30 January 2011

Niche food for people who cant taste good

you win some, you lose some.

sunday brunch this week was not stellar. it was shit actually. we decided to finally try the place just down the street from us called "niche." we had avoided it for one reason or another for so long, and i guess we should have kept it that way. but today we were tired and low on time, so we thought it was a good day to check it out.

first strike against it is that its the restaurant affiliated with the four points sheraton that attaches to the back of the annoyingly huge cloud-scraper in town thats lovingly called "the waffle." i normally hate hotel restaurants. they dont have to try hard at all to please their customers because the hotel supplies the bulk of their diners. the diners usually being the people too lazy to step outside and follow their eyes, or nose, or brain. thus, they can serve poop on a platter and still expect to be in business next month.

second strike against it is that it is situated at the base of the T-intersection of the two main downtown streets in halifax and is on the main level of a huge office building. it not only draws lazy hotel guests, but busy downtown business workers in need of a fast lunch, or a schmoozy meal, or a place to unwind at the end of a hard day.

third strike was the fact that when we entered the place, there was no one there. one table of ladies was finishing up. that is all. we should have turned and ran. we did not. thus, the blame is on us. i looked at the menu as we sat down and was extremely leery, yet, i ordered the full breakfast of eggs, toast, potatoes, and bacon. the bacon was average and everything else was icky, in the form of tasting like plastic. dave ordered the pancakes with strawberries which tasted like my memories of the mcdonalds hotcakes we used to eat on family road trips growing up.

to round out the experience, our waiter was weird. at one point, he brought an emu egg over to the table and told dave that they sell them at the farmers market...interesting i suppose, but why are you telling me this? and why did you bring it to work? im sure i dont want to know.

bottom line: we will not be eating here again.

24 January 2011

Weekend waffles

gourmet waffles for sunday breakfast made by someone else? yes please!

a baby friend and her partner invited us over for a waffle tasting party. the dad of the duo is thinking about opening a waffle stand at the local market and wanted to get some outside opinions. i was totally up for the challenge. :)

we headed over to chris, stephanie and baby avas at around 10a to taste the variety of yummies coming out of the iron. chris had four different batters going: traditional, chocolate overload, orange/lavender, and apple/walnut/blackberry. i really did like them all and would definitely pay money for them, but my favorites were the orange/lavender and the apple/walnut/blackberry. lavender in food is something i am learning to appreciate, and when paired well with another ingredient, it really does work nicely. also, to add to the waffles, there was chocolate syrup, maple syrup (real, canadian stuff of course), and lingonberry syrup. there was also supposed to be a birch syrup to try, but it hadnt arrived from the yukon yet. darn. i am intrigued though.

(the first waffle off the iron. an apple/walnut/blackberry one. yum.)

anyway, we had a nice morning. i got fed, X got to try her first plain waffle (she gobbled it up), and dave found another bearded geologist who likes to cook. yes, thats right, this dad happened to have a degree in geology from dalhousie. i am now convinced that you honestly cant gravitate toward geology unless you are comfortable with facial hair, like to cook, and drink lots of microbrew beer.

(plain waffle. yum.)

22 January 2011

Right chef fred

made it out for more tasty food this saturday. i can definitely get used to this...

today we chose freds whet cafe. we had been there once while i was pregnant (almost exactly one year ago!) and definitely wanted to come back, we just never got motivated to get in the car and find parking on the weird block that its on. the food/gallery side of the building is nice and airy and open and colorful, so its a good space for X to be in. plus, we got a nice big oval shaped table and they had a high chair for her so we were finally all able to sit at a table together and share a meal on the same level. man i cant wait to have a real living space one day.

anyway, on to the food. we had a quick glance at the menu and ordered the chicken pot pie with seasonal veggies (squash, brussel sprouts, etc) and a side orzo pasta salad for me, and the lemon fishcakes with root beer baked beans and side orzo pasta salad for dave.

well, let me skim over the negative point before getting to the positives. the fish cakes were too fishy for our liking, there i said it. but the chicken pot pie was classy comfort food and the side orzo salad was oh so yummy. amazing balance of flavors, warmed up but not dried out, simple yet very satisfying. my spoon kept shoveling it into my mouth. and the root beer baked beans? if youve never had such a thing, you should seek it out. i dont know where but just do it. they were so surprisingly delightful. just a hint of the sassafras flavor and the playful sensation of carbonation. the beans were warm and actually felt like a light side dish rather than a thick, sugary, heavy, burpy bellybuster.

post-meal we had to order some sweet treats. there were many items to be tempted with but we chose the simple cookie option. a chocolate, chocolate cookie and a sugar cookie. for me, both were pretty "meh." the sugar cookie had anise or something in it that appealed to dave, but turned me off, and things with two chocolates really need to live up to their name or else im not impressed. but it wasnt like the sweets were a failure, they just werent memorable.

final judgment: yum. another good weekend family meal out. it didnt win out over fid, but it was a great sophomore effort. im hopeful for the future. :)

21 January 2011

Nutmeg nonsense

maybe nutmeg should get her own chronicles...

so its been a little more than a year since weve had to deal with major nutmeg issues, why not have some more fun with the vet? the problem starts with us going on vacation. when we lived in ann arbor we always had friends, family, or some other pleasant way of taking care of nutmeg while we were out of town. man were we spoiled. since weve lived here, we tried having acquaintances come and watch her but it just doesnt work out well, so we had to resort to cat hotels and other means. well, the cat hotel we took her to for the NY and MI trips was booked so we went with a nice retired nurse lady who took in pets at her own house while their owners were away.

the lady was nice, her place seemed fine, and we needed someone to watch her over christmas break when we were in FL. we couldnt really be picky at this point. well, she got stressed from the living situation and developed a bladder infection (probably from also not coming out of hiding enough to drink water). also, something at that house gave her fleas. ugh. ugh. ick.

we took her to the vet and they said we had caught the fleas early and that the flea medicine she is now on will also kill the fleas in her home environment as well as on her body. great. and gross. they also gave her a flea bomb to instantly kill all fleas that were currently on her. rad.

she also needed a urine sample to confirm the infection. unlucky for nutmeg, she empties her bladder each and every time she sees her cat carrier, so she had nothing to give on this vet visit. we had to bring her back the next day and leave her there all day before she stored up enough urine to give as a sample. and indeed she did have a bladder infection. she needed an antibiotic shot (which she then vomited from) and was recommended to be on wet food (and still some dry food, to help with her rotting teeth issues) for the rest of her life.

awesome. something like $600 later, we had a relatively happy cat back on our hands. and an apartment to clean up. even though her medicine was going to kill the fleas in our apartment, of course i wanted to get everything i could possibly clean up, cleaned up. i washed all the bedding, blankets, etc. and swept the floors. and i also went looking for dried up cat pee spots. she had kindly notified us of her bladder infection by leaving little puddles of pee in high traffic areas. i had wiped most of them up when i found them, but i assumed there were more lurking around. things have finally gotten to an acceptable level of clean, but i am haunted by the feeling of being dirty. thankfully X was never affected and nutmeg doesnt lay on her toys or rub on her clothes or anything, so that is comforting. it just sucks that as nutmeg gets older these things are going to pop up more frequently. and if we keep going on vacation, she is going to continue to get stressed by whoever watches her. *sigh*

oh, and did i mention that on the way to pick her up from the vet, the exhaust on the car finally broke and needed a $500 fix. having senior citizens in your life is expensive. and the car and the cat always seem to need tending to at the same time. argh.

16 January 2011

Re-discover your childhood

to combat the typical winter weekend boredom, i thought we should check out the discovery centre down the street from us.

the discovery centre was a place i had been wanting to go, but just wasnt sure when it would be "worth it" for us. well, this weekend was in danger of becoming just too boring to handle, so i suggested we check it out just for the hell of it.

there were definitely a lot of big kids running around, but i think we were able to get $20 worth of entertainment out of our time there. there were lots of exhibits that appealed to us (as adults) but there were still several that X was able to experience and enjoy. they had a walkable model suspension bridge which was fun. they had a plasma dome that shot electric strands out to where you placed your hand on the dome (X was intrigued). they had a lot of funny mirrors that X got a kick out of, and we all definitely enjoyed the bubble room.

(suspension bridge; plasma dome)

we were able to have the bubbles all to ourselves for some time. they had a station where you could pull up a 2' x 4' sheet of soap, and then blowing on it was so fun. X seemed to find the long bubbles we blew from it very curious. but her favorite thing of all was outside of the bubble room. there was a station with a horizontal tube that blew air vertically out of three nozzles when you pushed the button. you could then float a ping pong ball on these three air streams. X was mesmerized. she quickly figured out the speed and coordination required to grab one of those floating balls out of the air. it was fascinating to watch her try it out.

(bubble of daves; pulling a ball out of the air)

we did peek at the other exhibits that seemed "too old" for X, and dave and i were able to revisit some of our childhood. so many forgotten delights. its going to be fun to encounter it all again with X. i hope we can always keep a playful attitude about doing stuff with her. we are going to be chaperoning her for many years so we might as well have fun while were at it. then everyone will have a better time, connect more, and she can learn more.

(at the start of some exhibit to test your speed (~50 foot dash). clearly X is off to a good start by staring at a piece of trash at the starting gate; ...and her time reflects it. lol.)

the next special exhibit they are bringing to the centre is called "play." and it is inspired (i assume) by the resurgence of the idea that kids need more unstructured play in their lives for proper development. not the video games, extra homework workbooks, movies/tv/computers that they get plopped in front of in todays world. they need some good ol fashioned time outside to run and seek and build forts and make-believe. there was a really nice nytimes article about it recently (thanks mary ann). hopefully we can get revisit during the exhibit and see if there is anything X could enjoy.

bonus: as we were leaving the girls at the desk told us we could take some free magnets from a basket on the desk. we picked out a butterfly, a moth, a beetle, and an ambulance (random to be sure). and wouldnt you know it, back at home they were a huge hit. X sat in front of the fridge for 20 minutes pushing them around, learning how to grab them off the fridge, manipulating them in her hand, trying to eat them. they are her new best friends.

(X playing with her magnet friends)

15 January 2011

Fid pro quo

something for something: i will give you my money and you will give me a taste explosion.

so today we were in need of a meal. my first choice was a nicer place that i hadnt been to before called "fid." what we ended up deciding on was a more casual cafe place called "annies." however, when we arrived at annies it had a truck at the entrance and they were in the process of moving! sweet. luckily, my first choice was just down the street, so we headed to fid after all.

fid is a small, cozy, chic-casual restaurant that tries to provide locally sourced menu items with impeccable culinary skills. we hadnt gone before because i was worried about it being busy and cramped and trying and contain X in all that claustrophobia. for brunch at a later hour however, we had no problem. and we were able to sit a little off to the side, away from most diners.

upon being seated, we quickly glanced at the menu. these days we basically do an eye scan of the text and hope something drool-worthy pops out at us in those 5 seconds. we tend to bite the bullet and order that item without much further thought. kinda scary sometimes.

i got the "full breakfast" which meant a plate with a plain egg omelet, a piece of sausage, a few strips of meaty thick bacon, two homemade crumpets, a grilled tomato, and fingerling potatoes. the eggs, bacon, and crumpets were DElightful. i love, love, loved the heavy feeling of having them sitting in my stomach afterward. honestly. its hard to fill me up these days and that meal was the tastiest brick ive had sitting in there in AGES. (note: dave enjoyed the sausage, as i didnt want to waste the space in my stomach on sausage when there were so many other tasty things to eat.)

now, what did dave get? he ordered the irresistibly HEAVENLY french toast. perfectly done brioche french toast with berry sauce, fruit slices, and a dollop of sweet-ish goat cheese. i have never been a big french toast person, but i couldnt keep my fork out of his dish. it wasnt too sugary, it had a slight crunch to it, and then it melted in your mouth. there wasnt even the offering of maple syrup. it was the furthest cry from the crappy french toasts of yore. this stuff was to die for. it put a huge smile on my face, and reminded me of why i should be happy to be alive. seriously, it was that good. why hadnt we done this sooner?

and X did great. we walked her around the atrium before the food arrived, and then she alternated sitting on our laps while we ate. she enjoyed some pear and apple slices, a bite of crumpet, a bite of potato, and she drank from a water glass. she had a great time and was quiet.

what a great way to spend a part of our weekend. it was JUST what i needed (food therapy) and we hadnt done it in SO long and the food was just so fantastic. i hope we can do it more often on these depressing winter weekends. i need a mental boost and good food is my ray of sunshine. plus, seeing that X enjoyed it and dave got a break from the kitchen. everybody wins.

Fid Resto on Urbanspoon

01 January 2011

Florida. family. firsts.

family time for the holidays meant we had to hop a plane to florida. at first there were no direct flights, so the idea of travel was unpalatable. but then westjet opened direct to orlando service on saturdays. and at good prices! yes please! sun and sand here we go!

so, our flights were to take us down to florida on christmas day and back on new years day (saturday-saturday). we cleaned the house, dropped nutmeg at the catsitter, packed, relaxed, and then peacefully got in the car on christmas afternoon to get to the airport for our 4:30p flight. X was having a great time looking at all the exciting stuff at the airport. things were going smoothly (for once), and then...in line for u.s. customs (halifax airport does u.s. customs in halifax before you even get on your flight) they pulled all of us heading to orlando out of line. our flight was canceled! mechanical problems. we had to go collect our baggage and go home. they hoped they could get us on a direct flight out the next day, but they werent sure. we had to call their customer service after 9p that night.

we personally didnt mind too much about this because X had no idea what was going on and had had a nice time hanging out at the airport. but some of the other families looked bewildered and frustrated (understandably). thankfully, westjet was able to commandeer a plane and take us all down to orlando together on a direct flight on sunday morning (the next day) at 7:30a.

the flight itself went well, but they kept us on the runway in halifax for an extra hour waiting to de-ice, so it was harder to keep X entertained than normal. we had to stand in the aisle with her twice, but she actually did a very good job for being cooped up for 5.5 hours (there was a 9 month old on the plane with us, and he was fussy the whole time. he woke X up from both of her naps). it was also quite windy in orlando, so landing was a bit nauseating for me, but X didnt seem to mind.

at the airport, my dad and brother, chip, picked us up. it was the first time X got to meet her uncle. he was very excited to meet her and she was curious at first and then started to cry. poor thing. it had already been a long day for her and we had more traveling to do. in order to give ourselves a little break, we decided to get some lunch before driving the hour out to melbourne.

we chose "five guys" hamburger joint. apparently its the latest "in n out" rival. and while their food was pretty good, i think in-n-out still wins (could have something to do with the seduction that is san fransisco, which is the only place ive eaten in-n-out). the cajun fries at five guys were pretty good though.

(watching pappy eat his tasty burger)

after food, we were back in the car. the weather was grey and windy and actually reminiscent of halifax. no thank you. i did not come to florida for maritime canada weather. anyway, we survived the drive, dropped my dad and brother off (my brother artie briefly came out to meet X. very sweet.) and then we headed over to my mom and als house.

our busy evening was just beginning. dave ran away to the grocery store to shop for the meal he was planning to prepare for everyone and i was plopped at the foot of the christmas tree and told to help X open her heap of presents. my mom had gotten a few outfits for X and a whole range of bath time goodies (colorful bath mat, water squirter toys, a tub spout protector, a bath toy sack). my grandma had also sent down a nice baby blanket for X. and then there was a surprise gift from my friend georgette. so very sweet. she sent a cute purple outfit for X (georgettes favorite color) and some yummy teas for dave and i. perfect gift for us and a new tea brand (adagio) for me to add to my list of favorites.

then als family started coming over. he has three daughters and four (or six, or seven. depending on how you count. blended families are complicated) grandchildren. my mom and al got engaged over thanksgiving (in key west) and als oldest daughter, amy, was taking a family engagement photo. so, we headed over to the hotel across the street from my moms house to have a formal looking setting for the pics. when we got back from that, dave got down to business with dinner.

(family photo at the hotel. thanks amy!)

we hadnt stopped for one second since we had arrived. and X was clearly wired due to all that energy whirling around. she hadnt napped since the plane and was basically refusing to do so. she was whiny (rightly so) and wouldnt let anyone else hold her, so i ripped open one of the packages i had sent to myself to my moms address and unpacked our new ergo! once X was deposited in her new, extremely comfortable pouch, i was able to bounce, chop veggies, and meet-n-greet while keeping her somewhat happy. dave was making a mexican buffet spread with two carne asada recipes (one more traditional recipe and one with ancho chile powder and cocoa), ground chicken (for the kids), black beans with jalapenos, rice, veggies, tortillas, and horchata.

i would say the dinner was a success. the food table was nearly barren by the time dave and i were able to eat (a good sign that everyone liked the food) and i was able to be somewhat social with als family, most of whom i either hadnt met yet or hadnt spent more than a few minutes talking to before. so that was good.

one area where i felt i did a poor job was tending to Xs needs. i had her in the pouch with me, true. but she was clearly desperately in need of sleep. when i finally had a chance to take her off my back, i got a look at her face. it was splotchy red from being tired and she had the glazed eyes of a zombie. it was almost frightening. i had tried every hour for the whole evening to coax her to nap, but she either flat out wouldnt, or she would last 10 minutes and then wake up screaming. she just didnt want to miss the action. even being bounced in her carrier, the number ONE way i got her to sleep as a newborn, she was able to fight off sleep. until the guests left i could see i wasnt going to win the fight. but her face really scared me. i felt like i was putting her at risk of getting very sick (airplane travel, encountering lots of different people and germs, lack of sleep, crying more than normal...all good ways to make a baby sick) and the idea made me nauseous with guilt. probably the worst momma guilt i have felt since she was born. it was the first time i knew what i needed to do to help her (and i was mentally/physically capable of providing it for her) and i wasnt able to do anything. but, finally everyone left, and we were able to calm her down and get to sleep. and she slept like a champ in her new location.

X woke up with a bang on monday. out of a dead sleep her eyes shot open and she started bucking her legs and stomach (we call this "dolphin girl"). she was up and ready to start the day with gusto! we were able to spend the morning all to ourselves, hanging out, eating, and checking out the house on Xs level. after Xs first nap, some of als family came over to hang out (specifically, his daughter from st louis, jodi, and her husband, derek, and their two kids harlan and roxy). we had wanted to go to the zoo with the kids but it was actually a chilly and windy day in florida and it didnt seem like a fun idea to be outside for a few hours. so we just hung out at the house. it was nice to just be able to chat with adults while the kids roamed around and took naps when they felt like it. it was also nice to just spend the bulk of the day in one spot after all the chaos of the day before.

that afternoon, a package from my friend ntina arrived. more goodies! some clothes and books for X and a surprise treat for us. homemade caramels, french style. she had loved the salty caramels from france as much as we did when she came to visit and was inspired to create the tasty treat at home and send us some love. :)

then the house cleared out for the final naps of the day and after X woke up we headed over to my dads for some time with "the boys" (my dad and two brothers). X got to get friendly with her uncles and grandpa and all the dogs and kitties at their house. my childhood kitty, mickey (of mickey and minnie. minnie died a few years ago), is still alive and kicking (hes 20 years old), so it was great to get to scratch his ears. we also got to open a gift my aunt jean (and family) had sent down from grand rapids. santa did a good job finding us this year. lol.

our final stop of the night was als daughter christies house for dinner. it was the last time to see jodi and her family before they left and it turned out to be our last time seeing amy too. :( we also got to taste a favorite food of theirs, a white hotdog called a "coney." not to be confused with the coney dogs you can order in michigan which are hot dogs with beanless chili on top (yum). their "coneys" are from syracuse (where they grew up) and are apparently a famous local thing. i thought they were interesting: crunchy casing, soft inside, mild flavor, not super salty. i dont think my tastebuds knew what to do with it. i was used to the hot dogs from the detroit area i guess. the syracuse dogs werent bad, just not a nostalgic tastebud stimulator for me. but its always fun to try new foods, especially famous niche items.

hung around the house in the morning. X visited the backyard for the first time and got to see some florida grass, trees, etc. she seemed scared. maybe it was all too new for her, too much to take in, and she didnt know what to look at first. so, we loaded her in our lovely new ergo and went for a walk.

we stopped at the jungle cafe for some soup to go, which sounded like a good at the time of purchase. then we decided to hit the beach. we didnt have the camera so i hoped it wouldnt turn into something momentous and photo-worthy. dave took off X pants and shoes and let her stand in the wet sand and wait for the calm leftovers from waves to catch her toes. and, while the water was chilly, she seemed not to be bothered by it. she kept standing there staring, trying to figure things out. i opened my carton of soup and promptly got sand in it. on second thought, who eats soup at the beach? anyway, X ended up getting really interested in the waves, she was smiling and asking for more. crazy kid.

after tiring herself out at the beach, she took a nice nap while dave went out to grab lunch from thai zushi asia. it was as good as i remembered it from my last visit, so that was nice. but after that the day started to go a little downhill. later, while at the grocery store, i started to feel rundown and crummy. i was coming down with something. my throat was sore and my body was achy. i used it as an excuse to buy my first electric heating pad (win?). we spent the rest of the day at home where i could drink georgettes tea, suck on throat lozenges, relax and try to kick this thing as fast as possible.

dave went out to pick up dinner for us and brought back some enormous burritos from the beachside surf shop called "da kine diegos insane burritos." they were huge and warm and tasty. not the best burrito of its kind that ive ever had, but definitely a good option for a filling, cheap, and tasty meal.

(the burrito was almost as big as X!)

after food was bath time. X wanted to try out her bath goodies and i was interested in sitting in some hot water, so we made a date of it. she had a blast! she was splashing, kicking, and dipping her face in the water. im not sure what she expected as she repeatedly went back for more, but she seems to have become a fish. maybe it was the ocean influence?

started out with a fussy morning around the house with X. she would only calm down being outside, but she still wasnt pleased. she then went on to have a crummy first nap and we threw together a makeshift lunch. it felt like a bad start to the day.

we went to pick up my brothers to go to the brevard zoo. when we pulled in to the parking lot the placed was PACKED! total fail for the day? well, we decided to park and wait in line and pay and get a ticket and just see what we could see since the weather was finally decent.

headed to the petting zoo first, before X got tired. she was able to pet an alpaca, see some fish, and avoid a headbutt by the "pet-able" goats (not so petting-friendly in my book). my brother artie and i also got to feed some 9-ringed armadillos. they snorffle maggots off your hand. sounds gross, but they were cute.

after the petting area, we went to the south american section of the zoo. X actually seemed to enjoy watching the spider monkeys play. at first i thought she couldnt follow them fast enough with her eyes, but she was and i think she was curious about it.

after the monkeys and a few parrots, X fell asleep in the ergo. we snapped up the sun shade and continued our visit of the zoo while she dozed in style and comfort. we toured the north america, australia/asia, and africa areas. the africa area had gotten some new cheetahs since the last time we were there (circa october 2006), and the giraffes were pretty neat. all in all, we ended up having a really great time at the zoo. i hadnt had a more lovely time with my brothers in years. X even scored a new book (eight silly monkeys) from the zoo gift shop.

(a picture of all three of us has not been in existence like this in AGES. i love it. and X is kinda in the picture.)

after a quick snack at chick-fil-a, we headed home to decide on dinner plans. with my mom and al we tried out a seafood restaurant that was new to them called "eau gallie river crab house." it had kind of a dive/local place type atmosphere (think drab decor and neon lighting) so i was hoping things would be simple but decent tasting. and they were. i got crab cakes and dave got blackened grouper. both were yummy. X enjoyed herself while waiting for the food by repeatedly walking (with help) over to the fountain/wishing well in the center of the restaurant. she is like a magnet to water these days! when the food came, we plopped her in the high chair and gave her a taste of something she got a HUGE kick out of...corn on the cob. dave ate most of it first, but left her two full rows. she gnawed and nibbled and in the end, basically ate all of what was left. and she seemed to have a fun time doing it!

so, while the day started out as a poop-fest, it ended up smelling like roses. (does that analogy work for anyone else but me? no? get over it.)

started the day at the grocery store (yum, newmans own hermits), which also happened to be near the quizzically named bealls (look at their logo. is it "bells" or "be-alls" or are they just damn fools? dave and i debate this every time we are in florida). we stopped in to buy a cheap bathing suit for X, since she had outgrown the cute hand-me-down one from daves cousin.

back at the house we had a sandwich lunch with my mom and al and had a chance to sample the weird fruit known as a pomelo. huge and yellow, it seems like a grapefruit on steroids, but the taste doesnt have the bitter bite. in fact, the sections of peeled fruit taste almost like nothing. like a chewy water sack. not unpleasant, but odd to be sure.

anyway, after lunch, we all went down to the beach. upon arriving at the beach, we discovered the camera hadnt been packed, again. this time we did in fact miss some truly fantastic footage of X and her beloved ocean. she LOVED it. the waves totally soaked her pants as she kept leaning forward trying to drag us out deeper. i would pick her up after a few minutes (thinking "shes GOT to be cold") and try to put her on dry sand. she would immediately spin around and hurdle herself back toward the waves. she marched right back to the wet sand and kept going toward the rushing waves. i once squatted down to her level and saw how scary the waves were from that height. the girl is fearless! and the water was cold! the smile on her face was from ear to ear though and she could not be convinced to do anything but get wet.

in fact, not having the camera for documentation purposes may actually be useful here. it will allow us to recollect the memory of her first beach encounters with such romantic imagination, that by the time she is old enough to ask us about it, the story will have morphed into something like "well, the water was so cold that ice was floating in it, but you insisted on wading in up to your armpits. you stayed in there so long that you grew gills, and then a pod of dolphins came by and asked if you were the mermaid queen. you said yes, and they carried you on their backs out to sea to play with the penguins and whales." seriously, it was that magical to see her reaction to the ocean.

but the fun didnt stop there. it seemed like she had enough steam to try a dip in the crowne plaza hotel pool. we changed her into her suit poolside and she got in with dave and had a great time splashing and kicking and dipping her face in the pool water (she even blew a few bubbles!) that was much warmer than the ocean. she seemed so revved up i thought she would jump off the side of the pool and swim by herself.

after all that action, she had a nice nap. when she woke up, we dressed to meet my dad and brothers for dinner at coasters pub. the place was noisy enough to let us relax comfortably with X and the food was good too. standard pub fare, but done well. had a nice visit and a nice family meal.

(with uncle chipper at the pub)

today we had the camera WITH us when we went out. the morning started at the playground down the road from us that has access to the beach. X had a great time on the swings, slide, and on the bouncy walking bridge. if hadnt known how much she loved the water, we could have stayed at the playground all morning. but, we did head for the beach after a while.

(playing on the playground was fun!)

she had a similar reaction to the water that she had had on the two previous occasions. pure bliss. squeals and giggles of joy erupted as the water rushed around her legs and was sucked back out to the sea. she was all water, water, water, go, go, go until she had squealed and walked so much that she started whimpering for food. no one was around, so i did my famous walk and nurse and she was out. she had played in the ocean until she actually hit her breaking point. she then proceeded to have a very long nap.

(video i was able to catch of X playing in the ocean. nowhere near as awesome as the thursday experience. also, in case you cant tell, there are several times where dave is holding X back from advancing too deep out into the water)

(bliss on the beach)

since her nap was so long, mom and al went and picked us up some more da kine diego burritos and we had a quick lunch before we went to hang out with my brothers. X got to play with molly the dog and delight in all the dog toys. then we were back at home for another X nap. i wasnt sure how long it would be this time, so dave and i headed out to the grocery store while my mom stayed and waited for X to get up. when we got back, X was red faced and crying. apparently she had taken a short nap and then proceeded to cry for most of the 25 minutes she was with my mom after she woke up. :(

dave then made a simple grilled dinner and we enjoyed a backyard fire. a very unusual new years eve for us. not that we have really ever gone out partying and boozing, but usually we plan a bit more action, and there were a few lovely years there where we actually got to spend a fancy night out with good friends (mmmm, mamma maria in boston, i still have dreams about you. and a gourmet night in in DC. the days gone by...). this year, we sat by the fire and listened to the hilly billys in the neighboring houses shoot off shit fireworks every 30 minutes from 7p until midnight. and we packed our bags for the travel day home. :(

woke up and headed to my dads house. said goodbye to my brothers and then had an easy drive to the airport with my dad. our flight was on time, we had an excellent tailwind, X was good, the flight attendants were nice (one even held Xs hands and walked her up the plane aisle. i like westjet!). i also found 18 rabbit granola bars at the MCO airport, and they were healthy and yummy! a rare find in airports these days.

landing in halifax was easy. the luggage pick up was quick and X napped on the way home. easy peasy right? once home, we realized we left the diaper bag on the shuttle from the airport to our car. :( dave had to go back for it. after a long day of travel requiring early wake-up times, that just isnt the most fun way to end it, but we survived.

overall, the trip was great. very busy at first, but then it became pretty relaxing. we were successfully able to keep the driving to a minimum so that made things easier for X. the best thing was being so close to the ocean and getting to see the awesome reaction X had to it. plus, she was able to spend plenty of good time with her family. it definitely was the smoothest trip with her so far, though the airplane travel seems to be always morphing. she is so much more mobile than she was in september, so keeping her occupied in the seat was much more difficult. i suppose every trip will bring new and different challenges though, so we just constantly have to be on our toes and try to anticipate as much as we can.