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Currently living the dream of moving to Toronto for 12 months for a Firefighter Exchange!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mont Tremblant

That's the weather conditions for the day at Tremblent, a balmy -29c with the sun out??
Hey Bob, I thought we were skiing today, why do you look like you are going fly fishing?
I don't care how warm those pants are....They look like waders! haha

We stayed in a condo about 5 minutes drive from the ski mountain.  We only occupied one level on one side of this building. The first day was nice and sunny but if there was any skin uncovered while skiing, you would need to stop and cover it before continuing down the hill, otherwise that spot ached until you did.

 That's Jack in the blue, this is the Bunny Hill that Erin Jack and Candice practised on until they were confident to head up the mountain. Jack loved skiing and he also loved this hill 'cause he could go up and down by himself as many times as he wanted.
Half way up on the Gondala

Bob took some footage on his camera and downloaded it onto youtube, pretty technical stuff for someone who doesn't own a mobile phone!!

I had an awesome time until the end of the second day where I tried some small jumps and on the third jump smashed my hip into the snow.  It's amazing how hard snow can get!!  It took 2 days before I could walk properly again, and now the bruising is out and the top of my leg and groin area are yellow, green and purple......GOD!!  Really Bower....  Did you have to? Your such a Dick sometimes!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Canadian Way

Hey there,
Just a quick blog to show how it is done in Canada.

This was a pot of oil that flared up and burnt a girls arm as she tried to deal with it. Nothing a clump of snow wouldn't fix.....ey!

That's Steve in the gym.  He's probably 110kg+ solid.  Yep....those are 3 pound DUMB bells in his hands.......hmmm what a fairy   hahaha.  I reckon my Mum could knock him out!!

It's been snowing here regularly, I've pulled out the snow blower a few times and today the wind chill has dropped way below zero, it's snowing heavy and Erin has done nothing but look through the living room window.  Which got me thinking......If it gets any worse I probably should let her inside!!! HAHAHA

We head off to Mont Tremblant tomorrow......Wooohooo!
We get back late Wednesday night. I'm sure we will tell you all about it when we get back.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Little Jack skiing

Here are a few photos of Jack skiing at a little ski hill close to home.  Troy is a great teacher and Jack has really progressed well.  Looks like his skiing ability will come from his Dad as he has only had ski's on about three times and he is already better than me!
 Daddy explaining things to Jack

 Going down the hill solo - turning by himself across the hill to keep good speed control

Jack very pleased with himself! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Toronto Maple Leafs, Snowfall and Wobbly Tooth

On Thursday night I was lucky enough to see the Toronto Maple Leafs play some other team who I now forget (Louisiana Jays..?...) downtown at the Air Canada Centre.  Troy was chief babysitter so it was a girls night for Candace and me.  We caught the subway which was lucky because we had some pretty decent snowfall that night.  Anyhow, we arrived at the centre and found out that our seats were the only two seats on their own at the top of a flight of stairs.  This meant we had no one beside us, behind us or in front of us!   Although we were a ways up the top, we felt very privileged and special in our little seats.  A guy coming up the stairs passed in front of us and said, "oh great seats!  I'm jealous!".  They were like a poor-mans box seat.  The Toronto Maple Leafs are notorious for being lousy at winning (sorry die-hard supporters but c'mon....you gotta be honest) but I was astonished at how full the centre was!  It seems win or lose, the fans LOVE their Maple Leafs and continue to support them year after year, loss after loss.  I wore my Maple Leafs jersey and scarf that I got from Troy at Xmas and yelled and cheered like a true local!  We didn't play very well at all but luckily the other team played just as bad.  At full time, it was tied.  After a session of overtime, it was still tied!  Penalty shoot out was up next.  It involved a one-on-one between an attacker and the goalie.  The result:  WE WON!   I think it was my jersey and scarf that did it.

We had a great snowstorm recently which gave us about 10cm or so of snow!  Here are some pictures:

Troy decided it was time to give the snow blower a whirl.  I kept indoors after I heard some muttered swear words and then finally he started it!   Shortly afterwards, I found Troy removing snow from the side of the house with a broom!  Not sure what happened there, but I didn't ask for fear of hearing more swearing.  

We still continue to walk to school when the weather and time permits.  Today was especially lovely with the sun shining however, across the parkland there was a whipping breeze which feels like razor blades.

Jack has discovered his first wobbly tooth!  I was thinking recently that he got his teeth at 3 months of age (3-6mths early), so technically he should lose his teeth earlier.  Sure enough, tonight we checked and YES one of wobbly.  Jack was over the moon and kept saying, "holy shoot, holy shoot!"  If he is anything like his Mum, that tooth will be out within a week - wibble wobble, wibble wobble...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Concerns for Australia

There's nothing like a natural disaster to really bring out your loyalty and love for your 'home country'.   The floods in Queensland has made international news over here in Canada and friends have been asking us "how is your family?"..."is everything ok over there?"...."is your house ok?"

Every time I watch the news or read a report about the flooding, I get a really strange feeling inside.....it's hard to describe, but it is a feeling that starts from deep within your tummy and spreads like a rash to your heart.   I feel like I want to be home.  Not because I am worried for Townsville or my family and friends; I know they are all safe.  It's because I feel a loyalty to be ''present" while all this is happening.  Fund raising, doing food/clothes drives...anything.  So many people have met with tragedy over the past couple of weeks.  They have lost everything.  And here we are in Canada enjoying a wonderfully unique experience.  We have everything right now.  It just doesn't seem right.  Troy would be making good use of his technical rescue skills with the rapid water response team.   

So many reminders of how lucky we are.  

Jack started school after Xmas break.   It's pretty clear now that the education system over here is advanced when compared to Queensland, so our original fears about Jack not keeping up to speed with his Qld Education have been well and truly dismissed.  This is great news in some way because he can stay in his current class and keep the most amazing teacher!  She is fantastic and assigns Jack extra homework and books to read.  He is doing quite well although he is impatient like his mum and expects to be able to read NOW!   His writing is average and needs some more work, but I am not too concerned as the font here is entirely different.  We bought some books over here with Qld Font which we will focus on in the next few months (I forgot we brought them over!).

Take care and stay safe xxx

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas Day to New Years Day

Christmas Day for the Bower family was a very low-key affair compared to what we are used to.  However, it was still and enjoyable day.  Jack enjoyed finding his Santa Stocking (thanks for the loan, Big Jack) on Christmas morning and was delighted with his new game.

This is a cute photo I took of our tree on Christmas Eve night.  Jack is reading a book to teddy.

We (I) decided to 'break all the rules' of Christmas and we opened our presents straight after our pancake breakfast with Jack was still in his jarmies.  Although we only bought Jack a few small gifts for Christmas this year, he was a very lucky boy to get numerous other gifts from Bob, Candace, Big Jack's Mum and Dad, Sandy's Mum and Dad, Barbie & Brian across the road and our neighbours from Taiwan.  All in all, Jack didn't miss out at all this Christmas! 

                                                  Some of the gifts from Candace.

                                            Presents from Big Jack's Mum and Dad!

Toronto Maple Leafs Backpack from Bob (inside is an inflatable raft for the snow)

Troy and Jack gave me a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey, hat and scarf!   Jack and I gave Troy some aftershave and a key-finder that beeps when you clap.  God knows he needs it, eh?
For the few days leading up to Christmas, Jack was randomly selecting items from his bedroom to wrap up and put under the tree for Troy and I.  At one stage I caught him wrapping the camera!  So on Christmas Day, Troy and I enjoyed opening our gifts of lego, scissors (I was going crazy looking for them all day Christmas Eve), pokemon card, more lego, army men, a small foam ball and markers.  Thanks Jack!!

At around 5pm on Christmas Day, we went over to Barbie and Brian's house for dinner with their family.  It was a lovely night and Barbie and Brian did a wonderful job of hosting and cooking the wonderful feast!   It was great to meet their family and be included in their Christmas Celebration. 

On Boxing Day, Troy had to work so Candace, Jack and I went to Peterborough to the Donnelly's.  They were the family who invited us for Thanksgiving.  Again, a fantastic day/night was had and the feast of course was gigantic.  There were even more people there this time around and the house was literally busting at the seams!  Jack had loads of fun as there were more kids there this time.   Space is an a minimum and you get a spot where you can, so Candace and I enjoyed our dinner (with others) sitting on the stairs.  There were people perched on furniture, standing in hallways - you name it.   Mrs Donnelly's dining room table was a never-ending revolving procession of people sitting down to eat and then getting up to give someone else a turn to sit down to eat.   They are such a wonderful family, very friendly and welcoming.  I hope I get to see them all again before we leave in July and it would be great for Troy to join us!   Here is a photo of Mrs Donnelly. 

Boxing Day night Troy was called to a house fire (with loads and loads of other firies) and was up ALL night, standing in the freezing cold!  He said that it was so cold that he literally froze because he got wet from the hose etc and then the water on him froze solid.  If he clapped his hands, the iced gloves made 'clink-clink' sounds.  Needless to say he was exhausted the next day and had a chill in his bones that lasted a couple of days.   So the day after boxing day was a very lazy day for us all.  We watched Jack's new Star Wars DVD that night.

The following day we went skating up at our local outdoor rink.  Jack is getting really really good and was even trying to skate backwards (not good).   He still falls over a bit but he is getting the hang on 'gliding' and has better balance.   Troy of course can skate like a pro already.  I am a little wobbly but not doing too bad. 

For New Years Eve, Bob and Candace came to our place and we baked a ham in the barbie.   Our neighbour Amy came and invited us for a drink at her place and so after dinner, we headed next door and enjoyed a New Years drink there.  Troy and Bob are both working on New Years Day (today) so we didn't see the New Year in. 

In two weeks, Bob, Troy, Jack and I will be heading to Mont Tremblant which is a ski town in Quebec.  It's apparently a gorgeous place and we will be staying there for three nights.  We can't wait!  Jack has been enrolled in 'learn-to-ski' classes here in Toronto, so he will have two lessons under his belt before the big trip.  Mont Tremblant also has tobogganing and sledding etc so Jack will have a great time, even if his skiing ability is not that great.   

I will  leave you all with a few other photo's we have to share!  Happy New Year!