It’s only been a couple of days since I arrived back home after a week away on a very typical Blackstock-Sieben vacation: a road trip through the Rockies to Alberta to visit family and friends, babies and kids and the city where I was born. I tagged along with my parents on a lovely trip where all I had to do was sit in the backs eat and enjoy the view!!

We started with a quick stop to to see my Mom’s aunt, Auntie Shirley, her daughter, Pam, and Pam’s granddaughter, Mariah. What a great visit! Of course Auntie Shirley had a mountain of delicious thin sandwiches and Pam had made a wonderful Caesar salad with homemade croutons! Mariah was a darling! So cute and sweet, dancing to her singing duck, “Quack, quack, quaaaack….” and colouring with me.

We then stopped in to see my sister and brother-in-law, Angie and Tom, in Langley. poor Angie had been terribly sick with the flu but the little twins she’s growing are a-okay and she is now feeling much better.

We stayed in a very nice little hotel in Langley, had a great complimentary breakfast and headed up the Coquihaula to Kamloops to visit my dad’s twin sister, Auntie Bev, and her family.

We chatted with my cousin Dave (and I saw the movie Star Trek again, and liked it even more! But that’s for another blog post soon.), enjoyed some time with Aunite Bev and played a lot with my cousin Candace’s kids, Brynn and Cruz. They showed us how good they were gliding around on their bikes, played a bit of basket ball…toddler-style, blew bubbles and I learned how to properly toss a football! Fun times!!

After two nights in sunny, warm Kamloops, we packed up and headed further east through the glorious Rocky Mountains. I will never, ever tire of driving through the mountains! My favourite scenery include the glacial lakes, with blues and greens so crisp and bright, keeping a sharp eye for any wildlife (though sadly on this trip we saw very little…does one deer and some hawks count?) and my most favourite part is the end of the mountains where they suddenly stop and become green rolling hills full of life and character!

Of course those foothills lead right into Calgary. The city of my birth and where I lived for the first 6 and a half years of my life. I now find Calgary to be too big, too busy, too dusty and always full of too much construction. The suburbs are planned out so tight and cramped that even though the homes are probably ginormous and cost a fortune, they look like tin-roofed shanty towns where the roofs almost touch and there is nary a tree or green thing for blocks and blocks. Yet, if I had one of those lovely big houses, I’d feel very comfortable and grateful, indeed!!

We had a quick visit with my dad’s cousins, Auntie Della and Uncle Manuel, in their picturesque new condo over looking a small hidden lake, and headed on north of the big city to the town of Airdire where my siblings and I attended school while we lived nearby.

Here we found our newly moved-in relatives, my mom’s sister, my Auntie Dorene and Uncle Craig, their daughter Kristie and her new baby boy, Oliver. This would be my new home for several days, so I set up camp on their floor and enjoyed every second being with them.

Oliver is such a cutie with such a range of funny expressions, laughs and cries. He was mostly a very happy boy and even when fussy, he seemed pretty easy to calm or play with until we saw a smile or he fell happily asleep. We had some lovely walks around their pretty neighbourhood, some lazy hours just relaxing and Kristie and I had some great late night chats about books, movies and anything else that we could think of!

We also met up with my parents again at my brother, Mike’s baseball game. We enjoyed watching him play and watching little Oliver discover his new love for watching a spectator’s dog catch a ball. Boy did he laugh at that!

On my final night in Alberta, Krisitie’s sister, Katie arrived and us three gals had a great time together! How I wish we all lived even closer together! Perhaps someday we will! For now I will treasure the short times we have together and all the messages and e-mails we share while apart.

Finally we had to depart. A long day of driving lay ahead but I had my trusty Nikon poised and ready for any beautiful scenery or any wildlife that might pop up. I managed to capture a quick photo of a coyote on a hillside, only because he was moving and the tan blob stood out from the grasses behind him. We also took a few good photos at a pretty little rest stop at a place called Finn Creek. I’m getting pretty good at holding my big camera up and taking self-portraits of me and my other forced subjects! My parents were great sports!

We again had a nice night in Kamloops and were treated to the famous Swiss Pastry Shop’s raspberry torte! What an amazing dessert!! Thanks Auntie Bev!!!

On the drive down from Kamloops to the Lower Mainland, I popped out my ipod and began listening to an audiobook of Twlight by Stephanie Meyer…I never realized it was so satisfying to have someone read aloud to you! With the pretty green hills whipping by I immersed myself in one of my favourite stories!

Once more in Langley we met up with Angie and Tom once again for lunch. Angie’s health was markedly improved and she was practically bubbling over with love and joy! I brought her a few little baby gifts for the twins she is carrying and we had a lovely pasta meal and a good long visit. I cannot wait until we can find out what she is having!! Two boys? Two girls? Or a boy and a girl??? I am so very, very excited!!! My mom and I just keep looking at each other once in a while and exclaim. . . “TWINS!!!” Yay!

We picked up Ruby Richmond at Kim and Brad’s house on the way to the ferry. (Ruby’s grandson.) And I got to see most of their kids. I love that family and miss them!!

The ferry ride home was pleasant; I picked up a Nature Photography magazine and was truly inspired by some of the wonderful shots. I’d love to be a field contributor someday.

Our trip was perfect; we hit all the major stops and many family members along the way so that the week didn’t drag but felt like just the right amount of time away from home. I was excited to sleep in my own bed once again but I already missed everyone we visited.

Thanks for an awesome week away, Mom and Dad, and everyone who took their own time out to host and visit with us!! I had a grad time!!

To see ALL my photos, go HERE —>