8.5 months

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Our baby girl is growing out of baby so fast. I want to cling to these days and slow them down, just a little.  Kathleen has the sweetest personality. Her smiles shower the receiver with love.

She delights us with her joy and life. She is gorgeous. And oh so precious.

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Camping

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The summer is quickly coming to an end but our tent hadn’t been pulled out of the attic. So…we went for a spur of the moment camping trip.

The girls were so excited and had so much fun. And it made absolutely no difference to them that we didn’t leave our back yard! So it might not have been exactly an adventurous camping trip but memories were made, I had a miserable sleep on the hard ground, was woken by the slobbery kisses of a mobile eight month old, and made the cold camping morning hot chocolate in my kitchen. Tonight Kathleen and I will enjoy the comfort of our own bed while Dan was sweet talked into another night of tenting.

Some of my favorite memories are of camping with my brother in our yard (mind you it was 80 acres) with our best friends. We didn’t even have tents but we would rig up some kind of teepee with blankets or tarps and each curl up in another blanket until about four in the morning when we would finally be cold enough to all traipse inside for the rest of the night. I hope that my kids are able to do those kinds of things too and that someday they will have memories of spontaneous camping trips to our back yard.

Children & Chores

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“Mama, wait for me!” her worried little voice calls as she hurries into her little boots. I half sigh, half rejoice as I turn to wait for that sweet and slow two year old who wants to help carry the pail as I head out for the morning milking.  “ I cut up the onions all by myself.” a proud girl tells her daddy at the supper table that was set haphazardly by small helping hands.

Sometimes in the busy of the day, it seems easiest to hurry through my work on my own. After all if I can just get everything done, I will have more time to spend with the girls. However, I realize that is a disservice to them and to myself. I think that it is easy to underestimate the ability and need for children, even small children, to take part in the daily work.  What better way is there to learn how to cook, care for a house, yard, and animals than while working alongside a Mama or Daddy?

Confession: I’ve been really lacking in this area lately. I was chatting about it with a friend just today in fact. Months ago I got small canvases to paint pictures of the daily chores on that we would have a on line in the kitchen to remind us of what needed doing. They are still sitting waiting to be painted. I’ve been rushing to make meals at the last minute so haven’t had time for helpers. Dan or I blitz through the house trying to keep up the hurricane to a minimum. And it has been reflecting. Rather than being played with and put away, toys are being strewn everywhere. Clothing is being unfolded and dumped. Shoes left where they were kicked off.

Do you know what is silly? I LOVE doing work with the girls and they are brilliant helpers. Cecily has great fun collected laundry and loading the washing machine so why don’t I ask her to run around collecting the towels? Aneliese loves using the spray bottle so why don’t I have her wipe the mirrors? Meals made together are filled with fun and someday they will be able to take care of making a meal as a result. Playing a song and racing to pick up all the toys before it is finished leaves us all breathless and laughing.  As we are all collectively aware of what needs to be done and put the doing into practice, daily life becomes a little simpler. As the girls help fold and put away the laundry, they begin to understand why it isn’t a good idea to empty their drawers while playing. While there aren’t a lot of tasks that they are able to tackle alone, there are many that they can do with minimal guidance.

I’m not really feeling bad because I know that life and parenting is all about cycles and learning. I am committing myself again to setting up our daily work in such a way that encourages the girls to join in. And if I ever get our chore plan made up, maybe I will share it! And, really, that picture of Cecily just makes me laugh.

How do you encourage your children to help with the daily work of your home? I’d love to have any tips and seasoned practice you may have!

Bikes and Swimming


It has been a busy week for Aneliese. This was her first week of swimming lessons and while the first couple of days were spent with her standing shivering in the corner waiting silently for her turn to practice something, she is now loving it. I had decided that I needed to just observe and let her go at her pace but oh it was a little hard on this mama’s heart. She insisted that she wanted to keep going and each day she told me that she thought she would feel more comfortable the next time and sure enough by today, she has a constant smile while learning to swim.


And then, she and her daddy finally had an afternoon to take out her new-to-her bike from Gramma as she as been asking. She has been riding the run bike since she was two and so the idea is that then the training wheel stage can be skipped all together. In her case, the theory proves true! Just over four and she is riding around after one afternoon!

Sisters biking together!

And the run bike has been passed on to Cecily!

 

Mostly I just love seeing how content and happy she is when she has something new to challenge her mind and body. Summer has been busy with lots of activity but I have been aware that she has been needing something more connected than general busy times. We’re learning together.

My farm girl


This morning saw me milking Hazel with a tousled little curly haired farmer in striped pj’s and golden dancing shoes leaning on my knee, blankie and teddies clutched in her arms.

“Are you goin’ to milk Hazel?”, she asks. At my “yes”, she pulls boots on while hollering “wait!” and runs to join me. We walk slowly to the barn, past the blossoming squash patch, stopping to open the chicken door and dump slops. Cecily loves the morning routine.

Both girls enjoy our animals, but feeding time is Cecily’s special time. She is still cautious around Hazel but she loves to get her food and to watch while I milk. She carries the eggs to the house and helps feed the cats. It is her chance to step up and be a big kid. And I love it. I can listen to her chatter and answer her uninterrupted by big sister or baby. It is a chance to get to know who my little girl is becoming.

House Concerts

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One of hopes that we have had for our life here in Nova Scotia is that it will be filled with music and that we can share music with others. We have loved the music culture here this past year and we have had a few people over to play music on a few evenings. However, we hope to have kitchen parties and house concerts more regularly as we get more settled here.

Dan’s sister and her family spent the past week visiting while her husband, Darin, did an east coast music tour. They finished off their time here with house concert/belated house warming party last night. I had my camera on the wrong setting so the few pictures that I took didn’t turn out well but it was a great time with music, visiting, dessert, and happily playing kids.

Dan and Darin both kept busy playing gigs this past week and Darin was so well received that we are hoping to convince them to make another trip out here in the next year or two! If you are looking for some new music, check out Darin’s website www.darinmartinmusic.com.

BC Trip

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Really, I didn’t disappear off the face of the planet. What I did do was spend the past few weeks in Alberta and BC with either no internet or no time for it (usually both). But we are back to our little valley farm and trying to adjust to the time change. It was lovely to go and lovely to come home.

My girls enjoyed every minute with Grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles. And of course the animals and fun that comes that. Dan couldn’t spend the entire time with us so the three girls and I braved the eleven hours plus delays of plane travel alone.

I have no idea when we will have the opportunity to make this trip again so we will treasure the memories.

Kathleen had lots of kisses for her Aunties

Exploring with Auntie Shaylene

Lots of playing with cousins and uncles!

And “Uncle Jordan, can you swing me?”

Deep discussions with “Uncle Jerry Bear”

Fun in the dirt with Levi and Nolan

Visiting the horses

feeding them

And finally, riding!

Cecily loved, loved the horses once she finally decided to ride.

Aneliese began her barrel racing career

Kathleen on a horse for the first time:)

Feeding calves

Plane entertainment

Seven Years


With all the excitement of Mark and Lola’s new baby being born, we postponed our anniversary date until last night. We aren’t really into giving each other gifts so we decided on our first anniversary that we would take turns each year on planning something. This year was Dan’s year and being the sweet man that he is, he got all romantic:). We took a photo walk that ended with watching the sunset over the Bay of Fundy. Granted, the sun was pretty hidden behind clouds but it was lovely never the less. How I love that man.

And of course a fishing boat had to come really close and interrupt our kissing;).

Home Birth

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But not mine, contrary to what some thought after my last post! Now that the new mama has introduced her little man, I can tell you a little about it. A baby was born in my house!!

Other than my own babies, I have never been present for a birth so when Lola said that she thought it was time, I had a few moments of feeling completely flustered. After that though, everything moved in a relaxed though very fast paced sort of way.

Imagine birthing your baby with the sounds of little girls (five!) playing in the background with the occasional visit to check in. One daddy preparing supper while the other daddy waits a little anxiously for his baby. The open window brought sounds of birds singing and chickens searching for food. From my perspective, attending Lola, it all just flowed so naturally while in no way taking away from the anticipation and awesomeness of the moment. It was truly amazing. And I am a little bit addicted.

I won’t share a lot of pictures because I haven’t gotten them to Lola yet but here are a few.

EDIT: Apparently news travels fast and word on the street is that I helped a mama birth her baby:). Not that Lola needed much help, she is seriously amazing.