I actually have to say that I was just as excited to be going home as I was to be going on vacation 2 weeks ago. There were so many good things about this trip that I don't really think I could post them all. I'll write out our itinerary to give you an idea of how much we were able to do and a short comment about what we enjoyed each day. Hopefully it won't become an epic post;). I'm really not sure what I want to do picture-wise yet. I took just under 600 and it's going to be hard to pick my favorites. Without further ado...
Sunday, May 20th-we went to church, had a missionary visit, fed him lunch, then headed to Lethbridge. We went to the Bishop's church in Lethbridge, Alberta. ***They have 3 kids and we stayed up til 1am visiting with them after church! Soooo much fun...
Monday, May 21st-We woke up, let them kids play with the Bishop's boys and their little chicks. They brought in fresh eggs too! ***Their dog got sprayed by a skunk while we were there, but thankfully none of us smelled like it when we left:))).
The second half of the day was spent driving to Montrose B.C. We stopped at Frank Slide and the big truck in Sparwood, visited the Callaghans and ate supper with the Hawkins before heading to the Preacher's Conf... ***Caleb had delayed car sickness around 3-Thankfully it only got on his pillow case and he was great after that!
Tuesday, May 22nd-Breakfast at the church, Scott preached the first sermon of the day-I'm probably biased, but it was amazing and it gave me a lot to think about. I was reminded of it several times during our vacation and the Lord used it to encourage us to stay positive and thankful through it all... ***Afternoon visits to several friends and neighbors and more preaching that night. Sad goodbyes, but much thankfulness for our time spent there!
Wednesday, May 23rd-Breakfast with the Hawkins, late start, but it was okay. Weird vibration in van on drive through the mountains. Got to the Hoxie's church about 5 minutes late for Prayer meeting, good visit, very thankful for a place to stay that night. ***The kids LOVED playing with the toys in the nursery when they woke up.
Grocery store stop before boarding the ferry. Still a vibration when driving over 70 km per hour.Played at awesome park while waiting to board the ferry. ***Beautiful day for crossing, wonderful ice cream treat, relieved to be settled in the motel for the night:).***Funny memory: A lady with one child asked to shake my hand because she was amazed that we were at the grocery store early in the morning with 5 children. Note: We got LOTS of these comments, but not because the kids were misbehaving. They did awesome and people were just amazed to see a couple with 5 children. More of a rarity these days. We attribute their behaviour to much prayer and reminders before we got out of the car about how to behave and interact politely with others:).
Thursday, May 24th-LOOOONG walk to a great park, another sunny day!*** Taking the kids swimming for the first time. There was an indoor pool at the motel and no one seemed to be using it while we were there. We'd check before taking the kids and it made for more great memories.
Friday, May 25th-Scott took the van in, they worked it on a bit and we drove it that evening, thinking it was fixed. We didn't drive over 70 though, so ignorance was bliss that day. We went to the Fisherman's wharf and the kids saw the seals and an otter up close. There was another great park and a skateboarding pit bull that provided lots of laughter. Other parents bought fish to throw to the seals and a couple of them let our kids throw too:) We went to a free petting zoo and the kids favorite part was brushing the baby goats.***Great weather and watching the kids chase after the seagulls:).
Saturday, May 26th-More exploring, finding a beach that we could get down to fairly easily. Watching the kite surfers. The kids throwing rocks into the oceans and collecting so many of them that it made the stroller twice as heavy to get back up the stairs... ***Hearing the kids recite their memory verse and visiting China town...
Sunday, May 27th-We headed out to the Johnson's church-discovered that the car vibrated worse than the first time... Elyssia puked on the way to church... Great teaching and preaching. Really nice to meet all the cousins! We went to their house after church and visited for the rest of the day. ***The Sunday School teacher having so much fun with Garrison and Kiersten. Elyssia perked up a bit and was able to visit for awhile, we thought it might just be the gastritis again...
Monday, May 28th-Garrison woke up, acted fine, but threw up in the bathroom shortly after that... Scott took the van to the shop and got home around lunchtime. The problem was actually mud packed in from our roads and the pressure breaking the sway bar. Thankfully it was DEFINITELY fixed after this. Caleb was the next one to throw up, but then he was fine too. We went to Government house and walked around the gardens. Beautiful!!! We stopped at Craigdarroch castle, but it was too expensive. We tried to see the Fisgard Lightbouse, but it closed right as we got there. We found another nice beach that night and I was able to find a baby crab for the kids to see. We also had Elyssia's medicine prescription forwarded and she perked up after that ***One last swim...
Tuesday, May 29th-One last stop at the beach, picked up some shells and driftwood for mementos. Only 30 minutes to wait before boarding the ferry. We got to ride one of the newer ones this time. Super fancy! ***Staying at the Hoxie's church again and trying to teach the kids the game of foursquare. Trying a pommelo-I'm thinking we won't be buying another one:).
Wednesday, May 30th-The drive to Vernon was a bit rainy, but we drove on the Coquihala for the first time. It was WAY better than the Hope Princeton. We stopped in Kamloops to have lunch and play at the park. Unfortunately the park was taken over by unruly middle school kids:(. The Lord brought along a little squirrel to cheer the kids up though. They had fun following it around and I just might have to post that picture on here sometime:) We arrived in Vernon around 3 and ate supper at Richard and Crystal's. We were hoping to go camping that night, but they were kind enough to put us up for the night. The kids enjoyed playing together and surprisingly enough there weren't any disagreements between the 8 kids 7 and under:)***Visiting with our friends until sometime after 11.
Thursday, May 31st-Breakfast with Friends, starting the drive to Calgary. A bit of road construction, but Beautiful mountain scenery! We stopped at Golden to have lunch and play at the park. You'll probably notice a pattern of stopping to play at parks:) They were definitely a big part of our trip... I think we averaged 2 stops a day. 4 max, if you count 1 extra bathroom stop or a gas stop. Most days it was just 2 though. Addy was an awesome traveller and mostly needed to eat when we were stopped. I think we only made 2 additional stops in the two weeks just to feed her.***Getting to Kirk's house and having the kids mob him when he got home from work:))). It's been totally transformed with Darlene's help and the kids enjoyed the colors to draw with and the stuffies and books she had around for them to use. She also had special plates, cups, bowls and cutlery just for them. It made them feel very special! We were also able to meet one of their friends, Rachel, whom the kids took an immediate liking to:).
Friday, June 1st-LEGO DAY!!!:) That was the first thought the kids woke up with anyway. They LOVED playing in Uncle Kirk's G.I. Joe and Lego room and left Uncle Kirk with lots of playing and rearranging to do after we left. Hope he doesn't mind too much... Kirk and Darlene fixed us a fabulous breakfast of waffles and omelettes. We didn't actually get away from the house til after 10, but the Lego store wasn't too far away. The first place didn't have the mini figures that the kids had saved up for, but thankfully Kirk knew of another toy store that carried them in the same mall. He's VERY good at identifying them and the 3 older ones were able to spend the money they'd saved up to buy one each and had over a dollar left:). They were VERY excited about that. Darlene was able to find the dress pants that the groomsmen needed, which was also a blessing. It was well after lunch time when we left and they suggested that we head to IKEA. Most of us had a hot dog and the kids discovered IKEA for the first time. I hadn't been in over 6 years, so it was kind of nice to look around. We bought a roll of art paper and a water bottle ice cube tray. Big spenders, eh:) Scott was able to get Elyssia's Spanish course from the Homeschool store nearby, then we headed back for a nap. The kids all slept on the drive home though, so Scott and I took them for a walk while the other adults took a nap. We finished off the day with supper, a long walk to a park and some mostly tired kids. I gave them all a bath and 4 of them fell asleep pretty quickly. Elyssia stayed up to draw with Rachel and play a game with Scott. After the kids and Scott went to bed I visited with the others for another hour or so. Darlene offered us sorbets and although I don't normally eat that late, I'm glad I said yes! It was amazing! I chose the Lemon one. The sorbet was frozen inside half of a lemon. It was like the fruit was the bowl and I'm hoping to either replicate it at home or find a place to buy more:).
Saturday, June 2nd-We still needed to find shoes for the kids for the wedding, so we loaded up first thing and headed out right after breakfast. Thankfully the Lord helped us to find some quickly and we were able to play at another park for close to an hour. It was sad to say goodbye, but we'll see them again at the wedding next month, so telling the kids that helped them to not be so sad.
We headed to Three Hills to meet with our friend(adopted family:)at her Tea House in Three Hills. We arrived a little late, but it was wonderful to spend time with Karyn and her dad. Adelaide was a bit fussy, teething I think, but Bro. Ironside asked if he could hold her and she calmed down as soon as he took her. She gave him the biggest smiles and he rewarded her with kisses. It was very sweet and I'll treasure the memory forever. It was kind of like having my dad there to do the same. He somehow reminds me of my dad and it was very special to add this to our special times on vacation. The kids had a wonderful time and the food was delicious. We were too full to eat dessert, but Karyn was kind enough to put some with our take home box:).
Next stop-Gas station, then home...
We arrived back home around 6 and it was such a wonderful feeling to be home. To see the growth of everything while we were away, even though it means lots of mowing and weeding. The only thing I wasn't thankful for was the mosquitoes. I didn't miss them at all... We all helped to unload the van and then got ready for bed. I think we all slept quite well, enjoying the feeling of being HOME.***Scott called his parents and put a mouse trap in the van before we headed to bed.
Sunday, June 3rd-The Lord's Day! The mouse was in the trap and he was quite large. I'm pretty sure it's from eating all the crumbs we made on our drive to Victoria and back... Yet another thing to be thankful for:))). A good day in the Lord's House so far, looking forward to another service tonight and then an early bedtime. Sale day for groceries tomorrow, laundry and lots of catching up to do before we truly settle down.
Hope you enjoyed hearing about our travels and didn't get bored with the long details of the journey:).