Monday, March 30, 2015

At the Pace of Nature

 Photos from a hike on March 20

Photos from a hike March 27

We are a family of nature lovers, and we love living life at the pace of nature. Mother Nature provides us with a slow, simple rhythm, and it is that rhythm which has always helped guide our year. From our early years of dating, to our now almost 20 years of marriage, Justin and I have always enjoyed our time in nature, and slowly over the years have become more entwined and rooted in her rhythm. While pregnant with Reece, I felt a pull to connect more deeply to nature, to the Mother of this earth, and found myself many times in the woods, or by the water, letting the sounds of nature sooth me and the little one growing inside me. After we welcomed Reece, the pull I felt in pregnancy was stronger, and I turned to the nature, to sooth both myself and Reece, and to tune into a deeper part of myself. During those early mothering years nature reminded me to move slowly, to look for the beauty around me, and to take time to connect to something bigger than me. In essence, to be mindful.

It was a powerful lesson in those early years, when around me the world was moving at a dizzying pace, trying to entice me into more of this and more of that. But Mother Nature had my back, she was a constant reminder to stay the course, to stick to my path, and be true to who I was. I have never forgotten those little reminders, and hold them close, even today.

As Mother Nature shifts from one season to the next, I feel the deep need to ground myself in her presence, to take in all she has to offer, and to connect with it all, through my senses. Whether we are moving from spring to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter or winter to spring, as we are now, I find my senses heightened, tuning into the changes, feeling the shift deep inside. On our last few hikes I have found myself in a space of full and deep gratitude for the simple pleasure of time in the woods, and I have noticed with every part of my being the shift we are experiencing. The smell of the earth waking from its winter nap, the electrifying sound of the male red winged blackbirds filling the woods, and sending the most amazing tingle through my entire being, the buds swelling on bare branches, the trumpeter and mute swans stopping over on our waterways on their travels further north, the mud squishing underfoot, the sighting of our first robin flitting through the trees, the warmth of the sun on my face, and so much more.

The earth is alive right now, with hope, and so much magic, and every day it calls to me, in a gentle whisper to come, come and feel the magic. And every day I give myself the time and space to listen to her call, to accept the invitation, and to live at her pace.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"
Reece, no words can really describe the look on your face when we brought your new bike home this week. You were excited, happy, and I think, a little nervous, it is after all so much bigger than your last bike. But you hopped on, and you were off, the wind in your hair, enjoying the freedom that comes with riding a bike. I know that feeling well, and I am so happy that you now know it too. Enjoy the ride little man, enjoy the ride.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Off the Needles

It came off the needles almost a month ago, and judging by the many times I have worn, yes, I do indeed love my February Lady Sweater.

This was a top down knit, with a lovely repetitive pattern that was easy to memorize. I loved knitting it, and love wearing it even more. There will definitely be another in my future.

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Sure Sign of Spring

Eggs!!! The ladies are doing their thing again, and we couldn't be happier. It is so lovely to walk out to the coop in the morning and gather fresh eggs for breakfast.

Saturday, March 21, 2015


"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"
Reece, after spending most of the day outside, celebrating the arrival of spring, you came in from the mailbox with a big smile. Your magazine had arrived. As I put the kettle on, you settled in on your bed, flipping through the pages, lost in your own world, I am not even sure you head the click of my camera. This week you have shown great interest in learning to read. You have been copying words, and asking us what they say. You look at books, point at words, and wonder what they are. It is amazing to witness, to see you moving along your path, learning and growing, in your own way, and in your own time.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Friday, March 20, 2015

Hello Spring

 The last winter sunset!

It's here!

I love winter, I do, but spring, spring holds a special place in my heart. There is a certain kind of magic this time of year as the world awakens around us, bringing with it so many gifts. The anticipation has been building in me for weeks now, and today we can finally celebrate.

For the last week, each night before bed, Reece and I have been reading The Story of The Root Children, as we await the arrival of spring. This morning, with much anticipation, Reece will awaken to a few little gifts from The Root Children, a tradition we started three years ago. After breakfast we will hit the woods, taking with us some bird seed to feed our feathered friends, and maybe a few chipmunks, if they have awakened from their winter nap. We will return home for lunch, and then spend the afternoon outside. The outdoor fire pit will be burning, and the wood stove in our cottage, known as the "sugar shack" this time of year, will be roaring gently as we boil down the first of our sap. Hands will reach into the soil, planting seeds, as well as hope, because this time of year is filled with hope. And magic. Yes, magic.

In the weeks to come, the final bit of snow will melt, sprouts will begin to pop up from the ground, the temperatures will warm up, the days will get longer, a meal or two might be enjoyed outside on the back deck, and the first wild foods from the forest floor will be collected. It is, without a doubt, a wonderful time of year.

Bring it on spring, I am so ready!


Thank you so very much for all of the birthday wishes yesterday, from comments on yesterday's post, to emails, and even a few cards. Big, big hugs to you, my blog friends, you make the world feel much smaller than it really is.

Thursday, March 19, 2015


The last two years I celebrated my birthday on the beach, sand between my toes, the ocean singing me a sweet song, as the waves crashed against the beach. It was wonderful, and I thought this year I would be celebrating the same way, but a few things changed, and this year, I am home to celebrate my birthday.

But, and there is a huge but, there is something quite special about this birthday. Today I will be taking a short drive to meet up with a friend. A friend who lives in the UK, but is here visiting her family for the week. Yes, the week of my birthday! Can you believe it?

I met Renee through this space about three years ago. At first it was the usual blog friendship, reading and commenting on each others posts, sharing a few emails, and slowly learning a little more about each other. All of that changed on New Year's Eve 2012 when Renee emailed me asking if I would like to be her gratitude buddy for 2013. Basically, it was a pretty simple concept, hook up with a friend and each night send each other a list of the things you are grateful for from your day. Of course I said yes.

Our first emails were pretty simple, a list of our gratitude, and a short little note. As you can imagine, it only grew from there, and before I knew it Renee had become a friend, a true friend. Over the last two and half years Renee and I have continued our gratitude lists, missing only a handful here and there when one of us is without computer access when on vacation. I have cried many times writing to her, and reading her emails, both of us sharing parts of our days that challenge us, stretch us, and force us to grow and change. And sometimes the tears are happy tears, as we succeed in some small way in our lives, and we celebrate it with each other.

I had the pleasure of meeting Renee in person two years ago. She was here visiting family, and we met for lunch with our kiddos, and Renee's hubby. As you can imagine it was wonderful, finally sitting down in person, enjoying a meal together, and a cup of tea, just like "real" friends. When she emailed me a few months ago with her plans for a spring visit I couldn't wait, but then to find out she would be here for my birthday, well, it made my day!

And so today, Justin and Reece will give me the most amazing gift, a day with Renee. While they stay home, enjoying some father and son time, I will hop in the car and make the short 90 minute drive to meet up with Renee. We have plans to enjoy many cups of tea, while chatting away, most likely completely oblivious to the world around us, there will be a stop at Whole Foods to grab some lunch, and then I am guessing, more tea and chatting, soaking up every minute we have together.

As I celebrate 43 trips around the sun, I also celebrate a wonderful friendship that has grown because I took a big step and hit publish in this space four years ago. This space has given me so much over the years, but one of the most wonderful things has been my relationship with Renee. Here's to a day of celebrating, not only my birthday, but our friendship.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Finding His Way

My little man has been slowly moving through the beginning of the six/seven transformation over the last ten months. I shared a little bit about our experience with this change when it began last May, and since then have been witnessing the amazing transformation of my little man. It hasn't been an easy road, there have been bumps along the way, but slowly we have both found our footing in this new "normal".

As I mentioned in the previous post, this is a transformation on many different levels. His body is changing, his consciousness is changing, and his connection to his world is changing, and with all of those changes comes confusion, and frustration. When we first started moving through this change, the initial shift was emotional. Reece grew frustrated more easily, he began to express his displeasure in more meaningful ways to us, and overall, there just seemed to be a deep confusion in him about all that was happening. The only thing I knew to do through all of this was to breathe deep, be patient, be there when he needed me, hold his hand when he reached for mine, and remain a solid foundation in which he could return to time and time again when he felt things weren't as they should be.

I would love to say I have been the picture of calm and patience every day, but I can't. I am human, and I freely admit my flaws. There were nights, once he was tucked in bed, that I sat and wondered just what happened to the day, how we got so off track, and disconnected, and questioned my confidence in this role of mother. Then a new day would dawn, and we would try again, and again. And slowly, but surely we have been finding our way through this change.

While we experienced many of the emotional changes early, the last few months have been filled with physical growth, and a gaining of independence that has me wondering some days just who this little man is. He is stretching up, thinning and lengthening, his facial features are changing, his teeth are falling out, and the gains in his coordination, and strength have been incredible. While just a few months ago he had no interest in staying anywhere on his own, he now asks to visit his nana and papa, and requests that I leave. He has had a fear of putting his head in the water, and while in Myrtle Beach became a fish in a matter of minutes. Not only putting his head under the water, but swimming underwater the entire length of the pool, many, many times. Bedtimes used to mean me laying and snuggling with him til he fell asleep, and now after we read and snuggle he tells me to go and have a cup of tea and read my book or knit.

While none of this is easy on my mama heart, I have to admit it is pretty darn amazing to witness, and to watch as he grows, and changes, and discovers who he is, and his place in this world. Over the years I have been criticized more than I care to admit for many things....nursing Reece til he was five and half, co-sleeping, not letting him cry it out, not leaving him with others when he didn't want to stay, not forcing him to do things he didn't want to do, not toilet training him, and so on. Through all of it, I listened to my gut, I believed in Reece, and I trusted that when he was ready to do these things, he would let me know, and he would do them. The last few months have shown me that I was right. My little man is on his journey, and I am here to share it with him, and to help him discover who he is. He doesn't need me to push him along his path, he needs me to stand beside him, holding his hand and enjoying the ride with him.

We are not through the six/seven transformation yet, and I know there will be many more bumps along the road now, and in the future, but this transformation, and my journey through motherhood thus far, have given me the confidence and trust to keep mothering my little man as I have been, letting him lead the way, trusting the path he chooses to walk, and remaining a strong and solid foundation in which he can return to whenever he needs.

Saturday, March 14, 2015


"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"
Reece, as your dad and I walk up the road on our after dinner walks, you hop on your scooter and speed ahead. You stop regularly, and turn back to look at us, and your face just shines with joy.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Around Here

I have eased slowly back into my morning rituals over the last few days, soaking in the morning quiet of our home, exercising and meditating, journaling, and reading. It feels good, and somehow a little different, maybe just a deeper appreciation for this time, and our home. Being away does that, brings a greater awareness to the many blessings in life.

As I sat reading yesterday morning the birds began their morning song. It is gaining in strength each day as more and more birds return and gather around the feeders. The light slowly filled our home, and I snuggled a little deeper under a quilt, with tea in hand, hoping to squeeze in one more chapter before the house woke up. I did get that chapter in, by the way.

The days have been beautiful since our return. The sun has been shining, and we have enjoyed days upon days of temperatures above zero. The snow is melting, the windows have been open airing out our home, and laundry has been drying outside. I have spent time in the garden this week, shoveling out the cold frame and tunnels. It felt so good to feel the dirt in my hands, and let it slowly filter through my fingers. If the weather cooperates I am hoping to have a few seeds in the ground in the next week or two. Nothing too much, a few cold hardy vegetables such as spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and salad greens, and I may just take a little gamble and throw in some carrots and beets. While I puttered in the garden, Reece was playing in the snow, coaxing the chickens from their coop, and enjoying the warmer temperatures minus his winter hat.

A sure sign of spring around here is tapping season. We tapped the few sugar maples we have around our property this week, and look forward to gathering the sap and boiling it down over the next few weeks. We don't ever get a lot of syrup, but we get enough to last a few weeks, and sometimes to share a small jar or two. Really though, for us, it isn't about the syrup, it is about the process, and the connection to a small part of nature.

The winter books have been put away, and the spring books are slowly making their way onto the shelves. I love transitioning the books each season, bringing out old favourites, remembering the moments over the years of reading each book to Reece the first time. I often wonder when he will tire of these books, but each season brings a new enthusiasm for them, and he greets each one with new eyes, and a little more wisdom then the year before.

We have welcomed the extra light at the end of the day by resuming our after dinner family walks. This a ritual that dates back almost 18 years, when Justin and I first moved into our home. Since we live rurally, we can't enjoy these walks during the winter, although we have tried. We have tried headlamps, flashlights, and even parking the car at the end of the road with the headlights on to light our way, but nothing seems to work. The fact is once the sun goes down in the country it is dark. And so we look forward to this time of year, soaking in the last bit of the sun as it sets, walking up the country road, sometimes laughing and chatting, other times lost in our own thoughts. It is a simple pleasure, really, but so filling on so many levels.

So, things around here are good. Life is moving slowly, and simply, just the way we like things, and I will continue to soak up every bit of goodness that gets thrown my way.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Home Sweet Home

There is excitement to go away, to explore a new place, to sink into the daily nothingness that comes with time away, but it is always nice to come home. And we did just that on Saturday.

Reece and I packed up the car, and said good bye to the ocean early Saturday morning, 2am to be exact, and drove all the way home, pulling into our driveway at 10pm. The drive was uneventful compared to our drive down, but it was long. We listened to Heidi on audio, Reece kept himself busy with stickers and drawing, and a little finger knitting, and I just kept my eye on the road, feeding us snacks and checking the map every once in a while. Reece has never been one to sleep in the car, and this trip was no different. He was awake in the car, chattering away, until about 2pm, when he dozed off for two hours, and while he slept, I soaked up a little bit of quiet as I drove. The final stretch of the drive, once we cross the border, always seems so long. It has that "you are close, but still so far away" feeling, and for me, is the hardest part of the drive. But there was a sweet reward waiting...home.

Pulling into our driveway, watching as Shelby, our dog, ran, with tail wagging to greet us was wonderful. Walking into our home, and seeing Justin, well, there are no words. We had the most wonderful time away, but coming home is so darn sweet!

We spent Sunday getting unpacked and organized, and catching up. Reece shared every detail of our trip with Justin while they played, and I caught up on laundry, did a little meal planning for the week ahead, and just settled back into being home.

And now, a new week begins. I hope, for all of you, it is a week filled with good things.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


"A photo of my little man, once a week, every week, in 2015"
Reece, our last day on the beach. I can not even begin to tell you what a wonderful few weeks this has been. To say you have grown on this trip would be an understatement, you have changed so much in just a short time, both physically and emotionally. I have sat back quietly watching, my mama heart swelling with pride. You are an incredible little man, and I am so very happy to be walking beside you on your journey.

Joining Jodi for the 52 Project

Friday, March 6, 2015

From Seed to Plate

photos from 2014 gardening season

My love of gardening is no secret. The act of preparing the soil, planting a seed, watching it sprout, tending and nurturing the plants, harvesting the food to eat or put by, and beginning the cycle again, a little wiser from past experience. It is a magical cycle, and one that I never tire of.

The lovely Camilla approached me last fall about doing a little garden series on her blog. At first I was a little hesitant, I am no expert in the garden, I have learned simply by putting my hands in the dirt the first summer I was married, and over the years gaining more knowledge and experience. I said yes, but there was still a part of me that was unsure. When Camilla sent me the first questions for this four part series I was put at ease, it was like sitting down for a casual conversation with a good friend who was interested in learning a little more about how, and why I garden. I can do this I thought, and I did.

Today, the first post is up over on Camilla's very inspiring and beautiful blog. This year Camilla is planning to jump back into her garden, and as she shares this series, she will also share her progress in her own garden. It promises to be a fun, and exciting experience. If you feel like getting your hands a little dirty, and growing a few vegetables along the way, get out there in your garden and join us. You won't regret it.