Two Months Later

Obviously the summer months have made me slack in updating this site, and if it wasn’t for Jen reminding me last night I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now. She has been keeping up her part by updating our photo album, so I guess I’m just slack.

As you can see if you have checked out the pictures we have kept fairly busy for most of the summer. There is way too much to write about in one post so I’m just going to start at last weekend. For everything else the pictures will have to speak for themselves 🙂

So, last weekend was probably one of the most enjoyable of the summer for me. Saturday right after lunch we left and started down towards the Yarmouth end of the province. Jen’s Great Aunt Claire who Ella received her middle name from was visiting from New Hampshire and we hadn’t seen Jen’s Grand parents on her Fathers side for some time. We wanted to make a weekend out of it so we could also visit friends and be able to break up the drive for the kids.

For our first stop we went to the National Historic site of Port-Royal where they have recreated the Habitation. It was quite interesting to walk through the building as see sort of what it would have been like for some of Canada’s first European settlers. The girls liked going through as well and playing with some of the old tools, and trying on the wooden shoes that would have been worn.

From there we headed to the Mavillette beach in the Acadian region of Clare. It wasn’t the warmest when we got there and the tide was way out, but we all had fun walking through the sand while the girls collected sea shells. It seemed like a very nice beach and on a warmer day it would be nice to go back and have a swim.

After leaving the beach we continued on to Port Maitland where we stayed the night visiting with the Parker family. It was our first time meeting their new baby boy. Our girls just love babies so they had a great time trying to entertain him. We don’t get to see Jenn and Nathan very often but it is always great when we do. Hopefully we will make it back down that way more often. We stayed for lunch the next day and then started to head over to Pubnico to visit with our family. It was a short visit as the kids were starting antsy from sitting in the car and then sitting around the house, but it was a good visit.

We then made our way up the other shore heading towards Bridgewater where we were going to eat supper. On the way we stopped off at another beach. We had heard many good things about it but have never had a chance to get there. Everything we heard was right. Out of all the beaches I’ve been too in Nova Scotia this is about the nicest. The white sand and the clear water made it just beautiful. We ended up spending more time that we intended to because it was so nice, but also because when we got back to the car we realized that neither Jen or I had our keys.

Jen purposely left her’s locked in the trunk so she didn’t have to carry her purse. But someone, and just who it was is still up for debate at our house, left my keys sitting at the bottom of the trunk as well. So lucky us the only two sets of keys for our car are locked in the trunk with all the doors locked. The mosquitoes around the car were so thick as well, everyone was getting eaten alive. To avoid being one big bug bite, Jen and the girls went back down to the beach and were in the process of calling someone to come help us get into our car.

Jen had left her window down just a crack not nearly enough to fit an arm in, but I was lucky and found a stick the I managed to get in and unlock the door. Even more lucky one of the back seats was not fully latched and I was able to fold it down and get Jen’s purse out of the trunk. After all that excitement everyone was getting quite hungry so we stopped in Liverpool and ate McDonalds instead of stopping in Bridgewater for something good hahaha.

All in all it was a great weekend maybe if we are lucky we will be able to fit in another weekend like that before I start back to classes, which is getting very close to happening :-/

 

Vacation: Day 7 – Last Day

Home again home again. After a long day of traveling we are finally at home. There were a few stressful moments on the trip back to the airport, but we made it.

Our goal was to leave the hotel by 10:00 am as we had about an hour an a half drive not including any waits at the border and our flight left at 1:15 pm. It was about 10:15 am so we were doing pretty good. But then about 5-10 minutes down the road I realized that I had left my backpack with our camera and my laptop in the hotel room! So we had to turn back around and ask to get back into the hotel room. I guess it is lucky that we weren’t an hour away when I remembered, but it still was no fun.

The rest of the drive was pretty smooth until we turned off to go to the airport. We missed a turn and drove for about 5 minutes out of the way before realizing and turning back around and taking the right road. It is not cutting things pretty close as we still need to return the rental car and we were hoping to have something to eat before we boarded.

Lunch was interesting, we ended up having Tim Horton’s muffins right before going through security. By the time we got some of the muffins into the girls, used the bathroom and made it through security we were some of the last people to board the plane. When we arrived at the boarding gate before we passed the agent our boarding passes she said, “You must be the McFadden Family.” hahaha. As we had a car seat and booster seat with us for the girls to sit in we really should have been on with the pre-boarding. It was quite fun to squeeze down the isle without bumping people with the seats. But we managed and made it to our row with only moments to spare. The flight itself was quite good, there was a little more turbulence on the way home but nothing too bad. The weather was mostly clear so you could see earth below for most of the way.

We arrived back in Halifax right and got our luggage. It was decided that the best way to get the car would be for me to take the Park N Fly shuttle by myself and then drive it back. The whole process seemed to take forever, and I’m sure even longer than that for Jen who had to wait in the airport with two carts of luggage and three restless girls. We arrived near the very north end of the airport so that is where the family waited, but there is only parking at the south end. So I parked and ran down to get them and we all had to walk the length of the airport back to the car. After finally getting all settled it was about time for some supper. Swiss Chalet became our official last supper of the vacation.

Overall this vacation was very fun. The kids were very well behaved especially seeing as their usual schedule was completely off, two of them were not feeling well, and sleep was no where near the amount they usually get. We managed to see many excellent things and spent lots of time together as a family. Everyone seemed to have a good time and like every vacation we have taken Alex says she is going to live in the Niagara region lol.

 

Vacation: Day 6

The last full day of vacation, I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand it will be very nice to sleep in my own bed, get the girls back on a schedule, and have a home cooked meal. But then you have to look at all the things that come a long with being back at home. You have to cook the home cooked meal, then clean up after it. You have to clean the rest of the house. Then there is the getting back to work aspect of being home. I guess this is why vacations are temporary things, they are great for a while, but you need to come back to reality. Maybe if it was possible to split your time more half and half it would be best. Couple weeks normal life, couple weeks vacation and so on.

Today was a very nice day. We started out by heading towards Buffalo, but had to make a stop first. The other day when we were at Kohls Jen and Alex had found some great sneakers for Alex, unfortunately they didn’t have any her size. But Jen found another Kohls store just off our path to Buffalo so we stopped there and they did have Alex’s size. She was very excited to get her Hannah Montana sneakers and free flip flops to go with them.

After the short stop we continued into the city and went to the science museum. We found our way there no problem at all which is always nice. Jen and I didn’t find the museum itself to be all that great, but the girls seemed to have a good time which is all that matters.

Then it was time to leave the museum and that wasn’t the most fun experience that we’ve had. Buffalo is a hard city to navigate through. We ended up in some pretty scary neighbourhoods with buildings all bordered up and stuff like that. Finally we got directions to the main downtown area, but ended up driving around that a number of times before getting directions again, and a map. After we got our bellies full everyone was in much better spirits.

While in Buffalo we wanted to do three things, go to the science museum, check. See some of the sights in the city, check. And go down and check out their water front on Lake Erie, ummm not checked. There seems to be only one road that will take you down to the water front and we simply could not find it. Being at the hotel now, and having the benefit of google map/satellite it is clear how we should get there, but while we were actually driving and using a hand held map we had no luck. So we parked the car and walked around the main downtown part of the city. There are a number of cool buildings there so it was quite interesting.

Later on after a rest at the hotel and waiting out a down pouring of rain we headed back in for supper and to do a little more shopping. I was able to eat at my favorite restaurant tonight, Olive Garden. It was our most expensive meal of the trip, but as far as I’m concerned it was worth it. After supper Jen finally got to go to her shopping paradise, Old Navy. Tell me who got the better end of this deal, she went shopping in Old Navy by herself, while I took the three girls into Toys R Us to pick out a toy each. They were actually very good and of course Jen picked out some nice things for me from Old Navy as well.

Well I guess I should get a good night sleep so we can get a good start on tomorrow and not miss our plane.

 

Vacation: Day 5

Wow finally getting to write a blog entry before 10:00 pm, this is a first for this vacation. Today was another very fun day. We didn’t do much in the way of activities today, but the girls were on some of their best behaviour for the most part, so the things we did do were all the more enjoyable.

This morning we took our time gathering, organizing, and packing up our things and just got everything into the car for our 11:00 am check out time. From the hotel we crossed the border into New York State. Jen was very happy to finally set foot on American soil for this vacation lol. The hotel we are staying in now is only about 25 minute away from the previous hotel, not including border wait time which was not bad today. Even though we could not check into the new hotel until 3:00 pm we still headed in its direction. Caile had told us she wanted a grilled cheese sandwich from McDonalds for lunch so that is where we headed. Right across the street from the restaurant was a Kohls store which is one of Jen’s favorites. Needless to say we headed over there to allow Jen to get some of her first shopping done for this trip. Of course everyone including myself benefits with new clothing.

After lunch and shopping we cam to the hotel to check in and let Ella have a bit of a nap. While she was napping we looked around online to see what was close by to eat and how to get down to the falls. We found an Applebees on the way to the falls so that is where we stopped to eat. They were quite busy and we actually had to wait for a table, just a short time thankfully. The food, I think, was some of the best we had on this vacation. One night while we were on the Canada side we were going to go to Applebees to eat but it was very expensive. We compared menus for a few different Applebees on either side of the border and on a lot of items there is an $8 difference in price.

We finally made it down to the falls and found parking. We then rushed around and found where to buy our tickets and took our ride on the Maid of the Mist. This is certainly the best way to see the falls. Everyone wearing their blue plastic rain covers we were very close to the falls. Jen ended up being tired of trying to keep her hood on so she ended up with pretty wet hair at the end. Ella absolutely loved the whole ride. She didn’t mind getting wet and just smiled so much the whole ride.

Now after experiencing both sides of Niagara Falls I would have to say that Canada’s side has a better view of the falls themselves. You can see the both sets of falls from the shore very easily. The American side however has down a great job with developing their side. You are able to get down very close to the edge of the falls. They also have a great observation tower built which gives you a great view of the falls.

It was pretty interesting after we had finished our trip on the boat we were taking some pictures at the top of the observation tower. A complete stranger came up and asked if she could have her picture taken with our baby (Ella) because she is so beautiful. We were standing right there so we thought why not. Ella didn’t want to at first, but after Alex started posing her and Caile both got in right away. It turned into quite the photo shot with the whole group of people taking turns getting their pictures taken with our three girls in front of the falls. It was a very bizarre situation, and after the whole photo shoot Ella didn’t want to have her picture taken anymore so I didn’t get to have my picture taken with her in front of the falls.

Like most of these tourist destinations they are very smart with setting up their exits. In order to get off the observation tower you have to go through their gift shop. So of course we ended up with some keep sakes for the girls from this spot as well. Ella had gotten a blow up dolphin from Marineland so that she can bring it into Grammy’s pool this summer, so Alex got a blow up Maid of the Mist boat so she can bring it with her. Caile, like most other spots we picked up souvenirs, got a stuffed animal and is sleeping with it right now. Ella got a soccer ball which she obviously can’t sleep with, so Caile let her sleep with her stuffed frog she chose from the Bird Kingdom we visited.

Tomorrow is going to be our last real day of vacation so it will hopefully be a good one. There will certainly be more shopping involved but we will be doing things the rest of us enjoy as well 😉

 

Vacation: Day 4

In my opinion day 4 was the best day yet of this vacation. Ella is feeling much better and therefore more cheerful which makes a world of difference.

So we got up this morning and headed to the African Lion Safari, just outside Cambridge. I think this was everyone’s favorite attraction that we have seen. Very shortly after we arrived they had the Elephant bath time where a bunch of the huge animals come down into the pond and have a bath. When they were walking towards the pond they were all trunk to tail so with a little baby in the middle, pretty cute. When they got to the edge of the water the trainers basically let them go. You could tell they enjoy this part of the day because they literally took off running out into the water.

After watching bath time we thought we might be in for a little trouble as it started to rain a bit. So after a long debate about whether we should take the rental car through the safari or take the tour bus we took the car. Everyone else wanted to take the car but I was a little hesitant. When we had arrived and parked the car, two vehicles pulled in behind us which had just drove through the reserve. One woman was talking about how the hood ornament on her car was now missing along with some rubber, and a man with foot prints all over his car scoped a pile of poop of his hood. All I was thinking was how picky these rental car companies are. Marking down every single little scratch on the car and make you pay for it if there is a new one when you return. But in the end we did take our car. We could have also by-passed the monkey section of the drive but we figured we would drive through and risk it anyway. Very glad we did, those primates were some of the most interesting and fun creatures to watch. Luckily we seemed to be the only car that didn’t have a single monkey jump on it while going through, so not a scratch or foot print.

It was very neat being able to drive around all these animals without having anything in between you except you car. Some of the other more notable animals that we got to be up and close too were Giraffes and Rhinoceroses.

After we completed the driving portion we went into a whole other section where they had petting areas setup for some of the goats and little camels. They were also offering elephant rides so Jen, Alex, and Caile took got tickets and waited in line to take a ride. The whole time Ella and I were waiting for them she kept telling me it was now her turn. So when they were done we took our turn and went for a ride as well.

They next part of the day is where it started to go downhill a little especially for Jen. It was our plan to stop into St. Catherine’s on our way back to the hotel so we could eat supper and do some shopping, as they had a large mall with both an Old Navy and a Children’s Place store, which are Jen’s favorite places to shop. So first we ate at Boston Pizza where Jen was not overly fond of her meal. Then when were done we headed across the parking lot to the mall, but being a Saturday night and after six everything was now closed 😦 Although this was very disappointing it was nice for me to see that it wasn’t only rural Annapolis Valley Nova Scotia that closes it’s malls at six on one of the days where most people have more time to go shopping than during they do during the week.

Once we got back to the hotel and got settled a little we decided since we had been in Niagara Falls for a few days now, it would be a good time to go walk down in front of the falls. These two waterfalls are amazing pieces of nature. We were going to stay down until the lit up the falls with different colored lights, but that would have been too late for our sleepy girls, and I was parked in a no parking zone.

Tomorrow we are packing up this hotel room and heading across the border to stay in a different hotel room for the last couple of nights on this vacation. The plan so far is to finally do some shopping for Jen and spend some more time around the falls themselves.

 

Vacation: Day 3

When we look back over this vacation I think we will see day 3 as the turning point. Not that days 1 and 2 were awful but they did have their moments. Now today wasn’t completely incident free but what would a vacation be without a few little hiccups to keep things interesting.

First thing in the morning we had a feeling that Ella was getting back to her old self and feeling better. Sure enough as the day went on her appetite was back and she was in much better spirits. The down side is that Caile is now not feeling great and has the same cold Ella had. The good thing is that even when Caile is not feeling good she is more mature about it then Ella is and doesn’t go into crying fits.The bad thing is, as I mentioned yesterday, when she gets coughing she gets herself very worked up and can cause herself to throw up.

We started today by heading to the Bird Kingdomwhich is the largest indoor free flying bird aviary in the world. It was great timing as they were celebrating their 5th anniversary this weekend and because of that they had admission on for just $5/ person. Ella and Caile are free to a lot of these things, so be basically go to go check out all thetropical birds for under the price of a normal adult admission. We realized from yesterday that things would be much smoother with kids who are not overtired so we decided after we got something to eat we would come home for a nap. Lunch ended up being cut short for the same reason supper was the night before so naps came sooner than we expected.

While Jen was putting Caile and Ella down for a nap, Alex and I decided to go for just a little walk around the hotel. Just down the street they have a big store called Souvenir City. While we were in looking around Alex spotted a dolphin shaped mood ring. She liked this from seeing the dolphins the day before at Marine Land. When we got back and the girls we asleep Jen wanted to go for a walk too, so her and Alex went out again.

Alex was so excited about her mood ring that Caile just had to have one too. So we went back with everyone together this time. Ella picked out a necklace and a bracelet set, and Caile picked out a butterfly shaped mood ring because we were on our way to the Butterfly Conservatory. I got mixed up and thought the Conservatory was in one direction when really it was the other, so we ended up on a bit of a run around before getting directions. We were scared because we thought it closed at 6:00 pm and it was getting closer and closer to that time so we thought we might not make it in. But when we got there they told use they actually didn’t close until 7:00 pm so we had lots of time. We also took a quick trip through some of the botanical gardens which share the same property as the Butterflies.

After this we decided that we weren’t going to chance another incident at a restaurant so I picked up some Subway for everyone and we ate in the hotel room. Caile actually ate a little of her wrap and some cheese and crackers and kept it all down so that is a good sign. Ella’s appetite is back and she ate really good.

Two nights a week they put on a fireworks display over the falls so we decided to stay up for that tonight. Caile fell asleep in the car but the rest of us got to see them while sitting in a line up of traffic on the main road. When we got back to our room we realized that both door keys were inside the room so I had to run down and get an extra to get in. This while Caile was almost asleep in Jen’s arms and Ella was getting very tired herself. But we got back in and got everyone settled down for the night. Tomorrow we will head in to the African Lion Safari, and should get to see all sorts of cool animals.

 

Vacation: Day 2

Being in a hotel room is pretty boring, especially when there are three kids sleeping and you have to try not to wake them up. It does however give me a good chance to write in this blog each night.

Last night didn’t quite go as hoped. Alex and Ella were about the only ones who got good night sleeps. The rest of us were awake off an on all night long. I guess that is to be expected, there are five of us sharing two beds in a strange room.Hopefully tonight sleep will be a little better because tired kids do not make the funnest vacation companions.

All in all today was a pretty good day. Marine Land was great fun. The tricks and shows that these creatures can learn and put on is really amazing. I think about everyone’s favorites were the dolphins. They can just jump so high out of the water and spin and flip at the same time. We spent most of the day walking around checking out all the displays and shows. We only took a couple of rides near the end but the kids enjoyed them. Jen wanted to go on the Sky Screamer but didn’t want to alone, and even if we had someone to watch the kids I wouldn’t have gone on with her I don’t imagine.

We got back to the hotel room and before supper let Ella and Caile have much needed naps. We decided to have Swiss Chalet for supper. Everyone was pretty good there, but Caile wasn’t very hungry. The next thing I knew she was throwing up on herself. She got coughing and when she does she gets herself pretty worked up. We don’t think it is the flu or anything like that but she is probably coming down with the same cold that Ella has.

Our plans were originally to head into Toronto tomorrow to go check out centerville island for the kids, but we changed our plans after seeing so many cool things to do here. And it’s not like we can leave Niagara Falls without getting out to look at the falls which we didn’t get to do today. Hopefully tomorrow people will be feeling a little better, a lot more rested and we will have a smoother day where we can go check out the huge falls.

 

Vacation: Day 1

Well I’m just about to turn in for the night but I thought I’d better write some of today’s events while they are still fresh in my head.

The first day of a vacation always seems like the hardest and this time seems to be no exception. Ella was not cooperating this morning when we were getting ready to leave. She is still not feeling the best so she is cranky and not herself because of it. We finally got away right around 1:00 which is when we planned. We had a stop in the city to make before catching our 4:45 flight. We made it to Windsor and realized that we left some important things behind. We had gift certificates for our car rental and our passes to get into the African Lion Safari. We figured the amount of money we would save by having these thing outweighed the lost time in turning around. Luckily we had Jen’s Mom go to our place find the things we needed and she started driving to meet us, so that saved us some of our lost time. We no longer had time to make our stop so straight to the airport.

When we got there I dropped everyone off with the luggage and took went to take our car to the long term parking. When I was headed back to the car it had started down pouring. So in my minute long run to the car I got completely soaked. We had to dig through our bags and find me a change of clothes so I didn’t spend the whole flight soaked.

The flight itself was ok, but after the long car drive and then the long flight the kids were getting pretty restless and unhappy by the end, especially Ella. She ended up crying for the last 10-15 min of the flight flat out. I’m sure we had a lot of angry neighbours on the plane hahaha.

But we all arrived in one piece and got the rental car. I ended up cutting someone off trying to cross a couple lanes so we could get into McDonalds. He wasn’t too happy and let me know, ooops.

When we finally arrived at our hotel it was way past bedtime for the girls so they were fed up. Caile was specifically asking for a nice comfy bed to sleep in. As we were getting them ready for bed we realized that there wasn’t a fridge and microwave in the room as we thought there was. We like to at least be able to eat breakfast at the hotel with the mini boxes of cereal so we can all eat that. Save at least a little money on food. Sure enough we were mistaken this hotel does not even offer this as a service. The staff here seem very nice though and offered to keep Ella’s medication in the staff fridge for us. Instead I had him draw me a map to Walmart where I got a cooler so we could keep some milk, juice and Ella’s medication in it. I ended up having a decent tour of Niagara Falls after a couple wrong turns but made it back with everything we needed.

 

Vacation Starts Tomorrow

Well the time is finally here. We are flying to Ontario tomorrow afternoon. We are busy packing stuff up tonight and getting all the last minute things ready to go away. Keep hoping that we will not forget anything, but I’m sure once we get there we will find something missing.

There are lots of fun things that we have planned to do while we are there. Lots of sights to see, and places for the kids to have a good time. I’m certain that we will stay busy for the duration of the trip.

Ella is still not feeling herself so we are hoping that nobody else catches this will we are gone. It could make for a painrful vacation for everyone.

Hopefully each night I will make a post talking about how we spent our day but we will see, I might end up being to warn out to even type LOL.

Annapolis Royal Visit

Yesterday we travelled down to Annapolis Royal and had a very nice day. We woke up in the morning and Ella wasn’t feeling all the best. She has an ear infection and a cold to go along with it so she was a little cranky. We talked it over for a while and debated whether or not we should go and as we did she seemed to perk up a bit. So after lunch we quickly packed some things and headed out.

There were a couple of places that we wanted to visit down that way and headed first to the Historic Gardens. It was a great day and time of year to visit the Gardens.. There were so many of the flowers in bloom. Caile wanted to have her picture taken about every couple of feet, even if there were no flowers around. Near the end Ella was starting to get cranky again. Her nose started running quite a bit but she still loved looking at the flowers. Even though she loved them we still ended up having to leave before seeing everything there so we will have to go back again someday.

Leaving the Historic Gardens we headed to the wildlife park at Upper Clements Park. It wasn’t fully open yet, the admission office was closed and there were a few animals missing, but we were able to go through and see most of the animals. It ended up being kind of interesting because when I got in the car to leave the Historic Gardens I broke a strap on my sandles, so the whole walk around the park it was like I was wearing one flip flop. It was a hurried trip because of Ella of course and we were getting close to closing time.

Annapolis Royal is a great spot for a day trip, with our visit cut short and not being able to see places like Port Royal we will certainly be heading back sometime this summer.

 

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