Monday, December 22, 2008

It's a Marshmallow World In the Winter...

But it is too cold to go outside and take a picture... no really it is, my camera doesn't like to take pictures outside, it freezes (literally) up! Yesterday my van was showing temperatures around -34! It was so cold that when I started to drive, my tires were frozen in the shape they sat at all night and it took a little bit for them to "round up" again and stop thumping.... I thought I had a flat, but it was just a square!

Michael's union put on a Christmas party at the gymnastics club. The kids had a blast, they got to do gymnastics, have pizza and goodies, sit on Santa's knee AND get a present from the big guy too!

We have been having fun though. It is hard to not get into the Christmas spirit when you are surrounded by winter everywhere you go - so we have been busy with Christmas parties, skating parties, Christmas concerts and all other Christmas preparations! We had a nice evening the other day... Maria's school had their winter concert and Maria did a great job and we enjoyed watching the show. Upon arriving home we had the pleasant surprise of finding three deer in our front yard, eating what is left of our trees and garden (and maybe a few veggies that found their way into the garden after we had been seeing the deers hoofprints).

This is the best picture I could get as the camera wasn't doing that well outside and the noisy kids were scaring the deer away!

Chances are I won't be on here again until after Christmas, so I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

The kids are in hyper-active mode now that the countdown to Christmas is on!

This was one of the healthiest and nicest Poinsettia's that I have ever seen...

at least it was in the store! After I bought it and brought it straight home in -33 weather it wasn't so healthy looking!

Friday, December 12, 2008

You know you are talking to a "true" Northerner when...

Well first let me fill you in...

It has been a busy, but fun, week around here. Maria has been over to a friends house and has had a friend over here. We have made plans for Allan to have a little friend over too, so the kids are happy. On top of that, Maria has two birthday parties this week (one for twins!) as well as a skating party for all the grade ones in her school and the kids Christmas party put on by Hubby's work! My kids have a social life that puts most adults to shame!

Anyway, getting back on track... the other day we had one of Maria's friends in our van and Maria was telling her stories about how on the Island the snow didn't last very long and how last year she only got to play in a bit of slush...

Her friend laughs for a moment and then asks Maria "What is slush?"

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Days are Getting Shorter

Last week, I was telling myself that I needed to bring the camera along with me on the drive to take Maria to school in the morning. There were some of the most amazing sunrises that I have ever seen - and I have actually seen a lot of them! The entire sky was orange with pink clouds and a vibrant orange sun...

However, today I took Maria to school in the pitch dark. The sun finally dawned after I dropped her AND Allan off. A few more weeks to go until the winter solstice... how dark will it get?!?

On a side note... we had a funny conversation with Allan the other day. Allan was trying to describe one of the kids in his class and he was having trouble telling us what colour his hair was until finally he thought of how to describe it "it is the colour of a sweet potato!" A very accurate description actually! Much more so than "red"!

Saturday, November 29, 2008


November has been good, although it has gone by so quickly I am amazed.

We have had a good start on winter, with a fair bit of snow and other winter weather, but for the last week it has warmed up to above freezing and I find I am missing the colder temperatures. When it is colder, I don't feel so cold, I think it has to do with the moisture in the air, but the last few days I have been freezing!

We are feeling the Christmas season coming... it has been difficult not to go ahead and decorate for Christmas yet. It feels like Christmas with the white landscape.

We went to the Santa Claus parade one evening, which was fun, although THAT was cold. We have also been doing a lot of sledding and other snow sports... speaking of which, I find it very cool that Maria's school supplies sleds for the kids to play on at lunch time and they also have cross-country skis for the older grades... now I just have to convince them to let me use them!

But most of all, we are having fun and enjoying the winter... who would have thought?!?

Maria, Brock and Allan waiting for the Santa Claus Parade to begin

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It Is Winter...

In every way except by the calendar!

We have had four more snowfalls since I last logged in here and the kids have enjoyed everyone of them. I haven't minded them either... now that I know my van will function just fine on the snowy/slippery roads, a lot of my apprehension about winter is gone. Shovelling has been WAY easier than on the coast since the snow is light and fluffy for the most part.

The part that hasn't been as much fun has been the freezing rain, apparently a common early/late winter occurrence up here... We have several times gone out to our van and found it encased in ice... it is almost impossible to scrape off the windows until the van has defrosted it... but first you have to try to get IN to the van to turn it on!

Anyhow, two snowmen later (we did get some snowman snow!) and several snow forts and sledding excursions later, the novelty hasn't worn off yet... mind you it is still warm enough that we can go out and play in it!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Guess What!?!

It snowed! We woke up this morning to about 4-5 inches of snow, and it was still snowing. The finest, smallest, flakes of snow... but it added up.

Maria's little fairies were too busy playing and forgot to hibernate for winter! My plants finally decided to pack it in too...

Hubby had a heck of a time coming home from work this morning, his truck is still a work in progress and the 4x4 part of it isn't hooked up. But my van did pretty well. I was concerned since my van was terrible last winter, to the point where we could not go anywhere if it was snowy or icy... and that just wouldn't do, living where we are now! So we got really good winter tires for it and so far, so good.

Later in the morning the snow had all stopped and the sun came out and it turned into a fabulously, beautiful day. The sun also helped to melt the snow down a fair bit, although not too much as I think the high temperature today was about -3! I shovelled the driveway, which seemed like a piece of cake with the sun shining, the snow light as feathers, and a paved driveway to boot! I am sure I won't be too thrilled with it come March, or April for that matter, but for now... it is good.
I don't think there is a square inch of snow left untouched in our yard... the kids has a BLAST!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Am Now a Time Zone Away...

This part of B.C. doesn't follow the daylight savings time changes so I am now on Alberta time. Which on one hand feels a bit strange as my clocks are now different from all my family and friends on the coast.

However, for me personally it is excellent. I am horrible with time-changes. If I wasn't over-sleeping after the time changes, I had insomnia, my body just did not adjust well at all. One year I had plans to change all that and be organized and had my clocks set and ready to go, I went to bed early so I wouldn't sleep in - in the morning , I was prepared. So, I woke up in the morning and was all ready to go (I must have been 17) and I went to pick-up Michael in the morning for school... I was quite surprised to have his dad answer the door-bell in his housecoat and tell me that Michael was still asleep... I had changed my clocks in the wrong direction and was two hours early!

So, I am happy to not have to change my clocks for once... just forgive me if I call you and forget what time it is!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hey, Wait a Minute!

Well, last night was Halloween... and it was FUN! BUT... the one thing I was not prepared for on Halloween up here, was RAIN. Snow, I was prepared for but I thought rainy Halloween's were a thing of the past. Well that is o.k. though because it was only drizzling and the kids had a blast.

My Beautiful Butterfly...

There were all the usual Halloween activities going on up here... parties in the kids classes (I made spiderweb cookies for Allan's class and helped out at the pool for Maria's class), and the costumes, trick-or-treating and of course the candy.

Spiderman explaining how he got his powers...

There was a little surprise for us too... the day before Halloween, upon opening the front door, there was a little package waiting for us. It was a pumpkin filled with some goodies and treats for the kids along with a poem. Basically a chain-letter, but a fun one. It advised us to anonymously leave small packages of goodies on two peoples door-steps on our street. You put a little ghost up on your door to let others know that you have already been "ghosted"... it was a lot of fun for the kids and to be honest, it was fun for Hubby and I too... It had everyone on our street guessing "who was it".

Our surprise package that we found on the front porch

Anyway, after the trick-or-treating and the following gorge-fest, we went up the street to a friends house to watch some fireworks and have a visit. We got home at about 10:30 and had kids who were exhausted and happy... what more could you ask for.
Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Fall has been absolutely stunning up here... for all that I keep hearing that it will be brief (I am told that Halloween is the usual time for snow...) you couldn't have asked for nicer fall weather.

At the river with Papa

Fall has been excellent for many reasons... the gorgeous colours, the kids starting school again and enjoying it so much (the schools really are awesome), the kids loving the sports programs they are in, I got to go back to the Island for a whirlwind girly weekend which was sooo much fun, we had both my parents and Hubby's parents up for great visits, both Hubby and I had our birthdays... all in all Fall has been very full and busy and fun.

Allan scoring a goal at soccer! (he is Blue jersey #1)

So now we have been up North here for spring, summer and fall... only one season left... and its a big one!

Maria in Can-Skate and doing great... she can skate forwards, backwards and even do tiny jumps!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

And So It Begins...

There hasn't been much "blogging" going on around here due to all the usual excuses (busy, away, company here, busy, busy , computer issues...) But today marked a new milestone for us up here, so there is no excuse... We put on the snowtires.

I wonder if people hibernate up here?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One for Sorrow, Two for Joy...

Magpies are a common sighting up here. I had never seen one before coming up here, and on first seeing them thought they were quite beautiful with their long tails and striking colouring. They are still beautiful to me, but they are rascals... comparable to the blue Stellar's Jay and Crows for their naughtiness.

One thing I learned about magpies from my neighbour is that they often raid the nests of other birds, not the nicest thing to learn, so I kept that little nugget of info from Maria, who is somewhat sensitive about things like that. Maria has been fascinated by them and frequently has tried to get closer to one, but has never had any luck. Until recently.

The other day Maria was trying to tell me about her day and it was obvious something was bothering her. So I am trying to listen through her words to hear what is wrong. She and her friend were playing in the front yard and saw a Magpie nearby so the two girls snuck closer and closer. The magpie flew a little further away and still the girls snuck closer, eventually the bird gave up and flew away and it was at this point the girls reached the spot where the bird had been standing. There on the grass was a set of bird legs.

So Maria is telling me this and saying how bad she feels. I am trying to re-assure her that in nature things like this happen... and before I get much further than that she asks "but how will it land?" At which point I realize she thinks her friend and her scared "the legs" OFF the magpie. After I finished giggling and explaining that no, the magpie still has its own legs those were the legs of another bird, Maria giggled too and was much happier with the knowledge of canibalistic birds than birds with detachable legs...

I am still giggling though.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

One Last Summer Adventure

Last week we decided to go out in the boat again, this time with the gas motor. We opted to explore the Peace River and put in at the Peace Island Park and went upstream.

It was very different boating in the river, the motor had to work constantly or you would go backwards, but it was fun too. Lots of different branches to take along the river and the need to watch the depth so as to not touch the bottom with the propeller... (we only did that once, but we did it good!)

We got to watch a train cross the bridge just ahead of us, and see people fly-fishing... we saw a lot of beaver evidence, several lodges and a few piles of sticks that I think were attempts at dams but I am not too certain. We went almost all the way up to the big lookout in Fort St John eating lunch along the way and then we floated back down.

Beaver Lodge

Floating down was a lot more fun than going up. For one thing, it was easier. The kids rowed, which means we went in circles like a horrible ride at the fair, and even going in circles, you go in the right direction! So we took our time ging back, drifting and circling... looking to try and catch a glimpse of the beavers that were so busy around there (no luck). We did see some deer and a large eagle with a nest and a lot of game trails but no other wildlife.

We had fun

The Park Warden came by in his boat to make sure we were alright - it was probably hard to tell with all that spinning. We also saw a lovely beach with a river pool that we will have to go back to next summer to swim in. All in all it was a nice time, well Allan wasn't so keen at the end when he fell in the river while climbing out of the boat - but we all had a giggle at his expense, I think it was quite cold by the volume of his howling. Thank goodness I had a change of clothes in the van!

His boots were totally full of water and his whole left side was soaked!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fall Comes Here Early

As is evident by the cool nights we are starting to have... but more obvious is the fact that all the fall fairs are already over. Believe me because we missed them all! We were really hoping to get to them as we have really enjoyed the fall fair in Duncan over the last four years and we had heard that the ones in Fort St John and Dawson Creek are really good. However, the one in Dawson Creek was the 2nd weekend in August - while we were away on our trip back home; and the one in Fort St John was the following weekend and we had just arrived back home from our trip and didn't realize it was on until it was too late.

We had seen some signs on our way home of another Fall Fair on the weekend of the 23rd in Hudson's Hope - about an hour away in the little town nearest the WAC Bennet Dam. Michael was working night shift that weekend so on Sunday the kids and I decided we would go and check it out by ourselves.

We headed out fairly early and managed to get about two minutes away from home when we noticed that the main street in downtown Fort St John was closed off... and not with the usual work crews but with tents and cars and people milling about... something to check out! So we went in and explored, it was a classic car show but it had all sorts of things going on to entertain those of us who can manage "ooh that is a pretty car" but are otherwise unimpressed by car shows.

The kids got to ride a neat little train that had barrels as train cars for the kids to ride in and we all got to ride in a horse drawn wagon, they had remote control car races and a big bounce castle slide thing, cotton candy and hot dogs (not to mention race cars handing out race schedules so Allan has been telling everyone that we are invited to watch the race cars, when are the race cars, we are going to see the race cars, race cars, race cars, race cars...)
Anyway we were there for an hour when we had pretty much seen it all and were ready to go - I was ready to go home but the kids still wanted to go to Hudson's Hope, so off we went. We drove and drove and drove - the kids were asking if we were there yet, I was asking if we were there yet... I don't know how long it took exactly but it was more than the hour away I was told it was... Along the way we stopped at a gravel pit to run around and stretch our legs - we actually had a lot of fun here, we collected a lot of cool rocks (my house is full of rocks) and the kids had fun climbing the hills and sliding down, not to mention inspecting all the different wildlife poop they found (oh joy!)

In the Gravel Pit... throwing rocks, sliding, exploring and running... what more does a kid need?

After about half an hour we continued on again and drove the last stretch to Hudson's Hope to learn that the Fall Fair was on Saturday only... not Sunday. So, no Fall Fair even after a long drive... quick what to do, what to do... Oh look kids, there is a museum with DINOSAUR BONES!!! That will be exciting! And it was pretty cool - they had an assortment of footprints and casts of skull bones that had been found in the area as well as a bunch of other small bones... it was interesting but it also only took about 10 minutes to check out the inside of the museum and about 5 minutes to check out the outside... we did find a snake in the grass which kept us occupied for about 15 minutes.

Maria in front of a Trapper's Cabin at the museum

Then we went over to the Visitor Information Centre and they told us to go to Dinosaur Lake for a playground and lake to play around. It wasn't warm enough for swimming but good for exploring and playing. Except that when we drove the way the girl told us to go to find the lake we never did find it... so after stocking the kids with some goodies for the drive back (it keeps them much more happy along the drive) we turned around and headed back home... It wasn't quite the day we had planned, but we had fun and it was an adventure... just ask the kids!

Snake in the grass, he was hard to follow he could hide very well!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Fun Stuff Always Happens When I don't Have the Camera

The other day we all hopped in the van and headed down to Taylor to check out the Peace River Campground (or something along those lines). It has a great playground that we could see from the highway and Hubby wanted to check out the boat launch. The kids had fun playing at the playground for a while but there weren't any OTHER kids so the playground fun didn't last too long so we headed down to the river.

The rivers up here are not lined with rocks like the rivers I am used to, they are lined with dirt - or more specifically... mud. The slipperiest, gooiest mud you can imagine. On this particular day the river was quite low - we found out later it was because they slowed the flow at the dam to look for a body... ewww.

Anyway, walking down the river bank is fun on its own as at any particular moment you could slip and fall in the muck. However, once you embrace the fact that you are going to be dirty and let yourself sink up to your ankles (knees sometimes) and just go with it, you don't seem to fall so much.

So we were walking along, checking out various animal footprints... pretty sure we saw wolf, maybe some sort of large cat, beaver maybe, raccoon, squirrel and a bunch of dogs... We played in the mud, squished it in our toes, crossed a small creek then crossed another to a larger, steeper, mud bank. By this point the kids were swimming, it was just deep enough to cover their heads in the middle but they could touch most of the places and then they were playing in a mud puddle that was warmed in the sun... which led to the making of a "river" down from the puddle to the actual river... which led to the "otter-slide"

Maria loves to play in the dirt and it took not long at all for her to try sliding down the bank into the river, but it wasn't very fast moving here and the mud was a little bit hard, so she moved on to the next slide site, better but still not fast enough so we all built the third slide further down in the softest glop you could imagine and she slid much better here, but she wasn't running at it so Hubby had to show her how it was done of course and they had such a blast. Allan doesn't like to get dirty so he rode down it on Hubby's back but Maria was in her glory... She was covered in mud from just below her eyes and all the way down. I wish I had my camera, but honestly it would have gotten in the way, we had too much fun.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Well I finally have the inspiration to learn more about how to use my camera. I have been so happy with the various "auto" settings on it that I hadn't really felt any need to learn more. I played around with it when I first got it and fumbled, but I never actually made any effort. The pictures from the automatic mode are great and the the ones from all the pre-programmed settings have been more than adequate... until the other night.

Some friends of ours popped over and wound up staying longer than they expected. They were just about to leave when she noticed lightning flashes out our dining room windows, then we were mesmerized. There was no sound (we heard only a few thunderclaps) and no wind or rain so we went out on the deck and watched as several different lightning shows went on for over an hour.

It was stunning, I have never witnessed that much lightning before. We had an unobstructed view of the whole thing in two different locations and often the flashes were non-stop between the two locations... some of the flashes were so large they flashed from one storm site to the other... Only pictures would be able to explain how awesome they were but that is one setting my camera doesn't have, I will have to work on that.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Wow... who knew summer was so busy!

But nice too... There has been too much going on to have had time to post anything and how much do I have to post about anyway??? Not much, but the fact that we are so totally blessed and loved and whatever other mushy thing you can think of. We have had no shortage of visitors and not just visitors but friends and family who have driven a very long way to come and see us... well not JUST to see us, but they did come see us, and we had so much fun with them all.

Then we had our own driving trip and had a wonderful time going back to Squamish and then the Island seeing all of our friends and families and seeing our old home (it still feels like home)... I just wish we had more time to spend time with each person... our visits were quite brief trying to see everyone...

It was the strangest feeling driving off the ferry in Nanaimo though... even Allan felt it. It really felt like we were coming home Allan made the comment "well we had fun in Fort St John but we are going home now!" But on the other hand it was good to get home, to our new home after two weeks away... that also felt like "coming home".

We stopped at several tourist traps on the way home... the kids LOVED it!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Grand Adventure on Charlie Lake!

So we gave up on Cecil Lake... Hubby has heard rumour that it is a swampy thing but I spoke to a friend of mine who said she and her family looked for it and never found it either... perhaps the people of Cecil Lake like to keep to themselves...

Anyway, we decided to take our little boat out on Charlie Lake instead. Charlie Lake is about 10 - 15 minutes away, a big lake, easy to find... but I wouldn't want to swim in it. Charlie Lake is icky... green floaty things are all through it as well as a lot of fish and ducks, but it is fairly big and has good fishing, lots of boating and (again!) easy to find!

Allan's usual spot

So we take the boat to the lake, hubby inflates it (a Zodiac type boat) and we put in with the electric motor. We had a very nice time putting around checking out the waterfront properties, looking for places to visit from shore, enjoying the views... The canola is all in bloom so there are huge expanses of yellow patchwork, it is really quite beautiful... although I haven't got a picture to show it well.
A strange hollow in the rocks... if this was a Rorschach test what would you see?

Anyway we cross the lake to check out some neat rock formations and start back when Hubby mentions that the motor is having trouble finding its gear. I assume he means we are running out of battery and tell him to point us for the dock then but we keep putting along slowly and keep getting closer to the shore. Eventually I realize that by "having trouble finding gears" means the motor is barely working... so eventually hubby sets to on the oars and I use the motor as back up for him. It is working a smidge but with almost no strength, it can find 1st gear and 2nd is weaker than 1st... 3rd and 4th are gone... and of course it is windy, it is always windy, but the wind is blowing the wrong way for us.
We get to the dock and hubby decided he should get out with the kids and I should take the boat to the ramp because "he can catch the front of the boat better than I can" (Meanwhile I am thinking that I caught the front of the boat every other time we went out in the boat...) Anyway I limp the boat over to the ramp, painfully slowly and the once empty ramp is now full of people putting their boats in... great. I am getting there but I could seriously swim and pull the boat faster but I am not getting in that yucky water! So I get within feet of the ramp and of course a big gust of wind pushes the boat and I try to correct with the broken motor and it does nothing so now I am drifting towards the other boat at the ramp but I am withing 2 feet of the shore and there is hubby standing there just watching... well he is also scowling at me mouthing at me to do something . Apparently he doesn't understand that to catch a boat you have to put your feet IN the water and CATCH it. I stick the oar out to try and stop bumping into the other boat and manage to stop getting any closer but I am still not getting any further either... thank goodness a woman from the other boat realizes that sometimes you are in the water and she nicely pushes the boat over to our ramp. Eventually hubby catches the boat, once he can reach it without touching the water, I hop out slightly P.O.'d and take the kids over to the park (so I can calm down) and hubby put the boat away and this is the first time that "event" has been mentioned since!Damn Man... good thing he is cute...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

We want neighbours, we just don't want to see them...

So, one of the things we aren't crazy about with our house is the lack of privacy. Our yard here in FSJ is considerably smaller than our yard in Ladysmith and we are mostly ok with that (especially when it comes time to mow). The one thing we are not so good with is the low fence in the back yard so that we have to look at our neighbours if we are all out in the backyard... Although for those of you who recall our backyard in Ladysmith, it is not as bad as having "Tom" looking down on it!

The fence is a nasty chain-link thing which we will get rid of, but probably not until next year as there are other things we have to figure out first (one of which is how to tell the neighbours that we are going to take down the chain link and put up wood!) . So the one thing we wanted to do this year was make the deck better. We have a really nice sized deck, but again it had no privacy... So we took down the benches that ran the edges of the deck and put privacy panels up on the one side, pushed the hot-tub over to the other side of the deck and got a natural gas BBQ that plugs into the house and fits into the corner and now we have a lovely deck. We are not quite finished as we have to take down a few more benches and put up one more panel (we think) but the bulk of the work is done and it is soooo nice... for the first time ummmm ever(!) we are actually eating outside! Maybe I need a outdoor table & chair set... hmmm.

This is the only "before" picture I can find... see how much it sucks with all that white stuff on it!

This is after... much better, not white and much better! Just don't mention the shaggy lawn, we were busy building up the deck!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I've Got a Peaceful, Easy Feeling...

The Beautiful Peace River Canyon...

Well, July is coming near its end and so far... we have been having a lovely summer. I can't say whether it is the result of Hubby having so much time off (with his schedule it feels like he is never at work!) or if it is because for the first time in a long time we haven't had to worry if his job is secure, or because we have more money in savings... but we are really having fun and relaxing.

The other day we were speculating, as we always do, about some "what if" scenario's and for the first time our automatic response wasn't "move back to the Island". It took me for a surprise actually because I wasn't aware that I felt that way... Hubby's job is so good, our house is great - not perfect but just fine, the kids are doing great and their schools are awesome, we are making friends and exploring and there is so much to see and do that I am not ready to leave at this point... Really.

Now if we were to win the lottery and be billionaires or something I would probably change my mind, but the fact is that Hubby's job is really good and I am really enjoying spending time with him again... although ask me again in the middle of winter!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It Has Been a While...

Well, June finally finished with Hubby working from the 3rd of June until the 1st of July and after that we all needed some time... and we have had it. We have been up to a whole lot of not much besides puttering around the house (a new house still has a list a mile long of things that need doing) and playing.

We have found some people that we have started becoming friends with and phoning for get-togethers the kids did swimming lessons, we had some friends come to town and stay with us for a while... we haven't done much more exploring as there still hasn't been much time but all in all, life is good.

On a side note... last night while I was up with one of my kids at 3am I looked outside (as I seem to always do) and there was red sky from the sun coming up and red sky where the sun goes down... it was quite cool... but I must say it took me a while to decide that the sunset side was NOT a forest fire... it was late - what can I say!?!

Canada Day Fun!
We went to the parade, went to the park and checked out the car show and all the kids stuff going on, then we had my brother-in-law and his family over for dinner... we had a lot of fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I find it weird that up until ten minutes ago my kids and I were outside hot as can be... actually sweating. The kids were running in and out of the pool and throwing water at each other, I was starting to think that I might actually need some sunscreen (that doesn't happen easily!) Anyway, a cloud blew in front of the sun. A big black cloud and now the temperature has dropped about 10 degrees and it is crazy-windy and I can see rain coming. Rain. So much for a beautiful day!

I also find it weird that there are seagulls here. I mean I am about as land-locked as you can get and there are seagulls... I wonder if these land-gulls aim as well as the ones by the ocean?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sweet Summer Solstice...

I always have loved the summer solstice mostly because it is the start of summer... Really, what more reason do you need... but it was always especially nice in Squamish because at this time of year you would actually have light for a long time during the day. With the high mountains there the days were considerably shorter than elsewhere on the lower mainland. Ladysmith was definitely brighter as there were only hills, not mountains and then we were right beside the ocean so the sunrises in the morning were quite early...

However, up here where the land is so flat and wide open not to mention so far up north... holy cow. I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I noticed the sky starting to get lighter at 2:30 in the morning... last night I saw the sun rise. Rise! At 2:45 am... and it was still very bright when I went to bed at 11 pm that night so I don't know what time it went down... It was a beautiful day.

On a different note today was the wrap-up for baseball and gymnastics... here are some pictures!Maria with her t-ball medal... go Jets!

Allan just got his medal for gymnastics...

Maria with her gymnastics medal

Thursday, June 19, 2008

June... what happened to it?

Well, I guess I know... it flew by and kicked my butt in the process!

Hubby has been working absolutely every day since early June and he will continue to until June is over... Allan is going to preschool three days a week and Maria has switched to all-day kindergarten every other day to help her transition to full days next year. T-ball is wrapping up which means wind-up tournaments and bbq, gymnastics is wrapping up for both of the kids which means a show as well as award ceremonies for each and then there are the field trips with their schools... We are all tired!

Another thing has started which is good, but adds to our schedule is birthday parties... we were out of the loop of birthday parties for all of a month and a half with our move - which was soooo nice as between Maria and Allan there seemed to be one almost every weekend during the spring... However Maria has been invited to one this weekend and that is awesome too. To know that in a month and a half she has become one of the kids, not just "the new kid"... wow. Now we just have to try to curb all the talk she has been doing about boyfriends...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kids are Amazing...

Our biggest worry moving up here, was our kids. You can't help but worry about them... will they like it, will they find friends, will they get frostbite...

We talked to our kids a lot to prepare them for the move, and most likely sugar-coated what it would be like, but overall we just let them know everything we could think of and answered every question they had. In the few months leading up to our departure, Maria was actually excited about moving (which I have probably mentioned about 15 times to everyone I talked to, but I was amazed!) She was so excited to go on this big adventure with us and see what it was like to live in a different part of BC. She was sad about leaving her friends and school, but she saw the bright side too. Allan fed off of her excitement so he was pretty happy about the whole thing too, but probably wasn't exactly sure about the whole thing... he was more concerned about having people, "other people" live in HIS house and be in HIS room... and I get that and agree somewhat!

Anyhow, when we moved the kids were still excited and eager to see everything, it was about a week after we moved that reality set in and it probably felt like this adventure was over and now we should be going home... except we were staying. So we definitely went through some whining and sadness about things not being what they were... but overall, the kids have done so amazingly well, I am overwhelmed.

Maria has friends everwhere, at school, on our street, even ones she just met at the park, and she has been doing amazingly well at t-ball and gymnastics. Allan doesn't have any friends yet, but he has made himself quite at home playing with whoever is nearest, he doesn't care how old they are, just as long as they play... and so far they all have. The kids on our street all call him "little man" and he thinks that is so cool... they ride bikes with him and chase him and turn him into a lawn-mower... Allan has also started pre-school so it is probably a matter of time until he finds a new buddy of his own. His teachers commented that he has made himself fit in so well that it is like he has been here all year, I think that is the best you can hope for.

Both my kids were in a gymnastics "show" last weekend, they have only been here for just over a month but they both wanted to be part of it and they did awesome. I have the best kids.

The four of us at the gymnastics show

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Missing Lake...

So we had a lot of company for a while... Hubbies parents were here for nearly a week and one day after they left my parents arrived for nearly a week. It was wonderful having company to make this place feel like home a bit more... now they know where we are and can visualize what we are talking about... But it was also nice to have home to ourselves again. On Sunday after my parents left we were so tired and so greatful that we finally had a day with nothing planned.

No school, no work, no sports, no company, no anything... ahh this is nice. Well, a few hours into the day of doing nothing and we felt we needed to do something.

So we decided to find Cecil Lake. We had seen the signs pointing to Cecil Lake just up the road from our house and wouldn't that be awesome to find a lake close to our house. So we drove, and drove, well it would be nice to have a lake kind of near our house... and we kept driving. It was a beautiful drive, down and then up a small canyon with a nice river running through it, beautiful scenery through a bunch of pasture land (cows, cows and more cows even cowboys and cowgirls on a cattle-drive!) but no sign of a lake.

Eventually we turned a corner (a corner!) and we could see some buildings up ahead and signs that said Cecil Lake... we saw a cool, OLD church (no pictures unfortunately), and not much else until we got to an ice rink and school... in the middle of nowhere. If you build it they will come, I suppose.
So Allan is starting to fall asleep in his seat now, so we decide to stop and have our picnic, that we packed, at the playground between the ice rink and the school. We had a very nice picnic, the kids had fun and enjoyed running around playing and having a picnic... but there were a lot of mosquitoes so eventually Hubby and I had enough, so we started looking for Cecil Lake again.
Red-Winged Blackbird (I assume) I see these a lot up here...

We drove back through the "town" of Cecil Lake but never did find any sign of a lake anywhere... So instead we stopped at the river we drove past on the way through. What a great place! So many very cool rocks and the kids playing in the mud and water, stripped to their underwear... and just us.So we never did find Cecil Lake, but I think we have found a place we will go back to, things are good.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Honeymoon is Over...

We are starting to all whine a little bit about our new town... I think it is normal, as we adjust to everything...

For Maria she is whining about school, they don't go to gym often enough, they sing different songs, basically they don't do what her last class did.

For Allan he really wants his little buddy Austin...

For Michael and I we are both whining about the lousy drivers up here. They are horrible!

Not too bad in the whole scheme of things, but we all miss the island, it is still home...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Of Missing Teeth and Endless Skies...

Well, we went for a BBQ at the neighbours house the other day... you did read earlier when I said people you don't know invite you for BBQ's right? Well we went and it was fine, after a glass of wine... before that it was awkward since they were all on their 2nd or more glass of wine or bottle of beer.... when in Rome.

Anyway, we were at the BBQ and Maria opted to take a corn on the cob and proceeded to whine at me that she couldn't eat it because she had a wiggly tooth... so I told her to leave it, I turned around to help Allan have a bite of his hot dog and then turn back when Maria says "ew, there is something on my corn".

She hands me this little thing that she had in her mouth (why do they put yucky things in my hand and not on the plate?) Anyway, I thought it was just a little kernel of corn, but I noticed a bit of blood on it, so I quickly put it in a napkin so Maria wouldn't see the blood and freak out (experience with that one) I tell Maria to not eat the rest of the corn just leave it as it might hurt her wiggly tooth, when she wipes her mouth and sees blood... a lot of blood.

I tell her to open up so I can look, as she is now starting to FREAK out and when I look in, there is no tooth. Uh oh. I look around in her mouth and start to ask her questions and she is freaking because of the blood, when I think of the little yuck she handed me... I look on her plate and there it is in the napkin, the cutest, tiniest tooth you ever saw. My little girl, lost her first tooth. However, my little girl is still freaking out, "I didn't know it would bleed!" she keeps saying at me, quite accusingly like I did this to her... So the fellow whose house it is tells her that if she leaves out a glass of water it will turn the colour of the tooth-fairies dress to try to stop her crying, which did work, but now I have to see if I have unpacked the food colouring, but all the same, she was now a happy kid. I have nice neighbours.

On a completely different note... I love the sky here, it is huge. I have a ton of pictures too, a few aren't bad.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Before moving to Fort St John I thought "Oh my god that is so far up north, so far from everything... it is in the middle of nowhere."

Now that I am here, it feels like everywhere else... it doesn't feel remote at all, in fact it is kind of busy. the only thing that seems a bit odd to me is the flatness of it and the lack of ocean... hm.

On a side note though... I was up last night and the night before due to Allan's bad dreams, I look out the window to hopefully see some northern lights. I do not see northern lights though because the sky was already becoming light... at 2:30 in the morning... I can't even imagine what the solstice will be like.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Well, it seems our move up here was definitely a good decision as far as employment goes... the pulp mill where Hubby was working has closed its doors. There was a buyer lined up to rescue the mill from bankruptcy, but the deal fell through and now a lot of people that mean a lot to us are out of work, and many of them are close but not quite ready for retirement. I really hope they can figure out something...

Meanwhile we are breathing a little sigh of relief... whew.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Some things I have noticed since arriving in the north...

  • Driving home from Dawson Creek at 10:30 at night... we chased the sunset the whole way
  • Moose!
  • Sunny days almost everyday... but also wind.
  • Parks everywhere
  • Bike path from one end of town to the other, and even I could ride on it since it is flat!
  • Lots of trucks...
  • Very different birds, some are the same but there are many I don't recognize
  • Kids everywhere, and many families have more than two kids... there are quite a few with more than three!
  • People invite you over even when they don't know you
  • kids play in the front yard...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

And Here We are...

Hello! Well, here we are in Fort St John and a little over one week has passed since we arrived (there were some technical issues to delay internet connection... as in our service provider forgot to hook it up!) Anyway, it has been an extremely eventful and FULL two weeks since I last posted...

I never expected it would be so very hard to leave Ladysmith, but man was it. I still get a bit misty thinking about the goodbyes but I am almost through it. I was only in Ladysmith for three years, but I was totally in love, so bear with me. Anyhow, there were many goodbyes... there was the goodbye to the LaFF board, then there was goodbye to Allan's preschool (which was Maria's before his) and goodbye to his little buddies. There was goodbye to Maria's kindergarten and all of her friends, there was goodbye to all of my friends many of whom took me out for one last dinner! The goodbyes to all of the relatives in Duncan, my sister and family on Saltspring and finally were the goodbyes to my closest friend Chantal and my sister, Kathy and her girls... then there was saying goodbye to the house, the town, the island... I think I bawled for days and I didn't stop until we were on the ferry for about half an hour!

Once I calmed down and we set off, we managed to hit the worst in weather - it snowed on us from Whistler all the way up the Prince George (where we stayed overnight) and the next day... until we got about three hours from Fort St John and it turned to rain. I haven't been so glad to see rain for a long time! But yay, it was rain, not snow! There was also very little snow on the ground anywhere up here, just in the odd shady patch... whew.

So the kids were thrilled to be in our new house and they ran around like crazy while the reality of our decision hit Hubby and I like a brick. We took turns doing the "what have we done?" routine for the first 24 hours, all the while trying to keep a good face on for the kids. Once our "stuff" arrived with the movers we had so much on our minds there was no more time for reflection and we started to settle in.

Maria's first day at kindergarten was not good. Maria panicked and the whole thing was not good but it was just a meet and greet with the teacher and kids so it was relatively short. The 2nd day was excellent. Her classmates made her queen of the day and she made friends with several of them and came out with a smile on her face... whew! She has some adjusting to do though as it is a lot more french than she was used to, in fact I don't think the teacher speaks English during class at all, but Maria is a smart kid and I know she will catch on quickly. Maria has also started t-ball which is just across the street from our house and she loves it.

Allan is quite upset to not be in pre-school anymore, but I couldn't get him in until the fall, so in the meantime I have him and Maria in gymnastics and they are both enjoying that too.

The best part for the kids are all the other kids. Our street is absolutely loaded with kids, in fact I think there is only one house that doesn't have kids. Just across the street is a girl Maria's age who is very nice and has been over almost daily since we got here! The kids are rarely in the back yard, they play in the front yard riding bikes and playing all ages together... it is nice.

I am starting to find my way around town now, it took a while and I am starting to see a lot of the beauty of this place, which I couldn't see at first. It isn't like Vancouver Island where the beauty is right in front of you and you couldn't miss it, but it is there, you just have to look for it a little bit. Some of the vista's and valleys and fields are spectacular and once I get my camera going again... I will try to show them to you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Here We Go!

The movers arrived this morning and started to pack all of our belongings for our move. They will come back tomorrow to pack the rest and then on Friday it all gets loaded onto the truck. I am in a bit of shock that it is actually happening, but here it goes!

That said, the computer will be packed up this evening and I don't know when I will next have access to it.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Friends.... I am going to miss you

Yesterday was one of the best and worst days ever. Mostly it was the best. It was busy, having several different appointments/dates/meetings and everything else that is going on, but it was good.

I went to my last meeting as the secretary for LaFF, wrapped up my time with them and voted in a new secretary. I truly enjoyed my time on the board it was so rewarding and also enlightening not to mention a wonderful way to bring a mom-brain back into work-mode. I had no idea how much work and effort goes into making a successful program for the 0-6 and am amazed at the how much the current board has accomplished in the past few years - I think it will be exciting to see what hapens in the year(s) to come for LaFF. Anyways, the rest of the board and staff at LaFF also let me know how much I was appreciated and gave me a lovely card and pottery vase by a local potter which was such a thoughtful and unexpected gift and that was the start of the tears... but it was lovely all the same.

That evening was to be the last of my dinners out with the ladies too, which we decided should be a bit more adventurous than some of our other dinners, since it would be my last... so we chose Mexican food and dancing!

Dinner was excellent although I don't think I have ever had bad Mexican food... but as per usual the best part was the conversation. There were eight of us there and we had a lot of laughs and margaritas and I think we were there for nearly three hours! As we were wrapping up with dessert and tea the ladies pulled out some gifts that they had collectively bought for me. First the card was a painting of Transfer Beach, which got the tears flowing yet again... then I pulled out a beautiful print by EJ Hughes of High Street in Ladysmith which took my words away. I just got myself under control when Kimberly (who also lives in Saltair) pulled out another print by EJ Hughes, this one of the Lagoon Bridge.

Did you hear me?? THE LAGOON BRIDGE!!!

I was so blown away - the Lagoon Bridge is forever going to be one of those meaningful places... so much so that my family refers to it as the "M"agoon because Maria was convinced that was what it was called to the point of correcting other people who called it the Lagoon. So much so that the moment we KNEW we were moving I took a photo everytime I went over the Lagoon Bridge. So much so that I was totally overwhelmed and crying again/still.

We never did go dancing as we were all tired and or recently sick/injured and a few even have new babies so the few of us who were not quite ready to go home went for another cup of tea and some more talking to cap off an emotional day.

Anyway long story short I was overcome by these wonderful women who have become such a part of my life is a relatively short amount of time. It was so awesome and amazing that they think enough of me to have given me such a wonderful day with such thoughtful and insightful gifts and I will miss you all so very much.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Getting On With It...

For the last month we have been living life as though nothing was going to change... with the exception being that Hubby finished his job down here and started work up there... So he has been up there working for 2 weeks and then home for 2 weeks, up for 2 weeks and tonight he comes home, but when he goes back - we go with him!

My dog chasing a sea otter at our beach... I am going to miss this

So my freaking out has started, but it is fairly minor. This may be because I don't have to pack, or maybe because there is so much going on in the next week and a half that there is no time to panic... I am sure at some point in the next few weeks I will freak out though... I don't know if it is human nature or not, but it is definately MY nature.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Daylights Saving Time... grrr

I hate daylight savings time... Well I don't hate it after the fact, I just hate the change-over... Anything that robs me of an hour of sleep is evil...

Which is another good thing about Fort Saint John... they don't change their time back and forth. They stay on daylight savings time all year long. Which means that yesterday when Michael got off work at 6:30 it was only 5:30 here... but today it will be the same time... and it means that by moving there, I won't have to lose an hour of sleep for a long time... well not because of a time change anyway.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Coastal Limbo...

Well, as we are still on the coast for nearly another two months we are taking advantage of the fact that it is pretty much spring here... Today I spent some time outside photographing the flowers that are blooming ...

"Did you hear me Fort Saint John? The flowers that are BLOOMING... You might have them but you wouldn't know as they are still under the snow..."

Also taking advantage of the fact that we still have a family doctor (who diagnosed me with pneumonia and Allan with Bronchitis - crap!) I don't know what the GP situation is up in FSJ but I did notice that there were several walk-in clinics which I am assuming means that there aren't enough GP's to go around... but that is pretty much a Canada-wide issue not just a northern one... I am thinking that we will keep our family doctors here since we will be coming back quite a bit (that is the plan anyway).

Michael is doing well up north, he is tired and still getting to know the ropes but he seems positive and is looking forward to us all being up there.

I have also been contacting a bunch of different sports clubs/organizations up in FSJ and it seems there is a plethora of things the kids can do to keep busy... baseball/soccer/gymnastics/swimming and just about any other activity you can imagine... even for Allan!

So we are still in limbo, but we are starting to get healthy again and we are going to enjoy our limbo as best we can... in springtime weather