On Driving 3 Provinces With 3 Kids

2015-08-03 13.07.39 siteThese pickles. They survived the road with me as the only parent for 3 days.

This is now the second time I’ve driven this long-Yellowhead-Highway trek with them, which is an impressive 1256 km long. One major difference made us all much happier this time around – we overnighted at Jasper Provincial Park. It was my Mum’s idea, and she met us there with all sorts of camping gear set up for us to overnight. Turned out so much better than the long drive from Edmonton to Prince George did last year! An 8 hour drive with littles easily turns into a 10-or-more hour drive with their needs, so Jasper, at 4 hours past Edmonton, was a perfect place to break.

2015-08-03 16.20.08 siteSo thrilled to be out of that confining car seat!

Camping with three 5-and-under kids is quite an adventure, but we survived and even enjoyed it. It’s always more fun for the kids than the adults, right? We had great neighbours to our campsite on one side – they had 2 kids, one the same age as Spencer. So of course they hit it off right away and played the whole time together. Super helpful. To the adults. And I love that he just got right out exploring, as it should be for a 5-year-old. Cassia tagged along as much as she could. Unfortunately she may have been the brunt of a couple ‘hide from Cassia’ games that she wasn’t overly fond of, but she enjoyed most of the playing.

The next day my mum took the two older kids in her car (HEAVEN!) and we headed in the direction of Prince George. We stopped in McBride for lunch, and just in case you ever drive through looking for a place to stop, they have a FABULOUS kids playground if you turn left at the only major intersection on the highway with the town. Head to the end of the road. Stop, kick the kids out, enjoy a little peace. You’re welcome. Oh, and don’t forget to fill-up your vehicle – the next stop with gas is Prince George, a mere 209km (about 2.5 hours) west.

On our way back we stopped at the Ancient Forest, which has dinky little signs that make it look like it’s probably a dive, but it’s so totally not! 2015-08-04 14.03.25 site

They have a boardwalk that runs through this ancient forest of cedar trees – it’s an authentic inland rainforest, how cool is that?  Taking the stroller on the boardwalk was a breeze, and the kids were relatively confined to the boardwalk as long as they didn’t run too far ahead. It was A-MAZ-ING.

2015-08-04 14.06.42 site2015-08-04 14.08.52 site 2015-08-04 14.12.04 site
don’t mind the creepy half-body Cassia – that’s what happens with a panorama photo shot and they don’t stay still…
2015-08-04 14.13.48 site2015-08-04 14.16.51 siteAnd a close up: 2015-08-04 14.16.51 - zoomed site2015-08-04 14.21.11 site

Very much worth checking out if you have 30-45 minutes. There is a longer loop trail that does not have a boardwalk that leads to a waterfall, I would have loved to have done that, but just not really possible with the 3 littles unless it was boardwalked. Maybe when they get bigger. So much fun, great place to stop! They have outhouses if you need the loo.

And with that, we made it into Prince George. We’ve been here for over a week now and have had more adventures, more stories to come. Andy is holding the fort back home, complaining to me all-the-time about how hot it is (for the record, it’s not that hot here) and enjoying being kid-free for awhile. We’re keeping good touch, though!

Have you done long distance traveling with your kids? By yourself?

 

Answer Me This

This is to be the last one, so it would be unfortunate not to participate!!

Answer Me This31. What is your your favourite picture book?

Any of the books by Leslie Patricelli, but especially Potty:

pottyThey are short, to the point, and entertaining. My kids love this book.

We also love the majority of Tomie de Paola‘s books, too. Spencer especially likes The Song of Francis (though I admit the angels are a little creepy):

francisHe writes a lot of children’s Christian books in addition to non-Christian books.

2. Are you a boycotter?

Not really. When I was much younger, I used to be, but I don’t so much anymore. I do weigh my decisions and make ethical choices based on my beliefs, but I don’t so much boycott. The only thing I retain from my younger days is not shopping at Walmart. Generally speaking, I don’t like shopping at big industrial stores and this place seems to epitomize our materialistic tendencies in my mind, so I avoid it.

3. How do you feel about cheese?

*melt*

Does that explain it? No? Well, I think I’m clever :). I love it so much that we make our own cheese at home, most recently venturing into mozzarella-making. And, believe you-me, it’s delicious.

2014-06-30 22.53.39Making the mozza balls 🙂
2014-07-13 22.18.07Fresh cheese and beer, no better combo (this may only hold true occasionally).

While visiting family in Cincinnati a few years ago, I apparently made a statement along the lines of, if I could do with only one type of food, it would be cheese. I went back there with the kids in January and, of course, one of the foods I bought was cheese (cause, yum). My aunt repeated what I had said on the previous visit about cheese and, though I had no recollection of saying it, I could easily verify that it’s something I would have said. Easily.

4. How many pairs of sunglasses do you own?

More than I need, that is certain. Maybe 4 or 5? My problem has always been that they get scratched. But I don’t thrown them out when they get scratched. They hang around. For no good reason. I should clarify that they aren’t expensive – they’re the cheap kind that are no pricier than $10 (usually). Except my prescription sunglasses, which broke and are likely fixable, but I need to check warranty information before I see if I can fix them myself.

5. How long has it been since you went to the dentist?

Goodness, this is a poke in the eye kind of question. Not in a long time. And it’s only due to laziness. There is no good reason. I can’t go into more detail because I find it embarrassing that I still haven’t done anything about it.

6. If you could visit any religious site in the world, where would you go?

I would love to take a tour of Paul’s journeys. I love the history of the new testament and it would be absolutely amazing to experience the places and communities he visited. paul

Answer Me This

Answer Me This3A long break just to rev up for another session of Answer Me This!

1. When driving, are you more likely to listen to the radio, to CDs, or an iPod, or nothing at all?

I prefer the radio in most circumstances. I switch between CBC Radio 2 (classical, mostly) and The Others (which vary between ‘all the same new music, all the time’ to ‘never repeat’s). I try to keep it to classical in the car during the hours that there is classical playing, because I am not likely to play it at home, unless it’s Christmas. Then you can’t get me to turn the Nutcracker off. Just ask Andy.

Andy usually likes silence in the car. Unless Katy Perry is playing. Then he has to join her and belt out a song (or at least the portions he knows). "Smurfs 2" - Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

2. Do you prefer window or aisle?

Window. If it is a long-haul flight (which mine aren’t, if I fly at all) I’d likely prefer the aisle with the kids. Easier to access facilities and stuff. But I really only fly to Vancouver with any sense of regularity (we’ll say two times in 4 years) and from Saskatoon, that means a stop in Calgary. So my flights are only about an hour each way (Saskatoon-Calgary; Calgary-Vancouver), which doesn’t really require moving much.

2014-07-24 05.38.26Felicity and I airporting it back very early to Saskatoon from Abbotsford (super close to Vancouver)

And I really enjoy watching the take off and landing views. And occasionally the clouds and stuff.

2014-07-24 10.03.59(It’s like they knew they could do some advertising from the pictures taken from the window…)

And sometimes I’m super duper lucky and get a whole aisle to myself. Or myself and a baby. Comme ça:

2014-07-20 09.00.223. Do you fall asleep on your side, back, or stomach? What position are you in when you wake up?

I usually end up falling asleep on my stomach, though if I stay that way overnight, I’ll wake up with a pain in my neck (literally). I feed Felicity during the night, so I usually wake up on one of my sides if I’d been feeding her then had fallen asleep. Ideally I’d prefer to fall asleep on my back because it doesn’t make me wake up hurting (ah, the joys of getting older), but it’s not as comfortable, unfortunately.

4. Do you have a favourite quote or inspirational saying?

Why yes, I do.

tumblr_l2gb2m5MGE1qzn0jzo1_400This is a Galaxy Quest quote, which is one of the bestest, star-studded spoof movies out there. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out on life. I doubt this not.

galaxy-quest-deluxe-edition-dvdAnd, while it’s not a true quote per se

funnyI really hope you get it. Because if you don’t, I just…there’s not…well, you’re not cool enough, I guess. It encompasses everything cool: Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Star Trek. All in one smack-you-head meme. I need a poster of this. Or a t-shirt.

I suppose one day I might answer this question with something that isn’t funny and more serious, but alas – today is not that day.

5. When was the last time you attended a zoo, circus, carnival, county fair, or parade?

Well, we can definitely count the county fair out, as those don’t exist in Canada. Last summer Spencer and I went to the Exhibition, which makes me feel like I’m in a circus. Does that count? In Cincinnati in January the kids and I went to the aquarium, which is like a zoo…

www.pinterest.com

6. What’s the best thing about summer?

IMG_3355Kicking the kids outside and watching them revel (and complain) about everything they should be reveling at and complaining about at their age. Like how hot it is. And fighting over who goes down the slide next. And spraying each other with water. And prancing through the sprinkler. And spraying everything they can with a hose (though I do get angry when it’s my tomatoes that the boy starts hosing down full blast). Basically, just being outside. We don’t get that freedom in winter, so enjoying it while it lasts, in whatever way that takes form (backyard adventures, splash pads and outdoor pools, biking, walking, etc, etc.)

IMG_3285Troublemakers. All of ’em.

For more fun kicks, head over to Kendra’s blog!

Answer Me This

Wow, has it been a week already? Craziness. Well, here we go:

Answer Me This31. How often do you take public transportation?

I don’t take it often anymore. When we lived in Ottawa, I used it all the time. The city was set up for public transportation and when the bus drivers went on strike for 3 weeks, the city basically shut down. I wish more cities had accessible public transportation like Ottawa does.

2010.02.01-2010.04.01 087El Canal and the Fairmont in Ottawa. This is the way we worked the public transit in Ottawa.

Andy, however, takes the bus most days to work. I have to admit, taking the bus with 3 kids by myself, at this point, feels like it might traumatize me. Maybe in a few months I can entertain the thought. The kids love taking the bus, though.

2011.07.09dDoes this count as a bus? It’s full of crazies. (Montreal with family). So glad to be related by marriage to these folks!

2. How many cousins do you have?

On my maternal side I have 11 cousins, on my paternal size I have 4, though I haven’t had contact with them for years. We used to have big family reunions when we were younger on my mom’s side, and those were great. I’m the oldest cousin on my maternal side, which meant I babysat more than hung out with cousins. I don’t think anyone ever really got over that, but whatever, it’s always a good time when we get together now (which isn’t often anymore).

2009Munros153This is where I get my crazy from.
2009Munros094You know it’s a good time when…

The kids have 3 cousins on their paternal side, which they get to see relatively often. One set visit from Ontario a couple times a year and the other lives close to us, so we are lucky to see them more often. They also have 2 cousins from my side of the fam, whom they have never met.

3. Have you ever fired a gun?

No. And I have no desire or inkling to ever do so.

4. Do you ride roller coasters?

Love, love, LOVE roller coasters! !! I could ride them all day and be content. Unfortunately Andy does not share my love of roller coasters, and I usually have to drag him on one or maybe two, which he freaks on every time. But I am thankful he’s at least willing most times to freak out on them to help keep me happy (when we are at such parks). I think the craziest one I went on was when I was visiting a friend in San Francisco area. It was a drop-ride that I had to build up my courage to consider. Felt I could see the whole of the bay area from it (it was at California’s Great America amusement park).

2009Munros088This was at Disney, but just as epic cause I was with the crazies mentioned above. Family is like a roller coaster, right?

5. What’s your favourite flower?

Though I can’t get it as a flower in a bouquet, I love magnolias. Their scent is heavenly. magnolia-rustica-rubra

6. Are you allergic to anything?

I have hay fever, but that’s about it. And it’s the least-worst living in Saskatchewan than it has ever been, which is lovely.

Head over to Kendra’s site to check out more people’s answers to this week’s questions!

Leaves and Newness

Well well, it looks like it’s been awhile since I’ve updated here. Of course, I knew this. My biggest obstacle was that our website was no longer uploading photos properly and this, apparently, has really really deterred me from a desire to update. Andy says he’s changed that finally and that we are back in working order. So! A Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

Life has settled down for us in a healthy way, and is gearing up in other ways. I finally left a very very stressful situation, while maintaining my dignity (which I always such a hard thing to do when I am in a really hurtful situation), and have moved on. I have successfully completed the first of three parts to gain my Aromatherapy certification. Speaking of which, is anyone in Saskatoon looking for a massage? I need 35 clients (while I am in ‘student mode’) to complete certification. I am successfully gestating a little baby, who is now 23 weeks along. Anticipated due date at this point is May 13th. All prayers are appreciated for this little one! I am very excited to meet the baby; we recently had our first meeting with our doula (Jude, the same wonderful woman who attended me and Andy with Cassia) and she also spurred on more excitement, talking about the coming birth. We are waiting until the birth to find out the gender, like we did with Cassia. So much anticipation!

The kids and I (sans Andy) went to Cincinnati last week to visit my Goddaughter, who was Confirmed. We had such an amazing time there. Spencer was most saddened to leave, having made some great friendships with my cousins, and it was such a great time reconnecting with family! Grace and I had lots of fun during her Confirmation (eagerly anticipating, of course) and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating such a great event!! Thank you guys so much for the invite – it was amazing for all of us!

My business that I’ve started has been a joy – I have thoroughly enjoyed each encounter that I’ve had with people who buy my products, and I’m loving making things and inventing new recipes for future seasons. It’s opened up a new part of my life that is bringing me happiness, which is a great change. And I’m my own boss, which clearly is a great choice for me right now. I can actually direct my company in the direction it needs to go and I make the call in how it happens and how quickly or slowly. It’s such an amazing change to really have the freedom to live out the discernment that I am doing with both my life and my work. God willing, I will follow this as far as I’m called to go with it. It’s working well for our family so far, which has been a top priority.

Spencer just turned 4. That little boy of ours has been encountering the world now for 4 years. It’s just so hard to believe. He’s such a beautiful person and I feel blessed to be a part of his journey in life. He is such a gift to Andy and I, even amidst tantrums and spilled drinks (his too).

IMG_2816Cincinnati – trip to the aquarium. We loved the penguins.
IMG_2817In all solemnity, waiting for the Confirmation ceremony to begin…
IMG_2819With a bit of goofiness thrown in, of course…(my idea)
IMG_2820Hurray for being Confirmed! Yay bishop! Yay chrism! Yay Holy Spirit!
IMG_2822They’ve got the joy! Welcome fully into the community!
IMG_2825Last chance photo – we miss you guys already!
IMG_2834Birthday boy. Homemade ice cream car cake – all thanks to el Daddy-o! Delicious!
IMG_2846This is what it looks like to be 4. Or so he indicated.
IMG_2855On a nicer note, this is also 4.
IMG_2860Cassia wanted her picture taken too. I complied. Happily.