Week & Month in Review 31/8/14

J(ohnson) + (B)urke = Jurke

It was supposed to be J(ohnsons) + (B)urkes = Jurkes    

August was hot, busy, and fantastic!!  Beaches, ferry rides, new skills acquired.  The children have continued to LOVE being here at Hamilton Hobby Farm, and while we were away for 10 days or so in Portland they were torn with being with Burkes and wanting to be back at the farm doing pony rides and doing chores.  It’s great to be LOVIN’ YOUR LIFE!  So many great places to be.

Hanging with the Burkes always brings out more creativity in our kids.  As Mom I love to see what is nurtured in them, and Seth seems so at ease drawing it out of them.

Several days found us walking around Laurelhurst Park; finding shade from the heat, playing at the playground, snoozing on blankets under oak trees, walking around the duck ponds, spotting turtles.

Kids often say they don’t like maths or sciences but take them to engaging museums and it can change anybody’s attitude.  Thanks to Seth a bunch of the kids had an exciting though exhausting day at OMSI where they learned while they had fun and built memories.

The purpose for out trip to Portland was for our special girl, Marin, who turned the magical age of TWO!  Happy Birthday, Sweetheart.

Our visit in Portland was fantastic (more posts to come in the next few days) but all good things seem to come to an end.  As has a wonderful month of August.  Hard to believe this month is over but we are now entering my favourite month of the whole year.  Yeah, tomorrow is SEPTEMBER!!

What will we accomplish this coming month?

Chores chart Seth created for the kids.  Spun each morning to determine what each child's chore for the day was.  Sometimes Marin had to take herself for a walk around the block....or be sure to make the environment safe for herself by picking up sewing needles or scissors or making sure there weren't things for her to trip over!!

Chores chart Seth created for the kids. Spun each morning to determine what each child’s chore for the day was. Sometimes Marin had to take herself for a walk around the block….or be sure to make the environment safe for herself by picking up sewing needles or scissors or making sure there weren’t things for her to trip over!!

Week in Review 24/8/14

Brian SchindelLast Sunday we were visited by my eldest brother, and after a beautiful ferry ride we find ourselves in Portland, OR.  We had to come see our daughter’s baby bump before she pops in October, and synced it to celebrate Marin’s second birthday.  (Celebration yet to come.  Stay tuned.  She’s gorgeous!)

Everette with one of Seth's many cargo bikes

Everette with one of Seth’s many cargo bikes

A bike-friendly city finds us cycling for our morning coffees where we go to get internet service.  We go for frequent walks with our darling Marin who picks the route, whether its one block or multiple.  Longer walks for bigger people.

By sheer numbers we turn the Burke house on end. Three occupants swells to an even dozen.  Furniture moves and increases.  Endless grocery shopping/food prep/dishes. Arts galore.  Creativity rules.

Marin is thrilled to have all these dotting aunts and uncles plus Grandma/pa.  Already the parents are talking about the withdrawal Marin will suffer with next week when we head back north.  But for now, we all enjoy the change of pace and the deepening of relationships.  Her parents sometimes are brushed aside in favour of time with another little-but-bigger one.  Mitchell can bribe Marin into wearing clothes and shoes and going for a walk when all she had said to her daddy was a repetitive NO!

She’s familiar with us again.  Each time we come to visit we have to slowly work our way into her heart.  And before we know it, we’ll be gone again and have to repeat all of this come October.

Updates and Week in Review 3/8/14

Toveli on Chek 6 News

Toveli on Chek 6 News

Did you get a glimpse of Toveli on Chek 6 News last weekend?  The free advertising brought new people to the hobby farm for which all of us were stoked.  Last Sunday was an awesome day, and many people said they had heard about the farm from that news clip.  If you didn’t see it you can still watch it.  Besides the comment from Tov you can spot Danaka off in the distance in a few spots, and the back side of Gaelyn!

After that, check out the front view of Gaelyn where she sports her new piercings.

Summer is certainly upon us on Vancouver Island.  Great days at the hobby farm and evenings spent at the beach, Spider Lake or gigantic Parksville playground.  Even an evening at another farm catching up with friends we haven’t seen in years: Elwood’s.

End of the week found Everette and I plus our 3 youngest heading to the mainland to spend some time with my mom.  After a couple of nights I sent the family back without me and I’m here alone with mom.  We are in de-cluttering mode and have accomplished a heck of a lot.  Keeping bored children out from under foot helps us keep some sanity.

Mom has had her own motivation which is super, so I don’t have to do much other than keep her focused in one area at a time, i.e. the pantry before moving on to the linen closet.  Jumping around from object to object or room to room is exhausting and frustrating.

Small successes become satisfyingly HUGE!  One after another.

I do the packing up and re-organizing what remains.  So when the curio released a few ornaments I shuffled around what was left until it looked appealing.

Before she headed out for coffee earlier this evening Mom said she wanted “all the African stuff gotten rid of'”along with some other instructions about the entertainment centre.  I had to bring in a few things from other rooms to fill the gaping whole when Africa was taken out of the picture (Mom and Dad had lived in Kenya in the ’80’s and had plenty of stuff from there). Upon her return I heard, “Wow!  That looks really good.”  So I think we’ve got success.

Besides, I haven’t upset her drawerful of jewelry. Not too much, anyways: we’re still on talking terms.

She says she’s proud of what she’s done, and rightly so.  Good job, Mom!!

PS Early in the week Anders helped me update the page that highlights this handsome young fellow.  Be sure to check it out.

Anders at the playground

Anders at the playground

Updates and Week in Review 27/07/14

I feel lost when I don’t have a camera.  I don’t journal as I go through my weeks; I just take pictures and do a bunch of remembering when I flip through the photos.  So when I don’t have my photos to rely on I don’t recall what the heck we did that week.  It’s terrible.  And I’m not even 50 yet!!

So what did we do this week?  Well, looks like nothing between my dragging an old post-in-the-works out of the  Draft pile (to remind me of the things I don’t miss of the culture I grew up in) and the end of the week when Toveli discovered the camera that had been ‘lost’ for 2 weeks.

Maret and I were drawing on tables, and…..and nothing else chronicled this week.  Boring.

Well, that gave me time to upload a few new pictures to Maret’s page as she’s no longer that tween girl.  She answered some questions about her summer and her opinion about this traveling thing!  She’s totally come into her own as we see with her varied hair styles & cuts. She does what she likes, not concerned with what the fashion is.  She wants what it is she wants…plain and simple.  Go for it, Maret!

Photo by Maret

Photo by Maret


Week in Review 20/7/14

Hot scorching days have morphed into cloud and sprinkles, a bit of reprieve for thirsty  gardens but not enough to douse blazing forest fires.  Its picturesque to see houses tucked into the clutches of wild forest –until the tables turn and the forest licks towns up with its flames.

Gaelyn and Chantel take a (cold) swim.  They went back to Chantel's aunts house and had to warm Gaelyn up with 8 blankets and a cup of tea.  Chantel had a sleep-over with Gaelyn and Danaka before she leaves tomorrow to go back to Nova Scotia.

Gaelyn and Chantel take a (cold) swim. They went back to Chantel’s aunts house and had to warm Gaelyn up with 8 blankets and a cup of tea. Chantel had a sleep-over with Gaelyn and Danaka before she leaves tomorrow to go back to Nova Scotia.

It’s been peaceful here on the island.  Our days are taken up with keeping two ‘homes’ stocked with food and clean laundry.  Some of us are back at Shelley’s house while her and her kids hop-skip-and-jump between summer camps and plain-old-camping.  We’ve been watering the gardens, taking care of bunnies and dealing with a kitty charged-up.  Nothing is out of reach of this little creature; she’s climbing curtains & screens, and can now jump straight onto the table without any springboards.

The rest of the family has spread out to fill the vacated space in the 5th wheel, and while they stay up late watching movies, they sleep-in in the mornings and hope mom & dad bring provisions before they starve to death.  They volunteer their time every day on the hobby farm.

Some weekends Annalee comes and camps out with us so she can volunteer more than otherwise might be available for her.  (Isaiah comes sometimes, too.) But the first time the teens had to put their tent up, it was somewhat humorous. Toveli caught it on camera.

The other evening we invited ‘the teens’ (which is now including Gaelyn who is only 10…she’s grouped in with ‘the teens’ with this current living set-up, but in other circumstances she would be lumped in with ‘the younger ones’.  Sometimes it works in her favour and sometimes not so much)….so like I was saying, we invited the teens up to ‘the house’ for dinner and they stayed long enough to get their laundry washed and dried.  Hmmm, seemed a bit strange to be doing this with 10, 14, 16 & 17 year olds, just visiting!!

Anyways, it makes me take notice again at how quickly the kids grow up and before we know it we’ll be suffering the empty-nest-syndrome.  Well, I doubt we’ll be suffering from it.  I think we’ll be happily embracing it while we travel the world to visit our 9 kids spread around the globe.  We won’t have time to notice the empty nest, right Everette?!!

Already we’ve become peripheral in some of our children’s lives, and that’s all fine and dandy.

Layne hugs Maret and Gaelyn

Layne hugs Maret and Gaelyn

Some of you readers knew that we were planning to spend some extended time in Puerto Rico learning about the business of aquaponics.  For now it’s on the back burner. However, Everette and Danaka had a successful trip to the island in the Caribbean, gathering information and taking a course.  Hopefully they are both wiser for the experience!


We have apparently misplaced our camera which is a real bummer, so photos are becoming fewer and farther between.  Wordpress has issues uploading pics from my phone so that’s a real bummer, too.