"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...

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

You are a Hippie

You are a total hippie. While you may not wear birks or smell of incense, you have the soul of a hippie.

You don't trust authority, and you do as you please. You're willing to take a stand, even when what you believe isn't popular.

You like to experiment with ideas, lifestyles, and different subcultures.

You always gravitate toward what's radical and subversive. Normal, mainstream culture doesn't really resonate with you.

Found at Enjoy the journey
How funny, I always felt I had a hippie spirit and now at 47 it seems I am finally living a hippie lifestyle;-))

Monday, 28 April 2008

Cops and Robbers

Had a really great day visiting some friends this afternoon after a nice quiet start to the day.Milly didn't wake til 10am,she has had three late nights on the trot and obviously needed to catch up ;-))

We set off around 11.30 to go to Morrison's to pick up The Golden Compass DVD that was out today and have some lunch and then I did something I don't do much of and left my comfort zone and drove somewhere I have not driven before.Having chronic fatigue meant I didn't drive for over 12 years and when I started again a couple of years ago it was just trips to the school and back and I have gradually extended the length of journey and was a little nervous today but coped well and got us there and back in one piece.

Milly has watched the film and we have spent quite a bit of time together on the PC, she put on her favourite clips on U tube and was air drumming along to Nickleback's Rock star and The Hoosiers cops and robbers.She attempted to get Beauty to dance with her to the Hoosiers but the pooch was in a bit of a crazy mood and just got way too excited,however,undaunted Milly kept on jigging and said in all seriousness "Beauty this is by far my favourite song" and continued to strut around the room.My 80's dance moves were looked on with scorn and she redoubled her effort to show me what real dance moves were;-)) I do love to see her dance with such abandon, dancing free, as she calls it.Milly had asked me to put the Hoosiers clip on here so you could watch it but I have failed to find out how to put a u tube clip on, so when I have time I will look that up and attempt to add that skill to my growing repertoire...

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Experimentation of a different kind.

Fridays sleepover went off well,I did get a little annoyed at 11.30 when I went up to go to bed as they were talking very loudly and Al had to get up at 7 for work so I went in and reminded them again, then requested they keep their voices down and that if I had to come back in again I would not be very impressed,five minutes later all was quiet and they were fast asleep.It really wouldn't be a problem if their room was at the other end of the house but it isn't and Al really needs his beauty sleep ;-)).
A had to leave at 9.30 for her gymnastic lesson so after she had left we had a breather and decided that the planned activity, spending the day sorting toy boxes,was not something either of us wanted to do, so that job got put on the back burner and Milly said she would like to listen to her story CD whilst I washed up and hoovered around.

When I had finished I looked over and she had got down the drawing book I bought for Xmas(it is a step by step guide but proved to be too advanced for Milly at that time and she just got frustrated) she had a go at drawing a mermaid picture that she had wanted to draw at Christmas and although she didn't follow the steps she did draw the mermaid in her own style,she then cut round the drawing and stuck it on the wall in the dining room.She was very happy with the end product,and from my point of view it was good to see her using the book to guide her and not getting upset that her end product didn't look like the one in the book.

As she was listening to the tape and drawing another picture I started to take out some shaving foam and cornflour from the craft cupboard and got a mixing bowl and then put a cover on the table.It was at that point that she asked me what I was doing and I said I had a few things she might like to experiment with.I explained what I used cornflour for but said that I thought she might like to see what happened when water was added to it.Well she loved it and was amused for over an hour,experimenting in her own inimitable fashion.I had bought the things months ago and we had used the shaving foam once before to do some "painting" with and she enjoyed that but then I forgot about them and just remembered yesterday when I was thinking of things to do since we had the whole day to let things develop.

She added paint and normal flour to it and kept it out all afternoon and would just keep going back to it to add more to it or just to squidge it about.The top she is wearing( to be precise the top that is falling off her) was given to her by her 14 year old friend who no longer wanted it and although it is about 3 sizes too big for her she loves it and I have had to talk her out of actually leaving the house in it before!!

When Emily was squidging I went onto a website I had found a link to(sorry I can't remember the blog it came from)Steve Spangler Science,and found lots and lots of new experiments to do,some I have heard of before some I haven't I also like the fact you can watch a video clip of quite a lot of the experiments.

At some point in the afternoon Milly went to the top of the garden to sit at the grave of her rabbit Liz who died recently.It was pouring with rain but she put on her waterproof coat and sat out for 15 Min's or more and came in to tell me she had told Liz a funny story she had made up.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Den habits,science mishaps and another sleepover.

Milly was in her den a few nights ago,this den is under a lovely shrub near the fence between our garden and the neighbours.The shrub is so large and there is a cavity underneath where she can set up her little hideaway, she takes out our fabric box and lays them out on the ground,when you look in you can see the beautiful furs and satins and silky materials it is like the inside of a well appointed Bedouin tent:-))She takes cushions and there is even a conveniently positioned branch so she can hang her bag on and she will get in there and snuggle down sometimes drawing, sometimes with a friend,sometimes under a blanket just thinking and relaxing.Last time she was under there our neighbour saw her and was chatting to her and gave her a lovely red frilly tulip, today Milly noticed that it had opened right up and I suggested she might like to take a photo of it, and here it is.....

We have had a day at home today and managed a couple of science experiments, I had looked for simple things to do in the Usborne pocket science books but Milly had meant she wanted to do some from the chemistry kit she got for Christmas so that is what we did.Food science experiments followed making a FEHLINGS solution to test for the presence of sugar using the spirit burner, just followed the instructions but ended up with a blackened test tube, I fear we went one step too far!!!Milly held the test tube with the tongs this time though and wasn't put off with the first attempt so we went on to do one more experiment and then called it a day.I think she would have enjoyed the ones I had lined up for us but perhaps another day.

We drew together and chatted and had another Daemon meeting(quite a lengthy one as Milly really got into this one) and my daemon Chimung has been told to change shape at least once a day for his own well being,whenever Milly asks me during the day what Chimung is I always say monkey as I am usually not in the right zone and forget she likes them to change hence the new ruling!!!! Just got to get a few options in my head now so as not to disappoint when I am next interrogated;-))

As I was on the phone to my sister ,poor old Strudle the donkey is going to be put to sleep some time over the next few days awwwww :-( Milly drew a fabulous picture of a turtle(our friend M bought her a velvety soft toy turtle at the aquarium yesterday) I would put a picture up but she wants to keep that one private.I was really impressed with the detail and the speed she drew it,when Milly was at school and for a long time afterwards she tended to draw the same thing for a very long time, you know fairy's, mermaids so on.As her confidence has grown she is tackling all sorts of subjects sometimes with frustration but mainly just having a go and it makes me so happy to see.She also did a canvas acrylic painting of the turtle in the sea which she wants to send to her friends Aunt and her girlfriend as an engagement present.

I did the shopping online while Milly listened to (you guessed it) a Lemony Snicket story CD and practised her cutting and other bits and bobs.Then we picked up A for tea which has now turned into another sleepover,I am a sucker for puppy eyes and hands clasped pleading;-)) They are watching Stardust at present having spent time at the park and lots of time "just chatting" in the bedroom on the mattresses on the floor in Milly's room.

Tomorrow our plan is to get the toy storage boxes down from Milly's room and sort them out, oh joy, what a way to spend a day.Plans can and do change easily though this job has been put off so many times over the last three weeks.......

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Thursday Treat.

We have had an excellent day today.We met up with an old friend who has known Emily since she was 8 months old and is like another grandmother to her.We took her out for lunch to the Aquarium.I picked her up and drove, she always sits in the back with Emily and chats away to her.

When we got there she asked me to sit down at the table whilst she ordered the food and then asked if Emily would like to help her.So the two of them went up and I could see that the lady behind the counter was speaking to Emily but couldn't hear what she said.Emily came back first and when M came back she was beaming.She said the lady had asked Emily if she was enjoying her day off school(teachers strike)and Emily had answered that she didn't go to school but was home educated and had then helped M to remember what was to be ordered for food and had thanked the lady.The reason M was beaming was because the lady behind the counter had commented how polite and well behaved Emily was and what a pleasant change it was.

We had lunch and went round the Aquarium and managed to see an octopus in the process of eating a crab, it was right up against the glass and we got a great view,pretty nasty way to go though, being injected with poison which turns you to a soup, then been sucked out of your shell!!!

I dropped Milly off to spend some time with M and picked her up later on, she didn't want to come home,the two of them had had a great time.We have arranged that Emily will spend alternate Thursdays with M and my sister on the other.

We got home and Milly went on her swing while Al dug up a load of shrubs from the side garden where we are extending the veg plot and transplanted them in the back garden.

I haven't had photo's on for a while,so I thought I would share a few random ones with you.

This is one of Milly today before we went out to pick up M. She had put on glitter lip gloss and some blusher and was looking very funky with her hat on.

She is holding a girl she had drawn called charly,she had painstakingly cut round the drawing as I read The last part of The mill girl to her this morning.

Here is a close up of Charly

Some time ago I had tried to get a bed cover made for Beauty's bed using Milly's miniature sewing machine but the thing wouldn't work properly;-( Last time my Mum (who spent many years as a seamstress making wedding dresses)was here she discovered it was because the cotton wasn't going through a certain hoop and the cotton was breaking.So it's fixed and I have been busy making said dog bed cover.Kinda proud of myself it has to be said;-))

Milly typing out a note one day this week still in her pj's but with the added touch of fingerless gloves!!!

Milly's update.

Milly has updated her blogs Golden daemons and My pets.It is quite some time since she posted but last night (after me just finishing writing how she is normally in bed and asleep by 9!!!!) she had decided not to go to bed early and after watching Grease with Al she went up to play at 9 while he got in a shower then came down and went on the PC while I was watching The apprentice and came to tell me she had posted.She then decided she was just too tired to wait up for me and went up about 10.She asked if I could let people know she had added to her blog,the info is something she hasn't wanted me to post about and she is obviously now ready to share it, so If you feel able pop along and read her news I know she would appreciate it xx

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Changing phases.

Home ed group today, had a nice chat and the kids had a good play.Then off to my friends house with a couple of the other mums, we have got a book club going and discussed titles to read over the coming months.I prefer to read last thing at night as I find it difficult to switch off during the day( if by any chance I got a spare moment to pick up a book !!) and as my little bed mate is usually asleep I will have to get myself one of those little lights that fit on a book and I will get into the habit of reading a little each night again.

Milly has asked to do some science on Friday so I have just looked up some simple experiments we can do that are quick to set up and it won't matter if she changes her mind as I have not had to go to great lengths to prepare.It is a long time between now and then and things change so quickly and it may be that Friday comes along and something else will be favoured.Friday is the only day we have the time to do anything as we are out again tomorrow for lunch and a trip around the aquarium with a Friend and will probably end up spending most of the afternoon with her.I am hoping the school strike doesn't mean hoards of people will have the same idea about visiting the aquarium.

Milly and I started the day by having a cuppa and a read in bed which is something we haven't done for quite some time and then we got up and Milly put the TV on as I made breakfast.The programmes she normally likes to watch were on but after a few minutes she decided to watch a DVD instead, she was talking about the Dr who DVD we had on the bookcase and I thought she was going to watch that one but then I heard the music from The Way things Work and was pleasantly surprised.This DVD has been watched a couple of times last summer and has sat on the bookcase in the sun room or has been strategically placed by me to encourage her to view it again, cos of course it is "educational" as well as entertaining,needless to say my placement of it has always gone unnoticed and I gave up and accepted she was learning whatever she chose to watch and here we are today, she got it down because she wanted to watch it herself and she enjoyed three of the stories and although she had said initially she was going to watch all of it she then turned off the TV and came through to sit with me at the table, where I adapted the fastening on her bag so she could fit her journal in ,her bag was made with my sister on one of their Thursday sewing sessions and now goes everywhere with her and has her most treasured possessions in.

Some time ago I posted about the amount of TV Milly was choosing to watch, I felt confident based on past experience that if I left her to choose she would go through that phase and move on and it seems that is now happening,she is still watching some TV but is choosing more often to do other things and TV is not an issue because she knows she could watch it whenever she wants to.I love giving her the freedom to make her own choices and as time goes on I feel myself relaxing more and more and not worrying about the amount of time she spends watching TV or listening to story tapes, even though it seems she is neglecting other areas.When she is ready she moves on.

We have no set rules about bedtime and have gradually allowed her to make decisions about when she goes to bed.Initially she had some late nights and got very tired and we had some challenging times and behaviour but gradually we have got to the stage where late nights have lost their appeal and Emily knows when she is tired and at present,except for when friends sleep over she usually chooses to go up before 9 and on quite a few occasions is asleep for 8.

Allowing Milly more freedom over her food choices is harder for us and we still haven't been able to fully let go of control in this area.Change has happened and I see a gradual loosening of the reins,rather than a total letting go immediately, probably more for our benefit than anything to do with Emily,but that is the way we feel comfortable and for this change in lifestyle to work properly we all have to feel comfortable.The move from traditional Parenting/schooling to Radical unschooling (to use a label)doesn't feel as far away as it did a year ago.We have managed to do it at our own pace and are growing into it and it feels good.Now obviously any change and growth causes moments of doubt but instead of panic setting in about what we are doing, I now see these as opportunity's to assess where we are going and to see if we are still on the right path and so far the answer has been most definitely yes........

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Bratz bargains,deals to keep and writing frustrations.

It has been a glorious sunny day and we have spent a great part of the day out in the garden,managing to eat both lunch and tea out although it was a little nippy at 5.30 when we were eating tea;-))

We had to go into the hospital yesterday for Emily to see the paediatrician and then went shopping and had lunch out.We went into Home bargains to see if they had the blank canvas's in so Emily can create some more masterpieces( they didn't but poundland did;-) )Emily found a bratz pixie called Sasha that she has been hankering after and it was " a bargain price of only 9.99 " I was informed!! She suggested she would do odd jobs for people to earn the money for it if I lent it to her,I did so and today she had to keep to her end of the bargain:-( Not a happy bunny when she woke and remembered her deal.

So today the car has been washed, with a little help from a friend :-) I felt a bit of a party pooper though as she wanted to have a bit of a water fight but unlike her father I am not keen on getting soaked.After lunch she decided to clean her trampoline down,we have two rooks nesting in the trees in the back garden and they are making an almighty mess!!!She scrubbed and sung and scrubbed some more before asking for some assistance and then my Mum and Dad and I sprang into action and assisted in the final push;-))
Last summer we used to get the hose out and Beauty loved to chase the water around and bark as she played, great fun then but a tad annoying when you are trying to clean the car and she can't understand why she can't get out from the side garden and chase the water and is barking to let you know about her frustrations!!I made sure she got her fill of jumping around in the water and getting soaked after we cleaned the car but will remember to keep her in the house next time,it is so funny she just has to hear the outside tap hiss and she legs it to get to the hose ;-))
Milly is going to think of some more jobs that need doing to earn the rest of the money....

We had an appointment to see our Homeopath this afternoon and managed to pick up a few plants and veg for the plot from Wilkinson's along with a watch for Emily,she had a watch but it stopped working a while ago and she hasn't been interested in wearing one til now and a reporters notepad as she is wanting to be a journalist when she grows up.That reminds me she was going to interview me when we got home(the headline she had put down was Arty Mother I think) however when she got home she remembered her trampoline was now clean and decided to go bouncing.

We had a bit of a melt down last night.Over the last few weeks Milly has been writing in a journal she has started and is choosing to write short amounts more and more and I had thought she was quite content to go along slowly.However, we watched Miss Potter last night and afterwards she was keen to get out a sketch pad and paints and set about drawing Beauty and to write a story about her, within minutes she was tearing up the paper and stabbing the pencil in the table and was really angry which then turned to tears and wails of why can't I write, I'll never be able to write.It was hard to watch and I don't think I handled things as well as I could of,I was tired and got angry when she started stabbing the pen down and regretted it immediately as it stopped the behaviour but also stopped her getting it out,I should of just done what we have done on other occasions and punched some cushions and had a good scream which helps her to get back on an even keel.We went to bed together and she seemed much better this morning.We talked about it and I said I felt I hadn't handled her anger very well and that it was OK to be angry but there were better ways to deal with it than damaging the table and she accepted that but suggested that next time instead of raising my voice I should just stay calm and encourage her to calm down and we could punch some cushions!!!

The first thing Emily wanted to do this morning was to write a story about the Bratz pixies,she asked me to write her words which I did and although it is not ideal for her she likes to see her story written out.When she writes herself she reduces the words she uses because it takes so long for her to write but when I write it she narrates beautiful intricate stories.We have talked about the possibility of recording the stories on a tape and then Alan or I typing them out and she did mention that again so I will look into it and see if it would be a viable option.I have also thought about the voice recognition software you can get for PCs but need to find out more about them.

When she was at school she was frustrated because she had no options and had to write whatever was set in the lesson and she felt so out of her depth and unsupported.I think she has become frustrated now because she is really wanting to record her thoughts and ideas and she sees her friends writing effortlessly in their journals and her limitations have been highlighted. It is a really positive thing that she is wanting to record things and we just need to ease the process so she doesn't get disheartened,she is such a perfectionist and is so hard on herself.She doesn't want to practice writing or spellings and I don't think for one moment that is the right way to go,she needs to go at her own pace but it is hard for her to believe that she will get there,she doesn't see the improvement in her writing and spelling since leaving school she just knows she has difficulty and that it makes her unhappy and hurts her hands:-(

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Saturday,shopping and trashy TV...

A series of unfortunate events story Cd's are still the flavour of the moment and alongside listening to them she has been practising her cutting by chopping paper/card into little pieces,drawing, making necklaces, writing bit's in her journal,most of the morning was spent downstairs until she got in a shower to wash her hair,then she decided she would like to lay in bed and listen to the Cd's so more of the same happening upstairs,she has drawn a really lovely picture of a girl using biro with lots of different shading and direction of the pen strokes and she has been sorting out the side of her bed and clearing out toys that she no longer wants there.I spent some time with her but basically she was happy to be on her own, so I got on with housework.We managed to tidy her room up together and I think we have found a way to keep on top of it that works for us,I will write another post on that when I have more time.

When Al came home from work I had to go shopping and when he went out into the garden to get on with a few landscaping jobs, she choose to stay in.

I whizzed around the shops and then back home to put it all away, then quickly get Milly a baked pot with ham, tuna and cheese this is her favourite meal and the plate was emptied.I had found an Animal book in Tescos and read it to her as she was eating, and then she said she would go back up til Dr Who started, so off she went with a Calipo lolly and a skip in her step,I wish I lived her life;-))

I am going to get into PJs and pop a pizza in for Al and I then Dr Who will be on followed by I'll do anything, Britains got talent and Pushing Daisys so Milly and I are sorted for the evening,Al will watch Dr Who with us and then come through here to watch something on the other side or read, he dosen't share our love of what some call trashy TV.......

Friday, 18 April 2008

Sniffles and snuggles

The energy of the last few days has wained and we had to rearrange our plans and instead of a visit to the aquarium and the play park and fish and chips to eat, we have spent today quietly at home.I had a headache and felt as though a head cold was coming on and Milly woke up with a headache,I think she was really in need of a day at home as we have been quite busy each day this week.

We pottered this morning,Milly listening to more Lemony Snicket story Cd's whilst she drew and did other bits and pieces, not taking me up on any of my offers to play games, read to her,or any of the other things I suggested so I got on with some household jobs and then helped her to make a card for a friends sister who is having a party tonight to celebrate her engagement to her girlfriend. Around 12 when I began to feel quite weak I asked if she would like to bring the duvets down and snuggle on the floor in the sun room and watch a DVD so we did just that.I managed to stay awake(just) through Father of the bride 2 and then we have just sat in the dining room together, me on the computer and sending off some postcards then putting some stickers in the Primevil sticker book for her and Milly doing lots of bits and bobs including drawing,listening to CD's(she often tells me what the next line will be or what is going to happen in the story and I am constantly amazed at how many small details she remembers from them, having only listened to them once before) and whittling a pencil down,and creating a few tunes on the keyboard.She has been up and down to look for various soft toy animals and we have been talking about our daemons and what they are up to.

Off to get a very quick tea put together then an early night beckons......

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Friends worth their weight in gold....

Bit sluggish today after a busy day yesterday and a late night watching The Apprentice and then some blog browsing.

Off to the food coop to help out and had a good natter while Emily had a good play,we hardly saw each other and we were in the same space!! Her and her little friend were up in the attic area playing Harry Potter and played beautifully and happily together.

Home for lunch and then on to drop Emily off at my sisters for a couple of hours, where they were going to finish off the blanket they had started a couple of weeks ago with a scene on the front of a rabbit in a spring garden,using felt and glue so no sewing today.They also managed a trip to the park and a walk to the shop and my sister read to her from a lovely book with classic tales in a comic form, they read Oliver twist and Emily wanted to continue on to A tale of two cities, so they will read that next time.

I picked her up from my sisters and dropped her off at best friend A's house for tea and left them as they were about to walk to the park together.We started letting them go off to the park in the village last summer and they really love the little Independence it gives them.I came home and had a cuppa and chat with Al( two uninterrupted chats in two days ,not often that happens now Milly is going to bed later!!) before he went out to paint yet more of the garden furniture,I think this was the last lounger he had to do.He has gone out for a walk with Beauty and I am prepping tea and writing out the menu's for next week and a shopping list,well obviously not right now, cos I decided a break was in order and thought I would get a post done early again.

When Emily was at my sisters I sent a few e mails and got a few jobs done and then I phoned a friend, she is a lady who helped us out when Emily was younger and I had Post Natal Depression on top of the Chronic Fatigue.She volunteers for Barnardos and they have a scheme to help in the home and she came to us when Emily was eight months old and stayed until she went to nursery,when she had to officially finish.She helped out 3 times a week for a couple of hours a time,she always stayed past the time she was due to leave and gave me so much more than time to rest, she taught me what it means to be a Mum.I adore her. Emily and her have a fabulous relationship.She would not thank me for broadcasting her age but she is past retirement age and is the most elegant woman I know, she seems to have boundless energy and just adores children and most important really respects children.Her working life has been spent as a teacher,she came into my life when I really needed a friend and I am glad to say she still is and teaches me something every time I get together with her,she is supportive and encouraging loving and kind and boosts my self esteem enormously, what more could I ask for ;-))We have not seen enough of each other recently and are getting together next Thursday for lunch,Emily wants to take her to the Aquarium and to have lunch there.

Time is getting on now, I have started the prawn Thai red curry for tea and will go and pick Milly up at 6.45 and then Al and I will eat.Not too sure what is happening tonight,I was hoping to get out in the garden for a short while ( after a slow start my energy levels are remarkably high just now, the massage has really helped I think) but as it is pouring down it is more likely we will play a game or something,Come dine with me is on tonight and Emily likes that so we may end up watching that at eight......

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Juggling whilst blogging....

Trying to juggle a few things and blog at the same time.Multi tasking at it's best.
I have a watercress soup on the go for tomorrows lunch, Emily's tea in mid prep and our tea in the oven.I am also reading the new Sainsbury magazine in between prepping the food and now decided I needed to blog as I remembered The apprentice is on later and probably would be too tired to blog after.Just added in a phone call from my mum as I was dishing up Emily's tea.

Emily is watching a DVD ( the title of which escapes me a the moment).We have been to home ed group and then on to our friends house for a coffee afterwards. E Emily's 14 year old friend presented her with a DVD she had bought for her using some of her birthday money( they had watched the same DVD at their sleepover to celebrate E's birthday a couple of weeks ago)how lovely was that.She is a darling girl in so many ways.

I had a fabulous day yesterday.Alan took time off work as it was my turn to host the meditation group and he usually takes Emily and Beauty out for the morning.He had said last week that I should book in another session with Rezwanna for massage whilst he was off in the afternoon as well, so I leapt at the chance.As it turned out my friend had to bring her sons with her as she didn't have a sitter and once Emily knew that A and L were coming Daddy was going for a walk on his own as she said it would be rude for her not to be her when the boy's came!! So after some discussion the children choose a DVD to watch. We chatted and then said we really should meditate, then chatted some more then said we really should meditate, eventually we did a short meditation after a couple of readings I had found that morning,once again I was amazed at how appropriate the readings I had found turned out to be.I simply flicked through two books and stopped when it felt right and the two passages matched perfectly and then even more of a "coincidence" they were very relevant to the other three girls and the discussion we had, bearing in mind they didn't know what I had found and I had no input into the direction the conversation took at the start.

I think of myself as a very "normal" person but I am very open to alternative medicine and take a holistic approach to my health and am a believer in Angels,so when Rezwanna asked how I would feel about using some healing stones whilst she called on her Angels to help in healing I was totally unfazed and perfectly happy to go along with it.I don't need to know the science of Healing, Meditation or Homeopathy I have had so much personal evidence of them working over the last 9 years that I am convinced about the benefits and I think this has enabled me to accept other "treatments" with a very open mind.

We have just finished tea and as Emily was watching the end of the DVD in the other room we managed to have a good conversation about Parenting methods and the way we want to go as a family.Having read Alfie Kohn Unconditional Parenting I explained to Al the theory behind it and how I thought it would work for us.Al really trusts my judgement and although he hasn't read the book has understood the direction I think we should go in and is more than happy for us to try,he pointed out that taking Emily out of school took him a long time to come round to and he wasn't going to make the mistake of not giving something a go just because it was different to the "normal" methods and traditional parenting styles we have been using up till now.I think the methods will take time to adopt, it is not a "how to" book but gives guidelines for changing the way we can deal with situations,some of which we have adopted over the last few months from info I have read on Joyfuly Rejoycing and Sandra Dodd websites.

Milly is listening to a Lemony Snicket story CD ( she has listened to them all before and is just choosing her favourite ones again in no particular order) Al is washing up and Beauty is being thrown a ball by Emily and is running off across the kitchen and skidding back with it so all conducive to concentration and Blog writing!!!Got to go just can't think straight........

Monday, 14 April 2008

A mixed bag today.

We had intended to meet up with some friends today but due to late planning on my part and other things turning up for the other mum, we ended up going off on our own to a soft play center.The place is a 30min drive away but is worth it,it is very well laid out and has Ikea furnishings,proper tables and comfy chairs instead of patio furniture. It also has lovely squishy sofas so is very comfortable for mums and dads as the children have a good run around.It serves freshly prepped food and good coffee and herbal teas and is definitely an improvement on some of the more basic ones we have nearby.I am by no means a snob but prefer to spend my time in nice surroundings wherever poss;-))

We stopped off at a garden center on the way to check out the recycled rubber pieces as an alternative to play bark for the area under Milly's trampoline and climbing frame.It is more expensive initially but over time will pay for itself as it won't need replacing.Purple blue or green to choose from Milly choose Blue.We just need to work out if we can afford it this year,the area has not had bark down for a couple of years and is now just weeds and mud and on top of that is not particularly safe if anyone was to fall,the climbing frame monkey bars are quite high and I do worry about friends falling,they haven't up to now but you never know!!.

Back home to make tea and it was a brilliant evening so Milly took me to the park in the village after we had eaten.Well actually before that, after we had eaten she was standing near my chair which backed on to the bookcase and started pushing one of the books back on the shelf saying she needed to hide it away,it was the book All about sex I had bought from the charity shop on holiday that she got all embarrassed about and didn't want to read with me.She had looked through it with my nephew when he picked it up on his last visit and was very interested and as it has little cartoon characters she found bits funny.She obviously still felt a little embarrassed, so I said that if she wanted to look through it we could do so now and we read for over half an hour before going to the park and another half an hour after we returned from the park.She has been unfazed by any of the details and has been mezmerised by the pictures especially the little cartoons depicting eggs and sperm.We have always been very open and answered any questions as they came up and so some of it is not new to her but this is obviously in much greater detail and has pictures.She asked me to put her to bed so I could read a little more to her and then when I was tired she continued to look through it using her torch,then it got put in her special place down the side of her bed.

On a similar topic she has been most upset that we have missed the boat and not managed to get some tadpoles for our pond(I call it a pond, it is a sad attempt in a planter that I think we may have to redo this year as it has been badly neglected) my sister took her to the stream near them to see if by chance there was still some frogspawn but no luck.So tonight she has been trying to make one,all my ideas didn't quite fit the bill as it had to float in the middle not sink or float on the top.Needless to say we couldn't find anything to do what she wanted so we now have a wineglass covered with clingfilm with our invisible friendly tadpole bobbing about in ;-))

Al went off to tai chi at 6.30 and we were v busy with one thing after another,first the tadpole making,then sewing a button on her bag she had made with Aunty P and then as I was browsing I found a couple of links on Unschooling voices 14
Seabird chronicles
Giggle poetry
Play with music
Poem in your pocket day April 17th so we looked at the Animal poems on the giggle poetry site and having found one she liked I was ready to print it off but Emily decided to write it out after acouple of attempts she wasn't happy with (paper torn up in disgust) she got her new journal she has started and sat on my knee and coppied it off the screnn and wrote it out beautifully during which time I had to be a bossy teacher and I must not give any encouragement at all as teachers just don't do that!!!!
I particularly liked the play with music site and she did too but didn't want to spend much time on it tonight so we will revisit it another time.

Dad came home and we went to watch Extraordinary people on TV about a man who was turning into a tree(he was actually suffering from a severe skin condition but his hands and feet did look like tree roots) Emily saw one of these programmes one week about conjoined twins and was fascinated and now remembers when they are on and if she isn't too tired she will stay up to watch them.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Veggie Plans....

Standing at the side of the house overlooking the side garden.Alan made the fence last year when we got Beauty.A double benefit of making the side secure so she can't escape and also she can't go digging in the veggie beds!!!

I had taken my books and a blank sheet of paper to plan the changes we had talked about and to decide what veg would go where..We have three raised beds and lots of pots that we have used the last two years.A friend told me about using tires to grow spuds in and it worked but it wasn't easy to get them out so I won't use them again for spuds but am thinking of using them to grow strawberry's for the first time.If I seperate them and have a few plants in each amonst the plants in the borders that should work quite well to keep the strawberrys off the ground and keep them dry.

We had talked about making the borders at the side much bigger and filling with veg/fruit instead of the shrubs that are there at present and also redoing the rockery at the top so we could fit in a greenhouse in that top corner.In an ideal world we would still do this, however my health is still not the best and it would be a lot of work for Al to do this year not to make use of it, especialy as there are a million and one other things to get done, so we have decided to put the plan on hold and scale down a little.We are still going to increase the side border and get some rhubarb and some other fruit bushes (whichever are the easiest to maintain) and I will probably plant peas and have my bean wigwams in here.Until the storm in 2005 we had two massive sycamore trees here, luckily when they fell they fell away from the house!!!The problem is that the ground is not great because of all the tree roots so we will have quite a bit of work to do to get the soil in the border up to scratch.

This area near the shed is not often in full sun and we can't grow much here so we have decided to gravel it over and get a table and benches in here and build a fire pit using some giant old stones we have behind the shed.I have to pull out the french lavender bushes as the frost has got them, on top of which I haven't pruned them and they have gone all woody so that will give me more space to put in the fire pit.I will buy some more as they and marigolds have been part of my defenses against carrot fly and so far I haven't had carrot fly so it seems they work for me;-))The side garden has a footpath going past it and it is not particularly private but the flowering shrubs give more privacy in the summer when we will be out on an evening.

After all that planning I decided just to do a little weeding as Alan was painting the garden furniture and Emily was inside listening to a story CD in a den she had made under the table in the dining room.She didn't want to come out at all but kept popping her head out of the side door to have a chat.At one point her and Alan spent a while making a den in the back garden for her sylvannian family of cats, an old tree stump came in handy for the home with a slab on top for the roof and stones were used for furniture both interior and exterior table and chairs.I started to weed the beds and just couldn't stop,hours later with many interruptions for R&R I finished the three beds and the pots around them.

It is immensely satisfying to spend a sunny day in the garden.There is so much to do and so little time to do it;-)) I got some red onions in that Mum had given me and was very pleased with my days work.As we were eating a late tea Al informed me that Socks (cat) had been playing football with the onions !!! I have had to put on some netting to stop her getting at them,just have to make sure I don't do what I did last year and leave the netting on too late and have a problem when things start to grow through it.I know I am go ache like mad tomorrow but I had a great time getting my hands in the soil today.

Friday, 11 April 2008

The fog has cleared....

I really needed that little break.I have gradually been thinking about blogging again and tonight the opportunity arose to get on the PC whilst Emily is otherwise engaged, so here I am.

Al has been off work today with a rotten cold/cough.

Emily's best friend was due for tea but due to her Mum being unwell has blagged a sleepover and the two of them are upstairs in Emily's room.Slight giddiness but so far not the full blown hysteria Emily can sometimes be capable of, A finds her funny and of course this makes her worse as she loves to make her laugh!!!!

They both seem to be tired,I was going to say that they will probably be asleep soon but they have come down to cuddle Beauty!! A has been quite wary of Beauty ( understandably as she can be quite overpowering)but Al has kept her in her bed and the two of them have been cuddling her and she has stayed quite calm so A (who is desperate to have a dog of her own) has loved it and Emily was in her element as for so long A has been scared and she wanted her to see Beauty as we do when she is calm and loving,just have to find a way for A to walk around without Beauty being so excited by her presence she has to pounce every time she moves !!!

We have had a quiet week as Emily is still under the weather,took her to Dr's to get her checked over (We don't tend to see a Dr very often but she had Pneumonia when she was around 4 and whenever she gets these lingering coughs we take her to get checked out just for peace of mind, usually Alan's) the Dr was saying that so many patients were finding that the virus's were taking 6 to 8 weeks to clear and added in to that Emily has had a growth spurt so no wonder she is pretty weak.

She had a session of cranial osteopathy this afternoon to help to clear her congestion.She first had this treatment as a baby to help with colic and reflux and I swear by it, it was the only thing that worked. She started having sessions again about 3 years ago and I am amazed at the results from such a gentle therapy.The lady is really lovely and is always interested in how home ed is going, she has two sons in secondary school.Judith also did some pulling and stretching (sorry can't be more technical) to assist in lymphatic drainage and to help to boost her immune system.There were a number of different techniques she used and Emily loved all the pulling and stretching and found it quite funny.She was on good form today and had a conversation with Judith rather than her more usual tactic of talking to me about our animals or other things she really wants to talk to the person about but is too scared to in case they aren't interested or don't want to talk to her.I have been trying lately to revisit strategies to deal with this and we have talked once again about eye contact and how to engage in conversations and at one point in the car as we were waiting for A off the school bus we were chatting away and she said, are you impressed at the amount of eye contact I am giving you, cue staring into my eyes as she said it, she really cracks me up ;-))

Emily has been going through a period of rest and assimilation I think and consequently lot's of TV watching.I have just said yes when asked and have accepted that this may take a while.I am well aware that it is being used as an easy option when she can't think of other things to do or isn't keen to do anything I suggest,I have also accepted that she is learning from the TV and that this is what she needs at the present time.I strongly believe she will then move on to another phase whatever form that may take,when much less TV will be watched .Will be quite interesting to see if that one proves to be correct ;-)) Check back in a while!!!

I too have been assimilating all the info I have read in The highly sensitive child.I didn't expect it to affect me as much as it did.I felt quite low for a while, some kind of an adjustment period I suppose.I am so glad I bought it, I have a much deeper understanding of how things affect Emily and that translates into a much more patient attitude (hormones permitting;-))

We haven't seen many people over the holidays and I have to say that I have not put the effort in to arrange things and have been quite glad with the few get togethers we have had.Over the coming months, now the weather is getting better I am thinking of travelling further to the next nearest home ed group where there are apparently more girls, our home ed group is predominately boy's. Nothing at all wrong with that as Emily has formed friendships, but I think it would be good to have a few other girls to get together with.

Alan and I were discussing our plans for the veg plot and we are thinking of turning the whole side garden over to veggies/herbs/fruit.This will involve transplanting a lot of flowers and shrubs to the rear garden but this will work well as there are areas we were needing to redo and refill there.We have good size gardens on three sides and have planted them in a way that makes it quite a low maintenance garden even though it is quite large.Neither of us are "gardeners" and have learnt over the years by trial and error and tips from family and friends.We still feel as though we are learning but enjoy the process. I do the planning and "assist" usually involving lot's of directions and making tea, whilst Al does the heavy work,I do look forward to the day I can pick up a spade again, it is quite frustrating not to be able to get stuck in.We were planning to start the work this weekend, then the overtime came up and we could certainly use the extra so Al planned to go in, then he got the cough, so it looks like we are not fated to start it just yet and will have to set to next weekend.I will post some pics as we progress.

I went to my first Yoga class last Friday.I was still aching on Wednesday !!!
I was going to go back tonight but couldn't leave the weak and coughing husband to look after the two girls in giggliest mode.So I will return next week and she said she can devise some alternatives for me so I don't overdo things again.

Obviously been a lot more happening but this gives you an idea of whats been going on.It's 11.00 pm and the two girls I had thought looked tired are still up and watching A Series Of Unfortunate Events.Always a mistake to assume things......Al has also just reappeared having gone to bed over an hour ago,He can't sleep either so is now watching a bit of telly.Think I will pop up to bed and he can make sure the girls go up at some stage.A has another sleepover with a group of schoolfriends tomorrow night as well but luckily she has amazing stamina so will cope well with two very late nights.Girlies have just come in (11.30) having decided to go to bed but apparently are planning to stay awake until 4.00pm!! I will go and tuck them in and read for a while and perhaps they will get so relaxed they will nod off!!

Friday, 4 April 2008

Blogging habits.

I have had a case of blogging block!!!
We have done lot's of stuff I would normally have written about and I have sat down to record things and the words just won't come and I haven't had the inclination to try very hard.

The time I have spent mindlessly blog hopping instead of writing over the last few nights has been outside my normal pattern and got me thinking about blogging habits.

I tend to come down and get my hot water and lemon and turn on .I have various blogs I read every day but don't tend to visit them in any particular order.I hop through them but rarely comment first thing,mainly because the old brain is still very fuddled and I may start to write a comment but can't find the right words so end up leaving it, but also that I may run out of time to get through them if Milly wakes.

If Emily still isn't up I will then visit some blogs I don't go to as often or I may click the random on the blog rings for a little variation;-)) All this will probably happen within 1/2 an hour, unless someone has written a very long post.

I rarely post during the day,I will sometimes start after tea if Alan and Emily are doing something but it is normally when Emily goes to bed that I will sit and write.

Through out the day if we are in and I have a few spare minutes whilst having a cuppa or if Milly is otherwise engaged I will flick through again to see if anyone has posted( I have tried to join blog lines so I can get notified when my favourites post, but the confirmation email is never sent to me so I can't confirm the registration)I may also flick through the blogrings,this sounds as if it takes up a lot of my day but in fact it only takes a few minutes at a time,and I find it easier and quicker to do than sitting down and going through them all at once later in the day.
If I have read a post in the morning and thought I would like to comment it is probably at this time that I will leave a comment.I always read the comments on a blog and will often pop in to update on the comments that have been left.I think the comments are as much a part of reading a blog as the post.

I love to get comments and enjoy seeing an email to let me know I have a comment.Is that just too sad? I really do have friends outside of blog land ;-))

Of course to get comments you need to post, so for those of you who like to visit I will get back to it as soon as the fog lifts from my brain and once again fill you in on our day to day stuff ;-)) xx

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Long journey,late night.

I have been to bed and had to get back up again,lot's of aches and pains stopping me from sleeping.

Milly has been brighter today and after the plumber came first thing 11.00!!!(His first thing and my first thing differ somewhat.If I had known his first thing was nearly lunch time I would not have leapt out of bed, out of a deep sleep at 8.30 with that horrible feeling I used to get when late for work, to rapidly throw some clothes on and use the bathroom before he arrived!!!!)we travelled to my Mum and Dads around 40 Min's away then on to my sisters a further 30 Min's.I don't normally travel this far as it always has a negative physical effect, hence the reason I am up blogging at what for me is unheard of 12.00.It has to be said the fact that Emily had earache again and has been tossing and turning as well until 10.45 did have something to do with me not being able to sleep.She is now snoring away and I am sitting here with a glass of wine( first one for many weeks) browsing and blogging.

She has been a little star today and I realised ( not for the first time) how much better she is in a family setting when there are fewer people,I felt she managed to let them see the Emily we see instead of the clingy child who rolls around and seeks attention negatively.She really shone and spent time feeding some lambs with my sister and then offered to set the table for tea.Pity we haven't got lambs to feed if that is what it takes to set the table willingly;-)We had a lovely tea and a good chat.Sad though, my sister has fostered two donkeys for many years and one of them Strudel,has a major liver problem so today may be the last time we see her.Fingers crossed she pulls through....