In retrospect, I should have been more forthright with Heather about our accommodations while we were in Canada. To be fair to myself, I was experiencing some insecurities regarding my likability* when I reached out to her to ask if I could stay with her while I was in Canada and, unfortunately, she and her parents and sister had reservations to camp at Waterton the very week I was due to be in Canada.
She didn't know how desperate I was for accommodations and I was too insecure to say, "Hey! Take care of me for a minute!" So neither one of us thought to suggest that I just...housesit...for her! That would have solved all my problems!
When she drove me to the airport on Wednesday morning (spoilers!), she was like, "Nancy! I should have just given you guys the code to my house! You could have stayed there while I was away! It wouldn't have been a problem at all!"
In fact, Heather was so sweet that when I asked her if I (and my children) could spend the night at her place on Tuesday evening and have her drive me/us to the airport on Wednesday morning, so immediately said yes.
Then apparently she turned to her mom and said, "I just said Nancy and her kids could spend the night at my place on Tuesday, but...where will I put them?"
Her mom reminded her that her camper would be sitting in her driveway so (spoilers!) I ended up sleeping in the camper with not one, not two, but five little girls! (Miriam slept inside with Sadie and Miley, so I had three of Heather's girls with me and two of my own, and Heather didn't lie—that bed in her camper is really comfortable!)
She didn't even hesitate. She just said, "Of course!" and then bothered about the details, like determining where we might sleep...and informing her husband, who has been working on advanced certifications for his pilot's license (he's already a pilot but is getting extra certifications) and who she hadn't seen for a week and who was due to arrive home on Tuesday evening that, well, he'd have a house full of company to greet him in addition to his wife and his girls. And do you know how Ryan responded to this news?
By bringing home a little packages of airplane biscuits for the kids.
When he walked in the door he presented them to his daughters, who immediately started squealing with glee while also calling out, "The cousins! The cousins! Did you bring some for the cousins?!"
"I brought enough for everyone," Ryan assured them, handing biscuits to my children as well.
He's definitely the calming presence in that house, perfectly complimenting Heather's natural rambunctiousness. But she is such a fun and loving and patient mother! It was fun to spend some time with her and I so appreciate how graciously they hosted us.
But, before I knew I'd be spending the night at Heather's house on Tuesday, we had arranged to meet her down in Waterton on Sunday. Waterton is a national park in southern Alberta that abuts Glacier National Park in Montana (together they comprise an international peace park).
We went to Emerald Bay on Waterton Lake, to splash and kayak and sit and visit.
When we were deciding where to go, Heather asked, "Are your kids allowed to swim-swim on Sundays?"
We don't have a problem with that in our household, though I know that Andrew's family did while growing up (though to be fair, when Grandma and Grandpa took our kids to Grover the year I was too pregnant with Alexander and Zoë was too sick and Andrew was too out-of-town to join them...they also let the kids swim on Sunday)! Karen texted me to say that they "did NOT let the kids swim in Lake Powell this afternoon." And later Shayla tagged me in this picture on Facebook:
Anyway, given our limited timetable and the fact that our kids all enjoy water, we decided on Emerald Bay, since it's right there by the townsite where Heather and her family were camping.
Here are Zoë and Phoebe with Bear's Hump in the background:
And here's Phoebe (my youngest) doing some wading with Elaina (Heather's youngest, who is 7):
I believe this is when she slipped and cut her foot, poor thing. She didn't want to go in the water much after falling and I couldn't figure out why until much later in the day when I realized she had a big ol' gash in her foot!
Since I'm in a throw-back mood, here's a picture of me (crawling) in Waterton Lake in August 1986:
Here's beautiful Miriam:
There were no little cousins Phoebe's age, but she didn't care because Heather brought her new little puppy to the lake:
|Heather talking to my mom with Phoebe and Lola in front|
Lola is only six months old, and she's really the sweetest thing. Phoebe thought Lola was her best friend (which means, I suppose, that she understands dogs well, since they're supposed to be man's best friend).
Not only did Heather haul an RV down to Waterton with five children by herself...she also brought along a puppy and a nervous mother cat (recovering from a nipple infection and mourning the loss of the rest of her litter) with her singular surviving kitten (only a few weeks old). Of course, Heather reminded me that she didn't quite do it by herself, because Ryan came for one day and her parents and sister were there...but still! I probably would have just stayed home! Heather is much braver (and chiller) than I am!
|Me with the itty bitty kitty|
Here's my mom chatting with Lavon and Dennis (with Sadie in the small green chair beside Dennis):
And here's a picture of Heather and me (with Phoebe):