ottawa 2015: slides and beavertails

We are home now (back to the balmy weather), and have been for almost a week, but I wanted to write a final post about our last couple of days in Ottawa.

On Monday we went to the ice slides as planned. These are always a highlight for me. They are built for Winterlude in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, and they are essentially person-made toboggan runs made out of ice. You slide down on your snow pants, and it’s a whole lot of fun. They are short and fast, and since they are artificially made, they have nice safe endings so you don’t knock yourself out on a tree. They have luge-type runs, wide runs where you can go down with the whole family, and a tube run. This year we got there early on Family Day and it was the most fun we’ve ever had, partly because the weather was perfect (cold, but not too cold) and there were no lines. I lost count of how many slides I got in but it was well into the double digits. We finished up the morning with beavertails and hot chocolate and were home before lunch.

Tuesday was our departure day but our flight didn’t leave until 7:15 pm, so Greg, the kids and I went for a skate. It was another beautiful day, and we managed to go about 7 km, with a beavertail/hot chocolate break in the middle. I’m not ashamed to use bribery to get my children out there! The kids got a little tired but there wasn’t too much complaining. Again, I was really impressed with Amy’s skating.

We returned to the house and spent the afternoon napping (me), packing up (me and Greg) and playing (Amy and Elliot). We had a smooth trip home, and got into Victoria very late on Tuesday night. Even later if you count the time change. Amy went to school the next day but Elliot was still asleep so I let him be. He was a bit of a grump that day so probably a good idea.

And now we’re back to reality, and work, and school, and all that fun stuff. It was a wonderful trip, and I’m glad we went.

ottawa 2015: snowshoes and yurts

We are going home in two days…time flies. We are certainly getting our winter fix. On Friday afternoon Elliot and I headed out with my sister and her family and my dad to stay overnight in a yurt in Gatineau Park. The rest of the gang were skiing in, but Elliot’s never skied before and I figured a 5-km ski in wasn’t a good place to start. So he and I rented snowshoes and walked in. It was pretty awesome (despite the fact that the last 30 minutes were in pitch black and I’m scared of the dark). Elliot and I were on our own for the most part, in a winter wonderland. It was cold (-15), but no wind, and the scenery was beautiful. Elliot did well. He started to fade about 4 km in and the last kilometre was a bit of a push but he did it.

The yurt was pretty well stocked. Wood stove, a small gas stove, table and chairs and room for six to sleep. It was cold when we first got there but it warmed up pretty quickly. We had a hearty dinner, a couple of games of Uno and then it was off to bed — early for everyone.

We snowshoed/skied out the next morning, in about 5 inches of fresh snow. Again, a winter wonderland. I looked back at one point to see our tracks, and it reminded me of walking with a dog. My tracks went straight and Elliot’s curved all over the place. I think he covered 20% more ground than I did!

Today was REALLY cold (-40 with wind chill). We were going to go tubing but decided against it given the temperature. We instead took the kids to “Sky Zone”, an indoor trampoline park. A really good way to burn off some excess energy! I did manage a skate later in the day. I made sure to start into the wind, and a dressed for the weather. It was hard going for the first half, but I’m glad I got out.

Tomorrow we are heading to the ice slides, and Greg is going out for a ski with the adults later in the day, since he missed out on the yurt. He and Amy hung out together that night and watched Frozen. Very fitting!

ottawa 2015: planes and skates

Let’s see if I remember how to do this blog thing…

We are in Ottawa for our annual trip to visit my sister and get our “winter fix”. We weren’t going to come this year because of my imminent re-entry into the world of work, but the stars aligned and we managed it. And all four of us this time. Last year (and you would know this if I had blogged about it), it was just me and the kids. I was in a bit of a low place, and while we had fun, it wasn’t the same without Greg. (I say this as we are sitting across from each other, each at our computers not talking to each other, him with headphones…but he’s working, and if he has to work a bit in order to come, then I’ll take it.)

We flew out of Victoria yesterday afternoon. I hope I am not jinxing future travel when I say this, but things usually go well for me when I travel, with connections, on-time flights, baggage, etc. Yesterday was no exception. Both flights landed early, our bags came out in record time, there was hardly any turbulence, and above all, we didn’t crash! Again! I’m so grateful! The flight from Calgary to Ottawa was less than half full, and Greg and I each shared a whole row of seats with one child. It was lovely, as flights go.

We didn’t get in until midnight local time, and everyone except me was up early this morning after way too short of a sleep, so we are all a bit bagged. And those of us who have not yet learned to control our feelings when over-tired (naming no names) were a bit grumpy. But we managed. I have an old friend from Bishop’s who came and visited for the day, and she and I went out for a skate with Amy on the canal ( It was a gorgeous day. Then it was out for lunch sans kids, followed by dinner with my dad (who arrived from PR this evening) and a final skate in the dark. I’m really impressed with Amy’s skating. I signed her up for lessons knowing we would be coming here, and she’s had a few chances to skate with friends and out-of-school care. She’s improved a lot, and even tonight skating with no light, she managed really well.

Not sure what’s on the books for tomorrow but hopefully you will hear from me again…I’m off to bed for some much-needed sleep.