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.