I Love You to the Ocean

Lately Little Chef has started saying “I love you to the ocean” and we are not sure where he picked it up.  Maybe he created it from his book about the little nutbrown hare who says he loves his mommy to the moon, or from the skinnamarinky song.  Who knows.  Either way its so dang cute we melt to puddles every time he says it.  We decided he needed to actually see the ocean to understand what he was saying.

We had been planning a trip to the ocean since we got married, but kids and jobs and weddings all got in the way.  So we decided to just bite the bullet, plan as best we could and give it a try.  It is about a 12 hour drive from our house, 13+ with baby stops, so we were not expecting it to go well.  But being the optimist’s that we are {just kidding, I’m still not an optimist, but that sweet sexy husband of mine sure is rubbing off on me} we decided to try to do the drive in one day.  Armed with out “road-trip essentials” we hit the highway at 5am Thursday morning.

Little Chef watched the Curious George movie on repeat the entire time.  I brought along about 100 DVD’s and offered them all to him, but of course every time I asked him what he wanted to watch he chanted “George! George! George!”  So George it was.  From listening in the background we are fairly sure at one point the man in the yellow hat gets arrested… I have a deep rooted distrust for that guy.  His only redeeming character is that he makes me feel like a better parent.

Little Chef in the truck with his very stylish turban holding his headphones on.
Little Chef in the truck with his very stylish turban holding his headphones on.

Little Sous chef actually did so well, she was pretty much a dream child until the last of our 13 hours on the road.  She had to entertain herself with her chewlery giraffe and nap with the help of her ellie ears.  At every pit stop we basically stopped at a park or open space and I chased Little Chef in circles and let Little Sous Chef wiggle and nurse.  little-sous-chef-in-carseatberry-so-happy

The drive was truly breathtaking, we had every single type of weather, rain, snow, fog, sunshine, wind, all of it.  And the views were to die for.  To be honest I was pretty sure at some point the hammer was going to fall and everything was going to go to shit, but it went amazingly smooth.  No one barfed, or pooped their pants, or threw bunny out the window.  Smooth sailing.

views

Once we arrived, we pulled up to Jamie’s Uncle Brian’s house and Little Chef got out of the truck took one look at him and said “Oh hey Grandpa!” and waltzed in the door like he owned the place.  And for the next few days he did.

excavator-does

We were greeted with wine and bruchetta {#luxuryhotelservice} and put the hooliagns to bed.  The next day we spent the morning sipping lattes in the sun room while Little Chef tried out the cat water dish….

cat-dish

Then we headed to the Vancouver Aquarium and had a grand time looking at all the fish.  Little Chef was pretty transfixed by it all and slightly distracted.  So that visit did end in someone pooping their pants… You can’t win em all.  But as we entered Jamie and I were all giggly smiles, on our honeymoon we had visited here and talked about our future babies and bringing them there.  It was kind of this beautiful full circle, with a meltdown over french fries and a poosplosion to keep us grounded.  At one point while Jamie was waiting in line for french fries for Little Chef he broke free from my grasp and charged a group of school kids eating their lunches like a crazed starving and caged animal grasping for sandwiches and snacks.  Luckily we hauled him off before any serious damage was done or someone called animal control, or social services.

fishies

Little Sous Chef is amazed by Jellyfish
Little Sous Chef is amazed by Jellyfish

After that excitement we headed to Granville Island farmer’s market to find some fish we could actually eat.  This was another place we visited on our honeymoon and talked about bringing our kids to {can you tell we had baby fever?}.  Little Chef loved it.  He was giddy and pointing at squealing at everything, oh wait that was me.  We bought veggies and snapper and halibut cheeks and skipped home like giddy love birds to make the best meal on the planet: fish tacos.

fish-in-handfish-fish-fish

Luckily our hosts are as big of foodies as we are and let us completely overtake their home with ingredients and small people and food and noise and laughter.  It is always great fun when we get to create together, especially with amazing fresh ingredients that we just can’t get like that at home.

cevichefish-tacos

We made ceviche, and mango salsa and pico de gallo and butter poached halibut and pan fried snapper on fresh corn tortillas.  It was on point.  The kid’s crushed it.

little-chef-eating-tacosnat-eating-tacos

The next day we took Little Chef to the real ocean.  We had been talking it up the entire time, and truthfully I was a bit nervous that he wouldn’t think it was as cool as we thought it was.  But he loved it.  It was maybe 10 degrees, but he ran right in and we all took our socks and shoes off and splashed in the water and dug in the sand and collected shells.  The locals looked at us like we were loco, running in the ocean in the winter.  But we didn’t care.  Then we sat down to a beautiful picnic on the beach.

love-you-to-the-oceannat-at-the-beach

picnic-by-the-oceanjohnny-in-the-ocean

After that we hit up the Gourmet Warehouse and drooled over all of the amazing kitchen toys.  We even found a tiny traditional chef’s toque for Little Chef.

little-chef-in-toque

That night we made butter chicken and grilled naan.  We were even told it was better than their Indian friend’s.  Boom.  Win.

butter-chicken

The next morning we went to visit Jamie’s grandmother who lives very near where we were staying.  She was the reason we attempted such a trip in the first place.  Little Chef was excited to meet her and even got dressed up in a nice button shirt and proudly carried the present he had helped make for her.  She shared a very tender moment with Little Sous Chef where they just held on to each other’s hands and I could feel the love and connection.  It was very heartwarming.

going-to-see-nananat-and-nanny

After visiting Nanny we went back to Granville Island Market, because we knew once wasn’t going to be enough.  As we arrived I realised that we needed to eat ASAP or the hangry beast inside was going to ruin the fun for everyone.  So we stopped at a beautiful little place right on the water, overlooking the boats.  Little Chef was mesmerised by the boats, and really excited. After perusing the menu we realised the kid’s menu was not geared towards our little chef and asked if he could get a half order of the fresh fish and chips.  Our waitress looked at us suspiciously but cleared it with the chef and we were off to the races.

Lunch on the water.
Lunch on the water.

We had spicy prawn po-boy’s and smoked salmon pizza and some of the freshest fish and chips you could get.  Little Chef was happily munching on his lunch and then squeezing his lemons on his fish.  He them spent a good couple minutes very carefully placing and re-placing the items on his plate.  Then he said “Lookk-it mommy what I did!  Take a picture!”.  That’s my boy.  Apparently my taking pictures of all the food we create is rubbing off on him.

Little Chef's mad plating skills.
Little Chef’s mad plating skills.
"Ocean Grandpa" babywearing Little Sous Chef.
“Ocean Grandpa” babywearing Little Sous Chef.

After lunch we raided the market once more in preparation for two more of Jamie’s uncles to join us all for dinner that night.  We all cooked together and drank wine and had a lovely time.

Cooking together.
Cooking together.

The next morning it was back on the road for another 13 hours back home.  It was almost impossible for me to wake the kids as they snuggled so nicely, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

sleeping-beauties

It was really special to be surrounded by people who love and care for us, and the kids got spoiled with gifts and attention and great food.  To be honest we are still a bit in awe about how well the trip went.  When we first decided to live this crazy life together we pictured doing all the things we love with your kids, and it’s been really fun to actually do that.  Of course we have our fair share of sleepless nights, and meltdowns and poop and pee on everything.  But we also have a lot of fun and beautiful moments too.  And those make it very worth it.

Johnny still says “I love you to the ocean”, but now he knows what it really means.

-Stephanie

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