You get what you pay for

It was 7pm and we had officially arrived in Vancouver.  Since it was mid-December when we arrived it had already gotten quite dark out.  Yet, here we were in the ‘big city’, navigating our way through our new streets while allowing our new life to set in.

Instead of feeling that evening dread, we were met with excitement and a new found sense of adventure.  As the night went on, the city remained vibrant.  Neon signs glimmered down Granville and people stumbled in and out of different bars along the busy street.

The city was bustling…and that is certainly one of the things that we love most about it out here.  No matter what day it is or what time it is there’s always something going on.   It allows you to live a life ‘out of the norm’ (ie. not within the constraints of a 9-5pm job) and be completely okay with it.

Before moving out here, one of the things I remember most about my life in Ontario was my distain for Mondays.  Sunday would roll around, we would race off to Costco, stock up for the week like we were preparing for a great storm and then suddenly around supper time the dread would sink in.  Like clock work, the realization that in a few hours we would be back to slamming our snooze button before dragging ourselves from our comfy bed to race off to a job that we really didn’t like (obviously, this feeling stopped when I decided to stay-at-home with Hadley, but for Shawn it was still a regular occurrence).

But, out here, it was different.  Watching the people walk along the streets and wandering the waterfront, it finally sunk in…we were now living the life we had wanted.  We were taking the time to enjoy the moments instead of accumulating new things.  This was it, we had arrived.

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Now, I don’t know if it was the Universe’s way of laughing at us, but one by one things started to derail.  Looking back, we had to assume that it was coming our way.  I mean, we just travelled across the country, gallivanting around Canada and the United States with our barely 1.5 year old daughter with nothing going wrong.  I mean absolutely nothing (aside from one bad hotel experience) not a single thing went wrong on our road trip.  It was as smooth sailing as it could possibly get.

As we searched through our GPS to locate the address that our landlord gave to us, we found ourselves driving the unknown streets of Vancouver feeling quite hopeless.  She had given our condo keys to her friend as she was travelling to Toronto for business.  We found the location on our GPS, however, upon getting there we realized that there was no condo building in sight.

Shawn frantically raced in and out of businesses and shops hoping to find someone who could point us in the right direction.  Each quest leading him back to the car looking even more discouraged than the last stop.  Everyone kept telling us we were ‘at’ the right address, while also confirming there was definitely no condo building around.

I remember the overwhelming surge of anxiety that forced its way throughout my body.  At this point Hadley had given up on the road trip and was screaming frantically.  We tried calling our landlord to no avail (since she was on an airplane without cell service).  We drove around thinking, did we get duped?  Are we those suckers who drove across country after giving first month’s rent only to find out there was no condo waiting for us at all?

Yes, we went into full crisis mode.  After doing two loops around Stanley Park, I decided to play around with the address she gave us, just to see if maybe the street was slightly off.  And, after nearly two hours, voila, there it was.  The condo we were looking for.  Shawn raced to the new location, hit the buzzer and suddenly our keys were in his hands.

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After unloading the car, we sat on our air mattress looking around at our empty condo feeling the most relief we had ever felt.  Even though we only had an air mattress, 2 towels, a few toiletries and some water, it felt like home.  We listened as people wandered by our window, noticing how loud the streets actually were.  Traffic and partying people never seemed to slow down.  But, the sounds quickly became white noise.  We were informed to park in the visitors area with a note stating our landlord would be providing us with our parking slot tomorrow and that we had just moved in.

Uh-Ho…After a good nights rest, we went down to the parking garage only to find that our car was gone.  I guess the note we left with our landlord’s instructions weren’t sufficient and the condo board decided to tow our vehicle.  Strike 2 for the Bechtloffs.

Then came the furniture debacle.  Our furniture which was promised to have arrived by this point had somehow hit ‘bad’ weather and was going to be delayed by at least another week.  So, here we were sitting on our air mattress, sans car wondering how we were going to make due living like this, with a toddler for at least another week.

We decided to turn our luck around.  We finally got through to our landlord who informed us she would ensure we were reimbursed for the tow and the cab fare to retrieve our vehicle.  So, off Shawn went to collect our vehicle and then on we went to IKEA.  We stocked our cupboards with the basic necessities and we began to unpack some of our clothes.  We wandered the city and instantly fell in love with it, despite the less than perfect start.

Breathing a temporary sigh of relief, we wandered into a company hoping to set up our car insurance.  We were informed that we needed to go get an inspection completed since our vehicle was coming from Ontario.  They gave us a brochure for a place they recommended and off we went.  We giddily drove 30 minutes away, loving all of the new scenery along the way.

We already decided that we would run over to Starbucks, get a coffee and snack and hurry back to pick up our vehicle.  We knew it couldn’t take long considering our car was a 2014 model and was previously serviced before leaving Ontario.

The worker showed up almost 20 minutes late for opening the shop (we should have just drove away at this point).  But, we waited, watched him unload his car and greet his also late employees as they staggered in.

They hoisted up our vehicle and advised it should be quick since it was a newer model.  So, off we went and patiently counted the minutes waiting for his phone call.  After 1.5 hours, we decided we’d make our way back to the shop.  We pushed our way into the reception area and noticed that our vehicle was still hoisted up.  The owner quickly ran over to inform us that our vehicle didn’t pass the inspection and that we needed new brakes, new this and new that, but that he was going to give us a very good rate to make all of the fixes.  20% off here and 20% off there.  Then came the real kicker…he proceeded to advise us that if we didn’t get the items fixed then and there he was going to upload our information to some ‘registry’ and we would be unable to drive our vehicle.

Here is where the alarms starting going off.  First off, any time you’re trying to tell me that you’re giving me a really good deal, always makes me leery of what you’re actually doing.  He was as sleazy as they could come.   Needless to say, we argued for a few minutes before we requested our car be brought down and that we were going to take it to a different shop.

He again advised us against that and that we would be wasting another $70-$100 to have it re-inspected only to be told we would need all of these items fixed.  He was way to thirsty for the business, so we happily left and went to Canadian Tire.  This was when we learned once again that you get what you pay for.

Canadian Tire examined our vehicle and laughed when we showed them the slip of ‘fixable items’ given from the last guy.  We were notified that our vehicle was perfectly fine and did not need new brakes, new tires, yada, yada, yada.  We were also informed that there was no ‘registry’ for him to upload such information about our car.

I felt very discouraged at this point.  I truly felt like we had finally found this amazing waterfront city with cascading mountain views and it was turning against us.  I remember crying and saying, ‘maybe we’re just not cut out for the big city.’

Thankfully, Shawn reassured me that we found our condo keys, our furniture was on it’s way, our car was retrieved from the impound lot and that our vehicle really didn’t need anything to pass the inspection.

And he was right.  Our furniture arrived (nearly 30 days late) on December 24th and we made it work.  By Christmas morning we were waking up to a furnished condo and a new adventure.

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Road Tripping with a Toddler!

Things were moving quickly and we were surprisingly prepared.  The house was rented out to great tenants, our furniture was on the truck heading to Vancouver (or…so we thought…more to come on that later), we had a new place waiting for us in Vancouver and a job lined up for Shawn.

We finished packing up our car and said our goodbyes.  The goodbyes were definitely much harder than I anticipated they would be.  So, after a few tears and a slightly delayed start to the drive, we were on our way.

Day 1:

We left from outside of London, Ontario and ventured toward our first stop (which we were hoping would be somewhere near Chicago).  We didn’t pre-book any of our overnight stays as we weren’t entirely sure where we would end up each day.

Within about an hour our daughter was sleeping peacefully.  We crossed over the border into Michigan and continued on our way.  Finally around midnight after 6 or 7 hours of travel we decided to call it a night.  We took the first exit that we saw for hotels and ended up stumbling across a hidden gem.  Right before we turned into the Best Western we noticed a sign for the Marina Grand Resort.  We followed the signs until we ended up at the cutest little spot.  It was lit up with a veil of twinkling Christmas lights around the entrance.  We knew this would be the perfect spot to stop.

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So, in Shawn went to check us in and it actually came up way under budget.  We unloaded the car and carefully carried Hadley into the hotel room.  It was a stunning room with a fireplace, living room and a covered balcony overlooking the marina.

The next day we quickly toured the New Buffalo beach and then boogied onwards to Chicago.

Day 2:

We parked at the Navy Pier and decided to wander around for a couple of hours.  It was a little bit chilly, but the sun was shining.  We walked around Grant Park and then went on to find Cloud Gate.  On our way to the Cloud Gate we noticed an ice skating rink that was just opening (at noon).  So, in we went, grabbed some skates and took Hadley on her first ice skate.

After one blissful lap, the attendant promptly advised us that carrying a child in our arms while ice skating was not safe and that we would have to leave after our lap was completed.  This was perfectly OK with us as we got to skate the rink practically by ourselves and Hadley loved it.  **Disclaimer** Shawn is an excellent skater and Hadley was in perfectly safe and capable hands.

Me on the other hand, I had completely lost my seven-year-old self’s ability to navigate the rink and was clutching to the rails for dear life.  After leaving the rink and getting some pictures at Cloud Gate we headed back to the Navy Pier to play at the Children’s Museum.

The Children’s Museum was wonderful.  It was equipped with lots of activities for busy little ones!

Day 3:

We ended up in Wisconsin and after every single hotel in Madison was booked, we were left in a very, very, verrrry small town where the hotel options were extremely limited.  We took the room but greatly regretted it when we felt as though we had to sleep with t-shirts over our pillowcases and in our clothes from the day (with socks on).  It was imperative that no bare skin would touch the bedding.  My distain for the hotel was highlighted when I found fake rose pedals scattered near the Jacuzzi which was situated in the middle of the room.  *Insert nausea here*

Needless to say, this stay resulted in a very early morning!

After realizing we couldn’t stand being in a tiny town with limited accommodations for another night, we pressed on for 10.5 hours until we made it to Rapid City.  I can’t even describe the feeling of relief when we pulled into a hotel whose brand we recognized with a clean room.  We ordered food up to the room and enjoyed some much needed R&R.

Day 4:

This was by far one of our favourite days from the journey.  Travelling to Keystone and through the little town during off season was incredible.  (We were sad that nothing was open, but it was such a neat feeling being in such a monumental city with absolutely no one else around).  Driving around the bend and up the hill towards Mt. Rushmore was incredible.  The sun was shining and the view was spectacular.  We took a few pictures until a lovely gentleman stopped on his way up the hill to offer to take a family photo for us.

We toured around the park observing the scenery.  This was definitely one for the books.  If you haven’t been, I strongly recommend it! It was extremely quiet, you could hear the water bubbling underneath the ice on the lake.

Then, on we went to Billings, Montana.  I’m not going to lie, I really had no expectations for Billings, Montana.

However, to my surprise and delight, this city was amazing.  Once we made it to the downtown, we noticed it was lively and filled with delicious restaurants, quaint coffee shops and lots of beauty.  Unfortunately, it was also freezing  (notice the ice cube floating in Hadley’s water cup above….that was after the cup was left in our car for a little while).

We checked into our hotel, bundled up and wandered around the downtown for as long as we could.  I wish we would have had a bit more time to experience this city, but it was late and soooo cold, so we grabbed dinner and went back to our room for another restful night.

Day 5:

Next up – Helena, Montana.  I’m not going to lie, we really felt like we were playing A Ticket To Ride.  Helena was definitely not what I was expecting.  It was still freezing cold when we woke up, but again the sun was shining making for a great day on the road.  And, considering it was December, it wasn’t the worst weather we could have encountered.

The drive to Helena was beautiful.  When we arrived, we looked around and I remember feeling very confused.  “This is the Capital city?”  I don’t really know what I was expecting.  High-rises, a bustling city perhaps.  But, instead it was a small town in what felt like the middle of no where.  But, it was charming and gave us a reason to slow down and relax for the afternoon.  We checked into our hotel after some exploring and took Hads for a swim.

Day 6:

After breakfast, we got back on the road again as the sun was coming up.  The sky was breath taking.  The clouds looked like cotton candy and snow dusted the streets and trees.  This was probably one of the most scenic days we experienced throughout our travels.

We cruised through Idaho and ended up in Spokane, Washington.  The weather continued to get worse as we pressed onwards.

Despite the ever changing weather, we made it through without any problems!

We stayed at an amazing resort in Spokane (after we failed to remember the exchange rate).  But, hey, we had made it this far and decided it was time for us to celebrate!  We had a fabulous stay in Spokane.

Day 7: 

When we were planning our travels, we figured after Spokane we would stop in Seattle.  But, after making it this far and being so close to Vancouver we decided we were going to push through and make it there.

Hadley was such a trooper.  She never complained once during our drive and kept a smile on her face the entire time.  We couldn’t have been any luckier.

The bad weather disappeared as we made it through Seattle and towards the Canadian Border.  At the border, we were informed that our vehicle was selected for a ‘random search’ which makes complete sense considering we were relocating from across the province and entering from the United States.  The border officers were great.  They handled our search in a timely manner and got us back on the road quickly.

After one week on the open road, it was final, we had made it to Vancouver! Everything with our road trip went so smoothly, we almost expected that something had to go wrong…stay tuned!

 

What I’ve Learned from our Adventure Out West!

After travelling to Kelowna and road tripping to Vancouver last year in November, we immediately fell in love with British Columbia.

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It’s hard to believe a province this beautiful exists.  It feels funny looking back on our time in Ontario now and our longing to live somewhere else for a change.  All the while, this gem was right underneath our noses.

It’s no surprise that we’re a family who loves adventure, challenges and change, so why did it take us so long to make the move out west?  I really can’t answer that question.  Aside from the fact that we got so comfortable in our day-to-day routines that we became terrified to make such a large change.

On top of that, I’ve also noticed something else since making this move.  When you’re surrounded by the same people and grow very close to them, they start thinking that they know you better than you know yourself.  Any time I tried to make even small changes about myself (say, a slight darkening of my hair), my decision was typically met with “But, that’s not like you?”  These simple words are so dangerous and haunting.  Even though they are unintentional, they can have such a large impact.

For example, I found myself longing to make lifestyle changes or become more in tune with my creativity, but felt too scared to make any changes because of the comments I would receive.  I dreaded those words, “That’s not like you,” and eventually started believing it.

I remember thinking, “Yea.  They’re right, that’s not like me.”  And even though I wanted to make changes, I ended up remaining stagnant in order to keep the people I loved at bay.  (This isn’t to say that everyone in my life voiced opinions like this, but they seem to happen more often than not).

On top of that, I spent many years feeling unhappy in my career and my life, but I couldn’t justify reasons for my unhappiness.  I had a job, a nice house, the perfect husband, great family and my health.  I remember thinking that something just felt off yet I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

After sharing my unhappiness with family and friends, I remember getting an outpouring of advice.  Advice mainly revolving about how I could change my mind by reading different books that would allow me to become happy in ‘any’ situation and that my happiness wasn’t about places/ things but it was a mentality.

For some reason, all of this advice led to an even bigger void in my life.  Not only was I feeling unhappy but I really couldn’t put my finger on why I was feeling this way.  I was also being told day in and day out that no change was going to bring me the happiness that I was after.

All of the well intended advice really just ended up driving me more mad.  I felt like there was no basis for my feelings and that I was ‘crazy’ and ungrateful for feeling unhappy.

I kept saying, “I feel like there’s something else out there for me.”  That mentality coupled with my longing to experience living in at least one different city/ province from where I was born and raised led us to finally making the leap.

It wasn’t until my Mom agreed that I was longing for something else and that I should try to seek out whatever that may be.  Our conversation gave me the confidence I needed to make the change.  My Step-Dad, Mom and her sister, My Aunt were the perfect sounding boards.  Not only did they champion this decision, they were there for me 100% of the way.

The moment we decided to make the move across the country, I immediately felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders.  After taking my parents’ advice yet again, we decided we would keep our house in Ontario (…and we couldn’t be more thankful for this as our house has appreciated quite a bit).  So, we worked with a real estate agent to find great tenants for our home in Ontario and rented it out for the year.

We easily found a condo that was small (extremely small) but would do the trick for our adventure and my husband secured an amazing job.  Everything fell into place quickly and felt pretty effortless.  We knew then that we were making the right decision for us.

So, this post is also an open Thank You to Mom, B-ri and Aunt Cathy.  Not only did you help us to make the necessary changes to try something new, you were our advocates.  You gave us time to discover if we were missing something in our lives.  More importantly, you helped by guiding us through the process ensuring we were making smart decisions instead of emotional ones.

Even though we received a wide range of feedback, majority of it seemed to be very positive.  There was a bit of humming and hawing, but that seems consistent any time you make a change that people around you aren’t totally comfortable with.

Regardless, we packed up our house and began our road trip.  From the moment we hit the open road with our car literally packed to the brim, we knew this was the right decision for us.

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Now, being out west for almost 6 months, the only thing we find ourselves saying is Why?  Why didn’t we make this change quicker?  Why didn’t we make this move sooner?

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from this journey thus far is that it is okay to make changes to your personality and lifestyle.  Personal growth should be embraced not feared.  Who I am today, probably will be different from who I am in a years time and I’m good with that.  Having some separation has given me time to develop thicker skin and to be comfortable and confident in my own decisions.

I guess my biggest take away is… if you’re feeling unhappy or that you’re missing something from your life…well, you probably are.  Does that mean you have to make a move across the country to find out what that is?  Probably not.  But in our case, it is exactly what we needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first west coast experience 

After living in our fifth or sixth house for just over a year, we got the itch for an adventure.

Yes – we love to move…well, maybe not the moving process itself, but, certainly the adventure that comes with it.

For a few years, we have been toying with the idea of moving across the country.  Even though we have travelled a lot, we’ve only ever lived in Kitchener / Waterloo…all within Ontario.

After my husband called home from work one day proposing the move to BC, our adventure bug was ignited once again.

We booked our flights and decided to fly into Kelowna, rent a car and tour around and then finish in Vancouver.

The trip did not disappoint.  It only left me questioning, how have we  ignored this breathtakingly beautiful province for all of these years?

The 4+ hour flight to Kelowna wasn’t horrible, but the flights are certainly becoming a little more difficult now that Hadley is rounding two and is such a mover and a shaker.  She was entertained for a while, people watching and watching a kids show on the TV, but that was short lived.

Long of the short – we survived.  But, this is the part where I enter my disclaimer for those who give glaring looks at people traveling with children *please let me remind you, that travelling with children is much harder on the parent than it is on you – the bystander… who can sit back and relax and put your headphones in to drown us out.  And, here’s a not so gentle reminder that your glares / stares and glances literally do nothing to help settle my daughter … so, feel free to put your headphones in and ignore us!”*

The best part of the flight was looking out of the window and seeing one of the most picturesque views that I have ever seen!


Anyways, once we landed in Kelowna we picked up our rental car and decided to drive around.  Kelowna was gorgeous.  Since Hadley didn’t sleep for the entire flight, she was exhausted.  By the time that she got into her car seat she was fast asleep.  So, we ended up touring around all of Kelowna and then eventually driving up Big White.  Being there on the “off season” was great because a few restaurants were still open but it wasn’t crowded with people.


After driving down from Big White, we noticed a beautiful view point with a creek, so we pulled over and we were pleasantly surprised when we founded a pine tree completely decorated with tinsel.  The most adorable Christmas tree in the middle of the wilderness.  Naturally, we had to stop for photos – 2016’s Christmas card photo!


We spent the night at the Hotel Eldorado.  The staff was above and beyond.  They made sure we had everything we could possibly need and provided the most pleasant first experience at the check in.  The room was adorable and quaint and had a great pool and hot tub area.  It was right in the marina and offered stunning views.  (Thanks Mom & Bri for the great hotel!)


The time change had us all screwed up and we all fell asleep at 6pm… so, naturally we were awake by 4am, so, we decided to take an impromptu trip to Whistler.

The drive was spectacular and definitely a once in a lifetime drive.  The views got more incredible with each passing moment.  However, the roads were extremely windy and after 4.5 hours our little trooper got car sick… but, she was so good, she got cleaned up and continued on still smiling and singing.


We fell in love with Whistler.  This time we stayed at the Delta in Whistler.  Again, the staff was incredible!

We spent the night wandering around the village and checking out the shops.


After falling asleep yet again around 7pm, we were all awake by 5am again and showered and dressed by 6am.  So, we went to the Olympic Rings and we were finally able to get a picture in front of it without a huge crowd of people.

We checked out fairly early as we were eager to make it to Vancouver.

WOW! Is the only description I can think of to describe the drive from Whistler to Vancouver.  It was so lush and colourful even on a rainy day.

We crossed the bridge, drove by Stanley Park and then made it to our first condo.  It ended up being everything and more than what we wanted / expected, so, we cancelled the remainder of our showings and took it!

After a short but busy weekend, we had toured across BC, fell in love with the province and found our perfect condo!

Our house in Ontario is rented out and we are getting ready to embark on our cross country road trip to our new home!

Vegan Cinnamon Buns

Since I have such a sweet tooth and a loooooooove for desserts, I have been looking for “healthier” ways to modify my favourite recipes.  I found this one on: http://minimalistbaker.com/the-worlds-easiest-cinnamon-rolls/

I only slightly changed a few things.

This one did not disappoint! It was a very simple recipe and the cinnamon buns were delicious!

Recipe:

You will need:

  • 1 pack of instant yeast
  • 1 cup almond / soy / coconut milk (I used plain almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup earth balance butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar

What next?

  1. In a sauce pan combine the (1 cup) almond milk and (3 tbsp) earth balance butter.  Stir until the butter has melted. Do not bring to a boil.  Once butter has melted, remove from the element and allow it to cool.
  2. Pour milk / butter mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Add the yeast package.  Leave for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes add (1 tbsp) of sugar.
  3. Add (1/2 cup) flour and keep stirring.  Once it becomes too thick to stir, move to a lightly floured surface and knead into a ball.  In another mixing bowl, coat it with canola oil then add the dough back in.  Cover it with plastic wrap / foil and leave it to set for 1 hour.  It will double in size in your bowl (be prepared!).
  4. After the 1 hour wait, lightly flour the surface again and roll out your dough.  Roll into a rectangle shape.  Brush the dough with butter, (1/4 cup) sugar and (2 tbsp) cinnamon.
  5. At the bottom of your rectangle dough, begin to roll it upward (keeping the end of your roll facing downward).  Once rolled, grab a serrated knife and begin to cut the dough into 10-12 pieces (approximately 1.5 inch pieces).
  6. Add butter / spray to the base of your 8×8 round pan.  Brush the tops of your buns with the remainder of the melted (2 tbsp) butter.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set your buns on top of the stove while the oven heats up.
  8. Once the oven reaches 350 degrees, place the rolls in the middle rack for 25-30 minutes.
  9. Frosting Options: Heat 2 tbsp almond milk (vanilla) with a few scoops of icing sugar on your stovetop.  Once it turns into a glaze, pour immediately over your cinnamon buns and enjoy!

I only made enough icing for the ones we were going to eat right then.  If you’ll be saving some, do not ice them until you’re ready to enjoy.  Before enjoying, I put them in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds to warm them before adding the icing.

 

Fable, myth or rich family history?

Getting the extended family together is becoming more cumbersome with each passing holiday or event.  With children and grandchildren being chauffeured around and dropped off at different sporting or social events, it is difficult to find time to all meet up.  That coupled with the fact that our family is scattered around the province.  Our time together is very valuable.

Having the family sit around one large table has always been part of our family festive dinner traditions.  While celebrating Easter this year, the grandkids piled up rows of card tables and attached them to the end of the dining room table stretching the tables across Grandma’s living room.  Mismatched chairs were scattered around the tables and family members pounced toward their usual spots.

Making the most of our time together, we shared memories, stories and relished on our history.  Some how we ended up on the topic of my favourite family story.

Hidden in a drawer upstairs was a copy of A Horse Called Farmer by Peter Cunnings.  While Grandma was dismissive and uninterested, my Dad was eager to read.  His eagerness deriving from his need to maintain a connection to his father (who passed away nearly 10 years ago).  The story which immortalized our Great, Great, Great Grandpa McLean.

Magdalen Islands

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Welcome to the Magdalen Islands (Îles de la Madeleine) where the scenery is breathtaking, the camaraderie is abundant and the history is rich.  Within the archipelago sits an island known as Entry Island (Île d’Entrée).  This will become important later on!

On a farm in Entry Island lived a family and their horse.  They named the Horse Farmer.  In 1923, Richard McLean (Great, Great, Great Grandpa) sold this horse to Curtis Quinn after a night of cards.  Curtis Quinn resided on Grosse Île.  Grosse Île happened to be on the other end of the archipelago.

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Every winter an ice bridge formed between Entry Island and Grosse Île.  After Farmer was sold, he was taken across this bridge and rode to his new home.

Farmer was extremely unhappy about his new master and living conditions.  So one day, he kicked and kicked at his gate until he broke it down, freeing himself.  Sprinting through the fields, he fled, never looking back.  Travelling along the Magdalen can be extremely dangerous and complicated, as travel typically includes a mix of land and water.

Farmer, determined to return home, began wandering in the direction of the McLean farm.  As the seasons changed, he made it to the location where the ice bridge once was, however it was gone.  Farmer swam nearly three kilometers from the end of Sandy Hook beach to the southern part of Entry Island (the low place). Persevering through the tumultuous conditions, he made it ashore and followed the scent and sounds of the McLean farm.

Farmer lived the remainder of his life on the McLean farm.

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Farmer’s journey was nearly 70 km in length and included 3 km of ocean.  This story shows the importance of preserving, family and the strength of love.

 

 

Flying with a baby

Being avid travellers, we weren’t nervous about travelling with our six month old daughter.  After all, she is a good baby.  This will be a breeze, we laughed…however, we were wrong.

But in the end, it was completely worth the red face, sweating and nerve racking plane ride…it just wasn’t as easy as I imagined it would be.

We skillfully packed up our Bugaboo travel bag, filling it with her stroller, her Bumbo chair and car seat base.  The Bugaboo travel bag is HUGE and is extremely easy to maneuver.  It  was  definitely worth the purchase.

Arriving at the airport, we searched for the baggage drop off area, since we had already checked in online.  The check in line was nearly 200 people long and looked like it would take hours to get through.  After asking a worker for assistance, we were informed that we still needed to wait in that line regardless of checking in online as they needed to verify our daughter.  I was shocked.  Not only did this process make zero sense, it was also a huge waste of time.  And time is precious when you’re travelling with a baby!

We found another worker willing to assist us and she directed us to the front of the line so we could drop our bags off.  It had been ages since we last travelled with checked bags, so we were unsure of the protocol.  They checked us in then directed us around the corner where we would be dropping all of our bags onto a large conveyor belt.  I’m so use to them putting our bags on the conveyor belt during check in.  But, I guess this has changed.  It was a little bit awkward weaving through the crowds, but overall, it really wasn’t that bad.

Another odd thing was the security process.  The machine directed us to put our passports in then stand for an awkward photo.  Well, this is fine, except when you swipe your passport the camera is ready for your photo, immediately.  Unaware that I had initially swiped my daughter’s passport, we scrambled to pull her out of her car seat and prop her in front of the screen.  The concept for this process is good, but the instructions definitely could have been better.

After holding her in front of the machine, trying to keep myself out of the photo, we were finally declined from this process and advised to see a representative.  It seemed like everyone with kids was sent on this route. People travelling with children probably should just go directly to the security representative, to save everyone the time and hassle of toying with the machine.

Once we made it to our gate, the waiting game was easy.  The Pearson airport has been renovated beautifully and offers many amenities. You can order your food and drinks from the comfort of your table using the tablet/ ipad.  Since our daughter hadn’t started crawling we were able to walk around with her in our arms.  She was able to take in all of the sights but not wander away from us.

The “early” boarding call confused us a little too.  The staff called upon the first class guests and then as they were helping them through, they offered guests travelling with children or those requiring extra assistance to board.  Well, it felt like people swarmed the gate at this time, making it very difficult to get through.  I’m still not sure if pre-boarding with a baby is advantageous or not.

Nervously, we anticipated the take off and prematurely gave our daughter her bottle.  I forgot how long it takes to taxi.  Luckily, she fell asleep and slept through the entire take off.  She woke up briefly, we gave her another bottle and then she fell asleep again.

The flight home wasn’t as smooth.  She cried for the first 30 minutes and nothing seemed to calm her down.  We received a lot of stares and glances from fellow passengers.  Which made me think…why are they giving us dirty looks?  It’s not like we’re pinching our daughter.  They’re the ones that can turn up their volume and enjoy the rest of the flight…while we’re the ones who are nervously trying to comfort an upset baby.

For our next flights we decided we wouldn’t worry about those around us as they’re out of our control.  So, if you’re sitting next to us on your next plane ride, just smile and put your headphones on.

Happy travels!