It was a special, meaningful, healing period of time for our family.
I cherish my memories of that time!
Back in February when we knew we would be moving, I spent a lot of time looking at websites, searching for a home for our family. It was difficult to find very many rental homes that were in our price range. As time continued to pass, I became pretty discouraged and worried. Then I found someone looking to rent their cottage out by the week or by the month. The cottage backed onto the lake, we would be able to afford it, and although not close to work, it was less than an hour drive away so we thought it could work as a temporary place to live while we continued our home search in person. I struggled with knowing whether this was the best choice for us, and continually tried to remind myself that things would work out somehow, and that I needed to exercise trust that that was true. Looking back, I can see that it was totally true. I hope I'm learning through experiences like this, so that when times come in the future that I need to exercise that sort of trust, I'll be stronger at doing so.
Seeing the lake out the window, hearing the waves, watching the sun set over the water... these were tangibly healing. I mean that I could feel myself relax, like my soul could slow down and heal. When we arrived at the cottage it was early April and not many of the cottage neighbours were around so it was very quiet and we could just enjoy our solitude and the beauty that surrounded us.
On the left is one of many sunset photos, and the right is the view from our bedroom window (you can see the pattern of the window screen). Weeping Willows are one of my most favourite trees and I loved seeing this one every day!
Ken spent his first week of work living at the cottage alone while the girls & I visited with family. Then the first weekend, he joined us for some more visiting & we headed back to the cottage together for the second week. We arrived at the cottage in the evening, after dark, so we didn't get to see the outside very well until morning. I found Katrina sitting at the back door, sketching the backyard in the morning. I know what it's like to feel inspired to create and it made me so happy to see her like that. It was the first of many moments like this, where I saw my girls getting creative in nature, and it brought me so much joy to see!
We had a few different focuses while we lived at the cottage:
1. Find a home to rent
2. Finish the school year (we did this through home school)
3. I started a new part time job, working from home, & Ken was getting used to his new job
We have one car & work was a pretty long drive from the cottage, so when we wanted to go into town to look at rental homes, we planned to drive Ken to work and spend the day in town. We spent those days exploring our new city by visiting libraries to do schoolwork, visiting Ken at work for lunch a few times, discovering local parks, and popping into a few furniture stores since we sold some of our furniture before leaving Utah.
They were long days, but I have good memories of the 3 of us exploring together. There's something bonding about moving to a new place and having your family as the only ones you know. I experienced this when we moved to Utah as well; we got closer together and strengthened our own relationships before branching out and meeting other people when school started, and when things got more settled for us.
Right before we went to the cottage, Mattel sent us some games to try out. Mattel had started a "Reconnect Movement" with the goal to give us ways to connect in real ways with the people around us. I’ve always been saddened by the way that, despite the ways that technology so easily connects those of us who are far apart, it can also disconnect us from the people nearest to us, so I am totally on board with this movement!
It was so fun to pull out Pictionary, Balderdash, & Kerplunk together as a family & when we had guests over to the cottage! I actually laughed to the point of tears when we introduced Balderdash to our kids and I was thoroughly amused by the things they came up with!
The cottage we stayed at also came with a boat and some fishing gear, but we were there a little too early in the season to use the boat. We ended up with some crazy weather as we got into the right time of year for it, so we missed out on that but the girls were really hoping to try fishing and Ken was excited for that too, so we picked up an extra fishing pole & gear to make it happen.
There aren't a lot of photos of me at the cottage. The photos I have are mostly taken from my own perspective, so this is really a collection of my own memories- our time at the cottage, through my eyes. Part of me wishes I had taken more photos with my camera and less with my phone, but another part of me knows that I just needed things to be simple and even though not all of the photos are high quality, they're still a good representation of what happened and can bring back the memories just as well as a higher quality photograph. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, trying to make just the right choice, striving to choose the one correct path. I'm learning to believe that there are many good paths, not necessarily one correct one, and to be less hard on myself.
I make an appearance in a few of these photos of us getting a campfire ready because Katrina took over as camerawoman for a bit, with my phone. :) She captured a beautiful sunset in one of her photos! Looking at these fire-building pictures just gives me peace. Family campfires were one of my favourite things about the cottage.
One Saturday Ken's parents came to visit with Ken's brother's family. We had a fire for dinner with roasted hot dogs and marshmallows. :)
One of my favourite things about our time living at the cottage was the sunsets. We did our best to catch every one that we could. Here are a few phone photos of the sunsets we caught:
There were a few things, and a few "incidents" that occurred during our time at the cottage (in particular, some creative things the girls made and a flood) that I'd like to share but I think this post has gotten long enough, so I'll share them in a separate post.
So for now, I'll leave you with some photos from our last night at the cottage before we moved into our new home: