December 7, 2016

The Polar Express Train Excursion at Aspen Crossing – My Review and Tips

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The Conductor punched a letter ‘G’ into Gray’s golden ticket

Since the Christmas that my twins were 2-years old, they have loved watching the Polar Express movie! I keep it stored away and only pull it out at Christmas-time to try to preserve some of the magic that the movie brings over the holiday season.

Last year, I learned that there was a Polar Express train ride being offered at Aspen Crossing in Mossleigh, Alberta (a little town, just south east of Calgary). I remember looking into it at that time, but just feeling like the season was too busy for us to add one more thing to our plate…so I left it alone.

This year was a different story and I really felt like it would be a perfect year to take the kids. They are 4-years old now and are really acting wondrous about all things these days. I knew it would be right up their alley!

The first thing I had to do was convince Darren that we should buy tickets for our family, which actually wasn’t very easy. At a starting price of $57 per ticket (plus tax) this is not a cheap excursion and it definitely required some consideration.  Initially he joked that I should just buy three tickets but then he finally got ‘on board’ (pun intended) and we took a chance!

When you arrive for your train ride, everyone meets in a common area. You find the table that holds the tickets and they will take your name and give you your train tickets – not just any ticket though, a replica of the ‘golden ticket’ that you see on the movie.

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It was fun to start the experience this way! The kids really enjoy receiving their own ticket and I think it created a little bit of a buzz for everyone. The train loading process went fairly quick and, just like on the movie, everyone loads the train and is greeted by the conductor! Note: he is in character but very happy…which was a relief since Gray and A were a little nervous about him…he is historically a bit of a grouch.

Can we talk about seating for a moment? There are various seating options you can purchase with the cheapest being in economy – and that was the max we were willing to spend. I can now assure you, they were great! We got our own table and chairs and had a window – and that’s all you really need to enjoy the ride and outside displays. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the economy section to anyone at all.

Early into the train ride, everyone receives a Polar Express mug, filled with hot chocolate, as well as a cookie. Very ‘animated’ waiters serve these and I thought they did a good job of getting everyone excited about the ride. Most of the families were starting to take photographs and, when they asked the staff for assistance with taking them, no one was ever denied.

Shortly after that, we enjoyed in-train visits from: The Conductor, The Hobo, Billy, the Hero Boy, the Know-It-All-Kid and, eventually, Santa Claus. The only character that didn’t make an appearance (that of course Miss A asked about) was the Hero Girl. I simply told her that she must be not feeling well or on a vacation and she easily accepted it.

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On our journey, we rode by several displays including a stop at Billy’s house (where he actually boards the train) and a stop at the North Pole where elves are excitedly dancing and Santa Claus boards. There was a lot of excitement around that – especially when he started making his way down the isles, gifting the children with their own Sleigh Bells. My heart, honesty melted, when Miss A placed her bell into her housecoat pocket – just to replicate what she had seen on the movie. Swoon!!!

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On the ride back to the station, there is a book reading (of course, it’s the namesake book – The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg) and the children are encouraged to dance and jingle their sleigh bells in the isles while the Waiters and parents (NOT Darren! lol) sang Christmas carols.

I have to say that the experience of this activity exceeded both my husband’s, and my, expectations. On top of the fact that there is a ride to the North Pole and a visit from Santa, there were many of the characters from the movie that made appearances on the ride and did a great, and convincing, job. Not only did they ‘look and dress’ like the characters, they were actually ‘in’ character as well and engaged with the passengers regularly. There were actually times during the ride where I felt the same magical feeling watching the kids as I did in Disneyland! Of course I’m not saying this ride is the same as a trip to Disney, but certainly there is some ‘magic’ that comes with the experience of riding this train.

Over all this was a really fun activity and something I think we would consider doing in future years again. Even Darren admitted that this excursion exceeded his expectations and said he would recommended it to others and will consider it again in the future for our family. Most importantly, the kids LOVED it!

Here are my tips if you go:

  1. Bring your kids in their pyjamas! It is encouraged and most of the kids (and some of the parents even) wore them.
  1. Pack a handful of plastic bags. You get to bring the Polar Express mugs home when you leave and, although you get a bag, we were offered 1 bag for every 2 mugs. I was a little nervous when I heard them ‘clanking’ around. It might be a good idea to be able to wrap them up a bit. Even a large baggie, for each passenger, would work well.
  1. Bring your coats, etc. from your vehicle. There is a period of time where you do wait in line to board the train and it is outside.
  1. Head out there a little early and take some time to browse the gift shop. They have some cute, little things and it was nice to get some souvenirs. We didn’t go through the gift shop, ourselves, until after the ride and it was totally jam-packed! Save your sanity and go through it beforehand.
  1. If you’re up for a little pre-ride dinner, there is a restaurant onsite inside an actual train car. I had a look at the menu and I thought it looked decent. Because we booked our tickets rather last minute the restaurant was full and I wasn’t able to get reservations, so we will have to try again next time. A mom-friend has told me that the food there is good!  …just call to book early!
  1. If you want to make a little adventure out of your evening, check out the Mossleigh Bar N Grill. I had asked some staff at Aspen Crossing for a suggestion of where else to eat, since the onsite restaurant was full, and they had suggested this spot. It is very close to Aspen Crossing and the food was decent (and so was the wine actually). Our ride was on a Sunday night, which happens to be their ‘Kids Eat Free’ night at the restaurant– so it was a total score for us! Our family of four had: four entrees, two glasses of milk, a glass of wine, and a premium beer and our entire bill (with tax) was $38.70!

Unfortunately, since I started writing this blog post, all tickets for the 2016 Polar Express have sold out. Having said that, I noticed a number of tickets available for sale on some of the buy/sell sites (including Kijiji). I took the liberty of contacting Aspen Crossing to make sure the tickets are transferable and I was told that purchasers of re-sale tickets should just ensure they have both the confirmation number as well as the name the tickets were bought under.

If you haven’t considered tickets to this fun, festive evening out, I would definitely recommend it!  Just be sure to purchase your tickets early to avoid disappointment!

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November 3, 2016

Keeping the Marriage Alive in October

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October is a busy month for many families and our family was no exception. Of course we had the usual…work and hockey for my husband, preschool and activities for the twins, and I ran my business and blog and continued to make the ‘wheels go around’ for our household.

On top of that there was, of course, Thanksgiving and Halloween…plus we had one last ‘Glamping’ hoorah. Oh, and my BFF also had a big birthday celebration to top it all off.

Basically, what I’m saying is – if Darren and I hadn’t taken our ‘monthly date night’ pledge (you can find it in my blog post ‘Keeping the Marriage Alive – One Date at a Time’), it ‘might’ have not happened in October!  Correction – it ‘wouldn’t have’ happened in October.

See Darren? Routine is good after all!

We changed it up a little to work with our busy month and we decided to get out on a weeknight (Thursday) evening and that actually worked well. We had a little extra time that night, without any activities, and we were able to easily find care for the kids.

To change it up a little bit, I drove downtown to meet Darren once he was done work and we checked out a little spot I have been dying to try out – Pie Cloud in Kensington!

Yes, sometimes us suburban ‘Stay at Home Moms’ (otherwise known by the acronym SAHM’s) can get all ‘crazy’ and we actually leave ‘the burbs’!

If you aren’t familiar with Pie Cloud, it is a diner/bakery-style restaurant specializing in all things pies (hot and cold) as well as some other diner-type food items – and I thought it sounded like a great spot to try out.  I love me diner food and I love me sweets!

In the name of efficiency, I had taken a quick glance at the Pie Cloud dinner menu online several days before we went and as soon as my eyes saw ‘Chicken ‘N Waffles’ I literally stopped looking at the menu and knew what I was having.  I even talked about it with several of my friends…that’s how much I was looking forward to eating it.  Mmm…

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….BUT…once we got there, I saw something on the menu I have actually never seen on a restaurant menu before:

Turkey Dinner Pie!

What??? Yes!!!

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Now what??

Side note: Anyone who has been to my house for a holiday turkey meal has seen me throw together a couple of Turkey Dinner Pies with the leftovers (I call them ‘Thanksgiving Pies’ or ‘Christmas Pies’). They are my absolute FAVOURITE!!!! They are so easy to make, they freeze well, and they are a great way to get a taste of a turkey meal during the off-season. I’ll add a link to the recipe I use at the end of this blog post in case you want to try making one.  You really should try one!

Squeeee!!!! I was so excited!!!!

Lucky for me, Darren decided to order the Chicken ‘N Waffles himself so I went ahead and ordered the Turkey Dinner Pie knowing I could sample his (thanks Honey!).

I do think it’s worth just giving you a heads up (since I’m going on and on about them) that it takes them a little while (approximately 30 minutes) to make the Chicken ‘N Waffles…maybe don’t choose this item if you stop in to eat but are in a hurry.

The food was great and we even splurged and shared a piece of apple pie – because how can you go to a ‘pie place’ and not have ’pie’?

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The date was nice! It was fairly short and sweet but it served its purpose – We enjoyed having some adult time together, having adult conversation….free from the interruptions of home and the twins. And that’s the whole point!

As a huge mom-bonus to the evening, it did get even better – I got a break from the bedtime routine! This is where I insert loud cheering and clapping! Thanks so much to my friend, and fellow twin-mom, Ange for taking care of that!

As I promised, I want to share with you the recipe that I use for my Thanksgiving/Christmas Pies. It’s actually a Martha Stewart recipe that I keep it conveniently pinned on my favourite Pinterest Board – Recipes Tried and True!

I hope you like it!

October 28, 2016

One-On-One Time with the Kids – Is that a Real ‘Thing’??

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(edited) Images by Larissa G Photography (www.larissagphotography.com)

One of the hardest struggles of having twins, is trying to get in one on one time with each of them – and any amount of it!

I mean, essentially they have had the same sleep schedule since birth so it’s not like I could sneak in quality time with one child while the other napped. And…until the last year or so, they have done most of their activities together, so we haven’t had much opportunity to bond during those times either.

On top of those obstacles, almost all of the time, I am out-numbered!

I remember feeling so guilty when Gray and A were newborns because it seemed there was rarely an opportunity to just enjoy a quiet snuggle with one baby – this was something I felt so envious about when we spent time with other moms who had singletons. This is literally what my schedule looked like every 3-hours when I was establishing breast-feeding (because the twins were preemies and tiny, I was discouraged from exclusively nursing at the start in case they burned more calories than they took in – it was totally nuts!!):

  1. Nurse baby A
  2. Burp baby A
  3. Top up baby A with bottle of formula
  4. Burp baby A
  5. Nurse baby B
  6. Burp baby B
  7. Top up baby B bottle of formula
  8. Burp baby B
  9. Pump with Breast pump
  10. Change diaper of baby A
  11. Change diaper of Baby B
  12. Sterilize bottles (My bad, I hadn’t bought enough)
  13. Eat, sleep, shower and do anything else that needs to be done before the 3-hour window is up (but probably get to none of it)

It was total insanity!!!!

Thankfully that only lasted for the first 3-weeks before we got the go ahead to drop the bottle-feeding and blow up that dreaded milking machine known as a breast pump…but still, that didn’t drastically change the process. And once my husband went back to work, I was all alone to manage it myself. I can’t even tell you how many times I bounced one twin in the bouncy chair (with my foot) while I nursed the other child. That really happened! All. Of. The. Time.

Side note for expecting parents of multiples: Get yourself a bouncy chair for crying out loud!!!

Thankfully, that phase is history, and now that the kids are four-years old it’s not quite ‘so’ nuts…so, I really feel like Darren and I both need to make a bigger effort to have more one on one time with each of our children.

After I wrote my blog post last month ‘Keeping the Marriage Alive – One Date at a Time!‘, I had a brain-child that maybe we should do the same thing with our kids – perhaps a one-date-per-month-per-child kind of thing?

When I suggested it to my husband, he looked totally deflated! Not because he doesn’t see the value in it, but because I’m sure he was wondering:

Do we have enough time for that? Our weekends already seem to get so busy with activities, birthdays, etc.

How much money are we going to be spending on our endless dates each month?

Why does my wife like routines so much? (I added that for ‘your’ benefit, Darren!)  🙂

Okay, so he was probably right – it’s probably not necessary to make this a formal thing, and for now, we won’t.

So, I am now trying to be mindful to catch those little moments when I can. Darren has taken Grayson out skating (outside of lessons) a few times in the last month and I stole some time with Miss A over the weekend while her brother was watching Netflix upstairs with his dad (No, Darren, I don’t think that quite counts! Lol).

Before Gray came down for the day, Miss A and I quietly got to work and baked some muffins for the family for breakfast. Miss A was so happy to help without the struggle of competing with her brother, which usually looks like this:  Who’s turn is it to pour in the next ingredient? Who’s pushing who off of the stool?  Who gets to stir first?

Miss A even took great joy in helping me set up the table and wash the dishes!  What a nice treat that was!

I know it wasn’t a fancy date out to a play place, or the mall, or swimming…but it was an hour of time that her and I had together and I think that’s what is important. Although we aren’t making this a formal ‘thing’ in our house, I know that each little step towards focusing on our family is going to make us stronger and happier in the end.

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September 27, 2016

Keeping the Marriage Alive – One Date at a Time!

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One of the hardest things about having kids is keeping the marriage alive. I’m mean, let’s face it…our bodies are different, our schedules are busy, our beds are sometimes not our own, etc., etc. I could go on and on – there are countless things fighting for our attention and challenging our time.

On top of all of this, if you haven’t hired a babysitter in YYC lately, I’ll let you know right now that the going rate is $10-$15/hour.

$10-$15/hour people!!!

(I do have a bit of a solution to this problem, but I’ll have to blog about that another day…until then, save up your money to pay for babysitting!).

A few weeks ago, I made a pledge that Darren and I absolutely need to make time for 1-date per month. No. Matter. What.

I know it probably doesn’t sound like much to those without kids, but anyone with offspring will understand that this might be a tall order! However, now I have said it out loud and made a commitment to our relationship (as well as the world-wide-web) so this definitely has to happen. If you aren’t seeing me blog about our YYC dates at least once per month, for goodness sake, please send me your hate mail!

The good news is, we did manage to squeeze a date out before month’s end. Last weekend, I was starting to panic (and feel the end of the month closing in on us) so I rushed to get something together last minute (way to prioritize ‘date night’, hey?). Embarrassing.

Anyway…we scored a REALLY NICE SUPPER for SUPER CHEAP (and I mean ‘cheap’!) at San Remo Ristorante in McKenzie Towne (if you haven’t been there, I would really recommend it…with or without kids). They have specials on each night but,  on Sunday nights, they have $10 pasta-night AND $10 ½ litre of wine night. Can you imagine??

So, we had one of my favourite appetizers (Truffle Butter Popcorn), fresh bread, two pasta entrees AND a ½ litre of wine (hello!) for under $40! I’m sure it’s hard to believe!

Anyway, it was really a nice evening and I had a chance to hear about some things that happened in my husband’s week that I don’t think we would have talked about had we stayed home.  We got to connect, without distractions (insert children, devices, Netflix, NHL Centre Ice…) and that’s exactly what we needed after pushing through a week of work, school, activities, hockey, and so on and so on (you know the list goes on forever). It was perfect!

I was really glad we made the time to get out together and I am already thinking about what we might do for our October evening out! If you have some fun ideas (in the Calgary area) – please send them my way!

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(Truffle Butter Popcorn, Spaghetti Bolognese, and Sausage and Pepper Penne shown above.  

Oh!  And as my husband would put it – also a ‘nice Malbec’!)

August 18, 2016

Boudoir. Yeah, I did it – Postnatal Body and all!

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Image by Breathless by reina procee 

Boudoir. Yeah, I did it – Post-natal body and all.

I almost didn’t though.

I almost didn’t because I was afraid. I was afraid of being embarrassed. Afraid of exposing my post-partum body which, after my twin-pregnancy, was sadly left with ‘twin-skin’ and diastasis recti. Afraid of looking like an angry clown despite efforts to look sexy, while a complete stranger photographed my mostly-naked self.

Thankfully I got over it, I took a risk, and I did it – and really, I’m so glad I did (and I think my husband is too!).

It all started last year when a photographer I know posted on Facebook about an out of town colleague who would be in YYC doing a boudoir marathon right before Christmas. The boudoir photographer was selling a package, which included onsite hair and make up (with false lashes – whoot!) followed by 1-hour of shooting at a modern hotel in downtown Calgary.

My friend (a fellow twin-mom, actually) and I were both curious about it and after some back and forth with the photographer, we both took the leap and committed.  Holy crap! The timing wouldn’t be right for a Christmas gift, but I could use the images somehow for Valentine’s Day and I would have some time to sort that out.

Once I had committed, I went into a bit of a panic over how to prepare for the big day. What should I bring to wear? What colour should my nails be? Should I practice my ‘sexy’ look in the mirror ahead of time? I tend to sometimes be heavy on the details, and my nervousness about the shoot put me into overdrive.

Luckily, for me, the photographer did a pretty good job of preparing us for what to expect and anything that wasn’t covered in her info package (nail polish?) – she was able to answer easily.

In case you’re unsure (like I was), here is what I did to prepare:

How I Prepared for my Boudoir Photo Shoot

What to Wear

Although the photographer had made some recommendations for those interested in lingerie, that’s not really my thing so I opted to just follow her alternate suggestion of matching lacy bras and panties (I chose mostly black).

She did also invite us to bring other garments that are beautiful or meaningful. I couldn’t really dream anything up, but she was pretty great and had a few really nice one-size-fits-all items on hand. She had brought a beautiful vintage-inspired blouse (as seen above), a pretty sundress (as seen in the photo below), and a body suit and some other items I didn’t use. That was more than enough.

Oh, also noteworthy, I brought the highest heels I had!

Fingernails 

I stuck with neutrals and did a nude-type colour on my fingernails and a charcoal/black on my toes.

Practice Makes Perfect?

Honestly, a photographer-friend had suggested I practice a little bit in the mirror – which I think is good advice. I did try a few pouty-looks in my bathroom mirror one day but I felt like a fool so I gave it up. Honestly, the photographer did a pretty great job of directing a natural look. If memory serves me, there were a lot of deep inhales with exhales through a slightly parted mouth and also lots of looking down/down and away. It all worked out well and I luckily didn’t look like I was trying too hard.

On the Day of the Shoot

On the day of the shoot, I was totally nervous. You can imagine how embarrassing it was to check in at the front desk of the hotel – “Hi…I’m Dionne…I’m here for an…err…my 12:00 appointment?”. What? Lordy. Honestly, that was probably the hardest part of the 2-hours that I was there.

The hair and make up went beautifully and really gave me an entire hour to relax (special shout out the make up artist, Makeup by Erin Kilburn, who did hair and make up…she ‘was’ great and thankfully also made me ‘look’ great!).

What I Told my Husband

Luckily, since it was the holiday season, I told my husband ahead of time that I needed a day to get some Christmas shopping done. He thought nothing of it. Initially, I packed a bag with toiletries so I could shower-off the heavy make-up at my BFF’s house afterwards, but the make up artist ended up having a great suggestion on the day of – tell him I got a make-over at the mall!

It totally worked! Before I got home, I texted him to tell him they were doing free make-overs at MAC to showcase a new make up line and that they offered to demo an ‘evening look’ on me. When I got home, my husband didn’t even question the mani-pedi (thank goodness he’s not into details).

I was super happy to not have to wash-away the beautiful hair, lashes and make up I had had done (and paid good money for) but I did feel a little sheepish when I took Gray to gymnastics that night. I’m sure the other moms were probably whispering to each other wondering why I was looking like ‘that’ already at suppertime. Oh well. Lol.

All Said and Done

The photo-shoot went really well! The photographer, Reina, was super. She was very casual and full of compliments and assured me she was getting plenty of great shots. She had booked a suite, at the hotel, so we shot at different spots (on a large chair, on a chaise, on the bed, in front of the window) and I had multiple outfit changes. We actually wrapped up about 15 minutes early since she felt she had gotten quite a few great shots already.

In the end, the photos looked great! I’m sharing a couple of the more discreet ones here for you, but of course the rest are just for my husband.

I ended up making him a really nice photo book and presenting it to him for Valentine’s Day. He was so surprised and he really seemed like he loved it! It was nice to give him something special since, after almost 14-years of marriage, you start running out of V-Day gift ideas. This was unique and different than anything I had given him before. No button-up work shirts this year!

Also, I will say this. Although I booked the boudoir session with the intentions that I was going to give my husband a special gift…in the end, I also gave myself something pretty special. I was made to look and feel especially beautiful for a day. That day has been captured and I will have it forever. It was somehow empowering and gave me a renewed confidence…something I might have lost a little bit after growing and delivering 2 little humans at the same time. Now I had seen for myself that my postnatal, twin-bearing body could look sexy and beautiful.

If you have a chance to treat your partner (and yourself) to something like this, I would highly recommend it! It will be scary at first, but you both will be so glad you did!

xo

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Image by Breathless by reina procee

August 10, 2016

Our Family’s RV Options Wishlist

 

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Photo credit: Natureworks – Morguefile.com

I touched a little bit on the fact that I started making an RV Wishlist in my blog post Glamping – How We Got Started and I thought it might be helpful to share it with you.  So…here it is…

Our Family’s RV Options Wishlist

  1. Multiple lower sleep options for the kids

You can get bed rails for upper bunks, but we didn’t want the kids (who at the time were only 3 years old) falling down the ladder or stepping onto the other child when trying to get down in the middle of the night for a bathroom break.

  1. Power awning

My poor husband got into a losing battle while trying to bring in the manual awning on our rental. He didn’t have much to add to this list, but power awning was a must-have for him.

  1. Outdoor kitchen

When food gets cooked outside, it means there is less mess inside the trailer for me to clean up AND more cooking help from my husband who seams to be more interested in taking on cooking if it’s outdoors. So, basically everyone wins here! Or…on second thought…’mom win’!

  1. Bathtub

It was so nice to be able to give our kids a good soak at the end of a full day of being outside all day (which is basically every day). Hot water tanks on RV’s tend to be pretty small and showers need to be fast and furious…not ideal for trying to clean up extra dirty tiny humans).

  1. Accordion door/Curtain at kids’ sleeping area

We still planned to keep a bedtime routine and I felt strongly this would help. They don’t do much to block sound, but they do block some light. Also, I believed it made a big difference that the kids weren’t able to ‘see’ us sitting at the table eating snacks and playing cards. I’m pretty sure if they were laying in bed just watching us have our ‘adult time’, it would have ended with them at the table too (and me probably hiding in the tiny bathroom to catch a break).

  1. TV/ TV outlet

Sometimes it rains, so having the option to pop a dvd in on a rainy day is really nice! We took out some dvd’s with us from our collection. It was also nice to put those to use since they haven’t been touched since the era of PVR’s and Netflix.

  1. Power slides

Remember when I mentioned earlier to you my MIL (Mother-in-Law) calls me, ‘citified’?

  1. Air conditioning

While I like the heat, my husband doesn’t like it as much. It also helps you to not melt the food in your pantry (trust me, plenty of food items get crammed into the pantry since RV refrigerators are very, very small).

  1. Outdoor tap

It’s really nice to have something to spray off dirty children and outside toys, or to fill up a bucket of water for putting out your fire pit, etc.  Sometimes you can get a little extension-type hose for your outdoor kitchen tap. Some RV’s also have an actual outdoor shower-type spray with both hot and cold. Either way, it’s really nice to have.

  1. Outdoor-accessed storage

Storage that can be accessed from outside – because who wants to haul their outside stuff inside to put it away?

Bonus RV Wishlist Items:

  1. Outdoor speakers

Because who doesn’t love listening to great music outside?  It’s probably going to be where you’re spending most of your time, after all.

  1. Bluetooth

Listening to music is even better when it comes from your device…because it’s going to be the stuff you love!

**I should note a special thanks to my friends, Liane & Ericka, for helping me round off this list**

PS In case you’re interested to know, in the end, we settled on a Venture RV Sport Trek ST312VBHK.  We love it, so far, and know it will accommodate our family for years to come!

August 8, 2016

Glamping – How we got started

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Glamping

Noun [glamp-ing]

Glamorous camping

Once she had young twins, she could no longer bring herself to ‘rough it’ and camp in a tent. She wanted to camp but with the same comforts as home. 

Before we had the twins, my husband and I used to enjoy the occasional summer camping trip (like, real camping…in a tent). Something about escaping from the busy city and sleeping in the fresh forest air was such a fun escape!

There were a number of times that we camped together with his cousin, whose family camped in an RV (recreation vehicle). It was so nice to be able to jump inside their travel trailer to visit or enjoy a board game if it got too chilly or started to rain (which it literally did every. single. trip.). We also really appreciated being able to use a non-public washroom. I always hated having to trek in the dark to the typically stinky, (and maybe even a little scary) common camping washroom (yes, okay, this is probably a good time to confess…I am very much what my mother-in-law – who lives in a very rural community in Saskatchewan – refers to as ‘citified’).

It was during that time that we first started talking about maybe looking into getting a travel trailer of our own. Unfortunately, at that time, we didn’t have great RV-towing vehicles PLUS we aren’t very good at making decisions about big purchases, so the thought got shelved.

Once we had the twins, we started to revisit the idea of camping again. My husband had grown up in Saskatchewan, where ‘going to the lake’ during the summer, in the family’s fifth wheel, was a favourite family past time. He has many great childhood memories from those trips and we thought camping would be great way to create memories for our family as well!

Really, more than ever before, there was an appeal to us to have some of the comforts camping in an RV (aka Glamping): running water, heat, a little bit of space in case we get rained in, etc., etc.

So…we stopped in at our local RV dealership and wandered around from trailer to trailer. To be honest, we were a little overwhelmed with all of the various sizes, models, options, and prices that were available and we really didn’t know what we wanted or needed. I finally had a brainchild that we should maybe rent one for a summer holiday to:

  1. See if our family even likes to travel that way…and…
  2. Get an idea about some of the features that might (or might not) be important to us.

So, last summer, when the twins were 3-years old, we rented an RV in Salmon Arm from Country Camping RV and booked a camping site at Sandy Point Campground. To be honest, the cost of the holiday was a little bit more than we wanted, but it was really worth it. The campground was waterfront with a sandy beach (and not an unreasonable drive from Calgary), the trailer was really nice and had been delivered/set up upon our arrival AND we got the experience we were hoping for. It turned out our family loved camping and we got a great ‘wish list’ of RV features and options started for our next RV dealership visit.

Once we had our wish list compiled, it made a great difference in our shopping experience. We decided to check out Bucars RV just north of Calgary based on a recommendation from friends. Literally, the first thing I did was present my list to the sales rep who was helping us. With this information, he was able to really narrow down the best RV’s for us (which made this dealership experience way less over-whelming than our previous RV dealership visits) and after a few visits, we finally bought a travel trailer!

PS The photo in this blog post was taken of us with our Venture RV Sport Trek ST312VBHK during our ‘Red Carpet Walk-through’ at Bucars RV…that really happens. See the red carpet? They roll it right out! Sounds cheesy (okay, it is a little cheesy), but it was memorable, that’s for sure!

 

August 8, 2016

The Inaugural Blog Post

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Wow! I can’t believe I’m finally here!

This tiny idea of having a personal/lifestyle blog has sort of become a bit of a project, so I am elated to finally be sharing it with you!

(starting a blog seems like it should be simple but, man, there are A LOT of things to consider before actually getting to put your pen to paper! That’s definitely going to have to be a blog post later!)

How it all began…

Over the last couple of years I have had a couple of friends loosely comment in passing that I should write a blog. I think it’s probably because I have been sharing our ‘trials and tribulations’ on facebook and social media with friends and family since the twins (Gray & A) were born. I usually have a pretty honest approach, sharing both the joys, as well as the ‘imperfect’ moments, often. I am a first time mom AND a mom of twins, so my husband and I really just jumped right in with both feet. As you can imagine, it has been beautiful, crazy, joyful and sometimes flat out chaotic.

Only people without children gift chapstick this bright to a 2-year old

I envision Refined Imperfection as a little space that I can share my journey of raising my twins, being a wife, and holding on to a little sliver of still being my own person – here in beautiful YYC.

Thanks for coming by and saying, ‘hello’!

Shampoo pumps work great when you only have 1 hand - also when you have 2-year old hands and a mirror

Shampoo pumps work great when you only have one hand.
They also work great when you are 2-years old and you are left totally unsupervised.