Welcome to our exceedingly messy, beautiful life: "a big world is OUT THERE WAITING for us to live in every day. Outside, you will find, there is love all around you... It's a beautiful life & it's a beautiful world & it's a beautiful time... to be here!"
Miss M has been waiting for - according to her - a BILLION YEARS to get her 2nd piercing in her ears. Since her first one was when she was 2 months old, it was the first one she got to be a part of. She wanted one last year and we made her wait. She thought she was getting it for her 14th birthday, but we made her wait 'til 8th grade graduation (much to her anger and frustration - Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!)
But that long anticipated day finally arrived!!!!!
She got them done and she will now have them for her graduation in 2 days! (Happy girl!)
These photos were taken RIGHT after soccer training, so she looks a little red & sweaty, but, you get the picture!
This was an slightly unusual Father's Day this year.
It was especially fun to have just spent 5 days in Vancouver commemorating a special time in my OWN father's (Grampie's) life as President of MDRT with the father of my children! So I felt like we had just HAD a 5 day great Father's Day!!!
But Father's Day Sunday was unusual because the "B" kids had spent the night and were with us to celebrate. It was FUN, but definitely a different morning than we are used to... with Deevs, Miss M, Jade, and the "B" kids, we had a FULL HOUSE!
I made pancakes at the request of the "B" kids (that sounded like a fitting Father's Day breakfast!). When D woke up he tended to Miss M's stitches for a wound the cause of which shall remain nameless (rhymes with "mort memoval").
After that, it was PRESENT time. Miss M and Deevs - with the help of the "B" kids - carried in the gifts from the car and presented them to Dad (Uncle Darren). He got an antigravity chair and a watch to add to his collection.
Jade came over and played with the kids for a while (that was fun for them... THANKS Jade). Then Mr. B came and took the kids home to celebrate Father's Day with them - I think they were building a snake enclosure for the baby snake they found.
And we headed off to the beach.
It was a bit hazy down there, but still a lovely day. It was just us, minus Lando (Alaska) and Sara (work). Deevs and Miss M went for a run up to the pier and ended up leavin together a little earlier than us - they had to study for finals. We stayed later with the 2 of us and Jade... we were all reading our books. We headed back around 6:00. A very relaxing & lazy day.
We went to G&G's for dinner (Las Golandrinas) to celebrate Grampie's fatherness. We got him Glenn Beck's new novel "The Overton Window" and Season 1 of "Chuck". We hung out for a while then headed home.
After seeing Todd off, D and I went back to the hotel to say goodbye to Grampie since he was heading over to MDRT (Jade & Elle went too). Then we had over an hour to go see Stanley Park. Which is the big park on a peninsula attached to Vancouver... kind of like Central Park, but not right in the middle of the city.
We drove through the whole park, getting out at various points, like the totem poles and the lookout point.
We briefly drove through China Town which has (sadly) become a seedier part of town, it looked like Meth Central. It looked like it was once kind of cute... but apparently, even most of the Chinese restaurants have left the area.
Then we met up with everyone else and tried to grab lunch real quick, but were kept waiting a LONG time for a table and for our food. We stuffed the food in our faces then dashed back to the hotel to pack and get to the airport.
We turned in the rental car and check our bags.
We went through customs IN Canada (which, when they were finished they said "Welcome to America" and they said it was like an embassy or consulate).
We got onto the plane and flew from Vancouver to San Francisco. We had a 2 hour lay-over in San Francisco and at a little food court. Back in America, Elle could finally use her phone!!!
Jade rode back & forth on the moving walkway talking to Sar... he could finally use his phone too!
2 hours later at 10:45PM, we were back at home, safe and sound.
What a great family trip. I wish EVERYONE had been able to go, but it was awesome to be with all the siblings and to celebrate Grampie being the PRESIDENT of MDRT!!!!! Thanks Grampie & Grammie for a BLESSING of a trip!!
Up early this morning. We had to drive 30 minutes from Vancouver the city to the Tsawwassen ferry which we boarded with our car and rode 1 1/2 hours to Vancouver island (not to be confused with Vancouver the city which is not on Vancouver Island - WHY is Vancouver not on Vancouver island??? And WHY is Vancouver the city not the capital of British Columbia instead of Victoria, which is on an island and not the mainland? So many questions!!!!) It was Grammie, me, D, Todd, Drew, and Elle (Grampie & Jade could not go because they were at MDRT all day, working - we missed them!)
The ferry ride was long but beautiful. The scenery was GORGEOUS! Of course, it was tough to appreciate it a lot because it was POURING and quite chilly!
On the ferry in the rain
We got off the ferry and had a 30 minute drive to Butchart Gardens (pronounced Boo-shart, but which will forever be known as Butt-Chart by our classy family!). We paid a king's ransom (highway robbery) to get into the gardens, but since that was what we were THERE for, we had no choice.
It was rainy and cold and fairly miserable. It was kind of hard to maneuver on the tiny, narrow paths when everyone has massive umbrellas. Eventually, thankfully, the sun came out! We were SO thankful as we collapsed our umbrellas and took off our jackets.
The gardens were BEAUTIFUL!!!! They were formed in what was originally a quarry that was finished being dug and had left a huge, ugly hole of scarred earth... the wife (Jennie Butchart) of the man who owned the quarry decided not to leave it that way and planted the lovely sunken garden in the former quarry. This was QUITE an undertaking and top soil had to be brought on and landscape experts brought in. This was just the beginning though... it is now HUGE and much larger than just the original quarry. Mrs. But-Chart would be SO proud!!!! She could have had NO IDEA it she was creating something SO spectacular that would be such a delight for CENTURIES after her!!!
The original sunken garden where the Quarry once was
Showing Grammie the camera
Off to the races
Um... yeah... creepiest carousel animals...
Rose (roseless) arches
In the Japanese Garden
Even though SOME of our party members grumbled a little bit about having to spend a couple hours looking at FLOWERS, they were all good sports and we had a GREAT time with the family. The flowers were truly AMAZING and I am so glad we went!
The whole gang
After the gardens, we went down to Victoria (30 minutes) where we had Noodle Box (which I will be Yelping at 2 stars). We looked briefly at the water front and popped into the famous Empress Hotel then scurried back to the car to make it back for the 5:00 ferry.
British Columbia's Parliament Building in Victoria
The Empress Hotel - a courtyard
One of the entrances of The Empress Hotel - Victoria
We made it in plenty of time and had to kill an hour+ in line waiting for the ferry to arrive. I started chatting with a woman while we were waiting in line who lived on the island and was an "aboriginal". The term "Indian" is seen as derogatory and she wasn't really even into "Native Canadian"... it was aboriginal. And we are "non-aboriginals". She works for an organization that kind of represents all "First Nation" tribes ("tribes" is still OK) and tried to build bridges between their people and ours and their culture and ours. They get government grants from the Canadian government to do that.
We finally boarded the ferry at about 5:15 - we were impressed to learn they can hold 450 cars.
These things were MASSIVE. They had a restaurant, a walk up food "bar" and a private lounge. The seats were fairly comfortable & cushioned and there were TVs and even a little play area for kids.
We rode back, this time in the sunshine. It was SOOOO pretty. I would never get tired of looking out at the sea and all the green trees. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, it stays light out until after 10:30PM, so we were sailing in broad daylight.
I wanna LIVE right there
We got back to Vancouver and went to the Royal Suite and ordered Pizza, Wings and Salad and just ate in while Todd hooked up his computed and played the new "Alice and Wonderland". I pooped out early though and headed back to out hotel to check emails and hit the hay.