A different perspective.

Two days left in 2018 and all I can say is – thank goodness. I mean really – did anyone have an amazing, super awesome 2018?!? If you did – good! I’m glad someone did 😂

Maybe it’s because I’m getting “old”, (I’m hitting my mid-life stride, even though I still feel younger than what my age says) but after the craziness of this past year, and who am I kidding 2019 will still be crazy, I’m wanting to be more intentional with my time, and my space. So here are some of my musings as we go into this next year.

Live more. Go on more adventures, by myself, with friends, with family. Explore more and see more of this beautiful country we live in.

Take it all in – the good, the bad, the in between. Life is full of lessons – what we do with them and how we learn from them is up to us.

Read more, learn more, listen more, love more.

Be more aware – of who and what gets my time, energy and attention.

Give more – more compliments, more smiles, more hugs.

Worry less. About other people’s opinions, and things I can’t control.

Less stuff, less clutter, less things, less social media.

Be present. In the lives of those who mean the most to me. More meaningful conversations, more memories made.

Sounds like quite the list – but I like a good challenge and I’m looking forward to see what this next year brings.

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Just your average Hockey Mom

You’ll see them pulling up to the rink in their black or silver SUV’s or navy blue, silver or red Minivan – Bass pumping – 99.9% chance it’s AC/DC’s Thunderstruck you hear that’s making the sliding doors on the van vibrate. The back hatch opens up and all you see is doors flying open, kids climbing out and a whirlwind of hockey bags, sticks and water bottles making a beeline to the door of the rink. The team bus van pulls into the closest parking spot, the two front doors open (because Hockey Mom’s LOVE to carpool) and there is your first look at the classic Canadian Hockey Mom. Chances are she’s still singing/humming Thunderstruck (or my personal favourite Down With Webster’s – Time to Win), travel mug filled with Coffee and Baileys creamer in one hand, fleece blanket draped over one arm, the “Mom Bag” slung over one shoulder, and her kids forgotten water bottle in the other hand.

If for some reason you don’t see her pull into the parking lot – walk into any small town Manitoba rink (and I would speculate it is very similar in any province) and you will be able to pick her out. She will be wearing the official hockey mom attire – skinny dark jeans or black leggings, paired with either knee high brown leather boots, Blundstones, or runners, hoodie, puffy vest (Columbia winter jacket if it gets really cold), and the ever present black leather mittens. Accessories vary – she could be wearing an infinity scarf, touque, and if you are lucky you will find one who is wearing a pin-on button with a picture of her little hockey cherub on it. They will almost, always be standing in a circle talking about the weather, how cold/hot the rink is that they are in, any new ideas on how to get rid of the “hockey stink”, and if they should get a mocha to drink before or after the 1st period, and the quality of the rink coffee.

Black leather mitts ✔️ fleece blankets ✔️

If you want to know anything – ANYTHING – about hockey in rural Manitoba just ask a Hockey Mom. Best food, worst food, coldest rink, rinks that are licensed, cleanest dressing rooms or just rink cleanliness is general, best tournaments to attend, where not to stay on overnight trips, where to stay on overnight trips, driving times to any rural rink and/or Winnipeg sports complexes – ask a hockey mom. She will tell you about her experiences and will bring into the conversation reliable witnesses (other hockey moms, and occasionally a hockey dad).

Each team also has specific Hockey Moms
The Medical Hockey Mom who is basically a walking pharmacy and is probably a nurse in real life. Tylenol? check – Advil? check –  Bandaids/Polysporin/gauze/splint/eyedrops? check, check, check, check, check (and that’s just in her purse – crutches are in the vehicle)
The Backup Hockey Mom who has thrown in extra socks, jock, under armour, elbow pads, water bottle, skates in 4 different sizes, a couple of siblings that could fill in on short notice,  and just about any other piece of equipment that can be used as backup for any kid who might have forgotten to pack something.
The Snack Hockey Mom – your kid will never go hungry – she will have fruit, veggies, Gatorade, muffins (options of full gluten, no gluten, paleo, vegan and keto) – and coupons to any fast food restaurants in the vicinity of the rink. She is the queen of negotiating group meals at sit down restaurants and will make sure the players get their meals first. No one goes hungry on this hockey mom’s watch.
The Lucky Hockey Mom – probably the most humble and quiet person you know, and you can’t help but like her – but there is an invisible horseshoe tucked in somewhere on her. This mom will win the 50/50 draws every other game, a looney stick, at least 2 or 3 prize draws at tournaments, the lottery, a brand new car, trip to Cabo and free canteen shifts.
The Updating the Missing Hockey Moms Hockey Mom. If for some reason you can’t be at a game or tournament this mom will update you on the score, the quality of the ice, the intelligence of the refs, how dirty the other team is and a complete stats analysis of your child’s play on the ice. These updates will be sent via Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and Text – or any combination of said social media. There is no sugar coating – it will be like you are right there watching the game! (And you very well could be if she’s streaming it live on Facebook!)

These women will literally wake up at the crack of dawn, feed their children cliff bars breakfast, load them up and drive them to where they need to be to play a sport they love. They will travel any distance, and in any type of weather to watch their kid. They will cheer and clap every single game. They will also be ready to give a death glare, and a few choice words (with back up from her fellow hockey moms) to any other hockey mom/dad from the opposing team if they’re being idiots unruly and to the officials wearing stripes if they have misplaced their glasses for the game. Don’t mess with hockey moms they are always fully caffeinated and can go from Suzy homemaker mode to full on Mama Bear mode in .02 seconds.

Now, I write this because I am a Hockey Mom. Some of my best friends are hockey moms. We have travelled together, have spent weekends together, have celebrated wins together and have driven home together in very quiet vehicles after tough losses. There are days when we have to be a hockey mom to more than one kid and to each others kids. But we wouldn’t want it any other way. To you Hockey Moms who are just starting this journey – buckle up – it’s quite the adventure! To you Hockey Moms who are in the thick of it – games/tournaments/skills – enjoy every minute – even the exhausting ones. To you Hockey Moms whose babies are all grown up and might not be playing anymore, you are always welcome to come to the rink and watch ours, it might not be the same – but hey – there’s always enough fleece blanket for one more to sit down and cheer for our kids.

What’s in a Name

I called you Grandma and you called me Joey, and it has been one whole year since I’ve heard you say my name. The last time I saw you – I got a small squeeze on my hand and one last smile on your face when I leaned in and whispered “I’m here Grandma, it’s Joey”. There are a handful of people who are allowed to call me that -Joey- and anyone else who tries to call me Joey will be informed that that specific nickname is reserved for certain people. Those people are close to my heart just like you. And I don’t know why it bothers me when I hear other people calling me that – but it just seems wrong when it isn’t someone that is on the short list. Your favourite people had nicknames – and it’s something that I find myself doing as well – giving my favourite people nicknames. And I do it whether they like it or not – just like you. They learn to love it because it is said with love. So this morning, while I drink my coffee I’ll smile as I remember you and I’ll probably cry a little because out of all the voices that call me Joey – yours is the one that meant the most and the one I miss the most. Till we meet again – love you lots – Joey

On the Road Again….

It’s that time in our family where the meeting of winter sports meet summer sports.  Our oldest is still playing second season hockey and has started ball practices, our middle is still prepping for her karate grading  and has also started her ball practices and our youngest is just dreaming of seeding fields on the farm – oh and his ball starts this week! My husband is going over the farm machinery, checking fields and looking after all the details for spring time work and seeding on the farm. And here I am prepping my piano students for May exams, coaching Ally’s ball team and basically organizing and scheduling our crazy life for the next couple of months.  Honestly – I wouldn’t have it any other way! We are all doing what we love to do and even though we might seem like we are going in 8 different directions at once – I do enjoy some of the one-on-one time I get with the kids because we are going in different directions.

There are a couple of things I do – prep-wise – that keep us going in the right direction.  A visible weekly schedule  – I had a fancy schmancy dry erase monthly calendar but honestly it wasn’t the best. It was overwhelming to look at the whole month as opposed to just a week at a time.  SO I pulled out a piece of paper and put it in a page protector. (Ya I’m crafty like that)   I fill it out weekly with a dry erase marker – with Manitoba weather chances are ball games are going to be cancelled and rescheduled. The kids and look and see where they are going – my farmer husband can see which towns his kids are playing if he has a chance to get away from the field – and I have a visual to see what’s going on and where everyone needs to be.  It’s cheap, it’s easy and it works.

Another prep I do for the controlled chaos is pack a snack bag.  My kids get off the school bus close to 4:00 pm and we are usually on the road again (if they have a practice or a game) by 5:00pm.  That means an early supper or a supper on the go, and once their activity is done they are hungry! Scratch that – they are HANGRY! So to feed the wild beasts I have a bag of snacks that goes in the vehicle with us.  Usually filled with snacks they like and will fill them up or tie them over till we get home.  This week we have almonds, Clif Bars, fruit cups, applesauce, granola bars.  I’ll also put fresh fruit and veggies in there or any baking that I’ve done (muffins, cookies etc).  Some juice boxes and Powerade or Gatorade will be there too , as well as the kids water bottles. Along with some wet-naps, napkins and spoons.

SO hopefully this crazy, chaotic season will run smoothly and everyone will get to the places they need to be safely and well-fed.  Moms on the go – what are your go-to time saving methods you use? Let’s help each other get through the busy seasons of life!

The Move

WE ARE IN! We have officially and successfully (?) moved down the road and around the corner – literally. We had come to the point where the house we were in was too small and either we build a new house or we come to some sort of arrangement with my in-laws where they moved out and we moved into their much larger farm house.  I mean – our house was adequate fine, but for the past 6 years we had been living without a functional basement.  The flood of 2011 paired with a high water table and ALL.OF.THE.WATER in the Turtle Mountains running through our basement to Whitewater Lake every spring – it was time for an upgrade.  They boys were sharing  room, we had one bathroom for five people (pre-teen kids should count as 3 people so it felt like 11 people vying for bathroom time), our kitchen was our dining room and the living was also the playroom (due to the basement being unusable).  It physically felt like we were living in a 3 bedroom apartment – BUT- we had enough stuff to fill a house.

We originally moved into our old place in the summer of 2006 – I was very pregnant with baby #1 and it is the house where all three of our babies came home too. I remember having friends over and fitting 8 adults plus kids (only a couple because it was before we all had babies) at a table in our kitchen/dining room and asking whoever was sitting closest to the oven to move because the garlic bread had to come out.  It is in that house where our kids had a lot of their baby/childhood firsts – laughs, birthdays, meltdowns, projectile vomit, Christmas mornings – the good and the bad.  It is the home where we learned about births and deaths.  Where we grew from a young married couple to a family of 5.  In the last couple of years you could say we were cramped, squished,  cozy in the house.

Hallway Hockey

Mini-sticks upstairs #heshootshescores

 

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One of my favourite photos – When my Grandpa John came down to visit only weeks before he passed away.  Here he’s holding baby Johnny. 

 

 

One of the many birthday parties around the kitchen table 

 

This spring we were talking with my husbands parents and they knew we needed more space and that they were not ready to move to town.  So they bought a trailer to move onto our yard and so began the process of swapping yards and the move down the road and around the corner.  After months of getting everything ready and packed – it happened.  My goal was to always be moved by Christmas – we had to  – there was no room in my living room at the old house for a Christmas tree and I wasn’t about to string lights and put a star on the boxes that consumed the living space. So the first week of December  – we did it.  We moved – and the heavens opened and the angels sang.

 

The piano move 

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Moving Day! Follow that trailer! 

 

The space – I have never been so thankful for a basement and two bathrooms and a separate dining room/kitchen.  Everyone has their personal space back.  It’s wonderful.  I have a functioning dishwasher – it’s amazing – its my new bff.  Everything has a place – there is no overlap of rooms – the living room is not the playroom – the kitchen is not the dining room – our bedroom is not the farm office.  We can have people over now and we have space for them to sit in the living room (well actually we can comfortably sit 12 in living room at the moment because my husband has moved all the couches in there and we have, what I call, surround seating)

Yes, there are some renovations we would like to do – but for now – we are happy and working towards making my husbands childhood home – our home.

 

Getting settled 

Tree is up! Bring on Christmas

Literally down the road and around the corner! 

 

Harvest is Coming…..

Any Game of Thrones fans out there? “Winter is Coming” is the catch phrase that is repeatedly tagged in the books and television show. It carries this ominous feel that once Winter arrives you’re hooped. WELL – welcome to the Canadian prairie version – HARVEST IS COMING.

As a farm wife – this phrase can cause the most organized and prepared person to freeze in their tracks and start hyperventilating. There you are going through summer – nonchalantly going to the lake, bonfires in the backyard, weeding the garden, mowing the lawn….etc etc. Then out of nowhere – BAM! – your husband informs you that he started swathing the barley.   Uh – Wait – What? Harvest is Coming – are you ready? NO – I AM NOT READY!!! It’s only the beginning of August – OH MY GOODNESS – harvest is coming early this year. *As one who grew up on a grain/cattle farm one would think that I would be aware that harvest can come early – this is clearly NOT the case*


So what does one do when harvest arrives earlier than anticipated? Please follow the 10 steps provided below:

  1. Cry
  2. Go to the local library and check out all books on 9×13 pan recipes, 5-ingredient recipes, and freezer meals. (sorry Boissevain peeps – all the good ones are signed out thanks to Yours Truly)
  3. Head over to the Co-op and purchase all of the tin-foil 9×13 pans (again sorry Boissevain peeps)
  4.  Also –  purchase any and all beverages with caffeine in them. Your Farmer will thank you when we hit week 2 of harvest.
  5. Drive home  from town – listen to some gangster rap on the way to prep mentally for a meal-making marathon.
  6.  Defrost 15 pounds of hamburger and mass produces burgers, meatballs and meatloaf.  #cattlefarmers #eatallthemeat #moo
  7. Put wine in fridge (Trust me – you’ll thank me later)
  8. Pull your seasonal BFF – Sally Slow Cooker – out of storage and dust her off.
  9. Turn on the Jays game, grab that bottle of wine and flip through the 10 books you checked out of the library – add sticky notes to the recipes you want to try.
  10. Take two Advil – Go to Bed and hopefully sleep – in the morning grab your coffee and start quizzing your Farmer on the names and locations of the fields this early harvest will be on – and take notes  – TAKE ALL THE NOTES!

So from one farm wife to another…..

This Harvest
May your meals be tasty and hot
May your farmer never tire of sandwiches for lunch
May your vehicles never be empty of fuel or have flat tires
May you remember all nicknames of all land locations
May the dust fly not in your face when the combine circles around
And may you have a safe, happy, healthy and bountiful harvest

#agmorethanever #farmlife #harvest2017 #farm365 #familyfarm #Canadianfarmers #farmwife #whitewatermusings

The Lake 

There’s something about it – I can’t quite put my finger on it but – there is just something about being at the lake. And honestly – it doesn’t even matter which lake.

I grew up going to Rock Lake. My Grandma and Grandpa Baron had a cabin there and we would go as a family and have a great time! My fondest memories include being in the hammock, fruit salad, playing cribbage and swimming in the lake. There was probably a water fight involved at some point and family sitting and laughing around the fire till all hours of the night.

Jen and Jo go tubing – well laughing 😂

Then we transitioned into the camping mode and numerous days were spent in a pop up trailer at Spruce Woods Provincial Park – not really a lake – but a tributary of the Assiniboine river with a wonderful beach. This is where us girls (Mom and my sisters) would pull in and set up. Dad would come if the haying was done or if he got rained out. We biked the trails, hauled the cooler down to the beach and just swam and swam and swam.

And then there was the lake at Minnedosa – the lake where I learned to water ski. So.Much.Fun! I don’t remember exactly who was helping me get up on the skis but it was either my Dad or my Grandpa Loewen. And the words were “keep your knees bent, handle to your chest and let the boat pull you up” and that’s what I did! The feeling of gliding along the water – no other feeling like it!

When I was old enough to go to camp and then be a counsellor at camp – there was Clear Lake. The memories – oh the memories. Canoe trips, the floating dock, the big red double slide, slalom skiing, tubing – and maybe some late night swimming 😂. This is what summer is made of!

For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to grow up going to a lake or lakes – I’m truly sorry! There is just something about it. The world stops, time stops and you are just there. There is no schedule or alarms. There is just fun, family, friends and food.

And now we have been spending time at Lake Metigoshe. We are fortunate enough to have friends who have a family cabin and boat and now my kids can learn to “water-sport” and enjoy lake life. And I truly hope that when they grow up they are pulled to the lake. Pulled into the break from reality it provides  – the rejuvenation it gives to your soul – and the quietness and stillness it provides. That they are pulled to the fun side of watersporting and swimming and just going for a tour around the lake to check things out.

So go – go find a lake – take the time to unwind and to just relax. It’s worth it and you’ll find that it becomes a part of you – you’ll feel it calling. There is just something about The Lake.