Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Grey Cup!!

Our farm won a trip to the Grey Cup this year and Ron & I were the lucky ones to go!! I love sports. Ron loves how I can turn on the tv and it can be the last 2 minutes in the game and I'm as intense as if I had been watching the entire thing! We don't follow any sport fanatically, we enjoy watching them but don't follow who's where in the standings or if one player has been traded for another or who really shouldn't be playing the sport any more, etc, but we were very thankful and excited that we could go watch the Grey Cup. It was in BC this year which was really nice because that meant no sub-zero temperatures as the stadium is indoors and BC still has nice weather at this time of year, minus the rain!

We landed at 7:30 pm so that didn't leave us any time to do much that evening after we got to the hotel, picked up our prize packages and got settled into the room. We did use the hot tub but if you know Ron you'll know that that's just a given when we go to a hotel! We did wander around the hotel and attached mall but the shops were all closed. The hotel lobby was filled with gingerbread houses that with a donation to a charity you could vote for your favourite creation.

This house greeted us in the lobby. It must've been 9 or 10 feet high! It was not eligible for voting.

This one won first place, it was beautiful. I know the girls would've chosen this one as their favourite too! (these photos were taken with my ipod so they aren't the greatest)

The view from the 20th floor (or the 19th seeing as there wasn't a 13th floor in the hotel)

Saturday it rained and rained and rained some more. We wanted to go to the Aquarium and Granville Island. We had planned on walking part of the way to the Aquarium from our hotel along the sea wall and then hop on a bus the rest of the way to the Aquarium. Turns out the busses weren't running that morning because of the parade and any taxi we saw had people in it so we walked the entire way. I'm not sure how far it actually is but in my shoes that weren't made for purposeful walking, only browsing speed, it felt like it was at least 10 miles! It's probably more like 2 or 3 but however long it really was my feet hurt by the time we got there! We saw some really good exhibits and shows at the Aquarium, they have shows every 15 mins and they are full of information. Here are some pictures (taken with the ipod):

The beluga whales liked to swim upside down.

This little guy swam right up to the glass to look at Ron & I as though we were the exhibit!

Some funny looking land animals at the aquarium!

When we were finished at the Aquarium we hopped on the bus, which was back in service, back to our hotel to dry off and warm up a bit before we hopped back on the bus to Granville Island. We walked around there for a while looking at the different shops. There weren't too many Christmas buskers around, I think the rain kept them away. That was too bad, we were really looking forward to hearing some different kinds of music.

After Granville Island we hopped the bus back to the CFL headquarters where different events were taking place. They had bands playing on an outdoor stage but they were the only ones sheltered from the rain so there were only 5 people standing in front of the stage listening to the bands! The Olympic Cauldron was lit and CFL alumni players were signing autographs. There were other things going on that are too long to list!

The Olympic Cauldron

Milt Stegall signing autographs for someone I don't know! I wasn't willing to stand in line for over an hour to get his autograph. I realize that doesn't seem like a long time for some of you diehard fans but we had to keep moving to keep on schedule for our day.

We then met my cousin for supper and saw her new place. She moved to Vancouver three months ago so it was great to see where she lives!

Sunday was game day!! I woke up early I was so excited!! We wandered over to the stadium shortly after lunch and just took in what was going on. The crowds in the streets were calm yet excited. Everyone was in a good mood and when you met someone wearing your team's colours it was a bunch of cheering and high fives. When we got to the stadium we didn't know where our seats would be, we were expecting nosebleed seats because we didn't think they'd give good seats to non season ticket holders. Well, we were wrong! We were 5 rows up from the field in the end zone that ended up having most of the action! It was also the end zone that the teams used to get to their dressing rooms so we were right there for the team introductions!

Pregame warm up with Wally looking on.

I think this was field goal #3 for the day.

Proof that we were actually there!!
The haze in the above photos was due to the pyrotechnics during the halftime show.

Nickelback on stage during the halftime show.

Another one of my cousin's won a trip to the Grey Cup and it turns out he was sitting about three rows behind us! I went to talk to him during halftime and he had been staying at our hotel too. It's so funny how you can be in the exact same place as someone else and you never see them. The Bombers had been staying at our hotel too. We saw them often and even talked to Glenn January in the hot tub for a while the night before the game. (Hopefully we didn't ruin his routine too much that we caused them to lose!!) Again, I'm sure we've disappointed some diehard fans but we didn't get any autographs. We were trying to be respectful and not bug them after their long practise days trying to get ready for the big game. That and we didn't always recognize them, they look different in regular clothes than they do in their uniforms and helmets, and if they aren't interviewed regularly by the media we have no idea who they are!

We had a great time and are so glad we got to go. Of course this means that the next time the farm wins a trip somewhere it won't be us who goes. Ron just hopes it's not a trip to Hawaii!!

India & CFGB

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting Arun from India. He was in Canada through Canadian Foodgrains Bank speaking at 20 banquets and 5 schools in 28 days! He works with a food aid nonprofit company in India who is connected with CFGB and had been asked to come and share with Canadians how their donations help the people in India. He felt he was quite inadequate for the job for a couple of reasons: 1) he worked in the field with the people of India, he wasn't an executive of his organization and 2) he had to speak english to english speaking people and that felt really intimidating for him. Both Ron and I said to him that he seemed like the perfect person for the job because he worked in the field and could see exactly how the people were affected by the money they received for their farm/food projects. Also, he spoke english very well, he chose all the right words and his accent was relatively easy to understand.

Arun said he was pleasantly surprised by what he saw of Canadians in his experience. He had been told that Canadians just eat junk food, eat at fast food restaurants and can't make their own food! He said he had been in a few restaurants but they were not fast food, they were good food, and any homemade food he had was very good. He was very impressed when he stayed with us and found out we ground our own wheat for flour to make our own bread. He said people in India didn't make their own bread, the big factories just made it and brought it to the stores and markets. Score one for Canada!! Arun had also been told that Canadian children were very disrespectful and because both parents work in most households the kids didn't know how to act and they got whatever they wanted. (I'd like to know where "they" get their information from!) He stayed with one other family on his tour besides ours and he said he thought all the children in those families were very respectful and the parents were doing a very good job of raising them. He also said the children in the schools he spoke in were very attentive to his presentation, asked good questions and were very well behaved. He wasn't sure where all of the misconceived notions of Canadians were coming from. I'm so glad we will have someone in India to say not all Canadians are how they are portrayed to be!

After hosting Arun I was very excited for the projects he is doing and wanted to go see for myself. I think Ron was feeling the same way too because he asked about the snake situation in India. Arun said there are poisonous snakes in India but they leave you alone for the most part and the people aren't scared of them because they know how to take the poison out if someone gets bit. Ron then asked how many snakes there were. Arun said there weren't many, if he were working in a 60 acre field there might be one or two. That was enough to discourage Ron from ever going! I might have to just take the girls and go sometime!!

Having Arun stay with us was just as educational for us as it was for him. We learned that there are 1.21 billion people living in India and most of them (I can't remember the percentage 85% maybe) are living right at or below the poverty line. Clothing, perfume and food are all inexpensive there, from our perspective, but there are many, many people who can't afford to eat. Arun wanted to buy a gift for his wife so he bought her two bottles of perfume for $80. After he bought it he did some quick conversions to rupees (Indian currency) after he remembered he was paying in Cdn $ and discovered that would feed his family of three for a month! He promptly returned the perfume, he said his wife would kick him out of the house if he spent that much money on perfume! In India you can buy very good perfume for $1 and when a couple gets married the bride is given special perfume that is about $5. Very good coffee in a very expensive restaurant is $0.25. Arun couldn't believe that people would pay $1.50 for a cup of coffee here let alone $5 for a specialty coffee at Starbucks! It's hard to imagine that there are people living in poverty in India when the prices seem so affordable to us but they also make very, very little compared to us too. Arun had been working for a pharmaceutical company, making 15,000 rupees a year and took this job to help with those in poverty and is now making 1,500 rupees a year. One Cdn dollar is 50 Indian rupees so basically he went from making $300/year to $30/year just to put everything in perspective. Arun refused to buy clothes because most of them were made in China. He said if you live in India you don't buy anything made in China! He searched high and low for something made in Canada and couldn't find it. I don't think he was looking for food products so then it's very hard to find. He spent his last few days in the city so maybe he did find something from Canada that was affordable for him there.

We are so glad to have had the opportunity to have hosted Arun. The kids were fascinated by him. Nathan got to spend the most time with Arun out of all three of the kids and they really hit it off. Larissa only got to see Arun for a few short minutes before school one morning but she was full of information and questions! Bethany liked showing off for Arun and at times just sat and stared at him. Arun has a daughter Bethany's age so he understood her personality perfectly! I sure hope we get a chance to do that again!

Arun in his borrowed winter jacket. He was so glad it wasn't colder than the +3C (37F) he was experiencing in Canada!!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

I could get used to this

This was yesterday's sunrise. Unfortunately by the time I could get my camera the pinks and purples were gone, but it is still a nice view. There's no shop, windsock or other buildings to zoom out of the camera view! I can hardly wait for summer to come so I can enjoy these while eating breakfast on the veranda.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Birthday Party Madness

We finally had Nathan's birthday party last week. His birthday's in August. Mother of the year I am not! Having a kid born in harvest, during summer break doesn't make for the best birthday party timing and with building a house this year as well there was no way I was having his friends party close to his actual birthday. Last year we had his party in November as well but he wanted to go to a hockey game so there was no choice there. This year he wanted to go bowling. He had 11 friends on his original guest list. I was the mean mom and made him dwindle that list down to 5 friends. Do you know how much six 9 year old boys wrestle? We were at home for 3 hours before we could go to the bowling alley and I think those boys wrestled for 2 of those hours! I grew up in a house of girls and Ron's family wasn't into sports or wrestling so it's not something we're used to, at least not to the extent that these boys wrestled! They did take breaks to play tag (which we discovered can be played at the table with feet moving side-to-side), ping pong, and "jam" a little bit on the piano, which all lead to more wrestling! The bowling was a hit and the boys all had fun but I told Nathan that we were not going to have 6 boys in our house at the same time again. I know, I know, I'll get suckered into doing it again but it won't be for a while!

I couldn't believe how much some of those boys could pack away, some of them had three burgers, they out-ate Ron!

A viscious game of ping pong

One of the boys must have had a good shot (is it called a "shot" in bowling?). If you did something that was considered difficult there would be fun images on the tv.

The girls were along for the whole party and thought it was great that there were 5 older boys at Nathan's party. I think Ron's going to have to be prepared for the future!!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Halloween Fun

The kids have always loved to dress up so Halloween isn't necessarily special for that reason, it is fun though to show off the costumes and fill your pail full of candy! This year Nathan wanted to carve the jack-o-lantern all by himself. He had a little bit of help from Larissa, Bethany and my parents when it came to cleaning out the "guts" but I think the rest was done by him.

Nathan's got the pattern all ready to go

Working hard. Look at the concentration on that face!

Holding the finished product.

Nathan had been a scuba diver for his school party that afternoon but his air tank kept falling off his back so we had to quickly change costume ideas for the evening. That is my old jersey he's wearing from 1988! Larissa looks more like a scarecrow but she is a farmer. Bethany is a cheetah. Thought I would clarify that just in case you were thinking she was a jaguar or leopard (Grandpa V  :D)!!

One Week Later....

We are feeling well settled. Not everything has a home yet and pictures aren't up but we feel very comfortable here, it feels like home.

My parents came out from Sunday to Tuesday to help get the house set up and cleaned most of the house trailer. They also brought this beautiful hibiscus plant, which is a cutting from the plant Dad gave to Mom on her first Mother's Day, which was with me! (Dad has corrected me, this IS the plant he gave Mom. Now there's even more pressure to keep it alive!!)

The girls room all set up.

Nathan's room might be as set up as it's going to get, I'm not sure I'll ever see that floor clear!

Our bedroom

Not sure the kitchen will ever look this way again!

Living room

This railing is Ron's creation and I absolutely love it!

The lockers! The are well used and so far the kids are putting their jackets & backpacks in them every time!

We are obviously missing window treatments as well but when living in the country we can wait a bit before we need them! It's also dark when the kids wake up and when they go to bed so we don't need to keep the light out for sleeping purposes either. We still have a few finishing touches to do but if you want to see those you will need to come see them in person. Please take that as an open invitation, just call first so we can make sure we're around!!

This officially concludes the house tour portion of the blog. I've been encouraged to keep the blog going with our family life happenings so I will do that, just know that I may not update as often as I had updated the house progress. Thanks for following!!

Moving Day

Here are some pictures of our moving day. I didn't get many taken (I was rather busy!) so here are some of the few I have.

Last sunrise in the "mobile mansion"

Kitchen and living room all packed up

Office housed a few boxes from other rooms in it too

How many guys does it take to move a piano???

Will this room ever look like a bedroom? Yes! Thanks to one of my very hardworking friends, Larissa and a nephew.

Half of the kitchen had been moved over the day before and a lot of what had been moved this day had been put away before this picture was taken. I was amazed at how many kitchen "things" I had that I actually got scared not everything was going to fit into this one! It fits and it functions quite well. (Uncle Brian, do you see the palm tree?!)