22 June 2012

school and a break

I have been very overwhelmed this semester with readings, essays, and exam preparations. Sometimes I feel like maybe I am too old, or maybe I have too big of a family, or maybe I am just a little bit crazy. Most likely it is a little bit of all of the above. When I throw in a major move every semester or so I really start to think I have gone a little loopy.

I have eight days left in my semester...four and a half assignments to finish and two exams to write. (I am exhausted just writing that by the way). There are moments when I feel like I may have an anxiety attack and there have been a few tears when I think about how I am not being the mother/wife that I would like to be this month. I have had my doubts and have questioned why I am torturing myself? I do not have to do this. It is costing me money that I do not have. And to be honest I don't even know what I am going to do with this degree when I am done.

BUT...I have seven classes to finish after this month. I have always wanted to further my education and didn't have the opportunity to finish when I was younger. I want to learn and I know that without the deadlines I would find too many other things that need to get done and would put it off. (Note to self: notice the procrastination theme...).

For the next eight days I need to focus on my classes...I need to finish this for me. I don't want to give up. I want to continue to move forward...to where...I am not quite sure yet. And then I want to take a few days with my family to just enjoy their company and nothing else...

so I will be back in about two weeks...

see you then!

13 June 2012

End of Semester Blues...

This morning I remembered that it has been awhile since I have made a post and writing one seems like the perfect way to procrastinate writing the essay I should have finished weeks ago.

I am very quickly reaching the end of another semester and this time as I look at the books and think about the essays and exams that are left to write I am having an extremely hard time. There is almost no part of me that wants to do it. I feel done. I am so tired. I have been working on my degree for six years and will have six classes left once I finish the ones I am currently working on. I am so close...but I really feel done. I miss my family. I miss having time for my kids and husband and kitchen...there are a million projects on my to do list. I really want to just relax and enjoy the nice weather before it gets too hot. (I am really hoping for another mild summer...I have discovered that the house we are living in holds heat really well. I am getting nervous...soon the thermometer will pass the 30 degree C mark and head for the 40...I am not ready for that yet). *sigh*

But ~ I know I only have six classes left...so close to finishing my degree...next year at this time I will be done and I will have completed a goal that I have had for a really long time. I am learning something new on a daily basis which I really do love and I am setting a good example for my kids which I think is really important. I will be finished this semester in a mere seventeen days and then it will be summer break which I am thoroughly looking forward to. At the end of the month my husband will also be finished his group of paintings that he has been working on every almost every night (when he hasn't been working) for the past few months (he has a big solo show late summer/fall). July will most likely be hot...but...my family will be together and we won't be rushing to meet deadlines.

I know all these things...but I still want to procrastinate.

oh how I wish this was me!

07 June 2012

School Morning Breakfasts

My family loves the idea of full farm breakfasts. (Last year I read Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder to my boys and I think they were most impressed with what Almanzo ate). Often when I ask them what they want to eat for breakfast, they respond with "sausages, bacon, eggs, pancakes, waffles, PUMPKIN PIE!" And yes, they do mean all at once. Now, since we do not live on a farm with our own meat and eggs and we are not all heading out to a day's work of heavy labour that might warrant such a huge intake of calories all at once, our breakfast is usually a little more simplified. 

Especially on school mornings.

(I really miss homeschool mornings when we didn't have to rush out the door and I could spend a little more time in the kitchen making something warm and yummy for my family).

I am not much of a morning person and rarely get out of bed before six...I just can't seem to make myself into one of those moms who can get up hours before the children to get everything organized for my day. I've read about those moms who get up at 4:30 or some other crazy hour to have their alone time, go for a run and then have everything all organized and ready to go when the kids wake up. That is definitely NOT me. I am lucky if I can drag myself out of bed before 6:30. My hubby heads to work early and is usually out the door well before seven and I am left to organize the masses on my own. 

These days the kids' breakfast usually consists of a bowl of cereal or a piece or two of toast. Honestly, some days are so crazy they are lucky they get breakfast at all. A few times a week I do manage to pull something out of the oven, usually scones or muffins that can also be used to supplement the lunch boxes. But, on those rare occasions (usually when I haven't been up until midnight doing homework) when I am feeling awake and in control when 6:30 rolls around I like to make pancakes.

The kids always love those mornings. My hubby usually makes the pancakes in the family and many week-end breakfasts have included Dad's yummy fluffy white pancakes. But, school mornings call for something a little more filling and nutritious. So, I started making "school morning pancakes". The kids fill up on a warm breakfast and I get to pretend that I am a farmers wife out on the prairie. I love days that start this way...

School Morning Pancakes:

In a large bowl whisk together:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup oat bran
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Brown sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp salt

In a small bowl whisk together:

2 eggs
2 Tbsp canola oil (or melted butter)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. Heat a non-stick frying pan or cast iron griddle, grease if needed and spoon batter onto hot pan. Flip when bubbles pop and edges are starting to cook. Serve with pure maple syrup and butter (if desired).

Makes about 18

05 June 2012

Patience and Perfection

I am always amazed at how much I learn from my kids. I think the first thing they taught me is how to have patience...a lesson I apparently keep needing to learn!

My kids have improved my patience in so many ways. The best way that I have learned the benefits of patience is by watching my second son.

He has always been the type of kid who watches and studies. He is not afraid to practice and practice and practice something until he gets it right. Most of my kids (like their parents) tend to get frustrated when something isn't perfect the first time they try it. Often, if something doesn't come naturally or easily, quitting seems like the easiest and most desirable option. No use embarrassing yourself when you don't need to...I have been struggling with this tendency my whole life. I want everything to be perfect and if I can't do it perfectly I don't do it or else I only give it a half effort so if I fail I can tell myself that I didn't really try so the failure doesn't really count...which of course it does.

I realize that this is a terrible attitude and I have really been working on changing this over the past twenty years or so...

 and I have made huge improvements. Every year, I get a little better. Watching my second son has really helped. I see that the more he practices the better he gets. I notice that when he is determined he eventually succeeds. He is not afraid to fail many times before getting it right and he seems to know instinctively that he will get it eventually. This year he has learned to whistle, snap his fingers...

and stand on his head. He has almost perfected the splits as well.

I am always amazed by his perseverance. I am so grateful for all the lessons I have learned from my kids and for this guy who shows me almost daily that it is okay to fail because that is the only way that I will ever come close to perfection.

03 June 2012

Davison's Orchard

Friday morning after dropping off all the kids at school I decided to take my youngest up to the local orchard to play for a bit.

For some reason, I always feel guilty taking him to fun places without the other kids because I don't want them to miss out (and I also know that they will not be happy when they find out what they missed!) I don't know why I feel this way. We had so much fun hanging out together for some "just me and you time".

The weather wasn't great and it was early so we were the only customers there for awhile. Mr. Davison the owner came over to talk to us and when my boy was too shy to share his name, Mr. Davison decided to call him Fred and gave him a free cookie. When Mr. Davison asked if he could offer me a dollar to keep "Fred" - I (of course) declined, but "Fred" said okay... I think he really wanted to live at the orchard, be a farmer and eat cookies all day.

My baby will be five this month. He's growing up so fast. He starts school in September and we have very few days left with just the two of us. I am trying to enjoy our last days like this together.

I have been taking my babies up to the orchard since my oldest was an infant in a stroller. Davison's has   always been one of my favourite places to visit.

Each year it seems to get bigger, busier and a little more touristy. Now when I go it is usually early on a week-day morning when it still feels like a farm and not like an amusement park.

Even though it can get very busy, it is still a working orchard with three generations of the Davison family working together.

That is one of my favourite things about the farm. Generations working together on the family farm: keeping it active, keeping it relevant, working together and giving others the opportunity to get out and see where food is grown. I love that. I want that.

While I am waiting to realize my dream of having my own family farm (that may or may not ever become reality) I am grateful that I have a place to go where I can take my kids and teach them about where our food comes from and where we can spend time with some animals and play outside. 

My baby's approaching birthday has really made me think about how fleeting my time with my kids is and how quickly they are growing. I know I need to take more time to enjoy their smiles and laughter because before I know it they will be grown. But...I don't really want to think about that just yet.