So while my sister and my niece were here visiting for five days, I went from being Stacey to being Auntie. It was kind of funny, actually, because the last few times my niece referred to me as Stacey and I'm okay with that. But I guess she is conditioned to refer to all her other aunties as Auntie, and I'm just another one of them. The good one. (*wink*)
In the photo above, we are standing in front of the goat pasture in behind the Coombs Country Market. I had just picked them up from the airport in Comox not long before, and Coombs was sort of on our way back. We had to go to the Goats on the Roof market (though they don't put the goats on the roof until later in the year; for now they are in the back pasture). They have a great cafeteria that puts on a great lunch with a generous kids menu. Kid gets entree with fries, soft drink, and a voucher to get an ice cream from the shop around the corner.
I wish I had taken a photo of the triple-twist rye bread that my sister bought. It was HUGE, beautiful, and delicious. I will probably stop in and buy some my next time through. We made off with some great deals and yummy food, stopped in for the kids' ice cream (Blue Bubblegum, of course), and headed west.
Cathedral Grove is not far from Coombs. A wee jaunt around Cameron Lake, then some lovely forest walks on either side of the highway. This is an old growth forest and the trees are massive, some of them several centuries old. What I really wanted to show them, my family who lives in Alberta where what they call trees are referred to as 'seedlings' here, was the Big Tree. Here I am in front of the Big Tree (below).
My sister in front of the big tree. Now, see, blue ice cream can stain one's face blue and when you have a mother who likes to photograph every moment of your life, at some moment you notice when your mom takes bad photos of you, or photos of you when you might have food on your face. My niece knew she had blue on her face and refused to be photographed here. Too bad.
Just before low tide on day two, we walked down the block to see a small beach, about 200 metres away. They were glad to have use of the rain gear they brought, because it was wet almost the entire time they were here. In the photos that follow, I got to play Marine Life Tour Guide. I surprised myself at how much information I seemed to have absorbed from living here just a year. It came in very handy when answering the questions of a ravenously curious six-year-old.
Let me tell you, there was *much* excitement at the sight of a star fish!
Here I am explaining how anemones feed. My niece would later refer to these as nemones (NEH-moe-nees). Cute.
These are not so visible at high tide, so we got there at just the right moment.
After this beach (does it even have a name? It's at the Whisky Dock in front of the aquarium) we walked to the library to get some books. The library is next to Big Beach, where we went next.
Already she was learning the difference between oyster, mussel, and clam shells.
(All these are my sister's photos, by the way, hence the annoying date stamp at the bottom)
Ok it has to be said. Auntie likes getting her picture taken too. And we have often been told that we look alike, that she could be my daughter. I hear this happens often with children looking like an aunt or uncle.
This was a big moment. We got to see hermit crabs for the first time, a wee sculpin, and some green anemonies. It was good that niece had a chance to do some learning about these things a few days before we went to the aquarium.
I was just so tickled at this day. She thought the beach was AWESOME and wanted to go back to the same beach. There were just so many other beaches we had to go to! And they all offered something a little different. I am absolutely relieved and encouraged by the fact that she is interested in these things, that she can be interested in science. As a result, I'll be honing the birthday and Christmas gifts to help foster this kind of learning. I can't wait until her little brother is old enough to do this too; visits to the west coast will be SO MUCH FUN for the kids.
Also, I'm not using the names of my family members here. My sister is a bit sticky about Internet privacy and, while I have posted some photos of us here, I'm just not going to attach their names. Hope you understand.