Two weeks, three kids, and a family reunion. Throw in the Crow’s Nest Pass (a lovely drive, if you’re not in a hurry), a missing kid, and losing my shoes in a river, and you have the makings of a fantastic holiday. From Saskatchewan to British Columbia and back. Here is my version of the traditional family vacation slide show. Feel free to nod off.

Most interesting person met on the road:

This woman. We were fuelling up in Lethbridge, Alberta, and she rode in on her bike with this large black dog in the front bike carrier. I stared. Lyndon chatted with her for a few minutes and discovered she had biked from Montreal. Montreal is a long way from Lethbridge. No idea of her destination or if she even had one.

Best hotel:

Hands down, the best hotel we stayed in was the Days Inn in Penticton, B.C. It was serendipitous. Lyndon booked it on points, not knowing anything about it. Turns out it is located right across the street from where people put into the channel with floaties for the seven mile float down to Skaha lake. SO much fun. In fact, the channel float definitely wins in the category of The Most Fun We Didn’t Expect To Have. If you are in Penticton on a hot summer day you definitely have to float the channel. But, back to the Days Inn. Our room opened into the courtyard, in the middle of which was the outdoor pool. We were a half a block from the beach and the skateboard park. We stayed three nights. Perfect.

The biggest fright:

We lost Carter in Penticton for almost an hour. We were at the hotel and he had gone for a swim in the pool to try out his new wet suit. Lyndon was outside and saw him getting out of the pool. A few minutes later, Lyndon came into the room where I was getting ready for the day and asked where Carter was. And the search began. We looked everywhere. Twice. He was nowhere. I phoned the front desk and the hotel staff started searching as well. He was finally found, in the room next door to ours, by one of the cleaning staff. Apparently he had lost his way on the way back to our room from the pool, and had gone into the room next door by accident. The door had been left open while the room was being cleaned and he wasn’t noticed.

Carter was wet from the pool so he stripped off his wet suit and crawled into bed and started watching television. By the time he realized something was awry (perhaps the lack of luggage and family members were his first clues?), he was trapped, naked, in the bed. Thankfully, it is now just a funny story but for awhile I was a frantic momma pleading with God for my baby’s safe return.

The family reunion:

This was a Kemp reunion. Lyndon’s mom’s family. It was held at a beautiful little bible camp near Lumby. Apparently, Lyndon and his brother Darren had attended a camp there when they were teens. As the story goes, they spent a day there before they were “asked to leave”. Something to do with them having a little bit of trouble following the rules. Imagine.

Anyway, the DVM camp was a lovely spot to spend a couple of days. Here are the reigning patriarchs and matriarchs of the Kemp clan. Lyndon’s mom, Marilyn, is in red and next to her are her brother Wayne, sister Viv, and brother Norm.

The most relaxing:

After the reunion, we met up with Lyndon’s Aunt Merry in Vernon and went to Dee Lake for a couple of days. We stayed in a ninety-year-old log cabin and enjoyed some quiet days playing in the water, visiting, and reading. The boys fished a little, kayaked, and snorkeled. My favourite moment was the morning we left. Merry made coffee and she, Lyndon, and I sat down on the beach and watched the sun come up over the trees while a family of loons fished for their breakfasts. Beautiful.

The best field trip:

On our last day in Vernon, we went with Merry to Davison’s Market and Planet Bee. We’ve been to these places before, and they are favourites.

Best “catch-up” visit:

We stopped for a night in Salmon Arm at Lyndon’s cousin Michelle’s house. When our boys were small, we spent about a year living in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan at the same time that Michelle and her husband Dave were living on a pig farm near there. We home-churched with them during that time, and those days remain some of Tyson’s and Colton’s favourite childhood memories. Dave and Michelle had, then, five boys and also homeschooled, which made for some wonderful gatherings. It was great to spend some time with them again.

It was a lovely holiday. Lots of time together, and with friends and family. We did lots, saw lots, laughed lots. And so, for the finale, the final category. Because really, what vacation with boys would be complete without …

The best wedgie:

Don’t feel too sorry for him. He deserved it.

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