Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's been a little quiet...

...because we've just come back from a family camping trip to Yellowstone National Park!

It was our first time RV camping (we rented one for the week) and what a great experience that was. SO much easier and more convenient than tent camping, especially with a toddler!

After all those geysers, mud pots, fumaroles and springs, we are a little "geo-thermaled out", as my husband puts it. I think a week was about right.

Mia had a fantastic time spotting "animohs" like bison, elk, deer, pronghorn, wolves and bears (at a rehab centre for those - we only saw two black bears in the wild), coyotes, bald eagles, hawks, grouse, mountain bluebirds, and ravens (everywhere). There were NO bugs at all and the weather was just about perfect - sunny and 22 degrees or thereabouts each day, but for one cloudy day. The nights were cold, but the RV kept us fairly snug.

I definitely recommend RV camping for families. It was so nice to be able to come back from a hike and cook a hot meal right there in the parking lot if we wanted - or stop at a pull-out beside a beautiful outlook for a snack.

Here are some of my favourite pictures from our trip: 

There is never a bad place to nurse, according to bison.
This was a common sight. It looks like a postcard, doesn't it?!

We hiked, Mia rode in the carrier. I loved the contrast of her sparkly shoes to our dusty hiking boots!

Having a meal by the lake - watching Daddy feed the dog after our dinner.

A beautiful spot for me to breastfeed - watching Old Faithful erupt!

Our family at one of the most beautiful of the geysers, Imperial Geyser. Worth the 6 mile (9.7 km) round trip hike!

While we were away, the contractors have nearly completed the drywall sanding, and installed hardwood in the office, living and dining rooms, feathering it into the existing hardwood in the rest of the main floor. There is still much to be done, but it's starting to seem possible that we will be able to live in a real house again rather than a construction site. They've threatened me with the prospect of moving the fridge onto the back upstairs deck (even more inconvenient than now, upstairs in the office while our kitchen and eating area are in the basement), and the washer and dryer into the garage, where they will be unuseable. I sure hope we can work around that.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Walmart Mom of the Year - Finalists Announced! #MOTY

You may recall me mentioning the new Walmart Mom of the Year program back in May, where we could all nominate our favourite amazing moms. One of these moms will receive $10,000 and have the opportunity to donate $100,000 to the charity of her choice! The other seven finalists each receive $10,000 for their own use and $10,000 to donate to charity as well! A gala at the end of September will celebrate the announcement of this year's Mom of the Year.

16,909 moms were nominated (WOW!), and of those, eight have been selected as finalists. I have no idea how they managed to choose as there were so many truly amazing women nominated. You can read the stories of the finalists on the Mom of the Year website.

I love reading the stories and love the idea. What a great way to support the strength, generosity and ability of moms. Some of their stories brought me to tears. With moms like Tammy MacKinnon, who has fostered over 30 children and done some amazing charitable work to support children around the world. Many of the other finalists are either living with or supporting family members with special needs, diseases, or even donating organs like Karen Whitford did for her aunt, it will be a very tough choice. Luckily each one of these moms benefits from the Mom of the Year program and so does her favourite charity.

This is only the first year of this ongoing campaign - we can look forward to doing it again next year!

Disclosure: I’m part of the Walmart program by Mom Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own. Mom of the Year Award: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY Internet access and valid email account required. Nominations open May 10, 2012 to July 8, 2012 for legal residents of Canada over the age of majority.  Entrants cannot nominate themselves. One (1) grand prize available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $100,000 donation by Wal-mart Canada Corp. to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000). Seven (7) runner-up prizes available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $10,000 donation to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000).  Charity/cause subject to verification and final approval by Wal-mart Canada Corp., at its sole discretion. Odds of winning depend on how the judging panel evaluates each entry according to the criteria. For Official Contest Rules and to nominate an entrant, visit [www.momoftheyear.ca].