Saturday, December 31, 2016

West Coast - Mini Vaycay

I was hoping to get a post in, long before now, of our trip to the west coast.

We decided to take a mini family vaycay for several reasons. 

Reason one, we had air miles that needed used up before we lost them at the end of the year. [This has been a hot topic, because very recently, AirMiles announced that said miles won't expire after all] 

Reason two, with my recent job, I wasn't able to take much time off this summer, and therefore we didn't go away on our annual vacation. 

So, we booked a trip to the West Coast. 

The kids were thrilled. The last time we were at the ocean as a family was 2012. Madelyn has talked about going back ever since. 

We arrived in Victoria early. Very early. Like by 8:15 am, and had the whole day stretching out ahead of us. It was raining when we picked up our rental car, but as we made our way to the beach, it began to POUR. We had anticipated grey, rainy days, but I had not anticipated a monsoon. 

Lucky for us, when we got to the beach, the rain had stopped. At one point, the clouds even broke up, and we got to see blue sky. This ended up being the only time our entire trip, that we saw blue sky...

We brought rain 'resistant' clothes. But it took us mere minutes to realize that what we required was 'water proof'. [Mental note, if we were ever move to the west coast, we would most definitely need to invest in proper rain gear]

Here are a few images from our afternoon at French Beach. 

That was our driest day. From there, it only got wetter.

The next day, we decided to venture up to Botanical Beach. It's the farthest up the coast, at Port Renfrew. Madelyn was most excited about this trip, because she was ever so anxious to check out tidal pools. It's at least an hour drive away, on curvy roads, in nice weather. But the weather wasn't nice. It was absolutely pouring buckets of rain. We had the windshield wipers on high speed. It was so foggy, that we couldn't really see much. So we cautiously and slowly, headed in that direction. 

Let me just say, pictures do not do justice to what we saw. 

The intensity of the angry ocean took my breath away. The size of the waves... They were huge. It was so windy, and the waves were so angry, that it actually made me sick to my stomach to be standing so close to the water. [Though we were not close in that sense, we were up high and far away from it] But I wasn't comfortable until we got back on the trail again. We were all soaked. Madelyn was the only one who had a rain suit, but it just made her get all heated up and hot. 

On our way back from Botanical Beach, it was pretty obvious that the storm had intensified while we'd made the trek down to the beach. There was debris all over the highway. There were fallen trees all over. In fact, we had to make our way under one, in our vehicle... We carefully followed the guy ahead of us. By the time we got back to our hotel, we'd seen more than a dozen downed trees. Some had already been chainsawed so that vehicles could get through. 

Another mental note to self, if you move to the west coast, you require rain gear and a chain saw... 

We learned that evening, that the west coast was getting the remnants of former Super Typhoon Songda. We were driving along the coast highway, during the 2nd of 3 super storms. Like I mentioned, the photos don't do justice. We saw mother nature at her angriest, and she's more than impressive.

Next up, China Beach. This beach was/is my favourite. I have to say however, that high tide was noon-ish every day, so the water levels were always very high no matter which beach were were at. That meant, no exploring. Madelyn was devastated. We all were, because the tide was so high, and the water so stormy, we couldn't really do much but stand at the edge and look.

We ended up doing China Beach twice, the first day it rained so hard, we were absolutely soaked. Again, Miss Madelyn the only one in a rain suit. Of the 4 of us, she was the driest.

As soon as those boys left that rock they were standing on, and walked away, it was covered in water.. They were lucky not to be on it when that happened.

The second trip to China Beach, it actually stopped raining. Woot-woot! So we finally got to mooch around without getting soaked.

Even with the rain, we had a great time.

I think it's safe to say that the beach is our happy place. We didn't get to beach comb, scour and check out tide pools, like we'd have liked to. I guess the solution to that is to make a trip back next summer.

Thursday, December 1, 2016


I had planned to create a post about our recent trip to the west coast. We spent five rainy days in Sooke, just after thanksgiving. We saw more rain, that I ever could have imagined. We saw awesome stormy seas. We saw crazy heave fog and power outages. We were there, through the megastore [lucky us, without even planning]

But, that post will have to wait, because this post is about Gigi. 

My grandmother, my Dad's mum, passed away last weekend. She was 99 1/2 years old. She was the matriarch of the family, in every way, right until the end. 

I feel so fortunate, that I live close to my family. Both immediate, and extended. That allowed many, many visits over the years.

I can't believe that my kids got to know their Great Grandma [hence the Gigi] In fact, it was our own Mason who came up with the catchy nickname. She has been lovingly refereed to as such, for the last 14 years. 

Here are a few photos I have to share. 

She was a remarkable lady. She made the worlds best Gigi buns and Sour Cream Pie. She will be missed. 


This was taken in January 2016. Pretty great, for the being on the brink of 99 years young.

This one is blurry, but I love it. It's not always easy to be inconspicuous. 

Celebrating 96 in 2013. Grandkids [my brother and I] and great-grandkids. 
Christmas 2009 - look at how small the kids are. [Gigi alternated Christmas with us]