5 And 3! Oh My!

If you’ve been a reader of my Ramblings for a while, you’ll know that my wonderful daughters share a birthday, 2 years apart. If you’re new to this little blog of mine, well, now you’re in the know as well! 😉

Today is the girls’ birthdays. They are turning 5 (Rina) and 3 (Béatrice). I have been busy trying to organize their special day, getting birthday and christmas presents done and finding a good paleo cake recipe.

I have managed to get the birthdays all done and under control and I still have a few items to pick up for the girls for Christmas. I have made a futile attempt at writing my Christmas cards with high hopes of sending them out later this week and I managed to only write up one so far! Man! I tell you, I feel like I’m somewhat organized in my day-to-day life, then December rolls around and all hell breaks loose! I get nothing done and stress levels go through the roof. Fortunately, the hubster has been pitching in a lot lately and I’m secretly hoping it will be a trend that lasts. 😉

We went to the truck light parade on Saturday evening and I think the girls enjoyed it very much. Rina was squealing like the most high-pitched piglet out there and Béatrice was dancing on my shoulders. Then, yesterday, we celebrated the girls since Rina had school today.

 

I'd say they managed a decent loot!

I’d say they managed a decent loot!

After we were done with lunch and it was time for me to bring out the less than impressive cake I made. I really don’t enjoy baking. To make it worst, I’m not really talented at it either. I’m just not crafty that way! I tried really hard to make them a cute birthday cake and it turned out more like a laughable mommy-fail of the year. I made a paleo cake from PaleOMG’s book and although I was told the cake and icing tasted good, the decorating was similar to Rina’s drawings… Not quite what I was going for. We sang “Happy birthday” twice and the girls blew their candles. BeZU even hugged me while she said: “Thank you for my cake Maman!” Bless her heart, that kid is simply amazing!

Once we were done eating lunch, cake and opening presents, we decided to go to the park atop the reservoir and have a little walk. We split up into two groups and somehow, lost Rina by doing so. I thought she was with the husband’s group and vice versa. A quick run along the trails surrounding the park and I found her sitting at the lookout, just waiting there. She got a quick scolding and I thing she was pretty scared off as she was all teary when she ran back to me. I told her she did good by waiting in one place and we went over other safety things before rejoining the rest of the group.

Before we lost Rina

Before we lost Rina

This morning, I went to Crossfit and even though I wasn’t feeling it at all (still sore from 1/2 Cindy on Friday), I was determined to get the juice flowing again in my sore body. Here’s what we did:

Skill: (1 Hang squat clean + 3 Front squats) x 5 E90s

I was aiming for 95# on my last set, with a realistic goal of 90#. I ended up doing this:

75#-80#-85#-85#-85#

I was stripping my butt out of the squat and I really wanted to focus on NOT doing that in order not to screw up my sciatica even more. Also, I was using the slam ball as a guide as to how low to get to at the bottom and hoping to create muscle memory without going lower than I need to. It’s still a work in progress, but it’s getting better, I think. It’s so hard to have to re-program all my lifts and not dropping as low as I can go into them, but I know I’m taking a few steps back in order to keep moving forward injury-free.

WOD: Swing And Pop

That was my first attempt at this one and what was written on our white board is different from what’s written on our blog so I’m a little confused, but I ended up doing what was on our white board, FG:

8min AMRAP:

  • 5  DUs + 15 singles
  • 15 AKB @ 26#
  • 5 KB push press / arm @ 26#

I didn’t think I would be strong enough to do all my rounds with the 26# KB for the KB push press and I had the 18# on my mat as a back up, but I managed just fine. It was a lot of hard work and my reps were low compared to everyone else, but I am so skittish of injuring my sciatic again, that I really don’t mind. I’m still working hard and making the best of it all while remaining safe. So far, so good!

I came back home, showered, ate lunch with Béa and then I was off to finally deliver baby Bailey’s blanket. I finished it a while back and finally managed to deliver it today. She’s such a cutie and so friendly! She was singing and cuddling and just adorable! I could have squeezed her all day, but I had to go back to my chores. I made some food for dinner and then it was time to pick up Rina from school and our evening routine. Hopefully, I can get to my christmas cards tomorrow and get those done and over with! Here’s to hoping! 😉

 

 

Motivation

Some days, I feel super motivated to keep going in my journey towards being healthy. I’ve managed to keep on track with the Whole30 for the past week (my second round at it) and having 8 days off from work means I can get my workouts in easily. Not having to deal with sciatic pain is a lovely added bonus and still a welcome novelty to me.

Some days weeks, however, it is harder to find the motivation. I get stuck in a funk at times and I wonder why I put myself through all of this. What is the benefit of all this torture fitness known as Crossfit. Why did I keep waking up at 0500 for 2 whole years, paying good, hard-earned money to subject myself to workouts that are so demanding, I sometimes end up crying on the mat at the end. Nowadays, the 0500 wake-up call have been replaced by rushing through the morning routine for school for the girls, WOD at 0930, then rushing to get ready to pick up Béa from preschool, or groceries or cooking. Some days, I sit down for the first time at 5pm and I’m exhausted. Why do I suck up all of the precious energy I have and go “waste” it all on a workout? Why, you say? I’ll tell you why.

I’m tired. ALL.THE.TIME. It doesn’t matter that I get to sleep in one day a month or not. I’m the wife of a husband who travels a lot for work which means I’m “single-married” (married, but alone at home with the kids for extended periods of time) a lot.

I’m a NICU nurse and I work shift-work and have been doing so for the past 10 years. 10 years of switching between nights and days on a dime. It takes its toll on a body. More recently, I have gone into a Charge Nurse position. I love the challenges it has brought upon me, but it can be added stress at times. That also doesn’t help making me feel less tired.

I’m a mom to 2 lovely, cuddly, active little girls. They like to be on the go and we try to accommodate that as much as possible. Some days, I crave 5 mins to myself. Even if we don’t do something big, they constantly want us to be involved in their little play, which means I can’t focus on anything I’d like to be doing for myself. That’s ok though, if I have a little bit of energy left in the evening after they’ve gone to bed is when I usually try to focus on myself. If the energy is AWOL, I usually just sit and watch TV and find some other time to do MY things.

When you put all those realities of my life together, it’s only normal that I need an outlet to REALLY focus on myself: my physical, emotional and mental well-being. THAT’S why I do Crossfit. When I am there, it’s usually 1hr of my life where I only need to make minimal decisions: Will I use 55lbs or 65lbs for the WOD? Do I need my wrist wraps or not?, etc. Nobody’s life hangs in my hands and I can let out of all the emotions that have been bottled up inside my short little body. Am I exhausted at the end of a WOD? For sure! Then again, I’m always exhausted and at least, I’ve done something for myself to get in better health!

Lately, I have struggled to find the motivation to get going. Whether it’s because the PRs don’t come as easily as they used to or because I have struggled with my sciatica, I’m not sure. I was talking to Kathleen about that a few weeks ago and I was debating taking a break. It is a scary thought. I feel like I would probably get lost if I didn’t do Crossfit. Either that, or I’m afraid I would never go back and all the hard work (and money) invested in myself for the past 2 years would be a total waste. Because of those fears, I have kept going, pushed through the struggles and injury and keep telling myself things will look brighter again soon (hopefully). When I really struggle with my motivation, I like to “check-in” with myself. I did one of those “check-in” 2 days ago and it has lit up a small fire of determination to keep going:

Top is on my 1st day of Crossfit, bottom is a few days ago. 28 months in between pictures

Top is on my 1st day of Crossfit, bottom is a few days ago. 28 months in between pictures

Sure the progress could be a lot better, but like I said, I’m a wife, a mom and a nurse. My diet isn’t always the best and I workout 1-3x/week at best. Progress is progress and seeing it helps re-focus my drive.

This morning was my first day back at the Box for Oly lifting in over a month. I was debating going at all as I feel like I have to re-learn everything about my snatch and C&J as well. I decided to go in anyway with the philosophy that everyone has to start somewhere. I don’t want to make the coaches feel like they are wasting their time with me, but I also would like to move past my injury and finally get proficient at those Olympic lifts. Coach Caleb wasn’t there this morning and we had the lovely Coach Val to guide us through our session. Karen and I struggle with dropping into the squat in the snatch and Coach Val has given us some pointers to fire up our hips and drop quickly.

I was trying with an empty 35#-bar this morning and Coach Val suggested I get a training bar (10#) and put some plates on it so that I would get the proper feel of the bar. That meant I started my snatch work at a very low weight, but I was at peace with that. I got my Dynamax ball for my butt depth into the squat and got working on things.

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Snatch 6×2 E2M: Here were my reps for this one:

30#-35#-40#-45#-50#-50#

I stayed at 50# for my last 2 rounds and had to drop the bar in-between all my reps in order to reset my form, but I managed to get it done and somewhat drop into the squat. I was happy with that. Not quite at the 90% target of my 1RM (50# was 77% of my “fake 1RM of 65# and 83% of my real 1RM of 60#), but not too bad considering I’m re-learning to move safely for my sciatic. I was glad I managed to get up that high as I was expecting to stay at 45# and just work on form.

Death by Power Cleans: It was my 1st time doing this one and since I don’t even have a 1RM at 92.5# for my C&J, I was definitely going to scale down for this one. After discussing with Coach Val, I decided on 65# and warmed up to that. Coach Val told us to aim for 10 rounds and I felt like I would probably bail out before then, but I went it anyway. I managed to go unbroken for rounds 1-7 and then things started to slow down a little after that. I had to drop the bar a few times during my round of 8, then started introducing singles into the round of 9. I was pretty pumped to complete the round of 10 and still have 15s to catch my breath before diving into the round of 11! 😉  I had to do them all as singles and there were a few reps that I caught really high in my neck, but I pushed through and squeezed in my last rep with 1s left in the round. Technically, I could have started right away on the round of 12, but I had nothing left in the tank. My for was getting wonky, my neck was catching the bar more and more and my left wrist was getting slow in the catch so I chose to stop there.

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What do you get at a 5am lifting class? Bruised neck and dark circles, that’s what you get!

I came back home and jumped right back into the realities of motherhood. Béa had tried to go pee by herself. She managed to get her pants off, hoist herself onto the toilet and couldn’t figure out the toilet paper, so she called out for help. I’m just thankful she didn’t put that pile of paper in the bowl as that would have been a nice plug! 😉

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See? Finding balance and purpose is what keeps me motivated! 😉

When You PR Your Bad Day!

Got woken up by Rina slapping me in the face at 0500! Slept in until 0600, feeling exhausted after two challenging days at work. I am currently transitioning into a new position and assuming my new role has proven to be testing. I think I’m doing ok though, it’s just different to step from bedside nursing after 10 years to assume a more managerial position.

Got the little ones ready for school and got ready for the Box. On my way downstairs with the empty laundry baskets, I was telling Béa to be careful in the staircase and missed the last step myself. Baskets went flying, I caught myself just in time and only have a small bruise on my wrist. Seriously universe? I also got a speeding ticket on the way in to Crossfit so that was awesome… NOT. The officer was a bit of a douche so I stopped talking when he told me I wasn’t driving safely after I told him I had seen my speedometer at 60km/h. Seriously, Dude…

I didn’t have time to warm up as well as I wanted to, but I figured the anger from the speeding ticket and adrenaline rushing through my body would do the rest. Plus, Rob was there, so I felt obliged to work on my TTB. I got 2! New PR!

Skill: 1 Hang Clean + 2 front squats x 5 E90s

I was thinking of going up to 90# on those. I know I can squat that weight, but the hang clean would be challenging. Here’s what my reps looked like:

70#-75#-80#-85#-95#

That’s right! I thought, screw it! Get all the anger out and try at 95#. I knew I could do 90#, but I wanted to try to push myself. The hang clean wasn’t pretty at all, but I managed to catch it and then, it was all a matter of doing my 2 squats. Heck yeah! I felt good after that.

WOD: Helen

I had done this one back in April and had used the blue and purple bands for the pull-ups, but the 26#KB. I was a little confused today. I thought we had to do 4 rounds so I used the 35#KB, but the red and blue bands for the pull-ups. My runs felt really slow and I couldn’t believe it when I came back in from my 3rd run and everyone was done. I thought I still had one more round to do. Coach AJ was cheering me on and I mentioned I still had another round to go. She corrected me and confirmed it was only 3 rounds, not 4, and apparently, my face lit up like Christmas had come early!

I finished in 16:38 with a new PR (to me). Looking back, I should have used the blue and purple bands today as well because I was doing C2B. Oh well! I did increase the KB and I really wanted to break them into 11-10 for all sets, but  I just didn’t have it in me on the second round. I did 11-5-5  and on my 3rd round I did 11-6-4.

That’s it for me, I have to go cuddle with Béa before I head in to work for the night!

 

Pushing The Envelope

Well, actually, I’ve been pushing weights, more than an envelope, but you get my gist, right?

After a restful night of sleep where NOBODY woke up in the middle of the night (Whoot! Whoot!), I woke up at 0500 again for the Oly class.

I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it there as my gas light turned on, on my way to the Box, but I managed to make it and there’s a gas station across the street so my plan was to fill up after class. Worst comes to worst, I knew I would be able to push my car to the station! 😉 BAM!

Today marked my 8th training session in 14 days. I’ve never trained this much in my life! It’s my last week before my month-long vacation comes to an end and my plan was to squeeze as many workouts as I can before I go back to my usual 2-3 sessions/week. I am definitely starting to feel it though and combined with it being my 1st week back on the Whole30 and all the cloudy/rainy weather we’ve had this week, all I want to do is sleep. Unfortunately, I have 2 cuties that have other plans for me:

Every time I tried to nap on the couch, they would come bother me!

Every time I tried to nap on the couch, they would come bother me!

Who needs sleep, right?

Anyway, back to Oly class, here’s what we did today:

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I wonder if those Forehead Jerks made me look as stupid as they made me feel??? Those were weird!

C&J EMOM X10 @85%

That meant 76.5# for me. Coach Caleb told me I had soft elbows on my jerk during my warm-up to that weight, but apparently, I corrected once I reached my target weight. Maybe I just needed more weight in order to really lock my elbows? I was trying not to pause between the clean and the jerk all while keeping the lift smooth and I was tired by rep 7. I started to take a few breaths in the transition and I was glad when we were done.

OHS 6×2 E3M

I teamed up with Linda who saved my hair crisis this morning. You know the drill: you go to put your hair up and your elastic just breaks in your hand and you realize you don’t have a spare one? Well, Linda gave me one of hers and my life was perfect again! So, we teamed up together and we started low (I’m not strong and Linda is recovering from a back injury.

I knew I could do 65# since I had done that weight for 15.2 during the Open. Looking back, I should have aimed for 70# or 75#, but I’m sore everywhere and my wrists have taken a huge hit with all the freakin’ cleaning I’ve been doing lately. Here were my reps:

40#-45#-50#-55#-60#-65#

My wrists were hurting on the last set, but I felt stable in my core and getting out of the bottom of the squat felt relatively easy. Oh well, my previous number for OHS was 6×3 @60# so I think that’s a new PR for me. I’m amazed I can still have PRs this week as I’m feeling so sore everywhere! I can’t wait for my massage Friday!

I came back home and did some laundry with the hubs (OK, he did most of the laundry while I cleaned and vacuumed the upstairs).

Look Mom! I'm hiding!

Look Mom! I’m hiding! (Typical Béa on laundry day)

I also did some food prep for the Whole30 since I had nothing but eggs and avocados left (I had thawed some chicken thighs and ground turkey) and I feel better now that I have healthy options in the house.

I managed to close my eyes for about 10 minutes after lunch and I tried to cuddle to the girls on the couch while they watched Frozen (I may have turned the TV on with hopes of napping next to them. Don’t judge!) but they kept poking me, pulling my hair and staring at me. Major fail, but we still watched the movie! 😉

I just have to make it through tomorrow’s class and possibly a last training session with Kathleen on Sunday and then I can go back to slacking off my regular training/work schedule.

 

Get Your Sweat On!

After yesterday’s workout at Kathleen’s, I felt super energized and ready to take on anything this morning. I was pleased when I saw this:

 

Skill: Back squat 3×10 E2M

I paired up with Telsey and Jen and truly didn’t know what to tackle for weight for these. I did 85#-90#-95#. The last round felt challenging, but I think I could have done 100#. Dang! Next time!

WOD: Escape the Trap

That was a fun team WOD and I remained paired up with Telsey and Jen. Because there were so many of us we had to start the WOD with the burpee BJ. I started our trio off by doing 8 true to form, then I did step-ups. At some point, I resorted to granny-style burpees, but picked it back up again. Second round was fairly similar, except we were taking a long time and Coach Caleb told us to go to the Trap DL part of the WOD after our second round and to come back to the burpee BJ afterwards if we still had time.

We were using 75# for the trap DL and that was way too light. I was even able to trot carrying the bar across the gym, so next time, I should go up to 85-90#. Once we were done with the Trap DL, Jen had to leave to get home in time for her hubby to get to work, and Telsey was getting close to her cutoff time as well so she did her 3rd round of burpee BJ and I took it upon myself to finish the last 30 reps (my 15 and Jen’s 15). It was slow, but I tried to keep things moving as best I could and we finished with a time of 23:06. I was pouring sweat from everywhere and even my hair was dripping.

Sweaty deer stuck in headlights. "What the heck just happened to me?!?"

Sweaty deer stuck in headlights. “What the heck just happened to me?!?”

I came back home and had an interesting text exchange with Kath about where I’m at as a Crossfitter.  I feel that even though I still scale pretty much every WOD, I’m definitely out of the “newbie” category, but I’m still worlds away from the true athletes. Which makes partnering with people difficult at times. I love hanging out with new people because I was just there not so long ago, so I understand the struggle. At the same time, I think sometimes it would be worth it to challenge myself and team up with people I consider “beasts”. At the same time, I also would feel very bad if I slowed them down.

The mental struggle is real, I tell ya!

Once I had showered and refuelled with breakfast, I realized I had forgotten to clean the inside of my freezer and fridge last week, during the Deep House Cleaning, so I got right on that. Then, our tenants finally moved out and it was time to start cleaning the suite after they left. We still have a little bit to do tomorrow morning before the new tenants move in, but overall it went well. Except when I broke the telescopic mop. I was vigorously cleaning the ceilings (I was also amazed at how people can get ceilings so dirty, but I digress) and the silly thing broke in two.

I broke that thing like a twig!

I broke that thing like a twig!

I had no time to fiddle with that kind of crap, so I took my step-stool (midgets unite!) and got scrubbing with the old rag-and-cleaner method! 6hrs later, we have the bathroom left, vacuuming and mopping the kitchen floor as well as priming the holes that have been patched and painting the walls.

Yeah, not how I had anticipated my day or my last week off before heading back into work. Hopefully, I can still manage to book myself a massage. I’m pretty sure if Crossfit came out with a WOD involving having to wash walls, windows and vacuum, I would RX the crap out of that! Ugh! One last cleaning boom to do tomorrow and then I should be done for at least 24hrs!

Yeah right, one can only wish!

Grace

I got up at 0500 for the 3rd day in a row and got ready to hit the Box for this:

 

Dark and wet

Dark and wet

It was raining for the 1st day in about 3 months this morning and I’ve been noticing how dark it is already when I get up for the 0600 class. Back to fall weather soon, I guess.

 

WOD: I warmed up with 55#, then moved on to 65# as suggested by Tracey and Coach Caleb. I had a plan of breaking my reps into sets of 3 for the first 15, then do single reps. I got to 15 according to my plan and I still felt good so I kept going with sets of 3. I figured I would keep it up until I felt unable to do so, but it turns out I finished all 30 reps broken into sets of 3. According to Mark, I looked strong doing it too. Does that mean I sandbagged this one? Should I have gone with 75# instead? I’m not sure. Coach Caleb was very adamant that we make sure our form was perfect the whole way through and I apparently managed to do just that. I wasn’t last to finish, I think I finished in the middle or towards the end of the pack, so maybe my scaling was on point? I’m not sure. I’m so used to scaling and finishing last that I feel like maybe I screwed up when I’m not last and maybe I didn’t work hard enough. Maybe I should see it as myself getting stronger instead? I’m not sure how to analyze this, but at least, I now have a benchmark for Grace and it gives me something to go from here on out.

I paired up with Neil aka Boy and we did our 5 rounds of the Skill #2. That ab wheel was something new and it hurt my wrists for some reason.

lifeline-powerwheel

Strap your feet in and bring your knees into a tuck or pike

I only managed to string 10 DUs once. The rest of my reps were singles upwards of 4 in-a-row. Not my best performance, but today is my 4th day of Crossfit this week and I feel beat up. I was pouring sweat after the Skill #2 and I came back home, dreading having to attempt the entire house cleaning for yet another day this week.

Walking into the house, I noticed our black “leather” couch had been decorated with gold Sharpie… I hopped back into my car and drove to the only grocery store open to get a Magic Eraser. Some of the disaster has disappeared, but not all of it. Ben thinks if we draw over it with a dry-erase marker and then wipe that down, it will lift off the Sharpie as well. We’ll try that later. That’s one of the reason I didn’t want to get a real leather couch just yet… I knew it would get ruined at some point by the girls, I just didn’t think it would happen 8 months after getting our couch! 😦 Ugh!

Ben and Nanny have agreed on a plan in order to help keep me sane today: Ben will take the girls out of the house and Nanny will help me (hopefully) finish cleaning the main floor. This way, the girls have a better chance of staying alive to see another day and Nanny and I will power through the cleaning.

She looks all innocent wrapped up in my blanket, but son't get fooled by appearances. She's the gold Sharpie culprit

She looks all innocent wrapped up in my blanket, but don’t get fooled by appearances… She’s the gold Sharpie culprit and is grounded for today!

Barbells and Princesses

I had such a full day yesterday!

Crossfit in the morning followed by more house cleaning (I’m almost done deep cleaning the kitchen), interrupted with a lovely at-home pedicure by a mobile pedicurist /fellow crossfitter, more cleaning and finally, falling asleep on the couch while “watching” TV.

After I made my way to my bed, I woke up at 0500 and got ready for Oly lifting class this morning, because it’s “just lifting”!

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The tall snatch was a struggle with just the empty bar and it’s still something I need to work on. Why is everything snatch-related such a struggle? I guess we all have our weaknesses and the snatch truly is one of mine.

Since I missed the last testing session, I’m still using 65# as my 1RM for the snatch and that meant I used 55# today for the Snatch EMOM x 10 @85%. I think it went well overall, but I was feeling fatigued on my last rep.

For the hang clean, I really wanted to attempt 90# on my last set, just to prove to myself that I could do it without catching it on my sternum. Coach Caleb wanted us to focus on not dropping the bar in-between reps and get back into the hook grip.

My

My “wings” (as Ben calls my bruise) are healing nicely. And yes, I know, I look exhausted!

Everything went peachy until my 6th set. I managed all my reps without hesitation and after a pointer from Coach Caleb, I reminded myself to keep my chest and elbows up in the catch. When I got to 90#, I was in my head and really afraid of failing the lift.

1st attempt: failed.

I came back to the bar and approached it. Pick up the bar. Exhale. Inhale. Block breath, dip and lift.

2nd attempt: failed.

I walked away from the bar. Sat on the bench for about 30s, then approached the bar again. Pick up the bar. Exhale. Inhale. Block breath, dip and lift.

3rd attempt: failed.

This time, I sat down right away and had a chat with myself. I knew I could do it, I had managed 2 reps earlier this week. Yeah, I’m tired, but I can totally do this. Just get to the bar and DO IT! You just need to drop into the squat to catch it.

Approach the bar. Set my hands. Pick up the bar. Exhale. Inhale. Block breath, dip and lift.

4th attempt: 1st lift successful! I wanted to celebrate, but there was still another lift to do. I reset the bar on my hips and reset my hook grip. Dang! That bar is heavy. All you have to do is repeat what you just did! You got this. I can barely hold on to the bar! Just do it, don’t think about it. JUST DO IT!

Hook grip. Exhale. Inhale. Block breath, dip and lift.

2nd lift caught very deep at the bottom of the squat and I was afraid I would crumple into the bottom, but I managed to push out of it and managed my 2nd lift! I threw that bar on the floor and was beaming! I had just done 2 reps at my 1RM C&J!!! Whoot! Whoot! Also, that was a 15# PR from my previous attempt at this only 3 short months ago!

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I couldn’t stop smiling! Looks like even though I’m exhausted, I can still find it in me to push hard and improve!

I came back home for a shower and a hearty breakfast before taking the girls to Hatley Castle for their surprise Princess Day! No cleaning today, I’m taking a break from being a housekeeper and I’m taking time to rest and enjoy my last few days off before my vacation is over! We went to pick up Nanny as I had asked her if she wanted to come with us (not to work, but to enjoy the day and be tourist in her new town).

The day had started a bit cloudy and cooler, but the sun came out and the heat did too. I chose to only pay for the garden tour as I highly doubted the girls’ attention span would last enough for the indoor guided tour. I think it was the best decision, even though I will have to go back one day to visit the inside of the castle.

We toured the Italian garden, the Japanese garden, the Rose garden and the green houses. The photographer in me had a blast taking some shot and editing them. Below is just a small sample of the 140+ shots I took today! 😉