Old Montreal

It was as if we were in Europe, but not.
We strolled along the cobble stone streets.  It wasn't as pleasant for Castle, cobble stones are not very stroller friendly.
Sunday morning was my favourite.  It felt like we had the whole old city to ourselves.
New copper roof on that beauty.  I love it when copper just begins to turn green.
What a stylish outfit to wear for watering plants.  We saw the bicycling plant watering lady again a few hours later, still doing her thing.
Just as magical at night.

Still Here

We are still here.  Just not here, here.  We are on an other adventure.  We will tell you all about it when we are done.  We promise.

Agritainment

Yes! More Agritainment!
This time at Forsythe Farms north of Toronto.
It was a much better place than I expected.  Lots of different animals, lots of activities, the corn maze was actually fun to get lost in... ... The wagons to borrow were a big plus!  And they were clean, what a shock, not that it mattered but for a farm? Points for them.

Peapod Travel Bed

Our travel bed search ended with the Peapod.
The main reason we ended on this one is that it is lightweight, can be packed very small, and Castle is contained.  We went for the bigger version in hopes that we can use it for longer and will be a fun shade shelter for the beach.  We have access to a pack n' play but it's too heavy and bulky for air travel.  Plus we would have had to pay for the extra piece of luggage.

Pros of the Peapod:
Virtually no set up, it's a pop up tent.
Can easily fit in a suitcase.
Super lightweight.
Can make the 'room' dark by closing the flaps and putting a light blanket over top of the tent, without worrying about blanket falling in.
Comes with it's own air mattress that fits inside a pocket at the bottom.
Somewhere familiar for baby to nap in different places.  We take this to friend's and Castle recognizes his sleeping tent.

Cons of the Peapod:
Can be very stuffy in there in hot weather.
Can't use a bed sheet.  (I tried.  I wrapped a bed sheet around the mattress and put it inside the tent, as expected, I found Castle UNDER the mattress in the morning.)
If you have a super wiggler, it can flip over.  One night Castle slept on the roof of the tent.  But it's been many naps and many nights and it's only happened once.
Air mattress in this model not self inflatable. (Some of their other ones are.)

Despite the cons I'm very happy with it.  It's great for travelling near and far.  And I can see it being a fun play tent when Castle is older.

Travel Tips & Library Picks

We are hiding out with Gong Gong and Po Po (Grandpa & Grandma).
The 4.5 hour flight was tiring.  It felt much longer when you compound all the other things, check-in, security, waiting for luggage etc. Castle was very restless and didn't nap on the flight.  So I just kept feeding him to keep him occupied.  Luckily the retired couple who sat beside us were more than accommodating.  They even held Castle a few times and played with him.  Castle, of course, was his usual giggly charming self which made things much easier.  Even the flight attendants came by and took him for walks around the plane and I got a precious few minutes to myself.  
A few things I've learned about traveling alone with baby...
Go on a big plane if possible.  Check before booking a flight what kind of plane you will be on, the bigger the better, there will be more room to move around.  Ask nicely at the gate if there are extra seats, you never know, you might get lucky.  Try to get a bulkhead seat.  Our bulkhead seat was awesome because Castle had enough room to sit at my feet to play.  Bring lots of snacks for baby, especially things that would take a long time to eat.  Give baby the safety card to play with, it's laminated and it's a brand new toy!  Make friends with your seat mate and flight attendants.  You will need someone to watch/hold your baby while you are going to the washroom. Throw the no TV rule out the window (if you have that rule).  Castle really got a kick out of pushing on the screen.  Bring an empty water bottle and fill it up after security or on the flight.  Water bottle makes a great toy.  If your seat mate orders a hot beverage, kindly ask them to move it as far away from baby as possible.  And bring/buy food for yourself that will be easy to eat while holding baby, such as granola bars, sandwiches, crackers, veggie sticks etc.
We managed to arrive in one piece but I was exhausted, Castle conked out while we were waiting for our luggage.  With one arm pushing our luggage cart and one arm holding Castle I couldn't wait to get home to have a good long nap.  We both needed it badly.  But as soon as we got settled, we went to our favourite place of free entertainment, the library. 
Don't know about Castle, but I am in love with the graphics and colours in this book, Rosie's Walk.
Castle especially likes the Baby Faces book.  It's in accordion fold which make it very easy for those little hands to open the pages.  And real photos are always more interesting.

First Monster

Our first Papertoy Monster: Cab & Lyle
I can tell that this book will be put into good use.

Take Off

Leaving, on a jet plane...
Here we go again, only this time it's just Castle and I.  This should be interesting, me tackling Castle on a 4.5 hour flight, with one seat.  People do it all the time, but it's always nice to have an extra helping hand.  

We always check Seat Guru before we book our flights to see what kind of plane we are going to be on. We wanted a large one so Castle can have some wiggle room, and hoping that there will be an extra seat for him.

To keep Daddy occupied, we presented him with a gift that keeps on giving via treasure hunt.  We left clues all over to lead him to his ultimate destination - his present.
 Papertoy Monsters: Make Your Very Own Amazing Papertoys!
 There are 50 of them in the book.
The templates are printed on card stock and you just punch them out and build.  50 of them!  This should keep Daddy occupied for a while before we see him again.

Personality

It is without a doubt that amongst all the other little boys, ours is the clingiest.  He does not like it when Mommy and Daddy are not around.  
He has only managed to stay through 2 church services in the nursery in the past 8 months.  Every week we debate on when our 'come get your child now' number will pop up on the big screen.  It's such an intrusion, one moment you have the pastor and then the whole giant screen goes black with our little white number.  Yet week after week we keep trying and praying that he will last.
We are beginning to see who our little boy will grow up to be.  Even though he is the biggest in size, he is the smallest in feistiness.  Never having won a battle, he takes to whimpering helplessly when other babies pick on him.  
He is our gentle giant, offering us books and toys, never tried to break out of his play pen, eating whatever is on the table, even if he doesn't like it, he just keeps eating and making gag faces after each bite.  We think this is rather funny.

Randoms

We are in the middle of a heat wave and I love it.  Only wish we were back lounging by the lake.
Castle has taken to sleeping on the edge of his bed, with feet sticking out.  We find him like this often. 
Here he is in his play pen all cornered off.  He only has access to a few toys at a time, we switch them up every few days so he doesn't get bored of them so easily.  His favourite toys of the moment are books.  And check out our new pillow.  No, I did not make it.

Labour Day

Castle was supposed to be born around Labour Day, and before he came out we joked that if he was born on that day, 'Labour Day' would have a whole new meaning.  As you all know by now, he didn't come on Labour Day.  But his buddy, Payton, did.  Or close to it.  I think this will be a tradition from now on, a birthday party on Labour Day.





Painting Painting

Bare walls, we need to spice you up!  An artist at heart, I would love to purchase original paintings to display but we won't because we would like to eat this year, and because of the same reason I can't bring myself to buying mass produced paintings.  Solution?  Paint stuff myself.  Now that we are unpacked, time to move on to the next project.  Painting Paintings!
After all the emotional turmoil I went through to make our wedding cake, it was a little odd that I chose it for my painting subject.  I was down to the last straw on all things wedding, it was the day before the grand finale and the last thing I wanted to do was make my own wedding cake.  I did not foresee this change of heart in my initial plan.  I felt the need to immortalize the thing, to remind me, "See, you did it!"
I should have stopped painting here, I really like the painterly quality and soft simplified take on the actual cake.  Picture here.  I'm kicking myself now because I started going with the details.  And before you know it, it was too late.
Andrew says he likes it better will all the details.  Me on the other hand want the in-progress painting back.  (This is not the best photo of the painting, looks like all the colours are flat.)  There's a few more paintings on the go.  I'll reveal them and where they will all hang out later.  Because I don't know yet.

Missing You

Dear Vancouver,
We've missed you.
Last week at Lake Louise, I was reminded by an elderly lady traveling from Chicago how beautiful you are.  She could not stop gushing about you.
You are a sight to behold.  Your intersection of urban jungle and pristine nature is like none other.
We needed to take an afternoon to soak you all back in again.  We are so happy that we call you home.
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