may long for parents.

May 22, 2014

I've tried to write this post for 4 consecutive days now, typing out bits during that narrow window of time in which Aaralee goes to bed and I fall asleep myself.   My baby is now mobile, and my free time is gone... out the window... vanished as though it never existed.  As if crawling and standing on everything wasn't enough, today she decided to try out the elusive stairs.  If you want to stop by and visit, feel free... and bring coffee, please.  
I was fortunate enough to have a relaxing weekend with my family for the long weekend last week.  In my former life (A.K.A. six or seven years ago), May Long weekend was a pretty big deal.  Regardless of the weather, it meant packing up the tent and a diet consisting solely of hot dogs, marshmallows and an alcoholic beverage or two for 3 days.  There were sunburns and snowfalls and plenty of stories to be told.  May Long was a welcoming party for summer and a good riddance to winter... even when we woke up in snow covered tents.

Sometime between then and now, life got busy and between living overseas and working in the airline industry, I really haven't had much chance to celebrate the long weekend in a long time.  When May rolled around I was filled with excitement over the fact that I wouldn't be working this year, until it dawned on me that my former traditions really don't jive with my current lifestyle.
For the past couple of months I'd been subtly hinting (fine, begging) my husband for a weekend getaway in the mountains. We used to go on a regular basis but his busy job combined with poor weather and prior commitments have left us stuck in Edmonton and Red Deer every weekend.  I assumed that there would be no last minute hotel availability within our budget, but apparently people had opted to camp instead of stay in hotels and we found a room at our favourite hotel in gorgeous Canmore. I was so excited as we packed the car and hit the road for the weekend, bound for better scenery and family fun.

We made it to Canmore after a long day of driving and a couple of stops along the way.  After tucking the baby into bed it was time to relax and watch a movie with my husband.  Some unresolvable technical difficulties prevented us from watching the movie, but at least we had pizza, popcorn... and a little bit of a wine spritzer.  I don't get to enjoy wine much these days,  so I really enjoy it on the rare and special occasions.  

Aaralee had been battling a cold, teething, and had received her measles shot the evening prior.   Between that and sharing a room with her noisy little self, I didn't get much sleep that night.  After a breakfast of cold pizza we drove off to my favourite little coffee spot in Canmore to dose up on caffeine.  Sufficiently buzzed, we hit the highway.  Road trips are a great way to maintain a baby's nap schedule.  We headed towards Lake Louise, deciding to bypass it and instead visit Emerald Lake, just across the border in British Columbia. We've been to Lake Louise dozens of times and were excited to see a new spot.  It was still frozen, but a beautiful place nonetheless.  As it turns out, even our landscape photos can't be without our daughter.  She posed like the little pro that she is as we snapped away.  

I'm not sure how we ended up with such an adorable baby, but I can't get enough of her. 
We snuck in for a few shots as well, just to prove that we in fact had joined Aaralee on the trip.  

The rain began to fall as we walked the path around the lake. Aaralee kept warm and dry under the shelter of her stroller while Ryan and myself got soaked.  I didn't mind. It wasn't snowing, even at our high altitude. We took in the sights and vowed to one day stay at the gorgeous lodge.  
On our way back to Alberta we spotted a big black bear strolling along the train tracks. We pulled off to the side of the road and Ryan took photos while I used the opportunity to feed our hungry baby.  Once the rain hit he headed for shelter as we drove off towards Banff. 

I'd expected Banff to be overrun with tourists given the long weekend, but it was surprisingly quiet, by Banff standards. We found a great parking spot, I put the baby on my back, and we set off to enjoy the shops that we've been in time and time again.  

Once we'd walked up an appetite, we contemplated what to have for dinner.   We normally stick to our classic family restaurants, but our 5 year dating anniversary is right around the corner and Ryan won't be home for it. We decided to celebrate early, indulging in steak and crab legs at The Keg.  

And Aaralee, who is often loud and fussy in restaurants? She was an angel, happily sitting through the entire meal and munching bread rolls.  Ryan and I left stunned and thankful.  
Before heading back to Canmore for the evening, we stopped in the Christmas store, because despite it being May, no trip to Banff is complete without a quick circle around the festive store. 

Back to Canmore we went, putting the baby to bed and settling on a movie that actually worked in our DVD player.  We'd opted to head to Red Deer for the last day of our weekend to visit with both sets of parents and to celebrate Ryan's grandma's 85th birthday.  We spent some time with the family, ate some cake, and then headed back to my mom's house. 
Once Aaralee was tucked into bed, Ryan and I went on our very first movie date since August of last year.  Just us, on a real date, with no texting every 5 minutes to ask if my baby was okay.  I was reluctant to put down my phone, but I eventually sat back and enjoyed the movie with my husband.   It was a wonderful treat! Maybe we should ask grandma(s) to babysit more often! 

We headed back to Edmonton Monday after a quick visit with Ryan's other grandma. It had been a busy, fun filled weekend, but it is always good to get home. 
The long weekend is long over, and now I'm doing the parenting thing on my own for a couple of weeks while Ryan works down in Oklahoma yet again. I'm thankful for the weekend that we were able to spend as a family with absolutely no work interfering!  Now somebody come visit lonesome me and my adorable child...  and I'll take a half sweet caramel macchiato... iced or hot dependant on the weather. 


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