On the island for Thanksgiving

We went to Victoria on Friday and just got back last night.  We hadn’t been for a few years I think, as it’s quite costly to go (over $100 each way just for the ferry, not to mention hotel and food costs) so I’m glad we were able to make the trip to see James’ side of the family.

We were travelling over on Friday, which wasn’t actually part of Thanksgiving weekend, but we were still worried it was going to be insanely busy because of the new Tsawwassen Mills mall that just opened on Wednesday.  We had a reservation for there and back but you only have a half hour window to get there in time to keep the reservation, so it just felt stressful and we decided to leave extra early just to be cautious.  

As it turned out, there was hardly any traffic the whole way out, and we got there in time to catch the 9am ferry, an hour earlier than the one we had the reservation for!  We let the kids play and wander on the boat for a while and then spent the remainder of the trip in the van.  The kids had their tablets and some snacks to keep them occupied.  It went by pretty fast, and then because we couldn’t check into the hotel (The Sandman) till 4pm, we drove into Sidney to check things out there.  We happened across this place called Mineral World, where the girls had fun filling up little bags full of ‘treasure’ rocks, and Andrew got some cool magnetic stones.  We also hit up a toy store in the area, which was a bit of a mistake because of course the kids desperately wanted something but we didn’t want to spend a lot of money.  The girls came away with tiny little beanie stuffies (an elephant for Margaret she named ‘Buddy’ and a pink raccoon for Emily that she named ‘Fluffy’ and has taken to carrying around in a plastic cup also filled with the rocks she got at Mineral World).  Andrew got a little bag of mini lego type stuff (that isn’t actually lego but I don’t know what to call it).  

We were going to go find somewhere to eat lunch but James decided to call the hotel first to see if maybe we could check in before 4.  It turned out the room was already ready for us, so we got checked in, then went for a bite to eat at a diner not far from the hotel.  We were all getting a bit hangry but that still doesn’t excuse the kids’ HORRIBLE behaviour throughout lunch.  Especially Andrew, who was making us feel like we should cancel our dinner plans with James’ dad and partner (who were out visiting from Ontario), and his sister and her new fiance.  We spent some time resting in the hotel room and then we met up at a Greek restaurant nearby.  It ended up going really well, the kids were so excited to see everyone and they were of course enthralled with them, so everyone was happy there!

On Saturday we woke up to rain, which made it a bit more challenging to come up with something to do.  James wasn’t feeling all that well by that point with his cold, and I was feeling like I might be coming down with it, so we didn’t have a lot of energy for activities.  We also didn’t want to spend a fortune on something touristy that the kids would likely only half enjoy.  We decided to take the kids to Mayfair Mall so they could run around inside a bit, and then we took them to Toys R Us with the knowledge beforehand that we weren’t buying anything, but would take pictures of them with toys they really liked that they might want to put on their Christmas wish lists.  Basically it was just a ploy to pass some time and keep them occupied!  From there we went back to the hotel for a bit of a rest, and then it was time to head over to James’ sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner (which was delish, AND they even made Tofurky for us!)

Their house is basically a dream home and every square inch looks like it’s right out of a magazine.  It kind of made me want to go home and throw everything out and start over, but one obviously that’s not a possibility, and two, even if I had all their decor our house would still end up looking like a daycare center!!  There’s no way around it.  (They don’t have kids!)

We met James’ sister’s significant other’s family, who were all really nice, and Andrew performed all of his dances and then some.  He and Margaret did a duet of The Final Countdown that was also a big hit!  Emily can do that dance too, but she’s more shy when it comes to performing, especially in front of people she hasn’t 100% warmed up to yet.  By the end of the night she was making the rounds sitting on everyone’s lap, but she still wasn’t completely broken out of her shell.  Another day and I’m sure she would have been!  

Andrew was really sweet at the dinner table.  He’s such a little old man the way he talks to people, and everyone was taken by him.  A little after dinner had started, Andrew announced that our family tradition at Thanksgiving dinner is to go around and tell everyone what we’re thankful for, and he would like to do that if everyone else was OK with it.  So we went around and did that, and it was a highlight of the evening to hear all the nice things people had to say, and how grateful we all were to be together that evening.  I loved that Andrew was the one to get that started, and that he remembered that particular tradition that we have.

We didn’t get back to the hotel till 10pm.  Andrew and Emily both fell asleep on the drive there, but Margaret literally held her eyes open and said she wasn’t going to sleep because she wanted to watch a show before she had to go to bed!  All three kids fell asleep relatively quickly once we were back.

Yesterday morning we met up with James’ dad and co for coffee at the little restaurant in the hotel, and then said our goodbyes and headed over to James’ other dad’s place (the dad that raised him, I know, it’s complicated!)  The bil and sil-to-be were there also, and some of James’ dad’s significant other’s family.  We had a nice visit and a really yummy lunch.  James was at the worst stage of his virus and basically laid on the couch and slept for a lot of the time we were there, and as we were visiting I could feel the virus hitting me but I didn’t want to mention it because I hated to draw attention to the germs we were leaving behind.  We tried really hard to contain it so hopefully no one else will get sick.  By the time we were getting to the ferry on the way home (which we got to in perfect time for our reservation, which we probably didn’t need but I’m glad we had just for security) I wasn’t feeling very well at all.  We were going to just stay in the van for the whole trip but then Margaret announced that she needed to poo, so we all went upstairs for a while and the kids were happy to run around and look in the gift shop (where I refused to buy anything!) and before we knew it, it was time to head back down to disembark.  The cold was really taking me over by that point and has just continued to get worse since.  We got home in really good time, though, and thanks to my mom having spent Friday at our house so the furnace guy could come to do the yearly maintenance, we were able to put the furnace on and heat the house up because it was COLD.  First time using the heat this season!

All in all it was a great visit to the island, I’m glad we were able to make the rounds to see everyone and had all that time with them.  I just wish we could have felt healthier for it, and that the weather had been nicer so we could have done more things outdoors.  For the most part everything went really smoothly, though, so I’m happy about that.

Today we’re just ‘relaxing’.  James and I are taking turns getting some rest, more like!  I put up a few more of our Halloween decorations outside any my plan is to get our backyard stuff all put under cover for the cold seasons, but I’m not sure if I actually have enough energy to do that.  I’m feeling so achy and out of it.  I’m glad we get this extra day to rest up before the regular grind starts up again tomorrow.  Right now the kids are starting a movie, so I might rest my eyes for a few while they’re quiet.


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