Category Archives: Family

And now that September is almost gone!

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As you can tell from my lack of blogging, September has been busy. I’ve done 4 babies this month. We started another year of homeschooling. This is our first “official” year as Gabrielle is registered in Kindergarten through the homeschooling program at the school.IMG_0209

For our first day of school, we made a time capsule, to be opened on the last day of school. She has goals for this year. She wants to learn how to climb trees, read and write, and finally, she wants to learn every bone in the human body. Ya know, nothing lofty for an almost-five-year old.IMG_0216

This is our first day of “school” with the Spring Leaves program at Pender Elementary school. I’d say we are on the right track! A sunny beach day, really it doesn’t get better.IMG_0221 IMG_0606

Because kindergarten is mostly about games, we play lots of games. For reading, we obviously use books, we use the game like the one above. And I picked up a sight-word Bingo game. And we do lots of letter practice by writing notes and signs. For math, I picked up a Saxon math curriculum from another homeschooling mama who was getting rid of it. It’s a bit advanced for her yet and since we want to keep everything light and fun, we do a lot of playing with cuisinaire rods.

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We extracted honey, with another batch coming. It’s delicious. Different than last year. I found last year’s batch quite dark, and the year before, quite light. This year you can taste a burst of flowers at the end. It’s divine!

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I got to be involved in a Doula Get-together. Past clients brought their babies to the park and we ate snacks and got to visit. It was so wonderful to see these families. They are so so dear to my heart and I felt very blessed to be invited into their lives through such a big transition. Thank you for coming friends.

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And then just because I have permission, here are some beautiful babies that have come this month. Oh aren’t they squishy delicious?

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Happy Autumn!

These Moments

I had a moment this morning where I jumped out of bed at 6am, after my farmer husband trundled off to work, and I thought “The Tomatoes!!” We had left the trays of dehydrating tomatoes on the back deck, drying out all night. Now they are tomato flakes, after I scraped their sorry brittle remains off of the trays. Still edible. Still useful for soup and sauces on those cold winter nights. But not what we intended.

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The internet is a funny place where we get to show the best of our little lives. I don’t have a picture of me scraping crusty tomato flakes off a tray at 6am, with fluffy hair and bleary eyes. We show a slice of our lives here, and though I try to remain true to facts, it is only a slice.IMG_8623

While much of our summer days are spent at the beach, going for hikes, and staring in awe at our lush gardens. (Haha!) The other part of our summer is spent processing the food we try to squirrel away for the winter. This is not always very exciting. And sometimes it’s backbreaking. In the photo above, I’m cleaning and stripping the garlic, getting it ready to hang. When it has dried out a little, I try to cram it into a corner of my already-cluttered counter. Growing food to keep for the whole year is wonderful. Storing it for that whole year while you use little bits at a time, is annoying.IMG_8841 IMG_8843

Gabrielle helps me separate the seeds from the pods. Her tiny fingers are expert at this.IMG_8845 IMG_8969

I often wonder what she will remember of this. What impression she will have of her life here. Will she remember it fondly and with joy? Or will she remember all the chores her mama made her do? Will she run off to the city just so she doesn’t have to weed another garden or knead another hunk of dough?IMG_8976 IMG_9083

We choose to live these little lives here. Simple. Small. And hope that in these days piling together, we are doing her right. And maybe she will choose a different path, but trying to give her a wholesome start, maybe that’s we can offer. Maybe these chores, these smells, this life, is what will always remind her of home.

Finally we can sail again!

Every Spring or Summer we get the boat ready for another season of sailing, as much as my on-call schedule will allow. And every year Marc and I wonder if boating will become easier with Gabrielle. And what will be the new challenges of cruising with a child. One year, we tried to go out in lumpy seas when she was quite small (under two) and she protested vehemently. One year she was fairly easy to string up in a jolly jumper but whenever it came to docking or anchoring, she required immediate attention. The result was that every time we were pulling into a dock or an anchorage, it was to the symphony of a screaming baby.

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Last year, the couple times we actually got out to sail, she fell asleep every time the engine was on. This year is another new chapter. She’s model 4.5 Sailing Fantastico. She insists on helping us steer.

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But she looks behind us when she steers. She was pleasant and curious when we put up the sails and shut off the engine. She didn’t mind the heeling over as well sailed.

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But she is firmly into the destination and not just the cruising aspect. When can we get off and explore? So we aimed our sails for Prevost Island and off we went. IMG_8696 IMG_8704 IMG_8710 IMG_8717 IMG_8740 IMG_8743 IMG_8762

(Above is a weird goat sheep creature we saw on the island. We assume it’s wild and roaming around. We were perplexed by the horns and the breed.)

We hiked around the island for a couple hours. Model 4.5 is terrific at hiking with very little whining. We appreciate her strong legs and her repaired heart. Our biggest challenge throughout our sail and explore was her aversion to wasps right now. She was stung for the first time a week or two ago, and since then there has been a lot of trepidation around these tiny insects. So we are learning new parenting skills at how to teach her about real risk vs. perceived risk. Real Danger vs. Perceived Danger. I wish so much, as I have many times before, that my particular kid came with her very own manual.

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Sailing is my happy place. I feel like it fills up my soul. I hope the summer is giving you time for the things that replenish your soul too!

Bug Crazy!

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Maybe I started it. Maybe I am the one to blame.

Gabrielle has been capturing bugs and keeping them in containers for a few months now. Imagine my horror when the earwigs were still alive after 3 weeks of kind captivity, only to find out that they can live for 3-5 years!

But I mean, they say that kids learn by example. And I do keep approximately 70,000-100,000 bugs in a box. Outside.

Anyway Brie’s fascination with bugs didn’t stop with keeping them herself. She heard about the Bug Zoo and it was all over.

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We had to wait until the opportune moment. We had to wait until we had a day where there was something else we had to go into town for, that she wouldn’t want to do. I know! Vaccinations!

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The Bug Zoo became a bargaining chip and it worked well.

My mom also came to visit recently and she overcame any hesitation and suited up with me to go into the beehive.

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The funny thing about taking a picture of people with bee suits on, it really could be of anyone.

Happy June-ing!

a frog and a birthday

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Pender Island and the rest of the Southwest coast of Vancouver Island has dissolved decidedly into Spring. But even more than that, it has taken a surprisingly dry and warm route that is unlikely for May. We are prancing around in short shorts (Marc especially) and tutus (Ramona especially) and catching frogs and sniffing flowers (Gabrielle especially.)IMG_7718 IMG_7704

Our garden is finally all planted. We have a healthy supply of onions and garlic, two things are grow well. It’s important to stick with what we are good at. The tomatoes are coming along, a little less lusciously than usual but we will have a harvest nonetheless. The beans are in the ground, germinating I trust. And the carrots. Ah the carrots. They are a particular act of faith.

We stick carrot seeds in the ground and they are so small, you can barely see them. So then I find myself doubting that I even remembered to plant them. And then I water this patch of black soil faithfully and religiously for something ridiculous like 20 days before I even see a tiny green frond of anything! Then slowly they come, and their first leaves are so fine that I blink over and over to clear my eyes and make sure I’m seeing what I’m seeing. It’s like someone teased me with green sprinkles on my soil and somehow they take their sweet time and grow into beautiful sweet tasty carrots. It’s a miracle. Truly.

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And birthdays. They are their own miracle. Hannah was the first baby that I was invited to participate in her birth. And now she is four! My sweet niece. It was with a bursting heart that we drove up island to be with her and eat cake and celebrate who she is!

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Watching our family expand and watching my child play with her cousins. Oh it just fills my heart right up.

Just as the spring weather, with sunshine and garden fills me up, so do the people who I get to play with under this bright sun.

Happy May!