Saturday, May 31, 2008

E- It really is Saturday today

On a beautiful Saturday without much to do, we decided to pack a picnic and take the kids for a ride on the seawall. Now that there is a separate lane for bikers pretty much the whole way around, it is a safe and fun way to travel. Even with a leisurely pace we made it to Second Beach in Stanley park in little over half an hour. There were thousands of people out on the route, at the beaches, in cafes, roller blading, biking and walking. Vancouver, experienced this way, on a day like this, really is one of the most spectacular cities in the world.

We ate our lunch at Stanley Park and the kids played on the playground, fire truck and swings. Lucas, as can be seen in the video, seems to understand the concept of propelling himself on the swing better than either of our girls have so far. (However, I suspect that might be because the girls realize if they play incapable, I will do all the pushing work for them.)

On the way back we stopped at Science World for the new Disney exhibit. I felt a little like the Griswalds at Wally World as we stood at the gate next to the "Opens June 8th" sign but decided it wasn't worth going postal over some Disney propaganda.

Instead we went to the theater to watch animals killing each other in some nature film, which didn't seem to disturb the kids in the least. I think they were just so happy to have the theater to themselves, meaning they could run up on the front stage and even dance and make shadows from the big screen projector behind them.

As you can see in these pictures, Lucas is right in on the action these days. He wrestles with the girls, even pretends to be things (like a cat, where he will only crawl), or to fall asleep (that one is really cute) and definitely gives it as good as he gets. I put a couple of videos here that show what Luc is like at 18 months old.

It's Saturday...

Well, actually it isn't. Not yet. But "It's Saturday" is the name of the musical that Molly and her school performed yesterday. All in all it was a lovely show, put together lovingly by countless (really...countless) hours of patient devotion by a multitude of teachers, parents and children.

As someone who has at A LOT of school performances in her future, I would like to take this opportunity to make a couple of observations about that unique beast: the school play.

1. Usually, the act of moving all the students on and off the stage takes longer than the performance itself. Yesterday's show was an hour and a half. If you removed the "people moving" time eaten up by lines of squirming kids being lead on and off the performance platform, I estimate the new show time would be about...mmmm...20 minutes.

2. Things little, little kids do are cute. They could come out and floss their teeth and the crowd would applaud. The older you get in elementary school, the harder you have to work for the crowd love.

3. There is an age somewhere between grades five and six at which something terrifying happens to young girls (scary, at least to the mother of two girls).

4. Ticket prices were offered in the following way: "1 ticket $2.50, 2 for $5.00". That is some discount. Wait, let me get this right. If I get three tickets, do I only pay $7.50? Is there an even better deal for 4 tickets? I'll give you $10. Wow, buying in bulk sure pays off.

5. In hindsight, I am not sure that the teachers would choose to give the kindergarten kids sharp sticks as props. They had "fishing rods" for their song "Gone Fishin'" and the most overheard phrase of the night was, "Keep your rods up...keep them you rods...". It was a minor miracle that all the kids walked out with the eyes they came in with.

There was an afternoon and an evening show and by the end of last night, Moll was bagged. Here is a shot of Lukey enjoying the spectacle.

I was just happy he wasn't shouting "MehMeh" at the top of his little lungs. That is his name for Molly and he pretty much has a steady stream of "MehMeh" all day every day right now. He keeps close tabs on his biggest sister.

Hey, this post has taken me so long to write that it really is Saturday now. Ha!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

E- Look's a ghettobird!

I had just gotten back from a medical call which was the result of some pretty ugly domestic abuse when the tones went off again. "Plane in distress will be making an emergency landing in Burns bog". I threw on my gear as we were driving to the call. Usually this isn't a big deal because the cab is completely closed......but driving in our spare 1970's Engine means there are no doors or roof on the back of the cab. Luckily I didn't have any shoes or clothes fly out the side as we made our way to the bog. (I can only imagine having to tell the driver I needed to stop and run back up the highway to get my $150 boot.)

In the back of the open cab I didn't hear anything until after I changed gear and finally got my headset on. The guy riding on the back with me was a big time practical joker, so I was pretty sceptical when he told me that the dispatcher had just updated us with news that the plane was a 747 with 300 people on board. Only after the 3rd promise of sincerity did I think maybe he was telling the truth. For a couple of minutes I had visions of what could await us....and they weren't pretty. Luckily we got an update shortly after that the four seater plane had managed to land in the middle of the bog and there were no major injuries. The night was getting better.

However, there was still the problem that the pilot and his passengers were still stuck in the middle of the bog and we had no report on the extent of damage to the plane. Burns bog is over 40 square kilometers of trees and unstable marsh land with no roads to access it. Every summer we respond to wildfires in it and often have people sink up to their chests in quicksand-like walking out wasn't an option either. We called in a helicopter to take us to the downed plane. With the sun just setting, I was instructed to grab a couple of lights and then signal the pilot where to land. Not having recently reviewed my helicopter landing signals, I kind of winged it by waving my arms around a little bit and making sure I stayed away from the rotors. The Captain and I ran to the plane with our jaws of life and other tools, ready for our flight to the middle of the I was a little disappointed for not getting to go, as well as obviously being really happy for the passengers when I saw they had already been picked up by the RCMP helicopter. Despite having a fuel line break while flying at 1000 feet over the lower mainland's biggest forest, all three people were able to walk away without a scratch.

Thank you weather faeries

After a dismal Spring so far, last weekend was deliverance from damp. You sort of forget how nice weather makes you feel. Energized. Renewed. Human.

We were down on the Point for the weekend and since Eric worked most of the weekend, the kids and I went it alone. Basically, that entailed whole days out of doors.



Confronting the amazing growth of the garden (yikes!).


Being sweet.

I know I have said this before and you will no doubt be subjected to this rant again: television and the Internet (yes, that's right Internet, I am talking to time-sucking-vortex) detract from my ability to be a totally present Momma. I am distractable. Like super distractable. I am fully aware that I perpetually have one eye cocked towards the computer screen, attuned to Gmail's pleasant little "bing" of incoming mail. Freed from the insidious intrusion of all artificial sound, life slows considerably. Although, I will admit to surrounding myself with magazines, books, magazines and the CBC (a lot of CBC).

Friday, May 16, 2008

E- We are red

Molly was inducted into the Sports Day tradition on the first really beautiful day of the year. Her school has the students on the same team/colour each year, and all family members are put on the same team....making us a red family for the next 12 years.

The day was pretty typical from what I remember of my elementary school experience...... apart from the new politically correct cheering for all teams, not just your own. There were the obstacle, waiter and dress-up races amongst others. There were hotdogs, chips and chocolate milk to snack on. There was lots of sunshine, tons of fun and one really tired Molly at the end (as you can see in the shot of her sitting on the sidewalk).

Around our house, especially with two smaller siblings to compare her to, Molly is starting to feel like a big girl. Seeing her out on the field with all of the other kids puts it back in perspective how small she really is. With the help of a really nice grade 7 student, Molly was able to do all the events.

The kids have now gone for a wagon ride with another family from our Co-op. When they get back we will go to my Mom's for her birthday dinner and then to Point Roberts. Having gone to the Children's festival followed by the beach yesterday, it's shaping up to be a busy long weekend. It feels a bit like having the family come out of winter hibernation.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gender Exploration via Magna Doodle

Below, you will find Molly's depiction of Lukey from the front and from behind. Those two circles on the right are bum cheeks. Ha!

E-Junior hamburger deluxe to the rescue

Here's a couple of pictures I took on the cell phone last week. The first one is of the new fuzzy little geese that will soon be pooping all over the lawn by Molly school. Cute now, fowl later. The other picture is of us at the end of this walk/play session that started when we picked Molly up at 3pm. By 6:30 we were getting cold and hungry and decided we needed to stop for some fine Wendy's food.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Look what's coming to live at my house...

This lovely shed, constructed by the Guildford Park Secondary School carpentry apprenticeship program, is moving onto our property in Point Roberts. It will be a writer's shed. My writer's shed. man-hating woman shack. Just kidding. Especially since Eric is doing a ton to make the procurement of the shed possible, including figuring out the somewhat complicated delivery required. We will have to hire a hiab crane, disassemble our front fence and then place the shed onto a pre-constructed concrete slab (again, thanks Eric!). Then...the fun part. I get to fill my small (really small) space with inspiration. Hooray! Stay tuned here for more updates on the shed progress. We will take delivery during the second week of June. Any brilliant ideas for a shed name?

Speaking of inspiration, I have to give a big belated shout out to a fellow Vancouver blogger: Lovely Monkeys. I was lucky enough to get a hand delivered (!) box of hand crafted jewelry direct from her inspired space. I keep trying to take artistic macro pictures to do the pieces justice. I will post some pictures, but in the meantime (and in interest of getting a long overdue thanks out into the blogosphere) I would love to direct you to her Etsy shop. I am now the proud owner (and many times complimented wearer) of a pair of mermaid Jewels earrings, made out of seaglass from our local beaches. . They are a treasure (and a bit of a steal at that price on Etsy)! The Monkeys also sent along TWO beautiful rings for me, and sweet little flower rings for each of the girls. It was such a treat. And, by passing along her blog on to you all, I am also giving you a treat. Enjoy!

Mother's Day was great, despite losing Eric to work all day. We got (semi) dressed up to head over to my grandfather's care-home for a decadent brunch. You can see Lukey, looking wistfully after his sisters as they take off without him.

Looking at those pictures reminds me that
cherry blossoms are a great photo accessory. They make everything look pastoral and gorgeous, even scrubby kids and parked cars. Good to remember.

After stuffing our faces with brunchy items, Finny was given a ride on her great-granddad's walker. You can probably pick out which picture that is down know, the one with the old guy. Granddad turns 101 in less than one month. You read that right. You know you are doing something right when you can push around a preschooler when you are about to start your 102nd year on the planet.
He is just the best. I promise, you have never met a more positive person in your life than this man.

To work off our indulgent meal, we headed to a local playground. It was lovely, especially as a reminder that when it is sunny, this city sparkles. The kids came alive as they basked.

The close-up picture of Molly may be the most beautiful one I have ever taken. She was just soaking up the sun. The expression of pure calm and peace on her little face fills my heart.

Friday, May 9, 2008

E-Nature vs Nurture

Watching our kids grow up makes me think about the "nurture versus nature" debate. My recollection from school is that, over time, scientists have generally shifted from one view to another, and then pretty much settled on the equal importance of both. My experience as a parent however, is that nature seems to be a stronger force. I'm not saying that we can't screw our children up or enhance their lives based on the nurturing we provide....but I do see some really strong personality characteristics that are present from birth....and think that it would take a whole lot of behaviour-shaping to change these. Molly's instincts as a 5 year old are very similar to the one's she had as a toddler.

Given that I think our children are all naturally good natured, I haven't had a hard time dealing with this realization. However, the question I do have is to what extent should I, as their parent, work against this nature and push the kids in a direction that they might not be inclined to go? So far I have based most of my parenting on instinct....and this has told me to go with the flow and to try to provide each child with love, happiness and some strong guidance as to right and wrong. I haven't really felt any instinctive desire to push them out of their comfort zones.

As they get older however, it's natural to expect more of our kids and to want to see them excel in many different areas of life. To what degree should I try to push the kids in an attempt to expose them to things I would like them to excel at? For example, if I push Molly, who shows little inclination to team sports, to be a soccer player, will I be bullying her into a life I want and she is not fit for? However, if I don't push her to try, will she fall behind others and then later feel like she missed out on the chance to start on an equal footing with her friends?

This example is one of thousands of decisions we make as parents that will dramatically effect our children's lives. With Molly beginning her school years and the expectations on her about to increase, Les and I will be faced with a lot more of these difficult decisions than we were the last few years....when being around us and being loved by us was all that the kids really needed.

Despite long lingering colds for the whole family, we have continued to get out and do lots....which is perhaps why we have long lingering colds. Although I don't imagine the hacking chest cough makes me that popular around the fire hall, booking off sick for a little cold is probably frowned upon as well.....especially since our sick days are paid out of our union dues.

Earlier this week I went swimming by myself with all three kids for the first time. Lucas was really excited to be in a swim ring in the big pool with his sisters. Later the girls had a swimming lesson where they worked on floating on their backs, kicking and holding their breath under water while Lucas and I went to the kids' pool.

Mother's Day is the current theme at their gardening class and at Molly's school. Another Dad and I helped the Kindergartners decorate and inscribe their Mother's Day boxes. It was pretty impressive and cute to see all the 5 year old kids be able to write out messages to their moms.