Sunday, September 9, 2012

A dream to me . . . a dream to me

Everyone knows and can sing/hum the Cranberries' song, "Dreams", right? I have it going through my head today. All after a most wild dream came true . . .

Karis and I just got back from a long weekend with my mom (aka, grandma - the more important and identifying label whenever Karis is around). I can't even remember when the idea sprouted, but the idea grew into an all-girls adventure to somewhere I've always dreamed visiting: Prince Edward Island, Canada.

Isn't it such a wonderful mom thing to continue to want to see your children's dreams come true? I'm so humbled and thankful that my mom would even consider making such a trip happen - such a gift, one that will keep on giving in memories.

It may sound trite, but I seriously can't think of anything that could've made the trip better . . . we were blessed with safe and smooth travel, health, rest, beautiful creation, refreshment, relationship deepening, adventure. I'm reminiscing with much gratitude. I'm also reminded that I am a big believer in getting away - I came back ready to tackle things I'd been putting off, which is a great feeling. (I started this post a couple days after we got back . . . and now as I continue to piece it together I will admit my post-vacation-adrenaline-rush is wearing off)

For our record (and for your reading, if you wish). We enjoyed:

Delightful daytrips . . . 
- Day 1:Well, first, we made it, after a smooth day of travel (a layover at JFK in NYC). Phew! We enjoyed arriving in the quaint PEI airport around 10pm, walking across the tarmac in the breezy darkness to enter the customs station. A well suited man was even there to greet us, so hospitable. We found the rental car, and it only took us a little longer than expected to find the hotel (no GPS to guide us!)

- Day 2: we settled in, enjoyed the view of the water from the big window in our hotel room, and spent the day afoot. We were pleased to find that we were staying in the heart of Charlottetown and had fun exploring shops, walking to dinner and beyond. We lunched at high tables at Ristorante Diem, warmed up with delicious decaf, and all got naps (Karis loved taking her nap in her pack-n-play in the bathroom). We stumbled on a huge field, and Karis spontaneously invited (insisted?) that grandma play ring around the rosie with her, and then chase her around. Hilarious. Dinner was at Lobster on the Wharf, we felt adventurous as we worked for our food: grandma with her full lobster, me with my entire baby halibut with bone in and skin on. More ring around the rosie as we walked to COWS for cowberry ice cream and then back to the room for the evening.

- Day 3: We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Casa Mia, then perused the local farmer's market that was right in the neighborhood. We bought some fresh blueberries, then hit the road for Cavendish, home of all things Lucy Maude Montgomery. Grandma found some fabulous "music of the sea" that provided the soundtrack for the gorgeous drive through the countryside. The tour of Green Gables was refreshing and inspiring, it's not hard to imagine why LM might be inspired by her surroundings. We walked through Lover's Lane, toured the house, the barns, trekked through the Haunted Wood, and I left feeling like I would be back there someday. Karis did, after all, seem enamored by the Anne doll grandma got her. Surely after she falls in love with the books and movies she'll need to see it all again.

We lunched at KIDDS, a "tasty freeze-esque" restaurant that overlooked the ocean, with fields and haybales part of the seascape. Breathtaking.  A short winding drive along the coast led us to a  beach where Karis had the time of her life running and rolling in the soft sand. There is something so powerful in the rhythm of the ocean, I'm not surprised Karis is captivated by its surroundings. We found ice cream and then hit the road back to C-town, K napped all the way back and through our stop at a grocery store (to stock up on Canadian chocolate, of course). Pizza Delight restaurant fed us well and ended our day of adventure (well, what really ended the day was gma painting K's toenails, giving her a bath, and K talking on the phone).

- Day 4: Tim Horton's donuts was our first stop on our way out of town. We meandered to Victoria, a sea-side town southwest of Charlottetown. Our mission was to find a lighthouse, which we did, in addition to a refreshing walk around the quaint town - we stumbled upon charming shops, including a B&B that had a teahouse. We took a seat there for lunch, to sip tea, and try on hats. Such a sweet surprise and a real highlight of the trip. We drove back to C-town (K konked out again) and pulled up to the Hippopatobus tour bus just in time to climb aboard. We sat on the top and enjoyed the hour long tour of the city (Karis enjoyed sitting on gma's lap and chewing gum). We found a nice dinner at Merchantman Pub, played more ring around the rosie and walked the boardwalk, and wrapped up our outings with another trip to COWS (and had our nightly routine of roaming the hotel halls with K in her pj's - precious).

- Day 5: The night was short . . . interrupted by wrong phone calls,  right phone calls, some insomnia, and an early morning to head to the airport. We made a last stop to visit good old Tim Horton, and upon checking in for our flight were informed it was delayed. Oh well, compensatory breakfast vouchers led to some snacks (and more chocolate purchases). The connecting flight in NYC added some drama to keep us alert - by the time we ran through customs, re-checked our bags, stopped at a bathroom ("Mommy, I have to go really bad!" Oh, poor girl!), and went through security, we made it to our gate at the final boarding call. Phew! Fresca, coffee, treats, and naps brought us safely back to MN (sans luggage and carseat, but understandably so. We're thankful for loaner carseats and luggage delivery via Delta).

Fascinating "friends". . . 

I so appreciate how Karis calls everyone she meets a friend. Through her, we met some fabulous ones during our trip.

- Italy gal: a friendly Italian woman with a fabulous accent struck up a conversation with us shortly after arriving to JFK. Poor gal had been stuck in the airport all night, she was truly sweet and engaging to Karis. Maybe we'll have to go visit her homeland someday . . .
- Friendly flight attendant: the "nice man" on the small flight to PIE handed us a huge bag of peanut m&m's minutes after we sat down.  It's the little things that really make a day
- Native-to-PEI woman on airplane: my mom sat by a lovely woman, Diane, on our final flight to PEI. She had a gorgeous accent, and was so friendly and passionate about her home island. She really got us pumped up for our time there, and by the end of our time we could agree with everything she said: PEI is laid back, genuine, friendly, beautiful
- Greeter: when we arrived (in the dark) to the island, we got to walk down stairs from the airplane and across the tarmac to customs. There was a kind gentleman in a spiffy suit greeting us (only 25 passengers) as we arrived. Later we saw him again near where we retrieved our rental car.
- Melanie: from the wool store (I mean, I can still smell the sheep, seriously. They were literally making things in the back with old fashioned machines). This sweet store clerk was so engaging with Karis, and even remembered us a few days later when we re-visited the shop. She also had a fabulous accent
- Howard: a friendly local at Tim Horton's donut shop. He saw Karis with her bottle of OJ and went to get her a straw.
- Orlando man: met this random guy while Karis and I swung on a porch swing outside a shop in Victoria. Had a nice visit, and then hilariously ended up on a tour bus with him an hour later back in Charlottetown. Small Island!

Marvelous meals . . . 
- We enjoyed a long layover lunch at Stone Rose . . . there was spilled milk, roasted squash soup, and chicken sliders
- We savored sandwiches, breakfasts & coffee at some local cafes
- The culinary highlight was our first night's dinner at Lobster on the Wharf
- Donuts, bacon/egg sandwiches, and OJ were the fare at the all-over chain Tim Hortons (Karis is still talking about this one, must have been a highlight for her)
- COWS. COWS, the ice cream shop, seems to be all over and we were repeat customers for the "cowberry" ice cream. Karis just wanted the chocolate/sprinkle dipped waffle cone - a good split, I just wanted the ice cream
- Our final meal was at a pub across the street from our hotel. Although family friendly, this was the only place we visited that didn't offer a kids' menu - I really was amazed and blessed by how child/family centric the whole area is

Karisisms . . . 

- "It's a helicopter!" (took a while to figure this one out - I never did figure it out, grandma did! Karis was pointing to mom's lobster while saying "helicopter" . . . kind of sounds similar?)
- Talking on the phone in the room, often to my dad, sometimes to no one at all. It was part of her nightly routine, and so precious
- Chattering in her pack-n-play for  a very long time before falling asleep
-  "Is the airplane getting ready for me? Are they putting Fresca on it?!" (Karis's favorite food of the whole trip was the Fresca and peanuts on the plane)
- "We're at Princesser Island!" By the end of the trip, we were almost calling it that also
- "I'm drinking purple tea!" (at the quaint tea shop)
- "I made a lighthouse!" (this, before even seeing one in person - she made a little lighthouse structure out of empty coffee creamer and butter containers at Cafe Mia)
- "Can we go talk to the nice man? Can we go get directions?" (our nightly routine, going to see the consierge to get directions, in her Rainbow Brite pajamas, of course)
- If you want to hear a funny story about Karis and a mermaid, you'll have to get in touch with me personally