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Kristen is a home­maker, home­schooler, and a home­keeper. Her experience includes nineteen years of practice, raising three kids, a husband, and a dog. Writing about her life helps her stay sane. She believes that sharing stories helps others by providing opportunities to share advice (and helpful hints) about homeschooling, and raising kids on the autism spectrum, while supporting marriages and families that are striving to thrive.

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Shannon Enos is a wife, recovering Pinterest addict, and homeschooling mom of two young girls. Her hobbies include analyzing music with her husband, pretending she’s going to finish that crocheting project she started 4 years ago, and making lists of things she has already completed just so she can cross them off. Shannon values truth, education, the arts, open minds, humor, and “Nashville" binges on Hulu. She believes that learning happens everywhere, whether you’re paying attention or not.

 

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Winter, traditionally, is not my season (it still isn’t).  You know, a long time ago I would have never believed that I had an issue with Seasonal Affective Disorder- which means, basically, that without light one becomes depressed, or anxious.  I remember learning about it in nursing school, and I’m pretty sure I laughed at the notion of this affective disorder.  Of course, I was barely 22 and knew everything.  Once I started living on my own, got married, started a family, etc., I diagnosed everybody I knew (and/or lived with) with it;  but not me--  I was not having any problems with darkness or depression.  
 
Then, about seven years ago, one of my best friends moved to Washington.  State.  Like, 3300 miles away from here.  Then, I was sad.  Then, it was winter.  Then,  I didn’t want to get out of bed, I didn’t want to educate my children, and I didn’t want to exercise, or eat right, or do much of anything.  That was also the year that it snowed thirty inches, and a week later snowed another twenty inches.  It was a long, long winter.  
By the time April rolled around, I was in therapy and taking medicine (and, no judgements, please… we all have different needs and strengths and not-strengths).  When the sun reappeared and the temperature increased, I found myself needing and wanting to be outside.  In. the. Sun.  I needed the warmth, and the sun, and the light, and birds singing. Also, I can’t deny that I, too, now experience a bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder every year.  
 
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So, I’m still in hibernation mode.  Incidentally, I totally see the value in hibernation.  I think if I ever get my Master’s Degree, a worthy thesis for my dissertation could be about the benefits of human hibernation on the psyche of mothers.  I’m just saying.  Anyway, though, imagine my surprise that we had to spend a greater part of one night last week in the basement due to tornado warnings.  I was so surprised, that I went outside when I heard the thunder to discover that in the space of an hour it had gone from a chilly 50 (ish) degrees to a balmy 70 degrees, and black skies.  My youngest is not tornado-friendly, to say the very least.  We had quite a night!  I was not prepared for thunder/tornado anxiety in the month of February.  Flexibility needs to be a job requirement for parenthood.  
There is a silver lining though:  maybe the groundhog is right and we’re going to get an early spring.   The temperature today is cold, though. The sun is out, at least.  Always find that silver lining.
 
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These storms and crazy weather changes and the nature and nurture of living in Northern Virginia got me thinking about how life is always changing, and in motion.  One minute we are herding toddlers through the grocery store, the next we are (just as anxiously) herding teenagers to a basement.  Constantly, we are expanding and contracting in response to the whims of the temperatures of life.   There are times when energy is boundless, and there are seasons when it’s hard to get out of bed.  
 
Speaking of…  We had to go to the Social Security office yesterday for Tom-Tom.  We had an “interview” “scheduled” at 0945.  I got no less than two automated calls reminding me of my appointment time, and at least one piece of mail.  We arrived to discover that the Social Security office is a lot like the DMV.  It sports a cleaner, but crazier vibe—and I say that with a lot of love, having a man-child that flaps and paces, and has to be reminded that comments about our government, to include the President of the United States, need to stay in his thought bubble.  
 
We got through this experience relatively rapidly considering we had ticket number A-347, for our “scheduled” interview.  Also, for those of you that may have to apply for benefits for your child or adult child you can relax, because it really was just an interview.  The Social Security interviewer only wanted to see my ID, so I didn’t need to stress about finding all the forms of identification I have for Tommy.   In fact, I was a little alarmed that my identity was questioned, and not my son’s.  I also did not need to bring the binder full of copies of IEPs, doctor’s notes, evaluations, and history forms (that also took an hour to find and collate- I’m not the most organized mother in the world).  It was just an interview.  The questions were simple and about our family.  Tommy answered most of them by himself (yay!).  Now, we just wait.  By the way, everybody was pleasant at the Social Security office, as well.  It really was OK (not the stressful event I conjured it up to be in my mind).  Again, silver linings hide in the every day.
 
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With spring rapidly approaching, I hope everyone is finding their new year still off to a good start.  Yes, we’ve had a blizzard and a tornado so far in 2016, but light and sun and warmth are coming.  Hang in there, parents, and hang strong!
 

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Pouches' Community Corner

Adoptive parents in Fredericksburg now have a new partner on their journey to a healthy family. In 2016, Children’s Home Society was awarded a $125,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Social Services to extend their Richmond area post-adoptive services to the Fredericksburg area.

ChildrensHomeSociety

Now CHS is looking to find adoptive families in the area who need support before they hit a crisis point. “It doesn’t matter which agency they adopted from, or when that happened,” said Buckheit. “We want to offer a lifetime of support to adoptive families in the Fredericksburg area, especially those who haven’t been aware of our services in the past.”

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