Hibernation is for the Bears

One thing Doug has taught me over the many years we’ve been together is to not let winter be an excuse for staying in.

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Snowshoeing through the Rouge

This wasn’t the easiest concept for me to adapt to. Before I met Doug, going out for winter meant I sacrificed warmth by lining up at the nightclubs wearing very little under my coat. That was the extent of what it meant to me to ‘be outdoors’ during the winter months.

Sure, on the occasion, my friends and I would go snowboarding (on the very few occasion). Otherwise, adventuring outdoors in the the winter time really mean running from the car to either a club or a restaurant.

It’s different now. And yes, I will be completely honest – there are times I still rather stay in and remain all cozy while the winter wind howls or the snow fall comes down rapidly. After all, I have fuzzy sucks, my pj’s, an endless amount of hot tea I could make, plus a novel. And I can enjoy all this in front of the bay window at the front of our house while watching the beauty of winter from my safe world inside.

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Hobbes-the-Dog loves the snow – but he often collects snowballs up and down his legs!

I’ve learned, however, the shorter days of winter can deplete me of energy. I’m more likely to suffer from depression during the winter months. Staying indoor, essentially, can actually do worse for my mental health.

So, we try. We try our best to go out as a family, get some fresh air and exercise, and enjoy the beautiful scenery winter has to offer.

It works. I often come back feeling relaxed. And the cool air makes me feel rejuvenated. The silver-lining is we’re hopefully laying a path in shaping Chaeli’s future. She may not appreciate it now but I hope one can she can look back with fond memories of all our adventures and realize, herself, she should not let winter keep her from the great outdoors.

Hobbes the Dog had a good loot, too!

After posting our Xmas 2016 Loot post, I clearly forgot to add the most important family member of all.

Well, sometimes it seems like he feels he is the most important one of us all.

So here was Hobbes’ top 5 fave Christmas presents:

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Hobbes’ top 5 Christmas presents

  1. Kong Squeezz Ball – He actually has a red one but since he loved it so much, we figured he would get a blue version. And yes he did go crazy over it (from Santa)
  2. Top Paw® Hedgehog – This was probably his second favourite next to the Kong Ball (from Chaeli)
  3. Natural Balance Biscuits – He actually received two different kinds; Sweet Potato & Venison and Sweet Potato & Chicken. Hobbes is picky when it comes to dog treats. Being on a raw diet he prefers the real deal but for whatever reason, this is the only dog biscuit he will eat (venison version from in-laws; chicken version from Doug and myself)
  4. Stuffless Fox – Hobbes already has this one but he has no problem having another (see below of him cuddling with his newer version) (from my in-laws)
  5. ETTA Says Dehydrated Meat Sticks – Natural and dehydrated, he received deer, duck and rabbit (from various family members)

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Proudest Moment as a Mother

When I think back to all the times I have been proud of my child, all were pretty much explainable… not being afraid of being separated from me on her first day of pre-school, learning to ride a bike on her own, report card after report card of mostly A’s (usually no more than one B – in French), academic awards, being a natural at the trumpet, finding her love for skiing, showing her compassion and generosity to her friend who gets picked on a lot, etc.

The list goes on.

None of this, however, compares to something which happened this past week.

It was what happened during her Science Fair (or STEM project which they call it now) presentation. Yes – of course I was proud of her project. And her presentation which went pretty smoothly. This time, it was more about how she handled the Q&A session at the end of her presentation. More to the point, how she handled one conceited, egotistical, annoying, know-it-all girl, whom I only needed to spend about 30 seconds with at my daughter’s birthday party this year to sum up my thoughts on her (i.e. “I really do not like this kid”).

My kid’s project was on the human’s short term memory and the studies based on the fact in which humans’ have a harder time remembering (or taking in new information) greater than three, on average. “Average” being the key word.

And yes, the studies have shown that the average can range between three and seven for short term memory. Point is, her project was basing it on the lowest common denominator – which was the number 3. Of which the data she collected when testing human subjects, proved her point.

Anyway – the know-it-all brat of course, had to point out that she read somewhere, that seven was actually recorded as the maximum number of ‘content’ a person can remember at one time.

Of course she had to point that out. She always likes to point out what she knows in any situation where it makes another person feel small.

Rather than getting upset, my kid looked at her and said, firmly, “Yes. So what is your question.”

My husband and I responded, “You said that???”

“Yes,” She said, “She was being annoying.”

“Right on! High five!”

“What?”

“High five, man! She deserved it!”

“I also went back to explain some studies showed it could be up to 7 remembered things… but that my project was based on three.”

“So did she say anything back?”

“No. That made her shut up.”

So this… this is the proudest moment I have ever had in my life as a parent.

I know she was showing a bit of attitude back to this kid. I know, perhaps, she wasn’t  being the kindest, and I’m sure the teachers would disagree with me – they would say that she should have been more diplomatic. But I don’t care. This is real life. And sometimes she needs to put these types of people in their face and to send that message not to mess with her.

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.

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