Alisa on August 13th, 2012

While at the cottage this year, we finally made it to the observatory. we’ve talked about going for ages but never made it happen. But this was the year.

The day before we left, Andi, Brie, her friend Sarah and I drove down a very dark County Road 507 and had an amazing time. This guy John has a huge telescope on his property and a love for space so he set up an observatory on his property for everyone to enjoy. It was a bit cloudy when we first got there but the clouds blew away shortly and we had an amazing view of Saturn, a dead star and even the International Space Station.

I would love to go again, we should get a big group of us to go next year.

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Graham on July 21st, 2012

Matthew really wanted a couple of turtles for his birthday. We looked into it, and new baby red-eared sliders were $50 a piece. If we had to get a tank, filter, light, etc it was going to cost us a lot. I looked on Kijiji and found an ad for a complete set including aย 1-year-old turtle and a 4-year-old turtle for $45. The ad said that the turtles liked to go outside and play on the grass and that they had “great personalities”. Matthew was very excited about that, so we went to get them. One turtle is quite large, while the other one is just kind of big. We got a large tank, sunning dock, light, turtle food, turtle snacks, some rocks, a filter plus the turtles. It was a great deal.

When we picked up the turtles, the woman said that they liked to eat guppies. We went to the pet store on Thursday night and asked about guppies, and they said they didn’t have them. I asked what the cheapest thing was that turtles would eat, and they replied, “Anything!” They said that you could get a dozen rosey reds for a couple of bucks, so we went for them. We ended up getting probably 3 dozen for the same price. When we put them in the tank, the turtles eagerly hunted their new food.

I had no idea turtles ate like this. It’s pretty neat. Andrea was with us and took a video. You can see it below or directly on the YouTube site:

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Graham on October 24th, 2011

At the request of several people, the drawing was done early this year. Last year, the drawing took place November 6, and today is October 24, so we’re about 2 weeks early…

The drawing of the names has been done, and the results are below. I believe that no one is buying for anyone that theyโ€™ve bought for in the last 5 years or more.

  • Alisa buys for Nanny
  • Andrea buys for Dad
  • Brianna buys for Jason
  • Dad buys for Lisa
  • Graham buys for Brianna
  • Jason buys for Andrea
  • Julia buys for Mom
  • Lisa buys for Julia
  • Mom buys for Graham
  • Nanny buys for Ron
  • Ron buys for Alisa

Note: Please look it over and let me know if there are any mistakes. We don’t want people buying for each other as part of the gift exchange. We also don’t want spouses buying for each other as part of the gift exchange.

Here are some guidelines:

  • As far as I know, we will continue with the $50 amount. There is no rule about spending exactly $50 to the penny, and no rule about whether it is $50 including tax or $50 plus tax. Just get something nice for the person that is close to $50.
  • Try not to get a gift card for the person (or give cash, or equivalent) unless that is what they specifically ask for
  • It would be good if people could provide a list (more than just a couple of items) to the person who is buying for them. That way the person receiving will be getting something they want, but if the list is long enough, they wonโ€™t know which it is.

I assume weโ€™ll be hosting the traditional Christmas Eve party at our house again.

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Alisa on September 6th, 2011

She’s a bit excited…

Graham on June 24th, 2011

On Monday I took Matthew and Christine to the dentist. This was Christine’s first time there. She was very good, and didn’t seem to be nervous. She was, however, very quiet once she sat on the chair in the exam room. We might need to get one of those chairs for home if it will keep her quiet!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are a couple of pictures of her with Dr. Michalko:

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Alisa on June 8th, 2011

Check out Poppy on the Joe Fresh website today

We had a nice visit with Jeff and Evy and the kids Saturday night and Sunday morning. We went to Sacrament Meeting with them in the morning, and then came home.

The kids played, and then we had a wonderful lunch. There was a ham, macaroni and cheese, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus, salad, and more. Yummy!

We would have liked to stay longer, but we had to get going, and we left their house just before 2 pm. We filled up the van, and got on our way. Along the way, the kids watched lots of movies.

Here is the timeline:

  • 1:56 left house. Arrival time was estimated at 9:28
  • 2:16 done filling the van, on our way
  • 2:35 Christine was very tired, and finally fell asleep
  • 3:30 Christine woke up. We thought the nap would have helped her, but she was still pretty cranky.
  • 4:10 – 4:26 stopped for bathroom break, top up the van, and get a milkshake (courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa)
  • 4:47 reached the North Carolina/Virginia border
  • As we drove through the mountains, the GPS showed the elevation peaking at around 2,700 ft
  • 5:28 we went through the Big Walker Mountain Tunnel in the Jefferson National Forest. Later we went through the East River Mountain Tunnel.
  • 5:54 reached the Virginia/West Virginia border
  • 5:55-6:17 bathroom break and topped up the van
  • 6:35 As we were driving, we kept going up. We passed a sign that said the elevation was 3,252
  • 6:38 paid a $2 toll
  • 6:53 paid a $0.40 toll
  • 8:32 bathroom break
  • 9:12 crossed the West Virginia/Pennsylvania border
  • 10:35 reached the Econolodge just outside of Pittsburgh

The hotel was pretty basic, but had comfy beds, so we had a decent night’s sleep. We got up on Monday morning (our 14th anniversary) and had the continental breakfast at the hotel. We were done at the hotel by 8:30 or so and on our way back to Canada. Here is the timeline:

  • 8:36 left hotel
  • 8:51 filled up the van, bought a fuse for the cigarette/power port (we had blown one the night before). Arrival time is estimated at 12:35. Lisa was driving
  • 9:00 we hit some very bad traffic. We listened to a local radio station and heard that there had been an earlier accident, and there was some “residual” traffic. Well, it took us until 9:47 before we were back up to the speed limit. Arrival time is estimated at 1:15
  • 10:55-11:08 bathroom break at a Wal-Mart
  • 11:40 we got on the I90
  • 11:58 we reached the Pennsylvania/New York border
  • 12:40-12:52 one last bathroom break
  • 1:20 crossed the Peace Bridge. A the border the asked how long we were gone and how much we spent. We were through in just a couple of minutes
  • 1:51 home at Dunvegan Rd

Along the way, we have also seen a few more license plates:

  • Delaware
  • Nebraska
  • Vermont
  • Utah
  • We also saw a US Government DHS plate

We unloaded the van and Grandma and Grandpa got their care loaded up. We said our goodbye, and they were on their way.

The kids helped us unpack and get organized, and then Andrew and Matthew put together their new LEGO sets they got at Downtown Disney. Christine wanted to play Mario Kart Wii right away.

We had a fantastic 2 1/2 weeks, but it is nice to get back home.

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Graham on March 20th, 2011

It was a sad day as we packed the van and left Florida, but it was a good day as we had a nice drive to North Carolina and got to see Jeff, Evy, Ryan, Lillie, Lauren, and their house.

The boys and I got up this morning at around 7 am and went swimming for the last time. The air was cooler than it has been, but the pool was as warm as always, so there was quite a bit of steam coming off the pool. We swam for half an hour and then got out to get ready to go.

We left the house at around 8:30 and headed to Ponderosa for their breakfast buffet. It was similar to the one we had at the Sizzlin Grill last week, but the quality of the food was a bit better. But hey, for $3.99, you can’t complain too much ๐Ÿ™‚

After having breakfast and filling up the van, we were on the road by 10:06. Here is the timeline…

  • 8:29 left the house (odometer at 141,118). Graham drove.
  • 9:36 left Ponderosa
  • 10:06 left gas station. Arrival time is estimated at 7:41
  • 10:10 on the highway I-4
  • 11:38 arrival time estimated at 7:30
  • 11:39 – 11:47 at a rest stop. Arrival time at 7:34. NOTE: just before the rest stop we saw some burned out areas along the highway from the forest fires from a month or so ago
  • 12:51 arrival time estimated at 7:20
  • 12:54 crossed Florida/Georgia border (odometer at 141,429)
  • 1:32-1:43 bathroom break and filled up van. Arrival time estimated at 7:25. Lisa started to drive
  • 1:49 things don’t look quite as green as Florida

At some point along the way, I took this picture…

  • 2:36 crossed Georgia/South Carolina border
  • 3:17-3:25 bathroom break. Arrival time estimated at 7:25. Graham back to driving.
  • 4:37-4:44 bathroom break. Arrival time estimated at 7:25
  • 5:30 crossed South Carolina/North Carolina border
  • 7:16 arrived at Jeff and Evy’s house

We had some pizza with everyone when we got there and some ice cream for dessert. The kids played around until around 10 pm and then went to bed.

As you can see, it didn’t take Christine long to dress up in Lillie’s and Lauren’s princess dresses (first Cinderella, then Aurora). She was in her glory.

After the rest of us crashed, Lisa and Evy stayed up until after 1 am. I’m sure they were talking about how great their husbands and kids are ๐Ÿ™‚

We noticed lots of Ontario plates along the way. It was strange to see so many. We don’t know if it was because everyone else was like us going home, or if something else was going on.

The only license plate that we saw that we hadn’t seen the whole trip yet was South Dakota.

On Sunday we are going to Sacrament Meeting with Jeff & Evy, and then coming home to visit for a bit. We hope to be on the road by 1 pm.

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Graham on March 19th, 2011

Since this was our last full day in Florida, we tried to make the most of it. Matthew and I got up this morning and went swimming before going out. We then headed out for a few hours.

We went mini-putting at Bonanza Golf, an old west mining themed miniature golf course. It was a gorgeous morning, and the course was beautiful. After getting a 24 on the first hole, Christine settled down and did much better after that ๐Ÿ™‚ย  There was even a hole that we all got a hole-in-one on (as long as you could hit the ball, it would go in).

After golfing, we headed off to Kissimmee Go-Karts. We had gotten a coupon that gave us a free lap. It wasn’t much, but neither Lisa or can remember ever driving a go-kart, so we thought we’d give it a try. I went with Andrew and Lisa went with Matthew. It was a lot of fun. We’ll have to try go-karts again another time.

After that, we went to Shell World. They have a golf cart that is covered in sea shells, so of course I had to take a picture of the kids.

Inside the store, they had a fake shark’s head, so I told Matthew to pretend it was eating him. Of course, the others wanted in on it too. At first Christine sat on the mouth and it looked like the shark was biting her bum, but then she decided she wanted to be like the boys.

Eventually we made it home and we jumped in the pool. Andrew is totally comfortable in the water. He is quite a good swimmer. Matthew is very brave now as long as he is close to the edge so he can grab hold of something. He loves wearing a mask or goggles and going underwater.

Even Christine is getting more comfortable in the water. She won’t venture in very far on her own, but will put her face in the water and asks for the mask sometimes.

When in the pool, my job is to splash the kids and throw them when requested. It works fairly well.

Lisa’s job is to try to get the kids back for all of the grief they’ve caused her over the years. You can see she receives great pleasure from doing this ๐Ÿ™‚

We went to The Olive Garden for dinner and had a great meal. We went to the outlet stores again to pick up a couple of things, and then we headed back to Downtown Disney for one last trip. It is beautiful at night with all of the people, and the buildings lit up.

Grandma and Grandpa gave them each a bit of money to get something, so Andrew did some prospecting/sifting. He bought 2 bags of what looked like dirt, and then you can sift them in the water and there are “gems” inside. He was very excited. Matthew and Christine both got to split open some volcanic rock to find a geode inside. Very cool.

We got home rather late, but Andrew still had time to have ice cream. Andrew then headed off to bed and the rest of us had the unpleasant task of cleaning up and packing ๐Ÿ™

Saturday is our last day. We have to be out of the house by 11 am, so we will probably leave by 9 am, and we’re heading out for breakfast. We’ll then be on the road and hope to make it to Jeff & Evy’s place before 8 pm.

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Graham on March 18th, 2011

Thursday we headed off early to Aquatica with Grandma and Grandpa.

We were at the park by 10 am, so it still wasn’t that warm outside, but the water was nice, so it was fine.

The waterproof camera we borrowed from Andrea came in handy again.

We didn’t go anything new, just the same stuff as the other day. We played in the wave pool, went along the lazy river (Loggerhead Lane), floated around in Roa’s Rapids, and played in the Walkabout Waters area. Christine found a very small waterslide that she loved and she must have gone down it 50 or more times.

Considering that the park is by SeaWorld, there is a surprising lack of animals/birds/fish in the park. I figured that somehow they would have integrated them more. There are a few Macaw, a large aquarium you see as part of the Loggerhead Lane lazy river, as well as some Commerson’s dolphins that you can see in Loggerhead Lane as well as from one of the water slides. They are black and white, kind of like Orca whales, and they often swim upside down (as you can see in the picture). Apparently that is so they can see prey above them.

You can also see the dolphins from an underwater viewing area. Unfortunately none were swimming by when the picture was taken.

As mentioned before, Grandma and Grandpa did come out with us yesterday and today. Grandma isn’t 100%, but she is getting better.

We got back home around 1:30 and had lunch and then relaxed at the house. We had breakfast for dinner, and then the kids had a bath. They were almost in bed on time, and then Lisa and I went out to go to a few stores.

Friday is our last full day in Florida. We are going to go mini-putting again in the morning, and do some shopping. We’ll then go out for dinner and head out to Downtown Disney one last time.

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