An aching stomach, and why that’s a good thing

Usually having a sore, aching stomach is a cause for concern or at least annoyance. It might make you call in sick to work or it might make you lie down for awhile. Maybe you heat up a hot water bottle.

But other times, an aching stomach is a good thing. It’s a wonderful thing, for instance, when it hurts this much because you’ve spent hours laughing until you cry and wrap your arms around your middle, doubled over on the couch.

It’s the sign of a good Saturday when you have family over for dinner and to hang out for the evening and your eyes are streaming, your throat is sore, and your stomach is begging you to just stop laughing for five minutes.

I hope your Saturday was filled with the good kind of sore stomach too.

Parade of Lights in downtown Halifax

Tonight we ate an early dinner and then headed out right at 5 pm with a good friend of ours and his kids so we could catch the Halifax Parade of Lights which is essentially a Christmas parade. It’s filled with floats, marching bands, majorettes (I *love* majorettes, I always wanted to be one when I was a kid!), and of course the Big Guy, Santa Claus.

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It was a great night for our first parade in Halifax. It wasn’t too cold, just comfortable for the most part. I was a little chilly by the end of the parade but overall it was very nice. There was one “huh?!” moment though. They had a float sponsored by one of the fitness places go by and they were pole dancing. I’m no prude whatsoever, believe me, but pole dancing in a parade for kids and families? Really?!

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The kids had a blast. They sat with their friends on the curb and watched everything go by. Hayley got a candy cane from one of the floats and Breanna got a hug from Cookie Monster, so all was good. And much to my amusement and glee there was a Stormtrooper doing the Running Man. That just pretty much filled me with joy.

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And much joy was also had courtesy of the Grinch and Kermit the Frog, consecutively.

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Also, every once in awhile I see a person on the street that makes me wish I could get over my shyness and just go up and ask them if I could schedule a whole photo shoot with them. This Native American girl in a Mic’Maq float was one of them. She was just so photogenic and beautiful that I would love to spend an hour taking pictures of her. And the man in the amazing traditional costume behind her for that matter.

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Next week there will the the lighting of the big tree downtown and I’m not sure if we’ll go or not; they figure that about 100,000 people showed up for the parade, and I can’t imagine a large crowd showing up in one small park for a tree lighting, but we’ll see. In the meantime I had a lot of fun tonight and took almost 200 pictures. Good times! :)

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You can see the rest of them over here.

Great three-day weekend

As I already mentioned, on Friday the 11th I was off but I did crazy things outside in the rain all in the name of good fun and a healthy little challenge. Then, as implied yesterday, our Saturday included a nice family movie and some good times with family and friends when George’s cousin and his girlfriend came over.

There were other things this weekend though, and having three days just made it all the more awesome. Saturday was chilly but sunny and so we headed out to Sanford Fleming Park, also known as The Dingle. It was spectacular out there and I’m not surprised to learn that houses out there cost roughly half a million, if not more.

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This would be one of the extremely expensive rich-people houses. I don’t even like it, the architecture just isn’t me:

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It was really beautiful there though. Lots of trails, plenty of people walking dogs, a couple of small beaches, and a play park for the kids.

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We were pretty cold by the time we left to come home but we had a great time and would like to go back again. Preferably in warm weather.

Today, Sunday, I took the kids to the park where I did some more Tabata (outdoors is even more fun!) and then I played with then on the slides and climbing structures. This is one good reason to exercise – having energy to just play!

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How was your weekend?

Beach time! (In October? Yes! In October!)

Despite the fact that this is Canada and it can get pretty cold in the winter, and it is in fact starting to get downright chilly (I have the space heater churning away behind me as I type!), Thanksgiving weekend found us enjoying unseasonable October weather where it felt more like summer than fall. What else to do on a gorgeous, sunny, hot day than hit the beach, am I right? Admittedly it felt strange to be driving to the beach and passing tons of trees with changing leaves.

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But I can deal with strange if it means that 15 minutes after walking out our front door I can be confronted with this:

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When people would ask me why I would want to move to Halifax, I always like to joke that it’s because the ocean is here. In reality the reasons are much more complex than the scenery but I must say that it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the Atlantic just a little more than a stone’s throw away.

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As much as I love Crystal Crescent Beach, it really doesn’t matter where I am. When I take the bus to work and I see the harbour as we drive along towards downtown Halifax, I still feel so much happiness. Even if I’m having a day where I miss people and things back home, seeing the water brings me back again. That never seems to change. It always makes me feel exactly like this:

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Beach time in October? Oh yes. Yes please.

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As an aside, someone (don’t know who, but thank you!) nominated me for the Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs. I’ve never ever won anything like that so if you could vote by clicking right here or on the badge in the right menu, I would so appreciate it. You can vote once every 24 hours. I’ll try not to harass you too much!

Catching up #2 – Visiting York Redoubt

A couple of weeks ago we hopped in the van and drove down to visit York Redoubt, a historical site that dates back to 1793; back in the day it was a major defense site that protected the entrance to the Halifax harbour.

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It was an absolutely beautiful day to be walking around looking at all the cannons and old buildings. The view from up there is pretty spectacular too, and you can see why they chose that location to keep watch over the waters.

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It’s a great place to go as a family to just explore. There’s a doorway that leads into a tunnel that goes down to the lower path, and the whole tunnel is made of damp rock. It’s sufficiently creepy!

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One of the buildings still has some of the original equipment; in one room we saw a tiny pot-bellied stove (that is sadly crammed full of garbage because so many people suck) that was used for cooking food for the troops. The other room had a larger stove for heating cannon balls and the tools used to manipulate them. That was pretty cool to check out.

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I’d love to go back one day when we have more time to hike along the trail that winds through the woods all the way down to the water’s edge. Breanna was up for it, as she always is when you stick her on a path in the woods, but they close up the door to the tunnel and the gates out of the parking lot right at 6 pm sharp and we didn’t want to risk taking too long to get back. We’ll go another time but that likely won’t be until late spring since the days are getting a bit chilly now.

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It was a great visit though and it was nice to spend part of our day absorbing the history here. (You can see the full set of photos over here.)

Labour Day Weekend

I must say that I love that even though I’m still quite new at work I get a (paid) day off on holidays. Rather nice! With it being Labour Day weekend, it was especially nice to enjoy a three-day weekend since we don’t know how much longer we have before the cold air starts to settle in. The days have already become much noticeably shorter so it’s good to enjoy whatever is left!

Friday saw us just relaxing after I got home but on Saturday one of George’s cousins and his girlfriend came by for dinner so we had a good evening just hanging out at home with them. On Sunday we had to brave the crowds at Walmart – there are about 400,000 people in Halifax and a large number of them were at Walmart, gah! – to pick up some stuff for the kids to start school.

What’s especially handy is that we didn’t even have to buy school supplies this year. Our school just asks for a (reasonable!) fee and they supply the kids with everything they need. Could we have saved a bit of money getting stuff ourselves? Oh, maybe. However, it’s worth it to not have to hunt down specific type of notebook or folder right down to the serial number.

After we got what we needed, which included getting each of them a backpack, (and they came with a matching lunch bag, pencil case, and water bottle), a new pair of running shoes, and a first day outfit (it’s strange to not have to do uniforms!), we headed downtown and wandered along the waterfront for a little over an hour. We stopped for lunch, checked out the boats, and the kids played at the playground to burn off steam.

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More photos below! Continue reading

Water weekend

Over the weekend we decided to take advantage of three things: No work, beautiful weather, and living in a place surrounded by water.

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Saturday found us at the beach, frolicking in the ocean. I’ve been in the Atlantic many times now and that was the warmest it’s ever been this high up the coast. Naturally the Atlantic is very pleasant for swimming down south but up here, well it’s usually on the chilly side and you just go with it because you don’t have any other choice if you want to get in there. However, the water was perfect and I had a ball swimming around (no rogue waves tried to drown me like last time, when I got slammed face-first into the sand by a wall of water).

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The kids are getting braver, especially since we brought their lifejackets with us. They were both running all over the place, jumping over waves and having a great time. It was a fantastic way to spend a hot, sunny afternoon as a family.

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A few dogs showed up (with their owners of course) and although there’s a sign saying that dogs must be leashed, they unhooked the leashes and all three dogs swam with their people. They didn’t bother a soul and no one complained (no lifeguards). I like that. As long as you aren’t actively upsetting anyone, things are fine. Not one dog went up to sniff anyone, they just swam, splashed, and behaved. It was awesome.

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(Taken by George)

On Sunday the kids wanted to go to a nearby lake instead. Part of that was because although Hayley had a great time jumping waves, she wanted to go somewhere that would let her just paddle around. The beach at this particular lake is quite small and I worried that maybe it would be packed on such a beautiful Sunday afternoon but it wasn’t too bad after all.

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The water was really warm so I was able to enjoy another day of swimming around and enjoying the day. Breanna had a moment of panic when she suddenly couldn’t touch the bottom and was cautious the rest of the time we were there but she had fun and is slowly learning to trust the lifejacket.

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There were a couple of ducks there who are obviously very used to people and they weren’t scared at all. One swam all of a foot away right in front of Breanna and then two others poked around the beach, looking for dropped crumbs.

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(Taken by George)

I don’t believe in daily horoscopes. They’re usually a load of crap and if they happen to come true it’s because it can be twisted to fit your situation. However, I do believe there’s a certain amount of truth to astrological signs. As a Cancer I’m a water sign and that couldn’t be more accurate for me. I’ve always been a water person and living in a place that has the entire Atlantic ocean up one side and hundreds of lakes dotted all over the place… well, I couldn’t live in a more perfect place, really. Even at work I can see a wee bit of the Halifax Harbour from the windows and even that’s enough to make me smile and feel relaxed.

Summer is wrapping up soon but hopefully there will still be time for a handful of beach runs before it gets too cold.

Life near the ocean

Recently our good friends Dino, Nancy, and their daughter all came out to Halifax for their vacation time and we had such a great time. Obviously I couldn’t be around all the time because of when I started work but it was okay and I got to spend evenings with them. Two particularly fun times were Natal Day (August 1st), and the following Saturday, August 6th. We all headed out to Crystal Crescent Beach and having never been there either, I really didn’t know what to expect. Let me put it this way: Lawrencetown Beach was my number one favorite ocean spot for years, but it has now been bumped down to the second place slot. Crystal Crescent is stupidly gorgeous. The first time we went it was foggy and it was STILL amazing. Then we went back the second time and it was clear, and it was even more beautiful.

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The real reason that we moved to Halifax was to have better opportunities, a fresh start, and a good future for our family of four. However, I often joke that I moved here for the ocean. It’s not too hard to believe that though, is it?

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It also makes yoga feel that much more fun (and considering my love of yoga, that’s saying something!).

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It’s within such a short driving distance that it’s almost ridiculous. This beach definitely falls into the category of, “Do I really LIVE here?! Seriously?”

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I can’t wait to go back.

Pre-work vacation time

I don’t think I had mentioned this before; perhaps I didn’t even know for sure yet when I last posted (I know, it’s been awhile). I had my final interview for my job and I got the call about a week or so later with the official offer. I’m so relieved to have secured the job! I had a really good feeling after each interview but it was still nerve-wracking to not know for sure. I’ll be starting this coming Friday (I’m assuming it starts with an orientation since it’s a Friday, plus we have a long weekend after that), and I’m alternating between feeling nervous and really excited. Due to the fact that I’ve seen more than one person get royally screwed because they talk about work on the internet (I don’t want to be “dooced” thanks very much!), no I can’t say where I’m working or what I’m specifically doing. I will say that I’m dealing with clients and that’s as far as my description goes. I’m going to rock at it though!

Anyway, since I’ll soon be back in the work force full time, I’ve been spending this last little bit of time just taking it easy and enjoying my time off as though I’m on vacation. I can’t remember everything but a wee summary is something I can do.

I had a small group of people over for my birthday the Saturday after my actual big day. I realized it was the first time in over a decade that I’d had a party of sorts for myself. Our apartment just wasn’t conducive to gatherings other than for the kids’ birthdays but this house sure is! I also had my sister, her husband, and my niece (!) over twice since moving in. I can’t even say how nice that is.

The kids met their cousin who is visiting from Toronto and he ended up having a sleepover here. He was over because we had all gone down to the harbour for the jazz fest. We ended up skipping the music since it was all super expensive but we had a nice time going out for a beer downtown anyway.

Date night!

Night boat

It was completely surreal to wander along the waterfront and realize that we LIVE here now; it wasn’t just a visit. Surreal, yet amazing.

Continue reading

Settling in (a virtual house tour!)

Boy it’s been awhile since I updated, hasn’t it? Then again I think it’s easy to understand why, what with moving two provinces over and all. I can’t possibly catch you up on everything that’s happened since we loaded up our moving truck but I can at least show you around our home, at least as far as we’ve set it up.

We actually had the living room more or less done the day after we unloaded the truck, the dining room was set up immediately afterwards, and the kitchen was the first room that I fully unpacked. The bedrooms came along next, then George started setting up his music room. The rec room is only partially done right now because we have a lot of boxes down there to go through, including some that are full of things that seemed important to pack but now don’t seem to fit in with our new home. In fact, we brought our big wall unit from the apartment specifically because I really loved it and right now it’s being stored in our shed because it just isn’t being needed after all. We did, however, at least set up a futon and a second television for the kids to use down there and I’ll start unpacking some of their toys and organizing those over the course of this week.

Ready for a tour? Here we go! The living room from a variety of angles. It’s a huge room and I LOVE it. Just a quick move of the coffee table and I’ve got plenty of space for yoga.

Living room

Looking forward

Full living room

There are quite a lot of pictures, let’s keep going. Continue reading