Friday, May 29, 2009

how to avoid the crowds (or miss them altogether)

Back at Christmas when we first starting talking about my mom coming for a visit in the spring or summer, I immediately thought of the Canadian Tulip Festival here in Ottawa which was scheduled to run from May 1st - 18th this year. With my mom's love of flowers, the beautiful spring weather and the proximity to Liam's birthday it seemed like the perfect time for a visit.

She arrived Friday afternoon, May 15th, and we spent the weekend furiously cleaning puttering around the house and getting ready for Andrew's baby dedication at church that Sunday (more in coming post). Monday was dedicated to building a play structure in the backyard in preparation for Liam's birthday party the following weekend.

That night as I sat down to catch up on some of my favorite local blogs, I read several posts showcasing this year's tulip festival. Beach Mama had some great pictures of the fair at Major's Hill Park, Rebecca at A little bit of Momsense posted some beautiful pictures of the seas of tulips, A Crafty Mom and her three Things made a day of the festival and spent the day downtown, and Postcard from the Mothership's Dani was waaay on top of things, writing her Tulip Festival post May 5th! You'd think that Dani's post would've been enough of a reminder, but I was still in a slight panic when I noticed that many of these posts mentioned that Monday was the last day...

The last day??

We'd missed it!

We decided to take our chances and head into Ottawa in the hopes that we'd at least be able to see some of the flowers in bloom. However we crossed the bridge and my heart sank as I saw a group of city workers DIGGING UP ALL THE TULIP BULBS in the beds around Parliament Hill. Oh, the carnage! My hopes weren't high, but we pressed on towards Dows Lake along Queen Elizabeth Drive.

And here's what we found...

Beds and beds of lovely tulips!

Simon and Grandma

I wish I'd thought to dress Simon in something that would contrast more
with the flowers. As it was, his green sweater totally blended into the tulip stems.
Nothing a little post-processing magic couldn't solve!

I tried orange first (I love anything orange), but it was a bit too fake looking.

Blue won out.
(Even though it's not orange. I love you orange.

Look past the sweet grandma/grandson moment... See the sea of yellow, pink and
white behind my mom and Simon? It's like that for blocks and blocks.

I even managed to make it into a few pictures.

Simon ran and ran and ran. ALL. MORNING. Because it wasn't busy, we
didn't have to worry about losing sight of him in any crowds.

Even though we went A DAY TOO LATE, I think we had a better time than had we gone on the weekend or at the height of the festival. We were able to park less than half a block away, there were no crowds, no one walking through my shots, and lots of room to run and run (*see above). Sure we missed the rides and the fair and the vendors and musicians and food (Can you believe we've been here just over a year now and I HAVE YET TO EAT A BEAVER TAIL?), but we were able to take in the beautiful flowers, get out on a lovely-if-a-bit-windy day, enjoy a special time with my mom and get some exercise... all for free!

Part of our commitment to pay of our debt was to not put ourselves into situations where we'd be tempted to spend money. Completely forgetting about the last day of a festival we'd planned on going to for months? Temptation removed.

Another benefit to going to the festival after it had already ended was that I didn't have to stress to much if Simon decided to dig in the flower beds like he did a year ago...

This post links back to PhotoStory Friday, hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek, Friday Foto Finish over at Candid Carrie, and Life as Mom's Frugal Friday.

ETA: Somehow this post was set to not allow comments. That's been fixed. The shower of praise may now begin.


  1. Amy, Your Mom looks great! I love the picture of you holding the two boys!! Andrew looks like he has his eye on a rock or something on the ground. Looks like you ALL had a great time! Won't Simon love the picture of him posing in front of the tulips when he is 18 years old! I'm betting that is one Mother will want a print of--It is classic! Love ya, Dianne

  2. Glad you were able to make it out to the Festival. Sometimes it is great to go after the crowds. Although we find that if you go first thing in the morning to any festival you miss them altogether.

  3. Loved the pictures of you all at the tulip festival. Since Simon is such a "runner", it was good to go a day late. Sounds like you all had a lot of fun. Love the pictures of your Mom with the boys!
    Love, Mom/Mora/Nana

  4. Hi there--I'm here from Carrie's. You got some great pics and how cool you got to see the tulips even though you were a day late!

  5. Beautiful HUGE flowers! They are so tall. Looks like you got the best of it!

  6. I totally missed it. Oh well, next year.

  7. Great pictures, Amy! I actually like your son in his green sweater, for some reason! So cute how he is as tall as the tulips themselves! We went to Major's Hill Park two weekends in a row because the boys had such a good time there, and the year before we went to Dow's Lake to see the tulips. Dow's Lake is always great, and by the looks of your pictures, glad to see you had a great time! You look great!


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