Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All's tidy and everything's ahead of us

It's a remarkable thing. We've just spent 7 days at home cleaning and packing like never before. Well sure, Brian and I have been away for 6 weeks before, and 5 weeks in Mexico with Otis. So what's the difference? One extra kid? Let me tell you; once we figured out how to pack for one kid, adding a second to the equation was actually not such a big deal. We've already learned that we need about 100% more onesies/spare shirts, a bed of some sort, something to sit in for meal times, diapers, wipes, more wipes, a small collection of indispensable toys & books (we now have two trucks, 1 set of mega blocks, 5 books, crayons and a stuffy for each child), and clothes for all kinds of weather. Oh, and snacks. Once we got that system down for one it was just a matter of adding clothes for the second. Anything else is gravy.

So the really big difference is that we rented out Little Langy for the duration. A beautiful little family will be living in our home until we get back. This means two things: we wanted to leave it in deep clean state with free closet and fridge space, AND now we know that Francisco-the-cat will be well loved, along with our amazingly high producing garden.

In these 7 days home we did a spring clean that involved mega cucumber, squash and bean harvesting and processing, moving furniture and sorting through little-visited territory. Turns out that every time my mom comes to visit she leaves a tin of sardines behind. What on earth do we do with sardines?! Pile them up in the pantry, clearly.

So, a few social visits, a clean house, canning & freezing done, a couple new systems for Boler storage implemented (have I mentioned that Brian's got the knack?), and we're all packed and ready to roll. We celebrated last night - we did this without a whole ton of stress. Amazing! I'm pretty sure this is owing to Brian and I BOTH being off work right now. A one-parent job would have been a different story altogether. 

Which leaves us here: I'm writing from the car in the customs lineup in Anacortes. We're on our way to Orcas Island for Brian's family reunion (Paulapalooza they're calling it). I actually can't wait for the family love fest that awaits us.

So for real now. No going back. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Family of Four, a Boler Trailer Named Bartholomew, and a Summer on the Road

Well, hello!
You may know that I only document my (and now our) longer adventures on this blog, but even so I hesitate to introduce this trip as our "next" big adventure. Frankly, we've been adventuring pretty constantly ever since Otis joined our family in 2012. And Russell's arrival 6 months ago simply secured this: I sure didn't know how unusual and exciting some moments in my daily life staying at home with two little boys would be. So many surprises of all kinds - welcome, inevitable and learnful!

So, formally, I introduce instead this, the last of the baby Familymoons. Brian is on parental leave for the next two months and the adventure is on!


  1. 1.
    an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity.
    "In a 4 cylinder 2005 (red) Toyota Matrix, the 4 of them traveled to the West Coast pulling their 1974 Boler Trailer, not entirely sure how they'd handle the steep climb of the Alberni hump. It was a real adventure."
    "Once they replaced the clutch upon their return back in Victoria, they were ready for the adventures to follow"

  1. 1.
    engage in hazardous and exciting activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.
    "While the family had successfully made the trips to Tofino and Hornby, this was old hat. They were ready to adventure farther down the coast: Washington, Oregon and California were calling"

So here we are, at Harry & Lorraine's (Grandma & Grandpa to Otis & Russell) in Nanaimo, after a beautiful kick-off on Hornby Island where my Mom (Jamma) joined us. We stayed at Ford's Cove with a few other wonderful families (Melanie & Vagner, their kids & extended families) and we beached, lollygagged, chatted, laughed, cried, pottied, played, ate and slept a-okay. 

AND this marks about a month of Otis using the potty throughout the day. I am serious when I tell you that my markers of daily success have taken a significantly different turn than a few short years ago. Maybe this is why non-parents get tired of hearing about parents' milestones? (I don't know - do you?) From the outside, it's just not that big a deal? Or maybe other people (including parents who've been there a while back) just KNOW (correctly) that eventually Otis will grow out of using diapers. Let me tell you, all you beautiful believers. It's SO AWESOME! 

Anyways, here we are at my in-laws, my mom included. As I watched my mom and Lorraine be led around the lower garden by our increasingly verbal, and frankly bossy, elder child, I had a moment's pause. I'm learning so much about the gift of grandparents from this side of the family equation. The gift of a grandparent is an untiring ear. Well, I'm sure the ear gets a little overheated and tired out from time to time, but I really don't think Otis would ever know it. 'Cause when Mom and Dad, Auntie & Uncle and passersby have exhausted their listening, Grandparents are still in. Still ready to move at the boys' pace; seemingly uninterested in whatever other thing is calling for their time. It's a total kid immersion. 

"Look Jamma/Grandma/Grandpa, this is how you do it. No wait! First I go, THEN you go. Like this! Come, come on."

At home we try to disabuse Otis of this idea that he is Grand Chief King of the Universe, something he's learning and will continue to learn as Russell becomes more than an appendage on mom & dad's hip, but with Grandmas and Grandpas? For this short slice of his life, he is. He can walk around the garden and just KNOW that these adults want to know what he's talking about. He can spend this time in total confidence. What a gift of love and mattering! And clearly not just a gift for our kids. This means we get to share the limitless listening. It gives us a chance to refuel. Thank you, thank you to our wonderful parents and parent-types, for this very important role you play. 

So we're on our way to the Vancouver Folk Festival (where we're also celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary! ) and then ping-ponging around for the next few weeks until we begin our roadtrip in earnest - sometime shortly after Jo & Tiara's wedding celebration in Vancouver. As Otis would say, quoting a special book that Auntie Gwen wrote him "Heeeere we go, says Monster John"!