Tuesday, August 30, 2011

All I Want For Christmas...

is math homework?! Kai is hilarious. He said that's what he wants for Christmas. He did this math book from front to back today. It took about two hours and we took a half hour break to go to the park in between. He's so nerdy and I love it! He needed some help with the instructions but he was sounding out the words pretty well on his own. My little boy is all grown up!
{Isn't he such a mini Gary?!}
He was seriously giddy with excitement that he could add 8+7 and 10+10 etc.
Koen sat at the table with him and coloured and played with playdough. I don't feel emotional (yet) that Kai is going to kindergarten. I'm more just really excited for him. I LOVED school (and Gary really enjoyed it too) so I'm thinking that Kai will too. I hope part time is enough for him!

Now he can ask his teacher a billion questions instead of me. I hope he tells me what he does each day. I hope he still thinks that his mommy is super smart:)

Bon nuit.
Love, Louise

Monday, August 29, 2011

Busy Busy!

Wow, it's almost been a week between posts! What's been going on?
{I ordered some professionally printed and mounted photos for our bedroom, excited to see them!}

Photographed a beautiful wedding Friday. Loved it. I had taught both the bride and groom in grade 9 science and now they're all grown up and the bride is a science teacher herself and the groom is doing his masters in Biology. Awesomeness. They were so sweet. During the ceremony, she sang to him (beautifully!!) and near the end was overcome with emotion and couldn't finish. It just ended with them holding each other. Lots of tears from everyone!
Saturday morning I had my first football game of the season. I love football. I don't necessarily love the pressure of being a QB because if we lose, I feel like it's all my fault. Gary and the boys came which was nice. I got to wear the socks that Koen picked out for me for my birthday (I need high socks because I tuck the plays in there). Gary was then able to give me some feedback after the game which I appreciate. I want to get better. I had one terrible punt which of course is all I can focus on now:) We lost, but it was still fun.
{These football pictures were taken with our 7D. I am not a fan. Our 5D's are way better.}

Saturday afternoon we headed to Granville Island. I had an engagement session that went super well. While I did that, Gary and the boys just played and got a gelato. I like that they can have fun while I work.
{Kai giving his advice at half time}

Sunday we skipped church and then went to my sister's place in Mission for a bbq with my whole family. They have a great yard which is one thing I really wish our house had. However, I'm not into upping my mortgage or moving to Mission to have a great yard. So, we will make this work! It's hard in the sense that I grew up on an acreage with a forest, trampoline, tree houses, pool etc. A whole lot different than the itty bitty patch of grass we have now!
I am so, so, so ready for Kai to go to school. I think the hardest part about being a mom and working full time from home is that there is a lot of guilt. I feel bad that my kids watch tv while I work. I try to limit tv to an hour after lunch but still, I feel like I should be taking them to the park and playing with them etc. I just need one hour of solid work where I'm not helping them with activity books or breaking up fights:) I'm definitely tired as is typical for this time of year. I'm really looking forward to doing less weddings next year....got to keep it fun! Anyone have any great tips for being a mom and working from home?
Gary is back at work today. Crazy. Thankfully the boys all slept in until 8am!
All right, time to hit the park. Wonder if Gary will make dinner tonight?:)
Have a great week!
Love, Louise

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gary and I

Want to see some gorgeous photos of Gary and I?! These were taken for our 6th wedding anniversary and it is one of the most fun dates we have ever had. Please leave Megan some love (via commenting on her blog post) and please let me know here what your favourite one is! I need to decide which ones to print and put up in my home:)

By the way, I have to say that I am very proud of Gary. Although I love having my photo taken, Gary is not a fan of it. He was so good about it and totally got into it. He ended up really enjoying it.

Here they are....Granville Island Date

Monday, August 22, 2011

PNE In Rain Suits

Today was the day that we had set aside to go to the PNE. The plus side was that we found out it was free admission day (still ends up costing $80.00 with parking, two kids ride passes and some mini donuts!). The downside was that it was POURING. The plus side was that we didn't have to wait for a single ride except for the Ferris Wheel, which was a waste of time.
We started out with the kiddie roller coaster which Koen LOVED.
The kids rode the rides (less than 48" admission rides) for 3 hours. We did go see Bobs & Lolo perform at the Family Theatre but the kids didn't want to do anything else except go on rides. No quad/motorcycle show for them. They didn't even care about the animals, but that was fine because the building was so humid from all the wet people and animals.

The elephant ride was Koen's favourite and Kai loved the Scrambler.

(I know my headband looks funny, i was just so excited to see it this morning because it had been missing for a month!)
This is how a mommy really feels sometimes when the day (or whole summer) is all about the kids (GASP, don't I sound mean?). I think sometimes I just feel like everything we do is for them (like ride little kid rides in the rain all day). Don't get me wrong, I love seeing them happy, I was just having a `moment'. I am also not feeling 100% due to major hormonal fluctuations and verging on relapsing with Graves' but more on that some other time. All I will say is that my hormones are CRAZY.
Can you believe we are wearing rain suits mid August? I should've had my kids in rain boots like the other kids there today! At least Kai got to try out his new rain pants and rain coat! Verdict? They work well.

The kids loved it. Kai thought he was seriously driving every single thing. It was a good day. Koen even peed his pants and we didn't realize it because we were all soaked. We got everyone into dry clothes before driving home and Koen fell asleep within 5 minutes:)

We've pretty much crossed every single thing off of our summer list except for the waterslides. However, there was a waterslide at the hotel in Whistler so that might just have to count.

Bon nuit.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Koen: Mommy, I call you bud?
Me: Sure, you can call me bud!
Koen: Bud and me go to the park?

Ah, he's so cute! I love hanging out with him. I am totally looking forward to Kai being in kindergarten as this will give Koen and I some great time together. Because he is only 2.5 years old, he can't go to preschool yet so I'm thinking we'll go to the (free and awesome!) Strong Start program on days that Kai has school.

Walking back from the park, hand in hand, Koen tells me how much fun he had at the park and how much he loves me. Two year olds are so special. Especially this cuddly one.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Oregon Vacation: Part 2

Such a great trip! I loved having a whole hotel section to our trip and then a camping one. It felt like we had two vacations in one! Okay, so here goes the Oregon Coast portion...
We took about 2 hours to drive from Vancouver, WA to the coast. We stopped first at Cannon Beach. The boys were in love with the sand the second we arrived. They wouldn't walk, they just wanted to play and lay in the sand. This day was actually my birthday!
We then went to our campground, just half an hour south, at Nehalem Bay State Park (just $24 a night in case you are interested). Awesome. We loved it there. We were just a short one minute walk to a playground that the boys loved, the bathrooms (with free showers), and a paved 3km bike loop (which we jogged). To get to the beach, we just had to hike over a sand dune. It took just 10 minutes to walk to the beach and it was a bit of a workout, that's for sure:)
I will say now that we only took our camera out maybe 5 minutes a day. This was family time and not family photo session time. I don't want my kids to grow to detest the camera! So ya, no amazing photos to share but just some to document our time:) Admittedly, I wish we did have a photographer along though, just to capture us being a family together on such a beautiful beach.
Kai LOVED the junior ranger program there and made it through all three levels to become an official junior ranger. We attended a tide pool program and an insect safari one. I have to say that I learned a thing or two at each one too! Kai was super confident in the classes and gave a ton of answers, loud and clear. Several mom's commented that he was very articulate (and smart). That's my bragging for the day:) Whenever we needed help around the campsite, Kai would come and say `Junior Ranger, here to help!'.
Kai did miss his Mario Kart, so he set up a track that we had to run around (three times) and then have the award ceremony afterwards. Usually it was just him and Koen doing it but Gary and I would join in once in a while too. The funniest part was when Koen would exclaim `Banana peel!' and veer off running into the bushes.
Koen was hilarious and wonderful. The only part that was a struggle was bedtime. Really, he just laid awake trying to entice Kai to escape the tent. He would stay up until about 10pm each night. What a monkey. Thank goodness we had a sleep sack to put him in. It was freezing! When I told Koen he would now be warm, he thought I said he was a `worm' so from then on he would announce `I'm a worm! Kai's a worm!' etc. Gary and I slept on a double blow up mattress. Two things:
1. A blow up mattress is key. No more thermarests for me. Yes, I'm no longer a backpacker, I'm an old lady who uses a blow up mattress.
2. It was a double. We sleep on a king size bed. Being that it was FREEZING at night, Gary and I cuddled more in those 3 nights than we ever have. I wonder if there is some correlation between marital satisfaction and the size of your bed. Seriously, you can't be mad at each other if you have to sleep so close together!
I would say that this was my favourite place to camp ever (no bugs!!!!) but the weather drove me crazy. One minute there is no wind and you're wearing your bathing suit. Three hours later, you need to be wearing pants, two sweaters, a touque and gloves. It was so cold at night and I would be up every hour or two to make sure the boys were covered enough.
We saw tons of animals there. There were the racoons that Gary had to chase out of our vestibule at 3:30am (yikes!), the deer that roamed the sites, voles, sea stars, tons of crabs, sand dollars etc.
I read a book (Midwife of Venice-good!) and wish I had taken another one. It was good to do nothing. We went to the nearby town of Manzanita for ice cream two days in a row:) Yum! I love the no tax thing and also, prices are soooo reasonable.
We did two geocaches which the boys always love.
Below is the 3km bike loop that we walked and ran several times. If we go again, we will definitely take our bikes as everyone was doing it!
The boys had s'mores for the first time and loved them! Gary and I tried some with peanut butter cups instead of chocolate. YUM!!!
It was fun to have a fire with them and for them to see that mommy could actually make one:)

We did end up leaving a day early. The nights were just too cold for us to have a good sleep. It took us 8 hours to get home because we took our time. Koen did great toilet wise and only twice did he announce `I'm peeing!' and we had to quickly pull over (he made it!). Once Koen told us that his tummy felt `gumbly' (that's his word for strange). I asked him if he was going to throw up and he said yes. I gave him a bucket. He proceeded to do a very theatrical, and fake, `A-a-a-choo!!!'. He also forgot the word thirsty and at one point said, `I'm hungry and drinky!'.
The boys watched their DVD players about an hour a day and that was fantastic. Either driving or when they first woke up. They seriously watched the same one each time. We had borrowed my sisters Leap Frog DVD's. Koen LOVES the letter factory and Kai LOVES the word factory. I would highly recommend them! Koen would often be reciting all the letters and their sounds when he was supposed to be sleeping at night:)
There's nothing like being in a tent with your family for 4 days to make your house seem huge! I love being home and just taking a shower in my own house. However, I am slightly overwhelmed by the laundry, getting caught up on emails, work, and all the bills/mail to deal with.

The Oregon Coast is so beautiful. I love it and was so glad the boys loved it so much. Kai's highlight was setting up the tent. Koen's was the beach. Mine was seeing the boys enjoy the beach so much. They would run in to the water and then as soon as a wave came, they would squeal and run back up to where we were. Gary's highlight was seeing the boys enjoy the camping experience so much.

I love holidays. I love the memories it evokes for me...good times with my family growing up. I hope we are able to continue creating special memories for our boys.

Now, time to get at that 5th load of laundry! Oregon Coast, you are awesome.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Oregon Vacation: Part 1

We will be finishing up the first part of our vacation tonight..the whole `explore, shop and stay in hotels on the way to Portland' portion. Tomorrow? Camping on the Oregon Coast which I am most excited about. I hope it's as good as I think it will be!

Day 1: Shopping and staying just outside Seattle. I went in a store for maybe 10 minutes and bought myself 5 things:) Koen has been staying up until 10pm each night. Kai is our expert sleeper, falling asleep by 8pm. Yay for hotwire.com, each of our hotels has ranged from $50-80 and all have had pools and continental breakfasts:)
Day 2: Went to the zoo in Seattle which I had never been to! Using groupons, it cost our family $24.00:) It was really good. My sister and her family met us down there which made for a fun day. In the African region of the zoo, they have a kikuyu village set up. It seriously took my breath away because it reminded me of Kenya so much (Kikuyu tribe was about 2 hours from where I was in Kenya, the Kipsigis tribe).
{I just need to say that this zoo is a billion times better than our local Aldergrove Zoo. Okay, not a billion, but I won't go to the Aldergrove one again!}
{Seeing the penguins}
{Koen sitting on a Flamingo nest}

{Koen's `smile' makes me laugh. These four get along really well and actually Kai and Izzy are quite close now.}

{Izzy lost her front tooth already...incident with a swing.}
{We were there about 4 hours and then continued south, in sloooooooooooow traffic, to Kelso. Awesome playground at the lake in neighbouring Longview for the kids to play at. It totally reminds me of when we were road tripping with my family...always try to find a playground!}

{I'm so excited to take some family photos on the Oregon Coast with a whole lot of backlighting. Will be good. I know it.}
Day 3: Mount St. Helens to Vancouver, WA. We went to Mount St.Helens and Kai prayed on the way there that it wouldn't erupt again...so funny. It is a one hour trip off I-5 and the gas light came on as we were approaching the observatory. Our moods may have been altered by that. We did just make it to a gas station on the way out.

{Gary and I have been there before so didn't spend time in the observatory,we just did some of the trails.}
{The wildflowers were beautiful, so was the view.}
{And now, we relax for a minute before heading out to expore and eat.}

Guess who turns 33 tomorrow? I can't believe it. It sounds way older than 32. I'm thinking we'll pick up some cupcakes or something:)