Monday, August 2

August Long.

For the last 8 years on the August long weekend we have journeyed down to my old stomping grounds in Strathmore, Alberta for the Rodeo and Parade.  My father Steve was the manager of the Co-op in Strathmore and would always have a pancake breakfast early Saturday morning. It was always such a gong show because my mother (who likes to be an hour early for everything) would wake us all up at 7 am to be down in line for food. The most ridiculous part of her telling us we needed to be down there so early was because my dad was the boss, when we did get there, we would get to go straight to the front of the line....

The Co-op has changed  things and now has the breakfast Friday morning so we thankfully have no need to get up that early anymore... so I thought.
Apparently the town decided to change the time the parade started now that the Co-op breakfast had moved to a different day. So instead of a 10 am start they moved the time to 9am...which of course bumped my mother’s wake up time to 6am....... YES THAT IS THE HONEST TRUTH 6 am IS WHEN SHE GETS UP. She is crazy.

The reason she needs such a head start on the day is because we (collectively as a family) have a tradition of soaking the participants in the parade with gallons and gallons of water from our water guns.
This is a long standing tradition that requires hours of prep to fill 5 gallon jugs to take with us. We do have a few rules, like we absolutely do not ever spray horses, or the insides of cars.
But everyone else is fair game. And this year I took an extra interest in emptying my entire water gun on the one girl dressed in nothing advertising the “adult store” in Strathmore.  I felt she needed to know exactly how I felt about porn in the little towns parade.
I believe she got the message.
Over all, it was a wonderful time. The parade is so fun, it always has a ton of floats and lasts well over an hour. I love family traditions and my children look forward to this every year.

Here are a few highlights from the parade Saturday:
Waiting for the parade to start.
Riding a cow?!  Very cool.
Then we had such a wonderful day yesterday (Sunday) as a family. In my/our new pursuit for balance we are working harder to spend actual family time together. Not just being in the same area (which I think is very common for many families) but actually doing some sort of activity, getting to know each other better and form real relationships (with each child) individually. And no longer doing this just one night a week for an hour, but really working at it.

So we took the children to Canmore with Uncle Dawson and Aunty Kelly and Bodi the dog to go rock climbing. Drew has wanted us to take the children to Grassi lakes for years now and this weekend seemed as good a time as ever.
The hike in was not great for me; it was very steep and all loose rock. I was very nervous going down to the crag. I had worn my hikers but still felt very unsure of how my ankle would fair.

Once we got down to where the climbing was I felt very peaceful. Almost instantly my entire insides were calm.
(It had been a hard week, so it was surprising to me how relaxed I felt)
The rock that was offered in this specific area was limestone. Beautiful, porous, tall faces of limestone.

It felt to me like going to a close friends house, where you feel so very comfortable and relaxed. It was good.

We had to hike up a little to one special spot Drew and Dawson felt would be perfect for our group. Everything was perfect until we got to the spot. There was a small group of smelly loud guys that were not only obnoxious but crude too. They had a stereo with them that only added to their annoying presence.

Drew set up our 2 top rope routes and then the fun began. The children loved it, and we have very natural climbers with all the kids.

I enjoyed being a part of climbing again, even from a distance, I was dragging my hand across the cold hard face. I played around with hand positions a bit, it reminded me of such a great time I once had.
I lifted myself onto the rock to boulder, swaying a little to feel it again. I loved everything about it. I even put Drew’s old shoes on, it was nice. Thinking I might give it a try, I got more brave and  slipped on my harness, and then fear came washing over me. Shocked, all I could do was sit down.
It was even a little hard to breath I was so scared.  I felt dizzy and cheated.
I know my ankle was strong enough, but I guess the rest of me needs some more time to recover. I felt really sad and fought back tears a few times. It was surprising how overwhelmed I got. Amazing to me how the mind works.

So instead I took pictures, 

Ropes are set, ready to begin!
Gabe (left) and Seth.
Drew setting the route.  Nice bum Doering.
Ethan's turn with Uncle Dawson belaying, and Nora hanging around.
Shameful parenting... we just clipped Nora to the rock and she loved every minute of it!
Kelly and Bodi.
"No no mom... thanks... I got it."
Dawson showing his mad skills.
I am Grateful that the rain held out so that we could climb.
I am Grateful that no-one got hurt, although there were many people around us that were doing differing versions of climbing.... and safety.
I am Grateful I spent the entire day with my family and loved it! 



Melissa Haavind said...

I love your family parade tradition!! lol
Okay, I must have missed the girl from the "Adult Store" wearing nothing in the parade?! I am glad you showed her!

J said...

She was wearing a tube top and janties(jean shorts so short they could be panties) then she was holding a sign so it looked like she was naked behind the sign. It was one of the first floats so it was still kinda cold out...I drenched her, so maybe she had to go change... hopefully;)

Anonymous said...

Grassi is perfect for kids. Just so you know...I get neverous climbing outside till I am actually on the don't feel bad about it. Just putting on a harness is HUGE. Take babysteps...I would love it if you would start climbing again though. It would be nice to have a girlfriend to climb with but you need to be ready for it.

J said...

Thanks Linda, With Drew's loving encouragement I am sure I will be on the wall again soon. I am really thankful he is not pushy. He just smiles and said, maybe next time. It would be fun to go with you guys too.