Sweet Sweet Summertime

Hi everyone, I have been MIA for a few quick months because I was busy having too much fun this summer. I had every intention of taking some time to write and blog but when given the chance to be outside and have fun I will always pick that! Hence, this post.

Summertime fun. So our family loves heat, beach, no shoes, swimming and pretty much all things summer. I would guess it is our families favourite season (Fraser would say he loves winter but I think he is just trying to be different). I cannot pin point exactly what makes summer so great but I think for the majority of my family it is the lack of clothing (I live with nudists), ease of peeing outside and ability to be outside without worry of weather (we don’t like being cold)! Sunshine makes us happy:)

I was planning on doing a summer wishlist/ bucket list at the beginning of the season but it will have to be a recap of what we got up to and recommendations for families. I think a lot of these suggestions can be taken into other seasons! So hopefully they give you some ideas for a Family Fall Bucket List.

This summer was all about LOCAL fun for us. We do a pretty big trip in the winter (a month in maui!). So, we try to limit time off work for Fraser and expensive holidays in the summer when there is so much locally for free or cheap!

Some of our regular GO-To’s include:

  • PARKS: this is a big one for us. My kiddos love parks and they are free (or mostly, it sometimes involves us stopping to grab some take out, maybe picking up a starbucks on the way, or ice cream afterwards… so close to free). Some of our favourite from this summer included
  • GARDEN CITY PARK

    STEVESTON COMMUNITY PARK

    TSAWWASSEN FIRST NATIONS SPORTS FIELD COMPLEX

  • FARMS: The only thing my kids love more than a park is the farm, they aren’t super picky but they LOVE Emma Lea Farms.
  • If we are away they are so excited when we stop at farms along the way, however if we are just hanging out at home they get so excited to go grab an ice cream, walk the fields (eat more than they pick… I promise we pay for it all!), say hi to the donkeys and play in the play area. This was a weekly activity for sure for us. We often hit up the farm during long weekends and holidays as they had “extras” like BBQ’d hot dogs, face painting and music. One of the best things about the farm is you can grocery shop your fruit and veg while you are there, plus you can bring in your own food and eat so we would often bring White Spot and eat a meal then play. The other thing is it was a great meeting spot for inviting friends, we would all meet up and paly for the day while enjoying berry picking, sundaes and just farm life!
  • In addition to Emma Lea, Nan (my mom) lives on a small hobby farm with a HUGE garden she spent her whole summer tending (in preparation of my sisters wedding). Plus they also have some horses on the property, so another extremly popular spot for our kids is Nans house (specifically the dirt pile), but also the garden and horses!
  • BEACHES: We are so fortunate to have so many good beaches only minutes away from our house so we could often be found out at the ferry causeway, Tsawwassen Beach (family members cabin… we are pretty lucky!) and Centennial Beach.
  • However this year we took a quick island trip and discovered a love for Parksville and Rathtrevor Beach Provinvial Park. I think for next year we have Tigh-Na-Mara Spa & Resort down on our list of places to visit. After spending an afternoon at the provincial park we didnt want to leave plus the resort has so much to offer families and we had friends stay and recommend it for families so I can’t wait to go back and try it out.
  • FAMILY & FRIENDS: Gotta be one of the best things about summer time is the more flexible and open schedules when school is out and often families take holidays so they are home a bit more through out the summer. We had two friends have new babies and my sister got married. So, that meant many showers and festivities plus baby visits and just fun family time spent celebrating! These are memories and moments to treasure.
  • This year we also decided to end the summer off with a camping holiday in Lake Country with 8 other families, 18 kids total! It was phenomenal. I am not a camper, and although I am assured the trailer we rented didn’t classify as camping, I hesitate to consider it “Glamping”. However our kids cried leaving their new “home” and all their friends. They LOVED it and it was definitely a reminder of trying to do what we can to make holidays and traditions with others work.
  • OUR BACKYARD: We decided to build a new deck this year and purchased a small above ground pool, this was a game changer and for the first month of having the pool I think the kids swam everyday. It will definitely be a work in progress as we imagine we will need to upgrade the size and also make it a little nicer in our backyard, but it sure made staying in and having kids over a ton of fun!
  • After looking through just some of our many pictures and fun from the summer I realize the common thread amongst all of it is taking time to have fun, enjoy outside and spend it with the people we love. I feel so fortunate that most of our family and friends live super close to us and we are able to see often. I think we are lucky to be able to have me at home with our kids but also have Fraser work such a flexible job that he is always around and we are able to do so much as a family. However at the end of the day it is just remembering life is short, kids will grow up and they might not want to do all of this fun stuff with us forever so take advantage fo the time you have.
  • The kids might not remember the two weeks I drove them to South Surrey for their private swim lessons, or the first time we let their cousin sleep over and the 30 times I had to go in to tell them to go to sleep, the week I spent packing for camping or the four days it took to unpack and finish all the laundry after the trip, renting sea doos, going to the Kanagroo Farm but they will remember who they spent their time with and all the traditions we created (I hope!). I hope they will also take some of their favourite childhood memories and traditions and carry them on to their own families like we have. It is so cool when we get to take them to some of the same holiday spots I used to enjoy (like a family members vacation spot on Lake Whatcom, or blackberry picking like we used to do with our Aunt every summer).
  • I am trying to embrace all that Fall brings with it as the changing of season is good (I guess) and Summer can’t last forever. I know that routine is good for my house as hard as it is for us to stick to it. I am so proud of all the learning and growing the kids have done through the summer and the amazing start the oldest two have had at preschool! I am also excited for the cozy fall clothes although I know it will mean many arguments with the kids to put shoes on!
  • Goodbye Summer, thanks for all the sunshine, fun and memories. Until next year.
  • Everyday is Family Day!

    For those who don’t live in BC yesterday was Family Day… and since we are nearing the end to almost 5 weeks in Maui we missed it but celebrated it here on the island with our little Fam Jam! So, I am a day late writing because we were busy playing and having fun as a family.

    Families are funny… the traditional definition of a family is pertaining to a blood relative or biological relation, descendants. Now I would say this is not always or even often the case. So many people are adopted, estranged, divorced, part of a mixed family (with step and half siblings and parents). I mean the dynamics can range. I am no stranger to this type of family as we were raised by a single mom, I have zero relationship with my dad and our family has a non-traditional dynamic. For example my moms best friend and sister by choice is my dads biological sister and you could technically say I have 3 siblings and 5 step siblings (my moms boyfriend has 5 kids), but I would tell you I have 3 sisters not 8 siblings:)

    Since having my own kids and starting my own family I have come to have a different appreciation for how important family is, what our family values are and how we will hopefully instil them in our kids and also who we choose to play important roles in our kids lives.

    We really want to raise our kids with Honesty, Respect and Fun being our biggest family values. I also hope that they grow up close and stay good friends. If Rowen, Grace & Eleanor can always be each other’s biggest supporters, and try not to judge but just have each other’s back then we will have done our most important job and have succeeded as the type of parents we want to be. Obviously we have no control and siblings grow up with all sorts of different relationships, I feel very grateful for the two sisters I have to play such important roles in all of our lives and for me to have such good relationships with them. That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work and takes effort on both sides. Plus the three of us couldn’t be more different but I think we share a few core values that help us to connect even when we don’t see eye to eye.

    Our kids are so blessed, just like both Fraser and I were, with living Great Grandparents (they have 6) and a young large local family. That doesn’t mean we have a perfect set up or are without family drama. Raising kids is one of the craziest, humbling, eye opening and life changing things I have ever done. It changed our world for the better and really gave us perspective over what mattered and what is important in our lives. That being said it came with it’s own set of challenges and has been a big learning curve with lots of difficult choices and decisions.

    My children are lucky to have two parents who love and respect each other and we hope to raise them with a traditional family dynamic. However it’s not all traditional as they have over 10 pseudo Aunties , girlfriends who play such important roles in my life and now my children’s lives it would be insulting to think of them as anything less than family. This is just one example. We have so many friends that have been there for us when we needed them most and who show up in good or bad times. These friends are the family we want to have in our lives for as long as possible and are the reason we feel so grateful.

    So yesterday when we played and enjoyed our three healthy and happy kids, we also were celebrating my being a part of a huge extended family that I couldn’t be more proud or privileged to call Family. Although we have had such an amazing vacation and could happily stay for a lot longer, the one thing that has been missing is our extended family… we were very lucky to have a couple friends, some great grandparents and aunts and uncles, NAN and Auntie Monica (GAG) all come and visit us on Maui we are excited to come home and see those who weren’t here in paradise. I know the kids ask everyday for Sadie & Addie (their cousins), and that is just one sign that we are raising the kids with good family values.

    HAPPY FAMILY DAY (even if I am a day late) because for me it isn’t just one day a year that I celebrate my family but hopefully everyday:)

    Siblings by chance, friends by choice…

    Today was one of those unusual days. Grace was extra loving towards both her older brother and younger sister and the kids were just extra cute towards each other. We intentionally had our kids within 3 years of each other (Rowen and Grace being just 13 months apart and Grace and Eleanor a big 15 months apart). This was important to me because I felt the closer the age often the more in common you have with your siblings and the easier it is to have a closer relationship. Obviously everyone has different experiences and beliefs but I just wanted to give the kids any and every chance at having a close sibling relationship.

    I have a son so my girls have an older brother which is a new dynamic for me and I love it but there is nothing like having daughters and girls having sisters. I am not saying it is better or my favourite it is just different. Sisters are built in protectors, can give advice, help widen your circle of friends. That being said I am a believer that not all sisters all blood related. My mom lost her sister to Cancer but still has an ex-sister in law that most people just assume is her biological sister. I love this, it means my mom has a bond with her “sister” (different from her relationship with her brother). Not better just different. I like to hope that all women have another women that they would consider like a sister, we can all use that!

    You might not know this about me but I am the oldest of three girls. We are the Plain sisters (but I like to think we are far from Plain).

    So, growing up with three sisters, fairly close in age, some could say was interesting. We are three very different personalities and three very different strengths and challenges. Now at 33, 31 and 30 years old, two of us have daughters of our own and the third sister is getting married this summer, but at the end of the day we are always there for each other.

    I am the oldest, the protector, the defender, definitely the one who holds a grudge for any of the three of us.

    Then there is the middle sister, the glue, the rational one, the tie breaker, the mediator, the favourite (Lol!).

    Of course the baby, the comedian, the outgoing/ life of the party, career driven, oh and the favourite auntie.

    We were not always this close and still are very different but at the end of the day we share secrets, we share a lot of the same values and we share a childhood of memories and experiences and we share friends.

    That being said, I know we are not the “normal” when it comes to siblings. We live within a couple of blocks of each other, we talk weekly and often see each other just as much and we for the most part get along and generally like each other.

    I often wonder how or why we turned out this way but never come up with an answer. I just hope that my kids find the same relationships with each other that I have come to find in my siblings. We have many friends and even Fraser who have estranged relationships with their siblings. Many often comment on how lucky I am to be so close to my sisters. We all three work hard to have the relationships we do and I wouldn’t say it comes naturally but instead is a choice we make to be close and to raise our families together.

    Growing up our aunts and uncles and cousins played a big role in our lives and I am so happy my kids will be blessed with he same experiences I had with family.

    That being said aunts/uncles and cousins are not necessarily blood related and in our case our kids have many pseudo aunts and uncles that play just as important of roles as their blood related aunts and uncles. I love this. I remember once running away from home (because everyone did that when they were a teen) and not being a block from home and being spotted by my uncle. That’s the thing about big families, you are always spotted! Not easy to blend into the background. It also means whenever you are in trouble or need help there is always someone around. This is a reason I love that my kids have so many aunts and uncles. Because I know if they need someone between all these people there is bound to be one that they are comfortable to go to.

    Today I became an Auntie again and to a beautiful niece, one of my best friends had her first daughter and I just couldn’t stop tearing up and then I thought about it and I thought about daughters and how they change you and the relationship you have with your mother. I am so excited that she gets to experience this kind of relationship different from that of a son. Ill never forget when I had my first daughter and my aunt (a mother of 4, 3 sons and 1 daughter) said she was so happy that I had a daughter and that she loves her sons but there is something about having a daughter. I get it now!

    My mother and I are very different but at the end of the day when I need someone she is there and she knows me better than sometimes I know myself. She had always been great at taking us all three out for special dates (movies, dinners, shopping and of course spa). I am constantly asking Fraser what moms do with sons because it is so different and I never see him going out on mother/son dates like I do with my mom. Daughters are different. That being said I put in extra effort to make sure I work hard at having an equally close and good relationship with my son.

    Do you have different relationships with your sons than your daughters? Do your kids get along or is a constant struggle (we play referee a lot!)? Would love to hear about your family dynamics and things you do to foster a good relationship between you and your kids but also between siblings.

    Beginning of a new Decade…


    First I need to say HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY to my youngest sister KP!  Now I couldn’t think of a better way to wish her Happy Birthday than to write about it on the blog, my sister may not agree but I hope she likes it (better to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission)!  

    Welcome to your 30’s Sis… this decade is going to bring so much joy and success to you and to our family.  Although I have only been in my 30’s for 3 short years I can tell you they have been the best.  The 30’s have been when life really starts to get good.

    With your 30’s come confidence and life experiences that have shaped you into the decisive and strong woman you are.  You may be our youngest sister but you are no baby anymore.  Gone are your wild and crazy days (or more like nights), replaced with trips, parties and creating traditions spent with friends and family that can only be developed after years of memory making moments.  You have always been the outgoing sister who knows everyone, but by your 30’s you now have quality friendships and I am so proud of the people you choose to spend your time with.  Not only do your 30’s mean you are decisive about the people you surround yourself with but you somehow become busier and learn to do only the things you want to or like to do.  I hope this is true for you this decade, hopefully you are no longer afraid to say no to stuff because you know by saying no to something you are also saying yes to something else.

    For you specifically your 30’s will have a wedding, which we cannot wait for. This means your 30’s has officially brought you a whole bunch of new family.  Selfishly I love that your 30’s brings us a brother!  It is also the decade you are going back to school to get your BA, this is something I am so unbelievably proud and inspired by.  I hope this decade not only brings you a husband, a degree but also advances in your career and family life (make me an auntie again!).  

    Whatever your 30’s bring you I hope they bring as much happiness as your heart has room for, more fun and adventure that you knew possible and just enough sorrow or pain that you appreciate how full and blessed your life is.  I cannot wait to see what the next 30 bring, as your first 30 were a pretty great start!  

    Hope Vegas with your fiancé and friends is fun and Palm Springs with all the aunts, mom and sister are relaxing!  Great way to start off your 30’s. 

    Cheers to your 30’s