Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Every Year Starts With a Hike

Happy 2012! Our tradition is that every year on the first day, we go on a family hike. This year, Christian had the idea to try a new one, so after sleeping in late and having a big breakfast, we started out to find a trail head up Mt. Tuam. After a long drive down a windy, forested road, failed attempts to find the beginning of the trail, and four car sick kids, we decided to make our own way up the mountain. We found what looked like an old road and started up.

About 45 minutes into our hike, the road came to what looked like an old stable and the road abruptly stopped. This is where this picture below was taken and where we decided to be brave for forge our own trail up the mountain.

This meant climbing a very steep, leaf covered ridge, that was very slippy. I was having stomach problems and wasn't sure it was a good idea. I thought there was no way Abby would make it up. But her brothers and our international student, (Annika) forged ahead and she joined them enthusiastically! Christian and I had to dig deep to keep up with them.
Once we made it past the tree line, we quickly saw that our efforts were to be rewarded with an incredible view!
Our little "billy goats" kept wanting to climb higher until finally we had to tell them to stop as we knew we were going to start loosing light, and without a flash light (yah, we hike real prepared!), we'd never find our way down to the van again. It is so satisfying to me to watch and listen to my children love to explore and then to just marvel at the creation of God around them and not want to leave that beauty.We are truly blessed to have been able to start 2012 like this and to live in a place where creation is so breathtaking.

We had a blast sliding down the leaf covered ridge back to the road and made it back just before we lost all light. It was very fun, and just a bit risky :)

I always start a new year with anticipation about what adventures God has planned for our family. I know that not all of it will be easy, but there is just a fresh feeling to it, and above all I know that God is with us and that we are living to follow Him.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Still here

No pics to post as I lost the chord to my camera...must find that. I'm working on organizing our office, so I guess right now I'm procrastinating. Life is flying by as always. Soccer is taking up lots of our time as is usual for this time of year. I'm getting very excited to have my sis Heather and her family here for Christmas. I LOVE the Christmas season and our tree/decorations will be up by the 10th. I'm really feeling blessed in life right now. So thankful for my family, our friends, our house and the dreams God has put in our hearts. Pondering a lot today on God's favor and this quote, "Favor means God's heart is for you and His hand is on you, no matter what happens in your life" -Stephen Furtick
Love it!

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


We had an amazing holiday in Banff! This is the only pic that I have downloaded so far and it's one of my favorites from our camping trip. I'm so thankful to God for the almost two weeks we had as a family to have fun, relax, bond, laugh, eat yummy food, visit, hike, bike ride, and camp. Every day was a new adventure and it filled my soul to overflowing.
When we arrived home, the move was on. Christian and I spent two exhausting long days moving over to our new pad, while the Stonehouse kids stayed in Chilliwack with my sister Heather and her family. On day three, Christian left for an across Canada tour with Bachman Turner and our kids came home; on day four our international student arrived from Taiwan! Here we are in October, and Christian was only home for five days for the whole month of September. It's only by the grace of God and his strength that I didn't lose my mind! Christian came home on October 2nd, which was also our 18th anniversary, and I am completely aware that parenting is meant to be a team effort! He has to go back to Winnipeg tomorrow for three days for a NHL show and then no more travel until the spring!!!
We're into soccer season now full swing with all three little Stonehouses on teams. I'm finding it's important in this stage with our family to make sure we carve out time together and not let everyone get too busy with outside activities. Otherwise I feel like we're all inside a tornado! We're loving our new place and finding it a great place to have people over. On Saturday, we pick up our second international student from the airport...a 17 year old girl from Korea. So far, we're really liking having a student as part of our family and we're all learning a lot about Taiwan.
So...there's a snipet of what been going on with us. How about you?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Crazy Summer

Well, yes, it's been a crazy summer! Too much working and packing and juggling kids, but we've managed to fit in a lot of fun as well. Summer came late to BC so we've had to fit a lot of fun in the sun into August. We've been doing lots of swimming in the local lakes and ocean beaches. These are some of my fave pics of our summer so far...

This is Brennan hanging off one of our local tree swings. It was cold that day...this was back in June. My middle child is a dare devil! I'm praying that his brain connects quickly, so that he lives. He does things sometimes without thinking much! I really hope that Christian does not teach him to cliff jump! I thought that was cool when we were teens, but the thought of my kids doing it, strikes terror into my heart!
Abby and Isaiah had so much fun on the trampoline with the sprinkler on one of the first hot days of summer around here. And it was seriously not until the end of July!
Here's some of the goodness from our garden picked yesterday. I love having a vegetable garden! Everything tastes so much better than from the store.
My sweet friend Judy had a bunch of us girls over a couple of nights ago to teach us how to nuno felt. It was so much fun and this is the scarf I created in just a few hours! I don't think of myself as being very creative, but this is something I'd like to explore more. I believe I'm made in the image of God, the ultimate creator, so I must be creative! Brennan was a good sport to model this for the picture. I only had to promise that I wouldn't show his face :)
This is our new puppy Daisy after her first hair cut. She's a real sweety, but she still pees in our house sometimes and it's been a real challenge having a puppy to train over this busy summer!
I'm just so looking forward to our holidays next week. We really need to get away as a family. When we get back, we move, and I'm really hoping for a calm, boring September.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My New House Has A Disco Ball!

No pictures to share right now, as I'm having trouble uploading. These are times when I really need Christian's help and we've been in a bit of a whirlwind lately (what's new!)
Just wanted to share and write what we've been up to. This is the first summer that I've worked since having Brennan (10 years!), and I'm really not jazzing on it. I work three days a week waitressing at a restaurant here on SSI that has a gorgeous view on the ocean, but gets crazy busy. I'm soooooo tired by the time I'm home late at night! We were going to work Christian's studio schedule with my hours, but as it turns out, he's been busier than expected and had some unexpected road trips, so we've been juggling the kids a lot and we're generally worn out already. I only work about one more month and then we go on a holiday :)
We're going to Banff to camp with close friends and their family and I can hardly wait!!! I love Banff, and I love hiking and biking, and camping so it should be a great adventure.
When we get home, we're moving...yes, moving again. The house we're renting is up for sale and the kids have been longing to have a yard to play in as this house is ocean front and has no real yard space to speak of, so we found a much better house for our family. It has five bedrooms, and the rent is higher so our big plan for now is to be a host family for international students. So far, we have a 17 yr. old girl from Taiwan joining us September 2nd, and we're hoping to have a second student by October. I've started putting our stuff in boxes and fighting the urge to feel depressed about it as I really loathe moving! I think it's just that we've done it so much... And yes, our new place has a disco ball in the living room, so you can bet your boots there'll be many Stonehouse family dance parties in there!
I have a new job that I started in June as well and will resume in September and that is as an on call education assistant for the school district. I'll be working in about eight different schools on our island providing one on one help for students with special needs, and behaviour challenges. This is right up my alley and I'm really looking forward to getting more into the groove of it in the fall.
Life is never boring around here and I can't believe I haven't blogged anything since January! Isaiah, Brennan and Abby are all doing well. They had a great school year and were busy in many activities...soccer, basketball, youth group, Brownies, gymnastics etc. We really work hard to not let them get too busy. It's so important for us to have most dinners together and time as a family.
Some big family news for us is that we've applied to adopt a child through the Ministry of Children and Families. So, if all goes well, we may have a new family member by this time next year. This has been a slow process for us as we feel God calling us to do this, but were pretty freaked when we heard some bad financial news early this year. We feel like we're just supposed to keep walking ahead in obedience and leave the details up to God. We're excited, but it does feel a bit like we're "stepping out of the boat."
Well, that's enough random blabbing for now... Who knows if anyone will read this long saga, but I like writing things down on the blog so I can look back on it. I'm going to see now if I can keep up with this blog a bit better. Because what a better time when I'm working like crazy and about to move!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Mantracker Party

We wanted to do something really adventurous for Brennan's 10th birthday party and decided to do a "Mantracker Party". Christian and the boys had so much fun planning it trying to base it on a show they like to watch called "Mantracker". We decided to use a local forested park, make a map with a start, 10 check points, and a finish. The boys would get points for making it to the checkpoints and loose points for getting caught by the "mantrackers". We started out by face painting for better camouflage.

Then the boys were divided into four teams of two and given laminated maps of the park, which included the check points and finish line. The "mantrackers" did not know where the check points or finish line were, only that the boys would be within the boundaries. We gave them 90 seconds to start before they would be followed and "hunted". If I could have bottled the excitement and energy the boys had before the game started I would have enough get up and go for the rest of 2011!
This is Christian resting for a few seconds over a log after a hard run. The "mantrackers" quickly discovered that these little guys were fast and hard to catch!
Before too long the three "mantrackers" had a strategy. They worked as a team, hiding and ambushing boys.
Soon, there was a lots of catching going on :) Abby and I patrolled the park making sure everyone kept safe and taking lots of pictures. I had so much fun seeing the glee on the boys faces and seeing the mantrackers having a blast. It took about an hour and a half before the first team reached the finish line with all the tokens collected from the checkpoints.
This party turned out so great, I think it could become a yearly tradition! The only mistake I made was having all the boys back to our house for pizza, cake, and a movie after for over two hours. I thought they'd be tired and just want to sit and watch the movie, but I forgot that groups of nine/ten year old boys become crazy when they're together and can't be still and quiet for more than 15 minutes!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

An Early Christmas Surprise

Today we planned a special day to give our kids their Christmas present early! Before that though, we spent some time talking as a family about how Christian and I are feeling convicted to pray and ask God about doing things a bit differently for next Christmas. Even though we try really hard not to go overboard (we get the kids one gift from us, and usually spend about $50/child, and a few stocking stuffers), we're really feeling like we need to scale down and give more than we do to the poor. I've been reading a few blogs lately where the families don't even exchange gifts at Christmas and I've been feeling a bit disturbed. I think it's a good thing to get disturbed... They take the money they would have spent on presents and give it away.
We bought a Wii this year for our little wee ones, and we really wanted to give it before Christmas so the focus on Christmas day isn't all on playing it. We're having my parents and Christian's Dad and Step-Mom here for Christmas we want to spend time visiting, playing board games, singing etc.
So, I set up a treasure hunt with clues and had the kids running all over the yard and house following them. While they were outside, I hid the Wii under the tree. When they found it, we had three kids jumping, hugging, and laughing!
We've spent the afternoon playing together and it is ever fun! I had no idea how much I would like it :)
I really love this time of year and being creative with ways to focus on Advent as a family. This year, I'm trying a Jesse tree/Advent devotional as a family. We light the house with candles after dark and spend some time focusing on Jesus and the reason why we celebrate His coming.
Is anyone else feeling disturbed about the crazy money we spend at this time of year? What are you doing to focus on the Birthday Child?