Friday, September 06, 2013

Labour Day weekend in Victoria



This past weekend was our big trip to Victoria.  I say ‘big’ because we’d yet to ever travel with the babies, and I hadn’t been to Victoria since September 2011!  We were going over for James’ sisters’ wedding on Sunday, and decided to go a day early so we could visit his dad and family (his adoptive dad, not biological dad since he would be at the wedding, yes his family is complicated!)  So we were on the island for 2 nights and stayed at the Inn at Laurel Point.

I was really nervous about the trip leading up to it, not knowing how it would go completely changing the kids’ routine – especially since we just got them into a fairly decent routine in the past few weeks and they were going to bed relatively easily (not necessarily sleeping through the night, but they had some level of routine happening!)  But I have to say, the weekend was really awesome.  It was definitely the most unrelaxing ‘holiday’ I’ve ever been on, since 3 kids is a lot to handle, especially when 2 of them are super curious about everything they’re not supposed to get into in the hotel room and beyond!  But it was still really fun, and so great to see everyone.  James and I have been together for nearly 15 years, and I had yet to meet most of that side of the family.  So sad given that they all seem like such great people.  I’m hoping we all stay true to our word and get together again in the near future – those of us that live within the lower mainland, at least.

We had a reservation for the 10am ferry but traffic wasn’t nearly as bad as we’d anticipated, so we stopped in the parking lot of Splashdown waterpark before we got in line at the ferry, since reservations are only accepted within a small window of time and we were too early.  The kids were really good during the drive, the babies slept most of the way and were otherwise mostly content to just sit there and eat a few snacks.  Andrew was good, he had his Nintendo DS which he’d forgot about for ages, so it felt ‘new’ to be playing it again.  (Although he’s generally pretty good in the van, anyway).  We got in line at the ferry only to discover we were right behind one of James’ uncles and family!  I’d never met them before but everyone proved to be so friendly right away.  It was SO awesome having them on the ferry with us because they helped out so much with the kids.  Uncle H was particularly smitten with the babies and always wanted to be holding one, which was great for us!  The babies also enjoyed their first ferry ride – Margaret in particular because she was able to walk around the entire ship and pretty much got attention wherever she went!

When we got to Victoria we went straight to James’ dad’s place.  The bil was there, too, and we hadn’t seen him since last Halloween, so nearly a year.  I can’t believe he hadn’t seen the babies since they were 2 weeks old!  Crazy.  We had a nice visit there, and saw some of James’ dad’s significant other’s family (like I said, it’s complicated! lol)  We stayed for dinner and were nervous about how late we’d be checking into the hotel to get the kids to bed, but what can you do.  James went and checked us in early so all our stuff was already in the room, and they had set up 2 playards for us for the babies to sleep in.  When we got to the hotel the babies had of course fallen asleep already, but they woke up shortly after and were wired.  Of course they had no idea where we were and they wanted to explore, not be confined to tiny little playpens!  So we let them out and they roamed around the room and tried to get into some mischief.  They particularly enjoyed playing with the door stopper things that make that gawd awful springing noise.  We had to block them with bags and babyproof the room as best we could.  Once we did get the babies settled into the playards it really wasn’t long before they were asleep, and given that Andrew was sleeping between James and I in a king sized bed, he fell asleep very easily!

Unfortunately, Margaret proceeded to wake up nearly every half hour through the night, so James and I didn’t get much sleep.  James in particular, since he got up most of the time.  That was kind of rough.  In the morning we got together with James’ bio dad and his wife and went for a walk along the seawall, then had a bit of a visit in the hotel room.  It was great to see them since we rarely ever do.  Grandpa G was very smitten with the babies, and taken with Andrew too, of course.  Although Andrew was in a super grumpy mood from the minute he woke up pretty much, which was a bit of a challenge.  We told him he would have to nap and buck up for the wedding because we didn’t want him to be like that around everyone there.

We went to Milestone’s for lunch, ‘just’ the 5 of us.  We had to get the stroller into the restaurant via their service elevator and through the kitchen.  LOL  The babies did so well, and I was just thinking how proud I was of what well behaved babies I have while the table across from us only had one baby and it was screaming and sobbing…when Andrew started freaking out.  He got upset because I won one game of tic tac toe with him, and then he sobbed again when we gave the babies a slice of orange that HE wanted.  Sigh!!  Never think to yourself in a smug way that you have super awesome well-behaved kids because no sooner will at least one of them start acting up, note to self!!

After lunch James took the girls back to the hotel while Andrew and I went and checked out a local market on the seawall.  I got some handmade soaps and Andrew got a few handmade (and very cheap!) Spiderman finger puppets.  We had a nice stroll back to the hotel and enjoyed a bit of mother/son time, and stopped for a lemonade along the way.  When we got back to the hotel, James had a short nap (and Emily had a very long nap!) and eventually we all managed to get ready for the wedding.

We picked up some coffee along the way and drove out to Hatley Castle, where the wedding was taking place.  It was an absolutely GORGEOUS setting.  The ceremony was beautiful.  It was a Jewish wedding (James’ sister actually converted to Judaism in order to marry her man!) so it was interesting seeing some of the traditions of a Jewish wedding.  It was absolutely EXHAUSTING, though, trying to keep the kids quiet during the ceremony.  The babies are generally very quiet by nature, so I hoped they wouldn’t make much of a peep at all, but a few SECONDS before the ceremony started, Emily started making weird shrieking noises I’ve never even heard her do before.  Then she was scrunching up her face and blowing raspberries, which she also never does!  Margaret was getting restless, and Andrew was impatiently asking WHEN the wedding was going to START.  LOL!!!  However, despite that James and I were ready for a nap by the time the ceremony was over, not because we didn’t enjoy it but because of the kids, everyone we talked to said the kids were amazing through it and that they hardly heard a peep from them at all.  So…phew!!!!!  And actually the Rabbi said he LIKES to hear SOMETHING from children at a wedding, because it’s the circle of life, and there’s nothing wrong with children making a bit of noise =)

After the ceremony we all went up to the castle (the ceremony took place out on the lawn, and oh how lucky to have the weather they did, because in the days leading up to it there was rain and grey and then Sunday came along and it was beautiful and sunny and PERFECT for an outdoor wedding!)  We had a drink and appies and chatted with/met family and then went back down to the lawn to watch the bride and groom do the bouquet and garter toss.  Then we all got seated for dinner which consisted of several courses.  It was all delicious and we sat with several of James’ aunt and uncles who I didn’t know but am so glad to know now. 

After the speeches, Andrew (who by now was in a MUCH better mood, thank goodness) decided that HE wanted to talk on the microphone, so all by himself he went up to the MC and asked if he could say something.  The MC obliged…We were so nervous wondering what he was going to say!  Well, in his adorable little 4 year old voice, he said, ‘I would just like to say, I love you Auntie E and Uncle D, and congratulations on your marriage!’  OH MY GAWD, I was fighting back tears, and I’m pretty sure everyone else was too, it was the sweetest thing ever!!  Andrew was really clingy with his auntie and uncle that night, I think he loved the fact that Auntie E was like ‘a beautiful princess’!  Soon it was time to dance the night away, and did we ever!!

Andrew completely stole the show on the dance floor.  We couldn’t believe it!  He dances a lot at home but often his dancing can seem somewhat…non-rhythmic shall we say?!  Not at this party, though.  He could cut a rug like nobody’s business!  He had people circling around him, loving every minute of watching his moves.  He knew a lot of the music being played because we hear it on the radio or it’s stuff we listen to at home, so he was able to move perfectly to the beat and even incorporated his tie into some of his moves!  It was so awesome!  He had 20 something ladies flocking to him to dance, and even tried to play hard to get with some of them!  LOL!!!!!

The babies were a huge hit too, and seemed to enjoy being passed around to people.  There was one couple there who said they really want to start a family soon and majorly have baby fever, so I let each of them hold a baby and they were so smitten!  They said they would LOVE to have twins, and that’s not something you generally hear people say, not without thinking first about what they’re actually saying!  They were an adorable couple, in fact everyone we met and talked to seemed like such genuinely nice people.  It was a great gathering to be a part of!  We had planned on leaving when the DJ started at 9 but we were having so much fun that we didn’t get back to the hotel till 12:30am!

We thought the kids would sleep on the 40 minute drive back to the hotel and then wake up and be wired for hours, but they were so tired from all the partying that they slept right through us transferring them to bed (luckily I got them into their pj’s with help from one of James’ aunts before we left the reception so they were all ready for beddy byes!)  There was one wake up through the night from Margaret, and otherwise we all slept and the kids slept in since they’d gone to bed so late, so it really all worked out.  I had a bit of a headache in the morning due to drinking more than I have probably in years (although I was smart and paced myself!) but I recovered quickly, and we got ready, checked out, and headed to the Royal BC Museum, which I'm so glad we did.  Andrew loved it, and I found it quite impressive, too.  I loved feeling like we were doing something touristy while we were there.  After a bite of lunch at the cafe there we headed over to James’ sister for their Open House.  They invited just some family to get together for more visit time since we’d all travelled from various places to be there.  It was great to see everyone again and get a chance to check out their place, since we so rarely get to Victoria and hadn’t seen their most recent house.

After that we headed to the ferry since we had a reservation for the 5, and we decided to just stay on the car deck rather than try to get the stoller up and find a seat, which would be impossible with said stroller.  At one point I put Margaret into the Ergo and we went up to get some food at the cafeteria.  Ahead of me in line was a woman with her 2 daughters, ages 4 and 2.  They were being a bit mischievous and she turned to me and pointed at Margaret and said, ‘This is the easy part.’  I replied, ‘Well…actually I have a 4 year old, and she’s a twin!’  LOL  She said, ‘Oh, well, you’ve one upped me there, haven’t you!’  Haha!  It wasn’t easy keeping all 3 kids happy during the trip home but it wasn’t terribly difficult either.  We took turns holding them or walking around the car deck a bit so they weren’t just cooped up in the van.  Again, tiring, but it could have been a lot worse.  We were pretty zonked when we got home, but I have to say I am SO glad we did this trip.  I admit I was somewhat dreading it leading up to it, not because I didn’t want to go to the wedding or see James’ family, but because I logistically thought it would be a nightmare for us.  It certainly wasn’t a ‘vacation’ in the truest sense of the word, since I like to believe a vacation involves kicking back and relaxing some!  BUT I also was trying to look at it from Andrew’s point of view, since he will likely remember at least parts of this trip, as HIS first real holiday.  And that’s pretty special.  I loved that we were able to show people that you can still go out and have a good time with a bunch of little ones!  All things considered, it was a pretty perfect weekend.

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