8.04.2015

Sea to Sky

For Christmas our family received
a family pass for the 
Sea to Sky gondola in Squamish, BC.
We decided to save it for the summer,
when the weather would be optimal for hiking and sightseeing. 
We went on a beautiful, sunny weekend
to enjoy a weekend respite.

Our goal for the weekend
was to have no agenda.
We wanted to relax and take a break.
It was a success.
We played in the pool,
which had a water slide, 
for a long time.
Then when we were hungry, we went for dinner.
After dinner we went for a walk through Squamish
and found a park to play in.
We ended the evening cuddling in bed watching TV.


The next day we were lazy.
Spencer took the girls to the pool
while I slept in.
(Best husband ever.)
Then we had breakfast and headed 
to the gondola.
It was a busy, hot day.
The mountain was full of hikers,
both novice and experienced.
We saw rock climbers on the face of the Chief.
We saw women attempting a hike in heels.
(Yes, actually.)



We chose a family friendly trail
with some lookouts that were amazing.
The trail was easy; the views were incredible! 
One lookout point was suspended over a cliff to give a full panorama.






We ended our time in Squamish at Shannon Falls.
We had intended to just walk around and admire the falls,
but it was so hot we ended up playing in the creek for quite a while.
It felt cool and refreshing.
Claire scaled rocks in the creek and was so brave.
Then we had a family dinner at White Spot,
another part of our Christmas gift.




The girls traveled and slept well,
which makes a weekend go from good to great.
The drive was beautiful.
I hadn't been on the Sea to Sky for years.
The view of the water and the islands was amazing.
The Sound is a beautiful green-blue.

I highly recommend a day trip, or even an over night,
to do the gondola, the hike and to do some sightseeing.
A wonderful addition to our summer of fun!

7.31.2015

A Letter For My Daughter at 4

My darling Claire,
4 years ago at 3:39 in the morning 
you came into the world.
I can't even type that sentence without
tears brimming in my eyes.
You came to me in a quiet, dimly lit room
with your daddy and I waiting eagerly
to see you.

Two things that stand out to me most 
in that moment when the doctor lifted you 
up from out of me.I saw your wet body noticed right away
your birth mark on the centre of your tummy.
Immediately I fell in love.
Your trademark.
I tell you that this is where God kissed you
before He placed you in my womb.
It's just a story, I know,
but it makes me happy to think about 
Him knitting you together so perfectly.

As the nurse brought you towards me,
you looked right into my eyes.
Your steel blue-gray eyes seemed to bore into
mine and it felt like you were looking right into my soul.
It was an instant connection.
I felt like I was staring at an extension of myself.
It really was love at first sight.
As I am writing I can picture that moment in time so vividly.
I hope I never forget that first time we met.

We spent longer than normal
in the hospital while your tiny body
was working hard on getting rid of 
your extra billiruben.
That time was so difficult.
All I wanted to do was take you home
and cuddle you.
I remember trying to be so strong,
and finally one day as your dad and I walked to the
nursery to watch you sleep under the lights I broke down and cried.
And then I immediately felt so silly for crying
knowing that all over the world
tiny babies are fighting for their lives,
while you were really just sleeping under warm lights.

As you grew,
so did we.
We have been stretched beyond imagine
in our roles as parents and also as people.
 I have a whole new understanding and perspective on
almost everything.
From relating to the Mother of Jesus and how she must have felt
that very first Christmas
to the importance of sleep and how little of it you actually need. 

You have shaped us as people.
You encourage us to laugh when we don't know what else to do.
You sing at the top of your lungs when sometimes,
it feels like the wrong way to respond.
Yet, it is a simple reminder to belt out praises
(because you almost are always singing hymns or Sunday School songs)
no matter our circumstances.

Through the last four years some things
about you haven't changed one bit:

- Your volume levels are still not calibrated, in fact I am almost convinced
you have only two levels. Loud and louder. 
-Your smile is always the brightest thing in a room
- Your laugh in infectious
-Your are our spirited wild child who challenges societal norms.
- You love to dance, sing and perform.
For your own pleasure and also to make others' smile.
- Your personality will always be bigger than your body
- You are attractive, in so many ways, and people are drawn to you.
- You are a natural leader
- You are incredibly bright

Now, at 4 years old I am seeing a side to you
that shows you are getting older indeed.

- You are quick to apologize and see your mistakes
- You challenge me to see things differently. Asking me to show grace to someone,
or reminding me that Jane is just a baby when I am fed up with her crying.
- You have such a compassionate and sensitive heart. You are inclusive.
- You are incredibly affectionate. This side has really come out this last year.
You love to cuddle and never hesitate to show and express your love.
- You have grown in confidence. In a group of people you will walk up and introduce yourself
and become acquainted with others. You have become so skilled at the playground, knowing
your limitations and yet never hesitating to try something new. I have seen your confidence grow
just in the last 6 months with riding Socks the horse. 
- You have really come into your role as a big sister. So helpful to myself and Daddy.
Patient and playful with Jane.
- You know your ABC's, know your left from your right
 and can pretty much count to 20 unassisted.
Your memory is quite incredible. You memorize books,
lyrics to songs and Bible verses with such ease.
You can recall events or places in the past 
that surprise us! 

Claire, you are such a beautiful girl inside and out.
I love how you never hesitate to tell people about Jesus.
You are still so spunky and yet incredibly sweet.
You made me a mommy 4 years ago,
and that is an incredible gift you gave me.
I pray you continue to grow 
the way you are.
With grace, confidence and secure 
in the love of Jesus and your parents. 

Happy 4th Birthday Claire Bear!
We love you so much and are so proud of you.
Love Dad, Mom and Jane.






7.24.2015

Honey Stick Threads Give Away *WINNER*

Congrats to Amy for winning the summer romper!



It was about 6 months ago that I first heard of Betsy,
the owner and founder of Honey Stick Threads.
She had been selling some items on VarageSale
and I purchased a slouchy toque and matching scarf.
Immediately, I fell in love with her product.

Adorable fabrics,
cute patterns and
 quality product for a fair price.
Supporting another local mom is always an added bonus!

Everywhere I went Jane was getting complimented
on her adorable accessories.
I happily told them about 
Betsy and passed along her information.

Betsy was kind of enough to share with us their journey
of creating and starting Honey Stick Threads.
Read on below to see what they are all about!



"I started Honey Stick Threads a few months after I had my daughter Lily. I’ve always had a passion for sewing and creating, but when Lil’ came along, I decided that I wanted to make clothes for her. I saw so many hip little outfits on Instagram and I thought, “I can do this, I should start making my own stuff!” and I decided to give it a go. 

I sourced some cute fabrics online and did a lot of research on working with different materials. Soon after I was on my way, whipping up cute Harem pants with matching infinity scarves. Almost as soon as I started making the clothes, people started showing interest in what I was doing. I was urged by family members and friends to try and sell my creations. I began by selling my clothes on VarageSale, and eventually branched out and started my own website.  

Sewing is something that I do as a creative outlet, but I also find that it’s therapeutic for me. I get a great deal of satisfaction out of fitting all of the scraps together to make a complete piece. I’m always looking to see what else I can offer. It all started with Harem pants and infinity scarves, but now I make shorties, hoodies, headbands and a plethora of other kinds of clothing. I also have some great ideas looming for autumn.

My partner and I have also discussed the possibility of silk screening our own t-shirt and pattern ideas.  Justin is a graphic designer and illustrator who has already created some prints for Honey Stick Threads. Namely the pattern for my Organic Cotton Fruity Shorties and the “Big Poppa” t-shirt. We've been brainstorming some fun t-shirt and pattern ideas that should be coming out soon.

I like to say that I dress vicariously through my daughter. I make her clothing with prints that I myself, would totally rock. I love leopard prints and other wacky stuff, so when something jumps out at me the urge to create something takes over. I also follow trends and try to make them available. Really, I aim to please. If someone has something in mind, I will hunt a pattern down that suits both their idea and my style.

I’m quite happy with all of the local business that I’m getting, but I like to push myself and am looking to branch out further.  I hope to be a part of local markets in the near future. Also I am planning on selling to the United States soon as well.

It’s hard to say where Honey Stick Threads will be in 5 years.  Justin and I have plans to expand our family and I’m not sure how I’d handle the workload with two little people in tow.  I currently work full time outside of ­­­­the home. I sew at nap-time and after my daughter is in bed. In the meantime however, I’m going to keep doing what I love and see where it takes me. I advertise mainly on Social Media (Instagram and Facebook), but most of my business has been generated by word-of-mouth and I’m very appreciative of that."

Thanks for sharing with us Betsy! 
We hope to see you at the local markets
and wish you all the best as your business grows.
Just An Ordinary Family is happy to share
the amazing items you are creating and can't wait to see what
is in store for us next.


 In the photos our sweet Jane
is sporting Honey Stick Threads romper.
It is so adorable and she has had loads of compliments on it!
She is a crawling, furniture surfing, beach going baby
and it is perfect for all occasions.
In the fall I plan to put a jean jacket over top
to make it last another season.

Today is the big release for the romper! 
Want to win one for yourself? 
Head on over to Instagram and follow these 
simple steps:

1) Follow Just An Ordinary Family
and
Honey Stick Threads

2) Like the photo

3) Share the photo with the hashtag #hstrompergiveaway

Want another chance to win?
Tag 3 friends in 1 comment on the photo in my account. 
(More than one comment, or more than three tags are appreciated 
but still only count for one additional entry.)

Contest will run all weekend and the winner will be announced on Monday morning 
at 10 am PST.

Good luck!


To keep up to date on what
Honey Stick Threads is creating
follow her on
and 








7.22.2015

Tour De Delta

One of my favourite things 
about where we live is the sense of community.
When there is a community event the whole town
comes together to watch, support and cheer.

Tour De Delta is no exception.
It is a summer highlight,
alongside the Ladner Market.
The streets fill with spectators and their cow bells.
The tour runs through North Delta on Friday,
Ladner on Saturday and Tsawwassen on Sunday.

The whole town buzzes with excitement.
Earlier in the day I was out walking with the girls
and we couldn't help but feel excited 
watching people set up for the event.
Everyone we passed on the street 
would greet each other and ask,
"Are you watching the race today?"



We don't know very much about the sport,
but we enjoy getting caught up in the excitement 
and cheering on the bikers as they whiz past.
When the anthem was sung I felt a sense of pride
for the nation we live in,
and the town I get to call my home.








The race is near our house,
so we grabbed a couple of chairs and walked
down the street to cheer.
We don't have a cow bell,
but we brought along Claire's little bell to ring.

I am so thankful that we get to raise our girls
 in this wonderful little place.
This community, the way we come together,
is what I want for my family.
These weekends are great reminders of that.




7.15.2015

Riding Socks

Claire began riding lessons again this summer.
We went back with Miss Becky as West Wind Stables in Ladner.
Becky is an incredibly patient instructor. 
She has heard what Claire's favourite colours are mutliple times,
among other random facts about Claire and our family.

Claire loves Socks and often claims ownership to her.
Socks is quiet, kind and gentle.
Claire's favourite skill of Socks, is that she can cough and fart at the same time.

Jane and I love coming to the barn as well.
Its dusty and dirty,
but it is warm and welcoming.
Jane absolutely loves seeing Socks and gets very excited whenever she gets close.
She even touched her nose a couple of times last week.
She gave it a little tap and was so proud of herself.

video





The left is Jane at two months getting a kiss from the horse Eva. Centre is Claire on socks.
Right is Jane looking at Claire riding Socks.




Claire has grown in her confidence around horses just as I was hoping she would.
When we first went to meet Socks, Claire was just over 3. 
She wouldn't even pet her.
By the end of her first 6 lessons that ended in December,
she gave Socks a carrot with a glove on.

This time she marched in the barn like she owned the place.
(If you know Claire you know exactly the strut I am talking about!)
Afterwards she grabbed the brush and was walking around 
Socks without any fear or hesitation.
It really made my heart so happy and I felt incredibly proud.
If she continues to enjoy riding and wanting to go,
we will encourage it.
Riding offers physical benefits or balance, a strong core and good posture.
But it also gives the rider confidence, poise and the responsibility
of caring deeply for an animal and its well being.



Thank you Becky for letting us ride your beautiful horse and enjoy your barn each week.

7.13.2015

Summer Vacation

This summer we are keeping it 
local for vacations.
We will be camping a couple of weekends,
and we went to Sun Peaks for a week.
Our friends Michelle, Jeff and their baby Isla joined us.
Howard and Diane came as well.

We did a whole lot of nothing,
and a whole lot of everything.
Walks to the park,
ice cream and the Sunday market.
A small hike before the storm rolled in
and then watching an hours long thunder and lightening storm
from the safety of the indoors.
We went to the lake and the pool to keep cool.

We cuddles on the couch watching Full House,
 ("house full" as Claire calls it.)
We had BBQs and
consumed an insane amount of watermelon.
We went in the hot tub several times a day
as well as enjoyed the massage chair nicknamed Roxanne,
to unwind.

Michelle and I tried the Mountain Cross Carts.
Downhill go karting powered only by gravity!
Jeff and Spencer enjoyed a round of golf.

It was a relaxing weekend
and a wonderful time spent with friends.

A walk to the park in the red wagon.

Big sister taking her turn, what a great idea...right?

Hang on a second, Nana didn't get her turn in the wagon.


 This was just way too cute. I could hardly handle it.

Pool side babe.


Claire made best friends with Rapunzel quite quickly.

And Spiderman found his mini-me.
These two chased each other around the village scaling walls. So cute.





Storm watching.


Early morning sunrise.






This poor deer got caught in the parking lot and couldn't find his way out.

Claire did the bungee trampoline again.
So proud of my adventurous girl who did 6 back flips! 


 In the evening when Diane sat down to upload her photos, Jane was so intrigued by her lap top.


 Our little fashionista.




 
Time for a bath in the sink! 

Making bracelets. Craft kits are always a hit.


Plenty of games, plenty of relaxing.
Some baking for the cookie-monster,
and fun to be had at the cabin.