Summer has really been heating up in our corner of the world. The temps have been soaring and we're trying to stay cool. It seems as though we go from one extreme to another, with not much time to adjust from either end! We took advantage of a sunny Sunday afternoon and headed out to the beach. We're lucky enough to be only about a 1hr drive to the Pacific Ocean. We went to church in the morning and then packed up snacks, lots of water, chairs, blankets and all kinds of other necessaries and drove out to White Rock Beach. The tide was out quite far when we got there, but it moved in fairly quickly. We had some wonderful guests staying with us from Japan and they too were excited to see the beach. We have really come to enjoy hosting Japanese students in our home...this is the 3rd time we've done it. Each time they come it's a fun challenge to introduce them to our Canadian culture. For one week we get to bring them into our family and share our home with them. Ayumi and Ririsa are from Tokyo, Japan. The girls don't live close to a beach so it was a treat for them to go. They wanted to try fish-n-chips, and they thoroughly enjoyed it! We went with some friends who were also hosting students. Us adults sat and relaxed while all the kids beachcombed and collected shells & crabs. We finished the day off with ice cream and a walk. Isaac had an ice cream cone all to himself and he thoroughly enjoyed it down to the last lick....but oh was he a mess!! We stripped him down before putting him in the car!
Summer Suppers are one of my favorite things about summer. I tend to cook just as much in the summer as other seasons, but I enjoy the freedom of adding seasonal fruits and salads to round out meals. We eat lots of our meals on the deck or in the sunroom, if it's not too hot. The BBQ's always on, and the variety of meats and marinades is fun to try. For this simple meal it was hawaiian chicken burgers with mozza and pineapple rings, pasta salad and corn on the cob. Simple, but oh so good!
Olivia has done a summer soccer camp for a couple of years now and she just LOVES it! There are many local churches in the area that run these daily vacation Bible school soccer camps. It's a great way for kids to have fun learning both sport skills and God's Word in a fun and interactive way. Our church, Heritage Alliance, teamed up with Immanuel Baptist to help run the camp. We started talking about summer soccer camp way back in spring already because this year Abby was old enough to go. Abby was so excited to go and was counting down the days until she could go. Abby is very athletic and energetic by nature so we thought she'd really enjoy the experience. Every day she played hard and came home singing praises to the Lord..such a wonderful experience for all of us! The first day of camp was overcast and cloudy, but after that it was nothin' but heat! The kids went until lunch everyday for a week, and when they finally crawled into bed each night they were exhausted and slept well! It was fun to go and hang out and watch the kids have fun..they both did fantastic. There were about 200 kids there and it seemed as though we knew at least 1/2 of them! I was able to visit and catch up with friends I haven't talked to in years! Great week...we'll definitely do it all again next year! The only trouble.....keeping Isaac off the playing field.
I'm Back!!! After endless hours of frustration at not being able to sign in to my blogger account it feels good to be back! We had some major computer issues over the last couple of weeks, but we're back up and running. The next few posts will be catching up on what's been happening around here during summer. So far it's been a busy one, but I'm anticipating a slower paced August with lots of fun family time. Here's a few pics from Canada Day. Canada Day is always a much anticipated event around here. The kids look forward to the parade, and Rob and I look forward to hanging out with friends. This years parade theme was 'with glowing hearts'...a line right out of our national anthem. The parade was so-so good;) We were anxiously awaiting the Gallery7 float that Rob was pulling for his bro, Ken. Of course, it was the very last float...yes, last as in the street sweeper was following it. But hey, save the best for last right? Our group of friends and families took up about a city block...yah, there's that many of us. We had a blast and sang along and cheered as loud as we could...it sure brought the candy in for the kids! After the parade everyone headed over to some friends' house for an afternoon of hockey, food and visiting. It was a great afternoon. Later in the day we brought the kids home and we all crashed for a couple of hours, then back up and out to the fireworks. Great day, Great way to celebrate our Nation.
Plan 'B' is the title I choose to give to June 20th of this year. Why? Because...the day was planned down to the finest of details....all to be changed and adapted at last minute.
June 20th started out as Father's Day.
Plan A: homeade strawberry waffles for Daddy, presentation of cards, hugs and kisses.
Plan B: Uncle called and told me Grandma was not going to make it through the day...sorry Daddy, you know we love you but we'll have to give you a raincheck on the waffle breakfast. Mom leaves right away to go to Grandma. Rob, in true Daddy fashion, was great about it.
Father's Day presents:
Plan A: give Daddy and Grandpa and Isaac nicely wrapped gifts from the kids and let Daddy have a nice long nap in the afternoon.
Plan B: Leave the kids with Daddy all day so Mommy can be with her Grandma. Daddy squeezes in a nap when Isaac does. Mommy throws gifts in a gift bag at about 7pm and tells the kids we'll wrap them next time.
Dad & Mom's Weekend Away:
Plan A: My Dad & Mom spend a lovely weekend celebrating a friends retirement, followed up by a birthday party/father's day party at our house to complete a perfect weekend.
Plan B: I finally reach my parents by phone at 2pm....they race home to see Grandma, we spend a few hours at the hospital/home and then head to my place in the evening to flop on the couch in exhaustion.
Isaac's Evening Birthday Party/Rob's & Dad's Father's Day Party:
Plan A: Cook all day...bbq thawed Ribs in special recipe, serve with all the fixin's, Ice tractor cake for Isaac's stellar birthday cake, go all out on a huge dinner for family, followed by guests joining us for the birthday cake.
Plan B: Forget all about dinner, uninvite guests, leave uniced cake in freezer, Mom and Dad pick up pizza and a Safeway cake and swing by. We're all exhausted and don't have much to say. Dad gets ready to head back to hospital to spend time with his Mom.
This day was all about what's most important. Having a family who genuinely love each other. Being able to realize that nothing else matters. There have been stellar parties in the past, Lord willing there will be great ones to come, but for this day this is what God gave us. An amazing Grandma who was able to go home to Jesus. Family who spent time honouring a dying parent because of the love they had for her. Parents who still tried to make the day special by picking up dinner and a cake. Family to sit and visit with and try to make the day special despite the mood. A husband who goes with the flow and supports me through it all. Plan B keeps me humble. Here's a few pictures to mark Isaac's Birthday..such as it was.
These last few weeks have been beyond busy. I am mentally exhausted. Lucky for you I don't air my dirty laundry on my blog;)
There is so much in life right now that requires thought and attention but everything took a back seat this week, as they should, when my Gramma passed away. My Grandma was 89 yrs old and had been sick for so long. But, only physically sick, mentally she was as sharp as a tack until her last few days. I had the (difficult) priviledge of spending her last day with her. I only say difficult because it was so hard to see her struggling for breath, unable to speak. But so comforting to hold her hand, brush her hair, kiss her cheeks and sing to her. These are moments I will treasure forever. I admired my Grandma for so many reasons but I will remember her most for her faith, humour and courage. Grandma endured more than most women have to all through her life, but she kept her wits, humour and faith. Grandma loved music, and used her gift to bless others. She was still playing the piano a few days before she passed away. Grams always helped the underdog, sensing those who had burdens to bear, who's lots in life were less than fair. The funeral was beautiful...lots of her favourite songs, a beautiful tribute by her son, a humourous, yet honouring, video presentation, a table laid with the things Gramma was known for...scrabble, scarves, her bible, her journals, flowers, her poems, her stuffed snoopy:) The family was all here and we were able to spend lots of time reminiscing about Grandma. We were able to laugh and cry in good company. It was nice to see all my aunts and uncles and all but 3 of my cousins. So Grandma...I will miss you for now, but I'll see you one day. I know that God had a special mansion waiting for you...bigger than most, and with a solid gold grand piano! I was going to post a video of my Mom and Uncle (Kim's Dad) singing at the funeral but Kim beat me to it:) (Kim's Grandma & my Grandma are sisters)
You can see it over here.If you want my Grandma's recipe for her famous shortcake you can find the recipe here. And this is something special I want to share with you. My Grandma was an amazing writer. She kept detailed journals that start in the 60's and wrote many poems over the years. This particular poem was written after the last of her 5 children made their commitment to Christ. This poem was included in the memorial bulletin.
"No symphony is sweeter though its cadence thrills me so, No sunrise is as golden as the daybreak that I know, No birdsong half so lovely; no masterpiece can hold, Near the pleasure of the knowlege that my lambs are in the fold.
Not to climb the highest mountain nor descend to depth of sea, Could attain the satisfaction this assurance brings to me. All the wealth that toil could proffer or the fame that might befall, Would be ashes, had they never hearkened to the shepherd's call.
Now no hearth was ever warmer, nor the lights of home so bright, No supper time more pleasant, nor a Mothers Day so right, Since I know, though time may part us, As the storms of life draw nigh, We'll be there to share together, our eternal home on high." ~Dorothy Smith~
Grandma's character spoke loud and clear by the friends and loved ones who attended her funeral, by the words spoken in kind, and by the verse her children chose to honour her.... "Her children arise and call her blessed..." Proverbs 31:28