Oh Canada

Last week found us on adventures in Whistler BC for our family vacation. We were lucky enough to have the Beckham family with us, so there were extra good times to be had!

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The gang on our hike to the train wreck!

I look forward to our week in Whistler every year, and while the locations we trade to some years have all been awesome, my heart is always wanting to get back to Whistler.

Graffiti from the train wreck.
More graffiti…it’s treated like art there, and the artists themselves are pretty respectful of where and how they do it.

One of my favorite things is that there are things like train wrecks, abandon mines, ruins from old towns all to be stumbled upon and explored. No keep out signs, no warning of danger. It’s all explore at your own risk. I don’t know if that’s a general Canada thing or a specific BC thing (there is a difference)…whatever it is I like it.

I also love all the amazing food (I have a post all about our amazing dinner out!), drinks, and chocolate. Oh the chocolate…I don’t even like chocolate, but Canadian chocolate is so much better than U.S. chocolate.

My two favorite!

It’s an interesting place because no one is from Whistler. Everyone, even “locals” are from somewhere else, mostly overseas, so it’s a true melting pot of cultures. And, so easy going and happy. Just a mountain village enjoying all the adventures the outdoors can bring…totally our kind of place!

One of the coolest parts of the week there…I don’t have a picture of it (it really happened I promise!) we saw a bear! It walked right past the balcony to the condo, up the hill and crossed the road to forage in the ditch on the other side…so cool!

A few more pictures of our adventures up north……

Best road tripper ever, even if she did color on my car. 😦
Ready to hit the links.
When in Whistler…stop at the Amsterdam Cafe…it’s worth it. Just don’t break the rules! 😉
The only golf we can afford in Whistler! Look at that form…that’s why she needs lessons!
For real Canada is a magical place of amazing Caesars, I mean that’s a meal right there!
Sky loved this so much she did it twice and flipped as much as she could!
Hot tub time with a view of the mountains in the background…not bad.
Perfect ending to a great trip!
She was looking up the mountain for bears.

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If you ever have the opportunity to visit Whistler…DO IT! You won’t regret it!

Simple Family Adventures

I’ve posted about this before, but with summer right around the corner and family vacation & weekend trip planning happening for a lot of folks it’s a good reminder.

Adventure has always been important to us, and it seems to be a big theme for a lot of people this year. I’m seeing it all over the place, and I love it. I’m making lists and filing options away for future adventures. While I wish adventure meant we were globe trotting whenever and wherever we want, the budget doesn’t allow for that, and you know there are things like jobs, school, swim lessons etc. So, whats a family to do when “big” adventure isn’t always an option?

Go big, or go home right? WRONG! How sad to let the little, every day adventures slip through the cracks, and only plan for the big trip/vacation once a year, or every few years (whatever the case may be). I for one want to enjoy life every. single. day.

It’s a simple concept really, open your front door and say “I wonder what adventure we will find today”! Every time we leave the house Sky says something along the lines of “I’m ready for my adventure Mommy”. The exact statement changes from day to day, but it’s always about what adventure we will find that day. Even if all we are doing is grocery shopping, it’s going to be a fun filled adventure somehow, someway.

A lot of our adventures take place at the park, and while you would think it may get old, since it’s so close and we are there all the time, it really doesn’t. We always find new ways to have fun and new things to admire and speculate over.

 Shadow Family.

Be still my heart. Picking flowers for Mommy.

A few ideas for making everyday an adventure: 
-Letting the tot pick out a new fruit or vegetable at the store to try
-Guessing what might be in the mailbox on the walk to get the mail
-How many potential fiery homes can be found in your yard
-What color flowers will we see at the park
-Go to the local nursery or home improvement store and have your kiddo pick out a plant or seeds and their own pot/flower box to create their own flower or vegetable garden
-Driving around in the car while testing out the new big girl booster seat, and waving to other’s as we drive past
-Take the globe/map/Nat Geo magazine (you get the idea) outside and map things out in the yard or find similar bugs from the magazine in the yard. Better yet let the kiddos find a good spot for a lions den (or living space for any outrageous animal that may be in the Nat Geo magazine but would never live in your yard) in your yard, or at the park 
-Family outings to the park, the whole family, are so much more exciting than the usual mommy and Sky (for us) trip to the park
-Finding ways to include them in activities that typically are done without them. Now that I don’t have the jogging stroller I hardly ever run with her, so including her in running (her on the bike, while I run) is a huge adventure (more like a game of chase) for her
The nice things about kiddos is they like routine, and find comfort in doing the same types of things every day. You don’t have to do wild crazy stuff to find adventure. Be excited and they will be excited, and all of a sudden even mundane things like going to the post office become an exciting event, with new discoveries! It also makes it easy to change one tiny little thing to make things more adventurous than usual. 
Catch us mommy, catch us…yeah right.
 Worlds best balancing tree!
 Tuckered out after playing and running around the park.
The best adventure of all…letting her walk Silas and choose the path we will follow!

Checking out a new store…my adventure shopping in a new wine section, her’s was picking out a cookie in the bakery.

And sometimes the best adventure of all is building a fort in the living room, and slaying monsters in a princess dress, viking helmet, and party shoes. 

Lets Go To The Moon

P.S. I’m having tech difficulties with my pictures from the weekend. They’ve been uploaded, but I can’t access them for some reason. I will get the weekend adventure up as soon as I’m able! I know Grandpa is waiting to see it! 🙂

Sky has developed a fascination with space as of late. She has always been into the moon, spotting it as soon as it’s up in the night sky and asking about why she can’t see it in the middle of the day. I can’t tell you how many times she looks out the picture window, sees the moon, and asks to go outside to look at it. We have spent a lot of time sitting on the hood of daddy’s truck moon gazing. 
So it’s not surprising to me she’s all about the moon, and space, and rocket ships! I think this cool little sandbox toy she got really kicked it all off though. 
She loves playing with her “moon rocks” and astronauts, and the black sparkly sand just adds to the mystic of it all, and makes it super exciting. Not super exciting to clean up spills, but that’s life with a 3 year old. 
Then Mark busted out this book from his childhood and now it’s all she wants to read. But, she will only read it with Daddy. When I offer I get a dirty look and she wants to know when Daddy will be home. 
I think Miles From Tomorrow Land (Disney Cartoon) is adding to the space theme as well. Now she’s asking if she can live on a rocket ship, live on the moon, and best of all “can we live on earth mommy”? When I tell her we do live on earth she gets mad and says, “no, I mean can we LIVE on earth”?! She’s just a tad bit confused. We need to work on that, 
I think our next, and soon to happen, family adventure will be a trip to the museum of flight and maybe the science center see what space stuff they have to offer.
Loving this “When I was a kid I was an astronaut” stage she’s in (again she’s a little confused). She is so much fun! 

Box Troll Milk

This post won’t make much sense if you have not seen the movie Box Trolls. It’s Sky’s current favorite which means anytime we give her movie time she asks for Box Trolls. It’s ok though because we like it almost as much as she does.

One of the things I love about being gone an evening or two a week is the fun/adventures Mark and Sky have together. A few nights ago they came up with Sky’s Box Troll name and costume. For those that haven’t seen the movie, they wear boxes like clothing and each troll’s name is based on the type of box (what items were packaged in the box) they have on. For example Fish, Shoes, Hat and there is a picture of the product on each box so you know who is who. 
Apparently Sky really likes Milk!
I needed to practice my phone photography class lessons and thought this would be a fun opportunity to get some cute pics of our little Box Troll. The above photo is a good example of framing your subject, but she is dead center of the photo (which is a no, no…and there are branches star-bursting out of her head which is another no, no…but I still love the photo)! I’ll just say that practicing photo class in the woods adds a whole bunch of difficulty!
She picked out Milk all on her own, and then the two of them proceeded to build her box. 
It’s a whole lot easier to point out what’s wrong with picture than whats right. I cut her foot off and ignored the rule of thirds yet again. But that smile! 

We got a few funny looks from people who have clearly not seen Box Trolls, but Sky had a blast and didn’t want to leave. When I told her I was done taking pics (over 80 of them…deleted down to 46 or something like that) she was not happy. “But Mommy I just need you to take my picture…I’m a box troll”.

In the movie when they get scared or need to hide they withdraw into their box a lot like turtles in their shell. Sky kept trying to shrink down into her box and hide from me.

And, when they are happy they beat on their boxes, like an ape or Tarzan, she was happy a lot during the shoot. She fell a lot too, so the box took a beating, but I’m thinking by Halloween we will have a truly awesome nearly perfect Box Troll costume for her!

No big deal….just a little Box Troll wondering off into the woods.

They actually live in the sewer under the city, but since I don’t have access to the underground sewer we opted for an outdoor adventure instead. Although, it would be fun to do a shoot downtown with Mark and his pro camera, and get some more industrial type pics! Family adventure time I think! 

Happy Mail!

I have always loved getting mail. Even though most of the time it’s bills and nothing super exciting I still go to the mail box every day with the anticipation that there is going to be something simply amazing waiting for me.

It’s a bit sad really that we are in an age of sending emails or posting messages on FB rather than mailing cards and letters. I’m guilty of it as well, so that’s not criticism at all.

It really struck me though when I helped go through my grandparents stuff. Both Grandma’s kept every single card, letter, picture, and note that any of the grand kid’s gave them. It was cool, odd, a little sad, and yet made me smile to see those letters and pictures from my 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 year old self. It also made me realize how meaningful these “silly little” things are, and it made me want to do something to reach out in a non-technology way.

Let’s be honest though, life is busy, for everyone. It is so much easier to post an update on FB to keep the masses up to date on life, or to post a public “get well”, “I love you”, “I’m thinking of you” than it is to write a note, find a stamp, and then mail it. Especially when your mail carrier has asked you not to put outgoing mail in you mail box because it falls onto the ground every time they open the mail box (we have a special locking box so the lid has a clip that is too big to hold single outgoing letters). Which means having to drive to the closest mail drop box or the post office. Grrr.

It was an idea that got filed away as something I wanted to do, but just didn’t have time for. I decided to be ok with just sending text photos, and posting on IG and FB for everyone to see.

But, finally there is a “real” mail option available that I’ve fallen in love with! The ladies over at A Beautiful Mess partnered with Studio Calico to offer several A Beautiful Mess products to the masses. One of the items is a monthly subscription to Happy Mail!

For $15 a month you can subscribe and receive $50 worth of carefully curated and designed stationary that you can then turn around and send out into the world! I had so much fun with my first shipment. As I looked at each card, postcard, and fun art/crafty items if someone popped into my head I instantly addressed it and put a stamp on it. I’m sure a few people were thinking what the heck this is strange when they opened their mail last week, but it made my heart happy to send off some fun Happy Mail to friends and family.

I didn’t get to send stuff to everyone so no one get’s to have hurt feelings. Over the months when the perfect thing comes along for the perfect person they will get theirs! 🙂 Plus, some of it is so cute that it deserves to be placed in a frame and hung as art, so some I will be keeping for myself. Selfish I know.

I also love that it’s not “just” cards or postcards. The December shipment had stickers, “made by” tags, and a Places We’ve Been map that we are using to track our adventures as a family of 3.

As you can see we have a lot of ground to cover, and that’s just in the US. Again, we are only tracking places the 3 of us have been together (Mark & I individually and together have been way more places than this map indicates). Driving through does not count either, we are only putting a location on the map if we actually spent time there. And, I accidentally put FL on there…Sky and I went without Mark, although all 3 of us have been there, just not together.

This map is actually meant to be cross stitched, even though it’s paper, but I ain’t got time for that! I’d rather take the time to mail out Happy Mail than cross stitch my paper map. So pinpoints it is, but you can check out the cross stitch idea Here. It’s a cute idea, but the other issue I have with it is just because you visit one part of a state does not mean you know all that state has to offer. WA is vastly different from one side to the other, so I wanted to be able to pinpoint a bit more accurately the places in each state we’ve been.

I think the perfect spot for it is the refrigerator because travel, adventure, exploring are important to Mark and I, and are part of our family values. I want to see it every day to remind us to keep exploring, and remember the adventures we’ve already had!

P.S. If I send you Happy Mail I don’t expect you to keep if for 80 years! 🙂

P.P.S This post is all my idea, I was not asked to post about it, or share the links. I just think it’s a really great idea so had to share, and the quality of the products is really the best!