Visiting Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

Monsterz Mama

For May long weekend this year we traveled to Vernon, BC. We usually go to Kelowna as my husband participates in a hockey tournament there, however this year we were brought to Vernon for my beautiful friend Richelle's Wedding. It was our first time to Vernon, so we went a few days prior so we could do some adventuring around town and of course help to prepare for the wedding.

My sister came up with us to help with the kids as my husband couldn't get up there till Saturday morning due to work. So, we left Thursday morning after Pearce's swimming lessons. Traffic was heavy until we got out of hope - I usually find this if you leave the day before the long weekend in the late morning. We made good time with two kids, only stopping in Kelowna for food and bathrooms, and grocery shopping. Driving to Vernon is absolutely beautiful, you will drive through gorgeous Kelowna, the Stunning Lake Country and come into the picturesque small-town Vernon.

When we go on Family Trips we find it easier to stay in Air B&B's with kids its nice to have laundry and a yard so we got an upstairs to a house with a full yard, that was equipped with a trampoline, swing set, sand box and tons of space to run around for the kiddos. For the adults it has a nice big deck, with deck swing and BBQ to entertain us. The weather was a little uncooperative for our weekend up there, it was sunny on Thursday, Cloudy on Friday, Rained Saturday, Sunny Sunday and Monday. However, we made the best of it! Thursday, I attended the rehearsal dinner and rehearsal, we dined at Temptasians Asians Cuisine the food was delicious, and the company was just as sweet. Then we headed to the Wedding location, Historial Okeefe Ranch a beautiful ranch tucked away down a windy beautiful road. Arriving at the ranch you feel like you arrived at a western movie, with its on-site Blacksmith shop, Pottery Shed and General store its like you took a walk back in time - More on the ranch to come!

Friday, we took to explore downtown Vernon, Downtown Vernon reminds me of my hometown Mission. It has a beautiful downtown core, with lots of amazing murals painted all around town, Quaint little shops and delicious restaurants all around! My son absolutely loved Vernon's Teach and Learn, we may or may not have spent 45 mins hanging out with the Thomas display out front. Going inside that toy store is like walking into a child’s dream. It has the biggest Thomas the train selection I have ever seen, as well as their own Thomas The Train Table for the kids to play, and delicious ice cream that my son may or may not have gotten in my hair. After the toy store, we cruised over to Harrys Fish and Chips and had the most delicious fish and chips. I usually find fish and chips a really heavy meal that often leaves me not feeling so hot after, but I found Harry's to be super light and not heavy at all! They were also super accommodating for the kids making us feel very welcome!

After lunch we popped into the Little plum boutique which is a adorable store that offers new and used clothing, the new clothing is from local vendors from all over British Columbia and the used she does on consignment for people looking to get rid of infant, toddler and kids shoes, toys and clothing as well as maternity. She also offers a parent’s room in case you need to change or nurse while out and about downtown - if you are ever caught downtown and need to nurse or change your childs diaper they have you covered with free diapers and wipes. We snagged a couple of great pieces here, a pair of pleather converse for Brooks, and a raincoat. Pearce got his first ever potato head and she was so kind to gift him with a toy police car. The owner was so sweet giving us information on the area and letting us know where else to go check out that was family friendly. I wish we had a store like this in my home town, it truly is one of a kind. On the way back to the car we popped into Shambala Clothing where Pearce picked out a braided bracelet as a souvenir to remember our trip forever. PS - her gorgeous plants in the window aren't for sale!

Later that day Pearce and I headed back to O’Keefe Ranch to set up for Richelle's big day, Pearce loved running around the ranch and seeing all the animals that the ranch has to offer. Richelle's amazing team turned the barn into a stunning wedding space for her special day.

On Saturday I headed early to get ready with the girls (I was a bridesmaid; did I mention that?) We had our hair and Make up done by local vendors and enjoyed delicious snacks and soaked in the last few hours of Richelle as a Caldwell. After getting ready I took Brooks back to my sister and headed to the wedding with my husband Chris and Pearce in tow. The Ceremony was lovely taking place in the O’Keefe rose garden, after which we took to explore the ranch and get more beautiful pictures. The Reception took place in their barn with food by EATology -- the best food to date that I have ever had at a wedding. The wine was my favorite from The Indigenous World Wine and the cake and cupcakes were delicious and were supplied from Cupcasions Kelowna. The speeches were heart warming, hilarious and moving, bringing us from laughter to tears in minutes. Richelle and Brandon’s big day was charming, and I feel blessed to have been a part of it.

Sunday, we had an amazing family day heading over to Lake Country, BC to go to the Kangaroo Creek Farm. My expectations were low for this I thought it would be a little farm with some Kangaroos, but I was blown away, It was a massive space with tons of activities for the kids, endless space for the animals and kids to run around and with a great lay out where nothing felt overcrowded. Pearce loved the goats (of course) and chickens, Brooks was a big fan of the Bunnies and the rest of us really liked the albino Kangaroos. After the kangaroo farm we went back to our Air B&B for BBQ lunch and some naps. It just so happens my dad was in town playing in a golf tournament the same weekend so got to watch him play in the semi finals on Sunday Night. Pearce got to play with his cousins Cylas and Ellody. We had a lot of fun at the game, so we ended up going on Monday to catch the finals where my dads team won 8-1 and then from there we headed home.

Driving home on the Monday of the long weekend I am usually super stressed about, but it was surprisingly not that bad - I think it may have been because we left around 1 pm and took the Agassiz - Mission way home that our traffic was minimum. Overall, I had an amazing weekend. I always love getting away and exploring new places and we loved our trip to this area of the Okanagan that I think we may just be thinking of another family trip to the same area next Summer. Especially if there's wine involved!

Here is my speech from the Wedding:

 First, I would like to start by saying, how incredibly beautiful you look Richelle - Brandon you look great as well.

I have been bugging Richelle for weeks that I was going to come up here and rap her exes’ names as seen on 5-year engagement however I was struggling to come up with a rap that warren and Geoff, Wissam. rhymed - and no one but Brandon is worth mentioning - you found the right one! I met Richelle in grade 8 and we just clicked, we liked all the same things, and just overall got along really well. If your here today you probably know how incredibly caring, selfless and overall amazing Richelle is. I couldn’t be happier than I am right now standing beside you. Growing up with you has been so much fun, we have countless memories, from playing basketball together, to countless trips to Victoria together. One thing has always remained the same no matter how much time has passed or how far apart we are from one another we always have each other back and are always there for one another and I’m grateful.

Now for a little advice on marriage for both of you. My husband and I have been married 3 years this year and my only advice is to always support your partner, continue to date them, and always communicate how your feeling - don’t let things fester or you might end up throwing a pot at the ceiling - but in all seriousness I wish you two nothing but years of happiness, love, laughter and maybe a couple more babies! Now let’s raise our glasses and toast to the beautiful couple Brandon and Richelle

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As a working Mom, I love to share stories of real life motherhood struggles, mental health awareness, recipes, and more!

Sumas, WA

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