Coquitlam watershed tour

While looking for things to do this summer that are free or nearly free, I came across the Metro Vancouver website. It list all kinds of events from tours, to how to canoe, to many other topics. The one that first grabbed my attention was the watershed tours. You see we live off of a road named Pipeline Rd. And while out exploring the area one day we drove to the end of the road and were greeted with a DO NOT ENTER gate. I always wondered what was behind that gate because on the map it shows Coquitlam Lake. Well, I’m all about water and if you tell me a lake is about 2 miles from my house I want to see it!!! I was in luck…the watershed tour is of said lake!
I came to learn many a new thing today on the tour. Pipeline Road is named that because the main pipe leading from the watershed goes right down the middle of the road! Second back in the 1940’s they voted to colse off the local watershed and not allow the public to be in them. We currently have 3 in the metro Vancouver area. These areas are natural, beautiful and brimming with all of Gods critters great and small. And they are left to do what they want! So special. :)
We loaded on a school bus today and entered the “gates” and went on to learn all about how they get our water, and how they treat it.
While I would have LOVED to go on the tour when it was a nice, hot and fresh summer day…today was cold, rainy and full of fog! But Gator and I made the best of it and enjoyed ourselves.

A HUGE thank you to my ever so wonderful Father-In-Love for gifting me with an amazing camera lens. It sure didn’t let me down on this rather odd day! Thanks G-pa :)
First part of the tour was on the back side of the dam, and they have created a salmon habitat.
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salmon habitat

salmon habitat

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Next we stopped on the top of the dam and looked out over the lake and at the water intake tower. circa 1913

Metro Vancouver intake building, built 1913

Metro Vancouver intake building, built 1913

Metro Vancouver intake building, built 1913

Metro Vancouver intake building, built 1913


Then we drove to the tower and were able to walk around it. So neat! (As you can see the weather was wet and cold and Gator has on a winter coat and hat!)
view from intake building

view from intake building

iew from intake building

iew from intake building


We traveled up the mountain to see the view from the top…but along the way we stopped for a small nature walk into the rainforest. Beautiful!
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At the top!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

view from top of Coquitlam Lake on a fog filled day!

tree tops amidst the fog

tree tops amidst the fog


My favorite shot from the top was little guy…can I say it again…I love my camera and my most amazing lens!
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We made the drive back down and when were almost about to exit we saw these 2!!!

mama

mama

baby

baby

tree tops amidst the fog

tree tops amidst the fog

A fun free activity on this not so nice summer day!

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

P.S. I’m not a trained photographer, and I have not edited them in anyway. Photos are taken using a Sony NEX-5 camera. These are straight off my camera and into this post! I just love capturing Gods great creations. :)

Dance

Summer 2014 has been fun so far….Gator started the fun with a trip to Olympia, Washington (suburb of Seattle) to attend Northwest Dance Intensive.  She had the most amazing opportunity to dance with some of the greatest teachers, including Paloma Herrera from American Ballet Theater.

Paloma!

Paloma!

The intensive was 3 weeks, and to say I missed her is an understatement!

Here are a few picture of the performance the night of pick-up. (this was after a full day of classes!!! (Dedication, determination, and strength.)

warm up barre with Philip Beamish

warm up barre with Philip Beamish

warm up barre with Philip Beamish

warm up barre with Philip Beamish

dance

dance

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dance

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At the end of the night the students were presented with awards. The guest teacher who presented them is from Italy and speaks very little english…..it was quite the laugh, listening to him announce each girls name. First and last!!!

awards with Vincenzo Lapertosa

awards with Vincenzo Lapertosa

When you put 3 girls in a dorm room together for weeks they become great friends!

friends!

friends!

What a wonderful, learning, challenging, and fun time Gator had. We were are so proud and excited for her.

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

Portland, OR–part 3

Eighteen years.

Fun times, sad times, great times, rough times but all times together!

Guitar Man and I got married young (I have now spent half of my life married!) and have grown up together.  We have lived in 3 different states and now another country.  We have 2 absolutely wonderful children and 2 furry friends.  Life is good! God is Good!

We have spent many an Anniversary just hanging out, a few taking care of little kids, and some enjoying a nice dinner out.

This year was so far the best!  We had our children with us, we were on vacation, and we got to see extended family.  GM had never even meet my Uncle before today.

Special is what I’m calling it.

Special is what my Guitar Man is.  He loves me and loves me well.  I am blessed.

God has blessed us and this past year is just another reminder of Him and His awesome love for us.

To be in Portland this year was special.  After being out at our families house all afternoon we headed back into Portland and dropped the kids at the hotel…Deschutes was calling our names!  Yes, we went back for anniversary dinner!  Thanks to our hotel for the courtesy shuttle!

18 year selfie!

18 year selfie!

I’m so thankful for our time in Portland.  We needed a get-away and this was perfect!

One last pic of the fan!

The Fam

The Fam

Grace and Peace,

Sunflower

Portland, OR–part 2

Sunday, March 23, 2014 a special day…The 18th wedding Anniversary for Guitar Man and I!

We had planned this family getaway as a fun for all vacation and also a special treat for us!

We set out Sunday morning to do a bit of shopping for Gator and for me!  Of course you can probably guess it was fabric for me and dance stuff for her!

We found this little local breakfast shop called The Pig’nPancake.  It was so funky, had all kinds of pigs, and offered gluten free pancakes, toast and a few other items!  Once again we were shocked and excited!  Buddy was super happy when we was able to order 6 gf pancakes.  He ate them all and was one stuffed boy :)

After b-fast we found the fabric store and it was massive!!!!!! I almost felt confused and I was defiantly overwhelmed! :)

Fabric Depot

Fabric Depot

Fabric Depot

Fabric Depot

If you need any kind of fabric…check them out @ Fabric Depot  You will love it!

After shopping for me and my girl we went out to Washougal, WA and enjoyed what turned out to be one of the best parts of the trip….family time at my Aunt Lynn and Uncle J’s house!  My cousin Katie arranged for us to go out and see them and have lunch, hang out, ride quads, and just chill.  It was so relaxing, fun and super exciting for the kids.  My Uncle J has done so much to his property and made it such a fun outdoor place.  He has a few quads and we rode them all over. Down to the river, through the neighborhood, along the trails, etc.  The river was beautiful, the little waterfalls coming down the mountain were so pretty.  Buddy, Gator and I have never been on quads and we sure learned, learned fast, and ENJOYED!!!!  Both of the kids actually drove and Buddy even did it by himself!  I was so proud of him. :)

2nd cousins playing

2nd cousins playing

cousins at the fire pit

cousins at the fire pit

Uncle J and Gator

Uncle J and Gator

GM and Buddy

GM and Buddy

Gator and GM

Gator and GM

The girls!

The girls!

The girls!

The girls!

Buddy

Buddy

So many of you knowI’m not a gun girl.  It’s not that I hate them, or that I don’t think people should have them, it’s more like stupid people own them and do stupid things with them.  I just stay away from them.  My dear husband has owned them and I have NEVER even touched his guns.  I just look once and say great, now lock it good and tuck it away!  Something crazy happened though….My Uncle is special and I have loved him dearly for my entire life.  A super long time ago, before he was blessed with his awesome daughter, I was his girl!  I really can’t explain it, I just know he holds a special spot in my heart….so yes….you guessed it…he got me to hold one of his guns!  This is for you Mom…I’m a gun hlod’n crazy southerner for sure!!!! For the record, it’s an AR-15. (and yes I had to ask Matthew just now what kind of gun it was…see I’m really not a gun girl! I did it for you Uncle J and well…cause it was our Anniversary and Matthew LOVED seeing me with a gun!!!!!)

A FRIST

A FRIST

A FRIST

A FRIST

We had fun out at the house hanging and enjoying family.  We were all a bit sad to leave. ( Next time I will get even more pictures….I’m not sure why I don’t have one of all of us….or even of my cousin!  Goofy me…sorry…next time!)

 

The Fam

The Fam

Part 3…..next!

Grace and Peace,

Sunflower

Portland, OR –part 1

It’s the time of the year when things are just starting to bloom and the kids are ready past ready to be done with school!

Spring Break!!!!!
Since it was spring break & Guitar Man and I’s 18th wedding anniversary we took a family vacation! Our first in many years!!!
IT WAS FANTASTIC!!!!!
We headed down on Friday morning and had a somewhat long drive.

At a Starbucks stop I saw these great purple and blue flowers…..I was so excited to snap a shot of them. It wasn’t until I came close that I saw they were spray painted! :)

paint flowers

paint flowers

The traffic was thick and things seemed to be moving at a SLOW pace. When we arrived at our hotel The Rivers Edge we settled in our room and then went on the search for FOOD!
Along our walk to dinner:

blooming!

blooming!

new buds and tracks

new buds and tracks

being kids!

being kids!

being kids!

We found a cool place called Little Big Burger. It was a simple burger place, with fries that are drizzled with olive oil after being fried. They were yummy! :) We enjoyed the catsup that was served with the fries….funny name and great flavor!

little big burger catsup

little big burger catsup

Saturday morning we woke with BIG plans to have fun, see the downtown, and eat!
We set out to catch the streetcar and ride into town. It was a fun ride and the cars are really neat.

(waiting for our ride!)

looking for a ride!

looking for a ride!

We made our way to the famous Saturday Market What a market it is! Tons of vendors selling all different kinds of handmade things, and it backs up to the river! It was a sunshine filled day and the market was busy. I was able to find 3 pieces of art from Karla Dornacher that are going to look wonderful on my mantle. :)
After the market we were off to the music store! Yup…Guitar Man said it was a “must see” when in Portland! (store #1…he had 2 “must see” shops!)

GM having fun!

GM having fun!

The kids at the store!

HEY!

HEY!

smiling in the music store

smiling in the music store

After the music store it was off to find a good cuppa coffee for GM. We had a recommendation from the guy at the store so we went and found Stumptown Coffee What a cool place it was!
Guitar Man had coffee, Sunflower had tea, and Gator had a hot cocoa…and Buddy…He had a treat!

Stumptown Coffee

Stumptown Coffee

Buddy treat

Buddy treat

Next was music store number 2, and then lunch!
We had seen this place and wondered if it was going to be gluten free friendly, and had received a recommendation from a family member, so we went to check it out. It was gf friendly in that they offered a full menu and also had GF beer on tap. Which is something we have never seen, or even knew was available. The lunch portions are HUGE and we really enjoyed our massive sandwich on the BEST gf bread EVER! If you are ever in Portland you MUST eat at Deschutes :) It was in one of the old buildings downtown and the main eating area had these cool wood carved entrance beams.

Deschutes, Portland, OR

Deschutes, Portland, OR

Deschutes, Portland, OR

Deschutes, Portland, OR

Now that we were all stuffed to the max….it was time to find a good book and rest! haha….It was time to find a good book and just up 1 block is the worlds largest book store Powells Books! A quote from the website: “Powell’s City of Books is a book lover’s paradise, the largest used and new bookstore in the world. Located in downtown Portland, Oregon, and occupying an entire city block, the City stocks more than a million new and used books. Nine color coded rooms house over 3,500 different sections, offering something for every interest, including an incredible selection of out-of-print and hard-to-find titles.”

Powell's Books

Powell’s Books

Now we had a few bags of goodies, including books for the kids, it was time to head back to the room and chill for a few.

The sun was shining and the temps were fantastic…Gator and I enjoyed time out on our balcony to read and chill, while the boys read a few of the new books and had some time to relax!

We really didn’t need dinner since we ate a late lunch and we had leftovers…so we went out for a bike ride along the river behind the hotel.

floating houses on the Willamette River

floating houses on the Willamette River

Gator

Gator

Willamette River &Mount St. Helens

Willamette River &Mount St. Helens

Gator in a tree!

Gator in a tree!

We finally crashed and called it a night…after watching a little cable TV. (something we ditched since we never watch it at home!) Oh the luxury of staying at a hotel…no cooking, cleaning, laundry, taxi cabbing….oh the list goes on!!!! Day one in Portland was AWESOME!!!!!

Part 2 up next……

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

naming……

I’m not sure how it started or even why, But naming things is something I seem to do a lot of. I name my “favorite” pen, my “funky” bag, I give a million nicknames to my kids and dogs, heck I even give new names to people!

But what’s in a name? Do you name things thinking about what that name means? Do you even names things!!!

While at church a few weeks back our Pastor was talking about names, and mentioned how he and his beautiful wife named their first child a name they thought was special, different and unique. As he started talking to friends and co-workers at church, they were naming children for Biblical reasons, and meanings, and he soon felt odd and like he had done something wrong in choosing a name for their son. That is not the case at all, he and his wife did not, and the little guy they have is super and his name fits him quite well!

Naming my car has always been a thing for me. When I started this blog I talked about this truck. I LOVED Big Blue. It was my American vehicle. It was my tie to home. It was a beast and I loved it!

Big Blue

Big Blue

Today I am naming yet another car.

2013 Ford Flex

2013 Ford Flex

I’m so excited to have this new ride. My new ride is nice, fancy, has navigation :) and is super smooth. I can still take lots of kids, it seats 7, and it has so many other features I never had I’m not sure what to do with them!

I digress…Naming….

It’s color is kodiak brown metallic. I’m liking it :) It looks black sometimes but in the right lighting and up close you can see it is brown.

So it’s name…The Bear? How about Kodiak? Kodiak Bear?
Let me know you favorite!
I can’t pick….something I’m not use it, since I like to name things!

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

P.S. God has blessed Guitar Man with a wonderful job that can afford us fun things like this new ride. I am so thankful GM works so hard every day to provide for this family. :) Love you GM!

5 PIN

I’m not quite sure how it happened, or who set it up, but here in Canada they have a new statutory holiday called Family Day!
British Columbia likes to be a little different and so they celebrate it on Monday, February 10th. (The other 3 provinces will celebrate it next Monday!)

While I was hoping this would be a day off for all of us…as it turns out, Buddy had the day off of school and I gave the day off to Gator, ballet took the day off so….we just needed Guitar Man! He worked but was able to cut off early and we did a new thing….5 Pin Bowling!

I called the local bowling ally, Port Coquitlam Bowl, and they were booked solid. The first available lane was at 5, and that worked great for us! When we walked in the door I thought I had stepped back in time. It was this old, little ally and the decor was bringing me back to being a kid again! They had “upgraded” to computerize scoring but that might have happened back in 1980! It is a simple black screen and with green readout. Too funny!

We got set up and were on lane 13 and I set about looking at the other players around me to see how I was to play this game! The ball is small and not heavy at all. You just hold it underhand style and toss it down the lane, hoping to knock down all 5 pins at once!!!!

Guitar Man started off great, but Buddy was fast to pick up the game and was at one point ahead of GM. Gator and I were just having fun and trying to get the hang of things.
The first game ended and I was feeling a bit better about my skills and looking forward to game two and beating GM!

Game two started awful for me, and Buddy but Guitar Man and Gator were neck-in-neck. BUT soon…I was on a roll (haha) and got 2 strikes in a row…XX DOUBLE!

What happen next was not what I expected though…..Guitar Man went crazy! He got SEVEN…Yes 7… strikes in a row! HE ROCKED IT!
We were cheering and the family next to us was cheering and high-fiving! It was so special and fun. What a great way to end our first time playing 5 pin bowling.

After we were done and returning our shoes we told the man at the desk and he was super impressed and gave us a bag with a 6 pack of Pepsi! Sweet treat!

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

5 pin bowling

Sorry no pictures of the boys as they were not up for posing for the paparazzi!!!
Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

Sunshine at the lighthouse

Way back in August my camera buddy was in town. Guitar Man had mentioned a really cool park along the North Shore of West Vancouver that he thought we could take some awesome pictures at. We waited until it was a sunny and glorious day and headed on over to check it out.

After a short but kinda steep (well that is if you walk out of the house and forget that you are wearing a very thin and flimsy pair of flip-flops!) hike we saw this!
Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC

Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC

Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC

Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC

Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC

Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC

Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC

Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC

Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC

Lighthouse Park Vancouver BC
The best part was taking pictures along side this wonderful man!

G-Pa/Camera Buddy/Father-In-Love

G-Pa/Camera Buddy/Father-In-Love

It’s orange and round!

Fall is upon us and today was a great day at the pumpkin patch!

The Fam!

The Fam!

Our family headed out to the Laity Pumpkin Patch in Maple Ridge, BC. It is such a great place with so much to see and SO MANY pumpkins to choose from.

finding the perfect one...

finding the perfect one…

Guitar Man found his!

Guitar Man found his!

a hidden baby pumpkin

a hidden baby pumpkin

We were pleased with the awesome selection in the field and they had TONS on carts near the exit, and I must say the prices were GREAT!!!
orange delight

orange delight 2

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

A first….

This year has brought about new opportunities for our sweet Gator. She made a big jump and started a new ballet program.
For the past 8 years dance has been a large part of her life. She started at Alpharetta Dance Theatre at the age of five and was in the ballet and jazz program. She LOVED it and soon moved on to more classes, competitions, and performances. We soon learned all about the world of dance and different methods of training and levels of dance. It was in 2010 that we made the move to Still Pointe Studios. A moved we will always hold dear to our hearts. It was at Still Pointe that Gator learned so many valuable life lessons and the most important thing that God gave her the ability to dance and that she should always be dancing for Him. (It was super sad to leave when our family made the move to Canada.) Since arriving here in BC Gator has grown, learned and now is doing the Pre-Professional program at Avant Dance Co. When she was five she danced for 2 hours a week, now that she is 13 she is dancing 16 plus hours a week! WOW…what difference a few years can make!

Avant has provided many new opportunities and the first of them being an audition for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet!

RWB Vancouver

RWB Vancouver

It was nice to be with the others girls from her class for the audition as it made it a little less nerve-racking!

It will be a few weeks before we hear anything….but Gator is not worried….she knows she did her best and that’s all that matters!

I’m sure I will be posting more dance photos as this year continues…I will try not to post too many!!!!

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower