Tuesday, August 14, 2012


July was a month of fun! Of course July started with the end of the Katrina visit, which I'm sure you read about. If not you can click here!
The very next week I turned thirty. Arrgh!
It was a fun day of hanging with my boys. We went shopping where the boys picked out things for my birthday dinner (aparently this isn't what you're meant to do when you live with people, it's probably actually considered rude... but I'm so used to throwing myself a party every year it was a hard habit to lose). The boys picked out: a #30 candle, pretty colourful candles, pink balloons and mickey mouse plates. hehe so thoughtful! They also wanted to get me angry bird napkins and a dora pinata...but the budget didn't stretch that far.
We then went to the water park. It was almost 30 degrees and super sunny! My first ever summer birthday! It was fun!
As we were leaving the water park to head home I ran the stroller into the gutter and the wheel fell off... it wasn't meant to do that. After a little bit of a cry, some panicked texts to Cristal & also some laughter when the boys asked me in all seriousness "Kaye, was that part of the plan? Because I don't think it was a good plan!" we headed home. I didn't trust the 3 wheeler stroller with the 2 year old in it, but it was still helpful for carrying the million swim related things, library books, shopping & diaper bag things, so J had to ride his balance bike...eek!

It is about 2km home from the water park & the trip included a steep hill, which was the point when J "needed a hug" (ie can you please carry me up the hill while you push the stroller in the crazy heat?). At the top of the hill E decided we needed to stop for a picnic "Kaye was this a good plan? Your plan wasn't a good plan when you broke the stroller, but this is a good plan". So cute! I was so blessed to spend the day with these kids!
Cristal and Ryan bought me Mary Poppins tickets!!!!!!!!!! And Cristal made me 4 layered chocolate cake! Mmmm so tasty!
My birthday was extra special by my friends & family who sent me/brought me/skyped me/facebooked me presents and special messages (and ate my birthday cake in front of me...thanks family :-) )! Thanks lovely people! I really have amazing people in my life!

The very next day I spent 6 hours on public transport - bus, train, bus, bus, ferry & bus to get to Victoria on Vancouver Island! I spent the afternoon in a zodiac boat on an orca whale tour. Oh my goodness! It was amazing! I have been on so many dolphin tours where you might see a dolphin in the distance (or none - remember that day Leah?), but this tour! Wow! There were so many orcas! One whale even did 3 full breaches in front of us which is very rare, he then bobbed up right next to our boat! Seriously he was like 3 metres away. And huge! I had goosebumps! (If only I was better at capturing whales on my camera...you will just have to see it for yourself!) |

I stayed on Vancouver Island with my relatives Jackee and Larry, who you may remember from Christmas. They also have a cute pup these days names Max.
It was so good to spend some more time with them! Jackee was a fabulous tour guide and showed me lots of fun things on the Island. We went to Fort Rodd Hill & Fisgard Lighthouse. Both of these are set up really well with interesting displays. The Lighthouse was super cute. & the Fort had a plotting room. I think every building should have a plotting room for plotting and scheming... mwhahaha. We spent that afternoon with Jackee's grandkids. It was fun to hang with Sydney again. She showed me...everything! ha I love that about little kids!
The next day we drove north with Jackee's grand-daughter and her friend. We visited Port Alberni & the amazing huge trees of Cathedral Grove. On the way back we stopped at Coombs, which is famous for its "goats on the roof" - a shop/restaurant/market that is famous for being covered in lawn and being home to a bunch of roof dwelling goats! Such a crazy sight! We ate a bit of lunch and bought presents for my boys. We also stopped at Nanaimo so we could eat Nanaimo bars!
It was a brief visit, 3 days, but it was lovely to spend time with them both, I am so grateful for their hospitality! And for the stash of craft supplies Jackee sent me home with! So many craft supplies! We will be in craft for the rest of the year & probably beyond then!

Back in Langley I had a few days on my own while the family was away.
One of these nights was Mary Poppins! I went with my fun friend Anita! It was brilliant!!! Oh I love that musical! And Anita bought me fancy dinner for my birthday at a restaurant that had tvs on the back of the toilet doors. (also I had cute stick on nail polish thanks to my twin)

The next day I hired a car and drove to America. It's not actually to far to drive to America and the trip should have taken less time then I spent on public transport getting to Victoria... but of course I got stuck at the border crossing for 2 hours. bleh!
The purpose of this trip was to catch up with Mrs Steen, who was my Year 11 English teacher back in 1998. She was an exchange teacher and one of the 5 most influential teachers of my school days. It was so lovely to spend time with her! We talked school and education and kids late into the night! Her and her husband were ridiculously hospitable, like chocolates on the pillow & parfait and beef tenderloins for breakfast!
She lives in the Yakima area which is in South East Washington State. The landscape was so different to the coastal rainforests! There weren't trees. The ground was brown and the weather was hot and dry. But it was beautiful! It was great to see the sights - like the mural town, the Yakama people's museum, the Mary Hill museum, the Stonehenge & we even popped over to Oregon so I could say "I've been to Oregon!"

When I got back to Canada it was so good to see my boys again! E didn't let go of me for the first hour! Oh I love those kids!
Here are few other highlights from July...

I went to the Creature Care open day - it's a place that cares for native animals that have been injured or orphaned. 
E drew this rainbow for me while they were on vacation.

I got cute new pyjama pants thanks to birthday money from mum and grandma! (and dad and pa)

I labelled all of the boys' toys. I get bored sometimes when I'm home alone.

The boys painted the cat masks I bought them at the goats on a roof store.
L's is half cheetah, half caracal (I had never heard of a caracal until this year. Thanks Wild Kratts)
E's is a "white tiger"
& J's is a "howling mouse" from a game the boys play on Cristal's phone.
Cute Cute Cute.

Cristal and Ryan had their 13th wedding anniversary so the boys and I decorated with lace (13th wedding anniversary = lace anniversary) and the boys made magnets. I love the pun L came up with! He is a tad Angry Birds obsessed...

We decorated the front window for the Olympics! (Katrina was there when we made the rings!)
Things that are hard to draw properly = maple leaves, stars. Our window was the prettiest in the whole street! (and also the only decorated one, pfft!)

Lots of bike rides!
It's been so fun to have all three boys off for summer holidays (it's less than 3 weeks till they go back to school). We have done a lot of bike riding! They are so good on their bikes. I can't believe how fast J is on that balance bike & I love that he needed to put it in the rack with his big brothers' bikes.

So there you have it. A post about things I did. Maybe you got bored, but it was fun for me to look back at the fun that was had. This year is going ridiculously fast! I can't believe I'll be home in 5 months. Well 5 months tomorrow. The days are even starting to get shorter again... today it was even dark by 9:15! that's crazy!

Anyway, keep in touch! I miss you!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

That Time Katrina Came (part 2)

So. (if you haven't read part 1 this may not make as much sense... read it here if you want to)

After we saw bears we continued to Lake Louise! We ate dinner and I emailed Louise (because you have to when you're at Lake Louise) and we lamented a little about the fact we had to walk across the hallway to use the showers.

The next morning was LAKE LOUISE DAY! This is one of those places I have wanted to go ever since I knew it existed! It's sooo pretty! The silt from the glacier water gives it its blue colour which is gorgeous! We could've canoed for a ridiculous amount of money, but instead we took the advice of the hostel desk girl & did the 3.4km "walk to the Agnes Lake Teahouse" bahahaha! This is on the list of easy walks...ahem. It wasn't easy. We nearly died. Well not quite as much as I nearly died that time in Edmonton...but it was uphill the WHOLE way and at a high altitude. It was tricky. Other people on the walk had walking sticks (like ski poles really), hiking shoes, bear bells & water.
We didn't.
Silly Aussies!

Was it worth it? YES! On the way up we got absolutely gorgeous views of Lake Louise, saw a smaller version named Mirror Lake & then at the top we met Lake Agnes (sometimes Lake is at the start of the name and sometimes at the end... I don't know the rules about that). There was still snow and ice up there (and a chipmunk)!! We sat for a while, while we remembered how to breathe. Meanwhile some grannies powered past us to higher heights & some CRAZY Brits (I think they were Brits...but maybe I'm making that bit up) waded into the lake as promptly lost the feeling in their legs. Oh boys!

The teahouse up there gets one helicopter delivery per year, the rest of the supplies and the garbage are hiked up and down by the workers. Despite this they have a very large selection of teas (of which we had none). So if you happen to be in the area and would like a fancy tea...

After our descent back to Lake Louise, we drove to Moraine Lake. We had learnt the day before that a moraine is the mounds of dirt and debris that are formed by the force of a glacier. So maybe that's how this lake was formed... we only stopped there for a few minutes because it was really windy and a bit cold and our legs still felt a little bit like falling off after our tea house adventure and we also hadn't eaten lunch. It was REALLY pretty though! A different blue to Lake Louise... bluer I think, rather than the turquoise of Louise... it would've been nice to hang there a little longer, but we didn't.

We ate some lunch.

We ended the day with a drive to Banff for some Spaghetti & then hit our hostel in Canmore.
The hostel was nice, we even had secret curtains on our beds, so we could hide in our own little forts. We also had mountain views from our window! Arrgh I love the mountains!
The secret that we didn't know, though, was that the train line was directly behind our room. haha. Location, location, location!
We vibered John Lucas and skyped Simone... and thus ended that day.

The very next day we spent in Calgary. I have decided that Calgary is not my favourite place to drive. They have some weird rules and road lines and such that were new to me... we avoided (causing) two accidents.
We managed to find the Olympic Park from the 1984 Winter Olympics. Of course I don't remember these particular games, and Katrina was yet to be born, but this was the Olympics made famous by the Jamaican Bob Sled team (which you may remember from the movie Cool Runnings). We tried to find the Olympic Museum... but it seemed to be hiding, so we just got a photo in a bobsled and hopped back on the road with our pocket map.

Using our 5-by-10cm map Katrina managed to navigate us to downtown Calgary. In the spirit of Mindy's & my quest to see every fort in the world and because we had a voucher, we stopped at Fort Calgary. I think this is my favourite fort so far (sorry you weren't there Mindy). The displays were awesome! Such attention to detail. We got to dress up as mounties and paint plaster bison as part of an art installation! We found another Aussie bison for ours to be friends with.

We then decided we needed to get an animal fix, having not yet seen a moose (or a mousse :P) we headed to the Calgary Zoo.
Unfortunately there were no moose at the zoo.
We did see bears, prairie dogs, bison and these crazy animals called musk ox. Musk ox look a little bit like a skinny cow wearing a ridiculously huge furry coat. Ha I liked them.

I think mostly we then ate pizza and watched Big Bang Theory and Katrina wrote in her journal... maybe I would remember more about what we did if I had kept a journal.

The next day (it was Saturday, incase you're wondering) we ate Timmy's bagels for breakfast (we also did that a few other times...they are good!) & headed up to the Hot Springs. On the way we took a photo of the Fairmont Hotel, where my parents stayed in May...so fancy! The hot springs I swam in were mostly just a pool fed with warm spring water. It was nice! An old guy there had been in the water too long and was having heart palpitations. I think he survived.

Most of the day rained. But that was okay because we drove all day! We were going to stop at Johnston Canyon, but it was raining and we also didn't like the idea of walking having lost faith in Banff's rating of their "easy" hikes. Next time gadget.
We stopped at Emerald Lake, which was pretty. They even had flower baskets hanging from the bridges. Canada likes flower baskets.

We ate A&W. I have decided A&W have the best cheeseburgers.
Don't tell McDonald's I said that.
Eventually we arrived at Revelstoke!
We were so blessed, because Cristal and Ryan own a condo in a fancy hotel up there right on the ski fields & they liked us enough to let us stay. EVERYTHING was soooo fancy! I felt very under-dressed and didn't want to touch anything. It was all so pretty! And there was free lipbalm!

July 1st was CANADA DAY! Luckily we came prepared with our matching shirts and tattoos! Nothing was open in downtown Revelstoke so we had to eat Maccas pancakes!
The day was a driving day. Katrina even drove a bit! (there is video evidence somewhere)
We got home sometime in the afternoon & took a stroll through the trails with the dog. Eventually my boys got home! It was so lovely to see them again!!!! Oh I missed those kids. And they loved Katriny straight away.
When it got dark (at like 10pm) Katriny, Cristal and I played with the 70cm sparklers! Cos that's what you do on Canada day... well that's what I decided when I saw them.

Our final road trip day included returning Harold Henry to Vancouver. On the way we stopped at Maxim's bakery. Probably named after Katrina's nephew. Then we were shouted an amazing lunch by Sue, our principal, who just happened to be in Vancouver that day... as you do. It was lovely to catch up with her and hear the happenings of back home.
After lunch we drove around Stanley Park (it was raining) & were stopped by the traffic police and a convoy of buses. Apparently the Prime Minister was in town... I'm not sure why he needs 4 buses... but that was a bit exciting. It was more exciting later when we saw them again (well I did, Katriny was having ATM dramas and missed the whole event) at a major intersection downtown, where they stopped traffic in all directions with whistles and waving and motor bikes and pomp and drama. It was fun!!!

We also spent some time being tourists in Gastown. I found some cute artworks that I like and also fell over when I was crossing the road.

We public transported home and watched the Bachelorette while minding the boys (it was the one with the home visits).

Hmm is this post too long? Probably.

Ok quick summary of the rest of the week....
We minded the boys for the next few days. Our biggest adventure was a trip to Fort Langley - a 5 minute bus ride. The boys loved running around the fort. I love the way the workers just act like they live there and include the kids in activities they are doing - like weeding the garden and feeding the pigs. We bought Katrina her first ever Nanaimo bar and then walked down to the old railway station. A guy there gave us a personal, very animated, tour around the place even though it was not officially opening hours!

 We ate cranberries and bought the boys pin wheels (it was just a pin wheel kind of day).

On our last night of fun together we had dinner with the lovely Snellgroves...who of course happened to be in Vancouver this week too... seriously, everyone was in Vancouver that week!

It was sad to drop Katriny at the airport after such a fun visit!
Thanks so much for spending your school holidays over here Katriny & for coming on a crazy adventure with me! You are amazing (and really good at pretend scared faces)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

That Time Katrina Came (part 1)

So. Today is the last day of July... so it's about time I wrote about the time Katrina came to visit in June. Arghh! I'm sorry for the lateness. I have had computer dramas, and have also been busy holidaying (more on that in another month or two...or hopefully sooner!). Okay, let's begin...

Way back at the end of June, Lovely Katrina came to visit! I still can't believe she travelled all this way to hang out for 11 days. We definitely made the most of our 11 days.

Around 8am I fetched her from the airport, within the next few hours she had a fantastic introduction to Vancouver's public transport system as we made our way to Grouse Mountain via train, ferry & bus. We made it just in time for our Ziplining adventure! It was a lot of fun zipping across valleys. The views up there were incredible. Such a great start to our adventure.
The bus dropped us at the Capilano Suspension Bridge on the way back down the mountain. Wow this place is busier in summer! When I went in winter I was the only person on the cliff walk, but at this time of the year wow! There are people by the bus-load arriving constantly! It was pretty though, and fun walking through the tree tops.
We ate poutine for dinner (for you twin) at a place where you can buy a $100 hot dog (if you call 12 hours in advance). We ended the day watching the Bachelorette... back when I was sure Jef with one f was not going to be around much longer.

The next day we met Harold Henry the Hyundai (which you prounounce hun-day over here) who joined us for our road trip! We stopped at White Spot for lunch in Kamloops & got to Valemount by dinner time, clocking up nearly 700kms... which was more than I had driven in the previous 6 months. We B&B'ed it in Valemount. It was a super cute little town, with really wide roads, a giant cup, a really cool sign & surrounded on 4 sides by mountains! I think they had 2 ATMs, but no one had eftpos (mostly because they don't know what 'eftpos' is in Canada, but they also didn't have 'debit' which is the same thing). And they were having a water issue because of the flooding, so we had to drink bottled water.

The B&B owners cooked us up a big English breakfast. Mmmm!
We did alot the next day. Alot Alot Alot.
We started by trying to see Mount Robson, which is apparently really impressive... but it was hiding behind cloud cover, so we took photos in front of the poster on the wall.
We then crossed into Alberta & entered Jasper National Park (warning: this costs money). We found the Maligne Canyon and were awestruck! The canyon is so deep & the water moves so fast. As with most of the things we saw that day, photos don't do it justice! On our way back into town we saw some...animals. We couldn't decide if they were deer or moose... they weren't. They were elk.
After lunch we headed down the Icefields Parkway. I am fairly sure Katrina got sick of me getting excited every time I spotted a mountain. You have not seen mountains until you have been on that road! They are HUUUUUUUUUUUUGE! And beautiful!

We stopped off at the Athabasca Falls. Wow! Again! Wow! The falls move so fast! It's like a mini Niagara Falls, but less touristy & you can get closer to the falls (without paying money I mean). We walked down through the old channel that the river used to use before it carved a new path. Water is so powerful!

We forgot to change our clock forward an hour when we reached Alberta, so when we got to the Columbia Icefields at 3:45 it was actually quarter to five... luckily we weren't too late for a trip onto a glacier! We road in one of those bus things with the big wheels (I forget what they are called) down onto the Athabasca Glacier. It was cold...we didn't dress warm enough for this adventure. It was amazing to be standing on it though! AND I tasted the glacier water... my fingers almost fell off, but I can say I tasted glacier water.

Just as we had given up all hope of seeing anymore wildlife beside the road (we had seen the elk, another elk and some sheep/goats (it's really hard to tell the difference between sheep and goats here)) we spotted a convoy parked on the side of the highway... and there was a little grizzly bear! Sooo cute! I wanted to hug him! After he wandered off we started to drive on, but there were cars pulled over another few hundred metres up the road... yep another bear! It was a black bear this time, with a cute little cub! It was crazy to be so close to bears! Real bears!!

Ok... I need to pause here because I am taking the boys on an adventure in the morning (we're going to Science World AND catching a train from there into the city for lunch...don't tell them though because it's a surprise! At the moment they think we are going to the ballet & then robbing a bank...long story) and I need to sleep... but feel a little bit updated, part 2 coming...sometime! I already have the photos ready to upload!