Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009 - Home from Jasper

This morning we got to sleep in until about 7:30.We got up and got dressed and packed and had a nice room service breakfast. Dean and I had granola and yogurt parfaits (plus I had a chocolate croissant) and Bella had pancakes. Becca still didn't eat the new cereal I had bought her yesterday. We decided to go out for a little walk around 9am however Bella had woken up with a bad cold and it was quite chilly so we didn't stay long before coming back to the room and loading up the car. We stopped in Jasper to get gas but then hit the road.

Both Becca and I had a nap in the car, but we woke up when we came to an abrupt stop and found ourselves in a line of stopped traffic. We had no idea how long we would be there so we got the girls out of the car and let them play for a bit in the field next to the highway. It turned out we were only stopped for about 15 minutes and then got going again. It appears that there was some blasting going on, but we weren't sure. Bella napped and watched DVDs and was perfect and Becca fussed a bit but was actually quite good and even had two naps. We made it all the way to Canmore - about 4 hours - and stopped at McDonalds for lunch around 1:30. We got back on the road and were in Calgary by 2:30. It was a great trip and gave us hope that we can start doing the road trips we love so much with our kids.

As of right now, I don't know when our next adventure will be so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 12, 2009 - Jasper and Wedding

Becca woke me from a very comfy sleep around 6:30am but I managed to get her to just crawl around our bed while Dean and I drifted in and out of sleep. At 7am our alarm went off and Dean got up to shower. Bella woke shortly after and I got the girls dressed and packed. When Dean was done I hopped in the shower and crossed my fingers we could get into the hotel room in Jasper before the wedding so I could do more formal makeup and hair later.

We went to the hotel restuarant for their buffet breakfast which was fine, but didn't have anything exciting like when we stay at the Banff Park Lodge at Christmas. We didn't check the price before ordering and you would think we would have learned from last night, but when the bill came for $60 we just rolled our eyes and continued on. We got in the car and called the Jasper Park Lodge to try and arrange early check in, but they couldn't promise anything.

We got on the road just before 9am. It was a beautifully clear day and we had fun watching the temperature change as we hit rises and falls in altitude. The temp fluctuated between 3 and 15 degrees at any point in time. We had never been north of the Columbia Ice Field just inside the entrance to Jasper National Park so it was exciting for us to drive along and see new sights. Bella was awesome, however Becca got quite frustrated with the three hour drive. I tried bribing her with tons of cheesies but that novelty quickly wore off. Even Bella got tired of eating them.

We arrived in Jasper just before noon. We were very impressed with how nice the town of Jasper was - lots of stores and gift shops, but it just didn't have the commercial feel of Banff. We ran a few errands (like buying a wedding card and new cereal for Becca since she wouldn't eat what I had brought) but by 12:30 we decided to try our luck at the hotel even though check in wasn't officially until 4pm. The Jasper Park Lodge is not in the town of Jasper and it was about a 5 minute drive down a secluded road to get to it. As we approached we were quite surprised to see that it's not a grand, old hotel like Banff Springs or Lake Louise, but a main lodge with a series of 2-4 plex cabins. This posed a problem when we couldn't find any stopping room at the lobby and all the streets were one way and we just kept driving farther away. Eventually we found a parking space and walked back to the lobby. I was quietly cursing the place as I imagined having to walk miles from our room to the wedding in the heels - which would have been fine when I was working daily, but now that I haven't worn them regularly in over a year they aren't as easy.

Upon arriving at the lobby we were happy to find our room ready. It was actually in the 4 plex right next to the lobby so I was thankful. The desk clerk gave Bella some triangle crayons and a colouring book and she was very pleased with him. The girls and I went to our room while Dean walked back to get the car and drive it closer - there still is no parking near our room ,but they said we could pull up for a short time to unload. Our room was great! We had a little porch with a screen door before our main door and you entered into a sitting room. It had a table and two chairs and a sofa. The two large picture windows on two walls gave us a nice view of the lake. We decided to set up Becca's play pen in here because we could close this room off of the rest of the room. The rest of our room had two queen beds with a TV, huge closet for clothes and a second closet with a fridge and all the coffee/tea stuff etc. The bathroom was also nice and large and we were really pleased with everything after at first glance being disappointed.

I immediately fed Becca her lunch and ordered room service fore the rest of us. I had a yummy crab wrap, while Dean had a Cobb salad and Bella had chicken fingers. Once our food arrived we put Becca down for a cat nap while the rest of us were able to eat our lunch and get ready for the wedding. On the map they had given us it looked like it might be about a 15 minute walk to where the outdoor wedding was scheduled. However, leaving our room at 2:30 we arrived at the wedding chairs at about 2:33. We went for a bit of a walk around the lake to kill time, however I was quite frustrated with how the stones of the path didn't always touch each other and my heel often sank down between them. I was quite frustrated and adding to the fact that I was carrying a baby and it was about 27 degrees out and I was sweating before anyone even got to see me looking all dressed up, no need to mention Dean was getting frustrated with me as well. We were seated at the chairs around 10 to 3 and all you could hear was people talking about the heat. Imagine being in Jasper in September and it being 27 degrees. People were fanning themselves and there were many sun burned faces at the reception at night.

The wedding was gorgeous. All of the chairs were draped with white linen. The bridesmaids wore strapless, floor length navy dresses with full white bouquets and the bride Stacey was stunning. I had never met the groom Dale, yet I immediately picked him out of the crowd of men by how he just looked like the happiest man alive. The ceremony was quite quick and very legal sounding - which I suppose was fair since they were both securities lawyers who always dealt with contracts. It wasn't that long, but it was still long enough for Becca to start crying. Poor girl, even though she had a sleeveless dress on she was still red in her face from the heat. Bella was perfect and loved watching all the pretty girls and especially the bride. Immediately following the wedding at the chairs there was a champagne reception and we all got champagne with strawberries and they even had ginger ale for the kids.

Between a crying baby and my heels now sinking into the grass at the champagne reception I opted to return to the room with Becca while Dean and Bella stayed out longer to enjoy the nice day. After everyone was back at the room and we had all cooled off, we decided to go for a walk through the shops in the lodge. There wasn't really anything exciting, however it was fun to window shop. After a while we headed up to the lounge where we all enjoyed a fun frosty drink. Even Bella got a special drink with vanilla and mango. Becca enjoyed everyone's garnishes and ate the whole peel of Bella's orange slice and not any of the inside - weird!

We went back to our room to get ready for the evening portion and meet the sitter at 5:30. We got Becca's food set up and ordered some more chicken fingers for Bella. The sitter's name was Jenna and she was great - although I felt we weren't paying her enough when Becca was screaming as we left. Once I couldn't hear her anymore I relaxed, I know from lots of experience that she calms down once we leave. Although Jenna said she didn't eat any dinner, Becca drank her bottle and went to bed at 7pm without a peep! And she even got Bella to sleep by 9pm! This girl was good.

Cocktails were from 5:30-6:30 and when we arrived we were greeted with hors d'oeuvres and an open bar - don't ask how many free I drink I had by the time we left. I knew a total of 4 people at this wedding of about 200 guests and that included Dean. After visiting with those people I knew, Dean was whisked away by another lawyer and left me abandoned. (this other gentleman did ask my permission before stealing him away to talk business so I found that rather classy.) I quickly realized I didn't know what to do with myself so I downed my second drink, got a third and made my way to the cheese table. After about 10 minutes they called everyone to tables. Thank Heaven there was assigned seating so that I didn't have to try and figure out where Dean would have wanted to sit. I didn't know anyone at our table, but they all knew Dean and kept asking where he was. The wedding party was introduced and seated at the head table and speeches began. Wine was poured and finally Dean showed up. The dinner was fabulous: cream of mushroom soup, green salad, steak and a nice saskatoon berry dessert. And the whole time the wine kept coming. It wasn't that great, but you know, the more glasses I had, the better it got. The announcement was made that it was an open bar until midnight but then a cash bar from midnight to 2am when we had to vacate the room. The were lots of speeches, LOTS of speeches (again I knew only 4 people, and none of them were mentioned in the speeches) and the wedding favour was a golf ball with their name and the wedding date on it.

We stayed for a bit of the dance and I made a few more friends, but by 10:45 we were heading back to the room. We were thrilled with how both girls were asleep when we got home, however Becca woke up with everyone coming and going through the door in her room. I noticed she had a dirty diaper so I changed her and she again went right to sleep without a sound. Bella was spread eagle sideways across her bed on top of the covers so we rearranged her and tucked her in. I think this bed was even more comfortable than the night before and we had a great sleep.

Friday, September 11, 2009 - Lake Louise Inn

Today I packed up the girls and the car and we drove into downtown to pick up Dean at 4:30 and we were on the road! We decided to start tonight and drive to Lake Louise and continue on to Jasper on Saturday because we figured the girls couldn't handle that long of a drive plus sit through a wedding all in one day.

We arrived at the Lake Louise Inn around 7pm and I set up Becca's high chair and fed her dinner while Dean went out to try and find something for the rest of us. We didn't want to risk the girls having a public meltdown after the long drive and the only room service they had was pizza which Dean wasn't in the mood for. Dean quickly realized that Lake Louise is isolated with very little take out selection, but found a little place that sold us 2 donairs, a turkey wrap, 3 drinks and 3 brownies for $45. We quickly learned that we should have eaten before leaving Calgary! Oh well, we were on vacation!

We set up Becca's playpen by the door in a closet area so that she wouldn't be right in the room with us and we could make it a little darker there. She was not at all impressed. She screamed at first, but eventually it turned to whimpers and then she got pretty quiet, although I think it was over an hour before she actually fell asleep. I was exhausted and fell asleep quickly in my comfortable bed around 9:45 while Dean and Bella were still awake watching TV. We forgot to take any pictures today :(