And some clever quip...
Grandma's House for Easter
Easter is kind of a funny time of the year -
this year was a light snow year so it's too late for any kind of
winter activity but it's pretty early spring so many things are
still shut down or just cold. This year we decided to go to
Grandma's house! The kids know the program - riding bikes on
the deck, coloring with someone else's paints, and just generally
being spoiled by Grandma.
There is a playground just down the street from my parents
house. Their neighborhood is funny - it was reasonable while
we lived there but the cost of housing has risen and families have
gotten older and now you mostly see kids with grandparents.
Saanich does a good job of maintaining the playground and there is
enough equipment to keep both kids happy.
We actually tried out a new park this week:
Cadboro - Gyro Park. It has a zip line which Nara quite
likes and some very solid concrete climbing structures that will
be here in a thousand years. It's a drive to visit the
playground (with a beach!) but I suspect next trip it will be the
go to playground.
The irony is that the ocean is closer to
our house in Vancouver than it is to my parents house in Victoria,
but we seem to visit the beach in Victoria more often than we do
in Vancouver. We brought rain boots for the kids but Nara
insisted in going bare foot and Claira insisted on copying her
sister. The grandparents have a great selection of beach
toys so the kids had lots to do in the sand.
We got a "National Geographic" moment with
the birds on the beach. I was walking along the beach and
accidentally made a sea gull fly off and drop it's lunch - a Red
Rock Crab. The crab seemed fine (no missing limbs) but it's
behavior wasn't too smart - it appeared to be eating things in the
sand rather than trying to get back into the ocean. I gave
it a good fling into the water but a minute later the seagull
managed to fish it out again. I think the beach is so flat
that the crabs don't really stand a chance - the gulls take
advantage of the low points between waves and just pluck the crabs
from the bottom. It didn't take long for the seagull to flip
over the crab, rip off it's legs and then eat the crab guts.
It's a harsh world.
Helen had two boutique toy stores in mind -
I don't know Oak bay that well so I needed some map help
navigating. On the way home I decided to drive through
Uplands and was surprised to discover Uplands Park. The
afternoon light was harsh so I decided to drive over the next
morning and see it early morning light.
The nice part about this time of the year
is that sunrise isn't at four in the morning - lots of great light
at 6:30am. Even the parking lot had attractions. The
Gary Oak trees are just starting to come into leaves so there is
lots of light hitting the ground.
I'm not even a novice at the Gary Oak
ecosystem, but I could tell this was a special place.
Clearly there were invasive species all around but there were also
native species (like shooting stars) that you just don't see in an
urban park. There were trails through the meadows and they
weren't 8 feet wide.
There is a whole class of places I never went to when I lived in
Victoria and I now go to frequently when I do visit
Victoria. Swan Lake is one of those places - a small urban
wildlife refuge in the city. I took Nara and my mom the
first day but having a young child doesn't seem to match up with
taking photos of birds unless you want photos of Mallards.
The floating bridge is always fun with kids - the bridge moves in
the wind and brushes the nearby trees so there are sounds and
damage to explore.
Not having much luck taking photos of
birds, I decided to go one morning before the kids got up and
spend some time actually waiting to see things. I considered
going with the organized birding group on Sunday morning, but I'm
still scared of the "more money than brains" tag because I don't
know every species of bird but I do have a big lens. I
decided to go Monday morning.
I found a hummingbird right out of the car
and the combination of light bird and bright pink flowers is a no
brainer. After that I chased some Marsh Wrens for a while -
they are territorial so they can be funny to watch chasing each
If you look at the "What to See" at Swan
Lake - there are a number of ducks on the list (I mostly saw them
in the center of the lake, far away from good photos) and some
larger predators. I'm not gifted at find owls and hawks and
my luck this day wasn't any better. I still had a great time
though - happy with the photos and I got home just after the kids
Traditions really are what you make.
When I was a kid we decorated Easter eggs - maybe a few
times. Maybe. My Mom had an Easter Egg dyeing kit and
6 hard boiled eggs. She heard that crayon survives the dye
process so we started with getting the kids to color the eggs.
Coloring an egg isn't as easy as you would think - curved surface
and all. Nara made a pretty good rendition of a flower and
Helen put together some patterns. Claira is just starting to
draw on her own (her version of drawing is pestering grown up into
drawing what she wants on her materials) so the egg came out
The dye comes as little pills with probably enough dye for a gross
of eggs. I really wonder what the water at the sewage
treatment plant looks like on Easter weekend. With a layer
of dye on top of the crayons, we had Easter Eggs!
But really it's about the treats.
Desert with every dinner - good desert, like ice cream or
pie. Chocolate eggs at Easter. Treats.
Beacon Hill Farm is another "don't forget to do" part of any trip
to Victoria. It opens at 10am which is early enough to do
before lunch but not rush breakfast. The kids are getting
more comfortable with the goats even though they still seriously
Previous years we have had a birthday party
at our house but Nara wanted to invite day care friends and there
was no way we could get that many people into our house.
Helen found an available booking at the Kerisdale Community Centre
and did a ton of planning and tada! We had a birthday party!
Nara's birthday Party was Saturday afternoon. That evening,
Sean, Catherine and Liam happened to be in town so we went out for
dinner. We happened to get all the kids on the stairs to take
a photo. Kat's daughter was also there, but she was sleeping
so sadly she didn't make it into the photo.
Tags: Swan Lake(4), Cordova Bay(3), McMinn Park(3), playground(3), beach(2), petting zoo(2)
People: Claira(14), Nara(11), Helen(2), Haley(1), Noelle(1), Loren(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2016 to 2005 > April 2015
Last Modified Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at 22:41:48 Edit
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