We're an adventurous family, taking all opportunities to travel and get out and about as much as possible. From our quick day trippin' to weekenders to week and even month long trips I hope to capture as much as I can in this Blog.

Please enjoy our photos and my words and feel free to leave a comment at the end of the post; I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Little C lovin' the cats

But are they lovin' her??

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Shanghai Quail

Bump in the night day. Have you ever heard a small bump or knock on the window and simultaneously seen a few feathers flying. You rush to the window and see the tell tale signs that a birdie has tried to fly through your home, to only unceremoniously get a zinger of a headache (or maybe even a fatal broken neck).

When I was younger and living at my parents home, any commotion like above would lead to a race. The mad dash would be between myself and one of our family cats. They could have been dead asleep in a small sunny patch on a comfy sofa, but the sound of a bird hitting the window would launch them like a catapult straight into the air and have them scrambling to the door to get outside so they could feast on it's little lifeless body. I on the other hand was sprinting to the bird to save it. Hoping that the glass didn't break it's neck and praying I could gather the fledgling in my hands and snuggle it away in a warm blanket inside a shoe box where it would get it's strength back, shake of the shock, and fly back into the blue sky.

Many many birds were handled with care this way in my youth, and many more were D.O.A and informally thrown over the back fence where they would no doubt end up dinner for any of the neighborhood cats. It wasn't the D.O.A ones I was particularly fond of, obviously. The ones that needed my help benefited from the fact that when I was 3 I decided I was destined to become a Vet, marry a Vet, and have a house full of animals to tend to.

I do have one vivid memory as a child, and for those who know me and my quasi-Alzheimer's like mind this is quite unique: me remembering anything at all from my childhood. This specific memory takes me back to 1984 or there abouts. We had 2 family cats, brother and sister, Smokey and Ginger. They were gorgeous, long furred, loving, patient, killing machines. Our house looked out onto a big canyon. There was a huge pine tree in our back yard where Blue Jays would nest and rear their young. One spring morning there was a brouhaha of sorts out back below the pine tree. Blue Jays squeaking, cats meowing....this could only mean one thing. I charged out back and to my horror witnessed my beloved Smokey crouched low on the ground with a teeny tiny featherless baby Blue Jay in his jaws. I screamed so violently he dropped the baby and ran off. I was able to collect baby, featherless and trembling and inspect him for any puncture wounds. He looked intact. I placed him in some bushes and appealed to the Cat God above to help his mummy find him and get him back to his nest.

The memory terminates there. Maybe it does so because I want so badly to NOT remember little featherless fledglings don't magically swoosh back up to their nests, get fed and cared for my their mummies, and fly away all healthy and peacefully a few weeks later. A case of self inflicted amnesia? Maybe. Most likely I really DID think that miracles happened and went on my merry 10 year old way to play with my hamster and patch up my friendship with Smokey (after giving him a huge lesson on what-not-to-eat!)

This all brings me back around to things that go bump. I'll start by saying that my flower pot in my rock garden just underneath my living room window has sprouted the most stunning orange flower a couple weeks ago. I had all but given up on flowers as it was cold, Fall, and getting to be the time to discard soil and plants, and tuck away the pots until the Spring. So imagine my surprise when I saw this new floret.

Most mornings when I open the front drapes, I peer down to his little orange head, shining up toward the heavens, and say hello. This morning I was a little late in saying hello. I was already firmly attached to the living room floor playing blocks with the kids. I glanced outside to the pot to say my usual (in my head of course) hello, and gasped instead. Little B wanted to know what was wrong, Big B looked over questionably. I quickly diffused the situation by telling Little B that I was just gasping at the beauty of the morning. Before I go any further, let me show you my glorious little flower in all his beauty.

Now from a bit farther away so you can get an idea of his lonely but majestic existence in my flower pot.

But wait...what in the world!!!???!!! Could it be???? I surely don't remember planting any seeds that would eventually sprout feathers and legs.....especially of the upside down Quail variety?

Oh wait, so the bump that Brent heard yesterday is making more sense now. The simple, brainless Quail must have thought he could fly through glass - walloped his head, snapped his neck, and spiraled downward until he landed softly in my little flower pot THANKFULLY keeping clear of my dear fiore.

Now I'm no funeral photographer, but I think I did him justice, don't you?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pumpkin Pickin'

Today was a beautiful sunny October day. Perfect for traveling to the Pumpkin Patch and picking us some choice orange Cucurbitaceae. I bet you thought pumpkins were vegetables right? Well turns out those orange, sometimes green, yellow and even white objects are really fruit!

In fact, it's a berry. Pumpkins belong to the family Cucurbitaceae, which includes cucumbers, melons, squash, and gourds. Within this family is the genus Cucurbita which includes gourds, winter and summer squash, and all varieties of pumpkin. There are four species that are considered "pumpkins," but only one is the species most people would recognize as the traditional pumpkin used for carving jack-o-lanterns and baking pies.

The cutest pumpkin variety is the Californian, as seen below:

So off we went in the middle of our ever so productive Sunday to drive 1/2 an hour north to the Reid Pumpkin Patch just past Oliver. Hauling Big B away from his insulation and drywall project he has going on in his garage was easier than I thought.
I on the other hand had just started the daunting task of vacuuming the entire house: corners, blinds, ceilings, and light fixtures included. I wasn't too thrilled with putting the hose down as I was right in the thick of it, but when I heard Big B beckoning, I knew it was now or never.

The Patch was quite the hoppin' place. We bumped into another O'Town family and the kids had fun romping around together. Pumpkins picked we headed back to the scale, weighed up and paid our dues. I don't know what I am going to do with all of them yet. I have read some pretty delicious recipes such as pumpkin butter and home made pumpkin pie.

They'll probably just sit on the front porch unmolested until some hormonal prepubescent teenager makes road art out of them. Oh my poor pumpkins, hopefully that isn't their fate!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Faster than fast....

Lightning McQueen was racing around the Provincial Park today. "Can you see the leaves flying" he would scream to me as he peddled through the fallen colors. "Yes honey, I can see the leaves flying!" He needs to know this. It defines him as a racer. Even with the training wheels....he's a racer, there's no denying it. As soon as he gets the hang of using the brakes, I'll be OK with this fact. Until then though, we'll be racing right along with him stopping him from tumbling head first into the cold lake!

What a gorgeous Saturday. The Park gate is now closed so people, dogs, and kids alike can walk the few kilometers it offers without any fear of car or truck.
This m
akes it perfect for little boys learning to ride bikes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Exchanging trash for treasure

A handful of times since I have known my dear husband, I have traveled with him to various Swap Meets around B.C, Washington, Oregon, and even California. A few of them we literally stumbled upon but most are planned weeks, and months in advance. Hotels need to be booked as far as a year in advance. Days off work coordinated with travel time + extra curricular NON-swap meet outings equals a well thought out and premeditated family holiday.

The annual Portland Swap Meet had us twice booked in for 6 days. Presented by six Portland Oregon area antique car clubs, The Portland Swap Meet is the largest auto parts swap meet on the west coast with approximately 4,200 vendor stalls and over 50,000 shoppers each April at the Portland Expo Center. Enjoying as much as the Children's Museum, Portland Zoo, and downtown markets as well as 3 days of Swap Meet Heaven. By heaven I mean literally, for Big B...heaven. I don't think he would get more excited if In n' out Burger had a grand Opening in our home town! Virtual lists of car parts, wheels, tires, and miscellaneous old car items dance in his head as does Santa's Toy List in a child's head the night before Christmas.

The major goal for him and all 49,879 people at any given Meet is to tour the ENTIRE meet in as little time as possible as early as possible for that once over observation. Simultaneously marking on their 'virtual' lists what items are where and for how much. This sounds like an easy feat, but acre after acre after literal acre of ground covered in what appears to be the same ol' sh%&t, I can honestly say it's impossible to get my bearings much less take note of how much Bob at stall 678 wants for his heater motor versus Andy at stall 6647 is asking for his steering wheel.

The natural course of events for us is to crawl out of bed at an ungodly hour, bundle up, drive to the Meet in hopes there's still available parking in close proximity, enter said Meet, cruise the entire Meet; B looking at parts, me desperately seeking a good Coffee Hut; try to find a clean bathroom to get rid of all that coffee, rewind and do the whole thing over about 17 times until I fall flat on my arse in exhaustion and have to be rushed back to the Hotel Room for a much needed siesta. Now that we have children a few key things have changed. Most significantly is my refusal to drag one or two of the little brats through a Swap Meet at 7am. Nestled warm in our hotel beds is usually where we stay until well past the crack of dawn.

This past weekend however I closed the door on my nagging suspicions that an early morning, freezing cold, wet and miserable Swap Meet would do me and my kidlets ANY good at all and agreed to climb into the truck at 7am accompanied by 2 bleary eyed children and a jubilant husband. Red eyed myself I asked myself what in tarnation I was doing as we rolled up to a virtually abandoned parking lot at the 40th Annual Monroe Swap Meet. Vendors were still pulling in the gates, some stalls still had the tarps covering the goods, and 99% of the folks looked cold, including us.

Either the effect of growing up a car salesman's daughter or being married to a carnut and subsequently becoming enthralled in vehicles, is that I myself have a newfound passion. To own a Gasser. Much like this one below:

The fog was thick, the air moist, noses dripping, fingers freezing, and it didn't take long for the tears to start. Little C lasted around 60 minutes until she let us know she was having NONE of it. She was showing the effects of waking up in our Motel at 5:30am. What do you expect traveling with a baby, a 4 year old, a dog, and a Motel full of early birds banging around at 5am?

By now the Meet was swarming with potential buyers, sellers, and barterers of tin & trash. We weaved ourselves plus our 2 snotty, sniveling, whining kids back to the truck and I scooted back to the Motel where Little C fell fast asleep and Little B and I watched some cartoons. A couple hours later when we were all rested and more able to function on what little sleep we did have, we trucked it back to the Meet and found Daddy with his buddies from Vancouver. Did I mention I was the ONLY wife half witted enough to accompany her husband to this particular Swap meet?
Curled up tighter than a can of sardines, Big B's friends had a $250.00 truck and camper, a cooler full of pop and beer, hot dogs and chips, and no crying whining babies. No doubt their wives were at home getting pedicures and watching soap operas with their feet up.

Little C showing her happy self at Red Robin:

Is the future of the family Swap Meet doomed? I don't think so. In retrospect I can spot the problems a mile away. For one, this was one of the 1st Meets we traveled to with Little C. In the past Little B was older and much more adaptable to early cold mornings. Fortunately for us there is no winter Meets around these parts. The closest Swap Meet to entice us in the near future is in Long Beach California and who knows if we will venture that far this year. Fingers are crossed, toes as well, but staying close to home may be in the cards for us this winter season.

I think someone is following us?

traveling anywhere with an empty car trailer. By the time you get home, it isn't empty any longer:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A 4 year olds birthday party is NOT for the faint of heart.

Or for anyone who suffers migraines! I thankfully am used to chaos followed by chaos, and although I occasionally suffer from infrared eye-searing nail gun blows to the cranium type migraines, I was prepared today for allot of freaking noise. (And they delivered!)

You wouldn't think that 7 children all under the age of 4 1/2 could muster up enough energy to boil a cup of water, but if I had been born a entrepreneur, I'd be a millionaire. Surely someone has come up with an invention that collects the vim, vigor and combustible energy of a children's birthday party, transforming it into usable energy for the household? (note to self; get some books on inventing stuff from library)

The walls were literally vibrating, the screams heard around the block. Bags and parcels of neatly wrapped, lovingly swaddled toys exploded like a scene out of a movie. Cards went flying into the debris. What 4 year old reads a birthday card anyways?!?!? This left me especially distraught as I didn't know what card went with what gift, consequently leaving me befuddled as to WHO gave my boy WHAT!? As I darted here and there trying desperately to match card with gift I decided a better approach would be to ask the parents "What did you bring?" Tacky maybe. Necessary, definitely!

The turmoil was not lost on Little B's 94 year old great grandfather as he whispered in my ear "You better make sure there's no money in those envelopes." Yes pa, I slowly analyzed every last piece of torn up envelope and wrapping paper after the party (in the rain) and made triple sure there was no special gift, card or money being hucked into the landfill. Seriously. I did.

As the 11th hour approached (and I mean literally it was 10:45am) I realized that Little B's Auntie C had not yet arrived. Amid the party pandemonium I had completely forgot that Auntie C wasn't there yet. She had promised to bake and decorate a very special cake for Little B. 2 phone calls to her home and cell turned up nothing. Big B was planning on getting in the car and shooting off to Super Value when we got the news that she had been up since the crack of dawn making this cake. When it arrived I totally understood. It was magnificent to say the least. It had the kids spellbound. And it was delicious to boot!
Yay Auntie C, you are a wonderful cake maker!!

See for yourself:

And a close up:


Cake out of the way, floor peppered with chocolate crumbs, little fingers and lips stained with icing, we ushered everyone outside to play with some airplanes. Trying to get 6 children to line up peacefully for a photo op is not an easy task.

Take one:

Take two:

Take three:

Take four:

Take five:

Oh forget it! At least they were able to burn off the sugar by running around in the backyard for awhile.

One by one people started packing up and going home leaving us with a living room full of paper, gifts, and cards and a very very happy little boy who is adamant that he turned 4 exactly when the candles where blown out on the cake. Who am I to burst his birthday bubble and remind him his actual birthday isn't until Wednesday!

Lets not forget Littel C, who in the midst of screeching children, cake being crammed in her face, throngs of unknown faces, was put in her crib and fell fast asleep for 3 hours!

Whew, too bad I couldn't have done the same!