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.

Geocashing

Inukshuks

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!

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A Day of (Mis)adventures

August 5, 2011

The boys & I woke up in the tent shortly after eight a.m., only to discover that D’Arcy was already up and out for a run.   We lazed in our sleeping bags, chatting quietly and the girls continued to sleep peacefully until closer to nine.  When D’Arcy got back from his run, we got up, lit a fire and started to make breakfast and hot cocoa.  The weather was cool & grey, but the skies were threatening rain.  We decided that we should pack up as quickly as possible, so that our things wouldn’t get wet.  Our itinerary for the day was to drive to Fortune and catch the ferry to St. Pierre & Miquelon, France.  We were all excited.

Breakfast at the Campsite

We were packed up by eleven and stopped at the park check-in where we could get cell phone & internet service.  D’Arcy called the ferry company to confirm our reservation and was told that they had been trying to contact us.  The French Government ferry that we were booked on had gone on strike!!  They could take us over that day, but couldn’t guarantee that they’d be able to get us back.  When D’Arcy called back to ask how far in advance we needed to check in, they informed us that the workers had refused to bring the boat over so the crossing was cancelled.  The private tour company ferry left at 11:30 a.m., so there was no way we could get to St. Pierre.

We started making a flurry of calls.  When D’Arcy tried to call the B&B in St. Pierre, we discovered that his phone wasn’t enabled to make international calls.  My phone is, but I’m with Rogers (only until my contract is over!) and have no cell service here.  Carl, at the Provincial Park was fantastic through this.  He let us use his phone and we charged the call to my parents’ house because somebody had to answer to accept the charges. We were able to cancel our reservation for the night and told them that we would be there the next day.  We also booked the private ferry for the next morning at 7:30 a.m.  We decided that we would drive around the Burin Peninsula and stay somewhere in Fortune, near the ferry.

The Burin area was beautiful and quintessential Newfoundland.  Steep, rugged cliffs, narrow windy roads, water, and brightly coloured wooden houses.  Parked on a rock by the water, the girls were delighted to see a VW Beetle, painted blue, with moose antlers on the front and a giant key coming out of the trunk.  Burin was the location of a tsunami in 1927 and so we visited two museums and an art gallery.  Every Wednesday evening, there is an outdoor jamboree on a wooden stage between the museum and the art gallery.  The girls insisted on putting on a performance of their own, creating characters “Savaria” (Sarah) and “Teddy” (Olivia).  Teddy had lost her dog and Savaria was searching for her brother because they were playing hide and seek.

The performance

We got back into the van and drove around the peninsula to Fortune, where we were going to pick up our ferry tickets.  Parked in the parking lot, we got out the passports, only to discover that we only had five!  Alex’s was still at home in the lock box!!  At this point, we felt deflated.  D’Arcy went in to check with them if it was possible to go without his, but he needed to have a government issued photo ID.  We were all disappointed and Alex felt terrible.  I reminded him that it was not his fault – I was the one who forgot to get his passport.  He had even asked me before he left if I had them all, and without double checking, I just said yes.  I assumed they were all together.  Evan reminded him that we are all a team and that if Alex couldn’t go, then none of us would go.

We talked about how important the St. Pierre part of the trip was to each of us, and thought about alternatives.  We went in to a local diner to have supper and figure out what to do.  We made some calls and my parents were able to save the day!  After telling them where the key and lock box were, they went to our house, got the passport and couriered it to the tour company!  It should arrive on Friday.  We looked at the map, rearranged our trip, and will go to St. Pierre on Sunday, overnight.

With the “extra” day, we decided to travel to Bonavista, one of the places we wanted to see, but didn’t have time to fit in.  We called Carl at Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park and got our same site back for the night.  We arrived at 7:30 and D’Arcy & the boys set up the tent and got the campfire lit while I started to get water ready for hot cocoa, and got the ingredients out for s’mores.  It was threatening to rain through the night, so we unpacked only the bare essentials.  While we were getting set up, Sarah & Olivia were playing.  Sarah had a baseball & glove and was throwing the ball into the air and catching it – most of the time!  She missed one that hit her in the face and knocked the lens right out of her glasses!  This makes two pair of broken glasses so far this trip! (D’Arcy broke the arm off his while on the ferry…)  Luckily, I had brought both Sarah & Alex’s extra pairs, so when we get to St. John’s we’ll go to an optician and get them fixed.

We sat around the fire, listening to the loons on the water and made – and burnt – our s’mores.  When talking about what we learned during the day, the kids mentioned that we need to be flexible and that we should double check for things like passports before leaving! We all decided that our day of misadventure actually turned out all right in the end.  We had a relaxing evening around the campfire, we’ll still get to St. Pierre and now we’ll get to Bonavista too.  It involves some extra 400 odd kms of driving, but I have agreed to relax my DVD-watching-in-the-van rule during roads that we’re traveling on for a second (and third… and fourth… ) time.

S'mores!

Laughing around the fire after a long day!

Alex enjoyed his s'mores!

Olivia has told us that she loves Newfoundland because she loves throwing rocks in the water at our campsite!  I don’t think she’d care if we didn’t go anywhere else!

View at our campsite

Last year’s Blue Nose 5k was my first time running in a race of any kind. When I finished, D’Arcy commented “Next year we should do the 10” to which I replied, “NEVER!”  I don’t consider myself a runner and didn’t think I could ever run 10k!

Guess what we did yesterday?

Ran 10k!

After an extremely busy, tiring, and somewhat stressful week, we took advantage of one of the Delta’s last minute specials and headed to Halifax a night early.  It was suppertime before we actually were packed up and on the road, so we stopped off at the grocery store and picked up some items to have a picnic for supper.    We ate fruit, nachos, crackers, olives, cheese, yogurt and breadsticks.  We watched some of the hockey game and hung out as a family.  We encouraged the kids to get to bed early, but I think it was close to 10:30 before we finally had to lay down the law to get them to stop giggling with one another and close their eyes.

We woke up early on Saturday morning to a bright, sun-filled sky.  As a Delta Privilege member, breakfast is included with our room and they are fantastic about catering to Olivia’s allergies and making sure the food is safe for her.  We had a good breakfast and got ready to head to the Start line of the Blue Nose Youth Run. The boys were excited to be participating again this year.

The girls were excited to see Myles again, and he posed with all four for a photo.

I took the boys up and dropped them off together at the start while D’Arcy navigated the girls through the crowd to navigate a place near the finish. There were apparently 3000+ kids who participated this year, so the crowds were a bit crazy, to say the least! D’Arcy left me there with the girls and he headed up to the water stop along the 4.2 km course to watch for them. When each passed, he would phone to tell me when to look for them. They both ran really well, without stopping, Evan finishing in about 18 minutes and Alex in about 23.

(I almost missed Alex, who ended up running alongside the 2011 Canada Games Torch Bearers!)

After the race was over, we went into the Metro Centre to meet our very pleased and proud boys, which was where we noticed that the girls were featured in last year’s Youth Run Video as it played on the big screen.

We went back to the hotel for a celebratory swim and soak in the hot-tub, before leaving D’Arcy in the room to work on his Thesis while we headed out to explore the Discovery Centre. I don’t have any really good photos, as my hands were full just making sure the four kids were having fun and were accounted for by myself.  Rest assured, we had a lot of fun!

We headed back to the hotel and picked D’Arcy up for supper.  We went down to the Hotel pub where we had eaten during our stay in February. Because we had opted out of housekeeping during our stay (an initiative of the Delta’s green program) we had $20 of gift certificates for the pub.  The food was delicious, but we ended up with WAY too much food!  We went back to our room with bellies that were far too full and wondered how we would ever be able to run in the morning!

After an early night, Evan woke me at about 4:30 am because Sarah, his bed-mate, was lying horizontal in the bed and snoring “louder than Dad does”!  I invited him into our room, but I don’t think I ever fully got back to sleep.  We got up shortly after six and started getting ready, knowing that if we were going to eat, we had to do it early so we could run.  We had to actually wake Olivia at 7:15 to get her down to the dining room as we were meeting Aunt Erin at 8:00. The times of the races changed this year, something we learned after we had already signed up.  This year, the 10k left 40 minutes before the 5k.  I realized that there was no way I’d be able to run my own race without worrying about the boys getting separated in the crowd before their own started.  Erin was kind enough to agree to run with them, giving us peace of mind that they’d be safe.

All went fairly smoothly and we met up with Erin as planned, got our chips on our sneakers and our bibs on our shirts and headed up to the starting line.  Of course, as I got my camera out so we could have some photos for posterity, the batteries died!  (Never fails!)  What did we ever do before phones with cameras?  Mine saved the day!

Bluenose 2010

Evan & Alex with running partner, Aunt Erin

We all headed up to the start and watched the full marathon runners take off. It was almost time for D’Arcy & I to take the girls and go to our places when Alex started to cry. He was worried about us running over the bridge. His recurrent nightmare is about falling off a bridge into the water and I kicked myself when I realized why he was worried. We reassured him as best we could that we would be safe and applauded the fact he had the courage to express his fears to us. We said our goodbyes, good lucks and have funs and left for the start after getting hugs and high-fives.

The crowd for the 10k was amazing – 2320 participants! The Zumba people led a warm-up and the girls were not at all impressed! They weren’t sure about the whole “run” until we got going. A highlight of the day was when my friend Deanna, who was running the half, spotted us and came over for a pre-run hug! One of her friends took a photo of us together which I hope to get a copy of at some point. Before we knew it, the starting gun went off!

Now pushing a double stroller among that many people is not for the faint of heart. Especially when you try to be respectful of others. It took us over a kilometre before we were at a point where we could run at our own pace, rather than that of others. Even then, there were many times we would have liked to pass people, but there just wasn’t room. Crossing the bridge was beautiful with the sun shining on Halifax Harbour. I was able to notice that there are actually nets under the rails, so even if we had “slipped” we would have been caught in the nets. I made a mental note to tell Alex when we got off.

We were only about halfway over the bridge (4.5k) when the leader of the race passed us on his way back! Everyone cheered & clapped for him as he was running! It was really warm, so we made sure to stop at every water stop so we wouldn’t get dehydrated. The hill coming off the bridge in Dartmouth was torture; we had to stop running and walk to the top. When we started running again, I was still a bit winded, but took a turn pushing the girls to give D’Arcy a break. D’Arcy had a conversation with our friend Chris last week, and Chris told him to think of him when he was pushing the girls and felt like giving up because he would do anything to be able to run again. Over the bridge, D’Arcy looked at me and said, “I’m thinking of Chris!” At one point, Sarah reminded us, “It doesn’t matter who wins… It’s not a race!”

The race course took us past D’Arcy’s cousin Sheila & her husband Peter’s house where they were sitting on their front porch drinking tea and cheering the runners on. We yelled to them and they cheered and waved for us as we passed by each way. That gave us some much-needed (at that point!) extra momentum!

We had to walk again going back up the Bridge, but took turns with the girls which made it much easier. Coming down the other side, we knew there was less than 2km left to the finish, so we dug deep. Part way down Brunswick Street, we heard sirens behind us and after a moment of wondering if someone was hurt, realized it was the police with the marathon pace car & bicyclist, asking people to move out of the way for the lead marathon runner to come through on his way to the split time.

The finish line was almost in sight when Sarah announced that she had dropped her sunglass clip. D’Arcy started to stop and told me to go on ahead, but continued on his way after I barked, “We’re almost there – we can come back to get it, but we’re going to finish together!” I said it last year, and I’ll say it again – I think the fact that the finish line is located up a slight hill is cruel! D’Arcy put on a last burst of energy and we were both holding on to the stroller. At one point I remember telling him that I couldn’t go that fast and he told me to push myself to get to the end. I can only imagine what my face looks like in the finish line photos because I was literally gasping for air! None of the smiling and waving from last year…

We got our chips clipped off our sneakers, and the volunteers were kind enough to give the girls our medals.  We headed into the Metro Centre and around through, in case we had time to catch the boys coming across the finish line.  We weren’t sure how long it would take them or if we had missed them, when D’Arcy yelled to me, “There’s Alex – he’s coming through!”  As I turned to look, D’Arcy told me to look the other way; Alex was sprinting and was almost across the finish line!  We went inside and met up with Evan and shortly after Alex & Erin found us.

We all told our stories and eventually Erin went up to watch the finish of the half and the full and we went back to the hotel for a swim and to pack up.  The boys were SO proud of themselves and had a lot of fun running the race.  They both said that they didn’t feel they were able to run as well as they had the day before and  each had to stop and walk a short time.  As it was, out of 1405 participants, Evan finished 106th with a time of 24:54 and Alex finished 436th with a time of 30:46.  D’Arcy and I came 1205 and 1206 out of 2320 participants with a time of 1:02:47 and 1:02:49 respectively.  Not too shabby, considering we were pushing over 75lbs of daughters!

We went back to the hotel to pack up and have a swim and a soak in the hot tub.  Erin arrived to pick up her things and the girls gave her her birthday present, but Sarah insisted keeping the “Hello Kitty” bag it had been wrapped in!

D’Arcy had locked the lock on the car-top carrier, to which the key – of course – was on my key ring at home.  One of the staff at the Delta was able to cut it off for us. Our first stop was to find the sunglass clip and we were successful!  Somebody had moved it onto a lawn; it was a bit scratched up, but still usable until her eye appointment and new glasses in July.  We went to Grandma & Grandpa’s house for lunch and a visit and both D’Arcy and Evan ended up having a nap.  We hadn’t seen Grandma & Grandpa in ages so it was fun to get caught up, especially since we’re rarely there by ourselves.  Before we knew it, we had to start for home because we had guests due to arrive and we were all exhausted!

We all agreed that this is one of our favourite “vacations” and we’re already looking forward to next year!  Of course, next year the girls will be too big for the stroller, so we’ll have to run it without them.  Anybody willing to put their name down to babysit for an hour next long weekend?  I guarantee you an adventure!

Privileged

February 23, 2010

We collect Delta Privilege points.  Between Chris & Lisa’s wedding & the Tourism Conference among other events, we were eligible for Platinum status this year.  As a Platinum member, we get free room upgrades, free internet, turn-down service, etc. at each stay.  The best bonus is that we “earned” $300 which could be used toward room and/or dining charges.  The only catch is that status in the program may vary from year to year, depending on how often you stay and the year expires on February 28th.  We love the atmosphere & the staff at the Delta Barrington, as well as its convenient location downtown.  We’ve not been disappointed any time we have stayed, and even wrote a glowing review on Trip Advisor for them after our summertime stay.

We got a letter in the mail last month, explaining that the expiry date was coming up, so we looked at the calendar, chose a date, and booked two rooms for Saturday night.  (As a family of six, we no longer fit into one regular hotel room.)  We just put “Surprise” on the calendar for the kids, in case it fell-through, and booked out on Saturday night.  The kids had a wonderful time trying to guess what the surprise would be.

On Friday at suppertime, my parents took the girls to their house for a sleepover so that we could watch the Olympics and get ready in peace.  We lit a fire in the tv room, ate store-bought pizza (a novelty with Olivia out-of-the-house) and pulled out the couch.  D’Arcy marked and we all watched the curling & the skeleton races.  We told the boys what we would be doing the next day and they were happy to hear that we’d decided to dedicate the weekend to our family.  We turned off our computers and just hung out.

Both boys play basketball on Saturday mornings and usually D’Arcy takes them while I stay home with the girls.  Since the girls were with my parents, I planned to go watch the games.  On our way to Evan’s game, we dropped some clothes & snowpants off so that they could go outside & play while they waited.  As I rushed in the door, I discovered a pale-looking Sarah, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch.  My mother informed me that she had been throwing up in the night, but she wasn’t sure if Sarah was sick or had just eaten too much too fast.  I told them I would be back to pick them up in an hour when the game was over and we would decide what to do from there.

Evan’s game was great and he scored a couple of really nice baskets.  Alex was disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to watch his game, but I explained that by going home, it would give me time to make lunch and be sure that everything was ready to go.

We got on the road close to 2:00, packed up with more than enough “stuff” for overnight!

Belongings for six of us for 24 hours! It may be the first time in 11.5 years that we've traveled without a stroller!

We had to stop at Canadian Tire along the way to buy water-wings for the girls, the only thing I forgot to pack.  We got to the hotel right at three and got checked in to adjoining rooms.  The concierge remembered us from our stay when Chris & Lisa got married, but I suspect we’re not an easy group to forget!

We got settled in and the girls immediately put their bathing suits on!  We tried to hold them back for a few minutes while we waited for our “welcome tray” of cheese, crackers & fruit.  (Another perk!)

After what seemed like FOREVER, I'm sure, to them, we were ready to head to the pool!

We were too busy having fun to take any photos while at the pool.  We decided that it was the perfect time-of-year to have an overnight (as opposed to March Break) because there were only two other families with similar age children, rather than the teenagers who seem to over-run the place during school holidays.  One family was from here – their little boy had on the same t-shirt from last summer’s basketball camp that our boys did!

After swimming, we all had baths & showers and got ready for dinner.  We peeked into the bar hoping to be able to watch Olympics while we ate, but there were so many reserved tables we headed to the restaurant downstairs instead.  As it turned out, they were expecting a large group, so the dining manager got us a table in the bar afterall!

We had taken the game “Science Diction” with us to play while we waited and all went smoothly.  We had one blip when our kids ordered “Shirley Temples” and I didn’t think to ask what was in them.  Just as Olivia started to sip, I thought to ask if there was pineapple juice in them and of course, there was!  Olivia wasn’t too impressed when we took it away from her, but the server came right back with a safe one and there was no harm done.

It is nerve-wracking to eat out when your child has food allergies, especially at a new place.  We explained her allergies to the server who was very understanding and cautious.  We didn’t ever feel like we were putting her out.  She discussed with the chef what Olivia is allergic to and they sent her a “safe” plate with cheese pizza & cut veggies.  It turned out the dip for the veggies was ranch dressing (egg) – eek! Luckily, it was in a ramekin, so we took it off her plate.  Evan was quick to share the ketchup from his fish & chips and all went well.

The boys, snazzed up for dinner

All four, ready for dinner

The three boys, waiting for our food

The girls weren't quite as co-operative about posing...

Olivia's pizza & veggies

We went back up to the room after supper and got into our pyjamas.  We all piled into our room and watched Olympics while playing “Lotto” (a bingo-type game the girls love).  Although we didn’t take many pictures, Alex got most of the action on his video camera!

Sarah put herself in charge of handing out game pieces, thus rigging the game!

When the time came for Olivia to go to sleep (about 9:15), she wanted me to lie down with her.  I took her into the kids room and we cuddled.  Of course, I fell asleep.  D’Arcy woke me a couple of hours later when he was bringing the rest of our sleeping children into bed!

They were all up bright & early on Sunday morning and were raring to go for a swim.  We swam, got cleaned up & packed up and went downstairs for breakfast (also included as a Delta Privilege members) .  I had taken a safe muffin, some oatmeal & some grapes for Olivia because breakfast is especially nerve-wracking for us.  (Peanut butter & eggs everywhere!)  While the rest of us ate from the buffet, she insisted on Froot Loops (like her sister) and yogurt with apple juice to drink; she had half her muffin from home.

It was about 11:30 by this time, so we checked out and headed to Costco for a few things.  The boys really wanted to use some money they’d saved to buy the Winter Olympics game for their wii, so we thought we’d look there first.  The girls were asleep by the time we pulled away from the hotel, so D’Arcy stayed in the van with them, marking while the boys & I went shopping.

We didn’t have luck with the game at Costco, but did at the second store we tried.  We then went in to see Grandma & Grandpa to have a visit there.  When we arrived, the girls were cranky from just waking up and the boys (Alex) were cranky from being overtired.  They whined & bickered until D’Arcy & I laid down the law and got them set up playing monopoly.  They all came around and we had a good visit, with a delicious ham dinner.  We ate until we were stuffed, with Erin, Brian & Morag all arriving before we left.

A little reading with Dad

While Grandpa gets his first look at the Thesis (well, the first part of it!)

He insisted he was "NOT TIRED"!!!!

Monopoly got them all cooperating again - eventually...

D'Arcy "wasn't tired" either...

We got home about 7:30, unpacked the van and got everybody tucked into bed.  I went to sleep while D’Arcy tackled the laundry and watched the hockey game.  He woke me at midnight to watch the ice dancers…

The kids were still reveling in the weekend yesterday morning and the boys thanked us profusely before heading to the bus stop.

When the mail came yesterday afternoon, I discovered a letter from Delta.  Inside, was a note saying that because of our loyalty, we’ve automatically been reaffirmed as Platinum members for next year!  Thank you Delta – we feel very privileged indeed!

Back to School

January 4, 2010

I always feel a sense of let down on the first day back to school after a break.  I’m one of those people who loves to have my flock around me, and this break was better than most.  I We didn’t over commit ourselves for a change, and with the kids all getting older and less dependent, life seemed to roll along smoothly.

We spent most of the two weeks off together as a family.  The boys each were able to have friends here for sleepovers on two different nights and Chloe had a sleepover with Sarah on New Year’s Eve.  One of the biggest treats for all of them was that all four slept in guest rooms on January 2nd – Evan in one, Alex in another, and Sarah & Olivia in the third.  They love to play “guest” and cart their keys around!

We were lucky to get in some visits with some of our very dearest friends, as well.  Sandy, Dave & Nate were home from NL; Kim, JC & boys were home from Montreal; Theresa, Jeff and the boys stopped in from NB; Cynthia, Ken & the boys made it here from the Valley; and we had visits with the cousins down the street.

Making Christmas ornaments

Finally - a photo with the four 5 year olds!

Rock & Roll - watch out in another few years!!

Olivia & Nate playing "spaceship" in Grammie's pantry - just like their mothers used to do!

The kids LOVE this train!

A half-hearted hug from Jacob for his godmother

BINGO!

All this entertaining wears a girl out!

First skate on the rink - New Year's Day

Olivia, with a little help from Dad

A couple of falls and they were done!

This year, we were lucky enough to be able to celebrate Nate’s 3rd birthday with him and his family.  Back when we found out what dates they would be here, I offered to bake his cake.  Sandy & Dave asked him what kind of cake he’d like and he replied, “my head”.

Okay.

As cakes go, it was actually not that difficult to accomplish and we were all pleased with the final result.  The whole family came down to our place for his party and Sandy & Dave ordered pizzas for all of us.  It was a wonderful afternoon!

"Nate"

Seeing his cake for the first time - I think he liked it!

"I'm Three!"

Beth & Clara

Sarah, drawing yet another picture for Dave

Sandy & Olivia

Aidan & Alex play Rock Band

Groupies?!

Olivia, Nate & Quinn - the three 3-year-olds!

Happy Birthday to You!

Make a wish!

Let's play wii "airplane crash"

Olivia gets pretty competitive!

Dave makes himself at home amid the chaos!

Now everyone has gone home, and we’re back to our regular routine.

I don’t like it one bit!

PEI Vacation 2009

August 25, 2009

We had such a FANTASTIC time, I don’t even know where to begin describing it.

I didn’t know what to expect when I “won” an RV Rental in the TIANS Silent Auction in December. We’ve always talked about how we thought it would be fun to travel with the kids that way, so this gave us a chance to try it out at a discount to see if enjoying it would be fantasy or reality. We booked my parents to come and take over the B&B and started planning our vacation in PEI.  (THANK YOU!!)  We booked into a Campground called “Twin Shores” in Darnley, PEI and it has spoiled us for all other camping!! Movies, kids activities, a playground, a store, Karaoke, Shuffleboard, Bocce Ball, a Baseball Diamond, and a Private Beach are just SOME of what they had to offer. Four nights was just not enough!

D’Arcy & the kids picked up the RV outside of Halifax on Monday morning and brought it home to pack. Not knowing what we would need, it took us awhile to get everything together. D’Arcy looked at me funny when we got everything in and I asked him how we were going to take five bikes (two with baby seats) & a tricycleplus the double stroller. Being the resourceful man he is, he found a way! We left for the Island shortly after one and took the Confederation Bridge to get there. We stopped in Summerside, near where we had rented a cottage last year, for groceries, and got to the Campground around suppertime.

We immediately set off exploring our new home. I’ve put our photos into slide-shows, chronologically for each day, with captions. If you click on them, they should start automatically.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: RV Trip Day1
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Day Two, our first full day, was Alex’s 9th Birthday. Nobody slept very long and Alex was anxious to open the gifts & cards we had brought along for him. We had breakfast of waffles with strawberry butter & bacon (Alex’s request) then cleaned up and headed for Mill River Fun Park, on the West Coast of PEI. (Also Alex’s request!) We discovered this fun park through our friends who are PEI natives, when Sarah was a baby, and have gone every year since. It is reasonably priced ($9/person over the age of six) and has water slides for every age/level of comfort. We spent the day there. It was so convenient to be able to go to the RV at mid-afternoon and have a snack (cheese & crackers & jalapeño jelly, olives, yogurt & drinks), clean up and go back to the park! Alex took the time to call my parents then too because he was “officially” nine!

We stopped for lobster on the way back to the campground and fed the kids nachos (Alex’s request) as the lobsters cooked. We all went off to Karaoke then came back and had a bonfire. The evening was topped off with sparklers & a waterslide cake that Evan made for Alex with minimal help from his mother… All in all, it was declared to be and “AWESOME” day!!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Day 2 - Alex's birthday
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On Day 3, when we woke up, D’Arcy told me, “You have to bid on this RV Rental if it’s at the Silent Auction again this year!”  We had made a decision to stay at the campground and not go touring around the Island.  We went running, flew Alex’s kite, rode bikes, spent time at the beach, played bocce ball, had a bonfire, etc.  It was so nice not to be on a schedule!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: RV Trip Day 3
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Day Four was more of the same.  We built sand castles & hung out together.  We ran into a number of people we knew, including our former neighbours!!  As it turned out, one of our favourite guests from the B&B had been at their campsite visiting just the night before.  I wish we’d known!!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: RV Vacation Day 4
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Our last day found us getting up and pulling everything together to check out of the campground by eleven.  I think we pulled out at about 11:05 (story of our lives!)  We went into Cavendish and played Mini-Golf and toured the "Ripley's Believe it or Not" Museum.  It was great.  We went to "lunch" at Boston Pizza in Charlottetown. At some point, I asked D'Arcy what time it was and he told me it was 3:50.  We realized that there was no way we could make the 4:30 Ferry, so we changed our plans and took our time.  We caught the 6:30 Ferry and tried to find a campground in the Pictou area, but they were all full.  (Our original plan was to spend the night on my farm in Tatamagouche, but taking the 6:30 Ferry meant we wouldn't get there until after nine and if things didn't work out, we'd have quite a drive to find another park.  We finally decided to camp at a campground within a half hour of home so that we could unload everything in the morning and get the RV back to Halifax by 11:30.

Once we made that decision, everything was great.  Sarah wasn’t happy on the Ferry (she doesn’t like the noise!) although she insisted we take it, rather than the Bridge!  Once we bought them all drinks, they were happy.  When we got to the campground and parked & hooked up, we were able to set the girls up with a movie while we played a game.  We had a blast, although I’m sure we were all very aware that this was our last night of freedom for quite awhile!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: RV Vacation Day Five
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While Olivia conked out, Sarah managed to stay awake, watching her movie until midnight.  We got the RV unloaded and back on time.  Well, we were five minutes late, but there were other people in front of us!   “Their Last Breakfast”:

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It was an amazing vacation, one that our boys say is second only to Disney World.  That’s got to be saying something…  We made many great family memories last week and I’ll be sad to have school start again next week.

From the words of one of the songs in “Anne of Green Gables – the Musical”:  “Why can’t it always be summer?”

On Vacation

August 20, 2009

We’re on vacation, so our blog is being neglected due to more important things.  Off to the beach; we’ll be back on Saturday.

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