We are onto our third big trip in 3 months. This time we hopped on a plane and flew from Toronto to Calgary. The goal and purpose of this trip was not only to visit the Rocky Mountains where we lived (met, married, had our first 2 kids) but to also do a Speaking/ Book tour for my book The Other Side of the Struggle We got here on a Tuesday and rested, visited with friends, repacked and on Friday morning started the tour! Check out all the pictures under each different place we visited!
Our First stop was Penticton. A 6-7 hour drive without stopping and without kids. Because we flew out, we didnt have our van so we were in a car...a small car....with 3 of us and enough stuff for 2 weeks.....and NO dvd player. Naturally, it was a nightmare...I mean a much longer day. Thankfully when were staying with friends and when we arrived, they had dinner and wine ready. Funny thing about penticton, Lorne and I actually lived there or about 6ish months when we were dating, and since we moved we have visited a handful of times. So coming back here was not unfamiliar. We actually happened to be staying with my good friend from high school who was also a bridesmaid in our wedding, who is currently living there and has a little boy close to age as our youngest boy Matthew. It was so nice to have several days to visit and catch up as families and old friends. We took the kids on a little hike, to our old church, and to a Christmas market where they saw santa and rode the smallest ponies I have ever seen.
Next up we heading over to Vancouver area. Our first stop was Delta/Surrey area where we went to stay with our friends who had just moved west from our hometown! Our little babies were born 6 hours apart, and it was a very sad day when they left, so it was really exciting to be able to see them! We took the kids swimming at a great kids pool, went hiking there too. At night we went to go to a speaking engagement that we ended up finding out was cancelled (and they forgot to tell me!) so we spontaneously decided to go check out this new climbing movie thats in theaters called Free Solo (its amazing you should watch it) BUT since we so spontaneously made the decision to go, we raced over to the movie theater and got into our seat and then looked at each other like 'what the HECK did we just do? We are sitting here with THREE KIDS, and one is a BABY! and this is an adult movie!' Oh boy, this was going to be a disaster. The girls were relatively good and into it...Matthew however was squealing and shrieking in excitement so much I had to keep leaving, thankfully he didnt cry once he was just so pumped Alex Honnald free soloed the route!! Then at one point, Mackenzie came up to me and literally THREW UP all over the floor, and continued too as I dragged her to the bathroom leaving a trail of puke from the theater to the bathroom. oh.my.gosh I cant make this stuff up people. The next day our friends mother in law was coming out and she lives is our town too, so my kids would NOT let us leave until she arrived so they could see her.
Next up; Chilliwack. We have NO pictures from here which is super sad because its a really cool story. When I was 15 I went to a camp to do an LIT program, and one of the first things we did was go on a canoe trip. I was city girl rebel crazy girl at this stage of my life, like was in the middle of my years at a boarding school for troubled girls, and I ended up at this Christian camp with no electricity for a month doing this program! Needless to say I was NOT a good LIT-er/camper but this canoe trip was so beyond out of my element I think I was worse. The leaders of the canoe trip portion were a lovely newly married couple who made such an impact on my life. We kept in touch over the years and when we were going to be close to them in BC we reached out to go visit them. On top of that, they got me a speaking engagement at their church! We arrived at their place in chilliwack and our kids played immediately; they have 3 girls above and under our girls ages. They had even got a babysitter to come and watch ALL the kids (thats 6 kids including the baby) so we could all go to our speaking engagement together. This was a very different speaking engagement for me because I am not good at speaking in front of people I know-so I was speaking in front of our 2 friends (one who is a speaker and author himself!) AND then Lorne was coming as well...you know my husband whose story I am telling!! I havent spoken in front of him in a while, so that made me SUPER nervous as well! We went and I spoke (and it was not my best talk at all but I am sure God can work that our in peoples ears right) but the coolest thing was that Lorne ended up sharing a huge portion of his views, story and perspective making the whole evening super powerful and sparking our interest in possibly speaking together at some point! After that we decided to all go out for coffee (since we had the babysitter!) and visit kid-free. It was amazing. The next morning we had an awesome breakfast thanks to our friends and the kids played more.
After that we headed over to Langley BC. I had a speaking engagement that evening which went really good (because I didnt know anyone haha) and we were staying at our friends place in the area. It is the same friends who we saw in Penticton-this was their actual house, they live in Penticton currently due to our friends job. The next day they drove over from Penticton and we got an extra visit with them! They were coming back for Christmas so went to get a Christmas tree and let the girls help decorate, which was super awesome because we have yet to do anything christmas related yet due to all our travels!
Our last stop; Vernon BC. One of our closest friends who were like family when we lived in Canmore, and also pastored our church moved here since the last time we visited the west. They live and work at an amazing ministry that is a place for rest of people who work in Ministry like pastors, missionaries etc. We ended up getting an entire house to ourselves for our stay that was 3 bedrooms, a full kitchen and so cozy and warm. I mentioned this mainly because we had now been travelling for 8 days and it was so lovely to have our own space and sleep away from our kids (NOT that we didn't appreciate all the other places we stayed, this was just a lovely arrangement they happen to have!) The first thing we did was met them in town at this INCREDIBLE event. It was called 'Bethlehem Star' and it was a FULL-ON recreation of Bethlehem. This was probably the most impressive thing I have ever been too. First you go in and they have 3 different sets that you watch the story of mary and joseph, THEN you go into this 'market' time warp bringing you into what a market would have been like during those days. Each kid got 'money' to spend in the market. They had like 40 different shops from woodworking, coffee, candle making, jewelry making, fruit and veggies stands, games, toys, I cant even begin to do it justice with my explanation. They even had the roman army coming and recruiting kids to join them! Our friends son paid to join them and then we had to steal him back! We then went into another area where they dressed us up from the time and took our picture-the best pic ever (seen below) The next section had more play's about the rest of the story ending with Jesus being born. (clearly the newest baby born in this church got the part of baby Jesus except Madison caught onto that and decided to tell everyone there 'Thats not the real baby Jesus.' very matter of factly- if you know Madison you can just imagine this moment) The whole thing ended with cookies, hot chocolate, a choir and a final play.
We then went back to our friends place and had dinner and visits while the kids played.
The next day we woke up and it was Mackenzie's (our middle) 4th Birthday. Since we are travelling and away from home I wasnt sure what this day would look like, but our friends outdid themselves to make this the most special day for her! We got to their house and they had decorated, had signs, balloons, princess table clothes, presents, sprinkle pancakes with 4 candles in them...the whole 9 yards. We ate a lovely birthday breakfast and then went to church. We then came back for lunch, cupcakes and present time for Kenzie. After presents my friends had family hockey which they invited and outfitted Lorne to be able to go play-which made Lorne's entire week, while the girls stayed back and visited and the kids played with kenzie's new toys. We ate dinner and watched a hockey game while the kids played some more. All just perfect. The next morning they had us over for another huge breakfast before we had to head off for another speaking engagement in Salmon Arm. It was a great talk and Lorne took the kids food shopping while I talked and then he picked me back up and we headed back to Canmore.
After a long car ride, we made it back to canmore and we will be here for another almost 3 weeks. My dad arrives tomorrow which is exciting (he lives our here part time cuz he has a great life) and we will be pretending we live here for the next few weeks, participating in fun christmas stuff around town, climbing and swimming and hiking and ice climbing and all the adventures this town has, and will be spending Christmas here until the 29th when we will be heading back to Toronto for my cousins wedding on New Years Eve! Be sure to follow our instastories over the next few weeks to follow all the fun we get up too!