Wednesday, October 31, 2007

E-The best day!

Halloween is a pretty popular time of year around our house. In fact, from a kid's perspective it might just be the best holiday going. They get to dress up, even during school, go around all day in some mini fantasy world, and then hang out all night with their friends as they run from door to door collecting their favourite thing in the world......candy. No Thank You cards to worry about or ugly sweaters they have to pretend to like. No, this is all about candy.

And our kids got plenty of it. I took Finny and Luc on errands today while Les helped out at Molly's class. The only place we went that didn't give out candy was Air Care. At the bank, insurance office and drugstore, there was plenty of candy to be had. Molly came home from school where she was dressed as a Pegasus, with plenty of treats as well. And the real gorging hadn't even started.

We did some last minute pumpkin carving after school and then got in costumes. The Co-op is a great place to trick or has a really great feel when all the kids and community are out together. There was a pretty good haul of loot here and another good haul when I dropped the kids and Les off at their grandparents before heading to work.

E- That time of year

Time to get out the boots, gloves, rakes and chainsaw to get our place ready for winter. It's quite a bit of work but getting a big bonfire going makes for a good, not too cold, day in the garden. Jason, Shannon, Della and Miller joined our families for a Chili and Macaroni casserole outdoor lunch. Hot melted Smores for desert and lots of beer and juice to drink.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Spooktacular Fun

Wow, kindergarten in the morning makes for a long day. It is a huge difference getting out of school at 11:25 versus 3:00. Having said that, it is an equally huge difference between getting to school at 8:42 versus 12:35. We managed a full Hallowe'en Day o' Fun. After school, the kids went for a swim and we had lunch. Then, off to the pumpkin patch. You have to take advantage of sunny, sunny days in the rainforest. And hey, if you ever have the urge to dance with a giant plush strawberry, have I got the place for you!

The pumpkin patch was a harvest paradise, albeit slightly more expensive than you might think...mind you, who ever said paradise was cheap, right? There was live music and a hay ride to the pumpkins. Then you have your pick. It was one of those idyllic scenes, you know...the ones you picture on the day you find out you are pregnant with your first baby. Of course, there's always a little dose of parenting reality in there. You gotta keep it real. Our Three Children Reality Check came in the form of Finny bailing in a big mud puddle. She turned into a whimpering puddle herself for about ten minutes. Then she shook it off.

Meanwhile, Molly and I wandered the mudfield looking for a pumpkin (or punkman, as she calls them) that SPOKE to her (seriously). We found one. I don't know what it was saying but it sure wasn't, "I am the most beautiful punkman here." More like..."Gee, I am deeply unsymmetrical and a little rotten on the bottom...kinda caved in and pretty dirty..." But there was no dissuading Moll from the one that was calling her to take it home. We have the punkman only a Molly could love.

And, just in case the Day O' Fun didn't seem complete, this evening after Eric went to work, the kids and I got dressed up and went to the Lord Tennyson School Hallowe'en Howl. It was packed! The girls loved seeing all the kids in costumes, although Molly didn't understand why you would look scary when you could look beautiful. She is consistent, that girl of mine.

4 Easy Steps to Being Sweet:

1. Sometimes you get bitten by your sister. That hurts but...
2. never retaliate. In fact, you have never bitten anyone.
3. When the little sister who bites (on occasion) gets bitten by her little brother, instead of laughing outwardly, or laughing inwardly, you...
4. ...say with sincere concern, "Oh, that hurts, doesn't it Finny? You know what helps? Shake your finger, or squeeze it tightly. Sometimes that makes it less ouchy."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

My favourite penny may have dropped

Today, while reading the books Molly got out of her school library, we were sounding out some of the words we encountered.

Woohoo...Molly sounded out "pink milk" from a Charlie and Lola book. She was proud of herself but not half as proud as I was. For a little girl who already loves books, even though she can't read them yet, I am just plain thrilled to think of the worlds that are opening to her. I picture her cracking the door and peeking out on a limitless universe. Welcome! Welcome!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

E-A long 36 hours

There's something about Point Robert that seems to change the way time passes. I guess it's not unique to the Point....but something we all feel when we go away to a cabin, but the change is more noticeable when you are less than half an hour from downtown. I don't know what it is..... the fireplace for heating...the absence of the internet and cable TV....the closet filled with board games and puzzles.....the big yard with piles of leaves to rake....the lack of streetlights or stores open in the evening....or if it is just a mental space we enter when we leave the city?

My point is though that a day and a half down at our cottage feels like a real break. We spent some time at the local library and got to our place in the early afternoon. One perk to having our cottage is being able to order cheap American goods online and not having to worry about shipping over the border. Our camera, which arrived from Amazon, was about 40% cheaper than it is currently on sale for at Future shop. The accessories, like a battery and memory card big enough for the camera are at least 60% cheaper shopping this way.

On Sunday Les and the kids played games and read by the fire while I went the Point Roberts Fire Department to practice my first aid skills with someone from my EMR class.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

E-Only when you're young

The Flyers had their biggest win of the season on Friday with a 10-2 beating of the Hawks. In an amazing testament to the talent of line mates Andrew Rennison and Jamie Mullan, our line managed to put up 8 goals despite my obvious hockey shortcomings. It was a fun game!

However, a late ice time and a body pumped full of adrenaline do not make for a good night's sleep.....and I didn't get one. So when the week started at 7am Monday morning, I was already feeling a little behind in sleep. I spent the day in class at the Justice Institute in New Westminster upgrading my first aid skills to the Emergency Medical Responder level, which qualifies me to work for BC Ambulance service. The class finished with just enough time to let me drive home, shower and get to work. I worked Monday night shift from 6pm until 6am. Of course this was the night that I responded to a first aid incident that required a trip to the Emergency at VGH.

I got off work Tuesday at 6am, went home, ate and then back to the course in New West for a day in the class. It was only the coffee and fast pace of the course that kept me awake. Work on Tuesday night was followed by the course the next morning, leaving me pretty fried by 5pm Wednesday. I still had enough energy left to go for a swim and dinner at the Arbutus Club. The day ended with a late Co-op meeting about the development scheduled across the street from our home.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Apples of my Eye

Eric has already covered the event of our daughter's fifth birthday fairly exhaustively. Suffice to say, a good time was had by (almost) all. Finny held up well in the face of an onslaught of tantalizing and not-for-her gifts. Molly has been gracious in allowing Finny to hold her kite string, kick her soccer ball, test-spin her new bike, and look at her fairy paper dolls (look...not touch).

I even feel as though I got off lightly. The evening of Molly's birthday was masterfully conducted by my mom, and the kids' version was a phenomenal success at Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company. Therefore, very little was actually handled by me. In fact, I am ashamed to admit I didn't even bake a cake. As a brief aside, there was some confusion on a recent car-ride. Finny was privy (via Gram) to the menu for Molly's birthday dinner. In an effort to dangle some classified information in front of her sister, she confided to us that dessert would be very special this year: Gram was making chicken cake. I requested clarification, only to be reassured that she definitely meant chicken cake, that was what Gram had said. Molly, logically, considered the very sad possibility of not eating her own birthday cake this year. It took a good three or four very confused minutes of conversation before I realized Finny's flaw of comprehension. DINNER was going to be chicken POT PIE. Sort of confusing, right? Problem solved. Except that dessert was Black Forest Cake, which isn't much more illuminating as a sure isn't made of forests...

The highlight of this weekend was taking the three kids to the Apple Festival out at UBC. I have a slight addiction issue with the Mutsu apples, and they alone are worth the trip. The weather was spectacular and the kids and I had fun gorging on apple chips, apple cider, apples and more apples. We're good for fiber for a while.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

E- Nice bike but....

The look on Finny's face says it all. "That's a great bike your grandparents gave you for your birthday....but when is it my turn to ride?"
Molly's 5th birthday consisted of being treated like royalty for 24 hours. She was taken out for breakfast at Solly's Bagels in the morning and then got to wear a birthday crown all afternoon in Kindergarten. She even had her mom come into the classroom to run the painting workshop for a little while.
After school we all went over to Judy and Bryan's place for a special Chicken pot pie dinner and Black Forest cake with Neapolitan ice cream. As well as a shiny new bike with training wheels and a horn, Molly got some skates and soccer boots.

On Friday, Molly had school in the morning...which seemed to come really early after partying late the night before. (Wow how our life is different now. It wasn't very long ago that an early morning was an 11am shooting practice the day after partying until 4 in the morning following a game.) A few friends from school joined us at the Rocky Mountain Flatbread restaurant for a make-your-own pizza party. We had never been before but it is a great place for families and worked really well for a party. Molly had 5 friends from school- Maya, Nathan, Jaliqua, Nina and Ella- plus her sister.

After the party we decided to take advantage of a rare cloudless fall day with a trip to the passport office. However, with an estimated wait of 2 1/2 hours, we drove to Stanley park and played at Lumberman's arch and Second Beach. We flew Molly's new kite, rode her bike and kicked her soccer ball. It was one of those beautiful afternoons where Vancouver seems so perfect..... but you also wish the sun would come out like this just a little more often.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

E-Happy Birthday Molly

I try to avoid cliches when I can but it is often difficult with parenthood......mostly because the truisms around raising kids feel so real. They really do grow up so fast! I guess it's not so much the speed at which the kids change that makes it seem this way........ but more that there are so many other things going on in our lives, that the changes just slowly creep up on us unnoticed. It was 5 years ago that Molly came into the world. It started so peacefully, in a warm tub with soothing music playing. It ended much more traumatically, with Molly's head being forcefully tugged on by a very strong suction cup vacuum.

We have had many people comment to us that our kids are very relaxed and easy to deal with. I can credit this fully to the example that Les has set for them to follow. The fact that she was able to deal with this incredibly intense event (read: vast understatement) with such a calm, stoic nature, pretty much says it all about Les' capacity for peace, love and finding the best in all situations life can throw at her. Even though she experienced something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (full disclosure: there are a couple of basketball team managers in Europe who I might consider in my darker moments) Les never let anger, fear or resentment enter her being. Instead she picked up the little crying baby, gave it a big hug and started saying those soothing words I have since heard thousands of times from her. She somehow knew exactly what to do.

It's Molly's 5th birthday tomorrow. She is a sweet, caring, thoughtful, funny, gentle girl who I am proud to have as my daughter. However, so much of who Molly is comes from her Mom and the example she continues to set every day. Happy birthday to Molly and to her mother.

P.S. Apologies to any expectant mothers or ones considering it in the future, but I do have one more noteworthy observation to make for the sake full disclosure. Perhaps it is Les' dark side revealing itself, or perhaps just her entitlement but.....every time we drive past BC Women's Hospital Les does a little happy dance and sings "I'm not in labour, I'm not in labour". I guess after having 3 kids without any pain killers and virtually no complaints, she is entitled to her moment of pain free glee.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

E- The underbite of determination!

Who would have thought that the Italians, or at least the Italians running my work site, would have so little fondness for Canadian Thanksgiving that we would be working all weekend? Actually, I would have predicted a certain ambivalence to our holidays.....having already seen their attitude towards B.C. and Canada Days. However, I know for sure they don't like paying a wage, which when stat pay is included, works out to 2 1/2 times our normal rate. I on the other hand kind of like making a decent hourly wage and am willing to eat my turkey a little bit earlier to be available for the night shift. It seems we have hit some big, unexpected boulders under Yale town and need to make some emergency repairs. Although we are a couple of months ahead of schedule, it is pretty easy to have things grind to a halt for a long period of time.

The camera I ordered online still hasn't arrived. Apparently the reason I got such a great deal is that they skimp on customer service........or worse yet.... they don't send the product at all. So I'm stuck with posting old pictures from Finny's first summer. It is hard to believe that this little lump of black haired baby is in anyway related to the precocious 3 year old she is now. Finny was a very subdued baby. Quiet, gentle and predictable. These are definitely not adjectives I would use to desribe her now. She is full of life, fun, can be rough but also sensitive at times, she loves to laugh, dance and wrestle.

When I think of her at this age though, my lasting mental image will be of her sliding her lower teeth past her upper ones to form a massive underbite of determination. This move, along with a certain steadfast look in her eye, signals that she is about to do something....... and she's not about to do it half-assed! Partly by instinct and partly through good guidance by a sweet and gentle older sister, Finny usually undertakes these moves of steely determination in an appropriate mannor. However, like most pre-schoolers, she doesn't always know where the line is. This results in time-outs up in her room and lots of apologies throughout the day. She is getting to be an expert at the insincere whisper of "Sorry Molly" that technically qualifies as an apology but conveys about as much remorse as OJ Simpson.

One of Finny and Molly's favorite activities is putting on YouTube videos and going crazy. It's either "Daddy, we want the Hippo" or "Daddy, put on the Ducky music please". When this happens Fin always does the underbite, without even realizing it. While they mostly dance to "In the Jungle", they love to ride on my back like a bucking bronco to the Ducky music by's quite a sight to see.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

E- 1 man too many on the ice!

Today Molly had her first professional development day, giving us a very short respite from the "system". With Les heading up to Whistler for a work retreat and me working tonight, we didn't feel the need to do much and had a nice lazy, rainy October morning together at home.

However, after both papers were read (for some reason we have the Vancouver Sun and National Post) and I couldn't handle any more Dora, Bernstein Bears or Arthur, I took the girls for a skate and a swim. It's always a bit of gamble.....getting kids dressed, packing their skates, mitts, helmets, jackets, etc.... then driving to the rink and cramming their little feet into skates........because you half expect to hear "I'm cold" or "this isn't fun, let's go home" within 5 minutes of arriving. And who can blame them? Skating isn't really fun when you have no concept of using your blades. It's really just a painful, dangerous and totally unstable walk on frozen concrete. Have fun kids!

However, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Zamboni come on the ice and realize that we had been out for over 45 minutes without a complaint. The girls used the metal frames for balance- which supposedly isn't the best learning tool, but made the whole experience a lot more pleasant for me....especially for my back. In fact, I was free to cruise around and work on my skating and slap shot.

Given the fact that I fell down on two of the shots I took last game, I could really use the work. Oh well, we won the game in spite of this and the "too many men on the ice" penalty I took in the dying seconds of a fairly close game. The bad parts of my game are too many to list. The good part is that, for the most part I can read the game well and know where I should be. If I can only get mobile enough to get there, I could be okay. And I am sure that everyone I'm playing with will be happy to have one less 6'6" body- attached to an extra-long hockey stick- flailing around on the ice.

After we thawed out with a swim and a hot tub, Les and Luc headed up to Whistler, I went to work and the girls got a night with their Omi.