Adventures / Thrills, Events, Family, Life, Parenting, Travel

‘Before 40’ bucket list

With my 32nd birthday (today) and our second child’s birth looming around the corner, it got me thinking about my “bucket-list”.  Not too long ago, I had fulfilled many items on my list.  I went back-packing through Europe for four months, I skydived 10 times in places such as Switzerland, Israel and New Zealand (3 tandem jumps and 7 solo jumps), I bungee jumped, white water rafted and scuba dived in British Columbia, I parasailed in the Philippines, saw the Pyramids in Egypt, ran five half-marathons, obtained my MBA and married the love of my life.

Of course, all of that was pre-baby and even pre-wedding.  That’s not to say that becoming a family has slowed me down, but it just changed my priorities (for the best I think).  So now, as I think about my future, it’s time that I re-visit my bucket-list and update it to reflect both my current and future life-style.  While I will probably not be able to complete most of the items before I’m 40 (i.e. the travel ones), I hope that I can complete most of them in the next eight years.  Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, in no particular order:

  1. Complete a full marathon.  Preferably the NY marathon
  2. See a live taping of the Ellen Show in California
  3. Have a third child
  4. Take art lessons and create a piece that’s nice enough to hang in our house
  5. Take photography lessons and use something other than the “auto” button on my awesome Nikon SLR camera
  6. Swim in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia
  7. Go on a safari tour in South Africa
  8. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
  9. Walk the Great Wall of China
  10. Travel all over India
  11. Watch baby turtles hatch in their natural habitat
  12. Watch an olympic sport in-person
  13. Actively volunteer for a charity that’s important to my family
  14. Become mortgage free
  15. Learn something new like: wine making, sewing, cooking Indian food or a new language
  16. Get back my pre-baby body (after I have our last child)
  17. Have 1.000 followers on my blog
  18. See a live taping of SNL
  19. Learn to bake
  20. Go to Disneyland

What about you?  Do you have a bucket-list?  What else would you add to my list or what is unique to yours?  I would love to hear!!  Suggestions are always welcome 🙂

Or let me know if you’re able to help me out with any of my bucket list items!

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children, Family, Life, Parenting, Travel

Babymoon in Jamaica + Toddler

Going on a babymoon seems to be the latest trend these days.  During my first pregnancy, it never even crossed our minds.  We were doing a complete renovation on our house, and since Kyle was to be born in September, we spent most of the summer at the cottage.  That made it feel like enough of a vacation for us.

But this time around, I’m due at the end of January.  Which makes it seem like it will be a VERY long winter.  And since we don’t have as much on the go as we did two years ago, I mentioned the idea of a babymoon to my husband.

We found a great deal for a resort in Montego Bay Jamaica (via Selloffvacations.com). And since my husband and I couldn’t part ways with Kyle for a week, we decided that he should join us.  I guess it was a way for our family of 3 to enjoy some quality time together before we became a family of 4.  The resort, Sunset Beach, is family friendly and we upgraded to a beach cabana room with an exit directly to the beach.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Of course, a babymoon with a toddler isn’t as glamorous as a romantic vacation for two.  Here’s some pro’s and con’s based on our experience.

Con’s

  • You can’t just go to any Caribbean island when you’re pregnant.  Locations are pretty important according to my Doctor.  Dominican shares its borders with Haiti which has a bad bug that apparently flows throughly between the two borders.  Mexico is worrisome because of the drinking water and Cuba was out of the question because of its relations with USA (i.e. we couldn’t get airlifted to the US in case of an emergency).  So we pretty much narrowed it down to Jamaica (Aruba, St. Marten, etc… were much more expensive).
  • You can’t really take advantage of the all-you-can-drink part of the all-inclusive when you’re pregnant.  That’s not to say that it’s the only reason I go on an all-inclusive, but it’s nice to have a cold beer while lying on the beach or a nice red wine with dinner at night.  Neither of which I was able to enjoy this time around.
  • Most excursions are out of the question because I was pregnant or because Kyle was too young.
  • Your only downtime is when your toddler naps; not when you’re tired.

Pro’s

  • You’re on vacation at a beautiful all-inclusive resort in Jamaica where the sun shines all day, even if the weather channel is calling for rain.
  • The food is amazing and you don’t have to worry about cooking for 7 days.  Same goes for cleaning.
  • You get to spend some quality time with your family with no interruptions from the every-day life events, including cell-phones and work related matters.
  • You’re getting some much-needed vitamin D to keep you going through the cold winter back home.
  • Did I mention you’re in Jamaica??

Other: ensure you have appropriate travel insurance that will cover you in case of premature labour or any other labour related emergency.  Also ensure it covers the cost of an air ambulance as they can cost up to $100,000 if you do require one.

What about you?  Would you or have you gone on a babymoon?  What was your experience?  Would you recommend it to others?  Did you travel solo (i.e. your partner only) or did you take the kids along as well?

Family, Life, Parenting, Travel

Maui with Baby. What to see and do!

Last year we were fortunate enough to go to Hawaii through my husband’s work.  Kyle was turning 6 months while we were there.  So while I stressed out about what to pack, I was very excited to be heading to Maui.  My husband and I had always considered going to Hawaii for our honeymoon, but we ended up flying east instead. I was sooo excited to finally enjoy this piece of paradise for two weeks.

The view from our balcony

We arrived a week before the work-paid part of the trip and stayed at Kahana Sunset (http://www.kahanasunset.com/) on the West side of Maui.  I can’t recommend this place enough!  It’s one of the few places to have only a 2-story building and a private beach.  Oh ya, this place is so nice, a family of sea turtles have decided to make Kahana Sunset their private beach home as well!  Which means, you will get to swim FOR FREE every day with sea turtles (if you’re not freaked out by it – they look huge underwater).  This was a dream of mine for as long as I can remember (I have a slight turtle obsession) and I couldn’t believe I got to enjoy it at my “new home away from home”.  I really think that this accommodation is one of the best kept secrets in Maui. Continue reading “Maui with Baby. What to see and do!”

Family, Life, Parenting, Travel

Day and Night; Tremblant, Quebec has something for everyone

We just returned from our 2nd annual family ski trip to Mount Tremblant, Quebec.  Unlike last year, Kyle and I flew there while the rest of the gang made the seven+ hour drive from Toronto.  Kyle and I flew Porter (www.flyporter.com).  I can’t say enough good things about this airline.  The experience was amazing and so fast.  I only had to show up 30 minutes before take-off, even with a toddler!  We received tons of snacks and drinks at the lounge and Kyle loved watching the airplanes.  Before I knew it, we landed.  A shuttle bus took us right to the village where Kyle and I had a few hours to kill before everyone else arrived.

First stop, FOOD!  We went to an Italian restaurant (http://www.pizzateria.com/) and shared a salad and a pizza.  I unfortunately didn’t plan his clothes very well as he was wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs sweatshirt in the (Montreal) Canadians home turf.  Thankfully no one made a comment about it.*  After lunch, I took him to the indoor play pool located in the village – Aquaclub La Source (http://www.tremblant.ca/activities/winter/activities/aquaclub/index-e.htm).  There was a great wading pool for babies / toddlers with a water slide that I was able to take Kyle down.  There was even a jacuzzi the size of a small pool that wasn’t too hot and full of little kids.  It was also pretty neat to watch the skiers from the glass windows surrounding the pools.  Kyle and I ended our two-hour adventure in the jacuzzi.  We warmed up, changed and made our way to the chalet to meet the rest of the gang and daddy. I had to make a quick detour for a Beaver-Tail.  It was sooooooo yummy, I couldn’t resist!!!

The next day, John and I got to hit the slops while his family watched Kyle.  We made it to the gondola at 8:30 and we finished our first run by 9:00.  It was amazing to get back on the skis after a one-year hiatus.  The snow conditions were great but the weather was a little on the chilly side (-16 degrees on the top; but felt much colder due to the wind).  Since this would be my only day of skiing, I wanted to take advantage of it.  We skied about 5 runs, before we had to go inside for a quick break.  My toes were frostbitten and my fingers extremely cold.  After warming up by the fire and drinking some coffee, we hit the slops again.  We were able to ski right into our chalet for a quick-lunch break and continued until the last ski-lift at 3:45.  I don’t know if it was the time of year, the weather or the overall winter seasons that we’ve had, but the slops were empty.  It was amazing!  On some runs, it felt like John and I were the only ones there.  We had the whole trail to ourselves, and we loved it.  Of course, the best part about skiing is the ‘apres ski’.  We stopped at “Le Shack” in the village and ordered a few pitchers, some POUTINE (when in Rome) and shared a few laughs and stories before we headed back to the chalet for dinner.

Tuesday morning, after Kyle’s morning nap and before we had to leave for the airport, I took Kyle to the village.  The weather was warming up and we hung out at the bottom of the hill watching the skiers go by.  Kyle loved just “running” around in the snow and sliding down on this bum on a small hill.  He tiered himself out enough that he napped the entire ride to the airport.

If you’re looking for a fun, quick and great family get-away, look no further than Tremblant.  Whether you’re a skier / snowboarder or just there with friends or family, there is something for everyone.  If you happen to be there with the kiddies but no one to watch them, Tremblant does offer daycare (Kids Club) for children 1 to 6 years old.  http://www.tremblant.ca/activities/kidz/index-e.htm

Hope you have fun 🙂

* Its possible everyone was mesmerized by Kyle cuteness so they weren’t capable of speaking!

Adventures / Thrills, Travel

ZORBing in New Zealand

When my husband and I went to New Zealand, one of the things on our “bucket” list was ZORBing (the sport of globe riding)*.  I’ve seen it on the Amazing Race (my favourite reality TV show) and I just had to try it out for myself.

Being an adrenalin junky, I couldn’t wait to get there.  I wasn’t sure what it was really all about, but I knew that I had to try it out.  We arrived at Rotorua and followed the signs that took us directly to ZORB Rotorua (http://www.zorb.com/zorb/rotorua/). Continue reading “ZORBing in New Zealand”

Adventures / Thrills, Family, Life, Travel

The start and end to my skydiving career

I should start off by clarifying that skydiving was never a career for me (sigh), but it was a passion of mine for a few years of my life. Being an adventure seeker for as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to skydive. I looked into it and quickly learned that I had to be 18 years old to do it. I vowed to myself that on my 18th birthday I’m going skydiving and moving out of my parents house (I was a very independent child).* Well, 18 came and went and I didn’t go skydiving or move out of my parents house.

Fast forward 4 years when I was 22 and back-packing through Europe. I was visiting Interlaken, Switzerland and one of the main attractions there was sky diving (http://www.scenicair.ch/en/skydiving/46-helicopter-jumps.html). I jumped at the opportunity and signed myself up. It didn’t matter that I was on a strict 20 Euro per day budget, I figured that I just wouldn’t eat for a few days.
Continue reading “The start and end to my skydiving career”
Parenting, Travel

Continue to travel with kids!

Growing up my parents were really big into traveling, and I got the “bug”. Travelling definitely tops my list of “hobbies”. When we had Kyle, I was excited to continue traveling like we always had, plus baby! We’ve been very fortunate to travel a bunch since the birth of our son Kyle.

FAO Schwartz in NY city

The first “trip” the 3 of us took was when Kyle was 3 weeks old when we drove up north to the cottage for thanksgiving weekend 2010. Not a “real” trip, but it was definitely a haul. When Kyle was 5 months old, we drove 8 hours (yes, you read that right, 8 hours) to Tremblant, Quebec. Let’s just say, lesson learned, and we’ll never do that drive again! This year, I’m flying porter with Kyle while John, my husband, is driving there with his family. When Kyle was 6 months, we took a 24 hour trip (time of travel from leaving our house to arriving at the hotel) to Hawaii. At 9 months, we flew to New York for 4 days and this past August, we spent a week’s vacation up at the cottage. Most recently, we flew to Edmonton in October to spend a week with my brother and his family and in November, we flew to the Bahamas for 4 days. With all this travel, Kyle is officially an elite frequent flyer member!* Continue reading “Continue to travel with kids!”