I LOVE Canada. True and through. I really do! And a lot of it has to do with the fact that my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents are/were Canadian. Growing up we would go there every single summer --sometimes twice. We would drive in our fabulous mini-van and stop at the exact same rest stops and gas stations along the way. We always knew that mom would pack a lunch for the 9 hour drive (sometimes 8), and we DID NOT have a DVD player. But we looked forward to these trips every year because we knew what awaited us:
- Grandma and Grandpa S and their backyard, complete with a sandbox, swingset, great climbing trees, barbeques, and fabulous board games.
- Grandma and Grandpa St and their dress-ups, scrapbooks, angel food cake, and the empty lot where we would find dinosaur bones! Okay, cow bones, but we thought they were dinosaur!
- Waterton National Park. Waterton will always and forever NEVER be boring. I could go to Waterton every month and still love it each time.
- Canada Day --my brother's birthday and Canada's National Holiday. I grew up celebrating Canada Day more often than the 4th of July. I'm still very American and love my country, but Canada is a part of me and so I feel some patriotism towards the Great White North as well.
- Seeing all the cousins that we never got to see in the States...that was AWESOME!
- Going to the same parks, swimming pools, and lakes that my parents did when they were kids.
- Other sites like, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Writing on Stone, Indian Battle Park, and of course, the house where Grandma S was born in Stirling.
- Watching the Raymond Canada Day parade. (One year, I was in it!)
- Attending the Cardston Temple where my parents and grandparents were married (and most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins). Of course, I could never do that until after I had been married myself, but now it's a tradition I love.
- Occassional trips to Banff, Calgary (what a zoo!), and once I even made it to Edmonton. :)
Now I take my kids. Usually every year, although DH can rarely make it. However, this year he did! And it was fabulous. The kids were great driving there (how did my parents survive without the DVD player?!??!) and back, and really did well the entire week. Here's the synopsis:
SUNDAY (25th) --We were already in Idaho, and left at 4AM...we got to Lethbridge by 1PM, even with the 40 minute wait at the border (Hello!!??!? Open up another window!!!)
MONDAY (26th) --DH and my uncle went golfing --my sister and I had fun at the park with the kiddies. Then we all (my parents, sis, kids, etc.) went to Henderson Lake for the afternoon. Ahhh, Henderson Lake.....~sigh~ That night DH, the kiddies and I went to see my longest (she's not "old" so oldest sounds dumb) known friend and her family. Fun!!
TUESDAY (27th) --Nice, lazy morning...then dropped all kids off at my Aunt's in Raymond and we did a session in the Temple. First time that all of my dad's brothers were in the Temple with their parents since 1994. Really, really cool.
WEDNESDAY (28th) --WATERTON!! Oooh, oooh! I hiked Bear's Hump! Haven't done that one for a LOOOOONNNNNGGGG time. Totally worth it...
THURSDAY (29TH) --My Dad's 50th Birthday. My BIL and DH went fly fishing with my uncle all day and had a blast. My sis and I went with our parents to Raymond and spent some time at the cemetary where half of my blood line is buried. Saw my Grandpa ST's grave and remembered how much I miss him...Later, we got some babysitters for the kids and all the adults went out to dinner for my dad's b-day and then back to Gr and Gr S's for cake. Yay! Fun date night!
FRIDAY (30th) -- My sis and I went to lunch with some girlfriends (my "longest" friend and her sister) without the kids. It was fabulous. We went to a great Japanese tea house and it was yummy, yummy, yummy! After, hubbies and us took the kids swimming at Nicholas Sheran (did I spell that right?) indoor pool --man, was that full of memories! But it used to be much bigger... hmmm.... For dinner we had a big family barbeque (actually, we just did pizza) in my Aunt's backyard. It was way fun --and I even convinced my cousin to sing for us (she's a music major at U of Lethbridge). Lyrical soprano she is, and man is she great! :)
SATURDAY (1st) --CANADA DAY!!! We all hopped in our cars and went to my mom's sister's place in Raymond for the parade. It was so fun --and they still throw candy. Well, I guess it's safer to throw candy on streets that are wide enough for 4 horse-drawn wagons to go down them and a population swell of maybe --maybe -- 8,000 people. The Freedom Festival Parade in Provo on the 4th has throngs of hundreds of thousands of people. I guess throwing candy would not be particularly safe....ANYWAYS...the kids loved it and it was a beautiful day. We then stayed for a real barbeque in my aunt's yard --yum! And DH even barbequed up his trout that he had caught Thursday morning. For the dinner gathering that night, we celebrated (oh, and this was the PURPOSE of us coming) my Grandpa's 80th birthday (which was back in March) with a big family dinner, cake, and this awesome book my mom and dad put together for him. All the sons and the grandkids wrote memories of Grandpa and it was compiled together in a binder with pictures. It was interesting to see how many of the memories were similar. We love you, Grandpa!
Well, that was it. Sunday morning we left for home at 4AM and made it back by 5PM. It was a great vacation and wonderful, wonderful, wonderful to have DH there the entire time. Man, parenting is so much easier with the two of us!
P.S. I feel stupid, but trying to figure out this whole picture thing isn't working...I think I will have to add another post with just pictures....someday I'll get this all figured out!!