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.

I ❤️ Pilates

“Change happens through movement and movement heals.”

~Joseph Pilates

When I was pregnant with Sophie, I gained a lot of weight. Teaching full time, first pregnancy and feeling hesitant to work out when pregnant, I packed on the pounds.

When Sophie was born and I realized she wasn’t a 60 pound baby, I immediately knew I was in for a long journey, one that would take a long time to get back to where I wanted to be, both physically snd emotionally.

It wasn’t easy and years later, I still felt stuck to the point where I didn’t want to have another baby until I was in proper shape…and then I rediscovered Pilates.

I had practiced mat Pilates in college, but stumbled back into practice a year before Elsa was born, discovering reformer Pilates at a local studio. I was hooked.

I became a diligent Pilates student, taking class three times a week, all the while feeling energized and ultimately getting into the best shape of my life. Beyond the physical, it was part of my life and something I loved which made me feel centered, less anxious and a better person.

I took Pilates throughout my pregnancies with Elsa, Soren and Ellinor, up until two weeks before delivery with all of them. I gained less weight and my pregnancies symptoms eased, ending in three fast deliveries and even better postpartum recoveries. Incidentally, after giving birth to Elsa, the nurses all marveled at my delivery and strong pelvic floor. I felt like a rockstar and happily gave them the name of my Pilates instructor.

Since moving to Canada, it’s been hard to practice Pilates. For one, it isn’t as prevalent and additionally, the few studios that do offer reformer classes don’t work well with my current four kid lifestyle. Add to that a pesky shoulder injury and I was desperately missing something that had been a part of my life for close to ten years.

When I do pilates, I’m happier.

It’s been over a year and aside from a few reformer classes, my in home mat classes have been all that has tethered me to my old physical self.

But, that all changed.

I cried when I ordered it, almost passed out when it was delivered and am forever grateful that I could purchase my own reformer.

With that being said, I want to give a shout out to all the Pilates instructors who have inspired me and helped transform my mind and body. I miss you all and hope one day to take another class in my travels back to California.

Thank you!

Vida Pilates

Avanti Pilates

Pilates of Eastlake

“The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.“

What has been happening

“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”

~John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

The school year is winding down and yet I remain envious of my friends in Florida and Arizona as summer has commenced…we still have 23 days left of school.

Parker took a day off today (a rare occasion) and I was able to attend Soren’s field trip to the Shubenacadie Provincial Wildlife Park. I have no idea how to pronounce this, but if you’re curious, Soren can tell you.

Ready for the day even though it was barely above 50 degrees and raining. I have always admired Soren’s enthusiasm.

Despite the rain and cold, I’m grateful for these moments, especially when I’m in a place where I don’t have many friends or babysitters to lean on.

Soren had hoped to see flamingos and sharks (clearly still operating as a San Diegan), but we saw wonderful wildlife, mostly indigenous to Canada.

According to Soren, wolves like to howl at the full moon. #werewolf

As you might have guessed by Soren’s gloves, we are still waiting on spring. The weather can’t seem to make up its mind, but I’m hoping it gets its act together soon.

The fluctuating temperatures have meant planting our garden, but also keeping some plants inside…I’m so confused!?

Until then, the cold weather is good for dog cuddles. Behold! Princess Pacifica Honeycrisp of the Papasan Chair.

Incidentally, our Princess also received her BS in dog training. Congrats to our puppy graduate even though she fell asleep twice during class.

Snoring away…

Accepting her ribbon like the babe she is.

Luckily, colder temps have also been good for playing cards. Recently Soren had asked to learn how to play cribbage. I told him it’s a complicated game. Despite his confidence in math, I told him it wasn’t a game I played until I was at least 12 years old.

Soren’s “what is this 15-2 and a pair is 4” face….too much.

But then we told him he could cut the cards and move the pegs. Nobs?

A double run of 8…clearly.

The weather HAS to improve, our garden HAS to grow and yes, summer will arrive.

Note: this sign was made in February.

Tea

“I like tea…at the most with fruit essence, but not fruit sweetened!”

~Betsy Larson

I love tea.

Growing up we always had a jug of iced tea in the fridge and as legend would have it, I drank it straight out of my bottle.

Incidentally, at my bridal shower, my dog Buttercup gifted me with an iced tea maker…what a thoughtful dog.

I love tea and our fridge is always stocked with UNSWEETENED iced tea…I repeat UNSWEETENED! Behold no less than four containers of tea in the fridge at all times.

Parker loves tea as do our kids. Occasionally, they request an Arnold Palmer (i.e., tea with a splash of lemonade), but for the most part, it’s 100% lovely, unsweetened tea.

One of the many things I loved about California was the access to patios where one could brunch, lunch and sip bottomless iced tea. Freshly brewed tea was the standard bevvy and no one questioned your motives for requesting a straight up tea, without sweetener.

Since moving to Halifax I have noticed a few things…

1) It’s rare to find unsweetened iced tea at a restaurant.

2) Iced Tea = out of a can or soda fountain

3) Iced Tea is almost always sweetened

4) If unsweetened tea is an option, it’s always overpriced and refills aren’t free.

5) Canadian Starbucks doesn’t understand

In taking a closer look at number five, 75% of the time Starbucks messes up my tea, especially when I order unsweetened Tazo Passion Tea. This conversation happens almost every time:

Me: I would like a Venti, Passion Iced Tea, unsweetened, no lemonade

Starbucks: Really? No sweetener?!?

Me: Yes, no sweetener.

Starbucks: You want the lemonade though, right?

Me: No lemonade.

Starbucks: Okay.

One of three things then happens:

1) Starbucks ignores my directions and makes the tea with multiple pumps of sugar.

2) Starbucks makes it a Passion Iced Tea Lemonade.

3) Starbucks malfunctions, doesn’t know what to do, and makes a water downed iced tea.

Ultimately, when the person before me requests a “soy latte with two shots of espresso and one packet of stevia” and the barista barely bats an eye lash, I start to wonder if there is a coffee bias in the world.

If you’re wondering, I am not that jerk person that returns my tea. I take a sip, acknowledge its shortcomings, maybe joke about it with my kids and move on. I realize that having an iced beverage, sipped through a straw which I ordered on demand, is a luxury and one I am happy to have.

Subsequently, it’s Mother’s Day and in addition to doing absolutely nothing, I plan on visiting Starbucks, alone, sip my tea (hopefully unsweetened) and enjoy a few quiet moments to myself.

Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

Spring has sprung

“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.”

~Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Facebook memories have a way of making you feel happy and sad all in one moment…like a welcome, kick in the gut.

Take this photo memory from the other day:

Two years ago, we found out we were having a girl, our Ellinor. Now our baby is 18 months old, climbing on tables and foraging for snacks.

In these Facebook memories, I’m reminded how quickly time passes and also how we once lived in a place where a sun kissed glow and smooth tanned skin were a year round thing.

Presently, we are all translucent.

Despite our pastiness, I am grateful for temps in the 50 degree range. I am back to multiple walks a day and the kids are spending all day after school playing outside.

Spring is here, which is evident in the tulips, sprouting from the once frozen soil.

Unlike last year, we won’t be starting our vegetable garden from seeds. We have plans to renovate the backyard and a month long trip to Minnesota, which hampers some of our planting. At a minimum, we will plant seedlings of tomatoes, squash, kale (I love kale…hate away haters), cucumber, peas and continue to nurse our rhubarb plant and raspberry bushes.

I have summertime goals, that is if I can keep Honey from digging up the grass, garden and plants.

Family Time

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

~Mark Twain

We just spent ten, fun filled days with my in-laws Ward and Wendy. Although the weather wasn’t the best (Nova Scotia springs are quite wet), we managed to spend some quality time together, which was much needed.

Rainy days meant puzzle time and considering Ellinor and Honey, all of our puzzles are missing at least one piece…not very satisfying.

Soren discovered his love for dominos and playing Chicken Foot.

Papa Ward was able to watch Soren play hockey, which made him very proud.

Ward and Wendy also got a tour of the shipyard and we visited the maritime museum.

Ahoy! We are a proud maritime family.

Knowing most things were closed on Good Friday, we still headed out to Lunenburg, determined to see the sights, eat lobster rolls and seafood chowder.

Our time together culminated with egg dying and Easter festivities.

Honey…don’t take my egg!!!!

No more lost eggs now that we have a dog. Honey was skilled at egg hunting, ultimately finding the last and almost forgotten egg.

It’s right there dummies.

We even got a picture of Ward and Wendy with the kids before Ellinor decided to run off and play.

The weather finally cooperated, which meant the kids spent most of the day playing outside, lounging on the deck and enjoying their last full day with Papa and Mema.

I took a coat-free walk with Honey and glimpsed a small sign of spring. A bit of hope as we begin a very rainy week.

Happy Easter!

Spring confusion

Sunday.

Tuesday.

Friday

Tomorrow’s forecast? Rain. All. Day. At least it’s not snow.

Thankfully we have visitors en route to Halifax as Ward and Wendy are traveling from sunny Florida.

It’s been over four months since we have seen family so to say we are excited, especially the kids, is an understatement.

April*

“Snow in April is abominable,” said Anne. “Like a slap in the face when you expected a kiss.”

~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Ingleside (Anne of Green Gables, #6)

I hear you Anne…Saturday we woke up to snow falling and Monday’s forecast calls for six inches of snow. Spring has sprung!

In between the colder temps and flurries, I have been capitalizing on the warmer days and taking frequent walks. Ellinor loves it as well, but not so much her mittens.

We would walk much faster if this didn’t happen every ten feet. Again, looking forward to consistently warmer temps so I can put these pesky mittens, along with all the other winter gear, away for the season.

With spring, a whole new world has opened up for our Princess Pacifica Honeycrisp. Once a winter shut-in, Honey is now obsessed with playing outside, barking at everything and refusing to come into the house. Time for some obedience training!

Star student ⭐️

Princess of the castle and protector of the cul-de-sac.

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.