Thursday, May 31, 2012

Adventures of the Moving Sort

New York City, 2010

remember the conversation well, we were sitting on the couch and talking about some of our dreams and what we wanted out of life. He said how someday he wanted to take his wife on a year long trip around the world.

I smiled. 

I think I said something along the lines of, 'oh, that would be an amazing trip.'

Inside, I was jumping and down, saying 'pick me! pick me! I want to travel the world too! '

New Zealand, 2008

 9 months later, we were walking through security together, having just hugged our families goodbye. We were headed on that trip around the world.

 First stop: Hawaii. 

Since that time we have lived in three out of the ten provinces in Canada. We've rented basement suites in the heart of the city, we've lived on a farm in rural Alberta, we've lived with family and we've lived with friends. 
We've never stopped dreaming big, never stopped talking about what we want out of life, and what we feel our calling is. 
Beijing, China, 2009 

This fall we're going to be embarking on of our biggest adventures yet. 

We're moving across Canada. 

To Nova Scotia. 

Land of New Scotland, of beautiful scenery and most relevant to us: home of Acadia University.

Jared will be studying music at the university and I will be thrilled to be at this side, sharing in this incredible opportunity. 

2 years ago, we took a plunge into the world of music. We lived out East for most of 2010, playing with the National Academy Orchestra and studying with some of the masters in Montreal. We came back to Edmonton hoping to win a symphony audition but with only one chair available and 12 candidates, it was not meant to be. 
We spent the next year and half working at a bank and settling into life. We had two girls now and figured that the music dream just wasn't meant to be.
 Then things started happening and the music door opened. It opened wide with an invitation to attend Acadia with a scholarship. It opened wide with hope and direction and peace and incredible excitement. 

We've been quiet about it for a few months, figuring a lot of the details out and discerning if we should do make this move or not. It's been stretching, emotionally exhausting, and yet the best thing for us. 

Edmonton, Alberta, 2012
 Our flights are booked for the end of August. And we're excited.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

To Grandpa's Farm We Went (a photo essay with a few words)

I've been quiet in this space, tending to my two little girls who have been sick and needing all of me and more. After a visit to the doctor and filling out prescriptions for both of them (all first-time experiences), we're hoping things turn around a little and we can kick these infections for good. We've gone through more coffee in this last week then the previous month....and a lot of stuff just hasn't gotten attention. I took these pictures several weeks when we visited Jared's Grandpa on his farm in rural Alberta. Grammie passed away almost a year ago and so it was a good but hard visit. I hope to be around here a little more soon and share some of the exciting changes and adventures ahead of us but we'll see....=) 

I thought I would have the words. Even though my heart was so full as I captured moments, breathed in the quiet air and remembered. I thought the words would come and I could articulate the fullness of my heart. 

The grief of loss juxtaposed with hope and memory. The meeting of the generations, ghosts of old memories present and stories, so many stories to be told.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Project 365 - Week 16

May 21-28

1. Blowing bubbles on a Saturday while Jared cut grass for a friend. 

2. It had been a long week, the kind where little sleep happened and naps just didn't happen. I went for a walk and the girls fell asleep, so into Starbucks I went and had a wonderful refreshing time while they slept. Such a gift. 

3. We spent the long weekend out at Moshers and I tried out their bike trailer. It was quite fun although heavy with all three little ones squished in there. Khaira wasn't crazy about it but Kilmeny was thrilled. 

4. It was just one of those days to curl up on the couch, the girls weren't feeling tops so we just had a slow day. 

5. Introducing Khaira to avocado....a whole-hearted experience! She didn't eat it as much as experienced it. 

6. I love this picture of Khaira sleeping. Finally. It took a long time but oh, we both felt so much better after she slept. 

7. Shopping with my big girl, it was so fun to be out with just Kilmeny. She would not look at the camera but I think I love this picture more. It sums up so much of who she is at this age. 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Less is More (no, really it is!)

I've been thinking a lot about the concept of stuff lately. It probably helps that I'm in a major de-junk, purge, and organize mood. I've been in it before but this time I'm in attack mode. 
I am pretty much ruthless in my method. I say pretty much because at my heart, I'm a packrat. I hold onto little random stuff because of the sentimental value to me. Growing up, I always had a full closet because I could never bear to get rid of my clothes, they all had so many memories attached to them. 

But I can't afford to be that sentimental anymore. 

We've moved a lot since getting married 3 1/2 years ago. We've lived in a lot of different places.  And we've accumulated stuff. Stuff we keep moving around with us.
We're most likely going to be moving again in the future, our little hobbit hole basement suite is only so big. I don't want to move stuff around just because it has memories attached to it. So I've been going through everything, taking bins of stuff to the thrift store and posting ads on kijiji.

It has been so freeing. Our souls aren't so weighed down by stuff. We're free to just be and enjoy what we do have.

We have more space.
I got rid of a change table and an exersaucer. I was only using the change table as storage and Khaira was quite done with the exersaucer. There's so much more space in the girls' room for them to dump their teddies and tea set all over the floor  play. 

The house can be really fast to tidy up.
The girls have three baskets in their room of assorted toys, teddies and books. They also have a little shelf in the living room. It can look like a total disaster but I can clean it up in five minutes making me feel like Mary Poppins. I just need some sort of trick for the laundry now.

I've gotten rid of all kinds of things that I was saving for a rainy day or oodles of spare time.
-A wicker picnic basket with a broken handle, it would probably be an easy fix but I haven't fixed it and it's been two years. I'm not going to be fixing it. 
 -Random knick-knacks that I will never display again and have just collected dust in my hopechest. My style and taste has changed a lot since I was 16 and there's no need to store stuff for no reason.
-A cupcake storage and transport container. I have never used it. And despite my fascination with cupcakes, I'm not keeping it for that 'just in case moment'. When I make cupcakes, I'll be creative and use something I already have to store them.  
I saved the memories and got rid of the stuff. 

 I know what I have and why I have it.
I haven't been completely cold-hearted and cut throat. I saved my tea cups and silver tea service. I have two little girls and I forsee lots of tea parties with real china in our future. I also saved four tupperware parfait glasses. I have never used them. I have four cut glass parfait glasses that are a lot prettier. But the tupperware ones are quirky and retro and I have so many memories of my Nana serving up her famous chocolate pudding in parfait cups identical to mine. I'm keeping them to create new memories for little people in my house.

Are you a pack rat as well? What's your secret to keeping stuff organized?

P.S. These pictures were taken on Mother's Day, I got the girls matching outfits last fall and love that they can wear them now. And I seriously wish they came in my size!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Project 365 - Week 15

May 13- May 20

1. Just a moment with my happy girl and I. 

2. I was busy with Khaira and left Kilmo alone for several moments. I came in to check on her and saw  see her all quiet. The morning light was gentle and beautiful and she was totally absorbed in her books. I loved seeing it. 

3. A spontaneous invitation turned out to be the best of days. We walked, the girls played, we had a picnic lunch and then Nicole and I talked and talked while they all napped. Such a gift. 

4. My pretty girls on Mothers' Day. 

5. My sweet Khaira-baby, 9 months old. 

6. Kaden read Kilmeny a story one morning we were there. They were adorable, all cozy in the chair with the book and a doll. 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Following the Spark

After last week, I was quite ready for a different sort of week when it came to be Monday. We had the loveliest of weekends and I felt refreshed and ready to handle whatever might happen. But I also knew for my own sanity and for the girls' sake that I would set the rhythm for the week a little different then our normal routine.

We would follow the spark. 

We would take advantage of the beautiful weather and let it dictate our days a little more. 

 We would eat lunch at the park and then blow bubbles. Because it is beautiful out. And sunshine does wonders for restoring one's soul.

  would say yes to a spontaneous invitation to spend the day with a friend and her little girls. Honestly, she mentioned popsicles and sitting in the sun and talking and I was all over it.I got a lovely tan burn to show just how long we sat and talked while our girls slept. 

We would do necessary errands timed so that we get in a visit with cousins. And I was refreshed again by chatting with my sister in law and sharing all sorts of life stuff with her. 

And it has been a different sort of week, filled with all sorts of lovely and a few not-so-lovely bits too. I'll be honest, there were more messes then I care to admit and the floor's needed washing all week. I don't live in a strawberry cream patch, I just like to dwell on the nice bits and let the other stuff go.

What do you do to 'follow the spark'?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Jammies and Rubber Duckies

It was a Saturday night. I was busy bathing the girls. We don't have an actual bathtub in our hobbit hole so it's always a bit challenging. My baby gets scrubbed down in the kitchen sink with her older sister watching. And then we fill up a rubbermaid bin in the shower for my Kilmo-girl. She loves it. They both do.
I don't always. I see it more of a chore, something to get done right along with jammiesdiapersstorykissesgoodnight.

And then I breathe. 

But this last time I took a little time. I always make it fun for them, but I made it fun for me as well. I took time to watch how their eyes looked, and the sweet smell of freshly washed skin. I let them play a little, clad only in a towel and even that vanished when Kilmeny started dancing much to the delight of Khaira.
I laughed. I took some pictures, trying in some futile way to capture the utter essence of my girls in that moment.

I got the girls in the jammies. I gave them books to look at while I tidied up. I stopped and watched them. I love little ones in their pajamas, there's something so precious and huggable about them. They also tend to be rather cuddly at that time, whether they want the cuddle or just want to prolong bedtime is always up for debate!

I read Time for Bed and Good night, Moon. I brushed Kilmeny's teeth, and brushed her hair. I gave her a kiss and off she went to dream land snuggled on her Daddy's shoulder.
My baby was not going to go down so she joined us in the living room. While I was bathing the girls, Jared was out grabbing some stuff for our in-house date night. We sat on the living room and feasted on simple bread, cheese and prosciutto.

It was a pretty ordinary Saturday night but those ordinary times are the most beautiful to me and those are the memories that we look back on.  

Do you have a favorite bedtime story?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Project 365-Week 14

May 6- May 12

1. Khaira had been up for a long time before Kilmeny woke up. I decided to let the girls have breakfast in the living room since Khaira was already in there. Not one of my brightest ideas but they enjoyed it and the mess wasn't that hard to clean up afterwards.

2. Plane trails! Love the sight and sound of airplanes.

3. Khaira has been sick off and on for almost a month now, this day she was so cuddly and mellow. Just wanting to be held and have me comfort her. It was precious.

4. Kilmeny is all into coloring at the moment. I love this coloring book I picked up at the thrift store. Basically brand new Beatrix Potter! Kilmeny is also all into 'undressing' her crayons, she likes to take the paper off her crayons before using them.

5. We had a picnic at the park for supper and then Jared made Kilmeny's night by going on the slide with her. The picture's a little blurry but I love it.

6. We spent the day with Grandpa, it was so good to see him again and to see him enjoy the girls.

7. Jared took a family sick day one Wednesday when the girls had not been sleeping. I was a wreck emotionally. We packed up and drove to Elk Island National Park where we walked and walked and talked. It was beautiful and so soul-nourishing.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Coffee, Meltdowns, and a Few pretty Moments

 It has been quite the week. I think I could count the hours of sleep I've gotten on both hands. Okay, that's a little dramatic. But there hasn't been a lot of sleep happening around here making for some very long days (and nights) and an extra grumpy tired mummy. My brother in law stayed a few nights last week and he left us with some freshly roasted coffee beans. I think that was one of the best gifts I've gotten, timing wise. 

Khaira has been a different baby from Kilmeny from day one. And this last week was just one more example of their differences. Not that Kilmeny never had rough nights, oh no, there was one where she cried for 4 (count 'em, four) hours straight. Jared was performing at a concert and we were scheduled to fly very early the next morning, across the country. I was a wreck by the time the concert was over. I didn't think motherhood could get any worse. 
Enter baby number 2. 

Both of us have pulled hard together this week, cheering each other on in our fatigue and we've even made our running goals. 
There's been a lot of not-so-pretty moments, hello fatigue-induced meltdowns and the girls were also grumpy.

But, there have been a lot of beautiful moments. Moments that I probably would have missed had it been a 'normal' week. We explored a new park that we've always wanted to go to but never have before. Kilmeny got to run and run on the trails, we got to talk and talk and soak up the spring. I got to see bison wandering around without any fences, something new for me. I kinda made a big deal out of it, but seriously, it was so neat to see those large animals a couple feet from our van! So amazing! 

I felt like such a city girl as I stepped out into the wilderness park with my grande Pike Place in hand and going a little gah-gah over the beauty of the green haze adorning the trees. Hearing the frogs, smelling the damp woodsy underbrush, seeing wild strawberry plants and plantain leaves, feeling the warmth of the sun and the roughness of the log I sat on to feed Khaira did great restorative wonders. 

We've been taking each day a little more slow, my plans to be out and about haven't happened and that's okay. Emails didn't get written, blogging didn't happen (despite all my great ideas at 3 am, we're all brilliant then until tested by daylight), and meals sort of happened. 
But I've been free to meet my husband for a chai after work which of course sounds a lot more glamorous then the reality of it. He pushed the stroller home and listened to me talk. I was able to fully enjoy my massage, probably the best 60 minutes of self care I've had in a long time- so very thankful for benefits that cover massages. 

I got to see my little baby stand. She's all over standing right now and thinks it is the best.thing.ever. I love how adorable she is at this stage in her little onesies and her fat little thighs. 

I got to watch and listen to my toddler-girl as her endless imagination entertains her - 'this is the baby purple crayon and this is the mummy crayon. They're going shopping'.

Being a mum, it's this crazy, wonderful, incredible adventure. And weeks like this one bring that home. I'm thankful for these days with my girls, very glad that this week is over and now I have a date at the park to blow bubbles with my adorables. 

Have a wonderful weekend with all the moments, pretty and not-so-pretty!! 

And, if you read this far, thank-you. :-) I got a little wordy. ;-)


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