Monday, November 17, 2014

Hanging on to Autumn









Early last week we woke to rooftops covered in shimmering frost. An icy northern wind whipped through the valley and like much of Canada temperatures abruptly plummeted below zero. After a week of frosty weather every plant in our yard was jolted into hibernation. While most plants have yielded to their fate there are a few remaining leaves that are clinging on so desperately. I understand those leaves because I too hang on to those last few signs of autumns before the darkness of winter overtakes me.

Today I dug out our winter gear and discovered that there were a few missing items. Throughout the year I am on the lookout for good quality used or discounted winter gear but there are usually several items I cannot find. This year Teddy needs boots and good mitts. I will most likely order what I need from MEC. It's important that we have good winter gear because I hold by the saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad outdoor clothing. The truth is that being able to spend time outdoors throughout the winter is crucial in maintaining happiness in our home, for myself and my little ones.

With all the winter gear out everyone was keen to test our their "new" stuff so we took an afternoon nature walk up through the hills. My eldest found some interesting moss and lichen which he has been fascinated with lately. We had a few prickly pear incidents but to be fair we weren't following the well trodden path. And on returning home, everyone felt refreshed and happy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Quick Stroll

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On Sunday we turned our clocks back an hour to mark the end of Daylight Saving Time. Even though we gained a precious hour of sleep on Sunday morning it's not a transition that I particularly enjoy. Now that darkness moves in so much sooner I find myself craving a regular late afternoon tea break to get a little boost of energy for the evening. The sudden shift takes getting use to and I would be happy to do away with switching our clocks completely.

The nights are getting cooler but we have yet to experience a hard frost. The trees in our neighbourhood are covered in lovely yellow and red leaves. A quick stroll down to the lake gave me the chance to collect a handful of pretty leaves in the hopes of dipping them in beeswax and making a garland. The leave, however, were subsequently ripped into pieces and then spread around my home by my little ones. I think I have found most of the pieces. At least I take comfort in knowing there are still plenty of leaves outside for collecting.

My garden plants are still alive but it is time to pull out the tomatoes and peppers which are no longer ripening. I have been neglecting my yard and garden completely the last month. There simply has not been enough time. I am hoping, I think I am forever hoping, that we will find a more sustainable rhythm this month. It seems that if things go smoothly there are enough margins in the week for restful activities. Of course with three young children there are very few calm moments and so our weeks get filled with an assortment of events that were not predicted. For someone that enjoys rhythm and routine I am constantly feeling stretched beyond my comfort zone. Even though it can be challenging, I think that I am getting better with being in the moment.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Celebrating All Hallow's Eve



















Everyone was a little worried about the weather. A forecast of rain can dampen Halloween spirits but our community was determined and came out in full force to brave the elements. When we arrived at the farm there was a short deluge and then we had a break from the rain to enjoy fun and games.

A variety of games were organized for the children. Each child had a passport that they carried with them to have filled as they completed each activity. I prepared the classic doughnut-on-a-string activity along with the soul cake song:

A soul! a soul! a soul-cake! 
Please good Missis, a soul-cake! 
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, 
Any good thing to make us all merry. 
One for Peter, two for Paul 
Three for Him who made us all.

As I was preparing my station I heard yells and screams. At first I dismissed them as Halloween festivities because our group is known to get rowdy at times but something about the screams drew me toward the commotion. As I approached my friend called to me to hurry as my eldest had an accident. By the look on her face and the screams I heard earlier I knew instantly that this was serious and ran as fast I could to reach him. He had been climbing on a stack of pallets that had just been unsecured from a trailer. The stack of pallets tipped and fell on top of him. It was all hands on deck and he was already taken out and being assessed by the time I reached him. A retired paramedic was checking him out, my nurse friend was helping out and keeping me rational, there was ice, there was chocolate, there were reassuring and healing touches and much love and compassion from everyone. My son sustained a blow to his ear and was quite shaken up but seemed otherwise untouched. My heart was being crushed by the pain that a mother feels when their child is hurt, like this picture of Our Lady of Sorrows. As the minutes passed he seemed to recover and after about an hour he was eager to participate in the festivities again. It was a traumatic event for everyone there but I could not ask for a more loving and attentive community. I just feel so very blessed, and I want to share my most heartfelt thanks to everyone there. 

So as I was keeping a watchful eye on my eldest my two younger ones were enjoying the festivities in the hands of wonderful friends. I was not able to capture any of these fun things with my camera but it sounded like the children were really enjoying themselves.

After the potluck dinner the children were eagerly awaiting the orchard walk and the haunted greenhouse. There is a small orchard at the farm and families prepare decorations to transform the trees into a magical place that the children journey through after the sun goes down. This year there were spiders, lanterns, skeletons, pumpkins, balloons and a beautiful table celebrating those departed before us. My children made some paper plate spiders to decorate a tree. When darkness descended the parents placed themselves throughout the orchard to provide treats to the children as they walked through. It was delightful.

Next the children and adults braved the haunted greenhouse which was decorated and spookified by the older children in our community. My son and I held hands as we walked through. I got jumpy when a child reached through dying tomato vines and grabed my ankle - eeek! There was even a bit of a fire in there at one point but it was quickly controlled and nobody was hurt. It was thrilling! My son and I walked through the haunted greenhouse three times before rejoining everyone at the bonfire for some story telling. The storyteller brought to life the exciting and funny story about how Jack outsmarted the devil and became Jack-O-Lantern. 

As the story finished a light rain began to fall but everyone's attention quickly turned to the stunning fireworks that started to explode in the sky. The sparkles and colours captivated everyone and I felt spoiled by such a display and by being part of such an amazing community. 

To read more about celebrating All Hallow's Eve read last year's post

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Pumpkin Patch









On our way to the pumpkin patch I was congratulating myself on getting everyone out the door with lunches packed and time to spare. Not only were we going to be arrive early, a rarity around here, it was a beautiful morning. We were all quite excited to find and carve pumpkins. At our destination my children got our of our vehicle with glee and were rushing around gathering their gear. Then my daughter slammed the van door gave an ear piercing scream. Even before getting to other side of the car I knew what happened. Yes, she slammed the door on her finger and her finger was now firmly stuck there. Before helping her out my eldest asked my daughter "why are you screaming? Is it because your finger is stuck in the door?" Oh my son... only after he got her affirmative answer did he release her from the door's clutch. Her reward was a very swollen and blue finger. At this point my happy fantasies of skipping through pumpkin fields and carving silly pumpkin faces were quickly fading as I tried to figure out if she broke her finger. I taped her fingers together with some handy tape I got from the hospital the last time we were there for Teddy. All the while I was wondering why my children seem to be so injury happy these days. Why? Why?!?

In the end we still went out are got our pumpkins but instead of carving them I took my daughter to get her finger x-rayed. Thankfully there was no apparent fracture (yay!) just a badly mashed finger. It seems that no matter how much I try to keep my children safe and healthy accidents and illness just happen when you have three very curious and energetic children. I suppose I should just make peace with this fact and take it in stride. Wish me strength, I think I'm going to need it for the next decade.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Rhythm of Fall










In the last month we've been getting accustomed to our new fall rhythm. The weeks have become quite busy with learning activities and fall festivities. Our learning community has been exploring the outdoors and learning about the bounty that this season brings. We've been enjoying those last delicious warm days of autumn as we enter into the last stretch of preparations for the winter. The kitchen has been filled with the smell of canned applesauce and pears and my boys have been busy stacking fire wood for the keeping our home warm. It is finally getting to that time of year where we can stand back and appreciate our well stocked pantry and large woodpile while acknowledging the hours of hard work that it took to get them filled.

As the frenzy of late summer and early fall begin to subside we are enjoying more time with friends as we feast together on delicious turkey and hearty soups. Last weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with special friends and our zealous imbibing in various drinks resulted in some rather grand plans for the upcoming year of which I will share with you soon!

And despite the feasting and festivities that this season has brought I've managed to carve out some time for regular exercise. I am no exercise maniac but I do find that regular exercise is especially healthful for me at this time of year. You see, while there are many things about autumn that I am fond of, I have a difficult time adjusting to the shortening days of autumn and winter. During this time of year I tend to struggle with feelings of anxiety and sadness. Thankfully it seems that exercise makes a significant difference in boosting my mood and I am grateful that I am able to set some time aside for exercise this year.

I would love to hear how you and your family are enjoying the autumn season right now. Have you started raking piles of leaves for your children to jump in? Are you enjoying those juicy fall apples? I am curious to find out!