A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Friday, 16 October 2015

Do you know what makes you happy?

Pandora's Autumn Bliss charm
If you look up the word "bliss" you will find that the definition is "supreme happiness." And that is how Autumn makes me feel - supremely happy. I am happy that the air is cooler, the days are shorter, and the light is softer. I love going for walks in our neighbourhood and taking photographs of all the splendid colours. Without the oppressive heat of the summer, this is the time of year to do our gardening. It always seems an act of hope to plant tulips, because it's something to look forward to after the long cold winter. And we have some very fun traditions in the fall. Read on for the details - and photos.
My favourite tree in our neighbourhood.
We try to get to Saunders Farm every year. This "farm" would more aptly be called an amusement park, with its many and various types of mazes, as well as jumping pillows, a tractor tire playground, a pirate ship climbing structure, and the crazy (tree)house that jack built, with a hayloft for jumping. There is a spot to measure your height every year and they even have a Halloween-themed outdoor play which is always quite amusing, for children and parents alike. There's also a haunted hay ride, a perennial favourite. This year we're wondering if our teens will be brave enough for the haunted house and the evening (read scarier) version of the haunted hay ride.

Mitchell and Taylor at Saunders Farm (2008)
The (Tree)House That Jack Built
Saunders Farm (2008)
Mug shots of Mitchell and Taylor at Saunders Farm (2008)
Saying goodbye to Saunders Farm, until next year. (2008)
Hiking in the Gatineau Park is always a family favourite in the fall. When my mother was still alive - and still mobile - she would accompany us, on some of the trails with a flatter terrain.
Hiking and pretty colours with Taylor, almost two years old
Taylor and Mitchell, almost two, hiking with my mom, their Nana
Mitchell almost two, having a picnic after our hike
Every fall we make a day trip to the Mackenzie King Estate, traditionally on Thanksgiving Day. This piece of property, 200 hectare, is the country estate of Canada's tenth, and longest-running, Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, which he bequeathed to Canadians upon his death. King loved horticulture, landscaping, romantic gardens, and architectural ruins. The ruins were from Westminister in England, as well as being salvaged from Canada's Parliament Hill, which burned down in 1916. My children's favourite thing of course, is climbing on these ruins and climbing up trees, with a pause now and then to pose for mommy and the camera. These are some of my favourite photos. You can also see photos from this photo shoot on an earlier post about my son the clown.
The view from a park bench at Mackenzie King Estate (2014)
Mitchell, almost seven, at Mackenzie King Estate (2008)
Taylor, almost seven, at Mackenzie King Estate (2008)
Mitchell and Taylor at Mackenzie King Estate (2008)
Taylor and Mitchell, almost 14, at Mackenzie King Estate (2015)
The view from a different park bench (2015)

This year we brought someone with us - my younger brother Thomas. And for the first time since our children were born we cooked a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I think there needs to be a charm to represent this momentous occasion, but that will have to wait for a different story. 
Mitchell and Taylor with their Uncle Thomas, my younger brother; this is what happens when you tell your subjects to scrunch together like they know each other. I love Tom's smile in this picture!
We broke out the good china and fine silverware for our Thanksgiving dinner. I forgot to take photos before the turkey was carved or the desert was served. It tasted a lot better than it looks.

When you battle depression, it's important to know what makes you happy. And often it's the little things that bring happiness; these are the things you need to notice and be thankful for. For me it's taking the kids to buy pumpkins. Seeing the leaves change colour outside our bedroom window. Raking leaves and jumping in the piles. Filling the house with the smell of pumpkin muffins. Hearing the crunch of leaves underfoot. Bliss!

You can read more about this idea of paying attention to what makes you happy and having an "attitude of gratitude" - and how it actually changes your brain - in a post from last Thanksgiving.
Taylor and Mitchell in the pumpkin patch, almost six (2007)
Our bedroom feels like a treehouse.

Mitchell, three-years-old, raking leaves with Mike
The autumn bliss charm on my Sacred Woods bracelet

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