Friday, 24 December 2010

me and my boy

This was one of those moments that catch a person's breath. It truly is perfection.

Saturday, 18 December 2010


Today's photo is about 'recharging'. The challenge: in the hustle and bustle of presents and preparations and shopping and planning and wrapping, take a few moments, take a deep breath and stop, even just a for a few moments. Did I do this today? Not really, well, actually no - not at all.

Usually my days are pretty intense - full of activity and 'doing' rather than stopping and 'being'. Recharging for me ends up being a late night affair that usually includes a glass of wine and a couch and a pretty amazing guy after the kids are in bed and my projects have come to a halt for the day. We talk and laugh and listen and discuss and dream.

In a nutshell, this is how I recharge (and in this case a picture is worth 1000 words):
(the toque? It's still really cold here... and I forgot to mention that Mike is usually eating during this time as well - yes, those are crackers in his hand)

And no matter what happens during the day and no matter how late either of us gets home from evenings out, this time is so very very sacred for both of us, it always. always. always. happens.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

A Whole Lot of Happy

I am working on Day 10 of my December Daily album, which just happens to be the day of Eden and Aaralyn's Winter Solstice Concert.

I asked them to sit down before we went to the Winspear Centre (where they were performing) so I could take some head shots. Of course, they were over-the-moon excited and over-the-top hyper, so I should have know.

Two very goofy girls...

and a whole lot of happy going on around here...

Friday, 10 December 2010

Catch up

These short December days slip by so very, very quickly. It is so very easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the "shoulds" and "ought tos" of life that the moments that make this season so very special get lost.

This is part of the reason I am participating in the daily picture taking inspiration of the photography class "Picture the Holidays". I was hoping that it would give me a few moments in the day to pause and reflect and reframe.

And for the most part it has. There are days when baskets for the Mustard Seed need a few more things, so I volunteer to round them up. And there are church meetings that have to be attended. And there are Sunday services that need planning. And the girls need black socks for their concert. And dinners need to be prepared for my own and other families. And of course, there is always the laundry and those d*%m toilets that need cleaning.

So I am playing catch up on my daily picture taking and my December Daily album. And I'm ok with that. The fact of the matter is, I don't get to the picture everyday, but the daily prompts change how I look at my day and how I go about my day. For example, a few days ago, the challenge was 'reflections' - trying to capture something in a mirror. All day I had been looking for some way to do that, and it just wasn't happening. At the end of my day, I was doing the dishes (after spending most of the afternoon cooking and using every pot in my house), I washed one of those very large stainless steel bowls, put it on the rather large pile of dishes, and saw myself (elbows up to dirty dishwater) in the reflection. And there was my photo! However, I didn't stop to take the picture. I actually didn't want to - not because I didn't want to capture it, but because I was in the moment and thought that taking a photo with my camera would spoil the moment for me. So, I took a picture in my head, and spent the rest of the time thinking about life.

And that is what I love about this class. It so changes the way I have looked at my world. Here are a few photos from the other challenges:

This one is about "the little things", like toes peeking out of blankets while watching my all time favourite Christmas movie (The Polar Express)

Another challenge - to find signs 'out there' that speak to your soul. Sadly, but not surprisingly, Starbucks nailed it on the head: Stories are gifts: share.

And the challenge for today (and yes, this means I am all caught up!!): translating the ambience we see with our eyes and the glow we feel in our hearts into something photographic. While at the girl's Winter Celebration tonight, one of the classes did a fabulous ribbon dance, and I played a bit, and voila! here it is:

Now it's time to move onto my December Daily...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

"My Soul" and "The View"

Yesterday's challenge was capturing 'the thing' that replenishes my soul. There are a few I could have chosen from, but I think the one thing that, as Tracey Clark wrote "is the magic remedy that no matter what, will give us the perspective that we need" for me would be sitting down behind the piano and playing. Sometimes it is Bach, sometimes it is Chris Tomlin, sometimes it is just whatever comes to mind. But when I get up from playing and singing, I feel renewed in my spirit. And that is such a gift.

And today;s assignment? Taking in the beauty outside. And if you don't already know, I detest winter. I don't like the cold, I don't like the snow, I don't like that I have to wear socks and boots and scarves and toques and puffy jackets. However, I have grown to appreciate the beauty of the winter when I look outside. For the month of December, we splurge a bit on our electricity bill and light up our back yard with white lights. This is the view from my studio (which will soon be a third bedroom...), and this is actually one view I could never tire of. So, so pretty...

Friday, 3 December 2010

All You Need Is Love

Many, many eons ago (or so it feels) Mike and I took a marriage course which consisted mostly of hanging out with other couples. It happened to take place around Christmas, and one of the gifts of the hosts to each participant was this heart ornament.

It's a bit cliche and a lot tacky, but it makes it's way out the ornament box each year, and I just can't get rid of it. It is a gentle reminder that the Christmas season isn't just about goodwill and joy to all, but also an example of True Love.


"Reframing" to me, is just a fancy word for opening up our eyes to see beauty and joy and love all around us. It sounds easy, but we are inundated with literally thousands of messages a day that tell us we aren't good enough and we don't have enough.

It is hard to find joy in what we have been given when deep down we don't think it is enough.

It is hard to find love when deep down we don't think we are good enough.

It is hard to find beauty all around us when deep down we envy those who have more (or better) than we do.

And when I look at my children running into my arms, I realize that they are saying that I am good enough. And when I see my children happiest just being with each other, I realize that they are modelling the idea that people are way more important than things. And when I see their eyes light up at the Christmas lights in our neighbourhood at night, I realize that beauty is more about enjoying, not having.

Seeing the holidays through my children's eyes is one of my biggest challenges and one of my greatest joys.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


Alongside my December Daily project, I also decided to embark on a 31 day photo journey called "Picture the Holidays" (which will, in fact, probably make this project a little easier). I am hoping to learn a bit more about photography and about using my camera and I am also hoping to create a bit of space and time this holiday season.

Today's photo is about the here and now keeping my eyes open to all things for which to be grateful. This morning when I got the email, I looked around me and realized that I really don't have to look too far to find something I am grateful for. I was sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee working on my December Daily album and felt a deep, deep sense of gratitude where I found myself in that moment.

Among other things, this class encourages adopting a state of mind that calls for present-mindedness, slowing down, believing in the magic that in fact does happen during this season, opening up to love, receiving, and of course, being grateful. Perfect for this time of year.

I've said it before and I am going to say it again, the camera is an amazing tool. It is so amazingly wonderful to see moments of real life coffee and creative messes.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

December Daily

Tomorrow marks the beginning of so many things.

It is the month where days start to get longer again.
It is the month where I start a new year of my life.
It is the month where the magic of the season is palpable everywhere a person goes.
It is the month where we celebrate the coming of Hope.
It is the month where I get to take loads of pictures and put them in an beautiful album!!

Ah, December Daily...I am ready.
My camera batteries are full. My album is supposed to be ready to go (it is missing the numbers, which I will add each day and the binding rings have yet to be found...). The house is decorated (minus the tree, but that always comes in the middle of the month). The calendar is booked with Christmas celebrations. The movies are ready to be watched.

Here are a few photos of last year's December Daily:

And here is a photo of this year's December Daily cover:

Oh, I am excited!!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010


It is cold here. So cold, in fact, that I cannot stay warm. My core temperature has, I'm sure, dropped a few degrees in the last week. I personally think that the bears are the ones that have it good - they are all hibernating cozily in their dens for the next 5 months and don't have to worry about the cold. That sounds absolutely glorious.

This cold weather means that I no longer leave the house unless I desperately have to. I am amazed when I go out how many people are functioning as if this kind of temperature is normal. If I were the head honcho, the first thing I'd change is a bylaw that shuts everything down if the mercury drops lower than -25. It's just not humane.

The good news is that I am getting lots done around the house because I don't venture outside.

I have started work on my December Daily album that I will be doing again this year. Ali Edwards, the mastermind behind this fabulous project has great information here on her blog. Basically, it is photos + pictures + everyday 'stuff' about December. I did it last year and loved it. This year, I am following the same format as ali - why reinvent the wheel?

I have finished priming the new studio downstairs. The next step is finding flooring and all colour. I haven't had much luck in the paint department, but hoping that I'll find something soon!

I have been nursing 3 very sick children back to health. Lots of snuggles and snotty noses and books and blankets and chicken noodle soup.

And of course, Christmas decorations have gone up and our house is now overflowing with red and silver, white lights everywhere and all things Christmas. The tree isn't up yet - that is for a Sunday afternoon closer to Christmas, but it feels so very festive.

Looking forward to a some warmer temperatures later on this week, but my plan is to make like a bear and stay in my beautiful den.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Wall Colour Woes

We are getting closer and closer to finishing off the new room in the basement that is going to be called the "studio". It will be primarily for me to fulfill my creative needs, that often involves many different types of media including paper, paint, computers and ink.

I already have a room set up in our house for this particular activity and it has been a god send, especially when the kids were really little and I needed some "mommy" time. And I LOVE my room. I love the colour of the walls. I love the feel of it when I sit down and take a deep breathe. I love how the sunset streams through the window each evening. I love how I can hear my kids sleeping when I am working in the evening. I love how the kids and I can all be working on our own projects and be in the same place at the same time.

However, because I have that room upstairs, our three children have been sharing a room since the day each of them were born. And it has worked well. I don't actually think they would have it any other way. They snuggle together in their beds and they read books together on the floor. Sometimes they even lay out all their blankets and have a "sleepover" on the rug.

The day is going to come soon when they will need some space. The writing is on the wall that Eden (and then Aaralyn) is going to need room for themselves - for homework, for time alone, and for their own sanity (that and Ephraim snores like a chainsaw...). So we figured we'd be pro-active rather than reactive.

This has been the motivation for finishing off the room in the basement so I can move my existing space to the basement and Ephraim can move down the hallway to have his own room. We are now at the point, after months of evening and weekend work, where we are ready to start thinking about priming and painting.

And this leaves me in a bit of a pickle because I am stuck on the wall colour. I know that I want a new feel to the space, but I'm not sure how to go about it.

I love the idea of a white room, but know that it is probably too stark and cold for a basement. But when I saw this room, I fell in love. The dark floors, the high ceilings, the 'airiness' of it. Unfortunately, this feel could definitely not be translated into a basement room that has low ceilings and one small north facing window...

And then I saw this office. I was immediately attracted to the graphic nature of the walls and the monochromatic theme with different textures. It is a bit dark for my liking and am afraid that the greys might work against me in the dead of winter. (and I LOVE the little bit of purple...)

I found this room and colour scheme, and I really like this one too. It is quite similar to my studio space upstairs, but the blue is much more on the grey scale (it is called Smoke Stack Grey - and Benjamin Moore colour) and I love it matched with the dark floor and white accents.

Not sure what to do. I guess I'm going to have to decide soon. If you could choose any colour what would it be?

Saturday, 6 November 2010

How was your trip?

I have been asked this question quite a few times since returning from Egypt a few days ago. And to be honest, I'm not quite sure how to answer the question.

The Great Pyramids of Giza, Cairo

Egypt far exceeded my expectations. I knew I would be awed by the pyramids, and have seen temples and heard stories about pharaohs growing up and into adulthood, but I had absolutely no idea how grand and majestic and huge these temples are. Each ancient tomb and temple we went to took my breath away - not only because of the beauty but also by how old these monuments are. Some of these temples were 5000 years old, took 1000 years to build and still were painted in glorious colour. It was amazing to be still in the moment and think of the celebrations and ceremonies that happened exactly where I was standing.

I used the word "wow" alot.

Karnak Temple, Luxor

I have also lived in big cities that have alot of traffic, but nothing prepared me for Cairo. This city is crazy. Our first introduction to Egyptian driving was on the way to our hotel in a taxi from the airport. I actually thought I was doing to die, literally. I thought at the time that we were quite unlucky with our choice of taxi driver, until I was there for a while and realized that he was a pretty normal driver.

Imagine 4 'official' lanes on the road filled with 6 lanes of traffic, each vehicle on the road with at least 10 mirrors so they could literally get within 1 inch of the other vehicles on the road.
Imagine each car honking so the drivers around them know they are there.
Imagine doors to minivans open with at least 18 people stuffed in there like sardines (with one hanging on outside the door for good measure).
Imagine a dad on a motorbike with his 4 year old in front of him and his wife and 1 year old sitting side sadle behind him.
Imagine donkeys with carts attached weaving in and out of traffic.
Imagine pedestrians trying to cross the street lane by lane as vehicles whiz behind and in front of them.
Now imagine all that happening at the same time - that picture in your head is pretty much the streets of Cairo.

And that was just the first hour.

Suffice it to say this really was a trip of a lifetime. We saw so very much history, learned so much about Egyptian culture, heard so much about my beautiful eyes (and how lucky a man Mike is), tasted so much 'interesting' food and felt so much of every emotion that we possibly could, our travelling tanks are full - very, very full.

Keep posted for more favourite stories and more favourite pictures. Trust me, there are lots of them.

On the shores of the Nile, southern Egypt

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Adventure with a capital A!!

Well, it is the eve of the big trip. Today I pick up the hired help (namely, my parents) from the airport, and the fun begins.

It has been highly emotional around here. Eden is a bit on edge, I think because she is anticipating us being gone for a while. Aaralyn and Ephraim know something is up, but can't quite articulate what is going on.

I'm feeling overly excited and unbelievably anxious and completely overwhelmed all at the same time. We have bags to pack, little odds and ends to pick up, documents to print off and details coming out of the wazoo (is that a word?)...

I am looking forward to getting on that plane, and leaving life behind for a while - taking the word 'holidays' at the core and making these next three weeks into 'holy days'. I am looking forward to being in the moment (and apparently learning to be firm with my 'no'), and just being for a while. I am looking forward to not being connected to the larger 'small world' via the internet (translation: no blogging, no facebook, no email). And I am looking forward to doing it all with Mike.

The pyramids...the sphinx...Aswan...boating on the Nile...sunrise hikes up Mt. Sinai...monasteries as old as the hills...this is going to be an Adventure with a capital A!!

Just one favour to ask - if you see my kids at all over the next three weeks, could you give them a big hug and tell them that their mom and dad love them to pieces?

Friday, 8 October 2010

It's official

It's official. I have most of the little gadgets and paraphernalia a person needs to be a serious runner.

I have a running tank top. This, by far, is THE most important tool that a female runner needs to own - enough said.

I have a am arm band with a fancy-dancy new iTouch with some serious running music on it. Something I have discovered about myself is I am a bit OCD about the music I listen to. I'm not really picky about what the music is, but it has to have a consistent, steady beat the whole way through. There are alot of people out there who can listen to whatever music suits their fancy that day, but I am not one of those people. I have discovered podrunner, where I can download music at a specific bpm that is consistent the whole way through my run. I am running at somewhere between 172 and 175 bpm, and love that my feet are in sync with the beat. (as an aside - do you remember that Jetta commercial a while back when the wipers matched up with the basketball bouncing and everything else that it came across - now that made me happy). I have tried running to regular music, and it is so distracting, I just can't enjoy myself.
I have the Nike+ipod sensor attached neatly to my shoes (I don't have Nike shoes, so I have a case that is attached to my shoelaces). It tells me all sorts of things that I really wouldn't be able to easily figure out myself (like the pace I am running at), but it also tells me how far I have run and talks to me while I am running to let me know how much further I have to go. It also keeps track of my runs online, so I know if I'm improving in distance or pace. It's pretty cool. I do think, however, that if it was Brad Pitt's voice at the end of a workout, I would be more motivated to improve my distance.

I have also read a few really great books about running:

No Need for Speed, a very powerful book for beginner runners. I highly recommend it.

Another great book is Run Like a Mother. Any mom who is just getting into running or is an experienced runner should definitely read and/or own this book. It is a fabulous resource and is very, very inspiring.

Of course, a person could own all the right clothes and gadgets and read all the right books, but that really isn't enough to get out there and start running. For me, there were a few things that worked together to get me to this place of actually enjoying and looking forward to my morning runs.

1. Determination. I am the first person to say I don't have any self-discipline. I have loads of unfinished projects, I eat things I shouldn't, I don't go to bed on time when I am caught up doing things, I have bouts of laziness where I'd rather just sit on the couch and read a great book and not do what I have to do. I don't have self-discipline, bottom line. But, when I make a decision to do something, it gets done. And that is determination. I have surprised myself with the level of determination that has showed itself when it comes to running.

2. Encouragement. I am thankful that I am surrounded by people who are encouraging. To name a few, Mike is my biggest fan and will bend over backwards to make sure I get out in the morning. Ian, my brother-in-law, is constantly asking about how things are going and is sending all sorts of information my way to encourage and help me out. And Brenda, a great friend, is always just checking in and finding out how things are going. I can't imagine doing this kind of thing without them...

3. My kids. I want my kids to know that women can be strong and passionate and determined. I love that part of their play is exercise and that they take their dollies out for a jog and that they are there on the sidelines and watching me run. I think by far, that this modelling is what motivates me the most.

All these things came together last Sunday when I ran my first race in over 8 years. I ran 5K is the CIBC Run for the Cure last week and managed to work through a major stitch pretty much through the whole run and still run my best time yet - 5K in 25 minutes.

But this run was so much more than just about my goals. It was so powerful to see so many men and women running with the names of people for whom they were running pinned on their shirts. As I crossed the finish line, I cried - out of joy because I had conquered that beast in my head that tells me that I can't do it, but also because there are so many women out there who have conquered, are fighting and have lost the battle against breast cancer. I am so thankful to have been a small part of this amazing event. I am so looking forward to running it again next year.

So, it seems that I am officially a runner. Not a fast runner. Not a hugely long-distance runner. But, I am a runner and it feels really, really good.

Friday, 1 October 2010


Forty is one of those numbers that looms on the horizon for many people and for some reason is a bit intimidating. I guess maybe it is officially mid-life. It causes people to reflect on where they are at and evaluate whether or not life up to this point is a cause of celebration or of heartbreak.

But forty is also a holy number. There are references in many faiths to forty - 40 years in the desert, 40 days of fasting, 40 days of Lent. It seems that there is something very significant to the number forty.

Today Mike turns 40. Today he has lived on this world for forty years. Today, he has been known by many people for forty years. Today, he passes into the realm of his 'forties'. (just as an aside, I'm no where near this milestone...)

Here's to a guy who loves life.
Here's to a guy who doesn't make any decisions based on fear.
Here's to a guy who really knows how to do a fabulous tarping job.
Here's to a guy who enjoys his beer immensely.
Here's to a guy who is an amazing friend.
Here's to a guy who takes 'great father' to a whole new level.
Here's to a guy who can make putting up drywall look sexy.
Here's to a guy who makes turning forty into one really great adventure.

Happy Birthday Mike. i love you.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Street Art

As we were working on our raised gardening beds in our community garden last week, we were shocked and appalled to find that someone has put graffiti on the side of one of them. We were horrified. How could a person be so bloody self-centered? Grrrrr...

However, I quickly realized that this person, as destructive as it is, is putting his/her mark on the world. I know it probably means something different than just self actualization, but I stopped myself from judging too quickly or too harshly (see previous post). I was still irritated, however.

As an aside, I am always amazed at how certain things come into our lives at certain times. I say this because as I was blog hopping, I came across Katie Sokoler's blog. Let me tell you, this woman is cool. She is a street artist who beautifies Brooklyn with her whimsical and colourful creations. And in my mind popped the idea that this might just be the way to counteract the graffiti.

Can you imagine if people would decorate buildings with pacman? Or draw footprints on the sidewalk? Or put up little punched hearts all over their neighbourhood?

No, it may not bring world peace. But I can guarantee it will bring a smile to many faces.

Maybe I will leave that graffiti on our raised bed, and cover it with bright red hearts. That way, if he or she comes around, I'll have made a mark of love on their mark of destruction...isn't that like turning the other cheek?

photo by Katie Sokoler

Saturday, 25 September 2010

You are beautiful

I took this picture a few months back as I was walking along the streets in Philadelphia. I'm not sure why I took it. It just seemed the right thing to do in the moment.

And every so often, in my ordinary everyday life, this picture pops in my head.

I've seen people take self portraits with "you are beautiful" showing in the foreground. I've seen people write it on public bathroom mirrors with lipstick. I've even seen a post-it note on the walls in my house with "you are beautiful" written on it. It is a good reminder to someone like me that I am beautiful.

When I came around the corner and saw a homeless man sleeping in a sleeping bag on the street with "You are beautiful" written on the window (and no, I did not photoshop the words into the photo...), it just seemed so odd. I don't usually put "homeless-guy-sleeping-on-the-street" and "beautiful" in the same sentence. Maybe I should, I just usually don't.

But it seems to me that this photo is actually more real than I first thought. And maybe that is why I am so attracted to it. Because it is truth. It is speaking a human truth that so many of us can't or won't accept. I am beautiful when I am dressed up for the company Christmas party. I am beautiful when I 'put my face on' for the rest of the world.

But I am also beautiful when I lay on the floor, sobbing because I can't seem to find my way. I am also beautiful when it is all I can do to get out of bed in the morning because I feel like all hope is gone.

And this homeless guy in the photo is beautiful, like me (and pretty much 95% of the rest of the world), because we are human and trying to make sense of this world around us. It is so easy to forget that the people we come in contact with each day are hurting and trying to make sense of life. I have to remind myself that I am not the only one in this world who puts on a front for everyone else to see.

My hope is that I am able to see the beauty in each person around me today not because they look so good or act a certain way, but because they are another human being. And that, inherantley, makes them beautiful.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Happy Birthday Mom

I don't think my mom reads my blog very often (if at all). So, I am sending her the link to this post so she will know that the world is going to be singing her a collective 'happy birthday' this weekend.

My mom is one of those people who makes everyone around her feel safe. The kind of person that you could just talk to about 'stuff' and she makes it feel important. She has a gift of listening and a gift of being real.

I also noticed, as I was going through my awfully large file of pictures, there is not one of me and my mom. Definitely need to fix that particular problem...

So, Mom...I am wishing you a wonderful and extraodinarily happy and joyous birthday this year. Not because you are so perfect, but because you are so you.

Happy birthday to a mom who can be awfully silly at times.

Happy birthday to a mom who has taught me that sometimes, in order to get a bathroom floor really clean, you need to get on your hands and knees.

Happy birthday to a mom who has given so much of herself for her children.

Happy birthday to a mom who can make a killer chicken noodle soup.

Happy birthday to a mom who is as stubborn as a mule sometimes.

Happy birthday to a mom who is loved beyond measure.

Happy birthday to a mom who made thousands of meals for us growing up.

Happy birthday to a mom who sewed curtains and bed sheets and dresses and dolls and teddies (and everything else imaginable).

Happy birthday to a mom who taught me the meaning of selfless giving.

Happy birthday to a mom who has left a legacy of love for all things beautiful.

Happy birthday to a mom who taught me how to drive my first car.

Happy birthday to a mom who, at a very young age, taught me about being playful with a fish head attached to her hand.

Happy birthday to a mom who has nurtured a deep compassion for other people in me.

Happy birthday to a mom who can cry and laugh and giggle along with me.

Happy birthday mom.
I love you.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Today You

Today you started preschool.

Today you entered a whole new phase of life. One that includes new friends and influential adults in your life other than your mommy and daddy. One that includes water tables, indoor shoes, structure and paint. One that means you are just a bit more self-reliant than yesterday.

Today you told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to stay at your preschool. Today you said goodbye to me as if it was no big deal. As if my heart wasn't torn between wanting to hold you close to me for just a little longer and jumping for joy knowing what this new independence means.

Today you wore your drum shirt. Today you grudgingly put on pants and socks.

Today you followed alot of direction. Taking outdoor shoes off, putting indoor shoes on, bring your snack to the snack table.

Today you ran into my arms when I showed up to pick you up from preschool.

Today you made me one proud mama.

I love you Ephraim.

Friday, 3 September 2010

You Anchor Me

The first thing you are going to want to do is turn off the music from the sidebar ------>

Second, go grab yourself a cup of something really delicious to drink.

Third, press play and sit back for three short minutes of your life and enjoy the sights and sounds of Mindy new absolute favourite.

My favourite line in this whole song:

There are those who think I am strange, they would box me up and tell me to change
But you hold me close and softly say that you wouldn't have me any other way.

This song (and her whole album) pretty much sums up Mike and I. Goodness, I love him!!! (and he does actually say that to me - quite often)

Happy Tuesday!!

Hooray for the Everyday

I have this catalogue sitting on my bookshelf at home (read cover to cover a number of times), and it wasn't until this blog post (written by ali) that I actually opened my eyes and saw their tag line - "hooray for the everday".

Now, I am not someone to gravitate towards corporate taglines as a motto for life, but it isn't everyday that a corporation nails it on the head either.

Hooray for the everyday.

This statement is not about purchasing furniture and it isn't about Swedish meatballs and fries (for $1.99 no less!!). IKEA may want to use this phrase to sell me stuff, but I'm taking it back and using it as my mantra today.

Hooray is one of those great words that kids use all the time, but I can't remember the last time I have heard an adult use it. So today, as you are reading this, shout it out!! "Hooray!!" (You know you can do it!!) And then finish the 'hooray' with something.

Hooray for little boys who dress themselves in the craziest clothes. Hooray for braids and pigtails.

Hooray for a hot cup of coffee in the morning and a husband who faithfully makes it each morning.

Hooray for blue, cloudless skies. Hooray for swings and slides and monkey bars and sandboxes.

Hooray for dress up clothes that lend themselves to hours of playing family and monsters.

Hooray for green grass that is growing like a thick carpet because of all the rain we've been having.

Hooray for Fridays and long weekends.

Hooray for the everyday.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

And they're off...

We are all sighing a huge sigh of relief.

After weeks of anticipation, the girls are off to school. No more sleeping in. No more pajamas until noon. No more wondering who our teachers are going to be. No more hanging out at the playground for the whole day. No more feeling split between three kids' attention all day.

Structure and routines and schedules and consistency and predictability is what we are all seeking right now. And it is good to be back on this train.

Two beautiful girls hopped onto the bus this morning and didn't turn back.

But not before I grabbed a few photos of them first...
Eden could not stop smiling and laughing and giggling this morning. All I could get out of her were goofy smiles. She is so over-the-top excited to be back at school.

Aaralyn dropped off all her school supplies yesterday afternoon, so we saw her classroom and met her teacher yesterday. She is not as exuberant about school as Eden is, but underneath all that anxiety is some excitement. It came out again and again last week. I know that she will have a great day!

It is still hard for me to let them go, but I am so thankful they have each other's hand to hold.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Pre-school jitters

We have a case of the pre-school jitters. We're all a little crazy around here. Every activity is a bit on the weird side.

Ephraim has decided that now would be a good time to regress and start pooping in his underwear. And that now would also a good time to get in touch with his oppositional defiant side. Either that, or his hearing has vanished in the last week.

Eden's favourite word these past few days has been "why?". "Why can't we watch a video?" "Why are you cutting the potatoes that way?" "Why can't we have a puppy?". Absolutely incessant.

Aaralyn has a serious case of ants in her pants. She can't sit still for the life of her. And she is doing some major processing about entering Grade 1. I find pictures that she has drawn of herself in Grade 1 all over the house. She is writing letters to her Kindergarten teacher because she misses her so much. And she said to me just as she was going to sleep tonight "Mommy, can you teach me how to read tomorrow so I am ready for Grade 1?".

And I'm feeling quite agitated about the whole affair. It has been an intense and busy summer of travelling, with not alot of down time. Having three kids around full time hasn't been the easiest on me either. Don't get me wrong, it has been wonderful to have no schedule and just putter around the house in our pj's until noon. But I am definitely ready for the routine back.

And yet, it is hard to let these girls go. Especially when I know I'm not going to be around to fight for them. And I'm not going to be able to help them make 'good' decisions. And I'm not going to be there when they feel worried or hurt about something at school. And I'm not going to know every little details about their days. Each day they grow a little more independent and a little less dependant on me, and that is a hard pill to swallow. I can't even imagine what its going to be like when they head off to university...

And, to top it all off, I am processing my own future - looking for meaningful work again in a completely new field. It is just all a bit overwhelming.

The good news is, I have been happily back to school shopping, and loving every minute of it. I still have a few more things to get, but their new backpacks are filled with all things school, and we are all more than a little excited (and anxious) to get this new year started.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Boy Meets Girl

A little over fifteen years ago, this boy...

met this girl...

...sometime in 1993 and somewhere between the four (or so) walls of King's. There really wasn't the "love at first sight" thing that happens to some people. They really can't remember when they first saw each other or who introduced them. But they became fast friends. They would meet in the cafeteria before, during and after classes to "do homework". Sometimes their homework got done, but most of the time, what happened was conversation about life.

In 1995, the girl headed off to Europe to study in Holland, and left the boy behind. They continued to write letters and keep in touch as good friends. The girl came back to Edmonton with a boyfriend, which put a kink in the plans of the boy, who really wanted a bit more than the friendship they had.

One evening, while enjoying a beer at Boston Pizza (on Whyte Ave, if you like some detail...) they were talking about life partners and being alone. The girl asked a question, with a great amount of angst in her voice, I might add: "What if he (the boyfriend) is the best there is? What happens if I ditch him, and he's the one? How do I know there is someone else out there for me?". The boy responded: "Well, I'd date you."

Eight months later, the boy and girl were married...

...and since then have had quite a few different hair styles together. The boy decided to cut off his mullet, and while the boy was out tree-planting, the girl decided she didn't want hair anymore, so she shaved it off and "surprised" the boy. It didn't go over very well...

The boy and the girl also did quite a bit of travelling together. They taught English in Korea and adventured a bit around Asia and they drove all over the US and Canada, exploring together (the boy at this point, had blonde hair at the insistence of the girl, and the girl had longer hair at the insistence of the boy).

They decided to settle down for a while in Vancouver, and while the girl taught music in elementary schools around the Lower Mainland, the boy finished up a Master's Degree.

Then the boy and girl decided that maybe it would be a good time to start thinking about trying to have a baby. It was a bit of a slog to get started, but within 4 years, there were three little munchkins running around, bringing with them a lot of joy to the boy and girl. The boy and girl also moved to Edmonton to raise those little munchkins surrounded by extended family.

Now, fifteen years later, that boy and girl are still best friends. They are still very much in love. They still talk about life and love and fears and dreams. They still explore and take time for adventures. They still enjoy having beers together.

And that boy and girl can't wait for the adventures to come...