good-bye 2013, hello 2014.

i realize my pictures late, but i wanted to share them anyway! we had a glorious new year’s up at the cottage with friends.

here is a montage of the fun…

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new years collage

we had so much fun with are amazing friends, tobogganing, playing in the snow, playing games, dancing, singing, and hanging out by the fire. it was very, very cold (-20c) which made trips to the outhouse exhilarating! haha!

xo, mama lola

a new year.

i am a little late in sharing about what this new year means to me. i’m late to the game, because i can’t actually decide what i want this new chapter to look or feel like. i’ve been really trying to think of resolutions that i should make and try to keep, but nothing really feels sincere. in years passed i have tried to really make my own needs a priority, which now that the kids are bigger is just happening. all i can say is, i want to be stronger emotionally, which as a resolution will be almost impossible to measure. does that matter?

quote32

as humans, we are all in a steady flow of change; we are always evolving, gaining strengths, acquiring knowledge, and moving forward. knowing this helps me move on from the burdens of my past and try to maintain a flow towards more positive thinking and living. my ego and esteem have taken a heavy beating, and coming out of that is much harder than i thought it would be. i am always second guessing myself, and i find it difficult to truly like myself. self-doubt has been eating away at me for far too long.

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lucky for me, i have wonderful love in my life. i have people in my village who accept my weaknesses and do not judge me. and honestly, if they do, well, i can’t really do anything about that. i will continue to try to hold my chin up as they say and move on. i have a pretty good life, and i know this. so, i am going to try to control my anxiety, my self doubt and not let these parts of my self control my life.

quote34

source

i am going to try new things even it scares me, reach further out of my comfort zone and accept who i am.

once and for all.

xo, mama lola

christmas bucket list!

christmas is a very fun n’ busy time of year. the boys, especially bear, keeps asking when december will get here, because that is when we start our holiday festivities at our house.

we hang up the large advent calender i made a couple of years ago, DH battles with the lights outside and gets them up on our front porch, and within the first week of december we get our christmas tree purchased and decorated.

to make sure we get everything done this season, i made this bucket list. i couldn’t fit everything on there that happens, as christmas is a very busy season!

 

packages 3

 

what’s on your christmas bucket list this year? anything new?

what are your x-mas traditions?

 

xo, mama lola

nature hikes and romps!

this passed friday bear didn’t have school so we joined a group of friends and headed for the hills. for a hike, that is. we packed a massive bag of sunflower seeds to feed to the birds, and snacks to share for the people. 


the kids had such fun. they discovered all sorts of interesting natural phenomena like fungi of various sizes and colours, different kinds of lady bugs, all sorts of pine cones, spruce cones, leaves all sizes and shades of red.

all of the kids mostly ran for the two hour hike, although they did pause to enjoy the sounds of frogs and other natural elements occasionally. us mums, chatted, held the assortment of walking sticks, rocks and other teasures picked up along the way, and enjoyed the freedom the forest allows you to feel.

although, after the hike we were all tired, there was something wonderfully rejuvenating about the woods. the peace, the calm, are both so soothing to the mind. the kids went wild, but in the vast space among the trees, their loudness is drowned out, allowing the bird songs to be heard through the trees.
lovely.


this weekend was thanksgiving here in canada. we headed to the cottage with a few family members to close things up; bring in the docks, rake some of the various paths, chop wood and stock the logs for our visits this winter. the boys soaked up the fresh muskoka air, enjoying the company of their grandparents and auntR. 

i love watching my kids outside. their senses kick into high gear as they frolic between the trees. they are filled with such curiosity and wonder, which is incredibly contagious, especially when in the natural world.

there is a marshy area a short walk from the cottage. the kids’ grandma found cranberries growing there and that is what lion is inspecting in the moss!


the sun was high and warm, hot even. we got all of the work done and ended another season at the family cottage. it is such a wonderful place.

(i was there too!)


i didn’t take any other pictures this year,which is quite unusual. 
i was partly busy and distracted, but also completely exhausted and distracted.

have you spent some fun times in the woods lately?


xo, mama lola

the final leg of our summer road trip!

i realize summer is a distant memory at this point, but i just wanted to share some photo’s from the last leg of our trip.

to read about the first part go HERE.
to read about the second part go HERE.
to read about the third part go HERE.

so, after a quick play at a park and a picnic lunch it was time to head to manitoulin island from sault saint marie.

with the pedal to the metal within speed limit restrictions, of course, we drove down and east along the trans-canada highway. it was an easy drive without any traffic problems. we arrived at the bridge leading on to the island. and, we had to wait. the bridge swings open once an hour to allow boats through.

we arrived in the town of little current, and scrambled to find accommodations. eventually we found a hotel looking over the harbour, which was fine, but the bar downstairs had a band playing till the wee hours of the morning! the kids and dear hubby slept through the cover bands renditions of sweet child o’mine among other 80’s hits!

we walked down to the marina checked out the boats and ate ice cream, cuz that’s what you do in the summer, right?

manitoulin island hosts a large pow wow each summer. it was a hot day, but we enjoyed the performances and dancing fully. look at these awesome headdresses and regalia worn by people from various nations and tribes.



we savoured time with our friends, friends who came all the way from germany! the kids played and played and laughed and laughed. we roasted marshmallows, drank some boozy drinks, chatted about kids, world politics and everything in between! we camped with them at a funny little private trailer park for a couple of nights. 



this is how i will remember manitoulin island. bright blue skies, rolling fields and peace.


we found a fun flea market.


we found a wonderful, tiny museum on a rainy afternoon.



before leaving the island, we found a funny little beach and went for one last road trip swim. we explored the reeds and enjoyed a picnic lunch.


and then the finale… the chi-chee! the chi cheemaun was the perfect way to end our epic summer road trip! the chi cheemaun is a ferry that goes from manitoulin island to the tip of the bruce peninsula and docks in owen sound. it’s about a two hour trip each way. we arrived early for the ferry; first we parked the van to line up for the ferry, then we went walking around the area, exploring a lighthouse, having lunch and just savouring the last hours of our trip together.


i was feeling quite nostalgic on our last day of traveling. returning home, meant dear hubby would return back to work, it meant that summer was that much closer to ending and it meant a return to some kind of routine. 
even though the trip had been super fun, it had been exhausting and stressful, as well. the four of us had been together the entire time, which again, was wonderful, but also exhausting.


road tripping is a great way to connect to a place, a province, a country and with your family. after experiencing our first full year of school as a family, and after feeling all those hours of separation take a toll on us, a summer road trip was a great way for us to re-connect. i felt the bond between all of my guys deepen; dear hubby and i had some of those great conversations you only have in the car. the kids played together so well (most of the time) and i saw their relationship grow tremendously. and, it was so wonderful to witness the kids spend all that uninterrupted time with their dad. we all benefited greatly from this trip.

now that we are in full swing with school and work, and rigid schedule they bring, i can really appreciate the importance of that family time we enjoyed this summer. 


now, we are already planning for our next destination!

xo, mama lola

what is happiness: by dilovely!

i’ve been wanting to share this post by my lovely blogger friend, dilovely. i have written a lot about happiness and contentment here at bear & lion, but i wanted to share something on the same topic, but with a different voice. (read my stuff HERE and HERE.)

as we head into fall, and the routines it brings with it, it is refreshing to be reminded of what and where we want to be, before we are overcome by the drudgery of it all!

please send dilovely some love and go read this article by her!


*  *  *  *  *  *  *
i love how freely kids express themselves.
they go from goofy to sad to overjoyed in an honest stream of emotions.


happy monday!

xo, mama lola

the first leg of our epic summer road trip!

and so our second annual family summer road trip started with a weekend at the cottage with dear friends. we left home on a stormy friday afternoon and arrived at the cozy cottage where the weather was calm and beautiful. so, we decided to get our bathing suits on and jump in the lake! it was a great way to start the weekend!
our weekend was fun in the sun; we swam, chatted about everything under the sun, sat by the fire, roasted marshmallows, drank various drinks, the kids played and played… it was glorious!


we left the cottage on a hot sunday afternoon and headed north on highway 400. our first stop was french river. it is a beautiful spot, perfect for a picnic and stretching your legs. we did both!

our first night of camping was fine. dear hubby and i were a bit out of sync, but seeing as it was our first night on the road, we allowed ourselves the learning opportunity to figure it all out. it took a lot re-organizing to get things into good order. for example, packing up my camping kitchen, i just tossed things into my bin at home, but here at camp i organized it as now i knew what i needed first when starting a meal. 

we bought the kids their own camping chairs and surprised them at our first campfire. they seriously believed us when we told them the forest fairies brought them! it was so sweet!


our first morning at fairbank provincial park and this is what the crater created lake looked like. kinda unbelievable!


then we hit science north in sudbury! (a shout out to all the sudbury peeps, YO!) man, it was fun, awesome and did i mention fun? if you’re even by the big nickel, hanging out on the rock go check this place out!

this big guy here, was the tallest man alive once-upon-a-time. he too had some issues with his pituitary gland, different from mine, but i felt a bond with this freakish moving robot man!


then it was time to hit the road. the kids were quiet and sleepy after such a busy morning, which made for easy driving. we did get stuck behind the road painting truck, which was super frustrating and hilarious at the same time!


and then we saw this sign (see below photograph). we passed the english version before i could snap a photo, but here is the french version (canada is billingual).  the sign reads “please do not feed the bears”. then on the brown part “bears are dangerous”. um yeah they are! they have massive claws and teeth, which are not there just for looks! and, here i thought there is no way in hell anyone in their right mind would want to get near an actual bear, never mind feed it. clearly i am naive!


we drove to sault saint marie, arrived after dinner time so the kids were grumpy and had a hard time finding a good place to eat. eventually, we decided to get a room at the motel 8 and get some grocery store sushi, cheeses, baguette and fruit. kids loved it, i loved it, and dear hubby loved. it was easy and delicious!

the next morning we piled into the car and headed for the famous canal locks. we arrived just in time to see an american tourist boat experience the strange wonder of the locks. the boat started out at one water level and then slowly was lowered to another water level. it’s actually super cool, but also scary!


we visited the bush plane museum in the soo. it was very well organized, and even though it’s a small museum, there is a lot to see and do. the boys of course loved it!


after the soo, we headed along the trans-canada highway north to camp at a provincial park.

that was when we discovered the wonder that is pancake bay.


as we set up camp we could hear a deep rhythmic pounding in the distance. so, we walked over the soft, sandy dunes and saw this.
a breathtaking view of sand and water and sky and forest.

dear hubby and i sat and watched as the kids played in the water, becoming more and more soaked as the waves kept crashing into the shore, and as the kids kept running into them. the boys were not bothered at all by the frigid temperatures of lake superior, or the cool wind that was blowing over the lake; they laughed while running and playing! it was perfect.


then, evening came. dear hubby put the kids to bed, i hooped…


and then this happened. wow.


more pictures and tales to come later from our epic road trip!

xo, mama lola

five things :: old school blogging!

lillian at a dome life tagged me for this and i love a good list, so i took the challenge. but, i actually found of these categories hard, like the reading one and the things i’d like to do before i die. anyhow, here goes….

Five Things I Have Passion For
1. my family
2. my blog
3. photography
4. art
5. gardening


Five Things I Would Like Like To Do Before I Die

1. backpack through south america with DH & the kids
2. go white water rafting
3. finish my women’s studies degree
4. camp in lapland

5. become a better hooper, as in find my flow
Five Things I Say A Lot
1. leave your brother alone; stop antagonizing him!
2. put poppy down, she does not like that!
3. should we do some kissing?
4. i love you.
5. you are beautiful.


Five Books And/Or Magazines I Have Read Lately

1. something from nothing
2. chirp
3. open 
4. the yoga journal
5
.  

Five Favourite Movies
1. first position
2. amour
3. the intouchables
4. madagascar
5. baraka


Five Places I Would Love To Travel

1. paris
2. turkey
3. iceland
4. the arctic
5. peru



Five People I Hope Play This Old School Blogging Game

one organic mama, a grace full life, this silly girl’s life, dilovely, elle roy was here
xo, mama lola

lion’s 3rd birthday party!

last weekend we celebrated my youngest boy, lion. it was such a wonderful weekend spent with family and friends.

we had dear friends come and spend the night before the party at our house. the kids had an awesome time playing, finding inch worms, climbing fences, playing games, while us adults had an opportunity to catch-up.

this is how it started! BEER!
every time dear hubby or i are drinking beer’s, lion wants to try it. he loves the taste of beer and keeps going after the bottle, it’s funny at first, but then it becomes a little concerning! haha!



we played. did gymnastics. chatted. laughed. watched tv. ate. drank. and laughed some more!


we had such a fun time together!
the kids were delighted to have so much time to play. then the next day was PARTY TIME!!! 
i tried to keep things simple food wise; fruit kabobs, crackers, cheese and gravlox salmon, watermelon, and cookies!



the kids LOVED the pinata!


after the games it was time for business.
CAKE!!!
we made lion a layered ice cream cake. it was so yummy and perfect for a hot summer birthday!


and just on cue, as soon as we all sang happy birthday to my littlest guy, i got all choked up with emotions and tears. i looked over at my mom, and saw her looking at me with tears in her eyes. haha! they were tears of joy and pride, but this is what we do in my family; we cry about everything!

HAPPY MONDAY!



xo, mama lola
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