Monday, January 21, 2008

molar envy

Last weekend Josh's temperature spiked to 39 deg. C. He wasn't throwing up or anything, but he as lethargic and cranky. We were worried because Josh is NEVER lethargic. We contemplated bringing him to the doctor, but instead of being over-worried first time parents, we decided to leave it overnight before taking action. Sure enough, Josh's temperature cooled down to 37.5 deg. C by morning and he was his usual active self again. Phew!

This past weekend, I was helping Josh brush his teeth when I noticed a glimpse of white in the back of his mouth. Upon closer examination, I saw 4 glimpses of white, one in each corner in the back of his mouth! Josh has only 6 front teeth, 4 on top and 2 on the bottom, and now he has 4 molars coming in at the same time! Poor guy!

Some people do not believe that fever is associated with teething. I'm not sure if Josh's fever followed by 4 molars is just a coincidence, but I'm more inclined to believe that they are related. Man, I'm sure glad that we can't remember what it was like to be teething!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

the new 2008

I have kept resolutions to a minimum this year. When the thought of "resolution" crossed my mind, I felt more like this needed to be a revitalization year. I want to feel fabulous this year.

One thing I wanted to do to feel fabulous was to re-connect with my girlfriends. I spent most of my time in 2007 with my family and I lost touch with some important people in my life. Family is definitely my first priority, but I know I have time for friends - I just have to prioritize the other things in my life. Also, I wanted to spend more time reading. I read 2.5 books last year. It's a bit of a poor showing. So, what a better way to combine the 2 than to start a girlfriend's book club!

Our goal is to read 4 books this year - 1 every 3 months. We're all busy women, so I didn't want anyone to feel discouraged from joining us because of the number of books. The response from my girlfriends ranged from "...I'm very busy and don't know if I can read 4 books on top of the courses I'm planning to take..." to "...these 4 books can be part of my goal to read 52 books in 52 weeks!". I have an ambitious group of girlfriends! (And wouldn't have it any other way!)

Our first selection for the book club is Late Nights on Air by Elizabeth Hay. I just received my copy from Amazon, so I'm barely 2 chapters in. So far so good. I have 2.5 months to finish it. I've been reading One Hundread Years of Solitude for about 6 months now and I'm only 3/4 done. Ugh. Wish me luck!

My second resolution requires that for me to feel fabulous, I need to look fabulous! Or at least feel good trying! I've been trying to get back into running since Josh was about 3 months old. I think I ran a total of 6 times in 2007. I decided that I need to get back into running the same way that I got into it in the first place. I need a race. So, I'm going to do the Sun Run for the first time in 3 years.

I also figured since I'm starting from scratch again, I should join a running clinic for motivation, and to make sure I'm doing it right. I've joined the Learn to Run clinic at the Running Room. We are in our second week. The goal is to be able to run a 3K race by mid-March. Seems a bit slow, but I'm betting that they know what they're doing! I'm not sure if I'll be ready to run 10K by April 20th, but at least I'll be injury free while I'm trying.

The one thing that I have realized about myself from the running clinic is that I chose to start running so that I could be alone. I started running in 1999 and I can't remember anytime in the past that I have run with anyone (except maybe Val when I visited her in Elko). Running with a group now is very weird. Especially a group of strangers. I will reserve judgement until I'm further into the clinic...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

2 heads are better than 1

Never mind the heads, it's the bodies that I'm more concerned about! When Josh was born, I remember how hard it was and how grateful I was to have help. I remember thinking that I couldn't imagine being a single mom, doing it all on my own.

Well, for 3 weeks, I had a taste of single mom-dom. Yes, it is do-able, but much harder than having 2 of us here and I was exhausted at the end of each day! However, I wasn't on my own for 3 consecutive weeks. Brian was gone from early Monday morning until late Friday night. So, I did have time on weekends to re-charge - something a single mom doesn't get!

I found that it was so important for me to be prepared ahead of time. After Josh went to bed at night, I would clean up from the day, get his food and clothes ready for daycare the next day. Then, I would get my stuff ready for the next day and take a shower and stuff. Only after all that, would I have time to get a bit more work done - since I needed to drop off Josh and pick him up at a reasonable hour, I wasn't getting in my full 8 hours per day at work!

On my days off (because I work 3 days per week) I found that I needed the time to prepare meals, do laundry and financials, and, since this was right before Christmas, prepare for Christmas!

I could go on and on but my point is that I admire what a single parent does. I don't know that a person is meant to raise children on their own, but given those circumstances, they do what is necessary. That, in itself, is amazing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

dine in/dine out bonspiel

I can't believe that I haven't posted about this yet - I think this tradition preceeds my blog!

Several years ago, Liezel started a tradition with our group of 8 friends. It seemed that in our efforts to prevent life from passing us by, we were all starting to pass each other by! At the time, we were all getting married, changing jobs and hobbies and buying homes outside the small perimeter in Vancouver where we all lived.

So, the deal was that every other month we would get together to eat somewhere; either go out, or eat in at someone's house. We would each take turns planning an outing.

The gathering's have been great fun! We've gone out for Indian, Thai, Chinese and many other cuisines. We've had themed dinners at home and BBQ's and even had a picnic at the beach! We've had other people, outside of the 8 of us, join us on occasion. And we've even had 2 baby announcements at our gatherings! It's definitely been a wonderful way for the 8 of us to stay in touch. I'm just sad that I haven't taken any photos!

This last time around, we thought we'd try something a little different. Instead of making food the centre of our gathering, we thought we'd try something that most of us have not tried before. We went curling!

It was a blast! Thanks to Royal City Curling Club for hosting us! We called them up ahead of time and told them our situation - we were a group of 8 beginners looking to try curling. Not only did they book us a sheet of ice ($70 for 2 hours), but they provided us with all our equipment AND we had someone there to give us instruction for a good chunk of the time that we were there!

Firstly, it is MUCH harder than it looks. I think it helped that all of us have done at least 1 sport on ice. So, we were all comfortable being on the ice in our shoes. But then, we had to either balance in a croutched position as we threw a stone down the ice in the correct direction and speed OR we had to run across the ice in our shoes, trying not to fall at the same time as sweeping with enough downward pressure that we're actually impacting the speed of the stone! Man, it was fun!I think Patrick was the star of the show. Having curled for a semester in CEGEP, he was definitely the ringer in our group! (hehehe) Liezel threw the most hilarious first stone - even after she was on her butt, she refused to let go of the stone! And Mon got heckled the most when she made an effort to sweep a stone, but gave up after she couldn't keep up with it.

But, the shot of the day came from Brian. It was the final stone (because our 2 hours were up). Brian's yellow team was down by 2 and Patrick's blue team was poised to win the last end. Brian threw his last yellow stone that knocked the winning blue stone out of the "house". It left the yellow team with 4 stones in the house, winning the end and the match! Woo! Hoo! (BTW, please excuse my mixed up terminology as I have never curled before.)

It was definitely a fun dine in/dine out gathering for our group. And so we didn't forget the nature of our gatherings, we all went back to our house after curling and ordered in some Sushi Garden! Yum! Yum!

Friday, January 4, 2008

a home away from home

Everytime we go away on vacation, we are faced with the dreaded task of finding a dogsitter for Nikita. We dread it because we feel guilty that we are abandoning our dog and, in finding the best possible accommodations for our dog, we feel that we are putting people out. We are truly indebted to all our friends and family who have opened their homes to Nikita.

Over the holidays, we had arranged for friends to dogsit for us while we were gone to Toronto. Unfortunately, the plans fell through and we had find alternate arrangements in less than a week. A couple of co-workers recommended Richmond Animal Hospital. Brian and I were reluctant because we've never left Nikita at a kennel before. Alas, we had no other choice and I felt very comfortable that the referrals were good. We were lucky because RAH had a recent cancellation and were able to accommodate Nikita.

A couple of days before we boarded her, we took Nikita to RAH for what they called a mandatory "stress" test. It was a 4-hour trial period to see how she would do there. She passed with flying colours. They had no concerns at all with keeping Nikita there.

After the stress test, we were taken on a tour of the facility. It was much different from what I imagined. It was very clean and the dogs stayed in luxuriously large pens. They recommend not bringing blankets or toys (as they couldn't guarantee that it would go home with Nikita) but they were OK with us bringing Nikita's big ass dog bed from Costco. There was a large, fenced outdoor area, so we were comfortable that Nikita would get her fair share of exercise. The staff were friendly and seemed very kind to the animals. We felt relieved that we found a good place for Nikita to stay.

Of course, tears were shed the day we had to drop her off. It was heart-wrenching for me to leave her in a strange place, with unfamiliar people, even though I knew everyone would be good to her. She is such a people dog and she would be spending the majority of the next 9 days with dogs. Ugh. Please don't pick up any bad habits from other dogs. And please be the exact same dog when we pick you up.

The day we picked her up, we were suppose to wait until after 4pm because we asked them to bathe her and clip her nails. At 8:30am, we called RAH and told them to forget the bath. We were coming to pick her up now!

The reunion was a typical Nikita push-you-down-over-excited reunion. We loved it. She looked great, smelled great (despite not having a bath) and was in very good spirits. RAH had treated her well.

So, this blog posting is mostly to recommend Richmond Animal Hospital the next time you are looking for a kennel for your dog. In Nikita's 2 1/2 years, she has never stayed at a kennel before, and we would not hesitate to bring her back there again. Thanks RAH, for taking care of our girl.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

new year's purge

It was decided that to start off 2008 right, this family needed a purge. Literally. Josh got it first early on Saturday morning (the 29th). He woke up barfing and didn't stop until the early afternoon. On Sunday evening (the 30th), I got it. I barfed up my stomach contents in 2 big heaves, but didn't start eating again for 24 hours. Brian got it last and the worst. He started early Monday morning (at 3am) and was barfy for almost 24 hours. He was able to eat again 36 hours after he first felt sick.

It was a nasty bug. Brian and I do not recall each other being sick like that in the 5+ years that we have known each other. It's funny because before we got sick, I hadn't realized that there was a bug going around. Now, after we've been sick, I'm hearing from everyone that something nasty is going around (in both Vancouver and Toronto!). There were 15 people staying at my parent's place over the holidays and 8 of us caught it in some shape or form. Needless to say, I'm sure my parent's, though happy to have their family home, are relieved to have all of us germy people out of the house!

So, on the bright side, our family has effectively purged ourselves! We are ready to start 2008 off right! But I hope all of you had a better New Year's celebration than we did. Happy New Year, everyone!

holiday hubbub

What a holiday. That about sums it up! We had a super busy holiday season. It started with an early Christmas celebration with the Van Dop family on December 16th and ended when we came back from Toronto yesterday. The best part was that Josh spent Christmas with all his cousins - 11 in total.

We celebrated Christmas early with the Van Dop's because me, Brian and Josh were leaving for Toronto the following week. I think it was the most hectic that we've had a Van Dop family Christmas! Granted, the family gets bigger every year too. It was crazy trying to organize opening kid's stocking, kid's gifts, adult stockings and getting in a kid's meal and adult meal as well! On top of that, the kid's are all on schedules and none of the schedules seemed to match up! But in the end, it all got done and it was nice to spend time with the whole Van Dop family. It was especially nice for us to get to see Josh interact with all his Van Dop cousins.

It was tough, but we tried to get a photo of the Van Dop cousins and this is how it turned out:

from left: C, Josh, B, J, L, C

Then, just as we thought a family Christmas couldn't get any more hectic, we went to Toronto to have a Liem family Christmas. My parent's had a full house with 4 out of us 5 siblings staying there with our families. There were 15 people living under one roof for a week. Christmas day was the craziest time - trying to get all 19 of us together in the house and awake long enough to open presents proved to be a challenging feat! I think it was after 4pm when we finally got around to opening presents!

As busy and NOT relaxing as it was, I always enjoy going home and spending time with my family. Since we are scattered around Canada and the US, it is a rare time for all of us to get together and I try to make the most of every minute of it. Here is the product of the Liem cousin's photo (Grammy and Kong made it into the photo too!):
from left: C, N, Little H, Kong, Big H, Grammy, Josh, L, DB

We feel very blessed to have such a lovingly large family. Though the holidays get crazy and stressful, we love nothing more than spending it with family. We hope that all of you had the opportunity to spend the holidays with your family too.