Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekend in Victoria

Okay, so this weeding through my pictures is going to be really slow if I keep feeling the urge to blog, but this trip to Victoria was pretty epic.

Last February we decided to spend three days on the island. We stayed at the Embassy Inn, which if you're every looking for somewhere family friendly to stay right down town, is pretty amazing. We got a great rate and it included breakfast for the entire family. Plus, the kids could order anything...a side of bacon and pancakes and hashbrowns or whatever weird combination those weirdos want. PERFECT.

Anyway, we hopped on the ferry and headed for Sidney.

 Of course we have a few favorite haunts which we have to visit every time we go. This time was no exception. The picture in the circle.

 And glass beach (look at this shaggy boy!)

 (look at all this glass!)

 We also visited the Sidney museum and the lego exhibit.
Then it was off to Cattle Point which is one of my favorite places in the universe.

 It seems so piratey to me with the rocks and the cliffs and the crazy vegetation.

 And then we went to Oak Bay. Same rocks, but there are seals and a coffee shop.

Oh, and a marina. Which is just beautiful.

 Day two we headed to Fisgard Lighthouse and Fort Rodd. This is a little bit out of downtown, so you need a car but it's something like $15 admission and we spend hours there.

 Even when it's snowing.

 So Fort Rod is where the navy stationed themselves to protect the island during the second world war. There are guns, and hidey holes and barracks and all kinds of interesting things.

 Fisgaard Lighthouse is beautiful and you can wander through the entire place and see history, try things out and play games. It's awesome.

 The walls of the hideyholes are also perfect for photoshoots :)

 We also went to the museum. It's always a big hit, especially the wooly mammoth. This time there was lady in the natural site, explaining all about local sea life (super interesting).

Sunday, March 22, 2015

And another one

I couldn't just do a post about David, so here's one featuring Elisabeth.

Tsawassen's Centennial Beach is one of our favorites.It's right across the bay from our usual beach (Crescent Beach in Surrey), but it's like visiting a different land. When the tide goes out, you can walk on the beach for miles and miles. Even once you get to the water, you can walk for ages without the water going above your knees. This means that even in our cool springs and winters, the water is warm.  

 It's also very wild. Aside from the birds (eagles, cranes, geese, ducks...) and crabs there are pools ripe for exploring.

 The sweeping vistas are beautiful - and completely different from what you see from Surrey, even though you're looking at a the same places.

 I didn't take any pictures of it this time, but there's wild grasses, drift wood, wildflowers and sand (in case you can't tell that the beach is more mud and clay than sand).

 Plus there are fire pits, a HUGE playground, the cleanest beach bathrooms I've ever seen and an amazing concession (think clam chowder, not fish and chips).

 Now that I've blogged about it, I really can't understand why we don't visit more often...

Blast from the past

A friend invited me to her cabin for the weekend. The draw? She and a third friend would both be working all weekend, so we would gather to eat and hang out in the evenings, but during the day we'd all quietly do whatever we wanted. I brought three hard drives and decided to start culling my millions of pictures.

There's a few in here I haven't blogged that I thought were worth bringing back. Like this day from January 18th, 2014.

Dad was in town and looking for some distraction. So David and I went to Granville Island with him.

 We had a little bit of fun playing along the walk to Granville Island. Especially when we found these numbers just lying around.

 And finally we made it to the market.

 After grabbing some lunch, we hopped on a water taxi to tour around Vancouver on the water.

 It was a cold, grey day, but so much fun to hop around on the little boat.

 Dad found his dreamboat :)

It's not often we get to spend time with Grosspapa, and not often the kids get one on one time with him. So even though I was along to chaperone, David and Dad had a great time hanging out. You gotta wish they lived closer so this could happen more often.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Break Adventure

It's been a very busy winter at work. In addition to all the usual things going on (January -June are my busiest time of year), we're also launching new software next week, and  as one of the primary users on campus I've been in training meetings and helping with testing and such. It's been an interesting experience for the most part but it's meant a lot of overtime. But Emily and I pushed hard and managed to get everything done we needed to and so we both get to spend some time with our kids this spring break.

Yesterday David, Elisabeth and I caught the sky train into Vancouver.

 The plan was to get off at Stadium and walk up to China Town. Visit the Dr. Sun Yet Gardens, tour China Town and then mosey on down to one of the water taxi stations. I wanted to visit Olympic Village and then stop at Granville Island before Sky Training home.

 But we woke up to rain, and when Lizzie jumped on my bed in the morning she suggested Science World. So I thought, why not? And off we went.  As it happened, the feature exhibit for Spring Break is Animation. Super cool!

 Our first stop was the section on Recycling and sustainability. We're going to set up a few of these hamster wheels and have the kids generate electricity for us.

 These things work well when you want to yell at your kids for taking too long showers or wasting things. Then you can remind them of the displays they looked at and pull out the guilt card. It's always nice to be backed up by science and nonfamilial source.

 I thought this was funny; I've never seen a Do Not Enter sign on a man hole cover before.

 These flowers are going to be gorgeous in a few days. I wish I would be around to see them.

 Learning more about water, and how much we North Americans waste.

 And this is a city on the move. You could make different parts of it move (Lizzie is making the buses go in this picture) and get everything moving and turning. It was pretty neat.

Then we went inside and found the theatre where an artist was talking about bringing your animations alive. It was a brilliant lesson, he was really good with all the kids and getting them engaged and involved in his talk.

 First he talked about simple shapes and using them to create almost anything. We took the basic outline of the Science Centre and made it into various different cartoon images. Then he got all the boys yukking (as below:)

 When he showed us how to bring boogers to life. EWWWWW

 Next it was into the Eureka centre which is always a lot of fun. Here the kids learned about pulleys and lifting your body weight.

 And then into the feature gallery which was full of stations on animation. Lots of hands on things to do.

 David has been talking about being an artist and working in animation for years, so it was cool to watch a few videos on people who have made it as animators.

 And we made our own characters

 Then they had this stop motion station where you could make your own stop motion animation. This station was so cool that I could have played with it all day. I'll upload our videos later.

 At this station you changed the position of the balls on the posts, then spun the wheel and watched the mirrors reflect a movie of the ball moving. Super cool. They also learned about depth and shape and how to give the illusion of motion by changing the shape of an object to make it stretch, flatten and give it perspective.

 Probably the best display we've seen here - even more fun than the lego one we saw last year.

 Then it was into the natural history exhibit.

 I think I take this picture every time we come.

 Figuring out science clues about some of the artifacts we were looking at.

 I love that my kids always want to stop and read everything and don't just run through museums and galleries without stopping to LOOK at things.

 David wanted bear paws.

 Finally we went into the body works section where they had some creepy body parts to look at. FYI a gall bladder is not pretty :P

 And then we went outside and looked at some of the stuff they have set up outside the centre. This one was really cool. Water ways with different obstacles to divert and channel the flow.

 It's too bad about the rain, but it was still beautiful.

As opposed to say, the Toronto Science Centre which is set in a very pretty forest, but doesn't quite top our setting :)

 And then I dragged the kids over to Olympic Village because I was craving a coffee from Urban Fare.
Along the way I took pictures of BC Place (and the arena beside it. What are we calling it these days? I can't keep up).
 These birds are my favorite. I want some of these for my driveway.

 Don't the orange blocks on that building look like elevators?

 Andrew, this picture is for you. Can you spot Microsoft?