Our Travel Blog

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Driving Miss Donna - what does this mean? Whenever I want to go somewhere, if Don is home he will usually drive. He always says he is driving miss Donna! This blog is for our travels, usually with our truck and fifth wheel trailer, but sometimes in our other wheels. When we are not vacationing check in for updates, although less frequent, about our life at home and our wonderful family:)

Monday, December 31, 2012

Writer’s Wrap Up

Although I took the easy way out on my December post, it was a great month and now that I have some time to actually write something I wanted to share this fantastic month with you before it ends!

December was pretty quiet for Don, compared to October and November, he only worked two weeks!  The first week was spent in Peace River, then home for a week, and up to Fort McMurray.  Then it was what I call Christmas week.  The problem with your own business is there is always paperwork to do, and that did take some more of his down time.  From the actual bookwork, to follow up drafting, permits, etc. he stays busy.

It was the first external Safety Audit for the company this month, and a bit of a nervous time.  The goal of having a Health and Safety Plan is multifaceted; obviously the safety of the workers – Don, then there are WCB premium benefits, and the achievement of receiving our COR (Certificate of Recognition), which many companies require you have to sign a contract.  The auditor we hired was very thorough, easy to work with, and we look forward to hearing the results soon.

The second week of December saw quite a surprise in our life – it appears my mother made a decision to move from North Battleford, Saskatchewan to Edmonton , Alberta to live with my brother and his wife.  Mom has always been a strong, very independent and private woman, and this move surprised all of us.  But she seems to be settling in, and is happy.  Hopefully we will be able to see her more frequently in upcoming months and years.  I know my sister will miss her, as they lived under 2 hours apart.

Mom had never met our son in law Jeremy or our newest grandson Connor, so our trip to Fort McMurray to babysit and visit was a perfect opportunity.  So we picked her up and took her for a five day visit!  She experienced Lindsay and I on a Christmas baking frenzy and Jeremy and Don on a mission to create multiple types of deer sausage and jerky.  Mom and I returned home on the Red Arrow bus as Don was scheduled to work in McMurray that week.

That same Monday, December 17, Erica and I attended a Rita McNeil and Frank Mills Christmas Concert at the Jubilee Auditorium.  It was FANTASTIC!  Especially Frank Mills.  Not only is his piano playing extraordinaire, he has a great sense of humour, singing voice and stage presentation.  Rita’s band was great as well. 

On Saturday December 22 we hosted the 1st Annual DWS Aggregates Consulting Inc. Christmas Party.  It was a blast, and we are so lucky to have so many friends and work acquaintances that enjoy our `little`house parties.  2012 was a fantastic business year for Don and we appreciate everyone`s support in the transition of our lives.

My month was absorbed by all the Christmas prep for not only the day, but the company party, etc.  My friends Anne and Maria and I spent a few days cooking together, as well as a special dinner out with Dana.  What a great way to catch up with each other and still add productivity to your day.  We cooked dozens of perogies, baked squares, and almond Roca.  Definitely a do over for next year!  Shopping trips with Sharon, visits with the kids, a weekend with Ron and Bev, and on and on.

One project I finally took a day out to work on was compiling our blog into a book for Don.  (Hard to buy something unique after all these years).  Along with producing an amazing keepsake of the past few years, I did learn some lessons about blogging.  Way less use of happy face icons, and not using photo albums if I ever want to print it again.  I used Blog2Book and highly recommend it to all.

Our Christmas Day, held this year on the 26th, with the family was exactly how I wanted it.  Tracy, Cal and kids arrived about 10:00 am, and brought my mom with them.  Lindsay and Jeremy and Connor were here the night before.  It started with traditional Christmas Morning Wifesaver, followed by extreme gift opening, relaxing, playing with new toys, a turkey that outdid all others, and ended with all the kids bathing and donning tjeir Christmas pj`s.  It was great to have Mom with us as it was the first time in over 25 years.

The next day Don and I headed to Tisdale for a few days to see all the Smiths.  It was a busy 3 days but worth it.

So that brings us to today, December 31.  We are spending some time at the lake lot today, attempting a bit of a toboggan party with the kids.  We have no plans this evening, just a quiet night at home by ourselves, which has not happened often lately.

January will find both Don and I working in Fort McMurray.  Yes – I will be working, don`t roll your eyes,  I am going to do some work for Volunteer Wood Buffalo.  January will fly by, and hopefully February as well, so Don can get back to what he loves best – Driving Miss Donna.

I will keep you posted throughout the next 2 months, and let you know when we hit the road in March, this time for 2 months!  Happy 2012 and welcome 2013.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

This is the annual Christmas Letter – enjoy!

Where oh where do the days, or the years, go?

Life is fantastic in the Smith house!! 2012 was another year of growing and learning for both of us. Don’s consulting company (DWS Aggregates Consulting Inc.) is far busier than had been expected. Silly people keep saying good, when all Don wanted was a little something to keep himself a bit busy. The company has morphed into a very successful venture, thanks to Don’s renowned expertise in aggregates. Along with that it has provided me with an opportunity to take training in the safety field, and become the Safety Coordinator for the company. We work very well together, and besides the safety stuff, I also do the bookkeeping, etc.

So a 2012 recap…

While Don spent January and February working in the Fort McMurray area, I was finishing my Volunteer Alberta contract until the end of March, and that allowed me to travel there a bit as well. On a balmy February day while I was conducting a workshop, a surprise arrived a bit early – Lindsay and Jeremy welcomed the most adorable little boy, Connor James, into the world! I arrived in McMurray, Lindsay went into labor, and the next day there he was. Lindsay’s story may vary! An incredible addition to our family, which now totals 10.

We travelled south for the month of April, and as always were treated to visits with great friends, sightseeing beyond belief, and days of relaxation and fun.

The summer went by all too fast, starting with our annual camping trip on the May long weekend with family and friends, days and days at our lake lot at Lac La Nonne, visits with the grandkids, a fabulous Smith Reunion, great days with my Aunt Doreen and Uncle Mike, trips to McMurray to visit the family, including an August long weekend camping trip I hope becomes a tradition, a Campbell birthday party in Rocky Mountain House, and my safety training classes. Don mixed in some work, and before we knew it September arrived.

We headed off to the Washington and Oregon coasts, and Lindsay and Connor joined us for a week.

Sadly, Don has been working since our return, but we are looking forward to 2 months away next spring.

Hopefully that thought sustains him as he works up north until then!

Our family is all doing great!

Lindsay, Jeremy and Connor are settled in their home in Fort McMurray – not just the house but the community. Just as Don and I fell in love with the place years ago, so have they. Lindsay has been enjoying her maternity leave, and so have I as it has given us a chance to visit more often.

Tracy, Cal, Blake, Emerson and Reese are flying through life as well! Blake (5) started Kindergarten in September, Emerson (3) is in her first full year of preschool, and Reese (2) is trying her best to keep up with everyone! Blake plays hockey, they all swim, and Emerson attends dance classes.

As every grandparent out there knows – I could write pages on how beautiful, adorable, smart, etc. they are, but that just goes without saying!

Please feel free to follow us on Facebook, or follow our life’s adventures on our blog: www.drivingmissdonna.blogspot.com You can see tons of photos and read about our adventures as we travel or not.

We can only hope 2012 brought you all as much joy as us, and look forward to the same in 2013.

here are our Christmas Angels…

Cameron xmas