Family life

Operation Joyful (29 weeks): Taking a family road trip

Katie Dupuis writes about taking a family road trip while pregnant (and shares her third belly shot!).

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Managing editor Katie Dupuis at 29 weeks pregnant.

Note to self: Taking a road trip when you’re seven months pregnant is relatively easy, once you get your seat position right. Taking a road trip in Friday Toronto rush-hour traffic with a two-year-old when you’re seven months pregnant is not so easy. (I fully admit to plying Sophie with a couple of Chips Ahoy rainbow chip cookies and Dora the Explorer until we got out of the city limits. I know we were probably supposed to be playing “I Spy” and feeding her cucumber slices and carrots, but desperate times, man.)

We were on our way to beautiful Bruce County, where I was slotted to judge the Explore the Bruce butter tart contest at the Adventure Passport launch on Saturday afternoon (I know, tough job, right?). As the editor of our Toronto section, I’m the lucky one who often gets to go to local events as a representative of the magazine. Bruce County isn’t exactly local, but it’s definitely a worth-the-drive trip from the GTA.

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We stayed in Southampton, Ontario—an adorable lakeside town with historic houses, lovely beaches (Soph kept saying, “Ohhh, the water sparkles!”) and incredible community engagement. We spent the morning walking the main streets, hitting up spots on the Adventure Passport scavenger hunt, when Soph would stop long enough. Weirdly, she was most enthralled by a giant pumpkin-headed mascot from the region’s Pumpkinfest booth—aren’t toddlers supposed to be scared of people in costume? At noon, Blaine and Sophie headed back to our hotel for naps (Sophie promptly conked out from all that fresh air) while I psyched myself up for butter tart mayhem.

I didn’t expect to be as discerning when it comes to butter tarts, but surprisingly, I kept waiting for the wow factor. The tarts—which hailed from bakeries and restaurants across the county—were slight variations on the traditional and yet, I easily chose a favourite in the caramel-y number that turned out to be from the Elk and Finch restaurant right in Southampton. (All of the judges were blindfolded and tasted the tarts at random, so we had no idea which competitor submitted which tart.)

All in all, it was worth braving weekend traffic with a whiny two-year-old for the experience. Apart from the tart-off, the beach, the fresh produce at Hi-Berry farm, and the fish ’n’ chips at the Lord Elgin Restaurant just a stone’s throw down the highway made for a delightful last road trip before our family’s new addition arrives this summer.

Today’s Parent managing editor Katie Dupuis likes structure and organization. A lot. Now, imagine this Type A editor with a baby. Funny, right? We’re sure you’ll love Katie’s musings on life with Sophie and husband Blaine. Read all of Katie’s Type A Baby posts and follow her on Twitter@katie_dupuis.