“A marriage takes work”. My sister got a card from a friend of her (then brand-new) husband that made her raise her eyebrows a little bit. Their friends wished them all the best in their marriage and advised them to work on their marriage, keep communicating, and not to take each other for granted. My sister thought to herself, “well, okay then, that’s a little strange.” Little did she know, she would think on that message often, for many years to come. And their friends were right; marriage takes work! It’s not like as soon as you are married, you will be happy for the rest of your life, no matter what happens. It’s important to remember that in ONE marriage, there are still TWO people! Two different characters, sometimes two different religions; two completely different lives that all of a sudden need to adapt to one another. You’re putting two completely different people in one home, and that is going to bring its challenges! I clearly remember times where my hubby and I had different ways of dealing with our difference of opinions; he would need some time to chill, and I needed to talk it out. We couldn’t both have exactly what we wanted so we have found a way to compromise and give us both what we need, and with God’s help we have made it so far! It’s been almost 10 years since our first date, and I can not say that where I am today is where I thought I would be. I had different things in mind. But then again, I wouldn’t have it any other way now!
My husband being a private school teacher and us not having made very smart financial decisions in our first few years of marriage made things tight, which definitely limited what we could spend our money on, and how much time we had left over after his summer job as well. Thankfully things have improved, and after a busy year-and-a-half with our little girl (Stella, our preemie, a whole other story!!!), we have really started putting aside time to spend together. And that led to this fairly impromptu little getaway. Putting being a wife first isn’t always easy; children need constant care and discipline (yes, the carrot and sometimes the stick – not a real stick, though!), but when I mentioned going away for a few days, having my husband say that he would totally be up for that, only if it meant it would be the two of us; that meant a lot. I’ve been having some anxiety due to our daughter’s extended NICU stay last year, and I was so excited to be focusing on the two of us for a change without the (albeit usually very welcome) distraction of our kids. So off we went, we left our oldest daughter (Jenelle, 7) at our parents and our three little ones (Pieter, 6, Easton, 4, and Stella, 12 months adjusted) in the capable hands of one of our dear friends, Janita. We arrived fairly late in the day on Monday, and after a short and chilly walk to the Falls from our hotel room, we took advantage of the Jacuzzi in our room as well as the bottle of wine that was included in our stay. Having a full night of sleep was wonderful, even though Bert woke up the next morning complaining of a sore neck. (He likes a flat pillow, and sad to say these were some of the fluffiest pillows out there. Next time he’ll be taking his own.) The second day involved an amazing breakfast at one of the local IHOPs (I had the chicken florentine crepes, oh my word, I am so replicating these one of these days!!!), it was one of the first times that I did not envy my hubby’s meal!
We then went to a chocolate factory, Chocolate FX, where we learned about where chocolate comes from, got to taste 100% chocolate, yummmmmm!!!, and even sampled a delicious chocolate dipped strawberry.
A short walk at the grounds of the Butterfly Conservatory. My dear husband had to be a test subject more than once, just to make sure I got the settings right for any portraits that I wanted to have taken to use on my website. To say he wasn’t thrilled may be a slight understatement, but he was definitely the best at making me smile!
From there we went to Konzelmann Estates Winery, a Masterchef Canada associated winery, and had a wonderful tour guide lead us through the process and sampled four delicious wines! We purchased their peach wine; if you’re into fruit wines, but don’t love the sweetness of them, this is a must-try!!! It was amazing!
Did you know that ice wine is made from frozen grapes, they are harvested in the middle of the night, and each grape only produces one drop of juice (thus the price tag on ice wine!).
Our tour guide, Michael was hilarious!
From there, we did another scenic tour and ended up at one of the lookouts overlooking the Niagara river, this is more downstream.
That night we had a wonderful dinner at the Skylon tower, sadly it was just too cold to carry my camera the whole way there, (only to find out that there was free parking), it’s definitely something I recommend you do once, though. My kids now really want to go, but I think it might be a few years before that happens. I want them to truly appreciate the experience, and some of them are a little young yet.
The next morning we had breakfast in bed (okay, it was just a banana and coffee, but still), after which we went for another long, albeit cold, walk along the falls, this time all the way to the other side. Overnight the whole bottom had frozen over, it seemed like there were at least 3 feet of ice down there. Looking at where the water went over the falls, my husband mentioned it looked like a slushie, that’s how much small ice was in the water!
A moment of reprieve from the cold in one of the tourism buildings near the falls…
From there we packed up our stuff, stuffed our bellies full at Almac’s Buffet and headed homewards, stopping on the way at Ball’s Falls, another beautiful setting for photos!
Don’t mind the funny face, I just had to add it. This is what most of the pictures looked like, due to my husband acting like such a fool. Oh how I love the man!
We had a few wonderful days with just the two of us, really reconnecting, having meaningful conversations without any distractions (except for maybe, “more coffee?”), but I did feel like the way home took super long. At a certain point, it is just time to be back home with the kids! They were pretty happy to have their Mama and Papa home again, especially when the chocolate dipped rice crispy squares with sprinkles were discovered!