Spring Break 2011…

This spring break brought us 2 whole weeks off!! It was lovely I must admit that for sure. During our second week off, Lynda, John and Benno from Ontario visited us for a week. We had a great time with hiking local trails and enjoying the scenery VI has to offer. Although I would have to say the highlight of the trip for me was visiting Seattle for a few days. I truly believe a change of scenery is good for the soul. Now to try and upload some photos…

the girls and the Space Needle

Low and behold…I have figured out the problem…the part I love most about visiting Seattle is going to Pike Place Market…I wish we had more time to explore there…but it was nice to spend a bit of time there regardless…

Pike Place Market

 

the cooper pig

We also walked along First Avenue to Pioneer Square and we were so excited about the Underground Tour that we decided to take it!!  It was very cool indeed…downtown Seattle was originally built at tide level and the town experienced flooding everytime the tide was high!!  Then a huge fire burned most of the buildings down and the town was rebuilt an entire storey higher…we saw the old town way underground (obviously) and it was a very interesting tour!!                                  

glass blocks from the sidewalk up above current street level

The kids were also very excited to see the mummies and shrunken heads at Ye Ol’ Curiosity Shop at the Pier…Brian and I had visited this store many years ago and we had seen the mummies on television.   Definitely worth checking out if you’re into that kind of stuff.  And last but not least, I loved the Trader Joe’s stores that we walked to and I mean we saw parts of Seattle I’ve never seen before due to our quest to find these locations.  I love the Lavender Soap and I cannot wait to get more supplies when we visit Trader Joe’s in Pittsburg PA this summer!!!

Auntie Lynda and the girls really did go up the Space Needle!!

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Fun at the Aquarium…

On Sunday, we made our way to the Vancouver Aquarium.  It was another beautiful sunny day but the arctic airflow that we’ve been experiencing made it bitterly cold!!  The aquarium is located in Stanley Park and they are fortunate to possess one of Bill Reid’s sculputres at the front entrance (he is a famous Haida artist who made many amazing sculptures…Raven and the First Men is another one of my favourites)…

Killer Whale sculpture by Bill Reid

The aquarium has had many updates since I last visited including an area called Treasures of the BC Coast and a Frogs Forever Exhibit.  We really enjoyed the Tropic Zone as well and ofcourse the Beluga Whales and Sea Otters found outside in the Canada’s Arctic area.  From the Tropic Zone…

The underside of the largest turtle I have ever seen

The cutest sea horse - they were amazing to watch

Hatpin Urchin (a bit of glare from the glass)

Then we moved on to the Treasures of the BC Coast and the Jellyfish area.  We saw the most amazing Octopus and at one point we witnessed it puff out a vast quantity of “ink” when it bumped its head against the glass (I have some issues with the captivity of these creatures but I’ll admit I enjoyed every minute of this experience)

Big C and the most amazing octopus

The jellyfish were fantastic to watch…almost like watching the slow changes of a lava lamp.  The contrast of the jellyfish with the turquoise background made it very visually pleasing…

Jellyfish

swimming

everywhere!

Next we ventured out in the cold to get a glimpse of the Beluga whales, I believe there were four females including two calves.  Their lineage is quite interesting with one older female having produced a calf with her “son-in-law” so to speak.  They were very responsive to our voices and one of the calves came over for a visit .   I did not get any photos! ha  But I got a photo of the cutest  Sea Otter just floating around in the sun…

Sea Otter floating around

Ofcourse the exit from the aquarium led to the gift shop where Big C and Little C made a few important purchases thanks to their Auntie Lynda who gave them some spending money!

Little C loved this blue aquatic Christmas tree!

Well visiting the big city like that always makes me appreciate the slower and more relaxed pace of Vancouver Island!

Weekend in Vancouver and Auntie Laura

We left the “rock” this weekend to visit the big city of Vancouver and meet up with Auntie Laura!!  This was the first time either of the girls actually ventured  into the city aside from our yearly visits to YVR enroute to Ontario.  And what beautiful weather we had to boot.  We had a really nice weekend and we pretty much hit all of my favourite destinations including Granville Island and the Vancouver Aquarium.  More shopping would have been great but we had a difficult time with parking and the girls seemed to tire very easily.  Here’s a look…

A quick lunch at Granville Market whilst Brian searches for parking

Crazy kids in the market - note Caitlin's black eye

Just hanging out by the big propeller

The company and sunny blue skies made this little trip to Granville memorable.  Big B didn’t have the best of times due to the tight parking situation; apparently everyone from Vancouver goes to Granville on a Saturday afternoon!

We enjoyed several nice meals out.  It was pretty to head over to English Bay and walk along the busy streets to our dinner destination – Milestones.  I think everyone enjoyed their meal.

Big C trying her curly fry on for size

Little C outdoing her sis

Silly girls

I’m glad we forked out the cash to go to the Aquarium (72 dollars for 2 adults and 2 children please note!)  we had a terrific time and enjoyed viewing many beautiful creatures.  This visit is worth its own post and I’m tired from being a passenger both in our van and on BC Ferries!  Good night 🙂

Lean-tos, Bowers, and Totems

While in Tofino back in October, I had a great time taking photos of the girls on the beach in the various lean-tos we found made of driftwood.  My inspiration for taking these photos stemmed from one of my all time favourite books.  It’s called “BUILDERS of the Pacific Coast” by Lloyd Kahn (2008) (I’m having an APA nightmare from my university days – sorry I hope I’ve referenced enough!).  Lloyd Kahn basically spent 2 years photographing “counterculture” carpenters along the Pacific Coast whose homes and structures are made from the logs and rocks in their natural surroundings – lots on Vancouver Island to my surprise – I LOVE this book and simply cannot put it down at times.  Here’s a sample of my photos…

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Beach combers under the lean-to

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This bower actually appeared in his book - it's a fish

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Glass blowers' studio and gallery

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Hand blown glass in the drift wood

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A driftwood Muskoka chair

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Nature girls

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West Coast Totem Pole

I am so looking forward to my next trip to Tofino and getting my hands on a copy of Lloyd Kahn’s second book entitled “Home Work”.

Flashback: Thanksgiving Weekend

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Chloe with part of a sand dollar

For Thanksgiving weekend, we decided to get away to one of my favourite places on earth besides Disney World –  TOFINO!!  We haven’t gotten away as a family in a long time and honestly, we were living in the moment  and splurged on our accomodations.  The Long Beach Lodge was truly amazing and we enjoyed staying in the cabin that was pretty much nicer than our house!

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The beautiful cabin in the woods

The two things the kids enjoyed the most about our get away was the cabin with the hot tub and ofcourse playing on the beautiful beaches that line the West Coast!

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Hot tubbing in the rainforest! Life is good...

We enjoyed the warmth of the hot tub contrasted to the dampness of the rainforest.  Big B later joined us for an evening of hot tubbing under the stars! 

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Little C loves playing in the sand

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Beautiful Cox Beach

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The girls running from the encrouching waves

The girls loved running out into the water as it was drawing back and then madly run back to the shoreline as the waves rolled in.  Sometimes the water would come back so quickly that they’d get soaking wet!  Good thing they wore boots.

I loved the main Lodge for it had a beautiful grand room where we had breakfast the following morning.  Everything was freshly made, freshly squeezed – they even made their own granola and yogurt which rates high in my books!

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Yummy breakfast at the lodge

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A very cool native mask

We had many things to be thankful for that weekend!