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Saturday, December 29, 2018

christmas magic

We spent a lovely Christmas in Ottawa, surrounded by family and friends. It was busy and loud and we ate a lot. We enjoyed parties and food and visits. As per usual, we packed a lot into our 6 days in Ottawa, and here are some of the highlights. 

full circle

I feel like I have spent the better half of my adult years, searching for a sense of belonging. Part of it is that we are and RCMP family, and for the last 12 years we have been transient, but there is more to it than that, and I’ve been digging away at it for quite some time.
This past year, when we came to our 3 year Nova Scotia anniversary, my better half began to get that all too familiar RCMP transfer itch. Things were becoming a little too comfy and familiar for him. He wanted that shake up, that each past transfer gave him. I on the other hand, had no interest in moving again.
Finally, things were going really well for me personally. Professionally, socially, mentally. I was in a good place. An amazing place. I didn’t want to give it up again.
We had many  late night conversations. I had many  panic attacks. I cried. We fought. We discussed. It was an uncertain time, one that was met with a lot of worry and anxiety (on my part).
After a few weeks of going back and forth, we came to a middle ground, and decided that a protentional move to Ottawa could be the solution. We began to look seriously into it. We looked at work options and housing options. We made the mistake of sharing this with the kids and our family. It felt like it could be right, but it also felt like we were giving up so much.
Perhaps it’s with age. Perhaps we have found the perfect place for us. But when we were going through these difficult few months, all that kept coming back to me was how great we have it where we are. Our town, the community there, our neighbours, my friends that I have carefully made. The photography clientele I have built, the possibilities of continuing with teaching, the options for Winslow. The landscape, the ocean, the camping, the forests. It’s what I have been searching for and wanting for so long, and now we are certain that it is where we want to be.
But beyond the fact that I love Nova Scotia so much, I feel like I have come to a place in my life that I have been looking for, for such a long time. I am at such a peaceful place in my life and I'm not willing to give that up. Yes, we are giving up the dream of living close to family- which is a big pill to swallow, but for the first time in my adult years, I don't feel like I am missing a piece of myself. I used to search for something that was missing... something that stemmed from not having a strong/healthy/consistent relationship with my parents and not having a "family home" to ever return to. I was always missing, grieving, searching for a substitute to that - but I no longer feel that void. 
So here we are. We've come full circle, to decide that this is where we are going to plant our roots. It feels good, so good. And I'm happy. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Katia's Harry Potter Birthday Party

Phew! I feel like I am JUST catching my breath, after this very involved and detailed party that we had for our girl. Katia decided a few weeks ago, after attending the annual Berwick Library Harry Potter party, that she would like her birthday party to be a H.P. Party as well. So right away I got to work!
To begin with, each child walked through our platform 9 3/4 brick wall, to enter into Harry's Land. In the living room, I had created the illusion of letters coming out of the fire place. I used some old stationary I had lying around and fishing line.
Upon entering the living room, each child was sorted into their houses. We had a sorting hat, and our Harry (Noah) reached into a basket to award each child their house patch (Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, Slitherin).
We then went into the Great Hall (with floating candles- thanks IKEA), to make our wands. We used wooden chopsticks and twisted hot glue around them to look spindly. The kids painted them. We put the wands aside to dry and moved onto our potions class (crushed bones, unicorn tears and lizard snot - baking soda, vinegar and green dish soap). They also decorated a paper bag, that would later be used for a scavenger hunt . All the kids enjoyed these simple activities.
After this, we took a break for butterbeer (yum!), snacks and cake!
 After the cake was our scavenger hunt. I had hidden 5 owls around the house that had scrolls at their feet (just used stuffies and some of my owl decorations). Each scroll had a visual clue to the next owl. The final owl led them to Honey Dukes, the candy shop! I had emptied our board game cupboard and put white lights inside. Each kid was allowed to fill a bag at the candy shop.

And that was the party! I gave the short abbreviated version here, but as you can see, it was a lot of work! As my friend Leanne said, "you can't half ass a Harry Potter party".
In the end, I'm glad I agreed to do this party. Over the years, I have learned to tone down my parties (I used to go crazy for every party and stress myself out while doing it), but for this one, I reverted to my old ways and went all out. I feel sentimental towards parties that involve children's books. I know that this time is fleeting and we wont have these years for much longer.

a magazine cover, Fall and family first

Nov. 21st, and it feels like forever since I last came here to jot down my thoughts, ideas, notions. It occurred to me this morning, while having my shower, that I really do miss blogging. I miss the idea of having a place to keep all of these special details. My blog is really like my journal, and I like how it helps me work through things. So my goal for the future is to come back to this space, and use it as a way to journal, record and share. 
So here we go. An update of sorts. Let's start with Bella Grace Magazine.
Last month, as I was doing some errands with a sick little Wesley slumped over my shoulder, I walked past the magazine isle at Walmart , and stopped to take a glance. There, out of my peripheral vision, I immediately noticed it. My image, on the cover of a magazine! I picked it up right away, my hands shaking. I started to cry. Tears just consumed me. I was overcome with happiness and shock.
To answer some questions, no I was not notified that my image would be used. Yes, I submitted it to their magazine- with hopes that maybe, it might get used somewhere in one of their publications. It was very exciting for me! So this was a big lesson to me. Try and get your work out there. It just might get on the cover of one of your favourite magazines!
For anyone who reads this blog (is there anyone out there???) You can follow my photography work on Facebook and Instagram, search Johanna Rosolen Photography.
In personal family news, this past month has brought us to the realization that we are ready to make one last move. After many many many late night conversations, Winslow and I came to the decision and compromise, that we would try our best to get a transfer back towards the Ottawa area. It hasn't happened yet, but we are hoping for sometime in 2019.
This decision comes with an intense sadness, in knowing that this beautiful place that I love so dearly, won't be the place where we plant our roots. I truly thought and hoped it would, yet I think I always knew deep down that no matter how wonderful this place was, we miss our family too much-and this is the time to do it. Our kids are still kids, and I want them to have a childhood with their family (my sister, Winslow's family, my best friends). I want them to know what it feels like to be surrounded with family and love.
Just yesterday, I realized that I have been a mother for 10 years. Of those 10 years, I have never had family nearby. It feels like such a huge relief to know that we won't have to be alone anymore. That we will have people nearby.
And so here we are, nearing the end of November. November and December are our busy months in this family. First we have Katia's birthday on Nov. 28th, and then Wesley's birthday on Dec.15th. Throw in some Christmas concerts, a Christmas play at church, hockey (for Katia), basketball (for Noah), photography mini sessions, and 2 birthday parties- and you can imagine how I feel at this time of year. Today I said no to one cookie exchange (they always stress me the $#@* out) and I am also going to say no to anything else that doesn't jive with me. It's just not worth the stress.

I want to share what we did for Katia's birthday, but I think I will make a separate post all together for it. It was too epic, not to have it's own dedicated post.

So there we have it folks. The holidays are on the horizon and I am full on ready for it. The twinkle lights are up- because twinkle lights just make me happier.
Be back soon. xoo