My Summer Bucket List – In Review

Back in June, before school dismissed for summer vacation, I wrote out my bucket list of what I wanted to do. This list included:

  • Hiking and seeing waterfalls
  • Geocaching
  • A Road trip
  • Kayaking
  • Relaxing at the cottage by the lake
  • Skip rocks
  • Grow a vegetable garden
  • Watching/playing baseball with Crash

DW returned to work today so there’s clear evidence that summer vacation is just about over for the kids, too. Did I do anything from list?

You betcha. Even better, I was able to complete the list. We made it to a waterfall in Pennsylvania. I didn’t make it to the 100′ North River Falls, but I knew that was a long shot, at best. The one in PA was great because the kids could play in it and there wasn’t a two and half hour hike to get to it.

I found six geocaches. One was on my birthday. It required a little bushwacking through the trees. Then it started raining on our way out. The second and third was on a rails to trails trail. The bugs were so bad we cut the trip short. There are eight more on that trail that we’ll get when the weather is too cold for bugs. Bang and I found two more while DW was visiting a family member in the hospital. Then Bang and I found one while Crash was in the hospital having oral surgery. Great finds!

Our road trip was spectacular. Just find my Traveling posts to read all about our two week vacation to the States.

We have been out kayaking twice now. Once was down a fairly large river. Too big for our liking. We were hoping for a wooded, lazy river, but no such luck. So the kayaks are out at the cottage we’ll just paddle on the lake. Crash had his kayak out and was having a blast (as were his cousins as they all took turns on it).

Speaking of the cottage – we’ve made a few trips there now. It’s so relaxing out there. Especially yesterday when there was only a small breeze and the water was as calm as bathtub water. That made kayaking a lot of fun. IMG_2843

I’m sure I’ve skipped hundreds of rocks by now. With water this flat, how could I not? I even helped teach nieces and nephews to skip them.

The onions are growing well in the garden. We’ve already harvested the lettuce – 2 one gallon bags worth. The green and jalapeno peppers are coming along. Unfortunately, the broccoli went to seed to quick. The thyme smells delicious!

Crash is great hitter. He’s okay at throwing and his catching is much improved. Unfortunately, he’s only made it to two practices. He had one before we left for vacation, though a couple were rained out before that. Then we were gone for two week, but even those were rained out, too. He made it to a practice (they don’t play games in T-ball here) the week after we returned. But then had surgery the week after so he missed that one, too. Hopefully, the rain will hold off so he can have practice tonight! It’s looking like it’s going to rain!

My bucket list is complete, everything I do from here out is just icing on the cake – yummy, delicious buttercream frosting.

The one thing that hasn’t happened yet is painting. Our hallways are dire need of some new paint. We have it. We just need to get it on the walls. Maybe I’ll just open the paint bucket, give Crash and Bang a paintbrush and let them do it. 🙂

What’s something exciting or relaxing did you do this summer?

No One Strapped to the Roof

Well, not yet anyway. We were on the road for about 10 hours yesterday. The kids had a few breakdowns when they got bored so they would irritate each other. Our plan was to make it half way, which we did. Crash spotted a hotel and said, “We could stay there.” We responded with, “We could, but we’ve been only been driving for an hour and 15 minutes!” So, of course, every hotel we saw after that we ask Crash if he wanted to stop there for the night. We laughed.

Have you ever confused 2 cyclers for horses? Easy mistake, right? What confused me most is why 2 people would ride their horses on the shoulder of a major highway. That’s because they were riding bikes, not horses.

Then Bang went trigger happy with his camera. I can’t wait to see the pictures. Cement trucks. 18 wheelers. Overpasses. Hopefully, they’re not all a blur.

Now, it’s  5:30 am. DW and Crash just got out of the shower. I have a hunch we’ll be on the road by 6:30 for our next 8 hour leg. Ma and Pa (and an aunt, uncle and cousins) will be excited when we finally get there!

According to Plan

We made an overnight trip to the city on Monday. We had to get passports done but we had to do it in person so we could get them expedited. Plus, Crash’s had to be done in person because he’s getting another American passport they require children under the age of 16 to be done in person at the nearest US Consulate and they require you to have an appointment. July 7th was the only date open when I checked 3 weeks ago.

So we left Monday to get DW’s and Bang’s passport done at a Canadian passport office. This would be the beginning of amazing trip for two kids who don’t get out much. First, we had to ride an escalator. Bang wasn’t too sure about them. He’d never seen them before, poor soul. But after he was on, he was loving it. DW noticed that he kept moving his hand up as it slid past so she told him to put his hand on the black rail because it moved with the escalator. He was amazed.

Then came the elevator ride. They’ve been on plenty of elevators before, but none like this one. It had a tall, vertical window so we watched ourselves rise to the 15th floor. They were amazed.

An hour and half later we were back on the elevator and then back down the escalator with two passports set to arrive next Monday. Bang was looking for more escalator rides, but we just headed to the boy’s cousin’s place (technically, it’s DW’s brother and sister-in-law’s place) where we would be visiting and spending the night. The boys got to have a sleepover with one of their cousin’s in his bunk bed.

By 8:15 we were up and at ’em and back on the road to attend Crash’s 9:00 U.S. Consulate appointment. Getting into the consulate was no easy feat. It very much resembles crossing the U.S. border. We needed to prove our identities and Crash’s. Then, two at a time, we proceeded through security. He scanned our bags (or he would have had we brought any) and we walked through a metal detector. He kept our truck keys because they had a fob on them (the remote to lock and lock the doors). The boys were unusually well behaved. Crash sat and read books while Bang played quietly with a matchbox truck we had brought. 45 minutes later we were walking out of the Consulate having completed the application process. Badda bing, badda boom. Everyone’s passports were completed with no hassle!

Before leaving, the boys wanted to ride the elevalator to the top floor to look out a window so we went up to the 19th. No window in this elevator. The 19th floor was a bank and a kind receptionist overheard us looking for a window to look out and she offered to take us into the bank to a conference like room. From there we had an awesome view of the the city and harbor.

We had parked in a parking garage before going into the Consulate. Once we were back in the garage we noticed a sign that said “Please pay inside”. Slightly confused, as there was no where to pay inside the building we had gone into, we asked a few gentlemen where we should pay. Apparently, they were working on the gate that lifts up after you insert your paid ticket. He told us, “We’re working on the gate so it’ll be free for you today. Just drive down and we’ll lift the gate for you.” This made the beginning of the day a bit surreal. No hassles at either the Canada passport office or the US Consulate and now free parking in the city? Could our trip really be going this well?

Then we went to the mall and this is where the real fun began. DW needed a bathroom, but the first bathroom had a big line up and DW couldn’t wait so we headed up to the bathrooms on the 2nd floor. ESCALATOR! Upon reaching the 2nd floor, DW spotted some friends. So while we chatted with them for about 10 minutes, Crash and Bang rode the escalator like it was an amusement park ride. Up one, down the other. They did that for the entire 10 minutes.
escalator

Of course, this is all Bang now wanted to do. Our main goal at the mall was to find burnt orange shirts for the boys to wear during family picture time when we go to visit family in the States. After a few stores and not finding anything, we opted to change colors since we found nice pastel, lime color shirts for Crash and Bang. Now we just needed to find that color for DW and I. Into Gap we went. There was a Children’s Gap attached as well and we found ourselves there even though we already had shirts for them. Good thing we went in there… we found exactly what we were looking for. AND they were 1/2 off! Win, win! So we returned the green shirts.

After lunch at the mall we headed over to another mall, more like a HUGE strip mall. They boys had gift cards to spend at Toys R Us from their aunt and Uncle and cousins. We split up, me taking Crash to look and DW taking Bang to look. Crash picked up a few small things, not wanting to spend all his money one big item. Bang apparently wanted one big item because when we caught up them he had a large marble race. He later changed his mind when he spotted a large garbage truck. Nevermind that he already has nice garbage tuck. He wanted this one. Crash found a coloring book that, according to the cover, “Comes Alive” with a free app on a tablet, a small lego set, and a Wolverine mash-up. We also picked up new sunglasses for the boys. We finally found boys purple sunglasses for Bang (his favorite color) and grey one’s for Crash. Their haul cost us a grand total of $8. Thanks Uncle B and Aunt Sara and KK and Owen!!

Then I spotted a Sport Check and I’m glad we decided to go because more hilarity ensued. We weren’t in the door 2 minutes when Bang pulls down the shorts of a male mannequin and loud enough for the surrouding area to hear says “That’s his pee pee”. We had caught Crash earlier looking up the dress of a mannaquin in a women’s clothing store. Ugh… the embarrassment!

sunglasses

Things don’t usually go so according to plan for us. Our plans are often thwarted by hassles, lost luggage, getting us lost, not finding what we’re looking for or any other numerous other things to cause hiccups in travel plans. This trip went smoothly with a few lucky bonuses besides. And Bang is still telling everyone about the “moving stairs”.

Have you ever had a trip go exactly as you planned it? What were you expecting to go wrong that didn’t? 

My Summer Bucket List

Next week is Crash’s last week of school. I’d say it’s his last full week, but it’s not even that because there is no school Friday. His last official day is the 30th, but he’s only in school long enough to pick up his report card. Then we have two month of summer. I just wish summer like weather would get here so we can start the summer bucket list! Continue reading