Friday, August 31, 2012


The kids and I should really practice badminton.  We have a set somewhere...
We did tug awars until Moira and Tyler's palms started to get shredded.
It's was warm enough that Moira still wanted to go to the beach...
Action shots are fun.
Guys against the girls... then they found more guys and whooped the girls.
Old style farming.
This was the lover's lane from the hired hand's house to the main house where the meals were taken.
While I thought it was a bit arduous for us to live all five in our 2 bedroom upstairs while Brian renovated the downstairs, I had a whole new perspective as they told us about the Motherwells who lived in a a 3 room log cabin for 8 years while they gathered rocks to build their house and barn.
And as grand and pretty as it looked, I'm sure glad I have better heating, cooling, running hot water, a stove and microwave, washer and dryer...  Although if I lived then, I'm sure I would have thought we had so much then too- and they did- and do compared to so many around the world who live on so little.
This boy does not like writing, but since Arwen signed the book, he had to also and I had to of course, take his picture signing the biggest book of his life!
Since there was still talk of a beach outing and none of us really had that much energy for a whole big outing, the crazy Koopses decided to do water play anyways.  Victoria and Tyler got water balloons, Arwen found a couple of water guns, I found some hot dogs and stuff and Mike made a slip and slide and it was all out war!  The only bad part was that it had gotten cooler and the Koops live up on a hill that is cool and the water from hoses here is ICE COLD, so all that said and done, the water war was really intense- like ACKKKKKK I've been hit crazy cold, running for real away from the couple of privileged people who got their hands on a gun or hose.

I'm always pretty much totally AMAZED when with such responsible and thoughtful teens that wouldn't mind untalented badminton partners and the whines and slowness and little kidness to crash their teen dominion.  THANKS VIKKA, TYLER, MOIRA and ARWEN for another great summer memory.

Thursday, August 30, 2012


I have to show off our newest home improvement.  When we took out some of the shelving, it left an awkward space above the dishwasher.  We had to put a frame around it to hide the ugly gaps left when the upper cabinets were taken out, then I painted it white to cover the marks.  But very quickly, new marks appeared and it was impossible to wipe crumbs out of the sunken space... Enter tile solution.  I love tile.  I think it's so fun and I love adding unique touches to weird spaces.  Brian and I had some discussion at the store.  He wanted all white tile and I wanted to create something more interesting, so we compromised with cheap white tile and a cheap brown one.  My thought was that he could cut the brown tile and we'd create a pattern, but without the right tools, it was going to get crazy because the tiles would have had 3 sections on some sides and 2 on the other.  Then Brian remembered he had some pieces left from the basement and he let me design this!  I love it, even more than the more expensive tiles I was leaning toward.

Here it is with the rest of the kitchen...

So, I few days ago, I mentioned us going out to Motherwell.  The plan this day was to go to the beach (sometimes I have a one track mind).  We were going to snag Arwen who also would love to go to the beach everyday.  But she was going with her big sister's to Motherwell, so we asked if we could join in.  What great teens (and adult) who would let our crazy crew come along!  Victoria and her boyfriend Tyler, Arwen, Moira and us.

Motherwell is a national park site not far from us.  I'd never gone and they have people dressed up in area costume to tell us about the home and farm life of the early 1900s.  It was all so interesting, but I think everyone's very favorite part was to play the old games with the cousins.

Tyler found these laying up against a tree and off we went with races galore.

We toured a farm shed with tools, the old barn (with pigs, chickens and horse stables), the house and estate that also included a garden, lover's lane, dugout, welcome center and play area.  We got to ride in the horse drawn wagon while the interpreter told us about how they farmed with man and horse power.

There are lots more pics, so to be continued...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Apple picking

Dominique teacher from last year invited us and the cousins back out to her farm to pick apples.  Ivan was so excited since he missed the picking last year (school had already started) and because he was so excited to see cousin Kellen.

It's surprising how much can get picked in such a short time with so many helpers.  This year didn't seem near as difficult as last.  I spent one evening cutting and freezing some and another morning with Mrs MacPherson's applesauce tool and a house full of kids (mine and the neighbors- who thought it was totally amazing to be making applesauce- they loved the smells and tastes and ate applesauce all day!)

I was seeing that we had more than enough for us, so I also got to pass along some apples and share the joy.  I remember last year when our neighbor shared tomatoes with us and thinking he'd just given us gold on a platter!  The veggies just taste so much better from the garden.  I have been really surprised by how much.  Dominique is eating the carrots straight out of the garden.  I'm not a huge fan of green beans, but the garden ones taste amazing, the tomatoes are incredible too.  One thing I don't like is trying to keep up with it all and where to put it and today- the kids and I were getting totally grossed out picking little green caterpillars off the broccoli we had harvested.  There were so many! and they are hard to see and to remove- ugh.  But the broccoli does taste so much better and I really hope we don't get any extra protein in the deal!

After apple picking, the kids got to ride a horse (Ivan didn't want to) and have treats Mrs MacPherson had made.

They held the horse and when the realized he wanted to eat...

They held the rope down low to help out.  Such good little ranchers.

Mrs MacPherson then told them all about taking care of horses (they just retired from keeping cows and quite miss them- so it was fun for her to tell the kids about the cattle squeeze and fun for them to learn- ok fun for me too!)

The ferrier came that day too, so we watched as she clipped some huge nails!  I've never liked cutting the kids' nails for fear of hurting them, but it could be worse!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

posting from a while back...

Dominique goes hard all the time and will often crash if immobilized.  Here she was totally out before bed while Brian read the kids a book.  She's also a goner in the van on trips or rides back from the beach.  She gets that from me.

I've noticed this summer that Dominique's hair is starting to get more wave/curl to it.  She doesn't have as much curl as Emora yet, but it's definitely not as straight as it used to be either.

She is so excited for grade one!  She's been excited about it for about 8 months, since she heard that the next grade after kindergarten is grade 1.  All summer, she's asked me when it will start again.

It's going to be a change for Emora and I since Dominique will now be a full time student!  I can't say I'll miss the kindergarten schedule.  It took monumental effort to figure out which days she was there or home and so which days to arrange play dates for her or those for Emora.

Everyone buckled in?

This was the day that Ivan and Dominique got to go with Dominique's best friend Sierra (and her dad) on their boat.  Ivan decided then and there that Sierra was also his best friend and that he was going to marry her.  Poor guy likes to have things planned out and we've told him he really doesn't have to plan EVERYTHING out yet!

We've been so fortunate in that people share clothes with us and we are able to share with others.  Thus said, I had a box of clothes for Dominique to grow into and I thought with school approaching, I'd better see if their jeans still fit (they didn't).  So we bagged up all their too small clothes, which got to go to several households according to whose waists and torso aligned with our kids'.  Both Ivan and Dominique had fits having to say good bye to their beloved clothes, but when they saw the new bounty, their tears turned to excitement.  I couldn't believe how much time it took!  I thought I'd be a few hours and it took a couple of days!- and I haven't even tried to tackle Emora's closet.  Time enough for that later as we get the first two set for the school routine.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Last week!

We just started our last week of freedom I mean, summer vacation.  Unfortunately a fair amount of it was spent feeling out of sorts with sickness or being quaranteed, but we still managed to get in the cousin reunion, swim lessons, time at the beach, camp cousins in Saskatoon and recently a trip out to Motherwell farm.

These pictures were taken quite a while ago, when I decided to take the kids for a walk, up by the Koops' on what is now a blocked off road that borders the lake.  It was so pretty and the kids enjoyed the adventure, we took Saba with us too and Brian got to join us for some of it.

The girls wanted to explore.

I wanted to take pictures.

Ivan wanted to work.

Here is the bouquet we gathered up.  I had wanted to have another beach day before school starts, so with the warm showing up sunny today, off we went to the beach.  I forgot that the water is GREEN at the end of the season.  Dominique totally didn't care and I got a swim in anyways, although just a short one.  I didn't put my head in.  Dominique did and came up totally green and covered in slime.  I don't think our swimsuits will ever be the same... but I so love the sunshine and laughter, the sand and water.  Although we spent the least amount of time in the water that we ever have at the beach, they still had lots of fun eating a picnic, playing on the playground, and running in the trees, rolling down a hill and being somewhere different.  I got to read my novel.  It was pretty great.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Birthday boy

The kids loved making up their own skits once Jenn and I had done our camp cousins portions each day.

The kids were happy when Brian made it out too.

We were trying to get Jac to smile.

Oops, it didn't hold.

This one had a perma grin though when I'd given him his birthday present from mom and I.

Jenn and I had some errands to do, so I had the advantage of having his mom with me at the store to inform me as to what he would really like.  She pegged this guy on the nose. I also got him under age 3 appropriate sesame street action characters to go with the chair.  He was so pleased with them!

Hope you have a great birthday and a wonderful year Isaac!  He is about to be a terrific 2 in one day, although he could easily pass for 3.  It was a delight to hear him talking and to figure out his personality more and more as the years come.