Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our Little Gong Show's All Aussie Adventures: Week 1

So on the 19th March Anna, Orrin and I set off for our overseas adventure! I was so sad that we were going without Jesse and Jacob, but excited to go back to my homeland. The kids were just as thrilled and were even really looking forward to the many long hours on the plane.
Our schedule was as follows: Edmonton to Calgary (40 minute flight), Calgary to Los Angeles (4 hour flight) and Los Angeles to Melbourne (15.5 hour flight). Needless to say the kids were well and truly sick of flying after the 4 hour flight to LA and so that is when I knew it was going to be a REALLY long trip. Of course in between all of those connections there is also numerous security checks, delayed flights, baggage pick-ups/baggage check ins, terminal changes and lots of waiting. Of course the first exciting stop was in LAX, in my opinion it is one of the worst places on earth, but Anna was thrilled to see her first ever real palm tree! So after leaving Edmonton that afternoon, at midnight we were taking off in the massive Quantas jet for our trip across the international date line.
Despite the wonderfull Quantas staff, our own personal entertainment systems and the foray of food that kept being delivered to us, we could not wait to get off the damn plane! I think I slept for 1/2 an hour, Anna a little more than that while Orrin hit the jackpot and got about 2 hours of shuteye. My great plan for traveling through the night (which of course involved sleeping like a baby) well and truly came back to bite me and the three of us arrived in Australia all a little worse for wear. The only comfort I had was that after a comparatively short car ride I could jump in the shower and put some clothes on that i hadn't been wearing for the last 36 hours and all would be good. WRONG! As it turned out, our luggage never made it out of Calgary so the only possessions we had were the clothes we were wearing (that could have stood up by themselves had we been able to take them off) and a little 'care' package containing some toiletries to tied us over till our bags arrived 40 hours later. True to Melbourne's reputation, it was raining when we arrived and did so on and off for our first day or two. After getting over the shock of driving on the other side of the road and thinking everytime we turned we were going to cause a head on, it was cool to see the differences in the two countries just in the 2 hour drive to Pakenham. Of course the rain was different. I hadn't seen rain since September the year before. The different types of cars. Utes ( instead of trucks (, Houses being mostly brick instead of siding, street names instead of street numbers. Holden instead of Chevrolet. Mum's friend Pauline had organised a little 'Welcome to Australia' party for us! It was such a lovely and thoughtful surprise. She had all the foods that she knew I had missed. There were Tim Tams, Vegemite sandwhiches, crumpets, party pies and party sausages, chuppa chupps, cadbury chocolate and lamingtons. There were also Jane and Sylvie Milner who I hadn't seen since we left and had a lot to catch up on. One of the first things I wanted to do was take a trip down memory lane to where I lived and went to school from 12 years of age to 18. I wanted to show the kids where I spent my time as a kid. We showed them our house in Cockatoo and the school I attended for grade 5 and 6, Cockatoo Primary School. The principal, Mrs Kewish remembered me and gave us a guided tour! She even took me to see my grade 6 teacher Ms Saunders that was still there after 20+ years!
Next stop was where I went to High School, Emerald Secondary College. Sadly school was already out for the day so I didn't get to do much snooping. I wanted to be able to show the kids the school uniforms we had to wear as they don't have one. Then we went to have a look around at the town of Emerald. It had changed alot, but was still the very quaint little town I remembered.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Our-Forgotten-About-Trip to Calgary Zoo

So as you know I am currently preparing for our trip to Australia. We have all our passports ready, the kids travel visas and I picked up our plastic Aussie money last week.

For the last 10 days or so, I have had our 3 suitcases laid out and open in our dining room so that when I come across something I want to take along, I put it in the appropriate suitcase. This is my way of hopefully limiting the amount of 'forgotten' treasures that get to come with us.

I have a pretty nice SLR camera that was an upgrade from my pretty nice, yet compact Cannon point and shoot, which was an upgrade from our very first digital camera bought back in 2005. I have all of these cameras so my plan was for the kids to each have one of my old point and shoots to document all the memories they want. I wanted to make sure the SD cards were clear (my kids are totally the type to take 500 photos of clouds, and that is just from our first leg from Edmonton to Calgary!) And lo and behold there were our photos from our trip to Calgary zoo last summer! I had totally forgotten I had even taken photos while we were there! It was a really fun day and in my opinion a lot nicer than the Edmonton Zoo. We had some pretty decent shots of the animals, so I wanted to post them....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Have you ever given your Dad a wedgie?

Well have ya??

Just kidding. Strange title for my February blog post, I know, but it just seemed like one of those classic comments from the month that I couldn't just leave in my brain to become part of the cobwebs and hence forgotten. It was from Orrin (6)playing...a hem...Truth or Dare, with his little cousins Aubrey and Kennedy. I thought it sounded a little suspicious so I snuck outside his room to have a listen. What I heard was Orrin asking Kennedy if she had "ever given her Dad a Wedgie?". As it turned out I figured I didn't really need to worry.

The other comment that I thought was also in the running for February blog title fame was actually from Jesse (DH). We were at the swimming centre in Leduc for Family Day. There are a few different swimming areas, there is a lane pool, two hot tubs, a toddler area, a area for the kids between toddler area and lane pool and a water slide. Jacob of course heads straight for the toddler area where the slides and equipment are as tall as he is. He is in there splashing and leaping around, more at home than a pig in mud. And that is when Jesse says to me "just happy to be a 100lb toddler!". One of those moments where if you don't laugh, you'll cry. After all, when you really get down to it, he is a a 100lb toddler.... so I laughed :)

February 2012 was definitely a month of ups and downs. One of the ups was Orrin who is 6 and 3/4, finally lost his first tooth! It was very loose, but he refused to yank it so it came out at school while he was having his snack. I went to his classroom to drop off his lunch and all the kids in the class yell at me "ORRIN LOST HIS TOOTH!" Apparently it was big news in grade 1 that day! I am happy to report that the tooth fairy actually remembered to come that very night (our tooth fairy tends to be a tad unreliable...). Although I did warn him that if it is a bit too chilly for her, she may not show. Since the great event, the little guy has become quite concerned with how a bigger tooth is going to take the place of a smaller tooth. He will spend time in front of the mirror , hashing the dilemma over in his head asking me "How is a big tooth going to fit in their Mom?!" (the problem never actually occurred to me before...Orrin tends to worry about things that most people don't even think about...and replied (scrambling) "Don't worry buddy, it will fit, that is just what it does." Mother of the year award for me, I know. Pathetic.

One of the downs was Jake's Epilepsy coming out of hibernation. I have a pretty good run-down of his story here

Thankfully we were at home due to Teacher Convention, I completely lost it and called 911. I actually didn't realize it was a seizure at first because it didn't look like any he had previously. It only affected one side of his body, so my first thought was stroke not seizure. It only lasted 30 seconds or so, but it really wiped him out. He was taken to the hospital and then discharged a few hours later. Previously his seizures would always happen in clusters. His pattern would be 1, then two hours later he would have another, then one hour later, another then he would start having them so close together that he would barely come out of one, when the other would start. It wasn't unusual for him to have 20 Tonic or Tonic-Clonic seizures in a 24 hour period. Then over a couple of days they would taper off. He would be good for two weeks, and it would start all over again. This was my fear. I thought 'here we go again..'. But he has been perfectly fine! His Neurologist Dr Richer at the Stollery Childrens Hospital in Edmonton gave him an EEG (measures electrical activity in the brain) and could not believe the results! He said he had to double check he was reading the right one, because it was so 'normal'. Jacob just baffles him! He cannot believe how stable he has been, and for so long because of his history. He has no idea why, or how. So for now he is being weaned back onto an anti-epileptic drug and we will see how things go.

Because of Jacob's shenanigans a few days earlier our plans for a fancy night out at the Gun's & Hoses Ball where replaced with a night sharing our bed with an 11 year old boy. So the next day we decided to take the kids to the Calgary Flames Super Skills competition in Calgary. It started at 11am and Calgary is a three hour drive so we picked up Adam(DN) at the crack of dawn and set on our way. It was a perfect NHL hockey experience for the kids and we all had a lot of fun. Afterwards we went to lunch and drove back home!

This is at our Acreage, just out of town. The kid's favorite winter past-time....


As I write this, we head off on our Australian trip in just two weeks! So my next blog post will be from the great land down-under.

Have a great month everyone!

Sunday, January 29, 2012


It is hard to believe we are almost into February already. I don't know if it is because I am old that time seems to just fly by these days or if it is a problem that everyone is facing, regardless I will try and remember all our goings on so far this year.

First of all I am happy to report that Anna and I are still fish owners! Unfortunately our Silver Molly "Ghost", became, well.....a ghost a few weeks ago. She was definitely the more energetic one out of the two, and if I was a gambling woman, I would have put my money on her. However our Rainbow fish "Finn" is doing really well and will hopefully have some more tank mates within the next couple of weeks.

Reality set in earlier on in the month with the resumption of school and work. Gosh it was a chore to go back! We could have easily remained on holidays for at least another month. But now that we are back in the swing of things, it isn't so bad.

Orrin is currently working on his "100 Day" project for school. I fear the little guy bit off a little more than he can chew for this one, but once completed, the final product promises to be spectacular!

Along with Jake's other "jobs" at school he has now been promoted to "Bake Shop Friday" delivery boy. Our shop makes lunches for the elementary school kids on Fridays. The kids get a choice of either a soup, bun and cookie or a bunwich and cookie. We usually get between 40-60 orders and once we take them up to the school, it is Jake's job to deliver them to the classrooms. The drama continues as far as finding a suitable place for him for grade 7. I found an excellent program in a nearby school, but because it is in another school division, they wont take him. So for now, it looks like we will have to make the best out of a kind of crappy situation, hopefully things can improve at the local school.

Anna started curling this year. For all you hoards of Aussies that read my blog, here is the Wikipedia explanation right here.... . She is just learning, but really likes it.

Jesse started up a floor hockey team for the Fire Department. Again the wikipedia definition is here.... It started up as the Firefighters Vs RCMP, but now it is really anyone that wants to join in. The guys and gals take it very seriously and there is often a few scrimmages before the night is over. The kids and I went to a game last week. It was a lot of fun to watch. One of the guys gave Orrin his stick so he could get in on the action. He is a little Mighty Mouse and got in there like a pig in mud. After a few minutes Jesse wanted him out in fear of his life, and he was pretty disappointed but has hardly stopped talking about it since.

Before I bought the shop, Friday nights were pizza nights at home. We would come up with different kinds of pizza and we would make them together. Well this month I took the very rare opportunity of actually wanting to cook something at home so we had Pizza Night again. The kids did everything and our garlic sausage pizza's were delicious!

Bonnie and I took the kids to West Edmonton Mall for some shopping. The Guns and Hoses Ball (for emergency service workers in Brazeau County) is next month and I was on the hunt for a new outfit. Bonnie and the kids were really troopers! Alas I came home empty handed.

My peeps and I try to have a girls night once a month. This month we were able to go to a local bar to watch Ray play in his band Blackwater Crude. Other than the nasty snowstorm that same night, we still had a blast! I asked Ray earlier that day if they could play "TNT" by ACDC. The do an awesome job of it and I got it on my camera. The sound is atrocious (I was apparently way to close to the speakers, but you get the jist).

And finally we celebrated Australia by making Cheesymite scrolls at the shop. Canadians really don't appreciate fine cuisine when the see it, so all the more for Emily and I!

And as promised the photos of my new kitchen, car and humble little shop....