Alice’s Birthday & Other Summer Happenings

Our dear little Alice Genevieve turned two earlier this month! We were camping with my mom and dad at Syringa Provincial Park at the time, which was pretty much the best birthday Alice could have asked for!

July 2017-4-2

The weather was very, very hot and the water was very, very cold. Perfect!

July 2017-3-2

We stayed at an RV campsite for the first bit, and while it was pleasant to have an electrical hookup, the lack of shade made it a less than ideal location. We then found a lovely shady campsite to move to, which proved to be an excellent decision. The kids loved exploring the little trails around the campsite, it was close to the playground and beach, and James found an abandoned scooter (its wonky wheel was speedily fixed by Grandpa) and scooted on the road till he dropped into bed exhausted at night.

July 2017-15-2

July 2017-7-2

Chucking rocks while people fish is generally considered a sin. But Grandpa and the girls were a sufficient distance away. 🙂

July 2017-11-2

July 2017-10-2

Jeremy caught a little whitefish! Exciting for us, rather disappointing for him. (I guess they are not exactly fish you brag about catching.)

July 2017-12-2

July 2017-6-2

July 2017-5-2

Rather than setting up the pack’n’play in the fifth wheel, we tucked Alice into this little wardrobe. She fit perfectly and slept pretty well. 🙂

James investigated it first to see if it had a secret portal to Narnia (most disappointingly, it does not) and was wondering if Alice would go to Narnia in her sleep. “If she does, then I’m going to sleep in there, too!”

July 2017-9-2

Opening some gifts!

July 2017-8-2

Grandpa and Grandma took us out for dinner for Alice’s birthday. We went to the Lion’s Head Pub in Castlegar and the food there was excellent! Alice relished every bite of her enormous grilled cheese sandwich.

July 2017-13-2

July 2017-14-2

It’s been so hot and sunny the last few weeks! A friend from church lent us this little pool and the kids have been enjoying it daily. Alice loves wearing her “bathing soup” and cheers, “Hurray!” when she puts it on. 🙂

July 2017-19

July 2017-18

James has been fighting many imaginary battles against the Calormenes (the enemies of Narnia, in case you haven’t read the Chronicles lately).

July 2017-7

June joins in frequently.

July 2017-8

“Mom, take a picture of my face set in grim determination as I prepare to go to battle!”

July 2017-9

Off he dashes!

July 2017-10

And vigorously fights!

July 2017-11

July 2017-14

July 2017-15

July 2017-6

July 2017-4

July 2017-3

July 2017-12

July 2017-13

July 2017-16

July 2017

Our apple tree is going crazy this year!

July 2017-17

Jeremy’s accepted a teaching job in Kelowna and we are currently preparing to move there. It is a stressful time, as we don’t yet have a place to live (the rental market there is absurdly competitive). Please keep us in your prayers as we are finding it awfully tempting to be anxious.



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.

Summer 2017-2.jpg

Summer 2017

James’s 6th Birthday!

James Birthday-6-2

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!).

James Birthday

James Birthday-2

James Birthday-3

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

James Birthday-4

James Birthday-6

Trying out his new baseball bat!

James Birthday-7

James Birthday-8

James Birthday-7-2

James Birthday-3-2

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

James Birthday-9

James also requested chocolate cupcakes for his birthday.

James Birthday-10

James Birthday-11

Birthday dinner!

James Birthday-12

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.


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.

Easter and Winlaw-9

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!

Easter and Winlaw-6

Easter and Winlaw-5

Easter and Winlaw-7

Easter and Winlaw-8

Easter and Winlaw-12

Rustic perch.

Easter and Winlaw-11

Easter and Winlaw-10

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!

March Snow 2017-3

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.

March Snow 2017-11

March Snow 2017-2

March Snow 2017-4

March Snow 2017-5

March Snow 2017-6

March Snow 2017-8

March Snow 2017-7

March Snow 2017-9

March Snow 2017-10

March Snow 2017-12

Some sort of warfare was happening here . . .

March Snow 2017

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

March Snow 2017-13

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.

March 2017-9

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.)

March 2017-10

March 2017-11

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. 🙂

March 2017-4

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

March 2017-12

March 2017-6

March 2017-8

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.

March 2017-7

March 2017-5

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

March 2017-13

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! 🙂