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A Change of Scenery

This past week has been the toughest one for us (so far) with the pandemic. In my last post, I wrote that we have kept a rhythm and worked to stay positive and uplifted, dealing with emotions, dealing with our health and keeping our family moving along.

Things shifted this week with my oldest having shorter school days. My husband is starting to go a little stir-crazy and feeling down about not being at work. Ezra needs structured activity and is rough with his sister. The walks around our suburban neighborhood are getting boring. We were losing our creative juices and were stumbling with the kids.

I’m glad that life has been virtual, but again the double-edged sword is the amount of time we’ve been spending in front of a screen. Last night Gus and I decided that something had to change. Everyone was on edge and we couldn’t quite move out of it.

When we start stumbling, my mind wants to check out. I feel guilty for not being grateful enough. We have a nice home, we have everything we need, we are safe. Instead, my mind wants to think of what I should be doing, how we should be living. Maybe it’s a farm, maybe we need to be more sustainable, maybe we need to be millionaires, we definitely need to change something major as soon as this dissipates. This is a glimpse of my stressed-out thoughts. Really all we needed was a simple change of scenery.

This morning we packed up the kids and drove 5 minutes to a 12-mile conservation area (and the trail was completely empty).

This is exactly the change of scenery we needed. I can’t believe how refreshing a few hours outside can be! We spent our time on the trail looking at wildflowers and collecting some to press and identify. We watched the birds, the butterflies and just walked and talked. Ezra ran free, got dirty and peed outside. Mira napped, and suddenly all was right with our circumstances.

Getting outdoors is one of the quickest ways to change your frequency. Getting in tune with nature can wipe out so much negativity and improve your mood. Vitamin D is necessary for immunity and health and is easiest absorbed in natural sunlight. For us, it changed our entire outlook and pace and made the rest of the day enjoyable.

Gus and I were able to recalibrate and come up with a plan to tackle this next week of quarantine. We definitely added some new trails to explore and nature schooling for these kids of ours.

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Teenage Trials and Transitions

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Raising a teenager is no joke. The past few weeks I have been up to my elbows trying to parenting a sane teen. I have finally realized the public school system is just too much for my empathic, emotional teen boy. Keenan has always been a little “different”, and I mean that in the best of ways. From his early childhood, I felt an alternative education– Montessori, Waldorf, or homeschool would be the way to go for him. We did Montessori for a brief time, however, circumstances had us join the public school system in West Virginia, and it was actually quite wonderful for him.

He met great friends, he had great teachers that really resonated with him, and he generally thrived with the routine and structure. We moved to Florida the last half of his fifth-grade year, and things have not been the same. Yes, I know he was going through his tween years, middle school and all of the difficult transitions that we all generally face. He adapted okay– until this year. The first year of high school.

The social pressures are too much for him. He’s hearing and seeing things that he can not process. Sex, drugs, gun threats, to name a few. Initially, my husband and I thought these were “normal” teenage behaviors and talk and he would get used to it. He has not. He says he’s shaky all of the time, he’s angry and has outbursts when he’s home because he can’t seem to release the pressure, along with a few other challenges that are concerning.

We’ve been working to help him adjust by giving tools to release his anxiety and it isn’t giving him long-term relief. Today, I applied for virtual school so now we are waiting to see what happens next. This was an extreme remedy from our end. My guess is he will be accepted and we will have to find a new family rhythm with him schooling at home. This piece worries me, however I know we will adjust (if this scenario is best) and find ways to meet all of his needs– academically, socially, and emotionally.

So, this is our latest update and one reason this blog has taken the back burner. I am going to share some of the tools we’ve been using to calm his anxiety and unwind his day.

The Emotion Code by Bradley Nelson

The Reconnect Kit which is an essential oil kit that helps him feel grounded and focused.

Probiotics. Some probiotics have wonderful mental health strains of bacteria that helps calm his nervous system (this is major for me too!)

Keenan does well when he is consistent with his Tae Kwon Do, we’ve increased his class load with them and when he practices his form daily his mind is more calm and balanced.

Raising teenagers is a whole different ballgame and I remember how difficult it was for me. I am hoping to instill in him some values and tools that can give him a heads up with these trials so that he can lessen his anxiety and allow him to focus on his future and the man he chooses to become.