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Tuesday, January 2, 2018


In November, I was out for a walk when my mind started moving ahead to the New Year. I thought about how my previous word of the year had come to me in that forest, and I wondered what my word for 2018 would be.
While walking along, I was struck with how 2017 was such a year of growth for me. A year, where I finally learned to become my own friend, and be the person I needed to be.
2017 was a year where I learned to accept that I had anxiety and needed help with it. I learned that I needed to face on my fears, sadness, disappointments and that I could carry on and let them go. It was liberating.
2017 was also a year for deciding that enough was enough, when I found myself surrounded by toxic friendships. Quite frankly, I was able to gain some clarity and walk away from some very negative and abusive relationships. It wasn't easy. I had told myself that I needed such "friendships", it's easy to be vulnerable when you move quite often and need to start over again. Once I had come to terms with this, it seems so much balanced out for me, and the friends that I really needed were right there in front of me.
2017 was a year for learning to say no when I need to. Finding my voice, being assertive, and making big decisions for myself , doesn't come easy for me. Somewhere along the line this year, I decided that I needed to be an adult when it comes to making decisions in my life, and that at the end of the day, it is my life - I need to do what is best for me. Saying no sometimes means disappointing people who I love. It sometimes means boundaries are made. It means putting my needs first. It's not easy. It's scary. But it feels so good to be that person who I need to be.
So when I took account of all this growth, the word journey kept coming to me. Journey felt so appropriate. Things are not perfect. I am learning and growing, but something has really shifted in me over the last year. Confidence? Maturing? Probably a bit of both. But I am happy, and feel that I am just beginning on this journey of being a happy and healthy individual.


We are just a few days after New Years. I love this time of year. It's when I best feel ready to read new books, try new ideas, instil new goals.
I also love the fact that with the cold dark months, we are given permission to slow down, hibernate and be cozy together. This week we are preparing for our first winter storm of the year. Already we are expecting a "snow day"- no school. The cold winds, make us retreat inside- crafts, cooking, books, games become our focus. I like that our days are centered around togetherness. It's very hyggeligt.

So happy New Year friends. Wishing you all nothing but the best.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

to tuck away

I sit here, a few days after Christmas, with gratitude and an incredible amount of peace and fulfillment in my heart. We have just spent over a week, being surrounded by our family and friends, and having our cups filled up with lovey memories to last us into the New Year.
Last Christmas I found myself, so deep in sadness and I now know, anxiety. I look back now, to what was a very lonely and hard Christmas, and that gives me all the more gratitude for this year.
Is it different because we came here to Ottawa and were surrounded by our support- our people?
Is it different, because we had Winslow home, and I had my partner there to share in the highs, lows and work of the season? Is it different, because I have grown and have learned how to prioritize myself and my needs? I think it's a little bit of all of these things that have made this Christmas a gift for us.
Our time in Ottawa has been a balanced amount of fun, relaxation and adventure. We've tried our best to visit with friends and family, but also make time for naps, walks and the freedom of no schedule.
I've made time to see friends, one on one. To have coffees and walks, to prioritize the people and things that matter to me. When we leave on Friday, I will leave with a full and happy heart.

Some memories that I want to tuck away and remember....

~ Our big family-friend walk at Mer Bleue Bog. I knew that I wanted to see all of my friends and their little ones, but wanted to think of a way that would be easy and very little work. We decided to host a walk around the conservation area, feed the chickadees (out of our hands!), have some hot chocolate and snacks, and to also have a candy cane hunt! It was the best morning ever! We all got out for some much needed exercise and we were free to be as loud as we wanted. And the best part for me, was to see all of my friends and their little ones.

~ Christmas Eve dinner at my sister's house. She is an amazing cook, and we got to be together for a lovely afternoon and evening. Being with family is such a gift.

~ Visits with old friends. The safe and familiar feeling of sharing time with someone you've known a long time. Going for coffee. Late night walks. Trips to the Art Gallery. An afternoon full of coffee, snacks and reminiscing about our university days.

~ Cousins playing. Drawing and colouring. Skating. Games of hide and go seek.

~ Witnessing our family make memories, nurture our relationships and connect. Cousins. Aunts. Great Grandmas. Grandparents.

Some pictures to cap off our time here.

Friday, December 8, 2017

this christmas ...

This Christmas I am ...

~ letting go of past hurt
~ only doing the things, traditions, activities that I want to do
~ taking care of myself
~ letting go of perfection
~ embracing the moment
~ not stressing about getting it all done
~ taking time to enjoy our decorations
~ sipping lots of Christmas herbal tea
~ making time to see friends
~ not stressing about having a clean house
~ loving on my family

Monday, December 4, 2017

November wrap up and beyond!

There's so much to catch up on, a month's worth of moments, memories, revelations, lessons.
November came and went quite quickly (as it always seems to do).
We had a short visit over to PEI to see my mom, and that went .... well as expected.
My relationship, history and everything is complicated with my mom. To simplify the whole story, I usually tell people that ask, "my mom has never had very good mental health", but the truth is, there is so much ore to it, and things that I am still uncovering.
It's complicated when I go to visit her, but I do it. I do it for her. I do it for the kids to have some memory of her. I do it for myself too, I suppose. Still, it's not easy.


November also brought the first round of illness to our family.  It was a good 2 weeks of the kids taking turns at staying home from school, and myself feeling utterly horrid. Two words, sinus infection. Ouch! Glad that's over.


And the end of November brought us one very special girl's birthday. Katia turned 6. Although I said this to her, you've always seemed much older than you are. When you were 2, you acted like a 4 year old... so to me, it was always strange calling her 5, because she acts so grown up and independent.
This year for Katia's birthday party, we held a pretend sleepover party. This meant, everyone wore pyjamas. We had pizza. Did fun "sleep over" games like, Broken Telephone and the Question Ball. We had our teenage babysitter and her friend come to our house and do the girl's nails, and of course we watched a movie and had popcorn. It was the most fun and easiest party we've ever held.
For Katia's actual birthday, we got her a special gift - her own fish! When Noah turned 6, he got a fish tank in his room, and Katia would not let us forget that it was her turn for a fish! So meet her new fish Teal. Her favourite colour!


And so that brings us up to December! Wow, I can't believe the holidays are here in front of us.
I am trying to finish up the last of my 2017 photo sessions and then will madly be making some Christmas gifts (note to self, start in the summer next year!).
I'll be honest, at first, the thought of Christmas started to make me feel anxious and unhappy. I was worried that feelings of loneliness and sadness would start to take over. For many reasons, the holidays are not always easy for me. But then, after taking some time to really address some of the reasons I feel this way, I started to look at the holidays differently.
Instead of trying to supress and push away those feelings of sadness, I decided to face them- head on. I wanted to know where they were coming from, and how I could deal with it.
I also decided that for years, I had put a lot of pressure on myself to make the holidays "perfect" (which we all know, does NOT exist). In years past, I would busy myself with crafts and baking and high expectations. I think I thought that if I tried hard enough, the happy and perfect memories would become real. Instead, this lead me to anxiety and stress.
So this year I am giving myself permission to do as much or as little as I want. I am also really asking myself, if what I am doing serves me (not just the kids). There's no use in having a stressed out mom at Christmas. It's just not fun.
So here we are, into December, and choosing only to do the activities that I really enjoy.
So far, we've done: decorate your own gingerbread houses (aka, graham crackers), organizing a caroling party,