Monday, May 3, 2010

Spring Update

It's been a long time since I last wrote, but we've had a busy time since our Olympic trip to California. Pam has a tough class at school this year, which keeps her spinning three or four days a week, and I have been working hard toward a self-imposed deadline on my latest book project, which I couriered to the printer in Hong Kong today - whew! The new book is a second edition to a previous book that I had written, Squamish Bouldering. The research and writing on this new edition was extensive and I'm really glad it's done.

In amongst the busy work, we've had some nice outings with Elise. A few weeks ago, Pam and I took Elise for one last ski before the mountain closed for the spring. We had a beautiful sunny day and enjoyed skiing under the Magic Chair at Blackcomb and having an outdoor lunch at the lodge. Elise wants to keep going back and I've had to explain to her that skiing is only possible in the winter, which is one of the reasons it's special. She's looking forward to next year.

Easter was a fun time this year. Elise is really getting into the swing of these holidays and eagerly anticipates their arrival. Pam and I hid eggs around the house and enjoyed watching Elise hunt for them on Easter morning. Afterward, we went to the Brennan Park Rec Centre for a group egg hunt, which is really just a mad rush to collect chocolate eggs that have been sprayed across the field by the local fireman. Regardless, the kids love it.

Elise relaxing after her morning egg hunt.

Elise with her "take" from the Brennan Park egg scramble. Not bad...

The biggest Easter bunny I've ever seen. Elise was hesitant. I'd be too. Note that the "bunny" is wearing hiking boots. Anyone seen the film Donnie Darko?

Pam and Elise had a nice visit to Vancouver to see Great Grandma Brown. She thought Elise was a lot taller - it's hard for Pam and I to tell because we see her all the time, but she is growing for sure. They had a nice time together, Elise played in the apartment and Uncle Grant read her a story.

We enjoyed a visit from Grandma Bourdon a week ago. The highlight for Elise was the present that Grandma arrived with - a Tinkerbell outfit! This was a huge hit and as you can see in the pictures, she was thrilled. We went to a big pasta dinner at the local country club that evening with many of our friends and Elise insisted on wearing the outfit, much to the envy of a few of her friends. The costume is impressive.

They also enjoyed a sunny day in Vancouver and visited the beach near Ambleside. Elise found this starfish. Any sea creature is of great interest and she was thrilled to handle this one. We've been invited to Hawaii for this coming Christmas and Elise and I will be training hard for the snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. Speaking of swimming, there was a breakthrough at the local pool this weekend when Elise finally got up the nerve to try swimming in the deep end without a flotation device. This was followed by an even more significant event when she decided she'd jump off the diving board. This had been a real phobia of hers and she talked about it constantly for the next couple of days. We were very proud of her.

Elise continues to climb and has become a much more active participant in this common activity of ours. On our father-daughters days, I sometimes take her to the Smoke Bluffs close to town where she can do a climb or two and then have a picnic lunch with me. Last weekend we took her into Cheakamus Canyon. She now hikes to the cliffs by herself and gets exasperated waiting for "her turn" to climb. Here are a couple of photos of the approach hike and her climb (and lower).

Her biggest recent physical accomplishment (besides the skiing, swimming and climbing) has undoubtedly been her hike up the Chief. We decided to do the hike one nice evening and I fully intended to carry her to the top. At the start of the hike, she walked alone because I was taking some pictures by the creek. Pam and Elise went ahead up the trail and I caught up about 10-15 minutes later after doing my photography. We were about to put her in the backpack, but I thought we might as well see if she'd hike a bit further. Did she ever! She went all the way to the first summit with little complaint. Truth be told, I lifted her up close to 20 large steps, but never carried her. Pam and I were very impressed, especially since we'd done very little to prepare for such an outing. Here she is on the summit after the successful ascent.

Some plans are coming together for the summer and fall. I'll likely go to Maple Canyon in Utah with a couple of friends from Vancouver in late May. I wish Pam and Elise could come (like last year), but the job of a school teacher has minimal vacation flexibility. After Pam is finished in late June, we may go to the Canadian Rockies for a short trip - we'll see. The big plan, though, is for the fall. We are hoping to visit Turkey this year in November and December. The area we are targeting is on the south coast near a city called Antalya. It's a touristy area on the sea and the sightseeing, climbing and swimming are all supposed to be superb. If it works out, it will be a great trip.

We hope you are all doing well. I'll try not to let so much time go by before our next post.


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