Paris in June

Thirteen years ago I wrote down a Life List.  It was a list of 136 amazingly-blow-my-mind things I wanted to do during my life.  Some people call it a Bucket List but considering the reason it’s called a Bucket List is that it’s a list of things they want to do before they “kick the bucket”, I couldn’t embrace that title.  To me, that sounded depressing.  I wanted to focus on life as an ever-evolving journey and not a series of steps that slowly moved towards death.

On that list, number 72 was “Eat French toast in Paris with the one I love”.

Three years ago, on our seventh anniversary, I wrote down what I wanted to see with my life in the coming five years.  I was pregnant with Maggie.  We already had a 5 year old and 3 year old.  I wrote in my journal that I wanted to celebrate our tenth anniversary in a big way…maybe even in Paris.  I remember giggling as I wrote it because in all honesty, it didn’t seem possible.  There was so much going on in our lives – building a business, raising a family, being involved in our community, and more.  Paris, quite honestly, seemed like a pipe dream.  I found that journal about three months ago and read that entry.

Tom and I leave for Paris later this month, two months shy of our tenth anniversary.

To see this come to reality is overwhelmingly exciting for me.  Some beautiful steps fell into place for us in order to make this happen.  We had an amazing opportunity with family to take part in an event in northern France.  My mother in law and my sister-in-law both are available to take care of our kids for the week that we are gone.  We are in a place in life where we can leave our practice for a week together (we own our Chiropractic practice together).  I really believe that the intention I have put into being in Paris with the one I love has allowed for all of the little pieces to fall into place perfectly.  The Universe totally conspired to make this happen and I am so so grateful for all that came together in order to for us to take this trip.

If you had asked me thirteen years ago that by writing “Eating French toast in Paris with the one I love” would lead to “Celebrating our tenth anniversary in Paris” which would lead to actually going to France with Tom this summer, I would have thought you were nuts.  But it hit me a few weeks ago, when I came across that journal entry, that the power of intention is so profound.  It wasn’t something I manifested every single day.  It was something I wrote down twice in my life.  But the intensity with which I wished for it, while writing it down,  was massive.

And today, I took some time to research and plan this trip that I have the honour of taking.  We are taking part in a ceremony in Arras, France on the 100th Anniversary of Vimy Ridge.  We will be there for the re-patriation of soil between Vimy Ridge and Base Borden.  We are attending with family – my Dad, stepmom, brother, and sister-in-law – and the ceremony aside, I’m really looking forward to family time.  After the events in Arras, Tom and I are spending four days in Paris.

All.  By.  Ourselves.  (Read: no children)

This alone is exciting and while I hate to admit it, I have a pang of anxiety with it.  I’ve left all three kids before two or three times, but never without Tom being home with them.  This is for a whole week and family is happily going to be watching them while we are on this trip.  I know they will be fine but the Mama Bear in me is feeling anxious for sure.

But while focusing on the positive…we have seven days together as a couple.  An early honeymoon in honour of ten amazing years together.  Somehow, I feel that when I hold my husband’s hand while walking along the Seine, I’ll realize that not only are our kids okay but this is good for all of us.  A little time away to celebrate the awesomeness of our relationship.

In Paris, y’all.

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Making Family Memories

Some of the most vivid memories I have of growing up were on trips with my family.  Whether to another country or down the road to Toronto, I loved travelling and discovering new places with the ones I love.

Long weekends give that extra 24 hour reason to get out of town.   Instead of a regular cottage weekend, we jumped on the road and went north to Sudbury.  It was cool because it was the furthest north the kids or Tom had ever been.  For those of you who don’t know, Tom is American and so most of this great country of ours is fresh for him.

We stopped off at the French River Visitor Centre en route.  The French River just

French River

French River

makes me stop in my tracks each time I see it.  It has such raw beauty with its rocky sides stretching up from the blue water.   There is something about the awesomeness of the French River and Georgian Bay that completely calms me.  I feel so peaceful within moments of being there.  We caught a glimpse of some trippers (people canoeing, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term) as they paddled west and immediately made a decision that the French River would be a family destination in a few years when Maggie is old enough can still long enough to be in a canoe for a couple of days as we explore.

Back on the road, we drove another 80 or so kilometres up to Sudbury.  The kids were excited but really only because we were staying in a hotel that night.  It became that much more exciting when we arrived at Science North.  Science North is an impressive building that goes up in a spiral and in the middle is a twenty foot skeleton of a fin whale.  The Chiropractic Nerd in me had to pose for a picture.

Me, adjusting a whale.

Me, adjusting a whale.

Four floors of activities awaited us, mainly directed at kids.  We built a bridge with popsicle sticks, raced electric cars, played with a green screen, watched a Flying Squirrel show (and petted the squirrel), watched a beaver swim, learned how to tell time using a sundial, and so much more.  Tom and I were as engaged as the kids in the different activities.  We had a blast.

Onto the hotel where, while I would love to say science had the kids excited the most, we hit the pool to Caleigh, Blake and now Maggie’s delight.  There is something about a hotel with a pool that makes any trip awesome.  I remember that as a kid too.

The next morning we hit up Dynamic Earth at The Big Nickel.  The Big Nickel isn’t hard to miss because it has a huge big nickel outside.

Because every Canadian should have this picture.

Because every Canadian should have this picture.

The most amazing part of this though is when you go inside.  First, a great exhibit of dinosaurs that are motion activated and then move and roar when you walk by.  Next was a cool indoor play area that mimicked the mining industry.  The kids could crawl, slide, climb, and move through this extensive playground but also pretend they were miners and move rocks up conveyor belts, move rocks in wheel barrels, and send signals up and down through pipes.  Finally the best part was actually going underground for a tour of a mine replica.  The kids loved it because it was dark, cool, and damp as they listened to the tour.  It gives me a whole new appreciation for what miners, including my grandfather, have done and still do.

These mini vacations are fun.  These are the memories that I love to make.  And honestly, I don’t know if Blake and Caleigh will even remember this – likely not.  But just because they won’t have many memories, if any, of these family adventures, I still think it’s so important to expose my kids to not only the fun of travel but also learning opportunities.  The more we do of these mini vacays, I hope they start to value them as much as I did growing up.