Living well

slow living with children

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You’re either reading this because 1. you’re really interested in how to make this work or 2. you’re here wondering what the heck I’m talking about because you’ve seen me & my husband running around chasing crazy babies and stopping them from killing themselves and throwing food on restaurants. Either way, keep on reading.

I need to admit that slow living and children might sound really strange, at least from my perspective having two babies under the age of two. There isn’t much “slow” in our every day except perhaps when making us ready to go somewhere.

Here's the thing, as adults we often have a low tolerance for our kids to be bored. You read it right, I'm not talking about our own tolerance for boredom. We really want our kids to be happy and as a result of that we often fill upp free time with classes, practices and screen time, because when our kids are bored they complain and they whine.

Perhaps it begun before we became parents already, the idealizing of the time spent with family. It is the real culprit because it makes us feel like we aren't measuring up. After what might have felt like a couple of "failed" family outings with your kids throwing food everywhere, a visit at a friend's where your children broke at least two and a half things, your child going through a new leap or a period of defiance, or after an ordinary day with the babies being overly tired, not synced when it comes to napping and are having a generally bad day, you might be totally convinced that your kids simply CAN NOT soak up the concept of slow living like you imagined.

A little child’s life is nothing like the structured & controlled lifestyle you were able to have before you became a parent. They are learning how to communicate - without and with words. They are learning how to walk. They start to explore the world, and they definitely do not have a lot of impulse control. They throw tantrums at inconvinent times and they struggle with sitting still at cafés and restaurants. This is hard work for a brand new human!

We hold on to a vision of a picture perfect variation of life that is so far from what family life should really look like and because of that we become unhappy. We're holding on to something so different than the imperfect & amazing life we are blessed to access.

So let me tell you about the essence of slow living and perhaps you’ll agree with me - that it actually is possible to embrace the lifestyle with babies in your life.

The essence is simply being there for life. It’s the building of a more sustainable every-day were relationships and being in tune with yourself is weighing more than chasing for efficiency at the cost of sanity and relationships, it’s less quick fixes and less technology overwhelm. It's taking your kids on fewer dance and soccer practices and more playing in the park and dancing in the livingroom. It's clearing out our schedules for more freedom, a life with fewer obligations and more flexibility. It’s learning how to be with your children in more loving, supportive and patient ways. It’s changing your view of little people being difficult and realizing they are perhaps just misunderstood little humans that need guidance.

It will will never be perfect, but if you allow it, this will be the happiest time of your life.

Slow living with kids is being present in their lives and in your own as much as you can. Babies and toddlers already live in the present moment. Learn from it and join them.

Slow living is low tech and more intentional. Slow living with kids is the best way to enjoy their childhood. There will be laughs, there will be hugs, there will be times where you run and there will be times when you get to drink you coffee warm. There will be times where you hold conversations solely by looking into your childrens' eyes and there will be times where you and your husband will laugh yourselves through a chaotic hotel stay-over.

By dropping our unrealistic idealizations of what life with small children should look like and by freeing up more time on our calendars, we can live a slower paced life and make time for the most important things - our babies, life partners and all other relationships, you totally included.

a season of gathering

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I’m currently sitting in our re-arranged living room with my uncle’s painting of our wild northern woods behind me, a lavender plant next to me and the air diffuser spreading the aroma of black spruce and lavender - smelling old and woodsy, just like our old family home where I spent many childhood summers at. A big house with a forest; a river with little islets; a boat, far away from anything tech, electricity and various modernities such as a shower or an electric stove. I can feel how I’m constantly torn between my fascination of modernisation and the need of a grounding surrounding. However, today’s setting makes me fine with living in the city, with only an aftertaste of longing for something a little wilder.

I’ve spent many months waiting for the feeling of “the beginning of a new year” which usually never waits longer to show its presence than until the month of February. I’ve figured that this year of mine perhaps is a little different and not necessarily beginning and ending in tune with the Gregorian calendar and that my beginning is still about to happen. With so many hard things we’ve had to go through this year I’ve spent such a huge amount of time on just surviving and healing, a season of in-between which sometimes has a tendency to feel stagnant.

I’ve mostly never known how to make sense of in-betweens. Seasons of waiting for the final words in one chapter and also for the opening statement of the next. Teetering between letting go and beginning. 

I compare this stage much to brewing coffee. The moment where you’re just standing there waiting as coffee powder and hot water comes together and transforms. 

Or perhaps it can be compared with the end of a pregnancy. You are in a state of being somewhere between one place and another both metaphorically and literally. 

The in-between is not a pause, you’re still moving but perhaps the directions fall a little vague. You’re not completely clueless but you’re not necessarily sure either.

What might seem like being stuck or unwillingly being set on pause is in reality a call for transformation if you look below the surface. You’re still moving. You’re collecting. Thoughts. Patterns. Habits. Art. Words. Values. Not being fully able to express, create or begin, but in a state of gathering. Putting it all together, tying up ends - what you’ve learnt, experienced and collected this far. It’s a process of simply letting things arise and unfold as you become.

I would like to call it “The Season of Gathering”, because it paints a pretty picture. And It’s present in some way - nearly promised in life as life ebbs and flows.

So how do we better deal with these in-between seasons, except for acknowledging their function?

Well, most things are figureoutable. And I’ve found that gratitude helps.

We wake up every day to a world that needs us. We just need to keep our asses on the road even though we don’t know exactly where we’re heading. We have to keep our feet grounded and solid just where we are until the next phase is ready to greet us.

I’m not sure I’ll ever really like these seasons, but looking at them this way at least gives them a wonderful purpose.


saffron milk

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November is probably one of the worst months of the year. It’s wet and cold and the amount of light outside is catastrophic. I love autumn but the lack of sunlight always gets my mood this time of year.

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Something I’ve dived myself into these past few weeks is reading about the health benefits of saffron. I’m always happy to fill my saffron quota but this season I’m perhaps making a few more excuses to eat saffron buns knowing that eating a lot of saffron during the darkest & coldest months does have a function except for it being really tasty.

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Saffron is calmative, anti-inflammatory, helps with PMS, food digestion and weight loss (by reducing the need to snack) and is amazing when it comes to treating anxiety and depression. Saffron can even be used as antidepressant and has equal effects to the prescription drug fluoxetine (generic form of Prozac)), without the adverse effects (this study suggests 30mg saffron/day if you want to treat major depression)

So with a mission to boost my mental health and beat the winter blues, I’m devoting this season to treat myself with everything saffron.

I’m leaving you with a recipe of saffron milk that is super simple to make. I like to drink it when the kids have fallen asleep and I finally have some time to do some work, when it’s too late to pur a cup of coffee.


To make it you’ll need:

2dl milk
1 1/2 tsp raw sugar (I really want to try with honey next time)
Saffron to taste

Pour the milk into a pot and bring to a boil while stirring the milk. Lower the heat and add saffron and raw sugar. Stir till the sugar is dissolved and simmer for about 5 min.

xo

how to deal with having a distant, self-involved or emotionally immature parent

Dealing with the pain of having had an absent parent, being treated like less for being born a daughter/son and having a parent who have let their dysfunction and brokenness affect their ability to parent is hard.




Here are a few ways to keep yourself in check:

1. Go to therapy. See the life coach. Read the books. Get the tools. Process. Process. Process. 

2. Set the boundaries. Be your own boundary police. Set up your own rules to protect your heart. Do what has to be done to protect your borders. 

3. Break the cycle. Be who you needed, and who you wished to have had. Work to leave the legacy of hurt behind.

4. Allow grace to grow in your heart. It keeps your heart soft. We need more soft hearts in this world.

“We are still masters of our fate. We are still captains of our souls.” - Winston Churchill

xo, Briana

slow living in the city - 9 tips on living life at a slower pace

We have made a few changes to our routines & life at home and I'm slowly getting to where I want when it comes to the daily rhythm for me and my little family. I'm still longing for a slower pace related to where we live, and I really want to move where I can put garden furniture and plant potatoes, but while I'm still living in the middle of the city, I'm working to get as much slow living out of this city as I can.

The city pulse is sure hard to get rid off when you're right in the middle of it, but here are a few tricks I've find really helpful to apply to wind down...
 

Make rituals.

I remember growing up, my grandfather always has a ritual with his morning coffee. It was a slow but very devoted process, and together with grandma and their morning prayers, they both created a calm space were there never a feeling of rush in the mornings.

A few ideas on rituals: candlelight bath, taking time using body scrubs & creams when taking a shower, reading before going to bed, putting some effort in making a good cup of coffee in the morning, drinking tea, lighting candles...
 

Eat with gusto.

In my family, eating has been more of a social activity than something solely for nourishing purposes and I love that. Every time my mom comes over we chat & eat and we can easily end up eating for hours. During that time, we've enjoyed each other's company AND enjoyed our food without rushing it down our throats. Even if you don't have hours to eat, make some time for yourself to actually enjoy your food and company and not only rush it like it's another quick stop in life. Also! Put your phone down while you & your family are eating. Human interaction is good for you.
 

Create your vibe with music.

Let me invite you to two of my favorite Spotify playlists when it comes to creating a lovely vibe at home - Women of Jazz and Sweater Weather. Sweater Weather has been my go-to for years now, and it's absolutely perfect for spring and autumn. 
 

Fill your home with wonderful scents. 

Is there anything nicer than a home that smells good? I love having scented candles at home because 1. the candles does their part in creating a feeling of awareness, and 2. the scents from the candles makes the home really pleasant to be in. 
 

Plant plants.

Because bringing nature inside automatically comes with a slower pace, especially if you're more of a nature person than a concrete jungle person like me. Get yourself some flowers for the kitchen table, some for the windows, and if you're feeling ambitious - buy some seeds and plant your own plants! Here are some plants that help clean the air in your home...
 

Get rid of electronics that has you lazy/speeds your life up.

I think one of the best things that have happened to our home lately is me having hid the microwave and also slowly getting my husband to use a pot instead of our electric water boiler. Taking time to do things without the rush (and laziness) that comes with having things done super quickly really throws tension + stress out the window. 
 

Spend time offline. 

Leave your computer and phone in a drawer and spend some time offline. If you need to take photos, bring your dSLR instead of your phone, or even better, bring an analogue camera that'll need your total awareness of what is going on around you. It's hard to rush film. 
If you're used to spending time online and being available 24/7 this might be really stressful in the beginning because it'll make you realize how much stimuli you have gotten yourself used to. It will get better with time:) Soon enough you'll enjoy it, crave it and long for your offline hours.
 

Don't cram your day.

It's easy being swept away by the city pulse and the belief that we need to keep our schedules full and productivity levels maximized. We can't control the outcome of all days, and some will be busier than others, but some things can simply be done tomorrow or next week. Don't aspire to cram your days, let those days be exceptions rather than habits.
 

Plan your escapes and find your city paradises.

My mom and her home saves my life. During spring and summer we spend hours in her backyard. The baby is able to sleep outside which he loves and I am able to get me some sun while drinking coffee, doing crosswords and smelling the syringas. My mom's home is definitely my city paradise, and while we both are working our dreams of one day having our countryside homes, we also survive by planning our escapes. For me, it's definitely just getting out of the city to visit some small towns, beautiful natural sites or family on the countryside.
 

Oh the things you can see when you slow down...