Canadian Rockies!

I do not currently have a working camera.

Not only is this tough for someone with 4 kids who LOVES to scrapbook and capture every moment, it’s tough for a blogger to NOT HAVE PHOTOS!!

On our recent drive through the Rockies to Alberta, I bought 2 down and dirty disposable cameras. The bad thing is that the photos aren’t terribly clear or colorful, but the good thing is that you can grab it FAST and click – no turning it on, waiting for it to warm up, etc. And FAST meant I could capture 2 of the 3 wildlifes we saw! Oh, was I excited to see wildlifes.

09.05 rockies
I took many a shot of white capped mountains with the disposables, our cell phones, anything I could find. It was a lovely drive, although I think I would have come out of it feeling completely jipped had I not seen wildlifes. Bright yellow signs kept promising there would be some AT THE ROAD! Every time I saw one of the signs, I’d grab my camera and wait…

Anyhow, I’d better get at least some of my cameras fixed soon, or I’ll run out of things to scrapbook/post really soon…

blog signoff 2

Advertisements

10 Things I LOVE : 09.05 Roadtrip edition!

It’s easy to find 10 things I LOVE about Roadtrips.
And probably as easy to find 10 things I hate, but we’re focusing on the love here, baby.

1. Freedom. I love getting in my car and just going. No stress getting to the airport on time, if you’re stuck in traffic, you have all your comforts with you, if you want to stop you may and if you change your mind, you just go somewhere else. Ahhhh, freedom.

P4240076

2. Turtle-syndrome. Is that a thing?? I love having my home on my back, all my stuff with me wherever I may go. Flying you pack 1 bag plus 1 carryon which has tons of restrictions. In my car? Dvd players, laptops, iPods, snacks, coolers with drinks, a change of clothes, 10 pairs of shoes. Seriously – who wouldn’t pack 10 pairs of shoes if they could??

3. Saving money. No matter how we cut it, our trip to Cali was $1,500 or more LESS than if we’d flown and rented a car down there. AND – the cost doesn’t go up much if we bring 2, 3 or all 4 of the kids!

P4250140

4. Peace + quiet moments. Airplanes? Naps do NOT happen, even on (daytime) long-hauls. Bumpity, moving, swaying car? Guaranteed with my kids. They generally nap longer, or take TWO naps as well! Bliss. Mommy’s iPod tunes Bliss.

5. Wal-Mart Super Centres. I gotta say it again, sorry. I LOVE the fact that you can stop a few hours, you don’t have to pay $100/night for a dumpy 2-star hotel, security watches over you, and that you can shop at 2:30am if you want! Crazy fun!

P4270199

6. Changing my mind. Because I can. And I will. Our last two major roadtrips, we found out-and-about places (beaches) that changed our minds on previously planned activities. And it was so easy to do with our own car, time and schedule.

7. Stocking up on new DVD’s. We use every road trip as an excuse to buy tons of new (or new-to-us) DVD’s. It passes time in the car, especially for the kids, and gives us something to hunt for on all those 2:30am Wal-Mart Super Centre shopping sprees.

P4270331

8. Finding new places. Other than beaches, by car you find all kinds of stops you’d never have noticed. Outlets, Waterslides, Tulip Festivals, Olive capitals – you name it, it’s probably on the side of a major highway somewhere.

9. Real quality family time. When there’s no yelling, crying or screaming, that is. Nothing like hours and hours in close quarters with the ones you love! Really, nothing. Side note – this could also go on the “hate” list.

P4280014

10. And my #1 reason to LOVE roadtrips? Because it doesn’t require me to float up in the air on a giant metal tin can. I-ya. I’d drive to Maui this summer if I could. Seriously.

P4290063

*(ewwww – no makeup!)

Go take a roadtrip! Even if it’s just across town!

blog signoff 2

Lovin’ Vancouver! Our favorite places : the Seawall

Pretrip we had to leave the van at the shop for a checkup, so we had to taxi and walk our day away.
One walk we always enjoy – PART of Vancouver’s seawalls!
Part, I say, because in fact the entire seawall covers 8.8km of ocean’s edge. And on a sunny day, it’s peaceful paths and intermittent attractions (Science World, Granville Island, Urban Fare/David Lam Park, Kits Beach…) are irresistable.

Enjoy!
And head out for a walk somewhere…

blog signoff 2.

.

.

.

.

Other posts you might enjoy:
Lovin’ Vancouver! Our favorite places : Vancouver Aquarium

Lovin’ Vancouver! Our favorite places : Granville Island

Cali Road Trip 2009

Whew!

Who’s idea was it to take a 2-yr old on a road trip again????!
Oh, I guess that would have been my idea…
On the “not great” side, 2-yr olds don’t bode well on car trips.
On the “great” side? We’ll never have to road trip with a 2-yr old again.

Next time he’ll be 3.

We actually had a great – albeit exhausting – drive down to California as far as Oceanside/Carlsbad.
And, naturally, wanting to one day achieve a “perfect road trip”, there are lots of tips and tricks for me to remember and to share. Some might be repeated from other “travelling with kids” posts, but we’ll just tack that up to old age.

1. Take a GPS. And train your hubby how to use it BEFORE it’s late one night and you’re driving because he can’t drive at night and he doesn’t have a clue how to work it and you really don’t want to stop the car unnecessarily because it will wake up the finally sleeping 2-yr old in back but you really really need to find the next potty stop.

p4300074

2. Wal-Mart SS’s (24-hrs) ROCK! Am I the only person who feels JIPPED to spend $80+ on a hotel that you’re only going to use for 8hrs or less while driving through?? We slept/shopped at a Wal-Mart SS lot (apparently you can stay up to 3 nights free) one night when I couldn’t drive past 1:45am, and were back on the road at 4:45am. Three hours. Done. Gone. Thanks. AND we picked up groceries for the next day all in the same spot. Sweet.

p4270169

3. ALWAYS plan to make stops, even if you feel like you can keep driving, and ESPECIALLY BEFORE A MAJOR CITY where rush-hours will keep you locked in for extra hours. Always. Do it. With Boo we tried to stop every 3 hours, even if he had just napped for 2 of them. Targets and Wal-Marts were abundant and easy for a potty break, cheap toy bribe and a kiddie run-about, but next time I think I’ll mix them up with more rest stop stops. They’d cost less.

p4260150

4. Check the schedule of all theme parks/activities!!! We almost missed Legoland, having no idea it would possibly be closed mid-week on a regular basis. Whew! Also, if we’d wanted, we could have scheduled Disneyland on a week when they didn’t have masses of tour groups – you might be able to call ahead and check what big groups will be there the week you’re planning.

p42701691

5. Plan a “flex” day – or have an extra day or two built into your schedule. Upon seeing how gorgeous Oceanside is (purely by accident), we ended up ditching Sea World (I’m sure Shamu will understand) and spending a day at the beach. It became the hilight of our entire vacation. Surfboards and all.

p4280091

6. Chat with locals to get great food/restaurant advice. A few times now we’ve found amazing food by asking some locals (i.e. random lady sitting beside me at Legoland) where to eat off the beaten touristy path. This round was some great Mexican in Oceanside, through which we also found a great pizza place, and through that we found our surfboard.

p4270204

7. NO FAST FOOD! While this may be do-able for adults, we didn’t bother as much with the kids, especially Boo. We were just happy when he’d eat ANYTHING. As the boys get older, it’ll get easier. We had a cooler, and bought tins of salmon which they loved and other yummy healthy alternatives like fresh grape tomatoes and english cucumbers. I confess I ate Disney food twice – fish ‘n chips (disgusting) and caesar salad (disgusting). I regretted both and wish I’d brought a baguette and some fresh tomato at the very least. Next time I’ll bring a thermal lunch bag for the days milk/salami/tomatoes, etc.

p4290040

8. Hotwire it, baby. We didn’t book ANY hotels before hand (easy because it was off-season, but we’ve done it in July too). This worked sometimes, didn’t work others. After our WM parking lot, we went d/t San Fran with no rsvp and grabbed whatever we could find downtown for $150USD. Ouch. We could have saved HALF by using Hotwire.com to get a hotel. We used Expedia on the next hotel, but could have done much better on Hotwire.com again. The third hotel was a Hotwire deal – nice, clean, beautiful 3.5 star hotel 1 block from Disneyland, for $80USD. Sweet. I’m sold – goodbye Expedia.

p4300042

9. Take time to do nothing. Go nowhere. It can’t be a vacation if you’re rushed the whole time, trying to do far too much, now can it?? We spent an entire day in a hotel room just hanging out once. It was great.

p4250141

10. Take a chance on something new. Every year we try to see one new thing in San Francisco. This year my sis-in-law suggested the “Exploratorium” and we all loved it! Even Boo – there were so many things to touch and move and watch. We spent almost 4 hours there and could easily have gone another 2. It was a homeschoolers dream, but more appropriate learning-wise for 6-12 yrs old. (Last year was the Monterey Aquarium, which was also fabulous).

Whew!
Well, we’ll see how we do next Spring… With a 3-yr old…

0_blog-signoff-23.

.

.

.

.

Other posts you might enjoy:
Travelling with Kids – Roadtrip 2009 Warmup

Travelling with Kids – Extra Advice
Travelling with Kids – Italy