Sunday, August 31, 2008

Road Trip

Bear Lake is a recreational destination about 40 miles, or 70 km northeast of Logan that we'd been thinking about taking a little road trip to check out, preferably before the cooler weather arrived, so today was the day. 

Big in size (32km long, 12 km across), Bear Lake lies in both the state of Idaho and Utah.  Not unlike some of the Canadian Rocky Mountain lakes, it is a pristine turquoise blue colour due to the reflection of limestone deposits in the water.  The road out to Bear Lake is a winding secondary highway that climbs through a steep canyon (Logan Canyon - which we live at the mouth of), all the way up to a higher plateaued landscape that feels very exposed after cruising through the canyon riverbottom. 

We found ourselves a semi-secluded beach on the east shore of the lake to set up a blanket and our picnic lunch. Isla and Robin played on the big rocks along the shore until the weather turned too windy to enjoy anymore beach time so we packed up and were off to the local hotdog stand for a milkshake. 

On the way home we cruised into the parking lot of the local ski hill, Beaver Mountain. From what I could tell the terrain was mostly green-blue type runs, a great place for Isla to learn to ski. 

We got home early afternoon just as the weather took a turn for the worse and we watched the big dark clouds swell and open up from the safety of our livingroom picture window. This is the first rain we've seen since arriving, and after talking with some locals, this is the first real rain they've seen all summer. And it's a downpour type rain, not quite like what is happening along the Louisiana coastline at the moment with Hurricane Gustav, but enough rain and wind to stay indoors huddled on the couch and listen to the thunder roll in.

It really is incredible to think that 2 million people have been evacuated from the New Orleans area, especially with the devastation that Hurricane Katrina wreaked on these people still so fresh in their memories. As I cuddle my kids and put them to sleep tonight, I can't help but think of all the mommies and daddies in the southern part of this country, and hope they have found a safe place to lay their children down to sleep for the night.  


Saturday, August 30, 2008

A day with daddy

Well we made up for not seeing much of Robin this week and jam packed our Saturday together with lots of fun activities. We were up early as per usual, much to Robin's dismay (as he didn't make it home from the studio until after 2 a.m.), had a quick breakfast and were off to the Gardener's Market. This week we didn't feel the push to go garage sale hunting so we were able to enjoy the market and make a full morning of it. 
I'm amazed at the quality and variety of produce there is at this local market, and so affordable too! I filled my basket with fresh corn, garlic, cherry tomatoes, spinach, beets, apricots, a watermelon and a big box of peaches for less than $20. I am wishing this would last all winter, but alas it only goes until the end of fall harvest, some time early October. 

Despite the onset of fall, it sure still feels like summer here. After a big afternoon sleep during the heat of the day we packed up our swim suits and headed over to the aquatic centre.  It is a large outdoor waterpark with a variety of pools, waterslides and diving boards all enclosed in a city park. Isla braved the waterslide with her daddy, keen the whole way down until the last moment when they hit the cold water. Roscoe was happy to chill out with his mama in the kiddie pool and on deck in the lounge chairs in the late afternoon sun. 

It was nearly 6 p.m. by the time we packed up and left and we noticed the temperature was still at 30 degrees celsius. Our late departure meant a more difficult time of getting the kids to sleep tonight as they were overtired and likely overstimulated by the day's events. Since they now share a bedroom, getting them both down at the same time can be tricky, especially when they are both hot, cranky and exhausted. 

You'd never suspect anything less than innocence from these two sleeping angels, wouldn't you? 


Friday, August 29, 2008

Uncle Joe

Joe was our first friend in Logan. Actually, we were fortunate to have become friends with Joe long before this crazy grad school adventure was even dreamt up, back in Oregon through our good friends Tom and Kathryn.  I have to say that knowing Joe has made the transition moving here a lot easier, he has been a real godsend and big help to our little family. 

When Robin came down to Utah for the first time back in February to check out the facilities and meet the faculty, Joe (a Ceramics faculty member here at USU) put Robin up and showed him what a fantastic program this really is. Then when we brought the family down in July to house hunt, Joe set us up with a place to stay, lent us his phone, cruised the neighborhoods with us looking for FOR RENT signs. He was endlessly generous with his time and hospitality. 

And since becoming residents of Logan, Joe has continued to be there for us, helping us move furniture, get oriented and learn the ropes of what it takes to be a Utahn. The kids have both taken to Joe and light up when they see him so I think it's fair to say that he's officially Uncle Joe to our family. Isla is quick to point out that every red truck we drive by must be Joe's.  

Tonight Joe brought over Enchiladas for supper. They were fabulous, a soon to be favorite in our mix of recipes I guarantee it. Isla was excited to have Joe as a dinner guest to entertain and show off her toys, and I was excited to not have to think about making supper! Thanks Joe, you are the best.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Who's calling?

One thing I've learned about staying home with my sick kids the last couple days is to value caller ID on my telephone. I am absolutely flabbergasted with the sheer number of telemarketers that call here during the day. Apparently signing up for a new phone line means the phone company sells your name and new number to a plethora of bad telemarketing companies. I get at least three calls a day, seriously! 

You would think I'd be thrilled to hear the telephone ring, anticipating a friendly voice from back home, or perhaps a new friend calling for a playdate with the kids. But the last couple days I have answered the phone only to hear every poor pronunciation of my name possible and cruise ship fog horns blowing in the background. 

Speaking of new friends, we met a great couple just down the street from us that have two little kids as well. Mike and Kate, parents to Finnigan and Maggie (same ages as our kids). Mike is a professor at USU. They were curious about the new family on the block, drawn to our B.C. license plates as they spent a year in Vancouver before moving to Logan. 

We've exchanged phone numbers and they've already dropped in on us to bring by some banana muffins. Let's hope it's the beginning of a great friendship.....and a few more welcomed phone calls. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Doctor prescribes Popsicles

It's been just over a week since we left the country and we've already made our first health insurance claim. Both the kids have been fighting fevers the last couple of days. Roscoe's temperature finally subsided after a miserable and restless night, only for Isla's to skyrocket this afternoon. 

Isla has never been one to get fevers, in fact I think she's only ever had a temperature two other times in her short little life. But she was certainly not herself. The poor thing moaned and cried herself to sleep this afternoon, only to wake up in the same state.  

Robin came home for a supper break and my mother's intuition told me it was time to take her in. So off we went to the clinic just down the road. The whole process, despite my fears about insurance claims and such, went fairly smoothly. 

Turns out, Isla is fighting off a virus, nothing more. They tested her for strep, and it came out negative. Her little throat is red and swollen and the doctor ordered up some fancy popsicles, (or pop-squirrels as Isla would say)  for treatment and a whole lot of cuddles from her mama. 
Isla was pleased to help pick out the popsicles at the store and is beginning to feel better already. 

The best part of the experience was the direct billing to our insurance company. I didn't have to pay a dime up front. Felt a little like being at home. 

Monday, August 25, 2008

And he's off....

Today was officially Robin's first day of classes here at USU. Amazingly he was up with the kids, had them fed and had made me a coffee before I dragged myself out of bed to take over the childcare duties. I'm hoping every morning will start like that. 

His schedule is still getting sorted, but it sounds like it is nonetheless a full one. He is a teaching assistant this semester for both an introductory clay class as well as an art history lecture on top of his own classes and studio work. If today is any indication of a regular day, we'll be lucky if we see him for meals. 

Speaking of meals, I mustered up the energy to make homemade tortillas today. We are after all in the States, where authentic mexican is a staple food group. All that kneading and rolling, it took Isla and I a good part of the afternoon to make them and fry them up on the stove.  I'm questioning whether it just isn't easier to buy them for the whopping $2/per 20 pack at the grocery store?

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Well we've only been here a week and we've already had our first potluck party. Robin threw the idea out there on Friday at school that we'd host a potluck at our place this weekend. So Saturday night we had well over 20 dinner guests and quite a buffet of food, all in handmade pottery dishes of course. 

Apparently potlucking is as popular here as it is back home. Isla was thrilled to interact with some new faces and it was great to meet the ceramics department. There were undergrads, grad students, faculty and partners. Poor Roscoe missed out and slept through the whole party.

The highlight of the buffet table was most definitely the homemade pistachio ice-cream!  

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Too sweet a deal

Our large spacious livingroom is no longer empty thanks to a bargain find we came across while garage sale cruising yesterday morning. The activity of choice on Saturday mornings here in Logan is to go garage sale hopping. With over 50 listings in the local paper, we made up our strategy, had the kids up and ready by 8 a.m. and were off.  By 10 a.m. we were waning, having not found anything of real interest so we headed off to the local Gardener's Market in the park. 

Our spirits were lifted after we'd had another coffee and found some sweet deals on local produce, so Robin and I decided we had more energy to continue the hunt for some furniture to fill our empty house. The kids unfortunately were not so obliging. Rosoce's meltdown persuaded us to head for home. 

But just by chance we drove by a yard sale enroute to our place and low and behold, a couch! It was nearing noon and I think the couple running the sale were ready to pack things in so they offered us a deal we couldn't refuse. $25 was the asking price for the couch, and if we took it they'd throw in the accompanying armchair for free. Robin talked them down to $20! 

So we are now the proud owners of a red tartan couch and chair. Isla is thrilled to have been told she can jump to hearts content on this couch. For $20, who could deny her such fun? 

Friday, August 22, 2008


You really have to admire the fervent love of college sports that the Americans display for their beloved teams. Or at least that was my first impression walking through campus today. I found myself looking and feeling like a huge pink elephant, a fish out of water, or as Sesame Street would have sung "one of these things just doesn't belong here".

The kids and I decided to take a stroll through campus to check out the bookstore and really just to get out of the house on a hot day. We found ourselves in a sea of blue t-shirted twenty somethings, all sporting the same apparel. I kid you not, everywhere we turned students were milling about, all wearing the same shirt. 

The shirt's slogan reads: 
'Utah State Aggies
Go Blue or Go Home 
08-09 Athletics'

An Aggie is a Farmer down here, according to our local source of information, Uncle Joe. All college team sports players are referred to as Aggies, and the term extends farther to include all students. So our dear husband and father is now officially a farmer, or a USU AGGIE as they say down here in Utah.  

Later did I find out there was some controversy over the tshirts, which has caused some buzz in the media. The back of the shirt reads "I'm proud of my A" which has been interpreted as "I'm proud of my derriere, or ASS if you don't speak a little french. Funny, I thought the A would have stood for Aggies? 

If you want to know the full story, you can check out this wild controversy at:

Go Farmers Go!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Maple Syrup Conspiracy

Before we left Canada, I thought to myself, are there any products here at home that I couldn't live without, and of course maple syrup came immediately to mind. So I stocked up to be sure that we wouldn't go without that sweet syrupy goodness in our salad dressings and on our pancakes on Sunday mornings. 

Well much to my shock and horror did I discover that PURE, that's right, pure maple syrup, made in Canada might I also add, costs LESS here in Logan than it does back home. I am mortified! 

The kids and I have been touring around town checking out the various grocery outlets and comparing prices. And sure enough, the cost of maple syrup is lower at all three stores that I have been to, than what it would cost at home. Absurd really. So much for my theory that I'd make friends by having access to large quantities of pure maple syrup.

Groceries on the whole seem comparable in price, although most things seem to come supersized. We found out about a local market that happens on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings where you can buy great, cheap locally grown produce. So we'll be sure to check that out. 

We've stocked up on our dry goods and even baked some muffins yesterday. Life is beginning to feel a bit normal again, at least in the kitchen. I know that I'll really be back in the groove once I've made a few pies. Until then, shame on the maple syrup producers of Canada for underselling themselves! Too bad I don't have the will power to boycott and go without it. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Unpacking begins

It's going to take some time to get settled I think. 

Today we managed to unpack most of the kitchen boxes. I chuckled to myself when I realized how few pots we actually brought with us for eating off of. And then Robin returned from his first trip to the school only to announce that they want him to fill a display cabinet of his work. We may be eating off of Isla's IKEA coloured plastic plates for awhile, at least until Robin can get a firing in.

Which sounds like might happen sooner than later. Danny, an undergrad asked him to fire the double wide (train kiln) together in a month. He better get cranking. 

Besides a trip to the school to register for classes and the unpacking of kitchen boxes, we managed to set up our phone, change the utilities into our name,  sign up for a Sam's Club membership (like a Costco) and do a big shop! Productive day, I'd say. 

We'll see what tomorrow brings. 

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Goodbye and Hello

Whew! Don't ask me how we did it, but we managed to pack all of our "A list" belongings into the trailer, clean the house (sort of),  AND throw a great going away soiree so that we could see our friends and loved ones one last time.  We couldn't have done it of course without the help of so many. Our departure date was bumped back a few days, which meant we even were able to find a few precious moments at the beach before we hit the road on Friday. 

Our trip south to our new home took us three days, the first leg of the journey being the most stressful. Only an hour away from home, we were turned back at the border because of some missed form and fee that we needed. We hightailed it back to the public library in Salmo to access the internet and make the payment. The stress really got turned on when their printer decided to not work and we weren't able to print off the receipt of payment - the receipt that we needed in order to actually enter the United States. In the end, all worked out, the printer kicked itself into gear (I believe I actually WILLED it to work), and we were off again. 

We said our final teary goodbyes in Sandpoint ID to my sister and her family who accompanied us down for an overnight. We pushed through to Dillon, MO the second night after realizing that our Jeep and trailer travelled best in the cooler parts of the day, driving mostly during the evening and early morning hours.

We arrived at our new home in the early afternoon on Sunday. The streets were quiet, with mostly everyone being at church, but our arrival didn't go unnoticed. We've already had two neighbors drop by bearing welcoming gifts and some lovely young people with some reading materials for us to peruse..... 

Hello Logan, I think we'll stay awhile. 

Monday, August 11, 2008

To blog or not to blog

Here it is. A blog about the adventures of a little family from the interior of B.C. on a life changing adventure in Utah. In two short days our idyllic lives as we know them will change forever. We will say goodbye to our beautiful friends and family, our cozy strawbale home, our land and our country and head south in pursuit of higher education, friendly faces and more memory-making opportunities.

My decision to blog about our adventures at grad school has been inspired by the need to keep in touch with loved ones back home and a new appreciation for high speed internet (having coped with dial up for the last three years).

I welcome you to read this blog, take from it what you will, perhaps even learn from our experieneces should you ever decide to pack up your lives, toddler and infant in tow and take on a graduate degree in the US of A!

I will not promise you any great insights, but I will promise to post!
Now, I better get packing...