Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cross Country Road Trip - Days 10-11 - Hanging Out

We spent the last few days relaxing in the hospitality of  Brian's family and spent Saturday night at a bbq with Brian's best friend's family. (Yet another visit with no pictures...)

One of the funniest parts of this trip was Cameron's reaction to Jack reading, or not reading. It started with one of the kids asking Jack to read a book. Instead of reading the story, he'd say "Blah, blah, blah. Words, words, words."
Well, Cameron didn't like this and would tell him to "SSSSSSSS!!! DEEEEE!!!!" (Shhhh, Read!!!)
Every. Single. Time.

Even when Grampa tried to trick him by reading some, then inserting a "Blah" mid-sentence, Cameron would have none of it.

We can't deny that he's entertaining!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cross Country Road Trip - Day 9 - Mountain Exploring

This is the view we woke up to. Seriously! It's going to be a good day...

Without a clear plan, we left the hotel and headed back towards Alberta, stopping at anything that interested us. This natural bridge was pretty cool - we`re suckers for waterfalls and rapids, so it was only natural (no pun intended) for us to check it out.

Next up: Takakkaw Falls. After what seemed like forever on a winding side road, we caught a glimpse of the falls, which gave us the motivation we needed to coax the van to climb up the side of a cliff. This is the sign (the pic was taken on the way down) warning us - we had no clue what it meant.

Turns out you`re supposed to go up & down that middle part backwards. EEEK!!! Thankfully our good ol`minivan was able to handle the turns and take the whole thing face-first. The upcoming hike & falls were well worth braving the scary road. Pictures don`t do justice to how amazing this area is.

Now, to get back down. Yikes.

At least we got to enjoy views like this on the way down. Who are we to complain?

We went straight from the falls to meet my cousin Patrick in Lake Louise. He showed us around the swanky Chateau Lake Louise and his, um, not quite as swanky apartment. (He lives with a bunch of guys - how swanky could it be?? Although the balcony did have a killer view)  We spent the afternoon with him, and after walking the trail around Lake Louise enjoyed a nice lunch/dinner in the hotel saloon. Unfortunately, I left my camera in the van and didn't get any proof of this visit. Sorry Patrick!  

After dinner, we headed toward Banff on the scenic Bow Valley Parkway and saw an elk, a pica (Sadly, after all his talk about a pica in the last year, Austin missed it!) and a few marmots.

From Banff, we had a choice of our way home: Continue towards Calgary or head back to Lake Louise and return the way we came. In the end, we decided to head back to Lake Louise in the hope of seeing more wildlife.

We stopped briefly in Lake Louise, this time with the camera in tow and let the kids run around for a few minutes, burning off energy chasing chipmunks.

A huge thank-you goes out to the kind stranger who offered to take this picture. I know you'll probably never read this, but your thoughtfulness was much appreciated!

Boy, were we glad we stopped. Otherwise, we would have missed our very first grizzly sighting!

He was so close I could almost reach out and touch him!

This was definitely a highlight of the trip for us all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cross Country Road Trip - Day 8 - BC Bound

We left early in the morning for our long drive into the Rockies. Once again, the kids were pj clad and slept most of the way, then were enthralled with watching out the window for animals. Their efforts were rewarded only seconds after entering Banff National Park where we were greeted by this fella:

A little while later, we spotted these bighorn sheep scaling a cliff high above us:

We drove out up to the Columbian Icefields, but it was too cold to linger there so we continued on to our hotel just inside the BC border stopping only to take a few roadside pictures.

The first thing we did at the hotel was check out the pool, hot tub & slide. Everyone had a turn on the slide, but Cameron was the only one to want to do it again (and again, and again!) It was FAST!

Refreshed, we headed to the hotel`s restaurant for dinner.

All that travelling caught up to us and we were asleep by about 8:30. Good thing, because we have a full day of exploring planned for tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cross Country Road Trip - Day 7 - West Ed Mall

We spent some time at one of the world's largest malls - West Edmonton Mall. We left pretty late in the day and didn't have time to do more than quickly see some of its main attractions - the water park, theater (sadly the fire-breathing dragon was under construction), pirate ship and sea lion show. We also walked through the amusement park, and even let the kids ride a carousel.

I don't think they found it nearly as amusing as Brian & I did. Just look at those faces, wishing they were on the real rides! (We really didn't have time to play in the actual park.) On the bright side, I think we redeemed ourselves when we visited the Disney Store and allowed them to each pick out one toy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Cross Country Road Trip - Day 5 - Birthdays

Happy Birthday to....Everyone???
Well, all the cousins anyway. Since we were all together (and most of the kids birthdays falling within the next month) we had a birthday celebration for all the cousins. Gramma & Jack ordered cakes with each kid's interests in mind - a frog for Zane, Elmo for Cameron, pink & girly for Bryanna & Zoe, a horse for Miranda and R2D2 for Austin.

There were even presents to be opened:

Thanks for a fun day Gramma!