Family Day: Road Trips and Memories

I’m tired today, guys.  If you live in Southern Ontario, you might be feeling it too, as the grey skies and downpours have turned our Winter wonderland into a soupy mess.  But the blue sky and sunshine of Spring is not far off, and I had a great run connors runnerswith my crew this morning that started my day off right (and wet)….

I hope you enjoyed your Family Day weekend, I had a sporty one, just the way I like ’em:

I’m at Burlington Sports & Spine Clinic until 2:30pm today.  See you there!

She was there.

I feel so happy.

I’ve just had a three-day visit with Shannon, one of my very best friends.  She flew from Calgary, just for the weekend; a quick little getaway to use up some airline points and get in some girl time.  She left her husband and two young boys at home, and when she left my place yesterday afternoon, she said to my kids,

“Thank you for sharing your mom with me.”

Such an interesting comment, and so applicable to this stage in our lives.  You see, the last time she visited Burlington was in the Spring of 2009, when I was a brand new, first-time mother.  On that visit, she had her husband and 18-month-old son with her, and they came specifically to meet my newborn.  I was still trying to figure out the new version of me, and the balancing act that comes with parenthood.  My memories of that visit are scarce, muddled amongst sleepless nights, non-stop nursing, and piles of laundry.  But she was there.

Her visit before that, in Spring 2006, is also foggy for me, but for a different reason: my bachelorette party.  Shannon and my friend Sarah flew in to surprise me in Toronto, only a few months before my wedding.  And as a control freak and a planner, let me tell you that I cannot be easily surprised.  But they pulled it off, and whisked me through the TO club scene with a crown on my head and a bachelorette sash around my neck.  She was there again.

Shannon and I have been friends for nearly 20 years now.  We met in l997, at the University of Calgary, when we lived on the same floor in student residence.  We were both raised in small-town, rural Alberta, and had a shared love of sports and boys, with some Type A stubbornness and ambition thrown into the mix.  When we went back to our respective hometowns for our first mid-University Summer, we cried like we were going off to war, and when we returned back to school in the Fall, we celebrated like the Uni students we were.  We’ve been through breakups and heartaches, cross-country moves and graduate school, weddings and babies, mistakes and accomplishments.  We’ve travelled to Milk River and Sundre, Red Deer and Edmonton, New York City and Toronto, Vancouver and Vegas.

“Thank you for sharing your mom with me,” she said, and my heart was full.  Because she gets it.  She gets that my primary role around here, and to those little people, is mom.  She also gets that my other roles are wife and chiropractor and friend.  She knows the back-story that wrote my story and the blocks that built my life.  She’s a part of my foundation, my memories, my past, my future.  When the big stuff happens, she’s there.  And when the little stuff happens, the stuff she doesn’t see because we live so far apart, she books a trip East to see for herself.  “What do you want to do while you’re here?” I asked her when she booked her flight.  “I want to see your life,” she said.  So I showed her: she saw bedtimes and school drop-offs and CrossFit and downtown walks and hot tubs.

She was there.  Just like she’s always been.


Picton?  Yes, Picton.

I have just returned from three days of a wonderful family getaway.  It was a great way to recharge, reconnect, and kick off the glorious Summer ahead.  With a teacher husband and school-aged children, Summer is always much-anticipated, and with the busy-ness of our move taking up much of our downtime last Summer, I am especially looking forward to the unscheduled, lazy, hazy days ahead.

But back to our getaway….. it was so glorious that I feel the need to share the details so that you may consider it for a Summer outing of your own.  We explored the Picton/Sandbanks area for three days and found lots of hidden gems in an area we’ve never been to, but to which we’ll certainly return.  Where’s Picton, you say?  It’s about 200km East of Toronto, just off the 401.

We found the coolest accommodation, in the berth of a sailboat docked in the Picton Harbour.  For two nights, the ‘Tzarina’ was our home, and we ate our breakfasts on her deck, fished off her docks, and enjoyed the quaint, tight quarters that life on a sailboat entails.  The owners even treated us to a two-hour evening sail in the Bay of Quinte, one of the many highlights of our trip.

We explored three beaches, all of such variety that I’m stunned they were each within a twenty-minute drive:

  • IMG_3861Sandbanks beach:  This one was within Sandbanks Provincial Park itself, and was my personal favorite.  White sand, blue water, and pure sunshine made me feel like I was in Florida, and the sand dunes themselves were remarkable.
  • IMG_3863Point Petre beach:  Off the beaten path, we found this beach on a tip from a local, the very best resource when traveling.  More than once, we wondered if we’d taken a wrong turn, but ended up on the Southern-most outcropping of land, on a shale beach with a Maritime feel.  We only saw a handful of other people, and felt like we had a private cove all to ourselves.
  • Lake on the Mountain:  This small lake can be found above the Picton Harbour, with a view of the Glenora ferry.  We wore lake shoes and waded across the rocks to enjoy the warm water and the peace of kayakers and loons.

Picton also has great restaurants (including a takeout truck with the world’s best Butter Chicken), beautiful wineries, vintage furniture shops, and incredible homemade ice cream in the nearby town of Bloomfield (campfire-flavored with real roasted marshmallows!).  Now, it didn’t hurt that the three days we were there had perfect blue sky and thirty-degree sunshine, but being less than three hours from Burlington, this cute little area is a sure thing if you’re looking for an easy escape.

*This post was sponsored by the Picton Tourism Board.

**OK, not really, but I just re-read it, and it could’ve been.

***But seriously, go visit Picton.