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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

family traditions, pumpkin waffles and kids.














Every Saturday (and sometimes Sunday) for the months of September and October, I make a big batch of pumpkin spice waffles for breakfast. It is tradition in our house to have waffles or pancakes for breakfast on the weekend, and sometimes bacon too. There are two things that I love about this, 1) the notion of a family tradition. 2) pumpkin spice! Hello Autumn! 

Fall is here, and as usual, we are being treated to a long and beautiful season. There have been hikes, the making of pumpkin people, pumpkin spice and apple spice baking, time for crafting, early nights and crisp mornings. I'm smitten with you Fall. You are my very favourite season. 
Other things I am loving, family traditions. We have a few traditions, that to me, are special and grounding. Family movie night always happens on a Friday night. Throughout the week, we have a no TV policy after dinner time, so Friday night is a welcomed treat for the kids. Popcorn, maybe some hot chocolate and always jammies. I love jammies. 
Other family traditions include, a blessing at dinner time and a prayer at bedtime. We may not have our faith nailed down to a specific affiliation, but that does not mean we don't teach our kids to give thanks and believe in a greater meaning. Prayers offer comfort and reassurance to ourselves and the kids. I like this. 
I love these little traditions that we have built up. I feel like they are special and unique to us. They help us build memories and take a break from the monotony of the everyday. I'm wondering if we might add some other traditions into our week. We used to do pizza Friday (like my friend Sarah), maybe we could get back into that. 
Other things to update. Noah participated in x-country running this Fall and did really well! He consistently came in around the 8th place for all 5 of his meets. 8th out of all the grade 3 boys for our school board! We were super proud of him. 
Katia has been doing a jazz/ballet class and is loving it! We can't wait for her Christmas performance in December. 
And Wesley, well he's just been happy doing his thing. We have been busy going for lots of hikes, out to the library and we've even attended some playgroups (something new for me). 
Life is chugging away, and it's a beautiful thing. 
I have been working hard these past few months at being more honest with myself and dealing with my issues, so that I don't pass them onto my kids (one of my many reasons). Also, I just want to be a happier, more balanced and peaceful self. I'm getting there. 
The other day, while out on my walk, I started to think ahead to my New Years "word". You know, the theme word that I like to choose each year. In the past it was peace, adventure, quiet. Well, I think I have it decided (a first for me), but I am not quite ready to share it. It feels good to be self reflective and to listen to myself.
I'm hoping that Fall is treating everyone out there well. May hygge be alive and well in your homes and hearts. 


Friday, October 6, 2017

autumn blessings












Wow, it's hard  to believe that September came and went so quickly. I feel like I spent much of the month, finding our footing and getting ourselves back into a good routine.
In September, school started, storytime at the library resumed, early mornings, packed lunches and early bedtimes all started up again. After much contemplation, we signed the kids up for some extra curricular activities. Katia is in dance class, and loves it. Noah is doing x-country (just for the Fall), basketball and Cubs. I was very hesitant about adding too much to our already busy lives, and wanted to make sure that the kids had a balance of free time too. While Noah is doing quite a bit it seems, we are watching closely to make sure the he is enjoying himself and not over doing it.
The end of the September brings my birthday, and this year I felt really good about accepting my day. I feel at a good place in my life. I feel like I am finally being honest with myself and FINALLY giving myself the care that I have been so good at giving everyone else. Why did it take me this long, I'm not sure, but here I am. Being kinder  to myself, more patient with myself, and in turn, kinder and patient with the ones I love. A good birthday gift to give myself, I'd say.
I always think September will feel like our Nova Scotia anniversary. While we in fact arrived in August of 2015, it really was September, where I felt like we planted our feet. I remember, Noah starting grade 1 at KCA, and thinking it was such a BIG school. I remember my little Katia, still 3 years old! starting at preschool. And here we are, 2 years later. It's been 2 years of being here in Nova Scotia and I have to say, I finally feel settled. There's been some rocky parts. Some big life changes (hello baby Wesley!) and more, but I can finally say that I feel good here now. I feel grounded. I feel like we belong here.
Autumn is here and one of my most favourite holidays is this weekend, Thanksgiving. I really love Thanksgiving because it's purpose and meaning is probably the least commercial of all the holidays. It's to simply, give thanks. There are no big fancy gifts to purchase and give. There's no pressure to spend months building it up. There's no high expectations from little ones (all they care for is pie!). To me, it's simple and pure.
This year, we plan to visit some new RCMP friends for brunch on Sat. Then we head to our other RCMP friends in Bridgewater for Sunday dinner. On Monday we will have our own small Thanksgiving dinner at our home. I am very aware that these visits can only happen, with the fortune of us all being in good health. For the last 2 years, we have been repeatedly sick come Fall, and this year, we seem (knock on wood) to be doing very well. I'm so thankful for this.
And so I leave off with a few photos from our time at the Kentville Harvest Festival (and some other random ones). I still can't believe our luck, that we chose to live in a town that is centered around the harvest season! Our town mascot is a Pumpkin Person. The town puts on Pumpkin People displays for the month of October. We have a Harvest Highway. We have pumpkin patches, corn mazes and more! It's seriously heaven on earth for anyone who is an Autumn freak like me!
There has been much sadness in the world as of late, and I know that it can feel so overwhelming at times. While on one hand, I want and believe that we should all speak up and be involved, I also feel that it's ok to protect one's heart and mind from such sadness all the time. I saw a quote that said, we do not have to personally take on all of the hardships of the world. We do not have to take on all the grief either. I think it's important to be gentle and kind with ourselves too.
So happy Autumn and Happy Thanksgiving. Let's take a moment to give thanks for even the most small and simple of blessings. xox


Thursday, September 7, 2017

sunny days ahead













Summer is officially over in my books. School started today.
Last night, I got the kids to bed early. They had baths/showers, we read books, said prayers, and I reassured (once again) Noah, that he would be just fine tomorrow.
Once they fell asleep, I got to my usual chores of cleaning the dishes, sweeping the floors, but this time, I also pulled out the lunch bags, and began to fill them with snacks. Fresh fruit and fresh veggies, always. A little salty snack of crackers or veggie straws. A homemade cookie. A yoghurt (for Noah only). And a note... always a note on the first day. Today begins a new chapter for them. A new year of learning. A new teacher to help form their minds. New friends. I'm excited for them. I truly am.

...

Sunflowers.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I adore and I mean ADORE sunflowers. They make me over the moon happy. I can't NOT be happy when I look at one. So this year, with hope that I would have a garden FULL of sunflowers, I planted 3 packets full of seeds.
I started one packet indoors, in little biodegradable pots. They looked great. I even sang to them, hoping it would help them grow (why not?). I have one. ONE of them left growing.
Then I planted a second packet out doors. I have TWO left of those. And then my mammoth sunflowers. As back up and assurance, I planted a third packet of mammoth sunflowers, with high hopes that surely, these would grow into lovely large sunflowers. Well I guess the bluejays had other ideas, and again, I am left with one, yes ONE mammoth sunflower.
And so, for anyone still interested, these photos are of my prize winning (this survivor deserves a prize) mammoth sunflower. It's a thing of beauty I tell you.
Also, just for extra sunflower goodness, the kids and I visited a sunflower maze not too long ago. The price was a bit of a deterrent for me in years past, but this year, I made the most of our visit and brought my camera along for some nice pictures.

...

Life lessons.

This summer has been one for self growth. I have come to some self realizations that were hard for me to come to, but now I can see that I am better for them.
I have come to acknowledge and accept that I deal with anxiety on a pretty large scale. Accepting it has been a journey. Recently I began to experience some physical symptoms due to my anxiety, and that made me realize that I need to take the next step.
I have also come to see that I must and need to set boundaries around myself. Saying no, knowing my priorities, choosing carefully who I spend my time with  and who I give my energy to... these are all things that I am learning to do better.
I feel that it's important to remain open and honest about mental health. For me, I have my own personal stigmas with it, due to my mother's history of mental health issues. I often worry that I will end up like her (if I'm being honest), and that is something I don't care to do.
So onwards I go. I'm going to continue to push through, to find strategies and ways to cope with this. I'm going to do better for myself and my family.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

little bits and pieces











You know that feeling you get right around mid August?
Summer is still alive and well, and you know you ought to take advantage of it, but secretly deep down in your heart, you are ready to slow it down a bit.
This summer has been a strange one to me. It has sped by at an alarming rate, and part of me wonders where it all went. I sort of feel like we've been going and going, but I'm not exactly sure what we've done or accomplished. Its been busy, and we've done a lot. I'm not ready for summer to be done, but I feel that change in the air ... it's coming.
July brought us a camping trip to Cape Breton, a week of day camp for the kids, trips to Queensland Beach, Annapolis Royal and our 10 year wedding anniversary.
In August so far, we have had Amy+Anthony+family visit, as well as my sister, niece and nephew.
It's been busy, it feels busy, but I also know there have been little moments too. Moments worth remembering. Things like swinging on the swing Winslow made. Searching for sea glass. Walks on the beach with my girl. Meals on the back deck. And ice cream ... boy has there been ice cream.

...

This past summer has also been one of growing for me. A few weeks ago, I came to a point in a relationship with a friend, where I knew that I had to call things off. It had been a while coming. Multiple incidents had lead me to feel used, unappreciated and unvalued. I had to be honest. I had to stand up for myself. It was hard, but I am so proud of myself for doing it.
And since doing it, I have found a new sense of worth in myself. I have come to see that I need not internalize other people's behaviour and actions. That I don't need to sit there quietly and accept things as they are. That I must be my own friend first, set boundaries and that it is ok and necessary to put myself first.

A few other things that I have come to realize.

~ the term "friend" should not be thrown around lightly. A real friend is someone you can trust, rely on, and who will be there no matter what. I have some amazing friends in my life. These people know who they are, and I know who they are. They come with no strings attached. They love me for me, and I love them for them. It is simple. It is not complicated. It is real.

~ I am trying so damn hard to stay away from Facebook. I have come to the realization that Facebook makes me very unhappy. That the constant feed of people's opinions, news, updates ect, is addicting and negative. I am taking a break. It is hard. By habit (when I am nursing, or getting Wes down for a nap), I like to browse Facebook. But I am recognizing that I am addicted to it. That I mindlessly scroll through it, spending hours a day, comparing, analyzing, and internalizing other people's lives. It's just not good, and I am done for a while.

~ Self care. This is a word I have used before, but I have come to a point where I feel it is so absolutely necessary. I am about to be on my own with the kids for 2 weeks, while Winslow goes to Labrador for work. As a proactive measure, I booked in a babysitter to come 3 times, for a total of 6 hrs. During those times, I have decided that I will do things that serve myself. I will go to my favourite coffee shop. Read a book. Go for a walk. Call a friend. It will be my time to replenish.
Other thoughts on self care.... it is not about stuff (new clothes, treating to expensive items ect), it is about taking care of my needs, so that in turn, I can continue taking care of those around me that need me.
Self care looks like: a bedtime ritual, getting a good night's sleep, a hot bath, a girly TV show, lemon and mint in my water, eating a healthy grown up lunch (not someone's left over chicken nuggets), being real and honest with people around me and myself, trips to the beach, walks in the woods, coffee in the morning (or whenever I need it), things that smell good.

...

And so, that is it for now. I am truly feeling a sense of change in myself and in the season right now. I am doing my best to keep an open heart, for what is about to come next. I know soon we will be back to the bustle of school, activities, and life. I am looking forward to this return to normal and routine, but will also miss the lazy long mornings, and having my two older ones home so much. So these last 2 weeks will be about squeezing those final summer moments. They will also be about slowing down and savouring the moment.

xox




Monday, July 17, 2017

making memories




















We just returned from a 5 day family camping trip to Cape Breton, and I am still basking in the memories of our time there. 
This trip was so much more than just a get away. It was a trip to spend time together. To see and explore a place we had never been to before. It was an adventure. An invitation to play. An opportunity to reconnect. 
For 5 days, we played, hiked, swam, built sandcastles, ate delicious food, had campfires, explored and hung out. We flew kites, told stories, read Harry Potter, played at the many Parks Canada playgrounds, had ice cream and picnics. We fished for minnows in a lake, drank coffee around the campfire, ate a simple breakfast down by the beach, drove along the beautiful Cabot Trail, took in amazing scenery, and visited little shops along the way. It was just what we needed, and I know these memories will be ones that we all hold onto for years to come. 
Cape Breton (just as everyone told me), was a beautiful place, where the views are phenomenal and the people are kind and gracious. We have plans to return to this lovely part of Nova Scotia again. It's one of those places that draws you back. 
And for anyone interested, the big hike that we did was called the Skyline Trail. It is close to the Cheticamp entrance to the park. The portion of the hike that we did was just under 7 km. It is an easy trail (flat), and the reward for the hike, is to get to the board walk stairs that take you to a point overlooking the Gulf of the St. Laurence. It's amazing. We didn't get to see any wildlife, but most people do, mayeb if we had gone early or later in the day. 
A few tips, bring snacks (some chocolate helps) for the kids and lots of water. Wear good shoes and a hat. It started off cool, but as we walked, it got hot. 
And so, I leave with just a few of the many photos that I took on our trip. It's amazing to see the life that comes to my photos when I get inspired from travelling. It was also noteworthy, that this trip, although it was still work (camping, cooking, dishwashing .... it's not exactly a break), it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. We all took our turns, helped out, worked together and just sort of let go of any big expectations. I passed a few stops that I had hoped to see, because Wes was sleeping and the kids were tired, but that's ok. We can return next time. The point of the trip was to explore, make memories and have fun. And that's exactly what we did.