A Beach Adventure With Mom

On the last afternoon we spent at my mom’s place, Mom decided we should take Ricardo to the beach.  This was our day exploring our rocky Campbell River beaches.  Very different than the ones we are used to here in Puerto Vallarta.

Ricardo was impressed with this rock so he climbed up to enjoy the view.

There were a few of these little log huts along the beach for us to enjoy. 🙂

Mi Amor y Yo 🙂

My sweet mom 🙂

Mom told Ricardo to pose like our nephew Brandon.  This is what he came up with…

Ricardo adding driftwood, rocks and shells to his collection.  We had fun looking under the rocks for crabs, he even found a few clams.

Further down the beach is Campbell River’s landmark:  “The Big Rock”.  As you can see, people paint all over it.  It stands 40 feet high.  I wanted to get a picture with both of us on either side but Ricardo decided he would rather attempt to climb up it.  He proves yet again he’s a kid at heart :).

Unfortunately, he didn’t make it and fell to the ground.

Us making a heart that you can’t see 🙂

Ricardo holding up the rock so it wouldn’t fall on me… Dorks stay together. 🙂

Duck Ride anyone?

Campbell River has carving events every year.  You’ll find many wooden carvings all throughout the city.  This is one of them.

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Do you have a Lia?

One of my personal favorite days of our vacation included a visit with a special friend of mine,  Lia Grundle.  Back in my high school days Lia was one of our school counselors.   She wasn’t just there to guide us students through academic related issues, her door was always open for whatever it was that we needed.  Even after I graduated and Lia moved into her retirement years, her door continued to remain open.  It takes a very special person to impact lives at their place of work.  Lia was, and still is that person.

Lia has supported Ricardo and I with her whole heart through our immigration journey.  She has been there on the sidelines cheering us on with each application we’ve submitted.  She has been there with words of encouragement with each denial.  And, I have no doubt that she will be there at the finish line when Ricardo and I start our new future in Canada.

 I hope everyone has a Lia in their life.

Mom invited Lia over for lunch on the porch 🙂

Mom got creative with the sandwiches…

The chef

Sweet Smiles 🙂

All of us!

My mom and Lia became fast friends last year and now… She too has a Lia 🙂

Painters Lodge – April Point Family Day Trip Part 2

Continuing on from the previous blog post, after playing in the garden we headed down to the dock to catch our ride.  The water taxi is less then 10 minutes to April Point Resort on Quadra Island.  It’s also free which is a bonus!

Ricardo and yours truly.

These 2 can be added to the list of my favorites from the trip.  You can really see how much fun Ricardo was having in Canada.

Little kid at heart!

Gaga and Grandson.

Fishing boats all lined up 🙂

Painters Lodge Resort

Whose muscles are bigger?

All of my nieces and nephews just loved Ricardo.  Brandon especially, he was so sad when it was time for us to leave.  It was cute because Ricardo could’t pronounce his name “Brandon” instead he called him “Brandull” – Brandon didn’t care, he found a new friend.

In the boat heading over to Quadra Island!

On Quadra Island!!

Playing Chess!

As we were eating lunch Brandon went out to this point and spotted a seal that was blended quite well with the ocean.

Ricardo’s first time seeing one of our seals 🙂

Up close and personal.

My mom has never liked having her picture taken.  Over the last couple of years she’s warmed up to the idea of being photographed though… By this time, SHE was the one coming up with ideas of where I could take a picture.

One day we will be world travelers…

If you are ever in Campbell River I highly recommend taking the water taxi over to April Point.  It was a fantastic, inexpensive afternoon.  Ricardo and I shared Fish and Chips at lunch which they even divided onto two plates, the portion was huge!  We spent a total of $20.00 for this afternoon, and it was 20 dollars well spent!

Painters Lodge – April Point Family Day Trip

I need to make another confession.  I lived in Campbell River for 4 years and I never visited Painters Lodge or April Point until this summer.  I was actually planning on staying home this afternoon but decided at the last minute to join the family on their day trip.  I am so glad I did!

After arriving at Painters Lodge we came across some blackberry bushes on our way to the main building.  Ricardo had never tried blackberries so we headed on over.

The First Bite…

They were delicious!

Mama Bear

Jenn and Jim ❤

Mom and Ricardo

After spending some time looking through the gift shop we headed outside to play around in the garden on our way down to take the boat over to April Point Resort.

This was day 2 with my new camera and I must have taken over 200 photos.  I couldn’t pick a reasonable amount for just one blog so this will be continued. 🙂

Adventures in Campbell River

The day after my brother’s wedding we headed up to Campbell River to stay with my mom for a couple nights.  My sister, Jim, and Jim’s mom (Wanda) were all staying at my mom’s house.   It was also Wanda’s first time in Western Canada so it was cool to have her and Ricardo exploring together.

This was the day I caved and bought myself a really nice camera.  As a result, I ended up taking hundreds of pictures during our 2 night stay with my mom so this will extend into a few blogs.

BEFORE moving to Mexico 1.5 years ago, I packed up all of my things and moved them to my Mom’s house.  And SINCE moving to Mexico, I have missed sleeping in my Canadian Bed.  From my first night in my Mexican bed I have been raving about my Canadian one to Ricardo.  Naturally, the first thing I did when I stepped inside my mom’s house was dug out my mattress and put it in the rec room downstairs.

Ricardo testing it out for the first time.  He loved it just as much as I do.

I then spent some time showing Ricardo some old pictures.  It was one of the things I was most looking forward to about our trip.  We had been together for just over 2 years and he had never seen any of my past so it was really special to go through everything together.  After getting lost in the past for an hour, we decided it was time to get back to reality and head upstairs to socialize with the family.

Sister Jenn and her boyfriend Jim.

My sweet nephew Brandon, Ricardo and Mom.  

Ricardo and Brandon, I just love this picture.

A visit to Campbell River would not be complete without a visit to the Campbell River Pier.  After dinner my sister took us out for ice cream at the pier.  It was a gorgeous night!

Being goofy with his momma.

Tour Guide Jennifer teaching Wanda and Ricardo about the fish in our waters…

The sky was unbelievable this night.  It would have made a great background for a picture of Ricardo and I but I never did get one.

After filling up on ice cream we headed back to Mom’s house for an evening of fun.  Jenn brought her WII from Alberta and it was Ricardo’s first time ever playing a video game like this, it was hilarious to watch.

I think he was skiing here…

Ricardo Brandon and Jenn dancing up a storm.

Brandon and I.

Brandon sneaking in for a picture 🙂

We went to bed that night on what felt like a bed of clouds and I was a happy camper!

*To all my Mexico Expat followers…  My blog will resume to Mexican Living in a few more weeks.  So sorry for all the Canadian Stuff. =)

Celebrating My Brother and Sarah

The main reason why Ricardo and I picked August to visit Canada, was not because he was scared of braving the cold weather and snow but because my brother Ryan was getting married!  The wedding was beautiful, I just love weddings!

The wedding was in Nanaimo and this is how we spent Day 5 in Canada: Celebrating my brother and his new wife, Sarah.

This was a precious moment, so much emotion!

Sarah was a beautiful bride!  (My niece (also named Sarah) on the left hand side.)

After the ceremony, the wedding party went to take their photos and Ricardo and I headed over to my Aunt and Uncles place for snacks before heading to the reception.  My Aunt and Uncles house is in Nanaimo overlooking the ocean.  It is simply gorgeous! (I didn’t notice those little smiley face trees until I was looking at the pictures, don’t they look like those “smiley face potatoes”)
Ricardo really enjoyed the view.

Mom, me and Ricardo at the reception.

Sister Jennifer and her man Jim.

Sister Kelly and her husband Clayton.

Mom and Ness

Me and the pretty flower girl, my niece, Sarah Marie!

It really is no secret… Ricardo LOVES to dance.  You put on music and he can’t help himself.
Ricardo dancing with Adena, Mike, and Mom.

My lovely friend Elsah was the photographer for my brother’s wedding.  My sister was also snapping pictures left and right and center so I decided to lay low on my picture taking this night with the plan of stealing the pictures from her…. Still haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. 🙂

A Day At The Lake!

Our second full day of being in Canada Kelly snuck my mom, Jennifer and I off for a day at the Spa while Ricardo and Clayton stayed home with the kidlets.  It was a fantastic day but uneventful on the *Exploring Canada* side of things so let’s skip right on over to Friday, our 3rd day!

We woke up early and not long after my dad pulled in the driveway to pick us up for our next adventure.  We headed down to Lake Cowichan where my Aunt was staying.  Before we arrived at the lake we made a pit stop near town to pick up my car which was parked at my Uncle Alan’s house, which also happens to be the house my dad grew up in (one of them anyways)…  My Uncle Alan sadly passed away at the beginning of this year and the house was near empty, but it was still so great to take a peek inside and show Ricardo a piece of our family’s history.

The day couldn’t have been more beautiful and I was so excited to see my Aunt as it had been forever since we had a visit.

This is the beautiful cabin on the lake where we stayed for the day.

There have been a lot of firsts for Ricardo since I’ve met him.  One of the things that was never his strong point was swimming.  There is no public pool in Puerto Vallarta and the ocean waves are not something I would recommend any swimmer to attempt.  This leaves very little room for practicing.  However, Ricardo and I over the last couple years have spent a lot of time at a Condo in town that has a pool.  He is now swimming around like a fish.

Ricardo’s first time swimming in a lake.  He felt much safer with a life jacket on… I don’t blame him!

This picture is one of my favorites.  If I could pick one picture from our vacation that really summed up how we both felt, this would be it.  It captures the fun, new experiences, and Ricardo’s attitude of *jumping right in*

Feel the fear and do it anyways… Ricardo after his jump.  My aunt and dad in the background :).

My aunt is the sweetest.  She had a cooler with drinks and a snack platter all ready for us!

On our first night at the welcome party, Ricardo tried cherries for the first time.  He fell in love.  After seeing Ricardo devour most of the cherries on her fruit platter, my aunt sent him home with a bag… Well, normally a person might eat a bag that size over the course of a few days… Nope, not Ricardo.  Not even half way through our 2.5 hour drive home the cherries were gone! lol

Hanging out on the dock…

We thoroughly enjoyed our day here with my aunt.  We chatted, reminisced, looked at old photos, and enjoyed the sun.  It was perfect!
This day was one of Ricardo’s favorites out of the whole trip and I’d have to agree with him. =)

Welcome To Canada BBQ – Brazilian Style

The first night in Canada we got just over 5 hours of sleep.  Who needs sleep when you can run off of excitement?  Ricardo spent most of the morning on the deck outside looking at the mountains and trees.  He was amazed by all the beauty that surrounded him and was content just sitting there letting everything sink in.  He could not stop talking about the “Welcome Party” we had the night before and how special he felt.  What I failed to mention to him was that we were having another one that very evening (as if the night before wasn’t enough. haha)

My sister and Clayton, bless their hearts… They set up the back yard for a nice BBQ dinner, Brazilian style.


Clayton BBQ’ing and Kelly preparing to serve.  

If you haven’t experienced a Brazilian BBQ, they are simply the best!  It’s basically a bunch of different kinds of meats that are grilled and then served as they are ready.  There was so much food! Sausages, Steaks, Veggie Kabobs, Sweet Potato/Yam Kabobs, Chicken, Salmon etc They really went all out… yet again.

Ricardo enjoying a game of cards with our niece Sarah.  All the kids just loved Uncle Ricardo.  

Mom, Clayton’s little brother Kent, my nephew Jordan, Kelly, Ricardo and Sarah.

They even had lawn games, wrestling wars, and badminton in the backyard.  This is Jennifer trying to take Tyson down.

Sarah with her Canadian Flag.

My cute Mom 🙂


Kelly catching a break from serving.

The babe of the family, Jordan.

And that my friends was the first full day in Canada, relaxing at home with family!

*Canada Welcomes Ricardo*

When we sent in our visitors visa application this summer for our visit to Canada,  my Mom provided me with very clear instructions.  I was to NOT refrain from telling her if Ricardo was approved or not, and IF he was approved I had better tell her the date and time of our arrival.  (I have been known to keep things to myself so that I can surprise people…)

My family had been anticipating the day Ricardo would step foot on Canadian soil just as much as we were so it was no surprise that Mom wanted to be there to see his face as he got off the plane.

Closer to the date we were to arrive, my sister Jennifer and her family ended up surprising my mom by driving over from Alberta early before my brother’s wedding.  With Jennifer now in town, the dogs with no dog sitter, and with our flight not getting in until 11pm at night I reassured her that she would not be missing much if she just waited until the following day to come visit.  We would be tired from our long day of travel, and it was too late for her to be driving 45 minutes in the dark.  She agreed but made Ricardo promise he would call as soon as he got to my sister’s house to tell her all about the flight.

Meanwhile, I had made plans months prior for my nephew to pick us up at the airport.  My nephew just got his drivers license and I was really looking forward to seeing him all grown up in the drivers seat.  I messaged my family before leaving Calgary to let them know we were a bit delayed.  We boarded the plane to Comox without a worry knowing we would have a ride from the airport to my sister’s house. (Thanks Tyson).

The whole day was emotional for me, but when I stepped off the plane in Comox that night and took a long, deep breath in to smell the incredible BC air, my eyes welled up with tears.  This is something that happens each and every time I step off that plane.  Something so simple, but something that lets me know that I’ve made it… I’m home.

When we walked into the airport waiting room doors though, what I didn’t expect to see was this:

Standing there waiting, waiving their arms in the air with white and red “canadian” leis and a welcome sign for Ricardo were my 2 sisters Jennifer and Kelly, Tyson, and my mom.  It was overwhelming, exciting, and probably not something you see everyday at that airport.  I loved every minute of it!  We exchanged hugs picked up our luggage and were on our way to Kelly’s house.

After stopping off at 7/11 to grab some cat food for the rescue cat we brought back to Canada we headed straight to my sisters.

I have a confession.  I will admit that the thought of my mom possibly coming to the airport at the last minute did cross my mind.  However, I did not entertain the thought for very long and most certainly did not think there was going to be leis, my sister, or welcome signs accompanying her.  What I was genuinely, 110% surprised to see though when we walked up the stairs of my sister’s home was this:

We walked in to find a huge “Welcome To Canada” banner that my Mom and sister spent 45 minutes making.

Moving out onto the deck we saw this set up, complete with balloons and Canadian flags.

We were thinking we were going home to talk about Ricardo’s first flight and head to bed.  We were not expecting  a Welcome to Canada Party, but before we knew it the party began with Lemonade and chips.

It wouldn’t have been a party without some sparklers.  My family really did go all out.  Ricardo was loving it!

My Mom at this point handed Ricardo a card.  In this picture he threw up his hands and exclaimed “I feel so important, I feel like the president!!”  It was beyond cute to see.

My sister then handed him a gift bag full of Canadian souvenirs. (Thanks to my sister, we didn’t have to  buy anything Canadian our whole trip, we were stocked up on night one. LoL)

Ricardo couldn’t have had a bigger smile.

That was the end of night one.  It was seriously the BEST “Welcome to Canada” celebration.  I went to bed that night feeling so happy and so proud to be a part of a family that is so kind-hearted and welcoming.  I had dreamed of the day Ricardo would be able to see my home for so long but I never dreamed it was going to be like that.  I couldn’t have given him a better Welcome than my family gave him.  Thank You Mom, Jenn, Kelly, Clayton, and Tyson for being a part of a memory Ricardo will never forget.

I am forever grateful his first impression of Canada was seeing your smiling faces and waving arms with your welcome sign in the waiting room window.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

En Route to Canada – Our Travel Day!

August.14th, 2012. This day will forever be etched into our memories as being one of the best days of our lives.
We woke up early to make sure we had enough time to finish all of our last minute things on our To-Do list. Our 2 daughters came over in the morning for a special breakfast and once everything was cleaned up, we were off!

First we stopped in at Ricardo’s parents place (next door) to let them know we were leaving. Ricardo’s mom took one look at him, buried her face in his arms and cried. Sitting across from them was his dad whose eyes were also filling up with tears as he sat watching Ricardo try to calm his wife. This was the second time their son was leaving for an extended period of time so it was very emotional for them both. I tried to step back and really take the moment in… It took me back to when I was 17, when I moved out of my parents house and all the emotions that were running through me during those first few hours…. One thing is for sure, a mother’s love does not change no matter how old her child is.

We arrived at the bus stop with all of our luggage and luckily the bus was in sight. There was no long tearful goodbye with the girls and I think we were all relieved. We hopped on the bus with Ricardo’s dad who came to see us off, and headed for the airport.

After getting our luggage checked in, we had a bite to eat with his dad and our oldest daughter who met us at the airport. For some reason any time I fly I get so nervous I never eat until I’m up in the sky but this time I managed to at least get a snack down.

After passing through security we grabbed a few things at the convenience store. Ricardo was in charge of my pink carry on bag. (It’s not my fault, there was no other color…)

Us in the waiting room with 20 minutes left before boarding.

On the runway… The picture doesn’t do the black clouds justice. It was the beginning of another storm, we were thankful we were leaving before it got any worse.

Ricardo had never flown before so I tried to explain to him how everything works during take off, in flight and landing. There’s nothing that prepares you for the reving of an airplane engine for the first time. At this point he turned to me with a worried look on his face, and just like that we were off.

Does anyone know what these are?? Something to do with water or farming? There was so many throughout our flight.

I must admit, for someone’s first plane ride… The flight was terrible! There was so much turbulence, we kept dropping and shaking… It was borderline awful. There were a few times I thought we were going down. When the turbulence hit, Ricardo looked at me and asked if it was normal…. At which point I responded with a very unconvincing “yes” while closing my eyes and clutching my cross necklace. I learned something about myself that day… I am not good company if it’s your first time flying.

We had to travel to Comox via Calgary International Airport. Ricardo walking up the ramp from the plane. I wanted to make sure I captured this moment for my mom, she couldn’t wait to hear all about it.

WELCOME TO CALGARY!!!

Excuse the terrible shot, we were right by escalators and in a stampede of people that had just got off our plane. I went into full-blown tourist mode snapping pictures as soon as we landed.

Heading to customs. I was so worried about going through customs and I actually didn’t even realize we had gone through it until long after. It was THAT easy. (Gracias a dios)

And of course, as soon as we got to our waiting area for our next flight… I had to teach him about Tim Hortons.

After a short delay for our next flight, we were off to Comox to be welcomed by my sister and nephew Tyson.

To Be Continued…