Wednesday, April 8, 2015

More Decisions, More Changes

Maybe, maybe there are decisions in our future. A few months back we had decided to take K out of school so now BigR and K are unschooled. We don't follow a set curriculum at home we let their interests and desires guide us. So far BigR has learned intensely about Ancient Egypt and is working on his reading, as well as learning about surviving in the wild as his dream is to build a house and live in the bush when he's older, K has taken a little while to find an interest that is lasting beyond a couple of days (like seals) but seems to really be interested in anatomy. Actually, it's more she has her heart set on being a doctor, and nurse, and midwife, and I mentioned they need to learn how the body works - so she has been working on that, along with mastering her reading as well.

M is set to go to grade 1 next year, though we haven't decided if we are sending him, and recently LittleR has been saying she doesn't want to go to school anymore. While I believe there is a place for traditional education, and that home schooling or unschooling can work - I truly believe there is inherent value in this ECE kindergarten they're in and would like them to stick it out. It is a magical place and I think it helps instill confidence in the individual which all kids need.

So there is the school decision....which is compounded by....

The house. We have the beautiful property and house right now, but we only signed a 7 month lease and from talking to our landlord last he doesn't seem like he is in a good place financially and we are now quite concerned he is going to want his house back. His kids do live in a different town which is why he moved in the first place, but he still works in our town. We don't know what he will do. If he decides he wants his house back than we have the decision of where we live. We moved to the Cowichan Valley for the school, that's the sole reason. Now half of our kids don't go there and the other half may just be on the way out - so there is nothing holding us here. We could move back to Nanaimo if we wanted.

The problem is...we don't know what we want. Well Craftymama wants the farm life, actually she wants this house and this property as she says it's perfect for her, and Glassman wants something similar I think. I miss being able to walk to things or being closer to things. I don't hate where we live, it is beautiful and it has many benefits but if we get to pick where we live I'm not sure it would be my first choice. I don't know what we will do or where we will live. But our lease is theoretically up in June...and June isn't that far away. I feel like we need to figure this out before we are given just 30 days.

I caught BigR and K snuggling on the couch reading to each other. 

BigR does math, of his own accord - no forcing here. 

I knit this headband for LittleR our of 'her' yarn. 

J doing important baby things
My new fav. picture of Craftymama and I
M doesn't like his picture taken - ever; I've tried.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Meet Orso

Yes - that picture is hard to see. The house has crappy lighting, and the dog is black. We (read: everyone else in my family) has been pining after a dog. Glassman has been nearly begging for a German Shepherd for as long as I can remember. Craftymama loves her golden retrievers and labs. And me, if I had to pick a dog it would be a malamute of a husky.

We (they) had been looking at the SPCA site for weeks and had actually gone to see a few dogs. One butt ugly dog, a husky, and a german shepherd. The SPCA is ridiculous, to be honest. I get it they have to look out for what's in the nest interests of a dog, but, if you're going to say no because I have kids than tell me that over the phone instead of making me drive to Victoria and visit with the dog. Ugh! They were just not helpful. Then they recommended this other dog to us, and we visited with him and he literally just nipped at and jumped all over the kids and was insane. I don't see how they thought this dog would be a good fit for us.

Regardless, craftymama found this guy. They went up to visit him and they all fell in love. He is an 8 month old Lab crossed with something. His name is Orso (it's Italian for Bear). The SPCA told us he was past most of his puppy behaviours, as I really didn't want a puppy. Turns out he jumps, he nips, he is hyper - he is most certainly still a puppy - except that he is house trained, which is a severe plus.

Craftymama tried to train him, but he really seems to be responding to Glassman. He already knows sit, down, and is learning stay. He is also walking a lot better on a leash than we first got him - so there is hope.

So we have a dog. The next dog we get is a malamute. An older malamute - cause there is no way in hell I'm doing a puppy.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lights Will Guide You Home

So I haven't updated for a month. And much as happened.

First, I was supposed to go to that Vipassana Meditation Course. I bought my bus tickets, found a place to stay in Vancouver - with my sister, and packed my bags. I get to Vancouver and we are about to have dinner (my bus was the next morning at 6:30a), I get a call saying they made a mistake and they can't accept me because I was hospitalized in November. That's not completely true - I was in the hospital for ECT, it was a treatment. I haven't been hospitalized since last February if you recall. The word disappointed does not even begin to cover how I felt. Craftymama was pissed and wanted me to get mad at them, but I didn't see the point. I was upset, I was angry too - but getting mad at them wasn't going to do anything except send bad energy out into the world. I think it was a great learning experience for me. I felt more calm about it than I expected. They said I can apply again in 6-12months, I would like to - I think. I still believe it would be a valuable experience for me to go.

The girls went over to Vancouver to see the same sister for a night. They had tons of fun. One of the cousins' gymnastics coaches wants to steal Remy. I guess she was doing quite well when she got to play around on some of the stuff. This also lead to a discussion with Craftymama as to splitting the kids as the boys didn't get to go. It was MY mistake. I had told SisterE that Craftymama wouldn't let the boys go to Vancouver, when in reality she would let them go for a day - just not a night because they don't really spend the night anywhere. Truth be told I don't think they would like it, M would probably be upset and cry over wanting to be home, and BigR would just be quiet because it's too long away from home and he doesn't like that. Maybe next time the boys can go hang out with the cousins. I am sure the boy cousins would love it as J and BigR are so similar and M would just adore playing soccer with them!

I am trying some tangible things to both gain better control of my mental health and live the life I want to be living - even if I don't know what that looks like yet. I am working on a values book to help identify what's important to me and I have learned I have carried a lot of things from childhood. I am waiting on a DBT workbook which will help with my "adorable mood swings" as Craftymama calls them. I have also been walking around barefoot outside to ground myself more. It feels amazing. I laid in the grass the other day while J played down the hill and I just watched him through the grass - it was a really cool experience. I am also going to try to pick up my guitar more, and if I can't learn other people's songs for a variety of reasons then maybe I'll try writing my own. I used to write, never melodies, but lyrics. It might feel good to put some of that out there.

I was told by a friend that he will recommend me for an Ayahuasca ceremony. It's essentially a spiritual drink. This friend described it as 10 years of therapy in a couple of hours. A few years back I really wanted to do one, but you have to know the right people. Now I do! I am excited for that as well.

We had to euthanize our dog Kobey this week as well. He was having difficulty walking, his breathing was getting harder, and he had started stopping eating. He was 13, so he lived a good life. Everyone is sad and everyone wants another dog, and we have been looking - we just haven't found the right one yet. I am the only one that doesn't really want another dog, but I am supremely outvoted in this regard.

The Three of Us <3

Watching Jove play

Why yes, LittleR is stuck in a basket...

The four older kids. My table and heart are full. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Happy Anniversary

Today is February 25th 2015. It`s been one year (+ a day) since I was released from the hospital. So it has been a year since I have last been hospitalized. It`s been exactly one year since I was fired from my job, being told to `get my shit together', which catapulted into us having to foreclose on the house and move.

In one year I have moved twice.

In one year I have had 5 different jobs. A cleaner, two coffee shops, a transfer attendant, and now a wholesale accounts manager.

In one year I have gone through numerous ups and downs. Near hospitalizations, crisis', ECT, new drugs, and some self help steps.

I, personally, and my family have come a long way in one year.

We are in a place that we absolutely love. The land we are on is gorgeous, and I can't believe we get to live on it. The house itself is perfect for us, and just has so many quirks and charms - though the wasps nest in our wall is free to go any time it wants to!

I am working at a place where I actually feel valued and where I am doing a good job. Also, going through all those jobs this past year led me to what my passion is and what I want to make a career out of.

I still harbour feelings over the job I was fired from, and I need to deal with those. I still have many fears and anxieties that the depression that I have overcome will come roaring back at a moment's notice. I still deal with many issues of being borderline and bipolar - but I'm here - and thriving.

I leave for my 10 day vipassana meditation course next week. I have been looking forward to doing that for months now. I am trying to get into running and not hating myself when I don't or can't run for whatever reason. I would like to get back into Bikram yoga. I would also like to find some hobbies. I need some skills to deal with my extreme emotions, but I know that now - which is a step in the right direction.

My kids are growing, and our family is changing. We are realizing what is working for us in terms of schooling and education - rather than just surviving because that's all we have the energy for. We are picking our financial selves up and working towards the future.

Things are not perfect. But so many things are better than they were a year ago.

I survived the last year - and for that, I am happy.

Friday, February 13, 2015

I Learned

I did an experiment this week. I had read an article where a mom allowed her toddler to pick out her clothes for a week, and for some reason it really inspired me. We, as parents, are constantly telling kids what to do, what they can and can't wear (No you cannot wear a tank top on christmas day!), so why not switch roles and let them pick out some clothes. I gave each of them one day and let them pick whatever they wanted for me. I promised I would wear it whatever it was. 

Day 1

BigR picked out thick fleece PJ pants, a men's grey long sleeved shirt and a long light grey cardigan/jacket. This is very him. Recently we have been having tiffs because he has been wearing his PJ pants out in public under his jeans and then wearing them to bed, and repeating for days on end. I am assuming this was his mini rebellion as I was now wearing PJ pants during the day. He was quick to remind me that I couldn't wear them to bed that night. 

Day 2

K picked out flowing capri fairy pants, a grey tank top, a light brown long sleeve shirt, a royal purple sweater, a bright red jacket (that I wasn't allowed to zip up) and an ear warmer/head band. It wasn't too bad except for the royal purple and the red together - they didn't really work. K is very into fashion and creating layers so even though you couldn't see all 4 of my top layers, just knowing they were there was enough for her. My top was warm and my bottom was cold. 

Day 3

M didn't want to pick out my clothes. He gets very overwhelmed when it comes to decisions and usually will avoid making them if need be. 

Day 4

This was LittleR. We have grey dress paints, an orangey/yellow skirt, a bright red long sleeved shirt, a striped grey/black sweater, and a purple and blue hat. Given that she is the most weird and random of the bunch this outfit does not surprise me. It was the only one I was slightly self conscious about going in public in. It's very loud, what with the orange skirt, ad very much does not match. 

What I learned from this is that the kids all did things and picked clothes that suited their personalities and where they are in life. They all said, those who participated, that they had fun with this and would like to do it again. I learned it's okay to let go of a little bit of control over the things tat don't matter. Who cares if I don't match, or wear orange read, or an ear warmer when I don't need to. I didn't get near as many looks as I thought I would while walking to work, and my co-workers loved seeing my outfits each day. Maybe I'll do this again some day when J can participate. 

We are trying to get things in order. Paying bills that have to be paid, getting assistance with one's that can wait a bit. We are all having to be adults here; sort of. Glassman has always struggled when it comes to finding work, he has always had work fall in his lap or someone get the job for him - lucky bastard! This time, however, no one was doing that, and he wasn't doing all that much to help himself either. So we al sat down one night and had a not so fun argument about money and bills and jobs and responsibilities. There were hurt feelings, and some anger. But what came out of it was Glassman applying for a job, and him actually getting it the next day. It's a siding job, so it's not something that he has really dome before, and it's in Victoria but at least, for the time being, he is employed again. Thank goodness! I was looking at having to get a part time job in order to supplement income and there was no part of me that was looking forward to that. 

I also want to mention that I have been thinking a lot about my niece lately. She was found to have only one functioning kidney - though the other is ridiculously strong and has compensated. They are determining what type of surgery to do and then they will remove it. I can't imagine how hard this must be for my sister, or for my niece who has much strength as she never expressed anything past a little discomfort through this whole thing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

So that sucks

So...glassman's job in Nanaimo had to lay him off a few weeks back due to lack of work. We were bummed. But then he got this job at a local glazing place. Yay same wages and saving on gas. Everything was going well. Or so we thought. Last week he got laid off again due to lack of work.

Now what the F*** do we do?

I don't make enough to support the whole family every month, it's just not feasible. He needs a job, and preferably one not in glazing where there seems to be yearly lay offs and not enough work to go around. I understand that at 29 when you only have one skill and need to have a job that can actually support a family it's hard to know what to do, and virtually nothing out there. Glassman is going on EI and that will help, and he is hoping to find a job that at the minimum pays what he needs to make in order for us to cover our bills. He has applied at a few places but he isn't the best people person, he admits it himself, so I know this will be a difficult process for him.

Of course this happens like our second month into bankruptcy and right before a bankruptcy payment is due. Did you know there is a monthly fee when you file bankruptcy? Cause that's fun...hey I have no money to pay my bills but here is some money for you.... Really, though, it wasn't that hard when glassman was working, we have extra, or we should have but we are still playing catchup on the bills we didn't file bankruptcy on. It's funny, we had to go to this counselling session and in it she was like "make a grocery list and meal plan"...Uhhh...duh...we have 8 people in the house I HAVE to do that. Have budgets for things you do, like coffee, we already do that. Don't buy new computers and things. All our furniture is second hand, our computer was given to us second hand, our clothes are second hand. I shop well and I shop sales. I know what I'm doing. When we filed we didn't even have a ton of credit cards. We had one, which, frankly, we stopped paying when we knew this was coming because what was the point in paying it. What caused this was a house we were mislead on that came crashing down around us at the same time I lost my job due to my mental health. It was honestly the house that did us in. Yes I have learned things from the experience, but at the same time, we didn't make drastic every day mistakes to get here.

Going through this made me realize that we don't know people's circumstances. I know there are people out there who know that I have filed for bankruptcy and think what a horribly irresponsible person I am. When that wasn't the case. I know there are people out there who judge me, and the 3 of us without asking questions or clarification on something they don't understand; whether it be poly or mental illness. People make assumptions, we judge other people. I am SO guilty of that, but I am realizing how detrimental it can be, and how hurtful it can be. Plus, I am learning what a waste of time and energy it is to judge other people. But it's a habit, and a hard one to break.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Coming out to the kids

You know, when we were all in this thing together before, the kids were much younger, even though it doesn't seem like that long ago. They didn't ask a lot of questions, they didn't really notice. But now they do. I have been wondering lately if we need to come out, in not so many words, to the kids and tell them what's going on. I don't want them to think of themselves as freaks, or get the wrong impression via making assumptions about things they see or do not see, but at the same time I don't want to put things in their heads that aren't there yet. Even if we did decide to tell them, or some of them, I have no idea what it would look like, or what we would say.

At the end of the day, it all seems normal to us adults. Perhaps, to kids growing up with it, it's all normal to them too. But there have been questions, and we have answered them honestly, but I wonder if that's all we need to do for now; just answer the questions they ask openly and honestly. If we make a big deal or a thing out of then they are more likely to make a thing out of it - and it doesn't need to be because it isn't.

On a completely unrelated note - the topic of school, that is the kids' school, keeps coming up. So that may be changing, but to what...who knows...there are ideals, but ideals never become reality, we have to work with what we have available and make the best choice with our given options..