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Mother Nature, presented by The North Face is a web series created with our friends at Beauvoir and is available right here.

Q: How many children do you have and how old are they?

A: I am blessed with two beautiful and healthy children! My energetic and sweet Claire is 3 years old and my smiling little man, Herve, is 10 months old.

Q: Your most memorable family adventure/vacation (positive or negative) and why?

A : Jules, my partner, and I share a love of sports and the great outdoors. Cycling has become our favorite means of transportation and helps limit our ecological footprint.

The beauty of active transportation is that every trip becomes an adventure. The trip to the park, the ice cream shop in town, or the daycare center becomes an immersive experience for children. They observe their surroundings, orient themselves, smell the odors, are sensitive to the weather, listen to the weather or even talk to the neighbors. They make new discoveries every day and take ownership of their environment.

So you can guess that our most memorable vacations are on bike tours! Last summer, when I was pregnant, we initiated Claire by riding the linear park Le P'tit Train du Nord in the Laurentians. It was 234 km of pure happiness!

Traveling as a family was going to be very different. Claire's comfort and enjoyment were paramount to the success of the project, and it was important to understand and accept this. Jules identified Le P'tit Train du Nord as the ideal first family experience because it is an organized and well-served bicycle route. With shuttle service, B&B accommodations, shops, rest stops, restrooms and most importantly, parks along the bike path, we enjoyed our days on the bike!

Q: The moment you felt most proud of as a mother?

A: What makes me most proud as a mom is the little joys of everyday life. When I see my children move, show curiosity and hear them laugh, I tell myself that my job as a mom can't be that bad!

Q: The biggest challenge you've faced as a mother?

A: My biggest challenge this year has been to make time for myself and get back into the swing of things. It's funny to say, working out is second nature to me, except that pregnancy, childbirth, lack of sleep and having a baby all over the place took its toll on me. My fitness level was at an all-time low. I had no muscles, no stamina, I was starting over.

I needed a goal.

As soon as I got the "Ok" from the physiotherapist to start running again, I signed up for the Magog Sprint Triathlon. I had done this event in 2017 and I loved it because the distances are accessible. We understand that I wasn't going to win a medal or break any records. I wanted #1: Not to drown and #2: To finish the race. With the date on the calendar, I incorporated 3-4 gym sessions per week into my routine. Between climbing, swimming, biking and running, I slowly got back into overall shape.

On the day, the whole family was present and proud to encourage me. I can tell you that I reached my goals and cut 1 minute off my previous result - Youhou, You Go Mama!

Q: Your dream family adventure/vacation?

A: We are just planning our dream family trip. We are planning to go bike touring in Holland when Hervé is 2 years old. We want to show the kids a country that promotes active transportation and develops accordingly. We dream of riding among hundreds of other bicycles and exploring the cities and countryside using only bike paths.

Q: Your best superpower as a mother?

A: I have a super photographic memory power. I've always known exactly where every item in my house is. Jules calls me the Minister of Materials and Geolocation. I'm the one who packs the bags here!

Q: What's your snack of choice for you and your kids in adventure mode?

A: I have a recipe for Greek yogurt nut banana bread that everyone loves. It's my favorite snack because Hervé loves it too.

You would like to have the recipe ... here it is!

In one large bowl, mix

  • 2 cups flour (half white-half wheat to taste)
  • ¾ cup quick cooking oatmeal
  • ¾ cup of ground walnuts in a food processor
  • ¾ cup loose brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 handfuls of chocolate chips to taste

Make a well in the center and add

  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Stir to moisten dry ingredients and pour into loaf pan or muffin tins. Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes for bread or 25-30 minutes for muffins until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden brown.

Q: Your ideal day outside?

A: I love the beautiful fall days when the sun is warm, but the air is cool. When you can wear pants, a little wool and the temperature is just right for the kids to play outside all day. My ideal day is spent under the sign of Slow Living. Taking the time to drop off, enjoying the activities near our home, playing with the kids, eating well and having a little coffee.

I love it when we head to the mountains to hike. You know when you're going, but you don't know how far Claire's little legs will travel or how long it will take.

I love it when we take our bikes to lunch in the city and then improvise on the way back. Claire loves to tour the parks in Magog. We also like to go to the library or to observe the animals at the Marais de la Rivière aux Cerises.

I love it when families from the neighborhood get together in the park for a morning. The kids have fun, the adults chat, it's not complicated.

Q: The 3 things you can't live without for an outdoor adventure with your kids?

A: I always plan for the three terrible "F's" - Hunger, Cold, Fatigue. Parents, we quickly learn that everything is fine, until an "F" shows up. I don't even dare to tell you about the combination of several "F's"... Reason abandons them, the end of the world seems near and our patience is slowly eroding.

I don't get fooled anymore... I now leave with a snack, warm clothing and a rest option (baby carrier/stroller). It gives the troops a second wind to continue the adventure or it saves time to get back home.

Q: What's your best advice for other birth mothers?

A: My best advice is to embrace being a mom. Our lives, our bodies, our activities are not the same, at least with young children. The beautiful thing about it is that there are as many ways to do it as there are natural mothers.

It's easy to compare ourselves to others or to what we did before. However, this state of mind will not bring us anything more than disappointment.

In order to be at peace, I had to revise my goals to fit my new reality. The moments with the children are precious and will soon be behind us. I love spending time with them, it gives me a lot of happiness, pride, love and well-being. My "free" time, I preciously direct it towards quality activities rather than performance or quantity. According to my desires, I plan outings with my friends or I offer myself a moment alone. I am getting back into sports that are more accessible from home, such as running or climbing. Long bike or ski trips are rare, which makes them even more exciting than before.

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