Tag Archives: victoria

A Fancy Weekend in Victoria

To celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary, we decided to spend a fancy weekend in Victoria.


We did the whole trip without a car. It’s pretty easy to take public transit to the ferry terminals, and once we were in Victoria almost everything was walking distance from our hotel.

Cherry Blossoms

We were lucky to have a beautiful spring weekend, with only a sprinkle of rain and the cherry blossoms were in bloom.

The Empress

We stayed at the luxurious Empress hotel, originally constructed by Canadian Pacific in 1908. We were a little out of place arriving by public transit with backpacks on, while the other guests used the valet service for their Ferraris and Teslas.

Fancy Tea at the Empress

We might not have arrived in a sports car, but we brought fancy clothes so we could enjoy afternoon tea in the Lobby Lounge.
They had no problems preparing an all-vegan tea for us (we gave them notice when we reserved our seating), with scones, jam, crustless sandwiches, chocolates, and passion fruit custard.

Tea Timer

Astrid even enjoyed it. She managed to stay amused for over an hour by playing with the tea timer, reading the tea options, drinking tea with a spoon, stealing berries off the desserts, running around our seating area, and visiting the powder room.

Arby and Astrid

Most of our time in Victoria was spent catching up with friends. Astrid had successful playdates with Arby, Lyla, and Cleo. Our friends Katie and ilan even took Astrid home for lunch so Emily and I could go out for a nice lunch by ourselves.

Play Date

We hit up all of our favourite vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Victoria: Be Love, Rebar, and Very Good Butchers.


It was a really successful weekend mostly because Astrid slept well. She had no problems sleeping in a double bed on her own in the hotel. And she napped on the go – sleeping on bus and ferry rides while we travelled, and in her stroller on Saturday while we walked around Victoria.


Amusingly, we happened to be in Victoria while the Capital City Comic Con was going on at the convention centre connected to our hotel, so there was always someone in a costume walking by.


More pictures here.

Astrid: Month 8


February was spent jet-setting around the world and enjoying snow and surf. It was a month full of ups and downs and several highlights and lowlights.

Highlight #1: Astrid used her passport for the first time as we flew to Mexico for her Auntie Kerry’s wedding. The highlights were the beautiful sunset wedding ceremony on the beach (and officially welcoming Megan, Katie, and Tyler to the family), the time spent relaxing by the pool with our relatives, and the awesome weather and lack of snow.

Porter Wedding

Astrid did well with all the changes (new foods, hotter climate, new faces, and 2-hour time change). It took her a few nights to get used to the hotel room and crib, but she slept well for the most part.

Palm Trees in the Pool

Most days were spent rotating between the buffet, the pool, the beach, and then back to the room for a nap. Astrid amazed everyone with her ability to destroy bananas and make a huge mess at mealtimes. She enjoyed floating in the pools and eating sand. We got off the resort once – took a taxi to Sayulita to check out the hippie, surf town. But for the most part we were slaves to Astrid’s nap schedule.

Waiting for Waves

Full Mexico photo album.

Lowlight #1: The biggest lowlight of the month was Astrid’s worsening eczema, especially on her hands. Baby-led weaning has not been kind to her skin, mostly from contact with acidic foods. Her skin got especially bad after we left the warm, humid Mexican air. We’re slowly getting it back under control by limiting the foods she’s eating, putting socks on her hands so she doesn’t bite and scratch them, moisturizing every few hours, and using hydrocortisone cream on the worst patches.
Eczema Hands

Highlight #2: Early in the month Dan visited from San Francisco, and Rhea and Tina also came over. We got a dump of snow that day so we had fun playing in the snow with Astrid.
Ice Thrown

Dan made this amazing snow throne for Astrid to reign over her subjects.

Snow Angels

Lowlight #2: Is Victoria the city that never sleeps? According to Astrid it is. We had a good visit with friends, but had to cut our trip short by a day when Astrid became a sleepless, grouchy pants. She refused to sleep in her pack-and-play, so I spent hours bouncing her in the ErgoBaby to get her to nap.
Beacon Hill Walk

At night, she would fall asleep in our arms, but the second we tried putting her down she would start screaming. None of us got much sleep the first night. The second night, we tried co-sleeping with her for the first time. She slept much better, but it was a rough night for Emily and I. We were squeezed into a double bed with Astrid in the middle, afraid to move for fear of waking her. Midway through the night she rotated 90° so that when she flailed about she simultaneously punched me in the face and kicked Emily in the head, but we were happy she was sleeping.

Victoria photo album

Highlight #3: Astrid is starting to move more. She’s mastered rolling and has the arm strength to lift herself into plank position. She isn’t crawling yet, but she can cover a lot of ground by rolling, rotating, and shuffling backwards. We’ve ordered a large play mat to give her a surface to play on – she quickly rolls off the yoga mat and blanket we have for her now.

She’s also tossing and turning in her sleep. Often after a nap, we find her on her stomach or curled up on her side. The first time she napped on her stomach we kept checking on her to make sure she was breathing, but we’re used to it now.
First Time Sleeping on Stomach

She is also very ticklish. I don’t remember her reacting to tickling before.

Astrid now has a Goodreads account, if you’re curious what books we read to her every night. She has quite the library. https://www.goodreads.com/astridnaut

More photos and data.

8 Months

Victoria Half Marathon

Almost Done
I celebrated 10/10/10 by running my 2nd half marathon.

It was a hard race but I’m happy with my performance. My goal was to run 1:30, and I ran a 1:33:04 (full results). A few minutes short, but still a new personal best. I went out hard (probably a bit too hard), running the first 10 km in 42 minutes, but I couldn’t keep up the pace. At km 15, the wind started howling in my face and I hit the wall.

I made the mistake of eating too much again. For breakfast, I prepared an energy-packed Thrive pudding. It’s not the puddings fault, but I ate too much and didn’t give it enough time to digest. I could feel it bouncing around in my stomach the whole race. Amazingly, even with the constant urge to vomit, this was the first race I didn’t puke at the finish line in years.

I was impressed with the course and the race coordination. The half marathon route was really flat and there was plenty of water stations. It was also a nice scenic route through Victoria and along the seawall. The start times for the half marathon and full marathon are staggered, so the course wasn’t too congested. The only negative was there wasn’t too many people out cheering or bands playing music along the route (at least compared to the Vancouver marathon I ran) – maybe they came out later for the full marathon.

Part of me wants to run another half marathon soon so I can correct my mistakes. I know I can break 1:30. But I think I’ll give my body a rest.

We were lucky to have good weather for the race and the rest of the weekend. There was a huge storm Saturday night with high winds and heavy rain, but Sunday morning was dry and the rest of the weekend was sunny.

I was a able to get a Victoria Car Share vehicle (they are partnered with the Vancouver Car Co-op), so we took the opportunity to explore the area outside of Victoria. On Sunday, we went wine tasting at Glenterra Vineyards and Merridale Cidery. Merridale was a fun spot to explore. They have self-guided tours, experienced staff giving tastings, a large restaurant, and a store with a impressive selection of goods made from apples. On Monday, we hiked Mount Douglas and visited the Sooke Pot Holes. I really didn’t want to do anything too strenuous, and I was told you could drive to the top of Mount Douglas. Unfortunately, the road was closed so we had to walk up from the parking lot at the bottom. I actually found that walking up was good for my legs and helped ease some of the stiffness. The relief was short-lived, however, as coming down caused a whole world of pain.

Victorious Merridale Apple Merridale Taps Relaxing at Merridale Mount Douglas Mount Douglas 360 View Mystery Ruins Giant Slug Hello Slug Sooke Potholes

Half Marathon Training – 3 weeks to go

The training for the Victoria Half Marathon continues. I think I’m ready. I went on a long 25km run today, and now I’m staring to taper my running. I only have to ensure I don’t get sick or injured in the next 3 weeks.

Today was my longest training run, and I took my fancy new Android phone with me so I could try out the MyTracks app. Normally, I don’t even take a watch with me, so I have no idea how fast or even how long I’m running for. According to MyTracks I ran 28.25 km in 2 1/2 hours, but that includes a lot of drunken staggering near the end which I think tacked on a few extra km that didn’t actually happen. The GPS was a lot more accurate when I was on the seawall and seemed to get confused when I was closer to big buildings. It was also interesting to see the elevation profile of the run. I chose UBC specifically for the hill at the midpoint of the run. It looks worse on the graph then it felt, although after the hill my average speed dropped significantly.

Elevation Profile

Half Marathon Training

I’m training for the Victoria Half Marathon on 10/10/10. It is challenging finding interesting running routes for my Sunday long run – Vancouver’s Seawall is a great route, but I was looking for something new.

On Sunday, I took the SkyTrain to New Westminster’s Braid Station and ran home, following the new Central Valley Greenway. It is ridiculous having to travel 2 cities away to get a 20km run in, but the Central Valley Greenway is a gorgeous running route. It is sheltered from traffic with only a few intersections to cross, there are water fountains along the route so I didn’t have to bring a water bottle, and there are even some blackberry bushes for energy boosts.