Monday, 28 October 2013

It's Like, "Baby, Baby, Baby... Oh!"

This past weekend we had the amazing opportunity to share some time with some close friends and family and their new babies! Obviously I am slightly baby crazy at the moment (with reason, right people... right?), and James and I headed back to the Hammer to cuddle all day. We were so happy to be able to attend the dedication of our friends' baby Jackson at Philpott. We love that family like crazy and were happy to share the occasion. After church we slipped to another friend's house to meet their new little girl, Melanie. She was so precious. A beautiful, sleepy bundle of joy!

We finished off the day by meeting the newest member of our family: Jace Bradley! He was basically perfection. Dark and handsome and so warm. We loved holding him and seeing his sisters interact with him. We can't wait to see him grow up and become an active part of the family.

p.s. Isn't James going to make the best dad!?

Friday, 25 October 2013

{Weekend Hike} Kawartha Highlands

Today, to celebrate James and Joanna's reading break, we set out on a hike to Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. A relatively new park (not made a park until 2005, not opened till 2011), this park is mainly a canoeing/fishing/hunting backcountry park. Being the biggest park south of Algonquin, we had many areas to choose to explore. We finally settled on the east side of the park, taking Beaver Lake Road up to the park boundary and stopping at Bottle Lake. First stop however, was Gold Lake, a calm and beautiful part of the park:

After arriving at the Beaver Lake Access Point, we soon discovered that there are no maintained trails in the park. This didn't deter us, however, and we set out along the shore of Bottle Lake to blaze our own trail. A few things we saw along the way:

Signs of beavers hard at work
The sun shining through the trees
Bottle Lake
Bottle Lake
The lakeshore was very hilly and there was a lot of dead/rotting vegetation under our feet. 
Bottle Lake Narrows
Sometime around noon we got hungry and decided it was time to stop and "make camp". We were determined to build a fire and make our tea over it. It turned out quite well I would say! It was a lot of fun for me to be with two people who love being outside and are naturally adventurous. It makes me more adventurous and I learn so much from them! Mostly the talk consists of "nature-y" things where I sit slack jawed with the info going over my head.. but hey, we all need to be quiet and learn sometimes, right? Here we are preparing for lunch:

Starting the fire

James, being the woodsman that he is, fashioned an amazing "kettle hanger" (his own words), to set the kettle on to boil the water. It consisted of a "y-shaped" branch and long support stick on which to hang the apparatus, and a notched out stick where the kettle balanced. It really was an ingenious device and I wish I had a better picture to show you.

 After lunch we hiked back out to the car, and started to leave the park. We discovered another ATV/hunting trail and walked along that for about an hour. All in all, we had a great time discovering Kawartha Highlands! We decided that it is definitely more suited to canoeing and resolved to come back sometime in the spring/summer to try out the Kawartha camping experience. Can't wait to share that with you, when the time comes!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

{Bits and Pieces} 25 Weeks

I thought I'd share a few more random pictures from the last few weeks.

First things first: I am officially 25 weeks! That means 15 weeks to go and almost at the 3rd trimester. Baby is still keeping up the frequent kicks and my most recent ultrasound showed everything to be in great working order.

We also bought a stroller a couple weeks ago. We snagged a great deal off of Kijiji! This is the Baby Jogger Elite, and for less than half the price of a new one we basically got a brand new stroller (there was some dust on the tires... that was it. I kid you not). We are in love. We took it to Mom and Dad's for Thanksgiving and took Colsen for a stroll. So easy to handle and manoeuvres like a dream! Can't wait to try our own baby in it!

This past week James participated in a "teepee raising" at school. The teepee at Fleming needed some repairs, so they had a repairman come down from the North to fix it. James had a ton of fun learning how easy it is to put up/take down a teepee! Interesting fact: the door always faces the east so you can greet the morning sun and because most of the weather comes from the west.

We hung up some pictures this past (rainy) Saturday. If you know me, you know this was an amazing feat. Usually I live somewhere for a least a year before getting around to hanging anything on the walls. The group hanging was a particular pain in the bum because of that thermostat- apparently the people who build the house thought it would be a perfect accessory for the middle of the wall.

Monday, 21 October 2013


Lately I have been feeling very grateful. I could probably chalk some of it up to Thanksgiving being last weekend, but it's more than that.

It's been a month and a half since we moved to Lindsay. Those of you who talked to me personally over the last 6 months or so know that it was a tough decision and I was feeling very apprehensive about the move.

It turns out I had nothing to worry about.

God always seems to pull through and provide right when we need it! We have been so fortunate to have made friends in the area, and found a welcoming church family to be part of. I was certain that I would be pining away in lonesomeness, but God has found a way to provide yet again. It never ceases to amaze me how He comes through, time and again.

I am also thankful for the things I am learning. I have met so many interesting people who are so different from me, and I can't seem to satisfy this hunger I have for learning more! They have inspired me to never stop wondering, learning, thinking, and exploring. There is so much in this crazy world I have yet to learn.

If I can encourage you in anything, today I want to encourage you to be thankful. It's funny how when we approach life with an attitude of gratitude (see what I did there?), what we have becomes enough.

Friday, 18 October 2013

{Bits and Pieces} Thanksgiving Weekend

Did anybody else have a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend? We sure did! ...although the 6 hours of driving we did took a bit of a toll on us (and possibly our relationship- thank you Toronto Friday afternoon traffic :D)

Today I'm just going to bombard you with some pictures, rather than words, words, words:

Thanksgiving week pie! This was made before Thanksgiving,
but it was so big we are still working on it- Yum!
The turkey- yes, that's a deep fryer- and yes-
 it might possibly be the best way to eat a turkey!
The pile of turkey...
...devouring the pile of turkey 
Have you ever seen a better anticipatory look on a kids face?
Happy 4th, Brooke!
Blowing out the candles!
23.5 and 39 weeks! Just to clarify: I am not really that big...
 but turkey and potatoes will do things to a girl!
The spread at the Kottelenberg/Hoeksema dinner
21 people (the 2 minis included) enjoying each others' company
True to form, I missed a lot of good picture opportunities on the weekend- I was just having too much fin to pull out the camera! Here are a few more things I am thankful for:

colouring/painting with Brooke
snuggling with Callie in the morning
being blessed with a HUGE garbage of baby clothes from Brad and Carol
a morning hike in Hockley Valley Nature Reserve
watching salmon spawning in the river
Colsen humming to himself on our walk in Island Lake
Hayden's pet caterpillar named "Him"
playing in the leaves with the whole family- including Opa and Oma
getting together with family and friends
When asked for a hug and a kiss, being told (by Hayden), "Nope, you're going home without one today!"

There is so much to be thankful for! Take a minute and thank God for everything He has given you. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, 7 October 2013

{Weekend Hike} Dorset Fire Tower

On Saturday we met up with Joanna and Deanna and Isaac Allin (Deanna and James went to high school together) and drove up to Dorset in the Algonquin Highlands for a beautiful fall hike at the Dorset Fire Tower.

From the website (
"The original tower was built in 1922, was 25 metres high (82 feet) and used as a fire lookout tower. The current tower was built in 1967 and is 30 metres high (100 feet)."

We ended up climbing the steep side of the trail first (which thankfully was only about a 10 minute hike), and came out at the top to a spectacular view:

Little did we know that view would be even more spectacular from the top of the tower (of which I seem to have forgotten to take a picture):

It was amazing to be able to see for kilometres in every direction. I believe the sign said something about being able to see around 700 square kilometres around the tower. There were beautiful fall colours everywhere you could see, and the smell of autumn was in the air. Just another small area of God's beautiful creation that we have been blessed to visit!

After we climbed down (both the tower and the hill) we drove south to the Firehouse Restaurant at Kushog Lake where we enjoyed supper. We got back to Lindsay around 10, thoroughly exhausted and content after yet another amazing weekend hike!