The great thing about where we live is the easy access to trails, wildlife, and beautiful views. There are deer tracks everywhere, along with a handful of moose tracks. The animals are coming around the house more (now that hunting season is over) to gain the free access to easy food and warmth. We have seen mom and baby a few times and even the whole family once. Dad has a nice 5 by 5 rack, a beauty. Wednesday we went on our first snow shoeing adventure and saw the baby moose from the Fall. I've yet to see mom and dad. Yesterday there was no sign of predators thankfully, but John has seen cougar and wolf tracks recently so we keep an eye out anytime we're outside. John thinks the wolf was just passing through and has since left, fortunately. He recently got a good size deer with a pretty good rack. He managed to shoot it with a muzzle loader clean through. The meat is very tasty, even Gage liked it. It was his first taste of meat and all I can say is he's a spoiled one. Organic at its best. Our little family will be enjoying good eaten this winter. Great job John!
Yesterday's first snow shoeing trip was a reminder of the challenge and beauty of the sport. We hiked around for about an hour and only made it around the property. The snow is knee deep right now and neither of us have been for a few years. In Juneau it never got deep enough to need them, or I was pregnant and we didn't go up too high. We're looking forward to getting back into it and sharing the fun with Gage. Yesterday he slept through the majority of it, but enjoyed looking around when he was awake. He likes all the big trees and is still trying to figure out what all this white stuff everywhere is. A hiking pack is definitely in order; Gage is starting to outgrow the ergo for long trips, especially in the snow. We all love it though.
This kid has gotten SO big, I don't know how he was ever a peanut. He's well over 20 pounds now and shows no signs of slowing down. He is very mobile and just goes like a lightning bolt. We thought he might slim up when he started crawling, but he knows how to eat. Gage is still primarily breastfed, which I'm happy and proud of. He nurses about every 45 to 90 minutes, when I'm home, and when he's not nursing he's eating whatever he can get his hands on...literally. He will eat anything we give him and gets angry when we don't let him try what we have. We often find ourselves pretending to eat appropriate foods for him or his baby food, just so that he's distracted from what we are eating. John is much better at it than I am. Yesterday morning he wanted my oatmeal and fruit so I pretended to eat his baby oatmeal blend and gave him bites of a banana with it. If we are eating, we're planning something for Gage whether it's a skit, a special meal for him, or cheerios in his bouncer, eating is an adventure with Gage.
Gage's enthusiasm for everything amazes me. He get's so incredibly excited for things. It cracks us up to watch him. He'll literally shake with excitement and get a huge grin on his face when he sees something (or someone) that he wants. Anytime he sees grandpa Hal, the swim center, food, or his animals (to name a few) Gage repeatedly squeezes his hands, grins, shakes his body, and breaths heavily. On Christmas day he was doing it often with all of the new presents he was opening, not to mention the new toys inside the boxes. Oh and did I mention Christmas food? Gage's first Christmas was not quite what I'd expect when I imagine a child's first Christmas, but it was still wonderful. We enjoyed a nice relaxed and quite morning at our place opening stockings and a few presents. Gage wasn't quite sure what to do with his stocking, but knew just what to do with everything in it. Later we went to church with Hal and Robin and then ended at their house. We opened presents with them after we opened presents with Grandma and Grandpa Pumphrey through Facetime. I'm so grateful for technology so they could be a part of Gage's first Christmas. We loved watching Gage open each gift and help daddy figure out how each of them worked. We are grateful to have gotten toys and books that will help Gage learn and foster his imagination. We were also happy to get 18-24 month clothing that he will probably fit in by the time he's a year. Good thing because we have lots of snow to play in. The next day we all went shopping and then walked through the Christmas lights in Lewiston.
It's been a wonderful break, snow and all. I'm so blessed to be in the field of education where I earn so much time with my family. I love them so much! John is excited to start his education program and be on the same schedule as me. We have thoroughly enjoyed having time off together and not setting an alarm. It's like being in college together again, except for the fact that I have to wrap my head around being in my classroom with my students again. Fortunately I have great kids with enthusiasm and a great team to work with. The first week back is going to be very cold so I suspect that there will be lots of indoor recess, which means lots of stretching and activity in my class. I'm excited to start new reading material that the librarian ordered specially for me. I'm also excited to use my little yoga studio regularly. John set up a space for me upstairs that is surrounded by windows so I can dedicate time each day for yoga. It'll be greatly appreciated these next few months. Winter is in full swing here and I have a feeling it's going to be a long one. At least I have an excuse to wear my new coat and hat from Eddie Baure, not to mention some warm food :)
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Klein's