Winterlude Skate

A couple weeks ago we went to Ottawa for Winterlude. We’ve done this for a few years in a row now, and every year it gets more and more fun, and easier.

The trip was not without its bumps though. We were supposed to leave on a Saturday, but unfortunately our flight was cancelled for maintenance reasons. Weird. The best option for us was to fly the next day, so we lost a whole day of our vacation.

Once we got going the next day though it was great.

Monday we sort of lounged around the house and got used to being in Ottawa. Right away the kids played with their cousin and had a great time. I think we went sledding for a bit that day though.

Tuesday was the day that we went out for a skate. I had warned Elliot that the ice was going to be different than a hockey rink, and not nearly as smooth. I realized 30 seconds into our skate that I had nothing to worry about. He took off like a rocket and never looked back. I am still very surprised at how much his skating has improved since he started hockey. While skating we took turns pulling Amy in the sled. We stopped for a Beavertail and hot chocolate, then headed home.

Wednesday Sue and Amy went to Montreal for a day trip, which left Elliot and I with loads of spare time. We decided to take in the Museum of Nature. Since we didn’t rent a car this trip out, Elliot and I decided to skate there! Very cool experience. We skated down the canal, got off, walked a couple blocks to the museum. We toured the museum for a long time. I let Elliot pick where he wanted to go and we stayed as long as he wanted to. Well, I need to correct that. I started getting tired, cranky, and hungry. I even got whiny. It was time to find lunch. We settled on the Elgin St Diner which was really good. After lunch we walked back tot he canal for the skate home. We had promised Elliot that he could have his own Beavertail, but he was so full he told me he just wanted to split one with me 😉

Thursday myself, Sue, the kids, Sue’s dad, and her brother in law all headed to the Museum of Civilization. The kids burned around the childrens museum portion before we took in an IMAX movie. It was a movie about the reefs of the world and how they are dieing. About 15 minutes into the movie, which was narrated, Amy turned to Sue and asked “when is he going to stop talking?”. Pretty funny. A little later I felt Amy rest her head on my shoulder. It wasn’t too long after that she fell asleep 🙂 Elliot very much enjoyed the movie though.

Friday we went to try out the ice slides, but unfortunately most of them were closed as the weather was too warm. Big bummer.

Saturday we did another family skate, though it was much colder. The wind picked up a bit, and Elliot just was not into it. Poor guy. Still, her persevered enough to get some hot chocolate.

Sue and her family did their ski to a cabin for dinner event again. The kids and I stayed at the house for a movie and popcorn night.

I got another couple skates in before we had to leave. All in all quite a busy trip really.

Coming home was a bit of a gong show too. Sue was flying to Toronto for work, and I was flying back to Victoria with the kids. When we checked in, we learned that our three seats were scattered about the plane. Apparently WestJet couldn’t do age math and figure out the kids were too young. After working through the problem we finally got the kids seats together, and mine across the aisle and up a row, for the first two legs. The final leg we were all together. I just talked to the person next to the kids, and they gladly switched with me.

In Calgary, after we had some dinner, Amy was on the moving sidewalk which is a favorite novelty in that airport. Well, her shoelace got caught in the machinery when she got to the end, and down she went, hard! She smacked her elbow and knee pretty bad. I ran to help her, and that was when I saw her lace. My first instinct was to pull on it, but it wasn’t budging. Next I tried to hit the stop button. Meanwhile 3 WestJet employees came running to help. One person pulled off her show, then I remembered that that is the correct course of action. At that moment I managed to hit the stop button. We got her show back on, and the WestJetters made sure she was fine and asked if I wanted to have her checked out. She was ok, but a little upset by all the attention. Since we were on our way to Tim Hortons for a donut, we go that, and all was right with the world.

The final incident was on the flight from Calgary to Victoria. There was a medical emergency. Someone was having a seizure. I really hoped we weren’t going to have to divert, and in the end we didn’t have to. Phew. We landed at 8:15 Victoria time, but that was 11:15 Ottawa time. Late night for the kids.

All in all it was a great trip. We got to play in the snow quite a bit. Relaxed a lot, visited with family. Sue and I even got to go skating by ourselves on the last day.

Processing Action

Finally got around to processing the pictures from the trip to Ottawa.

First up, here are some pics from the ice slides in Gatineau.

And some video of the slides in action. We went last year too, and they really are a blast. You just sit down on them and go (and hopefully you are wearing ski pants). The slide is so steep and slick that you can get going pretty fast.

The park near where we were staying had an excellent hill for sledding, and a great playground too. We spent a few hours in that park.

During one visit to the park, there was a winter festival. They had hot dogs, cupcakes, other treats, and horse drawn sleigh rides. What a great community event.

Sledding time! Amy even went a few times. She was funny though. She refused to go for a long time. When I finally got her to go down she was giggling and laughing the entire way, then wanted to go again.

The hill even had a jump built into it that Elliot loved going over:

Here are a few shots of our friends backyard near Montreal. More snow there than in Ottawa.

Watch out Flat Cat, a dog is coming to get you!

Final Flight

Today was our final day in Ottawa. There were a few things we wanted to do. One thing I was hoping to do was go for lunch with a former co-worker. The timing never worked out, so instead today I was going to meet him for breakfast.

The first thing was that he was a fair drive outside of Ottawa. I got up early and started the drive. I had planned to use my phone to provide the navigating. Before I got on the busy highway I was going top pull over and start it up. Well, that didn’t work out since there was no place to pull over. Instead I thought I would just drive out towards Kanata, and follow the signs to the turn off. Once off the 417, then I could start the navigation. I saw no signs to Kanata.

Eventually I saw a dam that I had never seen before so I found a side road, pulled over and quickly discovered I had driven a long, long way too far. I should have called my friend right then, but I wasn’t exactly sure how far I had driven. Once I got going (again on the 417), I learned I was over 25km from where I should have turned off. Yikes. By the time I finally got to aother place to make a phone call I was running late. Very late. I saw an email from my friend that he had gone to work, so I called him.

He was still up for breakfast so I headed to his place. That was mistake number two. I was supposed to meet him at a cafe near his office. The night before I should have confirmed all the details like where I was going, and how to get there. Such a guy thing to do. I just thought I would figure it out along the way. I felt a little foolish after this. Once I realized what I had done I let my friend get on with his work day since I had eaten up enough of it already.

Back at the house I picked up Sue and the kids, and we headed to into Quebec to the Children’s Museum in Gatineau. The kids had a great play there, with lots of running aroud. Perfect for the flight home. After our museum trip, we headed back to the house and packed up. All too soon it was off to the airport.

I sat with the kids and managed to watch a bit of TV, while the kids watched a lot of TV. Dinner was eaten, drinks were consumed. Somewhere along the way Amy fell asleeep in her seat. Once we crossed the mountains into BC, we found turbulence. Holy smokes was it ever bouncy. I could see Sue wasn’t enjoying it, but Elliot sitting next to me kept yelling “wheeee! wheeee!”. Too funny. He also said it rather loudly since he still had earphones in listening to TV.

We are now here in Vancouver waiting for our next flight. Our wait was approximately 3 hours. Amy has fallen asleep on the seats, and Elliot is watching TV (it is helping to keep him quiet). Elliot is a bit loopy and silly right now. He is so tired, but will not admiot it. I’ve caught up on Twitter, and tried reading a bit of a magazine, but had to stop. I am too tired to concentrate on much right now. It is after all 1:30 am Ottawa time.

I am soo looking forward to my bed tonight.

Ottawa Models

Another great day here in Ottawa. The big thing for the day was tobogganing. We were out for over three hours in the park. There was some fresh snow which got packed down nicely. Elliot did more jumping and had a great time. I even got Amy to come down the hill with me. She giggled the entire way down. Amy even went down the hill on her own once.

We were going to skate at the rink too, but some hockey players basically took over the entire two rinks for themselves, and really weren’t into sharing. Nice role models. Elliot did enjoy watching the hockey though.

Afterwards we had some hot chocolate, some dinner, then it was bath and bed time for the kids. Sue is about to go to a movie, and I will likely read a little, then head to bed. Vacation is awesome.

Canal Dodge

Time is flying by out here. Still we push on with the fun. 🙂

Yesterday Sue, Amy and I went for a skate on the canal along with Sue’s dad. The ice was in much better condition and the temperature was perfect. It was gorgeous out and we very much enjoyed ourselves. We did a little over 8 km on the ice. We started out at Pig Island and went all the way to downtown, then back again. Amy wanted more snack, so Sue and I had to head home. Sue’s dad kept going and ended up being out there skating up and down the canal for another couple hours.

Elliot chose to stay at home with his Aunt and he drew, did puzzles, and played games, all the while still in his pajamas. Heaven for him.

In the afternoon the kids, Sue and I went tobogganing at Windsor park. The small hill there is perfect for the kids. Elliot and I were there for a half hour before Sue and Amy arrived. In that time I flung Elliot down the hill many times. There was a jump there, and I got him flying off it. Literally. He was airborne, many, many times and loved it. One time he got a little too much air and crashed on landing. He got up giggling and ran up the hill for more. When Sue and Amy arrived we headed over to the playground for some sliding of a different sort. Snowpants on plastic slides means very, very fast conditions. The kids were flying off those too. All was fun until Amy tried to walk up a slide, slipped and gave herself a bloody nose.

Today there was more skating. This time I went out on the canal by myself. I headed up toward Dowes Lake, did a lap there after heading up to the loch. The ice at this end was fantastic. Super smooth, not many tracks yet, and not many people out. I then headed to downtown. Down there the ice was a little more chunky and tracked out, but there were also lots, and lots of school kids to try and dodge. Some of them not watching where they are going, stopping in front of people, cutting you off. Crazy. I was glad to get out of there. I did around 15.8 km today. I could have kept going a while, but I wanted Sue to get out and enjoy it too (she wasn’t planning on going for a skate). Back at Pig Island I called Sue up and told her to start getting ready. Walking back to the house I could feel the workout I had. Maybe it was good to end where I did.

After Sue got back from her skate we had a yummy, yummy lunch of fresh bagels (as in still warm from baking fresh), cream cheese, lox, and smoked meat.

After lunch we were off again to the Canadian Museum of Nature. Very cool museum in a very old building. I could have spent hours there. The displays were excellent, lots of interesting information, and lots of great photo opportunities. The kids though had their own pace, which was very different from mine. Sometimes we ran, sometimes we lingered.

Dinner tonight we went out. All you can eat sushi. I think Elliot had about 3 pieces of sushi, including 2 squid rings. Amy did pretty good though. She had a couple pieces of sushi, tons of edamame, and a few other things too. Like many things, I think we overstayed by about five minutes.

I am thankful we have a few more days left. I’m not sure what kind of storm I’m going to be walking into when we get home though. I had to handle a couple work things today, and I will either still be unemployed when we get back, or I will be supremely busy for the next few months. I am not sure which way it will go.

Shoulders Deepest

Yesterday we headed up to one of Sox’s friends near Montreal. It was a nice drive across some very flat, straight highway’s. Nothing like driving in BC. At one point the traffic slowed down to a crawl, and I couldn’t figure out why. As we rounded one long corner, I saw the reason. Two snowplows were working in tandem clearing snow from both shoulders of the highway. For the first time ever I was held up by a snowplow.

When we got close to Kirkland, the snow started flying and the wind picked up. It was chilly, but still beautiful. We met up with our friend and got our stuff in her house when I heard a tractor working. Turned out the driveway clearing service was coming by. They sign up by the month for a service and whenever it snows they come by with a snow blower and clear the driveway for you. Things I never thought existed when I was stuck on the west coast. This means I actually got to see a snow blower work too!

The kids had fun on our overnight trip. The kids of Sox’s friend played really well with Amy and Elliot which made us feel totally at home. Elliot got to experience his deepest snow ever too. Very fun for him.

Today we came back to Ottawa. It was sunny and blue sky in Kirkland, but as soon as we got back into Ottawa, the snow was falling pretty hard. We got back to Sox’s sisters house and got in side. I loved watching the snow fall. It just looked beautiful.

Elliot played this evening with his cousin while dinner was made. After dinner most of the adults took off to watch Cats while I got Amy and Elliot ready for bed. Now for me to relax a little bit.

Slide Skates

Another beautiful day. Lightly snowing all day, but fairly mild. The agenda today was the ice slides just across the border in Quebec. We did them last year but it was very busy. This morning we got there a little earlier than last year, but not as early as we had wanted.

We managed to get a couples slides in before the crowds of school kids got there and all the kids had fun on them. Amy was a little hesitant, but the last slide I took her on she said she really enjoyed it.

Back at the house we had some lunch, the headed out to the canal for a little skating. I strapped on my new skates for a skate for the very first time. I have to admit that it is pretty cool that I own skates now.

Elliot doesn’t skate yet, so he got pulled along on a sled. Wow, what a workout that was. I pulled Elliot most of the way and the times I took a break I felt like I flew along the ice. I use My Tracks to keep a total of what I had done. I started recording late, but what I did record was pretty amazing. 4.6 Kilometres, average moving speed of 10 KM/H, and a max speed of 18.9 KM/H (that would be without the sled)! We stopped for a beavertail along the way too. Yum.

Somewhere along the way Amy fell asleep. She did that last year too. She never sleeps in the stroller, yet, once we hit the ice, she is out like a light.

Festival Asleep

Our first real day in ottawa was pretty nice. The weather is warm (hovering around 0) and we were a little tired still so we decided to take it easy. The big thing on the horizon was the winter festival down at the community park. Snow games, cup cakes, hot dogs, sleigh rides, hockey games, and more.

The best part was the sledding down the hill though. Amy and Elliot had a great time with that. Amy didn’t like going with anyone,and preferred sledding by herslef (all three times she went down the hill).

Elliot spent several hours outside, some in the backyard and some down at the festival. He definitely likes playing in the snow and colder temperatures. By the end of it though he was tired out. Elliot and his cousin get along famously too. They have similar likes for things to play with, and always seem to pick up where they left off when they meet up again.

The funniest part of the day is when I was putting Amy to bed. She got into her PJ’s, got cozy in her sleeping area, and I started reading. After two books I told her it was the last one and she agreed. When I finished the last one I told her I was going to sing to her, then it would be bedtime. She was silent. I looked over at her and she was asleep. I can’t remember her ever falling asleep while I read.

Paged Puzzles

Travelling yesterday was an adventure. The plan for Elliot and I was to fly to Vancouver, have a layover for a couple hours, then fly on to Winnipeg. Another layover in Winnipeg, then on to Ottawa.

This was not to be.

We got to the Victoria airport way too early, so we waited. Elliot was so excited to get on a plane that waiting was very hard. The flight to Vancouver was short and easy. In Vancouver we got some lunch there and started our wait for the 1:15 flight. Around 12:30 we went to the bathroom and while we were in there, I heard my name being paged. For some reason I though we were going to get an upgrade. Sadly no.

I learned that the flight we were going to fly on to Winnipeg was delayed meaning we would have missed our connection to Ottawa. Instead they were moving us to a later flight direct from Vancouver to Ottawa. The bad part was that our new flight left at 5:30. We arrived in Vancouver at 10:30am and weren’t leaving until 5:30pm. Yikes.

Poor Elliot just wanted to get on a plane. We did whatever we could to keep his mind off the plane. We played tag, ate snacks, read books, played puzzles. Elliot even played with some other kids. Still, he really wanted to get on a plane.

Finally they called the flight and we boarded. Woohoo. Wait, we still had a 4 hour+ flight. *sigh*

The flight went well though. Elliot watched a lot of TV, I watched a movie and a couple TV shows. Oh, and I also had a couple drinks too 😉

Once we landed, we gathered our things, and Elliot cheerfully followed me down to the baggage area. Sue and her sister met us there, and Elliot was very happy to see them, and in great spirits considering how long of a day we had. We gathered our bags and headed back to the house. I ate a snack, helped get Elliot into bed, then went to bed myself at 2 am Ottawa time (11 Victoria time).

I didn’t mention that I was awake at 4:30 am. Long day, but we are here now and enjoying ourselves immensely.