Saturday, September 12, 2015

Beach Combing

We spent Labor Day weekend in California, scouting for beaches.  We went to three different ones and loved them all for varying reasons.  Huntington was great for boogie boarding, digging in the sand and playing in the waves.  WP discovered sand for the first time and loved it immensely (except when he rubbed it in his eyes).  He also discovered waves and loved them even more...he would kick and squeal when each one came rolling in.  And I realized I somehow got almost zero photos of Q...but he was there and having the time of his life!


Little Corona Del Mar was beautiful (albeit crowded...although you can't tell by the pictures).  Miss B thinks she is an explorer and set off on her own looking in tide pools and ultimately ended up climbing around the edge of the cliff-face (to another beach) in a skirt and sandals.  We didn't know where she had gone and had to send out Dad for a search and rescue.  He ran into some strapping young men, who fetched her back.  They were impressed that she climbed around the cliff and didn't get wet...she was just happy to chat with some good looking California boys.  :)  She was not happy to get a stern discussion on ocean safety and not being alone.  Phew.  She's always up for adventure, that one.

Balboa beach had the most intense, powerful waves I have ever seen.  They were outrageous and beautiful.  We couldn't really swim though, just stand about knee-waist deep as they crashed in.  The waves were so powerful, the kids could sit on the sand as one was coming in, and it would push them up the sandy slope!  The sea foam that was left was so amazing and was my favorite.  WP mostly sat with me, or roamed in the sand in his sweats (so as to reduce the amount of sand that ended up on his diaper rash- poor babe).  

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Motherhood: Tackling After School Chaos

I have had such conflicting emotions lately. When the kids leave for school, I clean and work on projects while the babe sleeps or plays. And while I work, I think with glowing fondness of my cute family and I count my blessings. I have a nice home, we do not lack for things- which is evident by the piles and mountains of laundry and the clutter than needs to be gone through and a messy garage. I have a husband who works hard to provide, support me and help me. I have five energetic, talented, unique children who try their hardest (and my patience).  I feel blessed and lucky and happy...and even though things are definitely crazy and hectic and life is full of turmoil and problems, I am eager to meet them head on and conquer.

And then. The kids come home. And backpacks are flung hither and thither. Lunches are unpacked and food is consumed at alarming rates. Homework help is needed. Rides are needed. More rides are needed. Neighbor kids want to play. I have church responsibilities.  I feel torn and thin and not enough. And we muddle through the madness and somehow find time for dinner, various after-school activities and prayers and then it's time for bed. Then I feel bad for losing my happy feelings of the morning. I feel like I missed talking to 1-4 of the kids adequately for the day/week.  I feel frustrated with the clutter in the house and all the stuff I am not doing or not doing well.  And I say my prayers and I plead for forgiveness and that my babes will not be ruined only to go through it all again the next day.

So.  I have been trying extra hard to keep my positive attitude all through the day and I came up with a plan to help keep me sane.  I am trying to keep a better schedule (especially after school), I am working on one-on-one time with each kid, letting them have some downtime before homework and chores and trying to do some of the things I like such as home decorating, reading my scriptures better, blogging etc.  We shall see how it goes today!

And here are photos of this little guy with his new bottom teeth poking through just because he's home with me all day and he's cute and his grin is the best.  :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

My Three Favorite Places in Vancouver

I am finally wrapping up our Great Canadian adventure and writing about my three favorite activities while we were in Vancouver...and they happen to be the last three things we did.  They include Stanley Park, Lynn Canyon Park and VanDusen Botanical Garden.  I highly recommend them all.

First we stopped at one of the many beaches at Stanley Park.  Stanley Park is an amazing urban park in the heart of Vancouver.  It is bigger than Central Park and drop dead gorgeous. It is 1,001 acres and there are so many amazing things to do and we didn't even scratch the surface.  There are parks, trails, bike paths, beaches, a lighthouse, giant grassy areas, forested areas, etc and etc. This particular beach had some fun tide pools and the kids had a blast exploring...especially my Miss B.  She is an adventurer, always looking for lizards or creatures...this time star fish and crabs. :)  She is also growing up way to fast.  

This bird was awesome at fishing...he was so stealthy and sneaky.  We watched him for a long time. He reminded us of our lizard-stalking dog. 

That night, dad took the kiddies to dinner whilst I stayed at the hotel with the babe and let him roam for a minute after a nice bath.  He enjoyed it immensely.

The next morning we headed to Lynn Canyon Park to hike to the beautiful suspension bridge. This is one of my most favorite hikes I've been on.  The forest is old and mossy and other-wordly, with knotted roots sticking out of the ground.  It was so lovely.  There are wood platforms and stairs winding throughout.  At one point we hiked down some steep stairs to get to the 30-Foot Pool.  It was quite chilly, but there were a few brave souls swimming in the freezing waters.  The kids decided to hop down the river on the giant rocks.  It was a grand time sitting in the shade watching them jump from rock to rock and then watching everyone but Miss B fall in to differing depths of the cold river.  Mr. C was a rock-star and gearing up for a Havasupai Scout trip and carried WP on his back about 90% of the time.  Dad did lug him up the steep stairs on the way back.  Man those were rough stairs.  I'm tired thinking about them.  And of course the suspension bridge was awesome.  We kept quoting Emperor's New Groove both times across.  The bridge and views were amazing and I wish we had been there at sunset so I could have captured it better, and when there weren't a bunch of people. But you get the idea.  

Poor Dennis had fallen on a previous hike earlier in the trip and had some nice scabs on his knees.   He fell again on this particular hike and re-injured his poor legs.  He was crying about how he had lost his scabs to which Q piped up and soothingly said, "It's ok, I will buy you new scabs when we find a store."  It was the sweetest offer- even if he didn't quite understand what scabs were.  We had a good laugh and it put a smile on poor Dennis' sad face.

Right after our long hike and playing in the river, we made a last minute decision to head to VanDusen Botanical Garden.  VanDusen is about the same size as Butchart but less busy.  There are so many things for the kids to do so it kept everyone occupied and happy. There are interesting signs to read, and plenty of acres to RUN WILD!  There are beautiful lakes full of blooming lily pads, picturesque paths winding through all different kinds of foliage from ferns, to rhododendrons, hydrangeas and roses, not to mention the most gigantic plant we have ever seen (it made us feel tiny).  There are floating bridges to walk across those lily pad-covered lakes and interesting statues and even a legitimate Victorian-style hedge maze complete with tricks, dead ends and a center feature.

Skinny Dennis maneuvered his way through a teeny tiny slit in a statue.  The other side was a bit wider and Q could get through easily...but Dennis astonished all of us (himself included) by fitting through the verrrrry small side.  It had to be done very carefully and Dennis was pleased as punch with himself afterwards.

I loved the hedge maze, it is such fun time.  The kids loved it even more than me and went through 18 times until they were sweaty and red-faced.  Not even kidding.  They ran it backwards and forwards and every which way.  They raced down every wrong turn and trick and found the center point and so on and so forth.  To say they were thrilled with it would be an understatement.

After that long, beautiful and satisfying day, we drug our poor tired bodies back to the hotel to rest and get up the next day to start our long drive home.  And now I want a mini VanDusen in my Arizona backyard.  Is that too much to ask?  
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