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.