Redemption

I never really wrote about the few days we spent in Radium, BC. Partly because I’m not really sure what to say about it and partly because it seemed ungrateful to whine about time away with my family in a lovely location with an almost ideal place to stay.

I love visiting the mountains. I love how they sit silently and provide a backdrop for whatever I might feel like pondering. I love how in my head they’re always covered in snow, even in the summer.

When we went to Radium the snow was in short supply, and that’s sort of where the problem started.

I went hoping to find the sort of place that has its own rhythm and order of existence, but when I got there I found that all the rhythms I’m used to had followed me – the morning rhythm that results in antsy kids if we don’t get out of the house soon enough and the lack-of-inspiration rhythm that still leaves me with a complete blank when the plans I had in mind fall through. I wasn’t confronted with much of anything except my usual frustration and the wish that the four of us could get our own rhythms more in sync.

When I was little we used to go through Radium on the way home from our cottage. At least I think that’s where we were going to and coming from. Nothing about my memories of that time fit with this experience over 30 years later. What I wanted to do was relive that experience of soaking in the hot springs and putting jammies on and feeling cozy and falling asleep in the car. I was even willing for it to be my kids falling asleep in the car instead of me.

I wanted to go and try some winter activities that have long appealed to me but that we haven’t really done, even with all our winter exploring here. I wanted to skate on the lake and go snowshoeing and possibly even ski for a day. But when we got there the lake wasn’t frozen and there was no snow on the ground and the hot springs weren’t at all like I remembered them. Still nice, but decidedly less relaxing with a hyper, impulsive six-year-old in tow.

It just wasn’t a good trip, you know?

In the end I think my feelings about the lack of inspiration that trip provided were more about my own (possibly unrealistic) high expectations and subsequent disappointment than anything to do with the place itself.

Luckily, I have found redemption.

Aerial view of Grande Rockies Resort

Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, we had a chance to visit Canmore. Another of my favourite places, Canmore is a truly lovely mountain town. It has a backdrop of snow-covered mountains and a pub I like and trains running through it.

So we went.

We stayed at a place I hadn’t been to before, in a nicely appointed two bedroom suite. Do you know how heavenly a two-bedroom suite is when travelling with kids? Of course you other parents do. You know that you can put the kids to bed (and not in the same room!) and not have to sit in the dark trying to be quiet. And that you can take advantage of the kitchen to feed your early risers some toast and cereal without having to change out of your pajamas and do something about your morning hair. And that you can make yourself a cup of tea whenever you damn well feel like it.

Two bedroom suite at Grande Rockies Resort

There was still no snow on the ground, but that was quite nice. We went out for lunch and for a bike ride and swam in the pool.

Indoor pool with waterslide

We floated in the indoor/outdoor hot tub at night and looked up at the stars.

Indoor-outdoor hot tub

I went for a run along the train tracks and wandered into a few stores and stopped for a drink at a coffee shop that I love and that reminds me of the time we went to a winter festival and went cross country skiing right down the middle of main street.

I’m sure it was just a coincidence, but I feel as though someone sensed my disappointment from our earlier trip and said, hey, I can fix that. 

And then did.

 

———-

We were offered a chance to stay at the Grande Rockies Resort in Canmore and said yes before we could check whether they were teasing us with mountains. (They weren’t.) It was a great place that we hadn’t been to before and it had everything we needed to make a really good weekend out of it. They offered us this great hospitality without any expectation that I’d write a post about it, but I did because we really did enjoy it and I’m grateful for the time and experience our stay allowed us to have. 

All photos copyright Grande Rockies Resort. 

Just as they are

 

canvas print family photo

I cherish this photo. The photo session that produced it was a total freaking gong show but I barely remember that when I look at this picture. What I see is Connor’s laugh and his sense of humour in this moment that actually captured what he looks like when he thinks something is funny (rather than his goofy photo face). And I see the absolute joy that is Ethan.

I was talking to a colleague and friend at work a couple of weeks ago, and she mentioned that when her kids go to school on picture day she lets them go however they are – messy hair, weird clothes, the whole deal. And if the proofs come back and they have goofy expressions she buys them up, figuring that she’ll have a record of just who her kids were at the time.

I’m not sure I have quite embraced that approach. If we had purchased the proofs from this session that showed just who my kids were as demonstrated by their behaviour at the time, we’d have photos with Connor’s sour expression indicating just how much he didn’t want to be acting nice for the camera and Ethan with a soother in his mouth, probably crying after we tried to remove it for a picture. We’d probably have a photo of Connor hitting me and body-slamming Ethan, and one of Rich sitting with Connor to try to calm him down. We’d have one of me looking frustrated and possibly trying not to cry.

Needless to say, the family photo sessions we have done were nightmares. We did one resulting in the photos above and an earlier one when Ethan was six weeks old, and I remember them both as horrible, barely-worth-it experiences (except for the part where newborn Ethan pooped on Rich). But after both sessions we looked at the proofs (and I mostly looked past how terribly unphotogenic I am) and I saw my kids just as they were at that time. Not the cranky, goofy sides of them but the happy, full-of-joy sides of them and how they look like Rich and sort of like me, and I was glad to have them.

For a while now I’ve wanted a canvas print, so I chose this photo and got one made and hung it on the wall opposite the foot of our bed. Now those joyful faces, already looking younger than they do now, smile back at me every night and, nightmare or not, that’s all I ever really wanted out of those photo sessions anyway.

 

 Disclosure: Canvas Factory gifted me this print but my love for it is my own.

Quiet at the Car Wash

Sometimes moments of quiet appear in the oddest places.

car wash entrance

I’d been staring at my horribly dirty car for a few weeks, feeling like finding the time to get it washed was one more thing I couldn’t fit in. Maybe even the one thing that would put me over the top from managing to it’s-all-too-much.

You know how sometimes it’s the silly, stupid, small things that do that?

I decided not to let my dirty car do that.

Last weekend I had a window of time on Sunday afternoon. I had some other errands to do that would take me in the neighbourhood of the car wash and decided I’d run through while I was out. But instead of just tacking it on to the end of a series of errands I decided to use it to my advantage.

I took a magazine with me, turned off the radio, and sat in the quiet. I waited in line at a time when I would normally have felt rushed and I just…sat.

Self-care at the car wash. Who knew?

iPPP button

Join Greta from Gfunkified and I for #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

This One Doesn’t Eat Books

You know that Friends episode where Monica fills in for a food critic and gives the restaurant a scathing review? Then when the owner challenges her description of the food she backs up her opinion with this line:

“I couldn’t eat it. I have five friends who couldn’t eat it. And one of them eats books.” 

I think of that line every time I’m reading to Ethan and I pick up one of the books I read to Connor when he was a baby. They’re all missing pieces around the edges, particularly at the corners, and in some cases sections of the covers are completely eaten away. Yes, eaten away.

I could barely get through a book with Connor when he was small. Before he was even six months old he had devoured some of the classics – Goodnight Moon, The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. (He always has been quite literal, if not literary.)

These days Connor loves stories at bedtime, and occasionally at other times too. But he has never been a kid who will sit quietly and look at books. One night when he was about 3 1/2 we realized he was still awake after bedtime. We peeked in his room and he had taken most of the books off his bookshelf and had made tents with them – open and upside down, each one formed an inverse V on his bed. He had systematically lined them up, row upon row of books turned into a tent city, completely covering his double bed. It was hilarious and perfect and so very him.

Ethan, on the other hand, loves to read. He will sit and flip through books for ages. He’s mostly quite gentle, and the other night when I saw him reading some paperback Christmas stories I’ve had since I was little I wasn’t terribly worried that he would tear them apart. He just flipped through, looking at all the pictures in one book before putting it down and picking up the next.

I love that he already has a love of reading. And I love that he doesn’t eat books.

Ethan-books

 

At least not yet.

 

iPPP button

 

Join Greta from Gfunkified and I for #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

 

A Thousand Years

Ethan ready for sledding

You know how sometimes you look at a picture of your child and your heart does that thing where it tries to burst out of your chest? This photo does that for me.

I’m not sure what it is—maybe it’s that he looks like a Gerber baby in this photo or perhaps because he was so willing to let us put him in his new sled without knowing quite what it was all about—but I look at this photo and I think, “My god I love this kid.”

This morning Ethan sat with me while I had a late breakfast (three cheers for weekend sleep-ins) and we sang.

“I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

I often sang this song to him while we danced around the living room when he was really small because I like it and it made him smile. I had forgotten about it until I heard it in a mall yesterday and I thought it was time we listened to it again.

“And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more”

I looked at him while we sang and thought, How could I have ever thought you’d never come to me? I’m just still so very grateful for him – my small, blond Gerber baby with the big laugh. I’ve loved him for so long.

(And PS: He loved the sled.)

 

I’ve joined Greta from Gfunkified as co-host of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. Link up below!

GFunkified

our take on Sizegenetics review
Listing all pages