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A Victoria Day Long Weekend in Ottawa

Last Monday, Canada paused to celebrate the birthday of a long dead British monarch—yes, it was Victoria Day.

Most people are looking forward to enjoying a long weekend.

I’ve always dreaded them.

When I was an hourly worker, a long weekend meant losing money since I wasn’t usually scheduled to work and I wasn’t getting paid. Then, when I became eligible for statutory holiday pay, I still couldn’t enjoy the time off since Feng’s parents usually drove over to visit. Now, as a freelancer, I don’t care much for a Monday off and since the daycare is closed, we have to entertain Mark for three days straight.

Don’t judge. Long weekend without sanity breaks are… long.

On Friday, we had what you might describe as a perfect storm. Feng was sick, I was exhausted and very busy at work, Mark had been cranky lately and he had a stomach bug. The house was a mess, it was stormy outside and the fridge was empty.

Three days. We had to make it.

I sighed and set my mind to it.

I strapped Mark in the stroller, crossed the Experimental Farm (we had a great discussion on horses and cows) and headed to a place that would win me the Mother of the YearTM Award: the fire station. In Ottawa, firefighters are super friendly and if they aren’t busy, they usually let kid check out the trucks. Indeed, they opened the fire station’s garage for Mark and I, let him climb in the truck, turned the lights on, let him try the helmet and even gave him a “Ottawa Fire Department” patch. Mark was so amazed he was momentarily speechless, but he told me all about the visit during the five-kilometer walk home—as if I had already forgotten where we had just been.

Mission accomplished, Mark was happy and in a good mood. I got a nice workout (ten kilometers there and back pushing the stroller), had the chance to tan a bit and play the MILF with two firefighters ten years younger than me (what?!).

Then we took Mark to Parliament Hill, one of our first visits there this year—it’s not a nice hangout when it’s cold, snowy and windy. Mark was so excited he ran to the Centre Block (he loves old buildings and towers) and then up and down hill. And up. And down again.

We also checked out the Tulips Festival at Dow’s Lake, the amusement rides, took Mark to eat out at McDonald’s and played at the park. Many peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches were eaten and many cups of coffee were drunk but we made it without major drama.

And I think we all had fun.

Thanks, Queen Victoria!

No if you will excuse me, I had to clean up the mess and get back to work…

You can see the com­plete set of Spring in Ottawa on Flickr.

Downtown Ottawa
Downtown Ottawa
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Where do we go now?
Where do we go now?
Mark very excited to see the Parliament
Mark very excited to see the Parliament
Mark discovering his shadow
Mark discovering his shadow
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Parliament Hill
Running Downhill
Running Downhill
... And Uphill
… And Uphill
Tulip Festival
Tulip Festival
Where I have to ride a train with Mark
Where I have to ride a train with Mark
Checking out the rides at the fair
Checking out the rides at the fair
Riding the train
Riding the train
Haunted House
Haunted House
Haunted House
Haunted House
Writing in dirt
Writing in dirt
In a tree
In a tree
I have no idea what he was pointing at
I have no idea what he was pointing at
Many sandwiches were made and eaten
Many sandwiches were made and eaten
Mark Counting
Mark Counting
Mark Counting
Mark Counting
Mark Counting
Mark Counting

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