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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

taking care

It's been a winter for the books, let me tell you. 
It seems like since December, we've all been sick, one after the other. And I'm tired. 
More recently, Katia, Wesley and I all had a respiratory virus. It landed us with one trip to the emerg for baby Wesley, and two rounds of antibiotics (one for Katia, one for me). I'm still trying to get over an ear infection. 
I've heard from many other families, who once lived in the North and then came down South, that your first winter is the worst.It feels like we are picking up every bug there possibly can be, and I suppose that would be right after living in isolation for the last 5 years. Lets hope our bodies build some good immunity, and that next winter we will be all set for germ season. All that whining to say that, yes it has been quiet around here, because our lives have been pretty low key. 
I'm a big believer in rest when one is sick. And hot fluids too. So basically, the month of January and the start of February have been centered around days of rest, watching Netlfix and lots of hot drinks. 
While I am tired of being so sick, and would like for us all to be able to gallivant off to the toboggan hill, I am trying to see the bright side of this all, and there are good things to take note of. 
Things like family time, and lots of it. Family movie nights (and afternoons, and mornings, and .. well you get it), where we all cozy up under blankets. Hot lemon drinks. Art time (a new weekly? time we are setting aside). Baking. Short walks. Hot chocolate. Lots of baby snuggles.
We have ventured out a bit, and when we do so, it's nice... but it also knocks the energy right out of Winslow and I. It's good to get out, and we know the kids need it, but boy is it even nicer to come home and cozy up. 
And while I daydream ahead to summer days spent at the beach, having picnics and going on mini road trips, for now I am happy to be spending most of our days at home, being together and enjoying each other's company. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

winter days at home

Time has flown by since Wesley was born. He is now 6 weeks old and we are really starting to see his personality come out. He responds to our affection with the sweetest little smiles and coos. He adores his big brother and sister and likes to talk with them when he gets the chance. He loves to be held and seldom is put down. Winslow and I fight over who gets to hold him, because when you know how fast they grow, you wan to savour each second. He is a light in our lives, and we let him know it as often as we can. 
In a few weeks, Winslow will return to work, and this cozy little family-moon of ours will come to an end. Of course, how we spend our time together when he goes back to work will still be family focused, but this special uninterrupted time of bonding is going to be a bit disrupted. 
The last 6 weeks have been filled with a lot of home time and I am so glad we have made it this way. We've had some lovely visits with my dad and Sarah (and soon Leslie), but other than that, our commitments have been kept simple. Meals at home, lots of movies and Netflix, arts and crafts, stories, and lots of time just being together. 
Our desire to keep things simple I think, has partly been because we have a little babe, and that in it's self is demanding, but also because of the time of year. The winter and having a baby really do go well together.
Here on the East Coast they don't take any chances when a winter storm is predicted. So far, we've had two full "snow days" (no school) and today, the schools were dismissed early. And while it may seem a tad over reactive to shut down everything because of a bit of snow, I quite enjoy any excuse to hunker down and not have to go anywhere. 
Today's snow day saw us watching yet again another episode of Full House (seriously the perfect show to watch with our littles), doing some directed drawings for art time and generally just enjoying each other's company. Nothing exciting, but exactly what we love to be doing.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

a visit with sarah

When you find good friends, hold onto them, cherish them. 
Last Autumn, Sarah suggested that she'd like to come and visit us when the baby would be born. Just the thought of having her visit was exciting and comforting to me. I was honoured that she would make the trip to come and be with us during this special time in our lives. I looked forward to introducing our new babe to her. 
For 5 lovely days, we drank tea, cooked and ate, did yoga, watched episodes of Full House, hunkered down during snow storms and  ventured out for walks when it was nice out. We went out for lunches, went down to the sea and wandered through the Wolfville Farmer's Market. Most importantly, we shared some very special time together and Sarah was able to get to know our sweet Wesley. Sarah came ready to help (and hold!). She filled our tummies with delicious and healthy food, and loved on our children like they were her own. 
I am full of gratitude for the time we had together, and the effort that it took on Sarah and her husband Rich's part, to make it happen. Being with Sarah is always comforting and inspiring for me. I felt recharged having her here, getting to share with her my new life here in NS. There are so many layers to our friendship, where we have a level of comfort with each other that can only come with time and experience, and oh have we shared experiences. 
Truly, nothing could've topped this visit ....well ... except if Carol-Ann could've joined us. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

running through my head

Today was a feeding frenzy, literally. Wesley ate and ate. And as he did so, I reflected on how blessed I am to be in the position, where I was able to oblige him.
He ate in the pharmacy section of Walmart. He ate in the parked car outside the farmer's market. He ate and ate, and ate some more at home. And while he ate, all I could think was how blessed we are that Winslow is home and able to focus on the older kids (and dinner and cleaning!), so that I am able to focus on Wesley and his needs. And how blessed we are that Wesley is growing and is healthy. And how blessed we are to live in a country where breastfeeding is promoted and accepted (I recently read a very disturbing news story about a woman in Syria persecuted for breastfeeding. Yes, feeding her baby!).

Other thoughts...

Lately I have been pondering where I see myself and my photography business going in the next few years. I know that I am at a turning point and that things are changing. Recently, while talking with Sarah, I expressed my fears, worries and frustrations about the uncertainty of it all. And as always, she came to my rescue by reminding me that things must change, and wouldn't it be boring if we never had change. Her words comforted me and allowed me to feel hopeful. I am now feeling more accepting of the changes that are, and will continue to happen. I am going to be open to the new possibilities and allow my heart to lead my work.

And to close off ...

It was the first week back to school after the Christmas break. It was hard for us to get ourselves back into a weekday routine, and we found ourselves all wanting to stay in bed well past the alarm clock wake up.
I found myself missing Noah so much, as he was gone for much of the day. I found myself cherishing the moments I had with Katia, knowing deep down that next year, she will be gone for much of the day as well. I found myself looking forward to Saturday morning, when we will all stay in jammies and sleep in as much as we want.
But despite it being hard to let go of the relaxed holiday mood, we also felt the pull of the New Year and all that it entails. Getting back to a  more healthy lifestyle. Less indulging and more self care. Family walks in the afternoon sun. Salads, soups and more fruit. More water to drink ... and so on. It feels good to make these little but important changes. And with that, I am signing off, and heading to bed.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

word for the new year: adventure

When looking back on 2015 and looking forward to 2016, one key word and feeling sticks out to me, adventure.
We had many adventures in 2015, from camping in our camper in the Yukon and Alaska, to flying over Canada's tallest mountain (Mt. Logan), to moving across the country (driving with the whole family, a dog and camping along the way), to moving into a new home and starting over from scratch. Oh and adding another human to our family. It's true that many of these changes could have induced panic and stress on someone, but I think we did our very best to look at these events as adventures, and that outlook made all the difference.
And then there were some more personal adventures that 2015 brought to me, adventures that  helped me to see that there were more opportunities out there than I knew, adventures that would change me and challenge me.
In February, before our family went to Maui, Sarah and I embarked on an assignment to cover the Yukon Ultra, an extreme winter race that sees participants run, ski and bike over 600 km through the freezing Yukon wilderness. Sarah interviewed and wrote a beautiful story for Explore magazine, and invited me along to capture the images for her story. It was an honour to be asked to collaborate with her, and it was an experience that pushed me outside of my comfort zone. The story came out this December in the winter edition of Explore magazine, and it's pretty exciting to see both Sarah's and my name in the credits of the story.
My second personal adventure of 2015 took me to PEI for the Land and See photography workshops with Dave Brosha (and many other great presenters). I've written about how profound this experience was for me, and how I was challenged, motivated and most importantly inspired to try new things with my photography and creativity. This opportunity was a real gift to me, and truly felt like a journey for me in so many ways.
And so here we are, at the beginning of a new year, with new possibilities and adventures waiting for us. My inspirational word this year is going to be adventure, because whether the adventure is a simple picnic lunch at a park with the kids, or a more organized and complicated trip somewhere, looking at life and the everyday occurrences as an adventure a sure way to live a more positive and happy life.
All of our adventures in 2015 helped me to cultivate more gratitude and to be more in the present. It helped me to make a rough day more positive and to make the most out of everyday, and that is what I would like continue for 2016.
So here is to 2016. A year that I hope will bring more adventures! More camping, more photography, more picnics, more trips to the beach, more road trips, more creativity, more art, more reading, more precious memories with family, more time with friends, and more positive outlooks on life!
Much love and wishes for an amazing year ahead.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

a holiday wrap-up

The holidays this year were a little bit crazy and a lot special. With wee Wesley joining our family on Dec 15th, we did our very best to continue on with the festivities, while still honouring our need for a quiet and slow babymoon.
Instead of recounting all the details that I can barely remember, I will leave this post with a list of the lovely things that happened over the last few weeks, and an assortment of photos from the occasions.
Special memories to remember from the 2015 holidays:
~ Katia's preschool nativity play
~ Noah's school concert
~ Christmas Eve dinner of seafood chowder, very down East
~ Christmas Eve church, Wesley was quite popular with everyone in the congregation
~ Noah and Katia making each other Christmas gifts. Katia made Noah a robot T-shirt and Noah (with help) made Katia an Elsa (Frozen) cape (with material from our old table runners that we used at our wedding!)
~ An exceptionally warm and green Christmas Day. We went for a walk at Hall's Harbour and got our first family pic on the beach
And that wraps up the holidays! Sending a special wish to all for a Happy New Years! May 2016 bring love and adventure to you all!