Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary Trip: Baby Nephews

Ahhh summer. You wonderful beast. It was over a month ago that we took this epic road trip and I want to be back in the car with my Charlie right this moment, now. August is the cruelest month, isn't it? I know some of you hate February. Nope. August. It's slow. It's hot. It's ridden with pollen and summer colds. August bums me out if we don't take our vacation during this month. So I will continue to over post the heck out of this trip and to mark the dog days of summer with fond memories. 

I'd like to be back with Baby Nephew teaching him how to play UNO. It's the best game for 6 year-olds. He and E really got into it. Uncle ChaCha (E, Charlie) is really the greatest uncle. His sense of humor really comes out with the boys. He reminds me so much of his fun and funny mother. These two were cutting it up during our sunset game. 

Pastel sunset two.

I want to be back with Baby Nephew II at the lake. He was on the verge of getting sick while we were with him which sadly cut our visit with them shorter than expected. But man this little guy is just the sweetest. He is going to be the heart breaker of the trio. He thanked me specifically for playing with him. They are seriously well behaved.

I took so few photos when we were all together. This is a great shot of the new house next door. Elise is the most patient and incredible mother. Meeting Ollie for the first time was the best. He is such a happy baby.

I love boys! Wild things. Rumpus starters. 

Coco came for the stay too. We missed my brother. He was traveling for a work trip.

Baby nephews, bug spray and BBQ.

Baby Nephew III was just taking his first steps while we were together.

Daddy brought out smoked ribs and a full BBQ for lunch the day we were with the boys. After lunch, Dad passed out Cuban cigars to Uncle Cha Cha and he an Andrew had another epic Uno battle. I heard E tell Baby Nephew that he plays to win. It was so adorable! Andrew then won and told Charlie, I also play to WIN! UNO!!!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary Trip: Lake Michigan

We made it to the lake by this time in the sky on July 8th. It had been five years since we had been back to visit.

We have very little beach this year. I guess when Lake Michigan doesn't freeze we have very little beach. Global warming y'all. Too warm to freeze, no beach, no beuno. It's always interesting to watch the water levels rise and fall over the years. 

Our neighbors did some beautiful landscaping and now live at the lake full time. 

Sunset Selfie. I love that E puts up with me. We really fell in love at Lake Michigan. We spent two whole weeks with Mom after only dating for four months, 12 years ago. It's such a special place for us.

He and Momma always get a good laugh, usually at my expense. I love this picture of E making Mom laugh. We are so lucky we all love each other so much.

I'm convinced David was with us too. These little orbs kept popping up in many of my pictures. Did you notice the blue one (David's favorite color) in the very first picture?

After the sunset we snuggled in for puzzles and books, and no internet. Pure bliss.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary Trip: Brunch at Colette Grand Cafe Toronto, Ontario

Our last morning in Toronto landed us in the beautifully appointed Colette Grand Cafe for breakfast. We got there early and had coffee and the most epic-ly flaky croissant. 

They were setting up for a private bridal luncheon as we arrived. We were a magnet to all things wedding related and being told no, "sorry it's closed for a private event", in Toronto. 

So I was super nosy and of course took picture of the set up.

Turns out the bride is an event planner. 

The florist was finishing up the arrangements as we walked into the coffee bar. I had to grab their card. You never know when I'll need a florist in Canada. The team from Wild North were delightful.

We sat outside on the patio for another perfect, low humidity day in Ontario. The dog park across the street filled us with great dog eye candy.

E got the most gorgeous blueberry pancakes and I had ANOTHER croissant with the eggs Benedict for brunch. We didn't realize that we couldn't have a MIMOSA until 11:00 am in the entire provide of Ontario. Oh Canada, get with it.

We walked back down to West Queen Street to get a little exercise, and window shopped before yet another leg of our driving adventure. I regret not buying this for our friend who's father collected flying pigs.

Onto Michigan we dashed and said peace out to Canada.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Ten Year Anniversary Trip: July 7, 2017, Toronto, Canada

Our actual ten year anniversary, July 7, 2017, was pretty ideal. We spent the whole day in Toronto. No cars. Just bikes and adventures on foot.

Breakfast in the Thompson hotel was in The Diner or Colette next door. Colette didn't serve until 11am. One of the options on the menu was the breakfast hamburger with egg, cheese on a powdered donut. That truly sounds disgusting to me. Instead I had two eggs over easy, breakfast potatoes and a whole pig of bacon, with rye. My Lord that was a huge pile of bacon! Also a wee bit gross, just the lavishness of it all. Eric's French Toast was a total disappointment sadly. But sharing IS caring so we both gorged ourselves on bacon. Detox starts post vacay.

Charlie and I got our plans together for the day and headed off on our bikes through Toronto. It's been incredible sharing the last 12 years with this man. It really hasn't been the easiest road. I posted about it that day and said some things that upset him. I'm so not perfect, every day. I overshare. E is more reserved and private. I love how we balance each other out. He calms me down and I bring him up in the energy level at times. And we still love and forgive each other every day. In the end, people reacted so beautifully to our brutal honesty that my oversharing didn't end up to be that big of a deal. I shared that I sold my grandmother's jewelry to help pay for our mortgage when I lost my job. The point wasn't that I was some savior in all of this turmoil. The point was that we did it together. We didn't ask for help, even though we had the support of both of our parents if we needed it. We sadly, tried to have kids. I was in the biggest depression of my life and I hid my head in the sand not ever really discussing it. This blog was a total distraction from that inability to procreate. I've never talked about it here. I skirted around the issue in my Instagram post, but that is the real story. Despite the loss, the times of need and sadness, Eric was my true North. My utter rock. He made me feel like we were tied together like a wet knot. I feel like the luckiest duck because of what we have gone through. We are stronger on the other side.

We spent our anniversary doing the things we love best. Coffee shops, biking and finding hole in the wall spots for dinner and dreaming and scheming. First up was our ride through Toronto. 

This city has the greatest bike trails. It's a huge city, but the drivers are so aware of bikes that we felt super comfortable even down the busiest streets. We could have used the bikes at the hotel but we actually brought our own bikes. First stop was at Cyclemotive to get Eric a helmet. We boogied on down the road, Adelaide Street,  to the Volkswagon shop so E could get his seat raised. We had an issue in CT with the bridges thinking that our bikes on the roof of our car were going to be too high...driving with bikes on the roof of your car, bridge drama. So finally after an hour to really get this bike party started, we were set and found the Distillery District.

Flashback to August 20, 2009 in Toronto at the ASAE event at the Distillery. I remember Balzacs and was so happy it was still there.

ASAE bought out to the whole village for this event. It was so much fun that I had to bring Eric. I bought him a shirt from there back in 2009 that he still wears. Love you Kimmy!

It was virtually unchanged. A few vendors had switched out but many of them were still around and flourishing.

The Love Lock wall was new.

Soma Chocolatemakers was still a favorite. We had chilly pepper hot chocolate shots. Sexy treat for our anniversary. Very spicy and was literally drinking pure hot chocolate. Jay at Spro has the Mexican Hot Chocolate that is my go-to in the winter. I've heard this type of chocolate with spices added boosts your metabolism. Score.

Coffee and chocolate couldn't sustain us so we headed back on our bikes to Queens Quay for a late lunch.

stock photo from Against the Grain
A new table neighbor at Balzac's suggested we bike to Against the Grain. We had great views of a huge shipping container boat, unlike this photo, but it was great to be on the water. I had a whiskey smash in a Ball jar, E had a beer and we split a divine Indonesian Rice Bowl.  By the end of the day we saw 6 wedding parties taking photos. Three at The Distillery, two on The Quay and one back at the hotel. 7-7-17 was a popular date! I told every couple that we were celebrating our TEN YEAR anniversary TODAY. And BEST WISHES. I was so excited!!! 

We cruised down The Quay bike trail during rush hour. Popped up to the Yo Yo Ma Garden, where we saw ANOTHER wedding, and finally made it back to the Thompson Toronto hotel. 

Thompson Toronto Pool from Trip Advisor
We were dying to jump in the pool after our sweaty ride. Sadly, the final wedding of the day was taking place at our hotel so the pool was closed for the party. It was such a bummer. The pool was part of the reason we booked the hotel. The front desk and concierge were so cool trying to find us another pool, but most of them were closed by the time we got back, around 6:00 pm. So we hit the bar instead.

We sat down and looked across the street. This graffiti said it all. "Love is everywhere." The bar was quiet, empty and we ordered Old Fashioned's for two. One with rye (for me), one with Canadian whiskey (for E).

They were delicious. I told the bartender that we were CELEBRATING OUR TEN YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY and the guy at the bar paid for our second round of drinks. I was so excited I couldn't shut up about it. As we began to sip our yummy cocktails, the rain exploded in front of us. The poor pool party got washed out. Remember, we were sweaty messes from our ride and didn't go to our room? Well the entire wedding party landed in the bar lounge ALL around us. It was crazy good people watching. Toronto has a sartorial upper hand on it's southern neighbor. I saw the most handsome man in a floral short suit. Yes, a suit maid of floral print with long shorts. He rocked it and I'm sure had some bad ass bucks on. There were too many people for us to see his feet. Once the waiters started to try to pass hors d'oeuvres our way we knew we had to bounce. The concierge helped us find an amazing Thai place walking distance from the hotel.

View from our hotel valet.

We had hands down the most fun night of our trip at this hole-in-the-wall Thai joint on Queen Street West. Nana means meeting place. We sat at a shared four top table with the freaking cutest couple. We ended up shutting the place down and talking to them for hours. The music was old school hip hop. E lived in Thailand so talked to the owners like they were old friends. This evening, the essence of it, is why we travel. I'm not even sure what we ate because the conversation was so riveting. I do remember talking about the nude beach that our travel guide suggested as a must see. Before it used to be Taboo. Now it's like the normal thing to do in the summer. Next time Toronto. Next time.