I have no idea where the time has gone. Almost five months have passed without a single written word from me (some might wish this silence had also extended to the spoken word!). I am rather sad about it - it's like I've missed the opportunity to capture what the last number of months have brought.
Just a few minutes ago, when we were cleaning up from supper, Seth said something funny (to his brother, he said "Matthew, I'm not going to hit you or kick you because Mom is training me right!") and my first thought was, I need to remember this...need to blog this. And, although I've had numerous similar thoughts in the past number of months, it's the first time in a long time I've actually plopped myself into a chair to put pen to paper.
Summer passed by in a blur of summer camps, a bit of cottaging, and spending lots of time outside. Then, all too soon, fall activities hit in an even faster streak of activity and we've been running since. It's been our busiest fall ever. Lots and lots of extra curricular activities and lessons, and we've changed our homeschooling approach somewhat.
The kids are involved in swimming, piano, our Learning Centre homeschool community on Tuesdays, math tutoring, hip hop dance, jazz dance (Lizzie), a full day at a local Christian school that invites h/schoolers to join with them on Thursdays, science club (Matthew and Seth), youth group (Matt), choir, gym class, a running club/track program (Seth & Lizzie), electric guitar (Matthew), worship band (Matthew), Orph music (Lizzie), and art. It's pretty crazy at times.
We've also, this fall, moved a little bit away from an unschooling approach to homeschooling and edged a little closer to a more structured type of learning. Unschooling has been wonderful for us...and we're not out of it completely. We've spent the past three years pursuing the kids' interests, veering mostly away from any curriculum, and taking on life as an education pursuit...all while building attachment and working through trauma/developmental issues. Earlier this year, however, maybe in spring?, I noticed that the kids (Matthew in particular, but all three) were ready for a little more routine and structure...and maybe a little curriculum.
So we're doing a little Science, a little more Math, Bible, and then a few things that are catered to the particular child; for example, Matthew is learning keyboarding with an online program, and Seth and Lizzie are well into a learn-to-read program with me, which we supplement once/week with an online phonics program that supports their other learn-to-read activities.
I've needed to be super organized this fall, so I'm back into weekly meal planning and organizing our days with a little more routine and structure...we have to do this in order to fit everything in. And it's generally working pretty well. The kids are loving the pace of it, with few exceptions...even if their mama is a little tired out from it all.
We've had some highlights and lowlights, in other aspects of life.
One highlight was spending a week in Orlando last week...just the five of us. It was mostly a great time (I say 'mostly' because we still take our sometimes-annoying personalities with us on vacation, and it's too bad we can't take a vacation from them!) - relaxing and busy at the same time. We did Disneyworld's Magic Kingdom (this mama even went on two roller coaster!) and a water park, and played lots in the hotel pool. We also discovered that the kids simply adore eating at restaurant buffets! It was fun and good to get away.
Another highlight was that I turned 50 this summer! Hard to believe, looking as great as I do (ha!), but it's true. We had a great week of celebration, including with my brother, SIL and three of my Vancouver-based nephews, all of whom flew out here to help me celebrate. The weekend after my birthday, I went away for a weekend with my oldest friend (who also turned 50 this year) and we had a great time together, and even did a 'spa' day which was rather heavenly...and a first for me! I felt very feted and think it was a bang-up way in which to start the next decade of my life.
In terms of lowlights, my sister and my sister-in-law are both struggling with ongoing health issues and it's tough watching them go through the things they're going through. I just want miracles...please...is that too much to ask? Life, health, well being - these things are so terribly fragile. Recently, also, my Mom was admitted to the hospital, where she's struggling with complex medical and functional issues; she is slowly getting better, but it feels like we're in the next stage of life where things have shifted permanently again.
Anyway, these are all broad strokes about life over the past number of months. I do so hope that I can spend a little more time here, because I have missed it intensely. When we were in Orlando last week, I wrote almost-daily updates to my family about the ongoings of our trip, not so much because I thought they'd care a lot about the minutia, but more because I feel keenly the absence of writing in my life. It's my touchstone...my way of connecting, of feeling connected, of feeling most like me. I intend to be here again soon.