Valderi, Valdera, My Knapsack on My Back

We had our first camping adventure in British Columbia (and our first one with all four of us). We went to Cultus Lake Provincial Park--about an hour east of here (probably only 40 miles or so). It's nestled in the foothills (we called them the mountains for all intensive purposes). The lake is in the valley between two mountains, so it's fairly deep--but not as cold as we thought it would be.

Anders has had some camping experience before, of course, so this was a walk in the woods for him (he actually kept asking to go for a walk through the forest). But it was all new for Nils. He was okay with the idea, except that he found that the great outdoors doesn't have tables, benches and other useful objects to hang onto so that he can walk around. He wasn't too happy sitting and being held more than he's used to lately (which means our plane trip next week is going to be interesting).

It was very peaceful to be in the forested mountainside after a long week. And despite all the other campers there, it was fairly quiet (Anders and Nils were the noisemakers--especially at 2am). And it's always good to see the Creator's works and see a bit of Him through that time away.


The following pictures are not for the squeamish:

These were some of our friends around our campsite. They make them huge out here. The pictures don't do justice. Most are 6-8 inches outstretched and bigger round than my thumb. We've seen 3 main kinds: the yellow ones with brown spots, the brown ones and the black ones (which are most prevalent). We have them around our house, too, but they were in abundance in the forest. Now aren't you glad you've gotten a preview of BC coastal slugs?


Off to School

Today was the first day of Vacation Bible School. While he was a little on the young side, Anders was allowed to go. He was quite excited. I think part of it is the fact that the word "School" is in the title. He's all about becoming more and more of a "big boy." And it helps that "Bible" is in the title as well.

Here he is heading out the door this morning, with his Bible in his backpack. He had some trouble sitting and listening (well, even just sitting--I had to be with him most of the time). But really, for a 3-year-old, he did very well. And though it didn't seem like he probably caught most of the lessons, he actually had the memory verse (John 10:11) down fairly well.

Somewhere along the way it seems like we loose our passion for God and His word. Couldn't we all have a 3-year-old faith? Anders spends his days playing Joshua and The Battle of Jericho. He sings his praise songs throughout the day. He quotes things from Veggie Tales or Sunday School. And he's learning his Bible verses. He'll be showing me up pretty soon. Another reminder to grab onto having faith like a child.


Canadian Idol

Yesterday after church we had a youth group picnic (followed by a picnic that some friends Beth has met were putting on). This is Anders going with Scott to the playground. The pictures speak volumes, don't they? For years Anders has idolized teenagers. I think it developed when he was young and would come to youth group in Iowa when Beth and I were leading. Ask him what he wants to be and "a teenager" is usually his first answer ("a farmer" has been second at times).

A in one of the first episodes of Little Mosque on the Prairie, one of the Muslims who is preaching before they get an imam says, "American Idol. Canadian Idol. All idols are forbidden." Which is true--even for followers of Jesus. But we tend to let our idols slip in anyway, don't we? Whether it's celebrity, a billionaire, someone successful at whatever where pursuing . . . we sometimes let those idols slip in. Maybe we don't worship them, but we often find ourselves trying to following their path to success rather than following Jesus down the narrow road. Our call is to follow Him. Not just merely believe or call ourself a Christian, but to become a disciple, learning to think, act, talk like the One we follow. Maybe this is that faith like a child thing. Look up to Jesus, desire to spend time with Him and follow.


More in the Garden

Here's a few more of our recent blooms in the garden. I think next year is going to be kind of a let down. Now we know what we've got. There won't be any surprises next year.


The Super Smile and Joy

Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to "be joyful always." It's easy when Nils throws us his smile. It's the best; we're hoping it doesn't change once the teeth start coming in. It's actually somewhat frustrating in the middle of the night when he's been awake when he should be sleeping and he gives us that smile. We want to be frustrated with him--but that's quite hard when he smiles; the frustration kind of melts away. It sure makes obeying the joyful verse easier. If I could just carry that picture with me at all times, maybe I wouldn't get in those down moments. Hopefully it can bring a little joy to your day, too. I mean, we need to get some joy in our lives, people. God has given us great reason to be joyful (I mean with the whole total forgiveness of our sins, the abundant outpouring of grace, and the promise of life everlasting and all). It's sad though how often I'm in front of worship times and see unjoyful faces a(especially while singing joy-filled songs or reading joy-filled Scripture). I don't think God means that we can't live through moments of mourning, sadness, etc. But through it all we do need to be mindful of the joy (which is not the same as happiness, by the way--it's something deeper) that God has given us. I think Nils has a sense of that joy (we have this theory that the wee ones can see more into the spiritual realm than those of us who have lost our innocence can)--and he really lets it shine through at times.

The Birthday Party Aftermath

Today was Anders' birthday party with his friends. As you'll see, it was a Star Wars theme (Beth had actually picked out stuff over a year ago for it). We ended up with six additional kids (and 4 moms). For their privacy (since several of the kids' dads are RCMP), I'm keeping the pictures mainly to ones of Anders. As the kids arrived, they colored some lightsabers on paper. Then we went outside for a game of "Pin the Lightsaber on the Jedi" (1st picture). Next up was "Destroy the Death Star" (picture 2)--Anders is going over the top, but the goal was to get the bean bags through the holes on the front of the box. The kids ate outside with some TIE Fighter ties (made with hot dogs and breadsticks) and lightsabers and dip (pretzel & veggie sticks) with blue milk. Beth made a Millennium Falcon cake (picture 3), which was devoured fairly quickly (picture 4). Anders got more wonderful presents (picture 5); most of which were played with before bedtime. And so a good time was had by all.


More Garden Blooms

The following are more flowers that have recently blossomed in the back garden (let me know if you know what any of these are). None of these were planted by us. in fact, I almost dug up the garden, thinking that most of the things that were coming up were weeds. Sometimes you can't judge a book by its cover (or some other trite cliche´). I guess there's beauty there if you let it develop.

The 3-year Old

Yesterday was Anders' birthday. He thought that a whole lot of "bigness" happened when he turned 3. We hoped a lot of the "littleness" (the tantrums and such) would magically end. They didn't. But he had a good day. We opened some presents in the morning, and some more when I got home from lunch (before leaving for Beth's softball game). We happened to be opening presents from Far Mor & Far Far when they called on the phone (it was actually the first phone call we've had from them since we've moved here). Grandma Trumper was at their house, so we opened her present when she got on the phone. I guess it's the next best thing to being here. Anders got to play in the water park that was by the softball field. And after the game we stopped at MacDonald's for a birthday Happy Meal. Tomorrow is the big party (so expect more pictures).

He's really proud of this birthday. He hasn't stopped telling people (anyone--doesn't matter if he knows them or not), that he's three now. And we could end up with a few extra people at the party tomorrow--I hear he's been extending invitations. The funniest part is when people told him, "Happy birthday." He would reply back with the same. I guess everyone should have a happy day on Anders' birthday.


Breakfast with Anders

This morning, when Anders came down for breakfast, he sat down to the ham and eggs I made. And a few seconds later from the kitchen I heard, "Oops, I forgot to pray." He then proceeded on to do a short prayer for his food. We don't usually pray at breakfast, unless we're all sitting down together, which doesn't happen that often right now (as we're trying to get everyone ready in the morning). It was a good way to start the day.

Independence Day

Yesterday, I had to run some errands at the end of the day, so I stopped at home, got the family and we ran to the shopping center. After that we drove over to Delta and went to a beach that's across the bay from us (well, our part of the world is bordered by 3 bays--this one was on Boundary Bay. First we had a pizza picnic and then Anders played on the play center. Then we made it down to the beach. The tide was out so we went wading in a tidal pool. The water was quite warm--almost bathtub temperature. The boys had fun wading, and Anders had his bucket full of shells.

The pictures don't do justice. You may noticed the snow-capped peak of Mt. Baker behind Anders' head in the first picture. Nils really enjoyed the water--he wasn't content if his feet weren't wet.

We headed home quite late, but Anders didn't go to sleep right away, so we ended up going on a pajama adventure. We headed down the road and found a parking spot in a neighborhood that was atop the hill overlooking White Rock. From there we sat and watched the fireworks from across the bay (Semiahmoo Bay, this time--toward Washington). Actually, we could see fireworks from about 20 miles away in several directions. But the big show in Blaine was quite nice. I think it soothed some homesickness for Beth. It was somewhat odd to celebrate America's independence and not be in the country, watching the fireworks from across the border. At some point a group of celebraters in a house close to where we were watching from brought out kazoos and started in with The Star Spangled Banner, followed by other patriotic tunes. They actually did a fairly good job.


Canada Day Observed

Today we made our way a few miles east of our house to Campbell Valley Regional Park--a place we'd wanted to hike for a while, but the weather hadn't cooperated with our opportunities yet. We just did a short 2.5km loop through the park, but enjoyed having our "nature hike" as Anders and I have been calling them. We saw a nice variety of ecosystems on the short walk--towering cedar forests, the wetlands along the river, spots of open grassland spotted with wild daisies. And plenty that we haven't been able to identify in our new location.

Afterward we went to a city park just north of there that we'd seen before. It had a small little play area (Anders had been having a hard time at Campbell Valley understanding that it was a park even though it didn't have a play area, so we made our way to a "real park"). They had a nice water play area that was a nice place to cool off (well it only got to 25C/77F, but it felt fairly warm).

The Boys

Anders found this tree stump that was practically a fort for him. Obviously, he liked it. Nils got his nap on most of the walk, but woke to enjoy the scenery at times.

Anders enjoyed the park we stopped at afterward. He loved just aiming the water and squirting things. He didn't really want to get too wet, though. Nils at first liked getting his feet wet. Obviously, that state of enjoyment didn't last too long.

Scenes Along the Campbell River

Anders helped take a lot of these: