Photo Challenge – Optimistic

photochallenge-optimistic


January is the month that we have to turn vacation requests in at work. I’m usually excited to do it but it’s getting more and more difficult to work around everyone.


This year, we have a wedding to attend in Ottawa (super pumped about that!) and Tyler’s spending 6 weeks at the military college for cadet camp in Kingston. We’re planning a big camping trip, trying to arrange for several families to attend, while still holding out for Tyler’s return from camp. If it all goes well, I’ll get to see my parents for the first time in person in two years. I’ve really, really missed them. It’s really difficult to be away from them.


So I took on the task of checking the calendar, checking dates and trying to map out how we were going to do this. With Tyler away for so long, we will be putting Caleb in day camp for a couple of weeks and figuring out other arrangements for at least two other weeks. That was our big project this week… and I get pretty excited about planning our family time when it’s still cold and dreary outside.


Devin’s vacation has to be approved first, before I can hand mine in… he has to work around his co-worker’s vacations because they have seniority, but for me, it really doesn’t matter. I am fairly lucky that way!


Yes, I can almost smell the Algonquin pine trees and the evening campfires… I can hear the birds chirping, kids playing and wood being cut for fires. The optimistic was of looking at it is that it’s only 6 months away!


Optimistic

It’s My Party!

PARTY

Today is June 30th, 2018.

We are at a friend’s house in Newcastle, Ontario. TJ, and his wife, Steph, have graciously opened up their home to us to let us celebrate our vow renewal in honour of our 20th wedding anniversary which was actually in December, 2017. We had a winter wedding, so we decided to do our renewal in the summer months.

The weather is warm, sunny, with a smidge of humidity (which is normal for southern Ontario). The breeze takes the edge off. The kids just finished school this week, and Tyler will be heading off to Kingston for a full 8 weeks of cadet camp at the military college. He really, really wanted to be a part of this special day. He wants to give a speech in honour of our day.

The house is in the middle of a farmer’s field, there is literally no one for miles. It’s a big, country house, a sizeable property with a woodshed and fire pit in the back. They’ve recently redone the deck to make it bigger, not at our request, it’s something they wanted to do anyway. Over the fire is a partially cooked pig on a spit, turning slowly and continuing to cook slowly for pork sandwiches later.

The local Hamilton band that my husband and I have known since we began living together in 1994 is starting to trickle in, with their gear and coolers. We consider them to be friends, we make a point to see them whenever we know they’re playing in town. We love their music… they play everything from Sass Jordan to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Greenday and so much in between. We technically grew up with them.

There are many folding lawn chairs placed around the firepit, and the surrounding trees have white Christmas lights hung on them, for when the festivities really get under way later. A few tents have been set up for guests who are staying the night, so they don’t have to drive the distance to get back home.

I busy myself in the kitchen, helping to organize and prepare salads and crockpots full of chicken and beef. Devin’s shucked the corn and is putting them into a clean cooler. Later, he’ll pour boiling water into it, and the corn will cook itself. Buns are stockpiled for sandwiches as the buffet is starting to come together.

The pastor who married us, Todd, joins the crowd in the backyard, sees Devin and I, and immediately heads over to catch up. He will be saying a few words for us, to us, about us. It’s his first vow renewal. We’re the only couple he’s married who are still together. This makes us proud… I think it makes Todd even more proud.

Portable washrooms have been set up along the side of the yard so that we can cut down on traffic in the house. We’re not sure who is more pumped about this; us or TJ. This party has been in the making for two years, but Devin and I have been talking about it for much longer.

I can hear the band doing their sound checks, as more people join us with coolers and chairs in hand. A couple of people, who are what I lovingly call, 5-star campers, will be heading into town to stay the night at a local hotel. I’m just thrilled that they could come out for this.

My friend Beth-Anne is busy arranging and organizing, insisting that I sit and relax, but I can’t. I feel bad. Friends of ours shouldn’t be doing all of the work… especially since the entire thing was our idea. The thing I love about Beth-Anne is that she thinks about all of the tiny, little details that I never even thought of, but it justs adds to the specialness of the day. She is amazing, and I am so glad I asked her to be a part of this. She is literally my right-hand lady.

The band is now all set up, and they are making their rounds, meeting friends and family. Country music is playing in the background and the roasted pig is smelling amazing. I cannot wait to eat.. I’ve been so nervous all morning, I didn’t eat a lot… and snacking on veggies here and there has done nothing to tame this hunger!

I take a seat, half-listening to the conversation going on around me, but not directed at me. I see TJ and Devin over at the woodshed, as TJ shows Devin the gigantic pile of firewood he’s been storing for the evening… and then promptly drags out three skids from behind the shed. I think we’ll be lighting up the entire field.

For years, we’ve talked about this. This is the only way we wanted to celebrate. Our closest family and friends, good food, guitars and our favourite band playing as we dance the night away. I finally let my breath out and relax. It’s all about enjoying it now… with the love of my life.

Here’s to another 20 years!

It’s My Party

My Blog-spiration

My Blog-spiration

All it takes is a couple of clicks through my posts and it’s easy to see that my family is my inspiration for everything. And no wonder, they are my entire world.

My husband and I came from close-knit families, so it’s just been natural for us to raise our own family this way.

Ever since the kids could sleep through the night, we’ve taken them camping, to parks, the movies, and when they could walk, we taught them to ice-skate and ride bikes. Every time I see a free or cheap family-themed activity that I think we might all enjoy, we try to go.

This, in turn, creates memories and stories. I love that we have fun together. Even more than that, I love that we don’t need to have a lot of money in order to enjoy each other’s company.

It is my goal to not only raise my family this way, but to offer my readers inspiration to do the same with their own families. And to readers whose families have grown up and moved on to have families of their own, I hope I offer them a laugh with my stories, and give them opportunities to share their memories, stories and advice with me.

What is your blog-spiration?

Forever Young

foreveryoung

My husband and I often hear the question, “Don’t you guys ever age?”

It amuses us to hear the question because we really don’t know how we continue to look young.

I was blessed with good genes, both of my parents look much younger than they are, and they always have.

If I had to guess, I would say that lifestyle is the secret. We get lots of sleep, we try to eat healthy (see my last post, 2016 Resolutions), and we don’t smoke. We both have Fitbits, and drink a lot of water.

We have fun together. We always have something to laugh about. We enjoy new experiences, and we love to spend time with our friends.

If I had to guess, the secret would be to enjoy life, and not to sweat the small stuff, if possible.

How do you stay Young At Heart ?

Everything You Need to Know About Geocaching

geocaching


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In my last post, I started talking about one of my favourite family pasttimes: geocaching.

I mentioned that to get started, you should sign up for a free account at www.geocaching.com, and install the app on your smartphone. You can buy handheld GPS units for geocaching, and although we haven’t gotten that far yet, we’re definitely interested!

Once you have your free account and the free app, you’re all set to look for geocaches. I suggest opening the webpage at home first, to see what’s around you. The webpage does this by tracking your location, and will show you as a blue, radiating dot on the page. The geocaches around you will be green markers on the map (I believe the orange markers are geocache events, something we have not participated in).

geocaching

Zoom in, and get a closer look at a geocache in your area by clicking on it. Each geocache has a name and a GC code, with latitude and longitude coordinates. Clicking on the geocache of your choice will open up further information about the geocache, such as, what size it is, what kind of container it might be in, hints on finding it, and whether you need to bring a pen or a pencil. It will also give you information on when it was hidden (how old the geocache is) and when it was last found.

We're getting closer!

We’re getting closer!

We like to check out the geocaches ahead of time online, and send the information to our phones, so that when we’re “out and about”, we can save time and battery power by already having the info with us. When you’re outside and looking for these treasures with your smartphone, it is an awesome feeling! And it’s such an accomplishment when you find one, you feel pretty darn good about yourself πŸ™‚

The great thing about using your smartphone is that it has a compass feature that you can follow, and it’s accurate within 5 meters.

Closing in...

Closing in…

Almost there!

Almost there!

Last weekend, we headed to a family function, and enjoyed the nice drive and fall colours on the way to and from… and we found a geocache along the way!

geocache

Success!

What's inside?

What’s inside?


Our last name is Riches, so we leave play money for the next person to find!

Our last name is Riches, so we leave play money for the next person to find!

Once you find the geocache, you will want to log that you’ve found it, because this information tells future geocachers when it was last found. You can do this step immediately, or wait until a little later, but I wouldn’t wait too long! It’s good to keep the information as current as possible.

Found the geocache log!

Found the geocache log!

My husband signing the log sheet.

My husband signing the log sheet.

I can’t say enough good things about geocaching, as huge a fan as I am of the great outdoors. It’s an addicting activity, and so worthwhile πŸ™‚

I hope you’ve enjoyed the information I’ve shared. If you’ve been geocaching, what would you add?

Tyler's idea of a fun family photo!

Tyler’s idea of a fun family photo!