12 Months of Tessa

A year ago today Tessa upstaged Brian’s 29th Birthday with her arrival.

So today while celebrating Brian’s 30th birthday we are also celebrating Tessa’s 1st.

Here’s a little look back at how she’s grown.



TAS3MonthsWM TAS4MonthsWM TAS5MonthsWM Tas6MonthsWM Tas7MonthsWM TAS8MonthsWM TAS9 MonthsWM TAS 10 MonthsWM


I will have to grab some more pictures of her today as a one year old, as well as her birthday celebrating. Along with probably some sappy reflection on time passing and babies growing, but right now I have to get back to icing cake(s)!

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Getting to Sunday Mass during a Houseboating Trip in the Shuswap

We planned a family houseboating trip to celebrate both my mom and dad turning 60 this year, Dad in August and Mom in October, so we booked in mid september, 3 nights aboard the “Woody’s Crew” out of Sicamous BC. We wanted all my siblings to be able to come so we booked on a weekend, Friday thru Monday, but then realized this might make it hard to get to Sunday Mass.

As a family we have always worked pretty hard getting our Sunday Obligation in every week. No matter where we are, we get to Mass. Some of my most memorable Masses  are from were while we were traveling and even on camping trips, so I set about finding out how to do it during this trip. Googling it turned up absolutely nothing, so I am including some otherwise superfluous details incase some other poor soul searching out this might stumble across it, although I don’t know how helpful I will be.

Let it be known that I knew next to nothing about houseboating before this. I had driven past the Shuswap Lakes and seen the beautiful boats out on the water with their three decker spiral waterslides beckoning to us on the highway, but I really knew nothing about what was involved. I found out there are two parishes in the Shuswap, Our Lady of Fatima in Sicamous, which is really just a Mission of the main parish St. Joseph’s in Salmon Arm. Their Mass times were 2:30 on Saturday in Sicamous, and 9 am on Sunday in Salmon Arm. Besides bringing a Priest along with us on the boat (which we thought about!) these were our only two options, and once I started looking into the logistics of leaving the boat beached somewhere and walking into town and or swimming (or water taxing) in if there’s nowhere to leave the boat I started to get worried that it was next to impossible so we asked our Pastor for a dispensation from our obligation just in case. It looked hella complicated. In the busy summer season I can’t say that what we pulled off would even be a possibility at all.

My dad called the Pastor who says the Masses in both towns and asked how people usually do this and he said that he didn’t know of anyone who ever had. It’s that complicated. That made my heart hurt a little because this is a REALLY popular thing for people to do in this area all Summer, so I was sad for all those people missing Jesus every Sunday. Anyway we resolved to try the best we could. The pastor also mentioned that out of the two options we really only had one because houseboats max speed is about 7 knots, very very slow in other words, and we would never make it into Salmon Arm which is extremely shallow by 9 am. So we had to aim for the Saturday.

Before leaving the dock we talked with the folks at Twin Anchors who were very helpful and they said if there was room at the dock they would see if we could tie up the boat there for the hour and run into town for Mass. So extremely kind of them. It was a little more involved because to get from the main lake to the dock there has to be a train bridge moved out of the way for the boats to sail through. So on Saturday after Lunch we contacted our boating company on the boat 2 way radio and they opened the bridge, and we s.l.o.w.l.y. sailed through, tied up and were able to walk back to our cars and drive (we could have walked all the way to the church but it was raining) the few blocks to Our Lady of Fatima and participate in the Mass. Note to self, 2:30 is not the best time for Mass for two 2 year olds and and a 4 year old who have been partying late into the night before. They slept the whole time  and our arms almost gave out. While the 11 month old crawled around shrieking the whole time.


Anyway on any future trips, we will probably avoid being on the water on Saturday/Sunday, so as to avoid needing to do this whole little excursion again. Maybe depart on a Monday and return on Friday or something like that.

Fun Times!



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Houseboating Trip Highs and Lows

I spent the day putting together the video clips I shot on our houseboating trip! I think it will end up taking me a couple of posts to capture all of our trip, so along with this post I will publish one about how we got to Mass (barely!) while on the trip, and one more about the recovery vacation after we got off the boat. So stay tuned!

Anyway, this video (my first for both shooting and editing in a long time, so no judgement!) contains a lot of the Highs of the trip. Family, tonnes and tonnes of junk food and adult beverages, sunshine, adventure, and adorable kids.

(you might have to click over to the original post to see the video if you are viewing this in a reader or email)

Other Highs that weren’t captured on video were

The adorable travel pillows that Nana Melissa made for all the kids


Intellecutally stimulating reading and conversation

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Naps everywhere all day every day

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Cute babies in mini hot tubs (okay that one did make it into the video)


Family time


Boat driving (or pretending to drive)


Awesome awesome food!!!

and the fact that we did make it to Mass! Really started to doubt that that would actually happen. A whole post on this topic is forthcoming.


And Lows –

The first beer cracked open before we even left the dock – was the one Tessa stuck her finger into and cut it very deep, we (my sister the nurse) thought tape could keep it closed, but 4 days later it was still opening when she chewed the bandaid off so that was 4 days of worry topped off with a hospital trip for some handy dandy super glue.


There were some stressful moments when the massive amount of technical and nautical and mechanical information they think they can teach the captains in a 45 minute orientation was not fully absorbed, and we made some terrible mistakes. Like pulling up our safely stacked in lines keeping us safe and sound on the shore for the night, just so we could try to find a “less windy” beach, yeah turned out the whole lake was just experiencing the beginning of a massive storm, and we were not riding the waves with no hope of beaching til the storm had passed… that evening felt eternal and was filled with prayers and regret.

We thought it was all good after that, but turned out the boat’s propeller had been damaged, totally by the storm, not at all by the fact we had ran into some rocks. Right? No blame guys… they didn’t charge us for the damages (on this at least) and so we made the best of the hours we were propulstionless in the middle of the water by trying out the water slide into the Freezing lake. I wanted my kids to see that Mama can do stuff, so Tessa and Clara watched, and were immediately sobbing when they saw their mom fly off the back of the boat into the open water. #fail.

Kids got sick (and not just seasick) obviously, because it was a family trip, there’s gotta be puke, is it even worth mentioning?

Last but not least, of what I choose to remember, on the last day, as we were getting cocky and starting to think we had finally figured this thing out and won’t next time be fun and blah blah blah… we side swiped this giant light house/marine marker that were were floating out by while we had to wait for the train bridge to open. Yeah we tore a side off the upper deck of our boat.


They call it the “Bat Wing”

That was not fun, but surprisingly only $400 worth of damage? Why? because there is a God and He loves us, that’s my only explanation.


So our third encounter with the “help us!” rescue boat who pushed up away from the marker and we s….l….o….w…l…y approached the dock with our tails between out legs not sure what to make of the trip.
But now that its been a few days to let the shock wear off, I think we all look back and have a lot of memories, (that will end up being hilarious once a little more time passes) and over all the feeling that maaaybe we would do it again? in a few years.


maybe during a warmer part of summer, when we don’t need socks as mitts to hold our popsicles

It was very awesome to have so much time together and once the packing and the loading had happened, there was really nothing to do but visit and enjoy each other’s company. Unlike camping there was no setup, take down, dampness and avoiding rain. But there was the camp fires, fishing and hiking if you want when the boats beached, beautiful scenery, and separation from civilized society. Also unlike camping there was a hot tub, full size fridge, a big TV to watch movies when it rained, and a washer and dryer and dishwasher, so really, living in the lap of luxury here! There’s no shopping or running off to pick up something, so in those ways it was simple – we realized that most of our other trips as a family often end up revolving around the different new places to shop in each area and this had none of that. Even after beaching the boat, which was a half hour of work (the steaks we *ahem the men had to pound in were literally 4 or 5 foot steel rods, and they were supposed to pound them down into the rocks by hand with a sledge hammer so that only 10-12 inches was above ground… Thor we could use your help, thanks) There wasn’t much to do but pull out some lawn chairs, light a fire, roast some marshmallows and enjoy!

Anyway, I just had to share my oscar worthy film editing debut, and some thoughts, with more to come soon!


The incredible rainbow after one of the almost constant showers

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Ready for Tomorrow? Birthday of Our Lady colouring page

For some reason I just really want to share this beautiful colouring page that I came across son Pinterest from the blog Delphina Rose, and incase you didn’t know, tomorrow is the Birthday (Nativity) of Our Lady, so if you need to whip {ctrl+P} up something fun to celebrate tomorrow, print this out and voila!

Isn’t that stunning! And so sweet? My kids saw it tonight and were so upset that they have to wait til tomorrow to colour it!

Click this Link to get to the High Res version to print, as well as a beautiful prayer to the young child Mary (also as a printable colouring page) that will be so fun to decorate and display and pray tomorrow!   And while you are there check out the other work Rebecca has done, really some truly beautiful stuff!

(And I hope you don’t mind me sharing this Rebecca, I just want to spread the beauty!)

And I intend to get back to sharing a little more on the blog soon, didn’t realize it had been so long since my last post, but don’t worry, no wildly exciting updates to share, just same old same old!


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7 Picture Heavy Quick Summer Highlight Takes


This super quick, picture heavy post is just to remember some of the highlights of our summer activities so far. Some of these experiences were less blissful than the pictures portray, (cough, strawberry not actually picking) But we have been trying to get outside and have some fun and spend time with family and friends and the pictures have been took so why not blog it!

  1. Strawberry “picking” (only 10 raspberries were actually picked) But the kids loved this giant boat play structure at the farm, so, win!?2016-07-21 18.02.212016-07-21 18.09.18
  2. Zoo
    We have passes so try to go once a month or so, but its not always that dad gets to come along, so his presence made Hugh brave enough to try to Dinosaur park.
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  3. Wading Pool
    Another favourite that we try to frequent a few times each summer. Definitely needed daddys help to keep everyone in sight
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  4.  Wedding Reception fun
    My sister celebrated her wedding with a second reception on their 1st anniversary for everyone who wasn’t able to be at the wedding ceremony. It was the best party!
    Heres the snap story video for even more photos and video of the dance and song!
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  5. Corn Maze and Fun Farm
    A friend invited us here and we had the BEST day. Everything was perfect for the 2-4yo crowd and they never wanted to leave. We didn’t actually venture into the corn maze, but we enjoyed the petting zoo part and slides and pig races and other activities. And they were big enough to do everything on their own!
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  6. Road Construction
    What better free entertainment than our neighborhood roads getting resurfaced?
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  7. Anniversary Getaway
    Brian and I pulled a giant lever to depart into the countryside for a night at a B&B for our 5th anniversary. The kids did well at Gramma and Grampas (THANKS!) and we had a great time too!
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It’s been a good summer, and way up north in Canada where we are, we are just barely halfway through! More fun and sun (lets hope!) til September for sure.


Check out Kelly and the others sharing their 7 Quick Takes herehttp://thisaintthelyceum.org/sqt-what-to-do-when-your-child-wont-stop-staring-at-a-person-in-a-wheelchair/.


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Tessa at 10 Months, Things to remember about this phase

Tessa turned 10 months old on the 2nd. Totally failed at getting pictures of her at the 9 month mark, but pictures AND a blog post for 10 months? She’s spoiled.

I’m looking back and reading from when Hugh was about this age to see how they compare, and unfortunately I don’t have a post from Clara at this stage, but all that looking back and comparing led me to make these baby comparison pics as they grow. In all pictures Clara Hugh Tessa are left to right.

CHT1 monthish

1 month old

CHT 5 months

5 months old

CHT10 months

10 months old

I always tell people when I see their little babies crawling around or starting to babble that these are some of my favourite things and this stage is one of my favourites. I want to remember a few details of what life is like right now because I know it will quickly change. Both my other children were walking at around 11 months and it appears we can expect the same for Tessa. Tossing one more walking child into the mix around here is going to be interesting, and we will deal with that when the time comes, but for now I can still feel a bit like I have a baby. She still snuggles and occasionally falls asleep in our arms. Her kisses are open mouth and slobbery, and the frequent “da da” and very rare “ma ma” totally light up our life.

Tessa is a charming little crawler, she doesn’t get into too much trouble although she can quickly get almost anywhere in the house, including up the staircase if we accidentally leave the gate opened. It doesn’t help that both Clara and Hugh can open the “childproof” baby gates on their own, so my ears are constantly perked for the constant baby babble to use as a sonar baby locating technique.

Tessa is a fantastic eater and hasn’t complained about anything she’s been offered or found even fluffs on the floor. She is smiling, ALWAYS, especially when she first sees her big brother or sister after she wakes up. She loves going on excursions and exploring, although crawling on uneven terrain is always a challenge, she’s up for it and becoming quite a little climber. 2016-07-21 18.03.322016-07-27 12.56.12

She has had bit of a struggle with rashes and what we now think is eczema, although its not in the usual places for eczema, it’s all cleared up after 1 week of a prescription cream. This was last week though, poor baby, it did not seem to bother her except for being itchy. Look how happy she is even at the Doctor’s office!

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Waiting for Doc

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She’s in a phase of constant moving, so most photos I have of her are blurry, but these are some of the clearest and show off her sweet side. Posts like this are mostly for myself and the grammas, am I right? 2016-08-01 13.21.48 2016-08-01 13.21.53 2016-08-01 13.22.24

She continues to be the best sleeper of the family far and away. Tonight she was asleep before 7 because she only had one nap, but I won’t be surprised at all if she is the last one to wake up tomorrow morning around 8 or 9, with no wake up in between in true Tessa style! We will see how she does during the next 2 days as I will be away for two nights with some girl friends of mine for a bit of a moms day(s) out. 2016-08-04 15.12.19 2016-08-04 15.12.37

So chubby and so cute!

She hasn’t had an official weight and height in awhile, but I am guessing she is still way on the top of the charts. Most of the clothes she is in are 18-2T, although they are generous on her, it’s easier than trying to squeeze her into smaller things and finding out every day that something is too small!

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31/52 dino dig site profiles

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30/52 Chilly, Hungry, and Wet

After a early morning dip in the lake, before the sun was out enough to warm them, and just long enough since the last snack that everyone was clammouring for another. 

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4th Birthday Rainbow Unicorn Party

I wanted to share some photos with the world of the party that we had on Sunday for our dear daughter’s 4th Birthday.

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She had been talking about a “Rainbow Unicorn theme” pretty much since the day after her 3rd birthday party, so I figured she really meant it, and tried to make her little unicorn loving dreams come true. 2016-07-16 22.13.43 2016-07-16 22.14.37

Dying macaroni noodles with food coloring and rubbing alcohol (you can use vinegar in place of the alcohol if you want them to be edible I believe)  for the following rainbow cloud craft:2016-07-16 22.13.49

Note… this craft was very cool but a little too tricky for 3 year olds. They ended up just gluing dyed macaroni noodles all over their cardboard clouds and throwing cotton balls up into the air with glee, but that works too. 2016-07-16 22.14.24

Organizing goody cups and party supplies the night before.

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I went with a inbetween meals party time, so these foods were as a snack and just basically props/things for us to eat while we cleaned up the party… and pretty as a veggie rainbow looks, 4 and 5 year olds ain’t got no time for dat when there’s cake and candy to be had. And watermelon unicorns, (I used a cookie cutter) those were a HUGE hit too. 2016-07-17 13.52.41

This was my cake effort. Boxed sprinkle birthday cake baked in 2 loaf pans because I couldn’t find any cake pans, (eventually I did find them, but they were soiled by a little furry squeeky guest thats sharing our house apparently, EWW! But that’s a whole nother story!) covered with marshmallow fondant and then covered in sprinkles (Shhhhh don’t tell anyone but I “glued” the sprinkles on with a very tiny layer of tequila painted on with a paintbrush… the recipe said “clear alcohol” and that’s all I had!) with a unicorn toy and a candle on top. The kids all wanted the cupcakes you can see in the bottom corners that had cream cheese icing and a piece of rainbow ribbon candy on top. 2016-07-17 13.53.10

This GORGEOUS hand needlepointed pillow that had just arrived in the mail as a birthday present from Clara’s very talented and dedicated Nana Melissa served as a key centerpiece of the decorations because how couldn’t it, its horn is “REAL GOLD!” as Clara keeps telling everyone… not quite, but still so so incredibly beautiful! Thank you Melissa!

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My lame efforts at a hand drawn pony for our pin the horn on the unicorn game.

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Rainbow crepe paper and random colored balloons everywhere else and we were ready!

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Clara and her friend trying out the “unicorn horns” that turned out to be a big hit2016-07-17 14.36.10

teaching kids how to be blindfolded for a “pin the” game.2016-07-17 14.38.11

They did surprisingly well.

We also had a pinata smashing, and gift opening and cake cutting… but I was a little too run off my feet to capture much photographic evidence of that.

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Here’s a terribly lit picture of the cake moment. (I need to get the picture my awesome grandma is snapping in the side of the frame!)

And here are pictures from our little birthday girl photo shoot when I drag out the giant ruler and keep track of how fast my weeds are growing

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Attitude, yeah we got that.

Happy birthday my dear!

Incase you just can’t get enough, or you are a gramma, either one 😉  here are links to Clara’s: Birth Storyfirst Birthdaysecond birthday, and third birthday – oops. Apparently that one did not get blogged. Til now! Clara’s 3rd birthday in a nutshell and only 1 year late. See how she has grown!2015-07-17 16.44.43 2015-07-17 18.13.11 2015-07-18 09.41.05

Aw, she let me brush her hair that year.

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28/52 More Lake Pictures and some Quick Takes

1 A Little Effort on the Project52

While we were at the lake this morning I made a point of snapping a pic of each of the kids to share as part of my project52




Good times. Worth the tremendous effort of packing up swim suits and swim diapers and Sun screen and lunch and towels and life jackets and sand toys? Yes I do say it was. I hope we get there many more times in the weeks of Summer ahead. 

2 family Life Conference 

We spent last weekend, a long weekend, at a Conference for Catholic Families. It’s a Conference that takes place in a field, so everyone camps and even though there are no amenities, we all sorta love it and keep going back. This year we forgot all our kids clothes and diapers so it was even more fun, #not, but we survived and Jesus was there so all in all a success. 

At some point she really needed a bath. And then pooped in it. 

This is me and my sister’s efforts to entertain the kids so we can listen to some of the talks. Good thing kids love gravel. 

3 Forth From Afar 

Brian took the day after the camping trip off so that we had a chance to recover, but it was also the 4th of July so we celebrated a little with a morning at the wading pool, and then Chocolate Rice Krispy sandwiches and red white and blue dessert and friends over for a BBQ with American Beer. 

My favourite Americans (right before the hail started coming down)

4 Obesessions lately

Facebook pushed a promoted ad post to me one day that was spot on. It was an interview with the author of this book, I loved the article and so grabbed the book at the library 2 days ago and I am almost done. I love memoirs and find North Korea facinating. So scary and bizarre, but fascinating. And the perspective of an atheist journalist undercover as a Christian missionary under cover as a English professor at a University in Pyongyang for the sons of North Korea’s elite is very unique.

5 Party Planning

I didn’t realize people actually followed me on Pinterest, I sporadically use it mostly for party ideas, and the other day my sister told me her Pinterest was spammed with Unicorn Party ideas because Claras party is coming up in less than 2 weeks, yay! Pin all the things! 

6  More Pics

This was their “pet” who they walked and fed and took care of all morning at the lake 

They have had a few weddings this week, this one I caught on camera (one of the others was at 6 am with us all in bed) and it included even a reception dinner and wedding cake. Oh and they were “SuperPrince Huey” and “Princess Therese Lisieux”. Heart melt.

One other (brief) moment with all 3 playing happily together. This is to colour my memories for the future people!!

7 Kid Art 

Claras drawings that look more and more recognizable just make my day. This was her family portrait, still in progress (she was working on Tessa) I just love it. 

Linking up with Kelly and the other Quick Takers because it’s Friday and that’s what ya do! 

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