Every Christmas, I give each of the girls an ornament. Here are the latest.
2008: Bought these handmade stars at Rogers Pass Discovery Centre in BC. They were made in Manitoba (more: The girls' 2008 ornaments).
2009: Bought these lovely ornaments at The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas (more about that day on our trip to Weslaco: December 23).
2011: Bought these handmade bead ornaments at the MacKenzie Art Gallery Shop (my favourite local place for ornaments). I don't recall where they were made; it might have been a third-world country.
2012: Bought these cool motherboard ornaments at the MacKenzie Art Gallery Shop (more: 22/12/12).
2013: Bought these Basic Spirit ornaments, handcrafted in Pugwash, Nova Scotia, at the MacKenzie Art Gallery Shop. Sophia's is the partridge in a pear tree (10% of the funds go to ending hunger); Madeline's is the hummingbird (a tree will be planted); and Georgia's is the globe with children (10% of the funds go to Aids relief in Africa).
For the early years, see The girls' ornaments 2001-2007.
Notes and highlights from the ringette tournaments we went to in February:
Queen City Classic (Regina) with White Out and Mojo, Feb 1-2
Saskatoon with White Out, Feb 15-16
...which may explain why this is my only blog post in February. (I just couldn't let a whole calendar month pass by without a single post!)
Here's my one layout. More to come, I hope!
2. WATCHED & LISTENED
3. EVENTS & OUTINGS
Summer Road Trip
4. RECIPES TO REMEMBER
6. SPECIAL PURCHASES
I'm so happy to have made this layout! So many things pulled together in one place. This is the epitome of scrapbooking for me -- photos from different times brought together to make connections you wouldn't experience looking through a typical chronological photo album. It was a fun topic to explore, too. I enjoyed learning even more about geoducks -- just for the heck of it! There are lots of interesting geoduck videos on YouTube, and this episode of Dirty Jobs: Geoducks with Mike Rowe was quite entertaining.
Besides geoducks, this layout features pictures of each our girls on their first St. Patrick's Day (2001, 2003, and 2006). It's pure coincidence that I happened to complete the layout today! I started it two weeks ago.
Here's the journaling:
In July 1996, Neil and I visited Grandma Byrns at her home on Puget Sound. We saw water squirting up through holes in the beach, and learned it was coming from geoducks. We had never heard of such a thing!
The geoduck (pronounced "GOO-ee-duck") is a mollusk native to the Pacific Northwest. It is the largest burrowing clam in the world, weighing in at anywhere from 1-3 pounds at maturity. Life expectancy is well over 100 years.
My Aunt Chris gave us this tiny Geoducks t-shirt when Sophia was born. Aunt Chris enjoys thrifting and this item was certainly a second-hand treasure!
Each of the girls wore this t-shirt when they were babies – and all three wore it on their first St. Patrick's Day.
Thanks to Wikipedia, we think this t-shirt may have come from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington – where the geoduck is their official mascot. Go, Geoducks go!
The pull-out on the 6x12 side is The Geoduck Fight Song. I couldn't resist including it. And doesn't Sophia look like she's ready to fight?! :)
Neil and I traveled to Spain, Portugal, and Morocco from January 24 to March 2, 2000. On that trip, we also visited Gibraltar, Andorra, and France briefly. Here's a small sample of our photos -- transferred from my pre-blog website which will disappear in a couple months. (I wish I had the original scans (i.e., larger files) of these photos; they seem to have disappeared. Perhaps I'll re-scan them someday.)
La Rambla - Barcelona, Spain
Roman amphitheatre - Tarragona, Spain
La Alhambra - Granada, Spain | La Mezquita - Cordoba, Spain
Looking down one side of Gibraltar
Supper in the Djemma El Efna - Marrakech, Morocco
Entrance to the Kasbah - Rabat, Morocco
On a carriage ride - Sevilla, Spain
Sherry - Jerez de la Frontera, Spain | A dolmen near Evora, Portugal
Chapel of Bones - Faro, Portugal
Dona Ana Beach - Lagos, Portugal
Torre de Belem - Lisbon, Portugal
The Rio Douro and Porto, Portugal
Church with azulejo tiles - Porto, Portugal | La Seu Vella (Old Cathedral) - Lleida, Spain
Building in the Plaza Mayor - Madrid Spain
Neil skiing in Andorra
Cats in Portbou, Spain
Large painting by Salvador Dali at the Teatre-Museu Dali - Figueres, Spain
Kim relaxing in Barcelona, Spain | Temple de la Sagrada Familia - Barcelona, Spain
Mercat Sant Josep/La Boqueria market - Barcelona, Spain
Goethe-Haus - Frankfurt, Germany
We arrived home at 1:30 today from Madeline's ringette tournament in Saskatoon. We had an excellent weekend which involved great highway conditions, swimming, visiting my Grandma B, eating at Fuddruckers, going to a scrapbooking store, hanging out with nice people, and Madeline's team winning the last of their four games. The Spitfires have been playing super hard over the past month and they deserve it!
This afternoon, Georgia went to a birthday party where she was going skating in the birthday girl's backyard. The rest of us decided to take advantage of this gorgeous day, as well, so we went skating at an ice surface a couple blocks from our house. I enjoy putting on my skates once in awhile -- especially for some sunny outdoor skating.
We just had a few cold days (in the -20s), but it looks like our beautiful weather is back. High of -1 today and the forecast is looking great! Best. Winter. Ever. :)
For last week's prompt, I'm glad I was able to step out and take some pictures while the sun was shining. It makes all the difference in a picture like this.
No posts for 10 days. Yeesh. It just wasn't possible, though. We've been extra busy and I've been sleeping more thanks to a very nasty cold. Here's a brief recap of the non-ordinary happenings over the past week and a half.
I was presented with this symmetrical scene as we waited for the Riverhurst Ferry to cross Lake Diefenbaker (SK, Canada) on Sunday. We really enjoyed our time at my aunt and uncle's farm this weekend! It was a quick trip, but I'm very glad we went. I'll post more details and photos later. For now, I just want to mention some odds and ends.
This morning, my iMac computer at home was malfunctioning. The screen was black, but I could hear the normal incoming email sounds and the time machine backup was running. When the drive stopped running, I powered off the computer and then on again, but there was no change. We thought it might be the screen or video card which we've seen as a problem with a different computer. I was getting rather concerned as I have many things I need to do on my computer right now! Neil took the iMac to Fact Computers this morning and they found nothing wrong with the screen or the computer itself! Phew! The technician said it just needed to be unplugged for about five minutes. I've never had this happen before but I'm immensely relieved it was nothing major. And Fact Computers are so awesome! No charge for the checkup. :)
Yesterday, Georgia had a playdate all afternoon with her friend, Dex. Meanwhile, Neil and the older girls were busy getting geared up for ringette, filling in the gaps of what we don't already have. They shopped around and got some good deals, but it was still an expensive day. They are working on this today, as well. Neil just called to tell me he got $280 skates for $50 at Sportchek for Sophia. Sophia and Madeline start ringette conditioning camp on the 29th, which is also the first day of school. The camp is three nights a week for four weeks, so we're going to have busy evenings right off the bat. There's no easing into it this year.
School and ringette aren't the only things starting on August 29th. I'm starting a new job that day! It's at the same company, but in a different department. It will be my first time outside of Marketing in 17 years. I'm going to CS Operations as an editor of public support content. I'm very excited about the job as it sounds like work that will suit me well, but I learned this morning that I have to move to an office on Longman Crescent! That's way, way up in the industrial area -- and the opposite end of the city from where I live. This does not suit me at all as I really enjoy taking the bus downtown in the mornings and getting a ride home with my sister-in-law 2-3 times a week. Oh well; I still would have wanted the job even if I had known about this.
It's finally corn-on-the-cob season (for tasty imported cobs, that is), and these are our cob holders. They're not heavy, of course, but I thought they had a cool design. I like how this photo turned out. :) I decided to take another picture today to capture an item that Neil and I bought when traveling years ago. We can't remember exactly where we bought it, but I'm pretty sure it was Spain (11 years ago). It hangs above our kitchen sink and is used mostly for tea accessories and a cloth for drying fruits and vegetables. I love the rich browns in it.
Today, I've been busy cleaning the kitchen and sorting through the children's clothes that need to leave our house (the bags have been piled in the middle of Georgia's room for long enough). I am now sorting them three ways: Texas, Regina family (known to my sister-in-law), and Bailey (my cousin's daughter). There's more than enough to go around. Also, Neil has been busy cleaning the laundry room. It's so good to make progress on these things! Okay, back to work now.
Last weekend, we all went to Medicine Hat for Sophia's ringette tournament, the Ed Horvath Interprovincial Classic. (Except Dash, who went to Laurel and Bronwyn's house for the weekend.) Epic blog post ahead.
We left on Thursday, February 10 after I got home from work. It seemed like a long drive that evening as it was dark, snowing off and on, and there was some drifting snow. We saw a few vehicles in the ditch between the divided highway. All had just gone in within minutes as their lights were still on. We were glad others had stopped to help. We arrived in Medicine Hat at the Travelodge about 10:30 p.m. (9:30 AB time). None of the kids had fallen asleep. We thought Georgia might since she wasn't feeling well, but she stayed awake, content watching DVDs. Once we got our things into the room, the girls all went to bed amazingly well. (In my experience, this never happens when arriving late to a hotel room!) As soon as they were asleep, I went to bed, too. Neil stayed up late playing cribbage with some of the other ringette parents.
***Friday morning, we were up pretty early and headed down to the breakfast room (complimentary continental breakfast) about 7:45 a.m. We had the place to ourselves. The girls were eager to go swimming, so when the pool opened at 8:30, we were ready. All five of us went in. The water temperature was great! Surprisingly warm. The waterslide was good (not too fast) and the pool was just the right depth for Madeline to stand with her head out of the water. She and Sophia had a great time sliding. Georgia wore her life jacket, but was still very unwilling to be on her own, so she stuck with me or Neil the whole time. I took her down the waterslide twice, and then she didn't want to go anymore (especially as Sophia pleaded with Georgia to let her take her down the waterslide). Just as we were all going to leave the pool, two of Sophia's team-mates came to the pool and asked her to stay swimming with them. Neil stayed to supervise and I took Georgia and Madeline to the room to shower.
Once I was all ready for the day and Neil and Sophia were back with the other two, I drove to Medicine Hat's local scrapbook store, Scrapbook Central. I wanted to tell them about Bite-sized Scrapbooking and check out their wares, of course! The store owner wasn't there, but I spoke to the lady working there and told her all about it. I left a few cards, too. I was quite nervous about this (I am so NOT a salesperson), but it went okay. I don't know if it will mean any business for me, but at least I tried. Scrapbook Central is a very nice little store, packed with good stuff. I shopped a bit and came home with a few sheets of paper, letter stickers, and labels that I love.
I got back to the hotel about 11:30 a.m., and we headed over to the Medicine Hat Mall to have lunch before Sophia's first game. A couple other families went there, too. The first game was at 1:45 p.m. vs. Indus Lightning at the Kinplex. The Sticks of Fury had a rough start. They were down 6 points before scoring and then outscored their opponent the rest of the game. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough and we lost 8-5. Sophia scored one goal in the first game.
All of the ringette tournament stuff was at this arena and we wouldn't be back, so we spent a bit of time feeding the raffle baskets, and buying a set of ringette mini sticks (2 sticks and a mini ring) and "Ringy," a soft toy (a ring with arms and legs) for Georgia. Plus, there was a cool sports photographry set up where they had dozens of photos of each girl in action, taken during the game, displayed on computer monitors (there were about 8 of them) where you could browse the photos and choose some for printing right there. There were a couple great shots of Sophia, so we bought an 8x10 with a small picture inset in the corner. It's a nice keepsake.
We went back to the hotel and many of the ringette players and little siblings played (or watched) mini sticks for awhile. There was a great space not far from our room that was just lined with chairs, with big windows for light and lots of floor space. It wasn't next to any hotels rooms, either. Perfect!
At 4:15 p.m., all of the ringette families gathered at Houston Pizza for supper. It was a good set up with all of the kids at a long table between two rows of booths where all the parents and coaches sat. From there, we went straight to the Family Leisure Centre (a very nice, new facility with an extra wide ice surface) for the girls' second game vs. Airdrie White Out. Sophia played goal for this game and they tied, 7-7. It was a great game and Sophia played well. We didn't know what to expect from these Alberta teams, and it was good to see that the Sticks of Fury were competing with them at the same level. Also, during the game, Georgia -- who had been coughing for a few days and wasn't quite herself, but didn't seem terribly ill at any point in time -- spread my coat out on the bench and went to sleep next to Neil. (Those arenas were so flipping hot, I rarely kept my coat on through the game!)
From there, we headed back to the hotel and the whole team went swimming. Madeline and Georgia also went in; Georgia with her life jacket. She didn't move around much and was happy when some of the big girls would hold her or hoist her up onto a platform to watch the others. Some parents went swimming, too, and many of us just watched. The kids had a lot of fun. The sound in that room was deafening! We got the kids to bed quickly after that, as they had an early game. I wasn't feeling great, so I headed to bed around 10 p.m., too.
***Saturday morning, we were up early agian and ate breakfast before leaving the hotel at 8:15 a.m. The breakfast room was very busy this time, mostly our team. Our first game was at 9:15 vs. Calgary Dynamite at the Family Leisure Centre. We thought this team might be tough as they were the only one in our pool to have won their first two games. Our girls had a super game. We scored four goals quickly before the other team scored, and the final was 14-4 (officially 11-4 as they only record a 7-point difference). I prefer close games, but I must admit, this was fun to watch. Lots of cheering from our part of the stands. Plus, one of the girls on our team (Savannah) scored her very first goal, and that is always exciting. Also, Neil won the game 50-50 -- $42! And it was the only 50-50 he had entered. Sophia got a tripping penalty during this game (it was accidental).
Between games, we went back to the hotel and just relaxed a bit. I tried to take a nap, but that didn't pan out. For lunch, we just ate some food we had in the fridge that Neil had brought along. The girls' fourth game was at 1:00 p.m. vs. Bow View Lightning at another arena, Hockey Hounds. One of the coaches asked Sophia to play goal for this game and she agreed. It was a close, tough, exciting game the whole way. And a very low score for Novice ringette. We parents cheered a lot! The final was 4-3, with the other team scoring the winning goal at 30 seconds remaining on the clock. Bummer! Oh well. Sophia had played very well and earned Player of the Game! I know she wishes they would have won that game, but she didn't get upset. The Sticks of Fury could not advance with their record, but they had a good tournament. (Once again, Georgia layed down on the bench next to me and went to sleep during the game!)
Straight from that game, we had prearranged to meet at the Family Leisure Centre where they have a wave pool and bigger waterslide. Most of the ringette families went. All five of us went in the pool. I wish I hadn't though. I wasn't feeling well and didn't really enjoy it. Plus, we had no towels! We had not planned on swimming anywhere except the hotel, so we didn't bring any and the towel rental price was ridiculous at the FLC. We made do with paper towels and the hair/hand dryer. Also, one of the coaches, Andrea, hit her head going down the waterslide and had to go to the hospital for stitches on the side of her forehead. That was too bad, but fortunately, she didn't have a concussion.
At 5:30 p.m., all of the ringette families met at the Buffet Medicine Hat for supper. Busy place and a huge selection of food, probably 2/3 Chinese food. The kids really enjoyed it -- many servings of Shirley Temples, chicken balls, and five colours of Jello were consumed! I was hoping for some lighter food at this point in the weekend, but for some reason, I did not restrict my choices to the salad bar.
Afterward, the whole ringette team went in the hotel pool again. Quite a scene! Madeline went in, too, but Georgia opted on her own to stay out this time. Many parents visited around the pool. Madeline had a great time this weekend playing with one of the other younger sisters (Skylar), and they were constant side-kicks at this point. After swimming, we set up a movie (Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2) in one player's room and the whole team and siblings settled in to watch and eat snacks. Meanwhile, a bunch of parents gathered in another room for drinks. When Georgia decided she'd had enough of the movie, I put her to bed and decided to go to bed, too. I couldn't believe it was only 10 p.m. It felt much later to me. Neil stayed up and got the other two to bed some time later -- after someone had complained about noise from the room where the girls were watching another movie. That was the end of that. Around 11:30, I think.
***Sunday morning, I couldn't move. I was sick. My head hurt and my body ached. Plus, I was coughing more. Lovely. I had not felt great all weekend, but this was beyond that. I had wanted to leave around 9:00 a.m., but it wasn't going to happen. At that time, Neil took the girls down to breakfast and I struggled to get into the shower. With Advil Cold & Sinus, I was somewhat functional by 10:00 and we were able to pack up and check out at 11. We stopped at the mall to buy lunch and Valentine's cards for the girls to write on the way home.
The highway was very good, and we made good time. The Valentines kept the girls busy for quite awhile. I had agreed to buy some Valentine erasers and tape, too, so in addition to writing the cards (I had taken their class lists along), they enjoyed taping the erasers onto the cards.
After that was done, I was able to nap for awhile. We got to Regina at 5:30 p.m. Our van was too full to pick up Dash and his crate, so we went straight home and then Neil took the truck to pick up Dash. I don't even remember the evening, except that I felt terrible, and I emailed my manager and co-workers to let them know I wouldn't be at work on Monday.
Other than Georgia not feeling 100% and me coming down with the flu (which kept me away from work and regular activities all week; sigh), it really was a great weekend. It was our first big out-of-town tournament experience as a family, and it was a lot of fun. We really like the other families of Sophia's ringette team and it was great to get to know them better. I love this ringette thing! I'm excited that Madeline wants to play next year, as well. :)
Last weekend, we drove to Edmonton to visit Shauna (Neil's sister), her husband, Wayne, and their sons, Cole and Rian. It was the perfect time to go since Remembrance Day was on Thursday and there was no school on Friday.
We started out with breakfast from McDonalds since that is our roadtrip tradition and it's the only time we ever get breakfast there. The drive to Edmonton was good. The highway was a bit icy for about 100 km out of Regina, but beyond that, it was completely clear and we had good driving conditions the rest of the way. The girls were content watching DVDs and playing on their DS(i)s a bit. We arrived at Shauna's shortly before 4 p.m. Alberta time (5 p.m. in SK). Shauna made a wonderful supper for us and we enjoyed visiting with all of them the rest of the evening. The girls went to bed well and at a good time, which is unusual for the first night in a new place.
On Friday, Cole was a bit reluctant to go to school while we were there, but we assured him that we wouldn't be at his house having fun without him. The five of us went out mid-morning to do some shopping at Ikea and other stores in South Edmonton Common. Shauna had given us some great coupons for deals such as 30% and 40% off regular and sale prices. We got some fantastic deals on things we needed, such as winter boots for Sophia (who, incidentally, is now wearing the same size as me!). We enjoyed lunch at Fatburger, which we had never tried before.
We went back "home" in time to go pick up Cole from school. The girls, Rian, Shauna, and I walked to the school while Neil went to pick up a few groceries. It was fun to see Cole's brand new BIG school, inside and out. Back at the house, the kids had a blast sliding down the stairs on an air mattress. After a little while, Neil and I went out to get a few more things at South Edmonton Common. I was very happy to get a new winter coat for a super good price and a picture frame I'd been wanting for months for about half price.
After another great supper prepared by Shauna, she led the children (and me) in making a cool craft. We made change purses out of duct tape! They were really fun to make. All we used were three colours of "Duck" tape from Michael's and some waxed paper, plus some velcro and magnetic closures that Shauna dug out of her craft supplies. Everyone was very pleased with their creations. Meanwhile, Neil and Wayne watched hockey and movies downstairs.
On Saturday morning, all nine of us went to Millenium Place in Sherwood Park to go swimming. What a fantastic facility! We really enjoyed the wave pool and lazy river. Afterward, Shauna and Wayne picked up pizzas for lunch at their house. Cole had a hockey game mid-afternoon. Our family left the house early for another quick shopping trip to get some jeans for Neil since The Bay wasn't too far from the rink. We made it to the game just a few minutes after it started. It was fun to watch the little boys play their game on half of the ice (with a bumper dividing the ice surface). Action packed!
After the hockey game, I think the kids managed to squeeze in some more sliding down the stairs on the air mattress. They really love doing that! The evening was similar to Friday, with Shauna serving a delicious supper, then more duct tape crafts (this time hand bags and pencil cases) with the kids. After getting the kids to bed, I spent some time gathering and packing up our things so we could leave early in the morning. I also got our water bottles ready and our travel food organized. Shauna even went out to get some treats for the girls. :)
Sunday morning, Neil and I were up bright and early to get the van loaded and the kids ready to go. Thanks to Shauna, the girls ate some toast before we left, and amazingly, we drove away about 7:15 a.m. Neil was on a mission to get back to Regina for the Riders home play-off game which started at 3:30 p.m. -- and we would lose an hour heading east. The trip went well. We had plenty of food, so didn't have to stop for that. We did make four quick stops for washrooms and fuel (once), and Neil made it to the game before 4:00 p.m. He was pretty anxious to get into the stadium by that time!
From there, the girls and I stopped at home very briefly and then headed to Yellow Grass where Dash was staying with my parents. Mom had invited us for supper and it happened to be Dash and Buffy's birthday that day, so the girls were anxious to see the dogs. I had a nice visit with Mom and Dad, and we saw the Riders' exciting win in double-OT. The girls, Dash, and I left for home about 8:30 p.m. I was relieved that I didn't feel too tired on the drive home. It was a very long day!
Many thanks to Shauna, Wayne, Cole, and Rian for your hospitality! We really enjoyed our stay with you. Thanks again to Mom and Dad for taking care of Dash for more than five days. Much appreciated!
Pop quiz: What do Rugby ND, Lebanon KS, and Brady TX have in common?
No idea? Well, here's a bit of trivia for you: they are all the centre of a geographical space -- North America, the contiguous US, and Texas, respectively. Not only that, my family and I have been to all three of these places. And we weren't even trying to visit places that are at the centre of something! But when we noticed these landmarks, we used them as an opportunity to stretch our legs and have a little fun. That's how we roll on road trips. :)
I don't know how common it is for someone to have visited all of these places. I'm thinking, pretty rare, but conceivable. But I bet that no one else has ever made a scrapbook layout about all of these places! I hereby present The Most Obscure Scrapbook Topic Ever (in my books, anyway):
Journaling: How peculiar that we happened to travel through "the center of" places on three different occasions! We stayed overnight in Brady, TX on our way home from Weslaco in 2006; we went through Rugby, ND on our way from Minot to the International Peace Garden in the summer of 2009; and we went through Lebanon, KS on our way to Texas in December 2009, the day after we stayed with relatives in Neligh, NE. We weren't even aware of these landmarks until we saw the signs!
Credits: The map and labels are from JessicaSprague.com (Hybrid Project Friday 1: America the Beautiful by DigiTori, Tori Johnson); the rest is Bazzill cardstock, Stampin' Up! paper, American Crafts Thickers, AC felt flowers, and brads.
This layout was fun to make and I'm glad I made it! I didn't have a photo from Brady, so I used another Texas photo I had on hand and I printed out part of the brochure from the Hard Eight BBQ restaurant, which is what we really remember about our time in Brady (yum!).
On Sunday, August 1, we went to Saskatoon to visit my Grandma B. First thing upon arrival (5 p.m.), we pitched our tent at the Gordon Howe Campground in the south west part of the city. It is such a lovely well-maintained campground. I was glad to have made reservations a couple of weeks ago as it was completely full. On this trip, we stayed there at night but did not do any cooking there. I call it "half camping" and it's a pretty easy way to go!
We headed to Fuddruckers for supper -- of course! The girls did not remember what Fuddruckers was like even though we have been to a few. (I digress here to mention we have been to Fuddruckers in Houston, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City). The girls were excited to find out that lemon-lime slush was one of the drink choices with their meals. Neil and I both enjoyed bison burgers. It was all so good!
After supper, we went over to Grandma's place. We stayed for more than an hour. She gave Neil a cookbook with recipes submitted by Saskatchewan Roughriders players, and to me, a large baby photo of myself, taken by my uncle John. We also looked at a beautiful blanket that Grandma knitted in which every square is a different pattern. The girls were quite interested in her knitting tools, and Madeline kept saying she wanted to learn how to knit. I always enjoy the views from Grandma's suite and I always take pictures of it!
As we headed back to our campsite, the girls asked, and I agreed, that we could make S'mores this evening -- even though it was quite late already and we had to find a grocery store to get the ingredients. It was 10:45 p.m. by the time we were roasting the marshmallows! Oh well, that's what summer vacation is for, right? It was still quite warm and muggy outside. We didn't get to bed until 11:30 p.m. Just as we settled into our sleeping bags, it started raining and it rained ALL night (until about 6:00 a.m.)! Fortunately, our tent was on high ground. A few things that were touching tent walls got damp, but it was no big deal.
Monday morning, we could not find a local restaurant for breakfast as they were closed for the holiday (or not open until noon). Even Sophia wanted to go to a restaurant we don't have in Regina, but we settled on McDonald's. Oh well, it wasn't bad and we ate outside. From there, we headed over to Grandma's place. We planned our activities for the day and I worked on a few new pages for the scrapbook of heritage photos I had started over four years ago! (The scrapbook stayed with Grandma, so I wasn't able to work on it at home.) I was delighted that my cousins Sydney, Tanys, and Ellyn were able to come over for a visit, too. Unfortunately, Sydney and Tanys couldn't stay for long, but Ellyn stayed with us for the rest of the day. For lunch, we all walked (including Grandma) to the double-decker bus near the Bessborough hotel for hot dogs and ice cream. (And Saskatoon berry frozen yogurt for me.) Yum! My uncle Joel (who had talked to Grandma) found us there as we were finishing our lunch.
Mid-afternoon, we left Grandma's to go swimming at the Riversdale Pool (outdoor). Ellyn came with us, so we stopped by her house to get a swimming suit. We all had fun at the pool, although our time there was a bit too short (40 minutes in the pool) because we had a 5 p.m. reservation for supper. The water temperature was perfect and the girls loved the waterslide. Also, the girls really enjoyed having Ellyn there and it was great to have her help at the pool, too. From there, we went to Las Palapas Resort Grill where they serve "nuevo tropical cuisine." The atmosphere was fun and the food was pretty good (though too pricey for some things).
After supper, we went back to Grandma's, and then over to the Kinsmen Park across the street. The girls went on the carousel ride a couple times and we all went on the train. It was a beautiful evening for this, and there weren't many people there. We spent a bit more time at Grandma's in the evening, and had a very brief visit with my uncle Pat and aunt Alison when they picked up Ellyn. (They had been away all day doing work at their Emma Lake property).
We got back to our campsite around 9:30 p.m. We didn't start a fire because the grill was full of water, so we ate some uncooked S'mores. (Not so good, in my opinion!) The girls and I went to sleep about 11 p.m. while Neil stayed up reading by lantern light a bit longer. Neil and I were both annoyed with our loud-mouthed (and crass) neighbours. Fortunately, I had some ear plugs and the girls were tired enough to fall asleep quickly. That was the only bad thing about our tenting experience. Otherwise, it was very nice. No rain on the second night and the temperature was perfect.
Tuesday morning, we packed up our tent and checked out of the campground. We ate breakfast at Tim Horton's since we wanted something quick. We stopped by Grandma's briefly before going to the zoo at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm. We had a great morning there! It was neither hot nor cold out, so the animals were moving around, and there weren't too many people there either. Perfect! It's a nice little zoo. The girls loved it! I enjoyed the trees and vegetation, too.
On our way out, we went into the little butterfly greenhouse which is next to the parking lot (outside the zoo). There didn't appear to be many butterflies in there, but we were lucky to see some up close. They will step onto your finger if you put your hand right up to their feet. One butterfly climbed up Sophia's hair and then perched on her nose!
Before leaving the city, we looked for lunch on 8th Street and found Jerry's Food Emporium. What a fun place! We loved it. The food was good and the display of ice cream and gelato was too tempting! We all indulged in a treat after our late lunch. We hardly needed another bite to eat for the rest of the day! Straight to Regina after getting fuel, we arrived home at 4:30 p.m. and my mom arrived with Dash a short while later. Thanks Mom and Dad for keeping Dash while we were away!
(1) A triptych of Saskatchewan skies (between Moose Jaw and Regina). I took all three of these photos within 30 minutes (8:37 to 9:03 pm) as we drove down the highway toward home. It was a full moon and this was a lucky shot (the other ten were terrible!). It's hard to get a decent photo of the moon without a tripod, let alone from a moving vehicle.
(2-5) Before heading home, we went to the groom's parents' lovely acreage just outside of Calgary for a couple hours. They had invited everyone out there for lunch. There's a creek running at the back of the property and there was a bunch of fragrant clover and alfalfa growing near the creek. The girls had lots more fun with their second cousins. I'm glad we had another chance to visit with relatives.
The drive home was pretty good, too, although I was not feeling very well and I took three naps (or tried to nap, anyway). Our longest stop was for supper at A&W in Swift Current. We got home just after 9:00 p.m. After unloading our things from Lou's car, Neil and the girls went to get Dash.
(1) Family portrait at a truck stop near Moose Jaw, taken on Sunday the 25th, on our way home from Calgary.
(2) Another pretty pond at the Calgary Zoo. I took far more photos of water than of animals on this zoo trip!
(3) There's something about giraffes. I always take photos of them. They have a nice indoor-outdoor enclosure at this zoo.
(4) Our table at the wedding of Collin (Neil's cousin) and Bridget. We were seated with Neil's cousin, Kathy, her husband, Art, and their three young daughters. The girls really hit it off and had so much fun together (especially the younger five). It was a great seating arrangement! :)
(5) The view from outside the hall where the wedding reception was held. The Rocky Mountains are on the horizon.
I woke up with a very sore throat and could hardly force myself out of bed. (Not a surprise since I could feel something coming on the day before.) I couldn't really get moving until the Advil Cold & Sinus kicked in, so we were off to a later start than we had hoped. (And then I was on continuous ibuprofen and/or acetaminophen all weekend to manage the pain of my sore throat. Some cold meds also helped me stay awake.)
We went to the hotel's excellent breakfast buffet with Lou, then the five of us headed to the zoo (Lou stayed at the hotel to visit with his siblings). We arrived at the zoo at 10:30 a.m. and left shortly after 2:00 p.m. It was a hot and sunny Saturday and the zoo was jammed with people. We are used to visiting zoos during the off season or on cloudy, drizzly days, so we weren't accustomed to such crowds! Not ideal for seeing animals. Oh well; it was our only opportunity. Our kids had never been to this zoo before, and it is a great zoo. (We got a terrific price for zoo tickets by buying a family fun pack through the hotel at which we were staying, Executive Royal Inn North Calgary: one night accommodation, zoo tickets for five, and breakfast buffet for five for $159 -- about $100 off the full price of those things.)
The wedding was at 4:00 p.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, a very traditional parish -- the likes of which we had never seen before. All the ladies and little girls of the parish wore lacy scarves on their heads, there was no music during the hour+ long ceremony/mass, and the priest spoke a lot of Latin. It was really something to see.
The reception was at 5:30 p.m. at the Austrian Cultural Centre, a great venue for a wedding dinner and dance. We all had a wonderful time at this wedding, and it was so nice to see many relatives on Neil's dad's side that we had not seen for several years. I'm very glad we decided to go. My only regret is that we didn't get a picture of all five of us together at the wedding when we were all dressed up and looking quite nice. (Well, I also wish I had been feeling better!)