Sunday, July 16, 2017

#Canada150

Hellloooooo! Just need to dust off my poor little neglected corner of the blogosphere for a sec here. I actually didn't even remember HOW to compose a post... that's how long it's been. 

But hey there!

Remember me? I'm Julie. The speech pathologist who's married to the blind psychologist who tricks most people into thinking he's not blind because he's kind of amazing. We have two kids and a dog. We ride bikes... ring any bells?

No? Well anyway.

Stuff's been happening. Last year, we somehow managed to edge out tens of thousands of other applicants to be selected to compete on season four of The Amazing Race Canada!  Lowell was the first blind racer EVER. I know. Whaaaaat?! Presumably, it was the premium quality paper we used as part of the application process that set us apart… but that’s just conjecture.


With everything involved before, during, and after the race (including a seemingly endless stream of new and exciting post-race opportunities), we have been a tad busy. Okay, INSANELY busy. But awesome.

Life continues to be incredible with a touch of ridiculous. The frequency with which we say things such as "don't colour each other's butt cracks and penises" and "take your penis off the supper table" is astounding. And oh the things we hear. "Let's taste each other's tongues!" And "Hey! Come fart on my face!" 

We like to keep it classy.

Penises, dinosaurs, construction workers and superheroes are hot topics of conversation at our place. But penis obsessions aside, both boys want to be construction workers and/or superheroes when they grow up which is pretty admirable.


They voluntarily call me "Queen Mommy" (I only had to refer to myself as such 4,000 times for it to catch on), and they insisted I get a crown. So I did (like, immediately). And they think I have actual magical powers, so I'll just ride this train while I can.

See? I wasn't kidding. I totally got the crown. And what's the big deal with these snapchat filters anyway? I TOTALLY look like that in real life. *eye roll*

The boys love swimming, biking, playing, skiing, scooting, throwing, kicking, dancing & climbing, but they also love reading, drawing, baking, and crafting it up with Queen Mommy. And by "with" me, I mean that they request something and I make it. Which is fine by me because at this stage, "helping" generally involves a trip to the ER.

A lot has happened since I last graced the blogosphere with my presence. A LOT a lot. There's plenty of cycling, Amazing Race Canada, and LIFE to catch y'all up on later, but for now... let's stick with Canada 150, baby!

My twin sister and her family live in Ottawa PLUS it was Canada's 150th birthday, so heading to the nation's capital in time for July 1st was a no brainer.

Carlynne and Dan only have one small vehicle, so we cycled everywhere with four kids (ages one through five) and all necessities in tow. WeeHoo, Cargo carrier, and Chariot... we were quite the hippy convoy, and it was immensely enjoyable. I was constantly taking photos in an attempt to adequately convey how ludicrous our convoy looked, and I don’t think I ever fully captured it. But it was amazing.

Obligatory niece selfie. My twin's daughter, Fin, is the closest I have to a daughter, so I force her to take selfies with me frequently.





On Canada's birthday it rained and rained and then rained some more. It didn’t seem to deter party goers, though, and we were finally rewarded with sunshine. Parliament was swarming with people, and it was a very festive environment. The wait to get on the hill was three hours, however, so that quickly became NOT a priority for us with four kids under the age of six. haha. Good thing there were plenty of other things to do!


Adorable Canadian cousins.
Train ride around the festivities!
I know I may be a tad biased, but I could just stare at these children's perfectly chiselled faces forever.








We heard there was going to be a motorcade, so it became a priority to nab a decent viewing spot. Did you think I was about to miss catching a fleeting glimpse of Justin Trudeau and/or Prince Charles and Camilla? And, like, what if CELINE DION was there too? I mean, SHE'S super Canadian, so why not?! I didn't spot Trudeau through all those darn tinted windows, but it sure was thrilling to see Prince Charles & Camilla regally approaching in their horse drawn carriage! Ideal opportunity for Julie to grab a quick selfie with the royals, yes? I had the perfect shot lined up, and in the single nanosecond that I had to pull off the best selfie ever with royalty merely six feet away from me, I accidentally TURNED THE DARN PHONE OFF!

AAAARRRRRGGGGG!!

But I'm not angry about it or anything.

Lowell, however, did manage to get a shot with Trudeau in the background (on a screen)! While we’re on the subject… Trudeau gave a beautifully eloquent speech off by heart in two different languages. So he forgot three syllables (i.e., one province)... meh. I probably would have missed like eight provinces AND mispronounced most everything in French (and English). Some Albertans need to graciously cut the poor guy some slack because they're missing the entire point. And it's embarrassing.


Anyway.

On our way home from Parliament, the sun was out in full force, so we stopped by a spray park. Always a hit!



Jasper is 18 months old... isn't he just the sweetest little dreamboat?!

Stefan (centre) had many highlights, but I think his very favourite part of the trip was riding in Uncle Dan's cargo carrier... that smile!


After joining the neighbours for a delicious Canada day feast, we tucked the kids in good and early because yes, we planned to wake them up for the fireworks.

At 10:30pm, we hauled the four extremely groggy children out of bed, and put them in the carriers. Well, the kids went in the WeeHoo (piloted by me) and the Chariot (captained by Carlynne), while the blind guy got dibs on the FANCY carrier with Dan. Lucky Lowell!


And we thought we were a spectacle BEFORE! Many whispers and giggles as we rode by. haha! Lowell was a very good sport about it.

Watching the fireworks!
Over the next couple of days, we continued to convoy around like hippies while also ignoring the weather forecast. And THAT'S how we ended up cycling 10km in a thunderous downpour. It was so absurd and we were SO wet that it just became hilarious, and we chocked it up to an epic adventure. At least the ride there was nice!











Taking a page from Lowell's book on cycling selfies.


The hippy convoy.


Twins!




We probably should have paid more attention to those clouds.









Because it had rained so much the previous day, swimming was not permitted due to high levels of toxicity. So we just let the kids play in a puddle of goose poo instead.



As the storm rolled in, we lamely draped ourselves with the picnic blanket.... and probably ended up even MORE wet than had we not used anything. haha!






Undaunted by our wet cycling adventure, the next day we biked to Quebec to visit Jacques Cartier Park and see the giant plant sculptures. Very impressive park!

Bike pose!


Please note: we are biking to Quebec. Incredibly impressive, I know.






Those dragons behind the kids are crafted from ACTUAL PLANTS!
Ice cream ON A BIKE?! The best.
By the way, we didn’t even have to bribe twin cousins Stefan & Fin to dress alike. Fin would take one look at Stefan then raid Fraser’s luggage. Fraser, in turn, would try his best to twin with daddy. It was all around adorable.



This is how they put their arms "around each other". haha!

The rest of our visit was spent at a lakeside cottage in Val Des Bois, Quebec. After renting an extra vehicle to get everyone there, we didn't touch the vehicles till we drove back to Ottawa five days later. And it was a beautiful thing.

We relaxed.

We swam, fished, paddle boated, kayaked, paddle boarded, made sand castles and sand race cars, roasted marshmallows, drank wine, ate chocolate, read books, napped, and ate glorious feasts prepared by Dan & Carlynne.






The kids are fine... no grown-ups required!




Lucky dog. Watson thoroughly enjoyed swimming, boating and paddle boarding all week!



There's nothing quite like building a campfire in your undies.




Jasper's dining seat of choice.



The boys (including Lowell) caught their first fish ever!






Dan & Carlynne are very skilled in the area of sand race car construction.



I thoroughly enjoyed all the resting and adventuring, but my favourite part of the holiday was not giving a single thought to food and food prep. 

It turns out I'm not the complete domestic goddess that I assumed I would become based on my mother’s success with everything domestic-related. I enjoy a great deal of homey activities, but cooking has not been my strong suit. The constant pressure to feed everyone in the house multiple times a day (and maintain some semblance of health) is a bit daunting. Okay... a lot daunting. We finally ordered some meals from Chefs Plate, and after my initial confused reaction of "um, there's a full pepper in this bag... am I missing something? Was someone not supposed to cut this?" I embraced the concept and felt like an accomplished master chef.

Which I totally could be. You know, so long as someone else chooses the menu, purchases the ingredients, and leaves specific amounts of everything along with a set of detailed instructions on my doorstep. So, thanks for that, Chefs Plate. Brilliant.

ANYHOO. Dan & Carlynne have the domestic cooky type genes in SPADES. Their teamwork in the kitchen is magical, and Lowell and I were happy to put our world renowned dishwashing skills to use in exchange for their gourmet meals.

Thanks for the wonderful memories, Dan & Carlynne!

PS- I'm going to try to be a little more frequent with the blogging thing again. Maybe. I'd like to. (Just don't hold me to it).

PPS- if you want to try Chefs plate and you use that link I posted up there, you'd get THREE free plates, and we'd get one. But no pressure. ;)

4 comments :

Anonymous said...

Love love love to see you back on here ,Julie!!! I missed your wonderful blogs so much! Keep them coming...(By the way: cooking is not my favorite pastime either, for 58 years..Now my husband found out he likes it! And I like that too!

Lowell & Julie said...

Ooo- great that your husband likes cooking now! So you're saying I only have to wait about 58 years for Lowell to discover an unbridled passion for cooking? haha ;)

I'm assuming this is Mrs Wisse, by the way... Thanks for the encouragement! You're the best. You're one of the reasons I'm back, and I'll try to keep it up! ;)

Anonymous said...

Sorry I did not tell you my name!!Not 58 years, you have been married a few years already! Do not give up hope!!
Thanks for thinking about me and blogging for me! I love to keep up with your family happenings! Love you! Janny Wisse

Lowell & Julie said...

Oh yes- ten years down already! So just 48 to go then. ;)

Thanks for the encouragement, Mrs Wisse... love you too!