What We’ve Been Up To – Summer 2017 Recap

We’re well into fall now and I can’t really believe that it is already halfway (or more) through September so this post is a little behind but I figure better late than never.

Summer always seems to fly by – this was my 5th summer off (thanks teaching job!) but I’m still amazed at how fast the time seems to go, even when you have every day as vacation. This summer Jon was off too and that gave us time for some big adventures (California! Victoria!), but we kept it pretty low key when it has come to the smaller adventures and seemed to do less than normal.

Lawn bowling kept us very busy – almost too busy. Both of us earned spots on our provincial team this year and while that cut down on the number of times we had to travel to Edmonton, it meant that we spent at lot of time on greens practicing. We’ve been pretty lucky that the lawn bowling community has basically adopted our child – he’s got grannies and aunties and sometimes strangers who want to cuddle and hangout while we bowl which makes it possible for both of us to play.

Just another day of practice

Being on the provincial team meant we had the chance to represent Alberta at the Canadian Lawn Bowling Championships in Victoria, BC and spent a week competing there which took up a large part of August but was a ton of fun!

Our house always has at least one home repair going on and this summer we tackled some outdoor landscaping projects. They started quite small and grew into larger projects that we still haven’t finished. Luckily Jon is off this September and has been working to finish them! Then he’s got a huge list of indoor projects to keep him busy…

In the early states of landscaping

After a disappointing start (I had to plant my bean seedlings three times before enough grew) our garden finally kicked it into gear in August and was overflowing the beds! While we have nothing like we used to have at the old house was enough stuff growing now that we had big leafy salads, fresh beans, herbs and lots of sautéed greens.

Our back alley raspberry patch and our sour cherry tree were also super productive. We managed to harvest almost all of the raspberries but our tree just has so many cherries that I wasn’t able to keep up. We definitely had some delicious raspberry pies and sour cherry cobblers more often than we maybe should have.

There were a few mornings where I ate sour cherry cobbler and yogurt for breakfast…
Our back alley raspberries were very productive this year
I don’t think the white ones taste as good as the red but they are all so pretty

And what about that summer bucket list? We managed to do almost everything on it at least one but I would have liked to spend a little more time hiking and camping since we only did those once.

  • take the little guy camping – check! One night at Bow Valley was all we squeezed it but I’m still pretty happy we got out.
  • Go for a paddle – I’d hoped we get out for an actual trip but I’m still happy that we did lots of paddling at the lake this summer.
Sunset paddles
  • Go hiking – we did a very short hike while camping but that was it.
  • Use the smoker – and try something new (I’m thinking a smoked cheese?) – sort of since I did smoke a brisket (and it was perfect)  but not a new item
  • Play in the river – we did a little bit but it was often too hot to walk down
  • Get our front flower beds redone – nope
  • Finally chop down the rest of the apple tree – nope
  • Have a camp fire – while we were camping we managed to cross this off but then the fire ban sort of put an end to this one
  • Take another family vacation at the cabin – yes! it was lovely and relaxing
  • Have a picnic – finally! We had burgers and slurpies (see below) in the park by our house.
  • Drink all the slurpies – I had more this year than I’ve had in a while and my favourite was definitely this apple cider one from Sea Cider while we were in Victoria.

And while I’d hoped we do some more adventurous things, looking back we had a pretty fun time. I know next summer will be totally different (a mobile little one will make a few things more challenging) so I’m glad we all got to share this first summer together as a family.

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One More Summer Vacation

We decided to squeeze in one more summer get-away – four days at the cabin to cap off our summer and soak up the sunshine before heading back to work/school/daycare. We didn’t do anything other than relax at the cabin – but why would you leave when it looks like this?

Baby E played in his portable pod, had his first swim in the lake and attempted to drink a slurpee.

Last time we went to the cabin he screamed when I dipped his toes in – this time he was all smiles
He tried hard but couldn’t figure it out
Right now it is all about putting things into his mouth

I swam, went paddle boarding and read several books.

And while I haven’t been able to cross everything off my summer bucket list, we definitely got a lot of paddling in with a before bed trip out on the lake each night. Every night we were able to go a little longer so I’ve hopeful that next summer we’re going to make it out for a day long adventure!

He doesn’t always think canoeing is super exciting

While I know we’ve still got lots of adventures ahead of us (September can be such a lovely month) I’ve going to miss having our lazy summer days off as a family. I’m already looking forward to next summer.

 

Visiting Victoria – Bowling and Travel

I’ve been lucky enough to head to Vancouver Island the past two springs with school (I missed out this year since I was pregnant with the little guy) but Jon and I haven’t been out for a real visit in several years. In fact, we both had a hard time remembering exactly what we did last time we went out to Victoria just to visit (which was either 2003, or 2004 – we’re both a little fuzzy on the details).  So when we found out we would get a chance to travel to Victoria for the Canadian Lawn Bowling Championships we decided to tack on a few extra days and do some sight seeing as well as bowling (and of course Baby E came along for another family trip).

We were lucky to have some free accommodations in Oak Bay for a few days before competition started so we based ourselves out of there for our fun days. We had an early morning flight from Calgary that was delayed by over an hour and a baby who hadn’t slept since 4 am so we decided to spent what was left of our first day just exploring the beaches in Oak Bay.

Hanging out on the beach – E even dipped his toes in the ocean
Just like Dad

Feeling slightly less tired on day 2 we started off with an early(ish) visit to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Victoria waterfront. We parked at the wharf ($3 for two hours) and then walked the seaside path as far as Munro’s Books. We have started a tradition of purchasing Baby E a book about each place we visit when we travel so we spent some time picking out the perfect West Coast book for his collection before walking back.

Colourful floating houses at Fisherman’s Wharf
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A quick stop to the parliament buildings
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We had a picnic lunch near the wharf before heading out of the city to visit Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Site. We’ve actually been avoiding visiting parks and historic sites this year (with free entry everything is really busy) but the site was really quiet and we spent an hour or so wandering around. The site is only a few minutes from the lawn bowling greens so we stopped in to check things out and roll a few bowls.

We had the lighthouse all to ourselves

On our final day of just vacation we tidied up our condo (and did a quick load of laundry) before doing some practice at the lawn bowling greens. Then we headed north out of the city to sample ciders at Sea Cider. It was chilly so we sampled in the tasting room but they also have a patio that looks out over the orchard.

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Since we had to pick up Gramps at the airport we decided to spend what was left of our afternoon walking in Sidney. There is a nice waterfront trail so we loaded baby E into his stroller and enjoyed just being by the ocean.

We grabbed Gramps from the airport and after a quick dinner in Sidney headed to our hotel to meet up with our team. We had practice and check in the next day and then it was on to six day of competition. Some people manage to do other things while competing but with the baby we found it busy enough to manage him and get ourselves ready to play.

Even E had a team Alberta uniform
Jon out on the greens

This was our first trip to nationals as players (I umped last year when it was hosted in Edmonton) and it was quite the experience. Things wrapped up with finals on Saturday (my team won a bronze!) and then it was back home to Calgary.

The whole family – we were the only competitors there with a baby

We still have a bit more lawn bowling left this summer/fall (Jon is off to Winnipeg in week for more competition) but Victoria was likely our last longer trip for a while since I’m heading back to work soon. I’m glad we got to spend the time together and squeeze in another family trip in what has already been a busy summer!

Summer 2017 Bucket List

We’ve got scorching temperatures and the whole family is on vacation – summer is here!

We kicked off July with a trip out to the cabin. It was warm and relaxing and Baby Scotch got smothered with attention.

Jon out for a swim
Hammock time with Dad
Just before I dipped his toes in the lake and he lost his mind
Not too sure about this canoeing thing

Now that it is summer and we’re both off, we’ve got lots of things we want to do. Some are fun and some are more chores but I’m excited to tackle both. There are lots of things we’d usually do in a summer (go for a long bike ride, backpack into the mountains) that we’re not going to do this summer with the little guy but there are lots of things that are way more fun now that he’s here (like hanging out in our yard) so I’m OK with it.

Here’s our 2017 Summer Bucket List:

  • Take the little guy camping
  • Go for a paddle
  • Go hiking
  • Use the smoker – and try something new (I’m thinking a smoked cheese?)
  • Play in the river
  • Get our front flower beds redone
  • Finally chop down the rest of the apple tree
  • Have a camp fire
  • Take another family vacation at the cabin
  • Have a picnic
  • Drink all the slurpies

Like all good lists, I hope that we can do more but I think this is a good start to a summer!

Random Friday Thoughts

Man, I feel like I have some much that I need/want to do and there just are not enough naps in the day to get everything done. Besides a hundred things around the house,  I’ve got a ton of blog posts waiting to be written about our trip, how Baby S is doing these days and our home repairs. While those are in the works, here is a quick catch up about everything else that I’ve been up to and what I’m looking forward to.

I finally started working out again post-pregnancy.

It’s been over 10 weeks since the little guy joined us and I finally got my act together enough to start working out again. While I was able to walk right up until he was born (I even went for a 20 minute dog walk during labour to help things along) and started walking again the day after, it has been quite a while since I’ve worked out (some time in the third trimester I gave it up).  My workouts are still a far cry from my pre-pregnancy workouts but are definitely a step in the right direction.

My plan for June is to work out at least every second day doing weights and a ride on my trainer. In July and August I’ll start adding back in some P90X and hopefully by September be back to running and working out consistently 5 days a week. Then we’ll have to see how I can fit it in while being back at work and a mom. Right now I’m fitting my workouts in during naps so sometimes it can take me all afternoon to fit it in.

I fit in (most of) my pre-pregnancy clothes!

Working out (and so many other things) are easier because I fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes again! They don’t fit exactly the way they used to (I’ve still got about 9 lbs hanging around that I don’t really want) but I’m OK with that. I haven’t tried everything on and I know there are some things that won’t be wearable for a while but having most of my wardrobe back has been great.

I got our garden planted – for the second time

Before we left for our vacation I planted beans, lettuce, chard and kale and set up my sprinkler systems to look after everything while we were gone. Three weeks later and only the kale and some of the chard has sprouted. I’ve been using the seeds that we bought in 2012 so I think that maybe they have reached their expiry date!

Last weekend we went to the garden centre and I bought a few packages of seeds to fill in the gaps and a couple of mature kale and squash plants. We’re keeping the garden really simple this year – just lettuce, two kinds of kale, swiss chard, two kinds of bean and a spaghetti squash. These tend to be the veggies that are most successful and that we use the most of so I figured they would be the best bang for our buck with the limited space and time we have.

In just a few weeks Jon will be off with me for the summer

He doesn’t normally get the summer off with his job but we decided to take concurrent parental leave and have a summer together. We’ll both go back to work in the fall but for the next few months we’re going to enjoy it! Yes we will be as poor as we were when we were students but having two months off together isn’t something we’ll probably do again for a long time. We have no big plans (California was our big trip for the year) but we’re hoping to get out camping and hiking during the week to avoid some of the crowds.