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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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

Family Time

Saturday November 8, 2014

Temperature: -7*C with the windchill (19*F with the windchill)

Goal time to spend outdoors: 17 minutes (goal achieved)

Yet another overcast day. What the heck?! It’s usually very sunny here so I don’t know what’s going on. Ah well. I’m hoping when it’s finally sunny again I’ll appreciate those warm(ish) rays that much more.

Today I had a lot of company on this walk. Besides the baby, Big C and Peggy Sue came along which was a lovely change of pace. It’s always nice to enjoy the fresh air with people you adore and are able to converse with about everything and anything that comes to your mind.

We walked up the first avenue, down the highway along the edge of the village and then back into the shelter of houses along the middle avenue (yeah, there are only three avenues here). Being first time parents ‘n all we were a bit concerned about Little C not being warm enough, but he was bundled up in his outer clothes and thick blanket and we rolled the ‘window’ part of the cover down so no cold air could get through, so I wasn’t terribly worried. I have a feeling though that it’s time to properly figure out what an 8 month old baby should be wearing in sub-zero temps…

The strong northwest wind blew chilly air on our cheeks, although we were fairly prepared for today’s foray, bundling up in toques and gloves. (well, I was only wearing one mitten since I couldn’t find it’s pair. Yes, I am that person. Whatever.)

My lone mitten. Yes it's old and ratty. But it still does the job of keeping my hand warm! If only I could find it's pair...

My lone mitten. Yes it’s old and ratty. But it still does the job of keeping my hand warm! If only I could find it’s pair…

We braced ourselves while walking west, squinting into the wind and talking out the side of our mouths. We tried to walk quickly along the highway and hurry back into town to enjoy the second half of our walk with the wind at our back. Sometimes I swear that wind could just pick me up and blow me away. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration. But seriously. It’s windy. Did I mention it’s windy? Ok, I’ll shut up about it now.)

I SO enjoy spending time with my little family, talking with my husband and doting on our pets and baby with him. We don’t get much time to spend together, and sometimes the hours we do have together is spent ignoring each other for the sake of technology (damn you, smartphones!). So when we do make an effort to REALLY be together, it’s very wonderful 🙂

Nostalgia

Thursday November 6, 2014

Temperature: 2*C (36*F)

Goal time to spend outdoors: 17 minutes (goal achieved)

This morning I was in my hometown of Treherne because I had an appointment to get my INR levels checked at the hospital (I developed a blood clot after giving birth to Little C so am now on blood thinners). After my appointment I drove down a few streets in town and parked the car in front of the town restaurant (yes, at the moment there is only one. We are THAT small.) that happened to be my place of employment during my high schools years. Oh, the memories!

It was a clear, crisp, sunny day plus I had brought along Little C’s stroller with us (you never know what you need, and babies need a lot of STUFF) and I had some time to kill before lunch, so out came the stroller. I clicked Little C’s bucket into the base, packed the blanket on top of him for warmth, adjusted his hat and away we went.

I walked down a hill, past the church I attended as a child, past the plot of land where my babysitter used to live (the house has been torn down and a mini-McMansion is being built in it’s place), past the land where my grandma used to have a house (we tore it down when she passed away and whoever bought the land brought a ratty trailer onto the space), past the lodge that my grandma lived in for a short time, past the stores and banks on the main streets of town that I used to frequent, past the empty plot of land the hardware my parents used to own (the building has been torn down).

I kept thinking that everything is so weird now. Bits of the town are totally unchanged and other pieces are flat out gone from this world, remaining only in my heart and memory. I took a moment to travel back in time, if only in my head, and saw my friend’s house that is now gone and replaced by another house, and a building that used to be a cafe and is now a physical therapy office.

Things are always changing.

Businesses, families, the weather. Everything just keeps rolling and moving and growing and breaking apart, only to keep moving and grow again. Sometimes it’s a little too much for my heart to take. Once in a while I fleetingly wish things would just stay still, that time would slow down to a crawl. But then I remember that change is the correct way of the world. That facing the things we fear is good for the soul (or essence, or personality, however you want to describe it) and that being sad once in a while is okay, since it makes being happy that much more special.

I wasn’t sad, not really. I felt nostalgic and bittersweet. I hadn’t lived here in over 10 years. The past is past, what’s done is done. If anything, I think I was a little sad for the girl I had once been and was no longer. She was a great girl, I think, and sometimes I miss her and her naivete. I had a lovely childhood. My home was a safe and loving home, my town was a safe and picturesque town.

As I strolled past the credit union I waved to a man who was once a little boy that went to the same babysitter as me. He parked a pick-up truck with his name on the back declaring he owned a construction business. I laughed a little. I remembered him dancing with me in a living room and being embarrassed that he liked to dance. His sister once bit me on my arm so hard she drew blood and their brother, who I went to school with, was the golden boy in our grade, well-liked by almost everyone.

How time flies. How things change. How some of it remains eternal. I love it all.

That Mild Feeling

Wednesday November 5, 2014

Temperature:  2*C (36*F)

Goal time to spend outdoors: 17 minutes (goal achieved!)

blueberries

Pretty sight, but didn’t give myself time to get a good shot. Next time!

This afternoon Little C and I got ourselves organized (although, let’s be real here, I do most of the heavy lifting) and smoothly transitioned (meaning the baby didn’t fight like a deranged animal to resist putting his arms through the jacket sleeves and his feet into shoes) from indoor hermits into outdoor butterflies.

We walked to the credit union, where I am currently on maternity leave from, and I had a nice chat with my co-workers and my supervisor while I got some financial things taken care of. Of course they all had to have a good look at Little C, and my supervisor – who is the awesomest supervisor I could ask for, no really I just adore her to bits – played with the baby for a minute (or 3 or 4 or more).

As we left the credit union I steered the stroller down the main street in town and enjoyed the crisp fall air and bright sights. The world was slightly grey, but my mood was so shiny it might as well have been sunny out. It was such a nice change to walk around town during the day, I felt like it had been ages since I had done so (even though I’m sure it hasn’t been THAT long).

I decided to roam around the east edge of town, which goes slightly downhill, and there I noticed the construction site at the highway where the province is rebuilding a bridge. I made a mental note that if I’m going out of town during the day to use a different entrance as to avoid the hassle of backed-up traffic (I just don’t have the patience for that).

Around the corner we turned and back into town we were. I pushed the stroller up a steep incline and noticed objects in bushes and ditches that had been thrown away, essentially garbage. I had the fleeting thought that spring and fall are very revealing seasons. Things that were tossed away to be hidden underneath piles of snow will be revealed in the spring and things that were set aside in the summer trees will be revealed in autumn once the leaves fall.

Today was an extremely mild walk and really this was the kind of day that I savor.  Light breeze, light sounds, light step. Nothing heavy. Nothing stark or dark. A truly pleasant walk on a crisp fall day is a rare bird indeed, and one that I’m thankful for!