Friday, January 31, 2014

Gary Goes Flying

My dad got his pilot's license about a year ago.  He flies almost any sunny day.  He bought his own (super tiny) plane and has offered us each one ride.  I have not yet taken him up on his offer.  I have a great fear of heights (even bridges scare me!) and I have this desire to not put myself in any danger due to the fact that I am without a mother and will do whatever I can to avoid my kids going through that loss.

Gary does not have a lot of fears, except for snakes, so he was ready and willing to go up.  Up until this point, it's just never really worked out time wise for him to go.  So, my dad flew from the Chilliwack airport to the Langley airport to pick Gary up.  They flew out to Harrison and then back again.  Here are some photos from their trip...

Captain Jack at the controls.

They took a quick loop over our house (which made me sick as I didn't want to SEE Gary up there).  This whole area used to be farms, one of them which use to be our Christmas tree farm! 
Harrison is below.
Golden Ears
Mt. Cheam

I never see Gary looking so happy and relaxed!  I think he was flying here.
And they flew by our church on the way home so he got a shot of that too; Southridge Fellowship.
Thanks dad! Gary had a good time.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Today we disinfected our whole house and tomorrow we will escape it and enjoy some sunshine :)

Love, Louise

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Too sick and tired to think of 10 things right now.  This crazy virus has hit us all.  Kai Saturday. Koen Monday. Nya Tuesday (all over me and twice in the car seat on the way home..and that was just the start!!). Gary was camping at Manning on Tuesday night and he was even vomiting.  I've fortunately not vomited but have had other lovely digestive issues. So ya, things have been a bit rough.  The thing is, it's not 24 hours, it's way longer so the boys have been home all week too.

Here are a few things I am thankful for:
1.  Our washer and dryer.  Did you know it doesn't beep when it's done? It plays a tune. Ha.

2.  Gary and I both working harder on our marriage.  We are doing much better now.  Having more patience for each other.  Giving more to each other.  Laughing more together.

3.  Beautiful weather for the past two weeks.

4.  Koen being such a good teacher to Nya. It's adorable.  He's so encouraging.  Here they were playing `Sink or Float'.  And yes, Nya wears boots indoors all the time.

5.  Good deal on Gary's clothes.  Yes, I buy my husband's clothes.  I bought him; winter jacket, two pairs of pants for work, a t-shirt, and a sweater.  I also got Nya skinny cords, me two tank tops, and Koen a pair of Angry Birds PJ's.  Total cost? $53.00 (that includes tax). The jacket alone was regularly $90.00.  It was all on clearance plus I had a $30 off $75.00.

I hope your week has been healthier.
Love, Louise

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Good and Bad

Bad news: Koen is back on the couch with the bucket today.  He started vomiting at 6:30 am and didn't stop til noon  4pm.  So frustrating as he already had it last week and then Kai got sick.  It's frustrating because I cannot leave the house with contagious kids.  He misses preschool, swimming, church etc.  I couldn't even get Kai to school today because I couldn't have driven with Koen this morning.   I miss a lot too :(  It makes me very, very housebound with many, many germs.

Good news: Our new washer and dryer arrived today.  I've felt sort of guilty for spending so much. I don't need such a fancy one. We could have just replaced our dryer with a used one for $100 and made it work for another 1-2 years. But, it's done.  I couldn't resist the deal.  My father in law is going to try to fix the dryer and then sell the set.  Every dollar counts!

It's here.  It's lovely. I had to read the instructions for half an hour before doing my first load but I think I have it figured out.
There's even a rack that you can use for shoes if you need to dry them.  

At least doing the laundry was fun today.  
Love, Louise

Monday, January 27, 2014

Then and Now

My dad took Gary flying the other day. I have yet to edit those photos BUT here shows the comparison of our home growing up and what the Christmas tree farm looks like now; Clayton Heights.  We now live in this crazy condensed area which is just a little different :)  I put a rectangle around where my best guess of where our property lines were.
I used to ride a dirt bike around the farm. Good, good memories.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

20 Months Old

Nya is 20 months old already.  It's hard to get a picture of her because she just wants to see it.  The second she sees a camera, she runs towards it saying `I see! I see!'.  

Here are some things about my baby girl:
-all her teeth are in!!!!!  Well, until her 2 year molars. 
-she sleeps through the night but sometimes it takes a couple tries to get her to bed each night.  Usually she goes to sleep between 7-8pm.  She wakes up between 6:30-7:30am.
-she naps maybe 4 times a week.
-such a bad habit but she will only go for her nap and sleep at night with a bottle of warm milk.  Naughty us. I know.
-she breastfeeds once per day and calls it Moh 
-she probably has about 100 words now.  Koen practices with her daily and thinks that every new word she says is the cutest thing in the world.
-she LOVES to be outside and often puts on her boots and hat and asks us to help with her coat.
-she loves to dress herself.  If we lay out her undies and pants, she can do it.  If we try to help her, she takes them off and does it herself.  It is frustrating.
-she now only uses the big toilet which is a bit of a pain because she can't quite crawl up on the stool with her pants around her ankles so we need to help her.  We have her in undies all the time except for sleeping and going to church.
-I feel like the boys `loved' me best but Nya def. loves her brothers, daddy and me the same.  
-she can climb up into her booster chair (we have high bar chairs) and buckle herself in
-she loves to hold my hand when we are walking.  She'll say `hand'.  When she gets tired, she says `Hold you'. 
-for as independent and fiesty as she is, she is equally cuddly.  She loves to just be held and nestle her head on my shoulder and I melt.  Every time.
-if I ever try to sit down at the computer while she is awake, she will climb up into Gary's office chair and start clicking away with his mouse.  It's not worth it.
-she loves to play `Ponies' which she calls `Monies'.
We love Miss Nya sooooooo much.  She is beautiful and sweet and strong.  

She was mad at me because I was trying to take her picture and she just wanted me to help her shoot hoops.  So that is the end of the photos.  I tried. :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thankful Thursday

All right, folks. It's been a rough week around here.  Koen got the flu, our dryer broke (and we need to replace it), we discovered a leak in our ceiling, Nya didn't nap, Kai has an ear infection and Nya has a cold.  So, life has been even more tiring.  I'm not going to have many photos today, so here we go:

Thankful for:
1. Antibiotics for my Kai Bear.  He has an ear infection and I liked to get on top of those right away.  I ran to three different clinics and they weren't accepting any more patients so I went back to the first and asked to make an appointment for the morning and the doctor agreed to see us.  She was so good with Kai and talked just to him because she said she could see that he was a smart boy :)

2. My kids not being picky eaters.  They love sushi night and seriously, other than Gary having a vacuum in his hand, what is hotter than a guy that cooks WITH the kids?!
3. Koen being better again.  He's back to bugging Nya non stop so that's the sign that all is well.
4. Gary's team making the Fraser Valley's in basketball.  Happy that all his time and hard work is paying off!

5. Friends that make me feel normal for breastfeeding a 1.5 year old.  It is a bit embarrassing to me but if I share that I do it, it will make others feel more normal too, right?

6.  Booking three more weddings over the last 2 weeks.  So thankful.

7. Nya's determination.  She is strong willed and I think a lot of it comes from two brothers constantly in her face.  I think this will be so good for her as she gets older.  I think I will also learn a lot of patience from her trying to dress herself each day.  

8.  Bidding Wars.  Ha.  I've been using this facebook group to declutter our home and make some money in the process.  Win. Win.  

9.  Kids cooperating for photos.  I wanted to get some Valentines Photos (love the Heart blanket!!) and so we did this last weekend right before they got sick.  They were super cold and now I know they weren't feeling 100% but they still cooperated.  Although it's sometimes a bit of work to get photos, I always appreciate having them.  Nya was 0% impressed with them.

10.  Finding a deal on a washer/dryer.  I was planning on taking my time but I found this set on future shop online and there were just two more left in BC with $1100.00 off the price.  Yes, I'm a sucker for those stats. It was rated quite well by consumer reports so I purchased it and it will be delivered to our home next week.  The model we got is way fancier than what I need but hopefully it makes laundry more fun?   

As a side note, is there anyone interested in the book `Taking Charge of Your Fertility'?  So interesting but I don't need it anymore.  So great for determining when you are ovulating to prevent or achieve pregnancy.  We used it for both but don't need it anymore.  Let me know!

Have a great week rest of the week.

Love, Louise

Monday, January 20, 2014

Running Away

When I was a kid, I would sometimes `run away'.  We had a tree fort and I would just go there and read.  As a teenager, I would hide in the back of our Christmas tree farm and sometimes smoke a cigarette (dad, don't read that part!).  Yesterday I had an engagement session on Granville Island and I didn't want to come home afterwards.  When I think back to when I lived in Vancouver, I have fond memories.  It was such a FUN time.   I had no responsibilities other than teaching and myself.  I could do whatever I wanted when I wanted.    Life is different now.  I am so thankful for all  I have but sometimes, well, it's not fun and it's exhausting.  Like very tiring.

Nya has been teething and is miserable each evening and waking in the night.
The boys fight and don't listen and bug their sister.  Koen drives me bonkers.  I love him so much but WHY WON'T HE LISTEN???!!!
Basically the kids exhaust me.
Gary is busy with basketball which means he's gone more and he's tired.

Sometimes when Gary gets home, he says `Just go out!'.  Where am I going to go at 8 pm? Shopping?  As nice as that would be, I don't need to spend money on clothes.

We've had to replace so many things in our home in the last few weeks which has added stress.  Now to figure out where/when and what washer/dryer to get.  In the meantime, our house will be covered in drying racks I guess?  At least the leak in our ceiling wasn't serious because that was a lame thing to discover two nights ago.

So, before I start thinking about my thankful Thursday post, I had to vent out my frustration on kids that don't listen and a house that is starting to require replacement appliances etc.

And, to end on a good note, here are my kids being cute while I cleaned the bathroom this morning:

Hope your week has started off well!

Love, Louise

Friday, January 17, 2014

12 Seconds of Cuteness

Can you tell their love languages are physical touch?  They also bond over Toopy and Binoo.  It's just 12 seconds that I don't think you'll regret watching :)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday

Thankful for:

1.  Our new keyboard.  It was a great find on the Bidding Wars group on facebook.  We had planned on spending a lot more on a keyboard but picked up this Casio one (with stand and beginner book) for $7!  I am giving Kai lessons once a week.  I'm not a piano teacher but I did play for 7 years and I'm a teacher :)  So far, so good.

2.  So many parks to explore.  Our kids love to just run, run, run.  I brought Koen and Nya there on the way to daycare last week and they had a great time.

3.  Quality time with the boys.  I took Kai and Koen to the Canucks Skills Competition with my brother in law Kris and his two girls.  Gary was supposed to but he had a tournament.  I just saw it as quality time with the boys but I would probably not do it again as their highlight was the mascot musical chairs.  Really?!  Not sure it's worth it for that.  The kids did make it on the jumbotron which was fun!
Kai: `Mom!  Take lots of pictures of the musical chairs!'.

4. A potty in the van.  With the boys, there was no need as we could just pull over and they could just go anywhere.  We've used this several times with Nya and it's worked wonderfully.  She prefers to use it in the trunk of the van rather than outside :)

5.  Handy husband.  Our faucet broke this weekend and after trying what my brother in law ( a plumber) suggested, we couldn't get the blockage out of the hot water line so we needed to replace our whole faucet.   We are actually going to change it one more time as I decided brushed nickel would be a lot more practical than the chrome one we installed.  Home Depot said they would accept the return so I just need to get the new one asap.

6.  Menchies groupons and gift cards.  Don't think I would ever pay full price!

7.  Wrestle time before bed.  It's cute and it means they are almost in bed.

8. Benadryl.  Miss Nya has developed hives for some unknown reason.  She has been on benadryl for 4 days now.  She had a major flare up at Menchies so I ran across the street  to the grocery store to get some Benadryl.  Lesson learned; always have Benadryl in your vehicle.

9. Koen's creativity.  He is very creative.  I'm not sure how he was playing this game but it was a mix of Car racing and Pokemon.

10.  Nya saying `Wuv you!'. It is sooooooo cute!!!!  This was a conversation in the van today:
Nya: Doe-ee.  Wuv you! (Doe-ee is her name for Koen and I may insist that we keep it.)
Koen: Nya, you are so adorable!

11.  Bonus one: The boys playing basketball on a sunny January day without fighting.  AWESOME.

I hope that you are having a good week!  
Love, Louise

Monday, January 13, 2014

Kids and Money

The other day I was looking through  and I discovered that it has a cool feature which allows you to see the demographics of a neighbhourhood.  I should note here that we are not moving.  I told my friends the other day that our next move will be to a retirement community so we are planning on staying a while.  Back to the website, I saw that the average income for a family in our neighbourhood is about $115,000.  Wow.  We are nowhere near that.   I think the reason that we are able to live here is that we bought early (phew!) and we are pretty frugal and wise with our money. And our car is the ugliest and oldest one on the street.  Sometimes I think about how we would have way more money if we both worked full time but I think I would be a crazy woman.  I don't think I could do it and be able to manage the house/kids without being stressed.

I've blogged about saving money before here, but I just want to emphasize an aspect of it.  I'm not saying I'm an expert but I do have some strong opinions on it.   I think it is so important that we teach our kids, from a very young age, the value of a dollar.  I think that they should be able to know how much things cost and how to save.  They should recognize the importance of waiting for sales or looking for discounts.  I also believe that they should do chores or work for their money.  Kai does not have a lot that he needs to do but he earns $1 a week for making his own school lunches 4 days a week, feeding the fish each day, and taking out the recycling every few days.  If you take your kids grocery shopping with you, you can teach them so much.  Kids love to learn.  If you answer their questions, they will continue to ask and learn.

This week we walked/biked to the bank (collecting $1 worth of bottles along the way, yes, so nerdy!) and the boys went to get their first bank account.
My hope is that this money will go towards their future education.  When we were kids, half the money we made went straight to the bank for university, the rest we could use to donate or spend as we wished.  We were expected to donate 10% of it.  We also encourage our kids to donate and their bottle money goes towards a menchies fund and supporting a missionary family.

We do have RESP's for them that we contribute to monthly but by the time they are ready to use them it will likely just cover one year of university/trades/college and we are not planning on giving them any more.  So, they better start saving now :)
It was so awesome to see them do their first deposit.  I'd rather see their money in the bank, gaining interest,  than buying another toy they don't need!    I remember my mom taking me to get my first bank account, I felt so grown up.  I love that my parents taught me the value of a dollar and encouraged/made us save .  Kai was very intrigued by the idea of interest and Koen didn't really care too much about any of it except for the toy area that they have.  Kai had to sign something for the first time too which was kind of cool.

Gary and I are not driven to make a lot of money but we are focused on being wise with what we do have.   This is sort of opposite to the mentality that seems to exist these days; try to make as much money as possible to buy whatever you want!  If we wanted to make more money, we would be so busy and away from our kids more.  The decision we have made is that I will be home with the kids, working part time from home and subbing once a week, and this has worked well for us.  I know it doesn't work best for everyone, and I'm not saying that it's the best thing to do, but for us, that is what works.   Will I work full time when the kids are in school?  Probably not.  I would teach part time or take on some more photography but at this point, I don't see full time work in my future.  

I don't want to make anyone feel bad and I hope I haven't.  I just want to encourage others to talk to their kids about money.  Often.  Naturally.  It should come up multiple times in the day and is obviously age dependent.  Koen knows about groceries on sale (milk, cereal etc) and second hand toys and clothes.   Kai knows a lot more (cost of filling up your gas tank, minimum wage, interest, tipping etc).

Do you remember your first bank account?  Were you encouraged to save for your future education?  Did your parents have rules on saving or spending?

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Thankful Thursdays

Thankful for:

1.  A great find on craigslist....Nya's big girl bed!  With the boys, we used a small car toddler bed which they loved but then they switched to a big boy bed a year later.  Our car bed now belongs to my nephew and so I wanted to get Nya a bed that would last her for 15 years.  This bed is a single daybed WITH ample storage underneath which converts to a double bed if need be!  So versatile.  I hope it's as good as I think it is.  It's in perfect condition and was about 60% off.  The only drawback was that Gary had to drive to West Van to get it so we did have to pay about $30 in gas and tolls.  So worth it though.  It is in our spare room right now but I think we'll switch her over when she's two.
BRIMNES Daybed frame with 2 drawers IKEA Four functions in one - seating, bed for one, bed for two and two big drawers for storage.
{PS Thank you to my friends Lisa and Leah for helping Gary and I get the bed in the house!}

2. Nice camera equipment. When we were talking years ago about whether we should start a business (we had no idea what we were doing!!), Gary convinced me it was a good idea because worst case scenario, we would just end up with a lot of good pictures of our kids.  Done. I was sold.  Love that I have the equipment to pretty much take photos wherever and whenever.

3. Kai going back to school.  I love my Kai Bear but wow, that kid NEEDS school more than anyone I've ever met.  Over the break, I would suggest doing his school book (Costco workbook) and he would do more than I even asked.  He loves learning.  He loves sitting and doing school work.  For hours.  I was nerdy like this too, folks.

4.  Babies.  One of my sisters is pregnant and I don't have to keep it in anymore!!  There will be very few babies (if any?) after this, it just seems to have gone so quickly!  Congratulations to Jackie and Tyler.  You can read her blog post about it here.

5. Koen enjoying his swimming party.  I think sometimes I feel bad if I just make things simpler and don't go all out for the kids, but then I realize, it's totally fine.  Koen's goal was to do the waterslide and he did.

6.  Sinus Rinses.  I'm pretty congested and I love how the sinus rinse clears me up every morning!  I was very skeptical and nervous about them a year ago.  However, after months of sinus infections last year, this guy helped me out immensely.  PS You don't need to buy the sinus rinse, once the packages run out, just make your own with previously boiled water, salt and baking soda.

7.   Heaven.  It keeps everything in perspective for me.   When my dad had a heart attack 8 years ago, his heart stopped and he was able to experience  part of what happens when you die.  He said he has never felt so much peace and the colours were amazing.  He would've been happy to go.  They brought him back a couple of minutes later.

8. Trust.  When my mom got diagnosed with cancer, I was about 22 years old and it rocked my world. I read everything I could get my hands on about why this would happen.  Not scientifically, but why God would allow it to happen.  In the end, I came to the  understanding that I cannot understand all the pieces at work and therefore just need to trust God.  A verse that I relied on was `Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.' Proverbs 3:5-6.  This was huge because as a science major, you try to understand how and why things happen.  In this case, I had to let it go.  It was scary but also liberating.  This week while cleaning my desk, I found this.  It was given to my mom in Sunday School, June 1963 as inscribed on the back:

9.   Stickers.  The boys never liked them as much as Miss Nya does!

10.  My thyroid health.  January 2013 was my last blood test that indicated my thyroid was out of range.  For one year now, I have been 100%.  Awesome.  

I hope you are having a great week.  This year I am doing less and so far it feels really good :)
Love, Louise