Thursday, 29 January 2015

These Days

I have to admit that over the past few weeks I have slowly started to feel like a new woman.  For the first time since Sydney's started Kindergarten I have had the pleasure of dropping her off to school and having an entire day stretched out before me to do as I please.

These days have taken many forms, some have been wildly unproductive, spending hours on end reading e-mails and blogs and playing on the computer, and some have been structured and busy.  The best days are a mix of the two and I'm fast finding ways to make every day feel like this.

This morning started early with a phone call from my Dad letting me know that my Mom was in the hospital after suffering a serious concussion from hitting her head after slipping on some ice outside.  There were many phone calls back and forth and finally, this afternoon, I got a hold of my Mom at the hospital and was able to chat with her to see how she was doing.  I hate being so far away from her at times like this.  She is on the mend and is hopefully heading home tomorrow. 

I had dubbed today a bit of an organizing day at home.  There are many areas of my house that have been in some state of disorganization for a long, long time.  Many are hidden in cupboards and closets and today I decided to tackle one that had been bothering me for ages, my baking cupboard.

Behold my before picture:

And the after picture:

With a bunch of glass jars and some very cool chalkboard labels my baking cupboard now looks Pinterest-worthy!

It makes me so happy seeing everything so neat and organized!

Yesterday Sydney had early dismissal at school so she and I decided that we'd take advantage of the time and headed into Bellingham to spend the afternoon shopping.

We had the best time wandering through Target and Bellis Fair before having an early dinner at Red Robin and hitting up Trader Joe's before heading home.

I spent a good chunk of my day unpacking this heap of shopping bags from our trip.  We are stocked up for the next few months!  Love it!

We always stop to have a little fun while we're in the states, Sydney loves playing on the riding toys at the mall and with the photo board at Trader Joe's.

And we couldn't head home without a quick stop at Menchie's for dessert..

Sydney and I had another special time together this afternoon after school at Pure Nails while we simultaneously had our nails done.  It was fun!

I am beginning to find my groove with these long school days to fill while Syd's away.  It feels good!

Oh and in case you're wondering what the cover picture is for this posting it is the result of some pretty cool block building by Sydney with some cool new blocks from Splash Toy store that is closing at the end of February here in Dunbar.  We love this shop and are so sad to see it close but are getting some pretty awesome toys and art supplies in the mean time at amazing prices!

Monday, 26 January 2015

10 Things I Love About You

When my nephews were young and I had tons of time on my hands, I used to try to think of creative things that I could give them for gifts.  I loved making things that I knew they would love.

One of the things that I decided to make for them was a book for each of them entitled "10 Things I Love About You."  In it I included pictures of various things that I had the pleasure of doing with them over the years and captions about character qualities that I loved about them.  I still remember one of the pages, a picture of my youngest nephew Kenan precariously perched on top of a horse with the caption: "You are so brave!" written in big letters across the top of the page.  It took a bit of cajoling to get him on top of that horse.  Sweet memories.

When making my list of 40 things to accomplish this year I added making Syd one of these special books to my list as I knew it would be something that she would love and enjoy.

I had intended to make it as a surprise for her one day while she was at school but this weekend we found ourselves with some free time when her ski lesson was cancelled so I pulled out the scrapbooking supplies and she and I sat on the floor of my office and happily created the book together.

There are ten pages that proudly read:

1)  You are So Energetic
2)  You are An Amazing Artist
3)  You Have a Great Sense of Humour
4)  You are a Good Friend
5)  You are the Best Baker
6)  You are so Joyful
7)  You are so Helpful
8)  You Love Nature
9)  You are Graceful like a Princess
10) You Love to Try New Things

Sydney flipped through it several times to read it and look at the pictures after it was complete.  I hope that it will be something that she will treasure in the years to come!

With a little extra time this weekend we had a special time hanging out with our friends Jack and Christina.  We took the kids to The Zone bowling at SilverCity in Richmond.  I can't believe how much fun the kids had!  What a great rainy day activity and something that we simply must do again!

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory

I am happy to report that I have scratched #2 off of my bucket list of '40 things to accomplish in my 40th year.'  One of the things I wanted to do was to re-read a childhood favourite book and this week a beautiful hardcover copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory arrived in the mail.

I cracked it open at 9:30pm last night and was finished by 11:00pm.   I actually can't remember the last time I finished a chapter book, meant for children or not, from start to finish in one single sitting.  In fact, I'm not sure I've ever done it before! 

I so enjoyed this book and could vividly remember the images in my mind and emotion that I felt as a child reading this for the first time in elementary school.  I was so excited when Charlie opened that chocolate bar and saw that winning golden ticket!  For a moment I was nine years old again, it was a beautiful thing!

We had a lovely weekend celebrating with two of Sydney's friends as they welcomed another birthday. 

Our dear buddy Jack turned five years old and celebrated by welcoming Mike the Critter Guy to his home to bring all sorts of amazing creatures for his friends to see.

I especially loved seeing the tarantula clinging to his Spiderman jacket, how fitting!

We also celebrated Leo's 6th birthday at the BC Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday.  What a great venue for the kids, they had such fun playing in the games room, going on a tour and scavenger hunt and having lunch and cake in the party room.

I loved connecting with friends for the first time this new year and catching up with many beloved Mommas!

Here's a few other special moments from the last few days:

Menchie's Time!

Syd and I made a special stop for ice cream on the way home from school the other day just for fun!  I love how much more I heard about her school day over a bowl of ice cream than I would have otherwise!


For the first time in quite a while Sydney brought me home some very special paintings from school last week.  I love the caption on one "To Mommy, I love you Momma.  I hope you have a good day.  Love, Sydney"  So sweet!


Sydney is learning to play chess at school this term and I am volunteering to help in class and learn alongside her and her classmates.  She brought home her very own chess set this week so that we can practice together at home.


We have brought back the wonderful celebration of Shabbat to our home this year after a few week's break during our vacation and the crazy month of December!   It has been very special time together!

Kiwi Crate

Sydney is loving her Kiwi Crates more than ever these days!  This month's theme was all about baking, we made a foam cake and frosted it with air dry clay before decorating it and also got to custom colour a chef hat and apron.  Syd had a blast with both activities!

Thursday, 15 January 2015


I don't know about you, but January has got to be my least favourite month of the year.  Sure, it starts with the promise of a new year, resolutions are made and anything seems possible, but the gloss quickly wears off for me.  January is a dreary month in Vancouver, often bringing thirty straight days of rain, few daylight hours and very little going on in our social calender.  It all makes me want to hibernate.

Sydney has been back to school for almost a full week since the winter break.  Waking her up in the morning has been such an ordeal these past few days.  It is still pitch black outside when we need to get up just shortly before 7:00am.  Sydney looks like a little angel all snuggled up under her duvet sleeping ever so peacefully when I go to rouse her.  I try my best to wake her up slowly, turn a lamp on, give her a million kisses, sing songs to her and chat with her about the day ahead.  All of this and she still rolls over, pulls the covers over her head and snuggles deeper into bed for a winter night's sleep.

And all the while I'm thinking: 'I hear you honey, in fact it's taking every ounce of strength I have not to jump right into bed with you, snuggle up and stay there for the day, or at least a few more hours until it's light outside!'  But alas, school beckons and we drag ourselves out of our warm beds and carry on with our morning routines despite the heavy, sleepy feeling that seems to take forever to lift.

For years when I worked in finance, January was one our busiest months as it kicked off the start of RSP season.  The month seemed to fly by as we hunkered down at our desks kicking off campaigns and sales contests and answering our never ending phones and e-mail.  By the time we lifted our heads it was March 1st and the flowers were blooming and we were well on our way to spring and brighter days ahead.  I kind of miss those days during this most lacklustre month.

So I've been spending some time thinking the past few days wondering how I can make peace with this month of January and bring a little fun back.  I've dug out a few of my favourite cookbooks and have decided that I'm going to try some new recipes this week and have brought back Thursday appy nights at home where we eat a few appies in place of a full dinner.  I've started reading a book and have sorted through toyboxes and closets making heaps of things to give away, clearing some space in our home.  Somehow it feels fitting right now and is taking my mind off counting down the days until this month is over!

Sixteen more days...not that anyone's keeping track!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015


Being in Hawaii for two weeks is great for many reasons, not the least of which is that Sydney literally gets to go swimming every day.  It's amazing to see how much her skills improve after a stretch of practicing every day!

Yesterday was Sydney's first swim class of the year.  She had a favourite instructor this time, Kaori.  We were thrilled when her classmate and one of her favourite friends from school, Lily, walked through the doors and we discovered that she and Sydney were coincidentally registered in the same class!

The girls had such fun together in the pool and I was so impressed by the length that Syd was swimming, her great back swims and ability to flip from her front to back.  She is well on her way to being a great swimmer one day!

I am happy to report that I have checked the first item off of my "40 Things" list. I actually accomplished it while we were in Hawaii, I bought a beautiful designer handbag from Folli Follie in the brightest, most cheerful yellow which I love.

Many thanks to my friend Sarah for introducing me to this amazing store with her gift of beautiful hoop earrings from Folli Follie for my birthday.  I'm sure I'll be back to add more to my collection, loved many, many things in their store!

The past few days have been slow and easy as Syd transitions back into full days at school and I find my footing between taking time for myself, helping out at Paul's office and keeping up with things at home.  It feels great to have a bit of time to myself and to not be busily rushing about.  Am enjoying it for the moment, knowing it won't last long!

Monday, 12 January 2015

First Day Back

Today was Sydney's first day back at school for 2015 after the winter break.  She was so excited to be going back to school this morning, I wasn't sure if I should be happy or have hurt feelings at how anxious she was to get out the door!

Every day when I pick Syd up from school I ask her about her day, longing to hear specific details about what she's done, new things she's learned, who she's played with etc.  Most of the time I, in fact, get very few details and a few one word answers to my questions.  She is undeniably happy but holds her school day close to her chest as far as sharing details with me.

Today she could hardly wait to tell me all about her day, she nearly exploded at bedtime telling me things as she processed her day while lying in bed, her beloved teacher had gotten married over Christmas break and was now called Mrs. Carlson, she did a whole new station rotation in PE, she started a new drawing and writing book #2 for the second semester, she saw the postcards we'd sent from Hawaii in class.

I loved hearing all the details, in fact I let her keep talking well past when she should have been asleep just to glean as much as I could about her day, savouring it as I know I won't always get this much detail.

It's funny to think that I have a school-aged girl.  Baby days are behind me, teenage years are a long ways away, it's the sweet spot many parents dream about but don't know they're in until it's too late.  I'm determined to savour it all, every sweet moment with my precious five year old before it disappears.  Now if only I could figure out how to slow the clock down....

Sunday, 11 January 2015

From Mountains to the Farm

We are on the tail end of Sydney's three week winter vacation from school, tomorrow morning we are back to business as usual.  It has been such a lovely break, a good balance of days at home alone with Sydney and a lovely family vacation wedged in between.

This weekend was spent partaking in a few very fun activities for Sydney.  On Saturday morning bright and early we headed up to Mount Seymour for Syd's first ever downhill ski lesson. 

After bundling up in her new ski gear she got fitted for boots, skis and a helmet.

Then outside we went to meet our instructor.  Sydney was a natural on skis!  She had a huge smile on her face as she tried her best to navigate across the snow, slipping and sliding the whole way!

Within minutes of meeting her new instructor, Emma, Sydney was skiing off with her to try her hand at working on skills down a wee hill.

I was so proud of her!  She enjoyed herself and did a great job!

Later that afternoon we headed back to riding lessons for the first time in a month, it felt great to be back and Syd was all smiles a top of Magic.

It was an active day for Syd!  Needless to say, she was ready for bed come bedtime!

This afternoon we celebrated my friend Liz's 40th birthday with a surprise party that her husband Nick planned for her.  It was a lovely time of getting together with everyone and helping Liz welcome in a new decade!

What a nice way to wrap up our time off, I'm feeling a mix of excitement and sadness tonight at the thought of having to send Sydney off to school tomorrow morning.  It's been so lovely having her home and just letting our days unfold as they may.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A Post from Paradise

As I sit here tonight I am writing from the ever perfect island of Maui where Paul, Syd and I are on our annual sun vacation.  As we sat on the beach yesterday I calculated that this is Sydney's sixth trip to Maui which means that Paul and I have been here together well over a dozen times.  It does feel a bit like a second home at this point.

Every year I love watching Sydney at the beach and around her favourite haunts.  Each year seems to bring a new pastime and passion.  She is such a beach girl, loves the sun and sand and water.  This year she is still so interested in collecting sea glass, a passion fueled by her Auntie Liane's love of the same.  Every day she and I trek down the beach to our favourite collection area by a cluster of lava rocks to see if we can find any 'treasures' as she calls them.  With each wave that crashes onto the shore she hopefully says 'I wonder what this wave will bring us?"  She has taken great pleasure in finding a couple of very large pieces of coral this year which she insists we are taking home with us!

Sydney also loves hanging out in 'the cave', a large lava rock that has been carved out by the ocean which provides a little haven for her to play in the ocean somewhat sheltered by the big waves.

One of the things Paul and I love to do while in Maui is to get up while it's still dark and as soon as daylight breaks we head out up the hill to Wailea for our morning walk.  Since Sydney's been born she has joined us in a stroller with one of us huffing and puffing up the hill pushing her along with us.  This year I rented another stroller but my big girl has almost completely outgrown it!  She curls her legs up to tuck them into the stroller and sits for as long as she can before jumping out to join Daddy and I for our walk.  I have the feeling that next year at this time she'll be trekking up that hill with us and keeping up just fine!

Every year when we are in Maui we aim to see four different animals in their natural habitat during our time here before we can dub our trip 'perfect': humpback whales, sea turtles, green geckos and egrets.  This year we hit all of them by our last day except turtles, then the morning that we were leaving, we walked down to the beach to return a bucket of sea shells and coral that Sydney had collected and saw two of the hugest turtles we've ever seen in our life swimming in the ocean on our beach.  As the time drew near to say goodbye to them we turned around to see the most gorgeous rainbow stretching across the sky.  It was a magical moment that I won't soon forget.

We are home now, it feels good to be back in our own surroundings.  Sydney and I spent the day unpacking, doing laundry and grocery shopping to get everything back to square one.  Midday we popped out for sushi for lunch and while we were waiting for our meal to arrive Sydney pulled a notebook and pen out of my purse and wrote a list of "Best Maui Memories 2014/2015"  Here's what it looked like:

1.  Sunsets
2.  Walks
3.  Pool
4.  Beach
5.  Visiting Lori and Marcus
6.  Seeing a Colourful Dead Fish
7.  Sea Glass
8.  Shells
9.  Turtles
10. Whales
11. Gecko
12. Aquarium

I loved her list, it beautifully summed up all the things that both she and Paul and I loved about our holiday.  It truly was a perfect vacation and an amazing way to bring a new year in!