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Wednesday, May 20, 2020

life goes on

Today the sun is shining, we've been out for a bike ride, we had a social distanced visit with Jess and kids. This is our new normal. School will not return this year, and we will continue to homeschool for a few more weeks, then summer will begin!

Right now, I am feeling good and at peace with life. While COVID 19 has brought much uncertainty to people's lives, I must say, that it has blessed us with the gift of family time - something that had been taken away from us due to our busy work/activity schedules. Life has slowed down. There are more walks, slower family meals, campfires and backyard play. It's slow and I am not complaining.
A few weeks ago, tragedy struck here in our adopted home province of Nova Scotia. To spare the gory details, I will just say that it was a tragic loss of innocent lives. It was completely shocking and unfathomable. 22 lives and an unborn baby were senslessly taken. Children lost their parents infront of them, grandparents taken, an RCMP, a teacher, nurses.... community people. And it make the whole thing more unbareable, families and friends weren't allowed to grieve together. The isolation made it that much worse.
On a personal note, it was a hard time for us as an RCMP family. Winslow had been called to scene, when the shooter was still active- which in itself was a very sobering moment for us. Thankfully, he didn't attned the actual scene- as when he was on his way, it was called off.  And then in the aftermath of the tragedy, he was called out to the scenes to investigate. It was a hard time. I was so heartbroken for those that lost a loved one, and I was feeling very isolated from the suport that I usually rely on (due to COVID, friends could come by to spend time with us). I'll be honest, this sent me into a dark place for a few weeks. Anxiety and depression came creeping in, and although it wasn't completely debilatating, it did make for a rough few weeks.
Thankfully, things slowly started to turn around. The days warmed up, and the garden beckoned me to come outside. The trails reopened, and walks in the forest were once again permitted. The beaches reopened as well, and social distanced visits are now ok. This week I had a socially distanced coffee date on my back porch with friends and it felt so good.
And so here we are. 2.5 months into this new life of COVID 19, where social restrictions will be our new normal, and the way we do normal daily tasks will forever be changed. Playgrounds are still closed, as are libraries and restaurants. It will be interesting to see how things move forward, but for now, we are trying to enjoy our days and the gift of family time. Our relationships have been strengthened, and that is one thing that I will never take for granted.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

these days

It has snowed twice. We've also had days of warmth, sun and heat. I've been home, so have the kids- except for one grocery shop that went horribly wrong (for me) last week. Picture me, with a small grocery cart, trying to do a large shop. Stuff piled high and falling onto the dirty floor. Me, hot and panicky - forgetting things, heart beating. It wasn't nice. I am therefore only going to send Winslow from now on. He's much better at handling things like this.
Our days have found a rhythm to them. It kinda goes like this. Wake up, coffee and chores. Breakfast, home learning (in our pyjamas - we are true homeschoolers now). Then free time (art, baking, games, play). Lunch, outside, Facetime with friends and family, exercise, T.V. / social media / movies.
Lately I've been getting the kids (one kid at a time), to help me make supper. This only seems to work because Winslow is home from work, and gives attention to Wesley. Noah has made a cake, cinnamon rolls. Katia made spaghetti and caesar salad, roasted garlic chicken and rice. It's been nice to be able to teach these skills to the kids. The gift of this time has been that we can do these things.
We have also been enjoying family suppers together. Usually Winslow isn't home for supper, and now that his schedule has been adjusted (due to COVID), we have had this time together. Very nice :)
What else have we been doing? Walks, lots of yard work (when it's not snowing), decorating our front lawn, puzzles, board games and just lot's of down time.
As for me, I've been finding myself quite tired these days. By 2pm, I really seem to want a nap. Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't nap in the day. I can't shut my mind off. But lately I have been. Naps or just closing my eyes. Two days ago, I sat out on a lawn chair in my backyard and closed my eyes for 10 mins while I listened to all the chattering of the birds. It's lovely.
Other thoughts, if you've followed this blog back from the start, or at least for the last 6 years, you will know that we lived in a very remote community for 2 years in the Yukon. This community had a population of 80, and it was a 2 hrs drive to the closest grocery store, that was in Alaska. Talk about remote. I won't lie. Those years were hard for me. Aside from one set of amazing neighbours (Chrissie and James -who we are still friends with), I suffered from a lack of social support while there. I also battled depression. It was tough. While it was tough, I also learned some important lessons during those years. Things like how to "make do" or how to plan ahead (for groceries, upcoming holidays ect), how to be creative and adaptable. How a walk can count as your daily outing. How calling a friend can be a lifesaver when you are feeling lonely. Many lessons were learned while there.
I continue to think of and feel so much gratitude for our frontline health workers and essential workers. These people are working and sacrificing their health (and their family's health), so that we may have ours. Let's honour and thank them by staying home, and socially distancing.
With love.

Monday, March 30, 2020

when the world shut down

It's March 30, 2020 and we are curently in the midst of a world epidemic, and have been ordered to stay home. Life has changed drastically for the entire world, in just a few short weeks. What started as an isolated virus in China, has spread across the world, and has done unimaginable damage in China, Italy and the US. Here in Canada, the virus continues to spread, and we see the numbers climb everyday. 
For the majority of people, they will recover at home, with symptoms that resemble a cough/cold and pneumonia. For the older folks and immune compromised, however, those people can die and be hospitalized. It's scary how fast this virus has spread.
Businesses have closed. People have been ordered to work from home. Schools are closed, and aren't set to open for at least another month- if that. People have been ordered not to socialize. If you do have to socialize, you are to keep a 6 ft distance from each other, for fear of the virus spreading.
It's hard to believe that life has changed so much. Just 3 weeks ago, we were making plans for March Break, people were planning their trips down South, we were making plans to have neighbours come over for supper. Now we can't have play dates or coffee dates, church is cancelled and only essential stores stay open. All the municipal, provincial and national parks/beaches/trails are closed to the public.
So here we are, 2 weeks into self isolation. We have started a loose form of homeschooling/routine and are spending LOTS of family time together. Somedays are harder than others. It feels overwhelming to think that this could go on for a few more months. School may not reopen this year, and when I start to think that way, it becomes overwhelming. So we are just taking it day by day. Lot's of art and baking. Lot's of walks and board games. Lot's of movies and FaceTime. We do our best to look for the silver linings of these days, and try to remind ourselves that we are fortunate to be safe and warm, and together.
What a time to be living. It's felt unreal at times, where days flow into the next. Where each day feels like groundhog day.
There's not much more to say, other than we are doing what we can to be safe and healthy, and that we hope this will all be a distant memory someday in the not so distant future.
Be well dear friends. Be safe.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

everyday magic

A New Year is upon us, and it presents us with an opportunity to look back on the past 365 days that we just had. Perhaps the last year brought you hardships and difficult waters to navigate, perhaps it brought adventure and joy. Perhaps it was a mix of everything, highs and lows, ups and downs, good days and bad.
For me, when I take a moment to look back on the last year, I am reminded that while we didn't do a great many BIG things, it was the little everyday things that made our year oh so full and magical.
While we didn't get to go on any big trips as a family,  we adventured instead in our own beautiful neck of the woods- camping, hiking, swimming and eating local.
While we didn't win the jackpot or make a big promotion at work,  we found happiness, fulfilment and gratitude for what have. And boy do we have a lot.
While my husband and I didn't get to go away together, as we have been dreaming about for years, we found ways to make the most of our time together. Little pockets of time in the day, when the kids are at school, or the occasional date night - time we carve out for each other. After all the years, we still love each other and want to be with one another. What's better than that?
And so, here I am to say that life doesn't have to be full of expensive trips or fancy things to make you happy. There is magic in the everyday, and in celebration of that, I am going to list the most magical things that happened to me in the last year.

~ we kayaked on the open ocean. Felt the sea salt water splash in our faces. Bobbed along the water with the seals just feet away from us.
~ I finally hiked the Cape Split trail. Something that had been on my bucket list for years. The view at the end was spectacular.
~ I found sea stars and beach glass with Katia in the city harbour. Treasures, just waiting to be discovered.
~ I poured out my heart to a room full of photography enthusiasts. It was terrifying and liberating all at once.
~ We went camping for four nights in Cape Breton as a family. We saw beautiful coastal scapes, ate campfire spaghetti, had many smores, slept terribly but cuddled together in a tent.
~ I decided to let me hair go grey. No more hiding who I am. No more apologizing for who I am.
~ We rented a cottage in PEI and found it to be the most magical spot. Seals banked on the sandbars, starfish and hermit crabs in the warm waters. Owls swooping overhead at dusk. Coffee on the beach each morning. Heaven.
~ I celebrated 1 year of being sober. I chose to look at my feelings and problems head on. I chose to heal myself, and take care of myself.
~ We planted a little garden box in our backyard and in exchange had many green and yellow beans to munch on. The lettuce didn't do so great, neither did the peppers- but you can always count on the beans- and they taste so great fresh from the vine.
~ Spontaneously, we hired a babysitter, and my husband and I jumped on his motorcycle, like we used to do 14 years ago and went out for Thai food.
~ I held a workshop for creative women to come together and make art, discuss home life, make floral arrangements and talk about photography.
~ We had campfires on the beach with our Ottawa friends. As we watched the sun set, we made sure to give it a big applause. I still remember the sparks flying in the wind and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore.

Happy New Year dear friends. This year, I'm choosing to nurture and cultivate a grateful heart. What magical everyday moments happened to this past year?