Communication is a beautiful thing, especially when it saves you a forty minute drive into the city (only to have to turn right back around again). Frustratingly, we made the drive from High River to Calgary to meet up with my niece Amy at Fish Creek Park, but she texted my mom while we were en route to say that she wouldn't be able to make it, which we obviously didn't find out until we had arrived. Fish Creek Park is rather large and I suppose we could have done some hiking, but we were really hoping to let the kids play at a park and the only playground within the park is fenced off and you have to pay to get in (we're all quite positive that it was free when we were living there).
Both Alexander and Zoë had fallen asleep, however, so we decided to just head back to High River to play at George Lane Park (a park is a park is a park), rather than wake them up and have them be grumpy and still have to make the drive back to High River later.
A couple good things came of our pointless trip, however. One was that we finally saw a tow truck. I had made up some travel BINGO sheets for the kids, which only Rachel and I really got into. She and I were racing to see who could get a blackout the fastest. It didn't take us long to see a speed limit sign or a horse or even a limo but we could not find a tow truck. We were on the road for a thousand miles over three days and we hadn't seen a single tow truck!
Finally on the way up to Calgary we saw a tow truck, and not just any tow truck. We saw a tow truck on a tow truck! The tow truck being towed away was burnt to a crisp (there were also firetrucks on the scene). I don't know what happened but it must have been pretty wild. At least we got our blackout.
The second good thing was a drive-by spotting of my...eighth?...childhood home (I'm pretty sure it's #8). 49 Deerpath Road, quite near Fish Creek Provincial Park—a duplex unit just on the other side of the field (only when we lived there they were yellow with brown trim; now they're a gentle blue):
|My house is...not actually visible in this picture|
Seeing Amy would have made the trip all worth it, but as it was it wasn't entirely a bust, guess...
Anyway, playing at George Lane Park was fun. They have a new playground. I'm not sure if it's new and improved because the epic teeter-totters are gone, but it's still a pretty great playground.
Here's Auntie Abra trying to convince Alexander that he still likes her (he loved her when we were up in May but has since succumbed to stranger anxiety):
Here's Uncle Patrick buying something from a pebble shop Benjamin and Zoë set up:
Alexander was freaked out by Piper in May and was equally freaked out by her this time around, too. I'm not really sure why. She wasn't even wearing stage makeup this time. He hardly let her come near him, though he did appreciate the time she spent pushing him in the swing (he still wouldn't let her hold him, however):
Rachel was showing off how she could climb the swing poles:
So we had a race:
Eat my dust, Rachel:
Zoë quite liked Piper. She let Piper push her in the swing and took a piggyback ride from her later.
...and quite bewildered by the end of his experience:
My children did a whole lot of climbing...
...while the adults stood around discussing what to do for dinner and getting caught up and things like that. We decided that we'd hit up the Farmer's Market to buy some fresh ingredients for dinner (which ended up being...spaghetti (with fresh sauce)). Zoë and Benjamin were all about cajoling cousins and aunts and uncles into giving them piggyback rides...
|Zoë and Piper|
|Benjamin and Patrick|
|Zoë and Josie|
Here's some of the members of our audience, with a lovely mural behind them (there are murals all over High River):
Miriam also took a turn playing a song, even though she was nervous to perform in such a public venue:
Benjamin "treated" us to some music of his own (we didn't let him carry on very long, however):
Oh, we also stopped by the Tack & Feed Diner. It's not an actual diner; rather, it's part of a movie set. High River has been used as the backdrop for several films and is currently the "home" of Heartland (which the diner is a set for, and which is now the town's tourism catch phrase). Abra said probably half the stores on this street are fake, though some are legitimate stores. The whole small town come film set can be confusing, I guess.
The farmer's market was fun. There were a lot of Hutterites in town selling vegetables and bread and things, so I got to field all sorts of questions from Benjamin, who wanted to know why they were dressed the way they were. There was a man from somewhere south of the border (of the United States) who was selling some very delicious salsas. There was a perogi stand and several fruit stands and...we had fun checking things out.
And then I made my kids walk over to Spitzee Elementary School (my classroom was on the top floor):
We didn't have dinner until after 8:00 because, well, time tends to get away from you in the summer, especially up north. We ate rather late on Thursday and even later on Friday, so on Saturday when we ate at a regular dinner hour, Abra said, "Why don't you go home and put your kids to bed and then we can play games?"
"Put them to bed?" I said. "I thought Andrew and I would take the little kids to the store to pick up some Canadian
junk food and let you guys play some games with Rachel and Miriam..."
"Oh," she said. "It's just that I thought you usually put your kids to bed right after dinner."
"Well, I have the last few nights but that's because we've been eating dinner at bedtime and I've been putting the kids to bed late! But it's only 6:00 now, which is too early for bedtime!"
It was a pretty funny misunderstanding. Time really runs away with you up there!
Here's a (super flattering) selfie I took of myself at about 9:30 at night while we were walking from my sister's house over to my friend's parents' house (they live just a few houses down):
The sun was still very much set on convincing my children that it was still time to play!