Category Archives: Family

Postcard from the Wilderness

Dear All

Having a lovely time. Weather has been fantastic, mostly. The odd shower but when has that stopped a Brit?

Seen and done the most amazing things here in Samuel de Champlain Provincial Park, Ontario.

Maiden voyage of the canoe went well, even if it was in the rain!

 

The river rapids were so much fun even if hubbie and I bumped our bums on the bottom a few times. 😀

We got even more adventurous when we decided to tackle a 14km canoe route with two portages!

I’ve got so much more to tell you when we get home.

Wish you were here!

Lou xx

Camping in Fairbank Provincial Park

Last week we decided to take advantage of the long weekend, pack the tent in the truck and head ‘up North’ to a campground in Fairbank Provincial Park, Ontario.

The journey itself took about 6 hours, which was pretty good considering we went on the Friday of a long weekend.  The drive up to the campground itself was full of potholes and didn’t look too picturesque and we started to wonder if we’d picked the right place.

Our sense of foreboding didn’t abate as we went to check in.  The sign on the counter announced there were bears in the area.  Trying to sound casual (and probably failing) I asked the staff about the bears.  “We have a yearling around here” she said “but it’s up here near our garbage, it hasn’t been seen down in the campground, yet”  Hmmmm …yet!

Our site was pretty small and we messed around for quite a while trying to fit everything on, they were also close together which was not what we were expecting.

Despite this the site actually grew on us over the weekend.  The neighbours were actually pretty friendly and all stopped by for a chat and we got some great info from them on other places to visit.  We discovered a while ago that people love to give their opinions so the best way to find out things as a new immigrant is to ask everyone and anyone.  Our small site happened to be ideally placed close to the (clean) showers and the beach, not so bad after all.

There was only one hike route on the site, which was a little short and over in about 20 minutes but did give some great views down onto the lake.  Without a doubt the main draw of this area was the lake, spring fed and beautifully clear it was lovely for swimming, canoeing or fishing.

On Sunday we wanted to do some hiking so on the advice of the neighbours we headed 40 minutes north to Chutes Provincial Park where there were many hiking routes to choose from along the beautiful river, rapids and waterfalls.

 

The whole area was stunning.

We had a fantastic weekend, the boys survived without internet access and we discovered some amazing places that we can’t wait to investigate further.

 

The Gallery – Play

“A family that plays together stays together”

This has been a saying that we live by in our house and it’s been years since play meant Lego and Play-Doh.  As the boys get older we’ve had to adapt our interests so we can still all ‘play’ together.

 

Photography

 

Hiking

 

 

Swimming in the Lakes

 

Cycling

 

Beach Days

 

Magic Moments – The Day We Emigrated Part 2

My last Magic Moments post ended with us taking off from Gatwick Airport en route to Toronto. See Part 1 here

The flight was pleasant enough and before we knew it were on the final approach to our destination.

Fortunately we had already done our official landing a few months before so we had our permanent residency cards in hand and the majority of the endless paperwork was done…or so we thought.

At baggage reclaim we were astounded to find hubbies shotguns just sitting on the floor with all the oversized luggage and strollers sporting a huge pink sticker that declared them as FIREARMS to anyone who noticed them, shocking.  With two baggage trolleys full to bursting with our bags we entered customs to declare our tortoises and shotguns.  Due to my preparedness, which reached almost obsessive levels at times, Customs were happy and sent us on our way quite quickly to collect the tortoises from a cargo warehouse and that was where the fun and games began.

We had the misfortune of landing on a day predicted to be the hottest on record and with humidity values at over 40C it was a bit of a shock when we walked out of the airport, to say the least.  After picking up the car we drove to cargo to start the wait, It took over 4 hours for a vet to check our pets before they would release them to us and then he had the audacity to question the authenticity of our paperwork and suggest that we had photocopies and not the originals and threatened to refuse to give our Tortoises to us.  I explained, begged and pleaded, argued and so very nearly lost it all together until eventually he signed the release papers but that still wasn’t the end.  We then had to travel to Customs a few miles away to give them the vet’s authorisation so customs could check them off our accompanying goods list, what a palaver!  The guy at customs for whatever reasons insisted on calling our tortoises ‘turtles’ which really wound me up, bare in mind I was extremely hot, jet lagged, had been awake for 22 hours, was emotional and frustrated, I’d lost all sense of reasonable behavior and quite frankly that dude was really getting on my nerves!  I couldn’t stop correcting him every time he said it and I started to lose my temper.  My meltdown was imminent when he finally stamped the piece of paper and let us go back to collect our pets.

 

Making their debut on my site, meet Bubbles and Crush our well travelled tortoises. Born in Croatia, exported to UK now living in Canada, pictured enjoying the sunshine in my garden.

 

We arrived at our hotel and temporary home at around midnight after being up for almost 24 hours, one look at the state of us (it must not have been a pretty sight!) and the staff took our car keys and sent us up to our room while they brought in all our bags for us, I was so grateful for the help I could have cried.  We fell into bed and were asleep almost immediately, I slept longer and deeper than I had in months.  We’d finally made it… we were in Canada at last.

 

The Gallery – Into the Archives

Tara at Sticky Fingers has asked us to delve into the archives for our old photos this week.  So as we are celebrating the two-year anniversary since our arrival in Canada on Saturday, I thought I’d share the 30 year old photos that started this whole journey.

1979 – Hubbie at the Niagara Gorge, aged 7

 

 

Hubbie & Sister in law carving pumpkins

This is my Husband and Sister-In-law on their first family holiday to Canada back in 1979. Who knew that this holiday would have such a profound effect on the life of that little 7 year old boy? As my Sister-in-law tells it they stood together looking out over the Niagara Falls when her younger brother announced that he would live in Canada one day and here we are some 34 years later about to celebrate 2 years as permanent residents.

Rainbow at Niagara Falls, 1979

The dream he had back then has now become a reality for our family, although it took the rest of us about 30 years to catch up.  We had our own trip to Toronto in 2006 that acted as a catalyst for the rest of us to decide that we also wanted to give the expat life a go.  I often wonder what would have happened if he never went on this holiday, where would we be now and would we have had the desire to move continents….?  Who knows? I aced my Geography A level due to a natural curiosity for people and places so maybe we would.

Niagara Gorge

What I do know with an absolute certainty that comes from my very core is that I am where I am supposed to be right now, for whatever reason fate has up her sleeve, this always was my destiny.

 

 

Magic Moments – Growing Up

I had a little break from Magic Moments last week to enjoy the Canada Day long weekend and Hubbies 41st Birthday and now I’m back and full of enthusiasm for my blog.

Now I’m not entirely sure this post meets the criteria of a magic moment but I’m going to treat it as one as the alternative is to drown myself in a bottle or two of Pinot Grigio and for a monday morning that is not entirely appropriate!

My Magic moment is the realisation that my babies are not, in fact babies anymore and they have both grown into fantastic young men.  This humongous bombshell hit me while painting youngest sons bedroom on Wednesday.  Long gone are the days of Thomas the Tank Engine bedding, countless teddies, soft animals and pastel colours.  My almost teen wanted a very grown up décor.

Youngest Son enjoying his cool new room

So instead of focusing on the negatives I’m going to focus on the positives and congratulate myself on raising one child to adulthood and the other to a teen without major mishaps and with (almost) all my faculties in tact, although there are a few grey hairs now!

The Boys, 2001

The Boys, 2013

 

Small Steps Amazing Achievements – Graduation

Jane at Ethan’s Escapades has come up with a great idea for a new link called Small Steps Amazing Achievements where all of us proud mums can have a platform to share our child’s achievements whether big or small. The timing of Jane’s launch is so coincidental for me that I had to join in the first one because this is the week that Eldest Son graduates High School.

 

Eldest son arriving at his prom in England with his besties in a tank! (2011)

 

When we arrived in Canada 2 years ago Eldest Son had already finished high school in England.  He had passed his G.C.S.E’s, he attended his prom (in a tank!) and was ready to move on, so making the decision to send him back to high school for two more years when we arrived in Canada was always going to be a risky move.  It could have gone either way to be honest and although he’s not the kind of person to rebel or be defiant he was 16 and had just immigrated to another continent so I certainly wasn’t going to expect a smooth ride.

However a smooth ride was what we got.  The first two weeks in school were a tough time for him and youngest Son but thankfully they rose to the challenge in such an amazing way that it blows my mind.

Two years on and he’s completed all the requirements to graduate which includes passing all his courses and completing hours doing voluntary work, he has made some great friends along the way too.  I’m not going to lie and say it’s been an easy journey because it hasn’t, adjusting to a new system with a different expectations and responsibilities has been difficult but to his credit he has persevered and succeeded.

Despite the odds, which weren’t in his favour, he has managed to get into his first choice of college course and is about to embark on the next stage of his life. We are extremely proud of him and excited for whatever the future holds for him.

 

The Gallery – Dads

The Gallery – Dads

 

Husband at the Lake

It seems only fitting after posting about the amazing women in my life last week, this weeks Gallery is dedicated to Dads which gives me the opportunity to do the same for the awesome men in my life. My Husband, Dad and Grandad.

My Dad, Eldest Son and my Grandad on the boat

Growing up I was quite a tomboy, as a result I spend lots of time with my Dad and Grandad.  We visited boat shows and air shows together and went sailing during the weekend and school holidays and most of my most treasured memories of growing up were of the three of us together.  Sailing all day until our faces were red with sunburn and evenings in the yacht club with my grandad holding court telling stories to all our friends that were so outrageous we would laugh until our sides ached.

 

My Dad with Eldest Son

So my husband had quite a high standard to live up to when we met, I already had two wonderful men in my life that I love with all my heart and to be honest he had to get their approval and luckily for me he did!

I am quite smug in the knowledge that my sons are going to be the most wonderful fathers because they have such great role models.  They have an amazing Dad, an awesome grandad and wonderful great grandad to show then what being a Dad is all about.

Husband with youngest Son

So this is my opportunity to say Thank you to the three of them for being the men they are; clever, hard working, family oriented.  Thank you for being such amazing positive role models for my boys. I love you all xx

The Gallery – Inspirational Women

Tara at Sticky Fingers has given us the theme of Inspirational Women for this weeks gallery theme.  Luckily she gives us the freedom to interpret the theme as we wish because I couldn’t just pick one. These are my inspirational women:

 

My Maternal Grandmother

The Storyteller. She loved to tell stories about her life in London during world War 2. She was strong, feisty and ruled the roost.  I inherited some of her feisty nature (as did my sister) and her love of singing (not that I sing that well).  99.99% of the time I’m calm and laid back but rub me up the wrong way and it’s like lighting the blue touch paper… you’d better stand back.

My Paternal Grandmother

The Advisor. She was a source of advice and someone who I could talk to about absolutely anything.  She was generous, stubborn, opinionated and wouldn’t suffer fools,  I inherited those traits from her.  I see glimpses of her in my features when I look in the mirror, especially as I’m getting older.

 

My Mum

The Juggler. She is lots of things to lots of people, often simultaneously.  She is a career girl as well as a mum and managed to juggle both roles.  Strong, independent, hard working with a soft inside.  My mum and I have similar taste and enjoy a lot of the same things.

 

My late Mother-in-law

The Fighter.  She had such a hard life but never let it get her down, she rolled with the punches and remained positive and a fighter to the end.  She always put her family first even when it was to her own detriment. She taught me all the skills I needed to cope as a young mum for which I will be eternally grateful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sister and Sister-in-law

My support network and my best friends.  Through all of life’s twists and turns they have  been there to listen to my whining, advise, encourage and support me.  Decades of shared experiences, both good and bad, keep us close even though  they are thousands of miles away.

Between them these 6 amazing, strong, feisty, hardworking, loving women have made me the person I am today and are my inspiration as I strive to be more like them.