Sunday, December 02, 2007


As predicted, a snowstorm hit Vancouver last night and we woke up to a couple of centimetres of snow on the ground. Of course Amanda was extremely excited...on the monitor the first thing I heard out of her was "Huh? What's going on?" and then thump thump thump thump down the hall, followed by her jumping into bed with us and saying "Did you see the snow?!". Um, yes, pretty excited.

After breakfast we got bundled up and headed out for a walk in the neighbourhood. It was really quite beautiful (I may not still be saying that tomorrow morning when I will have to drive in the stuff). It was slow going as Amanda stopped every 3 steps to pick up snow and bunch it up in her mittens. Then she figured out she could throw "snowballs" (really just handfuls of snow) at her Dad...I managed to stay safe since I was carrying the camera and that couldn't possibly get wet!! She was having a great time "sneaking up" on Daddy...i.e., telling him to come back (yeah, that's really stealthy Amanda), then stomping up behind him in her boots, giggling, before throwing a handful of snow at his rear end. Quite funny to watch...especially for me, since I wasn't on the receiving end! :)

Whole Flickr set here; a few pics:
Hand in Hand
End of Walk

By the way, we are once again doing the 24 days of Christmas in our household. I managed to actually get organized in time and we started today! Amanda was quite excited to see the trusty mailbox out this morning. Will post pics soon.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Santa Claus Parade

Last weekend we headed downtown to once again brave the crowds at the Santa Claus Parade. (Here is last year's post about the parade.)

The biggest difference between this year and last was that it was FREEZING!! Jeff really felt he needed to be at church (why oh why does the parade always have to be on Christ the King Sunday?!?) so Amanda and I headed out a bit early and took the skytrain downtown. It was quite the adventure since Amanda hadn't been on skytrain before (well, maybe once long ago, but she definitely didn't remember). We got there a bit later than I'd hoped, but still more than 90 minutes before the scheduled start time...and of course, it takes quite a while for the parade to make its way to Burrard & Georgia, where we were camped out. We found some pretty decent spots right down on the curb and settled in to wait. Wow, did I mention how cold it was?!? Jeff joined us as soon as he got away from church.

The most frustrating thing was that at the last minute a bunch of people showed up and plunked themselves down right on the road. They weren't directly in front of us, but they were to the right of us, which was the direction from which the parade was coming. We figured they would get booted, because last year the police came by at the last minute and made everyone get off the road. But this year that didn't happen, so huge groups of people were blocking our view. It was really irritating, but it's tough to figure out whether it's worth kicking up a stink and ruining everyone's good time. However, it kills me that those kids are learning it's OK to do stuff like this. Their parents should be ashamed!

Anyway, the parade was good, but not as good as I remember it being last year. Maybe we were all just so frozen that we couldn't enjoy it as much (or maybe it was the rude people colouring the experience for us). We did have a good time though and will probably go again next year.

A few photos (whole set here):
Ready for the Parade!
Ready With My Pompom!

Disney Princesses on Ice!

Although I've tried my best to stay away from the deluge of Disney Princess merchandise available for preschoolers, Amanda is completely obsessed with them, especially Ariel. She loves to play Ariel (to the point that the other girls at the daycare now often refuse to play it with her because they're sick of it!) and at home she's always telling us that she's Ariel and we can be Ariel's mom and dad, or whatever.

When I saw Disney on Ice advertised I took a big breath and decided to buy some tickets for Amanda, me, and my Mom. I was prepared to splurge on better seats, but they were already all gone! So we ended up in the blues, which surprisingly were still pretty good. I didn't tell Amanda about it until the evening before, and I don't think she really got it. Even when we got there, she seemed a bit confused by the whole idea. She asked if it was a "concert", so I think she was equating it with Jeff's band concerts (not that there's anything wrong with them, but they're pretty old hat to her by this point). Once the show started she understood better what it was, and she enjoyed it very much! The show itself was pretty incredible (I hadn't been to one before)...great music and great skating, although Belle did fall on her rear end at one point. :) The Disney Princess paraphernalia available at the show was truly beyond anything I have seen before...$10 for cotton candy?! $12 for a snowcone in a flounder cup?! A light-up Ariel wand for $20!?!? (OK, so we might now own one of those...ahem.)

I think it would be more fun in another year, especially now that she'd know what she was looking forward to. It would be fun to make this an annual event.

Again, more photos on Flickr, but here are a few:

Hanging out with Grandma before the show started:
Hanging Out with Grandma

Amanda's photo with Ariel. Even though it was $15 (!!), she is so crazy about Ariel that I couldn't resist. However, you'd think for that kind of money they could have at least made the photo in focus?
Amanda and Ariel

My little princess down by the ice at the end of the show:
Big Smiles After the Show!

A Day at Como Lake

A few weeks ago, Jeff had to be somewhere on Saturday so Amanda and I headed out to Como Lake for a couple of hours. It was a gorgeous fall day and the colours were amazing! We had fun playing in the playground and taking a walk around the lake. There were several great photos from this day (complete set on Flickr) but here are a few favourites:
Climbing in the Playground
Birdhouse and Blue Sky
Beautiful Autumn Smile

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Embarrassed Shrug...

Yes, it's been almost three months since we posted anything...but we're beyond being embarrassed about it. It's tough to keep up with stuff with two working parents and a busy 3-year-old. However, we are kind of sad that we've neglected to capture some of the hilarious and ee-diculous things coming out of Amanda's mouth these days. Some of her current favourites:

  • "This is ee-diculous!!"
  • "Well"...this usually said in response to what she obviously thinks is a dumb question, as in Me: So who was at daycare today? Amanda: Well (turning up hands and making an exasperated face) Anika and Ysa, like always.
  • "Last Off" - as in: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, DON'T SAY 11 BECAUSE WE'RE ONLY COUNTING TO 10!!!, LAST OFF!!"
  • "Or something", used as a modifier to just about anything (Jeff: Why do you think the fish are swimming like that? Amanda: Maybe they're cold or something)

One fun development in the past few weeks is that we've started music classes. I say "we" because I, too, go to music class every Tuesday evening...apparently the many years of music instruction weren't quite enough for me. We decided to go with the Music for Young Children program, and so far it's going great. I must admit that despite having tons of music around the house constantly, I was pretty dubious about how much music a 3-year-old could learn. But after only about half a dozen classes, Amanda can find 3 notes on the piano with no problem at all (D, F, and C), instantly calls out "piano" or "forte" for different volumes of music, and is learning the difference between quarter notes and half notes (we call them "hops" and "turtles"). The way everything is taught is really quite amazing. The most important thing is that she's really enjoying it and looks forward to class every week. We have to do a few minutes of "practice" each day, but often this is just cutting pictures out of magazines (like things that start with C, or people whispering) or singing songs. And since we started classes, Amanda has been singing even more than usual - she's always done a lot of singing, but now pretty much everything turns into a song. She sometimes uses tunes she knows, like Twinkle Twinkle or Rockabye Baby, and other times she makes up songs on her own. She's very good at getting words to fit into the rhythm, and sometimes they even rhyme! It's pretty amazing to us to watch how her language and music skills are developing.

Hmm, what else is new...Amanda is also starting swimming lessons in a few weeks, after spending quite awhile on the waiting list. What's up with the rec centres that they offer a million classes during the middle of weekdays, but hardly any during evenings or weekends (except for, like, 12:30 pm on Saturday - just what I wanted, to waste my entire Saturday with a swimming lesson in the middle of the day)? For those 5 weeks things will be crazy, as we have swimming on Mondays and Wednesdays and music class on Tuesdays, but it's worth it to keep weekends more or less free. It's also a good thing, since our weekends seem to be filling up faster than we can keep track these days. I always expect December to be hectic, but this year that's extended right back to mid-September. It's taking a lot more coordination to keep things organized these days! I must say, my Mom Agenda is helping considerably - I love it!!

As for us, we're just barely keeping heads above water, as usual. I'm not sure how other people do the two-working-parents thing, but I'd say we are perpetually in a state of chaos and three steps behind everything that needs doing. One of these days I'll turn into one of those organized moms who always has nutritious meals and snacks planned and a well-stocked fridge, has an immaculate house, and is universally adored at work...OK, probably not. (Anyone who knows me even a little would have been snickering from at least the immaculate house part.) How people do it with 2 or more kids is beyond me!! We can't even manage the one well-behaved kid we have. Oh well, we keep plugging along as always.

Photos...lots!! Although we've slowed down considerably in our photo-taking in recent months. Here are a couple of recent favourites:
Cute in Pink!
So Crazy!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Only the Beginning...

We are way behind on blog posting again...ack! This summer just seems to be disappearing before we know it!

We will try to catch the blog up soon, but in the meantime I had to post something that happened in the car today. We were driving and listening to some of Amanda's music on my iPod. When the song Evermore by Alison Kraus came on, I immediately said to Jeff "Oh no, this song always makes me cry". It is such a beautiful song and every time I hear it I dissolve into a puddle.

The forests of April awaken from sleep,
And flowers unfold through the snow,
And the wind rushes high, and the river runs deep,
And it sings what you already know, you already know:

(Refrain) Evermore I will love you, evermore I will stay,
Ever right here to hold you, never so far away,
And though I know sometimes you go to find your way alone,
Evermore I will love you, you are ever my own.

Though nothing's as certain as seasons and time,
Though nothing will be as before,
Still every way and always it's certain that I'm
With you forever, evermore.

So, as I sat in the front seat thankful for my sunglasses that hid my embarrassing flood of tears from Amanda, she must have picked up on how I was feeling. She asked several questions along the lines of "why is she going away?", which were interesting to try to explain.

Then, just after the song ended, she suddenly said "Mommy? You know why I'm sad? Because I won't see Baby Tristan anymore." Her little lip started to quiver and the next thing we knew, she was full-on crying in the back seat. Of course we reassured her that of course she will see Baby Tristan soon - probably even tomorrow - and I tried to explain that sometimes songs can make us feel strong emotions. After a few minutes she calmed back down and was back to her regular self.

But Jeff? Was not. I think this was the point at which he fully understood what it sometimes means to be the only guy in a sea of women. A few minutes later, he turned to me and said "Please, please, if we have another child, let it be a boy."

If he thinks that was bad, I can't wait to see how he deals with having two hormonal women in the house in another 10 years or so!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Congratulations Rosalie & Miguel!

The wedding we came down to San Jose to participate in is over! Rosalie and Miguel were married in a beautiful ceremony on Saturday evening. Amanda was the perfect flower girl - she is such a pro now, with this being her 3rd wedding as a flower girl! She walked down the aisle at just the right speed, throwing her rose petals as she went (this was a new twist - she'd never had to do the rose petal thing before - but we did lots of practice throwing ahead of time). She looked beautiful and she was so well-behaved...we are very proud parents!

The rehearsal dinner was on Friday evening at the hotel where the wedding party was staying. It was very nice, and it was good to meet the wedding party and Miguel's family, as well as to catch up with family and family friends. Amanda got to meet her cousin Vincent and the two of them had a good time running around, trying to avoid sleep:

Hugging Cousins

The weather was a bit cooler on Saturday (like mid-80s instead of 90s+), which was great! The ceremony was held outside on a hilltop under a was a beautiful location. We had to be there quite early (2.5 hours before the ceremony started), so we had some time to kill but Amanda was extremely patient.


The bride was beautiful, of course...
Blushing Bride
Big Yawn!

It was a very nice ceremony, with many of the parts repeated in Spanish for the benefit of Miguel's family, who were originally from Mexico:
Take My Hand...
The Kiss

And then it was time for the party! Amanda once again had a fabulous time, dancing like a crazy person. She found a few little friends - her cousin Vincent, Miguel's two nephews, and a family friend who looked to be 1 1/2 or so:
Ring Around The Rosy
Where Am I?

We didn't leave until close to midnight, and we all had a good sleep and a late morning on Sunday!

(More photos on Flickr).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Do You Know the Way to San Jose?

Yes, we're in San Jose! (Well, technically we're in Santa Clara, which is where our hotel is, but everything is very close together down here.)

On Tuesday evening (yes, Amanda's birthday) we drove down from Vancouver to Seattle. It was a bit of a marathon trip - we didn't get away until almost 7 pm, then we stopped for dinner in Bellingham so Amanda would at least have something reasonable to eat for her "birthday dinner". We ate at Red Robin's and they gave Amanda an ice cream sundae and sang to her, which she found quite thrilling. We also had a few small gifts for her to open in the restaurant. After all that, we didn't arrive in Seattle until very late - probably around 11 pm - so it was a long night.

Silly Glasses!

The next morning we were up bright and early to catch a 7 am shuttle to the airport. Our flight was at 9 am, and we made it on board without any problems. Amanda was excited beyond belief - so much so that people were commenting on it in the airport! She kept kind of dancing around, and she was really hyper. This was her first airplane ride and we'd been talking about it for several weeks, so she'd really been looking forward to it. She was absolutely perfect during the flight, sitting quietly with some books and toys and pointing to things outside the window. And, for those of you who are wondering, she did the whole trip (drive down to Seattle and flight) in "big girl underwear"! It was quite funny...I took her to the washroom on the plane as a preemptive measure, then she "had to go" another 2 times during the flight...the first time just to show Daddy the toilet that worked like a vacuum, and then I think another time just for fun. :) Hey, whatever works! Luckily we were only a few rows from the back so it wasn't a big deal for her to get up often.

Intrepid Traveler

I'm On A Plane!

After picking up our car at the airport (we got upgraded to a "luxury car" for free since they were out of our original request), we grabbed some lunch, then headed to our hotel and relaxed for a bit, including a dip in the hotel pool. Amanda was understandably very tired after the late night and early morning and all the excitement. Wednesday evening we met up with Thelma, Danny, Rosalie, and Miguel for dinner and had a very nice time chatting. True to her normal form, Amanda took a few minutes to get over her shyness, but then turned into a monkey and was very animated for the rest of the evening...but again, very well behaved. We do know how lucky we are to have a child who behaves herself in restaurants!!

Thursday morning after breakfast we hopped in the car and drove down to Santa Cruz. One of the things we wanted to do on this trip was take Amanda to a real beach. We had a really great time - Santa Cruz has a huge boardwalk that has been around for 100 years, and the atmosphere was a lot of fun. We did agree that it would probably be crazy in the summer, but this time of year (and on a weekday) it was about perfect. There are miles of beautiful beach, and tons of pelicans and seals play in the water - several times we saw seals within 10 or 12 feet of swimmers, which would freak me out but oh well! We did lots of walking, traveling the length of the pier and walking up and down the beach and boardwalk a few times. Amanda's favourite part of the day was walking in the water - she loved how the waves would come in and "move her body"...we think she was talking about how the sand swirls around your feet and almost turns into quicksand stuff. She would get the giggles every time a big wave would come up. A few times we got quite wet when I misjudged how big the waves would be, but for the most part we were relatively unscathed. In other big news, Amanda had a great time on the rides on the boardwalk. As soon as she saw them, she kept asking us to go on them, and it turned out there were lots of kiddie rides. Of course, she wanted to go on the big rides...she kept asking about the pirate ship thing and the ones that spin around really fast (i.e., the ones that make me sick). It's obvious she has no problems with rides, and Jeff is looking forward to when the two of them can ride together (since I never want to go on the big scary rides, except at Disneyland). We enjoyed a quick ice cream, then headed home. She zonked out in the car and had a good nap, after all the excitement!

One other funny thing...Jeff got a navigation system for our rental car (which is handy but has also sent us on a few wrong turns...a story for another day). It's not too obtrusive, but it does say things like "in 500 metres, turn right". Well, Amanda started repeating the instructions for us, like she doesn't think Jeff can understand them (which kind of makes sense, seeing as how we've had trouble following them sometimes if the truth be known!). So the navigation lady will say "Turn right, then keep right" and Amanda will repeat it..."Turn right, then right Dad!". What's really funny is that she can never remember which one is right vs. left, so she doesn't actually understand her own fact, sometimes she'll say "are you turning right, Dad?" just to make sure he's following her instructions.

We have taken about a million pictures (big surprise!), so check out the Flickr site. And it really is as hot as it looks - since we've arrived it's been around 30C. I think it's supposed to cool down by a few degrees for the weekend, which would be about perfect!

There are lots of photos linked above; here are a few more:
Big Girl Rides the Carousel!
Playing In the Sand
On the Ferris Wheel!
The Beach Beyond

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thanks Be To God

Just had to get a quick post in to capture this story...

So today is Amanda's 3rd birthday. Yay Amanda! At church on Sunday, our priest Father Joseph asked us to come over to the rectory and gave Amanda a couple of beautiful art puzzles - one Noah's Ark, and the other David & Goliath. It was very nice of him, and Amanda was very good about saying her thank you's, etc.

Last night, we spent some time making thank you cards for everyone who gave Amanda birthday gifts. Again, she was great, helping me come up with the wording to go in each card and colouring in the pictures. After she was in bed I put them all in envelopes to pop into the mail today, and even remembered to put them in my purse so I'd remember to take them (a minor miracle in itself!).

This morning, she walked past the dining room table where we'd been doing our colouring and asked what happened to the cards, so I told her I was going to take them to work to mail them. Then her brow furrowed and she said "Hey! We didn't make a card for God!". I was a bit flustered, thinking maybe I'd misheard her, and trying to figure out how I was going to deal with a big theological discussion at 6:30 in the morning. Then again, "But what about God? We didn't make him a card!". Jeff and I looked at each other, puzzled, trying to decide how to even begin this conversation. Then the light bulb went on. "Do you mean Father Joseph?" I asked, and Amanda smiled and said yes. Aha! And yes, she was totally right - we did forget to write a thank you card for him. As I think I've said before, the girl has a memory like an elephant.

I can see where she was coming from with this, since we've told her that the church is God's house, but now I'm groaning inwardly as I think about all the misconceptions that probably need clearing up...oh well, to deal with another day I suppose!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Birthday Portraits

Here are the portraits we had done for Amanda's 3rd birthday (we cheated and got them done several weeks ago so they'd be ready for her birthday):
Ready for School


In the Ivy

Caught in a Net!

Shadowy Pose

And, just for fun, here is another photo we had done a few weeks ago at Ikea! Bopomo Pictures did a special promotion where you could get free pictures done for Mothers' Day. I decided to have both of us in the picture since there are so few photos of the two of us together, and I'm quite happy with the final result:
Crazy About You

I quite like the photos on their site - maybe we will go down and have a real portrait session one of these days!

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Another month, another lack of blog posts...sigh.

Oh well, here's our month in a nutshell. Although we're always busy, this month has been perhaps even crazier than usual - I started a new job! The company I started working for only last February basically ran out of money (yes, the joys of working in biotech) and laid off their entire staff. Did you know you can be "temporarily" laid off with no notice and no severance for up to 13 weeks? No? Well, me neither, until the middle of April. I was very lucky in that I was part of a very small group who were brought back in on a consulting basis, and I continued consulting until I got a new job after 4 weeks. So things worked out very well for me, although I know very well I'm extremely lucky.

So, now I have moved out of working in biotech - this experience really encouraged me to consider other options that aren't so shaky, and biotech is just not a great place to be these days in Vancouver, with a lot of companies laying off. So I've made a move into the other side of research and drug development, dealing with the grants portfolio for a major research institute here in town. I'm now working downtown for the first time in my life and I love it! I take the West Coast Express in and it's such a relaxing, I get a couple of short walks in every day, which helps keep my energy up (especially important since I'm now up at 5:30 am to get to work by 8 am).

But enough about me...Amanda has adjusted surprisingly well to the earlier wake-up time and has been generally quite cheerful over the past several weeks. And, in other big news, she appears to have finally made the leap into staying dry during the day! She's been quite unusual in the potty department, as she has been fully #2 trained for many months now, but resisted #1 training (she would pee in the potty no problem, but wouldn't initiate it on her own). We knew she could, because she would have really great stretches or even full days when she was completely dry and would ask to go when she needed to, but then she'd lose interest again. All of a sudden something seems to have clicked and she is wearing her "big girl panties" and staying dry all day! We've had only a couple of small accidents all week, and both times she was just a bit too late (as opposed to completely ignoring the urge to go). So great progress! We're so proud of her...can't believe how grown up she seems all of a sudden. She also stopped using her potty seat all of a sudden and insists that she's a big girl and can sit without it. She hasn't fallen in yet, so I guess that's a good sign. :)

So, what else...well, we went to Denise & Danny's wedding a couple of weeks ago and got some great pictures. Amanda got a chance to wear her beautiful dress from Mike & Cristina's wedding again, and of course she felt like a princess. Here are a couple of pictures:


The Girls

On the Victoria Day Monday, we headed out to the Aquarium, one of Amanda's favourite places. Here are a couple of pictures from that day:

Jen & Amanda


And finally, big excitement - Amanda is turning 3 on Tuesday!! How is it possible that she has gotten so big? We had a small birthday party for her on Saturday and it was a big success (well, at least we thought it was). This was the first time that we tried inviting actual kids to her birthday party, which added a level of stress (since we had to make sure we had activities for the kids), but it all worked out great. We didn't tell Amanda her friends were coming, and the look on her face when they arrived was worth the lack of sleep in preparing for the party. She had a fabulous time playing with Isabella (Cristina's cousin, Amanda's co-flower girl from the wedding) and Maddy (her friend from daycare), as well as Isabella's younger brother Alexander. The kids were all extremely well behaved - no fighting or crying at all! They immediately set to work playing with every single toy Amanda owns and had a great time. We went with an "under the sea" theme, with cut-out tuna sandwiches, a goldfish cracker snack mix, blue finger jello in sealife shapes, and shrimp dip (courtesy of Mom). For dessert, we had a fish cake. The kids had a great time putting together foam picture frames with foam cut-outs and real shells glued on, and decorating sealife-shaped sugar cookies. I was really happy with the way everything turned out. Amanda received a pile of really amazing gifts, including a beautiful bike - she is so lucky to have so many friends and family who love her! It was a great day all around. Some photos...

Fish Snack Mix

Quite The Cookie!

Opening Presents

Blowing Out the Candles

Fish Cake

Proud Bike Owner!

Amanda With Her Gifts

Sorry for all the photos...hopefully this post won't take a year to load on everyone's computer. :)

In a few days, we are off on vacation for a week for Jeff's cousin Rosalie's wedding in San Jose. It will be Amanda's first plane ride, and she couldn't be more excited. She is going to be a flower girl at the wedding (her third time!) and we're looking forward to getting some relaxation time, too...maybe even a visit to the beach! We'll try to post while we're gone.