Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Pemberton

The Mar-Lors: Joining forces.

What better sight to come home to than this?  bike park

Our kids have transformed the driveway into a mini bike park and in doing so, seem to have further cemented the merging of families with the neighbors.

Rare is the day when we find ourselves being “just” the five of us.  More often than not, Rowan is here on his bike or the kids are playing some complicated games of insert-name-here.  Anja and Sophie can usually be found squirreled away somewhere, raising a family of snails or raiding each other’s’ closets.  In fact, Anja decided to move there last week.  All 5 kids helped her pack.

besties

Editor’s note: she didn’t go through with it. 

Do they fight?  Sure.  But don’t all families?

bikes

I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Every day, I’m thankful that my kids have the comfort of knowing they have another family steps away, across the street.  We rely on each other for help, laughs, advice and friendship.

family dinner

Living in a small, amazing community really does have its perks.

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Biking, Family, Kids, Pemberton, QOTD, Racing, weekend

QOTD and weekend foreboding

Tomorrow, I’ll be throwing a leg over my mountain bike and doing my first “real” mountain bike race in probably 8 years.  The Nimby 50 is tomorrow morning and seeing as it’s about 50ft from the backdoor, I’ll be giving it a go.  My goals are simple:

1. Don’t die.

2. Don’t break any bones (except, maybe, for the one that’s still broken. That’ll give me reason to go ahead with the surgery I don’t want).

3. Finish before they start pulling down the Finish Chute and still be capable to eat the burgers/drink the beer!

4. Reinforce my race mantra that there’s no shame and walking and that chatting to volunteers is the best part of the day.

5. Ride faster than the mosquitos on the uphills.

I asked the boys if they’d come and cheer for me.  Will replied:

“Yeah, maybe.  We’ll have to see what the weather does”.

Touching.

I hope to have a full & fun report up soon, as well as some good before/after pics.  The big decision I’m wrestling with right now is whether or not to bring a camera.  Sigh, first world problems.

On a similar note, the boys are really into their bikes right now and have set a goal for the summer of riding all the “Blue” trails in Pemberton.  We’re off to a good start!

Family, Kids, Travel

Tales from the road

Alternate blog titles:
-WTF was I thinking;
-wow, this is further than I thought;
-“hey, it’s only 36 more miles to Mexico!”

Well, we made it.

Road trip chronicles: day 1

I set the bar pretty low in terms of successful touch points for day 1: no puking, minimal crying, no getting lost and not eating every single snack I pack. Day 1 = success!

Liz sent the following recommendations:
Driver picks music: moot point as the raining was pounding down so hard at we couldn’t hear it anyway.
Don’t eat at chain restaurants: does eating at White Spot before we left Vancouver count?
Pit stops/pee breaks by majority: no. I force peeing on everyone except Will, who enjoys peeing once a day on I-5 in rush hour traffic.
Do something that bores the kids: wait till I bust out the adult audiobooks.

We made it to Eugene, crashed out.

Day 2:

More rain. Goal: California, maybe as far south as San Francisco. Reality: get stuck in a decent snowstorm near Ashland, OR and end up stranded in Yreka, CA due to the fact that California highway patrol closed the freeway. Follow ST’s rules and eat at the Purple Plum. Terrible. But! Our hotel has a 10ft square pool, so woo! Holiday!

Day 3:
Hey, wow – rain! More dangerous drivers in moderate snow but we make it almost to San Luis Obispo before the truck breaks down in a gas station parking lot… Long story boiled down: gas up, car won’t start, call a tow truck, get towed to a GMC dealership, Jay fiddles with fuses and voila! Car starts. 2h45 we won’t ever get back. We load back up and mission to Ventura.

Day 4. San Diego and thank god for that.

More to come, provided we don’t kill each other. 2 days till Noel…

Oh – to my friends who called me out for popping up on social media when I said I was. Taking a break: thank you. I’m sticking to it now. I’ll post this but I’m not checking up in anyone!

Update: dec 24th. Rain!

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Day-to-day life, Kids, Pemberton

Pointless rant.

I’ll admit it.  I judge people by what they put into their shopping cart at the grocery store.  In line to pay, I glance back and wonder why you’d buy the white wonder bread that is stocked right next to something a teeny bit more wholesome.  Pushing my cart past the produce, I wonder why someone buys 6 frozen pizzas but not a single fruit or vegetable.  It’s none of my business, but I can’t help question it.

I avoid going to our local grocery store here at lunch time for the simple reason that it both depresses and enrages me.

Why?

Because that’s where the high school kids go to buy “lunch”.  I stand back (or, let’s face, get bowled over half the time) and watch these kids, many of whom are overweight or clearly headed in that direction make their purchases.  Chocolate doughnut and giant can for Rockstar?  Check.  Family-size bag of doritos and a 2L bottle of Coke?  Yum.  Can of Monster AND a can of Coke?  Bring it on!

I can’t help but feel sorry for the teachers who get to witness the sugar crash/food coma that must follow this intake of junk.  I want to take these kids and shake them!  I wonder if they know better and are simply making the choice to ignore what they know.  Or worse (is it?) are they legitimately ignorant of the basics of normal nutrition?

I’m by NO means a saint when it comes to what I eat.  I have a sweet tooth that is rivaled only by my salt tooth. In fact, last night I dumped out all the leftover Halloween candy, ate what I wanted and dumped the rest in the trash.  But that only happens once in a blue moon and I understand that moderation is a good thing.  Plus, I know how to work it off.

How do we convey this moderation to our kids?  I’m proud that my kids request salad for dinner and think fruit salad is “fun”.  Do they love candy, chips and treats?  Absolutely.  Do I hope that someone regulates the intake of energy drinks in kids soon?  You bet I do.  In fact, take that crap off the market or sell it in a liquor store.  There is nothing you can argue that will convince me that kids need that kind of stuff, much less in the middle of a school day.

–end rant–

Biking, CITS, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, QOTD

Progress report

Yeah, you’re all dying to know. Did I or didn’t I bail on the week 1 cooking challenge do-over?

I attempted a few new recipes and re-jigged a few kid favourites (to their ABSOLUTE HORROR.) Among other things, I “invented” a veggie stir-fry that I really liked, the kids thought it was essentially poison. Have you ever watched a 4-year old pick grains of rice out of a plate one-by-one? Entertainment at its finest. Chocolate pudding? WINNING. I didn’t tell them it was made with avocado.

I’ll continue on with my personal quest this week and see what I manage. True confession, though: it’s a lot easier to learn to like wine than it is to like cooking…

What is it with this time of year that ignites my inner consumer? I’d been doing a pretty good job of purging and keeping my desire to acquire things in check, but lately every time I turn around I see something that I have. To. Have. It’s ridiculous.

I think I need to initiate some kind of reward/earning system for myself to justify some of this desire… (that being said, I can pretty much talk myself out of anything, so maybe that’s what I need to be working on). That elephant ring on Etsy? Must cook 15 original meals. That new cycling kit? Must… um… earn it somehow?

Is this something you do? Tell me more, if so. How do you justify your treats?

Rory, trying the guacamole I made: “I don’t really like it but I kind of love it”.

Will: “Sometimes, when you slow down, things come to you rather than having to chase them”.

CITS is kind of in hiatus these days… it’s just me and my bike. I can’t run comfortably so I’m trying to get re-acquainted with my mountain bike. I wonder why I like riding more in the cold and wet than in the warm sun? Weird.

Kids

QOTD

We were all loaded into the truck and driving to Vancouver early this morning. The following conversation actually happened.

Rory: “Mum, I had a dream that Auntie Lizzie is getting married.”

Me: “Well, as a matter of fact, she is”.

Will: “Rory, ca c’est, comment dit-on, a dream come true”.
(Translation: “that is, how do you say, a dream come true”.)

My boys are closet romantics.

CITS, Day-to-day life, Family, Kids, Pemberton, Racing, Running, Whistler

Rubble Creek and random thoughts

Rubble Creek Classic

Last week, Jen and I, accompanied by 30 friends/strangers ran the Rubble Creek Classic .  Chicks in the Sticks go racing!  We’ve been wanting to do this run for years and we finally committed; or rather, I signed Jen and I up whether she liked it or not.  Neither of us have gotten in much quality training of late but the day was spectacular and well worth the effort of getting up early and running 24K.

About 8 km of climbing, a random number of kms of flats around the base of Black Tusk and then 10 painful kms of down, down, down… I felt that run for days.

It was mostly worth it because I had the most spectacular nap that afternoon.

Fact

“If you want something done, give it to the busiest person you know”.  Truer words were never spoken – to me, anyway.  I’ve been “retired” for about 3 weeks now and I am struggling to relax and feeling the need to fill my days with tasks and projects.  I’m afraid that if I slow down, I’ll never get going again.

Fall

It’s Fall now, pretty much officially.  Shorter days, cold mountain mornings.  I love the leaves, the light, the change.  I don’t love having to layer the kids in clothing.  I’m counting the days till the can dress themselves intelligently to head into the cold outdoors.

Early runs now start in the dark… harder to pry oneself out of bed, that’s for sure.  This morning’s CITS run was the 2nd Annual-Earn-That-Turkey-Dinner-run through the Mosquito Lake trails.  The sunrise made it special, as did the fact that we were done by 8:45am.

Thankful

There is much to be thankful for this year.  Despite the loss of my mother a few weeks ago, I am thankful for being surrounded by such good friends, ridiculous children, a close-knit family and some pretty nice physical surroundings.  Frankly, there isn’t much I can complain about.

Ed: is it thankful FOR or thankful that I?  See?  Told you I wasn’t a writer.

QOTD

Anja and I fly to Quebec tomorrow to prepare for Mum’s celebration of life.  She is very excited about prospect of “fwying on da aiyapwane”.  Little does she know that flying is basically like sitting in a car for 5 hours, but with a bathroom.  I can’t bring myself to burst her bubble.  I have, however, drilled the notion of sky martials into their towheads.  Scream and the “sky martian” is allowed to open the door at the back of the plane and “fwow you out!”

Parenting 101.  Fear and mild skepticism.

Family, Kids, Pemberton

On playing hookie

I’m a big believer in the importance of education.  I consider my family to be extremely fortunate to be educated in French in BC.  We’re privileged enough to have small classrooms, outstanding teachers and programs that allow our kids to experience different things other than just sitting behind a desk 24/7.

This past weekend, we were chatting with friends who were telling us about their own experiences with their schools.  For instance, they were reprimanded when they took their kindergartner out of school for a week to go to India (India!)  Others are charged $200 per absence because truancy levels are so high where they live.

Personally, I think that is outrageous.  I want my kids to experience a diverse education.  If that means that I’ll pull my first grader out of school for one day to do something I think has value, I will.  If I want to give the kids the opportunity to travel somewhere exotic (or not), I’d like to do that without penalty (within reason, of course).  Granted, growing up, if we weren’t bleeding from our eyeballs, we didn’t skip school – ever.  I don’t regret that because our weekends were so wildly different from our Monday-Friday life.

All this long winded diatribe to say that it was great to pull Will out of school today to take him and Rory to hike the Chief in Squamish.  I’d been promising/threatening to take them all summer and with the weather about to turn and empty retirement days looming, I thought it would be a great time to do it.

The boys did great.  The hike was no joke and we made it to just beyond the second peak. Saved by some PB&J sandwiches in the sun, we ventured back down and had some very amusing chats about a variety of topics on our way down: Star Wars, manners, Omi, squirrels, walking sticks, burping and sore muscles to name but a few.  I’ve heard that the best way to communicate with young boys is while they are moving.  If my kids are any indication, it’s 100% true.

We didn’t make record time by any means but there was sunshine, limited whining, minimal blood and no fights.  I’ll call that a win.