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Normally I like to take pictures of trees.  That wasn’t the case in Eastern Canada.  There it was all about rocks.  Here are some of my favourite snaps.


Most of these pictures were taken at Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick which boasts the highest tides in the world.  The constant rush of water in and out sculpts the rocks into amazing shapes.  It’s quite a huge space to explore at low tide.  We went earlier in the morning so there weren’t too many people exploring with us.  The big tour buses started pulling in after lunch.  I think it would have been quite a different experience had there been hundreds of people down there with us instead of the handfull that actually were.  I’m glad we got there when we did.


If the sun hit the rocks and beach just right they looked red.  Otherwise they looked kind of a greyish purple colour.  You have to go there according to the tide schedule.  For us, low tide started at about 10:00 a.m.  Later in the year, low tide is much earlier.  It’s then that you can get pictures of the sunrise around the rocks.  That would have been cool.  I was just grateful that we were able to visit such an amazing place in relatively good weather.  It did rain a lot on our trip.


Can you see the difference in colour between these shots?  My camera isn’t always great at getting colour right.


This is one of my favourite shots from Hopewell Rocks.  It got the rocks, the clouds and even a tiny person in it so that you can see how immmense these formations really are.


I cheated a bit on these three shots.  There’s a button on my photo editing system called “warmify”.  It changes the hues making them…well…warmer.  This is how I remember the rocks.  They really were quite reddish.


In these two pictures the colour is off but you can see some of the famous flower pot rocks.  It’s quite impressive to see those trees growing way, way up on what is basically just rock.  I wish that these pictures had turned out better.  If I lived closer by, I’d go back and try again.


There were a lot of neat openings in the rocks created by the water.  Those were fun (and popular) spots for photos.


When you walk along the beach at Hopewell Rocks, you eventually come to a hug rocky barrier.  There’s a guide there telling you that you can climb over it if you want to.  A lot of tourists don’t because of their age or because of mobility problems.  Not having any such hindrances ourselves, we did clamor over.  On the other side, we found this really cool rock garden created entirely by tourists like ourselves.  Of course, we had to add to it.  (D didn’t build the huge one he’s standing next to.  I just happened to photograph him when he got to that one.)

You could also get a really good look at a place called Daniel’s Flats.  (You can see a bit of it in that second photo.) You can’t walk out there because it’s mud but it’s interesting how the flow of water even affects the muddy bottom.


Hopewell wasn’t the only place we saw beautiful rocks.  That lovely red rocked beach in the above photo was taken at Grand Lake in New Brunswick.  P.E.I also had its share of gorgeous red rocks and cliffs.


I didn’t alter the colours at all in any of the Prince Edward Island shots above.  I can’t say that my camera captured the hues perfectly but you can tell Canada’s smallest province is big on colour.


This last shot was taken at a campground in Quebec.  It was stunningly beautiful.  I took a lot of pictures out there that were O.K.  This one I really liked.  This is where I sat (with a whole bunch of other campers) to watch a sunset.  It was a perfect setting for an awe-inspiring show.

That’s it!  If you’re into rocks the Maritimes are a good place for you to visit.  I’m not that much into rocks but I’m still not sorry I made the trip.  The East Coast rocks!


I still have a lot more photos that I want to put up but they will have to wait.  That’s not because they aren’t ready; it’s because I’ve been busy with another project.  This one began before I left for the Maritimes.  I took my old dining room chairs, which are still good and come in handy sometimes, and made them better.  Before the trip, I gave the legs and backs on the four chairs a light sanding, a good cleaning, and two coats of flat, black, inexpensive paint.  They didn’t look amazing at that point.  Since coming back, I hauled up one of the chairs, lightly distressed it with fine sandpaper, cleaned it again and then put on a coat of polyurethane.  Wow!  Does that chair ever look better now!  Instead of an old dinged up chair that was given to me fourteen years ago (the chairs and table had belonged to Louis’ grandparents and sat in storage for a while before they were handed down to us), I now have a chair that looks contemporary and fits nicely with my new dining room chairs.  This was so easy to do!


The chair on the left (the one without the basket) is the one that is finished.  It’s not obvious in the picture because the lighting in that room isn’t great and my camera can’t handle that so well.  I don’t have a before picture to show the difference the black paint makes.  You just have to imagine the chair legs and backs the same colour as the seats but with a lot of dings from use and moving.


You can see the distressing I did quite a bit better on this closer up detailed shot.  That one chair really looks fantastic now.  I can’t wait to pull out all these chairs (once the other three are done!) the next time we have guests.  I’m not embarrassed about them any more.

P is very close in age to D, hails from the same parents and has had the same upbringing but he’s a very different kid from his brother.  He’s much harder to take pics of because he’s usually very aware of the camera and that awareness often affects how he looks in the photos.


P is very compliant but it’s tough to get him to strike a pose.  He usually just stands there.


When I asked him to do something interesting in front of these red doors in Quebec City he drew a blank and simply said, “Like what?”  He’s certainly a chip off the old block, me being the block.

P is naturally a follower.  That works out well for us because his brother simply charges ahead and assumes control very naturally.


It’s best to try and snap P when he’s absorbed in what he’s doing.


Like his mother, P has a sweet tooth.


Unlike his mother, P is athletic.  Just look at this boy jump.


P is almost always cooperative and is generally very pleasant to have around.  At times, I was able to capture a little of that in my pics.


He’s generally not the first to try things but if his brother or others are doing it, he’ll follow suit.


There were a couple of times on our trip where D didn’t feel like doing stuff, so it was just P and me.  P is just so agreeable that I really enjoyed those moments.


That last pic, the one with the little rainbow, is one of my favourites from our trip.  D hurries through things.  P lingers a little longer and sometimes the relaxed pace makes for better photos.

Both my boys are good chess players but I think P got the best of his brother in this giant version of the game.


P really liked this shot of him in the Haunted Mansion.


He looks headless!

This is my favourite shot of my baby and also another one of my favourite shots from the road trip.


I know lovable doesn’t begin with the letter P but P really is for lovable.  That describes this boy quite well.

D is one of my favourite subjects to shoot.  He just has a way of looking dashing without even trying.  Either that or downright silly.  There’s no real in between for him.


D doesn’t get nervous when I point a camera at him.  He just continues doing what he was doing and looks oh so natural.  I love it!


I asked my boys to climb on this cannon just outside of Chateau Laurier in Quebec City.  There were a lot of people around but that didn’t stop D from clamboring up.


There are a lot of cannons in old Quebec and I had my camera ready every time the boys wanted to sit down on one.  I really, really like this pic of D.


Quebec City also has gorgeous doors.  I kept wanting the boys to strike a pose in front of them.  There’s no one quite like D to strike a pose.


D also knows how to laugh and make others laugh along with him.  No shyness about this lad!


D’s also pretty fearless.  He climbs to the top of things without a moment’s hesitation.


He also goes closer to the edge than the rest of us.


He’s so slim he looks great in silhouettes.


He’s got a thing for having his picture taken with characters.  Here’s a small sampling of some of  the characters we encountered on our trip.


He wasn’t all that sure about the mermaid one but being a good sport he got reasonably close to her when I asked him too.

Yes. D’s good when I ask him to pose for a picture.  He complies but sometimes his face gives it away that he isn’t really into the photo shoot.


If there is one word to describe D it’s the word “leader”.  I don’t think I have one picture where he isn’t forging ahead of us all.


He definitely took charge of the camp fire each night often to the unhappiness of his younger brother who just wanted a chance at being “lord of the flame” for a change.


He also tended to proclaim himself first in line to use the lap top the boys jointly own.  This was also to the unhappiness of his younger brother at times.  This is another one of my favourite pictures from our trip.  It really sums up what it was like – rustic and technological.


D isn’t just dashing, he’s also daring.


He casually picked up this lobster at the Charlottetown wharf after some older boys did.

D just looks great no matter how you shoot him.  Wish I could say he gets his “spaghettini legs” from me.  Mine are more of the fettucine variety I’d say.


I brought home over 700 pictures from my travels that I just couldn’t wait to look at and tinker with.  Some of them I really like and some of them don’t have much artistic value but I’ll hold on to them anyway because they bring back memories that I hope to keep.  I would like to put some of my photos on this blog but how?  I could go chronologically, city by city, place by place but I think that would be quite the rehash pictorially of what I’ve already done in written form.  So I decided to try to group some of the better shots by category.  Today’s grouping is lighthouses.  Enjoy!


This tiny lighthouse is in Cap-Egmont, P.E.I. behind the bottle houses.  Alot of people build lighthouses in their yards for decorative purposes in the maritimes.  The flag on top shows that these particular people hail from the Acadians.  It was surprising to me how much French I heard outside Quebec on this trip.


I honestly can’t remember where this lighthouse is but I took a few pics of it.


I like how rustic lighthouses can be so I always get up close, really close, to them to admire their shabby finishes.


I also like to walk all around lighthouses and photograph them from all different angles.  That really irritated the boys.


That red beach was where I lost my keys.  Obviously this lighthouse is in P.E.I. somewhere but that particular stop was made impromptu so I never did find out its name or anything.


This blotchy beauty was on the northernmost point of P.E.I. (I think!)


I sat down in the long grass to get this picture.  It was worth it.  It’s one of my favourites in this category.


This is the Wood Islands interpretive lighthouse.  It’s still operational though it had to be moved because the coastline where it was sitting was eroding and the lighhouse was in jeopardy of falling into the water.  You can go up in this one and look out.  It’s kind of like a museum inside.


Same lighthouse, different angle.  D and P put their faces in those fisherman and lobster cutouts which I think just adds to the picture.


Yet another angle.  I love how lighting can make the same lighthouse look so different.


I also loved this cute little seating area at the entrance to the lighthouse.


This little beauty sat at one end of a very long dock at Wood Islands.  You can see a big ferry that takes you from P.E.I. to hmmm…somewhere else…on the right.  You can also see some of those blotches that I hate so much in this shot.


Perspective is fun.  There was another little lighthouse on the end of that long dock.  Can you see it?


There were some shanties at Wood Islands that you could play around in.  This is P at the top of a very tall steep ladder inside this shanty made to look like a lighthouse.


Last, but not least, is a lighthouse I grew up with.  This one’s at Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, Ont.  I still love to visit it.


And I still love to get up close to it and see its shabbiness.  Lighthouses really do the shabby chic look well.

That’s it!  If you’re into lighthouses, you can do lighthouse tours in some of the maritime provinces.  I wouldn’t have minded that but D and P got pretty sick of me spotting these lovelies and wanting to stop, circle, sit in grass, go up close, go far away, have them go in front of them, etc., etc. for photo ops.  Not everyone adores lighthouses I guess.

1.  I have a good husband.

I didn’t really learn that; I already knew it but he more than proved it to me while I was away.  He wasn’t able to come with us but he faithfully texted every night and read the blog to keep up with where we were at.  When I arrived home, what greeted me was a homemade “welcome home” banner, some freshly picked wildflowers and a spotless house.  There were no dirtly dishes on the counter, the lawn had been mowed, the laundry I had left behind had been done, even the garage had been cleaned.  If that doesn’t say, “I love you” I don’t know what does!

2.  I want a new camera.

My Sony Cybershot tried really hard on this trip but just didn’t perform as well as Iwould have liked.  I’m going to start saving my nickels and dimes for something faster and with more zoom.  Of course, something that produces pictures without splotchy marks on them would also be nice.

3.  Two weeks is a long time to not weed the garden.

I’m the one who’s in charge of property beautification around here so weeding is my domain.  With all the rain we’ve had, the super tiny weeds I left behind grew beyond belief.  After my run this morning, I filled up a wheel barrow with weeds as big as a foot high just doing the front garden.  I’ll tackle the side and back garden tomorrow if it’s not raining out.

4.  I can do things.

If nothing else, I’ve learned from this trip that I can do things.  I’m not a great driver and I’m naturally terrible at directions but taking my time and using maps I managed to drive over 5000 km and see beautiful places and things in four different provinces.  I did get turned around a few times but I simply pulled over, asked for directions and got back on track.  Now that I’ve faced my irrational fear of getting hopelessly lost and learned how not to get in a panic attack (or at least how to manage one so that it didn’t get the better of me) I feel that I can do almost anything.  I don’t have to hold back any more.  I can acknowledge my weaknesses, find ways to compensate for them and I can accomplish things.

There are some people whose idea of a dream vacation is to sit on a beach or curl up in a Muskoka chair (or something more comfortable) with a good book.  I’m not one of those people.  I like to go, see and do.  Yesterday was a sitting around kind of day.  It was pouring rain which made it hard to come up with much else to do.  I still managed to get in a walk and do some browsing.  After all, I do have an umbrella now.

Today the weather was much better.  The sun broke through the clouds and it actually got warm out. (Imagine that in July!)  I wanted to be on the go again.  My parents’ home is about a five minute drive from Presqu’ile Provincial Park.  It’s a place I visited often as a child and revisited today three times.  The first visit was a solo one to do some trails.  The marsh boardwalk, which had been closed for years, reopened this year thanks to some dedicated volunteers who rebuilt it (my dad was one of them!) and I was eager to get on it and some of the other trails the park had to offer.  There’s nothing I like more than a walk in the woods.  The mosquitoes were fierce so I actually jogged one of the trails.  It was nice to go alone.  No one to say, “How much farther?” or “Why do you have to take so many pictures?”  I could linger as long as I liked or run as fast as I wanted to if I wanted to.  Freedom!  I loved it!

The second visit was one with the boys.  The afternoon actually was a little bit hot.  I thought the boys might enjoy a visit to the beach at Presqu’ile.  It was windy and I knew the waves at the beach would be pretty good.  I used to love running into the water and diving over the waves.  D and P did the exact same thing.  Then they did the same things they’ve been doing since the very first time I brought them to a beach.  They dug holes for a while and then turned their attention to tormenting sea gulls.  It made me laugh.

The third visit to the park was with my dad.  I noticed that there was a guided “deer walk” at 7 p.m. and thought it would be something I could get into.  My dad thought the same thing.  We actually saw two deer on the walk and I learned a new word: crepuscular.  I’m not sure if that’s how it’s spelled but that’s how it sounds.  It’s the word for animals that eat at dusk and dawn.  They’re not nocturnal or diurnal, they’re crepuscular.  I also learned that mice eat fallen antlers.  Guess that explains why I’ve never found any.  Those hungry mice get to ’em way before I do.

It was nice to have such a great time so close to my old home.  Just goes to show you that you don’t have to go very far to have a good time.

People in Quebec and Ontario can drive a whole lot more safely today.  There is one less tired mama on the road.  We packed up our stuff in the pouring rain yesterday and pushed on until we got to my parents’ home.  We’re all happy we did this trip but we’re also happy to be done it.  It was great to sleep in a bed last night and eat real meals again.  It was especially nice to be snug and dry in a comfortable home when it poured rain for most of the day today.  I like camping and touring but it’s far less fun when it’s wet.  The boys enjoyed vegging in front on Oma and Opa’s big T.V.  I can’t even remember what I did.  I just know that it wasn’t taking down a tent or setting one up or looking at a map trying to figure out how to get from here to there or attempting to put together a meal for less than nothing.  It’s good to be off the road for a few days.

A couple of nights ago we were talking about how nice it will be to sleep in a bed again.  I’m dreaming of a bed in a room that I don’t have to share with two farting boys and a swarm of bood thirsty mosquitoes.  The boys are just dreaming of their own beds in their own rooms where no one can roll into you or on you during the night and where a toddler on one side of your tent is screaming because she doesn’t want to go to bed and the baby in the tent beside you isn’t waking up unhappy before 6 a.m.  Camping is great but after a week of less than stellar sleep we’re all starting to get a little bleary eyed.

So yesterday we started the voyage home.  I feel much braver now having looked for and found places in several different provinces so I decided we’d take a scenic route home.  We followed the east coast of New Brunseick on what is called the Acadian Coastal Drive.  It was a long, long trip to Miramichi is all I can really say about this route.  You drive by a lot of white churches with black trim, encounter a lot of law abiding drivers, see a few people enjoying the coast line at low tide and have a chance to get your picture taken with the world’s largest lobster.  We had to stop for that!

It’s slim pickings in terms of camp grounds in Miramichi.  We ended up on a transformed farm.  We had to laugh when the owner (who looks exactly like a farmer) showed us to our camping spot on his beat up bicycle.  ( We followed very slowly in the van.)  We were able to pick from a number of spots in a big field.  The place at least had a small pool and working toilets and showers.  We probably had our best camp fire yet there and the boys made a friend quickly despite the fact that this particular kid only spoke French.  He had a golf club and ball and that was enough for D and P to want to befriend him.  That big open field was perfect for whacking around that golf ball.

Today we headed across New Brunswick into Quebec.  Our plan was to take the 108 West.  No one calls it that in Miramichi though.  They call it Plaster Rock Highway.  I had to ask three times to find this particular route and each time I was asked if I REALLY wanted to take this road.  I was warned that it was rough.  One woman warned me that I’d probably lose a few organs traversing it.  I figured the highway couldn’t be lined with rusted hulks with skeletons in them of stupid tourists who had possibly dared to go this way.  Obviously these people had tried it and made it out alive.  We went for it and it turned out to be a good decision.  We made good time.  There’s absolutely nothing out on Plaster Rock Highway but rough winding road.  It’s even a dead zone in terms of cell phones.  It was kind of fun to do the unexpected and make it out the other side to tell about it.  The road ends at a place called Plaster Rock which has a wood carving of the world’s largest fiddleheads.  I’m sure not many people have a picture of their kids in front of the world’s largest statue of fiddleheads but we do!

We’re now camping in Quebec.  The T.V. show “Biggest Loser” is blaring in the background in French.  I’m finding it hard to blog because I can actually understand what is being said on the show.  My brain is kind of working in two languages even after taking the long way to Miramichi one day and braving Plaster Rock Highway the next.  Yeah, I’m amazing!

Anyone who’s spent any amount of time around children knows that teachable moments can happen at any time.  Kids are naturally curious and aren’t afraid to ask questions.  Why are the sand around here so red anyway?  How come every place on this island sells Anne stuff?  Some questions are easier to answer than others.  Today, while we were en route to Charlottetown, D realized that it was Sunday.  “Won’t God be angry that we’re not in church?”, he wondered.  Good question.  My answer was along the lines that I thought God was more interested in what was going on people’s hearts than where there bodies were on any particular day of the week.  Of course, what is going on in the heart can determine where are bodies are and what they’re doing.  We talked a little on the topic and then the boys moved on to other things.  I continued to think about the question though the whole time we were driving to P.E.I.’s capital and then again when we went to the southernmost point of the island to view an operational lighthouse.  If what God was really interested in was church attendance, I think Jesus would have went up to the Pharisees and patted them on their backs with the words, “Well done, guys.  You’re on the right track.”  He didn’t.  Their bodies wore the right clothes, they mouthed the right words and they showed up at the right place on the Sabbath but Jesus saw much deeper than that.  He saw their motivation.  They weren’t “going to church” to seek God, worship him or discern his will.  They were there for personal reasons.  It was good at the time for their social standing in the community, a way to power and positively affected their finances.  Their hearts were far from God even though their “church attendance” was impeccable.  I guess this made me think that the better question was “Would God be angry with what was going on in my heart?”  This trip is about having a vacation but more than that too.  It’s about spending quality and quantity time with my boys while they’re still interested in hanging with mom.  My position is transitioning from one of authority to one of influence as they age.  Talks like the one we had today are good ones.  I am glad my boys ask the sort of things they do and that we can consider what the word of God has to say together.  I don`t think God would be angry with that.  I imagine him smiling at such teachable times being bought up.

On a less heady note, the wharf in Charlottetown was nice.  We saw Province House where Canada was forged and some other architecturally beautiful buildings.  The highlight was a man made small pool with lobsters, clams, starfish, snails and fish in it that you could touch.  At first, the boys said “No thank you,” but then some older boys came along and happily stuck their hands in and pulled out the various inhabitants swimming therein.  D and P didn’t want to look like wusses I guess because after that they too started grabbing things with gusto as if it was no big deal.  It kind of made me laugh but I was thankful for those older boys.  Their courage inspired my guys to do something I don’t  think they’ll forget for a while.

The lighthouse tour was equally good.  I went a bit snap happy with the camera which had the boys sighing a bit but overall they cooperated with me quite nicely.  That was about it they could handle.  It’s finally hot and muggy here and they were eager to get back and do some swimming.  I cooperated nicely with them and drove them back without stopping to visit anything else.  I think God would be happy with that too.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.