Posts in Category: Wild Things
3 years ago I began feeling sick. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t put a finger on it. As time went on, I got worse. One day I woke up and my legs were balloons and I couldn’t move. I stayed this way for one year, it was devastating. I spent endless hours in the hospital, at the lab and at the doctors. Endless tests and no results. No one could find anything. Finally, one year ago, I found a naturopath who saved my life. The next year would prove to be the most difficult. Treatment made me more sick. Somedays I felt like there was no hope. It made me sad to look at my kids and not be able to play with them. It made me sad to not be able to move and dance or even go to the park. I felt like I was slowly losing myself. Today, I am walking again. I can pick up my children. I can be intimate with my husband. I am starting to feel like myself again. As I look back, the past few years is very fuzzy. There’s a lot of darkness. All of this to say: My husband PLEX has just dropped his first music video from his new album. The song is called Lucky Stars and it is dedicated to me.
“My wife, the love of my life, is the centre of our family, our anchor. Watching her struggle with Lyme Disease has been difficult to say the least. I made this video as a tribute to her. To remind her of all the great moments we have had during this dark time.”
Watching it for the first time was overwhelming. He managed to capture some beautiful moments of our family over the past few years. It is a great reminder for me that even though I FELT like was disappearing, I was very much here and still am. Being loved, feeling loved, is such good medicine. He might think that I am the anchor of the family, but I couldn’t have gotten through any of this without his support and love. I, too, thank my lucky stars.
Please watch and share.
I have just returned home from a mind-altering, soul-shifting work retreat. So much more on that later. I came home with a big hunger in my heart to dote on my little ones, to scoop them up in big cuddles and get some serious organizing done around the house. This includes spending far too much time going through photos from the whirlwind that has been this past Summer now nearing on the end of Autumn. I am awe-struck by the beauty I I have been gifted with in these sprightly, curious, remarkable humans Trev and I are raising.
I love watching them grow and build friendships and relationships to last a lifetime. These are but a few pics of my curly haired, chubby (still) cheeked firecrackers and those they call their bests. I hope to nurture these relationships well on into the years…
We go through popsicles around here like nobody’s business in the summer. I could buy them … but why would I when I can make them on my own at a fraction of the cost, in mere minutes, chock full of superfood goodness? The days are long and activities of many these warm, luxurious days and my kids need all of the extra energy and dense nutrition they can get. I used their favourite fro-yo combo (mixed berry) as the base inspiration for these healthy little treats and added some of our vanilla shakeology into the blender with some frozen berries, coconut water and coconut yogurt. You can of course, make them without coconut water and use regular dairy yogurt too!
But I wouldn’t skimp on the superfoods because every parent of young children knows that the blender is the best way to sneak healthy ingredients into their busy little bodies every chance we can get …
It’s that time of year. Wherein visions of sticky fingers, couch fort surfing ninjago divers and the threat of boredom all loom on the horizon. With the end of the school year gone, done and finished, two months of having our kids home full-time lies ahead for our little our family, much like many others everywhere. And while we have a calendar scheduled with camping, adventuring and a couple of day-camps planned out, there are still lots of blank spaces, un-planned days and work to be done. On purpose.
What’s this mom to do when she works from home and decides that this is the very last summer she may have her kids home full-time? Well, she thinks she can juggle it all and vows to savour the crazed energy and excitement of it all. That somehow she’ll get her work done and not slam her kids down in front of the T.V. constantly to make that happen. All of a sudden she finds herself talk-typing in the third person even though she hates that shit.
Is it guilt that made me take such a leap? No. After all, it’s just, One. Last. Summer.
One last summer before my youngest starts school full-time in the autumn.
I’ve done this maybe a few times before and the summer-break months always fly by at break-neck speed. Somehow everything ends up being alright in the land of parental responsibilites and deadlines. Mostly it’s a yearning. A yearning to embrace a slower pace and be in the moment. These moments of early parenthood are slipping between my fingers. There’s only so much time I have left to paint old fences with murals with them and run through sprinklers and muck about making general little-kid-kind magic.
How long do I have before they won’t want to go to the splash pad with me? Or the park? How long before they stop wanting to cut out shapes and toss glitter around like confetti under the shade of our backyard maple tree? Not long. Sure, these sweet things will turn into other sweet things as they grow and their interests evolve.
And yet, right now … I’m very aware that I’m on the trail end of one of the most treasured, memorable stages in parenting. I’m exiting these early years with one who has two feet out the door and one with but a year left. So. To treasure and adventure and savour it is. Everything else will be okay. However, we’re gonna have to lay down some house rules, becasue things can get cray real fast without them. Not that my kids are going to necessarily listen to all of these rules, because perfect they are not. And true, some of these are clearly just being released out into the internets for my own amusement/sanity. And perhaps yours.
The winter has been long and the crafting and visualizing and dreaming and mapping and tackling has been much. Here’s a bit of what our hands have been up to, feeding our spirits and continuing to make our home uniquely our own. Where our hearts live and dragons breathe fire on occasion, when it all becomes too much. So we make felt and pipe cleaner crowns and wands and hope it’s magic enough until the frost breaks. (Which it did, and then it didn’t, and then it did … and we’re currently in a state of blizzardy DIDN’T.) The making of said crowns and wands turned more into a mom-craft than a kid-craft as they lost interest, but they still have fun playing with them anyways.
Our home: where no one else knows and no one else but us, my little family … sees the joys and failures of each day. As long as we use our hands to gather hugs, make art and build pretty things, I’m confident, all will be fine. I know I breathe fire a lot less when tapping into creativity and art. Something I hope to continue to pass onto my chldren. Play is the work of childhood after all, as Maria Montessori so simple yet brilliantly coined many moons ago.
Below are some floating shelves I’ve been conjuring upon since last summer, using galvanized steel, pine I measured, had cut at the good ‘ole Home Depot, stained and cured myself. Of course I measured the pipe I had cut wrong, but everything else was perfect, I swear! If not for some very good friends who came over to help, we would have been doomed. (I’m talking to you Sean! And Char, your lovely wife for holding up the windows that I had to take down one by one and clean, inclding all the runners and all the yuck. At 10 o’clock at night. When you were both supposed to be our dinner guests. And I fed you vegetarian that was spicy. Becasue of course.)
Anyways, aren’t they pretty? I had a hard time getting good photos since the shelves hover over a window, hence an epic battle with natural light and all, but you’ll have to trust me, they are quite dreamy and my kicthen is slowly turning into the unique, totally custom, inviting headquartes of magic-making, love-making, , ecclectic, homestead-y, jungalow type of warmth that I’ve been dreaming about …
Perhaps some of you might have noticed this new fitness journey I’ve embarked on, perhaps not. At any rate … the tribe of women who are keeping me accountable have gone a long way in restoring my faith in, well, myself. But more on that later. Right now we have a little dance party we’d like to share with you. It’s no big production, just us … my sweet family and I getting a little sweaty and having a lot of fun.
So, to my coach who asked us to rev things up mid month and “shake-off” any feelings of negativity or low-energy that we may be having, thank-you. Transformations are happening all over the place and one of my biggest “whys” … my family; is definitely presenting to be my daily source of affirmation and inspiration. Health and wellness revolve around every aspect of our lives, if we acknowledge and respect them as the roadmaps to a better life that they are. Not just for ourselves, but for those we love most.
We set out to make necklaces and what began as a craft activity, turned into a great learning experience as well. As is often the case when making and creating with kids. Abby was very excited at the prospect of making her own necklace and that excitement rubbed off on me. I had to make one too, because why not? I’m really enjoying our days together and feeling good about ‘working’ less to keep her home until she starts school in kindergarten. The rate at which both of my kids are growing is glaring me in the face. All of those past annoying mantras and expressions about the early years being such a fleeting time that we (moms, parents) really should cherish are starting to be less annoying. So I’m savouring. I’m cherishing. I’m positive she is too, given the amount of times she vocalized very precisely not wanting to go to preschool anymore and to stay home with me. It was an everyday occurrence. While I may not savour working more in the evenings, now that my days are mostly filled with playing with her and teaching her … I am extremely privileged in that I can make this happen for us; that I do work from home and that I have a flexible schedule to give us these next 6 months together.
The Developmental and Emotional Benefits of Beading With Kids
- Fine | Visual Motor Skills: grasping, in-hand manipulation skills, eye-hand co-ordination
- Visual Perception: scanning and using their visual memory to make patterns
- Cognitive Skills: math and planning
- Benefits: well ya know…improved skills in all of the areas mentioned above, as well as getting dressed: doing up their own buttons, (obviously not after ONE beading sesh together, but make it a regular activity and BOOM, more self-sufficient kids. You’re welcome) improved pencil, crayon and paint-brush grasp for writing and art making. Improved sense of confidence and accomplishment. Perhaps the biggest benefit of all? Spending time with YOU! Creating something with your child is a great way to bond with them. Playing with our kids is an everyday way to bring up their serotonin levels. It has been proven time and again, that they have a psychological and physical approach to spending time with us that they don’t have with other people! Endorphins let loose and spirits soar.
That up there is one of my favourite early photos from Toronto based touring songwriter Kristin Sweetland’s self-portrait photography series, ‘Adventures in Sweetland.’ I first met Kristin as one of my husband’s dearest friends, many moons ago when we first started dating. I was immediately smitten with her mysterious and creative ways. She’s the kind of woman who emanates artistic sensuality and a dark fire, yet constant grace and sweet friendliness. An air of fantasy and intrigue embodies all that she does. You at once become entranced with her intoxicating, witchy ways, if you’re lucky enough to meet her.
My husband describes her as a surprisingly and uniquely brilliant musician and photographer; a friend he has loved and admired for 15 years. A mind that flirts the line between the innocent and the macabre.
For years I’ve been blown away by her vision and the flawless execution which she unfurls into her photography. This is completely her alone at work here, using a tripod or mirrors and other tricks she may or may not tell you about. She definitely doesn’t have someone following her around snapping the shots. Most of them feature herself as the subject of muse and at times, she opens up the lens to include those she travels with on tour as a musician.
This collection dates back as far as 1999. That’s nearly 16 years. I would say it’s about damn time she released a book of her work and had an exhibition of equally (to her) fanciful proportions. The book layout is designed by Toronto-based promoter and graphic designer Michael “A Man Called” Wrycraft, who has worked on album covers for Bruce Cockburn, The Trews and Sweetland`s most recent instrumental project: Captain Dirt & the Skirt, amongst literally hundreds of others.
The Adventures in Sweetland series began when Kristin was given an assignment in a photography course at the University of Victoria to document her emotions through a series of self-portraits. The class ended, but the series never stopped. Watch the video teaser for this project…
Right now she’s cackling in the other room. Slow and calculated, as she makes up the story to words she can’t read yet, from one of the books she has opened from the pile that lay scattered about her feet. There’s a trail of books in fact from the bathroom door leading to underneath the dining room table where Schleich animals are splayed out amongst those books ready and waiting to play a part in the the scene she’s crafting from the caverns of her mind. Moments before she had thrown a fit about not wanting put her play-dough away, shoving all of her fingers in her mouth and biting down hard in frustration.
“Dance,” we whispered. “Sing!” We exclaimed. And so they did…with little to no goading at all, really. Because they are children. Beautiful, musical, sprightly little beings who love nothing better than to put on a show. Except of course if it’s in front of a huge crowd under big bright lights. But they got there and loved it in the end. To see their beaming faces full of pride after felt dang good. Like Sunday morning cuddles and breakfast in bed.
Jen and I…and our littles, we are all lucky to be developing such friendships. Our youngest two, her boy Mikey and my girl Abby attend the same performing arts “academy” (daycare, ahem).
This place is serious. I mean, there’s full-on dance and music studio classrooms at their school, with a singer-songwriter on the payroll who makes the daily rounds. They do tap, ballet and all sorts of other adorable things. There’s a BARRE in the dance room, complete with official mirrored wall. So of course they performed their own rendition of ‘The Grinch’, with a random toss-in of ‘Let It Go’. Obviously.
As for my boy Wyndham, well…I was busy a tad busy helping coordinate a couple of holiday concert fundraisers at his school and we were lucky enough to host two nights of entertainment for the students, faculty, family and friends for all of the grades: K-8! All of the performers donated their time and the students all collaborated in each classroom to create Silent Art Auction pieces! We all continue to feel deep gratitude towards The Monkey Bunch, Evalyn Parry, Sarah Beatty, Mr. Mills (our favourite guys around here) and the Johnson Street Public School Student Council and faculty for helping to produce two such fantastic evenings of live music and art! Special thanks to The Good Lovelies as well for donating two CD bundles to auction off each respective night!
I’m a bit late in sharing the photos because, Christmas, so enjoy! (All photos of Abby and Mikey’s recital were taken by their immensely talented dad Doug Bedard, aka PLEX, aka Jen’s man, who also donated his musical talents for one of Wyndham’s school concerts. Thanks Doug!