Monday, July 12, 2010



We are still having fun in Greendale celebrating anniversaries and birthdays and generally enjoying each other's company.

We eat. We visit. We play. We eat. We visit. We play.

We visit the honey farm near by where a cousin works. Very cool since we have recently brought some hives to our farm and are looking forward to our first honey harvest.

We take loads of pictures, play, eat, visit and just keep going around that same wonderful bush all day long. We were going to pull into our RV park this evening but decide to postpone til tomorrow morning so the kids can hang out as long as possible. Honestly, it's not just the kids, the adults have no desire to go either.

We make plans to get back together later in the week and finally drag ourselves off to bed, but not before one more quick swim in the pool.

It is dark, it is quiet and it has been another good day.



Today is another LONG driving day. We take the morning to do a little maintenance on the van and camper to get ready for the next leg of the trip. More visiting and fellowship.

We realize that we have WAY too many shoes between the lot of us. Think 8 people, each have 2 feet, therefore, shoes must come in pairs. Each of us has a pair of running shoes, a pair of sandals/flip flops and another pair of shoes. That adds up to 3 pairs of shoes/person at least. 24 pairs minimum! Abby suggests that we buy a container for shoes!! What an excellent idea. Our friends have plenty of these and they gift us with one! Sweet. We needed a big container to house our assortment of shoes.

We clean out the van and take out a garbage bag full of trash from all of our travels thus far! Crazy!

We arrive at our relatives in Greendale for supper and celebrating. Our poor van has had to work hard today pulling down the Coquihalla, but we make it without overheating and we are glad!

We're having a mini family reunion and we are up for some fun. The kids have to get over the awkward phase but that doesn't last that long. Soon they are jumping on trampolines, swimming in the pool, eating and XBoxing and heading out for a sleep-over.

Long into the night we visit and enjoy this wonderful family that we haven't seen in far too long.

Hit the hay at about 2 AM to the sounds of some crazy person ripping up the street outside. Good thing we weren't getting woken up for that. However, the redneck side of my husband showed up when he asked for his gun to shoot their tires out!



Today is a big driving day. Gonna take the rig through the first part of the mountains. Up, up we go!

We hooked up the Wii in the van an the kids play Wacky Racers for a very long time!! LOVE driving through the mountains. However, it is HOT today. The van has to work really hard to pull the camper through the high altitudes.

We arrive in Salmon Arm around 5 PM to enjoy a visit with our friends the Ratzlaffs. We visit, the kids play and we just relax!


And it was morning and evening the 5th day.



Now that we have enjoyed man's creation we are back to God's handiwork. Just a short drive into Banff National Park today to enjoy a day of hiking!

The campground we want is a first-come/first-served campground so we pray that we can get a spot. This proves to be no problem and we go to check out our site. After some VERY fancy manoeuvring Kelly manages to park the camper. Chris immediately starts a fire and Josiah practices his lumberjack skills. He decided that might be a fun profession and cuts enough firewood to last us a week!

We have some fun cooking up lunch over the fire. Note to self: wait until the flames die down a little more before flame-broiling the grilled cheese!

We decide to take the hike to the Upper Falls in Johnston Canyon (the Lower Falls are on the way). The older kids surge ahead while the parents lag slightly behind to let the 4 year old keep up. It takes us a couple of hours to make the three mile trek with the little one in tow but she manages just fine. We would have like to see the Ink Pots but that was 11 km round trip - a little far for the little girl.

We head back to our campsite and everyone crashes for a little before starting another fire to cook supper. We head down into Banff and then up to the Hot Springs for a little swim.

Nobody has any problem falling a sleep in our little camper in the woods. Mommy and Daddy have been telling silly stories at bed time. There has been laughter and silliness. We are definitely having fun.

And it was good!

Sunday, July 11, 2010



Daddy turns 40 today! What a blessing to have a husband and father to my children such as he. We are celebrating by having a blast in the amusement park. At first we tried to stay together but that proved impossible given the heights and interests of our tribe. Divide and conquer quickly became the new strategy. Daddy took the oldest 4 and headed directly for the roller coaster. Mommy took the youngest 2 and headed to the 'horsies' - the Carousel.

Our kids are not as predictable as some would think. Our risk takers are not your most obvious crew. Sasha and Elizabeth were quite content on the little kid rides. Lizzy loved the little roller coaster, no doubt she will enjoy the big one when she is tall enough to ride. Sasha refused to go to the big one until Chris coaxed him into it - after that there was no stopping him, he went on everything. Sam was in for the kill right off the bat. Never having been on rides before he went for the jugular and started with the roller coaster and just kept going on all the craziest, scariest stuff he could find.

Abby was slightly more reticent but pulled off the roller coaster and several other 'big' rides. Josiah, having been to California in February, found these rides not so exciting and decided to catch some ZZZZZs after lunch. I think we spent just about as much time in the bathroom as we did on the rides with Lizzy, it seemed she had to go every hour or more! One time we didn't quite make it and I got the raw end of that stick. It was a good thing we could go in and out of the park and were close by with that camper!

We made a fancy supper to celebrate Kelly's birthday. Mom was far too up-tight still so Daddy took her for a ride to get her to calm down and chill a little.



Today started out with Mommy being a little stressed. Yesterday was a long day and everyone went to bed really late. Consequently, everyone woke up really late. Mommy is trying to get everyone to move a little faster knowing that we have to break camp, eat breakfast and get to the museum by 10:30 for the hike that she has booked.

We pull into the museum and walk to the museum as fast as our legs can carry us. As we approach the building Mommy notices a group heading out, it is exactly 10:30. She mutters, "Bet that's our tour." as she speed walks into the building to collect the tickets. The line is long and moving slowly as people deliberate over the activities they want to book. Doing this online was supposed to have taken care of all that but obviously it hasn't. Mommy is simmering in line when the rest of the family finally makes it into the building. Trying to keep the group corralled while waiting in line, Mommy begins to heat up a little more realizing that there is no way that we can catch the long-departed hiking group.

Finally, Mommy makes it to the front of the line and the perky clerk informs us that we are indeed hooped and that we will never catch up. Mommy boils over. There are no refunds and there is nothing to transfer our wasted money towards, it is simply gone. The children are not phased whatsoever by this turn of events. "We can just go on the hike by ourselves." they say, "We won't have to listen to some guy telling us that something is millions and millions of years old." they say. Mommy is still miffed because their lack of effort earlier on just cost her $20. Daddy tells Mommy to let it go...

We start out on the hike anyway...and have a glorious time looking at things, touching silt, finding flowering cacti and taking pictures. None of which we would have been able to do while on the guided hike. The kids all tell Mommy, "Wasn't that so much better?" She grudgingly agrees.

On to the museum and enjoying it's sights. Beautiful fossils, amazing displays, cool stuff everywhere. We enjoy it all.

We eat lunch back at the camper and then peruse the gift shop while waiting for our next booked activity, "Fossil Casting". This turns out to be a very fun time for us all as we make fossil casts of scorpions, teeth and claws. We carefully carry them back to the camper and declare that a fabulous time.

You can't leave Drumheller without a trip up the largest dinosaur in the world. We pay the money and chug up the monster staircase to catch the view out the T-Rex's mouth. It's still pretty cool. The little half spots the water park next door and we hoof it downstairs while Daddy is coming up to hang with the big kids. The littles are amazed that mom says go ahead and get wet even in their clothes. They forget that we have a whole camper full of clothes and a portable change room to boot. They have a blast in the water while waiting for the big kids and dad!

On to Calgary and Calaway Park. We decide that it is probably worth it to purchase supper in order to avoid nasty attitudes later on. We do so and arrive in the Calaway Park RV camping in time to set up and go to bed. We are all looking forward to Daddy's birthday and a fun day in the amusement park! We do, however, feel somewhat small and insignificant compared to the crazy big RVs surrounding us. We spot license plates from BC to Quebec and a few from the States. We are definitely wearing the 'cloak of humility' in our little trailer that is turning out to be just fine.

And it was good.


Day 1

Rain poured down as we pulled out of our yard for our family vacation. I'm wondering if we should have packed more rain gear. We drive at a snail's pace into town for fear of jack-knifing the trailer on our rain-saturated roads. On the way in I realize that the keys to the camper are not in the van. After some questioning we realize that they are indeed locked in the camper, they are the only set.

We arrive at the Co-op to gas up and break-in. Kelly cuts his hand, we get soggy, we get the keys, we duct tape plastic over the broken window and we are finally ready to hit the road. Today is our longest drive. We were going to leave in the morning. It is noon!

Our first stop is supposed to be Drumheller but it ends up being Rosetown for burgers at A&W. We stop at Wal-Mart to pick up a few supplies and lose a kid. Thank goodness we have cell phones, smart child went and found the van when he couldn't find mom. Dad was at the van and calmed down panicked kid and panicked mom after a cell phone call to assure her that he had the missing child!

Eventually we get to Drumheller and pull into the Dinosaur Trail RV Resort. What a beautiful campsite. Lots of trees, very easy to find everything and family friendly - very important when you have a big family!

This is our first night to set-up. We manage to get most things done but realize we should have pulled the awning out the next morning when our picnic table appears to be rather soggy after an early morning rain. This is also the first night we, all eight of us, are sleeping in the camper together.

Friends join us for an evening campfire. It is good to sit and visit after the long day. The kids discover the gift shop and plunder its contents buying up dinosaur doo-dads.

We tuck in for the night after long discussions about who will sleep where, many trips to the bathroom, digging for toothbrushes, finding pyjamas and all that night time stuff...and it isn't too bad.

We have survived the first day and it is good!