Category Archives: Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

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Nostalgia (Weekly Photo Challenge)

I still remember that hazy, summer Prairie smell that you don’t know unless you’ve lived it; a mix of gravel-road dust, ripening barley and canola, lush poplar leaves and the sun baking everything together.

Our farm was a kid’s paradise. My mom and dad planted each little stick of a tree before I was born. By the time I was a little girl there were row upon row of willows and spruce joined by vast expanses of soft grass.

The summer I was six we built a deck on the back of our house. The builder left a space open to crawl underneath, the best hiding spot ever for a couple of kids on summer break. The lush grass was our carpet and we shimmied ourselves under the fresh boards to play, our dog Rosie following us in to see what all the fuss was about.  We’d look for dropped nails in the grass, triumphantly holding up the ones that could be saved for fixing our tree forts. Usually a cat would wander under the deck too, sliding up and cuddling in, grateful for the company down at her own level.

My Barbie pyjamas and my brother’s Star Wars ones had permanent grass stains melded into the knees that summer.

As the shadows got longer and bedtime approached we’d blend into the yard and not create too much of a fuss so my mom would “forget” we were still awake. Sneaking into the garden to crack open fresh pea pods and graze through the raspberry bushes was the perfect bedtime snack. That summer and the ones around it are the ones I remember as cementing my relationship with my brother. We fought like the wild kittens that hid in the wood pile but we were usually buddies when no one was watching.

My daughter is barely two but I can already see an us-against-the-world attitude forming between my children. “Come on, little baby sister! Let’s run in the sprinkler!” or “Where’d my big bruver go?”  The sibling rivalry is here too…the fights, the screaming and yelling over the same toy. The pulling and pushing and hurting that are all a part of it; practice sessions for the school playground when I’m not there to jump in and rescue.

It’s a whole new perspective, being the parent and not the kid; the one enforcing the rules instead of the one pushing against them. The haziness of summer blurs the line a little between parent and child. The sprinklers are on and faces are sticky with ice cream as the warm sun drifts down and the clock ticks past bedtime.

I don’t know which summer moments will stick in my children’s memories. I’m blessed to watch their own stories unfold, as mine did years ago under the deck in the soft grass.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Companions

Companions

My blog has been quiet. My son finished preschool last week so I have two very constant, very busy companions with me all the time. Funny how just nine hours a week of preschool gave me a slight amount of sanity. 😉

The good news is that my kiddies are suddenly realizing that they have a constant companion and a built-in buddy who is always ready to play. I’ve found myself actually watching from the sidelines a few times, enjoying being the observer instead of the referee (for a few minutes, anyway).

I didn’t really get what a sibling would do for my son. It’s only now, that my daughter is two, that I am seeing the life-altering impact of siblings, the way they carve and shape each other’s personalities. Another post for another day.

I forgot my camera today (Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting)

This was taken yesterday. :)

This was taken yesterday. 🙂

I forgot my camera today.

I watched two sets of chubby little-kid hands thrust out to get stamped by the lady at the petting zoo admission desk.

I stretched back into the cool grass beside my daughter and marvelled at four nests full of squabbling herons.

I forgot my camera today.

I heard my son’s giggles as he flung broken fish crackers and Baby Mum-Mums into the beaks of greedy ducks because we forgot the duck food.

I played hide and seek behind majestic trees, laughing because my little boy had his bright red hat on the whole time and was so easy to find.

I forgot my camera today.

I saw my daughter’s delight as she brushed old goats, pet baby mice and laughed at squirming piglets.

I smiled as my son argued with another five-year old; both trying to be captain of the playground ship.

I forgot my camera today.

I laughed and laughed when my tiny daughter repeated “doggie poop! doggie poop!” over and over.

I watched my two babies crouch together beside a pond, my son reaching into the murky waters to pass his sister a feather.

My boy and my girl and their two little backs, little arms, side by side, best buds in this fleeting moment.

I forgot my camera today.

Weekly Photo Challenge: In the background

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My children’s favourite playgrounds aren’t made of metal and hard plastic. They aren’t painted with garish primary colours. They don’t conform to the latest safety regulations. They aren’t surrounded by rings of houses, fences or busy city streets. They don’t have swings or slides or monkey bars. There are no crowds.

My children’s favourite playgrounds have hundred-year-old trees to climb and crawl inside. They are painted with the colours of nature: green and brown, gray and blue, a million different colours. Thousands and thousands of rocks are waiting to be picked up and flung into rivers, lakes and the ocean. Herons, woodpeckers, sea lions, sea otters, crabs, raccoons, squirrels, woodpeckers, ducks and fish pop up at the most surprising moments in the strangest of places.

There are places to hide, places to run free and places to curl up and rest.

The trees stand guard, in the background. Always there and always green, their shadows unmoving as the children dance among them.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape (To the beach)

Escape to the beach

The beach is her happy place. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: From Above (Hands)

Hands

My baby girl is approaching two. Her favourite stuffie is her “Dollo.” Dollo was a baby gift from a dear family friend. My daughter attached to Dollo quickly.

On Facebook the other day a friend of mine was lamenting the fact that her three-year-old son was still very attached to a special blanket. She was pleased that her son could sleep in his own bed and use the potty. I think she saw the removal of the blanket as the next box that needed checking off in her son’s life.

I slept with my special blanket until I was sixteen. I still know exactly where it is: in a bag, in a box in my parents’ basement. I can still smell it and feel its worn softness against my cheek. It was my constant companion and comforter against scary monsters and sleepless dark nights.

The fact that my daughter has her own special stuffie doesn’t surprise me. If you look closely at the right side of the picture you can see Dollo’s tag sticking out. My daughter strokes that tag over and over as she falls asleep. As I rock her I can tell she is nearing sleep when her tiny fingers slow, pause then finally stop, in their daily ritual.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up (A Mountain)

There is a mountain behind our house. My children aren’t quite big enough to climb it with us, but in the afternoon the gate opens up so cars can drive almost to the top. Once we park, there are two different trails that head straight up; one to a cement look-out point, the other to some high rocks. A few weeks ago my son and I headed out on a mommy-son day and I took him up the mountain for the first time. Once at the top, he came alive, yelling “This is fantastic! This is amazing!” as we looked way down at the awesome panorama of mountain, ocean, forest and green…always green.

Up

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color (Looking for Worms)

Looking for worms

It was a warm, rainy day. The children were restless in the house. They’d played with toys, watched a show on TV, played with Playdoh and eaten countless snacks.  They started chasing each other around and around the circle on our main floor and I knew it was time to get outside. After little A’s nap we bundled up in heavy-duty rain coats and headed out.

My daughter loves worms, and calls them “nerms,” which is adorable. When she finds one, she picks it up in her bare hands, runs to me, holds it up and proudly announces “Nerm! Mommy! Nerm!”

Her big brother had the idea to put them in the back of a plastic truck, and a new game was born. Soon, they each had a truck and were racing around our cul-de-sac seeing who could find the biggest worm, the smallest worm, the wiggliest worm, and on and on.

I love giving children the space and time to come up with their own games. It’s tempting to sign them up for more classes to fill our (sometimes long and arduous) days but moments like this make me grateful that I am at home with them for these very short years.

I’m not giving anything up by staying home. I’m gaining so, so much.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense (Waiting for Cookies)

Waiting for Cookies

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