Sunday, 28 October 2012

Calgary Youth Temple Cultural Celebration and Temple Dedication

After eight weeks of rehearsals and preparations, the big night came for the Youth Cultural Celebration on the eve of the Calgary Temple Dedication. When it was announced that we would have a cultural celebration, I think we made several jokes about what culture? But it was more than that. It was a blend of Calgary culture and history as well as local church history. For all the corniness, I was touched by the spirit and strength of our youth.

There were many references to our cowboy heritage. At the beginning the youth filled the hockey arena in the shape of the classic Calgary white Stetson hat.

President Monson stayed home on Saturday to celebrate his wife's 85th birthday. Carmen was a little disappointed considering she had the prime spot of performing directly in front of the visiting general authorities of the church.

If any of you know the contact information for Sister Christensen (who is watching Carmen here), please tell me! Carmen says Sister Christensen took a photo of her, and I would love one from the front.

Steven was one of the hockey players for the Good Old Hockey Game number.

I got better photos of my nieces than I did of my own kids. Marissa barrel racing a stick horse.

Erica line dancing.

I think here Emma is working as eye candy behind the rodeo judges?

I took a few photos of the big screens during the celebration. I loved this aerial view of the temple.

President Ballard (and others) were presented with their white hats at the end of the evening. (I learned that this Calgary civic tradition was initiated by an LDS mayor, Donald Hugh MacKay, in the 1950's.)

Then this morning President Monson flew in to Calgary and presided over and dedicated our temple. He arrived full of humor and high spirits. We attended the first dedication session from our stake centre where we were also able to watch the cornerstone ceremony - President Monson was full of jokes and fun. I'm sure the children who joined him will never forget! As for me, I appreciated the dedicatory prayer and the blessings invoked on us by a prophet of God, as well as joining in singing The Spirit of God. Hosanna and amen.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012


This year we went from zero children in community basketball to all of  them
(Um, I mean all-of-them-at-home. Unless Jaclyn is up to things I don't know about - oh, wait.)

Carmen is in Midget Girls.

Chloe is in Bantam Girls.

This is Chloe's first formal basketball experience.

Steven's playing Junior Boys with some of his friends from school.

Aaaand, the laundry is getting a little confusing with all the blue uniforms around here - Chloe and Carmen even have the same number!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Camelback Mountain

Okay, I was nervous to hike Camelback Mountain on Thursday. I'd gone for a run on Monday morning, and really overheated, and I was sure I'd heat stroke out on the hike.

But Keith had thought it through, and planned our hike for 7am.

The happy hikers.

The early start combined with the overcast sky resulted in a perfect hiking morning. We even had some rain early on.

I want to say we made it to the top without breaking a sweat,

But that would be a lie.

I love a hike with a destination. Tops of mountains being my favourite.

Chloe had the same exhilarating experience she enjoyed last time. We need to take this girl on more hikes!

Chloe specifically requested I take a picture of the distance markers.

I just love the variety in this hike.

(And for the record, I never got ahead of Avery or Carmen -  

These pictures I took from above are from our descent.)

Carmen liked one stretch so much she decided to do it twice!

Checkout a photo in the same spot from nearly 3 years ago here.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Scorpions, Stig, and States

Our very first day at Keith and Kelly's house Chloe said she was hoping to see a scorpion. Chloe is now aware of the phrase, "Careful what you wish for - you just might get it".

She was pretty undone by it. Personally, I thought it was interesting. I'd never seen one and I didn't know they were translucent. 

The Stig is truly adored in this house, so Carmen fits right in to the family culture. 
(He is a beautiful dog.)

Every night this week Chloe and Emerson studied their states and provinces. To calm themselves in bed after the scorpion sighting they tried to remember all the states from memory - counting states instead of counting sheep. (Reviewing the 10 Canadian Provinces wouldn't have been long enough to calm them down.)

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Organ Stop Pizza

What can I say? I didn't know what to expect. I didn't get a recommendation for Organ Stop Pizza so much as a *you really have to see this* mention from a friend. And when I emailed Kelly to ask if she'd ever heard of it she said that my parents wanted to check it out the last time they came down, but it didn't work out.

It's an experience. And entertaining. 

We arrived at five-to-five and lined up outside the doors with dozens of other people for the establishment to open (doesn't quite classify as a restaurant). We ordered our food, picked a table, and sat and waited for we-didn't-know-what.

(Yes, those are dancing cat marionettes.)

It's a spectacle. The organ has stops that control drums, and bells, and a quacking duck, and I forget what else. The younger kids loved it, the older kids were entertained as well. Mom & Dad: I think you should try again. I think it would be fun. But bypass the pizza line, and go straight for the ice cream (or just the ice water), you'll be glad you did.

We went elsewhere our for ice cream to Bahama Bucks for what I can only describe as a flavoured snow parfait. I'm pretty sure with the right flavour syrup I could make this with real snow. It's an elevated snow-bob with cream poured over the top. It's totally amazing.

Keith is the master of evening treats - I need him to move to Calgary for a couple of years to uncover everything I'm missing in my own city.

Um, I just love this picture.


I love the name for these girls' grandma on the other side of their family. The thing about perfect nick-names is that they have to evolve organically, like this one did.

Anyhow, Grom has a pool.

And a plethora of pool toys and spare goggles.

Which my girls forgot to pack.

A few  underwater shots.

(Not taken by me; I stayed pool-side.)

So now I want a cool grandma nick-name someday and a pool. Which is more likely to happen?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


The Music Instrument Museum in Phoenix is really something else.

From the biggest of instruments,

To the tiniest.

We wore headsets which picked up signals when you stood in front of a display, playing representative music. 

You couldn't help but dance. 

The instruments were organized geographically representing all continents and countries.

It made me want a steel pan.

And brought out the inner rock star.

I could have used a spy camera in my sunglasses so that people didn't get bashful when I pulled out the camera.

The first exhibits were torturous for all of us that we couldn't touch anything - what a relief to get to the final exhibit.

Where we could let out our pent-up inner musician.