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Journal Entries for August 2013
August 4, 2013 9:39 PM

Picking Up
Where I Left Off
This morning I made oatmeal for me lad, and of course — being the made-on-the-stove kind, it was too hot to eat right away. The big fellow naturally wants [me] to blow on his oatmeal for him, a skill at three he has not yet mastered (or really begun to attempt with any focus on his own.) There I stood, huffing and puffing away, trying to keep the steam off his bowl. Noticing that he was not really paying me any mind, I began to blow his hair to which he promptly replied, "No daddy, I am not oatmeal."

Here is our year, so far, summarized in pictures. (I know there are some repeats from previous entries - but it's my web site and they're great pictures. :P)

After all those years I spent pulling other people's kids around on the Seadoo, it warms my heart to be able to bring my own children out on the machine that brought so much joy to so many others. It seems that the past twelve years of trouble-free operation have finally caught up with the Seadoo... I sunk it last year at the warm lake, and just before I had all the water out and the engine running again (it had been completely submerged!) — the starter fell off the motor! I fogged as much of the engine as I could but was forced to let it sit with some water still in places water ought not to sit, and I'm afraid doing so has brought it's run of reliability to an end. I took apart the air compressor and cleaned it all out, and this weekend I replaced the fuel pump and all the in-tank fuel filters. I am still waiting for the external fuel filter to arrive from Australia - Local dealers want $150 for it, or the exact same part from a company in Australia costs $10 + shipping. Naturally, I gave my business to the Aussi's. There is still a chance there could be problems in the fuel rail, gas and/or air injectors, but everything I've read points towards the fuel pump, which based on the hourage of the motor - was due to go at any time anyway. The trailer needs new tires too; all those trips to Pine Lake and back have worn the tread right off the originals. So far this year though, we've managed to get out to lakes three times! I have not been back to Pine Lake though, I've heard it has all gone private (no public camping.)

August 24, 2013 8:04 AM

Summer Vacation

This summer, our family was given the opportunity to go to Green Bay Bible Camp in Kelowna, BC. Just what is Green Bay? In two words - summer vacation. We went swimming, played on the beach, I managed to put 8 whole hours on my Seadoo during our stay! That's more than I've used it in the past 6 years! All the meals were prepared and the cleanup taken care of. Even with our allergies they were very accommodating. There were activities for the kids, crafts, games, free babysitting so the parents could get out and play too. Music, singing, joy and laughter in great abundance. Even watersports, a floating trampoline and a great big air bag called the blob. Camp staff would keep an eye on the cabins to make sure your kids were asleep so the adults could hang out in the evenings. It was simply amazing.

One of the activities was a sand castle building contest. These were some of the non-castle submissions.

What's the big idea?

Almost every morning I got up early, before anyone else (in our cabin) was awake and went out for a rip on the Seadoo. The water in the Okanagan is warm and clear - I don't think I saw it below 27 degrees Celsius. It made me feel 19 again, like when I first bought the Seadoo. I went out for floats where I'd go to the middle of the lake, shut the engine off and just lie across the seats, drifting. Listening to the water lap against the sides and back of the watercrafy, resting, thinking and praying, it was the perfect way to start the day.

After some good riding, the engine was steaming as I came back to the harbour. (Don't worry, that's normal.) I've always loved the smell of motor boats on the water. The shape of the wake as it departs from the boat makes me happy.

The girls went out and tried the water trampoline. Getting onto it, apparently, is half the fun.

As it turns out, I'm not the only one who loves the Seadoo. My daughter is a thrill seeker. I have no idea what she is going to do with her life or be when she grows up, but if her interests at the age of three are any indication, it will be something extreme. She couldn't get enough, and we'd go for ride after ride. I got to the point where we were doing some pretty sharp turns and get up to some fairly fast speeds with her, and she'd just shriek with excitement, cackle with joy and laugh as we'd splash the Seadoo about. When she wasn't laughing, she was singing at the top of her lungs. I've never met such a happy child.

After a much longer than anticipated adventure of driving around Kelowna, we finally found a marine shop that had tubes in stock. The little ones went for their first tube ride, and it warmed my heart to see that they both loved it. Even my big fellow, who is not nearly as keen on the Seadoo as his sister, (actually, he didn't ride the Seadoo at all this summer) - even he loved the tube so I'm still hopeful there is a chance he will get back on the watercraft eventually. Baby steps, as it were.

There were seven families from our church at Family Camp this week, including one family from our Small Group. Of course, Kristi - who loves babies - was more than happy to help with the holding.

Another one of the activities was the building of bottle rockets. The entire camp broke into groups and each group designed and built their own bottle rocket. Once the time was up, all the bottles were filled with water and launched, and the group whose bottle went the highest got free screamers from the camp store. (A screamer, for those who have never had one, is a slurpee mixed with soft serve ice cream. They are amazing.)

Did I mention that Kristi loves babies?

While photographing the filling of one of the bottle rockets, I got photobombed!

Every evening there was a kid's chapel session around the campfire. You can't have kids camp songs without outrageous actions, and the volunteers at Green Bay knew this well. From arm and leg actions to running around the (non-lit) firepit, everyone could get involved in the singing. Those camp songs have incredible staying power too, they get stuck in your head. After the singing, there would be a Bible story as well, and then all the kids were dismissed for bed. You burn a lot of energy at one of these camps, and being out in the sun and fresh air all day proved an excellent sedative. Nobody had trouble sleeping at night... In fact, I even got a few naps in during the week!

Later in the evening, the adult fireside would take place. Essentially the same format, we'd sing songs, (minus all the crazy actions) and listen to a pastor by the name of Phil Collins (no, not the singer) teach. Phil is a very gifted speaker, and his stories were captivating and motivating. If you ever want to hear about a man whose life was changed by God, listen to some of his stories.

A number of people got baptized while we were at camp, and it was the first time I've witnessed a baptism in an actual lake or river. Usually the baptisms I've watched have taken place in some sort of tank in a church - but this was really cool to see. Not only were families resting, but lives were changing too.

Dunk Tank

Who needs a bathing suit?

Ok so remember that big air bag thing? It's called a blob, and this is what happens to the person at one end of it when someone jumps on the other end of it. It's a good lesson (for those so inclined to learn at a time like this) in cause and effect - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction - and sometimes you go flying.

Midnight snackers

Once we left Green Bay, instead of heading home we decided to go West and tour around the coast for a couple of days. We stopped at a gas station and had a brief picnic before heading on our way. As it turned out, all those travellers who were heading East after camp got stuck for four and a half hours due to a highway closure between Revelstoke and Golden.

Our first stop was Mission to revisit some of the many parks the girls played at when they lived there. "This place seems so much smaller!" was a comment often repeated as they came back to places they once knew.

Kristi enacting a scene from CSI Miami.

Despite her claims that her younger sibling was taking up more bed space than she, this picture clearly shows who the real bed hog is.

Ahh, that fresh ocean air. We walked along one of the Piers in White Rock near the house Grandma and Grandpa used to live in. There is nothing like the smell of the ocean.

We took the opportunity to go visit one of my cousins who lives in Langley, and had a wonderful visit with her and her family. Their kids, being very similar in age to our youngest two, all got some good play time in together.

When in Mission we went to Embers, the best pulled pork restaurant in the world, and on Sunday we went to Kristi's old church, the one her parents used to pastor. One of the families there invited us over for lunch where we had a wonderful visit with them, but most of the time we ended up staying at Kristi's aunt's house in Delta. Her aunt, who has a single bedroom basement suite, went and spent the nights at her daughter's house so we could have the whole suite to ourselves during our visit. It was truly a blessing getting to know Kristi's aunt, and her kindness and generosity has given our entire family new and happy memories.

I couldn't help but notice the pattern on the plates and bowls at Kristi's aunt's house was the exact same design as the plates and bowls my grandparents had had when we were kids. Anyone in my family will recognize these utensils, and the happy memories they bring of Grandma and Grandpa's house in Three Hills.

It wouldn't be British Columbia without the trees. The picture does not do justice to size and scale.

And for contrast, here is a picture of one of our Alberta trees. This scene was too cute not to take a picture of. Back at home, the two little ones went to pick crab apples from one of the trees in the nearby park. However, as they are only three feet tall - there are few branches that hang that low and even fewer apples to be had from them. Their solution? Wheel over the wagon and use it to extend their reach. This is a parent recognizing good problem solving skills in his offspring and smiling at their ingenuity.

Alright, for those of you still reading this, that's all the warm fuzzy family pictures I'm posting today, but here are some pictures of the old fuel filters from my Seadoo; they are filthy. It's a wonder the thing ran at all. The Seadoo has three fuel filters, two inside the gas tank and one outside it. Since you have to take apart the entire fuel pickup system and remove the old fuel pump to reach one of the filters, I decided to replace the fuel pump too while I was at it. I don't know if the old one was failing or if it was simply being starved of fuel by the dirty filters, but between changing the fuel pump and changing the three filters it ran like new again.

I held the filters up to the light so you could see just how clogged they were. If you have a GTX DI - change your fuel filters!

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