Spotlight on the middle…

IMG_0610 IMG_0624

We have the most energetic, spunky, fun-loving middle child. She can be so full of sunshine and laughter… her open smile sinks deep into my heart.

IMG_0615 IMG_0631

When life gets a bit serious, little j is often there to turn it upside down. She sings to her own tune, and can go from 0 to 100 faster than fast… running, climbing, or bouncing back from a meltdown. She is engaging and can be positively thrilled with the situations around her… And, the purity of her emotion at 4 and 3/4 years old is rich and intense…


One day this emotion will be tempered and less extreme… but, then, will we also lose some of the purity of these smiles and joy filled moments?

Little j is courageous. Loving. Radiant. She puts 100% into everything she does, getting completely focused and sinking her teeth in.

IMG_0622  IMG_0616

I choose today to enjoy her spunk, and to take her heavier moments in stride… being there to carry her through. Being there.

Seeing the ebbs and flows in such a delightful child. A truly special gift.


Kind of a Thursday

IMG_0580 IMG_0578

Yesterday we hired a babysitter for the morning. Now, we love our babysitter and she is great! Kind, playful, loving… all we could want. Somehow my kids took almost 24 hours to recover. Does anyone else experience this?? All was well, or seemed well, and then the moment we got back home after driving our babysitter home, 2/3 children went into a melancholy cocoon at any given point.

ALL afternoon. ALL evening. And even into the next day.

I believe the English language has no words for this type of activity. I could not even begin to describe its savageness. This is what makes parenting so hard… no? From the faces above and the concentrated efforts with the String Art, from what one sees outside the walls of the nuclear family… one could never believe the depth and breadth of emotional bursts of a 2, 4, and 7 yr old…

Well, I do welcome all emotions to spring forth in our home…we are all emotional. I accept this part. I may not always like it, but I accept it. There is no “cut it out” or “that’s enough” in this home… we must move through our emotions if we are to learn to be emotional beings for life. Emotions make us human. And humane.

However, what I would never choose is to spend such a sunny beautiful afternoon, the start to summer, mediating a bounty of others’ emotions and ensuring they all come out in appropriate ways. I feel like I missed my yesterday… the yesterday that would have been had I been able to move and express my own emotions. Which were, in contrast, quite positive! ARGH! This momma was frustrated inside.

So, today when all suddenly emerged from the melancholy cocoon (1/2 hour ago!) I decided it was time to celebrate with these cookies.

IMG_0582 IMG_0581

YAY! Its a new day. Mommy will stay home today, and all feel settled and well loved.

Phew. This last 24 hours took a lot out of me.

Now time to get up and start fresh. Like children are so quickly able to do!!


Being Quiet

IMG_0576 IMG_0577

We always enjoy our quiet time. I think the Europeans have their daily rhythm right – the siesta really appeals to me. Our oldest, little d, napped until she was 5 and more… and now our little guy is doing his first “quiet time”. Maybe its true with the 3rd you become more flexible (I prefer this to saying I’m “lax”).

He’s been getting up to wander around the house for quite some time… I think with my 1st I would have persisted more in having “my way”. But now I see that different things fit different kids at different times… trying to fit them into my mold is never enjoyable or peaceful. So, today, he did quiet time with his sisters… and now we head out to the library and pool!

Its been a great day… bicycle ride, park, watching neighbors play tennis, getting to know and sharing cookies with new neighbors… lying in the grass, eating our red currants:

IMG_0574 IMG_0572

Why ruin it over sleep? Just learn to be peaceful together…


Learn to be Peaceful

IMG_0555 (2) IMG_0544

I remember a quote I used to have on the wall when the kids were young: “Babies need peace more than sleep. So don’t struggle over sleep, just learn to be peaceful together”.

In these first days of summer, I am learning to let go of routine, to trust my children to listen to their bodies and doze when they need to… just as Janelle nodded off in the middle of outside storytime yesterday!

I am also putting a focus on some much needed “down time” this summer – starting with my new *free* recliner! Yah! This is the coziest spot to curl up with a cup of afternoon tea, or some of my wonderful children…

IMG_0557 IMG_0555

As our red currants ripen, so will my soul… IMG_0551


Fresh New Leaf

IMG_0404 IMG_0519

We are turning over a fresh new leaf as we enter the 2nd summer in our new home and community. We are, quite thankfully, on summer vacation! We began our first day by taking a bike ride and picnic to the nearby park. Many greens and herbs have been on our plates from our garden… and today, our first strawberry!!

IMG_0403 IMG_0525

I must admit I have not had the oomph needed to get many an inside project done. I should have taken a “before” photo of what this lovely plethora of mommy’s “work day stuff” has looked like for the last number of months! Blessed by a $25 shelf find from a fantastic moving sale… et voila! First indoor project done.

IMG_0517 IMG_0526

That feels better. Phew. The “story of stuff” is amazing to me. If there is one thing I don’t enjoy, and lack motivation for, it is moving around and organizing all my “stuff”… shall I just pull up the dump truck outside and send it all away? Well, not so far… so, until then, I will be attacking one indoor project at a time. Taking manageable bites.

IMG_0522 IMG_0524

But, still spending the majority of my time on these little darlings… while they are still young and yearn to be near me, eating juicy watermelon butterflies.





Three Generations of Sisters


I am so fortunate to be a part of 3 generations of fabulous girls and women. We had the true blessing of all being in the same place, at the same time, and went for an impromptu photo shoot with talented photographer Uncle Peter. My Grandma Edna is the matriarch of this fabulous waterfall of women. Edna is a fabulous force!! I should photoshop her into this photo one day… any volunteers with skills?


I’ve always had deep respect for my Aunt Noreen and Uncle Peter. These are the relatives we spent 2 weeks EVERY summer camping with. No matter what year, or what age I was, I always felt drawn to be part of this recurring holiday that really resonated in my heart… and was FUN! I have also always loved the city they are from – Calgary – and treasure those times I’ve been able to visit.

Enough about me.

My aunt once gave us a baby quilt she had made – an “I Spy” blanket – that can be used for amusement on car rides, sick days, and many other moments of connection. This trip she floored me when she showed up with not one, not two, but THREE full-size quilts!! Even my mom didn’t know she was cooking up this surprise! Here are the kids first receiving them:

IMG_0369 IMG_0376 IMG_0371 IMG_0374

As you can see my Uncle Peter is one of the most engaged, kid-interested people I know. We had so much fun with his smiles, teasing, rough housing, jokes, and we dove into his arms!! This is a guy we don’t have to think twice about hugging. He is full of genuine love and care.

Back to those quilts… what a complete and total treasure. Receiving them was one of those moments there is really nothing to say, and everything to feel. What a wonder!!

These quilts ferociously replaced our old ones, which were nothing special. I always had reverence for the idea of creating special bedding for each of my kids… I guess I had other priorities and just never got there… the kids have seemed to be happy using any old blanket and sheet set… but now I see they were waiting for this moment to be wrapped with stitch after stitch of love, made just for them:

IMG_0387 IMG_0416 IMG_0415

As the tag says “Pieced and Quilted with Love by Aunt Noreen for ____”. These treasures will last a lifetime I am quite sure.

Quilted. With Love. Just as every day, and every moment should be.

We then had a rousing game of “I Spy” with our son’s quilt… complete with my “baby” cousin (we always thought of him as he was the youngest one) Andrew… who is now – THIRTY FOUR!?!? What happened! I love the men from the Altimas clan – they come from a great patriarch… my Grandpa Rayfield (BTW I always wanted to name one of our kids Ray). He would be the subject of a whole other blog.


Okay back to the quilts. After night one, Daria woke up and immediately made her bed for the first time on her own initiative:


Forever grateful. We love you Aunt Noreen!!! We will every day be reminded what a special person you are, and how much you love us!!


Our parting “happy hour” – had to share this as we so enjoyed nibbling around the little table. I love being surrounded by people who have known me for my lifetime. Especially in our “new” home.

Thanks soooo much for visiting! Come again!!





In the spotlight…

Little d’s performance was so great… 3 shows, each 1 hour long, she was exhausted by Monday and thereafter caught a cold and has been having some rest days at home. The 6-8 yr old musical theatre group did 3 main numbers, they started the show with Paw Paw Michigan, went on to do “fork knife spoon” and then finally had a barrel of laughs in “Piggy Piggy Piggy” (all about saving money! if you are short on time, she comes on at the 1min mark). Here are the 3 amaizng women that have been running our Chalkboard Theatre company this year, and the shot of the opening act:

IMG_0330 IMG_0331

A couple more actions shots… and coming home after opening night to a beautiful arrangement sent by her godparents J &S:

IMG_0337 IMG_0355 IMG_0317

Finally, the after party following the 3rd show, complete with gluten-free cupcakes provided! It doesn’t get better than this!!

IMG_0365 IMG_0366

We are officially a theater-loving family!