Wednesday, September 7, 2011

a view from above

I have been a slacker to say the least with my blogging. But I am going to catch up, starting right now with the continuation of our B.C summer vacation.

I am not a very outdoorsy person. Not that I don't like the wilderness or nature; because I really do. However, I do not like the thought of being chased down by a cougar, or fighting off a momma bear who is certain I am threat to her cubs. And these fears just kinda stunt the growth of my love for the great outdoors!

J, on the other hand is. Well he's not a fan of fishing, but other than that he totally loves all that nature has to offer. And mountain climbing is his favorite activity. I am afraid of heights, and not a fan of allowing E to wander to far away from me. But when he decided to take the big girls to climb his favorite mountain at Nana's, there just was no stopping him! It's not that it was just the climb that consumed him, it was a favorite activity to do there when he was a kid. And those darn childhood memories, whether good or bad, can really drive us to do just about anything to either re-live them or fix them!

J really wanted to experience this one with his big girls. I just couldn't take that away from him or them. So they planned it all out, packed up, and we loaded into the van. The plan was that I would drive them to the base of their chosen mountain, they would hike up, have a lunch, hike back down, then all the way back to Nana's. I nervously dropped them off and gave instruction's which most likely didn't need to be given!  ;)

They started out and S and I drove back to the house. We planned to have a nap, clean up, do some laundry, and work on a rag rug. That all sounded way more fun than climbing a mountain to me; but didn't manage to convince anyone else.

Time passed quickly and I soon forgot about how nervous I was. I made a coffee and settled out on the deck with my rug. All of a sudden my cell started going off! It was a text from A telling me to go outside. They had reached their first point and wanted me to go out on the deck so they could see me. Well I was already there, and not only could they see me; I could see them! Pretty cool.

They said they would keep climbing. and let me know when they were on the way back down.

Every once in awhile I would get a text to go outside. They would wave and yell "Hi mom!". Which I'm sure everyone golfing really loved that! Eventually they stopped for a lunch, which I'm sure consisted of licorice, candy bars, and maybe even chips! Then headed back down.

It took them a couple of hours to do the hike, and we ALL survived! The big girls had tons of stories about the deer they saw, the spots where the called out to me. How E jabbed her walking stick into her toe when she tried to stab it into the mountain to claim it. And about the little toy car someone else left up there. They showed me all the pictures they took during the hike.

Just another great day living life and conquering fears on summer vacation!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Linden Gardens

Tuesday night Jarrett and I sat up after all three girls had gone to bed and looked up things to do here in Penticton. We made a list of all the sights we wanted to get in before heading off to Kelowna on the 19th. And one of the sights that made it to the list was Linden Garden in Kaleden. After a few house hold chores we packed up the girls and headed down the mountain.

You may think this was a "boring" idea for children. However you would be wrong. Our girls love to garden, they love flowers, nature, and just being outside in general. So walking around this ginormous garden was right up all our alley's! We all fell in love! I took so many pictures that our camera battery died! So J and A resorted to there phone camera's toward the end.

The views were amazing as well! We rounded a bend in the path that took you to a little pond. And just beyond the pond was this view of the lake and mountains behind! It was so stunning I got a little teary eyed! And if you look close enough at the mountains you can see the rows of grapes in the vineyards of Naramata! I tell you this is God's country! Enjoy!

view from pond

beautiful walk ways

we found snails underneath the leaves of the yellow flowers


Road trip. Let’ drive for fourteen hours with three kids!

It was an early rise in Hanna Alberta. J and I knew we had quite a long drive a head of us. The girls even woke easily, a rare occurrence with A! She and I headed down the  breakfast room  and loaded up on continental goods for the family. Back in our room we chowed down, showered, dressed and crammed back into the van all by 8:30 am! Look out Penticton we’re on the way!
J  "making good time!"
crammed in


Even though this half of the drive would be hours longer, (8 hours in the car to Hanna including being lost so far!),  our moods were a lot better than the previous day.

except little S wasn't lovin the drive
From Hanna we went through Drumhelller. A, had been obsessed as a little girl with dinosaurs. Her life long dream had been to go o Drumheller! But being 13 means denying this in all ways, shapes and forms! I guess dinosaurs are not the in thing!

Rain started right after Drumheller. And maybe I shouldn’t say rain but tiny water bombs! The rain wasn’t coming down in sheets, it wasn’t windy, but the drops were so big they sounded like hail! It rained off and on throughout the mountains of Alberta. But it was  peaceful and rather nice to not have to drive with the a.c cranked!

Excitement started to rouse as we drew closer to Banff. We had been there as a family the last time we were out at nana’s. We had stayed a night there on our way back home. And if you’ve ever been to Banff you know there is no way you can resist falling in love with the place! Plus it means only 6 more hours of driving ….. According to J!  ;)

We passed by the turn into the village of Banff to save on time. J and his “making good time” thing. But topped at Roger’s Pass to stretch our legs, nurse, and take pictures. And I must make a point of mentioning how amazingly well behaved all the girls had been! Even little S who is just a baby! We took a few pictures at the continental divide and were back in the van.

We came across the animal bridges built over the double highway we were on. Explaining to E that they built them so that the animals could cross safely and that us humans are not allowed up there.  She thought that was pretty cool.

Within minutes of going under these bridges we came to a spot where a bunch of cars were pulled over. People were all lined up on the side with cameras. As we pulled over we saw what they were so excited about. A baby grizzly bear was running around behind the giant chicken wire fence! OK!!! SO now we’re ridiculously excited!!! We had never seen a bear (once in a zoo in Bismarck, ND. But not a real live wild bear!), not  one of us had! As the van came to a stop and as we pulled the camera out he ran off. We never got a picture to remember the moment, we all, at the same time, saw our first bear. But I’m sure we won’t soon forget!

Back on the road. And urgently needing to pee! This messes up the “making good time” thing, but the girls and I didn’t much care! We pulled over in Lake Louise. I just need to make a note of how different men and women are. And maybe it’s different in your family, but my side and my husband's are similar in this way. The men don’t need to eat. At all! Not when they have an agenda at least. Somehow hunger seems to recognize the much important “making good time” issue and pass right on by them.  Yet it seems to find us women and the children every darn time! So needless to say J lost out this time and we found a restaurant in Lake Louise and filled our bellies!

Back on the road. The rain finally stopped just after our lunch break. The sky was clear and it was hot! And the only hope now was to get to Penticton before the sun went down! How absurd to finally get to the point of your destination in the dark!

The drive became a little more interesting the further into B.C we got. With many up’s and downs into the mountains, many , many twists and turns. Before long both A and E were feeling car sick! Thankfully and surprisingly we never had one emergency pull over! Not one accident in the van either!

As we rounded turns and topped hills we found little towns quaintly built into the side of the mountain overlooking the lakes. We started to fall in love all over again with the beautiful nature surrounding us. And with each town counted Penticton was growing near!!

After 14 hours in, and out, of the van we made it to Penticton!!! Annnnnd the sun was still in the sky. Barely but it still counted!

A quick trip to Safeway to pick up some necessities, then back in the van for the 10 minute drive to nana’s house. S was not cool with this in and out of the van, 14 hour drive!!! And she screamed for 5 minutes on the way up the mountain!

Now, we aren’t used to S screaming!! She is quite a happy baby. She obviously has  her fussy time and days. But never ever has she screamed like this!! Both big girl were frightened, and I had to jump in the back to try calm her. After what seemed to be years I remembered she loves to scratch! Ya I said scratch! Anything new around her she scratches at it! So I put a book bag at the end of her seat and started to scratch it. After a minute or so she calmed and started scratching with me! Hahahahaha! What a kid!

Within 10 minutes we were unlocking the door to nana’s house at St. Andrews on the Lake! We made it!! A totally drive time of 22 hours!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Road Trip! Family Vacation 2011

Road trip! Look out B.C. we’re on our way!

July 10th has arrived! First off Happy anniversary to J and me! Married now for six whole years!  July tenth is the day we had planned to start our road trip to b.C. for our family vacation. But it is also the day after my uncle’s wedding, and we had partied the night away! So needless to say our hopes of hitting the road by 7am quickly turned into “if we get on the road by lunch and drive as far as the kids will let us” plan!

With a quick breakfast, packing, and “see ya soons” to J’s parents who are joining us in Kelowna in a week, and drove off.

This is officially our first family vacation, just us (well for a week at least)!  However our parents do live quite as ways away from us. Which means at least a 6 hour drive anytime we need them or our children are going through grandparent (being spoiled!  ;) ) with drawl!  And being we make such long drives we already know to be armed with all the paraphernalia a child will need! Nintendo d.s ‘s and games (new ones obviously! Couldn’t expect them to play old ones on such a trip!). Portable dvd players, even though our mini van in equipped with one already. A, who is 13 and E, who is 5 cannot watch the same movie of course!  Each had their own back pack (packed by none other than me), filled with age appropriate time, mind, and mouth occupying instruments! Saves my mind and theirs all at the same time!

On our way! Simple, J’s mom printed a short book of directions out for us! Bless her heart, I guess she knew we would need them. After an hour and a half in we were already lost!

lost by Tramping Lake

Being lost sure adds opportunity for adventure inside an adventure, but it also adds opportunity for fighting. And this is where J and I learnt  that we are very different in the way we see adventure.  J is more of the  “adventure starts once we get to where x marks the spot” kind of guy. Where I am the type that believes the adventure starts the second we start out! So being lost together really only means needless bickering about if we should check out the little towns we now have to drive through or try to get back on some sort of schedule! And just so you know …. I lost out! Haha

As it turned out being lost this time really didn’t add a whole lot of extra time to J’s so important “making good time” schedule! We even made it to our" hopeful point". The point where, even though we headed out late and even got lost, we hoped we’d get to for the night! Hanna Alberta would be our home for the night and the first stop on our family vacation road trip!

here comes the sun - kick off to summer vacation

The older girls have been out of school since the last week of June. But summer vacation doesn't really start until my husband J is on holidays! This is when the fun begins and this year that date was July 8th.

Our summer fun itinerary went something like this:
July 8th- travel up to J's mom and dad's
July 9th - my uncle's wedding (finally!)
July 10th - hit the road for B.C.!!!

However summer didn't start out the way we had envisioned to say the least! First off between May and June we experienced historic flooding for our region. So we weren't even sure we'd be able to go anywhere at all. Once the rain had slowed and our flooded basement had been dried and ripped apart,  the decision had to be made whether we stay home and make sure that our now demolished basement got renovated, or go on our merry little way and enjoy summer.

We decided to hit the road coming to the conclusion that our thirteen year old, A, will turn out fine if she had to spend a few more months in the spare room upstairs on the same floor as the rest of us! After all summer only comes once a year and can be very short lived in our neck of the woods.

 I got busy with weeding and house work so when the time came to pack up and be on the way it would go off with out a hitch. Wrong!

My grandmother fell ill, well she had been ill-ish, but took a turn for the worse ( this grandma is also the mother of the up coming groom to be). I sat down and prayed." Lord God grant us time, grant time for her to see her son get married. Grant time for Z (my uncle) to have his mother teary eyed and smiling as he stands and joins in union with the love of his life. Let this be a time to celebrate the beginning of life and not a celebration of looking back on a full life well lived."

As she sat literally on her death bed, Z called off the wedding, and God heard our prayers and felt our hearts ..... and she miraculously turned around.

The wedding was back on and our suit cases were already packed.

And with no time to spare (July 7th) our kick off to summer was finally here!

We drove all day on the 7th and even made a stop to see my grandma. She looked ill, but she had hope in her eyes and joy in her heart, and what else does one really need?! We stayed just over an hour and hit the road once again. This time ending up at J's mom's in P.A. it was a long day 10 hours in the van with one five year old and one 8 month old can make ten hours seem like twenty!

Reaching P.A meant J would have to check the forecast as he is an avid forecast fan! The news was not so good, rain, rain and more rain! Barf! Seriously, we've had enough of the rain, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Enough is enough!

My sister and I decorated all day on the 8th. We don't even have words for what it meant to us to see Z marry E!! Z has been very close to us, more like a big brother than uncle. And men of his calibre are a dying breed. His now wife, E was made for him for sure and we love her just as much! It rained off and on through out the day and night. And once again I asked God to help." It's an outdoor wedding Lord and he's just had to much and deserves the very best day."

Saturday morning the clouds rolled in and hung heavy. They spit at us every once in awhile, almost taunting us, mocking us. But we set up, we finished small touches, and lit the mosquito lamps.

I was asked to pin the boutonnieres on to our family, squeal! My heart swelled with emotion and pride over this one simple request. Oh how I love my uncle!!

Flowers pinned, guests arriving, everything ready to go and .... rain. Stupid stupid rain! We all sat in hopes we'd all get to see the "i do's" out side. The music started and the bridal party made their way down the isle. Still spitting. Then E and grandma A (her mother whom we've come to love deeply as well) start the walk and along with them .... the sun!

IT shone for the entire ceremony, receiving line and pictures!

  Grandma and Grandpa (mother and father of groom)

    Grandma A and the beautiful bride

The beautiful couple, husband and wife!

That night we danced to here comes the sun. and it was fitting, it felt right, we were blessed. and the song of summer 2011 will always be here comes the sun!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

forced purge ... washed away

Today I sit on the front deck of our house, watching Emma driving in her little pink car with her friend Harper. Thinking how resilient kids truly are. They are not the only ones I'm watching, not the only ones on our street. The flood clean up crew have come back, and today they are taking away all the damaged stuff from our basement.  It's been sitting in a heap of broken dreams, memories, broken desires for two and a half weeks now. And I sit and watch.

The girls are happy, all our girls are happy, not extremely rare. But it is hard to make three girls at so many different ages and different stages all happy at once. Happily driving the pink car, happily walking to the corner store for treats, happily napping. The men are happy as they haul away our broken fragments of a family we tried hard to put together. I feel alone, I feel unsure, I feel a sinking heart with each box lifted into the garbage truck. Yet as the girls ride pass me in the pink car with little pink cheeks that jiggle along with each giggle; I am a different kind of happy.

This forced purge has been  like a death in our family. The sewer water washed away so much more   away than plastic, or metal, or fabric. It affected each one of us so differently, and each one is healing in a different way. We have all clung onto different articles, different items held us back or moved us forward.

In some ways I feel like I am the cause, I am to blame. I did, in fact ask God to help us with the basement. I had felt for a long time the the t.v. had become and idol. Standing before us each night waiting for us, knowing we'll put other things aside for it, neglecting things that should be too precious to turn our backs on. I did ask God for help with all our "stuff". I am a pack rat of sorts, the kind that always believes I'll use "this" for 'something". And Jarrett is sentimental to a point where letting things go is so emotionally straining that it turns into anxiety and panic attacks. So Lord how can we honestly move forward in this basement? "Lord i need you to do this for us?" Well He didn't flood my basement but He was ok with it happening. I have come to the understanding that once God is ok with something it is a better use of my time, emotions, energy, and life, getting on board. And although this is hard, it's ok. we'll be ok!

Purging feels oddly good, great in fact. And at times I catch myself feeling lighter. If I stop to think about the weightlessness at that moment I would have to tell you that I feel like we've cured a disease. Like what was living in the basement had a terminal illness. we had put in our time, we were exhausted, spent. Like we needed off the emotional roller coaster it had put us through. Not saying that it is easy or a complete relief, yet there is a lifting of weight off ones shoulders. And now when I catch myself, I feel a sadness an, aloneness, but a peace, a quiet, a relief.

As frustrating as the entire process of insurance is, I am deeply grateful for this destruction. First off because flood water is not covered because it is an act of God, but sewage water is covered! I am grateful because God knew which water was best for us. Grateful because we were forced to purge because we needed the force. And thankful for all our friends. We have showered at their houses, we have bathed our babies, washed our clothes, ate, played and vented. Our oldest slept throughout the night last night for the first time since. And it is on a bed our friends have lent us.

I am amazed at our resilient children. Even though it has been traumatic for each one of them, and they have been stresses and pushed to the max. They do not sit on the front deck contemplating or longing. They have bounced back, whether it was a quick bounce or a slower dribble They are back. I will find strength in their best foot forward I guess. And pick myself of the front deck and go make dinner!

Monday, May 23, 2011

springspiration! craft challenge!

So I love to craft! In truth I love to create ... anything!  And even though my days are filled to the brim with house work, laundry, cooking, running kids around, and living this amazing life God has granted me; I still find time to fit in crafts. And that is why when my friend Monique asked if I would like to take part in her springpiration craft challenge I eagerly accepted!

She sent out a package to me and five or six other blogging/crafting friends. Each package contained a half meter of a vintage fabric, a string of pearls, two doilies, one button, and some bakers twine. The instructions were to create something from the materials provided, you could add to the materials but they were to be the bulk of the project! And the pearls were optional.

I must admit that receiving the package was like an addict receiving their "drug" of choice. Seriously! We were sitting on Monique's deck when she gave the package to me. My heart started to beat a little faster, my hands got sweaty, and all I could think of was what could be in there?! I truly have an addiction! I didn't open it right then and there and it took all I had in me not to! But I didn't want her to think "wow, she's kinda crazy and clearly addicted to crafting!" Because I clearly wanted to her to read about it here! LOL

As soon as the van door closed I was in full swing of creative juices flowing! Which I'm sure Jarrett was quite ok with, as it would have stopped the usual "so what do you want to talk about?", from me! Within minutes I had numerous ideas, but which one to choose?? Which one?!

A few months ago, after going through our basement (both my husband and I are a bit of pack rats), I decided that if I were to go ahead and keep crafting I needed to craft with a purpose! So that's where I started.

Being that it's gardening season and I love to garden I decided to make a flower pot. I headed to Michael's and bought a clay pot, mod podge, and a few brushes.

I took the pot and laid it on top of the material to see how much I would need. Then it took me a few minutes to adjust it so that the material would lay flat once I started gluing.

I glued a section at a time. Painting the pot with the mod podge then spreading the fabric on top and smoothing. I did this until the pot was covered and the fabric was as tight and flat as possible. I overlapped the back a little which made it look like a seam. I let it dry for about thirty minutes. Then I snipped slits into the extra material on the top and bottom, I think they were about an inch apart.

Then I folded them over and glued them. I let those dry for about ten minutes. I was getting a little impatient and they required less glue! Once the bottom and top were finished I covered the fabric in a coat of mod podge and let dry over night.

In the morning I cut the dollies in half and hot glued them to the bottom of the pot. Then I need to find a place for the button, bakers twine, and pearls! I ended up deciding the twine would go just under the lip of the pot. So I got out the mod podge again and glued the twine in place. Then I took the left over twine thread it through the button and tied a bow. I hot glued it to the pot, and the pearls to the bottom of the pot just above the doilies.

And TA DA!! My springspiration craft challenge was done!

Now she sits on the deck waiting for the rain to stop for longer than one day, so that I can fill her with beautiful flowers! I named her Mary after my mother's grandma, and I love her!

Thanks to Monique for this very awesome challenge. You can check out her entry for the craft challenge You can also find links to all the other ladies and projects involved in this craft springspiration!