Sunday, July 24, 2016

40 by 40 - Learn To Drive Stick Shift & Try Adventure Rooms Canada

Two more down for the blog today.

First, learning to drive stick shift. I had the basic idea a while ago but I just get so nervous when people are around me that I will stall and look like an idiot. Before AJ got rid of his manual transmission, I drove it a few more times. Enough that I am confident that I can do it if needed and also enough to know that I will always buy an automatic.

Secondly, and more fun, escape rooms. I have been looking forward to doing this for a long time. It seems like an activity designed just for me and, as it turns out, that's pretty accurate.

We didn't actually go to an official Adventure Rooms Canada, but an Escape Room opened up in Barrie and that made getting there and getting babysitting much more convenient.

We went with another couple that we don't see enough who also wanted to try it out. The place is called Perplexcity and although I have nothing to compare it to, the rooms seems pretty good. The rest of the place doesn't quite give off the same vibe, but the rooms themselves are great.



We got a quick lowdown on the story and the way all the different locks work from our gamemaster and he "locked" us in and started the 60 minute clock. Immediately, we figured we'd all just take a side of the room and find anything we could that might be part of it and go from there. I won't go into details because I'm not going to ruin the fun for anyone.

Like I said, this sort of thing is perfectly aligned with my competitive nature and nerdy love for puzzles. I was pumped and moving at lightning speed through the things we found. AJ actually had to reel me in once or twice because I sort of took over and he reminded me that perhaps our friends would like to play too. Ooops.

A lot of the puzzles came fairly easily to me, but when I was stumped or slow at getting something, someone else jumped on it and had the answer. We ended up escaping in 40 minutes and our gamemaster was pretty impressed. Apparently we were the first to even escape that room, never mind with 20 minutes to spare.

I loved it and can't wait to try it again!

Friday, July 1, 2016

City Chase 2016

After a couple year hiatus, AJ and I got back to City Chase in Toronto.

We went into the race with no anticipation of winning (top teams do it in 2.5 of the allowed 6 hours), but instead made our goal to complete the required 10 Chase Points by the 4pm finish time. This makes for a much more relaxed and fun race for two competitive people.

It was a beautiful day, the boys were with their grandparents and AJ and I were ready for some adventure.



After the Zumba-like warm up that AJ hated, they announced the riddle to lead us to our clue sheet. We spent about 40 minutes sitting on the sidewalk working out the riddles. Longer than many other teams, but shorter than others. This year's clue sheet was done in brain teasers so it took a little longer to work out.




Once we had most of them figured out, we picked the one that sounded the most fun (which is basically our whole strategy) and headed out with our TTC passes in hand.

Chase Point #1 - Escape Room
We forgot to take a picture of this one, but it was easily my favourite. I haven't done a full escape room before but this made me want to go soon. It was a medical room and we had to find files and match files with injuries and blood types to open a lock. It was a pretty quick Chase Point #1.

Chase Point #2 - Zorb Wars
Stop #2 was a bit of a walk to a park. We were so excited to see the zorbs because we thought there would be water involved and the sun was beating down. Alas, no water, but still a fun challenge. Us vs another team to try and knock off small balls velcroed to the zorb. And we won so we didn't have to clean up.



At this point, we didn't really have a game plan so we sat down for a snack and to map out where we would go the rest of the day. We forgot our plan from the last race to have a paper map with us, but AJ used his iPhone to map each address into quadrants so we'd at least pick ones in the same area. This little stop was a good choice and gave us a plan for the rest of the day.

Chase Point #3 - Cheerleading Routine
Routine is a bit of a stretch. One partner had to stand on the other partner's knee and hold for 5 seconds. I tried first because that's what the girl is supposed to do, but apparently I have the world's worst balance. So we switched and AJ nailed it immediately.



Chase Point #4 - Box Hockey
This was surprisingly one of the most physically difficult challenges. Those sticks are super bendy and the other guy just held his stick in front of the holes so there was nowhere to go. We ended up there so long, the judges just gave us a mercy point.



Chase Point #5 - Boot Toss
We accidentally found this one by following another team from box hockey, but we'll take what we can get. AJ tossed 3 boots into a can for the point.



Chase Point #6 - Surf Workout
Another really fun one! We followed the instructor through an ab workout on surfboards. Nama-surf.



Chase Point #7 - Goodlife Puzzle
Goodlife usually has a fun and challenge point, but this one was a bit disappointing. Move the weights to the other side moving one at a time and not having a larger weight on top of a smaller one. Took AJ about 10 seconds. (Though he hammed it up for the photo)



Chase Point #8 - Trumpet Playing
Forgot to take a photo again, but be glad there's no video. I said I was going to do this point no matter what it was and I ended up having to play a note on a trumpet for 5 seconds. I played something that could maybe be called a note, or several terrible notes. But I got the job done. Of course, AJ played trumpet in high school, but he was kind enough to let me embarrass myself.

Chase Point #9 - Art Match
Next we went to an art school. We were given 10 photos of artists and had to match them with their paintings. I knew half of them for sure and the others were a guess. The staff member was very generous with hints.



Chase Point #10 - Fun With Flags
After accidentally taking the long route, we made it to a park where we had to use flag signals to spell a phrase. It took us a few minutes to figure it out but we got it.



We were at our 10 points at about 1:45, but I had already seen the tweets that winners passed the finish line around 12:30. So we could have headed back but decided to keep going and see how many we could do. (There is something called the Enduro Challenge, where the team with most Chase Points gets a prize. The winner this time got 20.)

Chase Point #11 - Paint A Masterpiece
As it turns out, our last two points were not as exciting as we hoped. For #11 we had to copy a painting, mixing the colour to match.



Chase Point #12 - Arm Trivia
Next we had to answer 5 trivia questions at an art store by writing the answers across both our arms. The marker pens we were supposed to use did not work well so we ended up just telling the staff the answers.



Now it was 3:20 and we decided to head back. You have to be at the finish line by 4pm to have your ranking count. Plus, we were sweaty and ready to be done. I got 3 times my step goal for the day and covered 14km even with our TTC pass.

We made it back just before 4 and ended up in 300 and something place out of about 500 teams. So we made our goal with 12 Chase Points, didn't fight and had a fun day together. See you next year City Chase!


Saturday, February 6, 2016

40 by 40 - Get a dog

I've had a dog for most of my life. When AJ and I got married, we got a dog within the first year. I love having a dog around and have missed it ever since we had to put Snax down about 2 years ago. It didn't make sense to get one right away when we knew we'd have another baby, so we waited. Then we had Dallas and we're getting to the point where he's not so needy and I started getting puppy fever. I thought it would be great to get one while on mat leave so I'd been home more often and have time for training. AJ wasn't so sure so I just looked up puppies online.

One day, I was looking up breeders to see if there were any new litters of goldendoodles at a reasonable price and I found one in Peterborough. I sent it to AJ more as a joke, but surprisingly, he said we should do it. I called the breeder and they still had a female left and Kyler had a PA day the next day so we went on a road trip. We didn't tell Kyler what we were doing and he was very patient for the whole 2.5 hour drive.

When we got there, we went inside and told Kai what was up. He was pretty excited. We took a look at 2 different dogs and fell for the playful white one.



We made a deal and brought our new puppy home.




We named her Kona which means Lady in Hawaiian and is also an apparently delicious coffee. Kyler is already her favourite and has the playful scratches to prove it. The first bit is always a little more trying - she cries when we leave the penned in area of the house or put her in the mudroom at night and there are lots of accidents to clean up, but she's already a pretty great dog and I love having her sleeping on my feet right now as I type.



Friday, February 5, 2016

40 by 40 - Let someone else order order dinner

I am a very picky eater. But I'm working on it. I used to only order chicken fingers at every restaurant I went to. AJ will eat almost anything and his sense of food adventure has been rubbing off on me over the years.

This year, I created a binder full of new recipes and we've been trying a new one every night. It's been a little over a month and it's been an interesting experiment. Most of them, we've all enjoyed, some have been less than thrilling and we've tossed the recipe, but it's been fun trying new things and buying groceries we've never bought before.

Still, letting someone else order whatever they want for me at a restaurant is a scary thought. I'd hate to spend all that money on something I don't like. But last weekend, I had a girls' day while the husbands watched all of the children (brave men) and the girls wanted Indian food. I have never tried any kind of Indian food, but they all raved about it so much and I was just happy to be out kid-free, so I agreed.

Since I know nothing about the food, I let them do the ordering. We had butter chicken, daal, curried beef, samosas and naan. I tried it all and it was good! The samosas and naan were especially good, but there was nothing I truly didn't like.

Maybe I'll even try it again sometime.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

40 by 40 - Binge watch a TV show

So it's been a bit of a hiatus on this blog as we've been busy figuring out how life works with two kids. But it's been great. Dallas is now sleeping through the night and is such a happy, easygoing kid. Kyler has started school and absolutely loves it, plus that gives me plenty of one-on-one time with Dallas during the day. Which brings me to my next 40 by 40 list completion.

Dallas is generally a pretty good sleeper and still takes two 2 hours naps during the day leaving me lots of time to clean and learn a new language, but who am I kidding? I've done a few projects here and there, I shower most days, I go to mom's groups once in a while and I thoroughly enjoy my Netflix subscription.

I have watched a number of shows over the past few months, but the biggest binge watch has definitely been Grey's Anatomy.



I wasn't sure about it at first - I had never watched an episode in the 11 seasons it's been on so far. Seemed a little too soap opera for me. But enough people recommended it that I figured I'd give it a shot.

And it is kind of a soap opera. But it's very well done and I got hooked pretty quickly. And I am proud (or maybe embarrassed) to say that I have now caught up to the 12th season on live TV.

I am currently rewatching The Office series since Netflix has added it and remembering why it's one of my favourite shows ever. It's so smart and hilarious, especially the cold opens.

So another thing off my list. I've highlighted a few others that I hope to accomplish this year as well. Then I start to get down to the more expensive/difficult ones but also some really fun ones. And I will try to post more often than every 5 months.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

40 by 40 - Coach Kai's sports team

I've had a bit of a hiatus with my bucket list what with having a baby and I. Actually, having a second baby would have been at the very top of my bucket list, but with all the trouble we had getting pregnant the second time around, I was afraid to even put it on the list. But he's here now and I'm ready to knock some items off this list.

We put Kai in soccer this summer - not just Playball where they learn drills, but real (ish) games. I mean, it was 12 teams of 3-5 year olds, so there were kids that chased the ball and kids that ate grass. Kai was kind of in between. He LOVED playing goalie (and was really great at it), but we challenged him to go out and play too (the whole point is to use up his nearly endless energy). At first he just cried every time the ball got taken away from him, but by the end of the year, he was right in there and having a great time.







The coach of the team didn't exist. I think the league just assigned one of the parents but no one seemed to know who it was. So the parents just kind of took turns taking lead on the practise that happened during the first half hour of the night, and more often than not, that fell on me because I actually went in and played instead of watching them.

I'm not a soccer person. I subbed a couple times for a friend a couple years ago, but otherwise, I've always been into baseball. But working with Kai and the kids and running around with them was fun.

So, I wasn't exactly the official coach, but I did get the free coach's pizza at the end of the year so I think it counts. And I may even sign up to be the official coach next year.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Dallas' Birth Story

If you read my last couple blog posts, you know the road to Baby #2 wasn't an easy one, but he's here and I couldn't be happier. Dallas is 7 weeks old now and pregnancy memories are already fading, so I wanted to put my birth story into words now before those moments dim too. (And I honestly believe they dim because God made us that way...otherwise, very few people would have more than 1 child!)

When I started to go to my OB at 32 weeks, we discussed the idea of me being induced early, around 37 or 38 weeks because I was pretty much destined to have another big baby (Kyler was 11lbs 1oz) and because of the hemorrhaging I experience with my first birth. We didn't want my body to go through that again.

As I got closer, around 36 weeks, I decided I wanted to give the little guy a chance to come on his own as I think that's the healthiest for both of us if it's possible. So I wanted to wait to induce until 38 weeks. My doctor agreed.

We got to 38 weeks, I had my appointment and my doctor did a stretch & sweep but didn't mention inducing me and I didn't ask. In hindsight, I should have, but I really did want to go into labour naturally and figured 39 weeks was ok. At 39 weeks, after another stretch & sweep, he still didn't mention it, but I stopped him and asked, getting concerned now. He said they couldn't do it yet because I wasn't eligible - I was healthy, the baby was healthy and he thought this baby wasn't as big anyway, maybe 8lbs or so, which seems like nothing after an 11lb baby. So I trusted him and waited to go to term.

At 40 weeks, I was more than done with the pregnancy. I had finished work early because I had planned on being induced early and now I was just sitting around, feeling huge and worried that there would be big baby complications. My doctor informed me that we wouldn't be inducing until at least 41 weeks. I was annoyed to say the least, but I couldn't force him to do it so I went home to wait, feeling stressed.

Another issue with this is that AJ was starting a new job with a start date of a week after my due date that sent him out of town for a full week. This should have been fine and given us a couple weeks together after I was induced early, but as the days went by, it was looking more and more like he'd be leaving for a week only a couple days after our baby's birth and that stressed me out more than anything.

I went to the hospital every couple days for a Nonstress Test and a stretch & sweep and that baby just wasn't moving. Finally, 5 days after my due date, I had another appointment with my doctor at the hospital and told him we needed to pick an induction date and I wasn't leaving without one.

At this point, we had bumped AJ's start date to the next Thursday, giving us a week together at best. My doctor offered the following Wednesday as the date. Not only was that 1 day before AJ HAD to go to his new job, it was at 42 weeks in my pregnancy and this was no longer a small baby, I was sure. I was told later that the look I gave him at that news was probably nearly enough to kill him. But he left my little cubicle and what was I supposed to do? I was already trying all the old wives' tales to induce and nothing was working. I was pretty distraught.

About a minute later, as we were getting ready to go, he came back. He told us that it was a slow morning in the hospital's delivery centre and would I like to be induced now? Um...yes, yes I would.

So suddenly, I was admitted and gowned and given a delivery room and we had a lot of calls to make. We got Kai a place to stay and my mom to come and help with delivery. After such a long wait, it was all moving fast.

I was admitted around 10, had my water broken at noon, walked around for a couple hours and was given an IV of labour-inducing drugs around 3. That got things moving pretty quickly. At 4, the pain was still manageable, but my nurse suggested I request the epidural now if I wanted to ensure I got it and by the time it came, I was definitely needing it.

They measured me around 3cm at 6pm and the next time they measured, about an hour later, I was at 10cm and he was on his way.

Dallas Jarett Martin was born on May 28 at 8:45pm after about 5 hours of labour and 30 minutes of pushing (compared to 22 hours of labour and 3 hours of pushing with Kyler). He was 11lbs. 5oz. - probably big enough to have induced early, huh doc? But he was here and none of that mattered anymore. I had no complications and neither did Dallas and that's all I wanted.



We had some family visitors that night and Kyler stayed up late to meet him which was a pretty amazing moment. I spent 2 days in the hospital and felt so much more comfortable overall, physically and emotionally after having been through this once before. AJ got to spend a whole week with us before leaving for work and I survived being on my own with 2 kids.



Since everyone asks, I can't say for sure if we're done having kids (never say never, right?), but I'd say we're 90% sure we're happy with two. AJ got his two boys, I got a sibling for Kai, they're happy and healthy, they don't outnumber us, and I wouldn't mind never being pregnant again.

And anyway, doesn't this look like a pretty perfect family?