Friday, 31 August 2012

Sean's Blog

Kris's house is awesome. I like it because there are dogs, cats, a pond and a fort and frog on Kris's shoulder. The dogs Leo, Peeka and Fitzy are cool and funny because they bark at black bears and cars. Peeka likes to eat blackberries and likes her tummy rubbed. Leo likes to bark at cars and people likes his freedom. Fitzy loves sticks and dead rats. He can play for hours. Pickles, the cat, is cute and likes to walk and sit on the patio. Fred likes to scratch boxes and to show off. The pond is fun because you can go swimming in it but the water is cold. There is a log bridge on the pond. The fort is a secreet and I can not tell you about it. The frog on Kris's shoulder is a tatoo. Kris's house is awesome because of these things.

Liam's homeschooling assignment

I arrived at Kris's. She has dogs and cats and has a backyard with a pond it in. I draw at Kris's and I think this is fun. I signed up for swimming lessons while staying at Kris's. In swimming lessons, I jumped off the diving board and it was fun. I got new Crocs and I saw a black bear in Whistler. I though it was cool because it was my first time to see a black cub. My Crocs are green. I drove the Tonka, a truck, and I almost crashed.  It was fun to be here and now I have to leave. I will be sad.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Rhythm and Rock Climbing

A comforting routine has set in and there is a easy and relaxed rhythm to the weeks. We head to swimming lessons in the morning, short stop at grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner, pick up the next disk for Breaking Bad (Kris gets a call from Mr. Chu, owner of local video store to let us know the next disk is in), and then homeschooling back at the house. The homeschooling.. lets just say the novelty is gone and I wouldn't describe this part of our day as easy or relaxed! Still trying to figure out the balance (if there ever is any!). Here are pictures from a few sweet moments when homeschooling was going well (Advertising shots.. not necessarily the reality!)

Then Kris gets home - have a cold beer or white wine ( I wonder if all small business owners and teachers have a drink at the end of their day! ), a walk down to the "look out" with the dogs, dinner, chill time, then kids to bed and Breaking Bad for the adults (such a great show!). Fridays are "Beer Fridays" at the yard which is a nice way for Kris's landscaping crew to finish up the week together and we are invited along,  as are partners, kids, dogs.. so it's a nice end of week social and chill time. On Beer Fridays we also take the dogs down to the river for a walk - all part of the gentle rhythm around here.

We splurged and got Sean and Liam some rock climbing lessons (Squamish Rock Guides) which was so amazing! I can't tell you how proud I was to see them both take on the task so readily and with such confidence! When I signed them up and the organizer said they would find something age appropriate, I was figuring some kid wall type thing.. but the climb they did was the "Burger and Fries" wall  at Smoke Bluffs in Squamish. It's a beginners spot but you still get up there! And they were real troopers too as it was raining on and off and no complaints! The guide was great as she just let them go at it and let their natural instincts take over - perfect for the boys.

But swimming lessons are over, rocking climbing checked off our wish list, we've finished Season 4 of Breaking Bad, the weather is changing, and the reality that it's time to move on has hit us. I love being here, seeing the kids so relaxed and happy (when we aren't trying to get them to work on their Speller), visiting with Kris in her home turf,  enjoying this outdoor living with the constant presence of the mountains and nature...So I'm already feeling sad that this time here, this precious time, is coming to an end. (Big sigh  ...but we'll just have to come back!)

But....we have a new Plan! We are heading to California (and then home to Ontario)! I'm super excited about that and it helps me to not feel so sad. We aren't sure how far south we'll get before we need to head eastward  but we figure at least to San Francisco  and the Sierra Nevada Mountains and if we manage to get to the Grand Canyon then that would be great too!  We would love recommendations for this southernly route.. places you've been, heard of, must see's etc. It is all brand new territory for us.

Off to Squamish Live tonight (outdoor music festival - so the Rhythm keeps Rocking here  :)

Hope everyone had a great week and are keeping the summer spirit alive!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Wild Bears, Wildfires, and Whistler

As I write, I can hear water bombers and helicopters making their way to the wildfire just a few kilometers from here (Kris's place) - over the next ridge. We are assured there is no danger to us but it's a bit concerning when you wake up and the place smells like a campground and you can see whiffs of smoke on the distance (but not so distant!) trees.

                                         Article and pics of the forest fire near Squamish

It hit the news yesterday afternoon and we are "off the grid" and we don't even listen to the radio much, so when a friend of Kris's drove up to make sure Kris had heard the news (which was news to us!) (and  Kris wasn't home yet), then us small town Ontario folks were in a bit of a "huh.. is this serious? Do we evacuate, do we douse the house with water, do we just sit tight?" Just a month ago, at Science North in Sudbury, we had watched a 4D show about wildfires in northern Ontario. The "monster" of a fire in the show was what sprang to mind for the boys! They were full of questions  and really concerned about Kris's house. Liam decided if we had to evacuate (now a word in his vocabulary!), he would bring his DS and stuffies (the dogs and cats were a given).  We texted Kris and she said she wasn't worried.. so us southern ontario folks breathed a sigh of relief. Now, we are just chilling and continuing on as normal while the water bombers and helicopters continue their work above us!

The boys started swimming lessons this Monday which is going really well but has definitely but a crimp in our homeschooling.. now the boys are lethargic and harder to focus when we get back to the house to do work. It doesn't help that we've been taking on errands when we are in town.. which totally exhausts me too! But mainly I think the novelty of the homeschooling and having Mom as teacher has warn off. So we are trying to find  that right mix of being relaxed, going with the flow and providing x structure and expectations.

Last weekend we were back in tourist mode and spent a day in Whistler - full of action (Crankworx- biking competition), tourists, recreationalist  (thanks to all the Aussies that keep the service industry running!), shopping (new Crocs for the boys)....and bears!

                                             (bike park in Whistler.. not Crankworx)

                                                          Chilln' in the Village

After a day in "the Village" (sounds very hip) we took the kids to cool off at a splash park in town and right there in the park was a black bear with three very cute looking cubs! A local had to point them out to us (duh!) even though the bears were really close to the splash pad.. we called the boys over and gazed and marvelled but it seemed a bit out of context with them munching on the grass in a recreation area full of families and kids on bikes and people walking their dogs. Everyone was very respectful and kept their distance and when we warned people that there is a "bear over there!" there was a respectful retreat and detour. But the momma bear was completely unconcerned that we were all there gawking at her and her cubs. Her cubs eventually got freaked out when the crowd and noise got too much and scrambled up a tree in the nearby bush. At one point the boys just went back to playing in the splash pad as the bears continued their munching just a few meters away (about 20 metres we figure).  Eric and I were pretty excited! This is just the occasion for our  new camera with the zoom!

Have a great Friday and Weekend everyone!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Liam's blog- being at Aunt Kris's

I went to Aunt Kris's and I played with Fitzy , Peeka, Leo and they are dogs. I had fun. When I threw a piece of dead moss, Fitzy jumped and sliced it with his teeth. Peeka is a shy dog and she got used to me. My brother was first for Peeka to get used to. Leo is very brave because he never runs away from you and Leo herded a cat and it's name was Fred and his claws were as sharp as 5 machetes. The dogs tried to kill a rat. The dogs got the rat and I saw the dead rat.

BC is different from home because there are mountains and in Ontario there are no mountains. BC is cooler than Ontario because there are more things to see.

I have lots of fun playing with the dogs and I think the dogs have fun playing with me.

I wish that I could stay here for 2 more months because we are only staying here for one month.

Homeschooling blues

Actually it's not that bad. We had started at the library thinking the serious, literary environment would help the boys to get into the mode. But really all it did was make everyone tense- I was getting frustrated with telling Liam to use his " library voice", and the more Sean struggled with the work, the more tense Eric got and Liam was generally bored. We must of looked like cruel parents making our kids do school work during the summer.. the occasional glances from the fellow library patrons didn't help matters either! All four of us walked away from the library homeschooling experience generally dissatisfied and feeling like it wasn't much fun.

But homeschooling at the house is actually fun and productive (well sort of). The boys enjoyed the "recess" (and what a "school yard" to play in!) and Liam is diligent with raising his hand ( on his own accord!) to ask to go to the bathroom and calls me Mrs. Latham and Sean is much more relaxed and doesn't resist (as much). Today is our 3rd day at the house homeschooling, so we'll see if this positive attitude out lasts the novelty. We are mainly working on math, reading, and language arts and tossing in other stuff as they come. Kris gave them an impromptu lesson on different wild berries that grow here- the boys loved it! Eating berries right from the bush!

I try to get the boys to comment on everything they are experiencing but it just doesn't seem accessible to them (I'm not sure if being "reflective" is a development stage they haven't reached or just not of interest to them)- they are focused on the dogs and cats and running around. It's the first thing Sean does in the morning- wakes up and runs out to say hello to the dogs and the cat Pickles. He loves to just sit with them, be with them and watch. We've joked that he is like a dog whisperer! Both boys are loving this incredible yard to run around in- rocks and paths, ponds and hiding places and the freedom to run around- "priceless" as they say! (they have not missed any toys! Sticks, dogs and space are plenty enough.)


                                                                          " Pickles"

The Van has come back from the shop- safely put back in safe, basic running order by an older German mechanic that knows what to do with our type/age vehicle. It was a little tense for awhile ( found out that we have been driving it with a gas leak over the exhaust!).

Eric has been sequestered to work for Kris and I'm hanging with the boys - enjoying being a full time Mom (part time teacher!)

Here are a few pics from around here:

                                                                   "the lookout"

                               View down Squamish Valley with the Chief
          (big mass of grey rock- 2nd largest chunk of rock in the world.. 1st is Rock of Gibraltar)

             View of the Tantalus Range driving south from Whistler - on the Sea to Sky Highway

                                                           Cleveland Ave in Squamish -
                           with view of Garibaldi Peak (it's actually a Volcano!) in the background

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Happy August Long Weekend

All is good here - Aunt Kris has started to teach the kids to drive(!) and the morning views are incredible!

Hope everyone has a great long weekend!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A day in 'Squish'

No plans for the day and just let them unfold and it revealed a leisure stroll by the river, some archery lessons for the boys (the boys think Aunt Kris is pretty cool to buy them bow and arrow!) and some connection time with the dogs. Now back to the house for Kris's famous tacos! Yum!

Mountain Retreat in Squamish

We made it! A great smiling comfortable welcome from Kris and settled into that 'we've never been apart' feeling. I love that.
Unpacked the van and and settled (well really, just dumped all of our stuff) into our home away from home for the next month or so. The Van looks big now that everything is out of it! And to have a two story mountain retreat cabin is luxury! Views of the Tantalus Range too. It's so beautiful here. Not sure what is on the books now that we are here- laundry for sure! - and a cup of morning coffee with my sister!