Rian Lougheed-Smith, Dawson City, YT

the best of intentions

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This winter and our first five months as parents have flown by. These photos are mostly from a two week long stretch in February when temperatures of forty below or colder kept the three of us at home, the generator off, and the internet at bay.

I’m sure all other parents, and just busy human beings, can understand the best of intentions to post these photos, brush your hair, etc.- that just didn’t manifest until now. (Fear not, I’ve brushed my hair since February. At least once.)

So here is a touch of Dawson winter- just as the sun returns to the Klondike in force, quickly melting our memories of -50 away.






This is the path to the outhouse- essentially we live in Narnia.




My two loves, a few weeks ago, hanging out in their wool onesies with forty below waiting outside.

cold & warm & fuzzy


It has been forty degrees below zero, or colder, for about ten days now. Other than one quick and heavily bundled trip to the in laws to do laundry and indulge in a bath, we’ve been tucked into our cabin in our woolens with hot mugs in our hands.

I would be lying if I said I didnt long for our running water these days, or wish for an easier commute and closer company. As I type on a cellphone I also wish we had internet so I could release all the writing I’ve  been doing on my laptop. But, we have quiet in excess, owls calling out to us in the night,  moonshine enough to clearly see the mountains at night,  and a window full of northern lights at the foot of our bed. We also have a house full of sun every afternoon- a hot commodity after the long dark of December and January. Infrequent showers and internet access is an entirely reasonable cost.

More words soon- either when this cold breaks, or I get cabin fever, pack up the babe, coax the car to start and go fetch myself a shower and a latte.



Sitting inside in the warmth of our house with the baby, watching the dark grow and moon rise, waiting for Chris to get home with another load of wood, I sometimes wonder if my chainsaw misses me?



I think I understand my mother better now. I understand why she would stay awake after we all went to sleep, reading, or watching tv, often with a small bowl of plain potato chips beside her. It is 12:30 am. I have just nursed my  infant daughter to sleep. She is in bed, upstairs in the loft, my partner is asleep in bed beside her, where I should probably be, also sleeping. But instead I am downstairs, sitting on the bottom step, in front of the wood stove, with a hot cup of tea in my hands. It is the first hot drink I’ve had all day, the only one that is not lukewarm and too strong by the time I reach it. And, I hope, unlike the others I will finish it, instead of being distracted by a diaper change, or separated from it by the need to breastfeed.

Mom still keeps her nightly ritual, and I wonder now if instead of solace from a house full of  noise and two raucous daughters, the nightly moments on her own serve as reminders of when we were both there, instead of in our own houses with our own newborns.
I love my daughter. I am thrilled to have a year to stay at home to hold her, to wear her around for most of my day, to sing to her, to rock her to sleep. The time to spend with her, with my partner, building our family is a privilege. But so too are these few stolen moments by myself. My family in the bed in the loft above me, our huskies curled in tight balls at my feet, the northern lights and the cold subarctic dark outside around us all.

I recognize mom and her small rituals in a new way now, see that it was not that she was a night owl- or, if she was an owl, she only spent her nights scanning for and grasping at a small darting bits of stillness and solitude, skittish and as difficult to catch as mice. I’ll head back upstairs soon, probably only a few minutes really since I came downstairs. But I can fit a lot into a few quiet moments. I’ll be back upstairs, arms around my daughter, back warmed by my furnace of a mate. Until I go back to my roost for the night, I’ll sit here, like my mom may be doing at this moment as well, far away, hands grasping tight at my hot mug, eyes wide in the quiet and dim light.

direct sunlight



If having direct sunlight in your home in the depths of winter isn’t cause for celebration, then you probably don’t live in Dawson City, Yukon.

babes first hike

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We didn’t go as far as I used to, we didn’t go as fast as I used to, but, god- it felt great to be out sweating uphill in the cold again!


A 3:00 pm subarctic sunset.




We are, finally, wonderfully, tucked into our home across the river, through the snowy spruce, and under the northern lights looking across the Tintina Trench at the Ogilvie mountains.

We are happy, the babe keeps us busy and there is so much to tell and so  little time to write. (How is that for a tease?)

little babe big bed

  little lady big bed