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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.


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.


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. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

our special place

I never grew up with a family cottage. It just wasn't in our budget, but it was always and still is a dream of mine to have one. We would occasionally rent one for a week in the summer , and often visited our church camp that had an old cottage, but we never had one of our own. 
One of the things that I love most about a cottage, is the memories that a family makes there, and the connection to the land that is created. While, we may not have a cottage to return to, time and time again, I still want my children to grow up with the familiarity of visiting a favourite place in nature, and Blomidon PP is that place for us. 
Blomidon PP is a place of immense beauty. Situated at the very top of Cape Blomidon, you get yo see breathtaking views of the Minas Basin, and the counties that surround it. Red cliffs, swooping down to the sea, farm fields as far as the eye can see, it really is stunning. Story has it, that Kluskap, the Mi'kmaq legend comes from Blomidon.
At the entrance to the park is Blomidon beach, a perfectly muddy beach. At low tide, the beach goes on forever. This is where you can witness the highest tides in the world. It is also a treasure trove, where you can find fossils and amethyst! The park itself is a lovely spot. Clean and often very quiet, you can access some very pretty walking trails. There's also a playground, washrooms and a education center available with colouring books for the kids. 
It's still a dream of mine to own a sweet little cottage by the sea someday. But for now, we will continue to pitch our tent at this beautiful park, that is just 40 mins from our home.  I like to think that Blomidon is our special place, a place we will continue to make memories at. Campfires, sunrises and sunsets, hiking, running on the beach, waking up to the birds, good food, coffee by the fire, unplugging from technology, and most importantly ... connecting to one another. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

here we go!

Life lately... 
late bedtimes, soccer, bonfires, strawberry picking, trips to the beach, last days of school, reading Harry Potter (2), hikes in the woods, gardening, growing up and getting her ears pierced, growing up and graduating from Beavers, a Father's Day pizza picnic on the beach.
Time is skipping by, and already we are at the beginning of July. This next month will bring us camping at Blomidon PP, Canada Day 150 in Halifax, and a much anticipated 5 day camping trip to Cape Breton. There will be more soccer, some day camps, the summer reading program and swimming lessons too. And of course plenty of unplanned adventures, such as picnics, ice cream missions, beach days and more. 
I'm ready for summer. I'm ready to spend time with the kids, on our own agenda. I'm ready to slow things down or speed up the pace ... what ever we need. I'm ready for time outside. Coffee on the back porch. Veggies from the garden. Reading on a blanket. Movies in the backyard, and sketch book art. 
Here we go folks! Summer is here.