Singing with Sylvia for Christmas

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 Singing with Sylvia for Christmas

Vancouver's Stanley Park

Vancouver's Stanley Park
Day 6 of our summer family road trip did not quite go as I had planned.

This was my first trip to Vancouver, and I had been looking forward to it for months! I checked out guidebooks from the library, asked friends advice on great places to try and made a master plan.

Since this leg of the trip I would mostly be solo with the kids while my husband was in meetings, I made sure that the things on my list were kid-friendly. I had planned for down-time; however, I had not planned for just how tired my kids would be at this point in the trip.

After being cooped up in the car for hours at a time, I was ready to get out and about. But, the long drives, later nights, and active days had left them weary. Neither one wanted to leave the hotel room that morning.

"I want to go home," my son said. "Saskatoon is a peaceful city. This place is too busy for me." {Admittedly, true and cute.} My daughter -- who has an adventurous spirit like her mom -- also said she wanted to stay in the room and watch cartoons.

When I asked them which restaurant from my list they wanted to try for lunch, they stared at me blankly and my son said, "McDonalds." Little sister seconded the motion, "Yeah, Mit-don-owds." Let the record show this was not at all on my list of to-dos. . . but the motion carried.

So, on our last day in one of the best food cities in the world, we vegged out on hotel beds and watched Sesame Street until noon, then ate at McDonalds in a nearby mall food court. With a few McNuggets in their system, I was able to get them on board with one final Vancouver adventure.

They had been asking to swim for days. Our hotel pool was not very child-friendly and would have been too tough to maneuver with two kids by myself. I decided, instead, to head to Second Beach in Stanley Park. It was not where I really wanted to go for the day, but I felt it was a place at which the kids could have fun at their own speed.

The Second Beach Pool was perfect for us. This heated, outdoor pool has a great small waterslide for littles and larger slides for bigger kids. There is a large area that both kids could stand in, which made it much easier for me to keep them both safe and happy.

The pool is just a stone's throw away from the beach and two playgrounds. After an hour and a bit of playing there {and what I hope ends up being the worst melt-down of the trip from my daughter} we headed to the two nearby playgrounds. The first was somewhat old-school but the kids had fun with it. The second was newer and had some neat features like the old Stanley Park fire truck and a real tree with a secret tunnel inside.

We gradually wandered away from the playgrounds for a last little romp by the water in lovely Vancouver. As they sat and played in the sand, I reflected on how my plans for the day had changed. I would have liked to do some different things, and yet we likely had more fun than we would have with my original plan.   

I am thankful that I could hear them telling me to slow down this morning. If I would have dragged them along with my agenda, I definitely could have experienced a bit more of the city, but we all possibly would have been miserable in the end.

I am reminded {again} that travelling successfully with kids is about slowing right down to a pace that allows for moments of joy and wonder. When I try to hurry them forward to see the next thing and check the next point of interest off of the list, I might be sucking the joy right out of it for them . . . and for me, too.

An interesting thing happened as we walked out to wade a bit in the waves. This broken shell washed up at my feet. It instantly struck a chord with me and I quickly grabbed it before it washed back out with the tide.

I saw a purple butterfly, broken but beautiful. {I don't think I have written on this blog about the significance of butterflies in my life. . . I must later. But, you can read here about the significance of the colour purple.}

It was a timely souvenir that I believe God placed at my feet to remind me again that things that are in seemingly undesirable packages can actually become the most beautiful of gifts.

Any time I get to spend with these two is pure gift! {Yes, even the fast-food-in-a-foodie-town kind of moments.}

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