Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Upcoming trips!

We have two exciting trips coming up in the next 5 months:

1 - going home to visit family and enjoy the beaches in Nova Scotia in July for 2 weeks

2 - going on a trip of a lifetime for 3 weeks to the Cook Islands in the South Pacific in October.

Check back after for details!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Kananaskis - Monday, May 23

One last dip in the outdoor hottub
Becca sits by a deer on the path

Bella visits the playground one last time

Sleepy girls after a great weekend!

This morning we got to sleep in until 8:15! Becca was the first up but then we all got up and headed down to the pool for one last dip. We headed back up to our room and packed up while enjoying one last room service breakfast of pancakes and fresh fruit (Becca got peanut butter toast). By 10:30 we were all checked out and with everything loaded in the car we headed out for another walk around the rim.

We were able to see another deer this morning on our walk. Then we played at the playground and were on the road by noon. We decided to take an alternate drive home through Sibbald. We saw a lot of interesting picnic and/or camping places that I would love to check out with the girls later in the summer.

There was a lot of rain on the way home. Not great for driving in, but good for the yard at home. We were so excited to arrive home to blooming tulips and green grass! We plan to be back at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis for the Labour Day weekend in September.

Kananaskis - Sunday, May 22

Dean and Bella on the Pond Rocks
Becca "sleeping" at the dinner table
Petting the wolf
great place to spend a weekend
Deer Crossing

Oh I forgot the best part yesterday! While watching tv and chewing a toy, Bella's loose tooth came out! She was very excited to put it under her pillow and have the Tooth Fairy actually leave her a twoonie under her pillow in a hotel! It was an exciting morning!

No surprise after last night's lack of sleep that the girls slept in a bit and didn't get up until after 8am. We had taught Bella how to turn on the TV and put it on the correct channel for Treehouse (28 if you are heading there yourself) so she got up and turned on the TV plus played with some of the toys she was given in the kids' gift upon check in yesterday (a slinky, rubic's cube, metal puzzle etc.). Becca woke up soon after and called me to get her out of her play pen so she could join Bella.

We decided to order room service and not worry about Becca's restaurant behaviour after last night and it was quite a treat. The girls split toast and fresh fruit and they were nice enough to send us up some cookies even though they aren't on the menu until 11am. Dean had an omelet and I had eggs benedict. There is a small fridge in the room and we planned ahead by bringing our own juice to save a bit of money ($3.95 a glass there vs $0.99 a litre that we brought). Plus there was complementary tea and coffee in the room so we used that instead of ordering it off of the menu. We did treat the girls to hot chocolate, however we could have only ordered one and have them split it - they were large with whipped cream, and between the 4 of us we didn't finish both of them.

After breakfast we decided to head outside and hike the Village Rim Trail. It circles around the perimeter of the grounds and provides fabulous views. We have been to the mountains and even this location on many occasions and the view is still breath taking. We were lucky to have great weather with rain forecast for the afternoon so we wanted to take advantage of it. We hiked along the well maintained, fully paved pathway. I wish we had brought a stroller because Becca was walking so slowly, but that reminded us to slow down and relax and just enjoy our surroundings. There are 5 benched lookout points that we stopped at to enjoy the view. Just before viewpoint 5 we were treated to 4 deer. We stood on the pathway and watched them eating just a few feet away off of the path. Then they walked across the path right beside us. It was so special and a great opportunity to teach the girls about respect for wildlife. The girls were perfect. They were still, and quiet and even though Becca really wanted to touch them, she understood and didn't fuss.

We had never walked all around the grounds before. I had gone on a guided, private Nature Walk with my Mom about 5 years ago and that was very informative about the flora and fauna, but this walk showed us more of the activities available on site. We walked past a ball diamond and sports field, a seasonal toboggan hill and skating rink. Our next stop was an outdoor playground. Just beside it there were basketball nets and 6 beautifully kept tennis courts. Tennis is our family sport and due to the forecasted rain we didn't bother bringing our gear which we were now sorely regretting. Fortunately you can rent equipment on site, but we didn't bother. We climbed around some more on the pond rocks before heading inside to the Wolf presentation. This weekend had a theme of wildlife with tons of activities. It was possible to schedule something almost every minute of the day. One thing we really wanted to attend was the wolf session. We showed up with only 15 minutes left because we knew the girls couldn't sit through a long presentation. That was the right choice. I love wildlife and learning about ecology but this presentation was boring! The lady giving it was dressed like Little Red Riding Hood and lives with 7 wolves on her property. She was a little too hippie for me and not enough scientist - but oh well. At the end we got to pet the wolf she had on a leash in the room...again, not my idea of WILDlife...but the girls had fun. They got to touch some pelts and teeth and claws. And they got to make some crafts, like make a mask and colour pictures.

We decided to head to the pool and play around. After about an hour we decided to dry off and grab a snack. We had such a large breakfast that we didn't want anything too filling for lunch. We decided to head out to Obsessions Deli. Between the 4 of us we got a turkey sandwich, cinnamon roll, 2 cheese and crackers, yogurt and granola plus drinks. Dean and I, missing Starbucks, treated ourselves to a Mocha and London Fog.

Next we headed out to find the indoor Children's Creative Centre in Mount Kidd Manor. We had a really hard time finding it since there weren't any signs to pointing to it until you actually got to the door. Fortunately a really nice employee at Woody's Pub and Lounge walked us down. And once we got in we were in Heaven! Part of the walls were chalkboards, there was a puppet theatre, a climbing wall that lead to a treehouse with a slide...books, puzzles, games etc. And the best part? An HD tv that got the French Open so Dean could lay on the leather sofa and watch it while the girls played. For over half of the time we were in there we were the only people there. I did lots of puzzles with the girls and when two other girls came in Bella had a great time playing with them. It rained a bit while we were in there so it was nice to have this indoor option for a while.

Once we pried the girls away, Becca and I went to the playground while Dean took Bella to the pool and then we both met up after in our room. We got ready for dinner by 6pm and headed to Grappa - the Italian restaurant and tried dinner again. It was still difficult, but much better than last night. We made sure Becca was in a high chair so no spilled wine! Also, we were more proactive with her doing things like counting objects and identifying colours. Bella had chicken fingers and fries while Becca had penne and tomato sauce with fries but ended up mostly eating Dean's linguine. Dean and I each got appetizers - we need to stop doing that because it takes too long and makes the girls get bored. But they were so delicious! I got the tomato mozzarella salad and Dean got the crab cake. We got similar build your own pasta for a main course - both rose sauce and scallops but I got cheese tortellini and Dean got linguine. For dessert I got a really neat panna cotta while Dean got the Chocolate Bailey's Brulee that I had gotten last night (the restaurants are side by side and they obliged getting him the dessert from next door.) We were able to finish our peppermint patties tonight and while it rained all through dinner it had stopped by the end so we let the girls have a short walk outside to play in the puddles. Becca kept telling us she was so sleepy and even kept putting her head on the table, so we made sure to put them in bed by 7:30.

We also knew to start them in separate areas so we put them both to bed and by the time I had filled our tub they were both asleep! - Yay! I enjoyed a few glasses of wine from a bottle we had brought and again we had yummy chocolates on our pillow before bed (Lindt tonight! - which is my favourite). I have started reading Tina Fey's "Bossypants". I was late to become a fan of Tina Fey, only noticing her portraying Sarah Palin, but I have since become a huge fan, and this book has me in stitches! Hilarious. It was nice to have a relaxing night with no crying girls and no frustrated parents. Becca did wake up once around midnight, but I checked on her and she went back to sleep. It is so stressful having loud kids in a hotel because I don't want to be bothering other guests. Fortunately I think she was just a little caught off guard waking in a strange place so she was easily settled and back to sleep.

Kananaskis - Saturday, May 21

Room Photos
Bella's Bed


Becca's Bedroom :)

Dean and Julie's bedroom with the jacuzzi

Doors separating two main areas

We arrived at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis around 3pm after a beautiful drive drive out from Calgary. We did hit rain for about 10 minutes but it was sunny again by the time we arrived. We went straight to our executive king suite room. It was perfect for us. It has a sitting area with a pull out sofa, a large bathroom, and through french doors in the sitting room it has a king sized bedroom with a two person jacuzzi (plus a second tv for Dean and I!).

We started our adventure by exploring the hotel and showing the girls around. Next we headed to the pool where we enjoyed lots of playing around in the large pool, plus nice relaxing in the hot tub which was both inside and outside. We returned to our room and got ready for our 6:30 dinner reservation at The Fireweed Grill. It was a nice treat to find out that kids aged 6 and under eat free and there was ample selection on the kids menu. Bella had a grilled cheese sandwich and Becca had chicken fingers. They both had french fries and then for dessert Bella was thrilled to have jello with sprinkles while Becca had delicious chocolate chip cookies. Dean and I enjoyed a delicious dinner. We started with Calamari, then Dean had the tenderloin and I had the Mountain Feature of portobello mushroom risotto. For dessert I had the Chocolate Baileys Brulee while Dean had a giant chocolate sundae. The food was fabulous and the service and ambiance was better than I had expected for the "family friendly" restaurant on site. The only negative was our own poor judgement in having dinner so late with two little girls who usually eat earlier and go to bed at 7pm. Becca was quite fussy and at one point even spilled my glass of wine all over the table! What a waste of wine! Plus she started to get quite loud as the meal progressed. We were frustrated that we had to rush through our after dinner drinks "Peppermint Patty" (hot chocolate with lots of yummy liqueurs) but at least we learned from the evening to eat earlier tomorrow. And I need to mention that Isabella was a perfect angel. She is certainly growing into a lovely young lady.

We felt the need to let the girls run a bit after dinner even though it was way past their bedtime. Right outside the lodge between all the buildings is a great pond surrounded by rocks that the girls love to climb on. We let them play for a bit before taking them into bed. We pulled out the sofa bed for Bella and set up Becca's play pen we had brought from home. The sofa bed was certainly big enough for the two of them, however Becca still sleeps in a crib at home and trying to get them to fall asleep in the same bed seemed ludicrous to us :) We shut the doors to our room about 8:45 to let the girls fall asleep while Dean watched TV and I enjoyed a nice bath. Both had the potential to be a great end to our day, however the girls decided that they weren't going to fall asleep. By 11pm all four of us were exhausted and frustrated, and no one was asleep. Since the girls could still see each other they continued to talk and joke and get along like I always want them too - just not in the middle of the night. Dean had worked such a long week that he was exhausted and I was just frustrated with the whole situation. I don't know why it took us so long to figure out to put Becca around the corner in the hallway to the bathroom, but that was the secret. Once they couldn't see each other (and with the fear of God put into Bella - sorry girl!) they were able to fall asleep. Becca kept waking up all night so I didn't get a good night's sleep, but at least Dean and Bella finally got to sleep. I think that Becca was so over tired that she just couldn't help it. As a parent, all you can do is learn from the moment and laugh at it later.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Off to the Mountains for May Long Weekend

Today we set out on a mini vacation for 2 nights at the Delta Lodge at Kananaskis. Dean has been working such long hours that we are thrilled to be spending some family time without distractions. The weather doesn't look great for a lot of time outside, but we have packed rain gear for some short hikes around the trails on site and made sure to be staying in the main lodge so that we can get to the pool without having to go outside! The girls are rolling their suitcases around and we just have a birthday party to attend before hitting the road!