Update!

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I’ve been an absent blogger for far too long…but I had a great excuse 😀

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So very delighted to introduce the newest addition to our family! Meet Babykins, the beautiful little girl, who has already nuzzled her way into our hearts and has 3 adoring siblings to prove it!

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Turns out finding time to blog (let alone bathe, sleep or eat) becomes increasingly difficult with each pregnancy and additional newborn! But I am finally now feeling like I’m returning to “normalcy” (which in my world is really just embracing the chaos!) and am carving out some time to get back to writing and sharing here!

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Photo credit: My wonderful and talented friend, Erin Petruska Photography

 

♥ 100 Acts of Kindness ♥

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We are accepting the 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge 2015, a fun and wonderful challenge shared by some very inspiring Mommas on the blogesphere, Kristina of Toddler Approved and Megan of Coffee Cups and Crayons.

The challenge is to keep track as you and your family complete 100 acts of kindness over the course of a month (today until Valentine’s Day!). Seems very fitting if you ask me to begin a kindness marathon on Martin Luther King’s birthday and to wrap it up on a day focused on all things nice and lovey (see those inspiring Mommas are smart too!).

We participated in this challenge last year and it was very fulfilling for our family and pretty amazing to watch our children not only want to show kindness to others, but also begin to acknowledge and show gratitude to those who showed them kindness.

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This time around I REALLY want to instill in my kids that kindness doesn’t cost a penny and that it can be done without needing to purchase anything. Our family budget is currently very tight, so this is a necessity for us, but regardless I think it is invaluable to teach our children that giving of our love and time is very often much more appreciated than giving of any material items.

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We began our discussion today about the challenge and the kids decided they wanted to use a heart banner to display our acts of kindness this year. We thought it would be nice to use our acts to help wrap our own home in kindness. And so we will hang our banner around the perimeter of our family room tomorrow and begin recording all of the kind things we do.

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At bedtime tonight, Little Momma asked if we could write our acts of kindness down on her magnadoodle before saying prayers, so we listed them off – and I ran out of space, so we are off to a good start!

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Little Momma also wanted to make note of why she acted kindly today, (and to be honest I was a little worried she would say it was at my recommendation or to try and ‘win’ the challenge) but instead she very thoughtfully shared that she “really wanted to be a nice person”.

*Melt*

And right there is a summation of why I LOVE this challenge and can’t wait to see how we grow in kindness and love once again this year! ♥

Becoming a Homeschool Mom

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Today I became an official homeschooling mom. After much discussion and prayer, we determined that Little Momma would benefit most from home instruction for her Junior Kindergarten year. This does not mean I think every other kinder parent who put their child on a bus or dropped them at school today made the wrong decision. It simply means that our children are different, our families are different and as a result, we may do things differently. So please don’t feel even for a moment that my decision passes any judgment on yours (and I ask for the same treatment in return please!). I am fully aware that each of us is on a mission to do what is best for our individual families and children, and you’re best, and mine is AMAZING!

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Our first day was not perfection…in fact it was far from it!  Mr Man was a feisty terror, Baby Girl is cutting a million teeth and we had some extended family health issues and an extra canine family member to add to the mix (nothing short of exciting over here will do!). And yet still, more than once today I stopped and commended myself for sticking with my gut and making this difficult, and against the grain decision. Although I’m still finding my bearings, I truly believe this is going to be a beautiful and fulfilling journey for all of us!

My *goal* is to journal daily for each child on what we touched on that day (for the assessment and reporting obsessed teacher in me!) and I must say I am flabbergasted at how much we covered for our first day. Check out our Instagram feed @mommyschool for details on today’s activities! And keep following along to see what we get up to in the coming year. I am looking forward to sharing our adventures!

I hope to find my groove in the coming weeks, but for now I feel a sense of peace, telling me that for the time being, we are exactly where we are meant to be ♥

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Happy Back to School (or not) to everyone! 🙂

 

 

Making Friends: Teaching Social Skills

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 Little Momma starts Kindergarten this year and I KNOW she is ready curriculum-wise and she has had lots of exposure to other children, but I imagine every parent worries to some degree about their child making friends.

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Her whole life I have been setting the stage for friend-making opportunities, through playdates and activities. But putting yourself out there on your own is a whole new experience and takes a lot more guts than merely playing with the kids your mum has invited over! And so I went into this summer with a plan to explicitly teach friend-making skills for my Little Momma to take with her on the first day of school!

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Sometimes we expect that kids will come by social skills by pure osmosis or coincidence, and though they can learn much from the examples they are shown, it is only through their own action that they will find their real groove and comfort zone.

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Explicitly teaching kids how to make new friends may feel awkward, but can help them gain confidence and ease in seemingly tense or novel situations. This can be especially important for shy children, who may otherwise avoid people or circumstances that are new to minimize uneasiness.

 Here are the skills we have been working on:

1) Approaching someone new {with intention}. Kids often approach one another…and then they just stand and stare….so we have been working on going up to new kids with the intention to say hello.

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2) Introducing yourself. This one may seem basic, but it’s surprising how many kids shut down when approaching or approached by a peer.

“Hi, I’m _________. What’s your name?”

“My name is {crazy dinosaur in high heels}. Do you want to play?”

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My only caution with this one is to review information that is okay to share with new friends and that which is best kept for those we know well (i.e. address and phone number). We have had many an occasion where Little Momma gets so excited in her introduction that she begins spewing where we live, along with an immediate invite. :p

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3) Simple playground games. Knowing how to play a few games not only allows your child to join in with others, but also provides them with some ideas or suggestions upon asking a new friend to play. Various sports, tag, Duck Duck Goose, hopscotch, ring around the rosie, follow the leader and I Spy are a few examples of the many games you can introduce to your children.

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4) Seeking out friends with similar interests. This one took a few tries for Little Momma (partially because I think she was working out what she was interested in), but she is starting to really get it. When looking for a new friend to approach, look for kids who are doing activities you like to do or playing games that you want to play. A little common ground is always nice when talking to someone new.

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5) Starting a conversation. Often the conversation will surround whatever the kids start playing. Little Momma will also usually introduce her younger brother and sister since they are normally in tow, which can lead to some discussion and comparison. To add to this repertoire, given Little Momma’s love for humour, I have worked on teaching her a few jokes that she can share with her little friends. This small and seemingly cheesy idea has done so much for her confidence in conversing with new friends.

“What do you get when you cross a fish and an elephant?” – “Swimming trunks!”

“Knock Knock. Who’s there. Lettuce. Lettuce who? Lettuce in it’s freezing!”

“Where do snowmen keep their money?” – “In a snow-bank”

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Making friends can be scary….especially when you’re little and the world seems so very big. Why not give your child the tools she needs to help her feel more comfortable, prepared and ready to surround herself with playmates! The joy she will exude is totally worth it – and then some!

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Ponderings of a Stay-At-Home Mom {re-post}

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{I originally posted this on my other blog, 3scoops, a couple of weeks ago, and am only brave enough to share it over here now! I do feel the message is an important one despite my sometimes heated opinions ;)}

 

So, I have struggled in deciding whether or not these words I have written are something I want to have out on display for everyone to see. And I have come to the conclusion that although they open me up to be vulnerable in ways beyond my comfort level, if they are able to reach just one person who feels the same or help to alter the opinion (or words) of somebody who knows someone in a similar position, then it’s worth it.

This past week my husband lost his job. Being a one-income family this has been particularly startling as it means our only manner of providing for our family has been terminated.

Now this isn’t meant to be a “poor me” sob story. I have every faith in hubby’s ability and drive to find work under pressure and our determination to do what it takes to protect and provide for our family.

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Where my frustrations lie has been largely with how others (all very well intentioned people in our lives) have reacted to this news:

“At least you can just go back to work now”

“Good thing you have a career to fall back on”

“Are you going to go back to work?”

Hi world – I AM working – long days (and most nights), my salary is sticky kisses and “I Love You’s”, and my patience quota is tested daily. I work hard, I’m not sitting here in my bathrobe, sipping mimosas, while my children run feral. Our days are filled to the brim with outings, learning activities and love, meant to enrich my kids in their childcare setting, which also happens to be their home. Not to mention I save our family upwards of $600 a week on preschool and daycare costs (if only savings were cash in hand ;)). It’s exhausting to constantly feel the need to defend our choices, I so wish us moms were not under this constant gaze of judgement, trapped in a Panopticon.

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I feel that at some point in the hustle and bustle of this rat race of life people have come to weave together the value of money with the worth of a person…and it just isn’t accurate. We are all worthy and each of us is doing what is best for OUR family in our own unique circumstance (and this is precisely why we all defend our own choices with such fervour!)

…{and now I’m rambling} But please remember that our words carry weight and that a simple kindness is a white flag of sorts, showing others that we come in peace. Let’s all just call a truce on these “Mommy Wars” here and carry our white flags of kindness high and proud, because all of us are worthy of a little kindness, free of judgement; regardless of which Mommy-camp we belong to. Afterall, we face our toughest critic everyday in the mirror and she already has us questioning every single decision we make. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.  Can’t that be enough?

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And yes, I will be returning to work, tomorrow and everyday, here in our home – business as usual.