Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Backyard Projects

Pin It
      I'm still in love with my deck.  A lot.  I should hold out on these pictures and make you all come visit me instead!  Anyways.  We did order gravel for the side between the railing and the fence and also for behind the shed.  Below is the BBQ's final resting place.  I couldn't give up my seating area, I just couldn't! But it works here just as good (except Rodeo seems to be able to get past it anyways and Ryan's new project is to build a small white gate to block him out of the gravel area)

The side between the railing and the fence.  It looks SO much better, even if it really is in reality a dead-end waste of space, at least it is a pretty dead-end waste of space!!

Last year Dad had brought us a load of wood which ended up just being tossed behind the shed due to its varying shapes and sizes instead of being stacked neatly. Also behind there was a whole lot of junk and weeds. I wanted to clean it all out, lay down 3 inches of gravel, re-stack the wood on the opposite side, make a place for the bikes to go (mostly to get them out of my shed which always seems overcrowded!) and make a new place for the garbage to go while awaiting garbage day that Rodeo couldn't get in to. So of course, that's what we did!

The entrance gate for the bikes and the garbage.  Ryan made the gates with spring hinges so they automatically just shut back towards the shed.  We put a handle on this side and a swivel lock on the back side just in case our boy genius ever figures out how to claw his way into that area anyways!

The wood side.  As you can see it's practically overflowing with wood.  The underneath part of the pile is stacked nice and neat I swear, but this load of wood Dad brought us was the leftover end pieces from his firewood selling venture.  The pieces no one else wants and aren't saleable but with such a small chimera they work just fine for us. We've been making a pretty good dent in it now that summer is finally here.  This gate we didn't bother putting spring hinges on (mostly because we didn't have any!).  We just put a swivel lock on it on the shed side to keep it from opening up. 

Look what I did!

Pin It
Blade and his teachers

    Well, just when you aren't looking, kids up and graduate kindergarten!!! Okay, so this post is a little behind schedule but hey, it's summer and I've been on holidays!  Doesn't he look so cute??!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Pin It
Whew what a holiday! 2 weeks on the east coast is a great way to start off the summer holidays.

We are back to weeds, rain, foot high grass, 5 foot sunflowers, tiger lilies about to burst open, and .. exercise.  Ugh.  I swear I gained 10lbs this trip.  I'm afraid to step on the scale.  So I'm getting back on the jogging routine and losing the winter (and spring and summer) weight I swore I would lose in April.  But enough about that.  Here's what we did on holidays! 

Day One:  We arrived in Halifax at about 7:30 in the a.m. after a very long and short night flight.  Note to self: don't take the night flight again.  The kids slept a little, I slept not at all, Ryan slumped over for a bit.  Add in the time change and you have a whole lot of jetlagged people!  After we got the luggage, and arranged for a rental van we headed to Halifax for the Canada Day Celebrations.  A few misturns and we eventually made it to downtown Halifax.  We took in the Halifax Harbour, the Canada Day parade, lunch at Murphy's (which was more than mildly disappointing), toured a warship(?), arranged for a hotel in Dartmouth, spent some time in the pool there and then headed back down to the Harbour for the Canada Day fireworks.

Day Two:  Unfortunately, the great hotel we were at was booked full for the next few days so we packed up and headed out for the day, knowing we had to find a new hotel at some point.  Off we went back down to the harbour to take in some shopping.  We went to a pewter shop where one of the guys working there showed the kids exactly how they made the pewter ornaments.  We took a narrated tour on the Harbour Hopper, a amphibious vehicle, through downtown and out into the harbour.  After lunch we headed out to Peggy's Cove.  A very windy road later we got to the lighthouse and the kids had a really great time climbing around on the rocks.  A stop at the gift shop for some shells and a wooden captain for my shelf at home, then off to find a hotel.  We thought we might as well go to Truro for a hotel as we were planning on being there Sat night for a 50th anniversary party.  Well, 11 P.M. at night in a strange town is not always the best time to find a 'good' hotel.  A scant 7 hrs in the Super 8 was about enough for us!

Day Three:  After a good breakfast, we went on the search for a better hotel.  After securing one at the Best Western, we decided to drive out to Cape Breton Island to get mom to Rita's Teahouse.  The girls at the front desk of the hotel asked us if we were really serious if we were going to go all the way out there and come back that day.  We replied that we sure were, it was only 3hrs one way.  One windy road, a very cool rotating bridge, and a few naps we made it!  After mom had her tea, we hit the beach just up the road to go beachcombing.  We found an uber cool heart shaped rock and, if the kids and Grandma had had their ways, a whole lot of rocks and shells that could just, you know, ALL come home with us.  We drove back to Truro, and attended Jim and Heather's 50th anniversary that evening.

Day Four:  Up and at it to make it to the ferry so we could get to PEI.  The crossing was nice and uneventful and after an hours drive or so we made it Charlottetown.  We drove around looking for a 'good' hotel with a couple of queens.  Looking for hotels too long makes me just want to take the first damn one I see!! Anyways, got a hotel, then went down to check out Summerfest.  What a great time that was!  I balked at the price to begin with, since we didn't get there until about 3 in the afternoon and it ended at 9, and it was $180 for us to get in! But it was fabulous, totally worth the money.  The kids had unlimited times through the blow-up slides etc, rock climbing, bungie jumping, a freak house, petting zoo, pony rides, free admission to the Founder's Hall, buskers doing great acts, lumberjacks, dance contests, tattoos, sand statues AND a Cirque du Soleil show made just for the island of PEI.

Day Five: We hit the shops in Historic Charlottetown after a yummy breakfast at Cora's.  Then, after stopping at Walmart and the Dollarstore for beach items, we headed up to Singing Sands.  The kids had great fun playing there.  The sand is SO thick its difficult to walk in.  Ryan found a live crab, hermit crab, jellyfish and some sort of sea worm.  The sand sings when you scuff your feet in it.  Supper in Souris, then back to Charlottetown to the hotel.

Day Six: Today we went to the Haunted House in Kensington.  The kids had a hoot, although Blade wanted to take every exit out of it!! They enjoyed the side yard full of stuff to do and then went in and played some arcade games for tickets.  We also were attempting to do everything everyone wanted to do, which included getting those old time pictures done.  Clayton wanted us to all dress up as gangsters.  The pictures turned out awesome and the kids really, really liked dressing up and getting to sit in the old car, hold guns, and basically look tough!  Storm was in heaven, with her red pumps and her pistol.  Later on, we took the kids to the park to wear them out and then plopped them in the hotel to watch T.V. as we hit the pub.  The same band was playing that was playing two years ago when we were there last!!

Day Seven:  Today was hot! Next on the list of things to do, Combat Laser Tag.  Storm was not so sure about the idea but in the end, everyone had a great time running around trees and hiding in bunkers.  Getting shot and having to run to the medic and get fixed.  Sweating our arses off (good thing we were in the trees!!), and even Grandma had a good time hiding out!  A stop at Cows on the Cavendish Boardwalk for some ice cream and we were ready to go Deep Sea Fishing! Another trip that was so worth the money.  We caught so many mackerel.  No one caught too many cod unfortunately, but the boat trip was still worth it.

Day Eight: Another beautiful day on the island.  We hit Cavendish Beach and had a great time making sand castles and walking the shoreline.  We seen some pools with a whole bunch of live crabs in them.  After lunch, we headed over to the Shining Waters Waterpark to spend the afternoon there.

Day Nine:  The kids had money burning in their pockets, so we did a little more shopping in C-town.  We took them through the amazing Catholic church with all its stained glass and marble.  Then Ryan and I hit the pub to meet up with our friends Laura and Dylan for the night.  Three pubs later and a beautiful walk home, the day was done.

Day Ten:  Today we set off for the Confederation Bridge.  Our time in PEI was over, it was off to New Brunswick.  A quick meal at the truck stop, and we set off for Moncton, looking for a Hampton's to stay in.  It was booked, and so were the other 7 hotels we stopped at!!! Did I mention how much I hated looking for hotels.  Finally, finally, after I thought we might be staying at the Walmart Motel, we ended up with a fabulous rate (for being so patient, ha!) at a 4 star hotel! Yay! Spent some time at the pool, ordered up some food, had the best room service yet, watched a movie and called it a night!

Day Eleven:  Off in the morning, after eating at Cora's of course, to get a couple of rooms at the Hampton for the next few days.  I guess we had the unfortunately timing of arriving in the middle of a HUGE car show, which is why all the rooms were taken on a Saturday night.  Spent some time at the pool and re-connection with Mom and Susan who had taken off to see Newfoundland for a few days.

Day Twelve:  We had called the night before to check out the times of the tides as we wanted to go to Hopewell Rocks.  They are these huge formations of rocks and when the tide is out, you can walk on the ocean floor.  And then later watch the tide come in and see that where you were standing is now under 30 feet of water. 

Day Thirteen:  Ryan, Clayton and Hunter depart early in the morning to go kayaking in the Bay of Fundy.  Susan, Mom, me and the kids went to check out the tidal bore in down town Moncton.  It is quite something to see the reversal of currents and a huge wave come in from the tidal change.  We also paid our money to be fooled by the Magnetic Hill.  Later, Jim tried to tell us that we really weren't pulled up a hill magically, but that it was an optical illusion and we were really going down the hill.....I don't know if either Mom or I believed that! It certainly seemed like we were being pulling UP and not coasting DOWN.

Day Fourteen:  Off to Bible Hill, N.S. to spend a day and a night at Jim and Heather's.  It rained and rained. We were so happy to have a home cooked meal!!

Day Fifteen:  Jim and Heather took us out to Victoria Park.  It was beautiful, and shady!!  The sun had come back in full force for our last day on the East Coast.  We had lunch at Jungle Jim's, a tacky tiki hut-type of restaurant that the kids loved!  Back to their house where the kids found the blow up pool and we visited our time away.  Thankfully we ended up leaving a bit early for the airport as we ran into construction and had me seriously thinking we may just be late handing in our rental van.  We made it though, and after an extremely boring flight home, in which nothing good was on T.V. at all, we landed back in Calgary, only 30 mins late.  Then they dropped our luggage on a different carousel...45mins later we had our luggage and were on our way to the shuttle to retrieve our van and finally get home.  Except the universe had different ideas as our van battery was nicely dead.  Luckily the parkade guys could give us a boost!

A couple of days of jetlag and it is back to the daily grind :)