"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013."

the 52 project: 21/52.

[52 project participants who inspired me last week: Cinnamon Girlexpatria, babymammasaurusthe bean and the boy, and of course Che and Fidel]


Petal by petal, we appreciate the pleasure of the ordinary - this meadow and the park that surrounds it is a magical place. I wasn't sure if the bee-friendly lupins would be in bloom yet (I checked a few weeks ago and there was nothing but green), so imagine my surprise when we found the meadow awash in an entire sea of purple! I'm happy Grace and I made time for this walk earlier in the week as we are off to Kauai later this evening for a little family-soul-feeding with sand and sunshine, and I wouldn't have wanted to miss the lupins at their most glorious!



nature challenge // child in the woods

Exploring the bond between ourselves and nature. 

"The world displays a lovely order, an order comforting in its intricacy. And the most appealing part of this harmony, perhaps, is its permanence - the sense that we are part of something with roots stretching back nearly forever, and branches reaching forward just as far..." // Bill McKibben, The End of Nature

Mid-hike moments are one of my greatest pleasures: taking pause amongst the trees or at a viewpoint, imprinting the sights and smells of our surroundings, enjoying time together in our chosen spot, snacking on food that always tastes better in the woods... Sunday morning we went for a family walk around Buntzen Lake, appreciating the fern-dominated understories, and the mossy canopy above. I am continuing to enjoy the David Suzuki Foundation's 30x30 Nature Challenge*, feeling myself a part of the landscapes I visit and finding comfort in the permanence.

[Photo credit for the last photo: Sean Markey]


*Our little photo of Grace playing in the cherry blossoms won the first week's photo competition in the 30x30 Nature Challenge - so fun & thank you to the David Suzuki Foundation for choosing it!



"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013."

the 52 project: 20/52.

[52 project participants who inspired me last week: a little pink a little blue, little earth stories, lamb loves fox, picking wild mountain berries, and of course Che and Fidel]


I've been reflecting on the pace of our weeks for this year and realize that I have truly failed to simplify to the extent that I had hoped for 2013. It's a tricky balance to strike - between being social, both for Gracie and for myself - and staying indoors/closer to home to work on organizing our lives and keeping things clean. Cooking more than ever before, I have yet to streamline the process of recipe finding, shopping for fresh ingredients, and subsequently carving out the time to prep and cook everything. I guess I need to take a closer look at how I manage our days, but can honestly say that I'm happier than ever to see the arrival of this holiday weekend!

We did enjoy an abundantly social week - my mom was here for a short but lovely visit, which we wrapped up with a trip to VanDusen Botanical Garden. Gracie enjoying snacks while surrounded by yellow and green, a game of peek-a-boo with giant maple leaves, an exuberant gal accidentally plucking petals from a rose (we are working on "gentle"), hearing the low buzz of the honeybees going about their gathering  - these are a few of the things I will remember about this day. 

happy saturday // take the plunge!

Opening day at Kitsilano Pool. 

Happy Saturday, friends!

Vancouver's outdoor pools are open, signifying the official start of summer. Hope you find yourself ready to take the plunge this weekend!

x, Mel



"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013."

the 52 project: 19/52.

[52 project participants who inspired me last week: Lamb Loves Fox, Piper & Poppies, Last Day of May, Little Red Caboose, and of course Che and Fidel]


The Fence That Binds Us

This rustic white fence is decidedly pastoral - located on the corner at the end of our block, Gracie and I have passed it several times a week for five months now, only recently taking in the entirety of its charm. While playing on the block in front of the fence this morning, a friendly woman popped open the gate to greet us and it turns out we know one another! We had a grand time introducing our children and bringing sticks to Monty (who was sitting patiently while tied to the lamppost). Grace and I accepted an open invitation to visit the trampoline in their backyard, happy to have a new neighbour to visit. A pretty fence, a familiar face, knowing the names of the neighbourhood children - small simple things with the collective capability to increase our sense of connection and belonging in this city.

"Hi, neighbour!"

happy saturday // warm + fuzzy

Baby geese snacking alongside the seawall at False Creek. 

Happy Saturday, friends!

The baby geese have hatched! Hope you find yourself surrounded by warmth and fuzziness this weekend.

x, Mel


nature challenge // sleep by the water

Oceanfront camping at Porteau Cove Provincial Park. 

"First, we need to roam, and learn from nature itself. To dabble, wade, dip, wallow, and splash. Toss pebbles, or pick them up. Sleep by the water until it sounds in our dreams..." // C.L. Rawlins, My Coyote Education (1996)

My family and I took to the tent Sunday night for an impromptu evening of camping at Porteau Cove Provincial Park. We spent the afternoon walking barefoot on the beach, engrossed in the fresh, salty smell of ocean life - learning from nature itself. The warmest day on the coast this year, everything seemed to glow from within.

In bed before the sun, our little one had trouble settling, though once asleep she enjoyed a deep slumber - barely stirring when the train went by at 1am (the only downside to this park). After our difficulty getting G to sleep, I realized that we really ought to drop all semblance of a routine when camping, and embrace free-spirited living. For our next camping trip we will let Grace stay up until the sun is closer to saying goodnight, saving a few tears. Perhaps we will even introduce her to the ritual and beauty of a small campfire!

With our babe soundly sleeping, Sean and I settled into our camp chairs for a little quiet time and some wine. On the program: bats dancing over the ocean, a viewing of the evening's first star patterns, and sharing in the warmth of our small fire.

Our small fire - built as much for ritual and beauty as for warmth. 

Week one of the Nature Challenge has been splendid - I don't think we would have geared up for merely one night of camping if it weren't for the inspiration derived from knowing thousands of Canadians are thinking about their relationship with nature (as are we). I am motivated and excited to get into nature in week two! 



"A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2013."

the 52 project: 18/52.

[52 project participants who inspired me last week: lamb loves fox, the golden adventures of a very dark horse, sunny & scout, circle of pine trees and of course che and fidel]


We are heading to the ocean this morning for an impromptu Sunday night of camping - Nature Challenge going strong!

[Photo: G splashing Friday evening in the low tide at Kitsilano Beach, clearly a joyous activity]


30x30 nature challenge // week 1

Nature party in cherry blossom rain! 

30x30 nature challenge: week one.


Half way through week one of the Nature Challenge, the weather has been glorious and the time I spend outdoors with Grace fills me with a brand new joy. The spontaneity of our days is something I will truly miss when the time comes for our little gal to go off to daycare or preschool - it is so nice to have an agenda that simply states "get into nature today".  On day one we watched as a great blue heron took flight at Spanish Banks, later playing in cherry blossom rain while on a pre-dinner neighbourhood walk. On day two Gracie learned how to make dandelion wishes, and on day three we threw rocks into the ocean at New Brighton Park.

As we left the ocean on Wednesday, driving in the direction of home, Gracie asked "more ow-shin, pease"? Music to my ears!

Feeling for blossoms in her hair. 


30x30 nature challenge

Sandy remnants, oceanside at Spanish Banks. 

30x30 nature challenge: the kick-off.


The merry month of May is here - the month that says, all things seem possible, you can do it! Grace and I are kicking it off by participating in the David Suzuki Foundation's 30x30 Nature Challenge. For us, committing to spend thirty minutes in nature each day for thirty days presents a delightful challenge. An important part of our family narrative, the relationship we have with nature is integral to our emotional health and happiness, serving to reinforce that we belong to something bigger than ourselves.

The associated photo contest for the first week of the 30x30 challenge (May 1-7) is themed "Nature in My Neighbourhood" and since G and I went to the west side of Vancouver this morning, we will have to make sure we stick closer to home later this week. I have never submitted an entry for a contest of any sort, but am thinking it might be quite fun to share some shots of us getting our daily dose of nature over the course of the next month.

Nature, here we come!