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Thursday, January 25, 2018

midwinter
















It's a quiet time of year right now. We have no upcoming travel plans, and we are doing our best to tighten our spending. Meal planning is in full force, and we are trying to just get through the winter days, as best we can. Many days at home, often lead me to thinking ahead. This time of year, often has me dreaming of warmer and sunnier days, and so I begin to make my summer plans.
I am so blessed to be able to stay home with the kids. Yes, there are the downfalls of not having the extra income (no big trips, no disposable income - thrift shopping is where it's at!, camping instead of cottages), but for us, the rewards outweigh the consequences, and we are generally, very happy with our lifestyle. Because I stay home with the kids, we have a very flexible schedule and we often take off for day trips, or we can sneak away mid week when Winslow has time off.
While I have moved away from using the term "Bucket List", when it comes to Christmas and other times of year, I still do like to make a "Summer Wish List", because I worry that we might miss something important, and there's only really 8 or 9 weeks of summer vacation. For me, summer is a time to squeeze every last drop, to seize the day.
So, for the sake of day dreaming at the end of  January, here are just a few things on my "Summer Wish List" ...

~ Canoe camping with the whole family at Keji NP.
~ Camping in Cape Breton. It captured our hearts last year, and we're going back for more this year with the cousins!
~ my long anticipated attendance at Land and See. Oh my heart is almost hurting, I'm so excited. I'm so ready to fill my creative cup with fresh ideas, inspiration and knowledge. Also, 3 days to myself (kid free) will be absolutely refreshing.
~ a garden with Spring bulbs, veggies and sunflowers. 

...

And then back to the present. The long days of January, where school is often cancelled and we find ourselves at home, together. It's lovely and challenging all at once. After so many days of painting, building forts, making crafts and baking, I feel like I am running out of creativity in the home and in my parenting ways, not to mention artistically as well. 

Today I found myself really itching to get out of the house with Wesley. I decided that we'd do some errands. Just as we were almost at our turn off to go shopping, I realized that we had time to make it to the babytime at the Wolfville library. We hadn't been there in months, and I wasn't sure how Wesley would react to it (he always takes time to warm up to certain settings). So we found a chair and sat back from the group, but participated from the sidelines. In the end, he enjoyed the songs and stories (and the play kitchen afterwards), and I enjoyed bumping into my mom friends. I really see and feel the need to connect at this time of year. I'm thinking that I need to make this happen more. 

Lately I have been thinking about setting better parameters around our screen use, here in the household. Where I used to be very strict about the amount of screen time that the children got, somewhere along the way, I let go of some of my rules, and I fear that we have gotten to used to relying on them. 

The other day, after too much fighting, some rude behviour and not enough playing, I decided to "ground" the older 2 from screentime for 3 days. Believe it or not, they like the term "grounded", because friends of their had been grounded too. Maybe they like that I am enforcing rules? Maybe it's the fact that they know and like having boundaries? 

So there they were, screen free for 3 days, and right away, I could see that they were connecting better with each other and me. Once their 3 days were up, we had a conversation about how we would put some new limits on how much screen time they get throughout the week, and it made me think, perhaps I need to set limits for myself too.

I have decided to take an internet break for a few days, only allowing myself access to emails (for my photography business), texting (my line to the outside world) and the occasional movie on Netflix (we have no TV). This means, I will not be checking Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest for a set amount of time. Instagram will be the hardest.  I'm gonna put away my phone. I'm  going to pick up my camera, pick up my paint brushes, pick up the phone (to talk on- not to browse). I'm gonna go for walks, have friends over for playdates and coffee, go to the library. 

So wish me luck. I anticipate it being hard. That's ok. I need this.





Tuesday, January 2, 2018

journey







In November, I was out for a walk when my mind started moving ahead to the New Year. I thought about how my previous word of the year had come to me in that forest, and I wondered what my word for 2018 would be.
While walking along, I was struck with how 2017 was such a year of growth for me. A year, where I finally learned to become my own friend, and be the person I needed to be.
2017 was a year where I learned to accept that I had anxiety and needed help with it. I learned that I needed to face on my fears, sadness, disappointments and that I could carry on and let them go. It was liberating.
2017 was also a year for deciding that enough was enough, when I found myself surrounded by toxic friendships. Quite frankly, I was able to gain some clarity and walk away from some very negative and abusive relationships. It wasn't easy. I had told myself that I needed such "friendships", it's easy to be vulnerable when you move quite often and need to start over again. Once I had come to terms with this, it seems so much balanced out for me, and the friends that I really needed were right there in front of me.
2017 was a year for learning to say no when I need to. Finding my voice, being assertive, and making big decisions for myself , doesn't come easy for me. Somewhere along the line this year, I decided that I needed to be an adult when it comes to making decisions in my life, and that at the end of the day, it is my life - I need to do what is best for me. Saying no sometimes means disappointing people who I love. It sometimes means boundaries are made. It means putting my needs first. It's not easy. It's scary. But it feels so good to be that person who I need to be.
So when I took account of all this growth, the word journey kept coming to me. Journey felt so appropriate. Things are not perfect. I am learning and growing, but something has really shifted in me over the last year. Confidence? Maturing? Probably a bit of both. But I am happy, and feel that I am just beginning on this journey of being a happy and healthy individual.

...

We are just a few days after New Years. I love this time of year. It's when I best feel ready to read new books, try new ideas, instil new goals.
I also love the fact that with the cold dark months, we are given permission to slow down, hibernate and be cozy together. This week we are preparing for our first winter storm of the year. Already we are expecting a "snow day"- no school. The cold winds, make us retreat inside- crafts, cooking, books, games become our focus. I like that our days are centered around togetherness. It's very hyggeligt.

So happy New Year friends. Wishing you all nothing but the best.
xox



Thursday, December 28, 2017

to tuck away



























I sit here, a few days after Christmas, with gratitude and an incredible amount of peace and fulfillment in my heart. We have just spent over a week, being surrounded by our family and friends, and having our cups filled up with lovey memories to last us into the New Year.
Last Christmas I found myself, so deep in sadness and I now know, anxiety. I look back now, to what was a very lonely and hard Christmas, and that gives me all the more gratitude for this year.
Is it different because we came here to Ottawa and were surrounded by our support- our people?
Is it different, because we had Winslow home, and I had my partner there to share in the highs, lows and work of the season? Is it different, because I have grown and have learned how to prioritize myself and my needs? I think it's a little bit of all of these things that have made this Christmas a gift for us.
Our time in Ottawa has been a balanced amount of fun, relaxation and adventure. We've tried our best to visit with friends and family, but also make time for naps, walks and the freedom of no schedule.
I've made time to see friends, one on one. To have coffees and walks, to prioritize the people and things that matter to me. When we leave on Friday, I will leave with a full and happy heart.

Some memories that I want to tuck away and remember....

~ Our big family-friend walk at Mer Bleue Bog. I knew that I wanted to see all of my friends and their little ones, but wanted to think of a way that would be easy and very little work. We decided to host a walk around the conservation area, feed the chickadees (out of our hands!), have some hot chocolate and snacks, and to also have a candy cane hunt! It was the best morning ever! We all got out for some much needed exercise and we were free to be as loud as we wanted. And the best part for me, was to see all of my friends and their little ones.

~ Christmas Eve dinner at my sister's house. She is an amazing cook, and we got to be together for a lovely afternoon and evening. Being with family is such a gift.

~ Visits with old friends. The safe and familiar feeling of sharing time with someone you've known a long time. Going for coffee. Late night walks. Trips to the Art Gallery. An afternoon full of coffee, snacks and reminiscing about our university days.

~ Cousins playing. Drawing and colouring. Skating. Games of hide and go seek.

~ Witnessing our family make memories, nurture our relationships and connect. Cousins. Aunts. Great Grandmas. Grandparents.

Some pictures to cap off our time here.
xox


Friday, December 8, 2017

this christmas ...


















This Christmas I am ...

~ letting go of past hurt
~ only doing the things, traditions, activities that I want to do
~ taking care of myself
~ letting go of perfection
~ embracing the moment
~ not stressing about getting it all done
~ taking time to enjoy our decorations
~ sipping lots of Christmas herbal tea
~ making time to see friends
~ not stressing about having a clean house
~ loving on my family