The story behind my banner heads have been updated – adding four more to my banner rotation.
Source: A story behind each banner image
The story behind my banner heads have been updated – adding four more to my banner rotation.
Source: A story behind each banner image
I’ve added more images to my rotating header (what I especially like about this WordPress theme – aside from just a clean look). I have now 16 images that randomly rotate and appear at the top of my blog each time the page is refreshed.
Each of them have a story of their own:
Antigua and Barbuda – Our last port during our 2016 Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Regal Princess. This was a new port for us. We took the excursion to Sting Ray City and snorkeled over the coral reef and with the giant rays. We were fortunate to catch the sunset from our balcony. We watched the sun disappear behind a mountain peak.
Old Montreal – During March Break 2016, we stopped in Old Montreal for one night on our way back from skiing/boarding in Mont Sutton. I hadn’t been back in over a decade and it’s just as beautiful as I remembered it to be.
Third Street Promenade – Ah Santa Monica. My third and hopefully not my last visit. I was here December 2014 for business but each night, after dinner, I would walk the pier and Third Street Promenade. There was always live music which fit the mood of the beautiful Christmas lights.
Santa Monica Pier – I always stop and watch the indoor carousel every first visit to the pier. I have bad timing though – seems that whenever I go, the carousel is closed for the day or has been rented out for a private event. I simply just love old-style carousels.
Frozen – I took it just this morning (December 22nd, 2013) after a freezing rain storm which has swept across our city for the past couple of days. It finally will end sometime later today but the ice will probably remain for a bit. The branches were so heavy from the ice, one of our trees in the backyard split in half and our patio is now completely blocked off from part of that tree.
Rue D’ Baga – Snapped from our Port Orleans resort streets while we stayed in Disneyworld earlier this year. The street name was called, “Rue D’Baga” which was where our room was on.
Sea shells – This was from our last full day while visiting Ada and Hoa in Vancouver (while they were still living there). the sea shells were dangling from the deck just outside this little place called Go Fish. best fish taco’s ever!
The Roundhouse – Another photo from our Vancouver 2012 trip. We snapped this photo while just Doug, Chaeli and I were exploring randomly on our own through areas of downtown Vancouver – Gastown, water front and where this photo was taken, Yaletown.
Neys Park – Our first time using our little old trailer! we took a road trip to Thunder bay in 2011, tugging Doug’s late grandfather’s trailer back, while stopping at Neys Provincial Park to camp out for one night. It was a beautiful park but way too cold to enjoy once the sun set. I was glad it was only just for a night before we drove to a nice, warm motel in the Souix.
Rain on windshield – Taken during our little day trip to Niagara Falls on our 8th wedding anniversary. Yes, it was a rainy day but actually, it made for a nice, quiet day since not many people were traveling through the Niagara wine route.
Killbear Park – The next two photos were taken during our summer camping trip of 2010 in Killbear Provincial Park. Hobbes was only 3 1/2 months old and had only been with us for three weeks. And what happens? He encounters a black bear! [Edit: the first of the two has been taken out of rotation]
Peacocks – This particular image of three proud, male peacocks, was taken when we went to the zoo with Tai, B and their kids, M & E. It was their first trip to the zoo as a family. all the kids look so different now. I am favouring this one at the moment because of the beautiful, intense blue.
Northern California – These next two goes back to 2007 where Doug and I did an anniversary trip to San Francisco, Monterey Bay and Carmel. The trip also doubled as an excuse to visit friends who just had a baby girl. The below photo is part of the 17 Mile Drive, followed by another taken along Highway 1’s coast.
we spent this past cold weekend (the days were nice but our first night felt like it was just hovering above the 0 degrees mark – 2nd night was better but still chilly) camping at bronte creek provincial park.
thankfully, all sites were electrical, allowing us to use our little space heater in our trailer. we have one that has a safety feature – it automatically turns off if it gets tipped over. it actually had to be turned down to the low side – our trailer is so small, it doesn’t take much to heat it up! i ended up sleeping in just a t-shirt and underwear.
first of all, some photos of our weekend:
the leash-free dog park on the campground part of the park was actually a large area with trails that led us through a field, into a forest and a side trail leading down to the creek. a couple of loops around gives both dogs and humans a nice hike. it was very scenic.
the day-use area is a separate entrance to the park. there’s no way to go from campground to the day-use area except by driving outside of the provincial park and entering through another entrance (campground vehicle permit will let you get in the day-use area but not the other way around; i suppose this does give us campers more privacy). there’s also no way to cross over from one to another by foot or bike as the two areas are divided by the creek with no bridge. we were a little baffled by this set-up – it’s a little bit of a pain to get from one to another but the beauty of the park does make up for this small inconvenience.
anyway, we visited just the barn with the petting zoo – chaeli got a chance to pet and feed different animals, including a lone cow hovering by the fence just waiting for visitors to fetch the fruits dropped by a nearby pear tree as a cow-treat. poor chaeli’s hands are so small that no matter how flat she made her palm, the cow engulfed pretty much her entire hand, leaving a trail of slimy saliva all over! it happened to me too when it was my turn to feed the cow. they don’t have any top teeth so the experience isn’t painful – just a little gross.
sunday, after eating breakfast and packing up, we met ada and hoa at a nearby restaurant for lunch.
afterwards, they took us to the bruce trail’s river and ruins side trail for a 4.5 km hike which we completed in about 1 hr and 20 min. we’ve done one hike along another side trail of the bruce trail in the hamilton area which wasn’t too far from this trail – called the ray lowes side trail. i knew before the start of this hike, it would be a good one. not just because ada and hoa usually know how to pick the good ones, but because the trails around the burlington and hamilton areas are all just so gorgeous!
it definitely did not disappoint – the scenery and vegetation gradually changed as we made our way through the loop. it was still incredibly lush in some areas, especially parts of the trail that left the woods and was only small enough for a single file of hikers. i brushed through a lot of vines and floral-type, long stems and for awhile, felt like i was in some type of tropical rain forest.
the difficulty of the trail wasn’t too bad. i wouldn’t recommend it for those who are not in shape and/or beginner hikers as there are some inclines and declines with areas that can become quite slippery, especially if there’s been some recent precipitation. but it’s not too hard, either, as the tough spots are like short bursts followed by a steady plain for a longer stretch. the toughest part is really just the first decent down – which is always more tiring to climb back up at the end.
now about the park itself – it was kept really clean (well, it is in oakville) and definitely classified as a city park where people have the option of trying out camping without going too far from their homes. it’s perfect for this type of fall camping where we only go from friday night to sunday morning. the days are much shorter so we don’t have the luxury of arriving too late to set everything up. rather, it’s close enough for us to make it just as the sun starts to set, allowing us just enough time to stabilize and level off our 2-wheel trailer. barely enough time, though. just barely.
there are also grocery stores and restaurants all around the park within 5-10 minutes of an easy drive. we actually took advantage of this saturday morning where we were suppose to have cereal and fruit. but camping in the cold made us famished! i suppose all the extra energy went into our bodies trying to just generate heat to keep warm. luckily, our park map/magazine had a $5 coupon for coras. so… away we went.
i suppose the downside of this, as with all city parks, you risk getting the type of city people who don’t really understand park etiquette. i passed by one group that were throwing their water melon peels into the bushes surrounding their campsite. not only is this an act of littering (which one can be fined for) but it’s also leaving out edible trash for critters/wildlife (which one can also be fines for). luckily, we were not in bear country but still… it’s more pleasant to camp without the nuisance of racoons and skunks rummaging through the campground area.
but as oakville is a nice, family-style community, we were not bombarded with young (or older) city folks wanting to just come and find a place to party and drink excessively. most of our neighbours were families with young kids. so all in all, it was a successful camping trip. we would definitely use bronte creek again if we were looking for a close and quick get-away.
it’s not the same as it use to be, really, but still, when i woke up this morning, i could tell it was going to be a sunny day. and while doug is at work, i do my best to make the day productive.
mind you, i brought work home from the office and i haven’t even touched it. a part of me wondered if i should just skip the halloween festivities at the zoo this year but then another part of me said, screw it! why should my kid suffer because of the crap from work? plus, a quick look at the upcoming weeks is proving to be quite grey and wet. it’s not a for sure thing that this rain will still stick around come halloween but just in case, at least we get to do something with chaeli on a nice day.
there was one very cool exhibit. they had this creepy crawly cave display where they pulled out the best of the best of creepy-crawlies. many of these species are from behind the scenes and only pulled out during special exhibits.
the artic animals were very active today and chaeli insisted on visiting her favourite animal – the polar bear cub. here are photos she took from today:
this is what doug started to say for ‘zoo’ when chaeli was young. it was a way to say, “hey, think we should go to the zoo this weekend?” while around her so that she didn’t pick up on the word ‘zoo’ and get her hopes up in case we weren’t able to go.
of course, in the past couple of years, she knows that ‘ooz’ is just ‘zoo’ pronounced backwards. and now calling it ‘ooz’ has just become our thing.
while doug worked his sunday shift, that’s exactly where chaeli and i found ourselves yesterday morning. she came up just after 8:30am to wake me up. the zoo opens now at 9:30am (shorter hours past the summer season) so it was just enough time for us to get ready and head over for breakfast.
chaeli brought her digital camera and spent the hour and a half taking as many photos as possible, spending most of her time taking shots of the polar bear cub. he’s grown a bit but still so small compared to the three adults. and very cute with a whimsical, playful temperament.
of course, of the 100 or so photos, most of them came out too dark or blurry but i told her not to worry. we can weed them out later. so she took a few shots of certain animals or scenes to be on the safe side. in the end, about a third were actually quite good. so i opened up a flickr account for her and uploaded the photos to share with family.
here are some of the highlights:
we came home for a couple of hours before heading out to a library in our area – one of the many main ones in the city that happened to be open on sunday’s.
for chaeli’s grade 3 leading log, she went through four chapter books in two weeks. we do have a lot of books at home but with the rate she’s going, they won’t last her the school year. nor do we have that much space to continue purchasing books (and we don’t want to get carried away with how much we spend either). i will continue to buy some books from scholastics but going to the library is a great way to balance things out.
the usual library we usually go to does not open on sunday – this gave us an opportunity to try a different location. i’m glad we did. the entire first floor is dedicated to children and young readers with one section dedicated to early readers. it pretty much carried all chapter books and contained the perfect selection for grade 3 and 4 level reading.
chaeli chose three books which i think should last her for the next two weeks. she was quite excited – especially as she got to use her own library card and check out the books at the self-checkout area.
the rest of the day was spent with her reading and playing while i uploaded her zoo photos (and camping photos). as well, i read two chapters of tales of a fourth grade nothing (my own copy from when i was 9 – and i still have superfudge, too) before dinner plus another chapter of it before bed. we were also able to get in one UNO game done before bedtime.
it was a great mother-daughter day!