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Friday, July 31, 2009

Kootenay Lake, BC

Joop preparing his "Barbie" boat for our 3 h tour....the weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed...if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Barbie would be lost...
Joop, Peter and Tabs.
Peter helping Mist with her life jacket.
Fernando and Pip.
Fernando giving me a kiss--he missed his mom. However, boating has become a part of his regular lifestyle down here in the Kootenays--he lives the life of of Riley. (My pooch Fernando has spent the last month visiting my sister Theresa and her family in an attempt to train him--he had many bad puppy habits at my home--nipping Pip a lot).
Kyran, Hermie (Fernando's best friend and cousin) and Mistaya.
Kyran swimming with Fernando.
Mistaya heading into the cold water. The locals swear their Kootenay water is "refreshing" and think us Okanaganites whimps--but hey, we're used to bath water down home in Lake Okanagan!
Joop fishing--he caught a fresh water mussel on his line!
Kyran(my nephew)  fishing while doing air-guitar.
We're in Nelson for a little vacation. We're taking Kyran back with us to Kelowna--he'll be babysitting Anemone and Artemisia for a few weeks. We are also taking home our Fernando, the pug. I do hope he keeps up his good habits on returning to our wild home. He has had such fun in Nelson with AuntieT and family--especially with his cousin dogs Hermie and Archie.
And SO SORRY Miranda and John, I guess Peter was right: as we scarfed down the Death-By-Chocolate cheesecake for breakfast, Peter said, "I bet John K has his binoculars on and they are waiting for us to leave before they dash over to finish off the cake." But truly, we are sorry...but come on, it was Death-By-Chocolate...and Peter and I do have uncontrollable sweet tooths.... ;)
-I'll post the blog pics leading up to the consumption of the cake when I get home--we had a great BBQ the night before we left on our trip down here to Nelson.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Godzilla the Fly

This creature flew into the house the other evening much to Tabs horror. She screamed it was a giant bee. It was giant alright, approx 1.5' long and 1" wide. Its belly was rather fuzzy like midnight-black velvet. It flew confidently around like a bee does. What is it? Looks like a house fly but ten times larger.
Took the girls thrift store gazing yesterday. So fun! We purchased tons of books--I found a 1947 Nancy Drew to add to my growing collection. Tabs found a dozen Fairy books that she loves. I also purchase a mint, solid maple side table from the 1950's. And I found a 1950's Canadian blown glass vase--they sell for thousands in Vancouver and I found one for $10! 
I've been hanging out at the lake everyday. The water is like warm silk on the skin. It is so hot here--approx 40 oC
I finished my paper--woot-woot! I'm going to get Peter to proof it right away and send it off within minutes. To celebrate I am going to eat takeout, see a show and perhaps a coffee shop date ( I am an easy woman to please---buy me an iced Americano or unsweetened iced-tea in a hip coffee shop and I am happy.
 I am on a new workout schedule. It requires more time doing hard core workouts but less of them. I did a super long run (for me) yesterday at 6 AM but it was already too hot and I was boiling over as I ran. Today I did an early morning hike around the back of the mountain (ran into far too man older gentlemen coming from the bush--I think some of them live in there over the summer--creepy) and tomorrow it is spin class and weight lifting back to back. Oh, the joys of reworking my schedule.
Oh, and best news yet--I can read! I can read! Finally finished classes for the summer and now I can pick up a book that I want to read for pure pleasure. So nice...reading one my Momma dropped off by Irene Nemirovsky, "Fire in the Blood." I loved her "Suite Francaise". 
Gotta go e-mail in my paper...

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Summerhill Winery

The deck at Summerhill, with a view of Lake Okanagan. The mountains are shrouded in a smokey mist from the forest fires.
Me indulging in a glass of my all time favorite wine: Ehrnfelser by Summerhill (all organic and aged in a pyramid).
My sister Miranda.
My mom, Sandra.

Today I spent the morning working on my paper at Miranda's office in the biology building at UBC. I loved it. So quiet. This afternoon I took my girls for a wonderful time at the beach. The water was perfectly warm and we tried out our new dingy. 
Peter and Mistaya are currently at the latest Harry Potter movie (it was sold out on their last attempt). Tabs and Pip are eating ice cream sundaes on my bed and watching a movie.
The major forest fire is now 50% contained which is a triumph considering the amount of lightening we had last night. It started many fires, including three in Gallagher's Canyon. 
Perhaps the worst is behind us. The air was much cleaner today.
I will be so happy to hand in my lit review paper. It is twice as long as the prof suggested (40 vs 20)--whatever. My topic is deep.
Feeling a little melancholy-- Come pick me up, I wish you would...


Friday, July 24, 2009

The Roni-Rooster

My Tabs. Roni-Rooster is one of her nicknames. 
I am waiting for my ride to Summerhill Vineyards. I will be going out for supper at the restaurant at the winery with my mom and Miranda.
Fire is still out of control across the lake. Two of the fires closest to West Kelowna have been contained. However, the fire near my favorite historical Fintry Ranch is over 4000 hectares. The rain hardly made an impact. 
I am burnt brain. I took this lit review too seriously--analyzed all and everything until my mind is fried and overloaded and I have writer's block. It has turned me off research. I so enjoy writing fiction, but this is ghastly
Pip is napping after too many late nights. Mist is at her friends next door for supper and Tabs is enjoying the quiet of the house. I think my ride is here--later. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tea Party on a Hot Summer's Afternoon

Weird days. Pretty much indoor bound because of smoke quality in air. Fire on West side grown to about 2000 hectares! The mountain is closed to vehicular traffic-YAY! Apparently to prevent another 2007 fire outbreak (I'd forgotten about that!).Very hot out, near 40 oC--lightening predicted--not great conditions up here on the mountain.
I am writing up my lit review. Finally finished the readings--now for the writing. It has been so very difficult to juggle classes, work and looking after my three darlings these past weeks. Mistaya has been an amazing babysitter and I have received great help from Miranda and my mom. But I do wish Peter had not decided to teach full time these past weeks! I will never take another class unless Peter takes the time off to look after the girls.
Must take a bottle of Sprite down to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Mistaya bought it yesterday, took a swig and then we realized white powder was floating in it. I was freaked wondering what she'd ingested. However she appears to be fine.
Mist went golfing with friends last night, Tabs had a sleepover at a friends and watched "Coraline"--I loved that movie--creepy. Pip played with Nem ant Artmei while their parents, my mom and Peter and I had a drink in the evening. It was too hot and smokey to go the beach last night. Tonight I may go for a quick dip or bike ride depending on the air quality. Also I shall work some more this evening. Bleck
Mom's just arrived to help the girls make afternoon cupcakes for a tea party. Must sign off and will post pics when they are finished--Granny, Mist, Tabs, Pip, Aretmi, Nem and friend Makaila ready to bake!

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

After the Beach

Pic was taken last night after I threatened to cannon ball into the tub with the girls, they decided to invite me to join them. We were sandy from the beach.
Fire update: spreading wildly. Ash is falling from the sky. Water bombers overhead.  Helicopters flying over this morning woke me up. I was afraid there was fire on our mountain.
The wind has swept the smoke up high tonight which is great because we can finally breath. The air was so thick this morning that everyone was wheezing. The thing that destroys a person who lives through a huge forest fire (like the one we lived through 6 years ago) is the constant smoke day in and day out, never seeing the sun and being unable to do any outdoor activities because the smoke wrecks your lungs. It is like living trapped inside for weeks and months. That is what makes living through a massive forest fire so hard. I do not fear for my home this time around--all the fires seem to be across the lake. No, it is the having to give up my outdoor sports that is so hard.
Today was a day of work for me and a coffee at Chapters with my family late afternoon. This evening is low key. I didn't feel up to a night out so opted instead to hang in the neighborhood. Yes, that best describes my evening--hanging. I'm doing very little but chatting with neighbors on the street, making peanut butter squares, walking up to visit my mom who is babysitting Miranda's girls tonight. My girls are all doing various activities that involve computers or videos or in Pip's case, a bowl of cheerios.
Peter's brother Rob and (sister in law)Edith were due to stop in for a visit tomorrow on their way to Vancouver. However, the highway is closed because of the fire so they'd be trapped in Kelowna indefinitely--they'll  have to bypass Kelowna this time.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Fire Burning

These photos were taken only an hour ago. Behind us, across the lake, rages another horrid fire. 4000 homes have been evacuated in West Kelowna. The Fire jumped the highway. If you are trying to reach Kelowna from Vancouver--you're out of luck. To make matters worse, another fire is burning across the lake further down near my beloved Bear Creek. It is giving me flash backs to the devastating Okanagan Mountain Park Fire that raged through Kelowna six years ago. However, this time I am wiser and if the smoke gets too thick I am heading down to Nelson to live until it clears. (Make up the guest rooms T!)
Despite the horror of watching the flames shoot upwards across the lake, we had a wonderful picnic with the Klironomos-Harts and my mom. The waves were high and exciting and the water warm. We went to Bertram's beach which reminds me of the Mediterranean with its cliffs, warm water and romantic lighting from the evening sun. Walking on the dock was fun--like a rollercoaster in the wind and waves. We had Vieners and veggies for supper.
I worked most of the day. Only getting through one article! I have 5 more to muddle through before I start the writing of my paper. The good news is that I am learning So much and the research is fascinating. I especially adore the information on phenomenological immersion. That means being completely lost in a book. What is most fascinating is this occurs when one is deep into a novel, and yet e-books do not facilitate this experience of creating a fantasy in one's head to escape to while one reads. It has to do partially with the materialism of a tactile book. The reality of the book being something that is visible and touchable yet also parts that are invisible and untouchable to us. This is where it gets a little deep. And this is the part I love! If we hold a book and look at the front cover, we know it has a back cover and pages inside yet they are invisible to us at that moment--this helps us create a cognitive bond with the book and build a fantasy world around it--this is a very limited explanation but it really is deep stuff and I don't have the energy to explain more tonight. Good-night all and sleep well...

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Honey-Bee & Lavender

This was a very large bee--like a little hummingbird. I took this pic today in my backyard. I love bees, perhaps because my name means honey-bee.
 Too hot to sit in the shade even with a cold drink. I walked to the park in the forest with the girls to meet my mom for an iced tea party in the pine forest. We brought a blanket and books--for a lazy old fashioned afternoon in the forest. It was too hot to stay. 
Happy Birthday to my dad today! He is almost exactly thirty years older than me. 
The sleep over last night was a tad exhausting. The girls dragged their bed mattresses down into the family room for the night. Tabs woke me in the middle of the night to say Pip wet the bed. I was too tired to move and instructed her to grab her some fresh PJ's and put a towel down until morning. 
I worked this morning on the lit review until I was burnt out.
Miranda just called to say they are heading to the beach at Bertram's tonight. It is about a 1/2 h drive from our place so I declined.  I don't feel like doing much tonight in this heat wave. A dip in the lake would be nice but I don't want to venture any farther than the nearest beach. We rented a few movies tonight in case we all felt like a night in.
This weekend I will work and Peter is taking all three girls to the computer lab at the Uni from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM. He wants to be there for his students. I'm sure the girls will keep him busy. They'll find the lab amusing for a short time and then insist he take them to the cafeteria for snacks.
Change of plan--beach behind the hospital--we just might go for a quick dip before the movies.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Summer PJ & Movie Party!

Six darling little girls all tucked downstairs as I write this--watching "Cheaper By the Dozen II."
My party starts upstairs at eight. Margaritas will be waiting for all those tired souls who trot down to my place for a pick me up. 
"Parents Canada" is publishing a comment I made about cool moms vs soccer moms. They edited it a wee bit and I may come off a little 'la-tee-da' but 'ce la vie!' I sent a pic of Peter, Pip and I on the beach in case they wanted to post a pic with the comment. Dear sweet Bettie (the one who wrote to me from PC) sent back "What a great-looking family!"--I thought it was worth a shot.
Class is nearly done. However, it will be a long ten days of writing up my lit review which is due the 28th. So much reading, so much organizing and so much writing! Not to mention I actually have to really think about it all too. I'm nearly cross-eyed from using RefWorks. It is not the most effortless tool. It is easy enough to use but still, it is very time consuming. I thought it would cut down on the time spent organizing my research articles. Perhaps it does, a little. But all that clicking and reading does me in. I worked for about 3 hours this afternoon, just sorting through all the research articles for ones that I can use. I had to skim about 75 articles. I've got it down to about 30 I'll use. Not all of them now--but for my thesis I'll use the 30 and then some! Ya, I imagine this paragraph is dull and  boring to read. 
I am ever so pleased that my prof took my request to heart and axed the final 2 papers.
 The other section's prof came into our room to "talk" to us for a few minutes. Whoa...I am so blessed to have not made it into his class. That was one angry mind inside the man.
And on an entirely different note, my sis and I have decided that when one "vanishes" suddenly off of facebook, it is never a good sign. Something is a muck in their world.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Twisted-Sister Olympics

Twisted Sisters: Hoola hoop--Me and Miranda
Zenning: Peter and Pip
Crocodile wrestling: Miranda
Crocodile wrestling: John
Broom jumping: Granddad (he attempted it but I was the only successful jumper!)
Kickball: the gals
Bubble blowing: Granny and Mistaya
 Last night Peter's sister Grace and brother in law Don arrived for a visit. It was good to see them again. I loved Grace's red poke-a-dot dress. They all went out for supper and the big girls used the water slide at the hotel. I stayed home with Pip who had passed out asleep at 5:30 pm from exhaustion (she'd had a sleep over in Mist's room with her sisters and cousin the night before). I had intended to work on my class but passed out by 8 pm myself. The pace, oh the pace--I'm running on empty. 
I am so thrilled at my self though, I requested to my prof that he cut out 2 assignments because they take away from the big assignment: Literature review--he listened! He announced in class today that he's cutting them. I am so secretly proud of myself. Also, the prof was a  lot of help organising my thesis. We managed to cut down my idea into something manageable and exciting. I am doing my hypertextual digital fiction project. Miranda made a suggestion about me patenting the rights to developing my idea. So, depending on my thesis outcome, I may be buying myself a patent too--teehee.
Bought the girls a kiddie pool this afternoon. I'm too freaked to get anything bigger with Pip still a tot. And Nem, Tabs and Mist bought themselves giant round super soft stuffie pets. They fought over which character each wanted. They came to a pleasant compromise--deciding to share all three, rotating houses and naming each creature together.
Gotta work tonight on the lit review. Must go to the gym early tomorrow.
Very HOT here in Kelowna. An evening swim might be nice...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Strawberry & Lemon-Cream Shortcake

I took this photo a few weeks ago at the Vancouver Aquarium.
I have changed my thesis idea back to my original. Simply because my new idea was too big a project even for a PhD! My original idea focuses on literacy, technology, social interaction, journalling and girls. The difficult part will be conducting the three month study with 3 different middle schools--as I am not teaching, nor have I ever taught in BC. The good thing is I have children in the system (I know their teachers) and I have teacher friends in my master's program. I will have to ask a few of them to allow me into their classrooms. English 8 would be perfect because I could use Mistaya's class as one. 
I do find it hard to fathom that my dear sweet newborn girl Mistaya is now going into 8th grade! She is still as sweet and dear as the day she was born. She is so playful, so social. She just loves playing with other kids. She is boating on Okanagan lake today with her friend Ashley's family.
My Mom and Dad are in Kelowna today. Dad for one night, mom for 2 weeks. Mom is helping Miranda and John while they start their new jobs at UBC. I am planning on my three darlings walking over to M's house each morning for an hour or so until I return from campus. 2 Weeks until summer school ends--two weeks to write a lit review! I actually wrote my prof and asked (most eloquently) to change two assignments so we can focus more on writing up the lit review. Time is of the essence!
Beach weather lately. Hot and scorching sunshine. We've been beaching it on Friday and Saturday. Last night Peter and I went to "The Hangover " and the girls were in the theatre next door watching "Ice Age." A few times I felt panicked like I must check on the kids, this has not happened before. I tried to calm myself and waited until the planned time to meet in the lobby. Later Mist told me a few times Pip was frightened and cried for me--I knew it! I felt her need for me.
Anyway, our movie was entertaining. The humor was a little more revolting than I like. But it seems all movies are geared for adolescent boys and they like revolting. My girls all enjoyed Ice Age 3--especially the baby mammoth.
Supper tonight at M & J's with my Mom and Dad. I am going to create a Strawberry, lemon-cream shortcake, and bring a few bottles of champagne.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Girls From "The Hood"

No blog time. Just school, play with ma' girls, and work. That is it. Three weeks of it.
 I FINALLY got to the gym this AM. 5:30 in July seems so much earlier than 5:30 in any other month. I need a nap. 
Tabs and Nem still rocking at swimming lessons. Mist had a blast with her friend Ashley yesterday, I took the gals to the museum and out for coffee.
Pip and Artemi watching "Dora" at the moment.
I finished my first paper. I want Peter to proof it before I email it away. 
Peter is on a work date with some guy from Stanford. Has to tour him around so I won't see him until later. 
I could use a wife. A wife would make my life a breeze!
Peter and my anniversary tomorrow. Too many married years--we're way too young to be married for 17 years! It seems likes weeks since I talked to Peter. So an evening out will probably be a good thing.
Will go out for supper with M & J and our daughters--we each have 5 now.
Missing my Fernando the Great--T.E.H.--no time for fence talk just yet--after my class I will have time.If you haven't heard from me in awhile it is because I am suffering. Yes, suffering. The class and my summer don't mix that well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Seahorses & Sisters

I took this photo of the seahorses at Vancouver Aquarium. They were such fun to watch--they often link tails and float along together.
I am suffering in my summer class. It is a long 3 hours each morning. I hope I can motivate myself to get excited about the assignments. If I can find some great articles to review--they might inspire me to greatness--I hope. I am so happy that this is this last summer class I must take until I graduate. I am learning a lot though, the text is excellent--it really tells one exactly how to write a critical literature review. I love the step by step process. It will definitely make me a much better writer! And the info on thesis writing in invaluable too. I love writing tips. They make my heart sing. Perhaps a PhD in creative writing is in the cards. After careful thought and consideration, I have narrowed down my true interests--what exactly I would like to do when all degrees are said and done--and these are my only real interests (aside from painting--which I will do P/T regardless): creative writing & global literacy of girls and women research and program development. There you have it folks. I'd be happy teaching creative writing at a Uni or researching global literacy issues. Peter doesn't get it--he thinks I need to know EXACTLY what job I would do in Global literacy--I say I can't possibly know. Wait until I have my degree and then see what jobs are on the table.
Tabs and Nem have impressed their teacher to no-end. He says they can both swim the length of the pool now!
Pip and Tabs a little out of sorts--sore throats.
Today we are picking up  surprise out door toys to perk up the cousins. Tomorrow I will take the troops to a matinee--IceAge III or II--not sure which it is.
Mist has been doing a fabulous job of looking after her sisters while I am at class. They trot down to Aunties for a couple of hours each AM. I am lucky my Mist is an easy Keeper--she is happy playing with the neighborhood kids all summer--she is rarely bored.
Gran comes this Sunday to look after Artemisia and Anemone and my 3 in the mornings. Gran will be hopping!--Miranda and John have to start work--I hope I will be able to stop by and have a quick coffee with my sis on one or two of the mornings--all four adults will be on campus together--imagine that!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

One Big Step For Melissa Kind

We did it. After years of trying, we finally road our bikes together on Mission Trails. It was years in the making: having bikes for all of us, brushing up on biking skills for the Tabs, a proper carrier for Pip, a van big enough to transport all the bikes...it may be one insignificant step for human kind but it is one giant leap for this family.
That was this mornings activity. This afternoon Peter and I helped move Miranda and John into 380--yes it is all swimming pools and movie stars up there at 380. Then M&J took our family out to Joey's patio for supper. I am bursting with miso-ramen soup. Seriously, I don't want to eat for a week. 
School tomorrow--I am not ready. I am in my confused/summer state at the moment. Serious put-together student was last fall.
My girls are playing in the backyard with the neighbors. Peter is marking papers downstairs.
I hate the cat and miss my dog. The cat has no idea why I cannot stand him. He thinks it is fine to pee on our beds and sofas and carpets each and everyday. 
Mist spent the day with her friend Ashley and Tabs was a big help--the little doll babysat Pip and her two cousins while we (adults) all moved down the street. I came home to four happy little girls playing in Pip's room. And Pip having wet her pants because she was too absorbed in play to want to leave her room. And also, various dishes lying all over the house from various snacks Tabs had prepared for her charges throughout the afternoon.
Oh, and this little tidbit: a deer was behind Miranda's house while M and I set up her bed and through the window we watched as the creature squatted, yes SQUATTED to poop--just like a dog! Who knew?
The big girls just asked if they could go over to the neighbor's for a "Harry Potter" and "PJ" party. I said yes. They are sooo excited, it is amazing how much sheer joy children can discover in the simple life.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009


My jet-setting sis in New York raised concerns over my lack of blogging. Yes, I confess to letting it slide a wee bit. But partly because sometimes my past blogging was down right obsessive! I felt the need to blog everyday no matter what--I often blogged in a busy frenzy. So perhaps the daily blogs were not the panacea. Perhaps the almost-daily blogs are the very best for me at this time.
This AM we are off to attempt our first ever complete family bike trip. We'll attempt the Mission Creek trail--Pip in the new bike trailer. Peter bought a bike last night--my early anniversary present to him! Then we shall get to the most out of the condo experience with a good long swim this afternoon. The Mist has made plans to go to her friend's house to bake a cherry pie. She hasn't seen Sara in 3 weeks, so I thought it a fine idea.
I did a last-second class section switch--I got the very last spot. After me, the section was officially filled! I am so lucky, as last minute information made me decide that I needed to switch classes. 
I haven't felt completely myself since San Francisco--alittle disorganised. However, I think things are starting to all fall into place. I am looking forward to nailing down my thesis in August--I just need to write about 3-4 experts in the field and speak with them to give me a better idea of direction. These are all the things that interest me, so the thesis study will involve some or all these areas:
-global literacy of girls.
-creative writing.
-children's literature.
-digital creative writing: for or by children.
So as you can see, I need a much tighter focus. 
I am dividing up our family trips into activities. This weekend it is our bike weekend.
Kamloops weekend it will be canoeing (Paul Lake), camping, gold panning and ghost hunting weekend. Nelson will be our posh, boating weekend.
I still have dreadful chores on my plate: fence building quotes, cat new-home finding.
But at least I have switched sections for my summer class starting Monday! Fewf! I feel so good about that--it makes me realize I have had serious trepidations about the section I was in all along. Three cheers for figuring that out!
BTW, Nem and Tabs have both become the most AMAZINGLY skilled swimmers overnight! Their teacher must be good. We are all so proud of them both!
Artemi and Pip both have a nasty cold bug--John too. Miranda and I shared a nasty headache-tummy upset, burning cheeks bug this past week--not too serious though, I am fully recovered.
Oh, Miranda and family will move into their new home on Sunday--so long Condo swimming pool and beach.

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday Canada!

Pip and Artemi
John, Miranda and kids


Mist, Tabs and Nemi
Girls have energy
Miranda, John and Nuddies
A Canada day BBQ and swim at Miranda and John's Okanagan Lake Condo. 
Robert(contractor) has kindly given M and J his lakeside condo for the next week until he finished their home. It is most luxurious and resort like. We enjoy visiting for the swimming and BBQ's and karaoke.
I do not think we shall camp this weekend. I am too tired. Instead we will buy Peter a new bike and do some family bike trips, swim in the lake and condo pool, tent in the backyard and look for a creek to pan for gold. 
I start school Monday--whaaa!
Stan & Alberta's party on the weekend was fun. I was so burnt-out when I arrived but a few glasses of wine and I was somewhat cheery. 
Last night, Peter and the two big girls climbed the mountain to watch the fireworks. I stayed home with Pip--we were pooped. Mist and Tabs hauled chips, blankets and water up to the top--their father spoils them--like they needed chips after the giant ice cream cones they'd had at the condo!
It has been a whirlwind week with Miranda, John and babies arriving from Guelph.
Mist is over at the condo (Tabs too) baby sitting while M&J pick out all new appliances--everything! I told John to call when the decide on purchasing--if they get a super deal on all 5 appliances, I may throw in a washer or fridge for us.

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