Friday, February 22, 2013

clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose

{Vi and her dancing bestie}
This has been a hard week. Too many goodbyes, not enough hellos. I wasn't going to write this post, but I thought there was probably no better time to remind myself of a few little things that I am grateful for. I'm also trying to keep in mind that we have things to look forward to, like a certain someone's rainbow birthday party next weekend and a charity walk I've helped to organize tomorrow afternoon. We have some things to deal with that we aren't looking forward to too, so if you have a second, send us a little prayer or some good vibes, they'd be much appreciated.

Happy weekending.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

on being the worst

{our assignment was to capture light or shadow -- apparently it is not in vogue to photograph the sun -- how do people know these things?!}
Remember how I am taking an introduction to digital photography class? The class I thought would be a breeze and a nice way to mix it up mid-week? Aren't continuing-ed classes supposed to be easy, stress free and fun? Not this class, oh no, it has been a lesson in humility. I promise I am not just saying this: I am the worst photographer in the class. Well, that was literally true until this week (week four), this week I think I've moved up to being "among the worst". (I'm talking bottom two.)

As someone who doesn't like doing things that I am not good at it is embarrassing to admit how challenging I've found this. I get anxiety before class. I've thought about quitting and I've felt a little sick almost every Wednesday since I started. Holy get a grip, huh. (I wonder where Violet gets her anxiety from...)

Now I'm not top of the class in everything I do -- not even close, but I hope it doesn't sound vain if I say that I am typically not the absolute worst in the group. Just in case you're not used to being the worst either let me fill you in -- it isn't very fun.

I'm trying to keep the whole thing in perspective. I am learning lots, photography doesn't have to be "my thing", or maybe it will be "my thing" someday and I just need to practice. I think kids get this, but grown-ups are funny huh, we kind of assume we'll be able to do anything we put our hand to, but that isn't how it works is it? Learning an instrument, a language, how to parent or be a good spouse -- they all take effort and hard work. I don't know why I thought this class would be any different.

I'm also trying to see my position in the bottom percentile as liberating. In my head that makes sense. Zero expectations, how wonderful! But when it comes time to show our photos in class my nerves take over and I cannot embrace my failure for the life of me. Sucking is not fun. It just isn't. I am, however, determined to see this class through and hold my head up high. I am just learning, it is my turn to be the worst and that is okay.




Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lady Lou

I wanted to write this post on Sunday night, but I was too sad. I planned on writing it last night, but Lou's flight was delayed. So there you have it. Tonight it is.

My favourite/only sister moved to China today. Yes, China, couldn't be farther away if she tried China. I'm sad. It has been so nice having "Auntie Lou" around for the past two years. Who is going to eat fajitas at my house every time they come over? Vi, Jeff and I will miss her so much. She is the adventurous sort and I know she'll have an amazing time, but a big part of me wanted to scream, "Don't go. Don't leave me!" (I may have actually said both of those things through tears as we parted. I can't be held responsible for the things I say while balling my eyes out).

It was a sad day for the Harris clan. Happy-sad because we are proud of Lou and excited for her, but sad-sad because we love her so much and she is definitely the funniest of our family (mean funny by times, but that is our favourite kind of funny).

Travel safely sweet sister of mine. Please don't move to China forever my hair is already crazy, imagine what it would be like in Asian humidity. Also, I don't love crowds. For the love of Pete come home soon!



ps -- this is for you Lou

Friday, February 15, 2013

clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose

Yay! It is the weekend. We made it. There is rain in the forecast in Halifax, but I'll take anything over snow, you? I have my book club (book club #1) tonight. I always look forward to the chats (and the snacks) as much as I look forward to talking about the book. Does that make me a bad book clubber? Probably. Tomorrow night Jeff and I are planning to go out for dinner and a Mooseheads game. I really must love that man! Violet is going to a sleepover. (I might cry, why is she growing up so fast...). 

Here are a few of my favourite things (obviously sing that phrase in your best Julie Andrews voice). Check out the links at the end of the post for added viewing pleasure. 



{lunch of champions}
{fresh out of the oven, so so good}
{handsome lunch date who indulged me when I wanted to sit outside in February}
{the sun! in Halifax! in February! rejoice!}
Bits and Bobs (phrase stolen directly from my friend Catherine):

In case you didn't have pancakes enough last week, try amping them up

I find this annoying, if the man was "uglier" no one would have noticed

I can't wait (and I need a pedicure)

Relax more and do more, yes please

Workout less, better results? Again, yes please!

Thursday, February 14, 2013


^^^ I know the way to my husband's heart
We've had a pretty low key Valentine's day over here on Newton Ave. After a failed batch of pink buttercream last weekend, I sort of threw in the towel on V-day. This morning I felt a little guilty I hadn't gone to much Valentine effort so I tried to think of a (quick and easy) way to redeem myself. Since I normally subject Violet and Jeff, both big pasta lovers, to things like quinoa or buckwheat noodles with relatively healthy accompaniments (think vegetables and tuna) I decided to indulge them with their favourite dish as they like it. The way to my family's heart is through pasta and butter (chocolate works well too). What can I say, they are easy to please. (I added shrimp and lemon zest to the pasta and butter, but not much else. They both loved it.)

We've been sick and busy lately so it was nice to sit down and eat, just the three of us. I lit a few candles and put on classical music to try to set the mood. Violet came into the dining room and  said, "this is weird, Mummy". Maybe she was right, it was a little cheesy, but if you can't be cheesy on Valentine's day what has the world come to?

I hope you've spent the day with the ones you love.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

family traditions

{Ellen's brown bread}

I made Ellen's brown bread on Saturday. It was so snowy and cold it seemed the only rational thing to do. I tried to convince my parents to brave the elements and come over for fresh bread and soup, but they were having none of it. My mum "one-uped" me with Maritime comfort food. She made baked beans.

When I was growing up we had baked beans and brown bread every Saturday night. When I was a teenager I thought this was possibly the lamest of all family traditions in the history of families everywhere. Now that I know the amount of effort that goes into both homemade baked beans and making bread I can't believe my mum found time to do it every week. She was a rockstar. My siblings and I been teasing my mum a lot lately, in good fun of course, but I hope she knows that we know how lucky we are.



Saturday, February 9, 2013

clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose

It snowed! A lot! I think it is freezing raining at the moment, but I am hopeful the snow will return and we will have a bonafide snow day, not a Halifax slush day.

What a nice way to force everyone to slow down and hang out with family and friends. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do. Amazing. I'm making steel-cut oats for breakfast and the rest of the day is up in the air. So rare! I love it.

Here are a few things warming my heart this week.

Oh, and a few links for weekend reading.

As an islander I take a offense to a blonde Anne of Avonlea

Snow day reading from Zadie Smith, I love her

A calorie-free Valentine treat (hint hint)

Sequins make everything better

So now self-esteem is bad? I can't keep up!

Quick soft boiled egg instructions (see my egg below -- perfect)

{family snow day!}

{everyone loves banana bread}

{soft boiled egg on toast}
{any holiday that involves chocolate is fine in my books}

Thursday, February 7, 2013


{who doesn't feel a little anxious in their swim suit!?}

Two as in second year of life. 

My birthday is approaching quickly and I have already come to terms with the fact that I won't complete my "to-do before thirty list", but I am trying not to let perfect be the enemy of good (hear that book club girls?!). Just because I know I won't get the list done, doesn't mean I won't keep chugging away.

I am home sick again. I really can't believe this flu. Even my lips feel sick. Anyway, I spent the morning in bed looking through pictures from Vi's second year of life, culminating with her second birthday. She was so darn cute at this age and so much fun. What the photos don't show are the tatrums, messes and meltdowns. That's okay, I like remembering it being a perfect time with a cherubic babe.

Give me a break, I'm still sick!

I'll warn you, there are way too many pictures here and they are in no particular order.



{Violet the Who} 
{first crayons}
{Violet and "Stirling"}
{winter beach walk}
{that finger}
{a flower in the flowers}
{handsome daddy} 
{still a babe}
{Frog Pond'ing}
{Vi of the jungle}
{Lou and Vi}
{the Harris double whammy}
{not feeling festive}
{overall fave}
{yee haw}
{melts my heart}
{what'd you say?} 
{oh that flower, sorry future Vi}
{cutest tongue}
{interpretive dance}
{stop growing little Vi}

Monday, February 4, 2013

the Ebola virus, gluten free cake & the best mum ever

{Nigella Lawson's mousse cake}
We don't really have the Ebola virus, just in case you were worried we were involved in a laboratory accident over the weekend. Parenthetically, whenever I type laboratory I always have to pronounce it like I am British to spell it right. (Final aside, should you ever write parenthetically, or is it a word that should be spoken? Just use parentheses when you are writing, right?).

I haven't left my bed in almost 48 hours, you'll have to excuse the minor delirium.

The flu this year kicked our butts. Note to self, get flu shots for the family in the future. I've gotten one every year since Violet was born, but since we never get the flu I thought, why bother. Nice logic, I know. Judge away. I am a complete idiot. Trust me, I'm paying for it.

Do you ever know you are getting sick, but have too much to do to let it happen? That was me on Saturday. My sweet mum had her birthday last week and Saturday was the day we choose to celebrate. Ebola virus be damned.

Last year I made my mum a Victoria Sponge because she couldn't have chocolate. This year gluten is the enemy ingredient so I made Nigella Lawson's chocolate mousse cake because a) it is absolutely delicious and b) it is gluten free. It literally is a mousse baked. Fudgey, dark and delicious, all with out trying too hard. Cake without icing has to really hold its own, you know? Nothing to hide behind but a dusting of powered sugar.

My mum is the kind of mum who takes your slightly sick daughter to her house when you are really sick and need to rest. She oozes love and generosity and is even more beautiful on the inside than the out (which is saying something because, as I've mentioned before, she is a stone cold fox.) I am so happy that she continues to mother me as I mother my daughter and I hope I am half as good at it as her someday. Half as good is really good when you have the best mum in the world.



{forgot to take my camera off manual -- this is supposed to be a picture of my mum!}