Friday, May 27, 2016

50 Shades of Green

I'm just going to leave this right here. This is a portrait that Andrew and Brennen had made for me for Mother's Day.
Can you take it? Because I CANNOT!! It's the little things, people!

I have learned over the years that one of the best things you can do for yourself is to find joy in the little things. My Dad always says, "Don't sweat the small stuff - and it's all small stuff." It's hard sometimes. Ok, it's hard a lot of the time. I am human and sometimes I fall into the "grass is always greener" mindset, because sometimes the grass over there just looks so freaking green, but then I realize how fortunate I am to have any grass to stand on at all, and really, I know that my grass is pretty darn good.

It's all about perspective. I know that our life will come with challenges, sad days, pain and heartache, but we water our grass. We take note of its beauty. There are 50 shades of green, and right now ours is vibrant!

Life isn't perfect, but we have everything that we need in this moment to live our imperfect life and we recognize the beauty that it holds. You see those smiles? Ok, ok, it's an artist's rendering, but the smiles are real! We are happy!

The lesson here - Life doesn't have to be perfect to be amazing.

-Julie xo

Sunday, May 22, 2016

It's the 24th of May..

The Victoria Day long weekend is considered the unofficial kickoff to Summer here in Newfoundland, and it is a time to celebrate! After a long and cold Winter, the first glimpse of sunshine and double-digit temperatures means just one thing - camping season!

"It's the 24th of May and we likes to get away"..but not too far! This weekend, Andrew and Brennen and I set up camp in my parents' backyard! While it seems like everyone else drove out the highway in their campers and trailers, headed for provincial parks and campgrounds, we chose to stay a little closer to home. My parents have a beautiful property on a private lake, and I can't imagine a more perfect place to spend the long weekend!

If there is one thing you can count on for the May 24th weekend, it's that it is unpredictable. The weather almost never cooperates, but this year was perfect! It was 18 degrees on Saturday, and the sun was shining, so we made the most of it!

We set up our North Face 'Mountain Manor', nestled in among the trees and close (but not too close) to the fire pit. We took Brennen out in the canoe, we roasted spider wieners, cooked fish cakes and beans on the fire and made s'mores just after sunset. It was a perfect day, spent with our favourite people!

Here are some pics from our weekend camp-out!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy weekend! I'd love to hear about your camping adventures!

-Julie xo

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Camp Bumbleberry

As Summer inches closer, I can't help but get excited by the thoughts of warm weather activities and outdoor adventures. For our family, a highlight of our Summers has been taking Brennen to Easter Seals Family Camp: Camp Bumbleberry!

I love everything about Summer Camp - the camp shirts, the camaraderie, the sunburn, the mosquito bites. Every year for seven consecutive years, we would fill the car with gear (blankets and sleeping bags, extra clothes, towels, flashlight, camera, medicine, feeding supplies, sunscreen, wheelchair, tumble form, kitchen sink...) and drive forty minutes out the highway to the Lavrock facility on the Salmonier Line.

"Summer Camp at Easter Seals is an amazing experience for campers with disabilities. Our camp is open to people with any disability, and we have a camp for people of any age. Camp is offered in both an overnight and day camp setting. Campers are encouraged to try new experiences, build self confidence and increase personal independence in a safe and secure setting. Lifelong friendships are formed and time spent among their peers is invaluable. Campers enjoy a wide variety of activities meeting a diverse level of interests and abilities. Programs are adapted as needed and include archery, canoeing, roller sledge hockey, wheelchair basketball, arts and crafts, campfires, evening socials, and many more."

Our camp experiences have become some of our greatest Summer memories. I first discovered 'spider wieners' at Easter Seals camp! I love sitting around a campfire, the air thick with campfire smoke, and roasting marshmallows into crisp perfection. I love the sing-a-longs, and the silly stories. I love connecting with families, meeting new people and reuniting with old friends.

Easter Seals Family Camp, for us, has been a welcome getaway from our everyday routines. It is a much-needed weekend away - together as a family, but away from the structure and routine and appointments and planning and the isolation we can often feel as a family raising a child with special needs.

Joining other families and connecting with other parents of children with disabilities is so important, and watching your child make friends and participate in activities that are tailored to their ability is a beautiful thing.

Camping with Easter Seals is a fabulous experience! It is fun and relaxing, exciting and exhausting.. and like most summer camps, it is totally worth the mosquito bites!

Go HERE to learn more about Easter Seals camps!