I’m just home from a vacation in Ontario!

Every time I plan a trip to Ontario, the list of people I want to see and spend time with far, far exceeds my available time. I end up feeling guilty because of all the people I wasn’t able to see, but it just is the way it is. Maybe some year I’ll come for a longer stretch! Or you can come up here to visit!

I tend to time my trips home with an event of some kind, so I can visit more people in bulk! My Uncle Jeff was hosting a party for his 60th birthday – that seemed like the perfect opportunity! As I booked my travel details, my younger niece Selinah had a dancing recital and my parents and siblings were all in the same room! When they video called me together so we could coordinate a plan, I decided to just leave it in their hands to schedule!

Jeff wasn’t able to join me. He’s been extra busy at work with a temporary add-on role that has resulted in a lot of travel over the last month. Since it was just me this trip, I could let my family tack me on to their own plans, meaning I moved from house to house to house to tent to house to one more house, sat in the back seat of family minivans, and squished between car seats. I was shuttled around in 5 different vehicles!

I took the Air North summer flight from Whitehorse to Toronto with a brief pit stop in Yellowknife. My Dad picked me up at the airport and took me back to his house for the night. We had burgers, enjoyed the fresh air on his back deck, and then did a bit of shopping the next morning before he passed me over to my sister.

After lunch, Julie and I, and her kids Selinah and Jordan, went to London to visit my Grandma Stock who recently turned ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD!!!! Our Mom met us there and we visited with Grandma for the afternoon. She’s doing great. It was a wonderful visit! Sometimes she can ask the same question a few times, but that only happened once or twice on this visit. She was sharp and loving and gave me so many hugs. She had told all her friends we were coming, so people we greeting us before we even got up to her apartment! We also got to meet and talk with some of the personal care helpers who give her a bit of extra assistance so she can stay in this retirement home and out of a nursing home.

Grandma showed me the letters she got from King Charles, Mary Simon (Canada’s Governor General), and from Justin Trudeau (Canada’s Prime Minster) to celebrate her century of life (so far!). Cool eh?

After our visit, we drove back to Kitchener and had a Swiss Chalet dinner together.

Little Jordan is going through an anti-meat phase right now. He stuck to a french fry diet and he snuck all the chicken from his plate onto mine! He’s such a funny little dude!

Then there’s my niece Selinah – cute as can be! I could talk to her all day! She often asks to video chat with me to tell me about a fly in her house or a spider she saw or that she used the potty! Always the highlight of a day! Pretty neat that they can know me well when I live a million miles away.

She prepped my guest bed for me with a stuffed friend and a book!

The next day I gave the kids some new colouring and sticker books. Mostly Paw Patrol – that’s their current fav!

We had some big plans for the day, but first Julie wanted to be sure I got a haircut since I was characteristically shaggy (we don’t have hair stylists here in town all the time anymore). So I booked an appointment at a salon she recommended in the Cambridge mall, and off we went!

With a bit of time to kill, we started walking the mall. Selinah had so much to show me, like some little ride-on toys. And an escalator! She is bold and independent and scared of just about nothing!

My haircut was 30 minutes delayed, and lasted for 90 minutes!!!! Two hours at the hairdresser!! She was a new immigrant from Russia. At some point, I was convinced she had never cut hair before, and at others, I was sure she was a mad genius. Julie and Selinah came to visit from time to time while Mom watched Jordan nap near the food court. At one point, Julie saw the state of my haircut and reported back to Mom that I was NOT going to be happy and that my hair looked like one giant mushroom.

But she pulled it off! She used a flat iron to twist my hair to different directions to match my sister’s hair!

The day’s plans were definitely changed by the marathon haircut. By then, we were all ready to grab lunch and head home.

Selinah and I played outside for a while in the backyard, looking for buried treasure in her sand (actually… soil) box and we caught a ladybug!

The next day Julie’s family was heading out for their summer vacation, so Mom and I went back to her house in Listowel. I helped her with a few tasks she had on her “Lisa Help Me” list. That evening my friend Cathy stopped by to say ‘hi’ and we put together some artificial flower pots for my Mom’s back porch. It’ll make it easier for her to travel during the summer and not feel the draw home just to water real plants!

Mom and I were up until 1:30am chatting and then I had a quick sleep before Dad picked me up at 7:30am for our road trip up to Huntsville.

It was a rainy morning. When we were heading north on Highway 23, just before the left turn you take before you enter Palmerston, there is a sideroad that comes in from the left on an angle. I’m guessing someone did not see the stop sign, or were otherwise distracted, and they came into the highway at full speed. We almost had a spectacular end to our road trip. Dad has lightning fast reflexes and moved us onto the grassy shoulder at just the right angle to miss the guy’s car as the other driver tried to take our spot on the highway. WOW that was an amazing save!

The rest of the trip was fairly uneventful after that! We tried to stop at Weber’s for a famous roadside hamburger but it was closed!! It was only 9:59am, so that’s probably why. We stopped instead at A&W for burgers and a root beer in a frosty mug and it was AMAZING.

Then we headed to Uncle Jeff and Aunt Teresa’s place in the woods near Huntsville. They call their acreage on the hill “Pecker’s Knob” after all the woodpeckers there. They are building a fabulous house on the hill and a surrounding homestead, all off-grid with solar power. Here are some pictures of the party:

It was a great party! And the weather was pretty typical for a summer in Ontario – rainy, hot, humid, sunny, and then smokey – complete with weather warnings for thunderstorms, funnel clouds, rain, and wildfire smoke. I shared a bunk that night with my niece Hadley in my brother’s pop-up camping trailer.

The next day I travelled with my brother Brian’s family (with Leanne and the kids – Hadley and Easton) to their house in Pickering. Easton and I sat in the back row of the van and sang some Bon Jovi!

Hadley’s already out of high school for the summer, so while Easton went to school for one of his last days, the girls went to the mall! We had lunch and Hadley picked out a new backpack for Grade 11. I picked up a couple things (two mall visits in one week! This doesn’t happen very often!)

After Easton came home from school, we went metal detecting! We had a special place in mind where we thought we’d have a greater chance of treasure. While we were walking there and dialing in the detector’s sensitivity level, we got a signal!! We started digging.

We thought it was a wire or cord at first, then thought maybe a big old nail, but it went deeper! We upgraded to a bigger shovel, and then an even bigger one! Our hole got bigger and deeper. Unfortunately, it was near an ant hill and I was covered in ants while I dug. Easton noped right out of the ants and all was well until they started biting me! We eventually got Brian to help us dig out the treasure! And what even is it!?! A big heavy hunk of twisted steel! While we tried to find a hose to clean it off, Easton was startled by a super long garter snake! What an adventure!!

That night we watched The Sound of Music together! They are going to be in Austria later this year, so this was a necessary prerequisite to travel!

The next day my aunt Cecilia came over. We had planned a day of fishing and bird watching at Darlington Provincial Park with all of us, but all those weather conditions and warnings came back with pouring rain, possible funnel clouds, and thunderstorms, so we opted for games instead.

It stopped raining long enough for a short wander around the acreage.

I headed back to Cecilia’s house that night as the forest fire smoke got thicker and thicker! (Crazy wind patterns spreading that summer smoke to everyone!) We spent the evening watching the critters come out of the shadows in her backyard.

The next morning, Cecilia dropped me off at the airport so I could start my voyage back to the Yukon! Thankfully there were no delays from the smoke.

It was a fabulous trip! They scheduled me well! I got just a bit of time with everyone in my family, with a few extras sprinkled in! Hopefully each time I’m home I can squeeze in more visits with more cousins, friends, and godparents!!