Walking in a Winter Wonderland

In the quiet of the falling sun, my boots squeak against the frigid snow. I hold Henry tightly against my body, his face close to mine. His nose and cheeks glow red against his pale skin. We silently watch the sunset casting incredible hues of orange, pink and purple across the frozen white ice.

“Wow”, says Henry, breaking the silence. “Wow… Wow!” His bright eyes fixed on the colours in front of us. I snuggle him closely and laugh. What a gift to see the world from a child’s eyes!

We have truly entered the winter season here on Abram Lake. With temperatures in the -20s, the lake has frozen solid and we were blessed with a very white Christmas. The past few weeks have flown by and I am grateful now for a few days of peace and quiet at home.

Blake, Henry and I went North for the last time in 2015 the week before Christmas. It will be Blake’s last trip to Neskantaga First Nation, as my Mom will come with Henry and I in January. At that time, I will be about 35 weeks along, and I’ve been told by my very lovely Nurse-in-Charge that I am not to come back after that as he does not want to be delivering my baby in the nursing station 🙂

It was a cold week in the North with chilly temperatures and windy days. Unfortunately, Blake and Henry didn’t get to go out much, but we did head over to the Christmas play at the school which was a lot of fun. Henry really enjoyed seeing the other kids and he was certainly a novelty to them, being the only red-head white kid around!

I am sure I have said this before, but although having Blake and Henry with me up North has been challenging, it’s been such a different experience for me as a physician and an outsider working in the community. People, no matter where they come from, who they are or what language they speak love babies! It has been wonderful to be able to interact with patients outside of the clinic where they cuddle Henry up and laugh as he interacts with their kids. I know I am very lucky to have a supportive partner like Blake to enable these experiences to happen. As for the future, we’re still not quite sure how we will return to the North with two kids under two. The enormity of this seems overwhelming although I just can’t quite imagine practicing without serving the remote North… We will see how it all turns out in 2016!

On the plane up to Neskantaga

The Christmas play at the school

Henry joining in with the kids dancing

After our North trip, Christmas preparations began in full-force. I had many ambitious notions of me baking Christmas cookies, sending out Christmas cards and decorating our house. In the end, since I was on Obstetrical call from the 21st until the 24th, then was on-call for the North from the 24th until the 28th, none of these plans came to fruition. Instead, I bought up multiple trays of Christmas cookies from our local market and the tree was the extent of our decorations! Apologies to everyone who didn’t get Christmas cards…

While I attempted to make Christmas cookies…

What a rascal!

The tree is up!

Henry and I were out for a wintery hike on the Cedar Bay trails when…

We ran into these two crazies! Meghan and John were out for a ride on their fat bikes!

Having fun at the library

Henry’s not so much into actually reading the books, but mostly into climbing the shelves…!

Daddy’s daycare! Blake built a ‘swing’ for Henry out of his Jolly Jumper. As usual, I freak out and tell Blake to stop while Henry laughs and laughs.

With lots of help from Meghan, my brother’s wonderful partner, and Blake, we managed to have a delicious Christmas dinner with friends and family. Although it was only on my second Christmas ever away from home, it definitely felt like ‘home’ here on Abram Lake.

Christmas morning – waiting for Dad to wake up.

Henry exploring the presents

Getting right into the Mega Blocks from Nana & Poppa

Henry opening his Christmas stocking from Nana & Poppa while also checking out Dad’s belly button 🙂

Check out your new sweater Henry! Thanks Poppa!

New books! 

Family portrait 🙂

The pre-Christmas dinner spread including home-made egg nog and rum

Blake carving up our giant turkey

We had a ton of food – mashed potatoes, yams, roasted brussel sprouts, lamb, grape-leaf wraps, mac & cheese, and of course the turkey and stuffing!

Our biggest Christmas gift came on Christmas morning when Blake told Henry that he’d like for him to walk for his Christmas present. Lo and behold, Henry obliged and took his first steps on Christmas morning. He’s still pretty tentative and prefers to crawl but he’s slowly getting the hang of it!

Here he a few days after Christmas. I didn’t catch the first few times on video…

Now for a blissful week off with Henry and Blake including a trip to Toronto for my dear friends’ Emily & Nick’s wedding!

Blake and Henry after a ski on the lake. With only a month until Blake’s two-week ski trip out West, he’s in full training mode. 

Henry and I on a chilly walk. It’s been pretty cold the past two weeks but we have tried to not let that stop us from getting out!

Henry snuggling our friend, Steve’s 190lbs dog, Griffin. He’s a gentle giant for sure!

Henry was trying to lift him up! haha

Henry and I out for our first ski since he was three-months old. It was -18 and man, it was a tough ski! I’m definitely out of shape (especially with my oversized, 31-week belly). Henry has also packed on a few pounds since our last ski and the cold conditions made our glide pretty limited…

Henry was a good sport though. what a trooper!

Play date with my friend Nicole’s sons. When it’s too chilly to go out, you have to find other ways to have fun!

Ada and I on a quiet and sunny snowshoe on Abram Lake.

My bump is definitely growing (and is usually freezing since I can’t do up many of my jackets or they ride up and the lower part of my belly becomes exposed!). 

A dog’s paradise – we are certainly lucky to have access to this from our yard.

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