Catching Up

Phew! I can’t believe it is October! WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?!! No, seriously! Where has it gone? Wasn’t it just the beginning of summer and the start of school was months away?? How is it possible that we are three weeks into school, that the leaves are turning color, that the summer clothes are slowly finding their way into the back of the closet??

I can’t believe everything that has been happening around here. Mostly good. Some tough stuff. Some not so good. But life continues on….and it’s time for me to get you caught up on what we’ve been up to.

July was a month without big kids – they were away at their grandparents’ in Ontario and then off to summer camp for a week. I have to say, this was the best summer camp week ever! They went together for the first time ever (someone please remind me why I thought it was a good idea to send them separate weeks all these years!!) and came home with mutual stories to tell and memories made. I need to remind them of those days – they were actually FRIENDS for a few days, maybe even a couple of weeks, after that week as they reminisced about those glorious 5 days at camp!

August found us dealing with major changes – job changes for the husband, relationship changes for a few family members, a family wedding, a residence change for a family member and beautiful weather. It wasn’t an easy month, but it wasn’t a bad month. It just was life. We enjoyed ourselves at times, we shed tears at other times. I think it’s safe to say that we experienced emotions in all their vastness and the many ups and downs that it can take you on. No sooner were we adjusting to one change when another would come along. I actually felt like a pingpong ball being tossed from one end of the table to the other with no chance to regain my equilibrium in between.

September came along and before we knew it this whole adventure we decided to embark on was starting. EEK! We’re actually doing this homeschooling thing!! Now I gotta be honest with you. I had high hopes for this “GRAND ADVENTURE”! HIGH hopes. But I was realistic – I knew it was going to be a transition. But let me tell ya! I had no idea just how much of a transition it was going to be for all of us. WHOOEEE!!! It is only by the grace of God that I have not eaten my young this month and thank GOD they have had the grace and maturity to realize that their mother is simply on a crazy train and that there is no need to run away, that the train will arrive at the station sometime soon and all will go back to normal.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DO NOT START SUCH AN ADVENTURE AS WE HAVE WHEN YOU ARE PMS’ING!!!!

That’s all I have to say about THAT!!! 😛

Okay, no. In all seriousness, it’s been a tough go but it’s not been a bad one. I wouldn’t change our decision to home school based on the last 3 weeks. We’ve had some pretty unsuccessful days if you measure success by amount of work completed. But if you measure it by how many children lived to see another day? We’re ACE-ING this one!! 😀 Or at least I am! HA! It has been a much greater transition than I anticipated though. And it continues to be a transition as we learn to work together and around each other. Let me tell you, when you can’t even get alone to pee without someone (usually a toddler) walking in on you or pounding on the door because you’ve, for some crazy reason, locked it, well, you tend to go a little bit nutso. Or a lot. Yea. A lot might be more appropriate! Ah but things are slowly coming together and we WILL get through this too!

In other areas, we’ve all started new activities – I am heading up the childcare for the Wednesday morning group at our church and the kids are helping with the childcare (totally convenient, I know!). Isaac is going to Air Cadets and is growing through that. Emily is taking a bit of a break after several years of being very busy with choirs etc. Tim is working at a new job and we’re all enjoying the more normal hours. Liam is, well, he’s being adorable…usually. Teething is happening. And OH MY WORD!!!!!!!! I had no idea this child could be so, well, HORRID!!! I love him and it’s a darn good thing because HOLY COW he’s been CRANKY!!! Yes I am using CAPITALS – it’s really been THAT bad!!! He’s cutting his 2 year molars and they are not being kind to him therefore he’s being unkind to us. This will pass but in the meantime it makes for some long long days!! Poor little guy.

I’ve been working hard on my Stampin’ Up! business again and seeing some good results from that. It’s been fun to create projects that customers love and to see their eyes light up when they realize that they are capable of creating beautiful things that others will appreciate. Of course the admin in me loves the planning and stuff for the in home workshops, the classes and the fairs coming up. Now I just need to find the time to get all the projects completed that I really want to!!

And there you have it. A brief “here’s what’s been going on” for us. There’s other stuff going on, things behind the scenes or inside my heart & the hearts of my family members that I haven’t mentioned here. I’ll be sharing some of those things over the next little while. There are activities and changes coming up that are both exciting and scary. There are potentially new roles that will be taken on and new ideas explored. It’s all very exciting to think about how we as a family are going to grow both in numbers and in our own hearts and minds over the next few months. I’ll share as much of the journey with everyone as I can….I just hope there’s time enough to tell all the stories!

God continues to be very good to our family. I am so very thankful.

A few shots from the last couple of weeks…..

2014-09-11 11.33.40

Horseback Riding with my Girl

Book shopping with Mom - Start them young!!

Book shopping with Mom – Start them young!!

Family dinner out - Big boy didn't need a booster seat!

Family dinner out – Big boy didn’t need a booster seat!

Babywearing Demo - September 2014

Babywearing Demo – September 2014

3-2-1…GO!

“Buh-bye!” Liam called to my friend and her kids as they pulled out of the driveway this morning. She’s  is Emily & Isaac’s home teacher for this next year of school. We had just spent the previous 2 hours going over the Student Learning Plans for both of the kids.

As I sit here with all these plans going through my head, I have to admit that I feel a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of what we are taking on. Transitioning from going to school every day to homeschooling is a HUGE transition, especially at the ages my kids are at – Grade 8 & 9 respectively. It’s a decision that hasn’t been made lightly and is one that, especially now, I am feeling excited about. But OH MAN! I also feel like someone is standing behind me, as I stand on the edge of a platform looking down into the pool below, saying “1-2-3….!” and about to push me over the edge.

The nerves are starting to kick in and I am feeling both a rush of excitement at what is coming as well as fear. This homeschooling thing is about to get VERY real here in our home!! EEK!

So much to do in the next few weeks as we prepare for the start of school, so many questions need answered. What are our days going to look like? Where in the house are we going to do our schooling? How are we going to handle things like lack of motivation or desire to school? How am I going to handle the responsibilities of house and home and now school?

WHAT IF WE HATE IT???

That last question is really the one that has me the most nervous. I am confident that not enrolling my kids in the local high school for the coming year is the best thing for them. But despite the fact that I am sure of that, and I am confident that enrolling them with Traditional Learning Academy is going to be a good fit, I’m still a little concerned – no matter how great our next year might look on paper, what if we can’t stand spending so much time together? What if we can’t find a good balance between work and fun? What if the kids’ won’t listen or we end up butting heads all the time? What if the whole thing just ends up being an exercise in frustration?

On the flip side of those nerves and questions is the excitement. My friend and I had fun making plans and it’s going to be even more fun to finalize and execute those plans. It’s going to be great to see how the kids handle the project based learning we’re planning for them. I have high hopes….and I’m counting on the fact that hundreds of families embark on this journey together every year and do so successfully. Plus Traditional Learning Academy has a fantastic program and we have a great group of people backing us.

So I guess it’s time….

3 – 2 – 1 – GO!!!

In My Head

Tonight is one of those nights when I have so many thoughts in my head that I want to put down on paper but none are really flowing or they just aren’t worth publishing. It’s the worst kind of “writer’s block” ever – at least when I have NOTHING in my head to write about I can usually find a prompt somewhere to get things started. On night’s like tonight I can’t sleep because of all the thoughts but I also can’t quite corral them all to get them out so the chatter quiets down.

Some of the thoughts swirling around in my head tonight center on the following topics: marriage, parenting, high school relationships, babies, tent trailers, future dreams, writing a book, Flylady principles, stamping & card making, business ideas, complicated romances, babywearing & wraps, breastfeeding, sleep. Yea….there’s a lot of thoughts. Some that might be worth sharing at some point and others that will remain just where they are – in my head.

Also in my head tonight is the plans for tomorrow – we’re heading out to where Jillian & Ian live and have their market garden. Jillian is Tim’s daughter. We’re going out to help them with harvest tomorrow. Then home to tidy the house, nap and prep dinner – we’re having my Aunt & Uncle over for dinner tomorrow. It’s going to be a good day….if only I could get some sleep! I really need to get out of my head!

Does that ever happen to you? What do you do to quiet the chatter?

Family Times!

I’ve been quiet for the last week or so because we have been away having family time! 🙂 The kids and I drove to Edmonton last Tuesday to spend time with Grandma. Tim flew up on Friday morning to join us and we drove back yesterday. We hung out with friends, with family, made connections with each other and really enjoyed our time away. Here are some pictures capturing the fun we had! Enjoy!

Edmonton Trip June 2014

Clearwater – stretching our legs and meeting the Moose!

2014-06-17 09.25.30

BIG MOOSE little man! (Clearwater – June 2014)

2014-06-18 10.50.52

Liam’s First Carousel Ride (our horse didn’t move up and down which I was a little disappointed with but probably a good thing for his first time!) (FORT EDMONTON PARK)

2014-06-18 10.50.54

Grandma went with us! We had lots of fun! (Picture credit for these goes to Isaac)

2014-06-18 10.54.40

Grandma & Isaac – great friends! (FORT EDMONTON PARK)

2014-06-18 11.05.37

FERRIS WHEEL!! At the midway at Fort Edmonton Park

2014-06-18 11.05.49

Looking down at the the world from the top of the ferris wheel! Isaac, Grandma & Liam opted to wait for us at the picnic table rather than ride the wheel!

2014-06-18 11.15.12

Harley Davidson motorbike with sidecar….pretty cool but I’ll take an updated version less the sidecar! (FORT EDMONTON PARK)

2014-06-18 12.14.45

Babywearing at the Fort! Photobombed by Isaac! We were the only people there that were babywearing….I can count on one hand how many people I saw during our entire visit. I was pretty shocked by that!

2014-06-18 13.03.01

Babycarrying! 😀 Liam loves being up on Isaac’s shoulders! (FORT EDMONTON PARK)

2014-06-18 13.05.40

Getting in some Grandma snuggles! (FORT EDMONTON PARK)

2014-06-18 13.06.26

CHICKENS!!! Liam loves Chickens! These were found in the area of the park depicting life during the 1800’s in Edmonton.

2014-06-18 13.06.28

Chasing the chicken – Liam kept calling the chicken to come to him but it ignored him! 🙂

2014-06-19 11.27.15

BAAAAA!!! Sheep at the Edmonton Valley Zoo (Thursday, June 19)

2014-06-19 11.27.56

“Neigh! Hi Horsey!” Liam loved the ponies, the sheep, the goats at the Zoo… he’s a regular little farm boy! 😀 (EDMONTON VALLEY ZOO)

2014-06-19 11.28.28

The sheep again!

2014-06-19 11.28.49

Liam thought it was funny that Isaac was petting the sheep and then wanted back in on the action! EDMONTON VALLEY ZOO

2014-06-19 11.42.13

More shoulder rides! Liam and Isaac sure do love each other!

2014-06-19 13.38.11

After the zoo, Liam was a little tired – pausing in the kitchen for a brief little lay down before carrying on with the business at hand….

2014-06-19 13.38.23

“Hey Grandma! Whatcha got there??”

2014-06-19 13.38.26

“Cheese? Oh can I PLEASE have some?? PLEASE???!!!”

2014-06-19 13.38.32

“THANKS GRANDMA! Your cheese tastes so much better than mom’s does!” Never mind the cheese Grandma buys is the same as the cheese I buy, he apparently likes it better at Grandma’s house!!

2014-06-21 11.41.05

Out at the Sweetnam family farm….this tree is actually an offshoot of the original tree long gone.

2014-06-21 11.41.37

Even though it isn’t the original part of the tree, this is part of the same tree that Tim played in when he was a kid! I LOVE the history/continuity/roots that come with that.

2014-06-21 11.41.41

Chattering at Isaac!

2014-06-21 11.41.51

Emily and Liam

2014-06-21 11.43.08

Auntie Shirley has butterflies hanging from the tree and Liam LOVED them!! You can’t hear him but he was SQUEALING with delight!!

2014-06-21 11.53.34

Hanging out in the front yard of the farmhouse Daddy grew up in and that Grandpa Sweetnam (Alan Sweetnam) lived in for a time before heading to fight in WW2.

2014-06-21 11.53.47

Exploring….

2014-06-21 11.54.47

The house that Tim lived in when he was little. It remains in the family and is currently inhabited by his older brother, Don, & his wife, Shirley.

2014-06-21 12.24.29

A little bit of history about the house….

2014-06-23 12.04.08

Heading home! (Liam is in the car but behind my seat!)

2014-06-23 15.25.34

Lunchtime in Jasper! Liam clearly wasn’t impressed that Isaac was leaning so close to me!

2014-06-23 15.32.30

Sticking spoons on our noses to pass the time while we waited for our food!

2014-06-23 17.25.40

Leg stretching stop. Rearguard Falls are pretty cool!

2014-06-23 17.27.04

Family pic attempt #1 – we’re all a little goofy!

2014-06-23 17.28.07

That’s a little better!! 😀

2014-06-23 17.28.38

First glimpse of the falls…

2014-06-23 17.32.28

This road trip home is taking forever…we’re going crazy!

2014-06-23 17.33.55

Liam’s first look at the falls – he wasn’t sure what to make of them!

2014-06-23 17.34.05

“WATER!!” He thought they were pretty cool!

2014-06-23 17.34.13

So much power in that water.

2014-06-23 17.36.30

My two big kids – love these two!

2014-06-23 17.38.36

My girl and I – she’s one of my best friends and I am so privileged to be her mom!

2014-06-23 17.39.07

Little man. Big staircase. He eventually climbed to the top by himself!

2014-06-23 17.39.23

🙂

2014-06-23 17.39.36

Checking out that water again!

2014-06-23 17.39.41

Chattering away about the water…not understanding why we can’t go swimming!!

Our Day At The Wildlife Park

We spent the afternoon as a family at the BC Wildlife Park. I wasn’t sure how the afternoon would go but it was a resounding success! I thought possibly Liam was still too small to notice the animals or to enjoy the train ride but I was wrong! He would notice those animals and “woof” like he does every time he sees a dog! Apparently anything with fur or hair and 4 legs, ears, a face, is a dog! It was pretty darn cute!

Isaac begged me for control of my phone/camera and so I reluctantly gave it to him. In the past he’s taken all kinds of goofy pictures that don’t show much of anything but today he took some great ones (after I insisted he not use the special effects!!). So many of these photos below are credited to him. For once I am in some of them. I think I’ll be giving him the camera more often after today!

2014-05-19 14.29.03

First real outing with the new SewFunky.ca ring sling. Looks good! Feels better!

2014-05-19 15.10.51

Can’t go to the Wildlife Park without riding on the train! (Isaac refused to smile – on purpose. We did NOT force him into doing anything he didn’t want to do! I promise!!)

2014-05-19 15.33.36

Checking out these weird things called PIGS! Oink Oink!

2014-05-19 15.34.10

Pretty sure Liam was trying to climb the gate into the chicken’s pen.

2014-05-19 15.34.20

When climbing didn’t work, he tried sucking on it. (I refuse to think about how GROSS that is!!!)

2014-05-19 15.34.27

When climbing and sucking didn’t help him get into the pen, he just looked with great interest at these weird birds!

2014-05-19 15.35.21

Everyone had to get in on the action – Pot Bellied Pigs are pretty darn cool!

2014-05-19 15.35.33

Not a great picture of them but there are two – a male and a female! Shortly after this was taken, the park workers came in to feed them. Boy were those pigs NOISY in their demand for food!!

2014-05-19 15.35.47

Pretty sure Liam is thinking “WOAH! Those pigs are WEIRD!”

2014-05-19 15.47.05

Just strolling along with his big sis….

2014-05-19 15.47.09

“Hey look! It’s that train again!”

2014-05-19 15.47.21

“I MUST GET ON TRAIN!!!”

2014-05-19 15.50.45

I wanted a nice picture of Isaac. He didn’t want to take a picture. So I tried forcing the issue. I kinda jumped on his back. The kid is amazingly strong! This was accidentally taken in the melee!

2014-05-19 15.51.56

He finally agreed to a picture but he wasn’t going to be happy about it.

2014-05-19 15.52.11

“Dad’s telling stories again…wonder what’s happening over there?”

2014-05-19 15.52.24

“Yup. Still talking. Doop dee doo…”

2014-05-19 15.52.57

FINALLY!! A NICE picture with Isaac! He agreed to a nice picture on the condition he got to use the camera/phone for the next while. I agreed. Anything for a rare photo op with my oldest son! AND CHECK IT OUT!! He’s NOT standing on anything so as to be the same height as me!!! EEEK!

2014-05-19 15.53.14

Photo credit to Isaac. 🙂 Just the kind of picture I love to take!

2014-05-19 15.53.24

“Hey mom! Smile!” So I cheesy smile forgetting for a moment he’s got a camera. Ah well. Even supermodels take bad pictures (and I am pretty sure many of the good ones are photoshopped anyway!!) Photo credit to Isaac

2014-05-19 16.05.11

SELFIE!!

2014-05-19 16.14.05

Swan! Beautiful! I will confess I deleted many of the animal pictures he took. Regretfully. I wasn’t thinking about blog posts or stories when I did that. I’ll not do that next time I give him the camera – I lost out on some of his perspective of our afternoon as a result. 😦

2014-05-19 16.14.11

Swan goes for a walk. Photo by Isaac.

2014-05-19 16.14.25

We were treated to a fine display of plumage by the Park’s resident peacock. Shortly after this he came over the fence and went on his merry way – I could have touched him! Beautiful fellow! Photo credit to Isaac.

2014-05-19 16.16.20

Hey Liam! Are you silly?? (Photo credit to Isaac)

2014-05-19 16.16.22

YES I AM SILLY!!! SEE???

2014-05-19 16.16.24

I AM SO SILLY!!! (insert belly laugh here!) Photo credit Isaac.

2014-05-19 16.16.25

Was that silly enough? I have some more in me….!! Photo credit Isaac.

Making Memories

Yesterday was cleaning day around here. On Tuesday I made lists of what was needing done and my charge and I decided who would do what. We let the other kids know which tasks would be theirs on Wednesday and at the assigned time on Thursday morning, we all got started. It was a success…and Liam found a safe place to hang out during the proceedings….

Am I safe here mom??

Am I safe here mom??

I “paid” my laborers fairly and in a way that made them very happy!

Mmmm...sure I'll work for Chocolate Mom!

Mmmm…sure I’ll work for Chocolate Mom!

That was yesterday! And today…we had a little more work to do today but then it was play time! My mom started a tradition with my kids called “Ice Cream Friday”. I’ve recently resurrected this tradition and so today, being Friday, we headed over to Dairy Queen for Blizzards and then we headed to the park.

Mommy & Liam selfie!

Mommy & Liam selfie!

Here I Come Momma!!

Here I Come Momma!!

Gonna get Daddy...

Gonna get Daddy…

Um, what are you doing, Daddy? (Daddy is helping Emily fly a kite)

Um, what are you doing, Daddy? (Daddy is helping Emily fly a kite)

Autumn wanted to join us for the fun!

Autumn wanted to join us for the fun!

And our day ended with Pizza, hockey watching, tub time for Liam & an early bedtime and now relaxing with the hubby and big kids. Tomorrow will be a day filled with family and fun & hopefully a little bit of work – my office/craft room is a DISASTER that needs taken care of ASAP!!!

The current state of my office...EEEEEK!

The current state of my office…EEEEEK!

A Little Catch-Up!

It’s been a crazy week or so around here! But there has been much fun had by all! The highlight of the last couple of weeks? CHOIR TOUR with Emily!

Emily has been in the school district’s Honour Choir for a few years now and this was her final year. Every year the choir goes on tour to a different area of the province to participate in performing arts festivals, sing with and to other elementary school choirs, and participate in learning workshops with different choir directors. It’s always a highlight of the year for the kids and parents who get to go with. This year we went to Squamish, BC and it was so much fun! We stayed in a FANTASTIC hotel – all suites with full kitchens. I had 4 amazing girls in my room/under my supervision who made my job so very easy! I was able to get away with a couple other parents to Whistler while the kids were doing a workshop on Thursday morning, spent a few hours touring around Horseshoe Bay on Friday (enjoyed some fantastic fish and chips at a place overlooking the ocean) and enjoyed Science World. I gotta tell ya – traveling with 52 kids between 10 and 13 years of age can be crazy but this year we had a great group of kids and it was a lot of fun! I’m a little sad that this is the last time I get to do this with them but it also means new things for Emily which is exciting and the natural progression of life that needs to happen!  (SEE BELOW FOR PICS FROM OUR TRIP!)

In other news, Isaac is working his butt off on his project for Heritage Fair, the annual history event that kids grades 5 to 8 participate in. He’s chosen a subject that totally interests him: The Avro Arrow Planes…You’ll have to ask him what they were and how it impacts Canadian history. I for one have been so impressed with his organization, focus and level of work put into this project. Isaac is often taking shortcuts and doing just what is required to get by when it comes to homework but this project is showing me a side of him that I am just loving! When he is totally engaged with a subject and is given room to explore it as his brain sees it, he does AMAZING work! I’ve known for years that he’s a really smart kid but he’s struggled in a traditional school environment partly due to his tendency to turn off when subjects or methods don’t interest him. It’s so great to see him succeeding in this! I’m excited to see the finished project and hear how he does when it comes time to present. Even if he doesn’t get chosen to go to the provincial level fair I am so proud of him!! He’s such a great kid! (And this only solidifies my desire to partially homeschool him through highschool…we’ll see how he does next fall before we make that final decision).

Liam is growing and changing and developing more and more every day! It’s so much fun to watch his personality take shape! Such an easy-going kid! He came with Emily and I on tour this last week and was an ANGEL!! So very charming and pleasant with everyone! He won the hearts of parents and students alike…not to mention a few strangers he decided needed to be friends! Today we laughed a lot at his antics as he relished being in his own environment and surrounded by his familiar things – he was one very happy boy today! Happy yet somewhat clingy as he didn’t get a lot of momma snuggles the last few days – hours spent driving around and then being passed around meant things were a little disrupted! He is definitely showing a very determined side to his personality and I am thinking one of those special backpacks with a “leash” to connect him to us might be in our future – I wore him most of the times we were out and about walking around but he also likes to walk and does NOT like to hold hands!!

Well, that’s the update on the kids. Sorta. A snapshot, at least, into what life is around here these days. It’s going to be a busy, full week here as we prepare for family arriving for Easter weekend. I’m ready – lists are being done up, plans put into place and as long as I can execute them efficiently, we’ll be in good shape by Friday! 🙂 Wish me luck!

Itinerary page 1

Itinerary page 1

Itinerary Page 2

Itinerary Page 2

Liam & I in Whistler, BC

Liam & I in Whistler, BC

2014-04-10 11.32.16

Coastal Mountain Range behind me…SO BEAUTIFUL!

2014-04-10 15.46.22

“My” Girls – quiet time in our room on Thursday. Pretty sure this was the ONLY time they were all quiet!! 😀

2014-04-10 18.44.22

Thursday evening at Festival – Liam LOVED watching and listening to the kids. The fishy crackers just helped him sit still during adjudication! 😀 (His T-Shirt reads “I am with the Kamloops Thompson Honour Choir”)

2014-04-10 18.45.52

The Choir – they looked and sounded so good!!

2014-04-10 20.57.35

Thursday evening – MOVIE TIME!! The girls were thrilled when I told them they could watch “Highschool Musical” and that I had the technology to put it on the big tv for them! Pretty sure they had a 3 night sleepover rather than just being on choir tour! (Later that night they all slept in the same bed together!)

2014-04-11 11.24.16

BC Ferries at Horseshoe Bay – I just love this little part of our world! So beautiful!

2014-04-11 11.42.30

Lunchtime in Horseshoe Bay – Liam was letting Pam know she should have the fish! 😀

2014-04-11 13.31.58

Best “no pooping on my lawn” sign I have ever seen! Thank you Horseshoe Bay!

2014-04-11 16.38.20

Friday afternoon shopping – Liam was being a little imp! YES his eyes really ARE that colour!!

2014-04-11 17.21.22

Babywearing in North Vancouver…

2014-04-12 06.43.31

Saturday morning came bright and early for us – Liam decided 6 was a good time to be awake!! Good thing this face is a cute one or he’d be in big trouble!

2014-04-12 11.13.51

Liam encounters a spaceship…

2014-04-12 11.18.50

Liam “drives” the spaceship…Science World is a great place for young and old!

2014-04-12 12.10.25

200 pound hippo was no match for 4 teenagers! 🙂

2014-04-12 15.32.57

Ikea…he tolerates my shopping trips here just like his father does.

2014-04-13 13.39.10

He might not be thrilled by the shopping required there but Liam sure does love the things Ikea gives him! Loves his new chair!