Friday, January 15, 2016

Another Planned Trip To The Mountains Busted!

Crabby and disappointed at the last minute change of plans is how I started my day.  Not my normal mood that's for sure, but I felt fully justified to carry this bad attitude around.  

And here is what caused my adult meltdown. 

 I super excited for our annual girls weekend up to Elfin Hut. We really don't know why we put ourselves through the agony and exhaustion each year on this 11 km uphill climb with 45 pounds on our back and snowshoes on our feet.  

Well, maybe we do.  The crazy memories we make each year on this adventure calls our names year after year.  Stories, laughter and feeling of accomplishment is why we do this.  

We decided that we would make the best of today and take our snowshoe adventure to the nearby Windy Joe Trail in Manning Park.  I quickly popped into the nearest Tim Hortons drive thru to get some breakfast and a hot cup of coffee for the drive.  Still feeling a bit crabby, I made my way to the  drive thru window to make my payment.  My order was passed out the window and no payment was needed.  The nice lady in the Honda in front of me had paid for my order! 

Wow.  That was all I needed to get my 'head out of my butt' and accept that I needed to let go of my disappointment  and get excited for our next adventure.  In an instant I had a full reset and I was back to my easy-going self.  And that's the way it went all day.

The day was perfect!  Blue skies and clear highway.  We made it to the trail head in record time and got ourselves geared up to head uphill for the next long while.  The Windy Joe Trail is not a quick little walk in the park, we found out.  16 kilometres later, after a great variety of  conversations of inspirations, encouragements and all kind of randomness  we made it the round trip back to our vehicles.  Completely exhausted.  Completely proud of ourselves.  Completely fulfilled.

Yes, that really is a blue tooth in my ear!  I forgot it was there the whole time.  Made for some really terrible photos:(

To end it all, I barely made my way to the hot tub when I got home. 1/2 clothed I dropped myself in with a sigh of relief.  And got the pleasure to be joined by my girls.  Also, 1/2 clothed:)

Monday, December 28, 2015

Four Hour Waitlist at Hemlock To Tube- Bust!

Boots. Snow Pants. Ski Jackets. Gloves. Toques. Snacks.  CHECK.

Okey dokey. We were ready to go to the local mountains and enjoy a fantastic day ripping down the mountain with our hair flying straight back.  At least, that was the plan.  And... as I have found out first hand oh so many times, our plans do not always turn out.

After only a one  hour drive, we arrived exactly as I had said I would.  The rest of the crew was already there, and I wondered why they were just hanging around rather than doing their own ripping down the tubing hill.  But, rather than asking, I got all four kids cozied up so I wouldn't have to hear, "I'm cold"  all day long.  Finally, we were ready!

Only to find out that Hemlock's Tubing park was full!  No tubing until 1:00.  Wow, didn't see that coming.  Being the good sports we all were, sleds were pulled out of vehicles and to kill time we all headed up to find a hill to sled down for a while.  So much fun.  Ava absolutely loved it and the faster we could go, the happier she was.  And the same went for everyone else.

1:00 rolled around and we all headed to get these much anticipated sliding passes.  Wow! Again! Sold out until 3:00!  The rest of the group all got 'in', but my little family didn't :(  Truly a sad face on all my kids.  I felt so disappointed for them but there was nothing I could do to change it.

All I could do was stay as positive and cheery as I could possibly be.  And, remind them what a great time we just had sledding on this amazing sunny day.  Three of my four accepted this, but this fell flat on Cayden's ears.  

A quick promise of dinner out and a future trip to Manning turned everyone's mood around and we enjoyed a wonderful drive back into the Valley.

What did I learn?  Plan to be early! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fantastic Friends Rock My World

My mind goes back to the old 80's song 'Friends' written by Michael W. Smith when I think about how blessed I am by such amazing friends.  And really, if I was a sobbing kind of girl, I'd likely be filling a bucket of tears right now.

The evening started out with what was going to be a quiet dinner with 3 friends.  And actually was a completely surprise party that included 15 of my friends.   2 of the girls made the drive from Kamloops to help me celebrate the big 4-0, and that was truly humbling.  Cindy is a fabulous party thrower and even had Jodi and Jeremy in on it helping to make it a total surprise.

  And wow, did we all celebrate! Starting with some fire at the Greek Islands.  Hey, the many candles made for some very nice ambiance.  But... when a paper napkin touch's fire, it's sure to not end very well.  My very first Muff Diver was served up.  And being a good sport I dived right in.  A little strange sight I might say for the other guests in the restaurant.  But, it was appropriate for the group I was hanging with for the night.  Just being with this great group of friends made me truly grateful.

 As the evening moved on, we  moved to the local pup.  Where, as the night went on, the crowd got much younger.  By 11pm I think there were ten people in the crowd over forty.  The balance of the place was filled with kids half our age!  And... one of those 20 years olds even bought me a drink! Not sure what that was all about, but I'll take it:)

The laughs continued.   I think the time '2:00' is etched on my brain forever now.   The 2:00 thing is an inside joke that I don't think all of us who were there really understands. But, it gave us something to laugh about all night.  Julie, share sometime what the heck that was about:)

Thank you to all of my friends!  You all impress me in so many ways and I can't thank you all enough for making entrances into my world in various ways over these years.  Thank you for the gift which I will enjoy this week on my little shopping trip.  And Kelly and Julie, my Heart and Soul figure, which will always remind me of my good friends who always make me feel great and encouraged.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wow! 60 Years Ago...

One of the most influential people in my life entered this world 60 years ago.  My dad. And I feel blessed to have such an encouraging and patient man as my dad.

He is a person who can be counted on to be fair and not gossipy.  He is a person that most people in his circle of influence will say, has integrity at his core.  He is a faithful and generous leader and well respected for his passion for people.

When I was young, I was my dad's little shadow.  If there was any opportunity for me to go for a ride in a truck or to town for one errand or another,  I would be there.  If there was work to be done in the yard,  I was there.

Some of my favorite childhood memories are times in which I would go with him  to pick up an evening load of sawdust.  There was always a stop at the same little store for some pop and chips which made it extra awesome.  (I was easy to please:)

I even would go to church every Sunday evening.  And this wasn't something the average kid enjoyed.  The sermons were very long and very dry.  But for me, it meant time that it was just he and I sitting side by side.  Me, with my head on his shoulder just relaxing.

I truly believe I was pretty easy on him all these years.  An easy kid who didn't cause too much stress. That's likely why he appears so youthful. At least 10 years younger. Seriously!

Ok.  There was one time I may have pushed his buttons.  Just a little bit.  Janey Both will often remind me of this time and we chuckle as if it was yesterday.   All anyone could see was me running through the campsite, flying through the air into the tent.  Only a few seconds later there was my dad, running through the campsite, flying through the air right into the tent behind me.  And a bit of yelling followed.  I like to think that I was helping him remain fit and trim with the exercise he got from chasing me through the campsite. LOL.

Our family certainly has been blessed to have been raised by a dad who shows much patience, grace and care.

Happy Birthday Dad!  You are amazing and we wish you many more healthy and wonderful years of life to encourage people to live a life of purpose.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mt. Cheam Is Conquered By The Crew

What a fine day we picked to plan an epic hike trip up to the peak of Mt. Cheam.  Something I have only done once and over twenty-five years ago.  Sheesh.  When I say twenty-five years ago, that makes me sound old.  I'm actually just aging out of my young adult years.  At least that's what I'm telling myself:)

Anyways, we loaded up three pickups with a couple dogs, a bunch of kids ranging from 2-10, some young ladies,  a couple moms and a dad.  Then it was off we went high up into the mountains.  The 4x4 trip itself was fantastic but slow going with all the washouts every minute or so.  But, we finally made it to the start of our 9.5 km round trip adventure.

It was a day of perfection.  The sky was clear.  The conversations were rich and inspiring.  The energy of all the kids was exciting.  All the things that make a challenging climb like this one doable.

I was amazed at how great all ten of our kids did on this trek.  They climbed to the peak of this amazing mountain with no complaint which truly made me so proud of this crew.  I do have to say that by the end of the trek, I sure was running out of steam.  Carrying Ava to the top of this mountain proved as challenging as I thought it would be.  But, we made it.  And I took some time to scan the valley below and meditated on how blessed I am to have a healthy family to do this with and a great network of friends who are up for adventuring with me.

Our journey down the mountain was lightning speed faster than our climb up.  By the bottom, Ava fell asleep in the carrier.  Totally crazy considering how much bouncing around we were doing.  

As we made it to the very bottom, we met up with a dude on a mountain bike.  Of course I was curious, so I stopped him to chat a little about what his plans were.  I could hardly believe my ears  when he told me he was biking up to the peak.  Not only that, but he had biked all the way up from Bridal Falls, through Ryder Lake.  Who does that???!!  I was wildly impressed.

Interestingly, at church Sunday, this guy asks me, "Hey".  "Were you just on Mt. Cheam the other day?"  I looked at him and it clicked.  He was that guy!  The funny thing is that he was also inspired by us, the crew who climbed Mt. Cheam with a "whole crew" of kids. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Chilliwack's Little Secret On The Eastern Hillsides

Have you heard?  It's really not meant to be a secret, but I believe that not enough people are 'in the know'.

Phase 1 of The Community Forest Park Project is mostly complete!  You may be asking, what on earth is this 'project' about.  Well, it is an amazing partnership between the City of Chilliwack and the Chilliwack Park Society working to convert 100 acres of under-utilized City owned land into a multi use community park.  Multi-use means that bikers, hikers and trail runners will all find some enjoyment out here on the trails. 

There are many volunteers of all ages who have been part of this well organized Society who have dedicated their time to break ground and build trails on the well forested Eastern Hillside of Chilliwack.  With shovels, axes and a variety of other tools requiring lots of sweat and physical work the trail has slowly taken shape one foot at a time.  The Society welcomes anyone willing to spare some time.  And... is looking for donations of a variety of items as the trails continue to be built over the next few years.  So, if you are interested in being part of some amazing history here, become a member!

Today, a few of us took part in a little tour of what has been completed.  Some fortunate people even got to explore further up to Phase 2.  Now this Phase really has me excited.  It will be more challenging than Phase 1, which is suited to people of all ages to enjoy, and will one day include a viewpoint.  This trail is not officially opened yet.  But, look for the Society of Facebook to get updates.  And... come out to work on Saturday, October 24 at 2:00 on the next planned build day.  You will enjoy the work and meeting some amazing people:)

Monday, October 12, 2015

I'm Thankful For... Our Adoption Is Finalized!

A little over a year ago we finally got to meet our 'new' kids on a short little visit.  Jonah who was five, almost six and his little sister Ava, who was eighteen-months. We knew very little about them other than their names and a short description of them.  And we had only 1 not so good picture of them. So, it was mostly a lot of mystery and a whole lot of faith that this would be a match made in heaven.

Our family waited for over 2 1/2 years for the adoption to go from application, education, many a meeting, health exams and a whole lot of waiting.  But... we were patient, believing that when we got that call telling us we were matched, we would be ready.

Peyton and Cayden were very much a part of the process, waiting to hear whether we would be adopting a boy or a girl.  Maybe even two.  Cayden hoped for Chinese and twins.  I'm really not sure where either of those came about.  He also hoped for a boy his age.  Which most definitely wouldn't happen considering we were open to children aged six and under. Peyton, she of course had a preference of a sister, but not other particular requests.

Both Peyton and Cayden got almost exactly what they had hoped for.  Amazing how that worked out! That day we were introduced to two very happy and giggly children.  Ava was new to walking and not talking yet.  But she took and instant liking to Jeremy and I and toddled her way book in hand over to sit in my lap.  Jonah, was very open, until a little while into the visit where he clearly stated he liked us, but was not going home with us.

On the second visit, we ventured to a nearby school and again got to see true happiness and childlike behaviours in Ava and Jonah.  Again, there was no talk of coming home with us.  But, we were mom and dad by name to these two.

Then came the third visit.  And this time it was an outing for ice cream. Jonah was certainly warming up to Jeremy.  He insisted that Jeremy sit in the middle of Ava and Jonah in the backseat of our very small Jetta.  And, like a good dad, Jeremy did.  Well, this propelled Jeremy very far in Jonah's book of favourite people and there was not talk that he wouldn't come home with us, one day.

This whole visiting process was very trying.  We had to leave Peyton and Cayden at home for the first two full weeks.  So, it was like we were trying to parent two sets of kids and this wasn't too fun.  Finally Jonah got brought out for a sleepover at our house, and got to meet these two mystery kids.
They all did hit it off, but Jonah did not want Jeremy and I to go too far.

Fast forward past the visits.  It was move in time.  And, it went off without a hitch for everyone.  We all quickly got adjusted to each other and looking back this past year, it was most definitely a match made in heaven.  All our kids act like siblings.

They are mostly friends, and sometimes need their own space. Cayden and Jonah have all the same interests, even though they are four years apart.  They play Wii, watch the same shows, play sports, beyblades and whatever else the rage is at the time.

Peyton and Ava are simply the cutest together.  They play pretend where Peyton is always the mom. And sometimes Ava is the dog.  They giggle and jump on the trampoline together.  They argue, colour and sing together.  You name it, they are together most times.

So, a year later, we are Thankful for adoption.  And what it has brought to our family.  A lot of noise. arguing and tears.  But even more of   a lot of love, laughter and family fun.  We feel complete.  Just like the McEachern family was meant to look like.