Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Into the Dark

Even after 6 years of living here, I'm still amazed to see the sun rise later and later each morning, and set earlier and earlier each evening.

Sunrise, taken at 9:30 am

When I first made the decision to live here year-round, I worried quite a bit about how I'd deal with the seriously reduced daylight hours. It is intense and extreme, but I've come to look forward to the much slower pace that this time of year brings. It also gives one an excuse to go a bit crazy, which is fine by me. Some of my favourite memories are of my first winters here, living with friends, sitting around the kitchen table, drinking tea and baileys and waiting for the sun to come up at 9, 10, 11 a.m.  or dancing around to Elvis, still in pajamas. And once the sun does rise, hurrying out to run errands before it sets again.

I also love the special excitement that comes upon realizing the days are getting longer again. Celebrating the first day we see the sun make it over the hills again (we're in a valley here in Dawson, so for about a month or so, the sun doesn't actually get high enough to be visible in the sky), or the first patch of sunlight that appears on the wall or the floor.

Until the Winter Solstice, though, we're in the dark...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gratitude Sunday

It's not so early but the sun isn't yet up. P and Aedan are asleep together on the couch, and I'm finally taking the time to join Taryn at Wooly Moss Roots in her wonderful weekly tradition...

G r a t i t u d e  *  S u n d a y

{Sunday's heartfelt tradition. A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful. A list of gratitudes.} 

This week, I've felt grateful for...

-peaceful walks in the woods with the dogs and Aedan wrapped snug against my chest

-P being able to spend some days at home

-our growing woodpile and crackling fires in the woodstove

-having tea with friends who understand that all I want to do is look at my baby...and who suggest we lay him in the middle of the kitchen table so we can all look at him

-my beautiful baby boy!

-Patsy (the cat) finally being on the mend. Since we've come home from Whitehorse, we've been dealing with cauliflowered mammary tumours and thinking we had to put her down, to surgery, to infection...only a few more days of the antibiotics and she should be able to take the cone off. She's almost back to her old self.

-discovering new music

-Skype, and the internet, for allowing me to stay in touch with my family on the other side of the country

-realizing that I can't do it all at once, and that change is often a gradual thing

-feeling inspired to write!

-don't tell anyone else but...I'm grateful for the snow! I love each snowfall, it is so pretty out there.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Knit Now!

One of the side benefits of having a babe is my renewed interest in knitting. Before Aedan was born, I knit a little sweater for him (which is rather boxy, but I'm sure he doesn't mind), and a baby blanket which I am in love with. I splurged on handpainted merino wool for that one, and although the pattern itself is very simple, the blanket is gorgeous because of the colouring of the fibre.

So now I'm knitting a slouchy hat for myself out of some wool I found at the thrift store a few years ago, I think it's a cotton-wool blend. I'm basically winging the pattern after looking at several patterns for slouchy hats online. I also just got a bunch of cotton yarn, which I've got many plans for. Mainly I'd like to start making some baby-leggings. This means we can dress Aedan in just a diaper shirt and some leggings, making diaper changes and also pottying a breeze.

Speaking of pottying, I feel like I'm ready to take a step forward with it...yesterday Aedan peed twice in the potty, and both times he did it on my cue of "pss pss". Potty exciting, eh? (Mom, you get the credit for that one). It could have been a total coincidence, but I like to think he's started to associate the cue with the action. So I think I'd like to try some more diaper-free time, and also start using cloth diapers. I know P isn't too excited about this, because laundry is solely his chore, but if I can manage to get Aedan on the potty for every poo (and I'm pretty confident that, during the day, as long as he doesn't poo in his sleep, I can), then the cloth diapers really won't be all that gross to deal with! How did I get on to this? Oh yes. Baby-leggings.

I'd also like to knit a few little cardigans for Aedan, and one for myself, too. I have some wool in the mail for that project. I wonder when I'll find the time to do all this knitting? The little projects will be a breeze, I can peck away at them when Aedan is asleep or content in his dad's arms...

But a cardigan for myself?

What was I thinking?!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It's a grey day today, with a few fluffy snowflakes drifting down from the sky all morning. It's started to pick up just now. I didn't realize until we went to town on Monday that it's only snowed out on the Dempster! As soon as we turn at the bridge: no snow.

Monday we went to a Thanksgiving dinner with 20-some odd other guests! It was a bit intense, but I'm so glad we went. P and I are both a bit anti-social (okay...more than a bit) but I dragged us both there, Aedan in tow, and we all did great, if I may say so myself! Aedan got passed around a little, he was a very calm and curious little guy, checking out all the new faces. There were other kids and moms and soon-to-be-moms there, so when I realized that I had nothing to talk about besides childbirth and nursing and baby-poo and the cute little sounds he sometimes makes, I gave up trying to converse with the non-parents...thank goodness there were other women there who were equally as interested in these topics! Anyway, our hostess put on an amazing meal (so impressive that she put all of that together for all of those people!) including a huge chocolate birthday cake layered with Grand Marnier whipped cream for a friend's birthday. Yum!

In light of this dinner, and my inability to discuss anything other than Aedan, I've decided that I'm finally going to drag my butt (and my baby's butt) to Healthy Moms Healthy Babies on Friday during their drop-in hours. Time to meet the other new moms in town, see who Aedan will be buddies with once he's a bit older. Also, I think if I don't start to appear more in town, people will think I'm becoming a crazy hermit-mom.

In EC news, today I caught two pees and a poo! The poo was unexpected and very exciting. We'd been hanging out, having a little diaper-free time, where I lay him down on a big water-proof pad for just this purpose, with a piece of absorbent cloth under his bum and folded over his crotch. I'd caught a pee just before we started this time...after awhile he was looking hungry, so I nursed him for a bit, still with just the pad in my lap and the cloth wrapped around him, and gave him a "potty-tunity" every time he unlatched. Towards the end of the nursing, when he was starting to drift off, I figured I'd give him one more chance, then diaper him to go out for our walk...he was very relaxed, gazing out the window. I was expecting him to pee but instead...he pooed! And then, right after, peed, too. I signal him when he starts to go, "pss pss" for peeing and I imitate his grunts when he poos. I've also started to hold him in position and signal him when I know he's pooping in his diaper but I can't get him undressed and on the potty in time, so he'll at least start to associate the signal with the action.

Pretty exciting times out here on the Dempster, eh?

Now, to make some bran muffins!

Monday, October 10, 2011

La neige!

The first real snowfall is so magic!


The doggies are sure enjoying it!

I think it's going to stick this time!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Making a Start

So during my pregnancy, I gave a lot of thought to diapering my babe. I really wanted to use cloth, but was daunted at the thought of doing so without running water. I considered the fact that when cloth was the only option, running water was a luxury...thought about a ringer washer, but we don't even have a well on the property. All of our water comes in 5 gallon blue jugs. That's a lot of hauling water. I haven't ruled it out, and I have some definite ideas about how to set things up so that cloth might work...and we do have access to laundry at the hotel (aside: P is buying the Westminster Hotel here in Dawson!)...but for now, we're using disposables. I hope to eventually use a combination of cloth and disposable.

All of that being said, I've also been reading/thinking lots about "elimination communication"...which is basically learning to recognize when babe has to go, and giving them the opportunity to do so outside of a diaper. Eventually, the hope is that your baby will intentionally signal you that they have to go, and that they might even wait to do it in the potty. Asheya, my doula, did this with her daughter, and she passed along to me a little baby potty. I love this idea...not only because it saves on diapers, but because it is a really cool way to communicate with your baby from a very early stage.

SO...I've been hesitant to make a start at this, mostly because very young babies tend to pee often...but two days ago I was changing him and I figured: what the heck. I sat down with the baby potty between my thighs, and settled him in my lap, and whispered "psss, psss" in his ear (because you're supposed to develop a cue they'll recognize/associate with the potty) and after a few seconds...HE PEED! In the potty!! I was so excited and so happy for him! We tried a few more times that day but he freaked out. I guess it was his way of saying "I don't have to go right now, mom!" I tried again the next day, and...success! I caught another pee! Right now I'm just testing the waters, so to speak, but in the next couple of days I plan to spend a couple of hours hanging out with him, diaper-free, so I can watch and see what sorts of signals he might be giving me right before he pees or poos. And then I'd like to start doing this on a regular, part-time basis. I feel like using EC and cloth diapers, with disposables at night or for outings, would be a really great combo for me, without putting too much emphasis on any one of the three. I don't want to stress too much about this...there are way more important things to focus on, living with a brand-new human!

And now, on a totally unrelated note, I would like to announce Dawson's newest couple:

Pete and Lily, lover-dogs!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gettin' the hang of it

Aedan is three weeks old today. He's getting to be very strong, holding his head up by himself. Yesterday we were all out for a walk in the woods, Aedan in the Moby wrap, but instead of sleeping he was peering out into the warm autumn sunshine, checking out the spruce trees. Such a curious little guy! It's so cool to watch him take it all in for the first time. I wonder what he must be thinking, how he must be processing all of this newness. What does he see right now? Is it just colours and light and fuzzy shapes? Does he experience the world more through smell, sound and touch? He sticks his tongue out a lot, too, as though he's tasting the air, like a snake.

I suppose I'm processing all of the newness, too! Adjusting to home- and mom- life has been interesting. Three weeks post-partum and I'm feeling like I need to get into some regular routines...we're usually up around 8. P makes me a cup of tea while I nurse Aedan. At first he'd fall back asleep after this nursing, but now he stays awake, so we hang out with him for an hour or two until he wants to nurse again. He'll fall asleep after that. Once he's sleeping, I've started to do some yoga...gentle stretching to ease my aching muscles...I ache mostly from all of this "laid-back mothering" I've been doing the past three weeks! And this morning I decided I'd brush my teeth, and wash my face, and put some proper clothes on, too! It feels good to do these little things, makes me feel a little more human.

We're having a lovely, late autumn. Although there is a definite chill in the air, we've been blessed with some bright, sunny days and clear nights. It's wonderful to see stars again after the perpetual light of our northern summer. I usually make a trip to the outhouse around 3 am, and I'll stop on my way back to the house, turn my headlamp off, and just check out the sky...I like to pick out my favourite constellations and planets, the ones I know well, and try to guess at new ones I might learn this winter. I know the more obvious ones...Orion and his nebula, Cassiopeia, Ursus Major, the Pleiades, Gemini, and Venus, so bright as it traces across the night sky. Often there is a faint glow of the aurora borealis...I've heard there have been some spectacular displays in the last couple of weeks, but I've missed them.

 We make sure to get out at least once a day for a walk, but if it's really nice, we go for two! Cilla, Lily and Pete love to run through the woods, chasing squirrels and grouse up into the trees. Oke is my constant companion, always plodding along at my heels, happy to follow my slower pace as I pick my way along the path. I like to think he's keeping a watchful eye over me and Aedan.
On the day I took these pictures, we were on our way to the spring, where I like to stop and have a drink of water. The water there is so cold and so delicious! I wonder if it will stay open over the winter...anyway, on this particular visit, all the doggies disappeared and were very quiet about it. I walked around a little in the clearing around the spring, and discovered what they had already...a moose hide. I had a heck of a time convincing four dogs that it would be more fun to follow me than to roll around in a bit of dead animal, but eventually, I managed to round them all up. I was annoyed that hunters would leave the hide behind like that, and P talked about picking it up for ourselves and having someone tan it for us....though I think you need the moose brains for a proper home-tan?

The spring.

Having a drink!