Monthly Archives: May 2010

simple dreams

{all photos in this post were found with Google images}
I often dream of a little summer getaway for our family.  A place where candles are lit, streams are explored, books are read, and simple memories are made; be it in our own yard or on a slice of unexplored crown land.  Though I know it will be a reality, I often wonder how we could create that oasis on one stretched income.  I have explored each of the following to their end and have been rewarded with the perfect solution.
  • A cottage or cabin is out of the question and renting something is too impermanent and impersonal for me. 
  • A yurt is lovely, but expensive and not so easy to travel around with.

  • A VW van could take us lots of places, but neither of us are handy and charming old vehicles need not so charming maintenance.

  • A gypsy caravan would be ever so romantic, but expensive, hard to find and where would we store it in the long, cold winters?

And then my world changed when I stumbled upon Bell Tents…

They remind me of the summer I spent as an Ontario Ranger up in Sioux Lookout.  When we traveled to other camps we would often take large military tents to sleep in.  It had a frame made of long thin logs and we would have competitions to see how quickly we could set it up.  Bell tents are a slightly more refined alternative to that.
A quick look on ebay indicates you could get one for less than one of those prefab garden sheds they sell at Home Depot.  Seriously though which would you rather have?  I am sure, with a little digging, a new or used one could be found in Ontario to save on shipping costs and your carbon footprint.
So there you have it.  I am a simple woman with simple tastes and a new dream getaway.
Are you as excited as I am?
go gently & be wonderful
Posted in family | 6 Comments

a bit of a brave leap & some words on housework


I was recently asked by a new blogger {who happens to be a mom of three from my hometown} if I would like to be a guest blogger for her site.  I agreed to the challenge and thought it would be a good opportunity to write with the goal of creating something that may be suitable to submit for freelance writing. 

I have been a longtime lover of words and freelance seems as though it would be a natural fit for me.  I may not be the most technical writer and my nitty-gritty grammar skills could use some work, but people seem to respond to the content and that seems pretty important these days.

Rather serendipitously I found the website of a beautiful magazine called Seeing the Everyday.  An hour later I had finished my article and submitted it to them.  There is no money involved and I am sure they have many submissions to sift through, but it was a bit of a brave leap for me.  I struggle with both putting myself out there, and self promotion {or perhaps it is believing in myself}.  But am quickly learning that if I want to stay home with my children, these are all things I must polish up on.

I have no idea where to go from here, but I received a note from the Universe today that simply said:

                                          Don’t resist, Erin.   Don’t resist.  Don’t resist.

Our lives are the sum
Of each moment and interaction.

Each day we work, eat, laugh, teach, play, read, remember…
And work at it all again the next day.

Within seemingly small moments we find opportunity
To build relationships, develope character, find joy
For the price of our time

Life’s most essential possibilities are realized at home
Where we share, teach, grow, learn, serve, give
Our best without praise or fanfare.

Because every effort, every moment matters
In development of a person.

Nothing is really routine.
{seeing the everyday magazine}

I easily find serenity in the wind and scents of hanging fresh laundry on my beloved clothesline. Nestling into wind and sun soaked sheets on an early summer evening is one of life’s great decadences. I understand the happiness of dirty hands, a sweaty brow and sun-warmed shoulders while working in the garden. To sit sipping cold tea with tanned hands after a cool shower and look out at what you have done is a simple thrill. To swipe away fingerprints and nose prints from the windows so the sun can reach just a tiny bit further across the floor and touch my cold toes in the morning is a good thing. Sometimes, when the mood strikes I even enjoy the hiss of a hot steamy iron smoothing away the creases in linens and work shirts as if by magic. It reminds me of my grandmother’s patience as we learned the art one summer afternoon in the farmhouse kitchen.

One chore I do not love is that of washing dishes. There is just something that seems so cruel and relentless about it. I have been known to have standoffs with a sink full of dishes that last days. The tidy person inside of me always surrenders and dips her hands into the hot water and reluctantly opens the mysterious lunch containers to be cleaned. Just as I am about to raise my arms in victory of completion, I spy a tossed aside sippy-cup under the table or a lone glass on the nightstand and so the cycle goes; no time for celebration.

Or is that necessarily true? As a stay at home mama trying to keep her nest in happy order I am trying to change my perspective on the everyday duties that are required of me. In a sense, to be resentful is to be ungrateful, not to mention to fight a losing and very tiring battle. I have always felt a stir in the pit of my stomach when I read the quote “Be happy for this moment, for this moment is your life.” After years of looking at these words they have finally taken root and challenged me to change something about my behaviour.

On good days I try to be aware, as I sort through sticky forks and knives and oatmeal-cemented bowls, of the constant flow of life. I remind myself that by resenting the constant cycle of doing and un-doing, I am resenting the natural flow and energy that is in everything we do. The day begins and ends. The sun rises and sets. We sleep and we awaken. Each day is the same until we focus on something either brilliant and brave or tedious and mundane; a picnic under the tree or a sink full of dishes.

Rather than resenting the tedious tasks of our nests, perhaps we can focus on the slow rhythm of sorting, the soothing sensation of soapy water on tired hands, and the shiny gem of a just washed glass. Perhaps we can take a moment to think of the stories and lives behind each tea cup and handmade mug that passes through the suds. Be grateful for the opportunity to be utterly present and still in a moment of gratitude for everything we have and can do.

We can’t have the picnics under the tree without the clean dishes nor can we have the picnics without making more dirty ones. To accept that inevitable truth will only make life more enjoyable.

I will tell you I am no saint and have moments of sheer exhaustion as I watch a pink clad Poppy as she spins and sings at the top of her lungs and sprinkles dog food on a floor I just swept or paints a milk picture on a floor I just mopped. But I am learning and transitioning into a different way of thinking and these things take time. Be patient with yourself and know when to surrender. Be kind to the makers of messes, for they are the teachers. Take a deep breath and begin again without resentment. Think long and hard about changing even the slightest thing about your life without first considering how it might change the rest of it.

go gently & be wonderful


Posted in family, photography + writing, wellness | 6 Comments

be gentle with yourself

Maybe it was the heat.  Maybe it was the neighbour’s terrible loud music that played all afternoon.  Maybe it was the 1000th headbutt from Poppy.  Maybe it was the 2000th yell/grunt to get something she wants instead of using words.  Maybe it was the dogs staring blankly or ignoring me altogether when I try to stop their barking.  Maybe it was Mike questioning everything I asked him to do.  Maybe it was having a toddler climb up me as I tried to enjoy my chicken and quinoa.  Maybe it was the glass crashing to the floor or the open faced jam sandwich hitting the floor.  Maybe it was the dishes in the sink or the slimy piece of tomato Poppy spit out for me to step on.  Maybe I just felt like a big, fat, pregnant meat-suit tired of never getting a moment of peace to herself. 

Maybe I felt invisible.  Maybe I felt used.  Maybe, after giving and trying to be everything all at once for so long, I finally broke.

It was as quick as lightening and all that remained was me in a weeping heap, a shocked husband, daughter and dog, and the distinct smell of ozone.  Every ache, every hurt, every guilt, and every inadequacy swelled up and poured out of me.  I was embarrassed and silent for what felt like a long time until Mike, with a slow and gentle hand, reached over and touched me as if I were a wounded and frightened animal.  One touch to let me know he heard me; he got me; it was ok; I was forgiven, without words. 

“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

– Dinah Craik (1826-1887), English poet and novelist

Be gentle with yourself so you can, in turn, be gentle with those you love.

Posted in family, life, the anchor, wellness | 6 Comments

objects of my affection

Time to share more goodness I have stumbled upon while searching out supplies and projects to make and sell at the farmers’ market…
The discovery of Japanese Masking Tape! {photo source}
Pretty much everything in {this shop}
Ok, and {this shop} too…
Sea Shore Dress from {this shop}
this print from {this shop}
I have ogled the many prettyful prints in {this shop} for years now.
How could I refuse buying these two perfumes from {this shop}
Ok, and maybe a lilac one from {this shop}
{But seriously, to only buy these perfumes out of this whole list takes some crazy willpower}
One day I plan on getting my figure back…and I will wear sweet dresses like {this} without jeans.
*le sigh*
I think Mike would look super cute in {this shirt}
{men+honey bees=super cute}
Last, but certainly not least, these prints in {this shop}
{Might I add that they were also taken with the same film camera I ordered from ebay a couple of weeks ago…}
What are you lusting after?
go gently & be wonderful
Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

yard sales, a new nephew & market preparpation

It has been a busy and surprisingly productive weekend.
The three of us awoke early on an overcast Saturday and decided to head out for some spontaneous yard sale-ing.
Mike, who usually tolerates my quest for old “junk” on  good day found himself quite taken with the thrill of the hunt and developed keen reflexes for all neon and hand drawn signs directing our way.
I am most excited about the perfect old folding screen {75 cents} I can easily use for an earring and pendant display and a well worn clock {1 dollar}
Mike was most excited about the brand new baby gate we found {5 dollars}, and a new Bathroom Reader {50 cents}
I think Poppy was most excited about the haystack cookies they were selling for Haiti and the many smiles she collected along the way.
We came home to find out that my step-sister was in labour and later in the afternoon, gave birth to baby Oliver.
I don’t have pictures yet, but we will be making the trip out to see them next weekend and can’t wait to meet the little soul.
I am inspired by her positive and natural experience to re-visit the VBAC route I have been in fearful denial about.
Also thinking I may take Miss Fawn up on having a doula-in-training with us this time.
I felt so unsupported by my midwife last time and hope this time will be better.
I have been in a frustrating little lull of waiting for market supplies ordered online to start showing up so I can begin creating again.
I finally got my hands on some new beads and earring hooks and made 30 pairs since last night.
For supper, I am dreaming of corn on the cob, potato salad and bbq’d organic burgers.

go gently & be wonderful
Posted in celebration, family | 6 Comments

fresh paint & ice cream

I painted the living room blue.
It makes my heart glad.
See more pics here.

Tonight we finally decided to chase down the ice cream truck that has driven by our house each and every warm night playing happy music to treat Poppy to her first strawberry sundae.

Daddy dressed me and fed me ice cream.
It’s good to be me.
go gently & be wonderful
Posted in celebration, life, Uncategorized | 8 Comments