Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Edinburgh as a family.

My best friend and Fenner's godmother Carolyn is living in Edinburgh right now. She's doing her Master's in Law because she's super smart and ambitious.  Carolyn might not use those words to describe herself but since she's not writing this post I get to.

Anyway, we rented a flat near the junction of Leith Walk and Broughton which made us close to downtown. It was 5 minutes off of the bike paths of the Leith. Lots of Edinburgh City adventures to be had and lots of playgrounds and walks to let Fenner go off in all directions.

It was an amazing thing to go travelling with a 4 yr old and a baby.  It changes the entire way that you view the place you visit.  It's not better or worse but it forced me and Jason to be real about debauchery and safety to focus on the world from a different perspective.
So we hiked in Holyrood Park and tried to climb the Craigs.

We went to museums, aquariums, discovery centress, playgrounds and yes, there were a couple of pubs and late nights but certainly not the number that I might of hit 7 years ago.

Our flat was close to the Royal Botanical Gardens which were amazing. I love these mini terrains that they designed based on the mountains and mosses.  There were giant greenhouses with different ecosystems and a ton of space to run run run!
We went hiking with Carolyn along the Leith after having afternoon tea.
The kids were game for city attractions like The Royal Mile, dinner out or an exploration that required not running amok if we'd set Fenner free the day before.

It's a good sign when at the end of a vacation one is dreaming of  projects and adventures to come. An amazing trip filled with exploration, food, friends, wine and most importantly, naps. 

I love naps so so much.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The World is for exploring in anyway you can

About 3 months ago my sister Charlotte called me up to notify me that there was a fantastic seat sale on flights to Scotland and that for my birthday she would like to take me and the girls to see my friend Carolyn in Edinburgh.

Take a minute to think about that. She was offering to fly with me and two small children IN AN AIRPLANE. Never mind the financial cost of this endeavour, imagine the psychological cost. Never mind the children, I am a super anal retentive traveller.  I hate surprises and I insist on bringing my sanity saving rules and systems with me whereever I go.

They keep me from going....too feral. Charlotte was the very picture of accomodation and flexibility which was nothing short of the perfect gift.

J joined the party for his first trip to Scotland and it seems that the perfect adult to child ration is 3:2. It allows some time off for some adults some of the time. I might add that ratio to any conversation I have with couples thinking about having children.

After our 6 hour night flight we took a bus to Glasgow Centre.
Then a train to the Isle of Arran where we would finally enjoy the beautiful landscape and Fenner would run off the ill effects of Eastbound jetlag.
Running in Glasgow Central
We rented a small flat for the weekend and enjoyed some hiking, some pints and some Irish Sea swimming. The point of going to the Isle before Edinburgh was to stretch our legs and give us and the kids lots of space to have fatigue induced tantrums.
Charlotte and I enjoyed a swim in the Irish Sea.
This is where we swam, seriously
It was amazing. Locals say that the Isle of Arran is a miniature Scotland, that it has everything that Scotland has to offer on a small island.

It was beautiful. Edinburgh will have to wait until tomorrow.

Monday, July 09, 2012

High Level Enjoyment

Here are the visual highlights of our 10 days at my family cottage. The only reason I'm back from the cottage is because we're going to Scotland on Thursday night to see my best friend.

That's right people, I'm living the dream life over here.  I made some stuff last week deserving of special attention.  Hopefully this week I'll get some time to be specific but until then, is there anything more beautiful than sun kissed, free range children?

Here are my favourite moments in no order.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Going feral in the best way possible

Word on the street is that Toronto is experiencing a record breaking heat wave this week. After a perfect Canada Day long weekend, I am not sad I chose this week to try to be at the cottage with the girls.

My folks are up but it's the first time I have come for an extended stay without my Partner in Crime.  I miss J dearly and flying solo make the nights difficult. The days are just packed with....well whatever we feel like.
I've taken the girls exploring the shoreline in my Mimi's ancient canoe. We've been collecting bugs and toads. Fenner is desperate to capture a chipmunk for Jason's birthday tomorrow and she's come awful close.

Some Highfield friends decided to join the free range party and some new friendships were formed. It is a lovely thing to witness, the crossing of that bridge of trust between a little person and whomever they are crossing the bridge to meet.  If you watch close enough you get to see it happen right before your eyes.
My Dad is a pretty infamous Failed Misogynist. He tries so hard to be a chauvinist and yet he has successfully raised 3 intelligent, successful, confident daughters and 1 reluctantly feminist son.  My Dad, is a complete failure as a chauvinist. He also has a deep and unwavering affinity for children who are "More". 

I think he likes that they are hard to charm, perhaps, these children have higher expectations of themselves and the adults around them then we are all used to. Maybe it's their intelligence and their challenges that he finds himself smitten with. No matter what, the Dude has a long history of comfortable silences with teens and children.

If you ever get to witness a person wordlessly cross that bridge of friendship nurture that moment in your mind's eye for as long as you can.

They are the moments that make the Dreamers believe in world peace and Mothers believe in a sibling's bond.