It takes a Village…Yes, But first you need to find the village.

When I became a mom for the first time…11 years ago, what?! Yes Tammara, 11 years ago, I remember how daunting it was. How wonderful and utterly terrifying it felt to be holding this small bundle of lif e. A bundle that I did not know yet, even though I had spoken to him for months as he grew within me. In fact, he was the only one of my four children who had a name throughout my pregnancy…and still, I didn’t know him at all. What he liked or didn’t, what he needed. I desperately clung to the schedule the nurses gave me, as the only “known” – the cycle of feeding, sleeping and changing kept me going for about 5 months.

Because it took us so much longer than most of our friends to start a family – most of them were not new parents. Even those who had managed to be pregnant around the same time as us, were welcoming their last children, not their first. They were already accustomed to having a new life in their homes, they were already occupied with older children, or even dealing with teenagers. Everyone had stories that identified with ours, but they were all past tense, spoken not with condescension, but with that knowledge that only experience gives – and only experience truly identifies with. Knowledge and experience that we were just gaining. No one we knew well, was walking through this new season, as new parents, together with us. And though, we knew we could and would learn much from them, we needed more…

There were new parents in our lives, just not people we knew well, yet. They became the people I felt drawn to. People who were just as newly sleep deprived, bewildered and as excited as us, over every small thing that annoys all non new parents the world over. One newer friend, Alex. had sort of pushed me into organizing a new moms group. (Most people know this – I love to organize things and people, but they don’t know that I usually need a really good push, from God or other people – usually both, to get started, it’s this mental thing about not wanting to be bossy by choice) – anyways, Alex, she pushed me and I contacted all the other new moms I could think of and word spread, and before we new it, a group of 8-15 moms was meeting regularly. It varied over time, usually copious amounts of coffee and tea were consumed, usually lunch and snacks were shared. Various living rooms were littered with car seat carriers, receiving blankets and baby paraphernalia.

Oh the idyllic days  of not having a schedule. In Canada we have a whole year of maternity leave so we’d talk for hours, holding our own or each others babies, nursing or bottle feeding, changing diapers and sharing hearts. Fears, frustrations, hopes, victories – 4 or 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep was always met with cheers and envious congratulations. As the months passed, the group evolved. We’d go for long walks with the strollers, have lunches, share hobbies and recipes, photography tips, flower arranging…sharing all the firsts, first smiles, steps, teeth…

mommy and me2Some moms went back to work, some moved away. Then as some second babies arrived, we morphed again… we would plan play dates – with the larger group and sometimes smaller ones. We’d go to the zoo together, or to the park. Always sharing, life and hearts.

Then, as we approached the school years, things started to change. Life got busier, we were tethered to our respective neighbourhoods and the schools therein. There were other parents to get to know and teachers, and our little group met together less and less, but more than that, the sharing changed. Maybe I changed, maybe we all did. It was harder to share our fears, our frustrations with parenting, with school and with life. It was little harder to identify with it was harder not to judge and not to feel judged for differences. It was harder to admit we still hadn’t figured things out.

So slowly, and then for us, quickly with the onset of outside circumstances, financial stress, a church split, relocation of good friends and family, schooling stresses…our circle, our village, got smaller. We withdrew, but what we really wanted and needed was to hold on.  For us, the circle, the village got really really small, at a time when we really needed something more. We needed the village to help hold us together when we were falling apart…

but then this wonderful thing happened…

We pulled out of everything…we started to reconnect as a family, then with friends from before, and friends during and most importantly…

We started homeschooling.

Once again, I found myself in a small group of moms, each of us terrified and overwhelmed. Each of us only armed with the knowledge that this was right for each of us, for our families, for right now. That first year, when we were bleary eyed with frustration…only to laugh in a wild hysteria when we realized that we all had “one of those weeks”…at the same time. … when no one is getting along, no one seems to be learning a thing, mom feels like a shrew losing her cool every half hour and dad gets to put out fires when he gets home kind of weeks…and we had all felt too alone and afraid to pick up the phone and share the vulnerable feeling of not having it all figured out, until we saw ourselves, in each other…

Only to find out that, in the month of February, EVERY homeschooler (new and veteran) it seems has one of those weeks.

This group of moms quickly grew to include not just new homeschoolers, but of all different shades – some with or two kids, some with 5 or 8. Some with kids in school as well as home schooled.All different styles of schooling, all different faiths and leanings. Drawn together usually consuming copious amounts of coffee and tea, packing our own snacks and lunches in various kitchens, parks and yards… sounds oddly similar doesn’t it. Though now our shared transparency is concern for our families, our children’s educations and the world around us.

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We have found a village again. Reconnected, found new and rebuilt by the Lord.

Case in point, last Friday, while at Gym Day – snack time arrived and the boys pounced on me with ravenous hunger – as if they hadn’t eaten for days, and not just an hour earlier. For a moment I couldn’t see our 2 year old, Elaina, though she was only 3 feet away. The next minute, the loud smack of skull on concrete resounded through the gym. The room grew silent as we waited for the cry to tell us what kind of hurt it was, and which child it came from. Someone yelled her name and I instantly knew it was bad. Elaina was scooped up off the floor and carried to me through the fray…she was limp but looking at me and trying to catch her breath or cry, I couldn’t tell… and then she started to black out. That scary eye roll and almost seizure like movement…and wanting to sleep on my shoulder. I started to pray the only way I knew how, thanking the Lord for His promise, His protection, His healing…while asking for someone to call 911, while my boys started to panic. One of the moms grabbed my bag, one of them started to figure out rides and care for the boys if needed. Several drew near to pray, another called for prayer, laid hands on us and spoke the Life of Jesus into the situation…all the while I prayed and kept her awake, even as the firetruck pulled up to the door…when she suddenly started talking, lucidly to me. After they checked her out and gave her the all clear, she was back to her jumping, happy self within hours. It took a bit longer for the boys and I to work through the stress, but I was again reminded of God’s faithfulness and the love of community. The following days we had numerous inquiries about Elaina, how she was doing, how the boys and I were, lot’s of well wishes and love and blessings… and I’m almost brought to tears to be loved so well, but such a beautiful village.

In reflection, even when our village seemed small, it was still there. The thing that was absent, was the freedom and safety to be vulnerable, and it very well may have been our weakness at the time, but I am so very thankful that we again find ourselves in such a rich and beautiful place where vulnerability is welcomed, respected and shared.

My Favourite Blogs

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I’m an avid reader. I will rip through scores of books on various topics. There is nothing quite like the experience of reading a great book. For me it’s like going on a new adventure, literally like I’ve taken a trip and come back to share about the journey.

Though I love actual books, I love to read blogs too. I’ve included a list of blogs that I would categorize as reading on a regular basis. I hope you’ll check them out and that you find something interesting, inspiring or encouraging, as I have.

For Reflection

A Holy Experience – Ann VosKamp… what can I say? She’s Canadian, she’s authentic in her delivery.Her books are great.  I appreciate her lifestyle. She lives on a farm, loves her family, embraces the rustic, has a huge world view, she homeschools… though I don’t embrace all of her theology, her thoughts on grace and gratitude (Eucharistia) are hands down paradigm shifting. If she’s got a new post, I take the time and read it.

Beyond Evangelical – Frank Viola… his writings on the New Testament church and God’s Eternal Purpose rocked my world. Literally, I think I systematically read everything he wrote on that subject. (maybe 15 books? I don’t remember specifics, but now when I refer in mind to one thing, I can’t remember which book it came from, they are all like one giant book mushed up in my brain. Good thing I own most of them so I can go back for reference) – I must note at this point that I also read through almost everything Gene Edwards wrote on the same subject, though his were written in semi-fictitious form. Good for left-right brain development. Anyways, back to the blog, I love that he is not afraid to ask many questions, but unlike Rob Bell, he at least points you to where to find the answers, if not attempting to share his own thoughts first. He’s also not afraid to take heat and to be controversial. I read his blog because it makes me think.

Disrupting Culture – The husband and I have only discovered Jonathon Welton recently, but we’ve been gobbling up his stuff on the blog and youtube and his books. As students of the New Covenant it’s refreshing to find resources that embrace a) sound doctrine  b) the supernatural  c) the grace of God and walking in our identity in Christ d) putting the great commission in action. Often you can find some of these things, but less often do you find them all in one.

Life In Grace – I don’t remember how I got connected to Edie’s blog. But shortly after following this blog, she and her family lost everything in a house fire a couple days before Christmas. I was moved by the outpouring of support from the internet and ultimately the depth of her writing following such devastation…I’ve been hooked ever since. She’s got a great style, posts awesome recipes (many I’ve tried and added to my repertoire), she’s a Lutheran and classical reader, former homeschooler and has that southern charm that draws you back again and again.

Shauna Niequist – My sister turned me on to Shauna. Love her blog, though it’s sporadic, her books are awesome and after you’ve read one of her books, you feel like she’s a friend, so you read her blog because it’s like catching up with a friend.

Homefries – I must clarify that this is not a blog, though you can link to blogs from this site. I love this site because it features several podcasts on a variety of subjects from a variety of people. I particularly love the interviews with Tsh Oxenreider. Podcasts are great for listening to while working in the kitchen.

For Fun

Pioneer Woman – Started reading Ree Drummond’s posts years ago after a friend recommended her. I guess  a lot of people like her food posts (which I admit are pretty awesome) – I do own one of her cookbooks and love it, but I honestly love her Confessions blog. It just makes me laugh. She’s got some great stories about her life on a ranch in Oklahoma. She’s had so many embarassing things happen to her, it seems impossible…but oh it’s funny.

Home with Boys – Honestly I just started reading her blogs because she has 3 boys and started homeschooling around the same time as me. I’ve since come to find her simple approach to life refreshing.

Martha Stewart – I honestly just read Martha’s blog to see how “the other side lives” – you know, the fabulously rich… Plus I get great tips on gardening, etc from her posts.

For the Heart & Home

AKA Design – this husband and wife team are Canadian. They live not far away, so they have the same harsh Canadian winters, the same weird summers, celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time, etc. etc.  They do a lot of DIY projects that are totally do-able for people like me, she’s got great style and is super organized. Plus she homeschools… that’s inspiring to me. There’s also a personal connection as I’m very good friends with her sister, so even though I don’t think I’ve ever met them in person, I feel like I know them.

Nesting Place – I’d followed this blog for a few years. I loved her philosophy and style…but then sort of drifted off for a bit. Then about a year and a bit ago they bought this run down old house on a great property with an even more run down barn. They shared their vision for it all, and slowly have been making it happen and I’m hooked with renewed interest.

The Inspired Room – to be honest, I just started following her because she seemed to love fall as much as me, and then I got hooked. I love her style and decorating philsophy. She’s has tremendous success in the world of home decor, and though I don’t aspire to have her home, I do appreciate the love she has for her home, and would like to continue to grow in that same kind of appreciation for my own.

New House New Home – Another Canadian not far from here. I love her gardening posts especially, but she shares some really great home projects too.

Living Well Spending Less – As the title implies, it has a plethora of tips on saving money while living well. The organizational resources are pretty awesome too.

For Food – I primarily go to pinterest for food recipes, but once in awhile I’ll find a blogger who I love to read their thoughts on food…as well as the recipes.

 Six Sisters – I was drawn to the name. They have very frequent posts and are adaptable.

Simple Bites – Another Canadian. I love her lifestyle, her passion is evident. The recipes are delish but not so crazy that you don’t want to try them. She’s got a great philosophy for bringing kids into the kitchen and they totally embrace the urban homesteading concept. Love!

Homeschooling – I peruse many other blogs on homeschooling, but most of them are very sporadic and don’t necessarily apply to what we’re doing at home. There are many many sites that I use often, but these are the top 3 for now. I will probably do a post on these resources and more on the Heaslip Homestead Academy soon.

Half a Hundred Acre Wood – I love this blog. She’s a classical homeschooler, and though we aspire to incorporate classical elements, we are not. I still find it inspiring and love their philosophy. Her organization is pretty great too.

 The Canadian Homeschooler – lot’s of great resources for homeschoolers in Canada. Frequent posts and current content.

The Unlikely Homeschool – for those who don’t homeschool. It’s super easy and at the same time the most difficult thing I’ve ever tackled. So I will find as many support resources as I can. For me, this site is one of them.

Celebrating Everyday Life – The first Quarter

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In our house we try to make a big deal out of the little things, the moments that fill in the calendar, the things that make up a life together. I figured I could take quarterly snapshots to show you the “in between” times, since I usually document the standard holidays and seasons. Here’s my record of the first “Quarter” of 2015.

January – WINTER is in full swing. Yes, I put out the post Christmas “winter decor” to enjoy this month. The Hot Chocolate station is in full swing and the white stuff is enjoyed to the “Max”. 
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Yes – this is INSIDE my kitchen.

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This was our first official SNOW DAY. Pancake breakfast, lot’s of playing outside and inside and movies…the best part NO SCHOOL, for the home school and our student boarders (From Korea – short term and China – long term)

Many people ask us what we do for “church” – that subject probably requires a series of posts, but I’ll address it briefly here. We enjoy services at a local congregation in Niagara – but consider “real” church or Ecclesia to be what happens from home to home in the community of faith we find ourselves in. This is both intentional and casual. So far it’s working for us… here’s a post of one of our intentional lunches which we host once a month (at least), and then visit other homes at other times.

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Happy Birthday Igabelle!

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She requested breakfast for dinner.

We got to learn more about Korea when our students had a special cultural day and lunch for us. The food as always, was delish.

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February – WINTER is still in full swing, but we have many birthdays and many other reasons to celebrate! First, I change out some of the winter decor and add some red and pink for the month of LOVE. Yes we do celebrate Groundhog Day – it was fun explaining this to the students. Then the first birthday is my sisters, she had a huge and fun girls night in – our friend Julia did the food and I may or may not have eaten 5 mini creme brulees.

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Then we celebrated Valentines Day with Chocolate Fondue for the Kids… we also had a special meal together by candlelight, shared Valentines – the kids participated in a homeschool Valentines Party, then mom and dad had date night.

It was also my birthday – a big one, but I have blog post coming up all about that in a few days. Here’s a sneak peak at the party my girlfriends threw for me. Our motto – any reason for a party is a good one!
40th Party

Then it was time to begin Lent – with Pancake Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. More on Lent later. Here’s part of what we’ve done this year for Lent.February and March 2015 182

This year, the Chinese New Year was the day after Ash Wednesday – whew. I got some help from Isabelle’s mom in Hong Kong and we celebrated with style this year thanks to our Asian friends living with us.

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I found out that Red and Gold are the traditional colours to decorate with (more use for some Christmas/Valentines decor – yay!). Mondi & Frankie sent us some “Red Pockets” to share with the kids.

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Some traditional and “new” aka – making due when we couldn’t find specific ingredients- foods were on the menu. Poon Choi (the big bowl) and dumplings, etc. I was quite proud of myself.

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Some imported treats and some new fruits to try like Asian Pears, Dragon fruit and Star Fruit.

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One of my favs, was this Coconut New Years ‘cake’ I found on Pinterest. Isabelle said it was her favourite too.

The next week we said farewell to our Korean boys, and then it was this boys birthday – here we are on a date. He chose to go for a special lunch with dad and then went to spend a long weekend with his grandparents where he was spoiled.

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Yaya (my mom) treated the boys and I to dinner at Memphis for birthday celebrations – Yahummmm!

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This year the month ended for me with the big birthday party and a sleepover with the same two girl friends who slept over on my 20th birthday during our college years. Pretty cool…except that sleeping on the floor is much different now than it was back then!

March! The signs of Spring are everywhere. I gradually remove all signs of winter “inside” the house, and start adding in the “green”.

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I did up a new wreath to carry me over from February (a Valentine Door Wreath) to Easter (egg wreath) – I love this pussy willow wreath. I got the idea from this blog. So easy, so cute!

March for us as homeschoolers is a month of “Spring Breaks”.

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Dad and the younger two boys spent a weekend in South Carolina visiting some of our best friends, who are also homeschoolers.

While they were away, the rest of us celebrated my nephew’s birthday with the whole family bowling. It was Elaina and Isabelle’s first time – such fun!

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The next weekend the two younger sisters treated the February Bday Sisters to a Spa Day – so spoiled!

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My youngest sister is a RMT – massage therapist and she has magic hands… (notice the baby snoozing on the bed in the back ground? He was so good, so his mama got nice and relaxed)

Then it was the school Spring Break, so we took advantage of some fun activities – Tag Day Camp for the elder boy and VBS for the younger two. The girls and I enjoyed coffee dates and shopping most mornings. St. Patricks Day was at the beginning of Spring Break, so we celebrated with style, complete with Irish Toasting with Green Ginger “Beer”, Irish Reels and of course, cuisine – Corned Beef and Cabbage, rye toast and Shamrock Shakes.

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At the end of Spring Break, the boys were in the performances of the drama school they joined this year. It was such a good show and the teachers and kids worked so hard to make it a success.

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We finished up the month with getting ready for Holy Week, which for us begins tomorrow with Palm Sunday. I’ll close this post with a peak – but since I consider Easter to be a major Holiday – it will get it’s own post shortly. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing how we celebrate life – it’s been a great year so far!

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Happy at Home

This past Sunday, which was Mother’s day, I was rushing through Walmart on my way to lunch at my sisters place. I bumped into one of my hubby’s cousins and she paid me a very high compliment, which I’ve thought about quite a bit since then. She said that she has been reading along via Facebook, etc on my life journey for awhile now, and that I really “seem to enjoy being a stay at home (and homeschooling mom). I told her I really do, and I’ve thought about it more since then. I really enjoy my life. I mean I’ve always made the most of whatever season I’ve been in. I loved so much of the experiences in my high school years. I loved the college years and I especially loved travelling and mentoring students in my twenties. I loved working in music and the creative arts, I have loved so many of the people who shared those years with me.

I can honestly say this though, I LOVE my life right now, probably the most. Oh yes, there are days that are the stuff of bad dreams, and there have been many frustrations and disappointments here and there, but really… I love being home with my boys and my baby girl. I love being the one to teach them, to share the moments that fill our days and to be the one my hubby comes home to. I have enjoyed learning about making our home a happy and peaceful one, a haven. A place where beauty is common and where our family is at rest and friends are always welcome. I would like to learn to infuse it with more joy, and to make it a place where wisdom flourishes. I am happiest when I hear laughter ringing in the halls and music in the rooms. Where the smells of good food lure people to a bright and vibrant kitchen and where people leave our home inspired and having encountered the Holy One in one way or another.

Homeschooling has given me the “excuse” to have books on display in every room. To have the tools and instruments for learning out in the open and put to good use. I love our relaxed daily schedule for housework, homework and soul work… and that I get to go outside with the kids everyday. To work in my garden, to have the baby nap in the cradle in the afternoon breeze (well not this week) but last week and in the months to come. I love that friends come and go, and we can go visiting without having to worry about the bus or school schedule and that if daddy takes a day off, so can we…

There was a day not so long ago, maybe a couple years ago, when I was not at peace like now. When I was harried and trying to “do it all” and struggling in it. I still have many moments when I feel like life is too good to be true, and that I’ll have to give it up soon and go back to the grind I lived before…only to realize that I don’t! Praise God~!

My heart is full of gratitude that the Lord has provided for us to live this way and that He continues to supply for our every need. I am so blessed with a supportive husband who loves us, loves to be with us and helps me make the most of our days together. I hope that I will someday fulfill the role outlined in Proverbs 31 for my family, I am trusting God to complete the work in me, but until then, I really am enjoying the journey and feel like the most blessed woman alive.

Catching Up on 2012 since we’re well into 2013

Catching Up Part One


These next posts are the “catching up” that I mentioned over 2 months ago when I was on here last. Truth be told, I finally have a working computer, so blogging will be easier and faster and hopefully I will get caught up quickly because it feels like I’ve missed so much time. I’m doing these catch ups primarily for myself because I use this blog as a memory journal for myself and our family. If it happens to inspire/ bless others it is a wonderful bonus.

1.  Our Summer Wrap Up

I realized I pretty much covered our summer in the August 30th Post. Summer finished out in a whirl and the Koreans finally returned home 🙂 it was a challenge to have them, but looking back I probably still would have done it.    

Emma and Kate’s final Presentation host families.

We ended out the season with the annual Marconi Labour Day soiree and lots of visiting with friends, return trips to Zooz and Marineland and enjoying the outdoors as the heat and humidity gave way.

2.  Our Fall
We started the fall hesitantly as we were never sure when the baby would arrive. School and soccer continued until after she was born… 

Soccer Champs

I pretty much closed out the gardens in September… 

A small sampling of our harvest.

and started decorating inside the house…. 

2. The Baby 

I will be posting a very big post soon on the baby, her delivery and then her shower. I promise. Just waiting for a set of pics to finish it off. Until then, I’ll move on to finishing out the fall…
3. Our Fall
How we celebrated the fall…as early as the week Elaina arrived, we were out “hiking” with our homeschool group.  

We had our annual visit to the Pumpkin Patch.
I participated in a preserve exchange. So awesome.
 
Major events of the fall
Since the baby was born so close to Thanksgiving…we had a quiet celebration at home with some of the family. The Monday hubby and I took the boys to Safari Niagara one final time for the season, they FINALLY got to do the long awaited ropes course… and it was worth the wait, despite the rain 🙂
The boys went out with their dad for Halloween around our street. It was also low key and enjoyable. 
And Carter’s 5th Birthday

Stay tuned for the Christmas post…I know it’s sooo late, but maybe I can use it next year. teehee!
Phase one done!

 

It’s been awhile…

There’s a few reasons why you haven’t heard from me in quite awhile.

Numero 1. We had a baby. It’s our fourth. It’s been 5 years. I’m nursing…you understand. I know this and appreciate it.

2. My computer has been dumb, dumb, dumb. The fact that this blog post is getting written is almost miraculous.

That’s the gist of it.

That being said, I have SO MUCH to catch you up on, and so much I really really want to blog about…

So here’s how I will approach the enormity of the task, I will make a list of the topics I need to blog about, and then one by one, attack the list.

Here’s my list (and if you have anything you’d like to add to it, feel free to leave your requests/suggestions in the comments section).

1. Our Summer Wrap Up  

     
2. The Baby (with the following sub posts)
                              Her Delivery (I even have pics…well I’m waiting on those, but will have some)
                              How I feel about having a GIRL after my 3 boys, and all that jazz.
                              A perfect baby shower (with pics)

3. Our Fall
                              How we celebrated the fall
                              Major events of the fall
                              Decorating

4. Our Christmas Decorating

5. What I’ve been  reading – the last 6 months

…and for the Homeschooling Blog

1. Our Summer Wrap Up

2. Curriculum Choices for 2012-13

3. Our Little Homeschool Group

4. Field Trips and the Like From Sept. Oct and Nov.

That should keep me pretty busy, as well as keeping up with the present, but I’m looking forward to it 🙂

Anyways, baby’s crying… I’ll be back!

Why I haven’t Posted much in June…

I know this.

Several times this past month, I would sit down to write a post, and nothing, absolutely nothing would come to mind.

Now here we are at the end of this month, and I uploaded the June pics from my camera. I figured out why nothing came to mind….

I was pooped.  Just plain pooped!

There were 250 pics of things we did, from just the month of June. Whew!

Here’s the gist of it…

We finished our first year of home schooling! Yay!
To see more details on what that included, check out my blog at the Heaslip Homestead.

Here’s a pic of the flowers in one of the boxes on my balcony. 
I will post more about our gardens soon.
On Father’s Day, daddy took Lucas to his first MLB game. The Toronto Blue Jays. He was especially excited since they took the go train to get to Toronto. The younger two boys cannot wait until they turn 8 to go to their first game!
 

While they were there, the younger two boys and I celebrated Father’s Day with their grandpa Jim by going to Safari Niagara and getting ice cream at the Dairy Bar. 

 

They were pretty pumped about trying out the bungee-trampoline ride.
 
We were all excited to spend a whole weekend with grandpa to ourselves.

Then  we had a bunch of random outings…


 Here’s a pic of Carter and his best bud at Port Dalhousie.

 We went to a couple BBQ’s at my sisters – where of course we had water balloon fights.

 
We hosted a bonfire for a bunch of friends.
 


mmm, smores!
 

Christy, our student from China had her prom. Jodi took the pics, and then her family stayed for a yummy Paella Dinner and we laughed well into the night!

We went to the Drive In with friends to see Madagascar 3 and Snow White and the Huntsman.



I hosted a giant baby shower with my other sisters for my sister Stephanie. A post all about that will be coming soon too.

 I took the boys to Niagara-on-the-Lake, where they enjoyed the giant fountain.

We watched Nick Wallenda’s historic walk over the falls on TV, it was way too crowded to brave going the 15 minutes up the road. But my BFF Jodi however had a press pass and got these amazing shots!

Then, Christy had her graduation from highschool. We are trying to work up our courage to say goodbye to her after having her live with us for 10 months. Our gift to her was a memory album of our year. She cried. I cried. That was 2 days ago. She leaves tomorrow… I feel waterworks a coming.

 

Add to that:
+ a bunch of swims and visits with friends 
+ a funeral
+ birthday, poker and summer parties
+ a charity event called Raid my Closet
+ Midwives appointments 
+ veterinarian appointments
+ pickups at the Organic Farm
+ fruit picking 
+ home renos
+ hosting a dinner for Christy’s parents visiting from Macau
+ maintaining the homestead


=  ONE TIRED MAMA!!! (no wonder my feet are swollen)


If you don’t see another post for awhile…. now you know why 


Lot’s of love,


Tammara 

Taking a Day Off

Yesterday I took a day off…from almost everything. Once the boys were done their school work, I sat down and read, and read, and read. They played and played, and for a few hours only interrupted by lunch and a load of laundry,. I escaped into my imagination thanks to Lucy Maude.

Yes, yesterday I dove into the dream world that awaits whenever I  pick up a book by L. M. Montgomery. 

I love her. I love her books.

I love the Canadian content.

It’s been almost 20 years since I read this little treasure but it was such a great little break from my daily realities.  It’s the last in the 8 book series that begins with the classic Anne of Green Gables and I just love falling in love with the unique characters (again) and it’s portrayal of a simpler, slower time.

This book takes as World War 1 breaks out in Europe and really gives an idea of Canada’s spectacular involvement. The reader also gets a glimpse of the beginning of many changes in North American society, not all of them good. 
Ah! it was such a lovely day off.
Then I tried not to feel guilty about the nasty floors, dirty dishes, dirty laundry and untended gardens and the fact that I hadn’t showered or planned dinner. I got caught up on all but the floors and garden before dinner any ways, so the break was well worth it I guess 🙂
Then I picked up this book before bed.

It’s my second reading of  The Bonsai Conspiracy by Paul Anderson Walsh. What a challenging new perspective on the Gospel and Christianity. I was particularly moved by his take on the story of the Prodigal Son.

Anyways, back to the grind. I got some boys who need attention behind me!

Have a great day, maybe you should take a reading break too 🙂

lots of Love,

Tammara

A New Normal…

We’ve had a great couple of weeks. In our home, in our home school and just all around…

It’s been a whole lot of nothing extraordinary. Just ordinary, home days. Full of vision, full of learning, full of living….
Of course, we did have a nasty freeze on Monday which caused a pipe to burst and subsequently had/have to deal with plumbers and work crews…and of course our van died at the same time so I was stuck at home, and we just had stuff to deal with… the old me would have still been stressed out about this.

In fact… about 4 years ago we had a series of similar experiences in our house, and back then, my heart and head were a mess and I was a stressed out grouch-bag. I was working part time, home with two boys under 4, and pregnant with a third. Our We were barely holding things together, still reeling emotionally from sudden tragedy and dear hubby was in his old position at work which required frequent travelling, so he was away… a lot.
Our oldest son caused a flood in the house that caused upwards of $16,000 in damages (that’s right). Chaos.

Back then, I felt very alone. Though God provided amazing people to help me get through it. One of those people came by almost everyday, or at least called – because, I as found out much later…she was worried I was going to have a nervous breakdown…and I probably would have if not for her and the prayers of many… (things were going to get much worse before they got better).
Anyways, I felt alone.
I was stressed and depressed.
I was angry and tired.
I felt like I had to be strong (or at least pretend I was), regardless of the fact that I was overwhelmed.
I pressed on like that for a long time, still things got worse, and worse…
Until I was broken.
Until I was forced to surrender.
Until I was forced to take up peace and keep what grace gives.


After the flood of 2007, we had a few years of serious challenges.
Financially.
Emotionally.
Relationally.
Spiritually.
Some which we are still dealing with.
Years of STORMS.
And then the rain stopped.
A year of CHANGE.
A new “school”, new church, new schedule, new focuses… after all that change, I feel like we’ve finally found our new normal. Happy Sigh!
Though I should mention, it’s not all sunshine. There’s still the odd rain, aftereffects and such. But the storms are passed. The white knuckles are gone. HOPE and PEACE reign.


Now I can say, I’m so grateful for those horrible seasons, because we GREW in them. We were forced to make choices and decisions that made us stronger, better and trust God most. We received favour. Purely unmerited. We grew in wisdom and knowledge (though we still have so much more to learn). We found about about little things like extra insurance and coverages (an extra $30/month saved us $100’s in plumbing bills), the difference of quality tradesmen ($10,000 quote vs $1000), price shopping, and keeping a home calendar (flip that switch every December). We learned big things like trusting the inner voice (should have checked that fusebox when I had the recurring inkling 3 weeks ago) and welcoming God into the mundane (sending baby boy to take out food waste and hearing a gush of water when we opened the door, right as it happened, not an hour later)… these big and small things all make a huge difference.
I know it, because the past two weeks have been awesome. The “incident” on Monday, barely registered a blip on my “drama meter”. I’ve had a great couple of weeks.
Needless to say, I am SO HAPPY that the person I was then and the person I am now are soooo different. I have not been stressed. I actually got to the end of today and said to myself “what a great couple of weeks we’ve had”. I had already forgotten about the “crises” (even though things are far from cleaned up).
Perhaps part of this “new normal” is also because with the home schooling we’ve “settled” into things… a routine of sorts. I’ve relaxed into a state of peaceful trust (in my heavenly Father and myself), so I’m not worrying about them learning what they need to learn. I’m told this is normal. (It helps that they’ve surpassed my expectations curriculum-wise). There are still interesting and frustrating moments, but overall it’s been fun and peaceful. Though I feel like we’re definitely NOT normal, part of the minority, swimming upstream so to speak…it’s better. Since the changes, we’re different, and we’re OK with it. We’ve enjoyed the “winter” we’ve had, one sunny and mild day hiking, then other days skating and today finally tobogganing! quiet visits, afternoons reading or watching movies, some days hardly leaving the house, others out and about, but not stressed.

Or…perhaps part of this new normal is acceptance. Things change, people change, I change. Changing churches was really hard on me. I find I still think about it, but not as much, and it doesn’t feel as bad. I miss the people I used to see all the time (but only at church). I find it’s forced me to be proactive in getting together with people purposefully. I find it’s deepened the relationships I do have (especially the ones under my own roof). I also find that I’m trusting God in these relationships more. Trusting that seasons come and go, and who knows what this one, or the one after that holds?
HE does, and He loves me. So it’s all good.
When I think back about the time we spent in our previous congregation (18 years), the seasons came and went, bringing people and activities and memories, which also came and went. But I STAYED there through those years and those seasons, while they came and went. Now I’m one of the people that came, and stayed and went…. a new season.
It’s been a season of reconnecting. People who were prominent in previous chapters, then moved on…are back again. It’s great! So I find it’s easier to trust God through this season that people I’ve loved, and still love, will probably show up in seasons down the road, it helps… alot.
It’s been a season of meeting new people, new positions, new groups. I love that I’ve made some new friends who don’t go to church. I suspect they don’t even know Jesus yet.
I love that I’ve gotten to read soooo much, and learn so much. I love that I’ve gotten to spend so much time with my family. I love that I’ve been able to pick up writing a bit more. I love that through all of this, I’ve never felt alone…even though I’ve definitely been alone a lot…I’ve never been ALONE, because He is always with me.
It reminds me of something from the messages I heard Sunday (yes I went to 2 church services at 2 different churches – and guess what, God does not change – I heard him say the same thing loud and clear) – the storms of life will hit both the godly and the ungodly… the difference is what foundation they build on. The principles of the world or of God? (Matthew 7:24-27) I’m so glad we built on the Rock.

Yes, I’ve had a great couple of weeks, and I think this is going to be one of the best years yet.
With love,

Tammara

The Homeschool Room

I’m a few weeks behind all the blogs about Homeschool Rooms, but then again, I was behind them on just about everything, and I’m ok with that. I tell myself, A – I just started on this journey and B – most of them are Americans, and they all go back to school earlier than us anyways. I started schooling the boys (gently) this week – a little bit of this and that, easing them (and myself) into it. So far, so good. But I do realize, whoa, this is gonna require some serious effort from me.

Along with the fact that I’ve always worked, and as long as I’ve had the boys, I’ve almost always gone back to part time work in the fall. It’s been weird these past couple of weeks because mentally I know I’m not going back to work this fall (possibly ever); but also, it’s felt so good, that I feel like someone is going to take it away from me – like “haha, just kidding, vacation is over – you’ve got to scramble bc you have to work afterall). So it’s a cross between feeling like I’m not organized, or playing hooky…. kind of up in the air, but I’m not. This is it.
So, here’s my tour of the Heaslip Homestead Academy: ( pics from last week, so I’ve done quite a few adjustments since we’ve started)
We converted the Play Room, to the School Room (though they still play in there, because my philosophy goes along with this…
“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” Joseph Chilton Pearce
We also use the kitchen table, the back yard, the front yard and the family room, but we always start our school day in the room.
Outside of the School Room I moved a little used armoire to become my “supply cabinet”; has homeschooling resources for mom and curriculum and some extra supplies.
It also has the Dress up Coat Rack beside it. We always freak out thinking some random person is hovering in the shadows when walking by the hall.
This is what you see when you look into the room…


and when you turn around
and around.
This is the closet in the room, holds more reading books and the toys that were not lost in the “Great Purge of 2011”


Love this little antique desk that Geepa Jim and Nana Jo found for CJ – he thinks it’s pretty cool to be in “school” now with his own desk.


This is our Library bag for our weekly trips.






















And this is Mom Central: I do some prep here, some research and everything else needed to run the household well; it of course is in the Kitchen. J