Saturday, July 21, 2012

Oh, Canada!

When deciding on our summer vacation, R's first suggestion was Florida. Ummm, five months pregnant? Not exactly what I had in mind. Canada, where we have friends and the weather is bearable, sounded MUCH better :) As the trip grew closer, I knew we made the right choice. The kids were SUPER excited to fly on an airplane (Bug's first flight and passport stamp), and were great travelers. We MIGHT have been those people on the flight with a two-year-old yelling, "3, 2, 1 BLASTOFF!" twenty times before takeoff. In all fairness, he was pretty quiet once the highly anticipated takeoff actually occured. I wish I could have videoed his face as we lifted into the air - priceless. The other great memory from our flight was when Tink told R she had to go to the bathroom. He began to unbuckle her seatbelt and I told her I would take her. She looked out the window and asked, "Are we stopping?" She was very impressed to find the onboard bathroom :)
We arrived quite late, but the kids woke up the next morning to find that they would be sleeping in a tent! (Yes, we had the most FUN hosts imaginable.) This was a highlight of their trip, and they still tell people about it.
 Another highlight, of course, was Tim Horton's. A trip to Canada just isn't complete without Timbits and hot chocolate. I will save us from the embarrassement of how many times we actually visited in the week we were there...
We spent the first day shopping, and, of course, T made it worthwhile for the kids with a ride on the carousel!
 The next day, we rode the train downtown and walked to Prince's Island Park. The weather was beautiful, and we enjoyed being outside for the day.
 What day at the park is complete without ice cream?
Lucky for us, our trip included celebrating Canada Day! We donned our new maple leaf attire and headed for Heritage Park, where we started the day with free pancakes, the kids rode rides, and we explored the historical village. We rode a train, sat in a one room school house, and enjoyed some great music (except for the Native drums and dancing, which completely sent Bug over the edge - he talked about the scary "Chicken Dance" for days).
 On Monday, we headed into the mountains! The drive was beautiful, and of course, the weather was fabulous. We started at Lake Louise, and pictures don't even begin to do it justice. I've never seen water this turquoise in my life! We walked around the lake for a bit before continuing our drive.
 Our next stop was the Banff Gondola! The kids were almost as excited about this as they were the ride on the airplane. When we got to the top, we ate lunch in a restaurant with the perfect view, and took some great pictures on the observation deck.
 After spending the night in Banff, we continued our drive to the Columbian Icefields, where we rode an ice explorer onto a glacier! We actually got a late start because I drug everyone around the city looking for an extra layer for the kids (who knew we would need fleece in July?) We got to fill our water bottles with the cleanest, coldest water any of us has ever tasted, and took some fun pictures before riding back down for some hot chocolate.
Our drive home was just as beautiful as our arrival, but we saw two bears and a Rocky Mountain rainbow - the perfect end to a wonderful week.
Thank you, M and T for opening your home to us, being such wonderful tour guides and for making our kids feel so loved! We had the perfect week away, truly enjoyed your company, and fell even more in love with beautiful Canada. We can't to visit again soon!