A Morning Adventure

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Our niece and nephew, Teaghan and Liam, are staying with us while their mom is moving up north to her new country home. Grace starts work later on Mondays and Tuesdays, so we decided we had time for a little trip. We made some pancakes, loaded the car and drove over to our local university to the Earth Sciences Museum.
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We’re so lucky to live in an area with not one, but two universities – there are so many great resources made available to the public, and the Earth Sciences Museum is probably our favourite. It hosts some great rock and mineral samples, castings of dinosaur and ice age mammal bones, various other plant and animal fossils and a replica silver mine.
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Liam is really into dinosaurs, and has been for about 4 years now. The kid is a wealth of knowledge. Seriously, ask him anything.
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We were only there for half an hour, but the kids loved it.
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Of course it doesn’t matter how many interesting exhibits there were, the kids just wanted to play with the water fountain. It’s going to be a crazy week!

Six Years & Counting

Six years of waking up to my best friend. Six years of laughter. Six years of breakfast in bed and foot rubs. Six years of road trips and singing along to cheesy country songs. Six years of weathering life’s storms together. Six years.

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Today was our anniversary. We slept in, sent Miriam off with my mom for the night, and took off to Ancaster to hike a stretch of the Bruce Trail with Elvis. It was raining steadily by the time we parked the car, but we had planned to follow a route called the Ancaster Waterfall Walk, a loop that would take us past 10 waterfalls in total, so we saw the weather as a blessing rather than a curse.
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We started at the Old Ancaster Mill, and followed Heritage Trail towards Canterbury Falls – a short walk, maybe 5 minutes. The ground was soft and wet, slippery at times, but once we got our footing we were fine…well I was, at least. Grace may have fallen one or two (or a dozen) times.
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The falls were gorgeous, rushing along with the surge from the storm. I had hoped we’d be able to make our way down the slope to the base of the falls, but the ground was too slippery. We headed west across Sulphur Creek thinking that it would loop around and bring us out on the other side near Sherman Falls, but all we did was walk in a large circle and end up back at that same bridge over Canterbury Falls. It wasn’t a complete waste though, the loop was short, the scenery was gorgeous, and along the way we found the perfect spot to eat our lunch.
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Just off the path there was a large rock jutting out from the slope creating a cave-like shelter from the rain.
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We dumped our bags, tied Elvis to a large fallen branch and had our lunch – some sandwiches, bananas and hard-boiled eggs.
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The view from our little shelter was gorgeous and we sat there for a while just watching the trees sway in the wind.
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We made it back to Canterbury Falls shortly after finishing our lunch and headed west on the Bruce Trail. A thick fog had settled over the trees, a sight both eerie and beautiful.
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The trail was narrow, winding along the edge of a gorgeous property, until we came to Sherman Falls. We stayed there for a few minutes and then moved on. A few more smaller waterfalls were scattered along the trail, but nothing compared to our final stop – Tiffany Falls.
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You could hear the sound of the rushing water from the entrance to the trail. We followed the path away from the road, twisting alongside the creek, until we reached the observation deck. These were the largest falls of the day, the force of the water sending up a heavy mist.
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We walked back to the car along the highway rather than back through the woods, wet and tired and so satisfied with life. The drive home was quiet and comfortable, listening to one of our favourite podcasts and watching the scenery fly by. Tomorrow we’ll pick up our niece and nephew and bring them here for a week while their mom moves to her new home, but for now…sleep.

Joy!

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I’m Canadian, so today’s Supreme Court decision didn’t directly affect me, but I won’t lie…when I heard the news, I cried.
When I was young, I always said I’d never get married. In fact, up until just a couple years ago I had a pretty negative view of the whole institution – marriage: nothing more than an outdated, disgusting, misogynist ritual that had no place in my life. I’m not sure when that changed, but it did. There’s nothing I want more at this point in my life than to marry my best friend, and the idea of not being able to just breaks my heart.
So today I share in the joy of everyone across the United States – couples, families, individuals and allies – and bow my head in appreciation of all those who have fought so hard, for so long. #LoveWins

Time For A Break

Busy, busy, busy. Life is so full right now.
I’ve been spending every spare moment to this house, working on making this new rental a space my family can call home for the next few years – a space for us to grow and laugh and return to after a hard day when we need comfort and rest.
It seems like we’ve been going full speed for months now – house hunting, packing, moving – and somehow I thought (like I do every time) that if we just got through that move then we could relax…
Why do I trick myself every time? I always seem to conveniently forget that after the move comes the painting, cleaning, unpacking, reorganising and just trying to make this place fell less like someone else’s house and more like our home.
Maybe if that’s all I had to do it wouldn’t be so bad, but life goes on and days fill up quickly and I find myself trying to cram painting into the time it takes the pasta to cook for dinner, which usually just leads to overcooked pasta and streaky walls.
And in the midst of this chaos we decided to host a birthday party here on the weekend. There are still strangers everywhere.
As much as I’m complaining, I love this process – moving from room to room, transforming this place one step at a time. I will post photos soon, but for now I am taking a break to walk in the woods and just breath because it’s a beautiful evening and the world isn’t going to end if I don’t paint the spare room tonight.

A Birthday Mural

Things have been so busy lately fixing up the house and getting the garden going, but we found some time today to stop by a dear friend’s house to help out with a special birthday surprise for her daughter.
Tomorrow is this little girl’s birthday party, and her parents have been working non-stop since Friday to totally transform her room while she’s been off at her grandparents’. The room looks great, such a sweet place for her to dream and play and grow.

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We showed up, paint brushes in hand, and set to work. The whole thing cane together rather quickly and I love the end result.

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A Summer Project

We just did something crazy!
I love browsing the free ads on Kijiji – there’s nothing more satisfying than getting something you need (or want), something you’ve been searching for, for free – and today I hit the jackpot.

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So of course, having no knowledge of boats or any idea how to sail, I responded. I called Grace at work, and she immediately shot me down.
“What are you thinking?!”
A normal person would have stopped, realised they were being crazy, told the guy they had changed their mind – I told him to keep me posted while I tried to convince my girlfriend this was a good idea. I know it sounds ridiculous, but this didn’t just happen out of the blue. Grace and I have talked about owning a sailboat, a key ingredient of our long-term goal of retiring young and wealthy to a life of luxury, and this may not be the boat we’ll sail to Cuba but it’s a steep in the right direction.
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The boat is a Sunfish, the Alcort model, a small sailing dinghy often used for racing that’s been in production since 1945. It’s perfect for Grace and I to learn on, and easy to drive to the beach for a day.
When Grace came home from work the first thing she said to me was ‘ No!’
I guess it was written on my face. Honestly, I was ready to give up. The boat was probably gone and besides, how were we going to get a 14ft boat to our house without a trailer? But then the call came – the boat was still there, wrapped up and waiting to be picked up.

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I took one more shot at Grace, begging and pleading, painting a picture of Sundays spent dribbling wine and relaxing on one of the Great Lakes, and the next thing I knew we were on our way to pick it up.

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Honestly, getting the thing onto the roof was an adventure all on its own. It’s not very heavy, about 125lbs, but it’s as long and almost as wide as our car. Grace basically directed me while I did all the heavy lifting (story of my life).

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I don’t mind though, because Grace is the one that makes sure all the crap we pile on our roof doesn’t go anywhere while we’re on the road. I think it’s an even trade.

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The drive home was uncomfortable, to say the least. The poles ran from the open hatch right up to the front windshield under my arm, and every time we went over a bump it felt like I was being punched in the ribs.

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But was it worth it? Definitely. We’re already picking out a new sail and coordinating paint colours. The boat is in great shape structurally, just faded and dirty. It needs a new rudder (although the ad said it was intact) and a new sail, but other than that it’s all cosmetic. I can’t wait to get to work!

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Another Busy Week/end

Wow! So much going on! We’re still plugging away at the kitchen. It’s finally nearing the end, but for a while there I didn’t know if we would ever finish. The stain on the cabinets was worn and the wood was just absorbing the primer like nothing I’ve ever seen. It took about 10 coats but we’re finally getting some white paint on them. Hopefully we can paint them all white and get a clear coat on them before the weekend because we’re hosting our niece and nephew’s joint birthday party here this weekend.
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We finished the front patio, swept the mulch in between the bricks and added an herb garden along the front edge. It’ll take some time for the moss to take over and the bricks to settle but we’re pleased with how it’s turned out. I love the little herb bed, it’ll be so beautiful once it fills in. We also planted some orange, red and yellow flower bulbs in the front bed. We may see one or two of them this year, but we’ll have to wait until next season to see the final result.
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Liam and Teaghan spent the weekend with us. They hung out in the backyard while we laid out the raised beds and planted some seedlings. Two of the beds are still waiting for their compost, but that should be finished up tonight or tomorrow.
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I also found us some free pea gravel on Kijiji so we’re going to pick that up tonight. Who knows, we might even have the back patio finished in time for the party.
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Another free Kijiji find – an air hockey table! Grace scored this baby for me on Saturday afternoon (she spoils me) and it makes me feel just like a kid again. I set it up right away and the kids went crazy for it.
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It’s so funny how different their personalities are – Liam is gentle and fun-loving, always going with the flow and Teaghan is fiery and demanding, determined to get what she wants at all costs. This picture illustrates this perfectly. Liam was just exciting to play, joyfully pushing the pucks across the board and Teaghan didn’t smile once, her eyes locked on the game and her jaw set. The first thing she said when she stepped up to the table was “I have to win.” Classic!
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We didn’t get as much done around here as we had planned this weekend, but the kids were definitely a happy distraction.