We purchased a new vehicle

A couple of months ago, I brought our van in for an oil change, and one of the salesperson noticed that we were coming up on the end of our financing. He asked me if I was interested in a new vehicle; they had a 2013 Chrysler Town and Country Touring edition that had just come in. I told him I’d be happy to take a look.

He took the time to show it to me, and I was quite impressed. Whoever bought it had made sure to include several extras (it was the same scenario when we had bought our 2002 Ford Windstar, too), so there was quite a bit appealing about the vehicle.

When I sat down with a financial advisor, I explained to him that we were waiting for a mortgage to clear, and we didn’t want to jeopardize that by putting several inquiries and a new entry into our credit history.

So, we put it aside and received approval this week on the mortgage. Luckily, it was still on the lot. I guess there aren’t too many people interested in minivans anymore. For an 8-person family, however, we don’t have a lot of choices. 🙂

Well, we picked it up today, and here it is.

Our new vehicle next to our old one.

A photo posted by Kim Siever (@kim_siever) on

Just in time for Sinéad and my road trip to Arizona next week.

What do you think? Anyone out there own a Town and Country before?

Waterton trip

We took a family trip to Waterton today. We hiked Bear’s Hump, checked out Cameron Falls, and hiked Red Rock Canyon. For me and Aisling, Aoibheann, and Quillan, it was our first time hiking Bear’s Hump.

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Calgary temple open house

We went to the Calgary Alberta Temple open house tonight. It was actually the last day of the nearly-one-month-long open house. We arrived into Calgary early because we wanted to stop off at Peters’ Drive-In for supper. It was the very first time we had been there, and many people we know kept raving about it.

SupperCalgary Temple

The food was okay. The temple was pretty cool. It is really nice inside, but it sure feels small.

Camping near Bob Creek in the Bob Creek Wildland Park

Regan and I went backcountry camping this weekend. This was Regan’s first time backcountry camping, and it was my first time without having someone with me who had been there before. Even so, I spent weeks researching where we were going to go, which was tough because there were no photos or reports on camping in the area where I wanted to go; most of the reports were for hiking.

Here we are at the camping area. We started on the trail on the left, going up the hill. We took it because of what we saw on the sign, which seemed to indicate following the sign would lead to the Bob Creek Wildland Park.

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After about a half-hour hike, and once we reached the first summit, we ran into a Public Lands Administration employee, and he showed us the direction we needed to go, which was in the middle ground of the photo below, and off to the left of the photo.

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We hiked down to the parking area, and got on the right trail, crossing Bob Creek.

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Shortly after the creek, we came across this forest, and the trail took us right through it.

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The trail eventually forked, and the left fork led us to this gate, which I assume is the boundary between Black Creek Ranchlands, where we cannot camp, and Bob Creek Wildland.

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We went through the gate, hiked over a small hill, crossed Bob Creek twice, and up in a meadow, where we decided to set up camp.

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Here is a view of the campsite from the latrine:

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Here is the creek where we got our drinking water and where we cooled off from the hot afternoon sun:

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We built a small cooking fire around supper time by digging a pit, then using only small diameter wood.

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Regan having supper. We brought dehydrated food for supper and breakfast. All we had to do was add hot water.

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After the fire burned down and we doused it, we went to bed. We played games (Backgammon, Connect Four, Tic Tac Toe, Checkers, etc) for about an hour or so.

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We had a pretty uneventful sleep, but around daybreak, I hear coyotes barking in the distance, and I thought I heard a bear grunting near our campsite. I did see a deer shortly after we arrived at camp. We go up around 6:30 and watched the sun come over the hill to the east of our site. Once it started drying our tent, we started a breakfast fire and rehydrated some breakfast.

We broke camp and left shortly after 10:00. Here are a couple of shots of Regan hiking back to the van.

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We came across this frog on the way back.

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We saw a coyote cross the road shortly after we drove away from the parking area, and saw a badge cross the road a few minutes later. I can’t wait to take Sinéad next year.

Camping at Castle Falls

I took the three middle children—Regan, Aisling, and Aoibheann—camping to Castle Falls this weekend. The sites are first- come, first-served, so I took the day off in order to get their earlier than the after-work crowd.

We arrived shortly after noon and quickly set up camp.

Setting up camp

We did a bit of exploring, and came across the water source. Here is Regan pumping out water:

Regan getting water

We went for a bit of a hike, and found a great place to go swimming. It was pretty warm out, and we really wanted to cool off. Here we are hiking down to our spot:

Going to the falls

Here is what the river looked like from our swimming hole:

Castle River

The children a little apprehensive about getting into the very cold water:

Dipping toes

Regan after going all the way under:

Full immersion

This is as far as Aisling could make it:

Aisling to her waist

Aoibheann made it a bitter further:

Aoibheann to her waist

Regan skipping rocks:

Regan skipping rocks

We stopped off at the falls on the way back to the campsite:

Castle Falls

After supper, we took a trip down to the river, which was just a few dozen metres from our campsite:

Castle River

It started raining in the middle of night. There was even a lot of lightning and thunder, which was pretty cool when it lit up the tent. Anyhow, the rain didn’t let up, so we had to skip the pancakes we had planned, broke camp in the rain, and we had apples and trail mix for breakfast before heading home.

Packing up

Here’s the view on the way home.

Going home

It sure was a great time, and Mary fell in love with the site just by seeing the photos. She hopes to join us next year.

Writing-on-Stone family camping trip

I took the four older children camping this weekend. Regan’s scout troop had originally planned to join with a local Cub Pack for a day trip to Writing-on-Stone. We heard a few other families were planning to camp overnight, and since we hadn’t gone camping in a few years, we thought it would be a great idea to camp ourselves.

I went onto the website for the park a few weeks ago to see what campsites were like and what facilities were there. I noticed there were only 5 unpowered sites left (we do real camping with tents, fire cooking, etc), so I decided to reserve a spot. It turned out to be a great spot, just a few steps from the outhouse, and a minute or two from the water source and the flush toilets.

A few days later, we found out the Scout troop decided to go on a day trip to Waterton for hiking instead. I left the choice up to Regan to go camping instead of hiking. He picked camping (that’s my boy).

I took the day off work yesterday, so we could get packed, and we left around 15:30. Shortly after we passed New Dayton, about 45 minutes out of Lethbridge, I realized we forgot the reservation papers. We turned around and headed back home. We were back on our way with papers on hand. It’s a good thing we went back because the campground was full.

We arrived around 18:00 and set up camp.

Setting up camp Our campsite

Once all the tents were set up, we got a fire going, and had hamburgers and hotdogs  for supper. We didn’t eat until 20:00 or so, and after we washed up and I got the bed ready for me, Aisling, and Aoibheann, we sat around singing songs and telling stories. We went to bed around 22:30.

Our campsite Reading Being a ham

We got up before 7:00 this morning, and I got a fire started. I knew we’d have to meet the Cubs at 10:00, so we wanted to get things going. I made pancakes over the fire for the children and I cooked eggs for myself.

Morning warm up exercises My breakfast

While the children were taking down the tents, I washed the dishes. We broke camp about 9:45, packed up the van, and joined the Cubs.

We started off with a hike down the 1.7 km Hoodoo Trail. Aisling, Aoibheann, and I had a late start, so we only made it 1.2 km before we met up with the others on the way back. I was proud of Aisling, who at only 6 years old made it the 1.2 km there and 1.2 km back without complaining and being able keep up. She is quite the hiker! Even Aoibheann was a trooper, making the first 1.2 km leg without complaining. Only 3 years old, she couldn’t make it back, so I carried her on my shoulders the rest of the way.

Everyone ate hotdogs and watermelon for dinner, then we hiked up to the visitor centre for some activities, then played games in he hoodoos.

Aisling and Aoibheann were a bit too young for the games, so we hiked and climbed around the hoodoos. It turns out that Aisling is not only a great hiker, but she is an amazing climber. I never had to help her up once, even when the spot was very steep and there seemed to be no toeholds. She was like a little monkey. Even Aoibheann was pretty impressive, following Aisling everywhere and needing help a handful of times.

Aoibheann & Aisling climbing in the hoodos Aoibheann & Aisling climbing in the hoodos

Anyhow, after the games, we all packed into the van, and we headed home exhausted but happy. Everyone had a blast. We really need to do this more often.