We were lazy our first morning at Dave’s mom’s home.  The kids played and watched television while we continued to clean and organize.  We can’t thank Peggy enough for the use of her home.  It felt SO good to be clean and do laundry!  D’Arcy took the van to a garage to vacuum all the sand, cereal, crumbs, dirt, etc. out of it.  We ate and headed out to Signal Hill after lunch.

As we were driving through downtown, D’Arcy had the radio on 97.5FM and I heard a familiar voice.  Is that Chris Batstone, I wondered?  It turned out that he was the radio personality!  (Are they still called DJ’s on the radio?)  Chris & I go back to the early 1980’s when we met and became close at various functions put on by the Nova Scotia Choral Federation.  I haven’t seen Chris since 1990, but he is on my Facebook.  It’s too bad we didn’t get a chance to visit in person, but the timing didn’t work out.

Signal Hill gave us a beautiful view of St. John’s and we climbed to the top of the tower.  There were two geocaches that we were searching for.  One had specific instructions that we were to take our photo on the Duke of York Observation Platform with St. John’s harbour in the background and our GPS had to be visable.  We had much discussion about which platform was the Duke of York Observation platform.  We hiked one of the trails down to the cannons and buildings and then back around.  We found a second cache on our way back up the hill.  Sandy called at that point and I asked her if she was up to joining us at the barbeque which Shelley, one of my university friends had planned for us.  She wasn’t feeling well at all, so I offered to take Nate along with us so that she could possibly sleep.

St. John's Harbour

The failed geocache photo - the harbour had to be showing in the background, but we were too polite to ask the stranger to re-take the photo. (You had to stand on a bench to get the harbour in!) A whole family photo nonetheless!

Fun among siblings - I think Olivia was the instigator of this fit of laughter!

Trying to recreate the "Louisbourg photo" of 2007 - we didn't quite manage it!

The scenery was amazing!

We picked Nate up and went to Shelley’s.  She has two little boys, Patrick who is 5, and Gabriel who will turn one at the end of the month.  The kids had a wonderful time playing together while Shelley & I got caught up.  We figured that it had probably been 16 years since we’d seen one another.  We had a feast of hamburgers, hotdogs and salads. Shelley had done a fantastic job of accommodating Olivia’s allergies and even sent us home with some safe gingersnaps.

With Gabriel

The girls with Gabriel. Nate, Patrick, and our boys were all busy playing in the playroom or outside, so I don't have any photos of them!

We went back to our home-away-from-home and Sandy & Dave came over to visit for the evening.  It felt good to get lots of newborn baby snuggles in and by the end of the evening we all had held her. Brianna was very good for being passed around so much!  Olivia and Nate were both exhausted and had one of their first real squabbles over a toy chair set.  When the Pearces left, the girls went up to bed and the boys and I played crib while we decided what to do during our last few days of vacation.

Nate, checking out Olivia's headphones on the way home. Does he look tired?

Sandy, opening the outfit that Ginna knit for Brianna

D'Arcy holds Brianna under Olivia's watchful eye.

Dave, Evan & Alex playing crib while a very tired Nate looks on.


Terra Nova to St. John’s

August 15, 2011

Part way from Terra Nova to St. John’s, we ran into rain.  We saw five bald eagles between Terra Nova Park and Goobies, but no moose.  We stopped for gas and noted that we were at the 1800km mark.

Carl, at Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park had told us about Salmonier Nature Park so we made sure to stop there.  The park has a beautiful two kilometre circular boardwalk where animals are kept in as close to their natural habitat as possible.  We had a great walk, seeing owls, geese, caribou, lynx, Arctic fox and other animals. The two moose put on quite a show for us, grazing nearby.


A leisurely walk in the rain - the boardwalk was beautiful and ran the whole circuit of the park.

Bald Eagle

Watching the Moose

Arctic Fox

It was close to suppertime when we finished the loop, so we went back to the van and left a message for Sandy & Dave now that we had cell service.  As we drove into town, we check availability at various hotels.  It turned out that there were three festivals taking place and very few rooms to be had.  Because we knew that we could get Olivia something safe to eat, we went to Boston Pizza for supper.  By this time, Dave had been in touch and called around for us as well.  The only places we could find would cost $200, so we decided that we would tent one more night.

As we started to eat, Sarah exclaimed, “My tooth!”  and held out her hand with her tooth in it.  When I looked into her mouth, I realized that it wasn’t the tooth we were expecting to fall out!  It was her second lower front tooth!  The upper one was still hanging!  She was traumatized and didn’t want to eat anything else.

A happy Sarah at supper - before losing her tooth

Fun at Boston Pizza

When we left the restaurant, we went straight to Pippy Park to get our tent set up while it was still light out.  We knew we were going to Dave’s mother’s house the next night, so only got the bare essentials out – sleeping bags, etc.  We were in a hurry to get to Sandy & Dave’s to meet baby Brianna.

Dave was out when we arrived, but we had visited for about an hour with Sandy, Nate and Brianna.  Not quite four weeks old, she was so tiny!  Sandy had been to the walk-in clinic earlier in the day and had been given a prescription for antibiotics to clear up mastitis.  She wasn’t looking very perky.

We had an early bedtime in the tent.  Sarah put her tooth in “Twinkle the Tooth Fairy” and set her beside her head.  It was raining, but we were cozy in the tent under the trees.  The kids were all asleep within moments.  Olivia had kicked off her covers and at one point through the night, and woke up cold crying that she wanted to go home.  I bundled her up and cuddled her in to me and she went back to sleep with a smile on her face.

Sleeping in the tent with Twinkle the Tooth Fairy

It was around 8:30 when we woke up, but D’Arcy had already been out for a run and had been geocaching.  We had breakfast and got packed up before we all went geocaching.  One of the caches was hidden near the playground, so Sarah & Olivia were more interested in playing.  Evan had a wipe-out off the slide and scraped up his knee.  We never did find the cache and eventually gave up and moved on to the next one which was hidden nearby.  We found that one really quickly, under a bridge along a walking path.

The girls amused themselves with the binoculars and their hot chocolate while we packed up...

This photo needs a creative caption!

I love this one!

Playground fun!

Another found geocache!


We left the campground and went to the Fluvarium, a nature centre which explains the importance of streams & rivers.  The bottom floor has windows which allow you to look into the stream outside and observe the ecosystem.  It took us about an hour to go through, and when we went to leave, we found the Pearces waiting for us at the exit!  I asked Sandy how she was feeling, and she put on a brave front.  We took all the kids mini-golfing and I ended up taking the little ones to the playground when they got tired of the game while Sandy nursed Brianna in the car.  After they got tired of the playground, we went to feed the ducks & pigeons while D’Arcy, Dave & the boys played the full 18 holes.  None of us had had lunch, so we went to McDonald’s, knowing it was safe for Olivia.  There, we tried to make some plans and we decided that we would go to Cape Spear next.

A trout in the river at the Fluvarium

D'Arcy giving Sandy a hand

Sarah, Olivia & Nate explore the golf course

Brianna, oblivious to the activity around her

The boys were having fun together.

Bird-man Nate!

It was a beautiful day to be at Cape Spear, the most easternly point in North America.  Sandy stayed in the car with Brianna, to feed her and hopefully get a bit of a nap.  The weather was overcast and cool, but there was no fog, so there was good visibility.  We found a geocache right away and climbed up to the lighthouse.   Dave and Nate went back to check on their girls while we searched for one more cache, located near a whale watching rock, off one of the lower walking paths.  I kept Sarah & Olivia with me on the path while D’Arcy and the boys searched.  The boys climbed up on a rock on the cliff while D’Arcy searched at the whale watching rock.  The boys were talking & laughing, and I tried to get some photos of them.  I only found out later that Alex was actually trying to use the bathroom without anyone noticing!   We were getting nervous watching D’Arcy, so pleaded to him to give up and we went back to meet the Pearces.

The family at Cape Spear, the most Easterly point in North America.

We found another geocache!

The waves were spectacular!

Searching for another cache.

Dave & Brianna

From there, we took the scenic route back to St. John’s through Bay Bulls and went to Dave’s mom’s house where we would be staying.  D’Arcy kept busy unloading the van while Dave & the boys played crib, the younger kids played and Sandy & I visited.   When they left at 8:30, we started baths and laundry.  It felt so good to be clean!  Sleeping in a comfortable bed with fleece sheets felt like heaven!

Olivia & Brianna

Olivia & Brianna