Friday, August 28, 2015

Entering Canada - Calgary

 After Yellowstone, we headed straight north through Montana to the border of Canada.  We enjoyed seeing the fluorescent yellow fields of canola and big sky as we drove up to High River.  It was nice to be back in Canada again.

It was lovely to see Casey’s aunty Brenda and uncle Gary again.   They served us a lovely dinner, thanks Brenda!  We were also pleased to be able to visit with Casey’s great great aunt, third cousin and her daughter, who had come up from Arizona to see the family.  Also Casey’s second cousin and his two sons came over to visit that evening as well as his cousin, Deana and her daughter, Jayden.  It was such a great time of getting to catch up on years of news and learning more of the family history.  The kids had a lot of fun together as well, they even got to play at a nearby water spray park the next morning which is such a treat for us!

From there we headed to Guy and Char’s house in Calgary.  It was so great to see them and how big their son Austin had grown.  The kids got along well and also enjoyed their labradoddle, Captain.  They had a skating rink nearby so we embraced our Canadian heritage and grabbed the hockey sticks and ball and set off to introduce our children to hockey.  They had a blast!  The kids did really good at it and we all got a bit of exercise.

We were able to enjoy another Calgarian tradition, a Calgary stampede breakfast!  It was fun to listen to western music and join in the throng of people in line to get our pancakes, bacon and eggs.

As we were enjoying the moment and pancakes, I noticed a man walk by several times.  He had caught my eye and I knew that I had to know him.  Then it dawned on me, i knew him from my teen years in Fort McMurray.  So I introduced myself and sure enough it was Pastor Harry and his wife Tina.  I couldn’t believe it and neither could he!  We were able to catch up a bit and learn that they lived just a few blocks away.  How small our world really is.  It was so neat to be able to see them again.

A big highlight for us in Calgary was Casey’s family reunion.  It was the first time that all the family had gathered in a long time.  There was a lot of extended family and it was wonderful to meet them all and get to know how everyone was related.  We got together at a park in Calgary; it was a great space to visit and they kids had plenty of room to run and play.

                                                             Cousins - Darien and Jenna

Auntie Kristal and Malaya
                                                Casey's mom, Sandy, and his sister, Kristal.
                                                  Casey's Auntie Brenda and Uncle Gary
                                                                 Casey's niece - Skya!

Casey's and his great Aunt 

                                    Casey, Brad (his brother), and Darren (his brother in law)


There was lots of kids and they had fun playing in the park, along the river shore, in the field and finally climbing a large hill and running down.  We only had a couple of tumbles on that one thankfully!

Casey’s mother, sister and brother were there with their families.  It was the first time that my kids had met a couple of the cousins and for the others of course it has been years.  It was really great to see them all grown up so much and also how the different cousins were similar to one another.

 We were reminded that we were in Canada when at the family picnic, the sun disappeared and it began to hail!  My kids couldn’t believe it and were very excited to see little balls of ice falling from the sky!  That was another one of those special Canadian moments for them.  

After our afternoon in the park we met up with a longtime family friend of Casey's, and her husband. We went for supper and enjoyed our short but sweet visit with them.

The next day we drove through Calgary and showed the kids the skyline and the famous Calgary Tower.

Then we met up with Casey's immediate family for some Chinese food.  It was really good and we all had fun visiting and seeing the kids reconnect.  They were so funny and might I mention very hungry!

After our dinner we went for a walk downtown and the kids played on everything that they could find.

                        We walked down to the river and again the kids played all over the rocks.

As we were walking back to our cars, the kids were so cute.  They all joined arms and skipped down the sidewalk.  Then they began to sing ring around the rosy in the parking lot and fall down!  It was hilarious!  Kids will be kids!

Our next activity in Calgary was the famous Calgary Stampede!  We were excited to show the kids something that Casey did every year, growing up in Calgary.  It was a perfect day and the kids enjoyed it all!

We got to watch the Super Dog show and Judah loved it!

The rides were a lot of fun and we had a lot of fun!  

Malaya's favorite animal is pigs, so she loved seeing the pigs!

Caleb of course, enjoyed seeing the soldiers and trying on the army vest.  Malaya and Judah got in on the fun as well.

Oh, and let's not forget the guns...they all had to try them.

Then we headed over to the tank, plane, and boat.  We waited in line and got to see them all!  Pretty exciting for my little army buffs!

Hannah is not big on rides or army stuff, so she got to dress up in an old western dress and get her picture taken, much to her delight!

We finished our Calgarian experience with a visit to Ken and Elenor’s home.  The last time we saw their son Alex he was just a baby.  It was so fun to see him as a toddler, he is such a sweet boy and very smart.  We enjoyed hearing stories of all their adventures as well.  Eleanor took us for a walk around her neighborhood and showed us the Olympic ski and bobsled hill.  It was great and Caleb enjoyed watching the BMX bikers.  

This is the view from the Olympic Park.

                                                         Ken, Elenor and her parents

Ken played games with the kids and they made him work for his victory. They loved it!  We were also blessed to be able to meet Eleanor's parents and sister.  Eleanor's sister, who is big into quilting, ended up taking Hannah over to her house for a bit.   After she helped Hannah with a bit of sewing, she gave Hannah some great stuff!  Oh and Hannah also got a haircut and I think she looks great.

So after our full stay in Calgary it was time to move on…our next stop Banff.