Thursday, December 31, 2015

Becoming Elisabeth Westberg

As it is the last day of 2015 and this is the last post on the blog, it seems fitting to take a moment or two to reflect back in time and put a few more words down in regards to the shape that the waves and rocks have taken over the years.


The first post was 1 December, 2010 (almost exactly 5 years ago).

It started with:  "I am becoming Mrs. Allin again. I will be known to Henry's daycare, schools, doctors, friends and so on, as Mrs. Allin. I will see about switching my name at work and possibly legally changing my name to Mrs. Allin as well. The goal is simplicity and consistency."

Fast forward to the present day and not only am I still not Mrs. Allin, but I'm no longer married.  At the time of writing, Henry was two and half months old and I was recovering from a traumatic birth experience as well as grappling with a deep grief for my birth mother, who died when I was 2 1/2.  

I wanted to fully embrace my new identity as a mother and at the same time start a blog to help find my voice.   They ended up being at odds with each other for a time, but over the years have converged into one identity.  


Just as bread needs time to prove, to be knocked back and given a chance to rise again, so has this last year been for me.  

"The goal is simplicity and consistency."

These words still ring true.  Only this time, it is not linked to a name change or an image.  They are principles that guide the actions in my day-to-day life.  

The simplicity of living in a 1 bedroom apartment with a 5 year old (half time), after having lived in a 4 bedroom house, is actually wonderful.  Clutter needs to be tightly managed and possessions chosen carefully.  This results more often in focusing on what matters and definitely there is less cleaning to do.  

Having spent more time with friends this last year than in a very long while, I've come to realise how they are life-giving, indispensable and must be treasured.  I am nothing without my friends (you know who you are).  

Proximity to the Beach has been invaluable.  Nature is always there to remind me that the best things in life are free.  

And through it all, Henry as a kind of barometer, has continued to thrive.  He is enjoyed by his teachers at school, loved by his friends, and excels at what he applies himself to.  He seems to be a happy, stimulated and curious child, although I'm sure it is tough to have to divide time between parents when time is so much at a premium to begin with.  So we make the best of our situation.


In finding this new rhythm and lifestyle, there has been the chance for stability to take root.  With that comes discipline and consistency.  So unlike much of my previous way of living, this stable approach and outlook allow for learning and creativity to bud and I hope eventually to flourish.  

These are the hopes.


And so, I am becoming Elisabeth Westberg again.  Both a devoted mother and someone who has her own voice.  Someone who is not afraid to follow love and to learn. 

Someone who is prepared to give her all and to do what it takes to ride through the waves.  

December 31, 2015

Saturday, November 7, 2015

In the Course of Nature

For Halloween, Henry was Optimus Prime.  He enjoyed dressing up, especially the sword.  We canvassed a couple of streets and then Henry simply said he was done and asked to go home.  He enjoyed some of the loot before crashing into bed.

Henry has now been to two soccer practices and thoroughly enjoys it.

And so now it is November.  The rain is setting in.  The ivy is dropping away from the windows.  And Christmas planning is starting to find its way into the rotation of papers and lists.   

And so it feels like the right time to take a break from blogging.  With all established in their courses, life will continue to unfold.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Spinach, Swimming and Volcanos

Weekends with Henry are evolving.  As is Henry.  As am I.  And as is our bond.

He is such a joy, teaching me all the time not only about himself, but also about myself and about...well, teaching itself.

It is all I can do to relate back the events of the weekend.



Henry enjoyed spaghetti & meatballs and all that "movie & video games night" had to offer.

After reading a chapter of Alice in Wonderland (watch this space for "Beautiful Soup"), Henry was in a bold mood and asked to sleep in his bedroom instead of with me on my bed.  

So we switched it up.  Pretty quickly he changed his mind and wanted me off of the floor and lying next him singing a song, but the pattern is set now that he sleeps in his room until I go to bed.  I am to then pick him up so that he can wake up next me.  Ok!  It's the start of a transition and it feels good for both of us.


A rainy morning.  Made coffee & puttered while Henry played video games.  To peel the boy away from the screen without fuss, he had a plaster volcano to paint so that we could "explode" it later.

Then it was sword-fight time.  Henry tried out his Optimus Prime sword (Halloween costume) and I was the bad buy improvising with whatever weapon I could get my hands on.  Somehow, he always managed to stab me and take away my weapon.  

Someone (brilliant) at work had seen the sword delivered and suggested that it could make lava spring up from the ground.  So of course I told Henry, and we then had to go to the park for testing.

At the same time, Henry tried out his new cleats as his first soccer practice would be on Monday.  He loved them and can run and kick with even greater speed and strength.

We then departed for some errands:  went to open a bank account for Henry, sampled and purchased items from the cheese shop, bought bakery treats, lunch, groceries, a newspaper and a comic book.  As we walked, Henry asked me:

Henry:    What's the opposite of spinach?

Elisabeth:  pause   Vanilla?

Henry:  No.  Macaroni and cheese!


After the errands, we settled back for a bit at the apartment before going swimming.

Henry loves the pool and since we last visited he has grown significantly and can easily touch the bottom of the pool even when wearing water wings.  

Tired and wet, we returned home and had some more downtime.  After that, it was volcano-exploding time!  

Not quite finished the activities for the day, we headed up to church for family movie night, where there was to be pizza and a screening of Narnia.  Henry made it a decent amount of the way through before asking to leave as he was too scared.  Fair enough, Tilda Swinton is pretty menacing at the best of times.


Henry woke up at 5:30am.  Sigh.  But since we were up early, and since my friend had sent me a tip that Venus and Jupiter were esp. visible just before dawn when looking east...and the sky was clear...Henry was game and we threw on some clothes and crossed the street to Woodbine park.  

can you spot the planets?

The planets were shining brilliantly and Henry could even confirm the planets' names with the Sky View app.  It was all very cool and a great way to start the day.

After breakfast, we left the apartment extra early to ensure we made it to choir practice on-time.  Henry again was a server and got to process with a candle and wear a red cassock.  

In the afternoon we had a lovely bike ride to the park to play more soccer, this time with Henry trying out both the cleats and the shin-guards.  It was I who needed the shin-guards.  

Then we decorated some Halloween cookies, ate quiche, exploded the volcano again, played Connect 4, read more Alice in Wonderland and pretty much both crawled into our separate beds exhausted.


And so with such a weekend blow-out, I don't mind the evenings so much when Henry is with his dad.  I need to catch up on chores and sleep!  

And with that, stay tuned for Halloween!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Let All Things Now Living

For those not in the Canadian-know, it was Thanksgiving yesterday.  

Henry & I had a wonderful long weekend together, apple picking, making pumpkin pie, going on a long bike ride and eating a Thanksgiving risotto. 

While eating our lunch on the rocks by the water, we each named 3 things we were thankful for.  


1.  Luther
2.  You and my dad
3.  Trips that I get to go on

While my list to Henry was simplified and included him at the top, here is a blog version of my thanksgiving fervour:


For the love that is possible in this world, I am thankful.

For the acceptance and encouragement that friendships give, I am thankful.

For the healing power of nature, I am thankful.

With this abundance in my heart to share, I welcome each new day.


Since there really are so many pictures this week, lets cut right to the chase and review the last week IN PICTURES:

NYC friend moves to hip Queen West.
With the men absent, we laydeez did all the heaving lifting.
and then had some wine and delights.

Selecting a leaf for his daycare art project.

Friday trip to Niagara Falls

If only we had more time...

In the hotel.  Henry:  "What, two beds?"

On the way to IHOP.
So overpriced, hope to never go back.

Henry now knows the way.

Morning crossing of the Rainbow Bridge

It was chilly so Henry wore my vest.
And shortly after this photo was taken, ran away again.

Waiting to be picked up at Twist O' the Mist

Apple-picking:  a hay maze

Finding the right tree

I love apples!


Henry and Peter love apples!

Here, put this in the bag.

The monthly Chowder Sale at the fire hall.
Kids get hats.
Adults buy soup, made by men.  Firemen.

Last rustle in the leaves before we depart.

Late afternoon crossing of Rainbow Bridge
Henry picked out a pumpkin at the apple farm and on Sunday outright refused to let me buy a pumpkin pie at the store and insisted that we make one from scratch.  We compromised, and I bought a tender flake crust.  But, here goes...


Scooping out the seeds and roasting

Pureeing the roasted flesh

Bake in nice shell

devour, with whipped cream

Monday we went for a long bike ride.
Played soccer a lot.
And toilet tag (don't ask)

Someone made these incredible rock sculptures.
Henry insisted that we eat our lunch in the midst

climbing rocks a while

It is a great joy to reflect on this last weekend with Henry.  I am especially thankful for this rambunctious, hilarious and thoughtful boy.  He is truly a priceless treasure.

Coming up in this next week?  Who knows?  stayed tuned...