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Jasper Road Trip – Day 2

Connie, Dougie No Comments

From hot springs to ice! Today, we headed out from Jasper down to the Columbia Icefields. Scott had been before several years ago but this was something I’ve been wanting to do since we moved here. They are only open in the summer though so our trip had to wait until now.

Here is Athabasca Glacier. It is the most accessible glacier in the Icefield. Though it appears huge, it is really just a small part of the icefield itself.


We bought our tickets and had a little wait until it was our turn. We had to take a bus out to the Snocoach waiting area where a coach would take us out onto the glacier.

Here is the road onto the glacier itself.

It was pretty cold and the kids were hungry so they were a bit off at this point.

Amazing what a few crackers can do.


As we go closer, they explained the “rules.” They want you to stay in the marked area. They check that area daily for crevasses and know that it is safe for walking but anywhere outside of the marked area can be dangerous. People have died here so better to be safe! We would be given about 15 minutes to walk around on the glacier once we arrived. We were really lucky that all of these coaches left right after we got there so we had the entire area for just our bus group.


It was COLD! We knew it would be cold but this was really cold!!

Another guy on our bus offered to take our picture so we managed to get one with the whole family.


After lunch, we headed down to a different viewing area to see the toe of the glacier. It was interesting to see how much it had receded since Scott was here last time.



Poor Connie missed out on most of this action.

We made the long drive back to Jasper and called it a day.

Jasper Road Trip – Day 1

Connie, Dougie No Comments

We started our first full day in Jasper with a trip up Whistler’s Mountain. They have a gondola that will take you most of the way so it wasn’t too much of a hike though we did decide to head for the summit.

The mountain is pretty high so there was still snow on top when we got there. Dougie wasn’t quite sure what to make of snow in July.

After a bit of snow inspection, we headed towards the summit.

Dougie thought the various inukshuks on the mountain were great – though we had to stop him from trying to knock them down.

Dougie had a little jeep with him that he was sure to stop and play with every chance he got.
Pud Jeep

As we got closer to the top, there was a lot more snow. Dougie, who now loves snow, wanted to play in it despite the fact that were were not properly dressed for it.

Tired and a bit wet, we grabbed a few pictures and started back down to the gondola.



When we got back to town, we grabbed some lunch and settled in to watch the Canada Day parade. There is something special about a small town parade. Where else would you see something like this:


Connie was very due for a nap at this point so we thought a drive may be in order to let her get a bit of sleep in the car. As we were heading out, we noticed this pizza sign. I’d buy pizza from these people just because of the sign.


We weren’t too far out of Jasper when we got stuck in traffic. We were more than a little surprised by it. It was Canada day but we weren’t going anywhere that should have had a lot of traffic. Turns out, we were in a goat jam.


A few little goats basically shut down the road out of town. Fortunately, a ranger came along and scared them all away from the road.

When we arrived at the hot springs, we were excited to see more goats.


A lady, who was clearly a local, explained that this is about as ugly as the goats get. They were shedding their winter fur and getting ready to get the nice bright white color that they always have in pictures. Regardless, seeing a big bunch of mountain goats was a thrill for us.

We hadn’t brought our bathing suits with us so we didn’t go into the hot springs but we did hike around to see the “source.” You can stick your finger in here and see how hot the water is. They actually cool the water a bit here before they put it in the pools so it doesn’t burn people. They also add some chemicals to reduce the sulphur smell. Unfortunately, those weren’t added at this stage so this area was scented.


Connie tried to catch a few Zs while we were walking.


Dougie tried to burn off some energy pretending he was a dog.


From here, we headed back into town. It was a long day and we were all pretty tired.

Jasper Road Trip – Getting There

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With a long weekend coming up and lots of Alberta we still hadn’t seen, we decided to take the opportunity to take a family road trip up to Jasper. It’s a long drive but we made several stops along the way to break up the trip.

First stop, gas around the corner from the house. Don’t the kids look thrilled?

We decided to take the Bow Valley Trail up from Banff to Lake Louise. It’s supposed to be a good wild life viewing areas and we were in no hurry. We weren’t on the road for 2 minutes before we saw this:


He has some friends across the road in the woods too.


We got a bit carried away with the touristy stops. We were grabbing a few geocaches on the way and they tend to trend towards touristy. Here I am at the continental divide.


Connie and Daddy at Lake Moraine.

The whole family in front of the lake.

Lake Morraine is where the picture for the old Canadian $20 bill was taken. So, we posed in the same spot for our $20 picture.

From there we headed over to Lake Louise. I had always heard it was spectacular and it didn’t disappoint.

Connie and Daddy in front of the lake

As we got closer to the Columbia Icefields, we came across a small group of mountain sheep. I was excited enough by the sighting that I climbed a not insignificant hill by the side of the road to get a better picture.

It was a long drive, made longer by the fact that we kept stopping, but we had a great time and were so glad to finally arrive at the hotel.

Welcome to My World

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Now that Connie is quite mobile, she can go and find Dougie no matter where he tries to go. He’s embracing this change and has decided to share some of his passions. In this case, cars:



Connie is thrilled to be part of her brother’s world. Dougie likes it as long as she’ll leave when he asks – that has yet to happen.

A Day at the Park

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Living next to a park sure has some advantages, we’re never more than putting shoes on away from a little trip over there.

Dougie loves the swing! He sometimes will use his legs to keep going but for the most part, he likes to be pushed.


Connie is content to hang out in the stroller


Dougie is also a huge fan of the slide


No matter what else he does, it always comes back to the slide


This last trip to the park, we decided to try Connie in the swing, and then Dougie decided to help



We love how much they love each other!


Butterflies in Calgary

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We decided this year that we were going to try growing butterflies. A friends of ours from Dallas did it and it looked like a lot of fun. I found a local place that we could get them from and we started our project. We had to time our delivery so the butterflies wouldn’t arrive until we got back from Vancouver.

They were all pretty small when they arrived.



We received 12 caterpillars. The brown stuff in the bottom is food for them. All we had to do was put them somewhere that wasn’t directly in the sun and wait. Dougie and I checked them every day. It was astounding how quickly they grew!

Look how much bigger in just a week

Sorry for the poor quality on these, the camera is still broken at this point

The caterpillars started to hang upside down in a “J” shape. This is a sign they are about to start their transformation.


The first one started to change a bit more than a week after the caterpillars arrived. It took almost a week for all of them to get with the program though.

Our first chrysalis.



Of the twelve caterpillars, 11 formed chrysalises though one was knocked into the food by the other caterpillars and started to degrade. We let that one as well as the one caterpillar who hadn’t changed go into the wild.

We had to transfer the chrysalises to the butterfly house.


A few days later, the first butterfly emerged.


Here’s what they looked like with their wings open


Every day, we got a few new butterflies. We were lucky enough to catch a few of them actually coming out. Dougie was thrilled by the entire experience and checked on the new butterflies several times a day. They just eat sugar water so we sprayed that on some flowers.


Once they had all emerged, we decided it was time to let them go. It has to be warm enough to release them so we were a bit concerned we may have these butterflies forever but by the weekend, it had been nice for long enough to let them go.

Dougie counted them one more time before we left

Butterflies are excited to get going

There’s one flying away

Some of them took their time flying away

Overall, it was a great project for Dougie! We’ll definitely do it again next year.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough…

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Happy Father’s Day! What a fantastic day we had!! We both got up early and decided to go for a hike. Not just any hike though, we were going to climb a mountain. We had tried a day earlier but after a few wrong turns, we decided we would shelve the trip and try again today.

The hike started off pretty steep. We were both a bit concerned but, fortunately, it would level occasionally to give us a little break. We both were carrying kids at the beginning but after the first big climb, Dougie decided he wanted to walk. Scott was thrilled though having a toddler climb a mountain did slow us down a lot.


Dougie took one of my walking sticks and he really enjoyed the hike.


One of the unfortunate things about this hike was that there were only a few opportunities for a great view until we were well up the train. Here was the first fantastic view we saw.


Dougie was in and out of the backpack carrier as we went up. He did surprisingly well in it.


Dougie did most of this very long very steep section of switchbacks on his own. We couldn’t believe what a trooper he was!


Dougie and Scott as they broke through the tree line


Kim and Connie stop to find a geocache en route


Dougie was taking a lot of breaks by this point. He’d go 10-15 feet and then just sit down.


Almost there…


Making a final assault on the summit


More resting


LOOK, snow!


Scott and Dougie finishing the climb to the summit




Scott and the kids at the summit cairn


Moments before this, Connie tried to eat a rock. Scott thought it was funny she was trying to eat the mountain and tried to get a picture.


Kim goes off to find the summit cache.


The hike down seemed almost worse than the hike up. Partially because we were already tired, partially because it was a very different muscle group being used and partially because there is no option to turn back at that point – you must go down.


It was a very different Father’s Day and won’t likely be a tradition but we were thrilled to do it and are excited to climb our next mountain!

Prairie Mountain

Dougie’s First Real Puzzle

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Dougie has been doing puzzles for years. He loves the wooden ones with the pieces that drop into little slots. He especially likes the ones that make noise when you put the piece in. We have been trying to get him to do real puzzles for a while but he just didn’t get the concept of putting the pieces together. His speech therapist started him with an opposites puzzle. They were little two piece puzzles with two opposite pictures (dirty boots/clean boots, asleep/awake, etc). He started to understand the concept but still had trouble putting the pieces together.

Enter Thomas. Dougie loves Thomas and was highly motivated to build his own tracks on the floor. He couldn’t figure out how to get the tracks together though. They are shaped very similarly to puzzle pieces – you can’t just push them together, you need to lift one and place it on the other. After a few demonstrations, Dougie got it! We decided to try a puzzle again to see if he could apply the concept.

Adding a new piece

Find a new piece

Add that one

All done!

I have to help Dougie a bit with the top part. The pieces are quite similar and he hasn’t mastered the art of finding the right “next” piece but he’s getting there. He’s already started to look for patterns on the piece he’s working on and then trying to find another piece that has a similar pattern. He likes the animal part at the bottom best though.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and Frank Slide

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We are trying to live here like tourists. We want to see a lot of what Alberta has to offer and don’t want to get into a rut and realize after our time here that we missed a lot. So, we took a trip to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. For those who don’t know, Scott has had a lifelong dream to go there – so we had to go.

Dougie and Scott check out one of the many buffaloes

There it is – this is *the* jump.


It was pretty cold that day. We thought tucking Connie into my jacket would be our best bet.


Here is the carpet in the center – Scott wants to put this into the house.


Since we had come so far already, we decided to head over to Frank Slide (click here for more information on Frank Slide). We hadn’t planned on the trip but it was only about an hour away and it sounded interesting. Nothing could have truly prepared us though. As we approached, all you could see was rock. In a matter of only a few minutes, all this rock fell and covered the town of Frank.

Again, our pictures leave some to be desired as the camera was still not fixed.

Turtle Mountain – the source of the slide

The rock

It was a long day but we’re so glad that we were able to go. On our way home, we saw a bear! There wasn’t time to get a picture (not that it likely would have turned out) as it darted across the road but it made the day for us.

Springtime in Vancouver

Connie, Dougie No Comments

We were so excited to be able to get out to Vancouver to visit Scott’s parents. It is a lot easier now that it’s just an hour flight!!

The weather wasn’t ideal, but we found some great inside things to do.

Grandma picked up some gluten-free cookie mix and Dougie, Daddy and Grandma all made cookies one afternoon.

Gathering around getting things going

Watching the mixer

Adding more mix

Almost ready for the next step

A few rolling instructions from Grandma and Dougie was off

“Okay, I’ve got this”

Daddy and Grandma step in to apply a bit of pressure

Taste testing before we start cutting

More direction from Grandma on the next steps

And Dougie can do it almost on his own

Let’s just be sure it still tastes good

Sprinkle on some sugar

Trying some different sprinkles

Our visit wasn’t only about sprinkles and cookies though. Connie got some good quality time with her grandparents. She’s changed a lot since the last time they saw her so it was fun for everyone to get to know each other again.


Dougie taught Aunt Judy about Thomas trains.


We had a great time! We took a lot more pictures but unfortunately, we dropped our camera while we were there and it broke the lens and the remaining pictures didn’t come out at all.

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