Monday, 31 December 2012

To the New Year

We've had a good Christmas, full of family, food, gift giving and visiting. I'm totally burnt out and exhausted of course, but Jake has had the time of his life over the last two weeks, so it's all been worth it just to give him that experience. It's what I want for him, a childhood filled with happy Christmas memories and lots of tradition, and I'm ready to work for it. But tonight, on New Year's Eve as I look both backward and forward, I feel truly tired. My body, my mind, and my spirit are ready to let go of this year and eager to embrace the new one to come with all it's promise and potential.

It's time to flip the page on 2012 and start a new chapter, and we Boyds wish you and everyone you love much happiness, sweetness, health, love, joy and everything else that makes life good in 2013!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Making Something

When it comes to creativity in my family I definitely swim in the shallow end of the gene pool.
I am not exactly sure where it all went wrong, since I am surrounded by art and creativity on all sides.  My mother is a home economics teacher coming up with unique ideas daily, my father lives and breathes creativity and design through wood both in his work and in his life. My sister basically makes it her business to create art (literally), and what my brother creates in the kitchen is nothing short of a masterpiece. But I... well, let's say when I put some stickers all over my store bought Christmas cards I thought I was being creative.

But this week, I made this:

It looks like nothing special, I know. But I saw it on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and wanted to make it immediately, so I went to Fabricland and I made it. All by myself (more or less, husband had a small part in it - very small). It's nothing really. Totally easy and a bit silly, but Jake loves it and it reminds me of something I made all by myself in my mom's Stitch 'n' Sew class years ago when being creative didn't intimidate me as much.

I was in grade 5, and my mom helps me A LOT.

 So for all of you who think you can't do it, find a project no matter how small, easy or silly it seems, and bring it to life. You'll impress yourself, if no one else.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Donner, Blitzen and Vixen: accounted for

We found them grazing outside our kitchen window this morning, stuffing themselves furiously in preparation for their great journey around the world and back on Monday night.  To Jake these were a trio of Santa's fiercest and fastest reindeer, eating breakfast in his front yard!  The sparkle in his eye shone from his imagination alone and reminded me what this season is all about.

My baby believes that Christmas reindeer not only exist, but dine in our front yard. It was better than seeing Santa himself.  It was the wake up call I needed after these last hectic days of shopping and running around.  With the move and traveling about this Christmas season has gotten away from me more than any other year past. Husband and I have felt stressed. So sharing this simple moment with my boy in our new kitchen this morning was the perfect grounding moment. 

Throw in an afternoon with three great children and friends decorating sugar cookies and gingerbread cutouts and my day was complete.  I am looking forward to Christmas with the joy the season deserves.


The final product: 

Ho ho ho ho!

Friday, 14 December 2012

November Recap

Oh November, where did you go?

What can I say, Fall fell away and suddenly we are starring down the nose at Christmas.  But we Boyds been nothing if not productive.

We've baked cookies...

... and ate them.

 We've kept tabs on this year's salmon run (this process is a true miracle of nature by the way),

 and have taken many nature discovery walks.

We've made art.


Played trains.

And watched them.

But most importantly we have moved. Finally. For the third time in under a year, we have moved. We are happy in our new digs, happy more than anything because we are finally in a home where we know we will stay for several years to come. There is something so comforting in knowing that you are grounded, that you have a home base, and that finally roots can be dug down deep. 

It feels good to be home.

Now then, back to baking Christmas cookies!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Happy Halloween!

Jake dressed up as Captain Smith from the doomed Titanic. He's been obsessed with this fated ship for months now, so we thought it fitting.

He enjoyed spending the evening shouting "Iceberg! Dead ahead!"  

Boyd made pumpkins:

Daddy's Titanic/Iceberg inspired theme.

Grandpa's creation,
Grandpa's hand drill inspired creation.
 Hope you had a spooktacular evening!


This October has certainly held it's highs and lows for us. Much like the weather this month life has fluctuated with the warm Indian Summer days to the cold gray rainy days reminiscent of the long winter still to come.  But I believe that life needs equal parts sun and rain in order to be fulfilling. It is on those dark and rainy days that we most challenge ourselves. We find new and creative ways to get through them, we find strength to get up even though bed seems much more cozy and inviting, we come up with ideas of how to entertain our children indoors for twelve hours, we cook comfort foods, and get through the gray. We do this because we have to, because lying in bed all day is not how we were built to last. So taking the cold wet days along with the warm bright ones and turning them into days worth remembering are all a part of living this one wild life we have. Especially life with children.

Reenacting scenes from the Lion King with Uncle Jon, to get through the last leg of the day.
With a high on life child like Jake, who seems oblivious to changes in the season, it sometimes takes a lot of creativity and will on my part to turn a gray day into a yellow one. This week was particularly challenging for me. The cold dark days have made our comfortable and warm bed seem all the more inviting, but I have kicked off the sheets each morning, and used the excuse of Halloween to inspire me into action. We decorated, we crafted, and we helped Nana make decorate pumpkin marshmallow rice crispy squares. When it wasn't raining Jake leaped outside to do more raking with his Grandpa. When I was at a loss of what else to do, when the rain belted mercilessly on the rooftops, when it was an hour shy of Jake's bedtime and he still had spades of energy stored we turned on the radio and had dance parties.

Gramps splurged and got them matching rakes.

And all of a sudden, the Monday that loomed so dauntingly has turned into a week worth remembering. And October, from her warm beginning to her chilly end, with her brilliant colours, her earthy scents and her inviting coziness, has delivered to our door the perfect reminder of how precious and beautiful life can be.

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible is we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it?"      Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Leaves of Fall

The last couple of days Jake's favorite past time has been hanging out with his Grandpa in the back yard, raking up a pile of leaves and jumping into them, kicking them everywhere, running back and forth through them, destroying the pile, raking it up again with his Gramps and then doing it all again. And again.... and again.

They are usually out in the back yard a good one to two hours in the afternoon doing only this.  Then he comes back in red cheeked and starving.

I imagine it's hard for any child to resist a fresh pile of fallen leaves. The earthy smell, the crispness of autumn wrapped up in all the perfect fall colours, the crunch under your feet.  It is a part of this season that I remember fondly from my childhood, and now I am sure it will be a part remembered fondly by our boy too.

I hope you are all enjoying your Fall whatever it looks like, wherever you are!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Giving Thanks

Yes, it's true, we are in October.  It took me a few days to actually believe it but I have come to accept that September has pretty much passed me by and we are now in October and heading full steam ahead towards the end of the year.

The last few weeks I have laid pretty low, lower than I have in months, possibly years.  Not only have I not taken a single picture over the last month but I haven't really even done anything to write home about either.  It's as though September never really existed.  In part I am feeling drained, like my creative juices have been sapped out of me, and in part I have just been enjoying this sudden lull.  Sometimes I need that break in my life, times of stillness, where pressure melts away and life just plateaus for a while.  But it's October now, and my plateau is going to become a flat line if I don't snap out of this funk fast.  My break is over and it is time to embrace the creativity that Fall inspires in me and get going again.

Today is Thanksgiving, as good a time as any to air out my brain and start up again.  What better way to show thanks for all the wonderful things in my life than to get up and do something.  Time to bake! Time to get creative! Time to go for Fall walks with my boy! Time to decorate! Time to live!

In the meantime, there has been something I have been meaning to thank someone for for weeks now, and I am ashamed to say I have never quite gotten to it.  My sister sent a package to Jake over a month ago, and it made him so happy to get a present in the mail when there was no birthday or holiday in sight. It made him feel special and loved, and he put it on immediately.  When I look at the smile on his face in this photo I am reminded again to be so grateful for having the thoughtful family we do.

Thank you sister.

And Happy Canadian Thanksgiving to you all!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

The Fair

It's been a busy few weeks, ripe with lots of twists and turns that belong to any big move.  Overall, we have had an exciting and busy end of summer in our new home, and there is a lot to write, tell, and many many photos to share. But the thought of rolling it all into this one post is more than I can handle right now, so I think I'll just leave this one as a recount of what we did today.

Today, we kicked off our last long weekend of the summer by going to a local Fair.  I have many good childhood memories of the smell of sizzling onions, fried food, cotton candy, and farm animals, coupled with the sights and sounds of everything that makes up a good end of summer Fair. I had high hopes that this experience, a first for my boy, would kick start the first of many such childhood memories of his own.

We were not disappointed, because this long weekend fair delivered childhood memories in abundance.

When we arrived I thought for sure the barn animals would be the greatest hit with Jake, but who knew that deep down in his two and a half year old's soul he was a carnival ride lover.

We bought a book of ride tickets thinking we might get him to give one or two a go - we never could get him to go back to the farm animals.

And this smile never left his face the rest of the day.

Except for maybe when he got his head stuck in this ice cream cone ...

And as far as firsts go, Jake also had his first face painting done today.  Again he surprised me by choosing to have a butterfly painted on his generous cheek - and oh how proud he was of that darn butterfly.

But perhaps the all time favorite of the day was the model boat centre, where a wind up paddle boat race captivated my boy the rest of the day.  He and his dad didn't end up winning the race but when I asked Jake what his favorite part of the fair was at the end of the day he said "the boats!"

We went back over and over, between rides and sugary snacks he always insisted that we make our way back to the model boat guys to see what new and interesting homemade remote control boats they were putting in the water.  He was their biggest fan and they rewarded his constant returns by giving him his very own juice box at the end of the day.

Jake took it upon himself to yell "on your mark, get set, go!" when he felt they were taking to long to get the race going.

His first cotton candy - and certainly not his last.

There is something about summer carnivals that just belong to childhood.  Back in my old city, where I was born and raised, we have a huge summer fair that takes place every year at this time. I remember the many years my mom would walk us three kids up to the fair grounds where we would meet up with my dad after his work. We would eat hot dogs, inspect all the farm animals, dare each other onto the scariest rides.  We'd come home high on adrenaline and sugar, and smelling of mini doughnuts.

It makes my heart glad to know that I can share that experience with my own child in our new town, and even gladder to know he loves it as much as I do.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

The gift of blueberries

On Jake's second birthday, way back in March, my mom gave him a blueberry bush as a gift. 

Patiently we watered it, talked to it, placed it on the sunniest spot on our patio - and waited.  We waited through the cold and rainy month of April, the cloudy and still cold May, and our soggy June.  Each day we'd check it, at first praising the little white flowers that bloomed, then counting out all the little green nubs that would be blueberries one day.  Jake and his Oma nurtured that little bush until finally we woke up one day and were rewarded with this:

Our first, big, blue and juicy blueberry. 

It didn't last long. Jake got so excited, and what with patience not being a terribly easy thing for a two year old, he rewarded himself by plucking this juicy morsel from its place within seconds of me snapping those pictures and popping it into his mouth. 

Then we moved to our new Island, and the summer heat collided perfectly with blueberry season to produce this:

It has been the very best gift for Jake, and he has learned so much about patience and care from this little bush.  It will grow with him over the years, each season bringing a new promise of colour and fruit.  He has gotten a lot out of it already, more than just fat and juicy blueberries. But mostly during this time of distance and change, it serves a reminder for Jake right now, of the thoughtful and loving Oma who gave it to him. 

Thanks Oma!