Category Archives: wellness

back at it

I am back.

What’s new, you ask?

Well, let me see….

Our little cabin is for sale.

We’re moving to a run down, but lovable farmhouse just a hop, skip and a jump away from my dad and step mom’s farm.

More on that later, I promise.

I made the leap and deleted 340+ friends on Facebook in an act of self preservation and in hopes of getting back to a place of creativity and productivity.

I will still be posting often on

the Feather + Anchor page

Instagram

And I can’t see myself ever leaving Pinterest ūüėČ

I am sure there will be more on all of that later too.

I picked up my crochet hook again and taught myself some new moves.

I made a slouchy hat and had so many requests to make them for others that I decided to make and sell a few to do just that.

It feels so good to make pretty things again.

So good that I decided to unearth some beads and challenge myself to more making and story telling.

I will be tucking a pair of the sweetly simple Story Girl Earrings with the first 10 hat orders.

Each pair comes with a little story inspired by the woman who may wear them or the jewels themselves.

I have mentioned before that if I don’t carve out time to make pretty things, I will surely burst.

It feels good to be back.

Tell me what you’ve been up to.

This feels right.

go gently + be wonderful

e.

 

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Also posted in craft, life, our cabin, photography + writing, Uncategorized | Tagged | 16 Comments

you were wild once

 
Within my rib cage, there lives a bear.
And a wolf.
And a bird beating her wings.
 
Sometimes I find myself barely breathing;
Aching to know what it is to run again;
Lithe and wild through the night as the wolves do.
Noiseless. through the trees.
 
To remember again what it felt like to have hollow bones;
Gliding among the clouds and leaves.
 
I am well acquainted with the watchful, thundering bear.
Ample and laden with love and duty,
She lumbered from the mouth of the woods in the moment my first child was born.
I heard echoes of her thunder long before that day though;
Snapping branches behind me,
I knew she was there.
 
In the beginning, I thought the wolf would have to starve.
The bird would have to be tethered.
After all,
if I could only feed one, it would have to be the mama bear.
 
But I see now.
I see they must co-exist in a careful dance of survival.
They must feast together in the light of the moon; in the wake of an arduous day.
 
Because without perspective and breath, there is no endurance.
 
We must show our sons and daughters what it is to nurture the wild bits
 
To say, each night,
Before sleep comes
 
“Stay wild my child. ¬†Don’t let them tame you.”
 
                                                                                                                                                                                                            
 
I am grasping at straws, trying to replace Facebook
I joined Twitter.
I hate it.
I check my Instagram more frequently than necessary.
 
It is unsettling to be so invisible and unheard.
But I am staying with the unease in an attempt to pin it down.
 
Is it the camaraderie I miss?
Or is it the distraction?
Something that allows me to avoid the guilt; the conflict; the issue at hand.
Have I really forgotten how to enjoy my own company;
How to be still and quiet?
 
And before I stir up too much anger and self defense, let me say this:
It isn’t Facebook.
It’s me.
It isn’t like this for everyone.
But it is like this for me.
It all has its place.
I am just trying to figure out its place in my life.
 
Truth be told
I was wavering last night. 
Ready to sign back in and be done with it.
And I may do just that again at some point.
But first,
First, I need to nail it all down.
 
Who are we without the quips and witticism? 
Who remembers us when the constant reminders disappear?
 
Don’t get me wrong.
There have been a great many acquaintances who’ve turned into cherished friends there.
I am talking about something bigger.
Something a little deeper.
 
For me, it is all a distraction.
A distraction from the task at hand
A distraction from the messy house
A distraction from the lingering baby weight
A distraction from the self work
 
A distraction from my light
A distraction from my happiness
A distraction from my wildness
A distraction from the important little bits that make up real life.
 
Instead of looking at my daughter’s face and soft hair while she nurses
I refresh the page and see what has happened in the last ten minutes.
 
I look at pictures of other people’s kids
When my own are growing just beyond the screen.
Faster than light.
 
Instead of apologizing immediately after harsh words were spoken
I forget them and the hurt I’ve left hanging there, to see if anyone liked that funny thing I posted.
 
Is it avoidance of the gritty stuff?
Is it a place where wild hearts sit sedentary?
 
Yes, we all feel connected, but are we really?
And to what?
 
I can’t help but wonder.
 
 
 
go gently + be wonderful
 
e.
Also posted in distilled, family, life, photography + writing, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

feeling good

2|100

awake at 2am to hear the hungry screech of the Great Horned Owl in the tree outside our bedroom window

coffee

sitting under the apple tree

these kids

my poppy girl picking me a lilac and a stalk of rhubarb

our whole bedroom scented with yesterday’s lilacs

spontaneous hugs from my wee boy

afternoon coffee

a good strong breeze keeping the bugs at bay

oh my

so many things

this is going to be a good project

3|100

a husband who let me sleep an extra 45 minutes after another restless night with Clemmie

a little girl who seems to be feeling a touch better

taking steps to break the facebook habit

feeling empowered by that decision

maps of the world, moon, and solar system

meal planning with a sleeping babe on my back and an afternoon coffee

watching this sweet girl bat her ball and the dog dishes around the kitchen like a kitten

old time jazz streaming

poppy’s adoration and silas’ intensity

pay day

baby gates

4|100

making caramel popcorn with the kids at 9am

being at a stage where cooking with kids is enjoyable and full of learning and laughing

two loaves of banana chocolate chip bread

finding paneer at our grocery store

orange is the new black

a pantry and fridge full of good ingredients

feeling light without facebook

5|100

advil

coffee

spontaneous trip to haliburton

watching the kids play, fully clothed, in the lake

ice cream treats

silas fishing with his homemade fishing rod in the fountain

it feels an awful lot like summer

6|100

a challenging day, but…

more purging and tidying

laundry on the line

forgiveness

all three babes giggling under the blanket parachute

a tidy upstairs

the kids showing interest and progress in reading and writing

a working lawn mower

hugs

poppies, peonies, and irises getting ready to show their pretty faces

raspberry promises

7|100

hearing the crow swearing at a most brazen little fox lingering at our chicken coop this morning

(i may make a terrible farmer, but i do love foxes)

sitting on quilts under the trees

reading three whole pages of my book

fire flies exist

kitchen sink baths after a messy, spinachy lunch

the waterlogue app

wild strawberries and buttercups

windows and doors wide open and a heavenly breeze

silas ate spinach knowingly

saving the dragonflies from the inside windows with the kids

poppy’s drawings and silas’ stories

homemade lo mein

Letting go of Facebook feels right for me.
I miss aspects of it.
Mostly being able to spurt out tiny sound bites when the mood strikes.
And the commiseration of other mothers.
And the good people.
But the thing with facebook is that you can’t separate the wheat from the chaff.
 
I don’t miss the anxiety that bubbles up when people post about important, but overwhelming topics.
Radon
Secondary drowning
Car seat deaths
Climate change
The danger of television and smart phones
You know, imminent doom and the like.
 
Like I said, the point of the unplugging wasn’t to leave the internet completely, but to use it more wisely.
#100happydays has been helping with that too.
It forces me to break the habit of ungratefulness.
Our days are still filled with frustrations and annoyances,
but they are also never lacking in something to be happy about.
 
I feel like spending some time in this space again.
I feel creativity just beginning to bubble up again.
I feel good and light and empowered by having and doing and refreshing a little less.
 
I feel like I am finding my way back to center.
And that feels good.
 
Come follow me on Instagram, friends.
 
go gently + be wonderful
 
e.
Also posted in #100happydays, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

#100HappyDays – Day One

 
 

Lilacs

A sweet breeze

Good rain

A freshly mowed lawn

Watching two pretty hipster girls help a turtle cross the road in front of our house

Homemade pizza

 
There are so many things.
Too many things.
 
All pulling at us
Demanding our time
Our admiration 
Weighing us down
Distracting us from our own happiness.
 
That is clear to me now.
 
I’d like to retreat.
To take a breath and remember what it felt like to live quietly.
To remember what it was like to live each moment without a screen or shares or likes.
To nail down the insatiable need to be heard, understood, seen, thought of, or defined.
To parent our children with guts and heart and without the articles, studies, and blogs telling us we’re doing it wrong.
To wander out the door without considering the story or photos ops.
To spend hours reading a good book and cheering for our own wins.
To cook good food and share it with people rather than Instagram.
To see what may come out of the silences we allow.
And yet I am terrified too.
 
But OH!
 
All the hours spent refreshing and checking in
minutes and moments we can’t get back.
 
All the jewelry I will never wear
gathering dust on the dresser
 
All the skinny clothes
taunting me from the dark corners of the closet.
 
All the books I will never read
begging to be set free
 
All the baby clothes with scents and stains and memories embedded in their fibers
Sit, musty, in the basement when they could be keeping another babe clothed and warm.
 
All the broken, chipped, mangled, stained pieces I feel so compelled to hold onto.
As though my life depends upon it.
 
With a sigh, I let it all go.
I release it into the wild world and hope that it warms a body, decorates a nest, or brings a simple joy to someone else.
I welcome the space it leaves behind.
 
 
I am a collector and a story teller with a gypsy heart.
It’s true.
But I am trying to reconcile the two in hopes of finding
peace
art
and the incredible lightness of being.
 
 
go gently + be wonderful
 
e.
 
 
Also posted in distilled, life, photography + writing, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

3 of 12

Poppy

  • You’ve started to take it upon yourself to pick out your clothes for the day and proudly prancing downstairs to show us your choice of attire. ¬†It is often on backwards, but the colours almost always coordinate.
  • You are going through a rather new phase as you become more a girl than a baby. ¬†You put your hands on your hips a lot and are trying your hand at defiance.
  • You continue to adore Clementine and get lots of smiles out of her.
  • You continue to love painting and were inspired to paint some flowers. ¬†We picked a flower book off the shelf and you spent most of an afternoon painting flowers.
  • You are quite enamored with your friends M and N. ¬†You draw pictures of them and told me they are your sisters. ¬†It’s lovely to watch you form bonds.
  • One morning you informed me that “Princesseses are so brave, and soo strong (said while flexing), and sooooo smart!”
  • You spent the better part of two days decorating a cardboard box with yogurt labels, glitter, glue, paper bits, twine, tennis balls, spoons, lids, and other random bits. ¬†Then your dolls moved in and had a party.
  • When I put makeup on the other day, you exclaimed that I looked like a Bratz Doll. ¬†Oh boy.
  • The other morning while Silas melted down, you donned my sunglasses, laid down on my yoga mat in a bean of sun with your arms folded behind your head and legs crossed while saying “Awwwwww, what a beeeeeautiful day!”. ¬†Even though you’re more defiant than usual, you are still pretty easy going.

 

Silas

  • One of the most exciting developments is that you peed on the toilet for the first time on March 10th! ¬†Since then you have been potty training and wearing big boy undies. ¬†You have had two full days (going on three?!) with no accidents, consistently wake up dry, and tell us when you need to go. ¬†We are all thrilled.
  • In the past few days, you’ve started showing interest in drawing things like treasure maps, lions, dinosaurs and even some letters!
  • Silas is already planning for his 4th birthday party…in September.
    Me: Who do you want to invite to your birthday party?
    Silas: The boys.
    Me: Why not the girls?
    Silas: Because they will ruin my party and eat all my cake.
  • Silas just woke up from a late afternoon nap. When I asked if he had a good sleep he nodded and said:
    “I had a dream about a super hero who saved a guinea pig and took him back with his mudder and daddy.”
    Then his tone changed to sadness “…and then I had a dream that I had no home and no daddy”
    I asked if that made him sad and he brightened, looked around, and gestured all around him “But this is mine home and daddy will be home soon.”
  • You make all sorts of demands¬†requests for costumes, and things. ¬†Roll the paper up like a map, build me a ship/car/truck/tiger/etc, make me a doggy’s tail, make me a mermaid tale, etc. ¬†Most often it is ALL WRONG. ¬†We’re working on the “I can’ts”.
  • The other morning we had the 90’s station playing on Songza and you broke into spontaneous dance and air guitar. ¬†You always make us laugh.
  • You don’t often play with actual toys. ¬†If I am ever missing a slotted spoon or spatula, I ask you first regarding its whereabouts…in fact, as I write this I can hear you clanging about in the kitchen making a robot face out of lids and butter knives…oh wait, now you’ve donned your pith helmet and are digging dinosaur bones with a ladle and spatula.

Clemmie

  • You’ve been sitting up on your own.
  • You continue to smile easily, but this week you have been hollering wildly until you’re in someone’s arms.
  • Our days have been demanding, but you’ve been waking less in the nights.
  • You are wearing 6-12 month clothes.
  • You tend to like your food with flavour such as cinnamon or thyme.
  • You love mushed brown beans.
  • Your hair continues to grow wilder by the day.
  • You are Daddy’s biggest fan when it comes to his ukulele playing. ¬†You often cry when he stops playing.

Mama

  • I’ve cleaned off the desk by the wood stove to make space for the sewing machine and have high hopes of sewing a few of these pinafore dresses for me,¬†as well as a couple reversible pinafores for the girls. ¬†Like I said, high hopes.
  • Brainstorming ideas for article submissions.
  • Dreaming of a small addition to our small porch with a screened in area so we can sit outside in bug season.
  • Wondering when Old Man Winter will loosen his grip. ¬†We are still buried in at least three to four feet of snow.
  • Wondering if I should even be posting this stuff on my blog.
  • Thinking a lot about breaking up with all the stuff and and finding balance in the online world.
  • Project333 seems like the perfect place to start.
  • I find myself fantasizing about calling 1-800-GOT-JUNK people and starting fresh.
  • Finding great comfort and clarity in Buddhist/Zen philosophy when it comes to daily work and the “point of pointlessness”.
  • Looking forward to doing more cooking with the kids each day/week.
  • I am compiling a playlist for jogging.
  • As the saying goes, “I was uncool before uncool was cool”, but I love me some catchy dance music. ¬†This will be on said jogging list.
  • We’ve been making smoothies full of spinach and chia seeds and the kids gobble them up. ¬†It helps me stay calm when they refuse to eat veggies at meal time.

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Also posted in 52 portraits, craft, family, frugal living, homeschooling, life, photography + writing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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, the anchor, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

project 12

Last year, I attempted project 52, but failed miserably when the nausea hit. ¬†This year I thought I’d like to try again but for monthly records rather than weekly. Why? ¬†Because, even when you think you’ll remember the daily sweetness forever, you forget. ¬†I thought I might even include a section for tidbits of my own month.

So here goes…

Poppy

Poppy:

  • Next month, you turn the big Oh-Five and you want to have a strawberry cake with blue icing and candles and pizza. ¬†You’ve told me who you’d like to invite. ¬†You want a Frozen themed party complete with an Elsa dress because we went to the “movie house” and watched it before Christmas and you’ve been quite taken ever since.
  • You’ve been writing your name for quite some time now (a year maybe?), but have just started showing interest in writing other letters this month. ¬†You struggle with “S”, but do a really nice job and seem to be a natural, but begin to balk as soon as I ask for more.
  • Last night you got your 4-6 year vaccination. ¬†Daddy and I contemplated the best way to prepare you for it and decided to tell you two days in advance. ¬†We also told you it would hurt, but by the time you said “ouch” it would be over. ¬†You freaked at first, but got braver as time passed. ¬†When the time came, you were so brave and then ran out to tell Daddy and Silas “I got a shot!”. ¬†You were very proud of yourself.
  • You continue to go to bed late. ¬†Sometimes you stay up until we go to bed and other nights you tell us when you’d like to go to bed earlier. ¬†You sleep through the night and wake between 7am to 9am.
  • You still refuse to eat veggies, but you LOVE fruits, meats, bread, and dairy. ¬†We don’t heavily restrict junk food, but when you’ve had enough you stop and tell us you’ve had enough.
  • You love playing with your dolls and ponies.
  • Back in the fall, you had a bad cough and would wake in the middle of the night EVERY night coughing like crazy. ¬†Daddy would take you downstairs, he would give you a steamy bath, then you’d eat a fruit juice freezie and watch Sponge Bob until the coughing had settled. ¬†It was a nightly ritual for a couple weeks. ¬†Now, most nights before you go to sleep, you ask Daddy to take you downstairs for this little ritual. ¬†Which makes me hope you forever remember those midnight dates with Daddy.
  • Your favourite colour is pink.
  • You love having your nails painted.
  • You HATE having your hair done.
  • You love drawing people and sometimes animals. ¬†You don’t draw backgrounds or the sky yet, but you’ve begun drawing bodies instead of just heads. ¬†You also like to draw the universe which I find so interesting. ¬†Your preferred medium seems to be paint, but it always ends with water and paint pooling and drawn EVERYWHERE including on your brother so we have taken a little break from that. ¬†It may be time to get some more.
  • You don’t really care what you wear as long as it is comfortable.
  • You are madly in love with Clementine. ¬†When she fusses, you run to her and comfort her by saying “It’s okay, I’m right here. ¬†Poppy’s here. ¬†I’m not a monster, I won’t hurt you. ¬†We’re all right here.”
  • You fidget like crazy. ¬†You bounce everywhere you go.
  • You love My Little Pony Equestria Girls and can often be heard singing the cafeteria song. ¬†This is the song that has inspired you to enjoy spontaneous dancing again.

Silas

  • You are 3 and a half.
  • You never miss an opportunity to make us laugh.
  • You notice all the little details (you’re a lot like Mama). ¬†The new bedding, the new plates, the tiny piece missing from your cookie or cracker, the new welcome mat.
  • You love watching and being a “Hero” and “saving he day!”.
  • You also love having your nails painted.
  • You are incredibly particular about what you wear and especially, incredibly particular about what jammies you wear. ¬†Your favourite pair are the Halloween ones Nana bought you and Poppy two years ago. ¬†They are full of holes, the feet have been cut off and are threadbare, but they are still your first pick.
  • You are an early to bed, early to rise type. ¬†You’ve begun telling us when you’re tired and we take you upstairs to your big boy bed, tuck you in and leave the light on where you fall asleep. ¬†You’ve been known to forgo the evening snack of ¬†frozen yogurt so you can go to bed.
  • You love fruit and are only slightly more adventurous with veggies. ¬†You will eat carrots and corn, so that is something. ¬†You don’t like meat.
  • I often find you climbing the counters and eating butter.
  • You refuse to draw on paper and instead prefer finding bits of charcoal from the woodstove to doodle on our walls, the large TV unit we made, the wood box, the windows, etc. ¬†You still aren’t drawing people or things though you did draw one “person” on the floor one day with charcoal.
  • We went to the doctor’s office for Poppy and Clementine’s vaccinations last night and, even though you weren’t even getting a check up, flipped out when we got there. ¬†You screamed and clung to Daddy in the waiting room until Poppy came out to tell you proudly that she had her shot. ¬†Hopefully you don’t do that when it is your turn.
  • You still refuse to potty train. ¬†You will sit on or stand by your little potty and make pretend pee sounds, but have not had success yet.
  • You enjoy snuggling by the fire with one or both dogs in the morning and throughout the day. ¬†You still play with your “freckle” (eyebrow) or that of the dogs.
  • When Poppy kisses you, you say in a swoony sort of voice “Oooooh, she’s soooo awesome!”.
  • You hate having your hair cut, but have no trouble cutting your own. ¬†Sigh.
  • You have a habit of carrying around and sleeping with random objects and toys. ¬†Last night it was a red balloon, a few nights ago it was a brass apple and a calculator, a few weeks ago it was an old caulking gun. ¬†Other items include fly swatters, strainers, wooden spoons, forks, a whisk, the Hulk and Ninja Turtle toys, a pastry brush, the soup ladle, a book by the Dalai Lama because it was your cookbook, another book about Islam because the author looks like Harry Potter, a broken tire pump. ¬†It is kind of poetic.
  • You can count up to ten items (sometimes 12) and know most of your letters, numbers, colours, etc. ¬†You have no problem remembering names and details about animals and love dinosaurs.
  • 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

Clementine

 

  • Oh my. ¬†You are sweet. ¬†Daddy thinks you’re the most smiley of all our sweet things.
  • You settled into a night time routine fairly quickly and effortlessly. ¬†You fall asleep while nursing and then usually wake once or twice per night. ¬†Some nights it is four times, but you always go back to sleep quickly. ¬†It’s a blessing.
  • You are the tiniest of our babies and still fit in some three month outfits. ¬†Your brother and sister only fit into those for a few weeks if at all.
  • You never shed your baby hair and you were born with a lot of it. ¬†I am quite certain it will be curly just like Mama’s and Poppy’s.
  • You are a very content baby. ¬†Sometimes I will get caught up in doing something and suddenly wonder where I left you. ¬†You’re usually in your exersaucer just watching the world or you’ve fallen asleep in your play pen though I like to hold you as often and as long as your brother and sister will allow before they make requests of me.
  • When you’re tired you will often start to babble loudly and you have fallen asleep in your exersaucer.
  • You look at everything with wide eyes and usually a smile.
  • You have a knack for knowing when I am just about to sit down to yummy meal and demand to be fed yourself.
  • You made strange for the first time a couple of weeks ago when friends visited. ¬†It may have been his hat. ¬†You did it again the other morning when Daddy sat in front of you without his glasses on.
  • You got your first shots last night. ¬†After the first one you recovered quickly, but the second one required a big hug and nursing to calm you down.

Mama

 

  • You’re tired and stir-crazy, but madly in love.
  • You are itching for change so you did a DIY ombre on your hair. ¬†It wasn’t a disaster, but you wouldn’t mind a professional cut and colour…even though you have trust issues with hair dressers
  • You have shopping dreams.
  • You fantasize about a second car.
  • You’ve been wearing the same jogging pants since…Monday?
  • You suddenly enjoy painting your fingernails and feel a twinge of guilt every time you do it.
  • Reeses peanut butter cups are rocking your socks currently. ¬†As well as the Ruffles ranch chip dip (AKA creamy crack).
  • Nearly everyday you wonder if you should throw in the towel and send the kids to school, but then something wonderful happens and you remember why you wanted to do this in the first place. ¬† This is hard, but worth it.
  • Honestly, homeschooling three kids under 5 is a lot like “teaching” stoners with a wicked case of the munchies.
  • You’ve lost 7lbs of the overall 40lbs you’d like to lose by following old school Weight Watchers. ¬†You feel better already. ¬†You know it isn’t rocket science, but it gives you the structure you need. ¬†Don’t give up on yourself.
  • You find it hard not to turn into a drill sergeant when teaching Poppy how to write letters. ¬†She is good at it, but she needs to go at her own pace. ¬†Don’t take the fun out of it.
  • You would love to find a sustainable way to make a little extra cash for the household each month. ¬†Writing would be ideal, but you seem to have a case of writer’s block.
  • You are teaching yourself how to cook Indian food and enjoy learning how to layer all those decadent spices.
  • You’d like to re-learn French…if only you had appreciated the daily french lessons from grade 4 through 10. ¬†Sigh.
  • You’d really like to get a large, meaningful, family tattoo on your shoulder, but feel a big twinge of guilt when you think about that as well.
  • You’re still learning that you get to do this homesteading, parenting, homeschooling gig however you feel is right and good. ¬†You don’t need to paint yourself into a corner.
  • You’re getting better at trusting your gut when it comes to parenting.
  • You’ve decided to plan a once in a lifetime, balls to the wall family Disney World/Harry Potter trip in 2017 by doing the 52 week savings plan. ¬†You’re ridiculously excited.
  • It took you the better part of a day to write this post (between all the mama jobs).

 

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Also posted in 52 portraits, celebration, family, homeschooling, life, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

soul fever

To be honest, I don’t know where to begin.

Life is good.

That seems as good a place as any.

We are blessed in so many ways. ¬†I am blessed with a wide eyed, smiley babe who warms my heart and smells ever so sweetly, a fiercely brilliant little boy who doesn’t miss a beat or a chance to make us laugh, and an intensely loving, super adaptable, whip smart little girl who will turn 5 next month. ¬†I am blessed to be madly in love with a bearded husband who is ever-present and, after 10+ years, still makes me weak in the knees. ¬†We are blessed with a warm home in the country, freezers and cupboards full to overflowing with food, warm duvets, hot coffee and tea, wonderful friends and family, perfect health, good benefits, a great job, chortling chickens, playful and ever tolerant pets, good books lining our shelves, and a toasty woodstove to and dry our clothes and roast marshmallows by.

And yet.

And yet, I seem to be suffering some sort of social media induced soul-fever. ¬†An overwhelming brain fog. ¬†It isn’t postpartum depression/anxiety. ¬†The fog and fever was far worse when I was pregnant than it is now.

You see, I feel it is brought on by spending too much time online. ¬†I love Pinterest, I do. ¬†It is like crack for this creative, visually driven girl. ¬†I don’t buy magazines for the pretty pictures anymore because I know I can find it all and more on Pinterest. ¬†It is loaded with inspiration and ideas and homeschooling resources. ¬†Hell, it was stumbling on this pin that inspired me to actually write this very post! ¬†But I find myself constantly comparing our humble little cabin to the perfect homes I see online and forget to be happy with what we have. ¬†Facebook connects me to the people I miss as well as to the people I’ve never even met in the real world. ¬†I am grateful for all the people, kind advice, and heated debates I have acquired and participated in via Facebook, but I can’t deny that it also gives me a false sense of a social life. ¬†Both of these sites have their merits, but they also fill my brain with anxiety-inducing posts and pins about the dangers of wearing deodorant or bras at night or hot dogs, and radiation making its way across the sea and land, and house fires, and car seat fails, and kidnappings, and missing children, and how TV rots your brain, and vaccine fear mongering, and conspiracy theories, and allergies, and other people being stellar parents, and crafts we will never do, and 4 year olds reading, and perfectly pretty houses and paint colours, and luscious hair, and thinspiration, and clean eating, and too good to be true recipes, and really funny memes, and how to organize and clean, and be more productive and yell less.

And then there are the pictures and videos we take and post. ¬†Though I love having a record of the daily and monumental events, it seems kind of pointless when you weren’t fully present in the original moment, no? ¬†Louis CK says it better than I ever could. ¬†This became very apparent to me when Poppy had her ears pierced a couple of months ago. ¬†Like an idiot, I was trying to capture the video (for Mike who was at work and unable to be present) and was still fumbling with the phone while my mom swooped in to comfort her after the deed was done. ¬†It should have been me.

All this to say, I am not quite sure how to find the balance. ¬†I don’t blog much anymore because the world is full of bloggers saying so much of the same and I honestly don’t know that I have much more to bring to the table. ¬†I would be lying if I said I weren’t struggling with the feelings of isolation since moving to the country. ¬†I miss being able to walk downtown with children in strollers and strapped to my chest in order to get some social interaction and window shopping in. ¬†The trails are too deep for little ones to navigate for any length of time and the highway we live on is not suitable for afternoon meanderings. ¬†The days are so very long when we are left without a car. ¬†That is the only thing we would change about our move to the country, but it is financially out of the question for now.

Social media fits conveniently into a day with 3 children under 5.  10 minutes here between snack demands requests, bum wiping, clean ups, homeschooling, and meals.  30 minutes there while the baby nurses and falls asleep on me.  Homschooling consists mostly of free play mixed with 15 minute stints of writing our letters, drawing pictures, reading books, and using the iPad.  To be honest, the days feel long and aimless for me.  Though it is a perfect pace for young children, I crave productivity and structure for myself.  I read books and attempt to crochet, and rearrange furniture but my mind wanders and my attention is pulled away.  My days are fragmented.  So the pace of the internet fits my day, but it also drains me.  My mind feels an awful lot like our living room; disheveled and lacking focus.

We recently listened to an interesting Freakonomics podcast about parenting. ¬†The conclusion was that obsessive, over-scheduled parenting (that seems very much the norm on social media) is pointless and the best thing we can do for our children is to be happy and kind. ¬†Makes sense, no?! ¬†Seriously, I want to tattoo those words on my forehead. ¬†We don’t do too many activities or crafts with a set outcome because it inevitably makes feelings of inadequacy, frustration, and impatience bubble up in me. ¬†I am driven by the outcome while the kids are in the moment and it rarely ends well. ¬†I know my kids are far better off with a basket full of crayons, paper, scissors and glue to use at their own discretion than any Pinterest craft and a results-driven mama. We do extracurricular activities because they’re enjoyable and provide the social interaction we crave and need. ¬†The path of least resistance and genuine inspiration really is the best and happiest path with these tender ages.

I have no answers.  Perhaps it is a little bit of precisely this type of mourning mixed with a wicked case of Pinterestitis and social media fever.  Whatever it is I find myself aching for depth and joy and inner work; a lonely run, and finding my breath and pose on a yoga mat, and scrawling my messy handwriting across pages of a forgotten journal; belly laughs and company who stay late into the night, and window shopping; boundaries and limits and wild things.

We’ve become quick masters of self editing. ¬†I find myself wishing I could remember what it felt like to just be…(Once again, Louis CK nails it)¬†¬†. ¬†To be alone with ourselves and our thoughts without comparison, input or labels.

I shall leave you with this as I ponder my next step. (source unknown)


go gently + be wonderful

e.

 

Also posted in family, feather + anchor, homeschooling, life, Uncategorized | 16 Comments

foraging

Perhaps it is because we miss having a garden (some may even call it guilt for not putting in a garden). ¬†Or it could be that it appears to be a bumper year for all the things that grow. ¬†Or perhaps still, it is the most delightful warm Autumnal weather we’ve been experiencing since the deadly July heatwave. ¬†Whatever the reason,¬†we find ourselves pulled into the woods and trails in search of berries this summer more than ever.

Of course, we made batch upon batch of tasty apple butter in our first summer here, but the jars that weren’t eaten right away went bad. ¬†There were a number of things we could have done wrong. ¬†We could have tightened the rings too much, I am quite certain I heated the lids more than once, I washed the jars, but didn’t sterilize them, and lastly, I didn’t “process” them in a boiling bath after sealing. ¬†We will do it differently this year with the help of Ashley English’s book¬†¬†(in fact, her whole Homemade Living Series¬†is a wonderful resource) and some diligence.

In June we picked and froze 15 quarts of organic strawberries from Ellenberger Organic Farm and made a wonderfully large jar of garlic scape pesto from the large bag of scapes they graced us with.  I made it just like a basil pesto and we ate it over pasta with tomatoes.  With the leftover scapes, I blended them in the food processor with olive oil and froze them in ice cube trays for cooking throughout the year.  It made about 35 cubes.

We own about 4 acres, but are surrounded by about 80 more which is owned by a lovely couple who only camp here a few time per year. ¬†I have fond memories of picking the abundant blueberries while we visited Mike’s home of Newfoundland, so we were quite excited to find a couple handfuls along the shore of the pond a week or two ago. ¬†They were no comparison to Newfoundland’s berries, but it was a bit like finding treasure.

We have both pin cherries and choke cherries here as well, but this is the first year they have produced like this. ¬†Chokecherries don’t taste like much when eaten off the branch and the seed apparently contains cyanide, but when made into a jelly, they remind me of childhood and fall. ¬†We were able to pick 3 quarts from the two small bushes behind the house and made 12 125 ml jars plus a pint. ¬†We went by the book this time and they all sealed successfully. ¬†We have plenty more on the property so another batch or two may be in order. ¬† I think they will make nice Christmas gifts this year.

While picking the chokecherries we noticed crazy amounts of blackberries (or what we assume are blackberries) growing fairly low to the ground on what we assume to be young bushes. ¬†We are a little unsure now as we found two types while we foraged for our dessert yesterday afternoon. ¬†In abundance, we found the smaller berries low to the ground, but then we happened upon some larger/taller bushes with the more characteristic shape and size of blackberries. ¬†Both taste similar, and both types came off with the rasp inside (unlike a black or red raspberry where the rasp is left on the bush). ¬†No matter how you slice it, they tasted decadent, still slightly warm, atop our Kawartha Daily french vanilla ice cream. ¬†The kids were in their glory despite the mosquitoes and scratchy bracken that was often taller than them. ¬†Berry loving Poppy was especially happy to pick to her heart’s content which she quietly did while Silas made sticks into swords, put rocks in his basket, and saved himself the tedious task of picking the berries himself and thieved from mama and daddy’s baskets. ¬†We covered a lot of ground and spent over an hour for only a quart and a half, but it was fun and we figure we’ll be going out each night for our dessert until they dry up.

The apples look a bit small, but oh so abundant and just beginning to blush. ¬†We’ve purchased a clamping apple peeler, corer, and slicer in preparation for our apple-filled fall.

So though we may not have a garden this year, and though we’ve only made it to one farmer’s market this season, we are still enjoying the fruits of the season and we’re ever so grateful that so much of it has been found in our own backyard.

go gently + be wonderful

e.

Also posted in celebration, earth's best sundays, ellenberger organic farm, family, frugal living, homeschooling, homesteading, life, our cabin | 1 Comment

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

e.

Also posted in family, life, photography + writing, the anchor, Uncategorized | 8 Comments