Film: 40 year old version

Ski season this year was short but sweet. In January and February we spent a lot of time on the golf course and on the Wesley Clover trails. As soon as we were able to go to Gatineau, we headed there.

Our first trip had a few exciting stops. We started from P7 and got the first very climby kilometre out of the way. Starting the trip with a steep climb did not make me the favourite mom at that moment, but as soon as we got to the first lookout, the mood changed.

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Lookout over P7

Following a hilarious bit where Owen fell off the groomed trail into deep fluffy snow and then I fell in too trying to get him out, we made it to our picturesque lunch spot by the Shilly Shally cabin.

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Shilly Shally

Followed by cookies and bird watching at Huron

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Huron shelter

The day was beautiful and in the spirit of exploring new places, we made it to the Champlain lookout. Yes, yes, not a new place for me but the boys have never been.

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Sharp shadows at Champlain lookout

I had completely forgotten where the faux ruins were when the boys saw them by the trail and had to take a closer look.

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Brutalist folly

The next two outings were a bit more challenging. We picked a Pink lake loop from Asticou, up the Parkway well past Pink Lake and then back down the Pink Lake trail through the forest.

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SnOwen

A day when snowman is easy to make is not usually a good day for skiing. On the way up the Parkway I had the worst clumps on my skis. I had to get out of the tracks because it felt like I was walking on stilts and I was making huge holes in the trail. The conditions improved after our snowman making stop at the Pink Lake lookout. On the way through the forest path Owen slipped and fell on the first serious downhill. He did not get injured but he was banged up and uncomfortable making his ski skills regress to last year’s level. He managed to rescue the day by “slipping” off the trail and into deep fluffy snow about 50 meters from the parking lot. Hilarity ensued.

The last big trip was the most challenging. I will not go back to McKinstry for at least another year or two. It is serious climbing and the day was chillier than I expected.

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Picknick at McKinstry shelter

The saving grace of the trip was that one of the boys is stronger on the uphill and the other on the downhill. As I hang back with the kid that is behind, I got a lot of one on one time with each.

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Hot chocolate break
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On the way up the hill

The winter was mild and ended much sooner than I was ready. We attempted one more ski with the whole family but it was a comedy of errors (I did not pack my poles, we missed the parking lot and ended up on a different trail, the trail we went to was not groomed due to this year’s different parking configuration, the trail we ended up on was icy and full of debris…). We called it a season after a few kilometres.

We had a little awards ceremony to recognize the fun we’ve had on skis this year. Trevor took away the “Best overall time” and Owen earned the “Most Valuable Player”.

A few months of staying close to home

And somehow it is summer.

First things first, remember this lady?

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This is where I am thinking “One day I will home school my children”. NOT!!!

That was twenty years ago. I have been living like a grown up for two decades now.

We wrapped up home schooling. Apparently actual schools are going to open up in September.

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One room schoolhouse

Of all the things I thought I would do in my life, home schooling was not on the list. It turned out ok though. There was a lot of yelling, sure, but at the end of the day everyone handed in their assignments. Markus was working with nona which meant on a good day he would finish all work before she showed up so he could get out of doing the lesson. On a bad day they would argue for two hours about having to do twenty minutes of work. Ultimately, his reading improved so I guess it was all worth it.

Owen somehow managed to get behind and had two months of assignments to catch up on. I worked with him a lot on this and I am glad I did. It helped me understand what kind of things he finds hard to do and where he gets frustrated. I kept an eye on Trev as well, but once he got used to doing work from home, he was quite independent.

I also instituted physical ed class and got the boys to bike or take a long walk every day.

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After school team practice at Britannia

They got really good at it to the point they can go get ice-cream at Britannia beach by themselves.

We were not able to have friends over to the house, but some ducks came by for a few weeks.

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Houseguests

Since then we have been busy with home renos. The boys are somewhere between fighting and having the best time with each other. Trev made a list of things he wants to accomplish this summer and one of them is to get Markus to like him.

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Best frenemies

Trevor has been busy creating new things like train layouts and aquarium stands.

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Diarama

I was able to get back into randonneuring after a short break last year.

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Before the brevet

Film: Where did you go Bernadette

After absence of many years, this October we returned to the Adirondacks.

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We rented a lovely cabin a little away from Lake Placid and enjoyed almost a week of fun and relaxing.

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Our first order of business was hiking. We climbed Porter and Cascade peaks.

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The next day we checked out the Olympic village and hiked to Cobble Lookout.

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We checked out wild animal sanctuary and went rafting in the Ausable Chasm.

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Film: After the Wedding

There was an excellent turn out for Dan’s backcountry camping trip this year. The setup was similar to last year’s. We camped on Stratton Lake and made day trips to High Falls.

Heading out from Achray

Chris was not able to join us but Luisa stepped in plus Trev brought a friend. I was pleased to put all the kids in one canoe while Luisa and I paddled with most of the equipment.

On their own


The first couple of days the boys still required a lot of help handling the canoe. On the way in we ended up tying their canoe to ours in catamaran style and pulling them. The following days they required help when the wind pushed their canoe to the opposite shore. On the way back though, they passed with flying colours. They paddled with strength, planned their trip carefully and got to the destination first.

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Bailing practice

Every year there is too much of some animal. Mosquitos, snakes and chipmunks have all had their turns. This year was all about frogs. There were frogs everywhere!

Catching frogs

The funniest line of the trip was on the first day just after we landed at our campsite. We were greeted by a young couple from the neighbouring site. The boy had cut himself chopping wood (expert backcountry tip – don’t bring a hatchet, saw will do) and they did not have bandages. While we were helping them out the girl looked at our party and asked if we were a summer camp – no, we just had children!

Camp counsellors

Film: Farewell

During this trip to Croatia we visited many new-to-us places and concluded with some old favourites.

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In traditional Croatian restaurants they don’t bother bringing you the menu, you get a “Sta cete?” (what will you have?) as if you know what they serve – which you do – this. Lovely lunch at Mirni kut, Severin na Kupi

Gorski Kotar has been my favourite for the longest time, but usually we just buzz through it on our way to the coast. This year we made Begovo Razdolje our base for four days. The hills were the perfect place to hide form the massive heat wave. We ate wild strawberries for breakfast and rode up and down twisty logging roads. We climbed up to Bjelolasica and Samarske Stjene. We climbed down to source of Kupa and visited Lokvarka Cave.

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Someone is not a fan of hiking… But not me! Bjelolasica is gorgeous and full of wild roses.
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Spot all three boys and grandpa. Also the red and white trail blaze.
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Samarske stijene was kind of a surprise as the route was not marked and up until we got to the peak and read the sign, we were not sure where the trail was leading. Dida thought we were climbing Bijele Stijene and I was hoping to take to boys to Ratkovo skloniste. In any case, this was the first time to Samarske Stijene peak for all of us so a win anyway.
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While we were in Croatia there was a major heat wave. The source of Kupa is always at 7 degrees. Best air-conditioning ever.
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Caves also could not care less about heat wave. Or feeble attempts to take photographs. Markus was scared and almost did not go into the cave but in the end, it was his favourite of the trip.

For the coastal part of our vacation, we went to Tribunj. In Tribunj we swam, climbed rocks, caught sea creatures and walked a lot. We took a trip to NP Kornati and to Krka falls.

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From balcony to beach….
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In my days the donkey was real.
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I was glad to see the best things did not change. I could spend days exploring the rocks.

Zagreb is always fun. Markus was excited about climbing the Lotrscak tower, but did not want to go all the way up. Next time… Trevor enjoyed the density of the city and argued that Kanata would be more efficient if people lived in apartment buildings. Owen enjoyed a game of chess at the 80’s museum.

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Angry armoured owls.
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A very patient lion.
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I can’t play chess with Owen any more, he always wins.
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A hike on Sljeme was a great way to finish the trip.

Film: Yesterday

We went on some pretty neat trips this summer so let’s start with May and our visit to Connecticut. Nona has been wanting to take us to Groton for a while and we finally managed to get out there.

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We spent a lot of time at the Mystic Seaport Museum. Trevor found his inner sailor.

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At the beach Owen found the most crabs.

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After the dark wooden interior of the whaling ship, Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine was quite a contrast. Markus was scared to go below deck at first but the interest kept him going.

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And, of course, the aquarium.

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What an amazing trip!