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The Winter Resolution series: The Shilly Shally

Ah, the infamous Shilly Shally. Stella has been raving about the charm of the Shilly Shally for years now. I’m not sure if she goes on about it unconsciously or as a conscious attempt to convince me to go cross-country skiing with her and hubby. Either way, I have always responded with something along the lines of “Have a special time with Daddy, while Mommy does some reading.”

But that changed on Sunday. Why? Oh, because of that damn inspiring winter resolution I made to learn how to not hate enjoy winter.

If you’re like me, you might have  briefly wondered what the Shilly Shally actually is — and then turned the page in your novel. I’ll tell you anyhow, though. It’s a little wooden cabin in the Gatineau Hills where one can take a break while cross-country skiing. It’s kitted out with a wood burning stove and picnic bench, and Stella and hubby have shared many a hot chocolate (with marshmallows of course!) within its comfort.

This weekend, I’d promised my gang to join them cross-country skiing. On Saturday, I said, “Oh, I thought we’d agreed to Sunday?” On Sunday, I started chugging coffee and convincing myself it would be fun. Hubby did his darndest to convince me too — cooking us all a blueberry pancake breakfast and packing all the gear and lunch on his own. How could I back out now?

So, there I was, in the car, driving to the Gatineaus. We parked and began the Promenade du Lac-Fortune Parkway. As always in the Gatineaus, the trails were beautifully groomed and even better — the sun had started to shine on us. Just like going to the gym, once I was actually there and started, I thought “gee, this is great! I should do this more often.”

Seriously, it felt wonderful. I have an old neck injury, so a lot of exercise I do doesn’t end up feeling wonderful, but cross-country skiing is no-impact and it felt as strenuous as a brisk walk. The total route was about 9 kms. If you think that sounds like a long ways, I did too, but take heart — I am completely out of shape and both me and my seven-year-old daughter managed it — so I’m sure you can too! (All of the gear did its magic and proved its worth, btw).

This is the summary then …

Negative thoughts:

  • This is a heck of a lot of preparation, packing and driving just for a couple of hours of skiing.
  • I bet I could burn more calories on the tread mill at the gym — and in less time.
  • I hope I’m not going to be cold.
  • I don’t think Max is enjoying himself.
  • I better be skinny at the end of this.

Positive thoughts:

  • Oh, it is so beautiful out here! The forest, the lakes, the fresh air!
  • Stella is amazing — look at her endurance!
  • There are so many awesome fathers out here taking their children skiing or pulling them in sleds. (Including my own husband.)
  • I’m not so outta shape as I thought I was; I’m doing just fine.
  • This is the perfect way to spend a Sunday. Who cares if it is “slow” — that’s what it’s all about — just spending time together.
  • Max is totally charming the pants off the other skiers here in the Shilly Shally — that’s my boy!
  • Mmmm … hot chocolate!
  • Wow, even the outhouse is nicely maintained here.
  • I could seriously live in this Shilly Shally shack, it’s so darn cute!
  • Oh yes! Great idea — yummy cappuccino from a Chelsea coffee shop for the drive home and home-baked cookies for the kids!

So, as you can see, the positives definitely outnumber the negatives. I know this now … still fresh in my memory. But I’m sure that having written them out will be helpful for me to refer to the next Sunday I am to exchange quiet reading time in exchange for healthy, family time.

It really was the perfect Sunday.


Note from Julie on November 15, 2015: Hey, are you curious to see how this whole Winter Resolution thing has been working out? Check out this post for an update: “What I’ve Learned from Saying “Yes” to Winter.”


  1. I love this. It’s like you and I are the same person!

  2. Hey! I was at Shilly Shally on Saturday! We started at P7 off of Mackenzie King and did the Ridge Road to Shilly Shally then back. Like your route, it was also 9kms. Glad you had fun!

  3. You’ve almost convinced me that I want to do this, and that’s saying something. I love the fact that you thought it best to put it in writing so that you don’t forget how much you really did enjoy it. I can so relate to that.

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