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 🙂

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 🙂

Family Trip to Hicks Lake

For the second day of my two day weekend we decided to take the canoe out to Hicks Lake for another day of paddling, fishing, and family play time on the water.  This was the first time that I’d ever been there despite the short drive to get there, and truthfully I can’t tell you why I’ve waited so long to head out that way.  It’s such a gorgeous little lake and one that I’d like to explore again! Perfect for a day at the beach and warmer than most.  It does seem to get deep quickly – at least in the places we were in, so it’s not great for wading, but it gave us opportunity to teach E to trust her lifejacket and actually float with it on.  Good times were had by all on the McHale team, and we returned home a very happy family!

Here are a few shots from the day to keep you smiling 🙂

“Helping” Mommy!

Snack Time!


I LOVE this shot of my little girl and her Daddy together!

Floating with Mommy

Paddling with the Fam on Chilliwack Lake

This weekend I was very lucky to get TWO days off in a row.  This is a rare occurrence for me in the summer as I work in a paddling shop so the summer season is our busy time and all hands are on deck for the weekend. To celebrate our two days of freedom my hubby and I decided it was way past time to introduce the little stink to the water.

Paddling has been our passion for a LONG time.  In fact the first summer we were married we lived in a tent and worked as wilderness canoe guides for a small summer camp in Ontario.  In more recent years we’ve mostly paddled whitewater but since having our daughter it’s become increasingly clear that it’s not all that practical or easy for us both to get out on the water unless we’re taking E with us too.

“Ready Go Mommy!”

Friday night I brought a canoe home from work, and Saturday morning we threw everything into the car and headed to Chilliwack Lake.  We were there by 9, and the lake was glassy smooth.  Our plan was to paddle to the end of the lake and park it for the day on a sandy beach that we’ve visited before. We couldn’t have chosen a better location.  The paddle was just the right length – it took us about an hour and a half – any longer and E would have become very impatient, but as it was she rode up front with me, spent most of her time standing holding the hand thwart and taking in the sights.  Regularly turning and saying – FUN MOMMY in her very excited little girl voice.  All I could think was WHY have we waited so long to share this passion with her.

A rare moment – E actually sitting on the center seat.

We spent the day on the beach, fishing, throwing rocks, swimming, going for walks and just loving being together as a family.

“Fishing” with Daddy

Around 2ish we decided to paddle back down the lake to the main beach.  Of course by this time the wind had started to blow and we were paddling into a headwind all the way back. For the Hubby and I this was really nothing major and the conditions were well within our abilities, but I have to admit that when your most precious cargo is sitting on the floor in front of you trusting you intrinsically to get her back home it does change your perspective a little bit.  Thankfully E had not napped yet and fell asleep about four seconds into the ride back down the lake. Somehow despite the constant splashing of water on her head and being bumped around by the waves she stayed soundly asleep until we were out of the wind and about half an hour from our take out. Once she woke she sat and contentedly drank the milk I gave her cheerfully chatting away about the things we had seen that day and asking to “go beach again”.

Havin’ a snooze in the canoe

In the car on the way home I remarked to my hubby that we so often choose not to do things because it seems like so much work to get ready and so many other things that should be done get left until “later,” but putting those things off until “later” is SO worth it for experiences like this one.  It was then that we decided that the household chores could wait another day and we would head out to another local lake tomorrow … but that is a story for another time.