Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Summer 2011: my summer snapshots

School started today for my 8-year old son, and next week my 4-year old daughter begins her last year of preschool before heading into Kindergarten. It's the time of year when a lot of parents feel a sense of sadness (that their kids are one year older), and happiness (that their kids will be busy at school for part of the day).

I had a great summer with my kids, and here are some of the highlights for me and the kids:

1. Picking strawberries with the kids at Bissett Farm on Westham Island, Ladner, in June.

2. On our summer trip to Sweden, I realized that my kids are rather seasoned travelers by now. They did so well on our flights (three in a row) from Seattle to Reykjavik to Stockholm to Skellefteå, Sweden: lining up nicely (mostly), behaving well on board (mostly), and getting themselves through all the security checkpoints with flying colors (every time). Now if I can just figure out the best way of taming the new "bugging my sibling is the most fun ever!" game that has just become popular...

3. Playing on the beach near my parents' summer house in Burvik, Sweden.

4. Visiting the old-time farm in Rismyrliden, Sweden made for a great day-trip, just like when we first visited last year. Also, I loved our visit to the family farm in Lövvattnet, and watching my daughter go gaga for the puppies. I think we're living on borrowed time: any moment now she'll start a "I want a dog" campaign.

5. Without a doubt, my trip to Sweden with the kids was a summer highlight: just like it was last year. They loved going for boat rides and fishing trips with their grandpa and grandma. And the outing we did to a rocky piece of coastline in Burvik, Sweden called "Hällorna" (loosely translated as "the smooth rocks") was fantastic. The rocks were made smooth by the grinding ice during the last ice age, and it's just a spectacular location.

6. More fun in Skellefteå, Sweden: the outdoor wave-pool at Vitbergsbadet was awesome, and we'll definitely have to re-visit it on our next summer trip to Sweden. As usual, the kids also loved their visits to Leos Lekland, going absolutely nuts on all the slides, trampolines, and climbing and bouncing equipment. For the parents, it's like taking your kids to the circus, except your kids are the performers!

On the old-school carousel at Playland.
7. Back home, in Canada, our visit to the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), and Playland was so much fun. The kids enjoyed the rides, the snacks, the hustle and bustle, and all the farm animals that were on display.

View of Mount Baker from Centennial Beach.
8. I made several beach-trips with the kids, to Third Beach in Vancouver's Stanley Park, and to Centennial Beach in Tsawwassen. Relaxing on the beach, beachcombing and getting in the waves a bit is definitely one of my favorite summer activities, and really, one of my favorite family activities. There really is nothing like studying some beachology.

Dishonorable mention: One absolutely non-highlight was the big, mean, persistent biting flies that mainly seemed to like biting me when we were in Sweden. They're called "broms", and man, can they hurt you.

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