Yes, it’s that time of year again. No, not tax time — that will come soon enough. I’m talking about “rush around at the last minute shopping and baking and visiting and office parties and driving in the snow and trying to find a &^%$^*#& parking spot at the mall” time. Yes, it’s Christmas. And boy, our lights sure do look pretty, if I do say so myself. Someone actually came by to ask us if we could turn some of them off — something about how Ontario Hydro was going to have to bring one of the mothballed Pickering reactors back online just to keep up with the power demand. But I told the guy to take a hike. That’s politicians for you — no Christmas spirit.
Our year began and ended as it did for most Canadians — with snow. Way back in the early part of the year, it was all about tobogganing near Buckhorn, then later on we headed down to Ottawa for a little Winterlude snow sculpture and Beaver tail action on the canal, and then — as if we hadn’t had enough winter — branched out into a little snowshoe racing up in Buckhorn. And that took us pretty much straight up to Zoe’s 7th birthday, which was followed quickly by a trip to Muskoka for a little canoeing through the ice. And as spring rolled around, there was even a little time for some creative trampoline jumping on the one hand, and some investigative trips to the swamp with Grandma on the other hand.
As the weather got warmer heading into May, Meaghan did a little dancing at a big outdoor dance festival and Caitlin made a trip to Niagara Falls. And Zoe, who is now in Grade 2 and has lost and gained several teeth at various times over the year, “graduated” from Sparks (the tiniest version of Girl Guides there is) and became a Brownie — a ceremony Becky got to preside over. And June brought a couple of major events for Meaghan, who is now 12: she had her birthday and she also graduated from Grade 6 and began the big move to middle school — a magical place filled with amazing inventions like “lockers” and “detention.”
And after graduation, of course, comes summer! That meant water volleyball up in Muskoka and fishing in Golden Lake, a few sunset trips on the boat and, naturally, lots of swimming — and even a little water baseball, an interesting sport that is being considered for the Olympics. There was also the occasional splinter, and some running down country roads. And Meaghan and Zoe spent a week at summer camp in Golden Lake together and had a great time. Caitlin and Meaghan also spent a week at the Health Club in Muskoka serving as “mother’s helpers” for Becky’s cousin Libby and her sister-in-law Jane. Then a whole pile of Becky’s cousins and aunts and uncles came up from the U.S. for a week-long party and get-together known as “The Boondoggle.” And towards the end of the summer, a smaller version of Becky’s family got together for a big photo op out in front of the sauna at the cottage.
Meanwhile, Caitlin made a big move this year too: she joined the ranks of the province’s drivers. I thought Becky and I handled this development pretty well, all things considered. As fall rolled on, Zoe got inducted into Brownies and got to ride her old four-legged friend Bobby at the annual Rouge Hill Family Day and of course a ride on Bobby the pony for Zoe. After the pumpkins of Halloween came and went, Meaghan and Zoe started rehearsing for their drama club’s Christmas pageant, in which Meaghan played a Queen and Zoe played a donkey named Samson. And finally, the year came to an end with the Globe and Mail Christmas party, complete with Meaghan’s favourite — snakes — some face-painting, and of course, a visit with the old guy in red.