Thursday, August 30, 2012

End of the Month

Last week my parents took the kids camping. And then something unexpected happened... Barry surprised me with a few days in the woods. He booked us the same two nights in Kananaskis. What a treat. What would I have done, had he not? If we'd stayed home?  Laundry [which is mounded up nearly as high as I am] Wash the floors [which are currently in a most embarrassing state] Dust [ick] Sort through toys [easiest to do when the littles are away, because then they don't try to rescue everything I'm trying to get rid of] We would most likely have gone out for dinner at least one of those nights... And we may or may not have used a movie gift certificate we've had for AN ENTIRE YEAR NOW, and still not used...

Instead though, we got to get away for a few days. It was fab.u.lous.
Off they go...

We headed towards the mountains on a beautiful afternoon... Hardly a cloud in the sky.  We took our mountain bikes with us. And truth be told, I could have SO EASILY been talked out of taking our bikes... In fact, I might have tried to resist by saying something along the lines of "how on earth will we store them once we get there? We can't leave them on the truck. I'm sure they don't want us wheeling them through the hotel" And for some reason, Barry not to be discouraged, actually called out and found that we could store them in a secured spot within the building.  Good on you Honey, cause I would totally have talked you into just sitting in the pub... And let's face it, it wouldn't even have been that hard to do. Sad, but true.

Until we got there, that is.. It was so nice. The weather was AMAZING. It was so quiet. Going for a mountain bike seemed like exactly the thing to do. Now here's a little background info, before we were married, and long before kids, we used to mountain bike, in the mountains. A fair bit. When we got on that trail, and started out, and after my heart lurched into my throat from the first sign [because I have the most ridiculous, nearly debilitating phobia, about running into a bear] I was okay. I rang my bell A LOT... I, under NO circumstance, wanted to come across a bear enjoying berries somewhere along our path. But we did the trail, which only ended up being about 5 km [off-road] and my heart was racing, and I was breathing heavy, and I thought.... "Oh yeah.... I love this...."  And I do love it. Everything about it. It was exactly the same realization that came upon me when we got back on ski's last February. Oh yeah... I remember this now.... This was something I loved to do...
  How lucky we are, to have this an hour from our doorstep.

 We made it to Ribbon Creek, [below the village] and stopped to rest and of course, take pictures. When we finally made it back UP the mountain [which we did... huffing and puffing, but without walking] we ditched our bikes, and headed to happy hour at the pub.  

Because it was Thursdays, there were plenty of specials and hardly any other customers.

Believe it or not, Thursday night we sat on the rooftop patio, marveling a the weather. Finally around 8 pm when the sun went behind the mountain it began to cool off. In the middle of the night, and were woken by thunder and lightening, which didn't last long, but was pretty spectacular sounding as it rumbled down the mountains. It began to rain, and didn't stop all night long. In the morning, we woke to snow on the higher elevations. I have lived here my entire life, and I still can't believe how our temperature can fluctuate 20° in a matter of hours. Needless to say, I was not well equipped for the cold/drizzly/rain temperatures, but my plan ahead golfer husband had all the gear we could possibly need in the back of his truck.

Chilly, but the views are still spectacular. 

Later that day, I was treated to some Spa time. Lucky me...

 The next morning, we again woke to perfection. Hardly a cloud in the sky. We drove to the golf course before heading home, to check out the pro shop... This place is absolutely breath-taking. I even took a few pictures of my sweet heart, as he longingly looked out towards the course. [He played the day before, in what felt like sub-zero temps, hence my spa time] He hasn't golfed as much this year... I haven't golfed at all this year, which is comical considering last year I joined a weekly league... My heart just wasn't in it this year I guess.

How could you ever tire of this view?

 Getting away for a couple of days was so nice. Just what we needed. So important to re-connect with one another. We don't do it often enough. Our date nights, once a month, were successful for Jan/Feb, then seemed to peter off completely... It sounds so easy, but it's hard to fit it in somehow. [That and a $10 an hour sitter...]

We've got to try harder to get here more often. [away from the city, into the mountains] I keep saying it. I mean it. I'm passionate about it, and then I can so quickly be talked out of it, or not push for it hard enough...  This cycle has to change.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Project Life Continues

I just can't say enough good things about this project... I tried a few years ago, to document a picture a day, and found it so labour intensive. Totally overwhelming... I came up with a number of ways to short cut the procedure. Mind you, looking back, even with the shortcuts, I'm so glad I did it. It's just so darn amazing to see how things change, when you're every day is just so Every. Day.

I have to admit, I'm already anticipating next year... I don't want to say I can't wait for it... Because I will be honest here, this is still a heck of a lot of work. Having my new iPhone, has radically changed the way I document. Everything about it is just easier. I have caught way more 'every day' stuff, because I have my phone with me most of the time.

Like today for instance. We popped into the mall to pick up a birthday gift for a friend of Mason's, and while we were there, I took these pictures: 

 Today only! Up to 60% off and no takers!! She was dancing to the music, and it was really funny, until she got asked to get out from behind the glass [and then it was hilarious...]
 I love how everywhere we go, including Homesense, they go straight for the books.

And then, their second most favourite spot, the book store... Where they get completely lost at what ever it is they're looking at...

Or how we can go on a date, and just snap a picture of our "Girls Night", because the camera is right there.

I'd look silly lurking around the mall and restaurants with my DSLR camera. Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for that gem also, but the iPhone has totally changed how I capture our every day.

So here are weeks 25 through 31, and like I say, still loving it.

I would ideally like to include more 'memorbilia'. I don't know how some of the other gals do it so well... I don't seem to have the knack for that. I plan to order some of the different page protectors, and maybe more pockets will be the answer...

I'm also thrilled, because I found a tutorial on how to create 4x6 pictures in an app on the iPhone. That takes out an ENTIRE step... How awesome is that?!?! The only way it can be even better, is when the Costco app is available in Canada and I can then send those pictures STRAIGHT TO COSTCO FROM MY PHONE... I know! Right?

Learning a few shortcuts has made this process even simpler. So, I'm still totally keen with this project. I don't know if I will simplify even more next year... I might. I'm not totally sure how to simplify more... I thought going 'digital' would be quicker... But it's not. Maybe next year I need to do more handwritten stuff... Maybe a better mixture of both. I'll just have to see how the wind carries me. I'm just so pleased that I've kept up with it, and have over half a year done... Yay for me!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Awesome so Far

This summer so far, can be summed up in one word: AWESOME. 

First of all, the weather has been spectacular. Like for reals. Had I put the kids in out door swim lessons this year, I wouldn't have sat on the edge of the pool deck under layers, blankets and an umbrella, shivering. Maybe that's why this summer has been so great? Because the kids weren't in swim lessons at the outdoor pool? If so, I'll take it, and I'll remember that again for next year! We've had to buy more sunscreen this year, because I've run out. RUN. OUT. Of. Sunscreen. On account of all the nice days. An awesome problem to have right?

It also feels like the summer has gone on forever. I mean, when you're coming to the end of August, isn't that exactly how you're supposed to feel? Like the summer has gone on forever? We were away for a week, then the kids both did 2 week long camps. It's been the right mixture of being busy and not being busy.

I am watching sadly as the days are getting shorter... Gosh how I love June. It's been hot, and I'm still not ready yet, to put on jeans and sweaters. Nope, hoping this lasts through September at least. We've got to the outdoor pools weekly this summer, and this year with Miss Madelyn being 7 years old, I don't have to stay 'within an arms reach of her at all times'... Seriously... It's been so cool to watch them have such fun at the pool.

I thought I should go back, and check out my 'Summer Manifesto' I created back in June, to see how summer has stacked up so far:

This will be the summer of…being plugged in… Not to electronics, but to my kids.  I have succeeded at this one, but the kids have spent more time playing electronics that I'd like to admit.
This will be the summer of the opportunity to bowl weekly should we choose to.  We haven't been weekly, but we've been!
This will be the summer of spending less time in the house, and more time outside.  Yes...
This will be the summer of spontaneity [because I’m not very good at this]  Still not very good at it, but getting better.
This will be the summer of  eating outside more.  I don't think once counts...
This will be the summer of a camp-out in the backyardCheck. Kids and  Barry indeed had a sleep out.
This will be the summer of making pickles with my Mum and ChrisPickles will be ready mid September.
This will be the summer of less television and video games.  Failed a bit here I fear...
This will be the summer of no limit on the number of popsicles consumed, or the time of day they can begin consuming them. Replace the word popsicle with ice cream, and yes, we've consumed far more than usual this summer.
This will be the summer of not cringing if my bare toes feel the grass. Nope. Can't. Do. It...
This will be the summer of fresh fruit, yogurt, granola and mini muffins for breakfasts.   Delish...
This will be the summer of truly not caring what anyone thinks or doesn’t think of me in a bathing suit.  Nah... Still care.
This will be the summer of not being self conscience every time I have a pair of shorts on.  Don't care.
This will be the summer of long bike rides and short bike rides.   Enjoying bike time with the kiddos for sure.
This will be the summer of having the kids help me plan for meals and picking out fresh produce.  Yeah right... Unfortunately pepperoni pizza  isn't in the produce section.
This will be the summer of more trips to the Farmer’s Market.  Our most favourite thing, the baby carrots.And the fresh fruit has been amazing, though we've had to re-mortgage our house to pay for it... ;-) I joke... Kinda...
This will be the summer of movies in the backyard. Not yet... But hopefully soon!
This will be the summer of walking up Nose Hill.  Love it up there, it's like you leave the city.
This will be the summer of planning a little bit better, so that we are excited about things to do each day. The kids are simply excited to be at home for summer holidays each day!
This will be the summer of camping with Ama & Baba. One trip down, one to go!
This will be the summer of watching the firework show in August.  That's coming up pretty soon!
This will be the summer of reading… I have not one, not two, but three avid readers in my house. I've read 3 awesome books this summer and the kids have kept up to date with the reading program at the library.
This will be the summer of regular spelling tests so the kids are ready to face grade 2 and grade 5. We've worked on this a little bit. Not put in as much time as we probably should have.
This will be the summer of science experiments, because Miss Madelyn is so very keen. Right... We need to do this.
This will be the summer of salads for supper. They've been super!
This will be the summer of late night scrap booking. I am totally caught up!! Woohoo!
This will be the summer of basement organization. Nope. Gonna wait until it get's colder outside.
This will be the summer of simplifying...
I think we've done a pretty good job.
I have taken lots of pictures, because that's what I do. But I have certainly taken more with my iphone than with my actual DSLR. So every now and then, I make myself bring the big one. [Don't get me wrong, LOVE THAT CAMERA] just the iphone fits so easily anywhere, and takes some pretty darn good photos!
  Up at the pond on Nose Hill, looking for frogs and snakes. We found neither.
 Barry and the kids.
 Me and the kids.

One night Bar & I had a semi date, the kids were away, and we went to Peter's for a milkshake and then to Crescent Road to sit. I caught this amazing shot of the sun setting. [Those crazy clouds were full of lightning]

We've got 2 more full weeks off before the kids head back to school... We're going to try and enjoy those days as much as possible.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Meant to be

I know I said I'd have a few pictures of our recent trip to the West Coast, so I needed to make good on that. I picked a handful of pictures I love. I have a really hard time trying to weed the pictures out. I would like to include all of them, but then I soon run out of space on my blog...

Our annual trip to Sicamous, came to a screeching halt this year, because of the floods they had. While the little cabin we usually stay at was, we think, not touched by the water, the water came to within a few feet of the patio doors. There were too many obstacles in our way this year. No beach to speak of, water advisories, way too much stuff floating around in the lake to safely and confidently put a boat in, and, did I mention, water advisories? A big one for me... I would not have let my kids go anywhere near that water this summer... Let's face it, it's pretty tough to take them to the beach and say, "Stay away from the beach..." So, with about 10 days before our vacation was to start, we frantically began to look for another alternative. I thought we'd be in trouble, but we found accommodation in a great little hotel right in Sooke, BC. It was totally meant to be

We mapped out and knew we wanted to hit a number of beaches along the coast. We hit Botanical Beach [renamed Barnacle Beach, because that's what the kids keep calling it]; China Beach [my most favourite] and French Beach. It took us nearly 2 hours to get to Botanical Beach, the roads were EXTREMELY curvy... And by extremely, I mean... RIDICULOUSLY, STUPIDLY, curvy... Poor Mason in the backseat, didn't fare well. [And to be honest, Mummy in the front seat only did marginally better] When Barry suggested that Mason and I trade places, and I sit in the backseat, I said, "Sorry about your luck Mace" and passed the bucket back to him. We would have INDEED been sharing, had I been relegated to the back seat... There are some times, when being the adult simply means, you get dibs on the front seat. Sorry little buddy.

I have been lucky enough to have 3 trips to the ocean in the past 3 months... I do indeed count my blessings. We enjoyed this little holiday so much, and we're pleased to report that we have two more ocean lover's in the family.

When we first arrived, the moment after we checked in we headed down to the beach right in front of the hotel. [The next morning, there was no beach there, so the kids learned quickly about tides] It took Madelyn about 5 minutes before she fell in... You just knew that was only a matter of time!
The next morning, we hit Botanical Beach. When the tide is in, all the lower lying areas are under water [including the picture of where me and the kids are] If you get caught in a few spots, with the tide crashing in, it would indeed, be a bit scary.
There are numerous 'escape here' signs. I suspect those are there for those people, who get caught when the tide is coming in... Eeks!
French Beach was the next day. It's my favourite beach. We brought Mason here when he was 2 1/2. I loved it then, and I still love it. It's got that silty sand, that squishes in your toes.
The wind was super chilly. If you were out in the wind, you needed to have a sweater/jacket on.
We walked down to the far end of the beach and found a sheltered little cove, then suddenly it was HOT. So the kids stripped down to their undies, and we had the most fabulous afternoon playing. They built sand castles, played in the water. Madelyn collected hermit crabs and fish [she caught them all with her bare hands] we only took a bucket for each of them with us, to collect treasures. Those buckets got a work out this trip I'll tell you.
French Beach was the last beach we hit. The last time I was here, the tide was in, so there wasn't much beach, this time, there was lots of beach, but rocky. We spent the day here also, the kids founds sticks and they poked at things and played in the water. They got drenched and jumped waves. They had a great time, and loved it. And that made us love it even more. Part of me was nervous that the kids would be bored, or not love it the way Barry and I do. That was not the case. Each time we hit the beach it was for the whole day, and we had nothing with us but snacks and buckets.

I realized with these trips to the ocean, that this is indeed my happy place... I just feel calmer. I feel less stressed. I feel peaceful. I guess we'll have to make an effort to visit a little bit more.