One of the best parts about living away from where we grew up is being able to go back and visit! We always have somewhere to go, someone to see, when we get time off. We were looking forward to 2 weeks of family and friends.
We packed our mini van to the brim and headed out, in the pouring rain, towards Alberta. There had been so much rain in the Prairies that the highway had been washed away in parts, so we took the "scenic" route, which took about 2 hours longer, but we got to pass through towns we'd never been to.
Our detour took us through Drumheller, so we made a stop to the Royal Tyrell Museum. I hadn't been there for years, and it was very interesting. I'm not sure how much the kids really enjoyed it, seeing as it was a whole lot of bones, but they seemed to have fun :)
...and really, who doesn't find dinosaur bones fascinating? I mean, these creatures walked the earth! Crazy. (by the way, this neat shot was taken by my totally talented husband with our point and shoot) :
We arrived around dinner time on Saturday, June 26th, and spent the first evening visiting with Mom and Dad G. and my sister-in-law with her kids. Just basically took it easy :)
Sunday, day of rest :) We went to church in our in-law's ward where we were reunited with so many familiar and beloved faces! It was like coming home. We felt so welcomed and so loved. We saw my sister and my nieces and nephews, as well as my sister-in-law and her kids. We saw many friends like the Rowlands, Helen, Erica, Sandra, and more. Loved it!
That evening I had a wonderful photography session with a very adorable and spirited 1 year old. She was so gorgeous and we had fun exploring with her and her parents. I even took a bit of a tumble into the stream, but I managed a couple of cute shots out of it :)
Since I arrived back at the house soaked through, I changed into my jammies and relaxed more with my family. What else are you SUPPOSED to do on vacation? ;)
Not much to show for Monday. Lyndon woke up feeling extremely light-headed and dizzy. He spent the day laying in bed, trying to recover from over-exhaustion while the girls and I did some shopping. Later that evening we drove out to Airdrie to photograph some good friends of mine. It was SO great seeing them again.
A sight-seeing trip around Calgary would NEVER be complete without a stop at Peter's Drive-In. The kids thought it was funny when we were telling them how much prices have gone up. When I was a teenager - oh, 15 years ago - I could take $5, spend $1 to get into the dance, then buy a milkshake and onion rings with the remaining $4. Now, a milkshake is $4.50!
Wednesday we split up to enjoy twice the fun! Lyndon took the girls to the new Cross Iron Mills mall to check out the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World! It was crazy inside!
So what did I do on June 30th while my family was off playing at Cross Iron Mills? I was playing in an entirely different way with my lovely sister and my gorgeous nieces! We met up for lunch at Boston Pizza then headed over to the theater to watch Twilight Saga: Eclipse! I loved it.
Happy birthday, Canada! This was a great day on our trip. We started the day out by stopping at the mall for me to get my bath goodies, then we headed out to Airdrie to visit and have lunch with our good friends J & J and their kiddos. They prepared a delicious shepherd's pie, salad, and a fruit platter for us to enjoy as we visited and caught up about the last couple of years. They are such good people. We are so honored to be their friends.
After dinner with the T family, we drove back into town to enjoy the rest of the day at my brother-in-law's home near a beautiful little lake. The women stayed put in the house, making gorgeous fabric flowers, while the men folk took the kiddos down to the beach to enjoy some sunshine and water.
We ate back at the house and visited even more. It was such a great day and I got to know my beautiful sister-in-law, Erin, a lot better and I admired her for being such a wonderful mother. We also visited with T&C and J&F, which was so fun. I loved it. With all of that excitement, we were ALL feeling pooped out on the drive back to the house.
Friday, July 2, started out with us being lazy, but we were just gearing up for some serious fun at the Calgary Zoo. We invited another good friend of ours, Mary, with her little girl, L, to join us and it was SO good to see them again. We were so impressed with how nice the Dinosaur park looked after it's facelift and had a blast with the animatronic dinos.
I loved the butterfly room. It was filled with all kinds of gorgeous, colorful butterflies. I couldn't believe that I didn't have a memory card in my nice camera! Luckily, my main man is amazing with our point and shoot and was able to catch a couple of nice shots.
These guys were cute....but rank. I mean, STINKY!
Our busy day didn't end there, though. Our good friend, Sara, babysat the girls at the house while my mother and father-in-law treated us out to dinner and a movie. We enjoyed some delicious Vietnamese food and watched the movie "Knight and Day" which was thrilling, funny, romantic, and so entertaining. Loved it (except for the ONE stuipd "F" word they just HAD to stick in there). Still, fun night out.
Just in case we were in danger of getting too much rest on our vacation, we decided to spend Saturday the 3rd at Calaway Park with our kids, Grandma and Grandpa Grunewald, and J&J and their kids. The weather looked like rain in the next few days so we made the choice to do Calaway Park while the sun was shining.
Funny story - these 4 young adult men came walking past with armfuls of these cute little stuffed duckies. I could see them dropping them in random strollers as they passed. I waved them over, yelling "Hey, 8 kids over here!". They ran over and dropped 8 of them in our laps! The kids were ecstatic to have a cute souvenier to bring home with them.
This Sunday was special in so many ways. We were able to witness not only Jule's baby blessing for Baby "B" but we were also there to see my brother-in-law ordained as a high priest and called as first counselor in the bishopric! It was so amazing to be there for that, and the tears flowed freely.
After church the Grunewald family met for a family dinner and we took some photos, which included one of all of the G grandkids. Not an easy task to fit 13 kids together for one shot, but we got a decent one :)
After that my husband dropped me off at my sister's house to spend a week with her! We headed out quickly to take HER family pictures before her husband had to travel out of Province to work that night. It had been raining all over the city that day and when I arrived at her place it was cloudy but no sign of rain. She told me that she wasn't worried about our pictures because she had prayed that it wouldn't rain, and sure enough....it didn't! The rain held off during the entire photo session, then the downpour hit a short while after we went back to her house. The power of faith is amazing!
The next week was eventful for both of us, though separately. I was enjoying some R&R with my sister at her house while my husband and kids went to the NE Leisure center with the B kids and with Grandma. It has been vastly improved these past couple of years! The kids had a blast!
What was I doing? Shopping, eating, laughing, relaxing. I loved every second of my time with Laurie.
Lyndon had an appointment so he took the girls to a local pet store before dropping them off with my sister and I for a few hours.
I don't envy Lyndon the drive home he had. There are certain benefits to living in a smaller city. We don't come across this scene.....ever.
Wednesday my sister was quite sick for most of the day. She has this illness that sets in for no apparent reason out of the blue. She slept on and off for most of the day while I watched movies and scrapbooked. This was supposed to be my last full day with her, but since she was sick, I didn't want to leave like that. I decided to stay an extra day. We did manage to get some fun in, though, in the form of jumping on the trampoline. I only had 2 good jumps in me before I was totally tired! Boy, I'm old.
My other amazing sister, Kathy, called up Lyndon to invite the girls to go play at Prairie Winds Park for the day with her daughters and their kids. The weather was nice enough to don the swimsuits and get splashing! Thanks, Kathy!!
Back at Lauries, we were enjoying a date with our favorite vampire, Edward Cullen. I think he likes me best..... Just sayin'.
We also did a lot of scrapbooking. I finished 8 layouts and Laurie worked on her mini album. It was so cute. Oh, and we made some fabric flowers like the one I'm sporting in this picture. Yes, we are total scrapbook slobs - it's how we roll.
Our last day in Calgary. Boo. Lyndon picked me up at my sister's place just after lunch, and we headed out to visit our cousins and good friends Mark and Christie. It amazed me how much I don't realize I miss someone until I see them again! It brought back memories of when we lived so close to each other and visited every day! They are so easy to get along with and we love them so much. Thanks for everything!
Our girls played so well with their 3 daughters and their middle child even made up treat bags for each of our kids before we left. Next time we just HAVE to visit longer.
You would think our last day would be uneventful, but our trip wouldn't have been complete without a stop in at Lyndon's cousin (and our good friend) Joanne's place. Once again, my heart ached with missing her!! Their family is just so good and so fun to be around. We became friends in record time and have stayed that way ever since. Her kids are growing in leaps and bounds, and soon she'll be expecting a new little one! I wish we lived closer. I miss you, Joanne!!
Soon we were on our way, and happy day - the highway was open again! We could see out our window just how high the water had been. We could see fences littered with debris from the flood waters, and there were trucks all over the place putting the highway back together again.