Tiny Bodies, Big Ears

Well, I am not the ONLY “healthy” one (as was discussed last entry that is a part of my mental health saga series) in this not so tiny family of ours… We have 5 kids (obviously) which are currently ages 12 through 5, which I gush about often here on the blog. I am a stay at home mom who homeschools all 5… just laying it out there. So our kids are home with us and around our family situation at a near constant basis. This has been instrumental in Ken’s process and been implemented into his therapy itself. I am not saying this is optimum for ALL people undergoing the process of returning from severe clinical depression, but for our family, having Ken thrust into our day to day life and education plans forced him out of himself and the thoughts we are committed to if not silence, prove false and quiet.

Because of this constant interaction and the children’s progressively deeper understanding of life in general it was never an option to keep the situation completely out of their scope. I do want to stop right here and clarify, we have NOT discussed anything to do with Ken’s suicidal thoughts/plans/intentions… this is not a discussion that I feel my children are ready to deal with and grasp, but WHEN they are it will be something I sit down with them and frankly share. I joke about the 1 in 5 statistics and how we live it with our 5 kids… but I am more than aware that there is a potential (especially with Ken’s family history and his own severe case) for any or all of our kids to at one time or another suffer from this mental illness.

Now at the same time we have created a house that is open for discussion. We are pro therapy of course, and do not hide from the kids that Ken is on a regiment of medication and vitamin supplements (once again this is overseen by his therapist and psychiatrist and NOT something we take lightly… doses are prescribed for a reason people). We have often discussed how Dad has had a hard time feeling positive and happy, so therapy and his medicine help with that and make it so he can be with us in a better way. I have made a conscious effort NOT to hide Ken’s appointments. The kids are not privy to the content of the therapy sessions, but they are well aware that Dad goes weekly and WANTS to go. That if they felt they needed to come with and talk about the situation they are welcome. In fact, Mom has gone a few times to check in and be involved.

Out of necessity we have discussed in great lengthy Dad’s hearing impairment. I would LOVE to say this has taken instant effect and the kids are always careful to not crowd in and talk at the same time or slow their speech BUT… well we are on a great learning curve right now. I am a firm believer in the idea that if I explain these seemingly grown up issues to the kids in a way they can understand they too can be a part of the healing process.

But I ask you, do you seriously think we could have kept it completely from them? There is a saying – Little pitchers have big ears. Basically be careful what you say in front of children… for all that they seem deaf when you ask them a question or tell them to go do a chore, that whispered conversation in the front of the van is heard clear to the back. I would rather they sat down with us and were given proper information than they picked it up here and there and then repeated these little nuggets to the world at large out of order and improperly.

Our children are our future and for mental health and mental illness to ever be properly addressed we really need to continue our education with them and as soon as possible. Echo does not care that Daddy goes to therapy, in fact, she loves tagging along to see his work aid. The boys are well aware that Dad was not as happy and involved as he is now, they are SO pleased when he takes interest in their assignment or pitches in on a science project.

The road is not a smooth one, feelings are hurt when we have to cancel for an appointment, and sometimes he returns too drained to be involved with us… we are still trying to strike a balance with what Ken WANTS to do in regards to education and family and what he CAN do or can AIM for. This does slow my process down with planning and at times a project just MAY go on a bit longer than expected… BUT having that additional involvement in our school of Ken and his own interests and skill set is a win win for us all.

I think that having the whole family participating in positive ways as a healthy unit is an important part of the healing process. We are not just healing Ken with his series of issues and diagnosis but we are healing a family that wasn’t even aware it was hurting. That is the most amazing part of this process, before we were aware we were hurting we were healing. When one of the family is in need we are all in need. I think that this process is filling a void that we didn’t know existed.

So basically, while I think that keeping many of the details of an illness from children can be the best choice… telling them all about how feeling super sad and having emotions you simply cannot deal with as an adult means it is absolutely ok to go talk to someone and seek help allows them to see that as children those sorts of emotions are something to share and talk about. Silence is really one of the biggest stumbling blocks in healing mental illness, let alone diagnosing it. 

Well, here I end this entry… and as usual I end with a reminder… for those who are suffering, either in silence or as they seek help… we are here with you… those who support others… we applaud you and hold out a hand to hold in solidarity… because EVERYONE should know they are loved, know that WE love you! Reach out, talk, share and heal. It will make us ALL better people! DSCN1583[1]

The Doctor’s Christmas Wish… a book review

Well, time to lighten things up with a seasonal offering… the WRONG season… but holiday fare all the same. The Doctor’s Christmas Wish… well it happens at… Christmas… this is part of the Village Green series by Renee Ryan. It is a Love Inspired book, so definitely faith based.

This contemporary Christian romance has a bit of an unusual premise. Keely O’Toole (who is a mix of Irish and Italian) has returned home (to Village Green) to take up the position of mother to her cousin’s six year old daughter Felicity (or Flicka). Her cousin has been imprisoned after embezzling funds for 12 years. Father is out of the picture.

Keely is running a restaurant, raising a child who is hurting and planning the Christmas parade. Here enters her neighbour, Dr. Ethan Scott. High school nemesis (in her eyes), ex army doctor who now runs a private practice with a childhood friend (who is also the husband of his sister, Keely’s best friend).

There are widowers and orphans a plenty in this Christmas tale. Though the orphaning happened post childhood. Two engagements ended abruptly, one in an accident resulting in death and the other with a heart who has not yet let go of the past. This book really does focus on the idea of releasing a lost love but not forgetting that love… when is it time to risk your heart again? Can you really say good bye? What happens to the love for the first person? 

This book is definitely a journey of faith and healing. A lovely afternoon read on a rainy day, I think. Well worth the time, this story is full of holiday romance and healing with a strong and lovely message.518MiZ25u0L._SX315_BO1,204,203,200_

Congratulations Shandai and Ravyn!!!!

Only a little over 6 months late but…. ENJOY… sometimes reflecting back is a warm fuzzy all its own!master (21)

FIRST obligatory adorable kitty pics! 12096470_10153703232386151_6064828047901730230_n

IMG_2819The 10th of October marked the beginning of what I believe is already an AMAZING marriage. My oldest friend marrying the absolute love of her life! And Ken and I got to be a major part of it!! I was the MAID (see she knows how to make a girl feel young) of honour to stand next to her Man of honour. Ken got to be the driver of the bride and so much more.

Sitting in the fancy ride (the GMC thanks to the loan of the inlaws) having a pre wedding sip.

Sitting in the fancy ride (the GMC thanks to the loan of the inlaws) having a pre wedding sip.

IMG_2830The wedding was definitely not a classic church wedding and it suited them to a T. Hand fasting, an actual KNOT was tied (I kid you not… cords representing different parts of their marriage knotted in an infinity knot). The location was amazing – a state park between two major rivers, the day PERFECT! After months and months of work, organizing and positive thinking the day just came together marvelously.DSCN1194

DSCN1195I had the added task of welcoming Shandai’s mother (Wilma) into the circle during the ceremony. She passed away nearly 11 years ago from MS. I remember her… it was so amazing to do this task and honestly FEEL her THERE. I know she was smiling and dancing along with us. (of course I cried… actually I cried MULTIPLE times during the day… no one who knows me is surprised I am sure) I don’t think I can explain how… pure and special the entire experience felt.

our gift to them... that is Shandai's mom (her favourite picture of her), paper made by the kids, my welcome hand written by myself and arranged by Ken.

our gift to them… that is Shandai’s mom (her favourite picture of her), paper made by the kids, my welcome hand written by myself and arranged by Ken.

The crochet’ed top hats I made over the year (like 100) went over marvelously too… they even had a table at the reception to decorate them so people all over the place were WEARING MY HATS!

Sheep tested!

Sheep tested!

Tiny beings and tiny hats!

Tiny beings and tiny hats!

fullweb (2)fullweb (3)fullweb (4)But enough about that… let’s see, the pertinent information – THEME! Steampunk with a touch of Firefly… there was people dressed up impeccably as characters from the show. My outift, Shandai’s absolutely PERFECT gown and the Best Woman Dara’s outfits were all made by the most talented seamstress Amy Sue. I do believe I linked her before but repeat is a good thing… HERE.

Dressing at the house

Dressing at the house

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Can you see the Firefly inspiration here???

Can you see the Firefly inspiration here???

My hair and make up were all in the capable hands of Kristi… She was AMAZING… the gears were all her… the hair completely her brain. The hair piece (and the ring bearer the gorgeous and pregnant Raina’s) were all Ken! My artistic man.DSCN1187

The day was perfect… sunshine and wee bit of breeze. No overheating but not shivering in the cold either. I swear it was a day made for this wedding.
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The wedding was outside and the day was PERFECT! Lots of great pictures from the ceremony and the location.

Andy (Man of Honour) placing a Serenity charm on Shandai's shoe

Andy (Man of Honour) placing a Serenity charm on Shandai’s shoe

With Raina (pregnant with TWIN BOYS!) the bearer of the rings

With Raina (pregnant with TWIN BOYS!) the bearer of the rings

Chatting, I love how our faces look like it is something completely different

Chatting, I love how our faces look like it is something completely different

Bride, Groom, Brother of the Groom (Bill... he had the best long tails EVER) and the seamstress... the AMAZING Amy Sue

Bride, Groom, Brother of the Groom (Bill… he had the best long tails EVER) and the seamstress… the AMAZING Amy Sue

fullwebLet’s see… I met a variety of new people… had an amazing experience… tasted some absolutely amazing mead. There was Irish dancing at the reception as well. With a large percentage of the guests being dancers or Renaissance Festival employees and enthusiasts it was quite the party.12122576_10200994959911650_2773561288717916963_n

One of Amy's fun selfies (on left) with Trish

One of Amy’s fun selfies (on left) with Trish

Thanks Amy, we look cute in this one!

Thanks Amy, we look cute in this one!

We stopped at a pub they dance at before we got to the reception. Pictures were taken of course.

With bridal attendant Trish

With bridal attendant Trish

12122526_10153234427315954_8062970876602714635_nThere was a photo booth area manned by the photographer’s niece and nephew… and I must say, the photographer was AMAZING… so energized and he was awesome at brainstorming and then getting fun and unique ideas across. His site is HERE. I am planning on framing these three images below (edited by the gorgeous bride herself) for display on our wall. A nice series of images from a day to remember.12167173_10153235146635954_1998140958_n

12072596_10153235109545954_4226697375616343846_n11696705_10153235152745954_74121373_nNow to blow you over with amazing images… and one more time !!! CONGRATS YOU TWO!

Just the girls in the wedding party... Emily (bridesmaid), Trish (bridal attendant), Raina (bearer of rings), Shandai (bride), Dara (best woman), Me (maid of honour... yup MAID hehe)

Just the girls in the wedding party… Emily (bridesmaid), Trish (bridal attendant), Raina (bearer of rings), Shandai (bride), Dara (best woman), Me (maid of honour… yup MAID hehe)

Bridal Party

Bridal Party

The guests at the wedding itself

The guests at the wedding itself

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Dress repair! Amy Sue you rock!

Dress repair! Amy Sue you rock!