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This time last week we were in Calgary, Alberta enjoying time with family. We went up for our nephew's baptism and stayed about 5 days. We had a lot of fun visiting family and just being together. It's been so long since the girls and I were last in Calgary - almost two years! Now that we live so much closer, we won't ever go that long in between visits and I can't wait to explore Alberta with my family. I have a running list of things to do and see when we go up. One thing that I want to try to do every trip, is drive through Banff and stop for a hike. If you haven't been to Banff, you should fix that and go because it's gorgeous. I had chosen an easy hike - Silverton Falls (trailhead is at the Rockbound lake parking lot, right by Johnston Canyon) for our little family to do. The mountains and trees were perfectly flocked with snow and before we arrived at the trailhead big, fat snowflakes began to fall. It was completely perfect. Holly and Greta were thrilled to be in the snow and going for a hike. I said to Conor that what we had been doing wrong with all our hikes up to this point was we weren't hiking in snow. It was amazing.

We made it to the falls and this is were it got a lot colder! The frozen creek came right up to the path, but it didn't register with Holly that it was ice and she walked out a few feet. I called out to her quickly knowing what she was doing and knowing what would happen, but it was too late. The ice broke and the poor girl was soaked up to her hips! She managed to scramble out okay and we quickly took off her wet clothing and wrapped her in my coat. Fortunately it wasn't very cold (only a little below freezing), and we hadn't made it more than 15-20 minutes from the parking lot. Everything was fine and some kind strangers who came upon us right after she fell in brought us a fleece blanket. It all turned out okay, just a little startling!

Conor and I have since talked about the event and shared our perspectives. Maybe this was an important lesson for our girls to learn. The dangers of ice. Maybe it'll save them from a future fatality. If not, it sure has left us with a strong standing memory of Banff!

Going to the zoo was so much fun! A definite San Diego must. We loved seeing all the different animals and I feel like we saw so many! It was a ton of walking and our girls were troopers about it. Conor gave Greta lots of little shoulder rides to rest her legs.

We saw pandas which was so exciting! Greta was thrilled to see kangaroos (I think a trip to Australia needs to be added to our to-do list). I got a tad emotional thinking that my gandkids may not see some of these animals. And then I thought, well if we lived a 100 years ago I wouldn't have seen any of these animals!

On my Mom's last day visiting, we went to Seacliff Beach. It was such a HOT day. Usually there's at least breeze, usually a strong wind, off the ocean, but there was almost nothing. The waves were so soft - it was the perfect ocean for the children to play in! And we all wanted to be in the water because the beach was so hot (except for Greta - she was one day 1 of tonsillitis). The sand burned our feet. Seacliff Beach is kind of a funny beach. It has pretty palm trees and beach homes and then it also has a pier and a sunken concrete ship that is basically stinky bird paradise.

The week my Mom was here was amazing for wildlife watching. We saw lots of dolphins at this beach - some of which were babies. We watched them slowly make their way north and then back south again. They were jumping out of the water and so close! It was incredible!

I had such a great time with my Mom. It was really fun to have her in my home with my family. I loved it!

We finally visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium! High fives all around! I've wanted to go ever since we moved here (almost three years ago!). We made it our big special outing with my Mom during her visit. It was so worth every penny (we bought a membership and a couple buddy passes). We spent nearly 5 hours there. I think my favorite part was seeing how enthralled Greta was. She was so into it and so excited to be there! I just loved that. Age three has really been her blossoming year. We all really enjoyed it - the ocean is an amazingly magical place. Holly loved the Hammerhead sharks! The kids' area in the aquarium was a great play place for Holly and Greta - they could've spent all day there!

I'm so grateful we get to live in this area and be so close to the wonders of the ocean. My family has been so blessed to live here.

We timed our drive home so that we could stop at a beach for our picnic lunch. Again, it was really pretty. The whole drive on highway one was breathtaking.

Holly and Greta hitched up their skirts to play in the ocean, and got their underwear soaked in the process. Made me laugh. Their happy faces make me happy.

As you can see in all the photos I posted, Greta is crazy about Conor. She is morphing into the biggest Daddy's girl. It's a little weird because she's always been a Momma's girl. Sometimes I'm like, "great, go see your Dad," and sometimes I feel a little discarded. No matter what, it's adorable to see how much she loves Conor. And I can't blame her, because I'm pretty crazy about the guy myself.

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