Last breath of summer at Andrew Haydon

I had hoped to head out to one of our favourite local parks, Andrew Haydon Park, as one of the items on my summer bucket list. In my mind, I would pack a healthy, tasty picnic lunch and we’d enjoy it in the mild summer sunshine of a Friday afternoon. Summer has more or less gone now, but this week has been treating us to a few more days of hot weather. After work yesterday we realized it was warm outside, we both had the evening free so I decided, let’s do it!

So we hopped in the car, picking up ice cream on the way rather than a picnic, and in a few minutes we were there.

ice cream

park boat


We started out sitting on a bench, sampling our ice cream before little J couldn’t help but go chase the seagulls this way and that. Then we moved to playing in the sand by one of the wooden ship play structures, and soon enough another family arrived, popping on the water and encouraging their little guy strip down to play and splash and slide. I had thought we’d avoid all that but one look at this kid and mine was pulling his clothes off.

It was pretty funny to watch while he ran around and splashed, drenching his toes in the water, then racing off onto the grass. After watching the other kid do it over and over, my little J finally plucked up the courage to slip down the huge silver slide into a giant mud puddle, a squealing, running blur in his little Batman briefs. I was worried he’d land face first, but he didn’t, and would do a hilarious little victory dance, then run around around in a wide circle following each successful dismount.

Once they left, little J ran around a ton and dried off, so we started to walk towards the water and the bandshell. There’s a tunnel under the road, perfect for running through at full speed clutching my hand and shouting happily to hear his voice echo. There was a bridge to clomp over. And then, there was the sun starting to set gloriously over the water and through the trees. Lots of space to run and play, and we picked our way across the rocks at the edge of the water until J decided it was time to lay down smack in the middle of a grassy field and rest. We joined him, laying and listening as the evening started to settle in around us.


hanging out

It’s such a beautiful park, with geese and ducks, groundhogs, chipmunks, squirrels, and even a frog or two hopping out from underfoot. There’s little picnic tables scattered around, two massive playground areas and lots of paths for walking and cycling. They have barbecue pits, a water fountain and washrooms, plus lots of space to just walk and think and enjoy. It’s so spread out that it doesn’t seem too busy.




And the sunset. People were set up here and there in chairs and on benches, talking quietly or taking selfies, but all with one goal in mind: to watch the sun dip farther and father behind the treeline, setting the water into ripples of fire. It was stunning!


Andrew Haydon Park sunset

We finally made our may back to the car, hungry and full of sand, but so satisfied. I’m glad we got to go there one last time this summer.

sunset kid

Things to do on a Rainy day

We’re on our own this weekend and I didn’t really make any plans at all. Yesterday was sunny and nice out, we had a nice park playdat with my cousin and I got to go out for dinner with a friend (thanks to a generous auntie happy to babysit!)

Then today it was dreary and drizzling all day long. I figured we’d poke around the house playing but then realized that’d make for a loooong day. And one nice thing about having my little guy all to myself with no plans is that I can just focus on him. I don’t try to also do chores, catch up on email or make a meal from scratch. We can just let the day unfold. Here’s how we enjoyed a rainy day this Saturday!

Step one – Wake up, eat breakfast and text a good friend and make last-minute plans. Spend the morning watching boys scrap and share, and trying to imagine how ten years ago, we were such different people. No kids, no responsibilities besides work and rent and having a good time.

Step two – Get the toddlers help make pizza for a cheesy and delicious little lunch. Sneak in some snuggle time with my friends sweet baby, and eat lunch.

Step three – Drive home and realize that despite the dreary weather, and the cozy blanket, a nap is not in the cards so watch a little Bob the Builder instead and have a bit of quiet playtime. Then crank up the Beach Boys and dance around his room, before a little indoor hockey session.

Step four – Decide it’s time to get some fresh air. Marvel at the fact that your two year old is for once happy to ride in the stroller for a good long walk (yay excercise for me, and for the dog!) before getting out and playing at the park. Put up our rain hoods at his insistence and take a quick selfie to send to Daddy.

Enjoy the fact that even though the slides and swings are dripping wet and the play structure is slippery, he’s easily entertained. Poking a stick in the ground to cover it with sand then calling it a candle, marching around the park singing Happy Birthday, gazing at a dragonfly, calling up a tree to a squirrel to entice it down to eat a pinecone – these are things that give me a peek into how his little brain works and makes me love how creative he’s becoming.

rainy day leaves puddle

rainy day dragonfly

Step five – Gently haul the dog and child home after an hour and a half of running and playing and swinging. Throw them both into the bathtub for a hilarious washdown, leaving the tub full of grit and sand.

Step six – Eat leftovers for dinner. Make cookies together for dessert and watch a bit of a movie while enjoying warm cookies under a blanket on the couch. Head downstairs to throw in some laundry and laugh at your kid calling out, ‘Mommy! I coming to get you!’ but let him help put the clothes into the machine.

Step seven – Bedtime. Tell few stories, at his request – one about Daddy and Herman, one about the Batmobile (a new word of the day) and one about Batman’s cape. Then as he snoozes, take some time to write, reflect, and listen to the rain pattering on the windows outside before doing some folding and curling up with a book (and a couple more cookies).

So there you go – our seven steps of piecing together a rainy day and enjoying as much as we could. Still, I’m hoping for sun tomorrow!

Last long weekend

It’s weird that it feels like a chapter is closing, like summer is grinding to a halt when it’s 31C degrees outside. We’re sweating in shorts, lapping up ice cream and longing for a pool, but it still feels like these golden days where the nights are long are closing in on us.

It’s not like we have much to do with a school year; we’re not teachers or students, and the weekend didn’t seem much different than usual. I can’t put my finger on it. I’m still starting to shift into fall/ winter mode, thinking about boots and soup and what we’re going to do next.

We had a great summer – we took lots of little trips and adjusted to life with a 2 year old. We went to park after park and discovered some new ones. We did go to a couple of splash pads, although little J is happier to climb this year than splash fearlessly. We got in some live music shows at the Jazz festival, Ribfest, and Beatlefest at the Brylee.

splash Ottawa

jazz festival Ottawa

jazz festival los gringos

park at sunset

We also moved around a lot from weekend to week, enjoying time with family, good friends, and co-workers. We went to two cottages, spent a weekend in Toronto, a week in White Lake, and a few days in Montebello.

swimming in Low

cottage in Low

coffee at cottage

cottage fishing net

cottage fun

white lake

It was the summer Julian first played at the family baseball tournament (1 swing at the T-ball), the summer we discovered (and polished off) countless bottles of Jacob’s Creek. It was the summer we got rid of diapers! We enjoyed as much time outside as we could, while also working and gigging and trying to get things done. We ate corn on the cob and food truck tacos. We went to the Farmers Market for super fresh fruit and veggies. We watched movies. We went swimming.

Moscasto wine

dinosaur park



To cap off the summer, we had some family over last night for dinner – thankful that they don’t mind squeezing around a tiny kitchen table, or waiting for me to clean off some forks before we can start eating. We playing games and talked, and today I spent the day with Julian, first breakfast at my mom’s, then painting, playing, spaghetti, and watching ET before bed.

playing dragon game

I hope you all had a wonderful summer. I’m looking back on all the photos I took (thank goodness for my iPhone) and although it seems such a short time went by, we packed a lot in, and did different things than usual, thanks to having a kid who loves playing outside.

scooter boy

Here’s hoping to enjoy a few more days of sunshine and popsicles in the backyard before we need sweaters!