Earlier this month we took our "big trip" of the Summer to Washington state to visit Matthew's cousin and her family. They live in one of the Tri Cities which is about a 10 hour drive from Calgary. We booked the pups at the kennel for the week and packed up the camper for our adventure! We bought the travel trailer back in May and have enjoyed the new experiences it brings... However, we joked about jumping from our sole experiences of visiting campsites a half hour away to an ambitious half day drive across the border... through the rockies... with a 3 and almost 2 year old... To our surprise, we left early in the morning (no really, that's an impressive surprise ;)) and made the drive in one day! The girls made awesome road trippers and the travel was enjoyable. The trip home, not so smooth, although we did repeat the one dayer... But first: tales from our Tri Cities trip!
The girls were so excited to meet and spend time with their cousins! Their ages are 2, 5 and 7, so the youngest fit between Halle and Autumn's ages. It was interesting to temporarily live in a house with 5 kids. There were many a "mine" arguments between the 2 year olds, (followed by random make up hugs,) and lot's of princess dresses for Halle to borrow. It was nice to experience a different pace of family life. More relaxed in ways, like playing on the farm, and more strict in others, like table manners and chores. It did our girls good in all kinds of ways to have new play partners, be exposed to a new environment, to "share" us and to listen to others.
This vacation was a good pace. A mix of waking up slow, seeing and doing things, but not too much. Basically normal kid and family stuff, in a new place. We visited some beautiful parks - like a wooden treehouse playground and went swimming in a river at day campground. On a rainy day we all went to the trampoline park and had too much fun! Followed by too much food at Carl's Jr - Matthew's American fast food request to try. (It was good ;))
That evening us mamas enjoyed some time alone. I don't have photos to document it, but I snapped this shot of the sunset from the back porch that evening to remind me of our peaceful afternoon. We went to a free yoga class. It was both of our first time taking a Yin class and it was like the perfect Sunday style of less flow and more stretches held for longer periods of time. We were feeling zen... And continued the blissful solo time at dotdotdot Target. (My American must stop since they packed up and left Canada.) I stocked up on dollar spot goodies for the girls and cute business supplies.
To our surprise, the area we were in was a desert. And apparently it gets super hot there in the summer. Luckily for us it was 'cooler' during our stay but still like summer to us, so we enjoyed lots of water play in the backyard and had fun checking out a spray park one day near a beautiful community garden.
After some fun in the sun, we enjoyed some family time with just the four of us. We had sushi for lunch and stopped at this local espresso place for dessert. Mocha milkshakes, yum! And smoothies with whip cream & sprinkles and a lollipop in the straw! Yum, yum!
After some busy days, we slowed down to have a chill out day at home. We were missing Calgary Stampede week while we were away. (Although apparently not missing the terrible weather, as the city had rain and thundershowers the whole time we were gone.) So, it was fitting when for us to have our own rodeo experience with pony rides at the next door neighbour's. Keeping with the stampede spirit, Autumn found some cowboy boots, a few sizes too big, and had fun modelling them.
Keeping with the chill spirit, later that night, Matthew and I took an impromptu drive to the corner store. We wended up buying a rather large collection of chocolate bars you don't see in Canada. Most were yummy, and totally unnecessary ha, but the Almond Joy was my fav cause I'm a sucker for coconut.
Next up was our date day! We spent the afternoon kidless in downtown Richmond and Howard Amon Park. We rented sea doos and had fun racing up and down the river for an hour. Well, I'm more of a put put rider, Matthew's the adrenaline driver doing donuts. But it was super fun and I'm proud of myself for getting up to top speed ;) Then we ate way too much food at a local BBQ spot called Porters. So much meat, but so good. We walked it off around the park then went back for dessert at an adorable bakery called Frost Me Sweet. It was a great afternoon of sunshine, adventure and good eats.
We packed up that night, ready to hit the road early the next morning. We planned on camping for a night in BC on the way back. However, plans went sideways when we had a minor mishap hooking up the camper, causing a three hour delay before we left town. Autumn had crashed minutes before, despite our efforts to keep her going until she could nap on the drive. The waiting around hadn't done any of us good, besides the little bit of extra cousin time... Already, the drive back wasn't starting off so smooth. We missed a couple of turn offs for gas and food but we made good timing on the road and the girls did okay considering. A quick stop for lunch, some slow traffic through towns, and an in and out drive through the border office later, Autumn, who had been restless and unable to catch a long stretch of sleep, threw up all over herself in the backseat. Never lovely, but especially gross when you still have a 4 hour drive and have to go back in the seat you just covered in vomit. After the clean up, she finally fell asleep for a good rest and we decided we wouldn't be spending the night. We would keep on trucking back to Calgary. It had been a super long day. It was getting dark and we began driving in to the rain and thundershowers we had heard about, but finally we made it. We were happy to be home!
The long route back gave me time to think about all the fun we had had over the past week. I hadn't realized how much I needed a trip like that. And truly it was sort of our first family vacation. Aside from going home to Newfoundland, which is always a blast, but busy. Then there's road trips and camping, but with two toddlers and two dogs, those aren't always relaxing. This was a good trip. Sweet and simple. It did us all some good to spend time with family we don't see often, to have a break from routine and to add some summer fun to our season.
Now, to convince them to visit us in Calgary ;)
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As always, thanks for reading!
PS. Part of the reason the trip felt like a vacation is because it was an unplug from all the projects I have going on at home. Lots of exciting things in the works right now for me and my family. I'm really happy about it and excited to share here (hopefully more consistently) soon!