Wednesday, September 26, 2007

E- Back to the future

My Dad came over last night to take care of a few things before his big trip to England and I got a chance to use Remote Desktop for the first time. It's a pretty amazing program that allows you to use the internet to control another computer in a remote location. So as I was sitting at my computer, the desktop, screensaver, all the programs and files showing up were actually from my Dad's computer 2 kilometres away. I know this will seem like pretty basic computing in the near future but it was a first for me. Anyways, my point is that I took the opportunity to grab some old photos of Molly from his computer and will post them to our new photo album, the blog. Come to think of it, this is our only photo album because we haven't had a picture developed in years.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

E-Blogging excuses

Our camera finally bit the dust. Between that and sending the cell phone with built in camera back to Fido, we now totally lack the ability to take pictures. And I have recently discovered that blogging without photos is pretty uninspiring. Somehow, a blog entry with a good picture of the kids seems worth adding in a way that posting only text does not. Seeing as my wife is unlikely to pick up my blogging slack, I better order a camera soon if I hope to keep any blogging momentum at all.

September has been pretty much the same throughout anyways. Molly continues to adjust well to her new school life and Finny fluctuates between being a tower of strength and a puddle of mush. When I dropped Molly off at Kindergarten yesterday, it was Finny who asked Maya, the girl in the next seat, if she would be Molly's friend for the day. It was Finny who hung up Molly's back pack and got her a toy to play with. It was also Finny who melted down during dinner and refused to eat or talk because "you guys not listening to me". It's pretty easy to forget she just turned 3.

With one of the guys away for a month and a half, I have been working a ton of hours since the middle of August....between 60 and 77 hours every week. Last week was a bit too much however, when I worked 72 hours and took a 3 day swift water rescue course in between night shifts. Although it was a ton of fun to practice swimming in the current, surfing rapids and being tossed around in a hole, it was a bit much combining the lack of sleep with pretty cold conditions. My wetsuit was good for a couple of hours but by the end of the day I could definitely feel the cold chill in my bones. At least crisp water of the Chilliwack river made it easy to stay awake. On Sunday the sun even managed to come out and we had a gorgeous day playing in the water, simulating rescues and dodging hooks from the hundreds of fly fishermen chasing after Spring Salmon.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


It has happened three times now, so you think I would expect it, but apparently all children get teeth. My favourite thing about babies? Pink, soft, gummy smiles. One of the saddest days in my motherhood experience has been the first peek of those fat, chunky white teeth that change a baby's familiar little grin into something resembling borrowed, ill-fitting dentures. Then I get used to them and I move on.

Lukey has some new teeth. I guess you saw that coming. They're cute. But they make me sad. Luckily, Luke has a good sense of humour, because he has his two bottom teeth, plus the two fangs on either side of the front teeth. Oh, and the hint of a front tooth. But just the one. Because symmetry is boring.

Monday, September 17, 2007

E- Turrialba or bust

There's been quite a bit of press lately about my work site because a local union is currently in court seeking damages against my employer. The basic complaint is that the workers, almost all of whom have been brought in from Costa Rica, are being exploited because they are making less than Canadians on our site. This may technically be true on an hourly basis. However, when you factor in that they get two flights a year and all food, accommodation and local taxes paid for, it's obvious these guys are doing alright. I talked to one young guy yesterday(I can't believe that I can call someone in their mid-twenties young now) who told me his 5 bedroom house in Turriabla costs about $10,000 US. By the time he finishes his two year contract he will have bought his fourth house, which will provide him a good rental income. I don't think too many Canadians making $20/hour will be doing that around here with the price of real estate being what it is.

Luckily Les and I are really happy in our Co-op and are used to living in smaller spaces from our time in Europe. If not, I think we would be going crazy trying to keep up with the real estate market. $1.5 million gets you surprisingly little on the west side of town. Even in areas further East like Fraser and Main, you're generally looking at a fixer upper on a small lot if you want to spend under a million dollars. It seems so out of whack with rents and people's salaries. I've heard the beaches are pretty nice in Costa Rica. I wonder how the school system is?

Friday, September 14, 2007

The squeaky wheel...

Well, I can tell you all about the transition to being a school family. Molly has surpassed all my expectations in how she was adjusted to kindergarten. Especially for a kid who didn't go to any preschool or daycare. She is a trooper. Plus, I suspect she is a born student...a real teacher's dream. Something her mother can definitively say she was not. Ever.

Now her little sister: a whole other sour, grumpy kettle of sulky fish. Finny is missing her sister. The evidence is everywhere. If feeling sorry for yourself were a crime scene, Finny would be going to the big house for a very long time. As it is, she is spending some serious time in her room. But she gets a pretty good break from us, because her sorrow at being left behind is written all over her frowny little face.

EXHIBIT 1: Every day we drop Molly off at school, Finny showers (and I mean showers) Molly with kisses goodbye. Now ordinarily, this is not her modus operandi.

EXHIBIT 2: She comes home from dropping Molly off, and she wants to watch Tellytubbies; a very babyish type of show. She curled up on the floor and cuddled a blanket. This is also atypical behaviour. When Molly came home and protested that she didn't want to watch, an indignant Finny insisted that she had put it on for Lucas...because he, after all, IS a baby...(this was a toughy for me. Sort of made my heart break for my Finny, stammering a weak defense. I squeezed her and left Tellytubbies on for the whole painful tape, adding that I wanted to watch it, too. Yeah, right...)

EXHIBIT 3: Her gymnastics class has taken on monumental importance. It gives her something to talk about when Molly is asked about school. When Moll talks school, Finny talks gymnastics...really loudly.

EXHIBIT 4: Moody. Moody, moody, moody.

I could go on, but I'll spare you. The verdit? Guilty of a very understandable crime: missing her best friend. Oh Finny.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

E-Life's delicate balance

I held off posting this picture of Molly on her first day of school because I read somewhere on this blog about a promise to write about the event. However, my skepticism has turned to here it is. The expression on her face tells it all. Molly was excited but also nervous at the same time. She did great though. With more sad whimpering than real tears, Molly said good by to us and entered her world of school. Already, by the end of the first week, the class that once contained 15 strangers now has a few friends in it. A whole system of education, that mere days ago was something she only saw on TV, is now part of her daily routine. Calling her teacher Miss, a title she had never used for anyone else, is now old hat. It's amazing how incredibly quickly kids adjust to everything.

Finny seems to be adjusting to Molly's new routine by clinging a little more closely to Lucas. Now that he is up and mobile, Finny figures that he is ready for just about any game. Lately, she has decided he makes a perfect pet. She takes him for walks (by holding him up while he's on his feet), feeds him and puts him to sleep. This works pretty well until Molly also wants a pet, at which time poor Luc gets stuck in the middle of a human tug-a-war. Who would have thought that having two older sisters could toughen one up so much?

The other adjustment Finny recently made was with her bike. Our friends from Germany, the Dorner's, gave the girls a gift called a Like-a-Bike when they visited last Christmas. This is a really cool European bike with no pedals or training wheels that teaches kids how to balance and steer properly. Although both the girls really like it, Fin is especially into riding it and has gotten really good at balancing. As an experiment, I tried putting her on a big bike. After a couple of wobbly runs and maybe 5 minutes of having me holding on, Fin got the idea of peddling and steering at the same time. After she got going, I took my hands off and she rode for about 30 feet on her own. Thank you Uwe and Brigit and your Like-a-Bike.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Chicken Run

I will write this weekend about Molly's first week of Kindergarten, but before I forget...

I was making chicken wings for dinner fact, the kids are eating them right now so this is a very up to the minute posting...when Finny asked me what we were going to eat.

I told her we'd have chicken wings. She got this very sad face and I prepared myself for another variation on the vegetarian debate. "Poor chickens," she said. I took a deep breath and was about to launch into my standard diatribe about the food chain when she finished her sentence: "Now them have to walk everywhere...".

She just finished her third wing. One and a half chickens will now have to walk...

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

E- Welcome to the machine

We've now officially entered the "school years". In all likelihood, for the next 17 years our lives will now revolve around the calendar set by our school system. For many families, this isn't much of a change. They live pretty scheduled lives with the kids getting up and going to bed at the same time each day. Dad and/or Mom work Monday to Friday, so there is already a built in concept of the week versus the weekend. Our family is definitely not such a family! Or should I say, wasn't. We went with whatever schedule suited us. Weekends and holidays meant nothing to our kids. Neither did early mornings. But the system has caught up to us and the Labour Day weekend has taken on a whole new ominous meaning. Rather than fight it we decided to celebrate it. On Friday the five of us went to the PNE. It was better than either Les or I remember from years past, with the highlight definitely being the human freak show called the Peking Acrobats. They were as good as the Cirque De Soleil without the $100 price tag. We also saw high diving, the Flying Canucks aerial show, Toontown parade, motor bike jumping and all the farm animals. Topping off the entertainment with some cotton candy made for a pretty fun day.

On Saturday we had 2 little boys from our Co-op, Evan and Miller, throw a joint birthday party in the court yard. We were sent home from the party with half a cake covered in a ridiculous amount of icing. Yummmmmm. I took all 3 kids to the UBC basketball game vs. Oklahoma in the evening while Les perfected her description of Stripper Poles. The atmosphere there has really changed since I played, as there seemed to be no problem with the kids hanging out in the beer garden. We tried for years, without luck, to get permission to serve alcohol and we certainly weren't proposing to let toddlers in. On Sunday we hit a matinee of Shrek the Third. It was the first movie we've seen as a family. Finny crawled on my lap half way through and fell asleep. Later in the day I told someone that Finny had fallen asleep in the movie and she got very upset. Apparently embarrassed that only really little people would do that, Finny explained that "me wasn't just resting me eyes a bit". Later on that day we went to Shannon and James one year wedding anniversary party.

Monday was mostly spent preparing for school. We had a few conversations, as well as moments of sadness, doubt, excitement and fear. Overall though, Molly has been great and we think she'll love her school. It is in one of the most beautiful locations imaginable (see my poorly orchestrated panorama photo at the top), is pretty small, has a good mix of students from a nice neighbourhood and apparently a well liked staff. We couldn't ask for much more. Oh, well...maybe a basketball hoop that is a little closer to horizontal would be nice.

After Molly was dismissed from school today, our whole family came in for a meet-the-teacher 15 minute interview. Afterwards I took the girls for a swim while Les reserved us a table at the back to school/work Arbutus Club buffet. After scarfing down some burgers, salad and corn, the girls decided to cut some rug to the classic rock the band was playing. They had a ton of fun dancing all evening long. This cellphone video may not sound great but it clearly shows that I have passed along my "gift" of rhythm.