Thursday, 7 July 2011

Catching Up: Yellowknife Pt. 2

Once we returned from Fort Smith, we had three weeks remaining in Yellowknife.  The weather took a cold turn and, in the first week of June, it snowed for the first few days!  We were feeling quite northerly until we learned that – unlike in Yellowknife, where the snow melted when it hit the ground – some of the northern parts of NWT and Nunavut got as much as 15 inches of snow in one night.

Despite the weather, Lawful took it upon herself to finally learn to ride a two-wheeler bike with no training wheels.  It had been something she planned on learning last summer, but we were all a little busy last summer with newborn babies.  She and Pawful took a borrowed bike out the afternoon following Waffle and Felafel’s weekend birthday party and, within an hour, she was a bike-riding fiend!

with help...

with sort-of-help...


From then on, she went practically everywhere on two wheels. She braved the expected knee scrapes and bruises (and even got a black eye) and got right back up again each time and kept riding.

We quickly settled into a pattern with Maw-full was spending as much time on call as possible while the rest of the family spent their time fulfilling domestic responsibilities, having adventures on foot (and pedal) exploring Yellowknife, and hanging out in home-for-now #3.  The weather had improved greatly by the second week of June and we were having nicer weather even than our friends to the south.

the barbershop trailer





After the second week of June, Maw-full was finished her placement and we had one week to explore Yellowknife all together as a family.  We walked from our place in the Northlands all the way to Old Town one afternoon and saw many fun and exciting things.

we came across a race of aliens with large, bulbous, yellow heads and pencil necks.  they were friendly.

the new lawful


people hang dead animal parts from the sides of their houses here.

lawful climbed the sheer face of this carved cliff wall.

rotting car on ragged ass road

paw-full and waffle

the old one-room schoolhouse

maw-full took a turn on lawful's bike

The day after Maw-full’s placement ended, we were invited to her preceptor’s home for dinner and we were taken on a ride around Yellowknife Bay in their motorboat.  It was the kids’ first ride in a motorboat and Lawful, especially, was very excited.

The next day, Maw-full’s parents arrived for a visit.  We had a great time showing them around Yellowknife for a few days.  

talking rocks

at bullock's
They left two days before we did, which was just enough time for us to pack up, say goodbye to our friends one last time and celebrate National Aboriginal Day (which is a statutory holiday in NWT) and the solstice with a hike to Cameron Falls and some fun with friends.

who says style and hiking don't go together?

At midnight on June 21/22, Maw-full and Paw-full woke Lawful and we took a photo on the lawn of our home-for-now with the midnight sun shining on the longest day of the year.

And then, as though hardly any time had passed, we were on to the next stage of our adventure.  We had had a wonderful time in NWT and we look forward to going back some day.  Until then... we’re on the road again...

NEXT UP: The road to Smithers, including a hang with Nan and family. 

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Happy Birthday!

What we failed to mention in our last post is that our travel day just happened to be the first of June, or, as it is known to the Awefull family: Waffle and Felafel’s birthday.

Our trip from Fort Smith to Yellowknife was much the same as our trip from Yellowknife to Fort Smith. Only backwards. Other than direction, though, the main differences were that this time we stopped to take pictures of the strange line of stuffed friends who played audience to our passing where last time we just shared confused glances and drove on, and that this time we stopped for a celebratory birthday lunch at The Boardroom (for Goodtimes) where last time we stopped at an equally strange but entirely different chinese restraunt in the same town.

The sign says it all, really.
Lunch Music: straws and table top
'Hap-py Birth-day to me...'

Though our plan was to hold a proper party for our now one-year-olds the following weekend, we arrived early enough to stop for some awful (rather than awefull) cake from the grocery store on our way past which allowed us to have a birthday party on the actual anniversary of their arrival...

Cake Fight!! well as a Birthday Party a few days later in the company of some new-found friends. And more cake (this time properly Awefull).

Waffle sporting a smash-cake goatee
Felafel enjoying his cake head first

*     *     *
Our first year as a family of five has been many things, but above all it has truly been one of awe. Awe at meer fact that there are two babies (!!!), awe at the amazing relationship that has developed between Felafel, Waffle, and their fabulous big sister, awe at how extraordinarily lucky we are. Thank you, little ones, for joining us on our adventure.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Fort Smith

Having spent two nights at our new home-for-now in Yellowknife, we were on the road again.  This time, Maw-full had learned that she had the opportunity to spend five days with two midwives who have a unique and exemplary practice in Fort Smith, NWT.  Fort Smith is a town of about 2500 people.  It sits very close to the border with Alberta in the South Slave River area of NWT.  There, and in only six years since regulation, these two midwives have gone from offering their services for free to women who were interested, and practicing outside of the law, to doing almost 100% of the maternity care in Fort Smith, in a hospital, fully integrated in the health care system.  It was a great opportunity to look at a model of practice that is very different from the one in Ontario.  Luckily, the rest of the Awefull family were game for another 10 hour drive...

There we were put up in student family housing for the local college, and found ourselves surrounded by the students and their kids (most of whom were gearing up to leave for the summer).  Lawful quickly met some friends and - more importantly - borrowed a scooter and could occupy herself for hours outdoors without much supervision.

During the day while Maw-full was at the clinic the rest of the Awefull clan occupied themselves exploring Fort Smith...

...the Bookstore:
North of 60 Books
 ...the local architecture:

 ...the public art:
...the Slave River:
Lawful Spying the 'Rapids of the Drowned'
  ...the swimming hole:
...and so on. We walked each day through the school yard to the centre of town, picked up our groceries for the day at Kaeser's, perhaps grabbed a mandarin orange-apple slushy and a coffee from the flower store, and sat out on the front lawn of the book store or the library before heading back to our Fort Smith home-for-now to read and play and nap and prepare dinner for Maw-full's return home.

We all had the chance to share a lovely meal of Buffalo Stew and salad with Gisela, one of the town's midwives, and her partner, John, in their beautiful log home (where, incidentally, Lawfull sat in a three hundred year old carved wooden chair!!).

Maw-full and Gisela
After a week we hit the road again headed back to Yellowknife, first stopping off at the line of stuffed toys lined up like a strange audience along the side of the highway.

...but that's another post.

So, add to our tally 1557.2 km travelled and $135.01 in gas.

Next up: Waffle and Felafel turn One on the Road!!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Yellowknife: Week One-and-a-Bit

Our first week-and-a-bit in Yellowknife has been full of adventure and discovery.

Lawful has discovered a love for climbing rocks, reading Jeff Smith's beautiful and quirky graphic novel series, Bone, and for climbing rocks. And also for climbing rocks.
Exploration #1
Bone #3
On The Run
 Waaaay Up There!!!

Waffle and Felafel have experienced many new things such as the joy of banging on the keys of a toy piano, the thrill of sucking spaghetti noodles up in to one's mouth, the taste of olive bread and of fresh fish... and of rocks, and the wonders of the toy box here in our new home-for-now.

Felafel + Noodle = ?
Waffle outside TJ's explaining that it is, in fact, perfectly acceptable to consume rocks.
T O Y S ! ! ! !
We've explored Old Town where the houses are either shacks, modernist architectural feats, or postmodern combinations of the two. We've eaten mouth-watering fish and chips from a fantastic food cart downtown and from the infamous Bullock's Bistro as well as home-cooked muskox burgers, bison sausages and buffalo steaks. We've gone on long walks to see what there is to see and shared a memorable morning having brunch and hanging out with new friends.
Our table at Bullock's
Maw-full has welcomed some brand new little humans in to the world and is gaining lots of valueable experience while Paw-full has enjoyed the chance to spend days with little ones, marvelling at what the world looks like through their eyes.
...Oh yes, and we've finally moved from the locum apartment we were staying in for the first 7 days to the home we'll be living in for the remainder of our time in Yellowknife. It feels very much like home. The walls are painted funky shades of blue, the kitchen is well-equipped, there are musical instruments all around us, and there's lots of wood and rugs and books and comfortably mismatched clutter.

Today we made the decision to leave our new home-for-now for the next week and head back south to Fort Smith where Maw-full will spend time with a group of midwives running a unique remote practice. So tomorrow morning we pack up and get back on the road!

We'll report on our journey soon.