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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

our boy is 5












 Our beautiful boy turned 5 today, and it was a day full of celebration, so that he would feel special.
His day started with our tradition of birthday gifts at the breakfast table. He was so excited to see that we had decorated the dining room while he was asleep, and later asked us, how did you do that? I told him it was a secret (it's what us parents do, dear Noah).
I lit his little birthday celebration ring, and he blew it out right away. A yummy breakfast of pumpkin waffles and bacon was enjoyed, and Noah played with his toys for the rest of the morning.
This year, Noah has shown a great interest in Science, and so he asked for a water scope and a microscope. I scouted out different types of these types online, looking for the perfect types that could be used by a younger child, yet still function as the real deal. I am pretty happy with the ones we chose.
Then we went down to the lake to try out Noah's new water scope. It is a nice 15km drive to the lake, and we often go there, just to get out of town! Ha! I love how Snag campground has become our little escape.
After the lake, we went for lunch at our one and only restaurant. Even though it can get tiring having only one restaurant (meaning limited "American" food), I am thankful that we have it, because it is nice to go there and feel sort of like normal people. The food is good, homestyle food, and the kids love going there for a treat.
After lunch, it was time to go home and get ready for our boy's party. This year Noah is in love with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Yes, I cringe at typing this, but at the same time, I find a kind of satisfaction in treating him to what he truly likes. It's about him, and I want him to be happy... so some typical trademark party decorations, a homemade "turtle" cake, some fun games and there you have it, a ninja turtle party- just for my boy.
At night, once things were cleaned up, bath and jammies had happened, and baby sister had fallen asleep, Noah, Daddy and I pulled out his baby books and looked at them together. He loved seeing who had been there when he was born, and kept saying how cute he was. Yes, my boy, you were some cute.
I look back on Noah's baby days with such fondness. It was such a special time for him and I to bond, and really he was such a sweet and attached baby. I remember questioning this attachment when he was a baby, will he be too spoiled if I hold him all the time? But at some point in his first year, a light bulb went on and I realized that him and I needed that attachment. That we needed that closeness. That it was so detrimental to his well being, happiness and development ... and that I loved it.
Fast forward to 5 years, and I am seeing glimpses of him growing up and letting go. It has been a bit hard on this mama's heart of mine. But as my good friend Sarah reminded me, he needs to do this, and I, as his mother, am here to let him and help him grow up.
So happy birthday to my beautiful , sweet, caring, funny boy. Life is truly a gift, and we are so blessed to have the gift of YOU. We love you so much.
xox 

Friday, August 15, 2014

two roads project :: corner


corner

Johanna (left): One way for my life to feel a little less chaotic, is to be organized and to have a tidy home. We try so hard to stay on top of it, but I find that it can quickly get away from us.
One of my favourite ways to feel a breath of fresh air in the house, is to organize/declutter and set up a little "corner" ... or display if you will. 
I often like to include a nod to what season it is, through art, flowers or little nature treasures that we find on our walks. 
Being that it is summer, I have so very much enjoyed how we are able to flow in and out of our house so easily. 
The children often bound out the front door, onto our front lawn, where they play with a little fairy house that I have set up for them. 
I enjoyed setting up and organizing, this little "corner" right by our front door. Nestled in among potted flowers, a tree stump, and clover, it makes me happy just looking at it... and happier still when I find Katia playing with it. 


Sarah (right): I don't have a designated workspace or office per se, but I do have a couch corner that I have transformed into my office. Through rituals of setting up the pillow just so, leaving a warm tea on the wooden end table beside me that I never drink, perching my MacBook or notepaper on my cushioned laptop desktop, and turning on background jazz, I am firmly established in my own little corner. These days I am ramping up to tackle a freelance project the likes of which I haven't toyed with before, and I frequently return to my figurative drawing board to gauge which story ideas would make suitable pitches for publication. Today, I am using my corner to read. I have the luxury of being self-employed and controlling my workload, and I have found that in order to keep the gateways of creativity open, I must make time to read. For fun. Nothing parenting-related, not articles on why yoga is important, but good novels, exploratory non-fictions that enlighten me. To the couch with me! I've got a meeting with Donna Tartt!

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

end of summer



 why yes, Noah IS wearing a balaclava on a hot summer's day. Something about being a ninja... 
I think?


Our first customer! we actually ended up with 4 customers, not bad for our sleepy little street. 











With the impending school year about to start, we've been enjoying these last few summer days as best we can. Walks to the park and meeting up with friends, swimming at the local pool, blueberry picking, having a lemonade stand and playing board games on rainy afternoons.
As it seems to do every year, summer seems to have snuck away from us already. It is almost mid August and here we are preparing to start school (at home and at school). This year we will be continuing with our plans to  home school Noah for the mornings, and to send him to school in the afternoons. I have been working away at planning our school year, so that I can stay on track and not need to worry about coming up with ideas mid way through the year.
I am basing our school year around themes (such as seasons, holidays, nature, particular animals. people and our country). Withe these units, I will add crafts, books, songs, math and writing activities and more. We will also continue with the daily activities that we love to do, such as nature walks, nature collecting, storytime, baking, art, board games, sensory and imaginative play ect. I'm excited and hope I can keep the momentum going all year.
I'm also hoping to get back to a more organized meal plan. I know that once I start homeschooling, I will want my meals better organized, so that I don't need to spend hours in the kitchen during the weekdays. I think some big batch cooking on weekends will help with this (spaghetti sauce, chilli, soups, etc). I'm scouring Pinterest for new ideas.
There's just something so exciting about the back-to-school season. The fresh outlook, the new start, the opportunity to make things better. I'm getting excited for our upcoming year, and for our first real stab at homeschooling (I feel like last year was a practice year).
So wish me luck as we begin. I'll be thinking of all the students and teachers as they start off the new year.
xox
ps. We love Ryder 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Noah's 5th spy party














please note Katia's face in this picture!!! bah!!!


This past week, we went into Whitehorse while W. had a course. I decided that we would throw Noah an early birthday, as he wanted to celebrate with his friends in Whitehorse. We went with a spy party theme, which was so fun to put together (and pretty easy I might say). 
A few of the details. 
When the guest arrived, a Sr. Secret Agent came to meet them and told them about a crime that had taken place (jewels had been stolen from the local museum), their mission was to complete a series of skill testing tasks and to find the missing jewels (ring pops!). 
For the activities, the kids got to make secret agent ID cards (which we printed at home), climb through laser beams (red streamers), and guess what was in the box ( a box with a hole in it. Kids reach their hand in and guess what is in the box... a ball, a sock, a spoon ect). Then they were given a clue as to where the jewels had been hidden. One of the best parts was that I (the Sr. Secret Agent) had on a real ear piece (not plugged in) and I kept getting "messages" from Headquarters. The kids loved this part! 
After that it was pizza, veggies + dip, hummus and crackers, fruit and cupcakes! 
A pretty simple and easy party. 
Oh and for the "loot bags", the kids each received a pair of sunglasses, a note pad and a pen that writes in invisible ink (a little light at the end displays the hidden message).
Aside from me being sick, I think this was probably one of the easiest but most fun parties we've done in our family. Score!
xox



Saturday, August 9, 2014

two roads project



sunset


Johanna (left): The long drive home from Whitehorse always gives me time to think and ponder about things. Heading West, and often driving home in the evening, we drive straight into the sunset, and it often gives us a beautiful show.
I welcomed our long five hour drive home after a busy three days in Whitehorse. Luckily, I was accompanied by my husband this trip in (a rare treat, I often drive without him), and it was nice to have that uninterrupted time together.
As we watched the sunset go down, many things crossed my mind.  With no internet, no 3G (although I don't have a smart phone anyways), I was able to sit back, think and rest. My mind went in and out of ideas and thoughts. I thought of my family who are missing their boy oh so much, of friends who are moving on in life exciting ways, best friends who are having birthdays. The slow and steady drive home is a lovely way to catch up with my thoughts.

Sarah (right): Tonight, the sun sets, in a big, metaphoric way. This is the last time I will nod off to sleep with a baby in the house. Tomorrow, when the sun creeps back up across the horizon, my littlest girl will have turned one. She walks, she talks, she waves and claps. She eats with us at the table, and carries a sippy cup wherever she goes. She still nurses with me a few times a day, and you better believe I'm holding on to that until she decides we're done. No rush. Because that's it. Sun set. The baby days are memories past and the dawn of a new journey begins. In the quiet darkness tonight, between sunset and sunrise, I will be revelling in the in-between. I will bake a birthday cake, I will sing to myself, I will meditate on this exact moment and feel it. The fleeting darkness is finite, and chase it as I may, tomorrow is coming.

Due to my total lack of organization, this post is a wee bit late. Sarah's post was written on the eve of Summer's birthday (July 26th). Sorry.
 


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

Sunday, August 3, 2014

time for self care













It is 10pm and as I look outside my window, the sun is slowly beginning it's decent. Slowly, very slowly, I am feeling that the summer is beginning to pull away from us.
In spots I have noticed leaves changing colours, and every year, I say - this is way too early. But by late August, we will have our first frost (if not sooner, it went down to about 4 degrees last night), and so, I'm not wrong in saying that Autumn is closer than we think. But for now I will hang onto summer. I will soak it in and try to enjoy our lazy days.
The thing is though, that our days have not been exactly lazy. I'm not sure what it is. Bored kids? A bored mama? But for me, the days have been a bit hard and long.
Without going into too much detail, I think I have decided that I am a bit lonely here.
I found so much comfort when living in Hamilton and Whitehorse, because I had a circle of mamas that I could go to for support and friendship. I had friends who were going through the same things as I, at the same time. And the best were the playdates. Those so called playdates, that were just as much for us mothers, as they were for the kids. Coffee, sitting around chatting, and the kids playing together. A nice break for everyone.
But here, it is different. Due to situational circumstances, I find myself alone a lot of the time during the dau. At the park alone. At the pool alone. At the community center alone. And always with 5-10 kids following me. And it's not that I don't enjoy spending time with the kids here, I do, it's just it can get quite lonely when I do it on my own so often. I miss my circle of mama friends. I miss the adult interaction. The kind that you get from a fellow mama.
Last weekend while in Whitehorse, I had the opportunity to escape my current situation, and go back to a life that I used to know. And it was so nice.
Leanne held a women's craft night at her house. We worked on wet felting, and I made a landscape, with mountains and fireweed.
It was a creative evening. Time to be with fellow mamas. No kids, no one to need me, no on to take care of but myself. And it felt good.
I've been giving this "me time" a lot of thought lately.
Living here in an isolated post, doesn't allow me to get much time away or for myself. But more and more, I am realizing that I need breaks, and that I deserve them too. I am a mother, teacher, entertainer, cook, cleaner, dog walker and caretaker almost 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week... and even thought we may live a fairly stress free life, I still need a break, or I feel there will be some burnout.
I'm still trying to find creative ways to take care of this need, but am making a conscious effort to do it in small ways, when ever I can. Phone calls to friends, crafting, lighting a nice smelling candle, taking a walk with Ryder alone, making a cup of herbal tea. Small but much needed steps towards a more balanced me. 
Hope you are carving out time for self care too.
xox