Please excuse my tardy Summer of Awesome update. I have to honestly say we’re having so much fun that I’m finding it hard to keep up with the ‘here’s what happened’ blog posts. Or it could be the whole parenting-three-boys-including-a-newborn-thing I’ve got going on that’s keeping me away from the computer.
Along with our Summer of Awesome list we’ve been spending a lot of time meeting friends at parks and splash pads. The boys are now at an age where they’ve formed close friendships with several kids their age which translates into hours of happy play time (read: mommy gets to hide in the shade and snuggle the baby).
We’re still thoroughly enjoying our Mont Cascades membership. The baby duck isn’t too sure about the water but he tolerates the odd dip in the pool. I think his brothers appreciate his participation more than he does.
We finally headed over to the Museum of Nature with a gaggle of friends to visit the Whales Tohora exhibit. The boys loved climbing inside the whales heart but aside from that interactive component its definitely an exhibit for older children and adults. To fully appreciate it I think I’d need to go back on my own (HA! what’s the chance of me going to a museum solo). While the monkey was fairly oblivious to the wall displays the firefighter asked a lot of questions about the harpooning and whale carcasses and other graphic photos and displays. If you have curious kids (like mine) be prepared for lots of questions (‘why did they cut the whale open?’ ‘why do people kill whales?’ ‘why do people fight about killing whales?’).
We finally made it to the Sparks Street International Busker Festival last weekend and we had a blast! My only reservation is that I’ve now exposed my boys to lawn mower balancing, fire eating, fire juggling, and risky aerial stunts. When we visited Saunders Farm a few days later we noticed the monkey pretending to light sticks on fire and juggle them which leaves me wondering what else he’s going to try….
The firefighter’s face was a joy to watch; every expression of excitement and fascination played out right before our eyes. In contrast, the monkey was a perfect example of the blank-faced ‘now how will I do that at home?’ concentration.
We enjoyed the Busker Festival shows so much that when we realized it was already 8:45 we decided to stick around for Mosaika, the sound and light show on Parliament Hill. I honestly wasn’t expecting much as I hadn’t researched it and it assumed it was what the title implied: music and lights. But the show actually tells the history of Canada with an amazing graphical display of lights across the Parliament Buildings along with story telling and music. There’s no pictures because I was nursing baby duck throughout the show but it was definitely worth the late night and cranky kids the next day.
We spent a rainy afternoon at the Diefenbunker in Carp. Ever since the firefighter’s secret spy birthday party he’s been asking to go back and so we took advantage of a Groupon deal this spring and bought a year-long membership for $39. They love all the contraptions, especially the escape hatch, and talking about what the different rooms were used for to protect Canada from the ‘bad guys’. I love visiting the Diefenbunker because you literally immerse yourself in the history; while a lot is behind glass and closed doors there’s an equal amount that is right there for you to explore and see, which makes the experience so much more hands-on and interesting for the boys.
At the CHEO Teddy Bear Picnic this year we won three passes to Saunders Farm and we took advantage of our passes on holiday Monday. The huge jumping pillows were a hit; the splash pad was not (too cold, too stinky); but the hands-down winners were the wooden pirate ship and mazes. We lost track of how many times they went through the spiral maze and then the musical maze. I only wish we lived closer because Saunders Farm is somewhere I’d visit again and again if it wasn’t a 40 minute drive away.
1. Museum of Civilization: When I asked the boys what they wanted to do this summer the monkey requested a trip to the ‘bus museum’ (referring to the brightly coloured vehicle at the entrance to the Children’s Museum). They’re old enough now that I’d like to spend more time exploring the Canada Hall and the First Peoples Hall.
2. Cumberland Museum, Music & Beyond (Sunday July 8th, 11 am to 4 pm):
“For the first time, ‘Music and Beyond’ present a day of non-stop musical fun at the museum. Listen to over 100 musicians perform a range of musical styles in a heritage setting. Children will make their own musical instruments, watch puppet shows, enjoy dance and theatre performances and create visual art. Visitors can also try a wide range of musical instruments assisted by Suzuki Music and University of Ottawa students” 3. Museum of Nature: We’re planning our first visit to the Whales Tohora exhibit. 4. Aviation & Space Museum: The monkey’s second request – a visit to the airplane museum. 5. Saunders Farm: We visited Saunders for the first time last summer and had a blast. The boys especially loved the bouncy cushions and wooden play structures. 6. Diefenbunker: One of the highlights of last years Summer of Awesome. We took advantage of a Groupon deal and bought a membership for half price. The firefighter can’t wait to go back and check out more of the spy gear. 7. Mont Cascades: Since my husband will be off on parental leave for several weeks this summer we bought a season’s pass for the entire family. As much as we love Calypso, Mont Cascades is a lot less busy and easier on our wallet (A season’s pass cost us $160 compared to Calypso, which would have been $600).
8. Upper Canada Village: It’s one of my favourite places to visit and the boys had tons of fun last year exploring all the buildings and historical sites. I swear we’re not just going back for the fresh bread.
9. Mud Lake: We’ve never visited the Lake and trails near Britannia Beach but several friends have and I’m always envious of the great photos they take there. Time for a field trip to the west end of the city!
10. Mosaika: The boys love Parliament Hill so the thought of one of their favourite haunts covered in bright lights AND getting to stay up past their bed time = lots of excitement.
11. Fortissimo: My Canadian Forces loving six year old loved every minute of last year’s performance and can’t wait to go back again this year.
12. RCMP Musical Ride: We have fond memories of taking the firefighter to the Sunset ceremonies when he was only 18 months old. We’ve seen the Musical Ride since then but illness and weather have kept us away from this special event the last few years. 13. Canada Day Fireworks: The firefighter has been asking about going to watch the fireworks since last Canada Day so this year we promised we’d take them somewhere close to downtown so they could see the show.
14. Putting Edge: I’m fearful about the monkey’s ability to stay on his feet in the dark but the firefighter added this to his list of ‘please can we go’ this Spring.
15. Busker Festival: Last weekend we attended a birthday party where a magician performed and the firefighter was in heaven. I think they’re old enough to appreciate the magic and mad skills of the performers. Here’s hoping there’s no attempts at sword and fire tricks once we get home…
16. Toronto (Ontario Science Centre, Toronto Zoo, Centreville Island): We’re planning a three-day long trip to Toronto to see family and visit some of our favourite sites.
17. Navan Fair: A family tradition dating back to when I was 5 years old. The boys can’t wait for the demolition derby.
18. Gotta Paint: Well I should be allowed to add at least one activity of my choice to the list, right
19. Gatineau Hot Air Balloon Festival: We didn’t get to see any balloons in flight last year because of the weather so we’re hoping Mother Nature cooperates this year.
20. CHEO Teddy Bear Picnic: The boys have been planning what stuffed friends to bring for several weeks and can’t wait to see the army vehicles that will be on site to provide medical care to their friends.