Discovery Centre in Halifax

The first week after Christmas break seemed long for all of us. So, we all decided we needed a day of fun to help us make it through the coming week. Aunt Tiffany gave us a the great idea of heading into Halifax and going to the Discovery Centre. We got in touch with the Fields family and they were able to join us as well.

The Discovery Centre is a great place for kids of all ages, including all us “big kids”. Seeing as it is winter just being an indoor event is a big plus. But besides that there are a lot of great exhibits that are informative and fun. One of the usual favorites was the Bubble Room.

This weekend is also the start of a year long international event, theInternational Year of Astronomy 2009. To help celebrate the event there were two special displays setup. There was an informational booth with information about the celebration and souvenirs such as trading cards and star finders. On the trading cards there is a serial number in which you are able to register online at www.astronomy2009.ca. When you register your name will be sent into space aboard the NEOSat in 2010. This satellite will be launched by the Canadian Space Agency to look for asteroids and other near Earth objects.

They also had setup a dome where you could climb in. It was completely dark inside, so some of the kids were not real happy about going in and did not stay for the full show. But they had a projector that they used to display the stars and other night sky objects on the roof of the dome. They pointed out a few constellations, Polaris the north star, and talked about other interesting astronomy related topics. It was quite neat.

Even though there are lots of things to do in the Annapolis Valley in the winter, it was nice to get away to something different and be able to do it with good friends and family.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone

Once again another year has gone by and it is Christmas time again. I’ve always truly enjoyed Christmas, even though at times I might act like Scrooge. The commercialization of Christmas and a lot of peoples attitudes really turn me off throughout the year. Obviously we all know that presents and the more, bigger, and better way of thinking are not what Christmas is about.

No matter what holiday it is you celebrate this time of year, what really makes them special is spending time with family and good friends. For the past few years, and for one more after this, I’ve been very fortunate in that I have a nice long break at Christmas from school. This gives me lots of time to be with my family and go visiting. It is also extra enjoyable because I have just finished exams which is a huge relief.

So from my family to yours we wish you a very Merry Christmas and hope that you are all as lucky as we are to be around your own family and friends.

 

Canadian Political Mess

Let me start by saying that by no means am I loyal to one political party in Canada. In fact, in the last three elections I have voted for three different parties.

This current situation, which our elected leaders are putting us in, is completely ridiculous and just causes me to feel more anger towards each party.

If governed properly I believe a minority government is the most ideal form of government to have, but unfortunately Mr. Harper does not know how to do this. For his whole time in power he has treated the government as if he has had a majority. The other parties knew they could not win an election and therefore refused to defeat him. As a result this allowed him to continue to govern this way. In a minority setting all parties should work together and compromise. In the end this should force them to agree on things which will be work for the majority of Canadians.

In no way am I endorsing the fact that the minority parties are trying to take power without being elected to do so, but Harper has not really left them much of an option.

I really don’t know what the answer to this problem is. I know I don’t want another election, as I don’t feel any of the current leaders deserve to be in power. I don’t want non elected parties to govern for us. And finally, I don’t want to have Harper to continue running our Country as if we gave him a majority.

Maybe the best option would be for the would be coalition to force the Conservatives to meet a few demands and then not topple the government.
1. Remove Harper from his post.
2. Put a new leader in his place who will govern knowing they hold a minority.
3. Come up with a viable economic plan that isn’t designed to mainly further their own parties interests instead of Canada’s interests.

Having Some Autumn Fun

A lot of the time I have a hard time deciding what my favorite season is. Well winter is certainly out of the running but the other three all have their strong points.Spring means the end of winter, that in itself makes it a great season. But also things start getting so green, and everything is growing. The valley especially is a great place to see everything starting it’s life cycle again. Summer, especially these last few years, means no classes. The weather is warm, we can go to the beach, run around in shorts and short sleeves. We usually take our big family vacation in the summer. It doesn’t get dark till late at night.Ah Autumn, if I lived anywhere else other than the Valley I don’t know if I would enjoy fall so much. But living here there are so many great and fun things to do. If you asked me today or over the weekend I would have to say that Autumn was my favorite.

This weekend was a great family weekend. Maybe I appreciate it so much because when planning it, I wasn’t sure I would be able to go with the rest of the family because of the piles of school work that I had to complete. But after pulling a very late night, and then early morning, I was able to get a lot of it done and go out and enjoy. Saturday we met up with the Fields family and went and picked apples at Elderkins in Wolfville. We did this last year too the kids enjoy it so much, and really the grownups do as well. From their we went to Noggins Corner Farm and spent the afternoon letting the kids run around and have a good time.

Then we headed into the pumpkin patch to let the girls each pick out their own pumpkin. Caile and Ella found theirs very quickly, but Alex had to make sure she found just the right one. After everyone expended some energy and found their pumpkins, we took a wagon ride around their property. It goes out through their orchards and corn fields. It is very relaxing sitting back and taking in the beautiful fall scenery in the Valley.

Sunday we were out checking out the pumpkin people in Kentville. We made it around to a few displays. The kids love getting out and seeing all the creative designs. After that we made our way to Hennigars for an ice cream and a walk around the park.

Autumn in the Annapolis Valley is certainly one of my favorite times of the year. The one downfall it has though, is that it reminds me that winter is on it’s way.

 

September Birthdays

The end of September is always a busy month for birthdays. Alex turned nine this year on September 27, and Caile turned four on the 30th. This year they both chose that they wanted to have their party at Roo’s Playhouse in the Greenwood Mall. So for the first time we decided to throw just one party for them both, instead of two separate.

On Alex’s actual birthday we had a family get together for her and Caile here at the house. Only two days before that we had one for Jens Dad as well. For each of these get togethers we had an Ice Cream cake from Dairy Queen. During the family get together we had Alex and Caile open their gifts from family. This made them happy and we didn’t have to lug a bunch of presents to open to Roos. Ella got a little jealous watching them open presents and there not being any for her.

Then on the 28th we had their party with friends at Roos. It is a great spot for a mixed party because there are really things for children of all ages to do. At one point we divided between older and younger kids, the younger stayed out an played on the equipment and with the toys, while the older kids (myself included) went and played lazer tag. I was quite impressed with the setup they had. It has two levels you can go between and lots of ways you can go to hide or avoid getting hit. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Alex was a little nervous to go in at first but she had a blast. She is also proud to have shot daddy.

For a cake at the Roo’s party we did something a little different. From SuperStore we ordered a cupcake Barbie Ballerina cake. It was 24 cupcakes iced as one big cake. This made it fairly easy, each kid could just have their own cupcake.

Ella was pretty good while Alex and Caile were opening their gifts at this party, but still a little jealous. But then on Cailes actual birthday, the 30th, Mom was taking them both out to pick out their own gifts. We knew this was probably going to get to be enough for Ella so she stayed home with Jen and I while they went shopping, and we put her to bed before they arrived home. The next morning was pretty good for her because while shopping Caile, ever so nice and sweet, asked Grammie Sue, “What about Ella, can we get her something?”. Mom couldn’t resist and let them pick out a baby doll for Ella to have. Then a couple days after that some cards arrived in the mail.

All in all, it made for a pretty busy few days bu everyone had a good time. And the friends party, which we thought could end up being pretty hectic and chaotic was the complete opposite. Everyone was well behaved and everything ran very smoothly.

 

Tonsils, Dancing and Computer Troubles

Now there is a blog title you don’t see everyday, but that has been our last week or so.

Finally, on September 9th Alex went in and had her tonsils removed. She did a great job, was very brave, and is recovering very well. She was into the hospital for 7:30 in the morning, into surgery around 9:30, and out right around 10:00. The night was a little hectic as she got sick a couple of times, and there was a chance that she might have to stay more than the typical one night in hospital. But she didn’t want to spend another night in there, so she made a deal that if she ate two things and kept them down she could come home. Alex kept down the food and was able to come home before lunch time on the 10th. She is now in her two week recovery period, where she had to remain home from school. She’s pretty happy that she gets to eat all the ice cream she wants, but at the same time sad that her two weeks off didn’t get her out of homework. The whole experience, even though it was hectic working around many peoples busy schedules, was pretty positive. All the Doctors, Nurses, and other staff at the hospital were very good. However, it still is very strange to me that Annapolis Valley Health will not do a surgery, that is typically done on children, during the summer when they wouldn’t miss school.

Last night we headed into Berwick to pick up a pair of dancing shoes for Miss Caile Beth. She was very excited getting to go in and pick them out and see the dance studio she would be dancing in. She certainly proved she is her Mothers daughter, as the first thing she did when she walked onto the dance floor was go look at herself in the mirror and play with her hair. This morning she woke up, and after getting ready in her cute little dance outfit, went to her first dance lesson. Parents aren’t really allowed to stay during the lesson but Jen peeked in right at the beginning and there was Caile, right in with the other kids holding hands and doing exactly what she was instructed to do. After the lesson is over the parents are able to come back and watch a little show that demonstrates some of what the kids learned during the day. Caile performed very well to a little jack-in-the-box song.

Now onto the computer troubles. It is not very often that you get to hear about good service so I thought it would be nice to share a very positive experience. The night I was at the hospital with Alex I had tried watching a movie on my laptop while she was having a nap. A short way into the movie the laptop froze and I had to manually power it off. When it came back up, before it even tried to boot into Windows, all that was seen were funky colored vertical lines going across the screen. Not very impressed especially seeing as I had not done a back up in a while. But eventually it came back, so I was quite sure it had something to do with overheating. Later that night, once I was home, I was working away and it froze up again. Same symptoms except this time it told me it could not detect my hard drive. An instant wave of stress poured over me and I even felt a little sick to my stomach. One of the suggestions that came on screen when it said it couldn’t find the hard drive was to pull it out and put it back in. I tried this, and luckily enough it worked. I was still quite sure it was a heat problem, but just to be sure before I went to bed I setup a virus and spyware scan.

When I checked in the morning it was frozen again and would only boot to my now dreaded vertical lines. Fed up, and sure it was not a software problem, I called Dell. They answered right away and the gentleman I talked to was very kind and helpful. Over the phone he had me do a few diagnostic checks and determined in his mind that it was the motherboard. He setup a dispatch to have someone come out to my home and fix it. Wanting a little more insight I went into to talk to my friends in the hardware support office at Acadia. I was told there that Dell had recently sent out a memo about the video cards in some laptops overheating so much that they were melting the solider joints. This made sense to me as I had been watching movies and other video intensive things when the computer froze. I did a little research on the issue and as it turns out it was due to some faulty chips that NVIDIA (The video chipset manufacturer) had put out even though there is speculation that they knew about the faults. So this affected more than just my Dell laptop. So far both Dell and HP for sure have issued statements about the problem.

The next morning I was very pleasantly surprised to receive a phone call before school saying that a Dell contractor would be out to that morning to fix my laptop. Now that is service. The very next day I had a new motherboard installed in my laptop and it has been working great ever since. Many people say horrible things about Dell’s support and computers in general, but I must say that I have been nothing but happy with both their computers, and now their support. Now I’ll admit that this was my only encounter with Dell’s support, but that in itself is saying something, because I have owned Dell’s for a number of years now. Started out with a Dell desktop computer which I bought sometime in 2003, and it is still going strong as a computer for the kids. My first two years at Acadia I have used a Dell laptop which I had no major problems with at all. Now my newest laptop is all fixed and once again working good. So the one time I had a problem that I had to deal with their support, they resolved the issue quickly and effectively. Thanks Dell!

 

OurValley.ca

Somewhere around December 2006 I came up with the idea that I should create a website dedicated to the Annapolis Valley. For me and obviously many other people the first place you go when you are looking for information is the internet. When it came to looking up things about the Valley, they either could not be found, or the information was all over the place. So why not create a site that contains the information I was looking for.

Finally earlier this week I was able to take my inital version of the site live. The site is OurValley.ca. This is by no means the final version of the site because there are many more things that I would like to add. There are many more attractions that I need to add, and some smaller communities as well, but this is a good start.

 

Touring West Hants

As it is getting very close to school time for Alex and me, which means there are not going to be very many days left that we all have off, we took advantage of today and decided to take a tour of Hantsport and Windsor.

We started off by going to Blue Beach where we walked the beach checking out the many fossils that line the shore. The beach also has a great view of Cape Blomidon. There is also a museum there which has a large collection of neat fossils on display.

From there we headed into downtown Hantsport and took the kids to the playground to play around for a while. We were there once before during a Canada Day celebration and the kids enjoyed it then so we figured we would take them back. We played there for quite a while then headed into Windsor.

We had never been up to see Fort Edward before so we went up there to check out the old Blockhouse which is the only real thing remaining from the Fort. There is also a pretty good view of the Avon River from the Fort grounds. We also discovered a great picnic park right by the tourist bureau that we will have to use next time we are up that way. I’m looking forward to being done school and moving to Windsor I think it will be a great place to call home.

 

Last Weekend

Last weekend was a good family weekend. It started out by meeting up with some family friends in Lunenburg to go to the Fisherman’s Museum. Before they suggested we meet there, neither Jen or I knew it existed even though we had been right beside it a year or two before walking along the Lunenburg waterfront.

Seeing that we did not know it existed we didn’t have great expectations of what it would include, but it was really a pretty good museum. All the kids enjoyed themselves looking at all the old fishing vessels, and gear. The museum has two actual ships that you are able to board and walk through as part of the tour. The girls favorite part would probably be when Alex and Caile were able to help participate in a reinacting of a schooner launch.

After we left Lunenburg we headed back down to our new favorite beach. This time when we were getting ready to leave the car and walk down to the beach the kids told me to make sure I had my keys this time hahaha. As it turns out I remembered the keys, but when we got down to the beach and started unpacking our gear, Jen went to put the sunscreen on the girls but it wasn’t in the bag. I specifically remembered taking it out of one bag in the trunk and putting it into the bad we were taking down to the sand, but it wasn’t there. So back up the car I went. Sure enough, there it was, sitting right on the trunk of the car where I must have left it.

We stayed and played for quite a long time on the beach. Then when we were walking back down the beach towards the car, who was walking towards us, Tiff and Dave. So we put back down our things and stayed for a bit longer. Tiff and I ended up taking a long walk to the very end of the third beach and back, it was quite nice.

 

Two Months Later

Obviously the summer months have made me slack in updating this site, and if it wasn’t for Jen reminding me last night I probably wouldn’t be writing this right now. She has been keeping up her part by updating our photo album, so I guess I’m just slack.

As you can see if you have checked out the pictures we have kept fairly busy for most of the summer. There is way too much to write about in one post so I’m just going to start at last weekend. For everything else the pictures will have to speak for themselves 🙂

So, last weekend was probably one of the most enjoyable of the summer for me. Saturday right after lunch we left and started down towards the Yarmouth end of the province. Jen’s Great Aunt Claire who Ella received her middle name from was visiting from New Hampshire and we hadn’t seen Jen’s Grand parents on her Fathers side for some time. We wanted to make a weekend out of it so we could also visit friends and be able to break up the drive for the kids.

For our first stop we went to the National Historic site of Port-Royal where they have recreated the Habitation. It was quite interesting to walk through the building as see sort of what it would have been like for some of Canada’s first European settlers. The girls liked going through as well and playing with some of the old tools, and trying on the wooden shoes that would have been worn.

From there we headed to the Mavillette beach in the Acadian region of Clare. It wasn’t the warmest when we got there and the tide was way out, but we all had fun walking through the sand while the girls collected sea shells. It seemed like a very nice beach and on a warmer day it would be nice to go back and have a swim.

After leaving the beach we continued on to Port Maitland where we stayed the night visiting with the Parker family. It was our first time meeting their new baby boy. Our girls just love babies so they had a great time trying to entertain him. We don’t get to see Jenn and Nathan very often but it is always great when we do. Hopefully we will make it back down that way more often. We stayed for lunch the next day and then started to head over to Pubnico to visit with our family. It was a short visit as the kids were starting antsy from sitting in the car and then sitting around the house, but it was a good visit.

We then made our way up the other shore heading towards Bridgewater where we were going to eat supper. On the way we stopped off at another beach. We had heard many good things about it but have never had a chance to get there. Everything we heard was right. Out of all the beaches I’ve been too in Nova Scotia this is about the nicest. The white sand and the clear water made it just beautiful. We ended up spending more time that we intended to because it was so nice, but also because when we got back to the car we realized that neither Jen or I had our keys.

Jen purposely left her’s locked in the trunk so she didn’t have to carry her purse. But someone, and just who it was is still up for debate at our house, left my keys sitting at the bottom of the trunk as well. So lucky us the only two sets of keys for our car are locked in the trunk with all the doors locked. The mosquitoes around the car were so thick as well, everyone was getting eaten alive. To avoid being one big bug bite, Jen and the girls went back down to the beach and were in the process of calling someone to come help us get into our car.

Jen had left her window down just a crack not nearly enough to fit an arm in, but I was lucky and found a stick the I managed to get in and unlock the door. Even more lucky one of the back seats was not fully latched and I was able to fold it down and get Jen’s purse out of the trunk. After all that excitement everyone was getting quite hungry so we stopped in Liverpool and ate McDonalds instead of stopping in Bridgewater for something good hahaha.

All in all it was a great weekend maybe if we are lucky we will be able to fit in another weekend like that before I start back to classes, which is getting very close to happening :-/