Sunday, August 30, 2015

Summer Storm and preparedness

We survived the Summer Storm of 2015. It was no "Great Storm" or "Storm of the Century" or "Zombie Apocalypse", but it was unexpected.

I admit that even though it was predicted that we'd get an "entire summer's worth of rain" (that was the Vancouver Sun's headline, mentioning how we were to get 80-140mm of rain between Friday and Monday. I can't find the article online anymore though.) I had mixed feelings. A part of me was pessimistic. After all, we've had so little fall this summer, that the idea of a huge dump sounded dubious. I also felt torn between being annoyed (I was planning a yard sale this weekend!) and being relieved. (yay, rain!) But we did get the rain. It fell all Friday early morning, so I cancelled our sale (no one wants to walk through squishy grass) and was happy to wake up to pouring rain on Saturday. I don't know how much fell, but the campfire ban was lifted for Metro Vancouver. Woohoo! We could roast weinies and marshmallows---if it weren't so wet outside!

What no one was expecting was the wind. And it was crazy windy! With gusts up to 80 km/h. Leaves were blowing around the yard and the kids had fun running outside in them, but I felt uneasy. I love a good thunderstorm and I like rain, but wind I could do without.

Our power went out at noon, which wasn't a huge deal. We "rough it" when we go camping, so this wasn't anything worrisome. That is, until I heard how large of an area was effected. I couldn't believe how many people had no power! BC Hydro wasn't anticipating it to be back up until the next day at noon, but I imagine they like to over-estimate, just in case. The problem is that I like to blow things out of proportion, you know, just in case! In my mind, I was picturing three days.

 We have a generator, but it needed gas, so Hunny and I set out on a journey. And that was an eye opener. The power-outtages covered a larger area than it stated on BC Hydro's webpage. (which kept crashing anyways) Plus there were so many branches and trees knocked down across the roads. I think that every business we drove past was closed due to no power! We got hopeful when we saw a Chevron gas station that was busy, but were disappointed (along with many others) to realize that even though the pumps still appeared to be on, they would not work without power either. It was a crazy trip. In the end, we found gas from our neighbour, so the trip could've been so much shorter and faster if we had stayed! (We are so blessed to have some awesome neighbour friends)

My emergency-end-of-the-world-preparedness thinking went a bit overboard though. I started to think of how long would it be to restore power to everyone we saw. And I considered that there were no grocery stores or gas stations open, and no one could take money out of a bank machine without power, add in that people's cell phones and internet connections would eventually lose battery power--- it would be chaos! How long before that happened? That people started to panic? It's a good thing that my Hunny could be a survivalist (he's never been dropped into the wilderness with a cameraman, but he'd know what to do if he was)   He made up a huge batch of chilli on our campstove and slow cooker, while the kids watched a movie (generator FTW), which he shared with our neighbours. (When the power goes out, you can usually order dinner from somewhere close by, but it was out everywhere, so many people were stuck)

We spent our evening hanging out with our other neighbours in their carport, roasting marshmallows over their propane firepit, and listening to music by their generator, and watching it pour. It was a fun way to spend a summer night. The kids snuggled up on the couches to sleep since it's less scary in the dark when you have others around you.

Our power returned at 3:30am, but I hardly noticed. (I woke up briefly and heard our fan was on, but didn't even think of it) It was an interesting 15 hours. (there are still so many without power though. But at least there are options to eat out or visit friends with power. But not having hot water and possibly losing food in your fridge and freezer suck.)

We did really well, but it wasn't a challenging 15 hours. We had some branches break off a tree in our back yard and land on the neighbour's trampoline (thankfully it wasn't damaged and no one was hurt) and our pool overflowed and collapsed overnight due to rain (it looks so pathetic right now! There goes the end of our summer pool) and we had the fastest take down of our gazebo due to it blowing around in the yard, but it really wasn't too bad. Partially due to our camping skills, but mostly due to how short it lasted. Our power returned and the wind died down the next day. But it really has me thinking about our emergency preparedness. How ready are we if the Big One happens? (there were two small earthquakes in Abbotsford and Mission this past week) or for the Zombie Apocalypse? (which I actually don't believe in, but it's fun to say) We'll need to have gas stored, as well as water, and emergency cash. Plus we'll need to buy a new can opener; ours really wasn't up to the challenge of opening a can of beans yesterday. (so disappointing and so frustrating) A generator sure is nice. Maybe we should start putting things aside for if that day comes, or in case we're stuck with another storm this year.

 A good book to read is How to Survive the End of the World as We Know it. by James Wesley, Rawles. (of course my Hunny has it) It has many good survival skill long as you don't get your mind too panicked. (I can get pretty imaginative!)

I'd love to hear your tips of how to survive a power failure. What do you do if you have young kids? What if it's longer than a day? Are you prepared for a natural disaster? Please share in the comments!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

four.5 hours of sleep

I don't think I could possibly stress enough the importance of sleep! I truly can see what inadequate sleep does to my body, especially since I already have to deal with daily fatigue from my dumb broken thyroid! (lack of sleep effects my heart rate and gives me chest pain and makes it hard to breathe as my main symptoms.) My nights have always been very scattered, and being a Night Owl doesn't help; I used to blame it on being a Mom and having to go to kids in the night, but as they are mostly sleeping through the nights now (hooray!), I realized I couldn't say that anymore. (boo!) It turns out that I just can't fall asleep easily, and I can't seem to stay asleep for long.  

Last week I was dealing with insomnia of sorts--- I don't think it was a true case of it, as I would eventually sleep, but I would be up until 3:30am some nights, willing sleep to come. It's not that I had my mind filled with thoughts or worries either; I had a blank mind! It was frustrating!

Imagine my delight when I finally slept last night! A whole four and a half hours!!! 


With dreams!

I am one happy mama again!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

new music Monday: I'll keep on

Heard this song on The Valley Stream and fell in love. I don't listen to a lot of rap, but stuff with awesome and touching lyrics, yes!

I've never heard of NF, but I'll be looking up his stuff more now!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Thankful Thusday

Welcome back to Thankful Thursday, a feature started by Louise at Talk Nerdy to Me, where we look back over our week and remember our blessings.  It is so good to see all that has happened, especially if you have had a particularly tough week. Being grateful is good for the soul. Here are just a few things that I am thankful for...

1. Friends who gather

We were invited for a family bbq over the weekend to  a friend of Kai's. We didn't know them very well, but this was a great opportunity to get to know eachother better. They have four children (their youngest will also be in preschool with Eden!) and seem to have a lot of similar thoughts and lifestyle as us. It's so good to meet people who you can connect with! I am thankful for new friends,...and that it was such an enjoyable time that the kids didn't want to leave!

2. My book readers

Some of the kids joined the Summer Reading Club at our local public library this year. I don't know why we haven't done it before! This week ended their seven weeks of reading, so they got their medals. They boys were pretty excited about that!

I am thankful that they love books! 

3. Art Recognition

Abi entered the drawing contest at the library and won! This was for last months' contest, but we were finally able to go down and get a picture of it hanging on the wall!  I was impressed!  I love Abi's chibi drawings!

4. Birthday Fun

Rhys was so excited; he has been waiting for three weeks (since he first heard about the invitation) and the day finally arrived: he was going to his friend's birthday party! Yay! It's so nice that he is able to go to parties now and that I can actually drop him off and return later!

5. clearing the air

I was worried that a friend was upset with me and it was all so silly. It was just my own worries over nothing, but the more I wondered the more it felt real. When I saw her this week, I was nervous how it would be again, but to my delight, it was perfectly fine! She showed no signs of feeling indifferent towards me, quite the opposite actually! I am thankful that there was no need for me to convince myself that she wasn't happy (but when is there a need to do that?) and I am so thankful that she still loves me and wants to get together soon! What a weight off of me! Dumb imagination of mine!

6. sister bonding time

Abi and Eden were in Abi's room, colouring pictures and hanging out together "bonding", Abi said, when she took this selfie! It makes my heart happy.  I am one lucky mama!

7. Bear hug

There are still a lot of wildfires going on in BC (and plenty all over the place. A friend of mine in Oregon is dealing with the smoke of fires now too) but I am so thankful for all of the work and efforts of the man brave firefighters.

8. Stress Test

Kai had his annual cardiology appointment this week at BCCH. Along with his usual Echocardiocram and ECG, he also had a stress test done. He's never had one done before, so this was new! He did well, considering!

Good news is that his heart is good and there is no change. That is, it is still enlarged (it's approximately 1 year bigger than it should be), but it hasn't gotten bigger, and his test results look good and he is showing no concerning symptoms. I am so thankful for that!

I am thankful for his Cardiologist and the Cardiac team at BCCH. We've been going now for 10 years. That's incredible to think of!

9. Invites

Abi finally got together with her group of friends this week! (well, almost all of them. There are 13 in the group, and a few couldn't make it of course) I love this group of teens! I hope they stay close and continue to grow together as they enter high school in a few weeks.

I am also thankful that the host of this gathering also included younger tween siblings. So Kai got to go, along with his friend. That was so nice and unexpected! I don't know how many things he'll be invited to with Abi and her friends, but I remember the few opportunities I had with my older brother when we were teens, and it was so cool!

10. cozy evenings

I'm thankful that this week, my Hunny and I have been able to spend more time with eachother. Yay!  We've just been sitting together watching HGTV after the Youngers have been put to bed, but still, that's a big step. I was surprised actually at how much more happier I was, and how I viewed our relationship in a better light, just after spending an evening together in the same room!  (he likes to watch tv and I like to write or waste time on Pinterest, and we're often in different rooms)  I am thankful for small things that help.

So that's my week in a nutshell. How about you? What are you thankful for? I'd love to hear your list and celebrate with you!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August, the buzz kill

So August hits and suddenly TV commercials feel the need to start telling you that "summer's almost over!" I'm listening to them and thinking, "No, no, it's really not!" But it insists. And I'm starting to freak out! I'm not ready for summer to be done. I'm not all summered out yet! I haven't done half of what I wanted to do.

But here we are, halfway through the month already, and we're started our back-to-school shopping and we've got September appointments booked and we're looking ahead and trying to sort things out.  I mean, you have to, right? You can't just step into September like it's any other month --well, unless you have no school-aged children, then by all means. But generally speaking, you spend part of August planning for the Fall.

And it's sad.

August really is the buzz kill of summer. I read it last week as "the Sunday of Summer." You know, the last day of fun.

You're stuck between the guilt and sadness of plans that didn't work out and wanting to stuff more into your weeks, but also being restrained by time and budget. Can we afford another big fun event? Should we go somewhere? What can we do to make the most of August?

I would still like to go camping once more (we had to cancel our week-long trip due to appointments, but maybe a weekend would suffice.) And go to a beach or lake. And have a few more get togethers and BBQs with friends.

What do you do to make your summer last?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Medals and Prizes

This year, I enrolled some of the kids in the summer reading club at the Surrey Public Library. We hadn't done that before, and I'm not too sure why! It's pretty simple, you just have your child read for 20 minutes each day (or, read to them, like I did with Rhys.) and then check off each day on the booklet they give you. After a week (or more, as in our case), you take your sheet back in to the library and they give you stickers for each 7 days you have read. Once you have collected seven stickers, you are awarded a medal! Yay!

Today was our seventh sticker collection.

 The boys were excited to get their medals.

We also got a phone call that Abi had won in last month's drawing contest. We had gone in earlier to pick up her prize (she chose a water gun!) but today I managed to get a picture of her drawing hanging on the wall.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Adventure Park

It was all because I saw a friend post the question on FB. She wanted to know of some fun and easy places to check out with her son since they were going into Children's Hospital and wanted to make a day of it. It made me stop and consider. I go into BCCH often enough, but I tend to go, get the appointment done, and head home. Get in, get done, get out, get home! But what if this time, I actually planned to make it worth while also? We were going down there for an appointment for Kai's Holter Monitor and that would only take half an hour, and I would have all of the kids with me, so why not make it fun?

I thought of Granville Island and then considered Steveston, but someone said they may not be very fun for kids. Just a lot of walking and stores. H'mm... maybe they were right. It's not like I was planning on buying things. The boys would get restless fast. But Once Upon A Time was filming again; maybe it would work out to see some of it in Steveston! (I was being hopeful for a fangirl moment!)

My sister in law mentioned the Terra Nova Adventure Park in Richmond instead. I'd seen the pictures before of her afternoon there and thought it sounded like fun, so I gratefully accepted her idea and printed out directions! There are the typical swings and slides, and spinning cups, but there is also a water feature (although the water wasn't on due to restrictions) and a rope obstacle course. Most cool was the tandem zipline and the 10m tall "tree house" with 4 platforms and slide, and the twisting slide build into the hill!

We arrived around noon, with a lunch, and didn't find it too busy. There were lots of people there, plus a birthday party and a daycamp group, but I didn't think it was too crowded for the kids. They were patient on the rope climb treehouse structure, and waited just fine for the ziplines. I did lose track of Rhys though, for a good few minutes. This made me a lot more nervous than when it happened at home!  It happened when we were transitioning from the one playground  (the "homestead") to the second (the "paddock") The Olders ran on ahead, but I was waiting to gather the Youngers, when I noticed that he wasn't with either group. It's a fearful moment when you are running between two places, knowing that you need to be quick, and you are trying to think of possible ideas. Could he have left the park, not knowing where we were? How many entrances were there to this park??? Did someone take him? Kai and I started to call his name when suddenly I thought I heard him. Yes! He had decided to climb back up the treehouse for another slide! I actually wanted to cry for the fear and then the relief!

Other than that moment, it is a great playground. Lots of things for the kids to do and for multiple age levels.

I was proud of the kids that made it up the tree house! They felt by the first tier that it was taller than they expected, so some climbed down, but I was so impressed with Rhys, Bryn and Abi for climbing it! I think in another year or two, Eden will do just fine. She struggled with the rope ladder.


 Of course, Rhys climbing that ladder was so impressive! It turns out he isn't afraid of heights either! He went at his own pace and climbed with no problems!

The zipline was a lot of fun. But it's definitely not something that kids can do on their own. There needs to be an adult to help with the pushing and retrieving! I figured it was a good excuse for me to get active! (it wasn't easy trying to take photos while also pushing the kids along!)


 What kid doesn't love to spin? There were the cups and the "spinnery" (that's the name given on the City of Richmond webpage!) to get dizzy on, which occupied my kids for a while.

My kids love to spin!

Rhys got a parachute man at the BBCH, so he dropped it from the treehouse (he didn't wait for me so I didn't get a good picture of it) and climbed a tree to drop it from.

It was a fun afternoon! My kids are already asking when we can go back, so I'll have to plan another trip again soon! There are the covered boardwalks over the slough and trials to discover still!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thankful Thursday

Welcome back to Thankful Thursday, a feature started by Louise at Talk Nerdy to Me, where we look back over our week and remember our blessings.  It is so good to see all that has happened, especially if you have had a particularly tough week. Being grateful is good for the soul. Here are just a few things that I am thankful for...

1. this boy

Bryn turned nine over the weekend! We had a pool party for him and celebrated at home, pretty simple.

I am so thankful for this boy and his silly, fun-loving attitude, his kindness and adventuresome spirit. He really is special in how he cares for his friends deeply.

2. our growing garden

We built a raised garden bed in our backyard a few months ago (and when I say We, I mean my Hunny!) and planted a whole bunch of seeds, not realizing that all of them would take and grow! We have so many Beets right now and Scarlet Runners (beans) growing! (and I forget what else)

Yay for fresh veggies!

3.  Anniversaries

My parents celebrated their 42nd Anniversary this week. 42 Years! I am so blessed by their marriage, and thankful for how they have shown love and commitment and strength through their trials and triumph. 

Also this week, my "half brother" and his wife celebrated 20 years of marriage! 20 is forever long in today's standards! I remember going to their wedding; they were the first out of my brother's friends to get married...or at least, the first out of the group that I knew.  (He technically isn't my half brother, I just liked to call him that! I have known him since I was 12, so I also like to call him "the brother I never wanted"! He means a lot to me and our family!)

4. Camping trips

Bryn was invited to go camping with his cousin, aunt and grandma this week! We figured that he and his cousin get along so well (they are a lot alike), that it would be nice to have them for company, and to make the camping trip more fun! 

They were local, staying up at a campsite near Cultus Lake, so it really wasn't hard for us to let him go for the week! I love that he gets to go out and have fun with his cousin. 

5. Sudden Sleepovers

Since we were passing right by her house (ok, mostly), I thought it would be fun to pick up Abi's friend for a sleepover. It's hard not living by your friends! And at this age, they still need a lot of parental pushing for get togethers!  I'm glad that it worked out for her to come over. They stayed up late watching shows on Netflix, slept in and went to visit a friend, and spent some time in the pool.  I am thankful for sudden sleepovers and time spent with friends!

6. New Wheels

Bryn is an active kid who loves to jump and run everywhere, so when he asked for roller blades for his birthday, how could we not say yes? 

7. Fun shopping trips

Abi convinced me to take her to the mall to buy some suspenders! (she is so nerdy!) I am so thankful for our fun excursions. She found her suspenders, along with a tiara (she likes shiny things!) and a really cool shirt. I found myself a cool wrap bracelet and dress! Yay for good deals and lots of laughter!

8. Evenings on the creek

The kids and I took a trip up to the campsite to visit Bryn, and to check out the site, and spent the evening floating down the creek on inflatables! It was a fun time! (post to come soon)

9. Friends in your neighbourhood

We learned that one of Abi's friends lives a lot closer to us than we thought! They can walk to eachother's houses, or meet at the park now. Yay! It's not easy going to a school that's not in your neighbourhood; your friends are spread out all over the city sometimes, so this is good news!

10. scheduled appointments made

We got the phone call this morning with dates for appointments to be seen at the Fraser Development Centre. It's going to be a busy September! Some of these appointments are for Rhys (who, for some strange reason, the woman thinks I would name my child RICE. It's funny how many people don't know how to pronounce the name. I understand that it can be difficult when it comes to non-typical names, but I still find it funny that I have to correct people. No, not Rice, but REE-S! It's the traditional Welsh spelling.)  Some of these appointments are just for me. (they used the word "conference." That means Big Stuff!)  I'm relieved and so thankful that we are moving somewhere, but also now feeling anxious and nervous! I'm sure I'll have a lot to talk about next month!

So that's my week in a nutshell. How about you? What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

weight loss pjs

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Somehow this boy turned nine over the weekend. How did that happen?  He was just a wee babe, in the NICU, learning to swallow and grow not so long ago! Time has marched on.

Since Bryn and his best friend, Forrest, both have a birthday in August, just a week apart, we thought it would be fun for them to have a joint pool birthday party! Thankfully, his family hosted it since their pool is nicer (and actually is filled up and non-stretched, haha) and they have a bigger yard with a trampoline. I thought it worked out great! I sent out the invitations and took care of the food.

We really didn't feel the need to do any major decorating, even though there are so many amazing and beautiful parties out on Pinterest-land. (and I'd be lying if I didn't say that I dream of hosting a magnificent party like those. Sadly, our budget doesn't provide for me the ability yet. Either that or I'm not that creative with my resources. ...It could be a mix of both!)  We did start up our own Pin board though, for ideas! And we did decide to go with a Shark Theme. But other than the shark decor on the table and the cupcakes, that was about it! Oh, and I make candy skewers with fish and worm gummies!


 The party was a lot of fun! It was a small group. (the boys only had a few they invited, and not many can come during the summer.) so the numbers were perfect!

The weather held out too. It was a bit cloudy and not very hot, but no major rains, so the boys could go into the pool for a bit. (two friends spent most of the party there actually. Everyone else thought it was too cold!)

Then there was trampoline jumping and wrestling. (I'm learning to turn my eyes from that and just let boys do what they do. And boys like to wrestle!)

I am so pleased with how the day turned out!

 I love these goofy boys!
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