A Week at the Cottage
We spent a week up at the cottage, which was bliss! Frigid and frosty, but a delight to get out of the city. With Caleb starting preschool in September and then the baby arriving in October, I haven't been back since, I missed the air up there. Next we're looking at Holgates self catering cottages near Arnside it won't be quite as cold, but it is the UK so we're not even going to have a guess at what the weather will be like. After the madness of the holiday season, squeezing in some celebration with relatives, and then throwing everything into bags (literally, as Caleb was helping), we made it up to the cottage on Christmas Eve, after the store closed. To everyone's relief, the baby is sleeping more and more in the car, although I'm still relegated to that unfortunate middle seat, between the two of them. I had big plans for the week to relax into a few books, catch up on correspondence, and maybe a few blog posts. This was, however, our first time at the cottage with the baby, and I'd somehow forgotten that you don't really so much relax with a baby as you consent to not moving for as long as the baby will sleep. We had Christmas morning with presents: Caleb played with his dollhouse all week, although I think he enjoyed putting it together the most. Super enjoyed his rope. Chicken did not deign to join us for unwrapping Christmas presents, but he played with his toy mouse for around 15 seconds sometime mid-week. One of the best toys Caleb has ever gotten is a smaller snow shovel from Home Depot. He's a very enthusiastic helper, but especially when it involves physical tasks, like shoveling snow from the side onto the path Jon has shoveled out. Here are Jon and Caleb following a lengthy and apparently demoralizing discussion on why bringing a shovel on walks impedes your mobility, and results in your papa carrying your shovel for you. To my surprise and delight, the baby really enjoyed the cold! She has turned out to be a more smiley baby than Caleb was in general. Even despite a bit of windburn on those newborn cheeks, she seems ready to head out into the winter world. Certainly more ready than I am most days. So we were inside and outside. We spent an inordinate amount of time inside preparing to go outside, tucking babies in and zipping up snow suits. At one point in time there was a bit of a panic when someone tried to put a leg into an armhole and got it stuck, thrashing about like a fish out of water. We had hot coffee and hot chocolate and also lots of regular chocolate in various forms. We had beef stew with barley and onions and carrots, and oatmeal for breakfast, and a box of clementines that miraculously made it through the entire week. Jon made his famous hamburgers (frozen patties from Loblaws). I didn't seem to take as many photos as I usually do. On the one hand, it's sort of a good thing - I know people sometimes talk about putting away their camera and just enjoying the experience, but on the other hand, I think it's so important to take photos and to write stories and to remember. It's sometimes hard to capture a moment with a camera - I'm not talking about making sure it's perfect with everyone posed the right way and no one blinking or making strange faces, but I mean truly stopping that fraction of time. I'm no photographer - and knowing real, actual, pro photographers only highlights this fact in my life life - but there is also some magic in managing to snap just the right frame. I take a lot of pictures, the vast majority of which don't turn out, but every once in a while, through luck and timing, I happen to catch a moment that I'm forever thankful to have captured.