I know, I know... Winterlude ended almost two months ago! I posted Christmas pictures in January (and didn't even manage to get to Christmas Day! *cough cough*), and here I am post Winterlude pictures on a day that reached 17 C! There is not a flake of snow to be seen, crocuses are everywhere, the daffodils are poking their sunny faces out of the ground... and I'm still trying to catch up on winter. AND I'M GOING TO DRAG YOU ALL BACK INTO THE SNOW AND ICE WITH ME.
Winterlude, for those of you not from the capital region, is one of Canada's winter celebrations. There are ice carving competitions, snow sculptures, super fast (and SUPER FUN!) slides carved out of enormous snow banks, skating on the Rideau Canal, hot chocolate, maple taffy and -of course- beavertails.
Since Andrew was only about six weeks old last year, we skipped the festivities. Since it was our first winter in Gatineau and we'd never been to Winterlude, we didn't even know what we were missing.
Well. Letmetellyou... it's a whole lot of fun. As always, a pictures speaks a thousand words, so on to the photos!
First off, the ice slides. At first I was, like, what's the big deal? And why are all these kids wearing helmets?? Then we went down a couple. Dude. Come to Winterlude. Just for the slides. SUUUUPER fun.
Liam was old enough to participate in a free 1-hour skiing lesson. He'd never skied before and had only even skated once (I know! What kind of Canadian parents are we?!?), so was a little intimidated by the idea, but I could tell he was super excited.
During the lesson, Andrew slept (thank the Lord!) and I was able to distract Simon with a snack.
When that 7 minutes was up, I alternated between fighting to keep him off the conveyor belt thingy that carried the kids to the top of the hill, trying to explain to him why he couldn't ski and humping his 35 lbs of dead weight to and from the bathrooms... *ahem*... port-a-pottys.
I did this not once, but twice.
Over snow and ice (running on ice with a 3 year old on your back = TREACHEROUS).
Good thing he's so cute.
Between potty runs, I was able to take some pictures of my eager-yet-not-so-naturally-adept skier. Poor guy. His desire to be perfect at everything is 100% my fault due to genetics, so I sympathized with his frustration. He fell EVERY. TIME. But went right back over to the conveyor belt thingy to head back to the top of the hill.
So to reward his determination and effort, I did what any good Canadian mom would do (as good as Canadian mom who doesn't take her kids skiing and skating can be)... I bought the boys a beavertail.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with beavertails, fret not. I, too, was like you only a few short weeks ago. Unaware of the sugary, fried goodness -nay, GREATNESS- to be found in these simple doughy delicacies. Each one lovingly hand stretched before being deep fried, slathered in butter and then dredged in sugar and cinnamon. With a generous squeeze of lemon? Pure heaven.
Heaven in the shape of a beaver's tail...
And this one? This son of mine who is allergic to not only the wheat (in the dough) and the dairy (in the butter)? Especially since I thought we'd only be at Winterlude for a few hours, not all day, and therefore had not brought near enough food. But believe me, we paid for it the next day... in the form of a little person full of gas that would stop a skunk in its tracks. Lord have mercy, it was BRUTAL.
Another fun thing about Winterlude was the public art display of the Urban Cozy Project. These cozy, covered trees were so fun to look at and photograph. There was even a place where kids could learn how to finger knit to add to the display.
There were snow sculptures to look at:
And snow balls to make and play with:
And more snow.
We had so much fun that we ended up staying FOR OVER FIVE HOURS. Once the hordes of school kids cleared out around 3pm, we had the place almost to ourselves until the after-supper crowds started trailing in. And then we got home to find out that the youth group at church (which Liam, even being only 6 years old, can attend as long as he has a parent with him) was going to Winterlude that night... so we bundled up again and went back for another couple hours.
And some more beavertails.
(I also took loads of video, but it's a bizarre mix of This is Daniel Cook meets The Blair Witch Project (ie, shaky handheld camera) so I'll spare you.)