Spectacular Seven

Bee worked with me on this picture, learning to erase and add layer on Photoshop ! 

March brought in a lot of rain this year.  It was dull and cold and blah.  The only thing to look for this month for me is the birthday of our eldest girl.  Weeks before her birthday, Bee asked if we can stay at a hotel for her birthday instead of having a birthday party.  She loves staying at hotel and go swimming.  Subconsciously I know she wants us all to be together, spending time together and do fun stuff.  She wished she doesn't have school and that we don't have to work so our family can just play all day.  I told her, me too me too !  A short getaway is a brilliant idea.  I couldn't agreed more.  No chores ?  Sign me up.

We decided to go to Victoria as it's the only island around here that has hotels with big pools !  We booked the hotel Grand Pacific based on the location and its' 3 pools - large swimming pool, hot tub, and a kiddie pool.  My hotel booking criteria are all about pool temperature and distance to food options nowadays. 

The girls packed their luggage the day before and were so excited we couldn't get them to eat dinner or  sleep.  It was chaotic.  C struggled trying to put all 3 kids to sleep while I was trying to make Bee a birthday card, wrap her presents and clean up the house.  Who wants to return home to a messy house ?  Not I !  Then when all this is done, I still need to pack too, for me and all the kids (I don't think the girls packed enough warm clothes).  Arrrrgggg !!!

1 am on the clock when I slipped into the bed, body and mind exhausted.

Morning came without a bump.  Travelling to and boarding ferry was smooth.  Peanut cooperated while we had lunch.  Yay !  It already feel like an amazing trip.

We stopped by Gonzales Bay before hitting our hotel as check in is at 3.  From the street parking it doesn't look like much, but as we descended down the stairs pathway, the little beach unfolds in front of us and it was delightful.  The kids went into busy mode and run amok while C and I surveyed the area then place Peanut in a safe sandy spot !  He dug right into the sand the moment we put him down.  

Dotted along the border of this little beach are charming heritage houses.  I love myself a heritage (but fully updated to today's code) house with a porch on the front so I can watch the world go by.  C and I talked about perhaps we can buy a little place here and going to walks in the morning and afternoon.  This of course, was before we look into real estate cost around here :)  Baby Peanut entertained himself for over an hour, digging into the sand.  He loves it so much.  I suspected he ate a bit of sand..or maybe a lot..I don't know :-/ but he left some evident on his lips :(

We got to the hotel close to 3 and checking in was a breeze.  The hotel looks nice and grand outside, like its name.  The location is perfect, close to lots of restaurants and close to the wharf.  The inside interior of the suite, the decor is kinda dated for our taste.  The travel agent told me she went there and loved it and that it's a solid 4 star hotel.  We often don't use many of the services so that doesn't really matter to us.  We do like the location so we decided to try it out !  Beside the cosmetic stuff, chairs and beds are very comfortable.  The room is big enough for us, around 450 square feet, and very clean, no dust behind headboard or window sills.  For family of 5, however, I think the Parkside Resort hotel is better for us because of the kitchen.  Not that I would be doing any cooking, but it's more for the convenience of warming up food and/or for breakfast as we all wake up at different time.  However there are lots of restaurants nearby here so there's no worry of starvation.  The hotel also has an 24 hrs cafe on site too.  As for C, he likes the easy access to Starbucks across the street.  

The weather during this trip has spring written all over it !  Sunny and cool with a couple of cloudy periods.  It was rainy back at home (we check our home security camera) so we are quite thankful for the time here.  I thanked Bee for praying for the weather because I forgot to. 

First thing we did after settling in was to surprise Bee with presents.  She thought the trip was a present for her so she didn't expect anything else.  We got her Lego superhero sets (Catwoman, Batgirl, Robin, and Wonderwoman) !  Bee mentioned she needed superheroes to protect her castles and cake shops.  She lovesssss the Lego and the card I made for her so that's a high note for me :-)  I haven't drawn in a long time.

Bee has been such a great sister to Love and Peanut.  Sometime she takes her role so seriously, that she sounds like C, and it's quite entertaining to watch.  She fusses over things that doesn't line up (like me) and gets frustrated when her items get removed and not put back where she had it last (like C).  Bee loves to be tickled everyday and she tells us pretty much everyday how much she loves our family.  Sweet thing ! She also reminds me often to tell Jesus that I love Him and that is so precious.

Bee loves to sing, silly dance and read.  She read everything, from signs to newspaper to books to instructions on a bottle !  She is generous with her smile and are slowing coming out of her shell.  When spoken to, she would quietly answer.  So brave my girl !  Bee can read my brain, she claimed, and that she knows what I like and what makes me happy.  Some night when C and I switched chores, she would whisper to me that she wanted to give me a break !  So she would ask C to help her ready for bed instead.  She said to me "You get a rest now mommy !  Let's tickle me, that's a nice rest right ? ".  Little miss smarty pant :)

All in all, we enjoyed our time away, together, and got plenty of sleeping in.  The best food I had during this trip was at Nourish, a heritage home converted to restaurant, for brunch.  It's cute little place but has no high chair.  We managed as C and I took turn holding baby Peanut.  Not like we have any other option right ?  Food was dddddelicious.  C was like this is totally your kind of place Tracy, all healthy and vintage feel.

Morning Scramble w/ side of bacon:  soft scrambled eggs, roasted shallots, butternut squash, arugula, lentil hummus, seedy toast

No high chair for baby  :-(

The highlight of this trip, as I don't think anything can beat it, are the seals at the fisherman wharf.  I seen them before in San Fran but this was very up close, mere meters away from me.  I can almost touch them !!!  They are so fat, so round, oh so cute !

This adorable sweet thing loves to wave !  I waved back frantically "Hello hello"

Vacation, mini or long, seems to fueled my kids with an extra pack of energy, because they don't seem to get tired at all.  We walked all over town and they never once complained.  Thank goodness Victoria never seems to run out of things to do with kids.  The kids can burn their steam off at the countless playgrounds around here, then there's the vast space at Beacon Hill park, we can walk along the seawall, walk around the fisherman wharf, and going up and down the many steps at the parliament building (guaranteed to burn off some energy).  If you want brain stimulations, there's the bugs zoo, the crystal garden, miniature world, Royal museum, and maritime museum.  

Most evening, at around 9pm, after a long day of walking and running and swimming, the girls seems to calm down and willing to sit around with us.  We would attempt to watch a family movie and before we know it they all fell fast asleep, about 5-7 min in.  When the kids passed out, it's party time for us hard working parents ! We break out the snacks, snuggle on the sofa, we might kissed ! but it's a bit of a blur for me now.  We both fell asleep just as fast as the kids :)  Sleep is wonderful.  We are romantic like that !

We been to Victoria many many times but never really visit the parliament building so we feel obliged to take the girls there this time around.  It's a beautiful building with lots of intricate details.  C gave them a brief 101 on how our government and house of common works, etc.  Bee asked is she can run for prime minister and we said yes.  We ran up and down the stairs there about 5-6 times, the girls think we're playing tag, I was really trying to burn my belly fat :)

If you are planning to take your kids to Victoria, do take a drive out to visit Willow beach and Cadboro park.  You can read about Willow beach here.  As for Cadboro, it's a huge playground with sea creatures inspired play structures. 

Cadboro and Gyro park/beach is a wide open space with all sorts of play structures for babies and grown kids.  When we were there, the park was packed with lots of kids running around and there were also a lot of sail boats on the water.  A hub of activities on land and sea !!!  

Looking for smooth rocks to collect

Super mommy socks !

I am glad for this short getaway, a time to unwind and watch the kids do their kiddies things.  Sure there were some stressful times, it`s not all rosy :)  People often say to me (seeing the pictures) that (where we go) the trip looks great and the kids are so great, and that their kids won't behave like ours.  And I would tell them, just do it, go on mini trip !  We have many not so great moment during out trip, I just don't capture it.  When my kids are crying or screaming, first thing to do is bring balance to the force, not pulling out camera to take pictures :)  I assured you, any trip with kids comes with some stress, but I also find the fun of being away from home and room-service everyday out weight the not-so amazing time.

Talk about stress, this trip, meal times was a bit of a pain in the noggin !  Peanut won't sit still in his high chair to eat so C and I pretty much gulp down on our food as fast as we can and get out.  We went to 2 restaurants and gave up !  We opted for Red Fish and Blue Fish for the rest of the trip, our trusty solid go-to place because it's no fuss good food and the kids can run around and make as much noise as they want.  This place and the wharf is great to grab some food to enjoy if you got noisy kids like us !

Some things I learned and take away from Bee this weekend:

- Flowers are not blooming yet because they are in their sleep state
- First there's an egg like an eye, then it become a tadpole, then the arms formed then legs then become a frog.  Then when ready, the frog comes back to where they are born and  leave eggs there.
- She can eat 2 boxes of 6 pieces of McD nuggets for snack !
- She loves just hanging out at hotel suite and play 
- She's creative with making up games
- She tried plain toast and likes it
- She doesn't like whipped cream (I can't believe it)
- She doesn't like cake (what ????? Who's kid is this ?)
- She might be loving C more than me.  She told me "daddy works so hard you know mommy ?  He doesn't take many breaks, maybe just lunch.  His work is very hard so he has to think a lot.  I love daddy so much and I miss him all the time."

Such a daddy's girl (rolled eyes) but I love love that she loves her daddy so much !  I too love him so very much.

When it was time to leave the island the girls weren't ready and wanted to stay 10 more days.  Bee said she didn't like this whole trip because it's so short !  She wanted to stay longer, because she loves going out for breakfast, swimming and playing in our suite.  She loves the bolster pillow so much, she said.  Bee asked that we do the same for her birthday next year but she wants to stay at least 10 days because 4 days is too short.  I am glad she likes to celebrate her special day with all of us.  On the way home, Bee reminded all of us to thank her for her great idea and for all the fun we had, in which we all did.  Now if she pick up all the bills for this trip then that would be awesome :)