Monday, September 25, 2006

Let's go to Canada

On Wednesday evening, Andrew, Josie, my mom, and I set out to make our cross-country trek to Alberta. My cousin Heather (technically my favorite second cousin) got married on Friday and asked me to be her bridesmaid so we all headed up together. We got to do a lot of neat things: we went through the Cardston temple, Andrew got to meet my sister Abbi, and Heather got married.

We arrived at my Auntie Colleen's farm on Thursday after driving all day. The border was a rather interesting experience. We went through the routine questions: do you have any animals, are you carrying any firearms...blah, blah, blah. The guard asked us a series of questions that we thought were normal but he did them in a way so that he could find out who we were and where we were from.

Guard: Where are you from?
Mom: Utah.
Guard: Where are you headed?
Mom: We're going to Grassy Lake to visit my sister and then to Cardston for a wedding.
Guard: Do you have any firearms?
Mom: No.
Guard: So this isn't a shot-gun wedding, then.
Mom: No.
Guard: Do you have any tobacco or alcohol?
Mom: No.
Guard: I have one more question to ask you.
Mom: Okay.
Guard: So, are you guys Mormons?

Let's do the math: we're from Utah going to Cardston for a wedding. We have no tobacco or alcohol...hmmmm...

Mom: Yes, we are.
Guard: Well, my son just finished a mission down there...blah, blah, blah.

It was pretty funny. I didn't ever think I would have that experience at the border!

After we got through the border and played on the fake hoodoos in front of the Alberta visitor's center, we headed for the farm. We were really glad to get to Auntie Colleen's house and have a nice dinner and warm beds waiting for us. We tried to do some exciting things like ride the four-wheelers, but they were broken (a long and tragic story!) so we just visited, which was fine with me. We also did my hair in rags (Uncle LeRon's old pyjama bottoms) so that it would be curly for Heather's wedding. My hair does not like to curl! However, with a lot of hairspray and time twirling my hair we headed to bed hoping for a miracle.

In the morning, we took my hair out and it was curly (wonder of wonders)! We finished getting ready and headed to Cardston for the 10:30 session. This was cutting it really close because Heather was getting married at 1:00 so the session would get out just barely before she would get sealed. We thought about going to the 9:30 session so that we would definitely be out in time but I have never been to a temple with all the different rooms before so mom really wanted me to see that. The 9:30 session is for people with limited physical abilities and they just stay in one room the whole time.

It was really a different experience than the Provo and Timpanogos temples. It was so cool! And because it's Southern Alberta, my mom knew a ton of people there (okay, like 2). Her cousin Claire happened to be working there that day, so we took some time to get caught up with her before Heather's wedding because, in true Heather fashion, she was hopelessly late. That's okay because Ryan was even later!



The ceremony was beautiful. It was fun for Andrew and I to attend a sealing because that was the first one that we'd been to since getting married ourselves. It was nice to be reminded of the blessings bestowed on us when we went through.

***

It was pretty cloudy all day and we were hoping that it wouldn't rain. It did. It didn't ever down-pour, but it spat the whole time and was freezing cold! Pictures were an interesting experience, especially with the grandchildren!


Krista, Me, Sara Beth, Heather, Ryan...2 of Ryan's friends, and his little brother, Aaron





The grandkids in the picture below may look like they are being very well behaved. However, they were not. They were screaming and crying and running away. Not one of them sat still (until a few of the little girls were told they could touch the wedding dress if they sat still). I don't really blame the kids for crying though. It was freezing!



When the bridesmaids were permitted to leave, mom and Andrew and I headed over to the Senior's center to help set up for Heather's luncheon. Sharon (Kathy Sisk's mom--Kathy is Heather's cousin!) and Helen (Heather's aunt) had already set up but they were missing the box full of Heather's decorations so they scavenged and found some things to make-do with. Now, I thought that it looked very nice, but you have to understand my cousin Heather.

Heather is not a flouncy girl who likes pink. She is a non-flouncy girl who detests pink.

Sharon and Helen decorated in purple and pink. I, being the zealous bridesmaid that I am, was put in charge of making sure that it looked how Heather would like it. So, once we found the missing box, I started changing around all the table cloths, center pieces, and napkins. Everyone was nice and helped out...which was a good thing. Even though there were a few mishaps (square table cloths instead of round ones...) everything worked out. We put the square cloths in Heather's colors over the purple and pink clothes...she didn't even notice the pink and purple! Phew! It looked great. And Heather and Ryan looked so happy!

It was pretty late in the afternoon when we headed home, but not so late that we didn't see the Happy Face Barn. This has been our "we're almost home" landmark for almost a decade now. Maybe it even has been a decade. (Man! You know you're getting old when you can talk about things in decades!) It's just outside of High River. As kids we would watch for it and know that when we saw it we were about 10 minutes from home. You may have to click on the picture to see it clearer.



After introducing Andrew to everyone, we stayed up late talking. Piper instantly fell in love with Andrew and couldn't stop climbing on him. She was so funny! Then she tripped and fell in front of him and ran crying into her room. That was the last we saw of her that evening. She was so embarrassed but had forgotten about it by morning.

We went to the park in the morning and the kids had a great time showing off, especially Deklan. We played some ogre game and chased the kids all around and had contests on the swings...







Deklan was climbing all over the place saying, "Auntie Ci-Ci, come take a picture quick! It's kind of hard to stay up here!" So I would hurry and take a picture so that he could get down without breaking his neck...









And now, for our final playground picture...drumroll, if you please.

Deklan had been jumping off the swings and I almost got a picture of him...so I told him to do it one more time. Before, Andrew was pushing him really high and then he would wait and jump off when a sane person would jump off. This time we repeated the swinging really high thing; however, when he was still really high, Deklan yells, "1-2-3...now!" And bailed off the swing. He really got some air!



When he finally landed, he crumpled on the ground screaming. We investigated his foot and decided that it wasn't broken. He's screaming because it hurt and laughing because Josie and Piper and Malachi are shoving cookies in his face. When Abra touched his foot Deklan screamed, "Ouch! Mom! It hurts when you even just touch my arm! I mean foot!" He had a fun time hobbling home...

(When we looked at it yesterday during church his big toe was all bruised. I wonder if that's what he broke because he landed hard.)

After getting home (Deklan was carried half-way) Andrew, Josie, Mom and I headed to the Great Canadian Super Store to get some Canadian staples: chocolate bars, chips, and maple cookies. We then headed back home to re-do my hair.

While we were doing this, Andrew was in the basement trying to do his homework. Piper, of course, was all over him. He was getting pretty frustrated, so Billy called Piper off him and told her that people have personal space. When my hair was finally defrizzed and re-curled, we relinquished the bathroom to Andrew so he could shower. While I was walking upstairs to get him a towel, Piper caught me.

Piper: Auntie Ci-Ci, I really like that Uncle... Oh, I can't remember his name, but I really like him!
Me: That's good. I'm glad you do.
Piper: I'm going to ask mom if I can sleep over with him.
Me: Oh...?
Piper: Yes. Who usually sleeps with him?
Me: Me.
Piper: Oh, well...Josie is in my room and I was thinking, maybe we can trade.
Me: Hmmmmm...

Piper got another lecture about giving people their personal space...and since Uncle Andrew really just met her, she might be making him feel a little uncomfortable. Plus, little girls just have sleep overs with their aunts. Not their uncles.

Abbi asked Piper if she understood. Piper sniffed, "Yes...Uncle Andrew hates me!" It didn't take her long to get over that blow either and before we knew it, she was her happy little self again. Not allowing Uncle Andrew any personal space. (It was really okay. He was flattered that she liked him so much right away!)

Unfortunately, after Abra did my hair and makeup, there was very little time to play with my nieces and nephews more because I had to be to the reception early to take more pictures. Not like that happened. When we arrived, I was the only one from the wedding party there dressed with my hair and makeup done. So I helped in the kitchen while the other girls got ready. It's a good thing I did because we barely got everything ready in time. We had to drag Heather away from the mirror and into the receiving line (not that I blame her because standing in line shaking a bunch of people's hands is not my idea of a fun evening either)! Sara Beth and I took off our shoes at the same time so that we'd be the same height and not have sore feet. Krista left hers on because she was so short.



When Deklan came (limping) through the line, he had a lot to say to everyone. When he got to me he said, "Hello Auntie Ci-Ci. I'm here because I knew Heather when she was just a little girl." He then proceeded down the line telling everyone the same thing. Even Heather. It was hilarious because, well, he's 6 and she's 21.

Andrew got to experience his first true-blue Canadian wedding. There was a program. It was fun. I got to sit at the table of honor and watch everyone perform for Heather and Ryan. I also got to perform for Heather. Ryan's last name is Adams...so Dalene and her husband wrote a parody of The Adams Family theme song for Heather and Ryan. We all got up to sing it...and that was our first practice. We botched it so bad the first time that they made us do it twice!





I have a similar shot of this picture from my wedding. Only I was in white and she was in yellow!

After the reception we all cleaned up and the went home to go to bed...Sunday was going to be a long day. Unfortunately, bed isn't something that we do well when we know we have to say goodbye soon...so we stayed up even later watching TV and talking.

The next morning we got ready for church. I tried to take some nice pictures of my niece and nephew before we left, but it was hard to get them to sit nicely. Except for Deklan who was sitting in the same spot almost the whole 30 seconds that the following shots took place in.









It was fun to go to church and see all of our friends...and see how big the "children" are now. I'm sure everyone was equally surprised to see me toting a husband...but, wow! All those kids I used to babysit sure are getting old! It was fun to see my friend Jocelyn and her husband who were also up visiting (though just from Lethbridge...not quite as much of a drive). We also saw Heather and Ryan, who...ha-ha...are spending their honeymoon in High River because they procrastinated and couldn't find another hotel that was vacant!

We said our good-byes after sacrament meeting. Abra, of course, cried. I, remarkably, cried very little. Piper wasn't fazed at all (Oh, before you go, Uncle Andrew, will you lift me up to touch the ceiling?). Malachi was excited to say goodbye (at least as excited as he was to say hello). Billy was stoic. Mom did okay. Josie cried with Abra. Andrew lifted Piper up to touch the ceiling. And Deklan...well...Deklan lost it. He was absolutely bawling. He was crying so hard he was gasping for air and trying to talk between each gasp. "I *gasp* don't *gasp* want *gasp* you *gasp, gasp* to go!" I got down on his level and told him that they were planning on coming at Christmas so that's just a short time (a little of September, then October and November, and a little of December and you can see us again) that he'd have to wait! Then I got up and told Abra the very same thing. I'm not sure I remember right, but I think she slugged me in the shoulder.

We were amazed that Deklan cared so much. Aside from showing off at the park...he escaped our company for hours to play the computer. I guess he was a little more excited to see us than we thought.

Well, Abra and Billy are planning on coming down for Christmas, so I'm very excited about that.

***

The ride home was long. Andrew got pulled over...but he didn't get a ticket. Those Montana roads are really hard not to speed on. They're straight and empty...you can just cruise and if you happen to have a led foot...

Josie was, as always, very entertaining. I don't know how she finds so many interesting things to do in the car.


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