Sunday, 25 October 2009

Antiquing....Montessori Style!

A month or so ago, my dear mother came to spend the day with the kiddies so Hubby and I could have some much-coveted adult time. This past summer, our family travelled to Londonderry, Nova Scotia to pick up a couple of baby chicks at Active Life Farm. It had been years since we last visited this region of the province. Our quick day trip gave me the itch to venture back to the area for a leisurely day of poking around. Before the arrival of Chi-Chi and Muffy, Hubby and I spent quite a bit of time exploring this beautiful part of our province. It's perhaps not as well-known as the South Shore or the Annapolis Valley, but with it's untouched raw beauty it is definitely on my list of most magnificent places to visit.

With Mom's generous services booked for the day, Hubby and I hit the road for a day of sightseeing, antiquing, eating and uninterrupted conversation - a true luxury in these parts! With no little ones in tow, we spent a few hours poking and sifting through the various antique shops in the area. We came home with a fabulous deal on a screen door for our home. Though we were apart for the day, Chi-Chi and Muffy were in our thoughts and apparently on my shopping list as well. I stumbled on a solid wood, vintage high chair for a mere $14! I took a triple take on the price tag and snatched up this awesome deal. Though the children use their own child-sized table for breakfast, lunch and snacks, we always dine at the family table for supper. This chair gives Muffy the boost he needs to sit properly at the table. Now we just need to figure out how to get the ants out of his pants so he can sit still!

I also came across this old medicine cabinet and thought it would be a perfect fit in the boys' bathroom. We hung it at an appropriate height for the wee ones. Though it might look rather strange to an outside observer, it's simply perfect. In no time, Chi-Chi had it filled and organized with all the toiletry essentials - toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant (!) and a stuffed monkey. I think it gave him a sense of independence in the bathroom and I notice he is taking more care in his grooming efforts as a result. I've now made plans to hang child-height mirrors in several locations throughout our home. Why had I not considered this before? I was always using step stools instead of bringing items down to their level. It looks like my Montessori Makeover remains a work in progress!

So, it was my "day off" and it seems all we did was talk about the wee ones. Ah, but at least it was uninterrupted...such a luxury indeed!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Tales from the Pumpkin Patch

When the cool autumn air blows my way, there is one place in the world I simply need to go - the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. Truth be told, it holds a special place in my heart any time of the year, but the fall harvest season seems to pull at my heartstrings the most. It's a bit of a second home for me and has been a place for making memories for most of my life. From summer horseback riding camp in Granville Ferry, to university days at Acadia, to my wedding in Grand Pre, the Valley has been a constant for me. Luckily, my parents moved to the area three years ago and there's always a vacancy at "The Inn" at a very fair price!! Last week, I found myself in need of a dose of Valley air. With Hubby away for the night, the wee ones and I packed up the old car and headed to Nanny and Graga's for a quick, but fun-filled adventure.

Every now and then, I find myself in a situation so perfect and wonderful that I want to freeze time. Ironically none of these moments ever fall into those cliche "greatest days of my life" categories. Though key moments such as my wedding and the birth of my children were incredibly joyful, they were also filled with anxieties (and great pain in the case of the later!!). These moments of perfection, where I find myself in a state of calm contentment and joy, are rarely pre-planned and just seem to unfold naturally. In the last few years, these special times seem to occur when watching my children experience pure joy, wonder and amazement over the simplest and most natural things. Chi-Chi's first time pond skating last winter comes to mind. A family walk this past summer along the sand bars of Youghall beach was another such perfect moment in time. Our recent visit to a local pumpkin patch also falls into this category. My parents and I took Chi-Chi and Muffy pumpkin picking at Willowbank Farm. Since we were visiting on a Friday, we had the pumpkin patch to ourselves. We went home with a trunk load of pumpkins, much more than anyone could possibly need. I simply didn't have the heart to stop Chi Chi's enthusiastic harvest. He was hauling them on his shoulder back to the car faster than Graga could load them! After the picking, we strolled along the edge of farm fields for a nature walk. It was a blustery day as Chi-Chi and Muffy ran, squealed and danced in the whirlwind of falling leaves. Children provide such a fresh perspective on the simple joys in life. I'm so lucky to be able to spend so much of my time with these two sweet boys who open my eyes to simple pleasures on a daily basis.

Our fun didn't end at the pumpkin patch! Once we arrived home, I went into Montessori Mama mode and set up a great practical life pumpkin washing station for the boys. This was a batch of very dirty pumpkins I tell you! The next day, Daddy got in on the action and helped fashion a cute family of pumpkin people to greet visitors on the front step. We've still got lots leftover for Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns.

So, with the Thanksgiving Weekend nearly upon us, I'm in the mood for a bit more Valley air. Of we go again for another dose of beautiful surroundings, great company and my mom's fabulous turkey dinner.