Thursday, August 05, 2010

All in a Day's Drive...

Monday was BC Day and Sir didn't have to go to work, so we took the opportunity to visit Grandpa & Grandma in the Okanagan Valley. So, Sunday night I packed the cooler and loaded it into the van and after a short night's sleep (Butler and Emma woke up multiple times), we woke the kids up, dressed them and hit the road just after 7:30 the holiday morning.

Biscuit wrapped smokies - fresh out of the oven

The kids helped me make "pig-in-a-blanket"s especially for our trip. We did that on Saturday before heading to the fireworks. So, naturally that's what we had for breakfast on Monday - along with individually wrapped cheese sticks, Clementine oranges and boxes of juice - once we filled the car with gas and were finally out of town.

We made good time and got to Kelowna right about noon. The kids did pretty good on the drive over too. We had to make a bathroom stop and I tried to feed Butler while Sir took care of the other kids, but Butler was more interested in the scenery than anything else. Other than that PC asked if we were 'there yet' about 6 dozen times and we had to make a surprise stop for an unbuckled Emma - she can unbuckle herself and does so when she thinks we might not notice.

Grandma 'n Butler.

Looking for ducks with Grandpa.

Mama Duck & her baby.

Once we got to Grandpa and Grandma's house, the kids immediately set out with Grandpa to go find some ducks while Butler hung out with Grandma. The older kids were successful and I was summoned to 'come see' by an excited Emma. After the duck finding expedition, we had lunch which was a myriad of cold cut meats (Sir and PC couldn't have been happier), watermelon, potato and coleslaw salads an assortment of breads and a vegetable plate that included sliced tomatoes to Dolly's delight. It was good and even Butler got his fair share - he was thrilled.

On top of the world - er tree.

After lunch, Sir and I visited with Grandpa and Grandma while the kids entertained themselves mostly within sight in the backyard. They found the tree very interesting and when we noticed that they weren't in sight anymore, someone pointed out that the tree appeared to be moving. 'Turned out that it was too - after about 3 minutes of watching, we were surprised to see Dolly's head pop up at the TOP of the tree! We knew she was in the tree, but I did not expect to see her come out at the very top.

A new hobby.

Monkey see... monkey do.

Emma couldn't figure out how to get into the tree, but PC did and he soon joined Dolly in climbing in and out of the tree. They would have stayed there all day, but we finally decided that the poor tree could use a break from all the abuse and called the kids down for a while. After that, they stayed busy trying to see what else was scale-able while still being in sight.

Stealing Grandpa's chair.

Sharing a foot rest with Grandpa.

With all the tree climbing and attempts to climb other trees, the kids got quite hot and sweaty. Grandpa remedied this with ice cream cones. During the cool-down break I got to see a new level of prankishness in my oldest two munchkins. Dolly found quite the thrill in stealing Grandpa's chair - all three of the older kids had ganged up on Sir to steal his chair earlier, and once the chairs were all settled, PC impishly collapsed Dolly's folding chair just seconds after she hopped out of it to go talk to Emma. Dolly never noticed, but the rest of us got quite a laugh watching PC's expression at being such a rascal.

Eating ice cream with a view.

Little Emma - while the bigger kids were done with their ice cream and back at the tree climbing, she set up a table and stool overlooking the neighbor's flower bed so she could enjoy her cone and God's handiwork at the same time. After a few minutes, she set up a second table and stool should anyone wish to join her. It was special to watch her find a way to be content even when she couldn't keep up with the older kids.

Honey bee.

The kids started unraveling shortly after the ice cream was finished up. We let them climb the tree again before it was time to go, but by the time I had finished nursing Butler to sleep, PC was definitely showing his need for a nap. By the time all the diapers were changed, bathroom visited, kids buckled in and good byes said, it was already 4pm. We filled up with gas, settled the kids so they could go to sleep, and headed for home.

An old cemetery on Hwy 8.

It was just before 6 as we approached Merritt and read the sign saying the Coquihala Hwy was closed. We stopped at the Merritt visitor's center to find out why the route we wanted to take was closed and to find a map. There had been an accident 25km ahead and traffic had been stopped in both directions for nearly an hour. We had two choices: 1. Hang out in Merritt until the highway was re-opened. and 2. Take the scenic route to the old Hwy 1. Since we couldn't find anything else out about when the Coquihala would reopen, we chose to take the scenic route - AKA: The Long Way Home.

The kids woke up from their naps just as we set out on our alternate route. They'd slept for a little over an hour so they were recharged and happy until they started getting hungry around 7pm. By 7:30 the sounds changed from singing/playing/chattering to whining/fussing/screaming baby. We'd originally planed to stop for dinner in Hope and had we taken the Coquihala, we should have been having supper around 8pm. But now we found ourselves pretty much in the middle of nowhere. There wasn't even any good places to stop for the kids to run around somewhere safe. Everything was either right on the highway or right on the river the highway was following. Both not exactly where you want to have your small children running around at dusk.

Split rail fence.

Heading to Hwy 1.

We set our goal for Spenser's Bridge - a little town where Hwy 8 was to meet up with Hwy1, only to discover it was pretty much a ghost town. Just a few houses and a confused dog wondering why there was so much more traffic than usual. By this time the crescendo had reached, what we hoped, was it's high, and we kept on looking for anywhere to stop somewhere along Hwy 1.

Train tunnels along the Fraser River.

Following the Fraser.

If we thought the little river on Hwy 8 wasn't safe, the raging Fraser River along Hwy 1 totally changed our minds. Finally around 8pm, we came to a little town called Lytten. We stopped at the hotel/cafe/restaurant to rush PC to the bathroom and to rescue Butler from his car seat and the rest of us from his wailing. Once the bathroom break was over, the kids and I waited in the car while Sir ordered some take-out burgers from the cafe. Then we went to the school playground overlooking the police station to eat and rest on the grass as it got dark. The kids watched a handful of trains go by and then burned off some energy by running from one end of the soccer field to the other until they couldn't run anymore. At 9pm we washed them up, put them in pajamas and loaded them into the van tired, full and preciously quiet. They were all asleep within half an hour and we were still hours from home.

By 10:30 I was so tired I couldn't stay awake any longer, and poor Sir drove alone for hours. He woke me up to talk to him around Midnight and I think I slept-talked until we got home at 1. We unloaded the kids and everyone was asleep by 1:30. Of course, the kids tell me that they want to go back to Grandpa and Grandma's house because their tree is easier to climb than the three in our back yard, but I think we'll wait a while for now.

Our Snowbirds.


  1. As always, I'm not quite sure whether to think you're amazing, or just plain crazy ;-) One thing's for sure, you made some memories!

  2. Just to be picky, I take exception to the title of this post. We didn't quite fit it into a "Day's Drive". We actually 'overflowed' by about an hour.

  3. Glad you had a nice visit with Mom and Dad and made it safely home again.