The Life of K

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter 2017

Easter_3
Not the typical pastel Easter picture.

Easter weekend was just the break I needed. Four straight days off work and activities with family in town. It was a combination of loud and crazy with quiet and peaceful. I had time to myself, time to read and just be, and lots of time with family.

The kids coloured two pictures each for a contest that I missed the deadline for. I just told them they didn't win.

Easter_2
Little J's.
Easter_1
Little K's.
Speaking of not winning, a local radio station (Live 88.5) had a contest where if you emailed them a song request you were entered into a draw for a Nintendo Switch. Little J is OBSESSED after having seen DanTDM review it and the new Zelda game so we sent in our requests. We didn't win and that led to a very pouty boy.

Some of the days were sunny so we were outside and others were a rainy mess. There's a lot of flooding around Ottawa, but thankfully none where we are.

Easter_7
Sandy loves the sunshine.
Easter_8
We met up with J's cousin and got all the kids together.
Easter_9
After dinner walks with Baby J.
At one point I saw on Twitter that April the giraffe was actually in labour. The poor thing has been pregnant forever. Little K's class has been following the live stream since before March Break. So we watched the giraffe being born. Little J was grossed out but Little K and I were fascinated.

Easter_4
Add caption
We also squeezed in some family yoga. Put on by Little Lotus Yoga, this Star Wars themed class was perfect for the kids. Little J especially was really into the story and kept supplying the teacher with answers.
Easter_5
Girls at yoga.

Easter_6
The boys doing corpse pose.
Monday night I had to remind myself how to go to work and it was a shock to the system when my alarm went off a little after 6 the next morning. It's a short week though because I'm getting set to go see my brother and his family in Atlanta. I leave Friday! 



















Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Currently


A catchall post on what I've been up to lately.


The weather


OMG the weather. Seriously? I'm dying for some sunshine. Enough of the gray skies, the rain, snow, sleet, hail, ice, mud. I could really go for some spring - the green grass, the flowers popping up... I'd even take dandelions just to have some colour. I've been thinking about going to a tanning place just for the bright lights. Maybe I should invest in one of those UV lamps. 


Exciting Travel News


I booked my flight to Atlanta for next month! My brother's little girl just turned 1 and I want so badly to squish her chubby cheeks. J and Little J are excited for me; Little K is mad she isn't coming. I'm excited to see Baby E and my brother and his wife, as well as travel on my own. I've never flown on my own and J typically takes over a lot of the organizing stuff when we do travel so it'll be nice to rely on myself for a weekend.


Exercising


I started going to the gym at work. It's actually across the street. It's no Movati... it's a musty basement gym run by volunteers but it's cheap, convenient, and has everything I need. I've been warming up for 5 minutes on the treadmill, doing free weights, and stretching at the end. I don't want to jinx it, but I've been going twice a week and it's working for me. I get a break at work, I work my muscles, and I'm not so sore that I can't do other things (except that first time.. oof!)


Speaking of other things, I took a bit of a break from yoga. At first it was because I was super sore from the gym (first time) but then it was just nice having that time to do nothing in the evenings. I get up so early for work that my evenings end hours earlier than they used to. I do some yogi stretching after my workouts, but I'm craving a good flow so I got on my mat last night. It wasn't enough.. I'll be back.


I think it was January when I tried a hip hop class with some friends. We went to The Flava Factory and grooved with about 50 other people. It felt very much like I expect a mob-dance would feel: so many people all crammed together doing the same moves. It was energizing and a great workout. It's a bit far for me so I went searching for something closer. I found adult hip hop classes at Selina's, a studio in Barrhaven. I tried it last week and really liked it. I'm going back tonight. They also have a barre conditioning class September - December that I'd like to try.


Reading


Man, at the beginning of the year, I was gobbling up books. I wasn't able to do much at work so I read all day. I read some really great books then and on our cruise. Then my reading slowed. I got stuck in A Man Called Ove.. I just wasn't feeling it. So when I was at the library getting Little J a monster pile of chapter books (that kid can read!), I picked up two YA fiction.


Spin the Sky is about a teenager in the US who tries out for the equivalent of So You Think You Can Dance and I loved it! Phantom Limbs is about loss - the main character lost his little brother, his best friend lost her arm. I couldn't put it down.


More recently I've been reading some .. amateur (the best word) .. books. I like to support new authors - in this case, a friend of a friend, and an Ottawa blogger - and while I'm enjoying the stories, I find the bad editing very distracting.  


Watching


Because of my shortened evenings I have less time for tv too. I still find time to watch some though! On my own I watch Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, The 100. I'm still working my way through Gilmour Girls and just started This Is Us. And Dancing With the Stars is back!! J and I watch Modern Family and SNL together plus we've been watching movies here and there. We watched Passengers and Lucy and now I really want to watch more movies. I've heard Arrival is good and I'm curious about La La Land and Moonlight after the Oscars fiasco.


I also binged Workin' Moms on a sick day a couple weeks ago. It's a Canadian sitcom that's funny and sad and so true. Worth a watch, especially since you can stream it on the CBC website.










Crafting




I'm taking Tiny Feet Creations on the road and gearing up for my first craft sale at the end of April. I made an Instagram account to share some pretty pictures and behind the scenes jewellery making shots. I'm still working out options for my table set up and drafting a custom order form - thanks to Forever Bears for that genius idea!


Dreaming About




Nothing like being stuck at work to want to get away. J and I made a list of places we'd like to visit. My solo trip to Atlanta is first up, but with paid vacation leave and not being on call I feel like the world has opened up. Plus, the kids are old enough for us to travel without them. Not that they've never coming with us again, but weekend trips are very possible. I'm thinking Vegas and NYC and J has been talking about Iceland. Iceland!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Cruise 2

Who's ready for part 2 of our cruise? I finally had a chance to go through the pictures so here's Martinique, Barbados, St. Kitts, and our last sea days. (Part 1 here)

After our beach day in Antigua, we spent some time on the ship. There's lots to do and the SeaPlex was a favourite spot. It has a court area used for sports, bumper cars and other activities, air hockey, ping pong and foosball tables, and XBOXs set up. On the deck near the SeaPlex is shuffle board, and there's a huge giraffe near the rock climbing wall on the other side of the ship.

Cruise_AroundtheShip7
The SeaPlex.
Cruise_AroundtheShip8
Shuffleboard.
Cruise_AroundtheShip9
Giraffe.
Inside there was cool lightbulb thing that would flash in time with your heart beat, cool huge chairs, but often we'd be running between Adventure Ocean and our room down long hallways.

Cruise_AroundtheShip10
Heartbeat lightbulbs.
Cruise_AroundtheShip6
A spot we sat often.

Cruise_AroundtheShip11
Throne.
Cruise_AroundtheShip13
Little J was captivated by the moving art.

Cruise_AroundtheShip12
Running down the hallway.
Antigua9
Antigua.
One of the coolest attractions is called the RipCord, a skydiving simulator. We got all suited up in jump suits, socks and shoes, helmets and goggles after watching a safety video. J stayed outside with the GoPro and videoed Little J, Little K and then me. It was so cool! I stepped out to video him.

We all loved it and I wish we'd done it again because the 90 seconds fly by. Normally, everyone on the ship can only do this activity once, but this particular cruise had a high number of older travellers so they did have openings. Next time.

Cruise_RipCord
Getting ready to fly!
Our next port was Martinique. Little K wasn't feeling great (we think she got too much sun the two days before) so the kids stayed with Adventure Ocean while J and I got off the ship. We stayed close to the port and got caught in a huge downpour on our way back.

Martinique
Martinique.
Martinique1
Martinique.
Martinique2
As the storm rolled in.
Cruise_SunsetatSea
Sunset at sea.
The next day we arrived in Barbados. We decided to try out Harrison's Caves. Self-tours are an option but weren't available when we were so we took a tram.

HarrisonCaves
Harrison's Cave, Barbados


HarrisonCaves_LittleK
Taking the elevator down.


HarrisonCaves_Tram
On the tram, ready to go!


HarrisonCaves1
Cool caves.


HarrisonCaves3
Off the tram, checking out the walls.


HarrisonCaves2
Water dripping creates stalagtites and stalagmites.


St. Kitts was our last beach day and it was perfect! We chose a beach that was almost an hour from the port so we got to see a lot of the island. It was my favourite of the trip.

StKitts
Kids in the sand.


StKitts_Volcano
Volcano.


StKitts_Beach
GoPro view of the beach.


StKitts_Starfish
Starfish!


StKitts_JandKids
J and the kids in the water.


StKitts_Family
Family shot!


We spent the next few days at sea heading back north. I got to try the trapeze and am so glad J came to video me. It was incredible! Such a rush and I was shaking for a good 15 minutes after!

K_Trapeze
Before trying the trapeze.


Cruise_FamilyShot
Family shot while dressed fancy.


FlowRideratNight
The FlowRider and RipCord at night.


We had a booking for the North Star on our seond last sea day. It's a bubble on an arm that lifts up way above the ship. It was neat but not as cool as I was expecting.

NorthStar_View
The ship from above.


LittleKBinoculars
Little K and the binoculars.


NorthStar_Family
J and the kids high above the world.

That same day was the Best of the Best of the FlowRider. J entered and was the first to compete. He showed off his fancy tricks and got a lot of applause. The guy who won was pretty amazing.

BestoftheBest_Competitors
The competitors lined up.


BestoftheBest_JTricks
J's trick.

BestoftheBest_JTricks2
J's 2nd trick.
Keep in mind that I wasn't even able to stay standing on the FlowRider...


Sunset
Beautiful sunset.
Our last day at sea was the day of shows apparently. J and I went to see We Will Rock You, a story of rock in the future. It was really clever with great music.

Aroundtheboat_Show
We Will Rock You
And I went to see Mo5aic by myself. They're a a cappella group and were amazing. At one point they had us all singing together. They perform in Vegas so if you're ever there, be sure to check them out.

Mosaic
Mo5aic.
Our last dinner at American Icon, we celebrated Little K's birthday (early). Everyone sang to her and she got special cake for dessert (on top of her regular dessery). She was thrilled.

LittleKBirthdayDinner
Birthday girl.

The next day we woke upearly to have breakfast before getting off the ship. We took an Uber back to the hotel where our car was, and trekked home. It took over 8 hours and we had to stop to de-ice the windshield. Welcome back to Canada!

And that's it for our cruise. It was the best vacation we've had with the kids. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Aqua Mermaid

AquaMermaid


I published my lists of things to do in Ottawa back in November.. remember them? One for kids and one for adults. I was hoping to encourage people to give gifts of experiences not things. It worked for me: For Christmas, I was gifted dinners out, snowboarding passes and a trip to Escape Manor.

I had no idea that those lists would inspire businesses to contact me looking to get the word out on their activity. One such company, Aqua Mermaid, sent a sweet email inviting me to try a class. A mermaid class? I was hesitant but eventually came around to the idea and I'm so glad I did!

I put the call out to my friends to see if anyone wanted to join me last Saturday evening and the lovely Amanda from Little Lotus Yoga put her hand up! We met at the YMCA downtown, got in our bathing suits, and met up with the owner of Aqua Mermaid for our class.

First up was getting our tails. There are two pieces: the fin part and the tail part. The fin is like flippers you'd wear snorkeling but only one piece for both feet. The tail is stretchy material that goes over the fin and all the way up to your waist. Tail rental is included in the price, but if the mermaid life is for you, you can buy your own tail!

Photo credit: AquaMermaid
Swimming like a mermaid may be glamorous but getting suited up like one definitely was not! The four of us were sitting on the pool deck laughing while trying to wriggle our way into the tails. The easiest way is to get the fin on your feet and then lie flat on your back and shimmy the tail up. If nothing else, the ridiculousness broke the ice and got us in the right frame of mind to be open to this new experience.

Once we were all looking like mermaids, we got in the water. I say that like it was easy, but it actually took some doing! Marielle, the owner, walked us through the basics and told us to swim across the pool. Well! Swimming like a mermaid isn't as easy as it looks. I had trouble with the dolphin kick movement at first, but eventually I could swim on my front and back and sides.

Then it was time for some high fiving.. with our tails! We learned how to propel ourselves forward, back and around in circles using our hands so we could go around high fiving each other with our tails.

Photo credit: AquaMermaid

Marielle brought out some hoops and we swam through them and this is when I started to really get the hang of it. I felt graceful and was having a blast being a mermaid. Next up was handstands, spinning and swimming underwater.

Every class ends with some free swim time, but before that, glamour shots! Getting out of the water was about as graceful as getting in and we were giggling so hard trying to flip from our tummies to our sides. We all lay together with our tails in the air, hamming it up for the camera.

AquaMermaid2
My glamour shot.
Aqua Mermaid does both kid and adult classes every Saturday evening at the Y downtown Ottawa. They also book parties - birthdays and bachelorettes - and will come to your backyard pool for a private lesson or party in the summer months.

Swimming like a mermaid is something to try. An experience I won't soon forget and I'm very thankful for Marielle for reaching out.


Disclosure: I was given free passes for me and a friend to check out the Aqua Mermaid class. All opinions are my own.