Calgary Staycation

 

We live off the beaten path in a sort of suburban area. We used to be the outskirts but now are a residential area, with older houses and not much for shops. I don’t even think my children realize we live in a city. I think they believe they live in a small town just outside of a city. For that reason, my son always brings up this weekend as the one where we “went to that city with all that cool stuff and the good food.” It makes me laugh, but I have to agree, it was a pretty stellar stay-cation!

A few weekends ago we had really nice weather. The wind was cool but it warmed up as the day went on and ended up being perfect park weather. We took the kids out after lunch. I picked Prince’s Island Park because we haven’t been for a really long time. In the summer parking can be a pain and it can get really crowded, so we often go to another spot. Still being spring, I figured it wouldn’t be crazy busy. Thankfully, I was right. Plus, they built the Peace Bridge quite awhile ago and I still hadn’t walked through it! Criminal. So we had a lot of reasons to visit there.

Our original plan was to park and walk across the main bridge to the park, then give Hunter some time to run around while Izzy practiced her bike riding skills. Last year she was afraid of her bike- she was afraid to fall and hit her face. When we started out, Izzy crept along. She was being passed by toddlers. I wish I was kidding. She kept using her brake and causing people to run in to the back of her bike. I finally convinced her to go a little faster. I joked with her as I walked beside her, asking her silly questions like, “if you fell would you cause a big crater in the pavement?” or ” if you went fast enough would your bike fly?” It made her laugh and relax and, very slowly, her speed and bravery picked up. The trick with Izzy is to distract her and make her realize her silliness.

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To give Izzy the practice she needs, we made our goal Peace Bridge. By the time we got there, we had trouble keeping up with her as she biked up ahead of us! So proud of her. Hunter ran along beside and was tired keeping up with his big sister, but loving it.

Peace Bridge. Wow, it’s cool. When it was being created, I thought it was the dumbest idea ever! What a waste of money, I thought. Now that I have walked through it, I take it all back. I eat all of my words. I was the stupid one. It is really, really cool. What a great addition to the community, and a great draw for tourists. Buskers love it because the acoustics are incredible. It’s just a great piece of architecture. Just, wow. Great experience.

The kids thought it was really neat, and we walked through it with them as Hunter danced to the music of the drummer playing and Izzy slowly biked down the middle path. Once we came through the bridge, Josh suggested we look for an ice cream shop or frozen yogurt. We walked down to Kensington together while I looked on my phone for frozen yogurt shops. A lot has changed or been added to that community since I worked at the Starbucks down there, so wasn’t sure which way to head. We thought we would have to wait for the kids and do a slow crawl down to the shops but we had to yell at the kids to wait up and warn Izzy to bike slower- a sentence we didn’t think we would say any time soon!

The yogurt shop was just past the corner and easy to get to. Frogurt looks as if Unikitty decorated it, so obviously Izzy and I were in heaven. All choices are marked so you are aware instantly if they are gluten-free, nut free, etc. I had quite a few choices and the  girl was knowledgeable about which toppings would be gluten-free! You pay by the weight of your dish, and it was less expensive than I though it would be. I picked Chai-flavoured frozen yogurt, with lychee bubbles and coconut as toppings. SO GOOD. After our delightful time there, Josh agreed to let the kids browse the toy shop. I went to Higher Grounds to grab Josh and I coffee. I LOVE that place. I rarely get down there but it’s one of my fave coffee shops ever. I met up with the family and we played in the toy shop for a bit before heading back to the park. I love that community a lot. It’s too bad it is expensive to buy around there because I would live near it in a minute. Definitely one of my favourite spots in Calgary.

We walked all the way back and went through Peace Bridge again.

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It was time for the kids to run off all the sugar in the yogurt. We took them to the park where they played on the equipment and we sat under a tree to sip our coffee. When Izzy ran close enough to us, we had her take a photo of Josh and I sitting and relaxing. Hunter found a little boy to play with and Izzy climbed until she got bored. Izzy came over to us and Josh took her to practice her biking while I stayed to watch Hunter run around. I have never been so relaxed in my whole life. I even ignored my phone for a bit. I took photos with it, but didn’t answer messages- I wanted to watch Hunter run and giggle while I soaked up the sun.

It was around 4:30 pm by the time we convinced the kids we should go. We almost made it out of the park when Isabella surprised us. Izzy announced she would like to ride her bike down the steep grassy hill! Josh and I were thoroughly shocked. And she did. Not once. Several times. She only fell once and she wasn’t even scared. We actually had to pull her away!

Josh had one more stop in mind. We climbed the stairs to enjoy the view! It’s a few flights up wooden stairs. A lot of people were using them for their workouts, so we slowed down a lot of runners but they were pretty gracious about it.

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After that climb we all realized how hungry we had gotten! It was past 5pm by the time we got back to the car. Josh and I discussed simple meal options to throw together once we got home. Both of us thought the kids would last to 2pm…maybeeeee 3pm….but, holy, were we wrong. Part of the way back, Josh said he didn’t feel like cooking, so should we just go out for dinner- and then suggested one of my fave restaurants! Well! Perfect idea for the perfect end to an already perfect day! Of course I agreed and we pulled up to 4th Spot soon after that. It is kid friendly with a great atmosphere and top-notch servers. Not only that, but they know what is gluten-free friendly on their menu and are willing to accommodate such allergies. I was happy to eat there again. It was nearly Izzy and Hunter’s bedtime when we ate and a bit past when we left but they were angels the whole time. Eating at a restaurant is such a treat to them, especially at this one since it seems like a “grown up restaurant”.

Bellies full and smiles on our faces, we headed home. The kids fell asleep right after stories! We went downstairs and curled up on the couch to watch a movie. Josh showed me 4 movie trailers and I picked ‘The Spectacular Now’. It was…spectacular. I loved loved loved it. See that movie. A great end to the day, I think.

It really was such an amazing and lovely day- hopefully one we will repeat many times this summer. I love my city!

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