I <3 Summer

First of all, I’d like to just give a little fist bump for my first official blog post here at my new space!! I had some issues moving my posts from Chatter over, but I’m more or less all there. Most of my trackbacks to other posts are still jumping back to my Chatter blog, but since I don’t plan on deleting it completely, it shouldn’t bother me too much. (I’m just letting the domain expire, and it will then just become chowschatter.wordpress.com.) Maybe one day I’ll get ambitious and change everything.

Anyway – this past week has been a fun-filled and busy one! Kyle has been on holidays and it’s been absolutely amazing spending time together as a family.

First of all – Isla’s birthday was on Sunday! We had originally planned on having her birthday at the splash park but we were unfortunately rained out. Luckily, we were able to get ahold of all her guests ad redirect them to our house. We fired up our barbecue for a little hot dog cookout and Isla had such a fun time with all her family and friends. She was certainly spoiled rotten and I’m so glad that she had so many people in her life who seem to love her as much as we do! Amazingly, she even blew out her birthday candle without spitting all over her cupcake – Go Isla!!

On Monday we made out way out to Little Shuswap Lake to visit one of Kyle’s oldest friends. We try to make it out every summer to see him when he and his wife (and now little girl!) are visiting from Alberta, and almost every year we have been graced with amazing summer weather! We puttered across the lake on his dad’s boat to a beachy area and spent the afternoon relaxing in the sun! Isla had a blast playing in the sand, and while the water was a little chilly it was the perfect refresher when the sun got too hot. Every time we’re at the lake if just makes Kyle and I dream harder about owning a recreational property some day. For now, we just feel so fortunate that we have such great friends who allow us to come out and be at the lake with them for the day!

Then on Tuesday it was Canada Day!! We didn’t have any grand plans for the day since we had spent the previous day at the lake and were a little worn out still. Since Isla had received a few fun outdoor toys for the yard, we decided to hang out at home in the yard. Isla played with her new t-ball set and sprinkler, which she loved.

On Wednesday we had originally planned on going towards Kelowna to visit the kangaroo farm (you can pet kangaroos!!!) but I wasn’t feeling so great so we decided to stick close to home. Instead, we decided to visit the local wildlife park just outside of town and Isla had just as much fun! She loved seeing the grizzly bears and petting the goats.

Thursday consisted of appointments and an afternoon at Kyle’s mom’s pool and today is about the same. We’re winding down our “staycation” and getting ready for Kyle to go back to work on Monday. It’s amazing how fast the week has gone by but it’s been so much fun spending time together. Kyle’s vacation time off of work certainly doesn’t mean that our “fun” time is over though; next weekend friends are coming to stay with us because the Highland Games are taking place, and then the weekend after that I’m off to Vancouver for my friend’s bachelorette party. Whew! Jam-packed indeed :)

How is your summer going? Tell me, tell me! :D (And Happy 4th of July to all my American readers!)

A Weekend of Fun, Adventure, and Closure

Whew! I’m back from a seemingly whirlwind trip to Burnaby/Sechelt/Vancouver. My mom, Isla and I headed down to the coast Friday morning for a little weekend getaway, not only for some shopping, but also to bring a little closure. (More on that later)

We left around 9:30 Friday morning after rushing Isla through her breakfast and getting her motivated to sit in her carseat for 4 hours. She actually travels really well and just played with her Mangadoodle until she fell asleep after we were about half-way to Chilliwack. She woke up just in time for us to stop for lunch, so it worked out perfectly! After lunch, we continued on our way to Burnaby, where we were going to stay with my grandpa and his girlfriend. We got there around 2 p.m. and were able to unpack and relax for a little bit before we headed to Ikea!

I probably could have gotten into a lot of trouble in Ikea, but I had a mental list of things I wanted to get, including something for Isla’s birthday, a cake stand, and a little plant for the hallway. I managed to get those three things, plus a few extras: some wall art for the ensuite bathroom (pictured on the right –>), cutting boards, a clock, a pig stuffy for Isla, and some more cork hot pot holders. The bonus? I didn’t spend more than $100! Go me! After that we headed back to the house and got ready for dinner. As it turns out, my uncle and aunt had also come down for the weekend, so they came over for dinner as well! It was actually great to see them, because I haven’t seen them both in about 2 years!

So, the main reason behind this whole trip was because we were going to go to Sechelt on Saturday to spread both my Nana’s (my great-grandma) and my Grandma’s ashes. May 9th was my Grandma’s birthday, and with Sunday being Mother’s Day, my grandpa thought it would be fitting to do it that weekend.

We got on the road fairly early and were able to catch the 8:30 a.m. ferry up the Sunshine Coast to Langdale/Gibsons. It’s been about 15 years since I’ve been that way, and let me tell you – I appreciate how beautiful it is more than ever now. Seriously – if you haven’t been, you should. We all met up with old family friends of my Grandma’s, as well as her cousin, and we made our way to the seaside.

I must say, I wasn’t sure how I was going to react while we spread the ashes. It’s been 8 years since my Nana passed away, and 2 years since my Grandma, but it still seems like it was yesterday. The weather was windy and the waves were making their presence known, but it still felt so peaceful being there at the water. We tossed roses into the water and along with a few tears we shared a few memories.

Afterwards, we spent some time walking along the shoreline before heading back to a family friend’s house, where there was a delicious luncheon prepared for us. I really can’t get over all the wonderful people my grandparents have got to know and became friends with over the years. They were like an extended branch of the family. After lunch my mom, aunt, Isla and I went for another little walk to the water, and I couldn’t help but strike a quick tree pose in a little sandy spot in the ocean.

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By 3:30 is was time to head back to the ferry terminal so we could get on the 4:30 ferry. We could have done so much more exploring if time had allowed, but when travelling with a 2-year old you can’t push your luck too much ;)

The view from the ferry along the Straight of Georgia.

The view from the ferry along the Straight of Georgia.

Let me just say that I had the wonkiest sleep patterns ever on this trip. I would go to bed around 9:30-10 p.m. and wake up at 5:30-6 a.m. without an alarm or anything like that. I don’t know if it was the pressure of our busy schedule, but I was exhausted and a little cranky by the end of the day. Thankfully my Grandpa is an early riser as well and always had a hot cup of coffee ready for me when I came upstairs.

On Sunday my mom, Isla, and I caught the Skytrain into Vancouver to meet up with my brother! I haven’t ridden the Skytrain in ages (I think I was probably 11?) so we were a little lost when it came to what train to get on, but some very nice people happily pointed us to the right side of the concourse. My brother met us at the Tim Horton’s right by the station, and we caught the bus (my first city transit bus trip EVER) to the apartment he shares with his girlfriend. Let me tell you, his view is HORRIBLE:

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I have no idea how he can stand looking at the inlet and seeing those gorgeous sunsets. Pfft …

After letting Isla stretch her legs we walked about 4 blocks to Stanley Park (AGAIN – How can my brother stand living where he does?!) and walked along the seawall to Third Beach, where it was nice and sandy. I let Isla walk through the sand with bare feet and she loved it! We went to the water edge so she could put her feet in the ocean and she thought it was the best thing ever. She was seriously upset that she couldn’t go all the way in.

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Balancing rocks along the Seawall

We grabbed lunch at Fatburger, where I opted for fish & chips instead of a burger, and then walked it all off on our way to Robson Street to do a little shopping. I bought a couple of tanks from Old Navy, a caramel apple for Kyle from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and some new yoga shorts from lululemon. (I seriously have a lulu addiction.) After that, it was back on the bus to my brother’s place, where we met up with his girlfriend so they could both join us back at my grandpa’s in Burnaby for dinner.

We ended up not going for dinner until just after 7, and the restaurant was PACKED. We didn’t get seated until around 8 p.m., and I was really worried about Isla having a meltdown, but she didn’t have a care in the world! She was too busy playing with chopsticks and teacups to care about eating dinner at the time when she’s usually going to bed. We eventually got home around 9 p.m. and Isla was out like a light after a quick bath and story.

My mom and I loaded up and headed home yesterday morning and made good time. Isla dozed in and out of sleep the entire way home. It feels great to be back home; I missed Kyle a lot, and even my doofusy dogs too. As much as I love travelling, it can be so stressful, especially when you have a jam-packed schedule and a toddler. Isla had a blast the entire time and was so well behaved; she was seriously the centre of attention the entire trip. Some sweetly-cooky older lady on the ferry stopped dead in her tracks and commented on how gorgeous Isla was. Apparently the lady used to work as a casting director for films and said that she “still has the eye.” It was a little weird, but Isla loved the compliments ;)

So there you have it – my busy, crazy weekend in a nutshell! Now I’m back to the regular routine at home, and I wouldn’t have it any other way :)

Weekend Wind-up

Whew! This past weekend went by WAY too fast! It’s hard to believe that it’s already Monday and Kyle’s back to work already. His four days off went by so fast! Here’s what we got up to this weekend:

– On Thursday we had an appointment at the bank to deposit some birthday money Isla got into her RESP account. We opened the account for her as soon as her SIN card arrived in the mail and we’ve been making monthly deposits ever since then. We want her to be able to attend whichever university she wants and to have a little bit of a head-start in some way. After the bank, we headed home for Isla’s nap, and then went to his mom’s for pizza dinner since it was his step-dad’s birthday. We taught Isla how to do the arm/hand gesture for a touchdown and it’s pretty hilarious. No photos, so you’ll just have to believe me ;)

– On Friday our friends Clara and Cullen arrived from out of town to stay with us as one of them was competing in the Kamloops Highland Games (In the Highland Dance competition, to be exact). The games were on Saturday, but we always have an awesome time with these two and they ended up staying until Sunday. The Highland Games itself was pretty entertaining. Lots of bagpipes and dancing, for sure! Kyle and I had never actually seen Clara dance before, so we headed to the park to watch her compete. Holy wow is all I can say! She’s really good and placed in a variety of different dances so I’m glad we got to see what Highland Dance was all about! The little kids were absolutely adorable to watch too. Also, I have no photos from the Games because I’m stupid and forgot my phone at home. Uggggh.

– I splurged and bought myself a new flat-iron from a beauty supply store. The one I had been using before was a cheap-o Walmart special that I borrowed from my mom, so it’s been nice using a good quality iron for once! The best thing is not having to wait 5 minutes for it to get hot. With Isla getting more and more impatient these days, I need to be able to get ready fast!

– This weekend was also full of new foods! I made cucumber salsa, which I found on via a friend on Facebook (recipe from Keeping it Together). OMG SO GOOD! I love fresh salsa and while I have never made my own fresh tomato salsa, this cucumber version is SO good! It’s very freshing! Clara also brought us a apricot-blueberry-cherry pie for Friday night which was delicious with whipped cream, and I also had my first food truck experience thanks to Cat & Joe’s Pig Rig! They were parked at the Highland Games on Saturday so I braved the long line-up to get myself the Piglet – a small pulled-pork sammie topped with slaw on a yummy bun with fries & beans. I brought my food home to eat and let me tell yah – the lineup was so worth the wait!

– I also decided to take an old chair that’s been kicking around the house and give it a little bit of a face lift, but that will be a post on its own later this week.

What did you get up to this weekend? Ever been to a Highland Games event before? Or eaten from a food truck?