15 July 2012

Adventure Journal 2012 - Big Hill Springs

We normally spend Sunday afternoons as extended family at someone's house.  This particular Sunday was far too beautiful, and far too hot to spend indoors anywhere. So, after church, we all loaded up and drove to Big Hill Springs Provincial Park for a picnic. We agreed that never before had we been there when there was more than two or three other families, but on this day it was BUSY! It was hard just to find a spot in the shade to picnic. We managed, somehow. 

I'm not sure if any of the kids ate anything besides the rootbeer that Holly and Tyler brought.  They were having too much fun playing in the stream.  They got absolutely filthy, and my boys had to strip down before I even let them in the van, but it was so much fun, and way cooler than anywhere in the city would have been.

14 July 2012


I know where the centre of the universe is, do you? Well, I went there this July 1st, just as I always do, and had a fantastic time, just as I always do. Enjoy!

Passing out the Canadian paraphernalia.

Ask anyone who's ever gone, the Raymond parade is the very best parade in the world.  Why? Because they throw candy. Lots of candy. 

It's fuzzy, but amazing how much these two fellas look alike. 

Atticus already has a favourite cousin, and Rachel is surely the one. 

And, my favourite pictures of the day:

11 July 2012

Adventure Journal 2012 - Waterton

If you're from Alberta and you've never been to Waterton National Park, let me tell you, you don't know what you are missing. It is lovely, and wonderful, and you seriously need to go. NOW.

We really wanted to go to Waterton for the entire July long weekend. We had visions of tenting it in the camp ground there, hiking every day, and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. However, the campground was full, so we had to make other plans. We headed to Raymond, pitched our tent in my brother's back yard, and planned a day trip to Waterton instead.

It turned out a blessing, because on the first night there was a major storm in the middle of the night, and I got sick (like puke my guts out sick), and so we went into the house and slept there instead. Our day trip, due to my budding relationship with the toilet, was shortened as well. But, we were determined to make it to Waterton, so as soon as I emptied absolutely everything in my stomach, thereby reducing the likelihood of further puking, we jumped in the ol' minivan and headed out.

Have I mentioned that I love Waterton? It was really busy, being the long weekend and all, and we really just wandered around and checked out the sites, but it was still fun. We will have to go back again this summer for a real adventure, but our short perusal was even worth the drive.

We walked through town to the shores of Waterton Lake.  It's a glacier fed lake and incredibly cold.  When I was little my Grandpa Jackson used to offer us a dollar a stroke - out.  You really had to determine how much money you wanted, and how far you could possibly get before your muscles started ceasing.  I remember my brother Matt and cousin Eli needing to be rescued because they couldn't make it back to shore - but they definitely made the most money doing it. 


We stopped to check out the Prince of Wales hotel.  Excess Baggage anyone?  (If you know that reference, you are officially my favourite.)  Maybe one day our Waterton plans will include a room at the Prince of Wales instead of a 10 person tent at the camp ground. Maybe.  

 We stopped for a short picnic lunch, which Atticus fully enjoyed. Have I mentioned what a wonderful baby he is?  Well, he is. I love him.

And then we went to Cameron Falls, and our planned hike actually became just walking up the paved path to the lookout above the falls. It was dangerous though, at least according to the signage.  That's okay, it gives us a reason to go back, soon. 

Another successful adventure under our belts!  I'm beginning to like this summer.

09 July 2012

Dear Walmart Lady

Dear Walmart Lady,

Today, as my 2-year-old had a wild fit in the middle of the isle, stopping all passerbyers from passingby, I thank you for the smile you gave me.  The smile that said to me in such a short moment, "Don't worry, I've been there and understand. Take your time and care for your child, I'll try my best to pretend I interested in these peas while you figure out how to gracefully deal."  As I attempted to scrape the 30 lbs of screaming mess off the floor, you kindly spoke to my older son, asking him about his new little brother. 

You looked very different when I saw you later that same day in the changing rooms at the department store. All I wanted to do was try on a bra, to find something that contained all that is now my body.  But it must have been you, because it was with total kindness (and a little surprise) that you gently guided my escaped child out of your change room and back to mine.

And wouldn't you know it, I saw you again (although I hardly recognized you) when you offered to hold my baby when I found myself with a desperate-to-pee two year old and no hands to help pull down underpants.

At Costco you showed up, and I was blown away when you asked if you could give me all of your old baby carriers.  You just wanted them to go to someone who would use them.

And funny, there you were again, sporting a different face altogether, at the grocery store.  You emptied my cart for me, because my baby was screaming and needed to nurse just as I got to the till.  I tried to help, one handed, as I nursed him in my sling, but you gently told me to do what I needed to take care of my baby and finished the job for me.

I didn't catch your name and I don't know if I'll ever recognize you again until after you've done something else for me, but I wanted to say thanks.  Thanks for understanding and not judging me.  Thanks for being there at the very moments that I need you.  Thanks for reminding me that in a world where differences so easily divide, it is also very easy to make all the difference in the world. I hope you don't mind if I try to be you to some other woman who might need a little help in this world.  I think everyone needs a Walmart Lady in their life.

Love, A very grateful, very humble, Me

06 July 2012

The Calgary Stampede is 100 years old!

 Today marks the beginning of the 2012 Calgary Stampede.  This may not mean a whole lot to most of you, but I think it's pretty cool.  I love the Stampede.  Stop.  That was a lie.  I love the Calgary Stampede Rodeo, and sometimes even enjoy the chuckwagons a bit as well. That's definitely more accurate.  (Greasy midways, smoking and scantily clad women are the parts that I don't enjoy.)

Anyway, 2012 marks 100 years since Guy Weadick rode into Calgary and put together the very first Calgary Stampede.  The history is so rich, and the legacy so great.  It makes me proud to be a cowgirl in Calgary!  (That's me on the far left of the picture above.)

I'm not going to lie to you, I'm super excited to go see the rodeo this year.  I've spent more money than I have and I am going to enjoy every last second of it!  My BFF, Adrienne, is going to be a Ranch Girl in it this year, and she will be dressed in period cowgirl wear. I so wish I had a split skirt to wear as well.  It's going to be awesome, and I can't wait.

So, for your reading pleasure, here is a post from a few years ago where I enlightened the world on the history of the Stampede.  No, it isn't all about the rock shows or the expensive rides, the mini donuts or even the deep fried macaroni and cheese.  It's about so much more, so much that every Calgarian can be proud of!

Calgary Stampede

In 1912 when American Wild West performer Guy Weadick and his trick riding wife, Flores LaDue came to Calgary, they didn’t know the profound affect that Weadick would have on the city and the western heritage surrounding it. Weadick saw the city of Calgary, with Western roots as deep as any Canadian City, and saw an opportunity.  He envisioned the biggest "frontier days show the world has ever seen... hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls, thousands of natives. We’ll have Mexican ropers and riders... We’ll make Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Extravaganza look like a side show."  With that vision he approached the General Manager of the Calgary Industrial Exhibition, a yearly Industrial fair held in Calgary. E.L Richardson agreed to let Weadick rent the Exhibition’s land, 94 acres previously purchased from the Dominion government, for his Wild West show.  Weadick then contacted some of the richest ranchers in the area, the men now referred to as "The Big 4": George Lane, AE Cross, AJ McLean and Patrick Burns, and asked them to each finance his dream with twenty five thousand dollars.  With a hundred thousand dollars in hand, Guy Weadick went about to create what is now indisputably "The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth:" The Calgary Stampede!

Today the Calgary Stampede is best known for the many performers it brings, the midway, the mini-doughnuts and the cheesy western outfits, but at its birth the Calgary Stampede was the biggest rodeo and Wild West show in North America.  With rodeo prize money at twenty thousand dollars the rodeo brought competitors from all over Canada and the United States.  That very first year over one hundred thousand spectators came to see what Guy Weadick put together, cementing the Calgary Stampede into history.

But financing was not Weadick’s only stumbling block. What he had envisioned was even far greater than just cowboys and horses.  Women played a significant role in the first Stampede with trick riding, relay races, riding bucking horses and steer roping. He wanted all aspects of the Wild West, including the natives.  However, at this time in history the Natives were severely restricted.  They were not allowed off the reserves without government permit.  They were not allowed to live in Teepees or wear traditional clothing. They were not allowed to speak their traditional languages.  Weadick invited them to come to the Stampede, but the Indian Agents would not give them permits.  Undaunted, Guy Weadick travelled to Ottawa to ask permission for the Natives to participate in the 1912 Stampede.  Permission was granted, but the Natives were told that they could not bring their Teepees and traditional clothing and that they could only speak English.  While history is unclear if these restrictions were ever officially changed, Guy Weadick sent the message for the natives to come with their Teepees and not to worry about the Indian Agents.  1912 began one of the most prominent traditions of the Calgary Stampede, the Indian Village, a tradition which has continued ever since. The Stampede offered the Natives a time to connect with different tribes, to teach their young the traditional ways and to showcase their culture to the world.  Today there are 27 teepees at the Calgary Stampede representing the five major tribes of Alberta. The Natives still remember Guy Weadick for his role in preserving their culture.

In 1912 Weadick included already popular rodeo events, including saddle bronc and calf roping.  After dark the infield was lighted with the headlights of cars.  Tom Three Persons, Albertan Native from the Blood Tribe, won the Bronc event by riding the previously unridden bronc, Cyclone, taking home one thousand dollars and a fine saddle.  He was not only the only Native to win prize money that first year, but the only Canadian. The rodeo has remained one of the highlights of the Calgary Stampede.

In 1923 the organizers of the Calgary Industrial Exhibition saw the Stampede as a much needed novelty to bring life back into their sinking venture.  Agreeing to combine the two events, Weadick sought out a new and exciting idea to entice spectators to come to Calgary, and thus the Chuckwagon race was born.

Stories about the origin of the Chuckwagon race vary.  Some maintain that it was common for wagon races to be held on the open range.  Others believe that during the land rushes of the nineteenth century settlers would race their wagons to the prized pieces of land to claim.  Weadick claimed that he got the idea from his own experiences on the range when, after a cattle round up the cowboys would race the chuck wagons for the last half mile to the nearest bar in town: the crew that rolled in last would be stuck buying the winners a round of drinks.  However the idea came about, in 1923 Weadick instituted the notorious, sometimes deadly and always thrilling "Half Mile of Hell": the Chuckwagon race.  This gave the Exhibition the energy it needed to get out of the red and began the now familiar Calgary Exhibition and Stampede with rodeo and agriculture exhibits combined. 
  Calgary Stampede founder Guy Weadick gives a few roping tips to two-year-old Lionel Wood at the 1926 Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.
For twenty years Guy Weadick ran the Calgary Stampede, returning in 1952 to ride in the Stampede parade, one year before he passed away.  Today his legend still lives on as strong as when he began it. The Stampede Grounds now cover over 193 acres of prime real estate.  In 2007 well over one million two hundred fifty thousand people attended the Stampede, one million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars were awarded at the rodeo and one million eight hundred forty four thousand two hundred eighty six mini donuts were eaten. The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede remains a non-profit event, preserving the culture that Guy Weadick so loved, bringing together cowboys, cowgirls, First Nations and spectators from all over the world for the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!

05 July 2012

Blessing Day

On Sunday June 3, 2012 Atticus was given a name and blessing by his daddy at our church.  I love baby blessings.  I love watching as the tiniest of babies are surrounded by good men, who hold the Priesthood of God, and give that little one a blessing.  In Atti's blessing circle was his Daddy, his uncles, Aaron, Matt and Matt, Tyler, Mark, Arvid, Doug, Brad, his two grandpas, Bumpa and Grandpops, and his Great Grandpa Hudson.  It was a huge circle, but so wonderful.  

The biggest trick on blessing day is to keep baby clean, all dressed in white, until after the blessing, at least.  Since sleeping babies make the least mess (as long as I can keep big brothers away), I made sure to nurse him first, dress him quickly thereafter, and then keep him asleep right until the blessing. He was asleep before we left the driveway!

Each of my boys have their own blessing suit.  Renee helped me with the first, but because Eli was so tiny when he was born, there was no way it would have fit Silas.  So, Renee offered to sew up another for him.  When Atticus was born it just seemed necessary that he have his own as well, so I showed Renee what I was looking for, and she went to work. I sewed the bow tie, and knit the hat, and doesn't he look adorable?!

 The blue blanket is the very one that Jared was blessed in when he was a baby. His Grandma Wiebe knit it just for him. 

I love this look of Atti's.  He's a dream, and I love him so much!

04 July 2012

Adventure Journal 2012 - Shuswap

Eight years ago this May I got my first taste of what it is like to vacation as a Wiebe.  Who knew that skilled wielding of a hammer and bathrooms with no sealings are necessary for a successful holiday. Don't tell anyone, but I don't think I have ever swung a hammer at the Wiebe family cabin, and I used that sealingless bathroom as little as humanly possible that weekend. I do do a whole lot of cooking and washing while I'm there to make up for my lack of hammer swinging... and reading and knitting, which is actually my idea of a vacation.  Anyway, this May long weekend Jared and I packed up the littles and headed out to Shuswap to enjoy the rainy weather at his cabin, and reminisce about the same weekend eight years ago when Jared first took me there and asked me to be his wife. So glad I didn't let the rustic cabin scare me away, and the fact that he threw the ring that he proposed to me with in the lake...!

But wait a minute, this isn't about then, it's about NOW. 

So, can I count our trip to Shuswap as an adventure.  Let's say yes, okay?  Managing to eat raw the entire weekend was an adventure in itself. 

Granny and Grandpops came along with Renee and Rhiannon; Uncle Doug and Aunt Andrea and their family were next door (Uncle Doug is Eli's absolute FAVOURITE great-uncle, hands down!); and all in all it was a fantastic, albeit very short, holiday. 

Silas cannot get enough of  his little brother (whom he still calls Baby Brother without fault).  He can stare at him and kiss him all day long and not tire.  I love it!

Eli and his cousin Rhiannon get along so well.  Here they sit, on the stairs, while Rhi does Eli's hair and Eli reads her a book.  I love them!!!

Both boys had to help daddy drive the boat, of course.  What will happen when Atticus gets a little older???

For now he didn't mind being held, snug as a bug, by his momma.

His first hike (and mine!)  

Silas didn't last.  Good thing daddy's so tough!

And a family picture before we left.  Typical Wiebe photo.  

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