Friday, October 4, 2013

Backcountry Fun - The Massassauga

We had a great summer, but we weren't quite ready to let it go so we planned a backcountry canoe trip for the second weekend of September. Since Connell was teaching on Friday, the earliest we could leave was noon, so we wanted somewhere pretty close. We choose The Massassauga Provincial Park, which is about 3 hours from Kitchener. I had talked to a really helpful parks person, who recommended 3 sites in the park. One was too close to the put in, one was too far (Connell is going to this site this weekend with the guys) but the third was a perfect distance for us. It was a great recommendation, lots of flat rock which is nice for Finian, and a beautiful view of the lake.  

The view from our site.
Our campsite. We used two small tents again. Our new tent is well camouflaged.
It was cold the first evening and night but we knew the sun was coming the next day. It was a beautiful sunny, hot day. Fiacra and Ailbhe again did a lot of exploring on their own, this time with both whistles and bear bells, and a kayak each.

Fiacra and Ailbhe kayaking
Fiacra and Ailbhe exploring on foot
Finian has his own paddle, a birthday gift from friends. He loves being in the canoe, he sits, stands, and kneels in front of me and paddles away. We have been borrowing our friends' canoe, a 17 foot Royalex. We are on the lookout for a similar canoe, hopefully from Kijiji.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Backcountry Fun - Bayfield Inlet

We did our first family backcountry trip the last weekend of summer. Connell and I have done many backcountry hiking trips (although the last one we did was over 10 years ago - ridiculous what kids will do to you), Connell has done lots of guys' canoe trips and I have done one girls' kayak trip (this is an annual event but I have only gone once, okay one year we were in France (acceptable excuse), one year I was 9 months pregnant (again acceptable), but last year and this year my reasons were Finian related - sorry buddy, you're out of luck next year). So we were way overdue for a family backcountry trip.
Early morning departure, canoe on roof, kayak in the van
We put in at Bayfield Inlet on Georgian Bay and paddled for about an hour to reach Elm Tree Island. It's crown land, so you pick a spot and set up camp where ever looks good. We got some very heavy rain just as we arrived, but for the rest of the weekend the weather was lovely.

Our camp - we used two smaller tents rather than our large tent
Fiacra and Ailbhe spent a lot of time exploring and looking for treasures. We generally let them do what they liked, island hopping via the kayak and swimming. We realized (later) that whistles would be a good idea so that we would hear them if they got into trouble. Connell had given them a long rope to attach to the kayak. To get to an island, Fiacra would kayak as far as the rope would allow and then jump out and swim the rest. Ailbhe would haul in the kayak and then kayak over.

Ailbhe in the kayak, Fiacra holding the rope
At one point, we saw Ailbhe heading out into the main channel. There weren't a lot of boats passing by but definitely some. While they would certainly avoid a little girl in a bright yellow kayak, they likely wouldn't realize that she was trailing a rope with her brother at the other end. Connell yelled at Ailbhe to come back but she decided not to heed his advice. We knew Fiacra agreed with us when she passed us going backwards at a speed she doesn't usually attain in the kayak. I guess sometimes a rope is a good thing.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Family Fun - Week 18

Our New Year's resolution was to do at least one family activity or outing, just the five of us, every week this year. This is week 18 of family fun.

We usually do our family fun on a Sunday but Connell is leaving tomorrow morning for Ottawa, so this morning, we got up and out of the house early (for us on a Saturday). We biked to Centennial park, played in the playground, hung out by the river, went to see the animals in Waterloo park (there is a baby lama), and biked home. Something fun for everyone!

Fiacra was half way across the river when he decided to take his shoes off and throw them back to me so that they wouldn't get wet. He climbed up the far bank and waited for me to throw them back over to him, oops I guess he got wet shoes after all. When I apologized, he said he didn't mind, he was used to having wet sneakers at his running club. His running club embraces mud and wet and running through rivers - Fiacra loves it!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Family Fun - Week 17

Our New Year's resolution was to do at least one family activity or outing, just the five of us, every week this year. This is week 17 of family fun.

We haven't all been biking together yet this spring, Connell's bike was stolen last fall and he has just replaced it. Fiacra, Ailbhe, and Finian loved the idea of biking for ice cream as this week's family fun.

Ailbhe seems a lot stronger on her bike this year and is better able to keep up with Fiacra. Finian also likes his bike seat a lot more than he did last year. He chatters away the whole time, pointing out everything he sees. Last year he tended to slump down in the seat, his bike helmet was then pushed forwards into his face, making for an unhappy biker.

We are going to bike a lot this summer!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Family Fun - Week 16

Our New Year's resolution was to do at least one family activity or outing, just the five of us, every week this year. This is week 16 of family fun.

When we asked the kids what they wanted to do for this week's family fun, they said they knew exactly what they wanted to do, to go hiking at Synder's Flats. I'll never say no to hiking, so decision made.

As we were driving out there, we decided to stop and grab a snack at Tim Hortons, Finian was not happy. He was very quick to notice what we were doing and started yelling "not go to Tim's, I want to go hiking".

We went on a trail we hadn't been on before, it was wet and a bit muddy in parts but very enjoyable. I don't know how we have lived here for 8 years and only discovered Synder's Flats this spring. We love it there.

Family Fun - Week 15

Our New Year's resolution was to do at least one family activity or outing, just the five of us, every week this year. This is week 15 of family fun.

Fiacra wasn't feeling great today so we were looking for something fairly low-key to do. We have never gone bowling as a family so that seemed like a good choice for this week's family fun. We went to the Waterloo Bowling Lanes, which has lanes with bumpers so that the kids don't get non-stop gutter balls. Unfortunately, we were only able to get a lane with bumpers for the first half, and then had to change to a regular lane. So we all enjoyed the first half and four of us enjoyed the second half.

Fiacra got increasingly frustrated and upset with each gutter ball, and even his good bowls didn't cheer him up. As we were leaving, Connell and I said that this was actually a good reminder of how much Fiacra has matured because this kind of thing used to happen ALL the time, kind of ironic really!

Monday, April 29, 2013

House Update

We moved into our new house almost two weeks ago. We then spent a busy week putting the finishing touches on our old house before putting it on the market. We left most of the furniture in place and really just moved kids, kids' beds, toys, and kitchen essentials. We also completely emptied the basement and painted the walls and floors. It looked so good when the for sale sign went up and it was sold 4 days later. It worked out well for us having the overlap between the two houses.

Our house never looked this good when we lived there.

Sitting room
Dining room
Family room
Connell and my bedroom
Kids' bedroom
My office
We loved our realtor, Naomi Thompson, with Coldwell Banker. All of these photos were taken by James Leiper for the listing.

The closing date is in mid-June. Since moving, we have decided that we are going to immediately replace the kitchen, so we will move back into the old house while the renovation is taking place. We have 6 weeks to plan and renovate an old kitchen, yikes!