Sophie is an easy going kid; she always has been. Moving to a new country as a teen, she never missed a beat and continued to find the silver lining in everything she did.

Sophie is a kind person. She cares about others, is accepting and willing to be your friend.

Sophie is resilient.

Today she graduated from Grade 9 and is onto high school. In the fall, she will be attending Sacred Heart School of Halifax. In true Sophie fashion, she is excited, optimistic and ready for the challenge.

We threw her a surprise graduation celebration.

With the move, Sophie had to endure four years of middle school/jr. high, which is definitely worth celebrating. To say she is excited to start high school is an understatement.

Today also marks Elsa’s last day of Grade 4 and Soren’s last day of grade 1.

There wasn’t much closure and excitement surrounding the last day of school, but I am extremely grateful for hard working and caring teachers who kept my kids engaged and made them feel connected.

As someone who has lived away from family and friends most of my adult life, I understand the importance of connection. To me, relationships have always been paramount and something I never took for granted.

Our vacations have always revolved around family. We look forward to our time spent in Minnesota and now California, to connect with people we love.

The notion that our summer is possibly absent of extended family and friends is something I haven’t fully reconciled.

Onto Summer Break! Or should I say, Summer Break????

Good luck parents!

The Silver Bullet

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in. Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This was 8am last Saturday morning. I asked Soren to bring me a Diet Coke and be brought me a Coors Light. Kind of sums up life at the moment…

We are schooling.

We are cooking.

We are playing.

We are walking.

We are keeping busy.

Highlights thus far:

Finding a legit taco place in Halifax.

Ellinor is 100% potty trained.

Betsy discovered her true passion, painting NHL logos on pots. Etsy store to come…

Self Isolation

“Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile.”

~Lionel Richie

The kids and are at the tail end of our self isolation. Our last day is Saturday…but who’s counting?

For those of you freaking out, YES we are fine and YES we are healthy. Our 14 day isolation is due to the fact we traveled out of Canada to visit family in California.

Speaking of California…we want a do-over. Our much anticipated vacation was cut short and honestly, it all seems like a blur.

Most of our trip was spent worrying whether or not we would make it back to Canada…spoiler, we did, but not without much stress and trepidation all culminating at the Air Canada counter in Boston.

One day I will share THAT story, but today I’m choosing to remember THIS story. A day at La Jolla Cove (FYI, the nearest stranger was like 50 or more feet away).

We are grateful for our short time with friends (particular BFF reunions), family and also for Mexican food, breakfast burritos and the Pacific Ocean.

Mommy and Ellinor at Windansea 🌊

As much as we feel incomplete about our trip, getting back home to Parker and Honey made us whole. Now like the entire world, we are hunkered down and enjoying super mega concentrated family time.

We have been homeschooling for almost two weeks now, which is why I have yet to blog. Much of my writing energy and research has been harnessed into my educational website, The Extra School Mom.

To top it off, we went all in and potty trained Ellinor. When you realize your diaper supply is dwindling and you don’t want to fight someone off at the grocery store for a package of Pampers, you make bold moves.

I highly recommended self isolation potty training.

Trying out the scooter AND wearing undies.

Come Sunday, the kids and I are looking forward to our upgraded status to social distancers, when we can finally take walks around the neighborhood.

Until then, here is a sampling of our isolation time the past few weeks.

Produce delivery while supporting local businesses we love and want to see thrive!
Family game night…the kids made the games.
Chalking our driveway

Street hockey
Dog photo shoots

And most importantly, watching Tiger King.

Stay sane y’all!

Double Digits

Today Elsa is 10.

Elsa knows what she wants, having planned the theme to most of her parties. Let’s take a look back…

We may not be by the ocean, but soon enough.

Happy Birthday sweet Elsa Claire!

It Ain’t Easy Being Cheezy

Remember when I said January is the worst month? Well, I take it back, it’s February.

It’s going on three weeks now and there has been only one day where a kid wasn’t home sick.

Stomach Flu ✔️

Colds ✔️


You can even add in weird eye infections and bloody noses as well intermittent fevers that pop up at the worst time.

All the kids have been out of school but Elsa has missed 9 days (thus far), having developed a nasty case of bronchitis.

We skipped out on birthday parties, play dates, activities, appointments, lessons, and Valentine’s Day events, all to hunker down at home and ride out the wave of sickness.

People tell me the weather has been nicer than usual lately, but I wouldn’t know since I have barely stepped outside of my home other than to shop for provisions.

And just as I felt as if I may go insane, I got word of this:

Cheez It is now available in Canada.

Even Ellinor knows the power of Cheez It.

The cheesy goodness at the end of the long February tunnel. Bring on March!

Quality Time

“You want to know what it’s like to have a fourth? Just imagine you’re drowning, and then someone hands you a baby.

~Jim Gaffigan

The biggest challenge in having four kids is finding time…there is never enough. Giving one child your undivided attention even for a short moment requires a balance that is sometimes hard to achieve.

As difficult as it can feel, Parker and I try our best to find solutions and carve out special time with each child.

In terms of special, I don’t mean anything extravagant…just putting in the time as we like to say. After all, our kids’ major love language is quality time.

Here’s some information on The Five Love Languages.

A note on this theory…I’ve never read the actual Love Language books but I have read plenty about it online and I have taken multiple tests which basically makes me an expert.

If you’re interested, my top love language is acts of service and Parker’s is physical touch. Opposites attract, although each of us would say quality time is a close second.

I’ve gone on a tangent but you get it; it’s important to have uncomplicated moments with your kids.

As I write this, Parker is traveling for work, my two oldest are sick, Soren wants me to look at the Minecraft house he built and Ellinor is kicking Soren in the face because she wants to be the only one near me on the couch.

Quality Time. It’s not as easy at it seems, but when it does happen, it’s the best.

Garage hockey and lifting pucks with Dad.

Going to the play place with Mom. I’d like to note the joy and enthusiasm Ellinor exhibited this day was heartwarming and also served as a reminder we need to get out more.

Not pictured:

Elsa and Mom watching cooking shows and cooking together.

Sophie and Dad watching all the best movies from the 80’s and 90’s.

If you’re wondering, Honey’s Love Languages are words of affirmation and physical touch.

Winter Days and Birthdays

“There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Only Bad Clothes.”

Last year I felt really cooped up and longing for sunny, warm days. I made a rule for myself, if the temp was under 40 degrees (sorry Parker, 5 degrees Celsius), I wouldn’t partake in outdoor activities.

I see parents walking and biking with their bundled up children, trudging through the snow and rain and I am extremely impressed. I saw a guy the other day jogging in shorts! Although I admire their dedication, I am not there yet and not sure if I ever will be. As much as I like the idea of being a winter warrior, a toasty, two minute van ride to school is always going to win over a wet and miserable walk.

Also, the hockey arena needs to turn on the heat. When did I become such a wuss?

This all may sound dramatic, especially to those who grew up and live in a cold climate and I even shake my head sometimes. I lived in Minnesota until I was 23 years old, but 15 years in San Diego clearly made me soft.

It’s more than just cold weather and a lack of sun, the weather significantly and negatively affects my mood and how I perceive my life and I don’t like it. I’m trying to make a change because life still has to be enjoyed when it dips below freezing.

For starters, I bought some Vitamin D and I’m on the lookout for a light therapy box. I have also lowered my outdoor walk temperature threshold to 32 degrees (0 Celsius..nag, nag, nag Parker). Baby steps.

The other day, Elsa and I took Honey on a long walk and I walked to the chiropractor.

After each outdoor excursion, my head felt clearer and I was instantly in a better mood and more connected to my day. The cloudiness was lifted.

Oddly enough, I do enjoy shoveling and last Wednesday we had a wonderful snow day (no school or work) where there was lots of snow removal and playing outside.

Ellinor isn’t big into winter (the large coats and having to wear mittens) and this was her first real time playing in the snow.

Somehow we managed to get her into her gear and she loved it, even helping daddy shovel.

Parker took the big kids sledding.

It was a great winter day, the kind of cold I love.

I’m trying to be present and focus on things that bring me joy during January and February, like Soren losing his first tooth.

And Parker’s birthday.

I’ve been able to celebrate 21 birthdays with my best friend. A low key guy who just wants time with his family and a Dairy Queen cake to ring in his 41st birthday.

His patience and understanding for my winter struggles is unparalleled and I count myself blessed to have such a wonderful husband to hang tight with me, especially on these cold winter nights.

Happy Birthday Parker!


“Isn’t it mysterious to begin a new journal like this? I can run my fingers through the fresh clean pages but I cannot guess what the writing on them will be.”

~Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy in Spite of Herself

Two years in Canada.

Although it’s been 730 days, it still feels like yesterday since we left San Diego for Halifax.

I never know how to properly put into words my feelings regarding our move, but I know despite missing America, we have come to love our time in Canada.

Our second year up north has brought lots of fun and has bonded our family even more so than before. We are a tight family unit.

This week we took our annual trip (you can call it that if you have done it twice, right?) to Maine.

About 10 minutes into the drive, we realized Ellinor now gets car sick. After the second barf (it took us a few times to realize we needed to remove the iPad), we cleaned her up where she spent the remainder of the ride singing, talking to her fingers, napping, snacking and dancing in her seat.

Post barf euphoria.

Although we drove through a nasty ice storm, I can happily report I did not hit a deer.

When you want to swim in the hotel pool, but it’s also winter.

The kids were excited to get away, but just as thrilled to arrive home. Home is a good thing.

The remainder of our vacation will be spent watching the World Junior Hockey Tournament 🇺🇸 and putting away Christmas decorations 🥴.

Happy Anniversary Halifax.

Time flies…

Happy pre-Christmas melee! I always find the weeks leading up to the holidays to be disorienting and crazy. Every concert, recital and party seem to intersect and conflict, making it hard to find the joy in the season.

What keeps me sane is finally saying No. It’s exhilarating. Try it.

I skipped two holiday parties last week and felt like a rockstar. Sweatpants for life!

Yes, we are in full on holiday mode, so much so that I had to read my last blog to see what I had written about.


Ward and Wendy spent 20 days in Halifax, immersed in our hectic schedule and serving up some major help.

Fence gate ✔️

Workbench ✔️

Two of the major projects completed and only just a sampling of the things accomplished. Our life may not be glamorous at times, but we appreciate the time spent doing dishes, cleaning the kitchen and picking the kids up at school. Having someone else around during the day to lighten the load was invaluable.

Oh, we also played lots of chicken foot (dominoes).

Did I mention I turned 40? The face of a woman who says no.

Soren got his hockey card 🏒 🥜 🧈

Sophie sang with her choral group…video pending teen daughter approval.

Elsa is loving her Nutcracker experience. Future Mouse Queen?

Ellinor is saying cute things like “oopsies,” giving kisses and randomly dancing to music. Here she is being a sweet little, sleeping baby.

On the day the Larson’s left, my mom came into town. She was thrown right into the mix and her help as well has been immeasurable, especially given Parker was out of town all week.

Mema does things mom don’t do, like taking Soren out to play in the snow at 7 pm.

We have also baked cookies, celebrated early Christmas and drove around looking at the lights.

We still have a few more days together, imagine all the fun we can cram in!

Hopefully I can squeeze in a Shutterfly session and pump out a Christmas card…or maybe it’s just another great thing to say NO to?