Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Just a few things I'm thankful for this week.  This feature was brought on by Louise at Talk Nerdy To Me. Check out her list as well, and then make your own!

1.  Yoga-loving, ninja Jesus

This is a picture that Eden brought home after colouring it at church. Every time I see it, I smile.  It looks like Jesus is doing some sort of ninja move.  Or maybe a yoga move. Either way, it makes me giggle.

I am so thankful that my kids attend a church where they are learning more about Jesus and God's great love for us. I love the children's program we have at Jericho Ridge. We have such wonderful leaders who invest a lot into our children every week. Earlier, Eden was telling me, "God loves me!" (she loves to say that!) "and I love God. And God loves you, and God loves Abi, and God loves Kai, and Bryn, and Rhysey and God loves Daddy." It is wonderful that she has grasped that much because really that is the most important part, isn't it? Even if we don't all agree on everything else, we need to understand His deep deep love for us. "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:7,8

2. Skim boarding

My niece wanted to try out skim boarding, so my sis-in-law and bro-in-law picked up a board off of Craigslist and tried it out on the weekend, taking Bryn along with them to White Rock beach. They had a blast, and I have been told that he is a natural! (I am not surprised, really; he just seems like he would be!)  I wonder if this is something that we'll have to try out as a family now. I've always thought skim boarding looked like fun, but I really doubt my coordination! :)

After he fell on his first attempt, he got up and said, "That was so fun! Let's do it again!" Got to love that attitude!

I had to laugh at the picture of my brother-in-law working hard on a sandcastle in the background!

3. Visiting Family

My Uncle and Aunt came by for a visit this past week, after driving across Canada from their home in Ontario. I haven't seen them since my sister's wedding in 2001! Wow. It was so nice to be able to see them and catch up again.  It's funny how as you get older the relationship changes with your aunts and uncles; you become peers and it's neat and strange all at once!

 (these aren't the best photos at all, but they are the only ones that I ended up taking!  We spent our visit just chatting and sharing dinner.)

4. Finding books that capture imaginations

Kai started and actually finished The Hobbit, the whole 300+ pages!  It took some time, but he did it! (he started it soon after school started last fall and finished it this spring) I was so proud of him!  (We have let him watch the Hobbit part 1 movie, and he is dying to watch part 2, and part 3 when it comes out this December! I am thinking it would be okay for him to watch, but we'll see. It's not a movie that we can just put on any time in our house with the little kids around. We're a bit strict like that!)

He was asking for my copy of the book again when I showed him The Lord of the Rings trilogy, telling him he could read it when he was ready. He immediately said, "I"m ready!" and started it this week!  I'm impressed!

5. Micah

I am thankful for this little cutie. My newest little nephew, Micah, who was born in February to my favouritest sister and her husband.   Seriously, this little guy just makes me so happy.

6.  My silly boy

Kai has such a funny personality! He is starting to grow up and mature, and his fun side is coming out more. He's at this in-between stage of kid and almost teen; this middle school stage.  Where he gets the giggles because his legs are "frilly" (that means that he is starting to notice the hair on his legs, haha) and actually wants to give his Mom hugs again. 

7.  An empty driveway

This one is a filled with thanksgiving but also sadness. My Chevy Venture van died (after we fixed the transmission, too) and had been sitting in the driveway for a year now, waiting to be fixed. My Hunny can do work like this, thankfully, but he just hasn't had any time to do it. His list of things to do around the house is so long already and so something has to give. After going back and forth on different solutions, we finally decided to just sell the van.  It was sad because I loved that van  (although I do love our new one with it's working cd player and working engine) but I loved more that it was an eight seater. Going down to a 7 seater van meant that we couldn't take friends anywhere with us anymore.

The thankful part is that we got money to put towards our camping trip this month, and we now have a driveway free to park in again, and that the tow truck driver has 5 kids (all grown up now) and so he understood us. He even let Rhys climb on top of the truck and use the levers to pick up the van! That was cool!


8. Free Dinners

We wanted to go out for dinner this week, but didn't have much money (there doesn't seem to be many options for cheap meals but enough food for a family of 7, shockingly!) so we drove around trying to find somewhere that offered free kids meals. We were quite happy to come across Dennys in Walnut Grove that does just that every Tuesday night! Woohoo! And they actually offer a lot of choices for kids too, and it wasn't too busy there, so I didn't feel too stressed about having to keep five children settled and quiet and in their seats for an hour. For every paying adult, two children get free dinners, so that meant that we only had to pay for one child! (and technically Abi may be too old for the kids' meals, but they offered her the menu; we were expecting to pay for hers anyways)  It turned out to be an enjoyable evening.

9. My funny Hunny

He picked up this horn a while ago and decided to hallow it out. I'm not too sure why, to be honest, but when he finds something interesting that he'd like to build, he just does it! He has been practicing how to blow it properly too! (with and without the horn!)  

It turns out that the Call of the Wild is a terrible sound and not alluring at all!  But it sure made us all laugh, and I am thankful for a husband and father who is fun and silly too!

10. Scrapbooking with friends

I had been cleaning up and attempting to declutter my stuff, when I got distracted by scrapbooks and pages I had made in the past. I can't even recall the last time I scrapbooked! Several years, for sure! So when I was invited out to my friends' house for some stamping, I decided to work on some pages instead of some cards.  In the end, I accomplished nothing (forgetting my photos at home, on my table, really threw me off!) but it got me inspired to work more this week. I haven't taken any photos of my work yet, but I will post them later!

So there you go. Ten things that I am thankful for this week!  Check out Louise' list and then make your own!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


These kids here?


I loves them!

Monday, July 28, 2014


Despite finding five sprinklers in our backyard (it was like a treasure hunt!) and in the shed, we still haven't actually set one up yet. Instead, the kids have to use the one in the front yard, which is actually the garden sprinkler.  

Water the garden, water the kids, it all works out on a summer night!

Does anyone else find the smell of the water when it first comes out of a warm hose just a bit .... happy?  It reminds me of summer, and hoses, and sprinklers, and warm days.  Yep, it smells like happy.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

soccer camp

This past week, Bryn was able to participate in a Soccer Camp at the church up the hill from us. I have wanted to sign the kids up for this camp for a few years now, but it has never worked out before. Until this year.  The timing was right, we had the money, I don't know, but we had one happy boy. Especially since this was just for him. Kai didn't go (he isn't interested) and neither did Rhys (I wasn't too sure about his abilities, to be honest. He'd like to kick the ball around, sure, but I think that it just wasn't something he should be doing this year.) and that made it special too.  So from 9 until noon, every day, I took B up to the church for his VBS program.  (I was very thankful that it didn't start earlier than that, too!)

Bryn had a great time. Not that he would tell you that or show any enthusiasm. But we can tell. He has a subtle way of being happy about things. (I find it hard sometimes since I get easily excited. He takes after his Father in that respect!)

On the second day, Bryn won a Corvette Stingray model car!  (They were giving out prizes in random draws at the end of each day.) That was pretty cool too!

On his last day of camp, he received a soccer ball and a water bottle. And the family enjoyed a BBQ lunch put on by the church. Very cool!  (as well as a Bible and a CD of the songs they sang, for those who didn't have their own Bibles at home. I guess Bryn felt he didn't own one of his own, so he asked for one. He has already read a few chapters of the story of King David, so that's cool too!)

I think that this is something that we would definitely do again for him next year!

Friday, July 25, 2014

reno nightmares

We started home renos a few months ago. We have lived in our house for 11 years now and so it was time to replace and update a few things. The first being our kitchen. It was gutted and remodeled when we first moved in, but things needed to be replaced (the dishwasher and fridge definitely was top of that list) We also knew we'd need to redo our deck again (it's tough being in full sun, so the paint chips often), and were deciding what to do for that when other things happened. 

Such as.......a car hit our house!!!

Yes, really.


This happened at 2:45am in May, over the Long Weekend. The road curves near our house but the BMW did not. We woke up to a loud BAM! then we hear the car drive away, (which pisses me off), so we rush out onto our deck. We see the car drive down the road dragging something, and ask our neighbour (who also got up) what happened, and Steve tells us, "He hit your house!"


The car hit right at the corner of our garage/deck, which freaks me out, since we are standing on it!  It was quite a surprise to think of. You could see these perfect car tire lines across the neighbour's lawn heading straight to our house. It missed their vehicle by just a fraction!  Meanwhile, it smashed into the utility trailer that was parked beside the house (filled with reno debris that would need to be taken to the dump), and pushed it a good 10 feet into our garage.

Thankfully our neighbour called 9-1-1 and the police came out. Thankfully, the car didn't get very far down the road and the police found them easily. (it turned out it was our tarp that they were dragging) Thankfully, the house itself wasn't hit and no one was hurt. (just the garage badly damaged)  But man! It has been quite the journey!


 At 4:30am or so, a woman brought her teen daughter to see the damage done to our house. (it was her BMW, or rather her fathers', but she was just the passenger) They were both tearful and shocked and apologized. Many times. What can you say?  We felt it only made sense to offer forgiveness.  And then as they were leaving, I felt the need to offer the mom a hug and to let her know that we believed in a God who heals all things. My Mom-heart ached at what her mom-heart must be dealing with. (her teen possibly drinking, the accident, the car being damaged, damaging someone else' house, the endless what if's....)

The next day, around 1:30 maybe (I guess it technically was the same day), a young guy walked up to our house, looking very humbled and he tearfully apologized as well. He was the driver and he said, "I thought I was okay to drive," but he didn't notice the road turned. (I used that as a good example to my kids on the dangers of drinking. You can't always be sure of your abilities or lack of them when you drink too much.) We offered our forgiveness as well and I hugged him too. (oh, my sentimental mom-ness!)

People have commented on us forgiving them, but we felt that was the right response. Sure, we could be angry and we could yell and we could demand justice and jail time (the boy only has his N, for New Driver, which has conditions that he obviously ignored. He was given a suspension and the police officer told us that it will be many many years before he gets his full drivers' license. Not to mention the underage drinking, the damage, the leaving the scene of an accident..he'll have several fines to pay.)  But we also figured that is what the police did and that's what they heard from their parents. What we felt was needed to do was to offer them forgiveness and mercy and freedom from their mistakes. (while still paying consequences put on by their parents and by the law) 

It hasn't been easy dealing with a damaged house and insurance companies. We had to contact ICBC and our own house insurance. For two weeks, our garage was taped off with CAUTION and DANGER tape, and a huge black tarp. Lovely.  We loved having the neighbourhood see our utility trailer sticking out of our garage. (hey, it did get us out and talking to more neighbours though) But finally it is all cleaned up and the trailer removed; it is all boarded up right now. Yay.  The house insurance company sent out Belfor, a restoration company, to assess the damage, etc, but they had to have a Structural Engineer out to check it out first, which took a week.  Sheesh.

After all is said and done, the Structural beam is twisted and will need to be replaced. Plus the footings need to be replaced. (the BMW knocked out the cement wall in two places and that will need to be replaced.) And it was discovered that the foundation wasn't done properly when it was first built, so that needs to be re-done. Oh, and now we'll need new siding too, and a new garage door. And that's just the garage. We'll need to still do the deck this summer!

It's been a slight nightmare!

On top of it, Belfor pointed out that there will be some permit issues.  So it's been a bit stressful as we wait for things to move forward, and for decisions to be made.   

(this is the inside of our garage. It looks terrible! A lot of Hunny's tools and equipment were shoved and knocked over, but thankfully none were badly damaged.  His Sheer actually survived, and his Table Saw, underneath it all, actually was fixable as well. Kai had fun posing with the mess!)

The funny thing is that when it first happened, Hunny and I laughed. We were wondering how we would re-do our deck with no budget. We laughed at how God worked it out for us to get that deck done. He's funny that way!  We're getting money from the insurance company which will cover the cost for the renos, thankfully. It's just been a slow and confusing process. Until we get to start on things, our garage is boarded up. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thankful Thursday

It's that time of week again; where I look back over the things that I am thankful for. This feature was started by Louise, at Talk Nerdy To Me. Check out her list, then make your own!

1. Beautiful Flowers

These beautiful yellow lillies are at my parents' house. They have the best garden; I just tend to kill most of my plants still. I am hoping to one day have some sort of green thumb, but so far they are only green due to ink or paint! I guess we can't all be good at the same things. These just make me  happy looking at them.

2. Bedtime Stories

Eden grabbed some light bedtime reading choices when we slept over at my parents' house!  I love that she loves to read and has to have them all read to her. I hope that she grows into a reader, just like her sister. (the boys need more work. Or rather, they need to find some books that interest them.)

3. Late Night Chats

While at my parents' house, after the kids went to bed, my Mom and I had a de-stress-conversation. I couldn't sleep; I was hot and felt restless and just had too much on my mind, so I got up at 10:45pm. I noticed that my Mom was also up and so we sat together and had tea and chatted until 2:45am!!! I can't recall the last time I've stayed up that late chatting with her, but not likely since I was a teen! It was good to let things go and to have some support and encouragement and to find comfort in knowing you aren't alone in your thoughts. That's why women talk, right?  

I am so blessed to have opportunities like these.

4. Trips to the pool

I was able to take the kids to the pool with my mom, something that I can't do on my own. (I tried once and it was way too stressful and Rhys almost drowned, and it was just scarey.) I was so impressed with them! We hadn't been to the pool in Chilliwack in over a year and all of the kids have grown in their abilities! The Olders were more brave and were going deeper, and Bryn was putting his head under water often (He has been practicing at home in the bathtub for some time now) and even the Youngers were going deep. I personally think that they have some sort of death wish to drown themselves, but I do love their bravery. It is good to see. A year ago and they were mostly nervous and frightened of the water and got cold easy. This year, they were in the pool for an hour before making it to the hot tub, and even then they went back into the pool to swim for another hour! (all except Eden, who fell asleep in my arms for a nap, and B, who wasn't quite feeling himself.) I definitely think these kids are ready to go back for swimming lessons in the fall!

5. Music in the mail

I was surprised with  a package in the mail last week. It had no return address on it, but I can tell my mom's handwriting! She sent me the brand new cd Neon Steeple by Crowder, which I have been wanting for some time. It came up on sale at Blessings and I wasn't able to head there on my own, so she picked it up for me.  Yay for blessings like wonderful music, and yay for mail and yay for moms who love to give surprise gifts! 

I am loving this cd!  My favourite songs are  My Beloved, Here's My Heart, Hands of Love, Come As You Are....really, I love the whole cd!   I am hoping that David Crowder will come back up this way for another concert like he did with his band in 2009, or that Passion will come locally (who he is on tour with). What a blessing it would be to be able to worship with thousands of others to these songs.

6. Weather that holds out

We weren't too sure if the weather was going to be nice for my nephew's birthday party on the weekend, since there was a 60% chance of rain and it was windy that morning, but thankfully it turned out great! Not too bad after all. It wasn't hot and it wasn't chilly. The kids had fun playing in the park and Gavin loved all of his gifts and everything worked out!

 the birthday boy checking out his loot!


Yay for friends with babies!

7. Cooler Weather with sunshine breaks

I love summer and the warm weather, but let me tell you, I was so happy that we had a few cooler days this week! Too many hot days in a row make my kids stay up too late and have trouble sleeping!  So it was nice to be able to put them into bed at a more reasonable time and for them to sleep better.   I am also thankful that we have had those sunny breaks in the middle of those cooler days, because three rainy days in a row makes it seem quite sad and boring and restless for my children!

8. THIS.

This news makes me so happy, so thankful, so relieved. 

Meriam Ibrahim and her family were finally allowed to leave Sudan, and they arrived in Italy today, and apparently met with the Pope.  Such wonderful news!  In case you haven't been following her story, Meriam was sentanced to death in May for apostasy, that is, for converting to Christianity instead of the Muslim faith of the country. (Despite, her claims that she was raised a Christian in an Ethiopian family, and married an American man of the same beliefs, instead of being raised Muslim and converting to Christianity, which apparently is illegal there.) She had been in prison since May, where she gave birth to her second child. 

After petitions, several country leaders and general opposition (I signed a petition!) the ruling for death was changed and she was released. But she wasn't allowed to leave the country. Until today. Hooray! 

As a Christian, this makes me so happy. She was my hero as I thought about the possibility of having to die for her faith. We live in such a safe country and I have no idea what it is like to face death and opposition and persecution for my beliefs.   
As a human, I am happy to hear she is safe because I also believe that everyone should be able to practice whatever they want for beliefs. That is the free will choice that God gave us.

You can read Meriam's story here.

So that is my list. Go check out Louise's list, and then make your own. There is so much to be thankful for!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

silly moustachioed crew (wordless wednesday)

Monday, July 21, 2014

camping on "the island"

Every summer we do a big week-long camping trip with friends, and every year we talk about how we wish we could do more trips. So this year, we managed to get one trip in with just our family at the beginning of the month, before our big one next month! It was fun and tiring and a different experience for us.  For one, Hunny wanted to surprise us, so he wouldn't tell us where we were going! He gave us one clue though: we would be going on a big boat! H'mm...curious. I jokingly said sailing, and a cruise, but it was clarified that we'd be taking a ferry! That could mean three different places off the top of my head. Victoria, which we had been wanting to take all of the kids to for a while now, Galiano Island, where we had camped  for two summers when it was just the three kids, or Powell River, where my brother lives with his family, and where we hadn't been in years either!

We ended up going to Powell River!  My Hunny couldn't take not telling us anymore, and my refusal to guess (haha), so he had to tell me. (Although, truthfully, I had already found out by accident.) And then he spilled it to the kids later by not being careful what he said around them! It was a fun surprise though, and we didn't know about the location until two days prior to our leaving. (trying to plan a camping trip without knowing for sure where you'd end up wasn't easy. I kept having to remind myself that the climate across BC is pretty much the same. We'd need some shorts as well as pants, and it's always good to pack a swimsuit just in case!)

I haven't been to Powell River to see my brother since I was pregnant with Rhys, with my parents. And Hunny hadn't been since before Bryn was born. So it was a long overdue trip! It was nice!  It takes two ferries to get there (so we were up at 5am to pack up and leave to catch the first ferry of the morning. Ugh. I don't like mornings at all!) and is on the Sunshine Coast, which is still on the Mainland, but I seem to have a hard time remembering that and I still think it is on an Island! It was funny driving around and telling myself that it was really just the other side of Whistler that we were at. In fact, there is a few logging roads that you can drive to get there, but it is so rough and long that no one drives it. It would be so nice if BC would decide to pave a road there, but then they'd miss out on all the revenue from the BC Ferries. Phooey. Oh well, taking a boat is fun for the kids.  Not so much for me though. I admit to having a bit of fear when it comes to windy open spaces near water, and having an unnatural fear of the kids being swept off the boat deck and into the ocean! Thankfully those were unwarranted!

We had a slight half hour delay for the second ferry at Earl's Cove as there was a bike race that was setting up.  I was impressed with all of the competitors; I found out it was a 7 day race and this was day 4. Wow. Good for them!

 Our first night had my brother and sister in law come by the campsite with their kids and snacks and stuff that we had forgotten to pack (like sugar, ice, coffee, wood...) It was a fun evening. The older cousins took my kids down to the water and they played there while I got to sit by the fire and visit. That doesn't usually happen!

Our second day was spent driving around Powell River and checking out the other campsites (we are deciding if we will end up back there for our big trip in August with our friends, so we need to see which sites are bigger and more to our style.) I was surprised with Powell River; it is bigger that I thought. When I visited in 2008, we spend the weekend at my brother's place and didn't go out sightseeing or anything.

 (Eden wanted us to wear her hats)

There was fun trips to the water, and catching small fish with two other boys, named Talon and Kale.  Kai managed to catch one, which freaked him out just a bit! (my not-so-brave boy!)  Bryn wanted to see how deep he could walk in the lake and made up to his chest.

Rhys found a caterpillar, actually I found one on my shirt and gave it to him, which he named Friendly. He pet it and made a little home for him, and loved on it for some time. It was sweet. Hunny was finally able to convince him that maybe it was best if we let Friendly go find his family, so Rhys was lifted so he could put him onto a leaf.  It was a sad, sincere goodbye!

The funny thing is that we found a caterpillar the next morning that they were convinced was Friendly, so there was more loving and petting before we released him again!

We roasted bottoms and s'mores on the campfire, and Kai made it his job to chop wood and keep the fire going.

 I mentioned earlier this week that my Dad is staying at Mark's house now too, working with him on some painting jobs, so he came up to our campsite one night too. That was fun! 

Our last evening in Powell River was spent at my brother Mark's house, where the kids got to snuggle with their cousin Emma's kitten Charcoal, swing in the backyard, swim in the pool (Abi was really only the bravest to swim, since it was too cold for the others. She attempted to bring them in with her, but no one else lasted!), play video games with cousin Isaac, and sit out by the backyard firepit.

Our camping experience was different this year. We went tenting, instead of using our tent trailer (to save on costs. We'd need to take two vehicles since the truck that pulls the trailer doesn't fit all of us, and that would cost a lot for the ferries) and we had family to visit! We have never gone camping anywhere local-ish were people could come see us. I liked this opportunity!

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