This site is dedicated to my sled dogs, their well being and their care while we train for and run the 2007 Yukon Quest 300 dog sled race. Particularly it is dedicated to the memory of Talbot and Rocket, two of the most amazing lead dogs ever to hit the trail, now gone to better trails.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Back in the Harness??

Life 8 months after Sarah and Adelaide’s birth.

Well it has indeed been a long time since I have done any posting, partially due to not having an enormous amount of time for computer work and also because we have been living back at the kennel since April with no internet access at home. However, there is a sattelite dish sitting in the front entry with all the attendant parts to hook us up to internet at home, but we just haven’t gotten around to having it set up.

First: Life with 8 month old “twinfants” (has it really been that long??) It isn’t the nightmarish ordeal that we were often lead to believe it would be by some other parents of twins….not by a long shot!!!! We are fortunate that Adelaide and Sarah are happy contented babies, easy to please and both have very good natured dispositions. They sleep through the night (most nights) and after Heather nurses them in the morning and goes off to work they often fall back to sleep till late in the morning. This is my opportunity to get the yard work done with the dogs and any other chores I can fit in around the yard. (Baby monitors are a miracle of modern technology, I can hear them breathing when I am out in the kennel and the other day I could hear a wasp by their crib…too bad for the wasp) Lately they have been waking up happy and then playing in their exersaucers (for any of you that don’t know what an exersaucer is, I suggest you go to the “toy’s “r”us” website and check it out:>:>:>) till I have Heather’s lunch ready and then off we go to see Mummy for their noon meal. Afternoons are pretty much dedicated to play time and once the mail is picked up and a hanfull of other little town chores done, that’s what we do. I put a sheet out on the living room carpet and let them play with their toys and often Papa’s moustache, nose, hair etc. It is a wonderfull time of the day for me as I get to interact with them on their level of activity and see all the day to day changes that occur. They aren’t crawling at all, as they seem to have figured out their own method of getting from point A to point B. Both of them have figured out how to lay on their backs and arch their bodies, supported only by the back of their head and their feet. They then kick off with their feet in the desired direction of travel, usually gaining 3-4 inches of distance at a time. I don’t suggest that you try this at home, as when I did, I found it to be quite hard on the back when you land with a loud “thud”!! It doesn’t seem to hurt them tho, as they are much lighter and more flexible than their parents are. Now, some would say that is just plain weird that they would do that, I just put it down to a highly developed set of problem solving skills!!! Often we have a nap for a while before Mummy gets home and the feeding routine starts all over again. Heather usually nurses them for a while when she arrives home while I get supper for both us and the babies…. Next interesting adventure….feeding time. We bought two booster chairs that strap on to a kitchen chair and have a tray that attaches in front of babies. Dinner for the girls usually consists of two pureed vegetables, pablum and a bit of pureed fruit. It is remarkably colourfull to look at their bibs and faces (sometimes our faces too) when supper is over, especially if Sarah decides to suck her two fingers in between spoonfuls or Adelaide decides to have a conversation in “raspberries” with one of us when she has a mouthful of food!! Wellington, Heathers Springer Spaniel, has figured out that feeding time for the babies is a good time for him to be on the alert for stray bits of food that might come his way. Babies have figured out that they have Wellingtons undivided attention at this point and reach out their sticky gooey fingers to grab his ears and fur, making it very difficult to keep their attention on the activity at hand. Oh well, it is family time at it’s best. The rest of the evening is dedicated pretty much to babies and possibly watching a movie etc and bed time for them comes at about 9:30. Depending on their level of activity during the day and evening and a variety of other unknown factors, they often just drop off to sleep quickly…but then sometimes not!!! On occasion one or the other decides that it is party time and sleep is just not part of the program. This can have several effects, ranging from the other baby waking up and joining in or getting upset and crying which sometimes causes a tandem crying fest. Often (believe it or not) one of them will be partying away, trying out their newfound ability to vocalize vowels and consonants together, interspersed with crying bouts and the other just sleeps contentedly through it. As I sit here typing, I can hear Adelaide chattering away and practicing her new found ability to stick out her tongue!!! Sarah is sound asleep.

Soon, (July 28), I will have to return to my employment with Parks Canada. People have asked me how I like being a “stay at home Dad”, (I prefer to just think of myself as a parent) and I have always replied “GREAT, I wish I could do it forever”. I often (months ago) would throw in the caveat “ ask me in early July, I may be singing a different tune”. Well, here it is early July and I am far from singing a different tune, on the contrary, I am enjoying this period of time being home alone with the babies probably more than any other time in my life. I can’t really explain exactly why, nor do I care to for the most part, just suffice it to say that this is the most rewarding, happy time in my life.

Ok, so the title of this post is “Back in the Harness??” and since this blog is primarily dedicated to the dogs, I guess some explanation is due. The dogs are doing well and have survived this long period of relative inactivity (for them that is) just fine as far as I can tell. I had pretty much figured out ahead of time that when the babies arrived there would be little time to run them the first winter and was content with that. They have had the best day to day care and feeding possible, given that most of the winter has been dedicated to learning the roll of new parents and finishing the addition to the house, (cabin indeed…… not any more, especially since the arrival of Heathers furniture from Ontario in early May). We were able to get out a few times with them and once even loaded seventeen dogs, two babies and all the attendant gear that both need for a fun day of dog sled rides at the Beringia center. However, it will soon be time to get back in the harness and resume where we left off, albeit at a modified level.

The younger dogs (Haley’s two litters and Pixies litter) are quite ready to start their careers as serious sled dogs at this point. Balancing babies and dog activities is a challenge that is looming around the corner, but I know we can do it. I would still like to run the Quest 300 and possibly eventually the Quest itself, however that is not on the radar screen for this year unless something totally unexpected occurs. (Winning the lottery would be one such unexpected thing, however, I hear you have to buy tickets to have a chance at that;>). I would like to spend the winter training the young dogs along with the older dogs and bring them to a point where they (and I ) can do a 100 mile race by spring. Depending on how things go, I would like to have them ready to run the Percy de Wolfe Junior dog sled race in March. Now, contrary to how the name sounds, it is not a race for Junior Mushers, (Right…I bet you were thinking that I figure my daughters are such overachievers that they would be ready to race by next spring, right! Hah fooled you, didn’t I ? Anyone knows that you have to be out of diapers before you can race or they will freeze to your bum:>:>:> So, next year….) but rather a shortened version of the Percy itself. Instead of going to Eagle and back from Dawson, the Percy Junior goes from Eagle to 40 mile and back (100-110) miles total. I think it is a manageable goal for a few reasons, one being that I have quite a few young dogs to train and a 100 mile race might be more possible than a two or three hundred mile race. The other main reason is that I am not sure how much time I will be able to devote to training the dogs this winter as Sarah and Adelaide (and Heather:>:>:>) will need my time too. Hopefully we will find ways to spend time with the dogs and babies both. If I keep my goals reasonable, I feel that it will be enjoyable and fun for all, rather than frustrating and no fun for anyone at all. Sarah and Adelaide have had their first dog sled ride, just a short one with Mummy holding them in their lap in the basket. It put them to sleep!!!

Check back soon as I am going to try to keep a bit more regular posting schedule even if I do have to type it at home and go to town to do the posting.

Last but not least, thanks again to everyone, family and friends alike who have supported Heather and I and the Babies in ways too numerous to mention over the last year. Your generosity, support and encouragement have been beyond words in helping us to adjust to this new life we have chosen.

Bye for now. Sean


Blogger Heather (aka Mum) said...

You really need to update this blog ;) I mean kids are 10 1/2 months old & your wife is stunningly perfect...we want to rad all about them (& your little dogs too...)

8:41 AM


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