January in a Coconut Shell 

[A short quick update that isnt actually super short? Or is it? I can’t tell from this silly phone!]
I really want to write more but the desktop computer we bought turned out to be a total dud and I avoid it at all costs unless absolutely necessary. And so far blogging hasn’t seemed necessary. Phone written posts are so hard to proof read and edit so forgive me if there are terrible auto corrected words all over the place. 

We took the kids to the mall today so they could spend the lucky dollars they got from Chinese New Year and Hugh had a few other dollars from his birthday. No luck finding the double Lego minifig scabbard at the Lego store, so they settled on some jelly beans and he got a race car at a cute toy and games shop.

It’s gotten cold again. But in a desperate effort to avoid cabin fever we walked to the mail box (correction, I walked) the way there was a cheery IGStories worthy moment of cuteness and the way home (in total about 14 minutes) was a tear filled, dragging, running away, nearly frost bitten exercize in humiliation. So, it just goes to show that no, it’s not worth it in the cold. 

A bunch of peg doll swaps are in the works again, so a crowd of naked angry Judases (‘s?) are stating back at me. 

Hugh had his 3rd birthday. It was very low key but we also celebrated the week before with his cousin who is a week older and they had a lovely Batman and other super hero’s party of wild little kid fun 

^^this is the worst photoshop ever.

It was also my 30th birthday

Which was also quite low key. Clara decorated this cake for me with a pattern of chocolate chips that turned into a gun in the middle. Not sure what to make of that but it tasted very good. 

Brian and I did escape for 2 nights away alone in the mountains. It was magical and full of sleeping and eating uninterrupted. 

Clara wrote this alphabet and I am so proud of her. She’s getting so grown up in many ways and more and more dramatic and exuberant every day. 

Huey is adorable and hilarious and almost always in a costume or underware or both. 

Unrelated but this from our road trip. I had to pry this milkshake out of her (very) cold fists. She loved it so much. I had to even out the cute kid pictures and include one of everyone 


Baby #4  due August 16

Yes. Apparently that was a first trimester blog silence, again. Oops. Although I was probably more suprised than you maybe, I didn’t clue in that anything was going in til I was 8 weeks along, so apparently I felt pretty good, about the same as an exhausted mom dealing with sick kids over Christmas expects to feel. 

I’m feeling  pretty good now, still generally exhausted and probably should write lots more updates. 

And excitement alert… More potential twin cousins in store! My sister (the one who had her little boy 7 days before I had Hugh) is also expecting and due….. The day after me…! What??? Yeah crazy. Unplanned I swear. 

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a look back at 2016

I really love these Look Back posts of each year. It’s taken me awhile but I wanted to pull this one together because it’s about the only way I remember most of what happens some years. And I don’t want 2016 to become a black hole of my momory.  (what started out as a typo is now starting to seem quite fitting for the sieve like mental capabilities of the mom brain at remembering.)



Looking back on January, all the pictures started looking sort of like this. In summary: We didn’t leave the house much.



In February we hit this big milestone of Brian submitting his Permanent Resident application. Still waiting to actually receive it, but after our long uphill battle with constant immigration efforts, it was a momentous day to finally sign those hundreds of pages.



March was a month that seemed I really was on the ball, we celebrated St Joseph’s day with something I have always wanted to do – eat pasta off the table like Kendra’s family. We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, Worked hard to live Lent with kid friendly Stations of the Cross around the house and of course Easter with home grown easter grass and basket blessing and brunch and road trips and outings. My Gramma helped us prepare our Easter basket and bring it to the Church to be blessed, and also helped the kids dye easter eggs and spend a lot of special moments with us.



April had nice weather, weekend trips away, a beautiful weekend retreat for me, and then Brian slipped down the stairs and dislocated his sholder 😦 Very sad and painful experience for him and  we had to cancel a trip we had been planning to the coast to visit our good friends.

May 2016-05-29-12-44-46

May was SO NICE! It was good we enjoyed it because the summer was not very nice. We went to the lake for the day many times. Spent a long weekend at our friends ranch, lots of play outside because it was a beautiful spring, we also sew the circus and the dentist for the first time. Wahoo

June 2016-06-30-22-29-17

Lots more play outside, camping, trips to spruce meadows, the zoo, walks in fish creek park.


Clara’s unicorn birthday, our 5th anniversary and a night away, concerts in the park, but this picture was deceiving because most of July and August were rainy and cool.


So much fun, many messy faces from trips to Fort Edmonton (above) and the Corn Maze with friends. Also the Zoo (wow we go a lot in warm weather!) I had a getaway girls weekend with my good friend which was AH-MAZING! First ever trip to a spa and so many good meals uninterrupted at non chain restaurants. Clara went to a CGS day camp and my sister and her husband had a pig roast.



I terrified my children by taking them on a log ride at an amusement park. #bigmistake. Our epic houseboating trip and a few days in the mountains, going to see the Enchanted Forest and Three Valley Gap, Ice Cream at the Dutchmen Dairy Darn (pictured) with my sister who came to town for the trip, And a good friend’s wedding and fall colours on our trees. Bye Bye summer.



The double birthday of Brian and Tessa, the first snow of the winter, Tessa’s first steps. Brian and I spent a lot of time picking paint colours, we took the kids on a trip downtown to ride the LRT train and see the firetruck. Clara took swimming lessons and we used the lessons for an excuse to take the kids out on lots of one on one “dates” which was so fun, a trip to edmonton and our first trip bowling and seeing a real live active Bee hive sandwiched between glass and of course, Halloween.


The saga of house painting and our efforts to be out of the house all day every day, including going to the kids first movie (finding Dory, pictured). Clara’s week away from us when she stayed with my sister, our trip to visit my cousin and her family, lots of projects and cleaning and moving things for painting. We visited the Zoo again, and the graveyard to pray for all the souls.



December seemed like mostly a month of Sick (which in some ways is still ongoing….:() We decorated and celebrated St. Nick’s day and Advent and prepared for Christmas, The kids got cute hair cuts and we had Brian’s parents visit for the Holidays, We had a wonderful Christmas and New Years and spent time with my family and extended family and we wrapped up the year with most of us still sick and never leaving the house…

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My House Painting Saga

 Our house painting its finished!

my sister asked for pictures and I may one day wanna remember what it was like when it was all fresh and new so I took way too many and plan to share them all. So consider it a bit of a house tour?

No we did not do it ourselves. If so it would not be finished, let alone in two weeks. Professional painters are awesome. It looks so good and there are no drips on the carpets or smudges on the ceilings and light fixtures. But that whole ‘be out of your house from 730 am to 6 pm every day’ was harder than I imagined. But in order to keep the 30 little fingers I am responsible for (my to mentions toes and tongues and noses and my own digits!) out of the wet paint, it was worth it, but hard.

For the record (because I always complain that I would be happier if I were going somewhere doing something… remind me of this!) we went

  • to the library
  • to a movie at the cheap theater
  • to the zoo
  • to a friend’s acreage
  • to the pool
  • to mothers group
  • on Friday my dad and brother took the big kids to the planetology museum.

And that was the first week. And I couldn’t do it again so I sent Clara away to her aunties for the next week. So when I just had the two younger ones, we went

  • to ikea
  • to a doctor’s appointment and the hardware store
  • to a cousins house and a friends house
  • to moms group and grandma’s house
  • to my sister’s house an hour away
  • And on Friday my mom kindly took them and I packed our bags and we headed north to see my sister and my cousin for the weekend.

We. Are. All. So. Tired.

And sad Before pictures go well with that. And I like so many other badDIYbloggers didn’t take many pictures of rooms I wasn’t too happy with just for the sake of having before pictures, but these ones with cute babies in them seem to work just as well! And most people reading this are my family members and know this house in its former state all too well!

Fireplace Room:



Cute baby Tessa… and ugly beige panel wall


Front Room (we used it as a living room and now as a play room)2015-05-26-16-23-392015-02-02-20-23-332015-09-09-13-45-02

Hallways and Railings and such


lots of beige and white trim


railings that are half brown and half white. and the cutest little duck and chicken


odd railing colous



more taupe hallways and bicoloured railings

Dinning Room. More taupe. 2015-05-11-21-46-53

Bedrooms upstairs (the ones we haven’t painted since moving in) are all this colour.


Anyway, Lots and lots of brown and beige and taupe. Now the best part… the afters!

Look how pretty and Cheerful it looks!

Bedroom 1 (Benjamin Moore Caribbean Mist 2061-70) 2016-11-11-09-31-37 2016-11-11-09-31-27 2016-11-11-09-31-13 2016-11-23-11-37-37


Bedroom 2 (Benjamin Moore Peach Parfait 2175-70)



Hallways (Benjamin Moore White Dove OC-17  – for walls Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace 2121-70 – for Trim, railings, wainscoting and panelled wall)

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 Front Room (Benjamin Moore Caribbean Mist 2061-70)

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Staircase/ Entryway (Benjamin Moore Coral Spice 2170-40)


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Dining Room (Benjamin Moore Wythe Blue HC-143)

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Fireplace room (Benjamin Moore Sanctuary AF-620, White Dove 75% whitewash for bricks)


New carpet coming soon (tomorrow!) and working on a way to hide the cords, maybe a mantel?

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And another hidden benefit, getting to reorganize all the cupboards and closets!


Anyway, that was a lot of pictures! Whoa…!

Now that you have seen all this, Emma, Christy, Tara, anyone else who read this far, don’t take this as a excuse to not come visit and see it in person!

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How We’ll Wait ~ Keeping Advent, Advent

kaa-afswI noticed on the way to the mailbox yesterday, that a neighbor already has a beautiful Christmas tree in their window. Wow. I am still trying to pick up the sand toys from the back yard and get them put away before they are buried in snow, but it got me thinking about what our Advent and Christmas will look like this year.

I wrote a post last year about what worked, and what didn’t in our advent and Christmas celebrations, and now I am glad to get a chance to look ahead and make some plans for how we will celebrate Advent this year. Wow I am glad I re-read that post. Totally forgot about most of those things and now I have a chance to possibly pull one of them together! Thank you once again blog for being my memory when the one in my brain has forgotten to do its job.

So this year, here are somethings we will do, and some things we won’t do to keep  the season of Advent, as just that and save the Christmass-ing for Dec 24th and on.

Our Christmases through the years

Our Christmases through the years

We Will

Celebrate St. Nicholas day in some small way. Wake up to a small gift (christmas PJ’s?) in shoes by the fireplace. Chocolate gold coins? They always love that. Something like that.

Listen to Haley’s advent playlist and any other advent music I can find, some of the time.

Pray around the advent wreath each evening. As I have shared before, my family had such a beautiful tradition when I was growing up of having an “Advent Log” instead of a wreath, with candles for every day of the season. I haven’t convinced my dad to make me a log of our own yet, (nudge nudge) so for now we will gather each evening after dinner around a simple wreath, light the candle(s) for the week and say (or sing, the like it better singing) some very simple prayers and one decade of the rosary. This the Advent Log at my parents house in all it's glory


Have a peg doll nativity set! I have been spending time on painting ours, and organizing swaps so 60 other families can have a set too, so that will be my contribution for the “adding one new tradition each year”. I will try to keep baby Jesus out of the picture til Christmas morning and make a big deal about his arrival.

Have plans of special things to do on the 12 days of christmas (I love Bonnies simple and totally fun suggestions!) and also for the days while Nana and Papa are here to make sure we have lots to look forward to when we(I) have to turn down things I want to do now that aren’t as liturgically season appropriate.

Bring out all our kids Christmas and Advent books. A well as finding little ways to discuss advent and Christmas and what it means and why it’s important. I will find some coloring pages to print and crafts to do and hopefully we can work some simple acts of service and charity into our days. Little by little folks.

Try really hard to send (for the first time ever, we are terrible!) a card and picture to our two children we sponsor through Chalice.

Have Grandparents staying with us for Christmas! Which I am so excited for! The kids and of course my husband too (his parents live in Michigan and we don’t get to see them nearly enough) so they will be here and I know it will make everything more special and fun for all of us to be together!


We Won’t

Wait to buy eggnog. the past few years I have waited and been SO disappointed because when Dec 24th rolls around, you know what? They don’t even have it in the stores any more. So this year eggnog lattes are my advent treat.

Decorate and bring out all the Christmas things until the “Pink” Sunday to keep the atmosphere in the house more subdued during advent.

Participate in all the “Christmas festivals” before the feast really begins on the 24th. (This is always a big sacrifice for me, but If I have fun things to look forward to that I have been “saving” it should be ok).

Thanks for reading!


If you are curious about how other families are planning to keep Advent, Advent then check out the Sienna Sisters Blog Hop where many of us are sharing the different ways we live this beautiful season in our homes!

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44/52 another trip to the Zoo

Clara. Jumping in the hat

Hugh. Watching flamingos, on one leg of course

Tessa. Always filled with JOY

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42/52 jumping back in the saddle 

I have majorly dropped the ball on project52. But the unicorn trifecta of free time + WiFi + battery life in my phone is happening now and I thought I’d take advantage of it. 

She was actually pretty impressed that they could build a whole model of the library out of Lego. And the 300+ minifigures were pretty cute 

Smouldering at the BP’s where we went for pizza dinner with my folks last weekend. 

Living the hi (chair) life. 

I haven’t forgot about blogging, it just hasn’t been my priority lately and we have had some more computer isses unfortunately. Hopefully one post leads to another and another and another. But the tl:dr version is that we are all doing well and lots of same old same old! 

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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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