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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.


Pink Owl

So, we have been having a rough go of it here, lately.  Somebody has something going on all the time.  We have had a hard time re-establishing a post-holiday routine (and diet, and exercise), and we haven’t been successful with school work.  At all.  I’m not even kidding.   We have been very good at going to multiple doctor’s offices (not trying to be dramatic, it’s just our reality for the present), and sleeping in on the days we don’t have morning appointments, further compounding the lack-of-routine issue.   And then it snowed. 
We did do school on those first few snow days, because I knew that we were going to be (stuck at) home, and why not throw in a little Charlemagne and some crusade action  between making snowmen, and building forts.  Also, we did a lot of baking.  Baking equals math and home economics.  Fort building equals PE, too.  I promise we experienced some muscle building- snow is heavy! Here is something I know:  snow stops life in Northern Virginia.  After two hours, the kids get bored- after two days the adults get bored- after two weeks we are all just cold. And done.  And, apparently falling apart.
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I believe in having a life theme song.  Forever, mine has been “Roll With It”.  It’s an eighties song by Stevie Winwood.  I don’t love the tune, especially, but the lyrics are pretty cool.  The idea to just roll with life’s events is good advice.  It’s nice to feel like I could possibly be so laid back, and flexible.  For the record, I’m not.  I can jump to anxiety in a single bound if things aren’t going the way I thought they would, or should!  It’s less than pretty.  I have an arsenal of coping skills, and I’m very stable (honestly), but even the most organized, put together mom has the potential for feeling … well… for feeling stuck.
While I seem to be staying in this holding pattern of doctor and therapist visits during the precious few hours I’m supposed to be home actually doing home school with my kiddos, I’ve had to re-think some educational methods, and goals.  Think books on CD (when I can remember to put them in the car) and math apps.  I thought this was going semi- OK, until last week.   The middle child called me to the carpet in front of one of our doctors about her lack of schooling this year, and why she is behind in math (and why, apparently, I’m mother of the year), and how this contributes to all this anxiety in the home.  Listen, I’ve had years of therapy, and I can’t even tell you how many coping skills I had to employ to get through that appointment without losing my cool.  I was both proud of her ability to state her case, and mortified that we would be getting a call from the superintendent’s office about perhaps returning to public school.  The doctor, who has known us for years (and years, like, almost 16), totally laughed after said child left the room, and said she knew me better than that.  Still, I got the message loud and clear:  Danielle does not like to be out of routine- that makes five out of five in this family that need routine (and if we include the dog it makes six of us).   We are creatures of habit, and when we get away from our habits, we start an anxiety spiral (all of us, collectively, apparently).  
Along the same lines of sharing information about special needs, and autism (my last post was an update on my oldest child), I think we should all be hearing from one another (as parents) that it’s ok to need therapy or help or even medication for the times when we’ve rolled with it for so long that we are rolling off the table and down the street.  Life is hard. We, as humans, are meant to be better together-- it goes back to Bible times that we are meant to be in relationship and supporting one another.  I know that there is a wealth of support groups in this area that can help you deal with any challenge you may be facing.  I also know we are a community with strong resources that exist to help those in need.  Aside from actual (human) contact - type support, there are also tons of online communities that exist to give a voice to all the issues.  These are great, and you can get so much information from online support groups, but actual human face time is so important!  
Here is something else I know:
Share, share, share.  Support each other.  Be brave.  I have some of the best friends (ever), and they are my friends because I unapologetically (OK, so sometimes I do apologize, but I usually don’t have to because that is what my friends tell me) open up about my life and about some of the situations I am dealing with.  Also, I can tell you that when you share some things, those things are often just what the other person needed to hear (or read).
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So… Don’t be scared to reach out.
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The Table at St. George’s

The Table at St. George’s is a market-style food pantry serving the extended local community. Visitors are invited to select their own items from a variety of fresh food, including locally grown produce. The Table’s mission is to encourage healthy eating, build relationships with those in need, and blur the lines between those serving and those being served.