Tag Archives: vacation

two kids by a pond

A river in the city – some Time for Nature

Originally published August 27, 2012

My family and I live in a city. You might be picturing a concrete jungle without much opportunity to connect with nature. Yet our neighbourhood is teeming with nature and my kids love it.

We live not far from the Humber River and spend many a lazy day sauntering along the path enjoying what nature has to offer. We have met deer, frogs, snakes, geese (always geese), chipmunks and squirrels. I think we may have even spooked a beaver by accident once.

On a particularly beautiful day, we went to a local park to do some climbing, sliding and swinging. At the edge of this park there is a path that leads down to the Humber River. Thinking our kids would rather play at the playground, we settled on a park bench to enjoy the sun and to watch them play. Continue reading


Cuba 2014 – A Family Experience to Remember

It was so different than last time. Our last visit to Cuba involved very upset children, very tired parents, some limited fun, and a desperate desire to get back on Canadian soil.

Granted, the circumstances were different. We travelled as a foursome. We booked a 3 ½ star resort that was not so new, and our children were younger.

This time, we travelled with extended family; we ran into people we knew from home; the resort was 4 ½ stars; it was newer. It was an all-around better experience.

And since we’ve been back, we’ve all missed it very much. The sun, the beach, the seashells, the waves, the sandcastles, the pools, the restaurants, the ice cream…ooohh the ice cream!

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About a week after we got back, it occurred to me that life was carrying on in Cuba. People were getting up each morning and walking along a sun-drenched path to a delicious buffet of breakfast delights, then heading to the pool or the beach with a drink in one hand and a book in the other (or in our case, buckets and shovels and blow-up water toys). And the same staff was serving food and drinks and cappuccinos at the lobby bar while happy vacationers lounged about soaking up the calm day.

After realizing this, that everything we enjoyed the week before was still happening at the same lazy pace while we were back here at home in the cold and damp, trudging through our lives at work and school, it took me a few days to get over how much I missed our vacation.

I’ve been reading a book about how the brain works and how memories are created (The Whole-Brain Child, Siegel & Bryson, 2011, p. 67). And I know I have created this memory of how wonderful our vacation in Cuba was this time, especially since I’m lining it up in my mind with the not-so-great experience we had two years ago. But our vacation this time around really was wonderful.

Having gotten over how much I yearned to just be in Cuba at that resort with all of my family, enjoying ourselves together day after day, it finally occurred to me that the sameness of it would be its downfall eventually. We would tire of the warm and happy days and nights spent in each other’s company. We would become annoyed and yearn for some greater purpose.

And that’s when I realized that what Canada has to offer—my life here, the kids’ schools, my job, shuttling kids around, cold one day, hot or warm the next, snow, rain, sunshine—was the very variety of life. It is good to have different seasons, to have different things to do, different people to see depending on the day of the week.

It was fantastic to have spent so much uninterrupted-by-life time with my family—immediate and extended—but it is also nice to come back to our lives with these memories and all that they have taught us about being together and making the effort—no matter where we are—to come together and enjoy each other.

To Cuba! SAM_0501

The Cuba Vacation Drags On

From my journal: Thursday, September 27, 2012.

When we thought our vacation couldn’t get any worse, Big Sister wet the bed. Poor thing. She went to bed traumatized by the shower. (It was, by her standards, unclean. In fact, it was really clean. It just wasn’t her own shower at home.) Continue reading

Cuba continued

From my notebook: Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

Two more days and we go home. The kids, hubby and I are all fantasizing about home; about the food we’ll eat, the friends we’ll see, the showers we’ll take.

Hubby and I both admitted to feeling trapped yesterday. We can’t do anything to make our kids happy. All they want is to go home. And yet, we’re stuck here. Continue reading

Cuba Revisited

It was barely a month ago that my family and I traveled to Cuba for a vacation.

This is what that looked like: Continue reading

Cuba – You always want what you can’t have

Standing at the kitchen sink, washing the dinner dishes, listening to my kids scream and fight with each other, I wish I was in Cuba. I long for the buffet meals with nothing to clean up, the lazy walks around the pool and down to the beach, the afternoon naps in the shade of a palm tree.

Up to my elbows in dish soap suds and dirty pots and pans, I let my mind drift to our recent family vacation in Varadero, Cuba. Continue reading

The Power of Perspective

Pre-Cuba, my daughter took issue with the type of toilet paper I picked up one day in a rush. We had run out of our usual, more expensive brand and it didn’t appear to be on sale anywhere (I only buy it when it’s on sale).

Taking inventory that morning of what was left, I figured I better pick up a cheap an economic alternative to get us through until the next big sale/stock up event. Continue reading