Friday, August 22, 2008

Around the world in 16 days...

Well, maybe not the world, but with 3 young children any distance travelled will leave you jet-lagged, so to speak. So, in a nutshell, here was our 2008 family vacation...

Day 1: Leave Vanderhoof and drive to Abbottsford where I'd smartly booked a hotel room ahead of time. This leg of our voyage took us from 9:30am to 12:30am because we took playground and meal breaks, with the obligatory Cache Creek Dairy Queen break as well. Because we got there so late, we spent approximately 6 hours in our hotel room, making it a $25 per hour sleep! Although if you divide that between the 5 of us, I guess it's reasonable!


Day 2: Leave the hotel by 7:30 am to avoid rush hour traffic and get to the ferry by 9am to check in for our 10:00 reservation. Catch the 9am ferry instead because there is no rush hour traffic on a Long Weekend Sunday, nor was there a line for the ferry. Here's some free money BC government - love your reservation system! Hmm... let's see, 1.5 hours on a ferry for $90... well at $60 per hour that hotel room's looking much more reasonable! We met my parents and my brother in Victoria and helped my Grandma celebrate her 90th birthday, followed by a reunion BBQ at Uncle Bob's.



Day 3: Another ferry reservation we didn't really need (where was the Long Weekend traffic???) and we were in Vancouver. After a slight wrong turn (in downtown Vancouver... aargh!) we met our friend Alison and her girls at a swimming pool near the PNE where she and another school friend, Emily, threw me a birthday party. It was really thoughtful! The water was a hit with 33% of my children. I ended up soothing the screaming babies from the sideline as Alex and Cory played in the pool.


Day 4: We helped Caelyx celebrate her 7th birthday at Crash Crawlies, this really cool indoor playground in Coquitlam. We also got to experience Vancouver traffic in rush hour. Poor Caelyx was late for her own birthday party.Day 5: A stay home day. Lots of relaxing going on. And, the ultimate challenge, Alison and I, with 6 kids between us, actually managed to get some scrapbooking done. Day 6: We went for a hike in the mountains and reminded ourselves of why we love to visit Squamish. British Columbia is a beautiful province. We're very lucky to live in it.


Day 7: We drove from Squamish to Kamloops to visit Cory's brother, sister-in-law, and our nephew, Brandon. This drive was rather uneventful, with the exception of our stop at the playground in Hope where I had to throw away my tee-shirt due to the excessive amounts of bodily fluids that one of my children left on it. I'm sure I could have saved it, but who wants to pack that for several hours in a van...Day 8: In Kamloops with the kids' cousin, Brandon. We decided on a simple, indoor outing and took all the kids to McDonald's playland and grocery shopping. Phew! That was enough for one day.



Day 9: The Kamloops Wild Animal Park... does anyone know this place existed? It's wonderful. They rescue injured animals and care for them until they can be re-introduced to the wild. We saw bears, moose, bison, racoons, birds of prey... Anyone heading through Kamloops needs to stop there. You can consider the hefty admission fee a donation, if you'd like, it's well worth putting on your itinerary.



Day 10: Victoria and I managed to sneak out together and run some errands and then Cory and I were able to go out for a lovely dinner at Tony Roma's while Mark and Victoria watched the boys. Thanks so much guys! Oh yeah, and my little girl was three months old!

Day 11: Brandon's 2nd birthday! We spent the better part of the day preparing for the party and the evening enjoying it.
Day 12... another long day. We drove from Kamloops to Edmonton. This was pretty uneventful in itself. The usual playground and food stops. No bodily fluids on me this time!!! Unless spit-up counts?Day 13 - West Edmonton Mall! What can we say, we love it there! We hadn't planned to go to Edmonton, but Matt ended up working extra days in the bush so we decided that a side trip to Edmonton might be fun.Day 14 --- Ever been to Chuck E. Cheese's? It's very noisy! I had a headache for the rest of the day. The boys loved it, though (count Cory in). After our noisy lunch we drove to Calgary for a very quick visit with Cory's brother, Matt, and his girlfriend, Janis.Day 15 - Calgary! This was great, we went NO WHERE! I washed out Connor's car seat (another bodily fluid story you don't want to hear me describe), we walked 2 minutes to the playground, and we played Ticket to Ride. We had a lovely time. Kirstin got sick (her first cold) so I slept terribly, but we were very glad we got to spend some time with them. Thanks guys!Day 16... Here's a brilliant idea, let's save money on a motel and drive all the way home to Vanderhoof in one day. A great plan... if you don't lose an hour and a half circling Calgary trying to find the right highway. So, here's a photo of the restaurant we stopped at in Jasper to clean up the vomit from Connor and his freshly washed car seat!


We crawled into our beds at 1:30 in the morning, tired but happy to be home. Next year we're renting a cabin, or pitching a tent, and driving from A to B and then staying put! Everyone is welcome to come visit us.

Happy travels!