Vacation. Holidays. Days off. Rehab…

We spend all year looking forward to a handful of days where we can get away from the routine of early mornings, commutes and emails – or whatever your equivalent is. The past few years, we’ve been purposefully NOT making plans for our holidays. We’ve ask the boys what they want to do on our days together, and it’s usually been a great experience. This year was no exception. However, I did get my request in first – to the Scenic Caves in Collingwood. While we’re there, we should do the zipline and the suspension bridge!

Great view - foreground and background!

Great view – foreground and background!

Unfortunately, First Born Son was unable to join us, working 18 hour days six days out of seven. So we took lots of pictures to make him jealous…he still had more fun at work, he said!

One of the many amazing caverns.

One of the many amazing caverns.

Second Born Son didn’t know what to expect, but ended up loving the gorgeous, natural wonder.

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SBS tried out the highlight of the trail – Fat Man’s Misery.

Here at the start, but he made it through!

Here at the start, but he made it through!

Finally, it was time to move on to the zipline. This was my idea. I thought it would be cool. And, admittedly, that feeling cooled tremendously at the top of the launch tower, looking at half a kilometre of cable. That one glorified rope was all that held me from a a forest of treetops. And my son was about to launch beside me. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER AM I?!?!?

Looking all brave right before the tower ascent!

Looking all brave right before the tower ascent!

Seriously weighing my options at this point.

Seriously weighing my options at this point.

As I’m getting the last minute instructions from the staff (which, btw, I’m clearly incapable of absorbing) the only thing I see is the cable that disappears into the canopy of trees below me. I hear SBS enthusiastically repeating the instructions being fed to him only 10 feet away. He’s not afraid. He’s excited. I’m questioning his intellect and his ability to see. As soon as the gate releases, the two of us head out of the launch platform and I vaguely hear him saying to me something about being “gone”.

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Half way through the way down, SBS is gone and I can focus on the view, the controls and the fact that I can actually relax and ENJOY the experience. However, it not until I’m at the bottom platform that I realize that not only did I LIVE, but I LOVED it! I’d freakin’ do it again!!!!

Entering suspension bridge.

Entering suspension bridge.

The suspension bridge was no biggie after the zipline. Sadly, some ass felt it was necessary to grab the hand cable and get some sway going. Wanted to impress his daughters. Managed to traumatize more than one youth participating in a day tour.



The Three Amigos (but missing the Fourth!)

The Three Amigos (but missing the Fourth!)

We then followed up with a great day at the market AND two days at the beach.

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It’s a jam-packed week – without a minute of it planned in advance. Can’t wait for the next week! Only four weeks away. Not that I’m counting! 🙂

Cuba – AKA The Opposite of Roughing It


Ok, that break was a little longer than I planned, but a “medical event” messed with my time line, my Christmas and my enjoyment of all things chocolate. So while I’m back in the saddle now, we must get caught up, now mustn’t we!

When we left, I was sharing the joy that was furnace replacement. As I mentioned, we finally had the new furnace up and running hours before we were to fly.

To back up a bit, each winter the boys have played hockey. Since The Big Guy was a hockey player, it was a natural progression for the boys to play. However Second Born Son bowed out last year, and First Born Son called it a career this summer. At first we were a little surprised, but we looked at this sudden discovery of time and funds as an opportunity. Without the stress of the politics of hockey, without running to an arena four or five days a week, without the cost of equipment ($$$$), gas ($$$) registration ($$$), tournaments ($$$) not to mention the gate fee at every away game, we were practically swimming in money.

But not really.

But almost.

So we decided to take a family holiday, and booked a week in Cuba. The boys were beyond excited. The departure date crept up on us, thanks to the distraction of the highly combustible furnace.

We went from no heat to 27 degrees and humidity. HEAVEN!


Now I was fortunate enough as a child to travel with my parents and Little Sister to a number of destinations. I would have liked to have done more traveling with our boys, but we felt that making a commitment to a team sport, not to mention the financial obligation, was the priority; especially when the boys seemed to enjoy hockey so much.

But an hour in the sunshine and thoughts of arenas, penalties and slap shots were banished. We were all about the sun, waves and OLA!

DSCN0304We made a deal with the boys; they had to try new foods in order to appreciate the local culture. We also did some research on Cuba and the politics of the country so that there would be an understanding for the history of the nation and its people.

They realized they liked calamari, lobster (in small quantities) and the amazing, generous and sincere service we received.

We figured out the lay of the land and checked out a local market.


Everything from hand-made jewellery, toys and artwork could be found. Not high-end and precious, but beautifully crafted, simply presented and whimsical.


The amazing part was, these toy vehicles were two for 5 Cuban dollars, which is pretty much at par with Canadian dollars. Five dollars. Second Born Son was stunned, thrilled, but stunned. We grabbed a number of items for gifts and had an enjoyable experience meeting local people. As part of our travel tradition, The Big Guy and I purchased a piece of art to bring home. The trip had only just begun and was already a huge success.


Except for the sugar cane juice. Not a winner.

There were a couple of provisos for the trip. 1) Mommy was going to spend a huge amount of time in a chaise. This was not to be questioned or debated. 2) Fun must be had by everyone!

We wanted the boys to see us playing A LOT because Lord knows, they certainly see us working A LOT. The Big Guy took care of that right away!


We also decided to sign up for an excursion. While there was a ton of activities at our resort, we wanted to capitalize on the packages available through our carrier. Since were away during SBS’s birthday, we felt it would be appropriate to plan a special day on his Special Day. A dolphin excursion was the perfect plan.


After the dolphins we had lunch and then enjoyed the afternoon on a catamaran. I do believe there are catamarans in Heaven, in case you were wondering….



I made one of the best decisions, which was to leave my “Big Girl” cameras at home and take a simple point and shoot. This meant I ACTUALLY GOT TO BE IN PHOTOS!!!! I KNOW – amazing!!!! It was funny, however, watching “photographers” using their cameras in bright sunlight, with their flashes, then looking at their LCD screen and scowl because they just couldn’t figure out why their pictures weren’t turning out. I didn’t have to worry about babysitting the camera bag and the boys took a ton of photos. It was interesting to see the trip from their perspective.


First Born Son likes to play with light…..


SBS was more about food….

That night was SBS’s birthday dinner, where he was treated like a Prince!


It was important that the boys understand the social climate in Cuba. The average wage is $5 a day for those working on our resort. The work ethic was outstanding and the grace and kindness shown to us by just about everyone at the resort was remarkable, noted even by FBS and SBS. They developed a better appreciation for the things they have, as well as an understanding of new corner of the world.


By the end of the week, we had enjoyed walks on the beach….


Lovely dinners out….


Quality time in the pool…


…and donuts for breakfast!


I’m so glad we took this time together, since life is moving far to fast. We hope to have another trip in near future, but if it’s longer than that, we know we have some awesome memories of Cuba.