Saturday, July 29, 2006

Belcarra Beach

Today the weather was overcast and kind of cool for the first time in awhile, but we thought it might still be fun to take Amanda to a beach. She hasn't been to a real beach since she was around a year old, plus she's been learning about all the different ocean animals in some of her books.

We decided to hit Belcarra, which is about a 20 minute drive from our house. We thought it wouldn't be busy today, since the weather wasn't too great. Wrong! The first clue was the "LOT FULL" sign at the base of the road in. Figuring it was probably left over from another sunnier day, we drove on. When we got to the picnic area, there were GVRD Parks personnel waving traffic around and helping people park. I guess technically the lot was full, but they were fitting people in wherever possible. There were at least two big picnics going on - one for some kind of church choir, and another for Freedom 55. Hee!

Once we parked, everything was fine - Amanda immediately started shouting "beach" and getting generally very excited. Although technically Belcarra is an ocean beach, it's sheltered and quite rocky...we will have to take her down to Jericho or Locarno one of these days. We walked down the pier and watched all the people fishing and crabbing for awhile, but it was a bit stressful - there aren't any significant railings that would keep her from going over the edge of the dock, and she wasn't too keen on holding our hands the whole time. We did see huge clusters of purple starfish stuck to the support beams for the pier, which was pretty cool since she's quite into starfishes. It's amazing what a brilliant purple colour they are!

After that, we headed down to the rocky beach. It was very muddy (Amanda kept saying "muddy" in a really disgusted voice...she really doesn't like being dirty), and at some points we were at risk of losing our sandals into the muck! However, we made a great discovery - this beach is one of the (seemingly few) beaches left where you can turn rocks over and find crabs! We've been reading a lot about crabs in Amanda's books, so we thought she'd be pretty excited. Turns out...not so much. She did know what they were but wasn't too impressed. I guess they're kind of spiderlike, so maybe they creeped her out a bit. I picked some up and showed her how they ran around in my hand, then I passed her one. She lasted about 5 seconds before freaking out and brushing it off quite emphatically. I have a bad feeling that was the end of that particular crab...sorry crabby!

We walked around for a bit more and played in the playground, then got in the car to head home. Just out of the parking lot we got one more surprise - a deer was standing right on the edge of the road! Although you used to see deer around here more often (Jeff insists they used to hang out in his backyard when he was a kid) it's pretty rare now. Amanda knew right away what it was, but wasn't all that excited...of course she didn't really realize what a rare treat it was to see a deer.

Crabby Crab!

Beach Babes


Catching Up...

Wow, lots of stuff to catch up with!

The last few weeks have been really hot and humid in Vancouver, and we've been making the most of the summer weather since we know it doesn't always last long! Jeff and Amanda have been getting out to lots of different splash parks and playgrounds during the days, as well as spending time in our backyard. Here are a few on any of the photos to see many more!

Fun at the Rocky Point splash park:
Splash Park Fun

Jumping through the sprinkler:
Hot Day 2

Splashing around in the backyard pool:
Ready for the Beach!

Hanging out with Dad in her "cute hat":
Summer Smiles

Enjoying her very first taste of corn on the cob:
Piece of Corn

Looking like a quintessential toddler:
Sitting Pretty

And looking, well, frankly pretty ridiculous:
Goofy Girl

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ice Cream Fun

Well the Amanda and Daddy show continues... Today's episode begins with a frolic at the Blue Mountain spray pool and finishes with a trip to McDonald's for some ice cream.

I'm poor so I decided I'd try and steal from my daughter. We get to the McDonald's and I only have $2.00 for 2 ice cream cones. Unfortunately a cone costs $1.05 each. Instead of teaching my daughter that her father searching for pennies on the ground in the parking lot was a game I decided to be the "adult" here and give her the ice cream.

Fortunately as we walked out she got distracted by the playroom! I was able to get about 4 or 5 licks in until she emerged from the coloured tube screaming "MINE! MINE! MINE". I calmly explained to her that there was to be no eating on the jungle apparatus. Needless to say ... she chose the ice cream. FOILED AGAIN!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Engagement Party

We've been having some computer issues, so it took awhile for us to upload our latest photos of Amanda. Last weekend we went to a sort-of-engagement-party for Mike and Cristina at the home of Cristina's grandparents. It was a beautiful party - Jeff said it reminded him of being in Italy! Between the huge back deck with tables all laid out, the enormous garden full of fresh produce, and the chicken coop (!!!), it was hard to believe we were in the middle of Burnaby! It was nice to meet more of Cristina's family. Amanda had a fabulous time hanging out with Cristina's niece Isabella and nephew Alexander, as well as the other kids in attendance. Isabella and Amanda are going to be flower girls together at the wedding in October, so it's nice for them to spend some time together! We were also introduced to a new kids' CD, Songs for You by Jennifer Gasoi. Amanda absolutely loves this CD, and it's not too hard on the parents' ears, either! Highly recommended. She has already learned what "manger six pommes" means...go figure!

A photo of the happy couple...

An adorable photo of Amanda and Isabella...

Goofing off with Grandpa on the swing...

Month 25 (2 years, 1 month)

We finally got around to posting Amanda's new birthday portrait (it was taken a couple of days's getting harder and harder to get her to sit still for pictures!!).

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Just Monkeying Around

I need to get new brakes on our van! Every time Amanda even catches a glimpse of something brightly coloured she yells "PLAYGROUND"! I immediately slow down because I get startled and anything that can take me away from housework is always a welcome distraction.

Today we spent some time in a suburb of Vancouver called Cloverdale. We found this tot lot just behind a private school. It was obviously made for for kids a little older than 2 because there were no stairs to go up to the slides. This does not stop any 2 year olds of course and their likely excuse is that they can't read.

We also had a meal at Wendy's today and as we drove past she pointed and said "WENDY'S"! This made me feel like we go there waaay to much. At least you can substitute oranges for fries and milk for pop. Much better than most other fast food places.

We're continuing to enjoy our summer reviews of splash parks and playgrounds. Maybe when the weather is warmer we'll head to a different splashpark. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Devil Lives in Our Toilet

potty I'm convinced that the Devil lives in our toilet. Every time I try and get Amanda to use it she is temporarily posessed and likes to roll around on the pee covered floor as if she is an artistically frustrated break dancer. I've never had so much pee in our house. We don't even have a dog! I often think about the experiment that our biology 11 students do and try and grow different bacteria from samples around the school.

A few months ago Amanda was really interested in the potty and wanted to sit on it and even was able to pee. The problem we're having now is that we try and get her on the potty before she uses her "pull-ups" (which are incidentally more expensive than gold and must be traded on the commodity market). She always says that her diaper is OK even though they are often pee soaked. We will put her on the potty after she fills her diaper and she pees again.

Yesterday I had the bright idea of just putting her in underwear. I explained to her that she needed to tell me if she wanted to pee so we could go and use the potty. So now we have pee on our kitchen floor, pee in her booster seat, pee on our bathroom floor, pee in her hamper, pee on the dining room carpet, and pee all over my hands and clothes. She doesn't even find it uncomfortable or even concerend that I run around like a crazy person when she starts to do it.

Safe to say. Today is a laundry day.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Playground Fun (Part 1 of 1,312,452)

Today we spent about an hour at a local playground. I can't believe that I would reach a point in my life where I would be rating the level of quality of a particular kiddie park. This one would rate about a 6/10 for size, 7/10 for level of fun, and 8/10 for parent seating. I'm not sure if Amanda really cares about my scientific analysis of kiddie parks but we're having fun testing my theories.

She's really into ladders even though she still gives me a mild heart attack when she climbs. I'm always trying to play the "tough guy Dad" and try to look like I trust my super baby's abilities. Like I'm trying to say... " hey soccer Moms! Check out my genetically superior 2 year old climber!". Yes, it's pretty much me, Amanda, other kids, and soccer Moms at the playgrounds during the week. It's time to get more Dads out there!

Until our next adventure ...

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Summer with Dad!

Being a teacher gives me the chance to hang out more with Amanda. We're able to go on bike rides, go to splash parks (which is her current favourite activity), go to the aquarium, and just generally goof off.

The only downside of being off this summer is that I've been professor of potty training. It seems like a constant daily hourly battle.

More "Adventures of Dad & Amanda" to come soon!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Rocky Point Fun

We met up with Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Mike, and Auntie Cristina at Rocky Point on Saturday for a picnic dinner. Rocky Point has finished their new spray park, and it was a big hit! Amanda had a great time. The weather was perfect - not too hot, but warm enough that she didn't get cold in the freezing water. I anticipate we'll be spending quite a bit of time at this park over the next few summers!

I just love the expressions on her face in these photos...and her skin is turning a beautiful caramel colour. She's just like her Dad - it doesn't matter how much SPF 50 we put on her, she still gets darker every time she goes out.

After the spray park, we had a great dinner (thanks Mom!). Amanda ate 3 huge pieces of watermelon, and would have eaten more if we hadn't cut her off in fear of the diaper deluge that would await us today.

In other news, we are finally tacking potty training a bit more diligently. Amanda is in pull-ups and seems to be doing pretty well. We're thinking that we will use the pull-ups only for a few days, then move straight into underwear and see how that goes. She's definitely ready (in fact, she was probably ready a couple of months ago) but we're not sure if we are!!!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


What a great Canada Day weekend! On Saturday we headed out to Langley for the Canada Day event out there. Amanda had a fabulous time, despite the somewhat overwhelming heat. We watched some shows, played on the big red frog, and ate way too much junk food (Amanda especially liked her first ice cream sandwich, although most of it ended up dripping down her arms). Afterwards, Mandy fell asleep almost instantly in the car, and we took a quick detour to my friend Cynthia's place to see her beautiful new baby girl, Kimberly.

Sunday we had a very lazy day, complete with a long family nap in the afternoon. Ah, the beauty of long weekends - you can spend a whole day relaxing and not have to feel guilty about it! It was way too hot to do much of anything else, anyway. In the late afternoon, once the weather had cooled off a bit, we pulled out Amanda's inflatable pool, which turned out to be more work than we expected...there were a few small holes that had mysteriously developed since last year. We managed to patch them together enough for the pool to last through a good hour or so of splashing. Our little fishie loves the water these days.

Monday we managed to get organized enough to head out to the Vancouver Aquarium for a few hours. Amanda loves the aquarium, especially the "Baby Buggas". As soon as we told her where we were going, she would shout "Baby Buggas!!" excitedly every time we stopped the car. We actually watched the beluga show from the downstairs viewing area, which I'd never done before... a different way to see it, plus the air conditioning was very nice!

Now we're on "summer schedule"...Jeff is home with Amanda every day, although she'll continue to go to daycare once a week or so to give Jeff a break and Amanda a chance to catch up with her friends! Although the weather cooled off quite a bit today, the two of them had a great time wandering around and Amanda was exhausted by the end of the day, so much so that she almost fell asleep in her dinner. At least it's a bit cooler, so she's having an easier time sleeping these days.

A few more pictures have been posted, including some from Canada Day and the aquarium. Enjoy!