Welcome to marianamcdougall.com, where parents of young children can find out how to break free of ordinary lives to live extraordinary ones. The place to turn your dreams into goals, and achieve them – because a dream is only “just a dream” until you make it into a goal. After that, it’s only a matter of time and planning before it becomes a reality.
Join me and my young family as we reach the best health of our lives, embrace our dreams, break free from a life of conformity, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.
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This past weekend, we hosted another set of couchsurfers. We love Couchsurfing, although people unfamiliar with this mode of travelling probably think we’re nuts. In its simplest terms, couchsurfing means staying with locals when you travel to different places. But it’s so much more than that. Couchsurfing has allowed us to travel the world while staying put, to forge friendships with people who we’d never have met otherwise, to open our minds to the great wide world and to continue to live out our “what goes around comes around” philosophy.
For asthma sufferers, discovering triggers can not only be a way to ensure more comfort, but can also be a life-saving measure. Many asthma sufferers are sensitive to substances that can trigger an attack. For me, that substance is perfume. Although I do not react to every scent, I do react to many. In addition to a potential asthma attack, perfume also triggers pretty severe post-nasal drip for me as well. Although this isn’t life threatening, it’s extremely uncomfortable.
For writers wanting to turn their passion into profit, the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming. “Paralysis by Analysis” is common, and we end up reading a lot about how to get our writing off the ground, without taking any action to actually make it happen. Since a lot of information on how to make a living as a writer is often conflicting, many writing hopefuls give up out of frustration. Don’t be that person. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, concentrate on the things that matter and that will actually help you.
Here’s how to use the great information at your disposal to your advantage, rather than letting it become a hindrance: choose items that will help you take action. Writing blogs are great, but unless they’re giving you clear steps to follow, and unless you have a plan to actually follow those steps, reading those blogs is a waste of time.
Roughly 16 years ago, I met my husband at the University of Western Ontario’s swing dance club, Swing Kids. Roughly two years before that, way back in 1999, my brother had dragged me to a swing dancing event at Chicago’s Willowbrook Ballroom (well, sort of Chicago. Close enough). I reluctantly went, sure that 1930’s dancing would be extremely boring. In my defense, I was 17 at the time, and knew absolutely nothing about swing dancing. Well, to my surprise, it was great fun, and I was hooked right away. How could you not be, when you got to take a lesson to learn how to dance and then got to dance with pretty much everyone – and to a live band, no less!
I can’t believe I’ve finally finished writing all of the journal posts for our cycling adventure – it only took me 7 months after the trip! But now that I’ve had a chance to look back at this great experience with my little family, I thought it’d be a good time to share the good, the bad, and the ugly about our adventure with young children. Spoiler: there really wasn’t much bad or ugly about it 🙂
Without further ado, here’s the good stuff about our cycle adventure with three kids 6 and under. I think these pros would apply to most adventures with young kids.
So eons ago, I had promised I’d write a post about what we carried with us on our cycle tour. I did talk about our gear, as well as the camping stuff we brought along, but I never did write that post about what exactly was in those saddle bags. Well, better late than never, I say!
I did forget to mention, in the post about what we packed in the chariot trailer, that I brought my laptop with me. Whereas for some, this may seem a bit ridiculous on a cycling trip, I am a writer, and we didn’t own an iPad. So bringing the laptop was sort of a must. When we go on our next cycle tour, I’m hoping to have an iPad, but I’m still going to be getting a keyboard for it. I can’t really type on a screen… maybe I’m a dinosaur, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that much extra weight. I brought the laptop in the laptop backpack, and I also had some journals in the pack as well.
After a restful sleep on a real bed in Woodstock, we headed out to our final destination. We hit a bit of rain, but it was light enough not to be bothersome.
We noticed that we passed the part of Woodstock that had some restaurants, but it wasn’t even 11:00 a.m. yet, so we decided to keep pedalling. We were out of food at this point, so that may have been an unwise decision. At the same time, it opened the door for one of the amazing experiences of this trip.
After we had pedalled fora while, G-boy said he had to poo! We were in the middle of nowhere, but there were a few houses here and there, so I stopped at one, where a really friendly lady came out and asked if we needed help. We asked to use the bathroom, and she welcome us in. While we were getting ready to leave, Dan asked if there was any place to eat around there. She said, “Not really… I’ll make you lunch.” So we had this lovely spaghetti lunch with this super generous girl, and we were once again so amazed at how wonderful people are if you put yourself out there in the world.
We enjoyed our ride from Brantford to Woodstock. On the way, we stopped at a farm and asked the young guy that was working on the yard if we could stop and eat lunch on his front lawn. He said yes, and we were able to enjoy a nice meal under a gorgeous weeping willow – that’s my favourite tree, so this was really nice. We were able to use the facilities as well, which was great.
After our lovely time in Hamilton, we headed out to Brantford via the Hamilton-Brantford Rail-Trail. It was a gorgeous trail, and we got to see some horses during a portion of it. The kids also made friends with a little caterpillar that hung out on daddy’s vest for a while, then on K-girl’s arm.
K-girl collected daisies especially for Vo Bia.
In Hamilton, we stayed with a lovely family who has lots of experience cycle touring. They are the Pedal Powered Family, and they’re always ready to receive visitors. It was so wonderful to experience such amazing generosity, and I learned a wonderful lesson during my time with this family.
They have two children, and our kids were ecstatic to have playmates again. They also had a pretty cool tree-house bed that the kids got to sleep in.