Thursday, June 30, 2011

2011 Library Picnic (Wednesday, June 15th)

Mere hours after arriving home, we loaded the girls back into the car (and to my great surprise, Miriam clapped her hands and say, "Yay! Ride!") to attend the annual HBLL picnic. This year it was pioneer themed and Rachel was so excited to dress up. Costumes weren't going to be judged until the end of the night, though, so Rachel shed about half her costume so that she could play games.

She ran a three-legged race with Daddy, and they won.

And that's a wrap

Is anyone else overjoyed that I've finally finished writing about our road trip? Good.

Unfortunately, it's already July tomorrow and I still have two weeks of June that are completely MIA.

I'm really excited because tomorrow one of my best buddies is moving into town from California. You might remember her from our days in Egypt. I certainly do. Rachel was good friends with her son, Sam, and we just about died when they moved away. But then we didn't.

Anyway, whenever Sam didn't want something he'd say, "No, not!"

"Sam, it's time to brush your teeth."

"No, not!"

"Sam, come and eat your snack."

"No, not!"

"Sam, be nice to Rachel."

"No, not!"

One day Sara asked him what the opposite of "No, not!" was and he said, "Yes, do!" Only he lisps so it came out "Yestha do!"

The reason this is pertinent to our life now is that Miriam has created a contraction of sorts. Instead of saying, "No, not!" she simply says, "Non't!" (rhymes with "don't").

"Miriam, let's brush your teeth."


"Miriam, that's Rachel's doll."


"Miriam, it's time to go potty."


It's hilarious. I'm not quite sure how she came up with it—it's like she merged don't and no and not and won't. Its meaning is all encompassing and it's quite an ingenious coinage, I think.

Yellowstone (Tuesday, June 14th)

I spent a quarter of a century without ever having been to Yellowstone. That's a long time because a quarter of a century is equal to my entire life. I almost feel like Yellowstone is Disneyland or something because when people would say, "So, in Yellowstone blah, blah, blah..." and I'd say, "Oh, really. I've never actually been to Yellowstone. Everything I know about Yellowstone I learned from Yogi Bear," then people would gasp at me, audibly.

It's like being ten and telling people you've never been to Disneyland.



"Don't your parents love you?"

"I think so, yes. What does Disneyland have to do with love?"



Ten-year-olds are pretty dumb. And I've since been to Disneyland (and it was fun). I went the summer my family moved to Utah; I was fifteen and, if I recall, paid my own way into the park. My parents paid to get me and my brother to California but I'm pretty sure we had to pay for admission for everything. At least, that's how I remember it.

Anyway, ten years later and I finally made it to Yellowstone! After being cut off at the pass, literally, we took a different route to Yellowstone, which was really quite snowy. We were seriously driving through a tunnel of snow—there were walls of snow on either side of us that were taller than our car. And it's June for crying out loud! 

Once we got into Yellowstone we drove to Old Faithful right off (well, it took us hours upon hours to get there and Miriam soiled the first diaper she'd soiled in days and I very nearly wet my pants as well) and then sat and watched her fizzle for about half an hour.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Devil's Tower (Monday, June 13th)

The last stop of the day—before getting to our relatively creepy hotel in Gillette, WY—was Devil's Tower. You might recognize it from such films as Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

The Black Hills of Mount Rushmore (Monday, June 13th)

Pretty much the whole time we were in South Dakota, I had a song from Calamity Jane stuck in my head—watching Calamity Jane is how I learned most of my "Western" history as a child. In the movie, Doris Day, who plays Calamity, sings The Black Hills of Dakota. Unfortunately I only know the first few lines so every now and then I kept belting out, "Take me back to the Black Hills, the Black Hills of Dakota, to that beautiful Indian country that I love!"

This was my second time in the Black Hills, so the song was fitting since, there I was, back in the Black Hills of Dakota—I visited Mount Rushmore once before with my mom and Josie in 2004, I believe, though I'm not sure that I have any pictures to prove it. 

Spelunking (Monday, June 13th)

Driving out to Mount Rushmore is kind of humorous. There are loads of random things to do, just off the side of the highway to lure tourists in. We fell for a couple of them: Bear Country and Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns. We ignored Reptile World, and some eerie gravitational/magnetic spot, among other things.

Going down inside the cave was neat. I haven't been that deep inside a cave in years...or ever. I'm not sure. I know that when I was really little—not much older than Rachel—my family went to Timpanogos Caves and I cried because I didn't get dripped on, which our guide then said was good luck. Our guide through Crystal Caverns called them a "cave kiss." I'm sure Rachel will remember the cave—she thought it looked like it was covered in diamonds and wondered if she could move in and have it be her castle (in the two minutes that she decided to be brave instead of clingy and terrified).

Rachel did much better than when we went through Hezekiah's Tunnel, that's for sure! She only screamed a few times instead of continuously wailing. She must be growing up.

There wasn't much in the way of stalactite and stalagmite, but there was a whole lot of dogtooth spar, which is what brings the Crystal Caverns both their name and fame.

Bear Country, South Dakota (Monday, June 13th)

Our first stop of the day was Bear Country. Rachel was pretty excited about this; she still remembers the trip we took to Bear World last year (most importantly that she got to kneel on her car seat instead of sitting down, buckled up) and she was excited to see the animals again (and most importantly to kneel on her chair so that she can see out the window—we live life on the edge...when we're going 2 miles per hour).

I was quite impressed with Bear Country. We saw many, much elk up close and personal.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Des Moines to Rapid City (Sunday, June 12th)

Rachel loves playing with Steve and Jodie's kids, though I think Adam is a little too rambunctious for her at times. They were eating together at the kids' table and Adam was doing something (I don't know what) and Rachel turned on him like a mother bear and said, "Look, Adam! Just put it there and stay it there, okay?"

It was pretty funny; and they really did get along well for most of the time. We went to church with them in the morning. Rachel was excited to get to sit with Adam.

She even held his hand as they walked into the church building, though Adam doesn't look quite as invested in the hand-holding as Rachel does. In fact, he looks like he's trying to squirm his way out of her clutches. 

It was fun to get to visit with Steve and Jodie, even if it was only for a little while. We left after sacrament meeting and drove all day until we got to Rapid City, South Dakota. It's actually only a ten hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa, to Rapid City but we were lucky to be able to take the route we did. Because of flooding along the Missouri River, the east bound traffic on I-90 was rerouted. We were heading west, though, and our side of the freeway was open. We saw a whole lot of flooding, though!

Our last day in Nauvoo (Saturday, June 11th)

One of these days I need to blog about the present instead of the past because we keep doing stuff. Like Rachel had her last day of school (a long while ago), we went to a picnic where Rachel won $15 for having the best pioneer costume, I just had my birthday, and we went to a Princess Festival yesterday, and my cousin Jimmy got married today. See? Exciting stuff. But I can't justify writing about those things when we still have so much of our Nauvoo trip undocumented. Actually, we only have one more day of actual Nauvoo stuff and we just went around seeing things and then hightailed it out of there. So there isn't much left from Nauvoo.

We knew we had to visit Grandma's cousins—Marie and Monte. The problem was that we had been planning on taking Monte's carriage ride the day before but just couldn't squeeze it in. Instead we did a carriage ride this morning. While we were waiting for the ride to start, people were talking and somehow it came out that we were from Orem, but our baby was born in Egypt.

This woman across the way got excited and said, "I know you! You're Heissatopia! That's Miriam and this is Rachel!" Then she got a little embarrassed and admitted, "I read your blog. I'm Doug's mom...Geneen linked to it and I just started reading it one day and..."

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gassy Tales

For the longest time, whenever Rachel has passed gas, she's said, "Oh! I gassed!" It is now officially a family term.

We have a few gassy stories to share and, I suppose as some sort of an odd birthday present to me, Andrew gave permission for me to (and even suggested that I) share them on the blog.

The first happened a few months ago. Auntie Sarah was over and Rachel gassed.

"Who did that?" Auntie Sarah asked.

"I did," Rachel offered honestly. "But do you know what?"

"What?" asked Sarah.

"Sometimes in the morning when my daddy's still under the covers..." Rachel began. Then she brought her voice down to a whisper and finished, "...he gasses in the bed!"

This elicited uproarious laughter from Auntie Sarah.

It's true. He does gas in the bed. But who doesn't?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A real sunset by the Mississippi (Friday, June 10th)

Just before we were going to put the girls down for the night, Grandma came bustling into the hotel room.

"You guys have to come see the sunset!" she said, "The lighting on the temple is just perfect. It's beautiful."

We said something about how we'd just lie the girls down and then head out but Grandma said no.

"You have to go now—it will be gone in 10 minutes!"

We had already missed the temple at sunset on Wednesday night because we were at Sunset by the Mississippi, and we missed it on Thursday night because it was so dark and stormy it was impossible to tell when the sun set. It was our last chance to see a sunset in Nauvoo, by the temple, looking over the Mississippi river.

I was still wearing my bathing suit, so I quickly changed into some dry clothes and we rushed out to the van with our barefooted, pyjama-clad children in tow. And do you know what? It was worth it...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Love to hate

This morning Miriam spilled her breakfast.

Miriam: Clean me up!

Now, that doesn't sound as funny written down as it did coming out of her mouth. Mostly I think that's because she's only 19 months old so it came out more like "Keen-me-yap!" That, and the fact that she's putting words together in full sentences is just cute beyond belief.

Later the girls were trying to colour together. Miriam ripped Rachel's paper and a fight ensued.

Rachel: Fine! Then I'm just going to get a new piece of paper!
Miriam: Piece-a-paper!
Rachel: Don't rip it this time, okay, Baby?
Miriam: 'Kay.
Rachel: Do you promise you won't rip it?
Miriam: No.
Rachel: Well, you already said okay so that's already like a promise.
Miriam: 'Kay.

I've tried explaining to Rachel that Miriam's comprehension level isn't quite at 100% yet but she just doesn't get it. Apparently Rachel's comprehension level isn't at 100% yet, either. I did, however, convince Rachel to colour at Daddy's desk so that Miriam couldn't reach her paper. Unfortunately, the chair at Daddy's desk spins.

Rachel: Stop twisting my chair around! I can't colour when you're twisting my chair around!
Miriam: *screams*
Rachel: *screams*
Me: Miriam, I think you're being a bit of a bug. Leave your sister alone, please.
Rachel: Mommy is right, Meme! You are being a bug! You always ruin everything!
Miriam: Mommy? *pause* Naanii. Naanii. Naanii. Naanii. Naanii. Naanii. Naanii. Naanii. Naanii.
Rachel: Miriam, just stop saying Naanii!
Miriam: Naanii.
Rachel: You've said it like twelve times and she's not even here! If you don't stop I'm going to count to three and then throw my crayon at you! One, two, three, four, five!

I grabbed Miriam up and plopped her on my lap and asked Rachel to cool off. Miriam's been on my lap for approximately two minutes. She just hopped down.

Rachel: Miriam, come spin my chair now! Spin my chair, please! Do you want to help me do my rainbow? I need orange for a little bit. Can you find orange for me?
Miriam: No. Pink.
Rachel: Do you want to help me draw my rainbow?
Miriam: No. Princess.
Rachel: It's okay if you scribble because sometimes I scribble, too.

I'm so glad that they miss each other enough after two minutes to get along nicely.

I also predict that they will have a major fight within the next five minutes.

A day in Nauvoo (Friday, June 10th)

We went to the temple in shifts since someone always had to be available to watch the girls. Andrew got up in the morning to drive Grandma, Uncle Morgan, and Auntie Emily to the temple. Rachel woke up just minutes before they were ready to leave so she went with Daddy to drop them off so that Miriam and I could sleep in a little while longer.

On their way back to the hotel, they saw a turtle in the road, so Andrew pulled over the car and moved the turtle off the road so that it wouldn't get hit by a car. Hopefully he moved it to whatever side the turtle was trying to get to!

While everyone else was at the temple, we took the girls to go see some more of the sites of Nauvoo. We visited the Pendleton School, where the girls got to draw on slates—they were asked to draw their favourite animals. Rachel drew a bunny and Miriam drew scribbles.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

PS, I cut my hair

I'm so far behind in blogging it's not even funny. I cut my hair on June 3rd; I've been needing to cut it for a while since the last time I cut it was the summer before Miriam was born and I've been wanting to donate to Locks of Love for a while but didn't want to have to go bald in order to do so. Finally I figured my hair wasn't going to get much longer (I've never been the type to be able to grow my hair down to my waist) so we measured my ponytail and decided it was long enough.

Andrew took me to Craig's Cuts because it's cheap and simple (and I'm cheap and simple) and told the lady that I wanted to donate my hair, but wanted to keep it as long as possible. She ended up overshooting and cut 13 inches off instead of the required 10 inches. He took me to dinner after to help me feel beautiful. I may not have mentioned this before, but my self-esteem seems to be directly linked to the length of my hair.

In a way it's kind of freeing to have short hair, I guess, though I do miss being able to pull my hair into a ponytail. 

Rachel's been inspired; she now wants to grow her hair out long so that she, too, can donate her hair to children who don't have hair of their own. It took me forever to explain that concept to her. 

"But why don't they have hair?"

"Because they are sick."

"Well, when I get sick I don't lose my hair."

"Good point. These kids are very, very sick. Some of them have cancer and they have to take medicine that makes them lose all their hair. It grows back but they miss it when it's gone. Wouldn't you miss your hair?"

"I guess so...but when I get sick will I lose my hair?"

"No, hopefully not."

My cousin's son has alopecia totalis and was completely bald by age two. But he doesn't wear a wig—he just rocks his beautiful bald head. I've always thought it was a good thing that it was her son who suffers from alopecia instead of any of her girls. I can't imagine what it would be like to be in kindergarten without pigtails. That's a big reason I donated my hair; I can always grow a new ponytail but what about those who can't?

Hair might not seem like a big deal, but I think if you suddenly found yourself bald it would be a scary thing, especially for a child. I was afraid just to cut my hair to my chin!

Carthage (Thursday, June 9th)

This afternoon we went to Carthage, where Joseph Smith was held in a small jail on trumped up charges of treason, and where he later died a martyr's death. The road out there was a little scary; it runs right along the bank of the Mississippi river and is windy and narrow. At times there were signs announcing "land slide areas" as if we needed a landslide to push us off the road and into the river, with all the curves and wind and rain...

We made it there and back safely, obviously, but it was a little scary at times. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pioneer Pastimes (Thursday, June 9)

This morning we ran over to the visitor's center to get tickets to the shows we wanted to see today. All the shows are free and you can stand in line outside hoping to get a seat but that doesn't guarantee that you'll get one. We didn't want to take any chances because the shows are so popular.

The first show we went to was called Just Plain Anna Amanda. It's about a girl named Anna Amanda Amelia Applebee, who is the namesake of her grandmothers, Anna and Amanda, and her mother, Amelia, and her quest to discover her sense of self. She feels like she's just a conglomeration of everyone else instead of an individual. At the end she's convinced that she's a "walking legacy," and understands that that's a good thing.

At the beginning of the show they made an announcement to be sure to keep the aisles clear because the actors would be using them throughout the show. Just after they said that, Miriam wiggled off her seat, ran over to the stage, and started climbing up the stairs. She's so silly—that face she's making is her "Is this a smile?" face.

Rachel got called onto the stage during the finale, as the actors were telling the children to celebrate themselves. She was tickled pink.

Sunset by the Mississippi (Wednesday, June 8)

As I said, we got into Nauvoo just in time to rush over to the stage for Sunset by the Mississippi. It's not actually a sunset by the Mississippi, though we were near the Mississippi and the sun did set. It's actually a show put on by the young performing missionaries—Auntie Emily played the flute in the Nauvoo brass band last year, and that's where she met Uncle Morgan, who was the percussionist. That's part of the reason we went to Nauvoo, because they really wanted to (but couldn't afford it unless Grandma came along) so that they could do stuff in Nauvoo that they couldn't do as hold hands and be all romantic.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Winter Quarters, Nebraska (June 7th & 8th)

I haven't spent much time outside of the Rocky Mountain range, at least not in North America. I flew to Georgia once with my dad and drove to Minnesota once with my mom (I don't entirely remember the route we took but I do remember crossing Mormon Bridge from Nebraska to Iowa and I know we stopped at Mount Rushmore on the way home).

Other than that I've travelled I-15 from tip to tip several times: California, Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Montana. I've also been to Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Arizona. If we count Four Corners, I've been to New Mexico. Anyway, my point is that I've spent most of my life in the Rockies. Alberta, Utah, British Columbia, and California are all places I've called home. And they're all in the Rocky Mountain region. You could say the Rockies have been my childhood canvas since they've been east or west of me for most of my life.

It's no secret that I suffer from wander-lust, though, so when the prospect of taking a road trip "east" appeared I jumped at the chance. I will never fully understand the geographical terms for the United States because technically we only went to the "Mid-West" but that felt really east to a west-coast gal like me.

Prepare for an earful

Once upon a time we set off for a week-long road trip, fully expecting to spend our nights blogging away in luxurious hotels (our only criteria for "luxurious" being that they have internet and running water). Instead we spent our nights in luxurious hotels not blogging because we forgot the power cord to the laptop. But don't worry: I took notes.

We set off from Orem, Utah and drove clear through Wyoming, stopping only when we'd reached Omaha, Nebraska. Then we drove through Iowa and into Nauvoo, Illinois, where we spent a few days soaking in church history before setting off for Des Moines, Iowa. After spending the night there we headed up to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore, among other things, and then struck off to Wyoming once more, visiting Yellowstone National Park and making our way through a bit of Montana and Idaho before returning to Utah once more.

That's eight states in nine days.

We're home now so I'll be slowly catching up you all up with our adventures. For now I'm going to finish unpacking and doing laundry—a couple of "favourite blankeys" I know smell like they've been dragged through cow pastures, smoke-ridden hotels, and a sticky factory. 

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Gerunds and other language acquisition tales

Like Rachel, who coined the terms "scissoring" and "markering" to describe the act of cutting paper with scissors and the act of colouring with felt pens, respectively, when she was younger, Miriam is all about gerunds lately.

Anything can be verbed and from there turned into a gerund.

For example, when I took Miriam out of the bathtub today she informed me that she was "outing."

Another one of our favourites is "pantsing." This describes the act of putting pants on, contrary to the more widely known definition (at least in junior high schools) of pulling someone else's pants down. Still, it's humorous to hear our little baby walking around saying "Pantsing! Pantsing! Pantsing!"

I can't say, "Let's get dressed!" in the mornings, otherwise we have to rifle around through her drawers to find one of two play dresses. Skirts, shorts, pants, shirts are all out of the question. If I say "get dressed" Miriam has to put a dress on. I've been making an effort to say "Let's put some clothes on!" instead but old habits die hard and I'm still more prone to saying the former term.

Rachel is still asking for help with un-insiding-out things, and it's still wonderful to hear her use that jumbled up term. She recently made up another word: yewerit.

It sounds like a horrible creature, but really it's part of the game known as "tag."

"You're my you're it!" she'll declare, before running away and taunting, "You can't get me!"

Doesn't the way she say it make it sound like a monster of sorts?

A Yewerit. Sounds scary.

When I tagged her I said, "Now you're my it, right?"

"No. I'm your Yewerit!"she replied. 

I wonder if I did a master's degree in language development, would anyone object to a thesis documenting my children's language development in anecdotal form? Is that academic enough? 

I'm partial to anecdotes and find language development so fascinating; I love listening to (and uncoding) my children's language evolution. But! Only one parent in grad school at a time; that's my rule.

Ghana: Everything

Since lots of my posts from Ghana were posted at random times (and some like a month late…), and because I’m using all these blog posts as my required (and graded) trip journal, here’s a list of all of them in one convenient place.

You could also just look at the Ghana label, but you’d get them all in reverse chronological order, and that’s lame :)

Final presentations and the end (May 11)

After a fitful sleep last night (I was still completely stressed out by this presentation. I don’t know how I can convey the extent of the data that we weren’t able to collect or the lack of any tangible conclusion or recommendations for the PEF), the three people in my team that were chosen to give the actual presentation (me, Talia, and Hugh) woke up early to run through our PowerPoint a few times during breakfast.

We were scheduled to present to the PEF missionary couple, the head of the Employment Resource Center (ERC), one of the heads of PEF, and possibly Elder Sitati, a member of the Area Presidency (and member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy) at 9 AM at the area offices in the temple complex. A few of us left the hotel early so we could get everything set up—they were supposed to provide a projector for the laptop, so we wanted to make sure everything was set up and ready to go.

Friday, June 03, 2011

The calm before the storm (May 10)

Or maybe the storm before the even bigger storm.

Today has been chaotic and extremely stressful. Because of random national holidays and miscommunication, we haven’t been able to visit the vocational schools we wanted to until today, the day before we give our presentation to the PEF missionaries and probably someone from the Area Presidency. The IDE market group has been done with their visits for a few days now and has had time to gather their thoughts and plan out what they’re doing. As of this morning we still hadn’t even finished our research.

Back to Accra… with more dancing! (May 9)

We left our paradisiacal hotel fairly early this morning and headed back to Accra for the final (stressful!) part of this Ghana trip. We’re done with all the touristy things now—all we have left is project work. All those PEF interviews that we (haven’t) done so far? Time to synthesize them into some logical report that will actually be useful for the PEF.

New Life Orphanage and the Ghanaian LDS Church (May 8)

For our second Sunday in Ghana, we headed off to church again, which was fortunately a far better experience than last week’s sleepy General Conference sauna. Because Cape Coast had done their conference rerun last week, today was fast and testimony meeting, which ended up being completely fascinating. Most of the members bore their testimonies in some mix of English, Twi, or Fante, and a few Ivorian refugees spoke in French.

I was reminded of how much I like Ghanaian English when one of the members of the bishopric praised all the mothers in the congregation (apparently it’s mother’s day in Ghana today too), saying that they “discharge [their] maternal duty with great diligence, even when it must be done with single-handedness.” I feel really bad missing out on Mother’s Day today, leaving Nancy home alone with the girls, but she’s a fantastic mother who truly discharges her duty with diligence. This evening I was able to eke out a short Mother’s Day Skype call over this hotel’s horrible internet so I could tell her. She rocks.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

E-I-E-I-O (May 30)

It's been raining a lot in southern Alberta this year (northern Alberta is, ironically, experiencing forest fires) which has turned numerous fields more or less into lakes. I snapped this picture (at about 9:00 PM, mind you) on our way to Auntie Colleen's farm:

The gold stuff is last year's wheat stubble. The blue stuff, you probably guessed, is water (except for the sky). And this wasn't an uncommon sight on the drive. I saw more ducks than I've ever seen in my life. They're having a heyday with all this water around!

Goodbye to cousins (May 29)

Luckily Rachel was feeling much better in the morning. She only threw up that one time so we're thinking it may have been something she ate, though what that something was we have no idea. 

We all got ready to go for church, which was somewhat of an ordeal with eleven people trying to use one washroom! We were even only a little bit late. 

Rachel surprised me by wanting to go to class. She went to Sunbeams all by herself and spent most of Sharing Time sitting on Piper's lap. Miriam also surprised me by not wanting to go to class. She usually loves nursery, but this nursery class was small and foreign and she spent most of the time crying so I took her to Sunday School with me. 

Brother Lonsdale taught the class; he happens to be Professor Lonsdale's brother (I know because I asked him). Lonsdale was one of my favourite teachers at BYU—I took my first linguistics class from him as well as theoretical syntax. It's a small world!

Malachi's Baptism (May 28)

The main purpose of our visit to Canada was because Malachi was getting baptized. Unfortunately the kids were at their dad's house all day on Saturday because they were supposed to be having a family reunion with his side of the family (that ended up being cancelled) so we didn't get to see them until Saturday night at the baptism. I may or may not be a little bitter about that; I'm sure I'm not the only one. I can't think of a single reason why they even needed to have a family reunion the weekend we came up from Utah since their whole family lives within an hour radius of each other, except for one sister who didn't even come out that weekend. *grumble*

Anyway, we spent Saturday day playing games, going to the park, and (for some of us) preparing talks for the baptism. Abra has this fun game called Bananagrams. It's like Boggle and Scrabble teamed up and made a beautiful baby. It's seriously so fun!

I think it's the first time in my married life that I said, "You know, honey, my birthday is coming up..."

Let's go to Canada (May 27)

Fourteen hours in a car is a long time. For some reason I thought for sure it was only twelve hours—that’s how long it’s been since I’ve been up to Canada—but twelve hours only takes you to my aunt’s house near Taber. My sister lives in north Calgary so we had two more hours to go when I thought we should be done.

My poor children never want to hear the phrase “we’re almost there” ever again. I think I started saying it somewhere in Montana. Their poor mother never wants to hear the phrase “are we there yet?” ever again. I think they started saying it somewhere before we even turned off of our street.

It’s funny to be on this side of childhood. I remember doing exactly the same things my children do…well, at least some of the things they do. When we were saying goodbye this afternoon (yup, I’m writing about our trip TO Canada on our way HOME) my niece, Piper, was going around hugging everyone and when she got to her mom she hugged her, too, and said, “Goodbye, Mom, see you later!”

My cousins and I did that all the time. And we thought we were both hilarious and creative for doing so. Now my nieces and nephews are doing the same thing. And they think they are both hilarious and creative for doing so.