Belly flops and Lessons in Failing ❤

He passed his swimming test …..my first born, my ultra sensitive eight year old passed level 3 in swimming. It has taken two years and four eight week blocks of classes. That’s a lot of tries and a long time of feeling like “you can’t do it” when you’re little. He’s a stereotypical first born, an achiever, a people pleaser…so we’ve had a lot of discussions around this “hurdle” he’s had…this thorn in his side….this thing he just couldn’t conquer.

I’m fortunate that he still shares alot of his inner dialogue with me….especially when he’s sad, usually disappointed in himself for the way he’s handle a situation or challenge. Always thinking he could have done better. These are the some of the things he shared….often through lots of painful tears and loud sobs.

  1. I hate swimming
  2. I am no good at it
  3. I don’t want to do it anymore
  4. The instructor didn’t like me
  5. I’m never going to get this
  6. I tried so hard and she didn’t notice
  7. My friends get it the first try
  8. It hurts like a belly flop
  9. I’m embarrassed
  10. Please don’t tell anyone I failed again

We were all sure he was going to get it on the third attempt….but much to our surprise he didn’t….so close… but just not quite good enough to pass. After that third attempt, I almost allowed him to quit. He looked so defeated…the hurt in his eyes…the sobbing, the feeling of not being good enough. I wanted to take all that disappointment he felt away, but I couldn’t, that’s not my role. My job is to listen, support and give him the courage to try again. Swimming is a life skill, a safety issue….a skill he must learn how to do….so we forced him to attempt it a fourth time. All the while telling him it’s good to fail…it builds charater…you can’t always get what you want, you need to work hard, look at the things you’re learning. You know all the lip service that one pays to another soul when they’ve had something go wrong…when they’ve experienced the sting of a belly flop.

As we walked home from swimming ….basking in the warm sun and excitement of him passing I asked him how he was feeling…..

He said he was proud, proud that he worked hard because the other levels were easy and he didn’t really have to try hard.

He said he was glad he was forced to try again, he knew what we meant now when we said it feels better if you’ve had to work hard for it.

He said this was the time he had the most fun, felt the most like he could do it and just enjoyed being in the pool.

He said he can’t wait to try level 4 and it’s ok if he fails the first time.

And then he ran off ahead of me and his sisters, around the corner and up the street, out of sight, no longer wanting to talk to his mom about it. He had run off to tell our neighbour,the one he shares everything with, the one who had been working in his yard earlier that day…

I continued to walk home, at a snails pace with the girls, reflecting on the things he had just said and wondered if maybe the belly flops and lessons in failing weren’t just for him….❤

What Makes Me Beautiful ❤

She was sitting across from me on our reading chair, our snuggle chair, eating breakfast from a ziplock bag-her new favorite way to eat and store her treasures. We were having some impromptu one on one.Her brother was in the man cave doing his thing, the baby sound asleep up stairs and her daddy was outside getting some fresh air….There’s something special about Sunday mornings.

She’s the infamous middle child, sandwiched between the first born,the only boy and a baby sister with some health concerns, the girls are so close in age they are able share clothing…yet she’s in the middle, caught between being a little sister to her brother and a big sister to our baby…

We’ve consciously made it a priority to spend time one on one with each of our children as much as possible, acutely aware of the human need to be seen, heard, acknowledged and treated as an individual. To have your qualities recognized and supported by your parents is so very important,to know you are loved unconditionally, no matter what. On this particular Sunday morning it was not a planned Hope and Mommy time just a fortunate occurance….turns out sometimes those are the best moments❣

As she sat acrossed from me in her heart dress, ziploc breakfast in hand, the sun hitting her at just the right angle, I grabbed my phone to take her picture and said….”Hopee you are so beautiful”….I snapped the picture and looked down at my phone to edit the moment I had just captured. She quietly jumped off the chair, came around through the kitchen so she was behind my chair and positioned herself, so she could be side by side with me, so she could see what I was looking at, so she could see the photo I had just captured and with her raspy, sweet, Stevie Nicks voice, spunky eyes and vibrant smile, she asked me….

“What makes me beautiful?”

I paused, to be honest when I stated she was beautiful, I was solely focused on her physical appearance in that moment, then I looked back down at that picture and could see her charismatic personality shining through.

We’ve recently been propelled into a world of Cranio-Facial Awareness, prior to this, we’ve often preached to our children to look on the inside of a person, rather than the name brand they are wearing, the logo on the shoes or what they look like on the outside…we played lip service to this nice statement, but I’m not sure we fully modelled it, that is until we had our own child with cranio facial differences and realized the importance of seeing past the physical body.

I’m guilty of often paying compliments to my children based on the clothes they were wearing, the way they had done their hair, the prettiness of the outfit…..the cosmetic stuff. When our youngest child was born with Cranio-facial differences and we became more involved in that world,seeking support and learning from others, we came to truly understand how important it is not to focus on the physical appearance but to see past the physical and to seek the unique and special qualities of a human soul.

When I looked back up at Hope standing their awaiting my answer, into her sweet face, I replied…Hope these are the things that make you beautiful :

Your heart…

How kind you are and how much you like to share…..

How you look out for your brother and sister…..

How much you notice how other people are feeling……

How you always say what’s on your mind……..

But most of all what makes you beautiful Hope, is your heart❤

She looked at me and smiled, turned and walked away….moved on to a new thing, our conversation lasted less than 30 seconds and she was gone.

The following night shortly after supper, she was playing by me, while I sipped on my coffee and caught up on the news. I looked over at her playing and quietly asked “Hopee what makes you beautiful”, not really knowing how she would respond. She looked up at me, and with a radiant smile, spunky eyes and raspy voice, she replied…….. My heart makes me beautiful……and just as she had done the day before, she dropped our gaze, turned and started to play.

My heart makes me beautiful❤

-Eleanor HOPE Marr Age 3

IMG_20180927_142245

Our Imperfections Give Hope❤

A week from today our daughter will be in surgery. This morning I attempted to make a collage of photos that showed how her Craniosynostosis progressed over the course of the past 11 months. The nice thing about a picture is that, much like a song, it takes you back to that moment, that feeling you had, that experience you felt, those raw emotions.Here’s what I noticed…..

In the beginning we did not hide her imperfections , her crooked nose, uneven eyes, misaligned ears…we were just proud of this new baby and expected her face would align….we didn’t yet know, officially, there was a problem, so we loved her just how she was…..with numerous pictures that show how in awe we were of her, then at around 2 months we offcially discovered there was a problem…..and the intensity of pictures decreased, the ones that highlighted her imperfections were deleted, she was posed at just the right angle to capture her in a way that made her look perfect…..this stage lasted many months, I was in denial, but as the Craniosynostosis progressed and the deviations in facial features increased, the imperfetions could no longer be hidden. The pictures that really showed the extremes were no longer erased, just not posted on social media for the world to see…nearing the last month knowing she would soon have surgery, the pictures reflect her reality, an acceptance of those beautiful imperfections, with a hope for what is to come.

The problem with this is, that denial stage, that those walking a similar path, need to see the imperfections, the bad photos, the deviations, misalignments,the flaws…they need to see… so that when they see the transformation, they can see how far she’s come, how much she’s endured, how beautifully it will end, by showing our imperfections we provide HOPE ❤

It made me think about how we portray ourselves in a certain situation or in our lives…in the beginning we hide our imperfections, we are in denial that they exist, we certainly don’t talk about them or show them on social media, we delete anything that doesn’t show the image we want to portray, but as we progress, as we grow, when are imperfections are so big that it takes to much effort to hide them, we acknowledge them, accept who we are, embrace what is and we show up as we are, imperfections and all….and it’s at this point when we know true transformation is just around the corner…..a week away❤

What Makes Me Beautiful ❤

She was sitting across from me on our reading chair, our snuggle chair, eating breakfast from a ziplock bag-her new favorite way to eat and store her treasures. We were having some impromptu one on one.Her brother was in the man cave doing his thing, the baby sound asleep up stairs and her daddy was outside getting some fresh air….There’s something special about Sunday mornings.

She’s the infamous middle child, sandwiched between the first born,the only boy and a baby sister with some health concerns, the girls are so close in age they are able share clothing…yet she’s in the middle, caught between being a little sister to her brother and a big sister to our baby…

We’ve consciously made it a priority to spend time one on one with each of our children as much as possible, acutely aware of the human need to be seen, heard, acknowledged and treated as an individual. To have your qualities recognized and supported by your parents is so very important,to know you are loved unconditionally, no matter what. On this particular Sunday morning it was not a planned Hope and Mommy time just a fortunate occurance….turns out sometimes those are the best moments❣

As she sat acrossed from me in her heart dress, ziploc breakfast in hand, the sun hitting her at just the right angle, I grabbed my phone to take her picture and said….”Hopee you are so beautiful”….I snapped the picture and looked down at my phone to edit the moment I had just captured. She quietly jumped off the chair, came around through the kitchen so she was behind my chair and positioned herself, so she could be side by side with me, so she could see what I was looking at, so she could see the photo I had just captured and with her raspy, sweet, Stevie Nicks voice, spunky eyes and vibrant smile, she asked me….

“What makes me beautiful?”

I paused, to be honest when I stated she was beautiful, I was solely focused on her physical appearance in that moment, then I looked back down at that picture and could see her charismatic personality shining through.

We’ve recently been propelled into a world of Cranio-Facial Awareness, prior to this, we’ve often preached to our children to look on the inside of a person, rather than the name brand they are wearing, the logo on the shoes or what they look like on the outside…we played lip service to this nice statement, but I’m not sure we fully modelled it, that is until we had our own child with cranio facial differences and realized the importance of seeing past the physical body.

I’m guilty of often paying compliments to my children based on the clothes they were wearing, the way they had done their hair, the prettiness of the outfit…..the cosmetic stuff. When our youngest child was born with Cranio-facial differences and we became more involved in that world,seeking support and learning from others, we came to truly understand how important it is not to focus on the physical appearance but to see past the physical and to seek the unique and special qualities of a human soul.

When I looked back up at Hope standing their awaiting my answer, into her sweet face, I replied…Hope these are the things that make you beautiful :

Your heart…

How kind you are and how much you like to share…..

How you look out for your brother and sister…..

How much you notice how other people are feeling……

How you always say what’s on your mind……..

But most of all what makes you beautiful Hope, is your heart❤

She looked at me and smiled, turned and walked away….moved on to a new thing, our conversation lasted less than 30 seconds and she was gone.

The following night shortly after supper, she was playing by me, while I sipped on my coffee and caught up on the news. I looked over at her playing and quietly asked “Hopee what makes you beautiful”, not really knowing how she would respond. She looked up at me, and with a radiant smile, spunky eyes and raspy voice, she replied…….. My heart makes me beautiful……and just as she had done the day before, she dropped our gaze, turned and started to play.

My heart makes me beautiful❤

-Eleanor HOPE Marr Age 3

IMG_20180927_142245

Monkey In The Middle

I’m painfully watching from the kitchen window, my overly sensitive eight year old, play monkey in the middle, while jumping on the trampoline, with his two athletically inclined friends. He’s the monkey. He’s always the monkey. I see him jumping all about trying to catch that damn ball, shoulders slightly slouched forward…..he’s constantly trying to seek  approval… to catch the ball…..but he never quite makes it. Their taunting words, although intended to be fun, cutting his super sensitive spirit.

As an outsider looking into their game, I want so desperately to tell him to just get off the trampoline….stop being the monkey…. they can’t play the game with only two players, go do something else more fun… that you enjoy, stop trying to get their approval…..but I keep quiet, torn inside, not quite sure what to do with my sweet boy.

Then it hit me….sometimes I’m the Monkey….jumping all about to catch that ball….to get that approval. Really we’re all the monkeys in some capacity…trying to seek approval at a job, a career, with a sport or a hobby, with a  family member, with a certain group of  friends… but what happens if we jumped off the trampoline….what would happen if we stopped playing the game….what would happen if we were no longer the monkey?

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An Old Fashion Summer♥️

It started three years ago when I was on Mat Leave with baby #2….we were down to one income and we could not financially afford to put our son into all the summer activities that some of his friends were signed up for. I remember feeling a bit guilty…like I was letting him down. At the time it was a choice we were forced to make….not one I would have made had I been working. Little did I know what a gift this would be.

IT WAS A GREAT SUMMER♥️

From that summer on we began scheduling less for our children in all seasons….

Here we are two years later and another Mat Leave for baby #3 , with three young children the financial option to put them in activities is even less…at first I saw this as another stress or obstacle but it has become anything but….I am relishing  every minute of it and my kids are benefitting from more time with me. This has been by far the BEST SUMMER yet…. and we’ve barely left the house.

On a typical day, usually by 8:30am there is at least 3 boys in our basement or backyard… the numbers fluctuate throughout the day…four, five, even as many as eight one day or some days just one or two. I never really know….I just keep counting heads….and hoping we’ve made them feel welcome. Throughout the house there is a constant hum, screech, fart, giggle… some days it’s so loud I’m sure the whole block is aware that there is a house full of kids. They literally bounce about between Lego, Water Fights, Homemade Games, Trampoline and Swinging…….. I look out the window and I find myself smiling at whatever they are doing…sometimes wondering if  that’s really safe and should I intervene??🙄???

Our fridge door is always open and the grocery store sees me everyday just to keep up….I’m roaming the aisles trying to remember all their favorites. Feeding them has become one of my favorite parts….I love preparing something they will enjoy…trying to find that right balance between healthy and something they like. I enjoy listening to their silly conversations as they sit around the table for lunch-sometimes that’s as sweet as any dessert♥️

This morning I read a blog post… a refreshing reminder that this is the way summer was meant to be…it’s ok if they are bored….they are not missing out, in fact they are gaining life skills…using their imaginations….enjoying just having some down time, boredom is important and last but a few minutes, they always find something to do♥️

In many ways this summer reminds me of when I was 8… an 80’s summer….my son would call it an “old fashioned Summer” -with a sprinkler straight from that decade…a summer full of:

Neighborhood Friends

Hopscotch

Lemonade Stands

Wrestling

Skipping

Outdoors

Community Parks

Bikes

Freezes

Fun

What first appeared as an inconvenience has now become a blessing in so many ways….one of which is the opportunity to enjoy and watch our community of children grow again this summer ♥️♥️♥️

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Great blog below on letting our kids be bored ♥️

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1922606654426746&id=320198444667583

Belly flops and Lessons in Failing ❤

He passed his swimming test …..my first born, my ultra sensitive eight year old passed level 3 in swimming. It has taken two years and four eight week blocks of classes. That’s a lot of tries and a long time of feeling like “you can’t do it” when you’re little. He’s a stereotypical first born, an achiever, a people pleaser…so we’ve had a lot of discussions around this “hurdle” he’s had…this thorn in his side….this thing he just couldn’t conquer.

I’m fortunate that he still shares alot of his inner dialogue with me….especially when he’s sad, usually disappointed in himself for the way he’s handle a situation or challenge. Always thinking he could have done better. These are the some of the things he shared….often through lots of painful tears and loud sobs.

  1. I hate swimming
  2. I am no good at it
  3. I don’t want to do it anymore
  4. The instructor didn’t like me
  5. I’m never going to get this
  6. I tried so hard and she didn’t notice
  7. My friends get it the first try
  8. It hurts like a belly flop
  9. I’m embarrassed
  10. Please don’t tell anyone I failed again

We were all sure he was going to get it on the third attempt….but much to our surprise he didn’t….so close… but just not quite good enough to pass. After that third attempt, I almost allowed him to quit. He looked so defeated…the hurt in his eyes…the sobbing, the feeling of not being good enough. I wanted to take all that disappointment he felt away, but I couldn’t, that’s not my role. My job is to listen, support and give him the courage to try again. Swimming is a life skill, a safety issue….a skill he must learn how to do….so we forced him to attempt it a fourth time. All the while telling him it’s good to fail…it builds charater…you can’t always get what you want, you need to work hard, look at the things you’re learning. You know all the lip service that one pays to another soul when they’ve had something go wrong…when they’ve experienced the sting of a belly flop.

As we walked home from swimming ….basking in the warm sun and excitement of him passing I asked him how he was feeling…..

He said he was proud, proud that he worked hard because the other levels were easy and he didn’t really have to try hard.

He said he was glad he was forced to try again, he knew what we meant now when we said it feels better if you’ve had to work hard for it.

He said this was the time he had the most fun, felt the most like he could do it and just enjoyed being in the pool.

He said he can’t wait to try level 4 and it’s ok if he fails the first time.

And then he ran off ahead of me and his sisters, around the corner and up the street, out of sight, no longer wanting to talk to his mom about it. He had run off to tell our neighbour,the one he shares everything with, the one who had been working in his yard earlier that day…

I continued to walk home, at a snails pace with the girls, reflecting on the things he had just said and wondered if maybe the belly flops and lessons in failing weren’t just for him….❤