Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Squamish River... Stuff the Sausage in There!

Peaceful and serene. This is what we desired...

After weeks of chaos and months without an adventure we were trembling with anticipation and looking to re-charge our batteries at the journey ahead. We wanted be on our best behavior before the last few days of Christmas. 
Nerves were shot and truth be told... there was a small dark cloud of resentment forming over some of our heads as we backed out of our little carport in the city and headed North towards the fresh air and large open skies. 
"Here's $20 bucks. The three of you go."  We needed to make a stop at the grocery store for marshmallows and hot dogs, so I gave the girls money and told them to go together to pick out what kind of hot dog they wanted.
"I'm staying in the car."
"I'm not going!"
" I don't want to shop alone. I don't know what kind of hot dog to get." No one got out of the car. 
"Give me back the money!" In a huff and a few heated exchanged words I got out of the car. "Teenagers!" I exhaled in a whisper as I stomped through the busy, brightly lite store, an irritated woman on a mission. I was so focused, that I didn't realize Kalina had followed me in until I reached the marshmallows.
"I just need some family time," said my youngest a few weeks back. "I want to go on an adventure." she added. The chaos of school and work was getting the best of each of us and an adventure was how our family relaxed. Nature brings out the peace in each of us, just in time for Christmas.
We headed somewhere close, because we didn't have time for an overnight adventure, just a day trip. Squamish was our destination. A campfire at the Squamish River. Oktoberfest sausages... Marshmallows... baguette... Camembert cheese... tomato soup... Aloe Vera juice... chocolate... what more could anyone need? Maybe a coffee?
We stopped at the Starbucks in Squamish first, before we headed to Squamish Valley Road, left off the 99, right by the Alice Lake Provincial Park cut off by Brackendale.
The road had a big sign that said, "road washed out", but we saw another car go through so we followed it in. Just past the power station, the road did have a few centimeters of water on it, maybe 200feet wide, and then the road was fine again. We didn't venture too far in; a few kilometers, then we turned off on a logging road and headed towards the river.
It took a little while to shed off all the pent up irritations, but after some chopping, foraging and splashing, we were almost back to our normal selves again. 

We even sang Christmas carols around the campfire. I'm pretty sure I even saw and heard Rene singing, although he would say I had imagined it.

What I didn't imagine, was that Chef Rene, whipped up a special french treat for us. Fire toasted baguette with melted Camembert cheese. Our family camps in style!

Served on a fire roasted log platter. Tres chic! And that was just the appetizer.

"Stuff the sausage in there!" This was our main course, Oktober Fest Sausages... that I picked out, and they were good. But, then again, isn't everything that's fire roasted good?
I know that this "family" time will become more rare as time passes. They are teenagers after all and they will be too busy with friends, school and work over the next few years. They will have the choice, more and more, not to want to come on these little adventures with their Mommy and Daddy. I get that. 
In the mean time, I will cherish this time with them, and focus on all the good things this  day has brought; the laughter, the singing, the conversation, and the adventure that I was able to share with the ones that I love the most in life.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and many adventures with your family this coming year!


Dog's Blog:
I had much fun running around. I showed pack leader how he must jump over the small stream to get to the other side where the rest of the pack was, but he did not jump. He did not know how. He had to walk to a place where the small stream narrowed. Then he jumped, but not as well as I do. He is not so graceful, but I love him, and I will continue to show him how. 
They made a bed for me by the fire and I was fed sausages. It was very good, much better than kibble! 
I love adventures with my pack! 


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pony Club and Rally 2014 at MREC

Alora and Striker
So, I'm having coffee, early in the morning, and I see out of my kitchen window this big truck and horse trailer pulling up to my little townhouse. A big burly cowboy type, bounds out of his truck, opens up the back of his trailer and guides this 16.3hh (hand high), thoroughbred out of the trailer. I quickly put on a sweater (I'm still in my Jammie's) and run outside to question, "What the heck are you doing? This isn't a barn!" He hands me the reins and says, "Delivery for Alora de la Court."
"WHAT!" My heart beats like a wild fire out of control, "You are very mistaken sir," panic rises and I feel dizzy as I try to give the reins back to him. He walks away and jumps up into the driver's seat of the metalic grey Ford pick-up and says to me, "My job is done here. He's your problem now Ma'am." Then Mr. Cowboy drives away leaving me standing in my little front yard with a very big horse who was chowing down on the little grass I had left under the cherry tree I have out front.
Apparently, Alora ordered him online from a horse farm in Alberta... "Strata will not like this." I remember thinking.  
Alora and Striker

Then I woke up. 
The first thing I did when I woke up, was to thank God it was only a dream. I know Alora is a good girl and would never do anything like that to her mother (she is presently smirking beside me as she reads this).  Perhaps, this dream was to prepare me for things to come?

Alora has loved horses since she was eight years old. She used to love dolphins, right up until I signed her up at Evergreen Stables for a summer horse camp after being told by a fellow Mom that it would cure her of her fear of dogs. 
Eight year old Alora and Max
Well, it did that and more, and I thank Pam and Jen at Evergreen for guiding and mentoring my daughter to becoming a more confident person around animals. I must admit I have wondered if I should have put her in dolphin camp. It might have been less expensive? Perhaps, I wouldn't be having nightmares of cowboys dropping off horses at my house? LOL!

As of 2010 she has been a member of the Alouette Pony Club located at Forever Green Stables in Pitt Meadows and it's been a great experience for her. This past weekend was the first time the kids at Alouette went to a yearly Pony Club Rally at MREC. A pretty amazing experience for all the kids involved. 
They are designated into teams with a Captain, Riders, and Grooms, and they have to do everything from stable management, feeding, and care, to riding, jumping, and cooling down horses. Points were deducted if parents intervened and told them what they forgot or needed to do. So, it was quite relaxing for us parents back at camp. The only time we could talk to them was back at camp, and there couldn't be any horse related themes in our conversations. 
Friday, they prepared for a dressage testing, and Saturday was for the cross country jumping...
Walking the course before the event.
Alora and Striker
Alora was riding a 19 year old thoroughbred called Strike the music (AKA - Striker - an old race horse), and after he finished the course he seemed like he wanted to go again (he did not look like he was a geriatric horse at all!). He and Alora were doing what they loved and they looked really good together.

...and Sunday was show jumping.
Alora and Striker 
The kids learned a lot last weekend, and I as a mom, was very impressed. The only trouble I had was when I was judging the cross country jumping, and I had to eliminate one of our kids and horse for refusing a jump more than 3 times. She wasn't allowed to finish the course, and I felt bad for her. I was going to look the other way and let her continue, but there were other judges yelling out that she had to leave the course. I guess they were watching, so I had to mark it down.
My suggestion would be to just let the kids finish, even if they are eliminated. They put so much effort, time and money into being there, only to be yanked off in mid-course. Mind you, this was my first year at Rally and maybe the rules are in place for a reason... I just don't know them yet.

Thank-you to Pam, at Forever Green Stables, for the use of your horses, and your leadership and guiding these kids so far in their journey with horses. And to Jen for your teaching and knowledge, and to Helen for your support and trailering the horses to these events, and to Melanie for encouraging these kids and supporting them... and the use of your tack. 

Thank-you to Marta and the team at Campbell Valley Pony Club for guiding Alora on her first Rally.

We as the parents really appreciate it. Love you guys!

Here's a few shots of the Alouette kids at Rally:
Kyla and Joe
Laura and Cindy
Will and Bailey
The crew

Thanks Again!

PS: There were about 500 photos taken over the weekend, so if you would like to see them all just give me a key and I will download them for you.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Costa Rica and The Netherlands

So... What can I say really? It was a hard game to watch as my family will concur... I'm sure. But, what an adventure!

My daughter Kalina couldn't sit still to watch, she meandered in and out of the room uneasily. Opa, my dad, couldn't sit still and paced back and forth from the living room to the BBQ for most part of the second half. Oma, my mom, half way through went and changed her orange shirt for a blue one, then changed it back to orange just before the penalty kicks and the win (perhaps she foresaw something we did not?). As for me, I was very glad that I was in charge of the food and could move back and forth from the kitchen to the living room. Movement seems to be my family's way of dealing with chaotic and nervous situations and I'm okay with that.
Our family only wanted to eat Dutch food while we watched the game, so I spent the night before making tompouse, which is one of my favourite dutch desserts, and I also made sate and pinda sauce. Oma and Opa made bitterballen and croquetes and Tante Bina and Uncle Jeff bought bokkepootjes. We did eat well!

What I loved the most about this game, was that it got our family together. We ate together, we yelled together, we cried together and we paced back and forth together and that's what was so special about this game...

Well... and Krul.

Good luck with Argentina boys. I know you will do well. Besides... you have a cousin of ours on that team of yours, Kuyt is my great grandmother's maiden name. She married a de la Court. So we're practically family! You've got lots of support!

We wish you well!
Love from B.C. Canada

Angel's Blog (the dogs blog):
Here I am making sure no one steals our shirts
Hallo Family Pack!
I was a little nervous yesterday. I know, I whine when I get nervous. My pack knows it, but they love me anyway. I just wanted to show you my shirt. It's a great shirt!

Angel's shirt
Each of us got to chose what name to put on the back.  

Ari chose Memphis, because he is her favourite player in Fifa... it was Ronaldo in the beginning, but she changed her mind.

Nina chose Van Persie because she likes flying dutchman.

Alora chose Cillessen, I don't know why, maybe she thinks he's cute? She is a teenager now you know.

I chose Robben, because I love him. He is like my pack leader dad.
Me and pack leader dad t-shirts

Robben and I are kindred spirits. He runs fast, just like me, and he loves to chase balls, just like me.

Except, I don't fall down... Maybe, it's because I have four legs and he only has two? I would love to talk to him about that.

Anyway, Robben, if you do read this before the next game, I just wanted to tell you that if you are feeling nervous about the next game, just give your pack a big group hug. I find that always makes me feel better...

that... and cowboy steak. Maybe we can share some one day?

Good Luck Holland Family Pack! I know you can do it!

Love from Angel

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bowen Island B.C

A Retro Adventure - Going Back in Time (Not Too Far Back)

It was April 18th, 2014 and the sun was shining after many months of rain. I remember it well, it was the day after Rene's Birthday and as a gift, he wanted to go on an adventure with his family. So, we drove down to Horseshoe Bay and parked the car, then walked onto the Bowen Island Ferry and had an adventure.

We had to wait about an hour and a half for the ferry, so the girls took the camera and went on a tour of the bay while Rene went in search of a good cup of coffee as Angel and I stayed on the beach.

It was odd walking onto a ferry instead of driving on. It felt out of place somehow, because we usually drove on. We were with the dog and were not allowed in the lounge area on the upper deck. Usually Angel would have stayed in the car, but because we walked on we had to go where she was allowed. We stayed at the front of the ferry by the cars and the parked bikes.
The girls went to the upper deck and took a few photos of the ferry ride. The photos they took reminded me of how blessed I am to live in B.C. We do live in such an amazing place!

Once on Bowen Island we decided we were famished and needed some food, so we stopped off at Crippen Park just a few steps from where the ferry docks in Snug Cove and had a picnic. After Lunch we headed towards Killarney Lake which was a beautiful easy 9km hiking trail that goes all the way around the lake.
They say it takes approximately 2 hours to do the loop around the lake, it took us a little longer (about double the time), but we sauntered, and we stopped to pull an old bike out of the water along the way.
The last time we came to Bowen Island, and did the Killarney Lake Loop, was about 13 years ago when Kalina was about 6 months old. Crazy how time flies... especially as I get a day older. The older I get the faster time goes by. Am I the only one that feels that way?
Kalina and I at the ice cream shop in Snug Cove 13 years ago
Kalina in a hollowed out tree along the Killarney Lake loop now

My three beautiful girls
The day was an amazing one! Filled with peace, love and laughter... okay maybe a little whining too, but nothing that couldn't be solved with a little TLC (Triple, Latte, Coffee's).

Enjoy your time on Bowen... we did!

Angel's Thoughts:
I had such a great time! Didn't like the loud thing that brought us across the water. It made me nervous. I don't like being nervous. It makes me shake.
So many great smells along the walk. My pack moves way to slow for my liking, so it's a good thing I am patient. I run back and forth to make sure everyone stays in the pack. It is tiring work but very rewarding. I got salami from pack leader and left over sandwiches. I love my pack!

Alora's Pic's: