Before I delve into our family's summer of 2016 I want to share a tidbit of my personal motivation so you guys don't think I am crazy. Well, first off, I kind of am, as we all kind of are ;) but seriously now... I have been blogging off and on for 5 years. I absolutely love putting my thoughts to "paper" and sharing my love of writing, photography and design with you all. At many times, I had no audience, and that felt alright too, because truly this piece of the internet is for me. I could put this blog into private mode and just keep on writing, that's how much I love it. I've recently felt quite confident stepping away and prioritizing everything else, because I know my blogging days aren't behind me. I have encountered so many amazing bloggers who do just that. And many of them have huge followings and yet still feel confident to move at their own pace. So why not me?! I am very excited for the future and hope you all will still be here, with questions, comments, and all, and thank you for spending your precious time with me:)
Onto the post now...September is already here and I am happy, sad, scared, excited, overwhelmed. Summer always goes by so quickly, August in particular seemed over in just about a weekend. Every summer I have it planned in my mind exactly what I would like to do with my family, and not sure about you, but we usually get half of it done! I don't have crazy expectations or anything I just want to instill a sense of adventure in my children. We all want our children to live better than we do, so I hope I am doing that with the activities and vacations we choose. O.K we are not backpacking through Europe or exploring South America (yet) but in a safe, familiar way, we are explorers. I love, love, having one-on-one time with each of my girls. It is so different when they don't have to fight for your attention and I know how special that feels for them, and for me!
One of our last days together (while the other 2 were doing a week of camp) Ava and I did stand up paddle board. Her little excited body wriggling onto the board, trusting her mama as I push away from the dock, her sitting toward the front of the board and myself standing paddling us away. My heart lives for these moments. The water was so warm and she was brave enough to climb off and swim around me as we navigated around a very small part of the island. She loved it. Unfortunately for me I left my phone (camera) on dry land because I am terrified to drop it in the water. I really should have brought my old school waterproof camera. I have been super lazy and have lately only been using my Iphone to take picture. Here we are warming up by the water just afterwards.
Taking photos by the water with wind-blown hair is my ultimate favorite, as you probably already know. Though I am sad we don't live closer to the ocean, we visited Oka beach with my sister and nephews and it was surprisingly quite nice. The sand was great anyway and the water so clear. Ripply sand for as far out as you could walk with no squishy mud! The girls asked if we could go back, so it was definitely a hit.
Local splash pads are something I love Quebec for! Why this wasn't done sooner???
While Charlize was at camp one day the girls and I went strawberry picking at Quinn Farm (right next to her camp!) We did the tractor ride, played in the mini-maze, looked at the animals in the barn (oh that smell....) and the girls played in the park there too.
I''m trying to get in on some of the photos more now. Why didn't I do that with my 27 year old self?!?!? Lol.
Ah, New Hampshire. Definitely one of my favorite vacation places. Greg, myself and the girls drove down first to Portland Maine, to visit my aunt (more of that below) and we later camped in the National White Mountains area. There is a lot to do here. First off you are right by North Conway, so tons of stuff to do and see with the kids, and you are in the middle of the mountains, with waterfalls, swimming holes and nice beaches! We drove up Mount Washington which was a beautiful sight to see. I would love to come back and experience hiking it, the view after knowing you've walked/climbed up it must be even more amazing of a feeling.
We were all in total awe. I've already got some photographers in training.
This was a 100 foot waterfall. There are many in and around the white mountains. It was a short 20 minute hike to it.
This 16 foot high jump was a breeze for my girls. It doesn't seem all that high from here, but it was. And of course, if my 2 big girls can do it, mommy had to do it too. It took me about 3-4 minutes to build up the nerve to jump. It felt super high, and I am a little frightened of heights. Ava was sitting at the bottom just relaxing and watching, so obviously I had no choice in the matter. It's part of the teaching of being fearless, ha ha ha! It's good for me too because honestly I felt like my lungs were collapsing and my heart must have stopped as I 'free fell' for what seemed like way to long (probably only 2 seconds). Was I doing it again? No.
Lots of swimming holes and rivers with small rapids to slide down. The girls loved it!
The girls had their own play tent where they kept their toys and books. It was their own little personal space that Brooklyn could organize to her hearts content.
But seriously, back to those mountains!!! A lot of my family have hiked these (and others...) so I am making it a personal goal to do the same with my hubby! He laughed at me when I told him I wanted to. He said "maybe we should start with an easier hike, people have died here!" How dramatic. I guess he has a point.
Grilling up some hot-dogs partway back down the mountain seemed like the way to go.
We were surrounded by neighboring mountains, the view is nothing short of spectacular.
Like seriously, you cannot text while driving up here. You may end up driving off the mountain. I don't believe anyone has ever driven off the mountain. I don't see how not though. Now I need to google this. O.K. I found one incident, not bad. And like I mentioned I am scared of heights, and Greg's driving at times, LOL. Hopefully he's not reading this, though I am pretty sure he already knows this. We made it up and down alive, so thank you Greg, I would not want to drive it anyway!
Kind of felt like we were in a different country, oh, wait a minute....I meant than the US.
And just shortly after we made our 6 hour trip home. I had to include these captured moments by Avangeline on my phone. She took over 100 selfies of herself. As I scrolled through them, it moved like a movie. Too precious. I am never deleting them.
Oh my gosh, those feet!!!!
And I love how she captured our drive so candidly. Thank you Ava for these.
Mommy directions, New Hampshire Liquor Store and sleeping siblings.
We also visited my aunt Mercedes in Portland Maine, just prior to our camping adventure. Her house is serious goals people. The outside is stunning, as is the inside. And honestly, she is such a warm welcoming soul that we are so, so lucky to have her in our lives!!! Here are some shots from her home.
Ava cosied up with her new build-a-bear on my aunt's sofa chair.
The view of her home from the back. It has a very modern eastern seacoast vibe that I love!
She has a laundry room in the walkout basement, very convenient, and one on the third level (the house has a total of 4 floors and the basement is ground level!) I would hide in here! I would just need a TV!
The top floor has a "tree house" feel to it. It is still a work in progress (she's done so much in so little time) but this floor kicks ass anyway! It is the ultimate lounge area. The kids obviously love it. There are 2 bedrooms up here as well as a full beautiful bathroom with a crazy shower, this is where the guest bedrooms are and where her 14 year old son Ben hangs out.
The back entryway mudroom. I love all the white walls, doors and trim with the black hardware. That carpet (a TJ Maxx find) is perfect. Looooovve it!
This is my second visit, and not my last! I love hanging out with my aunt, and getting a break from the kiddos (not this time but my first visit!)
And the Ocean, Wells Beach, 30 minutes from her home.
Back home in Montreal my aunt (same one, this time she visited!) brought us to the Barbie Expo with the kids. It was so so good. Check out the mini NYC display. How cute right?
My real life Barbie dolls :)
You may recognize some of the shots I posted to Instagram, my current go to social media. I barely go on anything else these days. I follow so many inspiring people (in so many different ways) it's really hard to scroll Pinterest anymore, which is a good thing ;)
These girls!!! I never do selfies, because I don't like the way I look, I swear Iphones warp your face somehow, or is this how I look?!?!?
And I am working on a couple projects!!! I could not say no even though I really wanted the summer completely off....it's too much fun, at times.
I will show you some photos of the clients' space within the next few weeks. It's almost done and going really well! Here is shopping, shopping and more shopping!
And back home, trying to get a cosy backyard living room going. I love the gazebo we bought. It has screens and some really thick waterproof curtain panels. We strung these amazing lights from Costco (thanks Lori :) I saw them at her house first!
I am in love with the huge 8 X 10 carpet I picked up from Canadian Tire. It really pulls the space together. We could not find a sectional we liked because it was end of season and pretty much everything was sold. So I said "let's pull out the leather sofa from the garage!" And it works beautifully and comfortably!
It's still a work in progress but watching TV or just relaxing here at night is so great, especially if we have a fire going.
This hammock swing from Canadian Tire was my ultimate favorite summer buy. We attached it to the park and the girls have so much fun relaxing or even spinning in it.
It has been a lovely summer, and all I wanted to do was be with my children and I got to do that, which I am so, so grateful for. This is all going too fast ( Ava started Kindergarten) so you need to soak it all in before it's just a memory, sniff, sniff...
Did you guys enjoy your summer, it's not over until October, or until the cold sets in am I right?