Monday, August 25, 2008

California Dreaming

It has been too long since we have blogged, but we have been busy!! Just to recap the last busy week for you… Monday Disneyland, Tuesday Disneyland, Wednesday Universal Studios, Thursday Sea World and, Friday San Diego Zoo, Saturday & Sunday hanging out with some great family friends who came to hang out with us. Honestly five days & five parks maybe wasn’t the best idea with a three year old & a one year old (or us!), but they did do great. But they are wiped out!

Disneyland was AMAZING!!! It was so different doing it with children – we didn’t even ride one grown up ride, but it was SO fun in different ways. We woke the kids up (still they didn’t know where we were going) & gave Reese a princess costume to wear for the day. We told her she had to look like a princess to meet a princess & she guessed right away that we were going to Disneyland! I think she was more excited about the outfit but that soon changed as we headed to the park. Both Reese and Carter were in awe as we headed through the gates. From our first ride the kids were hooked. Carter called the rides ‘Wee’s’ and constantly said ‘More Wee, More Wee. More Wee’. It was cute. Both Reese and Carter sometimes are shy of characters and new situations so we weren’t sure how they would do when we started meeting the Disney characters. Our first encounter was with Pooh & Tigger. It was Sooooo cute to watch them. Cater walked right up to Tigger & said ‘Hi Tigga’ and hugged his leg. Reese went over & hugged Pooh like he was her long lost father, lasting a good 10 seconds. That was worth the whole day. We rode every ride in Fantasyland, spent countless hours at the Princess Faire listening to stories, meeting princess, and making crafts. The parades were also big hits. Lots of pointing & yelling and excitement. The days were exhausting but so memorable and fun!

We’ll blog more very soon about the other parks. We’re off to the beach tomorrow, then Disneyland on Wednesday to celebrate Reese’s 4th birthday. After that we start to pack up to head home. We’ll be in touch soon!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

We’ve enjoyed the last couple days, but really it’s been ones of preparation for our little adventure to Disneyland. In the midst of our preparation we still had time to head out to one of our friends’ waterski lake. It was beautiful! We didn’t bring our bathing suit but that didn’t stop Jeff from jumping off the dock with all his clothes on. That had a ripple effect and soon both Reese & Carter were both swimming half-naked. When you are a kid, it isn’t really summer unless you go swimming in your underwear! All was fun until carter pooped on their brand new dock! But after that minor mishap (it can happen to anyone, right?), we watched the sunset from the water and enjoyed some great company.

Sunday morning we got up early and headed toward LA to attend Saddleback Church. This is a church of 22 000 people with the pastor Rick Warren, the author of the Purpose-Driven Life. We found out that just the night before, Saddleback hosted both John McCain & Barack Obama for a Presidential discussion on morality and leadership. You know you’re a big church when… We were impressed from the moment we arrived, from the friendly people, the trolley ride from the parking lot to the main campus, to the aquarium for the kids. The service it self was awesome & we were surprised when Michael W. Smith came out to do a number! It was great! The kids both had a blast. We honestly felt like we were at some sort of theme park, but it wasn’t cheesy.

After church we made our way to Anaheim to check into our hotel. It was fun trying to keep Reese occupied so she wouldn’t notice the Disney stuff everywhere! Thankfully she was oblivious to it all. While driving down Disney Way we again saw Michael W. Smith, this time just coming out of a restaurant. First the Queen, now Michael W. Smith! Who’s next? We’re excited for what tomorrow holds…

We also had a chance to see Chris Edwards, a really good friend of ours who was in our Youth Group, and is now touring with Continental Singers. We grabbed dinner as we caught up with our lives and let the kids play. It was great to see him and fun to see what he is involved in now.

We added some pictures of the past couple of days including Carter doing his ‘gunshow’ (he’s got pipes like his daddy), Reese curling up with Michelle while she slept to watch a show, and some pictures at our friends’ lake, including an incredible sunset.

We’re off to bed as tomorrow is going to be a long, fun day!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


We'll admit it...blogging here is not easy! It's not that we're bored at all, but after our time in Israel when everyday we did so much, Palm Springs is a bit of a change of pace. But we continue to soak up so much family time, reading, and fun moments together. It's going to be a bit of a shock come September when schedules go back to normal! But we continue to love every minute of the season we're in.

Carter has discovered two new activities that he loves: basketball and Reese. Carter loves to take his tennis ball, head to Jeff and Michelle's bathroom, and shoot hoops through the towel rack. We've yet to see a ball actually go through, but that hasn't deterred him from trying and trying and...trying. Every shot is reason enough to clap and smile.

His other activity is everything Reese. He loves to watch her, copy her words and actions, sometimes hug her and even wrestle with her. Out of the blue he's also say "Hi Mommy, hi Daddy, hi Duh! (his word for Reese because he can't say her name - perhaps not the most enamoured word to choose). He also loves to play with exactly the same toys that she wants at the exact same time she does, which has led to a few minor disagreements. But they get along great and Reese loves being the big sister.

The kids also haven't lost their love for the pool and they're starting to become part fish. And we're excited that we've had no mishaps in the pool this week! We continue to make the pool a regular part of our day.

We've had Tanya's family in this week so we've enjoyed some adult conversation, and have had a great time with them. We are here this week with regular schedule and then on Sunday we head to Anaheim. We told Reese we're heading there, and she asked us, "Anaheim? Is there anything for kids to do there?" We're going to surprise her and Carter on Monday morning when we wake up there about going to Disneyland (shhhh...don't tell Reese!), then we're off to San Diego for two days before heading back here. It's going to be busy but so much fun.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Chuck E and Wall.E

Three more fun days have passed. The kids are loving having us around 24-7 (at least we like to think so) & we are enjoying some great family time. On Tuesday we found some non-pool fun at Chuck E Cheese’s. As we drove into the mall area and saw the Chuck E Cheese sign Reese yelled out a big “Hi Chucky!” Carter, who is doing everything his big sister does these days, then yelled out his own version of what she said. It was cute. And now, because a lot of the stores and malls here look the same, every mall we drive into Carter still yells, “Hi Chucky!” We just go along with it. We had a blast there, and judging from Michelle dropping tokens at the Skeeball maybe the parents had more fun than the kids. Carter played so hard his pants kept falling down.

It actually rained Wednesday morning so we wanted to find something indoors in town to do. We found the perfect solution in a movie. We were excited because it was Carter’s first time, but at the same time we were a little nervous about how he would do - he doesn't seem to have quite the attention span Reese did at 20 months - boys eh! (But then Reese can’t throw a ball like Carter can!). We had our exit strategy all planned out but Carter did great! We watched Wall.E, Disney Pixar’s newest movie. It is about a robot named Wall.E who inadvertently saves the earth (sorry for the spoiler but did anyone really think he was going to die?). The first half or so of the movie has no talking, but as always Pixar did a great job keeping our attention. Carter did walk up & down the aisles, checked out the people in front of us lots, and even fell down the stairs once, but all in all it was a lot of fun. If any of you get a chance to go you should, it was worth it.

Later in the day we also had the opportunity to head to some outlets for some shopping. This outlet was by far the biggest we have seen with over 150 humongous stores to shop in. Most were fancy-out-of-our-range-even-with-70%-off, but with Michelle’s keen sense for a bargain we were able to find some deals. It was also a great way to get exercise, as we’re sure we did at least a couple of miles to the end of the outdoor mall and back. And in 100 degree-plus weather it must have had at least triple the effect!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Soak City

The last couple of days here have been a blast – and wet. Reese and Carter got an early birthday present to go to Soak City, a huge water park here complete with waterslides, tube rides, a massive wave pool, a huge lazy river and a kids’ play area with about a million gallons of water per second spraying out at you. It was like Cultus Lake waterslides times a hundred. Well, we wanted to go but it was just a matter of finding the right day (ie. cooler day). We have found the temperature varies about 1 degree here so far, so threw caution to the wind and decided Monday was as good a day as any. We packed up and headed out.

The day turned out to be perfect. It was the first day we have actually seen anything resembling a cloud, and the clouds got bigger and bigger throughout the morning. By 11am the sun was covered and it even starting to rain (about 10 drops an hour)! We didn’t care, it was cooler (in the 90’s) which made the day completely tolerable and so much fun, and the park wasn’t that busy. It felt like a story right out of the Bible where God provided (cloud and) rain for his people when they needed it most!

We’ve gotta tell one story that we can laugh at now. It was just after lunch when Reese was finished eating and wanted to get back into the water. We were just beside the .lazy river – which was the length of a football field and wasn’t really that lazy at all – and Reese starting inching towards the stairs. We told her to wait as we were just finished our burger and cleaning up. We turned our heads for two seconds and next thing we hear is “Hey mommy! Help!” We looked and saw Reese floating down the river! Luckily for us Reese had a lifejacket on and was surrounded by about 7 adults who seemed to wonder why a 3-year-old would be floating down the river by herself. Michelle rushed into the water to ‘rescue’ Reese (she was totally fine as the adults and a lifeguard just pulled her aside to Michelle), and we went on with our day. Let’s just say we gave Reese a good talking to! First Carter, now Reese….hmmm…maybe it’s not the kids! We went on and had such a fun rest of our day. Reese found a kid’s slide about 20 feet long that she did over and over and over…and over, and Carter couldn’t keep his eyes off of some kids playing basketball.

Today was a little more relaxing (more relaxing than a fun day at Soak City?) and we went to the pool twice – without any incidents we might add! One event highlighting today that we only found out about this morning was that it was Wynona’s birthday (Reese’s favourite doll, who trekked through Hezekiah’s tunnel with us and floated in the Dead Sea). Reese asked if we got decorations, and we hadn’t unfortunately because we didn’t even know it was her birthday, so we improvised with a little toilet paper for streamers and cut-out paper flowers. Wynona had a pretend beautiful birthday cake and even got some presents from Reese (which looks eerily similar to toys from her closet). We thought it was over but Reese told us that today was only her birthday, and that tomorrow her birthday party awaits. Maybe this is where we put our foot down?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sun, Sun, Sun!

It’s August 3rd, and already we’ve been here for 6 days. We needed our car down here, but thought twice about driving with the kids on the 2000-km trek. So we opted to have Michelle fly with them while Jeff drove. Except for Jeff being scared he would be carjacked while he slept at a Rest Stop, both car and plane went very well and we made our way to Palm Springs.

We feel a wee bit guilty blogging because of how amazing things are here! We are staying in a 2-bedroom condo which is perfect and overlooks a pond, pool, palm trees, and mountains. With all of that set against a pitch blue sky all day, it can’t get much better.

It is a little on the warm side, especially for us West Coast Canadians who don’t get really hot temperatures very much. It has been about 42-44 C everyday, and today the humidity was about 85%. It really is like sticking your head in an oven. But as hot as it is we really don’t feel it because of a little thing called AC. Oh, beloved air conditioning. It might as well be 75 C outside, when we’re sitting inside looking out we don’t feel a thing! Michelle is getting darker, and if you look really close you can almost see a tan on Jeff – almost.

We’ve settled into a great pattern here. After getting up and enjoying a quick breakfast, it’s off to the pool for a couple of hours. The kids are loving the water (what kid doesn’t) and are feeling more and more comfortable swimming. Reese has found a new best friend in her little floatie, going anywhere as long as that thing is around her. Carter, on the other hand, prefers to go free, at least until yesterday. On three different occasions (with us close by of course) he tried walking on water and three times he failed. Needless to say he’s wearing the water wings, lifejacket, floatie, and pool noodle from now on! After our pool time we hang out until lunch then retreat to the comforts of the house for the afternoon while Carter naps. After that it’s an early supper then an evening activity in the city somewhere before bed. We’ve been visiting churches, reading, and having great family time.

One crazy thing has happened so far…on our second day here we were doing some errands and stopped at McDonald’s for lunch. We had just sat down and suddenly Michelle turned to me and said, “I think I just felt an earthquake!” I turned to her and said, “really?...hmmm…hey, can you pass the ketchup?” No one else in the place even budged and we didn’t think anything of it again. Well, later in the day when we went on the internet, we found out a 5.4 quake it southern California at the exact moment Michelle felt it! Crazy. Michelle hasn’t stopped pointing that out since, and every time a truck goes by she’s convinced The Big One is coming.

We’ll continue to keep you updated on our fun times!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Home on the Range

Wow, it’s hard to believe that it’s been so long since we last blogged…

Adjusting back home from Israel took a while for us and the kids. We stayed at good friends’ of ours the entire time at home while our place is rented out for the summer. For the first 4 days we were on a nice routine of waking up at 4:00AM - we were amazed at everything we could get done before seven! But day by day we slowly returned to normal time. We really missed Israel but at the same time we were glad to be back in Langley. We’re still amazed at how versatile the kids have been without a regular schedule. Reese and Carter were so excited to be back in our car again but haven’t even batted an eye at the fact that they’ve been out of their beds for over 2 months now.

Our two and a half weeks in Langley were full and fun. Jeff took a Regent College class down on UBC campus for one of the weeks. He enjoyed an indepth look into the book of 2 Timothy - but didn't enjoy the hour and 20 minute commute - each way. Beyond that we filled our time with tons of post & pre trip errands and reconnecting with good friends and family. Shawn & Kimberley (Michelle's brother & wife) and girls came for a short visit, Michelle's good friend Adrianne & her cute new baby Elsa came for a week as well as Lynae which allowed for a short girls reunion. We visited the water park, biked the sea wall, Michelle did some much anticipated garage sale-ing. We visited Cultus Lake and made numerous walks around Fort Langley. It was perfect. After all the Israel laundry finally got washed we packed it all up again for the last portion of our sabbatical. Thanks to generous family friends sharing their condo with us we are able to spend a month resting in sunny Palm Springs.

We’ll be sure to keep you updated with our California adventures!