Calgary Christmas

Winter Night by Little & Ashley on Grooveshark

Alberta. Where the roads stretch straight for miles and miles and the cows plod alongside. Where the wind blows fierce, drifting snow over to just one side of the road. Where skies are big and often blue, spread over with sun.
We drove all thirteen hours up to family land, toting marshmallows and pipe shooters, ready for a good time.
And fun was had by all. 
How can you not enjoy yourself with crispy, fluffy snow, warm breezes, and friendly family around a crokinole board?
And then. The Ice Rink. I was so looking forward to it. Brought my skates. Brought Peter's skates. Ready to tear it up. I have so many happy memories of skating with my cousins. Shoveling snow off frozen ponds, skating under the stars and moonlit sky. Pleasant memories for sure. And then there were the years we lived just a ten minute trudge through the snow from a little pond, often wind-blown and frozen deep, perfect for games of soda can hockey for two. Just my mom and me. Did we use sticks? Or just kick with our skates?

Pam and Rob taught me how to skate backwards. How to skate circles with a cross-over pattern. How to {attempt to} hockey stop. Or at least stop without falling down. I always wanted to skate as fast and as beautifully as they did.

So here we are, ice beckons. It's like riding a bicycle right? Well, someone gave me a hockey stick and sent me after the puck and that was where I went wrong. Over-extending to reach that silly sliding thing, losing balance, over-correcting -- then the slow-mo flail of arms and legs as I figure out how I'm planning to land. Tim called it "graceful". I landed on the right cheek {not on my face}, part of my weight pressing into the stuck out elbow sent to keep my head from hitting the ice. I really didn't want another Canada Concussion {did I blog about the first one?}. Tail between my legs, I hobble off the ice and didn't don my skates again all weekend. Sad story, I know. I nursed my bruised elbow and very sore neck, wishing for the resilience of youth.

And Peter? Peter. He fell down on his way to the rink, wanted his skates off and didn't try again. We'll keep at it. Right now, he's not too enthused.

But isn't the rink pretty? And the blowing snow?
Perfect for a mid-morning snack.
Of course, the nativity story was popular this weekend. Here we have a very young Mary on a very silly donkey. And baby Nathaniel who kindly removed the dolly and got into the manger himself.
There were iPads and iPods and Macs all over. Not many outlets for the taking.
And now the donkey is a train engine, with two cars loaded down. Even the twelve-year-old rides.
Beautiful family. So nice to see them and interact. Peter and Ezra even smiled {so very briefly} for a great-grandkids photo.
The Canada cousins are very sure-footed on the ice. Even the 18-month-old {in his boots}.
So we skated {briefly} and watched others skate, played games, went on walks, went sledding and caroling, watched the Sound of Music, enjoyed an abundance of delicious food, and played in the snow some more. I wish I had taken pictures of Kaiden's remote controlled helicopter and the group of us playing Dutch Blitz. Two favorites.
We're so blessed to have so many wonderful family members who we love. 
The kids now know their "Canada cousins" and hope for more fun times with them soon. : )