Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | March 7, 2010

Still here…

I cannot believe it has been 10 months since I’ve posted here. I have so much to share, so many stories, so many pictures – and I will get back into that now.

We’re still here in Newfoundland. The adventure didn’t stop… but I had given up on the adventure. I had thrown my hands up in the air, and quit. I will be the first to admit that I hit a very low point in my life. After my friend Laura left, and then especially after my parents left — things were just awful. I wanted nothing to do with the adventure. I wanted nothing to do with this place. I wanted nothing to do with this lifestyle.Β I didn’t want to ride the rollercoaster. I just wanted OFF.

It is very difficult to change so many things all at one time. I was finding it particularly difficult, and wasn’t dealing with it at all well. We were (and still are to some degree!) dealing with some financial woes, part in parcel to starting a new business, yes — but not something we’ve ever had to struggle with to this degree before. I was missing my family VERY much (still am). I was feeling very isolated. I was struggling with the school and getting things set up for Nathan. We were dealing with an Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis for Nathan (FINALLY), and the people in our lives who’ve chosen to back off because of their lack of desire to learn, understand, accept and help. I was struggling with the new balance, or lack thereof, in our family life.

This led me into a dark tunnel, and one I was trapped in for a long time. Too long.

I’m happy to report that I’m feeling much better. There was a time that I pondered leaving… packing up my bags, and the kids stuff, and saying goodbye to this place. But, I couldn’t quit my family, I couldn’t quit our life, and most of all — I couldn’t quit my bestfriend, my love, my husband.

Nothing is perfect now — no magic wand was waved to make things all better. I still struggle with isolation at times. I still have moments where how much I miss my family overwhelms me to tears. There are certainly still times when I wonder if we’ll have enough money to eat tomorrow πŸ™‚ But, we’re taking things one day at a time now, and we’re all — the four of us — doing it TOGETHER. Jody and I have a renewed partnership with each other, as a couple, as parents, as friends. We are trying our best to enjoy the adventure… even all the little ups and downs that are inevitable.

What does the future hold? I don’t think either of us know πŸ™‚ But for now, we’re still here. Still in Newfoundland. We’ve readjusted some priorities, we’ve solidified our beliefs, and chosen to refocus our energies and our efforts to the people who matter the most in our lives… each other. The four people in this house are the ones that truly matter, and I think we lost sight of that for a while.Β The results have been amazing. We’re happy, we all love each other. I have helped the school come to a much better place with helping Nathan, and he’s doing a lot better at school. I’ve set up a few systems with Jody and the business, and it’s growing. Caleb is a happy, healthy little dude. We’ve all pulled together, and will ride the coaster a while longer, together πŸ™‚

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Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | May 5, 2009

We got visitors!

I haven’t posted for a while, despite having taken a bunch of pictures of all the “visitors” that have come around, so I figured it was time to get caught up!

First of all, the iceberg that we visited a while ago… it moved over closer to Cavendish, and we decided to take a hike up to the same spot we were before (on the foggy day) and take some more pictures and have a look at it!

It was a beautiful day, and the iceberg really had moved up quite a bit closer to the shore.

We went up top where that lighthouse is to get an even closer view. The view was, to say the least, spectacular.

We decided it was prime time to try for a one of a kind family photo. Not the best, as the sun came out from behind some clouds to ruin my exposure πŸ™‚ And I could fix this in photoshop… but I’ll just post it for now instead!

ICY VISITOR

And then, within a few days, we heard from word flying around that the berg had moved, AGAIN! Curious to know where it was, I went for a drive. And much to my surprise and delight, I didn’t have to go far. The first of our visitors was the iceberg. RIGHT THERE in Green’s Harbour!

What a gorgeous site of it out there, just at the entrance to the harbour. From our boat launch, you can really see how BIG that berg is! It takes up a lot of space out there! People have been saying that when they’ve gone out in their boat to get a closer look, there’s been a beluga whale out there. What a sight to see THAT would be! Apparently that iceberg is worth $2.5 million dollars (the water, which is used for Iceberg Vodka! lol). That’s a whole lot of iceberg! And REMEMBER! You can only see 1/10th of that thing! It’s HUUUUGE !!!

My boys (all 3!) had fun looking at the different ocean wildlife from the launch, searching through the seaweed like a really cool game of “Where’s Waldo” to see what living things they could spot.

What a lovely visitor that is. It’s still out there, has yet to move on. I wonder how long it will stay?

BIG, BIG VISITORS (about 20 of them!)

Yesterday morning (May 5, 2009), the phone rang. It was Jody’s cousin Peter, who lives up in Dildo. He was phoning to say that we should jump in the car and drive down to Dildo Harbour, as they had some visitors there themselves that he KNEW we’d love to see. So… once Jody was finished fixing the water pump at the house, we jumped in the car, binoculars, camera, tripod etc in tow… and set off to see these “visitors”.

Wow. Honestly, that’s all I could come up with when we pulled up on the shore, and pulled over to the side to get out and join about 25 other onlookers enjoying the show.

A couple of guys went by on a boat, and took in the absolute AWE of what they were seeing. What I would’ve given to have been out there in the water with those gorgeous whales!!!

We watched as these, oh, 20 or so Humpback Whales circled around, and then would come up with their mouths WIDE open to catch as many of the fish they’d rounded up together. It was such an incredible sight. I wish I would’ve had the other camera with us to take some video, as the sound was part of the magic. You could hear them… not only blowing, but talking to each other. Clearly communicating their plans. It was amazing.

We also go to enjoy about a 5 minute show of one of the whales slapping the surface of the water with his tail. It was so LOUD! Echoed through the harbour like a gunshot. I have a sequence of photos to show this, and will work on automating them today to play like a sort of “slideshow”, but fast… so you can see the action. It was INCREDIBLE to watch.

Humpback whales are beautiful creatures, and I felt so HUMBLED standing there watching them feed. Was an absolutely amazing experience !!

Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | April 5, 2009

Sunday, foggy Sunday…

Today, our day started with a lovely cooked dinner. This was the first Sunday since we’ve moved her that I actually got it together enough to make cooked DINNER, as opposed to cooked SUPPER lol. We ate right around noon, and it was delicious. I must say I’m getting pretty good at making cooked dinner. It’s not like it’s rocket science, pretty easy… but it’s gotten better with each passing week at our house. Jody is continually amazed with my increasing ability to make perfect dressing πŸ™‚ It is pretty good… if I do say so myself!

After dinner was finished, tea was drank and dishes were done, we decided to hop in the car and go for a drive. We’d heard there was a dirt road you could take out in Cavendish, that took you out closer to the iceberg. It was a bit foggy out, but nothing too crazy, so off we went. We foundΒ  a dirt road, and drove along… and then it sort of forked off. One way was into someone’s residence (clearly not the way we wanted to go) and the other way was this VERY rough, VERY “off road” looking road, and yup, there goes my husband plowing up the road in our AWD Vue. Uh huh, and all was good until he went to drive over a rock, that, in his defence, wasn’t sticking up out of the ground very much. But at this time of year, the ground is SO soft and wet (read MUDDY) that, eep, the tires sank and we scraped the bottom of the Vue over this rock. Made this HORRID sound, and scared the crap out of poor Nathan.

We decided THAT was a good place to park, and got out of the Vue to go for a walk. The Vue might have been in rough shape, but the VIEW was gorgeous, per usual.

As you can see, most of the bergy bits are gone away now. Only the few that are ground up remain. We found a small lighthouse that someone had built to commemorate their ancestors, and the boys decided it was a good place to stop and be “on guard” watching for boats.

There was a strange line of fog across the water, and you could see the iceberg was much closer to us than on the other shore in Whiteway, however you could only see part of it due to the fog.

Still, it was beautiful. I snapped this shot from the edge near where Jody was standing in the previous picture. It’s funny to me, because this picture looks so completely fake, or as though I spent time making it LOOK like this in Photoshop. But let me assure you, this is the real thing !!

You can barely see the ocean at the bottom of the picture through the fog… but it’s there. Still beautiful, despite the fog, isn’t it?

The fog started to roll in pretty fast after that.

We went down to the water’s edge, and walked around, admiring the sights and sounds. Nathan found an incredible number of really cool shells, and decided now was a good time to start a shell collection. I think we may have to take out a mortgage on a second house just to hold all the shells I imagine he’ll collect over the next while.

This shoreline was beautiful. So many different colours of rocks, and such cool erosion happening here. There was some fascinating rocks that had clearly been eroded by the tide over a long period of time. Some parts were as thin as paper, and shattered with very little force!

The boys wandered out onto an ice pan, and announced that they had walked onto a “mini iceberg” !

On our way back to the (broken) Vue, we noticed as we walked that spring is definitely here. Amongst the brown grass, green was working its way to the surface. I happened to notice this new spot of moss that is VERY green and new.

We ended our adventure listening to our Vue GRINDING like crazy, making the most horrific sound, down this “dirt” (read: MUD) road, and down into the parking lot of an old Insurance building. And from there, Uncle Hughie came out and picked the four of us up. Not 30 minutes ago, Aaron stopped by to pick Jody up from our house, and they went to Cavendish in Aaron’s tow truck to pick up the Vue, and then took it up to the garage. I must say, it’s quite handy having a car garage “in the family”. Jody will take the keys up to Aaron shortly, and hopefully the two of them can figure out what damage was done. Here’s hoping it’s minimal !!!

Another week gone by, and I cannot believe we’ve almost been here for 4 months. Time has literally flown by. Time is also making me realize just how big of an adjustment this move continues to be for me. I still get lonely sometimes. I still long to have things feel familiar to me here. I still have yet to find “my way” here… a way for me to be, essentially. Most of the time I do quite well. Others, like Saturday night, I don’t do so well. I am trying to be patient, not only with myself and my family, but also with time – knowing that in time, I will find familiarity, comfort, friends, etc. It is frighteningly easy to feel overwhelmed by “homesick” sometimes… and those are the times that I take comfort in the beauty of Newfoundland. The calm, serene peace of the ocean. The quietness of our quaint small town.

And best of all, the gorgeous smiles on my boys (all 3 of them) faces.

Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | March 31, 2009

Definate signs of spring…

As this long, cold, brutal Canadian winter has carried on, it’s thrown at us as much as it has thrown at the rest of the country. Despite the fact that we haven’t seen all that much snow since arriving in Newfoundland over 3 months ago, I, along with most of the people here, are anxious for spring.

This past Sunday, the weather outside had finally showed us that spring is near.Β  For days, we were trapped in an overcast haze of fog and mist. So when I saw the blue skies and sunshine, I figured it didn’t matter WHAT the temperature was, we had to get outside and enjoy the day. As it turned out, it was about 9 degrees, and barely a breath of wind. Was a beautiful Newfoundland day.

We all jumped in the car, and decided to drive up to Old Shop which is just past Dildo. We drove down a road that took us along the water to the edge of Old Shop, and found a staircase that someone had built down to the rocky beach below.

The boys quickly set to work finding the best kind of skipping rocks, so Jody could teach the boys.

No photo evidence of this, but clearly I should’ve put the camera down and paid some attention to this lesson, as I am absolutely terrible at skipping rocks! I dare say, however, that I’ll have plenty of time to practice that here.

The tide wasn’t overly high, but high enough that we couldn’t see too much in the way of ocean wildlife. There were a lot of snails, and the boys spent considerable time checking them out.

We also found several sea urchins, which of course had already been “vacated” by the sea gulls.

We also saw some muscles, haha. (and no, not mussels this time Mom… :))

Caleb found some “gigantical rocks” (as he called them), and proceeded to climb on them proudly.

I ended up ahead of the rest of my family, and took some time to see the world the way I usually do, through my lens.

After we left the Old Shop rocky beach, we decided to stop in Dildo to visit Jody’s Aunt & Uncle. I decided to stop and take a picture of a famous guy for you all to see.

We had a lovely visit with Aunt Betty, and got to enjoy her beautiful gallery of paintings. She’s an incredibly talented artist, and I plan to purchase one of her paintings someday soon, hopefully !! She doesn’t have a website yet, but her and Jody are working on something, and when it’s up, I’ll share it with all of you so you can see her paintings, too πŸ™‚

We were looking out into the harbour in Dildo, and noticing that the bay was full of ice, and a few pieces had blown into the harbour with the wind. We wondered how long it would be before the harbour was full of ice. We left Dildo to head torwards home, and almost picked up the phone to call Aunt Bet and let her know that we found the ice.

These are what are referred to as “ice pans”, or “Bergy Bits“. Jody assured me that given the direction of the wind, it would be no time before the harbour was “stog” of ice. I had to head to the kids school the next morning to drop something off, so I decided to grab my camera and take it with me. I’m glad I did. And Jody was right. The harbour was stog full of ice.

The air is incredible. Our 9 degree day, where you could clearly feel the heat of a changing spring sun, went to this odd sort of “faux” chill. I can only think to compare it to the feeling of walking into a wine/beer cooler at the liquor store on a hot summers day. The wind that blows across these bergy bits is bone chilling, and yet as you stand there, you are frozen by more than just the frigid air. It’s incredibly beautiful and fascinating.

When I returned from my picture taking adventure, Jody told me that word around was there was a HUGE iceberg in Cavendish, which is just a short drive up the shore from us. I waited until Caleb came home from school, and him and I decided to grab the camera again and go for a drive. Wow, am I glad we did.

We got so far as Whiteway (next town up), and immediately upon following the curve into Whiteway, I was stunned by its size and beauty. From the Shag Rock turnout, it doesn’t look like much (and this picture doesn’t show it’s in person presence from the road).

But let me tell you, with the incredible technology of camera lenses, we are able to discover that this is one BIG iceberg.

First of all, let me show you a picture of Shag Rock.

Shag Rock is a beautiful rock formation in Whiteway. It is a famous landmark here, and has it’s own viewing area. In the summer, I will go back and take some more pictures, as when it’s clear and not foggy, the blue sky, the blue water, and the hills in behind make this a truly breathtaking sight. These rocks are big. I am telling you this, because I need to show SOMEHOW the sheer comparison of size next to the iceberg.

As we start to zoom in, you can see that the iceberg is CLEARLY larger than Shag Rock.

And a little closer…

And, drumroll please… the first Iceberg of Spring.

Jody heard from someone, that a fisherman told him that the water where this sucker is “gone to ground” is 400ft deep. As most of you should know, icebergs are 9 times larger BELOW water than what you see above. That means this bad boy is 150ft tall above the water. That’s a substantial iceberg!! Apparently it’s the biggest one that people have seen in a long time. And what a beautiful, gorgeous site it is. We all enjoyed staring at it. And I, the girl from the prairies, was the most awe struck.

Things, they are changing around here. And despite the cold ice that has taken up residence in the harbours around, spring is definately on its way. And I cannot wait to see what new adventures the warming weather brings.

Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | February 25, 2009

Wintery Weekend !!

Knowing there was a lot of snow, and knowing that it surely wasn’t going to last, we decided to fully take advantage of the glorious white stuff πŸ™‚ It was a really, REALLY nice weekend.

Saturday

On Saturday,Β  as the sun shone down through the kitchen windows, I knew we just had to get outside. Jody was working some in the living room, so I decided to get the kids all suited up, and head outside.

We waded through the deep snow at the back of our land, just because we’d had so much fun doing that the day before

and then decided we’d venture out for a winter walk. There is a path out the back of our and our neighbours land, that takes us to one of the many trails, and allows us access to so many OTHER trails. So we headed out the back path.

Caleb, when given a moment to pause for thought, decided he wasn’t sure if going for a winter walk without Dad was such a good idea.

But, after a brief discussion (and very little convincing arguement), we set off for our adventure in the deep snow.

I now understand the purpose of snowshoes. It is very difficult to go for a walk when every step you take results in having your leg sink up to your mid calf or higher! This was a workout for us! But it was SO lovely outside, that we enjoyed every moment. We saw lots of cool things. Nathan spotted a plant that he made sure we knew NOT to touch.

Caleb and I spotted a very strange tree, that had started growing straight, but at some point had to change it course, for reasons unknown to me, and curve around before resuming it’s upward climb.

We weren’t in a hurry, and really took our time to enjoy the sights. I’d say we enjoyed the sounds but that’s one thing about being here… there really aren’t that many sounds right now. It’s so quiet… so peaceful. I enjoyed that immensely !! The boys made some sounds of their own with a couple of impromptu snowball fights!

We decided to head down and check out Backside pond again, and the view was much different this time. It was completely covered in snow, and had been untouched where we were, so we created our mark in the snow.

We continued the walk, and found a nice big hill to climb. This is the same hill the boys had slid down on their bellies during our last walk, and Caleb was unsure whether going UP the hill was going to be worth his time.

But he made it up the hill. Despite Caleb’s previous fears about going on a winter walk without Dad, we only took a wrong turn once.

The boys were upset that I hadn’t brought my cell phone with me, so I could call Dad to “find us”. However, I had the kids take a quiet moment… so I could hear the road πŸ™‚ That let us get turned back in the right direction !! Once we got back to a more familiar route, Caleb was ready to throw in the towel.

But we decided to just stop for a rest instead. Caleb told me, and I quote “This is about the best place ever to lay down and stare at the clouds Mom.”

We ended our Saturday walk with a walk down Aunt Bonnie & Uncle Derrick’s driveway. We took a picture to show them how much snow is blowed over it!

Sunday

It was time for another run into the cabin on skidoo… this time with enough snow to make it really fun. Uncle Calv rigged up his sled, and tied on the GT for Caleb to ride on again, Aunt Louise had her skidoo, Aaron on his new one, Jennifer on hers, Jody borrowed Shane’s for him and Nathan to ride, and I rode, yes, all by myself, Aaron’s old skidoo.Β  We went a long ways. Halfway to Carbonear !! Uncle Calv took us up to a spot where you can often see some Caribou, but no luck for us Sunday. Nathan took our little break as an opportunity to sit on the skidoo “all by himself”.

We then wound our way down and over to Ocean Pond, and a “mid point” cabin that lots of people use to take a rest. Jennifer told me it was like amazing race, and it was a “stop point”! πŸ™‚

Nathan came over to check on me, and make sure mommy was doing ok driving the skidoo “all alone”.

Then Caleb had to come check on me, and sneak in a snuggle !!

Everyone else ventured inside the cabin for a few minutes, but Nathan and I stayed outside to take in the view.

Eventually we left, and drove the rest of the way to “our” cabin. By the time we got there, we’d been out on skidoo for almost two hours !! FUN! We had a nice little rest there, ate a few hotdogs, a nice cup of tea and some chocolate chip cookies that I’d baked the day before and brought out with us πŸ™‚ I took a picture of Aaron’s amazing set up on the oven out there, so you guys could see it for yourselves πŸ™‚

Caleb took it upon himselfΒ  to get a lesson from Aaron about the correct way to use an axe. He really enjoyed himself. Can’t you tell?

We watched as Caleb put his lessons from Aaron and Uncle Calv into practice.

A great time was had by all. We really enjoyed the visit with everyone.

I have to say I think my favourite part of these outings, is the time I get to spend with my new family. I *so* appreciate the time Uncle Calv takes to tell me stories about when things were built, or where we are, or how Caribou were introduced to Newfoundland, etc. I love hearing all the stories, and could sit and listen to them all day long πŸ™‚

After we finished eating, and cleaning up, it was time to head home. I paused for a moment of reflection on the day before driving the skidoo down the hill back behind Uncle Calv and Aunt Louise’s house. At the top of Nan’s garden, the view from my skidoo was incredible, so I wanted to share it with all of you !

And of course what day of winter fun on skidoo would be complete without the boys playing on the hills with the GT while Jody helped Aaron put the skidoos away πŸ™‚

Another amazing Newfoundland Day !!

Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | February 25, 2009

More Snow = More Fun !!

Last week not only added 2 days to the “Snow Day” counter, but about 20cms of snow to the landscape around here. We saw a couple of big snowstorms come through and the snow, and blowing snow, resulted in (FINALLY) an accumulation of snow NOT followed by freezing rain or drizzle (or as the radio DJs around here refer to it as… “snow eater”).

Notice the snow drift that’s taller than our neighbours fence!

Now looking at these pictures, you may not think we got all that much snow. However, this past Friday, the boys and I went out in the afternoon (and a snow day for them) to enjoy said snow, as it was really beautiful out for a few hours (approx. 6 degrees). We made several snowmen, and then went for a walk at the back of our land to find out how much snow was back there.

There was a lot.

We all had FUN walking amongst the trees, never sure how deep we’d sink when we took the next step.

Some of us had A LOT of fun.

We really enjoyed the gorgeous day, and our “bonus” time together. The storm on Friday was over by early afternoon, but being that it was a Friday anyway, they called the whole day off for the schools, and we had time to enjoy each other.

After both snowstorms, Uncle Hughie came over with his back-ho and shovelled us out. This time, because we had SO much accumulation, his “scooping” had created a couple of rather substantial hills πŸ™‚ The kids found several creative ways to enjoy these snow piles.

Lounging on the hill.

Sliding down the hill on the GT.

Making “caves” in the hill. (Terrible picture, but you get the idea)

We were so thrilled to have this snow. Growing up on the prairies, I am no stranger to snow. And I grew to love it (probably, at least in part, for survival reasons!). Especially when the bitter cold eases up on us, and gives us a fun reason to get outside, and enjoy a day of sunshine during our winter blues.

(Btw, there really was sunshine, it just happened to start hiding behind some clouds that rolled in when Jody snapped this picture.)

Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | February 18, 2009

Skidoos, trikes and quads, OH MY!

I have to say it’s so neat to be surrounded by skidoos, trikes and quads, ALL the time. Everyone here has a quad, or a trike, or a skidoo (and some have all three!). I know there are lots of people who spend weekends at the lake in Saskatchewan and hit the skidoo all the time. I also know that there are LOTS of people who skidoo in Alberta, especially out around the mountains where the snow is plentiful all winter long. Myself, however, never really had the opportunity to do any of that. So it’s a fun experience for me to not only try it, but be immersed in a culture where having a skidoo or a quad (or both) isn’t just a lot of fun, it’s a way of life !!

People here use their quads, with plow attachments, to shovel out their driveways after a big storm (and the quads are out BEFORE the snowblower, that’s for sure lol). They use their skidoos, with sled attachments, to fetch wood from the, well, woods lol, to burn in their wood furnaces to stay warm on cold winter days.

We don’t have a plow attachment for our trike (mark my words – YET – guaranteed we will at some point lol), and only the kids have a quad, but let me tell you, between those two things, there’s been endless fun. While we’ve been exploring the trails, and taking rides back and forth to Nan’s house on the quad, offering Caleb some indepedance to show us that he can handle driving it “all by himself”, etc… there’s been other fun, too !!

Fun like Nathan towing Caleb on a sled behind the quad…

or maybe Jody towing Nathan…

or my personal favourite, Caleb towing Jody πŸ™‚

And what fun winter day on the quad, where there was so much ice, and no where near enough snow for the skidoo, would be complete… without a few donuts.

Nathan is even learning to drive the trike himself (with Jody riding on the back), and is enjoying the process πŸ™‚

This past Sunday, I had the great honour of being part of a typical weekend affair for Jody’s family. A trip out to the cabin for a “boil up“. We all met up down near Aaron’s shed, and loaded up all the food, beer and ice fishing equipment onto the skidoos. Jody drove the trike, actually Shane’s trike, which has a seat welded onto the back, and was perfect for Nathan to sit on. Shane had his skidoo with his two boys, Bradley and Colby. Aaron drove in on his skidoo, Uncle Calvin on his, Aunt Louise on hers, and I rode with Jennifer on her skidoo πŸ™‚ Caleb, the brave little dude, rode on the sled pulled behind Uncle Calvin’s skidoo, on which he had a GT Racer tied on for some winter towing fun πŸ™‚

There was hardly enough snow, and it was a rough ride, but we still had an incredibly fun time !! We buzzed out towards the back of Uncle Calvin’s land, and Nan’s garden, and Jennifer tipped over the skidoo we were on about 30 seconds after we left πŸ™‚ We had a good laugh! Sadly, no pictures, as the camera was strapped to me! Our first destination was Pop Jack’s old cabin.

Pop was Jody’s grandfather, who passed away18 years ago. This cabin was made the same year Jill was born, so Jody would’ve been 2.5 at the time. Uncle Calvin was telling me about the fact that they took special care to cut the trees for the cabin a good distance from the cabin, so the surrounding trees would offer it privacy and protection from the wind, etc. Sadly, over the years, people have cut a lot of the trees around the cabin and it’s quite “out in the open” now. It’s a beautiful little spot, and the cabin has so much character, so much family history, despite the fact that it’s been all but abandoned for years now.

We all took the opportunity to check out the cabin, and take a rest.

Jennifer laid back on her skidoo (the yellow one) while I was hopped off, and commented that some people go to Dominican and lay on the beach, but her laid back, with her feet up on the skidoo, was a “little slice of Canadian paradise” πŸ™‚ I had to agree. It wasn’t too cold out, there was a light snow falling, and it was truly beautiful.

The kids did a little foundation test, to see how strong Pop Jack’s cabin really was.

Nathan, Colby & Caleb up on the roof πŸ™‚

After that, we loaded back up onto the skidoos, and drove to the “Hillier” cabin πŸ™‚ Jennifer even let me drive the skidoo the rest of the way, which was so much fun. Yes, Mom, I know, Jody REALLY needs to grab the camera during these times and get some pictures lol We drove to the pond that the cabin is on, and parked the skidoos.

And headed into the cabin.

Aaron started the fire, and it warmed up very quickly in the cabin. Aaron, being the genius that he is, rigged up this awesome add on to the wood stove. It acts like an oven, essentially! Very cool πŸ™‚

While dinner was cooking, the kids went outside to play. They took turns riding the GT down the hill by the cabin, and Uncle Calvin took Caleb for a ride on the GT, which he pulled with Aunt Louise’s skidoo!! My little daredevil REALLY enjoyed that !!

Then it was time for some ice fishing! Jody took on the challenge of using the auger to make some holes in the ice.

Aaron, Jody, Nathan, Caleb and Colby - all eager to do a little trouting!

Aaron, Jody, Nathan, Caleb and Colby - all eager to do a little "trouting"!

Jody was a little tired by the time he was done, but don’t let his exhausted expression fool you… he was in 7th heaven πŸ™‚

When it comes to ice fishing, Jennifer means business πŸ™‚ She was deep in concentration for quite some time, and even came in to get some shrimp she had brought with her to try as bait !!

And after a brief bit of instruction from Aunt Louise

Bradley, Nathan & Aunt Louise

Bradley, Nathan & Aunt Louise

Nathan and Bradley decided they were going to try their very best to catch us a trout to fry up !!

Bradley & Nathan Ice Fishing!

Bradley & Nathan Ice Fishing!

Sadly, despite some real efforts, no trout were biting that day !! We all met back in the cabin for dinner.Β  They had put potatoes, onion and water into a small roasting pan, and man oh man, was it GOOD (and only in about 30 minutes time)!! He also cooked up some moose sausage (delicious!) in a frying pan, and they were making toast, too πŸ™‚ Aunt Louise brought some Lambs rum (yummy) and pepsi, and Uncle Calvin went outside to get us some ice πŸ™‚ It was a lovely dinner, and a great visit.

After finishing up our tea and chocolate, it was time to pack up and get ready to head back.

We rode back, and all convened at Aaron’s shed to discuss what a great afternoon it had been.

Hillier Sawmill, and Aarons shed with the crowd.

Hillier Sawmill, and Aaron's shed with the crowd.

The four boys took turns riding the GT Racer down the hill by Nan’s house, to the backdrop of the ocean and a gorgeous sunset.

What a fun, fun day. πŸ™‚

Needless to say, we’ll be watching the NL Classifieds to see if we can a) find a track for our skidoo, and b) find a skidoo for ME !!! πŸ™‚

Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | February 14, 2009

What a difference a day makes…

I woke up the morning after the last post to a very different view outside. It had gotten COLD overnight, and the effects of that cold were blaringly apparent as I looked outside.

I drove down the harbour, and stared out at the ocean (as I do every time I drive by… I somehow doubt I’ll ever stop being in complete awe of its beauty). But on this day, the cold had created some beautiful imagery on the water.

Breathtaking. The ice pans had started to form as the ocean was feeling the effects of the cold wintery weather. We often saw “slob ice” in the ocean, which is essentially when the water along the shoreline starts to freeze and resembles a slurpee πŸ™‚ That has been coming and going nearly since we arrived. It would stay a day or two, and then be gone with a cleansing rain.

But today… the ocean was almost eerily calm. This was a welcome change given the abnormal wind the Avalon Peninsula has been experiencing this winter. The water was absolutely gorgeous. The ice pans extended out far into the harbour, further than they had since we got here. It was so gorgeous I had to jump out and take pictures. We stopped into the kids school to check out their “100” collections for the 100th day of school, and then decided to go for a drive. We drove into Hopeall, the next community down the shore from us, mere moments away from Green’s Harbour. I had never driven down to the ocean from Hopeall, so I was interested to see it πŸ™‚ Another gorgeous stretch of shoreline.

As we stared out at the calm beauty of the Atlantic Ocean, ice pans scattering its serene surface

I happened to catch something

and insisted that Jody stop the truck so we could investigate further. I am SO glad we did. At first, we thought this creature (which we later figured out to be an American Mink) was stuck out on the ice pots. We watched as he wandered between floating pieces of ice, stopping momentarily to look over in our direction. Then, we realized it wasn’t stuck at all.

(I will apologize in advance for the shaky hands while making this video!)

He was pretty cute, to be honest with you! We watched him dive in and out of the water, shake himself off, crawl along the ice pots SEVERAL times. He even stopped to check *us* out πŸ™‚

Then, he disappeared under this dock.

We’re pretty sure he was living up under this dock. A few moments later (and I WISH we would’ve caught it on video!), we witnessed him swim out from the dock and dive under the water. We could see that he was swimming under the water from the bubbles on the surface. Then, the bubbles stopped… and a few seconds later, the mink surfaced with a mussel in its mouth!! He swam back over under the dock, and within moments, Jody could hear the sound of him cracking the shell to have a feed πŸ™‚

Not something you see everyday, so I was very lucky we were in the right place at EXACTLY the right time. I am also glad that I take in all the sights and scenes while we’re driving, because had I been less observant, we probably would’ve missed him all together !!

Like the title of this blog suggests, a day makes a whole lot of difference as the next day, the ice pots had melted away with another cleansing rain, and it had cooled enough that the morning tide had brought in more slob ice. When Caleb got off the school bus, he was going on and on about how he’d seen a seal on the pond. We thought perhaps he meant the salt water pond by the firehall. His bus driver had pointed it out to them on the bus, and he told us it had been swimming around. About an hour later, Uncle Hughie phoned to confirm that indeed there was a seal, but he was in Scotch Pond, which was the pond on the OTHER side of the main road, and it was also a freshwater pond! Clearly this seal came in with the slob ice at morning tide, and likely couldn’t figure out how to get back to the sea!

I, of course, took this opportunity to zip down with my camera and document such occasion, which apparently also isn’t something you see everyday !! (Lucky me, two days in a row!!)

You almost can’t see him in this picture, unless you look very closely. I just wanted to take a picture to show the lovely scenery he’d found himself in. And might I remind you, that this was taken from the gas station parking lot πŸ™‚ You can also see it was very f-f-f-soggy that day (Suzanne that was JUST for you! <3).

He was cute… and I don’t have any updates to report for you, but my guess is that he managed to find his way back out to the ocean!

So, what a difference a day makes, hey? πŸ™‚

Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | February 10, 2009

Culture Shock…

One might not think a move to another province in our own amazing country would result in “Culture Shock”, but if you think that, you’ve NEVER been to Newfoundland πŸ™‚ I believe that for a lot of people, even visiting the province would result in the same feeling.

By Wikipedia standards, the definition of Culture Shock is as follows:
Culture shock refers to the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not. This is often combined a dislike for or even disgust (moral or aesthetical) with certain aspects of the new or different culture.

By that definition, I can say that I have been surprised by many things, uncertain about a few πŸ™‚ Life is certainly different here. There is so much to adjust to. Not just a move from a big city of over a million people, to a small town of around 800. Not just a move from suburban life, to country life. Not just changing from a view of your neighbours back yard, to a view of a tree covered hill and the atlantic ocean. It has been SO much more than that.

<<<<***FLASHBACK***>>>> (see, I told you I’d do these eventually lol)

Upon arriving here, at approximately 1:30am on Christmas Eve, we stopped at Nan’s house (Jody’s Grandmother) to let her know we’d arrived safely, knowing full well that she wasn’t going to go to bed and rest easy until we were safely here. We then left there to head to our “new to us” house, with the only thoughts in our minds that we were going to get the boys sleeping on their fold out couches, and drag in the insta-bed so we could get some zzz’s.

It had been a long week of driving, and then a few extra days in North Sydney, NS, as we waited for the winds to subside so the boat could start its crossings again, and we could come home to Newfoundland. Even that particular DAY had been long… we had set the alarm in our hotel in N.Sydney for 3:30am. We had to arrive to check in at 4am for our ferry crossing. We boarded the ferry at around 4am, and it pulled out of the harbour at around 6:30am. The ferry normally takes 5.5 – 7hrs to cross from N.Sydney, NS to Port-aux-Basques, NL… but this particular day, it took about 7.5 hours, as the other boat hadn’t left Port-aux-Basques and therefore our boat slowed down to give the other boat time to leave its dock.

We arrived in Port-aux-Basques at around 2:30pm, and by the time Jody with the truck and trailer, and myself with the Vue were off the boat and ready to start driving, it was 3pm, NL time πŸ™‚ It was dark by the time we reached Deer Lake, which is only about a 2hr drive from Port-aux-Basques. As you can imagine, by the time we arrived in Green’s Harbour, like I said, around 1:30am, we had been awake and on the move for almost 24hrs, and I, for one, was absolutely EXHAUSTED.

We got here, to our house, and found that there were groceries on the cupboard, and cleaning supplies in the corner of the kitchen. Yes, Jody’s cousin’s girlfriend Jennifer had gone shopping to get us a few things, enough so that we’d have breakfast in the morning with the kids on Christmas Day. Then I walked into the living room.

Before I had time to process the fact that his family has put up a tree, put presents under it, hung a banner, etc… (because *THAT* was amazing in and of itself), Jody’s Nan, Uncle Ted, Aunt Roxanne, Uncle Hughie and Aunt Shona were in our door, brought food (roast moose!), pepsi, beer, etc… and stayed until almost 3am visiting with us, and welcoming us home. They left, and we finally got the kids to bed (just before Santa showed up, PHEW!), and it wasn’t 4:30am until Jody and I were finished making sure “things were ready for santa” ;), and asleep.

They were so happy to see us. So thrilled to have us there, safe, and “home”.

<<<<<****Fast-Forward****>>>>> to now.

I would be lying if I said everything has been perfect since we got here. There has been days when I’ve been overwhelmed by change. Where I’ve felt much like an episode of Sesame Street, in which they discuss how “one of these things is not like the other” lol.

I will say one thing, however… I don’t miss the city of Calgary. I don’t miss the urban crowding. I don’t miss the stressed out, rude, arrogant people who cannot take 2 seconds out of their day to be polite to you. I don’t miss the road rage. I don’t miss the educators – who have so long gone without resources that they’ve become cold and uncaring. I don’t miss “keeping up with the jonses”. I don’t miss the fast paced rat race.

I do miss my friends. I do miss a sense of comfort and familiarity. I do miss heading out to the store, and running into people you know. I miss knowing – that despite the fact that I might not have seen them everyday, there were people around – within a short distance, who were there if I needed them. There were people who knew me, loved me, cared about me, *understood* me, and accepted me for who I am, faults and all (not that I have any! LOL).

That will come in time here, that much I know. And already, this new sense of family that we have here is blaringly apparent. There are so many people around that are my family now. And I have no doubt in my mind that if I needed anything at all, I could go to them and ask and they’d be there for me.

Beyond that, this new sense of togetherness and community that exists in town, in the school, in neighbouring towns, is incredible. The fact that everyone is kind, calls you “love”, or “my dear”… while buying a birthday card at the mall Carlton Cards, the cashier called me “my treasure”. You can’t make this stuff up !! πŸ™‚ There is no such thing as awkward silence between cashiers at gas stations and customers… as at bare minimum, you can discuss the weather ! The school the kids are attending… has completely blown me away. You don’t feel like you’re intruding. You feel instantly comfortable and welcome from the moment you set foot into the place. To have a teacher say to me “He’s not a child we just got stuck dealing with. He’s a part of us, he IS one of us now. And we will do whatever it takes to help, because we all want what’s best for him, no matter what…” is mind blowing.

And so, despite the fact that there are days I long for comfort and familiarity, and despite the fact that some days I’d like to buy a house with renovations already done, so I can feel comfortable in my own “home”, I will continue on here… knowing that good things come to those who wait. For now, I wake up, make breakfast… help the kids get ready. Watch them get on the bus at the end of our driveway. Have coffee with my husband. Stare at the gorgeous trees on the big hill out my back window. Drive past the ocean every day, and marvel at its beauty. I will breathe. I will enjoy silence. I will be a part of this new family.

Β©2009 Nicole OBrien Photography

Β©2009 Nicole O'Brien Photography

Posted by: prairiegirlinnfld | January 29, 2009

Snow Day, Pt.2!

Normally I don’t make two posts in one day, BUT… today was a worthy posting day! πŸ™‚

First, we had the weird, windy, crazy storm. It turned out to be pretty sad, as it didn’t last long, and we didn’t even accumulate enough snow to take the skidoo out! Caleb was a little disappointed. BUT…

Jody went with Caleb in the truck down to Aaron’s shed, and hopped on our trike, and drove it back over the track (trail behind our place). And Nathan, sweet darling Nathan, who was too scared to even get on the trike while it wasn’t moving the other day, despite being excited, finally did today after MUCH encouragement, and starting very slow πŸ™‚

I’m not sure, but I think he had fun coming back from his first spin out to the track and back with Dad… what do you think?

While Daddy and Nathan were off doing their trike thang… Caleb and I realized that the snow was absolutely PERFECT for making snowmen (or snowpeople, to be more PC about the whole thing! lol), so that’s just what we did!

Nathan and Daddy came back from their second trip to the track, having gone a little further than the time before, and I decided to ask Nathan what he thought πŸ™‚

Then, while Caleb and Jody went for “Caleb’s turn”, Nathan and I made another snowman!!! The snow was SO amazingly perfect for this!!

After they returned, I asked if Nathan wanted to zip down on the trike with Dad to go pick up the truck from Aaron’s shed πŸ™‚ He, of course, jumped at the opportunity! The jury is still out on who was having more fun.

While they were gone on their truck retrieving mission, Caleb had another mission of his own. This time, it was to make a “baby snowman”, which later became the Caleb snowman.

I then got a close up and personal interview with my ham, I mean my sweet Caleb, who introduces us to the snow family, and tells us his thoughts on snow day πŸ™‚

And, our poor skidoo, sits there, awaiting another snow day when HOPEFULLY we get enough snow to actually take it for a spin πŸ™‚

All in all, a great snow day. Lots of fun was had by all! Can’t wait for the next one πŸ™‚

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