Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympics: Hockey

The first event we had tickets to was to women’s hockey.  This was the much anticipated match between the very blond Finnish team and the very unblond Chinese team.  We haven’t lived in Canada long enough to appreciate much more than the gladiatorial aspects of the game, which were strikingly absent from this event.  We were rooting for China, as were a surprisingly large number of other people, but the Finns won handily despite a good effort from the Chinese, whose goalie looked absolutely overwhelmed by the size of her protective gear. 

Monday, February 1, 2010

Buntzen Lake

This is a place about 10 minutes from our house called Buntzen Lake.  In the summer a lot of people come to swim and fish.  January offered a few sunny Saturdays so I took the kids for a little hike on one of them.  It’s pretty wintery and cold, but they still ended up wading into the water until their feet were freezing.  Ethan was the first one in, but he wasn’t too happy about it after the fact.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Little friends


We regularly get what seems like a family of raccoons showing up at the sliding glass door leading to our back yard at night. They give us these very blank but hungry looks and ogle any food we've got in hand. The kids think it's great and its all we can do to keep them from opening the door and letting the whole crew in for a bite.  There is a little fish pond in the back yard and we used to have some goldfish in there, but the raccoons would turn it into a raccoon hot tub and night and eat all the fish while they were splashing around.  I guess its their revenge for our poor hospitality.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Train place

Here is a campground-ish place we ran onto on on the way from Vancouver to California.  Its somewhere between Redding and Mount Shasta.  It seemed to be closed when we stopped (for one of our many many biologically compelled stops), but it looked like you could sleep in old cabooses, which sounded pretty cool to most of us.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Full contact cookies

At the age and stage of our clan, making cookies is a full contact sport.  Why sit on a chair and decorate cookies with all your clothes on when you can strip down and get on top of the table to do the same thing?

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I used to surf at a place called Sunset Beach when I was in high school.  Its right next to Gladstones on PCH below the Palisades. I saw this picture from the LA Times taken at the same beach and thought it was kind of crazy.  Its the same place I cut my head open surfing after my freshman year at college.  I guess the rocks were the least of my worries.

Shark sightings in Santa Monica Bay,0,2454627.story

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The horror of it all!

Here is the aftermath of a recent road trip from San Francisco to Vancouver.  I thought this was a good compare and contrast to the flying with children pictures.  The good thing about the airplane is that you can walk away feeling only minimally guilty, since you probably had a worse go of it than the cleaners will.  With a car you can’t externalize the grossness.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Travelling with kids on very very long flights

Do you ever wonder what its like to fly on a really long international flight with little kids?  Well, it generally starts out fine - an initial fascination with the airplane evacuation brochure, a bunch of questions about whether the plane is going to crash, lots more questions about when the food will come out and about how much Sprite they will give you, then a trip or two to the bathroom.  Then you take off.

After that, they'll watch the loop of kids movies and cartoons on the in flight system.  On a US airline this takes only 3-4 hours.  Most foreign airlines have much better entertainment systems so you can get a lot more time.  Eventually the boredom sets in and the questions about how long until we arrive.  The airline food gets cherry picked for the dessert and crackers.  The vegetables get squished around.  Half the fruit ends up on the floor and it eventually starts mixing with everything else that the floor begins to attract - shoes, socks, books, DVDs, crayons, sippy cups, snacks brought from home.  Then all that stuff starts getting smooshed up and stepped on until it becomes a really gross and sticky mess.  Kids fall asleep in all kinds of weird postures.  When you arrive, most are asleep.  Some are excited to arrive.  Others just want to keep sleeping, upside down covered in smashed grapes and dirty socks.

Its actually not as bad as it seems...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


A solid showing this Halloween costume-wise.  A witch with very frizzy hair.  A Transformer who didn’t really like wearing his mask, which, when coupled with the inability to turn into a machine, somewhat diminishing the authenticity of the get up.  A race car driver who wanted to be a fireman who wanted to be a race car driver who wanted to be a fireman who ended up as a race car driver.  And a lion who liked the candy but couldn’t really understand the causal relationship between the sweets and the costume.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oregon coast

We headed to the Oregon coast recently for a long weekend. None of us had ever been there and we ended up with warm sunny early October weather that made for a great weekend, though it was a bit of a drive. We saw a Lewis and Clark IMAX a few months ago in Seattle so the kids were really excited to see the fort where they spent the winter. The recreation they had didn’t make it look like a lot of fun for its inhabitants. The beaches and dunes were great. The kids liked rolling around in the sand and we were probably potentially in violation of some Canadian agricultural rules with the amount of sand we ended up bringing back on the floor of the car.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Meet the mayor

Abby and Ben both read enough books this summer to qualify for the distinguished Super Reader Medal personally presented by the Most Honorable Mayor of Port Moody, British Columbia.  We had admittedly not heard of the Super Reader program before getting our library card soon after moving in, but it was quite an affair and everyone was excited.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Butchart Gardens

On our trip to Vancouver Island we made a stop at Butchart Gardens, a lovely garden created in an old stone quarry.  The grounds and summer flowers were beautiful and the day, like most days in British Columbia in the summer, was clear and mild.  
While I'm no connoisseur of gardens, I probably take a keener interest in these things than most Americans and while I wouldn't say that it’s on the same level as Keukenhof in the Netherlands or Sissinghurst in England, it’s close to that league.  
The kids liked it for a while, but eventually began to focus on where they could get an ice cream cone. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Vancouver Island trip

We took a trip to Vancouver Island and the city of Victoria a few weeks back. It was a beautiful ferry ride over, a nice day in the pseudo-British town and then good trip to a very lonesome beach on the western side of the island. Once you get a little ways out of the city you realize that there is almost no civilization on this huge island, which is perhaps a bit more eerie feeling after being in China where it seems you are never more than a few feet from other people.

It was our first trip using our new minivan and tent. How about those for clear indicators that we’ve come back to North American reality?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mount Rainier

We've been down to Seattle a few times this summer. Once we went hiking on Mt. Rainier.

Here's Abby's take on the whole experience -- "When we where hiking the snow didn't melt so we had a snow ball fight!!! After that we had more snowball fights and more hiking. Pretty soon my shoes started to hurt and I took them off. My Dad said my feet would get cut. But I said my feet really hurt. So he said O.k. Soon I tripped and my toe got cut and bled. I was crying beacause it hurt a lot. My dad carried me part way down. When we got to the car it was ok and we drove to the Hotel".

Aside from Abby's shoe travails, things were fine and it was a strikingly beautiful place. Wildflowers, meadows, glaciers. Ethan hiked basically the full 3 miles, which was pretty impressive for a 3 year old. In any case, here are some pics.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


We finally made it to Vancouver. So far, so good. Beautiful mountains, lakes to swim in, tap water you can actually drink. What more could you ask for? Here are a few early pics.