Thursday, 27 June 2013

Calgary Zoo

Calgary Zoo, twice in a week, my life is on an up swing.  I went the first time with the girls from work and it was fantastic, so I thought it would be a great trip to take with the boys.  Then I realized that I had been a neglectful mom and had never taken Lil Man to the zoo before, and I can't even understand how that happened.

So Sunday after the family reunion we headed to the zoo with our cousins, Graham, Carla and their two girls!!

There are so many sights to see at the Calgary Zoo, the newest exhibit is the Penguin exhibit.  Unfortunately, they closed down the Australia Exhibit (back in 2010) and that made me sad. I didn't exactly like the Australia exhibit, it was never my favorite but the kangaroos were neat and some of those night creatures were creepily intriguing.  Our first stop at the Zoo was the Penguins, it's right when you come in, so it makes it easy!!

Those lil penguins are so darn cute.  The little tuxedo wearing acrobats! The rock hoppers are my favourite!! One poor little penguin was moulting, and he was still in his winter feathers and they just didnt' seem to want to come off so he kept pacing around and around, not standing still like his brethren.




After the penguins we went to see the Tigers, Gorillas, Hippos, Lions, Giraffes and Monkeys.  These guys have been at the zoo for a long time, but they are still a lot of fun to watch.  My favourites are the Hippos, they are so ugly they are cute.


The zoo had posted that giraffes weren't around the day we went to visit, but I guess that was a mistake because we saw both giraffes in their area, I really do think they are very graceful looking creatures.



Lil Man was thrilled with the zoo! I think he liked the Elephants and Tigers the best, we definitely got the most reaction from him when we saw those animals.  It may have been because they were the most active, or Lil Man just really likes them.  He is a lot like Chandler in the animals he likes the best.

We finished off the zoo with a family trip through the prehistoric park, our cousins left early, so we spent the next thirty minutes wandering through the dinosaur display.  We took some pictures and then it was time to leave. Lil man was so good for his first trip to the zoo, and his brother was such a great big brother and so accommodating.  I am very proud of my two boys!!!











Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Family Reunion

The Schnell family is a very close family that enjoys holding family reunion events at least once a year if not twice a year, I am so blessed to have been brought into this family.  Just to be clear, this is my husbands maternal family and I really, and truly love them all.

After all my gallivanting around the world, ok North and Central America, I came home in time to celebrate birthday's for two uncles.  So we had a mini family reunion the first weekend in May. And I got to drive my new car down too!!!

For me family is so important, I love all my family and I cherish the time I get to spend with my family. It's not as frequent as I would like, but when we do it's always a good time.  So to all my family, new and old, blood and chosen, I am very grateful to have you in my life and I love you all!!!

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Week 20 Bright

So since taking a picture of the sun would have been cliche, I decided to find the next best thing.  A light bulb, no joking, but I did find some great plants that had some great sunlight shining on them, so those were my submissions for Week 20!! Also Lil Man playing at Sylvan Lake and the treacherous stairs that inflamed my sciatic nerve.


Monday, 24 June 2013

New Car

Good bye Explorer
Remember back on Good Friday I told  you my car had been involved in a hit an run?  Maybe you do maybe you don't, anyways it was involved in a hit and run and then the insurance adjuster told me they were writing off my Explorer, there was just too much damage.

I had an idea of a car I was going to get, it was just going to be a car to get me through until we had some more of our bills paid off.  I had looked at the north end car dealerships and had found a Kia at the Kia dealership.  It was a Forte and it looked ok, nothing fancy, but it seemed to have the added features I was looking for, but it wasn't a car I loved.... not by a long shot, but it would have done the trick.

When we checked our mail upon our arrival home from Vegas there was a customer appreciation invitation for MGM for the following day.  The kicker was, if we bought a car that day we would get a free trip to Vegas!!! Now this may seem like a fantastic deal, and really it was but we had just gotten home from Vegas and we weren't excited to go back anytime soon.  But I thought I would go have a look to see what type of vehicles they had that I could maybe afford.

Now this was probably the best decision I ever made. I believe that things happen and that there is a reason behind everything that happens.  I am actually willing to try lot's of things and I have had a vision board up by my desktop for about a year now.  On this vision board I had things for Fifth Avenue Collection, Vegas trip, Disneyland, I phone 5, new Apple Mac Book Pro, and a Ford Focus 2012 titanium edition.  I had already earned my Fifth Avenue things, the Vegas trip had occurred and been paid for, I was eligible for an upgrade on my phone and with some of my insurance settlement money I was going to buy my new computer.  That left Disneyland and the Ford Focus........MGM is a ford dealership.

So Hubby and I got up the day after Vegas and headed over to MGM to see what they had on their lot. I was resigned to the fact that I would probably be getting the Kia but I had to check out what they had to offer. The first car I saw on the lot was a silver Ford Focus, they look so different now that I almost didn't recognize it as a Focus, but there it was, leather interior, sun roof, My Ford Sync and Touch system, yup it was the car on my Vision Board.  I explained my bottom line to the salesman and I was going to stick to it.  We went out for a test drive and I would have had a broken heart if they were not able to meet my demands and I wasn't able to get the car, but thankfully they were and I bought the car.

I am so happy with my new car, it's exactly what I wanted, like exactly what I had envisioned and I truly couldn't be happier about it.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Viva Las Vegas Heading Home

The day after the wedding, is always one of those anticlimactic type days.  All this anticipation for this big day has built up, the day comes it's wonderful and then it's over and now everyone involved in the wedding has to come up withs something else to look forward too. I suspect that's why after people get married they are bombarded with "So when you going to have a baby?" type questions.
Hubby and I just sorta of hung out, we went back to Ross I had to get a couple more items, and I was looking for something for Chandler.  We hung out by the pool, said good bye to Nellie and Rhi because they were leaving that night.  Hubby and I contemplated hoping the plane early but it didn't work out so we just sort of did a little walking tour of the south end of the strip together.
I really and truly enjoyed our trip together but I was so happy when we were boarding our plane to Calgary to head home!! I was done with vacations and I was ready to sleep in my own bed for a time.
You may recall I was in Mexico not even four days before leaving for Vegas, it sorta makes sense that I was homesick for home!!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Viva Las Vegas Round two WEDDING DAY



The first day where my body seems to want to sleep in I had to be up early, as I had to head over to the Bellagio to get my hair done and start prepping for the wedding with my beautiful sister.
All the bridesmaids met in Courtney's hotel room then we headed down to the salon so we could make our appointments.  Courtney got a manicure done and when she was finished we all had our hair styled.  Courtney looked absolutely stunning, she has the nicest ebony colour hair and it's long and they had a half up do done for her!! After the hair was all styled and pinned into place we headed up to Courtney's suite for the dress and make up portion of getting ready.

After ordering some room service the girls began the process of doing make up and getting into our dresses.  It was fun and Courtney's other bridesmaids were great to hang out with, I knew Pam from before but this was the first time I had met Courtney's friend and sister in law Trinity.  She was very nice and I could see why Courtney always spoke so highly of Trinity.
Finally, all the primping was done, photos were taken and it was time to find the chapel.  No talking Courtney out of the marriage was ready and raring to go!!  It was in a little chapel and they actually broadcasted it live over the internet so my grandma and Chandler were able to see it once we set them up with watching it!!
It was a wonderful ceremony, nice a short!!  Then it was time for pictures, pictures and more pictures.  My feet, which were in high heels, were aching.  I either need to give up high heels, or wear them more often, I am leaning towards giving them up, my feet can't take it any more.

After the ceremony we headed out to find supper at Trevi in Ceasar's Palace Shoppe Forums.  Once we had all arrived we had a great time.  Impromptu speeches were given, and supper was had, it was phenomenal!! After supper we headed over to the Flamingo to Carlos and Charlies where we were able to get a deal for 2 for 1 margaritas and 2 for 1 beer.
Now let me just explain a little something to those readers who have never gone drinking with me.... I don't drink margaritas because I don't drink tequila, and I am not a big beer drinker, so I knew I was either going to be nursing some drinks all night or I was going to become inebriated to the point of passing out on the table...it really was a crap shoot.  I ordered two margaritas, because I figured that would be the safest thing to do, little did I know each margarita came with 3, yes 3 shots of tequila.  I was almost drunk off the first sip.
After awhile of visiting we began to get antsy and noticed the beer bazookas on the bar, we enquired and found out that for 100 ounces of beer we would spend $40.  We were discussing this at the table when the bartender came up and explained that beer bazookas were part of our deal and we could get two for one.  DONE!! We ordered two beer bazookas and began the epic challenge of flippy cup!!  Three or four more orders later, they were closing up and I was trying to talk the bartender and manager into looking the other way as the beer bazooka was carried out of the bar by myself or my hubby.  We ended up heading to another club area and I completely forget the name, but it was somewhere by Harrah's and across the street from the mirage!
After an hour I had decided I was exhausted and needed to go home, so I rounded up my hubby informed my brother and his fiancee and we all headed to catch a cab and head on back to the Excalibur.  By this time it was 3 am and almost time for me to get up on a normal day hahaha.  It was a great wedding and I am so happy for my sister!!!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Viva Las Vegas Round Two Saturday!!!

So after a full twenty four hours in Vegas you would think we would have become accustomed to the various differences in time and various need for sleep.  But no, even though I was in bed by midnight, almost three hours past my regular bedtime (I know lame), I was up at the crack of dawn.  That wasn't even bad my hubby had only arrived back to the hotel at 4 in the morning, complaining that he hates this town because he got lost, and he was up and wide awake at 8 am.  I had laid awake for an hour, trying to will myself back to sleep which became a useless task. So let's begin this day!!
Saturday wasn't as full as Friday was, catching the bus in Vegas is simple but it can be a little time consuming and they only allow 5 people in a cab, apparently that's a state law.  So Saturday morning we went shopping again, ok i went shopping and hubby begrudgingly followed me around.  We only walked a couple blocks down the strip to Ross so that I could buy some items I was searching for.
I was lucky again at Ross, I love Ross Dress for Less, <3 nbsp="">


 


Anyways after the shopping, we went back to the Excalibur, had a quick lunch and then headed for the pool!!  My brother and his finance were meeting us there as well.  It was a great relaxing afternoon, couple dips, flips on the sun chairs and we were toasty warm and getting out tan on.  I think I may have dozed off a bit, but it was just a nice atmosphere to just relax in!! Hubby may have relaxed too much as he got pretty burned on the front, good thing he wasn't going to be in any wedding pictures with his shirt off.








After the pool, my brother, his fiancee, my hubby and I all got ready to head out for supper.  My brother had managed to get a group on for a buffet at Paris for all you can eat and drink, so we definitely took advantage of that.  The line was crazy ridiculous, but the food was WELL WORTH THE WAIT!! It was so good!! And the crepe station was the piece de resistance!!!


Then back to the strip to walk back to the hotel and see some of the sites.  We had to stop so hubby could get a picture with BumbleBee,
we watched the Bellagio fountains,





video
then we wandered through Cosmopolitan and down to the south end of the strip.
Then it was back to bed because the next day was Courtney's wedding!!!













Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Viva Las Vegas Round two Day two

Sleep what's sleep?? This is especially true in Vegas!! I was so tired when I finally fell asleep the day we arrived in Vegas yet, I was up at 7 like normal, and wide awake.  So I got up and headed down to the gym and did a workout.
After that workout I met Adrian back in the room and we got ready to head out for the day.  First stop.... OUTLET shopping!!!  Where i bought almost nothing, seriously, I bought nothing!! My husband on the other hand bought tons and tons of stuff!! Ok maybe not tons and tons, but he did buy a significant amount of things.  Well ok he just spent more money than I did.
After wearing our shoes out at the outlet mall we headed off to the pool at the Wet Bar in MGM.  It was an experience, but it was a lot of fun!! There was music and a pool and table and lot of booze!!  I think it was a pretty expensive afternoon, but the boys from the wedding party were winning and spending their money as fast as they won it.  No wonder no one ever leaves Vegas richer!!
After the wet bar, the boys and girls separated.  Us girls were trying to go to Thunder from Down Under again, but they were sold out so we went to Dicks and did some gambling instead.  The boys went out to find trouble on the Vegas Strip!!  (and if their stories are to be believed, they failed hahahA) They ended up winning at a table game, bought a limo who took them to the strippers (after stopping at 7-11 for booze) and then they went back to a casino.  Hubby got lost, but eventually found my brother and then they staggered back to the hotel. To be fair, I am sure my brother staggered less on night two than he had on night one, as apparently he was passed out by 9 on their first night in town.  Something about drinking at a table game for 4 hours and not moving and not having anything to eat either.
The girls night was tamer, mostly because I'm old and well, I like to sleep so I was in the hotel room by midnight and out by 12:30.  I still had a good time, but there was lot's to do on Saturday and I wanted to be well rested!!!




Monday, 17 June 2013

Viva Las Vegas Round 2

I personally think Vegas is the type of town that grows on you.  My first visit to Las Vegas was ok, but I didn't get all the hype that I saw everyone posting about, I truly thought it was a neat place, but give me a beach any day!!  So when my sister decided her wedding location was going to be Vegas, I had mixed feelings about it.   I needed to make this trip more fulfilling then the last.

The first thing we did was ensure that we were not bringing children with us! Check, both kids were deposited at aunties houses for the week!!  Grandma and Papa would check up on the lil one and my big son would be spending some time with his lil cousins.  First hurdle solved, now just to figure out what Hubby and I would be doing in Vegas.

This was literally the first trip I did not plan down to the wire.  Vegas is so busy on a normal day that I thought instead of planning things out we would just play it by ear and see where the wind took us.  It was also Hubby's first time in Vegas, and he was kept busy, but I think he liked it.  Though, there is a reason we get along, he'd take a beach any day over Vegas, lol.

We got a late start the day we went to Vegas, we didn't arrive at the hotel until 11pm.  Everyone that was there before us was partied out, and Hubby and I were exhausted from all the travelling that we just crashed in the hotel room.

Flying with my hubby is interesting.  He gets pulled over and "randomly" searched at every security check point.  I rarely get stopped, unless it's when I am heading back into Canada, but that's truly another rant for another day.  We flew from Calgary to Vancouver, hubby was searched in Calgary, then we we landed in Vancouver we had to go through customs and security again.  But it was weird because I didn't see an area where we left a secured area of the Vancouver airport, security check points were always on our right and people were coming our way to get to the customs.  It seemed that in Vancouver you have to go through two security check points to board a plane to the states.  As we were talking to the Customs officer to get into the states, he asked me a couple questions, smiled and was about to nod us through, then he got a quizzical look on his face, asked Hubby a question, then punched some keys on his keyboard, glanced back at Hubby, asked another question, punched some more then almost begrudgingly let us through.  I'm not sure why Hubby is always interrogated but it makes for an interesting discussion for the two of us to have.

We made it to Vegas without further incidents, but it was a long trip, we left the house at 9 am, and didn't land in Vegas until 11 pm.  I was ready for a long sleep and Vegas activities could start the next day!!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Dear Dad

Almost 5 years ago I lost my father. He had been battling heart and lung failure for ten years, had outlived the original prognosis from the doctors and had fought to get better.
He had gotten better, in that he was able to leave the hospital, he was able to undergo some pretty significant surgeries and he was able to live a life similar to the one he had lost, but in many ways that first illness had taken from me the father I knew all my life growing up.  In the last year of his life I did see that man come back, he had let go of some of his bitterness, he had accepted things as they were, not for what he felt they should have been.  Every day I miss him, and wish he hadn't left this world, I know that he is no longer in pain and that he is in a better place with my nana and his dad.
I was pregnant with Chandler when I received the first call that my dad had gone into the hospital. I thought my world was ending,  how could my dad, the man who always went to the gym was maybe even a little vain about his looks (no big deal, I mean who isn't to some degree?), be so sick that he had to be rushed to the hospital and that the outlook was bleak?  It didn't make sense to me, but it was true.  In all the time my dad was sick he was so strong for me, he told me he was going to be fine and that he was fighting and that I shouldn't worry.  I'd cry and he told me I'd be ok, and that everything would be ok.  I should have been comforting him, but he was comforting me.
My dad is a stubborn man, and he fought his illness and he got better, but he was never fully himself again.  He was not able to fully recover and he had some very bitter feelings about his condition.  So mix in bitterness and a quick temper sometimes a bit of a explosive combination.
But it didn't matter that things had changed, the one thing that was forever constant was his love for me, Chandler and the rest of his family.  He had a huge heart, and was willing to love freely and openly.  He would hold a grudge and he got angry, but when push came to shove, he'd always let go of those angry feelings and he would welcome in everyone because deep down he understood what family was all about.
I wish that eveyone who reads this understands that importance of their dad, and that just as parents say to cherish every moment, you need to cherish every moment with your loved ones as well!! I have many regrets about things with my dad, I have very few photographs of my dad and I, and I truly wish I had had more. So treasure the times you spend with your parents, grandparents, children, cousins, family, friends because it's those treasured moments that help us get through the hard times and come up on the other end healthier, happier and better people

Friday, 14 June 2013

Week 19 Drama

For the 19th week of this photo challenge we had to find the drama.  I personally like to keep my life fairly drama free so I wasn't sure where I would find drama, at least, not what I would classify as drama.
We had a family type reunion, and well family always brings about some drama so here are some pictures of our family trip to the Calgary zoo to see the penguins and other animals.


this picture had the most drama because lil man's cousin wanted nothing to do with the picture taking

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Week 18 52 Week Photo Challenge

Week 18 was perspective.  There was talk about us all trying to take a picture of the same subject, but as we all live in different areas of the province this was not really possible.  But I found some interesting subjects to choose for this week.
One was  a picture of my sister on her wedding day, she looked so pretty, and I love the silhouette picture I was able to capture.
The other was of a sign I had seen in one of the bars in Carlos and Charlies.  It was so fun and had everything to do with perspective, not even how I saw things, but how others see and value things.