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Friday, December 19, 2014

christmas in the creek

It is 11:20 pm on a dark and cold night. Everyone is asleep now, except for me. 
I am sitting in my dark living room, quietly reflecting on then night we just had. It was one that I will tuck away in my memories. One that I want to keep on file for some day down the road, when I want to remember what it was like to be here in Beaver Creek. 

Tonight was the community Christmas feast. An annual tradition. A big turkey dinner, a short concert performed by the school children, and gifts given out by Santa, to the children.
It was one of those nights where I felt a bit emotional. Christmas does that to me. 
Being up North, many Northerners from "away" have to deal with missing their families at Christmas time. It's on one of those hard parts of living in an isolated community. Family is far, and especially at Christmastime, you feel it. 
But despite missing family, tonight, I was overcome with such strong emotions of gratitude. Because, while it doesn't always feel like it, tonight at the Christmas feast, it felt like we were in a large room full of extended family. You see, my children are so close with many of our friends here in the community, that they almost feel like Grandmas and Aunties to them.... and that is a special thing.
Tonight Noah (the only non First Nations student at the school), proudly spoke in Upper Tanana (the Native language here) in front of the whole room!He said, "my Indian name is Batman (Hach Ti Dineh). I swear, I had to hold back my tears. 
It was one of those nights, where it seemed like people put aside their differences. Hugs, best wishes, laughter and love was the spirit. It could be felt. 
It was one of those nights that I want to remember. 

Written Snapshots: 

~ Children all dressed up for their Christmas concert. Visibly nervous, all standing together, fidgeting and shifting in their places.

~ The excitement of receiving a cool gift from Santa. Just what they had hoped for. All the kids, happy and thankful. 

~ a long lineup to get Christmas dinner. Everyone from the community is there. Elders, young folks, families, children. Tons of food. Plates piled high. 

~ kind comments, well wishes and "merry Christmases shared. 

~ The twinkly lights. The Christmas trees. The candles on each table. The music. The feeling. 


Monday, December 15, 2014

holiday snapshots

This year's Christmas celebrations have a more realistic approach to them. In previous years, I would have high hopes and expectations of how we would celebrate. Some of my ideas (Advent calendars with notes and activities for example), would leave me scrambling at midnight the night before... and then would put pressure on me to do the next day. Why on earth would I add pressure and stress to something that was supposed to be special. 
So this year we are doing all kinds of Christmasy things, but only when and if we want to. 
We're doing our RAKs to people around town and some far away, and our favourite our holiday traditions (movies, books) but it's just with less pressure and expectation.  We're still doing tons of crafts and baking treats to deliver to friends, but just with no timeline and more importantly for this mama, no stress. 
Our Advent calendars this year are these sweet  paper ones. I love the little animal scenes and how simple it is to open a little window each day. We also have our house Advent calendar that I fill right after lunch with a small treat (one mini peanut butter cup, or something like that) for the kids. 

Written Snapshots to remember:

~ Snuggles on the bed with Ryder and the kids. Ryder cuddled right into my lap, as I read bedtime stories aloud. He was listening to every word. 

~ A skating holiday party at the Community Club. All of the children, out on the ice. Some stumbling, some gliding, all of them smiling. 

~ Decorating graham cracker gingerbread houses. Simple, sweet, and so much fun.

~ After the kids were tucked in bed, I pulled out all the Christmas gifts for them and wrapped them up, while watching a not-so-bad made for TV Christmas movie. No stress, no last minute, just some me time.

~ in my pjs all morning long, baking in the kitchen, while the kids are settled at the dining room table, drawing and doing playdoh.

Hoping that your holidays are calm and easy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

what keeps me going

I have been doing some serious reflection on my life lately. It's been challenging, because at this very moment in my life, I have little control over where we live and who I surround myself with. 
As my good and wise friend Sarah has explained to me, sometimes we need to lean into those difficult moments, to come out on the other side more strong. I know that this is true, and I try to remind myself of this when I am riding those choppy waves 
On those rough days, I have rotating thoughts that run through my head. Things like,  How do I want to handle things that are thrown at me? Who, at the end of the day, do I want to be? How do I stay positive, when faced with negativity? What makes up a friend?  It's a challenge, but I know that I am growing, learning, and changing. 
In my time here in Beaver Creek, I have grown a great deal. It has been hard and isolating at times, feeling so far from friends and support, but I have also had the great gift of learning who my true friends and supports really are. 
The phone calls, the care packages, the surprise cards in the mail, the visitors that we have had here in Beaver Creek. It means so much to me. So much. It is a gift to know that, even though these people are far, we can still be so close in those ways. 
The count down is on. There are good days, hard days and amazing days. There are walks in the woods, there is a cozy home, cuddles on the couch, and precious memories with my little family. 
I am choosing to focus on the good, and trudging on when things are more difficult. 

candle making with my loves 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

twinkle lights, spruce trees, cozy days ... it feels like home

Just a day or two after Katia's birthday, we pulled down the birthday decorations and put up the Christmas ones. I must admit, that this is always an exciting time for me.
I love having Katia's birthday at the end of November, and then the month of December to focus on Christmas.
Just as we did last year, we decided to venture out into the bush to find our perfect Christmas tree. Just behind our home, there is a trail (the fire break) and this year we all went on the snowmobile to find our tree. It was mighty cold out there, especially with the wind at our faces, but it was fun and the kids really enjoyed themselves. Memories.
Our tree is now up, and the lights are up outside.
Tonight as I walked Rder around the block (poor pup just got neutered), I just had to stop and take a picture of our home from the outside. It looked so cozy and welcoming, just as I want it to be.
It's my most favourite time of year. The twinkle lights glow, the days are freezing cold, and home is where we settle ourselves. Cozy and warm.
Merry days to you my friends.
ps. tomorrow is Saint Nicholas Eve!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Katia's 3rd birthday

Katia's 3rd Birthday Party. What a special and exciting day for a big 3 year old girl.
This year our girl is a year older, and a whole lot more of a girl than a baby.
Her special day included dressing up, getting her nails done (by me), having "Frozen" cupcakes and "princess pizza" for dinner.
We also had our very good friends from Whitehorse come all the way to spend the weekend with us, which really and truly meant so much to us that they would make the trek to see us.
Katia's birthday party with her friends, was all about foxes. A fox paper puppet, pin the tail on the fox, fox cookies and a cake- a few extra games ( pass the parcel, fishing pond) that we love thrown in for good measure.
It was a fun filled weekend, where our girl was made to feel special- as she should!
We love you Katia! Thank you for being our shining light!