Monday, August 18, 2014

The Boys Go Rock Climbing

This whole summer Kai has been a tad bit obsessed with `American Ninja Warrior'.  If you haven't seen it, it's a show dedicated to difficult obstacles which require agility, strength and coordination.  Kai has expressed such an interest in something related to it but we couldn't figure out what would work well for him.  At the Abbotsford Air Show, we let him climb a rock wall and he flew up it. When I got home, I thought about possibly building a bouldering wall along our garage for Koen and Kai to work on.   A friend suggested checking out a climbing gym for programs for kids and we found the perfect one!

There aren't many climbing gyms around but there is one about 20 minutes from our house; Coastal Climbing.  They have a kids program for ages 5-9 years old that meets once a week. We decided to do a drop in to see if both Kai and Koen would like it. 

(PS This isn't a sponsored post, just sharing what we found!)


It's 1.5 hours and they get to climb several walls with an instructor that belays them.  They also get to do bouldering while waiting for their turn.


There are two levels and I sat in the middle of them most of the time to get these photos.  They could climb up to this part.





They both had a lot of fun.  Koen has a harder time following instructions (he needs just one command at a time) and obviously his reach wasn't as great.  He tried his best and did very well.  He is also a little afraid of heights so wouldn't go further than half way.


Kai is not afraid at all and went all the way to the top and easily let go.



I actually took a climbing lesson here years ago (like...15 years ago?!) and got my belay license.  I think I still have a few climbs left on my punch card :)




{Below is an iPhone photo but it allows you to see a bit more just how high it goes!}


We've signed Kai up for the program and are waiting to see what Koen would like to do.  He's thinking that he wants to do gymnastics after trying it out at the Agrifair.  If anyone knows of an affordable but well run gymnastics program in Surrey/Langley, please let me know!   And if you're in the Surrey/Langley area and considering rock climbing for your child, you might want to check this place out! 

Love, 
Louise






Saturday, August 16, 2014

Our 24 Hour Date

On Thursday it was my 36th birthday and to celebrate we had many things planned!  Back in the beginning of July, I won Fort Langley's Ultimate Dream Date so we decided to do it all on my birthday.  Unfortunately the helicopter ride has to take place on a different day but we were able to do a lot of other things.  We dropped all three kids off at Gary's parents around noon and we were off for 24 hours of fun.  

We started at the spa for a couple's massage.  Gary and I have had one before...on our honeymoon 9 years ago!  This was probably the highlight of the day.  We were so relaxed and probably could have taken a nap there in that room. We will definitely do this again to celebrate something special. 

Then, we went to Lelam Cafe in Fort Langley for lunch.  I have never been there but we will go back here (well, we have half of our gift card left so that's another reason to go!).  I would recommend it and likely next time we will go for breakfast.  


I'm delivering a Double Chocolate Boston Creme Cupcake to Gary. I've been eating very low amounts of sugar for the past 3 weeks so only  had a taste.  I had Butternut Squash soup and Gary had a Meatball Sandwich.  They had way more fun things to try but I wasn't that hungry.


Then, we went for a walk to check out the flower shop and chocolate store.  We didn't actually buy anything there yet so we'll save those for later.  We're going to let the kids each choose something fun from the chocolate/candy store.  

We walked a few of the trails in Fort Langley that we haven't been on yet.  Here Gary said, `I want to take a picture of us holding hands for my blog.'  He doesn't have a blog by the way.  He's funny like that.


Next we headed to the Fort Wine Co for a wine tasting and tour.  We tasted 10 wines and got to pick one to take home (I took home the apple/pear table wine).    


Then we got changed to get ready for our dinner date at Eighteen 27.  Our reservation was at 6pm but we were ready by 4:30pm so we decided to eat early as we had such a small lunch. 


We were the only ones in the restaurant the whole time which we loved!  They changed their menu 8 months ago so now it's all tapas.


We shared 4 different ones.   Above is the Crispy Risoto Gary got.  I loved the Short Ribs Wellington below.  We also shared a Chocolate Lava Cake for dessert.  Would we go back? Yes.  Would we get the Beef Kabobs again. No.  Would we get the Tuna and Short Ribs Wellington and Lava Cake again? Yes.


Then, the less glamorous part of our 24 hours....we went home and worked for 4 hours editing photos and fun stuff like that.

The next part of our 24 hours of freedom was that we got up at 5:15 am to head to Garibaldi Park.  We started hiking at 7:30am and made it to the lake by 10:30am.  The suggested time is 3.5 hours so this old lady is still under the recommended time. Phew.  


Unfortunately it was super foggy so we couldn't see the gorgeous mountains or the glacier.  The plus side was that it wasn't hot.  If you've never done Garibaldi Lake (or Black Tusk), the first 2 hours (6 km) are switchbacks and quite the work out.  


We stopped and ate some food which I probably should have done 2 km 's earlier.  We relaxed for half an hour and then it was time to head back through Taylor Meadows.  I was hoping that all of the wild flowers would be in bloom but they weren't.  Oh well. 



I've done Black Tusk twice but I've never done Garibaldi Lake.  I'm glad we tried something new!  The last time I hiked it was over 10 years ago...it sure is a lot harder with 10 years and 10 extra pounds on! 


The final 6 km (switchbacks down) hurt my knees so badly.  I truly am getting older.  I don't mind pain but I don't want to damage my joints.  So, next time, no hike ending on 2 hours of downhill.

Very thankful for grandparents that could watch the kids for 24 hours.  I know they aren't the easiest kids and that's why it was so nice to have a break from them!  Seriously, so great to just focus on Gary and I.  Yay, glad we like to be together :) 

Gary's favourite part: The Massage For 2.
Louise's favourite part: No kids (is that bad?!) and the Massage For 2. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Love, 
Louise

PS  When Nya saw me, she gave me the hugest hug full of giggles and laughter.  She gave me a big squeeze saying, `Mommy! Mommy! I love you!'.  Then she pulled back and looked in my eyes and said, `SO MUCH!'.  She's so cute.

Here's a one minute video for a taste of the hike. Thank you, Gary!




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thankful Thursday


Thankful for:

1. My friend Laura's generosity.  She won tickets to Giggle Ridge Mini Golf at Cultus Lake and wasn't able to use them so we were able to take the kids!   Nya was a bit young for it but we had fun. I don't think we'd pay $9/person to play but we would pay $1.50 for the rides that they have there!


We did it the morning of my plane ride so it kept my mind from getting nervous!


2.  Koen doing so well at the dentist!   So did I, in case you were wondering.  By the way, if you live in Vancouver and are looking for a dentist, my friend Rob's wife, Mina, just opened up a practice which you can find here.   It's too far for us to go to but I would recommend it!


3.  Impark guy on the phone.  I had a doctor's appointment last week that went 20 minutes over the time I had paid.  I got a $60 parking ticket.  The problem was that I was in a hospital gown for my physical exam and was unable to go put more money in the meter when the doctor ran late.  Once home,  I called impark and after waiting for 30 minutes on the line, he waived my ticket (`one time only!').  It was a slightly awkward conversation talking about physical exams at the doctor.  
4.  Spending quality time with my boys.  I took them climbing to try it out as I wanted to see if I should sign them up for a 3 month class.  They both worked so hard.   Koen did a great job cheering Kai on with `Go brother go!'.  After each climb, he told the teacher, `I'm a little bit of a professional climber now!'.  


Kai reached the top of each one!  I have signed him up for the course.  Koen decided he would rather do something different.  Glad we tried it out.


PS It's very high but you can't tell from this photo.  So brave!


5.  Making my mom a mom 36 years ago today!  It was a terrible labour but I was worth it:)  Thankful for 36 years of life so far.  Happy birthday to me!!


All right, that's it for this week.  I have many more things to be thankful for but now I must enjoy my birth day.

Love, 
Louise

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How To Enjoy Life More


This Sunday, our sermon was about `Enjoying the Kingdom'.  My brother in law, Brent, is actually the pastor (Gary grew up in a family of them) and you can find the whole sermon here . It's not uploaded yet but will be soon.   I just want to summarize one part of it because I think it applies to all and I can especially relate to it.  

What three things prevent us from enjoying the lives we have?

1. Worry.  I tend to be a worrier.  I easily think of all the `what ifs' way more than I should.  Gary has said, `Just don't worry about it' but it's hard to tell someone not to feel how they feel.   I have definitely gotten better over time as I've learned that I only have so much control over what happens in life.   Worry does NOTHING to help the problem you may be having and actually makes it worse.   Again, this comes back to a verse that changed my life, `Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own undesrtanding'. Proverbs 3:5.  

2.  Regret and Guilt.  Thankfully I don't live with much regret and guilt because I've asked for forgiveness from those I've hurt (as far as I know!) and God.  Yes, I've made some (oh, maybe more than some) dumb decisions but it's left in the past.  On that note, I'm so thankful that there was no social media when I was a teenager.  I'm just imagining all the terrible things that would've been documented on the world wide web.  I'm a pretty responsible and smart girl but I really did a lot of things that could have turned bad quickly.  

3.  Dissatisfaction with what we've been given.  I've always been thankful for what I have but growing up I was very dissatisfied with how I looked (mostly my weight which was totally fine but I didn't think so).  I'm so thankful that it is not much of a struggle in my life anymore.  I can still compare myself to others at times which I know is dangerous.  `She had three kids too and look at how beautiful and fit she is!'  `Their photography is waaaay better than mine!' `How did she get so many followers on twitter/instagram/facebook...' `Oh I wish I had as much free time as they do!'. Silly things, I know.  I am very thankful for everything that God has given me and I think that my Thankful Thursdays really help to keep my mind on track.  Comparison is the thief of joy - Theodore Roosevelt.

We live in an instant gratification society and I constantly reflect on this as I parent.  Making Kai wait months and months to get his Skylanders was a good idea.  Having them save up for Disneyland pop bottle by pop bottle is also good.  We have set `treat times' at 10 am and 2 pm (Nya can be heard yelling `10 o'clock treat time!' all throughout the day) so they know that they have to wait.  It feels so good to see your kids happy but it's so important to teach them to be patient.

If you aren't so sure about God, I'd totally encourage you to look into it.  It won't hurt.  It is THE most foundational thing in my life that determines how I view the world.  If you do believe, but are feeling jealous or dissatisfied or worried, I would encourage you to remember Who is in charge, think of the big picture, and to look for the blessings in your life.

And, if you want to see a recent example of this, here is a 3 minute video (of a 10 minute plane ride) that shows me enjoying life and trying not to worry.  Gary put the `Top Gun' music to it, not me.



Have a wonderful week! Someone gets to go on their dream date on Thursday (also my birthday!!)

Love, 
Louise

PS I'm not sure how to address this but I know that those who struggle with mental illness may know these things but can't apply them because of the illness.  I get it, as much as I can.  I have some very close friends going through this.  And for those, more than just `perspective' is needed, and I highly recommend getting help as my friends have done. 

*Added after: here is a blog post I found on it just after writing mine: What Gratitude Challenges Taught Me About Depression. *

 Oh yes, don't be afraid to leave a comment!  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Top 3 Rides at Splashdown Waterpark

We usually go to Splashdown Waterpark once a year for Kai's birthday and so we already went last month.  We were given the opportunity to go again this past week and the kids said, `Yes, please!!'. I like it because it's close and affordable.  How affordable?  Well, kids under 3 are free, you can go during twilight hours (4-8 pm which I prefer because there are no day camps there), and finally, you can use the Entertainment Coupon Savings book for 2 for 1 coupons.  You know me, I love a good deal!


I would say that it's perfect for our kids' ages; 2-8 years old.  I asked them for their favourites and this is what they said:

Top Three Rides At Splashdown Park

1. Kai (age 8): The Black Hole.

You do need to be 48" tall to go on this ride.  It's pretty dark so you have no idea when you will drop or turn.  I like it too!  Koen has been eating as many vegetables as he can to grow another 2" for next year.  You can ride double (it's better!) or single.


2. Koen (age 5): Big Jim's River Run aka The Tube Ride. I think Koen has done it 12 times now.  He loves it every time.  We do put water wings on him at all times as the pool at the bottom is a bit deeper and I'm not confident in his ability to swim alone.



3. Nya (age 2): The Hot Tub.  Last time she went on way more waterslides (on our lap) but this time she mostly wanted to stick to floating around the hot tub.  They keep it at a great temperature so the boys could come and quickly warm up too.



See you again next year, Splashdown Park!  If you've been with your kids, what age were they and what did they love best?

Love,
Louise

PS If anyone wants a two for one coupon, I still have one left in my coupon book!

*Disclaimer: We were given a family pass to review Splashdown Park and these opinions are my own.*

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Riding with Redline Aerobatics

I was contacted earlier this week to see if I would be interested in a media flight with Brent Handy of Redline Aerobatics.  Crazy awesome, right? He's here for the Abbotsford Air Show and is a Fighter Pilot, A2 Flight Instructor and former Lead Solo Snowbird.  I was so torn and had to decide quickly.  I'm quite adventurous but very afraid of heights!  Finally, I decided the night before that I would love to do it as it's a chance of a lifetime.

{Standing together in front of his Pitts S-2B}

Gary and the kids were there to watch and take pictures.  Well, to be honest, Gary was also there in case I chickened out because then hopefully he could go up.  Although, I'm not sure that his 6'3" frame could fit in there.


Brent was fantastic and put me right at ease.  He has young kids like mine and was very friendly.   He told me that it was okay to scream and that he was a little afraid of heights too (did he mean that part?).


After getting my parachute on, and making sure I knew how to use it, we got in!  It's a tight fit but I felt very secure.  A parachute, folks.  Just in case.


High five for each kid before take off.


.


Initially I thought we would just do a `simple' flight but then realized it's probably best to do some of the tricks that he is famous for!



 I was going to take my camera up with me but at the last minute, we decided on the GoPro.  You can see some hilarious and incredibly embarrassing video of me doing some aerobatics here.  We did this THREE times!  I was not aware that the control tower could hear me.  Not that I would've been any quieter.  I definitely process my fear through talking/screaming/laughing.  Totally unflattering angle but the safest place to hold the GoPro!  I will post another video later of the whole ride condensed into a minute or so.





It was about 10 minutes in total and I am so glad that I did it!  I think I would've regretted it if I didn't.


On solid ground again! I did it! I'm alive!

The kids each got a chance to sit inside.  You can see that it's clear under his seat.


 Brent is scheduled to perform Friday at 6 pm (oh how I wish we could go to the night show but it wouldn't work with Nya) and Saturday and Sunday at 11 am.  I really hope that we can go while he's doing his thing and I'm not in the plane!  Brent told me that his wife has never flown with him, so to Brent's wife, `If I can do it, so can you!!'.


Thank you, Brent!    My dad is going to be soooo jealous.  Looking forward to the Abbotsford Air Show, anyone else going?  Would any of you do what I did?!

Love,
Louise