SO! Edmonton. We drove out there Saturday morning, and let me get this out of the way: Eleanor has become an absolute DELIGHT in the car. She plays with her toys, she tells herself stories and sings AT A VOLUME, she naps when you tell her it's time, and it's basically great.
But so we get to Edmonton at 2:00 and spend the first afternoon just crashing a McDonalds Playplace until they let us check in to our hotel, poking around the mall, those types of things, and then we go to a tiny, half-assed-looking burger joint called 'The Burger Joint' (Joel and I aren't young enough to immediately be like, HA HA THEIR INITIALS ARE 'BJ' but we also aren't old enough not to laugh when the sign points it out for us)
and have some amazing burgers.
Eleanor didn't notice when the fries arrived because she was Busy Reading (oh daughter of mine).
The next morning we went to the Royal Alberta Museum, and were GOING to swing by Tim Hortons or something but pulled into the Glenora Bistro instead, kind of on a whim, and had the best breakfast sandwich and eggs benny ever made. Eleanor had hers with a side un Unappreciated Kisses.
The museum was basically the greatest. Eleanor couldn't get enough of the animal...what would you call them, dioramas? Anyway. Remember that time she found a raisin in her cereal? This was like that, except for several hours. DERE'S A BEAVER! LOOKAT HIM!
And then there was a Patterns Display where you could go mess around with various pattern-making apparatuses
or wear a cape and do some xylophoning (for audible patterns, I think?)
and an exhibit on Chinese Food in Edmonton, which...ok...but it had this pool of fish beamed onto the floor that actually rippled and splashed when you stomped on it. Or swam in it.
And a room full of jewels and minerals and geodes, none of which Joel and I are into but which, when gathered and displayed in such NUMBERS, are lovely to look upon, and then a bug room full of live and dead specimens (which Joel took Eleanor around, because heaps of cockroaches, I can't even)
and then the DINOSAUR ROOM.
When I told Eleanor we were going to a museum, she said, To see some DINOSAUR BONES. Like the Little Critter! (Who does indeed go to a museum and see dinosaur bones, in Just Me and My Mom.) So here she is, delighted by the dinosaurs themselves, and by being just like Little Critter. Thniff my hand, dinosaur!
THEN we went to the Duchess Bakery for a reuben and then one of these:
It's called 'L'amore' and yes, we did amore it.
Eleanor had a nap and this is the first trip we've been on where we could just put her in her crib in the corner of the room and say, You go to sleep now, Mum and Dad are...also going to sleep. And then we lay in our bed and binge-watched House of Cards while she slept, IN FULL VIEW OF US AND WITHOUT COMPLAINING ABOUT IT.
We woke up and went to the sea lion show at the West Ed Mall, which we'd seen bits of the day before, peering down from a higher level of the mall with the other freeloaders. This time we actually paid so that we could sit in the actual arena and watch the sea lions dance.
Paying also gained us admission to the Sea Life Caverns, where there were turtles and penguins and ALSO I PETTED A STING RAY.
They just...they love it. You put your hand in the water and kind of wiggle your fingers and they come right to you, and if you give them a good rub they wriggle around under your hand like, Ahhhh yes.
And that was morning and evening, the first day. The second day, we wanted to get an early nap time in so we were just looking for a way to kill a few hours in the morning, and NOTHING opens until, like, 10:00, and we were still on Saskatoon Time so we were all waking up around 6:00 Edmonton Time, and I found this Treehouse Indoor Play Place and Cafe that seemed promising, and which BLEW OUR MINDS.
Ball pit. Bouncy castle. Toddler area. Climbing structure that Eleanor could actually climb, complete with enormous slide that I took her down and accidentally launched her off of. Floor piano.
Plus a bunch of other stuff that Eleanor wasn't into, like plasma cars and climbing walls but whatever Bayyyyysically it was the best, and exceeded any and all expectations. We were trying for an early nap because we wanted to hit Toddler Time at the water park in the afternoon, when adults get in for cheap. Water park, again, exceeds expectations.
I have like ten photos, because who wants to carry their phone around the water park, but they all more or less look like that. Eleanor just did this for two hours (by which I mean the laughing, not the wave-jumping, because she also went down a few slides with her dad, and clambered all over the toddler park, and ran AMOK in a field of fountains).
We went straight from the water park out for dinner, and we were nearly at the Louisiana Purchase when Eleanor, who had had a long day of running around and ingested a TON of splash-park-water and then sat through a 25-minute car ride, barfed all over the everything. And that was the beginning of the end.
Cheerios are for barfers.