Geocashing and Exploring

August 5, 2011

The heavy rain held off through the night.  I woke at five and the outside of the tent was slightly wet, but had dried off by the time we got up at eight.  Because we hadn’t unpacked much, we were able to get the tent and our belongings packed up quickly.  We stopped in to say goodbye to Carl, who was a wonderful ambassador and so helpful and kind to us!

The drive from Frenchman’s Cove to Bonavista takes about four hours.  We stopped in Marystown for coffee & smoothies for the road.  Just as we got out of town, the girls announced that they had to go to the bathroom.  For the record, there is NO place to stop along the road from  Marystown to Goobies.  At one point, we pulled over to let Olivia pee on the side of the road, but she had some performance anxiety and decided she could wait for the gas station.  We finally arrived back in Goobies. Sarah insisted on washing the van windows, something I remember loving to do while on trips with my own family when I was growing up.  The girls wanted to go over and see the moose again.  The bull moose is anatomically correct which made for some interesting conversation!  We stopped in at the Visitor Information Centre and got some information on Bonavista and the girls got activity books.

Our next stop was Clarenville where we went to the Co-op to get supplies for lunch. We took the scenic route from Clarenville and stopped in Trinity to have our lunch – another beautiful Newfoundland town!  We had sandwiches, fruit, yogurt & pudding at a picnic table on the water.  A man from Trinity came along with his dog, Charlie, and the girls had fun petting him.  We also chatted with a couple from Quebec City who were traveling on motorcycle.  After we ate, we walked up to the Library and used the C@P site before touring around the rest of the town.

A picnic in Trinity

Trinity, Newfoundland

We headed to Bonavista and it started to rain heavily.  During the drive, we decided that we would find a place to stay rather than sleeping in the tent again.  We found a “cabin” (small apartment) at the Hotel Bonavista & Cabins.  I think we all enjoyed having some of the comforts of home!

After we checked in, we drove out to Bonavista Lighthouse and searched for our first geo-cache! Despite the rain & fog, the setting is beautiful!  There are Inukshuks built all along the cliffs’ edges.  After we found the geo-cache, we took an eraser and left a toy that we had found in our van when we bought it – and a business card of course!  There were puffins flying everywhere.  It was a fun activity and the kids are looking forward to finding their next one.



Almost found it!

Found it!!


Having fun with the family!

All those white spots are puffins!

We came back to the “cabin” and cooked pizzas while the girls watched some television and D’Arcy and the boys played crib.  We were happy to be warm & dry while the rain pounded outside!


I am officially on an adventure!  This winter, I became aware of a professional development opportunity, sponsored through the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to attend the Professional Development Program at Cornell University.  As a university student studying Tourism & Hospitality Management, I used to pour over the journals from the Cornell School of Hotel Management.  I doubt I ever passed in a paper without at least one reference to those journals. I knew I had to apply! I was accepted to take the first course towards a Certification in Strategic Hospitality Management.The past few days, I have been scrambling to get ready for the trip.  It’s a busy time of year to start with; D’Arcy’s been marking exams and coming up with final assessments, the kids have all had their year end activities and the B&B has been in full swing!  D’Arcy was up all night last night so that he could get his marks submitted and bake bread (our end-of-the-year teachers’ gift).  When I came downstairs this morning at 5:50, the table was set, the muffins were made and there were eight loaves of bread on the counter and four in the oven!

Oatmeal Brown Bread for the teachers!

This morning, as I served breakfast, I mentioned to the guests that I was excited because I would be leaving late morning to fly to Ithaca, New York.  We had a West Coast crew this morning – British Columbia & Washington State. As president of the school parent-teacher group, as soon as our guests left I scooted out and, with my sister-in-law, took two trays of fruit and six dozen muffins up to the school for the teachers to show our appreciation for all they do.  I came back home and helped my father finish the kitchen clean-up.  Before we knew it, it was time to hit the road for the airport! I had received an email that my flight was delayed by and hour, but my father was anxious to get me to the airport!  (Keep in mind that this is the same man who tried to get me to my wedding a half hour early!)  My flight was delayed, so I dropped some of our Belgravia Bed & Breakfast brochures off at the airport Visitor Information Centre.  As I was talking with Natalie, we discovered that her cousin is my teaching mentor at the Nova Scotia Community College!  It’s a small world! I went upstairs to US departures and breezed through security.  I went on to be cleared through US Customs and got pulled aside!  At first I thought it was because the purpose of my trip was to study and they thought I needed a certain Visa.  I got taken into a secondary area and asked to sit in  a sterile environment while I waited for the Customs Agent to look up all the information.  It turned out I was screened because the name on my passport is not the name on my birth certificate!  I’ve never heard of this!  He told me all my information is incorrect and that I can’ t just “change my name”!  Talk about stress.  Luckily, I had other ID with me and so pulled out my driver’s license and my Nova Scotia health card which have my name on them, exactly as written on my passport.  He allowed me to go through but told me when I get my passport renewed, I should get them to change my name.  Actually, I will be applying for a NEXUS card instead to be pre-cleared and avoid the opportunity of something like this happening again!

Through security but before going through US Customs!

I went into the holding area which was really quite lovely.  It is bright and airy and clean.  I had a burger and watched the planes, then did some homework.  Our daughter has a severe Peanut/treenut allergy, so we never eat nuts of any kind when we are around her; since I will be away for a week, I had my first Crispy Crunch chocolate bar in over four years!  Yum!! The Halifax Stanfield International Airport has been voted best airport in its class for the past seven years, and after traveling through three airports in one day, I understand why!  It was a very pleasant experience. My flight finally took off from Halifax to Philadelphia and I figured that when I landed I would have about 20 minutes to switch terminals and make my connecting flight to Ithaca.  As it turned out, I needn’t have worried as when I arrived, I discovered the flight to Ithaca had been delayed by an hour-and-half.  My friend Kate, who grew up in Upstate New York, but now lives in Boston, has met me for the weekend, so we spent our time in the airport getting caught up after I called the owner of the B&B where we were booked to let her know what was going on.  When we boarded the plane to Ithaca, we were told that due to severe weather earlier in the day, there was a backlog for take-off and we were behind approximately 22 other flights.  We ended up sitting on the runway for an 1hour and 45 minutes before take off, so it was close to 9:00 when we finally arrived in Ithaca.  Luckily, our bags came right through and the rental car was waiting for us. We drove to Thomas Farm B&Band brought our things in.  We have a sweet room with a loft, so freshened up a bit and then headed back into downtown Ithaca to find something to eat.  Along the side of the road, Kate pointed out the fireflies – the sky was just full of them and it was just beautiful.  We also had a possum run across the road in front of us which was another new experience! Most of the nicer eating establishments were closed and we decided that we weren’t quite up to going to one of the College pubs, so we went to “Collegetown Pizza” and had a slice of pizza and wrote our names on the wall with many others!  We came back to the B&B where we poured over the tourist literature of the Finger Lakes area and made a plan for Saturday before calling it a night.

My name is there for posterity

D’Arcy is home looking after a full-house by himself.  We had some returning guests arriving who I am disappointed to be missing… Next up:  Exploring the Finger Lake Region of New York State!

We had a fantastic weekend at my High School Reunion and I think I am starting to recover now that we’re mid-week.  I haven’t seen hours like that in years!!  D’Arcy & I literally worked flat-out in the days between the end of school and the Wine & Cheese here on Friday night.  And when I say flat-out, I mean that he was just finishing mowing the lawn when the first guests arrived!  We painted the front of the house including the steps, redecorated & organized our back porch from top-to-bottom, put new fixtures & lighting in our downstairs bathroom, totally re-decorated our own family room – including sanding & varnishing the floors, tearing down wallpaper, fixing plaster, re-wallpapering, painting all trim, new curtains, new furniture & new lighting.  (You’d never know it was the same room!!)  “We” also put new 140 square feet of new patio stones at the bottom of the stairs/ramp at our back deck.  We got almost all the projects scratched off our list while trying to finish Thesis, entertain guests, entertain children, etc…

At one point, while I was stressing out over replying to emails, registrations, updating our website, etc., D’Arcy pointed out to me, “you sure are putting an awful lot of hours in for other people’s enjoyment.”  It was worth it to reconnect with so many former classmates & friends!  I can’t say that the weekend didn’t go without a hitch – there were a few – but everyone seemed to have a great time and that’s all that matters!

Today, I switched gears and went to the College to meet some of the people I will be working with when I start next week.  I had a tour and saw my office.  I will meet my students on Wednesday – yes, a week from today!  However, classes won’t start until the 16th.

It was a bit overwhelming to say the least.  I’m taking the kids to Amherst Shore to be with Sandy, Nate & Dave today so we can have at least one peaceful summertime memory before I head to work.  Hopefully D’Arcy will get a chance to finish his Thesis while we’re gone.

Part of me is really excited, but the other part is wondering, “What have I done?

Tomorrow, I’ll order transcripts and call the insurance company to see if we need medical coverage through each of us; today, I’m going to enjoy my children!

Hurricane Bill

August 23, 2009

So we got home from vacation in time to tackle the mountain of five days worth of camping laundry and tie everything down before the arrival of Hurricane Bill.


It so far is nowhere near what we experienced when Hurricane Juan hit in 2003, but we are experiencing significant rain.  My hope was to upload our vacation photos today, so we’ll have to see how the power holds.

The boys have finally earned enough money to buy their “wii” so D’Arcy is going to take them to the mall this afternoon.  That’s a surefire way to guarantee the power will go out tonight!!

I was on the phone with a friend of mine this afternoon, talking about her recent adventures Tidal Bore Rafting, when I had to interrupt her and say that we were getting some rumblings of thunder, so I thought I should get off the phone.  The rain had started to fall really hard, so I called to Alex & Sarah to come see – there is a nice feeling about being safe & dry inside while it pours outside!

Soon, we realized that there was hail mixed in with the rain and it got really dark, so I started giving orders to go and unplug the tvs & computers, while I tried to figure out how to disconnect the cable from the wall.  By that time, it was coming down really hard, so I grabbed the camera.





Our neighbour was outside, taking photos too…



Sarah & Alex went out to check the hail on the deck – Sarah was still afraid it would thunder more, so had a hard time forcing a smile!


D’Arcy & Olivia had been in the grocery store when all this was going on and they said it was very loud!   Olivia wasn’t too impressed by it all either…


Now that it’s over, Sarah is feeling much braver and wants to go outside to find out where all the “inhale” went!!

Not Since Moses

June 28, 2009

Today, we packed up the gang at 7:15 am and headed to Five Islands, NS, to run in the “Not Since Moses” race on the floor of the Bay of Fundy.  The kids’ run was actually scheduled and went ahead yesterday morning, but since our School Board had the last day of school yesterday (Saturday) they added a second kids’ run, just last week for today.  The race date is planned each year according to the time the tide is at its lowest and out the longest.

I had to wake the girls up and get them dressed, just before we loaded them in the car, taking their breakfast to-go.  (My parents arrived at 7:00 to serve breakfast for the guests – we’re so lucky!!)  Evan is NOT a morning person, so he was being sullen until we hit the road, and then they were all raring to go!!

IMG_5523_3We listened to some “High School Musical”, etc. along the way, and everyone was getting down with it.  I had thought that the race started at 9:00, so made sure we were there in lots of time.  As it turned out, we were the second car in the parking lot (other than the volunteers – and there were only a couple of them around as well!)  We decided to head down to the beach to pass the time.

The kids found a large driftwood tree trunk, and hung out on that for a few moments, talking and giggling…


And then we went down to the water’s edge as it receded and spent a good chunk of time skipping stones…






We have never been so early for something that we actually got to watch them set up!! (The race started at nine yesterday, 9:30 today!)


We ended up going back up to the van, checking out the port-a-potties, and watching the other runners arrive and sign up.


D’Arcy even put the kids all on the roof of the van, so they could have a better view of what was going on. (Olivia didn’t seem too impressed!) They came off pretty quickly when Evan exclaimed, “That felt freaky when the roof just sank underneath us!”


The girls then had fun, finding one another in the tent windows…


We went back down to the beach and hung out on the driftwood while waiting for the tide to go out further.


Sarah even had time to make a “Discovery” when she learned that some rocks can be used as a pencil on others. (We called them “chalk rocks” when I was growing up…)


Finally, the organizers decided the tide was out far enough and came by asking the kids to line up to run in “one minute”! We were ready!! Unfortunately, most of the kids had run yesterday, so there were only a few today. The Volunteer making the announcements said that in yesterday’s race, only two runners completed the full 1k. (It’s more difficult than you would think!!) Both our boys finished!


The boys ran on ahead from the start, but the girls & I did great during the beach part…


We ran along the beach without a problem, but as soon as we had to turn the 125m mark and run in the mud, the girls started to wail cry. The volunteer who was marking the way was trying to cajole them, but the more their feet sank, the harder they screamed cried. D’Arcy could see us from the start, and noticed that we had stopped, but he couldn’t tell what was going on. He kept taking photos of the boys…







The girls and I had decided to forsake the mud and come back on the beach by this point (I had to carry Olivia most of the way, still wailing crying…)


We FINALLY made it, tired, dirty & indignant!





They all got medals for completing the race. Some were more pleased than others…


This one was taken by our friend Judy, a B&B owner in Five Islands.  Like I said, Olivia was not happy until she was cleaned up!!

This one was taken by our friend Judy, a B&B owner in Five Islands. Like I said, Olivia was not happy until she was cleaned up!!

We went to Five Islands Provincial Park for a Picnic and to watch the start of the 10k.



See the 10k runners in the distance? “HI Mrs. Dennis!!” ;-P



I love that my kids really love one another – look how much fun they have together!!!

We had to stop along the way home to get this photo for Ms. Teale,


We also stopped at the Market on the way home, then I put all the laundry in the washer while D’Arcy hosed off the sneakers. He took all of the kids to my parents’ house for a swim-bath this afternoon, and we’re planning a low-key movie night and early bed tonight.

I LOVE Summer Vacation!!

In Real Life

April 15, 2009

The boys are so excited today they can hardly stand it. 

They’ve been invited to go watch the YTV kids’ reality show “In Real Life” (think “Amazing Race” for kids…) with contestant Aaron on the big screen tonight.  My mother taught Aaron in Primary and sent him a note to say how much she & the boys were enjoying watching him on the show and the next thing she knew, Aaron’s mom showed up at her door with a poster and invited them to join in while they watch the episode air!  In tonight’s episode, they’re in Alberta fighting fires!


**Updated to add – they had a blast and the late night was worth it!!  They were given red “Go Aaron/Team Red” bandannas and Aaron has invited them back every week – he told them that this episode (firefighting) was the hardest for him as the gear weighed 60 lbs and he only weighs 90lbs!  Here’s a photo of the boys with their latest celebrity friend:  (they don’t look happy or anything…)


Oh yeah – and he made it through to another week!!  🙂