Kinney Lake, July 2017

After over a month of planning, writing lists, food prep and waves of nervous excitement, our backpacking trip finally arrived.

I started packing a week in advance, checking off my lists carefully.  Following a hearty breakfast, we loaded the car up and hit the road. In a couple of hours we were registered for the trail, unloading the car, loading up the deluxe chariot a friend lent us, and strapping on our packs.

Only a few minutes down the trail, Miss S had a spill. She had a cry, then was back on her feet ready to trudge on. We were hiking the Berg Lake trail, under the colossal Mt. Robson. We had a 7 km hike into the back-country campsite on the shore of Kinney Lake. The trail is a wide, even path with only one big hill and one section of switchbacks leading up the side of a mountain to get around a bay on the lake. The only unexpected issues were a giant puddle that soaked the bottom of the chariot, and a fallen tree we had to lift the chariot over.

One of the things I love about these trips is the sense of wonder and excitement that the kids radiate, and it is infectious. They were bubbling with joy as they discovered many tiny pebbly creeks with banks of moss and shadowed by ferns. They chatted excitedly about fairy homes and fairy lakes and fairy streams, naming each and every one. The forest was magical, even I felt it.

Arriving at the campsite, we were ready to set up our base camp and eat some supper. The girls had fun playing along the lake and helping set up. While Miss A and I slept in the tent, the older girls slept out “under the stars” with Ben. He had set up a tarp in case of rain. Unfortunately no stars could be seen through the haze from BC forest fires.

Early in the morning Ben took the older girls to fill up the water containers to start making breakfast, finding rabbits hopping along the trails. What a fun surprise! We had a relaxing morning and then headed further up the trail on a day hike. The next section rose up high onto the mountain, where the girls climbed over gigantic boulders covered in moss. Then the trail went down again to the river bed. We crossed tiny bridges over thundering white water. On the other side of the valley we spent some time relaxing in the shadow of the trees. My heart felt so full watching my family laughing, playing, connecting.  It was truly a gift to be together with no distractions. Out there I felt a soothing peace, and a quiet calm within. Despite these trips being so much work, for me, they are so worth it. I feel renewed and refreshed.

Making our way back to camp, we took the lower trail across the Kinney Lake flats where the rushing river spreads out over the rocks in to many little streams.  What a wonder to watch our girls. Miss S was like a wild pony racing across the flats, leaping over the streams. Miss B scrambled up every large boulder to stand triumphantly on top, hands on her hips.

fullsizeoutput_88f1fullsizeoutput_88f3

Wild. Free. It was refreshing.

The next day we slowly packed up our camp, lingering in the cool morning stillness. The sun came out as we started down the trail.

The hike back we tried to focus on the trail in front of us, the thundering river beside us, the towering cedars beside us, and on the wonderful experience we had. We pushed thoughts of the week to come and to-do list out of our heads, wanting to soak up the present.

It was a stunning retreat. Out family was renewed and strengthened. I am so proud of our strong mountain girls who hiked a total of 18km over the 3 days, all on their own, carrying their own water and snacks most of the time. One girl asked if we could return every year, to which the other excitedly exclaimed, “Or next weekend!”

Miss A: Divine Strength

This last week our youngest, Miss A (currently 9 months), was diagnosed with Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES). We have a challenging road ahead of us, full of unknowns and uncertainty. The diagnosis is just the beginning.

In short, it is a delayed (symptoms occur typically 2-3 hrs after ingestion) food allergy that cannot be tested for (trigger foods do not show up on standard allergy tests). The danger is anti-histamines and epinephrine have no affect, and the outcome is severe dehydration from repetitive vomiting, which can lead to shock.

Really we don’t know much of what’s to come. So far we know of 4 foods that make her sick, with no known safes yet. The only way to find safe foods is trail and error with extremely vigilant label-checking and documentation of foods tried and reactions that follow. Hopefully these 4 foods are all she reacts to, but it is possible she could have numerous triggers. We also are still unsure of how sensitive she will be to exposures, and how severe her reactions will become.  The good news is kids typically out-grow this condition around 3 or 4 yrs of age.

Those that know us well, know our family is riddled with food allergies. Each person having different allergies, our list of safe foods we can share is quickly decreasing.  I’m thankful that I am comfortable in the kitchen and usually enjoy finding recipes that work or experimenting to create new ones that fit our family. I lack discipline in the cleaning department though, and will need serious focus to ensure my floors are completely food-free and safe for my now crawling babe. (Side note, she crawled on hands and knees for the first time today! Yay!)

After a few days of letting this news sink in I am fluctuating between confidence and hope, and anxiety and fear. I am typically very optimistic and hope that I can continue to take this one day at a time, resting in God’s strength and peace. After all, the meaning of Miss A’s name is divine strength; to receive her strength from God.

 

If you want to know more about FPIES, go to http://fpiesfoundation.org/about-fpies-3/

 

Strawberry Ham

IMG_4850

Today we found strawberries on a great sale, so we loaded up on them and spent the afternoon washing, slicing, blending and filling up the dehydrator.

IMG_4851

A few years ago when Ms. S was about 2, she loved eating our homemade strawberry fruit leather, but called it strawberry ham. I guess she thought it looked like deli meat. It has been one of those cute things that your kid says and just sticks. So today we blended up some strawberry rhubarb fruit leather, sprinkled with some chia seeds for extra nutrients and some texture. We also sliced up many strawberries to dehydrate for adding into oatmeal or trail mix.

IMG_4855

The sale was great timing as we are starting to prepare for our big adventure for the summer. We have booked our spots at a back country campground, and will be backpacking with our girls for a 2 night trip. 7km in, a rest day, and 7 km out.  It is a beautiful place and a gorgeous trail, accessible enough to push the chariot loaded with pink clothes, fluffy sleeping bags and yummy strawberry ham. Sound a little crazy? Maybe. But these crazy adventures give me a burst of energy and sense of life and wonder. They help me to refocus on my great life purpose, as we step outside our regular routine, standard views, and mundane tasks.

We have done this trail before, when Ms. S was 2 and Ms. B was 11 months old. It was epic. It was an unusually warm fall, and we hiked it in October. It was stunning. The crisp air, blue water, and stunning night sky. Ms. B hardly slept that night. On the plus side, we didn’t need to worry about wildlife as I’m sure her crying kept everything far far away. But that was how she was as a baby and we thought, “We could stay up all night at home with a crying baby, or have a grand adventure with a crying baby.” But the lack of sleep and crying baby isn’t what I really remember about that trip, it was the quiet waters, the mist on the mountains, the crisp air, the stars, and watching Ms. S explore in the wild.  Since we’ve been married, Ben and I have had many adventures in which we have coined the phrase, “You don’t have to be having fun to have fun.”  Now I really sound crazy.  But it helps me to remember that things can’t and won’t go perfectly. And that the things that are hard, are often the most memorable, and reap the greatest rewards.

 

So here we go again. I’m excited to return and to share natures beauty with our girls. I better bring lots of strawberry ham.

DSC04108.JPG

 

 

the adventure begins…

Hello! Welcome! My first blog post! Thank you for coming by. I have decided to start blogging as a creative outlet for me, to compile my thoughts, ideas, adventures, photography, and document our journey through parenting and …..homeschooling. Yes! We are taking the leap and will begin homeschooling this fall.

One of the main motivations to finally set up a blog, after tossing the idea around for nearly a year, was our decision to home school.  I hope you will join us on this journey of learning and discovery as we find our way. We are super excited, and a little terrified of the adventure ahead.

I sent in our notification form to homeschool this morning. Then we went on a long beautiful bike ride. This gave me confidence as I watched my girls play in the creek, exploring and interacting with nature. We were mesmerized by gorgeous spider webs, what floats and sinks in a rushing creek, and experimented with building a bridge. This is the kind of childhood I want to provide. They squished their toes in mud and laid down in the cool grass. I want to experience many more Monday mornings like this. And so that is one of the reasons we have decided to homeschool. I’m sure you’ll be hearing many more of our reasons in the time to come.

I hope this blog will be a place to share ideas and stories, to be inspired and humbled and to share a joy for life.

Thanks for listening.