Monday, 29 August 2011

Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

On Friday morning we headed to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Kananaskis Country for our final camping trip of the season.  It was extra fun since we would be joined by Greg’s dad, stepmom + brothers.  
Here are some photos setting up at the campground and at the visitor’s center
Uncle Brad arrived via motorbike shortly after lunch and we soon headed out to Upper Kananaskis Lake.  We started the Rawson Lake hike but I turned around about half way because I had a cold and was so congested that every step I took burned within my chest.  The others continued on while I headed back to Lake Kananaskis and relaxed on the beach.
We then headed back to our campsite where Grandpa Don, Grandma Jen + Uncle Neil arrived shortly after.  They brought their brand spanking new trailer.  It was pretty nice but Greg and I tried very much to stay out of it so we didn’t accustomed to a life of camping that definitely would not continue.
Finley loved Uncle Brad’s motorbike and was constantly trying to sit on it.
After supper, we headed to the Interpretive Program where we learned all about bee’s
The next morning it was really cold so we all had to bundle  up.  Finley and Uncle Brad made the pancake batter while Greg cooked them and the sausage.  It was a nice way to start the morning.
Later on in the day, we headed to the Black Prince Cirque and hiked it and had a nice picnic lunch around the cirque. 
More from the cirque
After this, we all headed to the visitor center so that Greg, Brad + Don could find out if the bird they saw was a ptarmigan or a grouse since they were disagreeing.  In the end, I believe Don was correct and it was a grouse but Greg mentioned something about having to see a photo of the female grouse.  I have not brought it up since because in all fairness, it’s still just a bird.
We then headed up to Boulten Creek Trading Post for some ice cream before heading back to the campsite.  We had planned to go to the Interpretive Program again to see Grrrrrease The Bear Musical but Finley crashed for the night at 7pm and Penelope shortly after.  We hung around the campfire and roasted marshmallows.  It was great fun!
It was a great way to end our very busy camping season and we are already looking forward to next year!!  It was also nice to go somewhere most of us had never been before either.  The next morning, we had a delicious breakfast of pears, strawberries, eggs + bacon before we all headed back to the city.
Thanks Don, Jen, Brad + Neil for joining us on our camping trip

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Party Time

On Saturday, our family gathered at our house for Penelope’s 1st birthday.  We had family from here in town, Canmore, Saskatoon, Red Deer and Prince Albert all visiting and most stayed at our house.  
The first photos are from setting up the backyard before the guests arrived:
The guests hadn’t even arrived yet and this was Penelope fast asleep on Uncle Brad’s lap.  It was pretty darn cute.  I wish I could sleep like that!  Can’t wait to show Penelope what a party popper she is/was.  Hahah
The various tables housing food, more food, presents (Finley’s favourites) and utensils/plates etc
Here is Penelope’s birthday cake.  I wish I would have gotten a photo of the inside of the cake – it was rainbow!  I googled rainbow cake and found a recipe where they used a cake mix and then to make it coloured they used food colouring, soda and gelatine and all kinds of things i had never heard of and clearly didn’t have.  So I just divided the batter (which i made from scratch) into 4 or 5 yogurt containers, added food colouring and hoped for the best. The batter I had made was absolutely delicious so I had high hopes.  Thankfully it turned out great and Greg did a great job decorating it.
Cake time for the birthday girl!!  You must note her fantastic outfit.  both pieces combined cost just over $5.  Gotta love the clearance rack at Target.  Her t-shirt read “I’m The Birthday Girl”.  A fantastic keepsake for her memory box.
Finley and Grandma Jen helping Penelope blow out her candle
The sweetest photo from the day.  She looks so big. 
Finley sharing her cake with Penelope.  Somehow no cake got delivered to Penelope (which was ok with me)  Finley was happy to share with her little sister.  Runner up for sweet photo…
Present time!!  Penelope had little interest in opening presents, thankfully Finley, Madi + Tanner enjoyed helping her.  She enjoyed the toys and books but not the clothes.
All the family visiting amongst one another…
Madi + Penelope taking down the one crafty thing I did that turned out pretty good.  Although Penelope did look cute with the crown on!
It was a fantastic day and we are so happy that so many joined us in celebrating our baby girl’s first birthday.  I still can’t believe my baby is 1.  It’s amazing how fast they grow.  It seems like I blinked once and the year is over. 
Thanks again everybody!

Friday, 19 August 2011


Today was just a small party for Penelope – basically just her, Finley, Greg + I.  Her big party will be held on Saturday where we will have her fancy cake (that i made from scratch – seriously cross your fingers that it tastes good) and lots more presents!
She had a pretty fun day – we had a playdate at the Koffee Tot in Mckenzie Towne and  had so much fun playing with all the different toys and with her favorite friends – thanks for the super awewome outfit + top C + K!  She can’t wait to wear it.
Her 1st cupcake for her 1st birthday.  Thank you Crave Cupcakes for making fabulous cupcakes!
I absolute love this picture!!  She looks so grown up –  :(
I didn’t have the candle all the way in the cupcake, just in the icing and it toppled over.  Thankfully I didn’t melt the highchair!
Checking out what was in front of her….
Finley thoroughly enjoying her cupcake.  She took her dress off because her sister did.
Penelope had more fun playing with the icing than eating.  SO NOT like her sister!
She did a really good job opening her present. 
They were both very excited to see Penelope’s present.  It is a Learning Turtle that goes in the bathtub with you.  It got used almost immediately after it was opened.
I am glad we a quiet birthday today because Saturday is going to be insane!  I am not going to lie it was really hard to find presents for Penelope because Finley was so spoiled.  We got her the Learning Turtle and a few small things that she will get on Saturday. 
Happy Birthday Sweet Little Girl!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Dear Penelope,

Dear Penelope,
I cannot believe that you, my sweet baby girl, are turning the big 1 today.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I held you for the first time in my arms. The last month has been drastic for accomplishments + activities!
*You cut 7 teeth!!  Yes 7 teeth in the last month.  That my dear girl, is a lot.  Your big sister also had 8 teeth at this age but she got them gradually – not all at once.  Number 3 arrived before we went on vacation and the other 6 while we were away. You look like such a big girl with all those teeth.  It makes me sad but in a good way.  Thankfully, you didn’t complain too much about your teeth coming in which made us all very happy!
You are a crawler, a puller, a stander, a kneeler – you are always on the move!  You love getting around the house and are happy that you found a faster way than army dragging or whatever it was you did to get around.  You like to pull yourself up to your knees and can do so without problem. You like to stand on your feet but still can’t get up on your own.  You try and try with no success but we love your determination and hope that it continues with you for the rest of your life. 
You love to drive your sister crazy.  You constantly play with her Minnie Mouse, Jessie, her necklaces (you have managed to break a few), get into her crayons and that famous trait of all little sisters – you love to pull her hair and pinch.  She yells back at you, grabs things out of your hands, and has been known to kick and hit you a time or two.  Don’t worry, she does get punished for things like that. 
However, at the same time, you two are the best of friends.  She comforts you when you’re crying by patting your back and asking why you are crying or what’s wrong , makes sure you have your sippy cup, picks up your food if you throw it off your highchair,
When you get hungry, when you get angry and when you are happy – you shake.  You literally vibrate.  It’s funniest when it is because you are mad but you don’t seem to think  so.
You love to eat and I am not sure if there is something I could pick that you don’t like.  You absolutely love blueberries, peaches, pancakes, salmon, fish, shrimp, cheerios, carrots, cucumbers – even broccoli.  You don’t care for grapes but most everything else you eat.  You eat big meals at every meal and snack well.  You out eat your sister on most days but don’t worry, you are just a growing girl and need it more than she does!
You eat most meals with your hands.  I don’t let you eat soup, cereal or yogurt because it ends up everywhere!  Don’t worry, I still don’t like Finley feeding herself yogurt either! It makes me very happy to see you feeding yourself successfully.  I cannot wait until you can do cereal too!!
You are drinking 3 sippy cups a day of milk or formula.  We are just going to get rid of this last can of formula and then you will go milk exclusively.  you enjoy your milk and had no problems with digestion after trying it out like Finley did.
You are still on those awful Nuby transition sippy cups and you have destroyed the spout on them and they continuously leak which does not make me happy.  I tried to switch you to three other different sippy cups without success.  In fact,  you refused to drink milk the entire day until I caved and gave you the stupid nuby.
While we were away on vacation, you decided that when we returned to Calgary that you would no longer require 2 naps a day despite the fact that I still needed you to have 2 naps a day.  your afternoon started out to be 90 minutes and I was traumatized by this. Thankfully, you have expanded it to be at least 2+ hours which is much nicer!
Bedtime is somewhere between 730+8pm and usually varies on how tired I am and how badly I need a break.  When you are a mom yourself, you will understand.
We spent 17 days in the USA – travelling to Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Idaho + Washington.  You enjoyed all the sites and sounds and all the goodies we got for you along the way.  you still continue to be an excellent camper!
You love music and love bouncing and listening to your Fisher Price Rock n Something rather.  Your sister also loved it.  You can make it sound all by yourself with your hands and love playing with it.  You also love playing with your fisher price 2in1 kitchen – you especially love crawling through the door of it – back and forth and will do this for an extended amount of time.  you love rattles and any toys that make noise.  You are also especially fond of your sister’s drum.  She lets you play it only because she loves the piano and xylophone – none of which she shares easily.
Your cousins Tanner + Madi came to visit us for a few days and we went to the zoo, did some shopping and made your (+ all the other kids) first of many trips to Calaway Park.  You did well considering you spent most of the day in your stroller.  You loved having them around and all of the extra attention that they were giving you!
You are known mostly as Penelope with a few Penn, Penny, Sisi (by Finley), Sweet Pea (by me) Penelepoop (by daddy) PeePee’s (by Finley) thrown in as well.  I liked calling you Pia but most don’t like that but your nickname will be whatever it is you want to be called.  Maybe you’ll even go by your middle name – several members of our family do that and there is nothing wrong with Grier!  In fact, that was almost your first name!  Whatever nickname you choose I am sure it will be perfect! 
And one of the most funniest woman in the world Tina Fey named her daughter Penelope last week only proving how cool your daddy and I were when picking your name!  If you have no idea who she is, she is star of my favorite tv show 30 Rock and former head writer of my other favorite show SNL.  And also related to you and SNL, you share your birthday with Andy Samberg – my not so secret crush.  No need to worry, your daddy already knows about it!
It has been a wonderful year Penelope.  Not always easy but definitely worth it in the end.  I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything in the world.  You have changed our world for the best and we look forward to many, many more years of loving you to come.
In closing of this 12th letter, I want to share with you and those reading something I found on Pinterest:
This is for both you and your sister.
I love you forever Sweet Pea,
Love Mommy.
****ALL photos in this blog were ALL taken TODAY, her birthday!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Calaway Park

On Friday, we all headed down to Calaway Park.  With exception of myself and Greg, it was a first time for everybody else and boy were they excited.  Ok Penelope not so much but the others were!!  We live so far away from Calaway Park that we don’t get out here as often as we would like
Our first ride was the Log Ride.  Not sure what the real name of this ride is but it has been known as the Log Ride since I was a wee little kid.  Greg, Finley + Madi went down first and the next 2 collages are pictures from their turn:
Thanks to the Parent Swap program, Tanner and I were able to go on the log right after the others got off.  Here are some photos that Greg took:
Next was the rollercoaster.  Tanner refused to go on this ride.  We even tried bribing him with money but it was a no go.  Madi + I went on first and then we swapt out with Greg.  It was so much fun and Madi didn’t even find it scary!
After the rollercoaster, we went and had some lunch.  I wish I was as organized as a lot of parents there and packed our lunch but I wasn’t.  So we had hot dogs + chicken tenders.  But I did bring water, strawberries, fruit snacks and yogurt so we did get some healthy nutrition in there.
After lunch, Greg, Madi + Tanner headed to line up for Dodgem which is big kids bumper cars.  While we waited, Finley played in the water and Penelope hung out in her stroller. Here are some photos of us waiting for the others:
And here are some photos of Greg, Madi + Tanner when they finally got on the ride:
After this ride, Greg took Finley + Tanner to the little kids rollercoaster while Madi + I went on some ride by the big kids rollercoaster.  Not sure what it was called but it was fun.  Finley went on later so I will post pics then.  Here are some photos Greg took of Finley on her rollercoaster:
While Madi + I tried to find Greg and the kids after going on different rides, we went on this saucer like ride.  It was up  high and windy and made my ears ache.  Madi loved it.  I am getting old.  Once we found the others, Madi + I went on Chaos and I was done for rides after that.  Yes, definitely getting old!
Next we headed to 2 other rides. One for Finley, Greg + Madi and one for Tanner.
Here are photos of Tanner:
Here is the others on their ride:
After this, we headed to the Bumper Boats as that was Tanner’s ride he had to ride.  The line up took 45 minutes and then they got on the boats.  Tanner had so much fun so it was very much worth it.  Greg + Madi also enjoyed themselves.  But it was a LONG wait for us!!
After this, Greg + the kids wanted mini melts so we stopped to have some of those.  I think they are gross but they all enjoyed them but did Greg did say that dippin dots were better.  After this, Greg + Madi went on the big swing:
Next, Tanner went on some cloud ride and the others went on some other ride.  Here is Tanner on the clouds:
And the others on their ride:
More rides:
Tanner was so proud of himself for going on this ride.  I was too.  It may not seem like a big deal to most, but it was to him.  Good job Tanner!
More pics of Penelope hanging out in her stroller throughout the day
Last ride:
It was a super fun day at Calaway and we all enjoyed it.  I was so tired by the end that I was really happy to go home.  We can’t wait to go back!!