Sunday, January 28, 2007

Waiting for Godot...

...or, at least, some potty action.
Waiting for Godot...
This is such a common site in our home these days that Jeff thinks we should install a couch in the bathroom. We're both getting really tired of standing, and/or sitting on the bathroom floor!

Cute Baby Alert!

Tonight we had dinner at my parents' house, along with Mike, Cristina, and Baby Tristan. He is doing great and is getting cuter by the day! He seems amazingly awake for such a small baby. Apparently he is actually giving Mike & Cristina some decent stretches of sleep (well, at least decent by 1-month old baby standards) and they seem very calm about the whole parenthood thing. Amanda is very cute with him...she was a bit shy when someone else was holding him, but when I got to cuddle him for awhile, she came over and gave him lots of little tiny kisses on top of his head. She commented on how soft his hair was (so true!). But mostly she was distracted by the cool new firetruck Grandma had bought.

A few shots of Tristan with his Grandpa:
What's That?
Smile for Grandpa
Smiley Boy
Wide Awake

Muffin Mania

Last night we had a couple of mangy bananas lying around, so I figured we should whip up something to eat. Amanda put on her new apron (a Christmas gift from Grandma & Grandpa) and we set to work on some banana-chocolate chip muffins...because in my mind, bananas can only be redeemed by oodles of chocolatey goodness. She was a very good helper, dumping the dry ingredients into the bowl, whisking up liquid ingredients, and mushing bananas.

When Jeff pulled out the camera it became even more evident to us that she's become far too familiar with the thing. She takes directions like a pro...for example, this is what Jeff got when he told her to "put her hands on her cheeks like a flower" (what does that even mean?!?):

Surprised Face #2

She also went through a succession of different faces on command - grouchy:
Grouchy Face

Surprised Face

Thinking Face

And just plain cute:

(The muffins were delicious, by the way!)

A Walk in the Park

On Saturday, the weather here in Vancouver was stunning - crisp, cool, and a beautiful blue sky. I figured I'd better get us out of the house, as we have a bad tendency to either stick around home and do housework, or spend whole days running errands. So I packed Amanda and I up and headed over to Rocky Point Park for a couple of hours (leaving Jeff at home to work on the housework stuff!).

It was a beautiful day for a walk, and Amanda did great - we walked all the way from the main park, by the spray park, to the Starbucks at Newport Village. We'd had a really late breakfast and she didn't seem too interested in lunch, but I figured a snack was in order, so we stopped for a hot chocolate (her) and chai latte (me) at Starbucks. Jeff was nice enough to come pick her up, as I didn't think she would be able to make the entire 2-2.5 km walk back - it was a pretty long way for a 2 1/2 year old to walk in the first place!

It's so much fun walking with her these days...she's so curious and full of questions. First she regaled everyone within earshot with a stunning rendition of "EIEIO" (as she calls it), set off by viewing some ducks on the shore. At one point we saw one of those informational signs, describing a specific kind of chickadee found in the forest. We talked about how, if we were really quiet, maybe we would be able to see or hear one. Fast forward a few minutes, when we head into a darker part of the woods and Amanda says "Be very fearful, there are lions and tigers and monkeys in the forest". After I reassured her that there are no such animals in our local forests and that it's perfectly safe to go walking, she responded with "That's right Mom...only chickadees". :)

I've been working on trying to get better pictures, and maybe even some that don't feature Amanda (shocker!). I was not displeased with these shots, but they're still missing some oomph. I think that is my New Year's resolution this year - I want to really figure out how to use our fancy-dancy new camera to take better pictures.

The best of the day's photos are in a Flickr are a few:
Winding Stream

Eerie Light

Moon Through Trees

Friday, January 26, 2007

New Blog...

Yes, we updated our blog with a new seems that Blogger Beta doesn't like the old templates much, so it seemed time for a switch. I actually really like the new blue look...what do you think?

Despite all the problems switching to Blogger Beta, I must admit I'm quite liking it...I haven't yet experienced the problems others seem to be having with posting and crashing (knock on wood!) and I like the ease of customizing the elements on the blog. When it comes down to it, it IS a free tool, so how much complaining can ya do?

Children See, Children Do

Jeff emailed me this commercial from YouTube the other's pretty difficult to watch, but the message is important, so here it is:

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

One Last One...

Originally uploaded by aspect satyr.

Go check out the pool...seriously!!

Funny sign 1

Funny sign 1
Originally uploaded by Rich 2012.
Danke, indeed!

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires
Originally uploaded by Badarama.

Remind me not to go to Buenos Aires any time soon...I've heard they can be a PITA to tourists. :) (Just kidding, for any Argentinians who may be out there...)

Stick Figures in Peril

And here I thought we were the only people who take pictures of weird stick figure signs:

Stick Figures in Peril (a Flickr group)

I could be in long would it take me to look at all >6500 pictures, anyway?!?

I will post a couple of classics momentarily...

Monday, January 22, 2007

A New Kind of Nativity

Jeff got a $25 gift card to Montana's from a student for Christmas, so we decided to go there for dinner last night. After waiting forever to get service, we had a pretty decent meal. But towards the end of the evening, Amanda was getting a little bit antsy, so we were all amusing ourselves by drawing pictures on the paper they had down on the table (with the one crayon we managed to find discarded on the floor, as they didn't provide us with any).

Out of nowhere, Amanda asked us to draw "Baby Jesus". Um, OK - Jeff took that one on as my drawing skills are about equal to those of a walrus. He ended up with something approximating a holy blob - well done Jeff!

But that wasn't the end of it...then Jeff was requested to draw "Jophess", then Mary, then an angel, and the three kings. By this point we were all getting a little giddy and the drawings were getting worse by the second. She asked for a donkey, but the only place left to draw it was right next to, and smaller than, a king, so Jeff told her the donkey's name was Myrrh and the king was bringing him as a gift for the baby Jesus. This seemed to be pretty acceptable. Then we had to draw a sheep, and of course a shepherd to control him.

But then Amanda asked Jeff to draw the guy playing the bagpipes. That was it; we completely lost it. Picture two parents, overly full from their very enjoyable Mud Pie, and tired of waiting for service, pushed past the point of exhaustion and laughing with tears running down their faces, and a puzzled 2.5-year old, laughing along but not really sure she got the joke.

Once we'd calmed down a bit, it turned out Jeff didn't know where she was coming from on this one - he was trying to figure out what bagpipes had to do with a nativity scene. But I knew right away she was talking about this dude:


And here, barely visible on the right edge of the photo:
Manger Girl

...all of which led to a rousing discussion in the car on the way home about exactly why a shepherd in Bethlehem is playing the bagpipes, anyway?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Words to Live By

I found this old post that I started ages ago (like last August or so) but never got around to finishing. Reading it over was such a good snapshot of what Amanda's language was like then, and how far she has come since, that I decided to go ahead and post it. I've added a few notes in purple to update the post.

We've been realizing lately how many of Amanda's baby words have already disappeared. Although it's so amazing to watch her learning how to use words and language properly, it makes us sad to realize it means the end of so many of her cute little Amandaisms. Some of our favourites that have disappeared over the last several months...

  • Skybow = rainbow.
  • Na = banana.
  • When we first introduced Amanda to ice cream, after every bite she would put down her spoon, shudder dramatically, and yell "COLD!". Although she still does it occasionally, it's pretty rare.
A few that are in transition as we speak...
  • Da was Amanda's first name for herself. Although she still doesn't say her full name, she gets closer to it every day. {Now she not only says her entire name - last name included - but our names too!}
  • Da was also her first word for Canada (she loves to sing "O Canada"...we'll have to get an MP3 of that up one of these days). At the moment it's "Ah-da", always with the emphasis on the first syllable. It gets shouted a lot, since she loves to spot Canada flags from her carseat and yells "Ah-da! Ah-da!" until we acknowledge that we, too, have spotted the flag. {Amanda is still obsessed with Canada and O Canada, but now she pronounces it Adada. Hey, at least it's got the right number of syllables!}
  • Baby Bugga, her very favourite stuffed toy of all time, has now become Baby Booga, and we suspect will shortly morph into Baby Beluga. {Yep, it did.}
And some more recent funny phrases...
  • I dood it, which has made an appearance in the last few days. It's usually shouted when we're attempting to (God forbid) help her with something she wants to do herself. {I'd already forgotten all about the "I dood it" phase! That was hilarious! Good times...}
  • Opucus, which means octopus. She is quite obsessed with sea creatures in general these days, but the octopus is a special favourite for her. {She still says opucus.}
  • Mummy Bye is what she requests each night I put her to's her word for "Hush Little Baby", which we sing together as I tuck her in. {As sick as I got of singing "Hush Little Baby" every single night for several months, I admit to being sad that she rarely requests it now. She's moved on to other favourites...will have to post about that one of these days.}
  • Other favourite songs include Kinkle, Kinkle {hee!} and Baa Baa Sheep. She also calls the alphabet song ABCs, almost always emphasising the B. {Now she usually calls it the alphabet song.}
  • It's that she's on Daddy's summer schedule and thus often up later, she notices as it starts to get darker outside and tells us it's late, or "it's getting late". But since she knows late = bedtime, she often follows up with "not yet". Last night she gave us a whole story about how it was getting late, but not bedtime yet, because first we had to eat dinner, then it would be time for bed. (And yes, we are delinquent parents for not getting her dinner before it started to get late in the first place!). {And that wasn't the last time, either.}
  • Last weekend in Home Depot, as we were checking out the paint samples (since several rooms in our house desperately require a paint job), she chose a paint colour and declared she was going to "paint the floor". Hmm, painting the floor of the Home Depot is a pretty ambitious job there, sweetie! Unless of course she was referring to painting the floor with rivers of pee, which she seems to have a particular talent for. (And that is why "I peed" is also a common phrase around our house these days...note the past tense). {"I peed" - still in past tense - is still a popular phrase in our house. But hey - at least we've painted her room now! And put down laminate floors! We've learned!}
Catherine Newman, one of my favourite writers on the web, had a great column about this a few weeks ago on Bringing Up Ben & Birdy. We have often looked at each other and wondered exactly the same thing as she: "Does it stop being funny?". Because right now, Amanda is so hilarious without intending it, and it's so much fun to be with her, that we keep thinking the fun has to stop eventually...I mean, who said parenting was actually going to be enjoyable?!?

Rockin' New Year's Eve!

You know you're parents when...

you spend NYE at the Stanley Park Christmas Train.

Hey, but we sprung for the full deal - they run a package that includes not only tickets to the train and farm, but dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory (and free parking in Gastown to boot). Yes, we are such party animals - NYE at the 'Factory!!

It was great though - Amanda was very taken with all the lights and had a great time. It was pretty sad, though, to see the devastation in Stanley Park from the mid-December windstorm (as well as subsequent storms). I don't think we were expecting it to be so bad...even right by the train, there were huge trees still lying in pathways, and lots of damage (right in the midst of the happy Christmas light displays there was a park bench crushed to pieces, which they hadn't even managed to get out of the way yet). Big kudos to all those volunteers who must have worked like crazy to get the place cleared up enough so that they could resume the Christmas Train.

A few pics...

We had a few shots of the downed trees; also check out the Flickr pool dedicated to the Vancouver windstorm.
Firefighters Amanda and Jen
Ho Ho Hoinfinity
Too Many Santas
All Aboard!
All Aboard!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Post-Christmas Fun

On Boxing Day, we headed to my parents' place for another "Christmas dinner"...but it was just us, so it was nice to relax. Usually we've tried to go over to their place on Christmas day for gift opening, but this was an even better way to do it - less stress on Christmas day, and when is stretching out the gifts ever a bad thing?! Amanda got quite the haul (and we didn't make out too badly ourselves).

When Amanda opened her new doll (promptly Christened "baby cousin"), she immediately had to put it to sleep with her old doll (with the creative moniker "baby"). They're under the afghan Mom knit - a miniature version of the one she made for Amanda and presented the day after she was born.
Shhh! Babies are Sleeping!

The next day, we headed over to Jeff's parents' house for gift opening there. Amanda was getting a bit overwhelmed by all the presents but still managed just fine. :)

Playing with her "new iPod":
Amanda's "iPod"

Our Christmas!

OK, so we are very late. :) But we did have a really great Christmas this year, despite the fact that we were all either fighting off illnesses or right in the thick of them. Amanda and I have managed to pass the same throat virus back and forth multiple times since the beginning of December...of course, Christmas isn't exactly the best time to get lots of sleep to be able to fight stuff off (especially after I was up all night when Tristan was born!).

Anyway, we had both our families over to our place for Christmas eve dinner. This was the second year in a row we've done this, and it works out really well - much less work for Mom to pull off two Christmas dinners in a row, and easier to get Amanda down to bed at a reasonable hour so she's not a total bear on Christmas day. This year it also meant we could start some of the rituals I remember from my own childhood...opening up that brand new pair of jammies before bedtime (made with lots of love by Grandma!), then putting out milk and cookies for Santa (and a carrot for Rudolph).

Grandma finally put a design onto Amanda's stocking (it's been blank for the past two years):
Stocking Smiles
The look on Mandy's face when she realized the carrot was for Rudolph!
For Rudolph!
Putting out milk and cookies:
Milk and Cookies

Christmas day was a bit crazy, as always. After church in the morning, we came back home for lunch and gift opening, then had time for a rest before heading to Cristina's parents' house for Christmas dinner. Amanda wasn't feeling great, but she's such a trooper...rarely complains about anything!

Crazy hair in the morning:
Crazy Haired Girl!
Wow! A Bobs and Lolo CD! (She made this "excited face" for just about every was classic!)
Wow! Another CD

Be Very, Very Fearful

A few weeks ago Amanda started telling us to "be fearful". At first we were worried she'd picked up some obscure fear from somewhere or another, but we quickly figured out that she meant "careful". Isn't it funny how the two words sound so close together? Even though I know she's just telling us to be careful, it all of a sudden makes her sound so much more afraid of the world - something we're hoping to fend off for at least a few more years, if not forever!

It has made for some very cute moments though. Mandy is so maternal and helpful these days, and so this phrase comes up very frequently. For example, Jeff was heading out last night just as I was getting her ready for bed, so they said their goodnights. Amanda was a bit perturbed that he was going out so late, but once she figured out he was "going to work" (to help out with an evening event at the school), it was OK. But then she said "Daddy, it's slippery outside - be very, very fearful". Jeff agreed, then it was "It's cold - be very fearful - wear a coat", and "Be fearful and drive slow, it's very icy" (yes, she is already criticizing our driving!).

And speaking of driving...another charming habit Amanda has picked up in the last few weeks is yelling at other drivers. Yes, I am well-known in our household for making (ahem) suggestions to other drivers quite frequently. I don't use bad language or anything (usually) but I do say a lot of things like "Come on dude!" and "Move it, lady!". I never really thought about it, until a couple of weeks ago when I was stopped at a red light behind a woman who was too scared to make her totally legal right turn, and when I sighed in exasperation, Amanda yelled "Come on lady! Move!". We've since tried to explain that it's not really nice to say things like that, but it's also incredibly cute, so I'm guessing we'll just snicker quietly every time it happens and deal with the consequences later. :)

Who me? Yell crazy things at drivers? No way...
Who Me?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Random Acts of Amanda

Although she hasn't seen The Little Mermaid, Amanda is obsessed with Ariel. Now that her hair is getting long, she loves to put her head back and swish her hair back and forth on her back, saying things like "I a Mermaid" and "I have beautiful red hair".

A couple of months ago we bought her a book called Dora's Eggs, about a somewhat dimwitted chicken who is very excited by all her beautiful eggs, but quickly realizes her friends' babies are much more fun than her eggs. Until suddenly - CRACK - the eggs break! She's heartbroken ("My eggs! They're broken!") until one by one, little chick heads pop out. It's really quite a nice story and it has beautiful, simple, colourful illustrations. Amanda loves it, and it seems to really strike a chord with the maternal side she's been displaying lately. One of her new games is to say, while sitting on the potty, "I'm sitting on my nest", then..."My eggs! They're breaking!". She acts surprised at the appearance of her "chicks" and cuddles them, making sure to tell me not to step on them.

So today, these two obsessions of Amanda's merged into one. While sitting on the potty this evening, she started in with the "I a Mermaid...I a beautiful Mermaid Princess". Then, out of nowhere, she decided to add a word. But not just any word, our girl...because we are the proud parents of a "beautiful Mermaid Princess Chicken".

Thank God she didn't put her new identity together with the fact that we'd eaten chicken for dinner...

A new favourite in the bathtub:
Beautiful Bubbles

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Baby Tristan is Here!!!

Still have to post about our Christmas (which was awesome!) but had to share the exciting Tristan William arrived this morning, January 2nd, at 3:10 am. He is an astounding 9 lbs, 12 oz (yikes!) and is absolutely beautiful. My "little brother" Mike did a fabulous job of supporting Cristina through a very difficult and long labour...we were so proud of him!...and Cristina is doing well but definitely needs to get some rest.

I was at the hospital until 6 am today and will be heading back this afternoon to introduce Amanda to her new baby cousin. I can hardly wait!

Check out our Flickr photoset for lots of photos of are a few teasers:
Proud Daddy

Beautiful Boy!

Big Hand, Little Hand