My Round-Up of A Fabulous Family-Filled Summer of 2019
I vowed to be very present this summer. I felt that I was very wrapped up with a to-do list last year (though I enjoy summer every year), and this year I honestly let summer happen (with some pre-planning), but mostly let it happen. At each turn, I took the time off where needed, and just relished in those moments. As it turns out…it made for an EPIC summer.
One of the best so far.
Here is a summary (if I can even truly summarize it) of what we got up to.
This was the first year that the kids participated in summer camps. I was nervous and excited for both of them…would they enjoy it, would they get tired and would they get what we intended out of it.
Caiden did a couple: Whitecaps youth summer camp, and Pedalheads (bike camp). Rayna did a dance camp (which wasn’t a full day, but it happened daily for a week).
Caiden’s went amazing. He enjoyed them both and learned a lot. With the soccer camp, he was entertained and always had a smile on his face (except for the end of the first day when I realized that his soccer kleats may have been too tight) but we fixed that asap. The rest was smooth sailing! The Pedalheads camp was so fun and amazing. He got rid of the training wheels on the first day (thank you amazing bike teachers, you did in one day what I couldn’t manage to do all last summer). He actually did the camp with his cousin, Aris, which made it extra fun…at the end they did a mini bike parade and honestly…we will be back next year.
Rayna’s dance camp was interesting. She said she had a blast every day, she did it with her friend Laila. However, on the performance day she was reluctant to dance the whole dance…she got very shy. Having said that, I learned that she LOVES ballet and she doesn’t want to do Hip Hop. Okay, lesson learned.
Smoothies and Swimming and Some Parks
On days where we didn’t have plans, I did some work, early morning before anyone was awake, so that I could take longer breaks and end my days early. This allowed for almost a daily adventure out. Our adventures didn’t have to be of large proportions (although sometimes they were…read on about the day at Stanley Park) but fun always.
On most days, we simply went swimming and grabbed smoothies. We loved visiting Grays Park paddle pool. It’s right in the neighbourhood, so we usually ran into some friends. We also went to Hillcrest (a community favourite, Kitsilano Pool (a Vancouver favourite), Kensington (swimming lessons), and basically any splash pad we saw en route.
For smoothies, I feel like we almost lived at the Juice Truck, because the kids actually like it too!! It also made for an excuse to pick up a smoothie, stroll and go swimming…kind of became the theme.
I have to mention our day at Stanley Park though…this was our day of unplanned adventure. I meant to just take them to the aquarium on a not super hot day. However, we explored the park…and they ran me tired!! We started with a picnic in the park, then walked to the aquarium. Now, we have gone to the aquarium a million times (okay, not that many), but this time we actually found the octopus (rare enough but it gets better). As Caiden and I yelped in excitement, the octopus came out!!! It swam around, changed purple and gave us a show. At this point the tank got flooded with people at this rare sighting of the nocturnal creature who is always hiding in camouflage…and we were right in front of the spectacle. As exciting as that was, we still explored…we went on a mini forest hike (well we walked around the park) and up to the train. We took a nice train ride, looked for creatures, and then had to go to the ship playground (they called it that). At this point, I’m done but these kids kept going…finally wrapped it up…but honestly, it was a day to remember.
Both of my babies are indeed summer babies. As such, it makes for some summer fun usually.
First up was Rayna’s. Hers is on June 6th, so still during the school year (but I’m counting it as summer). We threw a party, for her 4th birthday, at a jungle gym/indoor playground…and invited some princesses. She was absolutely happy and elated and it was just perfect for our little princess!
Caiden turned 6 this year. Since his is on July 12th, the weather was pretty predictable, so we had it at Gray’s Park. With a dinosaur theme, the kids had a blast playing with some oversized games like connect 4 and jenga, playing with cow hoppers, digging for fossils and an impromptu soccer game. Such a fun day!
We also had fun celebrating some important grandparent birthdays. My mom turned 60! We threw her a ladies-only bash, complete with games, a Greek dinner and a lot of laughs. The entire party was a white party theme, everyone dressed to impress and of course an outdoor patio with a cocktail bar. My dad turned 65! For him, we had a family lunch on the beautiful Tsawwassen Springs golf course (of course) at Pat Quinn’s amazing restaurant. Those were the milestones, but we also had a mini birthday gathering for my father-in-law who turned 71, and fun in the park celebrating our cousin Ary turning 4, as well as some friends birthdays as well!
A Camping Trip to Cultus Lake
So Caiden has been asking to go camping. As well, we always, by tradition, go to Cultus Lake as a day trip, every summer. We sit by the lake, enjoy a bbq (if allowed) and spend the day at the beach and visit the adventure park. This time, we went with our good friends, for a two-night adventure and tried our hand at camping (okay it was somewhat glamping some may say). However, we stayed in a stationary RV (Lindell Beach Resort), set-up a tent, made dinner outside, ate outside and didn’t have regularly running hot water….so it was camping! Needless to say, the kids (and we) LOVED it! The smile on Caiden’s face as he chilled in the tent and got to use a flashlight was all worth it. Rayna enjoyed making smores and helped build the fire. As usual we did a little walking adventure to see what creatures we could find…and a lot of swimming. I think we will try it again next year!
A Trip to Whistler
A trip to Whistler is always a quick and easy getaway. It’s fun, it’s lively, it’s HOT, and we tend to stay at the best place there…in my opinion. We stayed at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. However, this time, the trip was very relaxed and we enjoyed each luxury (a severe contrast to our camping trip). We enjoyed the spa pool, got pool service, indulged in dessert in the lounge, took a lot of time to relax and walk around the village…actually saw the whole village this time, and even managed to get in more pool time before coming back home. We ate at a couple of new places as well, while also enjoying watching the mountain bikers do their thing. We managed to jam pack the Whister itinerary, without making one…it was beyond relaxing but satisfying full too. I guess when you just actually relax with no agenda, things go better than ever. Though expensive…it was a tonne of fun.
I also did a separate trip to Whistler with just my girl cousins and sister and that too was a delight. It was actually my first real trip without the kids. Though one night, we had a blast!
Whistler 2019 was a definite success!
A Trip to the Okanagan
Another yearly tradition is visiting the Okanagan. We had to skip it last year due to the forest fires, however, looked forward to going back to our favourite town…Osoyoos. This time we detoured and stayed at another place, the Watermark Beach Resort. Now, if you have never stayed there and have kids…STAY THERE! The apartments are HUGE, and it’s close to everything. It’s right on the main public beach, it has stores and restaurants nearby (so if you want to eat out, or get groceries) and the pool has a slide. We also could sit on our patio and overlook the pool while looking out onto the beach. It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was serene, and it, as usual, didn’t disappoint. Highlights included: spending the day at the lake, which was also literally a few steps from the pool, watching Caiden chill like a big man with his dad on the patio and then the hot tub, a lovely evening stroll with Rayna, and amazing food and Okanagan wine. I also loved taking the scenic drive this time through the rolling hills and wineries. I love the Okanagan…so much. Of course, we had to visit our favourite winery and resort, Nk’mip, stock up on some bottles and take our family picture in the most gorgeous spot! Fun fact, we have now taken a picture at this very spot with just Vick and I as a couple (pre-kids), then with our first trip with Caiden and now again as a full family. We have created some amazing memories over the years here…and it’s always special to return.
A Trip to San Francisco
As if we didn’t get out enough, just before school started, we took a trip to San Francisco. We actually went out for a wedding on Labour Day weekend, but we added on an extra two days to galavant in San Fran…specifically Fisherman’s Wharf.
The trip was a good one. We stayed at the Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf, which was just a block away from Pier 39. We enjoyed it thoroughly. From walking the pier, taking in the views/sites, seeing the sea lions, enjoying the carnival, visiting Aquarium of the Bay, and of course eating that world-famous clam chowder. We also had to get in a swim (you know it) and enjoy a family reunion at the hotel before heading down to Hayward for the wedding. The kids had a blast! They enjoyed hanging out, seeing the lights and adventure that is San Fran, but also just being on another adventure and of course going on an airplane.
I forgot how much I loved visiting the Bay area…from even viewing and driving around, to the food, and just that warm California sun.
As if it couldn’t get any better, there was another set of fun activities done locally. PNE/Playland, celebrating Canada day, visiting with family, enjoying some summer movies, and of course a lot of ice cream at local shops.
Needless to say, although it may sound exhausting, what I learned is that by not pre-planning too much, not worrying about making things perfect, and just being very in the moment and giving yourself a break to do so…makes for an amazing summer (and life in general).
Until next year…now back to school.