Sunshine

It’s a cold, exceptionally rainy day today and my thoughts are drifting back to last week when we ventured out to Champion Lakes because of the delightful warmer weather. The kids went for a dip in the water, and we watched an osprey coast and look for food down below. It never dived, though.

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James’s 6th Birthday!

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Our dear little lad turned six years old yesterday! He had a wonderful birthday, beginning with a treasure hunt to find his presents (a big hit!), having a pancake breakfast at church after mass, playing baseball at the school next door, and having a delicious dinner of his choice (tortellini soup, for the fourth year in a row!).

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James requested and received a baseball bat, a baseball, and a butterfly net for his birthday. He was so pleased!

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Trying out his new baseball bat!

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All set for church. Despite the cool weather, his sweater lasted one minute in church. I still want to overdress him!

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James also requested chocolate cupcakes for his birthday.

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Birthday dinner!

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And here is James’s birthday interview for your reading pleasure.

Q: How old are you today, sweetheart?
A: Six.

Q: And what can you do now that you’re six?
A: Hit with a real baseball bat!

Q: What are some things you enjoy doing?
A: Playing baseball.
Q: Okay, what other things do you enjoy doing?
A: I enjoy listening to The Silver Chair, and praying the rosary with dad. Those are two of my favourite things to do.

Q: Tell me about your sisters.
A: Well, June is a girl, and you probably know a bunch of things about girls. Or about three year olds. They can’t do much the same things as six year olds – which is pretty commonly known.
Q: Oh, like what things can’t they do?
A: Well, they can’t hit a baseball with a baseball bat.
Q: I see. What are some things you like doing with June?
A: Oh, I like reading stories to June, and I like playing games with her.

Q: Tell me a bit about Alice.
A: She also likes hearing books, and doing puzzles, and eating breakfast, and she likes candies. And yeah.
June: And I like balloons!
A: And June likes hot chocolate.

Q: What do you and I do together?
A: We do school (though not very often these days), and you read me books, and we read Lord of the Rings, and those are some things I like.

Q: What are some things that you and dad do together?
A: Playing chess, and playing checkers. One thing I would like to do with dad is play Wild Craft with him, because he doesn’t play it that often. And one thing I like is having a break from talking.

Q: What makes you happy?
A: Oh, lots of ordinary boy things, like playing baseball, watching videos of aircraft carriers, listening to Miss Vidovic, and things like that.

Q: What is something scary?
A: It would be if Smaug came flying straight over top of our house with an army of goblins and orcs! And an army of Black Riders! Do you think that would be scary, mom?
Q: Yes, that would be terrifying!

Q: What are you really good at?
A: Saying “I can do this!”
Q: Okay . . . And what else?
A: Uh, I’m really good at . . . throwing balls. And I’m really good at waiting for mentos at teatime.

Q: What do you want to do when you grow up?
A: I would like to be an arborist, and maybe after I’m an arborist a policeman!
Q: Why would you like to be an arborist?
A: Oh, because I’d like to be up in a tree for a while and use a saw, and maybe even a chainsaw!
Q: And why would you like to be a policeman?
A: I just would. I’d enjoy driving around, and I’d enjoy maybe going in a parade, and I’d enjoy just doing my job and coming home and seeing my wife and children, if I had them.

Q: What is your favourite song?
A: Loving Shepherd.

Q: What stories do you enjoy hearing about?
A: St. George and the Dragon.
Q: And why do you like that story?
A: I like that story because the knight defeats the dragon. And I like hearing about how the Red Cross knight rides sooooo far just to fight a dragon and almost die.

Q: What are some of your favourite books?
A: The Princess and the Goblin, The Silver Chair, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings!

Q: And what is your favourite poem?
A: The one about the knight and the lady!

A knight and a lady
Went riding one day
Far into the forest,
Away, away.

‘Fair knight’, said the lady
‘I pray, have a care.
This forest is evil –
Beware, beware!’

A fiery red dragon
They spied on the grass;
The lady wept sorely,
Alas! Alas!

The knight slew the dragon,
The lady was gay.
They rode on together,
Away, away.

Q: What is something new you’d like to try?
A: My baseball bat!

Q: What do you think about before you fall asleep?
A: Lots of things! Like how it’ll be my birthday tomorrow. That’s the thing I most wanted to think about when I went to bed last night.

Q: What do you love about God?
A: That He is generous and good, and that He gives us His Holy Spirit to help us come to heaven.

 

May Days

I’ve got a bit of catching up to do on the blog!

In April, our family joined the Catholic Church! I’ve been working on a separate blog post about that, but it’s taking a while to write. (If you have any questions you’d love answered in that blog post, feel free to leave a comment below, or send me an email… I’d love to have a bit more direction!) Anyways, Jon, Renae and Brian came up and joined us for the Easter weekend, and we had a lovely time together. But… unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos all weekend.

So, when Josh, Tanya and Everly came a few weekends later, I made sure to pop out the camera from time to time! You can see that Everly did not suffer any lack of attention.

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The kids were very excited to spend time with their newest, littlest cousin!

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Working on some GeoPuzzles.

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We went for a little walk through the forest after church on Sunday.

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And spent a bit of time at the playground, too.

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Last month, we dropped off the kids at my mom and dad’s and spent a kid-free May Long weekend at Mabel Lake with Jeremy’s family, celebrating his mom and dad’s 35th wedding anniversary. It was wonderful! Good food and laughs, as well as some time with just the two of us.

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Mabel Lake was so lovely! It’s surrounded by mountains and the surface of the lake was smooth and serene the whole weekend. We spent some time on the dock, just gazing at the water, wondering how a place could be so beautiful.

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My mom invited all the kids and grandkids over for dinner when we returned home. The weather was just perfect, and the kids enjoyed some time outside under the sprinkler.

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Little buddies. 🙂

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The weekend after we returned home, we discovered that Fruitvale always celebrates May Days with a three-day celebration. May Days included a parade that started downtown and went right past our house! The kids had never been to a parade before and were quite fascinated (except Alice, who was nervous).

(Have you read the book Wee Gillis to your kids? James was tickled to see and hear a bagpipe in real life!)

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Atrocious beaver float.

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There was so much candy tossed to the kids! They collected a huge bucket full of candy – it was like Halloween in May!

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The kids one slow morning, making music on their pretend instruments:

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The last few days have been gloriously warm and sunny! The kids have been having lots of fun dipping in some water. (James forgot his swim shorts at mom and dad’s, June couldn’t find her bathing suit.)

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Dreaming about being big enough to move on that bike!

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I love how June’s hair gets curly as soon as it’s wet!

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Mom found us a free trampoline on Craigslist and the kids have been bouncing away ever since we got back home! The rope you see tied down the middle is the “Rope of Peace” James instituted the other day.

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June has such a great laugh, and when she’s on the tramp with James, she is constantly laughing. It’s good medicine just being close enough to hear her. 🙂

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She’s been saying the funniest sentences lately: “That would be sensible!” or “I just couldn’t resist!”

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Playing pass with papa. Aren’t throwing photos the worst? You always end up with flailing limbs and hilarious facial expressions. This is the least gimpy of the photos I took…

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Just finding a little hideout:

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Alice now prefers the big kid swings to her little baby swing. Any chance she has to pop on one of these swings, she takes! She’s fallen off of it so many times already – she seems to forget she needs to hold on – but then dusts herself off and hops back on.

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The trees and bushes in our yard are bursting into bloom! These are some of the most beautiful blossoms I’ve ever seen… you know those flower poms that were really popular at weddings a couple years ago? These are like real life poms! Any idea what they are?

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Our little horse chestnut tree is in bloom and it looks so pretty!

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James, after we’d been chatting for a while, related some hilarious little tidbit from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

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That’s all for today! Have a lovely weekend!

Beach Day in May

The weather today was glorious and we were outside all day. It really felt like the first day of summer, one of those promising days that makes you anticipate the long days to come this season.

The kids have been playing on the play set a lot lately.

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June figured out how to pump on the swings, and now she’ll regularly pop outside to swing for a bit, even if everyone else is inside. She just loves it!

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And Alice figured out how to climb up the climbing wall! She is also very proud of herself. 🙂

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The kids have also been climbing all the trees they can climb.

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Today there were some arborists working across the road, so James and June ate their lunch in the tree while they observed them at work.

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The flowers are in bloom! We’ve got tulips blooming in front of the house, as well as some little grape hyacinths spangling the yard.

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James in his battle regalia.

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Today was so warm (26 degrees) we decided to drive up to Champion Lake. We thought it might be quite a bit cooler up there, so we took pants and sweaters along, but it was very balmy there, too. The kids happily explored, played in the water, and built a dam.

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That’s a patch of snow back there against the edge of the forest! (Far left)

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Alice practising her mermaid pose. 🙂

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I can’t wait for more lovely days like today!

 

 

 

Winlaw in the Slocan Valley

When I say “The Valley”, I’m referring to the Fraser Valley, but out here when people say “The Valley”, they’re talking about the Slocan Valley. It’s out of the way, it’s rural, and has a reputation for being pretty independent, quirky and beautiful.

Map to Winlaw

We went for drive up the Slocan Valley today. The blue skies clouded over pretty quickly, so we ended up turning back home around Winlaw. We found a lovely nature park there and explored the area with the kids. We found a small cave that might have been a badger’s home, enormous stumps from trees that appeared to be over a hundred years old, and some Canada geese honking on the Slocan River.

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It was a lovely stop. Across the river, we saw a Rail Trail that stretches all the way from the entrance of the Slocan Valley up to Nakusp (about 1.5 hours by car one-way). I must confess I was awfully tempted to move to Winlaw for its Nature Park and Rail Trail alone. 🙂

June is very interested in climbing trees these days!

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Rustic perch.

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Piles of Fun

It has been a mild and rainy week so far, and the snow is slowly but surely melting away. We caught our first glimpse of grass for the first time in months! Heavenly!

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James and June have been spending lots of time on the big snow piles around our house. They slide and tumble and get absolutely sopping wet and have a delicious time.

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Some sort of warfare was happening here . . .

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When she can’t join the kids outside, Alice likes to watch James and June from the kitchen window. 🙂

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Teetotalers & Other Fun

Hello, hello world! We are still alive and well up here! The sky has still been spitting more snow onto our village, but there are little signs of spring around. Birds chirping. Buds on the trees. Wee tastes of spring to shore up our hearts and give us hope.

The days have been warming up slightly, too (5 degrees in the afternoon), and the kids are really rolling with it. Today James ran around outside in a t-shirt and said, hopefully, “Mom, maybe it would be warm enough outside to go for a dip in a bucket of water?” Ha ha! My summer-loving boy!

In February, I rummaged around in some drawers and came across my old iPod. I put a couple audiobooks on it and gave it to James who has taken to the audiobooks like a fish to water. He has listened to The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at least six times since then, and is now listening to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader for the third or fourth time. It got to the point where Jeremy had to take the iPod away for a weekend. I find it amazing how he soaks in the story; he’ll recite lines word for word. “Mom, there’s this really funny part in the beginning of TLTWATW where it says that . . .” And it’s led to some really random questions; for example, while we were driving to the library today, James asked me, “Mom, what’s a teetotaler?”

In January, James and I started adding in a bit of math to his school days. He loves it! We’re using RightStart math and it has a lot of neat ways of teaching concepts. We use the abacus almost every day, sometimes we use the balance you see in the picture below, and there are lots of math card games, too.

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James’s favourite is one called Go to the Dump, which is basically a mathematical version of Go Fish. (You have to find pairs that add up to 10. So if you have a 7, you ask the other player for a 3.)

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June has been James’s shadow lately. They play together all the time. They jump around in the snow outside, they bounce around on an extra mattress in the back room, they read stories together, etc. When James is doing school, she wants to be sitting on my lap, listening to our conversation. She insists on doing things just the way that he does them. If he goes outside wearing a sweater and no jacket, she must do the same. His favourite Bible book right now is Revelation, and so it’s hers, too. 🙂

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“June, let’s be penguins and huddle together for warmth!”

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Alice is growing up quite a bit right now. She’s talking a little more, she loves it when you understand what she’s trying to say, and she likes to insist on having things her way. She loves going for walks outside, enjoys swinging on the swing and loves dancing to music.

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Alice joining in the fun (whether she wants to or not).

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That’s a little peek into life at our home!

Jeremy and I have also been wrestling a fair bit with what to do next. If you have a few minutes, I would really appreciate it if you would pray for us. Please pray for a job for Jeremy and for clarity about what sort of work he should do. And for peace for us as we wait. The uncertainty of what is ahead for us has been difficult and exhausting. Thank you! 🙂