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Monday, January 26, 2015

seeking peace

This last week was a heavy one for me. I felt dragged down and drained.
In different areas of my life, I was feeling overwhelmed and consumed, and when that happens, it becomes time for an evaluation.
My New Years word this year is PEACE. Somewhere out there in internet land, there was a person who came up with the notion of finding an inspirational word that will carry you through the New Year. Each year, you are to come up with one word, a word that will help you focus and be true to yourself. This year, my word is PEACE, because I am aiming to have more peace in my heart and life. It's that simple.
Sometimes we need to step back from things to see the whole picture, and right now I am doing that.
The fact of the matter is, that I am in a unique time and place in my life, where personal challenges are often very much in my face on a daily basis.
I am a social person by nature, add a tiny isolated community, with distance and a lack of friends... well, you can imagine that loneliness begins to set in.
Being in a small, isolated community means that my challenges are right in front of me, with no distractions or escapes. It's been hard at times, but I do like to think that it has made me stronger and more resilient.
The days can be long, but I am trying to work through them. To face my challenges and feelings straight on, as opposed to denying or ignoring them, which only leads to bigger problems down the road.

Things that are helping me get through the tough days ...

~ walks - no matter how cold it is
~ phone calls to friends and family- oh goodness, my phone calls are my daily saving grace. I compare them to a good coffee date with a girl friend.
~ hot baths
~ good books. Seriously, there is nothing more soul-warming, than cozying up in bed with my little ones and reading a good book together
~ learning to say no.

I'm ready, so ready for the next chapter to unfold for us. It's so easy to look to the future, to daydream and to imagine where we will be (geographically/mentally/emotionally) in the next few months, but I must also remember to be present and in the now. Right now is tough. Right now is honest. Right now there are lessons to be learnt about inner strength, perseverance, and myself. And I know that right now, I am where I am supposed to be, so I'm going to accept the challenge and keep on with it.


ps. pictures are from the last few weeks. Ice fishing (no fish were caught), and some of just around the area.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

a fresh take

 practicing our scissor skills 

even little sister is doing it!

It's the first week of January and we have thrown ourselves feet first into the thick of it.
Back to homeschool, back to school, back to community commitments and back to healthy/active living.
I'll tell you, it's been hard for me. Really hard in fact.
After weeks of celebrating, relaxing, sleeping in, and having as much wine and chocolate as I wish, I was starting to feel depressed and slow. I knew that we needed to get back into it, but I really had zero motivation. Yet despite having no motivation, it was a phone call on Monday morning at 9am  from my friend Leanne in Whitehorse, that had me get my butt out of bed and realize that I did need to get on with it. It went something along the lines like this:

" Good God woman, are you still in bed?" ...
"ummmmm ... yesss, aren't you?" ...
"No, because, it's a school day, yes, even for us homeschoolers" ...
"Oh right".

CRAP. So I got out of bed and improvised my homeschool morning ( I mean, I sorta kinda had a plan). And that is how I got myself back in gear. So here we are. Into our week and doing not so bad.
It is very very very cold here. It's been around -40 for the last 4 days and it's been hard on all of us (especially the dog and kids!). I usually depend on an afternoon walk, just to break up our days, but that has been near impossible with these temps- although I did get out for a walk with Ryder one day. It was cold, let me tell you!
And perfectly planned, I had our homeschool unit on hibernation decided upon long before this cold streak came our way. I think the kids are having fun learning about animals and how they survive in the winter. Animals are always fun to learn about.

So far:

~  we've read these three books.
~ made a burrow for a little ground squirrel. It was a collage of sorts, and it was fun talking about how they store everything they need in their little burrow
~ made a similar poster 
~ read and practiced this poem 
~ made bear bread

We also plan on:

~ watching some videos about hibernation online
~ writing out some journal entries
~ re-reading The Mitten, by Jan Brett. We will retell the story. There are tons of fun activities on line for this story.

Also in other news, I am currently doing the 21 day fix (a workout/eating plan) so that I can get in shape for Hawaii (that is my goal!). I have never actually done one of these things, but I have seen so many people succeed at this one. The only thing that I am not following is the Shakeology plan (an expensive meal shake). It's pretty simple to follow and mostly involves  portion control, 30 minute workouts everyday and whole foods (no sugar, salt, processed ect). I have my moments, that's for sure, but am happy and know that it is good for me. But why on earth do we still have Christmas chocolate lurking in the house- torture!

Happy New Years and all that jazz.

not 21 day food approved ... be he sure liked it!

Friday, January 2, 2015

handmade holidays 2014

A few pictures of this year's handmade gifts.
In past years, I would often make one type of gift and give it to many people, but this year, I was drawn back to my painting and did a few individual and unique paintings for just a small selection of family and friends. I painted a few mini canvases (of course, birds!) and made them into magnets.
I also felt drawn towards quotes and inspirational sayings/mantras. I painted a vintage looking sign that said, "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound" for my sister Katie, but did not get a photo of it.
For my sister Sarah, I decided to paint a chalkboard looking "In our home" style painting. They are very outdoorsy and adventurous, so I tried to come up with some mantras that would fit their family lifestyle.The "You are my Sunshine" painting is gonna be kept for me. A gift from me to me.
For the kids, they got in on painting picture frames (that I picked up at a garage sale in the summer). We then put their school pictures in them and made them into magnets. These were sent  off to the Grandparents.
We also made many ornaments this year, some with Crayola airdry clay (Santa handprints) and some with fabric (drawings on fabric with fabric markers). I really like how the fabric ones turned out (I stuffed and sewed them up).
A few other treats were made up and given. We made cranberry orange loaves,, as well as spicy and sweet pecans- so easy and so tasty.
And that's it for my handmade edition of this year. I have to say, I am very inspired at this moment to keep on making and giving handmade gifts. One of my goals this year is to remain creative and to make creativity a weekly practice for me.
Merry Christmas friends.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

nestled away

A quick catch up, because the New Year is just around the corner, and I have things to say about that. I can feel that 2015 is going to be a great year.
Here are pictures from Christmas.
They tell a story of coziness, quiet, simplicity and just a general peaceful Christmas.
It was our last Christmas in this little corner of the Yukon, and I wanted to make sure that it was slow and simple for us, so that we could remember it and feel it. I think that was accomplished. We don't know what is in the future for us, where we will be moving or even when- but we do know that this our last year in Beaver Creek.
The kids had gifts, we had yummy food, we talked to family back home and it was simple and lovely. We had a few turkey dinners over the holidays, and hosted a small dinner here with our neighbours on Boxing Day (Dec. 26th).
Nestled away in our snowy corner, it was one to remember.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

the night before christmas

 It's Christmas Eve, and I am waiting up a wee bit longer before the presents come out ... I just don't want anyone to wake up while I am in the midst of it all!
The music is cued and the tea is being sipped. I am content and feeling oh so blessed.
It's hard to wrap this kind of feeling up into words. There is so much to say, express and feel. It is in a few words: easy, beautiful, magical, and simple.
This will be our last little Christmas up in the Yukon, and I working at letting every little detail and memory sink in. From the walks to the post office, the tiny church service, the hugs and "merry Christmases exchanged", the home life ... it is all culminating and special. I want to remember it all.
This is the year where we have excitement, wonder, and innocence in our children. We are in a tiny remote community, away from the hustle and bustle of malls and city life. Our Christmas has been focused on intentional activities, with no distractions or long lists of things to accomplish. It's been quiet, simple and stress free, how that has happened, I will always wonder.
Yesterday, I decided that we would do a little pyjama drive around to look at the lights. Now you may wonder, just how many lights there could actually be in Beaver Creek, but surprisingly, people do decorate here. We had fun driving around, looking at them and sipping hot chocolate.
Today, after church, we came home prepared a bunch of snacks and settled in for a classic family movie, Merry Christmas Mr. Bean. After that, we took a very cold (-30!) walk to the post office and back and then made our own concoctions of magic reindeer food (oats, glitter, chocolate chips, cookie sprinkles ei. all things I had on hand.). It was an easy combination of things to do, but no real rush or stress.
And now, I am off to lay out the gifts (with Winslow). We have the music going, and the fake fireplace playing on the tv (someday we'll have a real fire place). I'm not sure who is more excited for tomorrow morning. Us or them! It took them extra long to fall asleep.
Good night. Merry Christmas.

This year there is a certain awareness that I have deep in my heart, that this very moment is a gift to treasure. In May of 2014, my cousin's beautiful, sweet, spirited 2 year old boy, Sana'a,  was taken away from our family, in a terrible and avoidable incident. It goes without saying that the pain and loss of losing Sana'a, is and will forever be present. It is heart breaking and I know that this Christmas is especially hard on my cousin and her family. 
Nothing is life is ever guaranteed. The things that we most treasure are often the ones that we take for granted and never imagine gone. It is so unbearably unfair that my cousin must endure this heart break and there is nothing that anyone can do to help her, except to keep her and the rest of our family close to our hearts.
This Christmas, I will be holding my babies extra close, and cherishing these special moments 
with them. I only wish that it could be the same for my cousin and her family.