Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adventures in Calgary

Okay, it's been forever since we posted and SO much has happened! Here are a few things that have happened over the last month or so:

Brennan and Amy both graduated from BYU with their Masters degrees. Brennan completed his Masters of Accountancy and Amy completed her Masters of Music in Performance. Brennan graduated summa cum laude and with high distinctions. Maybe Amy got something cool because she got 4.0 in her grad program but we'll have to see when she officially graduates in August. Either way, it is done! It is finished! Hallelujah!

We moved! From our apartment in Provo, to staying with Brennan's family, to Brennan flying out to Calgary, Amy and Hyrum out to Seattle to be with her family, and finally all were reunited in Calgary about a week ago. So many airplane rides!

Here's a picture of the city we took while walking on one of the bike trails around Calgary.

Amy transitioned from student-mom to a stay-at-home mom. Hyrum seems to be loving all of the extra fun and attention.

So, that's it for all of the BIG news. Since moving here to Calgary, we've learned a few things.

1) Driving is crazy. You can check out Amy's personal blog if you're interested in all of the crazy antics that one has to endure here.

2) Brennan and I noticed that some people here pronounce the name of the city CAL-ga-ry and others say cal-GA-ry. I asked a lady at church today why the difference and she explained that Calgarians are lazy and say CAL-ga-ry and Canadians from outside of Calgary say cal-GA-ry. Just a little tidbit of information.

3) Grocery shopping here is remarkably expensive. We're talking $5 for a gallon of milk and $7.50 for a pound of chicken breast. We splurged the other day and bought chicken breast on sale for $4.50 a pound. Ouch! But, it seems like that's the best it will get. As for milk, we even looked into powdered milk but even it is almost expensive (the dollar or so we would save on the equivalent of 4 gallons didn't really seem like it was worth it for the chalky taste).

4) Speaking of grocery shopping, most places make you pay for your bags here. So, not wanting to pay for them, we bought our groceries, loaded up the cart, and hauled them back out to the car that way.

We also MAYBE gave Hyrum the bag of French bread to keep him occupied. He seemed more interested in the bag than its contents.

5) Environmentalist is not a bad word here. In fact, one sister even talked about caring about the environment as one of her defining characteristics in Relief Society last week. Wahoo! Related to that, we arrived at our apartment to discover that there are only two VERY small garbage cans (we're talking the old metal ones that Oscar the Grouch lived in) for both the upstairs and the downstairs, but one very large recycling container. Considering the fact that both of our families have babies, one can see where diapers were going to become a problem. Diapers alone could fill one of those things! As such, we've decided to move over to cloth diapers and wipes. In the long run, we save lots of money, help the environment, and provide a place to throw away our kitchen garbage :)

6) Our credit means nothing here. This wouldn't pose a problem except for two things: the bank account and the car. As far as the bank is concerned, there are only 5 banks in all of Canada. As such, they don't really have to compete to get customers and therefore free checking (chequing) doesn't really exist. The bank account we chose has a monthly fee if we don't keep a minimum balance of $2000 in it and we can only have 30 transactions a month. Since 30 transactions has the possibility of adding up quickly, most people get a credit card and use it for all of their transactions and then pay off the credit card monthly. Only problem is we have no credit here so we're still waiting to hear back if we even have that option. We even had to pay a $200 deposit for Brennan's cell phone for work. (on a side note, our new most-commonly-heard-phrase is, "there will be a fee of $_____ for that, please. Boo on having to start everything anew!)

Now on to the, same deal. No credit = worse than no credit at all. Also, since Canada considers the first three months of a job to be a probationary period, Brennan's employment also is not considered. So, no credit, no income consideration, and little money to pay outright for a car = no car for the Cartwrights at the present time. Though it sounds kind of icky, we really don't go very many places. We live within walking distance of a grocery store, Brennan was already riding the bus to work, we can get to church by bus, a branch of the library is close by, and other than that, we don't really have very many places to go.

Today we took the bus to church. It was Hyrum's first bus ride!

Here's a picture of a big stairway that we walk up to get to the road the church is on. Hello flower-power!

The good things about taking the bus instead of having a car for now are: more walking = Brennan and Amy getting into better shape, Hyrum doesn't have to go in his car seat as much these days, we save money, AND we can claim it's all in the name of environmentalism. So really, it's all fine! But, come winter, we're definitely going to want that car, brrr!

Other than that, it's mostly just life as usual. Here are a few more pictures, just for fun!

Hyrum and Mommy try to go for a walk every day to get some exercise and fresh air.

Hyrum got his very own library card! Apparently they give them to babies here for free. He seemed to like it pretty well.

We've also been going on a lot of pleasure walks as a family. As I mentioned before, there are some lovely bike trails around. We went for an extended walk this week. Mommy decided it would be fun to head back home one the walking path rather than the bike path. Big mistake! Stairs everywhere! But, we made it, even with the stroller. That thing off-roads pretty darn well! Hyrum seemed a little confused by the whole experience.

Well, that's all for now folks. Sorry it was so long. Now that I'm home a lot more, hopefully the updates will be more regular. We have lots of videos that we've taken on our new video camera but we haven't been able to get the software onto a computer yet to upload them. But, all things in time.


  1. I miss you guys so much!!! It sounds like you're having a great time in Calgary, even though it's so much more expensive. Hyrum is looking cuter and cuter!!!

  2. Amy! I didn't know you had a blog(s)! Sounds like you're getting used to Canada... good luck! And I never told you... congrats about having a baby!

    -Jamie Hutchison