Our Travel Blog

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Driving Miss Donna - what does this mean? Whenever I want to go somewhere, if Don is home he will usually drive. He always says he is driving miss Donna! This blog is for our travels, usually with our truck and fifth wheel trailer, but sometimes in our other wheels. When we are not vacationing check in for updates, although less frequent, about our life at home and our wonderful family:)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

So here I find myself on the last day of 2015.  It has been quite the year in our house.  We had so many wonderful adventures, and so many ordinary days that make up all the memories of a not so ordinary life. 

Although we love travelling in our fifth, the days spent with each other at home, at the rink with the grandchildren, watching them swimming, babysitting, taking to and fro school, and especially camping are special memories that we cherish everyday.  We find conversation often leads back to a moment when one of us will say "Remember when Mason did this or that", "Did you hear what Em said?", etc.   Everyone of those 5 kids are so precious to us.  And again I cannot say how fabulous it is to have the Stecyks in Edmonton.

You can review this blog for the last year to read what we have done. That's my easy way out!

Where will the new year find us?  Who knows so why predict. We will continue our quest for a healthier lifestyle, continue enjoying our camping and RV trips, and continue kissing those five sweet faces every chance we can. 

2015 reminded us not to take ourselves for granted and to appreciate every day. 

Here is a Flipagram of our year. Hopefully the link opens for you!
All the best to all our readers. Happy New Year and make the best of 2016!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Driving Mr Don

December started the same way as most Decembers do. Getting some work in, making sure the house, presents and food for Christmas were ready, and planning for the annual DWS party. As of December 12 all was in order and normal. That afternoon we went to Blake's hockey game in St Albert. And bam life changed. Over the course of that evening Don had a heart attack, followed by surgery and we began to think in terms of before and after. 

The most important things to remember are that he is feeling great, and that timing was on our side.  Not just ok or fine but great. He had 3 blockages and 2 procedures to insert stents, one on Saturday night and one on Wednesday afternoon. Discharge was Thursday and we have quietly slipped into a new and improved life. 

We have both been working hard at improving our diet and fitness lifestyle, and this is a bit more motivation. 

I don't mean to make light of this as it was shattering and terrifying. But with our love and support for each other, the love and support of our daughters and their families, and all our family and friends that have sent wishes and visited, it has been a great holiday season. 

For Don driving has been put on hold for a month, medications have increased, and he is working extra hard at recovery. 

We hope you have had a great holiday season. I will update the blog another day with our holiday activities and leave you with this special photo. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

November Already!

Well November has settled into a routine that we are enjoying.  Last month I didn't say much about Don's work, but although he isn't in the field too often, he has certainly had a lot of office work, which keeps him just as busy.

We are still attending hockey, ringette and swimming lessons whenever possible.  I don't have any swimming photos as cameras are not allowed, but those boys are so cute and enjoying themselves immensely!

Cutest school photos ever!

And my favorite from thanksgiving and family dinners. Mason is such a little sweetie. 

Tracy celebrated a birthday this month.  Lindsay and I took her to a Wynona concert and dinner, and it was fantastic.  Then on Sunday Don went to their house for dinner and cake.

I spent 3 days at a Co-op conference in Edmonton, which was a good learning experience as always.

And Reese turned 5!!  How is that possible?  It's a big year for Reese. Kindergarten, music, ringette, swimming and a day home. She's come through with flying colours!

A few more work opportunities for both of us, the start of Christmas baking, etc.  And the month rolls to a close again!

Talk to you later. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

October Full of Color and Life

When I warned you not to expect too many posts through the fall I never expected to be this weak at blogging.  Sometimes though a blogger just can't find the initiative.  It doesn't mean you don't care about the blog, or sharing.  Sometimes I blame all the other social media opportunities we have, especially Instagram.  Being able to post those special moments without any real thought for the word content is kind of easy sometimes.  You can always join us on Instagram - we have many accounts; drivingmissdonna, donnasmith62, and dwsaggregates...

At any rate October was one of our busier months.  I had several presentations to complete, both for myself and on behalf of Volunteer Alberta.  One of my favorite ones was presenting at the Senior's Conference in Spruce Grove.  I am so blessed to have this job of mine as I love it dearly.

I wish I could just copy our calendar here and be done.  LOL  From hockey and ringette with the Camerons, to babysitting Reese on Mondays for music class and getting to know this little sweetheart on a one on one basis, to spending Thursdays with Connor and /or Mason as Connor had extra school classes or both boys attended swimming lessons; this month has flown by.

Don worked a few jobs in between all that as well, and we continue to strive towards a healthier life style in both exercise and food.

Here are the highlights:
Chris deBurgh concert - Don and I have been waiting for this concert to come to Edmonton or even Alberta for YEARS!!  It was so fantastic!

Tracy and Cal celebrated 11 years of marriage!  Wow that went fast.

Lindsay and Jeremy hosted a fantastic family Thanksgiving dinner - thanks hosts!

Don and I worked the timebox at one of Lindsay's ringette games - so cool to be ringette parents again, but without all the volunteer work!

Don and I worked in the field together a couple of times.

DWS Aggregates had their external audit - it was a busy time and a little stressful.

I completed my Level I Co-op Director traning - 6 courses.

Don celebrated his 59th birthday in the ususal style - grandkids and carrot cake.

And Halloween!

Don and I are so proud of all our grandchildren. Blake who is playing Tier 2 Novice Rep hockey, Emerson and Reese playing ringette and giving it their all and Connor and Mason and their amazing efforts in swimming. And Connor in first year of preschool 100 voices!  And their parents for running around and still maintaining life while exhausted. 

Have a great November everyone!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

And that's a Wrap

Well our September holiday has come to a close, but with a great ending. When we left Cape Lookout we headed to Seattle for an evening. Usually in the last day of vacation we pick a serviced site in order to clean, vacuum and whatever else the RV might need. But this time we accomplished all that and more in our state park site, even without services. So our evening in Seatlle was spent having a meal out, a bit of shopping and then a riveting game of Yahtzee!  
Thursday morning we leisurely hooked up and headed to Langley. Our weekend was being spent attending a wedding on the island at Merridale Cidery. This last wedding of the year for us was a special young man. Nathan Campbell is the son of Don's cousins Stewart, the same Stewart that I have referred to in previous posts. 

We were honoured to be invited, and it was a beautiful wedding in a beautiful location. The photo below was taken from the photographer's Facebook page. 

Alex was a glowing bride!

Once again Stewart and Susan treated us to a fabulous time. We walked, toured and ate our way through a few days. Sunday was time to head home, and back to reality!

I'm not sure what that means right now. We both have some work days to look forward to and are anxious to see our family. 

I'm sure my posts will be infrequent until our spring trip, but I'll try to touch base monthly.

Have a wonderful fall!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Leaving the Beach Behind

We spent the last of our ocean days at Cape Lookout State Park near Tillamook. In hindsight we should have spent more nights here and less around Astoria. The only reason being that this is the best walking beach, in our opinion. But it's a hard choice to make!  At any rate all the beaches have been near perfection and no regrets. 
Again this has been a relaxing stop with not much excitement to report. We made a visit to Mo's Restaurant to fulfill our clam chowder cravings.

This is a must stop if you are on the Oregon Coast. 

The weather here was outstanding and we had a great evening visiting our neighbour over the glow of the fire pit, sharing stories of American and Canadian health care and life. 

Look at some of the life we found on the beach. 

But as always the best part was being together and walking the ocean beaches. 

As always another great stop. 

Until next time. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Back to a Favorite

When we decided to take mom on her trip then continue somewhere for 2 weeks it didn't take much consideration to know we were going to go back to the Oregon coast. With a limited time to travel we simply picked our "best of the best" state parks. That brought us to Cape Disappointment on the farthest south tip of Washington. This is the state park where can walk out behind the trailer and onto the beach. And it has great access to the peninsula and another favorite, Oysterville. After two nights here we moved across the state line to Fort Stevens park on the northern most tip of Oregon, Astoria. I total we have been here seven nights. Our days have been filled with beach walks, hikes, reading, Yahtzee and a few drives. It has been a wonderful slow pace and in that way a bit unusual for us. We did make an afternoon jaunt to Portland to visit a mall, but with our dollar the way it is, we didn't stay long. Also I see no sense in shopping at a store we have at home so that limits which ones I visit!  Which isn't a problem. LOL

The Astoria Bridge

A View of Astoria

We completed a 7 km hike around Leadbetter Point near Oysterville. The path went through both ocean shore and forest. Look who I saw on our hike!

And of course we had to stop in Ousterville for some seafood. 

Every morning we walked this beach. Today we are moving a bit farther south and will miss it!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Moving On

So after a week in Stony Plain our next destination on mom's road trip was to see her brothers and their families.
The first stop was at Ern and Meryl's in Rocky Mountain House. We picked a good time to be there as a 60th birthday party was happening and hence we were able to most of the cousins in that family, but missed a couple. 
After a couple of nights we continued on to Penticton to Frank and Gwen's place, and visited for a few days. Their son Cal came down for a visit from Kelowna as well. It was sure great to see everyone!
Our last stop with mom was Langley and her brother Ed and wife Ethel. Here we visited with Stu and Susan, Nathan and Alex, and from Frank's family Scott and Karen and Shelley and Terry!
I know by Sunday when it was time to go to the airport that mom was ready to go home but also full of memories and happy to have made the trip. 
I really want to say thanks to the "aunties" who made these possible. You are some of the best hostesses and ladies I have the pleasure of having in my life. I never dreamt when I joined this family all those years ago that I would gain so many beautiful souls in my life. And always thanks to Stu and Susan for being our west coast adventure tour guides. We can't say enough how we appreciate your company and look forward to our visits.
Don and I are on our way to the Oregon coast and will report back soon!
I'm so sorry we didn't take any photos of mom with her brothers!

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Adventure Begins

On Sunday August 30 we drove to North Battleford to pick up Don's mom.  His sisters met us there.  We were about to begin a road trip with her!  But first we had a week at home and the opportunity for her to visit with our girls and their families. I'm afraid we may have exhausted her with all our family dinners, visits, laughter and yes even a bit of shopping.
Everyone was so excited to have their grandma and great grandma around. This is a rare treat for all of us. I know mom missed dad but it was a very special time for us and we appreciate that she was able to be with us!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Speed Living

It's kind of like speed reading - imagine our life is a book and you have a limited time to read.

After we returned from the August long weekend with the Camerons my mom and I traveled to Saskatchewan for a little road trip to see my sister and some of mom's sisters.  It was a fantastic trip and we had such great visits.  We even were at Ginger's for her birthday!  Thank you to sis Ginger for the overnight, and to cousin Barb for an overnight at her place.  While there we were able to catch up with MANY relatives.  I hope mom had fun, I sure did.

The next weekend was on course for being one of the more fun ones of the summer. Friday night we had tickets to attend Edmonton Rocks, with the bands The Stampeders and Sweet. It was such a  good time I don't know why we haven't gone before but I know we will again. Then on Saturday we met Clifford and Cheryl at the Red Piano. It was a great meal, fabulous music and above all so much fun to be out with them again. For a period of our lives we practically lived on each other's door steps!

The next morning Don had to go to Red Earth to work, but I was not alone as I had our grand dog Heidi for a few days. Tracy and Cal were on vacation and Lindsay was dog sitting but unable to start until they returned from camping. Heidi is great company and she keeps me closer to home. So I stayed busy cleaning and baking. If you have not read The Life Changing Habit of Tidying Up, you should. That's all I'm saying.

Oh and Lindsay and I hung out quite a bit. We went to a hilarious movie called Trainwreck, and even fit in a visit to my mom. 

We visited St Albert Market and purchased enough fresh veggies to make some dill and carrot pickles. 

Two events that happened in our family that we are proud of and want to mention. Both of our son in laws are pretty cool guys and focussed individuals. Cal has been running and training and completed his first full marathon!  Jeremy has also been training for something a bit different but also challenging. Him and a buddy hiked into the mountains over 80km to hunt big horn sheep. Congrats to both of them!!

Don and I went camping for a few days at Cross Lake as well. Lindsay and the boys joined us overnight and Tracy and the kids came for the day. The boys did superbly sleeping overnight!  We had a fantastic boat day with everyone. All the kids took turns tubing and even Mason enjoyed his first tube ride. In fact he wasn't happy when it wasn't his turn. LOL

And I had a great girls night out on Monday. My friend Sharon won a sailing evening and dinner at a Silent Auction and I was invited along!  Our hosts were wonderful, we enjoyed a lovely evening of sailing, food and friends!

My big event of the year was attending Wanderlust 108 in Edmonton. Wanderlust is phrased as a one day mindful triathlon. I could not have had a better friend and partner to attend with than Mary. The day comprised of a 5 km, yoga and meditation. It was fantastic and we are going back next year!  I was so excited to practice yoga under the guidance of my yogi crush Eoinn Finn!!

So that brings us to the end of August. September is our vacation month and this year it will have a twist to it, so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Help! I'm Drowning

So July?  Yes it happened!

We are not really people who celebrate occasions often, such as July 1st, but this year we had two events to attend for just that reason.

First Lindsay and Jeremy hosted the 1st Annual Stecyk Beach Day on June 28th.  They live in the Summerside Community and there is a lake and beach club right there! It was a hot one out, so a perfect place to spend the day.  After hours of playing in the sand and water, everyone headed back to their house for a BBQ.  Great hosts and great fun!

Next some friends from my wine group host a July 1st BBQ annually, and this year we were home and decided to go.  The great thing about this BBQ is that it is on June 30, which means that most people can stay and enjoy themselves and not worry about work the next day.  We had such a great evening, meeting new friends, seeing old friends, and enjoying a night out.  The fireworks were amazing and the food beyond compare, as potlucks usually end up.

Thursday and Friday I was in courses, renewing my safety certifications,  Some classes can be taken online but when able to I prefer in class instruction.

The weekend was spent relaxing as we prepared for our annual Family Vacation, this year held again at Ole McDonald's Resort near Stettler.  What a great week it was.  We spent days on the beach, riding bikes and go-carts, of course the train and tractor rides, and just enjoying each other's company.  We love this time with just our family.  I even snuck in a massage on the beach!

The next week at home was pretty quiet.  We needed a bit of that as we were headed to a Saskatchewan wedding and a family reunion.

We pulled what we refer to as "an Uncle Ed" and arrived at Ken and Brenda's just before midnight.  This is a phrase from Don's Uncle.  Throughout his visiting and RV years he would show up at any time of day or night, and we would always tease him.

Anyhow, Friday was spent on wedding set up, etc, Saturday the AMAZING wedding, and Sunday cleaning up then relaxing.  Monday we made a quick trip to Tisdale to see Dad, then back to Ken and Brenda's for our camping trip.  We spent 4 days at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park on Diefenbaker Lake.  HIGHLY recommend this campground.  Lots of great walking opportunities, a weekly fish fry at the clubhouse, full facilities, etc.  The days flew by and Ken and Brenda were wonderful camping partners.

Friday we headed to Swift Current for the last Smith Family Reunion.  I say the last because the extended family of Louise and Jim Smith have decided to stop hosting reunions.  There are many factors related to this, but mostly the fact that all the families have grown, some having challenges even collecting their own immediate families together.  This reunion was hosted by the Seymour Smith group, and they did a fine job.  As always excellent food and fun for all.  Kind of bittersweet, but we all agreed that as we host our own families in the future, we will always extend open arms to our cousins and their families.

We headed home on Sunday as Don had a couple of days of work to complete, and of course we had another camping trip planned!

We spent a 4 day long weekend with the Cameron  family at Long Lake Provincial Park.  We were all excited about the "new" boat.  Well a new motor on the old boat.  It ran splendidly and added to the fun we always have on these trips.  The kids could spend hours on the tube behind the boat, and Blake even tried water skiing.  He made it up once but the inexperience of what to do worked against him.  After that attempt the water and waves did not cooperate again, so a goal for next summer has been set.

So I am not really drowning, because this is all fun and a great way to see July speed by.  But I could use some time to clean house etc.  But that is somewhat overrated anyway!

August isn't looking any slower and I can't wait to tell you all about it.  Talk to you in a month!