Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Kids say...

I've been asked a few times if Oliver was excited to see us again and what he said to me. Yes, he was excited. What he said? When I came up the stairs in the morning (we got in very late so he didn't see us) he said, "Auntie Rena! Are you HERE???"

Then he came running and we had a huge cuddle. It was awesome to have his hugs again.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My harrowing experience

I knew when I saw it sitting there....

Oh-oh. The last time they put me in there I thought I was going to die. And there it was again. And there was a smaller one too.... looks like my sister Zazu was going too. They loaded us up and put us in the truck and off we went. They locked up poor Zazu right away, me they let explore a little longer but then it was in to that big blue box with the cage. My humans said goodby and they left me there. A bunch of guys eventually took me, loaded us on to another truck and put us in to the plane.

The plane made alot of noise and started moving. I layed to down to get confortable. Zazu was a little panicked but it was almost as if she couldn't quite focus on me when I was looking in her eyes. Almost like she was drunk. I think the humans may have slipped her something.

We got to see the humans again when the plane stopped moving and we went in to that bright yellow building. There were people gathered around me alot and some where taking pictures. One of my humans was holding me and the other was telling me to smile at the camera. My littlest human seemed very excited to see us and kept saying 'Hi' over and over again. I'm not sure but I don't think he knows how to say anything else. Then it was time to get on another plane and back in the box I went. 

The next time we stopped they took us to a spot I've seen before. It had baggage carousels and I heard someone say I was in Ottawa. We waited and waited and nobody came for us. I heard a loud announcement asking Mr. Steeves to come pick up his animals. I'm pretty sure my humans are called Steeves but I didn't see them. I was starting to get worried they forgot us when another man came over to check my box. He said then that there was a mistake and that we were supposed to be going on another plane to a place called Montreal and the loaded us back on the truck.

After another plane ride, we ended up in a place called Toronto where there were a few other dogs and cats and they let us our of our boxes. Someone gave me some food and water and took me for a little walk but my humans were nowhere to be seen. I kept waiting for them to come but eventually I fell asleep. In the morning we got loaded back in to the boxes.... Wow, Zazu got a new box! It looks nicer than her old one. It didn't have all that tape on it. Good for her.

Finally after another plane ride we saw him. My biggest human was there. And then I saw the other one, and two more smaller ones. Everyone seemed really happy to see us and I got to get out and walk around again. I was so happy to see them. Maybe they didn't forget about me after all.

Now I'm hanging with my humans at a nice house that has too many stairs in my opinion. I'm getting lots of love from everyone and I got to hang around outside for quite a while today. I played in the snow because it's so much warmer here than what I'm used to. It's nice to go out for a pee and be able to explore a little before I'm freezing. Zazu's not here though. She stayed behind when we stopped to visit those nice people. I hope she's ok. They seemed nice but you never know. I hope to see her again someday.

Our side of the story:

We booked our flights based on the type of aircraft used. Some of the Air Canada planes do not have heated cargo holds so we didn't have much choice in our routing or flights. When we got to Ottawa they had changed the type of plane being used for the Montreal flight so the animals couldn't go. After some juggling, Nick got booked on a later flight to Monteal that was a very tight connection to our Saint John flight. Isaac and I went on ahead as planned so that just in case Nick didn't make the connection we at least would get home and Nick could stay the night in transit.

We waited in Montreal hoping to see Nick arrive in the boarding lounge before we got on the flight. Just as they were calling pre-boarding, there he was. And he didn't look happy. It turned out when he got on the plane in Ottawa he asked if they had loaded the cat and dog as he always does and was told that no, there were no pets for this plane. Nick insisted there was and demanded to find out what was going on. He was told that they would be going to Toronto and would meet us in Saint John on a flight that would land shortly after us. Knowing that the Toronto route was done by a plane that couldn't take pets he knew that wasn't going to happen. Then the flight attendant told him that he heard them calling for a Steeves to come pick up his animals at the Oversized Baggage area. By then it was too late to do anything.

When Nick arrived in Montreal he told me what was going on and we looked in to it. We were told that they would now be staying in Toronto for the night and that they would be in the next morning. We were not happy to know they'd be in the kennels all night and didn't know if anyone would be willing to let them out for water or anything. When we arrived in Saint John the baggage person told us that they were fine and that they'd be staying in the 'full service' kennel at Toronto Airport and that they would be well taken care of. They arrived Sunday morning and everyone was fine but we were very worried.

Apparently First Air sent them out to the baggage area in Ottawa instead of reading their tag and noticing that they were supposed to be connecting on to another destination. Finally when someone realised it was too late to get them even on the later flight to Montreal so Toronto was the fastest way to get them to us. It also turned out that they also had a aircraft change and would have the right type of plane going on their early morning flight.

The cat is staying with my Nick's mom while we're here since my dad is very allergic to cats and the dog is here with us. The whole family is together now in New Brunswick and we are beginning our crazy week. Tomorrow we take possession of our house and the next chapter of our lives begins.

Friday, January 27, 2012

My last northern post.

The movers have packed our stuff and moved it out to the airport. I sit in an empty house (well, empty of my stuff anyway) and reflect on our time here in Nunavut. We've had some fantastic times, met some amazing people and have seen and done things most Canadians never will. It hasn't all been roses, especially the last 6 months here in Pang. Some people have done their best to make things difficult for us but I refuse to let that taint the fond memories I will keep of our northern adventure. During our time here I've learned many things about myself and I'm very thankful for that. It has solidified my marriage in many ways too. I think Nick and I are stronger for this place where much of the time you have nobody to entertain you but each other. I'm so proud of the work he's done, the life we've built and the  sacrifices we've made.

I think the best way to celebrate our northern adventure is to revisit some of my favorite photos. They're not all great pictures but they do have the best of my memories attached.

Our first day in the north. July 16, 2008.

Feet in the Arctic Ocean.

Dog walks with great friends. Photo by Jennifer Eichenberg 

Love my amauti. Photo by Jennifer Eichenberg

Northern Lights

Learning to make parkas.

The Bowhead whale in Cape Dorset.

New years eve 2009.


Polar Dip. July 2009
Exploring Pang.

At the top of Mount Duval.

Nunavut Day Barbecue 2010.

The views never get old.

Neither do the sunsets.

So this is it.
I’ll miss being part of the northern blogging community as I’ve made friends with many other bloggers along the way. I hope you will continue to follow the our little family’s southern adventures and watch as our kids grow. I’ve decided that I will be sticking with this version of the blog as it seems that is the popular opinion and am already looking for ideas to update my header to reflect our new location.
Finally, I want to thank Nunavut and it’s people for it’s hospitality. For being the first home our kids have known. I hope to get back here someday and be able to show Oliver and Isaac the beautiful land they may not remember considering their age. I’m proud to have been a Nunavimiut, if only for a short time.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Just an update

For those of you who may have missed it, we're moving back to New Brunswick on Saturday. Nick got posted to Oromocto which is about 20 minutes south of Fredericton and is the home of CFB Gagetown. We are thrilled to be within an hour of our families after being away for almost 7 years and are happy to have them be a bigger part of the boys lives. And what's almost better than the proximity to family? We've bought a house and I can finally have colored walls back in my life. So many colors to choose from.....

Today's the last day before the movers come and I had a list as log as my arm of things to get done. Most importantly, figuring out what we need to bring with us to get us started. We don't get any excess baggage at all so it all has to fit in 4-70lb bags.... Yes 4... 70lbs each.... I'm so thankful we're leaving on First Air and not Air Canada. I can't imagine trying to fit our lives in to 2-50lb bags. Yet another thing I'll miss about the north. Oh and the full service meals and the fresh baked chocolate chip cookie, and the free 'special' coffees. But I digress...

The last week has been spent organizing the house, selling what we can, throwing out junk and trying to keep Isaac happy. It was a great decision to leave Oliver at my mom's because it's been much easier just having Isaac to deal with while trying to do all that. O has apparently had quite a full calendar himself and doesn't seem to miss us at all. He actually cried the other night when my mom made him talk to Nick on the phone preferring to go eat his Smarties instead. At least I know he's happy and content. But that's Oliver. Nothing fazes that kid and that will stand him in good stead in the future.

I have to admit although I've miss Oliver I've really been enjoying my time alone with Isaac. He's at such a fun age right now and he is such a character that I laugh all day. He's also an amazing sleeper so we've been enjoying sleeping till about 930 every day which is a rare treat. I forgot how easy having one child is compared to having two and it's been a nice break.

Just three more sleeps in the north....

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bum in the water please....

... my mantra for tub time. And this is why:

Nick is calling him Georges St. Pierre cause it looks like a fighting injury.

Last night Isaac took a header in the bathtub. He slipped and caught his face on the side of the tub and split his eye lid. It was a pretty gaping wound and I figured he'd need some stitches so off we went to the health center. When we got there the nurse told us we would have to medivac him to Iqaluit and have him sedated in order to actually stitch it so she used the glue instead. He was the perfect patient and with Nick and I holding him down, she had him fixed up in no time.

I was really dreading seeing him this morning because I thought he was going to wake up with it swollen shut or a huge shiner. It was a relief to see that the swelling isn't much worse than it was last night and although he does have a bit of a black eye but it's pretty subtle. If he wasn't as fair as he is I doubt you'd even really see it. I'm very thankful for that.

I don't dout this is just the first of many trips to a medical facility being the mother of two boys. Unfortunately I'm sure this is the last time I'll get to walk right in, have the whole center to ourselves and be out of there in an hour. I'm over all pretty critical of health care up here but there are undoubtedly some perks to the northern health system.

Why Canadians need heated seats

My brother Ryan sent me this yesterday and I loved it. When I read Kara's blog today I thought it would be cute to post the video. This four legged Canuck is having his own Canadian right of passage. Too bad Kara's husband didn't have heated seats when poor Hunter had his.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The final countdown

We arrived back in Pang yesterday. This is significant for a couple of reasons. One: We were able to get back all in one day.(shocking I know)  And two: It's the last time I'll be doing that trip. How weird to think that. Flying (and often the lack of flying) has been such a staple in our lives for the last few years. I can't say that I'm disappointed though. If there is anything I won't miss about the north it's the long and unpredictable travel you have to endure to get here. Now that we're back I've gone from vacation mode to madly sorting, cleaning, throwing out and organizing mode. The packers come a week from today and there is so much to get done.

It's strange but when we landed, for the first time Pang didn't feel like home. I guess my brain moved south when we left on vacation in December and I kind of feel like these final 10 days are a technicality. I've spent the last few weeks buying furniture, decorating my new house (if only in my head) and working on my resume. I'm already stressing about finding a job and getting the kids in to daycare. Funny how you can just fall back in to the rat race after living a blissful, isolated, relaxing life. Not that being a stay at home mom is relaxing at the best of times but my life in the north is overall, pretty calm.

Over the last month I've been mulling over a decision on whether I should keep up the blog, start a new southern version or just stop all together. You may have noticed that when I'm down south I'm not exactly a great blogger. It's not that I don't have things to talk about it just seems hard to take the time to actually do it. Having said that, I've already decided that stopping is not the answer. That leaves sticking with this one or starting another one. The only reason for starting a new one is to separate the north and the south. I get many requests for 'moving north' advice and hope that I get to continue doing that. Leaving this one as a northern blog would make it easier for potential Nunavumiut to find me. On the other hand, this is way more of a mommy blog than a northern blog so north or south, the subject matter would be pretty much the same and the northern posts would still be there to find. Decisions, decisions. 

9 more sleeps till we leave. 1657 things left to do.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Getting Creative

This Christmas Nick and I decided to keep our gift exchange to a minimum. I followed the rules and bought him a video game, he bought me a house! Or at least that's what I tell people. In reality I asked Nick to get me a measuring cup which he did. He also got a little creative and gave me a card with this inside.

It's called VETO

Read here:

It gave us all a good laugh on Christmas Eve when we were opening gifts. I haven't used it yet but I'm hoping we make a stop at Ikea on our way back up to Pang next week.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The short version

The last 3 weeks in a nutshell:

Landed in New Brunswick
Had a Morena day or shopping, nails and hair
Went house hunting
Found a house
Oliver and Erik's birthday party
Lost the house
Started looking again
Went on a dirty weekend, in the middle of the week
Found a house
Christmas, because we were SPOILED
Bought a coffee table and a dining room set
New years
Quiet few days at the cottage
Got house offer finalized so I think we have a house, but shhhh don't jinx it
Heading into the weekend.....

Here are a few random shots of some of the above mentioned events.

At the Play Place for the big birthday party

The cake was super yummy

Isaac loved the balloons

Trying out his birthday gift with Opa. 

Lovin' opening the loot.

Sporting their christmas outfits

Superhero's in training.

So there it is. The short version. I'm sure I'll elaborate later on some of these events but then again, maybe not. I have lots to say on so many subjects but just can't seem to find the time. I'm loving our vacation and am milking the last month long live in babysittiing situation I'm ever going to get.

Life is good. I'm very happy right now.