Friday, October 31, 2014

tu parles français!

Knight? Bishop? Heaven forbid a pawn!
I remember a few years back when we were trying to make the decision to put Josh in EFI (early french immersion).  Much like deciding to hold him back a year, it was a very 'heavy' decision to make.  Man, it feels like decision-making goes to a whole new stress level when you are doing it for this little person who can't make the decision themselves and you have to decide what's best for them!  You try to weigh all the pros and cons but mostly, you're just crossing your fingers and praying.

I've seen many outcomes from these decisions.  Mostly good, but some have caused doubt.  Last week, though, we had our most rewarding experience for deciding to commit our kids to EFI.  I'm not sure what has caused Josh to fully embrace french immersion this year, but I'm constantly feeling like I need to hug Mme. D, Josh's Grade 2 teacher.  I can't say enough good things about how amazing a teacher she is!

Between that and having 2 years of french immersion under his belt, Josh's french is flourishing.  So, last week, the kids were having some quiet play time after dinner.  Josh had re-introduced himself to his Star Wars Lego after a brief hiatus.  He had all sorts of ships and mini figs strewn across the floor.  I was sitting at the dinner table nearby, sorting mail or something.  I slowed down momentarily to focus on Josh's play.  When I listened closely to what he had his mini figs saying to each other, that's when I noticed it.  Josh was playing en français.  Wow.  I was floored.  It took everything I had not to reach down and hug him.

Bravo, mon petit!  C'est formidable!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Playing on the beach, Deception Pass, June 2014
It's amazing how conversations like this will still catch me off guard:

A: Mommy, what does a babysitter do?
Y: (huh?!) Well, when moms and dads have to go out and the kids can't come, they will get a baby sitter to come and do the things with the kids that Mom & Dad would do.
A: Like feeding them and getting them ready for bed?
Y: Yes :-)
A: Can kids go when people get married? (...and then getting to the point before I can answer...) Did Josh have a babysitter when you and daddy got married so you could have me?
Y: (bwahahaha!) Sweetie, Mom & Dad only got married once and it was before we had you and Josh. You don't get married each time you have a baby, you get married before you have all your babies (yes, I'm giving her the uncomplicated leave-it-to-beaver version!).
A: (not sure why I didn't see this coming) Well then how do you make babies?!

Sigh.  Mom had no answer but to say "I'll explain when you're older"!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

move over, mom, there's a new coconutwoman in town!

The kid's first trip to NYC.  Apparently, making rabbit
ears in photos makes Times Square more fun!
(mostly only my family will get that title)

We've had a blast spending the past couple of weeks in NY and NJ, visiting family and friends (we head home tomorrow).  The last few days, we've been staying with S&B at their new house near Seton Hall University.

Today, the kids and I were walking past the university on our way back from a local park.  Josh asked what a university was and I tried to explain (something about where the big kids go after high school because they want to learn more and try to get "better" jobs; to give him a frame of reference for age, I said his cousin, L, was going to a university in September).

J: Mom, I'm going to go to university so I can open a coconut shop for you! (Josh knows I love coconuts.)
Y: Wow!  That sounds so awesome!  What would you sell?  Just coconuts?
J: No, I'd sell things like coconut cake, coconut cupcakes, coconut ice cream, coconut milk...stuff like that.
Y: Yum! If you open a coconut shop, I'd like to work there.
J: (lots of hesitation) Well, ummm...I'm going to have younger people working there.
Y: Oh, you mean like L's age?
J: (more hesitation) Well, ummm...not really. (pause) Mom, you know when you work in the shop you can't eat the food?
Y: (Now I get it!) If someone works there and pays for their food, can't they eat it?  And would you give them a discount because they work there?
J: (giggles) I guess, and I'd pay them too!

Ha.  It's a relief to know that he plans on paying them and, fwiw, I neglected to mention that he doesn't really need to go to university to open a coconut shop :-P

Friday, May 23, 2014

our own worst critic

Josh called me over while he was on the toilet tonight. I stood at the bathroom door:

J: How come your bathroom and Miss Tess' bathroom have fans but ours doesn't have a fan?
Y: Because our house was built in the 'olden' days. This bathroom was built back then and they didn't put fans in bathrooms. They used that window for ventilation. Daddy built our bathroom and Miss Tess' bathroom, so he put fans in them.
J: So. Our house is old?
Y: Yes, our house is 80 years old.
J: Oh. Our house is from the olden days!
Y: Well, Daddy fixed up a lot of the house, so some of it is new and some of it is old.
(I love it when I can tell the wheels are spinning but I have no idea what's going to come out. At this point, the wheels are definitely spinning!)
J: Mom...(starts to say something but pauses to rephrase) I really like the decisions you made for the inside of the house...(you know there's a but coming)
...but the outside needs a paint job.

Ha. Guess who just volunteered for paint duty this summer?!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

mommy, my birthday party is today!

This is what Aves said to me in the moment she woke up on the day of her 5th birthday party.  She was SO excited for her party this year. (and I forgot to post this!)

A few months ago, when she started planning (!!), she said she wanted a Build-A-Bear party.  Great.  Part of me felt it was a tad indulgent, but part of me felt that Aves deserved it.  She loves to go into the store and look at all the stuffies; she watches them get made for other kids.  She has never asked for one.

So, I was ready to have a Build-A-Bear party.  Then, Aves went to her best friend W's birthday party.  He had it at home.  From that day on, Aves said she wanted her birthday party at home.  Ha.  All of a sudden, the Build-A-Bear party was sounding more and more ideal!

This is the first time that either of the kids asked to have their party at home.  I've been perfectly happy having parties out of the house.  No work, no mess, no planning.  Perfect.  Clearly, Aves likes to keep me challenged.

As chaotic as the party was and as unprepared as I was for it, I think Aves had a blast.  And that's all that really counts.  Usually, Aves is pretty stuck to me.  If she's not always at my side, then she will check back with me about every 5 minutes.  I'm pretty sure she only came up to me a couple of times during the party.  Yup, she had a blast.

Party aside, Aves' 5th birthday has felt like a pretty big deal to me.  One of my girlfriends said that she remembered the day that Aves was born.  It was the first time she held a baby that small.  She spent the night with me in the hospital because I wanted Brian to stay with Josh.  She said she remembers the day like it was yesterday.  Of course, I remember it too.  And I can't believe that it was 5 years ago.

I can't believe that my baby is 5 years old!

Because she is girl, I find that I compare myself to her.  In so many ways, I see how she's just like me.  She is stubborn, cautious when it comes to physical activity and not afraid to say how she feels or show emotion.  She also has a very day-dreamy side to her.  But in so many other ways, I see how she is so much wiser than I was at her age.  I just can't believe her level of comprehension sometimes!  She will take what she has learned in one scenario and apply it to a completely different scenario.

This past school year, Aves did a year of pre-school.  She will be going into Kindergarten in September.  I recall last September feeling like Aves was ready for Kindergarten at that time!  I'm sure this was partly a proud mommy, but it was also based on experiences with Josh and understanding the expectations of Kindergarten.  (Aves just loves to learn.  Her big thing right now is reading.  She loves to read everything - street signs, shop signs, words painted on the road, words on people's clothes.)

Aves' pre-school had a parent-teacher meeting in January to discuss the kids' progress.  I mentioned that I have no concerns about Aves' progress in school and I'm pretty sure she is ready for Kindergarten.  Aves' pre-school teacher replied with "Aves was ready for Kindergarten last September!".  Phew.  It's not just me!

You are amazing, little girl!  We love you SO much.  Happy 5th Birthday, Aves!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

...and back

Aves went into the face painting booth wanting
a butterfly and she came out as a clown
because she wanted "to make Josh laugh".
Love this kid!
Josh and Aves' Nana likes to tell them that she loves them 'to the moon and back'.  It always makes the kids smile to think their Nana loves them THAT much.

Tonight, I was tucking the kids into bed.  The kids went through their usual stalling dance where they call "Mommy" as I'm headed out the door.

"Mommy, you forgot to give me a hug."

"Mommy, can you rub my back?"

"Mommy, can you sing me a song?"

"Mommy, are you going to bed now too?"

"Mommy, I'll see you in the morning."

This was the dance with Aves tonight:

A: Mommy, wait!
Y: (Wearing my patient voice.) Yes, Aves?
A: I love you so, so, so, so, so, so much.
Y: I love you so, so, so, so, so, so much too, Aves.
A: Do you know how much I love you, Mommy?
Y: (sighing) How much do you love me, Aves?
A: I love the...
(I see her trying to figure out just how much she loves me.)
A: I love you to the wall and back! (She's pointing at the wall about 6 inches from her finger.)

Wow, Aves.  I'm feeling the love.  Ha.  FWIW, she got a big laugh from both Josh and I.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

i dreamed a dream

You know when you dream and you know what happened in your dream but sometimes you try to describe it in words and it doesn’t make sense or it doesn’t sound as accurate as you dreamed it?  Well, I think this is Aves’ way of articulating this…

Last night, in the middle of the night, Aves came running into the room crying and crawled into bed beside me.  She said she had a bad dream.  She curled up close to me and I asked her if she could tell me about her bad dream (sometimes talking about it helps to get it out of your mind).  She said no, she couldn’t remember it.  

I’m not sure how much time went by because I was sleeping, but I was awoken by Aves’ distressed mumbling.  She was mumbling about how she didn’t want me to go back to work and that she just wanted me to stay with her (wow.  way to pull on the mommy-guilt strings!).  I asked her again if she could tell me about her dream but she said again that she couldn’t remember.

Finally, she woke me up one last time and this time she mumbled that she couldn’t sleep because she kept thinking about her bad dream.  She’s thinking about it!  Great!  Now, she can tell me about the dream.  Nope.  She STILL said she couldn’t remember the dream!  Huh?!

The next morning, I told her about the events of the night.  I told her that she told me she couldn’t fall back asleep because she kept thinking about her dream but when I asked about the dream she said she couldn’t remember!  The irony was not lost on her.  She explained to me, “Mommy, it’s because in my head, I remember the dream but my mouth, it doesn’t remember the dream!”.

Very well said, kid.

Monday, March 3, 2014

a Josh thing

I’m not sure if it’s a boy thing or if it’s a Josh thing, but the kid astounds me.

I know that there will be many things Josh will learn and do that I have never experienced, but at 7 years old, I guess I’m in denial that that he is starting already.

This first video, is Josh’s jump dive.  Yeah, I know, ‘it’s just a dive’.  But I don’t know how to dive.  And as far as dives go, it’s quite a lovely dive.  Well, the first one is.  The second one had more to do with trying to chat up a girl, I suspect.

This second video is Josh’s first jump off the 5 metre diving platform.  That’s right, I said first one.  And right again, I said 5 metres.  Did you see the expression of pure joy on his face?  Should I even mention that at the end of this swim session, Josh did a cannonball off the 5 metre platform?!  Yup, he did.  Crazy.  Fricking.  Kid.

big white

When I wrote this post, I hoped we wouldn't wait another 4 years for our next group ski trip.  Well, we didn't end up waiting 4 years - we waited 6 years instead!  This year, the trip was Big White in Kelowna.  I think all of us felt ready to get our kids independently on skis and, hopefully, get in a bit of skiing/riding ourselves.

We were slightly concerned as we drove through Abbotsford and the kids asked, ‘how much longer?’ and ‘are we closer to home or closer to Big White?’.  But the drive was fine, though snowy, and we managed to make it up with only 1 stop (plus a half stop to play a quick round of Simon Says in the the last hour as the kids started to get antsy!).

Skiing was great!  Josh has taken a lesson here and there since he was 3 and this year, when we started skiing in January, he didn’t want to do lessons.  We figured it was fair that he knows enough of the basics and now he just needs practice time.  He has been strictly skiing with either me or Bri or both of us; no lessons.  He recently graduated to the chair lift on one of our local mountains and he’s been pretty proficiently skiing down beginner green runs.

This trip, he went up his first high speed quad chair (i.e. longer runs).  I’m pretty amazed watching him go down a run.  When the runs get a bit steep, he does his turns strategically to maintain a slower speed.  When he hits flatter parts, he likes to point his skis down the hill (even doing a tuck here and there!).  It’s been a blast skiing with him this year.  He has put the fun back in green runs for me.  I can do that all day long.
view from the top of the bullet express

Aves got on skis for the first time in January.  This trip was her third (and fourth) time on skis.  After her lesson on the second day, her instructor told us she was ready for the chair lift.  Aves was up for it, so near the end of that day, Bri took her on her first chair lift.  She’s amazing!  She can ski quite confidently down the beginner green runs.  She seems pretty casual and comfortable as she talks her way down the run, even when she falls!  Unfortunately, we have no movies of her skiing on this trip because she spent most of her ski time in lessons.  I’m sure we will catch her on film soon!

On one of our final runs of the day, the four of us got to do a run together.  It was a pretty amazing feeling to be able to ski/ride with my family.  Up to now, a day of skiing involves various different levels of logistics, trying to coordinate lessons, lunch and other activities when one gets too tired to ski anymore.  The four of us have never skied/rode together.  I’m sure there will still be a bit more of lessons and logistics for the next few years, but I’m definitely looking forward to having good quality family time on the slopes. 

Big White is an amazing family resort and there were lots of other fun activities as well.  We got in some ice time as well as some sledding time.  All 4 kids got along famously and seemed to have fun, whether it was outside in the snow or hanging out in the chalet (bunk beds make great forts and hideouts from dragons!).  
i've never seen kids so enthusiastic about fruit salad

kids in snow
this seems like a good idea
this still seems like a good idea
hmmm...this may be going sideways a bit
possibly not a good idea
no, that was definitely a good idea!

We also had good, quality time catching up with friends.  It was a nice mix of spending family time on the mountain coupled with ‘grown-up’ time with friends in the evenings (with the backdrop of the Olympics as a bonus!).
I’m not going to jinx this by saying, ‘I hope it won’t be another 6 years before…”, but I’d like to believe that we all had a fabulous enough time to be pretty committed to do this again soon.  I know I did.
treacherous drive home on the coquihalla

Saturday, January 18, 2014


One of the important topics Josh and I were addressing today in the car:

Y: Josh, if you are flying on Ironman's back and Aves is flying on Iron Patriot's back, who would get to Grammy's house first?

J (after a long laugh and some deep thought): Ummm...neither of us would get there first.  Aves would fall off Iron Patriot's back and I would throw up.


Monday, January 6, 2014

life's little pleasures

I’ve just taken 2 1/2 weeks off for Christmas holidays.  It’s not a long time but usually when I take that time, we go somewhere.  This year, I decided I wanted to take 2 1/2 weeks and do nothing.  


I realized this was odd for me when, everytime someone asked me where we were going for vacation and I said nowhere, they were shocked.  They couldn’t believe I hadn’t planned anything.  Wasn't going anywhere.

After the 2 1/2 weeks, I would say that the vacation was...interesting.  Would I do it again?  Yes.  Was it relaxing? No.  Was it a good break?  Yes.  It gave me time to focus on my family (and myself).  It helped me to gain some insight on my relationship with my kids.  I can't fully articulate what I learned yet, but I'm still processing.

Part of doing nothing involved little pleasures like going out for dinner.  One night, we went to one of our usual haunts (the kid's current favourite place to eat).  I'm not going to say where for fear of being judged. :-P  During dessert (and in the spirit of enjoying little pleasures), I decided to start taking pictures of the kids.  They thought this was fun.  This is how it evolved...

First, Aves made a face when I took a pic:

Josh thought this was funny and wanted me to take a pic of him:

This prompted Josh to want to take a pic of me.  I obliged, of course, by making a face:

Then Josh wanted to take a family shot (for some reason, I forgot the making-a-face theme):

I wanted Josh in the shot, so he did this:

Not wanting to be outdone by her brother, Aves needed to make sure she took a pic as well:

Life's little pleasures, indeed.