Sunday, August 25, 2013

Winter Legs

So, I get that it's been a while since we've posted.  Just to prove we haven't totally ditched it, here's an unfinished post from April, followed by some more recent information and pictures.  Speaking of ditch, Edie came in the other day and asked if Dad or I have ever played ding dong ditch...Ummm, ya, when it was called nicky nicky nine door, and who taught our daughter how to play that?  And also FYI, it was mid-May when the snow finally melted last winter, and with the leaves changing color mid-August, we're all just holding out hope for a long, warm Fall.

This picture is from August- no snow. We have the cutest. kids. ever.
Happy Spring for real!

After 6 months of living in a deep freeze filled with snow, we have finally had a Spring day.  And the residents of this city are all walking a little taller, smiling a bit bigger and definitely wearing less.  I found myself shoveling snow yesterday (it wasn't as warm, but warm enough) in a T-shirt.  Today we took the kids for a bike/walk around the neighborhood, I am happy to admit that in my T-shirt AND skirt, my legs weren't the whitest. After 6 months of not seeing the sun, we get pretty bright skin around these parts.  We're not out of the wintry woods yet, it's going to cool off in a few more days, but we'll take all the 20+ degree days we can get even if they're sporadic at this point.

Pancakes and bacon got us through a very long winter.
So, we still like it here.  It's been a harder winter then the last, but we've gotten through it.  We had a visit from Nana Midge and Buppa Goldtooth in February, and have been keeping busy with all kinds of fun for the last couple of months.  Most notable fun, is the new addition to the family since January- Charlie, aka Charlie boy-boy, or Charlebois.  The girls are in love, Charlie is in...tolerance.  Celia's love for animals can barely be contained at this point, and she greets us every morning with "I'm awake!" and then runs over to Charlie and cuddles him while telling him that she loves him so much.  It's pretty fun to watch.  Charlie has gotten used to it, and he puts up with a lot of groping, and if he's fed up, he takes a spin around the top floor of the house trying to get Celia off his trail.  He and Edie are much more subtle.  There is not a whole lot of public affection but I do catch them snuggling on the sly, Edie says that she's giving Charlie 'some loving', and it's very cute.

Not exactly the field conditions Tim had in mind when taking this gig...
 Charlie is a 7 year old beagle who has spent most of his life in a nutritional lab trial at the U of S (i.e. housed in a kennel at the university).  When the trial finished just before Christmas, the university had to find owners for all of the dogs who were part of the trial.  We happened to attend a Christmas party at the home where Charlie was being held temporarily, until he was given a permanent home.  I was taken with him the moment I saw him and although it took a few weeks to convince Tim that we really could use a dog, we're so happy we took him.  He sleeps a lot, and now that the weather is warmer, he sleeps on the deck a lot.  He's so easy and seems to like us, or perhaps the super-duper food we're giving him- probably a good combination of both. There is no question about it, this dog lives for food.

Tim's got his first semester of teaching under his belt, and has been successful in getting a number of grants to fund his research for a good while.  All in all, I think he's doing pretty well with this whole professional life. He's got lots of traveling and fieldwork coming up for the summer, so we'll see less of him, but it's been lovely having him around all winter.  The girls and I will be heading to NS to visit the family in June while Tim is gone for the month.  No complaints here.

I've kept up with triathlon training throughout the winter and am raring to go with races lined up for the summer.  I've been racing here and there with winter runs and even a skate/ski/run triathlon. Saskatoon is full of crazy people doing crazy things to keep sane during the winter months, and I love it.

Celia turned 2 in March, and boy oh boy, have we forgotten what 2 feels like.  There's a whole lot of development happening in a short time, and to quote Ramona Quimby in Ramona Forever, "I think it is hard work to be a baby".  She's a riot, and a party and the final 100 meters of a 1/2 marathon at times, and she fills up this house with personality.  It's hard to believe how much we love these kids in such a short time.

Springtime fishing expedition
On to more recent news

Tim had a very successful year academically, one of his big achievements was landing a 2 year research grant for work in the Great Slave Lake region (NWT).  He's made the trip up a few times, and we're hoping to get the family up there too, although probably not this summer, since this summer is effectively over next week now that we have a school-aged child.  While he was on one of his trips in June, the girls and I headed east for a few weeks with my family.  It was lovely to see my folks, and lovely to be home.  I miss the ocean, I miss the hills.  I miss what it smells like and tastes like to run in the fog in the early morning on the coast.  I hope I can keep milking an annual trip home out of our budget- it really does me good.  Great for the girls too.  Edie and Buppa fished almost every night, we explored and had a wonderful time just being with our folks.  We also got to see some great old friends, including my cousin Ryan and his family who live in Indiana, but were home visiting his folks- man, I love that guy.  Home is good.

Chef Dee
The rest of our summer has been filled with fun, for the most part.  Edie took part in a cooking camp and a dance camp with her friend Taz, they were both superstars and loved every minute.  The girls and I have been strawberry picking, swimming like there's no tomorrow, seeking out great parks and nature walks, and finding ways for me to get workouts in while still tending them- this can get tricky, but usually means a run to someplace with them in the stroller, then they get their fun, then run home.  No small task, but effective for getting a workout in.  We've also undertaken a few crafty projects this summer, including handmade slipper shoes and stuffed animals.  Fun stuff.  What I life I lead- I know the fun will have to end someday, but I will milk all I can out of this period.  I've managed to keep up a pretty packed schedule for triathlon racing this summer, I go big or go home generally, and took part in 6 races of varying lengths.  Turns out that I really like it, and the longer the race, the better I like it.  I suspected that swimming would be the hardest and worst part of the race for me, and was right, but by the time the run rolls around, I'm in the zone.  I've had great races, and awful races- the fun of the three sport race is the element of surprise- there are so many ways a race can go wrong for anyone, whether you're a seasoned vet or on your first race.  The last race of the summer for me was in Waskesiu, at Prince Albert National Park, it was my longest so far (1.5K swim, 62K bike and 13K run), I loved every 253 minutes of it.  We took a family vacation and stayed at a cottage there for the weekend, it was perhaps my favorite personal sporting event of all time.  I'd love to take that race in every year, and it makes a great vacation spot for us.  Crazy enough, I have no photographic evidence of any of my races.

Ceeley and her subject, PA National Park

Hey! We still like each other!


Dee and her subject, PA National Park

The girls in PA National Park

We're looking at an action packed Fall, with Dee starting school- yikes, Tim teaching 2 courses and taking a trip to China mid-semester, the girls are starting gymnastics and Celia and I are looking forward to some fun adventure-seeking together. Should be a slice.

Celia's newest trick

Congratulations to my big sister and her new husband who just got hitched, we're looking forward to a great celebration with you next summer.  Much love to you both.

Thanks to our 5 readers for keeping on us about our lack of posting :)  More pictures and stories to come, I promise!

Love to all, Laura

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

It's been a little while, and we've done a lot.  Lots of pictures to tell the stories.

view from our cottage in Bermuda...not much more to say

Most remarkable was a December trip to visit Nanny and Grampy Jardine.  We figured that the girls hadn't done enough travelling this year, so we packed them up and headed south on the 8th of December for a 10 day trip.  There are no words to describe just how relaxing and enjoyable our stay was.  Nanny and Grampy did some great research into accommodations, and scored a lovely beach-front cottage about a 10 minute walk from their place on the island.  The sound of waves crashing on the shore was constant as was our tramping to the beach and back all day everyday.  We enjoyed a get-together with the Bardgett clan (Nanny's family), where the kids got to know their Bermudian rellies.  Edie had some big stars in her eyes for Kayla, her 9 year old gymnast, equestrian, big personality Bermudian cousin.  Needless to say, we all went to bed every night completely wiped out.  Nana and Grandpa did everything in their power to make our stay as easy and fun as possible, making it a Christmas trip to remember.  A layover in Toronto on the way home meant a stay with Auntie Joy and Uncle Trevor, another lovely visit.

party dress!

Ceeley, not to be outdone, in her party dress

a handful of the aunties

the imports, commiserating

men at parties

Kayla and Dee

Dinner at Nanny and Grampies

spectacular view

Miss Dee and the spectacular view

morning routine

possibly my favourite picture of all time 

Grampy and Ceeley

cuddles with Nanny

cuddles with Grampy

squeeks and Nanny

Winter is still here, with average temperatures of around -20C, making it challenging to get the kids out of the house everyday.  Days are better when we do get out, so we make a point of trying to get out for at least 20 minutes twice a day, no small feat.  The girls and I acquired new skates for Christmas so we're back on the ice, which the girls love, and are getting very good at.  Sliding is still a hit, although our time outside has to be so short (so as to prevent frost-bite) that we haven't been on the hill nearly as much as last year.  Winter in Saskatchewan brings a whole new appreciation for time and the value of a minute.  Today we had a break in the weather, which really started 2 days ago but culminated in a temperature of -3C this morning.  It really felt like a nice fall day, minus the snow we were shovelling.  Speaking of shovelling, in Saskatoon there is a bylaw that residents have 24 hours to clear their walkway and sidewalks of snow, or you might face a bill for snow removal by the city if you're reported ($100-$150).  I like this bylaw.  In our neighbourhood anyway, it makes for neighbourly neighbours, we all kind of help each other out at different times.  It is a bit tricky to keep the sidewalks clear however, when even the lightest snow must be removed pronto so as to avoid buildup which takes no time at all if someone walks on that freshly fallen snow, and this buildup eventually needs to be chipped away, no small feat.  Given the warm temps this morning we had the opportunity to clear the walkways with salt, and it was nice to see the whole sidewalk again.

Our first Christmas in our Saskatoon home was a good one.  The girls are getting on to the idea of Christmas and it was really, really fun preparing for the holidays with them. Lots of baking, cooking and crafting...oh goodness, listen to me.  I used to make fun of people like me.  Most awesome Christmas outcome- Edie decided to use the money in her piggybank to buy Celia a Christmas present, and picked out a ride-on bike and little doll-house, which just happen to be Celia's fav new toys.  We are so proud of Dee. We are also proud of Celia, but for different reasons, including her new mastering of the potty.  Fun times!

Dee and Taz on a Christmas date

waiting for gingerbread

Christmas at the Western Development Museam

post-bath bed-hide

cookie time!

Christmas morning!

I love toys

the new bike

new skates!

homemade tutu kit from Cousins Maddie and Eli- Dee adores it

skating fun

and progress...

winter fun on the swings

how to have fun at -20C

Ceeley also likes the element of danger winter provides

not loving the homemade tutu however

more winter fun

Tim starts teaching his first course at the end of this week.  We'll report more on that one as time progresses, as it stands it appears to be a big time suck already, so the girls and I are going to have to take it easy on Tim I think.

Congratulations to Auntie Rachel and Uncle Paul on the arrival of little Eli Anderson in November, we are so happy for you!

Love to all!

P.S. We've discovered that Corner Gas means a whole lot more when you live in Saskatchewan.

and P.P.S. Tim and I ran the 5K Jingle Run while in BMD, 10 minutes after the race I realized that Tim was ahead of me the entire time.  So he won, this time...but look at how hard Tim was working!