Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Story of Hope and Survival

This is a touching blog/ story I would love to share with y'all.

I will let Heather introduce herself:

I am a mother to a quirky little 6 year old, Lily. She is my only child, and my whole world (I’m sure you know the feeling!)
The very beginning of Lily’s life was a little more turbulent than I would have hoped for. When Lily was just 31/2 months old, I was diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a type of cancer that kills 90-95% of those who have it. As I’m sure you can imagine, the first thing that came to mind when I was diagnosed was my baby girl and how I wasn’t going to be able to watch her grow up.

After all that, I’m still here 6 years later and cancer free! I'd like to turn my pain into purpose and become someone that other parents can look to for guidance, inspiration, and hope in situations like my own. I contacted you because I feel that your website would be an excellent place for me to share my story. Your visitors are the exact type of people I'm trying to reach out to; these are all the types of people who could gain something from my story.


If you'd like, check out my blog:
It details the struggles I went through as a new mom diagnosed with cancer.

Please go visit her and send good energy her way.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bad Penguin


I like how the Biodome has different ecosystems, here Kate is looking at the introduction to the St Lawrence valley.


Hiding in an egg is fun. I do not remember what kind of egg it is, but I don't think the kids cared.


When we arrived at the penguins we were happy to see it was feeding time. All the penguins were crowding around the care giver, eating fish after fish. I wonder how she keeps track who got fish already and who didn't yet. After a few minutes she got up and handed over a small penguin to another caregiver who came from behind stage, and disappeared with a flailing, wing flapping penguin in his arms. We had no idea what happened, so for now our theory is that it must have been a bad penguin and he was put in time-out.


After the Biodome we went to the metro, had food in the underground city and went to visit the National Library. There was a Manga exposition, pretty cool. We asked whether we could use the computers for internet access and it turns out that yes, that was possible after half an hour of showing official documents. They were very disappointed we couldn't show picture ids for the kids, beyond our Biodome card 'We need an OFFICIAL id, madam!'. I told them that the kids could get into Canada on their birth certificate and thought 'Geez, the birth certificates are good enough for the border crossing, but not good enough to browse the internet in a library?' Anyway, eventually we had our coveted internet access and the kids were all happy and content :D
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Monday, November 28, 2011

The Biodome


Sylvia grew elephants ears, and Erik almost got eaten by an alligator. Dangerous place it is!


Last time we didn't really see the otters, but this time they were active and visible and we enjoyed watching them for a while.


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Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Biodome

On Wednesday we visited the Biodome. We took the metro from the hotel, although I have to admit that it wasn't easy... I soooooooooooo felt like we were country bumpkins when we could not figure out how to work our three day pass and gain admission to the platforms. We tried many different things, including chanting and standing on our heads, but nothing worked. Until one of the locals took pity on us (when she stopped laughing that was) and showed us how to do it. Gah.


Next thing we lost Erik in the metro although we did eventually locate him again. Mental note to self 'Learn how to say 'I've lost a kid!!!' in French, since there is a good chance that the metro attendants will not at all understand English.' Luckily I was able to convey the message to them and they started calling around when Erik showed up in the next train. Phew...


The Biodome was fun as always, it is always nice to see all the different climate systems they have built.


We were planning to do the Science Center that day too, but after the Biodome and lunch we were ready for a break, so instead we went to the Grande Bibliotheque, the national library and saw part of their manga exposition.


Four pictures didn't work earlier today, hope they will this time.
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The Hotel and The Metro

The border was fast and easy (I might have told the kids about 25 times 'No Jokes! NO JOKES!!!! Border agents do NOT have a sense of humor! Especially not you, Rowan! Don't say anything unless they ask you a specific question.' (name changed to protect the innocent).
Most of our trip was accompanied by Northern lights, which was like the universe reminding us 'Life isn't so bad after all, is it?'


We arrived at the hotel past 9 o'clock at night and found out that their parking garage doesn't allow studded tires. And yes, my car has studded tires indeed because my driveway is steep and evil (No wonder no one wants to buy this house!). They gave us a map to another parking garage, and I found out that Kate is NOT good at reading maps. At all. 'nough said. Eventually we parked the car.


Thanks to the wonders of Hotwire, we had a nice hotel, and got a room on the ninth floor. None of the buildings in our town is higher than a few floors, so we enjoyed watching out all over Montreal. When we arrived, there were some fire dancers performing right in front of the hotel. How much better could it get? To top it off, Erik had not thrown up in the car and seemed to be over whichever bug had been bothering him. I just hoped it was not contagious, since I didn't want to be stuck even in a nice hotel room with puking kids.


It got even better next day when we discovered that our hotel was connected to a metro station, we could get there without ever having to go outdoors. Which was fun once we didn't get lost over and over anymore. The underground city of Montreal is quite amazing! We almost always saw musicians. This accordion guy was the kids' favorite because he played the Mario theme song!!!!

ok, one or two pics work, what about three?
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The Trip

The trip was not without adventures, as in the car not starting after getting gas in St Albans, VT. You know the cold feeling you get in your stomach when you turn the key and almost nothing happens... Mentally I was already trying to figure out how to get a rental car in the middle of nowhere and whether we could still make it to Montreal that night, but I also was hoping that it was just the battery and that jump starting would solve the problem. Of course, it did seem mightily unlikely that keeping the lights on for a few minutes while getting gas could have drained the battery, but I like to be an optimist.


The gas station didn't own any jumper cables. I didn't own any jumper cables, or at least didn't carry them with me in this car, since it's relatively new and not like the car I had before which had to be jumped over and over. Back then I always had the cables. So the gas station attendant asked all her customers whether they by any chance had jumper cables and about 20 minutes later we found our savior. We attached the cables and the car STARTED!!!!!!!!!! I didn't turn off the car till we were in the parking garage in Montreal!


One picture at a time worked. What about two at a time?
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Off to Montreal!

This is how our family room looked the day before Thanksgiving vacation. First there was a big hole when they removed our old door so that a new door to the deck could be installed. It was noisy, messy, loud, cold and not comfortable at all, even if it was for The Greater Good of the House Selling Quest. In addition to all that Erik was on the couch, throwing up, time after time. And a big snow storm was forecasted. We decided to leave it all and go to Montreal!


Testing just one pic at a time to see whether picasa is willing to post that.
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Snow, Life and Picasa Issues

This whole month, picasa has been having a hard time posting to my blog. I just did a web search tonight and found that a lot of people are experiencing it, but no sign of Picasa trying to fix it. I wrote a long post twice tonight, with many pics, but both times it got eaten. Giving up for now and just telling that we had snow again (to celebrate Thanksgiving) but we were happy to escape it on our Thanksgiving trip.


The picture gives a hint where we were, clearly a dangerous place...

More tomorrow or when Picasa finally starts behaving. For now doing 5,000 loads of laundry and trying to find my family room floor where we dumped everything when we came back from vacation.
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Before something looks good, it first has to look chaotic, right? Well, sometimes it does.


One baby step closer to selling this house by getting a new door to the deck! The old one was... holey, 5,000 years old, not very effective and somehow people didn't seem to like it as much as we had hoped. The new one is awesome!
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Saturday, November 12, 2011



Geocaching with a short hike to a local pond. It was getting dark, but still just enough light to hike in and back. Which was good, since I know I didn't bring any flash lights. We haven't been geocaching enough and I have gotten out of the habit of always having them with me.










It was getting darker and darker.


But we made it out just in time!

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Yes, We Are Dutch


And everybody knows that Dutch people wear wooden shoes, called 'klompen'.


This was your culture lesson of the day ^^
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Saturday, November 05, 2011



Many kids, many costumes, lots of candy.




Enough candy to make the pumpkin vomit...




The girls were Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach.


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