Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Three Favorite Places in Vancouver

I am finally wrapping up our Great Canadian adventure and writing about my three favorite activities while we were in Vancouver...and they happen to be the last three things we did.  They include Stanley Park, Lynn Canyon Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden.  I highly recommend them all.

First we stopped at one of the many beaches at Stanley Park.  Stanley Park is an amazing urban park in the heart of Vancouver.  It is bigger than Central Park and drop dead gorgeous. It is 1,001 acres and there are so many amazing things to do and we didn't even scratch the surface.  There are parks, trails, bike paths, beaches, a lighthouse, giant grassy areas, forested areas, etc and etc. This particular beach had some fun tide pools and the kids had a blast exploring...especially my Miss B.  She is an adventurer, always looking for lizards or creatures...this time star fish and crabs. :)  She is also growing up way to fast.  




This bird was awesome at fishing...he was so stealthy and sneaky.  We watched him for a long time. He reminded us of our lizard-stalking dog. 







That night, dad took the kiddies to dinner whilst I stayed at the hotel with the babe and let him roam for a minute after a nice bath.  He enjoyed it immensely.







The next morning we headed to Lynn Canyon Park to hike to the beautiful suspension bridge. This is one of my most favorite hikes I've been on.  The forest is old and mossy and other-wordly, with knotted roots sticking out of the ground.  It was so lovely.  There are wood platforms and stairs winding throughout.  At one point we hiked down some steep stairs to get to the 30-Foot Pool.  It was quite chilly, but there were a few brave souls swimming in the freezing waters.  The kids decided to hop down the river on the giant rocks.  It was a grand time sitting in the shade watching them jump from rock to rock and then watching everyone but Miss B fall in to differing depths of the cold river.  Mr. C was a rock-star and gearing up for a Havasupai Scout trip and carried WP on his back about 90% of the time.  Dad did lug him up the steep stairs on the way back.  Man those were rough stairs.  I'm tired thinking about them.  And of course the suspension bridge was awesome.  We kept quoting Emperor's New Groove both times across.  The bridge and views were amazing and I wish we had been there at sunset so I could have captured it better, and when there weren't a bunch of people. But you get the idea.  

Poor Dennis had fallen on a previous hike earlier in the trip and had some nice scabs on his knees.   He fell again on this particular hike and re-injured his poor legs.  He was crying about how he had lost his scabs to which Q piped up and soothingly said, "It's ok, I will buy you new scabs when we find a store."  It was the sweetest offer- even if he didn't quite understand what scabs were.  We had a good laugh and it put a smile on poor Dennis' sad face.















Right after our long hike and playing in the river, we made a last minute decision to head to VanDusen Botanical Garden.  VanDusen is about the same size as Butchart but less busy.  There are so many things for the kids to do so it kept everyone occupied and happy. There are interesting signs to read, and plenty of acres to RUN WILD!  There are beautiful lakes full of blooming lily pads, picturesque paths winding through all different kinds of foliage from ferns, to rhododendrons, hydrangeas and roses, not to mention the most gigantic plant we have ever seen (it made us feel tiny).  There are floating bridges to walk across those lily pad-covered lakes and interesting statues and even a legitimate Victorian-style hedge maze complete with tricks, dead ends and a center feature.






Skinny Dennis maneuvered his way through a teeny tiny slit in a statue.  The other side was a bit wider and Q could get through easily...but Dennis astonished all of us (himself included) by fitting through the verrrrry small side.  It had to be done very carefully and Dennis was pleased as punch with himself afterwards.





I loved the hedge maze, it is such fun time.  The kids loved it even more than me and went through 18 times until they were sweaty and red-faced.  Not even kidding.  They ran it backwards and forwards and every which way.  They raced down every wrong turn and trick and found the center point and so on and so forth.  To say they were thrilled with it would be an understatement.









After that long, beautiful and satisfying day, we drug our poor tired bodies back to the hotel to rest and get up the next day to start our long drive home.  And now I want a mini VanDusen in my Arizona backyard.  Is that too much to ask?  

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Back to School Picnic Breakfast

It happened again!  School.  Man, not much longer and they'll be gone. :(

This year we had a Back to School Picnic Breakfast.  We had muffins and fruit in little picnic boxes and then had apple juice and eggs to round it out.  I made a lined paper muslin bag with red Sharpie for the dotted lines and a blue one for the straight lines and added their initial with a silver Sharpie.  I filled them with tissues, chap stick and a ruler.  Also, I was so excited because I gathered enough flowers and greenery from my yard to make a small wildflower arrangement...which is no small feat considering how hot it is and how everything is pretty much dead and crispy.  Also, oregano makes for a great filler!

We had a Family Home Evening lesson on Marvin J. Ashton's talk, The Measure of Our Hearts - hence the rulers and measuring tape ribbon.  So our quote this year was "The measure of our hearts is the measure of our total performance." It's an excellent talk and our discussion went pretty good considering how they usually go...with only minimal fighting and interruptions. :)

 





Miss B is a sophomore this year (sheesh) and showed up to the first day with an almost identical outfit as her best friend...so funny!  Mr. C is in 8th, Dennis in 5th and Q in 1st...and they matched a bunch of people but I'm assuming that's because of the uniforms. ;)  It's almost obligatory for moms to lament the quick passing of time with their children...but it's so true! Sigh.




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