Olivia's school is a big supporter of local events, and especially charity events. For 12 consecutive years, King Traditional has participated in the annual Abbotsford Police Challenge Run. This year was the 20th anniversary of this event. Our local police raise money for The ALS Society, United Way, and the Special Olympics. Last year Olivia brought home all the paperwork for the event and asked me to do it with her. I had been stepping it up in terms of trying to stay in shape and felt like I could do it with her, until we realized the day of the run was the same day that I had to be in a sale at a local fair that I had already comitted to. Olivia was really disappointed and asked me to promise to do the run with her next year...which brings us to the here and now. I had completely forgotten all about this. But, sure enough, first week of school she came home with all the registration info and reminded me about my promise. There was a part of me that thought she needed to understand that I wasn't up for it this year. I'm still nursing an injury from ball this past spring, and I hadn't been doing great with my running. But, the promise prevailed. This wasn't about my ability. This was about keeping my promise to my daughter. We would only be doing the 5km...not the 10km. I knew deep down that I could easily walk it if I had to. But, with only 2 weeks notice, I dragged myself out to the track 3 times each week until I was up to running 4.5 km at a time...I know, peanuts for some of ya'll, but huge for me. So, we did it. One week ago today. The rain held off, our bibs were pinned in place, our micro-chips attached to our shoes and away we went. There were approx. 100 participants alone from our school, winning us the award for the highest represented school at the run for the 12th year straight. Olivia will tell you that I held her back...that's her story and she's stickin to it. She managed to beat me by a full minute. But, I did it....and, I managed to run most of it. A few short walk breaks prevailed, but all in all I ran. I had a fellow friend, Sarah, along to keep me encouraged and running when our kids took off on us. Now, posting these pics kill me. I look absolutely awful...but, it's a memory made that's worth the hit to my pride. So, don't look close, just look at Livi..and the smile of accomplishment on her face! Hubby and 2 youngest were there to cheer us on through the last stretch..and snap away with the camera of course. Next year you ask? Absolutely...and I'm going to beat my time by at least 5 minutes. That's my promise to myself!
We managed to find a couple of friends from church who participated in the run too...so here's a shot of the Heritage Gang!
This is a big year here in the Hildebrandt household! This is the first year we have 2 girls off to school. The crazy part is, it's the only year these sisters will ever be in the same school together! That's what we get for having a 5 yr age gap between kids!
Abby was so excited to start school this year. She's been talking about her teacher since Spring. All summer she kept asking how long until school starts, asking when we could get her uniform ready and on and on. I've mentioned in previous posts that our kids attend a Traditional values school. Basically the kids are encouraged and taught to place emphasis on respect and responsibility and hard work. With these things in place it is an ideal academic atmosphere. Olivia has done really well in the traditional system and we are hoping the same for Abby. This will be a trial year with Abby to see how she responds to this type of atmosphere. We think it's similar to our values and life philosophy as parents. Although there is no official element of faith base in this school, we are constantly encouraged by the wonderful Christian parents and teachers we have relationship with at King. Rob and I have made efforts to recognize the different personality differences with our children and try to encourage them in their individualism. It's not an easy job, but we try. Abby is our free spirit of the clan and I never want that to change. Fine tune, yes, but change, no. We know she will always need her space to be an individual and mature into the wonderful girl she is. So, here goes trial year. We do have a back up plan if we think it's not working to her advantage! So here's my Abby...off to Kindergarten, cute as a button, and full of hope and dreams of what school will be. She has a wonderful spirit filled teacher who we think will identify with Abby and embrace her strengths. King only has 1/2 day kindergarten, but every day. This means a year full of driving, but my hubby is great with doing drop off in the mornings on his way to work. Everyday I ask Abby how her school was and she always has the same answer....'AWESOME!'. Doesn't get much better than that!
Here's our sweetheart Olivia...all grown up and in Grade 5!!! I can't believe it! It seems as though we just started school years with her but, here we are. In just a few short months we'll be making the decision about where to send her for middle school. We may continue on in traditional, or we may be bold and make a switch. We still don't know where God is leading on this one. Olivia is genuinely enjoying her new teacher. This is the first year she's had a male teacher. The first day of school Olivia came home saying 'Mom, Mr.K. is sooooo funny!'. Her grin was so big it was heartwarming. There's just such a great joy in knowing your kids feel safe, loved and are having fun in their learning environment. Somedays I feel like life is just flying by, and then I remember...'oh wait, I've gotta do this all over again in 3 years when Isaac is ready'. On that note, I am thoroughly enjoying my mornings of one on one with Isaac. He is every bit of troublesome two's these days, but he's got such a sparkle in his eye. We usually just hang out and play. He either wants to play in his new 'sand-a-box' or watch for planes flying above. He is a joyful little man who is currently obsessed with 2 things: 'sand-a-box' and 'Unca Ken'. Heaven help me.
In terms of celebrations, the month of August is a busy one around here! It all starts on the 19th with Rob and I celebrating our anniversary. This year we celebrated the big 1-5! Hard to believe that we've been together for 17 years, and married for 15 of those years. I am so thankful for such a dedicated and loving husband. On our actual anniversary we were right on the brink of leaving for holidays. This meant packing and preparing rather than wining and dining. Rob did surprise me at work with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and some chocolate. Later in the day I received his beautiful card with a coupon he had made for a promised date night in Vancouver that he has special plans for. We're waiting just a little longer until we're back into the swing of fall routine so we can really relax and enjoy ourselves. I don't know what his special plans are, but he promised that they include the waterfront, so I know it'll be great! A few days after our anniversary is Olivia's birthday, and a few days after that it's my birthday! 3 events all in one week! I've had a fabulous birthday so far. I say so far because tonight (I'm writing this Sept 17th) I have one final b-day celebration with a friend, and earlier today my work place threw me a little birthday party since I was gone during my real birthday. It's so fun when your special day is spread out over a few weeks! I truly am blessed with an abundance of friends and family who take the time to show their love to me. One of my birthday events involved getting together with our 'Ladies Who Lunch' group for a fun lunch out in Chilliwack. I was spoiled with cards, gift cards, quilt patterns, stamps a beautiful fall wall hanging and more! Here's a couple of pics to note the celebration. The top pic is lunch with the girls at our favorite tea house, Appledorns and the bottom pic is just a little of my 'loot'! Check out my tree of gift cards galore! I love gift cards, and this year was plentiful! One of my favs: the itunes card from my bro-in-law. He's given me itunes for a few years now and it's the perfect gift for me. I always have my tunes plugged in when I'm working out or gardening. The gift of music is priceless to me....but the gift of coffee, good coffee from Starbucks or Tims, is a close second! So here's my shout out of thanks to those who took the time and effort to make my b-day special. With birthdays as great as these, I say 'bring em' on. (one at a time please)
Our sweet 'little' Livi-Bean officially turned double digits this year! Hard to believe that we're here already. I remember so well being blessed with this baby. She will always be cherished. Enough mush...on to the party! Well, if you read my earlier posts you'll know that we were in Oregon during her actual Birthday. Being that she's a late summer baby, it's hard to get friends to attend her party. Lots of people are still on vacation and unable to come. We've tried doing it in June, before the school year lets out, we've tried just church friends, we've done small parties, we've done it all. This year we waited until school was back in and had a very well attended party! There were 4 friends that couldn't make, but 7 that could! Livi and I talked about where she wanted her party, when, and what theme. She remembered her cousins, Emily & Julianna, having a movie-night themed party and decided that's the theme she wanted. I was so proud of Olivia. She did all the decorating and most of the prep work. She made my job easy, especially when she requested vanilla cupcakes with chocolate icing. Here I thought I was going to have to make a movie reel shaped cake! (don't think I didn't google it people!) We started by stamping 80 'tickets' to divide amongst the girls. When each girl arrived, in her pj's as requested, she received a bag of tickets. From there on in they had to use their tickets to 'buy' their movie, pizza, concession and b-day cake. I joked with them that they'd better save tickets in case they needed to use the bathroom. The party was a roaring success. The girls loved the decor, the theme, the slide-across-the-floor-in-your-sleeping-bag-eat-a-marshmallow-and-slide-back game that we played. Olivia chose Camp Rock 2 for her movie selection. The girls watched half the movie, then had an 'intermission' to play games, eat cake and open gifts, then the concession stand opened and they went back to the movies. The second half of the movie turned into an impromptu dance party. Yes, it's true, I had to use all my restraint not to join in and show them how it's done. I need to maintain my 'cool mom' status and that would've blown it. All in all a great evening. No, no sleepover. I'm just not that brave yet. Wishing you a wonderful year ahead Olivia, you are such a ray of sunshine in this home! P.S...just so it's on record Livi, we measured you the other day, and as of your 10th birthday you are officially 4'11". Unbelievable.
So both Rob and I booked 2 weeks off work this year. After getting home from our holiday in the U.S. we still had a few days to hang out and enjoy time as a family. We did a few fun things, but we really focused on the yard and being outdoors. Rob was working on a very special project, TBP (to be posted), and I thoroughly enjoyed working in the yard. Sometimes the kids were 'helping' and other times I had my tunes plugged in and was singing my heart out..only to look up and find hubby doubled over laughing! (This is fairly typical around here:) I'll never have the yard 100% perfect, but I think it's lookin' pretty good for the amount of time I actually get to put into it! So, since the weather was cooperating, I got my grub clothes on and worked for a few hours every day. Pulling weeds I'm sure I've pulled before, re-raking bark-mulch that really needs to be re-plenished, sweeping porches and cobwebs, pruning shrubs that keep growing back...you get the picture. So here's a few shots of some of my favorites in our yard.
First Up...my delphiniums. I've always liked delphiniums, although right now I'm realizing it's not the most fun word to type repeatedly! Anyway, I thought I'd try my hand at them and see what happened. I planted 5 different types/colours and they're all doing quite well. They had a slow start and now I hope they last over winter.
Next Up...Abby's Bean Plant. This beautiful plant came home from preschool in an envelope as a bean. I told Abby to go ahead and plant it but I didn't think it would actually GROW! So, one day I was puttering in the yard this summer and noticed this plant growing. It had a few leaves but nothing else. I finally figured out that this was her bean. She was beyond excited to see it had grown. Now, it's a beautiful, healthy plant with a blossom and beans on it! Abby's eyes grew so round when I showed it to her. She said, 'Mom, it's absolutely BEAUTIFUL'. That's my Abbs.
Now last, but never to be considered least, is my all-time favorite....drumroll please....my Wisteria plants. I have always had a love affair with this plant. I think it started when I was growing up and a house around the corner had this massive log texas gate that, over the years, became encompassed with this beautiful vine. I always laugh because my Mom doesn't like it, she says the flowers look sad and they're faded and droopy. I find them peaceful and artistic. To each her own. I have planted 1 or more of these plants in each yard we've lived in. I planted the first one on the farm when we lived there. I think I originally planted 2 and only 1 survived. I planted it against an old shop so it could climb up and over the top. This brings to mind some funny memories with my Father-in-Law. When I first planted that vine I think he thought it was a weed and pulled it or something to that effect, or maybe that was the demise of the 2nd one I planted? I remember teasing him about it for a few years. Then, it finally took off and became a beautiful vine. It takes 3 years before they bloom, and really start to grow. Eventually it climbed up and over the top of the shop. I thought it was gorgeous. Guess what? After 8 years on the farm we finally bought our own place and moved and what do you think Dad did when we moved out? Yup, hacked off my vine!!! He was quiet about it, didn't say a word, but I noticed, and gave him a hard time about it. We had some good laughs about it. My poor vine. But hey, if the vine had to suffer to create a great memory of a much missed dad-in-law then so be it. At our next place I planted one on the end of a shop. Don't know if it's still there, can't see it from the road, but assuming it never made it. When we moved here I planted 2 right away. One against the shop my Father-in-Law had built shortly before he passed away. This one is to remind me of the one at the farm. It's to make me think of him and remember our bond over that silly vine. The other one I planted purely for aesthetics. We have a small, pole texas gate here and I couldn't resist. I know one day the vine will overtake the pole and maybe rot it, but in the meantime, it'll be so beautiful.
Everything in the yard is at it's prime right now and I know it'll start to finish up as the weather changes and the days get shorter, but for the few bucks I spend on these babies they sure bring me joy.
So...are you still with me? Last leg of the journey. First off was the Oregon Coast, then back up to Centralia Washington, and now we headed back down, further South into Lebanon, Oregon to visit our relatives. What should have been a 3.5hr trip down the I-5 turned into a 7 hour re-route due to the close down of the I-5 for an accident. Ugh...this is where the trip got hard. The kids were done, driving was crazy, lots of bumper to bumper. But, we made it. We pulled into our relatives' place at suppertime. We needed to take Isaac for a quick trip to the ER to have him checked out after a bad fall, but he was fine. We are so thankful to our Heavenly Father for protecting him. It was scary fall, but all is fine. Thank goodness for travel insurance..don't ever leave home without it!!! FYI..if your little one ever needs a brain scan, it's gonna cost you a few grand! Anyway, unfortunate incident to happen, but we still enjoyed a short time with my Aunt and Uncle and Cousin and his kids. Our kids played wonderfully together! There was a trip to the local waterfalls for a hike, a nice evening stroll through a neighboring hazlenut tree farm, and and enjoyable time around Uncle Wayne's beautiful property with all kinds of antique treasures! Thanks to our relatives for graciously hosting us! The trip home was a breeze through Portland and Seattle, but once we hit the border line ups things got hard. Finally, after waiting almost 2 hours to cross back to Canada we made it home safe and sound. Unpacking was done quickly, barely any laundry needed to be done, and we had a relaxing week of holidays still left to enjoy. Can't say enough about how wonderful this trip was. Great family, great memories, gracious Heavenly Father.
We had a blast, I'm sorry, I meant BLAST at our next stop on holidays! My Mom & Dad treated the fam to a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge, in Centralia, Washington. I had never even heard of this place until my Mom told me about it. We checked it out on line and knew it would be a hit with the fam. This place is phenomenal! It's a huge, gorgeous facility, full of magic, and complete with indoor water park, amazing dining, kids spa, teen internet cafe, animated shows, bedtime stories by the fire, and the list goes on...OH AND DID I FORGET TO MENTION IT HAS A STARBUCKS INSIDE???? Cuz, that's huge people. Check in was crazy, but organized..does that make any sense? The crazy part was lining up in our cars at the entrance, and waiting for approx 45 minutes to check in. We were prepared for this as we'd read all the reviews and were famliar with the popularity of the place. Organized, as in, efficient, friendly, and you get to check in your luggage and head straight in until your room is ready, although ours was all ready when we got there! The wrist bands also serve as your room keys..you just wave your wristband over a sensor on the door and voila, you're in! This place was so cool...our kids loved it, and amazingly, we adults did just as much! There is so much the kids could have done, there's always some kind of magical quest going on, and interactive rooms for the kids to play and learn in, but we were focused on family time and water fun. The waterpark consists of a huge wave pool, a 'sports only' pool for volleyball, basketball and an obstacle water course. Then's there's the huge toddler pool with jet ski's and a fort, then there's the huge climbing structure with waterslides and a massive bucket that dumps gallons and gallons of water every minute. (I timed it;) Oh wait....I'm not done, then there's the hot tub that's indoor and outdoor, you just have to swim through/under the wall. But, I saved the best for last..there's this huge structure that you climb and half way up you can get on 2 man tubes and take the waterslides down, or, you can be brave and go to the top, where you can choose 1 of 2 wild rides. These involve 4 or 5 man rafts where you hang on for dear life. They involve free falls, darkness, half pipes, and so much more..what a blast! We ALL went on them..yup, grams, gramps, mom, dad, brother, and the girls..nope, not Isaac. What a hoot..I think I screamed louder than I ever have in my life! But what a rush! Anyway, would totally recommend this place to any family. It's a family friendly facility, great staff, beautiful accomodations. Meals could be pricey, so we headed off site a few times for these, but in general, an amazing place. Thanks Mom and Dad...you're the best! 'Just' another wonderful memory created! P.S...in case you're not aware yet, you can click on the pics to enlarge if you like:)
Ok..so ya'll are getting tired of the pics by now, but remember, this blog is a journal for the kids to look back on too, so bear with us. This is the last beach post..from here we'll move on to the next couple of adventures after our week at the beach. My brother, Dave, gets a gold medal for surviving the trip with us. We talked him into travelling with us so he wouldn't have to travel alone but Isaac proved to be not the best car traveller and we had to endure a lot of crying, snack stops, and dvd time in the car. Way to go Dave...you did it! Here are just a few parting shots. We made some wonderful memories on this trip and are so grateful for the time with my family.
We were never at a shortage for things to do on holidays. We spent so much time just playing at the beach and walking through the town of Seaside. The great thing about the Oregon coast is that you only have to drive a little ways to hit the next town which brings along the next adventure. Here's a few pics of activities we did while at the beach...
First, and most importantly, we had a beloved daughter turn the big 1-0 during our holidays! It was fun to celebrate with her while on holidays. I have very fond memories of celebrating my B-day on family holidays too. This lucky girl recieved some lovely gifts, and managed to save up enough money, combined with some B-Day $$$ to purchase a much anticipated DSi. We figured we may as well do it down in the Oregon where it's cheaper and there's no tax! Happy Birthday Olivia...you are such a joy to Dad and I.
In the main town in Seaside there are lots of activities to do come night time. There's the arcade, the candy stores, the shopping, the coffee shops, the mini golf, and the carousel and bumper cars. Our kids favored the latter two activities. We all had our share of carousel rides and bumper cars by the time we left!
We came prepared with a few activities for the kids. Grandma brought a big bead set along so the girls could make bracelets and necklaces. To my surprise, they made me a beautiful necklace for my birthday! Abby used some holiday money to buy a noise-making, drive us all nuts, recorder.
I brought along just a few card making supplies in case I got the bug..and I did...I managed to finish up 18 cards (3 different designs) It was nice to have the time to sit and do something I enjoy with no phone interruptions or cleaning that had to be done! The girls mailed off a few postcards to friends back home.
Olivia and Mom and I took a day to head just North to the beautiful town of Astoria. Some of you will remember the movie Kindergarten Cop was filmed there. It's a quaint litle town with lots of history and lots of curio shops to snoop through. We found a cute cupcake bakery where we sat down and enjoyed a treat. I just love all the flowers and bistro sets that are set out for tourists to use.
We spent another day down at Cannon Beach. It was a realllllly hot day and we didn't last all day, but it's a beautiful little town to tour through. We found cute stores and ate at a great restaurant. I got a kick out of some of the signs in the different store windows (see below) and I loved all the window boxes and huge hanging baskets all over the town.
...are beautiful! When I see the sun setting in Oregon it takes me right back to Hawaii. Rob and I went to Hawaii for our honeymoon. Rob had been several times but it was my first, and I loved it. We definitely plan to go back one day. One of the things I remember about Hawaii was the sunsets. I remember Rob telling me that you have to literally stand and watch the sun go down or you'll miss it. He was right! Well, in Oregon it was very similar. We saw many beautiful sunsets while we were there. On this particular evening we happened to be walking down the promenade at exactly the right time. Every 20 feet or so I'd stop and take another picture of the sun setting. It was a beautiful evening. As soon as it gets dark out the vendors come out with their bundles of firewood and there's campfires all down the beach. We planned to do a fire on the beach but we always ended up doing something else...usually meandering through town or having coffee at a bistro. The fact that I could even take the time to stop and watch the sun set in itself was a blessing. Enjoy the pics...they don't do it justice but they're still a nice memory.
I absolutely love the Oregon Coast. I've always said, if I couldn't live in the Beautiful Fraser Valley, where I live now, my second choice would be to live on the coast somewhere. I think I could easily handle the beach life...although my pale-skinned complexion would beg to differ! 1st choice coastal living destination: The New England (East) Coast. We visited the East coast in the States in 2000 and 2001 and I will never forget the beauty of that coast, Providence, Rhode Island being my favorite. But, Oregon Coast would be a happy substitute, not to mention more feasible! One of my favourite things about Seaside, Oregon is the long promenade along the beach. We walked this boardwalk multiple times each day, starting first thing in the morning and always for the sunsets in the evening. We walked miles and miles on this boardwalk by the time our vacation had ended. The boardwalk begins at Main Street and heads South along the beach for a couple of miles. The houses that are situated right along the boardwalk are so beautiful and beachy. They cost a mint to rent, but one of these years we're just going to do it! Here's a few pics of these houses and the promenade. The single pic shown up top is my absolute favourite house on the boardwalk, and the single pic on the bottom is the house that's for sale on the boardwalk. Any guesses on the price tag? It's in need of a 'little' TLC, or a lot of bulldozer, but Rob actually went and chatted with the neighbor about it. The neighbor was trying to sell it to Rob..dropping it by a couple of hundred thousand even..but hey, if we can't do Disney, we definitely can't do the million dollar (no joke) beach house. But we can dream can't we? Rob and I love to dream about things like this, and owning a beach house is a great dream! It's cool that one of Rob's first imaginations of owning this house was..'just think of how we could let our friends come down and stay during the weeks that we wouldn't use it'. I love him for this....it makes our dreams all the sweeter. He didn't say...'just think of all the money we'd make renting it out every year'. Nope, that's not my man.
We had a wonderful vacation this summer. Earlier in the year we talked back and forth with my family about doing another vacation together. We want to wait until Isaac is a little older to do a Disney vacation, and it really isn't in the budget these days, so we decided on going back to the Oregon coast for a stay. About 4 years ago we went down with my parents and rented a beach house in Seaside and had a wonderful time. We all love the coast, and especially the Oregon Coast! We're all happy at the beach, and time with my family is always special. So, Mom and I started looking into dates and then into possible houses. My brother was able to get time off work to come with us so it really was a true family vacation! We ended up finding a cute little beach house only 2 blocks from the beach, and just a few blocks further to the main street. The house had 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, a full functioning kitchen WITH a dishwasher, and a washer and dryer. It really was a cute house. So, the next few posts will be about our vacation time. We did the beach house in Seaside for 5 days, and then headed back up to Washington for a weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge (awesome!) , and then back down further south into Oregon to visit our relatives. Seeing as how I took multiple (hundreds;) of pictures..we'll 'drag' this out over a few days! Enjoy the pics!