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June 2018
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Photos from the Rideau Canal

Here’s a few photos from the Rideau Canal,

Soccer … Pool ….

So this year Millie and I are playing eleven a side soccer for lakeshore soccer in house league. We have played for the last two years but seven a side. At the beginning, we last 2-0 about five times straight but we turned it around and have won four games in a row. Last game we won Five – One. Our goalie had no shots taken on her in the first half, and I got my first goal.

This year we have joined beacon hill pool. Here in Canada you have either a pool in your backyard or you are a member at a pool. At beacon hill pool we have swimming lessons. Millie and I are in the same level (level eight ) but in different classes. You also can join the water polo team, the syncro team, the diving team or the swim team. We are not doing any this year. They also have free swim every day. You can dive/jump off high or low diving boards ( the high one is a bit scary ). And some times during free swim the life guard will call Free D witch means that you can go into the deep end without worry about the people jumping off the diving boards. At the beginning of July, Millie, Dad and I went scuba diving in the pool!!!! It was so fun. The equipement was heavy. But towards the end it was getting a bit cold so Millie and I got out while the others went into the deep end.

The Rideau Canal

Just back from two weeks on the Rideau Canal in a houseboat. The canal goes between Kingston and Ottawa, linking a series of lakes and rivers to make what was intended to be an alternative supply route for the English in the early 1800s, save from those maurauding Americans (trying to take over Canada and make it part of the USA during the 1812 war). Luckily it was never attacked and so today stands as a reminder of the past and is used by tourists and locals alike to move between the lakes.

We started in Smith’s Falls, and headed north the Ottawa before turning around at Ottawa and then going almost the length of the canal to near Kingston, before returning to Smith’s Falls. There was plenty of wildlife to see, swimming in the lakes, fishing and general relaxing. We stopped at Locks each night, each other managed by Parks Canada, and most were a wonderfully peaceful location.

Our favorite section was between Jones’ Falls and Newboro, a section of smallish lakes with lots of islands to add interest. There were a lot of cottages around the lakes, which look like a wonderful place to get away from it all.

If you asked Millie and Sophie what their favourite bit of the holiday was,  they would tell you it was listening to a parrot singing along to the Sam Brown’s “You better stop” at the last lock we stopped at.

We’ll try to sort out the photos and post some shortly.

Sleep, Food & Happiness

Today’s one of those days, Sophie is tired and needed more sleep last night than she got. Because she’s tired, she does not eat so much. End result – verbal outburst, and generally unacceptable behaviour. The same can be true of Millie, but so far she’s on good form today. However, whether it is a twin thing or not, there is a uncanny game of behavioural tag between the two of them. I’m not sure I’d have believed it until you see it in action. We first saw it when they were babies, one would cry for some time then stop and the other would take over, and then switch back again. One minute, one of them is losing it over something, then almost instantaneously, they calm down and a few minutes later the other twin lauches into it. As parents, it can be exhausting to put it mildly. There are occasions when the girls head out for school and Jo and I say “what just happened?” before having to get on with the day. One day if they’re not careful, we’ll post a video on the blog, for all to see just how petty it all is.

We have learn that the girls are like Duracell bunnies, they need to be topped up with healthy food to manage their energy levels. Get that right and we are halfway there. If we can get them to sleep and not read all night that helps as well. They love reading, so getting their heads out of books can sometimes be a challenge especially when we need to go and do something that they don’t want to.

Then there’s the challenge of TV, computers, Ipods, DS, Ipads, Wiis, Kindles etc etc – anything electronic. It seems to be a constant challenge to find a balance getting the girls moving and allowing to them to learn to use computers etc. I found a great video which discussed the need for exercise and the minimum amount of time we should be active. When you sit and think about some days of getting up and working and then maybe watching some TV in the evening, it is easy to see how sedatory we’ve become. So Jo and I have increased the amount of exercise we’re doing, to try to influence the girls. Jo’s now kick boxing 3 or 4 times a week, I’m playing hockey twice a week and trying to get out on my bike, or do other active things such as walking for half an hour each lunch time. I will ramp it up further as we go through summer and I get fitter. Despite the initial grumbles we are getting the girls out orienteering once again, which they enjoy once they are doing it, they just have to get over the thought of leaving the computer or couch.

I started writing this before lunch, and par for the course, Sophie’s got food in her and now the happy, loving daughter once again, making cups of tea for all, but Millie’s picked up the Ipad. Time to get out of the house and get active together….

It’s Official!

Last week we heard that we’d been accepted for permanent residency, but still had a load of paperwork to complete and get sent off to Buffalo in the US for the final checks to be made. Yesterday we finally received everything we needed. However, in order to complete the process and get our permanent resident status, we had to leave the country.

Our lawyer assured us that it was a quick process – “20-30 minutes tops” he said! So, after supper last night we got in the car and headed south. Unfortunately the traffic around Montreal conspired against us and it took us 2 hours to get to the border, but we did it (with a Tim Horton’s stop en route for doughnuts to keep the girls sweet). We then had to go through passport control at the border into the US, do a U-turn and come back into Canada. What a palaver!

90 minutes later we finally re-emerged from immigration with the official stamps in our passport and the pieces of paper that show us a permanent residents. Phew!!! It was a very late night for the girls, with us getting home just before 11pm. They were vile this morning as they went out of the door to school – looks like fun times ahead when they get back…

So…what does it mean for us? Well, not a lot really, except that we have more rights now in Canada…don’t need work permits, can come and go freely and generally have the same rights as Canadian Citizens in Canada, except for voting rights. It does mean, though, that we can’t leave Canada for up to 8 weeks until our official PR cards arrive. Looks like we’ll be vacationing in Canada this year then!!!

Good News

Yesterday Doug got a great birthday present. We heard that we’re on the final leg of getting permanent residency. It is now just the formality of getting the stamps in the passports, and that’s it. So hopefully within two weeks we will have permanent resident status in Canada, which means we can pretty much come and go as we please, and gives us the flexibility to stay in Montreal as long as we want, if that’s what we decide to do.

It’s going to be a busy weekend. Last night I played hockey, I hope I’m getting better slowly. Then today we’re off to see Montreal Impact play vs LA Galaxy. Jo’s only going because David Beckham is playing, but it should be a fun afternoon. There’s more than 60,000 going, 4 times the normal attendance, such is the pull of DB. We think we’ll then head down into China town and introduce the girl’s to some really good chinese food, now they are starting to become a bit more adventurous. Then tomorrow, we’ve got orienteering at Bois de Liesse, followed by going to an open house to view a house in Beaconsfield, part of the journey of deciding if we should buy one in Canada (once we get rid of our tenants and sell the house in the UK). Then more hockey and Ringuette for Doug and Jo in the evening. It makes a change for Millie and Sophie to have to go to an arena for mum and dad, it’s normally the other way around.

I’ll end with a warning – Jo’s taken up kick boxing. She’s been 3 times this week, and loving it through the pain, aching muscles and advil. Together with Vanessa, she’s on a mission. Millie and Sophie – be afraid, be very afraid! You better be on your best behaviour.

Ivory Milestone

So this week, Jo and I got to 14 years of marriage, how the years have flown by. Who’d have thought 14 years ago that:

  • we would have 11 year old twin girls
  • we’d be living in Canada, trying to learn french
  • Jo and the girls would be playing a game called Ringette, and I would have taken up ice hockey

Happy times

Waiting

We seem to be doing a bit of waiting at the moment…

Waiting for the results from our permament residency application. We’ve done all that we can, and don’t believe there are any outstanding issues, so now it is just a matter of waiting for our application to be processed and the rubber stamp given. 2 months ago we were told it should take between 2 and 5 months for the federal immigration service to process it, so any day now.

Waiting for our tenants to move out of our house in the UK so that we can put it up for sale, and then start looking for a house here in Canada. Hopefully in two weeks time, it will be all systems go to getting the house on the market.

Waiting for summer and that means soccer for the girls, canoeing and fly fishing for me, and sunshine for Jo. The winter has passed, the ice rink in the backyard has melted, we’ve even washed the car! All the snow has long gone, and we’re now in that slightly boggy spell as the ground tries to soak up all the meltwater and rain. Here’s hoping for a long summer, with lots of barbeques, and swimming in the pool and bike rides along the lake.

After my first real game

Waiting for the next Hockey season. With the Habs disasterous season and not even making the play offs, it will be a long summer without Montreal buzzing with the excitement of previous years. It’s made all the worse as the Bruins have got to the play offs once again.

And dare I say it waiting for the next Ringuette season. Oh ok, we’ll enjoy the break for a while, but it has been so much fun for the whole family that it will be good to start up again. Millie and Sophie had their last game yesterday, making the final of the St Eustache tournament with the Excellence Ringuette Atome C team. They’ve both developed so much this year, Millie’s skating has improved, and Sophie has loved being in goal. In the meantime, Doug will continue to play hockey over the summer – there’s only one kind of hockey if you are (or are aspiring to be Canadian) and it is played on ice. I never thought I’d ever be taking up hockey at the wrong side of 40, but I’ve really enjoyed it, even got two goals last night! But let’s just say I’m no Sydney Crosby, despite having fun trying!

 

Ice and cakes

It’s been a hectic month so far. First it was good to have Doug’s parents with us for a few weeks. The girls had a chance to celebrate their birthday with Granny and Grumpy. No mishaps with their snowshoeing this year, so all was good with the world.  This was also Jo’s first opportunity of the year to make a couple of cakes and show off her cake decorating prowess once more before they were eagerly devoured.

Jo’s cakes have gone from strength to strength and now she is starting to be asked to make cakes for others. The latest creation being an ‘Angry Bird’ cake. Maybe we should create a cake gallery on the blog. Jo even gave Doug’s mum a lesson in making icing roses. Millie and Sophie joined in, although Sophie, having not listened to the instruction, created some which looked more like furballs!

Doug’s involvement with icing, takes a somewhat different form. last Sunday was the first time he was able to return to play hockey after his concussion – great news but he felt the effects of six weeks with no exercise.

Staying with the ice theme, the Skittlebombs have had a storming month so far. Having struggled for the majority of the season, something clicked and Millie and Sophie’s Ringuette team started winning games. First they beat Pierrefonds, then lost to 4 cities in a nailbitter – but it felt like a win as they are the strongest team in the league, and they beat us 17-1 at the start of the season. So the team was on a high as we headed into the BK Ringuette tournament, the success continued as they won their next 3 games, 4-1, 10-1 and 4-2. If you had asked us a week earlier there’s no way we would have thought we would be competing for a place in the final. The girls just seemed to gel as a team, and played their hearts outs. So they just needed to win their last game to get into the final. Alas, it was one too many and the Skittlebombs lost 1-4. But with the effort and the way they played, all the coaches and parents were so proud. Maybe it has given them a taste of success we can take into our next tournament in Ottawa.

We’ve also been able to try something a little different to what we were used to in the UK. Doug’s built an ice rink in the backyard for the girls (and Doug) to practice on. See below for a step by step guide to our way of building a ice rink. All we need know is for the weather to co-operate. The temperatures have been fluctuating and we’ve had a mix of snow/ rain and freezing rain. All in all, it’s been a messy winter so far, not without some unpredictability – in the paper today was a picture of a truck, which had broken through the ice on the lake – yes, it’s common to see pickups out on the lake next to guys ice fishing all through winter – just this time the ice wasn’t quite thick enough.

Anyway must go, time for another Ringuette game – Let’s go Skittlebombs!!!

Happy New Year

Here’s to a  happy and prosperous New Year to all and whatever changes it may bring to us all.

Doug, Jo Millie and Sophie