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Embracing the Crazy (35/52)

35:52a portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2014

We’re home! Back in our cozy spot, reunited with all our favourites and settling into new routines.

New routines for just a month when we move into the City.

This year has been one unexpected experience after another. It’s been good and hard and beautiful and coloured with so many memories. I’m grateful. 

But I’m also exhausted and empty.

My girls spent the morning playing with art supplies and creating new outfits from all their clothes. They emptied their dresser promptly upon arrival home and it’s not a hill I’m going to die on. I’ve spent the morning decluttering and asking myself just how much I want to keep something?

It’s the perfect mindless activity as I make the transition from living with my inlaws for the last month and out of a suitcase to being manager of my own home again and surrounded by all our lovely stuff.

I’ve taken hardly any pictures lately, a pretty good indication to me that I need to stop, slow down and refuel. I’m making this one of my girls count for one of both of them.

I have posts I want to share with you about finding time to read (it’s my sanity right now!), a little kindergarten reading list and staying sane while life is crazy because I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one adjusting to new routines.

What keeps you sane when life is crazy? 

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Keeping It Real in a Pinterest World: the Wedding Edition

Jenn from A Simple Haven and I are exploring what it means to live purposefully in a world that bombards us with a million good things.  Online, the message seems to be that we can do it all. The truth is we cannot do everything.

We’re two moms on a journey toward being ok with this and fully embracing the season of life that  we’re in–with all of its joys and limitations. 

Once a month,  we’ll share about our crafting fails, what we’re currently saying “yes”  and “no” to, and the beautiful reality of daily life. Will you grab a  warm cup of something and join us?


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We attended a family wedding earlier this month, which if you follow me on instagram you know this because I may have shared a few pictures of my girlies aka the adorable flower girls. They were also the feature of last week’s Project 52 post because it’s not everyday my girls wear purple tutus and cowboy boots.

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It was a beautiful day and clearly not out of my mind because I’m blogging about it again.

Today ‘s post is all about the reception. All I knew previously to attending it was that the gathering would be held in a potato barn and that the mother of the bride was an amazing decorator.

I am not. I like to feather my own nest and can give opinions on decor but to come up with the original idea is not my forte.

I stepped into the cool of the barn and just stopped. It was beautiful and perfect for the couple.

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There were twinkle lights (with which I am now obsessed with and want them everywhere) woven over the tables, creating a magical roof of sorts. The walls were made of  wooden potato bins and adorned with little mason jar candles, making the whole room twinkle.

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After I looked around at all the details and established my girls at the fabulous kids’ table, I found the bride’s mum and complimented her on a job done so beautifully.

She said what I had been thinking.

“It’s straight out of Pinterest.”

From the burlap to the lace to the twinkle lights to the mason jars to the cookies and milk bar to the galvanized tubs holding cold bottles of water- it’s all on Pinterest and it’s all trending.

But she also said something else that I found inspiring. She said they had the vision for what they wanted the barn to look like for the reception, they went to Pinterest to find the ideas and then they stopped browsing. They used it for the good and then infused it with their life.

They fit the decor to their unique style, including adorable farm animals featuring their initials in a brand. And it was all perfect.

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As magical as the barn looked before the guests arrived, I think I loved it more when we were gathering to go home.

The little painted animals had been used to entertain restless babies, the kids’ table was a mess of beads, pipe cleaners and army guys arranged for battle. The cookie stands were empty and most of the candles had burned out.

The conversations, the first dance, the laughter and the tears- these can never be pinned. Pinterest offers inspiration, ideas and a visual escape but then we still get to go out and infuse it with our own life and creative twists.

Have you been to any weddings inspired by Pinterest?

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It’s been an interesting summer. Not what I envisioned it’s been harder and more beautiful then I expected. We’re spending this month of August in Alberta and next month my husband makes the transition from full-time student to full-time work with school on the side. We’re also going to be moving. Moving within our beloved Nova Scotia but moving nonetheless.

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The dementors came in force the other day with their fear of the unknown and doubts and stress of all.the.things.

Sometimes I eat chocolate when they come or after I fight them but more often then not, I go outside.

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There was a baby calf to investigate in the barnyard and the girls were most happy to go outside with me. And then our visit to the barnyard turned into an expedition of sorts. 

There’s a hint of fall in the air, enough to give a delicious tang and just enough wildflowers left to make the ditches pretty and to be collected by the little people. 

The dog and the goat came with us and my big girl picked flowers for her Grandma and clover for the goat.

My littlest brought her doll along and kept lagging behind. When I stopped to watch her, she was helping her ‘daughter’ pick up rocks and showed me all the treasures she had collected. 

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I let my girls set the pace and found myself becoming more thoughtful and considerate of what they would like to do on this expedition. Their thoughtfulness and consideration made me want to do the same. 

We took a turn through the pasture and all collectively caught our breath when we saw the neighbour’s herd of at least fifty horses. They were half-wild, not used to human interaction and just as curious as the little girls on the other side of the fence. 

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We stayed until the horses all had names and the white horse came over to say hello.

When we were out there, nothing else mattered.

It was obvious I could nothing about the worries and I let them go.

I soaked up the quiet, the fluffy heads of plants gone to seed and the calm that comes from an hour outside. 

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The Scarlet Thread through the Changes

a little tribute post to my Grandpa and Gramma from when I visited them earlier this month for their 60th anniversary. 

The last time I was there was a decade ago. Hardly anything has changed since that last visit to my grandparents but really everything has changed. 

 

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The woodshed was still full, stacked in my Grandpa’s meticulous style. The sunburst above his shop looked as it always has, I didn’t want to open the door as some memories are best left as they are. Not with the juxtaposition of the past and present with someone else’s tools where Grandpa’s bench once was.

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They cut down the birches, the ones that we had played under and imagined all sorts of lovely stories. I had an Anne moment over the birches. And that was when I realized that nothing would ever be the same. 

My sisters and I walked all over the property, not talking except for the occasional ‘do you remember this?’ or when we shared raspberries. The last growing plants from their once prolific garden.

I saw everything with new eyes, realizing just how much love and care my grandparents had poured into their property. Making it a haven for whoever visited and using the available space so very well. The greenhouses with overgrown plants and the occasional hollyhock still blooming, the ingenious carrot covers that protected the roots from bugs and produced big juicy carrots every year.

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I lingered by the second set of raspberry canes wishing yet again that my childhood fancy of taking over my grandparents house and property could be more then just a pipe dream.

But others owned it now. Grandpa and Gramma moved into a smaller place in town, one that would enable them to get the respite and care they both needed.

There would be no more shelling peas on the front steps, no more fresh mint tea with strawberry shortcake, no more fluffy hotcakes with maple syrup . 

We paused in the driveway, not quite ready to leave, by the address sign that Grandpa had made with the same care and precision that marked everything in his life. 

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Everything’s changed now. 

My sisters and I aren’t the same little girls we once were, posing in front of the sweet peas or taking tramps in the forest that seemed magical with it’s lacy ferns and cedar fronds everywhere. 

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My grandparents aren’t as invincible as I once thought they were. They’re getting older and my Gramma doesn’t remember my name or who I am anymore. But she does know this- she knows that she is loved.

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And I know that this is the scarlet thread running through all of our changes- we are loved and that we can love. 

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33/52

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It’s been the summer of the unexpected and the in-between.  There’s been some hard situations but there’s also been some really good situations. Like being able to take part in the my brother-in-law’s wedding this last weekend. Or rather the girls took part and we stood back like the proud and happy parents we were.

We didn’t think we’d be back in Alberta for a few years but circumstances dictated otherwise and that meant we could take in a wedding and I could travel to northern BC to celebrate my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary. These are good things and in a hard summer, I celebrate the good things. 

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I left my big camera packed away and just snapped away with my iPhone. It’s the moments I want to remember- like how adorable my girls looked in cowboy boots and purple tutus. Or the look of the groom when his bride came down the aisle. Or the tears I had remembering the journey these two have had and all the memories of a shared history.

I knew I could capture the details better if I had had my big camera along but this once, I didn’t mind. I snapped a few ( posted to instagram), put the phone away and enjoyed the moments.

The wedding was beautiful and I may write more about it later because it was totally a Pinterest in Real Life affair but for me, the takeaway is almost always the same. Relationships trump and people over perfection wins every time. Even if that means dealing with a grumpy  three year old who does want any more pictures taken. Or a four year old who shucks her tutu and spends half the reception playing in the corn field. Or minor meltdowns by all the girls (me included).

 

 

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I snuck in a few extra pictures to this week’s Project 52 because, well, wedding and we’re all looking fine. Here’s to seeing the silver lining in every cloud and capturing the memories with whatever camera works best for the moment.

What good things are you celebrating this week?

 

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32/52

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a portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2014 

We had an early birthday celebration for my Khaira-girl with her grandparents and aunts and uncles at the farm. The weather flirted with us all day, sprinkled a little just as we were getting the fire going to roast hotdogs. But it cleared off for the most beautiful golden hour. We roasted hotdogs and ate watermelon with the little people snitching raspberries and green beans from Grandma’s garden. Kilmeny flitted from conversation to conversation, taking part and asking questions about everything, like who opens the flowers? And do moon flowers only grow on the moon?

We talked flowers and potatoes and upcoming Europe trip plans until it got too late and I realized that we still had presents to open and cake to eat before bedtime.

My mother in law made a beautiful cake for Khaira and she was absolutely in love with all her gifts. She was a little overwhelmed that they were all for her and wanted to share them with her sister, so sweet.

A beautiful August evening and one I”m glad we could share with part of our Alberta family.

What are your favourite parts of August evenings?

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Savouring the In-Between

I knew of the concept before, the idea of the In-Between, but it really hit home this summer when I sat in Jenn’s car reading the book of the same title. 

We had had a busy and super fun morning exploring and picnicking with our our littles, stopping to grab coffee and chatting the whole time. All the stuff that we would do if we lived in the same town as each other instead of a three day drive. My littlest had crashed and instead of waking her, I decided to grab a few minutes of quiet and read while she slept in the car.

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We’ve been home from our Big Road Trip for a few weeks and when I think about highlights, the In-Between times are what comes to mind.

Of course, I loved all the big sights we saw. The Golden Gate Bridge! The Grand Canyon! The (amazing, beautiful, warm) Pacific Ocean! New York’s skyline! The Arch in St. Louis!

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But I think the moments that I will remember for a very long time are the small moments.

The In-Between moments.

Like finding a random beach in Carlsbad, California before we met Nicole and her lovely family for dinner. We all went swimming, who can resist the siren call of the water and the waves? And it was absolutely glorious. Or chatting over the children’s loud and (most of the time) friendly play while Nicole made pancakes and we chatted about all things food, blogging, parenting and coffee.

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Or when we stopped in at the first hotel we saw in the little town in Arizona where we were going to spend the night before going to the Grand Canyon the next day. Jared ran out to find some fresh Mexican food for dinner and the girls and I headed to the pool. We stopped and took pictures of the beautiful sunset. It wasn’t near the Grand Canyon like we thought we might do when we were first planning the trip. It was by the side of the road with a warm breeze and all of us in our bathing suits, balancing the iPhone, the big camera, and the room key. Kilmeny took pictures with my phone, Khaira stood still and didn’t run anywhere and it was a beautiful moment.

Or when we had a full day of playing tourist in San Francisio, walking all over the city, eating clam chowder and riding the cable car. We found a little hole in the wall Chinese restaurant that had the best steamed dumplings. Everyone else thought so too so we waited (and waited) outside. The air was warm and thick with humidity, the girls were hilarious and performed all their dance moves. We laughed a lot and practiced our small amount of Manderin. And then feasted on the delicious dumplings.

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Or watching fireflies with my dear friend, we met when we were 17 and now we’re both married with kiddos. We chatted and laughed and watched our kids play together, we did nothing big but we did everything that I wanted to do while in Pennsylvania. Including the most amazing Armenian feast cooked by her husband.

Or meeting up with Anne at a bakery for a couple hours of just talking in real life over a latte and Americano. I didn’t ask her any of the questions I meant too but we talked about everything else from how we instagram and introvert coping methods (I was on a trip, she was going to take one) and stories about how we grew up.

And all the conversations we had with the most interesting people. One of my favourites (because I am a book nerd) was discussing books with friends of my husband’s grandparents. The conversation was started because our host was reading Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, a book that was one of my favourites last year. Books have that kind of mutual friend trait about them.

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Or the dance party that happened in the car in West Virginia. Or watching the girls play together in the back seat while we drove and drove. Or finding fantastic coffee in the cities across the States (thanks Google!), a good latte goes a long ways in my books especially if the previous night’s sleep was less then stellar.

Of course there are so many more memories and moments then could ever fit in a blog post.

 

This has been the year of the unexpected, the curveball from left field. But I see that it is also the year of the In-Between and it’s taken a full summer of travel for me to see that. All the big things I thought would happen this year are slowly not happening for a number of reasons and actually, it’s okay.

The In-Between is a pretty sweet place to be and today I’m savouring it.  

Do you feel the tension between now and the next big thing? How do you savour the In-Between?

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31/52

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a portrait of my girls, once a week, every week in 2014

When we’re home in Nova Scotia, it’s the water we always go too. The water is the cure for over-thinking, grumpy children (and mums) and the literal breath of fresh air.

When we’re visiting family, it’s the prairie roads. Long and stretching out towards the horizon with miles to work off any sort of steam or angst thoughts or post quiet time (that wasn’t really quiet today) grumps.

And there’s always a companion to come along to hear their secrets and take all the hugs they offer.

Where do you go to work off the grumps and angsty thoughts?

linking up with Jodi for Project 52

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30/52 (and a real life update of sorts)

We’ve been home from our big road trip for a few days now (a week at the time this publishes) and it has been both weird and good, often at the same time. As much as I love travel and all the experiences it brings and the many homes we got to visit, there is something special about puttering in my own kitchen and lingering over coffee with a favourite mug.

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We’re nearly unpacked and caught up on laundry, our fridge sports some new magnets (one of the few things we collect when we travel) and our book collection has grown. There are literally hundreds of pictures to go through, culling them and selecting the ones we want to save, and I have no idea where to start.

There’s also the processing, the unpacking of all the changes that happened, the conversations we had and the growth that happened in all four of us.

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I’m finding it harder then I thought to just jump back into life as it was because, well, life isn’t the same as it was when we left. We’ve had some decisions to make about the future-  changes with work and school, a possible move – issues that aren’t easy to resolve overnight or when you’re on the road for weeks at a time.

I’ll still be on my quasi summer break- posting when I can between all the real life that’s happening offline. We’ve got one more trip ahead of us and then we’re staying put for awhile.

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The wading pool is filled up in the backyard, coffee is had on the back porch, and my big girl learned how to ride a bike over the weekend! We’ve got friends to catch up with and gorgeous summer produce to enjoy. 

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I’ve got one more summer travel post planned and then I’ll focus on other content for the fall (and I’ve got lots of great topics I want to share and discuss with you!) so if you have any burning questions about our trip, please ask away! Also, if you have any other questions or topics you’d like to see in this space, please share them!

Tell me about your weekend- what moments are you taking into the week with you?

 

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29/52

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a portrait of my daughters, once a week, every week in 2014

We’ve been on the road for two and a half months. We’ve travelled coast to coast, seen family and friends, been awed by so many natural beauties and thrilled at our favourite cities. We’ve stayed up late sharing our hearts with dear friends, seen the sunset by the beach and the forest and the dessert. We’ve traveled almost every way you can- plane, train, taxi, bus, ferry and car. And we journeyed through 20 of the 50 states. We fell in love all over again with the West Coast.

It’s been good. So good. 

It’s also been hard, unforeseen changes to the future and just, you know, spending a whole lot of time in the car.

But we don’t regret it. Not at all. 

I’ve seen the girls grow and change, make new friends and overcome fears. Their relationship has been so fun to watch develop a little more from my vantage point of the front seat. I took pictures today to remember their goofy antics and serious faces as we made our way from Pennsylvania to Maine.

It’s a little hard to unpack it all in a blog post and I’ll be sharing bits of our adventure over the next few weeks.

We have one more day of travel and we’ll be back home in Nova Scotia.

I can’t wait.

XO

P.S. While on Vancouver Island, we put together a little intro video for the blog, check it out here. Big thanks to my brother in law for putting it together. 

linking up with Jodi for Project 52 

 

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