Sorry I've been spotty lately. I think this last stint may have been the longest I have ever gone without posting, yet no one complained. I guess we are all having fun summers, eh?
I'm maxed out in the fun department. I need a vacation from all my vacations, I need a day at home, a day of rest, a sabbath. So today, that is what I am taking. The boys are watching a movie, the baby is banging around in the cupboards, and I am ignoring the breakfast dishes. Ah, peace and quiet.
I can't find my camera cord to upload my hundreds of photos to my computer (I may have left it at my mom's place), so I can't update you with photos, but I can fill you in on our activities of recent date! First, our locations:
-Barriere, for family reunion and matriarch birthday celebration #1 (Brent's mom's mom turned 80; I told you about that)
-At home, nerds here for fun in the sun
-South Langley at Brents' parents' place for family reunion and matriarch birthday celebration #2 (Brent's dad's mom turned 90; I told you about that, too)
-Camping at Otter Lake in Princeton, our annual (except last year) camping trek which is talked about year round and anticipated with much jumping and dreaming and exclaiming by little boys...
We had a BLAST camping. We hiked and played and swam and went to Tullameen for ice cream and ate GARBAGE for four days. It amazes me that our bodies keep functioning on a diet of cheezies and smores and hot dogs and KD, mixed with ash and dirt. I know MY stomach was churning and begging for some wholesome food by the end of the week! But what is camping without some junk? Seriously. We had a heck of a time keeping the baby out of the fire pit--I seriously considered driving 3 hours home to get the ill forgotten Ergo carrier--I also seriously considered tying the baby to a tree with a piece of rope tied around his waist. Someone I know tied their baby to a tree when picnicking at the edge of the grand canyon and I thought it (a) HILARIOUS, and (b) rather wise. We didn't resort to tying Riley to a tree, but we DID put him in his carseat during mealtimes. You all know how much he loves that thing [smirk]. But we had no high chair for him and wanted to sit and eat ourselves, so in the carseat he went. It's dirty now and I can't wash the cover in the washing machine, but it was SO worth it.
My older kids are extroverts so they made friends all over the campground. Brent and I are both introverts so we are a bit awkward when strange kids hover around our camp site and watch our family eat dinner, but we managed. We often laugh about how on earth two introverts had two extroverted kids, but in reality it is a major blessing because they can refuel each other without depleting our energy quite as much as if they didn't have each other to draw from. We saw a pretty good assortment of wildlife, from mosquitoes and frogs to deer and more deer. It rained for part of our stay, but I have to tell you, after living in a rainforest where rain means business for the past thirteen years, BC interior (more arid climate) rain seems pretty wussy to me. The ground hardly gets wet, and a few hours later you would never know it had rained. So, though we didn't bring enough warm clothes and thus were incredibly dirty by the end of the week, and despite the rain for a few hours at night and one morning, we had a great time. In this campground there are about half and half flush toilets and traditional outhouses, and we were fortunate to be next to one of the flush toilets, which made for much braver boys with regards to toileting. I had threatened that if they didn't go in the outhouse while we were camping, we would go home. I'm tired of pee clothes and I'm definitely NOT pulling out the baby potty like I did last time. They had agreed to go in outhouses but it was a nice bonus to be next to the flush toilets and not have to fight them. [I mean, 'encourage' them. right.]
The trees were gorgeous, the beach was perfect, the campground only about 1/3 full since we camped midweek, and we had the perfect amount of firewood for our four day stay. Riley stopped crawling at all because it was easier on the knees to walk, and he never went back :( He was the dirtiest baby in history. He fell a bunch of times and had so much road rash on his face by the end of the week, it was embarrassing to bring him out in public. Matthew remembered his bladder most of the week. Ayden did too. We brought their bikes and both of them are quite capable on them now (Matthew still has training wheels on his bike), and I have some great pictures of them showing off their skills; riding with no hands, or no feet, or no hands AND no feet, or standing up and pedalling, or going in circles fast....very cute. And very earnest. They also explored quite a bit and are old enough now to run off and play without much worry, which is fabulous. I LOVE this age--5ish and 6ish, because they are small enough to still be cute and big enough to not need such vigilant supervision and to begin to trust them with small responsibilities.
-We were home for two days, during which I got to be a part of my Ouwehand friends' family lunch, and meet Rob's fiance, whom I LOVE. Two of my blog buddies were there (Rob's sister and sister in law), and his older sister also, whom I have met before, and an assortment of kidlets. It was great to be a part of their family get together, and AWESOME to meet Caryn and to see Deb, whom I have gotten to know this year in blogland. Blogs are so weird. They are great for networking and connecting, but they make for an unnatural amount of personal knowledge of someone without ever knowing them in person. Who they are, the sound of their voice, the way they move in the world. You know? Very strange. Cool, but strange.
-Then I drove to my parents' place in the Okanagan for family reuinion #3 (augmented by aunt and uncle birthday celebration x 4), with all 3 kids, by myself. Brent flew up a few days later to join us. We had all manner of fun: swimming, hot tub, slip and slide, hiking, beach and lake, sleeping in the camper in the driveway, horrific family sing alongs, huge family dinners, birthday cake, inner tube rafting down the river in Enderby, girls' (and Riley) night out at the movies, and even some elephants having a bath at the farmer's market. That was so fun.
-We drove home Saturday. There had been thunderstorms during the week at my parents' place, but nothing too scary. We packed up our car and started the five hour trip home. We pulled into Kelowna and noticed a lot of dust in the air, especially blowing from the West. We stopped for gas and found out that it wasn't dust, but smoke from two large forest fires in the area. There was an evacuation of 40,000 people going on, and one forest fire had jumped the highway we were planning on driving on! And there was a huge amount of smoke in the air. We had to turn around and go BACK to Vernon, and travel through Kamloops to get home, making our 5 hour trip into an 8 hour ordeal (you know how much Riley hates his carseat? He's NOT a good traveller. We had maxed out his patience by the time we got back to Vernon, and we hadn't even started towards home yet). We got home at 2 a.m. and Brent had to work at 7 a.m. How aweful is that? Anyways, we made it home safe and sound, and it could have been worse; a few hours earlier and we might have been on the highway when the fire descended, so it could have been much scarier.
-My sister Megan offered to have Matthew stay with her for a few days this week, so he had an Island adventure with his aunt.
That pretty much brings us up to date! It has been a busy month!!! Whenever I had time to sit down at the computer I didn't have the energy to tackle it. I will show some pictures when I locate my computer cord for my camera (I think I may have left it at my mom's place). I have some great ones. AND I have to show you photos of my nephew Reuben, he is the CUTEST baby on the planet, and I am a neglectful auntie for not posting any yet. I beg insane busyness.
Oh, and when we were in Vernon we bought an oak tree sapling and buried Riley's placenta under it. I've lots of pictures for you (I know you are all dying to see photos of a defrosted placenta), and my husband is overjoyed to get the placenta out of his freezer.
At least I didn't eat it.
I am far gone, but not that far.
[yes, some women DO eat their placentas. read a very funny article on this phenomenon here]