Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Little Things

This week has been full of so many little things, that, compounded have made it such a great week!  We had our first gymnastics class of the season and our first art class for the spring session with our friends Lori and Weston.  We were also thrilled to see the wife of one of my past colleagues at Mackenzie and her little girl at art class and will look forward to seeing them there every week over the next while!  We also got to see Zach's new apartment, had a wonderful evening at the aquarium, and had a fun Passover Seder at preschool today.  It has been a full and fantastic week!

Here's a few of the highlights:

Syd's Art Plate

As a fundraiser at school, the kids got to have a personalized piece of artwork transferred onto a dinner plate to take home.  This is Sydney's finished product, I love it!  I really think she did such a great job with the colouring!  Will look forward to getting a couple more over her next few years at preschool and watching as her artwork changes each year!

Syd's Chinese Takeout Box Art Project

Syd made this very special box at school, glued every little piece on herself!  We're going to use it as a gift box for someone and will likely make a bunch more together and will use them to add a personalized touch to our gift wrapping!

Some New Jewellery for Mommy

I don't know what it is, but I have an obsession with jewellery lately!  I just love it and keep finding pieces I adore!  There was a market happening at the Jewish Community Centre this week, and I picked up a great sterling silver necklace and some earrings for myself.  So nice to have some new accessories to wear!

Lipstick & Mascara

Nothing quite brightens your day like buying a new lip gloss!  It has been ages since I got any new makeup, so I spent some time at the newly renovated MAC counter at the Bay at Oakridge this week and came away with a fabulous new lip gloss and their new False Lashes mascara.  I really felt fresher and prettier wearing some new makeup this week!

A Treat from Lori

My very sweet friend Lori brought Syd and I a little treat this week when we saw them at art class, this very cute box filled with homemade chocolate chip cookies!  What a lovely surprise and the perfect treat for Syd and her sweet tooth!!

A Gift for Josie

I had such fun putting together a little box of goodies to send my friend Janice's new baby Josie!  I couldn't resist her one last thing to put in the parcel, so picked up this super sweet dress and matching sunhat for her to wear this summer, at Gymboree.  Syd helped me decorate the outside of the parcel before we mailed it off!!

We really have had a very fun week!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Twilight Tuesday

Yesterday evening Sydney and I met up with our friends Christina and Jack to go to the Vancouver Aquarium's Twilight Tuesday event.  A few times a year, the aquarium opens up for the evening for members, and plans a bunch of special events.  I had always wanted to take Sydney, but had never gotten around to it, so was thrilled to finally be able to attend.  It was fantastic!

We met for dinner before heading to the aquarium at the White Spot, which is fast becoming one of our favourite restaurants to take Syd!  Sydney and Jack were so good at the restaurant, it was so cute seeing them all snuggled into a booth with their little pirate paks!  

One of Sydney's favourite kid's performers, Marnie Grey, was doing a concert in the Canada's Arctic exhibit for Twilight Tuesday, what a blast!  It was so fun to see all the kids singing and dancing alongside the beluga whales to Marnie's tunes!  Marnie's sidekick is her mascot, Mumbu the Monkey.  Sydney was talking about Mumbu from the minute she woke up this morning.  I think she really loved the concert!  I loved watching Sydney clapping and boogeying along to the music, it was the first time I can remember her being so into a concert!

There were craft stations and face painting stations set up throughout the aquarium too.  Sydney got her hand painted, chose a very cool red octopus which she proudly showed off to everyone when she got home!

Sydney absolutely loved looking at all the fish, as always, and we especially enjoyed learning all about the babies at the aquarium which is their theme for this spring.

What a fun evening it was with Christina and Jack!  Sydney was only too happy to have an excuse to stay up late and fell, blissfully exhausted, into bed when we got home.  Can't wait to do it again!

Monday, 26 March 2012

Sydney Australia

When I am out and about with Sydney, at least once a day, I get stopped by a perfect stranger who comments on her gorgeous curly, red hair.  This often ends up turning into a longer than anticipated conversation and I usually get asked what her name is.  Now because I tend to speak quickly, when I say Sydney's name, about half the time people hear Cindy not Sydney.  So to avoid any confusion, I've taken to saying "Sydney, like Sydney, Australia" when people ask me what her name is.

Syd and I went to have her hair cut today.  It was the first really good, all over the head, cut.  She looks so different with little bangs and a sweet cut framing her face.  When Paul got home from work and saw her for the first time since her haircut, he jokingly said to her: "Who are you?" to which Sydney replied: "Sydney Australia."

Seems the poor love thinks that her full name is Sydney Australia because she's heard me say it so many times.  So funny!  I love all of the hillarious things that come out of her mouth these days.

I haven't ever been to Sydney, Australia, although from what I've heard, I know I am going to fall in love with it when I do get there.  I think one day me and Miss Sydney Australia are going to have to make the trip there just to see her namesake city!  

Almost everyday Sydney says to me: "I love ______ so much!"  Most of the time it's, I love Daddy so much, or I love school so much, or one of her toys.  The odd time she'll say she loves some random thing so much but the other morning she said to me "I love my boyfriend so much."  Trying hard not to laugh, I quickly asked her "Who's your boyfriend?"  to which she replied, "Elmo."  Phew!  I was worried that I was going to have some explaining to do when Daddy got home and heard that she had a boyfriend!!

When Syd was about a year old, my friend Barbara gave me this journal called "My Quotable Kid" to write down the funny things that she says so I wouldn't forget them.  At the time, it seemed like forever till I'd need it, but I find that I'm pulling it out more and more these days to write down the funny things that are coming out of Syd's mouth, I love it!

This afternoon I made a Blackberry Apple Crisp.  It was the perfect way to use up some apples that were getting past their prime and made for a lovely, comfort dessert this evening.

I decided to reinstate my weekly meal planning this week.  When I was single and working and living a crazy busy life, I was diligent about meal planning every week and shopping for all the necessary ingredients only once a week.  I've kind of gotten lazy about that being that I'm home all the time now and can run to the store at a moment's notice whenever I need to, plus going to the grocery store often makes a little outing for Syd and I.  I was finding that I was getting into a bit of a rut, making the same five or six dishes over and over for dinner so I hauled out my recipe books this weekend and jotted down my meal plan for the week:

We'll see how well I can keep to it.  So far, so good, although it is only Monday!  If I can keep doing this, it  may mean more interesting recipes popping up on this blog so it could be beneficial for all of us!

Hope you had a good start to your week!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Portobello West

What a spectacular weekend we had in Vancouver!  It really felt like spring had arrived in style, we had two glorious days of perfectly blue skies and sun shining!  Couldn't have asked for more!  We spent a ton of time outdoors playing in the backyard, going for walks and hanging out with Syd at the park.  Felt great to get a little fix of Vitamin D!

On Saturday morning I took a little time to myself and went to the Portobello West Fashion and Art Market.  This wonderful market takes place a few times a year and showcases local artisans, jewellery makers and fashion designers amongst many other talented individuals.

I love going to markets like this and meeting and getting to know local designers.  They always are so hard working and proud of their products and produce the most amazing and unique things!  I could have spent the better part of the day wandering around leisurely looking at all of the amazing things!

I had to move swiftly though, as Paul was outside walking with Syd in the stroller and I knew that my time was limited before Syd would be ready to move on to the next activity.  So, I cruised by every booth and then went back to my favourite one and got myself a couple of new pieces of jewellery.

Twisted Gem Designs is owned by Lisa Dotto who creates some lovely classic, along with some more whimsical, pieces.  I ended up buying two gold filled pieces from her, a pair of earrings and a necklace, both of which are casual enough to wear on a daily basis but still pretty and interesting to look at!

I also came away with a stack of business cards from lots of other designers that I would love to check out online, this could be dangerous for my pocketbook!

I look forward to heading to their summer market in May to see more of the designers and getting to know a bit more about our local talent.  Come check it out if you live in the area, it's well worth it!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Friday Morning Playdate

What a difference a week makes!  Last Friday, exactly one week ago today, I spent the morning with Syd, sick and dehydrated, at Children's Hospital.  I was tired and worn, worried and frazzled.  Today I woke up to a beautiful blue sky, sun streaming into our bedroom and Syd's little head snuggled on my chest with her curls tickling my nose.  Heavenly!

This morning we had our friends Andrea, Aaro and Hattan and Sarah and Emma over for a playdate.  We hadn't seen Andrea in so long, it felt so wonderful to reconnect with her and see how much her boys had grown!  Andrea is one of my favourite Moms ever.  She is kind and sweet, thoughtful and just plain lovely to be around!  She also loves to cook and bake, worked professionally in New York as both a caterer and in restaurants, so she always inspires me with the amazing things she makes!

Today was no exception, she showed up at the door with a homemade glazed lemon loaf for me, it was pure perfection.  I love lemon loaf.  In fact, I was inspired to start writing this blog by an amazing lemon loaf that I made almost one year ago. 

She also brought Sydney the cutest gift, this puppy in a purse!  Sydney is very much a girly-girl and really does love a good purse.  She also loves stuffed toys, so this gift was the perfect combo of things for her!  She toted the purse around for the better part of the morning.  I'm sure it will be accompanying us on many an errand in the future!

Sarah and Emma are always so wonderful to be around as well.  We love them so much and are so grateful to be able to see them on a fairly consistent basis!  Sarah made the most amazing carrot and zucchini muffins and brought some to share today.  They are super healthy and delicious!  She always inspires me to find healthier versions of our favourite treats to make!

I managed to steal a small spot in the playroom for a wee table to put our snacks on so that we could snack and play all in one spot.  The kids really enjoyed the playroom, I'm loving it more and more every time we use it! 

I am so grateful for this week, for health, for great friends, a perfectly lovely day and for the incredible stretch of sunshine that today brought.  Let the weekend begin!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Friends for Tea

With spring break in full swing, Syd and I have had a couple of activity-free weeks and I was hoping to plan some playdates and have friends over to reconnect and have some great visits.  After cancelling several last week with everyone being sick, I was thrilled to have our friends Tracy and Alexis over this morning to play.

Alexis arrived at the door with a gift for Sydney.  It really couldn't have been a more perfect gift, it is the Melissa and Doug Shape, Model and Mold set.  This very cool Playdough accessory kit includes three different rolling pins, a cutting wheel and Playdough stamps along with some little containers of Playdough.  Sydney is so into Playdough, she plays with it everyday, quite literally!  She and Alexis had fun playing with this set this morning!

It was lovely to catch up with Tracy and hear all about what's new with her!  The girls had a great time playing in the playroom, I am loving that we have a dedicated space for playdates!

The weather today was insane, it literally did everything from full on sunshine to huge amounts of hail to snow.  Sydney has been begging me to go on the swings at the park for days on end and it's never worked out, so today after our playdate, we walked up to the park to play for a while. 

Sydney and I have a tradition most Wednesdays of watching the latest episode of "19 Kids and Counting" that our PVR recorded on Tuesday evening.  We usually make a bag of popcorn in the microwave and share it while watching our show but today I decided that we'd kick it old school and pulled out the old hot air popcorn popper.

This beauty was a high school graduation gift.  At the time, it seemed like a bit of a strange gift, but let me tell you, it has gotten it's share of use over the past twenty years as you can tell from the totally warped and melted top!  Sydney loves pouring the kernels in and standing on a chair high enough to see the kernels pop and fall into the bowl.  Such simple pleasures!

Syd decided to eat her dinner al fresco tonight, she bundled up in her jacket and hat and sat on the back stairs to dine, too cute!

Everyday should be this perfect, a visit with friends, fresh air and time at the park, a special moment together on the couch and dinner outdoors.  Gotta love this life!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Sydney's Thinking...

Sydney has this cute little thing that she does lately where, out of the blue, she'll look at me with a face full of sincerity and say: "Mommy, Sydney's thinking."

To which, most often, I reply:  "What are you thinking, honey?"

Most of the time it's something like:

"Go to Emma's house on Sunday" or "Weston come to play tomorrow" or "Wild Sushi for lunch"

I love hearing what she's thinking.  From the moment she was born, I dreamed about the day that she and I could have full-blown conversations and I could hear her every thought.  I swear, I will never get tired of listening to what's on her mind!

The other day she was lounging in our bed for a few naked moments post-bath, when I heard the intriguing line:  "Mommy, Sydney's thinking."

"What are you thinking, honey?"

"Sydney miss Zach when new apartment"

Her brother Zach, who has lived with us since she was born, is moving to his own apartment at the end of this month.  I haven't been sure how to prepare her for this life-altering event.  She adores Zach, he adores her back.  She loves nothing more than to be sitting on his bed watching him get ready in the morning, or changed at the end of the day.  She just loves hanging out with him.  She's so right, she is really going to miss him when he goes to his new apartment!

This afternoon after school, Sydney had a surge of creative genuis, so she painted a masterpiece along with a couple of birthday cards, one for her friend Yael from school, who turned 3 today, and one for our friend Lori, who's birthday is later this week.  She was so cute, chattering away about each of them while making her creations! 

We made a zucchini loaf this afternoon for our friends Alexis and Tracy who are coming over for tea tomorrow morning.  I had a bag of small Italian zucchini that I got from Costco and was thinking that I would need at least half the bag to make the two cups of shredded zucchini that it called for.  You can imagine my surprise when I used just one and a half of the wee vegetables to get as much as I needed!  I need to find more recipes to use the rest of the bag up!  The loaf was delicious, it had a fresh, citrus kick with the addition of both orange and lemon zest.  Let's hope it's a hit with the kids tomorrow! 

I can't wait for tomorrow to hear what Sydney's thinking.....

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Recovery Weekend

This weekend has been all about full-on recovery mode after the incredibly awful time we had last week with everyone being down sick.  Sydney decided to be most gracious to me and slept in until 9:00am on Saturday morning.  It was so nice to have a little extra sleep to start the weekend!

After hanging out at home for the morning and running a couple of errands together we came home for a nap.  As soon as Syd fell asleep, I decided to pop out for an hour or so to myself, was it ever wonderful!!  I leisurely walked through the grocery store and picked up a few things for us to snack on.  I couldn't resist buying a new rosemary plant for my kitchen as the one I had was looking rather pathetic.  It makes my kitchen smell so lovely and fragrant and it is so nice to look at something lush and green growing in my window instead of the spindly half-dead plant that was there before!  Sydney and I had fun planting it together too, she loves digging in the dirt!

I also hit up my favourite dollar store, Dollarama, to get a few things for some Easter baskets that I am making up for a few of Sydney's closest friends.  I love this time of year and always look for any excuse to celebrate spring!  It will be fun to assemble the baskets and deliver them to her buddies!

This morning we did our usual walk to Granville Island.  It somehow felt sweeter today, all the usual little things that we did, Syd feeding the birds, having a coffee at JJ Bean, picking up a few of our favourite treats to bring home.  Such simple things, but ever so grateful to be healthy and well enough to spend a perfectly ordinary Sunday morning doing something we love together.

Here's to an uneventful week, filled with health and happiness!