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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

beyond words and pictures

When I was a little girl, one of my most favourite things to do was to go for a hike in the Gatineaus during the Fall. Each year, for my birthday party, I would ask that we all drive up to the Gatineaus and go for a hike. I remember then, just as I do now, being so at peace and at home, amongst the bright and firey maples, the soft scented pines, and the babbling brooks. I loved to be immersed in Fall!
The one issue I had with these special hikes, were just how infrequent they were (only on weekends, my parents worked during the week), and how far the Gatineaus were. The drive was upwards of an hour. If I had my way, I bet I would've gone daily if I could.
Now, fast forward nearly 25 years, and here I am, in likely, the most beautiful spot in the country to celebrate and experience Fall.
I've tried to write about just how spectacular Fall is here in the Valley, but I feel my words fall short in doing it justice. I've also tried taking pictures, to capture the colours and bounty, but even my pictures don't amount to the real beauty. Instead I just walk and breathe, and let myself experience it.
Last week, after the kids got home from school, I decided that we all needed to take a walk in the woods. I wanted to take them far, not just the trail that backs our subdivision, but really deep into the woods. I was worried that they would get tired and bored, but we all just kept going ... with the hope of discovering something special.
Katia found a great walking stick, Noah and his friend who came along, threw rocks and picked up sticks... and then we all stopped.
Shhhhhhhh, you guys, look! There, up in the tree. Hold still guys, it's an owl.
And there it was. A beautiful Barred Owl, just starring down at us, following us with it's head.
We all stood there, just watching, knowing that this was special and that we were in the right place at the right time.
The Fall has brought such lovely memories for us all. My birthday (we went to see Beauty and the Beast), a big trip to the Yukon for Wesley and I, family visiting for Thanksgiving, Autumn excursions to apple orchards and corn mazes, and many beautiful Fall photo sessions.
It's a busy time, and I don't always make writing a priority. Instead, I am focusing on being present and enjoying the moments as they come.
Some pictures from Thanksgiving and the Yukon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

a few of my favourite things

Fall is slowly beginning to show her colours here.
Outside, the smell of wood smoke fills the air when I take my walks through the forest. The scent of pine needles fills my nose, with each step I take along the path.
The golden rod, is the most beautiful jewel rich amber colour, and the bees are ravenous for it's nectar. The maples are beginning to turn bright red, orange and yellow. Acorns and fallen apples dot the sides of the roads. The colours are just marvelous.
 Pumpkins, sunflowers and delicious veggies are abundant at the market stalls, tempting me to to take them home to decorate and cook with.
Inside the home, hot rich soups are being made, and stored away in the freezer. Today I made an Italian chicken-tomato-autumn vegetable soup based off of this recipe. It was very filling and nourishing.
Just yesterday I stocked up on teas for my tea cupboard. I chose warming teas, such as, chai, apple spice and chocolate hazelnut.
Candles are being lit to add warmth, scent and light.
Each morning, from the breakfast table, we watch the birds at the feeders, busily pushing their way in for some food. They know what is around the corner, and are planning ahead too.
This is my most favourite time of year, where my senses are treated to an abundance of gifts and warmth is created to compensate for the dipping temperatures.


These are a few of my favourite things ...

Trips to the farmer's markets, walks in the woods, apple orchards - full of beautiful red apples, front porches decorated with pumpkins, wreaths, mums and swags of colourful corn. Sweater weather, layered scarves, bonfires at the beach, hot apple cider, a warm blanket and a good movie. Wool socks, pumpkin baked goods, the smell of cinnamon, the twinkle of candle light.


Friday, September 16, 2016

sorry for being a mess

I have a little story to share. It is one about me, gaining some important perspective.
Earlier this week, I was having a busy day.
It was my first day of having my afterschool kids here and I had been up since 6 am with the kids. It was dinner time, 6pm to be exact. Wesley was cranky, the kids were wired and Winslow wasn't going to be coming home for another hour. I had spaghetti sauce smeared down my Walmart dress and my hair was greasy. I was hot, my skin was greasy and the baby wouldn't let me sit down to eat. Right then, the door bell rings.
The dog started barking, the kids got all excited, and I screamed out, "DON'T ANSWER THE DOOR!!!!!!" (forgetting that the window next to the front door was open).
We put the dog away, I went to the door, looking like a hot mess, with a cranky baby on my hip, and there she was, my beautifully fresh looking, hair blown out, makeup on, designer clothes wearing neighbour (who is super nice I might add). She wanted me to look at her petition (which I totally support!).
In that moment, the first words that I blurted out were, "Wow, you look amazing!". God what an embarrassing thing to say! And then, to make matters worse, I went on to apologize for my appearance. I also told her again, how great she looked (and in my head, kept telling myself to SHUT UP!!!!).
After our little chat about her cause, I closed the door and instantly felt down about myself. My clothes were ugly and I hadn't had my hair cut in months. I was tired, overwhelmed, and it was the witching hour. My neighbour couldn't have come by at a worse time, and I felt extremely vulnerable.
Why was I letting something like appearances become so important to me? Why was I so worried about what my neighbour might think of me? Why was my self worth so low? These are feelings I deal with quite often. They stem from anxiety and I have been doing my best to identify these feelings, and not let them take over my days.
After a few crazy texts to Sarah, and a good conversation with my dad, I was able to step back and see things more clearly. By the end of the day, I was ready to just curl up with a cup of tea and decompress.
In bed, with a cup of apple spice herbal tea, I decided to browse some of my favourite blogs, and there, in my feed, was a post so perfectly timed, it was spooky. It couldn't have been more appropriate for the kind of day I had.
Motherhood is hard. It makes us vulnerable and exposed, but that's okay. I'm slowly learning that if people see me having a bad day, or looking like shit, or that I look tired, or my kids are acting up, or whatever... that it is okay. I don'y need to be perfect, and no one expects it of me. So why should I expect it of myself?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

connecting moments will save us

We are into our second week of school and I am already starting to ask myself, how do we simplify?
Already, it feels busy. Already, I am trying to catch my breath. Already, I am collapsing at the end of the day, exhausted.
With two in school, our mornings have become quite the song and dance around here.
A 7:15 am school bus, means we are up and at it, at 6 am. The mornings are busy, and I am still struggling with that early alarm clock, but so far, we have made it to the bus stop on time each day!
I haven't picked up my camera in quite some time. That's usually a sure sign that life is busy, and I am in the thick of it. It's also I sign of where my attention is. While this past summer, I made the effort to bring out my camera and document our days, now I am aware that I am needed on the front lines more, and that I physically and mentally must be all hands on deck. But... that doesn't mean I don't snap an Iphone pic from time to time, because, who can resist that convenience?
This Fall, also sees the addition of an afterschool care program, here at our home. When trying to come up with some creative ways to bring in extra income to our household, I decided that I would offer some afterschool care to a small group of children. To us, it is a great way for our children to socialize with their friends, and for me to afford to be able to stay home. It's going to be busy around here, but I am excited and full of gratitude that this opportunity presented itself to us.
And so here we are. Already, two weeks into September, and we have hit the ground running.
In the next week, we add Beavers and Sparks to our weekly routine, as well as our afterschool care, storytime at the library and more! It's busy, but I am also doing my best to find connecting moments with each of my children. Whether it is a walk around the neighbourhood, a back scratch at bedtime, a walk to pick blackberries, or a simple hug in the middle of a busy day... these moments are so important to us all, and I am very aware of that.
Leaving off with pictures of our first day at school.

Friday, September 2, 2016

reluctantly ready

Oh hello September, where did you come from?
Usually I am all about Fall. The cool crisp weather. The sweaters. The warm drinks. Pumpkin spice candles and cinnamon mulling spices. I love all those things, but right now, I'm having a hard time of letting go of our summer.
This past summer was one for the books. It was about spontaneous day trips to the beach. Camping. Drives to get ice cream. Bonfires on the beach. Picnics. Museums. Collecting shells and stones. Visitors from away. Friends. Soccer and swimming lessons. Dinner on the back deck. These summer days have been such a treat, and we have really discovered, juts how lucky we are to live here in Nova Scotia.
Next week we return to our normal routines, and I know it's going to be an adjustemnt for all of us. Early bedtimes. Early wake ups. Morning rushes and evening rushes. I think I'm especially having a hard time in knowing that both Katia and Noah will be at school this year. I've had Katia home with me (except for 3 mornings a week last year), for the last 4.5 years, and now she is off to school. It's hard for this mama heart of mine to accept that those days of her being with me are no longer. I'm gonna stop before I get too upset.

Things that are making me happy....

~ a grey rainy day. Cool with the wind blowing ... permission to slow down
~ the desire to cook once again, after a summer of quick and easy foods
~ warming foods for when we need it. Soup, curries, cinnamon, tea
~ the desire to nest, organize, purge. Summer is coming to an end, school will start soon, and I want the house in order.
~ sunflowers
~ summer harvest
~ the last summer hurrahs! A trip to Upper Clements Park (a small family friendly amusement park)
~ hot baths, Netflix (currently watching Gilmour Girls, I never watched it before), and hot tea.

And so here we are. Less than a week left of summer. There may be one more trip to the beach, but there is also the reality of doing back to school shopping and big batch baking and cooking. The seasons are changing and we are bracing ourselves for it.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

our boy

It's been a two day celebration around here for Noah's birthday. Our boy is now 7 years old, and has entered into the world of being a mid aged kid. He's no longer a little boy, not quite into his preteen years, he is in the middle. 
Growing up is hard sometimes. Everyday, he is faced with new challenges and is learning more complex ideas. Some days are hard on him (learning can be hard and tiring) and some days are amazing (success!) but always, it's honour to witness him navigate through it all. 
Noah is a good boy. He is such an easy going, helpful, responsible, and kind kid.  He is an amazing big brother, who sets the bar quite high. He's so amazing this boy. 
These days, Noah is into animals, especially the beaver. He loves to read about mammals, loves to learn about them and play make believe with his stuffies. He still loves his lego, loves to ride his bike, loves to play soccer, and is even learning to love to swim. 
Noah's birthday this year included, presents of lego, stuffy beavers, books and a painting I did for him. We had breakfast in bed, swimming lessons, all you can eat sushi, a water balloon fight, a movie, dinner and cake! 
His party was held at an indoor wall climbing gym, and included friends from the neighbourhood, school, and beavers. We played games, climbed and climbed, ate too many sweets, and had a blast.
We wanted Noah to have an epic birthday, and I'm pretty sure, that is what it ended up being! It's been a special celebration, just for him, just for our boy. 
We love you so much Noah. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

one last ....

It's early August and the days are long and hot. We are more than half way through our summer vacation, and this is where we (the parents) are having to tap into our reserves. Our patience, energy and enthusiasm is running low. The kids know it, and are fighting more than usual. It's hard to find the momentum to continue on with the day trips to the beach, the pool, the library. It all seems like so much work, and it all falls on us. 

Each day, I scan my phone weather app, looking for a hint of cooler Fall weather. I am weary of taking Wesley (and the older two for that matter) out on those hot and muggy 30+ degree days. I wish to take my kids into the forest for a long walk, or down to the dyke. Instead, I find myself resorting to the cool air we have at home thanks to our heat pump, but at home, we all crowd each other. 
It's always at this point in the summer, that I yearn for the turn in seasons to happen. Tapped out, I begin to feel tired and ready to slow down. I crave slow days. I wish for cool weather. I want permission to be at home and be cozy. While my heart wants all these lovely things, summer isn't done yet, and I know that I must keep going. 
Somewhere in there, I need to muster the momentum to have those picnics, take those day trips, and most importantly enjoy this uninterrupted time with my children. It's not easy, with us all on top of one another, but soon we will be finding a new rhythm to our days, and I have a feeling I will miss my long hot days with them.