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

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


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


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!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A Snapshot of Sibling Dynamics in the Heat of the Moment...

Picture a raging - screaming, aggressive - nearly-5 year-old swaddled on the floor with his parent, to contain him, protect others, and (hopefully) provide a sense of safety and eventual calm. Then see his 3 year-old sibling entering, wanting closeness with her mama, perhaps re-assurance. She grabs her own blanket and tries to wrap herself and snuggle up beside the pair on the floor. Restraining, cuddling, all together.

As she settles in, she leans toward her dysregulated brother and tells him she loves him. Next, 5 year-old big brother enters. He has been occupying himself, and no one had attended to the recorded music coming from an electronic toy in the playroom, until he informs us that he thought the music might be nice for his brother. When acknowledged for his thoughtfulness, he brings the musical globe into the room and begins to take requests.

Within minutes, my boy has begun to return from the depths of his fury. I force myself out of self-imposed silence - a survival strategy used to ride things out without feeding anyone's anger further - and snuggle my "twins", going yet further - which takes a great deal of emotional effort - to begin a hunt for belly buttons and play a few tickling games. Once everyone has shrieked with laughter, and I have distracted them by pointing out a passing farm vehicle, we attempt to resume "normal" and hope it lasts for at least a little while...

Sunday, 17 March 2013

More winter chit-chat...

Well, baby girl is 3. Same age her big brother was when they all came home. Wowzers. To celebrate, she requested cherry cake and a straw for her drink. Both requests were accommodated. She also mentioned a few times that she wanted a pink Wii remote. And don't tell my old self, but that's what she got. My 3-year-old. A Wii remote. Enough said about that.

 I was very privileged to be able to attend TWO figure skating events at the world championships, thanks to tickets passed on to friends, who in turn shared the wealth with many others - a real treat! I don't follow the sport closely, but like to catch a bit on TV here and there, and enjoy the occasional live event...

On my day off with the kids last week, we managed to get out for a walk around town (if I made that sound like quite the feat...well, that's because it surely can be just that - most of our Fridays end up cycling through all the old dysregulation with a particular child, often resulting in cancelled plans and limited "quality time" with any of them...so it's always nice when plans work out). Anyway, right across the road, we spent some time throwing ice/snow chunks as far into the ravine as possible, aiming for the water. It was a highlight of the month for the boys, I think!

On Family Day I gave in and agreed to a hike. I'm fine once I get out there...I just hate gearing up, mentally and literally. We have gorgeous hiking trails within a 3-4 minute drive from our house, so we have no good excuse for neglecting the opportunity...I only wish I had brought the Ergo carrier along (initially forgot, then didn't go back, thinking I had taken it out of the vehicle, only to find it in the vehicle after the hike. Figures)...baby girl was not in the mood for walking (despite having done this route nearly 18 months ago, all on foot), so we alternated carrying her on our backs for the 2-hour outing...

My winter decor is all packed up now. Indoors, anyway (we still have greenery up outside). Some spring items have made an appearance - one good thing about having the house for sale is that it demands that we stay on top of seasonal decor changes and other basic organizational needs...other than that, I can't think of many other good things about being in limbo with the house...

Looking ahead, we have a couple more birthdays coming up this month, and will be hosting my parents for a few days. I need to start planning the summer (this is early for me to look that far into the future), because there are a couple of specific events/opportunities that are of great interest. One would involve living on my new bike for a few days, which is an exciting and somewhat alarming prospect. Another would involve some in-person training and a great family vacation all wrapped up in one. So we'll see how much of that (if any) turns out to be realistic!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Scenes of the Season

Winter is having a bit of an identity crisis around here this year, but we have snow and chill again this weekend...and this morning I slipped into the back yard in an effort to snap a few photos of a pair of cardinals. Unfortunately, it seems that photographing birds while being trailed by a two year-old and an enthusiastic pair of hounds is an exercise in futility. It was, however, an amazing morning for birds. After the cardinals flew off, I enjoyed watching some other little birds flitting about the yard, observed a raven hanging around nearby, spied a number of pigeons plump and round on their branches, and watched a woodpecker at work.

The woodpecker obliged for a moment before the human and canine activity prompted him to move on (but not long enough for me to sort out all the details with my rarely-used zoom lens, camera settings, and stability). Ah well.

Although we continue to keep our eyes open for a suitable acreage, my little back yard adventure this morning made me very thankful for our tree-filled small-town subdivision and yard.

A couple of weeks ago, my lovely Motet hung around for a little photo shoot on the kitchen counter (she usually comes right at me for some quality time as soon as I pull out a camera, and I can't often get a still picture of her). So hard to believe that this pretty girl is 16, turning 17 in March. We've been a pair since she was 6 weeks old.

Gladwyn also humoured me today, by staying still and actually looking in my direction for a few photos. Likely helped that she was in one of her favourite places (my bed) and therefore disinclined to move.


January has been busy, with a late family Christmas mid-month. And since I don't usually rush to take down Christmas decorations, they remained up through the end of the month. Now that we have entered February (and are actively showing the house), I figured we should likely pack things away, which meant snapping a few shots before dismantling it all.

I am enjoying driving up to my house more than ever this winter...with the new siding, door, and trim colours, and the shutters and new windows, it looks so crisp and quaint (the discoloured white siding really didn't do much for the place against a backdrop of bright white snow).

And so, a few scenes from Winter 2013.

As usual, I am already lamenting the slow start to my to-do list for the year, which will mostly remain undone come October and November, when I lament how little I completed in the previous 10 months. And, as I might have predicted, I am itching to sign up for another course of study (it has, after all, been nearly 4 years since I graduated with my Master's degree...this time 'round I am really drawn to the Neufeld Institute, which offers a course of study that looks like a fantastic fit with my professional background and current/future interests, and would be a huge boost to my personal and parenting skills as well). But we shall see. Life is certainly full enough with work, home, church, community, social, leisure, and family pursuits. As usual, I come up with about 10 great blog topics per day, all in my head, and by the time I get to a computer I invariably forget what I wanted to write about. I have some new thoughts about attachment progress in each of my kiddos (the youngest of which is about to turn THREE in just over a month). We have also made some (hopefully? likely?) temporary changes in our homeschooling adventure, having enroled the boys in JK and SK for the winter term. So far they are doing well, but I still envision the flexible, family-focused lifestyle and individualized learning homeschool would offer longer term.

For tonight, though, I will try to set aside a few of these constant questions about where we are headed, and perhaps enjoy a few chapters of the book I need to finish for book club next week, while outside, the snow brightens the night.