Monday, July 27, 2009


Originally uploaded by tjrossignol
The sunset at Crescent Beach on Saturday July 25th. Couldn't get any great shots of the lightning. But caught this shot before the sun went down.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Staying active with a toddler

Okay so the title is a bit of a misnomer - you never stand still when you have a toddler. And I am constantly running after him, but I'm struggling to find ways to stay fit and active myself.

I've never considered myself an athlete. Even when I was competing in figure skating. I pretty much skated as soon as I could walk. I have pictures of me in skates on ice when I'm sure I couldn't even say skates yet. I probably spent at least 5-10 hours in a rink a week. I took ballet to help my skating. I never went to camp, I was always attending summer 'skating' school. Never felt I missed out as all our friends were also skaters (except maybe at University when I realized how many drinking songs are learnt at camp). I skated for about 18 years. But I never thought of myself as an athlete.

My problem was what to replace that activity with once I quit. At University I never gave it a thought. It wasn't until I was in the work world that I realized I needed something. So I did what every other young person in their 20's does in TO - I joined a gym. Hated the gym, but went. Until I finally discovered salsa. It was a great way to exercise, learn something fun and socialize. When I moved out West in 99 other social dances replaced salsa, finally landing me in lindy hop (swing). In 2000 I added pilates to my life and didn't look back. I will admit to a short stint back at the gym, when I was travelling too much with work to dance regularly. But generally dance became my active outlet.

I met my husband swing dancing. And while we danced less after we got married it was still a big part of our lives. I've never been skinny, but I've always loved activity for exercise to keep my heart healthy and the stress release. And dancing let us be social at the same time. We'd travel to dance - weekends full of live bands, late night dancing, daytime sleeping. LOVE it. I've danced in New Orleans, Chicago, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Seattle, Portland, Victoria, Port Townsend, San Fran and of course Vancouver. I've even attended full week swing dance camps.

Even after I was pregnant I still danced and did my pilates. I was dancing 3 days before I went into labour. And I had to call while I was in labour to tell the pilates studio I wouldn't make my class that night.

Even in the year or so after the little guy was born I planned out time for me to get some exercise. I took up salsa babies. And once a week Dad was in charge so I could go to pilates. Then came swimming lessons instead of salsa babies. And in January I switched things up and tried Nia. It was a great blend of dance, yoga, marshal arts. I loved it.

Then my hubbie had his skiing accident. I couldn't leave him with the toddler alone for several weeks, and then I was trying to balance a bunch of networking, my volunteer work meetings and my hubbie's new schedule and next thing I knew I hadn't done any real exercise in 3 months.

NowI feel grumpy, pudgy and soft in the middle. I know a lot of moms run. But after 18 years of skating my tendons and knees aren't up to running. But I know I need to find a solution to this problem sooner than later. Because it isn't going to get any easier once I go back to work.

My little guy has gymnastics, karate, the park, etc. What about me? Thoughts? Suggestions? Offers of free babysitting so I can go dancing???

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bouncy castles & more weekend fun

We won a family pass for the Agoo Kids Active Day at the Kits rink for Saturday, from @savvymomvan I had heard a lot of great things about Bobs & Lolo and thought our little guy would LOVE it. Plus proceeds went to Canucks Place. So we packed up the family, failing once again to leave the house before 10:30 and headed off for some active fun.

Our little guy is only 22 months, so when we saw all the HUGE bouncy castles we were a bit concerned about how much there would be for him to do. Especially after he got into the first one and wanted right out again. Thankfully he was just bored and was easily amused in the next one. But most of them were just a bit too big for him to go in by himself. But we quickly figured out that my rather slender husband could easily accompany him into the larger ones and the two of them had a ball. The HUGE slide - with a massive skier on the top, was the favourite. Closely followed by a sort of obstacle course with another slide at the end. They went again, and again, and again. My job - carry all the bags and take pictures. Not a bad gig if you can get it. Not sure who had a better time the little guy or my hubbie. But both naps really well in the afternoon.

The giggle of the day was some of the outfits. Not sure some of the moms did the math when they got dressed that the activities would include a Phoenix gym circuit, helping kids up and down off bouncy castles, and potentially sitting on the floor to watch the show. Although we didn't see any of the men complaining.

Our disappointment was that the schedule was not posted online and the Bobs & Lolo show was scheduled for 2pm, with pix from 12:20 - 1:30. We got around 10:45am. And with a guy under 2 we had about an 1.5-2 hour window before he would tire out. Plus he is ready to nap by 1:30. So we had a great time, but were sad to leave at 12:30 and miss the best part of the entertainment.

Also had a comment from my hubbie about the amount of text messaging & cell phone usage by the staff 'working' on the different bouncy castles. I guess it gets boring watching kids all day, but that is afterall what they are being paid to do.

Kids Farmer's Market

It is funny how you don't go to a place for years and then you are there twice in a weekend. We returned on Sunday to the Kits Community Centre for the Farmer's market. We started with a quick tour around the stalls to discuss what was available, we saw some familiar vendors (we usually go to Trout Lake). So I headed to the swings with the little guy and dad went shopping. Dad did very well, lots of fresh stuff like apricots, summer squash, potatoes, tomatoes, radishes, zucchini, etc. The only downside was he bought a whole flat of blueberries & raspberries. I LOVE me some berries, but I figured a flat is going to be a challenge. After a few hours at home, I'm thinking it might be gone by tomorrow. Call us berry pigs!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Riding Bikes

I don't remember learning to ride my bike or my first bike. But I used to love to ride my bike when I was a kid. Now of course I lived in Saskatchewan at the time, and there was lots of safe places for me to ride in our nice residential neighbourhood. We rode to school, the park, our friend's house or all over the place just for fun. They were our tickets to freedom.

The first bike I remember had these huge banana steering handles, and I had these great flowing sparkling things hanging out the end, plus some coloured bits on my spokes. Totally fantastic and very popular in the 70's. And then came the magical day that I took over my Dad's 10-speed. A 10-speed. How fantastic. I felt like such an adult.

Just as puberty was starting to set in we moved to Ottawa. The few blocks around us were pretty quiet so I could ride to a friend's house or along the river. But to get anywhere useful you had to cross the 'bridge' across the Rideau River. It had no extra room for bikes, a skinny sidewalk, and a HUGE curb. Was certainly NOT bike friendly. So with the combination of body changes, falling over that stupid curb one too many times, and getting old enough to take the bus across time by myself - I stopped riding my bike.

Today, I look at my little son and know he will LOVE riding the same as I did as a kid. We have been eying those balance bikes and hoping that the Grandparents will get him one for his birthday. And then I saw the contest on 5 minutes for mom where we could win one. No banana handles, but hey you can't have everything. Check them out here

Wish us luck!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What I learned on vacation

We just returned from a vacation to visit the out-laws in Alberta - vacation included camping (car camping in a tent for us, trailers for most of the rest of the family) and then some stampeding in Calgary. We've done long trips with the little guy before, but this was the first long car trip now that he is a full fledged toddler.

Lessons learned:

  • Your heart can stop for just an instant when you see an Elk standing on the shoulder at dusk. And then it pumps twice as hard once it starts again.

  • MUST always bring bro-in-law who owns a coffee roastery camping. He made the most heavenly coffee everyday. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I couldn't wait for the coffee to be ready everyday. He tried out different beans on us each day, and on the darker roast days I did add a bit of bailey's. But there is nothing like a great bean, ground right, brewed right and sipped under in a lawn chair outside your tent. (coffee company is Fratello if you want to try it out).

  • Good idea to bring a generator just in case the battery in your trailer runs out. Or to grind coffee everyday.

  • You can eat very well when camping... can anyone say eggs benny for breakfast.

  • The environmental thinking campers who brought their own plates do more dishes than the red neck Albertans who use paper.

  • The girls can ROCK at poker. Out of 12 players, last 2 standing were women. Last one standing = ME!!!!!!

  • The toddler will pick the 'best' possible day to launch his first escape out of his sleep tent and then the pack n'play.

  • You can never bring enough toys.

  • The bath water in the large rubbermaid bin can be used for a foot bath after the kids have had their bath.

  • Always keep at least one toy hidden for the return trip home - no matter how bored your child gets it will always be worse 6 hours into a 12 hour drive home. Keep it hidden.

  • You can do cloth diapers while camping. Just be sure to launder at the camp or town laundromat during a quiet period (and remember your laundry line, thankfully for me my father-in-law had some extra rope).

  • No matter how cold it is at the camp site it is always HOT HOT HOT at Dinosaur Provincial Park.

  • Rockets are still fun at any age. So are remote controlled planes - unless you crash it into a tree.
  • It is possible for a 22 month (who hasn't pooped in 2 days) to clog a low flow toilet. So much for water conservation when you have to flush it a thousand times and plunge.

  • Your 22 month old CAN stay focused for 2 hours at the Calgary Stampede Parade.

  • Omi does in fact make the best muffins.

  • If you plan your driving around your toddler's normal sleep times, he will sleep when he damn well pleases. So plan your drive home around your own schedule. Toddler still does what he wants, but we got a great lunch in Field, BC at Truffle Pigs.

  • No matter how long you've been driving, the craziest hour driving with a toddler is the hour before dinner.

  • I forgot how cool and scary those Alberta thunder/hail storms could be.
But the best lesson of all is that you can survive a vacation with your in-laws, and actually have a little bit of fun (and yes my in-laws do read my blog and yes I still kiss-up).