As I sit here and think about all the giggles, squeals of excitement, and even the tears, that I’ve heard during our outdoor adventures these last couple of weeks, I can’t help but reminisce on all the times I shared similar moments with my family growing up.

Grandpa has to make the perfect snow hill and no one is allowed on it until it is 100-per-cent perfect. Photo: Laura Barton

I seem to have more memories of family fun happening during the winter. This could be because winter was my cousin Garett’s favourite season, so many activities we do today always bring back a flood of memories of times spent with him. Especially when we are out on the snowmobiles, or sliding in the fields. Winter also is the only slower season of the year for farm work, so we had more time to get together for family fun in the snow. Whatever the reason, my memories of our time in the cold hold a special place in my heart.

Growing up on a farm has taught me to cherish every second I get with my hard-working farmers. If dad took twenty minutes out of his busy day to slide down the snow hill with us, or tow us behind the sled on the GT, we took full advantage of that time with him. I was lucky enough to live close to most of my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Any chance we could take, we would all ride back to the sliding hills behind the sugar bush on the snowmobiles for fun under the brilliant, bright sun. We would build a bonfire and play hockey on the pond. A family favourite was when dad would hitch up his team of beautiful Clydesdale horses to the old sleigh and take us for rides through the bush. As a child you don’t realize how truly blessed you are to be able to create these memories with your family.

Watching my tiny human make his own memories with family, has made me truly realize how fortunate I am to have so many fond memories of family fun and gatherings. You don’t realize how challenging it can be to actually make time for these activities until you become a parent/adult with to-do lists and responsibilities miles long. Knowing how hard it can be to make time for family now, makes me appreciate my past and the present even more! As I lay in bed on the rare Sunday mornings where we have no where else to be, listening to the giggles as my little farmer is teased by the daddy tickle monster, I remind myself to be present in the moment, to relax and enjoy the time spent together. In a few short months I’ll be wishing for more family time again.

Days spent enjoying winter activities with family and friends are truly special, because you never know when Mother Nature will give you a day just right for it. There are so many more elements we have to contend with compared to the summer, so when everyone is bundled up you make it a memorable experience. Grandpa has to make the perfect snow hill. No one’s allowed on it until it’s 100 per cent perfect. He repeatedly chisels out steps – even though the eager mountain climbers keep crushing them. The sparkle of excitement in the kids’ eyes as they are pulled, slowly, behind the side-by-side on the GTs, fills my heart with pride and joy. It is a feeling I hope never to forget.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our day-to-day routines, and to put off doing something different as a family. It’s easier to just stay cozy and dry in the house. But life can get pretty boring very fast if that’s the case. Getting out, going somewhere new, and doing something with others is extremely important for both child, parent and family development.

Get out! Have fun! Remember the past and make the best of the present!