Thursday, February 28, 2013

Making This House A Home

We needed to put coat hooks up.  I wanted something that suited my taste and the overall feeling of our new house.  We were lucky enough to find this one old barn board and one piece of original trim from 1912 or so, in the rafters of the garage here.
 I loved these two pieces, but I wasn't sure about putting them together. 
When my husband fit them together and trimmed the ends off, I was so very happy with the result. 
I think our house was happy to welcome back a piece of trim that had been gone for a long while.

Any part of my house that is functional, pleasing to the eye and boasts a rich history, is just right in my books.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall......"

I wish my hair was darker, brown, wavy.  I wish my skin was tanned and I had only a few freckles.  I am ugly.  I hate the way I look.  I hate myself.

Do you hate every thing about yourself?

I hate everything except, except, except..... my feelings.  I like my feelings.  I think my friends like me for my feelings.    They are just pretending that they like my looks.

You are actually beautiful.  People often tell me - even complete strangers - how they love your hair and wish they had hair your colour, how much they would have to pay at the salon to look like you.  You are beautiful.

I don't believe you.

                                                                     . . . . .

This is a conversation from this morning with my just-turned-nine-year-old daughter.  It fills me with a helpless despair.  This young girl so beautiful & unique who wants to look like the beauty she sees around her - her dark haired cousin, her blond curly haired best friend, perhaps the images of Taylor Swift she sees on album covers - rather than the beauty looking back at her in the mirror.  A fragile self-image.  A fragile age.

I love that she recognizes that what is inside - "her feelings" - are valuable, acceptable, lovable.  Her inner self will not be subject to criticism.  She is funny, feisty, smart and sweet.

Should she ever begin to switch those sentiments - inner loathing mixed with vanity -  I suppose we would be faced with something more challenging than her dissatisfaction with her looks.  But I wish  she could see her beauty inside and out.  I wish she did not spend a single moment despairing about her freckles or reddish hair, her blue-grey eyes, her fantastic dimple.  If I continue to tell her every single day that she is gorgeous will she ever start to believe it??

Has she ever been told otherwise??

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Birthday Girl & Other Honours

Grace turned NINE yesterday!  This feisty little girl is growing up - fast.  She is still super strong-willed, but she seems to be growing into herself and mellowing a little.  She's super funny and kinda  quirky.  

For her birthday supper she requested chicken pot pie and marshmallow salad.  For her cake she wanted angel food with raspberries and whipped cream.  My parents and Heidi came for dinner.  

My mom painted a sweet watercolour of Grace.  I framed it today and put it on the shelf above her bed (for now).

 Isaac had a hockey banquet the same night and was given the award for most dedicated player.  He seems pretty proud.  I'm not a huge fan of giving awards to only some of the kids though.  I think the natural consequence of one child getting an award is that all of the other kids think to themselves "I guess I'm not ________ ".  I would love it if they made original awards for each of the kids - maybe "most impressive wipe-out" and "stinkiest hockey gloves".

 On Sunday we celebrated Paul, Kerry and Megan's birthdays.

A few weeks ago Grace won an award for a Remembrance Day poster she made for the Legion poster contest.

Before & After: Emma's desk

I've been working this month on Emma's room, trying to finally finish what we started over a year ago!  She really needed a desk, so I thought I'd try to fix up this old yard sale purchase from at least 10 years ago that has just been sitting in the basement collecting dust.  It's heavy, homemade, and pretty ugly.  But it's real wood, it's solid and you know what they say about a coat of white paint....

I was a little worried about the big crack between the two boards on the top, but wood filler really did a great job.  I filled a bunch of dents and scratches too.

Then a coat of primer and two coats of white paint and this little beast becomes a little beauty.  I painted the inside of the drawers two of the colours left from Emma's striped wall.

Then my dad and I used it as a base for a compound mitre saw and put a few scrapes in the paint, but we put it in Emma's room anyway - I'll touch it up soon.  I love it with the blue walls!!!  I also painted a little desk chair from a different desk that belonged to my great aunt Florence.  It fits perfectly.  Emma and I picked up the blue desk lamp a few weeks ago at Winners.  Her room is almost finished!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bipolar Parenting

Months ago I thought of a term to describe this wild experience of parenting/family building. 

"Bipolar"is the word I came up with. 

Up down Up down. 

And I'm not referring to my mood or state alone but to those of the family collective- to those of my 4 children and bearded spouse. I imagine if I were bipolar I could seek medical help....this is something entirely different. It's the baffling dynamic that occurs when all these complex personalities try to... 

(I don't know. What are we trying to do? I was going to write co-exist but it's more than exist. It's thrive I guess. We're all attempting to thrive. Yes.) 

It's the baffling dynamic that occurs when all these complex personalities are attempting to thrive. There are these transcendent moments of heart bursting love and equally intense moments of mind numbing retardation. (Can I say that?) The amazing thing is the rapidity with which it switches from one to the other and back. Wow. (Is it life with young children or does this persist through the ages?)

It just feels like a bipolar experience.

And I guess I want to talk about that.

I looked for some back-up on this whole idea and found these guys. I find it inspiring when people stop talking about surface stuff and get to "the goods".

 My favourite bits from this:
"Candor and brutal honesty [are] critical to us collectively being great parents."

 "You’re not allowed to chart love. The reason … is because we think of love as a binary thing: You’re either in love, or you’re not in love. You love, or you don’t love. I think the reality is that love is a process.” (Rufus Griscom + Alisa Volkman)

I also love what this blogger has to say about the "inherent risks my simple life asks me to take."

Sign me up.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Frosty Pepper Indeed.


Late lies the wintry sun a-bed,
A frosty, fiery sleepy-head;
Blinks but an hour or two; and then,
A blood-red orange, sets again.

Before the stars have left the skies,
At morning in the dark I rise;
And shivering in my nakedness,
By the cold candle, bathe and dress.

Close by the jolly fire I sit
To warm my frozen bones a bit;
Or with a reindeer-sled, explore
The colder countries round the door.

When to go out, my nurse doth wrap
Me in my comforter and cap;
The cold wind burns my face, and blows
Its frosty pepper up my nose.

Black are my steps on silver sod;
Thick blows my frosty breath abroad;
And tree and house, and hill and lake,
Are frosted like a wedding cake.

December and the end

Seth stamping Christmas cards.

We had a delightful morning together. Christmas
with children is adorable.

 New toys.....

This is a cute way to thank faraway family.....

Why don't I have any pictures from our time on the island? The flu came through so we didn't make it in time for the sleigh ride or the gingerbread houses but we certainly got in on the family parties and general shenanigans. It was lovely to welcome a new year with some of my very favourite people.

Goodbye 2012.

Where was I?

 Ahem. It's been awhile. My apologies.

And so.....

Here is a little smattering of images from the fall.  A potpourri if you will.

A trip to a pumpkin farm. (Wagon ride, gourds and general frolicking)

 It was really cold and rainy.

This may or may not be a fake smile from Seth. I know I was faking it by the time it was time to go home. I was waterlogged, cold and grumpy. So much so that I took a wrong turn on the way home and ended up on the 401 heading to TO with a wall of transports closing in on me (I didn't have the GPS- my one true love). Some amounts of time later we found ourselves sitting in Tim Hortons having hot chocolate, donuts and a discussion on how to recover from disappointments and all round crappy days. We drove home much cheered and found dinner waiting in the crockpot (I rock, basically.)

Subsequent weeks found us magic showing, trick-o-treating, getting colds, getting over colds, and taking a spontaneous trip to Ottawa (spent my birthday there).

Also, getting fancy and going to Mike's work Christmas party. This isn't the best picture...but you get the idea. Check out a bearded Mike!

We went to a horrible concert. Truly.  It was Mike's birthday present to me. Shortly after it started he leaned over and said "I am so so sorry." I just laughed. I would have left instead of laugh but we were wedged in the middle of the isle. I would have climbed over the seat and into the less-full isle behind us but I was wearing high heels, and a short-ish skirt. So I sat there and made a psychological study out of the whole thing.

We also spent time learning some new things. Like how to replace the sensor in the washing machine.

(See my summer find? Vintage berry tray turned art supply holder. Woot.)

 Toward the end of November we started the Christmas party circuit, cookie making and holiday goings on. Fun.

We also played pictionary by candle light. Just because we can.