Thursday, July 29, 2010

defending our territory

for his birthday, ben got a cool, little spray pool thingy from uncle M and auntie K. you blow up the inflatable things like a dolphin, palm tree, whale slide, etc. then hook up the hose to it. the hose fills the edge of the "pool" with water and the water sprays out of the holes around the edge. it only fills up with a little bit of water so it's not "deep". it's a very fun water toy.

it took a lot of breath by my friend, janine, and i to blow up all these inflatables the first day. naturally, i figured we would just leave it out in the yard for these consecutive sunny days. after the first night outside, i went out in the morning and the palm tree and dolphin were deflated. hmm...i went to have a look. they were thrashed. something had completely attacked them! probably raccoons. the inflatables got the raccoons all feisty and they also attacked our baby tree in the backyard, ripping off not only a lower branch but also the top of the tree! it's so sad looking. thankfully the pool is still playable. we now drag it up to the deck and let it hang over the side of the railing at night. it's always full of water so it's heavy when you try to bring it up.

notice the blue and white lumpy thing in the foreground and the green thing in the background? those are the deflated palm and dolphin - you can't remove them from the pool so they just lay there reminding us of those stupid raccoons.

when we went camping, we put the pool under the deck until we were ready to play with it again. on monday, we pulled it out and played. monday night - dragged it up to the deck for night. tuesday, played, dragged it to the deck. wednesday, we played. forgot to drag it up to the deck.
we've just gone to bed at 11pm. tim's reading and i'm trying to fall asleep. all of a sudden, we think we hear a noise. tim looks out the window but can't see anything. i'm like, "did you put away that pool?" he hadn't. he goes back to reading, me - sleeping. i hear faint scratching sound and sit up. "raccoons". we run out of the bedroom in our underwear, turn on the light on the deck and run outside. three huge raccoons hanging out in our yard. tim hisses at them and they don't really care. i say, "we have to spray them with the hose!" and i go running down the stairs for the hose while tim chases me saying, "get back on the deck! i'll do this!" too late. i have the hose in hand but there's no nozzle. i start spraying as best i can with just the hose but i don't think it even reached them. the raccoons are laughing their heads off at us and just watching the show. tim puts the nozzle on and starts to actually spray the raccoons. they retreat into the hedge. we can tell they're still in there so tim sprays and sprays while i drag that pool up the stairs and hang it over the edge. then out of nowhere, a giant raccoon jumps off the roof of the house, lands in front of us and says: "oh this isn't over." i wasn't sure what to do, but tim stared the raccoon down and slowly growled, "get off my lawn." i felt like i was in some crazy clint eastwood movie.

umm - kidding. (thanks tim for that addition.) no more inflatable pool injuries occurred and we went back to bed after our brush with rabies.

"so anyways, that's what happened." - a. macdonald

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

what's cookin?

in hopes of raising a culinary genius, i bought ben a play kitchen off craigslist for $30. it's in a good shape but didn't come with pots, pans, or food.
it was a little sparse...

then my mother in law bought him some very cool, metal pots and pans and utensils from ikea which he is loving. this morning, i was in the living room and ben was playing with his kitchen in the kitchen. when i came in, he'd put one pot on each shelf of the fridge. he was working hard on organizing i guess. think how happy we'll be when we get him some food!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

ode to bc blueberries

there's no doubt you're the biggest,
the most wonderful, and the best.
i froze 10 pounds of twenty...
i'm sure i ate the rest.

you're the perfect round, fruit.
a tough skin but insides pure.
bc blueberries are phenomenal
and of this i am sure.
my friend, hannah, (who is staying with us from the UAE) and i washed, drained, dried, and flash froze almost 20 lbs. of bc blueberries today. i now need to move them into containers that have lids but i'm waiting for my tupperware large carry-all to come so that i can pour all my berries into that. i'm tempted to go buy more since this 20lbs. just cost me $30...but then i will have spent $60 on blueberries and that's crazy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

kristi approved?

12 weeks of meal plans and workouts - i was intrigued by this "Kristi Approved" program. a fav blogger did it and lost 13 lbs and 6 inches. (link to it through her blog.) have you heard of it?

word verification...

after a few totally annoying spam comments on my blog, i added word verification to the commenting. what do you think of that? i have never been too annoyed by other peoples' word verification when i want to comment on their blogs but then i read this post on a fav blog and thought...hmm...maybe i will get more comments if i get rid of it...and to a blogger, more comments is what we're going for. what do you think?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

gratitude sunday

joining A Journey to a Simple Life, a weekly post to remember all that i am thankful for...

photo by my cousin, SMH, while in vancouver

this week, i'm thankful for:

> the beach

> the mountains

> the view of both together

> my renewed motivation to get back to the gym

> my new, $24 bathing suit that makes it less of a pain to go in the water

> smoked salmon

> ben's first word: "buh-bye"

> the perfect temperature outside

> a deck on which to drink my coffee in the morning

Friday, July 23, 2010

six word fridays

i really like this blog. and i really like the idea of six word fridays from this blog...though i like momalom's take on it the best with it literally only being 6 words:

since i'm new, i'm skipping the given theme this week. i'll try harder next week. but this week? here is all i can think about...








people talk about thrift stores being so super awesome. some of these people are friends of mine whose kids' toys, books, and sometimes even clothes are from thrift stores and you'd never believe it. they find fantastic treasures. some of these people are bloggers whose blogs i read as they show befores and afters of their thrifted treasures.

after talking to yet another person this past week who loves thrift stores, i decided to make a couple stops today of my own.

boo. thrift stores are full of junk! and one of the two that i went to today didn't even HAVE a toy section. where are these super amazing thrift stores? or do i have to go everyday to find the steals? please advise.

(moments after i posted this post, i found yet ANOTHER blogger's post on thrifting...sure they live in sweden but how can their thrift stores be THAT much cuter than ours?)

camping with a one year old: worth it?

we made these camping plans months and months ago as a chance to meet up with tim's long-time friends, jere and jen, from the island, and their kids (ages 5, 3, and 16mo.). we had reservations with them for two nights. our reservations were at rathtrevor provincial park. then we figured, "we paid money for the ferry, maybe we'll go find some other campsites and continue camping for the week!". now, all the times we've gone camping before, we've headed east on the #1 into "wilderness". once you get to your campsite, you're staying. there aren't stores close by that you can go to to pick up what you've forgotten. you'd have to drive at least an hour. so in thinking that we might be camping for a week, i packed enough food and provisions for a week and a half. it was a lot of stuff and a lot of organizing. a couple of coolers. a ton of loose food in boxes.

when we'd made the plans 6 months in advance, we'd planned to tent. then about 3 months in advance, we wussed out and asked tim's dad if we could borrow his truck and camper. phew. no tent. we'd be inside. so we may be camping for a week AND we had the luxury of throwing all our stuff in the camper so we packed a LOT of clothes. three suitcases - one for each of us. you just never know, right? we might go hiking - brought the baby backpack. we'll deifnitely be walking - brought the big stroller. throw it all into the camper.
us and our rig

off we go on saturday morning. we aimed to leave at 8:30am. we actually left at 9:30am. we thought we might make the 10:45am ferry but no such luck - traffic. we got there in time for the 11:15am ferry and pretty much drove right on. nice! ben was exhausted seeing as no nap had been taken yet but loved having the run of the ferry. he met many a child and their parents at the kid's playroom as he waved and smiled at all the parents who would come and go from the room. when we put him in the car to get off the ferry, he was asleep in minutes. he slept for the short drive to parksville/rathtrevor park. on our short drive, i began to realize how silly all my food packing was. we were minutes from a store to buy whatever we needed. well, now i know for next time.
on the ferry

we got to our campsite - super awesome, pretty private, forested but a minute walk from the beach. the campgrounds had beautiful bathrooms with warm, clean showers and there was also a nature house with daily educational activities for kids (for anyone with older kids). the nature house also sold coffee...perfect... i would highly recommend this place despite it's higher camping fees.
our fantastic space

too much detail for you so far? you might want to quit reading here as the details only increase from here...

so, tired baby goes to bed early at 6pm or so (well actually, he usually goes to bed between 6 - 7pm at home so it's not that early) and doesn't like being alone in the camper in his little pack and play: cries for a good 20 minutes. we eat dinner and listen to him. he finally falls asleep and we realize all the things we forgot to take out of the camper before putting him down. well, we definitely weren't going in there to get them out. when we go to bed at 11pm, we sneak in quietly in pitch dark. ben wakes up, frightened looking and starts to cry. i whip out a bottle and feed him while i can see his eyes wide open, darting around the camper in the glow-stick light (yes, glowstick - you should totally buy them before going camping...your personal nightlight - i was glad our friends shared theirs!). once the bottle is gone, i put him back in his bed and he begins to scream. i pull him out and try popping him in the bed with us. he crawls all over the bed laughing. i put him back in his bed - screaming. but hey - what can we do? we let him scream at 11:30pm at night even though we have friends right outside our camper with their kids in tents. sigh. he didn't cry for too long but it was high stress. finally, he falls asleep. i'm trying not to roll around too much because my sleeping bag makes that sleeping bag noise. then i hear a car near by - someone has just arrived at their site across from us at 12:15am. they are drunk-sounding. talking supe loud. it's like they're in our camper. blasting music. for at least an hour and a half! so now, i'm losing out on precious sleep time. we lay awake listening for a long time. finally they seem to go to bed. now i have to pee. i cannot get up. i finally fall asleep. and all of a sudden, it's 5am and ben is stirring. he wiggles and wiggles, moaning and groaning in his bed. i don't move a muscle in hopes that he'll go back to sleep. he quiets down for about 30 minutes but i'm awake the whole time. 5:30am, he is awake and ready to get up. grr...i get up, get his bottle, pop him in our bed to drink it. i was hoping it would remind him that he was sleepy and he'd miraculously fall back to sleep. that hope is dashed the moment he finishes his bottle. he's everywhere in the bed - crawling from one side to the other, peeking out the windows, laughing. at about 5:50am, i get up, get dressed, put ben in his stroller and go for a half hour walk along the beach. beautiful. but i could just barely appreciate it at that time of day with only a handful of hours of sleep under my belt. i return at 6:20am to a still, quiet campsite. i put him back in our bed in the camper to ensure that tim deals with a little of this sleep deprivation (ha) and let ben run around. could this morning be going any slower? finally, our friends awaken at 7am or so and we escape the confinement of our living quarters.

breakfast. kids play. kids whine. kids get dirty. after a long morning, jeremy says, "why don't we head down to the beach. it must be about 10am, hey?" we check a clock. it's 8:30am. ben's a little monster since he was up so early so i put him back down for a nap. he goes down with no problems. phew. we wait an hour and bit for him to wake up then we pack a lunch to go to the beach. beach. sand. playing. attempted sharing. sand in our clothes. ocean. driftwood fort. sand. sunscreen. sand. time for afternoon nap. both toddlers and us two moms go back to camp and put our kiddos to bed. no problems again. so at least we had that going for us. a couple hours later, more playing at camp. pinecones. dirt. ant hills. dirt. snacks. back to the beach. a mouthful of sand cuts it short as ben has no more desire to play. back to camp. whine whine whine. dinnertime. ben actually sits in his chair for all of dinner. i think he liked having another kid there also confined to a chair. they bonded. then it was 7pm and it was bedtime. i was not looking forward to it.

ben was out like a light. yay! when we went to bed, he stirred but didn't get up. yay! when i heard him wake in the morning, i was sure it must be 7am because i'd actually gotten sleep and wasn't feeling too bad. it was only 6:15am. i pushed tim out of bed to take ben for a walk and i got an extra half hour.

we ended up only having those two nights and the three days (which were both super similar to the one day i described here) and then we packed it in and headed for civilization. we set up "camp" at jere and jen's house and stayed there for a couple more nights before heading home.

okay - so it wasn't as bad as my facebook status lead people to believe. in fact, this sounds like a great trip to many of you. but you see, i don't like sand. and i really like sleep. i don't like whining. and i really like ben's usual 8am wake time. a day trip to the beach could have given us the same type of enjoyment minus the lack of sleep. however, it was definitely worth it for the time spend with our friends and their kids but if we'd been out there camping on our own - there would have been no reservation in packing up and heading home after that first horrible night. for a camping trip that ben won't even remember? give him a couple more years, we'll be back and it will be a whole different story...oh, i know it'll bring new challenges and probably the same lack of sleep but at least it will be a good time that he'll be able to remember in years to come.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

first things first...

i missed my july 16th post - ben is now 13 months and oh, what a difference a month makes! this month ben started...

> dancing to music
> posing for the camera
> using a hand sign to say that he's all done eating
> bringing me books to read to him (though he doesn't usually stay for the whole story yet)
> giving kisses on demand
> showing signs of understanding more of what we're saying (like getting excited and waving bye when we say "park")
> toddling fast
> taking bites of pieces of food that are too big instead of trying to stuff the whole thing in his mouth

it's just getting more fun and bringing new challenges. my dad has said to me many times that i was so much fun when i was a little only child and i remember thinking, "how could a toddler be so fun?". well, i hear you, dad. i like this kid a lot. :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

gone camping

without warning, i disappeared from my blog for awhile. we were camping. on vancouver island. it was great, tiring, fun, frustrating, and something we will most definitely make a summer tradition. but i think i've had enough for this summer. more to come tomorrow...but until then..

ben loved playing with big kids (ages 3 and 5)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


today i saw a man walking down the street in boxer briefs. carrying a backpack.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


i love happy mornings. with a potato.

it's just a phase

this should be every mom's mantra when their kid starts something new. if they start disliking their bottle, dropping their food off their highchair tray, waking up in the middle of the night after having slept through it for months and's just a phase. it will pass. you can make it through.

i blogged on june 23 that ben was this great little sleeper who'd wait patiently in his crib on the odd day that he might wake earlier than normal. in true murphy's law fashion, that day was the beginning of terribly early wake ups. he kept waking up at 5:30 - 6:00am seemingly wide awake, yelling in his crib. we'd try to ignore him but there didn't seem to be much chance of him going back to sleep. he started having a dirty diaper every morning - and who could go back to sleep with a dirty diaper? then ben got sick for a week. then he was teething. he just kept getting up earlier and earlier until i was feeding him at 4am and putting him back to bed, only to have him wake up and be ready to go at 6am. what the heck? what had happened to my good sleeper? i started to wonder if this was going to be our new normal. when he stopped waking up at 4am and started sleeping until 6am, i began to accept it as normal and kept telling myself i needed to start going to bed earlier. and then one day? he went back to sleeping in until 7:30 - 8am.

phew. it was just a phase. and now we are in a new phase. a good one. it too shall pass but let's hope this one sticks around for awhile at least...

Monday, July 12, 2010

best shot monday

an ongoing weekly post of my favourite photo taken the previous week...

taken by a stranger at the beach

this one has to come with a story. my brother and i took our cousin to the beach for a walk and an ice cream cone on a hot, hot day this week. we figured we should get a photo of the group of us so we asked a woman if she would take our picture. we posed. i lifted up my arm to take off my sunglasses and the woman said, "i can see your arm in it." i figured she snapped a shot while i was doing that but then she kept looking into the camera so i thought she was just going to take another picture. she does so and hands me the camera saying, "how does that look?" as i look at the picture that matt has completely been cut out of, she says to matt, "oh! are you supposed to be in this picture?" what?! well, he has his arm around the stroller and is leaning in towards us. turns out, it was matt's arm she could see in the picture and was trying to encourage him to get out of the shot. ben almost didn't make it in either, matt, so don't feel bad. this photo makes me laugh aloud.

get a better deal

i'm one of those people who just accepts the price or the fee or the interest rate for what it is. i don't like to barter. i just pay. so for the past 4 or 5 years, i've had the Gold BMO Airmiles credit card - i originally paid the annual fee for the gold card because if you had a gold card, you could fly anywhere in north america for only 1600 points! a wicked deal. unfortunately, we aquire points very very slowly and eventually, BMO changed their golden deal to a much less awesome deal. but i just kept paying my annual fee. we're barely making airmiles and we're not getting anything special plus we're paying money for it. so a couple weeks ago, i signed up for a PC Financial card that will at least get me some free groceries. that seems a little more tangible for us at this time in our lives.

today, i called BMO to cancel my card. i talked to steve who said that i should just change to the other airmiles card that has no fee. i said no. he told me he'd have to get a "relationship manager" to cancel my account. okaay... so then i spoke to dominic, the relationship manager. he said that he can see i've been a customer for awhile. why don't i change to the airmiles card that has no fee AND he'd make my interest rate 10% instead of 19.5%. what? that's huge! uhh...okay. so now i still have my airmiles card and a great interest rate.

what else can i call and pretend to cancel so that i'll get a better rate? shaw definitely has us tied around their little finger...maybe them...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

blogger missing in action

it's been a ca-razy week. it kicked off with another flood in the basement and my 15 year old cousin arrived from ontario to stay with us for 6 days at our place. day one: flood. day two: waited for the plumber. day three: waited for the insurance adjuster. we've really shown her a good time. haha. all seems to be well in the basement again and sarah swears that she's had fun. blogging has been limited this week as we've tried to pack in some fun things too. here's a couple photos to tide you over until your regularly scheduled blogging returns on monday:

sarah and ben - just woken up in the morning of august 19, 2009

sarah and ben, just woken up in the morning of july 11, 2010

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


so my mom referred me to this thing known as Groupon and it's the greatest thing ever! everyday there's a crazy deal in your city (you sign up for it in your city - yes, they have edmonton, seattle, toronto, etc.) and you get an email (or it comes up on fb if you're on fb) to let you know what that day's deal is. for example, today's deal in vancouver is a gift certificate at a spa on robson for $95 but you only pay $47. sometimes you're allowed to buy more than one to use at different times and sometimes you're only allowed to buy one. i bought myself this one. so great.

PLUS, if you refer a friend and that friend buys something - you get $10 in your account. suh-weet! everyday, i can't wait to see what that day's deal is going to be! check it out:

Monday, July 05, 2010

best shot monday

an ongoing weekly post of my favourite picture taken the previous week...

this week's photo courtesy of j.l.m


Sunday, July 04, 2010

gratitude sunday

an ongoing weekly tradition to be consciously more thankful for all that i have...

this week i am thankful for...

> disposable diapers

> family and friends who travel "all the way" here to hang out with us

> walk in clinics

> my brother's successes in firefighting

> the anticipation of my cousin's visit from ontario this coming week

> lots and lots of baby kisses

> homemade chicken strips

> a successful reconfiguration of our mortgage

> cool weather ( no fun being a sick baby in hot weather)

best cake EVER

i tried out a recipe. it was easy to follow and i actually had all the ingredients on hand! it was AMAZING and (in my humble opinion) impressive looking. so so so good with ice cream. i thought it was an eat all at once while it's warm kind of cake that you don't save for the next day but at my suggestion, "should we toss the rest of this?", tim gasped in horror. so i wrapped it up. the bonus of this cake - tastes just as fantastic the next day! mmm...

(click on the link above for the actual recipe but click here for the play by play with pics)

the experiment: update

i started this experiement. day one: ben did not seem to care that there were barely any toys in his toybox on monday morning. he played with the ones that were there and then went back to pulling things out of the cupboard, ripping up magazines, and getting all the dvds out of the drawers. then tuesday, we were barely home the whole day so i didn't not introduce a new bag of toys. wednesday, ben got sick and barely left my lap or his crib all day. the experiment has fallen apart. oh well. i liked lael's idea (left in my comments that day) about having two bins that get switched every few weeks but at this point, we don't have that many toys. something to try in the future. :)

Friday, July 02, 2010

sick baby

ben tried to warn me for a couple of days that he was getting sick by having horrible diapers but i didn't clue in. when he woke up on wednesday morning lethargic and cuddly, i knew something must be wrong - this baby doesn't cuddle. as every mom who doesn't have a cuddly baby can understand, i was enjoying that ben wasn't feeling great while he sat on my lap to watch some tv with me. ben caught my enjoyment vibe and threw up all over the floor to make his point. this was no time to enjoy - this was sympathy time, mom! i got it.

so after numerous messy diapers complete with the necessary change of clothes, 3 throw ups, one $10 bottle of pedialyte that is only good for 48 hours, 3 big naps, 3 different crib sheets, 2 loads of laundry, and lots of sympathetic cuddles later...ben was on the up and up. thursday seemed fine though the diapers kept coming and he was a little grumpy around the edges. we put him to bed at bedtime and didn't hear anything from him until this morning at 7:20am. i went in and found bright purple cookies tossed all over his sheets. it was dried in his hair. it had stained his hands. i guess a few handfuls of blueberries at dinnertime isn't the way to help your baby feel better as these berries came all back up. yuck. and how long ago in the night had it happened? why didn't he wake up and call us? weird. so he's not better yet but we can tell he's not getting worse - the cuddling hasn't come back.