Quiet Winter Walks

Image

Image

We have been trying to enjoy the soft, silent beauty of this winter season when it’s not minus degrees. We bundle ourselves and the dog up (yes, he has a coat AND boots for the extra frozen days) and trek through the woods for some fresh air and refreshment. It’s a different world during these winter months and it feels good to get out and enjoy it when we can. It’s really not so bad when you are prepared. I’ll take scarves, hats, mittens and sweaters any day over the sticky hot of a sweltering summer day. Find the good in all seasons and you’ll always have something to look forward to.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Advertisements

The Upper Peninsula

Image

Matthew, Ollie, and I decided to start out August right by treating ourselves to a quiet, relaxing vacation to the Upper Peninsula. We found a simple, newly updated 100-year old cabin for rent on a small lake. Our favorite part was the amazing deck overlooking the water. There’s something so refreshing about eating your meals as you look out onto the peaceful ripples of the lake. We would definitely go back.

Image

It was only in the high 60’s to low 70’s, so we didn’t have the chance to swim in the lake. The cabin did include two kayaks though and I wish we could still venture out every day. Dipping your paddle into the cool water as the sun is setting is my kind of way to end a day. On our last night there, we followed a beaver or otter through the lily pads for at least 15 minutes. This trip has awakened a dream in both of us to someday have a cabin of our own on a quiet lake.

Image

matt dock

Ollie really loved the peaceful setting to relax and go for long walks down the wooded road without lots of scary noises and sights he’s not really into here in the city. He liked seeing deer, butterflies, and birds instead. He says he would go back too!

ollie trees

lake trees

lake views

winter brightness + beauty

Image

When I began my 20’s, I always assumed once I graduated college, I’d be out of here. Guess it didn’t quite turn out that way, but in the words of Mumford & Sons, “I will learn to love the skies I’m under“. I’d like to think that I am where I need to be right now, but I hold on hope that a new adventure lies ahead of us soon. In the spirit of embracing where I am {and on a snow day, even! while listening to Sigur Ros, the perfect snowy music} I will share some pretty winter touches in our house.

Up above we have our Ikea-inspired winter forest art that Mr. M and I made. One of the perks of having a long, cold winter is that it gives us extra time for creative projects. I helped M sketch the design and cut out the template and he cut out and sanded the forest out of simple white-coated masonite. We even found two LED stick lights that go behind it to light up at night and bring out the shadows. I love it.

Image

One of my favorite estate sale finds last year was this linen snowflake embroidered dresser cloth. Each snowflake is so delicately sewn. I have realized that I honestly would miss winters without snow. Obviously it gets old and annoying eventually, but it’s so charming and sparkly some of the time. Having a puppy that adores playing in it is another plus. See, I am trying to make the most of this place, this climate. Makes it a little more bearable.

Image

Some more estate sale + flea market finds to brighten up our winter days. That flowered tray is actually a gift from my parents from a flea market adventure they had in Denmark. It’s my special little treasure. The tiny vintage cardinal print reminds me of my Grandpa–they were his most favorite birds. The blanket was handmade by M’s Grandma and it happens to be Ollie’s favorite cuddle blanket.

Image

The tiny wooden snowflakes were a Christmas gift from M’s parents. So pretty. That mini credenza has a story of its own that may involve a journey from the Jersey Shore (um, not the show!!) all the way to Wisconsin.

So there you have it. Our cozy winter home. And now I must admit I am ready for Spring…

do small things with great love

Ollie winter walk., originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.

I like the fresh feeling a new year brings, another chance to live and experience, a time to reflect and make changes where they are needed. There are things I want and need to make happen this year so I am hoping 2013 treats us well.

Life is always interesting, isn’t it? Some years incredible, others with deep disappointment, hurts, loss. Joys and sorrows, balancing each other out. Of course I know it is those hard times that help us to grow, to become stronger, to understand ourselves and others in new, better ways. We need difficulties to fully appreciate the beautiful moments in our lives. Though knowing this doesn’t ever seem to make it easier during those not so great moments.

Sometimes it’s easy to let yourself be overwhelmed with the pain and wrong in life. To feel hopeless and small, wondering how just you can do anything to leave this world a better place. I love this quote from Mother Teresa:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

The small things make all the difference–a smile, a note of thanks, a kind word. Tiny gestures of kindness we all have time for, no matter how busy life gets. One of my goals for this year is to just make it happen. So often I think of something I should do, something that I know would brighten another’s day. Yet I use the excuse of busyness, of being tired, losing my energy and motivation. We don’t always know what someone else is going through, when someone is having a bad day–imagine how they might feel by just your simple act of kindness. I want the people in my life to feel loved and appreciated, to spread little moments of joy when I can. So that, I suppose, is my New Year’s Resolution: to stop making excuses, and make things happen!

2012 was not my favorite year…but sharing a picture of the best part that makes me smile and laugh all the time up above.

so much growth

veggie garden, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.

Much of my summer has been spent tending to this bountiful vegetable garden. After a rough start with hot hot sun and so much dry, it’s bounced back and has taken off like crazy. We have three 4 x 12 raised beds and they are all overflowing with veggies everywhere. Fresh green beans, cucumbers, peppers, so many tomatoes. Our best garden yet…

driving home to the setting sun

Driving home to the sounds of the most beautiful music, the perfect accompaniment to the saturated hues of the setting sun. The colors + warmth casting a glow on everything, softening the busyness of a long day. Giving a quiet energy within as I take it all in, a great big visual gift on an ordinary day. What can I say, I live for those simple joys, the blessings that remind us we do matter. Won’t you find yours?

with their eyes all aglow

cozy christmas, originally uploaded by ordinarymoment.
A cozy Christmas Eve, in our pj’s, one last snapshot to end an evening filled with family + smiles. Ah, the fresh scent of our second tree together, the lights, a few childhood ornaments amongst the new. The comfort + promise of so many more to come. Time together, seasons, memories. To grow + expand with our hopes and dreams.
And I realize, that is what this season is all about. The gift of sharing ourselves with others, laughing, loving, just being there. I couldn’t tell you every toy I got as a child, but I could tell you how it felt standing next to my Grandpa at church on Christmas Eve, his deep, clear voice harmonizing with my Grandma’s as we all sang of such joy, hope, and peace. The way the candles flickered + glowed so much warmth as we remembered, all is calm, all is bright. The brisk night air, the stars, the contentment knowing what it meant to be blessed with a family who was always there for me.
 As we grow up, the magic of the season shifts + changes, people come and go, but that love + hope is always there if we remember to seek it. Families grow, new traditions are made, but still that simple act of togetherness will always be the best gift we can ever share.