Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother (6), Little Brother (5), Sis (3), and various household critters...

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Winter Remnants

They say that Spring has arrived. I suppose the heaps of snow do appear to be gradually receding. I know that this has not been a popular winter with most, but I found the constant blanket of fresh snow to be somewhat refreshing, compared to the slush and grey that so often characterises our winter season. Four straight months of snow cover is highly unusual here, however, as there are typically a few thaws throughout.

Living outside the city has its advantages in winter...the scenery was beautiful this year, and I soaked it in on my drives, and while gazing out of the windows at the back of our house:




 



Some days on the road were an adventure...the highways near our new home are more open to the wind, with this result:

 

I was recently close enough, at last, to some wild turkeys to snatch a couple of photos before they wandered away from the roadside:


 The feeder beyond our sunroom has been full of activity - woodpeckers, cardinals, blue jays, sparrows, chickadees, and others have enjoyed snacking there:


And Motet, turning 18 within the next few days, has enjoyed watching them:


 

We enjoyed the company of friends for brunch on a couple of occasions during February - I do hope to host more in our new home. I attempted peanut butter balls for the first time, and Kitch made a treats tag to go with them.

 

Two weeks ago I had the great honour of attending with a friend as she gave birth to her second little guy. He obliged by being born in the middle of the night on a weekend, between Geoff's shifts and my work schedule...I drove an hour, and arrived an hour before he made his entrance, stayed for a while afterward, then drove home to be with our kids before Geoff headed in for his 7:00am shift!


We are getting a little antsy for more-spring-like weather around here, although I try to save actual complaining for  middle-of-July heat waves! In the meantime, a few little organizational projects, indoor house projects, work, church, and other business gives us (more than) plenty with which to occupy ourselves.

Friday, 3 January 2014

On the 9th Day of Christmas...

Our first Christmas holidays in our new home are nearing the end...although despite working today, I intend to count the next 3 days (which includes the weekend, and my usual Friday off) as extended holiday time.

As always, time flew by between Christmas and New Year's. It didn't help that quite a few hours and much mental preoccupation ensued following a nip by a stray kitten (which we ended up euthanizing due to illness...after which we also found a dead raccoon in the workshop where the kitten had been living...and then realized that perhaps I should have started post-rabies vaccinations, which I did last weekend...thankfully due to holiday slow-downs, the kitten was still available for testing and I don't need to finish the vaccination schedule, but I digress...).

Geoff and I obtained some much-needed quiet and reading time January 1, when my parents offered to take the kiddos out of town for the day, to an annual extended family gathering.

As has become my pattern, the some highlights of our seasonal story will be told in photos...beginning with a hint of the teal and red combo I ended up using throughout the main floor (an extension of painting the front doors turquoise, and then bringing it into the house, alongside my more traditional red-based colour scheme) - I ended up enjoying it quite a bit!


The master bedroom is pictured below...we would love to do a fresh mid-century look in our room, but have an antique set we quite like (that has significance to us), and were just given the antique sewing machine, which at least temporarily filled a conspicuous empty place in the room. 

 

 We were a little concerned about furnishing the living room, in the centre of the house, given that the post-moving budget limit has been reached on more essential purchases. Less than two weeks before Christmas it occurred to me that we could likely find some super-cheap used furniture online to fill the space for now...and ended up with a vintage set in pristine condition, which we really like. Coordinating accent chairs were found through another online classified, and ta-da - we're all set up for $150.00.


 We haven't had much time at all to enjoy the view from the sunroom (other than glancing that direction was we pass through the foyer going between the kitchen/family room and bedrooms), but this is where Geoff and I spent a good chunk of time with our books on January 1 - ahhh.


 It was fun decorating the new place for Christmas. Once we build massive built-in book/display cases in the living room (flanking the piano), I can de-clutter the mantle, jam cupboard, and piano in future years to keep things a little simpler.


 Mesmerizing for all ages...the spinning candle holder...


My main gift from Geoff - a hand carved nativity (for which he built the stable backdrop and a hefty rustic wood storage box with individual compartments, that should be put on display itself).


Another gift from family...the year of the Nativity...

 

The holidays are truly not complete without Mom's pies (particularly the apple ones). I know everyone doesn't agree, but the apples are cooked down to a soft texture...and of course, it is best served with a liberal dose of the brown sugar sauce intended for the Christmas pudding...


Just before Christmas, Geoff and I celebrated our 15th anniversary...for the third year in a row (yes, that means each year since having kids) we did not get away overnight, as was always our tradition. We nearly did, but trying to find a B&B last minute, just before Christmas, is apparently not an easy task. We did, however, go to dinner and a movie, which was a novelty in and of itself.

 

I really, really want my kids NOT to believe in Santa (I will actually have way more fun with the whole Santa thing once that is the case), but long-standing family traditions prevail...this year we even neglected to leave out Santa's goodies, but he found them anyway and left us his usual note! Not much I can do about that...

 

 I hardly ever skate, and can't do anything fancy, but have always wanted a good pair of figure skates (and my current ones, while serviceable, are going on 25 years old now). Geoff found me these lovely ones, and I look forward to breaking them in...Now that he works at our local arena, I really have no excuse to neglect regular outings...


Merry Christmas (it's only the 9th day, after all, and we haven't reached Orthodox Christmas quite yet) and a beautiful New Year to you!

(I leave you with a picture of our formerly live tree - originally standing about 20 feet tall, hacked off at about 12 feet, and finally cut down to 9.5 feet, with nearly a 6-foot span. They said we could have anything left in the field for $35).


Friday, 13 December 2013

This is What Happens...




You know those times you decide to do something festive AND support family in the process? Like attending your niece's high school Christmas concert? With three youngsters in tow? When the afternoon has been a steady downward descent into a parenting disaster zone?

Of course, you attend, because you said you would. And because it is the festive season. And you want to support your niece.

Then your 3 year-old has a tantrum during the third song, and you carry her out as quickly as possible while trying to avoid falling headfirst down the super-steep auditorium steps that are of varying depths and have no railing.

So you are killing time in a high school hallway with a child who has just been screaming, "Let me go!" and "I want to ride the alligator [elevator]!!!", wondering if you dare show your face in the auditorium again (and how long it will be before you are back out, in the hallway).

And as you wait a bit longer, observing your child's degree of emotional regulation to determine her readiness to try the concert again, you decide to  peruse the wares on display for the silent auction. You have never before bid on silent auction items, but the knitted wool ladies socks, shawl, and baby sweater catch your eye. The starting bid is low, so you figure you may has well have a go at it. Then, in your reluctance to re-enter the auditorium with a potentially volatile little human, you browse some more and end up bidding (half in amusement) on these:
  
Farm Girl Boyfriend Cap

http://www.qcsupply.com/farm-girl-boyfriend-cap.html







All Farm Girl Straw Hat

http://farmboybrand.myshopify.com/collections/caps-farm-girl/products/all-farm-girl-straw-hat

After enduring an intermission that included children (literally) trying to climb the grooved auditorum walls, jumping down sets of steps (from the highest point - seriously, the steepest steps ever), running and shrieking, and performing other antics involving kicking siblings' seats, chewing gum picked up off of the floor, flipping seats, climbing steps and seats (and falling off), kicking the backs of others' seats, whining and crying (again), and more...at least you end up with the satisfaction of coming home with these hats.

And darn it all, these hats will be worn come summer, despite one's husband intending to have a good laugh every time one of them is sported.

Laughter is good medicine, so I'm doing him a favour.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Transitions

Autumn has advanced steadily through November, with the landscape telling of winter to come.

After moving from our home of 13 years in early October, we have spent the past weeks adjusting, setting up house, and trying to beat the cold and snow with some necessary outdoor projects - the first of which were gates and finishing touches on existing fencing, to secure the hounds. We added a safety cover to the pool - an added measure of peace of mind (especially after one hound fell in while I was standing beside her keeping watch). A separate pool fence is in progress, but heavy snow yesterday will put that project on hold for the moment. Snow here doesn't tend to stay for the winter until after Christmas, so I expect there will be a thaw and some slightly warmer temperatures again in order to finish that project (which needs to be done, even with the safety cover, since the same hound tried walking across it this morning, now that it looks different with snow on it...and I imagine a child or two would do the same once it is completely snow-covered).

As a result of moving, we closed our trailer late. Here is a scene from the edge of our campsite:



At home we have been able to fully observe the changing season. When we arrived in October, everything was still lush and green. The few containers we brought with us gave us another month of flowers before frost did its work, and there were roses still covering our new rose bushes.

Here are a few views from our new property -

Looking north-west:
 

 Looking north-east:
 

 Looking east:
 


 Looking south-east:
 

 Looking south - the view from our rear windows, onto the back yard and beyond: 
(The forest is not ours, but we certainly enjoy the scenery it offers)!
 

 The first snowfall:
 

We are so pleased with the new house - the layout and space are working wonderfully for our family, and our new town (a couple of kilometres away) is proving to be quite delightful so far. We already have a pile of amusing stories about people getting to know us. It is the kind of place where one can't really be anonymous for too long!

In the midst of unpacking and setting things up, I have managed to get started on Christmas decorating, to add a little seasonal warmth to the surroundings. We are quite a bit further from the city here, but the country drives are lovely. Here is what we found en route to our homeschool field trip last week:



Nature is so restorative, and although I typically enjoy it by driving through it rather than diving in on foot, I am thankful for the sights and the reminder that transitions can be beautiful, and savoured as we bid farewell to one chapter, and greet a new one.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Out of Nowhere...



 ...here I am!

After a typically long absence, I decided to make a blog appearance, and as is becoming my habit, it will mainly be in photos. Starting with cows against woodlot, because I love seeing cows in treed areas. We stopped by the roadside so I could snap quite a few pics from the truck window.

The next is a rare glimpse of the back of the back yard, featuring the compost area. I don't take many photos of the compost area. Baby girl is hauling some weeds...worth capturing on camera, because I haven't been around much weed-hauling this season. Kinda let the gardens go...we're moving, after all. Ok, so I've kind of let it go since 2007, after a car accident that left us a little achey all summer. We're fine now, but the gardens are still suffering. Geoff and the kids did a big weed-fest recently, in time for hosting my mom's 60th birthday gathering.
   

We have managed quite a few single nights at the trailer this season. Really wish we had been able to do a few more two-nighters, but we've had something going on most Sundays, and have been heading home Saturday evening. With beautiful weather it was hard to stay home this weekend (I even packed for the kids), but I had to agree with Geoff that our garage (aka, storage warehouse) is unlikely to magically sort, purge, and pack itself. When we have been at the trailer, there have been plenty of scenes like this:


I am having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that it was already one week ago that we left for our Labour Day getaway with friends, and that this time away, which was thirstily anticipated all summer, has passed. It was great...just not long enough. We have not taken any time off this year, due to the moving situation, so my main "vacation" will be unpacking and setting up the new house (which will be fun in some ways...and...yeah). I'm just going to stare at these pictures of The Falcon (our '69 trailer that has been enjoyed by us since 2007 - definitely got our money's worth) in just about the most idyllic camp site ever (on our friend's parents' property), until I believe I am actually there...

            

The kids did fantastically on the two-hour 'serious business' trail we do every year at Georgian Bay...Baby boy (he's 5 now! Wow!) hitched a ride right at the very end. Big brother managed on foot the whole time. Baby girl actually did the whole thing, too, until the last few minutes, impressing some rock climbers who were awed by her scrambling skills.


The kids had an extended play-time at the town beach, while Geoff joined some locals on his trumpet at the park. On Day 1, the swim was unplanned, and it was windy and chilly...hence the new tie-dyed t-shirts I nabbed from a Farmer's Market vendor right at closing to keep them a bit warmer on the walk home. 

And since it's 9:30pm and I haven't had supper, that's the end for today. 




Monday, 1 July 2013

Life These Days...in Pictures


Happy Canada Day folks!

I finally caught up on some photo uploading over the weekend. Phew.

Since I'm terrible at journaling (and blogging), it's a good thing I typically take tons of pictures. I was amazed, however, going through the photos this time and realizing how much the kids are growing up and changing. I keep expecting them to look like they did 2 years ago when they came home. Sigh. (Doesn't help that it's been such a long time since I uploaded and organized photos - it really was a bit of a shock).

Anyway, here are a few glimpses into life around our place these days...

First, food. We tried out some home-made whole wheat rolls. And, yes. Recommended.

 
 I keep finding this scene in the living room - variations on a theme:


 

Poor hounds have a really rough life.

We held our first ever birthday party for the boys. Grandma and Grandpa brought along some sacks, which was fun for the kids and entertaining for the adults :)

 

We've walked a bit - my baby boy doesn't play Daddy often, but I try to snap a photo when he does - love seeing little boys with dolls. Big boy always prefers his "grown up" activities, and snapping pictures is fine with me. 

 

 A moth humoured us by sitting for an extended nature study at the campground. He finally flew away when my camera lens had been in his face one too many times.



 Don't you love it when your kids play "sleeping"? I do.

 
Speaking of kids,  I am posting from the campground, and imagine my few minutes of uninterrupted solitude may be over soon - I hear the two youngest getting a long nicely outside with their imaginary play, while Geoff and Lute work on a puzzle. It's been a slightly cool weekend, so no swimming, but overall I'd rather have it this way rather than super-hot.

That's it for today, folks. Enjoy your week!