Memory making

The countdown to our return to Ottawa is in full swing.  We celebrated monkey boy's 5th birthday, my dad's 65th birthday, and J's 39th birthday during the first half of this month.  Yup, there are way too many Taurus males in my life.  

The kids, my dad and I went to Day Out with Thomas : the Hero of the Rails Tour hosted at Heritage Park.  This event was a HUGE hit, we rode the train, merry go round, had faces painted, etc.  My daughter now insists her name is either Thomas or horsey everyday and cries whenever I tell her that her Thomas shirt is in the laundry.

We also squeezed in a trip to Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump as well as Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park while visiting my in-laws mid month.  The trips to these sites require posts of their own...someday.

J left on the 20th.  He drove our RAV4 approximately 3500 "klicks" across the country.  The RAV4 showed its true worth by capably hauling a crap load of books, files, toys, clothes, etc.   Oh and I guess hats off to J for once again driving the highway routes from Calgary to Ottawa and then unloading our stuff into the house.   No easy feat considering the vastness of northern Ontario and the load of boxes in the back of the vehicle.

J went home early in order to attend a conference. Once again I was a conference widow but this time I was living with my parents.  Amazing how two extra adults, one who is officially the energizer super-grammy, makes handling two kids immensely easier.  I'm going to miss the help...big time.

From the moment J left, I've been cramming the days with activity.  We've been to Heritage Park and Banff.   We've walked some trails in Nose Hill Park.  We've checked out the community centre's splash park and huge sandbox.  The kids had their hair cut.  We walked and rolled over to the local Mac's convenience store to indulge in one of our last Alberta made slurpees (or as Mac's calls them, frosters).  I've even squeezed in some shopping on my own for clothes for my upcoming return to work.  I saw my son say good-bye to his preschool teachers and friends.  I packed and shipped ten boxes of toys, clothes and other paraphernalia.  I'm starting to wonder if the packing will ever end...probably not until I reach Ottawa and have the joy of unpacking all our stuff combined with cleaning and purging our house of outdated toys and clothes.  Egad perhaps I should just stay in Calgary...Nay!

We have been biking and scootering around the ponds in my parent's neighbourhood.  Lil bug is a great tricycle rider but her focus needs some work.  My girl is so easily distracted and loves to gawk.  It can be pure agony making it to the corner of the street.  I'm not sure what is so fascinating about riding with one foot or watching the ground move beneath your bike.  Where lil bug lacks in speed, her brother more than sufficiently covers the gap.  He just flies on the scooter.  He loves his mobility so much that he managed to wear out the scooter his grammy had at her house for the kids to use.  The brake and handle broke right off.  

Now I sit in the comfort of my in-laws office space after a fun afternoon in their company.  I'm always amazed at how much we can cram into a mere day when children are part of the picture.  For instance, today we started the gong show at 7am (after a restless night for lil bug and ME).  We left Calgary at 9:10am to go to Claresholm (this is all after packing, eating, dressing and having the kids entertained by grammy).  By 10:30am, we decided to make a pit stop in Nanton.  We stopped to view the air museum, the model car show and vintage car show.  Finally we made it to Claresholm by 11:55am.  Ate lunch.  The kids then proceeded to play in the sprinkler, wading pool, drink milkshakes, paint pictures, work with playdough, play horsey (yup, pillows can magically transform into bucking, galloping and show jumping horses), fight, have forced quiet time, wash dump trucks, watch computer videos with grandpa, make cinnamon buns with grandma, play, eat supper, put on a horsey show and have a bath.  No wonder I am so flipping tired by the end of the day.  

Yet, the day was great.  The temperature reached a scorching 30 degrees celsius.  Unlike Ottawa, the evening spells relief here in Alberta.  A delightful cool breeze blows away the heat in order to leave a comfortable though sometimes chilly atmosphere to sleep in.  In Alberta, you may wear shorts and a tank top during the day but you always have a hoodie and socks around for the evening.

I'm ready to return to Ottawa but I am sad to leave family and the breath-taking natural beauty in Alberta.

One step closer to Ottawa

We've moved. We enjoyed our time at our Ranchlands townhouse rental. It was sad to leave the house with the beautiful view and easy access to our favourite haunts. It was also sad to see how much stuff we had accumulated since moving to Calgary. We arrived with approximately 10 boxes and 4 suitcases of household items. We left with significantly more despite donating 2 large bags of clothing.

The move to my parent's house went fairly well. We managed to move everything in 3 loads (1 in the back of my parents Chevy truck and 2 in our RAV4). We spent an excessive amount of time cleaning but at the end of the day we left the place better than we received it. My folks were great by not only helping us move items but taking care of the kids for a night and half day.

Currently we reside in my parent's basement. A pretty sweet deal considering they just moved into a gorgeous brand new bungalow, they are not charging us rent or utilities, they provide child care, cook some of the meals and have cable (woohoo). Yes, Jim and I have to sleep in the common area but that is only because our two munchkins cannot sleep in the same room. Monkey boy is a light sleeper and lil bug snores and wakes frequently with crys and nightmares. I am sure we will have some "testy" days, as my mom would say, since my dad and I tend to butt heads and everyone is use to doing their own thing. However it is a nice way to end our sabbatical in Alberta. The kids love their grandparents and we will know that they have a special bond with them when we leave.

As the last days in Alberta tick away, I still hope to visit the Royal Tyrell museum in Drumheller, Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Southern Alberta (about a 45 min drive from the in-laws in Claresholm) and see those Rocky Moutains up close one last time.

My husband is a wise shopper. He spends countless hours researching the details on big ticket purchases. We talked, test drove and agonized over a car for at least 5-7 months. It took well over a year for him to buy his latest camera. Yet when a sale sign is displayed in a store his meticulous shopping sense can go out the window. He has been very successful at times with his sale obsession. I will give him credit for those trendy $8 jeans he found. However some of his bulk sized purchases of food have been wasted on us.

Now if you keep in mind his weakness for sale items, it is no surprise that a contest may pique his interest. Last month, he responded to a U of C alumni contest and won tickets for a dance production at the University of Calgary theatre. On the surface it sounded like a great opportunity. Unfortunately, I, his grumpy wife who does not handle surprises well, was not so thrilled by the "win" as it meant going to the show that night. Well, J convinced me it was a good idea by rounding up my mom to babysit and bribing me with a promise of dessert.

We barely made it there in time but we managed to sneak in during a brief pause in the dance production. The avant garde multi-media performance featured a dancer, artwork, a clarinetist and film-making. Icarus Fried was ... bizaare. We sat through the whole production. We sort-of liked aspects of it. We admired the talent of the performers. Yet we left shaking our heads, saying "what the hell?" and feeling that sometimes avant garde goes too far. We agreed that the performance would have made more sense "if only we had smoked some dope."

In the future, I am sure J will be a little more selective when entering contests. Yet we will always have this event to make us chuckle. We had a nice time together even if I never received my promised dessert.