Sunday, August 31, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Growing Up

Not only is Hunter starting kindergarten in less than two weeks, now this...

In case you can't tell, he's holding up a tooth in that picture. That's right, my little guy lost his first tooth.

As I was calculating in my mind approximately how much a tooth would be worth nowadays (you know with inflation and whatnot), he advised me that he was going to hide it from the tooth fairy so that he could keep it forever.

Kindergarten, losing a baby tooth, and now a pack-rat. Clearly my little guy is growing up.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Whenever we visit the mountains it becomes so clear to me why we do this vacation again and again and again. One of the things I love most about this holiday is that it is never the same - you could take it a thousand times and still manage to do something different each year.

In the town of Banff

This year we started in Banff, spent a day in Golden and travelled up to Jasper. We also spent a day in Calgary at the zoo (pictures will be posted on the Family Album blog shortly).

We stayed at our favourite campground near Banff - Castle Mountain. Castle Mountain is perfect because you're almost exactly half way between Banff and Lake Louise and only a few kilometres from one of our favourite hikes - Johnston Canyon.

Julia and I near the falls at Johnston Canyon - Just over a 6K hike to take in this beautiful scenary

Johnston Canyon

It's also nice and close if you choose to do the drive to the Radium hotsprings which we opted not to do this year (first time in a long time we haven't done this one but we really needed another week of holidays even to just fit some of our favourites in). The campground costs $21.50 per night plus $8 for firewood. The campground is quiet, has a nice creek flowing through it, and a great hike attached to it. On the drive into town the first day we spotted mountain sheep, deer, two bears, and some elk.

The drive from Banff to Jasper is about 230km but it's worth taking about six hours to drive it with all the wonderful stops. Usually we stop at the Columbia icefields but this year we decided to try a couple of different stops - we'll do Columbia icefields again another year when Julia is a bit older.

Between Banff and Jasper

Hunter and Jason at one of the stops we made on the drive between Banff and Jasper

A stop on the way to Jasper

Hunter climbing at another stop between Banff and Jasper

We didn't get away from Banff nearly as early as we had planned so by the time we had taken several stops on the way to Jasper it was quite late. We had planned to stay at a campgound called Wabaso but on the way there we almost drove into a very larger bear so we decided we'd stay somewhere a little closer to town. We ended up staying at Wapiti campggound. It was $28.50 a night but worth the bit extra because it had showers which we would desperately need since we'd no longer be going swimming and showering at the swimming places in Banff.


We didn't have a lot of time at Jasper but we managed to pack a few hikes in: we hiked to the glaciers at Mount Edith Cavell, we went for a very short hike at a Caribou crossing, and checked out Athabasca Falls.

This is at Mount Edith Cavell near the first campground we planned to stay at. It's about a one hour hike to the Glacier and back up.

This was near Mount Edith Cavell but a hike we decided not to complete as there had been a grizzly sighting on the trail four out of the past seven days (we wondered when we saw a couple ahead of us packing bearspray).

Athabasca Falls just outside of Jasper

Athabasca Falls again

Athabasca Falls isn't too far from the campground we had initially planned to stay at and on our way to the Falls we saw another bear. We were really glad we had decided not to stay there.

All in all it was a great holiday - we just wished we had more time. We're hoping to take a nice fall holiday to Banff this year and stay at one of the cabin-type hotels at Tunnel Mountain. Of course it will depend on our schedules and whatnot.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Happy 18 Months and a Bit

Happy 18 months and one day my sweet little girl. You are growing up so wonderfully and your smiles, kisses, and devilish nature have been lifting our spirits daily these last couple months.

You are so smart and determined and you are constantly surprising us as you learn something new and unexpected. Lately you've been interested in learning to use the potty with no push from us - one day you yanked and your diaper and said "pee" so we sat you down to see what you'd do and you knew exactly what you were doing so I imagine that in a couple of months you'll have mastered it. You love figuring out how to put stuff together (and take it apart) - Legos, lids, shapes - anything that will come apart really. You are also a fearless climber - you've mastered the ladder to the top of Hunter's bunk, the chairs so you can walk around on the table, and pretty much anything that might even be remotely climbable.

You're also the cutest little mimic I've seen - you'll pant like a puppy, bark, meow, act like a monkey, copy Hunter's "awwws" and Daddy's growls. When Grandma and Grandpa Gush were visiting you picked up angry eyebrows - now angry eyebrows is one of your favourite little looks to give along with raised eyebrows.

You love to play hide and seek, peek, and where's your... (tummy, nose, bum, etc.). You really love to tickle and be tickled. You and your brother continue to have the most amazing relationship - I have no doubt that it will serve both of you well as long as you live. Hunter has you dancing with him and has been singing ABCs to you and teaching you all sorts of things we'd probably rather he didn't but it's hard not to watch the two of you and smile.

Jules, every day with you brings something wonderful and I can't imagine loving you more.

Love Mum

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I can substitute grief
With worry.
Worry about the woman who not only lost her partner but the future she imagined,
Her hopes, her dreams, her plans.

I am forced to feel the loss that is all of ours.
The summers I had imagined for my children with Grandma and Grandpa.
The canoe trips, the bird-watching, the days at the beach.
Trips to the water park and stays in the city fade away.
He is not sitting out there with his coffee as I expect and won't be again.

I watch the granddaughter he would adore play.
I imagine how he would love her mischievousness.
I imagine the phrases he would teach her and the nicknames she would acquire.
Knowing she will only know him through the stories of others - my heart aches.

I listen to the grandson recall special trips in summer and winter.
I worry the memories will fade.
Or will be false ones that exist in pictures only.
I wonder how to preserve them or something of him in their memories - my throat swells.

I see the wife
Whose future is uncertain.
I worry still but I also grieve
For the woman she was and would have been.
She is still there but forever changed.
Tears spill out and I can barely breathe.

I take deep breaths. Many deep breaths
And calm, try to calm.
I am needed by the grandchildren who lost their grandpa
And the wife who lost her husband.

What would he do?
He would be a rock wouldn't he?
He always was.

Only the situation reversed is unimaginable.
I don't think he could have survived it.
I pray that she will.
And I worry.
And worry I can deal with.
But grief is overwhelming.