Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Libby turns 4!

Little Libby Lou turned 4 on March 6th and I am a terrible Mama and just blogging about her special day now. . .it's been a busy few weeks. Libby's birthday, World Championships in Dubai (more on that later) and most recently a family trip to Lapland.  So get ready for lots of blog posts coming up!

We travelled to Dubai late on March 5th and then woke up to her Birthday in Dubai. Uncle Greg and Ivana were super nice to let us all crash with them! I think we may be getting a beagle when we move back to Calgary. . .

Happy Birthday Libby Lou! You are turning into a great kiddo. . sometimes you are quite the little challenge but those days are getting less and less. We love your laugh, your endless energy, your smiles and especially your big hugs. 

Patiently waiting for her Birthday Cake at Uncle Greg's!

The yummy cake!

I think this is the first year she blew out the candles herself!

We spent her Birthday day at the beach. . .

Uncle Greg, Lucy and Libby at the beach in Dubai.

Watching Momma play frisbee for her Birthday.

We celebrated her Birthday early at school. She wanted PINK cake with SPRINKLES.

On our way to Dubai. . .

Happy girl on our flight to Dubai.

Trying to run away from a big wave. Fail.

More of Momma's frisbee practice before the Championships begin.

I GOT WET!!! Not happy. . . .

Skating at Medeu

After skiing on our last day we headed to the rink. The highest skating rink in the world. Medeu sits at 1,691 meters above sea level. It's sort of like having the Olympic Oval outside!

We bought tickets shortly before 3PM and were expected to be off the ice for 4PM when it closed.
It actually started closing around 3:35 and we were completely kicked off the ice around 3:40PM. I didn't want to cause an International incident over the early closing time. . but grrrrrrrr.

Here are some great photos of the rink and us on our short skating stint.

Almaty is bidding for the 2022 Olympics

Putting on the skates!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Kazakhstan Part 2 - Almaty

After a great couple of days in the capital, we headed south to the mountains and Kazakhstans biggest city, Almaty. (Down in the bottom right on the map).

It's an interesting part of the world, with several countries nearby including China (3 hour drive).

We went for the skiing, and our destination was the Shymbulak resort, a short drive from town.  The weather was mostly amazing for the three days on the hill, and we're delighted to report that Libby is finally actually skiing on her own.  That meant more fun for everyone.

Sunshine and groomers.  Oscar and Lucy ahead of me on the t-bar.

Looking down to the main lodge and restaurants.

Libby started to get the hang of it.  She enjoyed the magic carpet, but that wasn't much fun for us, so we headed up higher.

On the backside, where we spent most of our time.  Nice cruisers for the kids.

Looking up from the bottom of the run on the backside.

This, of course, tired the kid out pretty quick.

Lucy is a good skier - here she is getting some turns in the soft snow.

It was great to have our friends from Astana join us on Friday and Saturday up on the hill.  Look at these little ski racers!

As I said above (and as you can see!), the weather was mostly amazing.  Exception was on Thursday afternoon when some fog rolled up the valley and it was thick!  We slowly made our way down through the soup, staying close to the snow fence all the way - it was the only thing we could see!  

All in all, a great trip!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Kazakhstan- Part 1 Astana

All three kids were off school for their February break and we were excited about the trip we had planned to go to Kazakhstan to visit our friends Jean, Shawn, Susannah and Theo who have been posted to Astana for work. It's a short flight from Istanbul to Astana (4 hours) and easy enough to get around.  We arrived at ridiculous o'clock in the morning so we went back to bed for a few hours to help get over the 4 hour time difference.  Once up the kids wanted to go outside and play in the snow and explore a bit. We wandered over to the mall to get some forgotten shoes for Oscar, and a few groceries.  Quick nap back home before we headed to a Hockey Game to watch the Astana Barys take on the Siberian Tigers, part of the Kontinental Hockey League. 
The Canadian Embassy in Astana

The kids excited for all the snow!

Oscar with some good touque head!

Mystery gum! Awesome.

It wasn't a big hockey arena but it sure was full and the hockey was better then the Leafs Game I watched back in December ( sorry Leafs fans!). They even had a former Leaf and hometown hero- Antropov #80 playing for them.  The Barys ended up wining the game with a late goal in the third period.

Yay Hockey!

Antropov #80

On Monday after sleeping in yet again- who knew 4 hours would be that bad but we are on holidays after all. We headed off to do some skating and tubing on the Ishim River.

This is the Ishim river. In the winter it is used for ice fishing, skating, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and tubing!

This is how you carry gear for 5 people to go skating.

Beautiful ice!

Frozen ice bubbles

Fisherman with his catches outside the tent.

Libby skating in "Calgary". . it does look a bit like Calgary.

Lucy enjoying winter so much!

All the kids in front of some Kazak snow flakes.

Riding polar bears!

Entering the traditional Kazakh restaurant to taste some grilled horse meat. . . .

The giant Narwhal shopping mall in Astana. Their is a HUGE indoor water park inside.

On Tuesday Jean had the kids get off school a bit early so we could meet up and go up a cool tower for the views and then hit the National Museum which just recently opened.

The large tower we are going to go up

Mike placing his hand on top of the Prime Ministers hand in the tower.

Inside the National Museum. This Golden Eagle and Sun were HUGE!

View from the Embassy.