Wedding in the Country

With Chaeli staying with the grandparents, Doug and I went to the Saturday wedding of his co-worker’s. We booked a motel room for the night. Smart move on our part… since we left the wedding after 11pm, it was nice to be just minutes away from our rented room and bed.

Sacred Heart Church - Peterborough, ONThe couple had their wedding in their Catholic church. The ceremony was long, as is typical with most Catholic ceremonies. This one was about 75 minutes in length. We sat at the very back of this massive church (out of respect for their family and friends to have better seats) so it was difficult for me to follow. The father officiating the ceremony sounded a bit like the Swedish chef from The Muppets due to his slight accent, sound system and echoing acoustics inside.

I missed the vows and the announcement that they were husband and wife. :)

wedding decorationsnewly wedsThe reception was held at the banquet hall of their community hockey rink. It was a lovely affair. I enjoyed the decorations – nothing over the top but elegant in its simplicity. Despite the fact that I knew no one there (I hadn’t even had the chance to meet the groom until that day), I had a good time.

But by 10pm, I was very tired and ready to go to bed. I would say I was showing my age but there were people 10-20 years older than me that were partying way past the time we chose to leave (just after 11pm).

So my new theory is that these people don’t have children living with them anymore. They are past that stage of parenting and have gotten a second wind in life! Will this happen to us? When our kid leaves the nest, will we get this second wind? I sure hope so!

date night!I suppose Doug and I did have a date-night. It’s always nice to have a reason to dress up and be out with one’s spouse. When I think about the last 5 or 6 times we had a chance to dress up for a formal night, it always involved Chaeli and our family. Not that romantic. Whether it was for a family or family-friend wedding. Or on formal nights during the cruise we took last December.

This time, we didn’t know anyone hardly. So in a way we were pretty much on our own!

Historical downtown - Peterborough, ONSmoke trout crepes - Black Honey CafeWe slept in next morning (8:30am – that’s a luxury for me) and took our time getting up and getting ready. The motel did have a hot breakfast included so we decided to check it out. It was pretty horrible. But we managed to get down some breakfast sausages, some toast and some questionable egg ‘patties’. We’re pretty sure they were not real eggs. The coffee was so-so. But, we were hungry and needed just a little something to tie us over.

After checking out, we went to the downtown, historical area of Peterborough, which was also by the waterfront. It definitely had a lot of charm. Unfortunately, being on a Sunday and past the summer season, many attractions and stores were closed.

We did find the Black Honey Desserts cafe open and serving Sunday Brunch. Neither of us were hungry but we felt completely unsatisfied with the breakfast offered at our motel. Doug and I shared a beautifully prepared smoked trout and poached eggs crepe. It came with spring greens an the tastiest rosemary seasoned roasted potatoes I have ever had. I limited myself to just several pieces of the potatoes and had only a little of the crepe. But I definitely gobbled down the rest.

We also had two mugs of their delicious, fair-trade and organic coffee.

If you’re ever in Peterborough, do check this place out for brunch. Everything on their menu looked good! The ingredients were very fresh.

Cramming it all in!

As with any summer, this one was no different. The two months went by fast. For my last two weeks, I really did my best to keep my laptop closed (not entirely successful of this but was better than most previous weekends) and made sure to have some fun with my family and friends!

First of all, I made it top priority for Chaeli and I to have a mother-daughter day. We headed over to Unionville Main Street area for breakfast at Starbucks and then I surprised her with a princess manicure at Peace Valley Spa. I just got a shellac mani and regular pedi the day before. So I pampered myself with a 20 minute reflexology session. This is the same place I went to for my belated mother’s day gift with B.

breakfast at StarbucksPrincess Manicure with designAfterwards, we went to the Varley Art Gallery to take in some Group of Seven paintings. It’s a very small collection but still one I like to drop in from time to time. The admission is free with visitors’ choice to donate. I always do. I want to make sure this gallery stays open for these spur-of-the-moment inspirations!

Group of SevenEarlier in the weekend, we also took Hobbes to High Park for some exercise. I actually detest their off-leash dog park. In fact, I have started to not enjoy most except for ones that actually provide a trail. But that’s what’s great about High Park’s off-leash dog area. There is a place (more like a sandpit) to stand around in while your dog plays with other dogs. There’s also, however, an off-leash trail where people can walk with their dogs.

We made a full loop of that trail and then joined up with one of the normal trails to walk along one of their larger ponds before ending up at the zoo on the way back to the parking lot.

Maple Leaf shaped garden at High Parkhigh park pondIt’s become a yearly tradition to have fresh lobsters each summer. We would love to invite all our friends and family over at once but unfortunately, that would be way more than we could afford! :) So each year, we try to invite some different people over. This year, we invited my family to celebrate my aunt’s birthday, making the surf ‘n turf dinner as part of her birthday present.

No one was disappointed! Though Hobbes wasn’t too sure of these temporary house critters.

Maritine lobsters!For the very last day of August, we took the subway down to meet friends for the 2nd Open Streets Toronto event. What a great idea – closing off portions of two major streets for pedestrians only. The event was only for four hours which was, in my opinion, too short. But the organizer had a hard enough time convincing city council to even have this event in the first place.

It is a shame – on a Sunday morning this offers little inconveniences. If anything, it helps bring more business to the stores on these streets. And we really do need a chance to just enjoy the public transit and being able to walk around freely every now and then. It’s a great way to bring the community together!

Open Streets TorontoOpen Streets TorontoOpen Streets TorontoWe ended that evening meeting up with other friends for a walk at Cherry Beach Dog Park while the sun set. The next day, officially the last day of summer, our day was consumed with brunch, lots of coffee, reading, gaming, along with an hour hike thrown into the mix (The Rouge Woodland Trail).

Cherry Beach Dog Parklazy dayThroughout all this, Hobbes shows that while he’s a dog filled with adventure and excitement, he sure does know comfort. A pile of blankets or clothes can easily be made into a nest by him.

cockapoo dog

Camping at Sharbot Lake – July 2014

I’ve been a bad wife and a bad mother. I’ve been working so hard and focused so much on my new projects at work (both exciting and stressful at the same time) that I wanted to do a stay-cation and work part time from home. Mind you, I did plan on making sure we did fun things during the day but I figured I would still wake up at the same time every morning, head to the gym while everyone slept so I could join them for breakfast or brunch when they woke. Then we would do something fun in the city (or just outside the city). Work would have been when we got home before dinner and after dinner. Or after breakfast if we were having a late start of the day.

But my husband put a stop to this mad way of thinking. He asked what the point of a vacation was if I wasn’t really going to take a true break from work? Yes, he had a point. This is a special year though as we re-build and re-brand ourselves in so many ways. Being the new marketing manager makes me pretty much accountable for all of this.

And so, he convinced me to go camping for a few days. There’s no WIFI during camping and therefore, no way for me to connect.

Now, I do have my Asana app which links me to my team. Any updates on our projects would be notified to me through this app. Yet my boss, the VP, gave me orders to not do any work or think about work. He must have told this to the rest of the team because I received no notifications until Sunday, the day before heading back to the office.

Anyway, we found ourselves at Sharbot Lake, thankful we were able to get a great site since we were going mid-week. It was so beautiful and we definitely plan to head back there again.

Sharbot LakeWe spent one day hiking the Discovery Trail. While only just over 2 km which is nothing compared to the usual distance we hike now, the terrain was on the more rugged side which I love! It also walked us through several different types of scenery and landscapes. Chaeli noted that this made the whole hike much more interesting as we got to see many things.

Sharbot Lake camping - toadWe encountered a lot of different wildlife – all small types, though. The first morning, Doug nearly stepped on a toad just outside our trailer. I picked it up and gave it over to Chaeli to release in the woods. Hobbes got a chance to sniff (and lick) it. I am guessing toads give off a bitter taste as part of their defense mechanism because Hobbes backed up quickly and shook his head vigorously in disgust.

Hobbes encountered many squirrels and chipmunks – including one that came running across our campsite. It probably did not see Hobbes or maybe it was on a suicide mission because Hobbes, waiting for the right moment, pounced without a sound and intersected the poor squirrel. The squirrel was unharmed but did get flipped into the air before it scurried away and ran up a tree – making a lot of noise along the way!

trailer campingChaeli was wiped every night we were there. Not only did we remain fairly active, but she also would join the neighbouring kids for a game of soccer or tag whenever they gathered in the big field behind our camp site. It was an ideal spot for us because she was constantly in our view.

camping foodcamping foodI always tell people – just because we’re camping doesn’t mean we have to rely on just hot dogs and canned food. And because of my diabetes, I have to remain healthy even while vacationing, camping or not.

Luckily, we have an electric cooler and we were staying at a hydro site. This made packing mixed spring greens easier, as well as other veggies. I prepared all the veggies before leaving though – I cut up carrots, celery, bell peppers, cauliflower and broccoli then threwg them into Ziplock bags the day before we left. This allowed also for easy snacking access for healthier food options.

And nothing compares to a thick, juicy steak that’s grilled over an open flame.

Sharbot Lake fishingWe spent one afternoon canoeing and fishing. But none of us had even a nibble. It was pathetic.

The next day, just for a last attempt, Doug took Chaeli to the unused campsite across from us which was next to the lake. They just stayed on shore to cast their line in. While Doug caught some very small fish he released right away, Chaeli snagged this 2lb Large Mouth Bass with just her dinky Mickey Mouse rod we bought for her from Canadian Tire of all places!

Sharbot Lake canoeingIt was a great vacation. We arrived home Friday afternoon which still gave me a couple of days for a mini-stay-cation to round up my week off. I managed not to log on my laptop for at least two days after we made it home but did check email Sunday late afternoon (I knew I would have a lot of emails and just wanted to start filtering out all the junk and reading some important emails).

Morning Hugs

In the morning, when it’s me who has to wake up Chaeli for the day, I always try to wake her up with a hug.

She’s not too far off from what I’m like in the morning. I do have the discipline of waking up early but I do it my own way. If some one wakes me up, they better tread lightly?

This morning, when I sat next to her on her bed and gave a soft, singing, “Good mooooorniiiing…” she replied back with eyes closed, “Morning hug… I like my morning hugs.” And so as usual she slowly sat up and we embraced each other, giving her a chance to adjust herself to having to get up.

She then whispered, “I love you, mommy.”

I think that was better than a cup of coffee.

Downtown Toronto, Patio Time and First TFC Game

downtown toronto

I will say, it was a wonderful feeling heading downtown again. I know it’s not been that long since we’ve been but it certainly feels like it’s been awhile. I know I’m biased, but I always feel at home when I’m greeted by my Toronto city line.

Cadillac Lounge patio

I won’t ever go back here for food. We ordered ribs and wings. While they boasted their wings to be really big a meaty, I couldn’t help but wonder what the point of it being meaty was if it was going to be so rubbery. The ribs were so-so. Smoked flavour didn’t really shine through and it wasn’t very tender either. I ordered a grilled Portobello sandwich which was suppose to come with a salad and on top of that, you could pay to sub the fries for more another type of salad. I was expecting two small side salads but I only got one. When the food arrived, I inquired but was told that I only get one. I didn’t both to ask to see the menu again as I was sure I was right. I should have.

And as you might have guessed, the service wasn’t so good either. Our waitress was horrible.

The patio environment, however, was great. And if you’re looking for a place to grab a drink and a light snack, or listen to the live band, definitely check this place out. But be warned about the food.

cadillac lounge patio

cadillac lounge patio

We arrived at the BMO Field for some free time just to soak in the atmosphere. I must say, there is a certain charm with a smaller stadium. The intimacy of the energy is much more noticeable. And they were right – while we had decent seats that were centre and mid-level, the view of the field can be taken in quite well regardless of where one sits.

BMO Field

Toronto FC CapPerhaps what made it an even more special night was the score – 4:2 for Toronto against the Houston Dynamo’s!

Toronto FCWhat a great evening. We’ll definitely return next year!

And while we were gone, our faithful dog guarded the house from squirrels.

dog spotting squirrel