We'd been waiting for them.
(Our Winnipeg neighbors and our friends.)
They are both, you know.
After last year's Wortley invasion, we knew we were in for some days to remember.
And we were right.
The Wortley crew arrived late on a Wednesday night a few weeks ago. The girls made a sign and Sasha even tucked her precious "Baby Alive" under the covers on Adrian's side of the bed. Those two have a bit of a special relationship. (To clarify, when referring to "those two", I mean both. Adrian and Sasha AND Adrian and Baby Alive.)
The girls ran down the sidewalk in their bare feet and jammies when we saw their rental car pull up on Georgia Street. There were hugs and smiles and squeezes. It was as though we'd never left.
Thursday was not just the first day of a holiday. No, it was so much bigger than that. It was Adrian's birthday. He began his day by doing his own half-marathon in the morning. The weather gods smiled on him and gave him a clear and dry day to run in his brand new year.
The girls got reacquainted with each other which took all of about 6.3 seconds. There was a lot of laughing, scheming, planning and creating going on. There was also a lot of trampoline bouncing. All of which produced the good sounds of old friends having fun. (For the record, it was not me and Kathleen bouncing on the trampoline.)
When Mike got home we celebrated the old guy's birthday with dark Whistler beer, pork tenderloin, and carrot cake, good conversation and some presents.
Let me tell you something about Adrian. The guy likes his t's. T-shirts, that is. I've never known anyone who has more t-shirts that all have a story or a reason to have been bought and then worn. Adrian's biggest challenge in life is finding enough days to wear all of this favorite t's, and then to wear them on the most appropriate days. The guy has great taste.
This summer, Mike just about jumped when we were shopping in Osborne Village in the 'Peg when he spotted this book - all about the the t-shirt. We knew it would be perfect for Adrian.
And what do you know, he even received another awesome T from Kathleen in honor of Louis Riel.
Friday was officially deemed "Science and Technology Day".
That's right. We assigned our days themes and names. That's how cool we are.
The rain was pouring down, so the perfect way to spend a wet and soggy morning was hanging out at Science World. Our family had waited to visit Science World until now so that it would be new to all of us. The inside renovations that had been going on at SW were all complete so we got to check the whole place out.
There was one "test" where you could challenge an opponent to see who is the more relaxed between the two of you. Mike and Adrian took each other on. The goal is to be so relaxed that the little steel ball rolls to your opponent's side. It began as a very equal battle. All of us spectators wondered who would possible out-relax the other.
At this point in the battle, Adrian was chanting and deep breathing....
... and Mike was reciting Math equations and proofs in his head.
Slowly the ball started rolling to Adrian's side. Mike was feeling like he had it in the bag.
As a ploy, he had started saying "Vic Toews... Vic Toews" out loud,
all in an effort to try and agitate Adrian.
all in an effort to try and agitate Adrian.
It seems like Mike's scheme back-fired because as soon as the words came out of his mouth, just the thought of Vic Toews started agitating HIM and Adrian pulled ahead for the win. Them's the breaks.
In other Science World news....
Adrian always laughs about the way you can ask Mike an arbitrary question like "How deep is the Red River?" and he'll answer you with the most confident, precise answer, that even if he doesn't have a hot clue what he's talking about, his demeanor and tone make you think he must know. It's the power of the engineering ring, we're told.
Whenever Mike used one of his self-assured answers all weekend, he did the "pinky finger salute", just like this. When the pinky is up, just fall under his power, nod your head and blindly accept whatever he is telling you.
The dinosaur exhibit was on at Science World. It was pretty cool.
It would have been even cooler if you were a 6 year old boy who was obsessed with dinosaurs.
Following our Science World visit, we were famished. We decided to take the Wortley clan to our favourite local haunt, "Burgers Etc." to expose them to one of the Lower Mainland's best burgers.
The food was amazing.
The company was lovely.
What wasn't so great that while we were munching away, our van was getting ticketed and towed off of Hastings. As a result, Adrian and Kathleen got to use their rental car to drive Mike to the lot to retrieve our van, and explore some sights of Burnaby that they otherwise wouldn't have seen.
After all of that excitement, we needed to dial things back just a little, so we spent the evening eating appies and getting the Wortley girls hooked on Star Wars. It was a fitting way to end "Science and Technology Day".
Saturday morning we were up and at 'em!
We had deemed it "Arts and Culture Day".
It all began with taking the Skytrain downtown.....
.... and starting at a very happy place.
It's awesome to have friends who love the CBC as much as I do. Both Adrian and Kathleen know the ins and the outs of the Mother Corp. Perhaps that is why we like each other so much? We all agreed that the CBC Vancouver store has way better offerings than what CBC Toronto offers up.
True to form, Adrian purchased a CBC Radio 3 t-shirt he'd had his eye on for awhile. Much to my delight, Mike bought me the most amazing CBC logo hoodie. You will get to catch a glimpse of this lovely hoodie later in this post. (If that doesn't keep you reading, I don't know what will.)
After strolling through the downtown and stopping here and there, we'd earned some lunch. And seeing as it was "Arts and Culture Day", we got all culturally diverse and had us some crepes! We found a Cafe Crepe that was bigger than most and were ushered into a back room with a velvet curtain. Kind of like our own private dining room, only seedier.
When the crepes were served, not a word was heard.
They were that good.
Our next stop was the Vancouver Art Gallery.
It just so happened that a brand new exhibit had opened the day before called "Beat Nation".
It was touted as an artistic melding of First Nations culture and Hip Hop.
The exhibit exceeded our expectations, as did the rest of the collections we saw.
It's amazing to watch your kids stop to really look at what they're seeing.
To hear them talk about it with their peers and share what they appreciate or don't understand.
It was a fabulous couple of hours.
After a little jaunt down Robson Street, it was time to feed ourselves yet again.
And we had a plan.
Have any of you watched the show "The Cupcake Girls" on the W Network? It's a little reality show that follows Heather and Lori, the two owners of Vancouver's "Cupcake" shops. We'd all seen the show before and the girls thought it would be pretty cool to try one of their cupcakes to see if they were as good as they looked.
Turns out, they were better than they looked.
And that doesn't happen very often.
I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking - how could this day get any better? What could they possibly do next to top those cupcakes?
Well, the day did get better. And more delicious.
After taking the Skytrain home, we got the girls feasting on a big pot of KD and headed out the door for an adult-only evening for some Lebanese cuisine.
Mike had tried Nuba once when his brother and sister were out a few years ago. We'd always wanted to try it for dinner and we knew Adrian and Kathleen would be the perfect couple to share a table with.
Our dinner was incredible. We started with the most delicious hummus and baba ghanooj, sampled everything on the platters, fell madly in love with najib, and ended with the most delicious desserts. It was outstanding from beginning to end. My taste buds are still thanking me. There was no better way to end "Arts and Culture Day".
Sunday beckoned us with a blue sky. That was a good thing. For it was "Outdoor Adventure Day".
Adrian and Mike started early with a trail run/hike on the North Shore. While they exerted themselves, I was preparing the second annual pumpkin pancake breakfast back at the homestead.
After gorging ourselves on pancakes, we all headed across the inlet to North Van to visit Deep Cove.
Deep Cove is a small little community nestled on the water. It's a breathtakingly beautiful place. Quaint, quiet, with stunning views.
We had wanted to take advantage of the good weather and get a hike in,
so we picked up the Baden Powell Trail near the park and began our trek to the lookout.
The girls talked non-stop the entire way to the lookout. We all laughed a bit, saying that for all the talking they were doing, we could be walking down a street in Transcona and they likely wouldn't notice the difference. The good thing was, the talking kept them from noticing that the distance to the lookout was quite a bit longer than we were expecting. It was good to make it to the top!
(See, what did I tell ya? Is that not a sweet looking hoodie?)
The lookout spot just seemed the perfect place to capture a special moment between
two Shreddie loving t-shirt clad friends.
And back down the mountain we went.
As we made our way down, the strangest little snow balls started falling from the sky at one point. They were literally teeny tiny balls of snow. Not flakes, and not ice. They were like those little "dots" of ice-cream you can buy sometimes.
We thought we'd be met with some rain at the bottom of the mountain, but thankfully, there was just a blue sky, sunshine, and a really neat donut shop.
Anything you read about Deep Cove usually references Honey Doughnuts and Goodies as a place you must visit. Now we know what everyone raves about. They make their signature doughnuts in small batches throughout the day so you get fresh, hot doughnuts. The girls all loved them and said they tasted kind of like pancakes. I'm not sure about that description, but I've never tasted anything quite like it before.
Sunday night was a time to chill out with some chili, and then get our creative juices flowing.
I got all of the girls going on altering a journal with magazine clippings and scraps and my all-time favorite gooey-sticky wonder that is Mod-Podge.
While we created, Mike and Adrian continued their Cribbage series. Adrian and Mike began this last winter, and picked up right where they left off. Adrian sprung ahead quickly in this year's contest, so every night, Mike would beg and shame Adrian into staying up later and playing just "one more game" to improve his chances of catching him. Adrian usually gave in, but it didn't work.
Monday was "DejaVous Day". That meant that we were repeating last year's Monday by hanging out at Granville Island. Kiera and Thea were sure that the best pizza they've had was the stuff they sampled last year in the market. We had to go back to make sure. They concur that yes, it was just as good as they remembered.
The day was beautiful, and we were able to wander through Granville Island with an unhurried pace. On our way home we stopped at Commercial Drive for a stroll and then headed home to begin the beginning of the end. Dinner at Anton's and some final togetherness was on the menu for the evening.
And then it was over.
The girls went back to school the next day and the Wortley's began their packing.
Even if Adrian beat Mike, both at being relaxed and at playing Crib, we still love them.
Even if we don't see each other for many months in between, we're still tight.
Even if the girls are separated by miles and mountains, "Some say Friends, We Say Sisters" still holds true.
That's just the way it is.