22 August 2017

Tenting it up!

In our ongoing attempt to visit all the National Parks in Alberta, we headed to Jasper National Park.
This time, we spent the night. Camping. In a tent! It was a first for us. A maiden voyage, if you will.
Calista and Craig were enthusiastic about setting up the tent.
Perhaps a little too enthusiastic. Caleb was confined to the stroller during the process so he didn't crawl away or on top of the tent as we were putting it up.

After we got the tent set up, we made dinner and then explored the campground a bit. There was a nice little path along the Athabasca river and the kids enjoyed throwing rocks in the water.
Calista hated the mosquitoes, whining and complaining if they were anywhere near her. Applying bug spray didn't help her whining, either. Oh well. We walked along the river for a bit and then headed to the playground they had at the campground. Kiddos loved it.
Caleb tried to eat rocks and climb up the slide.

There was a fire ban for the entire park, so no s'mores for us. Instead we ate Chips Ahoy and Kyler told ghost stories, at the kiddos' request. He told stories about tiger ghosts, ghosts that gave away bags of candy, flamingo ghosts, dinosaur pirate ghosts... Calista and Craig were cracking up late into the night.

Finally, after 10:30, Kyler and I were ready for them to be asleep, so we started singing a song... 100 Bottles of Pop On The Wall. I did not think it would work, I didn't think they'd fall asleep. By about 70 or so, though, Calista was still and quiet. Craig was more stubborn. Kyler and I persisted. Finally, when we were in the teens, Craig fell asleep. And we finished singing, quietly, so we could say we sang the entire thing. And then we slept.
Well, mostly. Caleb woke me up a few times in the night, but was quiet enough he didn't wake anyone else and was content to snuggle next to me and nurse, and then fall asleep again.
The next morning, everyone was a little chilly and a little sleepy.
I made hot chocolate, which Calista enjoyed.
Craig, on the other hand... he's slow to wake up. He needs some time to adjust to the world. So when I gave him his hot chocolate and it was a little hotter than he realized... he cried and didn't want anymore. Eventually he ate his breakfast and was happier. Eventually.

And we took down our tent and headed on the rest of our journey, down a portion of the Icefields Parkway.

First stop was Athabasca Falls. It was phenomenal.
I highly recommend stopping here if anyone is in the area.
I'm sure it gets pretty busy with tourists, but for good reason. We were there around 9:30 AM, so it wasn't too busy yet.
We spent some time looking at the Falls themselves, obviously. That water is powerful.
There are signs every where saying that people die with the fall into the water, and to stay on the trail.
We are obedient hikers, so we did. And we stayed very safe. On the trails, we got to go through a canyon that the water has long ago abandoned for an easier route.
It was awesome. Calista and Craig loved it, and I think it was probably the whole family's favorite part of our Jasper trip.
(I took this video while taking the above picture. The kids didn't know I had switched to video, but this is how they were posing/saying cheese for me. Haha).

Next up, we stopped at a viewpoint by a natural salt lick that mountain goats like to hang out near with a pretty view point.
And we did indeed see mountain goats!

Then it was another falls, Sunwapta.
Also awesome, though not quite as intense as Athabasca. Calista asked to take some pictures and videos at this one, and we humored her.

Then we stopped at an awesome viewpoint for the Stutfield Glacier. Craig refused to get out of the car, but Calista was excited to see it.
We had arrived at the Columbia Icefields! There are many different glaciers that make up the Icefields, and water from these glaciers makes its way and flows into three different oceans: north up through Slave Lake and eventually into the Arctic Ocean, southeast, eventually meeting up with the Missouri, the Mississippi, and out to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean; and southwest, making its way to the Columbia River and past my native land enroute to the Pacific Ocean. In case you couldn't tell, I found this particular piece of trivia - about the three different oceans - fascinating.
Shortly after our first glacier photo-op, we had a picnic lunch and then hiked Toe of the Glacier. Yet again, there were numerous signs imploring us to stay on the path - kids especially have fallen into the crevices, and the last several rescue attempts have been unsuccessful. And yet again, we stayed on the path and were safe. Craig got tired partway up and since Kyler is nicer than I, he carried him while Caleb was in the carrier. What a man!
Sadly, the glacier has receded slightly and become unstable, so the hike no longer leads to a place you can actually touch the glacier, so this was as close as we could get without a guide.
Still, the wind coming off the ice was fierce, and pretty chilly. And it was a beautiful day, nearly 27C / 80F when not near the glacier. I can only imagine how cold it would be in the winter. Whew.
Finally, it was driving home, with a stop for dinner along the way.
And another national park  ✔checked off the list. Success!

18 August 2017

It's as easy as

riding a bike!
Calista can do it!
She still has some balance and steering to work on, but she can do it! Yay!
It wasn't easy for her to learn, but Calista promised me she'd "never stop trying." And now she is successful. We're very proud of her.

15 August 2017

Lee un libro

One of Calista's goals for 2017 was to read a book in Spanish. So, without further ado, presenting Calista:
Way to go, my baby girl!

14 August 2017

Calista does Times Tables

This particular goal was Kyler's idea, and so he is primarily the one who taught her. And a while ago, I wrote out the times tables, up to 5, and gave them to Calista to work on.
 She thought and counted and finished the whole sheet by herself.
 She was pretty proud of herself, and then decided to add 6's to the paper, as well.
She finished them, too, of course.

11 August 2017

Calista Retrospective: Year 6

Six years old.
This little girl, my baby, my firstborn, my joy, my love, she is phenomenal. Most of the time, she is the best thing I could ever ask for. She has had a busy and productive year.

Calista loved kindergarten and excelled at it.
First Day
Last Day
She learned to read with confidence (quite a bit above grade level, and the best in the morning kindergarten, if I'm bragging about it) and even began reading a few words in Spanish. She is picking up on words while she speaks Spanish, too, and got a little award from the school for her efforts to speak Spanish - even correcting her teacher on occasion ("SeƱora, it should be 'las' instead of 'los' because both the ayudantes are girls.") Taking the bus to and from school was probably one of the best parts of her day, as she made some excellent friends and loved spending time with them.

Church was a good place for her, too. Calista loves to sing and has an excellent memory for the words to the songs. She can readily answer questions, though sometimes gets a little nervous being put on the spot.

At home, Calista is an excellent helper and big sister. She adores Caleb and loves to talk, sing, and read to him...
sometimes when I'd prefer he wasn't distracted.
Craig is often her playmate,
and sometimes her nemesis. Usually they get along really well, and often a little too well at bedtime...
While she is an excellent helper sometimes, other times she is frustrating. She will whine and complain about how hard it is to clean up her room, toys, or books, and spend an hour saying she can't do it, when if she just did it, it would only take 15 minutes. Every day after school, there was a list of things Calista had to do before she could watch videos or play games on the computer or ipad. Usually she never finished. When something presents the smallest challenge for her, Calista will whine and complain and say she just can't do it. It difficult to deal with, and difficult to encourage her to try new things that I know she could learn to do when I also know I'll be met with resistance.

Around our home, she found some excellent friends to hang out with,
often playing outside with them all afternoon and even after dinner if we let her.

We've moved away from all her friends, but she's taking it in stride. I know she misses them, but we're hopeful she'll make new ones just as amazing.

In the last year, Calista enjoyed dance, curling, and soccer.
She is strong and capable, and enjoys following instructions and getting things right.

Favorite color: rainbow
Favorite food: pepperoni pizza
Favorite place to go in the whole world: Oregon
When she grows up she wants to be: an artist for fun, and a veterinarian for a job
Best thing about being 5: moving to our new house
What she's looking forward to most about being 6: starting grade 1

She is

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

April 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

Five years old was a pretty good age for Calista. Hopefully six is just as good or (dream big!) even better!
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