Thursday, March 12, 2015

IT'S THEIR JOURNEY

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

RECONNECTING


This morning didn't start so well.  I admit to struggling - mainly due to very little sleep again.  I'm trying so hard to get a good night's rest, but each time my eyes are closed and the dark takes over, the quiet stillness can't disguise the hurt.  Conversations are replayed, details fine-combed, and actions clarified - all silently in my head of course, my mind just won't switch off.

The very first verbal conversation I had today was with dear Taisia (aged 4) who really isn't grasping what has been going on.  She is confused, and hurting, and this point was ever clearer as she described a dream she had experienced last night.  Taisia rarely speaks of her dreams, often saying she can't remember them - even though many appear to be vivid and often distressing as she wakes crying or shouting out.  Her recount of what she saw in her dream was a demonstration of her young mind trying to compute the current situation - I was so sad to listen to how it had made her feel.  I know that I need to offer her more one on one time where possible to help her as we all struggle in our own way to come to terms with recent events.

Amara awoke and it was immediately clear it was going to be one of those days.

One of those nothing you do is good enough days.

One of those you will be getting it wrong no matter what you offer days.

One of those going around in circles constantly picking up mess days.

At one point I actually left her in the safe supervision of Tiegan and walked out of the house to sit beneath the lounge window.  I sat on the floor and could hear the frustrated tears of a child trying to make sense of her world.  I returned within minutes - obviously - that sound never ceases to pull at my heart, be it from my own child or that of a stranger.  I cannot cope with the thought of an unhappy little one.  But for a moment, just for a brief fleeting moment, I felt broken.  Of course, now I'm sat here reflecting on things, I know that Amara is just acting out what we are all feeling.  Raw.  She is confused - perhaps not due to the actual event - but at the reactions of all those around her and her days must feel so different at the moment.

I was quick to give myself a firm kick up the backside and say enough.  No more!  I need to pull up my big girl panties and get on with things.  But where to start?

With a plan of course!


After trawling the internet and failing to find a planner suiting my current needs AND my love of zingy colour, I created my own daily edition - and I love it.  I can see at a glance what I need to focus on, and have even placed a little reminder regarding my lemon and honey drinks and to take on more water.    I have tweaked it a little to offer it to you guys should you wish to join me with an organisation overhaul, please feel free to print it out for your personal use.


I had a lovely long phone call with a gorgeous friend of mine (I'm doing well with friends at the moment - go me!  Yesterday we spent the day with another gorgeous soul that just 'gets' me).  I sorted out the clean washing and put all (7!) loads away, very grateful that the weather has been so awesome to allow so many loads to have dried outside.  We have managed a whole Autumn and Winter without a tumble drier which feels like an awesome achievement but not one I would like to repeat thank you very much.  Will definitely be saving some pennies in preparation for buying one before the Autumn sets in this year. 

I really felt my get up and go return after the therapeutic chat session (THANK YOU!), and it seemed as if the dull mood was finally lifted.  We tidied the little bits that needed doing and then read a couple of chapters of our:

Britannia: 100 Great Stories From British History book.

We didn't get around to doing the maths workbooks as planned, but we did do maths through baking.  We made oodles of oaty melting moments (we usually add a slice of cherry), jam tarts, and flapjacks.  Due to us being a greedy larger than average family, we need to double or at times triple recipes.  We also talked about converting different measurements - ounces into grams for example, and also temperature measurements of gas vs electric ovens.

Whilst I cleaned up the usual afterbake messes, Tiegan and Callum went on Minecraft together.  It was such a joy to hear happy chatter and giggles as they set each other various challenges.  I was witness to verbal reasoning skills, team work, problem solving, numeracy, logical thinking...the list goes on and on.  Who'da thunked it eh?  A computer game providing sooooo much goodness! 


The stir fry dinner was a big success - it's very much a favourite meal in this house, after which I took a much needed bath.  Taisia joined me, first just for a chatter whilst I relaxed in the bubbles, then climbing in so I could wash her hair.  We talked and it was beautiful just to reconnect with her again.  As she sat in front of me in the bath, she pretended that she was a mermaid sat within the ocean and I was her mama sat on a rock washing her long swirling hair.  I stroked her hair oh so gently and she adored the one on one time and seemed to gain much from it - it was definitely was the right call.  It was a time I will treasure for a long time, a much needed reconnection for both of us.  Once out of the bath and dry, we painted each others nails (blue, green and yellow for me.  Taisia chose orange, pink and 'sparkly' which is a clear polish with glitter pieces within).  We came downstairs, combed and plaited hair, and Taz ran around the room playing various acting out games and looking fully revitalised and.... HAPPY.... again.  

Just wonderful.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS

There's been a whole lot of struggle going on.  Things have been tough, times have been tearful, and days have been difficult, but we must move forward now.  After days of going to bed tearful and waking up in tears I realise that isn't going to solve the situation and choices by others have been made and I have to deal with it in the best way I know how.

So, here I am, back in the saddle, ready for the new chapter in our lives.  A wise and wonderful friend has reminded me that I am trying to do too much, that I have my fingers in too many pies so to speak and I'm forgetting what it's like to just be a mum.  I need to rectify that asap as it is so very true.  I will be working on reconnecting with those beneath my wings and remembering that I am allowed to take a break and enjoy life too - it shouldn't always feel like an uphill battle.

Lee (dear husband) is still struggling with much pain due to the Sciatica, on oodles of medication, and finding working each day really tough going, but financially it's a must right now.  He has an appointment for a scan in a few weeks time and hopefully things will start moving in the right direction from then on in.

Meanwhile, I've been learning how to use this gorgeous thing...


Which I have been very fortunate to receive from my gorgeous husband.  We got a great deal on it and it will be a great help in building the sewing business I'm currently working towards.  For practice I have been making clothes for Taisia...

and Amara...


and will now focus on practising my skills and come up with designs to sell at craft fairs, independent boutiques, and online - if I can bear to use my gorgeous fabric stash for things for others and not keep all the gorgeous designs for my own children!

*Must let go, must let go, must let go!*

I am in the process of working out things I would like to achieve over the Spring and Summer months; places I'd like to visit, projects I'd like to work on, things I'd like to bake and make etc.  I think I really need some sort of plan, a structure to my day, in order to not feel completely overwhelmed by everything at this moment in time.  I feel that 2014 was very much focussed on the ill health of Chelsea and the implications of such.  I know that my other children were somewhat neglected timewise, and our home-education path has wavered off track a little.  The start of 2015 has been blighted by difficulties of which I cannot share here in public, but needless to say it has been a very hard slog and difficult road to tread.  I know that there will be much value in taking time out to reconnect as a family and put our struggles, upset and anger, well and truly to bed.  

I'll be sharing my plan, and how I'm organising things with you shortly.  For now though I have to go and check on dinner and see what everyone else is doing.  I very much hope that you will join me as we seek out the right path to follow and that we can support one another as we do so.  Things aren't always easy, but it's how we deal with them that's the difference between those that sink and those that swim.  


Friday, January 30, 2015

ABSENCE…

Gosh.  Things sure have been quiet around here huh?
I do apologise.  Things haven’t been at their easiest here in the Pollard household sadly.  We have been fighting off various illness bugs, migraines, and in the case of my dear husband, a bad bout of Sciatica.  I really don’t feel as if we are back into the full swing of things as yet, but I’m working on it.  I’m desperate to regain a successful fluid flow to our days, we seem very stop starty at the moment and I’m finding it somewhat of a struggle.
January hasn't exactly been the wonderful new year, new beginning, that I had envisaged.  I was full of enthusiasm leading up to January 1st, making plans and writing lists.  I was excited to see what the new year would bring with it and it has to be said, thus far I’m pretty darn disappointed.  Along with the ill health issues affecting even the littlies amongst us, we have already had Chelsea’s medication not working and needing to be reviewed, and a hospital stay.  We have also suffered the sad loss of one of our chickens and one of our geese.  I sure am ready for February!
One positive thing about nursing the miseries, is that I have regained my love of sewing.  I've set up the sewing machine in the living room – which although perhaps not very aesthetically pleasing, means that I can sit with the family – and perhaps more importantly, keep an eye on my youngest two with ease.   I have two beautiful little girls who are eagerly awaiting the making of new frocks and twirly skirts, so not only is my passion for sewing a good ol’ soul nurturer for me, it is also very useful!   My latest make for Amara was this simply classic peasant style dress.  I have made her a matching hairband as I love the fabric so much.   The fabric for anyone ‘in the know’ so to speak is designed by Timeless Treasures and is from there more recent collections I believe.

I would desperately love an overlocker as that would really make the process so much quicker.  It would offer a much more professional finish to the garments too.  I have so many ideas of what I want to make, everything from cute dungarees and pinafore dresses to sweet bloomer shorts and pretty tops for the summer months.  I’m busy dreaming and designing as I save hard, and have been selling off various books and craft ‘stash’ to try to assist with the financing.  I love the idea of the girls having a whole wardrobe of handmade goodies – and who knows, maybe I could do a few craft fairs and the like?  Never say never 
Next week I’m really hoping to get back into the home-ed swing of things again.  I’ve been pinning a few things on the Classroom Free pinterest boards, and have created a new Chinese New Year idea board.   I’m going to be looking at telling the time with Taisia over the coming weeks as she keeps asking the how to questions, so in case anyone finds it of use, here is the link to a resource board for that too.  All of the boards are continuously being added to as and when time allows.
Tomorrow I have errands to run (snow and/or ice permitting!), skirts to sew, groceries to sort, and a Grasshead.co.uk kit to begin with Taisia.  I hope to be back blogging regularly again now health is improving, so please pop by and visit again soon!

Friday, January 02, 2015

OUTDOORSY DAY

The weather has been beautifully mild here today.  Here in rural Devon we have been experiencing a real cold spell of late, lots of ice on the roads meaning scary driving conditions and shivering!   It felt lovely not to have to put on oodles of layers in order to feel conscious whilst doing the early outdoor chores this morning.  For the past week we have also been having a stroll up the lane morning and night to tend to a neighbours chooks.  It has been rather refreshing and the extra chill factor has certainly led to a feeling of wide-awake exhilaration!  Of course, the freezing temperatures do come with certain issues, such as freezing water pipes.  I never did share the 1am outside tap fiasco did I?  If I say it was freezing cold, involved lots of water spraying in all directions, was pitch black dark, AND there was an impossible to open stop-tap cover, you may get the idea of the utter chaos.  I can share that both Tiegan and Joseph did an amazing impression of ‘FROZEN’ – complete with ice in hair.
Amara is having lots of fun taking her first walks out.  Yesterday we walked together with Taisia and her camera, down the lane to run an errand and it was a very slooooow meander.   I love trying to see the world through the eyes of a child, and Taisia and Amara really helps me to do just that.
little photographer
We stopped at every puddle, we examined thick mud, we took care to stare at many leaves, we looked up and took time to watch the birds soaring above, and we giggled as feathers and leaves blew across our path – sometimes giving chase to see if we could catch one.   It’s really good for my soul to relax and just be, to connect with the children in an unhurried and non-flustered way.  The resulting smiles and arms outstretched offering hugs lead me to believe that the children enjoy it too.
The main to-do on our job list today was to secure the fencing after a couple of goat escape escapades.  Goats are notorious escapers and they will look for any little weakness in their secure area and expose it with ease.  We section off areas of the field to allow for the rest and recuperation of the grass, but it’s that old age saying “The grass is always greener…” *sigh*.  As Lee is currently sporting a bad back, the fence fixing today was down to me and Joseph.  It was truly lovely working outside.  The birds were happily flitting from tree to tree, their song filling our ears and enhancing our pleasure and competing in volume with the happy sounds of the children on the swings.  The chickens gathered around our feet to see what we were getting up to – no doubt hoping for a good turnover of earth to facilitate their worm hunting efforts.
chicken
Clarabelle
Although steady on the flat, Amara is not yet used to exploring the more uneven ground of a field.  She still seeks a hand to hold for reassurance, and often just wants to sit and watch.  Today we wrapped her up in her (oh so pretty!) waterproof / mudproof suit and wellie-bobs, and she adored being part of action.
outdoor girl
Meanwhile, her big sister was terribly busy looking for tree dwelling spiders…
hunting
And going into battle…
on the march
(yes, that is a Frozen nightdress she is wearing with her wellies).
Tomorrow we have errands to run, shopping to sort, and ….. well, who knows!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

THE FIRST OF THE MONTH…

The first of the year.
We saw the brand new year in at home, just us as a family (although not complete – Chelsea was elsewhere).  We had been invited to a neighbours ‘do’, but with various ills and issues we were feeling less than enthusiastic.  Instead we cooked goodies, watched TV (and sang along to the Queen songs), laughed a lot, and ate junk.   All of the children were still wide awake by Midnight, including Amara and Taisia – I truly don’t know where they gain their energy from.
We headed to bed around 2am feeling happy.  As I lay, wide awake, I listened.  Nothing.  Not a sound.  The exact opposite to what we had experienced at New Year in our old place.  There we had lived on a main road, by a bus stop, near a pub.  For hours we would hear the beeping of car horns, the banging of fists on the bus shelter, the shouting, the arguing, the car door slamming.  Although used to the constant traffic noise, it was the celebratory occasions I used to dread.  Even though it would be said that we resided in a ‘reasonably nice’ area, so often fighting couples could be heard or groups of abusive voices.  It wasn’t at all the life I wished for my children to experience.
Living here is so very different.
The quietness – as if the world is standing still.
Nothingness.
The darkness – deep blackness, only lit at cloudless times by the moon’s true beauty and the twinkling diamonds.
Occasionally we are treated to the hooting of nearby owls.  I often lie awake waiting, wanting, hoping to hear that majestic call.  To me it’s enchanting,  almost spiritual.  I don’t feel I shall ever tire of it.
With beautiful scenery and lovely quiet walks right outside our door, I really couldn’t ask for anything more.
beautiful
Our first day of 2015 was a quiet one, spent at home, relaxing and pottering around at our own free will.  Of course the chickens, ducks and geese needed releasing first thing, as did the goats – all had to be fed, watered and checked over.   The children spent time both indoors and out – they read, used the computer, built with lego, role played kitchen games, and put together puzzles.  We had a lovely roast dinner together as a family, followed by good old fashioned homemade bread pudding and custard – it was a lovely start to the New Year.  I was able to do a bit of in-head planning which I want to put down on paper when time allows.  I have so many ideas, so many things I want to do/make/go to/get started on, that I literally feel as if I’m practically bubbling inside with excitement.
I’m happy.  I have lots to look forward to.  Life is good.
I hope that you can say the same.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

FAREWELL 2014…

2014 hasn’t been the most joyous year for our family, and alongside many of my friends it seems, I will be more than happy to release this year into the very back of the memory bank and move on.
It seems that I have gotten into the habit of using New Years Eve as a time for reflection, learning, and future planning.  I know it’s just another day, but for me, the first day of a new year feels like a new beginning.  A time to wipe the slate clean and look forward.  I’m the kind of person that wants to start new things on a Monday for example – if I’m starting writing a journal I want to start at the beginning of month – it just feels ‘right’ for me.  Daft I know, but there you are.
So, the 1st of January fills me with joy, anticipation, and excitement.  I like to map out what I wish to do over the coming year; what vegetables I want to grow, what I want to cover for home-education this year, which places I want to visit, what things I wish to do this year or wish to introduce to the children.  It feels like I am the proud owner of a blank canvas that is yearning to be splattered and blotted with colour – I love it.
For me, 2014 will always be remembered for the year that Chelsea was diagnosed with a life-long illness.  It was a shock.  It was scary and I felt out of my depth – out of control.  Helpless.  I have never felt like that before – not to that extent.  We were strangers to the hospital – even to the doctor’s surgery really – so to go from never visiting to almost fortnightly checks has been a shock.  Each of us has been impacted, diets have had to be changed, finances have had to be tightened, and travelling kept to a minimum.  It’s been a tough road to tread and I have stumbled many times.   But we are getting through it, we are taking one day at a time and getting through it.
2014 has also been the year that Chelsea spread her wings and left the home-education nest – moving on to start at College to study Psychology, Sociology, and English Literature – alongside GCSE Maths and English.  She has been working incredibly hard, and there has definitely been highs and lows, but she is still sticking at it.  I’m proud of her.
I  have seen changes in each of the children this year.  Chelsea has become more independent and focussed on the future.  She now has a clear direction, a path which she wishes to follow, and it has to be said, it’s a bit of a relief!  For so long she was flouncing, floundering, not sure what her plans for the future were or where she wanted to be.  I trusted the process.  I trusted her.  I reminded myself that she was young, that there was time, that she would find her ‘thing’ – and she has.  Psychology is her chosen study subject for the future and it suits her.
Joseph has grown – in size, strength, and awesomeness!  He turned 17 this year and is my steadfast friend, the one I know I can turn to for help when Lee isn’t around, and the one that can always raise a smile even at the darkest of times.  He is trustworthy and reliable, not afraid of hard work and is always willing to help with the heavy lifting of sacks or shavings.  He is a great help around the smallholding, and a real font of knowledge when it comes to current affairs and historic events.  He is also incredible with his younger siblings, and they love him dearly – Amara practically worships him.
Tiegan turned 13 on Boxing Day so we currently have three teenagers in the house!  That thought doesn’t fill me with dread though – I love it.  Tiegan is still the quietest and most reserved of my crew, she is thoughtful, helpful, and considerate.  If she sees that I need help, she is there.  Her music taste isn’t at all what I had expected it to be, but it hasn’t changed her personality.
Callum is now 9 and the change seen in him throughout 2014 has probably been the greatest (bar Amara of course, whose developmental milestones are coming hard and fast).  He is now a very fluent reader, loves all things maps and flag related, and has a curious and questioning mind.  I think that he will really bloom in this current year and I am really looking forward to seeing what we shall cover together for our home-education.
Four year old Taisia is a real little treasure.  She is also a real livewire, of strong will and a passionate temperament.   Her vocabulary and conversation skills are amazing and I often forget she is of so few years.  Taisia is also incredibly curious, very vocal and the asker of many questions.  2015 will be the year when we shall start on a slightly greater formal footing education wise – nothing forced or coerced, all fun and child-led, but a little more structured than currently – if you know Taisia you will know and understand about her need and want for ‘work’ in the loosest of senses.   I can’t wait to see what she wishes to explore.
Of course Amara, at almost 15 months old has changed hugely over the past year – as all of that age will have.  She is fast becoming a little person in her own right and is following in Taisia’s footsteps rapidly.  She is strong willed and independent, and she doesn’t want to sleep!  Sleep is a real battle for us at the moment, leaving me feeling rather lethargic and lacklustre – something which I really want to work on in 2015.   Amara is toddling around with ease and her cutesy vocabulary is growing daily, she picks things up incredibly easily and loves to copy what others are doing and saying.  We have to be fully aware of this and rather careful of our actions and speech when in her presence!  She is a real joy to have around, and a large proportion of her day is spent smiling and being cute – I couldn’t imagine my days without her – although I can imagine being a lot less tired!
I have a great many ideas and plans for 2015, the main one being that I want to be a lot more creative.  I want to explore my arty & crafty side a great deal more and generally do the things I love – most of which I plan to get the children involved with too.  I want to do far more sewing, knitting, crocheting, needlecrafting, cross stitching, painting, papercrafting, art journaling, photography, baking, and anything else I fancy attempting to turn my hand to.  I have set up a blog to record (what I hope will be what will be) my most creative year to date.  I hope that by having a public space to share what I make I will a) be more inclined to actually keep it up, and b) be able to inspire others to find their creative soul within.  I know that for me, it’s more than just ‘crafting’ – it’s self-nurturing, and as time has gone by I’m finding it more a ‘need’ and less of a ‘treat’.  I feel refreshed after time creating, with clearer mind and a happier heart.  I know that I have to overcome my ‘don’t touch my beautiful papers/fabric/pens/paint/*insert other much prized craft tool or resource here*!’ attitude when it comes to involving the children, but I’m sure I’ll get there – I need to let go – they are, after all, just things and most can be replaced.
If anyone wishes to follow my journey, and share their own, you can find me over at http://www.creative365.co.uk and on facebook at Facebook Creative 365 PageI’d really love you to join me.
Home-Ed wise, we are going to keep on doing what we currently do but I’m going to add a little bit of structure to our days.  I want to try to do more projects and lapbooks, attempt more outdoor nature stuff, and explore more traditions.  I still very much believe in the child-led route, and it has worked well for us so that is the main emphasise to our ‘method’ if there is such a thing, but I have a four year old that needs to be entertained and who loves doing ‘school work’ and learning so we shall work with that and see where it takes us.   I want to travel a bit more, visit new places and meet more people.  Oh, and blog daily – will I do that?  I doubt it, but I’m going to bloomin’ well give it my dastardly darnedest of goes!
Soooo many wonderful plans.
Wonderful, juicy, lusciously lovely plans.   I can’t wait.
All that’s left for me to say is….
PicMonkey Collage
Thank you for sharing our year with us, we all hope you have an amazing coming year, filled to the brim with love, laughter, good health, and financial stability.
And remember this:  YOU are bloomin’-tastically awesome.