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Saturday, August 30, 2014


Remembering Amang

My emotions have been raw as of late. We've had sad news in our family, Winslow's sweet grandfather (Amang) passed away this past week. And we couldn't feel further away from our family at this moment. To hear everything go on through phone calls was a sad experience. Our last goodbyes to Amang were from a phone, as he lay in the hospital. Amang was such a kind, quiet, gentle soul, who we will miss so much. 
And while we deal with saying goodbye to Amang, two very good friends of mine have each had to say goodbye to a parent, way way way too soon. My friends have been in my heart and prayers, it seems so unfair. 
Once again, through such loss, I have been reminded that each day is a gift. Life is a gift. And even when the days seem hard, a little bit of perspective can help to set me straight. Get over the little things and be thankful for my blessings. For being alive. For the blessing of my family, my freinds, my health, my home.
This morning on our daily walk, we wore layers of sweaters and jackets ... and mittens! 
Suddenly over the course of a week, Autumn has come in full force. Today I noticed fresh snow on the mountains down yonder from our community. It feels all too early, we aren't even in September yet. And I'm not ready for it. I'm just not. 
And to sign off, a few photos from our recent trip to Fairbanks Alaska for a field trip with Noah's school. It wasn't Autumn there yet. So I full took advantage of all the beautiful flowers that were still in bloom. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

back to school

 Noah's first day of school came and went today.
After a long, lazy, easy going summer of swimming, going for nature walks, playing with friends and having fun, he is now ready to go back to school and begin kindergarten.
Noah was very excited for school today and woke up with a big smile on his face. In my eyes, he seemed a little bit older today, more confidant, more mature. He walked right into the school and comfortably settled into his familiar setting with his friends and teachers.
We're so excited to continue our half days of home school and public school this year. Our goals for this school year are for a positive, fun and playful year ahead.
Happy back to school!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

late summer/early autumn

I feel like life is moving along at warp speed. 
Already we are taking advantage of the last few days that the pool is open. Soon our pool will close for the season, and already, Noah and Katia have passed 3 swimming levels- I am so proud of them :) 
School is about to start up, and with that, we will continue to do half a day of homeschool and half a day of public school for Noah. 
This year I have more on my plate in terms of homeschooling. Not that kindergarten is all that strenuous or that we have to cover everything right away, but as a parent who will be homeschooling for the first time, I feel the need to get organized now and to have a plan. 
I'll be honest, as a teacher, (in my past life ;) there were a few times that I "winged it", meaning, I went in with no plan... and boy was that a huge flop for me (and stress). So even though I know we will have a lot of fun just doing our normal things (crafts, playing, reading, outdoor time ect), I also know that I need to have some sort of plan to get me through the days. 
Lately, there have been all kinds of signs that Fall is just around the corner. 
The leaves have all begun to change (this seems very early, even for here). The mornings are cold (like little ice puddles in the backyard and wear a scarf on your morning walk). The smell of wood smoke fills the air and I am keeping my eye on the beautiful cranberries that are all jewel like in the moss. 
Fall is my favourite time of year, and I am fully embracing and enjoying it. 
I've been enjoying my daily walks with Ryder and the kids. Watching the colours change, keeping our eyes open for interesting mushrooms and other forest finds, berry picking, and also keeping alert in case we have a bear run-in (tis the season). 
I have my calendar out, looking ahead to my Fall Mini Sessions ( a photography event that I hold a few times a year), and also a Thanksgiving timed trip planned for Ottawa and PEI (yipee!). 
This season is busy, but never too busy to slow it down and take in all the beauty that is offered to us. 
My days have a lot going on (those two keep me busy!), but my walks through the trails behind our house make me take a deep breath in. It is so delicious this time of year. 
Here's to Fall, and all the lovely things that come with it. 

~ Apple everything (cider, crisps, sauce, pies)

~ Sweater weather
~ Scarves
~ Golden leaves 
~ Mushrooms of all sorts
~ Warm foods and drinks
~ Back to school
~ Wood smoke in the air

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.

Friday, August 15, 2014

two roads project :: 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.
ps. We love Ryder