Thursday, August 27, 2020

Thankful Thursday: A Pandemic Summer

Thankful Thursday

Hi friends! It has been a while since I have spent some solid time on here and I want to thank you for checking it out. Well, this has been a unique summer! I went through all the feelings, like many of you did, from "What are we allowed to do?" "What is a proper bubble?" "Will we have school in person?" "Will we have sports camps?" and "WHAT ARE THE RULES EXACTLY?" (in caps because I am a rule follower). I have been able to practice gratitude throughout the time and I recognize my privilege of having a home, steady income, healthy family members, medical coverage etc which has made life a lot easier. Also, the fact that Gary and I are both teachers and able to stay home this summer has been huge. We have truly used this time to restore our bodies by getting ample fresh air, enough sleep, healthy home cooked meals AND Gary and I have been able to work out almost every single day. Besides resting and trying to figure out the rules, here are some things we have been up to this summer that I am grateful for:

1. Going to Whistler for one night. Why just one night? For a multitude of reasons: The teenager doesn't love family trips, we have a kitten at home, the cost of a hotel is not cheap and we can pack a lot into just two days!

brandywine falls

Whistler Olympic Rings

2. Seeing a bear! We have seen many from our car but not up close while hiking and biking. Koen came upon him/her first and stopped a good distance away. The bear went on its way and we made a lot of noise biking past! This happened while biking from Alta Lake back to the Village along the Valley Trail in Whistler.

Bear in Whistler

3. Green Lake getaway. Gary took the younger two for several nights up to my dad's vacation home at Green Lake. It was so nice for me to experience relative peace and quiet (Kai was with me) and nice for them to swim, kayak and roast marshmallows. One thing I have noticed is that I need space and quiet more than ever and it's almost impossible when you're in isolation with your family for five months. I go on a lot of walks!

Green Lake

4. Getting a kitten. This would not have happened without COVID as we had plans to be gone a lot of the summer road tripping. Kinz (Kinley Cuddles Chapman) has been so therapeutic for all of our kids! Nya reads to Kinz in bed every night for half an hour, Koen loves playing with her and Kai loves his cuddles.

Cuddles with kitten

Watching kitten


5. Camping! We only booked two nights for the whole summer because when the registration opened June 1st, we had no idea what the summer or our lives would look like. It worked well. We spent one night at Rolley Lake and one night at Golden Ears. At $41/night it was a very affordable experience and the kids loved the s'mores. We have really tried to be wise with our spending as I am going down significantly in my teaching to 0.27 (purposely!) and we do not know if I will be able to substitute teach during my semester off as we do not know what will be happening COVID-19-wise.

Kids on inner tubes at Rolley Lake

Campsite at Rolley Lake

Hammock with boy and girl

6. Getting items done of the "To Do" list! This might be my favourite. Along with our neighbours we re-did our fences to a solid 6 foot one. The old fence was 14 years old and falling apart in multiple sections. It was also only 5' feet tall with a lattice so not a lot of privacy which is especially important because our homes are so close to each other! It was a great opportunity for Kai to learn life skills, to get to know our neighbours more and to update our yard! Gary had never done it before and I'm proud of him. The total cost for it was "just" $1500 (our portion) including the staining. Other projects included painting, replacing base boards, carpet cleaning, deep cleaning our home etc.

Kid using a saw

This photo below shows the finished fence. If you look, you will see that most fence posts were not replaced (just two were) and we just adapted them to help save on time and cost. It worked well. This outdoor patio space is another area that I am grateful for. Our yard is incredibly small but we make use out of almost every little section of it. It's a great area for the kids to read outside (or Kai to do his Science 9 course online) or me to escape the noise. We also use it when friends visit as we haven't had anyone in our home.

Boy working on computer outside

Gary also made this shelf for me! I haven't decorated it properly yet. I want it to have greenery but also knick knacks from our travels. Possibly photos, too.

Octagonal shelving

7. Patio furniture. I mentioned it above but I am grateful we splurged on some pricey furniture. We got it on sale at $400 off but it still cost a pretty penny. I wanted a couch that I could lay on to read and it's perfect for that (although  my feet go over the end which is totally fine with pillows). Also, I love these patio latterns from Costco! They make the prettiest patterns when it gets dark at night.

Solar lanters

Solar lights with neat pattern

8. Bike rides. We haven't done too many but we did Veddar Trail and a lot of biking around Whistler. Nya likes a paved path and the boys love more dirt and challenge. It's something we can enjoy as a family and hopefully our skill levels balance out soon! Grateful that the bikes Gary and I have had for 20+ years keep working and for the secondhand ones we get for our kids.

Family posing with bikes

9. Our elliptical and treadmill. Although we prefer outdoor activities, we did replace our treadmill early on during COVID and also bought a space saver elliptical second hand. I use the elliptical probably 6 days a week (watching Netflix) and it is a great low impact workout as my foot is still quite sensitive and my joints can't handle high impact. Gary has lost 10 lbs this summer and I have lost 6 lbs (I was aiming for 10). My endocrinologist was impressed as my thyroid is very wonky which makes healthy weight loss so tricky. I am going to increase my blood tests to once a month for two years now as the stress of life is not helping it.

Space saver elliptical

10. Vitamix on sale! We use it about once a day for smoothies and I've tried some soups with it as well. I've always wanted one as our Ninja was nearing the end of it's life. I was grateful we got it for $120 off at Costco and then an additional $20 off with an online coupon I had to use!

Vitamix with roasted veggie soup

So, those are some highlights from this summer. I should add that it has been a summer of growth in regards to reading and listening to podcasts about the Black Lives Matter movement and awareness of white privilege. I have many books to recommend: The Hate U Give, I'm Still Here, So You Want to Talk About Race and How to be an Anti-racist. We still have a long ways to go but I am grateful for wise voices and resources to read.

I'd love to hear: What is something you are grateful for this summer?


PS I love my birthday present to myself: a Lululemon waist pack. 

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