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Monday, February 23, 2015

notes and thoughts from our vacation

We are half way through our time here in Maui, and I am just so full of gratitude for the whole of our trip. Maui is a very special place, there is so just much beauty to take in. Our time here so far has mostly comprised of little day trips to special sites, beaches and towns. We have swam in the ocean, seen whales, turtles and seals, we have collected shells and we have had so much laughter.
This trip has been good for us. So very good.

Things I want to remember:
Last year when on Maui, I saw some advertising for a lavender farm.
I had always wanted to go to a lavender farm (the photographer in me knew that it would make a beautiful spot for photos), but alas, we didn't make it. We ran out of time.
This time on Maui, I wanted to make sure that we made the trip to the farm, and yesterday, that's just what we did. They had a family day out planned, and we were given a tour and then the opportunity to make a bouquet of flowers.
The experience of visiting the farm was so lovely and idyllic. The farm is set way up in "Up Country" Maui, close to the  Haleakala Crater, so the views from the farm are just breathtaking. Just breathing in the aromatics of the lavender, set the tone for a peaceful and calm visit. The gardens were beautifully adorned with fountains, streams, sculptures of Buddha and other Asian inspired things.
At the end, the kids stopped for a lavender scone, while I did some browsing in the beautiful gift shop (nice staff I should add).

Something I am pondering:
When picking up a few new magazines for the trip, I happened upon a yoga magazine that had meditation as it's main topic for the issue. I flipped through it and brought it home, and I've been very inspired by some of the ideas that it suggests.
Things like dedicating a particular time of day and place in the house for yoga/meditation/prayer.
And the idea of creating "alters" or collections of objects/images that help one to focus and meditate.
I feel like I would like to work on making some of these ideas come to life in my daily practice.
I feel a pull to dig deeper into my spirituality. I still have many questions and thoughts about the subject, but I know that I yearn and need, spirituality in my life.
I am always looking for ways to be more clear in my head and life. I want to foster peace, love and more creativity in my life, and of course find more happiness. I feel like meditation and yoga may be a good thing for me ( I know it works for Sarah).

Happy things:
~ going to see Paddington Bear (the movie) as a family. I can't remember the last time that we went to see a movie all together- or if we have ever done that! Listening to Katia laugh and watching them gorge out on a bag of popcorn the size of their heads! It was sweet.
~ finding so many heart shaped rocks.
~ how all the children need for a happy time is the beach, their bathing suits (sunscreen) and sand toys. They are so happy!
~ going for a walk with just Winslow (Chrissie and James stayed with the kids as they slept). We wandered through town, shared and ice cream and window shopped. Oh and most importanty, we held hands <3 br="">

Thursday, February 19, 2015

aloha from Maui

It's not that we needed to go on a fancy get away, but I do think that we really did need to get away from our lives in Beaver Creek for a bit. We needed to see new things, experience new things, feel new things... we needed to get out and live a little. After weeks of a deep deep freeze in the North, we escaped the cold and headed to Maui. Maui is a place we fell in love with last year, and we are so fortunate that we could  return gain this year. 
The beach, the whales, the walks, the searching for sea shells ... things that make us all so happy and at peace. The sun, the warmth, the turtles, the palm trees ... so lovely and calming. The road trips, the adventures, the spontaneity of it all ... just what we need. 
We are loving every second of it, and know that our souls really needed this break, rest and relaxation. 
We're looking forward to another week, full of salt air and sand in our hair. I'm even going to to get a tattoo! 
Peace and love. 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

a road trip assignment and signing off

see that sunlight, spilling onto my coffee press and cup? That my friends is what I call happiness!

Sarah wrote this on my Facebook wall a few weeks ago :

"Isn't it so cool when things start coming up coincidentally? and start aligning to be exactly what you needed when you need it most?" 

She wrote it on a day when I needed to read that. It had been days upon days of unending cold. I was feeling trapped in my home, in my roles, in my life. Sarah has a good way of getting me to see past the immediate situation, and to see things clearly. I'm so blessed to have a friend like her. 

Last week, Sarah and I, spent 5  FREEZING COLD days on a road trip, taking photos and interviewing people involved in the Yukon Ultra Race. It was just us on the open road (and in the back trails), lots of coffee and treats, and an awesome mixed cd that Sarah made for the trip. 

In between our time out on the trail, getting photos of the athletes or talking with race officials, we were able to have some very real and much needed heart-to-hearts. We talked about our lives, our kids (we gushed about how amazing they are), our goals for the future, friends and family, and everything in between ... it was so good for the soul. 

I am truly thankful that Sarah asked me to come along on her assignment. It was a jump outside of my normal work, and I feel like it made me open up to the idea of trying new types of photography. Plus, it was just really nice to be a able to practice my work for a few days. 


Tomorrow we set off for Maui for just under 2 weeks. I will be off of the internet for much of the time, because I want to soak up as much of Maui as I can. I'm most looking forward to the sun on my face, walking along the beach, watching the whales from shore, the beautiful sunsets and seeing my kiddos in little bathing suits. I'm sure I'll have much to report when we get back. 

Love and peace. 


Monday, February 2, 2015

fair february

Lemon Blueberry Scones. When baked, we put a lemon glaze on them. They were good. Ummm... diet? Ya.. that's another story for another day. 

I am happy to see January come to an end. 

The past month was a hard one, for many reasons. I am happy to be turning the page on our calendar and turning over a new leaf in my mind space. 
A few things made January hard. Cold cold temps, the end of the holiday season, worrying about loved ones, the tragic death of Cst. Wynn, ongoing dysfunction at the community club (I have since resigned from my position on the Board) and seasonal depression. 
Depression is hard, because no matter how many people tell you to, "look on the sunny side" or "get out of the house, go for a walk, or do some exercise", it doesn't matter. Seasonal depression stops me in my tracks and being isolated does't help me. I can honestly tell you, I got through the last month by letting the kids watch a lot of TV and talking on the phone daily to friends and family, who helped me get through it. Just being honest. 
But now the light is returning, and even though it is still bitterly cold (-30 to -40 temps) we are feeling like we are moving forwards in the season, and we have many things to look forward to. 
February is promising to be a month of adventures and opportunities, for myself and the whole family. A birthday celebration for the man of the house (Winslow), a photography assignment with my bestie Sarah, Valentines Day (the kids care more about this than Winslow and I do), and last but not least, a much anticipated vacation to Maui with our neighbours Chrissie and James. Thank goodness for things on the horizon.
The past few weeks in homeschooling have been hard for me. The kids were enthusiastic enough, but with my seasonal depression, I found it so hard to find the motivation and energy to want to do it. 
I felt so guilty about it and was in a rut. 
The first  week of January we did a unit on Hibernation and Winter animals, we also read/re-enacted the story of The Mitten. It went well and we all enjoyed it. 
The second week of January was all about Winter. We played educational winter themed games, read winter stories, and started some early Valentine crafts (to send in the mail to family). 
The last few weeks of January homeschooling were tough for me. Like I said, the motivation as not there and I had to completely bi-pass it a few times. It was very cold here and we were housebound for many of the days. I also had some envy of those homeschoolers who live in bigger towns and centers. It was hard to hear about all the dance classes, art classes and other places to go, when I was essentially housebound with the children. I know, envy is not a good attribute to have... but we are human and it is a normal emotion to have. 
Some of the activities that got us through those weeks were crafts and baking. I had the children decorate ziplock bags and fill them with homemade cookies to give to the teachers and helpers in the community. It was easy for me and something that the children got a lot of joy out of. Baking is such a comforting activity to do with kids. 
Now that we are into the month of February (and will be in Hawaii for half of it), we are excited and happy to move on in our homeschool adventures. 
In an attempt to shake things up a bit, I decided to designate some special "writing" stations for the kids to use. Each area comes already set up with "writing" tools such as pencils, markers, alphabet stamps, alphabet stickers, and othe do-dads. For Noah's area, I wrote out a few key words that he may recognize and gave him a postcard template to look at (he has blank postcards to write on). 
And even though Katia is too young to be writing, I think that it is good to encourage her to express herself through different mediums, and I can scribe for her if she wants something written out. 
One thing that was neat, I found her scribbling (from LEFT to RIGHT) and she told me she was writing- looks like a good start to me! 
I have also been trying to include a song or poem each week into our homeschool units. 
We had a poem for our Hibernating unit, and we did 5 Little Snowmen (with stick puppets) for our Winter Unit. This week, I am playing the ukulele and we are singing You Are My Sunshine. I find bringing song and poems into our units, helps the idea to stay in our mind, and it is a joyful was to express ourselves. 
One more addition to our homeschool days are some clapping games and beanbag games. I sewed up these simple beanbags and looked up some games to do with them. We do balancing games and tossing games. It is a good way to get the kids to focus and zone in on homeschooling. The clapping game we play is where the leader claps a simple rhythm and the others have to listen, then they copy the rhythm. It is good for concentration, pattern recognition and working on listening skills ;) 
The last two weeks of homeschool will be all about the ocean, beach and sea turtles. We will be in Hawaii and I plan to sneak in some very "hands on" homeschooling with the kids. No worksheets- no way! Just exploration, books, and lots of adventures!
So there we go. A little re-cap of our past few weeks. 
I hope the February brings a fresh start to anyone who is seeking it. 
Love and peace.