When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Catching up

In only a few short weeks of being back into the thick of things, the leisurely pace and feeling of summer days have already become something of a distant memory.  We hit the ground running right after Labour Day, and our family is now fully immersed in school and work and extra-curricular activities, and all of the details and busy-ness that accompany these things.  In some ways it feels good to have a calendar full of plans again.  I think despite the tiredness we feel when our alarms first wake us in the dark mornings, we all generally feel re-energized now that we have rediscovered our purposes;  new ideas and experiences are igniting sparks within us all.

One of the things I'm enjoying now that I have more time to myself during the day again is the chance to share stories with friends over a walk or a cup of tea.  It's always so nice to catch up together on the fascinating, the important, the challenging, and the funny details of our daily lives.  And because it's Friday and a good day for this sort of thing, I thought I'd share a virtual cup of tea with all of you and fill you in on some of the interesting goings-on of our family in recent weeks. 

Our Little Free Library is open for business:  A few months ago, I wrote here about how excited I was that the Little Free Library movement had caught on in Kitchener-Waterloo.  I went ahead shortly afterwards and ordered a kit to build a library of our own, and one rainy summer afternoon, Noah and Will and I constructed it.  (This was a brave move on my part, as I do not usually build stuff with wood and screws and tools, and Matt was not home to help.  However, the boys and I managed very well once I got past the trip to the daunting fastener aisle of Canadian Tire to buy the right screws!)

After we built the little house, I stained it, Matt shingled it and then performed the Herculean task of driving a huge metal stake into the rock-hard ground in our front yard to hold a post for it, and our little library was born.  I've filled it with a wide variety of books for young people, ones that we were willing to part with from our own collection or that I bought second-hand.  It has been so much fun in recent weeks to watch curious passersby stop to find out what the little house is all about -- I've seen people cross the road to our side and take pictures of the library with their phones, and people driving slowly right up close to it so that they can read the library sign.  With the exception of one neighbour who knocked on our door, asked us what the little box was for, and then when I excitedly explained the library to her, looked at me like I had six heads and asked me with scorn what I had put it there for, the response from people has been very positive.  The kids on our street and some of the boys' friends have borrowed some books and left new ones in their place, and we've really enjoyed chatting with the families who have come by to tell us what a wonderful thing they think the library is.  I hope word of our little library will spread around the neighbourhood in the months to come and that many people will get great enjoyment from it.

Extra-curricular activities:  This past week the boys started the sports and activities they've chosen for the year, and they were both very eager to participate once again in things that excite them and allow them to grow in wonderful ways.  Noah returned for another year of competitive swimming with his team, a sport which he loves.  It is a big commitment for him this year, as he has six practices a week (three weekday evenings, two weekday mornings that begin at 5:30am!!!, and Sunday mornings at 7am), plus meets some weekends, but he is happy to take on the challenges that a new swim season will bring.  Will has decided to take a boys' hip hop class this year, which I think is a perfect activity for him, and his report after the first class was that it was AWESOME and that he wished it was more than just one class a week.  He is also doing some Saturday morning workshops in Lego Robotics (very cool!).  The skills he learns there should come in handy now that he and Noah have both been selected to be on the First Lego League team at their school this fall.  (I'm hoping that Will can also teach me what he learns, since I've agreed to be a parent volunteer for the school team!)  I'm so glad that the boys have such engaging and fun learning opportunities ahead of them.

Stocking the freezer:   I saw this little guy running around collecting nuts and things in our backyard earlier this week and had to laugh when I realized that I've been doing much the same thing recently. 

Something about the cooler weather always gives me an overwhelming urge to bake and cook and put delicious things in the freezer for cozy meals and snacks that we can enjoy later in the fall and winter months.  I've frozen some grated giant zucchinis from our garden to use in muffins, some roasted tomatoes to use in pasta dishes, and I'm going to save some large bunches of fresh basil by chopping them and freezing them in ice cube trays with a bit of water.  (Thanks for the tip, Mom!)  We plan to go apple picking with my aunt Christina and her family this weekend (one of our favourite fall outings!), so there will be applesauce to make, and soon I'll be roasting pumpkins to use in cookies and soups.  Spending time in the kitchen always seems more enjoyable to me this time of year; the warmth from the oven takes the chill off of fall mornings and the delicious smells make our home seem that much more inviting.  Do you get this same drive to create a store of yummy foods this time of year?

Fall clothes shopping:  It's funny how September goes:  one week everyone is still happily wearing shorts and t-shirts and flip-flops and running around carefree in the sun as if summer weather will last forever, and then suddenly one day the temperature plummets and we all go scrambling to find jeans that still fit and sweaters that will keep our teeth from chattering in the chilly breeze.  I always find it a bit daunting in the seasons that the boys suddenly both sprout up a size and they need a whole new wardrobe, especially now that they have much more particular opinions about what they will and will not wear.  In my multiple trips to the mall this week to find the things we need, I came across a pullover that I just had to buy for Will:

Why this particular shirt, you ask?  When Will was very young, he had an imaginary friend that we heard about all of the time, a guy who had a very full life of exciting adventures that Will made up for him.  His name was Big Mike.  :)

New glasses for Noah:  Our annual appointment with the optometrist last week revealed that Noah's eyeglasses prescription had changed a little (for the better, actually -- his eye sight has been slowly improving as he grows taller, which is interesting and happy news!).  I took him to pick out some new glasses frames and was so impressed with how mature and capable he was when he spoke with the optician.  He knew exactly what he was looking for, and I smiled with a mixture of pride and wistfulness as he chose a handsome pair of frames from the adults' wall for the first time.  He is growing up right before my eyes, and while he and I might not always view things in the same ways these days, I can see so very clearly what a wonderful young man he is becoming.

That's about it, in a nutshell.  (Thanks to our squirrel friends, there are lots of those in our yard right now, too!)   I'd love to hear what's new with you and your family this fall.  Keep the conversation going by leaving me a comment below.  Happy weekend, all!

Thanks so very much for all of your support so far in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Canadian Moms blogger contest!  I am really excited to currently be in the #19 spot.  There are only five days of voting left, and many of the blogs are very close together in the number of votes -- please keep your votes coming in here these last few days to keep me in the top 25!  I really appreciate it (and I promise once this is over that I won't bother you again for a long time.)  :)


  1. Lisa, would love to hear how your Little Free Library has gone - considering doing one ourselves and would be eager to know if yours has been a success/any learnings you've had, etc. Thanks!

    1. Hi Heather. :) That's exciting that you're considering putting up your own Little Free Library! We love ours, and so far our experience has been very positive (we've had curious kids stop by and take books, some people have left books as well, and we've had lots of passersby comment in support of it), but because we put our library up so late in the summer, I'm not sure we've had a chance yet to see the full effect of it at work. It's almost buried in snow right now, so it hasn't seen much traffic over the winter. I am excited to restock it once the weather is nice, and advertise it with flyers around our neighbourhood to help spread the word about it (as we live on a very quiet street) and then see what happens. I think I'll be able to give you a more detailed report in a few months, once kids and families are out and about on bikes and on foot again.

      I hope if you decide to go ahead with your own library that you have lots of fun with it! :)