inspiration garden

The weather is beautiful today and I had a few minutes to myself so I headed over to the Coquitlam Inspiration Garden. This year they really did an amazing job with the colors, types of plants and flowers.
My faithful buddy Romeo was along with me today and even let me take a few pictures of him! I love this Pup! He makes me smile everyday 🙂
If you click on the pictures it will make a slide show and you will see the names I gave them! 🙂 Enjoy!
Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

Prodding along the trail

Almost two years ago my Daddy joined his Father in rejoicing each and everyday. It wiped me clean off my feet. I knew it was , but I didn’t know what to do about it, or how to overcome it. I lived in a fog. I operated each day, but inside I was a mess. I told few how I felt, and hid my feelings as much as possible. The process of coming out of the fog has taken me a long time. Taking pictures was something I loved (and still do!) but it was hard. I know it is something my Daddy did and loved and I have the same love for it. Without my Dad here to see my pictures and tell me how much he loves them is hard. I let this little space on the web die a bit with him.
Slowly I’m coming back. Slowly I’m taking more and more pictures. Seeing life, seeing Gods most amazing earth through my lens. I marvel at the way God created this place and all of the minute details. It makes me smile deep in my soul. It draws me to Him, into a closeness with my creator.

Today I wanted to enjoy another beautiful sunny spring day here in Beautiful British Columbia so I asked Buddy to come along with me and the dog as we walked Hoy Creek trail!
While walking I saw things that made me smile, pause and experience God. I took out my iPhone and started taking pictures. It was refreshing, relaxing, enjoyable and made me feel like ME!

hoy creek coquitlam

hoy creek coquitlam


It takes time to heal. It is different for each of us.
hoy creek
Some point along the trail my son said “Hey why don’t you put these pictures on your blog?”
my boy

my boy


That’s a great question…
 hoy creek hatchery

hoy creek hatchery


One I’m working on….
hoy creek
One that for me is taking a bit more time…and prodding!
Buddy and Romeo

Buddy and Romeo


So today I took time to see you Father, to connect, to listen and hear you talk to me through my son. Thank you.
simple beauty

simple beauty

Heres to taking more pictures, seeing the beauty around us, and listening to our children.
Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

P.S. My ever so sweet and loving Father-in-Law gave me the most amazing lens and I LOVE it and need to use it more. He also shares my love of photography and is always encouraging me. For that I am so grateful. Double blessed, 2 dads, 2 who love taking pictures! My next walk will be with my favorite lens! Thanks G-pa.

summer 2014 camping!

We finally got out the camping gear and headed out for a weekend of fun!
We didn’t go far from home, but sure did find a good spot. The camp ground was clean, tons of families, campfires were welcomed, and it was on the river.
After arriving on Friday lunch time we set up camp, and sat down to chill! My favorite thing about camping. You have no reason to do much of anything other than chill and have fun!

Romeo the watch dog

Romeo the watch dog

Toska

Toska

For friday night dinner we made hobo packets in the fire and then had our favorite dessert…Banana with marshmallows and chocolate! We also wrapped them in foil and tossed them in the fire. Super yumminess!

dessert banana boats..YUM!

dessert banana boats..YUM!

On Saturday we went on the trail to the lookout and found what turned out to be one the highlights of this weekend…..the river! Once we walked the 2k {mind you this is my first time walking more than around the house I’ve done in almost 2 weeks….I hurt my toe a bad one and have been on the couch 😦 } When Romeo and Toska caught a whiff of the river water and gray mud/clay river bank, they went NUTS!!!!! We laughed so hard watching them run, play, chase the crashing wake of boats, drink river water, bark and just go CRAZY!!!!

Dirty DOG!

Dirty DOG!

White or Black???

White or Black???

River fun

River fun

River fun

River fun

doggy fun!

doggy fun!

We weren’t sure how we were ever going to get Romeo clean. ( We did hose him off at the camp, but he is headed to the dog wash tomorrow!) We ended up tossing Toska in the dish washing sink and cleaning her at camp! IT was cold but she didn’t seem to mind 🙂

Dinner on Saturday was made fun thanks to our great friends..…they came had dinner, roasted marshmallows, and we rented to funkiest cool pedal bike things. We all took turns and sure did have fun cruising all over camp!

way cool pedal bikes

way cool pedal bikes


The girls got a bit silly around the camp fire after the sugar rush of dessert!!!!
campfire craziness!!!

campfire craziness!!!

I’m so glad my family likes to camp. I just love it and it really brings back so many fun memories of my childhood.
Hoping we go again soon…..

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower

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.
DSC02637

salmon habitat

salmon habitat

DSC02639
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!
DSC02649

DSC02650
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!
DSC02655

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. 🙂

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

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

Snowboarding at Mt. Baker, WA

It was spring break and we thought it was a good time to test out our skills at snowboarding. Everyone had all the gear finally and we planed a fun filled day at Mt. Baker. The drive up this mountain is stunning! The trees, rivers, snow, and all were just amazing. The beauty that God has given us to look at in nature is so simple but so profound. I’m always in awe of Him.
Once we arrived at the lodge we signed up for lessons, rented our gear and headed out to the learning area. We ALL did wonderful! Of course we feel a millions times but laughed got up and tried harder.

practice for GM

practice for GM

Go Gator!

Go Gator!

gearing up!

gearing up!

GM and Gator on the hand lead up the training hill

GM and Gator on the hand lead up the training hill

Mt. Baker ski area

Mt. Baker ski area

We had a lesson set up for right after lunch and really looked forward to “really” learning how to board. As it would turn out the 4 of us were placed together with a very nice young man that taught us all kinds of great things. I found out that I board “goofy” style best and that most left-handed people do! So hear’s to goofy people!!!! Cheers 🙂 Buddy also learned that he can ski goofy style and actually did quite well that way! He’s a Mama’s boy!!!!! Yip-pee 🙂 Buddy was the first one to go down the learning hill and he was AWESOME! I’m so very proud of him and his determination. Gator was determined to do well also and that she did! Guitar Man and I were so happy the kids did such a wonderful job and worked hard to learn a new sport. As for me…I LOVED IT! I fell a few times to many on some of my skills, but all in all I had the best time and can’t wait to give it a try again. 🙂 Guitar Man….he was a fast learner since he has skied before. This was his first try at boarding. After our lesson the instructor told GM he would go down one of the easy runs with him to help him learn the lift and give his new boarding skills a true try. The kids and I stayed on the learning hill and continued to work on our training.

Last run!!!

Last run!!!

I watched for a bit to see GM come down the mountain and finally I saw him. He was doing a good job but didn’t have much of a smile. Once he made his way down and over to us I found out why….getting off the lift with a snowboard attached to one foot and trying to get out of the way didn’t go so well. He had fallen and twisted his right knee a good one.
We made our way into the shop to return our equipment and this is when we saw that the knee was messed up! Thankfully we had some Advil in the car and we propped the injured leg up in the back seat and I drove us home. We did have a good laugh at the border crossing as the crossing guard wondered why this foot was sticking up through the middle of the front seats! I rolled down the back window and we shared our story. 😦 He wished us well and on to home we went.

Long story short we made a trip to the ER very early the next morning and then a visit to an orthopedic surgeon a few days later. The knee has a torn MCL and a meniscus that is not right. The physiotherapist says it’s called a “deranged knee”!!!! hehe 🙂 LOL 🙂 We are now in a holding pattern…to be continued!

I’m so thankful to have this wonderful opportunity to live in Canada and in an area with such prime ski/snowboarding mountains. I’ve always wanted to do this and I feel blessed to have had the chance. Now we pray that things work out for Guitar Man and God heals his knee quickly. 🙂

Our Family

Our Family

Grace and Peace,
Sunflower