Saturday, 31 December 2011


We have just returned home from ten days spent on the ever-perfect island of Maui!  Paul and I have been going to Maui together for years and I was so excited to take Sydney this year for the second time.  I knew that she'd love the sand at the beach as digging in the garden is one of her favourite pastimes and did she ever.  She would often wake up first thing in the morning and say: "Dig! Dig!"  It was very cute!

Our days were long and leisurely, we were always up super early in the morning and as soon as there was a whiff of daylight we were out the door for our morning walk either up the hill to Wailea or along South Kihei road along the beaches.  We would often stop for a coffee and a muffin before heading home for breakfast on our lanai.  Before the sun got too hot, we'd head to the beach for a few hours.  Sydney would dig for the better part of an hour in the sand playing with all of her sand toys.  Every year I buy a boogie board to use while we're there and she was so funny in the ocean standing on top of it, I think I may have a little surfer in the making on my hands!

Our time at the beach was fabulous, the weather was amazing, and Sydney did so well bobbing around in the ocean with Daddy and me.  She and I built a few sand castles and collected shells and pieces of coral and lava rocks, every day we had a little bucket of treasures to show off!

Once the sun got a little too hot in the early afternoon, we would head back to our condo for lunch and a nap and our afternoons were spent either in the grassy park across the way, reading or swinging with Syd.  One afternoon we headed up to the Shops at Wailea to do a little shopping.  I had promised Syd that I would get her a ukelele when were in Hawaii.  She chose this very cool pink one:

Every year when we go to Maui, Paul buys me a gift from the Tiffany store there.  This year I got a beautiful necklace from the Paloma Picasso collection, the crown of hearts medallion.  It is so lovely and such a wonderful souvenir of our time there!

In the early evening, at about 5:00 everyone in our area congregates in the park across the way to watch the amazing sunsets.  Every evening I would carry my glass of wine across the street and we would enjoy watching the sun dip down into the ocean until we could see it no more.  Syd especially loved all the kids and people and dogs that there were to see, it kept her very entertained while we waited for the sun to set!

The rest of our afternoons were spent either in the pool or lazing on our lanai.  Paul had the misfortune of injuring his foot quite badly while we were gone and was immobile for the last few days of our trip so I decided to take Sydney to the Maui Ocean Centre one afternoon while Paul was resting.  It was very cool, such amazing tropical fish and so neat to learn more about the exotic ocean life around Maui!  I especially loved the jellyfish and the live turtle that they had out for everyone to touch!!

Since we stay in a condo, I typically cook most of our meals while we're there.  Every year I try and think us some new and easy things that I can make for us to enjoy.  This year, with the help of some ready to go Costco fare, I managed to pull off a turkey dinner of sorts, it was delicious!

It is so cool to have established a tradition of our year-end Maui trip with Sydney, I can see how it's going to get better and better every year with her!  She had such fun playing in the sun and spending all that concentrated time with Mom and Dad together as a family, I think she really loved it!

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year's Eve and looking brightly ahead to all the wonderful things that 2012 is going to bring us!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Bathing Suit Shopping

Today Sydney and I went shopping to get me a new bathing suit.  Shopping with Sydney is a bit of a challenge right now.  She is just so curious about the world around her and is so interested in everything in the store that she literally wants to walk (run!) all around and touch everything.  If she finds something that she loves, she'll pick it up and pack it around the store for the length of our visit and trying to wrangle it out of her hands before we leave usually ends up in tears and screams.

We went to my old standby store Aqua La Vie en Rose, the swimwear arm of the lingerie store La Vie en Rose.  The carry an excellent selection of bathing suits and beach gear all at very reasonable prices.  It seems that red is all the rage this year, they had an entire wall of red suits, one of which had little black spots all over it, just like a ladybug.  Well, you can imagine where my little ladybug ended up, carrying around her ladybug bikini and saying "Oh nice!"  The ladies at the store were cracking up at her the whole time!

After choosing about 1500 different things to try on, I took Sydney to the change rooms which, much to my shagrin, only had curtains, no doors.  Sydney kept flinging my curtain open, I swear every person in the entire store shopping today saw me naked.  At one point while I was frantically trying on yet another suit she crawled under my curtain and whipped open another customer's curtain.  I heard a little shriek from the startled customer and apologized a million times!

In the end, funnily enough, the ladybug bikini was the one that worked out the best for me, so, much to Sydney's delight, I bought it.  I figured while I was there I may as well get a few other things that I needed so I picked up a beach bag, sunglasses and some sandals.  In the end everything ended up costing just $100, what a deal!

After all the excitement of bathing suit shopping Syd and I decided to head out for lunch and went to Joe's Grill for a bite.  Sydney is getting so much better at sitting for lengths of time at restaurants when we're eating out.  She ate a plate of fries and the toast from my sandwich and then declared "Go! Go!", she was ready to go!

My friend Michelle stopped by tonight with a little Hannukah gift for Sydney.  She gave her the sweetest mini Corolle doll, Sydney actually squealed with delight when she opened it, it was priceless. In fact, I had to pry it out of her hands while she was sleeping to take the picture below, I can tell this baby is fast going to become one of her favourites.  I have been eyeing the Corolle dolls forever, wanting to get Sydney started on a collection of them but not sure how I was going to justify it when we already have about a hundred dolls scattered all throughout the house!  Thank you Michelle for giving me all the reason I needed to start our collection!

She also gave Syd a little book entitled "Red is Best", it is so fitting, as from a very early age Sydney has always shown a preference for the colour red.  She loves anything red and notices it immediately.  We have been working on her colours with her a lot lately and even though she knows quite a few of them, whenever I ask her what colour something is she instantly responds "Red!" and then smiles.

I am loving these long, unscheduled days with Syd.  It's so nice to be out and about and not have to worry about being anywhere at a particular time.  Ah, holidays, gotta love them!!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Deep Breath

Today I felt as if I exhaled for the first time in a very long time.  It was such a nice, relaxed day and I finally felt as though the busyness of the past couple of months is behind me and I could simply kick back and enjoy the day.  It was nice!

We met up with Paul's brother and his wife for brunch this morning at the Richmond Country Club.  It was great to catch up with them and for them to have a little visit with Sydney.  They brought Syd a little present for Hannukah, this awesome paint made by Colorifics, a local company that makes this lovely washable, non-toxic paint!  It was the perfect gift for Sydney as she loves artwork so much and we seem to go through so much paint between her easel and the cards that she hand paints.  This will bring us hours of fun for sure!

We have received a bunch of other lovely gifts this season too, check out this incredible basket that one of Paul's colleagues gave us, it is huge and amazing and stuffed full of the most awesome gourmet treats!

I also love this pewter bowl that we were given.  It was made by Delia Pewter in Newfoundland.  Each piece is handmade and this is their signature bowl with the maple leaves, a true Canadian icon!

I always feel so blessed at this time of year to be receiving such lovely gifts from everyone.  I often look back at items that I have been given as gifts and remember the person who gave it to me and it warms my heart!

I also love giving gifts and have had so much joy in delivering and sending off all of the lovely things that I found for everyone this year, it is such fun getting all the gifts together, in fact I'm already thinking about what I want to get for everyone next year!

Hope that your week leading up to Christmas is wonderful and filled with many lovely things!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Wine Tasting Party

Last night, my friend Christina had the group of Dunbar Moms over to her home for dinner and a wine tasting party.  It was such a wonderful evening, her home looked so lovely all decorated for Christmas and we started the evening off by gathering in the living room with a glass of wine and sharing some amazing appetizers that Christina made: mushroom goat cheese tart, crab and artichoke dip, antipasto, brie and cranberries, it was amazing!

We continued the evening by having a blind wine tasting, each of us had brought a bottle of our favourite wine to share and Christina covered them all up and numbered each one.  We then each had a little sip from each bottle and made sampling notes and then revealed which ones were our favourites.  My fave, hands down, was the Orofino Red Bridge Merlot, it was amazing!!  It was so fun to try everyone's old standbys and discover some new amazing wines!

We ended the evening off with dinner, a lovely Chicken Parmigana, salad and roasted potatoes followed by trays and trays of homemade baking!  It was amazing food, Christina is such a fantastic hostess and we so enjoyed each other's company and swapped hilarious stories about our lives!  It was exactly the kind of evening that I needed after a very full week!  I truly enjoyed myself!

My friend Sally brought each of us a little gift for our kids, she is a policewoman with the Vancouver Police Department so we each got a stuffed Constable Pola Bear decked out in the VPD uniform, it was too cute!!

Right before I left for dinner my friend Andrea stopped by the house with a huge bag full of holiday goodies for us!  She had baked homemade butter tarts and brought a tin our way, yum!

She also gave Syd a Wow Toys recycling truck, Sydney loves the recycle truck when it comes to our neighborhood on garbage day so she was thrilled to get it!

Being the absolute sweetheart that she is, Andrea brought me some little treats too, some truffles, a David's Tea sampler and some Rocky Mountain Soap Company body wash.  It was a lovely surprise to get all these amazing gifts!

The Christmas fun continued when my friend Tracy dropped a package off on the front porch today too filled with a tin of the most delectable baking and some homemade gingerbread playdough for Syd with a little snowman cookie cutter.  So adorable!

I rounded off my day today by taking a little time to myself to have a pedicure with Tammy at Allure in Kerrisdale.  I have been seeing Tammy for my esthetic services for almost 15 years, I love how we feel as though we know each other so well and can share things about our lives with each other in the safe and warm confines of her spa!  What a treat to get my toes painted, she even did a little extra hot stone massage on my feet and legs, it was heavenly!

What a heartwarming day it was today!

Friday, 16 December 2011

A Leisurely Friday with My Girl

Today was Sydney's last gymnastics class for this season.  The coaches made today extra special, pulled out the parachute and some special balls for some fun games and at the end of class we had a little awards ceremony where each child got to stand on a podium, lift their arms in the air over their heads and got a ribbon and report card.  It was too cute!  Sydney proudly marched back to me to show me her ribbon and the picture of her on the report card.  She has come so far over the many months that we have been doing Phoenix Gymnastics and we are looking forward to another round in the new year!

After gymnastics we were going to head over to our friend Sarah and Emma's house for a visit to drop off their Christmas present but Emma is under the weather, so instead we headed up to Dunbar and had a sushi lunch together.  I ordered Syd her own Cucumber Roll, it was so cute to see her eating them, she doesn't really like the seaweed so she just squeezes the roll in her hands until the rice pops out the top and eats it like an ice cream cone!

After sushi we decided to hit up Splash, our favourite local toy store and blow the Christmas money that my parents sent that was burning a hole in my pocket!  We ended up finding three things that I know Sydney will love: a stuffed Elmo, a school bus and a Scuttlebug riding toy.  Sydney had such fun in the toy store, she wheeled a kid's sized shopping basket around after she has stuffed it to the rim with baby dolls.  I was tempted to buy her one because she loves them so much but we have no shortage of dolls in our house so I thought I'd distract her with the giant stuffed Elmo which she absolutely adores!

After all that shopping we needed a little rest so we headed to the coffee shop next door and I sipped on a Peppermint Mocha while Sydney ate a slice of lemon loaf.  The coffee shop owner brought over a dancing Christmas decoration and set it on our table for Sydney to play with, she was thrilled, kept pushing the button to make it sing and dance.  It kept her entertained for a good half hour, just enough time for Mommy to catch her breath and enjoy a coffee.

It was a lovely morning with my girl, I truly love these days when she and I just go at our own pace and make some memories along the way!  I am posting a bit early today as tonight I am heading out to dinner at my friend Christina's place, she is having the Dunbar Moms over for a wine tasting party and is cooking us all dinner to boot!  Can't wait!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Hannukah Party

What a full day we had today!  Our morning started off on a wonderful note with two of our friends stopping by to drop Christmas gifts off to us!  My friend Lori came by first and brought us the most delectable box of home baked Christmas cookies and treats along with some yummy Purdy's chocolates!

She also completely spoiled Sydney by bringing her the most amazing package of ladybug gifts ever!  Sydney was overjoyed to see her new backpack, mittens, hat and pencil case all in her favourite ladybug theme!!

Shortly after Lori left, our friend Saskia stopped by with a continuation of the gift she gave us yesterday.  She spent the entire day baking yesterday and dropped by some freshly baked goodies for us to enjoy: French Lemon Wafers, Pepparkakor and White Christmas, a white chocolate pistachio and dried fruit bark that is absolutely to die for!!

I love getting other people's baking, it somehow always tastes better than anything that I make!

After having a couple of quick visits with our friends, we headed off to preschool for the last session of the year!  Sydney's class was having a Hannukah party today, it was such fun!  The teachers said the blessing and lit the candles on the menorah and the kids ate latkes and applesauce and sang songs and listened to stories.

Levi, a little guy in Sydney's class, had his second birthday today, so his Mom brought some penguin shaped brownies to class to celebrate, Sydney literally inhaled hers, her face was caked in chocolate for the better part of the party!

At the end of the class, each child got a little gift bag filled with some stickers, crayons, a dreidel and the homemade menorah that they made last week in class.  It is so adorable, made from playdough and hand painted by Sydney!  I will treasure it forever!

It was such a fun class and a great way to end the year off.  Sydney and I headed over to her classmate Naomi's house after school for lunch and a play date, it was a great time getting to know Naomi and her mom Lissa better. On the way home, we noticed that their neighbor was doing some yard work and there was a digger in their front yard.  Sydney stood and watched it for at least ten minutes and then proclaimed "Mommy, picture, picture!"  She really wanted me to take a picture of it, she absolutely loves diggers, it's quite funny!

So all in all another great day.  It is such an amazing time of year filled with so much fun and love and joy!