Will It Ever End?

blog post jan 30

Mornings. When you have three or more kids (and 4 pets), it is mayhem, pure and simple. Each day some creature needs attention, does something wrong and I look like a crazed lady with uncombed hair trying to feed, manage and send other people out into the world.

Yes, yes. I have tried all the following:

  1. Up early to have morning coffee, feed myself first, do something productive towards my writing. Plus gotten myself completely ready.
  2. Exercised with gentle yoga and meditation to enter a calm zen-like state before the first animal or child wakes up.
  3. Slept in ensuring a solid 7 hours of sleep and then, rushed alongside my children and pets to get ready.
  4. Tried to stay in bed with the hopes that the days Mr. L works from home – he would completely take over and let me rest a little more that day. (Which has never happened yet!)
  5. Taken deep breaths and tried not to raise my voice while at the same time telling myself, it is not my responsibility to ensure they have water bottles filled IF they have lost all said water bottles or to throw things out of cupboards in some bizarre attempt to ensure they stay hydrated all day. They will find a water fountain.

Some days one of these things may work but most days – nothing works. I still find myself scrambling, coaxing, pleading, begging, shouting and ultimately raising my hands in exasperation as the new kitten knocks over a bucketful of water, one kid has no mittens for winter carnival day and the third has come downstairs with unbrushed hair and clothes that fit her two years ago.

On top of that, usually some of the kids are fighting over something petty and I am again saying “hands off please,” one is in tears because of a bad dream they just remembered or a third is arguing with me that they don’t need to double-check they have proper gym clothes. (Typically she forgets at least one item resulting in the teacher finding me at pick up to tell me she forgot her gym uniform, again). So is it a surprise that I ask myself every morning – will this get better? What is the magic trick to less stressful mornings? In truth, I have tried a lot of things to keep myself and our household calm with  no long-lasting solution.

I have resorted to the hard a$$ mom who says, “If you waste my time in the morning by not being ready to go and I have to help you find a pair of waterproof mittens again, (and by the way you have lost two pairs this year), then the consequence is that I can’t get ready or feed the pets or do the marathon list of things that need to happen before we leave and all of you will be late, again, for school.”

This kind of worked. The kicker – being late stresses all of us out more and makes my whole day start late.  Or it is a bus day and they have to be ready to go by an earlier time that adds a whole other layer of crazy.

So -what is the trick? Is it just a matter of accepting that for now, while they are these ages, it’s just mayhem? That because they are not old enough to let go of all the mom-checks before they leave, (Do you have your homework? Do you have the permission form signed? Do you have your water bottle, gym clothes, indoor running shoes, mittens, coat? You do know it’s -10 degrees celsius outside? We need snow pants.), but old enough to get themselves ready and be responsible for their things this age is more difficult? Add to all of this that we have two dogs and two cats who also want outside, treats and food and need to be crated and contained before we leave unless I want my house totally trashed.

Should I just accept that these mornings, the ones that have all been on me for the last eight years with a growing brood of children, takes a toll and I need to give myself a break? Do I go back to work full-time and hire a morning nanny to help a poor mom out or just grit my teeth and wait out the winter so we can all go back to leaving the house in a t-shirt alleviating some of the pressure?

I have no idea. If you do – let me know.

Otherwise, pass the coffee- the house is now quiet. Today, I may pour a splash of Irish Cream in lieu of milk into my mug.

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10 Lessons When Skiing with Kids

This winter I took it upon myself to get the kids outside for a “learn to love winter” experience . With a father who despises cold weather and does not participate in any winter sports, I knew it was up to this Canadian mom to introduce the kids to all the character building and fun activities in the land of ice and snow.

Last year, 2 out of 3 kids took private ski lessons. They had a great time, bonded with cousins and found a sport that they both were pretty good at. With the little guy turning 4 years old, I figured why not try him on skis and see what happens? So I investigated ski schools, nearby hills, whether to purchase a membership or just private lessons. We even hit the ski show and the swap shop to get the girls their own gear. It was with awe when I walked into the local ski/snowboard shop for the first time overwhelmed at the choices for baklava and toques.

By early January (albeit it with little snow at that time) I booked lessons at Chicopee in Kitchener, Ontario about an hour from where live. Sundays became ski day. I packed up the van early Sunday morning with skis, bags, helmets. Threw some snacks into a Ziploc bag and filled the water bottles.

“How are you going to carry all that and get all 3 kids in their gear?” A befuddled Mr. L asked one chilly Sunday morning. I shrugged. He is talking to a mom of three kids. We are pros at being pack animals.

“I’ll figure it out.”

As ski season winds down, here is what I learned:

1) If it takes you an hour to drive to your ski destination, give yourself two hours. Why? Because you can’t account for traffic, parking mayhem at a ski hill, washroom breaks for kids and line-ups for rentals.

2) Rentals. Don’t purchase the gear until you know if your kid is going to like it. Most rentals for little kids are half the price of adult rentals or included in the cost of the private lesson. Ask your ski hill the options. I chose to buy gear this year for the older kids because they had a year of lessons and I knew they enjoyed it. In Jacob’s case, I had no idea so why spend the money?

3) But, if you want to buy any gear for your kids, purchase the helmet and goggles. Rent the rest.

4) Gear can be an incentive. Jacob desperately wanted a pair of his own goggles after the girls got theirs. The deal, two lessons without complaining and give it a real chance and if he liked skiing, he got goggles. Also, if you have mixed gender siblings, try to buy skis, goggles and helmets that are gender neutral colours. Easy to pass down to the next kid.

5) Choose a hill that’s a good fit for your family. Where you go may not be the most popular one or even the closest to you. Do your research or try out a class at the hill, check out the facilities before committing to a batch of lessons. We drive an hour to get to the ski hill of our choice. Why? Because the instructors are experienced but young enough to have fun. The beginner hills are not intimidating. It has a cafeteria, lockers, washroom and chalet all at the base of the hills. Parking is close to the hill. Important factors when you are carrying all the gear trying to watch three little kids in a busy parking lot on your own. In one word: convenience.

6) Get your kids packs for their boots and let them carry their gear! My standard phrase is this: you want to ski? You have to learn to carry the equipment. I’m a five foot two person. I cannot carry 3 sets of skis, 4 helmets (if I’m skiing) and your boots. The kids can help if we teach them in their early years to be responsible for their own equipment.

7) Take snacks and dole them out as you snap on boots and helmets. I’m on my own each weekend with three little kids getting gear on. They have time to wolf down a banana or granola bar while I get another kid dressed. This ensures they aren’t starving and gives them something to do.

8) Adjust your expectations. Unless you are an experienced skier (which I am not!) or have other people to ski with don’t bother taking your own stuff. You won’t have time to hit the hills in between snapping pictures, bouncing between hills to watch each kid come flying down the hill at least once, run to the bathroom (because it’s your only chance alone) and maybe grab a coffee. I know after an hour of lessons, my kids are done. That may change as they get more experienced but an hour of skiing is a lot for young kids.

9) Consider private lessons for new skiers. I found private lessons a great resource. It really helped move the kids along quickly and they benefitted from having one-on-one attention with an instructor. Jacob was really nervous this past Sunday on his second lesson. He was okay with the bunny hill and magic carpet but did not want to go on the chair lift. His instructor knew exactly how to handle him and made him very comfortable. He needed that one-on-one to build up his confidence.

10) Walk away if you’re feeling nervous. Mr. L does not believe his children are on their way to becoming good little skiers. “They’re so young!” He states again and again. (Remember, this is a guy who does not ski.) One lesson he attended, he grimaced watching the girls easily hop onto a chair lift riding to the top of a larger hill without looking back. I told him to walk away and let the instructors do their job. Then I did the same thing last week when Jacob’s instructor cheerily said to my 4 year old, “Let’s go on the chair lift.”

My immediate response, “But he’s only 4 years old, it was a big jump to get him on the bunny hill last week. Do you think he’s ready?”   The instructor calmly looked at Jacob and said, “We can try, right?”

With a hesitant shrug and high-five the instructor took his little gloved hand shuffling to the chair lift. I walked away. He was right, I shouldn’t stand in Jacob’s way but let him try and I need to trust the instructor.

Lastly, just a note. Plan something fun afterwards. Hot chocolate. Lunch out. Whatever it is, reward your kids for doing something that a lot of people are afraid to do. Getting outside in winter and actually having fun.

Heading back to “normal.”

The wind was brisk but my girls spent their days after new year’s trying a new outdoor sport, skiing. I signed them up for private lessons and as my winter-averse better half entertained the three year-old in the chalet, I tried to photograph their first movements across the snow watching them shuffle along following their instructors before clicking my boot into place to try and fit in a couple of runs before their lessons were done. What a feeling of satisfaction and pride I had as a parent seeing them both barely look back at me as they went up the magic carpet. 

Spending some time setting my personal intention for the year of finishing my novel, I feel it’s just as necessary to set an intention for our family. To take time to play each day. That could mean something simple as doing puzzles with my little guy or taking my girls out skiing. 

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Getting the girls ready for school this morning, dreading the icy cold that has come down upon our town, I realized the part of my day I was looking forward to was some special playtime with my little guy. After all, September will be here soon enough and off he will go to kindergarten, five full-days a week. I could not remember the last time I had floor time with any of my kids. I have cherished memories with Elizabeth of our year together at home, Audrey’s first few years there were definitely fewer of these instances, but I do remember reading and singing to her a lot.

However, little Jacob, being the third child, although receiving lots of attention from his sisters, has had me as more of a chauffeur taking him along for the ride or to an activity. This winter seems to be a perfect time as the temperatures drop to intend to have some sort of playtime each day with the kids. 

The last few weeks being home with all of them, although a part of me was looking forward to settling back into a regular routine, I missed the impromptu dance parties in pajams, hearing my girls come up with their own little games or their hilarious conversations. I miss having those rare days where we just decide what we are doing that same day. January is already being scheduled as people seek out playdates and dinners. 

Elizabeth was in tears before bed last night, feeling the pull towards wanting to go back to school to see her friends and teachers but it was intermixed with sadness that vacation was over it resulted in my usually calm nearly eight year-old gulping back sobs. As I stroked her hair trying to calm her down, I explained to her we all feel like that. 

So today, as I scrambled to finally get the last of the decorations off our tree, clean out the cold storage, organize our mud room a little better and make that dreaded trip to Costco to stock up on essentials, I took some time. I had a coffee lingering over lunch with Jacob and then we played, placing puzzles pieces together before story time before I went to attack the never-ending laundry. What a nice, tiring but satisfactory first day back to normality. 

Sweater Weather

Girls, I know you will understand this and feel the intrinsic, incredible emotion
You have just pulled over your head the worn, warm sweater belonging to a boy
Now you haven’t had a passionate kissing session or anything but you got to go on a camping trip with him and eight other people from school
You practically slept together, your sleeping bag right next to his
And you woke in the night to watch him as he slept but you couldn’t see anything ’cause it was dark so you just lay there and listened to his breathing and wondered if your heart might burst

From Meryn Cadell, The Sweater

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From mytailoredlife.wordpress.com

Sweater weather. The first burst of snow has fallen down upon us here in southwestern Ontario this past week. Not here in my little city, although the cold bitter winds are blowing. As well today, I received an email from a friend of mine, from much younger days, who now lives abroad with her family. She sent a wonderfully descriptive email about a move from a busy international city to a more rural picturesque setting in Turkey with her husband and two children. I was laughing reading the note after a very hectic morning. In between dropping Elizabeth off at school after a late start to finish a presentation for school, making a snap decision to “just do it” and get all the errands done instead of going back home and then out again while trying not to think about the disaster of a dirty kitchen and unmade beds at home, I tried to remember if I brushed my teeth all while pumping gas into the dry tank. After getting gas, I took a few minutes in the parking lot, while eating my breakfast a la Starbucks drive-through, to savour her email. How crazy her whole situation sounded! It was like reading a scene from a book about a foreigner trying to navigate their landscape. I miss her.

Life gets so busy with three or more kids that you find yourself making priorities out of your priorities hourly. There are ups and downs, but with three young kids, it is a normal day to be doing homework in the morning, rushing to get bananas as your kids asked you to please stop giving them only apple slices, get gas eating breakfast on the go, shopping for dance class clothes because one wants a new activity and it starts tomorrow while praying the snow doesn’t come before all the kids have at least one pair of matching mittens, a hat, a scarf, boots and snowsuit. Then after all that it is home to a messy house. It is no wonder I flopped onto the couch thinking, “What’s next?”

This morning, I should have been running with no break. But I took ten minutes, switched a priority and read her email in detail excited to hear her news. I didn’t have time to write her back yet, but I can’t wait to reread her message and respond. Because, that for me, is a priority.    

Then, when I got home and realized I was freezing from lack of proper clothes. I was so entrenched in getting my kids their winter wear, I forgot to put on any when I left this AM. My Lululemon uniform, warm pull-on Ugg boots and t-shirt although complementing my unbrushed hair, were not that warm. So, I pulled out my first sweater of the season wishing my friend was here as I snuggled into the warmth of gray woolliness. My friend always loved a good sweater weather kind of day. 

So, enjoy the sweater weather and dress warmly! 

Chucking the checklists, at least once in a while!

From sheknows.com

From sheknows.com

Checklists. A parent (or parents) of three or more kids rely on checklists. Checklists on my iPhone. Checklists on my calendar. It seems there is a constant checklist in my brain. Sometimes I can turn it off and remember life is not about checking items off a list. Other times the list seems so huge I give up and take the kids for ice cream.

How many checklists can one person have? For myself; one for me, one for the household stuff I am responsible for (which is most of it), one for each child (so that is three), the dog, the occasional request to help with Mr. L’s business and then if we make any plans, an additional checklist of packing items for road or overnight trip. Each day I have anywhere from eight to ten checklists to be considered. I love them and I loathe them.

However, the feeling I get from checking off a major item is very satisfying. For example, I have a fitness checklist for myself. It is more of a goals list, but at its essence, it is still a checklist. Finish a 5K run. Check! (Yeah!) Immediate pat on the back. Borrow road bike. (Check!) Plan out another mini checklist for training for said Try a Tri. (Sort of check.)

My training, as with other parents, is very dependent on other people’s schedules. My kids, our family commitments and life in general including weather. There are some days when it seems easy to fit it in. Kids asleep, weather fair, head out for scheduled bike ride. Check! Other days, all good intentions fall to the wayside. Pick kids up from camp. Head to health club to fit in swimming laps while kids splash around in pool with Mr. L and eat their Friday night pub-ready grilled cheese. Swim five of ten laps and realize Mr. L cannot chase two-year old and fight off wasps attacking our food at the same time. Reinforce my belief that men (or my guy in particular) although great in some things, cannot multi-task children with other activities. Swim-time aborted. Black clouds roll in. Winds and pouring rain ensue. Bike ride planned for the evening cancelled. Take kids home and feed them microwaved s’mores. Indulging in the gooey deliciousness myself because lets face it, who can resist s’mores? Summer fun. Check!

Wait, all of that was not on my check list! However, seeing my kids messy faces and happy smiles as we put on a rare evening cartoon after indoor s’mores and then tucking them into bed after followed by continuing to watch the amazing lightening display last night over our house. Mr. L finishing some work so we could enjoy Saturday without any distractions. Perhaps not on my planned checklist, but it is okay. Sometimes life cannot be planned by a checklist.

One thing I try to remember each summer is that for us, summer is short. Before too long we will be in the midst of school and activities wishing we could return to a July night eating treats before bed. As much as I depend on our checklists to keep us semi-organized, letting them fall by the wayside is sometimes more fun.

Snow Day!

February 8, 2013

The countdown is on until Elizabeth’s 7th and Audrey’s 5th birthdays! This upcoming week is going to be full of chasing down final RSVPs, ordering cakes/cupcakes and buying decorations/loot bags for two different parties.  On top of that it is Valentine’s Day and my Mother’s birthday this week. As I have mentioned before, February is our family’s busiest month. That extra cup of coffee I am having after my quiet dinner may be well needed as I plan my to-do list.

Friday was a snow day. A massive storm piled 25 centimetres of snow in our front yard so Mr. L and I made the best of it. Heeding the warnings the night before of a possible shut down of well, everything, I awoke on Friday morning, pulled the sheer curtain back and seeing the blowing snow and the cedar tree in our front garden starting to bow in surrender to the mountain of snow in its boughs, I went back to bed snuggling under our warm blankets. A little while later our phone rang and the automated message confirmed my suspicion stating, “A message from your school board. Schools in your district will be closed for the day.”

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The kids were so excited to be out of their routine. Breakfast in pj’s! Playtime! No rush to go anywhere. Mr. L had wisely moved a meeting and had decided to work from home but even he was slow moving as his first conference call was mid-morning.So they played hide and seek while I did some mandatory clean-up with Jacob following his older sisters pretending to cover his eyes and count. I think he was the most excited to have playtime with his sisters. After a refereed version of the game, we baked blueberry muffins, something I had been trying to do all week and now had time, wrote out valentines for school and then all had a bit of downtime.

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We had arranged to meet a couple of other neighbour families outside mid-afternoon in hopes the snow would slow down (and to put the kids to work shovelling the driveways) and Mr. L joined us. The snow was so high in some areas, Audrey and Jacob could not move as they waded into the soft, but cold winter wonderland.  With the winds starting to pick up again and the snow still coming down, we decided it was time to head indoors where I had prepared hot chocolate, muffins and cookies for the “Waldie Street Crew.”

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The scavengers went to work on the spread as Mr. L disappeared for another work call and the Moms settled onto the brown leather couches relaxing as the kids bounced from the rec room back upstairs to the kitchen for one more sip of hot chocolate, J. casually mentioned, “you realize you have seven young kids running around your house right now?”

“It’s fine.” I responded with a smile knowing that the rest of my day would be full of tidying up nearly every room of the house. “As long as they have fun. How many times do you get a snow day?”  Hearing the air hockey table being turned on in the rec room and watching Jacob grab a half-eaten oatmeal chocolate chip cookie from a random plate running for the basement leaving a trail of crumbs behind him to join the big kids (who were deciding between watching cartoons or teaming up for a tournament), I felt lucky we were all safely snuggled inside on a snow day with the only worry being whether I would have to vacuum the entire house again, or just the kitchen floor.

Adventure and Relaxation – a parents dream! Part One.

Imagine, standing on a ski lift similar to a moving sidewalk and around you is the magic of large, fluffy white snowflakes gently drifting. The sky is awash in misty grays with streaks of blue. Your white ski helmet is covered with snow and it is cold out. You know it is cold because the bite of the wind on your uncovered cheeks. However, the rest of you is pleasantly warm snuggled into ski pants and jacket. Around you are other people, all on skis and snowboards, enjoying the winter wonderland and joy of skiing on such a wonderful day.

It is fairly silent with the freshly fallen snow insulating most of the noise except for the occasional “swoosh” of a nearby skier who has come close to the lift you are riding. Around you are hills and mountains peppered with trees lifting their branches as a child would to catch a snowflake. Then you hear it, “DAAAADDDDYYYYYYY!!!” It is the screech of a child’s voice from the bottom of a nearby hill. Again, “DADDDDDYY!!” echoes and you look behind you to see a fairly young child on skis stomping his two feet the best he can, fairly mad that his Dad has not yet reached the bottom of the hill. The person behind you (that you cannot really see as you cannot move on the lift) starts chuckling and then another and before you know it, a line of people are all laughing so hard at this little spitfire watching as his Dad skis down the hill his hands and poles raised in the air in apparent exasperation as the child continues to yell. Wiping a tear from my eye with a thick waterproof mitten I casually say to no one in particular, “and that is why our children are at home.”

Thus starts our adult weekend away skiing at Blue Mountain in Collingwood.

Ski Weekend

Ski Weekend

In general I enjoy taking my children with us to new places. I also enjoy a night or two away to recharge and sleep. Mr. L and I do not get away very often but when the opportunity arose with friends to go on a spa and ski weekend, we could not turn it down. Over the years I have found that getting away once in a while really helps Mr. L and I catch-up as a couple. Being parents to three or more, you more often than not are outnumbered and generally exhausted. Most days Mr. L and I manage to have a brief conversation before he escapes to our make-shift at-home gym while I write, play catch-up on everything and prepare for the next day. By the time we are both done our respective activities, one of us are dozing or in bed trying to re-charge our batteries. We have tried at home date nights and movie nights but as parents to young kids, oftentimes we are interrupted by someone in need of a hot water bottle, glass of water or who is not feeling well. We try to fit date nights in when we can. So, a night or two away is a delicious treat and indulgence that we fit in not too often (as our youngest is only two years old) but often enough that we have come to rely on them to help “save our sanity.” We look at these opportunities as a chance to relax and try new things together. This time it was skiing.

We are fortunate to live near some very nice but not too intimidating ski hills. A very popular resort town is simply called, Blue Mountain located in Collingwood, Ontario. A four-season resort town  in Northern Ontario, it has grown over the past ten years into a very pleasant weekend destination for singles, couples and families.

Mr. L is not a winter sports enthusiast. He weathers winter like an animal in hibernation, happy to stay indoors and very rarely participating in winter activities. He has yet to build a snowman, does not see why a winter walk is a good idea and counts the days until the weather is back up to a pleasant 15 degrees celsius. This year we took the kids tobogganing for the first time and he enjoyed it. Building on this momentum, when a ski weekend was suggested complete with lessons for all of us he reluctantly agreed caught up in the enthusiasm of the other three participants. He bought ski gear and hiding his nervousness concentrated on the other things he could enjoy like the restaurants, couples massage at a nearby spa and adult only time.

Arriving last Friday, our first planned activity was snowmobiling through Blue Mountain Activities. The bitter winds coming off the coldest couple of weeks this winter season, we were very appreciative of the snow mobile suits and zipped ourselves in after checking in and receiving mandatory helmets. Although delayed due to mechanical issues, the  hour ride was pleasant for first time snowmobilers and Mr. L (in the driver’s seat) managed on the well utilized path following the lead snow mobile. Although pleasant, next time I will take my own vehicle to avoid the jerky turns and bumps a back seat passenger endures! Our friends had done this activity a couple of years before and expressed disappointment the route wasn’t through the hills that had amazing views. The snow-covered fields though practical for less experienced drivers, was a little boring after the first thirty minutes and lower lying areas were awash in mud puddles from a recent thaw.

On the snowmobile!

On the snowmobile!

After snowmobiling, we drove a short distance to the Scandinave Spa. A series of hot and cold pools, this nordic day spa is popular for its water therapies. We had booked couples massages and arrived early, as recommended, to enjoy the full benefit of the therapeutic waters. Dusk was descending as we arrived and the steam from the hot pools floated lazily across the outdoor spa grounds. Wooden huts peppered the area and the silence was very welcome after the loudness of the snow mobile engines.

Scandinave Spa

Scandinave Spa

The reception was timely and friendly inquiring if we had come directly from snowmobiling. When asked how he guessed, he slyly smiled and said, “There is a certain aroma people carry after an hour of snowmobiling.”

Turning to each other we shrugged and then a certain odour became apparent. Gasoline fumes permeated off the four of us and seemed etched into every fold of our clothes. Grabbing our towels and robes, we headed to the large change rooms to disrobe, air out our clothes and get into the pools.

The water therapies at the Spa are  “widely recognized for their energizing and relaxing properties, there are many benefits associated with baths and hydrotherapy. In addition to cleaning the body, they improve blood circulation and promote the release of endorphins, known as the “well-being hormones.” More specifically, endorphins can help improve one’s physical condition and enable attainment of a better quality of life.” (Directly from the Scandinave Spa)

We were instructed to hit a heat source (hot pool, steam room or sauna), followed by a cold immersion and then a rest period in one of their relaxing rooms.

After finding hooks and disrobing we hurriedly got into the first hot pool. Chatting together, we were soon warned by the manager our voices were carrying and as the spa was for relaxation and silence we needed to significantly lower our voices. Glaring at Mr. L (who has a naturally loud way of speaking), we resorted to whispers or simply floating in the warm waters watching as dusk quickly turned to night. The only sounds were very low whispers of those people we could glimpse in between the constant patches of fog and steam rising from the water and the soothing hum of the waterfalls. Trying to follow the spa etiquette closely, we all decided to take the full experience of the spa and attempt the cold plunge. Interestingly, one is not too cold first coming out of a hot pool on a freezing evening, until your toes hit the coldest water making you wonder if it is possible to get hypothermia when in this water for even a minute. As you continue to immerse yourself, your body is in shock. Fighting my body’s initial flight response away from the icy dip, I pushed myself into the pool waist deep breathing deeply, splashed my face and arms and quickly grabbed my robe and slippers muttering obscenities under my breath in the quietest way possible. Careful not to run or allow my teeth chatter to bother another patron, we headed into one of the relaxation rooms.

The relaxation rooms were warm with rows of comfortable muskoka chairs. Encased by large  windows one could rest while looking out into the woods or simply drift into sleep. These heated rooms allow a rest period and let your body absorb the benefit of the hot/cold therapy.  After a period of rest, you repeat the cycle trying to ignore the frozen bath robes and towels as you move from a heat source (hot pool, sauna or eucalyptus steam room) to the cold immersion to a rest period. After our third cycle, it was time for our massages. Heading to the massage rooms, we all relished in the warm beds with heating pads and drifted off for a nap under the expert hands of our therapists.

Overall the Scandinave Spa was a very enjoyable experience and we will definitely return. One can only imagine the magical effect a place like this can have in aiding in relaxation and rest to its patrons. It certainly was a restful way to end a busy day. Next time, I may recommend (during the winter months anyway), a heating rack for people with robes. An icy and wet robe is not conducive to relaxation or warmth in the cold Ontario winters!