Category Archives: Baby

Is Nature the one with the bugs in it?

Our three camping trips in four weekends adventure concluded with a wonderful outing to Algonquin park, but let’s start from the beginning.

Camp Fishy

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Sometime in early June the boys convinced me to take them to the outdoor megastore and buy them fishing rods. So I did. Then they quickly concluded that we have to go fishing. We decided to go to Gatineau Park and check out the campsite next to the yurt we stayed at this winter so we can compare and contrast. Because our primary purpose was to fish, Markus called it Camp Fishy.

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Our secondary purpose was to see the Lusk cavern. We checked out the cave from the outside as the water was really high so I was not comfortable going in there with Markus. We might come by later on in the season when there is less water and we are better equipped to waddle through it. We managed to avoid rain (it rained while we were sleeping) and added a short canoe ride. I enjoyed the camp ground by Lac Philippe but because it was rainy the fully forested sites were a little cold and very full of mosquitos. It would be a great location during the summer heat.

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We finished the trip with a brunch in Wakefield

Beaverbrook Camping

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Our neighbours put together a group camping trip to Long Sault. This is the second year we’ve joined and we had tons of fun. After some hemming and hawing we decided to brave the weather and head out to camp late Friday night. We arrived at 11PM and were only the third of six families that were going to arrive that day.

Beaverbrook camping is great for letting the kids run around with their friends and the adults chat and relax. Like last year, we visited the bird sanctuary with enough kids (eleven) no birds were to be found.

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(Thanks Dan for the photo!)

We also visited the Upper Canada Village ’cause it is there!
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There was a pretty hilarious thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon which reminded us of the pitfalls of setting up the tent in the middle of the night. I was taking a nap during the storm and relived of the ’90s waterbed craze.
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We had a lovely pot-luck and a huge campfire in the evening. I am not sure about exact numbers but I think there was about eighty people in our group.

On Sunday morning we enjoyed a leisurely ride along the Long Sault Parkway.
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Elite Beaverbrook Camping

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Car camping is all well and good, but nothing beats Dan’s backcountry trips. By now, Owen had broken his arm and had to sit this one out. We are assured that Chris and he had fun. Trev, Markus and I headed out to the Algonquin Park to join three other families. We picked up our three seater canoe at Achray and paddled from the Grand Lake to the far end of Stratton lake where our site was.

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Eight kids, of which mine were the oldest in the group, made for a busy picture.

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The visit to the High Falls was definitely a highlight. The water was too high for us to feel comfortable going down the slide, so we left that to the twenty-somethings who always seem in abundance on this spot. We found a nice pool to splash in. Despite the high water and this being relatively early in the season, the water was much warmer than last time.

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The trip back was made somewhat challenging by the wind. This was the first time I was steering the canoe the whole trip. Trevor did a fair share of paddling and I was pretty impressed with his stamina. I was also very happy to have such awesome friends who made canoeing with kids, which would otherwise be stressful, so much fun.

CHEO Ride 2016

WARNING: As of next month I will put password on the blog. The password will be the name you get from first letters in our kids names.

The weather forecast was a bit iffy so we were not sure if we were doing the CHEO ride this year until the last minute. As you can see, we did end up at the event.

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Because the adults were outnumbered, we did the 15km ride that took us along the river and back.

The weather started out fine enough, but drizzle caught us half way through and combined with cold made it a bit hard for the little bike ornaments that were not pedalling.

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Don’t worry, they cheered up as soon as food arrived.

At the way back we got to enjoy the benefits of the minivan – out whole family including bikes still fits!

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Final thoughts from the boys:

T: If it was a nice day I would have done 40km.
O: If it was a hot day I would do 70!
M: If it was a really hot day I would wear shorts!!!

Negotiations

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Some days the kids come back from school with bad notes and we have to figure out how to deal with it best. The easiest thing to do is to take away screens or the night light for a week, but sometimes we get bored with that. When Owen gets in trouble, I prefer to have him have to help me in the kitchen for a week. Trevor has mostly figured out how to stay out of trouble and is getting really good at negotiating his rewards. I have to be careful about what I promise, a problem I did not have before. Markus hates losing his light and he is mostly good anyway. The trouble with Markus is that negotiating him out of his decisions is like ending the Cold War. No-one can win but no-one can look like they lost either.

We are at the point where parenting becomes more about making the right choices and saying the right things than brute force. I can’t easily lift my kids any more and 123 magic has the tendency to wear off. Fortunately, the kids have been wonderful and parenting is more fun now than ever before.

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Snow and Ice Month

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Parenting has been feeling like an Olympic sport lately. One in which you are pretty much guaranteed to not get a medal. Lucky our kids are so cute. The other day instead of arguing with them about something like not misbehaving after screen time, I decided to read the 2015 archive of Fowl Language with them. Owen really connected with this one. Trevor had to admit that this one is pretty much true.

So yes, ten points for us for allowing kids access to full English language.

We take them skiing too. Markus loves skiing but can’t do anything than sort of stand on skis. No turning, no snow plow. I have to put him inside of my snow plow, and let him hold on to the poles that are folded under his armpits. I managed to ski for about two hours like that. Think I can do six next time?

What I definitely can’t do is write coherent blog posts. I used all of my mental powers teaching half a dozen grade schoolers how to use Dewey Decimal System today. I think they got it too, I am so proud.

Film: Moonlight Kingdom

Trev and I spent the day downtown on Thursday. He had a doctor’s appointment in one of the skyscrapers and then we met up with Maria to eat street food. Trevor went for a burger and Maria and I got sticky buns. We run into Nona and Nada and later Trevor got to chase some ducks that stubbornly decided to live in the Confederation Park fountain. After a nice walk down Elgin street we said bye to Maria and headed off to the Nature Museum to see “Animal Inside Out”.

I feel ambivalent about nature museums in general. Despite the creepiness, I can’t object to taxidermy, I think displaying the animals as close to the real thing makes sense and the museums themselves would lose much of its richness had they resorted to papier-mâché versions of the real thing. I still find it eerie that the objects are kept in some sort of pre-decomposition stasis for such a long time. Plastination resolves the decay issues but is like taxidermy on speed; interest and creepiness both amplified to 11. OMG, a Cerebus!!! No, it is just a camel with its head split open into three…

After we finished the exhibit, Trevor wanted to stay and see all the other parts of the museum which took us to supper time. There were two restaurants on Bank street I have been wanting to visit for a while, so I arraigned with Chris to meet us at the Korean place with the rest of the crew. We rarely go to restaurants any more (other than quick lunches on workdays) so going as a family was an event in itself. The boys ended up eating Chris’ meal, Chris ate Trevor’s dish, I ate the boys’ soup, Owen cried until we ordered him tofu salad and then ate tree forkfuls of it because that’s all he ever wanted, the waitress was spoon-feeding Markus and so on. Surprisingly enough the outing was not a complete disaster.

Now I am sorry I did not take pictures of the day, but it is something that I very rarely do anyway. When I am doing something with the kids I tend to not want to distract myself with the camera, besides, Chris is the designated photographer. It was nice to spend the day with Trev. There have been a number of challenges in school and Chris and I have been racking our brains trying to make the best decisions. It is hard to understand why there is so much of head butting at school when at home he is as easy going as eight year olds come.

Resolutions for 2015

Though usually stoic on the subject, this year I am bubbling with New Year’s resolutions. This is not surprising, birthing and taking care of small children was exhausting and somehow I feel 2014 was the bridge year for us. I think I am ready to stop merely making do. The kids are now big enough for me to be thoughtfully proactive in most aspects of life.

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Vacations
Over the last few years I heavily relied on “sanity days”. These are the vacation days that I set aside about once a month to catch up on sleep, chores and appointments. These were also a great time for Chris and me to go out for lunch in lieu of hiring babysitter and going out on dinner dates. Alas, this meant that I was not able to use those vacation days during the school holidays or PD days. Markus will no longer be in full time daycare as of next Septmber so the cost of Chris or me working on days the kids are not in school is adding up. For 2015 I have not set aside any sanity days and will stay home during the school holidays instead.

Diet
I am quite enamoured with our CSA and will continue to get veggies and meat from the farm in the next year. The downside is that once the CSA season is over we fall into a dietary slump. There are only so many pasta/meat/veggie disshes I can eat. When I was a kid I used to love stews, particularly bean and/or barley stews but I have no idea how to make them! Whenver I’ve make a bean stew it inevitably ends up in the freezer to be thrown out a year or two later. This has got to change as I will endeavour to perfect at least one good bean recipe. I am also going to look into stocking up on root vegetables at the end of season and finding a good way to keep us in good supply over the winter.

Gardening
While I don’t keep track of how much money we spend on fruit, I am convinced that at least 1/3 of our grocery bills cover berries. I am not the least bit interested in removing or reducing berries form our table, but I would like to find a more economical way to do so. We have planted our first berry shrub in the back yard last year and are hoping to expand the berry farm and make good harvests within a few years. The challenge will come with finding an approproate way to store the berries for the winter (freeze or dry???) and to incorperate them in our diet in this form.

Movies
I really miss seeing movies at the Bytowne. Particularly at this time of year when newspapers publish lists of noteable movies of the year, I am sad to have missed some films that I might have enjoyed. However, going to Bytowne on a regular baisis I did half a decade ago is just not an option for me. For a number of Good Reasons, on weekdays from 5:45AM to 5:45PM I am on strict work/designated patent duty. To maintain this lifestyle I really need to call day a day by 10PM. Weekends are likewise booked. While there is not much I can do to support lovely establishements like Bytowne, I can at least see some movies that are out on iTunes or Netflix. My goal this year is to select a film each month and set some time aside to watch it.