Sunday, July 18, 2010

Part One of Our Trip Back East!

Clinton and I have been married for almost seven years and we have never been anywhere. When we have vacation time we go see family, but this month we had about 5 days to have our very first vacation ALONE!

One thing that's good about living where we do is that we are so much closer to the east coast. We decided to make a whirlwind trip to Ottawa, Canada, Palmyra, New York, and Niagara Falls, Canada. We set out at about 3pm on Wednesday the 30th and arrived in Ottawa at about 7am on July 1st (another first...a road trip over night!) Anyway, we arrived at our destination, I took a shower and then we were back on the road to get to Parliament Hill where we would watch the festivities of Canada Day.
Here we are in our Canadian garb...I had a Canada shirt on underneath the sweatshirt, but it was pretty cold that morning, so the sweatshirt stayed on.

Anyway, Clinton really wanted to see the changing of the guard. The groun
ds were absolutely packed with people, so had to climb on a staircase railing just to be up high enough to see over the throngs of people.

Next, we walked around downtown Ottawa for a few hours until the Queen of England arrived. Of course, we could not see her because of all the people, but we saw her on the GIANT screen they had on the hill and were able to thus pay our respects. Anyway, by this time of the day we were so exhausted from being up for so many hours that we decided to head back home for a siesta.

Later that evening there were fireworks on the hill and a live concert. We got there in time to hear the Bare Naked Ladies sing, "If I had a Million Dollars." It was so much fun! The fireworks were great, but I told Clinton at the beginning that it seemed the fireworks were fairly limited in colors due to their flag only containing red and white. However, after a few minutes of red and white, they branched out into lots of colors, and the display was fantastic!

The next day we went to Quebec, Canada. I wish we could have spent more time there because it was really beautiful and it felt more foreign. Everything was in french there. I even got to hear Clinton order lunch for me in french! I had him order Poutine for me. (When my brother, Anton came home from his mission he told me about this dish that he loved, called Poutine. It is basically fries covered with cheese curds doused in Poutine gravy. Anyway, he said it was so good that I thought I'd try it for him. He was right! It's deliciously horrible for you!) This photos is for you Anton! P.S. We are bringing home some gravy packets for you next month!Anyway, the stuff really was good! Here is another photo of Clinton and I both enjoying our french lunch!Once we were done eating we headed over to Gatineau Park. If you head to the top of the park there is an amazing view of Ottawa Valley. We proceeded to take lots of pictures for posterity sake. Enjoy!...
This is Clinton and Jay, one of Clinton's missionary companions

After the park, we went back to Parliament to enjoy the leftover festivities and the beauty of the city.I felt so sorry for this guy! It was about 100 degrees outside and he was standing directly in the sun. No water, no shade for FOUR hours! That should be illegal! But it was cool nonetheless!

Our last day in Ottawa we spent with people from Clinton's mission. We had lunch with a family he baptized (the mom anyway) and reminisced with them for a few hours.
Both parents work for the RCMP so it was quite entertaining to hear all of their cop stories!

Needless to say, our time in Ottawa and Quebec really was lots of fun! I have more pictures to post, but I think this post is maxed-out! I'll have to just do a picture post next. I'll also be blogging about out time in Niagara Falls and Palmyra, New York next. Anyway, hope you enjoyed!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Father's Day Dad! (I realize it's a bit late, but as you always said, "Better late than never."

I realize Father's Day was a couple weeks ago and all, but I don't think that it is too late to write this post. It's late, yes, about a quarter of a century late, but perhaps the timing is just right after all. I don't think I could be very eloquent as an illiterate child, and blogging has only been around so many years, so I guess now is a good time anyway.

I apologized to my dad a couple weeks ago for not having sent him a Father's Day card. I had scanned the card aisles hoping for the perfect card. I, as well as several other card shoppers, felt that the card selection "sucked". I really wanted to find the perfect card with just the right amount of humor and warm-heartedness, but my searching left me empty-handed. I resolved to return another day to another store in hopes of finding "THE card". To my dismay the racks were cleared of all tributes to fathers and I was left with the choice to grab a generic card, with hopes of being able to make it work, or figure out another way to honor my dad. I have chosen option two.

I think that some of my earliest memories with my dad contain a lot of tickles, snuggles and giggles. I remember that he would come home, give my mom and hug and a kiss and then all of his attention was turned to us kids. One of the games he/we loved best was the name game. The following is a scenario that would happen every day when he came home from work...
Dad: "Hello Georgina"
Me: "I'm not Georgina!" (giggles)
Dad: "Oh, you're not Georgina? Why you must be Gertrude! Hello, my little Gertrude."
Me: "I'm not Gertrude, I'm Dani!" (giggles)
Dad: "No, you're not Dani. My little Dani is small, and has tickley pits. You must be Ruth!"
Me: "No. I'm Dani!" (giggles)
Dad: "Well, if you're my little Dani then when I tickle your pits like this..." (he would proceed to tickle and I would break into uproarious laughter. When he stops tickling, he pauses and says) Oh! You are my little Dani Cakers, how are you?"

I could always count on a Daddy-pony ride, an extra push on the swing or, my favorite, a ride on his shoulders. I remember going to the farmer's market and being able to see all of the booths and tables from a bird's eye view. It wasn't because I was outrageously tall for my age, it was because I was perched on my dad's shoulders...the best seat anywhere!

I just related to my coworker the other day how I could always count on my dad's sneeze to help locate him when were were (inevitably) separated in the store. He ALWAYS wandered ahead and at the moment that we discovered we didn't know where he was, he would sneeze (wahhh-choo!) The same sneeze. Always. It still makes me chuckle thinking about it. "Ah. There's Dad." we would say and we'd find him carrying some sort of special treat for us. Good memories!

My dad has an amazing talent for writing. He could find a rhyme for just about any word. He taught us how to sing to our animals (Ex: "Oooooh, Wrecksy is so kitty cat. He is so meow and soft and fat! He goes 'purr-purr' oh-so-sweet, from his kitty head to his kitty feet!") Little did we know, till much later in life, this was not a "normal" thing to do and was viewed as "weird" by our friends and spouses. We could never match his superior composing skills, but sing to our animals we do! Really though, all you need to do is give him a topic and he will write the most amazing poem or story about it. I can't tell you how many hearts he has touched with his writing, but I would venture to guess that anyone who hears it feels the spirit. Some of his best writing is about the Savior. There is no room for doubt about his testimony of the reality and mission of Jesus Christ. He knows He is real. He has never shied from an opportunity to share it with his children, friends and neighbors. It, with the testimony of my mother, was the foundation for building my own testimony.

My dad is also very smart. Not just book-smart, but he is very intellectual. He is constantly reading. His idea (and mine) of a good vacation is a comfortable chair, a bowl of bing cherries and a great book! His library is full of mysteries, cowboy novels, historical novels, autobiographies and church literature. If ever I had a question about how something worked or why something was the way that it was, I could always ask my dad--knowing I would get a solid answer, especially on the subject of religion. He has read so many books about church doctrine and the origin of our religion that he could probably write a book of his own! He is a great example of one who is always striving to learn and grow. Thank you Dad, for teaching me that opportunities to learn can be found everywhere.

On top of being very smart, my dad is also very good at giving counsel. Not only was it his profession for many years, it is who he is. When I was eight I had to go in for a very scary surgery. My dad found a pair of elephant earrings and told me the story of the man who had to eat an elephant...He said the man was very discouraged when he saw how large the elephant was. He thought he would never be able to finish it. A wise man came by and told him that he need not eat the elephant all at once, just bite by bite. The man followed the counsel, was able to put his heavy burden in prospective, and soon completed his task, one bite at a time. He told me that when I felt the earrings dangle, I needed to remember the story of the man who had to eat an elephant and that anything is possible if we just take it a moment or problem at a time. It was from that moment that I chose elephants as my favorite animal, and they still are to this day! It's not just cause they are cute (which they are!), but they remind me of my dad and the love and comfort he brought to me at a very scary time in my life. It is counsel that I reference often and am thankful he took the time to teach me.

My dad is very generous and thoughtful. He knows when we need help and is always willing to give a blessing or lend a hand. He is very loving and leads his family in righteousness. I am so thankful to have been raised in the home in which I was raised. We had family prayer and scripture study and we laughed always. Some of my fondest memories are of Sunday nights when we would have a bowl of ice cream while we watched "America's Funniest Videos". It was so fun to hear my dad squeal with laughter during the montages or other side-splitting clips! We had some good times as a family watching that show, and I believe our laughing at other people brought us closer together.

Now, anyone who knows my dad knows he also has a strong love for the t.v. show, "Law & Order". He loves it so much that for quite some time the theme song was his ringtone! It never failed that if the t.v. was on, it was because "Law & Order" was about to come on, was currently on, or had just finished. The man LOVES that show. (I don't know what he'll do now that NBC, after 20 years, has canceled the show!) I thought it only appropriate that I pay a tribute on this blog to the show that brought him so much entertainment and happiness over the years. Please click on the link below and observe a moment of silence for this most considerable of losses...

That was for you, Dad! Seriously though, his love for that show instilled in me a desire to fight crime. I too love "Law & Order" and have even considered going to school for criminal justice. I would never have had such a love for crime-solving had it not been for my exposure to this beloved show. You will be missed "Law & Order", but your reruns will continue to forever be viewable 12 times a day on TNT network.

Anyway, suffice it to say, I have a wonderful dad. He is a wonderful example to me in many ways. I am thankful for his willingness to share his love of the Gospel with his children. I am thankful for his ability to rhyme on the spot because it has brought me millions of smiles and giggles.

I love you Dad. You are a great husband to Mom, a wonderful Papa to your grandkids and an exceptional father to your children. I love you tons and I hope that (even though this is very late) you have/had a fantastic Father's Day!