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Showing posts from July, 2015

July Book Titles

All four of us on the couch, until I was too hot
I've been reading a lot this month, and although I'm really close to finishing other books, because I've been reading them slowly, they'll be in the August post. Here's what I read in July:
*The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion-  This was my first Didion book and looking back I can't believe I found this memoir at the Salvation Army for $1. This book was so beautifully written, so painful and vulnerable, that I can't imagine not passing it on to someone else, instead of just donating it like your old, plastic hangers. I first noticed it because it won the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2005, and I really resonate with the winners of that particular award (nonfiction and fiction categories). I almost always love the books that win that award in those genres, so I (obviously) paid the $1 for it. It's a book about Didion's first year without her husband after his passing, and during that ye…

Hikes with Kids: Teapot Hill at Cultus Lake

Ani and Lukka playing at Cultus Lake
Last weekend we were supposed to head up to Squamish with some friends for a multi-family day-trip. The entire lowermainland has been in a drought (we're on level 4!) all summer, and woudn't you know, the weekend we were supposed to go, the weather report showed thunder, lightning, and rain showers all day. We weren't upset, though, since the province has really needed the rain, and I think everyone around us was estatic that it was raining for nearly 3 days straight because it's been so hot and dry here. It did, however, happen to ruin our big hiking plans for the weekend. 
 Teapot Hill lookout
When communicating with our friends over what we should do instead, they asked around via social media on great hikes in the area that are kid-friendly, and we went to the website to read reviews, check ability levels and times to finish. We all decided on the near-to-us hike at Cultus Lake, Teapot Hill. It's a quick hike, although it'…

Hikes with Kids: Lower Falls Trail (Golden Ears)

Recently we've had great weather and Stefan and I have decided it's time to get the kids back into hiking. For the last month or so we've had over 90-100 degree temps, and very few people (including us) have air conditioners in their homes. It just doesn't normally stay that hot for so long--a few days, yes, a month? No. We're not remotely interested in doing hours of strenuous work in the dire heat, we want to be in the water.

As the heat broke about 10 days ago, we decided we need to get a few more hikes on the calendar before the summer is over. I actually love hiking in the Fall, and don't mind the rain a bit. The tree covering is so dense you barely feel rained on, just a bit damp--even through the winter, but the views are only spectacular in the summer with clear skies.

We have to keep the hikes age and ability appropriate for our kids, and so that means roughly 6-7km is the longest stretch we can go with them in tow. That's fine, since you can bare…

15 in 2015: Try Snorkeling (or, what was in the blank spot)

a lookout pointing towards Boundary Bay 
I left #15 of my "15 in 2015" list intentionally blank so that I could think about something I'd always wanted to do but couldn't think of at the time, and make it a realistic goal if the opportunity presented itself. This should have been a no-brainer for me, and I am glad I left it blank!  I'd wanted to try snorkeling last summer when Stefan had been doing it all summer off Semiahmoo Bay and White Rock beach. When the kids got their own free snorkeling gear from our past landlord, I knew they'd love it as well. 
I don't love swimming in the ocean, it's more of a necessity when I have to cool off because my brain feels like it's going to fry with the hot spells. Semiahmoo beach is definitely a better beach to swim at than the two we go to regularly, because it's all sand instead of rocks, and it dips down. Since we live so close to water, I have a few goals of at least trying kneeboarding, waterskiing,…

Oakanagan Weekend: Peachland and Kelowna

 The huge bridge connecting the West and East banks of Kelowna, BC
Two weekends ago we went for our annual visit up to the Oakanagan area, where Stefan's paternal grandparents live. It's a beautiful part of B.C. with a massive body of water, hills, seasons, and fruit orchards everywhere. Imagine me telling you--forcefully-- these photos just do not do the area justice. I haven't met a person who doesn't like going up to the Oakanagan. It's beautiful. 
The first few photos are of the Oakangan lake (it's huge and spans many large cities) and crossing it on the Kelowna bridge that separates the East and West banks. Peachland, where we spend our time, is about a 30 minute drive to the 'big city' part of Kelowna. 
The view behind on the bridge
The kids enjoy the trip up to see their great-grandparents, stay in their own room together (oy, the nights), though this time driving up was a trial. It was incredibly hot the day we drove up, (43, or 109 !!!) and our …

Gifts for Lukka for his 8th Birthday

Every year for both birthdays and Christmas gifts we do things pretty simply. Simply doesn't necessarily mean 'cheaply', because if we're only buying or making 3 items per child, we want them to be high quality. This post is about what we got for Lukka for his 8th birthday a few weeks ago, in case you have a child with a similar personality and are wondering what to get him or her for thoughtful gifts.
I am 95% sure my biggest Love Language is gifts, which mean I love getting gifts, and I spend a lot of time thinking about and finding a thoughtful gift for others. We like to keep the gift boundaries this way: Something to READ, something to WEAR, something to PLAY WITH. Although the lines blur every so often, boundaries help me scout out the best idea for the individual, and keep it within a normal budget. 
hike at Quarry Rock
The photo above is Lukka's something to WEAR. It's a hydration pack that I knew not only he would love, but is so, so practical for him …

15 in 2015: watch "The Sound of Music" with the kids


Watching The Sound of Music was one of the "15 in 2015" items that I was most looking forward to doing with the kids. I grew up on this movie, and had sung most of the popular songs from the movie to my kids since they were very small. Aside from a youtube clip on the famous puppet and yodeling scene, they didn't know much about the movie's plot, characters, nor did they tie all the songs together as being from the same film until watching.

I'm not sure how many times I've seen this movie in my lifetime, but I know it's over 10 (which seems fairly high for a movie). I tried to have restraint and not sing along to all the songs that I loved, but that barely lasted the first five minutes when Maria belts out, "the hills are alive, with the sound of music!" I sang along, and was so pleased that the kids also remembered some of the songs from their toddler years, including one we sang to them often before bed, "Edelweiss".

We watched t…

Celebrating our 10 year Anniversary

Yesterday, on July 2, 2015, Stefan and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary with a less than extraordinary, yet more than ordinary, routine day. We were able to celebrate together with a 3 hour dinner and beach walk the week before thanks to friends, so today felt really 'normal'. It was just as hot in British Columbia as it was on that Saturday morning in Nebraska 10 years prior.

We spent the evening having dinner (homemade cheese pizza since we're at the bottom of the barrel for groceries), and then Stefan driving around on his sport bike, getting it ready to sell for an interested buyer ( the more-than -ordinary part) to exchange for a cruiser that will give him a more comfortable commute. It was a really busy evening, and we weren't even really around each other, but that's how marriage is. Some days, it's just so normal and uneventful, but there's comfort in that, too.

A friend recently celebrated her anniversary with 'numbers', and I thought …

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day! We spent the morning hopping on our bikes down to the Fort's big July 1 celebration. It involved tons of free crafts for kids, vendors of all sorts, a Mountie or two, birthday cake, and free drinks, popcorn, balloons, and Maple-leaf flags. 
At the community event the kids especially loved the museum (which we unfortunately didn't stay long at--too crowded), and the petting zoo, where each kid got to hold a little bunny, pet a piglet, and cuddle with a lamb. In the afternoon we went to the Al Anderson swimming pool for two hours in the water. Since the heat has been really high the last week or so (with next week not looking good, either), it felt amazing to be in the water! Canadians sure know how to celebrate--all events and activities we did were free today!