Sunday, October 16, 2011

Whistler Weekend

Last weekend was Thanksgiving, and we had the chance to spend it up at Whistler with some great people in a beautiful place.

One of Ellie's good friend's family owns a beautiful home at Whistler just a short walk from the village.  This house has everything  - all the comforts of home and more.  It's also huge!  So we joined up with two other families we know from school and made a crazy extended weekend out of it.  We were joined on Thursday night by our friends the C's (Marc and Michelle, Elise and Vivi) and then our friends the Courtneys (Don and Heather, Alejandro and Susie) later in the weekend.

Here's our home for the weekend.... if you know Whistler, it's at the Blueberry Hill turn-off, just 1 kilometer from the heart of the village, and is nestled right into the forest.

I won't even attempt to give you a play-by-play of the weekend.  But I will hit on the hi-lites .... nature, people, food, and music.

While Marc and Michelle went on a grocery run on our first full day, Mike and I took the 5 girls on a neighborhood walk and then a short hike.  The leaves in Whistler were just beginning to turn.  We thought this one was pretty beautiful.

This was our hike on Blueberry Hill.  It was all fun and games until we saw an enormous fresh pile of bear poop, (complete with blueberries) on the trail.  Sorry, no pictures of that.  We felt it would be best to turn back.

All of our girls had a few more sisters for the weekend...

As we were walking home, I wondered aloud if passers-by felt great compassion for Mike - thinking he must be the father of 5 girls!  We then lined them all up from smallest to tallest to see what that might look like.  To emphasize the amazon-esque qualities of our girls, and the itty-bittyness of the C sisters, keep in mind that their oldest daughter, Elise (second in line) is the same age as our Ellie.  Our Sasha is two years YOUNGER than her, and the same age as their youngest, the first in line, Vivi.  Check out the height difference!

Our family split off for awhile that afternoon and we explored the village.  It was a beautiful, warm sunny afternoon - perfect for ice-cream.  I chose not to have any, and Mike doesn't like to share.

We ended up near the Olympic rings in a part of the village with a playground.  While the girls played, we sat in the sun and soaked up the warmth and the sights.

The forecast for the weekend looked dismal.   We woke up on day number two shocked to see the sun and geared up for a good long hike.  Mike chose the "Rainbow Trail" for us - the trail head was just a short drive from the house.

Along the way, Ellie and Elise found a tiny white butterfly that wouldn't fly away.  They carried it lovingly with them the whole hike and Elise named it "Karla".  Here we all are together - Elise and the two Karla's!

 Look at those peaks.

Later that afternoon Heather, Alejandro and Susie joined us.  Don was stuck at home for one more night.  He's the vocalist in an amazing cover band called "Hey Stewie".  They had a few shows for the weekend that he couldn't miss, so we expected him the next day.

I didn't know if I should apologize or high-five Alejandro... surrounded by only girls for the whole weekend.  What a trooper!

When we were in Whistler last Thanksgiving, Mike and I both tried the world's greatest soup at a little restaurant called The Little Eatery.  It was called "Wicked Thai Chicken Soup" and it was out of this world.  Well, we couldn't believe our fortune when we discovered it just happened to be the soup of the day while we were in town, so we went back for more.   Best soup ever.

While on the topic of "best things ever",  Michelle made breakfast for us one morning.  Mike has deemed this breakfast, "Unbelievable".  That doesn't happen too often.   Here's Michelle in an action shot flipping over the perfect egg.

Michelle gracefully slides said egg onto a lightly buttered and toasted bagel.  The egg has a gooey melty slice of herbed Havarti cheese on top of it.  A slice of both ham and tomato are added.  Pepper is cracked on top.  And there you have it, folks.  The "Unbelievable Breakfast Sandwich".  Here's Mike going in for round two.

On our last night, we fed the kids early and had a late dinner of appetizers.  Marc created an amazing Thai salad called "Yum Nua" for us.  I can still taste it in my dreams, it was that good.  He perfectly grilled some sirloin steak and thinly sliced it.

He sliced some of the other ingredients, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, purple onion and lots and lots (and lots) of cilantro, while the dressing flavours blended together and the steak rested.

And the assembly has begun.   Iceberg lettuce, all the fresh veggies, the steak and then the cilantro and dressing.  The dressing is a combo of fish sauce, lime juice, and sweet chili sauce.

He created a masterpiece.  It was heavenly.

We munched away on Yum Nua and an assortment of other deliciousness including Bruschetta...

.... and oooey gooey Brie topped with mango chutney spread on Baguettes. 

There was lots of good music talked about, listened to and played over the course of the weekend.  Marc is a fantastic guitar player and singer.

Mike will happily play along with whatever is going on.  His best life-moments involve music.  There were lots of shiver-inducing musical moments during the weekend.  Mike's biggest shivers came while they all played around on Neil Young's "Down by the River".  Life-memory for sure.

All the kids blew off more than a little steam with a fiddle medley one night that just got faster and faster and faster.  They had a little routine choreographed and everything.  Good memory making moments.

On our last full day we had lunch outside in the sunshine...

... after which Ellie shrieked and screamed as only Ellie can do due to her loose molar bleeding.   I am the self-proclaimed tooth-pulling master of teeth pulling in these parts.  Not even a molar scares me away.  I pulled it out in one foul swoop, ran back into the restaurant for some napkins, rolled them up and shoved them into the hole, and we were good to go!

Whistler really is a beautiful place.  
So thankful we've been able to spend time there...

.... with some of these faces.

Of all the things to be thankful for, 
it was the faces, the conversations, and the moments of magic.
The words, the laughter, and the giggles.
If felt like we were with family for the holiday.

Best Penner Thanksgiving weekend on record.


  1. wow! what a spectacular weekend!!! So much richness captured on those photos...from the views of nature, to the food and the friends...SO very happy for you. Looked like a great time!

  2. Omigod, Karla- we didn't read this post until just now! I don't know why we didn't see it before. Thank you for such a lovely retrospective on our weekend together. It was truly a special time for us too. We'd love to make an annual trip - so I guess you will just have to stay out here, eh? Tee hee! :-)