Sunshine gives me superpowers.

I woke up this morning before 6am.  I felt more awake than I had in months. I felt refreshed. I felt like my skin was going to explode in energy.

As I let this feeling wash through me I recited my gratitude list, which was soon backed up by the harmonies of the honking geese flying past my open window.

“I am thankful to wake up to the sounds of nature.”

I wanted to leap from my bed.  I wanted to do everything. All at once.  I wanted to go everywhere. Nothing could stop me.

The cold cloud had lifted and the sun, the glorious warm sun, had returned.

After months of being frozen to my couch, dreading any outing that required me to wear real pants, I was suddenly daydreaming of sundresses on patios (and although dresses are still not technically pants, they are much prettier and happier than my sweats).

I felt free.

It was contagious.

My kids eagerly walked a 2 hour journey with me. They explored the patterns of melting ice while I positioned myself in the direct path of the sun’s rays.  I stared at the dark blue water in front of me until hypnotized by the sparkles which danced in the waves.  Surrounded by snow and ice, I felt complete warmth and nourishment from the sun. I planted myself to the ground, drawing its energy into me.

Wonderwoman. Wildflower. Willow. Me.

xo

e

@pixiepaperdoll7

#TeamAdventurers

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Ice fishing in a stream with a skipping rope.

Ice fishing in a stream with a skipping rope.

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CBC Radio spreading good music & good karma..

About a week ago I was having a very dark day in a series of dark days. My incredible friend Beth (along with some other amazing friends and family), had been pulling out all stops to pull me back to the land of the living. True to her sweet yet random form, Beth answered a trivia question on Facebook with CBC Radio 2 Drive and indicated that she wanted to donate her answer to me (her fellow uber CBC geek friend). She told radio host,  Tom Power that I needed the good karma in my life right now.

Well… She won.

And Tom announced her response on the radio program the next morning. He said that no one had ever donated their answer before. He sent me good karma and encouraged all of Canada to send me the same. Another friend texted me that she had heard the program on the way to work and was so excited that she actually pulled over to listen. Karma was spreading.

That morning had been one of those ‘struggle to leave the bed’ mornings and I was facing some very difficult meetings and conversations. But as I set off walking down the path, I started reciting to myself (softly at first and gradually getting stronger), ‘People care. Tom Power sent me good karma. People all across the country, who don’t even know me are sending me good karma. Everything will be okay. There is good in the world.’

And I felt it. This amazing sense of people coming together to support each other. That even in such a lonely time, I wasn’t really alone. Oh, the power of radio, friends and community.

My name (as per Beth’s request) was submitted for their weekly prize pack draw and …… (drum roll, please)…. I won !!!! R2 producer Emma wrote that she hoped this made my week even brighter.

It did.

Kindness matters. Sprinkle that shit everywhere.

xo

e

@pixiepaperdoll7

 

The end ….. ??

I can not believe our 3-week road trip adventure across Western Canada is over.  Part of me wants to jump in the car and do it all over again immediately… part of me is quite content to be back in my (much cleaner) home easing into routine.  None of me is glad tomorrow is Monday.

As much as our trip is officially over, I can’t let this end until I come up with some sort of wrap-up of thoughts.

First of all THANKS!

Thanks to the friends who opened up their homes and their lives and played with us along the way. Thanks to my parents who took (extra good) care of our home and to the Martinelli’s for watching our psycho cat, Lucy.

And thanks for reading. For cheering us on.

There were times during the trip that I would be so exhausted at the end of the day and question whether I should just miss a post or why I was even doing this at all.

I did this for Rain and Moxie. I want them to keep this as part of their memory when the real thing becomes more distant.  Although I’m sure we’ll each have our own versions.

I also did it for me. Let’s face it. I love writing and this just seemed like a natural thing to do. I’ve done travel blogs before on my solo trips (Little Corn Island, Nicaragua; Maritime Road Trip) . But not with this type of dedication. I’ve also never had this type of followers. So thanks for keeping me motivated. (And providing me with a pseudo adult conversation during the times when there was no other).

If I thought my personal time was limited before. How about no personal space?    We slept in the same bed many nights and almost always in the same room. We were in tight proximity 24 hours/day for 21 days. And it was fun. We really grew together.  It was just what we needed.

This trip was planned prior to the death of their father in May and for that I am so thankful. I would not have planned it afterwards. In practical terms, it didn’t make sense. But in reality, it truly could not come at a better time. We all needed this. We all needed to shake ourselves out and regroup. We needed a distraction. We needed to talk about Jason every day in a different environment. We needed to laugh our butts off when we realized that his underwear had somehow got mixed up with Rain’s underwear and packed in the suitcase. “Guess Daddy is joining us for the ride.”

We laughed about whether Daddy would have gone into Reptile World. I told them that when I first started dating him, he wouldn’t even go into the snake section of the zoo. We all agreed that he would have tried. He was like that. He would have really wanted to go in just because Rain was so excited about it.

He was also there for Moxie’s birthday. She said should feel him.  In the 800 year old trees.

I hope he was with us. It breaks my heart that he will never be able to hug them again. Or play with them. I know he would have loved this adventure. Even the snakes.

Since we’ve been gone I’ve noticed a change in Rain and Moxie. They’ve become more mature, more independent and curious about the world. I watched them strengthen their bond as brother and sister. They truly are best friends and so much fun.  I will miss watching them play all day.

Tonight I asked if they were happy to be home and they both said YES!  But they are ready to plan next year’s road trip to the East Coast.  (I’m not sure this can be an annual event but I like their spirit!

I asked what they will miss most about the trip and they both said the Food. We did have some amazing grub while we were gone.

Moxie: Mostly the salmon. Especially Andrew’s salmon.  (very high praise from a girl who is typically not the biggest fan of Salmon. But I don’t blame her – it was amazing!)

Rain: I’ll miss getting meat whenever I want. (ahhh yes.  my little carnivore with the enormous appetite.  Don’t worry – I do cook him meat, just not every day, and not for every meal.)

Me?  I will miss the housekeeping.  And bus boys.

Here are some of my favourite pictures:

Final Canada Flag Count….. 789!  That’s 789 Canada Flags that we spotted from the car between Mississauga, ON – Vancouver, BC (and even some in Washington).

Total Miles (yes, we rented a ‘Murican car) travelled:  3,876 miles (6,238km)

Til our next adventure,

Team Adventurers

PS – if you like music make sure you listen to my CBCR3 song of the day picks.  I’m working on a mixed tape.  I’ll keep you posted.

View from the backseat

The kids took pictures on their cameras/Kurio pads/DS throughout the trip, mostly while we were on the road. This is a collection of their pictures. I like watching the change in landscape as we move further west.  Scroll all the way down to find videos.

The roadtrip from their eyes…

Videos from the backseat:

Moxie’s Foot: http://youtu.be/8yzaI0HMXXo

Rain Introducing Wawa: http://youtu.be/nhPT0QuZqu0

Moxie Introducing Wawa (take 1): http://youtu.be/GGhk1z_e3T4

Moxie Introducing Wawa (take 2): http://youtu.be/cqBkQABqeQU

Day 20&21 (Ontario) CBC R3 Song of the Day

As a tribute to Canada and my love for Canadian Indie music, I’ve not only created special provincial playlists for my Cross-Canada road trip but I will also be featuring a:

“CBCR3 Song of the Day”

Every day I will showcase a CBCR3 artist from the province where we happen to be travelling. (the rules are simple; simply because I’m too tired for fancy)

I am merging Days 20&21 because that’s how they feel in my head (2 days of solid commuting back home). We are now home sweet home in Ontario and the CBCR3 Song of the Day is…… (drum roll please)

Oh Alberta by Elliott Brood

Elliott Brood is a 3 piece Alt-Country band formed in 2002.  I’ve heard their style classified as death country, urban hillbilly, blackgrass etc.  As far as I’m concerned they are just fucking fantastic.

In 2012, their song Write it all Down for You made my CBC R3 Playlist of Favourite songs of the year and in 2013 their song Miss You Now made the list.

The song, Oh Alberta is truly the theme song of our trip.  It was our starting song on Day 7 and we listened to it frequently throughout the trip shouting out the names of provinces (it lists all that we drove through except British Columbia).  The video is also simply amazing so take the 3:12 minutes and enjoy!

cheers,

Team Adventurers

Day 1 (Ontario): Safe and Sound, Hawksley Workman

Day 2 (Ontario): Still, Great Lake Swimmers

Day 3 (Ontario): Take Me Anywhere, Odd Years

Day 4 (Manitoba): One Great City, Weakerthans

Day 5 (Saskatchewan): Mr. Baker, Indigo Joseph

Day 6 (Alberta): Sunshine, The Wet Secrets

Day 7 (Alberta): Black Water, Reuben and the Dark

Day 8 (Alberta): I’ll be a Ghost for You, Rae Spoon

Day 9 (British Columbia): Emerald Lake, Said the Whale

Day 10 (British Columbia): The House that Heaven Built, Japandroids

Day 11 (British Columbia): Two Step, Bear Mountain

Day 12 (British Columbia): Radio, Yukon Blonde

Day 13 (British Columbia): Sweetwater, The Matinee

Day 14 (British Columbia): Yellow Lines, Truckstop Super Friends

Day 15 (British Columbia): Animal, The Pack A.D

Day 16 (British Columbia): Strange Girl, The Zolas

Day 17 (British Columbia): Headphones, Mounties

 Day 18 (British Columbia): I Want You Back, Dead Ghosts

Day 19 (British Columbia): Let it Roll, Treelines

 

Days 20 & 21: Vancouver, BC – Seattle, WA – Chicago, IL – Buffalo, NY – Mississauga, ON

I decided to merge days 20 & 21 because that’s how they feel in my head.  I encountered more challenges in Seattle than I did the entire vacation but we still managed to wake up at 3:30 AM and catch our 6AM flight home (via Chicago).

The kids were phenomenal flyers.  They entertained themselves while I read an entire book from Seattle – Chicago minus about 3 chapters.  I had brought a book, but then I realized at the airport that I had packed in a suitcase so I had no choice but to purchase a new one (oh damn. A new book.)

I read the last three chapters on the flight from Chicago – Buffalo very, very slowly… I didn’t want it to end.  I never want good books to end but I also realized that once I finished, I was out of toys/entertainment.  Luckily the flight was quick and the kids I chatted about how we were getting excited to be home!

We were greeted at the Buffalo airport by Grandma and Grandpa – yippee! BIG hugs all around!!  We stopped for dinner and they drove us home.

One thing that I haven’t mentioned is that while the kids and I have been galavanting all over Canada, my parents were at our house working their butts off.

My Dad painted our entire basement!! (With help from Mom).  This was incredible – my basement is about the most difficult room to paint (think stucco, fake hard wood, fake beams, bricks throughout the entire space!).  The end result is outstanding!!  I can not even explain how amazing it looks and what a HUGE difference it makes – the pictures don’t even do it justice)  (Paula if you are reading this: They painted the fireplace – woohoooo!!!!!)

basement before

basement before

basement after

basement after

While Dad was busy painting, my Mom was cleaning my house.  I’m sure I won’t list everything that she did but here is a glimpse: washed all my windows, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned the fridge, scrubbed the kitchen floor, laundry, washed all the floor mats, washed our duvets and all blankets, cleaned/organized the kids rooms…..).  Holy crap – coming home to a sparkling clean house was so incredibly amazing.

And yes, I know I am very spoiled and that my parents totally rock.

Thanks Mom and Dad!!!!

The kids and I showered, got into clean  pyjamas (we’ve been wearing the same pair of pjs for 3 weeks), and fell asleep quite instantly.  We woke up about 12-13 hours later.

I have a couple more thoughts that I will compile into a wrap-up post but for now I’m going to relax and enjoy my clean freshly painted house.

cheers,

Team Adventurers

PS – another big THANK-YOU to Sandra and her family for cat-sitting Lucy when my parents were not at our house.  Lucy is not an easy cat to watch.  She bites everyone.  I’m quite sure that there is a picture of her somewhere with the warnings: Do Not Cat-Sit this Crazy Cat!!  But nonetheless we was very well cared for – thanks!

Lucy - she looks harmless.....

Lucy – she looks harmless…..

Day 19: Vancouver, BC

We woke up late… and slowly…. The room was a disaster… There were wigs and clothes strewn all over the floor..bathing suits in the bathroom sink and 2 wine glasses with just enough of a sacrifice to the wine gods remaining.. beside them was an empty bottle.. We may be taking this rock star personality much too seriously.

There was only one way to spend a day with very limited energy and brain power – head to the beach!

Rain and Moxie explored a beach at Stanley Park while Jill and I lounged in the sun and caught some rays.  We stayed there for about 4 hours. There was a couple of seal spottings, an attempt to sell sea shells (by the sea shore) and some good greasy beach concession stand food.  A perfect afternoon.

Selling sea shells by the sea shore

Selling sea shells by the sea shore

kids with seal

kids with seal

Seal!

Seal!

Beach Time

Beach Time

Afterwards we walked back to Jill’s and then went for Sushi (YUM!) followed by gelato/cappuccino (YUM!YUM!)

She gave us a ride back to our hotel and the kids soaked in the tub (they had sand – everywhere!!).

I organized all of our stuff – I had brought a bunch of road trip material that will not be making the flight home with us (a cooler, a tea kettle, some mugs, a rubbermaid bin, kids’ activities, towels, backseat pillows etc etc).  Jill has generously agreed to take them off our hands tomorrow and donate them accordingly (maybe a women’s/homeless shelter…). I managed to make all of our stuff fit into 3 suitcases – whew – while the kids stared at the tv.  They are going to miss cable when we get home (not to mention swimming pools, the ocean, mountains, chickens, excessive amounts of junk food/candy, late bedtimes, sleeping in, wild animals…..).

Tomorrow is our last day (BOOHOO!!!) and we are driving to Seattle for our early Saturday morning flight home.  sniff sniff sniff….

Til tomorrow,

Team Adventurers