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May 19, 2011

Warning – this is a pretty picture intensive post. Be warned.

To round off Brandon’s two-plus months of parental leave, we decided to go to Vancouver for a week to visit his brother and sister-in-law. My father-in-law came with us (in fact, the whole trip was his idea!) and we ended up having a really nice time out there.

My kids (and especially Anika, as she is old enough to have more of a memory) LOVE Teepee and Chacha, so they were thrilled to be there. In case you’re confused about their names, my father in law is Indian, and “Chacha” is the term for “father’s younger brother” in Hindi. So Tim is Chacha. Teepee was Anika’s Very Own Special naming convention that she came up with when she was barely two years old – she just started calling her Teepee and that’s been her name ever since.

The weather was kind of horrible while we were out there – it pretty much rained and was cold every day we were there, but we had fun anyway.

When we first got there we went to Tim and Kim’s house – where Anika discovered that they have a swing in the backyard of the apartment complex. She was pretty much sold from that point on.

We also met Ralphie the dog. Anika was less sold on him initially, but warmed up eventually!

We rented an apartment downtown (easier than trying to cram all four of us into Tim and Kim’s one bedroom apartment), which put us in great proximity to walk a bunch of places (even though we were somewhat thwarted by the rain). The first morning we were there was pretty wet, so we walked around the corner to the Vancouver Library.

What a seriously gorgeous building – the architecture is completely stunning! Anika of course hammed it up beautifully on the stairs outside.

This is the building on the inside corridor. I love the curves and the glass – so pretty.

In the children’s area downstairs, Sam discovered a window that looked out on a small waterfall thing in the rocks. He was really entranced, until he noticed I had the camera out.

Then he also needed to ham it up and come investigate.

The next day, Tim had to go speak at a conference, but Kim had a rare break in her exam schedule (she’s a first year nursing student), so she joined us for a visit to Science World.

Kid Zone was a big hit – Sam discovered crawling through tunnels in the “O” in the Kid Zone sign, and pretty much amused himself by crawling back and forth over and over again.

Since Anika is a much more mature and worldly girl of 4, she needed more than tunnels to keep her happy – which is totally why we went to explore how far along the lever Anika had to be in order to lift the hippo on the other end! Turns out Anika cannot lift a hippo no matter how far along the lever she is. She did have a heck of a good time swinging from the rope though!

After my father-in-law arrived, we went all together to the Aquarium. WOW is that place amazing. I could have spent hours  there (without my kids – I adore them but I spend more time chasing them than anything else!). But seriously, how cool is this jellyfish exhibit??

They also had a rainforest exhibit happening – which was fortunate, because Anika was actually missing a presentation on the rainforest at school (her class was giving it – her job had been to talk about the zebra. In case you are wondering, zebras live in the jungle and eat meat. They are Harnivores. tm Anika).

The colours in this little walkthrough were spectacular. Check out this crazy red bird! That’s his beak around the branch.

And these butterflies were the most beautiful things ever. If I hadn’t been chasing children I would have stopped to read the sign and could probably tell you what kind of butterflies these are. Sadly, I can’t. Oh well. They are blue! And pretty! And there were lots of them all over! Love.

Then we went outside to see some of the other animals – including the seals! This proud dude was hanging out on the rock, pausing only to bark like an insane psychopath every time the other seal tried to join him (her?) on the rock. Apparently we are a little territorial when preening for the tourists.

My favourite area by FAR though was the beluga whales. They were so neat! There was a great underwater viewing area, and the whales were very accommodating – swimming by the window regularly; sometimes right side up and sometimes upside down – so beautiful! Actually, beautiful is the wrong word – they were kind of strange and lumpy looking. But beautiful! And also happy and playful! I think! Really neat anyway. Anika was smitten.

So was Sam. Here he is with Teepee wondering what the heck he’s looking at. Either that, or he’s thinking “Huh! Beluga!”

And then…and then. It was the most amazing thing ever. Sam was watching the whales, and they were swimming around, and I was taking a bazillion pictures because I do that. Sam had his hand against the glass of the window, and one of the whales came RIGHT UP to the window and bumped his nose (nose?) against Sam’s hand. RIGHT THERE. I didn’t capture it perfectly, but honestly it was so shocking I’m just thankful I didn’t drop the camera.

We’d been watching the whales for about half an hour at that point, and none of them had done anything like that until Sam put his hand up. So amazing.

This would be my father-in-law, and sister-in-law. Yep, married into this. I’m a lucky lucky lady.

(I am actually. They are pretty funny.)

One of the things we really wanted to do was to take some pictures with Sam in Stanley Park. The last time we were in Vancouver was when Anika was about 8 months old, and we have some great shots of each of us (Brandon, Tim, Kim and I) each holding her sitting on a branch of this tree. We really wanted to replicate the pictures with Sam (and with both kids). We were worried that wasn’t going to happen on account of the weather…but as we were leaving the Aquarium we got a few minutes break in the rain, and the tree was RIGHT there….so we went for it (sitting on Kim’s coat to try to stay a bit dry!).

Teepee with Ani and Sam….

Me with my punkers….

Dada-ji with the Sammo!

Chacha and Sam….I especially love how Sam looks normal in every other picture, but as soon as he sits with Chacha? His hair goes insane. I have no explanation.

And of course, Brandon with Sam!

Since it was a bit overcast I actually think we got some spectacular pictures….these are just a couple of them.

Later, back at the apartment, we decided to try to give Sam a bath in the sink. (Seriously, this apartment was awesome, and it had a HUGE kitchen sink).

We got him clean but it was a bit of a fight – Sam was NOT so sure how he felt about this “bath in the sink” plan!

On our last full day in Vancouver we decided to take the water taxi over to Granville Island. Boat ride! Fun! Kind of. It was still sort of wet and cold. But we had fun anyway.

The weather was definitely dreary but Anika was THRILLED with all of the cherry blossom trees in flower – they were beautiful. She picked up flowers every time she found some on the ground.

Ani and Sam and I, checking out one of the stores in the Kids Market.

Dada-ji took Ani to a bead store and let her make a necklace. She thought that was pretty cool. *I*, on the other hand, thought that the necklace that the sweet girl in the knit hat sitting at the same table as Anika was making was GORGEOUS. I would seriously have bought it if I’d found it in a store – it was just lovely.

The night before we left, we hung out at the apartment watching the Canucks game (they closed it that night – go Canucks!). Teepee and Ani coloured.

Aaaaand, Teepee scared Sam. He probably had it coming.

I think he got over it.

It was really fun to see everybody – it’s not a trip we’re ever likely to make that often, so we really appreciated having the opportunity to do it this time!

(Sorry all – I know this was a long post with a ridiculous number of pictures – I’ll get back to the “short and sweet” after this!).

Thanks for reading!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Hubby permalink
    May 19, 2011 2:06 am

    Yes, you got it right, vintage Vancouver Canucks jersey. #10 Pavel Bure…


  2. May 20, 2011 12:50 am

    nose = snout. snout! snout.

    also: i adore those tree photos. loverly.

  3. Angela Quesnel permalink
    May 20, 2011 11:07 am

    Spectacular pictures indeed! Better then a professional shoot even:0) I need to see those on your walls!

  4. Karan permalink
    May 29, 2011 3:15 am

    Awesome pics – especially love the ones in Stanley Park!

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