Thursday, December 18, 2014

Halloween, Pumpkin Patch, Santa

October and November just zoomed right by, coordinating playdates, skating lessons and soccer academy.  School is going well for all of them, actually, and no major news to tell of. 

I am not biased or anything (wink wink), but I think my kids are pretty photogenic and I like taking pictures of them. 

We went to the pumpkin patch with the Sherwin's and my brothers family - though we learned that 2 weeks before Halloween is too early to carve your pumpkin (Callum's turned to mush before the big day!).

This was a weird surprise one day, after Simon got bored of playing home alone.  Apparently napping was more fun than being at home without his brothers (he often asks me during the day "Callum all done, Mommy?").

Samantha, Kami and I got out for lunch and a sunny (but rather cold!) walk in Vancouver one day. 

And Halloween:  Callum borrowed a friend's "Blue Man" costume, Max wore a borrowed Storm Trooper costume and Simon was quite happy in his home-made Superman costume.  A super easy year!



Jeff and Ueli Steck

It was back in September when Jeff peaked Mt.Baker for the first time, but while he was there, he caught a bug - the climbing bug!  His loves of backcountry skiing and hiking came together during this first ascent of a snow-capped peak, and the day he returned he was already telling me about planning his next climb up Mt.Shukshan.  When he has a chance, Jeff is caught watching videos of this amazing (and crazy) Swiss climber, Ueli Steck, or reading his new bible "Training for the New Alpinism".  A man's gotta have a hobby.

He went with our awesome neighbour, Thure Svardfeldt (he's very scandinavian - an appropriate alpine-climbing name!!), and they had organized for a guide named Joseph to instruct them on avalanche safety and rescue practices, as well as ice climbing tips.  He says the weather was perfect (if not too warm!).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Strike over! Simon's Birthday!

For the first 3 weeks of September, the BC Teacher's Union and the government seemed to make no effort to get along.  I was able to take advantage of another Mom's motivation for a couple weeks, as Callum's friend's Mom offered to home-school 10 Gr.2 kids at her home during the mornings.  Simon's preschool started as scheduled, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, so poor Max felt left-out, being the only one not going to school.  Then finally, on September 22nd, Callum and Max went to school.  
 Max still had to do a week of gradual entry into his Kindergarten class, but ended up with the same teacher Callum had, Mme. Julie Paulus.  So far, I will say that he doesn't seem quite as enthusiastic about school as Callum is, but he goes willingly and we are working on showing more respect to his teachers.  Callum was worried he would be in the Gr.1/Gr.2 Split class, but he ended up in a good class with Mme.Afilal. 

Simon seems unsure about school.  Out of my 3 boys, I suppose he is my most 'clingy' child, which I don't mind, actually.  He never wants to go school when it's time, but he never puts up much of a fuss once he's there and sees the toys.  He seems so much younger than Callum and Max were when they started Preschool, which he is (since they are January and March babies), and the fact that you still can't understand most of what he says.

Simon turned 3!  He has been quite into a particular Hot Wheels book lately, about Monster trucks and stunt cars.  We even found a moto-cross stunt movie on Netflix he likes watching, so we had a bit of a Monster truck-themed birthday party.  He was so sweet to have a little attention on himself.

I think I have previously confessed that my gardening abilities have a steep learning curve, and I'm still low on the curve.  What I learned this year includes: plant more carrots (don't stop adding rows!), more beets (they take longer than you think to get big), plant less kale (6 plants is too much!), less swiss chard (1 plant keeps producing forever! Allow 3 plants in spring, 3 plants in July is plenty), stagger the beans and lettuce and spinach with more time between, and thin-out the rows before the greens get bigger than 3".  Also, next year I will only grow 1 slicing-tomato plant and 1 grape-tomato plant, since the time and effort I put into my tomato plants just doesn't seem worth it.  If I'm going to build a special shelter, individually string up the vines, continually prune and hand-water these plants, they better taste better than the ones I buy at the store - they didn't.  Not even the heirloom ones.  Disappointing.  Oh, also, I ate 3 strawberries from my patch.  Three strawberries in a 10ft x 3ft garden bed.  Yes, the racoons may have impacted the harvest, but c'mon!  With the never-ending runners that continually need cutting,  I am definitely missing something in my Strawberry production education. 

These pics are just from a little family trip down to Trader Joe's before visiting friends in Bellingham - which we won't do again on a busy Sunday afternoon.

It appears that all the good things we heard about Jeff's new job are true, so far.  He is really enjoying the work and the people.  Although the commute has had it's bad days, we still see more of him.  I've been trying to get the boys to eat dinner later, so we even get to have his presence at the dinner table once in a while. 

I've asked Jeff to send me a few pics from his recent alpine-climbing trip up Mt.Baker, but haven't gotten them yet.  He had an awesome 3-day trip with our neighbour, Thure, over the Sept.12th weekend, and is already planning the next trip up Mt.Rainier or Mt.Shukchan. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

An epic Davis backpacking trip, 2014.

 This is my Dad:

And this is my Dad, in his element:

My Dad is a no-nonsense, highly-principled, dependable kind of guy who is a believer in the adage, 'you get out what you put in'.  He has taught his kids that there are few worthwhile endeavors in life that can match the feeling of taking off your hiking boots at the end of a long trek or, in the winter, pulling off your ski boots at the end of a day of hard skiing.  My Dad turns 69 years old in a couple weeks and he just took all 6 of his kids, (plus a few grandkids), on a 5-day backpacking trip in the Kananaskis mountains, something we haven't all been able to do together since 1986.

The itinerary didn't go exactly as planned, but it was nonetheless an epic hiking trip with my super awesome family.  It's difficult to summarize such a memory-filled trip and even more difficult to pick through the hundreds of great photos, but here's my version.

My nieces and nephews that came: Noah (Todd's son), Karlyn (Krista's daughter), Eric and Michael (Kami's boys) and Adam (Kim's son).  We enjoyed making fun of Adam and his awkward backpack.

Krista booked us campsites along the Northover Ridge trail for the weekend of August 22nd- 25th.  We managed, however to pick the coldest and rainiest weekend of the summer.  Starting at the same trailhead as back in 1986, Day 1 was something like 11.5km with some serious elevation gain to Aster Lake. Once we passed Hidden Lake and got to the upper rocky slopes, I don't know how many times I said 'This is so cool!", as the trail included cool creek crossings, multiple waterfalls and amazing views ahead and behind us.

Once we finally got to Aster campground, we were pretty frozen cold and Dad confessed that he might have bitten off more than he could chew.  We had an early bedtime that night and awoke Day 2 to a seriously cloudy day and the decision that we would be turning back the way we came instead of climbing Northover Ridge.
 The biffy at Aster Lake had an amazing view, apparently, but a view we never enjoyed due to the cloudy weather.  I ate breakfast in every layer of clothing I brought, wrapped in my sleeping bag.  

Along with some cool fossils, there were some decent photo ops on the way back down, capitalized on by my photographer brother Scott. 

The 4 Davis girls.  

Krista and Karlyn tend to do gymnastic moves when it seems an opportune time.

We camped at Point campground that night, on Upper Kananaskis Lake.  The major benefit of this site was, of course, that campfires were allowed!

Day 3 we said goodbye to Kami and her boys, as Michael was having serious ankle pain and I think Kami was tired of being cold.  Ironically, the weather turned for the better that day and we camped at Forks that night.

 And this is my Dad, Mountain Man/Bum:

On Day 4, I was happy that we aimed to climb Northover ridge as a day hike from Forks campground, coming from the opposite direction as planned so we would be climbing up what we had planned on climbing down.  Dad came with us as far as Three Isle Lake, then I ended up inadvertently testing my skree-skiing skills during my attempt to cleverly angle my way up the slope instead of following the steeper trail up (in the end, not so clever).  Once we made it to the ridge, it was jaw-dropping scenery all around you.  Impossible to catch in a photograph, even as good as Scott is.

Kim, Krista Karlyn and I decided to keep climbing up more of the ridge, while the boys went back down and, as it turns out, Todd, Noah and Scott packed up camp and hiked right back to the cars to drive home that night.  They missed out, however, on even more impressive views and some photo fun.

As we hiked back down, we lamented that we were leaving such a God-favoured area and didn't quite feel ready to head home.  Day 5 was just a hike back to the car and a drive back to Calgary.  5 days away from my regular life went by quickly, especially with such gorgeous surroundings and good company.

As soon as I got cell reception while driving back to Todd's house, I started getting all sorts of text messages from Stacey and Samantha as they were at the hospital with Callum. He had a run-in with Stacey's treadmill and they were treating him with burns.  It was a wake-up call bringing me back to reality, but helping me feel glad to see my kids again.