Fun in the Sun Roadtrip – March 08
The adventures of D’Arcy, Anne, Evan & Alex as they head to Disney World for March Break 2008.

Sep
02

As of today, my parents have been happily married for 43 years. Wow!

September 2nd, 1965

September 2nd, 1965

To celebrate, they are going down the Valley and spending the night at a five-star B&B and having supper at The Digby Pines. They finally told me yesterday where they were staying, so last night I called and we have looked after their room. I’m sure they won’t be impressed, but they are so hard to surprise with anything! We also decorated a photo frame for them, with some of the shells we picked up from our beach and three photos from our PEI trip. (It’s not as tacky as it sounds!) It’s to thank them for giving up a week of their summer to come and look after the B&B for us so we could get away as a family.

We are so lucky to have my parents close by and that they support us and are so willing to help out when needed. My mother is great about taking the kids, and my dad will always come down and look after the B&B if we want to get out and do something. Now that D’Arcy is back to school, they will both come down here each weekday morning to help with breakfast, cleanup & crowd-control. They also ferry the kids to their activities when we are unable to. Mom stood in line to sign Sarah up for dance lessons while we were away and got the second-to-last-spot. She’s also offered to pick Sarah up from Preschool on Tuesdays this year, take her to their house for the afternoon to feed her lunch and then take her to dance, leaving me with only Olivia for the day so I can theoretically got some of my work done!

My father faithfully cleans their pool for the kids, cleaned out my old loft in the garage so the boys would have a special space, installed the zipline, etc. for the kids. He & Olivia have a special bond and she runs into his arms and holds on for dear life whenever she sees him. He helps out around our house with the guests, painting, gardening, and other odd jobs. When I spent all those weeks on bedrest with each girl and D’Arcy was at school, they took over to keep the household & the business running smoothly. To top it off, they both edit D’Arcy’s papers for his M.Ed courses and my mother cleaned and re-organized my linen closet while we were away.

I hope that they have a wonderful, relaxing day today & tomorrow and that they have many more happy years ahead!

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Aug
27

We had a chance to visit with the Waltons, our wild-and-crazy cousins from Ottawa this weekend. Sixteen out of 22 cousins were there. It was a great visit, and I think the photos speak for themselves: (and yes, Aunt Kathleen is getting them to make a human pyramid!)

Aug
27

It was a sad morning when we woke up, knowing that our vacation will be over today – that is, until the kids found out that they got to finish up the Sorbet for breakfast! Any day that you get ice cream for breakfast can’t be that bad!

Check out from the cottage was supposed to be at 10:00 and we discovered we are the kind of guests we hate. Almost. We were out of the cottage shortly after ten, but it was eleven before we got out of the yard! We were packed in the van so tightly, I’m not sure how we fit ourselves in!! I’d like to think that we probably left the cottage much cleaner than most people do. For one thing, we had washed all the dishes , glasses, cutlery, cutlery tray, etc. on the first day to make sure we weren’t second guessing ourselves about what might be on them. I also cleaned all the fingerprints off the windows, vacuumed, etc. I would have hated for the owners to think we were slobs!

Our original plan had been to go back to Cavendish for the morning because we still had time on our pass for the National Park, but since it was so late, we went straight to Charlottetown and had lunch. Our server wouldn’t have won any awards for congeniality and actually aproached our table, saying, “Just so you know, we do NOT have any chocolate milk, apple juice, root beer or orange pop.” Well okay then! It’s a good thing our kids are good eaters flexible!

We enjoyed the sunshine, fresh air & each other’s company regardless!

We then headed over to King’s Castle Provincial Park, but didn’t stay too long. Watching Olivia try to keep up with her siblings on the ancient playground equipment was stressing me out, and the boys wanted to find another Ocean Beach rather than a beach on a river so that they could do some more “cresting”.

We hopped into the van and went to Northumberland Provincial Park, where we could watch the ferry arriving.

We caught the 6:00 ferry, and although Sarah found it just as loud on the way home, she enjoyed the ride much more!

You will notice in the above photo that Olivia is carrying her own epi-pens in her Guinness Cooler bag! There was a man on the ferry wearing a shirt which said, “Guinness is Gaelic for Genius”. I must find that shirt for D’Arcy for Christmas!!

A nice lady was kind enough to offer to take a photo of all six of us – the only one we have during this vacation!

We stopped off at the grocery store to make sure we had milk for when we got home and made a quick call to my parents to let us know what time to expect us. Of course, the girls fell asleep in the van, but we called again from one exit away to get my mom to fill the tub for some pretty grubby kids! We arrived home to a full house, but took them upstairs and the girls screamed all the way through the bath. Olivia wasn’t too sure about my mother which broke her heart. She did warm up as Ginna read stories to Sarah though. Mom & I put the kids to bed while D’Arcy unloaded the van and dealt with the guests. Then, when all was quiet, we started in on the seven loads of laundry! I thought it would never end! (In all honesty, five days later, it’s still not all put away – don’t tell my mother!)

We had a good night, except for the fact that I woke up to the sound of Sarah crying for me at 3:30 a.m., but I couldn’t find her! She had apparently become disoriented and went looking for me. She somehow got out into the guest hallway, and was downstairs, trying to get into the kitchen which was locked. I scooped her up and prayed that she hadn’t woken the guests! At breakfast, only one room said they’d heard her and he said that he was already awake. Phew. That’s never happened before!!

It was a great vacation, but we wished we’d had more time! I realize it was probably ambitious to take three books along with me, since I only read through part of one… We managed to keep Olivia safe for the week and do activities that all six of us enjoyed. Evan has put in a request to head to Ontario or Newfoundland next year since he’d like to go to a province he’s never seen. As long as we’re all together, I know we’ll have fun no matter where we are!

Now to get ready for school…

Aug
26

We are getting the whole “take-all-morning-to-not-do-much-of-anything” routine down pat by now! Our morning is spent with eating, some excercise, some school work, hoping the internet will be on so we can check in with home, and today – tattoos! They were the treat in last night’s Subway meals. Don’t ask, but my three oldest children have tattoos on their butts. I’m saving this photo to use as blackmail someday, although I’m still not sure for which one!

Knowing that we would be doing a lot of driving on our way home, we chose to spend our last full day at Cavendish Beach. I wish we had gone more than once. It’s no wonder that it’s the most crowded beach on PEI! It took us until close to noon to get away, and we had to stop at the Drug Store for more Alimentum for Olivia, some juice boxes, and a pair of sunglasses for D’Arcy. The boys had really wanted to go to Sandspit, but after doing some research, I decided it was not in *my* plan to spend over $100 for the six of us to go in, but only half of us to be able to go on most of the rides. 1/6 of us had to look after the other 1/3. (Pretty impressive math, eh?!)

As luck would have it, Sarah fell asleep on the drive to Cavendish. She has been crazy about Roller Coasters since riding the one at Crystal Palace in Moncton when she was just two. She got off and kept saying, “MORE RIDE!! MORE RIDE!!!” She was deeply disappointed the other day when they made her get off the roller coaster at Shining Waters (much smaller than Crystal Palace) because she was too short, so would have been devistated to see her father and brothers heading out without her – again! They went and bought tickets just to ride the Cyclone while I stayed in the van with the girls. I told them that if Sarah woke up, I would tell her that they were using the bathroom. I let Olivia listen to Alex’s iPod and take pictures with his camera, so she was quite happy! I even managed to get some photos of the boys on the roller coaster from the van in the parking lot:

We headed to the beach from there and had a wonderful afternoon. I just wish I could have taken the camera into the water because Olivia and Sarah’s expressions were priceless when the waves were cresting and they were in them!

 

The boys had a great time digging in the sand and ended up both getting buried.

 

 

We drove along the shore to Malpeque, where we had supper at “The Oyster Bar” on a recommendation from Kate & Willem, our friends from New Hampshire.  There were two other tables there at the same time – both from New Hampshire!  The food was great and it was a beautiful setting!

 

 

 

 

After supper was over, we headed back to the cottage for one last sunset over Malpeque Bay, and one last Karaoke night.

 

Aug
24

It was a good thing that I had gone to bed early, because by three a.m., I was up for the night, sick. This was awful, and I’m sure it was from the ham since I was the only one who ate it, and I was the only one to get sick. Lucky me!

Our initial plan had been to get up early and head to Singing Sands Beach at Basin Head, almost to the East Point Lighthouse. D’Arcy looked after the kids and I have no idea what they did while I tried to will myself into feeling better. Some Ibuprofin did take the edge of my head & body aches and once I was able to keep down some dry cereal, we packed up and started off on the nearly two hour drive to get there. It was a gorgeous day, and I really didn’t feel *too* bad on the drive, but I do remember D’Arcy telling the kids, “You can’t talk to Mommy right now, okay…” I just had to concentrate on keeping it together.

We got to the Beach, which was beautiful (although we were all a bit disappointed that the sand didn’t sing to us at all!) and the tide was going out. D’Arcy bought the kids a pail & shovel which Sarah claimed as her own. She loved that pail and wouldn’t let anyone else near it, which drove Alex crazy! There were beautiful, big, cresting waves that the kids were able to jump & play in. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the beach:

Evan, Alex & D’Arcy had a great time together in the water:

And Sarah had fun playing in the waves closer to the shore.

Close to five, we decided to pack it up and call it a day, but drive around the scenic route. I was not feeling well at all, but thought I would be okay in the car. One of the classic moments of the trip happened as we were all walking back to the parking lot, and Alex pointed off toward the water and said, “Oh Mom – look at that!” “I know, isn’t it beautiful?!” I replied, commenting on the cloudless, azure sky, the shining water and the red of the cliffs surrounding it. “That motorcycle is amazing!” he said, about an orange motorcycle, parked at the entrance to the beach’s boardwalk. Both the lady behind us & I burst out laughing.

We stopped at the East Point Lighthouse and Sarah was already asleep, I was still green, Olivia was content with her bottle and Evan was relaxing, so D’Arcy & Alex climbed the 67 stairs to the top.

We stopped a short distance from East Point where there is a Wind Farm with 10 Wind Turbines set up. D’Arcy & Alex had been able to see them from the lighthouse. D’Arcy actually pulled over and explained how a wind turbine works and the difference between that and a windmill. There’s a Science lesson in everything! Olivia appears to be enthralled…

We got back to the cottage at 8:00, after stopping to get Subway for supper for the three older kids. Since the rain & wind had died down, D’Arcy got a fire going in the fire pit and we planned to roast marshmallows.

Unfortunately, the darkness at Malpeque Bay is much more dark than at home, so Sarah didn’t last around the fire very long! I took both girls up to bed while D’Arcy and the boys did the roasting and talked about doing some of their cub skits around the fire. Everyone was tired, so the boys came in to go to bed and D’Arcy ended up sitting out by himself until the fire died down. I would have liked to have joined him, but just couldn’t…

Aug
24

Another lazy morning – this is becoming a habit! It’s not like we’re doing nothing – and we’re up by seven most days, but it’s that feeling of not *having* to make breakfast for a certain time… or keep the kids quiet… or do all that cleanup and laundry…


D’Arcy tries to get some time in each day on his Thesis, and we each try to get for a run or bike ride. Evan has been glued to the Olympic coverage, live, each morning and the girls are happy to play. Since it was raining, we decided that it was a great day to go to Charlottetown and do our back-to-school shopping, especially since there is no PST on children’s clothing in PEI! We had lunch before we left – the kids had leftovers from last night and I had a ham sandwich to finish up the ham we had brought with us from home.

We had a very successful shopping trip in record time. I’m not much of a shopper, so I was glad it was done quickly and with few negotiations! We agreed on everything they chose! We got back in the van and made a stop at a local market for milkshakes, fresh scallops & corn-on-the-cob.

We got back to the cottage and made a beautiful supper, but I was not feeling great by this point. I had a headache and some chills. Supper was really good – we had barbequed steak, scallops, carmalized mushrooms & red onions, parmesan risotto, corn-on-the-cob and sweet potato fries. The sunset just topped it off!

After supper, we got ready to play Canada-opoly. Olivia wasn’t co-operating, so I happily left the rest after a few turns and took her to bed! Evan & Sarah bankrupted both Alex & his father, who were playing as a team!

We’ve decided that one of the funniest things that’s happened so far is that Olivia has learned to pose and say “Cheeeese” for the camera!  And so it begins…

Aug
24

This was a quieter day. We all slept until sevenish this morning which felt heavenly! As I opened my eyes, a huge heron glided right by our window. We got up and had some breakfast and D’Arcy put Olivia on the back of my bike and went for a bike ride with the boys.

We puttered around and I did some more laundry in the sink and hung it out. D’Arcy did some work on his Thesis Application, and we watched some of the Olympics. The rain started late morning and I crawled into our bed, overlooking the water with my book (“Eat, Love, Pray”) while Evan sat in the chair and did Sodoku. Olivia was next to me with a bottle and listening to the quiet & the sound of the rain drumming on the roof was pure bliss.

After lunch, I tried to put Olivia down for a nap, but as it turned out, she put me down for a nap instead! The kids played & painted with the Dollar Store goodies we had bought on Sunday.

The rain didn’t last long, so we went down to the Beach when the tide was out and collected shells.

Evan went for a swim

and Olivia had an unplanned dunk.

They are excited to glue their shells to picture frames and put some vacation photos in them. Maybe tomorrow if it rains… We found lots of oyster shells and mussel shells,

and some huge tracks from the heron that had been visiting earlier in the day.

Olivia went down for a nap at quarter-to-four (we’re going to have fun getting back on schedule when we get home!) so D’Arcy and the older three went to play mini-putt while I stayed back to make burgers and sweet potato fries for supper. It started to pour again while they were there, but they still had fun and Sarah even had a few holes-in-one!

After supper, we sat around and watched the “Canadian Idol” results (what a travesty that Mookie was voted off!!), and then the Women’s Olympic Diving. Olivia thought the divers were hilarious; she shreiked and giggled every time one of them hit the water. The three boys, meanwhile, were rivited to the divers apparel… Oh my. When Jeff & his family had stayed with us last month, he had brought us a beautiful bottle of Scotch – not to be shared with guests – which we had been waiting for a good night to open.

The kids had popsicles

while we toasted another successful family day!

Aug
23

D’Arcy woke me up at 5:45 to watch the sunrise. I wasn’t too impressed at first since I hadn’t had a great sleep, but it really was beautiful.

He had already made coffee, so we took our mugs out on the balcony off our room. We were only there a few moments before the birthday boy joined us. How nice to have a little alone time with Alex on his special day before the rest of the siblings woke up!

We came downstairs and Alex watched some television while D’Arcy did some school work and I made the icing for his cupcakes. It was driving him crazy that he was not allowed to open the rest of his gifts, so joined me on my run, riding his bike. When we got back, Evan was up, so the three boys went out for a run and Alex was praying the girls would be up when he got back! Luckily, Sarah was and Olivia woke up shortly after they arrived.


He was happy to open his gifts, receiving the same card from both sets of grandparents

and a gigantic box of fruit-loops from his siblings. Evan had bought him new “Green apple Jelly” ipod earphones with his own money! They had some fun on the top bunk while we cleaned up from breakfast:

We packed a picnic lunch and headed out to Shining Waters Amusement Park in Cavendish for the day. The weather was gorgeous!! We rode some of the rides in the beginning,

and then D’Arcy & I took turns staying with the girls in the kiddie pool

while the boys rode the water slides.

Alex & I rode the tube slides together, and I think it was unanimous that the “toilet bowl” was our favorite! We ate our lunch on the side of the hill while watching a magic show.

Alex was delighted to be the first volunteer to be called up.

After the show, the kids had a great time rolling down the hill while D’Arcy took the cooler back to the van.

We set off to go through the rest of the park, and Sarah was disappointed that she wasn’t tall enough to ride the roller coaster!

We spent some more time in the water park and then, due to the crowds and the sun (Olivia refuses to wear a hat!) I told the girls it was time to get out. I strapped Olivia into the stroller with a bottle and a towel shading her pink cheeks and bribed Sarah to go watch the boys on the slides by buying her an ice cream.

Luckily, the boys decided it was getting too crowded as well, so we left the water park and headed to some more rides.

While D’Arcy & Sarah were on the paddleboat,

Olivia choked on the bottle of water I had given her to play with and threw up all over the stroller. Then Alex got a nosebleed out of the blue. It wouldn’t be a day out in our family without some kind of adventure… We were all hot & tired, so decided to pack it in.

We found out that the only Boston Pizza in PEI is in Charlottetown, so decided to take a chance with another restaurant and chose “The Two Brothers” in Summerside. We first stopped in to the cottage to get our laundry, since we had to clean the stroller & towels anyway, and took them to the Laundromat.

I haven’t been to a Laundromat in years, thank heavens! I had brought along some laundry soap, and another lady there told me that the washers took $2 in quarters. I loaded up the first washer and it wouldn’t take my quarters, so I ended up moving all the laundry over to a second washer. I had problems getting it to take my money too, but D’Arcy had come in to see what was taking me so long and got it to accept all but 25 cents. I ended up having to ask that other lady for a quarter for my two dimes & a nickel because I had used all of mine. Then we went to supper.

It was a great restaurant and when we arrived, the place was pretty much empty. This was a good thing because Olivia is starting to realize that she wants to be like everyone else and did NOT want to get into her booster seat that we bring along with us. I finally took her outside and told her that she could either go inside and sit in her own seat or she could go sit in the van. She went back inside and we bribed her with straws to get her to climb in. Once she was in all was good. The food was great, but Sarah didn’t have a bite of her burger after she added “too much ketchup”!

(She had already filled up on bread & chocolate milk!)

D’Arcy scooted out before our meals arrived

and picked up the laundry which we hung up at the cottage when we got back. Alex had told our server that it was his birthday, so she brought him a piece of cake.

We watched Canadian Idol together and had Alex’s cake during that time. We thought it appropriate, since he had wanted a Canadian Idol party to start with!

When Idol was over, they did their voting and then we went outside to light sparklers. Sarah, Alex & Olivia loved them, but Evan refused to hold any!

We came inside, put Olivia to bed and the rest of us sang Karaoke until we were all falling asleep. When the birthday boy falls asleep, the party is over!

Aug
22

D’Arcy was the first one up this morning, as usual. He had set the alarm (which I didn’t hear!) so that he could get up and work on his Thesis. His plan is to get up before the rest of us each morning and get some work done…

I made toast for the kids, went for a run along the fields and then we got our bathing suits on and went down to explore our beach.

Auntie Karen had given us beach balls to bring along, but the wind kept catching them and much to Sarah’s dismay, her “favorite” was swept right across Malpeque Bay. She clung to one of the remaining balls with all her might after that!

The boys had a great time in the water, but Olivia wasn’t so sure. I think perhaps the salt water bothered her eczema, because her legs were bright red when I picked her up!

She was happy to be carried around in the water, though!

We packed up and headed into Summerside to do some shopping. We first stopped for lunch at the “Starlight Diner”.

I had packed Olivia a lunch and we took her own booster seat. It went well and Evan was pleased with his self-portrait, drawn on his placemat while he waited for his food.

We got groceries for the week, got me a new bike helmet, found some Karaoke CD’s for the Karaoke Machine and had a trip to the Dollar Store since I had only packed books, and no toys. We got some bubbles, paints, and sparklers for Alex’s birthday. The best $2 I ever spent was on some foam number puzzles with Dora & Princesses on them. Sarah sat on the kitchen floor of the cottage and arranged and re-arranged them for over an hour!

What else is a girl to do while everyone else relaxes/naps/watches the Olympics?

You could also brush your teeth:

We had supper, and played outside until the sun went down. Sarah loved the new streamers her father bought for her bike after her own all blew away on the drive here.

Apparently, Evan loved them too!

We played some baseball:

Shared a little love:

and then when it got dark,

we went inside and sang Karaoke – even Molly – until we were all ready for bed!

I could definitely get used to this!!

Aug
22

As is the usual sequence of events, we started off our vacation much later than we anticipated – like we left the driveway at 1:10, when we had planned to catch the 1:00 ferry, an hour away! However, it’s no small feat to pack up belongings for a week for six people, including a double stroller, playpen, lifejackets, five bikes, six camping chairs, helmets, groceries, a case of Olivia’s formula, board games, birthday presents, birthday cake & six loaves of homemade safe-for-Olivia bread. I drew the line at bringing the golf clubs and said that if they wanted to golf, they can rent clubs!

We took a run through the Wendy’s drive-thru and both girls were asleep before we were out of town. What we didn’t realize, however, was that Sarah had fallen asleep with her drink in her hand. As you can imagine, it fell out of her hand and she woke up screaming about fifteen minutes into the drive. D’Arcy pulled over to the side of the road, and I climbed over top of the stuff & the kids to get to her and change her in her car seat. (Did I mention that the Heavens opened up and it started to POUR just as we left town?!) Luckily, the beach towels had been stowed between her and Evan, so I just put one under her to sop up her drink and we were back on our way.

We arrived at 2:35 for the 2:45 ferry, but had no problems getting on. Our guests had warned us that it’s “Old Home Week” in PEI and that people were lining up two hours before for a ferry the day before. I was a bit worried about the ferry, being out on the water with Olivia, especially when we discovered that there was a bus tour on board and not a seat to be found because of the rain. Luckily, once we set sail, the rain turned to drizzle, so Olivia and I walked the decks most of the time while D’Arcy and the other kids played video games. Sarah found the ferry entirely too loud, so we may take the Bridge home.

The drive through more rain to get to Summerside was fairly uneventful. We met up with Wanda, the owner of our beautiful cottage and she drove us here to Malpeque Bay where the sun was shining. It was close to seven by this time, and we had stopped to get take-out at Subway, figuring that we wouldn’t be going to get groceries at that time. Alex was so excited to get his supper that he didn’t even notice the fact that there was a different bike that we were unpacking – his birthday present!! He had walked by it many times, hanging on the bike rack during the day, but didn’t notice that his own bike wasn’t there! His reaction was priceless!!

We brought in most of the stuff, had our supper and “explored” the cottage. Sarah kept repeating “I love this cottage – I’ve never been here before.” Everybody was off schedule, so we put our pj’s on and played children’s Trivial Pursuit until we were all so tired we could hardly keep our eyes open. At 10:30 (we had been up since before six) we decided to call it a day. The cottage & the view are beautiful and I can feel us all relaxing already!