Saturday, August 27, 2011

happy belated

Between getting the family together to celebrate and bringing my laptop back to life to do the post, I'm finally getting Bri's birthday post up.

Since all the Van Dop's are here on the west coast, it's typical to have us all get together for a birthday.  What is not typical, is getting my family together for a birthday celebration.  Since Bri's birthday is in the summer though, we've lucked out in the past and we've been able to celebrate his birthday with parts of my family visiting us.

This year, it was my parents visiting.  Last weekend we were able to get all the Van Dop's over (sorry we missed you, Mike!) as well as my parents.  We had a really nice family gathering to celebrate Bri's birthday.

I hope you had a fun afternoon and a happy birthday, babe.  Love you.

P.S.  Bri actually turned 43 this year, not 44 (as his cake says).  Unfortunately, last year, we celebrated a 2nd birthday, a 4th birthday and a 42nd birthday, so we only had candles for 2 and 4.  Oopsy!


I don't pretend to know the finer points of transvestite vs. transgendered and everything in between, so please forgive me if I say incorrect things or offend.

Today, we were running errands and we were in a store.  The person helping me, I would describe like this: from the neck down, looked like a guy; dressed like a guy (but that might have been the attire for the store we were in).  From the neck up, looked like a guy trying to look like a lady - long hair in a ponytail, make-up very nicely applied, earrings, etc. - but very masculine features; sounded like a guy.  So, I'm not sure if this "guy" was a transvestite or transgendered.  In any case, "he" was clearly a guy who wanted to look like a lady.

I didn't notice Josh staring at all (thankfully) but at one point, he came up to us and directed some questions at this person:

J: Are you a boy or a girl?
(Mom is mortified.)
Guy/Lady: (after a long pause) I'm a girl.
J: No, you are a boy.
Lady: No, I'm a girl.
J: But you talk like a boy, not a girl.  So, you are a boy.
(Josh starts to walk away.)
Y: (What do I say??!!) OK, Josh, that's enough.

The lady went on to say that it was OK.  I clarified that I didn't mind him asking the question (as long as she didn't!), but I minded that he was denying that she was who she said she was.  She was very understanding and said that she was impressed that at least he had the fortitude to question the disconnect.  It didn't make sense in his mind, so he questioned it.  The denial was just age, because it didn't make sense.  But at least he asked the question.

She was very understanding and I was very relieved.  It's not necessarily one of the topics they put in the Parenting 101 manual...

Monday, August 22, 2011

josh on death

I was shocked this morning to turn on the tv and see that Jack Layton had died at 61. RIP.

Josh was beside me as I watched the news...

J: Mommy, why did he die?
Y: He was very sick, Josh.
J: How many birthdays did he have?
Y: Oh, he had LOTS of birthdays.
J: Mommy, I'm not going to let Daddy have anymore birthdays.
Y: Why?
J: Because I don't want him to die.

How do you reply to that?!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

don't know what you've got...

...til it's gone. It's true.

My Macbook died this week. And our Dell laptop has been in a coma for a few months now. I haven't done anything with the Dell because, well, I had the MacBook! Now, we're computer-less and I'm doing my first blog post ever from my iPad. It's not too bad, but I'm not used to the keyboard so it's slowing me down a bit. And instead of posting about our DWW reunion BBQ tonight (because I have nowhere to download photos to), I'm posting about this - complete with NO photos because I don't really take photos with my iPad!

I've been a bit lost without a computer. I guess I've taken it for granted that we've always had one for the past xx years! So earlier this week when I left work thinking I'd get some work done from home, it didn't even dawn on me that I had nothing to work from until I saw my non-working laptops.

I miss my Macbook. The iPad is serving me well, but it's not the same. I can't wait until we can breathe life back to the MacBook (cross fingers that all data is intact!).

Coupled with this loss is exhaustion. When my parents came to visit and we gave up our room so they didn't have to take the room upstairs, who would have known I would lose sleep over it?!

The first night I crawled into the double futon that makes up our guest bed I thought, "How did Bri and I ever sleep together in this bed?!". Bri sleeps diagonally in a double bed. So that means I don't sleep very well at all! And then toss Josh into the mix at 5am and you have a recipe for complete exhaustion!

It's been almost a week and though I love having Mom and Dad stay with us, I am SO looking forward to getting back on our room and to full nights of sleep!

Monday, August 15, 2011


Our last of 5 camping (glamping) trips this summer took us to Otter Lake Provincial Park in Tulameen.  I think the 11 weekend camping trips we've taken over the past 2 summers have made the kids well-adjusted to our camping "routine".  A weekend is a short time to go away, but man, is it ever fun!

Our adventure started when we decided to follow Google Maps' directions to get there.  We were skeptical about taking an exit that was sometime soon after the Coquihalla summit, but we did it anyway.  We ended up on a 1.5 hour tour of the logging roads in the area.  Good thing Bri washed the truck and trailer the night before!

Needless to say, we survived.  It was an interesting route and we got to see some of the forestry/recreation sites around the Boss Lake area, but it was slow and bumpy!  And it made me think that you really need to have some idea of an area before you blindly follow Google Maps or your GPS.  I can see why people go off on a road trip and then their family members report them missing days/weeks later.  We were in the middle of nowhere and if it was a different time of year and we broke down or something, we could have been SOL with no 3G.  We literally drove into the middle of nowhere by following a computer's directions!

Anyway, back to camping.  This was our first time camping with the Bush family.  In a word, we had a blast!  We had 4 adults, 5 kids and 3 dogs on a double campsite.  And it was chaos at it's best!  Actually, it wasn't chaotic at all.  Nicole and Sig have 3 boys - ages 5.5, 8 and 10.  Josh took to them immediately and I've never seen him so independent and having so much fun.  I guess I will have to get used to that more and more, but it's always hard for mom to let go, no?

Aves still stuck close to me, but she gets more and more adventurous everyday.  At one point, I was happy to see her at the beach, stepping into the water by herself, calf deep, to fill her watering can.  But then she lost her balance and fell into deeper water, getting her face wet.  That was the end of that adventure!

We were also subject to a campfire ban that started at noon on the Friday we arrived!  Bad timing!  It cooled down considerably at night.  On Friday night, we huddled around an imaginary campfire with blankets on, but on Saturday, we got smart and sat at the picnic table with a portable propane heater under the table to keep our legs and bodies warm.  Oh the joys of glamping!

We had a great time catching up with Cole and Sig, too.  Nicole and I are friends from all the way back in high school!  We did a bit of reminiscing, but mostly we wanted to hear how things were going as the Bush's start a new chapter of their lives in Vernon.  It sounded like things are going brilliantly and we can't wait to see the new digs on our impending visit!  And Sig, you ARE the dog whisperer. 

Of course, I have to share the cool things that Josh learned getting to hang out with older boys for the weekend:
1. Aves' princess ride-on toy makes a GREAT concrete toboggan!
2. Weiner is another word for his you-know-what.  And because it's just a weiner he can say it whenever he wants.
3. Instead of having his usual warm milk when he wakes up in the morning, Josh would now like to have a beer.

Thanks for a fabulous weekend, Bush family!  We can't wait to go again next year - this time, we'll try to do longer than 2 nights!

See more photos here.  Note below: the kid with the red helmet was not ours, but he loved playing with our kids!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

weekend at green lake

Well, I said I'd never do it, but we bit the bullet and went away for the August long weekend for the first time in probably about 9 years (which was the first time Bri and I went to Green Lake together, btw!).  Thanks to the Wust's for letting us set up camp at Mt. Jack!

For all the complaining I did, the road trip wasn't THAT bad.  Green Lake is about 425km from Vancouver.  Both leaving and coming back, we didn't get on the road as early as we hoped.  We hit long weekend traffic both ways but, I re-iterate, it wasn't THAT bad.  The kids did great, actually!  Between the snacks, naps and iDevices, they didn't start to get antsy until the final 45 minutes cooped up in the truck, both ways.

I would say that the highlight of the weekend for me was watching Josh thrive.  He loved it!  There were so many kids and now that he is riding around on 2 wheels, he feels more and more like the big kids.  It was sort of bittersweet as well - I didn't have to keep my eye on Josh the entire time and that means, to me, he is growing up.  He would take off on his bike and ride around the property on his own or with the other kids.  He would disappear for periods at a time only for me to find him playing with a group of kids on the trampoline or in the playground.  It was awesome to see him having such a great time, but it makes my heart ache to see him off playing on his own.

I also loved that Nikita was able to roam off leash.  Our usual camping takes us to provincial parks and we can't let Nikita off leash.  Not only was Nikita off leash at Green Lake, but we were right by the water!  Nikita was in doggie heaven.  I'm actually surprised that she didn't break her wag again!

Another highlight for me was watching Bri enjoy himself catching up with old friends and family.  Before my time, Bri used to go up to Green Lake all the time.  We've only been up 3 times in the past 9 years.  I know he really enjoys hanging out with the families at Mt. Jack and I hope I was enough of an enabler for him to spend quality time with everyone.

As for Aves, well, she definitely branched out a bit.  I think this camping thing is beginning to grow on her.  But I can always count on hearing that familiar, "Mommy, Mommy..." when I haven't seen her for about 15 minutes or so!

So, thanks again to all the families at Mt. Jack for always making us feel welcome.  We had a great time and we hope to see you again soon!

Aves waits patiently for ice cream at the Firehall's Fun Day

A wet dog is a happy dog!

Dune buggy rides with Dryden!

A kiss for Daddy

What do you think?!  Next year?  When I can touch the ground?!

Get your own stick!

Bri spots for Caleb as Josh goes along for the ride

Trying to avoid a double bounce from a 14-year-old!

The 4-minute feeding frenzy!

We miss you, Auntie Kim!

Josh and Shelyn talk watermelon

Hungry kids