This month’s At Our House blogger is the super creative artist-slash-mama, Andrea Mulder Slater. You won’t want to miss her fabulous posts about life with a toddler on the East Coast, living with Nana and building a home from scratch.
I’m a Southern Ontario transplant, now living with my family in rural New Brunswick
I contemplated what the next sentence of my introduction to you should be, but the words simply refused to materialize. So instead, as soon as my 3-year-old daughter awoke from her nap, I took the opportunity to slow down as she and I pulled on our rubber boots.
We headed out for a walk to the beach while her dad (my husband Geoff) stayed behind to continue on the floor he has been installing. Her grandmother (my mom Jantje) took the opportunity to make calls for a local folk art festival she is planning. Deadlines are always looming at our house.
“It’s a beautiful day,” my daughter said happily as she jumped from puddle to puddle on the path to the rocky coast.
At the water’s edge, the tide was ebbing, revealing hundreds of periwinkle shells, which my girl happily inspected at close range. My late father would be so proud of her inquisitive nature. It was about an hour away from low water, which around here is 28 feet below the high water mark. Beyond the rocks, on a patch of wet sand, she and I noticed dozens of round lumps, just below the surface. She crouched down, pushed her chubby hands cautiously into the muck and pulled out a soft and fuzzy disc. It was her first Bay of Fundy sand dollar – nothing like the delicate sun-bleached specimens we’d seen while on vacation in Florida. These sand dollars were alive, robust and deep in colour.
As I watched her carefully comb the shoreline for more treasures, I caught a glimpse of the tiny baby face beneath the mop of little girl hair. I wanted to hold onto the moment, so I stashed the memory safely beneath a big rock, where I hope I can find it again another day.
Being a work-at-home parent has allowed me the opportunity to witness the daily discoveries of my daughter. It’s a gift I never take for granted because I know just what it takes to ensure she has her mom, dad and grandmother, in her life, every step of the way.
Our family life and how we earn a living, is somewhat unconventional. Nothing is ever certain. At our house, there are projects in every room, from mural quotes and web design sketches to stone sculptures and in-progress paintings. And, in case you’re wondering… every day is laundry day. Together, my husband, mom and I run an art studio and an art education website (KinderArt.com). We volunteer in our community, we involve the littlest member of the household in most everything we do and we’ve spent the past four months building an as-yet-unfinished house that we’ve all just moved into.
Back from the beach, my kiddo and I sat down at the kitchen table. I started to cut beans and she placed them into a pot. Nearby, Geoff was stoking the fire and Jantje was preparing millet in our makeshift kitchen. When the beans were ready for the stove, I asked my daughter what she liked best about living at our new house. Was it the beach, her bedroom, or…
“This,” she replied.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I like this,” she reiterated. “I like being here, with you guys.”
I’m so excited to spend the next few weeks with you and I hope you’ll join me as I share perhaps far more than you would ever want to know about my family and what life is like here at our creative, unpredictable and sometimes chaotic house.