Thursday, March 27, 2014

Beauty in Banff and Cards in Calgary

As always... it's been a while since I've written last... which means I should actually have something more to write about than COLD weather! :) Though be warned it can't be avoided, and will need to be mentioned at least once or twice in this here post! :)

"Spring" break (it could HARDLY be considered spring with all the negative temperatures we had!) was uber early for us this year and low and behold... the last day of school was on my birthday! Which has never happened and will probably not happen again anytime soon! (The early break was due to our area hosting the provincial winter games...) So since Jon and I wanted to go away for my *cough, cough* 30th *cough* birthday... it worked out well to combine a birthday trip with our annual family visit out west!

First we enjoyed some time with cousins, and aunties and uncles, and Gramma and Grampa, of course! (And the cousins proved that yes, indeed... they could get along beautifully... so more get together's were scheduled for later in the week!)...


... then it was time for Jon and I to head out on our own... leaving the girls in Gramma and Grampa's good hands!


When we were discussing where we wanted to go Banff was definitely on the list... and we are SO glad that everything worked out to spend a couple of days there! It was WONDERFUL!


As soon as we drove through the park gates...


... it felt quaint and homey!


Now we weren't exactly staying at the Banff Springs hotel or anything... 


but we stayed on the downtown strip, and it was just right!



We walked all over town and in and out of little shops to our hearts content!



Jon's only request was to go to the Banff Hot Springs ... and even though I wasn't super keen on the idea... I'm really glad we went!


We didn't think to bring our camera in the water with us (as so many others did!) but here is one on the way out with the steam rising from the water behind Jon!


Everything was just gorgeous! We've been to Banff before, and we've been to our fair share of mountain ranges... but the magnitude and slender of the mountains never ceases to amaze me!!!


One of the things I loved was simply driving around town sipping coffee and looking at architecture (and getting ideas for the new house!). Just "us" with no schedule and no agenda! On one such night we happened to see an elk sauntering through town munching on some trees! I didn't think I'd be a wildlife picture taking tourist... but here I am! :)


We certainly ate well on our trip! I researched where we should eat (the whole gluten free thing makes it trickier!) and I'm so glad we did! Every single place we ate at was AH-mazing! And since I'm such a foodie, that was a big thumbs up!


We got back to Calgary in time to see Mom do some curling! Seeing curling live in person was a first for both me and the girls ... so it was an extra treat indeed! 


We arrived a little early so the girls could try their hand at throwing a rock or two! And they realized that it's a lot harder than it looks on TV! (The Brier was on, so we all got to watch our fill!)



Gramma had quite the cheering squad, I tell ya! And next time hopefully we'll see Grampa in action, once his ankle is all healed and good as new!


We were also blessed with a trip to the science museum again this year! 


It was neat to see the cousins interact together... 


... and see the little ones becoming more interested since visiting the museum last year!




Caidrie really liked it, but during the fire presentation she got a little restless so her and I went to the foyer to let out some energy!


Funny how these "energy measuring machines" were always the place that she wanted to go! :)


Awww, sibs!


Gramma has got "the touch" I tell ya! She managed to get both Bennett and Caidrie to nap that afternoon... which is no small feat considering the museum is swarming with kid friendly things to play with and explore!





It wasn't just the kids that had fun though...


... the guys managed to find some things to entertain them as well!

  

Out of all the things there were to do... Larren was drawn to the craft table! :)


And the nice lady that worked there helped her make a bunny puppet that actually highly resembled a bunny... 


... something Larren is not used to with the help of her mama at home!!


It was a big fun filled day...


... of learning, discovering, and enjoying our "little buddies!"


  
Gramma and Grampa have a kitty cat that, as I'm sure you can imagine, got lots of attention! And if you ask Smokey, he'd probably say he's good to go until next year... the girls may or may not have freaked him out and made him go into hiding most of the time we were there! :)


Maybe they should have tried these little mice costumes to bring him out of hiding!


On our last day the weather started to warm up a bit, and we took full advantage of it by going tobogganing at Matt and Jen's neighborhood toboggan hill!! 


We make quite the motley crew don't we?! :)


Caidrie is normally a mama's girl, but when she realized daddy was going down the hill first she didn't hesitate to hop on with him!


 I haven't been sledding in a l-o-n-g time... and oh my gracious, I forgot how fun it was!!!


This here toboggan was called the "rocket"... and it's lack of speed still makes me laugh just thinking of it!! I've never seen a sled go that slow... let's just say the kids got a good look at everything on their way down! The way it conformed over hills and somehow still kept moving was quite impressive!! :)


What a treat it was to enjoy the outdoors and to get to know our cousins (nephews!) a bit more! And the fact that Mom and Arnie had a wonderful warm spread of food for us when we got back was just the cherry on top!!


We had a great trip and made lots of fun memories! One of my favorites was playing cards (and eating dark chocolate!) in the evenings with Mom and Arnie. And by golly Arnie and I will do our best at Kaiser even if it does take us a few days to win! Thanks again Mom and Arnie for having us!

Now... if only SPRING would get the memo and grace us with it's presence... we'd be ever so appreciative!

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