Sunday, March 31, 2013

Oh Happy (and Sunny!) Day

I was shopping for some new shirts last night (I decided it's much easier to buy new clothes than to try to lose 10 lbs right now..usually I can do it but not right now) and thought, `Oh, I should get Gary some back to school clothes!'.  I totally thought it was summer holidays.  It's just sooooo crazy warm and sunny and I feel like we have been hanging out as a family for FOREVER.   So ya, our Spring Break has been wonderful.  I wouldn't have minded if this 18 C weather came while we were on the island but I'm sure glad it showed up this weekend. Awesome.
Kai is a mini Gary. Sports. Sports. Sports.  Here is he is checking out the standings for March Madness.  I do hope he keeps being obsessed with sports because that kept Gary out of trouble when he was a teenager ! 
We went to Gary's  parents for the Chapman Easter dinner.  The kids loved their Easter egg hunt which provided them with enough chocolate to last a month.  They have a hot tub that the kids always go in as it's a kid friendly temperature...Nya just had to go in so she just went in her clothes.  She loves the water more than the boys ever did, that's for sure!
Nya with her gramma.  She likes gramma because gramma wears necklaces to play with.  I have to say that it has taken a long time (7 years!!!) but I now feel 100% `normal' when she is with the kids.  I no longer feel a sense of resentment (that word is too strong but can't think of another) in the sense that I wish that MY mom that could also hold/play/be with the kids.  I can't explain it but if you've been there, you know.  I am thankful for Gary's parents and the role that they have in our lives.  They love our kids.  Dan, Gary's dad, even chose this shirt for Nya to wear when I was dressing her. So cute :)
Nya loved her first egg hunt although we quickly replaced these eggs with plastic ones as every single thing goes in  her mouth these days.  What age does that stop? One?  I forget.

On Saturday, the kids went to my niece and nephews birthday party.  Their birthdays are 2 weeks apart so it worked to combine them :) 
{I did pictures of them this week as well as two other families.}

Then, my sister Jackie (a Public Health Nurse) came over to give us our Hep A vaccinations.  We got the prescription through our doctor and they could have given it to us in the office but it was much easier to have Jackie come and do it.  By the way, this saved us $200+.  Had we gone through the travel clinic, we would've had to pay a consultation fee AND the price of the vaccine is double there for the kids and 25% more for adults.  We are going to get the kids their boosters in 6 months so that they are good for life.  Might as well as I'm sure they will do more travelling!   I know we could have gotten way more vaccines but that is the only one I feel we need. 

{Mentally insert photo of Kai freaking out about the immunization.  Poor guy.}

In the afternoon, we all went to my sister Maria's house for Easter Dinner. It was perfect!!!  They have a great yard so all 11 kids could just roam around and play.  I had decided to make a ham and turkey which was a little crazy and we ended up finishing the ham in the bbq so we could get the turkey done in time.  So good though and enough leftover meat for the week!  So glad my husband is so good in the kitchen!  I had a really good time hanging out with my family.  I like Gary's too, don't worry.  We are so blessed to be surrounded by so much love.  And seriously, all the little `babies' roaming around??? So cute!!
The bad news for the holidays is that we brought our car in and had to pay $800 in repairs plus another $250 or so that Dan is doing for us (thank you Dan!!).  Our car is only worth $1200.00 but it's worth it to keep it running well for another two years, in my opinion.  I just don't want to invest another $10,000+ into another vehicle right now, especially with our big trip coming up.  We will be replacing our van and our car in about 2 years.  My car is ugly but man, it has been great.  I've had it for 12 years and it has been so dependable.  It's been great for Gary driving to and from work.  
After church and Nya's nap, we went to Brae Island in Fort Langley.  We were wearing shorts, sandals and sunscreen.  So awesome.  I just carried Nya on my back and gave her a stick to play with.  She is just a little ball of giggly cuteness.  She is so happy and I think Gary even melts a little when she waves and giggles at him saying `Dada'.   Seriously, she brings so much happiness to us all, the boys LOVE her and have all the patience in the world for `Cutie'. 

We did two geocaches and then the boys were able to go in the water and Nya went straight in too.  The Fraser River is not warm but she did not care.  It made for a messy but happy kids.

She now has 4 teeth! The top 2 are half way through and this means that she is waking up at 3am each night (along with an 11pm feed and then getting up at 6am for the day).  I'm tired.  One day I'll sleep!  I've decided to give her one bottle per day.  I do feel that I need some freedom.  So, tomorrow we start!  If we lay her on the ground, by herself, when she's thirsty enough, she'll take it.  We just have to ignore her and leave her alone. 

I am very ready for Kai to go back to school.  Sometimes I think that I could homeschool them and then a holiday comes around and we are all together and the boys start fighting.  If you have two boys who are both very `boyish' and physical, you know what I mean.  Koen is such a pesky monkey and knows how to drive Kai crazy (Koen will often say `Koen knows everything!! Woo Woo!!' and that drives Kai CRAZY).  Kai reacts physically to him.  They are both physical.   When they are on their own, so easy.  Together, sooooooooooooooooooooo frustrating!!!  And yet, they are best friends and can be so good together.  It's payback for all the fighting my sisters and I did when we were teenagers. 

I hope you all had a good Easter weekend.  It was good reflecting on Easter with the kiddos each day and listening to Kai sing `Oh Happy Day!' numerous times.

Love, Louise

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Nya Starting to Walk

More to blog about later, but for now, my cutie pie moving on two legs :)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Green Lake

Baby Tip: I meant to share this so long ago!!!  To get rid of cradle cap, just rub coconut oil on their head.  Wait 20 minutes.  Comb it out. Done.  They smell like a beach and it does the trick!! I have tried many things and it was amazing how well it worked.

We just got back from Green Lake today.  I can tell you that three little Chapmans are so happy to be home!  It's not that they don't love holidays but they are just like their momma, they love coming home and having time alone.  It can be a bit busy being in a house with 11 people for 4 days!!!
First off, if you did not see the photos of Nya and I, here are a few above. I love her.  I know I'm biased because I'm her mom but man, she is sooooooooooooooooo happy and sooooooooooooooo cute!!!!  She was an amazing traveller on this trip and she slept pretty well for 2 of the 3 nights.  Yay!!  She currently has her two top teeth coming in so I'm bracing myself for a wild ride over the next two evenings or so.  She is starting to walk by pushing her car so I'll get some video of that tomorrow.
Every Spring Break, we go up to Green Lake with my sister Maria, her husband Kris, and their 4 girls.   My dad has a house there (available for rent if you want!!!  Check it out here if interested...) and it's where Gary proposed and where we got married!  
The kids played so well together.  No fighting!!  Well, Koen may have thrown a snowball or two in Izzy's face but not bad!  The big kids played outside and then Maria and I hung out in the house with the three youngest.  
Here they are on the frozen lake flying kites.
Last year they built a quinzee, this year, an igloo!
I have never seen my dad flying (oh man, he sounds so fancy), but he flew up for the day.  Here is above the lake and below, you can see him close up.    If you don't know my dad, this is very `him'.  
He landed in 100 mile house and then drove down to visit for the afternoon.  PS Can you find Nya below? It took me a while :)  She's sitting at the table eating..
Gary and Kris took the kids geocaching.  Here Kai is leading them with the GPS to a little island that they can walk to on the frozen water.

The clue was `orange'.  Only one rock covered in orange lichen!

It was pretty cold outside, hence all the layers, but it was so nice and sunny.  
Maria and Kris got out for a few walks together and Gary and I out to climb Mt. Begbie.  

It has been a good Spring Break so far.  The rest of it is just visiting with friends, doing errands, painting the bathroom, finishing our bedroom (hanging blinds, mirrors etc), and then church and Easter dinners.  Oh ya, and two photo sessions.  After soooo much family time, and even more to come,  I look forward to getting away with Gary for a night or two in the fall.  

I have enjoyed our Spring Break.  I have cut back on work so much this year which allows me to have a lot more guilt free time with my family.  I'm probably doing about 65% compared to last year.   It's hard because obviously we are making less this year (especially because for  6 weeks we have no sessions in prime time due to our trip!!!  That's a loss of about two weddings or just over $4,000!) but to me, it's worth it.  Also, with three kids, and one being under 1, it is a busier time right now.  

It was gorgeous out there today.  I'm so excited for the rest of the week's forecast!  Hope you are having a wonderful week!!

Love, Louise

Saturday, March 23, 2013

10 Months Old

You can see Nya's 10 month post on our GC Photography site.  I was so glad that the sun came out so we could quickly get some photos of my beautiful little monkey.  Check them out here.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kai's Tooth!!!

My baby is getting her first teeth (she has two now) and tonight something exciting happened with Kai Bear!!

We have been waiting patiently for this day for a long time.  Tonight he came out of bed and asked me to wiggle it.  Being that I've pulled out a few of my sister's teeth back in the day, I knew he was ready!

Part 1 can be seen here.  Won't make you queasy.

Part 2 can be seen here.  If you don't like teeth being removed, maybe don't watch!   It's just 42 seconds long.  Good thing I'm not pregnant or I'd be crying like crazy.  I'm definitely a bit more excited than he is :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Break: Days 3 and 4

**Read Days 1 & 2 first  :) **

All right, so at 11:45pm on the 2nd night, Koen started puking.  All over the bedding.  No laundry.  It was brutal.  He stopped by 1am but Gary and I had to try to get the boys new bedding, clean up everything the best that we could, make sure Koen was okay etc.  Not fun. At all.  Koen did so well.  I was nervous because our next day was our whale watching trip and there was no way he would be able to go in it if he had the flu!!  However, by the morning, he seemed much better (although I was even MORE exhausted) and so we loaded everyone up with gravol 2 hours before we were going to go.  
Above, this nap made the #3 on my top three list of favourite things of our trip.  She napped.  For 1.5 hours.  Yes!!!  I even had to wake her up which is why I risked it taking a photo :)
We went on Jamie's Whaling Station Whale Watching Tour.  They had a special where the kids were free with each paying adult.  So, although expensive, it cost us `just' $200.00 for a 3 hour tour.   I know some people might be against whale watching but we grew up doing it in our own boat (a zodiac) and the boats need to stay 100 m away by law.   This made the top 3 of all of our lists :)  It was a GORGEOUS day.  Beautiful.  We saw Sea Lions, seals, grey whales (many, many, many!!!), and there was even one humpback whale but I didn't see that one.  
You can see in the above picture why we like to keep these two separated.  This was below the deck and I spent a lot of time there with Nya as she could crawl around and it was heated and there was a great view.
Below is just one shot of the grey whale but we saw a lot.  Koen loved all of the `smoke' (spouting).  It's zoomed in which is why it seems closer than 100m:)

We all felt great on the whale watching trip and although we probably won't do it again, I would recommend it AND this company.
The picture above was just taken at home but it is to remind the boys of their inside joke from their trip.  It's an egg.  The  last one was always the `Rock Egg' instead of the rotten egg.  They found an oval dark brown rock that looked like an egg.  If you were the last one to the van or up the stair or whatever else they came up with, you had to try to eat the rock egg and they found it hilarious.
That afternoon, we went to `Big Beach' to go geocaching.  The boys found the cache that we were unable to find 2 years ago.  This was on Gary's top 3 list.  I was unable to make it up the cliff with Nya in the Ergo so I missed out on Team Chapman's geocaching :(
Then, it was back to just hanging out at our place.  It is right on the water so you have great views of fishing boats going by which means a lot of seals too.  It's beautiful.   We made all of our own food and that went really well.  I packed more than enough, and ample fun snacks, so it was good.  Saves so much money :)
Then, on Tuesday morning, it was time to head home.  We checked out and then went to Wickaninnish Beach.  Kai had my iPhone for part of it:)  This was probably the only time Gary and I held hands the whole time. 
{Kai taking a picture of me!}

Due to the puking incident we had to do laundry and it's a good thing because the boys got soaked.  They could've played there for hours.  We got them changed as we were heading home to the ferry.
We stopped to do a hike that we've done before.  It's just 1km and it's called the `Shorepine trail'.  It's really cool as it goes through a bog.  
In Port Alberni, we stopped at the Quay for our lunch and then had donuts for dessert :)
Then it was off to the ferry and home.  Nya napped a total of 20 minutes.  Normal for her is 2-3 hours a day so I felt bad for her.
{We had one shot with the timer and this is what we got, not bad:)}
What a great trip. I love my family.  I love being outdoors with them.  They exhaust me like crazy.  Kai knows how to annoy us like crazy.  They can fight like crazy.  But the love is great.
And, there's nothing like coming home to your king size bed.  Love my bed.

Happy Spring Break!!

Love, Louise

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Break: Days 1 and 2

Every spring break, we head to Vancouver Island.  I grew up doing this (every spring break and summer and sometimes more) so I really love it.  We always go to Ucluelet, except for last year when we did Parksville which was not my favourite.  Anyway, it coincided with my oma's 90th birthday!  It is my mom's mom and whenever I'm with her, I feel most connected to my momma.  I hope I have my oma's genes!  Wouldn't mind seeing 90!  My oma travelled a lot with us and being that we had a very full camper, oma and I even slept in the truck together!  My sisters and dad were on the same ferry as us so that was fun :) My sister Jantina once joked that we made up half of her friends and it's kind of true.  Love hanging out with them. So easy.
{To anyone who cares, this was taken on our 5d mark iii and the ISO is 2000!!!!  So little noise for 2000!!! There was no natural light in there as it was in a church basement}.
We ended up being there, in Port Alberni, for about 4 hours so it did make the day very long by the time we finally got to Ucluelet.  However, it was great to hang out with my mom's side as the family as we don't see them very often.
As a quick side note, we are trying to get more convenient items for travelling. Small, light, efficient.  The Phil  & Ted's travel crib worked awesomely (one complaint; you can't use a sheet on the bottom as there's nothing to wrap it around) and this is a chair seat that I bought second hand just before our trip too.  It worked so well and just rolled up to the size of a pair of socks.  So great!
We stayed at the Water's Edge Resort.  We stayed there two years ago and loved it.  It is perfect for our family in regards to size and budget. Nice and big with a full kitchen and great location and pretty new.  I wish we could do two bedrooms but that gets a little out of our budget.  So, Gary, Nya and I slept in the bedroom and the boys slept on the pull out bed in the main room.  The first night was ridiculous as Nya did not get a good nap in so she was out of sorts. I think I fed her every 2-3 hours.  Then, we were all up at 6am for the day.  Being that there was a recent time change, it really did feel like 5am. Oh well, we thought this would be our one sunny day so we went off to do our favourite hike, `The Wild Pacific Trail' at 7:30am.   I just mean it's our favourite because it's good for kids and it's beautiful.  We walked to the lighthouse. 
It's a 5.5km loop but we just did 1 km to the lighthouse and then back again. 

Beautiful shots of the sun rise there...

Being that it is the Whale Festival there, there were TONS of activities.  They've really stepped it up this year!  This is one that we went to after our hike.  We went to Terrace Beach as the aquarium staff were doing a dredge and they shared a lot of cool information.  The kids got to see some pretty cool fish, prawns and crabs.  
Poor Miss Nya had to be in the Ergo most of the time when we were out.  It was just too cold and she would've been covered in wet cold sand from head to toe in seconds.  She did really well in there and I LOVE my Ergo.  Love it.  I can breastfeed her in it,  carry her in it for hours, she can go to sleep in it.  Love it. 
Then we drove to Tofino (it's about a 20 minute drive from Ucluelet) to try to find the Tacofino truck.  Fortunately, Nya fell asleep on the way so she did get a small nap in.  We found the truck.  This made the top three of our favourite things from the trip.  In case you didn't know, Gary and I love food.  We have never eaten from a food truck as we never get down to Vancouver and taking the kids all the way there to eat at a food truck seems a little exhausting.  Anyway, loved it. 
Gary and Kai ordered.  They got fish tacos and tuna tacos.
We went and ate them at Long Beach.  It was waaaaay too windy and cold for the kids so that was too bad but fortunately the food was terrific.
Then we rested up at our place.  The only book Koen will read; his Cars Encyclopedia.
Nya loved being able to finally move around.  She was such a good sport the whole time.  It was the lack of sleep during the day, and getting up a lot at night, which really did a number on me.  Soooooooooo tired.  I feel bad for her though.  She's like her momma, she sleeps best in her own bed.
So, that concludes days 1 and 2 of our trip!!!    I think next time we will go for at least one more day.  We had such fabulous weather and didn't even go to the aquarium which was on our list of things to do, it was just too nice out!  

One thing I will say...I love my kids and would rather travel with them than without them, but wow, they are tiring.  I brought a magazine along and I got as far as taking it out of the suitcase.  Didn't even get to open it.    One day...maybe in 3 years? It's having a baby along that really makes it tough.  Especially when she doesn't sleep through the night.  I've actually started praying about it.  I need more sleep.  My family needs me to have more sleep.  So, we are hoping that Miss Nya sleeps better soon.  Oh well, I don't to stop doing what we love to do just because I'm not sleeping enough.  I'm so glad we went and am looking forward to next year :)  More to come...