Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holiday Style

Hello folks,

Another year, another blog post...

We are happy to report good health and happiness this season. As we just returned from a delicious Anniversary breakfast with the kids at Kelly's Kafe (9 years- yowza), it's easy to have a good outlook on life.

It has been a bit of an unpredictable year though. About a month after our trip to San Francisco in the summer (see last post), I was involved in a cycling crash while riding with my friends outside of the city. I thankfully came out of it with no broken bones, but took a nasty bump to the head, which took a few months to recover from. It changed the normal pace of summer for us, and I don't think it was a bad thing. Where I normally would take every chance I had to get out on my bike or run during the summer, I was forced to do other things that required less stress on my neck, shoulders and head. This meant a lot more down time with the kids, and a much less busy pace. I gained a lot of perspective, and a few pounds. Coming off of a busy year of training for the Escape from Alcatraz, I think the crash came at a good time for me. For the most part, I think my family would agree, though we'd prefer not to have our hands forced on this kind of thing again.

One thing we did a bit more of this summer was exploring the areas outside of the city. We did a bit of camping, hiking and canoeing, with varying levels of success. Camping was a huge success, despite being a bit wet behind the ears when it comes to family camping, where we actually did get wet behind the ears. Rain and more rain meant breaking camp 3 times in 24 hours on our first trip. Not so funny at the time, but great for memory making. We see a lot more camping in our future.

Drying out, again!

Hitching a ride!

Weary and over bug-sprayed after a very long hike.

Wet, wet, wet weekend.

This little champ hiked 10K!

It was nice to explore a few new trails in areas North of the city, and the kids were champs even when we were asking a lot of them. You might be familiar with the feeling of not being able to get out of a situation in any other way than with your feet...We found in ourselves in these kinds of situations a few times, in boggy, mosquito-infested woods for the most part. Our kids are awesome, and again, we made lots of good memories.

A nice morning at the Petrofka Orchard this Fall.

Wading in the North Saskatchewan River.

Tim's parents dropped by for a visit this summer, and though the weather was a little iffy, I think they liked it. We appreciated the visit, and the chance to host them instead of the other way around. We spent time in Waskeisu (Prince Albert National Park), roughing it at the resort village there. Shortly after their visit, we followed them to Nova Scotia for our annual visit with my folks. Tim joined us this year and I think he had a great time, especially when he and his Dad took a weekend to take in the Senior Men's Baseball National Tournament in their hometown of Miramichi, New Brunswick. Nostalgia ruled the day, and both Tim and Bob were a bit red-eyed and road-weary when they returned.

Mavilette Beach in the summer...

Celia and Mom, the beachcombers.

Heading down to the river.

Fishing with Buppa on the Chegoggin River. This is as about as close to heaven on earth as you can get, especially for Buppa.

Cousins and campfires are awesome.

While I was recovering from the bike accident this summer, I was also in the midst of finding a new job as my research contract was almost finished on the water security project I've been involved with at the university for the past 2 years. While hunting around, I came across a posting for a full-time animal technician position at the Rainer Dairy Teaching and Research Facility at the University. As my main injury in the crash was my neck/head, I was having a hard time with desk-work, and my prospects in research involve a lot more desk-work than I'm comfortable with, even uninjured. I've also been thinking for some time about how to incorporate farming back into my life without making a crazy decision like moving outside of the city and starting from scratch (crazy and exceptionally unlikely to happen). I ran the posting by Tim to see what he thought, and was excited when he encouraged me to apply.

I made it very clear in my cover letter that I hadn't worked in a dairy barn in 18 years, and they still deigned to give me an interview. They were generous with me as I stumbled through the interview, and in the end they gave that job to someone else- THANK GOD! I would have died jumping into that full-time! Unfettered in rejection, I shamelessly asked them to bring me on as a casual milker in September. They agreed, and so in an unlikely turn of events I now have 2 part-time jobs that I love. One in a comfortable, quiet office where I get to think, and the other in a stinky, loud, full-on dairy barn. It's awesome. The kids like coming in to visit with the barn kittens, and I have so many stories of the adventures in there to bring home. In general, the house is less clean, I deliberately exercise less (8 hours of manual labor on a barn shift kills that need quickly), I get less sleep, and we eat out more with my increased working hours...I guess we're all pretty ok with this for now. All in all, if we're going to call Saskatoon home for the span of Tim's career (which is likely, and preferable), I think adding working in the dairy barn on campus is a good move for me. Sometimes I wonder what I've gotten myself into, and yet, I love the possibility of where it could go.

Tim is still knocking work out of the park. He's got his hands in some very interesting and down-to-earth research that somehow makes use of both his mega-brain power and super-human goodness at the same time. I've probably said it many times before, but the decision to come to work at the University of Saskatchewan has been a better fit than we could have ever imagined. Who knew? We certainly didn't see it when we were packing up our bags in warm Brisvegas to move to Saskatoon in the dead of winter.

Edie's corner

Hi, my name is Edie. I am 7 years old. Right now, I'm interested in books. My favorite one at the moment's too hard to pick. I love to read. In Saskatoon in the winter, we like to go for night slides at the park, which is lit with streetlamps. It's freezing, so we have to wear balaclavas, snowpants, jackets, boots and warm mitts, and even then my toes still get cold. There is a jump that some kids build every year at the bottom of  the hill, and I like to go over it on my sled. It's funny when Dad goes down and hits the jump without knowing it was there. We can see lots of stars on really cold nights- but not tonight. Mom tries to tell me where the shapes in the stars are, but sometimes she is not very good at pointing them out. I'm still on Christmas holidays, but it's getting boring and I want to go back to school.

Snow came late this year, but came through in time for the holidays. 

Dad has introduced me and Celia to Star Wars and we love it. We have watched the new movie and it was great. And for Christmas Daddy got a Metal Earth Star Wars Millennium Falcon and he's trying to build it right now. But he is not succeeding. He thinks he is. Princess Leia is my favorite character because, I don't know. Celia likes Chewie.

It is my bedtime, and I am not ready. I like to have Mom read Ranger's Apprentice for me while I'm getting settled in for bed. Halt and Will are the main characters in Ranger's Apprentice, it is very exciting. Goodnight or good morning, depending on where you live.

2015 has been the year of the visitors for us, and it's about time!  In September we were so happy to have a visit from Auntie Joy, which coincided with a visit from Uncle Jay. It was a busy weekend! Jay has been working off and on in Regina on a long-term project with his work. He'd prefer to be in Vancouver with his beautiful family, and drops by Saskatoon when he is stuck in Regina working for too long. We will happily provide a break from Regina, anytime.

Congratulations to Aunt Chels and Uncle Burt on the arrival of their son Mason. Keeping things exciting!

All the best for the new year to everyone, with much love from Team Jardine.

This little one is a fisher!

Picking berries with Nanny.

Corn maze scavenger hunt. Always a marriage tester.
Learning how to dance, and loving it.