Sunday, March 20, 2016

We Took a Break . . .

Even though our kids always find plenty of things to do at home,
 
 
 
once in a while, it is nice to go somewhere new . . . and we hadn't really gone on a vacation since Alaina was three.  So, this spring break, we made plans to visit Victoria--somewhere Jason and the kids had never been!
 
Alaina was really nervous about the ferry ride to Vancouver Island--but when we got there, she was just as excited as the rest of us. 
 

 
 
We had beautiful sunny weather the entire trip, which was AMAZING considering the wind/rain storms we'd had just a few days before, and the rain that's in the forecast for the next week or so.

 
Eric wasn't crazy about being stuck on a boat for an hour and a half--an attitude that foreshadowed his feelings about the rest of the trip, unfortunately.  On the ferry I asked him to look at the camera for a picture, and in a really grumpy voice he said, "I AM smiling."  Here is the smile: 
 

 
A couple of days before our trip, Jason and I had made a list of things to do in Victoria--getting input from the kids on what sounded fun.  We then had each person pick a #1 choice, and managed to get everyone's top pick into a schedule . . . that actually worked!
 
So, the first day we did my pick :)  After checking into the house we'd rented (which was only a few minutes from all the places we wanted to visit) we toured the parliament buildings and walked around the harbor. 

Ben had just studied Canadian government at school, so it was interesting to see some of the places we'd talked about.  
 

 
Eric's reaction: "I want to go home!"

Our little guy was happier outside, running around and trying to jump into the fountains, but before long he started saying, "I want to go home . . . and have a lovely hot chocolate."  After hot chocolates for all the kids we managed to stay another half hour or so :)

 
Back at the house we were staying at, all of the kids had a great time.  There were beds to play on, 
 
 
trees to climb in the backyard, balls to throw at the nearby park, a bookshelf stocked with all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books,
 
 
 a TV with all their favorite shows, and even a guitar for Eric to play.

 
Still, Eric said, "I want to go to my OWN home."  He wouldn't let go of the tag in his shirt--something he often holds onto for comfort.
 
 
 The next day was Jason's birthday, so we got to do his #1 choice: visit the Royal BC Museum, which was right beside the parliament buildings.

The kids were scared of/fascinated by the giant, life-like woolly mammoth (with real ice!),
 

 
and we were all amazed by the realistic-looking scenes that had been crafted to tell the story of B.C.

 
We had a little break from "I want to go home" when Eric found a ship's wheel.  I did not even mind standing there for half an hour watching him play with it--it was so great to have him happy for a little while :)

 
We went to the Spaghetti Factory for dinner, and had chocolate mousse cake with a candle for Jason's birthday.
 
 The third day we managed to include all the kids' top choices.  We started at the aquarium in Sidney (Janae and Alaina had both picked this as #1) in the morning, where the kids got to not only look at various sea creatures,



 
but also touch them!

 
My favorite part was the entrance, which created the effect of going deep into the sea (with a glass ceiling showing water and bubbles, a vibrating floor, and other audio effects).
 
 
Eric loved a magnetic fishing game/puzzle . . . so much that we got him one at the gift shop :)

 
Alaina had also asked before the trip if we could go to McDonalds during spring break, so we were able to make that happen, even including shamrock shakes. 
 

 
In the afternoon we saw Craigdarroch Castle--Ben's pick, which was also just 5 minutes away from where we were staying.
 
 


 


This reminded me of a scene in 12 Dancing Princesses

In the evening we went swimming at the local rec center, which Eric actually LOVED.  Finally!!
 
We left for home the next morning, arriving in the afternoon.  
 
I asked each person what they liked best about the trip, and this is what they said:
 
Jason--the museum
Ben--the woolly mammoth
Janae--the castle
Alaina--the gift shops
Eric--the steering wheel
I loved all the old buildings, which we saw everywhere we went.
 
In the evening after we'd got home, I was reading stories on the couch with Eric and he said, "I missed my home."  It is good to be back, but it was really nice to have a break.
 
 
   And we still have another week before school starts again!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Janae Is 9

 
Our little Janae turned 9 yesterday. . . .
 
 
She did NOT want a party, but finally settled on an agenda for the day that included painting ceramics at a local clay cottage with Alaina and their cousin Holly (and ME--I actually got to paint something, too!!), 
 

then Chinese food for lunch with Holly and Dad (Alaina doesn't like Chinese, and Eric had been without me way too long),

 
an afternoon of playing Barbies and building forts outside, then pizza and an ice cream cake with Grandma and Grandpa.

 
(It was my first attempt at making an ice cream cake, and I have to say it was easy and completely fool proof--which was very lucky!)

 
The real fun started later (and happened with no camera involved)--the kids played outside until after dark, fighting with light sabers and just running around having fun.  Janae worked on her "box knitting" and completed a scarf that she actually wore to church today.

 

She is our sassy, spunky, determined, talented, quick-witted, intellectual, and sensitive girl--and we are grateful she is part of our family!