Snowshoeing Adventure #1

On Monday I went to my parents’ acreage (and my childhood home) to test out my brand new snowshoes!

It took me a few many minutes to figure out how to strap the contraptions onto my feet, but once I got the hang of it, I was stomping around their land like an old pro.

Well, not really. I am, after all, extremely out of shape and inexperienced.

There might have been some guesswork involved, and maybe some huffing and puffing and cursing while I strapped the shoes on and then stomped around at a turtle pace. And I may have tripped over my feet, only to fall (very gracefully, of course) into the snow a few times but it was all in good fun. I was all by myself, there was no one to laugh at with me but I really enjoyed  immersing myself in nature, and sometimes your own company is the best company out there. The crunch of snow, the crisp air and the surprisingly warm sun made the afternoon very enjoyable.

I saw lots of different animal tracks in the snow; racoon, deer, and a few others I didn’t recognize. My Mom and Clint watched me from inside the house and banged on the window to wave hello when I was in sight. When I was in the field, just as I turned around to go home I noticed that the sun was in that marvelous position where it turns the whole world golden-hued. I tipped up my chin and closed my eyes to let the sun’s rays soak through me. Glorious.

Once I was back at the house, I took off my snowshoes and shook snow off my hair and pants and dressed down to my leggings and cardigan. My Mom and I made some hot chocolate and chatted about the things that were going on in our lives, while we watched Clint play around the house.

It was a wonderful afternoon and I left with a smile on my face. I can’t wait to plan my next romp out in the snow!

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Confessions

Here it is: My Clothes Don’t Fit.

How stupid is that.

Food. It is the delicious bane of my existence. I cannot seem to find a balance between eating for nourishment and eating for pleasure. My weakness is sweet foods. Anything that has sugar or is a derivative of sugar I become attached to the point where I will eat it until it runs out or I become sick. A part of me knows that this is not proper behaviour. Another part of me can’t quit until an extreme has been reached. I wrestle and war with myself but it seems like the cravings always win.

If it’s not bread or baked goods, it’s pretzels (which is a kind of baked good but a different category for me than, say, a muffin), if it’s not pretzels it’s cheese, if it’s not cheese it’s chocolate, if it’s not chocolate, it’s popcorn. I just can’t seem to dismiss them if they are around me. It is a battle of wills.

A few nights ago I went to Raw: Almond, a pop-up restaurant located on the river at The Forks, a locally well-known spot where the Red and Assiniboine rivers meet. We sat on fur-covered tree stumps and ate seven courses of the most top-quality, delicious foods I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. It was an amazing experience and, dare I say it, a life-altering meal.

Here it is: I am fat. Not just a ‘lose 20 pounds and it will all be fine’ fat or a ‘curvy and voluptuous’ fat, or a ‘strong but hefty’ fat. No, it is an actual ‘out of shape, flabby and exhausted’ fat. I overeat edible food-like substances and I hardly ever would call myself active (much to my chagrin).

I try. There are periods of time where I try SO hard to change. I go for walks, I eat salads, I do whatever I can to lose weight but then I derail myself by allowing others to control my actions. Whether it’s a derivative look from another human, time constraints, biological urges, holiday ‘treats’, etc. it seems that this life I live is designed to work against me.

It’s combat. It’s war. It’s battles. It’s a fight.

It’s stupid.

I am opting out. There has got to be something better. This is my public declaration that I am taking control of the wheel. Leaving it up to forces other than myself has not worked. The plans of others has left me stagnate and exhausted. Instead of holding it all in, I  am going to pour it out. The positives, the negatives, everything.

So here goes.

Woodcutter

My poor darling baby boy has been in a terrible mood lately. Irritable, fussy, moody, needy. It’s his teeth, you see. Poor thing.

Teething is something I never really considered when thinking about becoming a new mom. It was all about baby clothes, nursery décor, car seats and strollers. Teething pain and other realities never occurred to me. Or if they did, it was very fleeting and dismissed immediately.

But reality presses on, and lately my days are consumed with cuddles and Tylenol and frozen cloths and keeping Little C hydrated (he won’t eat for the pain).

On Sunday I took a chance and escaped to recharge my ‘mom batteries’. Does that make sense? I needed to wear a different hat. My own mom watched over my babe while my sister and I helped our dad cut wood for their winter stove. We became amateur woodcutters (my sis and I did, my dad is very much a pro). We felled a few trees and dragged them with our trucks to the designated spot to be chopped up.

Our dad showed us an original cantwood he uses from time to time that pioneer loggers used to lift too-heavy tree trunks off the ground. We laughed at silly jokes and grunted under the heavy weight of cut wood clutched in our arms, we blew out puffs of cold air and shook saw dust off our shoulders. It is exhausting and dirty work but at the end of it all, a wonderfully productive day was had.

Everyone needs a break now and then. Monotony needs to be broken, inspiration to go on needs to be found. The fresh air, the camaraderie and the physical labour was exactly what I needed to rejuvenate my spirits and carry on with happily mothering a sick babe.

I apologize in advance for the poor quality of the images. They were taken with my iPhone, since there was no way I was going to bring my ‘big’ camera to this hard-working mess!

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Bonspiel

In our house, January = Bonspiels. February too for that matter, but January is when it starts.

For Big C, that means curling & drinking with his loved ones and for me that means keeping the home fires burning.

When Big C and I first started dating (all the way back in 2008!) I curled with him on weekends and, when we first moved in together, on local league nights since a girl usually takes an interest in what her main squeeze likes (social constructs FTW!). About 2 winters ago I finally admitted to him that curling just wasn’t my thing. I can get through about half a game (with friends and a drink on the ice with me, of course) before my mind starts to wander and I can’t wait to get off the ice.

I know. What kind of Manitoban am I? Not a very good one, obviously😉

But in the spirit of appreciating where I am in life, I try to take it all in good humor and enjoy these weekends with friends and family.

I’m not gonna lie, in the past these winter weekends used to be quite wild. Nothing but boozy fun and nursing hangovers with ‘hair of the dog’ in the cold air of the rink. But now that we are older (but certainly not wiser) and since some of us have had babies, we’ve all tamed the wildness…for the most part. Curling is still a thing, and we almost always have a full house but now we have adorable babies to add to our enjoyment!

H wearing his Daddy's boots.

H wearing his Daddy’s boots.

H catnapping on his Mom (who's expecting Baby #2!)

H catnapping on his Mom (who’s expecting Baby #2!)

Chatting and listening to music in between games.

Chatting and listening to music is what happened in between games.

So serene...

So serene…

I finally made a fruit bowl happen at a brunch.

I finally made a fruit bowl happen at a brunch.

Peggy Sue

Peggy Sue

Sharing one last drink before it's time to say goodbye.

Sharing one last drink before it’s time to say goodbye.

Snow Day

A few days after Christmas our little family decided to go for a walk around town. It was unusually warm for the end of December (only -5*C) and Little C had received a sled as a Christmas gift from my parents. We didn’t go very far, about 3 blocks away, before we circled (squared?) back and played beside the house until Little C deemed it time to go inside. After our walk the kettle called out that we should warm up with a hot beverage, and we all agreed that a hot chocolate would hit the spot. We enjoyed our drinks on our comfy couch where we dozed for an hour ( or two) afterward.

The lovely thing about the holidays is the chance to wind down and really look around at where we are to properly enjoy our time here on earth, rather than frantically glancing up every once in a while and trying not to resent the clock for moving so fast!

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Obviously I’m a total novice in the image-capturing department. I’m re-learning manual mode after years of using point-and-shoots, but I’ll admit I’m having the best time! Camera’s are truly amazing tools.

We are now experiencing a cold snap and, with the wind, temperatures are reaching below -40*C! It’s hard to motivate myself to get outside when the sane part of my brain demands to seek shelter (preferably on my couch, in pajama pants and several blankets). But I’m using this time to take down holiday décor, cook hot foods and clean house. Wherever you are, I hope you stay warm!

Much Love,

Caleigh

New Camera!

We more or less celebrate ‘Family Day’ in this house on December 25, being as my husband and I are not devout Christians. But our families’ Christmas traditions that we grew up with are what we keep in our hearts and now teach our son, and exchanging presents is definitely among those traditions.

Big C and I usually only exchange one present to each other, and no stockings either. We keep it simple that way and it allows us to spend more time with family rather than opening presents. This year I gave him all of The Beatles records on vinyl and he gave me a new camera! A Nikon D5200 be precise! Oh boy were my hands shaking! I’m still very (very, very) new to this level of fanciness but absolutely adore taking pictures with it and learning new techniques.

Of course I proceeded to drive my family crazy taking pictures, and will continue to do so for the next few decades😉

This post is late (and out of order I suppose, from my previous January 2015 post) but really, who cares? So, without further ado, here are a few pictures of our 2014 Christmas.

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January 2015

‘They’ say in order to succeed at reaching a goal one must visualize him or herself already successful at that goal. Want to live in a sprawling house with antique furniture and 5 dogs? Close your eyes, and see in your mind that you already live there. Map the layout in your head, envision the fainting couch by the window and breeds of dogs you want to have running through the hallways. Etc. Etc.

I am foggy-headed. Is it possible to want too many things? I can’t see the forest through the trees. I don’t understand how there are people, bloggers, out there who are so clear-headed. They have a vision and they stick to it. Am I that wishy-washy? I feel second-rate when I see pictures belonging to others. These people have better pictures, better bodies, better clothes, better climates, better styling skills, better everything.

Ok, Hushhhhhh. Momentary lapse.

Now that I’m over feeling sorry for myself, here’s what I figured out. Of course I’m feeling second-rate, because I’m feeling like I should emulate others. I think it was Judy Garland who said something like ‘Always be a first-rate version of yourself rather than a second-rate version of someone else.’

And it’s true! So true.

I follow a fairly large number of blogs, but for the most part they can all be grouped into lifestyle, self-improvement, and mommy categories. I find the lifestyle blogs are most envious but I realize that they are run by a team of 3 or more people and they’re meant to be an inspiring ideal rather than all-encompassing reality. Once that fact is faced, I feel loads better about the whole thing.

Instagram in particular can be a nasty self-esteem suck, if you let it be. Better pictures, better lives. Better adventures, better food, better friendships.

Comparison is the thief of joy.

The stupid part is…90% of the time I don’t even want to be doing what the other person is doing. ‘Flash fantasies’ is what I call them. Split second pictures in my mind of being elsewhere, of not being me. But those flash fantasies leave a lingering taste in my mouth of longing. Bad cravings for something sweet but the aftertaste is bitter.

Solving the problem includes two things: Appreciation and Understanding.

Appreciation for the self and the reality that I’m in, and understanding that the situation of another person is different than my own and doesn’t warrant judgement from me.

Aside from the small-scale resolutions I’ve made, like ‘wear more red clothing’ and ‘publish a blog article at least once a week’ my major resolution is to start appreciating where I am, both in the physical sense and the social sense.

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“If you don’t like something, change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” -Elizabeth Engelbreit