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I guess we got out of Toronto just in the nick of time.  With a Saturday flight that left in the midst of rain-on the-brink-of-freezing, followed by news footage of a massive ice storm and lengthy power outages – I am happy to say that our only delays were to de-ice and wait our turn for the runway.

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Ice Storm 2013

Rather than complain about an extra hour on the tarmac, Audra repeatedly squealed with joy at the looming prospect of landing in Edmonton to see her grandparents.  And for at least the past week, Ethan’s first and last comment of the day were often around his excited countdown until we left.  So for us, a delayed arrival was barely a blip on the radar.

All through the week, as I was asked if we were going away, the reactions were often comical when I announced that we were headed to Edmonton.  Usually my answer was followed by one of three reactions: “Oh… pause… I thought you’d be going somewhere else” (possibly Nova Scotia to my family, or somewhere hot, they’d explain).  Or “Brrr!!!  Hope you don’t freeze!”  Or occasionally, a frank “Why would you do that?!”

With a laugh, I’d reply that we were looking forward to spending the holidays with Dean’s parents.  (Although as I’ve said before, we’d be open to meeting family down south one year, too!)  And, I added, I’m really glad that I truly love his parents.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s certainly nothing wrong with Edmonton –  but the frigid winters don’t usually cause it to be a winter holiday destination.  (For the record, after 2 days of being colder than -20, the temperature is rising to just-below-zero for the rest of our stay: Perfect.)  Weather aside, it all fits my plan for the week wonderfully: to hibernate.  Relax, have no schedule, eat good food and enjoy the company of our family.  As I’ve previously blogged about needing ‘A Break from the Daily Routine‘, those are the things that make a vacation for me.

Will our kids watch more TV and movies than at home?
And get ‘spoiled’ in ways that are different from when we are home?

Yes and yes.

But we chalk that up to the novelty of visiting grandparents.  They can shower our kids with love in any form they wish.  Time with them is the only gift that we ask for.

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Niagara Falls Trip with Grandma and Grandpa 2013

The other added bonus is to spend the holidays with Dean’s full-of-life grandmother, Baba.  Well into her ninety’s – she is such an inspiration.  The picture of vitality, she looks decades younger, moves around better than some 50-year-olds I’ve seen, is full of energy and sharp as can be.

Baba with Ethan and Audra 2010

Baba with Ethan and Audra 2010

No wonder our first day included a visit to her apartment, where the kids loved seeing the plethora of pictures on the walls, worked on a puzzle with her, and visited with her 96-year-old sister who lives across the hall.  It was a simple few hours that meant everything.

Our trip to Edmonton will be filled with time with family, and memories that will last forever.  With the icing-on-the-cake agreement to spend one day at the West Edmonton Mall water park and roller coasters, (I will have to override my dislike of malls in December…) but will be sure to bring our waterproof video camera and bathing suit to join in on the fun.

So, Edmonton in December?  It’s got all the qualities I need for a perfect holiday.