Growing Out On A Limb

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March Break in NB

We all visited NB for the later part of march break.  We had lots of fun visiting family and friends and taking it easy, with a healthy dose of UNO, bingo, and homemade french fries in the mix!  It’s always fun to visit nana and papa, no matter what we end up doing.


We didn’t do a whole lot on Friday (which was nice), but Saturday was such a beautiful day that we spent as much time as we could outside.

We started with a really nice walk on a skidoo trail in glassville.  20170318_101924

The sun was shining, the morning was warm, the view was beautiful, and the company impeccable!  20170318_102004



A Martell kid sandwich! 20170318_103959

After that we went to Sugar Moon for a maple syrup breakfast.  They include taffy on the snow.  Oddly enough, Emery didn’t want anything to do with this at first – I think the idea of pouring maple syrup on the snow was weird to him – but once it hit his lips he was converted pretty quickly!  20170318_121554




Then we had some sliding fun at nan’s house!  20170318_135458



Dad said he used to slide on this hill by himself for hours at a time.  This view and this house (though it has changed) must bring back great memories.  20170318_132321

Even Gabby got in on the action!  20170318_135312



We try to make the most of these trips because they always feel too darn short – I think we managed it this time.











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Yogi camping

On Labor Day weekend we hauled the camper home and spent a long weekend at Yogi bear.

What a campground for kids!  We got there on Thursday and the place was nearly deserted but on Friday it filled up to near capacity and was bustling.  Waterslides, mini golf, a new water park, a pool, and activities all day long… if you want to keep the kids busy, it is not hard to at this campground.

Oliver especially loved the mini golf.  Eleanor gave it a good try and …

20160902_130202… well, she looked super cute trying.  20160902_130213We had a couple of reunion events to attend, one of which took us back to a very familiar splash pad.  20160903_132928We also attended sweet Gabby’s second birthday party.  The cake pops were awesome (just ask Emery).  20160903_152853Seating was limited.  (Not really though).  20160903_154853On that weekend they also had a hot air balloon festival in bath, my home town.  It seems like an odd place to have a festival like this – a small town that has lost so many businesses in the last fifteen years that it is now unremarkable to drive through, a shell of the town I grew up in.  But every flight brought out people to watch the balloons filling up and, during their flights, cars would stop along the country roads to watch them float along the river valley.  It felt like it brought some life into that town, even if it was just for a  weekend.

This picture is from mom and dad’s back yard.
20160904_080509Back to jellystone… we spent our last day at the park with family and friends, running from the water park to the pool to the slides.  It was a beautiful end-of-summer day.  20160904_150343

I spent the weekend trying to convince emery – unsuccessfully – to try the water slides but he did love the water park!  20160904_150414

20160904_151306Oliver had no problem with these or the bigger waterslides.  20160904_152241This is a pretty sweet shot of nan and our two little girls!  20160904_182703

We had a great bbq after a day of sun and then packed up the next day and headed home.  It was a great place to camp and close to a lot of people I love, which made it a thousand times better!

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March Break in NB

March break was a combination of work and play – a few days at work then a couple of days off to spend with the kids.

The week started off with a turkey hunt.  Yup, a turkey hunt.  After being told that turkeys are spotted regularly at the old homestead, we set off for a walk to see if we could find any.  We saw lots of tracks (those suckers are big!) but no turkeys, though it was a really nice day for a walk just the same.

We found this old carriage at someone’s old camp.



Lots of hanging around… the feet tell a better story of the energy level than the stillness of their faces.  IMG_20160313_171917

Papa took Thursday off of work and we headed for the camp.  We drove about halfway in, then walked the rest of the way.  It was a beautiful day – mild and lightly falling snow.  IMG_20160317_102216IMG_20160317_104349

We had a lovely lunch of hotdog buns (inside joke) and then headed back outside.  We had a little hike to the falls… IMG_20160317_130500… and did a bit of sliding.  Eleanor liked the sliding but the boys weren’t all that interested.


IMG_20160317_132606I think the kids were all tired and I know that I was overtired from sharing a room with Eleanor for several days, so we were all on edge and the whole day was… well, edgy. But despite the not-so-pretty feelings I had during that day, the beauty of this place and this scene and the company we were with are what is important and what I hope I will remember when looking at this picture.  IMG_20160317_134504

The week wasn’t very vacation-y for me but it ended with a really fun curling game and time with friends so it ended off on a high note.  It’s always good to be home.

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Road trip to NB

Tim hortons snack stop … IMG_20160312_101044


… and subway lunch stop.  IMG_20160312_121245

The subway stop quickly turned out-of-control silly to the point where I was surprised they didn’t ask me to never come back as we walked out the door.  But the majority of the trip was just fine.  It’s a long time for three kids to be cooped up in a car and a long time to be cooped up in a car with three kids!


NB in the Summer

A couple of weeks ago we visited NB.  It’s always nice to go home but Ali and Aaliyah were visiting at the same time, so it was a full house (blue and otherwise) of kids and fun and food and … summer!

IMG_6017 I think papa’s in heaven – all five grandkids in the  same place and kicking balls in the back yard.  IMG_6018 IMG_6020 I love this shot because Eleanor is having fun, because of the view in the background (the view I always had as a kid), and because grammie and grampie’s old homestead is in the background.  IMG_6025 On Saturday, we spent a beautiful day at the blue house.  There were lots of wheeler rides, hot dogs and s’mores over an open fire, and (my favorite) we even fit in a little fishing time (which may or may not have resulted in some fish!).  IMG_6039It was a hot afternoon so we even took a dip in the ‘hawk, which was nowhere near as warm as it looked!   IMG_6042 Everyone got in though, even if it was just for a quick dip!  IMG_6046 IMG_6047 The boys especially thought it was neat!  IMG_6056 IMG_6060 On Sunday morning, we went to the park and splash pad, partly because everyone else was busy at church and partly because I thought it would be fun to take the kids back to a park they would remember.  IMG_6064 Happiness is … the swings!  IMG_6072This might be my favorite park in the world…


IMG_6093 IMG_6111 Eleanor didn’t care much for the sprinklers, but she did have fun on the playground!IMG_6115 (Oh… that face!)IMG_6124 IMG_6128 IMG_6138 IMG_6144On Sunday afternoon, we had family over for a potluck and spent the afternoon in the backyard.  It was mostly just a get together to see family, but we took the chance to celebrate papa’s 60th birthday, which was a few weeks ago.

The kids had an awesome time in/on this big blow-up ball (which I think papa had a harder time getting out of than getting in).

IMG_6149 IMG_6151 Campfire?  Always.  IMG_6153 Awww.  Eleanor certainly loves her papa (although I’m 100% certain that the feeling is mutual).  IMG_6156And then… there was the slip and slide.  I think this turned out better than nana had even hoped.  Aaliyah, the boys, and all the cousins had a ball on this thing.  It was the perfect day for it.
IMG_6174 This one makes me laugh every time I look at it!  IMG_6176 IMG_6180Eleanor, for the most part, stayed out of the way and sneaked drinks.  
IMG_6215 IMG_6234It was a really great time – great weather and great fun for the kids – it was the perfect weekend, but I wish I had more pictures of the cousins together and I wish I had a picture or two of Ali and I together.  Everyone spent the following weekend with us, which was another good time in spite of the rain, and now everyone is in their own corners of the world and the house seems kind of quiet.  We are already looking forward to the next visit!

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Vacation in Newfoundland, Part II

So many pictures!

Our campground was across the highway from Deer Lake (the lake), which is huge.  On this day, we visited the lake beach in the morning (in Pasadena) and then again on the other end of the lake in the town of Deer Lake.

These are all pics from the Pasadena beach.  It was a really calm, hazy morning.  I love the way these pictures turned out.

IMG_5786Sophie hung out with us for part of the day, which was fun.  She is super attentive to Eleanor and good with the kids in general so it was nice to hang with her.  IMG_5795The water was so cold.  A lady we chatted with said that the lake was still frozen solid enough to walk across in mid-May.  Something tells me that had something to do with it!

But kids are kids and they still had a great time splashing around.
IMG_5790IMG_5775 IMG_5772One of my favorite days of the trip was when hubby took off to golf with the groomsmen and amanda’s family and I got to hang with the kids most of the day.

We did a little hike right in Cornerbrook that took us to a nice view of the city.  Oliver manned the camera during that little hike.

IMG_5810We spent much of the rest of the day in the Margaret Bowater park.  It has a pond with swans, hiking trails, a huge playground that the kids loved.  Then we went to a section of the park that I knew had a canteen for lunch and a swimming area.
IMG_5921 IMG_5922It turns out the natural swimming area was a section of the Humber River that they dam up every day and supervise.  There is a deep end, a shallower end, and the kiddie area.  So cool!  The water was almost as cold as Deer Lake, but the kids splashed around for quite a while.  IMG_5935 I thought the river swim seemed so “Newfoundland” for some reason.  IMG_5946I got no pictures at all of our last day in town because it was wedding day and I was wrangling three kids for most of the day while Brian did groomsmen stuff… putting up tents, pictures, etc, etc.  It was a lovely wedding (even in spite of the rain and the 12 degree weather!) and a nice reception and we did get this one picture of us all dressed up for the occasion (though eleanor does not look too happy to be there!).
DSC_0519It was another long day traveling back home but we managed.  It was so nice to spend time with family and to do it in such a beautiful place.  The Martells are not done with Newfoundland yet!

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Vacation in Newfoundland 2015, Part I

A couple of weeks ago we traveled to Newfoundland!  Todd was getting married so we decided to go early and make our family vacation out of it.

Look how happy we are waiting to board the ferry!  We had to be there two hours early so there was a lot of waiting in the parking lot, then waiting on the boat, then waiting while they pulled the ferry out, turned it around, and backed into the dock so they could load some wide vehicles or something.  Finally we got moving and then… the 6 hour boat ride started.  Phew.  We were a little more frazzled at the end of the boat ride than we look in this pic.



Ferry boat pics:  sane and silly!

IMG_20150707_114537 IMG_20150707_114559Go fish helped pass the time, as did chasing around a nearly-two-year-old, coloring, watching videos, snacking, going to the sun deck, going to the side decks… each for 10 mins at a time (excepting chasing the nearly-two-year-old, which was pretty much constant).
IMG_20150707_141336 We stayed in Pasadena, between Deer Lake and Cornerbrook.  The only good pic of the lovely cabins includes this lovely model.  IMG_5718One afternoon we traveled a long and winding road from Cornerbrook to Blow Me Down Provincial Park.

The hiking trail was not long but it had a LOT of stairs.


The view of the Blow Me Down mountains was well worth it, despite the rain.  And for the record, the mountains are aptly named (it was soooo windy up there!).





On the way down we took a slightly different trail that led to the Governor’s Showcase, a really cool bunch of rocks that overhang the staircase.  IMG_5755


On the next day we spent the day in Gros Morne National Park.  The last time Brian and I were here we hiked THE Gros Morne (and someday we will again) but this time we did family-friendly activities.  We hiked the Berry Hill trail first.  IMG_20150709_112238

IMG_20150709_113426We looked on the map and picked a picnic table to have a BBQ lunch at.  Little did we know we would be pulling into this beauty of a spot (near one end of the Coastal Trail)!  IMG_20150709_121250 It was a great spot for a quick lunch!  IMG_20150709_122727 It was a great spot for throwing rocks and combing for treasures, too.IMG_20150709_125106

DSC_0290 IMG_20150709_130155After that, we headed to Norris Point, another beautiful spot with mountains towering all around.  IMG_20150709_134934 Here they have a little research marine center where they have a touch tank and all sorts of ocean life that you can check out in their aquariums.

I have to say that the boys are both curious, but Emery is the braver of the two when it comes to this stuff (hence Oliver chewing on his knuckles).  IMG_20150709_135848 We saw all sorts of crazy things but this lobster was BLUE!  Apparently one in 3 million are born without the pigments that make their shells red.  Who knew.  IMG_20150709_144357This is another shot on the way down to Norris Point.  This would be a really fun place to kayak.  And check out the snow still in the mountains!

IMG_20150709_150156 On the way out of the park, we did a quick hike to Southeast Brook Falls.  The falls were impressive but you couldn’t really see much from the trail.  IMG_20150709_161857 IMG_20150709_162208

So many pictures… more to come!