Portland Sample

Last weekend my mom looked after the kids while Sue and I got away to Portland with some friends. The Portland trip was organized by a friend who was turning 40, and who was also running the Portland Rock N Roll Half Marathon. Sue also did the run, while I chose to go mountain biking while they ran 🙂

We started off on the Coho on a dreary Friday morning, then drove down the 101 to get on the I5. Beautiful drive, and it was a chance for Sue and I to spend some time together in a way that we haven’t been able to for a quite a while. Along the way I spotted a plane, and several sky divers.

Arriving in Portland in the early evening we didn’t have time to do much so we grabbed a drink at the hotel bar, then called it an evening.

The next day we ate breakfast at Tasty N Alder. Wow, excellent breakfast place. Likely the best restaurant breakfast I have ever had. After that it was off to the race expo to get race packages and explore a bit. I found the Powerbar tent and they had energy chews that tasted just like the coke bottle candies I used to get as a child. Mmmm. The Clif Bar tent was sampling some bars, and I tried their coconut chocolate chop one. Yummy! I talked to the guy a bit, and mentioned that we can’t get that flavour in Canada, so he slid me a sample bar to take riding with me!

After the expo we headed back to the hotel, then on to outlet mall shopping! At first I was not doing so well, but by the end of the day I had got a couple work shirts, two pairs of work pants, and a new watch. It ended well.

Sunday was the race and my ride. Everyone in our group did well on their run, and Sue set a personal best for a half marathon.

Sunday evening we had a group dinner at the Portland City Grill. This restaurant was on the 30th floor of a building, and had an amazing view of the city. The service was excellent, and I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner.

Monday the organizer, his wife and I headed over to Voodoo Donuts to stock up on some homeward bound treats. Then it was over to Tasty N Alder for our last meal.

After breakfast we packed up, jumped back in the car and headed home. I did enjoy our getaway weekend, but I do wish we had one more day in the city to just wander around and look, or shop. From what we have heard, Portland has some amazing eateries, and some really good food trucks. We were about 50/50 on the restaurants, and didn’t get any food trucks. The coffee I had was excellent though!

I’d love to come back again some time and have more free time to explore.

Winterlude Skate

A couple weeks ago we went to Ottawa for Winterlude. We’ve done this for a few years in a row now, and every year it gets more and more fun, and easier.

The trip was not without its bumps though. We were supposed to leave on a Saturday, but unfortunately our flight was cancelled for maintenance reasons. Weird. The best option for us was to fly the next day, so we lost a whole day of our vacation.

Once we got going the next day though it was great.

Monday we sort of lounged around the house and got used to being in Ottawa. Right away the kids played with their cousin and had a great time. I think we went sledding for a bit that day though.

Tuesday was the day that we went out for a skate. I had warned Elliot that the ice was going to be different than a hockey rink, and not nearly as smooth. I realized 30 seconds into our skate that I had nothing to worry about. He took off like a rocket and never looked back. I am still very surprised at how much his skating has improved since he started hockey. While skating we took turns pulling Amy in the sled. We stopped for a Beavertail and hot chocolate, then headed home.

Wednesday Sue and Amy went to Montreal for a day trip, which left Elliot and I with loads of spare time. We decided to take in the Museum of Nature. Since we didn’t rent a car this trip out, Elliot and I decided to skate there! Very cool experience. We skated down the canal, got off, walked a couple blocks to the museum. We toured the museum for a long time. I let Elliot pick where he wanted to go and we stayed as long as he wanted to. Well, I need to correct that. I started getting tired, cranky, and hungry. I even got whiny. It was time to find lunch. We settled on the Elgin St Diner which was really good. After lunch we walked back tot he canal for the skate home. We had promised Elliot that he could have his own Beavertail, but he was so full he told me he just wanted to split one with me 😉

Thursday myself, Sue, the kids, Sue’s dad, and her brother in law all headed to the Museum of Civilization. The kids burned around the childrens museum portion before we took in an IMAX movie. It was a movie about the reefs of the world and how they are dieing. About 15 minutes into the movie, which was narrated, Amy turned to Sue and asked “when is he going to stop talking?”. Pretty funny. A little later I felt Amy rest her head on my shoulder. It wasn’t too long after that she fell asleep 🙂 Elliot very much enjoyed the movie though.

Friday we went to try out the ice slides, but unfortunately most of them were closed as the weather was too warm. Big bummer.

Saturday we did another family skate, though it was much colder. The wind picked up a bit, and Elliot just was not into it. Poor guy. Still, her persevered enough to get some hot chocolate.

Sue and her family did their ski to a cabin for dinner event again. The kids and I stayed at the house for a movie and popcorn night.

I got another couple skates in before we had to leave. All in all quite a busy trip really.

Coming home was a bit of a gong show too. Sue was flying to Toronto for work, and I was flying back to Victoria with the kids. When we checked in, we learned that our three seats were scattered about the plane. Apparently WestJet couldn’t do age math and figure out the kids were too young. After working through the problem we finally got the kids seats together, and mine across the aisle and up a row, for the first two legs. The final leg we were all together. I just talked to the person next to the kids, and they gladly switched with me.

In Calgary, after we had some dinner, Amy was on the moving sidewalk which is a favorite novelty in that airport. Well, her shoelace got caught in the machinery when she got to the end, and down she went, hard! She smacked her elbow and knee pretty bad. I ran to help her, and that was when I saw her lace. My first instinct was to pull on it, but it wasn’t budging. Next I tried to hit the stop button. Meanwhile 3 WestJet employees came running to help. One person pulled off her show, then I remembered that that is the correct course of action. At that moment I managed to hit the stop button. We got her show back on, and the WestJetters made sure she was fine and asked if I wanted to have her checked out. She was ok, but a little upset by all the attention. Since we were on our way to Tim Hortons for a donut, we go that, and all was right with the world.

The final incident was on the flight from Calgary to Victoria. There was a medical emergency. Someone was having a seizure. I really hoped we weren’t going to have to divert, and in the end we didn’t have to. Phew. We landed at 8:15 Victoria time, but that was 11:15 Ottawa time. Late night for the kids.

All in all it was a great trip. We got to play in the snow quite a bit. Relaxed a lot, visited with family. Sue and I even got to go skating by ourselves on the last day.

Golf Badly

Today’s adventure was a trip to Mattick’s farm. The plan was to head out and play some mini golf, eat some lunch, get an ice cream cone, then come home again.

Oh, and we wanted to ride out there. This was Elliot’s first time on a Trail-A-Bike, and we chose a long ride. He did awesome though. The ride out was about an hour and any time we got moving I could hear him hooting and hollering, and yelling wheeeee. Lots of fun. I could also feel him helping out on the uphill sections. The Trail-A-Bike was more wobbly than I was expecting which was a little unnerving at first, but I got used to it.

At the farm mini golf was fun, but the kids sure powered through the holes. Elliot did very well with his shots, and even got a hole in one. If we had kept score, I think his would have been pretty close to mine. Amy had fun too, but her style was more hockey like than golf like 😉

Lunch was yummy,but funny enough, as we were sitting down to eat, we saw some friends of ours that were at our BBQ on Friday, and whom we also saw at the fair on Saturday. They joined us in eating lunch on the grass.

After eating it was on to the cones. Amy had vanilla, Elliot chocolate chip mint, Sox had triple chocolate, and I chose the maple walnut. After I paid, I went outside to sit with everyone. Amy came running up to me, tripped (likely due to her flip flops), and hit the ground hard. She skinned her toe pretty badly, but worse was her cone. She did her best to hold on to it, but the cone itself broke in half and the ice cream bounced off my shoe and hit the ground.

Sad girl ensued. Thankfully she wasn’t hurt too bad, and the kind staff inside made us another cone free of charge. I even got a couple band aids to patch up her toe.

Fully charged up it was time to head for home. Thankfully there weren’t a lot of hills, and we made good time coming home.

Fun Kids

As our vacation starts to draw to an end, I am starting to not look forward to going back to work. Such is the price for so much fun. yesterday we headed out to French Beach with a friend and her two children. The kids had a great time out there running around, splashing in the water, building sand castles, eating lunch, and generally just being kids.

This guys dog swam after him as the paddle boarded retrieved a crab pot.

Such a beautiful day at the beach. The long drive was worth it!

Lunch time.

On our way back into town, we stopped off for ice cream. Later in the day, our neighbor invited us to his place for pie and ice cream. We topped the night off with a movie night for the kids complete with popcorn.

Vegas Buffets

Vegas was a blast. We spent four days there and got to do almost everything we wanted.

Our flight down was spectacular too. We got bumped to first class, and that was the first time I had even been in first class. Drinks in real glasses, real food on real plates. Friendly stewardesses. Perfect way to start the trip. Then when we hit Vegas we grabbed a limo to the hotel. Sweet!

While in Vegas we went out for a nice dinner, followed by the O Cirque de Soleil show. We had a pool day. We went riding. We went up and down the strip. We went to Freemont Street. I played poker. We played the slots. We bet on ponies. We bet on a Vancouver Canucks game. We hit buffets.

We would have liked to seen the Stratosphere up close, and I would have loved to gone up the Eiffel tower to get some pics from up there. Gotta save something for the next trip!

One of the highlights for me was the first breakfast that Sue and I had at Bon Ami Gabi. I chose the Lemon Pancakes with Strawberries. Yum! So good that the next time I went, I ordered the same thing.

The view from our room!

The rest of my pics are here.

Ottawa Home

Yesterday was our final day in Ottawa. We flew out around 6 meaning we had to start making our way to the airport around 4:30.

What to do to fill the time? We had been tobogganing, skating, seen museums, and been to the ice slides. What else was there? The ice sculptures!

We piled into the van and headed down to a park near city hall where the sculptures were set up. Very cool. There was also a competition underway for us to watch. The sculptures were amazing, and I still find it amazing that a week long display can be left outside. Ottawa certainly has a winter season, unlike Victoria.

After poking around a bit we then got another tasty beavertail for Elliot and I (so, so yummy). We then had to boogie home so Elliot’s cousin could make it to a birthday party on time.

We packed, relaxed, ate lunch/dinner then headed to the airport. The kids were pretty amazing on the flights once again, but it was certainly a long day for us adults.

I will post some pictures once I get them processed.

Snowing Taffy

Today was another great day here in Ottawa. We took it easy this morning and didn’t do too much. It started lightly snowing which was nice to see.

In the afternoon we headed back to the canal for some more skating. Elliot was in the toboggan again, and Amy was in the stroller. It was snowing pretty heavily which was interesting to skate through, but hard to pull the toboggan through. Every once in a while I would hit a deeper patch of snow almost stopping me in my tracks. We skipped the beavertail for today since the lineups were so huge.

We took a side canal at one point and came a across a crowd of people. Once we got closer I realized it was a wedding in progress. Pretty cool venue for a wedding, and it was neat that it was snowing for them. Definitely unique.

Back at the house, while dinner was cooking, Sox’s brother in law started making maple taffy. You take a bunch of maple syrup ad start it boiling. When it gets to a certain temperature you pour it on snow and wrap it around a popsicle stick (or tongue depressor if you are around doctors). Mmm, tasty but very, very sweet.

Tomorrow we head home. What to do before we leave though. Another skate? Ice sculptures? Beavertail? Nothing and relax? Not sure, but I do know we need to return our rental and pack up.

Beavertail Slides

Today I had my first beavertail. We had gone to Gatineau in Quebec to a park where they had set up a wonderful snow park. Slides maede out of ice, a snow maze, some snow sculptures, ice fishing, and more.

I took the three boys (Elliot, his cousin, and a friend of Elliot’s) down a couple slides. The four of us linked our arms as we went down. With my weight going down, I dragged the boys further and faster than many of the other kids were sliding. They liked that.

The park was overrun with school groups that were honestly quite misbehaved. The kids were running around with no supervision, pushing, shoving, cutting in line, and generally dampening our spirits a little. It was sunny though and the park was fun.

I kept eyeing the line for beavertails. Once our gang had regrouped someone mentioned a snack so we got in line. Mmmmm, so tasty. We had ours with cinnamon and sugar, but some of the other toppings sounded good too. I was tempted by the maple butter though.

Amy sure is enjoying the snow, but she does not like getting dressed up for it. She would rather be out there with no gloves and not hat. Today Sox took her out skating again in a different stroller. They had a great time and when they got back, Sox and Amy stayed outside in the snow a little longer.

Elliot also had been having a great time in the snow, and doesn’t mind dressing up. It helps that his cousin does all this with no problem.

Tomorrow we plan to go tobogganing, and I am having lunch with a friend that used to live in Victoria. A few more days still, then we fly home. That will be interesting.

Museum Canal

Today we hit up a local children’s museum that was just across the border in Quebec. It was awesome. Elliot and his cousin ran around looking and playing with everything. Amy followed a bit, but she found her own favorite things to play on (like sitting in ann Austin Mini, or in the bus). Elliot’s favorite was the crane that he could operate and use to pick up mock cargo.

After nap time and just before dinner we headed back to the canal for some more skating. At first it was just going to be Sox, myself and Amy, but at the last moment Elliot decided he wanted to come too. Above is a shot of the Fox family on the ice. Still no Beavertail, though I did see a shack selling them! So close.

Elliot is having a great time with the snow. I think he really missed it this year at home. I am glad he is at least experiencing it here.

Ottawa Beavertail

Yesterday we flew to Ottawa to visit some family. The flights with the kids were fine, and strangely enough, the kids didn’t sleep at all. Normally this might not be a problem, but by the time we landed it was 10pm Victoria time. Amy did this with no nap on the day, which, if you have young children, you could understand my apprehension.

Today was a fun day. There isn’t a lot of snow here in Ottawa, but there is some. It is also cold, but not very cold. The low for the week is around -5 which is perfect for getting outside and doing things.

Things like skating on the Rideau Canal.

I have never skated on anything but man made ice in a rink so this was a unique experience. It was a lot of fun, and we made sure that we skated into the wind at the start, and with the wind on the way back. It was also a nice and sunny day too. Absolutely perfect first day here. There will also be a Beavertail somewhere along the way.

Things planned for the rest of the week include museums, ice slides, ice sculptures, more skating, swimming (indoors), and maybe a playground or two.