Our Summer Vacation of 2013
Our summer vacation this year was much like last years, yet not really. The boys are a little older and a wee bit taller. New places were explored, and old favourites were rediscovered. Overall, it was a great getaway for all of us.
We choose a really great time to travel eight hours to go to the city (please note the tone of sarcasm). When we were visiting temperatures were extremely high. One day the humidex got up to 42 degrees Celsius. As such, we tried to find as many things to do inside as we could.
The first day in the city was spent shopping for new hockey gear for Big Boy. For the last few years we have been extremely lucky to receive hand me down equipment from our nephew. But this year Big Boy needed new skates, gloves, and a practice jersey. So, off we went to the sports store. It is not my cup of tea but I sucked it up to show my support for my boys as hockey is one of their great passions. Little Man was a wee bit overwhelmed with everything in the store. He wanted to get new mini sticks and pucks. He wouldn’t stop asking about them. Then,we were on our way to a golf store where all three of my boys (this includes hubs) had to test out putters and the putting green. I can’t believe the skill my 8 and 3 year olds possess. They are way better than me at golf now (which I guess doesn’t take much).
For something new we thought we would take the boys to The Manitoba Museum. I had been to the museum a couple times as a kid but the hubs hadn’t. My favourite part of the museum was the little old time theatre featuring Charlie Chaplin films as well as touring the ship the Nonsuch (which the museum was actually built around). We were pleasantly surprised that the kids enjoyed touring around all of the exhibits. We did not read every single piece of information that was posted but the kids were entertained and having a good time. That was all that mattered. When we got to the Nonsuch both kids were in awe. We even got to go on board and tour inside the cabin area. I cannot believe how small the “bunks” were where the crew slept. I am a short person myself at 5″3″ but I would not even fit comfortably in those small spaces. And then near the end of the museum tour we found the theatre I remembered from my childhood. There were a few kids already sitting inside the small theatre so I did not get to go in. My kids weren’t interested so I didn’t linger too long at it.
After exploring our province’s history on the top levels of the museum we went down to the basement to check out the Science Gallery. We had already spent two hours in the museum and thought that the kids would be worn out by that time but they absolutely loved the Science Gallery. We did not hear any whining or complaining the whole time we were in the building. It was fun seeing the kids exploring the world of science and testing things out for themselves. This was definitely money well spent. However, we did not expect our three year old to fair as well as he did and we only paid for two hours of parking. When we got back to our vehicle we were welcomed back by a $40 parking ticket. Thank you to the city of Winnipeg for that lovely surprise. Next time we know to spend the extra 3 dollars for another hour of parking. Live and learn!
As per request by our oldest, we stayed at the same hotel we did last year. It has a fabulous pool and play area. As soon as we checked in the first day they wanted to go straight there. So after visiting the museum, guess where we had to go? My children lived inside this play structure. I was a wee bit jealous and wished I could be a kid again to go inside too. Hubs actually did a few times.
Our second day in the city was spent at the hotel. Since it was so warm out hubs said he would stay with the kids in the pool/play area and told me to go enjoy some shopping time by myself. So, off I went to find some stores. First I headed to Dollarama and I bought most of Big Boy’s school supplies there. I only spent $27! Score! (That did not include his backpack, shoes, or ear phones though but I still think it was a good deal. Thanks to the friend who gave me the tip to go there for great deals!) Then, I cruised around Winners. I wished I was a home decorator. They had tons of beautiful home accessories.
Since I had a few hours to myself I decided to go check out the “new” Ikea in Winnipeg. Before it opened I was invited as a blogger/media to attend a special preview event there but sadly I had to decline the awesome invitation. Now, I had an opportunity to go explore the place by myself and I took it. Amazingly I made it in and out of there in just over an hour. Plus, I only spent $8! I swear my next house is going to be built from the ground up with Ikea products.
The kids enjoyed their time spent with dad that day and I had a good time travelling around the city by myself.
Later that night we met my step-brother at Red Lobster to have a visit with him. We thought Sunday would be the perfect night to go as we thought it wouldn’t be busy. Oh boy were we ever wrong! We had to wait over an hour. With two very starving and impatient kids. But luckily they weren’t too bad about the wait. We had a great visit with my step-brother and even invited him back to the hotel as Big Boy wanted to show him the pool and play structure. That was the night we had to change hotel rooms for a third time. The first time we changed rooms was because they put us right across from the doors to the pool/play area and I knew that would be extremely noisy. So, they switched us to the fourth floor. However, this new room overlooked the play/pool area, so we still got noise but we accepted that. This night they switched us for a third time because our fridge stopped working. Apparently they don’t just go and get a you a new fridge. They move you to a new room as they have to “close” the room for repairs. I said fine and packed up the room by myself since hubs was down in the play area with the kids and my step-brother. Good thing a maintenance man was there to help me with all of the luggage and bags we had already accumulated.
Day three was reserved for what we were really in the city to do, have fun at Tinkertown. When we go to Tinkertown, we spend the entire day there. We ride the rides over and over again. It never gets boring. And now that both of the kids are a little older, they both enjoy it immensely. Just seeing the smiles on their faces makes it worthwhile. Especially in 40 degree heat! I even ventured onto a few rides that I would never NEVER have gone on in a million years like the roller coaster and a new ride called the paratrooper. To be honest, the paratrooper was fun. Even if I was screaming the entire time and Big Boy was laughing at me.
On our final full day in the city we took it easy and cruised the malls. We did some back to school shopping for the boys. And yes, it was for both boys as we had enrolled Little Man in a local guidance nursery school for the fall. We bought them new shoes, new pants and many new shirts. It was cute watching Little Man try his clothes on. He picked out a Sonic the Hedgehog shirt in one store. He was super excited to try it on and when he got in front of the mirror he posed with his hands on his hips in a slight slant and I said, “mom, I wook good!” I laughed. We also stopped at another golf store and the boys decided they wanted to try the golf simulator. I couldn’t believe it, Big Boy’s farthest shot was 114 yards and Little Man’s was 44.
Once again when visiting certain stores we received special coupons that were to be used in a few weeks. Since we don’t live anywhere near the city (remember it is an eight hour drive for us) I decided to pay it forward. We were sitting in the food court eating our lunch and I noticed a couple with a small child. I went over and politely asked them if they were from the city. They said yes. I said I wasn’t and that I wanted them to have this $25 coupon to Old Navy since I wouldn’t be able to use it. They were pleasantly surprised and it felt good to do a random act of kindness.
That night we made our second ever visit the Bridge Drive Inn. If you have not been, GO! You must go. They have the best ice cream in Manitoba! Last year we had heard about the famous Goog Special but we were not brave enough to try it. Both hubs and my step-brother (who met us there) decided to try it this time around. My step-brother had gone to the BDI for years but had never had the Goog. Both loved it. And the boys devoured their ice cream. As we were finishing our desserts we took a walk over the bridge. It was beautiful. I took a couple of neat shots of the view with my cell phone. When we got back to the hotel for our last sleep in the city, I had to dig out chocolate ice cream from Little Man’s nose before putting him to bed.
A few other highlights from our trip included seeing my first ever ice cream truck. It even played music! (Remember people I live in the north, in the bush.) Also, one of the great features of staying at the hotel is that kids under a certain age eat free. This meant that my kids ate pancakes every morning. That was all they wanted and of course, we obliged. The second morning we had breakfast I decided to be brave and try to eat some of my breakfast in the restaurant with my family. I noticed that one of the specials was french toast with a raspberry sauce. French toast is one of my favourite breakfast meals and I had to order it. When it came to the table I was pleasantly surprised. Sandwiched in between the bread was a chocolate hazelnut spread along with bananas. It was so delicious! I was even able to eat half of it there in the restaurant with my family. The next few days I glanced at the specials board and noticed that the special was the same, except they would change up the wording a little bit. One day it was “hazelnut french toast with bananas” and the next it was something like “banana french toast with a chocolate hazelnut spread and raspberry sauce.” I thought that was pretty funny.
Before we went to the BDI on our final night of our vacation we drove around the city and through the University of Manitoba campus (where I had gone to school for a year). We checked out the new Blue Bomber stadium. Wow, is it ever huge! It is quite the place though. Hopefully some day we will get to take the boys to a game. Driving around campus makes me a wee bit sad. It has changed so much over the past 15 years. 15 years! I can’t believe it. Where there were once bare fields, are now new buildings. There are new residences. And an old residence is getting a facelift and being repurposed. So many changes.
That was our trip in a nutshell. We all had a fabulous time and of course, wished it could last just a bit longer.