Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Home Stretch

July 30, 2016

We woke up and had breakfast at my mom's house this morning. We left early (8:45) so that we could make it on time or a little early to the 10:30 session at the Payson Utah Temple. We made it early, alright...about 10:00...and the session began at 10:45 instead of 10:30. Oh well. The Payson temple is Gorgeous! There were a lot of people getting married today. Mattina Ann had a lot of people to watch while waiting to get in to the Baptistry.

After the session, we walked around the grounds then made our way to Costa Vida for lunch before hitting the freeway for our final stretch. I drove from Payson to Beaver, and Mattina Ann drove from there to home. It was then that the sky decided to release rain. Yah, that was fun. She got us home alive at about 6:00. Mattina Ann just glared at me, so I have to add that she did very well driving home.

Sherry Ann went to get Tanner, Geremy, and AJ while Mattina and I unloaded the car and tried to clean up. Mattina Ann then got ready for work and left at 6:40 and finally got home at around 11:00. We started cleaning clothes and getting ready for our next adventure beginning on Monday. Goodbye Canada...California, here we come!

Edmonton to West Valley Utah

July 28

We are sad to be leaving Edmonton and Canada today, but excited to be headed homeward and closer to the boys.

Sherry Ann wanted some Wunderbar candy bars so we tried looking for a Walmart.  Our RITA took us to the All Canadian Store instead.  That turned out to be a blessing because the candy bars were on sale.  Yeah!  The cashier couldn't believe that we didn't have Wunderbar's in America.  We also bought Swedish Berries (like swedish fish but in berry shapes) and 2 large chocolate hazelnut bars.  YUM!

We weren't totally ready to leave yet so we drove to Calgary and went to a souvenir store called Maple Country.  It had the maple syrup Sherry Ann really wanted and the sweatshirts we all wanted.  We had spent the whole trip looking for these things and this was the perfect stop.

We then went to a pancake house.  It was closed because the owners were "on holiday".  Ugh!  So we went to our other lunch request.  We went to The Buttermilk Fine Waffles!  It was DIVINE!!  Between the 3 of us we tried 3 different types of waffles.  We tried the traditional, churro, and raspberry sauce with strawberries.  PERFECT!  All of them.  This was the best way to finish our eating in Canadian style.

We then got gas in Lethbridge and went to the border to come back to the United States.   We were very disappointed that there was not a large flag to greet us.  There were lots of cameras taking pictures of our car coming in.  The border agent was very nice and friendly.  He was joking how Mattina, in the back seat, was the boss.  Sherry Ann let him know that she was the real boss.

We then drove to Great Falls Montana where we had dinner at Arby's and went to bed.  All that driving made us very tired.

July 29

We left Great Falls by 9:00 and drove to West Valley where we had dinner at Chick-fil-A.  We then went to Dave's house for a tour.  We are so happy for them.  We then went to Aaron's mom's home where Aaron helped her with family history and Mattina tried figuring out her friends lives.  Exhausted, we finally made it to bed.  We miss the sun going down so late.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Edmonton to Great Falls

July 28

Internet not reliable.....STOP     Will post later.....STOP

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

West Edmonton Mall

July 27, 2016

Today, we decided to go off the beaten paths of Canada's National Parks, and spend some time in an urban playground. Okay, well, it's really the biggest mall in North America - The West Edmonton Mall.

First on the itinerary was to find some souvenirs for A.J., Tanner, and Geremy. Mattina Ann also wanted to get a little something for her friends. We found everything we needed at one shop. Sorry, spoilers!

We ate lunch at the food court and then made our way to Galaxyland! It is an indoor amusement park located inside the mall. We had a wonderful time. First we went to the bumper cars, then eased our way to the roller coasters on what Mattina Ann referred to as a kiddie coaster. Then we went on an assortment of other rides including the "Galaxy Orbiter" (reminiscent of the "Spider" at Lagoon), the "Mind Bender," the "Space Shot," a 7-D ride/game, a ropes course, and many more! We also played one of the midway games and Sherry Ann won a plush Pikachu. No,'s not for you. "Mind Bender" broke down after a while, so most of the afternoon/evening was spent on the "Galaxy Orbiter." We went on that ride so many times, we could not count. We were trying to find out which seating arrangement would give us the greatest spin factor. We decided that Sherry Ann on one side with Aaron directly across from her with Mattina Ann next to Aaron gave the greatest spins.

We had to take a respite and get something to eat and give our stomachs enough time to stop spinning. By the time we got back to the park, we had enough to time to ride the bumper cars again, and then they were closed.

We drove to a Marble Slab Creamery for some ice cream and took a stroll through a nearby park as we ate it. The ice cream was delicious. The sweetness must have gone straight to our blood stream because the mosquitos came out in full force and started sucking our blood. So we high tailed it out of there and went back to the hotel. The mosquitos were still attacking on the short walk from the car to the doors. I tell you, anyone going to Canada...wear long clothes, mosquito repellant, and bring lots of Caladryl lotion.

We're all exhausted and ready for bed now. Unfortunately, tomorrow we begin our drive back toward home. It has been a great adventure that we will always remember.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Calgary to Edmonton

July 26, 2016

We left Calgary at 11:00 this morning and headed North toward Edmonton. We made a pit stop for lunch at Red Deer. We were invited to have lunch with Caroline Sokol, who is a member of our Ward in St. George. She lives there in the winter months, and in Red Deer, AB during the summer months. She is a dear friend, and it was nice to visit with her and 2 of her grandsons, Dallin and Ben. Sister Sokol also joined us for a wonderful temple session at the Edmonton Alberta Temple. While in the dressing room, Sherry Ann saw Sister Sheri Dew, and was told that Sister Dew and Sister Nelson were both in attendance tonight. That was a major highlight for Sherry Ann.

After the temple, we said good bye to Sister Sokol and went downtown to the Annual Taste of Edmonton festival. You had to buy tickets and use the tickets to "purchase" food samples from the vendors.  We didn't really see anything that we wanted, so we went and got gas and decided to find dinner on the way back to the hotel. Unfortunately, nothing we saw looked very good. So we decided on the Olive Garden across the street from the hotel. It was near closing time, so they only had one bowl of my Zuppa Toscana...sigh.

All-in-all, we had a nice day and the temple was lovely.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Falling...With Style

July 25, 2016

Today started early. We had breakfast in our room and made our sandwiches. First, we went to get gas. We weren't sure we'd get through the day on what was in the car. Our next stop was Lake Louise in Banff National Park. Can I just saw, "Wow!"

The lake was almost an emerald green color. We were told the the green color comes from what is called "rock flour." They are tiny particles of rock that are as fine as flour and are suspended in the water, too light to settle on the bottom. The water comes from the melting glaciers high above in the mountains. We could even see some of the glaciers from where we stood.

While at the lake, we searched for and almost gave up on finding a geocache. We had the coordinates and tried to find the most logical place for it. In fact, just as we were ready to give up I said, "I don't get it. I mean the most logical place to put it would be in this hollowed out tree stump. I mean, you wouldn't want it to get washed away by rain fall or snow fall, but I've looked in there a couple of times already." That's when I looked down and saw the small box hidden under some fallen pieces of wood at the base of the stump. Brilliant.

So, we knew that we were running a little late for our appointment to do the zip line and still had a bit of a drive ahead of us, but we stopped at a bench lake side and ate our sandwiches. It was so serene. When we were done, we made our way back to the car and drove toward our next destination. But after about an hour later and we still weren't there, we got worried that we had missed our turn off. So we stopped at a visitor canter at Yoho National Park to ask someone who knew the area. She said we still needed to go another 20 minutes or so, then turn off. Well, it was already 25 minutes to 2:00 and we were supposed to be there by 1:45. Great.

We got there right at 2:00 and nobody was there to greet us. So we lingered a little while, then the guy running the operation showed up. He said we were just fine being late since they were running a bit behind schedule anyway. So, we ended up on the 3:00 zip line tour with a family of 4. It was sooooo much fun! We did 2 short lines, and then the long one that traversed the Kicking Horse River. You'll have to see the pictures  and videos below. Sherry Ann had a little difficulty getting over how high the platform was for the final line. I'm pretty sure A.J. would not have gone up that catwalk.

After doing the zip lines, we began driving back toward Banff. We saw a sign for a "short" hike to Wapta Falls, so we decided to give it a try. It was a huge waterfall! Well worth the hike in. Sherry Ann and Mattina Ann stayed at the top lookout of the falls while I hiked farther down the trail to the base of the falls. It was just amazing. I'm probably going to use that small phrase many times, because all of the falls we saw tonight were amazing.

After that hike, we made our way back toward Banff (again). On our way, we discovered that we had actually crossed over into British Columbia on our way to the zip line. So, we visited 2 Canadian national parks, and 2 provinces. Cool. We finally got to Johnston Canyon and began hiking to the lower and upper falls. Actually there were 7 falls along the "creek." It was more like a raging river in our opinion. The trail was paved...with several cliff-side catwalks along the way. The falls were...inspiring (there, I used a different adjective). I am amazed at the beautiful creations of our Heavenly Father. We took 180+ pictures.

On the way back to the hotel, there was a lot of lightning to the North and to the South. Somehow we missed the rain storms that came through. That's okay, though. We got back to the hotel at 11:15 tonight, and are now eating some of our snacks for our "dinner." Good night.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Lord's Day...Plain and Simple

This morning, we attended sacrament meeting at the Calgary 13th Ward. Mattina Ann was worried that they wouldn't sing "Come, Come Ye Saints" since we're not in Utah. But she was pleased to see hymn #30 as the opening hymn. One of the speakers was a young man who made Sherry Ann's eyes leak a little. He is a Philipino, living in Calgary, going to Boston, Massachusetts to serve his mission for the Lord. He made Sherry Ann...leak when he began singing "My Heavenly Father Loves Me." That is only one of her favorite songs she sings to Tanner and Geremy every night. She loves them so much and misses them.

Then we returned to the hotel and got ready to go downtown and stroll by the Bow River. We decided to go to Prince's Island Park for our stroll. There was a Folk Music Festival going on, so half of the park was gated off. We had a lovely stroll while we just watched people. Everywhere we looked we saw people old and young were playing Pokemon Go. Everyone's eyes were glued to their phones. Mattina Ann decided that she doesn't like big cities. "There are too many people," she said. So, any of you keeping track, she doesn't like big cities, places with no mountains, and humid climates are out. We told her to be careful voicing these opinions, or she may end up going to one of those places for her mission. 

We returned to the hotel, had a light dinner of cheese and crackers, and went to the hot tub to relax and watch the airplanes take off and land. There wasn't a lot of air traffic tonight, though. We returned to the room and are now settling down to go to bed. We had a gorgeous sunset out our window. Now, at 10:00, the sun has set and darkness is covering the hills surrounding Calgary. Good night, eh. 

Geremy's 4th Birthday