Monday, May 26, 2014
The trip to Rathtrevor in some senses was a success. We were able to introduce Finn to his other grandparents, I was able to visit a friend who had recently had her second baby and we were able to give camping with two children a test run. We had planned to only be there for one night just in case it was a disaster (which it was).
The drive up the island is long. Any mother knows that listening to her baby wail in the backseat is heartbreaking and for me, it's something I just can't do. In all honesty though the frequent stops to nurse and cuddle were a relief for us all. We visited the Whippletree Junction, enjoyed the views on the Malahat and had snacks at the feet of the giant Gnome. Both kids fell asleep just as we entered Parksville and pulled into the campsite.
The Rathtrevor campsite is so nice. It's right on the beach but the individual sites are nicely covered by woods. They have a lovely playground for children to play and a simple biking park. The bathrooms are also really clean and warm. This feature is particularly appealing to the parent who visits the facilities with her children almost every hour. I also liked that we could walk to the beach from our site, so there was no need to pack the kids into the car again.
When we got there April and Jon set to work setting up the tent. April loves to feel important in processes like that. She took her role as pole builder very seriously. Unfortunately, it wasn't until we were all set up for the night that we realized the air mattress had a hole in it. There wasn't much to do about it at that point so Jon and April had a rather rocky night (in more ways than one). We started a modest fire and April helped Jon pop some Jiffypop over the fire.
Finn at first had trouble settling so he and I took a walk on our own down the beach. The tide was far out so we had plenty of sand to explore. We could hear a seal barking out on the water and birds such as eagles and ravens calling. It was peaceful. Finn was quiet but alert. The beach was soothing for him. And once Finn was finally asleep he stayed asleep all night.
April, however, woke at 4am and would not calm down. She screamed hysterically for 20 minutes, being sure to wake anyone in the sites near ours. When I finally got her calm and took her to the bathroom, she decided she was up for the day. We turned on her Martin and Sylvia Sparkle Stories in the hopes that the rest of us could sleep more but the only one that got away with more rest was Finn.
After such an early rising, the rest of the day was difficult to say the least. April was so tired she had little interest in exploring the amazing beach at Rathtrevor. She decided she simply could not carry her bucket, the sand was too wet, there were too many crabs (which she then decided she must destroy), she needed to visit the washroom but couldn't walk and that the playground was more fascinating than the beach. We all resigned ourselves to being very tired and called it quits. We very slowly started the journey home.
I'm not quite ready to give up on camping with my young children. Being out in nature really recharges my brain and gets me back to where I need to be to parent my kids. I know April loves it too but she is still not the best when it comes to bed time and doesn't have the awareness to be quiet for others. I like we will wait until the end of the summer to try again.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
The whole process of turning the office/craft room into a baby's room started weeks before Finn arrived but we really underestimated the volume of stuff we had accumulated in that room. By the time Finn was born we had only managed to clear half of the stuff from the room then fill it again with baby items. For weeks after his birth we worked slowly at transforming the little room into a space for our new baby boy. While it is still not completely finished (it needs a coat of paint and a few shelves removed) it is complete enough for Finn to spend time in it and for me to share it with you.
As we did with April's baby room, we took inspiration from the Montessori philosophy for design. We used the organic cotton crib mattress for a floor bed again. We also added the mirror so he can watch his own movements. The bed is covered with a beautiful first nations design wool blanket they got for April a while ago. We also hung a mobile for him. Today it is an upcycled mobile made from old bird study books.
Above the bed we hung those sweet orange lantern lights we found at Target and a little nature alphabet poster from this Etsy store. We tried to keep the art in his room rather simple. Beside his bed we mounted a wood spice rack from Ikea to hold a few board books and above that a simple watercolor postcard in a lovely wooden frame (from here). Again in Montessori style we kept both at child height.
Finn's change table was set up on top of a wooden stand made by my grandmother when my mom was young. I really love the color of the wood and the open design. I really prefer to store baby clothing and diapers in baskets. By the change pad we mounted some black and white woodland art cards from Wee Gallery. Finn loves them! He is always wide eyed and completely enamored with these cards art changing time.
The room has always had these wall to ceiling built in shelves. I had planned to remove them but that was a lot of extra work. Instead I use the top shelves to store hats, shoes and toys not in use. The lower shelves I used to display baby toys and Finn's board books. And right beside the shelves is his closet. I must admit the closet is more storage for all of us than just Finn. To save room I just mounted a vintage twin bed sheet as a curtain instead of the bifold doors that were originally on it. I love this sheet. It reminds me of the tall grass in forest fields in the summer.
Finally we used an old wooden crate from Michaels turned on it's side as a place to put Finn's CD player and store his CDs. He doesn't have many; right now we are mostly just listening to Puntamayo Dreamland and Raffi Quiet Time. He seems to love music though so I might have to expand his collection. You will notice that he has a wooden rocking horse in his room already. It's mostly there for April to use when we spend time in there but a little bit because it's a challenge to store.
I love Finn's sweet little woodland room. When we designed April's baby room we tried to be neutral in our design and we tried to do the same with Finn's room. We took inspiration from nature and did our best to keep the room simple. The room will evolve as he grows, just as April's has, and I will try to update as we change and grow.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
There are a few things coming up in the garden and still more to plant. I managed to protect the broccoli sprouts from the birds this year. The kale and radishes are looking wonderful. We have tiny carrot, beet, chard, quinoa and potato sprouts coming up. And the garlic we planted in the fall looks amazing already! I cannot wait for fresh garlic.
I am happy with my perennials too. The strawberries were off to a slow start this year but it looks like we will get a few. The raspberries were moved this year and I was a bit worried that we had damaged them in the process but all are leafing and look health. One of my rhubarb plants seems to have gone to seed this year which is a totally new sight in our garden. I'm not sure what to do. If I cut it back do you think it will produce again in the fall?
The blueberries, pears and cherries look very very happy this year. It will all be a matte of protecting our fruits from birds and bugs until harvest. We have already had to remove a large tent caterpillar nest from our apple tree and the pear leaves look worse for wear. The birds are always a challenge too. They ate our quinoa sprouts to the ground so we replanted and covered them this time. My mother got us a plastic owl to try to deter the little trouble makers but they aren't fooled.
Everybody else who calls our garden home is enjoying the flowers and warm weather. The bees have already swarmed (twice), the chicks are out with the other hens and Zooey is a big pile of lazy bones these days. I hope the garden continues to grow and produce as well as it's been so far. The sun helps, that is for sure!
Friday, May 9, 2014
Thursday, May 1, 2014
One of my favorite childhood memories is flying kites with my brother by the beach in the summer. I knew it was something I wanted to share with my kids. Last years kite adventures were a total flop, literally. The kite I thought was such a score at the thrift store fell apart in the wind. So for April's birthday I went to the science store and got a proper kite. April loves rainbows so this tie dye one was screaming her name.
As she is only three the thrill didn't last forever but when she got that kite up in the air it was pure joy on the little girls face. She was jumping up and down beside herself that it was flying. There we stood, the 4 of us, watching April with her rainbow kite against the blue sky. It was the peace and joy I had been dreaming of when April was just a baby. Simple joys but profound.