Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Ottawata is how Fraser pronounces 'Ottawa'. I find it endearing, and even the speech pathologist in me tends to encourage it. (I'm a suuuuuuper good speech path. haha).

We recently returned from a marvelously adventurous trip to Ottawa- our nation's capital, and also the home of Dan, Carlynne, Fin, and Watson.

In preparation for this trip, I dropped $30 on Dollar store items in order to stock little entertainment backpacks for the boys. This was Fraser's first flight with his very own seat, and he was extremely excited about both the big boy seat AND the back pack of goodies. He traveled like a dream.

Stefan also scored his own seat. He was a little more high maintenance (basically just meaning he wasn't sleeping so I couldn't sleep), but multiple people approached us after the flight and said we should be proud of how well the boys traveled. Phew! Well done, boys... well done.

Of course neither of them slept on the plane (that would just be TOO perfect), but Stefan fell asleep in Lowell's arms the second we exited the plane.

The morning after arriving at Dan & Carlynne's place, we drove 3.5 hours to beautiful white sand beach Sandbanks for some camping. We met friends Paul, Vanessa, and little Ethan at the campground, and Ethan made fast friends with our boys.

Vanessa has naturally curly long red hair AND she's fluent in French... she's the perfect woman!

The biggest wild card heading in was the sleeping arrangements... seven of us (including three kids under three) in an eight-man tent. It was- to our pleasant surprise- a grand success. The kids all went to sleep at a half decent hour (after Fraser entertained Stefan and Fin for a good hour each night), and we all slept solid until Fin's 6:30am wake-up call. On the first night, Fraser was bouncing from bed to bed delivering things to the toddlers while Fin & Stefan observed with rapt attention from their playpens. When we peeked in to check on them, we noticed that Fraser had collected everything that was in the tent (a couple sippy cups, a few bottles, some teddies, and a big bouncy ball) and put them all in Fin's playpen. Poor girl couldn't lay down if she tried... haha.

Party tent!
Fraser takes after his prefers-to-sleep-in Daddy while Stefan is more like his early-to-rise mommy. The rest of the tent would be up and at 'em, and it would take these two just a few more minutes to get going. So. Precious.

We COULD have done without the rain on each of the three nights, but it just forced us to explore more... I guess. We hit up Campbell's Orchard (giant wet sandbox score!), a winery, and some other random sights.

Fin showing off her recently acquired pull-to-stand skills

In preparation for our trip- and anticipation of a potential downpour or two- I hesitantly spent an exorbitant amount on rain coats for the little dudes.  Money well spent as it turns out. And hopefully they fit for the next 18 years.

Fraser cocoon!
Dan & Carlynne are chefs extraordinaire at home AND at the campground. It's definitely a team effort, and they can seemingly whip up a gourmet feast on a moment's notice. Even with a fire pit or a small camping stove. The darn racoons who ate half our cooler including 24 sausages barely even hampered their efforts.

The boys also enjoyed lending a hand here and there...

Fortunately, there were some glimmers of sunshine, so we weren't totally without our delightful beach time. Digging holes, rolling in sand, building sand castles, playing ball/frisbee... it was a hoot!

This little sand project was Lowell's baby... he definitely worked up a sweat!

The water was super shallow forEVER. So kid-friendly!

After toughing out wet rainy conditions for 3 nights, we decided to pack up our soggy luggage and head home...

We also scored some time before and after camping with my cousin Jared!
When we got back to Dan & Carlynne's place,  we put the washing machine to good use for like 48 hours straight. We had a clean-up/relaxing home day before hitting up Parc Omega (a drive-thru wildlife park in Quebec). Fraser was particularly thrilled to feed carrots to the moosies. The moose in Robert Munsch's book 'Moose' enjoys chomping on carrots, so Fraser got a particular thrill out of watching the moose (well... elk and deer, but we called them moose anyway) eating the carrots... right out of his hands to boot.

Long face (with jam)!
 Whilst at the wildlife park, a gastro/flu bug hit Daniel pretty hard and quickly spread to Lowell and Carlynne. That made for a couple of long/sickie days, but I was just grateful that the kids and I remained largely unscathed. Made for some good snuggle/story sessions...

That piece of art on the wall above Lowell, by the way, was made by Carlynne... 100% with black sharpie. Incredible. That woman has mad skills!
When everyone was feeling pretty well up to snuff again, we took the kids to the Canadian Children's Museum of History...

On the one day that Dan & Carlynne both had to head to work, Lowell and I took the boys to Parliament Hill. Our sole objective was to get a picture of Stefan with the Parliament buildings... mission accomplished.

Our most successful attempt at a family/parliament selfie!

Just taking his little brother for a wee stroll...
Can you spot Lowell & Fraser in this picture?
 Our trip concluded with some pool time and general bonding...

Ohhhh yes. And after a few bursts of 4-12 steps here and there, Stefan started walking walking on his 15-month birthday!

Lowell and Watson share a special bond.
Stefan was VERY generous with his kisses!
Fin has the most hilarious expressions. The biggest crowd-pleaser of which is the long face!
Twin cuzzie shot! We probably shouldn't have waited until three seconds before leaving for the airport to attempt this as it was a TOTAL BUST, but hey... these two are cute even when grumpy.
After a successful flight home, we bumped into Paul at the Calgary airport... very random seeing as how we had just camped with him in Ottawa...

Our regular and ever gracious Calgary hosts Travis & Lisa accommodated us before flying to Ottawa, drove us to and from the airport, and stored our van while we were away... amazing friends! Fraser was more than happy to be led to the vehicle by Uncle Travis...

What a fab dab trip. I particularly enjoyed reverting back to school girl giggle sessions with Carlynne. I'll tell you one thing... I sure do miss my sis!