Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meet Ruffles

My kids love animals and want a pet so badly. Gracie especially has a love for anything living right down to every little rollie pollie she finds. Of course I can barely keep my 5 kids fed and alive, so a pet isn't really in the cards for us at this stage of the game. Thankfully, there is a lovely little kitty that has made our yard her home, the girls have named her Ruffles.

She has a collar and is well fed, so I know she must belong to someone in the neighborhood who feeds her, pays for the vet, arranges for pet sitting while they are out of town, etc. That is my kind of pet, one that someone else takes care of and best of all Gracie thinks she's belongs to her.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Canada Part 2

Tuesday morning was spent exploring the village on bikes, swimming, soccer and looking for wildlife around the village. I swear it is similar to being in a zoo, except there are no gates and the animals go about things so peacefully hardly paying attention to our excited shouts and constant picture taking. Carson and Gracie wanted a picture with this dear in front of the church.

Later in the afternoon a group of kids went out to the Beazer's (Mark's cousin) ranch to shoot gophers. Parker was pretty excited about shooting a gun again after last years reunion. The rest of us headed out there a few hours later and we were treated to a great time. They had wagon rides, bbq with homemade donuts included, horseback riding, and play time in the barn.

Here is Parker and Abby on the wagon ride around the property.
Brooklynn, Gracie and McCall
We had to document these yummies! Seriously, there are few things as delicious as a homemade donut. After eating 4, I had to remove myself from the area.
More wagon rides.
Max, Jeff, Carson, Bridger and Bayden
Some of the grandkids anxiously awaiting their turn to ride the horses.
Sarah and Gracie, McCall and Carson double up for a ride.
I love the view of the hills from their house, it is so beautiful. Here is Mark and I after my donut binge.
The best part of Canada is the special bonds between cousins, grandparents and aunts and uncles. Gracie loved every minute of time that she got to spend with the older girls (yes 8 yr. old Alivia is considered old to Gracie)
Bayden's new BFF was Bridger. Man, he was obsessed and asked for him constantly.
All the kids up in the hayloft. The kids had a great time in the loft and Parker later asked me if we could get one at home...hmmm I don't know how our neighbors here in California would handle that.
Mark and his siblings (Michele, Mark, Steve and Christine)

Carson hanging out by the farm with my favorite scenery behind him.
Mark's parents, the two people responsible for bringing us together every year and for making everything so magical and fun for everyone. They are amazing.

Wednesday was our big hiking day. This was one of the highlights of our entire trip. 13 miles of beautiful country with twists and turns along every curve of the trail. I think when God created the earth that he spent a little bit more time on this neck of the woods because it was gorgeous, the entire hike! Gigi and Papa stayed behind in Waterton with all of the younger kids making sure they had a great time, while the rest of us from Carson up started out on our adventure.

We started out from Cameron lake and hiked up to Summit lake and then further up to some other Glacier lakes (I can't remember all of the names). Because of the late Spring, we ended up hiking about 1/2 of the hike in snow, we got to slide down two glaciers, cross streams and waterfalls, it was so fun and every view was spectacular. No bear sightings on this hike, but we saw a few mountain goats. The best part were the kids. I was so impressed by their pace and stamina. They were hauling the entire time without much complaint. My favorite comment of the day was when I asked Parker at the end what he thought of the hike and he replied, "It was so awesome, except for the two times I thought I was going to die!" I guess it was a bit strenuous at times, but regardless it was a perfect day.
This is almost near the summit. At this point we were above the tree line and we had to hike up a very steep incline of shale which proved a bit challenging. Everyone stopped here for a breather.
McCall and Parker trying to decide if they are having fun or not.
Okay, look at how gorgeous that view is!
Mark and Carson were hiking buddies the whole way up and down. I was so proud of Carson.
If you look to the far left in this picture you can see the two lines on the glacier where we had to slide down. It was long and steep, but totally fun.
Carson sliding down the second glacier. This one was even faster than the first. Mark's sister Michele was down at the bottom to slow everyone down.
Yes, even 6.5 miles away from civilization Mark was texting or maybe he was checking Tour De France results...
Carson and I heading towards the waterfall. We are about 2/3's of the way done and starting to act silly.
Mark and his sister Christine at another beautiful stop along the way. We made it into the village to find Uncle Chad their waiting to pick us up and drive us back to the hotel where Gigi had the best dinner waiting for us. Of course we devoured several helpings before we all headed to...
Our favorite Canada tradition. Ice Cream every night at the Big Scoop. It is so yummy and just thinking about the Rolo Ice Cream makes my mouth water. Nothing better to top off a perfect day of hiking.
Our kids had yet to discover the Rolo ice cream in this picture, but I was able to brain wash them into loving it by the end of the trip.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

CANADA Part 1

After 15 days away we are finally home! Don't get me wrong we had a fantastic time in both Canada and Utah, but it feels so good to be home sleeping in my own bed again and getting the kids back on a schedule, not to mention off of their 1500 grams of sugar a day diet.

We headed up to Canada for the Fellows Family Reunion in Waterton. It is probably one of our family's favorite places on earth. Combine that with Mark's wonderful family and we always have a great time.

We took a ton of pictures, so I will only pick a few of my favorites and I'll probably have to spread it out over a couple of posts.

Day 1: We left California and drove to Burley Idaho to meet up with Mark's parents and his sister and her family.
I think we seriously give the Beverly Hillbillies something to be jealous of. I bet you never thought one mini van could carry 8 bikes and one rocket box. McCall was still at camp, so she missed out on this leg of the trip (she wasn't sad about that)
The boys couldn't wait to get to our hotel and swim. It was freezing, but as you can see from Bayden's expression they were in Heaven.
Actually based on Parker's expression in this photo, I don't think everyone was in Heaven.
Of course our kids get really excited for all of the channels they get to view in a hotel since we don't do cable at home.
On day 2 we started out bright and early headed for Great Falls Montana. Mark got to practice his automotive skills by helping his dad change a flat tire. He really wasn't that happy that I was taking a picture.
Day 3 was the best day of all because we got to be reunited with McCall at the Great Falls airport. She flew in from California, connecting through Seattle. I was doing the biggest ugly cry you have ever seen the minute I saw her. I've decided that it is not a healthy thing for me to be separated from one of my children for an entire week!!!! It was terrible to be away from her, but she had a good time and learned a bunch of cool stuff at music camp.

Lucky for Mark and I his family took our other kids ahead into Canada so we had a lovely 3 hours alone with McCall to hear all about her camping adventures. We were all so anxious to get to Waterton and look at what we saw the minute we drove into the park...

That's right a mama bear with her two cute baby cubs. We were kind of close to the bears so the ranger had to ask us to return to our car.
After giving hugs to all the cousins we hopped on a Waterton favorite, a surrey bike to take the kids for a spin around the village.
Here is Mark's sister Michele taking a group of kids for a ride. A brave endeavor with only one adult because those suckers are hard to pedal.
Here is McCall's reaction to seeing her cousins for the first time. Those girls sure love each other.
to be continued tomorrow...