Boys boys boys…

Day 365…

Wow, New Year ’s Eve is here, and I know I say it every year, and in fact every month, but time seems to be going faster and faster.  What say you? Do you feel the same way?

Like any year, 2013 has had ups and downs, but I have high hopes for 2014!

In a quick review, the big thing for us was finding out that Max has Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.  This has changed our whole approach to Max’s education, and has made a huge difference to Max.  We appreciate his strengths and gifts so much more now and are constantly thinking about and trying to be creative with helping him with the whole reading, writing and ‘rithmatic side of things.

For the first few months of the year I really struggled with full time work and home and family and felt that I wasn’t doing anything well and all people and areas of my life were missing out.  I kept wishing and praying for big change that would take the need for action out of my hands!  As they say, be careful, you might get what you wish for! Change came, but I don’t think it was what I was after! My work went through a merger, whilst not disastrous, it was a really difficult time with lots of uncertainty and questioning if this is what I want to choose to do (and I do get a bit narky when choice is taken away from me!).  Change is a bit like parenting – you can offer all the advice you want and think you know what people are going through, but until you go through it yourself you really don’t know what you are talking about!! After a long 6 months, we are coming through the other end of it, but I am still questioning what it is that I want to do with my life!  I am sure that answer will come one day…

Just before we went through the merger at work I had dropped work to 4 days a week and that has been fantastic.  It has made such a difference to me and our little household.  It has given me time to breathe, time to research, time to clean and wash clothes, and time to focus on our family.

I have plenty to be thankful for in 2013.  I am so thankful for our discoveries with Max (or should I say…dys-coveries…boom tish!). I talk about this a lot with other parents at school and in our general community and there are so many parents desperate for help with their children that are experiencing learning difficulties.  I could go on for hours, but whilst our school is good and we are happy with it, you really need to put in so much help as and initiate so much action as parents. So that is my band wagon for the moment.

I am also grateful that we have put all parts in place to finally renovate our house in the coming year (albeit on a shoe string budget).

I am grateful for a wonderful friends and family that have shared our 2013 and been part of our lives.

 

I am looking forward to so much in 2014.

  • I am looking forward to finally making our house much more liveable and really improving our lifestyle.
  • I am looking forward to a good year at school for Max which will involve LOTS of maths tutoring.
  • I am looking forward to an exciting start to high school for Ed and hope he has a great year (because year 6 was quite average for him).
  • I am looking forward to a great year 4 for Arch where he will actually try and stretch himself at school (hmmm).
  • I am looking forward to a new baby joining our broader family.
  • I am looking forward to an art class I have booked into for Feb and other creative plans that I have for the year.
  • I am looking forward to living more in the moment and being mindful and appreciating what I have.

So that is my quick year in review and hopes and dreams for 2014.

What about you?

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’tis the season…

Well hello festive season!

Yes, it is the 1st December, and we launch into the festive season…possibly the most stressful time of year.  But I love it!  I have always felt that Christmas time is like having a new born baby – it is an absolute joy and special time of your life, but you are just too tired and stressed to enjoy it.  Who agrees?

Each year I vow to enjoy it, but usually end up exhausted and stressed and can’t wait for it to be over.  But this year will be different.  This year I have a plan!

So what is it that makes Christmas time stressful?

Well, too many activities on for one.  Everything costs a bundle of money. And I am exhausted – not enough sleep, too much heavy food and alcohol and not enough sleep, and then add worries about the spending of money and remembering each activity.

So what is different his year?

I have done most of my Christmas shopping already, and have done mostly it online. I have also spread it out over a few months, so we don’t get one big financial whack.  We try not to go overboard.  Kids get a present from us, a present from Santa, and then a Santa bag/stocking with bits and bobs. So the boys shopping is pretty much done.  My side of the family is big.  We usually do a Kris Kringle, but this time we have decided no presents. So just the in-laws side to shop for.

I am really making sure I get enough sleep.  This is such a big thing for me as I can be such a flaky sleeper which can lead to all sorts of stress and anxiety (as well as being a result of all sorts of stress and anxiety – bitter cycle).  So for me at the moment, down time and sleep are important.  I like to be an early riser, so I am making sure my nights aren’t too late.

There are so many activities this time of year – catch ups with friends, work do’s, school activities.  I am trying to be mindful and make sure that I enjoy these rather than feeling exhausted.  The point about getting enough rest and down time helps with that.  I also drop activities if I can.  And whilst I would like to make it to all the work functions and consider many colleagues to be friends, when it comes to family and friends, the work ones go on the bottom of the list, and if they need to be dropped, they are.  When the kids say they are not keen on the school disco, I don’t push them to go; I just give a sigh of relief.

I am conscious of practicing mindfulness and gratitude.  I have spoken to the boys about the trap of getting caught up in the ‘season’ and at least once each day we need to stop, take a breath, and think about the things that we are thankful for. I am also very guilty of looking forward and not enjoying the moment.  I am always rushing ahead.  So this year I am deliberately practicing mindfulness.  Being in the moment, and enjoying the moment.  Enjoying my boy’s last year of primary school and his year 6 graduation. Enjoying what could be the last year that my baby believes in Santa.  Enjoying my big boy in his last days of year 8 before he moves into the boy-man world of year 9. Enjoying catching up with friends and appreciating them.

Part of practicing gratitude is giving.  It is hard to give when you feel you have so much to do and pay for at the moment.  It is not just Christmas, but all the school things that need to be paid by the end of the year for next year.  Don’t worry, I get it.  Boy do i get it.  But there are so many ways you can give.  Rather than buying normal cards from Officeworks to go with teachers gifts, I have bought cards from Christian Blind Mission (I try to buy them from different places each year – it was World Vision last year).  It costs the same as a card from the shops, but has a greater impact.  The cards I bought pay for the lenses that are required for cataract surgery.

I know this sounds easier than it really is, but being organised is a big one for me! I review the calendar several times a day and make sure I am on top of everything.  It doesn’t always work though – I thought the sports carnival was last Friday and was all prepared, but it is this coming Friday!  I was a bit disappointed not to get that out of the way! I do list after list – which teachers gifts and Kris Kringle gifts do we still need to get?  What activities and appointments are coming up?  Is there anything going on at work or work trips that will throw a spanner in the works? Where do I need to get others to help?

I am really trying to eat healthily.  Christmas time in Australia is good for that – great summer fruits and veggies, and lots of glorious seafood. And along with that I am actually planning to do exercise in December.  Hah!  We’ll see about that one.

I am deep breathing.  A lot.

So what am I doing this 1st day of December?  I am playing Chris Isaak Christmas Carols, having a coffee, reviewing what needs to be done today, and just enjoying the moment and the sunshine. Oh, and will probably put up the Christmas tree later! (And yes, I am not mentioning all the mundane crap about getting school uniforms and work clothes ready for the week, lunch box food, exchanging something that didn’t fit for Ed’s graduation clothes, getting the school booklist done and paid for, getting Ed to a party etc – everyone has all that stuff to do).

How about you, are you feeling festive?

 

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It’s that time again…

Every 6 months or so I find myself lamenting over time. I don’t mean lamenting for a period of time, I mean being amazed by how fast time is going, how I don’t have enough time, and if I do I don’t enough energy.  I don’t have enough time to do everything I want, and even then I really just want to lie on the couch and do nothing (whilst still complaining about not having any time).

So that time has come around again (boom tish).  And like everyone, I am stunned, astounded, amazed, and baffled about how FAST time has gone.  Not only this year…and this year has flown! But also as I look at a photo beside my bed of the boys when they were little, how fast the last few years have gone!

So let’s talk about this year first. 2013. Nearly 2014.  Can you believe it?  Whilst winter felt like it dragged on, it really has gone by with the click on the fingers. We are now planning for Christmas, trying to squeeze in end of year school events, and work Christmas parties.  This seems to be taking up all the time for the things I would really like to do: spend time with family and friends, and a bit of quiet time reflecting on the year that was, the year to come and being grateful for all that we have.  Sorry, no time for that!

So, now that I am stunned at how fast this year has gone, how about the last few years?? I cannot even begin to express how I feel (actually I can!) about having 2 boys in secondary school next year, and I think my little Arch must have bruises from me trying to grip him as hard as I can to keep him little.

I don’t feel like this all the time.  Usually I am very happy to move forward, and while I loved it when the boys were little, I really try and take some joy in their current age, whatever that may be (except for when they are being shitty – then you can have them). But it has just hit me.  My son is much taller than I am, and he is no longer allowed to get dressed in front of the heater (for everyone’s sake!), and before I know it they will be planning their life.

So what can I do to slow down time?  Not much.  Take deep breaths.  I know that I am usually in a hurry to move forward, so I am making an effort at home and at work, when people want to talk to me, I stop, push my key board away, and focus on the person.  Just because you can multi task, it doesn’t mean that you should.

I am making a real effort to spend time, even if it is just a sliver, on the things I really want to do, be it writing, sewing, photography, or some other such thing.

A girlfriend gave me a bit of advice at my wedding (which her Mum gave her), which was,don’t drink too much and stop every 15 minutes and just think back so you can savour and remember everything.  It is a great piece of advice, which I ignored, had a few drinks, and forgot to do my bridal waltz! So I will try and apply that advice now…

I don’t know if any if this will slow down time, but it might help!

Some pics of our life lately…

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what a fraud…

People often say to me “your kids are so lucky to have you as a Mum”. This is usually when I talk about what research I am doing and meetings I am having at school for Max and his dyslexia and dyscalculia. Or when I am talking about Ed and what I am doing to ignite his passions and capture his imagination. Or with Arch… I actually don’t know what I say about Arch or do for him, but he is pretty cute.

I am not saying this because I think I am a shit hot parent, but because I feel like a fraud. You don’t see me when I am tired and grumpy and get cranky at them for every little thing. Or say something to them that really needs to go in the bad parenting book (that is one thick book at my house people). Or just say ‘NO’ to everything purely because I cannot be bothered with the effort that goes with saying ‘yes’.

I do a lot of research on behalf of my children. I draw up charts of what they should be doing, and when they should do homework, practice music and develop their skills in artistic pursuits. But it really does stop there. I don’t get around to the actual ‘doing’ of it. I know my kids should be doing more activities (because we do none, not a one, zilch), but I like them hanging about all day Saturday in their pj’s. And I like not having plans on a weekend. Or after school.

I am the master of giving my kids a guilt complex. I think about when I am old and what my kids will say about me. I think it will be…’my Mum could make me feel so guilty that all she had to do was look at me in a disappointed way…’ And that was me tonight when I felt that one, or all, children did not appreciate me sufficiently. I did manage to make one tear up when I made him feel that perhaps he wasn’t valuing my skills in the home or workplace. And really, why should he give a shit about my skills in the workplace? Now that my friends, is a real skill!

So when friends or people at work say to me “He is so lucky to have you as a Mum”, I feel so guilty and point out to them that they don’t see all the terrible things that I do as a mother and they only hear the things that I am willing to put out there publicly…
Does anyone else do this or feel this way, or is it really just me who should be putting these things in the ‘bad mother book’? I might make some money from that book one day…either that, or go to jail…

boys night out…with Mum…

I am single mumming it this week while Richard is away.

I was driving home from work tonight and thought I just could not face cooking dinner, so when I got home I floated the idea of eating out. Two out of three boys voted yes, so majority rules, and we decided to go out for Chinese.

It started with a trip to the bottle shop – for me, not the boys! Whilst in the queue Arch, who is my ever-loving boy, decided to tell me he loved me. He is divine and I think it melted the heart of everyone in the queue. He was a bit embarrassed with the comments.

Then off to Chinese. And how lucky are we to run into friends who were also having a family dinner at the local Chinese (*waving* hi Derek and Kara).

After dinner we stop in at the local IGA for dog food and treats for us. I’m saving mine to eat in bed while reading a book.  I am such a party girl.

Boys came home, gobbled their treats and are now on a sugar high.

An hour past their bed time and they are still up, enthralled, watching ‘Redesign your brain’…at least it is educational…

I loved my boys company tonight. They are funny, smart, adoring, adorable, and annoying – all in one.

A big night out with Mum…

Thankful Thursday at its best…

 

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full as a goog…

Wow my head has been full lately (which has made me absent from my beloved blog). Full of what? There are a few people (who may or may not be related to me) who would say ‘not much’!

But it’s true. My head is full.

Full of dyslexia and dyscalculia – so much time spend researching and trying to create ways to help him learn and show him that he has an ability rather than a disability).

Full of meetings with teachers and working out plans for the next year.

Full of work and going through a merger that leaves me see-sawing between ‘this sucks’ and ‘this will be great’. I’m sitting on the fence at the moment.

Full of trying to work out ways to get our house renovated before it falls down around our ears.

Full of trying to instil in the boys how important it is to have goals and be working towards something. Anything.

Full of just trying to get the boys ready for school before I go to work.

Full of working out how to fulfil my own personal goals and feed my creative outlets and needs.

Full of trying to get a vegie patch going that I haven’t looked at for 3 weeks.

Full of trying to be an involved mother who is creating memories and a strong value base within my children.

Full of trying to get the motivation to start exercising and lose weight (this is on my mind more than I would like. It looks like I will actually have to exercise! OMG).

Full of worrying about those 3 boys, and their health, wellbeing and happiness.

So full, that sometimes I have to pull the plug and let it all empty out. I think that now is one of those times. Drain all the thinking, and let it just be…

Phew…

 

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^^^Time for another outing I think…

A couple of thoughts for the day…

You know, sometimes those annoying motivational and spiritual quotes strike a chord! Which I guess is what they are meant to do….

Anyway, two have really resonated with me this week, and I thought I would share them just in case they hit the right note with you too.

Ok, here they are….

Life does not need to be perfect to be wonderful

and

Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your burdens

I read the first quote on a blog by an American woman whose son suffered a brain injury rendering him incapacitated and something happened to her husband that made him go blind! I can’t remember the blog, but if I come across it again I will share it.

I also learnt something today. This morning I spoke at a morning tea at my children’s school about the path we have gone down in discovering our Max’s dyslexia and dyscalculia and the journey that this is taking us on. It reinforced to me that so many people are just desperate for help and advice about their children, and dyslexia in particular. Australia is so far behind the rest of the world in this space. Autism and Asperger’s are the condition’s that everyone knows about and gets the funding, and I feel that is to the detriment of dyslexia and other related learning disabilities (that’s just my opinion, so if you disagree, that’s fine, but I don’t really want to hear about it ba ha ha ha ha).

Anyway, that is my gem for today.

What a boy…

Max really makes me laugh…without even meaning to!

Max hates sport at school. Every Monday morning he gets a stomach because he knows he has sport. Once a term I allow him to get out of sport by writing him a note saying he has a sore foot. Funny how he gets a sore foot once a term.

He has used his “get out of sport” pass early this term, so he knows he had to do it.  And good lord he moans about it.

Because of my slovenly house keeping, he could not find any sports socks. I couldn’t help him because I was on my way to work (hence the slovenly house keeping). When it came to doing sports today, he went up to his sports teacher and told him he couldn’t find any white socks this morning, so just wore his grey school socks.

Sports teacher told him that because he was out of uniform he had to copy down the school code of ethics (or something boring like that). Max wouldn’t have been too bothered by this as it cut into sports time. Win win.

But bless that boy, do you know what he did???

He said to his teacher ‘Sorry, I have dyslexia, so I can’t copy stuff out of a book’….
So he only had to do the headings and could go on his merry way!!

Who on earth thought Max would work the system? I laughed and laughed!

Change is on the way…

Okay, so we are nearly 2 weeks on from finding out Max has dyslexia, dyscalculia and ADHD-Inattentive. What have we done so far?

We have put Max on vitamin supplements – a vitamin B blend, with zinc, magnesium and calcium, and a Focus blend. I am hoping this will help with the ADHD-inattentive side of things.

I have ordered tonnes of books. I have joined SPELD Vic (http://www.speldvic.org.au/), am in the process of joining ADA (http://www.dyslexiaassociation.org.au/), have signed him up to a daily online 10 minute tutor specially addressing dyslexia (http://www.thetenminutetutor.com/ ), I have spoken to a friend-of-a-friend whose son is dyslexic and she is studying a particular multi-sensory teaching approach, I have spoken to the Irlen Dyslexia Centre (http://www.dyslexiaservices.com.au/) and will probably take him there for an assessment, and have spoken to his school with a positive result.

Phew, I am exhausted.

Has anything changed? Yes, I believe so…

I am more informed. We are feeling more comfortable with the path forward. Max is relieved. His brothers keep talking up how smart dyslexics are (think Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Da Vinci). We are also more organised with his school work.

Max’s science teacher rang me this morning. She started with “I just wanted to ring you and tell you about something Max did in class today…”. My heart dropped. I have had this phone call before. She then continued with “I am so proud of him”. I was in shock for a moment. She rang to tell me how she had given the class an assessment task due in 2 weeks. Max worked so hard in that double period of science that he submitted his work. She said she watched him in class and could not believe how hard he worked. He was a different child.

Our wonderful babysitter Barb told us how when she picked him up from school last week, he was a totally different child (I see a theme happening!). He was so full of news as to how the school is helping him and what he can do, he couldn’t get his words out fast enough.

I received an email from his History/Geography teacher about how Max is concentrating in class and sitting himself in better focussed positions in the classroom with appropriate company.

So, while we have a long way to go, and I am prepared for ups and downs, things are looking good!