Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Fabulous Family Visit

Our son returned from University of Guelph for Thanksgiving weekend and our daughter and her family visited from Boulder for the whole week. It was wonderful seeing everybody together and we enjoyed a Fabulous Family Visit. 

Friday featured barbecue steak as requested by our son followed by a movie. After the movie, we went to bed while our son joined his friends at Western University. My husband responded to his call for a ride home at 1:30 a.m. so we slept in Saturday before heading off to the London Farmer's Market to stock up on food for the week. 

Our daughter's flight was due to land in Detroit by mid afternoon. We planned a late dinner of lasagna (a family favourite), garlic bread and Caesar salad with homemade apple crisp for dessert. My Dad generously offered to make the lasagna if I supplied the pan and noodles. I did, he did and it was delicious. Thanks Dad.

I'm guessing you might like to see some photos from our week. We took a lot to commemorate our Fabulous Family Visit. Let's get started.

Thanksgiving Sunday was a beautiful sunny fall day for our 2nd annual trip to Kusterman's Berry Farm near Mount Brydges. This year they have added even more activities for even more family fun. Our grandson had a blast on the bouncy mountain.
My husband spent quality time with our granddaughter on the pedal cars while our grandson continued to bounce nearby. 
After about an hour of bouncing, we managed to convince our grandson to move on to some of the other fun activities. He loved the rope bridge and play houses with multiple climbing walls and slides.
Even big kids like climbing. Our son had fun too. Actually we all enjoyed trying to keep up with our grandson in this large busy play area with multiple access points. 
Our grandson especially loved the long tube slides on the hill near the corn maze. 
Kustermans Berry Farm has two corn mazes - a mini maze and a much bigger maze. We stuck to the mini maze which is perfect for kids. It was challenging but not too difficult.
After bouncing, after climbing, after checking out the rabbits, goats, emus, pigs, cows and ponies, after sliding, after zip-lining, after shooting the corn canon, after completing the mini corn maze, after riding a pony; we decided to take a little train ride. It was so much fun. 
We made one more stop to buy a couple pies at the farm store and take a family photo before heading over to my parents' house for dinner. 
Our granddaughter dressed up for the occasion. She loves her new crochet ripple blanket and crochet Betty Bear. Aren't they both adorable in their cute dresses?
My parents prepared a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner with all our favourite dishes. Doesn't it look amazing? They were very generous to send us home with leftovers which we thoroughly enjoyed for both lunch and dinner the next day. 
On the holiday Monday our niece joined us for a trip to the London Children's Museum. A perfect place to entertain the whole family for a couple hours on a rainy morning. We started with the dinosaur bones and caves. 
The old school classroom was a big hit with the girls.
I enjoyed some quiet time with Ronald McDonald. Our grandchildren have no idea who he is but found him fascinating all the same. After a couple hours at the Children's Museum, it was time to head home for lunch and naps for the kids followed by a nice long hike to the Sifton Bog Boardwalk. Another excellent family day.
On Tuesday, we headed out early for the Brazilian Consulate office in Toronto to initiate paperwork required for our granddaughter's Brazilian passport. I like to say our grandchildren are A-B-C kids as they have or will have American, Brazilian and Canadian passports. How cool is that?

Toronto and back to London in a day with young children is challenging. Thank goodness for tablets with Curious George and Baby Signing Time
Our Brazilian Consulate business done for the day, we stopped for lunch then headed to Riverdale Farm for a trip down memory lane. When we lived in Toronto, Riverdale Farm was a favourite place to visit with our kids.
They still have pigs. Our daughter remembers watching a pig giving birth when she visited the farm with her grandparents years ago. It made a lasting impression on her.
We enjoy a walk down the path to the ponds. It's a wee bit wet but very warm for October.
Despite overcast skies, the fall colours look amazing. Fall is probably my favourite season. I just love the mix of colours and cooler days.
We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings in Guelph for dinner before dropping our son back at University. To unwind my daughter and I shared our first drink together, a tasty Mango Margarita.
I think our granddaughter is the cutest little Wing Nut around.
After dinner our son gave us a tour of campus and his residence. He has mid-terms this week but we'll stop by for dinner again on Friday. Did I mention we have to visit the Brazilian Consulate again to sign the papers? It means another long day in the car for the kids. They're such good little travelers.
When we got home from Toronto, we stopped at the house long enough to pack and head to my parents' house. The kids wanted to spend a couple nights with them so I planned to work on Wednesday. My husband worked both Tuesday and Wednesday but was able to get off Thursday and Friday. It takes a bit of coordinating to fit in all the activities planned for our Fabulous Family Visit.

Fast forward to Thursday afternoon. We finally fit in some serious shopping for our grandchildren. Shopping for little girls is fun with so many cute little outfits available. Choices for our grandson are less abundant but we offer to buy him a winter coat when they find one they like. Our day flies by and we turn in early as Friday will be another early morning on the road to Toronto.
A slightly earlier start with a different co-pilot at the front this time. Our grandchildren are happy for most of the trip. They must be getting used to spending lots of time on the road by now.
A Timmie's pit stop on route to Toronto helps keep us fueled for the road. We made good time arriving at the Brazilian Consulate office by 10:30 a.m. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the paperwork which resulted in a bit of gut churning drama. Some error on the part of the Houston office resulted in an initiated file which needed to be deleted before Toronto could do anything. My daughter's husband had to call the Houston office to sort it out. It took a couple hours but our granddaughter now has a valid Brazilian birth certificate so can get her passport and travel to Brazil in December. What a relief!
With our mission accomplished in time for lunch we decided to visit the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) which was just down the street and ate at Druxy's on the lower level to save time. It was fun seeing the museum with our grandchildren as it reminded us of our visits many years ago when our children were little.
Our daughter loves taking her children to museums to explore. She also mentioned it might be nice to see a museum someday without children so she can read all the information and really appreciate the exhibits.
I've toured museums without children and I can honestly say I prefer seeing museums through the eyes of a child. I like crawling into small spaces to check out the dome. I like touching all the animals and visiting the bat cave. I even got to touch a big cockroach with sticky feet in the children's area. I think that's more fun than reading all the nitty gritty details for each exhibit.
Who doesn't like digging for fossils. Our grandson had a great time.
The dinosaur exhibit is even bigger and better than it used to be.
Our daughter was showing how she used to be terrified of the T-Rex.
Our granddaughter wasn't bothered at all by dinosaurs and it was our grandson's favourite exhibit at the museum.  
After a couple hours at the museum, we got back on the road and headed to Guelph to take our son for dinner. He chose Montana's Cookhouse this time. Our granddaughter is quite happy sitting in a high chair at the table.
I think our son recommended Montana's because they have crayons and he likes to draw. Dinner was yummy but it was soon over and time to hit the road for home. Another long day in the car. We were all exhausted and ready for bed by the time we got home.
It's Saturday and time to pack up. Saturday morning coffee and a few more cuddles before it's time to say Good-Bye. 
The week was gone in a flash yet we managed to fit in most of what we planned. It truly was a Fabulous Family Visit. 

Our daughter tells us they plan to visit twice next year which is very exciting news. I expect 2015 will be a great year for more Fabulous Family Visits. 

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  1. Mavid was smiling a lot in the pictures - he looks as though he was having a lot of fun!