Friday, July 18, 2014

A decade

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On July 10th J and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. And by celebrated I mean it was a regular day but we got to go out for dinner together.

Today we leave for Montreal just the two of us. January 2009 was our last trip together without the kids if you don't count the times we've gone snowboarding for a morning or afternoon.

We have no plans but I'm excited to explore, sleep as long as I want, eat wherever and whenever we want, and do some fun things.

Happy anniversary to us!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Leaning In ~ Book 26/50 for 2014

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Reading while the kids play is totally leaning in.

Sheryl Sandberg is an impressive woman. She's currently working at Facebook but has been at Google too. In her book she talks about why we need more women in leadership roles and how this will benefit everybody. She makes point after point about feminism and how women are not only in a battle with men but in battle with themselves and their subconscious. We hold ourselves back. We, women and men, treat women differently, and that has to change.

She talks about how women in past generations fought hard for us to have choices, and now many women choose to stay home with their children, but many more choose to work. This book made me really question why I stay home... did I do it for myself or for my kids? Was I subconsciously scared of leaning into my career?

I might have been, though I've used my time off to build a business doing something that I feel called to. I get to support women during a life changing event. I don't know what Sheryl thinks of the doula profession because she talks almost exclusively about corporate jobs, but I know I feel good about the direction things have gone and the choices I've made, even if I may not completely understand my motivations. Lean In was a good read.

Up next: Life After Life

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rainy day outing to the plane museum ~ summer bucket list

After a full day at the water park, it's all I can do to hit publish before going to bed. If my kids would ever fall asleep that is.

When I made our summer bucket list I knew that some of our activities would be for rainy days. It's hard to jusitfy spending money to be inside on a really nice day when we could be hanging out in the backyard with the pool and slip-n-slide. Sunday was pretty grey and I knew the kids wouldn't be getting outside to use up any energy so I packed them up and headed to the plane museum.

We used to have a membership to 3 Ottawa museums, but the Aviation and Space Museum was the one we went to least often. Mostly because it's the farthest from our house, but also because the farm has animals and an awesome park, and the train museum has trains. Trains! We don't have our membership anymore but I had a family pass to use.

The plane museum on a weekend is different from during the week during the school year. It wasn't super busy, no bus loads of kids on field trips, and there was pilot training for the kids. They had to do an obstacle course and then fly their planes through the clouds. Basically they had fun zipping around on the toy planes while I made sure they didn't run over any littler kids.

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Obstacle course.
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Flying through the clouds.
Every time we go to the museum we see something new. This time it was exploring the upstairs and seeing the plane that hangs from the ceiling in the front. We spent a while exploring the toys in the gift shop but thankfully came home with none.

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The view from above.

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Upside down plane.

As far as rainy days go, that one was pretty good. And we got to cross something off our bucket list. Here are some more pictures from our visit:

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Little pilots.
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The astronaut.
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Learning about the astronaut Little J's school was named after.

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Making music.

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A boat?
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Look at the plane and then run!

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Little J learned about planes...

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... while Little K learned about clouds.

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Water planes.

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Me and my baby girl.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The new bridge

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There's a new bridge in town and you wouldn't believe the excitement it has caused. It has been delayed and fought over and when will it ever be finished was a question commonly asked, but it is now. And it's pretty awesome!

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It links my neighbourhood to one across the river and all I was imagining before the opening was that scene from the movie Cars where the road is repaved and all the cars go out for a jaunty ride with old time music playing and they're all happy and laughing and having a great time. Well, I've been over the bridge a few times now and it's not quite that, but the amount of traffic on it leads me to believe that people are crossing just because.

Which is exactly what I did Monday morning while I was out biking. I figured I'd cross over and take a few pictures, pictures I couldn't take the day before while driving. It's a nice bridge - smooth and wide, with 4 lanes each way, and a bike lane and sidewalk for pedestrians too. And getting across and over to a neighbourhood with lots of stores is much quicker now. The traffic in our neighbourhood has increased and I'm sure the commute to work has changed, though that doesn't currently affect me. I'll have to remember to ask J if he notices a difference.

It's neat to have witnessed the bridge being built and opening, and to be a part of the hoopla. If you're in town, have you been over the new bridge yet?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Puppets Up! ~ A giveaway

*This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered.*

I've heard about a puppet festival that happens every summer near Ottawa, but I've never been. Now that I've done more research I think this might be the year we check it out. The kids are a bit older and I don't think they'll be scared of the puppets.

Puppets Up! is an international puppet festival that takes place in Almonte in August. It's a whole weekend affair with a parade, face painting, and puppet shows. The parade and street entertainment are free but you need a pass to get into the shows. Passes can be purchased on the Puppets Up! website, but one lucky reader is going to win 2 passes! You need to leave me a comment telling me who you'd take if you won and then fill out the form. I will contact the winner by email. Contest closes July 20th at midnight.

The festival runs August 8-10, 2014 in Almonte, Ontario. I'm looking forward to the parade and checking out some of the shows. A ventriloquist who can juggle? Pirates on an adventure? It sounds silly and fun. A full list of performers can be found here. Good luck and maybe I'll see you there!

*This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered.*

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Disclosure: I was provided day passes for my family to check out the festival but the opinions above are my own. Promise.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Park Days of Summer: Walter Upton-Collins Park

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A summer series

This is the first summer where we've actually had a break from school. We don't have a lot of plans other than a week at the cottage, but that doesn't mean we won't be busy! We've made a bucket list of things to do and places to go and have already done so much!

But what could be better than exploring neighbourhood parks? We're lucky to live in a relatively young community with a lot of parks. There are 5 listed on the community association page, plus the ones at the community center and 3 elementary schools. Our go to park is the one closest to us, but we'll be hitting up the other 8 this summer, plus some others around the city and I'll be blogging all about it. Welcome to the Summer Park Days of Summer Series!

The first park in this series isn't in our neighbourhood. Walter Upton-Collins Park is on the Rideau River just North of Manotick. There is a baseball diamond, play structure, and benches near the water. And, while we were there, a happy family of ducks.

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At any new park, the kids frantically run around, exploring everything.
The kids explored the play structures - one for smaller kids and one for bigger kids - the teeter-totter, the swings, and the tire swing. I sat in the shade sipping a frozen lemonade. They both eventually joined me and had a timbit.

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Timbits at the park.
The park I grew up with had two tire swings so seeing my kids on one makes my heart happy. And they scream and giggle!

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Tire swing for the win!
I convinced them to go down to the water where we found benches and a dock. That's when we saw the ducks. We spent a long time on the dock talking to and watching the ducks. It was a mom and 8 babies.

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Quack! Quack!
Pros: We had the park to ourselves so there was no waiting our turn for the swing or slide.
Cons: It's far enough that we had to drive.

Overall: I'm glad we decided to check out this park and we'll probably be back when we want a change.

What's your favourite park? Do you have one close or do you have to drive?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Book 25/50: Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

Today is mine and J's 10 year wedding anniversary. It makes me feel old and small at the same time. How is it possible ten years has passed? I'll write up a post to share tomorrow, but for today I have a book review for you.

From Goodreads: Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she's a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she's a disgrace; to design mavens, she's a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom.

Then Bernadette disappears. It began when Bee aced her report card and claimed her promised reward: a family trip to Antarctica. But Bernadette's intensifying allergy to Seattle—and people in general—has made her so agoraphobic that a virtual assistant in India now runs her most basic errands. A trip to the end of the earth is problematic.

To find her mother, Bee compiles email messages, official documents, secret correspondence—creating a compulsively readable and touching novel about misplaced genius and a mother and daughter's role in an absurd world.

What I thought: The first thing I want to say is that I hadn't read the description before reading the book and so it took me a while to realize that it was the daughter putting together everything. I think if that had been more clear in the book (not just in the summary) I would have enjoyed it more. That said, I think Reconstructing Amelia, which was written in a similar way, was better. But this book was interesting if not realistic. I wasn't able to really get into the characters, but I've read so many glowing reviews so I'm thinking it was just my state of mind and the fact that I was confused about how the book was written. Would I recommend it? Maybe. Probably. Not my favourite book.

Up Next: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

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