Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Goodbye January, Hello Nicaragua

I must admit, January has not been my favourite month. There have been moments of joy and beauty:

a warm afternoon with the sun bright in the sky, the wind blowing swirls of snow off the trees;

a cheery bonfire in the yard while Aedan chases the dogs up and down the shoveled walkway;

and my favourite, a Saturday morning, the house filled with golden sunlight, the wood stove keeping us warm, dancing around to the Beatles with the babe in my arms.

But this month we watched my good friend's dog, Suzie, die. We've been caring for her while my friend is away. Suzie stopped eating, and about 10 days later, she passed peacefully in her sleep. I was able to sit with her and comfort her through the worst of it that night. It is never easy to see a beloved animal die; it is harder still to see another's animal out of this life. She was a good old girl, and didn't seem to be suffering. I suspect it was just her time. I wish she could have had her own mama at the end, but I hope I was familiar enough to her.

There have been some downright frigid spells this month, with lows of -50 C at night. These temperatures guarantee crisp, clear days...which are spent indoors. The rest of the time, it's been fairly mild. January has brought a few feet of snow and day after day of grey skies. I'm tired of the monotone....

Sunday we set out on an adventure: we are headed to Nicaragua for 3 weeks! We are so looking forward to sunshine, bare feet and shoulders, swimming, fresh fruit, foods we've never tasted before, a new language, culture, history and landscape.

I'll be in touch, friends!

Oh Suzie Q

Rest in peace, Suzie-girl.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On the other hand...

Some days are just beautiful.

Like yesterday: the clouds cleared off at dawn, and we were treated to a lovely, slow sunrise, the wisps of cloud still trailing across the sky blushing pink. The sun finally burst over the hills around 10:30, and oh my did we enjoy the afternoon.

More sun!

After lunch we all spent a couple of hours in the yard, P shoveling snow off the roof, Aedan chasing the dogs and throwing himself backwards in the snow, Mama taking some photos.

Happy baby!

The wind was blowing the snow off the trees; we've had so much over the last couple of days, about a foot!


Snow angel

My Tuesday night yoga classes started up again last night, too, and that was just wonderful. I feel strong and grounded today, my body back in balance...

well, except for the leftover berry crumble I ate for breakfast this morning. That wasn't a good idea.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

365 project

On January 1st, I began a 365 photo project. I will take (at least) one photo a day, for the year. Each Sunday, I'll share my favourite photo from the previous week here on the blog. If you'd like to join in on the fun, feel free to post a photo or a link to one in the comments section!


January Blues

January has caught up to me, burying me in an avalanche of monochrome sky. It fills my eyesearsnosemouthlungs with cold and dark; I choke on it, gasping for warm breath.

It smothers each tree, each branch and twig. Every twisted strand of lichen, each spruce needle, each dried out stalk of grass that has managed to keep its head up: weighted heavy with snow.

Each day is flat, grey, sunless. The trees offer a suggestion of green that is more black than anything, their trunks a pale brown. That is the only relief in this drear month.

I long for colour and light. Gaudy-plumed tropical birds calling raucously from trees in every shade of green, trees sporting blooms of red, purple, yellow, orange. I long for skies that scream blue, and puffy white clouds  and an ocean that glitters in the ever-deepening gradient of the Caribbean. 

I hunger for fresh fruit, juicy and ripe bursting between my teeth, flooding my mouth with stored up sunlight instead of this tiresome weight of snow and ice and dark 



I forgot what January was like. I seem to forget each year until it hits me like this.

3 weeks until Nicaragua: an orgy of light and colour and fresh fruit and oh my. Swimming and bare shoulders and bare feet. At least I've got this to move toward!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hello, sunshine!


January got off to a very grey start, and it was making everyone in this house grey, too. We're all rejoicing to see clear blue skies and some bright sunshine peeking through! We've even got some direct sun on the walls, and little drops of rainbow cast by the prisms in the windows.

On Being Present

I didn't realize how much work it is just to be present with a little one, or to be present in my days generally, I suppose. To me this means being in the moment, fully committed to what is happening in that moment. Whether it's reading "Brown Bear Brown Bear" for the 10th time in a row, or making toast, or washing the dishes or calming a fussy baby, it takes some effort to keep my mind focused on the task at hand.

Especially when it comes to Aedan, I want to try harder to stay present. I don't want to get into the habit of just checking out: it's a real challenge! I also don't want to be micromanaging his play. I recognize that he is capable of amusing himself, and if he's in that mode, I'm happy to pick up a book or some knitting or get busy in the kitchen. But when he starts throwing the books at me, or pushing me away from the kitchen counter, I try to listen to what he's telling me. 

My biggest problem day to day is internet usage. I find myself drifting towards the computer, often checking out mentally as a I scroll through my Facebook news feed. I'll pull Aedan into my lap if he wants me, and I want to break that habit. He's too young to be learning to stare at a screen (a screen that invariably is full of advertisements of one kind or another). In an attempt to curb my Face-time, I've set it up to be way less interesting, but the habit persists. 

I've decided I want to limit my internet time to when Aedan is sleeping. I think it is my number one time wasting, mindfulness-sabotaging's going to be tough. I tell myself that I keep Facebook open all day because the chat is like my telephone. But if I'm honest about it, it's not like anyone is "calling". And I do have Skype for that. Some days I feel I'm not much different from the person with the smartphone glued to her hand, constantly checking for updates. And I don't want to be that person.

How do you stay present with your kids? How do you manage your internet time (or do you?)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

365 project

On January 1st, I began a 365 photo project. I will take (at least) one photo a day, for the year. Each Sunday, I'll share my favourite photo from the previous week here on the blog. If you'd like to join in on the fun, feel free to post a photo or a link to one in the comments section!


Saturday, January 5, 2013


It has been a cat-pee-on-the-couch, baby-poo-on-the-rug kind of morning. Tempered by a big mug of fragrant jasmine green tea and Stewart McLean on the CBC.

The babe is down for a nap, the couch cushions are soaked in a vinegar/dish soap/water solution that seemed to work last time. The floors are swept, and the cat is hiding, so the dogs are in to relax by the wood stove.

This mama is left wondering if she's bitten off more than she can chew.

Since my cat, Patsy, died last spring, I've been missing a feline presence in the house. Aedan has been getting better with the dogs, learning more about "gentle" each day; I felt sure that the right cat would fit right into our Dempster home. On new years eve, we brought home Jameson, a sweet one year old grey cat from the local shelter.

He's taking his time warming up, but spends a little more time out of hiding each day. He's wary of Aedan, and of the dogs, too. I'm stressing a little over how he's fitting in, even losing a bit of sleep over it.

And he's peeing on furniture. This is the second time he's peed on a couch, and last night I crawled into a big stinky wet spot in our bed. I hope he can settle in here and feel comfortable, but if the peeing hasn't stopped by the end of the 2 week foster/trial period, he'll have to go back, and I'll have to put off my dream of a cat...


Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Something I didn't realize about blogging: it's as much for me as it is for all of you. It's strange that I didn't realize that until a few days ago, when I read back over my year's posts. It was an eye-opener to read the things I felt compelled to blog about, and to notice the things I left out. 

I feel like in the last year I've begun to come to terms with the path my life has taken: with motherhood and with bush life primarily. Being a new mama is isolating in and of itself...being a new mama who lives 40 km from the nearest town, with no close neighbours, takes that loneliness to a whole new level. Missing from this blog are those feelings, the blues I felt many days, the total craziness of spending days without talking to anyone other than my baby or my man. I didn't want to live here, so far out of town. But here I am today, and I'm loving it.

I've come to love the peace and quiet life in the bush brings. I've come to love the solitude, the feeling of freedom and independence. More than anything I've come to love the space we've got. We have 5 acres to call our own, but those 5 acres are surrounded by thousands of acres of forest, river and mountain. I think I'd feel claustrophobic if we moved to town now. Whereas before I felt trapped here, now I feel free and full of possibility. It's a wonderful change and I'm grateful for it.

I regret that I didn't record those feelings of loneliness, though. Not here, and not in my paper journal, either. I think it's just as important to include the darkness with the light, to give balance and a truer perspective. I hope to use this space more freely in the coming year, recording my days openly and honestly, as much for myself as for those of you reading. 

My hopes for 2013 include making good use of this land we're on, growing some of our own food and keeping chickens. I hope to continue on my path to eliminating toxins from our daily life, from how we wash to the food we eat and the pans in which we prepare it. 

I want to make creativity a big part of my life again, writing and taking photographs and creating with my hands.

I want to fill my life with light and love and positiveity. I want to nurture my soul, and in so doing, nurture those closest to me. 

Wishing you all the best for your own endeavours in this coming year!