Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Home! - July 14

Bella with Grammie and Grampy

Becca with Grammie and Grampy

Souvenir shirts "I Love my Nova Scotian Roots"

This morning we got up at 4:30am to get everyone packed, dressed and ready to drive away at 5:30. We said goodbyes, took some last minute pictures and then drove the 40 minute drive to the airport. We had no issues with checking in, or clearing security and we grabbed a quick breakfast split between Tim Hortons and Starbucks.

Bella was a perfect angel on the airplane again. She spent the whole 5 hours watching movies or catching little cat naps. Becca on the other hand stayed awake the whole time. She split her time between cuddling with me, screaming, having snacks and playing on the floor at my feet. I was quite frustrated (I think mostly due to exhaustion) but Dean and I just kept reminding ourselves that this would be the last flight with her on our lap.

Our luggage came off right away and we grabbed a cab and were home before 11:30am. The girls were thrilled to be home and immediately wanted to have a snack. After feeding them Becca had a nap and Bella played with her toys.

Like always it was a great trip but it's nice to be back home and getting back into our routine!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Truro - Last Day in NS - July 13

The Truro Tidal Bore

Bella inspects the Bay of Fundy mud

Our little princess

This morning we slept in and didn't get up until around 9:30am! We just laid around the house and really relaxed on our last day. We fed Becca her lunch and then Dean and I took Bella out for a fun afternoon just with us. First we went to McDonalds where we got our last taste of McLobsters and Bella had a blast playing on the indoor playground.

Next we headed out to see the Tidal Bore which we hadn't seen before. We got there about half an hour early so we walked around and played by the Salmon River while we waited. Bella had a lot of fun being able to just run and not having to worry about sharing our attention with Becca. We were amazed by how many people were actually there. We expected about half a dozen people there but there were well over 50. People brought blankets and folding chairs and a couple of guys even brought beer! It was actually quite interesting to watch - and we are really glad that we went to see it. In the gift shop at the Palliser Restaurant we bought a children's picture book that illustrated the song Farewell to Nova Scotia and two shirts for the girls that say "I love my Nova Scotia Roots".

After we went for a scenic drive and then took Bella to a large playground where we all had fun. We got back to my parents' place and Becca was still napping so we continued to just relax. We gave the girls their dinner and put them to bed. Bella is having a hard time falling asleep since she is sad about leaving.

We had a lovely last dinner of haddock and fresh vegetables followed by cheesecake and Mom made rhubarb pie. We sat around and chatted, but had an early night with such a big travel day tomorrow.

Tomorrow we fly home at 7:45am which means getting up around 4:30am!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back to Truro - July 12

After a fitful sleep, Becca woke me up around 7:30. Today was our day to get ready to leave Halifax for the last time before flying home so we weren't rushing to get away. We took our time having breakfast, packing and watching movies before heading out into the rain for our drive into Truro. We made sure to get some good pictures of the girls with their Nanny until we see her again.

We hit the road and our first stop was to return books and DVDs to the library next door. Next we headed to King Of Donair to pick up some yummy authentic Halifax donairs, however they wouldn't be ready for another half an hour so we had to settle for Starbuck's. We called ahead to Truro and got my Mom to place an order for us at Greco so we ended up picking up pizza, garlic fingers (they don't have them in Calgary) and donairs. Dean wasn't as impressed, but I was happy!

After lunch we just had a lazy day. Some people napped, others read while others played. At 6:00pm Dean and I went out with my cousin Kelly and her husband Glenn so that we could have a nice dinner out. We had Chinese Food at Chow Family and then went for a walk at the Kiwanis Park. Afterward Kelly took us for a drive around Bible Hill and Truro to see some sights and help us get some ideas for tomorrow. It was a pretty early night for us and tomorrow is our last day in Nova Scotia.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rainy Day in Halifax - July 10

Jason, Lyndsay and Dean

Bella helps Nanny prepare the salads

Matthew and Dianne

At Halifax Citadel

This morning we set our alarm for 8am and got up and ready to head to breakfast across from Dianne's at Smitty's. We walked over through the fog and wind and then enjoyed huge portions and didn't come close to finishing it all. It was very yummy though. Becca didn't enjoy their bacon as much as she likes Grampy's!

We got on the road around 10:30am to find some adventures, only to find out that the Discovery Centre didn't open until 1pm and the Natural History Museum didn't open until noon. We were quite disappointed, especially me being the jr high Science teacher. We couldn't really go back when they opened since Becca's naps at 1:00pm and she would just be fussy if we were out then. So we drove for a bit checking out Dean's old Alma Matter Armbrae Academy and then Dalhousie University where we both graduated from. It was nice to visit our old stomping grounds.

Eventually at 11:30am we decided to visit Citadel Hill. I was surprised to find out Dean doesn't remember ever going there although he must have with school at some point. We got all bundled into our rain coats as it was now raining and paid the $26.55 for the two adults to gain admission (it's free for kids 6 and under). We got there just in time to hear about the noon day gun and see it fired. Neither girl was scared and there was no crying - and we had a front row seat (stand?).

We explored a bit, listened to some bag pipes and played some hide and seek before calling it a day around 12:30 and heading back to the car. After our big breakfast we weren't hungry for lunch so we just went to Dairy Queen for dessert. It was quite a messy experience but at least the girls were wearing rain coats!

We stopped by the Chapters next door but we didn't get anything so we just headed back to Dianne's so that Becca could have a proper nap this afternoon. The rest of us just relaxed either by reading, playing on the computer, watching TV or colouring.

In the evening we were treated to a lovely dinner with Matthew, Lyndsay and her boyfriend Jason. Since they all had to work tomorrow they called it a night at 9pm. We watched a couple of episodes of Criminal Minds and then headed to bed ourselves. Back to Truro tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Overcast in Halifax - July 10

Nova Scotia lieutenant-governor — Mayann E. Francis

Dean teaches the girls about mines

The girls do some research on shipwrecks

Sailboats in the Halifax Harbour

Girls in the toy boat (Becca was being safe)

Bella fires the guns on the Sackville

Crystal Crescent Beach

At the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

This morning we got a lovely treat from the girls and got to sleep in until 9:30am! That was very nice after a late night out. Unfortunately we woke to a rainy day, but we made the best of it. We left Dianne’s around 11:00am and our first stop was Starbucks (as usual). Then we made our way downtown to the waterfront where we visited the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. The girls got to see a variety of boats and even talked to a Macaw! They had a pretend boat for kids to go in and colour and wear life jackets and they enjoyed that.

We also headed outside and got to go on both the Acadia and the Sackville. Today was the start of a sailing race from the Halifax Harbour to Saint Pierre and the harbour was just filled with more than 50 sailboats all of different sizes. It was really interesting to watch as each class of boat got its own start so there were official Navy officers there firing a cannon for each start. It was very exciting to watch and we even got to see the Nova Scotia lieutenant-governor — Mayann E. Francis who was escorting someone representing St. Pierre. It was all very formal.

After visiting the boats we drove up to Fairview Cemetery to visit Dean’s father’s burial site. It wasn’t actually raining then so we were able to get out and walk around for a bit. It’s also the cemetery where a large number of Titanic victims are buried so it is quite interesting.

We had lunch at the Applebee’s back by Dianne’s and although the food was good we had terrible service. We had a brand new waitress who kept forgetting to bring things, like the girls’ drinks and our appetizer arrived half way through our main course. I realize that we all need to be trained in a new job, but with little kids you need be on your game! Becca pretty much screamed the whole time. Fortunately there were only about 5 other tables of customers in the whole restaurant.

After lunch we went for a long drive out the Herring Cove Road to let Becca have a nap. We drove quite a while and ended up at Crystal Crescent Beach (out by Sambro). I had forgotten all about it - it is kind of like a baby Clam Harbour. It has gorgeous white sand and huge waves - of course it is also ice cold like Clam Harbour, but nice to have an option less than an hour drive from Dianne’s. There were lots of rocks to climb on also, and bathrooms. It also had fairly blue skies out there compared to the dark rainy ones in Halifax today. Its was quite windy and Becca did not enjoy her time there, but I think on a warmer, less windy day she would like it.

We drove back into Dianne’s and watched a kid’s movie while the girls had their dinner. We enjoyed cocktails and then put the girls to bed so we could enjoy a yummy (if not way too hot) dinner of rack of lamb, asparagus and potatoes. Tomorrow is supposed to rain even harder so we'll see what we come up with!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Halifax - July 9

Lobster Chowder! (yes everything you see is lobster) - Yum!

Dinner at Salty's

Becca and Dean check out pictures on the computer on Nanny's Patio

Bella needed a time out!

Family fun at the playground on the waterfront

Lunch at Murphy's

This morning was nice and relaxing for us. My parents made us blueberry pancakes and then took the girls out to a playground so we could have a bit of a break! I loved it and I think everyone had fun.

We got on the road at 11:30am to head in to Halifax and because the weather forecast doesn't look great for the weekend we decided to head down to the waterfront for a bit. We had a nice lunch at Murphy's (I had a lobster wrap and Dean had a lobster quesadilla) and Bella even tried her first bite of lobster, but she gave it a thumbs down. Oh well, more for us. We walked along the board walk and played at a playground before heading back to Dianne's.

Today was the hottest day yet so we immediately headed to the pool. We didn't bother to bring the camera, but then Becca ended up coming in the water and she LOVED it! We all enjoyed cooling off and then came back in for a relaxing afternoon.

Dianne took care of feeding the girls while Dean and I got ready for our night out. We put Becca to bed and then left Bella and Dianne watching a movie and we headed out around 7pm. We arrived a bit early for our 8pm reservation at Salty's so we walked around a bit before heading in. We ended up getting the best table right at the very front by a window so we had a wonderful view. We were both quite disappointed that it wasn't air conditioned since it was an uncomfortably hot day.

We had a fabulous dinner. We both had the lobster chowder to start and then we shared some mussels. For a main course I had some baked scallops with a sweet red pepper Thai sauce and Dean had poached halibut. Both were served with an exquisite lemon spinach risotto and vegetables. Dean had a nice lemon creme brulee for dessert and an espresso, while I had a millionaire's coffee (Kahlua, Bailey's and Frangelico with whipped cream).

After dinner we walked over to the Casino where we both played $40 and both won $100. However, I walked out with mine... We decided to check out the night life so we drove around the old bars we used to frequent and places like pizza corner just to see what was going on. It was a fun night!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Shubenacadie and Stewiacke - July 8

Why we don't have 3 kids!

The girls checking out a snake

A black bear

Becca loved the skunk

Becca feeding the duck

Olivia and Bella feeding ducks

This morning we planned to get up early and we had to WAKE the girls up! How does that always happen? My cousin Kelly dropped off her daughter Olivia to join us and we headed off by 8:45am to the Provincial Wildlife Park in Shubenacadie. It's only about a 25 minute drive from Truro and the three girls were all packed in the back with their booster and car seats.

It only cost $10.25 for the 5 of us to get in to the park and I was amazed. We got covered in sunscreen (because it was a hot day - over 30 degrees Celsius) and lots of bug spray (the park is pretty much in the woods) and we headed in. The girls had a blast looking at all of the animals but Becca had the most fun. She was always pointing to the animals and wanting to be lifted up on the fences surrounding them like Bella and Olivia - it was pretty cute. We stopped at every animal feeding station however the deer wouldn't come over for a snack. The water fowl loved the girls and kept coming to them to get fed corn from the feeding stations. By the end even Becca was getting good at throwing corn. We got to see lots of native Canadian Animals - black bear, moose, wolves, Dall's sheep, skunks, raccoons, porcupines, foxes plus many more.

Check out the website at:

Before leaving we visited the Greenwing Centre (about water conservation) and the girls got to play with microscopes, touch lots of animal pelts, and the worker even took out a couple of small snakes for us to look at up close. By 11:30 we were ready to go and we drove about 5 minutes back into Stewiacke for lunch at Dairy Queen.

We dropped Olivia back home (she also lives in Truro) and then brought Becca back to my parents' for a nap. Dean enjoyed some time in the sun and then had a nap in our cool, air conditioned bedroom. Bella, Mom and I spent the afternoon in the air conditioned Stampin' Up Studio end of the house and I relaxed while Mom did some work and Bella did lots of colouring and cutting.

At 3:30 we woke up Becca and the girls headed over to Kelly's house to visit more with their family. This time we alsogot to see my Aunt Bonnie, Kelly's husband Glenn and their oldest son Vonte) It was a nice visit for an hour where we got to chat, play with toys and look at pictures from their recent trip to Disney World (ideas for October 2011!). Eventually Becca had a dirty diaper and we were no longer welcome (not really) so we headed back to my parents' place.

My dad got home from meetings and Dean woke up from his nap and we enjoyed a nice snack of nachos and dip while the girls ate their dinner on the deck. After getting the girls settled into bed we had a late dinner of rotisserie beef and fresh garden vegetables (from my Grandfather yesterday and the farmer's market). Another great day spent with family! Tomorrow we head back to Halifax.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Beaver Bank, Middle Musquodoboit and Truro - July 7

Dad prepares lobster!

My Grandmother Pearl Higgins and Girls
my Mom, Bella and Becca on the swing at Great Grammie's

My Grandparents Bill and Edna Matthews

Bella sits on my Aunt Pam's lap while Dean enjoys the sun

For some reason, Becca got up at 5:30am this morning...not impressed. I think it's because her bedroom at home has a black out blind, and when we stay at Dianne's the blinds don't block any light so she wakes up with the sun. I tried to get her to lay down with us but that only last until about 6am. So we got up and had some breakfast and watched TV. Dean, feeling badly for me, got up early too. We were all showered, dressed, packed and on the road by 9am which was a record for us this trip!

We first stopped at Clearwater along the Bedford Highway to pick up some lobster. The girls loved watching them in the tank, however when the employee took one out and put it on the floor for them to see up close they both ran away. We'll get them to be Maritime girls yet!

We continued on to Beaver Bank where we visited with my Grandparents (who just celebrated their 60th anniversary in June) and as a treat, my Aunts Pam and Bonnie stopped by to visit. It was very hot there but they have a nice deck with an awning to provide shade which helped a little. The girls were treated to ice cream and cookies and loved it there, but after an hour it was time to get on the road. We said our sweaty goodbyes and got into the air conditioned car for our drive to Truro.

We had a nice cool lunch in Truro and then Bella, Becca, my Mom and myself drove out to Middle Musquodoboit to visit my Grandmother. The girls were quite well behaved and were even treated to ice cream and cookies again. After our visit we drove out to see some family headstones in Elderbank and my Grandparents homestead before my grandfather passed away and my grandmother moved into a home. It was filled with memories seeing it again.

While we were visiting Dean and my Dad braved the heat to play nine holes of golf. We got home about the same time and it was HOT. The girls had a dinner of hotdogs while the adults got to eat the lobster we had picked up that morning. We headed to bed early since we wanted to be on the road at 8:30am to drive into the Wildlife Park.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Halifax - July 6

Becca and Dean in Point Pleasant Park

Dean and Bella on top of the "castle"

The Chicken Burger!

At the Public Gardens

This morning Becca woke me up a bit early at 7am and she had no intention of laying in bed with us, so up we got and had some breakfast. We had a lazy morning, taking our time to eat, shower and get dressed and we finally headed out by 9:30am and down to the Public Gardens.

The girls had a great time at the gardens, tossing coins into fountains, making wishes and running over bridges. They are so beautiful, and on a less than sunny Tuesday morning we pretty much had them to ourselves.

At 10:30 we headed over to Point Pleasant Park and checked out the new beach (the harbour has recently been opened to swimming again thanks for better water treatment). We saw two lifeguards working there, but the sign said the water was 14 degrees Celcius so no one was in the water. We walked along the paths, climbed on some ruins and visited some squirrels. Bella and Dean played Sleeping Bleauty on the top of a ruined “castle” while Becca was entertained by all of the squirrels running around. When we first started coming to Point Pleasant Park years ago there were lots of squirrels, but after Hurricane Juan they had diminished so it was nice to see so many again.

Becca started to get fussy so we headed back to the car. We drove through the shipyard and saw lots of containers, trains and even a cruise ship. We made our way through Halifax into Bedford where we went to the Chicken Burger for lunch - yummy!

We came home for Becca’s nap and Bella and I walked over to the library were we got books and movies to watch this afternoon. It was quite over cast, and although it wasn’t raining, we figured it was a good idea to plan an indoor afternoon just in case. I didn’t screen the books before we took them out and they are LONG! I read three books and it took 45 minutes - that’s long in book terms for a 5 year old - but most impressively was that she sat through them all. Poor girl, she just wanted to snuggle right up against me and it was so hot and humid that I wanted to be miles away. I kept reminding myself that this was special bonding time and I got through it. (but I did need a glass of water at the end - even I found that a long time to talk.)

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching Disney’s The Jungle Book and TV and just playing with the stuffed toys Dianne has for the girls. Dean got a lot of reading done (Gone With The Wind) before heading out to run a few errands with Bella. Becca woke up around 4:30 and we fed the girls dinner when Dean and Bella got back at 5:30. The girls got a yummy treat of rainbow sherbet before heading in for a bath.

Tonight we had a feast of Sushi (thanks to Dean’s ordering and paying) from Sushi Nami just down the street from Dianne’s. It is our second year ordering from them and again we were not disappointed. We had a variety of sashimi, rolls and tempura appetizers that filled us up and did not disappoint. Both girls were asleep by 8:30pm which was a great treat and we decided to end the night watching Criminal Minds (since they don’t get A&E in Truro! - people CAN, it’s just that my parents don’t). Tomorrow we are into Beaver Bank and Truro.