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francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

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Spring Hiking: Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout
We kicked off our 2017 hiking season with Odin’s first hike, in honour of his first birthday. We’d been told to wait until around a year before taking him up any mountains, to help prevent any future issues with hips & other joints. I think part of the fun of having a spunky pup is taking them on adventures, so we’d been looking forward to this day since we first started looking into getting a dog.

I knew I wanted to include as much of our family as we could, so we’d originally planned an easy climb up Sulfur Mountain. We’d take the gondola back down afterwards as it’s free in the off season. We’d done it a few winter’s ago with my brother in law’s dog. It was a great little season opener. Unfortunately, a few days before the hike, I found out the Banff Gondola no longer allows dogs due to some negative experiences. I turned to some other doodle owners for suggestions & we landed on Barrier Lake Lookout, also known as Prairie View. It looked like a relatively easy, rewarding climb.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Not bad, Kananaskis, not bad.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Trail Head

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

We met our hiking group in the parking lot around 10:30 am & headed out. Walking along the lake at the start of the trail, it seemed like we might be in for a cold, windy day. As soon as we got into the trees though, our entire group shed most of their layers.

The trail is south facing, so I hadn’t expected to see much snow, however, it didn’t take long for us to run into some icy patches. None of us were wearing spikes, so it got challenging pretty quickly. My mom was only in runners so her & my dad had to bail about halfway up. The rest of us continued on, despite some pretty sketchy sections on the way up. Yay for spring hiking!

Barrier Lake Lookout

Icy patches on the way up

Barrier Lake Lookout

We made it to the first lookout area & stopped for a few pictures. We were pretty close to the summit at this point, & planned to continue, but a combination of congestion & a steep, slippery section caused us to re-evaluate. We decide to stop for lunch with a view, & call it a day.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

Views from the first lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake Lookout

Family Photo!

Barrier Lake Lookout

Looking for scraps

Mud pup lunch stop

Barrier Lake Lookout

Lunch views

We had braced ourselves for a treacherous climb down, but were treated to a fairly easy descent. The icy sections has softened up, which made a huge difference. It’s definitely something to keep in mind if you plan to hike this in the early spring – either go later in the day or bring spikes.

Despite the early season conditions, the trail was quite busy. I imagine it’s even more so in the summer, so I think I’d stick to shoulder season unless you like hiking in crowds. We saw lots of other dogs too, many off-leash despite signs stating that dogs must be on one.

Barrier Lake Lookout

Barrier Lake

Back at the base after our hike

Overall, it was a great day. We got lots of sunshine, enjoyed some beautiful views, & great company. I’m hoping to get out to the mountains lots with Odin, so any other dog friendly hike suggestions are more than welcome. We’re on the hunt for our first real summit!

March in Instagram

Somehow we’re already well into the first week of April, & all of my grand blogging plans lay unfulfilled. With N away so much (aka living in another country), all the household stuff falls to me, so I’ve been a little busier lately. It’s amazing how much of a difference not having him home regularly makes. Odin & I have been making the best of it though, & we’re lucky to have an amazing group of humans to keep us company & help out when we need them. Here’s what we got up to in this first month of living in different countries (according to the very filtered world of Instagram):March 2017 IG Recap

  1. We celebrated our awesome gymnastics coach & friend, Tanis, turning 35 with a paint nite. I’m actually so impressed by how well everyone’s paintings turned out!
  2. Can’t get enough of Sue Higgins Dog Park. Odin loves adventuring there & meeting up with all his buds.
  3. I joined some friends in Canmore for the weekend to celebrate the lovely #Elissagettingmeowied. It was such a fun weekend away in the mountains, with lots of great food, a little dancing, & so many laughs.
  4. Neither Odin nor I like saying goodbye to N. Airport drops offs are tough on this little guy. I don’t think he understands at all.
  5. First patio day of 2017 at Cibo. We took advantage of a beautiful Saturday to get outside & enjoy some drinks on a really lovely patio. They also have one of the best happy hours out there – check out the $5 pizza!!
  6. Rosso Tuxedo opened! Finally good coffee in our neighbourhood. We’ve been eagerly anticipating their opening for months. I love it already!
  7. N flew home to watch #ElissaandMatt get married at a lovely ceremony at the Lakehouse. We danced, we ate, & we consumed far too many delicious drinks.
  8. Dogs & Beer? I’m sold on Cold Garden & have been meeting up with friends for a pint pretty much weekly. Their beer is delicious (& reasonably priced!), & I can bring my furry friend. It’s my favourite.
  9. Odin turned one this month! He was spoiled rotten. We’re heading out on his first hike tomorrow to celebrate. Happy Birthday, little buddy!

April promises to be a busy month as well. I’m a #poutinepusher for Calgary Poutine Week 2017, so if you like poutine (& good causes) keep an eye on my social media for details (& watch me try to eat all the poutine in a week). Bring on the stretchy pants!

Odin \\ ONE YEAR

Odin \\ One Year

Dear Odin,

Today you are one year old. I remember anxiously waiting to hear from Notch Hill that you’d arrived. At the time, we thought we were getting a little girl pup, but now I can’t imagine that at all. You’re the best.

Odin 8wks - 11 mths

Odin at 8 wks, 3 months, 9 months, & 11 months

Odin

Walks in the East Village

Odin

Odin

All geared up for the winter weather

Odin & the bridge

N helping Odin with his fear of the metal bridge

Checking out Cold Garden Brewery with Mom & Dad. It’s a pretty cool place!

Mémé & I drove out to Sorrento to pick you up on May long weekend. You were so shy at first, but so friendly. Not a lot has changed in that regard, actually. I love how much you love people & other dogs. It makes me life so much easier that you’re so social.

Odin

I love it when my friends share with me!

Odin

Mom loves me!

Odin

Feeling naked after my haircut!

Odin

Right now, you love chewing your toys relentlessly, running as fast as you can at the dog park, protecting the house from intruders, & digging what little dirt you can find in the backyard.

Odin

Odin

Derp

Odin

Sick pup cuddles

Odin

Trying to make us both fit on one cushion

Odin

National Puppy Day!

Happy Birthday, Odin

Birthday Burrito

Odin

You don’t like when we leave you home alone or when Dad has to go away for work, people wearing too many layers for you to recognize them, when the mail gets delivered but you don’t get to say hi, bathtime, or any attempts at dental hygiene.

You make our lives so much better, Odin. We love you so much.

Love,

Mom & Dad

xoxo

See the rest of our Odin Report recaps here. Follow along on Odin’s adventures on Instagram – #OdindeBoer

Odin \\ 11 months

As of last week, Odin is 11 months old! I’ve really loved doing this little Odin Report post every month. Puppies change so much, so quickly, that it’s easy to forget what it was like in those first months. Now that he’s house trained, sleeps through the night, & we aren’t always worrying about whether he’ll escape his pen & destroy something, life with Odin seems pretty laid back. I love looking back on those early posts so much though. It doesn’t hurt that he was an incredibly adorable ball of fur!

It may just be that it’s been a chilly winter, but every month Odin gets a little more cuddly. He loves a good snuggle with mom & dad now. He still loves his space from time to time too, & will always let us know when he’s done & needs his space. I love watching him around toddlers lately. He’s so fascinated by them, but also a little wary. He’s so sweet with them & mostly just wants to sniff their butts & give them kisses. They’re not always quite as keen on that.

We’ve spent so much time at the off leash dog park at Southland this month. We’re planning a hike once he’s a year old so I’ve been trying to get some longer walks under our belt & it’s the perfect spot for that. His recall is actually pretty good, so I recently took him off leash at the bluff. It’s such a beautiful place to take a walk & I’m glad I can give him a little more freedom without too much worry!

He still sleeps in his kennel at night, but every morning we let him up on our bed for a little snuggle before we start our day. He seems to really love it & burrows into a spot close beside us for a few more minutes of sleep. It’s easy to see why people keep telling us we’ll eventually let him sleep in our bed. So far we’re sticking with the kennel overnight though. I try to remind myself that come summer we will not want a furry heat pack next to us in bed.



Odin’s also been joining me for morning workouts with November Project. He’s a little crazy sometimes, but everyone seems to love him & I think it tires him out a bit more than just a walk. One of the amazing ladies at NP actually made him (& one of the other dogs) these NP bandanas, so he’s a real member of the tribe. I love the paw print on the YYC logo! Thanks, Michelle!

Mom, I really need a haircut!

We took a couple updated family photos on Valentine’s day. Odin still isn’t that into posing, but they turned out pretty cute anyway.


The photos below are probably my favourite from this month. With N moving to California for work, he took every advantage for extra cuddles with our little bit. These two love each other so much & it melts my heart.



So that’s Odin at 11 months. Once again I’ve got a little video from this month. I took quite a few videos at the dog park. I just love watching him run around & play with other pups.

Happy Monday! We love you, Odin,

Mom & Dad

xx

Ch-ch-changes (again)

de Boer Family Photo 2017

Just as we’ve settled into thinking we were going to be a bit more settled for a while, life decides to shake things up. A bit of background: N & I have spent the better part of our relationship doing some form of long distance.

Our relationship began a few months before my imminent cross-country move; we spent those first two years seeing each other infrequently, at best. When I moved back to Calgary, much of N’s work was based out of town, so he left for short periods fairly often. Then when he moved to his current company, we knew he’d be spending even more time out of town since most of their projects are on a rotation of some sort. We are no strangers to being apart.

In January, he found himself back in the Calgary office. We were preparing ourselves for an eventual out of town offer, as they don’t have as much work here right now. We’d discussed what we were willing to do, & what we weren’t, but then suddenly it seemed like he might be staying in town. You could say we were cautiously optimistic.

One Thursday a couple weeks ago, his boss approached him about moving to San Francisco. It was one of the options we’d known was a possibility, so we weren’t taken totally off guard, but we were surprised to find that it was back on the table so suddenly. We were told that with the current political situation in the States, it would take a little longer than the usual month for N to get his visa. Coupled with him needing to renew his passport, we figured we had some time. Turns out, we don’t, & he’s already preparing to leave this month.

So, here we go again with this long distance thing. N is moving down to San Francisco, (on a sort of three week rotation, keeping his Canadian salary, benefits, etc) while I stay here in Calgary. There were a lot of factors that went into this particular decision, & it’s hard to know if it’s the right one. One of the big ones was I wasn’t sure I was ready to be jobless in the US. It’s easy to imagine it would be fun to go down & freelance or blog or volunteer, but I think it’s harder to actually do it, & be without any kind of real income.

It’s certainly going to be an interesting adventure. N gets weekends off during the 3 weeks he’s down there, so he’ll get lots of time to explore the Bay Area & San Francisco. That part makes it a bit of a cool opportunity. Neither of us have ever been to the area, so we’re making plans to spend some time there together too. We’ve also got some Europe plans to look forward to. Overall, we’re optimistic that we can make the best of it & it’s only temporary. It’s a lot easier when we know it’s temporary.

Have you ever done long distance? Do you have any tips for us for living in the Bay Area? We’d love to hear them, if you do!

Dear Valentine

3haus photographics

“Now here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see clearly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” repeated the little prince so he would remember.
“It is the time you have devoted to your rose that makes her so important.”
“It is the time that I’ve devoted to my rose…” read the little prince so he would remember.
“People have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you don’t have to forget. You are forever responsible for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.”
“I am responsible for my rose…” repeated the little prince so he would remember.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Le Petit Prince.

Happy Valentines Day, N & Odin. I love you both so much!

xoxo
A

 

Odin \\ 10 months

Odin Report - 10 months

Sometimes it seems like we’ve had Odin for such a long time now – he’s become such a big part of our lives. Other times, it seems like he was a teeny pup just yesterday.

Christmas out at the lake was fantastic, as expected. We went on lots of long walks, played in the snow, & spoiled Odin completely. I’m not sure he understood why he got to open a bunch of fun new toys, but he did figure out how to open them all.

Odin

Odin + the tree

He loved his little namesake ornament

Puppy + Couch

Odin’s favourite couch cushion when he escapes his pen

Odin Snuggles

January started out tough for Odin with both of us back at work full time. He managed to finally figure out how to escape his 3 foot pen, while we were at a movie. We replaced it with a 4 foot pen. It lasted a week before he also found a way out of that one. His favourite thing to do when he escapes? Unzip a couch cushion & chew its insides. Now we’re keeping him in his travel kennel during the day.

Southland off leash dog park Southland off leash dog park Southland off leash dog park Southland off leash dog park

This month we took him to Southland off-leash dog park for the first time & I think we’re hooked now. Odin is so good at circling back & checking in with us & plays so nice with the other dogs. We’re working up to 6 km in preparation for a birthday hike in April.

Odin cuddles Odin cuddles Odin walk Odin cuddles Odin cuddles

Speaking of Birthdays, we also hosted my sister in law’s this month. Odin’s always so good when we host parties, & this time was no exception. As usual, he put himself to bed when he got tired around 11 pm. Smart pup, we were up significantly later.

Sarah's Birthday

Sarah’s Birthday Party

Sar's Birthday

Kisses for the pup

Odin Love

<3

As usual, I have a little video to recap his 10th month. I didn’t remember to save as many videos off snapchat this time around, so it’s a little shorter. Enjoy!

Love you, little guy! xx

2017 Resolutions

Bullet Journal Resolution

​You can’t walk into a gym or fitness class this month without​ ​it becoming immediately apparent that it’s January.While I personally​ ​stand by the fact that the best time to make change is when you’re ready to do so I ​also​ ​t​end to recommit to my goals in the new year. Like a brand new notebook, a fresh outlook on your goals is just what I need sometimes.

Now I realize most people posted their resolutions much earlier in January, but well, I didn’t. Clearly. I’m not even sure why.​ Oh well.​ I figure this is better late than never, as I have been working on a few different things​ behind the scenes & I’d like to share how that’s going​.

One of the biggest changes to my goals setting this year is the added element of tracking. I’ve kept a bullet journal for a few years now, & it’s constantly evolving. The tracking aspect is something I started with my latest journal, & I really love it. I’m finding it keeps me more accountable to my goals because I’m so much more aware of where I need to reevaluate. This is such a good example of why I think change needs to happen as soon as you feel you need it. I started this fresh journal, with tracking goals a couple months ago, instead of waiting for the new year.

I’ve set up my BuJo to document on a weekly basis. I find tracking within a shorter time frame much easier. I like the idea of a monthly tracker, however, so far I don’t find it really works. We’ll see how that goes over the course of this year. I’m interested to see what changes. I’m sure both my method & my actual goals will evolve, & that’s what I love most about this style of journal: the flexibility.

Currently, my weekly goals are mostly health-related. I’m trying to drink more water, get some kind of fitness in several times a week, eat well, walk daily, & get to sleep before 11 pm. In addition, I’m trying to be more aware of what I spend on a weekly basis. I find it easier to hold myself accountable this way, so I’m tracking that too. We have a big trip coming up this year, & I’d like to have some extra spending money tucked away.

Bullet Journal Resolution

So that’s where I stand on New Years Resolutions this year. I’m taking a little more active role in what I’d like to accomplish, & hoping it continues to work well for me!

What do you think of New Years Resolutions? Do you have any goals, big or small, for this year?

Odin \\ 9 months

I’m a little behind on this month’s Odin update. His 9 month “birthday” happened to fall on Christmas Eve, & I thought I’d have time to pull together a video & edit some photos while I was out at the lake, but we spent time playing games, going for walks, skating, hot tubbing, skiing, & eating instead. No complaints.

Odin & Jake watching football

Pre-haircut

Sunny naps

December was a particularly great month for Odin, since N was home for pretty much the entire month. Hanging out & playing with dad everyday? No pen time? I think it was pretty amazing.

Odin & Rudolph

Hanging with a reindeer

Someone’s got a new haircut!

Bed hangs

Unfortunately, we did run into a couple little setbacks because of this. For one, he had more access to his stuffed toys than he normally would, so Molly, Garth, & Ned all bit the dust despite my attempts to sew them back together.

Christmas Parties

Bring your dog to work day! 😉

Please play with me, Akela.

Playing with Rosie

Family Photo

He also got used to being out of his pen all day so going back is an adjustment. That’s a story for next month though because December was all about playtime, cuddles, & relaxing.

Storm Mountain naps

a fluffy new toy

Odin’s favourite things this month include: walks, ear scratches, belly rubs, aggressively chewing his toys, playing, making new friends (humans or otherwise), snow.

Odin’s dislikes: when mom & dad leave him, jumping into the back of the car, puppy teeth.

Of course, I also have a little video compilation from Odin’s 9 month of life. Unfortunately, the original had some issues, so the We Edit free logo is on this version. You can still see his cute face though. 😉

Welcome to 2017, bud!

Love,

Mom & Dad

Our Holiday Traditions

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. The whole month of December is just one of the best, & I think that has a lot to do with how steeped in tradition it is. Everyone has their own slightly different way of prepping for Christmas, & I love hearing the different stories.

I like to wait until December 1 to get into Christmas mode. When I worked at Starbucks, we switched our displays over on November 1, & that always brought out the Grinch in me, so now I hold off until well after Remembrance Day. The only thing I do before then is take a family photo & order Christmas cards. We did this particularly early this year since N’s schedule was so crazy, but that gave me extra time to procrastinate on my cards (I’m still writing some this week! Ha!).

The first real Christmassy thing we like to do is decorate. I added another stocking to our mantle this year for Odin, & I can’t wait for him to figure out what those silly socks hanging from the fireplace mean. I’m a little surprised he hasn’t pulled his down yet – I wrapped up his little treats just this week!

Step one for decorating: Odin meets Rudolf.

Most of our Christmas decor is straight out of the 80s. I’ve inherited so many things from my parents, & although they’re a little on the tacky side sometimes, I actually love them. They’re all great memories from my childhood. I’m a sucker for something with a story behind it, & almost every single one has that. We even have some handmade wool tree & snowflake ornaments that my Nana made years ago.

He really wanted some of Nana’s tree decorations

Odin helping decorate

Waiting patiently

Next, I like to hit the Scouts Canada Christmas Tree lot. We’ve gotten a real Christmas Tree the last two years, & I don’t plan on stopping this tradition anytime soon, even if we aren’t always around for the holidays. A real tree makes the whole house smell like Christmas like nothing else can (except maybe mulled wine). They’re definitely more work, but I think they’re so worth it. My family almost always bought their trees from the Scouts lot. I love watching the kids get involved in the whole process and enjoy supporting our local Scouts, a program my brother & I both grew up with. We go to the 31st group’s lot at the Holy Cross Anglican Church on 19th Street NW.

Picking up our tree from the lot

Letting #TreeMcTreeface settle in

Pre-decor

Helpers

It wouldn’t be Christmas without at least a couple parties. This year, we kicked things off with my office holiday party. It’s always a lot of fun. We book a room at the hotel so we can thoroughly enjoy the night. It’s always filled with lots of wine & even more dancing.

L & I

After a few drinks

Coworker friends

My handsome date

My parents also always host a cocktail party. My mom puts out an awesome spread. It’s a great evening filled with the best people, lots of drinks, & some delicious appetizers. My mom always puts out the best spread. No one ever goes hungry at her house. We always stay overnight because another tradition kicks off early the next morning: the Banff Ski Trip.

Odin was ready to greet everyone

Mom’s awesome spread

Tree Substitute

SIL & Odin, two of the best

Mom, Sar, & I

The whole crew

Tequila!

Unfortunately, this year, it was insanely cold for our trip. Nonetheless, we got up, put on our gear, & drove to Lake Louise. A couple others from our group were planning to meet us in the afternoon. We purchased Louise Plus Cards, & headed up the mountain on the chair lift. A blustery – 41 greeted us at the summit, & we decided it wasn’t worth getting frostbite over & took advantage of their offer to issue us a snowcheque for anytime in the next year.

FIrst chair

Top of the Word: -41C

Instead, we headed into Banff for some lunch, followed by a dip in the hot tub at the hotel. We started the drinking festivities earlier than any other year, which made for a hilarious gift exchange before we headed out on the town.

Drinks at Park

Delicious cocktails instead of skiing

Hotel Time

11th Annual Ski Trip

Having a moment

Girls photo. Oops.

Aww

& that brings us to the final week before Christmas. We’ve got a few evenings with friends planned before the big weekend, but that’s about it for our pre-Christmas traditions.

How do you prepare for the holidays? Do you embrace the crazy December schedule, or do you like to hunker down?

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