[April 30, 2014]
R went on a 5-day road trip all the way down to Utah with her sister J to attend Women's Conference on BYU campus. They stayed with her Grandma W and hung out with her brother B and his wife K as well.
Aside from 30+ hours of driving and getting very little sleep, it seems that enjoyed herself. The weather was fabulous (especially compared to the weather in Calgary) and the campus was beautiful. She also managed to connect with my fam at the mall in Provo, just before Spencer ran a race and Livvy played a soccer game. How fun.
While she was gone I took a few day off of work and went on some adventures with the kids (actually, I ended up working at night and adventuring during the day - exhausting). One day 1, Katie and I had a picnic lunch at a park in West Hillhurst, kiddie-corner to Queen Elizabeth Jr/Sr High School -- the legendary place that featured prominently in my the pseudo-academic exploits of my eldest brother J (my sister A denies any association with the school whatsoever).
We ended up touring by 2 more playgrounds as the afternoon progressed, including one in Capitol Hill that had a dinosaur theme and some bouncy balls to play with. We nearly had to make an emergency pitstop behind some foliage, but then we found the door unlocked to the community center and a man doing renovations inside let us use the facilities. Whew.
On Day 2 we diagnosed Scott with some form of horrible disease the forced him to come play with us for the day instead of going to school. I asked the kids what things they wanted to do. Katie said, "I want to hike on a mountain!" Scott said, "I want to go to a park!" I should mention that Scott was not at all supportive of the mountain idea. I figured out a compromise, where we could go to a park AND do a hike.
First we went to a park in Varsity that I found on a website list for best playgrounds in Calgary. It was pretty good, but I don't know if it was great. While there, I overheard two first-time moms with little babies lamenting how people at work had shared links with pictures of their precious little babies, exposing them to online exposure without their baby-consent. They were outraged that such a thing had happened. It was this conversation that leads me to believe that they were first-time parents.
We left to get pizza and head on our hike, but then I realized that I left the kids' hoodies on a bench at the previous park because I am an idiot, so we had to go back. Ugh. Finally, we had a pizza picnic in the back of the truck before embarking on our hike. I had read on a website somewhere that there was a cool waterfall hike not far from where we live, so that was our goal for the afternoon.
The hike was very simple, and had the benefit of a boardwalk all the way down the ravine, keeping hikers elevated above the various waterflows that converged along the descent. It was somewhat puzzling where the water was coming from. There was none at the top and then there was a pretty good stream by the time we reached the bottom.
At the very bottom, just before reaching the Bow River, there was a cute little waterfall spilling over the rocks and creating an interesting mineral formation tinged with mossy green. There was also an emergency pitstop that had to take place, as usual. We managed to steer clear of pathways and waterways, however.
On the way back up we saw a snake in the creek, which is a bit of a rare thing in the city. It was small and pretty sleepy so it was hard to spot, but the kids were much less intimidated by the snake than the large dog which had been the first to spot the snake.
Although the grassy hills were still brown everywhere, Katie found some beautiful purple wildflowers on the hillsides. She was sad how fragile the flower turned out to be, but she loved it all the same. We capped off the day with a visit to the bottle depot to supplement Scotty's birthday money so he could buy the Lego Ninjago Temple of Light, which he says is the thing he wanted most in the whole world. Katie used her recycling proceeds to buy Ariel & Eric wedding figurines from the Disney Princess collection. This naturally required that I play the part of Eric for the next few days.