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Sunday, November 22, 2015

turning 4

Katia's real birthday is Nov. 28th, but with me being so pregnant (36 weeks!), and Winslow scheduled to work on the 28th, we figured it was best to do it all on a day , where we could all be together. We may have celebrated a week early and convinced her that it was her real birthday. We had our reasons, and it worked out just fine.
Katia's birthday involved breakfast in bed, phone calls, gifts and cards from her family far away, a mermaid themed birthday party, skating lessons and dinner at one of her favourite restaurants. Our girl is now 4 (well kind of), and of course, this Mama is sentimental about it. 
Katia is my very special girl, who has taught me many lessons about life and being a parent. Patience is a virtue with this girl, but her sweet hugs, her never ending, "Mama, I love yous", her cuddles, her singing, makes anything worthwhile. She keeps us on our toes, and constantly amazes us with her creativity and desire to express herself. She's sweet and spicy, and so full of personality. Katia is clearly an artsy, creative girl who paints, draws and makes things all day long (from sun up to sun down), so we made sure to have some special crafts at her birthday party.

Mermaid Party details:

~ decorations: were a combination of things we had (our old wedding table runners), little battery opperated lights, bottles of seashells, one large mix bag of shells from Walmart (for the Mermaid wands and cupcake toppers, as well as scattered around). I purchased green and turquoise streamers as well as clear balloons for the "bubbles".
~ treats: fruit skewers. dipped marshmallows, and sea inspired cupcakes (at the party girl's request).
~ savouries: croissants with ham and cheese (mayo and mustard on side), veggies and bread and dip (with an crab sticking out of the dip), chips and goldfish crackers. The party was in the afternoon, so we kept the menu to a simple snack menu.
~ drinks: juice boxes, lots of coffee for the adults, and water.
~ crafts: decorate your own treasure box and decorate a mermaid wand. This was the highlight of the party. Katia LOVES crafts, so I wanted something that would hold their interest for a while. The kids got to take home their crafts.
~ game: the "fishing pond" (tack up a sheet in the doorway, have the children line up and take a turn reeling for a "fish". Each kid gets a prize (goldfish crackers). This one is an old favourite in our family, and the kids love it.
~game: pass the parcel. We like to have a prize in the middle that everyone gets to have (so you don't just have one winner, which causes lots of upset feelings). The prize was "mermaid hair" (colourful hair extensions from the dollarstore) and light rights for the boys.

Happy birthday sweet girl. We love you and are so proud of the little girl that you are. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

are we ready?

Here it goes. Finally, a post where I open the flood gates about this pregnancy, my hopes, my fears, my complaints, because really I haven't said much about it. 
The truth is, is that mostly I've been coasting along. It's been an easy pregnancy (thank God), and I've been busy being a mom to two, so I don't get much time to sit and contemplate much. 
What I do know is that, ready or not, this babe will soon make it's appearance, and while I don't have everything exactly ready like I did with Noah and Katia, my heart is ready, and we are excited to meet her or him. 
Lately I have been feeling super emotional and more to the point, sensitive. Certain comments hit me harder than usual, and it's harder to let things slide off my back. I won't go into great detail, but when people make comments about how helpful their own mothers are to them, it gets to me and I have to hold back my envy. Same goes for any ignorant comments about the refugee crisis, don't get me started. I laid into someone the other night, and had no regrets about it. Case in point? Careful what you say to this pregnant woman. I will do my best to remain rational .... but I can't make any promises. 
Physically, things have finally caught up to me and I am feeling huge. Finding a position to sleep in? No easy feat. I get Charlie Horse cramps at night, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the day. I feel crazy pressure (down there) when I walk around. Oh and did I mention that I feel huge? I'm kinda done with the physical side of being pregnant, and am starting to get those fears, such as, what if this baby is huge? And will I have the energy to labour and birth the baby... I'm so tired, all the time! 
About a week or so ago, I had my Dad come to our rescue and agree to come down before I go into labour to be here with the kids. What a relief this was to me. It lifted my worries and made me feel such ease. I am thankful that he will be able to be here, and that the kids won't have to go to someone's house they barely know.
And so here we are. Just a few weeks away until our due date, and we don't have a car seat, don't have a coming home outfit for the baby, don't have a crib or bassinet set up and don't have a hospital bag packed. We're doing well right? 

Noah took this of Winslow and I. At least the baby has a photo with Mama and Dada together while expecting. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

today I am slowing down

I needed to clear my mind.
Overloaded and overwhelmed, my mind was anxious and scattered.
A break. A break from the constant conversations, the debates, the updated streams of information. The sad news, the opinions, the images.
Today I am slowing down.
I am preparing my mind and heart for a quiet season of reflection. I am embracing the safety and comfort of my family and home. I am looking for small ways to find joy, so that I may share joy with my loved ones.

Written snapshots ::

~ A decluttered and clean kitchen can make my heads space oh so much better. A lit candle helps the senses.

~ Storytime. Possibly my most favourite time of day. The three of us in bed, sometimes four if you count Ryder, and we cozy up with a story. Right now it is George's Marvelous Medicine. So silly and full of imagination.

~ A family walk through the neighbourhood. A steady pace with the dog at our sides. Talking about this and that. Looking at other's homes. A feeling of connectedness and finally, familiarity.

~ Finding happiness and joy in the first snowfall. It didn't stick of course, but Katia had to get her coat and mitts and head outside. It made me feel cozy. It reminded me of the North and our sloww and quiet days.

~ A boy, who is six, and is dealing with new challenges everyday. A walk together hand in hand. A cuddle together, after dinner, on the couch, where he shares his struggles with me. He is growing. He's learning. He's tired. It's hard. I am  so proud of him. Life is hard and it won't get easier. He'll have obstacles to overcome, I just hope he'll always want to come to me and talk.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

peace be with you

I need to slow it down. I take deep breaths.
My emotions are running high. I lose my temper too quickly and regret my words right after. I am overwhelmed by the news. The weight of the world is coming down on me and I don't know how to process it.
Pain, suffering, hate, ignorance. It builds up and I can't take it anymore. Shut off the social media. Shut off the view points and the voices. Shut off the generalizations, the images, the stories. Because it is too much for us all. It doesn't help.
I sit here in my quiet cozy house. My dog has more luxuries than most people in this world. I find joy in my children, as they play with things that most children in the world will never know.
We don't experience hunger in our home. We have cozy beds to rest our heads. We safely go about our lives, while other take shelter from bombs, environmental disasters, terrorists and God knows what else.
What can we do? Changing a Facebook profile to the French flag seems hardly relevant or appropriate. It's trivial and doesn't take into account all the other nations that experience terror on a daily basis.
I need to slow it down, take deep breaths, as anger and stress and feelings of being small and helpless take over.
I light a candle. I say quiet prayers. Peace, peace, peace.
I take stock of my blessings. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.
We make small decisions together. Actions, no matter how small, are better than nothing. My love and I, will donate this Christmas instead of gifts for one another. We will fill a shoe box together as a family, and send it off to Samaritan's Purse. We will practice random acts of kindness, this season... and more often. We will buy less, and spend more time together. We will not live in fear.

Peace be with you.

Monday, November 9, 2015

november and beyond!

The last few weeks have brought much excitement and busyness to our lives. 
Halloween, oh Halloween, how I love you and hate you all at once. Making costumes, getting kids to their respective Halloween celebrations (preschool, Beavers),dealing with the aftermath of too much candy, and the excitement. Let's just say, it is not my most favourite holiday, yet I love to feel the excitement that the kids have for it. I love to see what limits they have for scary things (we keep things pretty tame and more on the sweet and magical side). I love to watch them venture out into the night, fully aware that this is a special ritual of going up to neighbours houses and getting treats. All in all, I do enjoy parts of it ... but I am happy to see that it is over. 
We had my mom come over for a week to visit us and it was nice to be able to share our lives with her for a bit. I enjoyed showing her around our new town and taking her to the bay of Fundy. We also had some fun meals out and a coffee date/Starbucks date. I know that it was special for her, which was what I was hoping for. 
We are now full force into November and all the fun that comes with it. Katia's birthday is just a few weeks away, and I am busy planning the party for it. I am trying to keep it on the small side, but as always, things start to trickle along and get bigger than expected. Noah wanted to have a friend come to the party, which then meant adding more children to the mix ... but at the end of the day, I want the kids to be happy and to have a special time. 
This year Katia wants a mermaid party and I am excited about the possibilities that this theme will bring. We have plans to do some fun crafts and maybe a few games. I'm looking forward to see how it all turns out, and mostly, to celebrate our artsy, creative, sweet little girl, who will be turning 4! 
In other news, I am plugging away at getting ready for the holidays. I've been making my lists and am happy to be ticking items off those lists. Christmas cards, shopping (online shopping is amazing when you are 34 weeks pregnant), our Christmas book Advent, freezer meals, baking .... I'm getting along and am happy that I won't be stressing out about it in a month's time. 
The days lately seem to be moving along so quickly. It feels like just yesterday we were starting the school year and getting ourselves situated here, and now we are well into November, with the holidays are just around the corner. Just the other day, Winslow and I had a hospital tour of the labour and delivery ward, it's  hard to believe that soon we will welcome a new family member into our lives. And while life seems to be moving at warp speed, I also am trying to be in the moment in my day to day life. I'm trying to be present when doing the everyday things, like cooking a nice meal. I try to slow it down, by lighting candles at dinner, or setting up a nice bath for myself. I know that by being more present in my daily actions, I will find more joy and happiness in my life. Hopefully I will find more patience too. 

ps. iphone pics, not as great quality.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

a long lazy weekend

Over the long weekend (Noah had a PD Day), we were treated to such a mix of wonderful things. 
On Friday, we all went out for lunch together as a family (Katia's choice, Boston Pizza), because Noah had the day off from school. In the afternoon, we attended a candle making workshop  at Applewicks in Wolfville, a L'Arche workshop/community for adults with disabilities. The kids and I got to make candles and it was educational as well as a ton of fun. 
On Saturday, I took the kids in the morning to a quick little craft workshop at Michael's. It was nice, because I was able to do some shopping for Katia's birthday, while the kids were occupied with a Halloween craft. 
The afternoon and evening were set aside for a visit with some old and dear art school friends of mine, who I've been wanting to see for a long time. I contacted them a while ago to set up a date to take photos and have a dinner together, and it was such a lovely time. 
The kids played in the leaves and I captured some family photos for both sets of families. After our photos, they all came back to  our house for dinner and drinks. It felt really nice to be able to host friends here in our home, and to have it full of laughter and familiarity. It made our house feel like a home. 
On Sunday, we took the morning easy and stayed in our jammies. It was a much needed morning of rest, but by afternoon, I wanted to go somewhere (Winslow had the day off), so we set off for Peggy's Cove. Not quite as close as I had remembered, it was still a beautiful spot to go visit. The skies were  moody grey and blue tones (my favourite), and we captured some pictures of our visit there. 
We found a nice little cafe to warm up in, and sipped chai lattes and hot chocolate. 
The weekend was full of small beautiful moments, that in whole, made for a beautiful few days. 
It was hard come Monday morning for us all to get going. It was one of those mornings, where you could feel the real let down of having had three days of being relaxed and carefree.
This week we move onto Halloween festivities. I am happy for this holiday to come (now!), so that we can move on to more exciting (in my mind) occasions, such as Katia's 4th mermaid party! 
November and December are fast approaching. I am trying to get myself organized and ready for the rush of it all, by making my lists and ticking off items as I go. 
And while I am ready for Halloween to come and go, I am a wee bit sad to say goodbye to this absolutely beautiful October that we have had. This afternoon, I think we will go for a walk in the woods to admire the beautiful leaves. 
Happy end of October! 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

hope, a walk and written snapshots

It's 2 days post election time, and I am still riding on a political high. I used to wonder if I was in the minority when it comes to passion about politics. I'm vocal (too vocal for some) about where my political values lie, and I am not afraid to approach a debate about certain topics. But on Monday Oct 19th, Canada blew me away with our election results. I think I am still in shock (in a good way), because after 10 years of crappy voter turn out and sad results, we saw an overwhelming demand for change from the citizens of this country that I love so so much. It was awesome!
Yes, my party won the election, so of course I am happy. I would've been happy with any of the more Center to Left (Green, NDP, Liberal) parties winning, but I am a Liberal at heart and truly do believe and have faith in our new Prime Minister, Justin Pierre Trudeau. His passion for our country, his stance on equality for all Canadians, his ability to reach out and listen, I believe he is genuine and here to help our country.
So with that, I've been walking around on a bit of a high (no pun intended, yes, he plans to legalize marijuana). I have a spring in my step, and a renewed sense of hope for our country. Hope that we will once again embrace diversity of cultures, and not divide Canadians as "us and them". Hope that our government will move towards renewable and inventive ways to produce energy. Hope that arts and culture will once again be valued. Let's see where this government takes us. I'm counting on them to keep those promises.


Out on a walk this morning with Ryder (both kids were at school), I happened upon a most beautiful spot that I had never seen before. I wondered if it was private property, as it looked well maintained. There, I found beautiful tall maples, a pond, little foot bridges. It was such a pretty spot, so I captured a few snaps on my phone.


Written snapshots (taking a "snapshot" in my mind, purposely not picking up a camera).

~ rolling over, very early in the morning, to feel the cozy, warm and soft body of Katia next to me. Her jammies, so soft. Her little hands grasping for me. A moment of stillness (when in the day, she is anything but still).

~ Me, down in the kitchen,  early in the evening, when the kids are tucked in bed, making mini chocolate zucchini muffins for lunchboxes. Stirring, mixing, blending ingredients. Muffins made with love for my family.

~ Changing the sheets on my bed, to soft, brand new, flannel sheets. Perfect for chilly nights. Perfect for cozying up, while we read bed time stories. Inviting me to rest and find refuge.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

on slowing down, planning ahead, pregnancy and baby!

The house is quiet, it is raining outside, the kids are fast asleep and Winslow is at work. 

I am listening to music, planning ahead to the next couple of months, editing photos and putting my feet up. It is moments like these, where I feel so at ease, for as much as I am a social girl, I do love my quiet evenings to myself. 
We just returned from a lovely, albeit, whirlwind trip to Ottawa for Thanksgiving. The drive there and back is long, and on the way home, it seemed ever so long. We pulled into our drive at 1 am and collapsed in bed, weary and bleary eyed, totally exhausted. 
The next morning was full speed ahead. School for Noah, a field trip for Katia and a prenatal appointment for me. I'm not sure how we all did it, but it was an early bedtime for all that night, 
And now, after another busy day of Scout volunteering, a birthday party that Noah attended and a photo session for me, I am enjoying the peace and quiet of being home. I am declaring that tomorrow morning we do not have to go anywhere or do anything. I am craving an at home morning of jammies, baking and movies. We need a chance to slow down and be at home. 


I've been catching myself, multiple times a day, thinking ahead to the next few months. I am excited for Halloween (mostly for the kids), but truthfully, my thoughts are skipping ahead to the months of November and December. For me, those two months bring so much joy and magic to our family, and because we'll be having a little babe join us at some point in there, I want to get a head start on my plans for the holidays. 
In November we have some things to look forward to. A visit with my mom (I will be bringing her over) and Katia's 4th birthday (a Mermaid birthday). In December, we have our favourite traditions, such as Advent, the Nutcracker, cutting down a tree and more. In between all that, I want to get our Christmas cards done, make a few gifts, bake treats, get my shopping done and sent in the mail ... oh my! And a baby fits in there somewhere. 


I feel bad for not recording much about my pregnancy with this little one. I think for the first few months, our life was full of so many changes, that my mind was focused on getting us all through our move. When we found out that I was pregnant, we were right in the middle of selling our house in Whitehorse, getting the final word of our transfer, doing a house hunting trip to the East Coast and more. It was easier for me to place my focus on those things, than the pregnancy. It also helped that for the most part, I felt pretty well. 

But now, we are at 30+ weeks and there is no denying that I am very pregnant. My thoughts constantly go to our babe. Who is in there? What will they look like? When will he or she make it's appearance? 

We decided that we would not find out the gender for this baby and I so excited for our big surprise on delivery day! With Noah an Katia, we found out who they were, and that was really special too. I remember planning for them and calling them by name, when they were in me. It was a special way of connecting with them and I wouldn't have had it any other way. But this time, we wanted to experience the surprise of finding out on the big day. I have my feelings that it is a girl, but you never know. 

While we don't have too much to do to get ready for the baby, I do have a few things that I would like to do before he/she comes. A few things I want to do:

~ I need to fill out the baby book that I bought (in Whitehorse!) for the babe. 
~ buy a car seat and find a stroller. 
~ dig out all our gender neutral newborn outfits and find a way to organize them (baby will be sharing a space with Katia .. who doesn't sleep in her room anyways.... yes, it's complicated).
~ find a coming home outfit. I think I want to splurge and get something from here.
~ do some major freezer meal making. So far on my list is: chicken curry, squash lasagna, soups (coconut carrot), meat sauce for spaghetti, and some baking. I hope I can get much of this done in November. 
~ pack a hospital bag. 

And a few details of where we are now in the pregnancy. 

Baby is kicking up a storm (as I type this out). We went to our prenatal appointment this week and heard a loud and strong heart beat, it was of course, a beautiful sound! My sleeping is getting more and more uncomfortable. I find it hard to get into a position that works for us (the baby and I) and just last night, I got up 3 times to go pee! And I swear I didn't drink all that much in the evening. 
I've gained more weight than I care to announce, and really should be more conscious of how much and what I eat ... but sometimes, all I want is treats! I'm trying hard to remind myself that healthy eating is better for both baby and I, so having snacks like cut up veggies, is something I try to do more often.
But you know what? As much as I may seem a little more blaise about this time around, I am really truly relishing these days of pregnancy. No, I don't feel or look amazing, but I am honoured and blessed to be where I am right now. I am experiencing life's truest and most amazing miracle, and I want to remember that.
Chances are very good, that this will be our last addition to the family. So I think it is important to slow down and savour some of this time. Babe will be here, before we know it!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015


You know a visit "home" has been good, when you have little photos to show for it.
Yes, I do love to bring my camera along to special visits, but sometimes even more,  I love to set it down and just take in the moments as they happen.
This Thanksgiving visit has been a special one, as in the back of my mind, I know we won't be coming back for quite a while. I am now 30 weeks pregnant and it is starting to hit home to me that baby will be coming along in about 10 weeks. Our due date is Dec 21st, and so this year, Christmas will be celebrated in our new home, in our new province, and hopefully with a new babe in our arms. So with all this in the back of my mind, I wanted to make sure that we would have a nice visit with our family and friends, and to enjoy my second favourite holiday (Christmas is first).
Thanksgiving memories in Ottawa included: coffee dates with girlfriends, walks in the woods with Amy, Henri and Ellie, trips to the park with cousins, two delicious turkey dinners, a beautiful walk at Mer Bleu Bog (forgot my camera of course!), seeing friends and their babies, a beautiful pumpkin lit evening walk through Upper Canada Village (with Amy and family), shopping at favourite stores, a dinner at the Nimans ... basically, lots of good quality time packed into 5 short days. And while this has all been lovely and special and memorable, this 30 week pregnant mama is ready to slow things down a bit, carve out time to rest and get ready for the babe.
Happy Thanksgiving dear friends! A time where we all collectively stop to give thanks for the blessings that we have. A time, where in our busy lives, we stop and take count of the relationships and joys that matter most to us. Could there be a more unifying, loving and peaceful  holiday out there?