Category Archives: vacation

quality time

I value quality time with those I love.  Spending time together is worth more than any store bought gift, in my opinion.

This weekend was one of those weekends where we didn’t have anything pressing to do.  Being a long weekend on top of it, we decided rather last minute to take a trip to the zoo.  Since it is a three hour drive each way, we made sure to get up nice and early.  We packed up the cameras, water bottles and music for the drive and away we went.  We always stop for coffee and breakfast before leaving town.  It’s just what we do.  The kids eat while I drive, and I have my caffeine fix.  Sometimes they fall asleep on the drive, sometimes we all sing along to whatever song is playing.  Sometimes they read.  It’s always enjoyable no matter what.

I’ve come to crave these little day trips.  The adventure of getting away, of taking a trip unplanned.  Just drop everything and go.  Sometimes these are solo trips if the kids are not home that week, but I love the ones where they come along the most.  It’s good quality time well spent.  On top of that, my eldest had a chance to continue developing his photography skills in a different setting.  He’s getting very good at it, and I am very proud of him.  But there’s something to be said for getting away from home for just a little while.  A change of scenery.  A little excitement.  Spending time outdoors, and believe me, we were out there walking around and enjoying the sun and the setting for a good five hours at least.  These are the little things that they will remember as they grow into adults.  These are the things I will remember as they grow up and move on to live their own lives.  I will know that they will have those happy memories to draw upon.  They will have that influence for how they might like to live their lives, and should they have children, to do what they enjoyed as kids for their own.

Quality time.  I read somewhere that you have 18 summers with your children before they are grown.  This is what I’m doing with my 18.

the beginning of a new chapter

There is something to be said about spending a little time to reset yourself. A little ‘me time’. Solitude can be cleansing. This week I have spent time doing what I felt like doing. I took a couple road trips, reorganized part of my home, visited the farmers market, spent quality time with a special someone, and did a photo shoot for a dear friend whom I adore.

I woke when my body was ready, often still before 7am.  I practiced yoga. I meditated. I enjoyed a lot of time outdoors in the beauty of nature. I took it in, drank it up with my eyes and soul. I marvelled at her wonder in silence.  I appreciated the harmony of life in nature, as it is intended.

I feel a renewed sense of energy; a shift, as I prepared myself for the new opportunity that has begun for me.  I feel blessed for this new chapter, and I am ready for all it brings with it.

uniqueness

I find it rather curious how we all become individuals based on our experiences and the way our lives unravel.  During this recent trip back to see my family, I think this is the time when it really hit home for me.  I looked at how my sister appeared to me and compared how I viewed myself (and how others have described me).

This is what I saw:

My sister is the typical soccer mom.  I watched as she interacted with all the other soccer moms at my niece’s game.  She fit right in.  She is slow moving, like nothing is ever a rush.  There isn’t any reason to be in a hurry or rush off anywhere, and her body language shows it.  She also carries extra weight (not that there is anything wrong with that or that I’m criticizing it, just an observation), and her slow motion seems to be accentuated by that.  She drives a Mercedes.  She works if she chooses to.  She has a husband who provides for the family.  She lives a life of leisure, has a social life, and spends the summers at their lakeside cottage.

I am nothing like her.

I am a hard working, often overtime working single mom.  I have strayed from the materialistic way of life (due to the fact that my ex-husband always had to have the most expensive-best-top of the line-keep up with and bypass the Jonses stuff.  While I was never that way myself (he typically had the best and I was left with nothing to spend for myself after providing for the children and him), sometimes it would have been nice to have something for myself.  I have a five year old Jeep that travels everywhere I go, I spend time in nature with my children and alone; I consider the mountains my home.  I am not a soccer mom, nor would I ever fit in with them.  I am a vegetarian, organic, natural and clean eater (mostly).  I am a yogini.  I meditate.  I do not have an expensive home and I most certainly do not have a lakefront cottage.  I have wanderlust, an adventurous spirit, and a camera.  I am an artist and an author.  My dog is my best friend and the one I socialize with the most.  I’ve been called a hippie more times than I care to count.  This term, as far as I am concerned, is a compliment.

I don’t typically compare myself to others because I know we all have our own paths.  It just seemed so obvious to me this time.  I haven’t spent time with my sister in so many years, and perhaps because of this, it became so very clear to me how very different we are.

So I suppose, what I have seen, is that life and experiences really do shape us into who we become.  We had the same upbringing for the first 18 years of life.  Somewhere along the way, our lives took divergent paths; neither one better than the other, just different.

I am grateful for this trip home, for so many reasons.  This is just one of them.  I am also grateful for the experiences (good and bad) that have shaped me into who I am.  I can honestly say that I have earned all I have by myself.  I have nobody to credit for my possessions but me, and my lifestyle is a reflection of who I am beyond monetary and materialistic views.  This is part of my uniqueness.

home is where your cowboy boots are

As I travelled across four provinces and back to visit my family, a few things were noticeable to me. Every province is unique in its landscape. If you pay attention, you can see the differences in the farmland in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The landscape of the Rockies and footlands are distinctly different from the rocky landscape of the Canadian Shield. Even the trees, while similar, still hold their own differences. 

Somewhere along the way, I have become an Albertan. Somehow, particularly over the last four years, I have made Alberta my home. And as I drove the long road back home, I realized just how much I am in love with Alberta landscape and all the variety it has to offer from the flat prairie to the desert badlands to the majestic Canadian Rockies. Somehow, over this time, I have made Alberta my home without even realizing it. I had always assumed that I would in time move once again. But after this realization, I am not so sure if I will. I have a new appreciation for all that I have been taking for granted in my own backyard. 

And I love that here in Alberta, I can proudly wear my cowgirl boots without anyone giving it a second thought. It’s interesting how culture is different from one area to the next. I appreciate all that this beautiful country has to offer, and loved camping in Manitoba near the lake, but now I feel like for the first time, I know what it feels like to truly be home. 

adventure on

My boys and I regularly go on adventures.  Some are big and others not so big.  Adventures take many shapes and forms, but they are all exciting no matter what it is.  This weekend we did our annual dinosaur hunting adventure.  I take them to Drumheller, Alberta every year since we are all dino-crazy.

The weather was not fantastic.  It was downright crappy really.  Cold and overcast, with rain in the night making the outdoor activities poor to nonexistent.  One of our mantras was used excessively this weekend.  If you’re not getting dirty, you’re not adventuring.

We did get dirty.  We also got muddy and wet.  So we spent the majority of this adventure indoors.  Naturally, we had to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum as we do every year.  We love it there.  Everyone should go at least once.

Drumheller is a place where I feel like I’m allowed to let my inner child run wild.  It’s ok to be obsessed with dinosaurs and fossils there.  It’s encouraged even.  I’m sure the local businesses love it because they want you to buy dinosaur merchandise and fossils.  You know, support the local economy and all.  We do.  We drop a small fortune every year, and I am totally ok with it.

Am I sad that our annual dinosaur adventure is over for this year? Absolutely.  But now we get to look forward to the next one. And in the meantime, I have my memories, photos and souvenirs to remind me of the fantastic trip we enjoyed together.