Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Oh, Canada!

After our trip to Germany, most of our summer was spent close to home.  But in August, the boys and I got to head to one of our favorite places - Ottawa.  I know, I know - it isn't exactly tops on most people's vacation destination lists.  But it should be.  It is a beautiful city surrounded by gorgeous countryside.  But more importantly, several of my favorite people on the planet live there - my sister Erin and her family. We were there for 9 days, and each one was filled with lots of great moments together.

The day after we arrived, we visited an amazing Star Wars exhibit that contained tons of cool memorabilia from the movies and an interactive element of creating your own Star Wars character based on different elements that make up a person's personality.  Of course, Max and Luke thought it was the coolest thing ever and loved talking to their cousins about all the characters.  I kept wishing it was closer so I could take my students there

The kids and their Star Wars personalities
Several years ago, my sister and brother-in-law bought a cottage and small island a couple hours outside of Ottawa.  We've been hearing all about their adventures in getting things cleaned up and sorted out just to their liking, and in more recent years about the fun they have had with the kids there.  This year was the first time we had gotten to visit.  Just like they had said, it was a beautiful spot on the perfect lake - a retreat from city life and a haven for outdoor play.  We hiked around, we roasted marshmallows, we swam in the lake.  But the absolute highlight of the trip for the boys was fishing.  They spent every minute they could out on the point practicing their casting and reeling in - and were rewarded many times over with lots of fish willing to go for a ride on their hook.  One morning Max managed to catch (and release) 13 fish in just over an hour.  It was incredible.  Luke even managed to catch two fish at the same time on one lure.  I'm not sure they will ever have as much fun fishing again - but (forgive the pun), they were totally hooked!

Two fish on one lure

Luke's first fish

Max's first fish

My adorable parents

My funny sister

Eventually we had to leave the cottage and head back to Ottawa.  We had a very special day to celebrate - my nephew Cormac's baptism!  It was a beautiful sacrament and we were all so impressed by the welcoming nature of the parish that Erin and Alex belong to.  I'm so proud to be Mac's godmother and thankful that we could be there with them.

We finished up our trip in grand style with a trip to Calypso, a water park just outside of Ottawa.  Many, many amazing water slides and perfect weather were a great way to end our time together.  The boys and I even slid on the highest slide in North America!  It was an incredible afternoon, and made saying our goodbyes even harder.

Leaving my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and nephews is always tough.  They are such generous hosts and the boys adore their time with their cousins.  Even just hanging out at their house is relaxing and fun.  The fact that my parents were there this time made it even better.  But after 9 days without Dan, we were ready to head home.  I'm afraid that if he had been able to come with us, we might never have come back.

Thanks, Erin and Alex, for an amazing time.  So many highlights of our summer happened this week.  We love you all, and can't wait to do it again!