Then we headed south and I got the opportunity to deal with one of the issues that caused me the most pause when thinking of how we'd travel...Ryan and his aversion to commercial bathrooms. Now if you put yourself in the shoes of a 3-4 year old boy who has hypersensitive hearing you would probably not like commercial bathrooms either. Maybe even without those variables you find them undesirable. Ryan however doesn't enjoy listening to the loud flushing of the stalls beside him the loud hand dryers and heaven help us at one point one of the motion sensor toilets flushed while he was sitting on it...EPIC.
I didn't know if we'd ever be able to use a commercial bathroom again. Then like an oasis in the desert we came to Uncle Ole's. Stopping for coffee with Ole and Marg on our way to Calgary, Ryan was thrilled with the prospect of "I bet Uncle Ole has a really quiet pot". On our arrival Ryan made a bee line into their bathroom with his pants already around his ankles. When I went to check on him he informed me that this was the nicest bathroom he'd ever been to. It is a lovely bathroom, and profoundly impacted Ryan's day in a really positive way, he used it 4 times over the course of the 2 hour visit. "I'm unloading all my poop into this hole" he told me as he sat on Ole and Marg's toilet for, well, a long time. What is one to respond to that..."great idea" was all I could come up with.
Not only had Ole the greatest bathroom on earth, across the road from his house was parked an excavator. Really could this day get any better!?!?!
Nadine loved on their dogs. Lacey and Chester, Braeden loved the freedom from his car seat, Ryan loved the bathroom. "We'll have to go back there sometime soon" was the consensus from my two speaking children.
Next stop, Calgary. When we drove into Calgary we began revisiting everything Bob the Builder had ever taught us. Roads and bridges, skyscrapers. It was breathtaking :)
Nadine was patiently awaiting her trip to the zoo. Braeden was waiting for the day he wouldn't have to sit in his car seat. Visiting Carmen and Linda was another very bright spot on our tour. According to Nadine, they have the nicest, smoothest bears ever. I really wish I had taken some pictures of them. There was great visiting, great food, great hockey.
"oooo we should go back there again!" "Uncle Carmen cooks really good eggs." and "can you believe we found Chris (their cousin)?!" was the consensus and some of the highlights discussed in the suburban at the completion of our Calgarian tour.
I got to see another of my dearest friends in Calgary. They'd never know it by how often I am or more appropriately am not able to come and see them but I really love and really miss the people I worked with when I lived there. Lucky for me one of them was able to meet us at the zoo with her two charming boys who totally and completely stole my heart.
The zoo has now inspired Nadine on a new career path. Zookeeper. "Mom I'm going to be a zookeeper, I'm going to be in charge of giraffes and lions." She may be quite right.
Braeden surprised me with how interested he was in the animals at the zoo as he rode in the backpack.
Ryan surprised me at how he wasn't so interested in the animals but was THRILLED to see someone shoveling bat poop out of the bat cage...he's a boy who likes to load and shovel. We could have stood there until all the guano was taken care of.
Onward we drove to Kelowna. We had a totally fantastic time there. Kelowna is filled with a lot of great things. We found great family, great dirt to dig in, great creeks, great trails, great parties, great food, more great people. Not the least of the greatness included the energyplex, an indoor playground where the kids met some new friends, climbed, slid, dangled, etc, etc. Upon leaving I hear tell that Nadine was saying farewell to her new friend the young boy's dad said "Well it was really nice to meet you Martha"...
We did a lot, and I do mean a LOT of driving in the last couple weeks and I was completely astonished how well the kids (all 3) travelled. Maybe I've just developed the Loberg pattern hearing loss quite early in life which is also ultimately a male trait but boy...they were just so good. We had a few unplanned stops to pee on the plants in the ditch. But they were just so...pleasant. We didn't even really use media until we were on our way home. Media in the car is something I used to think was lame. Now to whip out an ipod full of kids movies feels like I hold in my hand a mute button. I recognize I shouldn't be astonished by the success of the kids in the car for days on end. They are after all, great kids.
The following is a butt-load of pictures from the Corbett gadabout tour of Alberta and BC of 2011