The beginning of July saw us voyaging to Cultus Lake for a few days with the VK's. When we first moved to Chilliwack we always scoffed at the locals who would head to Cultus Lake for camping in the summer.  And now after having done it a couple of times, we are converts.  Who wouldn't like a beautiful lake with densely forested campsites 30 minutes from your house?
 Patti scored an amazing spot right on the beach.  Sunshine, shade and a gorgeous view.  We had a great time talking, eating, playing in the water, reading and walking with Zeke around the campground.  (He was missing his swing.  He is a great sleeper in his bassinete during the night, the day . . . not so much.)  Ty also carved out some time in his schedule for an outdoor haircut.  (Bribed of course by a popsicle). 
Ty was supposed to be napping when we saw his little head peeking out the window.  So cute!

It is wonderful to see other people enjoying and caring for our sons.  Ty loved being with Mike and Patti and James and Kassi and was constantly asking where they were when they weren't around.  

We brought our kayaks out and they got A LOT of use.

Marc and I were able to get out each day.  So nice to camp with willing babysitters!

One day Chad and Ang brought out the boat and Mike, James and Marc were able to surf behind.  We have many shots on this blog of Chad sitting in the foreground with a surfer in the background. 

A lovely trip that hopefully will become an annual tradition!!


summer visitors

 already this summer we have had many visitors, but none for long enough.  kylie's dad greg flew in to admire his new grandson and play with his old grandson.
 we got outside every day despite the rainy weather.  at some point in the day the sun would peek out and we would be off.  one day greg and ty and i were out for a walk in the forest behind our house when kylie texted me "better get home, people are talking online about a crazy storm in abbotsford and cultus lake."  we turned around and doubletimed it home, with greg occasionally having to jog in order to keep up to ty.  in the last few minutes of our walk the wind really started howling, and a large branch fell from the canopy and landed about 2 meters from greg.  with a timely warning we made it home dry and safe.
 our visits with greg are always too fast.  he is an easy guest and he loves all the same things we do, including hiking, drinking beer in the evening and ty.

 next up was my sister shareen.  her arrival from victoria was timed during a heavy work load for me.  not only did shareen help with the basics, she came armed with art projects and the will and energy to make a nice batch of strawberry jam with kylie.  ty loves shareen.  we could have used her around my entire block, but alas she had her own weekday duties to attend to.

two days after shareen left our good friend steve rolled in.  we dont get to see him much as he is currently teaching english literature at the university of the gambia.  he stayed for a night, which was much too short.  conversation with steve is typically fast, occasionally arresting, and always interesting.  i really have to be careful regarding the positions i take as steve has been known to recall, reiterate and refute assertions made 2 or 3 years earlier.  he treats debate like a long distance chess match and i love it.
 another good friend from university, heidi d, was passing through the fraser valley and stopped in to say hello.  we met her boyfriend jon who i am happy to report is a good CRC boy and a snappy dresser to boot.  an athlete and a gentleman.  we have only seen heidi once since staying with her in thailand.  half a day was too short.  after catching up in our kitchen, i took heidi and jon out to harrison lake where we perused native holy sites in the kayak and heidi bought pottery (not holy pottery).
the end of the visitors brings us almost up to current.  next post: camping with the vks at cultus.  but it might not be for a while b/c tomorrow we're off to go camping on harrison lake again.  big bessie is treating us great.  zeke is sleeping well.  making the most of this beautiful weather!


Anniversaries through the years

Marc and I celebrated our 11th anniversary on Saturday. Every year we reminisce about how have spent our anniversaries in years past and every year it gets harder to remember.  (Shocking, I know!!)  So this year I decided to help my memory for next year and write about our anniversaries for all to see.
We spent a lovely morning going to the Farmer's Market and then ventured to the spray park where we had a picnic.  We started going for a walk in a very lush park but soon retreated to a cement park because of all the mosquitoes.
Afterwards we went home, got a babysitter for Ty, left Zeke with a friend and drove to the Cactus Club for dinner.  Later we took Zeke to get some ice cream.  (Zeke had no interest in ice cream whatsoever, maybe I will have to wait to start solids?) ;) 

Sadly this is the only picture we took all day, in Cold Stone Creamery with Tim Hortons in the background. ;)
We were in Nampa, Idaho with my family and Marc and I went to a local restaurant for dinner.  We had some amazing food and literally licked the walnut vinaigrette off our plates. This was our tenth anniversary so we celebrated multiple times. (Our trip to Cuba was also a celebration of our ten years together).  We went out for a surprise dinner in Chilliwack (well surprise to me, not to Marc) and ordered a dessert taster plate from a restaurant we often frequent.  The taster plate came out with a box on it and I remember thinking well that is a funny way to plate a dessert.  Little did I know that Marc had come by earlier and gave them a box of diamond earrings to put on the plate.  Sneaky! Sneaky!

In Yellowstone, on our first road trip with Ty. We started out in Idaho and made our way to Yellowstone to meet Marc's parents.  Here we had a lovely dinner overlooking the river.

We had just found out we were pregnant with Ty.  We drove out to the Fraser Canyon for a bike ride.  Niko was walking like a crazy dog over the bridge.  There were holes all through the bridge and this totally psyched him out.  Later we went to Abbotsford for a dinner I know was very good but was hard for me to stomach with my newly acquired nausea. 

Our last year sans pregnancy or children.  We took the ferry to the Sunshine Coast and went on many hikes and stayed at a beautiful B and B right by the ocean.  I don't remember where we went for dinner but I do remember my skirt blowing up (from the wind, not explosives) ;) multiple times on the way.


After spending the morning in Nairobi, Kenya we boarded a matatu to the Kerio View Lodge on the edge of the great rift valley.  We ate A LOT of bacon, met some Masai warriors and enjoyed the beautiful views.
 We toured the Zoo in Langley for the day.  This was the last year of Marc's crazy hair days.  A scary panther roared at us.


This year we were in Golden for Marc's rural rotation.  We spent the summer exploring the area, and spent a lot of time at the top of Kicking Horse Mountain.  At the beginning of July I had just gotten back from Newfoundland and Marc surprised me by taking me to the top of the mountain in the gondola for a lovely lunch at the restaurant on top.  We finished the day taking the chair lift to view Boo the grizzly bear who subsequently escaped from his enclosure MULTIPLE times. I actually don't remember how we spent the day of our actual anniversary but we did eat at a local restaurant run by two dutchmen that was absolutely delicious! 
This is not an actual picture from our anniversary but it is from the top of Kicking Horse where we spent a lot of time that summer.

Marc and I had just moved to Chilliwack (we didn't even have possession of our house yet) and we stayed in a local B and B then went to Castle Fun Park to play mini golf!
Our second overseas trip together (first was backpacking in France).  We were in Uganda and splurged to go out to a fancy safari resort buffet for dinner.  We had a HUGE dinner then returned to our tent (we were poor students and had no money to stay at the safari lodge, just enough for dinner) and while crawling in in the dark we were assaulted by thousands of army ants.  Turning on the flashlight the floor of the tent was covered in ants ten deep!  We tried in vain to get them out and after I refused to sleep in our tent we found the owner of the hostel at midnight.  It was fully booked but someone had not shown up so we were very thankful to spend the night without our army ant friends.  The next day Marc woke up extremely sick (most likely from ALL the meat he ate) and while on the bus back to Kampala showered several bystanders with vomit from the bus.  Ewwww!

This was before the digital age and we have no photo documentation of the day spent at the Edmonton Zoo and the Cheesecake Cafe for dinner.  Marc took me on a surprise mountain bike ride through the river valley which ended at the zoo.  Marc learned not to take me on bike rides of undefined length.  You will have to imagine this one on your own.

The year I stole Marc from all his friends and lured him away to wedded bliss in Edmonton.

And many years of wedded bliss it has been!  Here's to many more!


ezekiel's baptism

 a few weeks ago ezekiel was baptized by our good friend and pastor mike vk.  subscribing, as we do, to a variant of covenant theology, baptism is a poignant symbol of ezekiel's entrance into a community of faith.  nobody handed me a mic at this baptism (maybe kylie paid someone) so i wasn't able to expound on the benefits of community or advertise pigbbq.ca this time around, (or joke that ezekiel had received his ticket to heaven - the prime reason for kylie's marc/mic phobia) but looking out at all our gathered family and friends reminded me how lucky we are to have such a kind, loving and generous community to assist in raising our wonderful sons.
 and that community showed up!  in addition to our church family, shareen, craig and maggie came from victoria, and mom and dad and julie, lowell and fraser flew out from high rollin' alberta.  friends and family from around the valley made the trip as well, to either the service, the party or both.

ty already knows what it's like to be blessed.

 after church we prepared to party!  lowell and dad helped me set up my impromptu deck roof as the forecast was for rain.  shareen made 6 pitchers of deliciously fruity sangria and my mom, julie and our cousin janina were on food prep.

as mentioned above, community is mucho importante to our family, and having such a wonderful group of friends and relatives at our home to celebrate ezekiel and commit to a life of free babysitting and unconditional love was wonderful to behold.

speaking of wonderful to behold, the food was amazing!  our good friend chad is a pig farmer and has a sideline renting and advising whole hog bbqs.  being good friends, we got the VIP treatment, with chad personally roasting and carving the pig, keeping up a running banter on the juiciest cuts and crunchiest tasty bits, while simultaneously dodging the periodic beer showers that resulted from our motorhome's fridge being just a tad too cold.

of course, a party isnt a party without a bouncy castle!  its a good thing there were so many kids around, b/c they had to gang up on the adults and force them out of the castle so they could play.

 lovin the midair query.

as mentioned above, the forecast was for rain, but the blue sky showed itself and our various contingency plans were for the most part unnecessary.  kylie and i did however enjoy our redneck renos for the next rainy week.

 we had groups of people eating, drinking and socializing in various nooks throughout our property.

 it was a real pleasure to witness friends from different circles meet, get to know each other and have fun.  being my mother's son, this has always been a major goal at my parties.  nothing brings people together better than tasty food, sangria, strong beer and...
... a shared purpose!  to mix things up at the end of the day we organized a competition using styrofoam gliders from walmart.  aircraft kits and jiffy markers were distributed to team captains, who were then in charge of assembling, decorating and piloting their gliders between the treacherous trees and out into the open sky beyond the immediate horizon.
in the beginning there were many inopportune landings and much gnashing of teeth.  some wondered aloud whether the allotted task was too difficult for untrained amateurs, regardless of their innate talent and western canadian grit.
 soon however, the pilots got the hang of the local convection currents and began to draw a crowd.

in the end, every team succeeded in launching their glider over the horizon.  every crash, every updraft and every loop was accompanied by cacophony of cheers and whoops.  kids were running up and down the street chasing and retrieving errant planes.  guests attempting an early egress were suckered back in by the spectacle.  a rousing end to a fantastic party.

welcome, ezekiel thomas, to your community.  you are more blessed than you will realize until you are 28 (or a particularly introspective 18... here's hoping!)