Canada has always held a special place in my heart. It is the country where my father was born and grew up, it is part of my heritage. The memories I have from my own childhood visits include so many loving, fun relatives, being spoiled rotten, and adventure. And I'm pretty certain my boys are going to have the same expectations of the place from here on out.
The start of our trip was defined by delays and unexpected hiccups to the plans we had made (complete with 24 hours of travel, sleeping on an airport floor, not packing enough warm clothes and an oil truck catching fire when we attempted to head to Jasper). But 3 days into the trip, Canada began proving how magical it is. We saw a bear (!!), mountain goats, and elk, along with the gorgeous Canadian Rockies in Jasper. We arrived to family in Edmonton and were entertained with boats, jet skis, and booze. Though my kids had yet to meet most of my Canadian family, they had no hesitations and knew these were special people... didn't hurt that they were immediately taken on a four wheeler ride and then a speed boat across the lake. And it just kept getting better. We lived at a lake house, we swam, we tubed, we went to the West Edmonton Mall, we saw horses. My cousin is ranked in the world for trap shooting and everyone got to try. H shot his first clay. Let's be honest, H was living his best life in Canada, shooting guns and playing with the big kids. N surprised us all by knee boarding by himself. I had the camera out, while I warned Jason he would be diving, Baywatch style, off the side of the boat if N got knocked in. We celebrated Canada Day with more ribs than I could imagine, tons of cribbage and lots of laughing...and a little more booze.
So here's to a fantastic trip. Many thanks to my Mom for making it possible for all of her kids to be there at the same time. We all know Dad, Uncle Keith and Grandad were looking down, smiling and laughing alongside all of us that whole week. I can't think of a better tribute to their memories. There are far too many photos in this blog post, but I hope you'll take the time to take a peek at some of my cherished memories from this trip.