The Skiing Baby

With the biggest grin plastered on his face, Henry skis towards me. His small body is clad in a bright blue one-piece MEC rainsuit and his downhill ski boots reach almost to his knees. His miniature Rossignol skis match his orange and grey helmet that squishes his adorable cheeks into a chipmunk smile. His arms are outstretched, reaching towards me and in his right hand, he clutches a brightly coloured Mexican maraca.

He is my skiing baby.

At the top of the mountain

It was our last day of a week-long skiing vacation at Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna, B.C. and throughout the week, countless people had stopped us on the ski hill and asked, ‘How old is that baby?!’ We even had multiple people ask to take Henry’s picture to provide proof to others of his skiing baby status. 
Now, being famous on the Dryden ski hill is one thing, but to be a skiing baby celebrity on a big West Coast Mountain is entirely another. And man, was Blake proud!

A beautiful sunny, spring day of skiing!

Skiing with Dad

Big mountain skiing!
On the magic carpet
In the Village

My babies and I

My skiing boys


As I’m sure all of you know, Blake is obsessed with skiing. Actually, I’m not quite sure the word obsessed even captures his passion for the sport. It is his entire being. His identity. His raison d’être. I have never asked him if he loves skiing more than he loves me – I’m not sure if I’d really want to hear his answer 🙂
Throughout our relationship, skiing has always been, well, much like a third wheel. Always present. Always a factor in the decisions made. When I was grappling with the choices of where I would complete my residency, I had my potential residency sites mapped out in terms of their geographical distance from the nearest ski hill, including the hill’s vertical. 
Here is Blake’s ski video ( https://youtu.be/vbm8ZSj3x0M ) from when I was completing my first year of residency in Kelowna, B.C. Every day, I would head to the hospital and Blake would hit the slopes. He had over 100 days of skiing that season!!  
So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Henry was destined for a skiing baby career. 
It all started mere days into Henry’s existence. In the mornings, after I had nursed him, I would hand Henry over to Blake and they would watch ski videos while Blake drank his morning coffee. This routine has lasted throughout Henry’s 17-month life and continues now before bed while Henry drinks his bottle. 

Only a few days old
A few months old

Watching skiing during lunch
Watching the day’s skiing replay before bed
But watching ski videos was only the beginning. Just after Henry’s first birthday, Blake rented out a pair of skis and boots from his buddy’s ski shop, the Ski Haus, in Thunder Bay. A slightly ambitious move in my opinion as at this point Henry couldn’t even walk!!! Blake, however waited patiently for Henry’s motor development to catch up his desire to get his son onto skis.
On Christmas day, out of the blue, Henry began to walk. A week and a bit later, he was on skis.

Now, if any of you have ever lived in Northern Ontario, you’ll know that January and February are cold. And when I say cold, I don’t mean I’m-wearing-my-Canada-Goose-Jacket-in-minus-10degrees-in-Toronto cold, I mean minus 35 degrees cold. Freeze your face cold. The painful kind of cold. 
But did that deter Henry and his new-found passion of skiing? Obviously not! Every day, no matter what temperature read on the thermometer, Blake and Henry would go skiing. Sometimes, it would be only for one run, as you truly would get frostbite if you stayed outside any longer than 5 minutes. 
At first, Blake or I would run along with Henry, clutching his orange snowsuit, trying to keep his wobbly legs from collapsing under him and steering him clear or the trees that lined Henry’s ski run along the side of our house. Then, over the next few weeks, without any instruction from Blake nor I, Henry began to ski completely on his own. He also figured out how to turn on his own, snowplow to slow down, stop at the end of the run and get going when he was ready at the top of the hill. 
It was pretty astonishing how quickly he picked it up and how much he loved to ski! Almost every day, he would run to the door, grab his ski boots and yell, ‘SKIINGGGGGGG!!!!!’. 

My skiing cutie

Skiing with Grandma and Grandpa

Endlessly playing with his ski boots

Taking a tumble!

In February, we drove an hour and a half to the nearest ski hill in Dryden, Ontario. Calling the gentle slope a ski hill is actualy pretty generous, but to Henry, it was his big ski debut. Up the rope-tow he went with Blake and then bombed it down the hill with a huge grin on his face. People were astonished that he was skiing independently at 16 months – he was even featured on the Dryden Ski Club’s Facebook page as the youngest skier to grace their slopes.

On the Dryden ski hill

Getting ready to hit the Dryden slopes

Henry, Alice as the bump at 39 weeks and I

Going up the tow rope

At the Dryden hill with Alice who was a week old

With Karla and Sailor at the ski hill

Family ski day!

Henry skiing at our house – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0c73v19IoI

Blake and Henry ‘skiing’! https://youtu.be/xgdE9bMlNKI

But this wasn’t enough for Blake nor Henry. Big Mountain skiing was the goal. So, shortly before Alice’s entrance to the world, we began planning a trip out West for a week of springtime skiing. 
As Alice turned four weeks old, we drove to Winnipeg, then flew out to Kelowna, B.C. It was two long days of exhausting travel, but once we had settled into our ski-in-ski-out condo on the hill, everything looked up from there! Every day, Henry would wake up and press his face against the picture window in the living room, and wait for the groomers and skiers to go by. As soon as Blake was up and ready, they would head out and ski up to the top of the mountain before Henry conked out for a mid-morning nap. Meanwhile, Alice and I would go for a walk as I guzzled a large coffee to counter the preceding sleepless night. Then, after Henry’s nap, we would all head down to the children’s ski area where Henry would go up and down, up and down the bunny hill until his tiny legs could barely support him.  By late afternoon, when Henry would declare that he was ‘all done’, we would take the gondola up to the Village and close the day with an outdoor patio beer (or ‘juice’ as Henry would call it). 
Life was pretty good! 
Blake and I even took turns and each got a few runs on our own. It was the first time I had been on skis in four years. I was a bit rusty, but it was awesome to be outside in the sunshine on my own. We also had visits from our friends Zoe and her daughter, Ever from Salmon Arm and from our friend Jade from Kelowna. Our first big trip as a family of four was definitely a success!

Here is Henry’s skiing video from our vacation!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tuqAvc56yus

On the five-hour car ride to Winnipeg

At the airport in Winnipeg – it was a challenge to keep Henry from not getting into everything!

Going through security

Giving the bear a hug

On the flight to Kelowna – both kids were fantastic. Alice slept the whole way!

Watching ski movies on the plane

Alice meeting Auntie Jade

On the gondola – Henry loved it!

Checking out the kids store at the Village

Alice and I having a coffee in the Village
Heading up to the Village for dinner. We hired a babysitter for Henry and Jade drove up from Kelowna to visit. We were deteremined to go out for a fancy dinner. Alice had other ideas though – she cried the whole time and so we took turns walking around with her on the sled trying to get her to sleep. Ugh. I ended up eating my expensive steak dinner cold. Le sigh. At least we tried!!

Since we had the babysitter until 11pm, we were determined to stay out until then. So after dinner we went to the local pub which had a sign on the door that said, ‘Children welcome until 8pm’! Ooops! No one said anything…

Alice, Henry and I out for a walk

Henry and his buddy Ever watching out the window for groomers, skiiers etc. 

Getting ready to go out skiing!

Henry and Ever – such sweeties!

On the magic carpet

Blake, Henry, Ever and Zoe

Fueling up for another afternoon of skiing!

Ever, Alice and Zoe

Ever loved Alice! So cute!

Aw! Ever and Henry hugging it out!

She’s a natural – look how she’s holding Alice’s head. So cute. 

So many babies!

Riding the gondola

Thanks Ever and Zoe for driving from Salmon Arm to visit us on the hill!!!

Having a bath! They are so much bigger than last year when they had their first bath together…
March 2015 – Ever and Henry in the bath
Alice, Henry and I in the gondola. When Blake would go skiing, we would ride the gondola up and down. It was great entertainment and I didn’t have to chase Henry!

Henry at the outdoor patio, relaxing and having an apres-ski beer!

Henry and Blake in the Village

Chubby Alice and the boys having their lunch in the background

My babies

Giving Alice some love. So sweet!
Henry ready for his beer which he calls ‘juice’! He loves beer! 

My babies and I
In the few days since being home, our snow has melted and Henry’s skis have been put away on the rack in the garage. Henry, however, has already moved on to his next obsession – biking.
Blake and I still aren’t sure where Henry even got the idea of biking, but over the past week, Henry gets out of bed and immediately demands to go outside and go biking. Blake found a used ‘run bike’ (without petals) and Henry has taken a KEEN liking to it. In fact, yesterday, I spent four straight hours with Henry outside while he biked and today, despite very cool temperatures and pouring rain, Henry insisted on spending the morning, soaked, biking around the yard. There is no stopping this child! No matter how often or how hard he falls, he is never deterred. He just picks himself up, brushes his hands off and gets back onto his bike. I, on the other hand, am having a hard time letting him bail but Blake keeps reminding me to stop being a ‘helicopter parent’ and let him learn!

Falling…

…and getting back up!

So, much to Blake’s delight, Henry is shaping up to be a future mountain man – downhill skiing in the winter, and mountain biking in the summer.

Anyway, despite the challenges of having a demanding newborn, we are really enjoying our time together at home as a family. Henry is learning new words every day and is keeping us endlessly entertained. Alice is growing like crazy and still keeping me up all night. Now that she is smiling, it has made the sleep deprivation somewhat more manageable, but generally, it is still pretty rough. She has a fiery temper, especially when she loses her soother. So I spend the majority of the night with one hand draped over the edge of the bed, replacing her soother ten times an hour. UGH!

The other hard part I am finding is the shift in my relationship with Henry. Interestingly, when I was worrying about how Henry would adjust to when Alice was born, I was always thinking about how he would react without so much ‘Mama time’. I never anticipated, however, how much I would miss my previous relationship with Henry. I am home 100% of the time now, but I actually feel like I ‘see’ Henry less. I used to get up with Henry every morning and eat breakfast with just the two of us before going to work.  After work, I was always was the one to put Henry to bed. Now, I am around, but I am constantly trying to soothe Alice, nurse Alice, etc. etc. Blake is fantastic with Henry but isn’t too keen on the baby thing so that leaves all of Alice’s care to me which is, as you know, every minute of every day and night. I rarely get any alone time with Henry and so I definitely miss Henry more than he misses me! He has adjusted just fine!

Well, here’s hoping the nights get better and the weather keeps getting warmer in our neck of the woods!

So many little ones on the bed!

Henry and Alice on my lap on the rocking chair

Bright eyes

Getting so big!

Darling little toes!

Watching the Jays game. Henry chants ‘Go Jays Go!’ with Dad.

Alice at her first medical staff meeting

Finally smiling! It makes a huge difference after those long nights!

Haha Henry! 

Playing with Hunter in the big puddles

Springtime!

Alice snoozing in the Chariot after our walk

Time is flying!

Henry giving Ada a hug

Learning about the potty

Alice is freakishly strong – she started consistently rolling from front to back at 5 weeks old! Usually this is a three-month milestone…!
Playing in the last of the snow

Pushing both babies on our walk

At the grocery store with both of these munchkins!

Henry playing at the Hub

Drinking his milk

Milk drunk!
Snuggling in the sun

Smiling!

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