One Last Evening in Pictures

We are home from our beautiful Florida vacation. I will not write anything about the weather here at home, because I think that topic has been covered quite thoroughly.

However. I do have two things to say:

1) To everyone on Facebook: Post about the muffins you’re baking, or about your favorite shoes, or anything other than the weather. Facebook needs you to be strong. Resist the urge to write about the weather.

2) To the lady at the mall who said the snow today is her worst nightmare: It’s time to get out more, and experience new things. I could think of some pain and suffering in the world that might be more difficult to bear than a snowstorm.

Alright, now that I’ve gotten those two important thoughts off my chest, I will share some pictures from our last evening in Florida. Maybe they will comfort you in your suffering.

If not, then maybe you should not look at them. I promise this will be my last Florida post. After this, my pictures will all look white and wintery again, if that makes you feel any better.

But not for long. Because it’s almost spring.

golf cart ride

On our last evening in Florida, we went for a “family golf cart ride”. Kaylia still fits in the basket in the back, so there’s still room for the four of us!

We headed off for the `jungle`, which really isn`t technically a jungle, but rather a strip of uncleared land beside the retirement village.




It was a beautiful evening, but I’m so happy to be home. Vacations are nice, but ordinary life is quite wonderful, too.


Disney Lessons

We are traveling home today.

I kinda don’t want to go home, but really I do. The weather is so very beautiful here and it’s been a good week, but I miss my house, and my normal routine.

We’ve learned something important this week: Never go to Disney during Spring Break.


Oh, my word.

(That picture above is totally deceiving, because it is THE ONLY time all day when there were so few people around us. Not sure how that worked out….)

We didn’t know it was Spring Break down here – it isn’t, at home. But when we got here, we found out about the Spring Break thing.

I have a vague memory of thinking to myself, “Oh, well – how bad can it be??”

It can be bad.

There are actually people in this world who are willing to wait one hundred and thirty minutes to meet a young woman wearing a Cinderella costume.

Fortunately, we were able to skip the line, and our girls got to meet fake princesses to talk and hug and act bashful with.


We were still able to have a good time, in spite of the crowds, and we learned a few good things at Disney, too:

1) It’s pretty fun to watch a three-year-old experience Disney for the first time.


2) If you have food allergies, go eat at Disney. They will take amazing care of you! We’ve never been to a restaurant that handles food allergies as well as Disney does.



3) When the setting isn’t quite magical enough on it’s own, add fake bird noises. I knew the bird noises were fake, but they still made me feel really happy.


It was a fun day, and I’m hoping our day of traveling today will go just as well! Wish us luck!

And Here We Are, At Home

So. Coming home from vacation.

Yesterday morning I was doing yoga by the beach, and by evening, I was home in the snow.


I’ve been thinking about the pros and cons to coming home.

My cons included:

1) No beach.

2) Being reunited with my winter jacket. (It is so much fun to run out the door without it.)

3) Loads of laundry, and suitcases full of sand.

4) Jumping right back into the regular, busy schedule.

But because there are two sides to everything, I must admit that I’m very aware of the pros to coming home, as well:

1) I missed our house. (And I really love sleeping in our own bed!)

2) I LOVE having good, clean drinking water running from our taps.

3) Flushing toilet paper down the toilet now seems like a luxury. (I kept forgetting all week! And then I felt super guilty about all the clogged toilets I was leaving in my wake. Now I can flush with freedom. I might throw extra toilet paper in just for the fun of it.)

I was going to come up with an equal number of pros and cons, but for right now, that’s all I’ve got.





Have a wonderful Monday, and flush your toilet paper down that toilet with a big smile of appreciation on your face.

Okay, want to help me out?! What’s your best “pro” for being at home, and not in some tropical location?:)

Not Really Adventurous

I’m not really very adventurous. Not much of a daredevil. It’s just not my thing. But every once in a while, I’m driven to do something a little bit exciting.

It always has to do with something other than the excitement, however.

For example.

Parasailing was all about feeling like a bird in the sky, above the ocean, surrounded by blue.


And climbing a 126 foot Mayan pyramid? That was about looking out over the green, lush jungle from the very top, watching the birds flying around beneath me.

IMG_3468 IMG_3457 IMG_3463

I don’t do anything for the rush in my stomach, or the desire to do something slightly dangerous. I do it because I want to see the trees, the ocean, and the birds better! That’s a dangerous confession to make publicly, because Ben could easily use it against me. He tried to convince me to go skydiving with him once, but I was completely uninterested.

However. If he would tell me all about what it was like to float through the sky, let’s say at sunset, perhaps, and see all the green fields spread out beneath him, and threw in some descriptions about clouds and/or birds? You’d probably soon be reading a post about me skydiving.

Who knows.

It’s all about the pretty stuff.


P.S. Ben read that last bit over my shoulder, and got really excited about the possibility of me going skydiving. I still don’t think it’s likely to happen, but if it ever does, you know why I’ll be doing it!

Weekend Favorites: Home

I always enjoy coming home after being away on vacation for awhile. 

I like my own bed, and I like my clothes hanging in a closet instead of packed up in a suitcase.

I like getting back to our usual schedule.

We had our usual Saturday morning pancakes.

The girls were very happy to be reunited with their toys.

And they spent some time getting reacquainted with snow.

Which meant hot chocolate was also necessary.

It’s good to be home.

What do you miss when you’re away from home?

Leave Room For Surprises

I like to have a plan. I love schedules and lists. I always feel happy and organized when we are following The Plan.

Fortunately, I married Ben. He helps me to forget The Plan, when necessary.

He encourages me to be spontaneous, and after being married to him for twelve years, I am finally learning that sometimes, the unexpected and unplanned is the best part of all.

When we were visiting Victoria last time, we did a bunch of the usual tourist-type of things. We went to Butchart Gardens, toured some famous, old buildings, hung out by the harbour front. We had a great time doing all of that stuff (and it was all part of The Plan).

But the best part of our trip was spontaneous.

We were driving along the highway when we saw a sign that said “Hatley Castle”, and Ben said, “Hey, I remember reading about that! Let’s check it out.”

I would never have thought of doing this on my own. I would have been too focused on getting to our next planned location.

But we stopped, and went exploring.

Hatley Castle was built by a rich family back in the early nineteen hundreds, but is now the home of the Royal Roads University. We couldn’t tour the inside, but we stumbled upon some amazing gardens on the property.

There wasn’t a person in sight, and we had a wonderful afternoon exploring all the little paths and bridges. We had packed a lunch that day, and ate it in a little gazebo overlooking a beautiful pond.

We took pictures all over the place, and experimented with using the timer on our camera.

Whenever I think of that trip, the gardens at Hatley Castle have always been my favorite memory.

We made sure to take our girls there this time around.

Turns out, things have gotten a bit touristy since the last time we were there. We had to pay to get in, and there were other people around. It lost the whole “secret garden” kind of feel to it. Still as beautiful as ever, but not quite the same as last time.

After we were done exploring the gardens, we drove around for a bit, and ended up on a road that went right by the ocean. Ben said, “I want to pull over.”

And that was the beginning of this trip’s best memory.

It was beautiful and perfect.

We gathered shells and pretty rocks.

Anika and Kaylia played tag with the waves.

The waves won.

I’m so glad Ben wanted to pull over.

After we found dry shoes and pants for the girls, we went to our hotel. As soon as the bags were unloaded in our room, Ben said, “Let’s go exploring.”

I would never have thought of doing this on my own. I would have started settling in and unpacking.

But I’m learning. So we all went exploring, and ended up in the hotel’s rooftop garden.

I’m so glad Ben wanted to explore.

There are times when we need a plan. It can be a good thing.

But there are most definitely times when we need to be spontaneous, and stop to experience the unexpected.

Pull over by the ocean. Visit the rooftop garden.

It could be your favorite.

Linking up with:

Tasting Vacation

The last time Ben and I came to Vancouver Island was on our honeymoon, twelve years ago. When we were planning our trip, we decided to buy a new cd, just for our trip. We thought that if we often listened to it on our trip, it would remind us of our honeymoon every time we heard it afterwards.

It worked beautifully! To this day, if I hear one of the songs on that cd, I’m instantly transported back to Vancouver Island.

We’ve never tried buying a “vacation soundtrack” since. I don’t know why, because it was fun, and it worked well.

When it comes to trips and family vacations, I tend to think about the visual memories, but not the other senses quite so much.

Think of all the potential – I’ve been missing out! I take all these pictures, but I could also be thinking about the sounds and tastes and smells of our vacation, too. (B.C. feels wet, so we’ve got that sense taken care of!)

Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to end up with an official song and an official snack for this trip! It happened by accident, but I’m pretty happy about it.

If I had intentionally chosen these things myself, I would have picked differently, I’m sure, but they just kind of happened, so we’ll take what we can get!

Everywhere we go, we keep hearing Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together”. It’s been stuck in my head for the last 3 days. The lyrics obviously have nothing to do with our trip, but it’s extremely catchy and “pop-y”, as Ben says. He delights in using his most obnoxious singing voice to belt out, “WEEEEEEEEEE are never, ever….”, which makes Anika squeal and freak out, and basically, it’s just lots of fun. So that’s our vacation song.

And my official vacation snack is sunflower seed butter on rice cakes. I’ve never had it before, and I didn’t even like it when I tried it this last weekend, but now I’m addicted to it, and it will always remind me of this trip, every time I eat it. I thought sushi would be a close second official snack, because we ate it every day when we first got here, but Kaylia does not like it AT ALL. Seeing as she’s been overtired and on the verge of crankiness around meal times for most of the trip, we’ve decided to ditch the sushi, and stick to food she likes, avoiding unnecessary battles.

I’m pretty sad about no sushi, since it’s EVERYWHERE around here, and I want to be eating it.

Anyway. There you go. Taylor Swift and sunflower seed butter. I’ll spray myself with a garden hose, crank up the music, look at pictures, and eat rice cakes. It will be an easy, free trip down Memory Lane in the future. I haven’t figured out what Vancouver Island smells like, though…

My favorite still remains the visual senses. Maybe it really is the best one, because it’s the only one that can easily be shared with other people!

Do you have any tastes or smells or sounds that take you back to special memories?