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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Christmas Break 2017 – Part 2

After the Christmas excitement we spent the days in between hunkered down, waiting out the cold snap. We dog sat Brinkley so there was a little bit of chaos but also lots of down time.

Just two dogs and a baby in our tiny living room. E loves Brinkley so he was so excited the whole time he was here.
Soaking up baby cuddles during afternoon naps
Story time with Dad

We’d planned to drive to the cabin on the 30th but there was a huge snowfall and the freezing temperatures continued so we delayed it a day. It was still cold when we headed out (at one point it was -38C on the highway, without windchill) but luckily it warmed up slightly by the time we got to the cabin.

A wintry lunch break at Frank Slide (it was a balmy -26 C but dogs and humans needed food and a quick walk)
Hanging with Mom and eating lunch in the Rover

There was a ton of snow at the cabin but also multiple sightings of multiple cougars so we stayed out of the forest (we didn’t see any cougars but felt that not skiing was probably wise) and the still chilly temperatures made for short dog walks. We did a lot of relaxing and playing.

The lake is still beautiful, even with a coat of snow
I tried to get all my dog walks in during daylight
Always more fun to play with someone else’s toys – even better when they are from the 80’s

It eventually warmed up which made the dogs walks more enjoyable and we attempted one (very short) ski on the lake.

Hanging out on our lunch break during the drive home
A much warmer stop at Frank’s Slide on the way home (+3C!)

We came home on Friday and have spent the weekend trying to wrap our heads around the fact that it’s back to work on Monday. E and I did make it out for one ski on Saturday at Confederation Park and we are ready for the work week but I still wish we had another week to just hang out and enjoy.

Looking Back at 2017

Definitely the biggest thing that happened for us in 2017 was the arrival of Baby Scotch. Its been awesome (even when things have driven me to tears) and I’m so excited about 2018 with him. Lots of other stuff happened in 2017 too but I’d say this year was about pockets of really awesome adventures, with long periods of boring, and sometimes frustrating, days in between. When I’m thinking about what I’d like for this new year that is definitely something I’m going to work on changing. But before we get into this new year, here’s some highlights from 2017.

Adventure

Between the start of the year and May we didn’t go any where. This was the first year we didn’t do something for spring break which turned out to be the best decision when I went into labour two weeks early. Luckily it didn’t take long for us to be able to head out again as a family of three with a day trip to Drumheller, a weekend in Edmonton and finally our two and a half week trip to California.

Beach time in San Diego

Jon and I split paternity leave so he was able to take the summer off with us. We went to the cabin at the start of July, spent some time in Victoria and capped off the summer with another trip to the cabin in August.

Hanging on the beach in Victoria

I went back to work in the fall which generally means no more vacation until Christmas but this year I had a spot at the indoor lawn bowling national championships in Vancouver so we spent a week at the end of October there.

Christmas was spent in the city but we made the long, snowy drive to the cabin in time for new years.

Around the House

Early in 2016 we started on some basement renos, knowing that we wanted to have a guest room down there with the baby room upstairs. We didn’t get to finish them but luckily my father in law came for a visit and wrapped them up for us. Jon also painted the main floor and bathroom and we did some landscaping in the front yard.

Personal and Family

Obviously, the arrival of Baby Scotch changed our lives and what we got up to. He was awesome as a tiny baby but is even more awesome at 9 months. Best thing ever.

Eating dried seaweed

Work for both Jon and I was/is super busy to the point where it is too much. Another thing that needs to be adjusted in 2018.

Fitness and Health

So the first part of the year was about maintaining a healthy pregnancy (success!) and then recovering quickly (success!) but the time after that which should have been spent regaining my fitness just never happened. I’ve lost all the baby weight (and more) but I wouldn’t say I’m fit. We didn’t make it much of a priority.

Outdoors

Prior to Baby Scotch’s arrival we actually got in quite a few outdoor adventures for being so pregnant. We hiked Fullerton Loop again, did a fair amount of cross country skiing and even went on a pretty epic snowshoe adventure at 32 weeks pregnant. I went for a big walk the day I went into labour and managed to be outside the day following (and even during labour I spent some of it outdoors).

Then there was a lot of city walking while we toured California and adjusted to life as new parents which remained the general pace of our outdoor adventures even as we got into summer. We did one camping trip, got out for some short paddles at the cabin and a few easy walks at Glenbow Ranch.

Out for an evening paddle

For the first summer in a long, long time we didn’t get into the backcountry at all.

We had a really warm fall/winter so there wasn’t much snow, then we did get a ton right before Christmas but of course the temperature dropped into the -20s so skiing has only happened twice.

Reading

I crushed the reading this year mostly because I spent a lot time reading when Scotch was nursing/napping. I read 61 books in 2017 which is probably the most I’ve ever read in a year. I didn’t have a favourite book this year but looking at my list I seemed to read a lot of murder mysteries – probably because there were easy and “mindless”.

All the Other Stuff

Lawn bowling was a big part of our summer. Both Jon and I were on the provincial team, and then each of us completed in different national championships in the fall.

I’m sure there was other stuff but my mind is drawing a blank. I didn’t blog as much as I usually do so I feel like I had a harder time keeping track of what we got up to on a day to day basis.

So much time was spent like this – not exciting but great anyways

So that was 2017 (or at least what I remember of it right now). While there was a lot of good in 2017, I wouldn’t say I felt particularly satisfied with how it all went. While I wouldn’t change things, we’ll certainly be looking at how we can make some changes moving forward in 2018!

Christmas Break 2017 – Part 1

The lead up to Christmas break this year felt ridiculously busy – probably because this is one of those years where we worked until the 22nd – but it is always busy whether it is vacation or not and I’m happy I didn’t lose a week of vacation to all the pre-Christmas chores.

We definitely didn’t do all the usual Christmas things this year. I only made some nuts and bolt and one batch of my Christmas biscotti but I don’t honestly miss the baking. My students were generous in their gifting of chocolate so we’ve got lots around the house to satisfy my sweet tooth.

We went to E’s Christmas party at daycare (where he met Santa), helped some friends decorate their tree and went to a Christmas party where we exchanged unwanted items from our own houses (I got a lovely bird house).

I did manage some Christmas crafting, even if it meant staying up way to late on many school nights. I wanted to make E a Christmas stocking (Jon’s mom made his, Jon made mine and so I felt it was my job to make E’s). I kept it pretty simple but he loves the red pom pom nose and it looks cute hanging from the mantle.

I also worked on my collection of cloth bags. I’d like to green-up (and simplify) our wrapping of gifts and these bags are a great way to do that. I’ve now used up my whole stash of Christmas themed cotton and I think we’ve got enough bags for a while.

My trusty Elna is back in action

Christmas break started on Friday. My sister and her boyfriend arrived in time for some pre-Christmas visiting and we took them to see the lights at Confederation Park as a way to start our Christmas break. We got a huge snowfall last week (yay for a white Christmas!) but along with that have come some very chilly temperatures so we didn’t say out long.

I managed to get my Christmas shopping done before the break started so this past weekend I just had to hit up the grocery store. We kept gifting fairly simple so wrapping wasn’t the huge chore it has been in the past and I wasn’t up late on Christmas Eve doing last minute wrapping. Instead we were able to fit in a short ski (while my sister babysat) and went to bed not much after the little guy.

Christmas morning started bright and early at 7 am but we just let E play with his Santa gift and had a cup of coffee while we waited for my sister to get up. Then we did stockings, Eggo waffles for breakfast, E had a little nap and we worked our way through the rest of his gifts.

Opening his stocking with Dad
Not that into opening the gifts but still pretty excited about all the action

We hosted “luncher” and had family come over at noon for snacks, drinks, gifts, another nap and finally an early Christmas dinner. We stuck with the traditional turkey, potatoes, brussel sprouts, and cheese cake for dessert. Everyone was on their way by early evening and then we attempted to get our wound up child to go to bed. After E was finally down Jon and I finished Christmas by opening gifts from each other.

Boxing day was fairly quiet. The cold temperatures kept us inside other than alternating who took the dog for a walk. We ventured out in the afternoon to exchange a pair of slippers but spent the rest of the day helping E play with his new toys and eating leftover turkey.

Checking out his new ornaments on the tree

We dropped my sister off at the airport today which wraps up the Christmas part of our vacation. The cold snap continues so we don’t have any exciting plans for the next few days but it will be nice to just spend some down time together as this is the longest time off we’ve had since I went back to work.

The 2017 MacDonald Family Christmas Tree Hunt (and Blogger Christmas Swap)

Read about previous years: 20162015, 2014, 20132012201120102006

It felt like Christmas at the beginning of November when we got our first snowfall, but the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having now hardly make it feel like the middle of December. While it wasn’t a winter wonderland this weekend, the warm weather made for an easy and enjoyable time to be out looking for our Christmas tree. In fact, it was so nice that we decided to spend all weekend out in the bush adventuring!

As we’ve been doing for the past few years we headed out to the Junior Forest Wardens’ lot in Jumpingpound on Saturday. It’s super easy but we’ve decided that next year we’re going to be more adventurous – particularly if the weather is as nice because everyone was out there and it was just too busy! Still, we managed to get a spot in the parking lot and headed out to find ourselves a tree.

E’s got his game face on – he’s ready to go get his first Christmas tree
Felt a lot more like a spring day than December out there

I don’t know if it was the weather or what but we really struggled to make a decision (sometimes it helps when it is really cold  – just cut something already!). We finally settled on a tree, chopped it down and hauled it out to the Disco. Then E enjoyed his first campfire (and watched us eat some hotdogs) before we headed home.

Post-tree success selfie

We had a to cut a little more off the tree before we could get it into the house but we were able to set it up right away since it wasn’t frozen. We decorated it after dinner and even though I think it is a little wonky, E’s excitement totally makes up for it.

I was more restrained in my decorating this year and didn’t insist that every ornament we own end up on the tree

Having the tree up meant that I could put up my new ornament that I got from Becky for the 2017 Christmas Blog Swap. I can’t wait to a take a photo of the little guy all decked out in his Christmas PJs to put in it! She also sent also some candy cane chocolates which I devoured immediately.

Just waiting for the perfect Christmas photo

Sunday morning we again loaded everyone up and headed out since it was just too nice to spend time doing chores. This time we headed north of the city to the area near Water Valley – a place I’ve never been – to hang out and help some friends with their Christmas tree hunt. We brought the portable BBQ and roasted hotdogs for lunch while we lounged around in the sun. Then we helped with the Christmas tree hunt, did a short walk and soaked up a little more sunshine before having to head back to the city.

Glad we chose outside over chores on a day like this!
Our perfect little hangout spot

We keep saying that we need to spend more time outdoors so it was nice to finally just do it (even if it means that my house isn’t clean).