The eye of the storm

“Mom, is this the eye of the storm?”

“How long is the eye?”

“Is this it?”

“Approximately when will we see the eye?”

~Elsa and Soren Larson every five minutes during the hurricane

It has been 72 hours and we finally have power. Luckily, we made it through our first hurricane unscathed…here are some pre, during and post hurricane highlights.

First order of business, we picked Sweetie Girl’s apples. Soren gave her a hug and told her to hang in there. We love that tree and she weathered the storm like a true champion.

Board games galore…FYI kids, 9 am is always too early to play Monopoly.

Creative lighting.

Nervous dog who also, oddly enough, happened to love going out during a hurricane. Even during the height of the storm, Honey refused to pee and would much rather chase leaves.

After a light show in the basement, a fair amount of drinking (wine, cider and juice boxes) and a hurricane dance party, we headed to bed in the dark of night, the storm slowly waning.

We woke up to a beautiful Sunday morning and went outside to assess the damage. Like I said, we lucked out…just a lot of branches, leaves and thousands and thousands of acorns.

Sadly, many of of neighbors didn’t fare as well, but it was awesome to see everyone out, checking in with each other and offering help during the clean up.

Pockets of the city had power restored so we were able to get pizza delivery, oh and a generator.

Considering our area wasn’t going to see power for awhile, we decided a generator was must have for future storms in Halifax.

Behold, the technology charging station which we also connected to the mini fridge, nugget ice machine and WiFi…essentials.

Since we turned the generator off by 9 pm (just being neighborly), we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores by candlelight.

All in all, it was a unique experience and aside from the lack of power, we enjoyed our close and dark time together as a family.

Just checking off that natural disaster list!

Tornado ✔️

Wild Fires ✔️

Earthquakes ✔️

Hurricane ✔️

School Days

“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”

~Oscar Wilde

I love summer.

Never ending freedom, or at least close to three months of it.

As a kid, the night before the first day of school always created unnecessary distress (self inflicted), which grew into a large belly ache. I’m a worrier and as much as I was excited for a new school year, I wasn’t willing to let go of summer.

Even in college, I would stay up late, overthinking every aspect of that first day and stressing over everything I couldn’t possibly control.

Sounds productive.

One thing that always helped ease my jitters was to ensure I had a stylish, new first day of school outfit.

Essential.

Side note: In 5th grade, I wore a paisley vest, green leggings and a white button down shirt. This was not my best year.

Even though the outfit set the tone and instilled a sense of confidence I needed to start my day, I wish I could have told my younger self to just get some sleep.

Go to sleep Betsy.

Sleep is the best reset button and I don’t think I realized that until I was well into my twenties.

Now it’s the night before school for Elsa and Soren (Sophie started on Thursday) and it’s a mix of nerves as we try to settle them in for the night. Soren and Elsa are moving into a brand new school and are no longer the “new kids” in town while Sophie is the upperclassman at her junior high.

What a difference a year makes…

It’s a nervous excitement…’cited as we call it, but calming (for me especially) to know the morning “should” be void of tears and despair.

Yes, my kids all have a nifty first day of school outfits and hopefully they will get get to bed considering our summer sleep habits. Melatonin should help 🙂

Go to sleeeeeeeep.

Yeah for the first day! Best wishes to all the nervous kids, their parents and especially my teacher friends. Here is to another fun year of learning, shiny new school supplies (my favorite), making lunches and setting the early morning alarm.

Waves

My soul is full of longing

for the secret of the sea,

and the heart of the great ocean

sends a thrilling pulse through me.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

We recently stayed at White Point Beach Resort on the South Shore and it was lovely.

On our first day, after some swimming and exploring, we headed down to the fire pit for roasted marshmallows, only to find out they had run out of supplies

No s’mores!? The kids and I walked down to the beach.

The sound.

I didn’t realize how intense the ocean would feel at this moment.

When we first moved to La Jolla, I remember telling my kids as we drove over the hill on Nautilus, down toward our home, “Look at this! Wherever you end up in life, remember you lived by the Pacific Ocean.”

We would fall asleep to the crash of the waves.

I love that sound. I missed that sound.

For the past two nights it felt cathartic to be back living by the ocean, lulled to sleep by the crashing waves.

Road Trips

“How many more minutes?”

~Soren Larson

We are back home in Canada after a four day long road trip from Minnesota to Halifax. I had intentions of blogging after each day, but after a full day of driving, sight seeing and rolling into a hotel close to 10pm every night, I realized quickly I was living in a dream world.

Here are a few highlights of our trip that include driving to Manitowoc, Wisconsin (“Don’t Get Strange”), catching the USS Badger over Lake Michigan, visiting Niagara Falls, exploring Old Quebec City, a drive through New Brunswick and finally home.

9C1B07C9-45C0-445F-B61C-02490B5E42B0AD33A3DA-AFF4-4B06-B98D-BE8DB758AF975EBDA0C4-ACD2-4826-9729-2A6EAEF704F5BEF64BCF-92E3-4C8C-8FCA-699896663EF6EF9603BA-BC67-4420-A035-8EE7FBA38285A7761024-4D26-458D-AEB6-9B79DBB30692B28B50A7-692F-496D-8B64-DB78A39A98EEECB461AD-298E-48D8-9984-58A3A48404F26C4FA1D5-E7B5-475F-A0F3-40B1AD9C1BB5D3AE5900-D5A5-4723-918F-CE6CCEB3FDF5A437C8FF-0BBD-479F-9A49-90025F3CFA73

Our kids were stellar travelers, which makes us optimistic for future Larson Family road trips. Parker and I managed some quiet time to talk, but mostly to binge listen to the Crime Junkie Podcast.

With that being said, we are set to celebrate our wedding anniversary tomorrow. During our road trip, I was reminded numerous times how lucky I am to have found a husband who is willing to travel cross country with me, in a minivan, with four kids and still laugh with me along the way.

20 years together, 16 years married, 4 kids and one 30 hour road trip under our belt.

Love you Parker.

Minnesota Detox

Our 25 day visit to Minnesota has come to an end and by my calculations my body is 50% Michelob Golden Light, 25% Coors Light, 20% chips and dip and 5% kombucha.

In addition to all the food and beer, our lives were filled with an excess of family and friends. 100% of our time was spent swimming, exploring, relaxing, shopping, baseball watching, Target-ing and soaking in every possible moment with people the we love.

d49e2548-0df2-479f-9dfb-56b447dfcb78

e1b6aa87-e349-467b-af5e-3a68dad92bf7

492fcd17-e359-4934-b977-1579d9f44cceimg_9825-1

IMG_9819img_0219

ca05f2eb-bab3-4179-aeda-0a7ddae3e86f

Much like my gut needs a cleanse, so do our lives as we head back to Canada adjusting to a quieter life without our extended family and no Target.

I am beyond grateful for the time we had this summer. Thank you to everyone who made the time to see us and especially for making our kids’ time spent in Minnesota magical and memorable.

Fly Through The Sky

“Let’s hear it for America Hip-Hoo-Ray!”

I consider myself a seasoned traveler, especially with kids in tow and I know all the tricks, treats and necessities it takes to make it through a flight with children.

Here are my top three rules for flying as peacefully as possible with kids:

1) Provide lots of candy, especially lollipops (longer lasting).

2) Whatever the youngest child wants, the youngest child gets.

3) Keep your expectations low.

Start there and you will be golden.

We are off to Minnesota. Other than Ellinor conking her head on the terminal floor and spilling Starbucks’ black tea all over our boarding passes, we managed to get on the airplane.

As we took off, we encountered a few sketchy toddler moments that even a lollipop couldn’t fix.

I have to wear a seatbelt!!!!???

YouTube Kids doesn’t work??!!!

No pictures please! 😤

When Ellinor wasn’t looking, I promptly deleted the app from all electronic devices. See?? It doesn’t exist, therefore you can’t be mad.

After two flights and a full day of travel, we made it to Minnesota. I am equally as happy to be off the airplane as I am to see my family.

If you need to find me, I will be soaking in July, summer, friends, family, Target and my favorite holiday (next to Christmas), the 4th of July 🇺🇸❤️.

I will catch you in a month.

June Wrap Up

“School’s out for summer”

~Alice Cooper

It’s been awhile since I last blogged, as we have been occupied with the end of year hullabaloo otherwise known as class parties, field trips, recitals and concerts.

Sophie performed with her school choir.

Elsa had her dance student showcase, performing in four dances. She also received the Citizenship Award for her class.

In the mix of all the chaos, my mom traveled to Canada to spend some time with us in Halifax partaking in baseball, dance, hockey, school, walks around town, lunching and smelling the rhododendrons.

My Mom even got to meet a sloth…dream fulfilled.

Thankfully our goodbyes weren’t sad (we get to see Mema in a few days) and we welcomed Alisha into our home.

As always, I’m grateful for family and friends who make the trek to see us in Nova Scotia. With our long winter, the summer and visitors are both a much needed and lovely change of pace.

Oh, and yes…summer is finally here. The kids completed their first full year in Canadian schools and we couldn’t be more proud of their successes both academically and personally.

Our kids are resilient and continue to work hard and push through the newness of our transition with grace and optimism.

With that being said, we are ready for summer, lazy days, a long month spent in the states and time to connect with family and friends.

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.”

~Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It

Parker and I often discuss the best moments of our lives. Aside from the obvious wedding day and birth of our children, we always come back to our road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway in June 2016.

The day after Sophie graduated from elementary school and Elsa from Kindergarten, we packed up the van and headed out on our weeklong coastal California driving trip.

IMG_0578

 

It was amazing. I’ll spare you the vacation summary, but our best moment by far, the one we both always go back to is our lazy day on the Big Sur River.

IMG_0533.jpg

The trees created this beautiful canopy over the cool, clear river water and as our kids splashed around, Parker and I turned to each other, agreeing this was the best ever.  It felt magical.

Recently, Sophie was watching old videos on the computer and she came across our PCH trip. We all convened around the computer and relived our best day.

IMG_0560.JPG

I love my family and I’m grateful everyday for the journey we are on, especially for days like Big Sur. Although there are times I miss our lives in California, I’m reminded my family is where I am happiest, which brings me back to where I need to be.

Thank you Parker for sharing in and helping to create these indelible moments.  Happy Father’s Day!

Here is to drinking a Sculpin (or four) this summer, in the good ol’ USA 🇺🇸

Totes bros

“Let me start with issuing you a challenge: Be better than you are. Set a goal that seems unattainable, and when you reach that goal, set another one even higher.”

~Herb Brooks

Soren started his second year of baseball and I would like to give a shout out to my sister-in-law Rebecca and the jacket she bought Soren for his second birthday, which he can finally wear.

Not many gifts have resonated with Parker, but this one hit all the feels. A vintage Lakeville Panthers baseball jacket, which was embroidered with Parker’s high school hockey number, 21.

For my Lakeville friends, this jacket was legit vintage…stowed away in the catacombs of the Ben Franklin and one of the many lost treasures waiting to be dusted off before the store closed for good.

After the fields had dried and the rain had passed (yes, it’s been a wet spring), Soren was all ready for his first day of baseball.

One of the things I have loved most about Halifax is Soren and Parker, connecting over sports, palling around and playing/watching sports both inside and out.

Our new basement floor might be super scuffed and the wall extremely dented but it’s all worth it.

Hockey player or dancer? At this point it could go either way for Ellinor.

Countdown

“It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.”

~Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib

I don’t even know if spring is here yet. I’m seeing all these posts of people drinking on patios and kids playing in pools and I wonder if I am missing something.

Kids home sick, lots of rain, temps barely in the 10s (I’m using Celsius at Parker’s insistence…nag nag nag!)…but guess what?

My mom is coming to visit 🥰. She’s making the trek to Halifax to watch Elsa dance in her student showcase and to experience Nova Scotia in June.

And yes, it gets even better because once my mom heads out, Alisha arrives for a week long visit.

Oh, and then we head to Minnesota for the month of July.

Well, I’m not really scared, but you get the level of my excitement.

Incidentally, whenever the kids are feeling bogged down by a mundane week, I make a point to find the positive in what awaits us during the week or even the upcoming months. Something as simple as, our evening is wide open and we can all take a family walk, is enough to get our kids through a tough Monday morning.

We are also fans of the countdown. Five chains all prepped and ready for tearing…Father’s Day, end of school, Mema’s arrival, Alisha’s visit and our trip to Minnesota.

Seeing the blossoms on our apple tree, Sweetie Girl (the kids named her), make us happy as well.

Our rhubarb is popping up and thankfully survived its first year in our yard.

The garden is in and I hope it handles the rain on the way.

We are looking forward to what summer has in store.