Friday, June 27, 2008

Witchy Woman

We spent a fantastic evening yesterday celebrating the ginormous number of late spring and early summer birthdays in our extended family. Hosted superbly by Will and Janice, our family events are ridiculously fun, especially for the zillions of kids that attend (yesterday it was nine kids).

Finny, one of the above mentioned birthdays, was given a magic wand as a gift. You press a button and it makes a "magical" sound. She has been pretty relentless in her application of her new magic. Mostly, her spells seem to centre around "pausing" Molly. Apparently, there is an expiry date on the spells because when the 1,145th pausing occurred this morning (having to do with a gift bag and some sort of complicated game with countless rules), Molly snapped.

"You know what? I am NOT pausing. I'm not listening to that wand ANYMORE!" And so the magic ended.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ahhhhh...the time, how do we stop the march of time????!!!?

I will warn you right now that posting here will be (even) more sporadic, as we will be on a steady and unpredictable commute between here and Point Roberts for the rest of the summer.

Which brings me to the topic of time. Basically...time is flying by. How do I know this? In the small space of time since I last wrote here, I have newly acquired a four year old and a kindergarten graduate. These little girls used to be babies. Now they are off doing stuff. Running around with friends. Expressing their own opinions. Reading. I mean...geez. Didn't they just get teeth?

Finny turned four last weekend. I am happy for her and she will be a Fantastic Four, but I have to be honest. I will really miss my three year old. Finny's year has been filled with a million firsts. She was a precocious and spirited three, tearing around on her Like-A-Bike and asking questions to stump a philosopher. A quick example? How about, "Mumma, how did you make my bones in your tummy? Did you dig up dinosaur bones to build me?" Uhhhhh, no....I actually 'fessed up on that one and admitted I had no real idea how I made her bones.

Finny can be rough. She grits her teeth in the underbite of determination and comes out of a corner with fists flying. She takes on life headfirst. In fact, the sizable scar now gracing her forehead can attest to that. She is fearless and tireless, first up in the morning and revving until her head hits the pillow. She is a force.

Not all the time, though. Just before her birthday, Finny made a special request to hear the song "Slipping Through My Fingers" by ABBA. It it the saddest song I can think of, telling of the heartache of children growing away from parents. The time lost. Sweet Finny knows that I get choked up listening to it, so she made the request to Eric while I was out. Later though, she picked a quiet moment and asked me if I knew why she wanted to listen to it. When I turned towards her to answer, I saw her eyes brimming with fat tears. She continued, "Because I feel like I am slipping through your fingers. I'm going to be four. It is too fast." Alrighty then. Cue my tear ducts...clear your schedules all you ducts, because you are now on overtime. I thought my heart would squeeze to mush on the spot. Like real pain. It actually hurt.

Her birthday was spent at my parents' place in Point Roberts, celebrated with a big brunch with Solly's cinnamon buns serving as the cake. She was heavenly.
And her sister handled herself with grace, mostly happy for her sister and the many gifts she received. It is made easier to stomach when most of the presents are MarioKart for the Wii. Thanks Uncie...the girls had a blast. And my mom spoiled them with treats, as she always does. It was a good day. Even though it was...oh, a little bittersweet.

And then on to more rites of passage, as Molly exited her kindergarten classroom door today for the last time. It seems like yesterday that she headed off to class with a mommy shirt stuffed in the pocket, ready in case she needed a quick sniff of reassurance. Ummm, if you don't know what I am talking about, I won't scare you with an explanation. She didn't know a soul in her class on that first day. You would never guess it today, as she sprinted around the playground after her last dismissal with all her little buddies sprinkled around her, laughing and hugging. The nicest group of kids I could ever have hoped to share this first intense journey with her. A few families settled in for an extended picnic after school, eventually moving to the Granville Island waterpark
Nary a squabble. Few tears. Just good times and giggles filling the air around their great little group. It was a most perfect day to end a great school year. Oh my God...the school year. We're those know, parents of school-aged children. How on earth did this happen?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I can't believe how quickly 4 days off can go. The shed was successfully delivered and we had a beautiful afternoon/evening celebration of father's day down at Point Roberts with both of our families. On Monday morning we rushed off to Blaine for our Nexus appointments and got back to town in time for school and gymnastics. Tuesday Les worked, so I shuttled the kids from gardening, to school,to swimming lessons before ending with a pretzel making party at the Co-op. On Wednesday we picked Molly up from her school on our bikes and rode to the aquarium. We finished off with dinner and desert in the sunshine on the beach at English Bay.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Shed love

The weekend was a taste of the summer to come...Point Roberts: garden/yard time, beach fun, BBQ-ing, and shed installation! A place to play, a place to work. At least, that's the idea.

Friday, Molly had one last performance as a Kindergartener. Her class presented a quartet of sea shanties. She rocked out. If anyone could make a starfish song her own, it was my girl. Singing at the top of her little lungs. She is a dainty will o' the wisp but the girl has a thespian inside her raging to come out. Her inner performer will emerge one day, of that I am certain.

While Moo sang, her father was engaged in a true labour of love over the border: organizing the delivery of my brand new writer's shed. No small feat, since delivery entailed a massive flatbed rig with a huge hydraulic hiab crane. And a potential customs disaster (averted, thankfully, but stressful nonetheless). And the destruction of about a third of the fence that I posted about with pride earlier. When the kids and I arrived, it was my most fervent desire to see the shed in place. Not because I wanted it to be a fait accompli. More because we were paying for the truck by the hour. I arrived in what would have been hour five!

Here is what I was greeted by:

Hmmmmmm. That doesn't look wrapped up at all. In fact, the shed was pretty much in the middle of the road still. I left the kids in the car across the street in the neighbour's driveway. I wandered over, very gingerly, hoping against hope that my overtaxed and uber-patient husband wouldn't spit in my face and turn his back on me for welcoming this massive headache into his life.

"Umm, are we still talking...or?"

The man was a prince. He was sweat covered and filthy. Hot and mildly frustrated. But still in the game. At that point, it was like an especially vexing challenge that had to be overcome.

There was something ironic to me that in my pursuit of a peaceful place to write in nature, I brought in an extraordinarily noisy truck (like really, really noisy) that kinda wrecked the nature. See below:

Let's just say that one very noble rhododendron has made a considerable sacrifice to my art.

While we fretted and wrung our hands, the children reacted thusly:

Lucas pretended to be involved, totally digging the massive machinery (though not the noise, as you can see).

The girls were completely and blissfully unaware of the entire situation. Somehow, without missing a beat, they switched to mostly sign-language (yes, I think you are getting the picture...the truck was very loud). They bounced around on the trampoline about twenty feet away. When all was said and done, they were like, "Oh, cool shed." Then on to something else.

The work went on, heads were scratched and cranes were strained. There was some concern about power wires.

There was worry over the placement of our concrete block "foundation".

And then, finally, there was joy.

Eric, you are the very best, most loving husband in the world to take on this exercise. The shed is sitting pretty in its new home. All it needs now is good name...any suggestions?

Here is the best picture of the day...I love it because it looks like this lovely little outbuilding has been there for years. It looks like it belongs. does.

Friday, June 13, 2008

101 Looks Goooood

June 11th is a great day for celebration because it reminds me that if I keep my nose clean, I have a fantastic chance of living a long life. My paternal grandfather is now officially in his 102nd year after ringing out his 101st to the tinny tune of a musical candle.

Don't you hope you'll look this great in your second century?

Four generations gathered for a delicious dinner. We all marveled to each other that granddad's incredible example of positivity and optimism seems to have preserved not just his body, but his strong spirit. He cut a very dapper figure at the end of the table. We should all be so lucky.

Speaking of multi-generational events, the kids and I spent the morning with my mom, checking out the heart-catchingly lovely newborn baby beluga at the Vancouver Aquarium We were among the first people allowed into the underwater viewing area to see the not quite 42 hour old babe. They were permitting groups of 30 downstairs at a time. There were interpreters there to answer questions and I thought the whole operation was being run in a respectful and educational manner. Full points to the Aquarium staff. Plus, full points to my mother, who celebrated the new beluga by gifting us a family membership to the Aquarium. Now we can stop in regularly to see the baby grow. Thanks!

It felt like a special experience to see the wrinkly, little whale nuzzling her mother and bobbing to the surface to breathe...all of it obviously fresh and new, with her little tail not quite certain of its rhythm. Both the girls really enjoyed the baby, but Molly especially was entranced by the whole thing. Lukey, on the other hand, nearly clawed his way out of his stroller to get to the sea otters. I think he thought they were drowning puppies. If you can't make it down to Stanley Park to see the newborn (and I recommend you try to make it if you can...), you can get a taste via the Aquarium's Beluga cam.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

E-The cold was in-tents

Camping close to Vancouver on a weekend in June, July or August usually requires a reservation these days....and that, plus the fact that we had friends from the Co-op going too are probably the only reasons we actually headed out to the woods on a weekend that called for a lot of rain. Even at the best of times it's difficult to get everything needed for camping with three kids. However, with thunderclouds overhead, getting your butt into gear is exponentially harder. Because I worked Friday night, Les had to face this task by herself before I joined them on Saturday afternoon. Luckily the weather turned out nice enough to go for two hikes and for the kids to have a swim. Actually, I was shocked by this. I know kids don't always feel the effects of cold the same way....but these are also the same kids who have complained about getting into a heated indoor pool in the summer.

We were able to enjoy campfires, s'mores and only one night of two involved heavy rainfall. It could have been worse.

These pictures are deceptively sunny:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008