Family Update: December 2023

Another year has passed, and so I thought I'd take some time (with Jen's help) to give a brief update on what is happening in the Winter family.

Our family trip to Australia in March was the year's biggest highlight. We enjoyed spending lots of time with my family and several fun outings. We finally visited Jenolan Caves after several failed attempts on previous trips – though I think the wild kangaroos we saw on the drive may have elicited a stronger reaction from the girls than the incredible caves and formations did.

We also had our usual visit to the beach, where the girls learned that sledding does exist in Australia. This was demonstrated to us by our sweet nephew Willy, who rode a boogie board while being pulled by one of his favourite cousins along the sandy beach. Unfortunately, our day trip to Katoomba was very foggy, but the girls were happy to fill in as the area's infamous “three sisters.”

Besides that, we spent ample time with family and friends and celebrated my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. Oh, I also got to take in some rugby league and soccer games. Yay, Sports!

This year saw the end of elementary school for our “midkid” as she began junior high. It was a scarier transition for us parents. Still, she took the change in stride and is enjoying her independence, including taking the city bus to school and having some interesting variety in her classes (outdoor education and design studies). It has also been interesting to see her “style” develop as she moves into her teenage years. I jokingly call her “Feminem.”

She continues to “slay” on her soccer team as, in our opinion, their best defender. Her team moved up to division one this fall, which has proved a challenge for them. However, they remain a tight-knit group and are learning and growing together.

Bug (our eldest) continues to live life with the least drama and the biggest smile out of all of us. She still enjoys her swim club, “The Dolphins,” mainly because of her coach, Matt (swoon). At PREP, she has been able to participate in fun social events like a dance and a musical, which she can attend without her lame parents in tow. She has gone through three teachers this fall at school but has managed the transitions easily. Though she groans when asked how her day was, reports from school tell us that she is thriving.

Our aspiring scientist, “C” has been busy studying hornworm caterpillars for a science fair this year in grade 5. She treats these green bugs like beloved pets, ensuring they receive adequate sunshine, exercise, food and stimulation. Unfortunately, she is learning that science experiments do not always succeed as planned, as she has yet to see the emergence of a moth despite her watchful care. Besides that, she continues to tear it up at inline skating, where she has developed her signature move, “the Bob slide.” Her creative side is coming out as she has taken to making clay stop-motion videos. Watch out, Pixar!

As a family, we also had an enjoyable trip to BC in the summer, where we broke in our new SUP (stand-up paddleboard) on the bountiful lakes in the Salmon Arm area. However, we recommend that “Hidden Lake” remain hidden as all the girls got a bad case of swimmer's itch. There was a lot of uncomfortable scratching...

The drive home over Roger's pass and taking in Takkakaw Falls and Emerald Lake was incredible – breathtaking views that people pay thousands for in our backyard!

And where are we at with our mentally and emotionally exhausting couple of years? Well, we have made some good strides in working through the difficult relationships and stresses that have come our way in 2023 (and there have been some doozies!), but we have not yet arrived. Dang.

Onward, we walk, sometimes at a crawl, but we do it hand in hand and look forward to what 2024 will bring.

#FamilyUpdate #PrairieLife

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