Category: Exercise


It’s my constant companion when out and about. It’s been in our lives since Apple-Apple was an infant; that’s longer than we’ve had our car or our house. I fill it with children, school bags, groceries, library books, cookie crumbs. It goes uphill and down, through rain and snow and sun, and requires nothing more than a jolly stride to operate. Someone took it off of our front porch in broad daylight this evening. It feels like someone’s stolen a part of our family’s history. That sounds silly … but those were our fresh cookie crumbs someone walked off with, and they won’t mean a thing to whoever’s taken it and is hawking it online right about now.

Thanks to our friends for their instant offers of stroller loans, especially to one who walked over a stroller less than an hour after we discovered ours was missing. I’m getting a little teary right now.

Quick Update

Just to say: Kev’s home, no surgery, leg splinted into place, and we’re figuring out his limitations and abilities. He’ll go back in a week for xrays and another consultation. The surgeon wasn’t keen to perform surgery under the smashed and splintered circumstances, but will leave it to nature to heal. After which, Kev will get rehab. Hey, at least finding a physio shouldn’t be a problem.

I ran the children to the walking school bus this morning. Of course, we were late. Sprinted would be more like it. We had to holler the last half-block to flag them down (stop! wait for us!). Fooey insisted on coming too (she’s experiencing irrational fear of her dad’s knee and crutches), but she couldn’t sprint quite as fast and trailed behind howling like a banshee. An A+ mothering moment.

Walk in the Snow

That photo of CJ looks so old now; well, he looks so young. Yet when I started this blog it wasn’t so far out of date. Time, time. I’m just back from a walk in the snow. Last winter I walked virtually every evening during the final three months of my pregnancy, and tonight was very reminscent. The snow falling, the pull to go outside, but not quite wanting to go to the bother, feeling tired, couch and snack calling. And yet. Trusting it would be worth the effort.

I often start my walks feeling resistant to the work, to the same old boring route; and without exception that sensation disappears by the top of the first hill. Without exception. Which prompted me to reflect, tonight, on that peculiar human truth– that so often our most rewarding activities are also the hardest to begin, to keep as routines, to follow through on. How much easier to pick up a magazine or newspaper than a book, for example.

And, also, how much easier to drive than to walk. Having spent part of this afternoon running errands in the family vehicle, crouched behind the wheel, muttering softly, I’m firmly in walking’s camp. Not to say the car isn’t occasionally my friend, and not to malign the wonders of a good old-fashioned road-trip; but happiness doesn’t come in car-form. Feet upon ground. Exposed to the surroundings. So, yah, it’s colder, damper, sometimes. Sometimes I choose not to go somewhere just because I can’t bear to bundle up my kids one more time for one more trip. But, then, I’m never in quite the same panicked hurry; probably because it’s impossible to panic and hurry, to floor the gas and cut people off, and therefore I usually leave myself enough time for error and last-minute bathroom emergencies. Usually, I said.

Carbon Guilt; Six Years

Deep breath. Confession. I just drove the kids to school. Okay, and worse. It made my morning so much easier. Baby CJ slept in, so I didn’t rush to wake him and feed him and change him so he could endure a half hour in the stroller. I just let him sleep. Popped him, pajamas and all, into the car seat. The big kids are big enough that I don’t need to walk them to the school doors and see them inside. I just hopped out and helped them cross the street, and kissed them goodbye (not Albus; he’s too big for kisses–in public, at least). Then we drove home. It was still early. No one was cranky and complaining about being stuck in the stroller.

Oh dear. It was so darn luxurious that I’m actually glad we only have one vehicle so that I will be forced to keep walking the kids to school in the morning (afternoons are different–it actually seems easier to walk than to join the crowd of vehicles being irresponsibly driven and parked on the snowy sidestreets surrounding the school). I wonder why I feel better about my life when I’m doing things the hard way, and guilty when I’m taking shortcuts. Balance, balance. It’s a kind of comfort to know there’s never perfect equilibrium, and therefore always something more to strive for.

Here are my excuses for carbon-burning this morning. One, Kevin is in Ottawa and I am all on my own today, and seeking ways to make the day that much more survivable. Two, CJ was up most of the night, off and on, with a terrible croupy cough, and wide awake at 5am for a good hour. He needed that extra sleep. Three. Umm, apparently I don’t have a third excuse. I wanted to drink my cup of coffee while it was still hot? I wanted a few extra minutes to Blog? In any case, we have a pile-up of other errands to run this morning, all within walking distance (long walks, but nevertheless) … and I’m considering, maybe, just this once … driving. (Something tells me that “just this once” could become my winter phrase, as long as a vehicle is available to me. Slippery, slippery slopes.)

Durn snow.

On another subject: boy are we partied out. We had such a blast with Apple-Apple’s butterfly birthday on Sunday, and another good family party last night; but there’s been enough cake eaten and enough thoughtfully chosen gifts opened and enough candles whooshed out to thoroughly mark the (truly significant) occasion. Six years old. From precocious baby who walked early and talked early (how fascinating to hear what was on the mind of a 14-month-old; she looked up while nursing one afternoon and said, “Daughter”), to determined toddler, insisting on potty-training herself at 20 months, through the process of learning to be a kind and helpful big sister (not easy!), to becoming a schoolgirl and revelling in her independence, in learning, and in being a helpful and thoughtful group participant. My equal parts serious and silly child. My French-language-delighting, yearning-to-play-piano-and-learn-to-knit, Little-House-loving-girl. Six years old.

Fairy-Tale Snowstorm

So much to write about, so little time. Mostly, want to write about the amazing snowstorm that started yesterday sometime between supper and dessert, as the miserably chilly rain that had been falling steadily all day turned to luscious heavy wet snowflakes, and the world was transformed. I had to go out in it. If I’d been a child, I would have romped and made snowballs, but walking in it was pretty sweet too. Sweet. Uh-oh. I am using my eldest son’s vocab. You know what I mean. What drew me was the habit of this past winter’s nightly walk–when I was pregnant and our house was under renovation and that walk grounded me. What a difference a little snow makes on a November world. The bare trees were clothed again in fairy-tale fluff. And just like last winter, though I started the walk wondering what it could possibly bring me beyond simple exercise, by the end I felt renewed, calmed, my mind wide open. There is something about the body being in motion that allows the mind to wander at ease, to seek and to find, to be soothed.

All of this was made possible by Kevin doing the supper dishes, and CJ going to sleep relatively early, and the big kids playing quietly in their rooms. Thanks, all.

Right now I’m baking cookies for Apple-Apple’s birthday party, which will be upon us in mere hours. The butterfly theme has been easy to work with, and Apple-Apple decorated her own cake with candies and frosting–she made a beautiful butterfly and flower scene that I seriously couldn’t have come close to creating. We’re going to decorate butterfly wings, have a scavenger hunt, attempt to make butter, have a butterfly play, and who knows what else. It’s been a solid family effort to plan and organize, and only a little bit of sibling jealousy flaring now and again.

Okay, buzzer’s buzzed. Time’s up.

Baby, It’s Cold Out

Voice getting worse. I can now barely squeak, which is frankly quite a disadvantage with these children to round up and boss around. Heh. It is very frustrating to have to whisper things like, “Please don’t play in the leaves on the road!”

Baby CJ is playing with Little People and a pink pretty pony, sitting on the floor behind me, and F is having a playdate here with her best friend, but for some reason there seems to be more conflict between them this morning–and I’m having trouble helping problem solve. They just stare blankly at me as I hoarsely murmur, “You need to share with your guest,” and other anodyne suggestions. Last playdate they played for an hour with a couple of raggy Polly Pockets and Polly Pocket debris, alone, without a word of disagreement.
Whoops, I’m losing baby CJ. He is crawling out of the toyroom and toward the stairs. I must figure some way to get him out of our bed at night. Somehow we’ve gotten into this unbreakable pattern of nighttime nursing, after which CJ refuses to go back to his own bed in the middle of the night, but screams and howls till I give in and return him to our bed, which is cozy and warm and has a permanently open snack-bar, so, really, I don’t blame him for wanting to hang out with us. But it’s taking a toll. I’m always waking in awkward positions, not to mention I’m always waking. In my experience, things have to get really very bad before I’m ready to make a drastic change, and my resistance and conviction are extremely weak at 3 in the morning. Downright anemic. I wonder what it’s going to take.
Kiddo has had it. Must change a diaper and try to get him down for a little nap, so we can make some muffins and hang some laundry.
Back. Baby asleep, girls playing beautifully. They just needed a change of scenery–upstairs an improvement on down.
Two tidbits from recent Globe and Mails struck a chord with me:
One was from Saturday’s paper, on cities which have car-free downtown cores (they were all European or Northern European, though apparently Montreal tried it for ten weeks this past summer, and a couple of big American cities are considering it). The planner who initiated this in Norway said that people are happier, more content, when their feet can touch the ground. As someone who has made walking part of our family’s lifestyle, that really resonated. Not that I don’t like a long-distance roadtrip with the iconography that accompanies that kind of journey. But for short hauls, nothing compares to putting one foot in front of the other. That connection to the earth.
The second item was a blurb in the Life section about the pleasures of hanging clothes to dry. It stated that some people (gasp!) actually prefer hanging their laundry to dry, not just because of the energy savings or because they’re eco-freaks, but because the task itself is very satisfying. Yes, yes, yes. Being outdoors, listening to birdcalls, hearing squirrels rustle the leaves, the patient task of shaking and clipping and pushing the line out over the yard … apparently others find this soothing too. Though I just heard on the radio that a mixture of rain and damp snow is in the forecast for today, so I’ll have to make-do with my indoor drying system. Brrr. The walk to school this morning felt a little bit like purgatory, with this chilly wind blowing against us. (Is purgatory cold?) But still preferable to strapping children into car seats, then unstrapping, and still having to run through the bleeding cold wind to achieve the final destination. If you walk everywhere, you’re much better prepared for the weather.
Snacktime now. Buttered bread and apples. And for me, more of my garlic-ginger brew, with apologies to all in breathing distance.
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