Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Summer Time

Last night before Sydney went to bed she had one special request.  Our usual routine is to play a game together and read a book, or one chapter in a book as it has been this summer.  Yesterday she asked me if, instead of doing games and books, could she please read my blog? 

I instantly felt convicted.  This past year, since Sydney's started Kindergarten, my routines have changed and I really have not been diligent about updating this space the way that I should.  So let it be known that I am putting my intentions out there of posting more, taking more photos and sharing my life here once again!  This blog has become a precious journal of our lives and I love that Sydney wants to read back and take a glimpse into what we were doing at any given point in time.

Summer has been so much busier than I imagined it a few months back.  Every day seems to hold something pressing that needs to be done.  We have had three getaways, Suncadia, Whistler and Disneyland all of which were amazing trips.  The weather has been incredible in Vancouver, hot and dry for weeks on end, it feels like living in California!  We are in fact on strict water restrictions around here because it hasn't rained in so long.  Feels very different from the Vancouver we typically know and love!

Sydney has been spending a couple of afternoons a week with Sophie, a grade twelve student from her school that is working as our part time summer nanny, which has given me time to get in my fitness and have a little time to myself and Paul and I a few evenings together too.  She and Sophie have such a wonderful time together doing crafts, going to the park and hanging out.  It's been great for both of us!

We have started a few home improvement projects too so much of my energy has been spent managing those and making sure that everything is done as it is meant to be.  Last week we had the lighting in our kitchen updated and this week we are having new hardwood flooring in our formal living room and dining room and Paul's den.  It's exciting to see things come together and I am learning to embrace the chaos that is our home these days!

This past Sunday I achieved a goal that has been months in the works.  Angela, Susan and I ran our first ever 10K distance together after months of Sunday mornings working up to that distance.  We treated ourselves to a massage at the spa and lunch out afterwards.  It was a great day indeed!

This week Sydney is doing Pony Camp at Southlands Farm with her friends Emma and Kristin.  It has been such fun for her riding horses every day and enjoying the farm with the girls.

My dear friend Janice and her family have been in town the past few days.  We met up with them at our mutual friend Georgina's house a few days ago for lunch and then yesterday Janice and I spent a precious few hours together over coffee one on one just catching up and having a heart to heart.  It was such great time together, made me ache for her to be closer so we can do it more often!

This past Saturday we held a garage sale to try and clear out some furniture and smaller items, plus stuff from Paul's Mom's house that we had.  It was a successful day and I am happy to say that our garage is looking neater than ever!  We even classed it up a bit by hanging our extra crystal chandelier in the window.  I love that I can look out into my backyard and see it hanging there now!

I am so looking forward to another six weeks of summer together with Syd.  We have a few more adventures planned and are hoping to enjoy a bit of what the city has to offer together.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Second Time's a Charm

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you will remember last April when I took Sydney to Disneyland for the very first time.  We were giddy with anticipation of her first visit there and were so disappointed when she fell ill the during the trip and ended up at Children's Hospital of Orange County, which is definitely not the happiest place on earth!

Ever since that fateful trip I promised Sydney that I would take her back to Disneyland and this summer it finally came true!  Auntie Liane joined us for four days in California that we won't soon forget!

It was neat to see how Sydney was into different things this year over last during our visit.  Last year was all about the princesses and while they certainly were a big part of our trip this year, she was also much more into the rides and the experiences.

We met lots of favourite characters, Daisy Duck, Cinderella, Belle, Snow White and even Anna and Elsa which was definitely a highlight for Syd!

This year Disneyland is celebrating their 60th anniversary and they had things decked out in such a fun way for the celebration, including the castle which was topped with sparkly blue turrets!

We so enjoyed Downtown Disney this year as well having many lovely meals there and doing a little shopping on the side!

Sydney's favourite rides by far were King Arthur's Carousel, It's a Small World and The Little Mermaid ride.

She loved the parade too and took dozens of pictures of all of the great characters.

We spent some time at California Adventure Park too watching the electric light show and hanging out on Promenade Pier where we rode the ferris wheel together.

Sydney spent a very special morning at Anna and Elsa's boutique having her hair, makeup and nails done to transform her into Queen Elsa for the day.  It was pretty magical!

Everyday while we were on vacation I told Sydney that she could choose just one souvenir from Disneyland to take home with her.  She decided on day two that she wanted to take home a special Build a Bear from the Build a Bear Workshop store in Downtown Disney. 

She chose a big pink bear and dressed it up like Minnie Mouse and proudly named it Ella.  It has become one of her most prized possessions!

We managed to take a little break from the parks for an afternoon and headed to the factory outlets to do some shopping followed by a few hours at Huntington Beach.  It was heavenly!

It was a wonderful trip made all the more so by the fact that Sydney enjoyed herself so so much while we were there.  I think this might be the start of an annual tradition!

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Happy Canada Day

Today is July 1st, Canada's 148th birthday.  It was a blazing hot day today in Vancouver, it feels as though it's been 25 degrees or more for several straight weeks, almost as though it will never rain again.  I am loving it!

We had a beautifully chill day as a family together today.  I got up early, before the heat was too intense, and got in a great run to keep up my training for the 10K race that I'll be running in September.  I love that I decided to run early in the morning on a sprinkling day, I literally ran through one sprinkler after another and was cool and misted the entire way there and back!

Just as I was getting home Paul and Sydney were heading out for a walk together so I joined them and we all walked up to the Starbucks on Dunbar for coffee together.  It is just so lovely to have a completely unstructured day with no schedule.  We hung out at home, folded laundry, played in the back yard with the sprinkler and in the bouncy castle, had a nap and barbecued delicious steaks for dinner tonight.  I haven't felt this relaxed in ages!

Having some extra time at home has meant that I've had more time in the kitchen to make a few homemade things and try some new recipes.   Sydney and I made a batch of mini banana muffins early yesterday morning with some overripe bananas from the fruit bowl.  Syd has made this recipe with me so many times that she can literally almost make the entire batch herself!

I had a hankering for crab cakes so I thought I'd try my hand at making some myself.  Thanks to a very simple recipe on Epicurious which you can find here, they turned out super well and were delicious!

Paul cut out a super fun recipe from the newspaper the other day for Gin and Tonic popsicles so I thought I'd give them a try!  With a very few key ingredients they were fast and easy to make and oh so delicious on a hot and sticky summer day!

Speaking of hot and sticky, Sydney has been embracing summer like never before, enjoying being outdoors, playing in the sun and water all day!  Her hair has grown so much, it is literally 2/3 of the way down her back so she often complains that it's too hot on her neck. We've been experimenting with various forms of updos, braids, ponytails, buns...loved this look from the other day.

We hopped in the car and headed to the beach to watch the sun set yesterday night.  It was an absolutely beautiful evening and Syd had such fun collecting a bucket of shells and making her own creation in the sand with them.

I hope that you had a great Canada Day wherever you were!