Peace and Valentines

Sometimes it can be difficult to create inspiration and this week, it seems, I couldn’t feel farther from it. It could be the residual effects of last week’s illness, and it could be the waning moon who’s fullness kept us awake several nights this weekend. It could be the fact that we are destined for many more weeks of cold and snow, but there is something else too.colouring1

There are times when the radio in the morning is what motivates me, and there are times, like this week, when my protective bubble, my layer of the- world- is- falling- to- pieces repellent has worn too thin to protect my rose -coloured heart. I normally follow my ‘no news’ rule of thumb; it drags me away from the peaceful life I am trying to create for my family. I know that there is plenty to worry about without needing to hear it on repeat: every. half. hour. This week, I’ve made that mistake. I’ve listened, and I haven’t like what I’ve heard.colouring2

The way that grown people speak to each other, mainly via social media, makes me sick. We preach messages of tolerance and peace to our children, but we behave wretchedly. We whisper sweet nothings in the ears of our babes as they fall asleep each night, reminding them of their magic. We do our best to model kindness in our everyday actions, but there is something about a glowing screen that makes us lose our connection with who we are and what we are striving for. We crucify each other for the ways they differ from us. We don’t tolerate. We don’t seek peace. We just shout from our timelines our secret beliefs and why our friends should feel the same. We don’t reach for growth. It saddens me. It saddens me that this is the way of the world.

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I can imagine our grandparents were all too familiar with this feeling. This ‘what is this world coming to’ line that we keep on repeat is something I’m supposed to say when I’m old, but I feel it everyday. Why can’t we believe in good. Why can’t we create good. Why can’t we show kindness and love. Why can’t we know freedom the way we know the months of the year. It’s something that everyone is entitled to, but very few can truly say they have.colouring3What about you? Do you know freedom?

xo

HayMama

Until then…

 

 

mulleintea
I’ve been brewing up something to cure whatever it is that’s been ailing us. The white clover, mullein, and rosemary that we harvested this summer came together nicely to create this powerful expectorant. You’ve guessed it. Upper respiratory. The flu has come to visit us, and we hope to kick its butt. Once we’re back in full swing, I’ll be back in this space. Hopefully feeling a little more creative and a little less grumpy.

xo

Haymama

Deer Spring

Beautiful sunny days encourage us to get outside and take in all that this corner of the earth has to offer us. Some days we run and jump, and other days we take our time exploring. We ask each other ‘remember when’ questions, and we talk about what each season has brought us, the changes that we notice.

deer path

Here it is, the most well-loved trail near our home. One might think we take many a trip out behind the barn, but actually, this trail belongs to another family. 
deerprint We thought about this path and came up with several ‘remember whens”. We remember how it’s worn through to the dirt, in places, as though cattle have been crossing, how the spring brings the entire deer population to the front yard to graze, and how right there, behind Papa Bear’s shop, if he is quiet, Papa, himself, might spot a doe relaxing in the afternoon shade.deertrail

Which lead me to recall this photo of myself that was taken when we first moved here. I had paid to have a large square of land tilled for our garden, and I was happily standing in the centre of it, decked out in my rubber boots and bandana, posing like a queen. I was fairly excited and possibly, certainly a little too positive about what was to come. Little did I know that while I planted our seedlings among the gravel pit we call home, the deer were watching excitedly. Anything that managed to grow among the rocks was immediately consumed by those sneaky buggers. I have no idea how our ancestors managed to survive here, but obviously, they had this figured out better than I do.

On a more successful note, I thought of the morning that Little Eagle was born. It was one of those rose-coloured glasses moments that came out a true shade of strawberry, unicorn, sparkly pink. He was born in our bedroom, after a much simpler birth than my previous experience. It was a beautiful spring morning, the spring run off was dripping from the roof while PapaBear prepared a spread of fruit and cheeses in the kitchen. While we grazed upon those delicious, well-deserved treats, the deer were grazing happily in the warm spring sun. They were celebrating the arrival of our sweet baby boy, born here, in the same place my grandfather and great aunts were welcomed into the world. There’s something about that level of awesomeness that earns a unicorn sticker.

And then our minds wander to warmer days. Days when the door can stay open and we can extend our living quarters into the sun, and it’s then that I can see them running free, hair blowing in the warm summer sun, barefoot with sun kissed cheeks. I can hear the springs squeaking on Enee’s trampoline, and I can remember the feel of dirt, fresh from the garden, under my finger nails. lanewaywillowI love winter. I love that cozy, lay by the fire togetherness. I love the smells of cinnamon and oranges, crock pot meals, sweaters, boots, and men in toques. I love being able to say “no not today” and not feeling obligated to travel. But sometimes, just sometimes, I dream of spring. Sometimes, the smell of mud appeals to me. And sometimes I can’t wait for the freedom of an open door.

 

Until tomorrow

xo

HayMama

Blogging Intentions

berriesWhen my first child was born, I started a blog. In the beginning, I loved it. It was refreshing to do something that I enjoyed each day, but after a while, it became a job that I stopped looking forward to. I felt obligated to post daily, and eventually, combined with the lack- of- sleep new mommyhood brings, I began to resent the daily grind. I started writing for the audience I was collecting rather than collecting the audience I was writing for, and that’s when I realized it was no longer authentically me. I also, after plenty of soul-searching, realized that I wasn’t comfortable with exposing my children’s faces to the world, after all, that belongs to their stories, not mine, and so, after a steady six months, I packed it in. beach
Fast forward to a few years later, and I haven’t kicked the call to write, but I do have one more sweet baby and a lot less time. I’ve decided, this time around, that blogging should be something that I enjoy, always. It won’t take away from the energy I put into my family, since that is my main priority, and instead, it should fuel me, since it’s my space for creativity. paintingI will keep the content close to my heart, always just being myself, I’ll never share more than my family is comfortable with me sharing, and lastly, I want to create a work of beauty. I hope to house a sunny space where folks, such as yourself, can come for some rays of inspiration. spring
I think, I’ve moved past the point of spending time thinking about how strange I look as the no stroller, whole foods, non-cellphone mama. Learning to love myself whether others do or not has given me a new outlook on life and on other people. It has also allowed me to appreciate the things that may not always be ideal. It hasn’t been a pocket full of jelly beans learning to accept my introvertism (which Webster created as a word .5 seconds ago), but lately, I’ve come to appreciate this woman whom I’ve seemingly forced to be different for quite some time. I like her. I’ve missed her, but sometimes, sometimes she’s a pain in my ass. I’d like her to not worry too much about writing the wrong thing. About accidentally hurting anyone’s feelings. So I’ll begin cautiously, testing my waters, knowing that there is a possibility of feeling hurt, no matter how small, it still scares me. Something else to learn about. Another way to grow.trees

What January Looks Like

Well besides this:

coldJanuary in our home has been a lot like this:

blacknwhitemaggieandezraGetting serious about homeschool this month, we’ve been studying the story of Black Beauty, thanks to a generous friend who gave Miss Wildflower the novel this holiday season.monet

We’ve reproduced a little bit of Monet, and we learned about Impressionism.monet2Wildflower’s rendition of Monet’s Water Lily Pond Symphony in Rose, but then, you knew without my telling you didn’t chahat

Little Eagle needed a hat tooDSCN9614Dark nights that begin far too early, and lastly,record

Our new indulgence –vinyl. PapaBear and I have been talking for a long time about how we’d love our kiddos to grow up with actual, tangible albums in our home, but that’s something we are good at, talking. We are great dreamers. Have we travelled the countryside with nothing but a backpack, nope, but we’ve dreamt about it. Have we raised seven children while working independently as artists, nope, but we’ve talked about it. And let’s face it, the talking is the important part. Why are you wasting your time with things that aren’t worth dreaming about? So when we saw this record player at our local flea market in the last few minutes before they closed, we had a quick decision to make. Without the usual long ‘talk’ (here’s where it went wrong my friends), we quickly decided, sure, it’s a bit more than we’d like to pay, since it’s used, but if we were to buy this model new, we’d be paying a lot more. We plugged her in, checked out the record player, listened to the story about how the rest certainly works and then we gave the shifty, old man his money. Now, normally, I don’t refer to older people as old or shifty, but this guy was special, and yes, this part of my story is tainted by the outcome. See, when we arrived home, we quickly plugged her in, and since we didn’t have any records, we slid in a CD, a little Sarah Mclauchlan to be precise, and guess what. She didn’t sing. Neither did anyone else we tried to coerce into the CD player. And so, we travelled back to the flea market this past weekend to kindly explain our situation. Long story short, the shifty, old man didn’t give us back our bones; nope, but he did give us a story that changed several times, a hole in our wallet, and then, as if it didn’t hurt enough, smacked us right in the face with the lesson. Ugh.

“I’ll sell it for you” he said. Right. Well… A) I’m not waiting around for our money back, since he clearly can’t be trusted in the first place, and B) I’m not shifty enough to sell a broken product. So we picked up our socks, our broken record player, and whatever was left of our pride and headed home. “We’ve still got all of your dad’s records in the barn” Papabear reminded me once he stopped shaking with anger. Turns out, he was right. They’re musty and dusty, but there’s a new home in our house for my parent’s record collection, some with my mother’s teenage penmanship scrawled across her obvious favourites and some with my paternal grandfather’s name carefully written. I can imagine that if there ever was a time that my parents were happy together, these records could have been at the centre of it all. And Papabear and I, we’re going to let it go. We’d rather not carry around unnecessary anger, so we’ll keep her and the records. I know this because we’ve talked about it.

** since this article went live, Papabear has admitted to not being entirely ready to ‘let it go’

What does your January look like?

 

xo

Haymama

 

Icy New Year, Hopes and Dreams, Lippy

We’ve been hibernating these past few days, kind of a continuation of the last two weeks, minus the big boys. We’ve snuggled in our beds at night listening to the ice rain come down. We’ve carried buckets of water out to the chickens with the icy northern winds stealing our breath along the way, and we’ve spent time mulling over what this new year will mean for us.

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birch tree snowmanIce on the chicken fence.

arrowArtwork by PapaBear

In my former life, I fell under the societal pressure to choose a new year’s resolution, only to forget about it a few weeks later, litterally. The happier, more content me knows that positive change isn’t something I can conjure up over night. It’s something that I must feel in my soul; it’s gotta be calling me. I need to be constantly listening to that voice inside of myself, and more importantly, I need to answer her more often. The hustle and bustle of caring for a family of five leaves very little time for the thoughts that are bouncing around in my busy brain, let alone the ones that are tucked into the corners of my heart; it’s not until I can steal a few minutes to myself that I can liberate those nagging feelings that just don’t make the list of essentials– make nutritious meals, check! raise intelligent, caring, clean children…workin on it, maintain a mutually respectful, loving, fulfilling relationship? Yessir. Time for a shower, more so these days. Opportunity to write the Great Canadian Novel. What? Have I really been thinking about this all this time? Sometimes I can really surprise myself with what comes up.

Back to where I was going in the first place, I’ve managed to follow through on some of my intentions for the new calendar year. The Solstice brought us two weeks of family time; we spent it doing absolutely nothing, and it was great. Having PapaBear home was delightful. He misses so many bits of watching our children grow while he is away each day, so having him with us for two weeks was really fun, but let’s get to the obvious joy. I had some relief. I had some shower- alone time. I slept in. I barely cooked or cleaned( I know, he’s amazing!). AND I heard my thoughts, not just the surface thoughts floating around my head, but even some of those deeper soul thoughts. There weren’t many shockers this time, which is a relief. In my former life, feeling unhappy or anxious with myself, I would have been overly ambitious, always pushing and striving, the way I thought I was supposed to. Maybe it’s because I’m better seasoned now, that I have a bit of experience under my belt, but my hopes and dreams are much simpler at this stage in the game. I’m pretty sure it’s actually just cause, I’m happy.This year, I’m hoping to put more heart into creating the things I keep imagining and not just thinking about them. I plan to develop this space to share them with you. I hope to make more foods myself, the way I did before I gave birth to a tiny boy who screeches every time Mama is trying to work in the kitchen. I will put energy into growing bigger and better gardens than last year, and I will start planning now!  I’ll devote our whole summer to it. We, as a family, will spend September canning. I’d like to make more of my own clothing. I’ll do those little things around here to better organize and pretty up (yep) our home. I’ll write more. Worry less. I’ll start making Christmas gifts in July when I get that nostalgic Christmas feeling that shows up once I’ve had enough of the searing, Ontario heat, and lastly, I’ll write down some of the wonderful memories (to read as a cute old woman) I’m making with these beautiful people I share my life with. Oh ya, and, I’ll try out some lipstick, or lippy as my grandmother called it.

DSCN9591CHECK!

 

HayMama

xo

Chez this place

I’m crawling out from our Christmas den, to sum up what’s been goin on chez this place. We followed the usual traditions that we’ve created since moving to this corner of the earth. Birthday brunch followed by an evening full of snacks, Santa tracking, shooing children off to bed and grownups filling our house full of Christmas magic. 
star ezraNormally Papa bear and I are awake until the wee hours of the morning, putting the finishing touches on our Christmas experience, but this year, this year we were on our best game. The wrapping was done, the birthday festivities out of the way, and when we climbed into bed beside our wee ones, we silently (so as not to ruin the magic) high fived it, before we slipped into Christmas Eve comas. farmhouseChristmas morning met us with happy children, coffee, and the company of Pa, PapaBear’s own PapaBear. The unwrapping occurred at a gentle pace, each of us allowing time to observe each other’s joy of both giving and receiving. We excitedly opened the gifts that Wild Flower had bought for us at the local ‘Santa shop’ event. some candles for Mama, a ball for Enee, a toy car for Eagle, and the most amazing tag for PapaBear’s backpack. After opening a few gifts, our youngest, Eagle, decided that he had simply had enough. “This one is for you!” we all tried to explain. “No”. He was adamant, so we followed his lead and left him to open at his own pace. There was a point where we watched as he used his little finger, shaped as a hook, to pick open a tiny gift for a ten minute interval. We tried our best not to rush him with our adult speed, but even grown ups can be antsy on Christmas morning.DSCN0192DSCN0194There it is…the ring she saw in the catalogue. She couldn’t believe that Santa brought it for her.DSCN0230Once the gifts were unwrapped and the bits of paper were ‘filed’, code for stashed in the wood stove, we filled our bellies with bacon and eggs and ventured outside to enjoy what Christmas had brought us, Spring of course!jeepNow, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a White Christmas kinda gal, but this year, being thirty and all, and a bit wiser than I was my previous green Christmases, I accepted her beauty in all her brownishness. I took our chickens some biscotti, since we haven’t eaten it in the two years its been in our pantry, and I watched them roll in the dust, scratching and pecking on this fine Christmas day. Might as well accept it, and now, as I write about this one full week later, it snows. Not just your average December snow, nope, because now it’s January, and just like she promises, it’s blizzarding. But back to Christmas joy…turkeyWe’ve spent an entire week feasting and relaxing with our house full of company. We’ve eaten until we can eat no more, and then we ate…some more. We’ve enjoyed movie marathons, short trips to the store together, and simple things around our home that we normally divide in order to conquer. I’m loving the togetherness. I love that last night we started the new calendar year celebration so early that staying up late for Wild Flower meant that after dancing and snacking and movie watching, 8:30 felt late. I love that it meant our house was quiet enough for Little Eagle to fall fast asleep quickly and that since Enee was with his mom, our house was quiet by 9. For the first time in over a week, it was just us. The lights were low, the tree was sparkling, the fire was glowing, the drinks were in our hands, sure mine was tea, but it was just us. This scene brings me back to our favourite Shrek clip…where Shrek and Fiona spend the day tirelessly caring for their kids, and when the children are finally sleeping, Shrek turns to his wife, raising his eyebrows says as suggestively as an ogre can, “so, what shall we do now”, with an immediate flash to the next scene of them laying across the bed, fully clothed and snoring loudly. There was no snoring, but our living room was cosy, the movies were bountiful, and since not one child woke up until after midnight, it wasn’t until then that we peeled our eyes from our movie and giggled that we’d missed the New Year.

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Happy New Yearxo

 

HayMama

 

Christmas Eve

On this fine Christmas Eve day we celebrate. We celebrate the young life of our five year old daughter. We celebrate the sleepless nights that lay in our past, we celebrate the fact that we’ve made it. We’ve laid the foundation of ‘those first five years”. We see her for who she is, all of her beauty, her creativity, her kind, nurturing self. We see it all. And while she enjoys a slice of birthday, chocolate quinoa cake  ( seriously, it’s amazing), we high five each other with a twinkle in our eyes, and we wish each other a happy birthing day, cause every parent knows, it’s not just about the kiddosshadowsdollyWild Flower’s birthday gift, made by mama. She named her “Wild Willow”. We partied this morning, our fifth birthday brunch; friends and family came and graciously gave something special for Flower to open. She thoughtfully examined each gift, something that gives me a little thrill. We’ve managed to avoid that unwrapping insanity. Her favourite gift from this morning, a chipmunk in a tutu card, and she’s been toting around her 5 candle, adding it to the top of all birthday snacks.  The innocence of 5. It excites me.
DSCN0053See that wee car? That’s us. The Hayswold’s family Christmas. Embarrassed teenage son..check! More about that next time.

How are you spending Christmas Eve….

 

Happy Christmas,

Haymama

 

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

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This time of year always brings nostalgia. I remember being young and learning about the joys of Christmas discovery, unpacking the decorations with my mom and hearing the stories that accompanied each one. It’s a time to reflect on the year that has passed. A time to take stock of all that has been endured, the warm memories, and maybe some things that could have been improved upon. The thing thought that occupies my mind most is how much our lives have changed in these two short years since we first moved here. What I really remember is how difficult it was. How jobs didn’t pan out the way we had expected them to, the way it felt to be so very pregnant and to feel quite useless having given up my modern gal career to stay at home and do what we knew was best for our growing family while contributing zero dollas to our family situation (something I’ve since grown to see in a new light), and I can recall, most vividly, the memory of hearing the  ever so melancholy voice of Judy Garland singing “next year all our troubles will be miiiiles away“. That sentiment carried me through the holiday that year, knowing that next year we would be a little bit further ahead. We had to be. And now, two years later things are moving along nicely. Although there have been no lottery winnings, we have managed to pay down some crippling debt, Papa is a little bit more secure in his position at work, and we’ve begun to adapt the way of life here at MoonHayven. This year’s firewood…practically free, versus the whopping $1200 we paid the first year, which, by the way, was wet and not nearly enough for the winter. We’ve found a great little produce market where we stock up on veggies for the winter, and we put enough venison (thanks Papa Bear) and home grown chicken in the freezer to last. The lessons we’ve learned are not just about survival, but of what we can give, how open we are to receiving, and about simplicity. I can’t help but feel so deeply grateful for all of the wisdom we’ve absorbed throughout that shittacular experience. Which leads me to part two of this post.IMG_3697

My occasional browsing of the local Facebook groups allowed me to help out a local mama this evening. She is living alone with her sweet two-year-old baby girl in a small one bedroom apartment. She’s giving it her best. She’s all in. Self-employed and twenty years old, does not your every day mama make. She loves her blonde cherub with every fibre of her being, which I could tell even before I met her for the first time today. She had posted in a local group, that she was in trouble this holiday season, that she had lost her Hydro privileges, and she was keeping warm with a small heater and one light. She was looking for candles; that’s it, candles.  And so, with the spirit of the Yuletide season wrapped around me, recalling Christmas of 2012, which I have most certainly minimized in order to preserve Papa Bear’s embarrassment (although come on honey, you were not to blame), I reached out my hand to her, and lucky for me, she accepted. Wild Flower and I picked up this mummy and her babe this afternoon and brought them home to sit by the fire. The kiddos played, the mamas got to know what rocks each other’s souls, and then we ate some free-range chicken. It doesn’t get better than that, except maybe with coffee. We ate veggies and cheese and all things delicious; needless to say, they left with full bellies and a bag full of treats, but more importantly what we are left with is a feeling that cannot be described.that christmas

that christmas

When I tucked my child into bed tonight, only then was it that I briefed her on their situation, “Maddie’s mom couldn’t pay to keep their lights on anymore, so we brought them here to play and have fun even though it is dark at their house”, and Wild Flower replied ” I’m happy I danced with Maddie, Mama.” Success. There may have been squabbles over whose toys were whose, there may not be anything left here for lunches tomorrow (Enee will delight in cafeteria lunch), but I know that there is some money left to buy what we need, and most importantly, I know what it felt like to share some kindness with a stranger. And to that wonderful mama, “next year all your troubles will be out of sight“…or at least fewer and farther between.

 

Much love and kindness,

Haymama