A couple of weekends hanging with toddlers in August 2020


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Now that the Launchpad is officially open (thanks Bike Cochrane!), the boys want to get over here
and ride as much as they can. It doesn't hurt that the Beer Den is right next door either!
Here's Walter on the log section.


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Walter coming up and over the turn. His pink basket still makes me laugh, but he seems to love it.


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Watching his brother from the cool viewing platform.


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After a morning with Daddy hitting up the playgrounds, it was time for a session at Calaway Park.
Walter likes the jalopies and insisted on having his own car, so Henry took Mommy for a spin.


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On the airplanes with masks on giving the Calaway Park two thumbs up safety check.


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Henry still thinks the Bumblebee Blast is scary, but he wanted to join me for a ride again.


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I've been craving this Szechuan green bean dish for years since our trip to China back in 2011.
Other than ordering it at every Chinese restaurant we go to, I figured it was time to give it a shot.
Here's my first attempt, and thanks to YYC Growers for the great green beans - pretty decent and
it'll only get better now that I have garlic chili paste too.


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Out for a morning zip with the South Africans up on Merlin View from West Bragg Creek.


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Sunday consisted of a day at the zoo, which we registered for, since that's the way the world goes
now. Note that this was our first visit since the pandemic started, and Henry has been excited since
last year that the Bugtopia playground is finally open. This is likely the nicest new playground
in Calgary and the boys totally loved it. Sad that it's limited to 20 minutes of playtime
but that's the world we live in now.


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Roller slide at Bugtopia.


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Walter loved the ladybug here.


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They actually had poetry all over the playground, including this sweet haiku.


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Walter on the slide.


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Henry on the slide.


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Our cute little boys climbing trees near the ice cream place.


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Other than checking out the butterfly gardens, this was likely the highlight for Walter -
watching the peacock hanging out. Side note is that we almost had a blue morpho butterfly
land on us in the butterfly gardens, but it came close. That's morpho, not mofo.


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As I've been beefing up my free bike from my buddy Dan, I've been pushing it a bit, let's say.
After taking the forks apart to relube them and clean out the crap, I found this sticker on the fork.


Video of Henry crushing Walter's new bike



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Graham and I got one last MTB ride in prior to him going back to school. This was an affair as
we went up Ranger Summit to Snakes and Ladders to Ridgeback 3 to Bobcat and finished on Strange Brew.
It was rad regardless and I only had one crash (bruised up to my foream), but Graham also found
possibly the best raspberry patch ever and we gorged on them!


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This is super awesome as Henry (unprompted) drew out a 'campground map' and then explained it
to us as the different campground loops, similar to Marble Canyon. Pretty sweet little
cartographer we're raising.


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While Henry and I were camping, Mommy took Walter fishing for the first time. His little kid
rod and reel takes some love to keep it running, but he still likes casting the plastic fish
everywhere.

Daddy weekend with the boys


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Natalia went for a Canmore weekend with her sisters and I got to take the boys doing fun 'boy things'
all weekend. We had to start at the Launchpad even though it was so brisk that the boys basically
needed parkas.


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So, we decided to warm up by going to the Skate park since at least we can drop into the pool
and get out of the wind.

Henry doing a full lap at the skate park



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We met up with Rhys and Grayson at the Jumpingpound playground which the boys love because it
has a giant climber. However, Stacey was smart enough to bring 4 big trucks and the boys spent
an hour playing with the rocks instead of climbing, which was still fun. Other than dropping
my Thule bike rack (again) coming out of the townhouse parking area, it was a win.

Wood's Home Douglas Fir Tree Sanctuary


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Taking advice from my buddy Dan, we ventured into Bowness to have a little look at 400 year old
Douglas fir trees in the middle of the city. Here are the boys not quite sure what we're going
to run into, but ready for the hike. Side note is that I've stopped calling these 'hikes' and
instead find I get better compliance calling them 'adventures' or 'exploring outings'.


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Wood's Homes sign. This whole area is a bit rundown, but it is worth the visit.


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Walter trying to wrap his arms around the tree unsuccessfully.


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Hiking by a massive old Douglas fir.


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These two and the one with its top blown off are likely in the ~400 year old range.
I wish I would have had a dendrochronology probe to try this out.


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Another big monster. The goofy thing here is that this park is basically wedged between highway 1
and Stoney Trail and if you didn't know it was here you wouldn't have a clue.


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Massive construction site the boys were in awe to watch as they make way for the rest of the
Stoney Trail ring road expansion.


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This was Walter's favourite construction tool - the massive drill being used to make foundations.


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Next we played a bit at Bowness Park, which Henry calls 'Bonus' park since he thinks there's a
'bonus' playground (this one) just down from the main playground (in the distance).


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The last stop of the day was the Lazy Loaf for cookies as big as Henry's head along with
a cupcake for Walter. Note we also dropped off recycling, dropped off e-waste along with propane
canisters, and also stopped at Racks Unlimited for a bike rack consult. Busy day!

Prairie Creek with Fisher and Lillian


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Since my friend Graham was also solo parenting, we thought we'd meet up half-way at the Powderface
trailhead and enjoy some time together in the forest. Both boys were so excited that it had rained
so they had puddles to jump in. Of course, that meant they wanted to wear rubber boots for the hike.


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Part of the reason we thought the Prairie Creek hike would be a win was that there is a fun creek
for the boys to play in throughout the start of the hike. On the way in, Henry picked up a
stick, so of course Walter had to pick up a bigger stick and thrust it around. Graham explained
to us that a friend called the zone around a kid with a stick to be the 'blood zone' and that's
pretty accurate.


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We dropped down into the creek to give the boys a chance to throw rocks for awhile. They
mostly wanted to jump into the creek but it was a bit too deep for their boots.


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The boys and I chilling in the creek.


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Throwing sticks and rocks into the creek.


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Heading up to the bridge to play 'Pooh sticks', a great game Graham taught us that drops
sticks on the upstream side and then sees who comes out on the other side.


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Fisher using some moss from a spruce tree as his moustache.


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Much better shot of Fisher with a moss moustache. He later added sideburns and nose hair too.


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Walter trying the same thing.


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Some of the trail was a touch steep and had rock stairs in it. Of note is that Graham and I
had done this bike ride a few weeks back and we definitely had to walk some sections of this.


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We had lunch at 'Echo Cliff', a spot about 4km up the trail. The boys were stoked that they could
hear themselves in the echo which caused lots of laughing and fun times.


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Walter on his lunch rock.


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The boys eating their picnic sandwiches at 'Echo Cliff'.


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Our lunch spot - note that my feet were boiling in the rubber boots, but that's what you get
when you optimize for what your kids will want to do.


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Graham, Lillian, and Fisher having lunch too.


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Big kudos to Graham for his excellent banana bread he shared with us here.

Video of the boys playing with echos



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On the way back, we stopped back in the creek for more rock throwing.


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Trying to keep Walter from flinging himself into the creek is a full-time job.


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And Lillian crashed, just like the perfect little doll she is. I didn't hear her squawk once all day.

The boys giggling on a teeter-totter



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Playing on the saucer swing at Bragg Creek's excellent playground.


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Having ice cream in Bragg Creek - rainbow sherbet and root beer float for Henry.


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The boys really enjoy playing 'Hats Off' which came from Natalia's cabin and
we played this back at Candle Lake in 2005.


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Graham explained to the boys the reproductive cycle of lodgepole pines and how they can't
actually germinate without fire. So, of course, we brought a few home, threw them into the oven
and showed the boys what the seeds looked like.

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