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what a lovely christmas we had! christmas eve morning was very fun having our own little family christmas. ben loved his tool set - mostly the circular saw and drill that make noise!
in the afternoon, we headed to the shulbas for the next round of christmas! ben had just woken up from a late afternoon nap - we thought it might help make present opening less overwhelming. ben's first present was a little chair (well, big for him!) so he can watch elmo's world in comfort! he was pumped!
we quickly discovered that the problem with new toys is getting them out of their boxes fast enough! they're all tied down tightly with all kinds of wire and plastic gadgets! ben had a few fits about this both christmas eve and christmas day. (can you see his face in this picture below? haha)
ben was wiped after all that over stimulation and was happy to sit with grams and pop to read his bedtime story. phew.
once he was down, we went on to our classic christmas eve dinner of cooking on stones! we took photos but they're exactly like 2009, 2008 (no post because we went to hawaii instead of posting about christmas!), and 2007! haha. we like traditions and i think we need to cook on these stones more than once a year! so fun!
christmas morning we were off to WR as soon as we got up. got there in time for cinnamon buns among other sweet breakfasty treats!
(if you're wondering what happened to judy's hair there in the middle - that's not judy. that's my mom's second cousin who is living in nanimo and wasn't headed home on ontario for christmas so he came here!)
ben went down for a nap after breakfast and we opened our stockings AND presents so that by the time ben finally woke up, no one had presents left but him! he was loving it! after present opening, we headed out to crescent beach for a walk in the cold air - we were thankful for no rain so that we could continue this semi-tradition of christmas photos at the beach!
after dinner and more playtime, ben had another story time with another grandma. life is good!
post ben-bedtime, we played games and ate lots of dessert! mmm...judy's shortbread cookies - my fav.
every year we are so spoiled by our families and this year was no exception. we love being close to home at christmas and being able to enjoy downtime with our favourite people. hope you also had a great christmases - hard to believe the new year (and the resolution list!) is just around the corner!
if you're reading this in google reader, click on over to see the new header/background. that picture was taken on christmas afternoon as we took a break from being inside and went down to the beach for a walk.
it's always worked out so perfectly that tim's family had been celebrating on christmas eves before i came along. i married in and we've continued the shulba family christmas on the 24th and the macd family christmas on the 25th. tonight, as tim and i discussed what our day was going to look like tomorrow, we decided to set up ben's new tool bench tonight so that he can play with it all day tomorrow. getting it on the morning of the 25th and then jumping in the car to drive to WR didn't seem as fun. (speaking of this tool bench - it was a total impulse buy when i got my mtf email flyer and saw that it was only $20!!! it is the cutest thing with a drill and saw that make noise and light up! and there are so many tools!)
after setting it all up and putting it beside the tree, we thought, "why don't we do all our little family's present openings tomorrow morning?". being the kind of person who is desperate to open presents early, i thought this was a great idea. so tonight we've put our presents under the tree and we're looking forward to tomorrow morning. pancakes, presents, and A Charlie Brown Christmas on the pvr to watch.
this is by far my favourite christmas movie. i've been trying to make it "a tradition" to watch it with tim every year close to christmas but he's not really a re-watcher of movies. i forced him to watch it for the first time ever (gasp!) when we were dating i think and then we watched it again last year. but i've realized that i may just have to make this my own tradition. i watched it by myself last night while wrapping christmas gifts. with the christmas tree lights glowing and the fake fire burning, it was lovely. :) hope you are also having a lovely week before christmas as well.
don't get me wrong, i like the traditional gift exchange where you draw a name and know who you're buying for. then you give it to them and they thank you and it's all merry and fun.
what i don't like is the generic "bring a $10 gift" gift exchange that you then play the stealing game with. i hate trying to pick out a gift for this game because there's so much pressure. when the person who picks your gift doesn't like it, it's obvious as they shout, "steal my gift!" every time someone is picking. that's so unthankful and rude - i can't handle it. how does that make the person feel who BROUGHT that gift? augh! i get all upset just thinking about it. haha.
so at the last tupperware manager's meeting of the year, we had a little christmas party. we had to bring a $15 gift. i stressed out shopping for this gift for way too many hours and ended up with a couple winners' trinkets and a $10 gift card for tim hortons. when it came time for the "game", we drew numbers and i was first pick. i picked a gift and it was a few packages of different martini mixes - i'm sure everyone was annoyed that i got this gift since i don't drink but it was a cool gift. then the gifts were picked one by one: a snowglobe, a party lite candle, a canister of christmas tea. no one was stealing. the person with the candle was shouting for people to steal it from her. my gift was picked next - fake sounding oohs about the gift card. maybe no one likes tim hortons... then the last person to go stole the gift that he'd given - my martini mix stash. i had the chance to steal and i just wanted to take back my own gift but thought i shouldn't so i didn't. i just took the last gift under the tree. i ended the game. everyone booed me for not stealing. seriously. but i didn't want any of those gifts! so much pressure. so anyways, i ended up with a reusable shopping basket thing and the reputation for being no fun at stealing games.
i suggested that we pick names for next year's gift exchange...we'll see...maybe i won't be invited after this year. haha.
i've lamented many times that there should be restaurants or coffee shops that cater specifically to parents with little kids. parents could meet up with friends, get to eat out, while their children play in the play area. so far, mcdonalds is our only option and that's not even really for toddlers. well, my friends, alyssa and james, found a place off of commercial (in vancouver) that has figured this out and james had heard they had a great breakfast menu but thought it might be strange to go there with no kids. so i've been meaning to blog about this for a week now but last weekend, tim, ben, and i slept over at james and alyssa's house in vancouver so that we could wake up in the morning and try out this restaurant: little nest.
in my mind, i'd imagined climbing structures that the kids are climbing, sliding, and playing on but actually, it's a little wooden play kitchen, old school toys, lots of books to read, a mini-picnic table, wooden fruits and vegetables, etc. (in retrospect, there would be some liability issues around having climbing things probably, right?) we got to the restaurant early enough that we got a great table next to the play area and ben went to work in the kitchen.
turns out that just because this place has a kid's area doesn't mean they're not serving up crazy good food. everything is as local and organic as possible and much fancier than my usual taste. i ordered the "brioche french toast with figs, pear, and cinnamon". i was a little nervous - like, have i even SEEN a fig before? probably not. it shows up looking...fancy. whipped cream with pistachios on top and a little round dish that looked like olive oil on the side. well, turns out that was not olive oil - it was pear syrup. this dish was AMAZING, amazing, amazing. figs are tasty and so are pears and whipped cream with pistachios. so much food. alyssa ordered the same thing and couldn't finish it. while we ate, we enjoyed chatting with NO kid interruptions because ben didn't give us a second look while we were there. he played contentedly until we were finished eating.
best dining experience with child since ben was born, by far. thanks for finding this place j&a and letting us sleepover so we could go there with you! (wish we had photos but my camera was in WR at the time...next time)
(tim hung these with strings that have little loops on the top and bottom so that you can easily bring them inside if it's windy or you see a thief across the street eyeing them - also handy for re-hanging next year. that tim - so clever.)
glittery gold christmas trees - they'll look great next to a glass thingy filled with the gold christmas balls that i bought last year for $1.94 at superstore! if only i could find a couple of glass thingys (what's the name of these things?) that i like...
you know in the summer when the first watermelons come out in stores? i'm always pretty excited about it and i buy one right away. if it's a fantastic tasting watermelon, it becomes the "summer of watermelon". i might get a watery one here or there but if that first one is good, i'm willing to keep buying them. on the other hand, i've gone whole summers not eating watermelon because that first watermelon didn't taste great. the whole summer hinges on the first watermelon on the season.
what i've decided is that winter is the same except the fruit is mandarin oranges. if the first box of oranges is great - you eat them non-stop, box after box. so yummy. if the first box is off - i'm tentative to buy another.
where am i going with this? my first box of mandarins this year was sad and pathetic. i've been eating them but they just taste like they're on the verge of going bad and they're just terrible. sigh. i guess this is a low-mandarin winter for me. hope you have better luck.
tonight we went to wendy's for dinner. i was so excited to go "out for dinner". turns out wendy's is not the place to be on a friday night so it was pretty empty. awesome for ben. he sat up in the booth with us and ate all of his pasta that i'd brought plus many bites of bread that i ripped off my burger. then he got down and ran around the empty space, climbing on chairs and looking out the window at people in the drive thru. there was another couple there with a one year old and he and ben shouted and "talked" to each other a lot. then another family with two little kids sat near us. in fact, there was wasn't anyone there WITHOUT kids. i guess when our child doesn't sit in a highchair for more than 5 minutes, this is our future of dining out for the next few years. good thing i was never that classy an eater anyways... ;)
i hoped that i would never be the mom dragging her flailing, screaming child out of a store but alas, i have now had that experience. i cannot believe how often saying, "no" to ben completely flips him out. now that he's figured out how to ask to watch elmo, i feel like i'm bringing on the tantrums all the time. these tantrums include red-faced screaming, crying, hitting his head, falling down, etc, etc. i'm sure you can picture it. i knew that not having no afternoon nap or not having lunch, dinner, and snacks at a good time can make for more tantrums but getting my favourite babycenter email this morning did make me feel better:
It will be a year or two before your toddler leaves most of his tantrums behind. Until then, expect to deal with outbursts of anger and frustration on a regular basis. You can cut down on the frequency of tantrums by making sure your child gets enough sleep and eats well during the day. It's probably unrealistic to expect your energetic toddler to sit still for three square meals a day, so try giving your child a variety of foods throughout the day. Remember, a hungry, sleep-deprived toddler is a meltdown waiting to happen.
if you even mention the word "brush" in passing, ben goes running to the bathroom and whines until you come and help him get toothpaste on his toothbrush. he brushes his teeth 5 or more times a day. i used to sit him up on the counter so that he could dip his brush under the water but the other day i put a little stool in there for him to stand on. now he runs to the bathroom on his own, climbs up, opens the drawer to get out his brush THEN whines for me to come help him. but really, how can i say no?
this morning, we began the book advent calendar. being the last minute person i am, i'm missing 6 books still and also, i had planned on making them a little bit prettier. oh well - at least this is my trial run and ben doesn't get it anyways! when i brought him out this morning and showed him the books, ben was mostly annoyed that i wasn't getting him his breakfast. he kept saying, "milk" while i was showing him how to open the wrapping. okay, so this new tradition is mostly for me. ;)
as you know, i recently discovered the variety of christmas music out there and wondered how to put it all together into one compilation. what i've done is grouped the categories so that you can hit skip skip skip to get the section that best suits your mood. i've put all my songs here in bold if you just want to scroll through and see what i've picked but my thought processes are italicized for the handful of you who thinks my through processes are funny.
(drum roll please...i know you're wracked with anticipation...)
1. all i want for christmas - mariah carey : you might laugh but when this song comes on, i can't help but get excited. i've placed it here as the first song so that you can put in the cd and press skip right away before walking away from the ipod doc/cd player if you're not a fan.
2. christmas all over again - tom petty: another great upbeat, non-traditional christmas song. the feel of it works well after mariah.
3. christmas (baby please come home) - U2 : keeping with the upbeat theme but moving into more familiar carols.
4. God rest ye merry gentlemen - barenaked ladies feat. sarah mclachlan : a classic christmas song, bringing the upbeat song section down a notch but not cutting straight to mellow.
5. baby, it's cold outside - willie nelson feat. norah jones : one more notch down on the "upbeat", mellowing out, classic christmas carol.
6. what child is this - matt wertz : now we're at mellow, traditional carols.
7. o holy night - avril lavigne & chantal kreviasuk : too bad avril is in this song but chantal is amazing and there are some beautiful harmonies. i listened to probably 10 versions of this song and still kept picking this one as my favourite.
8. it came upon a midnight clear - sixpence none the richer : a pretty version of this song in the same mellow-ish tones of the previous two songs.
9. silent night - house of heroes : never heard of this band before but definitely liked their version - mellow without being mournful...and there are LOT of mournful silent nights out there.
10. holy, holy, holy - sufjan stevens : the last of the traditional carols but sung in a style that begins to prepare listeners for some more alternative christmas music.
11. the christmas song - catherine feeny : familiar christmas with jazz undertones.
12. peace - norah jones : unfamiliar but jazz christmas nonetheless. this song also marks the mellowist section of music in the compilation.
13. snowfall - ingrid michaelson : my current favourite artist - couldn't not have her in this list. mournful wintery song.
14. christmas is near - charlotte martin : a second non-traditional but mournful wintery song that works with ingrid.
15. christmas song - dave matthews & tim reynolds : non-traditional but picking up the beat a little as well as coming back to a bit more familiar as we near the end of the cd.
16. happy x-mas - sarah mclachlan: this song is in the non-trad. section but is so familiar to everyone that it's preparing us for the final, traditional song.
17. auld lang syne - variety of artists from the cd, "the hotel cafe presents winter songs" : this song is a fitting ending to any christmas cd as it always makes me think of "it's a wonderful life". there's another beautiful version of it on the "sex and the city soundtrack" but i liked this acoutic version.
and there you have it! days of listening to christmas music and scribbling on scraps of paper to create my perfect mix. i'd love to hear songs you'd add, take away, switch spots, etc.
**also, i'd like to say that i enjoy "charlie brown christmas" as a whole cd by itself which is why none of those songs made it on this list. we also listen to sarah mclachlan's "wintersong" a LOT at christmas therefore only one of her songs made it on here.
things that stress out moms of one: your child's sleep/lack of sleep, your child being sick, and your child not eating. today i am the latter. ben is turning into the pickiest little non-eater i've ever met. i remember when i didn't have kids and i'd think judgemental things to myself like, "if you just feed the kid everything, he'll like everything." when i started feeding ben solids, i started with vegetables. you know how that went. in desperation to get him to eat, i quickly switched to fruit. and one day, of course, he started eating both. but then the food was supposed be getting more solid and he was "supposed" to be eating the same foods as us. we'd go to other peoples' houses and their kids would just be eating whatever came off the table but not ben. i wanted him to eat what we were eating but for some reason, i could not get my act together to have a meal ready by the time it was dinner for him. so at 5:00 - 5:30, i'd whip up some pasta or a scrambled egg etc. for ben's dinner. then when tim and i were eating at 6:30 - 7pm, ben would either already be in bed or be playing.
so let me tell you: i take all my judgemental, pre-baby thoughts back. (i often think this about many pre-baby thoughts) post-baby thoughts? i'm making this harder than it should be! i've gotten better at having dinner ready at 5:30pm (though it's taken me over a year) and yes, on the nights that tim and i eat delissio, i still make ben pasta or a pbj sandwich. but lately, when trying to just feed him what we're eating, he won't eat. and everyone says, "they won't starve". yeah, yeah, i know. but it doesn't make it easier to let them not eat dinner. :)
seeing as ben's first winter did not have any snow, this week was ben's first time outside in it! the afternoon of the snow day, tim, ben, and i drove to superstore, bought ben a proper snowsuit and a sled. in the store, we set him on the sled and pulled him around a little and he was keen. so we got him home, got him all dressed which was a feat of strength for sure, and got out into the cold. ben loved riding on the sled. he didn't move a muscle once we put him on there.
walking around the neighbourhood
ben and i at the top of the hill...
i was screaming so loud here but ben was all smiles.
tim and i took turns going down the sled with ben and he loved it. we're looking forward to the next snowfall.
this morning, ben spent at least an hour picking up odds and ends around the house and moving them from one place to another. key chain, necklace, plastic piece of watermelon, small tupperware container. then he began gathering everything that he could find into a little basket that has a handle. he carried that basket around the house and by the time he brought it to me on his arm, it was full. books, play phones, play food, blocks, my cell phone, metal play pots.
putting something from one container to another or emptying a container then re-filling it - this is the play of a one year old. the other day, tim said, "maybe he's ocd" but i'm pretty sure this is just what little kids do...right?
every year i think that it would be great to make a christmas cd. i'm not a huge christmas music fan (except for amy grant's tennessee christmas, of course) but i think if i could just get a more consistent selection of good christmas music, i'd like it better. you know what i mean - you're at the mall and a great song like "Mary's Boy Child" by boney m. and then your christmas spirit is squashed with a christmas song by n'sync.
so i began my quest to create a great christmas cd. and here is my discovery: there are a lot of styles of christmas music that will not all work together in the same cd. there's the classic christmas carols, then there are christmas songs that we don't know. there's upbeat christmas and there is calm, sometimes mournful christmas. what i've discovered from listening to so many songs on itunes and grooveshark is that i like the classics. and i lean towards the mournful which i'm fighting against because christmas is not a mournful season. but so far, it's a fairly mellow selection. so here's a handful of songs that will be in my compilation:
baby, it's cold outside - with willie nelson & norah jones
what child is this - matt wertz
o holy night - avril lavigne & chantal kreviasuk (i know - but chantal's harmonies are awesome)
it came upon a midnight clear - sixpence none the richer (remember them?)
you know how i love sprize at gap and i get lots of emails from them with sales and specials and such. my favourite sale is always "40% off all sale items" - the BEST time to stock up on baby clothes for sure! and then i got an email this morning: this saturday - 40% off YOUR ENTIRE PURCHSE INCLUDING SALE ITEMS! new favourite sale. so if you're in canada, check out your local gap on saturday - christmas is right around the corner. i guess my family now knows what they're getting for christmas...shoot. gap clothing and tupperware.
today, i requested christmas books at the library to wrap up in preparation for our first annual book advent calendar...we will see how it goes with a one 1/2 year old. photos to come when it's all prepared!
while it hasn't been weekly, but i've still been thankful. this week, i'm thankful for...
> having found a church that we enjoy and are beginning to feel a part of in our own town
> our new care group
> chocolate covered pretzels
> low drama
> the discovery of "a little bit of french vanilla" in my tim horton's coffee
> thoughts of christmas planning
> bonus sunny days in november
> a new 2 player board game
> that my mom gets to spend some time with family in ontario this week
> ben's increasing communication skills - yesterday, he was whining then he left the room and came back with a piece of playfood bread, saying, "be, be"(short vowel sound). i went to the kitchen and got him a piece of bread. he signed, "thank you". love. it.
if you're my friend on facebook, you saw the picture of ben sitting in his mini ball pit. i actually got that idea from my fav mom blog: rookie moms. they suggested putting plastic balls in a pack n play. i told my mother in law to keep an eye out for plastic balls when she was out shopping and a few days later, she came over with a few bags of balls! i set up the playpen in our dining room and poured the balls in - i was pumped. i put ben in and he was totally distraught. he hated it. i left it set up for a few days thinking that he might get used to the idea but after putting him in it a few times, he never warmed up to the idea. i cleaned it up and put away the playpen. i started feeling like that was a really silly idea anyways - i mean, why would i want to have my playpen set up all the time anyways? and then where am i supposed to store these balls?
a few weeks later, ben was climbing in and out of our ottoman that was filled with his toys. i was wishing that the toys didn't have so many sharp edges and such when it occured to me that this would be the perfect ball pit! we emptied the toys and now ben plays in the ottoman daily. plus it's a place to store the balls!
we hooked the top onto the edge of the ottoman and made it a slide.
this little series of board books are some of ben's favourite books. every book begins with "where is zoe going?" and each double page spread has one short phrase that describes the day. barbara reid is an amazing artist who creates every picture with clay and the details that she includes are so intricate. ben can spend so long (whole minutes! long in ben time) looking at each book. he seems to recognize more and more things in the books each time - like he started by pointing at all the dogs in each book but then he started noticing other things like the hat that blows away from the garbage man or zoe's dad's coffee cup is hot (he makes an h sound when things are hot like my coffee or the oven). the books are small which makes them perfect for bringing along in the car or stroller. and now when we go outside and it's windy or rainy, i refer to the books by saying, "ben, it's so rainy out! it's like zoe's rainy day!" and he always looks at me intently like he's trying to understand what i mean. tim likes reading these books to ben at bedtime because they're very short. haha. i definitely recommend them for toddlers as early as 1 year. and when your kid is in kindergarten and learning to read, i figure they'll still be great books!
ben's current favourite word is "matt". we discovered he could say one night when matt stopped by to go to a abbotsford heat hockey game with tim. once ben figured out he could say matt, he hasn't stopped. when matt's around, he says "matt! matt! matt!" constantly. lately though, when matt's not around, ben says it over and over. the other day while we were driving in the car, he was pointing out the window and shouting, "matt!" so we're not quite sure if it means other things as well. but he definitely knows who matt is and is happy when matt is around.
i go through bagel stages. for awhile, i was getting them often at tim hortons. but what i don't like about bagels is that they're too bready. i know, weird. but i look at people who eat bagels without toasting and i get a terrible taste in my mouth just thinking about it. yuck. when i toast bagels, i toast the heck out of them. they need to be quite crunchy so that the breadiness on the inside isn't overpowering. at tim hortons, i ask for "double toasted" and they're usually not toasted enough. in fact, i once got a bagel "double toasted" with cream cheese and when i bit into it, it was all bread. yuck. so i went back to the counter and said politely, "i know this is crazy but i'd asked for this toasted twice and it barely tastes toasted at all. would i be able to get another one?" the girl was like, "are you serious?" i nodded, "yeah, sorry. i just can't eat it like this." (i've paid for it, i'm going to get it how i'd wanted...i also send back slightly warm fries for hot ones - tim hates it) the girl rolls her eyes at me and says, "we're going to have to throw this away." "yep." "there are people who are starving and you're asking me to throw away this bagel?" "yes, i am. i'm not going to mail my bagel to the starving people." she made me another one and i ate it guiltily. gee. service at time hortons - yikes!
where am i going with this post? bagels.
my favourite ceo, galen weston has done it again. he invented thin bagels. okay, maybe he didn't invent them but now, at superstore (or loblaws for all you eastern canadians), you can get bagels that are skinny. have they always been around and i've just never seen them? maybe. but i bought a package of them yesterday and they are the greatest! toast them up and they're the perfect amount of breadiness! i will never go back.
last night, i actually remembered to brush ben's teeth. i usually hold him up to the sink, do the initial brush, and then let him chew on the toothbrush while he imitates the spitting noises that daddy makes. he loves to dip his toothbrush in and out of the water running from the tap. mid-brush last night, the phone began to ring. now that i wait expectantly each night for calls from vice principals to TOC the following day, i set ben down and ran to get the phone. it was not to TOC but it was someone calling in their credit card number for a Tupperware order. we chatted for a couple minutes. i probably wasn't gone for more than 2 minutes. when i returned to the bathroom, ben was opening up the toilet seat and fishing out his toothbrush. i guess he wanted some more water to dip his brush into! augh! who knows if he'd ever gotten that brush to his mouth or not before that moment but he sure wasn't happy that i threw his toothbrush away and then made him wash his hands again! note to self: don't leave an unattended toddler near a toilet.
Yes - no posts for a week. I try not to do that so often but the last month or so seems to have some gaps. Most of my extra blogging time has gone to Tupperware this month and it has paid off as I moved up from being a consultant to being a Manager with my own team! Pretty fun. I just laugh at myself sometimes for being a Tupperware consultant because I would have NEVER thought I would do this, let alone enjoy and be pretty good at it. There's just too much potential to make money at this and when TOCing hasn't been really panning out for me as I'd imagined, we need that extra money. So yes - this is where I have been...just so you know. But since I'm here blogging about Tupperware, let me direct you over to my Tupperware blog to see the latest deal - good until this Friday. It's a smokin' good deal for anyone who is always throwing away rotten fruits and veggies from their fridge and freezer burnt meat and meals from their freezers. And for all you non-Tupperware peeps out there, regularly scheduled blogging will be back this week, i hope.
since ben is beginning to skip his afternoon naps, i've decided that having a morning nap from 9:30am - 10:30am just leaves waaay too much time open until bedtime. in order to push the morning naps back a little, i've gone for a couple walks so far this week to give ben some fresh air before his one and only (sigh) nap. now that ben has become mobile, things that hold him down such as carseats, strollers, and straightjackets really frustrate him. we go on a lot less walks these days, however, not being in a rush to be somewhere or meet someone, i popped him in the stroller and then let him out to walk whenever he gave the signal. (the signal being the sign for "all done") it works well. while out of the stroller, he met some squirrels, played with leaves and acorns, watched the garbage truck go by in awe, picked up rocks, and pushed the stroller. while in the stroller, he took his shoes off, put a necklace on and off his neck, played with the garage door opener (that i brought with me instead of a house key), and looked at a book. lots to do.
as we came up the hill towards our house, i was huffing and puffing and thinking that i need to get back to the gym. ben's got the full on whine going and it's definitely nap time. perfect timing. i start digging through the cupholders to grab the garage door opener. it's not there. (did you see the foreshadowing in the above paragraph?) i check my pockets, i lift ben out of the stroller and check his seat, and i check the thing under the stroller. no garage door opener. no way for me to get into the house. shoot. i turn the stroller around and start running down the street. then i stop because i'm tired and think again, i need to get to the gym again. haha. i retrace our steps and ben is totally stressed that the "all done" sign is not getting him out of the stroller now. the whole way back down the first hill and then the second hill, i'm making a plan in my head of how we're going to get into the house. then i remember a house that we'd stopped in front of that i'd pulled ben out of the stroller to walk and i hope, hope, hope that it had fallen out there. and it WAS! phew.
then i turned around and walked back up the two hills. at least i got a little workout in already today.
this kept ben busy for a good twenty minutes and then he was unhappy that i was taking him away. i wondered if maybe it wasn't right to be taking the neighbours rocks and throwing them away...we stayed hidden behind the motorhome for a reason.
last saturday, when i went to the island, tim took ben all the way to the chilliwack river valley and took him on a hike to lindeman lake. he said there was no crying on the drive there, the hike, or the drive home. i was amazed and ashamed to say that if i'd been home, this trip would have never happened because i would've expected the car ride to be too long and there to be too much overtired crying. i'm glad i wasn't around to hold them back and that tim had a great time hiking with his son. here are the few photos he snapped before the camera died.
(he thinks it's funny to pull his hood over his face)
this lake had way more room for ben to run around when they got to the end which was a lot nicer than our lost lake hike.
(i hiked to this lake with sharelle in our hiking class in '06 and blogged about it here)
this past saturday, i headed out to tswwassen for a quick walk-on trip to vancouver island. i LOVE taking the ferry and wish that i could drive my car on for much less money but then i think to myself, "remember when you went to the maritimes and had planned to catch the ferry to newfoundland from cape breton? then found out that it cost $400 and was 14 hours? but when you decided to do it anyways, realized that you HAVE to have reservations and couldn't even get a spot on the 1am ferry? yeah - our ferries rock." anyways, i parked my car in tswwassen, dropped my luggage on the trolley so that i wouldn't have to lug it around, and had a lovely, carefree ride to the ferry. as i rode, i wrote this blog post in my head about how fabulous the ferry is and how silly everyone is to not check their luggage. it makes for such a nice, weightless trip. i got off the ferry on the other side, found my favourite island friend waiting for me, grabbed my bags that were instantly waiting for me at the luggage pick-up and off we went.
on the way home, luggage drop-off is a little more complicated. not a lot more, just a little. but i've done it before. no problem. there are three types of tags to attach to your bags. as i walked up to the tags, there was another girl grabbing tags. they were white. they said vancouver. yep - that's where i'm going. i glanced at one of the other three tags - it said something about a bus. alright - vancouver it is. (here is where my mom inturrupts and says, "you aren't going to vancouver! you're going to tswwassen!" yep. i know that NOW - let me finish my masterful story.) i throw my bags down the shoot and hop on the ferry. i enjoy my ride and read my book and honestly, continue composing the blog post where i tell you all how silly you are for not checking your luggage when you ride the ferry.
i get off the ferry and find that i have to wait for the luggage. after a few minutes, the door rolls up and the luggage guy starts tossing suitcases on the rampy thing. then, i see one of my bags. he pulls it off the cart and takes it behind the cart. hmm. weird. then he continues throwing bags. when the cart is emptied, he says, "that's it" and rolls the door down. i shout, "what!?" and the lady beside me looks at me funny and says, "he's kidding. there's another cart." the second door begins rolling up. phew. he begins tossing more bags. a bus starts to go by behind him, getting off the ferry, and all of a sudden, our luggage guy runs away from his post, grabs MY bag that he'd put behind the cart and starts to whistle and wave down this BUS. the bus stops. he's motioning to the bus driver that MY bag needs to be on that bus. at this point, i yell, "that's my bag" and i run up the luggage ramp, leap off the back of it and chase down this guy. "this is my bag!" i tell him. "this tag says that it's going to vancouver." yep. "okay. well i have another bag on that bus." luggage guy leaves me to my own devices while i discuss with the bus driver. the driver gives me a glimmer of hope by asking, "does your suitcase have red on it?" "no..." "sorry!" and off he drives. shoot. i guess tswwassen isn't vancouver.
if my one bag hadn't been on this trolley accidently, i would've been clueless as what to do to get my bags or even as to where they had gone. at least, i had one bag and knew the other one was on a pacific coach bus. i made a call when i got home, located the bag, and thankfully have a dad who drives all over the lower mainland who picked it up for me. so does checking your luggage on the ferry make for a stress-free 2 hour trip? yes. is it important to read all the tags before before putting them on your bags? it sure is.
ben's latest way to try to tell us what he wants, is to take us by the hand and drag us there. he leads me to the fridge and knocks on it if he wants a drink or food. he leads me to the spare room if he wants to get up on the bed and look out the window. he often leads me to the stairs so that i will take him down and outside. the problem with knowing what you want means that not getting what you want is frustrating. ben's current way of dealing with said frustration: wail. oh brother.
yesterday, i was off to a tupperware party and tim was here with ben. ben grabbed his hand to lead him to the stairs - they went downstairs. ben knocked on the front door. tim opened it. ben ran to the truck and knocked on it. tim put him in the truck where he crawled from one seat to the next, over and over, having a great time. then, according to tim, ben climbed into his own car seat and pointed at the steering wheel. (really, tim? seriously?) so tim took him for a drive. apparently, they drove around town and ben just sat and looked out the window without making a peep. what a kid.
if ben is awake, we cannot be on the computer. he is desperate to get on our laps to bang on the keys, plug in wires, and pull all nearby electronic devices off the desk. even though i know this is how it goes, i'll try it out again every so often if i'm waiting for an email and want to check my inbox. today, i made the mistake of introducing ben to earphones. he couldn't believe that music was coming out of these little white things. i realized that i maybe shouldn't have introduced him when i tried to take him away from the computer - all out tantrum ensued. oops.
so i introduced him to the ipod. take your music with you, ben!
(don't worry, this is not a regular thing - i know earbuds are not good for adults, let alone toddlers. it was really for the photo op and now they are hidden away.)
we discovered a great pumpkin patch to visit with little kids - willow view farm. when i posted about the applebarn, i failed to mention that you had to pay to get in and that most of the fun activities were for children much older than ben. it's a fun place but after checking out willow view, we will be coming back here for the next few years while ben is a toddler.
besides u-pick pumpkins, apples, corn, a petting zoo with a great variety of animals, and hay rides - there's a field of little plastic houses and climbing structures for little kids! probably about 20 little tykes-type structures in this field. kids are everywhere, climbing in and out of all the structures, going down slides, opening and closing doors - it was ben's dream come true!
after playing there for awhile, we headed over to the pre-picked pumpkins. ben wanted to pick up as many pumpkins as he could and throw them. no pumpkins exploded though. then we headed over to the real pumpkin patch (but not without a detour to the petting zoo! good times!). the terrain was a little treacherous for a little guy though. we mostly carried him and then we returned to the pre-picked pumpkins. maybe next year we'll really pick our own. here we are wishing for our own photographer... we also just picked our apples out of the boxes in the store instead of off the trees this year - another plan for next year...or the year after that. we finally had the good sense to grab a wagon - next time we'll start with this mode of transportation. a honey crisp apple for the ride home.