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It really is Grand.

April 22, 2015
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It’s like it doesn’t even exist until you’re about 20 feet from the cliff face, and then it starts to appear as a massive hole in the earth filled with peaks and valleys. When you get right up on top of it, it’s almost as though it’s a painting thats just beyond your reach…the layers, the colours, and the depth, it all helps you realize, it was no ordinary artist that painted and sculpted this…it was the Creator.

I stood there at the edge, trying to envision the first person to come upon this massive crater and what they must have done. It really does toy with you a bit…kicks away all those thoughts of how big you are, and confirms you are but a speck.

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The elevation of the Grand Canyon is 8500 ft. and boy, could I feel it. At first, I thought it was my cold getting worse and my lungs constricting, but I soon realized it was the altitude and I needed to slow down and just  pace myself. My cousin Bianca is in fine shape and didn’t feel a thing, but I was huffin’ and puffin’ like …well… like me, an overweight, middle aged  woman, with a lack of oxygen in her lungs, schlepping her way up a mountain.

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If you enlarge that photo, you can see the thin little red line that runs down the mountain…it had no guard rails. *shiver* There are a few options for descending down into the canyon, but we opted to walk the rim path instead. I read that there are people who decide to hike down in, and then when they try to hike back up, the altitude sickness sets in and they need to call for help. Not this gal. No siree.

I also read (all this reading was done after the fact btw..I googled altitude sickness to try to justify my lack of athleticism experienced earlier in the day 😉 ) that a handful of people die every year at the canyon while trying to get the best photo.

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This girl used a selfie stick so at least she was jeopardizing only her own life, but Bianca thought it was just the greatest shot ever…so, although it took a bit, she convinced me that we too needed to procure this shot at this angle. She had no issue marching right up there and plopping herself on the cracked ledge, smiling wide for the world to see.

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I on the other hand, crawled on my hands and knees with my core shaking and my eyes looking no further than the rock directly beneath me. I opted to lounge on the safe side of the crack, therefore distributing my weight evenly on a larger surface. It worked. I’m still alive.

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Here are a few more photos (click on them to see large versions)

 

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This was certainly a highlight to our Arizona vacation…but getting there was a whole other adventure…

Sedona.

April 20, 2015
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I’m home.

My hands are a little more tanned than before I left, my cold a little worse than before I left and my mind is a little more blown than before I left.

Arizona is, to me, like a bit of alien paradise. It’s so foreign compared to Ontario. Don’t get me wrong, all the same amenities apply…stores and highways and cars…but the houses are different, the trees are different, and landscape is something from another planet entirely.

It was mountainous, there wasn’t a blade of grass to be seen, their ground cover consists of gravel or sand and instead of deciduous forests, there are cactus forests and it is incredibly hot during the day and chilly at night.

The guest house we were generously allowed to stay in was beyond my wildest dreams, I kept imagining Will Smith or Oprah living in the house next door…that’s just how fluffy this hood was.

For today, I want to post a few pictures of Sedona. My, my what a beautiful part of Arizona. I left this area wishing my vocabulary was much more diverse than it is so I could better describe to you what I saw. These huge rocks and cliff-sides nearly glow with the red rock they’re composed of, so majestic.

Enjoy.

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I’ll be Thelma…you be Louise…

April 11, 2015
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This is how I picture Bianca and I in Arizona (except put a few pounds on thelma and you’ve got me..heh) …(and yes day 3 involves horse riding at sunrise, tomahawk throwing and shootin’ guns…real guns…not my daisy red rider bb gun)

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The canyon is 3 hours from where we’ll be staying, I’m praying there won’t be any circumstances which would necessitate us having to go off the cliff of the canyon …but I can’t make any guarantees. This is going to be one action packed girls getaway…

(When in reality…)

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(by the way, I completely forget what happens in this movie, and if it’s really bad I apologize, haha, I saw many, many years ago!!)

Sometimes, you just need to stop eating.

April 1, 2015
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It had come recommended, this restaurant on the Island. It was toted as the ‘longest buffet around these parts’, and a ‘must see’. So we went, and we saw…and boy, did we see more than we’d bargained for.

Walking in, we met the cliched tourist area laden with PEI memorabilia, little jars of red sand (we packed our own jars and filled  them thankyouverymuch), stuffed lobsters and PEI snow globes..(which seems oh so fitting this year) … But we weren’t there for the stuff, we were there for the food, so we sauntered past and that’s when we saw the sign that said;

LUNCH – Salad bar $45.00 (kids $20.00)

With meat (lobster, scallops or steak) $85.00

Being a devout budgeter, my brain wouldn’t let me comprehend the fact that I’d be spending my 2 week grocery budget on one lunch for our family. I calmed my rational side, thinking that this would go down in history as one of the Garrett’s best meals ever, and since we were on holidays, I should just let it go. (I did end up letting it go…then someone else let it go..so I got it back, read on to see what I mean..)

The jolly maitre’d himself sat us by the window in a bustling area of the restaurant, where we were amongst a number of school aged children. Turns out we picked the same time to mow down as the local school’s grade 3/4/5 classes end of year field trip. Super.

The teacher of said children came by our table as we had just received our soup and bread, and let us know we’d be in for a bit of noise as the children were off to their next destination and would be needing to exit by the door nearest our table. The Hubs gave me a knowing wink as he knew silence would materialize shortly.

I watched the crowd of children grow and draw near to our table, each one gawking to see what we were eating and loudly talking amongst themselves about who had won the eating contest. (Seeing as this was ‘The longest buffet on the Island’ I could understand how young boys would see it as an opportunity to hone their competitive eating skills). Little Jimmy piped up that he had surely eaten the most oysters, and his buddy slapped him on the back to congratulate him.

That, you see, was the fatal error. Young Jim needed nothing more than a simple slap on the back to begin the horrendous purge that ensued. You could see by his feeble smile that something wasn’t sitting quite right. And then it happened.. his own personal Barf-o-rama began, right there beside our table.

The next moment was an overload to the senses, my eyes were torn between the wide eyed, gape mouthed faces of my children and the volume of matter spewing from young Jim. My ears heard the slosh as 25 shucked and pre-chewed oysters came to meet the carpet, and the screams of little sally who happened to swerve to the right just in time to miss the blast. My nose…(well I dare not get into too much detail here as I hope my readers will remain…) could no longer smell the chowder in front of me, but rather the innards of young Jim, that had now become…outers.

There was a flurry of activity that proceeded after the barf-o-rama, there were skilled clean up folk who appeared out of nowhere to sprinkle the splatter with a variety of powders and using brooms and vacuums they were able to lift the majority of the mess off of the carpet. This wasn’t the first time they’d done this.

Unfortunately for the Garrett’s, the damage was done. There was no un-seeing what we saw, and even the best magic powder couldn’t clear the acrid scent from our nostrils. We had seen the insides of Jimmy boy, and we knew that those insides were what our plates were composed of.  We no longer had any appetite to speak of, and it lessened each time we watched the next poor soul tromp through ol’ Jimmy’s carpet christening .. It became a sort of revelation to me as I watched people load their plates up, balancing their culinary treasures, whilst walking through the vomit of another.

The Hubs decided that he wouldn’t like to leave our grocery budget there that day, He spoke kindly to the Maitre’d about our situation and how we hadn’t gotten past the buns and chowder before  the barf-o-rama took place tableside. The Maitre’d graciously gave us back the majority of our money and understood the situation completely.

This moment in PEI just added to our memories, the holiday we’ll never forget. And yes, we would visit the Island again in a heartbeat…no buffets please.

 

AZ.

March 24, 2015
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Its coming. The count down in on. It’s one of those trips you’d see on TV but would never think you would end up going on.

My cousin Bianca texted me a couple of months ago and asked what I was doing in April as she had a vacation rental that was available to her family…and she wanted to take me!! Man, was I ever blown away as she listed off the amenities and all the wonderful things we could do while we’re there … oh wait, did I forget to tell you where??

ARIZONA!!

Do you know what that means? I get to see the GRAND CANYON! I didn’t really realize that when she first started telling me, (hello US geography I never paid attention to) so of course I’ve been busy on Pinterest and google images checking out the totally blow your mind photos of the canyon.

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Oh, I can’t wait to see this massive place and to sear it into my memory from behind the lens of my camera. I’m certain my knees will be knocking and my hands trembling from the heights … but that thrills me, Gods creation is so beyond what we could ever imagine, the grandeur of it all.

“Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)

I get this crazy feeling of elation and dumbfounded-ness when I witness His creation up close and personal, whether it be a crazy little hermit crab in PEI..

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Or the deep blue turquoise of Lake Moraine…

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Or the scenes in my own backyard, of sunsets and snow falls…

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And especially when I see His creation abiding in Him..

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He blows my mind each and every day, and I’m so thankful that the God who spoke these creations into being, also created me and loves me so much He laid down His life for me. Oh, to worship Him all my days…and to continue to see Him through creation…this time in Arizona!

“Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts. Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars. Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded and they were created. He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away. Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds.” (Psalm 148:1-10)

 

Home again, Home again, Jiggity Jog.

February 23, 2015
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We stayed, we played and we va-cayed. It was blissful.

The beginning of the Stay-cation involved the Keg. Prime rib and creme brûlée are in my love language, and love them I did.

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We checked into the London Delta Armouries next and were put on the 19th floor, a great view of the city …and this large parking area. ahem.

 

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Sometimes hotel beds give me the willys, and I am known to rip the bedding apart to check for all things live, but this bed met my health standards and was super comfy to boot.

This Delta provides an executive lounge for the patrons on the 19th and 20th floors, there are free refreshments all day and a continental style breakfast as well a cold dinner buffet each day. Tea, coffee and pop are unlimited. In order to get to this delightful perk, The Hubs and I had to go up to the 20th floor, and instead of being utterly lazy (which is kind of a shocker..) we just ran up the stairs…

I don’t know about you, but heights make me woozy…this photo totally doesn’t do justice, but it was downright creepy looking down through the handrails to the basement floor. I took pictures of the most important things, as you can see. heh.

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The Armouries has a old world feel to it, grand and stately and it was the same in the pool/hot tub area. The ceilings are enormously high and the interior was all old brick and glass, beautifully done. I expected the pool to feel chilly in such a wide open expanse, but it was really warm and the hot tub was the perfect temperature too..somewhere between bathtub and sweating your face off.

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It’s always a struggle for a girl to know what to wear down to the pool…wearing just your suit in the elevator can be risky… who knows who you might meet, AND it was -26 the night we went..hello brisk! So I decided to throw all care and caution to the wind and I borrowed the house coat and threw on the only footwear I had brought .. My leather ankle boots, and I sashayed my way through the halls. (Again, photos of the most important things…who wants to see the lovely pool area when you can feast your eyes on this!)

All in all, it was a lovely time away, and just what I needed to re-charge until the next holiday….which is already on the calendar…and what a doozy it is, can’t WAIT to tell you about that one!!

Go East young man…and family…

July 28, 2014
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It was done in typical Garrett fashion, booked a mere month before departure. Mrs. Vaunda had a cancellation and was letting our 5 rent her oceanfront cottage for the week… And oh what a cottage it was. 

It occurred to me on approximately the 19th hour ‘ol Bess had been driving, that there was a slight chance I had done something rash by booking a pricey cottage so last minute and putting down a deposit when only having seen website photos
…the fear caught up with me as we saw the little road sign at the end of the red dirt lane….what had I done? 

We pulled over the hill and upon first glance i hoped upon hopes that ours was the one at the base of the steep hill, that was almost licking the ocean….

Vaunda gave us the quick tour and in a easy eastern accent she said ‘if ya’s need a thing I’m up the hill, in the white cottage’ and she was gone. I think she could tell by our faces that we were in dire need of some R&R after some 20 hours of driving.  One of the first things we did after we chucked the suitcases into the cottage was race down the stairs to see what wonder beheld us at the ocean shore.
 

The children took to calling me ‘crabadile Dundee’ by the end of the week, I just couldn’t get enough of those little bubbly faced cuties. There’s something to be said about being on the ocean shore, if it weren’t for the crazy tides, we’d have spent the entire waking hours down there. I’ve been far blessed with this land lovers paradise of 50 rolling acres, but those at the coast have a whole different playground to enjoy…and enjoy it we did. 
There was a bit of land based entertainment to be had as well, our favourite being the ceilidh … An east coast music experience that is busting with authenticity and people who really love to entertain. 

Even the kids agreed this was one of the major highlights of our trip :) 
We also did the expected as tourists, and attended a matinee of the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ musical, that has been running for over 50 years …

We also toured the factory of the best ice cream in all of Canada! COWS dairy, Mmm. The workers there work for 2 months straight in the ice cream factory, concocting delicious tubs of ice cream loaded with extras like cookies, chocolate bars and sauces and once they’ve reached their quota of the good stuff for the year (based on previous years sales) … They return to their previous job of …shucking oysters! Who’d a thunk! 

Feel free to comment on the utter dorky-ness of my hat as opposed to my family members…I won’t forgive them for not telling me. 

This is our darling daughter Gabe, who is posing with the Tim hortons card his friend told him to take with him and get pictures, holding it in various PEI locations :) … This ones for you Kaden! 

Oh, and this one… 

And one more :) 

We also visited the homestead of Anne, Marilla, and Matthew….what a hopping place that was, everybody and their brother was there. Here I am a-posing as Le-Anne of Green Gables…tee hee. My husband is the stellar photographer with the big thumb 😉 

And this here is Anne’s bedroom! ….you kind of have to go with an open mind, as neither the home nor the musical are exactly like the movie (which set a wonderful and high standard in my opinion…Anne’s voice in the musical is so far from Meghan Follows’ voice that it’s a little surprising at first…) 

We even did the ‘haunted woods’ trail, thankfully there were no ankle twisting graves freshly dug…and no creepy fog either 😉 ….( But I do spy another gratuitous timmies plug for Kadens sake…) 

I think you get the idea that we had copious amounts of fun…so I’ll wrap up for now with a quote from Lucy Maud herself…and I can now say I understand exactly where she’s coming from :) 

Alberta

September 11, 2013
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Lake Louise, Alberta.


We had such a good time, it was like a second honeymoon! I have a pile of pictures, but I haven’t found the time to edit the personal ones. I was also taking pictures for Dwights company while we were on the Dairy tour portion of our holiday, and those are all edited and uploaded here Alberta Farms. =  You can just click through the folders and it will show you all the different farms we visited and the cheese making plant. (If it doesn’t work, let me know)

This is my favourite place on earth…for now :)  Lake Moraine. It’s a completely different blue than Lake Louise, and it’s only 15 minutes away from there. It’s also much quieter, .. Lake Louise is a tourist trap that has thousands of people visit each day, and although it’s beautiful…it’s not Lake Moraine.

Gorgeous isn’t it?

Ottawa

August 28, 2008
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Our big holiday this year has come and gone, and like other recent years, holidays are really more about the anticipation than the actual holi-daying. I tend to forget all the gruesome details of past vacations …. (Frankenmuth) and focus on the party in my head. Which includes a wonderful assortment of positive thoughts and adrenaline packed possibilities.

Why don’t I learn?
Truthfully? It coulda been worse. We decided to venture on a day trip (from where we we staying) to Ottawa, the lovely capital of our Country. It’s so rich in history, culture, and business, and THAT just screams 4 year old, 2 year old, and 6 month old huh? Right. See thats where my head party takes over and allows for no rational thought. *sigh*

Anywho, on this day trip to Ottawa, we decided it would be fun AND educational for the children to view the changing of the guards. It did turn out to be fascinating, … for the first oh ..20 minutes…, it was the last 45 that were the BEST. (I’m kidding. I really wish there was a way to smear my sarcasm on the screen…but alas…)

So there they were pointing out the big hats and shiny buttons, the booming drum and the squawking bagpipes. It was quite a show.

Ashlyn and I in front of the Peace Tower…
(check out my hat, It should say ‘I’m a dorky tourist’ *sigh*)
More pics of our week long holly day extravaganza to come!!