Monday, May 28, 2012

The Runaway

Since I was a little girl, I've loved paying "Runaway". 
Don't worry mom, it was never really me running away, and not from you, only from imaginary orphanages, run by oppressive, Miss Hannigan-type "Aunt gertrude"s 

So when my friend invited us to "runaway" with her to her families cabin, I was so there!

As fun as making memories on family "vacations" is, 
or even I nice gettaway with the hubby...

there is just something about a girl's trip!

So we put on our favorite "plip-plops" and loaded up Crystal's "vinnie-van",
 left our collective 19 kids (!) with daddies and grandmas and just had thee best time.

What did we do? Well...

We talked....and talked and talked some more. Talked on the drive. Talked round the table, then moved the talk to the couches when our butts got sore. Talked the whole first day away. Talked in to the night. 

We'd try and go to bed, but then wander back in, not willing to miss an ounce of conversation!

We slept. I slept! I went to bed way later than I ever do at home and didn't sleep in crazy long or anything. And yet I was so incredibly rested! The first night, when I didn't wake up once between my head hitting the pillow and waking up...amazing! I was practically giddy when I saw the time on my phone. Can't remember the last time I didn't have a single interruption in the night...usually it's more like a steady stream. 

 Basically, undisturbed sleep= heaven!

Speaking of heaven.... the cabin, the area, it was all perfect.

Aaron would live this, hey?!?

We ate... whenever we felt like it, instead of according to the designated schedule of our toddlers little tummies.

Isn't Amanda darling, barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen? 

She brought her waffle iron just so she could make us pumpkin waffles the first morning.

We were so glad she did. 

We had a little freezer feast and delighted in not having to cut up anyone's food for them!

 And of course we cooked over the fire.

We relaxed. So unaccustomed to the quiet, we soaked it up. Reveled in showers free of little fists pounding on the door, crying for
"Maw-mee!" (Ironically as I write this, my three year old is insisting I play xbox with him, getting mad if I don't do just the right thing...good thing the little hugs are worth all the exasperating, brain numbing).  

We rocked out.  And discovered Andy has the best playlist (I wrote down so many songs to download!) And we played in nice and loud so we could sing along without really hearing ourselves (every time I even hum around the house McKye says "too loud!" or "No like songs"). 

You girls owe me a dance party by the way...with Zac Efron in attendance please!

We shopped. Which I think I'm actually getting better at! I've had some patient teachers/mentors. Right Mands? Were you so proud of me???3
We may have got a little excited over the price of butter.

Guess who scored herself some yellow pants???


We ate some more. Yummy, picture worthy Mexican.

While we got a quick phone-fix with the restaurant's wifi.

And shopped some more. And snuck in some more talktime before heading to the check out.

And after a long day of shopping...we ate again.

We had a great time. 
And came home to 
our kiddos noses anxiously pressed up against windows, awaiting our return, 
and little voices asking "Whad'ya bring me?!?"
Tubby excited legs running with out-stretched arms. 
Their little bodies feeling slightly heavier, 
and their little faces oddly older since our departure only days ago.
 Tired looking husbands ready for reinforcements and thank you snuggles.  

And our mommy hearts, ready again to keep going...
until the next girls trip! 
(next weekend??? We wish!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My long (mostly pictures) post of our long long weekend in Edmonton.

Ben travels for work. In the summer he has offices all over Canada he has to visit. This weekend we decided to accompany him on his work trip, up to our old stomping grounds

Edmonton has so many memories for us. I did my whole degree up there, where a special lamp post  and golden flower box legs signalled my first home away from home (long, awesome story by the way). Where "vortexes" of room mates offered me not only some crazy nights (which may have involved the entire cast of the wizard of Oz on Whyte Ave and/or lip singing to Madonna into the wee morning hours) but some of my dearest, most meaningful friendships as well.
It was in the snowdrifts surrounding the Edmonton temple that Benny finally got to kneel down and officially propose that "Ben and Chelsea" become eternal.
It was in Edmonton that we enjoyed our cheap little bachelor suite made newlywed home. 
The city held some real heartaches for my newly acquired family. I witnessed some real endurance and courage. And some amazing compensatory blessings and tender, life-saving service as well.
Bonnie Doon, our first family ward building as young marrieds. 
It was at the provincial museum I told Ben I was pregnant. 
It was the Royal Alex that Aaron was born.

My first time serving in primary learning lessons, I'll never forget from people I'll always admire. (Seriously, visiting our old Ward on sunday was like being in a time warp! "My" nursery kids, where old enough to be getting baptized!!! My little piano students graduating!!!)

I spent the whole weekend, being flooded with memories. 
I kept wanting to say to McKye, "Remember when..." and then I'd realize, him &  Levi didn't even exist!

Places are important. They change and grow, just like us. But there are aspects of them that stay constant, reminding us of parts of ourselves we want to keep alive or at least not forget.

I've been feeling a lot lately to appreciate that "we're right where we need to be". 
Life has lots of transitions and big times, full of big changes and constant progressions. Sometimes we fail to recognize the in-between times. Looking forward or looking back. Missing the chance to be content. 

Realizing that today's choices will be tomorrows memories. 
That today's little jaunts or chats will one day form our personal haunts.  

I want to build as many "remember whens..." as I possibly can. 

And I might as well take pictures of them right?!?!?

Day 1: 

Awesome stroller static

Once McKye saw the little Zoo Train, he could care less about any of the animals.

His "golden ticket"
All aboard!

This is him sad we can't go again.

Bye train :(
We also got to see sea lions at West Ed too where I bought a new swimsuit.
It was cheap AND reversible. Cool right?
We mostly just ate at Macdonald's so the kids could play (lame I know, but just more do-able),
 but we did manage to go to Red Robin, which I totally miss.

Day 2: Swimming
 (okay we swam everyday, but on the second day I took my camera down to the pool)

Ben was at work til 2:30 in the morning, and still up swimming with the boys...he has the bed head to prove it)

Aaron went on the slide all by himself...constantly.
Every time we went back to the hotel room, he'd start striping and would bring us his bathing suit.

Ben would put on his bright orage shirt, and McKye would announce/ask, "Daddy go to work?"
And we'd go looking for a new park. And we all know what Chelsea does at the park...
Loved how "Northern" the pine trees made this look

McKye called this the "beach" park.

Day 3: Bangs!
I just needed a change, and apparently I'm the worst at growing out my hair, so bangs it was. I haven't had bangs since I was a little was super scary, but afte I got over my initial feeling that I kinda looked like a Russian spy...they're really growing on me (hopefully not too fast...anyone good at trimming bangs?)

Saturday afternoon after visiting an old friend, who just had a baby, it was off (with our "new to us" stroller) to the river valley. Three hours later we emerged. 

Love that river valley so much! 

I miss it. 

That's the same walk that help put me into labour with Aaron. 

I love the curvy paths and foliage.

I love the bridges
 and the unexpected vistas of the city.

And man do I love my new stroller!

Aaron was in love with this playground...sand and water! He could have lived there!

By the end. Aaron had walked a long way!

Sunday was great, seeing our old ward. Sunday night however...

This is a picture of the clock in our van. It is NOT 4 in the afternoon. 
Our downstairs hotel neighbours had already got cranky with us (at 10am (!) 
So when Aaron pulled a "I'm up"  I knew we had to go somewhere. 
I grabbed a pillow and blanket, Aaron and I walked past the front desk and out to the van, where Aaron strapped in his carseat watched Tarzan til he actually drifted back off to sleep a couple hors later.
It worked so well that I'm thinking maybe I should use a carseat at home when he wakes up too.

That morning just got better and better.

Feeling a little hit-by -a-truckish, I tried to lay down in a rela bed for a few minutes, while Ben answered work emails. McKye was watching Treehouse (which hes never seen before because we even though we have cable we watch all our carctoons on Netflix..he was very upset they didn't play back to back Max and Ruby's), Levi was still sleeping, and Aaron was in the shower (containment is key sometimes, no?)

Little did we know, Aaron had somehow snuck my 4 day old iphone in with him!!!!!!!!!!
Even if we had rice to throw it in, I think it was toast. Soggy, soaked, toast.

I was starting to feel like it was getting to be home time.

But I'm so glad we stuck around. 

a) so I could play with my friend Rachel (who's the best)

At this awesome indoor play center
(why doesn't Lethbridge have one of these!??) where they were quite strict about socks...
that one on the right is a random of Levi's I found in the van.

Ooo and try donair pizza which is scrumptious.
 (Rachel's bro and sis in law were so kind to let us crash their get did my kids LOVE playing with toys at their house after)

and b) because I got to hang out with these two amazing girls:

We went out to grab some groceries and ended up talking in the car til 3 am!!!

Yup elevator light and a late night make for a pretty flattering photo eh ladies???

I was sooooo tired on the way home.

But it was sooo worth it.

Really the whole trip, was at times exhausting and a lot of work,
but I think we managed some good memory making (or at the very least soem photos) and so
it was worth it.