The Rantings - For Everyone

The Holidays Are Over

The Boyfriend officially went back to work last night after a week long holiday.

We dropped the kids off at Alfie’s a few days before he started holidays. It was such a good drive out there and the kids absolutely loved having all the room in the truck. The drive home was long and boring and it felt so good to finally be home.

It seemed like almost as soon as we dropped the kids off, our days got really busy. We’d wake up to messages or phonecalls early in the morning and then be gone from the house all day. For almost an entire week straight, we did stuff almost every single day.

We spent one day at Gull Lake, which ended up not being as fun as we were hoping it would be, but also ended up being an absolutely great time. The plan was to go out on this big inflatable island that everyone’s been obsessing about. But everyone ended up being more interested on sitting on the beach or playing in the water. It was quite a gross muggy day and it was really smoky from all the fires out in BC, so I mostly laid in the sun.

Then, we did another Drumheller trip so that The Boyfriend’s Dad could see it. We even got to go see the hoodoos – which were exciting but again, not like what I had built it up in my head to be. It was ridiculously hot when we went and everyone else seemed to have way more energy than me. At one point, the whole family was up climbing on these rocky hills, where everyone was climbing, and I was just standing on the little platform watching them. The museum was pretty much the same, except this time we only had two kids to pay attention to, so we were actually able to read some of the signage and such. By the end of that day, I was very sore! Lots and lots and lots of walking – and unlike last time, I wore my flip flops this time, which is not a good idea when you’re going on an adventure…

We also did another Crescent Falls trip. Normally the drive into the falls really scares me – it’s pretty steep and the road is gravel and it gets really narrow and curves. You even have to drive through water at one point. We’ve been there so many times now though that I took the drive into the falls like it was nothing.

The Boyfriend and Carter went on a 3-hour long hike to get to “the other falls” – although again, I think everyone was expecting it to be way more exciting than it was, so came back a little defeated. I hung out on the rocks by the river with Cazzwell for all that time. Thankfully, my mom-in-law is a genius and somehow manages to create something out of nothing, and we weren’t sitting in the sun all day, because it was an incredibly hot day. It cooled off fast in the evening, but during the day, sweltering!

We also went out for an adults-only dinner – which was super nice. The Boyfriend got dressed up in his vest and had recently picked me out a pair of heels, so I even got dressed up to go – wore a dress and heels in public for the first time in a really long time, like stupid long time! It was nice to feel fancy, even if we looked totally out of place among all the other dinner-goers.

It’s been so nice being down the three kids just for the sake of cleaning. Cazzwell is officially at the age where he’s getting into everything. He’s figured out how to climb the stairs, he crawls off the couch and he moves really fast. Plus, everything (and I mean, everything!) goes into his mouth. He pulls things off shelves to put in his mouth, he squeezes underneath of things to find something to put in his mouth. And his toys (which he barely has any of), end up absolutely everywhere. How did it get it in the bathroom? I don’t know, he’s never even been in there. But somehow, his toy is…

Dishes has been the greatest break. Doing one load of dishes a day and being completely done them is so much better than doing three loads of dishes a day and still having some left (that you forgot on the stove…). So much nicer when a plastic container meant for leftovers isn’t used as a bowl for cereal or when a fork is used as a fork instead of replacing a spoon that people were too lazy to wash. It always drives me nuts that over the years I’ve collected about 14 – 16 plates, and a family of 6 should theoretically need no more than 6 of those a day – and yet, at the end of the day when they’re all home, my sink is filled with 14 – 16 plates… It’s so much nicer to just have to wash a couple of those a day than all of them.

I’m definitely looking forward to the kids coming home. I started missing them really fast this time and especially with us going out so much and doing things so much. I always feel bad when they miss out on these big family adventures – even though, a) they’re having their own family adventures up there and b) they’re normally not that interested in our big family adventures. But I still hate when they miss it! I don’t even know right now when they will be coming home – a bunch of dates have been thrown out. Basically, once their family reunion is over.

However, I’m also not looking forward to the kids coming home because once they do, it’s almost immediately time to start getting ready for school. Have I ever told you how much I absolutely hate back-to-school? It’s probably my most hated time of year, because it is just so mind-numbingly stressful. It’s scream-into-your-pillow kinda stressful, cry-yourself-to-sleep kinda stressful, hate-the-world kinda stressful. This year has the added stress of another kid entering middle school. I’m just not looking forward to all that stress!

The Rantings - For Everyone

One Hell of a Week

Let me just start by telling you, this has been one hell of a week…

We’ll start with camping. The drive out there seemed to take forever and I was absolutely shocked at how well The Boyfriend did considering he had worked the night before and hadn’t gotten any sleep yet. It took us longer than we had hoped to get out of town, but we kinda figured that would happen. The older three kids ended up staying at friends’ houses, so we only had to take the younger two boys with us – which meant that our van had tons of room for all the stuff.

The drive into Crescent Falls, down a windy gravel road that looked as if it was tearing away at the edges, had both Carter and I gripping onto our seats and he was frantically telling Daddy that he didn’t like “this“. It took us a bit to find where the family had begun setting up the campsite and both Carter and I felt great relief when the van finally came to a stop.

It took awhile to get everything all set up – we had two tents to get assembled, air mattresses and an inflatable pool (which made the most awesome playpen for Cazzwell) and getting the fire going while we were all distracted by the beautiful spot we had picked out – it was a few hours before we finally got to set out our camping chairs and sit around the fire, ready to eat the corn on the cob and hamburgers we had to cook in creative ways since a few bags had been left behind.

The night seemed to go on forever. We stayed up into the wee hours of the night, until the sky was finally dark and there wasn’t a space in it without stars. I gripped onto The Boyfriend tightly and breathed through the fear. He said, “When you’re ready to go to the tent, just let me know” and I responded, “You will not hear me say I am ready to go to the tent, so you just let me know!“.

I was most surprised at how easily I fell asleep. The water was incredibly loud and you could hear all sorts of bugs and creatures making chirping noises. It was also freezing cold – I was wearing two sweaters, two pairs of pants, and slept with two blankets on and was still cold. But tucked in between The Boyfriend and Carter on one side and Cazzwell on the other, their rhythmic breathing and combined heat – not to mention the little solar light that was placed outside our tent flashing in a way that reminded me of an alarm clock – I ended up falling asleep within no time. I woke up a couple times during the night, but didn’t have any problems falling back asleep.

The morning was probably my favorite time. The Boyfriend got up with the kids and let me stay sleeping in the tent, as the sun rose and the fire was started and everyone began waking up. By the time he came to wake me up for breakfast, I felt utterly refreshed and was absolutely surprised that I walked out of the tent with a smile on my face!

It wasn’t long before we were packing up to head home. The whole thing just whizzed by us. We had hardly had a chance to really enjoy anything and The Boyfriend was incredibly upset that we hadn’t gotten to go out and explore once. Packing up the camp was super easy and we were all really excited to be back on the road. I even got to drive a huge part of the way back home and everyone in the car fell asleep – which made me feel like a great driver. We got home, we were exhausted!!!

We unpacked what needed to be unpacked from the van right away, left the rest and went to bed. Sleep came so easily for all of us and it was a deep sleep. The kids had school the next morning and The Boyfriend woke up to get everyone out the door. He looks out the back window and realizes the van isn’t there. Ensue panic…

I get woken up and after he’s already called the cops to report the van missing, I realize that my laptop isn’t where I left it. Nor is my phone. And then I remember that my brand new camera, that we had just bought for camping, was plugged into the laptop and is also nowhere to be found. The cops get called again for an update and then insurance and car rental place and just ugh…

Honestly, I’ve never been so glad that absolutely all of that stuff is entirely in The Boyfriend’s name, because he had to make all the phone calls and deal with all the people. We had insurance come over to take statements from both of us and that has been a bit of gong show, but for the most part, I’ve just had to sit back and see what happens. However, the poor Boyfriend…

They found our van after a week of it being missing. From what we know so far, everything that was in it when it went missing is still in it. Now it’s spending time getting fixed up and re-keyed (which is surprisingly expensive and thankfully, since they came into our house and took the key, is likely covered by insurance), but it’ll probably be at least a week before we get it back.

It took me a few nights to sleep at home afterwards, since it was clear that they had come inside the house. Then it took me even longer to finally start sleeping up in my room again. However, I’m still having a hard time sleeping at night and get my best sleep in the morning, once every one is awake.

To make this last week more stressful, school is out now…

The Gallery - For Everyone

The Day We Went to Crescent Falls – Beautiful Landscapes

For the entirety of our relationship, The Boyfriend has always desperately wanted to take us to Crescent Falls. He has fond memories of his youth at the falls and always delights in the chance to share any part of his youth with us. I wanted to go for the waterfall. Since moving to Alberta, I haven’t gotten to see nearly as many as I used to living in BC.

Finally, after years of talking about it, we took a wonderful day trip out to Crescent Falls and were sure to take our cameras along to get as many pictures as possible. The whole day was a whirlwind experience and one that will definitely go down in the history books.

This day will be broken down into a series of posts, because there are really just too many great photos to put in one post. Today, I want to share the beautiful landscapes as we drove out there and explored the falls. The next post, I’d like to do some of the fun videos we got from our time there. And finally, I’d like to end with all the amazing pictures of family that we got at Crescent Falls. Enjoy the view and be sure to check back for those next posts!

Crescent Falls – Landscapes 2015

It was honestly some of the most beautiful surroundings I’ve seen since I moved to Alberta almost 13 years ago. And although I discovered an extreme fear of the insane heights and especially the kids being free-to-roam around those heights, and although I definitely didn’t wear the right shoes for climbing and rocky path walking, it was definitely the perfect setting for an amazing summer adventure.

Again, be sure to check back for a collection of videos from the day, including an adorable moment between The Boyfriend and Carter (in which The Boyfriend dances) and our release of signed soccer balls over the falls. Then, a smattering of photos of all the kids enjoying the exploration, like the boys learning bear safety or their amazing climbing adventures and a few really awesome selfies! You should see them all up here within the next week or two, so stay tuned!