Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Early Christmas Surprise

Today we planned a special day to give our kids their Christmas present early! Before that though, we spent some time talking as a family about how Christian and I are feeling convicted to pray and ask God about doing things a bit differently for next Christmas. Even though we try really hard not to go overboard (we get the kids one gift from us, and usually spend about $50/child, and a few stocking stuffers), we're really feeling like we need to scale down and give more than we do to the poor. I've been reading a few blogs lately where the families don't even exchange gifts at Christmas and I've been feeling a bit disturbed. I think it's a good thing to get disturbed... They take the money they would have spent on presents and give it away.
We bought a Wii this year for our little wee ones, and we really wanted to give it before Christmas so the focus on Christmas day isn't all on playing it. We're having my parents and Christian's Dad and Step-Mom here for Christmas we want to spend time visiting, playing board games, singing etc.
So, I set up a treasure hunt with clues and had the kids running all over the yard and house following them. While they were outside, I hid the Wii under the tree. When they found it, we had three kids jumping, hugging, and laughing!
We've spent the afternoon playing together and it is ever fun! I had no idea how much I would like it :)
I really love this time of year and being creative with ways to focus on Advent as a family. This year, I'm trying a Jesse tree/Advent devotional as a family. We light the house with candles after dark and spend some time focusing on Jesus and the reason why we celebrate His coming.
Is anyone else feeling disturbed about the crazy money we spend at this time of year? What are you doing to focus on the Birthday Child?

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's almost Christmas?!

As is my normal, I haven't blogged in eons! One of my goals for the fall is to do better with posting as it's just so much fun to look back at what's been going on in our lives here. I don't scrapbook, so this is as close as it gets... We had a great summer. Christian had to travel a lot through June and July, but August was much nicer. I took the kids on a road trip in July to Grand Forks and we had a blast! Lots of swimming in rivers, adventures and visiting with good friends. In August Christian had a week off and we went on a camping trip to Barkerville. Of course, I have tons of pictures, but I'll probably never post them here. Above is a pretty typical view of our life on Salt Spring. It really has to be one of the most gorgeous places on earth.
So fall is here and the busyness has hit full force.

We've been doing a lot of this ^. Isaiah and Brennan are both playing for Salt Spring United, and they're also involved in an extra soccer league. So we have soccer on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Abby is in gymnastics this year as well as Brownies. Isaiah is about to start basketball at school, and also has youth group. I'm totally becoming a "kiddie taxi", and that is with us even being super choosy about what they're involved in so that we have time as a family to just hang out. I'm managing Isaiah's soccer team so that's been a learning curve for me and quite time consuming.
We ordered a new camera, paid for completely with air miles, so we've been having fun taking pictures! Christian and I both love photography and plan to learn more about taking pics and editing. I'd like to take a course in the new year.
This is the house we're renting for now. It's right on the waterfront on a tidal canal. This means that when the tide is high, we've got great swimming and canoeing off the dock. When the tide is low, we've got mud. It's a cute place but super quirky. The builder went a little wild; every room is on a different level, so there's lots of stairs and super weird angles to every ceiling. It's also getting run down as you can probably see with the deck. There's many things that need attention, but the owner doesn't seem too concerned, and it's nothing that affects us too much.
I'm really loving this stage of parenting with the kids. They are taking on a lot more responsibility and I love talking and teaching about life and listening to their unique personalities. We are so blessed! It's kind of been an unsettling time in our lifes; Christian has been travelling a bit too much for our liking, and we're probably on the cusp of some big changes in our family's life. Can't say yet though. It's secret...
I'm going to New York with Christian on a work/pleasure trip in November. We'll definitely take lots of pictures! I'm getting just a little bit excited now :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ontario Trip

Here's a few pics from our trip to Ontario. When we first arrived in Toronto, Christian wasn't there yet, so the kids and I went for a walk downtown. They were fascinated with all the crowds and signs, and escalators. Yes, escalators are a big deal to my children, and malls! They're so funny when we go to any city; they beg me to ride escalators and elevators in malls. We're definitely small town, island folk!Christian was still working for our first couple of days there and had to do a concert in Beleville, Ontario, so we decided to follow the band there on the Via Rail. We've never been on a train before either so Isaiah, Brennan, and Abby were so excited. It was a relaxing trip and fun.
Once we got there, I had big plans to take them hiking in a bird sanctuary I'd read about online. We took the bus there which took longer than planned as we missed the stop the first time and had to ride the bus through town on another 40 minute loop around. By the time we made it, we were hot, humid, and slightly grumpy. We had some water and started on our hike. Within the first minute, my little stones were complaining about the mosquitoes. I told them to toughen up and keep hiking. The bugs were BAD!! We were getting bitten any time we stopped walking for a few seconds. But I'm stubborn and told them we were hiking, gosh darnit, cause we'd worked so hard to get there. They carried on reluctantly... About 15 min. later, I said, "This is nuts, do you guys want to turn back?" They all cheered and I think we ran back! Not sure if I'd follow Christian to gigs in the future with the kids. We felt in the way at the theatre, but it was cool to watch Christian doing the sound checks with the band.The next two days, Christian took off working and we drove to Niagra Falls. That was very fun and gorgeous. We were all so happy to have some time with Dad!This pic just makes me laugh! We'd just visited the candy store and were all wound up on sugar. The people sitting in front of us on the incline railway kept looking back at us like we were nuts. We were!We got one more family day together and spent it at Canada's Wonderland! We all went on one small fast ride together, which Abby did not like. We wanted to do one more together and knew Abby would not agree, so Christian told her we were going on the "Purple Nurple Kid's Ride". The name of the roller coaster was actually the "Wild Beast"! Yes, Abby will need therapy when she's older!! She made it through that ride and then was DONE with roller coasters, so her and I went to the kiddies section and did ssslloooooowww rides, while Christian and the boys tackled the coasters. It was so much fun watching them get off rides together and high fiving and then rating the rides on the map. I loved seeing Dad and his boys have so much fun together!
The next day, Christian had to fly to England, so we said our goodbyes and then I took the kids to the Hockey Hall of Fame. They were fascinated with all the history and interactive games. We could have spent all day there but had to be on our way to Windsor. One of the highlights was getting to touch the Stanely Cup three days before it went to Chicago where it was won by the Blackhawks!We had an amazing time in Windsor, but wished Christian had been with us. It was so great to connect with our friends there and sad to leave.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Trip Away

So, just wanted to say that we just got home from an amazing trip away! Christian is on a month long road trip and that has never happened before and he didn't want to be away from us for that long in one stretch, so we met him on the road.
We met Christian in Toronto for a few days and had a great time staying in his hotel , following him and the band to a gig in Belville and then having two days as a family to hang out, go to Niagra Falls, and Canada's Wonderland together and just have fun!
On Saturday, we again said goodbye to Christian as he was off to London, England, and Sweden and the kids and I rented a car and drove to Windsor, Ontario. It was so great to reconnect with friends we haven't seen in six and a half years since we moved away! In some ways, it felt like we'd never left. Part of my heart is still in Windsor and it still amazes me how God connected us so deeply with those people when we only lived there for just over two years.
I'm going to post some pics soon of our trip after I catch up on some sleep. It was a very long trip home.
I just got off the phone with Christian and he is enjoying his Europe trip so much and all the history in London and Sweden. He just got back from going to see Aero Smith in concert at Sweden Rocks and they will be playing there on Saturday night right before Guns N Roses! For some reason that really makes me laugh!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Olympic Trip

Oh, this has taken a long time to get this up, but that just seems to be the way things roll with me...
When the Olympics started in Vancouver, I took one look at the crowds and thought we would stay far, far away on our quiet little island. But, as soon as the kids watched the opening ceremony, they got the "Olympic fever" and couldn't let a day go by without watching some of it on TV. I've actually never seen Isaiah and Brennan so excited by an event as they were each day and so I changed my mind. :) Christian had a gig on the last day of the Olympics doing sound for Randy B. at a venue in Surrey and had left the day before. The kids and I hopped on the early bird ferry from Salt Spring to Vancouver and even though they were VERY excited, the three hour ferry ride was a bit painful for my tired little ones...
We parked our car in Surrey and took the skytrain into downtown Vancouver. We got off by Robson square and starting making our way through the crowd. The kids had wide eyes at all they saw... It was not only the closing ceremony day, but also while we were in the square, the gold medal hockey game between US and Canada began. The feeling in the crowd was electric! Soon Canada scored their first goal and the crowd went wild. There were people everywhere yelling and screaming, waving Canadian flags, honking car horns, and dressed in crazy red outfits. Soon we got filtered towards a big screen and then came to a stop and began to be pressed into the crowd shoulder to shoulder. I quickly felt uncomfortable and a bit claustrophobic, so I told the kids we were going to turn around and get out of that crowd. Within about 10 seconds I had lost Brennan! It took about two minutes for me to find him, but it felt much longer. He had big tears in his eyes and was obviously shaken. He stayed very close and held my hand for most of the rest of the day.
We then made our way into Yaletown and found a screen with a less crowded crowd. We just stayed put at that point and watched the third period and overtime there. I wish I could show you the video of when Canada was about to win the game in the third period. The Stonehouse kids, and most in the crowd began cheering and jumping up and down. Then the US goal in the last thirty seconds... Some people fell down on the road, my boys stood there dejected with shock on their faces. Of course, we all know that Crosby scored in overtime for Canada!! At that moment, the city of Vancouver erupted and we became part of the biggest, funnest, wildest street party I've ever seen! It was so fun to watch Isaiah, Brennan, and Abby take it all in and be part of something they'll probably never have the opportunity to again.
Even riding the sky train was such a big deal to them as they've never been on it... My little island cuties were having the time of their lives!
We eventually ended up at the Olympic cauldron and then back on the sky train to Surrey to meet up with Christian and catch the end of Randy Bachman's concert. Then, after watching some of the closing ceremony on the back stage big screen, back to Salt Spring on the late ferry. It was a long, tiring day, but one that our family will never forget. It was so worth going!