Casual Friday + Cheers to Wolfville

I feel like a broken record but a lot of this week felt…meh. Honestly? At some points, it just felt downright awful. A work colleague resigned which leaves me holding an unexpected suite of responsibilities. Renovations stalled in several frustrating ways. Most of the days were cold and involved rain/snow. Tough social situations remained tough and, in some cases, got tougher. The kids were (or at least seemed) extra whiney/prone to fighting with each other. On Tuesday night I cried at the dinner table and let John handle kid duty while I tucked myself into bed with Magic Bags at 5:30 pm.

It was that sort of week.

Things looked much better Wednesday morning…as they usually do. But overall, I’ve not been loving December. That said, the last seven days included some truly wonderful highlights.

I think we can be afraid to list things we’re feeling grateful for during a rough spell – like it delegitimizes other areas where we’re struggling or makes us seem phony and less relatable?

Listing the items below doesn’t mean I’m not struggling to identify rays of positivity during these – literally and figuratively – grey days. Some days it has felt tough to identify anything at all. But I guess these items are EXACTLY those rays of positivity I’m searching for…so here’s to celebrating the wonderful rays of sunshine peeking through.

GOOD THINGS THIS WEEK (there really were a lot)

  • A friend organized a pottery-painting party last Friday night. I’m introverted and tend to prefer being home in sweatpants on Friday night over anything else and I was, admittedly, less than enthusiastic to shed aforementioned sweatpants…but I am so glad I made the effort. I’m truly fortunate to have such a wonderful network of friends! The host made up little goody bags for everyone with edible treats which were so festive and felt like the proverbial cherry on top – unnecessary, but really elevates the experience of eating a sundae. I didn’t budget my time very well on my painting project and was literally running at the end to beat closing time (I didn’t want to have to fit in a return trip before Christmas)…but I got it done! I’m planning on giving the finished product to someone as a Christmas gift (and this someone happens to read my blog), so stay tuned for before and after pictures at a later date. I’m legit excited to see how it turns out after it has been fired in the kiln.
  • When I left the pottery studio it was snowing and cold (yuck), but the whole town of Wolfville was just so festive it made me feel warm and cozy (on the inside at least; it was cold). Wreaths and light displays and merry messages painted on store windows. When the sun goes down during the Christmas season, our little town looks like something straight out of a Hallmark movie. For more on my love of Wolfville, see below.
  • The next night (Saturday), John was out at an evening event. Without date night in place, I ate Kraft Dinner with the kids. I have not had Kraft Dinner in so long (well over a year). It tasted…delicious, as boxed meals go. Abby loved it, of course.
  • We hand-delivered the rest of our Christmas cards on Friday + Saturday. Abby and I made our favourite ginger cookie recipe, she did up the labels, and I drove the car while the kids hopped out to deliver items to the various doors as needed. We ended up staying longer time than expected with one set of friends. Their house is a treasure trove of unique Christmas decorations and the kids had an absolute blast and were positively saintly by way of behaviour. And last Friday my soup-and-sandwich mentor sent us home with an enormous array of decorated cupcakes. Yum.
  • I’ve loved opening up the mailbox and finding a little stack of Christmas cards most days. I do enjoy that dopamine hit from receiving snail mail!
  • Someone brought (delicious) homemade caramels to a work meeting and gave me the four remaining pieces. I said I would bring them home to the kids but (#emotionaleatingalert – this was the meeting where I learned about the unfortunate resignation) I ate them all myself on the car ride home.
  • We met friends at a park (freezing, but sunny, so I’ll count that as a weather win) and I got to snuggle and play with a best friend’s 1-year-old who is soft and squishy and delightful to watch as he toddles around on his somewhat wobbly, yet very effective, tiny legs.
  • We went to the free movie at our local town theatre on Sunday and it was fabulous (The Grinch – 2018 version). Levi’s best friend came with us (and it happened to be his first time seeing a movie in theatres!). They laughed and laughed and it was pure fun just to watch/listen to them. I did, however, allow myself a quick nap which I don’t think I have ever done at the movies before. The whole walk to the theatre Levi kept his arm around his friend’s back; he is SO protective and it is truly sweet to watch.
  • We put up our main Christmas tree! I was holding out until more renovations were completed (I have horrible visions of the tree coming down when the contractors are banging on exterior walls, so I put bricks on top of the tree stand which are stragetically hidden from view with a Christmas tablecloth), but bad weather was coming and we had a clear, dry day and pounced. We picked out our tree and it was delivered 5 minutes later (thanks, Wolfville). The kids tell me it’s smaller than normal, but I like that it fits neatly in the corner and doesn’t feel like too much extra chaos when we already have enough of that from the renovations! In a week that had a lot of low points, decorating the tree was the high point. The kids were thrilled to see their ornaments and reminice about all the inside stories/little details that make their decorating experience so rich. Also: the kids are just objectively so much better at decorating a tree this year. They put their ornments securely on branches, didn’t put things in clumps; I was mildly sad to not have to rearrange ANYTHING after they were done, but it also feels like a milestone of sorts. They really are growing up!
  • Today was a snowday and the kids did this:
They were outside for over 3 hours!
We also fit in an Art for Kids Hub video on YouTube, which I quite enjoy – there is room for creativity, but someone else directs the lesson. Highly recommend.
  • I did an outdoor run on Monday (first time since 12 November! All the rest have been treadmill which is getting old fast). This feels monumental since the weather has been…crap…lately. On my way back into town, I stopped to take a few pictures of the decorations. They really are phenomenal. A lady I’d never met before (her name is Heather and she was lovely) stopped to comment on how much she loved all the festive greenery around town and we talked for at least 10 minutes about how she and her husband had decided to retire in Wolfville and it made me think (yet again) just how much I love living here!

On that note…

Dear wolfville

Dear Wolfville,

You’re great.

I love living here. I love your walkable, clean streets and festive sidewalks. I love your cafes and your little movie theatre.

I love the Farmer’s Market. I love that we have a wool store (even though I don’t knit, having a wool store just seems quaint and lovely, and I get a thrill when I walk by and see people knitting in the sunny front window). I love that we have used book stores (two!), consignment/vintage clothing stores (three!) and a health food shop. I love that workers at the hardware store know our names.

I love that your library resides inside an old train station. I love that the librarians know me and I never have to show my library card – my account is always keyed up before I make it to the check-out counter. I love that you now have your very own boxcar.

I love that within your borders I can walk to: my children’s school, my favourite coffee shop, my workplace, my doctor/dentist/chiropractor/massage therapist/eye doctor, a medical clinic, two art galleries, two jewelry stores, churches, and so much more. I love that I can walk to get a pair of pants hemmed and the seamstress knows my name (and the names of my children). I love that I can get 95% of my groceries inside town limits.

I love your trails (especially since I can access one of my favourites from within our backyard). I love your parks and that you host free concerts all summer by the waterfront (though I never seem to make it out to any of them). I love your soccer fields and playgrounds and tennis courts.

I love your delicious array of restaurants – from crepes to Mediterranean to Korean fusion to pizza to specialty ice cream parlours to Tim Hortons (how very Canadian).

I love knowing the owners of the grocery store and their whole family. I love that we see our family doctor at school dropoff. I love that the (former) mayor knew our whole family by name, that we knew where he lived, and we’d wave and chat when passing on the street. I love that we exchange cookies with neighbours and they know our birthdays and have backyard marshmallow roasts and street parties (pre-COVID).

I love that you play host to a world-famous food festival, and that your pottery studio is booked for weeks in advance (mostly by groups of university students who spend hours working on artistic creations).

I love that you have hills where our family can slide, ponds where we can skate, and a new waterpark for cooling off in summer.

I love that on a single walk I can see breathtaking cliffs and the ocean and sprawling fields. I love that your soil produces the fruit and vegetables I consume around the table. I love that I can walk to pick apples and strawberries and cherries and plums.

I love that we have our own community newspaper full of local events and highlighting special people in our area.

And this time of year, I love the phenomenal decorations that are so skillfully executed to give this town a wonderland vibe.

I take a lot for granted living in this wonderful town but I honestly wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Thanks, Wolfville, for being one-in-a-million.

How was your week? Anyone else have a bit of an emotional roller-coaster ride? What do you love most about your town/city?

13 thoughts on “Casual Friday + Cheers to Wolfville”

  1. As I read this, I kept thinking “Wolfville reminds me of Whoville!” And then I laughed, because you even mentioned the Grinch movie, your son is drawing the Grinch… it sounds like a very quaint, lovely place to live! How far is it from there to say, “big box” places like…I guess I don’t really know what you have in Canada. Target? Do you have Target? haha. Or like, Home Depot? That’s always my gauge when we’ve ever talked about possibly moving- how close to places like Target?? (Although now, with all the online shopping options, I suppose some of the previously “needed” conveniences maybe wouldn’t be as important anymore?) But it does sound very lovely and I’m glad that you have found a place that you love to live! I always hope that places that like that will be able to survive the increasingly digital and online world. We have a cute little downtown in the city we live in, too, but I’ll admit I’m not as good as I should be sometimes at supporting some of those small businesses!! It’s easy to forget. I also really like our library- though yours in an old train depot sounds super cool. I’m always obsessed with the little towns in Hallmark movies…you’re lucky if you really live in one!

    Your tree photos are adorable, by the way!

    1. What a great question, and something that definitely deserved a place on the list! I guess that is the cherry on top in terms of Wolfville. We’re a little over 5 minutes from a Home Depot, Walmart, Staples, large grocery stores (alas, Target came and left Canada very quickly), medium-sized sporting goods stores, a mall, McDonalds/other fast food chains, DollarStores, PetValu, Michaels, BulkBarn.
      We’re less than an hour from the Halifax International Airport, too, so it’s very conveniently located for travel purposes. We really do think it’s the greatest little town – all the charm, but with easy access to larger town/city amenities. (And, an hour from an IKEA and Costco).

      And thanks for the tree love – we’re really happy with it. A friend came over to join Abby for a sleepover tonight and she said – “Wow, your tree is gorgeous!” Somehow, having that comment from a 10-year old, really made my day 🙂

  2. Oh, this definitely was a grand “feel-good” post 😉 I love the pics of the decorations (yours and the town’s), and your tree looks beautiful! I think it’s beneficial to focus on the positive rays of sunshine during “dark” times. Sure, it may give the illusion that one is ignoring the bad, but I think it’s far more healthy to celebrate the good than to dwell on the not-so-good 😉

  3. So glad you have been finding so many lovely things this month, amid the kind-of-meh things. These are some great photos. I love the 2018 Grinch, it’s so cute and fun. Wolfville sounds like a really lovely place!

  4. Wolfsville sounds like a really lovely place. I wish I felt this way about where we live… count yourself lucky. I am also so glad you found so many positive things this month, even though you said you felt MEH about December so far… goes to show that if you really think about it, even the crappiest weeks usually have some highlights!

  5. Your first paragraph made me feel anticipatorily guilty because I’m considering leaving my job (I’m interviewing for others – it might happen, it might not) and I keep thinking about the huge amount of work that will fall onto members of my team if I do. Argh. I guess all I can do is try to create a smooth transition if it does happen..
    It was so nice to hear you take notice of all the good things around you. I love my town for a lot of reasons and sometimes it’s a worthwhile exercise to take the time to remember it when the days are meh.

  6. Wolfsville sounds SO CHARMING! It’s so different from where I live since I’m in a big city (Minneapolis) although it’s broken out into neighborhoods that are charming but that’s not quite the same as a smaller town where a librarian can pull up your account! So sweet! I like to think about where we will retire because I don’t think we would stay in Minneapolis. I like this city and it’s a great place to live during your working years but I wouldn’t want to retire here. I’d want a small, quieter town with access to hiking and things like that. And I loathe our weather honestly! It’s nice from Jun-Oct but not so great besides that! But my husband doesn’t even like to talk about where we would retire because he is not a planner and doesn’t see the use of talking about something so far off that will likely be dependent upon where our kids settle down!

    I can echo your sentiments about December feeling very meh. I had Will’s 1y appt on Friday and found out he has another raging double ear infection – his 2nd in a month. He’s been sleeping poorly and has been crankier and more clingy than usual but I figured it was his molars. You’ve left such kind and thoughtful comments sympathizing with this stage of life. Your ocean wave metaphor was so spot on. I feel like we just keep getting pummeled by wave after wave and I have no reserved patience or energy these days! But there are good moments and this post inspired me to do a list of good things sometime this week. Because there really are good things if I stop and think about it!

    1. Oh no – not another ear infection! There are always good things, but we might have to look extra hard during the stormy season and you’re definitely in the middle of one of the hardest types of storms with sick little ones.

      Hope things calm down soon and everyone is feeling better and stays healthy over the holiday.

      I can definitely see us retiring here BUT the weather is not my favourite from Nov – April. I can definitely see have a small place somewhere warmer for the winter? The cost of living is pretty low here (compared to big city centers in Canada), so I would definitely consider splitting our time during retirement to allow for warmer winters. We’ll see. That is a loonnggg way off still, but for now we really do love where we live 🙂

  7. *starts googling Wolfsville to see if, perhaps, there is somewhere I can work nearby*
    Seriously, I want to come to your town. Heck, based on this, I’d love to LIVE in your town. This is what I want – but unfortunately, I haven’t (yet) found it. With one exception – and even then, I was only part-time in the small town – I’ve been stuck in large and medium sized cities for, well, a while now. And I crave a small town. I’m so glad you realize how wonderful your home is! (And, maybe, I can take a page from your book and find wonderful things about where I am, even if it’s not, well, perfect… )

    1. It IS a university town! You might manage to find the right fit – stranger things have happened.

      Also, just to be clear it is Wolfville (Canada) not Wolfsville (which is in Maryland, I believe)? I’m sure Wolfsville is nice, but doubt it can be as great as Wolfville!

      Hope you manage to get to that small-town oasis you’re looking for at some point. We really do love the pace of life, but I realize it’s not for everyone. I actually LOVE spending time in big cities, but it’s hard to beat walking to school and waving to your family doctor en route and having her say hello by name and asking how your kids are doing.

  8. What a lovely love letter to the town you live in. As I said earlier I would love to visit it sounds amazing.

    Hope you December picked up a but and the weeks got better. However it seems like hardly anyone was in a real festive mood and December was a bit MEH for many of us.

    1. I have to admit it DID make me feel a bit better that everyone seemed to be struggling to get into the festive mood this year. Everything just still felt so different, even moreso than Christmas 2020 for some reason.
      We still have our Christmas tree up (it’s January 2nd) and I’ve got Christmas music playing. Usually I try to move on from the holiday things right after Christmas, but I’m forcing/letting myself indulge since it all felt different this year, and it has been nice to enjoy things into January.

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