Once upon a time the summer holidays seemed endless, especially here in Canada where it is usually ten weeks rather than the six or seven in the UK. Yet the summer months seem to be almost over with barely time to draw breath.
Then come the complaints of "but we never got to do..." - fill in the gap with a hundred-and-one missed opportunities.
As a family, we've started making a list of all the things we can think of that would be nice to do, and then each picking our top few and making an effort to accommodate them. Even so, it takes a bit of planning to fit things in between camping expeditions and various summer camps. Last week turned into "check stuff off the to-do list week".
While I was at work (boo...hiss...) Ali took the kids to play mini-golf, and then took them crabbing off the pier at Sidney. First day, they kept catching and throwing back either undersize crabs or females, but they did come back with a bucket of shrimp that someone else had surplus to requirements. The next day, they caught enough good-sized crabs for us all to have a crab salad. Yum. Sounds like there might be more crab on the menu next week too if we're lucky.
Then, something we've been talking about for ages, Ali took them whale-watching. I had to give it a miss (there are too few free weekends left) but didn't mind. I still have fond memories of our wonderful trip from Telegraph Cove fifteen years ago. This was a long-promised treat for the kids.
Saturday evening we went to the famous fireworks display at Butchart Gardens. Given that the place fills up by early evening, the best way to do this is to plan on a leisurely outing. We arrived at 5pm, parking lot already getting full, and spread out a blanket on the grass in the viewing area. We took a stroll around the gardens, enjoying both the party atmosphere and the corners of shade after the afternoon heat, then fetched a gourmet picnic from the car. Live music helped to pass the time until darkness fell. By the time we returned to our strategically-placed blanket, the field had filled up.
The show was spectacular. Not so much for the large high-flying starbursts (which were pretty good) but for the lower-level set pieces and displays.
Yesterday, we stopped by at Victoria's largest little air show. This is one of our annual favourites, so no photos this year but I'm cheating and showing one from earlier.
To round off "things to do", we finally mailed off our Canadian citizenship application today.