18 June 2008

Moving in...

After this point, our pictures are few and far between. I still have boxes in my dining, but a few less than pictured here.
My little sweeping buddy:

I found this guy in the closet, behind some Pax wardrobe units. After he had finished hammering in the backing, he climbed up from behind them and manage to wriggle his way over the top and down. WOW.

There is a time to install a wall bracket and a time to hang off of it:

The house is ready for our stuff

The new carpet's installed and the MB is painted.

The crab tree outside the window begins to flower.

Nathan seems to think his room might feel like a prison sometimes. :-)

One hot day in Calgary

We went exploring and found many people trying to cool off.
Nathan and Emily didn't stop to play in the water. They were taking their daddy to see Aslan.

Daddy was very glad to meet Aslan.
It turns out Aslan was feeling the heat, too!

Preparing the new digs - the paint job

No chairs for the children, however...
...Bob the builder never looked so good!

Nathan's newly painted bedroom. The floor looks about the same as it does now...lego carpet.

Aaaaah, pepto-bismol pink. Perfect!

Paul - reflective and edgy.

While living in limbo....

Nathan collected hail:

Emily indulged in a mani-pedi:

We explored Bowness Park. It has a funky looking pedestrian bridge, suspended from the main bridge.

The irony - smart, huh?:

06 May 2008

Wonderful Mondays

I used to dread Mondays.

Now, I long for them. They bring a calmer pace and relaxed atmosphere. Like today.

The kids played lazily, we practiced some printing, we hung out on the balcony while the burgers cooked. We watched some people parading around in a rally that called on the provincial government to subsidize midwifes. We played Sorry and Scrabble Junior and made jello.

We meandered down to the C-train, deciding to get off that the TD square shopping centre and wandered down Stephen Ave mall to the City Hall and then wandered back, through a book store, nipped into a Tim's for a snack, and walked unhurriedly back to the C-train. We got off one stop later (4 blocks) and made our way home, through the park and around the corner to our building. We found Paul was home already, emptied the fridge of leftovers for dinner, enjoyed our jello and went to bed. Ok. Obviously I haven't yet. I will soon. I just don't want it to end. It's Monday - the nicest day of my week.

It's just so calm right now. And to think that we take possession of our home in one week. On a Monday. Will I be as relaxed as today? Heh heh heh...sadly, it's not very likely. But I thank God for His Peace, today.

Hopefully, I will stay in this place of peace and won't wander off to find myself in the land of Busyness and Stressing over Nothing. We sign papers with our lawyer tomorrow. I guess that'll be a test.

03 May 2008

My condo is clean and i had nothing to do with it!

Yeah! Floors mopped, carpet vaccuumed, bathrooms are shiny and beds are made with fresh clean sheets. Aaaaah. Such a treat.
While housekeeping was doing their thing, we went to the Science Centre for a couple of hours and headed downtown for lunch. We were back by 3pm. I think we're getting the hang of this living in downtown and using public transit/walking everywhere thing. It will be sad to get back to the burbs in a just over a week.

It's 10 days away!!!!! I made the calls to set up our water, electricity and gas accounts today. I'm getting really excited.

Tonight, I had the opportunity to go out with a long-time friend from university. We dined at a wonderful Thai restaurant. Oh, so yummy!
We decided to head over to a local mall after we finished where she took me shoe shopping and found me some nice brown leather boots. Very lovely.
I think I'll start breaking them in tomorrow. And tomorrow I get the rare privilege of spending time with my husband sans kids. Thanks, Bea! My day will start with a massage and assuming I'll be able to walk without falling asleep, I'll hop in the car for 5 hours or so with Paul. Our plans? HDTV shopping.
I know.
We're waaaay too romantic.

It's gonna be a beautiful day...

01 May 2008

We were walking to pick up the car (the windshield needed replacing) and spotted this beautiful sight around the corner from our place.We found the car and headed to downtown shopping area. After we had finished the errands I had in mind, I took the kids to the bookstore so they could pick out some books. They each had been given a gift card and were very excited to use it. The only issue was that they had some beautiful puppets in the store and the kids were pretty keen on them. I knew that I wanted them to simply pick books they wanted, the fun and frivolous, not necessarily educational treats just for them books. After they very carefully considered they each chose something I knew was an honest choice.
And then, I brought an owl and a rat home anyway. Reepicheep, the rat, isn't pictured here, he's a little camera-shy.
Nathan was developing a stye in one of his eyelids. I put some opthalmic ointment in and told him to close his eyes and listen to his CD for a few minutes while so the "medicine could work", aka I needed a bit of a Nathan break. 10 minutes later, when he hadn't bounded out of his room asking if he could get up yet, I check on him and discovered this:
Maybe he was the one who needed a break!

30 April 2008

Beaver Dam Flats

One of the realities about Calgary that we find exciting is that in any given corner of the city you can find a wilderness jewel withing 5 or 10 minutes. We took a quick trip to Beaver Dam Flats, about 5 minutes away from Paul's office, just before we picked him up yesterday.In the background runs Deerfoot Trail, the only true highway in Calgary, which dissects the City. We were on the east side of it and Paul's office is located just west of it. We weren't sure but we thought we could see his office building from the top of this mini-escarpment.
The main reason we went though, was to check out the beaver lodges.
If we had more time, we would have walked down the hill and explored the paths. Since it is a Natural Area, we would stick to the paths, so the best view of the lodges is from this vantage point. I have to get more familiar with my camera to start getting better shots!

Once we left the Flats, we drove for a couple of minutes, picked up a rotisserie chicken dinner from Safeway, drove 5 minutes to Paul's office.
This is just what I need. A place where all the beautiful places aren't steamrollered by urban sprawl.

29 April 2008

The new house. The latest visit.

We went to the new house today!! The kids ran upstairs right to "their" rooms. They were pretty excited. Paul thinks that's an understatement. He would call them ecstatic. Still a beautiful home to us. They were pretty happy with the back yard, even the part I consider "the wasteland", the bottommost level of the yard. Dark, shadowy, kinda creepy to me. I guess it will be a fun bug haven for Nathan. I'm going to have to collect small containers. The bug collection should be larger this year. We'll have to work on the pine cone collection with our blue spruce out front - after spring...Nathan got completely sticky hands after trying to snag a conical souvenir. He just brought home the spruce gum residue.

We've got our car! It was delivered today so after we check out the house, we headed to the airport to drop it off. While there we check out the "SpacePort". A lot of the activities were closed but there was enough to keep the kids entertained for a while.

We finally made it to the mountains on Saturday. We explored the Cave and Basin National Historic site. Emily and I spent quite a bit of time at the marsh, spying on birds. Most of our pictures ended up with overexposed mountaintops. We have much to learn about photographing snowcapped peaks. We had such a wonderful day. We'll go back again, because we bought a pass...to all the National Parks, because Jasper and Lake Louise are also on our explorational to-do list.

On Sunday, we headed to Fish Creek Provincial Park. It's about a 5 minute drive from our future home. We all seemed to just relax there. I think that each of us found it comforting and familiar. We spent so much time at GTA conservation areas that heading to a park where you walk through the holey homes of prairie dogs on the way from the playground to the washrooms was a very settling experience for us all.

25 April 2008

What we've been doing

It been almost 2 weeks. The first week we were here, we spent a lot of time at home while Nathan recovered from his cold.
One of the first days here, Emily asked if she could listen to some music...
The second evening, Nathan got the Flames jersey he'd been asking for and put it on right away!:
The next evening, he decided to show off his exceptional skills at dressing himself for bed:
The happy play-doh-ers:
This week we got a handle on the LRT which runs through downtown. We went to the zoo, the downtown shopping mall, the indoor garden and the public library. We took some time today and explore a bit of the +15 walkway. We also noticed that the beautiful stone building across the street from our condo building is 101 years old. I also notice that the sidewalk marker at our corner is 1912. It's hard to see the history here, as it is masked by the modern elements so often.
Each day has been an adventure, even if we've spent it at home, like today. Nathan spent most of today playing with the plastic hockey stick and puck I bought for them yesterday. Emily spent most of today wrapping miscellaneous objects ( such as crayons) in scrap paper and giving them to Nathan to open as presents.
I am a little excited today because we got our cheque from the sale of our home. That means we have almost all of our downpayment ready. That makes me SMILE!
Tomorrow, we might go to the mountains... and Monday we will take the kids to see the house.

I'm looking forward to the day we get to go home.

23 April 2008

Emily's first performance

Sorry Nadine, but it was too precious...
another beautiful moment just before we said goodbye to Al and Nadine...

22 April 2008

The Goodbyes

We started saying goodbye by getting together with our longtime university friends who reside in or near the K-W area. It was an exciting time to catch up with each other's news and to be "sent off", so to speak.
The next weekend, we went to Belleville to be with my parents and visited my good friends Ginette and Jason Mack and their three girls.

Emily was very scared about one aspect of our move. The flight. So, when we left my parent house, we pretended they were going on a flight. Paul sent them through the garage as if it were the gate. I greeted them at the car and helped them to find their seat and put their carryon bags in the overhead compartment (the roof). Paul did the flight attendant spiel, we got in, closed the doors, Grandpa did the flight baton actions, we pretended we were being pushed back, taxied out to the main road and took off! Now, knowing that Emily loves the feeling of acceleration was a bonus for us. We explained that it felt exactly like it did in our car, but better. She grinned. For days after, she thanked us for showing her what the flight would be like. She even stated that she wasn't scared at all anymore. Whew!

One important goodbye for Nathan and Emily was their last night at Zone Out. Emily really likes her bud, Emma.
Nathan LOVED his Science group.
Emily wasn't so keen on pictures of her classmates, but was more interested in racing around the halls!

On Friday, April 11, we smushed 20 or so people into our living room to wish Paul happy birthday before we left on Monday. He was well celebrated. Oh yes, thank you everyone for the easily packable gift cards!
The next morning, I ushered the kids out to have breakfast at McD's with a few of their friends. The purpose was two-fold. I wanted to give them their own going away party. And I wanted them out of the house while the packing team came in. When we got back, we brought them some Tim's and were amazed to discover that the basement was all packed, the kitchen was 75% finished and a couple of them were just about to start packing up the bedrooms. By 1pm, the team had left. We were packed.
We spent that evening with Paul's parents, Ana and Caspian, but Mom Hills was soooooo sick. We hope that she still enjoyed the time together. We sure did!
Sunday was a bit calmer, with a goodbye moment in front of our church family and some time in the evening spent with three families who've become very dear to us over the past year.
My parents and brother spent Monday with us, as the movers waited on the closed 401. They got to our place eventually and worked at an incredible pace to get everything in the truck by around 3pm. We relaxed and spent time visiting our neighbours and saying goodbye to some very special friends.
Dean Kennedy arrived with his Sienna version of the airport limo and chauffered us to the airport. The kids went with the grandparents. He stuck with us, pushing the second luggage cart as we waited to get the cat kennel x-rayed, as we tried to change seats, and even waited while we went through security. Dean, if you're reading this, THANK YOU! It really meant a lot to Emily and I to see him still standing there just before we walked through the metal detector.
Those were the days of goodbyes. It was really a blur and I know I haven't captured much of the feelings of those last days in Ontario. I'm not sure we were feeling much. Our exit was fairly quick and there wasn't really much time to feel anything but excitement and anticipation of change intermixed with brief instances of grief.

16 April 2008

One day in

The madness is beginning to set in. Soon I will start climbing the walls.

I'm feeling stir crazy, hemmed in and frustrated. I want to get out and wander. Maybe this afternoon.

15 April 2008

Moving Day

We started the big day by folding up our linens and placing them into the boxes the packers left. We got breakfast. We waited.
After a while, say two hours, we were told they were stuck on the 401.
Well, they did show up and they worked like dogs...and we were out of the house by 2pm and out of the storage unit by 3pm.

My parents took Nathan and Emily out to lunch and then to see their great grandmother. They came back to an empty house. At this point we were simply waiting for our ride to the airport. We took some time, since our ride was arriving later than we'd thought, to go spend time with our neighbours. We will miss them greatly.

Once Dean arrived, we loaded up his van with the suitcases and cat, while the kids got in with Grandma and Grandpa. The check-in went smoothly as did the security check. Our flight was good. Emily fell asleep and slept right through the landing.

Once we passed through the doors into the main arrivals area, we spotted a couple with snazzy hats on. They didn't fit terribly well but they made a striking pair with straw cowboy hats and cardboard sign...: The Silly - Hills Billlies, Welcome Home.
We felt privileged to know them. They just loved on us so much, pushing the luggage cart, waiting for us, buying a cat litter pan plus litter for us.
It was all going so well, until we got to the apartment building and couldn't get in. We grabbed a sub/salad and waited for help. Once help arrived, we got into our suite and wandered around grumpily.

I'm rather disoriented tonight, but I hope to reorient in a couple of days.

Yikes. Calgary.

14 April 2008

A move is imminent

We're moving tomorrow!
Our house will be emptied of boxes.
Our car will be taken.
We'll get to the airport somehow.
We'll land in Calgary and find the place we're staying downtown.

It's time to go to sleep now.


09 April 2008

I must be excited...

...because I am up way too late! I think I do this when the stress is high but the reason is enjoyable.
I keep thinking I'll get a chance to sit down and really tell the story of what's happening each day. I see that I haven't. So, here's the short version.
We signed our offer on Easter Sunday. Later that week, the buyers wanted to change the closing date to April 14th. We agreed and went ahead with travel and move plans. We received another request to change the closing date and settled on the 18th. However, we stayed with the plans to move on the 14th.
Paul's company will provide us with accomodations until our house in Calgary closes on May 12th. They will also provide storage for our household goods. That means anything we'll need in the next month will need to go on the plane with us.

That means that what goes on the plane with us has to be set aside, away from the reach of the packers, who descend on our house this Saturday.

Ok. This just reminds me of all I have yet to get done. I'd better go, either to get some sleep or simply to pack some more things.

26 March 2008

Three weeks to Cow-town?

We're conditionally sold!!
On Sunday, in between church and spending Easter afternoon with Paul's family, we signed the offer. On Monday we saw the sunrise, as we drove Paul to the airport. The kids and I have spent the rest of the week recovering from that early-for-us morning! It's been such a relief to have the house to ourselves.

Now, the offer we signed stated that closing would be April 25th. But, the buyers would be ready to move in on the 14th and want to know if we would be ready by then!

Part of me is reeling with shock and part is overcome with joy -- there is a Divine element to this experience that I'm very moved by. This dream began 6 years ago as a small voice of expectant hope. It's been growing, and over the past few month, has risen as a roar of imminent reality, like the sound just before the waves crash over your head. I guess we'll get back to land eventually, normal life will return. But I've always loved lying back and letting the water carry me wherever it may, feeling the push and pull rhythm of the waves.

I like water. I like waves. I feel exhilarated by the movement of change in my life right now. It's really exhausting and challenging. But this rawness of knowing/feeling/experiencing connection to God throughout everything is what life is to me.

I can't get my head around all that needs to be done. I'm going to sleep on it...Paul is going to sleep on it. but I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to rename this blog in a few weeks....
"Cowtown Chronicles"?
"Amy the almost Albertan"?
"Deer Ridge Diva"?

Ok, none of those will likely make the short list, but it was worth a try. A sad, sad try, at that.

19 March 2008

Pictures of the house in Calgary

If you squint, I think you can see the mountains. This picture doesn't do justice to the view that we have, but it does prove that we do, indeed, have a mountain view.This is the back yard. It is terraced and the deck, from which the picture is taken, will need work. We'd like to level out the back, put in a garage down there in the alley, and fix the deck. Should've taken a picture of the deck. It's quite a piece of work!
Aaaahhh, my kitchen. I can't wait until it's mine! May 12th. And I KNOW where my KitchenAid goes. Oh, yes, that is a breakfast bar, with a full counter underneath on the other side. My mind is full of happy kitchen baking/canning/bbq prepping/cooking thoughts! Man, I'm missing cooking.

Fireplace in the living room. Gas assist, wood burning. YIPPEE!!!

There we have it...the main floor of the house. There is an ornamental crabapple tree out front, 3 bedrooms up, a partly finished basement...it's lovely, full of quirks (no light in the dining room) and it will be home.
Anybody wanna buy a home in Brampton? It's cheap and the owners are willing to go with a quick closing. No? Maybe? Just checking.
: )

17 March 2008

We've bought a house

We've bought a detached house in the beautiful area of Deer Ridge. It's nothing fancy but is in what I hope is a nice area. It also has a Mountain View. Pictures will come soon...
This house, here, has been re-priced $4000 lower....I still wonder if it will ever sell. I suppose that one day it will but I am not doing too well at looking at this situation in a glass half full way.

That's it for the update. My brain is fried.

07 March 2008

As I write this quickie note.....Emily is rolling on top of a sleeping bag....Nathan is singing an original composition as he washes his hands after lunch...Paul is trying think of what else to pack and I'm trying to get in an update before I have to pack up this computer.

Yesterday, I took the kids to an establishment called Melonheads. They cut kids' hair. On fancy chairs...like a motorcycle, airplane, race car... They left with glittery hair and pretty hair clip (emily) and a mohawk (Nathan). It was really fun and a relief...I didn't have to attempt the hair chopping this time!

Today...the kids are starting to climb the walls, as they are headed to some vacation time with their Aunt Ana. Paul and I are flying out of Kitchener to Calgary for our last chance, house hunting expotition.

Our house still is on the market, and will likely still be on the market when we get back,what with the snow storm and everything. Soon you won't be able to see the house for the snow!

I'm told it's time to pack up the computer bag.
I just made the mistake of asking Paul to put on my hood....I meant to attach it back to the jacket it belongs to, not to put it on his head!

And now, off to Cow-town....

27 February 2008

a week apart

The kids and I miss Paul. He's in Calgary and returns late on Fri. night. Hum.
We had a nice day, at IKEA for part of it and a fairly relaxed pace. I think next time I will bring a book and take a 1/2 hour of the hour the kids get to spend in Smalland to read and have tea. And then shop! To manage the crazy timing of the afternoon we had supper at 4pm, left Ikea at 5:30, got gas and then drove home. Emily fell asleep in the car and later accused me of not getting gas. We've hit the relaxed part of the week where we enjoy the freedom from the 5pm deadline of Paul's end of day. We end and begin whenever. It quite nice for a time. But the kids and I really miss the guy.

Tomorrow, we'll head to Kitchener to visit friends. And Fri....well it will be a long day. Perhaps I'll exhaust them at the ROM or toboganning. Or worse yet....clothes shopping!

I'd better get to sleep.

19 February 2008

Long set of bones

Here is a dinosaur... Paul couldn't figure out in the moment how to Photostitch...so he made a movie of it! The ROM's Barosaurus:

Our first (only?) Family Day weekend

On Saturday, we watched Nathan's soccer game.

We watched our friend, Travis' hockey game but only got a picture of the Zamboni. Don't get me wrong, it was a really GREAT GAME and it's a shame we didn't get a picture of it!

On Sunday, we visited Gramma and Grampa H and played Sorry!
On Monday, we had a late brunch, watched Happy Feet and put the kids to bed a little late. We put ourselves to bed much too late, though.

Bummed out...

Our neighbours put their house up for sale at the same time as we did. They have a conditional offer.
I was talking with a friend about a month ago. She suggested I was ashamed of this house. She's right.
I know it's ridiculous. I'm afraid we won't sell this house and I'm afraid we won't get to Calgary. But we will. Well, we have to. Paul already is working the job from here.
I keep seeing Gandalf...the scene....and I keep thinking, "The way is hidden from me."
There are people I know that I really admire. People who face difficulties and true hardships with determination and a will to survive. People who find a challenge in their path, size it up, figure a solution, move through it and keep going.
Really, is selling a house and move cross country so hard?
How come I'm bummed because my neighbour's house is one step closer to being sold than mine?

Man, I feel pathetic.

08 February 2008

Our Snow Day

Well, highly active weather means less active real estate market. There have been no showings this week. It's been wonderful. The kids have had a chance to play, I've had a chance to bum around the house doing not much. It's been really good, but it took me all week to stop panicking about the lack of showings! I've turned my attention to other things: to organizing the relocation, returning items that were borrowed from friends, figuring out things that need to be done or planned. Really, I'm just trying to keep busy, and just ahead of those nasty winter blues that are nipping at my heels.
So, yesterday, I took some pictures and YIPPPEEEEE for the new camera!

My two Lego maniacs.

O Snowy Day! I'm not getting to that barbeque any time soon.

I'm guessing that's almost 12 inches of snow on the fence. Wow.

Right now, I'm heading deep into Sir Arthur Conan Doyle territory. Maybe I'll go tickle a child later. Or now.

Now is good. Off to tickle...

06 February 2008

This evening, as the blustry snowstorm began, we purchased a new camera. A Powershot A570. It was on sale and will do us as a family camera over the next few years. We would like to head into digital SLR territory sometime...we dream.
So tonight, after the kids were in bed, we took a few shots:

Paul experimented with the macro setting...

I think he mastered it here:

On another front, the front lawn to be exact, we have a "for sale" sign. What a relief. It will be even more of a relief to be in a new to us home in Calgary, but that comes after we sell this one!

04 February 2008

Superbowl exhaustion

We kept Nathan up last night, to watch the Superbowl. It was all very exciting, until he got tired and didn't want to go to bed. We didn't want to put him to bed, either. We wanted to watch the game. But he hardly lasted. Poor kid. Tonight, he's a miserable, emotional basketcase. It's so tough to get him to sleep when he's tired like this...

No showings today, which means we can relax tonight. One day soon, I hope to be relaxing in Alberta.


01 February 2008

The Bathroom - Before & After

For some reason, these pictures will not rotate. Nonetheless, here is the bathroom I had to use the night before I went to Calgary.
My toilet,

My bathtub,

My sink.

This is the bathroom I came home to.

My toilet,

My bathtub,

My sink and light
Isn't it beautiful!?