Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Busy busy!

After our California trip, it was 'game-on'!  No more holiday behaviour, except maybe some messing around with funny kids:

Ok, but seriously, in the last couple months, Jeff and I have found that we only really speak to each other in to-do lists, as we navigate the busy lives of 5 people.  We often have to write-out our lists to keep track of how to effectively divide-and-conquer everything.

So, we packed up our house in Lynn Valley and moved into a rental house that we found to accommodate both our family and my parents during the construction of the Wellington house.  The boys ended their soccer season, they all started baseball season, we celebrated Max and Jeff's birthdays, I took on my role as Cub Scout leader more actively, we tried to squeeze in a little more skiing in (since the snow just kept coming!), Callum took Umpire training to have his first real job as a baseball umpire (!), all meanwhile getting ready to tear down our Wellington house and start building (and I did pass the Owner-builder exam - wohoo!).  So, here's a few photos to document March to May:

Max's U8 soccer team Columbia:

Callum's U10 team Australia: 

Kelli and her Dad enjoyed a snow-day up at Cypress Mtn:

Lynn Valley Little League Season Opener (rainy day):

All my boys love to play bat catcher, for some reason, but I guess it does look pretty cool:

Some of the Cub activities we've done included a local and Stake Kub Kar rally, in which Callum surprisingly did very well (he built a big-rig truck, with no intention of being very fast, but it turned out he was!  1st place for our local rally and 2nd place in the Stake!).  

We've also gone to the Firehall, cleaned garbage from the creek, visited the Owl Rehab centre in Delta, had a visit from the North Shore Emergency Management, went Geocaching, built obstacle courses, etc...

Ross Road Elementary puts on a "broadway" show each year.  This year it was Pirate themed, so the boys all learned pirate songs and sang (but I won't bother pointing them out in these photos!):

And Callum has still been participating in the Strings program - here is a local concert they did for the students and parents of Ross Rd.

Max and Jeff woke up on their birthday to open some presents and they went out for breakfast together, then it was a family dinner out (to Browns restaurant in Lynn Valley) with my parents.  Max's party, though, was a bit later on a Saturday at a Martial Arts facility.  Other than the cake he didn't like, he was quite happy.

Jeff's birthday gift was a backcountry ski trip with Whitecap Alpine, which he said was amazing, and rather challenging (he hasn't sent me his photos yet, unfortunately).

Over Easter weekend, we had Lorelei, Elena and Ryan stay with us (since my brother Scott and his wife Samantha went to London and Paris!), so we explored together and the Easter bunny visited us.

(I couldn't get many photos of the easter egg hunt since they found them all so fast!)

Our rental house is pretty close to a couple decent parks and trails, not to mention a funny pedestrian path:

And here's a few random pics, of what you might find around our house:

I tried to plan a little something for my amazing sister, Kim, for her rather significant birthday (50!), but all I came up with was going to Harrison Hot Springs.  Poor Kami was totally sick the whole time, so Kim and I hiked a little trail while Kami hung out in the hot tubs.  Luckily Kami was feeling better a few weeks later when I did the Sun Run with her (I can finally check that one off my list).

And FINALLY, the big day came.  We got our permit to demolish, then not long after got our building permit.  The boys were looking forward to throwing rocks at the house and watching the destruction of a house they lived in.  It was quite entertaining.

We also had nearly all the trees from the property removed as well (after deliberation, it seemed that keeping them was not in anyones best interest), so clearing the site was a smooth process that left a black canvas to build on. Unfortunately, digging the hole in the ground to put in a basement has proved to be much more complicated, particularly along the West property line.  Sigh.  I thought that a big boulder was going to be a problem, but that was the least of the difficulties.  Our soil is so saturated with water that it became a serious concern that our neighbours house could be de-stabilized.  A geotechnical engineer first agreed that a lock-block wall could be used for shoring (a $5,000 option), but after trying that, it became clear that we would be required to install a shot-crate wall (a $30,000 option).  

It's still underway as I write this.  

Yes, the house construction is what takes up most my brain-power these days, and it's pretty exhausting.  We still have questions of storm-water management and the back lane proposal up in the air, questions that are currently in the hands of the District to answer.

As the May long weekend was approaching, I thought we would just take it easy at home, but then with the optimistic weather forecast, I decided that hanging out at home was lame.  Jeff and I took all 3 of our boys on their first overnight backpacking trip!  It was tough to find the right combination of distance, difficulty and no snow for their first trip, and it turns out that 6.5km just isn't enough to get those true backcountry qualities of solitude and scenery, but I must say - my kids are awesome.  If anything, the strenuous hiking up hill on a rather technical trail was the least of their complaints.  Actually, it was all the dogs that really annoyed them, then there was still snow in sections, so the trail was muddy/icy/flowing as a creek in areas.  I'm super proud of them.  Although Simon was quite certain he hated everything about hiking ("I hate rocks, I hate mud, I hate dogs, I hate hiking, I hate walking, I hate trees"...), he was a ton of fun to have in between bursts of whining. And then as we got in the car to drive home at the end of it all, he buckled up his seatbelt and said, "Well, that was fun!".  

We took them past Lindeman Lake to Greendrop Lake, in Chilliwack Provincial Park.

And now we're all caught up to May 23rd, 2017.  Crazy life right now, but I love it.  I just have to remind myself that all my stresses are the good-kind, and not to let them make me grumpy.  Yes, I have a million things to organize, keep track of and make happen, but they are pretty awesome things.  While driving my boys to school this morning, we heard the news story of 22 people who were killed in Manchester from a suicide bomber, including an 8-yr old girl - Callum and I got a bit teary-eyed because we just really can't imagine such a horrible thing.  We're so blessed.

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