I’ve officially done it. After weeks of procrastinating, planning the upstairs re-do, complaining that I don’t want to do it, I finally lost my marbles and tore apart the kitchen. Well, what can I say? Something needed to be reorganized, so why not begin with an entirely different room of the house. I didn’t just wipe out the cupboards and line up the half-filled jars of peas and beans, nope, cause that’s not how I roll. Actually, I decided to paint the inside of the pantry. Why? Cause this gal likes to use what she’s got, and since what I’ve got is not 6 rolls of the same shelf paper, I busted out the can of Cuban Cigar, paint that is, and I plastered those scratched cupboards with some milk-chocolaty brown. When I crawled out of bed this morning and stumbled into the kitchen like a cyclops, you know, with one eye open, I was reminded, that once again, I’ll be spending the day trying to bring some kind of order to my generally disorganized kitchen. Saturday will be followed by a day of schoolroom organization (insert crying mommy), and if all goes as planned,Sunday will be filled with a lot of coffee drinking and planning how to begin the upstairs redo….I love me a good circular plot.
We hope you have a lovely weekend
We’ve spent the long winter days indoors, focusing on our studies, which at the tender ages of 6 and almost thlee, means a lot of stuff that could actually be mistaken for fun. Anyone who knows me at all will attest to the fact that I’ve always struggled with creating and following a structure, so it only seems fitting that this chapter of my life should be centred around just that. Doesn’t it always seem as though the lessons that take the longest for us to learn resurface until we face them? Since this is something I really have to focus on, I can only hope that the results will have some longevity to them. For now, here’s a peak at some of the tasks we’ve been up to, nothing complicated or tricky, but proof that it’s happening, nonetheless. math with manipulative and stickersbeading necklaces
project based on The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. We spoke about the character traits of Edmund, and then we made a rainbow of Wildflower’s character traits.
a bin of treasures to trace
watercolour painting, monster trucks, of course converting measurement from imperial to metric, and yes, those are squash
and the new favourite pastime, colouring everything black
until next time,
Our Valentine’s/ Family Day (real thing in Ontario) was definitely subpar, considering Wildflower and myself were horizontal for most of it. Flu-stricken and bedridden is how we spent the majority of the day made for lovers, and Family Day (yes,I’m not kidding) was spent in much the same fashion only with less jumping out of bed. It’s during times like these, when I am forced to turn off the outside world, forced to move slowly, and appreciate simplicity, that I realize how wonderful my life is. I know my life is grand, but sometimes, a little extra love goes a long way in helping me appreciate what I have. I witnessed, from my bed, in a semi-conscious state, the way my partner speaks to our crew, the way he cares for them when I am not around; not to mention, I have freshly folded laundry in my drawers this morning, and I didn’t do one load of laundry this weekend. In a world where our roles are no longer defined by our genders, it can still feel tricky without very clear lines deciding which chores and expectations belong to which partner. One can easily say duties should be spilt 50/50, but with so many variables, what does that really look like? In the beginning, we thought it would be simple– whoever had the best job would be the parent to go to work, but very quickly, I realized that I wanted to stay. So now that Papa Bear is our bread winner, the one who ventures into the world everyday, it’s apparent that my responsibilities are centred around home. I manage the bulk of the homeschooling and the chores inside of our house, while he tends to those on the outside. On our property, that list is currently about five years long, and those are just the realistic goals. This is not to say that we don’t occasionally team up, swap, work out alternate systems, or stand around a take photos… but we tend to fall into these roles because they are supported by our strengths. Lets face it, I haven’t touched a lawnmower since I moved out of my mother’s house, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. As much as I’m learning about some of Papa Bear’s trades, most of the build it, repair it jobs, even those involving crazy glue (long story) are his. He never makes me feel badly about those things. He never whines that I won’t partake in my share of his duties. In a household that strays from stereotypes and social norms, it often surprises me that we have followed these traditional male/female roles. How is it that I, myself, the believer in equality, am the first one to protest my chore list, until I realize, that perhaps it is my expectations of my husband that are most unfair, since I can’t expect him to take on half of my work in addition to the list of his own that he can barely manage, the way the world expects ‘a good man’ to do.
My work, does not have an 8-5 day. I don’t get scheduled lunch breaks, and I certainly don’t get to leave my job at the end of the day, so I’d be lying if I wasn’t occasionally resentful that he is entitled to these things, but then, I come to my senses and remember that this is what I asked for. This is what I longed for. It doesn’t make it easy, but I do know that I am fortunate to be here, at home, with our children. I know that I am putting in the long hours for our own benefit, and not someone else’s. I’m the woman on the home front, and we are a team. I, generally, in some way, get to see the product of my sweat equity. My work is HARD, and at the end of the day, my feet are often so tired that I have to stop before I’m finished. It’s not only back- breaking, but also emotionally exhausting; however, this also means that the rewards that I reap are that much greater. This is where I get to insert all that stuff about being the one our children will remember being around, knowing how deeply they love me, and witnessing their daily growth and progress, and I am so grateful for what he has sacrificed in order for me to have this. Not to mention, as our children grow, my showers become longer; they don’t have to fall in-between the confines of my commute, my family, and my workplace. I can pour myself a cup of coffee, and I can tell my ‘co-workers’ to wait just-a-second if they don’t want me to lose it. When they are busy, I can even take time to learn a new skill, read a book, have tea with supportive friends, or sew. I have the creative license over our daily life, and I can see that these are things that aren’t so easy for him to miss out on.
Although there clearly are benefits, it is difficult to leave the system that previous generations have carved out for us. Some traditions are habit forming because they worked for the majority of the people while others are rooted solely in oppression. Women with choices are a new breed because, let’s face it, things still are not ‘equal’, and the world is still waking up to this fact. (Ladies…it’s still not equal!) But that’s a post for a different day. Feminism plays an invaluable role in our world, and contrary to many people’s beliefs, its is not interchangeable with burning bras (although I have considered it), protesting crudely, and turning men into boys. This would be doing a great dishonour to women as a whole. Feminism is meant to create an equilibrium– a balance of the majestic, nurturing, sensual feminine energy, and the strong, level, protective, masculine energy. So we’ve gotta support each other, respect and value each other’s strengths and fill in the gaps with our own talents. Which in our case sometimes looks a little like Papa Bear taking on last week’s laundry, and myself lending my hand to this summer project…gulp.
Wish us luck,
I’m a secret lover of winter. It’s not so much that I like the cold, because I don’t, and it’s not that I like the high cost of heating a very old farmhouse, or chipping ice off the top of the animal’s water bucket, cause well, I don’t.
But isn’t there something about the beauty that winter brings?
Something about the unpredictability?
The opportunity to explore a different side of nature…These moments, all captured during the same week, represent a snippet of the rollercoaster of a season we have been experiencing here in Ontario. This winter has been unlike any I can remember– a beautiful mix of sun and warmth, rain and mist, and ice and snow. When we live interconnected with the world outside our door, mother nature can play with our bodies–the way she plays with her elements. Her cold temperatures wear us weary and and her shivery snows cause everyday routine to become even more tiresome and lengthy. Just when we can’t take one more flake of snow, the clouds open up, sending the snow trickling into puddles that make any child suit up and head out doors. The sun will shine, and we’ll discover bits of last summer have survived under the wintery, white blanket.
I appreciate the time spent indoors– the opportunities for creation, the pots of tea and coffee warming on the wood stove, and the time to reflect.When it’s cold, we retreat indoors, venturing outside only if needed, and occasionally for some fort building or nature walking. When it’s freezing, we snuggle on the couch, close to the fire, reading stories and watching something together on tv. When it’s warmish, something in us wakens, we begin to dream of the days to come, and we find ourselves wanting more, and then it snows, and we’re back to the beginning again. But time indoors allows for me to become introspective, to reexamine what works and what needs improvement.There is something in me that gets off on rebirth, in small, refreshing doses. I’ve been spending this winter thinking a lot about our business and how quickly we need it to progress versus how slow and steady we’d like it to grow. I’ve been thinking about our family, as we enter a new phase with our children. I’ve looked around and found that our older two have begun to take on their shares of household responsibilities, and I’ve noticed that I’m no longer alone. I find company in the three that we have raised, and I’m pleased to say that most of the time, I quite like them. I find us on the brink of an entire upstairs reno, and I can’t help but put that chaos off for just one.. more.. week. Sometimes, when great change is lurking, I’d rather retreat until I’m certain the time is right. I’m dreaming of flowers and of restoring the work of my great (fabulous!) aunt who spent her life here, in this house, crafting the gardens into masterpieces. I can’t wait to sink my hands into the cool soil….Happy Family Day weekend