Sunday, 13 August 2017

My Little Sitter

If you have me on Facebook you've likely seen these.  But I need to share them everywhere, because I'm absolutely in love with them!

I had these Little Sitter pictures taken of Cooper at the end of June.  I have always loved the look and classiness of little sitter pictures.  Plus I love this stage that he's at where he sits up and can't move (far), and I wanted to document that.  

They turned out so well and I'm so glad that we have captured this moment in time with this dimply bummed boy.


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Book Reviews Part 2

As promised, here are my next book reviews.  We were on holidays this month and I read 3.5 books while we were away, in 9 days!  

Behind Closed Doors
Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
I really enjoyed this book.  It's about a woman whose life is seemingly perfect.  She has the perfect husband, perfect marriage.  When they have company over everything goes perfectly.  But things aren't quite how they seem.  I don't want to give anything else away!  There were some plot holes that didn't really make sense, so if you are someone who woul be bothered by that it's maybe not the best book.  Other than that it was a really good read.
Right Behind You (Quincy & Rainie, #7)
Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
I'm a big Lisa Gardner fan!  She brings Quincy and Rainie back for this book.  Quincy and Rainie are in the process of adopting a foster daughter, Sharlah, when a number of murders take place in which the main suspect is Sharlah's brother who she hasn't spoken to since he killed their parents (in defence of himself and Sharlah) years ago.  So not only are Quincy and Rainie trying to solve the crime and find the brother, but they are also trying to protect Sharlah as they don't know his motives and if he's coming for Sharlah next.  

This wasn't my favourite Lisa Gardner book and it took me a little bit to get into it.  However, if you like Lisa Gardner then it's still worth the read.  And if you haven't read Lisa Gardner before but like Mary Higgins Clark then I highly recommend them.

The Woman in Cabin 10
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
I knew absolutely nothing about this book before reading it, just that it was a Gone Girl type novel.  It's not really... This is about a journalist who is travelling on a small high end cruise line for a story.  Part way into the cruise she thinks that she witnesses a murder.  She then tries to figure out what happened and puts herself in danger in the process.  It wasn't as great as I was expecting it to be, but it was fine.  I'm always going to say that about a book if I finish it, because if I really hate it I likely won't keep reading it!  So this book was good, but definitely wasn't Gone Girl or Girl on the Train but I suppose is similar in style to them if you like that type of mystery book.

Before the Fall
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
I loved this book.  It starts off with a plane crash of a private plane leaving Martha's Vineyard.  There are 2 survivors, a man who swam to shore carrying a 4 year old boy.  Much of the book is from his perspective, but also goes into some detail about each of the people on the plane.  Why did the plane crash?  Everything seemed to be fine until it wasn't and so they are trying to figure out whether somebody wanted the plane to crash.

This book kept me interested from beginning to end and kept me guessing as to who had done it.  This was probably my favourite read of the month.

Forever, Interrupted
Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Definitely chick lit, but with a sad story.  Elsie married the love of her life and 9 days later he was hit by a car and killed.  So although it's a light read, it's a bit darker than they normally are.  The book alternates between Elsie and her mother-in-law's grief and the love story of Elsie and Ben.  I found the love story slightly annoying because it was a bit too perfect.  Real life isn't like that, is it?  I think that was the point though, they had a love like no other and it was taken from them so quickly.  I read this one in about a day though, so it kept me interested and was an easy beach read.  I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

The Matchmaker
The Matchmaker by Elin Hilderbrand
This is my first Elin Hilderbrand book.  I had heard that they are really nice, easy summer reads.  At first I thought it was a bit too fluffy for me, but then I got more into it.  

Dabney lives on Nantucket and is known for her matchmaking abilities.  She has matched 42 couples.  Then her long lost love comes back to the island and stirs everything up.  

As the book went on I definitely got more into it and it was a nice light read.  I will definitely be reading more of her books when I'm looking for something to read.  

Friday, 11 August 2017

Kingston Penitentiary Tour

During our holidays, we did a tour of the now closed Kingston Penitentiary.  This was by far my favourite part and the most fascinating thing that we did on our holidays.  So it deserves it's own post!

When I spoke to the people at the Penetentiary, they said that although kids are able to go on the tour, the groups are big and you want to be able to hear the tour guide.  Since we were in Kingston with my parents, we decided to offset our tours so that we didn't have to take the kids with us.

Basically, the tour was amazing, and much better than expected.  I would highly recommend it.
In the recreation yard

We had a tour guide who took us through the prison.  However along the way we stopped and spoke with 6 different retired prison employees.  There were a few guards, an ex-warden and a lady who I don't actually know what she did!  This aspect of the tour was amazing because you knew you were hearing from the people who really knew.  They were able to explain that area and tell us what that part of the prison was actually like.

While on the tour we saw things like the visitation rooms, the outside of the family visit houses, the main dome, a cell block, the short term segregation area, the shop, the yard and the gym in the Regional Treatment Centre.  We saw the long term segregation area from the outside of the cell block as well, but didn't go into it.  This is where a lot of the high profile criminals that you may of heard of were held.
The shower in Short term segregation - not much privacy
Family/conjugal visit houses

The tour guide and former guards aren't able to actually discuss any prisoners who are still alive, so if that's all you are interested in then this isn't for you!  They did tell us a few stories about escapes and such from prisoners who have died.  So when we saw long term seg they didn't tell us who had stayed there, but most people are aware that people like Paul Bernardo and Russell Williams have been in long term segregation.

In the short term segregation wing, an ex-warden spoke to us and he was by far the most interesting I found.  This was probably just because he really knew his stuff.  

In the dome, the guard talked about the 1971 riot which was also really interesting.
The main dome
Divided visitation room

I don't want to give it all away in case you plan on doing the tour.  I'm not sure how long they will be doing tours for as it seems that they have some plans for what to do with the penetentiary, so if you want to do it then I would try to do it as soon as possible!  If you can make a trip to Kingston there is actually so much interesting stuff to do there and it's totally worth the trip!
The Shop Dome
Inside the main gate
A cell block

A cell


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Touristing in Kingston

The second half of our holidays, we camped at Rideau Acres outside of Kingston.  I had originally planned on taking advantage of all the park had to offer, but we got so busy doing other things that we were barely there.  

The first night that we got there we did a Ghost Trolley tour through the city.  I enjoyed this, Ryan had his reservations.  We made stops at John A. MacDonald's grave.  Parker may of seen a ghost, but we will never really know!  The driver said that sometimes kids wave at a man and a dog at the gate.  So my mom told Parker to tell her if he saw a man and a dog.  A few minutes later as we were driving through the gate he pointed and said man and doggie!  Power of suggestion?  Maybe.  But he didn't really know that it was at the gate that he was supposed to see them, so I don't know!
The scariest stop was at the Rockwood Asylum.  It's an old mental institution that looks terrifying.  Basically anybody could be sent there for things that really didn't make them insane and they would do testing on them.  So they think that it is very haunted.  Whether it was all just stories, I don't know.

There were other ghost stories along the way as well.

The next day we did the Kingston Penitentiary tour.  This was definitely the highlight, but you will have to wait because it's getting it's own post!

After that we stopped at the Rideau Canal to watch the boats for a bit.  Ryan and Parker loved it.  My anxiety about Parker being so close to the canal was through the roof.  I tried to contain it but things like that make me really nervous!

The third day we went to Murney Tower, which are old small little forts that they built a few of around Kingston.  My kind of museum, short and sweet.

Then we did the Penitentiary museum.  We brought the stroller because we assumed that it would be accessible, and it wasn't.  So I didn't spend as long in there as I could of since Ryan had to wait outside.  It was neat though.  Not too big so you could do it fairly quickly.

Parker liked the looks of this moose at first, but once he got close to it he was terrified!
Later that evening we took the Wolfe Island ferry to Wolfe Island for dinner.  There isn't much on Wolfe Island and we were one car away from having to wait an extra hour for the ferry.  Dinner was delicious, but Parker was very unhappy at the restaurant, which is slightly stressful.  Once he got some food in his belly he was better.  But the ferry was fun for Parker, (and us).  It was very windy....

On our last day we did a Boldt Castle cruise with Rockport Cruises.  It was a lot of fun!  It was perfect time wise for the kids.  Half an hour on the boat, 2 hours at the stop and then another hour on the boat.  It broke everything up nicely.

We stopped for a picnic lunch while at Boldt Castle.  We actually probably could of spent another hour on the island as there were things that we didn't see.

The boys had a good time camping.  I love that we have the trailer and can make these summer memories.  


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Camping in the County

Last week we were away on our summer vacation!  It was a packed week of camping and we did so many activities.  It was slightly stressful at times.  Cooper was crankier than usual.  Parker had his good days and bad days.  Cooper had some sleepless nights.  But we made it through and made a lot of fun memories.  

I'm going to split this into two (or three) posts so hopefully it isn't too much picture overload!

We started the week at a little campground called Smugglers Cove in Prince Edward County.  We were there for 2 nights and it was a nice little park.  The sunset was beautiful!
While we were there, we explored the county a little bit.  We went to a few wineries and breweries, as well as Lake on the Mountain.  We even found a little petting zoo at one of the wineries, which was perfect for Parker!

We visited Lake on the Mountain.  It just looks like a regular lake in this picture, but it's at the top of a mountain and for a long time they weren't really sure where the water was coming from.  
 The day that we left that campground we stopped in at Long Dog Winery.  It was a cute little winery.  They mostly focused on red wines and chardonnay, which aren't my favourite.  But I did buy a nice sparkling Rose.

Next stop was Sandbanks Provincial Park.  This park is very well known amongst campers and very hard to get into.  We've been trying for years!  Luckily this was the year and we actually got 2 sites right across the road from each other.  

Unfortunately the bugs in both of these parks were terrible.  Poor Parker was eaten alive and completely covered in bites.  It wasn't even enjoyable to be outside half the time, which was really too bad.
 The first day that we tried to go to the beach we packed everything up (which with two kids takes a long time), and headed out around 12:30.  Well we get to the beach road and he tells us that parking is full and we should come back in a couple hours.  So we tried to go to the Dune's beach.  It was also full, but I think by being friendly they let us in.  

The beach isn't quite as nice, but the big dunes are there.  And the water is really calm so Parker had a great time playing.  It was so hot that day and we had no shade.  Cooper was miserable.  And honestly so was I. An unhappy baby in the heat is not a lot of fun.

This picture is of the trail.  They have had so much rain that it was completely flooded!  
The next day we got up and ready for the beach right away and went first thing in the morning.  Seems like an odd time to go to the beach, but we were able to get the perfect spot with some sun and some shade and it was much nicer.  I found a shady spot for Coop and he plopped down and loved playing with the sand!

 The day we left we had a relaxing drive to our next destination, Kingston.  We stopped in at Parson's Brewery in Picton for lunch.  We had some delicious tacos, Ryan had some beer.  And Parker, in typical Parker fashion, ate nothing.

So there is the first half of our trip.  Next stop, Kingston!