Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Second Post of the Year... in July

February  FAST FORWARD July.  It must be apparent by now that I'm having a hard time keeping up - not even one photo posted yet this year and we've just passed the halfway mark of the year.  Any time that I have spent in front of the computer has been dedicated to finishing up the 2014-2015 blog book, in which I believe we are still waiting (very patiently, I might add) for Martha to be born.  In July.  2014.  Yes, we're about two years past that point now and I hardly know where to begin.  Our summer is quite booked this year with camping trips, a week at a cottage with my family, and a summer course/seminar for Mike which will take him to Michigan for a few weeks.  My plan is that those weeks will be rainy and gross outside, so that I will want to spend lots of time in the downstairs office working on blogs and blog books.  Isn't that a nice plan?  Please note I am making no promises.  Even if the blog book miraculously gets completed, I am still overwhelmingly behind on the updated online portion of the blog.  All those photos to sift through... and ever since Mike has had a phone with a camera, I've got a double set of photos to look at and choose from.
But I have been telling myself that I need to stop making excuses for not keeping up with these things as they really do get pushed to the back of the priority list.  Standing right before me most of the time I have a husband and four sweet, beautiful little boys growing by leaps and bounds every time I blink or turn around.  Time just goes by so FAST and you can't get it back;  therefore computery time is relegated to the late hours of the night when truth be told, I'd rather be sitting with a book or sleeping.  I've got a few loads of laundry leftover from our camping trip to the Pineries that need to be washed, dried, folded, and put away before we pack up and leave on Friday for our next week away.  I figured that if I am sitting in the basement at the computer, the chances are higher that I won't leave a load of wet laundry to mold away until the next time I need to wash something.
And Mike just came home (at 9:40????) from a meeting, so this latest blog episode comes to its completion.  Someday you will see pictures, just don't hold your breath!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

February Words

Here on the westerly side of London we find ourselves enjoying another snow day.  It hasn't been a particularly snowy or cold winter, in fact it's been quite warm, but the kids have had enough unexpected days off school to satisfy them - well, the older two are happy about it.  It seems most snow days have landed on a Tuesday or Thursday, and Nate is not quite as pleased to miss a day of Kindergarten.  Stephen enjoys having his brothers home to play with! 
I don't find myself sitting here at the computer very often and thought I would take an opportunity to write an update.  Truth be told, it's only because I've run out of thread and my rotary cutter is dull - otherwise I would be working on my latest sewing project.  I've been working on a new quilt for our bed, as our wedding quilt from Mom VD is getting somewhat threadbare.  I'm really happy with how it is turning out and looking forward to seeing it in our room.  In October perhaps.  It will take me a while!
The kids are scattered over the house and quietly occupied with different things.  Peter is humming and whistling at the Lego table.  Whistling is a new thing for him, and ever since he learned a few weeks ago, he's been whistling all. day. long.  It makes me think of the song from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, "Whistle While You Work" and I like to think that music spills out from joy in the heart.
Aaron is upstairs in the living room reading a Hardy Boys book.  He is devouring books, both out of a true enjoyment for the written word as well as the competition of logging the books they've read at school. 
Nate is working on a colouring page at the kitchen table and probably by now has a pair of scissors and is cutting little bits of paper for some craft idea or another.  The world of words is opening up to him now too, and it is really fun to watch that unfold.  He recognizes words on signs or in books and he sounds things out, and I think he is eager to be able to do what his older brothers can do. 
Stephen is playing with Duplo in the rec room and singing all kinds of randomness to himself.  He's happy to have some playmates at home today, although most days he is pretty content to play by himself lining up the dinky cars or setting out train tracks.  His talking is developing all the time, and though I can understand a lot more of his speech than the typical adult, he is able to communicate well.  He still naps in the afternoon for a while although he is convinced that he doesn't need it.  I am not so convinced, so the naps still happen. 
All four of the boys have taken an interest in the previous three blog books that I have published.  They love to see pictures of themselves when they were younger - Stephen is often quite miffed that he isn't in the earlier books - and Peter and Aaron have been getting a laugh out of some of the stories in there.  It reminds me of the importance of documenting things - well, maybe not the importance of it because if I were never to update the blog and if our family history wasn't written down I think the world would keep on turning.  But it's good to see it's appreciated by more than just me.

The post above was written about two months ago and is unfinished.  With no more ado, I will post it. 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goodbye, 2015 - Hello 2016!

Another year has drawn to a close, and we say goodbye to 2015.  For the next few weeks, I'll be rewriting the date on paperwork and cheques, scribbling the "5" into a "6", and I'm thankful to have a year change-over where the numbers look similar enough that the figure can be corrected without having to be completely scratched out and redone.
This was our first full year, January through December, living in a new home, attending a new church, learning a new community.  Like most years and time in general it seems lately, it went by quickly and everyone has grown up a bit - some more than others, and everyone in different capacities.  I'm pretty sure I haven't taken enough pictures or videos in the last year, and I can't exactly give a reason for that.  Perhaps a New Years resolution to add to the list would be a return to more consistent documentation of family activities, on the regular days as well as the exceptional. 
Our older three boys are all in school now and for the most part enjoying their time there.  Peter is intrigued by the idea of having his own instrument to learn, the recorder, and if he would put some concentrated effort into practicing it when it isn't lost somewhere under his bed (or someone else's bed) I think the addition of disciplined musical ability into his mental repertoir would be a good thing for him.  I imagine it would be a good thing for us to look into some lessons for him and the other boys in some instrument or another - piano, violin, guitar - this takes initiative, discipline, hard work, and patience on both their side and ours as parents.  Perhaps the reason it hasn't happened yet besides the fact that I am not at all musically talented is my own fear of delving into something new. 
Aaron is turning into a bookworm, devouring books after his older brother finishes them and puts them down.  Although easily frustrated by his mistakes, he can be quite industrious and hard-working and if he can put "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" into practice, it would serve him very well.
Nate is growing and stretching as well with his introduction to the world of school.  He continues to be somewhat absent minded but that doesn't seem to be a problem when he's in the classroom.  He still is often found wearing shirts or pants or underwear or shoes backwards or inside out or switched around but he is usually cheerful enough to fix it himself when the problem is pointed out.
Stephen has changed the most over the last year, especially with the development of his communication abilities.  He is stringing together words into sentences and very happy to be able to talk with us about more complicated issues.  He is toilet-trained day and night, sleeping in a big-boy bed and no longer uses a soothie.  We took apart his crib over the Christmas holidays and tucked it up in the garage loft for the first grandchild sometime in the future.  For the first time in over 8 years, there is no one sleeping in a crib!  Time goes by so quickly.
We can probably expect time to go just as quickly in the year ahead.  We pray for continued physical, mental, emotional, spiritual growth for each member of our family as we step forward each day.  Happy new year to you all!

Friday, November 20, 2015


A number of months ago, we were reading in the Bible about the lives of Jacob and Rachel.  When Rachel gave birth to her last son and as she was dying, she gave him the name Ben-Oni meaning "Son of my trouble", which was changed to Benjamin by Jacob after her death.  We were pretty sure that the name "Ben" means "son", and figured that "Oni" must mean "trouble".  Upon further investigation, "oni" comes from the Hebrew "aven" which does indeed mean "trouble".
Where is this all going.  Well, at the time, we had a son who was bringing us considerable amounts of trouble - or at least, he was getting into all kinds of things that he just wasn't supposed to be into.  Who was our trouble maker?  None other than our sweet little dimple-cheeked Stephen.  I proposed renaming him StevOni after we were done with our conversation about Jacob and Rachel.
I am happy to say that he has not been as troublesome as he once was, at least not in the "can't turn my back for one second" kind of way.  He certainly still has his antics and when things are quiet, I know that there's trouble afoot.  I would like to say that his infatuation for Kleenex has abated, but that seems to be one thing that still troubles him and unfortunately there are a lot of Kleenex boxes around right now since I've had a cold going for about a month.  The other day he emptied the Kleenex box in my room and then must have felt some remorse for his actions and pulled them all back out of the garbage and stuffed them back in the box.  That would have been nice of him if he knew where the clean Kleenexes stopped and the crusty ones began.  Ew!
Anyways, in an effort to maintain sanity and find laughter in frustrating moments, I took the time to document some of the troubles that he was getting into.  Here is some photo evidence of my little Stevoni:
Quiet for too long at Grandma's house, he was found to be eating a Sharpie
Mom you are so unfair!  I want to play with the crystal!
What kind of mother doesn't give her kid cookies for breakfast??!
Bring the kids to the Burger King playplace, and all he wants to do is escape when I'm not looking
Looks like a promising, happy drive to Hamilton
One day I found this on the kitchen floor...hmmm..
The little stinker climbed up on the arm of the couch, opened the clock and removed the tick-tock thingamabob.  Agh!  Who would even think of that?
This was very common in our house... the culprit has left the scene of the crime but it's not too hard to guess who it was
Teeth marks in the deodorant
In case you were wondering, I am NOT HAPPY
Somebody's been emptying out the container cupboard again...
Ooooh, Mommy went outside for a few minutes.  I guess I'll raid the refrigerator and eat all these yummy blueberries and raspberries
What's the problem, Mom?  I haven't been doing anything bad.
Just a little diaper cream, that's all.
I hear diaper cream works really well for polishing your shoes
You've seen this one before already, but this is his classic relocation of the Kleenex trick


A boy and his dog.  This picture reminds me of a picture of my dad when he was a boy (below)

Dad on the left, Uncle Brent on the right
Mitzi, the newest addition to our household
Spanky the Rooster, one of the crankier members of our household
On Thanksgiving Monday we went for a walk at the Sharon Creek Conservation area.  The trails were somewhat disappointing but it was a beautiful day to get out, and we found a few geocaches on the way
I just love this picture of our two youngest marching along
I am assuming this is Sharon Creek or at least a lake-y part of it
The boys all love the dog, but Nate is particularly fond of her.
Awww, big brown eyes
Awww, even cuter big blue eyes!  Love this little stinker!!
We were visiting Dad and Mom for a few days during the teacher's convention and I guess these boys were missing their chickens?

Trip to BC

At the end of September, Mike and I had an opportunity to take a trip together to British Columbia.  Mike had a principal's conference and we went up a few days earlier and stayed a few days later.  We were able to visit with the Zekvelds in New Westminster, I spent some time with my aunt in Abbotsford, and Mike and I did some sight seeing in the mountains and in Vancouver.  It was a spectacular trip and we greatly enjoyed being able to share this time with each other.
It was so nice to spend time with the Zekveld family!
Panoramic view of Vancouver from the Cypress Mountain lookout point
Gary and Hannah took us to the Lynn Valley suspension bridge and we hiked along some trails

We were able to witness a lunar eclipse one evening
One afternoon at the conference in Washington, Mike went on a hike at Mt. Baker.  They drove up quite high and then went hiking above the tree line.  What a spectacular thing to see!

I went on a few solo road trips while Mike was at his conference.  Tuesday I started off at Westminster Abbey, a monastery in Mission.  The bells were ringing when I arrived and it was a beautiful day!
There was beautiful singing going on in the cathedral
Breathtaking lookout point over the Fraser Valley
From there I made my way to the Harrison Hot Springs
Soaking my feet in the hot springs... I must be much healthier now!
Next I took a short hike to see the Bridal Veil Falls
I dropped in on Oom Case and Tante Tita, my Mom's uncle and aunt, for a quick surprise visit
The next morning I drove up to see the Cascade Falls.  It was beautiful, but also very remote and my cell phone didn't have a signal out there.  I was glad to get back in the car and make my way back to more populated areas.
Cascade Falls
Returning from Cascade Falls, I stopped to find a few geocaches along the way
After picking Mike up from the conference in the late afternoon, we scooted over to Alouette Lake to see another waterfall.  We really booted it on this hike because we were a little afraid of losing daylight and having to find our way back to the car in the dark
Another beautiful waterfall as a reward at the end of the hike - each one has its own particular beauty
My honey and me
We stopped in at Westminster Abbey on the way back to Aunt Yettie's place so Mike could see the view from the lookout point
Love this hilarious glamour shot of our ride!
Mike and I left on Thursday morning to head up to Whistler.  We did a hike at Cougar Mountain, which was a pretty intense trail for an inexperienced hiker.  Our poor rental car had to drive a treacherous road to get to the trail head, with a warning that tow trucks would not get you out of here!  We made it in and back and saw some beautiful sights
When we got to the top of the trail, we were able to see these enormous Cypress trees.  Just incredible how huge they were!
Enjoying the view!
Initially we were hoping to go on the Peak to Peak Gondola at Whistler, but it had closed for the season two weeks before we arrived.  Instead we went on the Sea to Sky Gondola which was absolutely amazing.  It just kept going up and up and up... and what a view.  It was definitely worth the ticket.  We were able to do a bit of hiking at the top although we had limited time before the last gondola went back down the mountain
We spent Thursday night in Vancouver and Friday morning we hiked along the sea wall in Stanley Park.  It was the only rainy-ish day that we had for the whole week, and probably good to experience some more typical Vancouver weather!  Even the rain wasn't too bad and we enjoyed our walk although it was a little longer than we had expected.  We were both pretty tired by the end!

We visited the Vancouver Aquarium to do some indoor things while it was raining.
We had clear weather over part of the Rockies on our way back home.  What a majestic sight to see them from the air!
One final sunset of the trip