Ivy :: 6

Blogging happens so rarely now. I’m trying to get myself to a place where I don’t beat myself up about it; where I recognize there are seasons for everything and maybe this just isn’t a blogging season anymore, and that’s okay. BUT regardless of how little I write now- blogging on birthdays is a must. Although now that I say that- did I forget to blog on Seth’s birthday? Shoot.

It’s Ivy’s birthday today. She’s six now. SIX. If you had told me six years ago how quickly this day would come, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. The days of having all four kids in school seemed like a fantasy that was an eternity away. The fantasy became reality far quicker than I thought, and it turned out not to be a fantasy at all. Sure, I love my quiet days at home, but I really do miss the kids. Snow days are as exciting for me as for them- I’m so happy when I get them home with me. I decided yesterday, while pouring through old pictures and videos of the kids when they were smaller, that if I could, I really would freeze time right now, and keep them just how they are. Sometimes I think I’m just too sentimental to be a mother, even though if you ask my family (especially my dad), they’ll probably say I’m not sentimental at all. I guess I’m only sentimental when it comes to my kids. I want to hold them tight and stay with them forever and I feel time slipping through my fingers like fine sand and it’s upsetting!! All that being said, they’re turning into the best little people I know, and I’m so extremely proud of who they are, and I truly am excited to see what they turn out to be, so I guess it will be okay, right?

Ivy, though. Six!

She’s so excited to be six. She’s such a grown-up, responsible, and independent child. If you ask her to do something (like put the dog out, or sweep the floor, or put her laundry away) she will almost always reply “sure, Mom” and get right to it without complaint. She helps her brothers when they need help too- especially Oliver, who doesn’t have that same independent spirit. She’s made him breakfast on more than one occasion because he still lacks the confidence to pour himself his own bowl of cereal.

She loves her family so wholeheartedly. Her and Oliver had a rough weekend of too many nit-picky fights- they were just in a funk (which is not super unusual for those two). When I tucked her into bed she just cried about how they weren’t getting along and she was so upset about it. We tried to make a plan about how they could get along better, including giving space where space is needed, and having more patience with him. She discussed it so thoroughly with me, and I know she took my suggestions to heart. She loves being with her brothers and playing lego with them, or having wrestling matches, or making little movie trailers with Ben on his phone. We had the laziest, most-wonderful Christmas break together, just all hanging out at home together, but boy that girl missed those boys when they went back to school that first day without her.

As much as she loves playing with her brothers, she’s also just the best at independent play. She always finds something to do to keep herself busy when we’re at home alone together. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up right now and lately I’ll find her sitting in her neatly made bed holding a book with one hand (like teachers do!) and “reading” to a bunch of toys sitting in a row at the end of the bed. She likes to look at Pinterest and find a little craft to make on her own, or play with all her Shopkins for hours.

She’s always up for an adventure, and oh I love her for that. Maybe it’s because she has three older brothers that she’s usually trying to keep up with, but I think she’d probably be just as brave without them- her personality is so big and so up for anything.

She is truly a gift to us all, with her happy heart that’s always so very quick to forgive. She is generous with her love and her cuddles. Whenever we say I love you, she always replies “I love you more!”, to which I always reply, no, you don’t- you’ll see one day when you have your own kids! She does love us a lot though, you can almost feel it in a tangible way. Neil was showing her a little slideshow that he made her for her birthday, and she was just resting her head on his shoulder, her eyes looking soft and almost a little misty, kissing and hugging Neil from time to time. She told me later it made her so happy she almost cried. She’s so quick to compliment or encourage all of us- I just love that about her. She’ll often comment on what I’m wearing or how nice my makeup looks (on those rare occasions I put it on!). If her brothers try something she’ll tell them they did a great job. She is just a light in this house, and we are all so lucky to know her.

Happy sixth birthday my girl. I just don’t even know what I’d do without you. I love you so very very much.


First day of school.

Well once again, summer went quick!

Today was the kids’ first day of school. Seth is in grade six (middle school!), Ben is in grade four, Oliver is in grade two, and Ivy starts kindergarten. What! My baby! In school! It’s too much.

Although no one wanted summer to end, everyone was still a little excited/anxious to get back to school. No one was thrilled about making lunches again though, that’s for sure. Worst.

Anyway look at these kids! Getting so big!

Ugh they’re too cute for me. Ivy is SO excited to be going to school. She has been counting down the sleeps for awhile- she just can’t wait.

The boys took the bus to school and then Neil and I took Ivy for her meet and greet with her teacher and four other classmates. She has the same kindergarten teacher Oliver had and we just love her so much. She’s just the sweetest. Ivy wasn’t shy at all and found her cubby and hooks and went around with the teacher while we filled out some paperwork and left Ivy a note for her teacher to read to her on her first full day. Not gonna lie, I spent the entire 30 minutes in that classroom with a big lump in my throat, just praying I wouldn’t start crying in front of the teacher and a bunch of strangers. Yeah I’m excited my baby is big enough to go to school and I’ll finally FINALLY FIIIIIIIIINALLY have a little alone time, but come on, that went way too fast. By the time we got back out to the truck I felt like I was just on the verge of crying. One phone call from my mom later and I was done for. I tried not to let Ivy see I was crying so she wouldn’t worry about me. 🙂

Anyway, I know I’ll be fine. Except how am I going to put my baby on the bus on Friday? At least her super excited happy face will make it a little easier. And I’m so excited to see her off the bus at the end of the day and hear all about her day.

The boys all had a really great first day at school. Seth was nervous about going to a new school but not surprisingly he really enjoyed it. He came home excited with lots to talk about. Ben had a good day but was definitely feeling melancholy about summer being over. He went straight to his best friend’s after school, played all evening and didn’t come home till bedtime. Oliver told me his new teacher was really nice and at the bedtime he told me his favourite part of the day was school. So,first day, a success.
It’s a new era people. One that I thought would never ever come and then all of a sudden it was here. 

Let’s see how it goes! 

Rushing River // 2017

We just got home from our annual Rushing River camping trip. The first year we camped there was just a few weeks before Seth was born, and we’ve camped there every summer since, besides a couple when we were overwhelmed with babies who refused to sleep. For the last eight years we haven’t missed a summer, and we’ve camped at the very same site. It holds a truly special place in our hearts, and it feels like our home away from home, really. It’s a beautiful spot where you’re truly secluded from the other campsites, and you’re right on the water. You can’t see or hear anyone else. The only downside is that the bathrooms are FAR away- at the very least a long walk or a short drive. Everyone’s pretty used to peeing in the bush (and Ivy sure doesn’t mind taking a poop in there too) but we still end up driving to the bathroom at least a couple of times a day. We don’t mind though! And so far no one’s pooped their pants….;)

Over the last few years we’ve added a night to our trip every year, and this year we stayed for our longest time ever, five nights.  And we had just the greatest time. We almost tried to extend our trip a night, but we have a lot coming up in the next few days so decided not to. The weather was just absolutely perfect except for yesterday when it rained all morning, and then again in the evening, but even that was fine. 

We did all of our favorite hikes, of course. This was also the first year in a long time that we brought Dotty, and she was so so good. She even taught herself to swim while we were there. And oh she was so so close to catching that squirrel! It just taunted her all week, to all of our amusement.

We had a tonne of fun on the paddleboards again this year too. Seth spends so much time on the paddleboard- he just loves it. The rest of us all took turns paddling around together too. Oliver and I went on a long paddle and stopped to explore along the way. Poor guy didn’t quite make it up the rock face and fell right into the water but I scooped him up and he recovered just fine. Oliver spent so much time wandering around on his own, especially on his favorite island. We can see the island from the beach and he just hung out on there while everyone else swam and played. We dropped a snack off for him a couple times and he was perfectly content.

Ben and Ivy were the only ones brave enough to jump off of the dock and they did over and over again. Ben really probably had the best time of any of the kids this week. One day he said, more than once, that he was having the best day of his life and that he was just so happy. What more could a mom ask for? I just love it. 

This was the first summer Neil and the kids got in the water near the rapids and floated down river a bit. Ivy is seriously so brave, I just love her for it. And Ben too- he used to be afraid of almost everything and now he’s just up for anything- I’m just amazed at him, and so very proud.

We’re already dreaming about next year’s camping trip. Every year gets better and better as the kids get bigger and we can do more and more things (and as they can do more and more things on their own!). 

Rushing River, we’ll keep setting our alarms five months in advance to book our favorite site, just so we can spend a few days with you. We love you THAT much. 

Also, it has to be said that I’m becoming a wizard with a cast iron pan over an open fire. This year’s smashing success was donuts. Oh my goodness were they ever good. Definitely going onto our regular camping menu rotation (as well as onto my hips.) The kids also loved the oatmeal I made for breakfast- I made it with peaches one morning and with apples and  cinnamon another. So yummy! We cooked every single hot meal this week in that pan and they were all delicious. But the donuts were definitely my favourite. 🙂

Till next summer, Rushing River. Peace out.

On not marrying close relatives.

While driving home from Winnipeg today Oliver started singing in the back seat. His song went like this,

“I’m gonna grow up and have weird babies!…..

Because I’m gonna marry my cousin!”

I laughed so hard, obviously.

I know I barely blog anymore- I’ll blame it on Instagram- but this just had to be documented.

I wish he’d never grow up because the things he says are just constant hilarity right now. Although I might be safe to assume that the hilarity will just get better and better as he gets older. I’ll just have to wait and see I guess! For now I’ll just keep listening and laughing! 

Oliver :: Seven

On Sunday we celebrated Oliver’s seventh birthday, Captain Underpants style. I made capes for the kids, Oliver drew a big Tippy Tinkletrousers on our chalkboard, and my good old pinata-making brother-in-law made a gitch pinata. Oliver REALLY wanted an underpants pinata, and, not-surprisingly, those don’t seem to be readily available at the party store. Uncle Adam to the rescue! The kids thought it was the absolute best. It was hanging out on the deck, and every new kid that arrived got taken straight outside- “come see Oliver’s pinata! It’s hilarious!” It was perfect. It always does my heart good to see my little introvert surrounded by all his friends, who, judging by their birthday cards, really seem to get him and his sense of humor. It was such a great day.


Oliver had so much fun and received so many great presents- art supplies, lego, and books. I love how excited kids get to give their gifts. Oliver read every card and all the kids were cracking up at some of them.


Did you notice- there were GIRLS at Oliver’s party! So fun to have a mix at a birthday and I think this may have been our first every birthday party where the guest list wasn’t comprised solely of boys. One of the girls even wrote “love you he he” on her card for Oliver. Neil and I had a good little chuckle. These lovely children ate the Captain Underpants cake almost all up, an then had a great time whacking at the very-heavy-duty pinata. It was so much fun.


We ended the day off with a quick trip to the ER for Ben, who cut his foot on a sharp rock and needed four stitches. He didn’t cry even once, and really didn’t even waiver from his usual happy face, throughout it all. He even watched the doctor put the local aneasthetic in his gaping wound with hardly more than a mild teeth-clenching. I was super proud of him. Honestly I think he was just enjoying all the extra screen-time.

Yesterday we skipped school to hang out for Oliver’s birthday. We were planning to head to the Narcisse snake pits but the weather screwed up those plans. Neil took the afternoon off work and took the boys to see Guardians of the Galaxy 2 instead. Oliver played with his lego and puzzles and pile of new Captain Underpants books. He had a great birthday. I can’t believe he’s seven now. I feel like he might always be my baby. He’s my boy baby and Ivy’s my girl baby, although since Ivy is often more independent I probably consider Oliver more of my baby than I do her.

He’s such an amazing kid, my Oliver. His mind works in such an incredible way. He still spends almost every waking minute drawing or writing at the table, although now that he is a reader, he can be found curled up with a book fairly often too. He’s not much of an outside kid, but lately I’ve been convincing him to go outside just to sit on the deck and read. He’s also finally mastered the bike, and is very happy to go biking whenever he can. I’m so happy he’s got the hang of it!

He’s still planning to be an author when he grows up, but he’s also leaning heavily to being a massage therapist too. He is very interested in massage therapy and is always offering to give massages (of course he loves to receive too!). He has designed a logo for his own massage place (msos dot com- “massage” is a tricky word to spell!). He has made us countless gift certificates for free massages although he recently started charging 50 cents a session. He can give a pretty good massage but be warned- he WILL massage your buns when you least expect it!

Oliver’s tender heart is my favorite thing, although it leaves my heart on edge so much- just worrying over his heart. Neil and I definitely don’t worry about our other kids the same way we worry over Oliver. He’s so sensitive and gentle, and I just never want to see him hurt. He would never, and honestly HAS NEVER, hurt anyone on purpose. Never. I’ve basically never had to discipline him for anything. He would just never do anything to offend or hurt anyone. He’s just the sweetest child and I feel like my heart could just burst open I love him so much.

Anyway, happy birthday my dear Oliver. Being your mother makes me the luckiest person ever.


ps when Oliver turned onetwo, threefourfivesix! And just for fun, his birth story (it’s a good one!).

Sitting here in my favorite spot on the couch drinking coffee, watching Ivy draw at the table, and I can’t help but feel like I just want to let this moment sink deep. I want it to go somewhere in my brain where I can easily access it again, years from now when she’s a teenager doing whatever teenagers do. But in reality I know I’ll totally forget it, it’ll be a vague distant “what was that even like?” kind of feeling. That’s why, instead of scrolling through my instagram feed, again, I’m just stopping and documenting. 

I want to remember how we spent the morning signing school agendas and home reading forms; packing backpacks and discussing middle school orientation with Seth, recess-time plans with Oliver. How Ben was so excited about the new underwear I bought him last night. How Ivy asked Oliver to teach her to draw, and how he happily obliged. How I helped Oliver turn his shirt around so it wasn’t backwards, like I do almost every morning. How Seth talked about what video games he wanted to play after swimming lessons today. 

I read something somewhere that struck such a chord with me- it said “it’s not that you want more babies, but you want more time with the babies you already have.” Yes, I do! I want more time! But there’s no more time to be had, and so I’m working on slowing down more, on making the most of the time we’re in.

The other night when I was tucking the bigs in, I prayed with Seth and kissed him goodnight like usual. He looked so content and full of love, like he always does, that I climbed into bed with him and just laid there with him for a few minutes. He held me beside him (he’s almost as big as me now!) and held my hand while I laid there, and I felt like I couldn’t remember the last time I did that. Why do I rush to get those kids tucked in as quickly as possible, like it’s a race to “free time”? Honestly of course by 8pm I’m more than ready for some free time, but I need to remind myself how fast these years fly by, and try my hardest to slow them down!

Anyway, end of emotional rambling. I think with middle school AND kindergarten coming up this fall I’m feeling the feels extra hard right now. I feel like I’m in a near-constant state of lump-in-my-throat, tears-prickling-at-the-back-of-my-eyes emotions. Who knew I would be such an emotional softie when it came to my kids growing up? I’ll tell you, four years ago I wouldn’t have guessed this would be me.

So, may I never forget what it’s like to have little bodies that sit at my table and cover it with countless papers, pens, and markers. May I hold them close and hold them long. 

Oliver’s drawings.

I feel like Oliver’s been drawing basically nonstop since he could hold a pencil. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the first thing he does when he wakes up is reach for a paper and pencil, and it’s usually the last thing he puts away at the end of the day too. He fills every spare minute he can with drawing, and I just love his work! He crams so much amazing detail into every drawing he does. Lately he’s been adding a lot of misspelled words, too, which I love. He does his six year old best. 

These are a few of my favourites from the last couple days:

He’s been reading Dog Man all week and he just loves it. He ordered one off Amazon (with his mom’s help of course) and read it in a day, and now he’s reading one of Ben’s. He still reads solely out loud, stumbling along and asking for help when he doesn’t know the word, or just skipping or making up the words.  I just love it. At the end of the book there’s a “how to draw dog man” section and Oliver clearly aced that lesson. I posted one of those pictures on IG and the author of the book left a comment- so cool for Oliver (and me too!).

Those are Oliver’s mock up logos for a BMX shop. He’s a leftie so he occasionally writes his letters in reverse. I told him he may have a career in graphic design/branding.

That little guy at the end of the first line of that comic strip just kills me.

That pose! That’s A.B. Pronounced “Abby”, like “abs”- like a six pack who’s a guy. 

Here’s another picture of “Ab Man” and his “Abby Sidekicks”. I die. (Still working on getting “b”s and “d”s straight when writing.)

The “ab-y sidekicks” are actually just little six packs with arms and legs!! His imagination runs deep, that’s for sure.

And this last picture is just a school project, but I still love it.

I love that the things that make him lucky are 1) his pets 2) his family 3) his home and 4) fruit. Oliver lives for bananas. If we are out of bananas, life is not complete, so it’s only fitting that he drew a bowl of fruit. 

Oliver is starting art classes in a couple of weeks and I’m really excited to see how that goes. He’ll be learning all kinds of new mediums and I’m curious to see if he’ll like them, or if he’ll just want to stick to good old paper and pencil. Either way I really can’t wait to see what he creates.