Saturday, October 25, 2014

Philadelphia Sneak Peek!

This week we went down to Philadelphia for a couple of days to take care of a wee bit of business and also for me to get a better idea of some of the places where we might live and work. It was about an 8 hour car ride from here, but the girls did amazing--they are such great little travelers--and we enjoyed the fall colours along the way.

It was great to look at neighbourhoods and get a sense of where we might be living, and it was fun to picture ourselves there, living our new lives in Philadelphia. One thing I wasn't expecting was just how verdant these areas--which I guess are technically suburbs, but are relatively close to the city, about a 15-20 min drive out--are, and it was also surprising to realize just how old the city and some of the buildings are. After a long afternoon of driving around parts of the city (while both girls napped in the van = amazing luck!), we stopped at a playground and let the girlies stretch their legs and play.

After our grownup day of driving around, we decided to have a kids day of hanging out at the Please Touch Museum. This is an incredible children's museum, which is in this huge, amazingly beautiful building located in Fairmount Park. Everything is interactive, colourful, and laid out to capture the imaginations of all ages. We overheard one mother refer to it as the "Test Your Immunity Museum," but we just Purelled liberally, and had a wonderful time. 

One of Honey Bee's favourite parts of the day was this stunning carousel, located inside one of the wings of the museum.

Building a robot.

Another highlight was the section dedicated to Alice in Wonderland. Here we are, celebrating our unbirthdays with a tea party with the Mad Hatter and March Hare. Honey Bee is even dressed up as Alice!

Painting the roses red.

We easily spent 45 minutes in this section of the museum while Honey Bee shot little rockets in the air using this "space station."

We were at the museum ALL DAY, and by the time we left, both girls were completely knackered. Five minutes into the car ride back they both fell asleep (the car nap gods were with us on this trip, for sure!), so we decided to plug "Trader Joe's" into the GPS and go and visit this magical place we had heard so much about. I have to say, we were a little disappointed. Perhaps this particular Trader Joe's was a smaller one than those our friends have visited and boasted about, but it was pretty tiny and not a whole lot of stuff there. And I was dismayed not only to find that there was no cheap--but delicious--wine to purchase, but also to learn that in the state of Pennsylvania, you can't buy wine and beer in the same place. Being able to buy wine/beer at the grocery store was a big selling point for me.

The only part of the trip that was not amazing was staying in a hotel with a baby and a toddler. Holy hell. Our girls are usually pretty good sleepers, but it was such a gong show getting one or the other to sleep each night! And I had to try very hard to NOT imagine what manner of things happened on the carpets, under the beds (!), with those decorative pillows, etc, etc, while both girls crawled and wiggled around and touched every single crevice in that room, put things in their mouths, and ate directly off the furniture.

This is a terrible picture, but a funny one. This is our first night in the hotel. Honey Bee didn't sleep a wink on the entire trip down until about five minutes before we reached the hotel. So upon arrival, she woke up in a state of rage- and fatigue-induced delirium. Luckily, this meant that the minute we put her in the bed, she fell back asleep (that is her little brown head on the right). Mouse, on the other hand, slept for a good portion of the drive down, so while we all climbed into our beds exhausted, she crawled and babbled and jumped around her playpen, wide awake (you can see her standing up in the playpen a little bit) for quite awhile.

Hotel room fine dining. We definitely left a tip for the housekeeper.

Having had such a wonderful time on our little minibreak to Philly, it is a little bit harder to sit tight and be patient while we wait for our visas to come through. But it is also reassuring to know that when that time finally comes, we have a beautiful new city awaiting us. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! It is really special to be here and able to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mom and Dad, and to enjoy the beautiful Ontario fall. We're having a quieter Thanksgiving feast tonight at Mom and Dad's, and then a larger family dinner tomorrow night at my aunt's house. Because we'll have traditional turkey at my aunt's house tomorrow, and because my Dad especially isn't a huge fan of turkey, we're having prime rib and roasted chicken tonight. All in all, its going to be an amazing weekend.

The word on the move is that it looks like we'll probably have awhile to wait on our visas/paperwork (like, definitely into November). Discouraging as that was to hear, we have moved into acceptance, and are making the most of our time in Ontario. There are lots of things to do here that are novelties for our little city slicker, and she is loving running with Dog in the yard, riding her new bike, and jumping in piles of leaves, among other things.

Pony ride at the Carp fair

Riding the lawnmower with Daddy

Lovely fall visit to my aunt and uncle's home in Quebec

Jumping in leaves was a big hit

Rainy day apple picking 

When I say "rainy," I mean "REALLY RAINY"! (But still very fun. We were, literally, the only ones there. We are hardcore apple pickers.)

Mouse checking out our haul. The Empire apples were especially delicious!

We wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving weekend and hope that this holiday finds you happy, with friends and family, and enjoying this beautiful fall season. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

We've Arrived in Ottawa!

We all arrived safely in Ottawa a few days ago. Apparently, it takes more than a couple of days to decompress from what has been a very stressful and busy year but especially this past month. We're all quite tired and a little on edge, but we are grateful to have made it here, and are looking forward to relaxing a bit before taking on our next challenge of moving to Philadelphia.

The girls and I flew first to Calgary to spend a few days with two of my very close girlfriends and their 4 children. The house we all stayed in together was noisy and busy to say the least, but we had a fabulous time catching up, watching our children play together, and supporting one another--as we so often do--through good times and not-so-good times. Looking forward to this mini vacation was so helpful to me in coping with saying goodbyes in Vancouver, and we were all so busy with our little ones while we were together that it helped me to shake off my sadness of the move and be in the moment.
 Mouse and her new friend

Story time with 4 kids is easy!

A very sweet moment, snuggling with the littlest member of our group at the Calgary Zoo.

The Whole Gang! (Some members of said gang are hard to see due to being covered in Ergos.)

Mouse fell asleep during landing on our flight from Calgary to Ottawa after wriggling in my arms for the previous 4 hours. But wriggling is very tiring work.

The boys (and Dog) drove in a U-Haul truck from Vancouver to Ottawa in less than 5 days. Some days they drove as many as 18 hours in a day, all with Dog sitting in the jumpseat of the three person cab. The original plan was to drive in the relative luxury of our van while pulling a trailer behind. But Dad felt that they would meet certain death on the Coquihalla with this plan, so they opted to rent the truck and haul the van behind. Although their journey was long and uncomfortable, it was mercifully uneventful.

Huz and Dog on the TransCanada

So now we're going to wait here awhile while we wait for all of our paperwork to be in order. We're hoping to see some progress this week so that we'll have an idea of when Huz at least can head down to Philadelphia and find us a new (likely temporary) home.