100 Happy Days

Remember when I made that goal of doing a photo-a-day challenge? Yeah, well, I failed miserably. I was always behind on days, always trying to catch up, and basically felt like it was just one more thing I had to do. I love the idea of it, but it just wasn’t working for me. Then I stumbled upon 100 Happy Days Challenge. Have you heard of it? You basically take a photo everyday of something that makes you feel happy. That’s it. I’m loving it for several reasons, but the main one is that it’s really encouraging me to focus on the good stuff everyday and reminds me that even on the crappiest of days, there are always things to be positive and grateful for. Plus, it’s helping me to take more photos, which is something I was really slacking off on for way too long. So, without further ado, here’s day 1 to 15…IMG_3401IMG_3404IMG_3406IMG_3409IMG_3412IMG_3425IMG_3427IMG_3431IMG_3434IMG_3436IMG_3444IMG_3466IMG_3471IMG_3475

Day 1: Playing with Jesse Dog.

Day 2: Coffee with Steve.

Day 3: Still daylight at 6pm when I’m heading home from work.

Day 4: A big hug given to me by a co-worker who received a hug card from a stranger. She passed it onto me.

Day 5: A sea salt bath after a very long day.

Day 6: Steve hard at work building WMD wheels (a photo that randomly went missing from everywhere but my Instagram feed).

Day 7: Dinner at our friends’ house.

Day 8: Car rentals make errands so much easier!

Day 9: Warm spring sunshine, blue skies.

Day 10: A cup of herbal tea before bed.

Day 11: Grass! Winter is slowly melting away. Finally.

Day 12 and 13: An art exhibition at work. I love children’s artwork!

Day 14: Tulips remind me of our wedding day.

Day 15: First day it was warm enough to sit outside in months. I think Jesse appreciated it as much as I did.

Let’s see what the next 15 days bring! :)

Valentine’s Day 2014

IMG_3352I really do love Valentine’s Day. There’s always such a special energy in the air…people carrying flowers everywhere you look, lots of people wearing red and pink, and hearts in every shop window. Corny as it may be, I love it all! What’s better than a day to celebrate love, and help brighten and bring some cheer in the middle of the dreary, dark, and depressing winter months?IMG_3340This Valentine’s Day I was pretty sick. I just can’t seem to shake this virus I’ve had for almost a month {insert sad face and whining}, but, Valentine’s Day turned out to be a pretty great day, filled with chocolate treats from the kids at work, flowers from my sweetie and a delicious seafood chowder dinner that he made. It’s the sweet little details that always make it special.

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However you spent Valentine’s Day, I hope you felt the love, and was near to those you care most about. xoxo

Bits and Bobs

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Only a couple weeks in, and January has already showed lots of ups and downs. It’s been surprisingly warm, which has been a definite up for me. I’ve spent quality time with friends a couple of times, enjoyed lots of delicious warm meals and drinks with my favourite guy, both at home and out and about, and walked Jesse without the headache of his boots, thanks to the warmer temps and lack of snow (yah!). Unfortunately, I’ve also caught a bug that’s been going around the daycare, and have felt really exhausted and run down. My Mom fell yesterday and broke her hip, so there’s been lots of phone calls with family, and me wishing I was there with her. Ups and downs, indeed, but I’m focused on staying present, taking good care of myself, and trusting that it’s all happening perfectly. Warm cinnamon toast helps, too. ;)

New Goals – 2014

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I’m a goal setting kind of person. It helps motivate me, and clarify the many, many thoughts and ideas that are always floating around in my very busy head. So, there’s no wonder I love the feeling of a fresh new year, and the fresh new goals that come along with it. This year, I’m keeping things simple. Too many goals and I set myself up to fail. I get overwhelmed. Simple is good. Perhaps this should be an overall goal…simplify.

Personal goal:
Spend more time with friends. See friends more often in person, and keep in better touch with special friends around the world.

Professional goal:
Gossip and complain less. Leave work at work/improve my work-life balance. Okay, that’s two professional goals.

Creative goal:
Follow the photo a day challenge using only my iPhone. 365 photos. Print the photos in a 2014 album at the end of the year.

A few little things I’d like to continue to work on (these are always a work in progress for me):
Eat well.
One coffee a day.
Do yoga.
Blog more.
Be present.
Worry less.
Travel more.
Save more money.
Be confident.

So, what are your goals for the new year? Do you make them? If you do, good luck with them, and be gentle with yourself. It’s a long year, there’s plenty of time. :)

Photo found on Pinterest.

2013 in review

I always seem to write, year after year, about how there were a lot of ups and a lot of downs in the year gone by. Strangely, when I reflected on 2013, that wasn’t the case. There weren’t really any major downs, Steve and I both held stable jobs (that was nice!), lived in the same place, without the worry of possibly needing to change provinces or even countries for work, everyone we love stayed healthy and well (thankfully!). However, there weren’t really any major ups either. It was sort of the year of…survival. I worked, tried to eat well, sleep well and take good care of myself in order to carry on with the day to day stuff that needed to be done. I spent much of 2013 feeling exhausted and run down, putting what energy I had into the stuff that needed to be done, limiting the amount of energy I had left over for fun stuff. While it’s not that I had a bad 2013, I would like 2014 to bring more adventure and balance between work and play. Of course, all that day to day stuff seems so important at the time, but really, when it’s all said and done, it’s the exciting stuff, like travel, and time with family and friends that really counts. I think that is the lesson I learned in 2013. Without sounding too cliché, life really is too short to waste any time.januaryThat being said, the day to day stuff can still be beautiful. The winter of 2013 made me question this at times, though. It was a long winter. It was cold, snowy, and I was sick a lot. A lot. What I appreciated most from January to March was probably the basics; a warm house, a comfy bed, healthy food in the fridge, family that I could call when I felt down. Coffee and wine also helped. ;)IMG_2122

juneSpring brought lots of inspiration in 2013. After what seemed like a very dark and cold winter, spring had never felt so good! We ate meals outside as soon as it warm enough, I planted flowers, bought new patio furniture, and felt grateful to see the leaves blossoming and grass getting greener. It really lifted my spirits! In May, I celebrated my 33rd birthday and Steve and I celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. Steve turned 36 in June. We celebrated quietly and happily.IMG_2408julyThe summer of 2013 was wonderful. I had 3 weeks off work in late July/early August, a much needed break. We took two camping trips, once just me and Steve and once with our friends, Andrew and Laura, and their three kids. We went on day trips to Voyager Provincial Park in Ontario, and watched our almost 12 year old dog swim and play like a puppy. That made me incredibly happy. It really is the simple stuff.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was constantly reminded that I really am happiest when I’m in nature. I guess you can take the girl out of the country, but you just can’t take the country out of the girl!august3I visited Nova Scotia and soaked up the ocean air, the friendly people, and just nice quality time with family and old friends.  It was oh, so good for my soul, and I came back to Montreal feeling emotionally recharged.august2augustIMG_2839Autumn was even more beautiful than I remembered it to be. Steve teased me that I acted like someone who had never experienced a Canadian fall before, oohing and awing over every leaf. I especially enjoyed experiencing autumn with the kids at work, who seemed to appreciate the changes just as much as I did. IMG_2694In September, Jesse Dog turned 12.
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For Thanksgiving, we visited Amherst Island with our awesome friends, Geoff and Ange. It was a perfect weekend.

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IMG_2987I went apple picking twice, once with work and once with Steve. I had never gone apple picking before. It was fun, although, it is now almost January, as we still haven’t managed to eat all the apples! In other news, apples last for a surprisingly long amount of time. october3Jeddy Bum made a pretty cute cow-dog for Halloween. I dressed up as a witch for work…a nice witch, as I had to keep reminding the kids! ;)IMG_3074In November, Steve’s Mom came to visit and Steve ran up a mountain with his friend, Andrew…IMG_2981It was nice to see Steve train and participate in an event again.decemberWhich brings us to winter once again. December was a busy month for me at work and at home, but I’ve been enjoying a peaceful break from work. We had a quiet but lovely Christmas, and I’m looking forward to a new year.december3

I have some goals in mind for 2014, as usual, and I think I’ll share them in this space soon. In the meantime, I hope your experiences from 2013 (good and bad) have taught you new things, and helped you to grow and evolve. I hope 2014 is a healthy, happy new year for everyone, filled with love, light, and adventure. All the best! xoxo

Bits and Bobs – Christmas 2013

IMG_3151We had a really quiet Christmas this year, which was just what I needed, actually. I’ve been looking very forward to some down time, and appreciated every minute of it!IMG_3157On Christmas Eve, we made our traditional seafood chowder. Steve and I tried to remember how this tradition started, but we’ve been doing it for so long, we honestly cannot remember how it came to be. I think Steve’s chowder gets better every year!IMG_3139Steve and I opened our gifts to each other on Christmas Eve, mostly because we are worse than children and just couldn’t wait any longer! It was fun though. My sweet husband spoiled me, as always!IMG_3158Christmas morning, I woke up thinking I had to go to work. BEST.FEELING.EVER when I realized that not only was it a day off, but it was also Christmas! :) I quickly woke Steve up, much to his dismay. Coffee was required, followed by opening our stockings, one of my most favorite Christmas traditions!IMG_3144IMG_3156After a yummy Christmas brekky, we watched Christmas movies, took a nap, talked to our families on the phone, and basically stayed in our pjs all day long. It was wonderful.IMG_3155

Boxing Day, we hosted dinner and ate turkey with friends.  Good food, good wine (mulled, actually!), and good times!

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday with those you love, too! 

Halloween 2013

IMG_3044 I’m a little late to the party with these pics but I couldn’t let Halloween come and go without sharing Jesse is his cowboy (er, cowdog?) costume. He’s the best.
IMG_3045 Halloween was pretty quiet for us this year. I had a full day at the Botanical Gardens with the kids from work and was pooped by the time I got home! I passed out candy and realized quite quickly that I should have had more treats. I guess the rainy weather didn’t stop the trick or treaters! I’ll be ready for next year.
IMG_3049And one more of the pooch. I just love that little face!

Quinn Farm – Apple Picking

barnCariatfarmIMG_2987IMG_3019IMG_3024Can you believe that I have never gone apple picking before this year? It’s true, but I went apple picking not once, but twice this season. Once with the kids at work (we went to this tiny little apple picking town) and once with Steve at Quinn Farm. I have to say, apple picking with Steve was way more relaxed than apple picking with 16 three year olds (I can’t imagine why). I’m most definitely a country girl at heart. Getting out of the city and spending a day in the fresh country air always does me good. It’s one thing I really like about Montreal. You don’t have to drive far from the city to experience a nice country get-away. There’s nothing a little tractor ride, farm animals, and open fields can’t fix.

Amherst Island – Ontario

cottage Thanksgiving came and went (seriously, where is this year going in such a hurry?) and we took full advantage of the three day weekend, heading out of the city to visit with friends. We have friends living in Toronto and decided that meeting halfway between Montreal and Toronto would be a great way to catch up. We ended up on Amherst Island, a place accessible only by ferry, about 10km outside Kingston, Ontario. It was such a great weekend and just what I needed to relax and recharge. The cottage we rented had the most beautiful lake front property and we really truly felt like we were a million miles away from the rest of the world!
IMG_2859Jesse was in complete Duck Toller heaven.
carijumpingThe leaves were changing color and everything smelled like fall. Ah, happy times.
IMG_2864The island is pretty quiet, with lots of farmland, wildlife, and a tiny little general store with nothing in it. If you visit the island, be prepared with all your food and drinking water in advance. We learned this the hard way and had to take a not-so-quick ferry trip to the nearest grocery store.
IMG_2920On the ferry…
IMG_2925He could swim for days on end…
IMG_2919So great catching up with Geoff and Ange again!
firecariOf course, there was a campfire. We had the most amazing weather, it was so warm and just perfect for hanging outside. There were also very loud and scrappy coyotes a little too close for comfort, that may have scared the poop out of us and sent us inside to hang out too.
graveyardThe graveyard on the island dates back to the 1800s. Pretty cool to explore.
IMG_2928And, it wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving weekend without Thanksgiving dinner and pie. We definitely did not go hungry while we were there. Oof!
headinghomeferryOn the way home, we drove through Kingston and stopped for coffee. It’s a cute little place. I’d like to go back and see it when we have more time to explore. I have a feeling we’ll most definitely be going back to Amherst Island again. A new yearly tradition, perhaps?

Some of these pics were taken by the lovely, Angela.

Jeddy Bum

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JesseIMG_0111IMG_0110OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJesse was such a little champ on our camping trip! Steve and I both had so much fun with him. We didn’t get to camp very often with him in Australia, mostly because we often rented camping vans for our Aussie adventures and dogs weren’t allowed. It also didn’t help that there were snakes and spiders and lots of other crazy little critters in the Australian bush and I was too terrified of poor Jesse making friends with one of them. So, I kind of forgot just how awesome it is to hang with this furry little guy in the woods. Duck Tollers really are happiest in nature and shockingly, Jesse would choose swimming over food any day. If you have ever met Jesse at a BBQ or picnic, this will come as quite a surprise to you! I can’t wait to camp with this little dude again soon. In the meantime, I’m off to sniff his furry little head. It still smells like campfire and fly spray. :)