Friday, June 22, 2007

Back to life in pictures

Everything has been SO insane between my Grandma (she's not doing well), wrapping up the final reporting stuff for homeschooling, having an extra kid.... and then of course my cousin Lisa got me onto Facebook - like I needed something else! But I've managed to do some of my favourite things (take pictures, play with my kids and honey), so here's a bit as of late...

I LOVE this picture of Liam - so completely him! The giggle, the smoosh, the squish... Liam. We've had Jesse visiting with us from Guatamala for the past week, so these three have been quite the team. Again - LOVE this picture! My gorgeous honey, and my squishy son.

The guys heading out on a hike. Samuel of course has everything that he may possibly need. Including his lantern... it's about 2 in the afternoon. He's got about six books in that pack too... Samuel and my Dad never leave home without at least one book, and usually more!

I love this part of our day... just laying around reading to the kids. "Hey Mom, can you read to us now?" How do you say no to that? Samuel said the other day, "we're still going to read every day all throught the summer, right Mom?"

Some beach shots taken today of the cutest little mermaid that ever lived...

I love where we live! the beach again... Great weather, great day, and about 5pm the waves picked up and the lake started to feel a bit like an ocean.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Teigan and the Flyswatter

Teigan comes running deeply concerned, "Mommy, Mommy, there's a fly on the window!"

"Okay, sweetie, let's get the flyswatter and we'll get that fly."

She comes to me about a minute later and gives me a glass of water.

"Thanks Tink, what's this for?"

She looks right at me and proclaims, "It's the fly's water, so you can get the fly!"

Monday, June 18, 2007

Our backyard neighbours

We came home the other night to Boru barking his fool head off and heard a rustling in the trees far too loud to be any raccoon... we got the kids into the house and yes, lovely... there was a mid-sized black bear beside our deck with a big black bag of garbage. Mmmm, nice - nicer still when he tried to take the garbage bag up the tree with him. Jason gave him a number of shots in the butt with his pellet gun; this may have annoyed him, but that's about it. Finally Samuel scared him away with the pots and pans. So then the next day we find these three... Beautiful black mama bear and her two little cubs. One black, one brown. I assure you I have my telephoto lens on. Yes, I'm probably still too close - but I could have run into the house pretty quickly.

Check out Mama bear's claws!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Big God, my little boy...

Before you get started and just so you know... this is my longest post ever and no pictures. What's with that?! But as I lay in bed thinking about the whole event again a few nights later, I thought, I want to write that down so I don't forget... so this is where I wrote it down.

It never ceases to amaze me that the Creator of the universe, cares about the little things in my life. Or in this case, my son's life. Simple events and circumstances throughout the day that lead to a very meaningful, poignant little life lesson for a six year old. Now I know there are those who would give the credit to coincidence, mere happenings. But just like when you know someone so intimately that when a little surprise comes your way, and you know they had a hand in it. It has their "signiture" all over it. That was what happened looking back over the day once it was done.

Now Samuel has wanted a Hot Wheels race track for, well... ever. But, they're expensive, so alas he hasn't had one. So Tuesday afternoon we head over to the Thrift Store with a friend. I haven't had the time to check it out for months, but she's visiting her old stomping grounds and wants to check out the Thrift Store. Now Samuel doesn't come by money easily, and other than what he gets for his teeth, he earns most of his money. Picking up pinecones, cleaning the van out... the extras that don't really fit under just normal family responsibilities like making your bed and putting away your laundry. So Samuel takes a two Loonies out of his piggy bank and gives one to his visiting friend. Off we go.

Well of course Teigan has to go to the bathroom, so I leave the boys in the toy area of the store and tell them to stay there and I'll let my friend know to keep an eye on them. I get back just in time to see a sweet little old lady give each of the three boys a Loonie. I'm just about to say something. What, I'm still not sure, when she says to me, "oh no honey, please let me do this. I have great grandchildren that live so far away and I rarely ever get to see them. It would just make me so happy. And besides, I've so enjoyed listening to these two (Samuel and Liam) talk about how if they put their money together that they could buy the thing they want but then they wouldn't have any left for the little doll they found for their sister." So she gives them all a Loonie (and totally makes the boys' day!).

So the thing they were talking about pooling their money for was in fact a Hot Wheels race track. Complete with numerous tracks, loop d loops, race houses, gas station... for $2! Well, I'm almost as excited as they are because this certainly means that I don't have to even think about that track anymore. Yeah - besides it is really fun and I still remember ours from when we were kids - they're still the same bright orange tracks too. (Well, this may have been our set for all I know, but it's fabulous!)

Okay, so this wasn't supposed to be such a long story, but here's where it gets good. At least the life lesson part.

Samuel had his piano recital that same night and Grandma and Papa, Nana and Grandad... every one came to see him. Grandma and Papa gave him a card with a Toonie and two quarters in it. He was thrilled!

So after his adorable recital, which he did really great in, we decide to go see Surf's Up because it's just about to start and it's only 7:00, so we go have a little celebratory movie night. Great fun. Samuel though seemed a wee bit off. Nothing specific, just not quite right.

We're just about home when I say to him, "don't forget to call Mama and Papa and thank them for the card and the money." Oh my goodness! Now Samuel is not a child given to hysterics or tantrums or anything of the sort, but I'd say he was on the verge on hysterics. He just started bawling. Uncontrollably. We get home and Jason takes the other kids inside and Samuel and I sit for a while - quite a while because it took a good long time just to calm him down! He was sobbing and heaving and trying to say something, but I had no idea what. So when he finally calms down enough that I can somewhat understand him, he says, "those people at the movie theater are so disrespectful!" (I thought this was a bit of a humourous statement from a six year old, but I held my smile.) Then he starts bawling again and says, four times over before I actually make out what it is that he's trying to say, "I'm a bad boy." Well, if you know me very well, you'll know that I don't accept that from any kid, nor do I like that put on any kid. So I dealt with that first before we even moved on. "Are you kind to people?" Sniffles, snot, heaves, "yes." "And do you try your best to do the right thing and to listen and be good." More of the above, "Yes." "And do you love God and your family and your friends?" Still continuing but somewhat calmer, "Yes." "So... are you a bad boy or are you a good boy who maybe made a bad choice?" "I am a good boy. I did make a bad choice."

He put his Toonie in a candy machine at the theatre and got 4 candies. (He was expecting a bag full that he could share with everyone - hense the "disrespectful" movie people.) Now I don't know what kind of machine it was, but neverminding that, he lost, wasted to be more accurate, his special Toonie. I've already gone into way to much detail so I won't go into the rest of the discussion, but where it became poignant was talking about the value of money (and asking at this point in life because Mommy and Daddy have learned some of those lessons already) and what he could have bought with that money if he'd saved it. Then he realized that earlier that day for the same amount of money he'd made a great purchase. His first conclusion was, "I'll never eat candy again." Ya, sure. But he did end up really grasping it in the end. I wasn't planning on any big life lesson in the value of money, but honestly, I've never seen him so upset before. It was rather monumental. (He didn't want to tell Mama or Papa - and I told him that he didn't have to. Of course I did because they would appreciate the sweetness of it all.) I toyed with the idea of giving him a Toonie for the one he'd lost because I felt so badly for him, but then what kind of lesson would that have been? Throw away and waste your money and I'll just give you more? Ya right, there's some therapy I'd rather avoid!

So the whole God thing in all that? That evening as I lay in bed, I just thought about it all... going to the Thrift Store in the first place, the lady with the Loonie (not that I wouldn't have got him the track!) the race track (it couldn't have been anything more perfect except maybe a real quad). And the race track costing exactly $2.00. Like I said, it kind of had His signature on it. He does stuff like that. I just lay there and thanked God that in all of His wisdom and all the big things, He is so faithful and He cares even about a little thing like this for a six year old boy.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Manteo Resort and the Monster Jam

Yes, while the two don't seem to go together, we spent the weekend with three other families at the Monteo Resort and Saturday night at the Monster truck show. The resort was fabulous - we were right on the beach and shared a big unit with another family of friends. We backed right onto the beach and would have our morning coffee down on the beach with the kids playing in the sand. The rest of the days were either spent at the pool or the beach. Two condos, four couples, eleven kids - a great time! Probably one of the most exciting parts of the truck show was the security coming and telling me that my camera was too good and that I couldn't take pictures! No kidding. As you can see, I sweetly and promptly complied.
Liam contemplating his future.... Hmmm... "I know I've wanted to be a doctor since I could talk, but this monster truck thing looks like a viable alternative...."
These were amazing to watch - but as the parent of a crazy little risk taker, I had to point out to Samuel that some of these guys won't be walking by the time they're Daddy's age. (One of the guys had something like 137 broken bones, including his back.)

Teigan loved it, but by about 10pm was done in and ready for bed.
Yes, we paid the money to ride around the parking lot for 37 seconds in a massive monter truck.
With my handsome Honey by the pool. Yes, those are bangs I'm sporting. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I went in to get my hair cut last week. There's a reason that I haven't had bangs in 12 years... and won't have I'm sure for another 12 by the time I grow these out. When my hair is down I look suspisiously like Van Halen or Bon Jovi or some other rocker dude from the 80s. Yes, dude... Tink and Mommy time, out back of our condo. I love this one.
Ah, yes... the waterslide. Many, many runs down this thing were had! What a great weekend playing with the kids and enjoying the amazing Okanagan summer - yup it was the first weekend in June and it was in the 30s. Loving it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Well, Gannie made it through the first surgery. They had informed us that because she's 89, she may not come out of the general. She did and she knew my Mom and Dad right away. They only fixed the hip though, since she was under so long, they didn't want to do the shoulder and keep her under any longer. We're going up to see her this afternoon, and I'll find out more. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


This is my grandma, Gannie. My Mom and Dad called this afternoon to let me know that she'd fallen and they were at the hospital awaiting x-rays. I just talked to them again and they now know she has a broken shoulder and a broken hip and she'll be having surgery tomorrow, which means that she'll have to go under general anesthetic again. She had to a few years back and has never really been the same since (dementia). Apparently elderly people don't always do well with general. If you could please pray for her if you read this, it would really mean a lot. My Gannie was one of grandmas that did everything (I even remember her trying out my new skateboard). She travelled all over the world (and took each of my brothers and I with her on a trip), she was always doing so many things and never was "old" at all. It's been hard seeing her get old recently. I tell my kids about the lady that she was, because all they know is the Gannie in the senior's home who can't play with them. They do love to go and visit her though. Thanks guys.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

They're growing up too fast

My little scientist, as usual... exploring. I used this picture instead of one of Samuel inspecting the the dead quail a couple of days ago (although you may just get that later). Sometimes, at six, he is still such a little boy and I need to remember and cherish that. Other times he just seems so old and I don't know where the time has gone.
Someday, many, MANY years from now, some man will marry her... but he will never have known the little mermaid who wears her goggles at the park and who wants to grow up to be a flower in the daytime and a fire breathing dragon in the night time. Stop growing and just stay here for a while longer. I love these of Liam. It's unusual to actually get serious pictures of Liam where he's not laughing his little red head off... these are really neat because they really show another side of him. He looks so much older than four to me in that last picture - of course the food (or dirt) around his mouth brings him back down a bit!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Helicopter School

Wow. I've always wanted to learn to fly, and I'd be thrilled with fixed wing or helicopter. Although I doubt that it'll ever happen since we don't have $100K sitting around that we're just trying to figure out what we should spend it on. I also don't have any hidden asperations to follow my big brothers into the military to learn to fly. So I guess I'm stuck on the ground, relying on other pilots. We had a really interesting afternoon at the helicopter school though, met some really neat people and learned a lot. Of course the fact that Uncle Michael is a helicopter pilot made it that much more personal for all of us.

Here's Samuel learning about the way things work with a US Navy Black Hawk pilot. (This school here is very specialized mountain flying so pilots come from all over the world.) We were wishing that the Black Hawk was with him.

The cutest pilot ever. (Dig the issue purple boots too!)

This was SO cool. We got to climb up and see inside to really understand the way that everything inside works. It was amazing to see how the controls moved things and it really put it all together to really understand it all. Incredible. (Okay, when I say "understand" I don't mean on a greatly technical level - if my brother ever read that he'd have a very sardonic laugh and comment for me!)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Our Big Fossil Hunt

We hooked up with a geologist (and a astrophysicist!) the other day and went on a fabulous fossil hunt. It was so much fun and quite thrilling. The most amazing thing was smashing open a rock that just looked like an ordinary rock and finding a beautifully preserved (45 million year old - according to our geologist) plant fossil on both sides of the split rock. These fossils are from the Metozioc Period, so while not dinosour fossils, they're from the same time. There has been some excavation in the area and overturned earth that they knew was rich in fossils. Rich would be an understatement. We ened up with two bucket fulls! And that's just what we brought home with us. Samuel also found some quartz and other minerals, so we are now starting an impromtu unit on rocks, minerals and fossils since everyone is excited about it. Here's Samuel with map in hand, backpack with Rocks and Fossils book, magnifying glass, hammer and shovel, oh and don't forget the Tilley Hat!

Samuel and Will discovering fossils along the way before we even reach the main site.

My little scientist in all his glory.

Getting a closer look.

The boys on the mound. Teigan hunted off and on, but the flowers were really pretty!

I love this picture. It reminds me of pictures that you see of guys mountaineering in the 1930s or something. All he needs is an old fashioned canteen.

What a great day, and now exciting kick off to our new unit study. No wonder I never have a hard time figuring out what to study. The harder thing is what to put on the back burner... I love homeschooling!

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Scientific One

So this afternoon we were playing at a friend's house. All five kids squealing and playing in the yard, their little guy is running around in his gitchies and decides he's going to whip it out and go right there. Mom calls out the window, "hey, keep your pee pee in your pants and come inside if you have to go!" She of course was competing with five screaming kids and had to say it a couple of times. Samuel, the ever technical, scientific six year old calls back, "it's not a pee pee. It's a penis." Ya, thanks for that clarification, buddy!

The Ever Optimist

So I finally took Liam into the doctor today. He's had this hacking cough that just won't leave, although it never seems to diminish his spirits or really bother him in any way. We get into one of the rooms (thankfully) when Liam looks up at me from the book we're reading and says, "I don't feeol so good, Mommy." The good thing about an ever positive kid, when something is wrong, you know it. I grab the garbage can and he unloads breakfast. Mmm. Splendid. Better there than the waiting room and all contained, so not a huge deal. A few minutes later the doctor comes in and says, "so you're not feeling very good, Liam?" Liam looks at him kind of funny, "No, I feeol good." He checks his ear and it's red, the start of an infection... "does your ear hurt?" "No." "How about your tummy? Is it hurting?" "No." "What about your throat, it must hurt." "No. I feeol good." He gives him some medicine for the ear (maybe help the cough - but it may be allergies - who knows). We came home and Liam opted for bed over lunch (not a usual Liam choice!) slept for 2 1/2 hours, and woke up ready to take on the world. I love the attitude. Thanks God for this beautiful kid.

I don't know why I'm suddenly moved to write about what happened with Liam, but I am, so I'll tell you if you don't know. I went into premature labour with Liam at 24 weeks. We were living in the Cayman Islands at the time and they couldn't handle a baby that early, so they actually had the helicopter on the roof of the hospital and Baptist Hospital in Miami (one of the big neo-natal units) notified that we might be on our way. That would have been if Liam had been born, because they couldn't take me in labour. I was in labour with him for 12 hours before they were able to stop it, which is actually funny, because that's longer than all three of my birth labours put together! The doctor emphasized just how important it was (obviously) to keep him where he was for at least another 4 weeks. Longer hopefully, but the 28 week mark is a big one. My eyes are burning with unfallen tears as I write this because I am always overwhelmed by the fact that Liam might never have been and I can't even begin to imagine our lives without this incredible blessing from God.

Taken completely out of context, but perfect for this moment, the scripture, "He who began a good work in you will carry it through to the day of completion", was the verse that came to me and that I held on to. God in his infinite mercy and grace, allowed Liam to continue through where he was, until the doctor so rudely interrupted him 3 1/2 weeks early because he was too big. When he came out, he weighed in at 9 lbs, 3 1/2 weeks early! Every one of our (yours and mine) kids is an amazing miracle of God's that we got to play a little part in the making of. I am awed and amazed that the God of all the universe loves me (and you) even more than the depth of love I have for my kids; more than we could ever imagine, certainly more than we could ever deserve. Too much to comprehend, but forever grateful.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Samuel's letter to Bertuzzi

Samuel's favourite hockey player is still Bertuzzi, so he decided to write a letter to him. (By the way - great writing idea because he wanted it to be perfect!) He wrote a rough draft and then edited it and wrote it out in good copy. Here's Samuel and his bear, Bert, and his letter to Todd Bertuzzi. Oh, and GO Canucks GO!

The Best of Friends

On Sunday morning we woke up to a couple of cm of water throughout the basement. (Yes, lovely way to spend a Sunday!) We called my Mom and Dad who were already getting ready for church, they changed into their grubbies instead and came right over with the wet vac. After completely evacuating the basement of all of its contents, sucking up countless litres of water, ripping out the carpet, (it was hideous anyway!) we're still working on it all. Samuel really wanted to help with everything going on, but Liam and Teigan helped by staying out of the way. (Originally the water was fun to splash in, but we got them out of there!) Liam and Teigan are only 16 months apart in age and while their personalities are, of course, quite different, I can't believe the way these two play together. I went out to check on them at one point and found them in this big box together. They had transported numerous books and spent at least an hour, "reading" to each other, talking about the pictures and just hanging out. They didn't even realize that I took the picture or that we all came out to peek at them.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Celtic Festival

Today was Teigan's first Irish dance festival. Oh my goodness, so stinkin' cute! I had a hard time picking only a couple of pictures. After a slow start, the fire alarm in the building went off, then the firemen came... (all very exciting I assure you), it was a great little festival. Oh, and notice of course... the tongue!

The Penticton Pipe band did a few numbers which of course was a big treat. Samuel and Liam donned their kilts in full support of their little sister (any excuse to wear them is a good one for them - they wore them to church too). The boys were talking to some of the pipers afterwards and one of them asked if they'd like to hold the pipes - they were all over that! Samuel has already been talking about playing pipes for a few years now, but we're working on piano and fiddle for now! He of course has it all planned out, "when I'm good at the piano and fiddle then I'll start guitar and bagpipes, but I don't think my hands are big enough yet".

Note that the guy is still holding his pipes - would you trust this kid with your pipes?!
Liam FULLY enjoying the pipe band!