On Friday my husband came home with weekend plans for us – he had booked a spontaneous trip to Victoria, leaving on Saturday morning and returning on Sunday evening.
We packed an overnight bag (and a hospital bag, as traveling at 38w2d can cause a slight “what if” thought process) and told Dean, as we so often do, about our upcoming plans. He was so thrilled to be going on a “BIIIIIIG boat” and was even more excited for “Daddy drive his car off the BIIIIIIG boat into the water” (Yeah, we had to make sure to correct him on that one many times) He woke a couple times in the night to ask if it was time to go on the boat, but thankfully easily went back to sleep when we told him not yet.
Finally, 7am rolled around and we woke him up to get ready. For the entire hour, during the time it took us to go get gas, grab breakfast for the road and drive to the ferry terminal, we had to reassure him that yes, we would be there soon. And yes, he would get to go on the boat. And no, Daddy wasn’t going to drive his car off the boat and into the water. We arrived about an hour before our ferry was due to leave so after getting in line, we went to the playground and walked around a bit before they announced boarding would begin and asked everyone to return to their cars.
I think the highlight of the ferry ride wasn’t the actual ferry ride. I think it was going up the BIIIIIIIG ramp onto the BIIIIIG boat. Dean is obsessed with ramps lately. He absolutely loves anything that is or even just resembles a ramp. A slight incline? It’s a BIIIIIG ramp. A hill in the yard? It’s a BIIIIIG ramp.
We walked around the ship for most of the hour and a half. He had energy to burn but it was quite busy on board so was tiresome trying to keep up with him and keeping him from getting tripped over from all the passengers. He liked watching the ferry’s wake from the back of the ferry – but not as much as he loved the ramp going off of the ferry after we docked!
The drive to Victoria was quick. And we were able to check into our hotel earlier than usual check in. We stayed at the Chauteau Victoria, near Parliament and all the “tourist-y” things. It was a one bedroom suite with two beds, which meant that we wouldn’t be kicked all night by toddler feet. Also, means that we could watch TV after his 7:45p bedtime and not keep him awake.
After checking in and letting him run lose in the hotel room for a short time, we set out to explore the harbour area a bit. It was a beautiful afternoon and we enjoyed walking along the boardwalk. Dean saw boats, planes and even a few fire trucks. And yes, quite a few ramps. We decided to grab some lunch and head back to the hotel for his afternoon nap so that I could rest, as my pelvis, while feeling much better, still seizes up after too much walking or activity.
After his nap, we hit the streets again. We walked over to the Royal BC Museum (FYI : 20% discount to those with Science World or Aquarium memberships) and spent an hour walking through the museum.
I know the word MUSEUM should have been some kind of red flag, but we didn’t think that one through. There wasn’t very much hands-on things for Dean. There wasn’t much room for him to roam free. And there wasn’t much to keep his attention. We walked through pretty quickly, not really pausing to read or look at anything in depth. There was also a lot of things that were very appealing to climb on but that we had to keep him off of. It was probably a great museum for anyone who was interested in all the different exhibits (vikings, Native Americans, coal mining etc) and who didn’t have a two year old that was climbing up a slightly tilted illuminated sign (yup, you guessed it, it looked just like a ramp!)
After cruising through there, we went back to the hotel and hit up the pool. Dean and Daddy had a blast swimming around (as someone who isn’t a strong swimmer and barely over 5ft tall, I couldn’t do much playing with him in the 5ft shallow end of the pool, boo!) and we enjoyed a dip in the hot tub before heading back to our room for some room service dinner. We set up a towel on the floor, to keep cheesy fingers off of the couches and enjoyed our picnic dinner.
Soon after, bedtime hit. Dean had no problem with nap or bedtime in a new bed. He went to sleep without a peep and slept well. Around midnight he woke for some water and asked for a snuggle so I lay down with him in his bed. The next thing I knew, it was 7am and he was poking my eyes and saying “Hi Mommy” in my ear.
This morning we enjoyed a walk in the cool morning weather to Tim Hortons for breakfast before checking out of the hotel and heading to the Butterfly Gardens and BC Aviation Museum on the way to the ferry terminal.
Dean has been asking for us to read Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” book many times throughout the day. It’s been a tie between that and his airplane book for favourite spot. He liked walking around the Butterfly Gardens and looking at all the butterflies fluttering about. He also was pretty fascinated in the cocoons that we saw. We saw eggs on some of the leaves around the gardens. All things he recognized from the book. They also had some flamingos, parrots and other birds flying around in there.
At the Aviation Museum we browsed around two large hangars of older airplanes. Some were in working condition, some don’t run anymore. Most we couldn’t go in or play with, as I was hoping we could have, but Dean still enjoyed looking at all the different airplanes. There was likely close to twenty different airplanes and even a couple of old helicopters. There was a cat there that was roaming about and Dean pet a few times (and made a game of finding him as the cat hopped in and out of the airplanes to find a place to nap)
We arrived at the ferry, 13 minutes before departure, and managed to snag one of the last few spots on the 12pm sailing. We weren’t sure we would make it for that one and were expecting to wait until the 1pm sailing. But with the noon sail, it was perfect. We ate lunch on board and set Dean free in the play area on board. On the drive home from the terminal Dean fell asleep. He crashed hard from all the fun in the morning. He even managed to transfer from the car seat to his bed and sleep for another couple of hours (which rarely happens when we transfer him from the car)
The trip was a perfect, low-key getaway for us. Nothing like our usually “go-go-go” trips that happen. With a toddler and 8.5 month injured pregnant woman in tow, it’s hard to justify a jam-packed weekend of non-stop adventures. Instead, we casually set about our trip and based our outings off what Dean had the patience for at the time.
We have been talking about a Whistler trip as our first Family-of-Four trip. But that will have to wait until after the winter season as the highway isn’t drivable without winter tires in a few weeks time.