Sunday, January 31, 2016

moving on

I started blogging when the dudes were just about this size:

Chris was away a lot, my whole life was caring for the dudes, and I needed an outlet: to share some of the beauty of my day-to-day, and to remind myself of the beauty because I was so often feeling caught up in the difficult and tiring and seemingly never-ending of it all. I blogged to stay connected and to feel connected as well as for my own sanity.

Now it is suddenly more than eleven years since our first dude was born and almost 6 years since my first post. These 3 little boys:

... have grown into these:

... and these: 

Absolutely everything has changed. 

Where we live, what work and home look like, the land and people and creatures around us- these have changed along with the shoe size, vocabulary and ability to push my buttons of the boys.

It's still my job to notice what interest-waves the boys are riding and to try to feed them. It used to be about walking gently along together, strewing support and provocation here and there. Now I need to run and jump alongside and I'm lucky if I can keep up. Growing is happening in every possible way.

I've spent the last year or so resisting the reality of the ever-passing days. I've cried and kicked and screamed, I've tried to bury my head in the sand, I've spend many an hour tearily looking through photos.

Time is ticking. I'm trying to break the habit of the looking back. Look at those boys up there. No matter how much I dream of being able to slow time I just can't do it. I love who and how they are and need to be present for what is happening now, awesomeness and frustrations and sweet smiles and everything else.

They are always ready to step into what's next. I plan to be with them along the way- at least for as long as they'll let me (which I think will be for quite a while yet, I hope.)

This blog has been about my little boys. They're not so little anymore. I still feel like writing, and blogging here has been helpful to me in so many ways, but I feel a shift coming in the way that I write. It's time to set this blog aside.

I love this format so I expect there will be more to come. I know I'll have photos to share and there's no doubt that I'll need to do some processing as these sweet little monsters grow into ever-challenging and creative creatures.

Sigh. I'd better get busy figuring out what's next. I think I'm going to need it!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

the smasher

I really don't know how anyone could possibly hate winter. I mean, I know why people hate it, but come on- the pros far outweigh the cons. Far outweigh them. Slow driving and shovelling, whatever. Put on some woollens and boots and get out to the woods.

Winter is beautiful. Stunning. Light and fluffy and sparkling and bug-free and so much fun.

My favourite season took a while to arrive but it has now officially settled in. It snowed all day and my fingers are crossed that it continues all night.

Hockey hockey hockey is the mantra around the house these days so I wasn't planning to try to force, cajole or coerce any of the dudes to join me in the woods this afternoon. Lucky me, I had a buddy join me anyway.

Ahh, snow-covered ice. Zamboni-ing it, smashing it, stomping it, smelling it, eating it, making a pool for fairies on it, looking under it, repeat.

We've got a date to head out again tomorrow after school. One more beauty of winter- clear and create in the snow, more snow falls, a blank slate appears for more clearing and creating (and in this case, most definitely more smashing).

Ahh winter. Seriously- embrace it folks. It is wonderful!

hockey nights

Baxter came in the other night, cheeks bright red, hair sweaty, slugged back half his water bottle, asked what's for dinner then had a realization. "Ohh! I didn't wash my containers. Grr."

Rather than drop off their bags inside and do their regular after school clean-up he and his brothers had gotten off the bus, laced up their skates, and stayed on the ice for 2 hours until I called them in to eat. 

"Don't worry about it," I said. "I took care of it." 

"You washed my containers?"  

"Yup. It's not every night you get to use the rink. Skating while you can is more important than chores."

The ice is here, it is smooth and solid, and it feels (to us adults anyway) like it might be fleeting this year. Snacks and skating, with as many friends as they can gather and for as long as they can get away with it, is number one priority right now.

They might not be doing homework or chores, but they're making memories. 

Smart trade.

Bring on early sunsets and cold days and nights. It makes for awesome ice and hours of play.

The dudes are not the only ones making memories.

Sunday, January 3, 2016


I find it hard to believe that the last time I posted here was in November. A sign, perhaps, that the busy-ness I've been feeling wasn't just in my head.

I also find it hard to believe that the moss was still green, indeed some bushes were starting to bud in December. What a wacky start to winter we've had. The snow hasn't stopped since it started and we have immersed ourselves, for reals and figuratively, in the snow.

The dudes have wanted to take part in the local New Year's Day polar bear swim for a few years now. I am definitely not up for joining them so I suggested starting our own new tradition this year- the New Year's Day Snow Roll. A frolicking success.

 Tomorrow we are all back to our work/school routines and I feel sad- that festivities and gatherings are over, that the Christmas lights are all down, that we won't be spending as much time together.  I know that time moves on whether I acknowledge it or not, and that so much good happens when we are all off doing our own thing and then coming back together. I know that some days that I spend full-time with my dudes I get my buttons pushed and I become a seething mess of mama-rage. I know that it can be almost impossible to find any time for myself to do what I need to for me (like write and take photos!) when our crew is all together.

And still... my memory does it magical deleting of the tough moments, I ignore the reasonable and legit reasons why we all need to get back at it tomorrow, and I dream of spending all of my days as we did today- skiing, wandering in the woods amidst the magic of chickadees, playing games, watching movies, together.

Let's be completely honest, holidays with my family, with snow and without, avoiding conflicts or swirling around in them, are the best days ever. Enough said.

Happy New Year.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

after school wandering

I needed to stop by school to discuss a hockey altercation with the dudes' principal (sigh) so decided to take the boys for a wander. We had an hour before dark. We didn't bring snacks. The temp dropped quickly so bodies and hands got cold.

None of that mattered. We planned to go for a short hike, find our Smashy Place and pulverize a few rocks, head home. The crushable rocks were hidden and we didn't find them. Nate said I must be disappointed that our walk hadn't turned out as planned. I smiled at him. Not a chance, dude, I told him. We were outside together, happy, exploring, climbing. That was my only hope, the actual destination didn't matter one bit.

it wasn't a lot of time, but it was just the right amount. I'd say I'll make it a weekly standing date but it might become an expectation and then potentially a disappointment for any of a variety of reasons. We'll probably go again, but probably not every week. I love these little unexpected, unplanned moments.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

outside is always better

I'd like to wander farther. I'd like to be hiking the weekend away with all of the dudes in tow, cold weather and rain be damned. I'd like to be living surrounded by mountains, with views extraordinaire just a few hours uphill hike away. I'd like to have the energy to be up before dawn, bags packed and breakfast ready to roll in the van as soon the dudes wake up and agreeably crawl out of bed to join me for an adventure.

I like the idea of the stories that would come, of the pride I could feel in making these adventures happen, perhaps could smugly settle into a bit of feeling superior to people who don't do what we do.

When I hold onto the hope of the potential stories and bragging rights, I might be inspired to get out on a chilly November Sunday, but I also might get stuck in that world of never being happy with what we are actually doing. That happens to me- a whole lot of seeing what's not going on rather than feeling good about what is.

Sundays are tough for me. There are lots of good reasons why and plenty of bogus ones. I've learned from much trial and error that getting away for a few hours, somewhere wild away from home, makes a huge difference. The boys work some of their kicks out, we fill our lungs with fresh air, we connect with each other and the planet. When we get home I feel less angst about watching a movie or lying around and even if the dudes battle the hours away I take comfort in knowing that we've done more than just spend our day inside. 

I don't have the motivation to take us far right now. Driving is daunting and being crammed into the van together is often loud and obnoxious. Battles present themselves all day long and I can't choose more. So we're staying close to home. And maybe we're staying out for 2 hours instead of 5, walking 3 k instead of 8.

So it goes. The only person keeping track of what I'm not doing is me and right now even I don't care. We wandered a new-to-the-boys trail today and we had a blast. We can easily go back and smash rocks and climb and measure puddle depth. Sweet.

We explored and played on a trail 15 minutes from home. We burned energy, rosied up our cheeks, broke in our winter boots, and discovered a new land. I'd love to go further, to be in the mountains and in my tent. That time will come. I can pine away for it or enjoy the time I'm in right now.

There's a lot to to feel good about right here, right now, so that's what I'm going to do.