I am here for you!

I see you. I feel you. I hear your cry for help. I understand you. I honor your will of wanting change. I appreciate you. I trust that you will go the path that feels right for you.

I would love to connect with you. I regret not having taken the action to do so in the past.

I was not sure what to do. I didn’t know if you wanted to connect with me. But I should have just asked. I know now that I am the creator of my own life. I am less afraid now to take action. I am more confident now. I am strong and happy with where my life has lead me. I know what I am passionate about. I learned to find the path that I am here to go, follow my calling.

This was not an easy way. It was hard. It was exhausting. But it’s becoming easier and it’s worth it go a step further every day.

You are not alone! I have been there. I was in a dark place.

I played it over and over in my head. I was around 15 years old. I was broken inside. I saw myself going to the kitchen drawer, taking the biggest and sharpest knife out, the serrrated bread knife with the white plastic handle, to end my misery.

But I never actually went downstairs to do it. Something was holding me back. I knew it was not really the easy way out. I would leave my family behind and they would be broken. I did not want to do that to them. So, I guess, at that point I started to fight for my life. I couldn’t wait for the moment that I would be free and on my own.

I wasn’t afraid of taking on the responsibility for myself. I was strong and I must say it was worth it!

You told me that you are afraid of taking on responsibility.

But you did! I am proud of you! You screamed it out. You need change!

I want you to know that I am here for you. My heart is as open as never before for you. I want you to know that there is a way for you. Every human reincarnates into this world with a special gift and his/her own mission, his/her own path to follow.

I see an image of you in my head. You are on your way to shred off the chains holding you back. Leaving the system that you are stuck in. The beliefs that were imposed on you. It’s like a bud of a flower that needs sometime to ripen until the biggest, most beautiful flower will emerge.

You have your own story to tell and you will change people’s lives while learning to love and live your life.

You changed my life already. There is no question that I was meant to meet you. Because of you I am even more passionate about advocating a free life for children, free of rules that are imposed on them to fit in, to kill their individuality.

I am here to share and spread my beliefs of giving the same rights to children that any adult has in the western world. Children need to make their own choices, their own mistakes, their own experiences, their own learning. Everybody is here to find their passion, their calling, their happy place.

I thank you for making this so clear to me again that I can’t just sit here and hope. I need to take action! I love you and always will! And I am here for you.

With my whole heart,

aNNika ❤

 

PS: If you read this and have children, please take a minute to think about what’s going on with them in this world. Looking at the news and the rate of teenager suicide exploding, I want to urge you to connect to your children. Most of them do not feel safe. They don’t feel like they can open up about their feelings of feeling lost. Most of our teenagers are under such pressure in school. They need to bring the good grades home, they need to find their place in their peer group,… all in a time where they need to figure out who they actually are and where they want to go. They lost trust in themselves and their parents. I am shocked about the need in this world to fit in! We don’t all need to be the same! I love to see every single child (and adult) shine from their purest of souls and walk through this world with confidence and the knowledge that he/she is worth of being loved. He/she is enough. He/she is free to decide what’s good for himself/herself. Please support your children to take their own lead, don’t control them to be a person that they are not supposed to be. Let’s all be free and make space for others to do the same! It’s time for more love and individuality in this world.

‘Yes – Day’ every day!

Today I came upon this article that somebody posted on social media.

https://www.mother.ly/life/jennifer-garners-annual-yes-day-is-both-so-sweet-and-totally-exhausting#close

It’s about people celebrating actress Jennifer Garner who shows herself authentically by posting a picture of her exhausted self on Instagram. But why they actually celebrated her was that she did her ‘5th annual Yes – Day’ with her three kids. A day (one day in a year!) that her kids can dictate what the family does and the parents say yes to everything. (which make it 364 day a year that her children are dictated by their parents!)

I had to think about this for a second what I thought was most wrong about this article!? It says in there “As parents, we all have to say no a lot. No, you cannot have cookies before breakfast. No, you cannot wear your old Halloween costume to school. No, we can’t go to the beach… Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have just one day where we don’t have to say no to our kids?”

I think it would be nice if we could always say yes to our kids!! Why just one day?

Who says that we have to say no to our kids a lot? Why does this seem to be a law for parents? I was and am SHOCKED!!

In this article children are seen as these little unknowing, stupid creatures that would only eat candy and would make messes of everything. We (as parents) need to control them and mold them into real people by saying no to everything crazy/fun kids ask us for.

“While a year of Yes Days would result in household chaos (and likely cavities from all the junk food), …”

My stomach is turning reading this again… let’s put his straight.

Children are humans and they have human rights, the same as any parent!

What if you as a parent feel like eating a cookie before breakfast? You do it! Why not, right? My children have the same rights as I have. They can eat whatever they want and whenever they want to eat it and they can eat as much as they want. They can play ans watch things on their ipads almost as much they want to. If they feel like wearing something ‘crazy looking’, so be it! It’s their choice. It’s their body.

And you know what? They choose what’s good for them, what makes them happy and if not, they’ll choose different the next time.

This is the only way to learn about themselves and trust their bodies. If I told Niki that he would have a stomach ache after eating a bowl of chocolate morsels and wouldn’t allow it. He would do everything to still try it! And if he does not get sick from it, I would be a liar and he would loose trust in me!

If he can eat his bowl of chocolate whenever he wants, he will eat as much as he feels good eating and even leave half of it…

And that’s exactly it!

Children would not only eat junk if we only had Yes – Days! 

They are not stupid! They are human and have human needs and a human bodies that they are able to listen to! Niki eats a bowl of chocolate almost every morning as his breakfast! And an hour or two later, he is ready for something that’s not as sweet. Today it’s fish-sticks at 11am. Yesterday it was left-over pizza at 10am. The day before he ate a ham sandwich and before that it was chips and guacamole…

Noah doesn’t eat breakfast at all. He usually asks for or makes an omelette with ham and cheese around 11am.

I drink my dense nutrition shake after my workout in the morning, usually under the shower. We all eat whatever and whenever we think is good for us! And there is no law around this.

The cabinets and fridge are always accessible for me and my children and I try to put things they like a lot (like mint Oreos) on the bottom shelves, so that they don’t have to climb up too high.

I try to trust my children and do not judge their needs and wants

Children have the ability to live in the moment much more than we do! For them eating that 3rd ice-cream today might seem as important as a hot relaxing shower for me in the morning to wake up 🙂 They don’t care if they already ate two others. In that moment when they are coming into the house sweaty from running around playing soccer for two hours…they just feel like having an ice-cream. And isn’t that cool!? I would love to feel so free to follow my feelings and meet my needs! We, as parents are so driven by stupid rules and beliefs that we picked up in our life…all the what ifs come up and possible outcomes: What if my child gets sick eating that much ice-cream? What if he/she never wants to eat anything else than ice-cream? What do people think about me letting my kids eat so much ice-cream? …

Relax! Leave it up to your child! And the truth is chances are very small that your child will get sick… And look at what this does to your child if you say yes! He/she feels in charge of himself/herself, not controlled. He/she does not have to rebel against you if you say yes as much as you can. Your child will listen to his/her body because he/she has the choice of eating it or not. Your child will feel your trust in him/her. And isn’t this the best? I would have loved this as a child, to feel confident that my parents always stood behind me and my decisions … This is how we build connection to our children!

And nothing is worth more that having a great connection to our child! 

If I can trust my child and give up controlling him/her, she/he will feel great about herself/himself. And my child builds trust to me too!

Children don’t have to rebel if their needs and wants are met. I am not building walls for my children to run against… I am here for them to meet their needs as much as possible and that means that I say YES as much as possible!

And if there is a day that I don’t feel well or am trying to control them for whatever reason, I feel more exhausted at the end of they day than normal, because it’s natural for children and any human to fight if they hear a lot of ‘No, you can’t do/get this and that.’

Please try to say YES as much as possible!

Don’t think that I do whatever my kids want in every second of the day. This is not how it works in our family. Of course there are things I can’t do for whatever reason or don’t want to, because I matter too! But here are a couple of questions I can ask myself while deciding if I can turn a no into a yes:

Alternatives: I feel like sometimes we are so stuck in our ways of going about things, that we don’t even see that we can maybe achieve something in a different way, maybe exactly the way your kid wants to do it. Could be just changing up the order in doing things…like playing a game before bed instead of a story. Or going to the playground and then grocery shopping…

Does it matter in 20 years? This is a question I think about a lot when I try to hurry my children to do something because we ‘don’t have time’. If we were late to an appointment would that really matter in the whole scheme of time?

Change of perspectives: I think often it’s important to change into my child’s perspective. What would he/she feel like if I said no or yes. Sometimes it’s not about that piece of candy… it’s much more about giving my child freedom and that’s what’s really important. I want my children to feel free and confident. Or it’s not about that we really need to go to the beach. Much more it’s about spending time one-on-one, so that my child feels loved…

It’s all about trying to meet my child’s needs and help him/her grow into the person they want to be. And therefore we can put away these parenting books that make us say no all the time! Life is too short to say no! We are all here (adults and children) to live a happy and fulfilled life and that can only happen when we say YES to live life to the fullest! And YES to human rights! YES to our children!

With much love and gratitude for me free children,

aNNika

Our September 2017

Here we are, summer is over… fall is here and I feel like we are more alive than ever!

Back to school time seems to be a very nice time for un-schoolers. To me it feels like we are getting out of summer hibernation and can move around freely again. Places like museums, zoos and beaches are not crowded anymore and much more enjoyable 🙂

I love the beginning of fall. It’s somehow still nice and warm during the days and it cools down during the night which makes the morning air so fresh and nice smelling ❤

People ask me a lot what we do all day and how does the education for my children look like. There is no 7-hour school day for us. My kids are with me almost all day. How do I get my alone time? Do my children want me all day? Do I need breaks? Am I exhausted? How do my children learn? Can Noah read and write? How about math? How long will the boys stay out of school? Can they still go to college? How about socialization?

I don’t really want to answer all of these questions in this post. But I had the idea of sharing more of our journey. I feel like at some point it would be nice to post weekly updates on the How and What my children learn just by living an active open-minded lifestyle with lots of traveling and this world as our ‘classroom’. For now I feel like starting with a little summary of last month’s experiences and adventures.

Often pictures tell more than words, so here come pictures and explanations of what our life looks like, aside from the ‘normal’ things like grocery shopping, cleaning and running all kinds of errands, like doctor and vet visits and such…

Usually we get up some time between 7am and 9 am. For me the first thing in the morning is doing my workout routine. The boys either still sleep, play on ipads, play with their monster trucks, play soccer or they just watch me and eat breakfast 🙂

Usually we are ready around 11am/12pm to conquer the world 🙂

On Mondays we started going to our un-school coop that I organize with two other moms. There have been around 12-20 kids with their mothers. We meet at a reserved room at the library for 3 hours for unstructured playtime with friends. They can roam the library, look at books, use the computers, do art projects. They can play legos, build forts or do whatever they want during that time. Afterwards we usually move outside to the nearby playground and skate park for some outdoor play.

For the rest of the week Niki has been going to preschool for the past two weeks from 12:30-3:15pm. But when we had other more special plans (like our trip to California or a trip to Boston), he joined us and did not attend school.

We moved a LOT, we are a pretty active family. The boys balanced, ran, walked, tumbled, wrestled, jumped, rode their bikes, played sports like soccer, basketball, hockey, volleyball, baseball, football almost every day.

We went outdoors to experience nature in all it’s beauty. Questions like these came up: How do things feel out there, how do they taste, smell? How does it feel to sit in the mud? How old are these Redwoods? How much longer have they been on earth than us? Did the dinosaurs still live when these trees were planted? How tall are they in comparison to buildings? Where do animals live and what do they eat? How do plants grow and what do they do for us? We harvested green beans, tomatoes and pears and saw where they actually grew.

Last Wednesday the boys took part in a Tinkergarten trial class. It was really cute how the children made a ‘stone-soup’ for the trees around them. They mixed all kinds of things that they found like rocks, sand, sticks, leaves, mushrooms, flowers and added nice smelling spices like cinnamon and chia seeds and lavender together and added water, vinegar and baking soda to make it bubble. They thanked the trees for their good job of making fresh air for us and ‘fed’ them the soup. Noah wants to sign up for an 8 week class, an hour once a week. He really enjoyed being outside and not in an inside classroom. He does not like to be around many people in small places, so an outside classroom gives him enough space to move around and not feel too boxed in.

We also went to the beach and caught some small fish to look at and touch them and then release them back into the ocean. Another time at the beach Noah invented a seaweed drying structure and watched how the seaweed changed color and consistency in the process.

At home the boys liked to paint, draw, color, play and build. They cooked and baked and made experiments with different kitchen substances.

Last week we experimented with our sense of taste. We had different kinds of carrots and we closed our eyes to guess which ones we were eating. And we got pretty good at it!

Right now Noah’s favorite board game is Monopoly. We’ve been playing hours and hours and days of it. It amazes me how he calculates and knows exactly how much money to pay and get back when buying streets and houses/hotels. He also uses his own, mostly conservative strategies and he rarely looses a game.

Noah also likes to sew. He started making headbands with scraps of fabrics that I don’t use anymore for sewing my kids’ clothing.

Another favorite indoor activity was and will be playing on ipads. They build their own houses and landscapes in Minecraft. They breed their own monsters in Monster Legends. Noah has his own soccer team in some kind of soccer app.

Niki played many races of Mario Cart Wii.

We like to travel and go places…there is so much to do and discover in other places than home! And also the traveling itself has some challenges: On our trip to California we figured out how to read a railroad map and how much money to put on our ticket for a roundtrip into San Francisco. The boys tried to entertain themselves for an 8 hour flight.

We also took a trek to IKEA on Labor Day Weekend and really got to practice our patience while waiting in traffic and in the checkout lane…

Then there are places like Lindsay’s Wildlife Experience that we went to in Walnut Creek, CA. It was a great place to get close to animals and learn a lot about them, even touch Penelopé the porcupine 🙂 Visiting San Francisco is always fun. Riding the trollies and the cable cars, visiting the harbor seals at Pier 39 and the hearts at Union square were our favorites.

Another cool experience on our trip to CA were a couple of ice-cream stores that made their ice-creams on the spot. It was really interesting to observe how they mixed the ingredients together and then flash-froze the liquid mixture in bowels with liquid nitrogen or on a frozen plate. They made it into scoops or little rolls that they placed into the cup. The pic underneath shows how much fun it was to watch and experience!

We went to Legoland Discovery Center in Boston where the boys built cars and figured out how to make them quicker. I think I won the race 🙂 My car had the biggest tires and was the heaviest…

We also went to the pottery place nearby where the boys painted some birthday gifts for family members.

Noah is signed up for Zoo school which is a one-hour class at the zoo once a month for 8 months. We went there, but he did not feel comfortable enough to stay by himself. So, we all were allowed to stay and got to meet a python and play a game of Mancala.

Noah is still saving up for his own ipad. He sat at the farmers’ market and at the playground trying to sell some of his old toys. With sewing his headbands he is following through with another business idea. He will be selling them at a fair in November.

His newest idea is to develop a game app with in-app purchase options. But I have not found anybody yet who could teach him coding or programming. This is definitely on our plan for the next months. In the meantime were are looking into a couple of programs that we can maybe learn from by ourselves, like Hours of code and Scratch.

IMG_7009

Noah likes to observe. He just watched the pool guys closing our pool for the winter and the plumber putting in a new garbage disposal yesterday.

He watched people fishing at the beach and really wants to go fishing himself. The boys love to watch the people at the post office putting the mail in different boxes and get to know where the different boxes will go, on an airplane or so.

At Target Noah has helped the clerk scan the things we bought at checkout. Yesterday and many other times Noah handled the payments by using my credit card and signing or he handled money and checks if we got back the right amount of cash. He is getting very good at knowing if it’s European or American money he is picking out of my wallet 🙂

I think these are many of the highlights that we experienced during the month of September. That’s how our ‘not back to school’ month looked like.

Sometimes I describe our lifestyle as being on vacation every day. We try to live a happy and enjoyable life and go with the flow to get there. Of course there are good days and not so good days and ups and downs, but for the most part I see us getting to a point where we learn so much from each other and the world around us and new adventures coming up for us every day and this feels great.

And yes, of course there are days that I feel exhausted, but probably not more exhausted than any other mom. The thing that helps a lot is that every person in our house has the same rights, so there is not much arguing with my children about things they should do or have…we are living a pretty peaceful life, which is not exhausting. We all make our own choices and learn from there.

With lots of love and gratitude,

aNNika ❤

 

 

Today marks 4 months of my daily workout routine.

Today I am celebrating my 4 months anniversary with Beach Body on Demand and also the commitment to live a healthier and more active life 🙂

I can’t believe that it’s been 4 months of working out once or twice a day! There have only been a handfull of days that I was traveling or didn’t feel up for moving because of cramps during my period, but otherwise I have been hooked!

I haven’t even done a recovery day just to recover…only active recovery days with pilates workouts, but that is another story and probably not to recommend for everybody…

But let’s start on May 20th…

We were traveling back home from the Bahamas that day and I made the decision to sign up for a year membership of BOD (Beachbody on Demand), including Shakeology, the shake of dense nutrition.

It’s an online fitness site that includes about 600 workout programs to pick from. There are all kinds of workouts from dancing, cardio, weight lifting, martial arts inspired ones, pilates or yoga, and many more…

I was inspired by a woman that I have been following on Facebook who got hooked about a year ago and has become a Beachbody coach in the meantime. She posts her challenges and struggles, goals and achievements on social media to inspire others and this very much worked to get my attention 🙂

That day sitting at a restaurant at some airport, I told my husband, let’s do this together! And just for fun we looked through a couple of workout programs and picked one called Hammer and Chisel for him because the guy looked scarily loaded with muscles 🙂 💪(And fast forward – this program really has become the one he does most!)

The online program was available right away. For the shake powder, the nutritional guide and portion containers I had to wait one week to arrive.

But one day later, on the 21st of May I started working out. 🏋

The first 3 weeks: 21 Day Fix

Trainer Autumn Calabrese was there for me for the first 3 weeks. She promised me ‘the body I always wanted after only 3 weeks of working out’.

Hmm…, big goal and of course not really achievable, but this program was for sure good to get me started and get used to a daily workout routine. Doesn’t it always say, it takes 3 weeks to build a habit? It was true for me!

There was a 3 week plan to follow which contained about 9 different workouts. The workouts were 30 minutes long and the sequence of actually doing ‘the work’ was one minute. ‘You can do anything for a minute!’ She then lets you breathe and recover while explaining the next step. Usually there were a couple of rounds of about 3 workouts that were repeated once or twice.

I think I did 4 weeks of 21 Day Fix and throwing in some 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts when I felt like changing it up. The last week you are supposed to do 2 workouts a day and that’s when I started working out twice a day for the weeks to follow.

I already felt that I wouldn’t follow a real plan ever and that I just like to pick out a workout every day that I feel in the mood for and that’s what I have been doing since.

The nutritional side of the program

Nutrition is a really important factor as I got to find out very quickly. The first week I did not have my containers yet. I worked out daily, but did not pay any more attention to what I was eating than I did before. I already ate healthy, so I didn’t think that I would be changing much of this.

Then the awaited package arrived! One bag of vegan Vanilla Shake powder, many different sized little plastic container with lids and a guide book. Green for Veggies, purple for fruits, red for protein, yellow for carbs, blue for healthy fats, orange for nuts and seeds, getting smaller in size from green to orange. (green about a cup big and orange super tiny, maybe 2 thumb tops.)

I had to calculate what plan I would be on and because I am not a very big person, it was the one with the least calories which meant 3 green, 2 purple, 4 red, 2 yellow, 1 blue and 2 orange containers for me daily, plus 2 table spoons of oils or butters.

So I started a strict plan for my food intake. I tried to cut all the veggies and fruits every morning, so that I had an overview over what I would be eating. The Shakeology shake itself was worth one red protein container, but just mixed with water it was not tasty at all, rather undrinkable. I started adding fruits (one purple), peanut or almond butter (one table spoon), almond milk (half yellow) and lots of cinnamon to make it tasty. Usually I would have an oatmeal with fruits for lunch (1.5 yellow and half a purple) and then for a snack 2 hard boiled eggs (one red), more fruits (half purple) and some raw cut veggies (1-2 green). For dinner I would cook up all the veggies left over and add the protein left which usually made for a big dinner that I wasn’t used to. It took a couple of weeks to spread out the food better during the whole day…

The thing that hit me was that one blue healthy fat container was only worth e.g. 12 almonds! Before I had chowed down on almonds! I thought they are healthy, so why not snack on them when I got hungry during the afternoon! The other thing was that I was not used to eating that much protein and I had to figure out ways to find different options because I was already not a big meat eater. And I rarely ate eggs before either… Luckily I found out that I could substitute with beans and lentils. (Which it doesn’t say in the booklet.)

Following this strict plan and then working out mostly twice a day really brought quick results. I lost  4-5 pounds rather quick and I felt like my belly and upper body got toned pretty well.

This was when we went on vacation for 3 weeks. I knew I wouldn’t be able to use weights, so one week before leaving I started the T25 program.

10 weeks of Shaun T’s T25 workouts

Shaun T became my favorite trainer pretty fast. His workouts are sweaty and I feel great and accomplished after these 25 minutes. He seems like a nice guy and is not the one yelling at you to do more and better the whole time. He is a believer, pretty gentle and inspiring and also nice to look at 🙂

The first 5 weeks are based on focus and no weights needed which was the point to start it when on vacation for so long. I absolutely love the cardio workouts! It’s all about the core, almost no breaks and felt absolutely fit after these 5 weeks. And even while on vacation I managed to do two workouts a day which is not at all required by the program, but somehow it really helped me to stay true to myself and on track. And this is one of the really nice side effects I have experienced.

I need a routine of self-care to stay focussed

Some of you might understand this more than others, but visiting family can be very draining and demanding on one’s self. At least for me this is the case. Doing my workouts in the morning after getting up and in the afternoon around 3pm meant spending time on my own and for myself. This kept me focused to not get into this swirl wind of feeling dictated by other people. I was able to stay grounded, true to myself and aware of my needs and my boys’ needs during our travels visiting family in Germany. This left me feeling strong and confident.

After we were back it was really hot here and somehow the routine of two workouts a day didn’t seem to work out with all the fun things we were doing over the summer. I tried for about two weeks and came to the realization that it was ok to only do one a day. I did get into the habit of drinking two protein shakes a day though which somehow felt healthy and like a sweet snack in the afternoon. Because of the added sugar in Shakeology I think, I got addicted to sugar again which I had pretty much given up a couple of years ago when I struggled with candida.

2 protein shakes turned out to be a mistake

I noticed after a while that I was putting on weight. My belly didn’t seem as firm any more and I didn’t feel as great as I did on vacation. I researched protein intake and found out that I ate almost double of the recommended protein for my weight and that this could result in weight gain. And yes indeed, it did!

And of course I was only doing half of the work I did before and also I wasn’t doing only cardio anymore. Being back home I was able to start using weights again which I really enjoyed.

I cut back to one shake a day, instead of eating breakfast and I tried a different brand. Shakeology is very expensive and as I said I did not think that the added sugar did well for me. I currently am on a month of VEGA all-in-one nutritional shake and it does have stevia in it instead of sugar which seems a bit better for me. The cost is about 35% cheaper which is another plus. But I am still trying out to find a best for me.

In the past weeks I got a bit lazy about logging my food intake. I thought that by now I have the amounts I am supposed to eat down and could just cook and eat as I thought was ok, but I started cheating every now and then. A self-made cakepop here, a left-over piece of crêpes from the boys there and without writing it down, it seemed like I was ok.

Yesterday I stepped on my scale and I couldn’t believe it, but I weighed more than  4 months ago! Warning signs going on in my head!

Weight gain causing new commitment

I still feel so much better in my skin than I did 4 months ago and I know that with my new routine of alternating cardio and weight lifting workouts every day I must have put on some muscle weight, too. But my goal was to transform fat weight into muscle weight and get toned. (And in secret my ideal or wishful body weight is 120 pounds.)

At the moment I pick my workouts from Shaun Week, T25 and Shift Shop. I feel like my stamina is good for doing longer than 25 minutes on weight workouts and even the cardio ones I can go a little over the 25 minutes now. It’s nice to see the progress 🙂

So, from yesterday on I am logging my food intake again and I will see how it goes. I think it is ok and human to get lazy every now and then, but really the workouts are only half of the commitment. The nutritional intake is the other half and as important!

Just as Autumn always says: “Don’t undo everything in the kitchen!’

Summing up 4 months of daily workouts

I feel fit. My energy level is higher. I feel like running after my children again and no problem to keep up with them. I feel better looking at myself in the mirror and most importantly I know what I can do. I know that I can get to whatever goal I set for myself. I know that I can stay committed to taking care of myself. I know that when I feel well, I can be a better and more balanced mother to my children and can take care of my family’s needs.

Another nice side-effect, I have not been sick during the past 4 months, although almost everybody in my family had a bit of a cold at some point.

Feeling fit and well and eating well also boosts the immune system, I am sure of that now.

Please let me know if you have questions and/or there is a way I can help you find a more balanced and healthier lifestyle!

With much love and gratitude,

aNNika ❤

 

I cut off my hair.

About 3 weeks ago I cut my hair. It wasn’t just a normal ‘every 2-3 months’ haircut.

I asked my husband to take his razor and shave my head on the longest setting his razor could do. That was 1.3 centimeters (half an inch) short.

How did this happen?

On a Tuesday morning somebody I know posted a video on social media of herself shaving her own head. She had very long hair and she left nothing. She went completely bald.

She wrote that this was a new beginning for her and like a newborn without any hair she pretty much birthed herself into a new life.

I was shocked in a good way by her doing this. I thought that she was so brave and strong and very inspiring in a way that she must have gotten to a point in her self-growth journey where she was able to get rid of everything that held her back and she was now ready to step into a new phase of her life, her new life.

When I watched her doing so, I remembered that I had thought about shaving my head many times before, but I had never followed through with it. I wasn’t brave enough. I was scared.

But what exactly was I afraid of?

I think mostly I feared how other people would react and how they would see me? I was afraid of being seen as a lesbian or as a very manly woman. A woman that is not normal.

I want to emphasize here that I absolutely don’t have a problem with gay people! I even lookup to them for being different and strong enough to stand up for themselves and something that is deemed to not be normal. The thing is that I have a problem with people not seeing the real me. I think that’s what held me back, all these prejudices…judgements about being different.

Of course I also couldn’t know if I liked myself with short hair or if I would regret doing it later and then would have to go through this long process of growing them back.

So why did I feel strong enough to follow my friend’s lead and cut my hair off this time?

There were many reasons. I spent a lot of time during the past year to work on me being more feminine. I even hired a coach to help me explore this topic more and I learned just a couple of months ago that we all have masculine and feminine energies in us. And for me it’s been very healing to actually embrace the masculine more as suppose to fighting against it. I always thought that I wanted to get rid of the masculine to become more feminine. But only through being in touch with both energies it’s now easier for me to step into my feminine when I wish to and when it’s important to create this polarity between my husband’s masculine and my feminine energy.

I am ok now and even see advantages being in my masculine energy when I want to get things done and when I am in a more goal-oriented mode 🙂

One other thing I’ve been working on is to be ok to be seen. I want to stop hiding and want to go out there and be an inspiration for others. I want to feel good about myself and get rid of the feelings of not being good enough. I feel like I have things to share with the world that could change people’s opinions, maybe change people’s lives, just as I have changed a lot in my life in the past 2 years.

My hair and my glasses seemed to be ‘objects’ I hid behind. If it was the bump on my nose that I was always conscious about, that I could hide or pimples, unclear skin or blushing with my glasses and my hair …

All this is not possible anymore. And the idea of a new beginning, of course, sounded good to me too. The symbolic rebirth to allow myself to be seen and allow myself to like the real me and be me, no hiding any more, pure honesty.

How did it actually happen?

That Tuesday I met my husband for lunch and asked him what he would think about me cutting off my hair. His first response was somewhat expected. He asked me who he should take to his company’s Xmas party then.

I mean this totally went in the direction of ‘what would people think about us? I would be embarrassed by you. That’s not a normal thing to do.’.

I asked him if that was really his only concern. I understood that I surprised him with my plan and put him onto the spot a bit … We talked about it some more and at the end of our lunch he wanted me to do whatever I felt good doing. We established that he had the right tools at home to follow through with my plan.

That evening when he came home, there wasn’t so much of a question about this anymore. My hubby had actually done his researched online about short hairstyles for women 🙂

So, he came home prepared! I found this so sweet of him and still can’t believe in what little time he went from being worried about people’s opinions over ‘Do what you want’ to ‘Here I am, ready for the job!’.

After dinner we set up a stool outside and he started shaving my head 🙂

While doing so it took a little time to talk him out of the hairstyle idea. I really didn’t want a ‘haircut’. I just wanted the hair off!

There was a point when he actually started having fun while shaving. He all of a sudden seemed turned on by my short hair. I have the feeling that this happened when my energy levels shifted and I got balanced and came into my strength of who I am today! I stepped into feminine power and he reacted with his masculine energy.

It almost felt magical.

It’s been three weeks now with short hair and it’s been quite the experience.

First of all I love how quickly I wash my hair and that I can dry it by just rubbing my head with a towel for a couple of seconds… No brushing and no conditioner anymore 🙂

I love to look at myself in the mirror! I love my face! I smile at myself all the time in the mirror. I like my wrinkles on my forehead, that I had never spend much attention to. I’m ok with all the grey hairs that are now visible. These things make me feel like a woman and not a little girl.

I like to see my ears and earrings that were always hidden by my hair.

I don’t necessarily like the pimples in my face, but since I can’t hide them behind a curtain of hair, I’m ok with them too.

I absolutely love the warm sunshine on my head. I feel like every single ray of sunshine gets to touch my skull and somehow ‘enlightens’ me.

The breeze when sticking my head out of the car window while driving feels amazing too 🙂

The first week or so, I pretty much awaited some response when I met people I know, but by now I forget about it.

The most amazing thing though is that I have not met anybody in person who has told me that he/she does not like my new haircut.

Much the opposite is the case. People tell me that I have a really pretty face. Today somebody said that I look gorgeous and so stylish.

Somebody even said that I have a face like a model! I mean, it does feel good to hear something like this, especially when I am liking my myself too and am in a state of self-love and appreciation and self growth.

A woman told me today that I inspired her last week to also cut her hair shorter and she she really enjoyed her new haircut.

But I think the biggest compliment I have gotten came from my neighbor. She said something along the lines ‘I have watched you change over the past months and watched you grow into this amazing woman and mama and I always knew that you had this creative artsy side inside of you. But now I see it coming out and it’s showing and I love it!’

Really, this meant so much to me that somebody would see me this way and I do feel exactly like this and it feels so good to be seen this real way, the real me. (I know, you will read this, so thank you Melanie! You made me very happy!)

I always feel so honored when people open up and tell me how they feel and tell me that I inspired them by something I did, wrote, shared about my life, my journey. I also got a couple of messages from people asking about my hair and telling me that they enjoy my posts about a healthy and balanced life on social media which inspired them to think about their lifestyle and how it could be healthier.

I think, my grandma is the only one who still can’t get over my decision to cut my hair. I think it’s hard for most 80+ year olds to understand such a change. She says she doesn’t recognize me, but she also only sees me on pictures and not in real life. She has had a long life to make up her opinions and had much time to prove them right for her, so I just let her be.

But of course there are worries that come up in some people when seeing (especially) women with very short hair. Is she healthy? Some people associate short hair with cancer and cancer treatment and as sad as this is, that’s what our society is somewhat used to these days, but I hope that everybody who sees me personally can tell that I am very healthy and me cutting my hair has nothing unhealthy about it.

Right now after almost 4 weeks, I feel like my hair is getting too long already. I will for sure cut it shorter again this coming week. I never planned on doing this again. I thought that this would be a one time event, but I really love everything about it, for now… who knows for how long. I will probably get to a point when I want to let it grow again … I will go with the flow and see what feels right.

I’ve heard that some people say that hair is the antenna to the universe, the unconscious. I can just negate this. I feel closer to my feelings and my emotions than ever before. I also feel closer to other people. It’s like I let go of some walls that I probably built a long ago. I’m sure they were there to protect me, but for now they are not needed anymore. I feel so much more present and in love with myself and my family and this world. This experiment was very successful and I do feel like I re-birthed myself in some kind. I got yet another step closer to the real me 🙂 ❤

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If you have any comments or a similar story to share, please do so in the comments or send me a PM. I am looking forward to connecting with you!

With much love and gratitude,

aNNika

 

Free or not free?

Tonight I am writing about something that’s been on my mind for almost a week now. I can’t let go of it, so I am writing about this trying to make peace with it…

About a week ago somebody I know made a post on Facebook about seeing a woman trying to commit suicide. Close to our home is a big bridge and she saw this woman who already had one leg over the bridge. She was about to jump when a police officer stopped her and saved her life. The woman writing the post was very shaken by this incident and reminded people to be be nice to each other since you never know what somebody else is going through. And she thanked police officers who risk their lives daily to save other peoples’ lives.

About twenty-five comments followed, all pretty much saying the same … how awful this must have been to witness and thank god that this woman was saved and well wishes to her…

When I read this post, I immediately felt a shortness of breath and my chest tightened up. I felt so much empathy for this woman. I was sad for her that she did not get what she wanted and now had to live up to collect enough courage to try it again. If she was sure about what she was doing, why didn’t they let her?

I so much believe in everybody’s freedom to choose about ones life and therefore also ones death.

Somehow this really hits home for me and I couldn’t shake these thoughts off and they keep coming up every day since this happened.

But looking at all the comments I feel strange about my thoughts?! Am I the only person thinking totally different than others? Are they all conditioned the same way? Are people not saying the truth? There must be people out there thinking differently! Why can’t I let go of this?

Memories came up … and lots of feelings of stuckness, sadness and loneliness. When I was about fourteen years old, I was in a dark place and had thoughts about ending my life. I didn’t think about jumping from a bridge, but I thought about cutting my arms open … quietly and alone in my bedroom. I didn’t try. I wasn’t brave enough. I couldn’t bring up the courage to actually get the knife from the kitchen. I had heard how to do it … along the veins, not perpendicular… But I was concerned about my brother. I was sure that my mom wouldn’t be able to handle loosing me and that would mean no good for my little brother. A voice inside me stopped me and told me that I was strong enough to live to be there for him.

I have heard from other people who have been through similar situations. They listened to that voice that stopped them from committing suicide. And it’s good that they listened to this inner voice if they now live a fulfilled life. But for me it’s also okay when people go through with their wish and leave this world listening to their inner voices, too.

I really want to honor everybody’s choices and trust that everybody knows what’s best for themselves. And I wish everybody the courage to stand up for their wishes and desires and needs in this life and beyond.

I think about this woman daily. I wish her the best and hope that either she gets the help that she needs to enjoy life again, or that her next attempt to end her life works out for her without anybody interrupting her wish of setting her soul free and ending her life at this time in this body on this planet.

With a lot of gratitude for my life and freedom and much love,

aNNika

“How is it going? How am I?”

I hear these questions a lot these days: ‘How are you doing with Noah at home now? Is home-schooling working for you?’

My answer: ‘Yes, we are doing great!’ For more explanations usually is no time, but honestly it’s only half of the truth. Overall, we are doing well. I would never want to go back. I am very sure that we did the right decision in taking Noah out of the public school system.

And with going from home-schooling over unschooling to radical unschooling in only 3 months, we are now on a path that feels incredibly right to me.  But we are still not there!

Totally changing our lifestyle takes time…it’s like learning a new language and getting to know everybody in our family all over again…

The connections change and get deeper. More passion occurs. More love and empathy are built…and there is so much more freedom! I love how we can live freely and see what comes our way on days with no appointments. It’s like riding a big wave and seeing where it takes us…and learning so much on the way about the world and ourselves…

The other day we went to a book store for a storytime. Afterwards we sat at a café where the boys climbed a tree and played soccer outside on the terrace until Niki came up with the idea, that he wanted to go to the zoo… So we went!

We had no stroller with us or anything we usually pack for a zoo adventure and came up with the idea that we would make it a short visit by only looking at everybody’s 3 most favorite animals. But at the end we stayed for almost 4 hours and had such a great relaxed and fun filled time.

It seems that everybody gets wishes met and compromises are made to make other’s wishes come true. There is so much gratitude that we can experience days like this already and so much anticipation and hope that most days of our life will turn out to be this way. So flowy and relaxed.

But we are not there yet. I would say 1-2 days a weeks might be almost perfect, but the other days I have doubts. I beat myself up for not being perfect. I have fears. I feel alone. I feel vulnerable. I feel unconfident, unsure, shy, unsupported, judged and overwhelmed…just not enough.

There are days that the boys just want to hang out and watch TV all day… I have gotten pretty good at just letting them take control over the remote… and when I hear them talking to each other, it seems like they are not just watching, but also communicating about the show’s topics. And Noah actually learns a lot about animals from the Kratt bothers and Zooboomafoo, …

Sometimes there comes a point when they have just watched enough and go on playing something…or want to spend time with me.

But some days, I ask them to please turn off the TV and they do, but whatever they do after, they get into huge fights or just throw themselves on the ground and scream and whine for things that are unrealistic.

These tantrums totally overwhelm me and I loose hope and trust that they are able to control their TV time…I feel like I need to set limits and control them…which I don’t want to do.

There are days that Noah can’t figure out how to play with other children and doesn’t understand when to stop teasing them… I end up leaving playdates and holding on to him which I do regret immediately, because I am missusing my strength over him, something that I don’t want him to do with smaller children. But I don’t know what else to do. I feel ashamed and embarrassed by his behavior, I’m again loosing trust in him which I shouldn’t.

There are just moments when I feel like I have to explain myself, because I feel judged by people for my decisions and then I can’t find the right words and I so wish to be an advocate for this great partner paradigm of radical unschooling, but I am just not there yet.

I need to be honest about what’s going on. I can totally explain why we are on this path and what my hopes are for my children and for our family’s future, but we are not there yet. Other than some small success stories and signs that we are on the right path, I can only tell you that it is incredibly hard to go a different route and not follow the mainstream parenting/schooling system.

Just being the one who swims against the stream, puts much attention on me sometimes, that I need to get comfortable with. I am an introvert that never liked to stand in the spotlight. I’ve never liked to stand in front of a group of adults…I feel safe under friends and in my little bubble that I create for myself.

But I do love children and love to see them free and confident and I will do anything to make this true for my children and maybe someday I can make an impact on other children too ❤️

This drives me and I am so excited that we are on this path now and I tust that we will live a happy life as a family and that my children will go on living the life of their dreams with confidence and freedom

With much gratitude and honesty,

aNNika

Higher meaning behind my business

I feel like explaining and getting clear about what it is that I want to do in my soulbiz. It is not just sewing and selling colorful kids clothing… For me it’s much more!

I found out and I feel very clearly that I am here, in this world, to be an advocate for freeing our children and spread awareness about how children are controlled and not treated respectfully and equal to other human beings.

I believe that children come into this world with everything they need. They are all-knowing about so many things that have to do with their senses. E.g. they know when they are hungry, when they they are full, when they need closeness and when not. And their calling and reason why they are here are all inside their hearts from the very beginning. Obviously they communicate in a different way then we sometimes think to understand. But if a parent or a person that is very close to a little child pays attention and becomes aware of the cues, there will be a lot of understanding and communication will work well.

Even just about a year ago, I still thought that babies come into this world with pretty much zero knowledge and that I, as a parent, am here to instill everything into them…that they have to learn everything. I am so grateful that on my personal journey in the past year, I had this big mindshift and realization that we need to treat children as equally human being as we are. It’s not ok to think that children need to be taught anything. We can’t talk down to them as if we are worth more. We need to put ourselves on the same level with our children.

Parents are not there to control their children. They were chosen by their children to be their facilitators to help their them develop to be their highest and best self and to see in their children what’s already there, the light that is deep down there, in their hearts…

For me it’s super important that children are not silenced when they scream out their needs. We chose to be parents, so now if we love our children unconditionally, we should want to satisfy their needs. There should be no judgement and never any thought of that they want to manipulate us.

Children are pure, honest, innocent and want to cooperate and it’s our job to preserve all these traits in them and understand their cooperation.

Since we are not so pure and innocent anymore, how do we get back to that state?

Let’s start listening to our children and learning from them. They show us everything they need. We can learn how to understand and fulfill their needs and wants. And the coolest thing is that they show us a lot about ourselves, too. They are like little mirrors and if you are honest to yourself and not afraid of your true self, they are amazing teachers.

A good first step is to start being aware of when we step into this parent-machine or robot … and start to control their every step or thought or decision.

For me this usually happens when I think we are on a limited time frame. E.g. a child needs to pick clothes, get dressed and eat breakfast before leaving for some appointment… I get nervous when he changes his mind for the third time about his outfit and then doesn’t want to get dressed and can’t eat quick enough…. (everybody knows these scenarios, I am sure.)

So, I step in and want to pick clothes or tell him that he can’t change his outfit again which ends in a big tantrum….at the end we are late and I feel already exhausted at 9am.

Instead I try to step out and do this: I let him do his thing. I offer my help if he wants it. I make sure that he feels that I respect his decisions…and at the end we are less late than we would have been with me controlling him AND I feel good about us and myself and not exhausted like in the example above…

This is just one example. I could name a hundred more when kids are too controlled by their parents, like eating habits, space to play freely, screen time, bedtime,….

What does this have to do with my sewing business?

When I sew I create a piece of clothing that I put in a lot of thought and a lot of love for the person that will wear it. That’s why I love custom orders so much. I like to have a specific child in mind that I am sewing for, but also if it’s not a specific child, I do think about if some tag could itch or a seam could be putting pressure somewhere or things like this…

Sewing baby clothes is one thing that I like because they look so cute, so small and I try to make them as comfy and good feeling as I can, so that a baby is not at all limited in its movements because of the outfit it is wearing.

The other thing I love is to consult with older toddlers or young children (roughly age 3-10). They usually have such good ideas of what they like and would like to wear. It’s so much fun to have children pick their own style of clothing and colors and fabrics.

I think it is so important to let them dress themselves, pick their own clothes. It just doesn’t matter if their shirts match their pants or not. They are children! They need to feel good in what they are wearing. They need to be in charge of themselves to establish and preserve self-love and self esteem.

Every child is an individual, so why shouldn’t they dress themselves this way, individually. I think it’s the coolest thing to see children that are free in expressing themselves in their clothing or other ways that differ from the mainstream. I think this is very healthy for them and their self-growth.

As a part of my business I invite children to my studio (sewing room) to consult with me about fabrics for a new piece of clothing for themselves. It’s usually a dress or a shirt. Sometimes it goes really quick. Other times it takes a little bit of time to look through all the options there are…how many different fabrics they could possibly pick 🙂

It’s so great to then see them confidently wearing their new outfit that they put together ❤

The gift of freedom

So, if you want to gift your child with some freedom, fun and a beautiful new piece of one-of-a-kind clothing, please contact me and we’ll set up an appointment for your child to come to my house. (Send me an email to nonimadewithlove@gmail.com or message me here or on Favebook)

Of course, you are invited to come along, but you are not allowed to take part in the decision process. This is a gift to yourself! You will feel these urges of wanting to control the process coming up in you, I am sure! And then you just breathe and watch your child and his or her confidence and you will feel proud of yourself and your child! ❤

If you are not in the area, we can arrange a way for your child to still being able to pick his or her favorite fabrics. You would send me some favorite colors or themes and I would send your child photos of a bunch of different fabrics that he or she can pick from. It’s on you to not take over any control in the decision process! I would sew the piece and then send it to you.

To get an idea of prices, please visit my Etsy shop for different styles and sizes. There is no extra surcharge for a personal consultation of 15-30 minutes! https://www.etsy.com/shop/NoNiMadewithlove

All examples that were designed by kids:

Or head over to Chelley’s blog, the second item in her holiday gift guide is a dress that I made for her daughter and it fits her perfectly! https://aisforadelaide.com/2016/11/07/the-7-ultimate-custom-gift-hothe-7-ultimate-custom-gifts-holiday-gift-guideliday-guide/

With much love and gratitude,

aNNika

Big inner battle and the way back to Love

Do you know this feeling of anger flushing your whole body? It doesn’t even need to be anger, but something that just doesn’t feel good/right …Somebody says something to you and your every cell seems to react and feels like fighting inside of your body against this statement.

Maybe you don’t feel it and react right away, it goes so quick, just a split second…Your reaction is ‘attacking’ the other one by saying something that isn’t thought through at all, and probably doesn’t even make that much sense…but you feel like you need to protest in some way and do this by protecting yourself. The outcome must be an attack, because your ego tells you that your are getting attacked and you need to fight back, you go into defensive mode.

I felt like this this 2 nights ago…Going to bed my husband mentioned in a very incidentally manner that his parents would like to take our family, especially the boys, to Disney World before they get too old and won’t be able to get around easily…

(For many of your probably a reason to celebrate! …Many people love Disney and if somebody even offers to pay a chunk of it, even better!)

But for me: the total breakdown! I have always been against going and my husband knows that I would rather get lost in a jungle than asked to stand in a line for a ride in a theme park that I imagine in plasticy pink….

Thoughts running through my head: I don’t like this idea. I don’t want to do. I don’t want my children to be exposed to this. Why can’t be do something different with your parents? You know that I hate the idea of Disney, so why are you even asking me? Wait a minute…you aren’t even asking, you are telling me that they will take them and that you just want to find a good weekend!? I am left out here, I am loosing control….

I reacted, I said something, that I don’t even remember now, but it must have been some attack, because my husband did not follow my lead. He only said that I could have a quiet weekend and he would take the boys, together with my in-laws… I repeated something about me not wanting my kids to go there either… But he did not step into the conversation that would have turned into some kind of fight, that wasn’t needed at all…I am very thankful for him taking the lead here and stopping me, in not further responding to my attack!

So than I was left ‘alone’. I was laying in his arms and was supposed to fall asleep, but inside of me was a war going on! My thoughts went crazy, but heart was pounding and I felt like I had to pull out of his embrace to make sure I somehow protected my freedom. Thoughts of betrayal came up…why didn’t he tell his parents that we are not going, because I hated the idea and why didn’t he have my back?

Every single scenario of how bed a visit to Disney could be came to my mind, the long lines, the tantrums that the boys would have if they just had to walk for 5 minutes…all the bad food, and just a big waste of money…I was trying to find reasons why I didn’t want our kids to experience Disney…

How did I get our of the circling thoughts of my ego?

It was a really bad night and I did not sleep much at all, but at some point my thought process changed…my ego was probably getting tired of firing in a circle where there was no way out…

I started trying to figure out what it really was, that I hate so much about Disney and WHY do I hate it so much? What is the real core problem behind it? The things on the surface are enough to make me stay at home and not join the trip, but clearly not good enough to reason that I would not let my boys experience something that their dad seems to see value in, of some kind.

I thought about what (if I joined them) could I do to feel gratitude while in the park? I was thinking of the people who work there and who are doing their best to make our time there special. They serve us. They serve the world with making Disney’s idea of a place where dreams come true a reality and enjoyable to the guests.

I realized that I really don’t have any clue what Disney World is about. I am making decisions on pretty much zero knowledge! I only heard these stories of long lines and I made up my own images in my head…so I wanted to do more research….

The first interesting fact I learned was that when I think about Disney I have the ‘Magic Kingdom’ in mind, which means rather ‘the’ castle…But there are other parks that might not be that ‘pink’ 🙂 and that might even be kind of interesting to visit, like Epcot or Animal Kingdom…

The one thing that stood out to be important most was that it’s my in-laws wish to share with their grandparents before they think they are too old to go. My father-in-law used to work for Disney and took his boys several times. He has taken his four grand-daughters multiple times and has never taken our boys. The girls were much younger when they went for the first time, so I have been ‘good’ in keeping this trip out of our families’ picture until now. But I do feel like I want to honor them and want to understand their wish to this trip more.

Generalizing the issue

Thinking about this whole topic, I feel like it just really all comes down to FEARS of loosing control. And isn’t exactly the ‘control’ thing, what I am trying to let go? What I am working on so hard for the past months? So, it got me again! I am ready to see my assignment that the universe is throwing my way!

My fears: So what would be the worst case scenario? Would it really harm my kids to experience Disney World? How can I change my thoughts to positive?

  • Long lines, exhausted kids, melt-downs over too much walking, bad fast-food, tantrums because we will not buy any plastic Mickey accessory there is…

We could pick a time of year that not many people will go to limit lines. We can make sure that we take enough breaks and have a family talk before about not buying knick knacks. I would take my own food with me (as I do so often), a bag of arugula and a couple of gluten free bagels with veggie spread will bring me through the day. And of course organic crackers and fruits for the boys. Maybe a stroller would be a good idea.

  • Boys going crazy for Disney TV shows afterwards, screen time going out of control at home…

Somehow I am proud to say that my kids have not watched a single Disney movie. They have watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse before, but not crazily often. I really like how they’ve had no interest in characters or super heroes or anything like this. I like that they are pretty innocent for their ages and make up their own ideas and fantasies. I could try to just see the park as a bunch of carnival rides which I liked when I was little. They will enjoy the rides, not because of specific characters, just because it’s fun to go on rides…

  • promoting a money making giant that sells tickets and cheap plastic stuff from China for horrendous prices. A waste of stuff and too much garbage, more than this planet can handle. I don’t see the value in going there and not doing anything else more sustainable and more natural.

This one is pretty hard for me to overcome, but I know that I am in total judgmental mode here… So, I did a bit of research to find out if Disney does anything sustainable and they do donate a lot of money to children in need which does of course open my heart a bit. “Disney is committed to strengthening communities by providing hope, happiness, and comfort to kids and families who need it most.”

I am just afraid of loosing control and starting to dream…

I thought about what I liked as a kid. I never liked any princesses, the Disney princesses weren’t that in 30 years ago, but I did like the Jungle Book. I still do 🙂 I really liked the idea of this little human who was raised in a wolf pack and had his friend Bagheera, the panther who took care of him and of course Baloo the bear, who is fun and creative 🙂 Being raised by and being siblings with snuggly cozy wolfs seemed cool. And then there was just this jungle which seems to be the image of freedom to me… and I think I could have been friends with animals better than with humans when I was a kid… And I did like rollercoasters, carrousels and rides like big swings…they didn’t make me dizzy when I was a child and I liked to be in the air…pretend to fly and be free…

The conclusion

So, at the end I surrender. I give up the control over this trip and go with the flow. I think we/I could survive a trip to Disney World to honor my husband’s parents wish to take us. I wouldn’t be a grudge. I would see the beauty in things that are handmade, although I prefer the natural. I would trust my children that they find their own way of dealing with this experience. I would be there for them to help any meltdowns or over stimulations… I totally leave it up to them if they like it, enjoy it, love it or hate it… I am looking forward to a trip with my family, because family time is the best time 🙂

I am so grateful

This is just an example of how we get stuck in our minds sometimes…and burden our relationships with our partner. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn how awareness is totally beneficial in these situations. Thank you, hubby for not engaging into this crazy dance of defense and attack!

It is super essential to slow it down in these situations that could go down the hill so fast…and try to observe what’s really going on from different angles. Being reactive is dangerous and can end in hurting someone we don’t want to hurt. Being mindful of where the reaction is coming from is so important. It took me a day to get out of this spiral, but the whole experience and going through this process was absolutely healing for me…There is always a much deeper cause at the core of the problem that needs to surface and needs attention to be understood.

So, thank you hubby for being patient with me and let me figure this out by myself. Thank you for interrupting the spiral to keep us in a safe place 🙂

With lots of gratitude and love,

aNNika

It’s getting radical

Since my last blog post amazing things have happened. As I described I had been following more of an unschooling theory to teach Noah at home…which means that Noah decides what he wants to learn and I honor this and we do our research together and see what interests him. We still sat down at his desk and I tried to make him write and do math every day beside the research of different kinds of animals.

I felt like we were doing many things they would do at a ‘real school’ too. Especially trying to make Noah read and write turned out to be rather exhausting. So I started to research more of what ‘unschooling’ really means and how this works for people in real life.

Very quickly books began falling out of the shelves, ready to be read. (As far as you can say this in an online Audiobook library 🙂 It seemed like this theory of really trusting your children that they will learn everything they need and want, in their own perfect timing, worked for many families and there was no evidence of children falling behind in life…when they were on their own feet. Really the opposite is the case. They get to be very independent and know themselves and find out the ways they learn best and are socialized well and really happy and well-rounded people.

But of course fears come up…will this really work out for us too? Is he ever going to learn how to read and write? What if he decides that this is not important to him…do I have to control him…just a tiny bit?

It says that kids are surrounded by written words and they will pick it up sooner or later all by themselves…I trust that he will…

But what does a day look like for a mother who is home with her unschooled children?

She would want to be there for the kids and whatever idea they have would be realized as best as possible…Everything would be about learning, teaching and ‘school’. I saw us sitting at the desk and me asking him what he wanted to learn and then trying to accomplish this….

During this phase I stopped sewing and the house got dirtier by the day because I was putting my whole self into this teaching job. I thought that I would have to put my small business to the side until I had figured out the whole schooling thing and that then magically it would all fall into place…but what I realized was: I got crabby, not creating/sewing…and I didn’t want to wait for something that might never happen…E.g. What if it took him 2 more years until he learned reading? I would still sit there reading aloud for him, instead of having my time to sew…for a long time….

I was doing everything I could to be his teacher, but what about ME? and MY needs?

And then the books really started falling off the shelves…and FB posts by some german bloggers hit me! I learned of the theory of ‘radical unschooling’.

This theory might sounds crazy to many of you, but it really started to grow and flourish inside of me. It took me a while to understand it and by no means do we practice it in our family yet. But deep in my heart I know that this is something that I love to make our family style/concept. It will take a while until everybody is used to it, but I can see that we can accomplish it.

Radical Unschooling, ‘Family Style of Trust and Hapiness’ (FSTH)

So here we go. ‘Radical Unschooling’ or I like to call it “Family Style of Trust and Happiness” takes it much further than only trusting your children in what they want to learn. You trust that your children know what’s good for them in all kinds of life situation. You are not their teacher. You become their facilitator. Whatever it is, you can offer your opinion, but they decide, it’s their choice. They can decide what they want to eat, when to eat and who to eat with. They can decide if they want to sit and learn about something or want to watch TV or go outside and play soccer….They can also decide on how much or how far they want to go in ‘learning something’. If they don’t want to finish something, it means that they need a break 0r they are done and don’t want to learn more…

You are there for them and you will help them if they ask for it, but always you put yourself on the same level as your children and respect their space and their decisions. You talk to them in a respectful and peaceful manner, the same way you would talk to an adult visitor at your home. All in all it means that you are real with them, honest, vulnerable and yourself…you are not somebody who knows everything, you are not smarter, you are on the same level.

Most important in this family concept is that all members of the family are on the same level and everybody’s needs get met. It says that children learn that everybody is important and they will establish a disire to make everybody happy. To accomplish this, we as a family need to make plans, so that logistically everybody’s wants and needs get met. E.g. we go to the library first when it closes soon and then to the park to play…but everybody knows that we will try to do all of it to make everybody happy.

I am very much aware that this is going to be a process…to role-model (not teach) gratitude, contentment, respect,…to my children, but I am very excited to go on this journey and I know that we, as a family, will succeed.

I just love this concept so much because it’s family based, so everybody is included and it’s our all responsibility and trust in each other, that will lead us to become the happiest we can be.

This also means to make time and effort and trust that my husband and me, as a couple, get our needs met and can establish a strong bond in being facilitators and role-models for our children…and remind each other of letting go of the old ways of ‘parenting’…

While I am still struggling with the concept of letting them decide when they want to go to bed, I think that will be easier when they get older and actually can go to bed by themselves… For now I am okay with our routine which means that we stay with our boys until they fall asleep and snuggle them…and this takes however long they need to fall asleep.

It’s a process…little by little…

In the day to day...I do catch myself telling them what they can and can’t do, but find this really interesting…to think about the motifs. Usually it’s something that would just be less messy, so easier for me not to clean up, or just things that ‘have’ to be done a certain way, because I always do them this way…but in reality they don’t. So often I now stop myself and tell them how I would do it and explain why, but state that it’s their choice to decide how they actually do it.

Of course I do not leave them on their own in dangerous situations! I am always there or they know where to find me, if they need any kind of help. And I like to help them and do so with a fun and happy attitude.

After making this shift in perspective we have not sat at Noah’s desk once in the past two weeks…Our life and learning doesn’t happen at a desk. It happens in real life situations. Here just a couple of examples:

Noah loves sports. He goes to soccer practice and plays basketball outside in every kind of weather…last week he shoveled snow, so that he had a free line for 2 pointers and one for 3 pointers ;-). My kids also really wanted to learn how to ice-skate this winter, so we try to go to the ice-rink. Noah also has been swimming for almost 2 years without any floating devices. In the winter it’s a bit hard to get to the pool while everybody is healthy enough, but in the summer he will be practicing daily, I am sure. Last year he was so motivated and fascinated during the summer olympics, that he taught himself different swim styles. He has been riding his bike without training wheels since he is 4 and just really much likes to move…We have decided to keep our sunroom mostly free, so that they can tumble and play football and move freely as much as they want…

We like to go to the Home Depot free kids workshops once a month. The boys really like to hammer and glue and paint their projects. Noah has been to 25 workshops and Niki to 10, I think. The other picture above shows Noah playing with the water at the children’s museum. He had such a blast to figure out how to get the water squirting that high and then also juggling a little ball on it…He was soaking wet afterwards, but didn’t complain a bit.

My kids really love to cook! They e.g. made turkish meat balls, falafel and rolled up lasagna the past weeks…and the other day they created their own crêpes recipe! There are the ingredients in the picture above and if you want to make it too, here are the measurements:

2 cups of water

1/3 cups of liquid coconut oil

1 egg

2.5 cups of spelt flour

pinch of salt

1 tea spoon of vanilla

2 tea spoons of cinnamon

We make a lot of batter at once, so that they can make and eat crêpes a couple of times a day/week, if they want…I eat them too with lettuce, tomato, cheese and ham…They prefer Nutella and Banana…or jam.

A couple of weeks ago me husband drew us the blueprint of a new office building, so Noah started drawing his own blue print of a house with ‘gold rooms’. He drew exactly where the doors would be and where the gold would be put…very fascinating! He is very much into snakes right now and the coral snake is his favorite, so he started to paint it…never finished, but that’s ok. It’s his decision!

I really love what he did here… We went to the book store for storytime last Monday and on the way out, the boys saw a Love Monster stuffed animal and wanted to buy it. It was $20 and I just said that they could make one themselves at home if they wanted to…so we went to the coffee store and then back home about 2 hours later. Just back, Noah hadn’t forgotten about the monster. He wanted to sew his Love Monster right away, so I suggested that he would draw it the way he wanted it to look and he did. He then made a big sewing pattern and cut out the fabric. It was the first time that he would use a sewing machine, so I showed him how to use it and he was a bid afraid. The eyes and mouth applications were a bit tricky, so he watched me sitting on my lap, while I sewed these on. We then did the rest together, he stuffed it and I then hand-stitched the little hole shut. He snuggled his monster right away and loved it.

Later that day I was cooking dinner, he started sewing fabric scraps together all by himself. He made himself and Niki some ‘hats’, more like bands, but still very creative. The day after, he sewed a bag for my essential oils out of scraps, even with two ribbons, so that I can tie it closed. He then wanted to sew a bib or loop for his nephew, but because he didn’t know his head circumference, he sewed himself a loop that he now wears almost daily as his neck warmer 🙂

But back to the Love Monster. I asked him today why he wanted to sew it and why he likes his Monster so much. (He has been snuggling his monster every night since he made it.) He said that when he made it, he put so much love into it, that now at night, he can feel how his Love Monster loves him back and this is a nice feeling. And he is very proud of himself that he made his own monster.

We decided 2 days ago that we wanted to offer a workshop for kids and their parents to make their own Love Monster. Why?

Noah: ‘Because I want others to have the same nice feeling when they snuggle up with their Love Monster at night, just like me!’

So, if you are interested to come over with your 5-year old or older on Sunday (2/12/17), please sign up following this link or the ‘workshops’ link above. We would love to see you!

https://squareup.com/store/noni-made-with-love

With much love and gratitude,

aNNika