Thursday, December 27, 2007

Winter Memories

We have been enjoying a new winter tradition this year: iceskating! The local rec centre has a "loonie" (one dollar, for the non-Canadian readers) parent-and-tot skate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9:45-10:45.

We go on Monday mornings and finish with a little treat from the vending machine and a race down the hallway to the parking lot. Alley wins everytime, since I have to carry skating gear while pushing Soul-baby in the stroller! We have loved this new winter part of our life.

The first day, I wasn't sure how it would work out with both kids. I was planning to watch from the sidelines as Alley braved the ice. But as I observed other families on the ice, I realized I could safely take Soul-baby along in the stroller, as long as he had a helmet.

I am proud of our Alley's courage to try something new. Even during her first morning on the ice, she pushed off from the wall without hesitation, and determinedly learned how to balance. She used the walker for our first few times and braved a few falls.

And a couple of weeks ago, she announced that she wanted to skate "on her own", without the walker. She is improving every week and enjoys the other kids who venture out on Mondays. I see her carefully watching other skaters more skilled than herself. She learns from them, often challenging herself to try new moves and spins.

She wants to start learning to play hockey! We cringe (slightly) at this new interest, especially since the gear is so incredibly expensive to buy!! But, we'll take it one day at a time, and I'll keep my eye open for the odd piece of equipment at the local MCC and Value Village. Afterall, that's where we found all our iceskating gear.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Advent and Regaining Balance

As the new year draws in, I feel coaxed to reflect, and renew. Our Advent this year has felt like a mixture of sand and water. Buckets of water flow through, from the endless supply of ocean waves, drenching our family with joy and goodness in this season. Some splashes also absorb into pockets of melancholy and damp darkness as the days grow shorter and shorter.

On the way to church Sunday, we marveled at the sun just peeking above the mountains at 10:15 am. Some mornings, the sky lightens at 11am. And nearing 3pm, it dips its head again for rest.

These dark days have a double affect on me. In one sense, they draw me to nestle and curl and sip tea in quietness (in between the general mayheim of a family day!)

In another sense, they terribly depress and de-energize me, contributing to the general stresses of the day, and making them feel insurmountable.

And so, the weeks of Advent have been a time of expectation, of waiting for that which is liftable, to be lifted. The services of Christmas bring me hope and lift my winter spirits. My soul looks forward to the bright tinkling of Christmas glasses and strings of warm white lights around a family feast table.

This month has held many things: Christmas tree cutting and decorating, outdoor-light-stringing, car trouble, snowstorms, Advent dinners with friends and family, the beginning of a home-based business (more on that later), iceskating at the rec centre, the transition back to maternity nursing (one shift/week), health challenges in our family, a complete diet change, and the realization that some things are more important than others.

I have felt some imbalance this month, as I stand (and teeter) beneath the larger-than-normal flow of ocean water. But this morning feels like a shift toward firmer footing. I am thankful for this moment to reconnect in this space, to sip jasmine green tea and to visit some of the deeper currents of our month.

I want to acknowledge two blogs that have brought me much comfort and inspiration over the month:
Please do visit them when you have a chance.
Just Delicate Needles
It's so delicate, the light.
And there's so little of it.
The dark is huge.
Just delicate needles,
the light, in an endless night.
And it has such a long way to go through such desolate space.
So let's be gentle with it. Cherish it.
So it will come again in the morning.
We hope.
--Rolf Jacobsen
Translated by Robert Hedin
(and borrowed from Soulemama)