Saturday, 28 June 2014

This Week

I have to admit that I've been in a bit of a funk for the past while.  It's been a hard past week between saying goodbye to our beloved preschool families and teachers and with my friend Louise passing on Sunday.  I've been trying my best to look for things to lift my spirits but to be honest, things don't really seem to be going all that well lately.  It's been one struggle after another.  

I recognize this as a time of transition in many ways and know that if I ride it out things will equalize one again but in the mean time as I've been searching for joy, here's a few things that are making me happy these days:

Slower Days

The first week of summer holidays always takes a bit of time to get used to.  Settling into a new and slower pace isn't always easy but I'm happy to report that we are well on our way.  Sydney is loving spending mornings in the kitchen in her PJ's helping me bake and cook things.


I promised Sydney that I would get her a bouquet of flowers as a way of saying congratulations for her preschool graduation.  The day after her grad ceremony I took her to my favourite flower shop in Kitsilano to choose a beautiful bouquet.  She looked at all of the amazing pre-arranged bouquets and then loudly announced "No, this isn't what I wanted at all!!  I want to pick every flower that goes in my bouquet!"  Luckily we were en route to Granville Island anyways so I let her choose, stem by stem, her very own bouquet.  She was thrilled.

She's been picking me some beauties with wild flowers in the neighborhood too.

And we've so been enjoying the blooming flowers in our backyard as well, simple pleasures.

We even dug out our solar print kit that has been tucked away all winter long and collected some things from our garden to make a very special solar print!

We had our friends Sarah and Emma over for a playdate early this week and Sarah brought me the most beautiful bouquet of white hydrangeas.

We are enjoying the summer blooms!

Greek Days

Last Sunday we headed down to West Broadway to take in the annual Greek Days street festival.  What a fun and crazy busy time it was!  Even ran into Zach while we were there!

Fun Times

Summer always means more time to just kick back and do whatever we please.  The change in pace has been nice! 

Sydney has been doing a lot of painting these days.

I collected some huge rocks the other day and Sydney, Paul and I each painted our own in the back yard and placed the final result in our garden nestled under our walnut tree.  What a fun memory painting together!

Syd asked me if she and I could go on a 'date' together the other day.  It was after dinner and there wasn't much time to do anything together before bed time but I obliged and we zipped off to Chapters for an hour of fun in their kids section.

Syd loves the giant tea cup there where she can sit and read a book or two!

We also popped into Bellingham for the day to shop this week, had fun getting a car load of great deals in the states.

And took a little time to play at the brand new play structure in Bellis Fair!

Sydney came home with her very own set of Sharpies, she was thrilled!  She and Alexa used them to make some fun foam crafts this week while Mommy was working at Dad's office.

We've had some nice leisurely walks in the neighborhood too, often accompanied by Syd's baby stroller loaded down with her baby Mikaela.

New Friends

Earlier this week Sydney and I went for tea at Gretchen and Noa's house to meet a friend of theirs who will be joining Sydney in Kindergarten this fall.

Grace and her Mom Anna were very sweet and it was so nice to meet another family that we'll be seeing on a daily basis very shortly!

Cirque du Soliel

The highlight of our week was indeed taking Sydney to see Cirque du Soleil for the very first time.  Their show, Totem is playing under the Grand Chapiteau in Vancouver this summer and Sydney could not have loved it more!

What a terrific show, absolutely amazing feats, costumes and music.  Sydney sat for the entire two hour show and raved about it for days afterwards!

She had fun trying on some fun masks from the show during the intermission!

Goodbye Louise

This morning was a particularly sad time as I said goodbye to my friend Louise at her memorial service. 

The service was lovely, she was deeply loved by many, many people and the standing room only service spoke for itself about how many lives she impacted.

Louise loved fun more than almost anyone I know so there were many whimsical moments during the ceremony.  There was a giant basket of colourful feather boas for the women to wear when we arrived, Louise would have loved it!

We each left with a beautiful ornament with the word 'joy' embroidered on it to remind us of how much joy Louise brought to our lives.  I will proudly hang it and remember her for the rest of my days.  I was blessed to know her and so grateful that our paths crossed during the most magical time of our lives as we were becoming moms.

Happy Birthday Emma

This afternoon we celebrated together with Sydney's buddy Emma her 5th birthday at Westside Family Place.  The party was a Little Mermaid theme and the kids had such fun playing outside and with the giant pinata!

Emma even dressed up as Ariel midway through the party, it was priceless!

So that was our week, we made it through and are looking happily ahead to next week and the new adventures that it will bring.

Monday, 23 June 2014


This is my friend Louise.  She and I met in a prenatal fitness class five years ago when we were both just newly pregnant.  We were both the 'skinnys' in class with barely a bump to show at the time.  Our due dates were almost two months apart, hers in early October and mine in late November.

We often chuckled that our girls ended up being born exactly one day apart from each other, she being three weeks overdue, and I a month early with my delivery.  Louise was one of the first people I saw after I had Sydney, we bumped into each other in the hallway at the hospital hours after I delivered each carrying our new, precious little bundles.

Yesterday, Louise passed away.

Two years ago she had her first diagnosis of breast cancer and after a grueling year of treatment and surgery thought she had it kicked.  Then cancer reared it's ugly head again in the form of a recurrence, stage 4 metastatic cancer which took her life yesterday morning.

I have known many people who have faced a cancer diagnosis in their lives but have never seen someone face such news with the grace, dignity and tenacity that Louise did.  She remained one of the most positive, lovely, sincere people I have ever known in my life right up until the end.  Her love and light will continue to live on in her sweet daughter Sophie, she has left the world with a gift in her.

Today memory after memory of Louise has been flooding my mind.  A walk to Granville Island with our babes in strollers on a sunny day, meeting up at Jericho beach after she left the house a little too quickly without her diaper bag or purse, an incredible Valentine's Day party that she hosted with entirely red food to eat, the playdate where we lined our wobbly babes up on the couch to get a group shot, a Sunday afternoon spent at the symphony with our girls together, tea after she recovered from her masectomy where she was full of hope for the future.  

Precious, precious memories that I will hold forever in my heart.

Louise's Mom coined a phrase for Louise when she first got diagnosed with cancer: "It's a great day to be alive!"  In Louise's honour may this be my mantra for every day that I am given.  It truly is a great day to be alive.

Thank you Louise, you are loved and will be deeply missed.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Preschool Graduation

Today was a beautiful, impossibly hard day.  My baby graduated from preschool.  It's official, she is now a "Kindergartener"!  I'm not sure how five years have slipped through my fingers so quickly.  She still very much feels to me like that baby that I brought home from the hospital after an exhausting nineteen hour labour, happier than I'd ever been in my life.  And yet in the same moment she is a grown up girl with thoughts and opinions of her own who understands the world better than I do sometimes.

This morning was so incredibly special.  Sydney's teachers, Jen and Carmen, went to so much work to make the graduation ceremony such a special time for the children and families.  It felt surreal walking into school this morning, seeing all the other Mommas and their kids for what would be the last time on a daily basis.  We hugged each other and cried and then another Momma would come along and we'd do it all over again with her.

I miss that precious place already!

Jen and Carmen had a couple of hours with the children in the class together before they brought them upstairs to the grad ceremony donning their little grad caps.  They made shakers with the wee water bottles from Trader Joe's that Sydney and I have been bringing to class all year long to save for a special project.  It seemed fitting that today was the day they decided to break them out!

The kids had one last circle time together and then watched their all time favourite 'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' on video in class, a special request of theirs.

We headed upstairs to the ceremony where Syd was delighted to see both Daddy and Zach waiting to see her graduate.  We shared a potluck lunch together and then one by one the children were called up to the podium to get their medal, a personalized card from Jen and Carmen and a beautiful class picture to take home. 

Carly, Sophia's Mom, made the most incredible ice cream sundae cake for the occasion, it was amazing!

Both Jen and Carmen took the opportunity to share a few words about the year and what it meant to them.  More tears, more hugs.

They took a few moments to thank me for being the parent liaision for the second year in a row and gave me the most beautiful potted vegetable garden as a thank you gift.  What a lovely, thoughtful gift that Sydney and I will enjoy all summer long and think of Jen and Carmen every time we harvest something from it!

I had the opportunity to choke out a few words of thanks to Jen and Carmen too and give them some beautiful bouquets of flowers along with gift cards to Oakridge and Starbucks and a copy of a beautiful album that my friend Marcy made, highlighting the past three years that our kids have been together in preschool.

We also gave the teachers a mug and printed copy of this beautiful poster that one of the Moms, Joanne, got together for them.  Each child held up a letter to make a message "Thank you, we love you!"  I just loved looking at Jen and Carmen's faces when they saw it!

Then it was time to say goodbye.  More hugs, more tears, as one by one the families left, onward to the next chapter of their lives, whatever that might look like.  Some are moving on to Kindergarten, some are going to preschools where they will eventually go to elementary school and a few lucky ones are staying to spend another year in the magical classroom that is Bet Preschool.

Syd and I lingered for quite some time until it was just us and Gretchen and Noa alone in the room with Jen and Carmen, none of us wanting to leave because it meant that life would never be the same as it was at that exact moment.  It was the end of an era and we all knew it.

Sydney and Jen spent a few precious moments saying a special goodbye, I watched from a distance with an ache in my heart at how sad my little girl was to have to say goodbye to her best friend and beloved teacher that she often tells me is 'like a sister to her.'

Then we held our heads high and walked out the door, ready for what was ahead and ever so grateful for what lay behind.

Sydney's buddy Jack came over for the afternoon which was a welcome distraction from the ache in our hearts after all the tears and goodbyes.

The kids enjoyed a treat at Menchies, then a little playtime at the park.

Before we headed home for some snuggle time on the couch watching TV and snacking on popcorn.

It was nice to have some company and to be reminded that we do indeed have so many people in our lives that we deeply love and are connected to and who fill our lives with so much love.  We truly are blessed beyond measure to have them and to have crossed paths with all of the precious families in preschool over the past few years as well.