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Thursday, October 16, 2014

ottawa and pei (heavy in the autumn and pumpkin pictures)

There have been colourful maples and pumpkin pies. There have been walks, coffee dates, shopping trips and visits with friends. There have been crazy road trips, walks on the beach, and rare time spent with my mom. There was even a date night with hubby! 
This trip is going by quickly, but I am getting through my bucket list as best as I can. 
Katia and I both got quite sick for a few days, so that threw a bit of a wrench in our plans, but we are feeling better and are making up for lost time. 
It's been refreshing to do normal people things like meet up with friends, buy fresh produce, or go grab a coffee. To watch the kids spend time with family, to see them experience things that Northern kids don't get to (farms, markets, and an extended Autumn season). It's been special and much needed. 
I am full of thanks at this moment. Thankful for time with my mother. Thankful for time with family. Thankful for cousins playing together. Thankful for time outdoors. Thankful that I can enjoy my most favourite season of the year- Autumn. 
We are back to the Yukon on October 24th. It will be nice to return home, to settle down, to hunker down for the long winter ahead. 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ottawa bucket list

There is an excitement brewing in me. This time next week, we will be in Ottawa, all together (Winslow is coming!). It has been over a year since we have all gone to Ottawa together and I am so beyond excited to go. We have lots to do and make up for in our short amount of time while visiting... but it will all be worth it.
Last time I went "home" to Ottawa it was very difficult for a number of reasons. The kids got VERY sick and so did I. We were without transportation for parts of the trip, and Katia was at an age that required A LOT of supervision from me. This time is different, and I am so excited to check some things off my Ottawa Bucket List!
Maybe it's because I haven't left the North in over 7 months, maybe it's because I've been in isolation for a bit too long, maybe it's because I miss my family and friends... maybe it's all of those things.
I am so excited to be home and to do the things that we have missed doing, like oh I don't know... going to a grocery store when I need to?

Ottawa Autumn 2014 Bucket List

~ hold and cuddle our new niece Maya and spend time with Yani!
~ see my sister and Amira and Tariq
~ spend time with Lolo, Lola, and all the Tatis
~ spend time with Grandpa
~ eat at my favourite pizza joint, Louis!
~Thanksgiving in Ottawa
~ rub Roxy's belly that is full of twins!
~ spend time with my best B and see Hanky
~ catch up, play with, sip tea with, be with the Niman clan... oh how I've missed them
~ hike in the Gatineau
~ take Noah and Katia to the pumpkin patch!
~ eat at the Green Door
~ walk on the beach in PEI
~ eat lobster in PEI
~ Thanksgiving in PEI
~ start my Christmas shopping
~ go to some sweet toy shops that I don't to go to regularly
~ go on a date with my husband. A REAL date * not one that I have to come up with and organize

Lots to do, but I'll make sure I get to do it all!

snow in September!

Friday, September 26, 2014

two roads project :: closeup


Johanna (left): At this age in my life, birthdays start to be less about the hoopla and attention, and more about meaningful connections and introspective thinking. 
Yesterday was my birthday and my big request was for butter chicken (with naan and basmati) and carrot cake for dessert. I woke up to many happy birthdays from Noah and Katia, and enjoyed opening my cards over a delicious breakfast of pumpkin waffles. I received phone calls and was just the right amount of celebration. 
Birthdays have a way of getting me to look at my over all life. How are we doing here? Am I happy right now in my life? Is there anything missing? 
In the New Year we hope to be moving on to a new posting, in a different part of the country. This big change on the horizon gives me hope and excitement, for the new changes that will surely unfold. 
With a big move stewing in the back of my mind, I think about what I want next for myself, for my family, for a home. I know that there are certain things lacking right now that I will want to fill in (a church or spiritual community, extra activities for the kids, more culture), but I also know that there are many beautiful lifestyle attributes (slow living, lots of family time, close connections to nature) that I will want to continue as we move on. 
There is hope and anticipation and possibility. There is the chance to look inward. There is the opportunity for change. And I am looking forward to it all.

Sarah (right): When I am old and my memory is fading, I hope I remember the intimacy of family. The smell of my babies' fluffy scalps as they rested heavy on my chest. The rough bristles on the nape of Rich's neck as I run my hands over it. The freckles, the sleep noises, the split-second expression I see: things only I notice. I want to remember Hailey and Robin's identical ponytails. Each day they wear their bangs this way, in floppy ponytails tied with impossibly small elastics atop their little heads. The contrast of sun-bleached white hairs against suntanned forehead skin. The wispy, airy feel of hair that has never been cut. The curls at the end, corkscrew tight in the back. These two little heads come running at me and collapse into my lap. I find myself staring down onto these little ponytails as we read another story, cut fingernails, slide on shoes. These are the things I hope flash before my eyes in my life's montage, evoking a powerful feeling of love found in the most minute of places.

The well-known poem by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken ends, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
Two women, who became friends via the magic of the Internet, were both living life on roads less traveled by. Circumstance had them both live in Whitehorse for a short time, where they became best friends. Life's map has them currently in differing geographic locations, but their connection and camaraderie continue as they continue on paths of motherhood, friendship, creativity and discovery. The Two Roads Project is our effort to reconnect with each other and our inner artists on a weekly basis, each Friday. (Or thereabouts. We don't always know which day of the week it is).
Sarah writes here

Saturday, September 20, 2014

these days ...

Lately there has been all kinds of activities to keep us going.
Last weekend, I made my way into Whitehorse to hold my Fall Mini Sessions. It was a busy, jam packed and successful weekend, and now I am playing catch up in all sorts of ways.
Community commitments, have us cooking and serving up lunches on Mondays, and leading playgroups on Wednesdays. It's a busy time, but it feels good to be involved in our little community, and it also feels good for me to keep at my creative endeavours.
Fall is here, or rather is on it's way out already. The leaves have all since fallen off the trees, and we are well into bellow zero nights and mornings.
The cold has brought on a hankering for warm foods, like pumpkin baked everything (muffins, loaves!) and comfort foods. We had garlic roasted chicken for dinner the other night (which ended up giving us one chicken dinner, 3 mini pot pies and chicken soup) . It feels good to be back in the kitchen, making yummy food for my family and for friends.
In homeschooling news, we've been slowly  finding our rhythm with our homeschooling days, which feels good.
I know that our homeschooling adventures will be an ever evolving concept, but for now, I have found a nice balance for us, that seems to be working.
We start each morning with lighting a candle. Sometimes we then say a prayer or sing a song. I like how this kind of brings us together, and sets the mood/tone for the morning.
After our opening meeting time, we then do our calendar and weather dial. I made the weather dial and the kids quite like it.
After the calendar, it is story time. Down the road, Noah will start reading to me (when we do sight word books), but for now, we are enjoying seasonal books and what ever else strikes our fancy that morning.
After story time, we usually do a bit of Writing or Math. Our writing activities include journal entries, writing letters to people, printing, letter recognition games ect. Math includes, counting games, sorting games, patterns, and more. I am trying to make the activities fairly short (5-10 mins.) and have a few up my sleeve. So for example, we may play 2-3 games in the span of 15-20 mins.
 Right now I am noticing that Noah's attention span is getting a bit longer. A week ago, I was lucky if he would sit through one 5-10 min activity.
To me, what is most important is that we enjoy our time together.
If I am or the kids are feeling stressed out, or rushed, or just plain cranky, then it's not going to work for us. Same goes for a lot of "busy work" or "sheet work". I truly believe in experiential learning, and that being creative and learning to problem solve are really important learning skills to foster, so that is where my heart lies in homeschooling.
And finally, we are all starting to get excited for our upcoming trip to Ontario and PEI in October.
It has been over a year that we have all been back to ON together, and we are looking forward to having family and friend visits. We are also taking a quick side trip to PEI to visit my mom and our family there. It's been nearly 3 years since I've been to PEI and I am so excited for it.
It will be short, but I am looking forward to having a belated Thanksgiving dinner with our PEI family :) I'm also hoping that the leaves are still displaying their beautiful Autumn colours when we get there, as our are all gone now!
And that's how our days have been rolling along. Steadily, busy, and happily content.

some of our Autumn books