Our trip to Canada wasn't all just lounging around home, working on potty training and crawling with Grammie and Grampy, although we did do our fair share of that! Here are some of the other things we did during our Wonderful Week in the North.
Along with Harvest Day, something I always want to get to, but always miss, is the annual Niagara Food Festival. Because my dear friend (and event planner extraordinaire) Deborah was on the board this year, it was a "must attend" for me! The boys and I hit up "The Peninsula's Tastiest Party" Saturday night, and while I would prefer to make a return visit sans children, it was a good time! We listened to music, sampled risotto and fried cheesecake, and observed countless other culinary delights! I got to chat with my friend as we strolled around, while the boys were able to partake in the lights, sounds, and "tacky fair crap" (think...light up monkeys...) that is standard with any good festival!
As always, we enjoyed lots of family dinners with Unkey Brett and Auntie Bey-oo. Although, come to think of it, I'm not sure that enjoyed is the right word. We were there, we had fun together, and the meals were delicious, but as per Iain's usual, it took him a few days to get...ahem...acclimated, so his manners left a little bit to be desired. After one particular episode, he straightened himself up and proclaimed with pride "Mommy is impressed!", which was certainly not the case. All of us could do nothing but burst out laughing. You'd never know how much he loves his Aunt and Unkey by the way he acts around them. Sigh. The trials of the Mother of a Toddler. At least Liam knows how to show his affection!
Because Grammie and Grampy were such willing, built-in babysitters, I was able to enjoy lots of time and good conversation with friends who I don't get to see so often. Every day found me sneaking off to somewhere for some quiet, kid-free fun! Monday was "girl-talk" (or perhaps more accurately boy talk!) with a wonderful cousin. Tuesday was a Thai dinner adventure and a "favorite book" discussion over drinks. Wednesday was coffee and catch-up, a time to reminisce, laugh, encourage and sympathize with dear friends. Thursday, a trip to Ikea and relaxing with "peach'n-hoffen" at the Reeds. The entire week was wonderful, and a much needed break from the reality of life with small children!
Friday, with abundant thanks to some wonderful Grandparents, I left the boys behind and ventured out on a six hour road trip to meet Neil and his volleyball team in Lansing, Michigan. It was wonderful; listening to the Glee soundtrack for three hours straight, stopping at Target, just for the sake of browsing, Starbucks for the road! I was so excited, I even snapped an "on the way" photo! Apparently, however, that is where my excellent photo-journalism skills stopped. I can tell you that the weekend was wonderful; watching three volleyball matches without interruption, celebrating my birthday, a night away at a nice hotel, staying up late and knowing that we were going to be able to sleep in, lots of fun hanging out with the girls, and a six-hour road trip back to Canada with just Neil! It was great from start to finish...but I don't have a single photo to prove it! We got home to find that Mom and Dad had not only watched our two boys for the whole weekend, but also found time to pick up pizza and wings for a late supper, make a chocolate ganache cake, and even hang the birthday banner! And, of course, there were two little boys waiting for us, who the days away had made it even sweeter to see! (But of course, I don't have photos of that either!)
The last thing that we did was celebrate Thanksgiving. It was a little out of the ordinary, in many ways. First of all, Breha wasn't there, so the family didn't feel "complete". Luckily, we had some other "faux family" to join us, and we sill had a blast! Secondly, it was about 80 degrees, which is extraordinarily hot, even by "Canadian Thanksgiving" standards! Finally, we opted out of the traditional turkey meal, and enjoyed prime rib and all the fixin's, followed by ganache cake. We did, however, have pumpkin ice cream! And it was all delicious!
Then, before Neil even had a chance to get his feet back under him, we were packing the car, and on our way home. Luckily, the return journey went as smoothly as the way there. Between lots of reading, lots of car toys, and (thankfully) lots of naps, we made it home without much trouble, and hit the ground running!
This week away was just what I needed. It helped me to find the motivation to come back to real-life with a good attitude, ready to work hard! It was a nice time of relaxation, in the midst of our busiest time of year. It was enough "Canada" to make me believe I'll make it until we go again at Christmas! Blame it on "Thanksgiving" if you want, but my time there really did help me to see and appreciate all the things I have to be thankful for!