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Filed in:Alexandra

Look Who's Five!

October 3rd, 2008  · stk

Alex turns FIVE today! We're throwing her a "surprise" birthday party at a local playground, this afternoon. See a slide show of her day, which started at 6 AM, and get a dad's perspective on what he thinks of his five-year-old daughter.

Our Little Girl is Five Years Old

Yesterday morning, Alex helped Dad bake her birthday cake. She got out the eggs, butter, flour and even managed to stir up the cake batter. But what she really wanted, was to "help" decorate it.

Last night, Alex - AKA "the Oop" to family and close friends - got her chance. While Dad layered on the frosting and made a couple of colored batches for the lettering, Alex feasted on the sugary dregs. No wonder she had a hard time hitting her normal 8 PM bedtime! (Of course, Mom had to help too - *cough* with the frosting).

Alex's birthday started dark and early this morning, because Rachel is working a day shift and wakes at 5:30 AM. Alex is off to day-care today, then kindergarten, then day-care again, then "the surprise"! (Mom has planned a birthday party at "Jump'n Jimminy's", a kid's play palace in Nanaimo) Alex doesn't know anything about it! Her cousins (Toby and Ella) and her aunt are even coming over from Vancouver and will be there for the festivities!

Our little girl is five. When did that happen?

For a slide show and more details about Alex's "big day", carry on ...

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Updated: 21-Aug-2012
Web View Count: 80449 viewsLast Web Update: 21-Aug-2012
Filed in:Alexandra

Starting Kindergarten

September 10th, 2008  · stk

Today is Alex's first full day of kindergarten, although a week ago, Alex had her first meeting with her kindergarten teacher. It was an hour-long "meet-and-greet", involving a few kindergarten kids and their parents. We all got a tour of the kindergarten room and Alex got to meet a few of her classmates. Oh boy! Alex starts SCHOOL!

These are Exciting Times for Alex!

Today is Alex's first full day of kindergarten. One week ago, we took Alex in for her (official) first day of kindergarten, which amounted to an hour-long meet-and-greet between a few kids, their parents and the kindergarten teacher. Then, starting on Monday of this week, Alex began attending kindergarten, but it was only for one-half the time (one hour, instead of two and a half) and with only half of the class.

The new way appears to "ease in the kids into kindergarten". I guess some kids have a difficult time being away from home, in many cases, for the first time.

Not Alex. She is hugely excited about kindergarten and loves going. When I picked her up yesterday afternoon, she explained that there were, "So many kids there, dad!" (Alex loves people, so will have no problem adjusting to school.)

She even has "homework" to do, every day (including weekends)!

For more about Alex's kindergarten class, her very first day, the teacher and even a slide show about "A Day at Kindergarten" ... use your "inside mouse" and click "Read Full Story"

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Updated: 21-Aug-2012
Web View Count: 169679 viewsLast Web Update: 21-Aug-2012

Alex at Watch Lake

September 5th, 2008  · stk

Alex stayed with maternal grandparents, during our recent canoeing adventure on the Bowron Lakes. They took her camping to Watch Lake, in the southern Cariboo Mountains of central British Columbia (not too far from where we were). Alex went on her first horseback ride! See the nice photo scrapbook that her grandmother made for her (viewed in the new AstonishMe! Photo Gallery)

Grandparents Take Alex Camping

Mom and Dad couldn't have gone on their 6-day canoeing adventure on the Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit if maternal grandparents hadn't been willing to look after Alex, during this time. Alex had fun in Vancouver, but it was the camping trip to Watch Lake, near 100-mile House, that Alex really enjoyed.

"Gran" and Grandpa took Alex in their Volkswagen Westfalia camping van to a recreation area in central British Columbia, just a few hours south of where Mom and Dad were canoeing on the Bowron Lakes. The area is in the Southern Cariboo Mountains and is renown for fishing, wildlife and contains a plethora of small lakes. Apparently, they've been visiting Watch Lake and staying at the Watch Lake Lodge cabins and/or campground, for years. It's the kind of place that fosters a long-term relationship with customers, reminding me of some of the summer resorts in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York.

Alex enjoyed swimming, horseback riding, campfires, playing with other kids, playing games, feeding the ducks, walking the dog, eating roasted marshmallows and a BUNCH of other things!

Her "Gran" took lots of pictures and made Alex a scrapbook of her time at Watch Lake. It was very well done and Alex decided she wanted to share it. (It doesn't hurt that my AstonishMe! mate, ¥åßßå, has nearly finished the alpha-release of a very spiffy bit of jQuery-based photo gallery code!)

To see Alex's scrapbook at Watch Lake (and a cool online photo gallery) ... sally forth!

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Updated: 21-Aug-2012
Web View Count: 67942 viewsLast Web Update: 21-Aug-2012
Filed in:Adventures

Bowron Lakes Canoe Trip

August 28th, 2008  · stk

Bowron Lakes Canoe Trip: Listed as one of the World's top 10 best wilderness canoe trips, we thought we'd give it a whirl. We dropped Alex off with grandparents in Vancouver and made the 9-hour drive to get to the renown park in central British Columbia. Follow along by reading the journal of our 6-day wilderness experience! (Pics, maps, video, a slide-show and resource section all - eventually - included).

A 6-Day Canoe Adventure in the wild Cariboo Mountains

The Bowron Lake Provincial Park, in central British Columbia, is a wilderness park that encompasses over three hundred thousand acres and contains a world-famous canoe circuit. The circuit includes six major lakes (Indianpoint, Isaac, Lanezi, Sandy, Spectacle and Bowron) and together with several other smaller lakes, streams, rivers and portages, makes up a unique, circular wilderness wetlands route. The circuit is 116 kilometers long (72 mi) and includes a total of 10 kilometers of portages. Most visitors take six or seven days to complete the circuit, though many linger - fishing, relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking beauty of this unique wilderness.

Bowron Lakes - one of the ten best wilderness canoe trips in the World.

- Outside Magazine

The area was classified as a game reserve in 1926, by the British Columbia government, thanks to efforts by Frank Kibbee and Thomas & Eleanor McCabe. In 1961, it was reclassified as a Provincial Park and named after John Bowron, a gold rush pioneer who later became the Commissioner at nearby Barkerville About Barkerville Barkerville is the largest historic site in British Columbia. Founded in 1862, Barkervilles was the "gold capital of BC". Burned down, it was rebuilt, but became a ghost town. It was restored in 1958 for the Provincial centennial and today, remains a town of discovery - a unique streetscape with over 125 heritage buildings, Royal Theater shows, exhibits, stage coach rides, street theater in the summer and unique shops, filled with Victorian-era merchandise. Open all year, the town springs to life in the summer months. Thousands of visitors come from all over the world to travel to this unique attraction. There are mining demonstrations, street interpreters, restaurants, gold panning and other displays. Click the green-shaded word to visit the Barkerville website (should open in a new window).  B.C.'s famous restored gold-rush town.

Both are located in the Cariboo Mountains in central British Columbia and accessed via Highway 26 from Quesnel, to Wells (90 km, or 55.8 mi, via a paved road). The Park can be reached by a secondary road (at this writing, a dirt road) that is another 30 kilometers (18.6 miles). Bowron Lake Provincial Park is - quite literally - at the end of the road.

Join us on our 6-day adventure. The journal is rich in detail and includes many photographs and a short video of a moose grazing. If you're planning your own trip, the slideshow will whet your appetite and the journal will provide some insight about what to expect. We've also included a useful "Resources" section at the end, which may aid in your planning. It includes a detailed contour map, which you can download and use.

For us, the Bowron Lake Canoe adventure is our first canoeing trip, though hardly our first adventure trip. It is also our only adventure trip of the year, without our four-year-old daughter - thanks Gran & Grandpa, for hosting Alex! - and we had an excellent time! Wildlife, scenery, people, paddling and the weather were all outstanding.

Enough preamble ... on with the adventure.

Note: Getting the journal online is a huge effort and will require a bit of time to complete. Here's the status:

Everything is complete, except the resource section.

Views: 240087 views
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Updated: 22-Aug-2012
Web View Count: 240087 viewsLast Web Update: 22-Aug-2012

First Floating Cabin Visitors

July 31st, 2008  · stk

Yesterday, we returned from hosting our first visitors at the floating cabin. It was a success! The weather (for the most part) cooperated, the boat didn't break down and we even remembered to bring the cabin key this time! We did encounter a few SNAFU's however

Bruce & Michelle / Langley, B.C.

This summer season seems to be all about the floating cabin, as we're trying to find the best way to get there and work out some kinks and make sure that the boat, "Blue Yonder" is reliable and seaworthy. We were eager to share our love for the outdoors and the unique wilderness experience at the floating cabin, but we were a bit nervous about having our first visitors.

It's fitting that they were Bruce and Michelle, because they were also our first guests in Edmonton, showing up within a couple of weeks after we'd moved. They also like the out-of-doors and have recently gotten into kayaking. They were visiting Vancouver Island for an anniversary vacation and when we found out, we invited them to the floating cabin for a few days.

We had a great time, even though there were a few mishaps: an overloaded boat; a swarm of vicious, stinging bees; and the loss of eight crabs to determined seals. It seems that every trip to the cabin brings up 'interesting challenges' that turn into humorous and memorable events!

To read about the adventure of our first floating cabin guests .... carry on (the narrative is in their own words, as transcribed from the cabin guest journal) ...

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Updated: 1-Mar-2009
Web View Count: 29454 viewsLast Web Update: 1-Mar-2009