Three to One

This week has been exceptionally quiet around our home.  Well, our home for the summer.  If you remember, we are staying at my dad and stepmom’s home while we wait to move into our new place at the end of August.  So, it has been exceptionally quiet around our temporary home.  Our two oldest kids, Caleigh and Blake, left to go to the family cottage on Monday.  They are spending a week on an island on Georgian Bay.  A week full of swimming, canoeing, boating, kayaking, crafts, bonfires, roasting marshmallows, hikes, picking blueberries, and more.  I’m missing them like crazy.  We fit well together, this beautiful family of ours.  I love though that they get these adventures on their own.  I have no doubt they are enjoying every moment of their weekend up north.

I'd say they're having fun.

I’d say they’re having fun.

We have Maggie with us.  Just 21 months, it would be hard to convince many people (including grandparents) to take her overnight, let alone for a week.  Having just her, being a family of three for a few short days, takes me back to the first couple of years when it was just Tom, Caleigh, and myself.  It’s quiet.  There’s more significant one on one time.  Earlier bedtimes.  Earlier to rise.  A more relaxed schedule.  Easy and quick to get out the door in the morning.  No one complaining what’s on their dinner plates. Less mess.  Less of the beautiful chaos.  But above all, it’s quiet.

And this week, happily and selfishly, I relish quiet.

For instance, right now, Maggie is taking a nap.  I have the entire house to myself to do whatever I want.  I could nap. I could workout.  I could read.  I could journal.  I could garden.  I could just sit.  It’s so lovely to have that freedom for a couple of hours.  I made some tea and read for a bit and then recognizing I still had time, I’m writing to you.  Hello!  It’s nice to connect once again.

Coming off such an intense and intimate weekend as I did, it’s good to have this quiet.  It’s good to have the time, uninterrupted, to just be with my thoughts.  Re-committing to my morning power hour means that I’m dragging myself out of bed in the morning (up at 5:10 today!) but once up, it’s provided me the opportunity to work through the emotions and experiences from my retreat, in solitude.  I’ve been able to mentally process, put thoughts down on paper, and then read through those notes.  It brings a smile to my face when I think of the people I connected with (so grateful for each and every person I met on that island) and the personal growth that I had.   But it also makes me take a deep breath as I reflect back on some of the experiences.  Remind myself of the vulnerabilities that were exposed, both mine and theirs.  Accept some of the stuff that came up in my head as things that were no longer serving me and had in fact, been holding me back from living a more full and authentic life.  And finally letting go of the self-limiting thoughts and beliefs that were deep to my core.  It was a deep weekend.  A very, very deep weekend.  One that I am so very grateful for and that I put every intention into the universe to be a part of again next year.

And now I get to focus on what lies ahead.  The path that I get to carve out for myself.  Just writing that fills me with a tingly feeling of excitement.  It’s unknown, unwritten…but yet it feels familiar.  It’s like I’m coming home.

This week was needed.  The quiet was needed.  As much as I missed my kids, I will be the first to admit that I loved being away from them for a few days.  I think had I written that before learning what I did last weekend, I would have erased it and started over.  I would have re-wrote it so that it didn’t sound as though I was happy to be away from my kids.  But the truth is, I was.  I was thrilled to have a break.  (There, I said it.)

So, I will finish up and enjoy the remaining moments of solitude before Maggie wakes up.  Later on today, we’re headed up to the cottage ourselves.  And while being away from my kids was refreshing, I also can’t wait have them run down the dock and into my arms, when I pull in this evening.

Until next time…

The quiet days in between the busy days

So, last week a little busy.  We had THIS.  Then THIS.  Then we spent the night of Caleigh’s birthday at my dad’s place which was filled with the kids’ excitement of not being at home.  Then the day after we had another child’s birthday party followed by carving six pumpkins (five Ryan family members plus the dog’s….don’t ask).  The following words come to mind: loud, busy, fun, colourful, sugar.

Come Sunday evening, I was exhausted.

I literally sat on the couch last night, feet up, wine in hand, and watched a movie without having any idea what it was about.

So today I did pretty much nothing.  I had a quiet day.  I bailed on CrossFit (although did a home workout that lasted about 30 minutes, I just didn’t want the whole gym experience that I normally thrive on).  I wore yoga pants all day.  I laid on the couch and watched a movie with Blake and Maggie.  I visited my mom and stepdad with the kids.  When Caleigh got home, we made bracelets out of elastic bands.  I did a few loads of laundry, baked some muffins, and made dinner.  It was all very laid back, relaxed, and lovely.

These are the days that I need and love (the quiet days), in between the other days that I need and love (the more full days of adjusting and kids activities and everything else that comes with life of a family of five).  The quieter days that, when I lay my head down on my pillow in about a half hour, I smile.  These days leave me feeling rested and grateful for my family, my health, and our ability to provide such a lovely, full, wonderful life for our kids.

It is about having an appreciation the small things like scooping out muffin batter to make the easiest by design muffins with my son as he squeals with delight when the batter plops perfectly into each muffin cup.  Or like watching Maggie laugh hysterically as her older brother and sister run around in circles, convulsed in their own laughter.  Or like watching Caleigh fall in love with her latest obsession, the Rainbow loom bracelets.  Enjoying a glass of red wine, listening to a great mix on Songza, and now writing my blog post about it all.  It was all just great, every moment of it.

And now, I’m going to bed.



Down time

So, after reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain, I have confirmed that yes, I am an introvert.  It probably comes as no surprise to anyone who knew me growing up.  I’ve learned to “come out of my shell” in social situations as an adult but for the most part, I’m content to stay at home, read a book, and be with my family and close friends.

September is our busiest month of the year.  We are at the Home Show this weekend, our annual appreciation BBQ is next weekend, I have a couple of workshops I’m presenting during the weeks, and of course we’re knee deep in back to school chaos.  Oh yes, and I am now three weeks away from Tough Mudder.  So, just a few things on my plate to keep me busy.

To keep me sane I am carving out time each day for down time.  I have my morning power hour which starts my day off right.  But I’m also creating time during the day to just enjoy silence.   Ahhhh, silence.  No kids.  No husband.  No dog.  No other people.  No music.  No TV.  No phone.  No computer.  Just me in either a quiet room or outside somewhere alone.

It’s sublime and it allows me to “be on” through the rest of the month.



I created a new hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. Okay, I may not have created it but I started using it. #3DaysNoKids

“I was just at ChaptersIndigo and didn’t make a stop at the Thomas table. #3DaysNoKids”l

“Why, yes I did take a 90 minute nap with Maggie earlier this afternoon. #3DaysNoKids”

“I haven’t done laundry in two days. #3DaysNoKids”

“I don’t have to share my bacon this morning. #3DaysNoKids”

“I am heading to the gym this morning and didn’t pack 3 snacks & 2 water bottles! #3DaysNoKids”

Apparently I got over this for a while. But I still miss them. With all my heart. Looking forward to tomorrow night when I get to read them bedtime stories again!


It’s Quiet Around Here

My kids left this afternoon to visit their Papa & Gemma up at their cottage through Friday.  Well, the two older ones did.  Maggie stayed with us.  Something about a breast-feeding baby stops grandparents in their tracks when it is (jokingly) suggested they take all three for a few hours, let alone a few days.

Caleigh and Blake piled into the car with Gemma and off they went, waving and shouting their “byes” out the car window.  Maggie and I went inside, where she promptly fed and fell asleep.  I made myself a salad and sat down on the couch.  In silence.  In the middle of the afternoon.  It was wonderful.

However, it hadn’t been twenty minutes when I had the twinge of “oh, I miss them”.

I feel like I should be relishing the quiet.  Revelling in the silence.  I have no doubt that over the next three days there will be time when I can read without being interrupted.  I can cook an entire meal in half the time because of a lack of “help” and serve up dinner without the first response being “but I don’t like zucchini”.  I look forward to workouts at the gym that aren’t temporarily stopped by yells of “Mom, I’ve got to pee!”.  I ponder what it will be like to drive from point A to point B without stopping twice for bathroom breaks. I might even go shopping and not worry about stressing out when someone decides to begin an ill-timed game of hide and go seek amidst the clothing racks.

And yet, I will miss them tonight at bedtime.  I will miss tucking them in.  Reading them stories.  Going through our routine.

And I’ll miss Caleigh’s soccer game on Thursday night.  Watching her run like the wind for the ball, in the hopes of scoring a goal.

I’ll miss the next few breakfasts where we talk about what we dreamed about last night and what our plans and goals are for the day.

Oh, and Caleigh’s second tooth is so close to falling out.  I’ll be excited for her yet sad if she loses it while away.

I just find it remarkable that I was so excited to get a few (nearly) kid-free days to ourselves and then the moment it happened, my heart sank a little.

It’s just so quiet around here.