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Monday, September 29, 2014

Batting into left field


Life can't be on the right field all the time. The week that past had a number of disappointments. It's like there's a full moon and half our children decided to take their own directions into left field. It's disappointing enough when one child does something but when five to six act out, it can be draining on our emotions. We haven't been the most popular family in our neighborhood. I get that. Years ago I received a call from another mother stating that she didn't want her children around ours. She didn't want her children to be influenced by ours. I didn't feel insulted by the phone call instead I thanked her, I told her I understood. From that moment no children in our neighborhood has been over. It's very difficult knowing the truth - truth is that some of our children can influence another child into left field. I see it first hand because most of their  friends are their siblings. I get the isolation. What's sad is our children don't understand. We had a situation this weekend involving two of our children and within thirty minutes the damage was done. They were allowed to go on their routine bike ride. Our one child decided it would be fun to sneak into our neighbors yard releasing all their live stock. Over forty chickens, bunnies, and goats. Five chickens perished after neighborhood dogs chased them down, including our dog. We knew it was our son when we started investigating the situation. He has FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) and really doesn't grasp the concept of cause and effect. Nor will he ever admit ownership. While collecting my thoughts......knowing darn well that our neighbors weren't going to like my news, I walked myself over. My steps seemed slow, my thoughts wished for compassion and understanding. I wanted to cry however my composure remained calm. Inside I shook. I explained what we knew and apologized. Our son is now learning about the "cause" and "effect" of his actions and including he will pay for the lost chickens. Unfortunately his actions hasn't just lost the lives of these chickens, it's put another stamp on us within our neighborhood. It saddens me to know the struggles some of our children will continue to face, and most of our society does not understand the effects of FAS. So after this we're back to 100% complete supervision. No bike rides with his siblings. I home school, so his next reading report will be, "The boy who cried wolf" because that's part of the effect that's happening. We can't believe even when he's telling the truth. During this we had our second oldest son visit from up north. He was in and out. We were busy. I tried to make the effort. Sadly I've realized that I'm not that important in our adult children's lives. (At least that's how I feel right now) They have or are moving on with their own lives. So what I expected didn't happen. My husband and I discussed about us. We have invested already twenty four years in raising children. We have dedicated ourselves 99% of the time. I reminded myself this week that we need to try and take 25% for ourselves. I need to turn my expectations around, and make sure that I'm taking my time, and time with my husband because it's becoming clear that at the end of the day, it's my husband and I until the end. Between some challenging behaviors (not excluding teenagers) and many disappointments it's been hard to write about the positives. I just feel we are batting into left field this week and hopefully now we're catching the ball. 

Changing the subject slightly.....we are still shell collecting. So I had this bright idea to drive to the oyster farm. When we pulled up I was so excited because there was millions of oyster shells. I asked the farm if we could collect the shells and they kinda looked at me funny and said, "By all means - go ahead" I parked right next to the heaping hill of shells. We jumped out with our bags in hand and I wanted to vomit! The smell was like a rotting dead animal. The flies were everywhere. Ten minutes of sifting through rotten shells we had to leave. The bag of shells I did collect filled the van of that rotting odor. Several times I thought I needed to pull over to vomit. It was a bright idea gone bad. Another left field moment this week......anyhow I always look forward to a new day, maybe that will be tomorrow. 


Sunday, September 21, 2014

"Why add more?"

Emily's first angel delivered!
 Collecting shells at the beach deserves a much needed kiss!
 Orders for Emily's Angels!
 Shell collecting ended up with us playing in the leaves! Welcome Fall!
 Two of our sons passed their belt test! Yellow belts! 

 There is something to be said about having a busy life. Many people ask, "How do we do it?" or "Why?" "Why add more to an already busy life!?" There is no easy answer on how. We adapt. We start at 7 am and we don't end our day until bedtime. With our daily routine life works. It's truly a dedication. Now if we weren't busy enough, we have launched Emily's Angels in hopes to not only bring awareness for Cerebral Palsy but to hopefully collect enough donations to purchase our daughter an all terrain jogging stroller so she can continue to enjoy the great outdoors hiking with her family. Making these angels has taken my mind off of our daughter's upcoming surgery. Keeping busy has its perks. I don't have time to worry nor dwell on tomorrow. Making the angels with my family and friends keep me focused on our daughter's future. Our littlest daughter has changed our lives. She is this beautifully innocent little girl that yells, "Hello" to everyone. As much as she is complex, she is this sweet simplistic little girl who lights up a room. She touches every ones heart. When anyone comes to our home she will yell, "You're home now!" A very welcoming loving person who deserves to experience life, and to enjoy everything life has to offer. Our daughter's happiness is our dedicated mission we will conquer. "Why add more?!" It's important for all of us to have purpose. Mine has always been for my family, and right now it's for my angel, Emily. To insure that she continues to smile, and to hopefully ease her recovery by adding what she loves. That's why I've also started her an Elmo and Peppa the Pig folder. If you're interested, or your child is interested in drawing pictures for Emily's "Happy Folder" please msg me for our address. No child should endure what some children do (diseases, life changing diagnoses and surgeries) It breaks my heart. My chest hurts, and I develop knots in my throat just thinking about what's to come for our baby girl. I know the feeling of being helpless as a mother. Emily's angels is not only bringing awareness, or helping to fund a jogging stroller, it's keeping this momma focused. Emily's "Happy Folder" will not only help Emily smile during her recovery, it will help me feel like I'm doing everything possible to comfort her. This is why I add more to our life, we need too. 
A quote I like states, "You were given this life because you are strong enough to live it" 
I believe the above quote to be true. I believe all our challenges in life are there for a reason. We learn from our experiences, our strengths come from our pain and there's always a light at the end. I am anxious to see that light.......



Monday, September 15, 2014

Emily's Angels



Our youngest daughter (age 7) has Quadriplegic Spastic Cerebral Palsy. We are currently waiting for her surgery date to reconstruct and anatomically correct her hips. It's an extensive surgery with a 3-6 month traumatic recovery period. We are constantly questioned, "What is wrong with her?" So we decided to make Emily's Angels out of hand picked shells, cleaned and oiled from our local beaches. Our daughter and her siblings will gift these nature creations to support and bring awareness of Cerebral Palsy while Emily awaits her surgery, and during her recovery period. 

"Cerebral Palsy, also known as CP, is a condition caused by injury to the parts of the brain that control our ability to use our muscles and bodies. Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. CP can be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild CP may mean a child is clumsy. Moderate CP may mean the child walks with a limp. He of she may need a special leg brace or a cane. More severe CP can affect all parts of a child's physical abilities. (Our daughter) A child with moderate or severe CP may have to use a wheelchair and other special equipment. Sometimes children with CP can also have learning problems, speech, problems with hearing or seeing (called sensory problems), intellectual differences, and behavioural or emotional challenges. Cerebral Palsy does not always cause serious disabilities. Usually, the greater the injury to the brain, the more severe the CP. However, CP doesn't get worse over time, and most children with CP have a normal life span" 

We hope with Emily's Angels it will not only provide awareness of our daughter's condition but to allow Emily the opportunity to decrease her worries by enlightening others that Emily's Angels will strengthen and offer hope to everyone facing life challenges. Each angel includes the gift of hope, and empowerment. Following Emily's successful surgery we hope to purchase an all terrain jogging stroller for Emily so she can keep hiking, experiencing life and our great outdoors. Any donations from an angel for an angel will be accepted and greatly appreciated. Most importantly, just a "Hello" or even a picture of Elmo or Peppa the Pig after receiving an Emily Angel would put a smile on our daughter's face during her recovery. For more details contact Emily's Angels at hohnstein@shaw.ca 

"He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge" Psalm 91:4

"We don't know how strong we are until being strong is the only choice we have" - Cerebral Palsy Awareness. 




Sunday, September 14, 2014

Amazing weekend - Photo reflection!

Our weekend was great. Saturday a friend and I brought some of our children to a local lake. I just can't believe we are still swimming outdoors in the middle of September! During our time at the lake there was a bat. I never saw a bat fly during the day. I had a feeling we were in its territory. It would come out of this tree (seen below) then fly above us and back to the tree again, several times. In the middle of this tree is the little bat that I believe is screaming at me with its mouth open. After our lake adventure, my husband and a few of our boys attended the year end races with a firework ending. 
 We love Cameron Lake. The home of the mysterious lockness monster. 
 We ventured back to the "Hole in the wall" on Sunday!
 I love this picture of my grandbabe. The sun beams are shining down on her while she looks up with amazement....or confusion. lol
 We decided to hike further and we stumbled upon hundreds of Inukshuks. I personally thought I was in a different land. It was amazing. A little tid-bit about me is, I build Inukshuks everywhere I go. (When I have time that is) Inukshuk means "in the likeness of a human" a formation showing someone was there. So when we came around the corner along the river and I saw this - it was truly amazing. I then quickly told our children, "Do not touch" It's disrespectful to knock someones creation over.
 Literally they we everywhere!

 Then further down the trail we found another waterfall that you could shower under. There was a rope swing available and some of our children swung and dropped into the deep clear swimming hole below. Standing back I immediately thought we were in Fiji. This place has a magical feeling, and I can not wait to go back!
 In the below picture is some of us enjoying our day hike. We had some rough terrain but it didn't stop us getting to our destination. A destination we didn't even know existed! 
 Leaving you with this reminder. If you're having a rough day, remember your heart is beating - that does mean we're alive for a reason. Don't give up....take life day by day. We do. "We have too" AND today was a prime example of how amazing life can be.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

December 13th!



It's that time of year again where I should announce the date of our Christmas party! On December 13th from 4 pm - 9 pm we will be having our annual Christmas party for adoptive families, families waiting to adopt, AND including friends and family. It's a potluck event. Practice your talent, there will be a talent show. There will be a surprise visitor and door prizes! (Please bring a gift per child with their first and last names labelled for Santa's bag) Please RSVP me for more details, for destination and/or questions. Spread the news.......more the merrier! AND believe it or not.....there is only 16 more Friday's before Christmas! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September - "Home schooling"

A race car track
 Shell work for our upcoming Christmas Craft fair!
 Cleaning the shells......
 Simplistic Science Projects!
 Journals

 Art
 Endless Taekwondo for five of our boys!
Biking!

Life as we know it.........


"Success only happens moving forward" - Me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Days are like blinks....


I can't believe we are in the second week of September. I can't believe our weather has been this amazing with endless sunshine! I can't believe that the public school hasn't started either. Luckily we have been homeschooling Monday to Friday and our structured routines are helping us with this unpredictable time. I've been so busy with homeschooling, activities and life in general that I feel I'm (we're) missing pieces in time. Days go by like blinks. Family and friends we hardly see. I often contemplate and ask myself if life should exist this way. As the sun shines, and the days become memories...I wonder...if all this routine, this structured life from one day to the next is what's important. My children are being educated. They're receiving huge supports. They live fairly well knowing breakfast is at 8am. School starts at 9am. Lunch is at 12pm. School ends at 2pm. Dinner is at 5pm. All the activities, therapies and sports are everywhere in between while bedroom routines start at 7pm. Movie night is Friday night. It works. Just today I questioned after a week into our homeschooling schedule if this is all necessary? I have adult children and they're all doing well although was it because we spent so much time building these fundamental skills of daily life? Spending those endless days insuring their futures will be successful? Or are they doing well because they're now adults understanding the responsibilities of life in general? And they've learned from their own mistakes? I often wonder, would it make a difference if we didn't spend all this time, weren't as rigid, would our children turn out just fine while we become more spontaneous? I don't have any answers. I do believe with FAS (Fetal Alcohol) affected children they do thrive with a more structured routine where daily life is more predictable. Where consequences are quick without many warnings. It's hand over hand directions. It does equal less chaos with a large complicated family. We can feel confident going out to a restaurant, or traveling across the province like I did. I guess just sometimes I would like to drop the pencil, forget when bedtime is and enjoy the stars until late at night without worrying about the aftermath of changing up our routines. And not that we haven't done this of course (that's why holidays are so important) because we need those extra no routine days to re coop. "I guess I'm missing summer"

 We are completely full force back in the swing of life as we usually know it. I love being productively busy, I love homeschooling and I love all the professionals supporting us. I just hope that I can look back fifteen years from now and say, "It was worth it" That my husband and I accomplished raising our sixteen children successfully even when the days passed us like blinks while missing a few stars. For now, we are highly structured taking one day at a time hoping for the best possible future for our children. I sure hope we're doing this right........ and we're not missing too many falling stars. 



Thursday, September 4, 2014

"A family team feeling"




In our Province there has been a public school strike. Four of our public school children haven't been back to school. Every family is affected if their children are attending a public school system. I'm not going to write about the politics nor add my opinion about this strike. However for our family, our four children that are "in waiting" to go back to school are definitely confused. They are anxious. So because I home school seven and we started September 2nd on time, I've incorporated our four waiting public students into our home schooling program. They've been reflecting on their summer and writing summer journals. We are going to start an art/science project involving the human body, how it works, why....and on where organs are located. I'm excited for this project because we are going to make each organ and learn by velcro parts where it's placed within the paper body we're making. I personally love how amazing our bodies are, AND learning about our bodies is the first step into learning on how to save our lives. After our body project, there is an excellent craft to make and understand our brain. Our four lobes and what each is intended for. Our frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal lobes! I love homeschooling. Can you say, "Exciting!" During our first week not only have a organized, structured and developed routines for everyone, and everything - we also started collecting shells. (Pictures provided above) All sizes and different types. We plan on making nature crafts, and including Christmas crafts and hopefully (according to plan) renting a table at our local Christmas craft fair. I think this is a perfect opportunity to teach our children about working (making the crafts) then to communicate out in public while handling money. "So many life skills" So during the public school strike we are surviving and most importantly continuing to learn. I've been feeling pretty OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) lately for education. And when I write about educating my children, I educate what I think will be helpful within their futures. It's as simple as that. Most important thoughts to remember, we are all unique learners. We all have different interests. The trick is.....finding that interest, twisting it in that unique way where education is developing a successful future for our children. Honestly, the only reason why we have four of our children remaining in our public system is solely for their friendships. Otherwise, homeschooling is ultimately the way to teach if you can. For us, we don't have over crowded classrooms. We have (right now) seven enrolled home schooled students, four EA's, a teacher that oversees, three therapists and myself. I present what I would like our children to learn. Our children do follow the BC Curriculum (while meeting all their PLO's for graduation) Our teacher and I interview our EA's. I have 100% communication at all times. I work a long side when I can. Everyone is like family, and everyone comes to our home. It's busy.....but when we all can sit down at the kitchen table for lunch - it's a family team feeling. I know many parents that would like to home school is afraid. I was. With anything, it's a new transition and honestly above all, even above books - experience is key. To conclude, I have no doubt this is the our right path.......and a thought to ponder for yours.