Summer is over, already?
We always have a rough time wrapping our heads around how the summer can pass by so quickly. It always seems that time keeps speeding up and this summer was no exception. Summer felt like it was over before it really had much of a chance to begin!
In January we had a big trip to Florida for the Dopey Challenge and to explore “The Sunshine State,” so taking that into consideration, and now that my baby belly was starting to really expand, we figured that it would not be such a bad thing to spend the summer exploring with a focus on Beautiful British Columbia. After all, being very pregnant while chasing after three littles that turned six and under this summer is a whole different ball game than doing it with less kids. There is always so much left to explore and so much we take for granted at “home” and this summer we found so many great new gems we otherwise wouldn’t have.
Plus, summer in the Pacific Northwest is when you REALLY want to stick around.
Here are some of the highlights from our Summer 2019:
Lazy Lake Days
We love spending time at the lake in the summer. The weather this year was pretty mild, so we ended up with more hiking than lake days, but we sure did take advantage of the sunny hot days to swim and let the kids be wild and free at the lake. One of our favourite spots is White Pine. The beach area is pretty small, so you really need to get there early, but it is a perfect lake for swimming with the family. The kids like to swim out “too deep”, and spend time lounging, having a nap on the beach and digging in the sand.
We also tried out a new lake in Squamish, BC – Alice Lake. It had a small roped off swimming area, but it was perfect for little kids to safely swim and made it super easy to keep an eye on the kids, even if they were in life jackets. I love to get the kids a lot of swimming time in the summer, including some week-long swim lesson sets.
Since we spend so much time around water, them being comfortable in the water and learning how to swim is a #1 priority in our books. It is also important to realize that, when you have young children, do not assume that because they are in lessons that they can swim. Swimming in a pool is SO different than being on a boat and falling into the deep, deep, deep water, or getting spooked while swimming in a lake and that making your child freak out and go under. Do not let an accident happen before you smarten up about water safety– It CAN happen to you!
This summer we also hope to have resurrected the tradition of a Fettback camping trip each summer. It was fun hearing all the memories that popped up for everyone through the camping trip. There was definitely a lot of fun family camping trips throughout the years as Darcy grew up. This is now something we hope to keep making a priority each summer in different camping locations around BC. It was so fun to watch all the kids (of all ages — 2 years old to teenagers) having so much time together and to see their enjoyment as they played until they were too tired to play any more. My kids were actually so tired that they were asking to go to sleep at night– say what?!?
Mayne Island is a 21-square-kilometre (8.1 sq mi) island in the southern Gulf Islands chain of British Columbia. It is midway between the Lower Mainland of BC and Vancouver Island, and has a small population of around 1,000. We had yet to discover the Gulf Islands, so I figured now would be a good time to start, since we are staying closer to home with my baby belly.
It was great to get away on a sisters trip and relax while staying in a Cob Cottage we found on Air B&B, getting in some hiking and kayaking with great views and enjoying the nature all around us.
Our summer started off with a couples getaway to Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island with a Ford Edge ST.
Staying in a Yurt at Sole Creek Lodge in Port Renfrew, we had a perfect luxury ‘base camp’ for all our adventures as we enjoyed the outdoors with all the comforts of a hotel room, and the feeling of being somewhere remote.
Port Renfrew is only a two-hour scenic drive from Victoria, but seems like a different world, away from all the hustle-and-bustle. It was a beautiful place to just relax and take it all in. We immediately fell in love with the outdoor lovers’ paradise — you can really see why they call it “Wild Renfrew” with the wonderful wild growth and green all around you. Hearing nature sounds as you wander a forest, go to sleep, or wake for the morning in a Yurt are incredible. And so wonderfully loud.
We took a lot of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors around Vancouver and the suburbs of Vancouver. We spent a lot of time playing in the forest and enjoying the peace of nature; it sure is good for the soul. We found some great gems in Lynn Valley Park, Quarry Rock in Deep Cove, and Lighthouse Park. I am always so impressed with how the kids do on our hikes — they sure have a lot of energy, but they are all sure to fall asleep in the car on the ride home. We love to keep our kids active and outdoors; it makes for some great family bonding time. Plus, nature is SO good for the soul.
Whistler, British Columbia is a perfect outdoor adventure destination. If you love the outdoors and have been there, you probably understand why we can never seem to get enough! We try to make our way up there each summer to visit some good friends of ours and find some great outdoor adventure. The Sea-To-Sky highway from Vancouver to Whistler is such a stunning drive, especially on a day with blue skies ,sunshine, the windows rolled down and sunroof open.
If summer really has to end, I love that we can give it a proper send-off while we wander and run through a sunflower field. Sunflowers are my favorite flower since they are so bold, bright and beautiful. The Chilliwack Sunflower festival had its second year and we were even more in love with it this year than last year. It is definitely a tradition we have to continue! This year, there was also a stunning three-acre field of 54 varieties of Dahlias.
The Pacific National Exhibition
The PNE marks the end of summer vacation in Vancouver each year. Though there is not as much to see as there used to be, there was still a lot to keep the kids entertained for a day — without waiting in massive lineups for mediocre fair rides. You can still see some 4-H animals, a pig race, the Superdogs and fill up on many treats.
Now that September is here and this baby is due to arrive any day now, we are anxiously waiting for the arrival of our last adventure buddy. It really is bittersweet to move on from the pregnancy and growing-our-family part of our lives. I’m trying to soak in all the last kicks and baby movements I’ll ever feel in my belly and imagine the amazing adventures our family of six will get up to after baby’s arrival. Any day now!