Saturday, October 15, 2011

O Canada

As a gift for Grandma Barb's birthday, Grandpa Ralph flew our family up to Canada on Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving, in October) for a family reunion.  We love visiting Mark's home and native land this gorgeous time of year.
 Here are the grandparents with their grandkids.
 Lorelei, Gryffy, Kayla, Tyler and Jessica played and played in the falling leaves.  They buried each other.  They stuffed their shirts.  Leaves were flying everywhere.

 Gryffy also made it across the monkey bars with cousin Tyler's help, and then went from one bar to the next all by himself!  He was so proud of himself, except when he went to show us, he stopped a bit short, and got really frustrated.  "No, I'm mad!" he kept saying everytime we told him we were so excited for him. 

 I love the commingled joy and resoluteness in his face here.

 Lorelei played on the monkey bars, too.

 They sure love cousin Tyler, and he's a great babysitter!
 We took many walks on the trails, which were plentiful and basking in colorful foliage.  The kids loved the wagon rides to the parks.

 Kayla is an amazing gymnast.  She does cheer, gymnastics, dance, flute, works at a daycare center, delivers newspapers--one busy and talented girl!  Lorelei (literally and figuratively, both) is looking up at her.

 I love that the parks here have workout equipment for parents.  So does Gryffy.
 This was the kids' favorite activity--they could spin on this thing for hours.  They'd tell us to stop when they were all dizzied up, then stagger and fall into a pile on the ground.
 Here's Gryffy and Lorelei opening presents from Cousin Jessica and Aunt Michelle.  The pirate turtle was originally Gryffy's, but Lorelei manipulated him out of it.
 We made another visit to Niagara Falls, but this time got the Adventure Pass on the Canadian side.
 Here are Canada's Horseshoe Falls.

This was the lookout right next to the Falls.  We got soaked.  But it was incredible.
 We spent the whole day in plastic parkas.  They handed them out at the movie show Niagara Fury, at the Journey Behind the Falls (here), and on the Maid of the Mist boat ride.
 Here we are behind the falls--there are open lookouts where you can see the gushing, falling water.
 This is on our way to board the Maid of the Mist.  It was absurd how close we got to the falls.

 Our family on Maid of the Mist, returning from the center of Horseshoe Falls and on past the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.  Soaked.
 The American Falls and Cave of the Winds, pictured from the boat.
 Uncle Mike and Grandpa Ralph.
 This was the walkway we took along the rapids.  Mark was a bit nervous about the kids' safety.  The force of the waters was awesome, and we got really close to the whirlpool down from the Falls.

 We had lunch at Planet Hollywood.  On the way back, the kids (still soaked) shared Mark's coat.  They loved it.
 They also loved sleeping in a tent and a bunk bed in Mark's old room (now Tyler's room).
 It was a wonderful getaway and great family time at Mark's home.  The kids wanted to stay--even Gryffin, who usually begs to go home on trips.  We had a great time, Grandma & Grandpa Connelly, Kayla & Tyler.  Thanks for hosting us!

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