Emotions and More Emotions

“I think of the self-actualizing man not as an ordinary man with something added, but rather as the ordinary man with nothing taken away.”

~Abraham Maslow

This morning at breakfast Soren was listing things daddy does well. When it was my turn, he adoringly looked up and said, “Mommy is good at going to Costco and taking care of Ellinor.”

We all had a good laugh, but I will admit I felt a tad deflated. Costco?!? I have a masters degree!

Parker stepped in (teachable moment) and did his best to remind everyone of my professional accomplishments, other than bulk shopping, and that mom is the one who put her career on hold to run the family. ❤️❤️

Despite Soren’s response, he has always been my champion. He is the first one to remind everyone that “mommy does everything” and “mommy is the best ever.” Soren has watched me teach, spent countless hours in my classroom, but in his little world, I am mom, which is wonderful.

Being a stay at home mom is, at times, a thankless and monotonous job, but I count myself lucky having had this opportunity with all my children. I wouldn’t change it for anything. With that being said, I do miss my professional life.  It’s the struggle most mothers feel; the desire to live for our children, but also craving a life outside of motherhood. Finding balance with four kids can be tough.

With all our kids, I waited on work until they were at least two and starting preschool.  This felt like a good transition and at the same time eased my ‘mom guilt.’  Crazily enough, Ellinor will reach this marker in the fall, which has me contemplating the next phase of life.

This is where I am at:

Logo final img and text

The Extra School Mom

Here you can see how this all came about…

Lately, I have mastered the art of feeling.  I am ready to start doing.

 

 

 

 

Thaw?

“I want to know what love is…”

-Foreigner

Over the past couple days, the weather has improved and temperatures have warmed up. It’s amazing how wonderful 40 degrees feels in the spring compared to the fall.

Canadian spring.

Even Ellinor busted out her light jacket.

I managed some long walks this week and it felt exhilarating. This, coupled with two ballet classes last weekend and I am much more centered. I hope to continue this trend because warm weather and moving makes me happier.

I’m also not naive to the unpredictability of spring. I absolutely expect a snow storm in April and a frost in June. My expectations are managed.

Thankfully, we are one day away from spring break and although we aren’t going anywhere warm, it will be nice to have lazy mornings and a break from making school lunches.

Oh, and Sophie gets to sing with Foreigner on Sunday. No big deal. It’s funny because ever since she was in kindergarten, Sophie has been terrible about relaying information from school. When she mentioned singing at this concert, her description felt more like Foreigner cover band in a local bar versus the real deal. I didn’t think much of it. I was more concerned about logistics. The “when” and “where” for drop off and pick up…

Then I saw the permission slip.

I may have gasped.

The teachers are chaperoning…boo! They deserve it though. I didn’t want to miss out so I went online and scored some sweet tickets (Foreigner in Halifax is a cheap night). On Sunday, I will be right up front, singing and dancing, downing a beer or three while videotaping my child’s rock and roll moment.

Golden Elsa

“All women are princesses, it is our right.”

~Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess

Elsa is 9 today. Her golden birthday, which I was told, is VERY important.

Yesterday she celebrated with a few of her classmates, getting pedicures, making slime, decorating ice cream cone cupcakes and having a dance party. All llama, no drama. 🦙

It was a good day.

The llama love continued today, as she brought some beautifully decorated and delicious cookies to share with her friends at dance. By the way, I have a great cookie connection in Halifax if you need one. ☝🏻

It was also parent participation day, which meant I attempted Elsa’s Level 5 class. It felt great to move and dance. I just followed Elsa’s lead…

An even better birthday treat, Elsa received her Society of Russian Ballet exam results for Level 4 and received an examination mark of Highly Commended!

This was her first time taking a ballet exam and she really enjoyed the process. If you’re interested, here is more information about the examination.

Russian Society of Ballet

Elsa shines with her spunky sense of humor, confidence, laser-like focus and work ethic. She has a heart of gold.

We love you sweet Elsa Claire.

In Like A Lion

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

Remember this?

The gym unit that brought so much joy yet so much pain…

Well, Elsa felt the wrath of the scooter and crazily enough she suffered a finger avulsion. I will spare you the “before picture.”

Aside from the initial pain, Elsa feels fine. The doctor splinted the bad finger to her pinky and applied a clean dressing so the skin would hopefully adhere back to her finger. 🤮

Thankfully, after a few days, her body started doing its thing, and with a follow up at the doctor, a simple bandage was all that was needed. We celebrated with lunch out.

The joys of getting out of the house and feeling alive, but it’s Canada so now we are hunkered down for snowstorm #1 of the weekend.

It begins…

Sophie is hating on the weather because it could spoil her school musical performance. Elsa has a ballet exam tomorrow, which means we may be traveling by dogsled and morning hockey might be canceled (Soren is grumping).

Ellinor on the other hand is feeling the snow flow.

No one puts fourth child in the corner.

Ellinor went to bed and we embraced her enthusiasm, heading out for shovel session number one. All of the kids’ misgivings about the weather disappeared as they ran outside to play.

It’s a beautiful and calm winter night; no wind and gentle falling snow. It’s March 2nd and kind of magical.

March, Where Are You?

A Light exists in Spring

Not present on the Year

At any other period –

When March is scarcely here

~Emily Dickinson, A Light Exists In Spring

February’s only redeeming quality is it has 28 days. Otherwise, it’s one of the least exciting months, usually cold (especially in Canada) and uninspiring. It just can’t compete with months like July or December. Sorry February…I’ve never been into you. February is like a pair of pleated khakis or a mock turtleneck.

We did manage a few “warmer” days between our big snow day and now. Honey got a walk in, the second of her life.

Lately, it’s been biting cold and windy. I’ve been lucky enough to score parking spots near the school so I can run Elsa and Soren in without having to take Ellinor out of the car. This weather literally takes her breath away. We even skipped Ellinor’s gym class and opted to snuggle under a blanket and watch Peppa Pig, her new favorite.

After school hours are more hectic than usual, as Sophie is happily preparing with her classmates for the school musical, Fiddler on the Roof. This means my babysitter is tied up, requiring me to bring the little ones with to drop Elsa at dance. While she is at class, we bide our time at the book/toy store and get Starbucks.

Woah…wait mom. Is that Peppa Pig? Worlds collide.

Playing with the germ infested, community Duplos.

March is almost here and lots of happiness awaits like Elsa’s birthday, Sophie’s musical performance and spring break. The prospect of slightly warmer weather has us excited and ready for more time outdoors.

Ellinor’s face says it all.

Storm Chips

A big storm is heading our way. Lots of snow, turning to a wintry mix and then freezing rain (i.e., classic Halifax; #classichalifax), which means we are hunkering down with our Storm Chips.

This is the first time I have eaten these kind of chips and I was a little wary because I really dislike ketchup chips (sorry Canadians). I will say though, Parker and I both liked them. They tasted of muddled, yet delicious flavoring, but most predominantly the dill pickle flavor which is one of my all time favorites (a true Minnesotan).

Yes, chips are delicious, but why am I blogging about them?

According to Haligonians, one knows a snowstorm is on its way by the condition of the snack food aisle. In addition to grabbing the essentials like batteries, milk and water, people in the Maritimes stock up on chips.

Back in 2014, CBC Halifax host Stephanie Domet noted this phenomenon, sending out a tweet, adding the now famous #stormchips and the rest is history.

Here is an interview with Stephanie:

STORM CHIPS

According to Ipsos Five, a division of the Ipsos Reid polling group, Atlantic Canadians eat more potato chips per capita than anywhere else in the country. Supposedly, chip sales have increased since the hashtag was coined and subsequently Covered Bridge capitalized, creating their now famous Storm Chips.

Storm Chips…chips for trick or treaters…it’s all coming full circle.

Now you can stock up and eat whatever chip you like during a winter storm. If I’m feeling nostalgic for my youth, it’s all about the Cool Ranch Doritos, but San Diegan Betsy loves her some Takis Fuego, especially during a snowstorm.

All I know is after all the chips I just ate, we better have a snow day tomorrow.

#chipsbeforebed

#chipsweats

#mykidsdidnteventrythem

#ilovecoolranchdoritossmashedinasandwich

#classichalifax

Other than loving chips and eating them well beyond my stomach limit, that is the extent of my chip knowledge.

For more information about chips in Canada, please visit Dr. Will Shead’s hilarious and informative social media accounts – Chip Quips.

Chip Quips – Storm Chips

Chip Quips – Instagram

Chip Quips – Facebook

Winter Hermit

“I once thought I had mono for an entire year. It turned out I was just really bored.”

~Wayne Campbell, Wayne’s World

I reached the pinnacle of boredom on Monday. As I sat on the couch, watching Season 3 of The Great British Baking Show, I realized this weather has turned me into a shut-in. [insert dramatic voice] I feel like I have nowhere to escape.

Knowing I was starting to unravel, I decided I needed to do something beyond watching Ellinor play with pencils and then stop Honey from eating said pencils (basically what they do all day).

To combat my cabin fever, I planned a few meet-ups with friends and signed Ellinor up for her first gym class. After registering online, I made a promise that I would be more diligent about our attendance than I was with the ill fated music class we had “taken” this fall.

We went to our first class today and I was the youngest mom in the room by 10 years. All the the women were first time moms, whereas I was now the seasoned mom of four who looked a little more haggard and a lot less enthusiastic than the others.

Ellinor enjoyed herself.

I learned she has a slight fear of parachutes, but surprisingly wasn’t as shy as I thought she would be. She followed directions and even seemed interested in what the teacher had to say, although she did tend to wander and play on her own. I can only imagine she felt exhilarated, the solo Larson kid, free to explore and have her own time outside of the house and the mini van.

At the end of class, I was shocked at her amazement and curiosity with the bubbles and then I realized, oh crap, she has never played with bubbles. #fourthchild

We really need to get out more.

Baby gym time also means epic naps and even more sensational post-nap hair flow.

Gym day was a success.