One year!

Henry presses his face against the small plane’s window. His eyes eyes move in quick saccades as he follows the landscape of never-ending black spruce zooming past his view. We bump along the dirt runway as our small eight-seater plane hurdles towards the end of the runway and the edge of Attawapiskat Lake. Gently, we lift into the air and climb steadily as Henry continues to watch intently. Soon, our view gives way to an impossibly expansive and endless scene of lakes and trees. We have just finished yet another week in Neskantaga First Nation, Henry’s seventh trip to the North, the week after his first birthday.

Henry en route North way back in August

Henry eating a giant green bean from our Sioux Lookout garden while in our apartment in Neskantaga

One of the many perks of my work! This freshly-baked blueberry muffin was delivered to my by one of the kids right to my office ๐Ÿ™‚

Henry and I on an early morning walk, back in August when there was still some morning light!

The post office and store


For the next hour as we journey to Thunder Bay, Henry squirms in my lap, twisting around to climb up my now protruding belly to play peek-a-boo with the passenger behind us, pulling at the plane ‘s window shade, reaching up overhead to press the button that turns the overhead light on, straining to grasp the woman’s curly hair in front of us… As usual, he never ceases to be still. Ahead of us, there is a mother with a seven-month old babe who regards us with big blue eyes. Without a peep, she eventually falls asleep, all the while staying absolutely still in her mothers arms. I struggle to remember if Henry was ever like that! Thankfully, my Mom, Joanne, has accompanied us to the North over the past five days and pulls out endlessly entertaining objects from her purse to keep Henry occupied.

As always, our North weeks are challenging in many ways. Getting organized and packed is like preparing for a monthly canoe trip. It often takes me a few days to make the meals and ensure that nothing gets left behind. Our early Monday morning departures are always difficult, as I am on my own getting Henry ready, packing the car and getting to the airport on-time. Each month, I swear to myself that I can’t do this much longer. It’s such a struggle!

However, once we’re North, my sentiments always change. Despite our small quarters and the extreme weather (i.e. bugs, cold, etc.), I really do enjoy my monthly clinics in the North. This time, it was extra special having my mom join us. As I plodded through my daily clinics, I never once felt guilty or worried about Henry. I knew he was happy and in good hands and that my mom didn’t mind playing with the pots and tupperware in the kitchen for the millionth time, or peek-a-boo behind the door for an hour straight. I am certainly very fortunate to have family and a husband who supports me to do this work, and I often wonder, even if Henry will never remember these trips, will it inform who he becomes in a small way?

Henry and Mom preparing for a chilly walk last week in Neskantaga

Henry and I entertaining ourselves in the Thunder Bay Airport on our 2.5 hr layover coming home from Neskantaga

Henry making his escape!

As any parent can relate, one of my favourite things about watching Henry grow up is constantly wondering what he will be like or what kind of a person he will become. Over this past year, he has changed in so many ways and has definitely developed a unique personality. Last weekend, in celebration of Henry’s first birthday, we were joined by many of our close friends, neighbours and family. As usual, Henry was the life of the party, displaying all his ‘tricks’ in full force. He is so interactive these days! He loves to shake his head back and forth with a huge grin on his face, he will ‘dance’ to any type of music or singing, bopping his cute little bum up and town while nodding his head to the beat, and he rivals the queen with his constant waving to anyone who will notice (he especially likes to do this while fellow passengers exit or enter the plane). Henry loves to high-five, brush your hair, brush your teeth, ‘share’ his food with or give open mouth kisses to any part of your face he can make contact with. I love watching him grow and develop new skills like learning parts of his face (he can now point to his nose when asked) or throwing a ball back and forth. There are many traits that I see from Blake in him, especially when he spends much of his time fitting things together, putting lids on things, building blocks, etc. He has this hilarious expression when he accomplishes something he’s proud of as he balls his hands up, pulls them to his hips, sticks out his chest and smiles anytime he succeeds at something. It’s so cute!

The spread at Henry’s birthday

Everyone loves balloons!

The blueberry birthday cake that I made for Henry. He loves, loves, loves blueberries.

Hunter & Brooks ๐Ÿ™‚

With Uncle Johnny

Happy birthday!!
Dig in!

With Auntie Meghan at the party

Henry and Blake- Henry loves when you ‘whistle’ with the beer bottle. He also loves beer. A lot. I’m in trouble!

I still can’t get over how much Henry and Blake look alike. Maybe the next one will look like me!?

Karla & Henry and the stuffed monkey that Auntie Meghan and Uncle Johnny bought for him for his birthday!

Sweet Sailor snuggles

Reflecting back over the past twelve months as I new parent, I honestly can’t remember what I ever did with my time before Henry was born. I have loved and hated so many moments. There have been endless challenges, tears and times of frustration and anger, yet constant joy all mixed together. We have been incredibly supported by amazing friends and family who have babysat at a moment’s notice, provided a listening ear and much needed hugs, and given us sage advice that has helped us through this year. You know who you are and I can’t thank you enough! We are so very fortunate.

As I write close this blog, I am tucked into bed with Ada at my side. My belly rests on the edge of my laptop, moving about as the growing life inside of my seems to constantly kick and squirm. We’re still unsure the gender, but I have a growing suspicion that this little one will be exactly the same and just as busy as Henry! I am both terrified and excited all at the same time to welcome him or her to this world and to do this all over again ๐Ÿ™‚

Back in the beginning of October, I had taken Henry to work with me for a few days. He then got SO SO sick. Blake was away in Thunder Bay so Henry and I had a rough, sleepless week. He wouldn’t eat anything. This is when I finally let him go wild with his spoon and his smoothie in attempt to get him to eat something. I think this was the only time he was happy that week!

The day we were set to leave to head South to visit family in early October, I was emptying the dishwasher. I was busy doing something, and before I knew it, Henry had managed to remove the entire bottom rack of the dishwasher and was pushing it around the kitchen! What a rascal!

Playing with the Ark at Nana’s in Dundasย 

Visiting with Leah, Rosie, Luc, Mom & Dad in Guelph

Still a bit sick, but definitely happier

Snoozing in the car

With Grandpa Steve
After our visit in Toronto, Dundas and Guelph, we met up with Blake and headed to Kingston for Thanksgiving!

Playing with the cousins – Henry is lucky to be surrounded with such energetic young ladies!

Sitting in the highchair that was Henry’s great, great-grandfather’s.ย 

Henry at his Kingston birthday party – thanks Nana!

Blake trying to entice Henry to eat some cake. Oddly enough, he didn’t want to eat it! Too sweet maybe?
At the pumpkin patch with Nana, Poppa, Aunt Kim, Uncle Christian, cousins Holly & Adriana in Kingston

So many pumpkins!

Henry ‘helping’ to carve the pumpkins at Nana & Poppa’s

Blake and Uncle Darren being kids again

Cousin Charlotte holding baby ‘Hetty’ as she calls Henry. I’m pretty sure he outweighs her!

So much action!

Playing in Nana & Poppa’s backyard

With Uncle Darren

On the way home back to Sioux Lookout
Back at home, Blake was anxious to get Henry used to his ski gear for the upcoming Winter…

It didn’t go as planned…! ๐Ÿ™‚
A fall afternoon
Playing in the yard, trying to make the most of the nice weather before the snow

Sioux Lookout is always full of great events, like this Church Ladies’ Bazaar & Tea!

Complete with tiny sandwiches without crusts ๐Ÿ™‚

Blake brushing Henry’s teeth before bed, which he always finds to be hilarious

A few weekends ago, I was trying to get the garden ready for winter. I was digging and pulling weeds nearby while Henry was content to play on his own in the grass. What a big difference from when I put the garden in back in May. He was barely mobile then and had to play in his playpen outside while I planted.ย 

This was right after he crawled over to the garden and ate a giant handful of dirt. Lovely!

Digging in the dirt.ย 

Henry at his friend, Marius’ Halloween birthday party!

The costume didn’t last long…

At the Halloween market in Sioux Lookout

Shopping at Johnny’s on Halloween!

Poor guy had a cold (again) on Halloween. He tolerated wearing his costume for about 5 minutes ๐Ÿ™‚

This past week, Henry has had another cold. He is so so fussy when this happens, but is so content if I take him outside and walk. So we have been doing a lot of this over the past few days!

Henry this morning – I found him in his room IN his toy box!ย 

At the library! Yay!ย 

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