Friday, July 29, 2011

Catching Up

It's about five days since we returned from Calgary, and I'm slowly catching up on my life. Some of the catching up is stuff that I was supposed to have time for in Canada (like, say, blog posts) but somehow, every time I got on Mom's computer, I ended up playing a few rounds of Jewel of Atlantis. I think this befuddles Jon since I am NOT a gamer in any sense of the word. The only time I play is at my parent's house. It seems this is the only time I read, as well. I went through four books in three weeks. Usually it's one book over four months.

We drove up (over three days) and the kids reacted as expected. Anna is a great traveler and has recently taken to coloring IN the lines, which she finds great enjoyment in. Meanwhile, Isaac is very much a two year old boy. A couple of novel toy cars aided the trip, but by the end of each day he was near melt-down. A few things that helped smooth the bumps: (a) hotels with suites, pools, and free breakfasts, (b) a map listing rest stops, (c) eating only in the car so that rest stops were purely active time, (d) novel toys. Even so, this is not a drive we will repeat soon.

We were in Canada about three weeks (Jon joined us for the last week, having flown back down post-drive). I tried to keep things low key, since it's simply nice to be elsewhere for awhile. Highlights included Calaway Park, Heritage Park, and play dates with the grandkids of Mom's friends. I was also blessed to spend some time with some old friends who happened to be in the area. People I haven't seen in years, but still miss. There's something so relaxing about visiting with people who have known you forever.

We also spent time camping in Kananaskis Country, which is a lovely and somewhat undiscovered part of Alberta. So, while YOU are welcome to come, please do not tell your friends about it. We like it unpopulated. It rained a lot and the nights were gloriously frigid, but our tent was cozy and Anna slept quite well. Isaac slept in the RV with my folks and brother (who was gracious enough to spend a whole week of vacation time with his sister and her slightly manic children), because I'm no glutton for punishment. He'll have to sleep in the tent with us on our next camping adventure at the end of the summer, and that's enough for me.

Speaking of sleep, that was probably the hardest part of the whole vacation. The nights are short, even as far south as Calgary. It stays light until sometime between 10 and 10:30 p.m., which had a large effect on the kid's melatonin. A 9:30 bedtime became the norm. We're still struggling (REALLY struggling) to re-adapt.

Oh, and I almost forgot. I shook hands with the Duke of Cambridge! I was able to attend a reception with my Dad (his politicking paid off) where the prince and princess gave an appearance and short speech. Poor William looked haggard at the end of his long day, but still retained that regal air. (And yes, the Duchess is as thin as she looks on TV. This is the one question that everyone asks. I figure she looks like what she is: a 27 year old with a penchant for running who has never had kids.)

Some of the adventures took place while the kids and I were gone. While working on the yard, Jon noticed movement among the rocks. There lay a 5 foot snake tangled in some netting. Seemed like a rattler, but research revealed it to be a bullsnake. After consulting with someone at Fish & Wildlife, Jon hosed it down with cold water and removed the netting from its head. With his bare hands! Eeek!!! I'm glad he found it instead of the kids. I didn't know the snakes could grow so large around here.

So now we're home and I'm making a dent in the jungle that has become our backyard, attacking the virtual pile of emails, and the actual pile of snail mail. We appear to be snake-free, as evidenced by the small rabbit who breached my back yard defenses. Maybe we should have kept the snake a little longer.