nearly)
Alan's man flu gone(nearly)

What a week,it seems we have not stopped. I have moved seamlessly from pleasurable get togethers with friends, to being stuck in long ques in one shop or another,and I can't even recall my experience in the main post office without a shiver!! The Que wound round about 4 times and there were three sections open,after 20 mins we all perk up as another section was opened,our excitement was soon dashed as one of the other sections promptly closed!!
A young girl and her boyfriend attempted to jump the que and stood in front of the lady in front of me.I remember thinking naively that they couldn't possibly be intending to do it as blatantly as that and they must not be aware the que went on behind me but oh yes they were and as the que moved forward slightly they attempted to go in front of the lady.She turned to them and said there was no way they were going to push in in front of her and all hell broke loose with the young girl shouting and swearing and getting right in her face and threatening to punch her!She claimed she had been waiting in line for ages.Everybody in the que just stood and stared and I felt I had to back the woman up, so shaking like a leaf and with visions of been thumped I said that she hadn't been there for ages and that they were in fact behind me.At this point the woman in front shouted to ask the tellers to call the police as she was being threatened,they looked over but never attempted to phone!! However at the mention of the police the guy with her suggested it was daft to get the police involved and suddenly like a real gent he waved me forward graciously saying you go before me love!!Why the change of heart? During another heated conversation they got into with a lady behind me it transpired the guy was wearing a tag and would obviously not want to have the police called.The girl kept whispering behind me about what she was going to do to the woman when she got outside,she looked perfectly fine, a pretty girl,nicely dressed but obviously very used to situations like this.I am sure if it hadn't been for the guy needing to stay away from trouble it could easily of escalated because it was so obvious she was not going to back down.I can't tell you how badly shaken I was.I used to Manage a discount retail store in Liverpool centre and had to deal with shoplifters every day of my life.I was threatened so many times it became just a part of the job.I was on first name terms with some of the police officers.I have been away from that kind of thing for so long and have never been involved in the kind of violence since then and to see it at such close quarters and be reminded that so many folk live with it day in day out was sobering.When I was working and had to tackle a shoplifter my reactions were very often instinctive and that day in the post office I was impressed with the lady in front of me for sticking up for herself and instinctively felt I should back her up,as well as the fact I was also livid they thought it was OK to just jump in the que with total disregard for anyone in it.Sometimes it is perhaps safer not to get involved but sometimes instinct just kicks in.

My thoughts about the couple have moved on from anger about the way they made me feel to sadness that the life they live appears to have so much violence in it.I am thankful for the life I live and the love and respect that surrounds me.I am so glad my life isn't touched by the kind of violence that was once an every day occurrence for me.My heart goes out to others that are not so lucky.

A timely reminder at this time of rushing around and jobs to do before the big day to be thankful for the things that really count.

An opportunity missed to remember how lucky I am and focus on the good instead of the hate (nearly)

Merry Christmas to all of you, I hope you have a wonderful time with your families and that Santa brings you all you wish for.xxxxxx

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Drumming and dressing.

Busy busy day today = one tired Mummy.

Off to do some shopping this morning before Home ed group.Fabulous drumming workshop at Home ed, the sound of 20 or so Djembes was amazing;-)I didn't drum as it would have been too much physically for me but I loved watching and listening.Everyone young and old really enjoyed it and we are talking of doing more workshops regularly.That would be two activities we have found that will become regular,we go to a local farm and do pottery,walks in the woods to make memory sticks,and last week we made wreaths.Some of the kids joined in but most of them chose to be outside in the frost.In future we aim to do orienteering and den building amongst other activities.The kids love it there,a river and lots of space to wander.The couple that run it are really inspirational and a valuable lesson in the fact that you never stop learning as they diversify and try new ventures.

After home ed a quick stop off at home to drop things off and then out again into town to exchange some clothes I had bought for Emily that were too small.I was intending to go back on Saturday and was surprised when she said she would come in as she hates shopping.On our journeys through town to pick Alan up on an evening she had spotted a shoulder back in the window of New Look,it was perfect to hold her Alethiometer and has decided that some of the money she makes from her car boot sale on Sunday will go to the bag, so she wanted to check it out.They only had two left so I bought it for her and she will repay me.Got all the clothes changed,bit of a mad dash and then picked up Al.

Home to make tea while they walked Beauty.A little strictly take 2 and then tree dressing,with dancing hyper excited child:-)Mulled wine and lots of toasts by Milly for happiness and family time at Xmas and peace to mankind:-)I have just finished wrapping a few more of the family presents and just have Milly's to do at the weekend,they are scattered all over the house in various cupboards so I hope I remember them all!!

I have clutter in the living room with box's of Dec's and candle holders etc waiting to find a home around the house.I have clutter at the top of the landing as we have cleared so many toys from Emily's room for the car boot sale and more clutter sitting on her bedroom floor waiting to be sorted.I will be glad to get this weekend over with so I can sort the place out and get it all back in the loft out of the way.

A day at home tomorrow,probably in PJ's :-)We sent for a darker henna to go on Emily's hair to give a chestnut red colour, so will be elbow deep in cak for a while in the morning and while she is cooking for as many hours as she can sit with cling film on (her record so far was 4 hours) we will be pricing all the toys for the car boot,whilst constantly wiping the henna that drips from under the clingfilm!! It is a faffy job but the colour is great and has lasted ages as well as giving her a great shine on her hair.Thanks to Jax for recommending LUSH.

Off to bed now,hoping I can sleep as I have had two terrible nights waking up lot's and not able to get back to sleep:-(
Night night xx

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A little muddled, but a post at last!!

I miss blogging every night.I really used to enjoy getting my thoughts straight and recording our days.Here we are again and weeks have gone by without posting.Our evenings have changed and we have found a kind of rhythm that works for us but I still haven't got back into sitting down each night to blog.To be honest I have started a couple of posts and then found that I couldn't put into words the thoughts and feelings I was having so I saved to draft and hoped to come back when my head was clearer!!Needless to say I have just spent time deleting the muddled posts.Not too sure why I haven't been able to get it out and written down .I hope this isn't destined to be another half finished attempt.

I have been mulling over the last 20 months since we took Emily out of school. This whole journey has been about so much more than just swapping school for another way to educate Emily.It has always been about finding a lifestyle that would enable us to live and learn with freedom, where learning was not separated from living,where Emily could learn at her own pace, in her own way, to enable her to shine and for her particular talents to emerge without being nipped in the bud by the system or for that matter by us,however well intentioned we are it is so easy to try to steer her in another direction,to think we know best what she needs.We aim to open the world up to her,(metaphorically of course, we do have a tight budget ;-o) but accept if she isn't keen on any particular journey,because it might just be that journey is more important to us than it actually is for her at that time.To set aside any expectations and dreams we may have had for her future, to enable her to make and live her own dreams.Emily being Emily meant the normal methods of school and parenting were not cutting the mustard ;-) I feel as though we have come such a long way from the start of our home ed journey,we have all grown and the things that were important to us have probably become even more so.It has been quite an intense period,evaluating how we live and the parenting strategies we use,letting go of other peoples expectations and creating a way of living that is peaceful and respectful.I have read so many books websites and blogs with advice on how to achieve the kind of relationship we want to have as a family and I think it has taken time to digest this info and to filter the things that I feel can work for us.In our relationship, as with many I am sure, I tend to do all the research then pass on the nuggets to Al and have a chat about it before moving forward.Parenting in a different way to the parenting you received takes a whole lot of effort before it becomes a natural process because in stressful situations we fall back into auto response.My parents did the best they could . I believe there is a better way and I aim to find one.I have always liked something I heard many years ago and it helps me to accept my mistakes in life and the mistakes others have made that affected me " when we know better we can do better",( Edited to add, just found out it is a Maya Anjelu quote)we don't always know better but when we do I believe we should try to do better.We have come a long way,we now see learning in every aspect of life and I very rarley find myself thinking how educational something will be and buy things or go on trips because I think Emily will enjoy them not because she might "learn" something.We still have a way to go and are by no means perfect but the life we are creating feels good,it's good to do things that create joy.

As a family we have our own particular challenges to making things work, as tiredness plays such a large part in my life it is hard to find a balance.Exhaustion does mean that some days are pretty difficult but I aim to do the best I can and move on without too much self criticism, in the hope that the next day will be better. I have been attending a weekly group meeting organised by the NHS for Chronic Fatigue/ME.Over 8 weeks we have been learning about Mindfulness, living in the moment and how it can help living with pain and fatigue.I have also continued on the hypnotherapy course I started in May which includes meditation,positive affirmation and visualisation.So all in all there has been a great deal of information for me to take on board.Mindfulness is not just useful for those of us living with illness, to be fully present in the moment when we are going about our daily lives can have a major impact on anybodies health and state of mind.

Emily has been going through a phase of hibernation after a growth spurt( she has grown a lot, we just got some tops and jeans from tesco today and she is in the 12/13age size!!) so there has not been too much happening to blog.Milly has been complaining about pains in her legs and ankles and general pain all over.I had thought these were growing pains and after a visit for some Cranial osteopathy this was confirmed.Her tendons have not caught up to her bone growth and that is causing the pains in her body and almost constant headaches because of the muscles in her neck.Judith also tried a new technique she had just learnt, which is good for children who did not take their first breath on their own when they were born and were on a ventilator.It is said to release tension held in the cellular memory.This can have great benefits both physically and emotionally.Alongside a Homeopathic remedy she is back on form and we are more likely to be doing blog worthy activities ;-)

Friday, 14 November 2008

It's not so bad...

Having to juggle who has the car is proving a little bit of a pain now.I am so used to having access to it and not having to plan things.I am missing that spontaneity.We have a bus service of sorts!!Every couple of hours we can get a bus to the two nearest towns ,trouble is there is not much to do apart from shopping and that is not high on Emily's agenda of fun things to do;-)

Luckily however,I have a daughter who would probably not mind if we never had to go out again,she adores being at home.She never has to get out of PJ's, although this is evidence that going out in them isn't actually a problem for her!!She very often leaves them on to go on a walk with Al when he gets home from work.

So our days have been spent doing a lot of reading.We have finished Percy Jackson and now look forward to next May when the final one comes out.Alan and Emily have been reading Micheal Murpogo Alone on a wide seaThey very often slope up to lay on our bed for half an hour or so while I make tea as well as reading before bed.And I have just started reading Jacqueline Wilson's Kiss to her.

I bought a set of bells from Bright minds.I hoped Emily would take to them as she has been enjoying investigating music recently.I left them on the table and the next morning as soon as she saw them she started to play and she spent a long time learning Jingle Bells, Twinkle Twinkle and Old McDonald.I took these at 9 o'clock at night when she was in full flow ;-)This is a girl who usually shy's away from anything involving the coordination it takes to do this, so I was so happy she enjoyed them.

The next morning she was back to it this time with added bubble power!!

She worked out her own way of laying out the bells which seemed as though it would be complicated but it worked just fine for her.I managed to keep my mouth shut and not give any unsolicited advice ;-)
We started a structure with marshmallows and toothpicks and she decided we should make a model of the Titanic.When she got out the book to look at the model she decided it was perhaps a little ambitious!

Milly has been recording some stories on her Dictaphone that my Mum and Dad bought her.She had filled it and initially had said she wanted to have the stories typed out and it sat in my filing tray waiting.I reminded her now and again and said I would type them out (she would need to be with me to keep stopping the machine and decide on bit's she didn't want in )but she kept putting it off.the other day she decided she didn't need to keep all the old stories and got Alan to delete them and she went off in to the living room to record a fresh.

She has been drawing many characters that are in her stories as well, a few of which she has said I can share with you.As with everything else, Emily has her own style and does not want advice or assistance.She won't draw in pencil so she can rub out mistakes she draws in Biro.These drawings have been evolving over time,little details are perfected and new things added.She is not interested in books that give step by step guidance.I love her drawings, they are quirky and individual I hope she continues to follow her own tune and continues to get as much enjoyment out of doing them as she does now.

This is a goth girl with her daemon and a skull on her t'shirt and a low slung belt chain.

Another goth girl,with black makeup round her eye's. She has 100's of bangles on her arms and stripey fingerless gloves.

Here is Lissy who is a big player in a lot of her stories about Bolvanger.She has a golden compass bag on and her daemon Pan is in her pocket.

This was the first one Emily drew with short hair as she had always wanted her girls to have long hair.

The last two night have been still, so we have had tea and then lit the burner and spent a couple of hours outside.

Rice pudding from the slow cooker Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Milly has bounced( I joined her for a while tonight we had such a laugh)she has swung high,and she has talked and talked and talked:-)

It really isn't so bad that Alan needs the car,our life here is never hectic it is usually a slow relaxed pace but not having the car lets me off the hook, it means we have had even more time to let things develop at home and not feel guilty that you need to be out there doing something,learning something,seeing someone.It's good to just chill and spend time together .......

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Halloween fun

Alan ended up having a week off work,his strains and sprains are still causing pain but he is mobile and feeling much better now.The bike is still in the garage and it may be a while before we get it back.We are having to juggle things a bit so we can have the car some days and he will get the bus and other days he will have the car or he will get the bus in and we will pick him up after work.Hope it won't go on for too long!! We are looking into getting a second car when the bike is fixed, but it will have to be really cheap and at the moment we are weighing up the pro's and con's.

We have taken a few photo's over the last few days.Milly has been experimenting with different camera angles!!
For Halloween she wanted to go trick or treating before we went off to a party hosted by our friends.We did her hair and makeup and she asked me to put some makeup on and do my eyes, here are the results plus some of the other things we have been up to this weekend.

She didn't want all the over the top stuff with white face and blood we usually do.She wanted to be a vampire.

A very sweet looking vampire!

Swirls on the eyes and a bat on her cheek.Two red vampire teeth marks hidden by the skulls scarf.Off she went trick or treating with Al.They didn't go to many houses she only wanted to be out a short time and came back with a reasonable amount of goodies.She tucked in to a few sweets and then told me about the man who had given her a home grown apple and a satsuma.She decided they were her favourite things,although the apple prooved to be sour and too hard.....

A few pictures by Milly using some "interesting"close up angles!!

Pumpkin carving,Milly enjoyed pulling out the insides and drew the design,then I carved it out.

Sunday was a beautiful day.We started off the morning slowly. I began to bake banana bread pretending to be the ships cook in a game we were playing, while Alan and Emily sailed to Bolvanger on the dining room table!! I then realised I had no eggs and Alan whizzed off to a local farm where they have eggs for sale.They leave them at the end of the drive with a box for the money to go in and you help yourself.£2.00 for a dozen free range eggs.(Edited to add)Didn't read well when I looked at it. I was making the point that they were a good buy, not that I had ripped them off by only paying £2.00;-)
Emily's friend A was coming to lunch and then we were all going off to the cinema to see Mamma Mia so we decided to bake soame fairy cakes that they could ice after lunch.I got out the ingredients and as I laid the seive down on the counter saw it made a nice pattern, so I wondered if Emily would be interested in some flour art!!

I cleared the counter after we had done the cakes and she came over and saw the design and set about working with it in a Milly fashion!!

Add some water

Mix and mould.

What about some coloured water?

Mmmmmmmm lovely

Ok could we make a volcano? With black food colouring?

What about more vinegar and some red food colouring?

Wow,I love it.....

While we were baking utube had provided us with the background music.After baking what better than a little table dancing to Elvis?

She had searched out the Eurythmics Sweet Dreams,she had heard them on the radio while in the car with Alan the other day and really liked the song.On the side bar on u tube Marylin Manson also had a version so she decided to look at it.Rather different to the Eurythmics!! She said she wouldn't be saving it to her favourites,she didn't like the version of the song but was very interested in the video.She reckoned he was like a zombie and didn't think he would have a daemon,it seemed he had no soul,it had probably died at birth!!

We have lovely mature tree's in the garden.The down side is the amount of work they take at this time of year:-( Alan didn't mind too much today as it was nice and dry and hardly took any work at all to get a big pile.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

What a day....

We went off to the cinema this morning to Watch WallE.Bit of a shock to the system to be up and out at 9.00 as the film was showing at the ungodly hour of 10.00!!
Milly had been saying last night she wasn't wanting to go and I had said that I thought she would enjoy it when we got there.Anyhow I half expected her to refuse to go this morning,luckily she didn't and we really enjoyed the film.I cried!!

She didn't want to go to home ed group afterwards though:-( I am finding her refusal to go places really hard to take.I know the group is mainly boys and that she really isn't always keen to join in the war games!!She isn't the type to go and just join in and you don't always get "invited" into a game. She refuses to travel to another group to see if we can find more girls to play with.She doesn't want to join any other clubs or groups and I think I would find it easier to accept if I felt she was really happy.She has a couple of good girl friends and we try to see them regularly but I know she would love to see them more, that would be easy for us but they have different schedules!!I suppose from her point of view it isn't more friends she needs but more time with the friends she has.It's an old problem that keeps reoccurring, usually when I am feeling S**t.

To top the day off I have just got back from picking Alan up from accident and emergency.

Emily and I had been in a shower to wash hair and I came down to make a cuppa and realised Alan was late.Just as I began to rack my fuddled brain if he had told me he was on late call tonight the phone went,Alan asked if I could get in the car and bring the camera,he was just on the outskirts of the village.At first I thought he had seen something spectacular he wanted to show Emily and I and to have a photo(silly woman!!!!)He went on to say he had come off his scooter, he was OK but needed to take photos. We jumped in the car and headed off to find him.As he had been coming up the hill into the village a tractor had pulled out of a field,Alan had had to put his brakes on to go round the front and because there was mud on the road he skidded and flipped over and ended up in the hedge!! Luckily a guy who lives in the village was coming up after him and he and the farmer helped him up.It was the guy from the village that suggested taking photo's of the mud on the road and the fact there were no signs warning motorists.

The farmer had said he would get a truck to move the bike for us.When we got there Al was a little shaken but upright although he was hurting all over and particularly his left ankle and wrist.Emily was great,very concerned for him but not upset and kept really calm.After discussing things a while we talked about calling the police so we would have the incident logged.At that point the farmer came with his truck.Alan explained about the police coming and he went off again and said to ring him later.Any how one hour later Emily and I were still sat in our car, in between two police cars with flashing lights,while statements were taken and an ambulance turned up for Al.The machine to clean the road arrived alongside the farmer to pick up the bike.It was a busy place!!Alan then went of to A&E to be checked over,he didn't want us to follow him and have to sit around waiting so we dashed into town to get some chips, Milly was starving and I couldn't face cooking.On the way into town Milly looked at the clock and asked if we would be back in by 6 so she could watch the Simpsons, as it was supposed to be a Halloween special(her and Alan watch it together every night) I had to laugh ;-)

We picked him up around 7.30 ,he is in a lot of pain but luckily just a sprain to his ankle and wrist with bruising along his side, which I am sure will be very colourful tomorrow. He has been fed and in a nice warm bath and nurse Emily has taken him to bed.

Tomorrow we will asses the damage and decide where we go from here.He got the scooter because we couldn't afford to run two cars, but he had an accident last year on black ice and now this.I know accidents can happen in cars, but I don't really want to test out the saying "third time lucky".

Monday, 20 October 2008

An anotomy vibe.

Had a mixed day today.I have been under the weather and had spent two days in bed over the weekend with a horrendous migraine.I got up at nine this morning feeling terrible and pottered around. Milly woke at eleven( she was in bed by 10 last night so she was obviously in need of extra sleep) and things didn't really get off to a good start cos she was feeling under the weather too:-(

Any how we plodded on.I was very cranky and finding it really hard to give as much as I would normally.She is so sensitive and picks up on my moodiness as being angry and this then makes her unhappy.Didn't make me feel too good either,I do hate being in that frame of mind. At least she feels able to tell me how it affects her and when she pulled me up about it we had a chat and then a giggle and things were a little better in the late afternoon.

After Alan had gone to his Tai chi class we decided to have a game of Anatomix.It's a board game where you answer multiple choice anatomical questions to get pieces of a jigsaw. We hadn't played it for some time and on the few occasions we had played in the past Emily had always wanted to be a partner to someone so I was pleasantly surprised that she said she would play.I gave her the option of not having to answer questions but she said she would answer questions for her pieces,I did say that we could change the rules any time,if she felt flustered(she usually hates to play games where she is under any pressure to answer questions or with timers or anything like that)She answered all her questions and her sources of anatomical knowledge tickled me,one answer she remembered from a Miss Wizz story,one was from a programme we had seen on TV and another was from another story we had read ,the name of which escapes me at this moment!.On one of the multiple choice questions about what the back of our body is called, she said "oh that is easy because a sharks dorsal fin is on it's back". She also remembered quite a few answers from the previous times we have played.Needless to say she got all her pieces first and beat me.I didn't let her win although there were a few questionable calls as to where the needle pointed on the spinner;-)

The other thing I think worth mentioning was that she read all the questions herself with a little help for some of the medical terminology.She would say that she can't read ,so that may still be a lack of confidence. Knowing the patterns Emily has shown over the years in her development, from crawling,walking,cutting up food,basically any steps she has made,I would be more inclined to believe that it is just not easy enough for her yet,she just does not read as quickly as she would like to. That is probably why she still prefers to be read to or to listen to a tape or CD.Since we took her out of school we have never asked her to read, she has on occasion offered but generally we have read to her and for her when asked.She has had no "practice" at so many of the words she was reading tonight.What she has had is a great exposure to words by being read to "a lot" and listening to story tapes "a lot".Talking ,watching TV all ways in which words in context and in a way that interests her are abundant.I truly believe that when she feels ready to read a book she will just take off and "do" it.

When we had finished the game I reminded her of the website we had been on last night where we got to do virtual Knee surgery.Over the months since she has been off school there have been so many times I would mention doing something I knew would be of interest to her and she would say no.I have found if I leave a screen on the computer open or actually go on it myself while she is in the room with me,she will generaly show interest and get involved so I did that last night and we were on for ages.Tonight she was keen to go back on and she choose to read about dissecting a cows eyeball( I have to say I was quite glad that the video footage wouldn't play on here) and she checked out the pictures of hip surgery but didn't have time to do the operation as she wanted to watch a documentary on channel 4 she had seen advertised the night before,about animals in the womb.

In need of a giggle?This might do the trick....

Sunday, 19 October 2008

In the pink

Mum take a picture for your blog.Couldn't resist as she is not always keen to go on here!!Like a little hamster with her mouthful of sugarsnap peas.....

Oh this is sooo comfy....

Oh ok I will share it seen as though it is yours....

Found this here

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz...

You Are an Audrey!


You are an Audrey -- "I am at peace"

Audreys are receptive, good-natured, and supportive. They seek union with others and the world around them.

How to Get Along with Me

  • * If you want me to do something, how you ask is important. I especially don't like expectations or pressure

  • * I like to listen and to be of service, but don't take advantage of this

  • * Listen until I finish speaking, even though I meander a bit

  • * Give me time to finish things and make decisions. It's OK to nudge me gently and nonjudgmentally

  • * Ask me questions to help me get clear

  • * Tell me when you like how I look. I'm not averse to flattery

  • * Hug me, show physical affection. It opens me up to my feelings

  • * I like a good discussion but not a confrontation

  • * Let me know you like what I've done or said

  • * Laugh with me and share in my enjoyment of life

What I Like About Being an Audrey

  • * being nonjudgmental and accepting

  • * caring for and being concerned about others

  • * being able to relax and have a good time

  • * knowing that most people enjoy my company; I'm easy to be around

  • * my ability to see many different sides of an issue and to be a good mediator and facilitator

  • * my heightened awareness of sensations, aesthetics, and the here and now

  • * being able to go with the flow and feel one with the universe

What's Hard About Being an Audrey

  • * being judged and misunderstood for being placid and/or indecisive

  • * being critical of myself for lacking initiative and discipline

  • * being too sensitive to criticism; taking every raised eyebrow and twitch of the mouth personally

  • * being confused about what I really want

  • * caring too much about what others will think of me

  • * not being listened to or taken seriously

Audreys as Children Often

  • * feel ignored and that their wants, opinions, and feelings are unimportant

  • * tune out a lot, especially when others argue

  • * are "good" children: deny anger or keep it to themselves

Audreys as Parents

  • * are supportive, kind, and warm

  • * are sometimes overly permissive or nondirective

Take Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz at HelloQuizzy

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Music and bouncing

We have a keyboard that Alan bought from a guy at work for a very reasonable price.He set about learning to play and got books etc and spent time on an evening getting to know the keyboard.He has never played a musical instrument and came to a place where he needed some help,as yet we have not managed to find someone nearby that he can go to for lessons.

Emily has never been really interested in playing it to make music but has used it to "play" along with some of the tracks on the system.When we got it the idea was that if it was available and she found it interesting it was a way for her to "play" with music.

Over the last week she has been listening to The Amber spyglass and Then Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.While listening to the Cd's she has spent a lot of time at the dining room table writing and drawing. In this area is the keyboard and over the last few days she has been tinkering with the keys "making" music.
She loves to play me her tunes and I can almost see the cogs turning in her mind and the connections that are being made as she listens to the notes and then puts them together in her tune. She has said she wants lessons as she feels so at home on the piano.I don't think at this time lessons are what she needs.I think there is a danger with lessons that she could engage for a while and then because of the repetition and difficulty with coordination she would give up and see it as a failure to be able to play, perhaps never to go near the keyboard again.I do wish I knew someone who could "Play" with her and not feel they had to "teach" her because I know she would get something out of that,if it was taken at her pace and in a very informal way.
That's the request out there,let's see what the universe provides;-))

Her guitar which is also in that area gets picked up,strummed for how ever long it holds her interest and is then put back until the next time.I see Emily's learning as a series of building blocks, little parts that come together over time, be it weeks months or years, to build her knowledge of that subject, to whatever extent she wants to take it.

Music has been playing a bigger part in our days, she has also expressed a wish to get a set of drums(an interest brought on by her friend E who plays)Bongo drums have also been mentioned a few times.

Milly has not been getting as much exercise as she used to and although she does go walking with Al and Beauty sometimes for well over an hour she doesn't want to go every day.She is also wanting to be at home and generally less active.Since we have lifted restrictions on food (I have not made a big announcement to Emily, but have just been saying yes to her requests for food)she has been eating enormous amounts and has put on weight.It is a combination of going through a growth spurt,hormonal changes, lack of exercise and the initial binging on chocolate and crisps.I was racking my brains in an attempt to provide a way for her to get some exercise without using coercion, in a way I knew she would enjoy.I remembered the mini trampoline we had and I brought that down near to the CD player and within minutes with no prompting from me she was bouncing away while listening.It is out all day and she is on and off all the time.

Over the last week or so I have found the initial binging on chocolate etc has eased.Although she is still eating more than I would choose for her.
On Sunday I was preparing Toad in the hole and had taken a bag of sugar snap peas out of the fridge,I heard Emily exclaim OHHHH and looked around to see her picking a handful of peas up to munch on with the same look of enjoyment as she would a chocolate bar.She did the same when the shopping came and asked for a large piece of cucumber to be cut off and she ate it while we all unpacked.She doesn't like a lot of vegetables but really likes the ones she does eat .When the opportunity arises we have talked a fair bit about food and how certain things can affect you, not in a concerted effort to get her to stop but to give her the information to make an informed choice.I have continued to buy chocolate,crisps,sweets every week and stock the drawer up if we run out as often as I can within budget.I make snacks up with assortments of the things I know she likes and include sweets,chocs etc with fruit and nut's and seed's.I have found my attitude is gradually changing,after the initial period of adjustment and panic at letting go of control I feel calmer and much more trusting.It feels good :-)

This afternoon I went out to do a little training with Beauty and throw her ball around,I left Emily at the computer watching something on BBCi.I was only out ten minutes or so and expected to come back in and see her still sitting there watching but she had paused the programme and was writing a story,she actually never went back to the computer as she ended up going on to something else. It struck me that way back when we let go of TV restrictions we were scared that she would not do anything else if given the choice,how wrong we were.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

My little storyteller....

All this time uploading pictures and tonight for the first time I found the upload another picture facility (smacks forehead!!!) How much easier it will be when I am putting numerous pictures on....

Milly woke up this morning and the first words out of her mouth were "I had a really good idea for a story in the night" She has so many notebooks on the go with different characters/story's, it really is a passion.I am amazed at some of the lines she comes out with.As always she is not open to suggestions and is working her way through in her own way.By actually writing it and reading it out she is finding out how to put a tale together,what works and sounds right and just over the last couple of day's punctuation has crept in to her writing.

Today was home ed group day but Milly was not feeling 100% so we stayed home.We just took it easy and had a really lovely day.
We played together on and off throughout the day,in the game we were rescuing our Daemons from Bolvanger and I also got in depth instructions on Daemon care as apparently my Daemon Chimung is feeling very unloved and neglected and has been telling Pan(Emily's daemon) how sad he is.Must try harder;-)

Alongside playing we have been reading the third part in the Percy jackson series.Great fun and lot's of greek mythology which Emily is enjoying.She has remembered a lot of the gods from the Roman Mysteries, and is enjoying telling me the Roman names.

After lunch we washed our hairs.For the first time in my life I have nits:-(
Milly's friend has shared again with us.I found the Nitty gritty comb, we are using that and it seems to be doing the trick.

We decided as it was a nice day it was a shame to sit in and waste the sunshine we lit a fire in the chimenea and read The worst children's jobs in history. Emily really loves this and also Kings and Queens,they are funny and the information is in bite size chunks with quirky illustrations.They have age 5-7 recommended but she loves them and we have read them several times.

I put a chicken in the slow cooker this morning so that when we came home from group it would be easy to cook tea with minimal washing up.I had intended just to do some baked potato's and peas but as we didn't go out and I was at home this afternoon I ended up doing roasties, yorkshires, roast parsnip and carrots,cauliflower cheese and gravy. The kitchen looked like a bomb had hit it with all the pots!! After tea I decided the pots would wait and went through to watch stictly come dancing 2 and then Emily came through to ask me to join the two of them outside, they had lit the chimenea again and we sat under a clear sky while Emily told us ghost stories.What a lovely way to finish the day.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Emily's learning style.

I found this over at Our homeschooling approach

Some kids are happy to learn by doing. These are the ones for whom “practise makes perfect”. Some might call them kinesthetic learners. Others learn differently, developing a blueprint for even kinesthetic skills internally before trying things out. Their learning is no better or worse or more efficient or less; it’s just harder to see and therefore harder for parents to believe in.

I used to worry that my daughter would never learn that practise makes perfect, since I never see her stick with something that is hard. But you know what? She learns just fine anyway. It’s just that her “practise” is internal, where I can’t see her struggling with it. I just have to believe it’s happening and it is!

I remember when Emily was younger and I watched her playing with a shape sorter,you know the square ones with different shaped holes and lots of different shapes inside,she had a go at fitting the shapes with no success and then decided not to do it any longer.She didn't get frustrated, it was simply as if she knew she couldn't do it and didn't need to waste her time on it and she put it to one side and went on to something else.

We always had a load of toys out on the floor for us to play with and now and again I would introduce it into our play but she would ignore it. One day she went over to it and put the shapes in quickly, with very little effort.She was pleased with herself and her new found ability at that moment but rarely felt the need to give it another go, it was as if that process had been learnt and she just moved on to something else.Over the years this pattern has repeated itself so many times in so many ways.I don't see her working things out or persisting when something is hard.She jumps from one stage to another with no apparent learning curve.

Autonomous education suits Emily just fine,she is in charge and she knows what she needs and where she needs to be.The things she does and the way she does them may not always make sense to me and I have to be honest and say I would dearly love some external evidence of a process at times,however based on the evidence over the last 9 1/2 years I trust that she will learn all she needs to know in her own inimitable way

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Changing seasons,positive thoughts.

Here we are on a very wild and rainy Saturday:-( I am in the middle of preparing pork chops in a cider sauce for tea,Alan is ironing while watching rugby and Emily is upstairs with her friend E,and the rain is hammering at the windows.

This morning as I looked outside at the garden I realised I just didn't feel ready for the colder weather.I felt low,I really love the sun,I really need the sun and the summer has been so rainy and cold,I haven't spent enough time outside.We haven't eaten outside as much as we would normally do.So many days we haven't been able to lay in the hammock and read on an evening,we haven't been able to sit in our tepee and light the campfire to toast marshmallows.So many things that didn't need the sun just dry weather.I was feeling really down.Then I began to think about what Autumn has to offer.

I have always liked the changing seasons and Autumn has always been one of my favourite times.The early Autumn with the subtle change in light and slight nip in the air.I enjoy putting the garden to bed for the winter,tidying the borders and veg plot. I look forward to crisp evenings in the garden around the chimenea with hot drinks and biscuits,walks on the beach snuggled up in layers, then home for hot chocolate,and the smell of the roast cooking.I love the dark afternoon's snuggled up reading or watching a movie.I love the sound of the rain on the sunroom skylights while we are all cosy and warm inside.So much to look forward to.

Here is a picture Emily took last winter.We live in such a beautiful place with this only a short car journey away.

Maybe things aren't quite so bad after all,and maybe next year will be the one with the heatwave ;-)

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Milly's story

Milly has posted on her blog for the first time in ages and has decided to share a story she has been writing.She came in one night from walking home her best friend and said she had been telling A a story and would i type it out.
Well two hours later we finished for the night!! It just poured out and it is all her own words.We then carried on over the next week or so adding bits when we had time.My Mum bought her a dictation machine and she has hours more on there so it is an unfinished masterpiece.;-)
If you have time to visit I know she would appreciate it....

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Controls and trust.....

I have been neglecting this poor old blog.
I keep meaning to post but things have changed around here.We are having to find a new flow to our evenings.

I have always sat down to write at night but Milly has taken to staying up much later .She has been up til 11.00 or 12.00 quite a few nights which in itself is not such a problem but she has been saying she is tired and wanting to go to bed around 8.30 or so and one of us goes through our usual bedtime routine of reading and cuddles and we leave her when her breathing settles and she is nearly asleep, so all in all around an hour or more is taken up.Then for whatever reason most nights over the last few weeks she has not been able to go to sleep so has come down again within a short time, overtired and hyper, saying she is wanting to stay up.I know she is having to go through this period of testing and finding her own limits and that is ok however, I find it easier to concentrate when it is quiet and with a lively 9 year old bouncing around there is not much quiet happening ;-)
By the time she is settled I have no energy to do anything apart from actually join her in bed!!
I know we will find a rhythm that suits us all but it will take a while for that to happen.Emily doesn't like to go to bed and be left after reading, she needs one of us to be there while she settles and this can take some time.She also dosen't want to be left downstairs on her own so if she has decided to stay up she will go up with whichever of us is up latest.I think the major stumbling block is my illness,keeping going too late means frayed nerves and temper.Some nights have been awful and I have felt it would be easier to go back to bedtimes!!Then I get up the next morning and in the light of day I think of what our goals are and it all seems to make sense again.
I am confident we will find a way, just need to be creative;-)

Writing in the morning is the other option but as yet inspiration has not struck that early so I continue to visit others while sipping my cuppa;-) As we adjust and find ways to accommodate all our needs blogging has had to take a back seat.

Tonight seems like a good opportunity to get something down,I have not been able to get to sleep so I came down to get a drink and felt the urge to post.(edited to add,this has taken me over a week to finish in the end!!)
We are coasting along at a leisurely pace,finding ourselves further down the radical unschooling path and hitting a few potholes along the way!! Over the last few months I have been thinking before answering a request and saying yes more, to all sorts of things ,Milly is in seventh heaven,I on the other hand am finding it all rather difficult :-(
Even though it has been a very well researched and conscious decision to go down this path I still lurch from excitement at the freedom and change that is happening to feeling completely out of control!!

The later bedtimes and her growing freedom to decide when she goes to bed have been difficult and finding a way to do it without me getting too tired and unwell is not easy but it is a doddle compared to letting go of food controls,I never expected it to be so hard!!
I have always felt we had a fairly liberal attitude to food and eating,never had a problem where food was eaten and have never forced her to eat food she doesn't like.Prior to her going to school she had a drawer in the kitchen that was always stocked full of sweets/crisps but she rarely chose them.She has always had a great appetite and prior to school would eat anything we put out.

At school she was "encouraged" to eat her sandwiches first from her packed lunch box,before eating the other things in it. At home we had always given her a plate with sandwiches ,fruit, yogurt, cake etc and she ate whatever took her fancy first but 99% of the time she cleared her plate.Later when she had school dinners (her choice) there was more involvement from the older children who became head of the table and dished food out and used coercive techniques including threatening to tell the teacher to get the younger kids to eat up the things they didn't like(found this out after she had left and have since heard similar stories from friends still at school)

I have to admit to getting really nervous as her favoured foods became more and more restricted as she progressed in school.I believe she felt out of control and food was something she could have control over at home.She became very picky and fussy about the food she ate and the way it was on the plate,certain things were not to touch or be on a separate plate.

I recently started reassessing the controls we had on food.I realised just how little choice Emily has had when it came to the seemingly "forbidden" unhealthy options.I never bought fizzy drinks for home although she could have them when we ate out and I had begun to cut back on sweets and chocolates when I went shopping.This came about because since leaving school, whatever was in the drawer was being eaten so quickly.Emily was getting less exercise as well, since she chose to give up dance and gymnastics classes and I was scared of her putting on weight and being unfit.I had also began to put restrictions on how much she could have which only served to make them more appealing.I have never been happy restricting food,it made each day a battle ground as she was requesting the "forbidden" treats and I was sticking to the rules I had laid down .I am so conscious of how easy it is to get a really bad relationship with food that haunts you for the rest of your life.It all felt wrong,it was causing a problem that I don't believe has to exist.

I read a lot on Sandra Dodds site and the RUN site along with articles on other peoples blogs and it all made complete sense. Abundance was mentioned a number of times, help them to feel that everything they could want would always be available.Within our budget I began to stock up the drawer with all the things I knew she liked and never said no to her requests.She has been eating lots and lots of chocolate,crisps,cola.I knew this was going to be a long haul and she would have to go through the initial binging to come out the other side believing that she had free choice and that the restrictions were not going to be put back in place,but it is so hard.I have been offering snacks regularly of the fruits and foods I know she enjoys and she has been eating a lot of fruit as well as all the chocs etc.On a good day I have been feeling confident in the process and not questioning her choices.On a bad day I have probably lengthened the process by my negative comments:-(

I have read a lot about letting go of food controls and am trusting that the experience of so many others who have been through it will happen here as well.One thing that I am trying to keep in my mind is the process we went through when we started saying yes more to TV watching.Initially it seemed she watched continuously, but gradually she began to chose to do other things.She knows she has free choice and so it is easy to turn and do something else when you know you have control and can watch whenever you want.More importantly I think it was my attitude change that was the big factor,I stopped thinking of the TV as being a bad thing,I sat with her while she watched.I talked to her about the shows she enjoyed and really made her feel it was OK to be watching what she wanted.

She has periods of time when she watches TV a lot especially if she is tired and has had a lot going on.A while ago when she had missed a programme she liked,I mentioned BBCi but she wasn't interested,this last week has seen a huge increase in her TV watching and BBCi has been used for hours at a time.Even though we have had so much evidence of her dipping in and out of Tv I can't say I haven't had a twinge or two about the amount of time spent on it recently!! I have offered lot's of outings but she is just wanting to stay in,a lot of the things I have offered to do as alternatives at home have been turned down.Tickle fights and offering to play role playing games with her have been winners,but as soon as we have finished she is back to the TV.Just to put that in perspective the previous 2 weeks she had watched hardly any TV as she began writing a book(I was typing it up on the PC)she has got 18 pages done.She was also drawing pages and pages with pictures of all the characters and it took up all her time.Lately she has taken to recording it on a dictating machine my Mum got her.I am going to have a great deal of typing to do, she has hours and hours on the machine!!

We want Emily to be in control of what and when she eats and to enable her to grow up with a healthy attitude to food and to be able to make her own choices.I know it is my thinking that has to change and I need to let go of all my hang ups and allow her to find her way.She's a clever cookie and I need to trust her.....

Sunday, 17 August 2008

A great Dad...

A couple of reasons why I love my husband.

Milly and Alan were going to go up to the other end of the village to feed a friends cat while they are away for the week.It was a dry night and as usual Milly had no shoes on, As they set off Alan called out "Emily are you not going to wear shoes"! she looked back and said "No" although she was a little confused, we rarely question the fact she chooses to go with no shoes on(she often gets negative comments and funny looks from other's about her decision to walk with no shoes )Alan said "well neither am I",the look of delight on her face that he was going to join her barefoot on the journey was worth a lottery win,and the two of them walked off giggling.

We have been really busy over the weekend with painting and jobs and entertaining family for lunch today and have hardly had a minute to ourselves.Al was going out into the garden to get the last of the sun to read his book for some well deserved time on his own.Emily came bounding into the room just as he picked up his book,she asked him to draw with her,I knew how much Al really wanted to just sit and read and yet he changed his plans and the two of them have been sitting at the table in the sun chatting and drawing for an hour.

I love him for many other reasons but these have been a couple over the last few days that have reminded me he is one in a million and I am glad he sticks with me xx

Monday, 11 August 2008

Bust ups and set ups...

10.45 am.Milly still in the land of nod!!

Just been up to check and she looked at me blearily and then turned over and went back to sleep.

She had two friends over for a sleepover on Saturday.Lot's of laughter and play .They were quite good and kept the noise down but it was about 3 am when I last heard them.They were sleeping on mattresses in the living room and unfortunately we can still hear them talking even when they are doing it quietly.All of them slept until 10.30 the next morning, then it was a relaxed day for us all.Homemade pancakes for breakfast then play for them and pottering doing small jobs for me and Olympic action on TV for Al.Homemade pizza for lunch and more play for the girls till we took friends home at 3.30.
Home via shop for crisps chocolate and wine ;-)

Major bust up between me and Milly!! Both very tired and she was vv angry about a small incident and I reacted badly and it slid into shouting and tears quite quickly:-( Not happy at all with how I handled things.I can now see where her anger started but in my tired haze I was not switched on and didn't react well enough to stop it getting to the stage it did.Her initial angry reaction brought out feelings of resentment in me about how ungrateful she was being after all we had done to enable her to have a sleepover and a day with friends, unfortunately I voiced it which only inflamed things.

After a time to allow things to cool down we talked and sorted it out as best we could clearing up a few things and then all had tea whilst watching the Alex Rider film Stormbreaker.I came through to do some paperwork while they watched Midsomer Murders(god is it a week since I last posted?)

Milly finally got up at 11.00 am.Loose plans to go for a walk on the beach and to the big playground were changed and we stayed inside and had a great day full of cuddles,tickles,painting,story tapes,top trumps.Polly pocket and playmobile set ups were made through the day I got to sit with the pile of things and pass them to her as she set up her scene.

We also managed to talk more about what had happened yesterday and each got to say how we felt and what we could do differently next time,given that exhaustion on both sides played a big part!!Lessons learnt on both sides.......

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

You Are an "A-OK"

Your life philosophy can be summed up as, "Whatever will be, will be."

Your greatest wish is to live each day a little better than the next.

You are naturally calm and stable. Some people would call you a rock.

You feel one with the world. You are a spiritual person, though no one who knows you would guess it.

Monday, 4 August 2008

A typical day?

I am not sure you could call any day typical as each day does seem to be so different.One thing that is fairly typical though is that most of our days do have a certain flow to them, generally a slow start and then a relaxed pace through the day.

This Sunday started off early for Alan and I.He walked Beauty while I made us some porridge for breakfast and when he got back we chatted for a while as we ate before he went to watch the news on TV and I came on the PC and visited my usual blogs.Got a great link from Schuylers blog and spent time drawing a house!!I will post that later.

The plan for the morning was that Alan was going to start painting the exterior of the house and Emily and I were going to a garage sale that one of her friends in the village was having.I went up at 8.50 to see if she was awake yet.She was fast asleep,I knew she had been really keen to go to the sale so I attempted to wake her, but gentle stroking on her hand didn't wake her and as she was in such a deep sleep I decided to leave her a while longer.I lay next to her for a while then got up to get a few things ready and came back at 9.30,she was still in a deep sleep and it took some time to wake her.When she rolled over I quietly reminded her about the sale but said that it was OK for her to go back to sleep if that is what she wanted to do.She turned round and I said the other option was that we could change plans and just snuggle in bed and read to which she gave a big smile and nodded enthusiastically.(I took the picture a little later when I reminded her we had talked about recording today as our typical day.Milly is not always happy for her private life to be blogged so I checked first.Milly has her own room but likes to sleep on a mattress next to our bed)

Before we started reading Emily was keen to talk about our holiday plans.We are going to New quay in Wales in September and we are taking her older friend with us and she is beside herself with excitement.Emily said she was keen to start a packing list today and wanted to do it on the computer and she also wanted to get a book that she could use as a holiday journal and stick pictures in and write in each day.We talked about her relationship with her friend E and she said it felt like she had an older sister.

We read for quite some time and about 10.30 Alan broke off from painting to come up to remind us about the sale,he and Milly had a cuddle and we decided just to carry on reading when Alan went back to painting.The book prompted a discussion about running away and why someone would feel the need to run away.She talked about options to dealing with problems and said she would never run away.Certainly hope she never feels the need ;-))

We got up and I got dressed quickly and made her a crisp sandwich with chopped apple on the side and water with ice in to drink.(a favourite meal at the moment breakfast,lunch,or tea)She took it back upstairs and chose to listen to a story tape called The Knight of the storms and stars by Terry Deary set in Tudor times.

We were expecting my sister and nephew for Sunday lunch and after I had finished preparing the chicken and trimmings I called up and asked if she would like me to continue reading.She came down and we read some more and when one of the characters described himself as a Pacifist,she reminded me that Simon in the Spiderwick Chronicles had been a pacifist. She said she considers herself a peaceful person and does not like fighting at all, but would not hesitate to defend her friends if they were being threatened.The conversation then moved on to her other best friend who had been away on holiday and did not yet know E was coming on holiday with us and Emily was concerned she would be upset and it is playing on her mind a little.She decided to draw A a picture showing the two of them climbing a tree and Best Friends written across the top, to reassure her that she still loves her.She did most of the card then a conversation we were having as I was cooking reminded her of Harry Potter and she decided to go and watch one of the films.I took her through a snack of fruit and some mint tea I had made from our mint in the garden.

We had a really lovely lunch with My sister and Nephew and then lots of chatting,playing,swinging,trampolining.

When they had gone Alan went back to painting,we had a great sunny day and the forecast was not looking good for the next few days so he wanted to get as much done as possible. I took a while to wash the pots, and in between spent time sitting with Emily as she finished watching Harry potter.When I went upstairs to put something away I decided I would tidy Emily's room.

Yesterday Emily and E got an early start packing for the holiday and sorted out which Bratz they should take with them!!It only took a short time to straighten things up and I fulfilled my need for order and Emily was happy to have a clear floor for more set ups ;-))

Later in the evening Alan and Emily took Beauty for a long walk,Alan said they never stopped talking all the way round and they were out for over an hour.They have an ongoing story about Black eye Bill the pirate who lives in the woods and who has amazing adventures in the different areas they pass on the walk!!
Paddling in the stream in the woods is one of Milly's favourite parts of the walk.I made a light tea for us.They took theirs into the other room to watch Midsomer Murders.Emily loves it.
I browsed on the PC and then sat and watched TV in here for a while.Emily came through at 10 when her programme had finished, she was so pleased this time as she guessed who the murderer was ;-))
I asked if she was heading to bed,she said she would soon but she felt like going outside, so out she skipped, to go on the swing, stroking socks as she went.

Back inside and into a quick bath while I read to her and then all three of us got into bed and read a little more Best friends before lights out and the end of a beautiful day.