Sunday, October 26, 2008

They don't call it Elk Valley for nothing!

We decided to venture off to Fernie this afternoon to get some groceries and just 1km from home we were driving through the only bare, flat part of the valley between home and Highway 3 and we saw this....

A whole HUGE herd of elk!!!

I believe we counted about 5 bulls in the herd. I can only image what they would look like close up... HUGE!!

At one point they got skittish and they all seemed to congregate into a circle... with the males on the outside and all the younger elks on the inside.

We finally watched as they went two by two up the embankment, across the road, through one of mine properties and back to the mountain behind!

Apparently this is a common site in the autumn and winter as they come down the mountains to feed in the valleys. It's warmer and there's less snow to have to go through to find food. I can't wait to see the herds in the snow filled valley this winter!

After our adventure to the beautiful Fernie....

(by the way... this is the site from the Canadian Tire parking lot!!!)

.... we stopped in Sparwood to have a little fun...

I caught BOTH boys on the monkey bars!!!!

Todd.... showing off....

Spencer's attempt to copy Daddy.... he didn't make it that high! Thank goodness for padding (diapers)!!

Overall, Spencer's feeling much better today after a few days of a bad cold and I'm still feeling the same. I wish I could get rid of this headache!!! Todd's off to a training course tomorrow and then back to his regular scheduled days of work (Tues - Fri).

This place is feeling more and more like home!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Achoooo! Bark! Bark!!

We have been dealing pretty good this week.... accept for a cold that seems to have grabbed hold of our poor little boy. Look at those rosy cheeks!!! When he's gone to bed, he sounds like a dog barking!! His cold seems to be about the same today as yesterday. He's even gone for a nap without resistance!

I even managed to cut his hair in the tub last night without much resistance and some cooperation. He wouldn't let me do anymore so this is the end result... minus the nap time rooster tail!

Todd's first night shift went well too. He got there last night and the supervisor looked at him and said "What are you doing here?". Todd replied, "I'm scheduled". Well the supervisor informed him that he was to be a on a constant day shift on his scheduled shifts. Good thing they communicate at the mine... GRRRR! So needless to say... tonight is his last night shift!! Straight day shifts from now on!!! COOL!

The weather has been nice the last two days. Warm enough for a light sweater or jacket and sunny too. Most of the snow we got on the lower mountain tops the other day is gone.

Hope you are all doing fine!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Our weekend and a few photos

On Saturday we spent the day traveling to Lethbridge. We bought a whole bunch more things we needed for home, some groceries and the boys spent some quality time together... mostly in the "man stores"... you know... Princess Auto, Canadian Tire and Home Depot. I waited patiently until almost 4pm when I got a chance to visit my first scrapbook store. And boy... was it a GOOD one! Scrapbook Paradise in Lethbridge is an AMAZING store. I know I'll be returning for sure!

On our way home we stopped in a historical area just on the Alberta border. Spencer and I grabbed a camera and took a few shots.

Isn't his little vest cute?

Then I caught the two goofballs running up the path to the car. It had really started to cool off so they were racing to the car together.

Todd started his shift schedule today. He's been working an 8-4 work day for the time he's been here. He will now be working a shift schedule of "2 day shifts, 2 night shifts, 4 days off... repeat". I think it's going to be hard getting used to the change from days to nights but at least he has 4 days to recover from it.

On a good note, Todd came home tonight and he said that his co-worker that was electricuted on Friday is out of hospital and is recovering at home. Certainly good news for him and his family.

I wanted to show you this picture of our moving truck. If you look just behind the driver's elbow (standing on the ramp), there's a board. Between the board and the front of the truck was ALL of our household belongings. YUP... in a space approximately 12x10x12 was our entire house!!! Can you say "that's amazing packing"!???


Friday, October 17, 2008

Furniture and a Scare....

So on Wednesday evening our shipment of belongings finally arrived! The trucker waited until Todd came home from work because he had no one else to help unload the truck. So poor Todd, after a long day at work, had to unload the truck.

So we piled all the boxes all over the house but the first official box to be opened was Spencer's toys and he was thrilled! He jumped for joy as each of his favourite toys got taken out of the box. The look on his face was priceless... too bad the camera wasn't close by!

So I unpacked the much needed bed sheets and towels and we left the rest of the boxes.

On Thursday morning I woke up with a splitting headache and spent the entire day on the couch watching tv as just getting up and down motion made me feel worse!!

So today was the day of unpacking.... if I never see another cardboard box I'll be happy!!! I got everything unpacked and put away except one box of books and a few boxes of scrappy stuff. We're still trying to figure out the living room set up so I haven't organized the furniture yet either.

Todd came home today after a long day and he had this weird look on his face.... half upset and half exhaustion. I asked him how his day was and he answered... "If I never have another day like this one, I'll be happy." Huh? So I asked him to eleborate.

He went on to tell me that he might not have come home tonight from work. What??? He explained that he, a supervisor and another rather new employee when to work on a shovel that was in need of some repairs. Todd was assigned a job at the top of the scoop and the other employee was assigned a job by the supervisor on the LARGE electrical panel inside the cab.

Todd climbed up to his spot and surveyed his job and then climbed down to get the proper equipment he needed. As he was passing through the cab of the machine, he saw his co-worker sitting down, cupping his hand. He asked him what was wrong and he replied, "I got a shock." So Todd started asking him what happened and then asked him to show him his hand. Todd took off his glove and inside he found a burnt and charred thumb on his left hand. Todd knew immediately that it was a high voltage burn and started things rolling for treatment. Since Todd has had specific training for dealing with high voltage burns he knew exactly what to do. He stayed with his co-worker as the supervisor called the mine emergency team. He made sure to watch him carefully as high voltage shocks can be very serious.... stop your heart, put your heart out of rhythm, etc. He asked his co-worker where else it hurt. He co-worker explained that his knee hurt so now he knew where the exit wound was for the electricity. The man was strapped to a back board, lowered to the ground from the machine's cab (about 3 stories) and taken to hospital. No news as to how he's doing.

I think Todd was never so happy to get in his car and come today. He gave me the BIGGEST hug ever and I knew that he was simply thankful that someone was looking out for him up there today so it wasn't him being transported to hospital today. I am extremely thankful too!!! I just don't know what I'd do without him!!!!!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Waiting... Waiting Some More....

We woke up this morning knowing that our belongings were to be delivered today... YIPPEE! And I looked out the dining room window and see this...

Gorgeous!! The moon was setting just above the mountain behind us.

It's 11:30am here and the moving truck was supposed to be here before noon... HA! He better be! We need some furniture and all our other stuff! It's been enough time without them.

APPARENTLY.... the moving company could have been here on Friday... yes I said Friday... but Todd didn't check his cell phone all freakin' weekend and they had left messages about dropping it off! GRRRR!!!! Never let a man do a woman's job!!!!

We did however, get our shipment of new furniture for the house yesterday. We bought a new head board for our bed, a new 5 drawer dresser for our room and a new TV stand. They came in 4 HUGE, heavy boxes and Todd and I took all night and assembledall three new pieces. They look great! Now all we need is some curtains, a coffee table and new side tables for the living room.

Hope you all are having a great week!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mmmm..... Soup!

Woke up this morning to a fog layer plastered to the side of the mountains on both sides of us. There was also this cloud down the valley that was billowing out from between two mountains... it was gorgeous! I didn't get it in time to take a photo though... darn it!

It warmed up today so the weather is actually nice today.

Lesson of the Month: The radio reception sucks out here!!
Since we only get 2 radio stations here, Todd decided to invest in a Sirius Satellite Radio for the car. The BEST money we've spent yet! We have some 200 channels of anything from comedy, to Martha Stewart to today's hits to hits from the 50's and everything in between! I can even access it from my computer at home and play it (since we have no tv yet!).

Since we had some leftovers from our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to make some homemade turkey vegetable soup for dinner tonight. So that's what I have done this afternoon... you can smell it already! Mmmm....

GOOD NEWS.... I received an email from Todd at work just now. He says our truck of household belongings will be delivered before noon tomorrow!!!! YIPPEE!!! Finally.... it's about freakin' time I say! I guess he got a call while he was at work from the truck driver.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Joesphine Falls

Well we enjoyed another day as a family today. The weather was cool but we decided to bundle up and enjoy one the trails in the area. Thank goodness I went and bought hat and mitts for everyone yesterday!

We drove to a trail just outside of Elkford called Joesphine Falls.

So after 2.3 km of wild, root filled trails.....

.... and a few pit stops along the way...

....we came upon the beautiful site of Joesphine Falls.

And the view looking down the river.....
So we trekked the exhausting trip back and had lots to drink in the car. Awwww..... a rest at long last! Spencer whined almost the whole way back. I think it was a little bit too long a walk for him. Oh well... we'll know for next time.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Did you know pumpkin pie is a finger food?

This morning we decided to drive to Pincher Creek, Alberta to the Walmart and do some more needed shopping.

Since we don't have any of our belongings yet, I couldn't unload any of my Canon camera memory card images. It's completely full with some 530 images from the last month. So Todd bought me a memory card reader which allows me to transfer my photos from the memory card to the laptop.... as you can already tell I have used since I had edited my previous posts with photos.

We also managed to pick up a few more essentials... a new potty for Spencer, some DVDs for Spencer to watch in the next few days, slippers for all three of us, new hat and glove sets for Spencer, some coveralls for Todd at work, new PJs for me, some more groceries and some more odds and ends for the house.

We arrived home this afternoon and I immediately went to town making our family Thanksgiving dinner.... roast turkey with homemade dressing & gravy, boiled mini potatoes and roasted acorn squash. I was almost tempted to make my own pumpkin pie but ended up just buying one instead!
Did YOU know that pumpkin pie was a finger food?? Neither did I!!! Spencer found this way the best.... literally shovel his dessert into his face!! Nice eh? So much for forks and table manners!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!


Saturday, October 11, 2008

All Before Breakfast

This week Todd has been seeing all kinds of wild animals on his way to work so we decided to go for an early morning drive before breakfast this morning.

So we piled into the car and drove towards Elkford, just north of Sparwood.

We came around a corner, not 5 km from home and there stood a deer! Just standing there on the side of the road.

As we drove on, an SUV blinked his lights at us as we rounded a corner and so we slowed down. As we rounded the curve there stood a young male elk and standing behind the fence and on my side of the road was another young male. We drove past slowly and they each turned around and went their separate ways.

We drove on through Elkford and up towards the Folding River mine where Todd works. As we rounded the bend just about to enter the mine entrance, there they were!!! A whole HURD of elk and stuck right in the middle of them was a huge male and his glorious set of horns! Every so often you heard him buggle and off in the distance you could another male call. It was SO beautiful!
We watched and took photos and then turned around to come home. We rounded a small curve and I just happen to glance down to the valley below and there standing in the tall grass some kilometer from the road was a swap donkey.... other wise known as a moose!!!!! He quickly proceeded behind a tall tree and disappeared into the bush before I could stop and get a photo. Darn it!

What a fabulous sight... and all before breakfast!!!!!

PS.... still no furnishing yet! I'm hoping they show up this afternoon!!


The Community Center

October 9, 2008

We had an opportunity to drop by our local community center on Thursday. It contains a swimming pool, kiddy wading pool, a hot tub, a kids climbing area, 2 racquet ball courts, a rock climbing wall, a huge weight room, a cardio room, a curling rink, an ice skating rink and a few meeting rooms. It's a wonderful place, especially when you are in an area surrounded with nothing but mountains and forest! And it's only 5 mins away!!!!

We gathered all the information we could find about the programs, schedules and activities there. They have all kinds of kids programs (some are FREE), drop in meetings for parents, day care facilities and lots more. As part of our active living benefit through Todd's work, we can claim memberships for the community center and get up to claim a certain amount of the money back. It's a great incentive program to get involved and get fit too! For a start, we are going to get the one month family pass to use and see how much we use it.

Spencer thoroughly enjoyed the room FILLED with balls!!! It has this huge circular window for people watch from the outside and he was enjoying jumping from the top of the stairs into the mass of plastic balls.
October 10, 2008

Every Friday here, the Community Center holds a meet the parents time in the morning. They have a huge meeting room above the ice rink that contains a huge closet of cool toys for all ages and they get out mats and lots of different toys for the kids to play with while the parents sit and talk. They also provide coffee, tea, drinks for the kids and muffins.

So Spencer and I decided to try out the event and went. Spencer spent 90% of the time riding one of the two bikes all around. He would typically be racing another child on the other bike. He also played on the mini slide, in the mini ball pit and with the doll house too.

I chatted with all the other Moms and got to know a little bit more about the area.

Facts of Interest:
- Here in this area (not sure if this is all of BC or not), the kids get EVERY OTHER Friday off of school!!! They also get 2.5 weeks off for Christmas and 2 weeks off for March break. HOLY MOLY!!! Most of the mines also follow the "every other Friday off" rule for their employees so people don't have to find day care for those days. Weird eh???
- Kids don't start school here until they are 5!!! Darn it....
- We have a BUS! Yep... you can literally get picked up here in Sparwood and take a bus to either Elkford or Fernie (depending on the time of day). It basically does two circles of the areas with 2 rest periods and a lunch period.
- All the employees of the Fording River mine get bussed to work. If you live in Elkford, the bus comes right to your door to pick you up for work!! Very cool! Since we live in Sparwood, Todd drives to Elkford to the mine parking lot, gets picke dup by a bus for work and then gets bussed to the mine site (26km from the parking lot).


Friday, October 10, 2008

Visiting Fernie - The World can be a SMALL Place Sometimes

October 7, 2008

We live only a matter of about 20mins for Fernie, a well known skiing town during the snow months here. For us, Fernie means a large grocery store, a Canadian Tire and of course, a McDonalds!! LOL!

On our second day home I needed to go and get a new vacuum since I had left it at home too... so Spencer and I took off to Fernie mid morning. The trees are golden and beautiful right now so the 20 minute drive was gorgeous!

We arrived in Fernie and took a driving tour around town. I knew that a friend of mine from home had a store in town so I decided to hunt it down first.

With the tiny town, there's only a few streets and the main street of town is off the main highway of the town so it's wasn't hard to find the store we were looking for. We parked and walked to the store to discover the store was about 15mins from opening. So we took a stroll to the bank down the street and then back to a nice looking coffee shop for a hot drink and a treat!

Lesson of the Day: Every Mom should carry a container of baby wipes in their purse!!
Spencer ate his chocolate covered peanut butter treat and before you knew it, he was covered in chocolate!!! This is the VERY reason why I carry a pack of wipes in my purse! Catching the little slimy bugger is a whole other story!!!!!

After our treat, we walked down the cool, breezy street and entered the store we had been waiting to open. On one of the displays, there was a mini soap box derby car and Spencer eyed it right away! I struggled to get him out of it and after his tantrum was done, he spied another large yellow Barbie bug to play with. I chatted with the gal behind the counter and told her that I had gone to school with the owner of the store and her brother all my life. Needless to say, the owner wasn't going to be in, so I left my name for her. The lady behind the counter gave Spencer a sticker to wear in place of the car so we could leave.

So off we went back to the car and on to the local Canadian Tire in search of a new vacuum.

I found what I was looking for and it was on sale... even better! As we we strolling towards the front of the store to purchase the new vacuum, I look up and there she is..... the EXACT person I had come to town to see! What are the odds we'd run into each other by chance on the very first day we visit her hometown. We chatted a bit as our kids played with one another and promised to get together soon.

Sometimes it's nice to know that you know someone else wherever you are going! The world is a small place ever after.

As we were getting ready to leave Fernie to return home, the wind whipped up in great gusts and snow began to fall! The mountain tops with bare rock had already acculated soft, white peaks. Time to go!!! I'm just not too comfortable yet with the unpredictable weather conditions here so we drove carefully home.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our First Day in a NEW Place

October 6, 2008

Being our first day home and a Monday, Todd had to go to work. We got up early seeing as Spencer and I were still on Eastern time (2 hours ahead) and said goodbye to Todd as he got in his car for work.

Since our belongings hadn't arrived from Ontario yet and I knew that I had to go a few "bigger" household items, I decided to ventured back to Alberta for the day to Pincher Creek. About an hours drive from home, it has the closest Walmart to home.

With my long list in hand, Spencer and I ventured out. We arrived in Pincher Creek, among all the huge energy generating wind mills on the foot hills of the Rockies. So cool!!!

Lesson of the Day: This place is WINDY!! ALWAYS wear your hair tied up!!
To have a day WITHOUT wind is ODD around here. The wind rushes through the valleys of the Rockies because it's the easiest way to get from one place to the other. If you were going somewhere nice out for dinner, I'd recommend either lots of hairspray OR just give up the idea of an "up do" all together!!!

Lesson of the YEAR: Never let a man do your "settling in" shopping for you!!
A man's idea of getting settling in includes a trip to the store to buy only:
- toilet paper
- bread, butter, mustard, cheese
- something to read while you're on the can

My "settling in" list included: (notice all the cleaning supplies.... *wink* *wink*)
- papertowels
- cleaning supplies of ALL kinds
- toilet brush, plunger
- bath mats
- a pillow for myself
- garbage cans & garbage bags
- shelf liners
- water, pop, milk
- salt & pepper, spices and condiments
- a broom & dust pan, mop
- new everyday dishes (I left mine at home to get new ones)
- a butter dish
- mats for the entrance
- new vacuum

Needless to say our trip was successful except for the HUGE tantrum Spencer decided to talk in the middle of Walmart!! I was none to impressed to say the least.

Now... I do have to give Todd some credit as far as the settling in business. He did manage to unpack the trailer of all his heavy tools on Saturday morning and drive to Lethbridge and pick up a new double mattress for our spare room. We have been sleeping on it, waiting for our queen sized bed to come with the moving truck so I guess he's not all bad. Oh... and he also managed to buy a cool new toaster and microwave and he ordered a new headboard and tv stand for us too. So I guess he did alright!!! LOL!!!


Homeward Bound - Day 4

October 6, 2008
Leaving for Home - Day 4

We got up early once again.... our goal for the day was to make it to Lethbridge, Alberta, about 800km away.

We left North Dakota behind of the slightly rolling hills and windy state of Montana. Look to the left... look to the right.... golden fields... golden fields.... and the odd oil pumping station.

The wind this day was blustery! I had to keep both hands on the wheel at all times because you just never knew when the next unexpected gust of prairie wind would come.

The hills were gorgeous! Golden grasses whipped around by the wind and the odd field of cows. We even managed to see some wild deer in a field. They don't look like the deer in Ontario. They have more dark patches to them.

We passed through some large cities based in the valleys of the rounded hills. Spencer noticed the trains passing by.

We made it to the little town of Shelby and turned due North to reach the Canadian border only miles away. We made it safely across the border in Sweet Grass and proceeded on to Lethbridge for the night.

We had made a reservation at the Ramada in Lethbridge the night before so we knew exactly where we needed to go.

And to our surprise, Todd met us at the hotel about 45mins after arriving!!! What a wonderful surprise!!!

We ended up leaving for home that evening. We made arranges for Mom to go the the Lethbridge airport to fly to Calgary and then back home the next morning.

We said our rather short but tearful goodbyes to my Mom and we followed Todd home to BC.

The ride home to the Rocky Mountains was amazing!! The sun was just about to drop behind them as we came to the BC border. The clouds literally were hung up on the tops of the mountains as the sun set and the darkness of evening set in within minutes.

We zipped up, zipped down, rolling though the mountains to go home. The view was spectacular! The photos I took while driving just don't even do the place it's true justice!

We rolled into Sparwood at 7:30pm. Home at last!!!!


Homeward Bound - Day 3

October 5, 2008
Leaving for Home - Day 3

We left Bemidji, Minnesota quite early the next morning.

In speaking to Todd each night he kind of warned us where we needed to make our stops. The time between major centers was growing and finding a place was sometimes quite a chore.

The land began to get quite flat, the trees came to a minimum and only along fence lines and around houses and farms. We began to enter the last bit of Minnesota where we came upon weird looking fields. Then we started to notice the odd brown and tan, hairy "rocks" on the shoulders of the highways.... they were TURNIPS!! Fields and fields packed full of turnip greens as far as the eye could see!

We left the turnip fields behind and entered North Dakota at Grand Forks. What a neat town! We stopped at McDonald's for mid morning snack and off we went to watch more golden fields pass us by.

Our aim for that days driving was to get almost all the way across North Dakota and stay in the last major city before leaving the state, Williston, ND.

We pressed on and made it to Williston in great time. Finding a place to stay for the night was not as easy as we had hoped. We had to go to 2 different places before we found a hotel next to the Walmart. Apparently, the city was having a "Meatball Convention" and the town "was booked"!!! I'm NOT kidding!!!!! LOL!!

Lesson of the Day: McDonald's is the best stop with a 3 year old. Quick and easy meals and you get the same thing in EVERY store you go!!!


Homeward Bound - Day 2

October 4, 2008
Leaving for Home - Day 2

We left St. Ignace, Michigan quite early Friday morning. We stopped at a scenic spot stop just leaving the area and took some pictures of the rising sun against the lit Mackinaw Bridge. A gorgeous site indeed!

We progressed steadily across the upper peninsula of Michigan, gradually climbing a little more Northerly and a start on the Westerly direction towards BC.

We made a few odd stops along the way... stopping to take bathroom breaks and just to stretch our legs.

Lesson of the Day: Rest stops in Michigan are pretty good places to stop!!
We stopped at a rest stop just before Munising, out in the middle of nowhere and it was clean and well lit and had a view of the wild surrounds. Quite an enjoyable stop.

We made our way across the rest of Michigan, into Wisconsin and into the Superior/Duluth area at the very tip of lake Superior.

We had just drove through Superior, across the tip of Lake Superior to Duluth, Minnesota and Mom and spied a cool little park. So we stopped. We managed to pick a cute little park perched on the edge of the lake with PLAY GROUND EQUIPMENT!! Yes.... Spencer got out of the car and Mom and I couldn't hold him back!!! Up the ramp and onto the large ship shaped equipment he went. We had a great time taking pictures and "wearing Spencer out". He just needed to get out and RUN his little buns off! We enjoyed the warm sun and he enjoyed climbing up and down the slides!

Off we went again..... our goal that night was to reach to Bemidji, Minnesota. We did eventually make it that night as we drove in to Bemidji at night. I believe we drove just about 900km that day to reach our destination.

We stayed in a nice Best Western while there just off the highway we needed to be on in the morning.


Homeward Bound - Day 1

Good afternoon everyone! I thought I'd start are adventure to BC with the actual travel details. So here we go....

October 3, 2008
Leaving for Home

We began our adventure with a car packed full of scrapbooking stuff, 3 suitcases, 2 camera cases, LOTS of books for Spencer and 3 people probably not quite ready for a 4 day adventure.

My Mom came with us to occupy Spencer as we drove and to make sure we arrived safely at our destination. I sure couldn't have made it here with her... thanks Mom!

We left Princeton promptly at 9:30am and arrived at Sarnia/Port Huron border at about 11:00am. The border was busy and we ended up having to wait for almost 30mins as all the cars and trucks went through the interviewing booths. Since Spencer's last name is not the same as mine and I couldn't get his passport in time for us to leave, we had to show that he was my son. Thankfully I had kept all of passport application on a clipboard in the car... it contained Todd's signature and I even had his letter of employment from ElkValley just incase. We answered all of his questions and passed through with the extra documental okay.

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful. We drove from Port Huron over to Flint and up towards the Mackinaw Bridge which was our goal to reach for the night.

We passed over the Mackinaw Bridge in Michigan just as the sun was setting and the winds picked up. We ended up stopping for the night in St. Ignace at a quaint motel. We had our first glimpse of the trantrums we were going to have endure as we put Spencer to bed in a strange bed in a strange city, in a strange country.

Lesson of the Day: Always following the DETOUR SIGNS!!!
We used a program called "Streets and Trips" on Mom's laptop computer and a small GPS unit to navigate our way across the country. We came across a detour on Route 75 going up through Michigan and instead of following the detour signs we used the GPS... well..... we had to back track a few miles to catch the detour. Lesson learned.... follow the detour signs first and then the GPS program!!!

NOTE: I have photos to include in my entries but I have to wait for my desk top computer to be delivered before I can load them here. Stay tuned for images!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Home... Home at last!

This blog has been created for all of our family and friends to keep them in touch with all the crazy things we do in our new home of British Columbia!