Tuesday, 30 April 2013

LAND OF THE LAKES

Living in Yarmouth County we are surrounded by water. There is lakes or ocean. Whatever your heart desires that day, it's there for you. We live somewhat inland so the lakes are something we are lucky enough to experience on a daily basis. And I still get very excited when I discover a lake I have never seen before.

Where I grew up there was not an abundance of lakes around. We did have the beach close by but it wasn't a quiet place, and any lake we wanted to go to required an extensive drive and you were certainly to bump in to others no matter what time of the year. And I'm all about solitude.

Here in Yarmouth, there are lakes everywhere. There are no signs to get there, you just have to discover them, and in the summer they are warm to swim in, something else I'm not used to. Coming from B.C. I am accustomed to cold lakes. VERY cold lakes. It's all that glacial run off.  I think it was somewhere around Ontario on our trip across Canada that I swam in a warm lake for my very first time. And I was hooked. It's cool enough to be refreshing, but you don't turn blue. I loved it. And now in the summer I will swim in a lake any chance I get.

Yesterday we drove down the road to a favorite spot of mine on Raynards Lake. It's about a 5 to 10 minute drive from our house on the Hamilton Road, which is an old route from years gone by. Along the way you will see evidence of old homesteads, some of which are still occupied and some long abandoned. We stopped at one old place that I've been curious about for some time. We spotted an old tree that had grown around some of the old metal that had been lying around the place.


We also found some old abandoned farm equipment from years gone by, now just a relic reminding us of another time.


There was a big old tree at the entrance to the property that majestically towered over us, and I commented to my husband that likely long after we are gone that tree will still be there watching over the land.


We continued on down to the lake and parked the car. It was 20 degrees, so for the first time this year we were able to roll up our pants and dip our toes in the water. Still chilly of course, but it felt heavenly and I know soon we will be plunging in for that much needed afternoon swim.




This is just one of the many many lakes Yarmouth County has to offer. If you ever look at a map of our area you will see the abundance of freshwater available for swimming, boating and fishing. Some have cottages dotted along the shore, some are more popluar than others, but all are serene. We sat at the lake for an hour and saw absolutely no one. It was a great way to end a wonderful day and I feel lucky to be able to take these moments and enjoy them as the gifts that they are.




Monday, 29 April 2013

THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP

Even though it's not summer yet it sure has felt like it these last few days. The flip flops are on, the shorts are out and the sunscreen is slathered on my skin. I can't believe a mere month ago it was still quite chilly and my toque was always within reach. Now it's 20 degrees and hot.

I spent my day today relaxing after a wonderful weekend with friends. I have been so blessed in this life, meeting so many special people and having them be a part of this journey we call life. One of the things I have appreciated most about living in many places has been the opportunity to get to know so many different people and personalities.

Everyone in this life has something to offer, whether it's knowledge, experience or a different point of view. I love to learn from others and listen to what they have to say. It enriches my life in so many ways. And the thing about immersing yourself in great friendship's is the ability to reach out to one another and share experiences. We all have different passions and opinions but we also share similarities and happenings.

I also feel great friendships are an inspirations. A good friend always wants the best for you and will provide insight and a different point view that can make you see another path for yourself that you wouldn't have even dreamed of.

The friends that have come in to my life have been all these things for me. From childhood friends, to High School, Work and Neighbours the people in my life mean the world to me. And what makes it even better is watching my friends children and my children form bonds with one another that will always be a part of their lives, whether or not they lose touch later in life. They will always remember jumping on the trampoline when its dark, or sharing popcorn in the bed watching a movie, and whispering secrets to each other when the lights or out.


As my life journey's on I look forward to the new bonds I will make and the interesting individuals that will become a part of and enrich my life. I hope that my life will be an inspiration to my friends and that they know no matter what time of the day, or whatever they need I will always be there. Because that's what friends are for.


Friday, 26 April 2013

REALITY

I had another topic on my mind this morning that I was going to write about, but that is going to have to wait for another time. As I was writing the post  I was going  through my most recent pictures, trying to find a few that represented the thoughts that I had regarding the topic I was writing about. And as I was doing this something really stood out to me. I realized that I had no bad pictures.

 Now this doesn't mean I am an amazing photographer and every photo I take is a winner. Hardly. But what it means is that in today's world we are able to just simply delete the bad photos. Years before, when we took pictures we would have to take out the roll of film from the camera and get the pictures developed. We would bring them home after picking them up from the store with excitement. We would then  flip through them and realize that out of the bunch of 24 pictures, there was probably one or two keepers. The rest went in a box. In our house the good ones would go on the fridge for a few months and then join the other pictures in a big box in the closet. I still have the box in the basement and every now and then we will haul it out and sort through them one by one laughing and remembering. And the best part of it all is the bad photos. The ones where you are making a bad face, or you weren't looking and someone caught you doing something funny.

It's funny that in today's world we can, at the touch of a button delete something. I realized today as I was scrolling through my photos on my computer, that there are very few pictures of myself. I have deleted them all. A whole section of my life is missing that I can't get back because I didn't like the way I looked in a picture. I hated my double chin, or I looked too fat. I feel I'm not photogenic therefore I don't like any pictures of myself, ever. But because of my own insecurities, in future years when my kids want to look back through pictures they aren't going to find many of their Mom, because they are all erased. Gone for good. Not a good thing.

All the semi good pictures are gone too. The ones that are slightly blurry, or eyes half closed. The photos that somehow get your thumb or finger in it when you take the shot, or someone was making a funny face when you were trying to get a really nice family portrait. And you know what? I really miss those pictures.

I got to thinking that  the world we live in today is just like my photos that I have now on my computer. We leave out all the bad stuff. When using social media like Facebook or Twitter we are able to post on an ongoing basis everything we are doing in our day to day lives. But very seldom, when we are glimpsing the lives of each other are we getting a clear and realistic portrait of what that life is really like. What we are posting or seeing or reading on social media for the most part are the good things. Vacations, big accomplishments or something funny that happened that day. We get to hear what we had for supper, or the new car we bought. But very seldom do we actually get to see in to the real stuff. The other side of real life.  There fore we paint an unrealistic picture of our lives that isn't accurate.

Now I'm not saying I want to go on to facebook and read about my friends fight she had with her husband, or about the pork roast she burnt last night. I don't think it should be a platform for negativity. I just think it's important to keep in mind that it's ok to have the bad stuff. We all do. And to remember that when we look at each other's photos of the perfect trip, or the amazing holiday, that the bad photos aren't included. What we didn't see were the arguments on the way to the airport or the kids throwing up in the toilet on the airplane. We weren't privy to the fact that the kids fought the whole way to Grandma's house in the car or that life that day was just not that great. We have to realize that life just isn't perfect. For anyone, anywhere.

We are surrounded these days with perfection. Television, movies, magazines and media. Perfect bodies, perfect teeth, perfect hair. We live in the digital age of air brushing. Plastic surgery is on the rise consistently year over year. We have lost the ability to recognize that it's ok to be real. To have the bad pictures, to not be perfect. To have bad days, and bad vacations. To have real boobs, wrinkles and gray hair. It's normal to have really bad days and to snap at your kids. I don't know about any of you, but have you ever had it happen where your kids are calling...mom....mooooommmmm.....mommmmmmmmmmmm. MOM! And you finally turn around and scream...."WHHHHHAAATTTTT?" And they look at you and say " I love you. " Yup, that's reality. And I love it, every little juicy bit of it. The good and the bad. And even though I'm still not going to post on facebook that my husband made me mad, or I feel like crap today, I am going to start hanging on to those not so great pictures. So that when I look back years from now we can smile and laugh and remember the good and the bad. Because that's what reality is.

That said everyone, I will not be posting for the weekend as I have some company coming and will hopefully have a new post on Monday. Enjoy your weekends everybody, take the good with the bad, and we will catch up next week.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A COUNTRY NIGHT

One of my favorite things to do is watch a sunset. I love to watch the sky turn it's bright oranges and reds as the sun disappears beneath the horizon and then the sky slowly darkens to a deep dark blue, until the first stars start to wink and sparkle.



 Twilight always carries with it an aura of mystery and I love to sit on the porch and watch the light slowly fade as trees and bushes become shadows and the sounds of night take life. We have a few owls here in the forest that call to one another and there is no greater wonder than sitting back and listening to that conversation as it echoes through the woods. I always wonder what they're talking about. Owls are wise so it must be some pretty good stuff.


This is our owl that comes to visit now and again

Living in a rural area really brings you back in tune with the nature that surrounds all of us. If you sit outside at night and listen, you realize that the forest isn't silent at all. There's a whole world that goes on out there while we sleep. In the mornings I can see where the deer have crossed the yard nibbling plants and grass as they go, leaving only their hoof prints behind. At night you can also hear the howling and yipping of coyotes in the woods and their cries echo through the night as they howl at the moon.



When my kids were quite small I used to read them a story called A North Country Night by Daniel San Souci. It's a story about a small cabin in the woods, and as the people in the cabin go to sleep the forest comes alive with all the different animals that live in the North Country.


It's one of my favorite children's books, and even though the kids have outgrown it now, I still keep it around and flip through it now and again because it brings back so many memories. When I first bought the book I was still living in the city, a young mom with one son commuting back and forth on busy freeways through rush hour traffic and falling asleep at night to the sound of cars and airplanes flying over head. When I read this book to my little one at night, I would dream that one day I could hopefully live in a place where there was a forest with animals and night sounds just like in the book. The wonderful thing is, my dream came true.

I asked my oldest son the other day if he remembered the book, and he smiled and said "Of course I do! It's the book with the cabin in the forest, and all the beautiful pictures of the animals that are out at night. You know Mom, we kind of live like that now."

You see, the great thing about this life is, if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen. Go after your dreams and follow them. It may not seem at the time that you are getting any closer to that goal, but once you arrive you can look back and connect all the dots and see how every decision led you to where you are today. Life isn't always easy, but the journey and adventures it can bring are worth everything.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

MOMENTS

It's so important to make time for moments to just be. I know my life gets so crazy sometimes that I forget to just take a breath and a moment to do something that is for the simple pleasure of enjoyment. Yesterday I encountered such a choice. My husband had the day off so we could get some chores done around the house. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny and the kids were off to school. We had breakfast and then were about to embark on our separate duties for the day, when he looked at me and asked if I wanted to go for a walk in the park. Now my initial reaction was no. I had so much to do. Change the sheets, clean the bathrooms, bleach out the shower and tub and do laundry. The house needed to be vacuumed and my car is super dirty. But, when I thought about it, I realized that I needed to take that moment, grasp it and go. Those other things could wait. Chores are always there for you when you return and really, how many times will I get to go out for a walk with my husband, no kids, and just enjoy the day.


So, we headed on down to Ellenwood Lake Provincial Park which is about a ten minute drive from our house. In the summer it is a haven for campers and swimmers as the park is situated on the shores of beautiful Ellenwood Lake. On labour day weekend it shuts down for the winter, but the ski trails are open when the snow falls, and are maintained by an organization called the Friends of Ellenwood Lake. There is also a warming cabin on the weekends during ski season, where there will sometimes be an event or a special breakfast to be enjoyed by the local community.

 So, as the park isn't open yet until the end of May we parked at the gate and walked in only to be blessed with having the entire place to ourselves, aside form a few squirrels and some robins. I had fun checking out all the different camp spots and I have picked out my campsite for a weekend this summer to spend there with the kids. I'm not telling which one it is, my secret, but I will say it has it's own private path to the lake.


We brought our puppy along, as he is full of energy and he so enjoyed having the vast freedom to run around off leash, as there was no other dogs are humans around. He sure was one tired little guy when we got home. It's nice to have a dog to walk again, as our other dog Barley is much to old to go on long jaunts anymore, and though I love the new guy very much, I still really miss having my Barley by my side.


I was really glad I took the time to leave the pressures of life behind and enjoy some solitude and peace. I came back feeling rejuvenated and ready to face the rest of the days chores and challenges. I should mention the car is still dirty, and the showers and tub didn't get done, but life is much too short not to take the special times and moments that are put before us. We can never get those times back, so lets take them when we can get them.

Monday, 22 April 2013

GETTING THE GARDEN READY

Well yesterday was a busy one around here. The sun was out in full force with some nice warm temperatures, which means planting time is probably about a month away. All of a sudden I find myself behind in starting my seeds and getting my garden ready, so every one was helping out. My 14 year old son rototilled my vegetable garden for me. Now this is no easy task, and because we have doubled its size this year, it took him all afternoon. But the finished product was a winner and I'm happy to say I'll be busy raking and planning and then on to planting in the next few weeks.



We also had a nice campfire going and cleaned up some of the winter debris that was lying around the place. My daughter loves to ride on the four wheeler so she was a big help getting wood and cleaning up. (  Don't worry, she rides with an adult )


We finished off our day with a visit to the neighbours for a great BBQ of chicken, ribs and steak. A wonderful end to a perfect weekend. And I didn't have to cook! Now I just need to get my seeds started in the greenhouse. I'm about 2 weeks behind so the push is on, but really everything usually catches up in the end, give or take a couple weeks.

I love this time of the year. It's always very busy with different sports and commitments, spring recitals, and softball, but it's a good time. And soon the lazy ( ya right ) days of summer will be upon us and I will look back and wonder where spring went.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

BEING GRATEFUL



My absolute favorite flower in the world is the Sunflower. It symbolizes happiness and faith, always turning it's head to the sun to take in it's rays. For me, when I gaze up at the tremendous head of a sunflower against the bright blue sky, it fills me with feelings of joy and gratefulness. In my garden, you will always find a row of sunflowers somewhere.

It's important to be reminded in life about being grateful and the sunflower does this for me. We all need to appreciate everything that is given to us, all the opportunities we are presented with in life, and for our existence in this world.

When I look around me in life I see so many things to be grateful for. The ocean, trees, birds, wildlife, lakes and rivers. In Canada we experience religious freedom, access to health care, education and equality. With all the atrocities that are befalling so many places in the world, all the hunger, war and disease I am thankful ever day for where I was born and all that I have in my life.

In my life I've been very lucky in the fact that I've learned some truly important life lessons early on. My first lesson I learned is from my parents. They both grew up in the Netherlands during WW2 and then later on immigrated to Canada as a Newlywed couple with $300 and a dream. They taught me that when you work hard, you will accomplish greatness. They taught me that nothing is forever and that not one thing on this earth is ever really yours. At some point in this life you will leave it all behind. A very important lesson indeed.

Then, when I was 20 years old, I began my career working in a hospital. It was here that I learned my second great big lesson in life. And that was, everyone dies, and you're usually not that old when it happens. Now I know on some level, we all know this and are aware of course that some day we will die but when I first started working in health care I was very na├»ve. Up until that point I had lived a pretty charmed life. I went to school, spent time with friends, and no one I ever knew close to me had died. I was sheltered from the whole life and death cycle.  So when I started working in the hospital I was completely blindsided by that side of life. And it made me realize early on that appreciating every moment, and trying to make the best of the life you are given is of upmost importance. That lesson led me to make a choice in my life that then led me to my third big lesson in life.

My husband and I took a job working for a very wealthy couple. They were an absolutely wonderful family that didn't let their wealth change who they were as individuals. They were the real deal. And unbeknownst to them, they taught me some of  the most important lessons of all. They taught me that

1. Things don't make you happy, friends and family do.
2. The size of your house doesn't matter, the family inside it does.
3. Money doesn't make losing someone you love any easier.
4. Money can't buy you your life back.
5. Someone always has more, no matter how much money you have

Money is a powerful thing. We all need it to survive. Food, shelter, clothing. But money is more than that. In our society that we live in today, money is also required for social acceptance. The ones with the most toys wins. As a society we no longer consider personal satisfaction and happiness as the basis for success. It is the perception that others have of us that is the basis for our own success. The big house, the fancy car and the designer clothes. The problem is, this won't bring you joy or fulfillment. Nice things are nice. But that's it because they are still just things.

For me, personal satisfaction comes from life experiences. The simple pleasures of a warm campfire at night, watching my children as they sleep, or a really great sunset at the beach with my husband holding my hand. These are the things I appreciate. And they don't cost me a thing.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A BEAUTIFUL SPRING MORNING

The day has dawned bright and beautiful and spring is everywhere. This morning I headed out, camera in hand in my PJ's to take a walk in the yard with my puppy Brody. The great thing about living in the country is the privacy it brings. The fact that I can go for a walk in my Pyjamas with out the risk of bumping in to anyone is the best thing ever. We started off feeding the chickens and the rabbits.
STOO AND THE GIRLS


I then decided to take a walk around our pond to see if there was anything happening over there. We've been hearing the frogs at night now for a couple weeks so I suspected there might be some eggs, and I was right. There were eggs! A lot of them. Soon these little guys will hatch, and the water will be alive with hundreds of tadpoles. This is such a great time for the kids. They love to sit at the pond and watch them swim around and change in to frogs before their eyes.


And the signs of growth are everywhere. The trees are almost ready to bust out their leaves. The grass is green and the air is warm. Spring to me is a time of rebirth and new life. It feels like a new beginning and a fresh start. I love the different shades of greens that accompany spring. The plants and leaves are never as green as they are around this time, and I love to savor every moment. Fiddle heads are popping up all over the forest floor, and the garden is coming to life with chives and rhubarb.

We are very blessed here in Yarmouth. We have somewhat of a micro climate and we are dubbed the banana belt of Nova Scotia, so everything here is just a little ahead of the rest of the province. And it's so amazing to me how much sunshine we actually enjoy. Moving here from the West Coast, I wasn't expecting to enjoy so much sun. Most of my life, I've been used to so much rain. The Pacific Coast is a rain forest and although this creates a very lush and large environment, for me I prefer the added hours of sunshine to my life. I don't even own an umbrella anymore.




I love every season, and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. I love the newness of spring, the warmth and heat of summer, the glorious colors and the harvest of Autumn, and the crisp, cold, snowy days of winter. Each is spectacular in its own right and holds something valuable. It's so important to enjoy every moment of every day of every season. To look around and take in the sights and smells of our surroundings and look for the finer details that can bring such joy and fulfillment. We only get this one life and spring is such a great reminder of the circle of life. From birth to death, and all that lies in between. What a wonderful existence we are blessed with.


Wednesday, 17 April 2013

FISHING FOR THE KIACK

 When spring arrives here in Southwestern Nova Scotia there is a run of fish called The Gaspereau. The Gaspereau is the Acadian French term for a fish that the Mi'Kmaq had called The Kiack. This is not to be confused with the Kayak, which is of course a boat. This fact became somewhat embarrassing for my husband and I when we were first told of this particular fishery. We had automatically assumed they were fishing in Kayaks and thought this would be very entertaining indeed to go watch. This of course led to many chuckles at our expense. But the Kiack is not in fact a boat but is a rough skinned, bony fish that they now use for bait or sometimes as a smoked fish.

To fish the Kiack, the fisherman sit alongside the river or in small boats and use a process called dip netting, which is exactly as it sounds. They dip the net in and scoop up the fish as the run passes. It is very cold work, therefore many of the fisherman have little warming shacks along the edge of the rivers, where you will see billows of smoke rising in the air as the fisherman warm their cold hands over the fire and share a drink or two.




It is so incredible to watch these fisherman at work and to know that this has been going on for generations. When you look at the rivers closely you can see where they have moved around stones to create channels for the fish to go through making it easier of course to dip in the nets. There is no fancy contraptions or depth sounders or machinery. It's just a person, their net and in some cases their boat, just as its been done by their families before them. A little piece of the past, almost like time stood still. Just down the road from my house on the Tusket River, you can sit and watch as they collect their fish, the silver skins shimmering in the sun as they pull them from the water. Seagulls, Osprey and Eagles are also in on the action as they swoop down to enjoy a meal or two.

So besides the Maple Syrup running and the crocuses and snowdrops blooming, the run of the Kiack is a sure sign of spring here in Southwestern Nova Scotia. The loons are again calling to one another, their song echoing through the night. The frogs are singing their songs at dusk and there is warmth in the sun. We feel the breathe of spring and new life as the grass greens and the robins gather on the lawn. Welcome spring, we have been expecting you.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

SERENITY IN DAYS GONE BY

So yesterday my hubby was lucky enough to have a day off so we decided to hit the road and explore some of this beautiful area that we live in. The sun was out and the kids were in school so we hit the highway. We ended up in an area of Shelburne County called Jordan Bay. We followed this little dirt road ( our poor car ) over a tiny causeway that looked as if it spends some of its time awash, to McLean's Island. It looks as if the island was an old farmstead complete with endless apple trees, overgrown fields, rock walls, beautiful paths through the forest and of course the spectacular sweeping view of the ocean.


As we wandered around the now abandoned farm, we were both lost in our own thoughts as we explored the area. The immense history that abounds in Nova Scotia never ceases to amaze me and I search it out every chance I get. When I find these old places my imagination runs wild about the family that lived here, what brought them to this place and where are their ancestors now? The beauty that surrounded this place absolutely took my breath away, and I wondered how it could sit abandoned and alone, no one left to love it except the squirrels and porcupines.


As we wandered the paths we relished in the serenity of the place. The birds were chirping in the trees, the waves were undulating in to shore, and the sun was warm on our faces as we made our way down to the ocean. We could feel the breeze from the water as we neared the stony beach, and were greeted by sun and sea as we came out of the forest canopy.




We walked along the rocky shore, coming across dozens of lobster traps and rope that had floated in with the stormy seas of winter. The ocean has been pushing the rocks further inland and now surround the tree trunks of the forest lining the beach showing evidence of the rising waters. How the landscape and shores will change will remain to be seen, but I do believe this  little island will one day be cut off from the mainland to be a sole entity once more.

It was with sadness that upon returning home after this wonderful day, to find out about the terrible bombings that had taken place during the Boston Marathon in the United States. After such a peaceful, tranquil day it took on an extra feeling of shock and sadness. While we were enjoying peace and quiet in nature, somewhere else there was tragedy, shock and fear.

What a shame that on this beautiful planet we all call home and are so blessed to share and be a part of, we can't live in a harmonious state. We must constantly seek to destroy,argue and fight for our different beliefs, religions and power. My heart goes out to the victims of this latest attack and I can only hope that one day we can all live in a world that is safe and serene. It shouldn't be too much to ask for.

Monday, 15 April 2013

MR WADDLES


A year ago I decided I wanted to raise farm ducks for the precise reason that I absolutely love duck for dinner. It is up there with some of my favorite foods. So come spring last year we ordered a dozen ducklings. I was so excited when the big day arrived. We set up their little home with hay and a heat lamp and away we went.

Now ducks aren't easy to raise. They are extremely messy and being ducks, they love water and their water dish became their playground. We would have to mop up after them constantly, but I figured it was worth it. I mean, duck dinner was going to be at the end of all this back breaking labour right?

So time marched on, and the little ducklings grew. Soon we released them to the outside world, where they merrily swam in the pond, and reveled in their freedom. They would come to me when I called, in my best duck quack that to me sounded just like a duck, and they would follow me around the yard. I loved my ducks. Especially the white one. Mr. Waddles. He was my absolute favorite.

So here's the thing. My husband kept saying it was time to have duck dinner. And I kept saying, I didn't really feel like having duck dinner. I once again became attached to my livestock. What began as food for the table, became my little friends. I just couldn't imagine Mr. Waddles on my plate. I shouldn't have named them.

But, my husband, as usual, was right. We probably should have had duck dinner, because my ducks did what ducks do. They flew away. They flew off to the big lake across the street, and sometimes when I drove by I would see Mr Waddles happily swimming in the lake, where he had joined the rest of the ducks of Lake Vaughn. Mr. Waddles had become wild and free. And then one day he wasn't there anymore. Mr. Waddles had flown the coop and I had assumed he was dead and gone. It was winter and I figured being a farm duck, he just couldn't survive.

But a funny thing happened a couple of weeks ago. I was out in the backyard and over my head I heard the distinct sound of ducks quacking as they flew over. Now, this isn't unusual, we live in the land of lakes, but when I looked up, there he was. Stark white against the bright blue sky. Mr. Waddles was flying over saying hello. I gave him my happy quack, and I was so excited. I ran around the yard, and in to the house exclaiming that Mr. Waddles had returned. He wasn't dead, he had only flown south for the winter with the rest of his duck buddies.

Now Mr. Waddles hasn't returned to our little farm. He resides on the lake with the rest of his crew. But it is really special that every now and then he flies over and gives us a quack. It lets me know he's happy and free, and I'm pretty darn thankful I didn't have him for supper. I think he is happy about that too.

Friday, 12 April 2013

ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BED

Today started off as one of those mornings around here when the kids seem to get up on the wrong side of the bed. It took me about 15 minutes to coax them out of their snuggly warm quilts and get going. Sour faces and grumbling were the order of the day as they sluggishly made their way to the bathroom. They lamented how life was so hard and dreadful. What's for lunch? Why can't there ever be anything good in my lunch? I hate these pants. These are the worst pants in the world. My socks are too small, and no I don't want breakfast. My cheery morning disposition infuriated more than it rubbed off, and my humming and singing a tune only caused more irritation so I stopped.

Moans and groans could be heard from upstairs as my husband too, was trying to awaken from his slumber. I don't know what happened to everyone but I ensured the coffee was on for hubby, and quick.

Yup, today was one of those days that, with a huge smile on my face I waved goodbye as the little darlings slunk down the driveway to catch the school bus. Adorable.

 I have a picture from last fall of the two of them walking down the driveway to the school bus one morning. The little one as you can see is chatting up a storm, as my older son listens patiently.  I always watch them go, sometimes with a big smile like today, and sometimes I don't want them to go at all. But I do know, that no matter what the mood of the morning, I am always truly excited, when at the end of the day, the school bus stops at the end of the driveway, and they are home again. A cup of tea and a snack, and the tales of their day. There is nothing better in the world than that.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

LETS NOT FORGET HER.





http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2013/04/09/ns-rehtaeh-parsons-suicide-rape.html

This story about this beautiful young girl is heart wrenching and sadly all too common. And right now there is a lot of outrage at everyone that was involved. But the thing is, we are all at fault. It's so easy to point fingers and blame the police, teachers and the parents of the boys that committed this awful act. Some even blame her. But the responsibility lies with all of us. We objectify and sexualize women. We are constantly bombarding our children with images, video, and literature that portray girls and women has sub serviant sexual beings. If you watch music videos you know that it is like watching pornography. Pornography is available at the click of a mouse, and pop ups and adds for young girls offering sex are common place. And because of this constant stream of images it is giving these pornographic portrayals of women and girls a sense of normalcy. We have become complacent. Instead of being outraged when we see a young girl bumping and grinding, crawling around on the floor in a music video, we are desensitized to it. It's become, normal. This is what our young girls and boys are constantly subjected to. Everyday, all day. Magazines at the cashier, bill boards, TV, Movies and Internet. We have, as a society allowed it to happen. You may say, no, not me, I hate that stuff, I don't watch it. But, I ask you, have you done anything about it? I'll be the first to say, I haven't, there fore I am partly responsible. We all are.

As the mother of a daughter and sons, I am so very scared for them. I know I will have to constantly warn my daughter about the dangers. Don't walk alone, don't be alone with a boy, always travel in groups, don't dress provocatively, don't trust anyone. The problem with this is I will be putting the onus on her to keep herself safe which will draw the conclusion that should anything ever happen it will feel like its her fault when it isn't. But I don't know any other way.  My conversation with my boys is, don't get yourself in a position where it can get out of hand, no means no, intoxication is no, no does not mean yes, respect women. And yet, I know none of this can save them.

 If you ever sit down with a group of women and have a discussion about sexual assault, inappropriate sexual behaviour or abuse to name a few, almost each and every one of us will have an incident or a story. It is that prevalent. And it is enshrouded in shame. We feel as if its our fault. When I had something happen to me as a teenager, I carried it around with me for so long. I didn't tell my parents or anyone, because I felt it was my fault. I put myself in that situation. How could I be so stupid? And even though, through the help of a friend I was able to get out of the situation before it went as far as it did for the young girl in the article, it was close and  I could have easily been her. It is so important to speak out, to not feel shame. It isn't our fault when something happens. But here's the thing. After all these years that have passed, when writing this today, that sense of shame still lingers. Because for a brief moment, it crossed my mind to go back and delete the part of this that was about me. That same feeling of judgement is still there. What will people think?When we are victimized, it never leaves us and I can't even imagine what it was like for her to be re victimized over and over, blamed and judged. Horrific.

So now everyone is outraged because this horrible story had such a tragic conclusion. She was bullied and humiliated. There was no help for her, and people ridiculed her for something that wasn't her fault. No one stepped in to help this beautiful young girl and now she's gone. And we will all shake our heads and push for justice. We will cry for change. But soon, the story will fade and be replaced by something new in the media. We will forget about this life that was cut too short. The perpetrators will continue on with their lives, maybe to rape and victimize once again, and we won't stop them. In fact, we all enable them by being complacent. All the individuals that shared the photo through social media were guilty. All of us that are allowing the sexualisation of our children are guilty. We are all guilty of not putting a stop to it once and for all. But we don't. The sex trade industry continues to grow leaps and bounds, child pornography is out of control and girls,boys, women and men are exploited for sex. We still live in a world where women are forced in to marriage, beaten and raped, and have no freedom. Why? Because we don't do anything about it.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE


The other day when I was out walking and I came across these guys ( or girls ). They came running over to the fence when they saw me coming and I just had to take their photo. I thought their hair blowing in the wind was hilarious. I couldn't stop smiling and laughing. I mean just look at those faces!

I love to laugh. It feels tremendous. I like nothing better than to wake up in the morning and have sore cheeks  after an evening of laughing and joking with friends. It's so easy in life to become bogged down in to a state of negativity. I choose instead to surround myself with positivity and joy. To look at the bright side of life, and to laugh.

That doesn't mean I don't have bad days, or feel grumpy and tired. And we all have to be serious and respectful when a certain situation warrants it. There is nothing funny or positive about illness, disease or tragedy. But in life, I do make a conscious effort to look for the positive in a situation or the bright side of things. And the more you make an effort to do this, the easier it becomes.

I once had someone say to me that I was always telling them the good stuff about my life and that I never shared anything that was hard. They wanted to know all of it, not just the good, but the bad too. I can understand that, but its not something that comes easily to me. I really don't like to complain or be negative in any way. I also am very careful about who I share my really close stuff with. That's just who I am. But, really, I don't dwell on the negative. When someone really hurts me, or lets me down in a big way, I usually just move on from that person. I work hard at surrounding myself with positive people and positive things. Negative individuals literally suck the soul right out of you and life is much too short to let that stuff in. I try not to let past disappointments affect myself in the future. Just because something or someone was bad before doesn't mean that it will be that way the next time around.

I also believe that negativity attracts negative, and positivity attracts positive. The more grateful, and happy one is, the more inclined you are to attract those same kind of people in to your life. I always think of Winnie the Pooh when I think of positive and negative. Tigger is always happy and jolly, bouncing around and making every one smile. Things go well for Tigger. But Eyeore is always down and depressed and nothing ever goes right for him. The same goes for life. There is a lot to be learned from Winnie the Pooh.

So laugh and sing. Make jokes and look at the brighter side of life. Let all that negative energy out, and fill it with brightness and joy. The world will look brighter, life will be fulfilling and good things will come your way. I promise.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

FOR THE LOVE OF HOUSES

I have a love for old houses. They have so much character and are steeped in history and intrigue. I love the different designs from different eras. The architecture and the angles, stained glass windows and widow's walks. I can imagine sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair, sipping iced tea and watching the world go by.

Yarmouth is a gold mine for my house addiction. Last night, while our daughter was in ballet we took a lovely stroll around town and admired the many mansions from yesteryear.  Many of these homes belonged to Ship's Captains and you can just imagine what tales and stories of the sea await behind these doors.



I love the history that abounds when you walk around the town of Yarmouth. In some places it can feel like time stood still. The trees that border the sidewalks have been there for centuries and their tall branches reach for the sky and create a beautiful canopy over the streets. Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, it is always different and always stunning.


I would love to one day own a century home, although I think I would need a deep pocket book. In other parts of the country, and even somewhat in Halifax, the old is being replaced with the new, and it seemsto me to be such a shame. When I walk in to a new home, I just don't get the same feeling of awe and excitement. For me personally, new homes lack the imagination and fine detail that the century homes have in abundance. There are no turrets and stained glass. No scary basements and hidden rooms that make the imagination run wild on a dark and stormy night. I love the creaky floors, and steep staircases that disappear in to the attic. What an inspiration for a ghost story or two.

But above all, I love the history. Who lived here before us? What secrets do these walls hold? If only those old walls could speak.


When we moved to Yarmouth we did take in to consideration buying one of the old homes in town. We looked at a few, and even though I fell in love with one of them, we decided that we weren't ready to live in town quite yet. We love to be rural, and appreciate the privacy this affords as well as the space and ability to have chickens, veggie gardens, and free firewood.

Our home is about 35 years old, but still provides a bit of history in its own right. It was built on the land of the original homestead for this area, of which the original barn still exists across the road. It was a cattle ranch back in the day and when I walk through the woods I can still find old fencing and rock piles from that era. My floors creak, much to my delight, and even though we don't have a resident ship captains ghost, I can still feel the whispers of the past when I walk through the woods.

We are so very happy where we live now. It was the perfect decision for us. And what truly makes a house a home is the people inside it. We are creating our own history, and our own tales of adventure and intrigue. And I can surely say, that to whomever follows us in to this place we call home, these walls will have some of their own stories to tell.


                                                                         OUR HOME

Monday, 8 April 2013

JUST BEING A KID


What an incredible weekend. It was still a little chilly on Saturday, but gloriously sunny, and Sunday was amazing. Our kids were outside in full force as we soaked up the UV. The sleds are put away for another winter and the trampoline is back in action. Because we don't have Cable or Satellite TV our kids spend a lot of time outside which is exactly the way we want it.

When I grew up, I spent every moment possible outside. I loved exploring, climbing trees, playing kick the can and capture the flag, road hockey and riding my bike. I was outside as soon as school was out, until the sun went down. And every summer, I only came in for lunch and supper. There were no video games, computers or endless TV channels. I was only allowed to watch Scooby Doo in the morning while I ate my cereal, and then a couple of shows at night, when it was dark. As kids we had to use our imagination.

Now there are so many distractions for kids. There is no incentive to go outside and play. I think it is so important for children to be able to burn off their energy and just be kids. To run around and make up cool games. My kids love to play in the woods. They make up games like Man Tracker and play hide and seek. They build little forts, or pitch a tent and imagine they are camping. And they love to build campfires and roast marshmallows. It keeps them healthy and happy to be out in nature( except for marshmallows, not a healthy snack but oh so delicious ).

Of course the weather doesn't always co operate, and we do have video games and Netflix. We aren't completely opposed to watching television and we all love movies and will watch them together. But we keep it in check. The last thing I would ever want is for my kids to grow up thinking reality TV is real.

And the best thing about just being a kid, is that they will hold on to those memories. They will always remember jumping on the trampoline together, or heading down to the lake on a hot summer day for a swim. Their bond that they make with each other as siblings, will follow them through out their whole lives when they can share these memories together.



 And when I watch them play those same games that I so enjoyed as a child it takes me back, and makes me feel like a kid again. When you woke up in your bed, that first Monday morning of summer vacation, and you lied there and thought, " I've got the whole summer!" Wow, what a feeling.




Sunday, 7 April 2013

A VERY SPECIAL DAY





Today is a very special day. It's my baby girls ninth birthday. I honestly can't believe she is nine. Where did all the years go? It seems like just yesterday she was a little peanut in my belly and now she is all grown up.

When I found out I was having another baby, I was more than a little surprised. My husband and I had decided at the time we weren't going to have any more children, we already had two boys, and my youngest was 5 years old. So when I found out we were having one more I was more than a little nervous. My last labour had been really difficult, and my pregnancies were never easy. I experienced a lot of morning sickness, Gestational Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. But as the pregnancy progressed I became more and more excited. Another baby, how amazing.

As my tummy got bigger and grew, deep down inside I wished for a little girl. I had always wanted to have boys and girls, and I already had two boys. But I could hardly imagine it happening so I convinced myself I was having another boy.  And that would have been awesome too. I love my boys so very much. And we all know that above all else we just wish and hope for a healthy baby. But when the big day came, and the Dr. announced "It's a girl!" I had to ask her to repeat it twice. And when she placed that beautiful, perfect little girl in my arms, I fell in love. Again.

As a parent, we have an unlimited source of love. It is a love that just can't be explained. It is all encompassing. It is a love that is so beautiful and so terrifying all at the same time. I will never forget that first night with my brand new baby girl. It was a moment that will stay with me forever. The hospital was hushed as it is at around 4 am. The lights were dimmed as I stood at the window looking out over the dark parking lot. A little rain had fallen and the street lights were reflecting off the pavement. The world outside seemed so still and it felt as though her and I were the only ones that existed. I couldn't sleep even though hours before I had given birth. I was much too excited. I could hear her stirring in her bassinet, so I gently picked her up. I went back over to the window with her in my arms and we stood there together. She was gazing up at me, studying my face, and as I looked down at her, I was over joyed and overwhelmed with love. I could see our whole future together in that one moment.  Mother and daughter.

And now, nine years later, our journey is in full swing. She is my ray of sunshine, always smiling, always humming a tune or dancing though the house, my little ballerina. She is the girl that loves to turn the music up loud in the car, as we drive along, singing at the top of our lungs together. We fight, as Mom's and daughters do, and we share tears together as well. When she gets her feelings hurt at school, or by a friend, my heart breaks and cries right along with her. I wish I could protect her from all the bad things in this world, but I can't. I can only arm my daughter with knowledge, self confidence and positivity. I want her to know, that not only is she beautiful, but she is amazing, and intelligent, and unique, and she can do or be anything her heart desires.

Happy Birthday my baby girl. Mommy loves you more than you can ever know.