19 September 2011

Hard Times

I have been in a bit of a downcast mood lately. Although, I am really working hard at staying positive. In addition to a lot of technical difficulties lately (hence the lack of photos), it has been a very busy and stressful time.

 I have two weeks left in my current semester of classes and eight assignments left to write...I am having a very hard time coming up with a story for my next assignment (they all end up really depressing and not fun to write...). I always seem to end up with a large amount of work to do at the end of each semester, possibly due to my tendency to procrastinate. Or possibly due to the fact that I have a husband and four kids to take care of and I am usually moving or something else equally life changing at the same time. Probably a combination of the two. I don't like having so much to do in so little time. But, on the bright side my student loan has just been approved for my next batch of classes. Once I finish those I only have to apply for loans one more time before I finally finish my degree. The next batch of classes also finishes off my third year courses and begins my fourth. I can finally see the end of a very long (but rewarding) process.

My hubby has been working (ie. going to school) long hours, which was expected, but still very difficult. We all realize (kids included) how important it is for him to finish this degree and we are all learning patience, but, we really miss him.The bright side of this is we have been more diligent in using our time together well and not wasting it. Time apart also emphasizes to all of us how much we love each other and how important our family is.

The kids are back at school and seem to be enjoying it. But, we are all having moments of REALLY missing home school. The kids have each had their days of not wanting to go and wishing they were back at home and I miss them every day. But, I am loving spending one on one time with the youngest. Every morning as we are walking hand in hand back to our vehicle after dropping the kids off, he looks up at me with a big smile and says "mommy, just me and you!". Our days are designated "just me and you" days and have been really special. My youngest son has been the least affectionate of my kids, but during "just me and you" times I get lots of hugs and kisses and lots of "I love you so much mommy". If it wasn't for the obvious benefits to my youngest (and me) I think I would have pulled the other kids from school. So far they have come home with lots of tales of playing lego, playing on the computers ("we are allowed to go on any sites we want at school! I got to watch youtube for a really long time!"), colouring, playing outside on the playground ("even during school time!"), etc. I am happy that they are having fun, but....I do hope they actually start learning something soon. I tend to get a little frustrated with the school system. But, I am trying hard to give it a chance...although the message I left for a teacher to call me last week has yet to be returned...

And probably my number one stress is something that stresses out a lot of people...$$$.
We have been living below the poverty level for quite a few years now. But, we have been very fortunate while my husband has been in school to have had very low or no rent due to our generous parents who have provided homes for us to live in. For the first time since he has been in school we are renting from somebody other than a parent and living in Vancouver the most expensive city to live in in the country. We are definately feeling the difference and are on very strict food rations. I have tried very hard to feed my children well over the years to build good palates and it has been great. My kids love eating things like spanakopita and calamari, vegetable curries, pasta with swiss chard, ricotta and lemon. Lots of things that most kids don't like. Now, we are on a VERY tight food budget that doesn't allow such things. I am working with about 10% of my usual food budget. In some ways this is good and it gets my creative juices going (I still refuse to buy and live off boxed macaroni and cheese). I still cook from scratch but am running out of uses for large russet potatoes (20lbs for $3.99). I have also been forced to bake bread almost daily which is something I wanted to do anyway and have truthfully just been to lazy. The biggest problem living in the city with no money is all the shopping that surrounds us...there are too many things to want! We are learning how to be thankful for the things that we have, because really, when you look around the world we could have so much less.

Life IS stressful and right now it IS hard. But, I am learning a lot. I really believe that our times of trials can help us grow and become better (or if nothing else they help us to appreciate when times are going well).

One of my favourite quotes is by Anne Frank who said, "Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy". I like to think of this whenever I am feeling a little down; because really, I have so much to be thankful for.

17 September 2011


I am not sure why, but for some reason computers and I have not been compatible. I bought a new computer a few weeks ago and this past week, it died. I think I was the lucky recipient of some sort of virus. After a three hour phone call with a computer tech I was able to reconfigure my computer and make it new again. Unfortunately, I once again lost everything I had saved. Unfortunately I had not gotten around to backing up the new photos and essays yet, I wrongly assumed that since the computer was so new, everything would be okay....sigh.

My advice for the day...back up files on a daily basis.

12 September 2011

Happy 100th

This is my 100th post...

photo courtesy of my amazing hubby

I found it interesting as I looked over the past 99 posts to see how much life has changed in such a short time. I started writing less than two years ago and in that time I have lived in three very different places. I spent a year homeschooling my kids (which I loved and my children had varying responses to). I canned a lot and didn't bake as much as I would have liked. I have crawled closer to the end of my degree...5 1/2 years in and counting. I have greatly increased my collection of transferware dishes and vintage kitchen items...which reminds me I need to take some pictures of the items more recently acquired. I have read a lot and have had a lot of fun playing with my camera.

I have learned that while changes can be (very) stressful at times they also teach us a lot about ourselves and what our priorities are. I am still learning but getting ever closer to figuring out what I want to be when I grow up. I am just trying to figure out how to fit the dreams and wants of six different people into one family life. I think that is the most difficult part of trying to follow our dreams...getting our dreams to work well together...but we have been working on that too and have almost figured everything out.

We are all learning and experiencing new things as we keep moving forward towards our goals and fulfilling our dreams. I can't wait to see where I am 100 posts from now!

07 September 2011

Looking East

This week our family has been feeling a little nostalgic.

 Maybe it's the craziness of my hubby's hours (he had a few days that lasted until 2am in the studio)...

maybe it's the beautiful September weather that still feels like summer...

it could be that we were stuck in the house for a day and the boys were getting restless and I may have mentioned once or twice how nice it was to have a large house with room to run around...

perhaps it was visiting the local beach and the only sealife we found was 20 or 30 tiny crabs and they were all dead (no hermit crab racing here)...

or maybe it's the fact that Lobster season is over and we didn't have any this year (all but one of us thoroughly enjoyed lobster seasons for three years).

 But, everyone in the family has been missing the Maritimes.

All of us.

 Every day for a week.

 I can't seem to get away from it.

 I pull a random book off the shelf and it is "Above Atlantic Canada", I grab another and it is Anne of Green Gables.

I turn on the TV and Chef Michael Smith is cooking "at home" in Prince Edward Island.

I apologize for the lousy phone photo, but that is me and my daughter and chef Michael Smith in PEI.

 I walk into the kitchen and my daughter is looking at photos on the labtop, scrolling through the past few years...


and to top it off, just for fun I pulled up the MLS listings for our current location with homes starting around 1.5 million for a fixer upper...switch to the Maritimes and a similar house will set you back less then 100 thousand. With 1.5 million you can buy your own island or hundreds of acres, or an estate. I do love Vancouver and think the next few years will be a great adventure for our family. But, I am still dreaming of my farm...

and maybe some lobster.