I was just responding to a message a friend had send me about how quickly the first year goes by for kids. Contemplating my response, I realized that it honestly doesn't seem to slow down. Some days are long but the years just keep slipping by. I still vividly remember the big boys being a year old and toddling around. I have enjoyed every stage so far with the kids but I am in awe of how quickly they keep flying by. As we have more kids, I think that the years keep passing through the stages for each of them even quicker. I think it might just be that you realize the second, third or fourth time through a stage that it is just that, a stage. A stage that will soon be over so you might as well jump into the moment and enjoy because you can't have a do-over. So today, a normal everyday type of day, I realized just how many times my heart melts with little ones around as I just enjoy the moments. I am lucky in that every day, I am able to enjoy little moments that honestly are priceless.
Here are just a few pictures from today that make me smile and make my heart feel just happy to see my little ones.
I am sure that when everyone enters their house they feel at "home". Over the last decade of marriage, Jason and I have purchased souvenirs from different travels that have slowly become our sole source of home decor. If anyone else where to enter our house, I am sure that these items appear the same as any other but to us, they hold the memories of the fun times, trips and special occasions that they were purchased on.
The photos I chose for today are from one of our last vacations that we took while living in Europe. We spent three weeks touring the Tuscan country side and being able to enjoy that area of Italy as a family. The photos that I looked at brought back a flow of memories of laughing while eating gelato, wine tasting during baby nap times, the boys learning to walk on the grass in front of the tower of Pisa and more.
I get a sense of peace while looking at pictures that remind me of those evenings sitting on the porch overlooking the Tuscan country side while enjoying a cappuccino and a nice glass of wine.
The boys getting out and exploring.
The picture below looks like any regular street you can find from Italy but to me, this is a picture of the store where we purchased a decorative plate that hangs in our dining room. The plate itself is full of bright colors and a beautiful scene and every time I look at it, I'm brought back to this little shop on a side street in the town of San Gimignano.
On our next adventure out, I hope to find some more meaningful items that will invoke memories or fun and joy from the adventures we acquire them on.
We have all been in those classes or presentations where they tell you to close your eyes and picture your zen place. Where the heck should I go? What the heck does this even mean? Yet every time I actually sit and search through memories to find that place where everything was just at peace, I go back to our Mediterranean cruise. The entire cruise was amazing but there is this one snippet of time that is my zen place to go to. Our ship had stopped in Santorini Greece and friends had joined us for a donkey ride, scooter rides and then just a walk around. It was breath taking but there is one particular part that always stands out for me. We were sitting on one balcony that hung over the Med, enjoying our cappuccino's and a slice of cake with friends. The weather was warn, the breeze was amazing, the white houses with their blue doors and roofs made the perfect backdrop. The sun was shining down on us, the salt water was shimmering and I just remember this sense of calmness that came over me. So this is my place that I escape to every time someone tells me to close my eyes and think of any place in the world I would like to go. The funny part was between the four of us on that balcony, we had not found a bank machine yet on the island so we had like 10 euros to share. We each could only get one cappuccino and we shared a piece of cake. It reminds me that a lot of money is not required to just enjoy a moment. Those laughs and that sensation will be in my memory forever.
This is the spot. Until I did this challenge and actually went back through some photo's looking for Santorini, I didn't even know I had this picture. I have a picture of my actual favorite spot in the world. On a side note, I was shocked when I found this picture because I know that sometimes our memory plays tricks on us and we remember things slightly different then they were. Sometimes that's reality but not this time. In my memory this spot looked exactly like this picture!
I would love to hear of all of your "go to" places ?
One day I want to go back with all the kids and actually stay on this island for awhile!
I was recently challenged by a family member to do a 7 day photo challenge. I started scouring through photos to choose but then decided I would put them on my blog instead because then I can add text and give more of an explanation of why I chose the photos.
This weekend I was at the store picking out some flowers for our home for Easter. Flowers are my happy place. I love to have flowers outside and cut flowers in the house. It just changes the whole atmosphere to have some pretty flowers as a backdrop. I have to admit, that my husband spoils me with flowers. Every since we have been married he brings them home as a surprise. Now when I look back through different fantastic moments of my life, flowers have been in the background in some manner.
So this weekend I was just quickly picking up a few things at the grocery store and saw some beautiful spring colored roses. I had added them to my cart and was turning the corner when hundreds of fresh cut tulips caught my eye and for a moment my breath. It's kind of like my last blog on the dining room table, a totally inanimate object that has the possibility to trigger so many memories. Of course tulips are gorgeous, of course they smell and look pretty but it triggers memories of traveling through the tulip fields.
When we lived in Ottawa we would attend the tulip festival. Now this isn't a history lesson so I will quickly just go over a few things. The Netherlands gave 300,000 tulips to Canada after their liberation in WWII. The tradition has continued and the Netherlands sends over tulip bulbs every year to bloom in Canada's capital. It has turned into a big festival in Ottawa and there are hundreds of thousands of tulips there yearly now, not all of them from Holland, but the historical significance is still there.
When we lived in Germany one of my favorite times of the year was driving down country roads in the spring during tulip season. It is hard to describe just how breath taking row after row of tulips are to look at. The Dutch town of Keukenhoff has the most amazing huge park that features tulips and bulbs from around the world. Since 1950, the park has represented that best spring garden in the world. It showcases more then 7 million flowers, yes SEVEN MILLION. They even have a parade where most of the floats are covered in tulips. We have been to these gardens many times with different visitors and the thought of them just makes me smile. Here are pictures from two different trips to the gardens.
So as I turned the corner and saw the gorgeous tulips, you can bet I was smiling and felt just a sense of peace. So I put back the roses and placed the tulips in the cart. They were a part of our Easter again and remind me of all the adventures they played a part in.
On a side note: The first picture of my grandmother, my mom and myself made me smile extra big because I think it may be the last picture of when my grandmother actually came and stayed over at our house. She was able to visit for a few hours when we lived in north bay on rare occasions but never stayed for the weekend like she did in the picture above.
To my surprise yesterday a sweet friend surprised me and brought me some flowers for my birthday! They make my heart smile and I think of her every time I pass them in the entrance of our home :)
A friend moved here last summer and she was mentioning to me that her dining room table was damaged in the move. The table had been purchased in Europe so even though you can perhaps repair it, it can never be replaced. Military families are used to this. Throughout the moves things get broken, misplaced etc... The hard part is when it is something that is sentimental and not easily replaced.
This got me thinking about our own dining room table. We purchased it 10 years ago now when Jason and I were newly married. We had moved to a house in Germany and had a dining area but only a kitchen table so that spot sat empty for a few months until we found the perfect table. Pre-kids we had all the time in the world to scour furniture stores and check out all the markets. At a little market in Belgium we saw our current table and it was exactly as we envisioned. It is one big piece of wood that can sit 10 around it. It doesn't have any leafs because it is so big to start. It was so big that we had to get our friend with a truck to go back the next weekend with us to get it along with the 10 chairs. At the time there were two in our family with one giant table. It's amazing to look at it now as we have slowly started working our way to utilizing more chairs daily at the table while all our babies have turned to toddlers and started using the seats.
I know it's just because I am a sentimental sap but to anyone else this table has been the gathering place for us throughout the last 10 years. It has been the center of family meals, big dinners, birthday parties, game nights, wine tastings, beer drinking, science projects, first foods, crafts, parties etc. This is more then a piece of a wood to us. It has joined us in our adventures to three countries and most of all, it holds all the memories of all the good times with friends and family around it. I can honestly picture most of our family and friends sitting at it and laughing with us throughout the years. Thanks for everyone who has ever joined us at the table.....we loved you all and hold your friendships dear and to anyone who hasn't been over to join us, we look forward to you coming one day!
On a side note....would love for anyone to send me pictures they have from gatherings at the table at our house. I love going through memory lane :)
As a second side note.....I need to remember to take more pictures of just ordinary dinners/fun with friends and family!
The other day was the first day of spring and much to our surprise it was the first day that we had snow in months! Shockingly, even though we live in Alaska we had sooo little snow this year. All winter we were actually hoping for more so that we could to more skiing, tobogganing, snow shoeing etc... Well mother nature with her crazy tricks got mixed up and to start spring, we had an incredible snow storm. It was supposed to warm up this week and the snow was supposed to leave and it did just that; but for a short while, the snow was the nice sticky stuff :) So we headed out last weekend and just got to enjoy some snow activities.
and snow angels oh my!
I took so long to actually post this one that I took pictures the next few days of our snowman and just how quickly it disappeared. Thank goodness we went out and enjoyed the snow that day because it was gone nearly as quick as it came!
Day 1 of snowman -
Day 2 of snowman -
Day 3 of snowman -
This reminds me to seize the moment...because sometimes there won't be snow to build a snowman if you put it off until tomorrow :)