Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Team LT Goes on Vacation Part 4: Waterton

Actually... if I were to tell the truth, this post should be called Cameron Lake. That lake is what everyone is going to remember anyway....

On Monday of our vacation we decided to head to Waterton. Originally, all the family was going to go. Then every single one of them backed out. That left us on our own for the day and we weren't skipping a chance to show the kids the Rocky Mountains!

We started the day with breakfast with my bestie. Oh my gosh! She's about to pop. I can't wait for baby to arrive!

Look at us - best friends for 29 years now.

We headed out to Waterton and did some tourist things. We ate at some sort of theme restaurant (Trappers ... or something like that). Then we went to the candy store. The kids played at the park for awhile and were fascinated with this deer (and her friend) eating peacefully only metres away from where all the kids were running wild at the park.

Then I figured out by memory where the turn was to get to the falls. Damn - I can't believe I still remember some of this stuff.

Maybe not as spectacular or as big as the falls Terry takes us to near Thompson Manitoba, but really cool because it's running down a freakin' mountain!

But nothing will beat the look on Terry's face when he saw Cameron Lake for the first time. I warned him that it was a twisty ride up the edge of a mountain and it would take awhile to get there but it would be worth it.

We actually drove to Waterton in the winter 10 years ago when we came for a visit, but Cameron Lake was closed off and there were ski trails set up. And Terry only got to see the frozen falls. He still thought it was worth it to see the mountains, but I knew that I needed to show him this lake and I vowed that we would return. I'm so happy that I got to keep my promise.

Terry looked a little worried about the drive, but I assured him it was paved and not like he would be driving on the very edge. He still drove slowly, although I think it was more out of awe of his surroundings than by fear. We stopped a couple of times to let faster drivers go past and took in the scenery. All while in the back of my mind I was screaming with anticipation of what Terry would say when he actually sees the lake.

Cameron Lake is a glacier fed lake surrounded on 3 sides by the Rocky Mountains. It technically is on the very corner of Alberta with parts of it hitting the BC and Montana borders. And IT. IS. STUNNING.

Terry was very quiet when we walked out of the parking lot and he got his first view of the lake. A little smile peaked out from the corners of his mouth. I really do think this is the first time in my life that I've seen Terry at a loss for words. He walked out on the dock with the kids and tested the cold water.

Then we saw that you could rent boats and take a row out onto the lake. Well - that had to be done. We rented a row boat for an hour and my woodsman took his family for the boat ride of a lifetime.

This time we had together as a family in a rowboat on a mountain lake makes me so thankful and blessed to be alive and able to see such majesty and inspiration.

As you may have guessed Cameron Lake was mine and Terry's favourite part of our vacation. I left feeling renewed and just fantastic overall.

We rented the rowboat for an hour. So Terry rowed us out pretty far in 20 minutes. Then we decided to turn around and row back so that we wouldn't be late. The rental fee was a little pricey (because... well... look at that lake!) We didn't want to get charged for another hour though. And poor Terry really had to hustle and turn up the juice on his rowing against the breeze to get us back on time. We had four minutes to spare. phew! We might not have made it back into Lethbridge to have dinner with the family, but it was totally worth it.

Our vacation would have been perfect with just this. We sure have packed a lot of stuff into the few days we were in Alberta. But we weren't done yet. Next time I'll tell you about our trip to Drumheller to visit the Royal Tyrell Dinosaur Museum. Yes - there's more! :D

Monday, 21 July 2014

Team LT Goes on Vacation Part 3: Sunday

On Sunday during our vacation we didn't have very much planned. My dad was enjoying a day of golf with my brother in law Mark. My brother Davan was content to hang out in his hotel room and watch the Nascar race. So we were pretty much on our own. We were all feeling a little hyper and cranky due to lack of sleep and sitting in the car so much.

We decided to walk from our hotel over to Henderson lake and take in a day at the park.

They've put in a brand new fancy playpark for the kiddies. Super nice. We also walked around the lake a bit and explored the little islands (connected with bridges).

We sat and relaxed and had some ice cream. I remember many times getting ice cream at this very park when I was little.

Then we went to Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens which is located at one end of the lake. The main building was built in Japan in their puzzle architecture styple (no nails), disassembled and then shipped to Canada where it was rebuilt. The reason they built it with no nails is because in Japan they are faced with tsunamis and wicked wind storms. If a building is put together like a puzzle, the boards may creak and shift or even fall apart, but can easily be reassembled. Rather than the more typical nails holding the boards together, which would cause the wood to tear and crack during a storm and eventually be unusable for a rebuild.

There were are on the bridge over a very peaceful gardens. Each flat rock along the edge of the stream was deliberately chosen and placed to encourage an aura of peace and balance.

The kids rang the friendship bell. My parents rang this bell when they got married in the gardens way back in 1976.

Here are the kids and Terry posing in front of the friendship bell.

Here are some of the flat stones that I mentioned above. Each one chosen and placed by hand. Not an easy task in Lethbridge winds! There was also a raked rock garden outside the main house that resembles the same type of rock gardens maintained by monks in Asia. Very beautiful and intricate. Wish I had taken a photo.

After a relaxing morning at the Lake and Gardens, we were invited to my brother's hotel to partake of the swimming pool. Oh my gosh you guys! When I was younger, I dreamed of finding a reason to stay at the Lethbridge Lodge hotel so that I could swim in that pool. It is nestled in a beautiful atrium full of plants (probably most of them are fake). But the whole scene makes me think of somewhere tropical. It's like a dream.

I can't believe we finally got a chance to swim in this pool. Actually, it didn't exactly live up to all my dreams and desires about it, but the whole family had a good time. And I can say that I finally got a swim in this pool off my list of things I wanted to do.

After the swim, we went to visit my great grandmother in the hospital. My grandma Ethel was such a huge part of my life growing up. She's doing just fine and had lots of stories to tell us about when she lived in Winnipeg when she was a kid. I'm so glad that I got to introduce her to the kids.

We had dinner with everyone together and got back to the hotel at a decent time. Good thing too because Monday was the best day of our holiday! I can't wait to tell you all about it - tomorrow! :D

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Team Lt Goes on Vacation Part 2: Fort Macleod

After a night in Moose Jaw we drove for a few more hours until we arrived at my home town - Lethbridge Alberta.

We stopped for a bathroom break at the Saskatchewan/Alberta border. There was much hoopla and picture taking from all the families driving through there. A nice lady offered to take a family pic in front of the sign. Don't we look adorable? hehehe

We arrived in Lethbridge, checked into the hotel and went out for dinner with my dad and his girlfriend Shai, and my sister and her husband Mark. Then we all walked out to watch my dad cruise along 3rd Ave for the Street Wheelers weekend. I knew there was a motive when dad suggested we visit Lethbridge during that particular weekend! The kids got a little taste of Lethbridge living by experiencing a whole town set up chairs and snacks along the street to watch classic old and fancy new cars cruise like a parade. Too bad no one thought to throw candy out into the crowd.

The next day we all headed out to Fort Macleod to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump. Here are the kids in front of a Bison.... er... in Alberta they call them Buffalo, but I did a little research and they are indeed the same animal. Since I've adopted Manitoba as my home, I'll be a good Manitoban and refer to these Buffalo as Bison. So... I guess that means we visited Head Smashed In Bison Jump heehehehe :P

There's Logan exercising his legs at the top of the jump.

Laney and Terry walked along the path and checked out the scenery.

We met my brother Davan and his girlfriend Mary (whom I just met and found to be such a lovely person - I wish I had more time to get to know her) at the jump. On the left is my brother in law Mark (who is also a lovely person whom I've gotten to know over these past few years).

We snapped a rather morbid photo of the kids in front of a bunch of Bison skulls. You know, for the weirdness factor.

After the jump, we headed to the Fort in the town of Fort Macleod. It is set up in the style of the original fort. There are all sorts of displays in each room.

Lane took a ride with an Northwest Mounted Police Man.

Then it was Logan's turn. I actually think it was the website for this fort that I looked at to research Logan's Halloween costume last year. Logan was being a real stickler for detail on his costume and this fort has a few different NWMP uniforms on display.

Inside one of the air conditioned rooms, the kids decided to take a rest and do some crafting. My sister was walking through this room with the kids while I got stuck reading a how-to about the beautiful Aboriginal beading projects that were displayed. I'm totally gonna learn how to do that one day! Auntie Tanjie suggested to the kids that they could make some crafts when they saw them set up at the table. Both kids said "no way" until I finally got around to the table. I suggested the same idea of crafting and both of them jumped on board. Poor Auntie Tanjie said the kids must think that she didn't have as many crafting skills as mommy because they weren't into it until I started figuring it out hehehe. Awwww. They ended up making pretty teepees.

We stuck my brother in jail. Although much to our disappointment, he just put his arm through the bars and unlocked himself. Hmph - some wimpy jail eh? I guess they didn't really need a good jail since most of the "prisoners" they would have had at this fort would be drunkards anyway. :D

Lane fed some very fat goats.

Then it was time to witness the musical ride.

The troops line up for inspection and someone from the audience gets to do the honours.  You can't see from this photo, but the horses actually have an intricate Canadian leaf brushed into their hind flanks. Insane!

The ride was very well done and fascinating to watch. I thought the horses were gonna smash into each other more than once. (A short video of the musical ride is at the end of the post).

And on the way back to the hotel we stopped for ice cream. The entire holiday met us with above 30C temperatures. Phew! It was so hot and wonderful the entire time. Loved it!


Tomorrow I'll tell you about our Sunday in Lethbridge. Stay tuned.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Team LT Goes on Vacation Part 1: Moose Jaw Saskatchewan

It's been kinda quiet around here lately hasn't it?

I haven't been neglecting - I promise!

Instead, I've been on vacation with my family. We decided to head to my hometown of Lethbridge, Alberta to see my family and show the kids where mommy grew up.

We packed up the ole wagon and went on our way. The kids made sure they had their favourite stuffies. They were both nervous about going on this holiday. It wasn't our normal travel up to Thompson. We were going into the unknown! ACK!

We drove through so much flooding. Seriously you guys - Saskatchewan is under water. Such a strange and alarming sight to see. The water was so high and close to the bridges were crossed. My heart and thoughts so out to all the people displaced and suffering because of these floods.

After several hours of driving, we arrived in Moose Jaw where we had booked a hotel for the night.

We haven't stayed in a hotel since our trip to Edmonton for my surgery 3 years ago so the kids don't really remember this excitement. And staying in a hotel when mommy doesn't have to go to the hospital is an extra special treat. The Days Inn that Terry booked us into had a pool with a waterslide as well. Oh boy! The kids really enjoyed that surprise.

I began work on The Crochet Crowd's Summer Stitchcation afghan challenge. I decided before we left that I would make this afghan out of natural sort of colours. Then while I was watching the scenery in Saskatchewan, I realized that these colours were the perfect Saskatchewan palette. So now I've got a ton of ideas as to where this afghan will go in terms of commemorating such an awesome holiday - all while using particularly "Saskatchewan" colours.

After spending the night in Moose Jaw we headed back out onto the road. It happened to be July 11th - Free Slurpee Day! I tried to convince the family to stop at every 7-Eleven on the way to Lethbridge to partake of the Free Slurpee tradition, but alas, no one was with me. We did get to have one in Swift Current though... so there's that.

Tomorrow I will get into the fun stuff we did on our holiday starting with our trip out to Fort McLeod (yes you read that correctly .... Fort Mcleod is a happening place after you've been away from Southern Alberta as long as I have).

PS: July 11th was also the anniversary of the day we moved into our wonderful little house. So happy 5 Year Houseiversary to us!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Birthday Elsa!

One of Lane's besties had a birthday party earlier this week. Lane was so excited!

This particular little girl is obsessed with the movie Frozen, so when I was browsing through patterns (I'm not gonna tell you how many hours I spend browsing through patterns... but let's just say... I might need therapy) - anyway, when I was browsing through patterns, one for Elsa the Frozen princess came up and caught Lane's eye.

She demanded that Elsa be made for the birthday girl.

And who was I to argue?

Oh my gosh- she's, like, so cute!

This was the pattern that Lane spotted on Ravelry.

There's no mouth on the original pattern, but little girls apparently don't see the artistry in leaving a doll with no mouth. They obviously don't know what a pain in the bum it is to make a mouth either. This one took me 7... yes 7... tries. I finally landed on this mouth which makes Elsa look a little cheeky like all of her Google Image Search pictures led me to believe she is.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B. See? Cheeky.

And you may have noticed on the original pattern that it calls for a crocheted cape. But in the photos, the cape and sleeves part of Elsa's dress is so sheer and shiny. I decided to use some of my sewing skills and make my Elsa's cape out of sheer, shiny fabric.

Ta da!

I used baby blue thread and my sewing machine's fancy stitches to create a tiny snowflake pattern in rows along her cape.

I think she turned out fabulous! And so did Lane's friend. Her mommy emailed me after the party and told me that her daughter absolutely loves Elsa and hasn't let her go since.

Hee! Did anyone else suddenly get the urge to sing "Let it Go" to a 5 year old child? No? Just me? I couldn't help myself. But I really do hope she never lets it go. :D

(A link to my Elsa doll project on Ravelry)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Crocheted Finn - Adventure Time

Terry's turn for a crocheted item. He chose Finn from Adventure Time.

Both him and the kids are obsessed with that show, so it was no surprise.

I found a really terrific pattern on Ravelry and set to work.

I gotta say, this Finn took a long time to make in comparison to my other amigurumi characters. Probably because every single kid in the world seems to be celebrating a birthday about now and has invited one of my kids to the party. Oy! I've been distracted by making birthday presents instead of making Finn.

Anyhoo.... he did get done.

And he's fabulous. The backpack he's carrying can actually open and close and you can put stuff in there. Candy? Tiny books? The possibilities are endless.

He actually turned out a good size as well. I'm very happy with all the little details such as the roll on the top of the sock and the tiny button that closes the backpack. So cute!

I think Terry is happy with his new little buddy as well.

(The link to my Finn project on Ravelry)

Now to make Jake for Logan. :D

Friday, 4 July 2014

Team L-T's First Winnipeg Goldeyes Baseball Game

Did you know that when I was a teenager I worked at a ball diamond in Lethbridge, Alberta ? Yeah... super fun! I worked the season ticket holders entrance, which was a special entrance that the hardcore baseballers went through. Not as glamorous as you might think - it was also where the designated smoking area was. YUCK!

I used to love watching the games. Not because I really enjoy the sport of baseball, but because the atmosphere at a baseball diamond is so... I'm not sure I can name the particular feeling I get when watching a live game. Camaraderie mixed with exhilaration mixed with fresh air mixed with beer and hotdogs - that about sums it up.

We got some free tickets to go to a Winnipeg Goldeyes game from our neighbors and decided to go on Canada Day. I know what you're thinking - baseball doesn't exactly denote "Canadian" but it was really fun nonetheless.

Here are some highlights:

Outside Shaw Park. It was kind of a gloomy day to begin with, but we were fine in our sweaters.

Found our seats.

Goofy faces time.

Lane borrowed my head scarf to keep all those curls in place cuz boy was it windy!

Cute kids had a fun time exploring the row behind us since there was no one sitting there. They even got a free bag of chips from the teenager working at the diamond. Technically, she was throwing them out to anyone... but I like to think she aimed for these two rugrats because they were so enthusiastic about the whole thing.

Logan said his favourite part was when one of the Goldeyes hit a ball right out of the park. And then another time when one of the outfielders went running and dove to catch a ball. Pretty awesome.

Lane said her favourite part was the food (we had Subway sandwiches, mini donuts and free chips).

And by the end of the game, the sun had come out and shone on the victors who happened to be the Goldeyes! Yay!