Looking back on 2022 it feel like one of the more tumultuous years of our lives, one filled with so much uncertainty and changing plans. But even just that sentence, would make most (myself included) think that it was a bad year, but quite the contrary, it was one of the best years for me. It was filled with growth, trusting myself, making big life changes, learning to go with the flow more, letting go of things that weren’t working for me and a little more growth and personal development. It was definitely a year for the books. Check out my monthly highlights 👇.
So let’s just dive right in…
January…The year started in snowy Peterborough, with our trip to Ecuador being delayed a few weeks because our Airbnb host cancelled on us 3 days before we were set to fly there. A couple days and dozens of calls and even a couple tears, and we found another place to book and were able to get new flights, but it meant we got to spend 3 more weeks in Canada. Those 3 weeks actually felt quite special because we got one of the biggest snowfalls in our memory and our days were filled with tobogganing and the kids eating their body weight in snow.
Finally we flew down to Ecuador, a place we have returned to time and time again. It was actually our 6th trip down to a little beach town called Olon, on the Pacific coast. We love it there and seem to keep returning because it hits a lot of bases when it comes to what we are looking for in a family vacation. I have quite the travel bug and want to explore lots of new countries with my family, but while the kids are young, it was always very attractive to go to a place we knew. It is inexpensive, there is great surfing for Ryan, we love the food, the people are so kind, the weather is perfect (maybe a little hot…it is on the Equator after all!), and we’ve even made some friends down there. So we ended up flying down on my birthday, it was a marathon of a day, but the girls were amazing and we woke up to the warmth and beach.
We ended up staying in Olon for 2 months. and at the beginning of March, we celebrated Lakey’s 4th Birthday! She has officially celebrated more of her Birthday’s in Ecuador than in Canada, so much so that she almost expects it now. She actually took her first steps in Ecuador on the beach on her 1st birthday! Now that is a memory I will always remember!
Another huge thing that happened was the girls actually tired surfing and loved it! After years of them being afraid to even go in the ocean, this was a huge feat, and one that made us so proud. I always dreamed of having little beach bum surfer kids, and well, that was a dream for me to witness <3
The rest of our time in Ecuador was pretty low key. LOTS of swimming in our condo’s pool, beach walks, going to the river to swim and float, day trips to neighbouring towns, hanging out with friends, squeezing in some homeschooling and work and just spending quality time as a family. Going away for this amount of time is such a great privilege, I really do acknowledge that. The fact that we can work from anywhere and afford to go there, the crazy thing is, we actually spend the same amount living here in Canada, as we do when we go to Ecuador, so financially, it is more doable than most people think.
Moving on to the next chapter, in April we came back to Peterborough, fell back into the routine of our everyday, Canadian life, I struggled hard with homeschooling my girls, and we had many easy days spent with friends and playing outside. We also celebrated Easter with the girls (their second favourite holiday), and we decided to get a kitten! After we tried to adopt one from Ecuador and it became close to impossible to bring it to Canada. So, we brought home this little furball, and named her Piña (Spanish for pineapple).
May was an exciting month for us because it was finally time to go and spend some time at our trailer which is parked on our property that we bought in 2021. The island is in in Lake Ontario, just outside of Kingston, and we discovered and fell in love with it about 4 years ago when on a family vacation. Ever since, I have dreamed of living there and buying some land on the lake and eventually building a home. Finally in 2020 we put an offer on an available property and were on the edge of our seats for a full year while the land severance was completed. Anyways, a long story short is that the land is finally ours and we had the whole summer to go there and enjoy it!
June turned out to be an exciting month. My garden started to flourish, in Peterborough and on the island, the girls performed at their piano recital (which was insanely cute, my eyes got moist 😂).
I went to Paris with a friend to visit our other friend who lives there! It has been the first time since having kids that I travelled solo, and it was honestly a dream! It came at a time when I really felt like I needed on break from being a mom and from regular life in general. It turned out to be such a magical time with my 2 friends that I haven’t spent much time with in years and personally, I came back feeling invigorated and refreshed!
July was a hot and dusty month on the land, we tried to go these most weekends and spent the weekdays in Peterborough. Towards the end of the summer we definitely got a little tired with all the driving (2.5 hrs), and the back and forth, but it wasn’t enough to stop us from doing it. On the weekends we would swim, visit with new island friends, go to the sand beach and work on the land, planting lots of trees and dreaming of what kind of home we want to build on the land. During the weekdays in Peterborough, we filled our time with more park plays, visiting the beach, going to the local Zoo, and trying to squeeze in some work in there too!
We ended the month with Isla’s birthday, she turned 7! We had a great birthday party with her friends at a local park/beach, along with snacks, cupcakes and a piñata.
August was a big month because we decided we were going to move to Amherst Island and enrol the girls in the public school. So that left us with only a month to get everything ready to live in the trailer full time. Ryan installed a solar pump at our well to help us get water out a little easier (up until then we used the ol’ bucket and rope system to fetch water). We took a week to go on an annual camping trip with Ryan’s dad and his family, and we tied up loose ends in Peterborough to get ready to live in a new place.
The month felt like a total whirlwind, and a mix of feeling like “what the heck are we doing?!” and the feeling of “yes, this feels right, let’s give it a go“. It was quite the roller coaster of emotions to say the least, but it was also mixed with a lot of excitement, which was helpful.
We were also able to harvest a lot of a garden’s veggies, and thoroughly enjoyed them with the promise that, next year we’ll plant waaay more carrots, because they were delicious and we got about a dozen lol.
September was one of our craziest months of the year. The girls started school and I was blown away with how well they did in such a new and foreign environment. But they made lots of friends quickly, and actually enjoyed it for the most part.
We tried to make the month fun, and make the best out of living in a trailer. When we looked at it as more of a camping trip, it was fun for them, and so we had lots of fires, roasted marshmallows, BBQ’s, swimming, time with new friends and playing at the playground after school. It was pretty tough for Ryan and I because we still didn’t have internet at the trailer and so we sat in our car to work for the first couple months, thanks to a generous neighbour letting us use his internet. There were so many conveniences of a house that we greatly missed, like running water, laundry, heat, internet, reliable power (we were using solar), flush toilets, showers…the list goes on. Living in a house really is luxurious! We had to channel our inner pioneers to make it through. The end of the month started to get pretty chilly, so with another month planned in the trailer, we needed a reliable heat source that didn’t require electricity, because our solar panels just couldn’t handle it.
While September felt like a crazy adventure, October was just strait up hard. It was a cold month, with lots of cloudy and rainy days. In a trailer, when you need sun to power things like your fridge, things got a little touchy, and spirits were pretty low for a while. Luckily we had an end date because we were going to rent a house down the road for the winter. We couldn’t wait to get into the house at the end of October, but still had a few weeks to survive in the trailer. We found we would try to go somewhere most days while the girls were in school, so we’d go to the warmth and dryness of coffee shops on the mainland. It was just so damp in the trailer. I should also mention, there were so many kind locals and new friends who invited us over to shower, it was pretty great, since showering outside in 0 degree weather was pretty miserable.
We did escape to Peterborough for Thanksgiving for a long weekend to see family and do copious loads of laundry. And for that, we were very grateful. Every time we came back to our Peterborough home, we loved it just a little bit more. It was proving to be so warm, cozy, and comfortable.
The girls really hit their stride at school in October. We got to attend an open house where we saw their classrooms and met their teachers, they had picture day, and they also had Halloween at school, and still to this day was their “best day ever”! After a fun day at school, we met with all the other local kids and went trick-or-treating in the village. It ended up raining most of the evening, but is definitely a halloween we will always remember!
November…we made it! Finally it was time to move into our rental house, and it felt like a dream the first few weeks. To be able to go to bed warm and wake up warm, to have internet, more countertop space, and not one but TWO toilets! Needless to say we were pretty excited for the luxuries of a house after living off-grid for 2 months.
November was a month filled with sunrises…Waking up every morning to a beautiful sunrise, sitting there and drinking my coffee. It was pretty magical! We also had family visits, and our first snowfall!
December was a very full month! There were lots of social events on the island, Christmas tree decorating, the Santa Clause parade, school plays, more family visits.
The biggest accomplishment for the month was getting our Peterborough house ready to rent out on Airbnb. We finally made the decision that we would be on the island for a little while, and might as well rent out our house while we weren’t there. It was a massive undertaking, to say the least. Ryan and I worked for about 12 hours strait everyday for a week, cleaning, purging, and just fixing things that have been on the back burner. Dealing with 8 years of stuff, was such a daunting task for me, but one that felt SO good to complete. And now, when we go back to the house, it is paired down, and much more minimalist. It definitely feels good. And, we even got our first booking through Airbnb for later in January, so our hard work is already starting to payoff. If you care to see more pictures of our home, check them out here.
And to end the month and the year, we spent a few really quiet days on the island over Christmas, just the 4 of us. We were actually snowed in and literally stuck on the island. The winds and snow were so wild that the ferry was not running for 2 days! It sounds a little crazy, but for some reason I absolutely loved it. We had all the food we needed, didn’t have anywhere we needed to go, and we were all together, which was all we really needed.
Looking forward to the next year there are some very exciting things on the docket. In business, look for some exciting new programs (related to hormones), a podcast, and my teaming up with another nutritionist. Personally, we are potentially building a house on our property on the island this year so that would be an absolute ride, I’ll give updates when I know what’s happening.
If you’ve made it this far, wow, thank you 🙏. I really like doing these recaps, because I think it’s so important to take some time to reflect and look back on what I’ve done, personally, as a family and everything in between. It is fun to go back and see pictures of these highlights, it makes me so incredibly grateful to be living this life, it feels like everything just makes sense, and that I am exactly where I am meant to be. It’s so easy to get caught up in every little decision in life, feeling like such a monumental thing in the moment, but no matter what decision I make, it is the right one. There’s a certain level of peace in knowing that and it helps me learn to TRUST myself. Which is an interesting way to end this, because TRUST is actually my intention/word for 2023 ❤️
Also a quick disclaimer, that these are all our highlights, there were many lowlights, and hard things that happened last year, many sleepless nights and anxieties, so much stress, feeling out of control and like we’re going into the unknown, as well as troubles parenting. So a reminder to not compare your life to the one I just shared. But something I am learning as I age (ha!), is these lowlights played their part in our year, one just as important as our highlights, so give credit to all of it, the good and the bad, the hard and the easy. I truly believe that the growth happens in the challenges.
I wish you love and light this year, and to appreciate all the little things and trust that you are on the right path.