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2015 Summer Fun List

Last summer we made a Summer Fun List – a list of ideas of things we could do locally during the summer.

It included everything from finding a new local playground, to camping trips, to dinners out, and trips to the zoo.

It was a HUGE success. We didn’t get to everything on the list but we did a lot, and any time we weren’t sure of what we wanted to do we would consult the list. The kids and I did more of it than Curtis, but he joined us for a good many things and it kept us busy all summer long.

Our Summer Fun List was so successful last year that we’re going to do it again. Some things are repeats, some are new, some are free, and some will cost a bit of money. We won’t get to everything and that’s ok. The point is to have some ideas so that when we have a free day to go exploring we don’t waste it trying to come up with something fun!

So here it is:

  • Visit the Fairy Park (Redwood Park in Surrey)
  • Visit the Historic Burnaby Villiage – ride the carousel!
  • Go to the Vancouver Aquarium ( I already have passes I got through air miles, so this is hopefully a given!)
  • Visit the Zoo (again I have a family pass I got through air miles so this should be easy)
  • Hike all of Vedder – we visited the “first hole” this winter but would like to get to the top.
  • Go to Party in the Park
  • Have Pizza at Cultus Lake
  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Hike Elk Mountain
  • Go on a family camping trip
  • Make S’mores
  • Have a beach day with Daddy in White Rock
  • Find a new game to play at Party in the Park
  • Go to the beach at Hicks Lake
  • Pick Strawberries
  • Pick Blueberries (E specifically wants to do this in a friend’s yard but we’ll have to see)
  • Find a new park in Chilliwack
  • Go to the Water slides
  • Take a family bike ride and have a picnic
  • Write a letter to my favourite cousin Megan ( watch out Meg you have a letter from a 4 year old in your future!)
  • Visit Bridal Falls
  • Go out for Ice Cream
  • Play Mini Golf
  • Go Canoeing
  • Have a beach day at Cultus Lake with our friends
  • Have friends over for Friday Night Pizza
  • Make Blueberry Muffins
  • Pick Vegetables
  • Build a Sandcastle
  • Go to a new Splash Park
  • Run through the sprinkler (we don’t have one but we should be able to do this somewhere!)
  • Go on a Mommy & E only run
  • Find a NEW splash park
  • Visit Othello Tunnels
  • Go on a train ride (if anyone knows how I can make this one happen I am open to suggestions!)
  • Visit the Kilby Store
  • Enjoy a Harrison Lake beach day
  • Take a trip to Birchwood Dairy
  • Go on a family backpacking trip
  • Visit Queens Park in New Westminster
  • Go to VBS

This is our list so far! Feel free to steal ideas, and if you have any great ideas for summer fun then let me know! We’ll add them on 🙂

Dare to dream

What do you dream about? Curtis and I have been talking a lot about our “dreams” lately.

What do we want? What kind of lifestyle do we ultimately want to live? Are we happy? If we could do ANYTHING what would it be? Is it what we’re doing now?

These are all things that we’ve been talking about lately. Why you ask?

Well partly because our house is for sale. We’re excited to be selling but not sure what we’re going to do after. We’re planning on staying where we are but for a number of reasons we’re not necessarily buying another house right away.

Being 100% debt free – even for a short period of time – will be AMAZING. I can’t wait!

It’s got us dreaming.

Eventually we’ve want to buy another house and right now we intend for that house to be here in Chilliwack, but not right away.

We’ve been going back to the days early on in our marriage when we had all kinds of dreams about the things we hoped to do with our lives. We’ve been talking about the experiences we want to offer our kids. We have some pretty big dreams.

We’ve also been talking a lot about what I want to do. I know this may sound funny, but for some reason being a stay at home mom is kind of like being a newly graduated high school student. I am regularly asked what I want to do when my kids go to school (much like the high school student is asked what they want to do when they grow up). Right now my answer is I don’t know.

So I’ve been dreaming. Trying to figure out what I want to do. Do I want to pursue another career path? What would that look like? I know I want to be home after school for the kids so that someone is here, so what kind of job would I be looking at? What would I like to pursue, what interests me, how much time do I want to invest? I have a few years to figure it out but it’s something that we’ve been talking about a lot.

It’s fun to dream. It’s brought Curtis and I closer and it gets contagious. To dare to dream is something that so many people are afraid to do which I think is so funny because really what are you hurting in entertaining a dream?

For us sometimes those dreams get us through.

Things get tough and we feel like we’re just slogging along so we start dreaming. We spend some of our spare time throwing around ideas. It helps keep us going and it makes life a lot more fun!

So what about you, do you dare to dream? Do you dream big? Do you find it encouraging? I hope so. If you haven’t had any big dreams in a while I would encourage you to spend some time dreaming!

Retiring our beloved teapot on the trail - a local tradition on this hike

Fun with Friends!

We had SO MUCH FUN with friends today. This has been the best days of summer so far and I hope there are many more like it to come!

Summer has been a bit slow starting for us we’ve been having a hard time finding a good groove. It seems that we keep missing friends, or they’re away, or we’re committed to something else.

Today I think we found our groove.  I sent a friend a text last week asking if she wanted to go for a hike up a local hill that’s very kid friendly and hit the beach afterwards.

Retiring our beloved teapot on the trail - a local tradition on this hike

Retiring our beloved teapot on the trail – a local tradition on this hike

Last summer we went hiking and/or to the beach with her and her kids at least once a week, but life changes and thus far this summer we just haven’t been able to swing it.

Today we had the joy of hiking with her and her kids in the morning. It was a “short” hike but so good for our kids to all be together again. (The distance isn’t far but when you have three littles walking and one being carried time and distance don’t necessarily correspond.)

E falls in the middle of her two littles and LOVES her older daughter – like idol status. She was SO excited to get to run alongside her friend and try to keep up. Plus she had a new backpack that she’s breaking in for a hiking trip later in the summer with Daddy.  L slept or coo’d happily in the baby carrier all the way and all the littles did great.

 

E and her friend

E and her friend

After our hike we all headed to the beach to meet another friend and her kids for the afternoon.  Between the three of us there were eight kids at the beach. Everyone played well together and it was one of those days that you’re loathe to see end. Seriously none of us wanted to pack up and go home.

E made a major accomplishment today, she figured out the basic technique of swimming. This is HUGE for her. While she’s never been shy about the splash pad, pools and especially beaches make her VERY nervous. She’s been in the same FIRST level at swimming lessons ALL WINTER. She loves going but is timid and rarely lets go of her instructor.

We’ve been at the beach two other times so far this summer, the first she didn’t go in past her knees. Then she was holding my hand and SCREAMING (I forced her in to wash the sand off before leaving. I know I’m a horrible mother).

Last week when we were there as a family she wouldn’t go in unless one of us was holding her, and refused to go further than chest deep water. She did eventually relax and at least enjoy it.

I didn’t expect her to embrace swimming so soon after the last two trips. I figured we were in for another summer of playing in the and by the shore in ankle deep water (this is FINE with me, I just want her to be safe and comfortable around water not necessarily an all star swimmer).

Today right away she wanted me to take her in.

SWIMMING! I know it's shallow but I promise she wasn't pushing off the bottom :)

SWIMMING! I know it’s shallow but I promise she wasn’t pushing off the bottom 🙂

Maybe it was seeing her friends jumping off the dock and swimming around on their own. Maybe it’s the crazy heat wave we’ve been having. Maybe it’s the frequency of swimming right now (lessons once a week and at least one trip a week to the beach) or a combination of the three. Who knows.

If I know anything about my girl it’s that she’ll DO IT when SHE wants to. Not one second before and no time later than she decides is ok either.

Today she actually held my shoulders and let me swim her out to the end of the dock. She also let me hold her in the swimming position in shallow water. I was impressed just by those things.

It’s like it just clicked for her. All of a sudden she understood how she should be positioned and how she needed to move her arms and legs. I had to go in to shore to feed L, but she still wanted to swim. So in knee deep water she figured it out. SO FUN.

It was so fun to watch because she would swim the length of the swimming area in knee deep water, then get out, run back to where she started and do it again. It never occurred to her that she could turn around and swim back.

She repeated the cycle for about an hour and a half and I had to pry her out of the water to go home. She was so proud of herself, and I am a proud mama tonight too. I love that kid!

Best things ever today: her contagious giggles as she RAN down the hiking trail after her friends, and the equally elated giggling that came with figuring out how to swim.

We ended our day today by taking Curtis to the garden we’ve been “keeping” at a friends place. – I say this very loosely because I have a hard time growing grass in our yard, and tonight I realized that I can no longer distinguish some of the weeds from the plants that are supposed to be there – oops.

It was a perfect summer’s day.  After so much fun with friends, I’m sad to see this day end. It was jam packed with hiking, swimming, gardening, playing and visiting yet it didn’t feel crazy rushed or busy.  This is exactly what summer days should be. To top it off, my house is pretty clean – we haven’t been here all day!

Hope you had a great day too, and that there are many more sunny summer days to come 🙂

A pic from our 15 week Ultrasound (2 1/2 weeks ago)

Big News in the McHale Household!

While I’ve casually dropped this bomb in another post recently this is BIG NEWS in the McHale household and deserves it’s own space. (I’ve also been getting random emails from friends and family asking me to confirm the “rumor” so I thought it might be time to make an official announcement). There are a number of reasons I’ve been fairly quiet this summer the largest of which is this…

The McHale Family is Expecting!

We are blessed and excited to share that in January of 2014 our little family of three will be growing by one small family member and we’ll be joining the ranks of thousands of other family’s out there with two kids. Yup McHale Baby #2 arrives in January.

A pic from our 15 week Ultrasound (2 1/2 weeks ago)

A pic from our 15 week Ultrasound

So along with all the other activities and craziness that summer brings I’ve been traveling through the early stages of pregnancy and well, writing has fallen to the wayside.

Now our “secret” is out, we’ve past half way (23 1/2 weeks now meaning 16 1/2 to go), and hopefully I can find more time to put into posting again as we enter into fall!

2013 Goals

The McHale Family ready to embark on new adventures in 2013

The McHale Family ready to embark on new adventures in 2013

I’ve always been a very goal oriented person – really anything I can check off a list is highly motivating for me. I regularly set goals/create to do lists for the short term, but until recently have never considered setting long term goals to give structure to my whole year. I’ve been working on some personal growth over the last 6 months and a recurring theme amongst all of the books and podcasts is goal setting, giving you something to strive for. So I figured sure, why not! I’ve tried to set my goals in a number of areas of life to allow me to round out my life and hopefully keep things in balance, so I’ve got everything from career, to fitness, to personal goals. The Hubby and I even set some joint goals that we are going to work on as a couple. He has also set his own goals which he posted on one of his blogs late last month (sorry I couldn’t tell you where to find them I have no idea).

I hadn’t really planned on making my goals public, but publicity also creates accountability. I may or may not also have a few other “private” goals up my sleeve ;).

Here we go these are my goals for the year:

  1. Double my income in the year 2013 by starting a side business. (More on that in a later post I hope)
  2. Pay off the car by March 1/13. – Last February we started our “Total Money Makeover” after reading Dave Ramsey’s book of the same title, and it has been life-changing for us in more than just the financial realm of life. If you have ANY debt at all seriously check it out, read it. It’s been an amazing journey for us and is really what has started my journey to self improvement.
  3. Run a 10K race – I know I can do this, but it’s fun to participate in the event!
  4. Run a 1/2 Marathon – got up to the distance last year but then was unable to participate in an event.
  5. Run a full Marathon – this will be the true physical stretch for me, farther than I’ve ever run before!
  6. List & sell our current home
  7. Buy a larger home hopefully with a smaller mortgage
  8. Read all the books on my reading list. (See reading list below)

While some of these may seem like lofty goals I think “Go big or Go home” is a good principle by which to set your goals. If they are easily attainable then you aren’t going to find it challenging enough to keep you interested (at least I’m not). And hey, if I only make it 3/4 of the way then I’ve still made it farther than last year and ultimately while I am always going to strive to meet and even surpass a goal that I’ve set – that’s just the way I am – making it even 1/2 way there on most of them is still pretty good.

Reading List:

  1. The Total Money Makeover – Dave Ramsey – finished Jan 4/13
  2. The Millionaire Next Door – Dr’s Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko – Finished Feb 11/13
  3. Wisdom Meets Passion – Dan Miller
  4. Guerrilla Marketing – Jay Conrad Levinson
  5. Entreleadership – Dave Ramsey
  6. See You at the Top – Zig Ziglar
  7. $100 Start-Up – Chris Gilibeau – in progress
  8. No More Monday’s – Dan Miller
  9. Tribes – Seth Godin
  10. Love & Respect – Dr Emerson Eggerichs – started & abandoned 3/4 of the way through – good content, just not my style.
  11. Thou Shall Prosper – Daniel Lapin
  12. Becoming a Person of Influence – John C. Maxwell
  13. How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie

If any of these books look interesting to you and you’d like to support the site then check out amazon.com here and pick them up!