Still Snowing – April 2018

It’s snowing (again) as I write this and while I know that complaining about the snow won’t change it I’m definitely done with winter. What’s been unique about this spring isn’t really the snow, but the fact that the winter never really melted before we got our spring snow. This would be around the time I’d usually have spotted the first crocuses blooming but I don’t think things are that far along this year. My rhubarb has given the faintest indication of starting to come up but today’s blanket of snow won’t encourage it much.

Home sick from daycare today so we’ve been napping and watching the snow fall

 

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Spring Break 2018 – Seattle

The cheapest flight left Calgary at 7:45 am on Saturday morning so our vacation started with an early morning wake up. We let E sleep until the last moment before bundling him up and out of the house. Our flight ended up being 45 minutes behind schedule but we still made it into Seattle only 15 minutes late. My sister and A picked us up from the airport and we headed to their house for a much needed coffee before heading out for the day.

Our first stop was Discovery Park where we took advantage of the sunny (but cool) weather and went for a walk. E managed to sleep his way through the whole park but we enjoyed it. Then it was time for lunch at Ray’s Cafe where I had some chowder and we got lovely views out over the water.

After lunch we went to see the Chittenden Locks and while we didn’t see any salmon we did watch a large ship pass through.

At the locks

Then we joined what felt like every other person in Seattle at the University of Washington campus to view the cherry blossoms. They were beautiful but it was a little too crowded for our tastes and we didn’t linger long.

Instead we headed back towards my sister’s neighbourhood and stopped at a local park so E could have a little play. We cooked dinner at home and called it an early night.

On Sunday, after breakfast at home, we all headed out to visit the Ballard Farmers Market. I love a good farmers market and this one did not disappoint. It had the right mix of vendors and people out wandering to feel like a local farmers market. I bought some yogurt and Jon bought some cider and we celebrated our successful outing with giant donuts.

After the market we drove over to Golden Gardens Park to see the water and have a little walk. It was pretty cool and windy so we didn’t stay too long but did get to spot some seals out playing in the waves.

Watching the water with Dad

We headed back to the house for lunch and then out again to tour the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in nearby Woodinville. The winery was very busy on a lovely Sunday afternoon but the tour was free (and allows children). E was pretty grumpy so we didn’t linger long after the tour but instead headed back into the city for ice-cream at Salt and Straw (I had the raspberry ginger beer and it was delicious)

Our plan for Monday had been to head downtown and take in the market and some other sites but E woke up with a nasty cold so instead we had another nap and then headed to the zoo. It was pretty quiet so we got almost every exhibit to ourselves.

E thought the best part of the zoo was the gift shop. The second best part was the farm.
Penguins were also pretty cool

After the zoo we grabbed a coffee and walked around Green Lake while E had a much needed second nap.

I’m sure it’s very pretty on a sunny day

Tuesday was our last day so we headed downtown to see the market and walk around. We borrowed my sister’s car and got early bird parking at the parking lot right under the market ($13). We had a coffee and wandered through the market before walking over to the Space Needle.

We thought we might visit the Chihuly Museum but neither of us really felt like spending time inside so instead we played at the Seattle Centre playground right behind the Museum of Pop Culture. It has some massive play structures and looked like a blast for older kids too.

From there we hopped on the Monorail to the Westlake Centre and then walked to the pubic library. Turned out it was baby story time so E joined in on that. He needed a nap after all the playing so we walked down to the waterfront and then west along the piers to Olympic Sculpture Park. Then it was a short walk back to the market and a quick drive back home.

Our flight left at 10 am on Wednesday so we were dropped off at the airport by 8 am and then it was just a few short hours before we were back in Calgary – trip complete!

Baby Scotch at 11 Months

What He’s Been Up To

Growing

I don’t really see much of a difference in how he looks since last month and he seems about the same size (hasn’t changed out of his clothes at all). I haven’t weighed him this month but I suspect he is actually down a little since he is so busy and hasn’t really been into eating.

He did get his first tooth this month – bottom front – which was exciting!

Eating

Eating solids has been a battle. He still loves Cheerios but only when he can put them in his mouth himself. He will sometimes eat a massive amount for dinner and then go days without us being able to convince him to eat anything. Most of the time right now just getting him to sit at the dinner table with us is a battle. When he chooses to eat he likes things like avocado and lasagna. He is really into feeding himself but finding foods that he can feed himself and don’t require any teeth is proving tricky.

His favourite food is the kind he finds on the floor

He still breastfeeds and takes a bottle – 3 bottles a day plus 3-5 breast feeding sessions.

Sleeping

Still not an awesome sleeper. He had this one amazing sleep at the hostel over the Family Day weekend and we think it was because he 1) ate a ton of lasagna so was full b) the room was super dark. While I haven’t been able to get him to eat like that again, I have tried to remove all sources of light from the room. It’s hard to say if it has made any difference because he also came down with a horrible cold that weekend and until recently was waking up at least twice a night and then struggling to go back to sleep. I don’t mind waking up to feed in the middle of the night but I don’t when it takes another hour to get him back to sleep. Luckily that seems to have passed for now an he is back to waking up to eat and falling asleep again right away.

Play

He is one busy little guy. He has mastered the crawling and is working very hard at being able to walk on his own. He is able to walk holding onto things and just recently mastered walking behind his airplane push toy (with a little help from Mom and Dad).

Showing us how the music buttons work on his airplane

He loves splashing in the water right now so we’ve got him a water bin (that we plan to build a stand for) and I know he gets lots of time at the water table at daycare. He really likes his Winnie the Pooh airplane, his moving knight and his huge assortment of bath toys. While he still likes to bang things together, he is really into opening things up (cupboards, boxes, etc) and will get quite angry if he can’t get something to open.

Fun Stuff

He loves to “talk” and has recently learned to wave goodbye and hello. He is starting to give hugs and now sometimes comes over to lie on the floor with me and just cuddle.

He was so chatty when he got to play with his stacking cups at the dinner table

What We’ve Been Up To

Trying to get out as much as we can with winter, injured backs and busy jobs. We’ve been on a few bigger family adventures this month including a lovely day spent skiing, skating and playing at the park in Bowness and our weekend away near Jasper. We’ve also tried to get out as a family more for smaller adventures like going to the park. Now that it is light after work we’ve gone out as a family for a few walks in the evening.

All geared up for his winter walk
Trying out the new playground at Confederation Park

What We’re Looking Forward To

Spring! While this winter has been pretty good overall, I think I’m ready for a new season. I know that March is typically the month where we go from freezing cold at the start to sometimes seeing crocuses so I’m hopeful that things will start to change. It has been harder to get out and do fun stuff with the little guy with all the snow so I’m looking forward to seeing him explore when it isn’t as cold out.

I’m also excited to take him to Seattle at the end of March. While I suspect that flying with a one year old is going to be less fun than flying with a little baby, it will be nice to go somewhere.

 

Family Day Weekend on the Icefields Parkway

February, for such a short month, always seems hard so I’m thankful that the Family Day long weekend falls right in the middle of it for a little vacation.  I’m not the best at planning over-night outdoor winter adventures but luckily our friends had this one covered by booking the weekend at the Athabasca Falls Wilderness Hostel and so a winter road trip to Jasper was planned. Sometimes February is warm and spring like but this is a cold and snowy year which made a winter adventure up the Icefields Parkway the perfect way to embrace the arctic temperatures and avoid the temptation to spend three days huddled up at home.

Saturday

The hostel is located about 25 km south of Jasper on the Icefields Parkway, making it a bit of a drive from Calgary. Because of this we waited until Saturday morning to set off on our adventure and made a day of the 400 km drive. This gave me Friday night to pack up and meant that we didn’t have to rush to leave on Saturday. In fact, by the time we solved our frozen vehicle problems and finally hit the road it was close to 10 am.

The main highway as far as Lake Louise was in great shape but as expected the Icefields Parkway was a slightly different experience. The highway is definitely experiencing winter driving conditions (much more so than when we made the trip in March) so it was snow covered and bumpy. We convoyed up with our friends and it was nice to know what we weren’t out there on our own should something happen. While not deserted, the highway is pretty quiet in the winter which is what makes it awesome (the place can be a zoo in the summer) but also a little lonely.

Winter driving on the parkway

The weather was cold and cloudy so we drove without stopping to Saskatchewan River viewpoint (near the intersection with Hwy 11 – we actually stopped at a pullout called Howse Pass which had open washrooms and a cleared parking lot) where ate lunch and went for a short walk to the view point even though there weren’t any views. It was very brisk out and I was happy that we’d taken the time to gear up for even such a short adventure.

All bundled up

After our break we hopped back in our vehicles and drove to Sunwapta Falls. We stopped again for a short walk to see the first falls but I think everyone just wanted to get to the hostel so we didn’t linger long. The highway was actually the worst for the final few kilometres from Sunwapta to Athabasca Falls so we took out time navigating the ice. It was a long driving day – about 6.5 hours in total – so I think we were all ready to get out of the vehicles when we arrived at our destination

Of course there were sheep on the road – and right at a corner too

We arrived before check in so we hung out in the main kitchen/lounge cabin where it was warm before we were given the tour and how-to by the hostel manager and given the keys to our cabin. We had private rooms booked (there are two) so we settled in for a bit before heading back the kitchen for an early dinner. The kitchen is big but there was also a large group staying there so we were happy that we had made meals that required very little prep work. The lasagna was simply popped in the over and then we were able to hang out while it cooked. Everyone was hungry and even E ate a huge helping of lasagna.

We hung out a little bit after dinner and then it was time to attempt to get the little ones to sleep. It took a bit to get the kids to bed – our friend’s older kid was able to sleep in the cabin with the monitor but we ended up taking E back to the main building in his car seat to sleep so we could hang out while the adults played board games before heading to bed ourselves.

Sunday

I thought we’d be up super early but E surprised me by sleeping in until 8 am. Apparently he likes the hostel lifestyle! We eventually got dressed and headed to the kitchen for oatmeal and coffee. The thermometer read around -25 C so we weren’t in a huge hurry to get going on any outdoor adventures. We finally decided to start our day with a walk to Athabasca Falls so everyone bundled up and we headed out. It is about a 1 km walk from the hostel to the falls and apparently in the summer there is a path you can take but with all the snow we ended up just walking up the highway. It was pretty quiet and we kept well over on the shoulder but I would maybe skip the walk next time and just drive (even though it is so close). Once at the falls we did a short walk around before heading back to the hostel for lunch.

Checking out a very frozen Athabasca Falls

After lunch we left Jon and E in the warmth of the hostel and headed out for a cross-country ski. It is possible to ski almost right from the hostel by starting at Athabasca Falls and skiing along highway 93A so we drove back there after talking to a few other hostel guests who had been out skiing. It had warmed up to about -10C and was really nice for skiing. The road was skier trackset and I skied 4 km out and back to Leach Lake (for a total of 8 km). It is an easy gradual climb to the lake and then a gentle hill all the way back down.

After our ski we headed back to the hostel where E and Jon were just getting up from a nap (seriously, our kid slept awesome there). We all met up in the main building for a pre-dinner snack and drink while our pulled beef warmed up for dinner. We put the kids to bed around 8 pm and the adults followed soon after.

Monday

It was -35C when we woke up – so chilly! We packed up our gear and headed for breakfast with the plan to be on the road by 10 am (hostel check out time). Unfortunately, our Rover had been sitting in the lot since we arrived Saturday night and refused to start. With a lot of coaxing and a couple boosts we finally got it started and were ready to hit the road by 11 am.

With the chilly temps came beautiful blue skies and sunshine so we enjoyed finally seeing all the mountains that had been hidden on the drive up. We stopped briefly at Athabasca Glacier for a few photos:

The Athabasca Glacier

And then kept driving to Howse Pass for lunch again. This time we were able to take in the views (and they are worth the very short walk from the parking lot).

Views from Howse Pass lookout

We powered on home from there, arriving back at home around 5 pm.

Three days was definitely a nice break from the usual and it felt good to get out and do something. I wish we’d been able to squeeze one more day in – there were lots more activities I would have to loved to do including a trip into Jasper for some skating. While still do-able as a three day long weekend, it would be a perfect destination for a four day weekend.

Baby Scotch at 10 Months

Whoops! I didn’t really intend to skip so many months but every time I sat down to write something came up. So now some how my tiny baby is 10 months old – crazy!

Enjoying his first visit to the park

What He’s Been Up To

Growing: We haven’t had an official weigh in but we got on the scale the other day and he’s about 18.5 lbs. I would have thought he’d weigh more but he’s also super busy and the nurse at our last check up said not to worry. He’s grown out of this 6-9 month stuff but is still a little small for 12 months (and some how I didn’t get handed down much in the 9-12 month range) so clothing is a little awkward right now.. He’s also changed so much in appearance from when I last posted – his eyes are dark and he has so much hair.

Just cruising on with co-pilot Pooh. This was a hand me down and with a little electrical know-how we got the lights and sounds working again and it is a hit with the little guy!

Eating: We started solid foods at 6 months and I thought he’d love it but so far it’s been a struggle. He really loved his baby cereal (and still does) but hasn’t been super excited about other foods. Right now he seems to be on a hunger strike and is generally avoiding all solids except seaweed, cheerios and grated cucumber. When he is feeling more himself he also loves crackers, bread, sweet potato, tomato and rice. He enjoys trying to feed himself but isn’t always that successful. We’ve tried lots of stuff (nuts included) so right now its really about what he’ll eat. Hopefully he gets over this and starts enjoying food again.

He does still seem to enjoy Cheerios

Along with the solids we’re still nursing and he takes 2-3 bottles while he’s at daycare. He usually nurses before work, right when we get home, around 7 pm for bed, then again at 10:30 pm, maybe 1:00 am, usually 3:30 am, and then 5:30 am before getting up for the day. I love that we’ve been able to keep it up even with me working full time but I don’t enjoy pumping.

Sleeping: as per his nursing schedule you can see that we’re definitely not sleeping through the night – and right now I’m OK with that. We started co-sleeping 100% of the time and it is what keeps me sane with the nursing and the full time work. He usually goes to bed around 7 pm after dinner and story and sleeps in his crib until anywhere from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm (or whenever I go to bed). He usually gets up around 6 am which is fine during the week but not my favourite on the weekends. Napping is still a struggle but we’re at two naps at day at home for the most part and if we do it right he will sleep 1-2 hours. He sleeps best on the move or cuddled with one of us.

Play: he learned to craw on New Year’s Day (exactly 9 months) and is go, go, go all the time. When he’s not crawling its because he’s found something to pull himself up on (furniture, person, the cat) or things that can be banged together. He loves anything that can be banged together to make noise, whether that is the intended use or not. He’s also fascinated by wheels, his stuffed toys and puzzles. He can’t handle being still and is always trying to get to the next thing, what ever that might be.

 

Fun stuff: We’re working on going outside more and have been to the park and for a little sled ride in the winter. He’s been skiing with me a few times in the Chariot.

Trying out the same sled that I was dragged around in as a child

We’ve also been to the pool a few times and he loves to splash around. He loves bath time as well and plays with his assortment of bath toys that he got for Christmas as long as we let him.

He’s almost mastered a few words – mama, dada – and finally got his first tooth (bottom left) last week.

What We’ve Been Up To

I’ve been back at work since September and Jon’s been back since October and it’s been busy. We’ve finally come to a morning routine that doesn’t make me want to pull my hair out but our work week is still really rushed. Just this past month I’ve finally started to making working out fit into our schedule but it means I go to bed later and some stuff around the house just doesn’t get done.

Helping me with the vacuuming

Since his last update we’ve taken him to Vancouver, celebrated Christmas and spent a wintery week at the cabin.

What We’re Looking Forward To

We’re just a few weeks away from the Family Day long weekend and even if we end up doing nothing, I’m still looking forward to having an extra day at home with the family.

February can be one of those months were either its super cold or ridiculously warm here in Calgary so it will be interesting to see what we end up with. I have a few bucket list items but nothing really planned out so we’ll just see where life with the little guy takes us.