June is alway a whirlwind. Work is always surprisingly busy, not the "winding down" that some might think it is. We don't see Neil much...his days are long and full with grad and other year end events. Fortunately, with the boys busy work schedules, we were able to carve out a couple of hours to celebrate Fathers' Day!
Adam continued to work at London Drugs this month and has spend some time with his old group of high school friends now that they are all back in town for the summer. He has been building his own computer and has also decided to change faculties at UBC this fall, accepting a transfer into a Bachelor of Commerce program at Sauder.
Colin had a MRI at the beginning of June and luckily he does not have to have surgery for his shoulder injury, just back for more physio. He is still battling concussion symptoms and is missing being involved in his sports. Colin wrapped up his grade 11 year strong - a major service award at his high school's awards night and honour roll. He studied hard for his finals and has enjoyed the end of June with friends before he starts summer school next week.
I travelled for work a lot this month- to Victoria, Portland and Washington, DC/Virginia. All great experiences.
And the garden is so green and lush right now. A lovely retreat.
And on to summer...a stay at home summer for us with summer school, work and writing. But what a wonderful place we live in to have a stay at home summer!
This May, I took part in the 30x30 challenge from the David Suzuki Foundation - challenging people to spend 30 minutes outside every day of the 30 (31) days of May. I documented each day though Instagram- some days are very full and long with work but this challenge forced me to be creative. I actually took some lunch "breaks" to go for a walk outside or if I was at a conference or at meetings in another city, I found some local trails or parks to get myself outside to. Some days, it was all I could do to get myself into our backyard and water the garden or sit on the deck and continue my work...but at least I was outside! May was a beautiful month for this challenge and I was again reminded how fortunate we are to live where we live.
Mother's day...thank you boys.
Trips to Medicine Hat and Calgary for work and studies, back and forth across the Rockies.
And some culinary adventures...the #bakingbucketlist Hummingbird Cake
and a poaching broth ready for when I am came home with a bag of the elusive spot prawns...after an hour in line, I was not successful and settled for a big bag of regular shrimp from the docks.
Colin has been busy with his two jobs and school events - always up for a spirit day at school! Adam celebrated the end of exams with a camping trip to Alice Lake with a group of friends. Lots of planning went into this trip for Adam as he was only one of two of the eight who had been camping before. They had a great time.
Neil and I actually made it out for dinner one evening this month and had a lovely day out at Deer Lake Park on the long weekend. We both know that our schedules, particularly Neil's, ramp up mid-May through to the beginning of July so it was nice to have some time together!
We brought in April celebrating my dad's 81st birthday on April 2.
For my 50th birthday, my father-in-law and brother-in-law got me an amazing new suitcase. Loved "breaking it in" on my trip to San Francisco for a ginormous math education conference. We had one afternoon to explore the city a bit...Fisherman's wharf, cable car, a boat ride under the Golden Gate Bridge, sourdough from Boudin, a hot fudge sundae at Ghiradelli - all the touristy things.
Adam has been writing finals this month, and wrote his last one on the 28th. He's getting excited about a short camping trip with new UBC friends early in May. On April 2, he did his final driver's test and now does not need an "N" - another milestone.
Colin has been working at two different Japanese restaurants, got a straight-A report card and has been doing lots of cooking at home and working on his knife skills. He also finally got his official EMR card in the mail.
The weather for much of April here was almost summer-like. Lots of beautiful walks.
April in the garden always means the quince tree in bloom and the lovely bleeding hearts making a short appearance. The potatoes that I neglected to do a final harvest of last year seem to be growing as well - we'll see what happens with those!
On April 27th, I was honoured to attend our school district's 25 year recognition dinner, for those that have served our district for 25 years. It was lovely to see my very first principal and to celebrate with teachers I went to UBC with and who I started my career with, along with current friends and colleagues! It was a very special evening.
And my one second everyday video for April...
And May is off to an amazing start. A deadline met. Sunshine. Flowers in bloom. Yeah May!
March began for me with a quick trip to Victoria for some work with the Ministry of Education. I love flying over on a seaplane and seeing where I live from a different perspective.
The garden has shown all sorts of signs of spring this month with the first always being our Japanese plum bloom tree in full bloom followed by the flowering currant, daffodils and our golden plum tree.
March 11 marked a milestone birthday for me - my fiftieth. Apparently fifty is a big deal! Half a century and all that. An although there is wisdom that comes with age and experience, I think the more you know, the more you realize that there is so much to learn! So there will be lots of learning still. I am thankful and appreciative to those who have helped me get to this point in my life and I am also determined that it will be a year of light, joy and fun.
And a pie for pi day...
So spring break was a little different for us this year. I worked and looked wistfully at all the photos of friends and family away at tropical destinations or playing in the snow. Neil found things to do...Adam was in full end of term mode at UBC with papers to write, exams to take etc and he worked weekend shifts at London Drugs. He donated blood for the first time too!
Colin dedicated his spring break to learning some new things. He got offered three new jobs and took two of them, one of them is training as a sushi chef at the restaurant he has been working at. He bought a ukulele and has been teaching himself to play and he also built a boat with a friend. He's put his EMR training to good use and volunteered at hockey tournaments over the break.
We had some beautiful sunny spring days...#nothawaii but still great to get outside and enjoy the sunshine.
It was a low key Easter this year but the boys still appreciated finding chocolate eggs in unexpected places. There are some still yet to be found.
And wishing I had started this on January 1...I downloaded the 1 Second Everyday app to my phone for March 1.
Here is the resulting video for the month of March:
And on this last day of March...
...definitely out like a lamb, a very warm spring lamb . Blue skies forever.
Oh February...here on the west coast, it can be dark and gloomy or it can be mild, bright and spring-like. This year we have been on the mild, bright side with flowers blooming earlier than usual. I love getting out and seeing the signs of spring in early February!
And the tulips are plentiful at the markets and add those signs of spring inside.
Three day weekends - yippee for Family Day sleep-ins and brunches and boys who load dishwashers.
And because my mom did this for us well into adulthood, treats set out for the boys at their "spots" every morning that is a special holiday and on many that are just regular days as well.
I have a rough time on Mondays...I live in my true sleep cycle on the weekends and then Monday mornings are always a bit tough to deal with. I am trying to embrace Mondays this year...overnight cinnamon rolls for the win.
And how can it be that my baby is going to be in grade 12 next year? Lots of discussion around course planning for next year.
And on this leap year day in February, it was nice to eventually get home this evening and have both boys at home to have dinner with and to make a Monday special.
And because my mom always made it "a thing" when we were growing up, I will be paying attention to whether March comes in like a lamb or a lion tomorrow!
Last week I had to zip down to Blaine to pick up some books and supplies for my work. As I parked, I couldn't help but notice the train on the tracks near me. Seeing the train triggered a flood of memories for me and I took a few moments to be with those memories.
Memories of hours spent lying on the playroom floor with the boys as they played with their Thomas the Tank trains and tracks. Oh, the stories and adventures those trains had.
Memories of making a train cake for Adam's second birthday because you know, that's what moms do. And his beaming smile was worth it.
Memories of rushing to jump on a train in Whistler with Adam when he was 2 and I was quite pregnant with Colin so that he could have the experience of being on a train. Neil drove to Pemberton to pick us up and drive us back. I can remember how Adam smiled the whole time.
Memories of the Hallowe'en that the boys dressed up as train engineers. Cuteness.
Memories of driving the boys to the bunny park by the river so we could pull up beside train tracks and wave at the engineer as the train passed.
The Kamide train era lasted a few years and I relived those memories thanks to seeing this train.
Mid-week I was skimming through Pinterest and saw a photo that reminded of a recipe that I must have made hundreds of times when my parents owned a few Muffin Breaks - peanut butter squares. The ingredients were the same as I read through the recipe list but the specific measurements I have long forgotten. So I gave this recipe a go and as I took my first bite, it reminded me of breaks in the back of those Muffin Breaks with my Stash licorice spice tea (my favourite at the time) and either a cheese biscuit or peanut butter square. Note that I very rarely ate the muffins - as a baker, when you are making hundreds of muffins a day, they just aren't so appealing.
I took a couple over to my dad this afternoon which created another floodgate of memories to open wide.
Last night when Neil got back from a basketball game, he asked if I had any photos of Adam in RYBL (basketball league) from when he was little. There was a year when he played alongside a girl who is now one of the top ranked basketball players in BC - Neil thought it would be fun to pull out a couple of pictures from that time. We found some and then we just kept turning page after page of photo albums, taking us back 10 or more years.
Memories of summers in my parents' pool - the boys had lots of stories to tell. And this happens to be one of my all-time favourite photos of our boys. Pure joy.
Memories of a different era - look at the size of that computer!
Oh my goodness, the cuteness of berry picking. Every summer for years - strawberries, blueberries, etc. The boys were always so good about no eating til we paid for them, because you know, otherwise that would be stealing! Things could be so black and white for them when they were younger. Now, we live amidst a lot of blurry grey.
Adam asked, "What's up with the baseball caps?" He noticed a lot of photos with the boys wearing them when they were younger. Well, it was summer but it was also a "thing" for them. We had quite a collection for a while. The boys now still like their hats but Colin's are menswear influenced and Adam dons a toque most evenings when he plays video games.
And on today, my niece Ainsley's 18th birthday, I couldn't help but include a couple of photos of her and Adam - the first grandchildren, now 19 and 18! They were such buddies when they were little - they wrote books together, did science experiments, helped herd up all the younger grandchildren. There were pages of photos of the boys with their cousins - reminds me of how important it is to find ways to continue to nurture those relationships.
As we paged through a few more albums, and I kept calling out, "oh my gosh, look at this one!" Adam was smiling at me. He said, "I am glad you took all those photos mom. I didn't get it at the time, but I do now." Oh, the wisdom of a 19 year old.
This. This is why I ignored the teasing for always having a camera with me (back before smartphone days) and that the photo lab clerks at London Drugs knew me by name ;)
So I have decided this is all I might be able to do this year for the blog...a monthly recap to capture the main highlights and everyday moments of our lives together.
January began with a bang with Adam celebrating his 19th birthday!! We went to see the Star Wars movie and out to dinner at the Boathouse to celebrate. Oh my word, this kind of changes things for him. He's enjoyed some nights out with friends and even decided to commemorate the milestone with going to the liquor store for the first time. Adam has also begun a new term at UBC and is captaining a dodgeball rec team!
And as always, I had some fun in the kitchen this month, the juxtaposition of my family's tastes and interests are reflected in these desserts!
Colin has had a busy month of events at school, studying for his EMR course and his course finals at the end of the semester. We are so very proud of Colin for passing his EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) course - one of only three who did, and definitely the youngest!
The weather at the beginning of the month was cold, crisp and sunny - love winter days like this.
And that's it for this month - January went by in a blur for Neil and I, full with work and other commitments. Looking forward to a long weekend in February and cherishing the times when we are all home together.