Thursday, September 18, 2014

Carrying On With Tradition

Every year as we pass into and out of our favorite camping spot, we pass by this beautiful little landscaped hillside.  From the very first year 'Nkmeep Resorts beautified this little spot I started the tradition of taking 'remember when' pictures of our kids.

This year, we had a few more bodies to fill the frame.  And wow, do these guys ever look good!  I finally got some family pictures I am proud of to put on our picture wall to show off our new additions of Jonah and Ava.  

 Unfortunately they are still on my computer and not on my wall:(  It's on my list of many things to do, and nearly at the top.  

2013- Cayden at 8 years and Peyton at 2 1/2 years.

2012- Cayden 7 years and Peyton 1 1/2 years

2011- Cayden 6 years and Peyton 8 months

Monday, September 1, 2014

Dinner Party At The Kruliki's

As always, our yearly day trip to visit Michael and Shirley Kruliki was absolutely wonderful. They are such a joy and such gracious hosts to our family.  Even with 2 more kids in our family, they weren't scared away from inviting us for an afternoon of socializing and dinner. 

Michael and Shirley are long time family friends of Jeremy's parents and Grandparents.  The are so full of energy and fun. We always look forward to taking an afternoon away from our campground in Osooyoos and make the drive up to their condo in Pentiction.  Of course our kids also enjoy taking a break from swimming in the lake to swimming in their nice, clear and clean pool:)

The kids were overjoyed to be served 'special drinks', including their own mustache straws.  As well as being served monster-sized meatballs and pasta.  They even were gifted really nice matching shirts, which of course I really liked as well. 

Facebook has definitely been a part of keeping us connected through the year, even though we only meet once a year.  I am able to keep up with Shirley's 1/2 marathon races, which makes me envious of her energy and drive!  I even get to keep up with her kids and grand kids through Facebook which also keeps our connections. Her daughter has a little Peyton as well.  They are only a few weeks apart, which makes comparing notes alot of fun.

Jeremy and I really treasure our visits with the Kruliki's.  Hopefully we didn't wear them out too much, and we get another invite next year, 2015 :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wine and Dine or Tent Dilemna

It was not the simplest of decisions to make.  My choice was to hotel, wine and dine with a group of lovely ladies in the Okanagan or tent and eat campfire food with friends in the BC Interior with my kids and without Jeremy.    I did go back and forth for a few weeks before finally making the right choice and continue the camping at Kentucky Lake yearly tradition.  

Early in the morning I got myself up and loaded up the Acadia with all our gear.  There was barely an any room for my four kids and myself!  Yes, we are all here in amongst all the stuff:)  I was in machine mode and we got out on the road within one hour of getting up.  All the kids had enough to keep them amused for the ride and off we were on our great adventure.

Two hours later, we arrived at one of the most beautiful campgrounds in BC, and made quick work to set up camp.  My little helpers Peyton and Ava were wonderful little tent building helpers while Cayden and Jonah were out the door and quickly and on the trails.

The weather was amazing and so was the company.  I spent a little time relaxing, but mostly was on the go keeping up the the energy and spirit of the littles.  Travelling the beautiful trails, biking the loop, swimming in the beautiful blue waters, fishing and so much more. 

The kids slept great, I did not.  Sharing a double airbed with Jonah was not so wonderful.  Thankfully we brought an extra air bed cause the other two went flat!   I would have not only not slept well, but ended up crippled.  One thing for certain is that with age, a comfortable bed becomes even more important. 

One of my favorite moments was taking the three youngest fishing.  We took our borrowed fishing rod that was both bait-less and weight-less and hung around at the kids fishing lake.  Yes, I intended to not catch any fish, hence no weights or bait.  But the kids never figured it out.  My secret:)  After seeing the diligence and patience of Jonah and Peyton, I will need to change my strategy next time so that they have a chance at actually reeling something in other that a stray weed.

While I was fishing, Cayden, Ben, Tim, Josh and Sheldon all went on a 'man' walk with Jess.  They went on an adventure to learn how to use their pocket knives safely, rock jump into the lake and other stuff that guys do.  It was great to see them all come back, hours later, with walking sticks in hand ready for some carving.  

So, the choice was most definitely difficult, but my kids are grateful that Kentucky Lake won.  Looking forward to next year already, and with Jeremy, and our trailer!  Tenting was fun.  A great adventure.  But now it's "been there, done that". 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Branching Through Generations

After two fun-filled days full of family and fun, it was finally time to say good-night.  And on most nights, that includes a little bedtime prayer.  So, what did Peyton's prayer sound like?

"Dear God.  Thanks for the swimming pool.  Thanks for my new friend Peyton.  Thanks for the fun time jumping on the 'jumpoline'.  Thanks for my best friend Peyton.  Oh, and thanks for the bouncy castle.  Hmm... Thanks for the food. Amen."  (Yes, she prayed for her new friend Peyton a few times:)

Yes, we have so much to be thankful for.  And all those things that Peyton prayed for were something to feel blessed to have.  But really, that does not come close to all of what we are thankful for.

Today marked our long-standing tradition of Stam Family reunions.  And wow has this family tree grown!  Those little kids of long ago are marrying and having children.  The 'baby' in the family of Aunt's has just turned 70.  And the eldest of the Uncle's is celebrating 88.  There is much to be thankful for when I see how this family continues to gather and celebrate each other.

Some of the fun of the days included Uncle John getting all of our attention for a great story of love.  Lots of swimming, jumping, bouncing, relay games and of course lots of great food.  Jonah's favorite was the pig that was roasting all day for our amazing dinner.  We celebrated birthdays with singing and cake.  And challenged each other with a nail driving contest that drew quite the crowd of cheering supporters and competitors.

Our kids were awesome!  So fun to watch as they had fun with cousins they only see every year or two. They all made me proud to be their mom.  Ava charmed everyone in the crowd with her ability to dance on demand as well as her consistent little smirk.  Jonah did his best to try to fit in.  It wasn't too hard to do considering his favourite things, food and swimming were all part of the fun. 

So my prayer is.  "Dear God.  Thanks for the blessings of family.  Thanks for our health.  Thanks for all those wonderful things in life we have. Amen"

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Brae Island Adventure

Our first family camping trip as a family of six was well spent at the beautiful and family friendly campground in Fort Langley.  Nice and close to home, and against the flow of all those others heading out of the Fraser Valley for their own camping trip adventures.

The weather was so perfect.  Hot and Sunny, just like I like it.  With a nice pool, a little green, nearby as well as the Bedford Channel running beside, we had no problem keeping cool.  Interestingly, a trip to the Channel was not favoured by the kids.  But once we got down to the waters edge, brown water or not, they sure enjoyed running down the sandy hill and jumping in.  It took allot of convincing to round them up so we could get onto our next adventure:)

The highlight for Jonah was learning to ride a bike!  With not too many wipeouts, thank goodness, to avoid the tears and need for constant first aid.  Peyton also loved biking the loop and both of these guys rarely took a break from riding round and round. With the odd stop at Mr. Ray's to rest and have a friendly chat.

We had enjoyed a great catch-up visit with Aunty Kathy and Uncle Bill who were happy to meet our newest family members.  They even brought a fantastic little gift for each of our kids for which we were very grateful.  Now each kid is sporting a great water bottle with their favourite characters, and they even keep water cold for more than a few minutes.  Thanks for your thoughtfulness!

A nice walk into Fort Langley for a change of scenery was welcome by all.  The best part of course was a stop at the diner for an ice-cream treat for all.  Fort Langley is so beautiful.  I am looking forward to returning in the near future, without kids for an even more leisurely stroll as well as a stop for brunch at the ever popular restaurant, Wendel's Bookstore and Cafe.  I also look forward to browsing a few of the antique stores just for fun.

Such a wonderful weekend!  And we certainly are looking to many more memory making trips as a family to cherish forever.