How many weeks can I complain about feeling unsettled by our current lack of routine? Apparently at least two.
This was yet another week that felt off-kilter as we hover between the routines of spring and summer. I had a small epiphany at one point – I think the main reason I find these in-between phases so challenging is that I am a Finisher. I get immense satisfaction from finishing a task, a bottle of shampoo, a long hike, a good book. And despite having many irons in the fire, almost everything is stuck at the In Progress stage. I had a series of work tasks that were 75% completed…but now require waiting on feedback from colleagues. School is still in session…but every day has a different event that requires unique planning (send sunscreen and extra water for field day; don’t forget the pancake breakfast on Friday). Packing for vacation can’t happen until right before we leave…but toiletry bags are sitting half-filled on my dresser.
Nothing is finished.
It also rained at unfortunate times. I was scheduled to attend a (free!) introductory tennis lesson on Monday. Postponed. Soccer practices were canceled. Our narrow window for some renovation work was eclipsed by damp weather (yet another item stuck on the In Progress list). So we twiddled our thumbs (proverbially), knowing in a few weeks life is going to be hectic and full to the brim.
Oh well – it can’t all be sunshine and daisies (and finishing tasks). But we did in fact enjoy plenty of sunshine and…er, rhododendrons…over the last week.
Let’s do some Nova Scotia #joyfinding. This province never fails to provide a beautiful backdrop for adventure-seekers!
Early in the pandemic we ventured out to Chebucto Head Lighthouse and happened to discover an adjacent nature reserve and trail. Since we weren’t planning on a long family hike that day, we opted to turn back at the halfway point (it was late afternoon, we had no snacks in the backpack…and Levi was 5).
Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to return (it was actually an unmet goal of mine from 2021). When the kids had a day off school on Friday, we decided to seize the day.
It’s not an easy walk – lots of quasi-treacherous cliff terrain and other areas with waist-high brush and boggy puddles. But it was a lot of fun and the kids love this sort of interactive hiking experience.
It was only about 6 km roundtrip, but it took a long time to avoid puddles and navigate the rocks carefully!
There are a number of anti-submarine bunkers from WWII stationed along the hike and, at the end of the trail, you can see Sambro Island Lighthouse (circled in red) – the oldest operational lighthouse in the Americas (circa 1758).
After that adventure, we came home to make cookies. We are, ironically enough, a family of nicknames. Each child has a number of random nicknames to which they will answer and further to that, both kids have developed specific nicknames for each other. Abby, for instance, has a nickname she assumes when she is pretending to be Levi’s pet dog who, it turns out, was celebrating a birthday last weekend. Who knew?
Cue the requests for a party.
If you hadn’t guessed, I’m not the “let’s do a party for a make-believe human-dog” sort of Mom. But Abby wisely tempered the request by asking for cookies instead of a cake. We made said cookies together because she isn’t, it turns out, a dog turning 3 years old but has opposable thumbs and knows how to operate an electric mixer.
Somehow candles made their way into the event; it was fun and delicious, but I drew the line at organizing party games and gifts (yes there were requests for both).
I’m awarding myself a sheet of gold stars for this one.
FLOWERS + cherry cheesecake
Saturday morning was unusually configured. I did an early-morning grocery run and then we went to a local community-wide yardsale (shuttered for 2 years due to COVID, this used to be a huge event in our local area). Abby bought two things for a total of $.75, so no big spending from our family.
From there, both kids had been invited to the same birthday party, a rare occurance! While the kids were playing games and eating cupcakes with other pint-sized humans, John and I ran a few errands and picked up some (quite good, relatively speaking) grocery store sushi for an impromptu lunch date at a local agriculture research area known for its impressive collection of rhododendrons. We enjoyed a quick stroll of the grounds. The kids would have been bored, so it was nice to fit this in without any grumbling.
By the time we got home in the early afternoon, I felt exhausted. I relaxed with a steaming cup of coffee and thoroughly enjoyed 2 hours of solitude while the kids did “Quiet Time” in their rooms for the first time in what feels like forever. Levi told me afterward he had done 200 situps during his quiet time. I guess that’s one way to spend two hours in your room?
I was feeling restless (shocking) and a friend of mine was available for a walk. Because of divergent vacation plans, we won’t see each other for almost a month, so it was great to fit in some time together.
When I arrived home all the shoes in the entryway (under renovation and in a constant state of chaos) were completely organized. I almost cried from sheer happiness and relief. And THEN I looked up and saw a cherry cheesecake on the counter.
My birthday was low-key since we were in the US. John asked what he could do for a belated celebration at home and I said: “I just want a cherry cheesecake.” We bought ingredients together, but I left the timing up to him and I was NOT expecting him to complete the whole process in the hour or so I was away on my walk.
Coming home to this – and the kids + John singing Happy Birthday – was delightful and I’ve enjoyed every single bite of that cheesecake (I shared the bare minimum I felt was required of me as a decent human being and slightly resented even those meager offerings).
the lake + the OCEAn
Sunday was one of those perfect June days. Hot and sunny, but still technically spring so it feels rebellious to be out doing summery things.
After church we came home for a quick lunch, tossed towels and some food into the car and headed out.
Despite living in Nova Scotia for almost 15 years, I had never visited our area’s most popular public lake. It wasn’t officially open (so no lifeguarding), which meant the crowd was small. We spent a few hours playing in the water (I never went past my knees – it was COLD); the kids befriended another girl and they chatted and splashed in the water and played fetch with a friendly Chocolate Lab.
From the lake we headed to the ocean and one of our favourite local lighthouses – Margaretsville. This time we didn’t even go to the lighthouse but headed right to the shoreline where friends had organized a going-away-beach-bonfire for mutual friends who are moving across Canada. There were about 15 of us in total and it was great fun to roast hotdogs over an open fire while all the kids roamed the beach and generally had a great time. We came home tired and smelling like sunscreen and wood smoke.
one last (solo) sabbatical hike
John and I wanted to fit in one final solo hike before the kids get out of school. Yesterday morning we made it happen. Cape Blomidon is one of our favourite local destinations and it has a great trail system. Hard to believe this view is only about 30 minutes from our house (it does require hiking 1 km straight up the side of a cliff, but it’s so worth it)! We did about 12 km which helped offset my restlessness a bit.
In other news:
- Levi got a haircut. It always makes me sad when he loses his golden locks but they grow back fast. Also, a sweet bonus: he is a dream client for our hairdresser and sits stoically and/or talks seriously about whatever topic the hairdresser brings up. It melts my heart every time.
- We spent an hour reading picture books one night. The kids resisted at first and I felt like my reading life was passing before my eyes. As in this is it – my kids are officially done with being read to. But then I started reading (despite complaints) and they kept asking for more and more and more. Our favourites were these two: Corduroy is a classic but I hadn’t read it in years, and they both really enjoyed Put Yourself in My Shoes (the illustrations/characters reminded me a lot of James and the Giant Peach).
- We’re all happy (and relieved) to see the end of the school year – it’s time for a break! – but it’s also bittersweet. Our morning walks have felt extra special; the kids are growing so fast and these commutes to school have a limited shelf life in our family routine…
Your turn. Anyone else struggling with the “Hurry Up and Wait” stage of spring/summer limbo? Did you walk to school when you were a kid? Have you gone on any fun local adventures lately?