The first week of July in our city marks start of the Calgary Stampede, and with it comes great festivities attended by huge crowds. With lots of unique and tasty food (like deep fried oreos), rodeos, music, and endless free pancake breakfasts, its a full on annual ten day Cowboy celebration. Being born and raised in Calgary, we have recently changed the way we handle this time of year.
In Stampedes past, we’d hit up the grounds for some rides, and great food while battling crowds donned in jeans, cowboy boots, and hats, but these days we opt to stay far away from downtown to graze the family friendly pancake breakfasts complete with jumpy castles and petting zoos, other times when feeling brave, like this year, we’ll head to the parade (another famous Stampede festivity).
With both kids in tow we went to a little mini-parade put on by the local Children’s Hospital, which is reserved for patients and staff, but we are lucky enough to belong to the later. It’s just a short 30 min display of a few of the entries for the bigger parade which was held the following day. Ry loved watching the marching bands, police motorcycles, horses, and various floats go by. There were even a couple of princesses to wave at, and have photos taken with. Following the parade the kids have a chance to go around and say hello, up close and personal.
Another great event that takes place in early July is our Wedding Anniversary. We were married on 07/07/07, which just so happened to fall in the middle of Stampede, so we were back in the city again this year. Josh and Ry decided that a 9th Anniversary is cause for cake baking, so we did a little family bake-off complete with chocolate cupcakes, chocolate frosting, and of course, sprinkles. These were not suitable to share with outsiders however, as the mix was licked as was the batter, icing, and sprinkles… a pretty typical toddler baking experience.
That night we went out for a family dinner “date”. We had debated finding some great fish tacos, but with the most promising contenders seeming far too close to downtown during Stampede, so we opted for Earls on the west side. We still enjoyed our fish tacos, and family calamari appetizer tradition, and Ry was pleased she got her “noodles” too. Baby Z blissfully slept through the whole thing.
When we got home, we let Ry blow out some candles after singing “happy anniversary”, and she proceeded to destroy a big delicious chocolatey cupcake right before bed. With a ravenous baby and a tired toddler, we rushed back into parenting duties for the evening, and didn’t even get to enjoy a cupcake for ourselves. Once they were both in bed we decided it was just too late, and we were too tired to pursue a taste. It would have to wait until tomorrow. I was pretty disappointed about this, but I think Josh was mostly indifferent. Maybe next year we’ll get to enjoy a childless date night out, complete with dessert, but I think we still enjoyed this year’s night out as a family of four!
Divide and Conquer
This weekend Josh had Ry, and I had Z. It was a typical “get stuff done” weekend. On Saturday they went to the Zoo with cousin Emma, and gramma, and on Sunday Josh ran in the annual 5km Stampede Road Race with a couple of friends, followed by yet another pancake breakfast! I drove up to Edmonton with my mom and baby Z for a family wedding on my dad’s side. I hadn’t seen any of them since my dad’s funeral 8 years ago, and was glad to go and catch up. My grandma is in her nineties so it was really nice to see how she was doing, and to introduce her to little Z for the first time. Overall it was a quick but worthwhile trip; I even managed to get my pancake fix at the hotel breakfast on Sunday morning… and didn’t have to “run” for it!
Now back to the lake on Monday morning, hopefully to enjoy a week of quieter living, and hopefully some summer weather.