Friday, August 14, 2015

Canada Trip 2015

Our long drive up to Canada was worth it to see the friends and family that we have been missing! It was a great reunion especially for Jon to be around the area he grew up! The kids also embraced their cousins as if they had always known each other even though it was their first time meeting. The beautiful yellow canola fields welcomed us as we drove passed the border leaving the U.S. behind. We were exhausted but also excited to finally get there. We took a quick pit stop to where Jon's dad was at to see the new house he was working on across the street from the home Jon grew up in. It was great to see all the hard work and amazing craftsmanship he put into it! We were happy to be there but oh so tired. Once we brought our stuff in and got somewhat organized, I lay down to take a much needed nap. Jon was to excited to be home so he took sophia outside to lay in the grass and enjoy the fresh air. That night when Jons mom got home we went to eat the Dynasty. It's a delicious Chinese Restaurant that Jon loves. The kids were less then polite so we quickly ate and went home for an early bedtime. Sunday we went to church and were excited to see Jon's sister Lexi and her family there. The kids kept peeking at each other over grandma and grandpa during church because they had never met and were anxious to finally be able to visit and play. After church Jon's sister Jen and her family joined us all for a nice Sunday dinner and fun catching up. The cousins all paired up and played like they had never been apart. They were kindred spirits that had been waiting to meet each other. Lexi and Curtis have daughters Kirra (10), Elaina (5), ginger (3), and Aurora (3). Jen and Skyler have a daughter Jade (14), and a son name Noah (7). Grandma Anderson blew up balloons for the little kids to play with and we all had a great time! Unfortunately Wyatt tripped walking up the steps to the house and he split is chin open. We super glued it shut and put some oils on it to help it heal faster. He was so sad until uncle Skyler offered to give him a ride on his nice motorcycle. He kindly obliged to give all the kids rides after that and they had a blast! Bailey was invited to sleep at Lexi's house with her girls and she was in heaven with having all those girls around. Bentley also got to sleep at Jen's house with Noah and learned a back flip into the pool while there. Monday we went over to some land Jon's parents own to check on it with his dad and shoot some gophers. Next we met up and played at a fun park with Lexi and her kids that overlooks a lake in town. The kids had fun and we enjoyed relaxing. Earlier that day Jon and I drove around town to see what had changed and stopped to eat at a delicious restaurant with Wyatt called Boston Pizza. Tuesday we all met up and had fun at the Raymond pool park even though the water was a little chilly for me, and Wyatt got a bloody nose because some big girl collided with him on the slide! The kids loved the freedom to go down the fun slides and jump off of the diving boards. We had a picnic there and then headed back to Lexi's home to eat a snack and let the kids play. When it was time to go, we brought Elaina back with us for a sleepover at grandmas and Bentley begged to sleep at Noah's again. Once we got back to Jon's house we got a call from Jon's childhood friend that he wanted us to come say Hi. We took the kids over and had fun visiting and playing with all the little kittens they had. Wednesday was a busy day! We woke up early and got ready for the Raymond Parade. Jon's mom had been busy all week getting ready for a family reunion and 90th birthday party for Grandpa Anderson later that day. We met everyone at the Raymond parade. The kids had fun waving their flags, watching the cool floats, and collecting candy thrown to them! After that we all gathered at Lexi and Curtis' for a family BBQ. The kids had fun playing with cousins and extended cousins! It was wonderful being able to catch up with so many family members we haven't seen in a long time. After relaxing for a bit, we all headed out to Mcgrath for the Reunion. It was placed on a beautiful piece of land with nice amenities and a big giant water slide and fun playground. We got to finally see Jon's other sister Cheryl and her family there. Cheryl and Bob have two sons, Vanden (8) and Merrick (5), and two daughters, Ellie (11) and Saydie (13). They have all grown so much and it was so nice seeing them again. The older girls were so good with our younger kids and helped watch after them and keep them entertained. The family all gathered for pictures and we all wore our colored shirts that signified which family we belonged too! After that everyone got in their swimsuits and ran to the giant slip and slide. Adults and Kids thoroughly enjoyed it. Jon's dad is like a kid at heart I tell you. Well all the boys were. They were as excited to go down it as much or more as the kids! They formed trains and did different fun moves down the slide. The kids didn't want to leave but we needed to have dinner and a program. It was an honor to sit and hear grandpa Anderson shares stories of how he met the love of his life, grandma Anderson, and some lessons he learned along the way. He gave great advice and it was fun surprising him with a lift chair that will help him greatly that we all chipped in and got him. It was a day we will always remember! Thursday Jon woke up early to go help his parents with a scuba job they had to do on a Hudderite farm. Once he was back we packed our car and said goodbye to Lethbridge, our friends, family, and the home Jon grew up in. The city has been wanting the land their home is on for quite some time and we never know if it will be there when we go back. Anyways, the rest of our trip we were going to spend on Jon's West side of the families ranch in Mountain View. We made a quick pit stop to see Jen and Skyler and their home in Cardston. We also stopped to see the Cardston temple on our way up to Cheryl and Bob's on the West ranch. It is beautiful and looks a lot like the Mesa Az temple to us. Once we made it to the turn off, Jon and I were in awe at how beautiful everything around us was. The mountains, the farmers fields, the river, the horses and cattle, everything was just breathtaking. It was just a short drive to Jon's Grandma West's home where Cheryl and Bob now live! We were hoping to see Grandma West but never found a good time to visit her at the home she stays in around Cardston. She suffers from severe Alzheimer's and has for years. We pray she knows how loved she is and hope she is free from the sickness that has taken over her mind and body. Anyways, we were able to spend some time visiting with Cheryl and Bob for a few hours before the rest of the family showed up. We were going to stay in the house while everyone else brought stuff to camp so we could all spend a few days together on the ranch and touring Waterton National Park nearby. Their kids showed us the chicken coop, trampoline, slack line, and the river. Our kids were in cousin heaven to say the least! Jon and I took a quick drive with Cheryl and Bob to get some fresh water in the National Park that night. The Sunset on our way was gorgeous and the Moon on our way back was bright and full. Friday we woke up and headed to Waterton for a day of fun hiking and kayaking. First we drove up a gorgeous scenic drive to Red Rock water falls hike. It was a neat hike through a canyon that had running water and slick rock water slides. I attempted to go down with Sophia strapped to my chest but quickly realized I would need to sit this little adventure out. Bummer! I wish I could have gone but instead stayed at the top and walked around with Sophia admiring the beauty all around me. I even took a quick rest in Grandma Anderson's hammock while waiting for the others. Grandma Anderson is still recovering from her Broken Femur and foot injury she got skydiving while down in Arizona back in April. Everyone else took on the hike and had a blast! The kids said they had so much fun sliding down the slick rock into big pools of cold water. Even Lexi took her little ones all the way down with a knee that she just had surgery on two months prior. Of course she had the help of her husband Curtis and Grandpa Anderson. Luckily we also had help from cousin Saydie and cousin Jade with our little ones too. They had to climb over slick rocky boulders and deep water in some parts! It took much longer than I thought it would and started to worry that something had happened. Luckily they all made it back safe and sound. Next we went to the majestic Lake Waterton and had lunch while enjoying the Kayaks Grandma and Grandpa Anderson kindly brought. We all had such a wonderful time and I thought it was so relaxing paddling through the water. After that Jon and I took our kids to an ice cream shop in town he always went to as a kid. They had delicious flavors and we all ate our ice cream up fast! While driving through town we also stopped and took a picture by some waterfalls and fed some cute little chipmunks. Sadly on our way back to the ranch we saw a mother deer and her baby "Bambi" on the side of the road. The mom had a broken back leg and wasn't going to make it. It was a good lesson to teach our kids about gods creations, nature, and life. We all headed back to Cheryl and Bob's for dinner and yes more ice cream! Saturday we woke up to get ready for cousin Vanden's baptism. He had turned eight years old and would be baptized in the river that flowed through the ranch. It was a beautiful setting and Vanden did a great job talking about baptism and the companionship of the Holy Ghost. His father Bob baptized him in the river and that was a unique experience because that reminded me of the picture of Christ and John the Baptist being baptized in the river. Most people are baptized in the fonts inside the Stake Centers and they had received special permission to do it in the river. After that we went back to the house to grab a quick lunch and then qo kayak the river as a whole family. Now that was really neat having the whole family on the river at once. I even brought Sophia with me. I was a little nervous at one point when Jon steered us into a fallen tree and we almost tipped into the cold river below but luckily that didn't happen! The kids also had fun playing in the mud on the river bank and finding frogs. Later that day we had a lovely dinner of Taco salad and enjoyed a rain storm. side note: Every morning I woke up to the most unreal beauty I have ever seen because we were staying in the up stairs room of the house and it had big wide windows to look out of! I loved waking up to the stillness of the house and nursing Sophia while enjoying that beauty! Sadly the trip had to come to an end and we said goodbye to everyone Saturday night when they all went their separate ways. We woke up early Sunday and said goodbye to Cheryl and Bob and their sweet children. We thanked them for letting us stay and for their hospitality and then hit the road for the long trip back home to Arizona. The kids were sad to part with their cousins and grandparents. We all vowed to keep in touch better so hopefully we can all make that happen! We had such an adventure and wonderful time visiting Canada. We can't wait for the next visit and already miss everyone!

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