Category Archives: the anchor

little bird turns five + two of twelve




This weekend we celebrated Poppy’s 5th birthday. Excuse the cliche, but my, oh my, where has the time gone?

On Valentine’s Day we went to watch the Lego Movie and pick up your requested birthday present; a Princess Anna dress.  On your birthday, we had planned to go for a play at the YMCA, but they were calling for freezing rain so we stayed local, picked up some party favours for your guests, made pizza at your request, and watched the Disney Planning DVD that arrived.

On Saturday, you finally got to wear your birthday party dress.  Clementine wore her Elsa outfit and Silas had to be bribed to wear his Kristoff/Hiccup outfit for a photo opp.  You spent the morning twirling and singing “It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY!  It’s my BIIIRTHDAAAY!”,  “Happy Birthday to Poppy!” along with “Let it Goooooo” from Frozen and you could barely keep your fingers out of the frosted blue cake we made.

Soon the house was filled with friends and family dressed as fairies, princes, dinosaurs, unicorns, butterflies, and princesses.  Nana made a bunch of the cutest edible Olafs and brought fresh eggs for everyone to take home along with their party bags.  You were rather confused as to why people brought gifts and asked who they were for.  You were just so over the moon to have your dress and a house full of fun people.  There were a couple impromptu story times and a couple crazy accidents (a cracked rib and a somersault down the stairs, but everyone is recovering well).  Overall, it was a loud and happy time.  It felt like an important party for you; as though you suddenly went from being a baby to a little girl.  It made our hearts swell to see you so happy with your friends.

That night, and the next night,you slept in your party dress.  You finally took it off and wore jammies to bed last night.

  • Your love for your sister grows more intense with each day and you go to great lengths to get a giggle out of her.
  • I had no idea you found a bow tie I mad a few years ago and placed it on your kitty, but I got a good laugh when he sauntered out of the kitty litter box what had to be hours later, looking very dapper indeed.
  • You love reading the Scooby Doo books,  Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch treasury.
  • You love watching Barbie, Equestria Girls, Frozen, How to Train your Dragon, and Clifford.  You love playing with your growing collection of My Little Ponies, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, Merida, Anna, Elsa, and Rainbow Dash.  (There is a sentence I never thought I’d be writing when my parenting adventure began!!)
  • You’ve been singing songs from Frozen nearly non-stop.  When I ask if you want to learn more of the words to it you say “No, you learn it.”.
  • You adore painting.
  • We discovered that your 6 year molar (46) is making an early appearance!
  • Last week, we traced your bodies and then drew onto your bodies whatever you pleased.  You gave yourself chicken pox, because you’re rather obsessed with drawing chicken pox.  You then drew the path your food takes through your body.  You asked me to draw a heart in your chest.
  • You love watching the Disney Planning DVD to see where the princesses and Captain Hook live.

  • You’ve always been one to prefer household objects to toys and I’ve started documenting your rather interesting and entertaining sleeping buddies and quotes.  It has turned into a little project that has been enjoyed on Instagram and Facebook.  Daddy and I decided if we were to ever create a book out of these pictures and conversations it would be called “Bed Folk + Pillow Talk with Silas”.
  • The other night, he wanted to sleep with Poppy. I thought it would be endless playing and giggling, but they fell fast asleep as soon as the lights were out. Silas hates it when the lights first go out and Poppy comforted him saying “it’s ok Silas, you can see me. I’m with you.” I love their love.
  • You really do say the darnedest things.  Here are a few more examples:
  • Silas: I was talking to The Perogie Man.
    Me: Who is the Perogie Man?
    Silas: Um, just the yummiest guy in the world.
  • Poppy: Mom, I want a brown baby.
    Me: Well, we don’t have brown skin so we can’t make a brown baby.
    Poppy: Oh, right. I love our baby.
    Silas: I want some brownies.
  • Me: Do you guys want some milk?
    Silas: Does it have Vitamin D in it?
    Me: Um, yes. I think so.
    Silas: Oh, great! I love Vitamin D.
  • You hate having your hair washed.  The other night you said you didn’t want your hair washed “…because it would turn into a girl’s hair”.  After it was washed, you were distraught that your hair “looked different now”.
  • Just yesterday morning, you woke up early with Daddy and wanted to wear some red mittens and a toque.  Once they were on you exclaimed “Look at me Daddy!  I’m gorgeous!”.
  • There is no jealousy or animosity, but you keep a safe distance from little Clementine.  Every once in a while I see you two sharing a flirty little smile though.
  • You love reading the Scooby Doo books, the Jillian Jiggs Treasury, and the Robert Munsch Treasury.
  • You love watching Equestria Girls, Clifford, How to Train Your Dragon, Clifford, Barbie, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Dinosaur Train.  You play with pretty much anything that isn’t technically a toy, but do enjoy playing imaginative games with Poppy.

  • You remain super happy even though I think your teeth are coming in and you have developed a rash/eczema on your back and tummy.  We are trying to get to the root of the rash, but can’t be sure yet.
  • You don’t often make strange with people.  You seem to take your time watching them carefully and then smile.
  • You usually wake 1-3 times in the night and nurse right back to sleep.
  • We finally captured some giggles on video.  It’s adorable.
  • You’re now wearing 6 month clothes.
  • We’ve started giving you little bits of food (the rash began before food was introduced), but you’re not overly enthused.
  • You love playing with the remote and crinkle-taggy blanket I made years ago.
  • You seem to have super human ab strength and can do a full sit up.




  • Mike saw a big moose sauntering down the middle of the road on his drive home one night.
  • We had our big load of logs delivered.  $875.
  • We’ve begun planning and saving for our Disney Trip 2017.  We are super excited.
  • We’ve begun working through a grade 4 french workbook to see what we remember.
  • Mike continues to enjoy playing his ukulele.
  • I am struggling to find my balance in many aspects of life.
  • I am starting to wonder if my hair will ever stop falling out.
  • In an act of self preservation, I am not allowing myself to even think about spring right now.
  • We are hoping to get a YMCA membership for the family.  It is over an hour away.
  • Our community is lobbying for a recreation center and indoor pool, but I won’t hold my breath.
  • Making plans to get the kids and I out of the house more often throughout the week.  I am thinking one day out locally (Early Years, Kinder Gym, etc), one day out in either Peterborough or Lindsay (Early Years, Chapters story time, YMCA drop in craft or gym time, groceries, YMCA land class etc.), and one day out as a family to do swimming lessons and other errands.
  • I don’t regret moving to the country, but I still struggle with feeling so isolated.
  • A second car is what dreams are made of.
  • In all honesty and if we had our time back, we would have approached my parents about buying a tiny plot on their farm, and built a tiny home so we could help with farm work and they could spend more time with the kids.
  • I often daydream about finding another family to build a tiny house in our woods so we could begin our own intentional village.
  • I made my first batch of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  It was delicious and simple.  A game changer.
  • I still hate meal planning.
  • I crave meditation and jogging.
  • I have grand plans of writing letters and sending care packages to friends and family.
  • I suck at blogging these days.
Also posted in 365 photo project, 52 portraits, celebration, family, feather + anchor, frugal living, homeschooling, homesteading, life, our cabin, photography + writing, Uncategorized, wellness | 4 Comments

hold me steady, beloved anchor of mine

27 weeks 5 days.

The third trimester always seems to bring with it a special kind of emotional tidal wave.  I spend the day counting down to the day I won’t be full to overflowing with a baby, swollen, fat, puffy, charlie horsed, and varicose veined.  I then  lay awake at night worrying about the c-section, the hospital stay, the transition, the sleeping arrangements, the outings, the patience this will all require.  Am I mom enough?!

It all sends me into a tailspin and then I hear an old song that reminds me of who I once was; what I had time for, and I cry.  Big, heaping, noisy,wrenching cries that come all the way up from my toes.  The cleansing kind that scares anyone who witnesses it, but oh! If they only knew how good it felt to cry and shake and feel every hurt leave my body.  Then, as a thunderstorm washes away the humidity, I am ready to love and work again.  But, just as this Ontario summer seems to go, the humidity- thunder cycle repeats itself without much reprieve.

I took the car on Sunday.  Alone.  I had hoped to get a haircut, but she was closed so I went to the drug store instead.  I must have spent over an hour there looking at pink lipstick, moisturizers, and skin care products.  I won’t lie, it was glorious.  I haven’t worn much more than mascara for the past few years because I thought it would bring my skin back to a natural radiance, but the reality was that I just looked tired.  So if some BB cream (I didn’t know that was even a thing, but I have been waiting my entire makeup life for it) and hot pink lip gloss (I am not yet, brave enough for the opaque stuff yet!) make me feel a little more like my old self, then so be it.

Being inside my head is exhausting.  I miss being creative, but can’t seem to find a solution to the lacking.  I love baking, but I also love eating and if I ever intend to feel right in my skin again, I need to strike a balance there.  I enjoyed making jewelry, but it is an expensive hobby and I never really made any money at it anyway.  I would love to get more paid writing gigs and even do some fun/creative content marketing, but,unfortunately, the Clever Girls Collective is not accepting Canadian members and I don’t know where to start.  I enjoy sewing, knitting, and crocheting, but when I am pulled in a different direction every 5 minutes, I can’t focus on counting stitches or any sort of pattern with ease, never mind the cats and Silas running off with the balls of yarn and the dog chewing my needles.  Sewing is a no go what with all that tempting fabric to rumple, toss, and use as capes.  I like painting and it is something I can do with Poppy with minimal frustration, but I have no idea of even the most basic techniques, and despite nearly every woman I am closely related to being a naturally talented artist/painter, I am not sure that I got that gene.  I’d love to take a pottery course again, but know in my heart of hearts that I won’t go in the evenings when I am ready to collapse.  Also, once I start nursing, I won’t be going far anyway.  This isn’t forever.  One day the kids will play and read and imagine hours away quietly.  But, I won’t lie, there are days I feel like my brain might turn to mush and run out of my ears from the boredom I feel.

Today, there is a cool breeze and, though the humidity is at 100%, the sun remains hidden.  My sprouts are ready for eating.  The Postal Service is playing an old song.  I find myself thinking of Autumn (sacrilege, I know, but summer and I are on the outs this year).  The wild roses by the gate have released the most intoxicating, unadulterated rosey scent I have ever enjoyed.  The poppies (the ones I almost gave up on) in the front garden have exploded into life  and I can’t help, but smiles back at their happy, papery faces.

And finally, I am so loved.  Despite all my issues and frustrations and anger, and mad fluttering, and pregnant hot messiness, I am so loved and it makes me weep more tears of gratitude.

Hold me steady beloved anchor of mine for the wild bird in my rib cage will settle her wings again soon.

go gently + be wonderful


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counting my blessings

Today we had planned to take the kids out to the free admission Peterborough Zoo and for ice cream.

Last night we found our car won’t start.

It isn’t the battery.

The car gods must have heard we are planning to trade in our car for a slightly larger family vehicle this Wednesday.

This sort of thing, this feeling of powerlessness and frustration, tends to send me in to a panicky tail spin.

Mike is piling and splitting wood to burn off the worry.

I thought it may be a good idea to count my blessings and compile a short list of what I am grateful for.


  • We are all healthy and well.
  • Two vibrant, happy children and another on the way.
  • Mike’s wonderful job with wonderful benefits.
  • Our house in the country.
  • I get to be a stay at home mom and homeschool.
  • Poppy’s empathy/sympathy and resislient nature, wild hair, and sticky-uppy toes.
  • Silas’ intensity, eyebrow playing, story telling ways.
  • All of our secondhand furniture.
  • Free Slacker Radio (specifically the Billie Holiday and Classic Country Station).
  • A freezer full of organic beef, pork, homemade quiche, and corn.
  • Well stocked cupboards.
  • Our line of credit which saves us in situations such as this.
  • Being able to pay our bills.
  • Our large front gate is finally fixed.
  • The wood pile (that will keep us warm next winter) is slowly getting sawed, split, and piled by this wicked cool husband of mine.
  • Only using 2-3% of our propane tank last winter.
  • Our Hydro bill equal billing is going down.
  • I found a way to shave $411 off our yearly home insurance premium.
  • After much debate and research, we will be getting a white 2013 Nissan Rogue on Wednesday with a fair trade in price for our Versa.
  • New cars, their warranties, and all their new bits and perks.
  • Pachouli perfume.
  • When Silas farts and grins a surprised grin while saying “Oops!  I burped in my pants”.
  • The return of our “honey bird” (hummingbird).
  • Winnie the Pooh movies.
  • The lilacs and peonies and apples that grow around our house.
  • The two chickadees flitting about in the cedar tree as I write this.
  • Nag Champa.
  • I finally reached the bottom of dirty clothes mountain and found that was in fact the horrible smell lingering in our front room…ahem.
  • Our two clothes lines.
  • Every month, we get a little further out of debt…most of the time.
  • Our interest free loans from parents.
  • Friends.
  • That the kids’ adoration and excitement for dandelions exceeds even my own.
  • Being able to (slowly) build a new website and facebook page for Ellenberger Organic Farm.  They help us in so many ways and we enjoy being able to pay them back in tiny tokens such as this…until we can pay them back for real.
  • My anchor.
  • Kind cottaging neighbours who don’t get mad when Huck goes for a swim at their cottage and tears around like an idiot.
  • Our abundance of eggs.
  • Lemon meringue pie.
  • Play sand.
  • Netflix.

I know I am just scratching the surface here, but it does make me feel better.

Now, a no complaining + no whining policy is in effect for the rest of the day.

I swear.


go gently + be wonderful



Also posted in ellenberger organic farm, family, frugal living, homeschooling, homesteading, life, our cabin, wellness | 4 Comments

a birthday

35 never looked so good.
Just imagine all the good things yet to come

We love you.
Plain + Simple.

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fawned friday {the anniversary edition}

01) Happy 9 {dating} Years to my beloved.

02) Some great ways to have fun together.

03) There is just something about these words

04) I know for certain that I am loved like this and will be until.

05) Good advice..

06) This song still takes me all the way back to the beginning.

07) A quiet meal shared.

08) We made up a tale of how we met here, but we really met here.

09) Truth.

10) Us in button form.

{fawned friday inspired by miss fawn}

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the tale of three rings

I think we would have been engaged sooner had Mike believed me the first time I said I didn’t want a traditional diamond engagement ring.  Everything about it seemed ridiculous so it was a no-brainer for me.  Although Mike agreed with all the reasons I was against a diamond, he didn’t want me to feel ripped off or resentful.

Shortly after we began talking about marriage, a patient came into our dental office with a lovely hammered silver and gold saddle ring on and I fell in love.  She explained it had the Hebrew blessings: mazel tov, love, health, and prosperity engraved into the spinner.  I knew I wanted it as an engagement ring so informed Mike that when the time came here was the ring, where to get it (I don’t think the company is still around, but Tinahdee carries similar styles) and my finger size.  Romantic, I know, but he was grateful for the information.  We’ve always been excessively practical.

It was months later when we were celebrating our 2 year dating anniversary in his hometown in Newfoundland.  He was having the ring shipped to his mom’s house, but it didn’t arrive in time.  We spent our anniversary in St. Johns and I was a little irked that he didn’t even get me a card.  He didn’t have a back up plan so I teased him relentlessly not knowing he had the best present planned.  He felt terrible, but couldn’t redeem himself until the ring arrived.  The next day he asked me to go for a walk on the wharf  after supper.  While we stood on the pier, he pulled it out of his pocket, said something sweet that I don’t really remember.  I cried and then we hugged.  He didn’t get down on one knee; I would have giggled if he did.  My mother-in-law later asked if we’d like to borrow a nicer ring until we could afford something better.  We laughed because we were getting used to people thinking we were odd.  We liked it that way.

We didn’t get married until 2 years later.  A few weeks after our engagement I began dental hygiene school and money was tight.  After I finished school we decided that we were tired of being asked when we would be married and discussing the many different ways to get hitched; we only cared about being married to each other; the rest was just details.

We set a date in June 2007; it was a Thursday.  We bought two secondhand gold bands and had them re-sized.  We had them engraved with “tsimhtsiy 2007” or “The Spirit in Me Honours the Spirit in You”.  I still love this ring, but I can’t wear it all the time as my skin gets irritated due to its width.  It is quite bothersome when my hands swell too, which I seem to be prone to.

I wore jeans and he wore shorts.  It was under the poplars and cedars of my mom and step father’s home that we were wed by the wonderful Age Smies. who read a lovely excerpt from The Veleteen Rabbit.  We ate a simple picnic dinner of organic fare provided by my dad and stepmother and cupcakes we had made and decorated the night before.   Everyone went home with a few homemade chocolate chips cookies packaged with care. The only thing we would have changed would be to have given Mike’s mom more notice so that perhaps she could have made it in from Newfoundland.  We just feared if we waited longer it would get away on us; we wanted to keep it simple.

I couldn’t wear either rings during my pregnancies due to water retention, but it wasn’t a huge deal as Mike could never tolerate wearing his for more than a couple hours at a time.  Looking for something I could wear more permanently, I found this set of rings from Tinahdee and admired it for some time.  So when she contacted me about the blog sponsorship, I was over the moon with joy.  I now have something traditional, but a little earthy to wear everyday.  It fits my finger and personality wonderfully, I wear it all the time, and it is just the right width with the two thin bands together.  Finally, a perfect match!

Mike still doesn’t wear his ring so it keeps my other two company in their carved wooden box.  I don’t mind, I know he loves me.


go gently + be wonderful


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for my anchor


To my anchor, with love;

T’was 8 1/2 years ago that I met a sweet boy in the woods; so unassuming, so beardless.  I fed him granola bars and apple juice while he told me bad jokes and of his time spent in Africa.

I had no idea the joy and wonder that sweet beginning held; the children; the road trips; the growth; the tilling; the harvests; the kitchen dance parties; the tears; the belly laughs, the ukulele filled nights; the fires; the beard; the parenting; the stretching; the bending and breaking of rules; the homes; the comforts; the challenges.  I am quite certain that I will look back on this day 8 1/2 years down the road and be just as amazed + grateful for this deep-rooted love.

After all these years I am still drunk with love.

And for the record,  Home is wherever I’m with you.

go gently + be wonderful


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Hello and welcome to my new space.

This has been a most marvelous Christmas gift from Mike as it seems to have tapped into a new vein of inspiration and creativity. Streamlining and organizing has been helpful for mental clutter as well.  I hope you like the changes as much as I do.

Last night, as we visited with friends, I stumbled on my words while trying to describe what I want this new space to be, when he smiled a knowing smile, and nodded.; “less questions; more answers” he said simply. Yes, in four words, he summed it up more eloquently than I could.  The answers, after all, are right here; at the bottom of my coffee mug; in the branches of ancient trees, rocks and land; on the overflowing bookshelves;  scribbled out on scraps of paper in a forgotten moment of inspiration; in the dirty smiling faces of my children; in the stolen touches.

As you can see, I have {once again} changed the blog name.   I decided to go back to the beginning.  Our tale began with a boy and girl who fell in love and began stitching a little life for themselves; one square at a time.  A boy and his feather; a girl and her anchor.  A sweet balance of stability and whimsy; patience and flight; steady calm and mad fluttering.  We have made magic together {namely Poppy + Silas} and now find it is this blessed little life we’ve been stitching all along is what keeps us warm even on the coldest of nights.

So yes, the name has changed because it helps me honour the beginning; respect the journey and look forward to the path winding ahead of us with soft eyes and a grateful heart.

Yes, I think I shall stay here.  I hope you’ll join me.

Be sure to join me again tomorrow when I announce a festive giveaway!


Until then

go gently + be wonderful



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tilling the land

 After pounding a metal stake into our rocky, uneven ground for what felt like forever, Dad and Mike arrived at the conclusion that this was the chosen location for our vegetable garden.  I hate cutting down any sort of tree, but dad comforted me by telling me that none of the trees in a large clump would do well so we cut out the scrub and brush trees to the right to allow the cedar to flourish and clear a path for the sunlight space for the new garden.

After searching our local sawmills and lumber stores for fence posts and being turned off by the high prices for delivery and each piece we thought we may as well use the trees we had already cut for this purpose.  They are a little gnarled and crooked and I am not sure how long they will last in wet ground, but I think it will add a touch of whimsy to our wabi sabi garden.  I have seen four poster beds made from entire trees and envision something similar with chimes and vines growing up and through without blocking too much sun.

We rented a tiller from the local hardware store and Mike was able to tear up the sod and soil through it took a long time and a great deal of muscle, but once he found his rhythm it went smoothly.  The bugs were too intense for the kids and I so I went inside out of pure frustration.  Mike is a freak of nature and though the bugs will bite him, he never gets itchy or swollen.  The kids and I are eaten alive and then driven insane with the itch.

I enjoy witnessing this man come into his own.  I watched him wrestle with the soil while I made supper and tended to the house and children.  I felt useless and impotent as I baked cookies and watched the bugs swarm around him, but I couldn’t help but think he was in flat out, bloody battle with his own demons and insecurities.  I decided he was better off without me there micromanaging and giggling at him.  It took a little longer, but he was able to come to his own conclusions and is better for it in the end.

Then he realized I was out there taking his picture and danced and posed appropriately.

Our efforts to get a garden in on time this year have been slowed by the wet weather, lack of truck or trailer, the kids, and the bugs.  It is another wet and rainy Saturday so we haven’t been able to till in the compost and manure with the tiller; we’ll have to do it by hand.  The post holes need to be dug, the posts need to be cut and placed.  The fence needs to be attached and then we will finally be able to plant.

We feel like we are running in water; expending great amounts of energy, without much progress.  But I am reminded of the quote “Nothing in nature rushes, yet everything is accomplished”.  

Slowly, we are making this land and home our own.  
We intend to be here forever, so we’ve got time.

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within, but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

go gently + be wonderful

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my bearded valentine

Sometimes, between the bathing and reading and playing and soothing we forget to make eye contact.  
We move like a well oiled machine most days.
Like the wheels on a train.
we’re connected;
in unison;
with the same destination;
yet parallel.
But sometimes, like when we’re dancing in the kitchen or sharing a joke, you catch my eye and 
my heart skips a beat.
You still make me weak in the knees.
Today I am remembering the crazy cute couple behind the crazy cute kids
and the small empire my bearded Valentine and I have built with 
old fashioned
Just as is engraved on the wedding bands we never wear:
:: the spirit in me honours the spirit in you ::
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