Tag Archive | Uncle Ken

Christmas We So Celebrate

I promise that TOMORROW there will be Sunday School pageant video but today you have to suffer through pictures and some Lisa babble. Anyway…

Today was the Christmas pageant and it went marvellously! First off Trinity chose NOT to go up… she did, however, sit in the very front pew with her Grandpa Mike. Gavin was a terrific Joseph who eventually got bored… Zander sang his little heart out at the very TOP of his lungs AND waved at everyone (wish I had gotten a picture of that!) and Emanuel shushed with the best of them! We were all VERY proud!

Hugs from Grandpa

With Emanuel's friend

We had our luncheon at the church first where the kids had a blast sitting at a different table and meeting other parishioners. Some of our family came to enjoy the event as well! Cousin Veronika with her Adam and her folks (my Aunty Lorraine and Uncle Ken) were right on time, and then Grandma and Grandpa Mike! YAY! Echo was wide awake in her Christmas finery. She wore Trinity’s first Christmas dress… it is closer to fitting… sort of! 

With headband

With cousin

Echo spent some of the program crawling around and entertaining some of the people at the ends of the pews… she really does enjoy the sanctuary… sound echos (ha ha) AND lots of crawl room! 

Floor time

After we enjoyed the pageantry it was time to say good bye to some of the relatives and then head back to home where Grandma and Grandpa Mike came and hung out for a while. They brought a special gift – a magic key for Santa for him to get into our place on Christmas Eve (after all we have a chimney but it is blocked off and the couch in front of it!). 


Trinity was not interested in being an angel… she saw the 3 Kings’ crowns and wanted to be a PRINCESS! Her teacher was so sweet… took her to the craft supplies and made her a shiny pipecleaner crown! Which she wore ALL DAY! So if you ask her, she was NOT an angel – she was a PRINCESS!

Pre-crown cutie

It was finally time for Chris and Chris to open their present… they seemed to like everything! And now I can share my picture of my very first wing holding owls! 

Opening presents

Together in love

Now I have a new deadline – I want to have ALL my gifts done by Wednesday so I can truly enjoy the final countdown to Christmas. I have almost done it with a short list of items to be completed. And for our Advent video… who doesn’t love the Muppets???

My family!

Camping, Crafting, Company and Conversation… 4 of the Best C’s Out There

…and I drop off the face of the planet for a few days… but in a GOOD way…

Friday was a bit of a slow start as Ken had to finish something for work before we could get out the door (which inevitably took longer than expected) BUT around noon we were packed up and out the door to go CAMPING! This is the first REAL camping trip for all 5 of our kids… and a REAL adventure. Destination Tolman Bridge campgrounds… but with a stop off to pick up the map with my Aunty Lorraine in Trochu. Did  you know that Trochu has a few claims to fame? The ones I do NOT have pictures of are – they are the Pinkest Little Town in the West (2010) for breastcancer… you can still see the remnants of their pink claim to fame all over the town and the world’s largest golf tee – Veronika took me, Echo and Trinity past it and I can verify – it is a massively large golf tee! 

After sending me in to get the map and added instructions we headed back to the highway and promptly turned back so KEN could go get better instructions… I tell him EACH TIME that I am horrible with handdrawn maps and verbal directions and each time he sends me in. Thankfully Aunty Lorraine was busy so he talked to a cashier in the bank (slightly less embarrassing for yours truly) and THEN we were finally off… The camp site was another 15 min out of Trochu in some lovely country! Lots of hills and trees and interesting landscape. 

Entering the valley

We got into the camp late in the afternoon. Adam was already there with Holli and Combyne (the dogs) with two tents set up and the rv parked and ready to be used… and most importantly to the kids – a fire going!

You can see a good portion of the campsite here... apparently we got the good one! It is a nice size and down a little bit is the outhouse

Resting for a moment

We had been texting with Veronika before we got into the valley and the super spotty to NO cell phone signal area and knew she was on her way. So while we were waiting for her (she was coming from her orientation at her new job at Indigo!!) we walked kids and dogs to the river to play in the water. 

Checking out the river... the boys were excited as this river also goes through the city we live in!

It was so hot out so the water was welcoming but FREEZING cold! We played there until Veronika met up with us in her Jeep. Then we headed back to the campsite to unload what she brought. Then Veronika and I took off with Echo to the store in Trochu to “fill in the gaps” on some food items… aka = pop tarts, pork chops and some sausages. It was a nice drive and Echo got in a nap. I was reminded as to how EXPENSIVE things are in small towns… a package of pull ups in Trochu at the grocery store is 25.00… way more than in the city!!! So we decided to deal with however many we had left.

Apparently while we were gone to the store the kids found a caterpillar which was a HUGE source of excitement… many pictures were taken and I am told the critter managed to make it off intact.

Rather cute

Then it was time to pack up and head back to the lake. It had cooled off a bit so the water was VERY cold, we persevered and managed to enjoy ourselves. This time we all wore bathing suits, well except Echo but she put a toe in and very quickly voiced her opinion that the water was NOT to her liking!

Back to the lake...

The sun looks so pretty here

 Supper was cooked over the fire by our total pro Adam. It was beyond delicious and included some amazing potatoes. He really does cook EVERYTHING over the fire. And then of course there was the marshmallows… what is a camp out without them? And Veronika had the jumbo ones… they were deemed too big for the kids though… it took multiple cookings and layer after layer to get them fully eaten (you can be sure we complained loudly… well we would have except for our mouths were full and fingers too sticky!).

Showing the kids why diamond bark is called what it is (and Zander's rocks)

Snuggles in front of the fire

A marshmallow AND popcorn for Echo

The kids got to choose their tent so of course chose the big one… so after dinner it was pj’s and bed… with very few interruptions once they realized we could see their shadows from the light in the tent! That left the adults (and Echo) free to stay up late chatting, drinking, eating more marshmallows and just relaxing. How marvelous! Though I have now been reminded how out of practice I am in drinking shots… drink something all at once? Seriously? 

Ken, Echo and I slept in the rv on a VERY comfy bed… not exactly SLEPT IN but got a nice sleep… then it was up and back to camping in the morning – the rather chilly morning! So it was a very good thing I brought jeans and sweaters for all the kids. Though they were quick to lend a hand and ask poor Adam a MILLION questions about the fire – if the poor man had any intention to quit smoking they most certainly were NOT helping him with it… all 4 kids peppering you with questions CAN be quite stressful! 

Echo, Combyne and Ken hiding from the other kids

After breakfast (cooked on the fire again – YUM) it was time for some relaxing… well as relaxing as it gets with 5 active kids… but we managed… 

After relaxing and such it became clear to Veronika and I that Echo was NOT going to nap in the rv and Trinity needed a boy break. So we decided to tour Trochu and Three Hill and get some soft serve at the Trochu Dollar Store. First off to Three Hills where Adam and Veronika had rented a couple places (we drove by) and cousins from the other side of the family once lived (could not remember the way to their old place). We saw the pool with splash park, stopped in at the grocery store to NOT buy pull ups (ouch!) and generally toured. Good thing to know about Three Hills – if you need gas do NOT stop by the place on the highway but go further into the city – there was a like 9 cents difference! 

On the way back to Trochu we stopped and checked out the large windmills that are generating power out in the fields. They are intensely huge and rather awe inspiring. Trinity checked them out (with Cousin Veronika’s sunglasses on as the sun was too sunny) and was rather impressed.

I took a few pictures

So huge!

At the base of it

Of course we had to drive through Trochu also, see our grandparents’ old house (fenced and for sale), the splash park (we HAVE TO go there next year), the arboretum that we took pictures at with our grandparents ages ago… downtown… where we ended up at the Dollar Store for soft serve… Echo shared some of mine (cheesecake flavoured) and Trinity had a baby (baby??? big!) banana. 

Trinity's ice cream and the glitter paper

We picked up a treat for the boys – shaped elastics, and a sheet of purple glitter paper (only 1.50!) and headed BACK to the campsite. 

The boys' treat

The guys were all at the river so we went over there to meet up and wade in the rather chilly water. After that it was back to the campsite and more hanging out before supper… cooked over the fire of course! 

Trinity was so worn out we forced a nap on her. She woke up while everyone was eating supper and was beyond ready to go home so we figured it was time to pack up and head out. The flies and other bugs were way worse Saturday afternoon anyway and we had to be home and in bed to be awake and ready Sunday morning. So we helped pack up and said good-bye to Adam and Veronika. 

Passed out

I am happy to report that the complaining van and the cell phone on low battery BOTH saw us home safely… of course as when we came to the campsite I texted people to let them know we were on the road and went from there. I just felt safer that way, and it IS entertaining to chat while on the road. The kids were exhausted when we got home but it was definitely a BATHS FIRST sort of night, as well as the start on the mountain of laundry that had come home with us. I love campfires, do NOT love the smell of smoke on everything later. 

Sunday marked the beginning of Sunday School at our new church and the boys and Ken were the ones who went. I kept the girls home to give Echo nap time and myself the time for prep work for the afternoon crafting event. I have yet to discuss 9/11 with the kids and will probably talk to the boys about it in the future years… but what I remember the most is being in a panic with Ken as we tried to find his parents who were supposed to be flying home from vacation back to Minnesota on some unknown flight. It was a full 2 days before we were contacted and told they had been grounded in Florida and stayed with my brother in law. In the panic no one had thought to call us up here in Alberta (though keep in mind they are the same people who were in the eye of Katrina on vacation too! And drove TO work on the bridge in Mn that later collapsed that evening but not home on it!!). 

They chose matching outfits for their first day!

We had a lovely turn out for my crafting afternoon! Supplies were brought, ideas shared, glitter and more used in abundance. Crafting messes are some of the BEST messes. And boy did we make a mess! Ken had to bring up the second table and I added both spare leaves to the kitchen table. We had Karyn’s Cricut, Kristen’s texturing machine and my embossing powder and heat gun as well as tons of other bits and bobs. 

Craft supplies all over!

There was a variety of crafts going on – Victoria made stationary, most people cards and Karyn and I worked on some scrapbook pages. What we learned is that we need to pick ONE topic or theme to cut down on the large quantity of supplies we needed and that every event will most likely include at least ONE trip to Michaels with some group of people!! (we did towards the end go in with coupons and the like).

Lauralee with purple bits and bobs... I don't have a finished card picture

Karyn brought her finished cards for people to look through and there were snacks and drinks, in fact KEN made us raspberry cake and a VERY chocolaty banana bread! All were thoroughly approved. 

After some crafting was done and Echo woke up Kathy and Victoria took charge of keeping her entertained, although apparently Echo has decided she wants to learn how to knit and made it nearly impossible for Victoria to work on her blue giraffe! 

Baby time!

All in all tons of interesting things were made and much fun had! We are already discussing an October gathering with maybe a Halloween theme! YAY!!!

Two of Kristen's cards

The scrapbook page Karyn made for Emanuel with the pictures I had printed out

I did this one using Kristen's embosser... I think it is a small Sizzix

I really like this card... I need to get some of these little jewels Kristen had for myself!

I got a Currclick freebie of the week that some parents with younger children may be interested in as well! (if you have made it all the way through my weekend babble that is!)… it is called My Learning Desk Mat. I plan on making one as place mats for at least Trinity and Emanuel. 

Today’s homeschooling for the twins was mainly focused on COMPLETION. We worked hard on one of the math grade 1 workbooks they had found in their drawers and they BOTH completed it! They were so excited… it covered a variety of things but what I loved the most is that it focused on fractions in a VERY basic way so that helped them get a better idea of what they are… something I want to focus on in a big way this year. 


Emanuel worked VERY hard on his letters and numbers today. He is absolutely determined to get in as much learning as he can!

Working on 2's

We even made time for Stuart Little… we learned all about what he does first thing in the morning. Trinity had Daddy draw him brushing his teeth. 

Stuart Little pages

So with that much accomplished we let it go and the kids went down and watched the OLD My Little Pony dvds that Kathy had given them ages ago (something I can’t stand to watch so I stayed upstairs and sorted craft stuff). I feel that we ended the day work wise at a good point and they are ALL excited about tomorrow… more Stuart Little, some special pictures to draw… oh did I mention we did one last picture from each boy for their Summer Adventure File? Emanuel and Zander drew Prickie Pie who came for a visit yesterday and Gavin the tent they slept in while camping.

Meeting Prickie Pie

Prickie Pie

The tent

Now I have a corner set up even better in the basement thanks to bookcases Kathy gave us (thank you so much!) and I am hoping to have made great inroads on the rest of the mess screaming at me for cleaning. We still need to figure out curtains… and find pictures… THEN we will truly be home!

Baby Bear

Mid Week Reflection on the Birthday and More

I figured today was as good a day as any to share some of the lovely cards Echo received for her birthday. I have to admit I do have a weakness for them… and probably save way too many but first birthdays are something special!

A lovely handmade card from Aunty Karyn... Butterflies and all!

Why Aunty Esther does! We do so love purple for our Miss Echo

Another lovely handmade card by Aunty Kristen. I love the little birdy on this one!

Cousin Elizabeth decorated both the card and the envelope and added a sweet message to hers (from her boyfriend Lyle as well)

From Cousin Veronika and her Adam... this has a textured front. As one of my other aunts remarked - Echo is our little lady as Trinity is the princess!

This is a special sort of card, you fill in the special memories from her first birthday party!

I was able to photograph the little book Lauralee made for Echo to go with the bookworm Karyn made her. Seriously these librarians come up with some wickedly creative and fun gifts! I have a picture of the outside AND the inside… 

It says... Once upon a time...

Echo met a bookworm! As Ted would say - TRUE STORY!!

I mean, come on, ADORABLE! I did a bit of creative work myself on our gifts for Echo, there was the handsewn bunny teddy AND the lucky stars I folded for her…

I doubt you can tell from the picture but those are Hello Kitty papers I used

I did up a couple jars of stars for Trinity for her first birthday as well. I figured what better than to give my beloved daughters stars to wish on? Perhaps then all their wishes will come true?

I have been up late last night working on the book I keep all of Echo’s milestones in. I want it up to date for next Monday’s genetic appointment in case there are questions I can’t just answer off the top of my head. I have one for each of the kids though they are really only seriously up to date for the first year. They are still boxed up in one of the boxes I have left to sort… well buckets really, I think. I actually ran out of shelf space before Ken’s folks visited and am trying to figure out which books can return to the buckets to make room for ones I really need and want out. With Ken’s stuff cluttering my bookshelf corner in the basement it is VERY slow going, but he tells me he will get some of his clutter sorted soon. He has just been totally snowed under with work (doubled edged sword that one!). 

This morning was a bit of a backwards one for us. I stayed up late last night so Ken could take a late nap and then finish up the issue on time. In return I got to sleep in… well sort of… the kids did their best to deter that. Everything from stomping like a herd of elephants to fighting outside and finally Miss Echo pitching an exhausted baby fit.

Kathy brought with her to the party some bags of craft supplies from a mutual friend of ours. I finally got some time to go through them today… there is a wonderful selection of items but the boys were the most excited about the little tub of dinosaurs. 


I really appreciate it when people think of us when they are downsizing. So often we use items that others may not, the boys are VERY crafty after all. Included in the items is a little tin that I remember seeing Karyn use to make a scrapbook a while ago. Now I just need to use hers as a template and go from there. Christmas IS right around the corner after all (well, crafting wise…).

Cute little tin

We had to enjoy some more bubbles today with the lovely weather. The morning was rather cold but the afternoon warmed up nicely and without the brilliant sun in the eyes. Of course this meant another new outfit for Echo and some photo ops. I am not sure if you can tell in the images but it says Baby Sister. Too big on her of course but it worked. She is VERY interested in all things bubbles… to the point where we weren’t sure if she was trying to EAT the bubble or mimic blowing her own. 

Eating or blowing?

Watching a pro (Zander)

We got in another picture for our Summer Adventure file – this one about Echo’s birthday. So I think we are now all caught up, which meant it was time to work on some math as well. The boys are still a bit resistant to working and Emanuel needed his nap so badly he skipped out today but I am hoping by next week to be crafting it up with my kids again full force along with their workbooks and such. 

Finished pages

Math at the kitchen table

Karyn and I made a trip out to do some shopping but I will share those purchases TOMORROW. Tonight I need to get back to work clearing up my mess, sorting out our new craft supplies AND perhaps getting to bed BEFORE 2 am??? So check back!!

Emanuel and his bubbles