Fort Langley: Having Fun With History

A couple of weeks ago, on our way back from Harrison Hot Springs, we stopped at Fort Langley. We had lunch at Wendel’s (yum) then paid a visit to the Fort Langley National Historic Site. I have many fond memories of visit to Fort Langley as a kid, and Ianiv & I even made a trip out there pre-kids. The experience, as with so many others, was so much better with kids!

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Despite the fact that Damien napped for part of our visit, and was under the weather for the rest of it, we all truly did have a great time. 

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We were able to share a bit of history with Aiden that was hard to express in other ways. Aiden has always been interested in learning anything and everything (hence our huge non-fiction library at home!), so this gave us a great chance to really walk him through a piece of history. 

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Fort Langley is extremely kid friendly (both the town and the historic site, all walking distance). Aiden loved exploring all the areas of the Fort, but his favourite experiences were building the house (a slat wall construction that is meant for kids to explore), watching the blacksmith (he bartered for his own hook!), and making bannock over the campfire, a special experience being run through Spring Break. 

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Damien’s favourite experience was trying on the hat he found on display in one of the houses. He was very sad to leave it behind. ;)

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I would totally recommend a day trip to Fort Langley! Head out to see the National Historic Site, go for lunch, browse the antique shops, walk the waterfront or visit the CN Museum (seasonal). Heck, you could even pair it with some farm visits! We’ll be back for sure. 

When Self-Soothing Goes Wrong

Aside from periods of teething or illness, Damien has generally been a good sleeper. Any regressions he’s hit, he’s recovered from without parental intervention. We’ve only ever had to re-enforce his good sleep habits when he was dealing with some crying at bedtime we thought was separation anxiety, but was probably also a too-early bedtime. 

Lately, however, we’ve hit a new issue. His self-soothing has turned to self-injury. He picks at his face constantly and it’s been a real challenge to get him to stop. 

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Several months ago, he fell and had a scrape on his nose and on his cheek. He began fiddling with the scabs, often while sucking his thumb. The nose one, in particular, was convenient to him, given he could rub his finger on the scab as he sucked his thumb. It took many weeks for them to heal, as he was constantly rubbing them. 

Once healed, we thought we were in the clear. Until he dug his nails into his cheek to create a new scab. He’s done this twice now (each side), and one side in particular is quite bad. We’ve resorted to covering them in band-aids, but unfortunately those give him a bit of a rash (allergy? eczema?) and so, when they come off, he has more bumps to fiddle with. While the bandage is on, he rubs the bandage, so the comfort he gets from rubbing is still there – not the best solution.

He knows how to pull bandages off his fingers, though that did buy us a few days. Currently, I’m wrapping two fingers of each hand in medical tape for nap / bedtime (though he sometimes picks in the carseat too). Unfortunately, he uses either thumb to self-soothe, and has begun using the other thumb to pick. Since he sucks both thumbs, I cannot cover either with tape. 

Parenting can be challenging. I hope we can get him to break this habit soon!

Harrison Hot Springs Resort: A Review

This past weekend, we took a very short trip over to Harrison Hot Springs. We were feeling the need to get away during Spring Break, to shake up the routine, and so we chose Harrison Hot Springs. It’s only 1.5 hours from our house, very doable for a short break. Given our last-minute reservation, we were only able to book one night at our hotel of choice, the Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa, but that still gave us two full days to explore and relax. 

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This was our first time traveling to Harrison Hot Springs as a family. While I think the area offers a ton of options for summer (lake activities, more open tourist destinations in the area), there were fewer restaurants than I anticipated, and we were sorely missing the lack of a cute cafe, quality dining or fun store options. It felt quite run down. 

Harrison Hot Springs Resort & Spa – Overall Impression

The hotel is situated right on Harrison lake, at the far end of the strip of waterfront amenities. The Harrison Hot Springs Resort photographer, I believe, should get a bonus, as the website definitely makes the hotel seem more glamorous than it was in reality. 

The hotel is quite large, and well laid out, with many amenities that you would expect from a “resort”, including the local hot springs, towels and robes, and on-site amenities including a very well stocked and friendly store and a cafe. 

Despite those features, our overall impression of the hotel was luke warm. We felt like the hotel lacked several “resort” features we have come to expect, including quality dining options, luxury beds and packages of local information that are relevant to the season. 

Our Room

As the most lacklustre aspect of our trip, we did not like our room at all. We booked a room in the Main Hotel, since it was one of the only available suite at the time that offered 2 rooms, one with a queen and one with two twin-beds. The room we were put in was anything but like what is pictured. The rooms were tiny and cramped, with barely any room to navigate around the beds. Our room was on the corner adjacent to the elevator, and let me tell you – there was no insulation to dull the sounds of people running and screaming at 10pm or getting ready to leave with suitcases in tow at 5am (WHY?!). 

The bed was super hard and uncomfortable and the amenities are more motel-like than resort, for sure. Definitely not at all worth the price we paid for the room. 

Would the other, newer, towers be better? Other rooms? I don’t know. 

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Hot Springs / Pools

There are many hot springs and pools on property and this is really the highlight of the experience. Indoors, there is a large pool and a very relaxing hot tub. Outside, there are 3 other hot springs, one of which is very family-friendly with its walk-in entrance. The kids both really enjoyed the hours spent in the hot springs, even with the rain! Damien took right to swimming with water wings on. 

Although in need of some repairs to the landscaping, the pools receive a big thumbs up from the whole family. Very relaxing.

Hotel Dining Options

The resort offers 4 dining options: a cafe, a standard restaurant, a luxury restaurant and a bar. We appreciated the options at the cafe for off-dining times, but were very disappointed in the whole Lakdeside Cafe experience. Apparently on Fridays and Saturdays, you cannot order menu items, only buffet items. The food, like the decor, is cafeteria-quality.

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The food swam in sauces or was crunchy beyond what is necessary. At the Italian Buffet, even the kids’ pizza tasted gross – I can’t blame my youngest for refusing almost everything we offered him. There wasn’t a single item on the menu that didn’t come covered in some bad-tasting sauce (ok, there was a lamb, and it was the only thing I liked!) – even the vegetables were cooked past recognition. For our breakfast, the same quality: rubbery eggs, tasteless oatmeal, limp bacon, weird-tasting pancakes. With all the trips I kept making to try to get the kids to eat something, I didn’t get to try the omelette bar – probably would have been a better option. 

Aside from the food being lacklustre, we also found the dining times restrictive. We are used to being able to go to at least one resort restaurant in off times, since our kids often eat really early in the evenings when we’re away. 

The only upside to the dining experience was really good service.

Damien at 22 Months

Damien. 2 years old in just 2 more months. My little baby is disappearing more and more each month that passes. 

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  • Size 7 shoes
  • Has 16 teeth, though all the incisors are still not fully up
  • Loves to walk. We sold the stroller – yay!
  • Loves to run. Mostly this is great, but sometimes it involves him running away in situations that are hard (like when I’m solo with 2 kids). Science World was great with him alone, less great with 2 kids.
  • Loves to dress-up, play with musical instruments, listen to / make music, play with pretend food, play with board games (loves to look at all the pieces!), mimic sounds
  • Favourite foods: sushi, edamame, rice, quinoa, plain pasta, oatmeal (every. single. day.), yogurt, apples, bars, bagel with cream cheese, macaroni and cheese from Burgoo, muffins / cake, lollipops, chicken, eggs with cheese, homemade fish sticks, miso soup, curried quinoa and veggies, pancakes
  • Loves to hide things and ask “Where go?” – often hides a picture in a book by closing it then opening it again with excitement
  • Learned how to jump, is very proud of the achievement
  • Loves to walk around with his umbrella, even if it’s not open
  • Can fill in many of the blanks in the Phonics Alphabet Song (for letter, sound and word)
  • Is learning to recognize his bodily functions
  • Told Daddy “love you”
  • His obsessions have moved on from Elmo (aka Melmo) to also include Thomas (aka Momas) and the Wiggles (aka Giggles)
  • My favourite of his words / phrases: giggle giggle giggle (chocolate), thank (thank you), too! (me too!), where go?, ah-pa-puss (octopus)

Spreading the Sunshine

T11227134364 087bffde06he lovely Heather recently tagged me in a meme based on the Sunshine Awards, allowing bloggers to recognize people who have “charmed, supported, enlightened, and inspired the awarder in recent months.” Basically, it’s a FBBB (for bloggers, by bloggers) award bestowed upon writers who inspire you, creating a lovely and positive link among bloggers. 

First off, thank you to Heather for the tag! I’ve had the privilege to get to know Heather through our “family” at Gymboree, where we’ve been going regularly since Aiden was 6 months old – that’s 4 years of classes under our belts. It’s always been a favourite place for myself and my boys and getting to know Heather and the other teachers has made Gymboree such a warm place for us. If you don’t know Heather, she’s an amazingly positive person who brings light to Gymboree and is an amazing Mommy to her two outgoing little girls.

To answer Heather’s questions:

  1. What is your favourite piece of technology as a blogger? As a mommy?
    My iPhone! For both, it’s essential to take photos, engage on social media, even to write posts! I would never capture half the memories of my kids without my phone always handy. 
  2. What’s the craziest fad diet/workout routine you’ve ever attempted?
    I did the 30 Day Shred… for a bit. About 2 weeks? I didn’t hate it, but it was really hard to fit in the Shred and my running 3x a week and work and kids, and, well, life.  
  3. Automatic or manual transmission?
    Automatic. Hills. Enough said. 
  4. What is your ideal number of kids?
    2. I would have maybe said 3 before, but they are considerably more work than I expected. Plus, I am not a happy pregnant lady. 
  5. Have you ever broken any bones?
    I’m more apt to sprain and tear (thanks hyper mobility!), but I have broken a finger and a rib and fractured (does that count?) my arm. 
  6. What is the best old school way of writing? Pen & paper, typewriter, tablet & chisel?
    I love notebooks. I still meal plan on a pad / paper and always have a notebook by my desk. 
  7. What is the most unusual entry on your list of baby names?
    Dyson. It was Ianiv’s name and it’s the only one that stuck with me as odd. Um, not naming my kid a vacuum, even if it is a nice name. 
  8. What is the craziest thing you did as a child that you’d never let your own kids do?
    Hmm, hard one. I wasn’t a super crazy child. I have a feeling my kids will outdo me in this department. I’d have to say catching snakes was probably not a wise idea. Most of them were garter snakes… I think. 

I nominate the following 8 people who’ve inspired me lately: Amber, Harriet, Tod (congrats on the wedding!), Rebecca, Gus, Steffani, Tamara and Margarita

And I’ve come up with the following 8 new questions:

  1. Sum up an average day in 3 words.
  2. What’s your favourite thing about Vancouver?
  3. The best thing to happen to me this year has been _______
  4. What are your top 3 favourite books from when you were a kid?
  5. Best show on tv right now? (And I hope you say Downton Abbey)
  6. TV show that should never have been cancelled
  7. Your favourite place to go for dinner in Vancouver
  8. The place you’d most like to take a vacation to