Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Peggy's Cove: A lesson in Quiet

It was quiet.  Punctured only by the occasional conversation carried on the wind and the constant crash of the waves against the rocks. 

We went towards the water, compelled by the rocks and the muddy, narrow path leading towards the water. One jump and then another and then another and we were there. Right on the edge.

6 inches separated me from the Atlantic Ocean. 
It was awesome. In the truest sense of the word. 
I could have stayed for a long time. I breathed in and out with the cadence of the waves, half in awe and half in delight. And then brought back to reality by the giggle of my two year old and the way she followed her uncle like a mountain goat over the rocks. 
The mum in me got nervous and I told him to hold her hand. Always.

It's barren there. Rocks covered with red heather. Little pools of water. And all around you, the ocean. Demanding respect. 

I tore myself away and we walked down to the village. Few words were spoken. We gestured when we wanted to stop and try to capture the scene before us. We wandered through a boathouse filled with old fishing paraphernalia and other interesting stuff like a whale's jaw bone. I wondered what use I would have for a lobster trap and how I would display it. And then I saw the shells, gathered up from the sea. Worth very little to the seller, but worth a great deal for me. I handed over my coins and he wrapped the shells up for me. 

 We followed the twisting road up to the lighthouse and the throngs of people. It is after all one of the most photographed sites in all of Canada. We took some obligatory pictures as well and headed away from the people. 
It was too noisy, too busy. Everyone caught up with too much noise, the bus schedules, the overpriced coffee served at the top, the perfect picture. 

I wanted to capture it all with a film camera. Slow.

We wandered along the rocks, always making our way close to the edge, watching the water hit the rocks and create spray. Our faces were moist. 
I found a house I wanted to live in, a little house by the sea. It's quiet and secluded. Simple and quiet. 

I crave that in my life. 

And so I build it in, one little bit at a time. And I keep my shells close to remind me. 

How To Be Quiet 

1. Take a deep breath. 
No, seriously. It can't always have the sea tang but it can always help. Breathe in and then out slowly to the count of ten. It slows your heart rate down and relaxes your body. 

2. Do the next thing. 
So the house may be a mess, the laundry still needs to be folded and there's other nagging jobs. Just do the next thing: put laundry on, wash the dishes, breathe. Everything will fall into place. 

3. Deliberately slow down. 
Light a candle, put some calming music on, gather your littles or whoever is close to you and hug them.   Take time to figure out the reason why life feels so busy, so noisy. And then scale back. 

4.  Take time to be quiet. 
It may just be a few minutes standing on the back porch, or it may be longer. Leave your phone alone, actually leave all screens alone. Take the few minutes to regroup and then face your lists, your busyness, your day. 

Where is your favorite quiet place? 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Style Inspiration for a Tired Mum

For the days that just feel a little more then you can handle, like it's been one meltdown/tantrum/tears/mess too many and you're just done. 

For the days when your big girl 'naps' with your little girl and changes the dirty diaper and it all ends in one big mess. I spare you the details. 

For the days when bubble bath becomes so much more fun and sweet smelling when your shampoo is emptied into the bath water. 

For the days when the questions, both yours and theirs, don't seem to end. And there really isn't an answer to satisfy 'why'.

 Be brave. Step out in another area. Let it change your perspective. 
Get dressed, like really dressed. Put together an entire outfit. Try something new. For their sake as well as yours. 
Know that this one thing you can do, and you can do it well. 

And then, let yourself be changed. See yourself as the professional mother that you are.

See the endless questions of why as a thirst for knowledge and the budding of a curious mind. 

Delight in the utter wonder that modern washing machines are. Dirty at naptime, clean and cozy for bedtime. 

Revel in the cuteness of two little girls covered in bubbles. At least the shampoo was good for their skin and their hair and their tummies.

What new outfits are you trying out and rocking? (Because we all like inspiration and ideas!)

outfit details:
black and white striped tee: Joe (clearance)
shawl: gift
skinnies: Tommy Hilfiger 
boots: thrifted
scarf: Mystique India (Edmonton)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Finding my Voice

First time for everything, today I'm joining in the five minute Friday writing community over at Lisa Jo Baker's site  where we write for five minutes flat on the given prompt. Today's prompt: Voice 

I don't always know what is, this voice of mine. I write in the quiet, in the stolen moments and the deliberate moments. A little oasis of calm and sorting of thoughts. 
It doesn't seem to fit into any one catagory, and I don't know how to label it. The box lid doesn't always fit. 
But I write still. 
To capture the moments, if for no other audience then myself. To remember what they wore, how they looked and how simple yet complex life with two little girls can be. 
I sort out my ponderings, many just sit in drafts, afraid to be that honest and real out in the big world of the published blog post. 

But this is my voice. I can't not write. 

I write to find clarity, to inspire others, to share snippets of life. 

I write for myself, and in being true to myself I find my voice. 

I listen to His voice, the still small quiet voice. And remember that to everything there is a season, it won't always be twisting thoughts and wonderings. 

And through it all, I write. And I find my voice. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Don't Think. Just Breathe.

Sometimes I think too much, too much quiet pondering with not enough quiet around me. Sometimes I just need to close everything up and open the doors on a brisk autumn day and pick apples.

I could tell you about how the tide was out and the banks of the Cornwallis river were bare and exposed. Or how the farm was completely deserted except for our little band and that we just put our money in the honesty box. I could tell you all about the apples and how we taste tested to see which ones we wanted to bring home. 

could tell you how the little one sat right down and ate apples and how the older one ran and ran. I could tell you how the clouds were brilliant, the sun so bright and all the leaves set aglow.

 I could tell how we filled our four bags in no time flat. And that I have no idea what I'll be doing with all the apples but they will be enjoyed.

I could tell you how the petting zoo was full of animals and one manical donkey who nibbled on everything, including us. And how Kilmeny knows exactly the sound pigs make and she will forever say that pigs are grumpy and that they don't say oink. It's more of a gutteral noise from the back of the throat, that makes us all laugh and laugh when she imitates it.

 I could tell you about the good it does one's soul just to stop thinking, to let all the wonderings be and fill one's lungs with fresh, brisk air.

I could tell you how we came home and made apple fritters and then ate them for supper with boiled eggs and tea, in true hobbit fashion. 

I will wish you brisk autumn air, and clarity for all the thoughts swirling in your mind. And for you, the chance to let it all go and just breathe. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

the gift of the hard times

Sometimes, the words come readily. Sometimes they don't. Sometimes there's time and quiet and a refreshed spirit. Sometimes there's not. 

But, all of it. It is all a gift.

Sometimes you miss your own family so bad. And friends. And the freedom to cry and share and know that she will understand you whether it's teething or tantrums or late nights or style quandaries or emotional roller coasters. 

And sometimes? You step out of your comfort zone and accept an invitation to a bonfire even though your husband is out of town and you have to be the parent, the extrovert, and yourself. Sometimes, you push the stroller all the way up the hill and join in celebrating a little friend's birthday. And through the laughter and sugar-induced excitement and the freedom of little children, you feel small roots going down and friendships becoming. 

And it is all a gift. 

p.s. I wrote this last week but never shared it, Jared is away again this week but I have my brother visiting. I'll share more from our adventures later this week. Thanks for being here. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

How to Dress: Style Inspiration from the Little Ones for the Big People

1. Always have a great jacket. 
It can be thrown over whatever else you're wearing, especially if it's running errands, and can make the simplest of outfits feel pull together.

2. Cute shoes
Always have a pair of cute shoes to go with your great jacket. The accessories can often make an outfit and don't require a huge closet or budget. Color pop, fashion trends, and seasonal statements are all easily achieved with what you're wearing on your shoes. Think ballet flats, boots, and red heels. 

3. Never underestimate a good hat. 
It can be a blah day, no time for a shower day, or changes in humidity. Choose a hat you like and looks good on you and don't be afraid to wear it! The British do it all the time and look fabulous. 

4. Go for a co-ordinated look. 
Jeans, hoodie, and runners can look super cute, sporty, and practical. For those days when you just need to wear something or you're outdoors or need some more practical clothes. Wear them and wear them on purpose. Throw your hair up in a ponytail, add a splash of color with a headband and go rock the playground/library/grocery store with a spring in your step. 

5. Invest in some quality clothes. 
The initial output may slow you down but if it's a pair of good shoes or nice jeans or good jacket (or glasses in my case, here) and you wear it every day, the price is averaged out and it makes a great buy. For example, I had a pair of jeans that I wore a lot. I wore them till they had holes. Price per wear: pennies. Totally worth the investment. 

6. Mix and match
Don't be afraid to try something new. Play around with combinations in your closet to create new outfits, be inspired by others and then re-create your own version. It doesn't have to be costly or brand name or just like anyone else, it is you and your style. Wear it with confidence. 

7. "Happiest girls are the prettiest." 
Audrey Hepburn said this, she is one of my style inspirations but I appreciate this truth probably more then any outfit she wore. People remember a smile long after they've forgotten what you wore. 

What inspires you?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

To the Ocean We Went

I put the girls in their carseats, and we drove, taking full advantage of the rental car for the weekend. Along the winding road, beside the blaze of glory that transforms the trees in autumn in Nova Scotia. One little girl slept, and the other talked. A lot. And asked questions. Mostly why questions. 

I was exhausted and just wanting to be quiet. I stopped the car and took some pictures. The wind blew my hair and made the grass dance. It was beautiful. 

And so is my life. I just miss it sometimes, chasing after perfection. Chasing after the ideal that doesn't exist for anyone. 

Life is busy and full and so very precious. 

We walked all over the beach, picking up shells, drawing in the sand and walking in the water. We ran and we sang at the top of our lungs. We took big gulps of fresh air. I let the breeze blow all the tension away. I let my girls be little and I let myself be their imperfect mum. 

I answered endless questions of why, I danced the dance of the Ergo when my littlest one fussed and I memorized how the ocean calmed all of us. 

We collected two more shells for our collection and headed home. 


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