Greetings and Happy August!
Unfortunately, our BC time is quickly coming to a close and it's time to update you before we leave on the final leg of our cross country tour. We have had an amazing time her, it's been so much fun catching up with old friends, spending time with family and doing a little sightseeing in our home province.
We had the chance to camp with friends in Peachland and enjoyed some water-skiing/wakeboarding as well as making up silly games on various flotation devices. Riley went to a 5-night Bible camp in Peachland and had a blast making new friends and learning some new skills.
The boys got to go to Mayne Island with Grandma, Auntie Melissa and Uncle Dan for a few days of golfing, exploring, digging, looking for snakes and deer and playing tennis. The older kids also enjoyed time at "The Tower" in Vancouver with their Nana and Papa, riding the skytrain, seabus and buses, going to Science World and spending hours and hours on English Bay. I spent the night there once with mom and set up their tiny condo like a refugee camp with all 4 kids sleeping here, there and everywhere. We took the little water taxis over to Granville Island and strolled the marketplace there.
Barton and I took in a Bard on the Beach a few weeks ago with Clay, Nadine, Kris and Kathryn which was great. We've also enjoyed a couple of other dates which is a nice opportunity!
I've caught up with old friends meeting babies and kids galore and even taking in the wedding of my second oldest friend. The older kids and I had a great day at the Trans Canada Waterslides in Chilliwack last week with Grandpa, Rachel, Caleb and Elijah. Though 'they' called for a 36* day, it didn't end up getting that hot and was perfect. Mattea enjoyed a bonding day with Grandma.
While I have been playing, coffeeing, shopping and on Tuesday I go for a massage, Barton has been working his tail off. I don't think I ever fully explained our purpose for being here this summer:
As part of Barton's training, he was given a couple of months to set up his own work terms to either fulfill missing gaps in the program or do further work in areas in which he's interested. We turned this into a triple whammy by setting these months up close to home so we could visit, and also in places we'd be interested in living; to scope out the work scene and see how we feel about the general area and work environment. He spent the month of July working in the Abbotsford, though unfortunately their spanking new hospital doesn't open until August 24th. He did get the grand tour and was able to play with the machines. He had a very good experience with the staff here and enjoyed the work. For the month of August he is working in the Kelowna hospital and so far has also had a good experience there. The hospitals are very different but each offer their own assets, though commuting to Kelowna on a weekly basis from Abbotsford is not ideal!
We have spent a little bit of time checking out the areas and housing and though it is extremely painful to look at the housing costs here, we think we have found a couple of spots that we'll keep our eyes on. It does look promising but we're not announcing anything yet! Barton has now less than 10 months left until his final exams are over and we can't quite believe we've come this far. All of a sudden it's all within reach, though Barton has a lot of work and study to do before the end!
We have totally lucked out with the weather here this year. We fully anticipated frequent rain and cooler days and have had almost nil of either. I believe it's rained two days and was cooler and overcast maybe one or two others. So that whole extra hockey bag full of rain and cold weather clothing has been sitting unopened under Mattea's crib... and to think of all the extra space it took up in our van!!!! How were we supposed to know? I have worn pants once, so the two pairs of jeans and two pairs of pants have been 'really handy'! Well, fortunately I did intend on leaving quite a bit behind - we have little warm weather left in St John's so it won't be necessary to bring back too many summer items. Plus the kids have outgrown half the stuff we haven't used, so that can stay too! That's also lucky since we've been shopping... =)
Now, as we prepare to leave once more, I am also preparing - mentally - for Mattea's birthday. I just can't believe she is going to be one! It has gone so quickly. She has 8 teeth, says lots of words, somehow got blond curly hair and although she's taken lots of steps, she's refusing to walk. I'm sure 2 more weeks in a carseat won't help that. But that's OK, I'm not ready to chase her yet! She is definitely reminding us of Nikolai and when we look at his pictures from this age, they are almost identical, though he was much fatter!!!
There was a lot of other things I wanted to tell you but I didn't write it when I thought it so now, of course, I've forgotten. As we head out on our journey once again I will keep the updates coming.
I hope everyone is having a fabulous summer!