Category Archives: Family

The Journey Begins: Homeschooling

The cherry blossoms were out a month early because our Winter was so mild. (Unlike our friends on the East Coast, suffering through blizzards.) But spring has been abominably wet. So our garden has been a gluey sticky sopping mud puddle. We have been eager to get in there, rotor-till the beds after all the pitchforking I’ve done, but it is just too muddy.

Then a friend scared me last week. She said, “I think everything is a month early this year!” My face dropped. That means my garden should already be planted. I employed the same techniques as a woman in labour. I breathed through my panic and then ran out to the garden with pea seeds to hastily shove into the driest part of the soil.

And the birds ate them.

Don’t worry. I won’t give up that easily.

bird brieflowergirl brieflowerpicker currantblossom dandelions mapleblossom wheelbarrowThe bees are doing well though. I lost one hive and I’m not sure if it was the Queen who failed late in the Winter but the hive was very small so I wasn’t especially surprised to open it up and find a few dead bees.

Gabrielle has starting “homeschooling” in earnest. She is a very earnest child. She colours pictures and writes letters all day. We have been taking a country that she picks on the spinning globe, and writing down three things notable about the country, usually the climate, a landmark and an interesting animal. We draw the flag and attempt to draw the animals. It isn’t her drawing skills that are lacking so much as mine! We started reading chapter books a couple months ago to Gabrielle. She is enthralled. She loves listening to these stories where the characters flesh out more than in a picture book. So far she has eaten up The Trumpet of the Swan (E.B. White,) Mouse and the Motorcycle (Beverly Cleary,) and we are now reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Daddy and Ribsy with me. Her joy in reading and stories is palpable and very exciting for both Marc and I. Daddy and Brie do science experience together and she seems to have a propensity for math.

At my mother’s recommendation, I read “Homeschooling for Excellence” and it was a fabulous book for anyone looking at homeschooling and the philosophies surrounding it.

And the babies keep coming. I am teaching prenatal classes in Victoria now with a full schedule. I’m enjoying my work immensely and because it only takes me away on the weekend (but you know, babies come whenever,) I get to spend the majority of my days at home. I find my work/life balance working right now but I am ever-aware that it is a balancing act. So I check in often with my family.

And that is us in the Spring! Have a very happy day!

In the Air

IMG_6776Spring is in the air! Let’s dance about it! Finally, Winter is receding and the flowers are sprouting! Sing a song, do a twirl! Hurrah for Spring!

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This of course, does not mean that we are in short-sleeve shirts every day. The garden is still quite swampy and we are still layering in hoods and toques, but not always.IMG_6826 IMG_6831

Spring also means Nettle Season. Stinging Nettles. It’s such a hippy thing so my hippy rating goes way up as I show you these pictures. We pick nettles, then we make pesto, stew, soup, tea, smoothies. You get the idea. And then all us Pender hippies take pictures of them and instagram it. I can’t even. For real.IMG_6833 IMG_6834 IMG_6843 IMG_6850 IMG_6852 IMG_6854 IMG_6860 IMG_6864 IMG_6868WWhen I get super busy and go to a bunch of births in a row, Gabrielle and Marc entertain themselves by woodworking. Now added to Brie’s ever-growing vocabulary are words like “tongue and groove” and “bevel” as well as “braxton hicks contractions” and “posterior baby.”


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And then I came home after teaching a class in Victoria all weekend and she had written me her first love note. I melted. I swooned. And I want to frame it forever. Below is the other side of the card. It has a sun, a moon, mountains, a rainbow, flowers and the sea. What more could a girl want?

The answer is nothing. I am complete.IMG_7019

Back to the grindstone

We got home a whole month ago now. And we were immediately thrown back into it. A couple days after arriving home, I got to attend a birth of a beautiful woman who was quite overdue. I like to think she waited for me to get home. Wishful thinking. But it was a beautiful birth and a great introduction to being home.

The first couple days being home was euphoric. I smelled the cold fresh air. (So sweet.) I performed domestic tasks which I actually love. Cooking food, doing dishes, doing laundry. When I get to putter around my house and my garden, I am in a happy place.

As a celebration for Marc turning 33 years old, and to fulfill my domestic inclinations before they dwindled and became regular life, I made pies.

I usually hate making pies. This time I didn’t mind so much.

IMG_6607 IMG_6608 IMG_6613 IMG_6614I’m excited to be back at ‘er. And when this birth storm passes, (who says that? really.) then I am excited to get planting some seeds. Because folks, Spring is here!!!

Happy March!

Jingle Bells


This year at Christmas will always be known, for me, as the year of Jingle Bells. Gabrielle is obsessed with the song. We have listened to 18 different versions of it this holiday season, on repeat. It’s….. glorious.IMG_4104 IMG_4056

We wrapped all our gifts, in anticipation of Christmas. And when you’re four, there is much anticipation.

IMG_4017The first present Gabrielle opened was wrapped in newspaper that had in big bold letters “Soggy Meat” written on the front. We still have no idea what the article was about. The present was a puzzle. It was a great way to slow down the morning and lengthen the present over-load. I think we should start every Christmas morning with cups of coffee, and a puzzle before opening the rest of the gifts. A new tradition?

IMG_4043Marc made Gabrielle a worm farm.

IMG_4045It’s built a lot like my honey bee supers actually. He did a great job. When it was wrapped in the bed sheet, it looked quite a bit like a doll house. She’s the perfect age for a doll house too, but did she even notice what it wasn’t? Nope! A worm farm! She was thrilled.

Tonight at bedtime she theorized that the worms used the newspaper and leaves for blankets and sheets, and the asparagus heads for pillows. There was nothing else I could do but agree.


She also got a Red Fraggle. Because she may still think it is the 80′s.

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Christmas eve we drove all the way up island to have Christmas at my sister-in-law’s house. We got to cuddle her 7 week old baby (PRECIOUS!!) and eat tortierre. It was terrific cousin time for Gabrielle and it warms my heart, watching my family on both sides grow and grow with all these sweet babies.

IMG_4075 IMG_4069 IMG_4068 IMG_4132 IMG_4141We did Christmas Day with my family. My brother and sister-in-law on that side have wee Eilidh, who is the proud new owner of this tea set, and they are expecting another one in April. My heart fills and bursts every time I get to watch these bellies grow and grow. OOoooooo I just love being an Auntie.

IMG_4154 IMG_4164Christmas day was sunny but cold so took to the streets like wild animals.

(What does the fox say….?)

I hope you had a Christmas filled with warmth and family like we did.

And now to start off 2015 right, we will spend new years eve/day in an airport while we head for the sun. More adventures coming!

Brie’s Birthday and her Bonsais


Brie turned 4.

She asked for a bonsai tree, a pinata and a stuffed Doozer from Fraggle Rock. I think my child might be a tad eccentric… should we blame it on the parents?


She had a specific guest list with specific food items requested. The guests were mostly adults but some children. The food included hummus and veg, edamame beans, pie, black forest cake and cupcakes! When I was ordering her cake (yeah, I’m not making a black forest cake!) the lady on the phone and I were having trouble communicating. My first language was not Chinese and hers was not English. It was a struggle which I was relaying to Marc. Then when we picked up the cake, Gabrielle checked the spelling and said very loudly and much to my dismay, “Mom, she even spelled my name right even though you weren’t sure she would!”

Oh my goodness. Embarrassed.


Turns out, Gabrielle enjoyed her party very much. But she asked that next year we invite even less people. My wee introvert.


But thanks to Friends and Family, she got her bonsai tree, her doozer guy, and her pinata!


So Gabrielle and her bonsai trees. It’s become a thing. She has three of them now. She religiously waters them, mists them, kisses them, sings to them. She has named them Spikey, Mommy bonsai and baby bonsai. She is excited to take them to the bonsai doctor for a soil change and a pruning. And as a result of these well-cared for little trees, she has been gifted other plants as well. A mexican hat plant and an aloe vera plant. She also has an air plant that she mists daily, and then soaks weekly for an hour in a pot. (Just like the internet and her daddy told her to.) This flare for botany has guests asking to see her plants when they come visit her. She proudly shows them her collection on the window sill. Soon, we will have a Japanese garden!

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On her actual birthday, she asked to have a quiet day. (Surprise surprise!) She floated things down her ditch.


She opened some presents from friends away.

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She dug up some worms for her worm farm.

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And did some of her self-appointed chores.


At the end of the day, she happily snuggled into her bed and asked me, “Mommy, am I really 4 now? For real? Or were we just pretending?”

No darling, you are four for real.

Happy Birthday Nut.