Sunday, February 1, 2015

Curriculum Reviews

Over the next year we will be reviewing several different online curriculum. From science, to reading, to math, and typing. We chose to do this for two reasons one to try out new curriculum for our family and to assist other homeschooling families decide what curriculum to get. We are pretty excited about this and a couple of them will be both vlog and blog reviews, which my nine year old is so excited about she loves vlogging. So it will be fun. So stay tuned for those amazing reviews.

Things that have changed within the last year.

A lot has changed. A LOT!!!! We had a new baby he is already 8 months old. We moved from Oregon to Wyoming, which I love! We are no longer unschooling but following a curriculum and unit studies. We follow the Charlotte Mason philosophy, which we love. You can learn more here. Even more has changed for us. I had a breakdown and was diagnosed with Bipolar 1, which explains a lot of my life from childhood into adulthood. Now with medication and therapy I am doing well. I have a long ways to go but I am doing really good. My 4 year old was diagnosed with Aspergers, my six year was diagnosed with ADHD and my nine year old was diagnosed with Aspergers and childhood Bipolar. Labels to me are important for many reasons. They help us to know how our brain works, how our children's brains work, they allow us to find the tools we need to help ourselves and those with special needs to get through rough spots, they allow us to know what triggers us and our children. I don't plan to medicate but if my children ask for medication I will support them in that decision. Right now I am learning all I can about natural ways to help make living with these disorders easier for us all. Labels are only bad if we let them change who we are and stop us from growing and evolving. But that is not why I have sought out labels for me and my children it is the complete opposite I have done it to help us in our growth and evolution. I will be writing about all kinds of things now that I'm back to writing again. Curriculum, struggles and triumphs with my children, curriculum reviews, ah ha moments and more. I am so excited to be back writing and sharing our life with you.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Science 4 Us Review

Over the next 30 days, I will be reviewing Science4Us is an engaging, elementary science curriculum that teaches science using a fun, interactive approach. If you have your own blog and would like to review Science4Us, check out their homeschool review program. Make sure to come back and read my full review.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Wow! It has been a long time!

    A lot has changed for us sense I wrote my last blog. We have gone on many adventures. And had many ups and downs. We moved another unschooling family in which, did not go well at all. It was pure chaos and not the joyful kind either. We finally packed up and moved to live with my dad in the middle of nowhere in the desert to try off griding. Well this was not a positive off grid experience for my family so we moved from my dads into town. This town has a post office, two stores, and a tiny library. We were two hours from the nearest gymnastics place or anything fun really and my kids were bored and unhappy. I found out I was pregnant with our fifth child. Ya I know home is where the heart is and life is what you make it, but I am a firm believer that environmental factors come into play here as well. It is hard to be joyful around people who are always negative or worrying about this that and the other thing. It is hard to be joyful when your in a place where your stuck and there's nothing there for you or your children. Where you don't make enough money to go into town that is two hours away to do something fun. We felt stuck in this little itty bitty town. We felt like we were cut off from the rest of the world. I felt claustrophobic and like I was drowning. So hubby and I talked and thought maybe a move to another state where he could make good money and still be around would be an option to look into. Hubby has a friend that moved to Wyoming for work and we looked into it and a lot of Wyoming looked good to us and it felt good. So we talked to the kids, showed them some websites and all the things we can do there. And that they would also be able to enjoy going to dance and gymnastics as well as other interests. Everyone was on board. 

      A few years ago we had looked into moving to South Dakota, North Dakota, New Mexico, and North Carolina but there was always one person that didn't feel right about it so we didn't go. But Wyoming we all wanted to go. We packed up our minivan with four kids, two dogs, and two adults and the basic essentials. Bedding, food, clothes, special toys, computers and tablets and put all of our keepsakes in storage and was out the door heading from Oregon to Wyoming in less then two weeks from the time we made the decision. We were excited. 

      Crossing over the Idaho border was the most amazing feeling. I felt free. I felt at peace. I felt like my dad no longer had a grip over me or the people of the little itty bitty town he lived in. I was so excited I cried. It felt surreal. We drove through to Utah and stayed in a hotel for the night had pizza watched movies went to bed. Then we woke up and hit the road. We drove till we couldn't anymore then stopped in Nevada for lunch. We then hit the road after lunch and made it to Wyoming where we were staying on Friday the 13th two minutes before midnight. I remember the moon being full and bright and the feeling of empowerment. It was a magical moment. 

       We stayed in a 5th wheel for almost two months and while it brought us closer together in ways it made us realize as well that we are a bunch of introverts that need our own space. We are family of high needs and strong personalities and emotions. So space is good. We found a house in the paper, and here it is hard to find a home to rent because of the job boom they go fast. But I called on it and I was the first caller. We went and looked at it and it is technically a four bedroom, two bath, two level home. This home is huge. You walk in and if you go downstairs there's a room on the right that has no carpet that we are going to use for a work out room, then if you go straight there's the downstairs bathroom and laundry room to right and to the left a living room then a bedroom. Then upstairs there is a living room, huge dinning room and kitchen, three bedrooms and bathroom. In the hallway there is a built in bookshelf and huge linen closest. There is a ton of room here to grow. It even has a back deck that is covered and huge with a fenced yard with room for trampoline and there is already a built in space to have a garden. 

        We turned in the paper work and signed the lease and we were in in two days after looking at it. We love it so much here. We are buying everyone new bedroom sets and a nice living room set for upstairs and new TVs. Were so excited. Hubby loves his new job and he still gets time with us. We are able to live and do things with each other and get the space we need. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Food Choices

Many feel that if they were to allow their child to eat whatever they wanted when they wanted they would only eat junk. I don't agree with this. I know if I ate that way I would feel sick after a while and want to eat something healthier. So why are children any different? Why do parents feel that their child would only eat junk food. First thing is that when we make the statement my could would only eat junk food if I gave them the choice implies that we don't trust the child, second it implies that children do well when they want to, which now we just assumed that this child doesn't want to, third we are expecting this child to meet our demands, which are adult demands, essentially setting them up for failure. Our children can't meet our demands because they are not us. We can't demand or expect someone to do as we would because what feels right to us may not feel right to them. So assuming that a child will only eat junk food is expecting them to fail. Think about how that makes that child feel. Mom and dad expect me to fail. They are buying the food because I can't do it and now they don't trust me to eat what they think I should. That child is now feeling pretty bad about themselves and pretty unloved.

Before we started unschooling five years ago we controlled our children's food choices, when they ate, and how much they ate. It was fight constantly. Our schedule was Breakfast, Snack, Lunch, Snack and then Dinner. I constantly had hungry and whiny kids. I did not know then that kids were grazers that they needed to eat several times a day. When we hoped upon unschooling food choices was one of the first things to go out the window. I had a lot of learning to do and I still bought lots of cracker snacks, pop corn, fruit snacks, chips, produce, nuts, and seeds. As we lifted the restrictions my kids binged and they did not binge on the produce it was the boxed snacks. Why? Because that is what we restricted. We let them eat all the produce they wanted but not the junk snacks we limited those. Well after about two days of mostly fruit snacks, oreos, chips, juice, etc... my oldest came to me at age 5 and says mom my body does not feel so well. I think I need to eat more fruit and vegetables. I then learned about platters from an Unschooling group I joined and started doing meat and cheese platters, fruit and veggies platters and all kinds of different platters. I got really creative with it and they loved it. I made them in the morning and sat them out and they munched all day. I began to notice something remarkable. My kids that were always hungry and whiny were no longer always hungry and whiny and they were so much happier. I also realized that I am the grocery shopper I bring the food into the house. I am also their guide and partner and I need to share with them the importance of listening to our bodies and eating food that our body loves and keeps it healthy. I stopped a lot of the processed items and started getting more produce, meats, cheeses, nuts and seeds. That doesn't mean that they never eat Oreos or chips it means that they eat them less. When they ask for them we buy them every time and they can eat however many they want. We never say no to a request when it comes to food if it is in our budget.

Our children often have dessert with their dinner or candy before dinner and it doesn't spoil their appetite. I have seen first hand a parent tell a child they can't have a cookie before dinner and then when the child is away the parent eat a cookie before dinner. This is not equality. How is that right to say the child can't have one before dinner then the parent eats one. What if the child saw that how would that make the child feel? What message does that send to the child. It sends the message that adults have more power, and that the parent knows whats best for the child. This takes away the childs autonomy. It takes away their ability to listen to their own inner voice and do what feels right for them.  It shows them that they can't trust themselves and that they need to depend on others to make decisions for them. It shows them that they are not capable of making good decisions and they loose their self esteem and self confidence. These are not the messages we want to be sending to our children.

If I were to tell my husband he couldn't a cookie before dinner he would eat one anyway and look at me like I am crazy. So why do we treat children less then us? Why do we treat them with such disrespect and unkindness compared to how we treat our spouse or friend. Our children are no less deserving of respect and kindness then our friends and spouses. We treat our children like we would each other and our friends. If we wouldn't do it or say it to our spouse or friend then we don't say or do it to our children. We don't see them as less then anyone else. We see them as equals.

So the point is is that our children want to do well for themselves. They want to do what feels right for their bodies. It is our responsibility as their parents to give them information, not in a manipulative or scare tactic type of way, but in an honest authentic way where they have the ultimate decision without feeling guilty. Food is an important part of our lives and what we eat shapes how we feel, and think. So we need to share with our children why it is important to give our body foods that make our bodies feel good. And the only way for them to know how to do that is to let them make those choices and learn to read their bodies. They will know if they ate to much candy because their belly will get sick and this is how they will learn to listen as they get older for the sign from their body that it has had enough. It may take a few or a lot of tummy aches for them to get there but they will. A lot of people can't read their bodies. They eat and eat and eat they can't hear their bodies ques because they were never allowed to hear it. They will make mistakes and eat something that made them sick and that is okay that is how they are going to learn to listen to their bodies and do what feels right to them.

My 8 year old has a gluten intolerance, as well as myself. For the longest time she kept getting tummy aches and complaining after eating gluten. I shared with her that maybe we should try going gluten free. She didn't want to because she didn't want to miss out on all the yummy snacks she loves so much. At first my concern and fear go the best of me and I tried to scare her into going gluten free but she pushed against me and I soon realized I had no right to force her to stop eating gluten that it had to be her choice so I apologized and explained why I should let her make the decision and what messages forcing her may send to her, which she thanked me for and backed off and let her make the decision and she continued to eat gluten and suffer. Of course people thought bad things of me but I listened to my own inner voice and trusted my daughter. I trusted that she has her own journey to follow and it is not right for me to judge that or her. That she needed to go through that suffering to get to where she is now. That is was essential for her to get to know herself and learn to trust herself and build confidence in her decisions. Eventually the suffering got so bad she decided on her own she was ready. So we searched for gluten free alternatives to her favorite snacks and I baked more gluten free items that she liked. She began to notice a difference and realized that she did need to be gluten free. I never once tried to coerce, manipulate, or force her to change her diet. It was all her idea. Now we are mostly paleo with a few baked or boxed gluten free items here and there and she is so happy with how she feels now. She isn't clumsy anymore, she talks clearer, she can actually sit still and listen to what someone is saying, she is sleeping through the night, and she stopped wetting the bed. Allowing her to make this decision on her showed her that she can trust herself and have confidence in the choices that she makes. It also helped her inner voice become a little bit clearer. I would taken all that away had I forced her to go gluten free.

If you are struggling with letting go of food choices. Make snack platters that was a life saver for us and I spent less time in the kitchen and less money. They can take what they want and leave what they don't and they get to listen to their bodies and eat as much as they want and what feels good to them. It is also a great way to incorporate new things as well.

I truly believe that children will do well when they can. I believe that if once they are given the information that they need they will do what is right for them. So it is our job as their partner to be honest with them in a non fear based or manipulative way. In order for our children to keep their autonomy they have to be able to make their own choices so they can learn how to read the ques their bodies are giving them. The best gift we can give our children is allowing them to keep their autonomy and authenticity.

Children's Natural Desire to Help.

When people hear about how we do things in our home they often come up and say if my kid didn't have a bed time they would never sleep, or if I let my kid eat what they wanted when they wanted they would only eat junk. I am going to talk about these and share experiences that I have had with my children while usnchooling that prove that these statements are not only wrong but assuming that children do well when they want to. I don't find this to be true I believe children to well when they can. Of course children need and want our guidance they want information about the world around them. But they don't want to be told what to do and how to do it. They want to have the freedom to make their own decision based on the information they have, that is where the statement children do well when they can comes into play. So I am going go through several of these myths over the next few days and share experiences that I have had with my own children that proves them to not only be false but very hurtful to children. Essentially when parents say my child would eat junk food all day every day given the choice you are saying you don't trust them, and you are expecting them to fail according to your expectations. When we place expectations on our children we are setting them up for failure. Because they can't live up to our expectations because what is right for them may not be what is right us. They are a totally different person with different desires, feelings, thoughts, and opinions. They need to be aloud to be true to who they are and be trusted to listen to their own inner guidance system, their intuition, their gut, their soul, their heart whatever you want to call it. Children are taught not to listen to their own guidance system by parents making all the decisions for them, punishing them, coercing them, and shaming them. The when they are adults they are expected to listen to their inner guidance system. How can they, they never learned how. My children know how to listen to their own guidance system and they know how to speak up for what is right for them. They will never have to learn as adults how to do this. They trust themselves and have confidence in their choices.

If I didn't make my child do chores they would never help around the house. 

It is interesting to me that so many parents believe this to be true. Children naturally and authentically love to help. They want to help. It makes them feel good. It makes them feel like a part of something and it helps them learn new things and more about who they are and value. I so often when we are out and about children wanting to help and being told no because the parent is in a hurry or they want to control whatever it is the child is wanting to help with. 

We were at the super market one day and a little girl about four wanted to help put groceries on the belt . The mom would not let her because she wanted it to be in a certain order. The child begged to help and then began to throw a "tantrum" I felt sad for the little girl because all she wanted to do was help put groceries on the belt. The order of the groceries was not that important. Not only did she say no put she popped the girl on the bottom of throwing a "tantrum" then put her treat back because she was being bad. My heart ached for her. My kids were upset and my 8 year old spoke. She does not stand for any kind of injustice. She asked the mom why she couldn't help and the mom said because I wanted it in a certain order so when I get home it is easier to put away. My daughter did not understand this and then asked why. And the mom said I don't like to spend a lot of time putting the groceries away I have other things to do too. Then my daughter says you shouldn't hit it isn't nice. I let her speak up like that because it is important to her to stand up against abuse. And hitting is abuse. It is hurtful and causes life long emotional trauma that takes years to let go of. The mom chose control over her daughters need to help and feel independent and big. The mom chose to leave a scar that will take years to heal and 10 minutes of time putting things away over love and connection with her child. So when her items moved up a little and we could put some on my 8 year old handed her some of our things to put on and that made her smile. The mom was annoyed I could see it but she let her help. My daughter seen the pain in that little girls heart and wanted to help her feel better and meet her need to help out. 

Why did she do this? Because it is how she has been raised sense she was 2. We have allowed our children to help out whenever they ask as much as possible unless it is something that is dangerous or we feel isn't really safe for them to do which is rare. It does take more time to let children help especially when they are younger but it is so very important for us as parents to step back and allow them to because they are learning how to take care of themselves. They are learning the skills they will need when they are adults. It is interesting to me that parents will not allow their younger kids to help because they want it done a certain or don't want to take the time to let them and then force chores when they are older. I have learned with my four children that when we allow them to help when they are young and make enjoyable they will continue to help when they are older and there is no need for chores that are enforced and then followed by rewards or punishments. Children want to help they don't need a reward for helping they just want to do because it feels good, they want to learn something and they want to be with us. 

I have never made my kids do chores but yet they help all the time. My home is very clean and tidy not because I clean all the time but because we all work together to keep it clean. We all do our part. I ask them to do things for me and they have the right to say no just like my husband and I do. If I ask my hubby to take out the garbage and he doesn't feel like it I am not going to turn his movie off and send him to his room for disobeying me. I am going to just leave it there for later or do it myself. We treat everyone in our home equally. We have no more power then our children. We are all in control of ourselves and no one else. We don't rule over our children. They don't see us as authorities or someone to fear they see us as their friend and someone deserving of respect. 

My 9 year old loves to help out around the house and she created her own chore chart where she marks off the day. She did this so she could remember which thing she was going to do on which day. Monday is laundry she washes, drys, and folds laundry. I don't expect her to do all they laundry, actually I don't expect her to do any of it. She does it until her heart is content. Tuesday is dishes which is her favorite, Wednesday is pick up and declutter, Thursday is make the beds, which she leaves love notes on each pillow, and Friday is sweep and mop. She does not have anything for Saturday or Sunday because daddy is home and none of us really clean on those days because that time is spent with sense he is gone working all week. This was her idea, she WANTED to do this. 

                                                     Destinees Chart she made
               Destinee joyfully doing the dishes. She was singing and dancing while doing them

I don't make a big deal out of them helping and I don't make a big deal out of them not helping. I do say thank you and tell them I appreciate their help. And so they are not helping to make me happy or get my approval and love they are helping because it makes them feel good. And feeling good is important to them. 

                                         Kaley helping me make pork chops for dinner.

                                                Cearra vacuuming the couch cushion.

Helping daddy make cinnamon rolls.

                                                 Kaley Shucking Corn
                                                  Destinee Shucking Corn
                                                  Garrett Shucking Corn
Kaley and Garrett cleaning up the back yard.

My children love to help simply because it feels good. They have watched us help others. They have seen us put others above ourselves and help them and in return the universe helped us. They have seen us help those that are homeless by giving them a meal, helped a friend in need, help a lost pet find their owner. Modeling these things for our children teaches them the value of helping others and that our main purpose on this planet is to help others. To give a hand up, to lift others up when they are in need. By taking a step back and allowing our children to help us whenever they ask teaches them that helping feels good and that connection through helping feels good. It teaches them to also take care of themselves and to focus on doing what feels good and right to them. When we don't allow them to help with everyday tasks we are taking that ability away from them. So I would like to say that the statement my kids won't help out around the house if I don't make them do chores is not true. That children naturally and authentically want to help. Humans are tribal, it is in our DNA to help others it is who we are. So why are we not letting our children do what feels so natural to them? Why are we taking away something that is part of who they are? Take the time to let your children help you with day to day tasks, you will be allowing them to be true to who they are. Letting your children be who they are is the best gift you can ever give them.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Letting Go of the Attachment to my Hair.

I have always had an attachment to my hair. It was a huge part of my life because my dad made a big deal about my hair. Cutting it was unmentionable in my home. I was never allowed to experiment with my hair and that was hard for me. I felt controlled and like I didn't have a say over my own body. I felt like my hair is what made me likable. That what others thought about my hair was important. When I was 8 I let my friend cut my hair and I was punished and told that I don't look pretty anymore that hurt me deeply. I like it and I still felt pretty but why did my dad think less of me because I cut my hair. He has a vision in his mind of what his little girl looked like and he try to control me to match that image. It  stopped me from being who I am. It stopped me from being authentic and real. I had to bury who I was to please him. When I was 12 I shaved all of my hair but a portion on the top that hung down to my butt. This made him very angry and I was shamed and punished for my choice that I made about MY body. I have always cared about what others thought of me. I have always hid who I am to make others comfortable and like me. I did not realize until years later how damaging this was for me. How unhealthy hiding who I really am was. All I ever wanted was to be accepted for who I was not what I looked like or the decisions I made. But growing with a dad that tried to control how I thought, felt, looked, and valued made being me impossible. I rebelled on a constant basis and avoided being home. Home was not a happy place for me growing up it was torture. This taught me not to listen to my inner voice. It taught me that I didn't know what was best for me. It taught me to not trust myself. To always second guess myself.

As I got older my attachment to my hair and what others thought grew stronger and I began to have social phobias. In Highschool speaking in front of class was torture and I even threw up in front of the class. Caring what others thought tortured me I was afraid to be myself. I was afraid if I was myself people wouldn't like me and they would say bad things about me. I was quiet most of the time when around others and didn't talk much until I warmed up and felt safe. I started to get anxiety and suffer from depression.

As I began to realize that I couldn't live this way anymore I started out on journey of inner peace and emptying out my closet. This journey led me down many painful but liberating roads. The struggle was worth it. I then came to a point where I had come face to face with the skeleton of the importance of beautiful and socially acceptable hair. I realized that I needed to do something big overcome this attachment. I had cut my hair several times in the past so just cutting wasn't going to work. I needed to do something bigger. Then it came to me I needed to shave my head. I needed to start over. I needed to grow a new relationship with my hair. I needed to let go of the baggage that came with my hair that was attached to my. I needed to realize that it is just hair and it does not define who I am. And who I am is more important then having hair. I wanted to start over and let go of the attachment to my hair once and for all. So shaving it was the best choice for me.

As I stood in front of the mirror with the clippers in my hand ready to go my heart started to race. I was surrounded by my children as they cheered me on. "Go mom Go". My hand shook as I cut off my long hair. When I was finished and I stood in the mirror looking at myself. I fell in love. I felt free. I felt Empowered. I felt Liberated. I felt Beautiful. It changed my life.

                               My daughter took this photo of me right after I shaved my head.

As my hair began to grow back  I realized that the mere act of shaving my head was not the teacher it the stage of it growing back. The feelings I felt as my hair grew back in triggered things deep within that I didn't even know existed. I had to dig deep and do some soul searching and let some pretty painful things go. At the end of letting go of each one I felt freer and freer. Now I am in a really good spot and I am so glad I shaved my head because it brought me closer to who I am and allowed me to let go of baggage that was holding me back from being ME! I now trust myself after 29 years. I now have confidence in the decisions that I make and can hear my inner voice.

Allowing myself to grow and face the skeletons in my closet has made me a better mom, wife, and friend. It has made me kinder, compassionate, empathetic, gentler, and more loving. It has made me raw, vulnerable and wear my heart on my sleeve. It has made me put myself first, which has allowed me to love others more. It has allowed me to love myself deeper then I have done before. Not just love myself but IN LOVE with myself.

I will never be that mom that controls what her children do to their bodies. It is THEIR body. I will never shame them for making a choice that I may have not agreed with. That is not my job as their mom and partner. My job is to walk side by side with them supporting them and guiding them and encouraging them to be true to who THEY are. To listen to their own inner voice. To do what feels RIGHT to THEM. I want my children to be strong and confident in who they are. I want them to be in full control of their bodies at all times. My children will never have to grow up and undo the damage that being controlled causes. They will never have to learn to trust themselves or gain confidence in who they are as an adult because they will already trust themselves and have confidence in who they are.

The birth of my Son

    As I had traveled farther into attachment parenting and unschooling with my girls I learned more about home birth, self weaning, co sleeping, cloth diapering, and child wearing. I decided that if I were to ever get pregnant again, which we wear not planning on it, I wanted a home birth. Well soon after this thought my desire to have another baby grew bigger and bigger and I just couldn't let it go. I knew that I was meant to have another child. I really wanted to raise a boy. I could feel it so deeply within my core. My husband on the other hand was happy with our three beautiful girls. I was too but the desire was there lurking deep within whispering to me. One more just one more. Soon after this I got sick and went into the hospital at this point they had learned that my IUD had perforated through my Uteris and was wrapped around my large intestine. I also learned around this time I had some form of IBD, which is why I went in in the first place, finding the IUD was not in my plan, but it was in the universes plan. Now that I was not on birth control and didn't want to go on birth control we were using the pull it out method due to my allergy to most condoms. All of a sudden I woke up and felt very ill and so I decided to take  a pregnancy test because it felt like morning sickness. Sure enough it was positive. I was so excited! I couldn't believe it! The Universe worked it's magic, rearranged my life and BAM! Were having a baby. Hubby was excited after the shock wore off. In my heart I knew it was a boy and I had his name picked out already. Garrett Daniel Ferns.

    Now I needed a midwife. Someone that would help me birth my baby at home despite my ordeal with the IUD and our financial situation. I searched and searched and started to get discouraged and then I ran into someone at the store and we got to talking about birth and she gave me the name of a midwife that is very open to payments and birthing women with previous traumas. I called her as soon as I got home and we set up a time to go and meet her. I fell in love with her and her assistant. She said yes to birthing our baby. I was so excited!

    Garretts pregnancy went fabulously well. My colitis symptoms had subsided during the pregnancy and I was able to be pretty active with my girls. My girls were very excited about having another baby in the house. They couldn't wait to hold and snuggle a little baby. We weren't going to find out what we were having because I thought it make having a home birth even more awesome but the baby inside of me had a better idea. It wanted me to know what it was. It was not hard to tell that it was a he. 

     I had spent a lot of time visualizing the birth I wanted. What I wanted the weather to be like, who I wanted to be there, I would just sit and imagine it as if it were happening. Doing thins felt so good and calming to my soul. I talked a lot about the birth I wanted with my children, husband, family and friends. I wanted it to turn out perfect. 

At about 4:00 PM on the fourth of August I thought I had wet my pants but what was weird was every time I moved water trickled down my leg. I called my midwife and she informed me that my water had broke. This is exactly what I wanted to happen I wanted to feel my water break. It was an amazing experience. My midwife came and stayed through out the night as my contractions kept going. At about 4:00 Am I laid down to rest because my contractions has become faint. I then woke and sat straight up at exactly 7:00 AM woke my husband and said honey the baby is coming. Then BAM! A hard contraction hit, then another, and another. Then I felt a pop as he slid into my pelvis. 

The day was exactly as I visualized. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, there was a cool breeze coming through my window, and I was surrounded by family and friends. As the contractions intensified I headed to my room to lay on my bed. The contractions got more intense one after the other and then I felt it the urge to push and it was time. It was time to finally meet my little guy for the first time and hold him in my arms. I pushed three good pushes and he was out. After 4.5 hours of intense natural labor Garrett Daniel Ferns was born at 11:31 AM on August 5th 2010.  He did not cry once and latched on perfectly when he fed for the first time. He weighed in at 7 lbs 8 ozs and was 20.5" long. He was my biggest baby out of the four of them.

All three of my girls watched the whole thing. They have all watched each other be born. It is just something that felt natural to me. Childbirth like sex is natural why hide it. It isn't icky or wrong it is natural. I got mixed reviews about letting my girls watch. I was told that it might traumatize them. I didn't understand this How would something so beautiful and natural traumatize them? This just doesn't make sense to me. Not once did they say ewww or gross. They were totally fascinated with it all and wanted to be a part of it. They wanted to see everything and help as much as possible. They cheered me on as I pushed out their baby brother. It made that day that much better.

I couldn't believe I did it! I couldn't! I was so in love with myself in that moment. I just did the most amazing thing in the world I gave birth to a baby naturally. It was a joyous day one that I will never forget. If I had the chance to do it all over again I would do it in a heartbeat. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Power of Dreams and Imagination

Growing up I was taught that dreams don't come true which is why they call them dreams this concept that was ingrained deep into my mind caused me to live a dull life until I learned about the Law of Attraction. Law of Attraction taught me the power that dreaming has and that dreams do come true. I started using the Law of Attraction in my life I created vision boards with my girls and it was so much fun. I began to soon find out that dreams do come true and the best part of life is the dream or destination itself but it is the journey to the dream or destination. I have learned that dreaming brings me great joy and sharing those dreams with others brings me even greater joy.

This brings me to my oldest daughter Destinees newest dream. She loves animals and watching anything about them on T.V. and the Internet. Recently she stumbled upon the amazing Bindi Irwin on her new show Jungle Girl on Discover Kids. She had to tell me all about it and how cool Bindi was. She brought me my laptop and sat next to me on her bed and wanted to show me this wonderful little girl that she just fell deeply in love with. As we were looking through YouTube videos and reading all that we could about this amazing little girl Destinee saw a video of her holding a Koala which then become her new passion. She wanted to learn all about them and talked about how cool it will be to hold one. She then told me that she wants to go to Australia and meet Bindi, hold all the animals in her zoo, and have sleep over at her house. It was an awesome feeling to dream with my little girl I began to feel her excitement and joy and dream along with her. We talked about the plane ride, and all the cool places we will see, and the beautiful hotel we will stay in, and how awesome it was going to be to meet such an amazing family and see so many amazing animals and actually get to hold them. I then realized that in that time of dreaming I have connected with my daughter on a level that I never have before. It was beautiful it was complete and utter bliss.

I used to be a mom that didn't support their dreams and would say things like you better start saving or we could never do that at the time I did not know that I was crushing my little girls ability to dream but sense starting this new journey I have learned the power of dreaming and how important it is to dream. I will never say those things again to my girls. I will continue to be a part of their dreams and support their dreams 100%. I love giving them the power to dream and imagination cool and amazing things and most importantly I love seeing them so full of joy. Children don't know doubt, facts, or fears all they know is that they can dream and they are beautiful and that dreaming feels good to them and brings them joy. Taking a child's ability to dream away strips away their true self and authentic power little by little.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My beautiful Girls

Destinee age six

Is my spontaneous child that gets excited about anything. She is also very independent and out going and she knows what she and why and if you step in her way she will shut down. She is very true to who she is and when she feels that someone is trying to get her to do something that does not align with who she is she get upset and she shuts herself off from the world by being quit and wanting to be left alone. But when she is able to do things that align with who she is she gets so excited, she begins dancing around and singing at the top of her lungs and that is the Destinee we see more and more. While Destinee was in Head start and six months of kindergarten she learned that she had to do what others said no matter how she felt about it and when she was in kindergarten that message was even deeper ingrained when they tried to push her to learn to read even though she wasn't ready and stated that she was not ready. She heard them saying that they wanted to test her for learning disabilities that is when she told me she didn't want to go anymore she I kept her home. Ever sense then she has been different. She is very in tune to how she feels and wants others to know when they are doing something or trying to make her do something that doesn't align with who she is. As parents we are her partner and support her independence and encourage it. Destinee loves life. She loves being outside in the world and being around people of all ages. She is very respectful of others and the world around her. She loves nature and learning new things. Destinee has a lot of common sense and I never had to worry about her doing thing like sticking her finger in sockets or running out in the road. I have always explained things to her even when she was a baby.

Cearra age five

Is my blue eyed wild child. She is very independent, out going, and out spoken. She know what she wants and why and she will tell you. She will let you know when she is upset or doesn't agree especially when it is something that is not aligned with who she truly is. She is a child that you easily compromise with and work out a solution that everyone is happy with. But as soon as you loose your cool or become inpatient she gets hurt and lets you know it. When who she truly is is being supported then she is happy and lovable. She loves to snuggle and laugh. She always has a smile on her face. She loves to discuss things in great detail and loves to ask questions. She has a passion for learning. Cearra has never been to school so she has always loved learning and never needed to learn how to love learning again. She is very observant about the world around her and knows when someone isn't telling the truth and will say something about it. She is very honest and isn't afraid to be honest. She doesn't care what others think, she only cares about what she thinks. She knows she is her own person and doesn't let others tell her she needs to do things their way. She will say I can do it my way and it will still work. She has a lot of common sense and gets the world around her. I have always explained things to her when she was a baby.

Kaley two and a half

Is my loving and cuddly two and a half year old that loves life and gets very excited about new and old things. She is always asking questions about everything around her and loves to talk about anything. She loves animals and nature. She loves being outdoors. She also loves all people but can read people very well and will shy away from people that make her uneasy. She is spunky and knows what she wants and isn't afraid to say no. She has never been spanked or put in time out so she has no idea what that is like and she never will. When she isn't listened to she gets very upset and does everything she can to get you to listen or notice her. She is very true to who she is and if if someone tries to get her to do something that isn't in alignment with that she gets very upset and communicates that very well. She has a lot of common sense. She loves it when people pay attention to her and take the time to listen to her. She does get upset when she is trying to communicate something but others can't understand. We try as her partners in this life to ease her frustrations as much as possible. She rarely throws fits and very happy most of the time. She is always smiling and singing and dancing.

My daughter can't read at age six. SO WHAT!

I have received a lot of flack from family, friends, and strangers because my six year old daughter who would be in first grade if we didn't pull her can't read. They always find this out because they put her on the spot asking her how to spell things. I try to jump in because she is a child that does not like to be put on the spot or quizzed and she knows that they are just quizzing her because we homeschool.It angers me when adults do this I find it unfair and degrading to a child. I received a lot of judgement from one friend saying that I was educationally neglecting my child because she can't read or do what her six year old can do. Well for one not all kids do the same things at the same time and second those lists are only for schools so that they can get their money from the Government. Just because a child can't read yet doesn't mean they never will or that they can't learn because they can't read. Ok first off they learn by asking questions, watching tv, listing to the radio, playing games on the computer or watching videos, video games, books on tape and being out in the world. Following a list set by the Government doesn't make one child any smarter then the other. I have always believed that everyone is smart in their own way and everyone is a genius. Knowledge isn't based on what you memorized it is based on what you know by truly being passionate about it and learning about it. Everyone learns differently and my girls are all hands on independent learners which means they don't like to be taught or have someone standing over them nor do they like to sit at the table and do worksheets or being talked at. They like to learn at their own pace on their own time. It is exactly the same way my husband and I learn. We both struggled deeply in the school system not because we were dumb but because we didn't learn the way they taught us. We were both pushed to read and my husband hates to read and I am just learning to enjoy it again because I to hated any part of it. I learn more when I am not being graded when I am being graded I know that and I stress about the grade instead of learning anything even if it is something I am very passionate about and my girls are the same exact way. My six year old went to two years of Head start and six months of kindergarten and we are still trying to decondition the negativoty that they conditioned her to believe. She is very aware of those around her and can read people around her very well. She knows when people are being real or fake, she knows when someone is lying or telling the truth, and she has learned to research everything that people tell her to create her own opinion. Just because my six year old can't read does not mean she never will and it also doesn't mean she can't learn. Yes reading opens up a whole new world of learning but you can't push a child to do something when they are not ready with good results. I want my girls to be passionate about reading and to love reading and by pushing them to read will not get that result. My six year old is very passionate about riding her two wheel bike because she taught herself she didn't have someone stand along side her or get frustrated at her she just got on one day and went all by herself and she is so proud of that accomplishment. Through learning things in that way she will have self confidence, self respect, self esteem, and drive to learn anything without the fear of failing. She will not fear doing it wrong just because she does it different then the person next to her because she knows that she is unique and her own person. I don't believe that reading shapes a person or makes them more knowledgeable. I also believe that she will learn to read when SHE is ready. Right now reading is not important to her at age six, playing with her friends and being out in the world is important to her. She knows that mom and dad are hear to help her read when she wants something read. She knows that we don't judge her because she can't read and that we support her on her journey. Her passions right now are birds, playing house, riding her bike, digging in the dirt, being out in the world and nature and using her imagination. She always has other things that she is interested in from day to day but those are her main passions at this time in her young life. I will not push my children to do ANYTHING that they don't want to do regardless of what anyone says. They are their own unique people and can make decisions that best fit who they are themselves. They know themselves better then anyone when they are ready. Let children be true to who they are let them say no, let them express themselves how ever they see fit, let them create their own schedules, let them figure out what they like and don't like. Let them be them. They know themselves better then anyone let them be true to who they truly are.

All things perceived as bad are not always bad they could just be exactly what we wanted.

When we perceive something as bad, negative, or something we didn't want in the end it may be just what we wanted. The universe has to rearrange our life in order to give us that which we are asking for and while the universe is rearranging our life we will experience chaos. That is why Abraham always says "nothing is more important then that you feel good". I have found it hard myself to remember this especially when I am in the middle of chaos. I find myself imagining the worst case scenario and worrying to the point of sickness. I have gotten a lot better this last year but it was hard. One thing that has helped when when I begin to worry is that I am in a canoe going down the fastest river in the world and down stream is what I want and upstream is what I don't want and when I feel myself feeling icky I know that I am trying to paddle up that river in my canoe and so I then close my eyes and imagine my self turning my canoe back around and going with the flow of the river instead of fighting against it. This is something that I learned while listening to Abraham. I instantly feel clearer and lighter and a sense of joy. I love the feeling clarity and lightness there is no other feeling like it in the world and this is how we are supposed to feel most of the time. We choose how we feel and we can control our thoughts. It is very easy once we know that we can do it. One thing that has helped when I can feel my thoughts taking over is to close my eyes breath deeply while saying "am I still breathing", this is something that I learned from Eckhart Tolle and has helped me in so many ways. It clears my mind and brings me instant clarity.

Coming from a lifetime of conditioning where I was taught to worry by watching my parents worry about everything it is something that has been very hard for me to overcome. I have also been conditioned to be pessimistic and only look at the fact and make sure all my ducks are in a row before doing anything. This has taught to no longer dream or imagine it has made life very dull and unhappy and I am on the road to changing that. I am more optimistic now and love to dream about life and I now see life as the glass is half full instead of half empty. It is very empowering to overcome conditioning from our childhood.

Last week my hubby wrecked our car and I seen nothing good coming out of this and of course my ego took advantage of my weakened state and started playing worst case scenarios in my head like a movie over and over again I eventually said okay enough and it stopped which brings me back to yes we can control our thoughts and how we let things make us feel. Of course we hated the car and the payment was outrageous and we wanted something bigger for our soon to be family of six with better gas mileage. I always talked and imagined that new car and how nice it will be to do things now that we get better gas mileage. Ever sense my oldest who is six was born I wanted a minivan. I also always imagined my the car that I hatted being totaled to where no one was hurt but it would get paid off. Sure enough in the end we owe very little on the hated car and we got a minivan that gets twice as good mileage as the hated car and it will fit our family perfectly. So this is something that in the beginning the old conditioning comes in and your ego gets into the drivers seat and makes you think that nothing good will come out of this and in the end it is exactly what you wanted. This event has reminded that the universe has to rearrange our lives to give us what we want and that rearranging causes chaos that is why it is very important to remember that nothing is more important then we feel good.

Law of Attraction has brought many great things to me and my family but the thing that has changed us the most is experiencing pure and utter joy. It has taught me to appreciate what I have in my life and never let myself get in a place of lack, it has taught me to always do what feels good and never do what feels bad, it has taught me to no longer try to change others to just except them for who they are and love them regardless, it has taught me how to dream and imagine life as I want it and not be pessimistic, it has taught me that I have control over my life not the world around me, it has taught me that my thoughts both positive and negative create my reality, it has taught me that to take risks and be spontaneous. Law of Attraction has made me a better parent, wife, and person it has showed me to take off the I am a victim glasses and no longer think that when someone does something that I don't like they are doing it to me to make me mad.

My two older girls have learned about making vision boards and we have talked a lot about Law of Attraction in our home it is part of our life now. They love making vision boards and they love taking things off that they have gotten and putting new things on. It teaches them that everything is possible and that money is not an object and that they can be or do anything they want to do or be. They are their own person and for me that is the wonderful thing that I can share with them that they can take with them when they are living out in the world.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A new journey

It has been a while sense the last time I wrote we have been so busy this new year. We found out we were going to be having baby number four and then hubby got a new job so we moved three hours away. We are all very excited about this new little baby that will be arriving in August we have decided to have a the baby naturally in a birthing center and I am so excited to experience something that I have never experienced before. My three girls were all induced and delivered with the assistance of an epidural. So this is a big deal for me. And I am going to prove to all those that say I can't do it that I can and I will. The other huge thing is we moved to a town that I have only visited once in my whole life. We have been here for a month and so far we love it. We are close to so many scenic areas, nature trails, bird watching sites, camping sights, a lake, a river, and some creeks and ponds. There is so much to do around here that my family loves to do which excites me. We moved to a town that is small and has a lot of local activities that we plan on attending. Some of the activities include a Rock and Mineral show, Strawberry festival, lamb and wool fair, Civil War reenactments, Pioneer picnic, car shows, a apple cider fair, and so much more. All these things our family loves to do we love being outdoors learning about the world around us and how it works. I am truly grateful for all that has come our way. It all worked out so perfectly hubby got a great job that pay great money, we live in a great neighborhood outside of town on a culdesac with a street full of families and kids that are my girls ages. So our life has changed a lot in a four month period and we are so happy and grateful. I have truly felt what is like to feel blissful.

Monday, November 2, 2009

My Transitional Journey from Mainstream Parenting to Authentic Parenting

When my oldest daughter was born I was filled with joy and for the first six months I did what felt right, but then I started getting advice from other people on why I shouldn’t let her sleep in my bed, fall asleep at the breast, or breast feed her after the age of one. I also got the advice of setting rules and boundaries as early as possible, which meant using time outs and allowing her to cry herself to sleep. Of course being a new mom, I listened to all of these things and did them because I did not know any better. When my second daughter was born, I did the same with her. From that, point on we experienced power struggle after power struggle that never left me feeling good. Putting my two year old in time out never felt good to me but I did not know how else to get her to stop the negative behavior of hitting her sister, throwing toys, and having a tantrum when she didn’t get her way. I experienced break down after break down because I was crashing on the inside emotionally due to how I was treating my children day in and day out. We put limits on food, computer use, TV. time, outside time, and bath time. We also made them take naps whether they wanted to or not. We punished them by putting them in time out and if that did not work, they got a spanking and sent to their room. Even though we were consistent and did not let them get away with any kind of negative behavior the behavior just got worse we just got more and more frustrated, which lasted close to four and a half years. We then had our third daughter, which has never been put into time out, spanked, or put in her room. Five months after my oldest started kindergarten, we ended up pulling her out of school and began to home school her and that is when things in our family began to shift for the better. I began to home school her using a curriculum, which lasted for about a month and caused many power struggles. I did some research and found de-schooling, which gives a child a break from traditional learning so that they can have time to learn to love learning again. During the de-schooling process we found unschooling which resonated with my husband and me so we decided that was how we are going to raise our children no more rules, limits, or punishments. We took away all limits on food, TV. computer time, and bath time. We quite making them take naps when they did not want to and took away bed times. We no longer used any kind of punishments or fear tactics. This was a huge step for us but we jumped in headfirst. We began to allow our children to make their own decisions and we were there to guide them through life and support them 100%. In addition, let me tell you it was not easy they ate everything in site for the first two months but then they began to say things like mom I only want healthy food and my tummy hearts when I eat too much. They also stayed up all night long for the first two or three months and I thought I was going to become a zombie but after those few months, they began to put themselves to bed. We also had a lot of fighting between the two older girls and a lot of out bursts because there was a lot of built up anger from the way we were doing things before so it has been challenging to sort all those old emotions out. Transitioning from the authoritative type of parenting to authentic parenting has not been easy for any of us but at the end of the day, you go to bed feeling better as a parent because you are listening to your child’s feelings and validating them, you are helping them to solve issues that are bothering them. The hardest challenge for us was allowing them to make a mess and joyfully cleaning it up by ourselves because they did not want to clean it up. Some people would say that we are allowing our children to do whatever whenever and they are never going to learn to clean up after themselves or that their actions have consequences and of course we ignored what they said nicely because we knew what we are doing feels good to us and that is what matters. Now today they joyfully not only clean up after themselves but clean up for us because I have modeled the joy of cleaning for them. Today there is no more fighting, power struggles, lying, or feeling bad. We treat our children as equals they have just as much right in our home as we do. They are treated like individuals who are respected and loved unconditionally. I treat my children the same way that I treat my husband and my husband treats our children the same way as he treats me. Transition is never easy especially when it affects the way you parent. Once you find that balance and learn to meet everyone’s needs, equally it becomes easier. We are very emotionally connected with our children now and we can tell how they are feeling just by looking into their eyes. We are very involved with our children in every way this is not a hands off parenting approach it is very hands on. Every time I think about where I was as a mom and where I am now as a mom I get chocked up because I am happier now then I have ever been and my children are happier now then they have ever been. Getting through the day now is easy, yes, I said it easy. Being a mom is easy. I used to think that being a mom was hard but now I no longer think that. I think one thing that really helped me in allowing my children to make their own choices was I asked myself are they hurting anyting? Is their life in danger in anyway? If the answer is, no I just allow them to be children and enjoy life. When we focus, on what makes us feel good and only do things that leave us feeling good then naturally, we will not be able to treat our children any other way then with unconditional love. Through your journey in this new way of parenting, you will find your self-having more patience then you ever thought you had. I can tell you from experience that you need to be patient with yourself and allow you are self to make mistakes because it is through your mistakes and down falls that you will become clearer about what you want not only for your children but also for yourself. Remember to focus more on the good things that happen throughout the day and less on the bad things because the bad things will cloud your mind and make you think that it is not working also remember the more you focus on the good things then the more good things you will see during this transition. Life with our children is a joyful experience if we allow it to be one. We have been on this parenting path for a year now and I will never look back. My kids are more loving, respectful, kind, outgoing, compassionate, empathetic, sympathetic, joyful, and truthful then they ever were before. For us all the challenges that we have face on this journey have been more then worth it, we have learned so much not only about each other but about our selves.

Brenda Ferns

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Old Days

We took the girls to my parents for a week and when we went and picked them up we took them to hands on pioneer museum and to fort rock. The museum was awesome they got touch everything, there was a house, school, post office, doctors office, wagon, church, and a couple more houses, and lots of old farm equipment and other items. The girls had so much fun touching everything. They pretended to make dinner, wash clothes, be a docotor, be a teacher, piano player and so much fun it was three hours full of non stop learning and they loved everyminute of it. So did my hubby and I we love doing stuff like that with our girls we love learning with them. We love to be a part of their passions and interests. After the museum we loaded up and went up to fort rock which is a great big rock where cowboys and indians fought if you look you can still find arrow heads and other evidence that indians and cowboys were on that rock. You can see te town from way up there it is so beautiful it looks like a patchwork quilt. We had so much fun that day and learned so much my girls still talk about it to this day. I am so grateful to be able to be a part of my girls passions and be deeply connected with them.

Best Friends

This last weekend my best friend and her family drove two hours to come and stay with us for the weekend. We had so much fun and the girls played great together. Of course they had a few issues but all in all it was a very fun and stress free weekend. We went out to dinner, watched movies, talked until all hours of the night, went to the fun center where we played golf, bowled, rode go carts, and games, we also went to the park while the men went fishing for the day. I love spending time with my best friend she is an amazing women and I love her so much. Our girls have know each other sine our oldest two were not even two yet and not they are six so that is a long time and they are the best of friends and always will be. My girls love her girls so much. I am so grateful to have such great friends in my families life that love us for us.

Japanese Umbrellas

My girls had come to me with an interest about indians. They wanted to learn all about them so were researching them online and watching videos and reading books about them. Well a couple days later we went to my College campus to pick up my books for the coming up term and my oldest daughter pulls on my arm and says "mom look indians, what is it?" she was looking at a poster for an up coming pow wow so I told her what it was and we decided that we would go. We went to the pow wow and the girls had a blast and while they were there they seen someone have a really pretty Japanese umbrella and so we searched for about a half an hour until we found one and they were so delighted. The look on their faces was worth the cost. After that we went the museum that was all about indians and they absolutely had a blast. Not only did we learn a ton about indians that day a sparked a new interest in Japanese culture. Man I love this life it rocks.

My Baby is no longer a baby.

Wow! I can't believe my baby is going to be two on the 12 of september. That is in one month. Where does the time go? She is so much fun to be with she is always making me laugh with her silly faces. She is very smart it does not take her long to figure anything out. She is so independent but when she loves to snuggle I eat that right up because I love holding her and loving on her. She is so sweet and is filled with hugs and kisses. She has learned a lot during our unschooling journey I am amazed at how much she learns and remembers I love watching her look at birds and get excited or insects and want to hold them. She is deffinitely a nature girl. She loves being outside and observing the world around her. She is already very compassionete and empathetic about others when she sees someone get hurt no matter where we are she has to go over and give them a hug. I am joyful that she is growing and learning but sad at the same time because my baby is no longer a baby.

Ant Houses

My oldest daughter who is six loves to build ant houses. It is one of her biggest passions right now. She puts food in them so they do not get hungry and she will put water in a pop bottle cap so the do not get thirsty. She puts a lot of time into her ant houses and she loves the little ants that live in them. She is so proud of her creations. I love being there every moment of the day to watch them grow and learn. I love being involved in there passions by helping them get materials and research their current passion. My girls get so excited when they learn something new they love to research on the internet and get books and movies at the library about their currents passions. They soak it all in because they love learning so much. Learning is not forced in my home and it never will be my girls will be supported in whatever they choose to do in thier lives.

Friday, June 5, 2009

For the Love of Mud

My girls absolutely love to jump in the mud. Our back yard is mostly dirt with some weeds. So it is mud heaven when it is wet. They dig holes well now they have the dogs dig the holes and then fill them with water and jump in them. They also fill there sandbox full of mud and weeds then pretend they are going to the spa. I love how big their imaginations are and that I can give them the opportunity to learn without restricions and limits. Our life is so full of love and peace. Watching my girls play in the mud is something that I find joy in and I am always snapping pictures so I treasure that time in their life when they are at their happiest. Life is what we make of it and my girls are have the best time of their lives.