Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Sasha and I were snuggled in beside each other at her desk this morning.  It was "Family Reading" in Ms. Collins classroom and Sasha was reading me a tale of the latest shenanigans of Junie B. Jones.  The desks are arranged in groups in her classroom, and yesterday a new desk was added to Sasha's group.   As Sasha turned a page, the new member of her group slowly sat down in his desk.

"He doesn't speak any English at all, Mom",  Sasha told me yesterday as she unpacked her lunch kit.
"That must be so hard",  I said back.

And today I got to see what hard looks like.

As he slid into his seat, I watched him.  He looked nervous and tentative - his beautiful brown eyes darting from side to side, watching to see what everyone around him was doing so he could do the same.  I stopped Sasha for a moment and said "hi" to him - wanting to make him feel welcome, noticed and seen.  But it's not the grown-ups around you that you want to see you when you're new.  It's the small people who look just like you.

Sasha continue reading and I kept watching - growing more anxious for him as the moments slipped by.

And then it happened.

One of the boys from grade two that everyone loves and wants on their team came and stood at the new boy's desk.  He had a Where's Waldo book in his hand.  It's as though he knew it would be the perfect book for just this time.   He motioned for him to come and join him at the group table and look at it together. And the new boy did.  Without hesitation.  Soon they were smiling and pointing together.  His nervous eyes relaxed and he was caught up in the moment of acceptance he found himself in.

And I could breath just a little easier.

That moment was beautiful.  You see, that confident and engaging kid who invited the new boy to look for Waldo with him was new once too.  He came from the Philippines just a few years ago and didn't speak a word of English either.  He knows just what it feels like.  And he knows just the remedy.

Later in the morning as I'm pulling kids out of the classroom to work with paper mache' in the hallway, the resource teacher walks down the hallway with the new boy.  She is holding his hand and pointing things out to him in English, slowly and deliberately.  That nervous, anxious look has found its way back into his eyes.  As they're making their way toward the classroom, I ask her if he can have his turn with paper mache' too.   She does her best to explain with gestures and simple words what we are doing.  He has no idea what she's talking about.

I take his hand in mine and lead him to the table.  I push up his sleeves gently and lay out the newspaper.  I can't imagine what he must be thinking or wondering.  I bring over a big bucket of  warm,slimy goo and I stick his hand into it slowly.  We take a hand full together and begin spreading it slowly over the newspaper.  He gets the hang of it quickly and keeps working at it - stopping to dip his hand in the bucket a few more times.

When he is finished we walk together down the hallway, hand in hand to the staff room to wash up.  I can't imagine how hard it must be to go from one thing and one place to another never knowing where you're going or what you're going to do when you get there.  To hear the words and sounds of a language you don't understand floating relentlessly around you.  To know that the words inside you have to stay where they are, because letting them out won't achieve a thing.

I take him back to the classroom and leave him.

After I'm finished cleaning up the trail of paper mache' in the hallway, I come back into the classroom to gather up my things to leave.  It's recess now and there is a lineup of students at the door waiting to go outside.  The new boy is there, right beside the kid who befriended him earlier.  The new boy looks more relaxed again.  There are balls in some of  the boy's hands and fresh air on the other side of the door.  There is grass to run in and there are soccer balls to kick.

You don't need to know English to do that.

But you do need to be brave.
And brave he is.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday Morning Service

On Sunday mornings during ski season,  we attend a very good church.  

Some may call it the Church of the Slopes.... or the Palace of Powder.

We just call it Mount Seymour.

Who could blame us with a view like this?

Yesterday morning's service was particularly memorable.
There was no one preaching and there were no alter calls, but the sun was shining like we haven't felt in months.

We ditched our jackets right off the hop and entered the sanctuary of sun and slopes.

There was no worship team, but on one of my rides up the lift, I heard Dan Mangan's "Rows of Houses" blasting over the speakers.

He was preaching to the choir.

Sasha and Mike ventured up to the very top of the mountain so that Sasha could try her very first intermediate run.   Uncharted territory.  Kind of like Sunday School but with more speed.

Our Sunday service was just what we hoped for.
Inspiring, motivating, and invigorating.

That's some church.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Merciful Traveling - Some Thoughts on Faith (Part 3) The Story

You can read Part One here.
You can read Part Two here.

I love to hear stories.

If you’ve ever told me your story, you’ve likely been peppered with one million questions as I’ve tried to find out more.  I want to know your likes and dislikes, your political persuasions, your plans and dreams, but what I really want is your story.  It’s the heart of who you are and how you became you.  And that is what I'm after.

Stories are powerful.  Give me a vulnerable and honest story over a “how to” or a “should do” any day and I’ll be eating out of the palm of your hand.

Shortly after we chose to leave “church” we found ourselves in the middle of a community of people who were in the process of telling their stories.   Some of us had already left church, some were in the process of leaving, and some just didn’t know where they belonged.  There were threads of disappointment, pain, confusion, anger, sadness, grief, expectation, hope, relief, freedom, and curiosity running  through  and alongside us.  We all had a story.

This community of story-tellers became our safe place.  We were understood there.  Doubt was accepted.  We could say what we wanted without fear of judgement.  We could approach faith unconventionally.  We could vehemently disagree and argue with passion and then share a glass or two of wine afterward.

As is the case with most times in my life, what I was reading and listening to at the time painted a hue over my experience.  Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren were on my night table.  Both books were rich with story.  I felt as though mine was intertwined with both of those.  I loved Donald Miller’s honest narrative.  I had never read anything before where a Christian exposed the nagging thoughts of my mind like he did.  His story was rich and honest.  I cried through most of it and underlined the hell out of that book.  With A New Kind of Christian,   I loved the way Brian McLaren used the fictitious relationship between a disheartened pastor and his daughter's high school science teacher to tell his own story.  It was creative and edgy.  While some in my old circles said it was blasphemous, I simply said, “thank you”.

Our little gathering of vagrants solidified to become our faith community.  We continued to hear each other’s stories alongside the story of Jesus.  We listened to His stories and held them up to our own.  We invited our kids to join us and tell their stories.  They discovered that their voices were just as relevant as ours.  They expressed their faith in ways that made sense to them.  We created and listened and talked, explored and muddled our way through months like this.

Around this time, I heard a song that became that season’s anthem.  It was Brandi Carlile’s The Story.  The first time I heard it I got stuck on one of the lines in the song.  I furiously scribbled it down for fear that I would lose the power it gifted me in that moment.

“But these stories don’t mean anything if you’ve
got no one to tell them to.”

For the first time in a long time, I had a place to tell my story.  Not the version that was appropriate for church or leadership.  No, I was no longer looking for nods of approval or an  endorsement from an authority. 

I was simply looking for a place to be - messed up story and all.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Know your Voice

Sasha found her voice this week.
Let me tell you how.

In the Burnaby School District, there is an annual event called "Primary Days of Music" where primary students from across the district come together to sing for an afternoon.  All of the schools learn some songs in common and also prepare a few songs that just their school gets to perform for the rest of the students.  The location of this rotates around the district so that each school gets a chance to host.

Sasha is in a grade 1/2 combined class this year.  It's been a fabulous learning environment for her.  It just so happened that this year, the Confederation Park grade ones were not going to be able to be included in the Primary Days of Music, however, because the grade twos were going to be going, the grade ones (including Sasha) learned all of the songs and prepared for it because they share a music class together.

As the day for Primary Days of Music approached, Sasha would share her frustration and sadness about not being able to participate or take the bus to the neighboring school.  She didn't think it was fair.  This generated lots of discussions revolving around how life just isn't fair, plain and simple.  When the day finally arrived, Sasha was so downtrodden.  Many tears were shed about this "injustice" and lots of anger brimmed to the surface too.  After using all of my parental tools to talk her down, she just wouldn't let go of her offence.  I told her that the only way to put an end to her feelings of being slighted was to talk to Mrs. Ishii, her music teacher, about it.  "Holding on to offense just makes you miserable", I told her.  Sasha didn't think she could do that, but she did think she could write Mrs. Ishii a letter describing how she felt.  

So Sasha took pencil to paper and composed this.

She carefully folded it up, put it in an envelope and delivered it to the office for the secretary to put into Mrs. Ishii's mailbox first thing yesterday morning.

In the afternoon, Sasha's backpack contained an envelope adorned with a sticker and her name.  It was sealed up.  She opened it up and began to read the thoughtful and sensitive response from Mrs. Ishii.  It explained that District policy and funding for buses couldn't accommodate the grade ones being part of Primary Days of Music this year.  It explained the process and Mrs. Ishii's feelings about it.  And best of all, it said this, 

"Thanks again for expressing your voice.  
It is always important to speak your mind."

I could not have wished for a more powerful statement for Mrs. Ishii to have ended her letter with.

When Sasha finished reading the letter she folded it up and carefully put it back into the envelope.  She said the reasons Mrs. Ishii gave made sense to her.  But more important, you could see a sense of relief and peace come over her. 

She had been heard.  
She had been listened to.  
Her voice mattered.

As we chatted about it later in the day, I reminded her that she won't always get a response when she speaks her voice.  She won't always hear what she thinks she is entitled to.  The answers won't always make sense.  But even then, I said, know your voice.  And make it sing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Like / Don't Like

Things I Like:

Taking dishes out of the dishwasher and setting the table with them instead of putting them away in the cupboard

The feeling of zipping up the 3 full lunch kits in the morning knowing I pulled it off again

The sound of my girls busting a gut laughing at each other when it sounds like they're more like friends than sisters

Coke Zero, lots of ice, a wedge of lime

The new CBC drama "Arctic Air"

Seeing crocuses and daffodils blooming in early March

Black Pilot Fineliners

Peanut sauce

Rolling up the remnants of birthday parties, complete with crumbs and spills, into the plastic disposable tablecloth and throwing it away

Toothless grins

The Hunger Games

Looking forward to going to see The Hunger Games with Hannah when it opens next week

Really firm mangoes


Pumpkin anything

Knowing I have only one more birthday party to do before our winter birthday marathon is over

Time and space

Challenging conversations

Kleenex with lotion

Cutting my girl's finger nails nice and short

Old friends

New friends

Being able to borrow cash from my very wealthy 12 year old babysitting kid

Looking at Scholastic Book Orders

Words that inspire me

Words that challenge me

A warm, safe bed

Katie Herzig's music

Things I Don't Like:

Thinking of things to make for supper

Returning phone calls

Making appointments for my kids

Losing an hour of sleep

Cold feet

Brushing knotty hair that isn't mine

Washing muffin tins

Seeing kids exist on "the outside"

When Jian Ghomeshi has a guest host on "Q"

Hearing that things my girls love to do at school (like dance club) have been cancelled because of the BC Teacher's Federation strike

Feeling obligated

Making hard decisions that affect your whole family


It was way easier to come up with things I like.  That's a good thing!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


We tell our children that words are powerful.

That the words they choose bring healing or hurt.  That they must choose their words carefully.

That their words make a difference.

I love words.  I love the written and the spoken word.  I too love the unspoken - the ones that swirl around in my mind telling a narrative of what I see and feel and long for.  What I despise or fear, what I value and notice, what causes me pain or disappointment.

This past week I got stuck on some words and they've been nagging at me for days.

They are missing words.  And for me, their absence yields more power than ones that are present.

I've made reference here to a controversial situation that has been unfolding in the small Prairie community of Altona Manitoba.   This past week, the Superintendent of the Border Land School Division, to which the affected school in Altona belongs,  announced the board's decision on the Ally Certificates.  They were to be removed.  In their place, teachers have the option of posting a sign which states, "As your teacher I am your Ally.  I accept and support you in every way."

I don't think there is anything wrong with the words on the sign that the teachers have been given the option of posting.

What I am stuck on are the absence of the words that are at the heart of this issue.  Words like

and queer.

Those words have been deemed to inappropriate, too controversial, too offensive, too out of place to be present on a certificate hung on a classroom wall.

You see, words do have power.  And it is the absence of those words that make me stop and think and wonder.

There are lots of kids in our schools who need an overflowing dose of acceptance.  Kids from visible minorities, kids who live below the poverty line, kids who lack support from home, obese kids, mentally ill kids, abused kids, lonely kids, kids with special learning needs, and the list goes on and on and on.  The thing is, if any of the characteristics or labels given to the kids I just mentioned were put onto a certificate and hung inside a classroom, this wouldn't have been a story.

It was a story because of the words.
And the kinds of people those words describe.

I've heard it said and I believe that we are afraid of what we don't understand.
When we are afraid of something, we try to block it out and rid ourselves and our environment of it so that we won't feel threatened.

I think it's the fear of those words that have fueled parents in Altona to pressure the school division to make the decision they did.

Only, they have nothing to fear.  If their kids are gay or lesbian, transgendered, bisexual or queer, it won't have been a word on a certificate that made them that way.  They already know they are and are figuring out what that means for them in the words that swirl around in their heads everyday.

Words are powerful.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Happy Hula Birthday Party

 Though her birthday happened nearly a month ago, today was the day of Sasha's birthday party.

While we were on our holiday and had lots of time to chat and dream a little, Sasha said she wanted a Hawaiian themed party.  I loved what I heard.  That I could do.  And so the Happy Hula Birthday Party came to be.

When Sasha was shopping in Hawaii, she found something that she wanted to buy that made us all laugh so hard.  A PIG hula dancing wearing a red grass skirt.  Sasha loves pigs more than anything.  Red is her favorite color.  She loved being in Hawaii.  This little piggy became the perfect inspiration for her birthday cake.

I love watching little girls at a party.  They come dressed to the nines with moods to match.  They chitter and chatter and "ooh and ahh" and just love the fact that they're even in the room.

Sasha's friends are cute as buttons.  
No doubt about that.

Another thing I love watching at these girl's parties is the expectation the gift giver has as the birthday girl is opening her gift.  I love the anticipation and  the joy I see on their faces as they wait for their friend to open something special that was picked out just for them.

The big squeezes of gratitude and squeals of delight are pretty great too.

Before we knew it, it was time to gather together and celebrate Sasha.

Seven candles seem like a lot to me.

We wrapped up the party with a little Hula dancing by our resident expert, Mike.  I don't know a lot of dads who would dress up and hula dance with a gaggle of 7 year old girls.  But I am glad I know one.

He had them eating out of the palm of his hand.

It was another one for the memory books. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Down-Low on being Down-Low (And Finding my Way Up)

This has been a perfectly difficult week.

It came on the heels of having the cough from hell for the previous 2 1/2 weeks.  When I say "cough from hell" I mean it.  I'm talking barking and spewing and horking that makes you puke up blood and endure sleepless nights.  The "cough from hell" was accompanied by fever, chills, fatigue and aches and pain.

This past Sunday I was sure I was turning a corner.    My cough seemed to be getting a little better and I could feel my energy coming back.  I was ready to bring it.  But my body had other ideas.

I woke up on Monday morning coughing and spewing.  Throughout the day I had increasingly severe pain when inhaling even a little bit, but especially when I had to cough.  I managed to get the groceries, teach piano lessons, and make supper.  By the time we finished eating I was sure I had broken a rib.  My secret stash of leftover T3's got me through the night and I was waiting at the walk-in clinic when the doors opened at 8 Tuesday morning.  I left with a diagnosis of pulled inter-costal muscles, a prescription for super-powered anti-inflamatories, a requisition for a rib x-ray and a hell of a lot of sadness.

Tuesday went on as it needed to.  I had three girls at home because of the BC Teacher's Federation Strike.  I had an appointment with my physiotherapist downtown and kids to get ready for their piano lessons.  I had supper to get on the table and homework to look at.  I had a birthday party to plan and phone calls to make.  I had overflowing garbage cans and no dishwasher detergent left.   I had kids that were this close to wearing their underwear inside out unless some laundry got done.  (You can only tell your kids to dig through their hamper for clean leggings so many times before even you're embarrassed).

I don't often write about my struggles with mental health.  It is part of who I am, but it doesn't define who I am.  I willingly call myself crazy because I know it's true.  It is a part of me.   I live with being a little crazy every day.  It's been my lifelong companion and we're well acquainted.  That I can mostly handle.

You see, crazy I can do.  But when my physical body shuts down I have trouble holding the pieces of my puzzle together.  It feels like a betrayal of sorts.  With all that I juggle and rise above, must my body choose this time to hang me out to dry?

This week was hard.  My reaction to it is to burrow down deep.  Hide and avoid.  Ignore people.  Wish they'd go away and leave me alone too.  For the most part I'm pretty good at this.  I've got my small select group of people that I can relate to during times like this.  (By relating I mean a one or two sentence email that says something cryptic and cynical but begs for understanding).  I listen to music that matches my shade.  I swear a lot.  I read and contemplate.

One of the best parts of living in BC is that when I need to burrow down deep I am left alone.  Mostly.  I have a few friends here that are on to my wiley ways and refuse to let me burrow away completely.  They know it's not really good for me to disappear that far.  One of them showed up at the door this morning with flowers and a card, some tears and a hug.  She did this even after I didn't answer my phone all morning.  She just came anyway.  We all need people to scratch away persistently and knowingly before the cover above your head gets too thick and too deep.

My day was filled with questions and some answers.  I had space and time to let them swirl around until they found their homes.  And soon I was filling a laundry basket with my girl's clothes and bringing it downstairs to throw it into the washer.  And it was at that moment that  I knew -   I was on my way up.  It's those little things from the normalcy of life that remind you that you're OK.  You're functioning and taking care of business.  You're cleaning up the mess that accumulated and you're starting again.  You always do.

Somehow you always find your way back up.
Sore ribs and all.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Wortleys and Penners take Vancouver - The Remix

We'd been waiting for them. 
(Our  Winnipeg neighbors and our friends.)
They are both, you know.
After last year's Wortley invasion, we knew we were in for some days to remember.  
And we were right.

The Wortley crew arrived late on a Wednesday night a few weeks ago.  The girls made a sign and Sasha even tucked her precious "Baby Alive" under the covers on Adrian's side of the bed.  Those two have a bit of a special relationship. (To clarify, when referring to "those two", I mean both.  Adrian and Sasha AND Adrian and Baby Alive.)

The girls ran down the sidewalk in their bare feet and jammies when we saw their rental car pull up on Georgia Street.  There were hugs and smiles and squeezes.  It was as though we'd never left.

Thursday was not just the first day of a holiday.  No, it was so much bigger than that.  It was Adrian's birthday.  He began his day by doing his own half-marathon in the morning.  The weather gods smiled on him and gave him a clear and dry day to run in his brand new year.  

The girls got reacquainted with each other which took all of about 6.3 seconds.  There was a lot of  laughing, scheming, planning and creating going on.   There was also a lot of trampoline bouncing.  All of which produced the good sounds of old friends having fun.  (For the record, it was not me and Kathleen bouncing on the trampoline.)

When Mike got home we celebrated the old guy's birthday with dark Whistler beer, pork tenderloin, and carrot cake, good conversation and some presents.

Let me tell you something about Adrian.  The guy likes his t's.  T-shirts, that is.  I've never known anyone who has more t-shirts that all have a story or a reason to have been bought and then worn.  Adrian's biggest challenge in life is finding enough days to wear all of this favorite t's, and then to wear them on the most appropriate days.  The guy has great taste.

This summer, Mike just about jumped when we were shopping in Osborne Village in the 'Peg when he spotted this book - all about the the t-shirt.  We knew it would be perfect for Adrian.

And what do you know, he even received another awesome T from Kathleen in honor of Louis Riel.

Friday was officially deemed "Science and Technology Day".
That's right.  We assigned our days themes and names.  That's how cool we are.
The rain was pouring down, so the perfect way to spend a wet and soggy morning was hanging out at Science World.   Our family had waited to visit Science World until now so that it would be new to all of us.  The inside renovations that had been going on at SW were all complete so we got to check the whole place out.

There was one "test" where you could challenge an opponent to see who is the more relaxed between the two of you.  Mike and Adrian took each other on.  The goal is to be so relaxed that the little steel ball rolls to your opponent's side.  It began as a very equal battle.  All of us spectators wondered who would possible out-relax the other.

At this point in the battle, Adrian was chanting and deep breathing....

... and Mike was reciting Math equations and proofs in his head.

Slowly the ball started rolling to Adrian's side.  Mike was feeling like he had it in the bag.  
As a ploy, he had started saying "Vic Toews... Vic Toews" out loud,
all in an effort to try and agitate Adrian. 

It seems like Mike's scheme back-fired because as soon as the words came out of his mouth, just the thought of Vic Toews started agitating HIM and Adrian pulled ahead for the win.  Them's the breaks.

In other Science World news....

Adrian always laughs about the way you can ask Mike an arbitrary question like "How deep is the Red River?" and he'll answer you with the most confident, precise answer, that even if he doesn't have a hot clue what he's talking about, his demeanor and tone make you think he must know.  It's the power of the engineering ring, we're told.

Whenever Mike used one of his self-assured answers all weekend, he did the "pinky finger salute", just like this.  When the pinky is up, just fall under his power, nod your head and blindly accept whatever he is telling you.

The dinosaur exhibit was on at Science World.  It was pretty cool. 
It would have been even cooler if you were a 6 year old boy who was obsessed with dinosaurs.

Following our Science World visit, we were famished.  We decided to take the Wortley clan to our favourite local haunt, "Burgers Etc." to expose them to one of the Lower Mainland's best burgers.

The food was amazing.
The company was lovely.

What wasn't so great that while we were munching away, our van was getting ticketed and towed off of Hastings.  As a result, Adrian and Kathleen got to use their rental car to drive Mike to the lot to retrieve our van, and explore some sights of Burnaby that they otherwise wouldn't have seen.

After all of that excitement, we needed to dial things back just a little, so we spent the evening eating appies and getting the Wortley girls hooked on Star Wars.  It was a fitting way to end "Science and Technology Day".

Saturday morning we were up and at 'em!  
We had deemed it "Arts and Culture Day".  

It all began with taking the Skytrain downtown.....

.... and starting at a very happy place.

It's awesome to have friends who love the CBC as much as I do.  Both Adrian and Kathleen know the ins and the outs of the Mother Corp.  Perhaps that is why we like each other so much?  We all agreed that the CBC Vancouver store has way better offerings than what CBC Toronto offers up.

True to form, Adrian purchased a CBC Radio 3 t-shirt he'd had his eye on for awhile.  Much to my delight, Mike bought me the most amazing CBC logo hoodie.  You will get to catch a glimpse of this lovely hoodie later in this post.  (If that doesn't keep you reading, I don't know what will.)

After strolling through the downtown and stopping here and there, we'd earned some lunch.  And seeing as it was "Arts and Culture Day", we got all culturally diverse and had us some crepes!  We found a Cafe Crepe that was bigger than most and were ushered into a back room with a velvet curtain.  Kind of like our own private dining room, only seedier.

When the crepes were served, not a word was heard.  
They were that good.

Our next stop was the Vancouver Art Gallery.
It just so happened that a brand new exhibit had opened the day before called "Beat Nation".
It was touted as an artistic melding of First Nations culture and Hip Hop.

The exhibit exceeded our expectations, as did the rest of the collections we saw.
It's amazing to watch your kids stop to really look at what they're seeing.
To hear them talk about it with their peers and share what they appreciate or don't understand.
It was a fabulous couple of hours.

After a little jaunt down Robson Street, it was time to feed ourselves yet again.
And we had a plan.

Have any of you watched the show "The Cupcake Girls" on the W Network?  It's a little reality show that follows Heather and Lori, the two owners of Vancouver's "Cupcake" shops.  We'd all seen the show before and the girls thought it would be pretty cool to try one of their cupcakes to see if they were as good as they looked.

Turns out, they were better than they looked.
And that doesn't happen very often.

I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking - how could this day get any better?  What could they possibly do next to top those cupcakes?

Well, the day did get better.  And more delicious.

After taking the Skytrain home, we got the girls feasting on a big pot of KD and headed out the door for an adult-only evening for some Lebanese cuisine.

Mike had tried Nuba once when his brother and sister were out a few years ago.  We'd always wanted to try it for dinner and we knew Adrian and Kathleen would be the perfect couple to share a table with.

Our dinner was incredible.  We started with the most delicious hummus and baba ghanooj, sampled everything on the platters, fell madly in love with najib, and ended with the most delicious desserts.  It was outstanding from beginning to end.  My taste buds are still thanking me.  There was no better way to end "Arts and Culture Day".

Sunday beckoned us with a blue sky.  That was a good thing.  For it was "Outdoor Adventure Day". 
Adrian and Mike started early with a trail run/hike  on the North Shore.  While they exerted themselves, I was preparing the second annual pumpkin pancake breakfast back at the homestead.  

After gorging ourselves on pancakes, we all headed across the inlet to North Van to visit Deep Cove.

Deep Cove is a small little community nestled on the water.  It's a breathtakingly beautiful place.  Quaint, quiet, with stunning views.  

We had wanted to take advantage of the good weather and get a hike in, 
so we picked up the Baden Powell Trail near the park and began our trek to the lookout.

The girls talked non-stop the entire way to the lookout.  We all laughed a bit, saying that for all the talking they were doing, we could be walking down a street in Transcona and they likely wouldn't notice the difference.  The good thing was, the talking kept them from noticing that the distance to the lookout was quite a bit longer than we were expecting.  It was good to make it to the top!

(See, what did I tell ya?  Is that not a sweet looking hoodie?)

The lookout spot just seemed the perfect place to capture a special moment between 
two Shreddie loving t-shirt clad friends.

And back down the mountain we went.  

As we made our way down, the strangest little snow balls started falling from the sky at one point.  They were literally teeny tiny balls of snow.  Not flakes, and not ice.  They were like those little "dots" of ice-cream you can buy sometimes.  

We thought we'd be met with some rain at the bottom of the mountain, but thankfully, there was just a  blue sky, sunshine, and a really neat donut shop.

Anything you read about Deep Cove usually references Honey Doughnuts and Goodies as a place you must visit.  Now we know what everyone raves about.  They make their signature doughnuts in small batches throughout the day so you get fresh, hot doughnuts.  The girls all loved them and said they tasted kind of like pancakes.  I'm not sure about that description, but I've never tasted anything quite like it before.

Sunday night was a time to chill out with some chili, and then get our creative juices flowing.

I got all of the girls going on altering a journal with magazine clippings and scraps and my all-time favorite gooey-sticky wonder that is Mod-Podge.

While we created, Mike and Adrian continued their Cribbage series.  Adrian and Mike began this last winter, and picked up right where they left off.  Adrian sprung ahead quickly in this year's contest, so every night, Mike would beg and shame Adrian into staying up later and playing just "one more game" to improve his chances of catching him.  Adrian usually gave in, but it didn't work.

Monday was "DejaVous Day".  That meant that we were repeating last year's Monday by hanging out at Granville Island.  Kiera and Thea were sure that the best pizza they've had was the stuff they sampled last year in the market.  We had to go back to make sure.  They concur that yes, it was just as good as they remembered.

The day was beautiful, and we were able to wander through Granville Island with an unhurried pace.  On our way home we stopped at Commercial Drive for a stroll and then headed home to begin the beginning of the end.  Dinner at Anton's and some final togetherness was on the menu for the evening.

And then it was over.

The girls went back to school the next day and the Wortley's began their packing.  

Even if Adrian beat Mike, both at being relaxed and at playing Crib, we still love them.
Even if we don't see each other for many months in between, we're still tight.
Even if the girls are separated by miles and mountains, "Some say Friends, We Say Sisters" still holds true.

That's just the way it is.