Facing Fears.

When is the last time you did something that scared you?  For me it was today, I went on my first duck hunt. 

I have been wanting to try hunting for maybe the last 5 years.  Last year I took the first steps and I went and got my CORE. It was a check mark off my bucket list.  However, it was kind of like I got certified and stopped there.  It is easy to take a classroom course and pass a written test (sort of) but to actually go out hunting was a lot scarier. I felt overwhelmed by all the information I had just been given and intimidated by all the experienced hunters around me.  The course did inspire me to learn more about conservation, hunter’s ethics and the responsibility we have as hunters to protect the land and animals.  I think it gave me a new opinion of hunters, but it didn’t get me out in the fields or forests hunting. 

Hunting is not new to me.  My family and friends and even my husband all enjoy hunting.  We grew up eating game meat and I love the idea of truly eating local and knowing where your food comes from.


Lately I have been envious of hunters and going out, and figured if I didn’t just jump in, despite being scared and nervous, I would never learn. I am not sure if it is COVID and cabin fever or the appreciation for where we live and the opportunities all around us but whatever it was, I decided to get out and try.  I have been so badly wanting some hands-on experience so I can understand the stuff I learnt and apply it to the real thing.  

I am always telling my kids to try new things, and that it is okay when new things feel scary but they can also be fun and rewarding.  I finally took the leap and went out.  I am grateful for friends who not only encourage me but also teach me.  I have two good friends who hunt and both are always encouraging and reminding me that I can do it.  These girls have inspired me to step outside my comfort zone and enjoy the privilege of hunting.  We can all do hard things, hell we are adapting and living through a pandemic!

I think it is hard for me to do self-care things inside my house or with my family around. I love my kids and husband but trying to work out in a living room while my kids are screaming and running around, or meditating in my bedroom while I see stacks of laundry that need doing can be challenging. Forcing myself outside in rainy weather (perfect for duck hunting) and just escaping for an hour to basically watch the sky is a whole new self-care. I left my phone in the car and left the family at home and just took some time for me. I actually think when you are dressed for the rain it can be nice and feels good to have fresh air. Plus, sunset has always been one of my favourite times and it doesn’t matter sun or rain, clear skies or cloudy cover the sunset is magic.

This year has been challenging on so many levels so it is easy to stray away from adding any more challenge to your life but sometimes it is that discomfort and fear that can bring great inspiration and leave you feeling more alive.  I have really been trying to come up with a bucket list and things that I want to see, do and accomplish however most of these things would include travel or experiences.  Knowing it could be a long time before travel outside of Canada is possible can leave you feeling uninspired.  However, realizing how many opportunities we have that are unique to BC and Canada has had me trying to learn to appreciate them and take advantage.  

I am a lover of heat and summertime so exploring in the summer is easy. We loved having our boat this year and getting to explore the Gulf Islands a bit. It is funny now that I think about our first boating season and the many things we did where I was super nervous and scared. I survived these moments and wouldn’t trade our time on the boat for anything. Scary things don’t have to be bad, when we are willing to face fears we often come out with an incredible experience and new perspective. We also learn the things we are scared of might not be as bad as they seem. So despite fearing the long winter and cold weather I’m going to really try to embrace it this year.

Tomorrow I am going to find a recipe and cook up the duck meat, that I actually butchered myself. I think I impressed and surprised my husband when I started to cut up the duck. I was nervous and unsure if I could do it but it was so much easier than I thought and I think with practice and experience it will start to feel like second nature to me. I also have registered for my PAL at the end of this month and am going to continue working towards becoming a hunter. I am super nervous about this two-day course but know that I need this to be able to own and carry a gun, so I want to continue to challenge myself and know that with that will come rewards. I hope you don’t let fear stop you from trying new things! What things have you always wanted to do but fear is holding you back?

Rollercoaster of Emotions

It’s been a rollercoaster ride over the last 8 months, and the last week had me feeling frustrated. At the start of November I was determined to start a new month with enthusiasm and positivity. I actually was hopeful this was going to be an amazing end to a challenging year.

Unfortunately Covid reality hit hard this month, and I really started to let it get me down. It is frustrating to feel like we are giving up so much, and making sacrifices and yet the numbers are so high and the restrictions are getting tougher again. We as a family have tried to keep a tight bubble, we are limiting our activities and have kept the kids home from school this year. In addition Fraser, our only working family member, has a job with fairly minimal contact. He works a graveyard shift and in his own machine. I know we are not the only family frustrated or the only people making sacrifices, but I guess it is nice to feel like we are making these changes for a reason but instead our numbers were going up.

Despite feeling frustrated I decided to still focus on the feelings I wanted and take control of whatever I could in what feels like a powerless situation. I started off November feeling excited to be headed into the kids birthday months, looking forward to Christmas and also was finally feeling like we had a bit of a plan for homeschool. With this in mind I came up with a list of the things I am grateful for and why the rest of 2021 is going to be good. I know not everyday is going to be good and that this pandemic is far from over but I am trying to choose to look at the positives.

  1. We have healthy kids who love birthdays and are excited to celebrate!
  2. We are still able to work, so far our income hasn’t been impacted (which I know is not the case for everyone).
  3. Christmas is Magic… our kids are young and there are many traditions that Covid hasn’t changed. We can still have fun with elf on the shelf (yup we are one of those crazy families that does this and I love it!), we can do Christmas baking, we are still able to go cut down our tree at the same tree farm we do each year, we love driving around and looking at Christmas lights, the kids love watching all the Christmas Movies (including oldies like Home Alone, Elf, The Grinch…), they also love listening to Christmas Music (and so do I), we are working on a covid friendly project to spread joy to our neighbours (something we probably would have never done without a pandemic). One of the easiest places to find happiness for me is to look at all the things I can do this year at Christmas not the few things I can’t. I know how hard it is with a big family and missing out seeing them or being able to do some of our favourite traditions (like our family booze cruise, kids annual Christmas party or annual holiday parties) but I like to focus on the positives.
  4. Our home school schedule is flexible and we have taken to movie nights on more than just Fridays, plus we can sleep in every morning and it isn’t stressful and panic trying to get ready.
  5. Fraser has been able to fit in some extra studio time at pottery and has come home with some beautiful pieces. He also has started working on creating a bit of a home studio (so far he has a kiln but still needs a wheel) and is able to spend some time for himself. We are usually so busy driving to and from activities it would be hard to find this time and I love that he has it now.
  6. We have been able to focus a bit more on our house. At the beginning of Covid and during the warmer months it was a bit easier and we tackled some fun projects like redoing our storage area/shed and creating a home veggie garden but even now we are slowly making changes inside that have been on the to-do list for a while but we never seem to have time for.
  7. How we spend our time. We used to spend a lot of time shuffling kids and driving back and forth. Covid has had us make some changes to the kids schedules and activities/ therapies which has us more home based. This forced home time has us with more “free” time and we have been using that time for play. It is amazing to watch all three kids learn to play together and play imaginary games, make believe and even barbies (nostalgic for me!). I love it and see such value in this extra time and these developing play skills.
  8. Netflix. I just love Netflix and am currently loving My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. I mean I learnt so much about Kanye and have a new appreciation for him, loved the Ellen DeGeneres episode. I have never kept up on celebrities (be it pro athletes, famous leaders, actors/actresses, musicians), I often don’t even know who they are. Tonight I watched Melinda Gates and I was laughing, crying, inspired. It was a good rollercoaster of emotions tonight. I was moved and inspired. Plus I felt like I was learning and encouraged to take action after hearing about Melinda and all the work she does. First I am going to start watching Secret Millionaires Club and see how we can start teaching a bit more about money to the kids (Thanks Bill).
  9. We have started to appreciate local travel and love where we live even more. This spring we got to see the Kootenays and this summer we were able to explore more of the islands. The plan for this winter is to appreciate the beauty of where we live and to try and enjoy the snow and BC Climate. We are hoping to be Whistler bound at the end of the month and then head up to the cabin a bit this winter. I am grateful that my kids are learning to appreciate the trips they have already taken with us (pre covid). I think none of us realized how fortunate we were previously and don’t they say distance makes the heart grow fonder. I look forward to the time we can enjoy traveling beyond our own country and the appreciation we will have for the places we visit.
  10. Finally we have started to watch the news more. I never watch the news and know as little about current events (typically) as I do about celebrities. I really have always maybe lived in a bubble so the reality is although covid has forced us to live in an actual bubble I have been expanding my life to include some current events and some interest in influential people (including some celebrities).

As I look at this list and see all the things I have to be grateful for I am once again reminded how truly fortunate I am. Although the pandemic is challenging my family is safe, healthy and happy. I hope as we near the holidays we can find ways to spread joy and maybe help those who are struggling. Stay healthy and try to look at what you have not what you don’t have.

Kids Conversations.

I am not sure if I have just been more aware this last year or if it truly has just been a year of great loss, but it has been a year where we have experienced death. Some have been tragic and way too young and hard to understand, some have been older people who have lived good lives and it was just their time. Regardless of circumstance these losses have brought a few opportunities.

One opportunity has been having conversations with ourselves and our kids about topics we don’t usually talk about. A big one has been around death, it has included how or why people die, where they go, what happens to their body, why do we put them in a box and what does it look like, can they still see through the clouds on a foggy day and should we leave them out treats… I mean you can imagine the questions that have come up. Kids face death so matter of fact, they are able to speak so bluntly and truthfully, be insightful and also accepting. I am forever grateful of the things I am learning from my kids.

Some of our conversations have been around families, we have had funny questions like when they see “Grandpa W” in my baby picture. Except it isn’t Grandpa W it is my dad whom my kids have never met and don’t know. That was a conversation that Fraser loved sitting and watching as I responded.

It also opened up lots of conversation about Frasers family and why we don’t know or see them. It has been a good reminder to us about the importance of being open. Something that destroyed relationships for his family in the past was not having conversations and not being open and willing to communicate. It has also been a tough one for us, to explain actions we don’t understand to the kids that sometimes people make choices we don’t agree with or that make sense to us but that we cannot control other peoples decisions. BIG topics for our 3, 4 and 5 year old.

We aren’t always prepared for our curious kids and the surprise questions they have, we don’t always answer theses questions in the best way and our kids love to repeat what we say so we like to have a good answer for them. However at the end of the day I am proud of all of us for having these conversations and taking the time to make our kids feel safe enough to ask about all topics. I think one big lesson for us is making sure we respond in a way that allows the kids to continue to be curious. I truly believe they feel no topic is off limits and I want them to feel that way.

When we were growing up I don’t remember having tough conversations or feeling like we could bring up any topic. I think in our families (both Fraser and I) a lot of these topics were kinda of “off limits”. In that era it wasn’t about talking about your feelings, or at least it wasn’t like that with our families. We avoided hard topics and stuck to safe and happy topics. I don’t think we had a bad childhood or that it was “wrong”. I think we just didn’t know differently.

My Mom was a single Mom who had a lot to deal with (including raising 3 girls) and we knew she didn’t like to have certain kind of conversations. I think working and raising a family is tough and can be emotionally draining on a person. To add to it the time and patience it takes to sit down and discuss hard stuff with kids. I get it, it isn’t easy.

One thing I think we are trying to change with our own kids is being open with them and having conversations that might make us sad, or are hard to have. Some questions we might not have the answer to and somethings don’t make sense to us adults, so they are hard to explain to our kids. Over the last couple months we have talked about death (including funerals, burials, heaven), global warming and extinction, homelessness, racism and gay rights. So much in our world has changed for us over the last 6 months, things have become somewhat unpredictable and the pandemic has taught me that nothing is guaranteed.

Another opportunity that has come up has been self reflection in our own lives and how we live. Some things are little (like we started back composting again) some things were a bit bigger (like we bought the boat and decided to homeschool). It has basically reminded me to not leave things unsaid and to live each day the best you can. To take opportunities as they come and to have the strength and courage to go for the things you want. At the end of my life I want to know that I took advantage of my life, lived it and am happy with the way I lived.

I have really been reflecting on my life to date, and even been trying to come up with a “bucket list”. It was the strangest thing when I went down to write out my bucket list, it was blank. In my 36 years I have accomplished so much that I wanted to do and that makes me happy I realized I am living my mission of making the most of my life. ***(I have since started a “bucket list” that I have every intention of completing.)

This year we took the opportunity of time that has been given to us, thanks pandemic, to spend raising our family the way we wanted to. We work hard at having strong relationships and that is not always easy. We try to make sure each person has what they need (Fraser takes time out for pottery, has his workshop space, Rowen has supports he needs to be successful, Grace we try to take mom and daughter time or have one on one with Nan, etc). It isn’t always easy to make sure we all have what we want, but I think this past bit has taught us we have given more than what we need and for that we are forever grateful.

I wish everyone had the basics needs always met, pandemic has been a reminder of just how fortunate we are with rarely worrying about the basics like food, shelter, money. We are certainly not rich but we are loved, safe and supported by a very big group of family and friends and I am learning not everyone has that privilege. I think the best I can do is continue to have conversations with my kids, keep an open mind and grateful heart and take advantage of the time we have.

Life is not guaranteed to any of us and the end is inevitable so I want to know that I have lived the life I wanted. Lots of things are out of my control but lots of things aren’t. Are you living your best life? This past year has taught me our best life can look different than our neighbour, parent, best friend, etc but that’s okay and we need to embrace what is our “best”. We don’t have to have the most money, the best car or the perfect day to be living our “best” and to look back on our life and the things that we are most proud of are happiest with might not be what you expect.

Facing a Friend.

Friendships have always held high value in my life and in our house. Like all things in life they ebb and flow. Sometimes you are there to be a good friend to call and check up on people, drop off special cards or treats, or help out with daily tasks just because someone else could use a helping hand. Other times you need your friends to support and love and carry you.

The strange thing about living through a pandemic is no matter who you are you are experiencing some sort of sadness, change or stress. Maybe you have less work, your kids are struggling, you have had to make tough decisions, you have older family with compromised immunity, you live internationally and haven’t been able to come home… I mean I don’t have to spell out all the scenarios each one of us are living them everyday. Here is the thing those friends we rely on are also living them, and cannot be there for us in the same way they were pre-pandemic, during these tough times they are navigating there own issues.

I feel like there is so much about Covid life that I have come to appreciate and grown to like. Not the way I wish it came to be, forced because of a pandemic however I enjoy the excuse to do less, stay at home, explore/ travel local and most of all get to have “private” or small group experiences at places that otherwise would be crowded and chaotic. I even appreciate the year I am spending homeschooling my kids, something I would have never had the courage to do before but have always wanted to try.

Lately I have started to have moments where I see the toll this pandemic has taken on people I care about or even on businesses we have enjoyed. It has started to really sink in the larger scale impact this is going to have and is having on the economy as a whole, and on individual families. There are so many things that I haven’t had to think about but then I start to think about things, like funerals and celebrations of lives, and how they aren’t able to happen in the same ways and the impact that has on loved ones. This is just one example, so many “normal” scenarios that are completely different now. There is just so much heavy and hard stuff. I try not to focus or dwell on it but I also don’t want to live so far in my own bubble I loose empathy for others.

Everything feels new and different with COVID and some good and some bad but the biggest thing I have noticed that I have never felt to this extent before is the feeling of being judged or finding people being close minded. I have strived in my last probably 5 years (kids can really humble you I guess, welcome to parenthood) to really learn to be more open minded and less judgemental. This is not something that comes easily to me. I think without even realizing it I often judge others, when I reflect I realize how wrong this is and that I often don’t even know the situation/person/ etc. Reality is no one should judge others, so I continue to work on this. Sometimes I think for me, it actually isn’t even that I was judging others but the way I come across they might feel like I was (working on my delivery and facial expressions, always room for self growth). With Covid there are so many different opinions and situations, no two peoples life circumstances are the same.

I recently read a little booklet on making tough decisions and the importance on being able to voice your opinion and chat with others who have totally opposite views. I believe there is so much value in this and always felt I made friends with a wide group of people who had a big range of opinions and values. However since Covid I feel like I hold back voicing my opinion because it isn’t the popular one or that people aren’t currently open or capable of seeing others views respectfully. I also worry I am failing at voicing my opinion in a way that doesn’t leave others feeling threatened in some way or like they must defend there choices. I would never want someone to feel this way because of things I have said. I love hearing others points of views and often change my mind frequently based on others reasoning, it always makes me think a little harder or differently and I think that is what life is about. Seeing things from more than one perspective.

I am afraid one unfortunate result of COVID has been that we are no longer having in person conversations so it is a lot of written communication (social media, text, etc). Written communication is so hard to read emotion through, to convey sarcasm and tone and so much more that is lost in translation. It is easy to write something one way and have someone read it a completely different way. The result is people start to communicate less or are just angry and no longer listening and empathizing.

Last night I put the kids to bed and went out at 8pm, GASP! I know, late night living, I mean pre-COVID this would have been the time of night I would leave to hit up Bellingham Target for a little shop. Gone are those days! I digress. We went out to our local pub (because the restaurant we wanted to meet at closed at 8) and we had a drink and in a person catch up on life. It was amazing to me how much I missed seeing a good girlfriend face to face and just catching up, hearing about day to day life. It was also surprising how lonely I had been without realizing and how isolating “staying at home” has been. It isn’t like we see no one, we do leave our house and I do talk on the phone or text but nothing beats an in person conversation. To hear excitement or pride or surprise or see tears in their eyes, it brought back the emotion of communication.

I think the moral of the story is reminding us that we are all going through stuff, so don’t read too much into peoples out of character reactions/actions. Everyone is out of character, life is not normal for anyone right now. We are heading into the winter, which for many (myself for sure) can be a more challenging season and the “honeymoon” phase of this pandemic is over. Life is tough right now and we should continue to show empathy. We also need to work hard even when we don’t feel like it or don’t know how to for our self care routines like meeting a girlfriend for a face to face chat. These things matter and are what might just keep you going and give you some new inspiration. I know it sure helped me wake up with a smile today and gratitude in my heart. Remember to voice your opinions and get into conversations with others who think differently. You might be surprised what you learn.

Happy Homeschoolers

Pre Covid and really before our kids were school aged I dreamed of homeschooling but it was always just that, a dream. I thought it was never really an option and then when Rowen was diagnosed I assumed that homeschooling would be impossible. I thought he needed the supports school gave and also valued the opportunities to socialize at school. Anytime I brought up the idea of homeschooling, both when I was growing up and as a parent when I had kids, it was usually laughed at or talked about in a way that implied homeschooling kids were “weird” or at a disadvantage.

Homeschooling has been a topic in my house since I was probably 16. At about 16 I begged my mom to let me do homeschooling for high school, I wrote an essay on why she should let me and tried my hardest to persuade her. Unfortunately my working single mom of three wouldn’t let me. I may have not forgiven her (sorry Mom, lol) but I can understand why she said no.

When COVID happened and we were all forced into schooling our kids at home it wasn’t everything I imagined it to be, there was a lot of pressure for us as parents and for the kids. My son started off okay but ended up begin unable to participate without huge fights and lots of tears. At first I was delighted that this opportunity to homeschool was happening but in the end I dreaded each day of “school” and the fights that would occur. We ended up unable to finish all the work that was sent home.

During summer break I was trying not to think about the Fall and returning to school. Our world was changing everyday and it seemed impossible to predict or plan that far in advance. However by the middle of summer the fear of returning to school and ending up back to what we were liked in the Spring with our school from home schedule had me reconsidering what would be best for our whole family. In the end I decided that the risk was too big and the possibility of going back to that would not only be horrible for Rowen but also for me. I decided to consider a more traditional homeschool approach with the ability for us to have more control over the delivery.

After much research and discussions we made the choice to homeschool our kids this year. One month into it and I can say it is a ton of work and none at all… it is the strangest combination of just playing and working hard at piecing together a plan for our days/weeks/months. It is everything from the big picture stuff (longterm, meeting learning outcomes, what do they need to graduate/ progress in school), funding (how do we get it, and how do we use it), out of pocket expenses (homeschooling can really add up, budgeting and prioritizing) and then the day to day with when and how we fit it in, what does it look like, when and how do we report to our teacher, etc. It has taken work to shift our thinking around what school is suppose to look like and the possibility of what it can look like. I am starting to see how having less of a plan and following where the days take us can lead to so many opportunities for learning that we are normally too busy for and miss. I love how my kids are passionate about what we are learning about and how much they retain knowledge, share it with our family and friends and also are just genuinely interested in stuff.

We have had way less TV and iPad time, and the time we do spend on screens is often spent on more educational learning. I love how involved we are with their learning and how we get to see first hand how they progress and what they are passionate and proud about. It has shifted my beliefs around education and how we teach/learn. It has also really opened my eyes to the reality of our education system and the direction it is headed. So much of how our schools run is based on budget, not how kids learn best. I used to assume there was some science or research and logic behind the set up of traditional schools but the more we start learning outside of the box the more I love it and see how fun “school” can be and how far kids can go when given the attention/time and opportunities to inspire them.

By the end of September I was feeling burnt out and had an “I survived September” kinda mindset. However, October has started off with sunshine, a field trip and a day spent some inspiring parents and kids. I am feeling privileged to be able to spend this year with our kids, take time to learn with them and to be surrounded by such supportive and encouraging people. I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for us, and am excited!

If you are considering homeschooling, start asking around and do a bit of research you may be surprised at how many people around do homeschool. You also might be surprised about what you think is homeschooling and what it actually can be.

Whether you homeschool or not, I think now more than ever be informed. Take the time to find out what your kids are learning or doing at school and how it is being taught or talked about. No one cares more about your kids than you, so make sure you ask questions and be in the loop. School is not “free daycare”, I feel like Covid really opened my eyes to the reality that for a lot of people school is essential because they need it for “daycare”. I believe school should be a place our kids go and feel safe, have fun, get to create and are inspired and learning. We want to raise kind, smart, curious, informed people and school should be a place to nurture that . I think somewhere along the way we got so caught up in life, and dropping off and picking up we somehow lost track of the in between time… I think of all the sad and hard things Covid has done maybe a good thing should be that it has allowed us the time to reconsider what is important and how we had set up things pre covid might need to change?!?

Prioritizing Each Other

Lately my kids have been asking if today is our Tea Party Day (Tuesday). This makes me so happy, we borrowed the idea from another local home schooling family and my kids are absolutely in love with it. As I was looking at our silver and china ready for Tuesday it got me thinking.

It is surprising to me how much my kids look forward to certain rituals and traditions we have. Some, like the tea party, are weekly and some, like Thanksgiving in 100 Mile, are yearly. Regardless of how often they happen I realized tonight they happen consistently, we prioritize them and we work hard to make sure they happen. Some involve logistics and planning like for travel we need to arrange for the dog, take time off work and put aside money to pay for it. Some just require energy and time, like our tea parties, involve me putting aside chores or other activities and spending time with the kids.

It got me thinking about rituals with my spouse, and the time and energy we put into those. Recently a girlfriend asked a group of us about how each of us do this and keep our relationship with our significant other a priority. I think it was nice to see so many different answers and also to hear that everyone struggles with this. We often think we put ourselves last, but I actually think in our house we put our time together last. I do not feel my relationship is less because of it, or that we do not love each other or respect and admire each other. I think Fraser and I have an amazing relationship, I love the way we respect each other and I think part of what is so surprising is that we spend so much time together and still enjoy spending time with each other. However just because our day to day is spent together and we are home at the same time doesn’t mean we spend quality time together. My guess is part of the reason I tend to put our time together last is because I feel so supported and loved that I don’t always think we need our time together compared to other priorities. However, I am aware just because something seems good doesn’t mean you should ignore it, you still water plants that are growing!

2018 on Family Vacation in Maui (traveling with 3 kids, 3 and under and still smiling!)

It got me thinking about things we might have done in the past that have kinda slowly slipped away (like giving cards for no reason, leaving each other notes just because or even just checking in with each other about ourselves not our kids and small kind gestures like picking up a favourite snack when at the store or making each other morning coffee/tea). I think with families and busy lives this is bound to happen but it is always a good reminder that everyone likes to feel listened too and appreciated.

I know for us we are not weekly date night people (or even monthly). We prefer a weekend or night away over a dinner out. We both would rather save up for a bigger/ longer time away then take small little nights out. With kids and life being busy and Frasers work schedule dinners out have been more of a pain than a treat. I find it hard to leave behind the “to do” list on a quick couple hour dinner out and Fraser usually has to work graveyards and should be in bed resting instead of out for dinner (trying to work on rest as a priority has been a struggle for him). Last years weekend in Tofino or this years cancelled kidless Hawaii is what keeps us going. The idea of time together long enough to unwind is something we both appreciate.

Summer 2019, “Honeymooning” in Tofino on the beach without the kids.

Covid has changed the way we can ask for help, or hire out things we need. Another way we used to be able to have quality time together was by hiring such amazing sitters for our kids but we haven’t done that in a really long time. I think it has reminded me to get more creative with our time, and to take advantage of the time we do end up together alone. We always loved trying to go out for brunch, taking the dog for a walk in between school drop offs and pick ups or even just shopping without our kids. Our new homeschool schedule has left us with more time with our kids (which is its own blessing), but means less time alone together. I think the new challenge will be how we spend this time and show our kids that we prioritize each other as much as we do them and ourselves.

This summer after a long day out with the kids on our Covid Purchase (Snoopy Sam). Maybe the secret to quality time is spend it near or on the water!

Relationships take work, and I appreciate that even when times are hard (say like during a pandemic), or when we are frustrated with each other (never happens, because I am near perfect but if I was annoying FF) we still love each other and genuinely want to be together. I can’t imagine doing this life without Fraser.

It is always nice to hear suggestions from couples who have found ways to make time together or have favourite rituals. It has been a good reminder to just make time for each other, when we need to we can somehow make time for lots of other stuff so why not something as important as the person you are closest too.

I wonder if sometimes in life, like when your kids are little, your solo time will be less but that will change faster than you know it. Already my little kids are gaining more independence and less desire to be around us all the time. I am grateful that we still look forward to time together, and the idea of getting to travel or take time without our kids is something we enjoy. I like that we get to spend so much time together as a family so maybe our quality time doesn’t have to be without our kids but is instead with our kids, as long as we are showing them that they are not the only ones who matter but that Fraser and I do too!

Last year around the fire at Thanksgiving in 100 Mile! Right beside the Lake.

Would love to hear how other families or couples have prioritized their spouses and have created rituals or quality time? Please share

For now I am looking forward to Thanksgiving in the Cariboo with our whole family. It may not be time away from the kids but it is time where Fraser isn’t working at night so maybe campfire drinks after we put our kids to bed will be our quality time for now!

the “magic” of beginnings.

Over three years ago we started a journey with our family that we could have never imagined. Our son was diagnosed with Autism and we began seeing therapists in Richmond. One of our main therapies was ABA, it was a therapy we were not familiar with and we were struggling to understand. Desperate to get help we made the tough decision of choosing a program that involved a commute to Richmond several times a week.

Rowen was so young when we started going to ABA. Lots of tough days, but now looking back I don’t remember tough days. I see how far this boy has come and how capable he is.

Over the last three plus years there were days I wondered what we were doing loading three little ones up to drive to an early morning session and one or more child would fall asleep on the way there, or trying to kill a couple of hours in Richmond unsure if we had time to come home before picking Rowen up again. However looking back over the fastest three years I cannot imagine not having these services in our lives. I say ours because it has been an amazing learning experience for our whole family.

At the end of July we had our last day at our ABA program and although we knew this day would come COVID helped to expedite the process. Unfortunately the program that has brought us so much success and joy, over the past three years, has closed its doors. We are so sad to see such an amazing resource gone.

Post Covid Lockdown when we were asked to come back as one of the first families, this boy was so excited to be back to one of his favourite places. Funny how you don’t notice the change but somewhere along the way drop offs became easier.
Running into the program not away from! This is huge (and a good reminder that we will get here with our new activities).

Rowen has left the program with a better understanding of his emotions and those around him, techniques to use to calm himself or others down when they need it, ability to ask peers to play and take turns and even how to win and loose. I am confident the skills he has learned from Bounding Higher he will use for his life and for that I will forever be thankful.

I am grateful for what this program has all brought to our lives in terms of growth and learning. We have met so many amazing people. I know with growth will come change and outgrowing things but it still feels bittersweet to be moving on from a place and people who have been such a big part of our lives.

During the same time this change was happening I started to consider what the school year would look like for Rowen, Grace and really our whole family. With a lot of contemplation and research we opted to take a year of homeschooling. I spoke with anyone who would talk about the topic but I also went to some of our main supports and people whose advice I respect and admire. Not only do I feel these people have lots of credentials and experience in the education and psychological field but they also know our family.

With so much uncertainty and with the loss of our ABA program (and also our SLP because we received this service through the same program) we decided to attempt a year of homeschooling. We had a lot of reasons for going this route and most are unique to our family. One of the main reasons and benefits to opting to school from home was if I registered us with a Distance Learning Program I gained access to funding that typically would go to our school. This funding could help us hire a new ABA and SLP and start a new program. I was so excited, really seeing the results of the last three years I knew Rowen had more he could learn and we had more we needed before saying good bye to these therapies. (***When kids with Autism turn 6 they go from $22,000 a year of funding to $6000 so I had been worried about December and the loss of funding we knew was coming, we currently spend every penny and then some out of pocket). Accessing funding was a big incentive for us.

My first road trip with these three, and we made a stop at the waterfall. This transition isn’t just scary for the kids but for me too! However when we realized we could do it (and had fun watching waterfalls), it gave us confidence and hope.
Some transitions have been fun and easy like lazy mornings, no rush to get out of PJ’s and new treasures like Orbeez.

Fast forward to now, we have hired and started with two new therapies and therapists. Both companies are amazing and we are excited about working with them and the unique programs and goals we have come up with. However what I forgot to account for was how hard Rowen finds transitions, new people, new routines and expectations and unknowns; beginnings of something new.

The past week and a half have been challenging. Our kids have been so resilient during this whole Pandemic. During the summer we have had the ability to keep things as “normal” for them as possible and have also spent the last 4 months making things as much fun as possible. None of us have had big worries (I mean besides the obvious ones that come with living through a pandemic). We have had somewhat reliable/consistent work, safe housing, good food and access to some of our favourite places (beach, ocean, boat, farm etc). We have really been fortunate.

Tea on Tuesdays was one transition that was met with no resistance.
More time to bake and have fun in the kitchen has been a perk of our new schedule.
Learning new skills with Dad, like pickling! Not all learning takes place in books:)

Fall is here and has brought with it the reality that no matter what Fall brings we cannot isolate ourselves forever. We knew we would have to return to the world eventually and that it would look different. What I didn’t consider was the growing pains we would have along the way. I am so proud of Rowen (really all our kids) and his (their) ability to communicate his frustrations and feelings. However I am also tired and low on patience. The start of September has been a reminder to me to ask for help when I need it, take time for myself, take time to organize and prep and it makes for a better day and don’t be afraid to adjust expectations.

This coming week I am hoping to put all these reminders into action and start off feeling relaxed, supported and organized. I know that the more we go through the schedule the easier it will get. For now we are gonna enjoy the weekend!

As for the homeschooling part, that has been the easiest transition to make, and one the whole family is loving. Like all new things, we are working out the kinks and figuring out our rhythm but overall I am loving homeschool and surprised at how natural and “easy” this transition was. Looking forward to the fun field trips we have planned for the next few months as well as the group of homeschoolers we have met and are learning with.

Can’t wait to sharing our adventures with everyone and come back to blogging about our family! This may be the end of our old and familiar ways but it is the beginning of something magical.

Local Love, Beautiful BC

With Fall and Back to School fast approaching there are parts of me nervous for the winter season… I LOVE sunshine, sand and warm weather. Being outside is easy when it is nice out, and outside makes everyone happier. However we live in a place that is lucky enough to have all four seasons and with the colder seasons comes some challenges for myself… including getting outside despite cold and wet weather, and feeling inspired on dreary days. Keeping this in mind, and knowing we are most likely not going to head to a warmer beach for the winter I have decided to put together some of our favourite BC spots to visit and some of our Wish List items so we can work towards some stuff to do this year while we are staying local.

CARIBOO CHILCOTIN COAST

Thanksgiving in the ‘Boo

Nothing like seeing the change of colours in the Fall through the Caribou Region. We are fortunate to have Grandpa W & Nans Cabin to stay at however every year our whole extended family head up for Thanksgiving (and hunting season) and my little Fab Farlow Five rent a cabin on a ranch (Wettstone Guest Ranch).

We have been there with snow on the ground and during a typical “Fall” with crisp air and colourful leaves. Both were beautiful and I can imagine warmer months would be equally as great. Some of our favourite things about Wettstone Guest Ranch are the affordable accommodations, the shared great room and available breakfast and the horse back riding. This year will be our third year staying at Wettstone (our sixth year spending Thanksgiving in the ‘Boo) and I defiantly recommend it as something to try!

Gates looking out from the cabin.
Viewpoint at Wettstone Guest Ranch.
Grooming and getting the horses geared up are all part of the experience at the Ranch.
Views of the lake from the bedroom after the first snowfall were cause for excitement with these three!
Doesn’t matter what the season is in the Cariboo, we will often have a fire, bonus if it’s outside… hot dogs followed by s’mores is a Cariboo Menu must!
I think this time of year is truly unique as it can offer something for each member of our family, the hunters of the family LOVE it! And the kids love it because it means all the toys are out!

New Years on the Ski Slopes, Mt.Timothy

We also have spent our New Years or time in January/ February up in Bridge Lake Area (near 100 Mile). We stay at Nanny’s cabin but there are many different options for hotels, motels, airbnb’s and lodges. We had even heard the Ski Mountain might have Cabins to rent for the 2021 season. This is a great getaway because you are most certain to have snow (often LOTS of it), plus Mt Timothy has lots of amenities like ski lessons, magic carpet and tube hill, snowmobile trails, etc but at a fraction of the cost of some of the bigger more populated mountains. So not only does it feel a little less crowded and personalized service but you pay way less… we loved it! Even on the days we didn’t go up to ski on the mountain we had so much fun playing outside in the snow. Snow up in the Cariboo is different than on the coast, with the proper attire (think good boots and a snow suit with gloves) everyone would go out and play for hours without wanting to come in. Play included shovelling the driveway (on the quad of course), chopping firewood, sledding down the driveway, and just exploring all the beauty! If there was a day we didn’t feel like going outside we had fun playing games, reading by the fire or watching a movie!

Eleanor is our best “looser”. So far she is happy win or loose.
All fun and games…
Any excuse for a hot chocolate.
Somehow “chores” on vacation are fun! I don’t care why, if they are happy to help we don’t ask questions.
I think he likes helping because he loves all the fire, little pyro!
Everyone wanted to plow the driveway. This driver was a little scary (may take after her Mom).
Grace loved getting all the firewood, this is not an easy job but these two found it therapeutic I think.
Welcome to Mt Timothy
Ski School.

Whistler

I think Whistler is a “cliche” vacation but one not to be overlooked. Whistler is a popular and easy vacation spot for a many reasons. I think the reasons we like it is proximity (it’s so close we sometimes make a day trip of it), the playground is a huge hit with our kids (and it’s free!), walking around the village is so safe (free from cars) so it’s easy and fun to be outside with the kids. Plus the selection of accommodation and food is sure to have something for everyone. Apres life is huge for us and the whole village always seems so family friendly. We love The Keg with the kids (their kids menu is so good) and last time we had a great meal at Caramba and the kids loved it too!

This year it is on my “wish list” because I love the idea of staying at a hotel so the kids can swim at a pool and they also love staying at hotels. The big attraction for me though is to go and see the Vallea Lumina.

No matter the age, or the weather the kids always love this slide!
Not only is the little playground fun but it is also super cute!
Happy Place.
Apres at Caramba.

Tofino

We love Tofino… from the moment you drive through the Cathedral Forest you are transported into a very special place. The Clayoquot Sound is pure magic in my opinion and something I think I need to see in every season. Fraser and I went for our “honeymoon” last summer and fell in love with the area. We have meant to take the kids back and just never got around to doing it. I think the hold backs for us are cost (negotiable that you can do it on the cheap, but the struggle is we can’t… #travelingwithprincesses). However knowing we are canceling our winter beach vacation and also knowing we are homeschooling I am hoping we might be able to swing it this year and head to Tofino.

We loved all the beaches and walks, we loved a lot of the food (top mention is breakfast at Wickaninnish) and we took a seaplane over the Sound and it was fairly spectacular. Unfortunately I am not sure if the plane could fit all 5 of us, and if we go during storm season I am not even sure they would be offering it. On my Wishlist is going by sea plane to the hot springs with the kids (although I question how safe and well our kids would do this?). Also on my Wishlist is staying at Pacific Sands in their Edgewater Suite… but that might be pushing it! Definitely we know the kids would love Tofino as much as we do and we hope to take them!

We loved experiencing Tofino from the sky and even saw a whale from above.
I think the kids would love this!
Just a bunch of Newlyweds!
Anything with Beach Access is sure to be a Farlow Family approved Vaycay!
Love the laid back vibe at the restaurants. Nothing is fancy, and all seem kid friendly.
Breakfast is the most important meal (in our house) and for sure I wouldn’t miss doing it up at The Wick. Not only is a beautiful view but the food was phenomenal.

BC is truly Beautiful and has so many amazing places to see… I would love to hear places on your wish list or favourites you have visited! Even better if they are good for families with young kids and accessible in the winter months. For now I will continue to make our family wish list on places to visit this year while we are homeschooling and have some flexibility on travel hoping it continues to stay safe to do it within province.

covid Life Lessons

I think after the months of staying at home, we are beginning to see just how much our family has to be thankful for. My kids are aware of the virus and the changes that are going on but for the most part we have been able to just hang out at home and have fun. Fraser has been working during the whole pandemic, our yard is a sanctuary for us and our home is well stocked with all the things we could need (food and entertainment).

As life moves on and we try to find a “new normal” I am not too quick to rush back to some of the old ways. I have told my kids stores do not allow children right now (maybe a stretch but somewhat true) plus we are in a position where we have many options to shop without bringing our kids out. We have also not returned to any of their activities with the exception of Rowens therapies. I do think the kids miss them to some extent, but I also know this is temporary and at some point they will return to organized activities. Our goal was to enjoy the summer and make a choice for organized programs in September. For now I am enjoying the slower relaxed pace that comes with so few commitments. I love the no stress each day brings and the lack of driving and time spent in the car going from activity to activity.

I am learning that we are all missing traveling (specifically time in Hawaii) but we can still explore and enjoy Beautiful BC. I am also learning that we have so many beautiful places available to us right in our own “backyard” so to speak. One place we have been finding happiness is on the water. My kids love to be outside, exploring the beaches, finding treasures, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and of course being out on our new to us boat. This privilege is not lost on me and we are so grateful for all the water experiences we have available to us. Something we have become extremely aware of is how fortunate we are to have so much family that has helped us to be able to give our kids these amazing and safe experiences. It is not lost on me that our flexible work schedules and access to some pretty amazing spots is not the “norm”.

Playing at the Beach House. When we were feeling cabin fever at home we would head to the Beach House and breathe!

We have been taking nice breaks when we know we could all use them, whether that is a sunset swim, late afternoon boat ride or mid week road trip. I used to want my kids to have the very best and everything they want but over the last little bit I realize I want them to experience seeing us work for stuff that is important to us and that we love, but also be willing to give up work to just be together and have fun. I have always believed time holds pretty big value and the older I get the more I remember the people we spent the most time with, and all those memories we were creating without even knowing it. If we can teach them a balance between working for stuff and taking time for fun then I think we will have done our job as parents. Growing up I was surrounded by family, aunts, uncles and cousins were always around and one really cool thing was the time we got to spend together. Some of our aunts were full time moms, lots of our uncles were self employed or had seasonal work so aside from my own Mom lots of our family had flexible schedules. Over the pandemic it has opened our eyes how much we love Frasers schedule and the ability to be at home with each other and have that time.

My sister recently reminded me about our weekday morning breakfasts with my aunt and uncle, my aunt would always start her morning with a pop while my uncle would be smoking away. Do I think starting your morning with pop or cigarettes is the best? Probably not, but I would give anything to get to have one more morning with them for breakfast. Unfortunately life doesn’t work like that. Time is precious and goes way too fast. Although I cannot slow it down, I can learn to appreciate how fortunate this time with our kids is and our unique ability to have so much available time to spend with them is. I think they taught me how the value of time and to choose wisely how you spend it.

This is my Aunt and Uncle. Wish I had a picture of them in the morning at the breakfast table, it’s such a clear memory I actually don’t even need the picture.

Having our kids at home instead of at school or programs with teachers and coaches has been extremely challenging. My dreams of being able to homeschool my kids have had a hard dose of reality hit them. I realize that for Rowen the “homeschool” we had set up is not his ideal learning environment and that he really missed the interaction of his peers and his teachers. We have expanded our bubble and the kids have friends they now see and play with but it got me thinking to how we could be more inspiring to our kids? They are home with us for a bit and it might not change for the foreseeable future. I’m trying to change my mindset and trying to look at this time as a gift.

At first I was cranky and frustrated with the staying home, long hours with the same five people and lack of support and help we normally have. However when I started to see how fortunate we were and began to prioritize what mattered most to our family I began to see that we could still “teach” our kids and inspire without following the online lesson plans. I hope that Fraser and I inspire our kids to follow their passions and find things that excite them. When you are passionate about something it is usually contagious to others. My Aunt and Uncle had huge impacts on our lives and it wasn’t to start the day with pop or to smoke a pack or two a day. I want my kids to laugh at the strange habits we might have had but also to remember the time we spend as a family as valuable.

The one thing I admire about parenting with Fraser is that we both encourage and inspire each other to sometimes live outside of the box. We don’t always make the smart or popular decision but this has been something that has paid off for us more times then not. It has meant sometimes we have cut people out of lives that are toxic, it has meant working long hours so we can take extended time off, choosing to have messy floors, dirty dishes and laundry and get to go out on fun adventure or taking days off when it would make more financial sense to go to work, getting a puppy when we were having a baby, renovating when we were having another baby and buying a boat during a pandemic. For us it has meant we aren’t waiting for “tomorrow” or some unknown future, when we know something we want we try to do it. We live for the now and we are enjoying these moments and days. They go so fast and we all know we don’t get them back.

I saw this and it has really stuck with me, I think it is just a good reminder when sometimes we think “there will be time or we can do it later or change it”. Somethings you can’t get back so don’t take them for granted or miss opportunities.

I admire the way Fraser has always wanted to go back and take pottery classes. He finally decided this year to take the plunge and register for a Tuesday morning class in Vancouver. He was loving it and our kids were always asking about Dad’s pottery and what he was doing. Unfortunately he couldn’t take lessons during covid but in true Fraser style he set up a studio in his shop and made pieces from home, he had the kids out watching him and even making pieces of their own. If our kids can see a bearded tattooed biker like their dad working with his hands making beautiful pieces of pottery (and loving it) I hope they know that they can do or be anything they want. I love that these examples are not only good for each other; Fraser gets time doing something he enjoys, I get beautiful pieces of pottery but the kids also learn if you enjoy something you find a way to do it.

I am a SAHM (stay at home mom). It has been both a blessing and a curse, as well as something I am proud and ashamed of. Knowing that staying at home as a primary caregiver was causing me to resent Frasers time outside of the house as well as make me feel less than for not having an outside job I started to take a couple days a week out at the farm for “me time”. My part time job, is more than just a job for me. It allows me to leave my kids twice a week without (too much) guilt. It has given my kids a pride in seeing what and where I work, but also shows them that I am more than just their Mom. It has also forced me to expand my circle and communicate with other adults. Covid has taught me that I definitely have social anxiety and have enjoyed having an “excuse” not to see other people and to stick within a bubble I am comfortable with. However having the farm forces me out, in a place where I feel comfortable and happy! It is a win win win!

Hard at work in his home studio.
Words to live by. Such truth.
This is my “job” how lucky am I?

I think another way we can inspire and teach our kids is by showing gratitude for what we have, as well as giving to those who might not have as much. Again with Covid it has been an eye opener to some of the security we have that I have previously taken for granted. We have a big loving and supporting family as well as an incredible group of family and friends. We have job security (as much as any job can be secure), home and food. Not once did we worry about running out of food or not being able to buy or access what we needed. I was shocked and sad to find out how many families in our community were struggling with basic needs like food. We previously hadn’t done much in terms of real “charity” aside from dropping off food at food drives during Christmas but during Covid we became involved with an organization called Mama’s for Mama’s and regularly donate fresh yummy food (not extra cans from our cupboards). We also helped the kids to donate to Delta Hospital Foundation their lemonade stand money they had earned last year. I really want them to know that we never know when we might need some of these supports so if we are in a position to ever help or give we should even a small amount.

The kids might not have understood what exactly they have done but they seemed excited and we were very proud of them. Never to young to learn to give back.

Covid has taught our family many lessons, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions and has tested our relationships and patience in ways I didn’t think possible. However it has also opened our eyes to have more empathy and see that we all have more in common, as a whole we share the same fears and concerns and for the most part as a country we care about each other and the greater good. I am proud of my family and the way we have grown over the past 4 months. I am anxious about the Fall but I am also looking forward to trying new things and seeing how we can take this new growth and live differently.

It’s a School Night.

Sunday night means school tomorrow.  Obviously not actual school, but when our weekends are finished and we tuck our kids into bed on Sunday nights we always remind them its school tomorrow.  Ever since we have started to do some “school at home” it has allowed us to get into more of a routine and have some sense of normalcy.

With the Pandemic and so many changes to our life school has been something we miss.  All three kids miss seeing teachers and friends.  They are missing the routines for sure but also the things that they were working towards.  Grace, my four year old, talks a lot about her new school for Kindergarten, her uniform and all the things she has coming up.  It has definitely been an eye opener to how many events we will be missing over the course of just a few months (uniform try on day, parent info night, Preschool Grad to name a few).  In the scheme of things I realize how small and trivial these things are but to my four year old they are big things.  We are navigating new times, without being able to answer questions about what the near future will look like.  This can be scary and emotional for all of us.

 

School has been a hot topic, and rightfully so, with many parents and families. It has also been a tough situation for so many people.  We have just one school age child, and he’s only in Kindergarten.  Our other two kids are preschool age.  On top of them being so young, we are also in a very unique situation where I am a full time mom and my husband works shift work and is home during the day.

We do not have to struggle with trying to work from home, or balance teaching our kids with our work, or even share technology between all of us.  We have enough iPads/ computers and Fraser is still leaving the house to go into work. I cannot imagine the challenges families are facing during what is already a stressful time.  I am beyond grateful for all of these things.  I know we are very fortunate to be in the situation we are for so many reasons including the ages of our kids, the support we have from our school, the set up we have at home for home learning and more.  That being said we definitely don’t have it perfect, we have our own set of challenges.  My son has Autism and normally has many supports and programs.  We are transitioning to enter Grade 1 and leave a lot of the programs he has had through his toddler years, there was a plan to help make this shift from his therapies to school gradual which will not be happening as we are not able to attend any of these programs currently.  In addition it is so great to have my husband home during the day but he is still working so he is overtired trying to help with the kids and continue to work at night, plus with us trying to still continue with some learning (school and therapies) it means I am spending time doing that… less time to do household stuff which still needs to get done (meals, laundry, maintenance, etc).  I guess our worries are “good” ones to have.  We aren’t worried about our home, food or the necessities but I guess my point is that it still isn’t easy.

I thought I would share some of the things that we have learnt over the past 6 or so weeks and some of the things that are working for us.  I am understanding and empathetic of every situation and realize not everyone is in a situation where these would be relevant.  I appreciate that.  If there is one thing we should all be learning right now is that there is no right answer and what works for one, might not work for others.  I just thought I would share what is working for us.

1)  DETERMINE LEARNING PRIORITIES OR EXPECTATIONS. What do you want your child/children to come out of this having learned?  What are your goals?

This is one of those questions that we are asked often with Rowen.  When you have a child with special needs you are constantly goal setting and at first it is strange and unknown but then you learn to set goals that are age appropriate and seem almost second nature for kids to learn but, for Rowen, are things we make a conscious effort to teach.  It can include things like learning how to initiate play, play with others or independently, win and loose, take turns, etc.  

Goals can vary so much from child to child, and family to family.  For us during the pandemic and “schooling from home” I want my kids to learn about emotions, disappointment, flexibility and gratitude.   I also want them to learn a bit about global responsibilities and being part of a community as well as giving back or helping others and how we can do that.  However I hope we can learn more than these big life lessons.

I want to try and support my son to be able to maintain all the skills he has built through kindergarten thus far.  So keep up with his reading, maintain some routines,  fine motor skills and writing, do some desk work, follow instructions and concentrate on a worksheet.  Although these things might seem small or that they can be picked back up again whenever we do return to school, they are goals we have worked hard to reach over the last few months and even years.  When we do not practice and apply skills we have learned they can be forgotten and I would hate to fall back when we have worked so hard to get to where we are.

By defining what our goals were I have been able to make adaptions to our day depending on our moods, weather, other things that are going on in the house, etc   I love this because it gives me a guide to check against.  For example if we are having a moody day and Rowen isn’t cooperating I can look through his class activities and decide do these need to be done or can we “skip” them and still achieve my goal for Rowens learning.  Most times we are good to “skip” and then I do not have to beat myself up or force him to do stuff just to get it done.

2)  CONSISTENCY IS KEY.  So this could look different but for us it is making sure we are up, fed and dressed by 9am for Rowens first class meet.  Prior to having this option we were sleeping in a lot, rarely getting dressed and never starting our “work” before 10am at the earliest.  There was nothing wrong with this but by giving ourselves a bit more of an expectation it has helped us start our day off better.  We also have determine the morning as “school” time and then noon-ish is lunch and the afternoon is free for whatever we like. This has helped to establish again expectations   It hasn’t meant every day is great but it has made it easier for me to enforce and be a but more dedicated to school work.

3)  BE PREPARED.  I have found it is huge if I prepare stuff the night before. The kids are usually very excited to come out and the morning and see what stations I have set up for them or even for Rowen just to come see todays To Do list and know what he has to get done.   I think it gives me a bit more credit with them and they trust I have a plan (even when I don’t)

4). BREAK UP YOUR DAY.  Take breaks.  We sometimes call them body breaks and will set timers for a 15 minute jump in the tramp or a quick swing.  It might even just be a snack break (recess and lunch shouldn’t be forgotten).  We made some fun body break cards that Rowen could pull out and it would tell him somethings to do (10 push ups, dance like a robot, etc).

These are just a few of the things that we are trying hard to implement and follow to help make our days the best they can be.  We are looking forward to a time when we get to return to our programs but for now we will continue to work on what we can.

Keep learning.  Keep washing your hands.  Keep your head up!