Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Autumn Family Fun

Last weekend we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving and like many families, we jumped in our car Friday after work to begin the long drive home to visit family.  Thanksgiving isn't quite the holiday here that it is in the United States but it's still a time to gather with family, stuff yourself with turkey and pumpkin pie, and spend extra time playing together over a three day weekend.  What I will remember most about this Thanksgiving is that we made Outdoor Play a priority.

Playing at the Lake (Photo:  John Koob)

Despite cool temperatures hovering in the very low teens we decided that since there was a big lake at our destination, we'd bring our canoe and my stand up paddleboard.  It seemed like it would be a good way to bond with family over a paddling excursion or two and as hearty Canadians, cool weather doesn't typically stop us from getting outside.  Well, maybe I'm not as hearty as I thought I was because I have new limits for when I will stop SUP'ing for the year.  I think 15C might be the absolute lowest temperature where I will attempt the sport again and at that temperature it needs to be sunny with zero wind.  Meanwhile, we had a  bit of light rain on the weekend and LOTS of wind.  Needless to say I froze my butt off on that board in my short wet suit and sandals.  My core body temperature was toasty warm but the extremities were chilled beyond comfortable.  I also spent a miserable hour paddling into a nasty headwind to get back to shore that put new meaning into the term "hard core."  If you've never tried paddle boarding before, let me just tell you that they are not designed for paddling into wind.  They are designed for fun tricks on the ocean, gliding across smooth glass-like lakes in calm conditions, or cruising down rivers.  I'd paddle a class two river on my knees clinging on for dear life any day before I'd paddle into a headwind across a lake again!

I was still going with the wind here and was relatively happy despite being grossly under-dressed. (Photo:  John Koob)

Canoeing was a bit more comfortable and went more smoothly.  We bundled our son up in his winter clothes, wrapped him in a blanket, and wedged him in the middle of the canoe between his Dad and his  Uncle John.  Unfortunately, he tired of the whole thing within half an hour so the guys had to handle a nasty tantrum on the first day trying to get back to shore.  Meanwhile the guys were also trying to wait for me to catch up while my demon-possessed board spun in circles trying to go into the wind rather than against it (the direction back to the car unfortunately).  Day two paddling in the canoe was a bit easier because I chose wisely to join the men and this meant Noah had somebody to hold and cuddle him in the middle.  After a bit of fussing, he was sound asleep and snoring.  Through this we learned a few things about our son and his preferences for paddling trips.  He likes rivers!  Loves rivers in fact!  And the more rapids the better.  Good to know.  Guess I'd better get better on my paddleboard if I'm going to keep up.

Ready for his canoe ride (Photo:  John Koob)

Ready for a cold day on the lake (Photo:  John Koob)
The guys out on the canoe
Toasty warm and sound asleep

Extreme adventures aside, the most pleasant experience of the weekend by far was simple backyard play in a huge pile of leaves the guys raked up for us to play in.  I think they originally created the leaf mountain for Noah but it didn't take long before we were all jumping into the leaves, rolling around in them, and even making leaf angels.  The fun we had as a family was worth the leaves in my underwear at the end of it all.  I honestly can't remember the last time I jumped into a pile of leaves.  They say that having kids keeps you young but I wonder if it goes further than that.  I feel at times like I'm getting a second childhood and it just might be better than my first one.

Playing in the leaves with My Love Bug (Photo:  John Koob)
Our Family (Photo:  John Koob)
The largest pile of leaves he's ever seen! (Photos:  John Koob)
Second Childhood (Photo:  John Koob)
Noah had so much fun!  (Photo:  John Koob)

Even Grandpa had to join in the fun.   (Photo:  John Koob)

  (Photo:  John Koob))

And finally, the photographer himself, Uncle John jumped in. 

We've had an awesome Autumn so far, camping, hiking, paddling, and playing together as a family.  Next week we hope to visit a Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch, and we are planning our first Annual Halloween Hike so we can get photos of our little dragons and tigers chasing each other through the forest.


What have you done as a family this fall that's been memorable?

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