Thursday, December 31, 2009


One last post for 2009. Josh did his second round of skating lessons this Fall. This was his first time on "real" skates as he did his first lessons on BOB skates at the beginning of the year.

He did an awesome job! In the beginning, he couldn't even stand on his hockey skates. By the end of the session, he was tap-tap-tapping all by himself! Though he really seemed to catch on, I think he had a tough time. When I asked him if he wanted to do skating again, he said that he wanted to do it later. So, I think we'll take a break from skating until next Fall...

Originally uploaded by evelet

just squeaked this one in

I said I would do a Christmas post before the new year and I'm just squeaking this one in! What can I say?! The whole year, much less the holiday season, flew past us! I've had so many things I've wanted to post and no time (or no energy) to post them. So, I wanted to make sure I got my Christmas post up before I'm forced to declare blog bankruptcy!

We had a really nice Christmas this year - it was quiet and we stayed close to home. After Josh's birthday, we start to build momentum for the holiday season and I think Josh now understands when Christmas is coming. He loves the Christmas lights outside and he was pretty excited this year to help decorate the tree. He knows the whole advent calendar routine like the back of his hand - courtesy of a wonderful Playmobil calendar he got for his birthday this year.

Avery has no idea, of course. She's only 8 months old! But I think she enjoyed the festivities nonetheless. I'm still working on traditions for our family, though.

This year, Josh wanted to build a gingerbread house, so we bought a kit and put it together. Brian, our resident framer, put up the house. Josh said he wanted a house that looked like the picture on the box, so I started to decorate the house accordingly. Well, it turned out that it wasn't much fun for Josh to watch Mommy decorate the house, so at that point, I slathered on the icing and let Josh decorate the rest of the house. He loved it. He loved it everyday that he ate bits of it and once his favourite bits were gone, he lost interest. It was fun while it lasted though!

We did a whole "if you want that toy you have to ask Santa" routine, so Josh was pretty excited to see Santa. We visited Santa at the mall and Josh had no problem waiting the 20 or so minutes in line. He wasn't scared of Santa at all and went into a lengthy explanation of the airport toy he wanted that he had just seen at Toys'r'Us. The experienced Santa staff said to sit Avery on Santa's lap without letting her look at him. It worked well and we have a pretty good shot of the kids with Santa (not shown here).

The kids saw Santa again at my company's kid's Christmas party. This time, Avery saw Santa and she did not like what she saw (see below)! It was the standard reaction you would expect when you sit a baby on a strange man's lap.

We visited Bright Nights in Stanley Park twice over the holidays (and managed to forget our camera twice!). The first time, the train was sold out, so we decided to make the trip back there a second time with tickets bought online. It's a pretty spectacular display, even if you don't make it on the train. Josh loved the train ride, though, and wanted to go again after it was over. Maybe next year...

We had a wonderful time spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with the Van Dop side of the family this year. We were sad that Dad had to spend the holidays out of commission, but we visited him and tried to make the day as festive as possible.

We hope you and your family had a joyous and peaceful holiday and we wish you a fabulous 2010 - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Our first attempt at building a gingerbread house

Who is this man and why am I sitting on his lap??!!

This is Josh's "I'm going to beat Santa with my bell" face

Christmas Eve with the Van Dop cousins

The 3-year-olds doing an awesome job of opening their presents!

Finally! It's Christmas morning!

Opening our stockings together

Please explain to me how that is a good present, Daddy...

Josh said he really wanted a baby for Christmas, so we obliged. He named it "Baby Avery".

Avery LOVED opening presents - or should I say, Avery LOVED gift wrap!

Even Nikita got in the action

Josh really enjoyed the opening of presents part this year...

...and he didn't mind the gifts inside that much either!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

vancouver 2010

We got our Olympic tix delivered today. I'm surprised VANOC waited so long to send them out, but I guess they are trying their hardest to prevent scalping.

The tix are pretty cool, and pretty big - bigger than an iPod Touch, anyway! We have tix for preliminary men's hockey, curling and for the ski cross up at Cypress Mountain. Nothing too exciting, but at least we can say we took part in the Olympic experience.

Actually, I think the most exciting part is that we got tickets to see the figure skating training sessions! Yeah, I know, it's just training. But I'm a sucker for figure skating. When World's was in town in 2002, I took a day off work and went to a day's worth of events. In addition to that, I went to training sessions too. I tell you, I'm a sucker!

BTW, my girlfriend who lives north of Whistler just listed her house for Olympic accommodation here. If you know anyone that is looking for accommodation for Whistler Olympic events, please send them the link.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

4, 5, 6, 7, 8...

This post was originally called milestones. I started it in October when Avery turned 6-months old. I've been meaning to post this since then! Six months became 7months and then 7 became 8. So, here I am FINALLY posting this! Because there are so many pictures, I'm just throwing them all in at the end - they start from back in July when she was 3 1/2 months old until her bath in the sink at the beginning of December.

Anyway, Avery is 8 months old and SUCH a cutie. I haven't had my camera that takes movies since August, so I don't have any movies of Avery for the past 4 months. It is really unfortunate because she has been SO animated these last few months. I just got my camera back a couple of weeks ago and I shot the movie that I posted after the pictures. SO cute.

So, what are the milestones?! There have been so many! Avery has 2 teeth now, on the bottom. They came at about 6 months old and they are still her only 2 teeth. She started sitting up on her own at about 7 months. She can't crawl yet, but that is fine by us! In fact, it's harder now that she is sitting because she doesn't always want to be in the exersaucer or the jolly jumper. I think it's safer for her to be in either of those two because it's a layer of "protection" from Josh. When she's sitting on the floor by herself and Josh is running around, leaving bite-sized toys everywhere, I feel like Avery is so vulnerable to the "elements"!

Avery's first word was, you guessed it(!), "Mama"! However, she only says it when she is distressed in that very crying, whiny tone..."Ma ma ma ma ma...". She started that at about 7 months, too. I've been trying to teach her "mama", "dada" and "baba". Just a couple of weeks ago, she started to say "baba". Now, in addition to her squeals, she goes around saying "mama" and "baba" all the time.

I thought that because Avery was such a talker, she would be quite calm in the movement department. NOT! I guess we're just one of those rare, "lucky" parents who just have active children. Avery cannot sit still. She will not just sit on my lap. She likes to be standing on laps or, if we're standing and carrying her, she is constantly turning her body and leaning all over the place. She's just fidgety girl. Have you met her brother?!

Speaking of brother, Josh and Avery are great together. I'm having lots of fun watching the 2 of them these days. Josh always includes Avery in everything and he always wants to comfort her when she cries. She LOVES to watch him play and I think she gets some comfort out of him just being around. It's great to watch him try to make her laugh and hear her giggle because of him.

Josh also has his moments around Avery, too. He bit her couple of times. The first time, I think it was because he was going to put his finger in her mouth and I told him not to because she already had teeth and it would hurt. So, I think he decided to pre-empt her strike with one of his own!

Josh can also be quite rough with Avery, so she'll have to be a tough girl just to survive him! We are constantly having to remind him to be gentle with her but he soon forgets our warnings.

He also takes toys away from her all the time. I think he does that because he can! I'll be interested to see how things evolve once Avery is able to crawl and walk and stick up for herself. I'm sure she'll be taking his toys much more often and she'll able to voice her discontent with him. Ahhh, the joys of sibling rivalry...

Monday, December 14, 2009

i'm bankrupt

Someone once mentioned the term "email bankruptcy" to me and I thought it was very appropriate! I usually read all my email, but I'm not always very good about replying. So, I've decided (or this time of year, I guess I should say I've "resolved") that I am going to declare email bankruptcy as of January 1st, 2010. So, if you've sent me an email and I haven't replied by then, chances are I won't.

I will resolve to be better at replying to email in the new year, but I'm definitely not going to try to catch up anymore!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

a show of support

I do not profress to know, nor would I ever want to know, what it's like to be fighting a battle with cancer. My heart breaks everytime I hear of someone, and their loved ones, fighting this battle.

Each year, we always make a contribution in hopes that there will one day be a cure. In the meantime, I wanted to do one more little thing in hopes that my show of support may help just one person as they fight this horrible disease...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

we made it to 3!

I had a couple of posts written before this one, but I had to make sure I got this one up soon! Well, I can say that this past year with a 2-year-old has been quite an adventure, but we made it!

Two is an amazing age. When I think that Josh has only been around for 24 to 36 months, I can't believe how much he's changed in that time! Last November, he was a toddler turning into a little kid. Now, he's a little kid saying that he's a "big kid". And believe me, that's not all he's saying! Josh thrived on communication this past year. When he first started talking, I wrote down all the funny little "Joshism's" that he used to say. Well, I can't keep up anymore! He loves to talk about everything! Most times we understand him, but sometimes, it can be very confusing and I feel bad when he's trying to say something to me and I don't understand! His pronounciation has really improved within the past year, though. He used to pronounce "r" as "w" and, most recently, his "l" is no longer "y".

I could go on and on with the list of changes I've seen in Josh over the past year, but here are the highlights:
- He can put on his shoes and take them off (velcro kind)
- He can undress and he can dress himself except for putting on pants
- Brushing teeth was a struggle last year, but now he will brush his bottom teeth well on his own and he will let us do his top teeth
- Mealtimes are still a stuggle getting him to sit down for the whole meal, but he sits in a big chair and he eats pretty much all the same stuff we eat
- He can draw lines and circles
- He loves to hang, climb, jump and he can walk the length of the balance beam, assisted, but without falling
- He learned to skate on BOB skates last January and now he's learning to skate on real skates
- He's in swim classes without us and he's progressing well. He's not doing things on his own yet, but he will float on his back, go underwater and blow bubbles and all the stuff the instructor teaches them.
- He goes to a "stomp" class without us and he loves dancing and hip hop
- He's not afraid to try new activities - he's been on waterslides, roller coasters and he loves it all
- He's starting to "socialize" with other kids his age. They can play together and they even talk to each other (and boss each other around!).
- He can be very protective and endearing with Avery these days. When she was an infant, he wasn't particularly interested in her, but now that she is 7 months old and more interactive, he loves to help me change her diaper and he always goes to her and tries to soothe her when she's crying. It's alot of fun watching them interact together!
- I think he understands the concept of family. Everytime he talks about us doing something as a group, he says, "Daddy, Mommy, Joshie, baby Avery and 'Kita". It's very cool to hear.

Of course, we have to take the bad with the good and this is where the "we made it" part comes in! Josh DEFINITELY went throught the terrible 2's. I'm so envious of the parents who say they never really had trouble with their child at 2!

Josh started out the 2's just by being very active! He always wanted to run around and wasn't afraid to be away from us, so we had to chase him down alot. At 2, he was still too young to understand "listening to us" but now, he is really good about "staying close" when we ask him to.

I think it helped that he developed the emotion of fear next. Last January, he started to say he was afraid of things and he actually started filtering what he watched on tv. Shows that he really enjoyed before (like Cars movie and Dora) all of a sudden had scary characters like Frank the combine and witches. He also started having bad dreams and waking up in the middle of the night because of it! All of this, I think, slowed him down a little and made him cautious in certain environments.

At around 2.5 years old, the REAL terrible 2's started. Josh started with hitting and pushing. Whenever he would get excited, he would hit or push. No amount of telling him it was bad could stop him! That phase has mostly passed but it evolved into growling, screaming, spitting and stomping. Honestly, I feel like a broken record when I tell him to stop doing something! Of course, this eventually leads to a time out, which I'm not sure is effective with Josh, but it's what we can do to calm him down, get him focused and calm ourselves down! And to top it all off, now I see a temper started to appear. Whenever Josh gets angry or frustrated, he wants to yell, hit and cry (hmmm...wonder where he gets that from?!).

I know that a switch will not automatically go off and he will be an angel when he turns 3, but I see more and more he is starting to understand when we explain things to him. Adn believe me, we are learning just as much as Josh is when it comes to parenting and dealing with a pre-schooler!

I could go on and on about all the experiences, good and bad, that we've been through with Josh this past year, but I better stop here! As hard as it's been dealing with the terrible 2's, I would not have changed a thing about the past year. I am still astounded by Josh everyday. I learn so much from him and he brings such joy to my heart. I find that many days, we'll just be playing I find that out of the blue, I have to tell him that I love him.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Joshie. I can't believe you're growing up so fast! We love you and we're so proud of you.

Josh and his birthday cupcakes, celebrating in Toronto last week

Josh got to celebrate with Big H and Little H while in Toronto (we missed the Sugi cousins!)

And then Josh got celebrate with his Van Dop cousins on his actual birthday!

indian summer

Obviously, I'm not talking about Vancouver. We were in Toronto last week for an impromptu trip to see my grandmother. I miss the Fall season. It used to be my favourite season growing up back east. Our recent trip made me realize again how much I missed it. We lucked out and had fabulous weather during our trip - a bit of an indian summer but not quite as warm.

Even still, Josh got to ride a bike around my parent's neighbourhood on 4 of the 7 days we were there. Since he really got the hang of actually pedalling a bike at the end of the summer here at home, it was a treat to see him go around the neighbourhood.

Josh rode his bike to a little neighbourhood park and the leaves were SO abundant and crisp, that they were calling us to play in them. Josh LOVED it. It's so hard in Vancouver to find a day where you can play in the leaves without them being wet and rotten, so it was really new for Josh. We even walked home through the "forest" around my parent's neighbourhood. When we visited in the summer, Josh didn't want to go in the forest because it was too scary. I guess all the trees made it pretty dark in there. But with all the leaves on the ground, the forest didn't seem quite so scary and Josh had a blast with Uncle Lenny and Auntie Tini looking for walking sticks.

We had a wonderful little visit to Toronto. I wish we could go more often...

Walking and riding to the park

A candid smile

Avery's first swing ride

Pure joy

Happiness is...playing in the leaves

Kicking them is just as much fun too!

Pile on Uncle Lenny!

More candid moments

Joshie's turn to be buried!

Now it's Avery's turn! NOT!

Since Josh couldn't immerse the stroller in leaves, he decided to throw them on Avery

Avery loves to be carried

Looking for walking sticks in the "forest"

Looks like Josh is alone in woods, but I think Auntie Tini is behind the tree...

Family out for a walk