This summer we made our annual trip to Canada to spend time with our families. We try and make it up there every summer for July 1st, Canada Day, and also the birthday of my hometown Raymond which is a REALLY big deal!!! July 1st has always been a big gathering event - everyone who has moved away returns to enjoy a few days or weeks with the family and friends that are still there. It is so much fun to see my little hometown of about 3,000 double in size for a few days. There is so much excitement and business in the otherwise sleepy little town. It is fun to go to the grocery store and run into old teachers, school mates or an old neighbor that you had nearly forgotten about.

I don't think I could live in Raymond again - once you leave and become accustomed to a big city and the amenities that it offers, it would be hard to go back -- but I absolutely love to go visit. The minute we drive into town I am nearly flooded with fond memories and warm feelings. It was such a wonderful opportunity to be raised there. Especially now that I have children, going back home is all the more important. I want them to experience some of the same things and traditions that I did when I was their age. I want them to gather candy at the parade and cheer for floats entitled "I Am a Child of God" and know most everybody in the parade. I want them to have a love of Waterton, rent the surreys and ride around town, then stop at Big Scoop on main street for ice cream. I want them to appreciate their many relatives they don't get to see too often and be able to spend an afternoon visiting and playing with them. When they are a little older I want them to stay up until 2am playing cards and games - claiming "THIS is the last game" for at least six games. These are the things I love and I hope to instill a love for in my children.

This year's trip was tons of fun and as usual went far too quickly! Here are some pictures of some of the highlights:

Fun at Waterton National Park:
Always our first stop as soon as we get to Waterton - the beautiful Cameron Falls.

We rented this crazy little bike, called a surrey, and rode all around the town. This is something I always did as a little girl and we hadn't done it for years - so this was top on my list of things to do in Waterton. You can tell Ella is not too happy when this picture was taken. She was really disappointed she had to sit in the front and didn't get to pedal. A few minutes into her ride, after we were sure Finn wasn't going to dive out the front, we let her sit in the middle with us. Finn had the best time of anybody - he just sat in the front by himself, giggling, waving and saying "hi" to everybody we saw.

Beautiful Cameron Lake. It is always breathtaking!

We always have to stop at "our rock" on our way back down from Cameron Lake. Jeramy and I had our picture taken on this rock when we were dating and ended up using it for our wedding announcement. Every year, we stop and take a picture.

A better picture of the view from our rock.

Ridge Park with Grandpa Leavitt:

It looks like Ella is having a miserable time :) (with uncle Jami and Skyla)
She had so much fun! I couldn't stop laughing just watching her. Finn was not about to let Ella have all the fun! Maybe it's more fun on the tube than in the water. Grandpa Leavitt to the rescue!

Afternoon in Lethbridge:
Ella with Grandpa Gary at his restaurant, Chopstix. Grandpa
affectionately refers to her as his best orange chicken customer.
I don't think he's exaggerating.

Apparantly the Asian-themed atmosphere inspired
Ella to bust out a few kung-fu moves.

Finn goofing around with Grandpa & Grandma Nelson

July 1st:

Sadly, I really didn't get too many pictures on the first. I was too busy catching up with everybody and kind of forget to take pictures.

O Canada! Ready for the parade.

I thought this float epitomized the Raymond Parade.
Notice the back of the float "advertising" Moroni's Quest (like youth Trek).
Pinata time! He could have cared less that there
was candy in there - he was just super excited that
someone gave him a stick that he was actually
supposed to be swinging recklessly around.
No help, please, Grandma!

Ella taking her turn at the Pinata (while my sister, Kim watches)

She's a little miffed she didn't break it open!

All the hard work on the pinata had a big payoff!


Brecken said...

Yeah, finally you've blogged your summer! minus Hawaii. Loved the "our rock" picture. I love that you take a pic there every year.

Tiffany said...

Love that you're back online! I miss doing July 1st in Raymond...I need to do that again...soon!