Hope you’re all well and trying to stay positive despite the chilly weather we’ve been having here in Ottawa. Can you believe that we’re going to be getting a dump of snow this weekend? When will it end 😉 I’m hopeful that this will be the last of it and, on a more positive note, we will be very thankful for spring/ summer this year.
The last two weeks have been spent enjoying lots of time with family and trying to enjoy the great outdoors 😉 Today, I’ve decided to share with you our recent visit to Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush.
It’s been years since I’ve visited a sugar shack. Maybe even a decade. My mom called us a couple weeks ago and suggested that we take the kids for breakfast and a tour of the sugar shack. Of course, I thought that this was a fabulous suggestion since we hadn’t been in years, since our littles have never been and since the weather was cooperating so we wouldn’t freeze our butts off.
We made sure to arrive for when they opened at 9am so that we could beat the breakfast rush. So happy that we did since although the restaurant was full, it wasn’t filled to capacity so we were able to sit down and enjoy our cafeteria style breakfast. I don’t know what I was expecting but it was a cafeteria style meal. I have to say that this made it even more special 🙂 plus quick and easy for the kids! We were able to see our food options, choose what we wanted, pay for it and eat it right away.
We ended up trying a little bit of almost everything. Julien and the kids shared some pancakes, apple pie, beans, and breakfast sausage and I had their gluten-free (GF) waffles. Like any new GF dish, I didn’t know what to expect but for my GF readers, I’m happy to report that they were DELICIOUS!!! Seriously, they tasted like the real thing. We also had hot coffee and juice for the kids. Felt like we were eating breakfast at a very casual 😉 ski resort.
After filling ourselves up with sweets, we toured around the property. First on our to do list was a tour of the Heritage Maple Path which brought us to a cool teepee shelter, which the kids loved, and a cozy fire where an employee was explaining all of the old tools and techniques that were used to tap maple trees.
We continued along the trail and there was a beautiful display of more of the old harvesting tools:
Did you know that according to Iroquois legend, maple syrup was discovered by accident? To find out more, read the sign below.
The sugar shack also offered a live demo on how they produce their maple syrup, they had a park for kids and sold delicious treats like cotton candy and maple lollipops. They also had a small shop where you could buy all sorts of maple syrup infused items such as bbq sauces, marinades, sweets and beauty products.
I have to be honest here. I saw their beauty products but I wasn’t drawn to them until one of the employees recommended that I give their lotion a try. I’m so glad that I did because not only did it smell delicious, it was also super hydrating. I was sold! I liked it so much that we ended up picking up a bottle of their lotion and a body scrub for my mother-in-law’s birthday.
Overall, our visit to Fultons was so much fun! The kids had a blast and it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning. If you’re looking for something different to do this weekend, I highly recommend that bring your family and/or friends to Fulton’s for breakfast and to tour their properly.
I know that visiting the sugar bush is an annual tradition for some. If you are one of those people, I would love to hear about your favourite spots so please let me know.
That’s all for now! Hope you have a fabulous weekend.
Hope the first week of February is treating you well? Although we’ve received a couple dumps of snow, here in Ottawa, the weather has been milder and so enjoyable. #grateful for this week’s weather and being able to enjoy some fresh air!
Last weekend, we celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday. As most of you now know, it’s been just over a year since she was diagnosed and underwent her debulking surgery 2 days before her 59th birthday. I remember her saying that she just wanted to be able to make it to her 60th. Well, I’m SO happy to report that she did, that she is doing SO well and was eager to celebrate her big day. Her 60th Birthday!
My sister and I decided to throw her a surprise party and invite her childhood friends. Some of whom she sees regularly, others only a few times a year. Little did we know, most of them had already set the day aside for her.
Chels and I made dinner reservations at the Big Rig Brewery, as per her request, and our immediate family kicked-off the evening by doing our first escape room at Jigsaw located in the Byward Market. If you haven’t been to Jigsaw, you totally have to check them out. The venue is really nice offering lots of seating with board games and they even have a bar.
As for dinner with her friends, we had asked her guests to bring an old photo of mom and to let us know which song best reminds them of her so that we could put both in a journal for her to read afterward.
Have you ever thrown a surprise party? If so, you know it presents some challenges but if not, *WARNING* it is not easy to do lol My mom is by nature a total control freak (as are we). She has always been the caregiver, planner, organizer etc and she likes to be kept in the loop about everything…and I mean everything, so planning this party was no easy task. A month before, she started asking a million questions. Are we going to big rig, will it just be the 6 of us, what time should I be ready for etc etc etc She absolutely hated not knowing what the plan was and not being in control.
Before getting into the evening itself, I thought I’d share with you a couple of the gifts we bought for her. As previously mentioned, we bought her this beautiful black Journal from Chapters that says “she was one of the rare ones: so effortlessly herself and the whole world loved her for it.” For those who know mom, you KNOW that she is totally one of a kind. The amount of quality friends that she has and the love that they all have for her is amazing and shows how incredible she is.
I also knew that I wanted to pick up a tacky gift, making fun of the fact that she was turning 60, so when I saw the cane in the picture below, I had to have it lol The cane came equipped with glasses, a horn, fan (for heat flashes), a pill container and a caution old lady crossing sign lol so funny, right!
You’ll also notice that I picked up a small pink book entitled “what I love about you and me.” It’s 50 pages long and you have to fill in the blank spaces and note 50 reasons why you love that person. For example: “I like the way….when you…” or “if we were a ….. we would … ” and “I’d love to … with you.” This was such a fun gift and got me thinking about some of my favorite childhood memories. We also treated her to a beautiful bottle of Cognac, the game, cupcakes, board games (her fav) etc.
As for the evening, it was so much fun. We met downtown in the Ottawa Byward Market and surprised her with an escape room. We choose the cabin and it was amazing. I knew that we had to find our way out but I didn’t think that it would be as hard as it was. These games are clearly well thought out. The cabin was a tough one. We all started in handcuffs and the room was almost pitch black. Although we worked hard and really well together, to bust our way out, we didn’t 😦 Apparently we were very close to winning but unfortunately couldn’t crack the last few clues. For those who are looking for a challenging escape room, I highly recommend this one as it has a 15% success rate.
Next up was dinner at the Big Rig. We walked in shortly after 7pm and everyone was already there, waiting for her. Watching mom walk in was priceless. She had no idea that we had planned to have her childhood friends there and, although she was pleasantly surprised, I think she was totally shocked. We spent the evening going through childhood pictures, listening to stories of her in her teens and enjoyed a good meal. Below is a pic of mom and her friends. How lucky is she to have friends that she has known for over 50 years.
Overall, mom had a wonderful 60th birthday. Not only did she have a great time celebrating with her childhood friends and family, she was and is feeling healthy again. What better gift to receive for her 60th bday than the gift of feeling healthy 🙂 I’m so grateful for this and for her 🙂 Happy birthday Moomoo!
BRCA 2 results:
In a previous post, I shared with you that I would be undergoing BRCA 2 genetic testing for breast/ovarian cancer. After a 3 month wait, I’m happy and relieved to report that I do not carry the genetic mutation and, as a result, neither do my children. This news was and is such a huge relief for my family and I. The results showed that I’m not considered high risk. The general population’s risk of having breast cancer is 11% and mine has been calculated at 18%. As a result, and lucky for me, rather than waiting until the age of 50 to be screened, I will start annual mammography at the age of 37. For this, I’m also grateful.
For anyone with a close family history of breast and ovarian cancer, I highly recommend undergoing genetic testing. It isn’t for everyone but for those who woukd prefer to know and like to have control, like myself, I say go for it. These results have brought me much comfort knowing that my children and I aren’t at high risk and has allowed me to put in place the necessary steps to ensure that I will be properly screened.
For those who have undergone similar testing and would like to share about it, please feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise, I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend and I thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog and read my posts. I truly appreciate your support.
Remember to “look for something positive in every day, even if some days you have to look a little harder.” Life is great :)!!!
We’re already halfway through the first month of 2018! Along with a new year comes new opportunities as well as the opportunity to look back on the previous year, providing the opportunity to reflect on both all of the good and the bad.
2017 was a fabulous year! Our family of four traveled together, I enjoyed the last 6 months of my last maternity leave, Julien and I had a getaway to Banff, my sister moved home from Vancouver and we spent lots of time with our family and friends.
Three peas in a pod!
Like most, 2017 also presented us with some difficult times. Just before Christmas 2016, we lost my grandma. Lucky for me, mom and I were with her when she passed. I’m honoured that I was able to help granny through her last day on earth but this experience was both stressful and heartbreaking. Granny was my only grandparent present in my life and meant so much to my mom, sister and I. I could dedicate many posts to granny and all of the things that we did together and how much I/we loved her. She literally dedicated her entire life to her children and grandchildren and I will forever be grateful to her for that and all of the memories we have.
A few weeks after granny passed, Mom was diagnosed with stage 3B ovarian cancer and less than a week later, underwent major debulking surgery, two days before her 59th birthday. She spent quite literally the rest of 2017 fighting her cancer. For anyone who has had a parent diagnosed with cancer you know how difficult this can be and how helpless it can leave you feeling. For those who know me, you know that my mom is my world and quite literally my first love! She, like granny, has dedicated her entire life to her babies and I’m SO lucky to have such a present, loving and fun mom.
So, now it is 2018 and I’m happy to report that December 2017 was mom’s healthiest month since her diagnosis. She hosted an amazing Christmas dinner as well as NYE with her friends and she’s had more energy than ever. She’s been able to snowshoe, keep up with her grand kids and spend lots of time with family and friends. She’s even been working out. What a champ! She’s a real life superhero :)!
Even better, mom had her regular 3-month appointment this week with her oncologist and she received positive feedback 🙂 our family couldn’t have asked for anything better. Her chemo worked really well and her cancer remains in remission. F*uck you cancer, you messed with the wrong mama!
Like most, the love that I have for my family is immense. I wouldn’t be who I am without all of them so when mom was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer, 11 years after she fought breast cancer, I was devastated. I was half-way through my maternity leave and was heartbroken. It was one of my biggest nightmares. Although I had SO much good going on, I felt as though I was drowning in pain over this. As though I couldn’t cope with mom’s diagnosis and our new reality. It just wasn’t fair…of course, like many, I learned that life isn’t always fair.
Lucky for us, mom is strong and recovered from the insanely difficult surgery and recovery, her painful chemo and is living each day to the fullest. She is positive 95% of the time, allowing herself to have the occasional pity party day, understandably. Because of her strength, I try to encourage myself to show the same strength and to focus on all of the good that we have going on in our lives!
Since the end of her chemo, she see’s her oncologist every 3 months at which time they tell her about her markers etc. This process has been quite stressful. The first two months we’re all happy and well 🙂 we focus on all the positive and try not to think about the cancer but as we approach the third month we become more and more anxious. I don’t know about you but I’ve never experienced real anxiety until this year and sometimes it can be quiet overwhelming. I think that it’s directly linked to the lack of control that I have in this situation. So, I’ve decided to share with you some of my tips and tricks for dealing with stress and anxiety 🙂 I’ve only recently (2017 onward) started practicing these activities and although they weren’t easy to do at first, I’ve come to love each of them.
As I’ve noted before, I used to be a major cardio junky. This changed, in the last year, as I really needed to slow down, relax and breathe. Here are my tips for staying calm anytime and especially when you’re feeling anxious or stressed:
Incorporate yoga into your weekly regime, including conscious breathing:
As previously mentioned in my post about our family trip to Florida, yoga really helped reduce the stress that I was feeling at the time. I started practicing with my father-in-law and really helped reduce my anxiety, around mom’s diagnosis, when I was on maternity leave. Being a runner, I loved nothing more than intense workouts. Yoga can be intense but the conscious breathing, holding of poses and reflection at the end are medicinal. I swear tears literally fell, quietly, at the end of many classes as I lay there on my mat, practicing mindfulness and gratitude.
Yoga taught me that it’s ok to slow things down. That both my mind and body appreciate it and that practicing conscious breathing greatly reduces ones stress/anxiety. For those who feel as though your days are flying by and that you have little down time, I highly recommend that you give yoga a try. Like meditation, it is SO hard to slow your mind and body down, at first, but with time you will reap the benefits.
Meditation and mindfullness
Do you meditate? If so, I would love to know which apps or books you follow. If not, you should totally try it out 🙂 Why? Why not? Even before mom’s diagnosis, she tried to encourage us to meditate and I’d always say sure mom lol well, like everything else, she was right. Meditation is AWESOME and has helped me get through the difficult times this year and continues to help me daily.
I love to use the apps headspace and calm. At first, it was SOOOO hard to meditate. All I did was think about all I had to do, how weird it was that I was lying on the couch or sitting on a chair trying to focus on nothing when all I could do was focus on all that I had to do. Well, like most activities, meditation takes practice and, if you give yourself time, and practice regularly, your meditation sessions will improve and bring you much joy.
Like yoga, I started practicing meditation last summer, when mom was undergoing chemo. I figured why not try it out. I’d put our daughter down for her afternoon nap, lay down on the couch, plug myself into headspace and do a 10 minute session. For those who use this app, you already know how intoxicating this guys voice is. You can’t help but hold onto it and try hard not to fall asleep. At first, it was hard to make it through 5-10 mins but now I do at least 10 minutes a day and, if I need it, I will do an additional 10 on my way home from work.
Presently, I use headspace, once and a while, on my commute home from work and I use Calm before bed. Julien probably regrets telling me about Calm lol because I listen to it EVERY SINGLE night before bed and without headphones. It’s amazing. You can listen to meditation for sleep, relaxation, stress etc and to different sounds. My favourite sessions are those for sleep with rain in the background. Amazing! I swear I’m asleep within the first three minutes. I highly recommend adding meditation to your daily routine. Another benefit is that is allows me to practice conscious breathing and gratitude daily. #grateful!
Dehumidifer and calming scents:
Last, but not least, my parents-in-life bought us a dehumidifer for Christmas and it has also become part of our evening routine. We like to use it with a variety of amazing scents that encourage relaxation. I like to use it when we are watching a show in the living room and then again when we go to bed 🙂 I set it so that its on for two hours, turn my sleppy time meditation on and I am gone lol is there a better way to fall asleep! We have a few scents now but I would love to hear about your favorite ones so please do feel free to leave a comment with your recommendations.
So, there are a few of my tips for reducing stress. Tomorrow, after waiting 9 weeks, I will be receiving my BRCA results. I can promise you that tonight, like every night ;), I will be going to sleep with my dehumidifier, and calming scents, while listening to my sleepy time meditation and I encourage you to do the same.
For those who try these tips out, I hope that they bring you much joy. As for staying positive, this is just in my nature. I’ve always been and will always be a positive person. Life is good and I encourage everyone to wake up with a grateful heart. Grateful for their life, their children, health, family and friends!
Hope you have a fabulous weekend! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your ongoing support.
Today’s post is more serious than the others. As most of you know, the motivation behind this blog is my amazing mom and being able to connect with others who may be going through a similar situation. In addition to this, my goal is to encourage everyone to focus on the positive things in life. We all encounter difficult times throughout our lives and, although we may not want to, we have to find ways to accept them. I have SO much to be thankful and grateful for in my life and I owe a lot of it to my mom.
So, let’s get to it. As many of you know, my mom was diagnosed with stage 3C ovarian cancer in February of this year. Since, she has undergone major debulking surgery, recovery, and chemo. Since her last chemo session late spring, she had an amazing and healthy 4 months chemo free AND at her last oncologist appointment, last month, we found out that her cancer is currently dormant. I’m not religious but I thank whatever power is out there watching over her and our family! Her CA125 cancer markers (the marker used to measure ovarian cancer) haven’t increased and remain well under the normal range. This news couldn’t have been better. I can’t describe how it feels to wait for these appointments. Not knowing what the results will be. The anxiety I feel waiting for the news can be awful but we are SO grateful that the news was positive and that her body and cancer responded well to the chemo they gave her 🙂 !!!
When mom was diagnosed in February, we were told that because she had had breast cancer 10 years ago and now ovarian cancer that she could be tested for the BRCA genetic mutation if she wished and free of charge. Testing for this is very expensive therefore it isn’t available to everyone, especially since only 1.2 percent of Canadian women are at risk of getting ovarian cancer and an even smaller percentage of those carry a BRCA genetic mutations.
Do you know what this genetic mutation is? If not, I will explain but maybe you will remember the (what some call) radical surgery Angelina Jolie had after finding out that her mom, who passed away from ovarian cancer, carried this genetic mutation. Angelina decided to have a double mastectomy in response to finding out that her mom carried the BRCA 1 gene. Why, you may ask, well because those who do carry a BRCA 1 or 2 genetic mutation have an increased risk of getting both breast and ovarian cancer.
Being the mother of two daughters, my mom decided to follow-through with the genetic testing. We were told that it would take 3 months but it ended up being close to 6. Last Friday, we had her follow-up appointment. I can’t begin to tell you how nervous I was for this appointment. I knew that there was a small chance that she would carry it and, that if that was the case, my sister and I would have some decisions to make but it wasn’t until her genetics doctor actually said the words “you ARE BRCA2 positive” that everything really hit me. I knew this was a real possibility but until it was actually confirmed, I guess I was hoping otherwise. I understandably burst into tears. Mom, however, felt a sense of relief. Now, she knew that her girls would be tested annually (MRI and mammogram) and that we would be provided with surgical options if we wanted to embark on those journeys. She is the most selfless person I know. Always thinking about us before herself.
What do these results mean for mom:
The not so great news is that she is 85% likely to have breast cancer. The good news is that now that they know this, they will continue to monitor her annually which is relieving.
Other good news is that because she has a BRCA 2 genetic mutation, they are able to offer her additional treatments for her cancer if it awakens. This news couldn’t have made us happier :).
Lastly, the results gave mom a sense of relief knowing that she didn’t just have bad luck. Rather, her cancers were/are the result of a genetic mutation.
What do these results mean for my sister and I:
Well, mom’s results mean that we have a 50% chance of carrying the BRCA2 genetic mutation. As a result, we have the choice of being tested ourselves, free of charge. To some, I’m sure that this would be a difficult decision. For myself, it’s a no brainer since messing with ovarian cancer is no joke. I’ve decided to go ahead with the testing, which involves simple blood work, and it will take between 1-2 months for my results.
So what does it mean if the results come back positive for my sister or I? Well, it means that we will have a 50-85% chance of having breast cancer and 10-30% chance of getting ovarian cancer (compared to the general population’s percentage which is 1.2%). Also, we will have the choice of undergoing a double mastectomy and partial or total hysterectomy now or just prior to menopause (which is what is recommended).
Although scary, all of the above is positive news for my sister and I. It means that we will have options and I’m so thankful for that and being able to tackle this decision well informed. I, like Angelina, am approaching this more aggressively. If my results come back positive, I am choosing to undergo a double mastectomy and reconstruction as soon as possible and a hysterectomy well before menopause. Saying I was going to do this, prior to mom’s results, was one thing, but knowing that this may be a real possibility now makes everything more real. But, if my mom was able to fight and beat breast cancer in 2006 and undergo everything she encountered this year, then I can do this. I owe it to myself and my children who will also have a 50% chance of carrying this genetic mutation if I do. Even our son.
Moving forward, I will keep you guys posted on the results and what happens next. For those of you who out there who are living through a similar situation, know that you are not alone. That you are strong and loved and that no matter what we will get through this. Life is a gift and sometimes we are dealt unexpected cards but we have to be grateful for all that is good in life and enjoy every moment to the fullest.
Today, and every day I am grateful for my amazing life. For my husband and kids. My sister, friends and my mom who made the person that I am today.
Three peas in a pod!
What are you grateful for? 🙂
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Sending positive energy and love out to everyone xox
Hope you’re having a great week so far! As you know, Halloween is just around the corner and for us Halloween lovers out there this is exciting. My family and I have always been huge Halloween lovers and lucky for me our son is as well. Rain, shine or snow my mom took my sister and I trick or treating every year. I remember there being a few years where it rained all night but mom never kept us in. Worst case scenario, she drove along the way so that we could jump in and out of the car as need be lol As for my dad, well he is a HUGHalloweenen lover as well. He especially likes to decorate. As kids, he would always set up a strobe light, Halloween music and hand out the best chocolate and candies. To this day, he still calls me if Hocus Pocus (my absolute FAVOURITE halloween movie) is on TV. FYI though Papa G. There’s no need for you to call anymore. We bought it for $14 on the play station this week. I KNOW! You’re probably thinking that we paid way too much lol but it was worth it. Our son was begging us to watch it so we went for it.
As previously mentioned, our son is also a huge Halloween lover. He loves MJs thriller and anything witch or skeleton related so I decided to take him to Saunders Farm this year. He isn’t quite four years old yet so I wasn’t sure if he was too young to go but it turns out he was the perfect age for it.
Lucky for us, my parents-in-law (Mona and Paul) joined us. We planned to go for 10am when it opened and to my surprise, it was already packed. Good news is that despite there being a line-up to get in, the parking lot was very organised and there was a lot of room available. For those who don’t know, you can buy your tickets online and present them once you get there. I’m not sure that it speeds things up but you do get a bit of a discount if you buy them ahead of time.
Below is a picture of the entrance to Saunders Farm. How stunning are the colours of the leaves? Beautiful aren’t they. Both the drive there and the farm itself were stunning. Fall is such a beautiful season.
Although it was pretty packed, the farm wasn’t too overcrowded. We could easily walk through and we weren’t bumping into people. Our first stop was, of course, the barn of terror:
At first, I thought that this was a good idea. How scary could it be lol My daughter and I parked the stroller at the exit and waited for my son and in-laws. We must have waited at least 15 minutes for them to make their way through. During this time, I could hear screaming, loud spooky music, and what sounded like banging on the walls. I especially started regretting letting him in once I saw a couple kids crying as they left the barn lol Good news is that most of the kids came out smiling and laughing and our son came out asking to go in again. I guess he enjoyed it 😉 Apparently, they didn’t get through the whole thing though because someone was scared…not sure if it was Noah or Mimi 😉 but Noah surely went back one last time with his Papi before leaving.
Past the Barn of Terror was a kids heaven. We enjoyed the barnyard treehouse, the discovery barn and princess playhouse. This was probably the busiest part of the farm. It was filled with kids running through the treehouses and down the slides.
Then it was off to the ghost town stage. Now this was a tad creepy. A clown greeted us at the entrance. The kids weren’t too sure about her lol but they were happy to go through the exhibit.
Spoiler alert: to our relief, nothing jumped out at us while walking through the maze. Next on the list of things to do was the haunted hayride and this was by far the most fun and SO worth the wait. I remember going to Saunders when I was in high school and everyone knew that at some point on the hayride a man would run out and chase everyone with a chainsaw. Well, things have improved during the last decade lol this hayride is a lot scarier than I remember and so much fun. There must have been at least three people who ran after us at some point, yelling, zombie walking or chasing us with a chainsaw or shovel. The ride was also a lot faster than I had remembered. I was clinging on to baby girl for dear life lol and Papi had a tight grip on his grandson. I don’t want to give all of their spooky effects but let me tell you there were MANY along the way and I can totally see how this ride would be petrifying at night. I tried convincing Julien to go with me this week but after going to see It with his dad, last week, I think he has reached his limit of creepy events lol.
I spent about an hour and a half there with the kids and Mona and Paul but had to leave early for baby girl’s nap. Lucky for our son, my in-laws stayed with him and he enjoyed the rest of what the farm had to offer as well as some apple pie for lunch ;).
Overall, Saunders Farm was totally worth the visit and $20 each. It was a lot bigger than I had remembered and very organized despite the large crowds. There was a lot to do, festival food throughout and it met my expectations. I would definitely recommend bringing your kids during the day. I think a nighttime visit would be terrifying for kids my age lol but if you are looking for a good scare for yourself and your friends you should totally check it out.
How will you be celebrating Halloween? Going to any events or parties? Did you make it out to Saunders Farm? If so, what did you think?
Hope you have a fabulous weekend and an even better Halloween.
Hope you’ve had a wonderful week so far and that you have some lovely plans for the long weekend ahead. Although the weather has been less fall like than usual, fall is upon us and we’ve been enjoying it so far. I was having a tough time deciding what I wanted to focus this week’s blog post on so decided to share two posts. This post is about our recent visit to the Carp Fair and in my second post, I’ve shared a couple of my favourite fall recipes so please do check it out!
Two weeks ago, I took the kids to the Carp Fair with Moonana and Auntie. Have you heard of it? If so, have you been? If not, it’s a must. The fair offers fun rides, activities, and tasty junk food. They even have a beer tent, so there’s something for everyone 😉 Last year was our first time going. I had never been interested in going, before having the kids, but I’m happy that we ended up trying it out because it is the perfect activity for young families and it’s the perfect size and conducive to little ones.
We went on a Saturday and it ended up being crazy hot. Well over 30 degreed by 10am so we only stayed for a couple of hours but managed to do several fun things. One of the coolest parts for me was watching how excited our son was when he saw the rides but also how happy he was to have his Auntie home and with him. She recently moved home from Vancouver, after being away for two years, and we are all so grateful to have her back with us. I was so pumped to go on the rides with him but he wasn’t interested in going on them with me lol he wanted his Auntie to go with him. Lucky for me though, I did manage to squeeze a ride in. As you can see, he was so excited he was dragging me towards the ride lol
Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to take many pictures because we were too busy enjoying ourselves but we did take a few of his favourite animals and rides.
To my surprise, the Looney Lagoon was by far our son’s favourite ride! While we were waiting in line there were two boys, around his age, crying bloody murder the entire time they were on the ride. I pointed them out, while we were waiting in line, and explained that although he made the height requirement for the ride he might find it scary but he didn’t care. He had his mind set on giving it a try and the kids crying nor the speed of the Looney Lagoon roller coaster was going to hold him back from trying this one out. Once he and auntie got on I started to panic lol I was so worried that I had made a big mistake letting him on but he surprised me. Once the ride got going, he held on tight and had his eyes closed most of the time but he loved it. Once it was over, we could hear him yelling “again, again.” Turns out he loves the fast rides. Perfect for his papa ;).
As for baby girl, she wasn’t able to enjoy the rides but she had fun watching her big brother enjoy himself and hanging out with her Moonana.
Overall, the Carp Fair was worth the trip. The kids, Moonana, Auntie and I all enjoyed ourselves and everyone enjoyed their afternoon naps which is always a good sign 😉 To those who haven’t been and who are looking for something fun to do with their families next fall you should totally check it out.
What are some of your favourite fall activities to do in Ottawa? I’d love to hear about them.
Hope everyone has a safe and fun Thanksgiving weekend and don’t forget to check out my new fall recipes post that I’ve shared today as well.
I decided to dedicate this week’s post to something I’ve been missing lately. Working out and, more specifically, how it has changed for me since having kids. You know what I am saying mom’s…your pre-kids workout just can’t be maintained the same way after having a couple of kids and working full time. Props to those who have been able to maintain a regular workout though. I hope to get there one day but for now, this just isn’t the case.
Working out pre-kids:
Before having out kids I used to workout like it was my job. I absolutely loved running. Nothing in the world felt better than lacing up my shoes and heading out for a long run on my own. I had all the time in the world to run 5-7 days a week and didn’t have to worry about whether or not exercising would compromise time spent showering, cooking for the family, doing groceries or just sitting down for a few moments.
Before kids I could work out anytime of the day. Morning, afternoon, evening which ever time best suited me that day. Sometimes I’d meet up with friends for body pump and then stay for and extra class just because we could. Nowadays, if I want to work it its usually during nap time which means I won’t be resting or preparing things for after naps. I’m also now a big fan of the 30-45 minute workouts. An hour seems like such a commitment.
Another thing about pre-kids exercise is that nothing really hurt. I could run for days and my body didn’t notice. Oh, how times have changed. If I manage to schedule a run in, once every couple of months, everything hurts. My knees, pelvis etc it’s as though my body is in shock. This never used to happen.
Working out post kids
Working our post kids is like winning the lottery! If I can squeeze in a 25 minute workout session using the Nike app in my basement it’s a parent win DING DING DING!!! After my son, I was able to resume a pretty good workout routine during my mat leave. I ran everywhere with him. To the grocery store, along the trans can and he just slept along the way like an angel. Of course, this was botched when I went back to working full time and then again when I became pregnant with our daughter and I was trying to just get through my days. I had no idea pregnancy would be so different/difficult the second time around. Pregnancy #2 was just AWFUL ALL OF THE TIME and I swear that everything below my neck hurt. Anyway, this isn’t about my pregnancies 😉 plus she was of course worth all of the pain but after having our daughter it took me a good 6-7 months to get my butt back to the gym and, when I did, I was doing low impact exercises. It turns out, for me anyway, that your body changes significantly after having a couple kids 😉 and things hurt more easily. Actually, I’m not sure if it is the kids or the fact than I am in my thirties but either way my body seems to need a hell of a lot more stretching and tender love and care.
Before kids, I used to love high impact cardio. Body attack, shred, intervals etc it was my thing. Since having had our daughter though those days are gone lol Well, for now at least 😉 I just can’t do them like I used to and to be honest I don’t enjoy them the same way either. Other mom’s keep telling me that I will get back into it one day and you know what they are probably right but for now I’m ok with getting my exercise in other ways.
Life with two kids is WONDERFUL and I’m beyond grateful and thankful for my babes 🙂 but man is it ever busy! Also, following mom’s diagnosis, I felt as though my days were so busy with the kids and wrapping my head around her diagnosis that I needed to slow things down and digest our new reality.
As previously mentioned in my post on our family trip to Florida in April, it was yoga that really saved me and rekindled my love for working out since it allowed me to relax and provided my body with such an amazing stretch.
Note: I’m the one with the orange top on the left sitting at the back of the groups 😉
I realized at this time that I wasn’t enjoying running or high-intensity cardio because it felt like yet another task that I had to add to my daily to do list. What I really needed was to slow down, stretch, strengthen and meditate. Yoga brought me a kind of relaxation that I’ve never experienced. My mom will be happy to hear this. She’s been telling me to do yoga and meditate for years. Once again, “you were right mom” 😉 I’d also like to send out a big thank you to my yoga instructor at goodlife fitness who also inspired me to love yoga and who literally brought tears to my eyes during our meditation sessions. Nothing makes me feel more relaxed and vulnerable than your classes. Namaste to you!
Now that I am back to work, my workout schedule has changed once again but I’m hoping that I will eventually be able to squeeze in a couple yoga sessions a week once we get into the swing of things. More importantly though, I make sure that my family and I get out and enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer, especially the fresh air. For now, our workouts include family bike rides, park play, walks and chasing after kids anywhere and everywhere they go. You know what I mean mama’s 😉 spending a day chasing two kids around is exercise in itself!
Finally, I don’t think that its fair to think that I will never run again or enjoy high-intensity cardio but for now, my workout regime has changed and I’m ok with that. We should all workout in whatever way makes us happy and most importantly healthy.
Whether or not you have kids I would love to hear about your workout regime. What do you like to do for exercise? What do you recommend that I try? If you do have kids, has your workout regime changed since having them? If so, how?
Looking forward to hearing from you! Hope you have a fabulous weekend filled with much fun and fresh air.
This weekend we celebrated our daughters first birthday. Like most moms, I can’t believe that a year has already gone by. It feels like yesterday that we brought her home and were trying to navigate our new life as a family of four. Julien, we made it 😉 thank you for being the incredible Papa and husband that you are. Below, is a picture of her shortly after she was born.
Unlike our son’s first birthday, we decided to have a small get together with just our family. We will throw her a bigger bash for her second birthday.
We celebrated at my in-laws home on the river. It is such a fun place for both ourselves and the kids. They have a beautiful view of the river and the kids love spending hours playing in the water and hunting for frogs. It’s also a playground for adults as they have a hot tub, hammocks, beautiful gardens, decks and Adirondack chairs.
Lucky for us, my sister flew home the morning of the party, from out West, to spend a couple of weeks with mom and the family. As you can imagine, the kids were beyond excited to see her especially our son who really misses her. We are a super close family and she used to stop by our place 3-4 times a week before she moved when he was one and a half years old. He adores and misses her so much when she is gone so it was so nice to have her with us to celebrate her niece.
My parents and sister arrived for our daughter’s party at noon. It was an emotional reunion as we hadn’t seen my sister since mom’s debulking surgery in February. Being apart has always felt wrong so it was so nice to just have her home. This time it is particularly wonderful since mom is feeling more and more like herself and has the next 3 months chemo free.
We had an awesome time celebrating baby girl. We dressed her up in an adorable dress I found at the Children’s place for $10 (parent win ;)). She also wore some adorable black shoes, given to her by our friends, and a necklace that was gifted to her by family friends when she was born.
Once everyone had arrived, we sipped on some celebratory cocktails, rose bubbly of course, cheersed to having survived the last year with two kids 😉 and then opened gifts. The kids both nap in the afternoons so we decided to do presents and cake before they went down. To those moms out there who had a son first and daughter second, I am sure you’ll understand this next piece. Prior to her birthday, our daughter didn’t really have any girly toys. She had a few stuffed toys and books but not much else. We have an abundance of toys, most of which our son never plays with so there wasn’t really a need to buy any for our daughter. Until now…She is no longer a little baby anymore so when people asked what they could buy her we practically begged them to buy something girly lol Something other than trucks. All she knows are trucks (vroom vroom) and cars. She absolutely loves them but a girl has to have some variety, right?! And variety is what she got. She was spoiled with the cutest girly toys.
Moonana (my mom) bought her a black doll which came with her own bassinet, bottle, sippy cup, change of clothes and purse. SO cute;
Papa G bought her a leap frog dancing mat which I know she will love since she already moves to any and all beats she hears;
Auntie bought her a high chair so that baby girl can feed her black doll;
And Mimi and Papi bought her a lovely doll which came with a beautiful pink dress, a change of clothes and a tea pot set that our daughter fell in love with while we were in Florida in May.
Overall, our baby girl was truly spoiled. A big thank you to all of our loved ones for the beautiful gifts. She loves them.
Next was cake. I don’t think I have shared this with you guys yet but my father-in-law makes the worlds best cakes. OMG. They not only taste fabulous but they are always beautifully decorated. He made baby girl a pink and white three tiered almond flavoured cake decorated with whipped cream and pink, white and silver decorations. It couldn’t have been more perfect. I’m super girly as well so I was very excited by it and the perfect shade of pink that he achieved.
The birthday girl also agreed that the cake was a complete success. It was evident as soon as she dove into it with big eyes and without hesitation. Once she tasted her first bite there was no going back. She grabbed her slice with both hands and went for it lol. Can’t blame her though. It was her first taste of cake and it was one of Papi’s so we knew she would love it.
After two hours of playing, opening gifts and filling up on sugar the kids we ready for nap time. They both went down without hesitation and gave the rest of us a couple of hours to enjoy the property and river. My mom, sister and I took this opportunity to head out for a kayak ride. This mother daughter time was greatly appreciated and so much fun. We don’t get to spend time just the three of us so it was nice to head out on the water, laugh and of course race back since we all have a competitive edge.
The kids woke up shortly after we returned so I took my son out for a swim in the river. It was just what we needed after an hour of kayaking and following a cozy nap. The water wasn’t too cold and the air was so hot so there was no shock effect when we got out. By this time it was 5pm so we said goodbye to my parents and sister, packed up our things and left my in-laws in time for dinner and bedtime at our place.
I ended this weekend exploding with gratitude. I am thankful for our beautiful and healthy kids and for our family and for being able to share these moments with them. Also grateful that my mom is feeling like herself again and that we are having so much fun together!
How did you celebrate your son or daughters first birthday?
Have you heard of MosaiCanada? If not, it is an absolute must visit for those living in or visiting Gatineau or Ottawa this summer. It is one of the many events celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary. It’s a breathtaking horticultural event like no other and perfect for adults and kids alike.
We took the kids last weekend and had such a magical time. We spent about an hour going through the exhibition and were blown away by the beauty and magnitude of the horticultural creations.
When you first enter the Jacques Cartier park you see a beautiful steam train. Our son was in awe and thought that it was real. Can’t blame him though. Check out the picture below. Isn’t it stunning?
Continuing along we saw a fisherman, horses, and a giant bear. The horses were incredible. It looked like they were literally running up and out of the ground.
Each piece was carefully crafted and made of the most beautiful flowers with vibrant colours. I can only imagine how much time it took to not only plan but assemble these structures. Other favourites were the gold miner and dragons.
Half-way through the event, we came across a cute spot for lunch. Turns out that it was the oldest house in Gatineau and they set it up as a restaurant for park visitors. They didn’t offer extraordinary food but our meal was satisfying. We had their pre-made sandwiches and ate them on their balcony out back over-looking the river and the Parliament buildings.
After a few runs up and down the hill, behind our son, we continued on throughout the last part of the park. The last two structures left our kids in awe. The second last structure looked just like the girl from Moana. The kids loved this one and insisted on taking pictures with her. It was so hard to keep our son from running past the fence and right up to the structure. As you can see in the picture below, she was surrounded by beautiful deer and had a waterfall pouring out and over her palm. Words cannot express how breathtaking it was. The last structure was the end and side of the train we first saw when we entered the park.
Overall, we loved this event. It was a fun outing for the family and didn’t take much time. We were able to go through it after morning naps and make it back home on time for afternoon naps. Like they say, this was a parent win ;). Lastly, the event was free and who doesn’t like a freebie.
For those of you who haven’t been, I highly recommend that you do before it is too late and for those who have been, I would love to know which structure(s) were your favourite.
One of the best things about summer are the local farmer’s markets and being able to buy fresh and local foods. Nothing beats a Saturday morning visit to one of the many farmers market with the kids. This has become our favourite way to kick start the weekend. Now that our son is three and a half he knows that this means CROISSANTS from Art-is-in. I swear they make the best baked goods and I will seriously miss them this winter.
Each week we like to pick up different fruits and vegetables from different vendors. This week, strawberries made their appearance and we were all over them. No, literally I couldn’t keep our son’s fingers off of them. We could smell the berries from a mile away. They smelt delicious. So sweet. Our son couldn’t resist them and even before we agreed to buy some the little guy was snatching them and eating them as if the farmer’s stand was his own personal fruit buffet. Our son was literally moaning they were so tasty lol I couldn’t believe it. Of course, we now had to buy from these farmers but we are happy that we did. We bought $10 worth of strawberries, two zucchinis and a bunch of multi-coloured tomatoes. All of which were delicious!
The next stop was the Art-Is-In stand. For once, there wasn’t a lineup. When they first started selling their baked goods at the market you had to line up first thing in the morning or else they would sell out ASAP. By first thing I mean 8am. When the market first started, we didn’t have any kids and found it difficult to make it on time but now that we have two little ones, under four, we make it no problem ;). This year, they seem to be better prepared for their high demand. They always have a lovely selection of croissants, breads, and cookies. Honestly, I find it very difficult to choose just a few things. This week we decided to stick with only croissants. We bought one almandine, one almandine and chocolate, one butter croissant and one chocolate croissant. They were delicious and gone within 24hrs. If you haven’t bought any of their baked goods, you should definitely try them. You won’t regret it.
For those who have yet to visit their local farmer’s market, I highly recommend that you do. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is fun to just walk around and see what is for sale.
If you have a favourite farmer’s market in Ottawa and/or favourite vendor, please do let me know as we would love to go visit it.