Sunday, August 9, 2009

Typical summer weekend

Wow, our weather finally cooled off a little. It has been a hot summer!

I will eventually post pictures and stories to go with some more of our summer adventures (Alaskan cruise, trip to the cabin at Yale), but in the mean time, I thought I would sum up our weekend.

As usual, it was great!

Max and I start our weekend on Friday morning. We usually start with swimming, but after we had such a great time watching the One Woman Circus at the Harmony Arts Festival on Wednesday, I thought we would go check out Bobs & Lolo. Bobs & Lolo seem to be very popular, but honestly, I have never heard any of their music or seen any of their shows. What a great opportunity to see them and find our for ourselves.

It was considerably busier than Wednesday had been, which was surprising, considering it had cooled off a little and looked a little like rain.

Max seemed to enjoy the show, well, when he wasn't distracted by the water and rock fountain that he had so much fun playing in on Wednesday. Of course I made sure that I had an additional change of clothes. He actually spent a lot of time standing up and asking me to get up so we could go to the water...

So, guess where we ended up? The fountain is perfect for kids. It is very very shallow (maybe an inch deep), with a really shallow windy river and a bridge and a few rocks built into the structure. It's great and obviously meant for kids to play in. Considering how cool it was, I am a little surprised at the number of kids that were playing in it, but Max got right in there as well. I am sure there are a few parents that were not as happy that I was letting him get his clothes all wet, as they were trying to discourage their kids from going in, splashing each other and generally getting really wet and cold. If I had not had a change of clothes, we would have had to try and avoid the fountain all together, but Wednesday had me ready for it. I think we'll probably have to avoid this area all winter though.

Of course Friday afternoon is spent with Grandma & Grandpa, although this week Max was missing Brandon.

More of the Harmony Arts Festival, wow! What a fabulous kids day they had set up. We watched Beverly and the Billionaires, which was rather entertaining. Again it looked like rain, so the show wasn't nearly as busy as I expected it to be and Max and I got great front row seats (well, easy to get in and out of) and easy for Max to see as he spends a lot of time in the beginning just holding on and watching. This is particularly interesting to see, as he requests the songs that we saw performed again and again as soon as we get into the car to go home. Or to go anywhere.

I did not get many pictures, but we met a huge orca mascot and that was cool because Max is usually quite fearful of them. He shook the orca's hand, but really did not want to stick around for too long in that area.

There was also a bubble blowing station, a chalk sidewalk, a poster, a wand making station (we skipped out on this one), and various craft stations.

We walked down on the beach, on the rocks and the sand and then Max caught sight of the train on the playground and that was it. The train was where we spent the rest of our morning. Oh, and watching the kites. There were a few of them flying around, so Max had fun watching those.

The morning was so full of activity that Max fell asleep in the car... I can't remember the last time he did that.

Max and I spent the afternoon driving around and exploring various appliance stores looking for an upright freezer. As un-exciting as that may sound, I think Max had fun, as we spent at least half the time we were in each store, running around and/or playing with something.

Direct liquidation has some great couches for practicing climbing and sitting and has great mazes for getting stuck and chasing each other.

Sears outlet has really nice wide aisle's for chasing and dancing. We opened and closed the doors of every single fridge/freezer we could find. Sometimes twice.

We went to a few places on United Way in Coquitlam (I can't remember the store names) and did the same... opened and closed doors, although one store was mostly furniture, and they were clearing it out, so it really was a maze to get around in and out.

Bad news is, we didn't find an upright freezer, but the good news is, we may have some more fun one day when we look again. Or I may give up and just end up ordering one from Sears, they seem to have the best price. I'll take any suggestions!

We got up and it was pouring! We actually slept in a little, which is nice, but definitely throws a kink in our morning as far as getting in something before the munchkin naps.

As we were coming up with things to do and getting ready in general, we realized... the munchkins feet had grown right out of his sneakers! Well, he's been wearing sandals for most of the summer (and occasionally flip-flops) so it didn't quite happen overnight, but it certainly feels like it. Funny thing is, just the other day I was looking at his feet and commented on how big they were starting to look. uuuggh, I LOVE cute little baby feet, but as his feet grow, I'm finding I love them just as much. They may not be as cute, but I still love his cute toes.

Plans changed: shoe shopping for the munchkin. I HATE SHOPPING. So it is always a good thing when I have company. Ross is not a big fan of shopping either, so it works out quite well. I find time and time again that our local Wal-Mart seems to have the best deals on kids shoes. I also find it nice that their sizes are fairly consistent. The shoes we had before were B.U.M. kids and it was easy to just look for the same brand, one size up. Not so easy to find, I think we might have had 2 options, but one was on sale and I liked it better. So we stuck with the one pair and headed off to the dinosaur exhibit at Metrotown.

All the posts and info you read is correct: it is a small exhibit and not very exciting. The munchkin seemed to enjoy most of it, although the little dinosaur that moves and roars really freaked him out.

It's on until September 20th

HUGE dinosaurs and fun, even if it's small. If you happen to be shopping, even better.

Almost fell asleep in the car again, so it must have been a good morning.

The afternoon was even better, we got to visit with Brandon! Oh how we've missed Brandon. Brandon's in daycare during the day now, so we don't get to visit with him as often as usual, but it was great fun running around the house, jumping on Grandma & Grandpa's bed, sharing toys (heeheehee), and getting/giving kisses again. We will have to make some more plans to visit so we don't miss him so much!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Great finds!

Two great finds this weekend!

I have been finding it more and more challenging to get around with all Max's stuff. We have a great Columbia diaper bag (we registered for it at Toys R Us because Ross said he actually wouldn't mind carrying it around), it holds all our stuff and has an insulated end which carries a little bit of cold stuff. It was a great thing when Max was little and I could just throw it into the stroller. Unfortunately now, we are moving around a lot more and we don't always have the stroller with us. I have a great JJ Cole bag that I throw a few things into, but then I'm also carrying a little cooler bag with food and drinks in it and then if I end up carrying Max (with or without the ergo carrier) it is getting more and more challenging.

So, I started searching around for backpacks. I have a few and I love my MEC backpack. But, I figured there MUST be something out there that is designed specifically for kids. Lo and behold, I found the Baby Sherpa. It was designed by a couple in Manitoba and as luck would have it, there was an article in the Costco magazine (May/June 2009) that profiled it. Which is a really good thing, as it is quite difficult to find on their website.

Here's the details on it:
  • Deep inside compartment with zippered pocket
  • Soft sided cooler uniquely integrated into the diaper bag backpack to store bottles, snacks, beverages, medication (holds 6-8 canned beverages)
  • Modular insulated pocket holds large-size brand name bottles, mesh water bottle holder
  • Padded pocket to hold a video camera or breast pump
  • Secure, interior parent zip pouch for wallet and a key clasp
  • "Tough as nails" zippers feature easy pulls
  • Oversized back pack diaper bag change pad 26" x 17"
  • Cell phone/Palm Pilot pouch, sunglass case
  • First aid compartment
  • Reflective tape for safety
  • Waist, sternum strap and ergonomically designed padded shoulder straps which feature a key clip and passy saver
  • Bungee X cord on back is great for jackets, toys, blankets
  • Heavy duty lug handle
  • Loops for hanging up the diaper bag backpack
  • Water resistant
  • Easy clean
  • Toy loops
  • 30 day manufacturers warranty
  • Fits as carry-on luggage for all airlines
There is a smaller version, they say it's a 3/4 size, but I think it looks smaller than that and of course, I carry a lot of stuff (surprised? - be nice on the comments please... heeheehee).

I should be receiving it in 7-10 days.

Here's the pic:

$79 at (delivered free):|20373&N=4009492&Mo=12&No=2&Nr=P_CatalogName:BCCA&cat=20440&Ns=P_Price|1||P_SignDesc1&lang=en-CA&Sp=C&topnav=

$89 at (also delivered free):


Normal sized brown rice cakes with absolutely NOTHING added to them! Yay! I just like the fact that they are salt free, but they are also gluten free and wheat free (we eat both of those things, normally). A huge shoutout to this company for producing such a healthy snack!

I find there is so much salt added into prepared snacks in general and even more apalling is the amount of salt that is added into kids (& baby) snacks! They only know what we teach and show them and if we only give them healthy snacks then they are perfectly happy with that. If you give them high salt and high sugar snacks... guess what? They are going to refuse to eat the healthy fruits, veggies, grains, etc until you give in and give them what they want!

I guess I am lucky, I grew up with a mom that made a lot of our snacks and foods without any salt at all. So I really enjoyed my food without salt in it, in fact, I find most prepared foods are way too salty for my liking. It is interesting that some people think no salt must mean bland... there are a lot of ways of adding taste to food without adding salt! Have you heard about the hypertension (high blood pressure) epidemic?! I'll leave the rant about sodium and it's effects on our health and blood pressure for my P2 Conditioning blog - hehehe. Not that plain brown rice cakes are my favourite snack, but add a piece of cheese and it is! Once Max is old enough, I'm sure we'll do peanut butter and other fun toppings. For now, he really likes to eat them as they are. If no one tells him he isn't supposed to like them, he'll never even know. Shhhhh!

A bit of background so you can appreciate why this is such a great find. The Heinz REGULAR Rice Snacks are one of the BEST snacks for kids. I LOVE that there is absolutely NOTHING other than ORGANIC BROWN RICE listed as ingredients (in the REGULAR, honey has all kinds of things in it... Surprisingly, not just honey, uuuggh). But, there are about 20 little tiny rice cakes in there and they cost about $2.50 each, I think I may have found them a few times for $2. TOTALLY worth it if you can feed your child something healthy, but if they eat a lot, I can imagine that this could get rather expensive. I love giving these to Max in the car on the way home from daycare or on the way home from anywhere, and he can snack away. They aren't sticky and they are healthy, YAY!

In a world full of processed snacks with salt, sugar, preservatives and all sorts of who-knows-what-it-is ingredients, I am so happy to find something like this. I have been looking for months for a "grown-up" version of the Heinz Toddler Rice Snacks, as Max has been growing and eats more and more everyday.

Just one of the reasons I enjoy stopping in at Whole Foods and purusing the aisle's every once in a while.

Meal times

Just wanted to post a few fun pictures of our meal times lately. They have been getting better and better. Well, until tonight when Max would only eat one small bit of scrambled egg and some corn, after A LOT of negotiating, since he did not want to eat the really really nice halibut or soy beans we were having for dinner.

Dinner at the Keg was full of a lot of hugs and cuddles for Dad:

Max's favourite drink, water.

This is Max's "kids meal". He got to start with some raw veggies, then 2 mini burgers and cooked veggies for dinner.

Dad, helping Max with dinner

Max loves dipping. He doesn't always understand that you're supposed to eat the veggies after you dip it, not just lick off the dip and then dip it again. Look out if we're ever visiting. I try to catch him before he does it... hehehe.

MMMMmmm, a nice Mondavi Chardonnay. I miss really good wine. This isn't the best wine I've had, but I really can't bring myself to open a nice bottle at home to have just one glass.

I had to take a picture. Warm almond crusted goat cheese... so yummy. Oh yeah, there's also a tomato bruschetta there.

Another dinner. Meal times work best if we have some distractions. Tupperware snack cups are great, Max likes to rearrange everything and group his food into each cup.

more "cleaning up"

I think this meal was pomegranite, cucumber, corn and sausage.

I had to take a picture. Max was playing with his cars on the counter beside Dad, while Dad was making dinner. Lucky for Dad, he had already used the yellow pepper before Max grabbed it and took a bite!

"oh no!" I'm not sure why, but Max says this a lot...

Spring Football at Handsworth

It is that time of year again... time to dust off the helmet's and pad's and get ready to play some football. Wow, was it ever hot this year! Last year was Max's second spring camp. He was not walking yet, so he did not have nearly as much fun as this year. The first day was spent clinging to mum and barely talking. I think the only time I've ever heard him that quiet, for that long, while he's been awake (wonder where he gets that from? heehee).

I think this was day 3 or 4, I should have kept better track. It's tough for me to do as much with the camp now that I'm chasing Max around, so very little "coaching" for me. It was a good camp as far as training went, I think I had to give someone a bandaid once... otherwise, no major (or minor) injuries. The grade 8's had too much sun on day 1 or day 2, so there were a few kids that were pretty tuckered out, but otherwise mostly fun in the sun.

Just running around, looking for the helmets. I have no idea why Max is obsessed with helmets, but he loves them: looking at them, pointing them out, trying to put them on (if he can lift them)

This is Max's "football face"... you better take him seriously, or lookout!

Just some fun shots of Max

He would be really quiet when the boys were right up close to him and as they were leaving he would start talking to them. He's a pretty tough guy, heeheehee.

"helmet?! Mom, helmet!". We're off to get to it, or get the ball, I'm not sure which it was at this point.

Coach Jay Prepchuck in the background.

Future coach?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Beluga whales

There was a brand new baby beluga whale born at the Vancouver Aquarium on Sunday, June 7th at 2:39pm to Aurora. Aurora is the grandmother of Tiqa, who was born 1 year ago today (June 10th) to Qila.

Max and I went to the Aquarium today to celebrate Tiqa's first birthday and it was busy! It was so exciting to get to see the brand new baby beluga at just about 3 days old.

Here's one of Max's favourite new toys.

Of course we visited Clownfish Cove and were very happy that Alex was back, playing his guitar. We got to practice singing happy birthday and of course, sang the baby beluga song. It was great to visit with our friends Ryo, Sadie and Allister. The Aquarium was insanely busy, but it was nice to be in the somewhat organized chaos that is Clownfish Cove.

The Aquarium has done a lot of work around the beluga's and their habitat. The nursery doesn't open until 10am and Max waited very patiently in line and was very quiet when we went down to the viewing areas.

Here are some photos of Aurora and her calf:

We captured a picture of Tiqa in the background here too:

Max and I got outside early and helped sing happy birthday to Tiqa while we snacked and then raced home for nap time. All-in-all a beautiful day for a birthday celebration.

My nephew is 1!

It's so hard to believe that Brandon came in to the world just 1 short year ago...

Happy birthday Brandon!

Let's celebrate with crawling into small spaces... Don't worry, Grandma to the rescue!

Opening presents with Dad.
and then Dad gets to play with the new toys!

Max and Brandon have so much fun together. Well, Brandon loves to follow Max and Max tries to get away. They are both learning to share and Max likes to help Brandon drink water or eat. It's so cute. He says "Hi Bwandon" when we get there or "here Bwandon" when he gives him something.

Brandon is now walking a little, talking a little and generally interacting more and more everyday. I LOVE his big beautiful blue eyes! I'm so glad that we are close enough to have play time.

I am so proud of my sister for what an amazing job she does taking care of, and raising Brandon. He is so lucky to have such a fabulous Mom. Brandon's birthday celebration was perfect - a small family gathering with grandparents, aunts & uncles and his cousin Max!

I'm posting a few of the photos I took, but I'm sure none of them compare to the ones that Kiri took. Brandon's Aunt Kiri is a professional photographer and she is absolutely amazing! She did our fall shots of Max. Her web site:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Markus!

It is Markus's second birthday (big 2 on the cake, might have given it away). So we got to hang out with some friends at Mahon park. We haven't actually been there before, so it was a great opportunity for us to check it out.

Tons of food and fun!

I think Max's favourite place to play is the train. We have been back to the park a few times, but we always end up playing on the train. Occasionally we have gotten to walk through some of the water when it's hot, but we always come back to the train.