Winter Cottaging

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When I decided to try for an autumn baby, I based that decision entirely on my experience having had my first baby in late summer. It worked so well that time! I had a little bit of nice weather with my newborn before the snow flew. We went for walks in the late summer sun while she was still really little and fragile. By the time the cold weather arrived, she was bigger and we were into a good routine and rhythm and it was no big deal to take her out for winter walks in her chariot, or to the YMCA for postnatal fitness classes. And then by the time she wanted to be mobile, it was summer again. Perfect!

The problem with this is that I planned my second baby entirely around my experience of having one baby at home. Somehow I forgot that I would still have a toddler kicking around (bored, mostly). Whoops.

The other problem I encountered, having had my second baby in October of 2013, is that this winter has been the worst winter in the history of time.*

Bundled, as usual

Bundled, as usual

So we’ve felt pretty cooped up most of this winter, and we’ve all had some pretty bad bouts of cabin fever.

My parents bought a new cottage at the end of November, but Pete and I hadn’t even considered going out there for a weekend, because the baby was still getting up so frequently at night (and exhausting us in the process). But one Saturday morning in late February, Pete said, “why don’t we go to the cottage?” This was at 9:00 am. By 11:00 am, we were in the car, and on our way.

This was the best decision we could have made. I didn’t realize how much we would love it out there.

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The cottage is at the very end of a rural road, at the edge of a provincial park, and right on Georgian Bay. It’s peaceful, serene and gorgeous. It’s exactly what we needed.

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And the things we were worried about turned out to be non-issues. C slept in a big-girl bed for the first time and it was great. The baby slept well in a playpen, and woke up to feed just as often as he would at home, but not more. C really took to all of our traditional cottage activities, such as obsessively putting together puzzles for hours on end. She’s going to fit right in.

Puzzle success!

Puzzle success!

The weather was very cold and windy, so we stayed inside a lot, but the change of scenery was very therapeutic.

Our first attempt at a cottage family photo - photobombed

Our first attempt at a cottage family photo – photobombed

Attempt number two

Attempt number two

We went back this past weekend and had an even better time. The baby only got up three times to eat (it’s better than five!) and C got to go outside and enjoy the outdoors a bit more.

Champion sleeper

Champion sleeper

The weather was glorious this time, mild and sunny, so she got to go tobogganing.

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Pete even made her a little skating rink on the ice out front. It seemed silly to make a rink on March 8th, but it was certainly cold enough, and we got enough use out of it.

And if this all weren’t enough, we had a lovely family dinner with my parents and two sets of uncles and aunts. Did I mention that two of my uncles and two of my aunts live a few doors down from our cottage? It doesn’t get much better than that.

After all, that means there are four extra people for C to do puzzles with.

Puzzles with Uncle Louis

Puzzles with Uncle Louis

I can’t wait to go back. Is it the weekend yet?

*I don’t have meteorological data to back this up at present, but I’ll look into it.

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How to Camp Without Your Baby

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Step 1: Leave your baby with your wonderful, doting parents.

Step 2: Enjoy.

So much simpler than camping with one’s baby/toddler. Pete and I were lucky enough to finally have a weekend away, just the two of us. We have both had weekends away separately, but this was our first overnight trip together, sans Little C. And it was so relaxing.

We spent two nights camping in Algonquin Park in early July. Since my previous camping posts seemed to be all about lessons in list form, I’m going to continue with that theme here. Here is what we learned this time around:

1) Algonquin Park is beautiful.
I was lucky enough to spend four summers living and working in Algonquin Park. Even though it can be really busy in tourist season, it’s still such a gorgeous place. It’s easy to forget that when you’ve been away. I did a lot of deep sighing on our trip.

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2) We are old.
I bumped into one of my old co-workers at our campground and while we were chatting, he asked me how long it had been since I worked there. Ten years. It’s been ten years. He replied “Whew, I shouldn’t have asked that. I’m getting old.” Me too, my friend.

3) Resist the urge to call the babysitters.
When Pete and I became parents, we swore that we wouldn’t talk incessantly about our baby when we were able to go on date nights. We wanted to stay connected as partners, not just as parents. An extension of this policy was that we wouldn’t call my parents to check on things while we were away. This was our time to reconnect and be together as a couple. This may not work for everyone, but it’s good for us.

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4) Enjoy the little things.
When you aren’t chasing a little person (or people) around, it’s a lot easier enjoy the serenity. You can really experience the smell of the white pines, the call of a loon, and the sound of the water lapping against your canoe. Try to take it all in.

Pete enjoying the serenity, and a roast beef sandwich.

Pete enjoying the serenity, and a roast beef sandwich.

5) Appreciate the trip for what it is.
This was something I learned about camping with a baby, and it applies here too. Even though Pete and I were on our own this time, we were still more exhausted than we were before we had C, and ended up asleep in our tent both nights before 10:00pm.

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We also really wanted to do an interior canoe trip, but my parents were nervous about this and asked that we camp in a campground instead. Fair enough. We will be able to go on a canoe trip someday. It turns out that this plan worked well for us anyway. We did some canoeing day trips and between my aching back and Pete’s bad shoulder, we weren’t able to paddle for more than a few hours anyway. See point #2.

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6) Document the experience.
Even if this amounts to taking a lot of photos, do it. As parents, we tend to document our children’s lives at the expense of our own. This is natural, of course, but I think it’s important to remember times like these. When life gets hectic again (for us, that will be around October 27th), being able to relive a relaxing time like this will be invaluable. Well, that and wine.

How Not to Camp with a Toddler

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Pete and I took C camping this past weekend. It was not nearly as successful as our trip to Algonquin last summer, when C was a baby. On that trip, we were able to tote our not-yet-mobile ten-month-old around on hiking trips and I was able to enjoy delicious, delicious beer by the campfire at night. Those were the days.

But alas, this time, things did not go so smoothly. Here are some of the things we learned the hard way last weekend:

1) Don’t get sick on a camping trip.

On our first (and ultimately only) night, I started to feel a sore throat coming on, but I figured that maybe it was just a bit raw from sitting around a smoky campfire all night. Oh, no. That was denial. I woke up in the middle of the night with my throat on fire. Soon enough, C was showing signs of being sick as well. Three days later, as I write this, we are both still sick and completely miserable. Why are summer colds the worst colds of all? Ugggghhhh.

2) Don’t let your toddler skip a nap.

I don’t really have any tips on how to prevent nap-skipping, since I employed all of my tricks and C still stayed awake all afternoon. I’m sure there are 22-month-olds out there who can do well without an afternoon sleep but my little lady is not one of them. Bad times were on the horizon.

Helping...sort of

Helping…sort of

3) Don’t let your toddler skip snack time.

After the failed nap, we took C to the beach for some splashy fun. It turns out, the splashing was far too much fun and C would not take a break to have a snack, under any circumstance. This (combined with exhaustion) led to the worst meltdown of her little life (so far!) Luckily, we had her favourite CD (she loves ’50s music, and specifically, my uncle’s band, The Martels) and lots of cheese on hand. Crisis managed.

Splashy fun

Splashy fun

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4) Don’t believe weather apps.

We were supposed to get 1-3 mm of rain on Sunday morning. Instead, we were trapped inside our tent all morning during a torrential downpour. Getting trapped in a tent on a rainy day used to be fun when I was a carefree lady in my twenties with some friends and a box of wine. Subtract the wine and add a toddler and things get real.

This recap definitely makes our trip sound like a disaster, but it was mostly enjoyable. The meltdown passed and C was back to her happy little self. We went for a stroll around the campground in the evening and read books in the dining tent. She fell asleep easily at bedtime and then Pete and I had a quiet evening to ourselves.

S'more o'clock

S’more o’clock

We were both sad to leave early, since Arrowhead really is a beautiful park, but Pete and I consoled ourselves by looking forward to the trip we’re taking in July to Algonquin (a trip we taking alone – thank you grandparents!)

Can a House Have “Bad Energy”?

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I was recently pulled into an Internet ghost-story vortex. It all started when I read an article about alleged murderer Luka Magnotta’s apartment, and how it was recently leased to an unsuspecting new tenant.

I then read a huge number of commenter responses, many of which detailed readers’ own experiences living in or touring houses that had been the scene of a crime. One woman wasn’t aware that the body of the last victim of H.H. Holmes (The Devil in the White City) had been hidden in her house’s chimney until a ghost tour passed by and she overheard the story. Another commenter toured a home in the U.S. that had been the scene of two separate murders. Her mother ran out of the house shortly after the tour began, saying that the house didn’t want her there. There were lots of very creepy tales about apartments with sinister vibes and ominous backstories.

I should point out here that I don’t *really* believe in ghosts. I often let my imagination run away with me, particularly when I’ve watched a scary movie and I’m home alone. My sister and I once made the mistake of bringing a book of ghost stories with us on an interior camping trip to Killarney Provincial Park. It was so silly and badly written that we made fun of it the whole time we were reading it, that is, until the sun set and we were alone in our tent on an island with no other campers around. And even though Pete makes fun of me for being a scaredy-cat, I’m not alone. My sister and brother-in-law once had to go downstairs together to fetch the DVD of Paranormal Activity because they were both too scared to go alone.

But aside from moments like that, I try my best to think rationally, and I just can’t bring myself to believe in hauntings. And I thought I didn’t believe in houses with “bad vibes” or “bad energy,” until I lived in one.

When Pete and I were engaged, he got a new job and we ended up moving to a new town. We toured some rental homes and none were appropriate. One, in particular, has stuck with me. The owners had packed up and decided to tour the world and were renting only the bottom of their house. All of the rooms upstairs were closed and locked. That creeped me out. There was no way I was going to live in a house with several locked rooms and no idea what was behind those doors. Oh no. No no no. I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that that is a terrible idea.

When we found a reasonably priced century home that was a decent size on a lovely street, we went for it. It seemed bright and airy on the day we toured it. After we moved in, though, I started to feel uneasy there. It started to feel oppressive. I was working as a college instructor then, and didn’t always work regular hours. On mornings when Pete had to leave for work before me, I felt that I HAD to get out of that house when he left for work, even if I would be hours early for my own job. I dreaded coming home to that house. I remember when we would go away on weekends, I would feel terrible about having to go back to that house again, after being away.

Nothing strange happend while we lived there. It had creaks and groans like any 100-year-old house, but objects didn’t move around on their own and doors didn’t close unexpectedly. We didn’t hear any frightening noises coming from the creepy basement. But for some reason, I felt that the house didn’t want me there. It seems so silly as I write it out, but that is precisely how it felt.

I’ve been trying to find out about the house’s history. So far, I haven’t learned much. I don’t know what I’m expecting to find, but Pete did point out that the house had had a lot of tenants before us. There seemed to be a quick turnover there. And we do know that the people who bought the house after we moved out put it on the market again after less than a year.

I’m interested in your opinions on this sort of thing. Have you experienced something similar? Do you think that houses can harbour bad vibes? Or are we just projecting our own moods and feelings onto places?

Pity Party for an Anglophile

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Pete has been travelling for work a lot lately.  It’s unfortunate that his business travelling has picked up now, since we have a toddler and I can’t easily tag along with him.  At his last job, he travelled overseas quite a bit, but when we met and he started working for a new company, there were no travel opportunities.  He would make the odd trip to Montreal and that was about it.

But in the last three months, he has gone to Europe three times.  The first trip was to the UK and that was in late February/ early March, and it was for NINE DAYS.  That was far too long.  The second trip was in April, and that time Pete spent six days in Munich and the UK.  And now he is back in England for five days.

I wasn’t very envious the first time he went away.  He was travelling in winter, and the weather was terrible (both at home, and in England).  I was a little jealous that he got to tour Oxford and to see Lincoln Cathedral, but I got over it quickly.

The second trip, I felt a little more envy.  I’ve only ever been to Berlin, and I would have loved to see Munich.  But it turns out that Pete’s Munich hotel was terrible, and since it was adjacent to a strip club the noise would likely have kept Little C up all night.  Plus, the few days he spent in England were in Slough, a suburb of London made famous by The Office (UK version, of course).  Not a place I’m dying to visit.

But this time, Pete is staying near the picture-perfect town of Arundel, in southern England.  He’s close to the sea.  It’s late May.  I’m imagining flowers in bloom and swans in the river.  I’m wishing I could be taking a tour of Arundel Castle and visiting the cathedral.

via www.existentialennui.com

Arundel, UK

Pete and I did actually consider going together, with C, to England this time.  He wasn’t travelling with any colleagues, and it seemed possible for us to come along.  But when we considered the logistics, we decided against it.  Touring a castle with a 21-month-old would probably be a disaster.  Pete would be in meetings all day and I would have to keep C fed, amused and happy all day alone in a strange town.  Having to put a toddler to bed at 7 pm every night in a tiny hotel room didn’t sound like much fun.  But despite our decision, I’m feeling sorry for myself.

As I’ve written here before, I love travelling.  I love England.  I’ve pored over history books and I’ve told Pete all about the significance of Arundel and its castle (his summary: the Duke of Norfolk is the dukiest of dukes).

My parents have assured me that someday, when our kids are a little older, we’ll be able to travel again.  It still won’t be the same sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants travelling we used to do, but it will be possible.

In the meantime, I’m consoling myself with upcoming summer plans.  They’re less impressive than a trip overseas, but they will likely be more relaxing.

The first will be a bachelorette trip to Niagara-on-the-Lake (Ontario’s wine country) in June.  My lovely friend Anna is getting married and we’ll be celebrating with her at a cottage by the lake.

via www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com

Niagara-on-the-Lake

In July, Pete and I are taking a babymoon of sorts, in Algonquin Park.  Even though we had a great time camping with C there last year, we’re hoping to have a little alone time before the new baby arrives.  So we’ll be leaving her with her grandparents and heading up for a relaxing weekend of paddling and hiking.

via www.siskphoto.com

Algonquin Park

 

And now, a question for parents out there.  Have you managed to travel with little ones?  Share your wisdom!

Love and Mourning in Zagreb

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This will be the last post about our Croatian honeymoon in 2010.  I’m almost wistful about this.  It’s been so nice reliving the trip.

Pete and I had the good fortune of arriving in Croatia’s capital city, Zagreb, in time for All Souls’ Day.  We found out about this while waiting for a bus in Plitvice, when a park employee let us know that the next few days in the capital would likely be very busy due to the holiday.  This information would come in handy.

When we arrived in Zagreb we walked from the bus terminal to the train station (it’s a long story) and we were greeted by this amazing sign.

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Croats do not appreciate handguns or ice cream on their trains.  They are serious about this.

We spent a night in a hotel near Zagreb’s downtown core and the next morning we wandered into the city centre.  It was a stunning, sunny, 15-degree day.  This was such a relief after our chilly few days in Plitvice.

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We were told by the man in Plitvice that the Dolac fruit and vegetable market would be full of people buying flowers for their departed loved ones.  Everyone in Zagreb would then travel to Mirogoj cemetery, north of the city, to pay their respects together.

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We were also told that we should absolutely visit Mirogoj cemetery, which is often called the most beautiful in Europe, but that we should be prepared to walk, since the buses would be packed.  Again, invaluable advice.  There were long lineups for all the buses, which were all crammed full of people clutching flowers and candles.

So we walked there and we were not disappointed.  Mirogoj cemetery is breathtaking.

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It was also a much more celebratory atmosphere than what we had been expecting.  People were milling about, talking together, buying items to lay on gravestones and eating roasted chestnuts.  They were taking pictures, and even having picnics and lunches among the graves.

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In all, we spent three days exploring Zagreb.  Both of us were completely taken with it.  I’ve been to a lot of European capitals, and so has Pete.  Zagreb has a lot going for it.  It has a lot of what we were looking for in a European city without being enormous or completely crowded with tourists.

It has a gorgeous town square.

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It has a clean, efficient transit system.  In fact, tram rides within the city centre are free.

It has beautiful achitecture reminiscent of what you would find in Vienna.*

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It has an impressive art gallery, with a collection donated to the city by a very, very wealthy benefactor.

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A benefactor who had this incredibly creepy death mask made of himself.

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It has beautiful parks with equestrian statues.  There are a lot of really gorgeous green spaces that we really enjoyed, especially after being so cold for the previous few days.

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Zagreb also boasts St. Mark’s Church, a 13th century building with Zagreb’s coat of arms on its roof.

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And, nearby, there is the Museum of Broken Relationships.  A perfect place to visit on a honeymoon!

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Also, there are these impressive mutton chops.

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The world’s shortest funicular.

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Nikola Tesla.  I’m so sorry, Croatia, that I always thought Tesla was Czech.

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Europe’s tiniest bathroom.

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And last but not least, giant, delicious kebabs.

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So, Pete and I spent our last day soaking in these sights and wishing we had booked a longer honeymoon.  A week is definitely not enough time.

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We were thrilled to discover, after a few days of terrible food in the nearly-abandoned hotel we stayed at in Plitvice, a great little brew-pub in Zagreb’s old town.  If I could remember its name, I would share it with you.  But I can’t, for the life of me, remember what it was called.  I do know that it was on Tkalčićeva street, which is a very charming and chic part of town.  They had good food, at a very reasonable price, and their beer was so, so good.

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We ate there a few times, and made sure we sampled all their varieties of beer.  Just to be thorough.

On our last night, in a mostly empty restaurant near the airport, we drank mistletoe rakija and toasted to a wonderful trip.  If you ever get the chance to go to Croatia, then absolutely go.  But maybe skip the mistletoe rakija.

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*Please note: I know nothing about architecture.

A Little Explanation

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I’ve been writing some heavier posts lately.  Pete has been proofreading them for me and he thinks that I should explain where these posts have been coming from.

You see, I struggle with self-doubt and with the idea that my writing is banal.  When I was in second-year university, a professor wrote this scathing word on one of my papers and it has haunted me ever since.  Looking back, that paper was banal.  I phoned it in.  But for some reason, his critique stuck with me.  I seem to have applied the crushing label “banal” to all my writing ever since.

Photo via thehothands.org

So, when I felt I had been posting too many recipes or lists of books that I’ve read (boring!) I decided to write about politics and current events.  I am a political science grad after all, and minimal-fee-paying member of the Canadian Political Science Association (don’t tell them I’m no longer a student!)

Anyway, whenever Pete reads my heavier posts, he always says: “Well, I think it’s really interesting and well-written, but probably no one is going to read it.”  Which is likely true, with the exception of my mom and sister.  But that’s okay.  I’ll post another recipe shortly and drive traffic up.  And I’m hoping, after they’ve jotted down the ingredients, that they might stick around and read about One Billion Rising.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Dubrovnik in October

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I’m continuing to blog about past travels because Pete is steadfast in his refusal to travel with a baby.  This is my method for dealing with my travel bug.

We went to Croatia on our honeymoon in October of 2010.  We chose Croatia because:

a) I wanted to go to Europe

b) we wanted to go somewhere warmish

c) we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been before.

Croatia was an easy decision.  I had always wanted to see Dubrovnik, and Pete had been to neighbouring Slovenia and really liked it.  We had a winner!

Croatia was an easy decision. Look at the gorgeousness.

We travelled the last week of October because I was teaching college at the time, and that was my Reading Week.  We spent a week there, and saw as much of the country as we could in that very short time.

After a three-hour layover in Vienna where we ate some chewy airport strudel and attempted to nap, we landed in Dubrovnik.

Airport strudel is never a good choice

It was an absolutely gorgeous day.  We had left snow behind in Canada and arrived to temperatures in the mid-twenties.  Just warm enough for short sleeves without being too hot.  Heavenly.

T-shirt weather! In late October!

We had made arrangements to stay in private accommodations we found through our Lonely Planet guidebook.  Our host, Marija, was warm and friendly, and took us to her home on the side of the hill overlooking the walled city.  Her house was similar to a B&B, but we had a separate entrance and we had the use of her gardenside outdoor kitchen.  Note to self: our next house must have an outdoor kitchen.

That first day we wandered (in our jet-lagged stupor) around the city and enjoyed some beer on a patio, which was outside Dubrovnik’s city walls, overlooking the Adriatic.

Beer on a patio overlooking the Adriatic

As we soaked up the sun and the view, we saw a cruise ship* begin to pass.  We patio-dwellers were snapping photos of it while the cruisers were snapping photos of us.

The Costa Serena sailing toward Italy

The next day, Pete and I woke up to much colder temperatures, cloudy skies, and drizzle.  Not a big deal, except that this weather stuck around for the rest of the trip.  Bye bye t-shirts!  Thanks, sister, for lending me your rain pants!

Stradun, Dubrovnik’s main street

Despite the weather, we really enjoyed exploring Dubrovnik.  What really struck me about the city is that although it is a picture-perfect walled city, it is a living city.  Often, cities this beautiful are full of tourists but few residents, due to the cost of living, or to inconvenience (think Venice).  But Dubrovnik is a vibrant place.  Walking along the city walls, you can see into apartments and rooftop terraces.  There are schools, playgrounds and soccer fields for the children.

Basketball court within Dubrovnik’s city walls

Dubrovnik’s vitality is all the more stunning considering how badly it was shelled during the civil war.

A photo displaying the damage Dubrovnik suffered during the civil war

I won’t linger too long on the topic of the civil war here, because it has been well covered elsewhere, but Pete and I did visit museums detailing the impact of the war.  I highly recommend War Photo Limited, a war photography museum in the old city.  It is curated by a former photojournalist and it is excellent.  It is a difficult museum to visit, but it is moving and will leave you impressed by the strength and resilience of the Croatian people.

View of the harbour from the city walls

After taking in the museums and historical sites, we spent time wandering around the city.  Although it was a cool evening, the city is absolutely breathtaking at night.  We got lost more than a few times in the labyrinthine alleys of the old town.

Our honeymoon was off to a lovely start.

Happy travels, everyone.

* I later realized that this ship was the Costa Serena, the sister ship of the ill-fated and now infamous Costa Concordia.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, or: Adult Cake

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As I mentioned in my last post, I had to make two cakes for C’s first birthday party.  A “baby cake” that was healthy and delicious, and an adult cake that was just plain delicious.  This was my first carrot cake from scratch, and it was a big success.  In fact, Pete (who is often a tough customer) loved it so much that he told me that I wasn’t allowed to send any leftovers home with anyone, because he was going to finish it all.  I think that qualifies as a hit.

Here it is:

  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Icing:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir in carrots and pecans.  Pour into pan.
  3. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. Icing:  In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, icing sugar and vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake.

How to Camp with a Baby

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Pete and I took C camping recently, and we all survived.  We didn’t forget anything (unheard of), the weather was fantastic, we managed to hike 18 kilometres over three days, and most importantly, no one got eaten by a bear (although there was a bear trap set up two campsites away from us!)

Everything fits! Barely.

So now I feel qualified to offer camping-with-baby tips to others.  I’m kidding.  Every baby is different, and every camping trip is different.  But I did learn a few things on our first trip that could be helpful for anyone contemplating a similar adventure.

Pete and C playing in our dining tent.

1) Bring new toys.  Alternatively, take some toys out of rotation for a few weeks before the trip and bust them out at the campsite.  I realize that this is a well-known tip, but we forgot to do it so it stands out in my mind as an essential one.

2) Find as secluded a campsite as possible.  We were car-camping, but we managed to book a walk-in site that was set back from the road by about 15 metres.  That makes a big difference for a baby’s sleep quality.

Where the napping happens.

3) Camp in the radio-free area.  These campground areas tend to be a little quieter, though that’s not always the case.  For instance, there was a group of three 20-something guys on a site across the road from us who retired to their massive tent at about 6:00 pm one night.  They were REALLY loud in there and we couldn’t figure out what was going on, until Pete walked past their site to fetch some water.  He came back and told me he thought they were playing Risk in there, because he heard something about a “clean sweep of North America.”  Good times.

Hiking Booth’s Rock Trail in Algonquin Park

4) Don’t fall for baby tricks.  Our first night, we were worried that the baby wouldn’t sleep well, so we went to bed early.  We hunkered down before it was even completely dark out.  To our surprise, the baby slept through the night and got up, happy and bright-eyed, at about 7:30 am.  Amazing!  We decided that she was a natural camper and that we should probably celebrate that fact with a late-night campfire and some drinks.  Do you see where this is going?  We were up every two hours with her that second night.  And she was up for the day at 6:00 am.  She won that round.  Well played, C.

Doesn’t Pete look exhausted? Lesson learned.

5) Enjoy the trip for what it is.  I used to go on a few interior canoe camping trips every summer.  What we did with C in July was very, very different from those portaging trips.  But that’s okay.  We’ll do those sorts of trips again someday.  And then we’ll probably miss these little trips with baby C.  It’s amazing to watch a baby experiencing the natural world for the first time.