Thursday, November 26, 2009

Changes Are Coming...


I have been at odds with myself lately and not able to figure out why. I am enjoying the town, I am enjoying the women that I am getting to know better. The kids are at such a fun age and they have so much joy in everything right now. Hubby and I are good and the job is still amazing... So eventually I figured it must be these things creeping around in the back of my brain telling me my time was coming...

I have had the good fortune and pleasure of staying home with my kids. My youngest is in kindergarten this year and to be honest I barely drop him off in the mornings and it is time to pick him up again... but next year, it will be 6 hours per day. It is time to do something with my time. Hubby and I have talked this subject to death and we haven't gotten very far with it. I will need to do SOMETHING or I will go crazy... I really don't think there is any way around that. Yet my pride won't let me take a "token" or "hobby" job, I have amazing qualification and if I should decide to work, it will be a good job. BUT that good job doesn't allow me the freedom to be there after school for my kids or there when they are sick or have Pro-D days... Not to mention the fact that Hubby's job is so very good that we would actually earn less money if he has to turn down an overtime shift because I am at work and he has to pick up the kids that day...

So, what I have decided (and putting it here cements it so there is no turning back) is that I am going to go back to college, part time for now, to work towards my Bachelors degree... I am kicking myself for not finishing it when I had the chance way too long ago now! However, hindsight... it is ok though because I don't think I could possibly do any more business or management classes... I think it is time for some deep thinking and liberal arts. I will continue to help out at the school whenever I can and I want to increase my volunteer work beyond the school... to other parts of the community, but some of the time will be strictly for me and my school. That is the plan anyways.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Northern Lights

My little guy was up in the middle of the night last night (again!) and since it was a clear night I thought it was worth a look... and there they were. This is the third time I have seen the northern lights since living up here... there were none last year, that I noticed. This fall has been trying to make up for it though. Still no colours other than the bluish green, but last night was a big, unmistakable swath of them up in the sky. The one thing I have noticed with them is that they don't sway, as I expected them to, they shift. One moment it will be shaped like 'this' and the next moment, it is shaped slightly different... but you don't see it changing. I showed Allan before putting him back to bed, but he had the same reaction as Maria had... "Oh... can I go back to bed?"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Otherwise known as... Finter?? Wall??

It happened... we were snowed upon. On September 29th, it couldn't even wait for October! Well, it was only a little bit of snow and it all melted the next day in the SUNSHINE! Yay, sunshine! Since then I have heard more weather rumours... weather is a common topic up here but that is because it is interesting!! You never know what is coming your way (shh, don't say it too loud apparently even tornadoes happen up here... yeesh!). Anyway, back to the rumours... I have heard rumours that by the end of the week EITHER it could snow, again... or it could be 20 degrees and sunny! Hah, there you go, predictions! The actual funny thing is, they could both be right.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fall

We are having another beautiful fall, and although it has been "officially" fall for only about a week, it has felt like fall for nearly a month. Last year fall was wonderful. It was about two full months of beautiful cool, but not cold, weather and amazingly colourful trees. I don't think we are going to be so lucky this year.

We had our first frost last night (at least I think it was the first one!) and there have been rumours floating around that next week, the first week of October... next week we may get snow. SNOW!! I am not ready for winter yet, I am still processing that fall is here, for real! There are still tomatoes on the vine for goodness sake... well there were yesterday, maybe the frost did them in...

Anyway, we have a lot to do to get ready for winter and we haven't even started. Mostly we have to winterize our vehicles and get the snow-tires back on... it feels like we just took them off! We have to finish off the shed so we can clear out the garage so that we could actually park in there. We need to finish outfitting the kids in winter gear... we have gloves and boots for them but they will need new snow pants and possibly jackets.

So we have a lot to do and potentially, very little time to do it... lets just hope it isn't such a brutal winter as last year!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Weather Tales...

The weather up here is always interesting and it is often in the extreme category. Extremely cold mostly. But right now, as the seasons are beginning to change from summer to fall the weather seems confused. For the most part we have been having beautiful fall days, mid to high twenties during the day and cooling off at night, perfect for playing outside and enjoying the end of summer vacation.

But this morning we were socked in with fog and I thought it was going to be a cool day, a day for pants. Yet now in the afternoon it is lovely and warm, until a cloud goes in front of the sun and then the temperature drops 5 degrees! A few days ago we had a major thunder and lightning storm, it was absolutely awesome... not to mention right over top of us! The light show started in the early evening with constant lightning but completely without sound. By 11pm it was still constant but now it was HERE and loud and woke me up from a sound sleep... I swear it must have landed right beside us! The house literally shook.

Something tells me we are not in for the beautiful, prolonged fall that we had last year but whatever kind of fall it is going to be, it has started.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Next...

I haven't been posting on here at all for a while, I had come to a cross-road with this site. When I started this blog it was about moving. First the decision to move and then the preparation for the move, the move itself and then for our transition into our new home and town. But a year passed and I wasn't getting any "inspiration" to write... we had explored our area and come to accept it as home, and home wasn't what this blog was about.

However, lately I have been thinking "oh, that would be a good story" again, so perhaps this blog isn't quite done yet. I expect the posts will still be sporadic, but hopefully I will feel inspired to share them.

My push to write today is that last night, hubby was taking the dog out before we went to bed and he came in quite quickly and called for me to come out. We finally got to see the northern lights. They weren't really bright, they were quite dim actually, but we still got to see them and that was something we have been anticipating since we moved up here. So he went and woke up Maria, because I had promised her that if ever I see them I would get her up... apparently they weren't as exciting as she was expecting (they actually dimmed down even more while she was watching) because she soon asked to go back to sleep, but she saw them!

So, we have had another milestone for us up here and I expect there will be others for me to write about as well.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Where has the time gone??

I can't believe it is the end of May... I totally missed my "one year anniversary" of living up here (it was April 30th) and here we are exactly one month later! I think this is a sign of contentment... things aren't new and unusual up here anymore, urging me to write about it on my blog. Now, life just is.

We haven't been sitting around on our bums though, we have been busy, as per usual. We have had hubby's family come and stay with us, we have had a few birthday parties for Allan (my baby is FIVE!). We attended the trade fair here in FSJ, which was huge and very well put on... the kids had a lot of fun checking everything out, getting treats and seeing friends.

We have also had some friends move to town from Ladysmith. They have also been affected by the demise of the forest industry on Vancouver Island and have come up here to work, so I am looking forward to having a friend who is MY friend.

We also were shown how to find the Charlie Lake Caves by the daughter of a friend. These caves have no signage to speak of and are wide open for anyone to explore, which is pretty impressive considering the following statement taken from the Virtual Museum Canada:

Charlie Lake Cave


Charlie Lake Cave is located in the Peace River area in northeastern British Columbia. The site contains evidence of a series of temporary occupations, spanning the last 11,000 years.

The lowest (earliest) level of the site contained several stone artifacts, including a fluted point, six retouched flakes and a small stone bead. This level has been dated to 10,770±120 years BP. Associated animal remains included bison, snowshoe hare, large hare, ground squirrel and fish. The bison bones exhibited cut marks that researchers believe were created by humans using stone tools. Charlie Lake Cave is the only archaeological site in Canada in which fluted point tools and associated animal remains have been found in an undisturbed context.

So we have settled in to life up here and we have started some of the habits of those who live up here (i.e. we have bought a travel trailer and a quad!). We are still exploring new things up here and enjoying finding things to see. This summer we have plans to use our travel trailer and discover whatever we can within the nearby areas. Ao I hope to keep in touch on here, but it may be sporadic!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring

Walking around Stump Lake in Squamish with Nana & Grandad

The last two weeks have been spring break for Maria so we took advantage of the time off to go back to Squamish and the Island to catch up on some overdue visits and for Allan's yearly check-up with the cardiologist. It turns out that two weeks is not long enough to see everyone, but we managed to see many of our much missed family and friends.

Getting in the good books with the Easter Bunny...

Having a lovely visit with Granny Green brought the unexpected surprise of more cousins!

Our trip to Squamish was wonderful, it is funny how we have come full-circle now that we have left the Island. For so long after leaving Squamish, we couldn't stand going back to town because of all of the changes and building that was never-ending. We loved seeing our families and friends, but it was hard to see the town itself, it was no longer our home-town. Now that we have left the Island and moved up North, we can see the beauty of Squamish again, it still isn't "home" but it isn't so disturbing to see the changes... maybe because it really isn't home anymore? (anyway, I side-track) We had a wonderful visit with everyone we managed to see while in Squamish and we enjoyed the lack of snow.

Maria stopped by at her old school during lunch hour to see some of her old friends, then we went to Transfer Beach after school to meet up with more friends... it is always fun to throw rocks

Our visit on Saltspring with my Sister and her family was great fun!

We left for the Island after a week and managed to see so many people and had such wonderful visits, it really was awesome on the Island too. We managed to get to Salt Spring to see my sister and her family, visit my other sister and family in Ladysmith as well as most of our friends, we visited much of our family in Duncan and managed to join in on the annual easter egg hunt which was great fun. We also spent one day in Victoria after Allan's Dr. appointment (which was excellent) and we went to the Royal BC Museum and watched an Imax movie... so it was VERY busy, but so wonderful.

We had a great time at the museum

We saw an otter on our walk out on the breakwater


The easter egg hunt was awesome... even if it was pouring rain!

Then to top off a wonderful trip, we arrived back in Fort St John to spring... the snow is almost completely gone and it is warm. Ahh spring, I have missed you!

Our trip home was good... but a little over-stuffed!

Friday, March 27, 2009

A lot has happened in a year

It occurred to me the other day that it was over a year ago when hubby and I flew up here to look at houses and look through the school - and I suppose when I started this blog. The picture at the top of this blog was taken in early March...

We hadn't moved up here yet, one year ago, but we were gearing up to it, and all the panic and depression that ensues during that kind of upheaval. I have some friends who are going through the exact same thing as we did a year ago, and I feel for them. That was the hardest part. I have been trying to help them as much as I can, but there is only so much I can do... time does the most and I must say that after almost one year up here, as much as I complain about the weather... life is so very much easier now and I am thankful for being where we are.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Blahh!!!

Ok... I know the other day it felt like we made it through winter... but now we are snowed under AGAIN! Make it stop already! No seriously, everyone in town is not enjoying this lengthy winter and so many people keep saying that they are sure this must be the end of it, and yet it keeps coming... so we are going down to the coast for spring break and get away from it for a bit. We are all very excited to see everyone again and are trying to work it so that we can see everyone. Hopefully by the time we come back winter will ACTUALLY be receding... one can hope!

Friday, March 20, 2009

We made it.

Today is the first day of spring, the spring equinox... we made it through our first winter. It is still winter here according to the weather, but I know that it won't last long, so it doesn't feel as depressing as it did a month ago. In fact we are getting snow as I type this, but yesterday was a magnificently sunny day that melted snow piles into huge puddles and reminded me of the mud season we are about to begin (where are my rubber boots?!)

The days are already much longer, the sun rises and sets at around 8 each day, which is really nice. The days are long enough that we can go play outside after Maria gets home from school, in fact the kids are anxious to get their bikes out, although I think it best if we wait until the sidewalks are clear of ice.

So it feels like we are in the home stretch and we are almost there. It is spring.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Time for Some Escapism...

Winter is hanging in there, long after it has lost its welcome. I really think that I was very patient with it, I certainly don't expect it to be gone, just milder... is that really too much to ask? Apparently it is, so maybe today I will think of Mexico...

The colourful bus that took us to the park

One of the highlights of our trip (well actually there were many, but this is one...) was going to Xcaret (the "X" is pronounced "Ish"). We didn't really know what to expect on this excursion, but we knew it was kid friendly so we thought it would be good.

Arriving at Xcaret!

We, and our friends who met us in Mexico, all got on the bus early in the morning and less than 1/2 an hour later arrived at a zoo... well it was crazy busy anyway! After finally filtering our way in (they made us all trade in our sunscreen for bio-degradable sunscreen to protect the animals in the park...) then we had 4 kids and 4 adults who all wanted to see something special in the park... This place is huge and has so much to see it was hard to know what to head to see first and what was where... you would be walking along and see a sign for something really cool so we would wind up veering off here or there... but we had requests to see the manatees, the bats, the dolphins, the underground river and the sharks, everything else was a bonus... and a bonus it was.
The mining caves right near the start of the park

The Mexican cemetary

Xcaret had so many things to see and we saw so much, I am sure we missed some cool things, but we do not feel like we missed out on anything. One of the highlights for me was seeing the traditional Mexican burial ground with its labyrinth of graves and its Mary shrines, but it was also very cool to see a tapier.
The Tapier

The Iguana that scared Maria... she was standing up leaning on the wall looking in at the leopard and didn't see it and it was RIGHT in front of her!

The leopard was huge and very impressive

However, after walking around through the jungle-like park all morning, we were COOKING hot so we decided to head for the underground river. The park gives you a lovely pink life jacket and snorkel equipment if you want, they also have you put all of your belongings into a duffle bag with a lock on it, you keep the key and they take the bag to wait for you at the end of the river.

They have a turtle release program to give the turtles a better chance at survival, these little guys are sooo cute!

After doing all that you go down some stairs into a small canyon and you choose... a river that is completely underground - i.e. cave the whole way or a mixture of cave and open air. Michael is still moaning about the fact that he would have rather done underground entirely, but I for one am glad that we went for the mixed route! So we all hopped into the water which was quite chilly and for 45 minutes floated along through caves (which kind of freaked me out) and through mangroves and even past some animal enclosures, including the manatee area, so there were also fish swimming about. We were not able to take our camera into the river, although we did have Maria's underwater camera, but the pictures did not turn out well, so just believe me that it was very cool.
They have photographers here and there along the river to get pictures of all the people so this is one of two that we have. Maria was further along the river swimming with her friend Katie!

After the river we came out and had some lunch, while being serenaded by an amazing mariachi band. We then spent a while checking out the bats, butterflies and the aquarium, where we saw so many different creatures it was incredible.

The Blue Morphos Butterfly was the highlight in the butterfly pavilion

About this time we were debating whether the kids would be able to handle the show that was to cap off the evening. The show was to be two hours long, starting at 6:30pm and we would then have our bus ride home... and this was on top of a very busy, long day. We decided we might as well give it a whirl, the kids were still in good spirits and it would be a fun memory for them.

So we hustled back all the way across to the other side of the park and just made it in time for the show. The show was really quite cool. There was a demonstration of the Mayan ball games that were played long ago, then they did a brief show of the history of the area and then musical numbers from different areas of Mexico. It was very entertaining, and just a little too long for the younger two kids, they each fell asleep during the show... but that was ok too. Part way through the show, we became aware of a loud pounding sound, and soon realized that it was not raining... it was down-pouring. The large grass roof on the show arena kept out most of the rain... but then we had to make a run back to the bus, and we got SOAKED! It was a blast...

The ball game where the players are not allowed to use hands or feet to shoot the ball through the rings... this looked tricky, but the one with a burning ball looked very impressive to the kids!

Some music and dancing at the show

Ahh, I almost got warm there! Now back to our regularly scheduled, long-lasting, winter...

We had a blizzard on Saturday and today it is -29... sigh.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

These Boots are Made for Walking

One of our concerns of moving up here has been our dog, Suki. Suki has never liked being cold and it was really difficult to get her to go outside when it was cold and rainy... we had no idea how she would do in the REAL cold.

She has actually done quite well, much better than we expected. She is much more willing to go outside in the dry cold and since we don't get much rain, it hasn't been an issue. The only problem she has had is when it is -30 or colder her feet hurt. There were a few times when she went outside and would be limping and whining after a quick pee, so there was no question of going out for any longer (not that anyone wants to be outside when it is -30 or colder!).

So Nana decided that Suki needed some boots. Yes, our dog has boots, but these boots aren't made for walking... more like dancing :)

video

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Sun is Following Me

I think I like it that way!

We had an amazing time in Mexico... The weather wasn't hot, but it was hot enough... particularly for those of us coming from -30! We left for Mexico after a weekend birthday party for Maria, followed by an overnight stay with Nana & Grandad (with another party for Maria!) Our flight from Vancouver to Cancun left late in the afternoon so we finally arrived at our hotel in the middle of the night. They had put out sandwiches and bottles of water in our room for us to eat on our arrival, which was great for the kids as they were very hungry and thirsty at this point so by the time we got to sleep it was after 3am... we were very tired to say the least!

The tired family... we just arrived in Akumal!

It was about almost 6am when I heard a noise I couldn't identify... a very loud noise. Michael and I both heard this noise and since we were half delirious from being so tired it took a while to identify this sound as birds. I know that sounds ridiculous, but you have to hear these birds - I have never heard anything like it. This is not a beautiful, peaceful, lilting bird song... as Maria put it "WHY ARE THE BIRDS YELLING AT EACH OTHER?!?!" and yes, she yelled that so that I could hear her over the sound of the birds yelling! I hope that the link works... my camera makes large files so it might be too big...

video

We have a lot of other stories from our vacation, but that is enough for now... We are happy to be home, the kids seem rejuvenated and excited to be doing the day to day activities again. I am also glad that the weather has warmed up a fair bit and we have been having beautiful sunny days... sun is good.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cold x Two!

My house has been infected be a nasty cold... it is working its way through all of us and we are just hoping to clear it mostly away before we leave on Monday.

Also the cold weather has returned with a vengeance. Maria has been anxiously wanting to see a blizzard... now she has! We had a horrid north wind along with snow and temperatures around -22 not counting the wind chill... all I can say is bbbrrrr!

We are really looking forward to leaving on Monday for our trip to Mexico... we just have to get through the sickness and a very busy weekend first!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chinook!

A seriously warm chinook has been blowing our way, we have had almost a week of temperatures near +10. It has been heavenly... for me at least! Not only has it been unusually warm, but it has also been beautiful and sunny. We have been out and about; going to the parks, walking ON Charlie Lake and just enjoying being outside.

Today it has clouded over and cooled off again so I think we are heading back to normal winter weather (hopefully not quite as cold as before) but having that brief chance to defrost our bones before we head to the tropics was certainly welcome!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

High On Ice


This weekend is the High on Ice Festival here in Fort St John. This is an annual event which has done quite well in attracting lots of spectators and competitors. The big thing is the ice carving, similar to the sand sculptures in Parksville but (obviously) done in ice! This year they were able to harvest the ice from local lakes (because it was sooooo cold) so there was an added element to the event.

The theme this year was "The Ice Age" so there were carvings of dinosaurs and fossils

There were also quite a few carvings of the characters from the movie "Ice Age" The kids particularly like any that had the squirrel in them!

Apart from the carving competitions there were also an ice fishing derby. They also have lots of kids activities like toboggan races, horse drawn sleigh rides, crafts and this amazingly awesome ice slide that they made for the event.
The ice slide was probably the highlight for my kids, I am hoping we get a chance to go back this evening as the slide had Christmas lights frozen inside it which would look very cool and all the sculptures (which should be completed this afternoon as they are still working on them when we were there)

This sculpture of the characters from the movie is still under construction...

had special lighting. They also built an ice chimney which they will light a fire in to end the event.

This is the chimney that they will be lighting up tonight

Quite a fun way to spend the weekend anyway, something unique to the North!

Even the concession stand was made of ice!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Home

For all of my complaining (so sorry, I looked back and realized I was complaining a lot recently!) I have also realized something the other day which shocked the heck out of me.

This is home.

I didn't expect Fort St John to feel like home so quickly, I almost wondered if it ever would. I don't know if it was having Christmas here, or the friends that I am making, the way my kids are blossoming and doing so well, or if it is being able to see the Island through my eyes that are no longer rose-tinted (it is still beautiful, but it isn't perfect!) Maybe it is all of those things.

The winter is damn cold and well, damn cold. But it is beautiful too. The trees twinkling with the frost and ice, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets that colour the entire huge sky, the wildlife (we have seen loads of deer, elk, some moose, an ermine and a fox! Not to mention Buffalo, horses, donkeys and cows!) The people are really good too... they are different from Island folk, but they are good.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to live through a "real" Canadian winter, I have never experienced one before and they truly are a wonder. I still haven't seen the Northern Lights up here... but I will. From home.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Where for Art Thou... Mexico???

I am soooo ready to go to Mexico. I think I have a mild case of Seasonally Affected Disorder, or whatever SAD is. We had a few bright blue days and I felt so recharged and ready to go outside, but it has been snowing again for the last few days (week?) and I am tired of it... Although it is starting to warm up, a bit. The damn weatherman keeps promising temperatures right around zero (which would be great!) but we are still around -17 to -20... sigh.

On a positive note, we got some work done in the house, since we were stuck inside. I think we have officially unpacked more boxes in this house than we did in the entire time we were in Saltair!

Mike did a great job on cutting the mats to fit

Mike and I attacked a room that had been a stash place for "stuff". The room is now empty, completely. In fact it echoes like crazy and the kids love to play tag in there, which is great since they can't really run around outside. This room was used as a billiards room by the previous owners of our house - for us it is known as the "Wrestling Room". Although exercise room might be more apt. We are getting a treadmill so we can get our blood moving from its current frozen state. I had plans of getting into cross-country skiing, but apparently I am too wimpy to brave the cold. Also a place for the kids to run wild and bounce on the bouncy castle thing... We have a big house, so we are taking advantage with a completely frivolous space. I just need to do something about that echo... any suggestions?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I Need to Thaw

That isn't snow on the trees... it is frost/ice

Happy New Year! We have had a very nice winter holiday and thoroughly enjoyed some time off, but man... this cold snap has got to break. It has been between -25 to -40 for weeks now it seems. I know that the weather has been nasty everywhere, but I am just about frozen right through.
The view out Maria's bedroom window!

Even the people who were born here are complaining about it, so it isn't just me! In all seriousness though... it is too cold to go outside so we are probably suffering from a bad case of "cabin fever". I think the cure is two weeks in Mexico...
Check out Hubby' eyelash extensions! Again that isn't snow on him, it is ice from shoveling the driveway!