My sister Dayna and her (now) husband Matthew (Our sister Courtney is also dating a Matthew)(We’re keeping things simple around here)(On that note, my Matthew’s sister is a Jennifer and his brother married a Jennifer)(It can be confusing for the kids) got married last week in Victoria.

Matt and Dayna are world travellers, and spent the month of August exploring Canada and the U.S. before and after their wedding. They came through our area two weeks ago with their entourage on the way to their wedding and it was so great to sit on our deck with them, to help with wedding preparations, to take them on a wine tour, and to spend time at the beach.

Wine Tour

The plethora of New Zealand accents was pretty awesome.

 

Our friend Rahul

Rahul is their new BFF.

I moved in with my Dad and Mom when Dayna was a one-year-old and seeing her all grown up always makes me pause. She’s so stunning, inside and out, and her intolerance for B.S. makes me love her even more.

On the one morning, Matt and his sister wanted to go for a run (Yay!) and so I drove the three of us down to the lakeshore and we ran 6 km. I loved the chance to get to know them both a little better and to show them more of our pretty little town. Matt and Dayna have mentioned wanting to end up here eventually, so one can only hope it happens.

We headed to Victoria, and here’s our trip, in picture form:

On the ferry!

On the ferry!

(We headed back inside right away, because we’re delicate flowers who aren’t used to chilly ocean temperatures and cold winds.)

Our hotel wasn’t ready for us to check in when we arrived, so I took my kids a few blocks away to see the Parliament buildings. (That’s government/legislature buildings for my American friends.)
Victoria!

Parliament Buildings

I got to spend some time with my Daddy.

Me and My Daddy

My brother Lance — the same brother who lived with us when he first graduated from high school, and is the Best! Uncle! Ever! — was the MC for the wedding, and also the tour guide on the bus that was rented to shuttle us all to the wedding venue.

Ron Burgundy

(I have the funniest family ever.)

My kids rocked the props while their Auntie and (New!) Uncle Matt were getting their wedding photos taken.

Photo Booth!

It was a whirlwind trip, but it was so great on so many levels.

I’m so happy that we got to be there, and so happy for my sweet Dayna Belle that she has a man who loves her so. Here’s to a lifetime of happiness!

 

Nathan, my second boy, my middle child, turns ten today.

Nathan

Ten. Double digits. Still a boy, but veering toward being a man. His legs get longer every day and he is now only a few inches shorter than I am.

Tall dude

(I’m 5’7″. Our Doctor thinks he’ll be about 6’4″ when he finally stops growing.)

He is my Nathan, my Nate Diggity, my Heen, my Green-Eyed Monster.

He loves soccer and basketball, street hockey and running. He loves his new scooter that he got from his aunties, and he loves taking jumps on the ski hill. He is our Sporto, and has not found a sport than he did not love and could not conquer.

He has a smile that lights up his face, the room, and the house three doors over. Hugs are his love language and he needs at least fifty a day. If you ask him for a hug, that smile explodes and he will wrap his arms (and legs) around you. He may take a few minutes to let go.

[click to continue…]

Dykstra Lake

I am a fan of summer — I’ve always been a fan of summer — but this summer is starting to wear on me. We live in a desert climate, and water restrictions always happen in the summer because we get so very little rain. June is usually our “rainy” month (in quotes, because it’s nothing like you’ll see at the Coast), but this June was sunny and warm. The sunshine and warmth have been continuous since then, with a day or two of rain, and it’s hot and dry and dusty.

These conditions are conducive to wildfires and we’ve had a number of them in our area. Two large ones surrounded Apex last month, and there have been many others in our area. Another one flared up yesterday in Penticton. The smoke in the air today is thick — so thick that it looks apocalyptic — and we’re all feeling it in our throats. We’re drinking more water than we usually do (We drink a lot of water) in the hops that we can wash the dryness away. The forecast is hopeful in that thundershowers are supposed to happen, but a little frightening in that the rainfall predicted is minimal and we really don’t need any more lightning strikes.

Fires aside, the heat has gotten to me — US — because there hasn’t been any reprieve. While I like 28 degrees Celsius (82 F), we’ve been hovering in the high 30s (100F) and at one point hit 42 C (108 F).

Surface of the sun

(Greetings from the surface of the sun.)

I was on my own with the kids, it was too hot to do anything other than sit in the lake, and I made an executive decision.

We were going to the cabin.

We packed up the dogs, enough food for two days and one night, and drove up the mountain. We parked in the driveway and it was 24 degrees. TWENTY FOUR DEGREES. I opened all of the cabin windows and breathed in the cool air and felt like my melted brain was cooling off and coming back together. We went for a drive so the kids could show me a mountain lake they’d found with Matthew when I was in L.A. It was so shallow, it was the same temperature as our lake down below, but without the searing heat from the sun.

Swimming!

The break from the heat was exactly what we all needed, and if the predicted rain doesn’t materialize (It often doesn’t in desert country — I think they like to give false hope) we’ll have to make another drive up there soon. I can’t take the heat, and I’m staying out of the kitchen. (Here. Up there, I can turn the oven on and it’s such a novelty right now.)

 

IMG_0262Summer is always quiet around here, but this summer I’ve been quieter than normal. It’s not that I don’t have any stories — I do! So many stories! — it’s that I literally have had no time to spend on the computer to do anything than paid work. The main reason stems back to the beginning of July, and it’s something that I haven’t written about here yet.

Matthew has started a two-year Masters program in Leadership.

He spent the entire month of July living with his sister and her family while getting up at 6 a.m. and falling into bed at midnight. (He finished his courses with a 92 average. Go, Honey!) With him being gone, that meant that I was flying solo here at home for a month, balancing work and the kids without him to be here to help keep that balance. I wanted to write about the solo-parenting thing, but I didn’t feel like broadcasting to the Internet that I was Home Alone. That left me with little to say, because it was a big part of my daily life, and so even if I had the time, I felt backed up, so to speak.

Parenting solo (In person — Matthew was always available to talk if he wasn’t in class) was hard, but doable, especially now that kids are older. Him being away helped them to see how much it takes to run this place and they really stepped up around here. Graham discovered that he loves cleaning the bathrooms (I don’t know either) and even gave himself a super-hero name: Bathroom Man. He’s also really good at folding laundry and enjoys doing it. (I have no problem keeping on top of washing and drying the clothes. It’s getting them put away that I’m horrible at.)

The other two stepped up as well. Nathan took over collecting and washing the chicken eggs, and vacuuming the house. Emily loves vacuuming as well, and also loves to clean windows and counters. All three of them now unload and load the dishwasher and help with dinner clean up more than they used to. Running a home is a lot of work and they made it less overwhelming.

All was not completely rosy, though. After we returned from our trip to Vancouver, all three kids got ear infections. Nathan’s was an outer ear infection and the other two had an inner ear infection. Then the next week, Graham got an outer ear infection. As I was waiting for his ear drops prescription, a friends walked up and asked me how I was doing. I burst into tears. (If I hadn’t been asked that, I would have held it together.) Balancing everything on my own was exhausting, and sick kids on top of it was my final straw.

Then one thing I haven’t mentioned (here — FB friends are in the loop) is that the week Matthew left for school, something happened that threw things into hyperdrive.

We decided to put our house up for sale. That’s a story for another day (It’s a good one), but purging and cleaning (and purging and cleaning) until 11:00 every night on top of everything else made for a very tired Angella and when the kids got sick (Twice!) I lost it.

That all said, Matthew is home now (Yay!) and we’re still busy purging and cleaning (and purging and cleaning) and hosting a revolving door of friends and family. The last batch arrives tonight and once they’ve moved on, I’ll start catching up and sharing my stories.

So that’s where I’ve been, and that’s a bit of what’s going on, and I miss reading your stories. Did I miss anything important while I’ve been vanquishing dust bunnies?

Well, hello there. We’re still in the midst of the #deepcleanof2014 and while a lot has been done, there is so much more to still be done. Our friends came last Saturday and conquered so much. So, so much. I’ve fallen into a daily routine of running/boot camp, followed by work, followed by cleaning, followed by beach time (We’re on our second heat wave of the summer), followed by more cleaning when the sun sets and our house has cooled off.

I’ve been meaning to post finished rooms as I go, and now that the bulk of the purging is done, I thought I’d log in and share our master bedroom. The craft room is just off of our bedroom, and here are a few photos to show you my (inside) happy place.

Bed

(Matthew built our bed and side tables. He also built the floor and did all of the renovations in our house. He’s good with wood. (Ha.))

French doors

(There’s the vanity that Miss Emily the Enabler encouraged me to buy on our girls’ trip two years ago.)

The Vanity

Ensuite bathroom, on the right.

View of the craft room

There’s that (immaculate) craft room in the background.

Ensuite

I love our bathroom.

The bath

A little blurry, but so am I right now. Late nights and early mornings and I don’t really stop moving until I hit the pillow at the end of the day. But it feels so great. And freeing.

 

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