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The last two days of our road trip to Cold Lake were good…but very busy!  We are here now and although I am happy to have finally reached our destination and be finished with long days in the car, I am still not quite sure about how I feel to be living here.  I’m sure it’ll get easier with each passing day as the sights and sounds of Northern Alberta become more familiar.

To update you all on the last to days though, here are some pics!

The Calgary Zoo is a great zoo!  We had a tone of fun checking out all the animals with Josie, Trevor and their little boy Ben.  It was an absolutely perfect zoo day – early September, warm and sunny and at 9:30 it seemed like we were the only people there!  It was actually kind of cool in the morning and so all the animals (like this Red Panda) were moving about and even playing!  It was one of my best zoo experiences ever.

Seeing this Gorilla baby was definitely one of the highlights of the day.  Her motions in sleep looked so much like Nate’s it was unreal and totally adorable.  She looked to only be about 8-10 lbs, but was completely content curled up in the straw all by herself and I couldn’t resist taking about a million pictures.

The Snow Leopard was just chillin’ in her hammock.

Josie, Ben and Trevor were awesome zoo-visiting companions!  They just moved to Calgary a week ago and so totally understand the ups and downs of moving across the country with an infant!  I met Josie online through her Dad and her sister and we started communicating when she began reading my blog, we’ve kept in touch for months now and I’m super excited that we finally got to spend a day together and meet eachother’s significant others and little ones.  Thanks Josie!

After the zoo we were invited over to my cousin Heather’s house for dinner with her family and my cousin Wendy’s family.  It was our first time meeting Heather’s little girl Keira, and Wendy’s youngest boy David and their first time meeting Nate.  Dinner was great (we were so thankful not to be eating in a restaurant!!) and the kiddos all had fun stealing eachothers’ toys and playing in the playhouse and on the slide!  I’m sure you all know how challenging it can be to get a picture of 4 busy little bodies…so you’ll forgive the photo quality here!

Our 6th and final day on the road was a long one.  We left Calgary just before 7am and headed North to Edmonton to pick up Grandma Campbell (Dale’s Mom) at the Airport.  She is staying with us in Cold Lake for 10 days to help with Nate and the unpacking – for which we are exceptionally thankful!  After a quick stop for lunch in Fort Saskatchewan we pushed on Northeast towards Cold Lake.  The only other stop we made was to capture this photo-of-the-day overlooking the beautiful North Saskatchewan River:

The bright fall colours and lush view of the river valley were a welcome break from the seemingly unending fields of wheat and straight stretched of highway.

And now here we are in Cold Lake, anxiously awaiting a call from our Realtor telling us that we finally have possession of our house and the keys are ready to be picked up.  Unfortunately, even though our furniture and boxes will be delivered today, they are not coming to unpack us until Monday, so we still have 3 more days to wait things out in a hotel, which I could certainly do without.  On the bright side, we should have some time to paint the bedrooms this weekend and get at least that stinky chore out of the way.

So this concludes my road trip updates, but look for 1st Birthday post coming your way very soon…and new-house pics as soon as I can take some!

* Yet again the hotel internet wouldn’t work long enough last night to post this…grrr…so here it is today!

So this is the extent of my pictures from a very rainy and dreary day #4 of our move to Cold Lake.  Thought this one showed off rather well though how much crap accompanies a baby on a 6 day road trip!  I must give huge kudos to my husband for lugging it in and out of all the hotel rooms every morning and night!

Unfortunately a much anticipated gondola ride never happened today seeing as the mountains in Banff were socked in by clouds by the time Nate awoke from his morning nap.  Instead we wandered the streets of Banff in the (at times pouring) rain, then piles our wet selves back into the car for the trip to Calgary.

Luckily once we were settled in the hotel we were able to find a great coffee/playplace in the Northwest section of the city where Nate got to romp and climb and slide for over an hour before dinner.  After dinner we managed to squeeze in a quick visit with Dale’s cousin Sarah-Jane and her hubby Andrew before Nate needed to go to bed.

Tomorrow is a truly deserved day-off from driving.  Instead we are staying in Calgary for a trip to the zoo with a bloggy friend, Josie and her son Ben and then meeting up with my cousins for dinner – both of which I am really looking forward to!  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and I will have lots more photos to share, although depending on how the day progresses they may not get posted tomorrow.

Despite my super star traveller and the good times we’ve been having I am getting rather anxious for this road trip to be over because it means we’ll finally be in our new house in Cold Lake and that much closer to feeling at “home” in our new province.  Friday can’t come soon enough!

I know, I know.  I’m late with my update and some of you waited around all night last night waiting anxiously to hear how day #3 went.  I swear it’s not my fault – the internet was down at our hotel last night, so we were forved to entertain ourselves the old fashioned way.  You know – watching T.V. LOL

Anyway, better late than never!  Yesterday was supposed to be a short drive to Banff, but ended up taking longer than expected since we stopped a few times along the way and got stuck in some construction, but it wasn’t a bad day at all.  Nate napped well in the car, played hard at the parks and we ended the day with a relaxing dip at the Upper Banff Hot Springs.

We were hoping to take advantage of the great kids zone and waterpark at our hotel, but it wasn’t open early enough this morning for us to stop in before Nate’s nap and we’re headed into town shortly for some shopping, followed by lunch, a gondola ride and some walking!

But without further ado, here are some pics to satisfy your curiosity.

Nate eating lunch in the Rockies (a bit grainy because I had my ISO set too high…AGAIN)

Family pic with the gorgeous scenery of the Kicking Horse Canyon in the background

Entering Alberta…where (somewhat sadly) we are now “from”

Mountains in Banff at Sunset from the Upper Banff Hot Springs

Dale and Nate at the Hot Springs!

And as an extra special update for Auntie Gill…Nate is now saying “g” sounds, which means he’s likely well on his way to saying “Auntie Gill”!!

After a sad but wonderful night saying goodbye to some of my best pals in Comox last night, the first day of our road trip got off to a bit of rocky start.  We meant to wake up at 5:15am in order to make the 8:30 ferry from Nanaimo, but the alarm didn’t go off and when we woke up at 6:30 all hope of making the ferry was gone.  Not a huge deal since we made the 10:40, but a bit of a kink in our plans.

Here’s a snapshot of the rest of our day;

Nate stretching his legs in the ferry terminal in Nanaimo

Checking out the Sea Otters at the Vancouver Aquarium especially for Auntie Gill

A baby beluga whale nursing….an amazing sight and an incredible photo capture!

Nate and Dale checking out the Jelly Fish tank

One of my favourite shots of the day!

We left the aquarium, had dinner in Chilliwack at Ricky’s where Nate totally charmed the wait staff and finished an entire kids plate of spaghetti, and made it to the hotel in Hope by 7pm.  Then we took a quick family dip in the indoor pool and plopped one very tired little man into bed!  Very very shortly his Mommy and Daddy are headed there too!  Not bad for our first day on the road.

Today was a great way to end a good week.  The base where Dale is doing his training, 22 Wing North Bay had a 5 or 10 km “fun run” fitness challenge this morning and family members were welcome to participate.  So Nate and I decided it was a good idea 🙂

The cool part about the run was the it went down into what is known as “the hole”.  North Bay is one of the main operations centres for the northern NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence) region and the facilities which they used to operate out of were housed in an underground complex.  Due to increase in maintenance costs and changes to threats, they now operate out of a new building above ground on the base and I’m not sure what, if anything, the hole is being used for these days.   But today they opened up the first 300m of the tunnel that leads down into the hole for part of the fun run. 

And let me tell you…it was creepy.  We weren’t allowed to take the stroller down into it, so Dale waited up at the top for me.  I contend that he just didn’t want to do the hill (it was fairly steep).  What freaked me out even more was the fact that the Wing Commander advised us before hand that if the lights happened to go out while we were in the tunnel just to stand still and wait and not try to get out.  You can check out this article to get a better idea of what the hole was used for and why they’ve moved above ground, if you’re interested!

If those lights had gone out…I would have been pooping my pants!  Talk about potentially freaky!!  The walls are solid rock and there was water dripping everywhere.  But at least it was much cooler in the tunnel than it was above ground..not a hard feat considering it was about 23 degrees with about 90% humidity!

Anyway, I realize this probably isn’t the most exciting blog post of mine, and not what you’re usually used to or interested in reading, but I was just so stoked after the run that I had to share.  It was great to run with Dale (and a bonus that he pushed the stroller).  It was fun to have that race like setting (including the pre-race butterflies!!) even though it was all for fun.  And although the rolling course was challenging I finished in 36 minutes with only about 100m of walking after I finished the hill coming out of the tunnel.

It totally made me remember why I love to run.  Once you get past the pain it’s exhilarating. 

So it’s Cold Lake.

And I’m not happy.  Not at all.  Nor is my husband.  Nor is my sister.

For those of you who are completely and utterly lost, what I mean is Dale got news today (although not yet an official posting message) that we are posted to Cold Lake, Alberta.  Middle of freakin’ nowhere, fighter base in the frozen Canadian North.

Not what we were expecting and definitely not what we were hoping for.  Not in the least.  Hence the bitter disappointment.

No it’s not the end of the world, and 5 years ago when we were expecting a posting to Cold Lake we were actually quite content about it, but that was 2003 and this is 2008.  What’s the difference you might ask?  Well…a house costs about $200,000 more in Cold Lake these days, for one.  And Cold Lake is decidedly not close to my sister (aka my best friend in the whole wide world besides my husband) nor is it close to our parents.  Plus, as the name indicates, Cold Lake is cold.  Really really cold.  And of course there is snow.  Lots of it.  And when the summer finally arrives in July, there are bugs.  Lots of them.

I know that I’ll eventually get past this little temper tantrum I’m having.  And when I do, I’m sure I’ll realize that it won’t be that bad.  That at least I’ll be with Dale – which matters more than anything else.  That we’ll make new friends, and have new adventures.  That I’m still only a plane ride away from my sister and my parents.  That we’ll manage to afford a house somehow.  But for now I’m just going to pout a little and probably cry a little too.  Because I had my heart set on Seattle…and thought North Bay as a back-up would have been ok,too.

I’m just wasn’t expecting this curve ball today. Maybe I’ll deal with it tomorrow…maybe.

I’m feeling very honoured this morning.  Despite my complete and utter lack of bloggling lately, the sweet and very talented Corey, of Living and Loving Every Minute of It, decided to bestow upon me the Gratitude with Attitude Award!  How cool is that??  Thanks Corey!!

What I’m very grateful for right now is how patient y’all are being with me!  I had intended to post more regularly this week, but wth Dale home we’ve been taking every spare moment to get re-acquainted with one another!  If ya know what I mean 🙂

Actually what we have been doing a lot of is playing with Nate and chatting about this, that and everything else.  I think that’s what I miss the most about him being away, is long conversations about life, politics, and all of our common interests. Unfortunately our week together is almost up.  Dale heads back to Ontario on Sunday and I am so NOT looking forward to saying goodbye again.  The next time I’ll see him will likely be in June when I’m planning a 3 week trip back to Ontario with Nate.  Sigh.  Sometimes this military thing really sucks 😦

But alas I’m trying not to focus on Sunday’s impending arrival, but enjoy the moments as they happen.  We’ve had a truly enjoyable week and have also gotten a lot done around the house in preparation for our move (sorry Gill – I know I’m not supposed to mention it!).

Hopefully next week I’ll be back with some more interesting posts!

Why is it that when you’re waiting to something good to happen time seems to pass seems to drag on and on and on, but when you want to savour a moment everything suddenly feels very fleeting??  Like when you’re driving somewhere exciting the trip there seems to take FOREVER but the trip home just flies by?  Or how the week before Christmas is the longest week of the whole years, but the week between Christmas and New Years is the shortest?  Or how the last six months of pregnancy feel like a thousand years but the first six months of Nate’s life are seemingly gone in the blink of an eye?  How is that?

Dale gets in tomorrow night at 10pm for an 8 day visit.  I have managed to stay pretty calm all week – keeping busy with the usual Mom and Baby things – but I am starting to get a wee bit anxious!

Ok…maybe more than a wee bit.  I just want tomorrow night to be here already.  Right. Now.

And speaking of Dale, as of today he is officially finished his course.  And I must brag a little bit – he got top student 🙂  Such a smart, talented hubby I have!  The next phase of his training is more practical and will go until the middle of July.  When he’s finished that, we’ll get our posting message.  Which for all you non-military types means they will tell us where we’re going to be moving.  How I feel about that is a whole different story!

But that is still a very long, long ways away.  Right now I just want it to be Friday night already!

Aof this morning Nate and I are on our own…sans Daddy for the next 5 – 6 months.  Dale left on the train for his course early this morning.  It was really hard to see him go.  Really.  Hard.


We’ve been separated before.  More times than I can count.  But this is different.  This time there is Nate.  I’ve known for almost a year that he was going and I thought that I had prepared myself fairly well.  But I wasn’t expecting my Mom to be so sick and to need so much from me right now.  And I wasn’t expecting to be getting so little sleep.  I just wasn’t expecting it to be so tough.  Did I mention that it was really hard to see him go?

I must admit that I’m terrified.  Terrified that I won’t have the patience to deal with a fussy, teething baby on only 5 hours of sleep day in and day out.  Terrified that I will get so caught up with merely coping that I will forget to enjoy these precious moments with my baby boy.  Terrified that in all the worrying about other people I will totally lose myself to laziness and bad eating habits.

I am trying to remind myself that I’m not the first.  And really – others have it so much worse than I do!  There are new Moms whose husbands are overseas, in combat zones – not safe and sound, living the cushy Air Force life at a training facility.   My friend Jen is at home alone with 4 kids under 8 while her husband is away at sea.  Christy just survived her husband being away on tour – and she has 3 kids including an infant!  I’m really not sure how they do it…although I guess I’m either going to figure it out or not.  My question is, what happens in the case of “not”????

 So that’s my whine for today.   I’m pretty sure I deserve to whine at least a little, right?  The good thing is that now that the holidays are officially over for us, Nate and I can try to get back into some kind of a routine.  It’ll be different since we’re not at home…but it’ll be a routine nonetheless.  I hope that everyone had a fabulous Christmas and that the New Year thus far has been a happy one.  Hopefully I’m back on track now for some regular posting.  Thanks for hanging in there with me during my unavoidable hiatus!

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. A day when Canadians solemnly remember the sacrifices of members of Canada’s veterans in armed conflicts and wars since Canada’s confederation in 1867. Even as a little girl I’m pretty sure I always recognized how important and serious Remembrance Day was, but it is much more apparent to me now for many reasons. Not only am I a member of the Canadian Forces, but my husband and many of my close friends are also members of the CF. I know how much CF members give of themselves in service to this country.Nicola Goddard

I am not a very politically minded person, and as the debate over Canada’s participation in Afghanistan rages on in the Canadian media and in Canadian society as a whole I find myself frustrated over what I see to be petty political arguments. The one thing that does make me feel better is the overwhelming support of our troops. It seems that the message has really sunk in that no matter what ones’ personal opinion of the war on terror is, our troops need our support. I realize that to many the statement “Our Troops” may seem very a very vague concept. But to me and to Dale, it means “Our Friends”. It means our friend Dan, who has completed two tours in Afghanistan on the front lines, and his wife Beth who waits anxiously at home every time he goes. It means my friend Jen who is at home with four kids ages 7, 5, 3 and 1 while her husband Kevin is on his second Naval deployment in two years. It means Dale’s friend Nicola who paid the ultimate price; she was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 17th, 2006 leaving her husband Jay behind. To me Remembrance Day is not only about our veterans from War long ago, but also about currently serving members. These are the people, among many others that I am honouring today. They most definitely deserve out support.

Dale and I took Nate to his first Remembrance Day ceremony today. It was rainy and windy and cold as usual. He won’t remember today, but as his Mom I truly hope that I can teach him in the years to come the importance of remembering Canadian veterans and supporting Canadian troops, because they are some of the finest people I know. I feel extremelyimg_2590.jpg lucky to be a Canadian and to live in peace and freedom. There are so many things I do on a daily basis that I often take for granted, but today I remember that I can do those things because Canadian men and women gave and continue to give their lives. They fight on behalf of our democratically elected government in the name of peace. A man I respect very much, my former Wing Commander at CFB Comox, Col Jon Ambler often quotes Evelyn Beatrice Hall; she paraphrased Voltaire in saying “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. I think it perfectly summarizes what our veterans have always done – they have made extreme sacrifices, often in the face of dissenting opinions, in order to ensure that Canadians can continue to enjoy peace and freedom.

So I don’t mind standing in the rain and wind and cold every November 11th. In fact I love to do it. And while I’m there I think about my friends. And I think about my grandparents and all the friends they lost in World War II. And today I prayed that Nate never has to know the pain and terror of war, even if that means that Dale and I have to make sacrifices. So today, no matter what you think about governments or politicians or the decisions that they are making, I hope that you will stop for a moment and think about “our” troops and “our” veterans and say a silent thank you for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make. I promise you they will appreciate it.

Lest We Forget