Twelve times twelve is one hundred and forty four.

Happy birthday Canada!  To celebrate, I’m taking the kids to an amusement park with some friends, and I baked an angel food cake, to be eaten with whipped cream and strawberries.  If there is anything more delicious in the world I would like to know what it is.

It’s day three of summer vacation and so far our schedule has been action packed.  This is probably contributing to the easier-than-normal transition from school into summer.  Monday night was filled with children’s tears at the thought of saying goodbye to their teachers and classrooms on Tuesday, and so I was preparing myself for the onslaught of neediness and generally annoying behavior that accompanies the end-of-year festivities and the sudden lack of scheduled activities, but that didn’t really happen.

My husband was away on business and so on the first day of vacation I drove the kids up to my parents’ cottage at Sylvan Lake.  Here I am going to state the obvious: travel with children is just so much easier as they get older.  “Mom, are you SURE you know how to get there?” Mark asked nervously, clearly recalling the many times I have pulled over to the side of the road, crying.  I am not good with directions, people.  Just a small glitch in my plans or a detour in the road can set me over the edge.  “Turn east,” my dad used to say when giving me directions, and I would scream with frustration: “Is that left or right?”  My husband bought me a Garmin with the hopes that I would no longer be lost immediately whenever I would go someplace not totally familiar, but I have anxiety about even using the Garmin, since it often sends me on the most circuitous route possible.  You can imagine, perhaps, the level of frustration around here.  My husband cannot understand how someone who has lived in a city their entire life still doesn’t know how to access a major roadway.  I think I may have a mental block or something.

“I know how to get there.  But I have to concentrate.  So please don’t ask me again.” I said to the boys.  Then they spent the two hours of driving alternating between watching Cars (preparing for the inevitable viewing of Cars 2) and naming off the small towns that we were passing and what kind of “Attractions and Services” they had.  “That town has a Wendy’s AND a Tim Hortons!” they would say excitedly.  “Canadian Tire and Wal-Mart!  If we need something we could go to Wal-Mart!”  “Oh, that town only has UFA.  What’s UFA?” 

We arrived with no issues and I did not even have to pull over to sob once.  I’m growing!  The boys were practically spinning off the planet with excitement once we arrived, and I am just going to say this: two toy fishing rods with reels plus a lake equals endless amusement.  I am always a little taken aback at how much time children can spend doing an activity like pretend fishing.  It’s a good lesson for me as well; to just watch them and relax into the moment, and not have to go over my to-do list.  It is summer after all – my to-do list isn’t exactly pressing.

I wished I had my camera with me when the boys and I took the dog for a walk after dinner.  I watched them run up ahead of me on the path, Shasta daisies and deep purple Columbines to their right, a thick field of canola to their left.  The dog bounded through the canola, his curly tail bouncing, the boys were laughing, and the sky with the early evening clouds was so big all around us.  It was a perfect moment. 


  1. So glad you arrived at your destination without having to pull over to sob once! (that was very well put! I conquer!)

  2. I get lost when driving all the time and I’ve lived in my city for almost 5 years. Glad you finally made it to your destination.

    I keep hearing about Tim Horton’s. Heard they have good donuts. I must check it out one day.

  3. I also get lost quite often and I’ve lived here my whole life. Like Jessica said, I keep hearing about Time Horton’s too!

  4. Sounds like a good outing! I can only look forward to those good traveling days.

  5. thanks God you arrived without facing big problems , that was interesting 🙂

  6. And you didn’t have to pull over to threaten their lives. Success I think 😉

  7. Sounds like a perfect day. You were lucky not to have a child like me…there was no concentrating on driving as I was constantly checking the fuel and heat levels on the car and confirming that we were going the right way. My parents used to love to go on Sunday drives. They would just drive and get lost and explore…it was hell if you asked me. They always say, “yes Kristine sucked all the fun out of the Sunday drives for us.” Luckily the gas crisis in the 70’s hit and that put an end to that.

  8. I slavishly follow my GPS no matter what kind of circuitous dance she wants to lead me. Driving used to be a major source of anxiety for me. Now it’s a…minor source of anxiety.

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