April break

The kids and I zipped over to PEI for a few days last week for the funeral of my Uncle Emmett – RIP – and because I am the meanest of all Mommies, I forced the kids to actually learn something during our trip by dragging them to a couple museums. They were really broken up about it, as you can see:

 Here they are at the Acadian Museum in Miscouche, which was “really good,” as Charlotte proclaimed on our way out. It is good – informative, visually interesting and well laid out. You should go.

We also liked Founders Hall in Charlottetown:

 The statues of the Fathers of Confederation were a particular hit. Founders Hall is the perfect example of how museums can be fun and educational at the same time.

Because I aspire to be an absolute monster, I also dragged them to the beach:

 That’s Foster running toward that bit of ice jutting out, from which he launched more chunks of ice in an attempt to either (a) splash frigid water all over himself or (b) fall into the frigid water completely.  Contrary to my expectations, he did NOT fall in, but ended up so wet he might as well have. As we were leaving, he came to me clutching an armful of ice chunks and said, “I guess I can’t keep these, huh?”

See how smart he is? All this homeschooling is paying off.

This is my co-pilot at Cape Jourimain in New Brunswick:

 To escape the children’s incessant nagging for Tim Hortons donuts, I abandoned the vehicle and was sprinting towards the Confederation Bridge yelling, “Let me back in!” when I realized I had left my MP3 player in the car. Shoot. It was a tough call, but I returned to the car and continued driving home.

And yes, they got their stupid donuts. (But I ate a maple glazed. You know, just to show them who’s boss.)

Black Hole Falls is as scary as it sounds

When one of Anna’s friends invited us to accompany him and his parents on a trip to a secluded beach yesterday, I said sure. What better way to spend a sunny March afternoon than rock hounding in the fresh air, right? Wrong. As it turns out, there are LOTS of better ways to spend a sunny March afternoon when the route to the beach is actually a mountainous death trap.

Yes, a death trap, I tell you, and nothing – not even the way everyone else was bounding over fallen logs and leaping from wet, mossy rock to wet, mossy rock like a bunch of mountain goats – will convince me otherwise. The problem, you see, is that my knees are not made of bone and cartilage and ligaments like yours, but rather cracked toothpicks and dried gum and bits of half-rotten string. That’s a fact.

Anna’s lovely young friend and his wonderful parents couldn’t possibly know this, of course, but I bet they’ll ask for x-rays and a complete physical before ever inviting anyone on a trip with them in the future. Spending three hours with a red-faced, grunting, wincing, limping mess (that would be me) oughta do it.

The first two minutes were promising enough, but then Anna’s friend suggested we take a short detour to see a waterfall and that’s where it all went downhill. Like literally down a really steep hill. I stood at the top and watched all the others scamper down fearlessly and thought something along the lines of, ‘oh poopy.’ With my first tentative step down, my right knee made a horrible popping noise accompanied by a knifelike pain below my kneecap and I started to sweat because that’s my good knee.

It was a rough trip to the bottom – not because I fell, although I did consider hurling myself down the hill more than once, just to be done with it. My shaken confidence and inability to stand upright for more than two seconds helps explain the quality of my photo of the waterfall:

Water, trees, ice, beauty, yeah whatever – I’m dying.

But I didn’t die, happily or unhappily (it depends on how you feel about me) and after the kids failed to drown in the frigid water below the waterfall – not from lack of trying to fall in through foolhardy behaviour – we crossed that stream raging river you see in the foreground not once but twice. Everyone else had perfect balance, naturally, and the ability to leap from the tip of one icy, jagged rock to the next across the water while I, crippled and embarrassed by my lack of athletic ability, did not.

When we finally made it to the beach, I rejoiced and wondered if it would be possible for me to live there permanently, partly for the lovely scenery and partly because I didn’t know how on earth I would ever make it back out. The Bay of Fundy shore (along this part of Nova Scotia, at least) is rocky. Really rocky:

 Those rocks are a good twelve feet high, I’d say, and we had to cross them to get to the beach beyond.

 That’s everyone else charging on ahead while I tried (and failed) to keep up. At least no one could hear my whimpering back there.

 This is Charlotte climbing out of a cave. “Come in, Mommy, you have to see this,” she yelled. “It’s really neat.” Without a jet pack to propel me up there, I had to regretfully decline.

 See what I mean by rocky? I lived for those flat, pebbly areas.

 The red speck in the centre is Foster coming down the sheer face of a giant rock as if he were hopping from the top of a bunk bed.

 They’re fit, fearless explorers, as you can see. They get that from me.

Ha.

To celebrate making it out alive, we stopped at The Look-Off on the way home for my kind of sightseeing: drive up, park, stand on level ground, take pictures, repeat.

 Here, Foster, Anna and Charlotte commiserate over their failure to have lost me in the woods. Try harder, suckers! (Actually, don’t.)

vacation photo album

My apologies in advance for what will be a photo-heavy post; you know I just can’t help myself when it comes to a camera. Thank God for digital. Okay, here we go. Our annual trip to PEI.

The kids and Mia on the Caribou-Wood Islands ferry:

Charlotte striking a pose at the gorgeous Greenwich National Park:

One of the wild roses that line the trails at the park:

Anna and Charlotte on the beach at Greenwich National Park. Check out the sand dunes, which are at least twelve feet high:

Naufrage Harbour:

Lobster traps:

And fishing boats:

Here’s Charlotte at a quiet little beach on the north shore:

And Foster and Mia on the same beach:

This is the lighthouse at East Point, which was built in 1867:

Mia loving/hating the beach:

Ripply sand, just because it’s my camera and I can shoot whatever I want:

A snail:

Charlotte and a starfish:

Wool spindles at the awesome MacAusland’s Woolen Mills in Bloomfield:

Some old spinning machinery:

Another neat machine that plies the spun wool, I think. And look! A black rotary phone on the post:

Here’s Foster watching a snail:

As the tide was coming in one morning, the kids and I engaged in some super-high tech time lapse photography. Here they are, with Jam:

And here they are exactly ten minutes later (I’ll spare you all the photos taken at one minute intervals in between. And don’t ask me what happened to Jam. I think she got bored and wandered off.):

A crab shell, because why not?:

Mia in glistening evening light:

The obligatory sunset shot:

Here are the kids at Port la Joye/Fort Amherst:

And the lighthouse behind them:

A nice view from Fort Amherst:

The kids and Mia trying to distract me from the view:

A shiny shell:

An egg case, probably from a dogfish, which is a type of shark, so let’s say I wrestled this from a shark:

Bumpy clouds:

Foster after swimming in the ocean:

Anna and Charlotte also after swimming in the ocean:

Foster against the cliffs, which are blazing orange in the evening light:

Foster and Anna:

A purple jellyfish:

One of my better attempts at drive-by photography:

Everyone who knows me knows my love for PEI knows no bounds and I’m happy to report the kids are getting there too. Every year they’re a little more reluctant to leave and look a little more longingly at houses for sale, saying, “We could live there, right?” Hear me cackling and rubbing my hands together? My plan is working.