Spending time in Canada at my parents' house is a tradition and a must to keep our summer fun levels soaring. Here is a summary of this year's week-long adventure.
Brent wasn't able to take an entire week off but he drove up for the last weekend of our stay. I charged forward super-woman style with 4 kids (my 3 + Davion) securely buckled in and ready to roll. It can be challenging to keep children entertained during long car travel but for a single driver, it can be equally difficult to keep oneself alertly engaged in at the task at hand. My creative and thrill-seeking sides combusted to invent the following travel games.
1. Estimate how many miles beyond ZERO on the 'distance-to-empty' gauge this old Sequoia will go.
2. Decide which children will remain in the car and which you will piggy back to the next exit if you actually do run out of gas. Incidentally, this 'game' also works as a disciplinary technique if you verbalize your decision flow-chart during any trivial arguments the kids get into with each other.
3. Guess which small Idaho town will have an open gas station in the middle of the night.
4. Try to stave off dangerous fatigued driving by trying to nap in the Dairy Queen parking lot with 4 kids who just now woke up.
5. Pick the clean spot on the windshield where the next giant moth will splatter.
6. Count the wildlife. (I saw 4 rabbits, 1 skunk, 3 deer, 25+ unidentifiable roadkill lumps.)
7. Dodge the wildlife. (I almost hit *&^% cow, %$#^ rabbits, *&(% deer, and 1 already smashed skunk.)
8. Hit the wildlife. (Good thing I have an SUV!! 1 rabbit and 1bird which didn't break the grill.)
9. Convince the International Border Patrol that your twitching eye is due to being the sole adult in the vehicle on a very long trip and not a "tell" that you are seeking to smuggle contraband into small southern Alberta towns.
After a round of each of these exciting travel games, we arrived safely and started the fun part of our vacation.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I attended church in Waterton Park 4 hours after we reached my parents' house while the kiddos slept. My parents spoke as they would soon be leaving on an LDS mission.
Monday, July 12th and Tuesday, July 13th
We chilled. Part of the fun of going home is doing nothing...NOTHING. The kids especially love to explore around the farm and play outside. We ran into town a couple of times for slurpees and yummy Canadian treats. We canoed on the pond. We rode the ATVs. We chatted and laughed on the patio. We napped. It was glorious.
Wednesday, July 15th
In another show of bravery and possible psychosis, I loaded up the kids and drove a few hours north to enjoy Kids' Day at the Calgary Stampede. My brother and sister-in-law with their awesome 3 red-heads were in on the fun too. The kids loved the rides, face-painting, diving show, animals, trick riders and very expensive food.
Thursday, July 16th
We used my parents' imminent mission departure as an excuse to get some family pictures since we pretty much have to consider this a possible relations-severing event. These collages are shots that we took with our camera during the official shoot. Best news?? Everyone was still talking to each other after the ordeal was over.
Friday, July 17th and Saturday, July 18th
We very much enjoyed attending the Pilling Reunion with my dad's siblings and their families. I really love those guys. There was a blow up obstacle course that Todd and several of the cousins bested me on, a candy throwing robot, a little poetry, and a lot of love. I love family reunions!
I got to sneak in lunch with a couple of friends after the reunion. It is a treat to spend time with friends from home. Conversation is never dull and sprinkled with funny, sad, and happy memories as well as updates of our new "grown-up" lives. Are we really 40?!
Saturday, July 18th
My niece, Sara, celebrated her 8th birthday while we were visiting. It was so fun to throw an awesome all-cousin party and to see her baptized in the creek...YEP, the creek. My family's dear friends had a grandson baptized at the same time. It was such a beautiful evening.
Sunday, July 19th
My parents gave another round of church talks at their home ward in Leavitt. I was surprised by an invitation to also participate in the program. After church, many friends and family members met for dinner at my parents' place to wish them well. It was a lovely treat to see so many people who are special to us.
Our trip back to Layton was happily less eventful than the trip north. We got back the day before Kenna started grade 5 and just in time to dive into some condo renovations.