Tuesday, December 21, 2010

lost and yet found

I'm so excited.  I just signed up for a lecture by renowned photographer Freeman Patterson. It's a lecture called "Call to Creativity."  I've definitely been feeling the call of the creative lately and have missed an outlet to express.  I'm hoping to learn more about photography and perhaps that will help fill the void.  If nothing else, it's fun to get excited about a new calling.

I'm enjoying some down time as everyone is out of the house this morning.  The cleaners came so I headed out with Talia and Drew took off to Steveston with the girls.  Now I'm back, caffeinated, fed and happily listening to CBC in a CLEAN house.  Bliss.

Tonight Shepard's Pie is on the menu. this afternoon Drew, Ania and Annie are heading to Science World to see the Bodyworlds exhibition.  Annie heard some kids talking about it at school and has asked to go.  She is still fascinated with all things 'medical'.  When she had to get her blood drawn last week, I had no idea how she would react.  She was a superstar.  She watched the whole process and seemed so interested in the procedure.  We talked a lot about our body and blood after that.  I think this exhibit will be intriguing for her.

Here are my two little petunia's curled up on the couch the other day.  I just love it when they snuggle together.  Last night when I was putting Annie to bed, Lila asked to get under her covers.  Seeing the two of them side by side in bed nearly melted me.  When I started to think about having a second child the image that kept popping into my head was of two little gals curled up sleeping together.  I got a glimpse of that last night and it made me happy.  Hot damn, do I ever have a great life.
Fa la la la la la la la la

Thursday, December 16, 2010

wintery ruminations

Bowen Island

I do love this season.  Not just because of all the festive pageantry, but I love the quietness of a winters night.  The crisp air in your lungs and barren beauty of the trees.  It also provides a lovely excuse to sit by the fire and drink red wine.  I absolutely love walking in the snow out in the country and hearing the crunching under your boots and the silence of winter resonate in your ears.  When you are out in the country it's as if the world has turned down the volume and you get to tune into the smallest sounds and the beauty of desolation.  Ahhh, I can't wait to spend our two weeks on Bowen Island lavishing in the sounds and scents of the winter woods.

Everyone kept talking about how this was going to be a 'cold, snowy' west coast winter.  Aside from an early snowfall in late November, we've been in the rain ever since.  Nothing usual for these parts.  I guess the prairie girl in me still misses views like this one:

Diefenbaker Park in Saskatoon

The next week is a busy one.  Lots of visiting, EATING, drinking and merry making.  This pre-Christmas yeeha is my most favourite time of the year.  I don't even care for the day itself (25th), but I'm all about the tease and lead-up.  Bring on the tacky, tinsel, garish garland, cookies, carols and all around festive fun.  It's time to get your holiday groove on!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

burn brightly

I couldn't possibly say it any better.  I couldn't possibly describe how much this quote has always resonated with me.  From my early high school years through to this dark night, I will always be drawn to the light inside.  That flicker of madness that lives in all of us. The mysterious bit that makes us say outrageous things, rock the boat, laugh loudly, colour outside the lines, dream big, ask inappropriate questions and keep us searching for more.  This is my creed.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

giving is good

Last week I took A too our first (hopefully annual) Christmas Wish Breakfast at the Pan Pacific Hotel.  We talked about how we were going to give presents to kids that don't have as many toys as we do.  We picked out a couple of things and woke up early the morning of the event.  It was a special date with my big girl and she got all dressed up in her holiday wear.

We stood in line in the pouring rain with our gifts with hundreds of other folks to give.  Despite the chill and rain, my girl was so good and patient.  We enjoyed some choir music and everyone was in the holiday spirit.  We enjoyed some breakie at the hotel with all the other merry makers and even got a candy cane from Santa.

I sure hope we can make this an annual event and my girls learn to equate the holiday season with giving and not just getting.  We live a very good life and I would like my gals to know how lucky they are and how good it feels to give.

It's been a busy few weeks.  With all the birthday prep for my big girl turning 4 and my folks coming into town, I've been on a Martha binge.  Baking, crafting, cooking, decorating and eating, of course!

I went a little nuts with the birthday party despite my mantra that 'less is more'.  I rented a space at the community centre and 11 kids and 15 adults joined in on the festivities.  It was a success and my girl was spoiled.  She opened present for what felt like an hour.  Perhaps next year I'll take it down a notch....or not.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

life interrupted

Well, well...here I am at home.  My good intentions to write about everyday of my trip are now long gone.  Before I move on to real LIFE, I do have to mention and remind myself how wonderfully lucky I was to have experienced that trip to Copenhagen.  It was such a wake-up and reminder to myself of who I am, what inspires, me, interests me, scares me and makes me happy.  I loved walking around the city by myself.  I soaked up the inner silence and let my thoughts wander as my feet did.  The city was so safe, so down tempo and so inviting.  It felt like one big small town.

I have to say that it fueled my creative side again which was nice as I thought it might be long buried.  My eyes were drawn to see things differently through the lens of my camera and I relished any opportunity to go to galleries and think critically within that context.   I had forgotten how to do that.  It also reminded me that art really does make the world go round and how much I believe in its power to make people think, talk and act.  Art is powerful.

One of my most favourite days on the trip (and now will be up there in the top 20 of my life), was my trip to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.  I was introduced to new (old) artists like Anselm Kiefer:


and re-acquainted with old muses such as Yves Klein.

As I wandered the gallery and it's breathtaking grounds:

I was in heaven.  Truly, I thought this place might be heaven and if it was I was going to head straight to church.  The beauty of the art, location, natural surroundings was almost a sensory overload.  It was so lovely to experience it by myself.  Although I have no one to share this amazing day with, I so loved being at peace in this environment.  Most of the grounds that I snuck into behind the museum were empty and I just zen-ed out.   I walked beyond the museum property into the Danish countryside.  As I walked along a small gravel road I gazed at the piercing blue water and sky.  Again, it was visual bliss.

Ok, so you get the idea.  The trip was fab and my favourite bit was the Louisiana.  I missed my family and it is good to be home, but man oh man, did I enjoy the "break."

We are back into the thick of things here.  Awaiting job news, planning a birthday party, fighting off colds, researching schools and getting chilly.  Winter is on it's way!  Brrr, I can hear the heater click away as I type. 

The girls are in fine form these days.  They play a lot together.  They also fight a lot, but it's always short lived.  As L rounds the corner to "2" I see her asserting her independence and saying "no!" more and more.  Ah, the 2's.   I'm bracing myself.  This time I know what I'm in for.  I'll be sure to clean out my flask and make room for it in my purse.

Time to sign off and enjoy the silence before they wake up.  Shush!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

day 4 in CPH

I'm going to rattle of a list of things that I have taken note of while in the Danish capital before I forget. Here goes:

1.  Danes obey street signs.  They are not big jay walkers and they always wait for the green pedestrian light before crossing.

2. Danes are very family oriented.  You see lots of children in restaurants, both fine dining, pubs etc.  I noticed lots of clothing stores and restaurants have toys for children.  It is expected that they are always out in all public places.

3.  Customer service sucks here.  It's very nice that everyone speaks English, but they really don't place priority on being customer focused.  You often have to seat yourself, ask to order, ask for your drinks, ask for the bill etc.

4.  In a Danish hotel a double bed consist of 2 beds put together and you always get 2 single duvets.  It's rather curious, don't you think?  No sharing blankets over here!

5.  Danes are not very friendly.  They won't be outright rude, but they are generally closed off.  I was warned about this and yes, it's true.  Don't expect a lot (read: any) idle chit chat from them on the bus, at the coffee shop etc.  They keep to themselves.

6.  They tend to be a little more advanced in the environmental sustainability department.  Although after saying that, I notice no recycling bins in our hotel room or lobby.  I also haven't noticed any recycling bins on the street.  But, big picture - they seem to have a handle on electricity rationing, green transportation etc.  I don't know enough about their actual local business practices, but Europe in general is further ahead in embracing 'social responsibility'.

7.  Lastly (at least for today), is that the stereotype is true - 'Danes love their design.'  And my god are they good at making everything (form an apple corer to architecture) look stylish.  Case in point - from the great Danish store "Illums Bolghus":

I finally had my first good sleep last night.  Poor Jenna, she limping like an old lady with all the aches and pains of pregnancy.  It's very cool to think that there are 3 of us on this trip.  I wonder who the wee little Leibury is?  So exciting!!

Ok - time to get dressed and hit the road.  Till tomorrow.

Love to my loved ones!!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

reunited and it feels so good

The moment I walked into the hotel where I was to meet Jenna, there she was at the front desk.  We didn't know what time her flight would get in etc., so this was what they call kismet.  It was the last night of the amusement park Tivoli to be open for Halloween (apparently they close for the week leading up to Halloween - something about school holidays this week.)  Anyway, we hopped over to the park to grab some dinner.  I had already been there for a couple of hours wandering the amazing grounds.  It was such a beautiful and magical place.  There were twinkling lights, pumpkins, candy apples, rides, costumes, lanterns and a glowy, fuzzy light permeated the whole park at dusk.  So magical!  I missed my girls even more watching all the children on the carousels and rides.  I even went on the circle swing.  Why not?!?  I did feel quite silly trying to take a photo of myself while flying through the air.

my goofy face as I ride the big swing

the big swing!

Jenn and I found a restaurant located in this building:

We had an odd, typically Danish meal, that was very yummy.  After our fine dining we followed up with some deep fried waffles and chocolate sauce.  

Stores were closed today so I spent the morning wandering around town and did a canal cruise in the afternoon, followed by my trip to Tivoli.

It was another dreamy day.  Jenna is fast asleep and I hope to join her soon.  I hardly slept at all last night.  Grrrr.  I'm hoping for better success tonight.

Sweet dreams.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

goddag hej!

Well, here I am in Copenhagen.  It is so surreal to be here - in Europe - in Denmark - in Copenhagen - by MYSELF!!  WTF!  I am currently sitting in my pj's, posting pics to flickr, drinking red wine (that I got from 7-11) and listening to CBC.  Yes, it always goes back to CBC.  Thank god for web radio.    The voice of Jian is never very far away:)

Where to start?  First off, the flight to Frankfurt.  I used to HATE flying.  I mean, it was my top 1 or 2 things that produced great amounts of anxiety and fear.  Well, I gotta say that things have changed.  In the last few years I've mainly flown with my children and let's be honest - that is just not fun.  Not fear inducing, but just a pain in the ass, really.  A shitty diaper just after take-off?  C'mon!  Anyway, the 9 hour flight seemed to go by very quickly.  I don't know if had anything to do with the fact that I haven't been alone for 9 hours in a very long time, or the glass of vodka and "chill pill" I took.  I even watched an Adam Sandler movie?!  Hmmmm, all I know is that I woke up for breakie and we were landing in Frankfurt.  From there I transferred and flew to CPH.  I got in and took a cab to my hotel.  What a great little hotel.  It's brand stinking new so it feels fresh and squeaky clean.  I got upgraded to a double room upon arrival.  It took quite some time to figure out how to use the bath faucets.  Damn sleek Danish designs!  There is a bus shuttle that takes me right from hotel to the main square in the heart of the city.  It runs every 15 min, so it's a handy way to get to the action.

Today I walked from Tivoli :

by the old shipping docks of Nyhavn:

with a quick trip through the King's Gardens and then on to my final destination of Nørrebro:

This once blue collar neighbourhood has now been gentrified and is a hub for artsy folks and funky boutiques.  I loved wandering the streets, meandering my way through the cobble stone paths.  This city is very easy to navigate and I never got lost once or felt in danger.  Easy breezy.  I did see many interesting boutiques and stopped for a delicious cuppa, only to ask a local about why most of the stores were closed.  Apparently they close at 3pm on Saturdays.  Huh?  Saturdays??  Isn't that the working woman's day to get shit done?  Very odd, in my North American eyes.  Nonetheless, I took the opportunity to window shop (cheaper) and take pics of the beautiful city.

I made my way back to the centre of town, the soundtrack of my steps was a combination of Ray LaMontagne, Angus and Julia Stone, Dixie Chicks, Patty Griffin and Vitamin String Quartet, just to name a few. Lovely.
I stopped for dinner at Cafe Europa.  It was a lovely, authentically Danish cafe.  I feasted on the:

Shrimps from the island of Rømø & crispy bread, Ceviche of sea bass, spiced herring from Christiansø with potatoes, smoked salmon with spinach & Hollandaise sauce, tuna mousse with lime.
Bread & butter.

Yum.  I stopped at 7-11 for my bottle of vin (class-ay) and headed back to catch my hotel shuttle.  Oh, I forgot to add that I did do a wee bit of shopping.  I picked up the oddest little things.  Drew - you would think it is so typically Cherry.  Odds and sods - cupcake liners, tights, cute Band-Aids etc.  It's that damn Danish design that makes everything look good - even mundane objects.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for that.

I'm now waiting for my family to get home so I can Skype with them and see their beautiful faces.  I love traveling.  It reminds me of who I am, what I love and most importantly, who I love.  xoxoxox to Bobes, Annie Bannannie and Lilooshka.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

more CBC loving

Just got us tickets yesterday for Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe Christmas.  See, CBC dorks!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

nipping at my feet

Autumn, that is.  Even though our temps have been fairly warm, there is change in the air.  A slight crispness.  I've found myself starting to put some of our summer clothes away and bringing out the warmer pj's etc.  The nights are definitely cooler and my little birdies complain about being cold in the mornings.  I'm sad to see this summer leave.  It just may have been my best ever.  It was everything I wanted it to be.  We seized each sunny day and played hard in the yard, tending our garden, going on vacations, blowing bubbles, running through the sprinklers, watching sunsets, eating loads of berries, watching fireworks, making popsicles, swimming, and generally having the time of our lives.  We embraced 'Carpe Diem' this summer.

Fall used to be my favourite season, but after a summer like this one, it's so hard to say good-bye.  There are lots of fun things to look forward to this season.  Pumpkins, learning to knit, making soup, sweaters, leaves, and the sense of a new beginning.  A starts a new school in a few weeks, we are heading back to Saskie for a visit and then I'm off to Copenhagen for some girl time and solo traveling.  It ain't so bad, I reckon.

My delicious littles are full of life and oh so loud these days.  Since the windows are open at our house most days, you can hear us down the block.  We are one loud family!  I know I actively contribute to that.  I love throwing on some tunes and having an impromtu dance party.  The girls are always up for it.

Oh summer how I will miss...
laying in your cool wet grass
watching you paint the sky before dark
feeling your warm rays on my back
waking to your beautiful morning light
making our days long and full
warming our nights
giving us an excuse to eat ice cream every day
letting me play with my girls in a carefree summery way each and every day

Gold Ears National Park
Golden Ears Park

Lake Mesachie

Lake Mesachie

Monday, July 5, 2010

my shadows

I escaped to the coffee shop.  It's been a looooooooooooong weekend and I haven't had a moment to myself.  Ok, that's not entirely true.  Friday was 'date day' and the hub and I had one fab date.  The weather was begging for us to frolic in the sun, sip on a patio and rest by the ocean.  Not bad at all.  I feel so lucky and fortunate to be able to take the time to spend with each other.  We always return a little more balanced and happy.

Back to my (cute) shadows.  The girls are both at a particularly needy phase and all they want is "mommmmma, mommy, maaaaaaaaaaaamaaaaaaaaaaa, MOM..." This morning I went to drop off Annie at my in-laws for the day.  She was jazzed the night before, the morning of, and when we got there and I was ready to leave, she had a major mommy moment.  We tried everything; McDonald's, the playground, a movie, the berry farm etc. and nothing would trump mommy. So, we got back in the car and drove back to Kits.  Despite the fact that we will be spending all day together and we spent all day yesterday together, we were reunited once again.  Ania reminded me that I won't always be the center of their universe, so enjoy it while it lasts.  She's so right, but damn, sometimes I just want to go to the bathroom by myself!!! Poor Drew has been completely shut out as they each cling to my legs and howl for "maaammaaaa."  This too will pass...right?

Friday, June 25, 2010

summer has arrived

It sure took long enough, but it appears that summer may be here to stay.  I do wish for higher temps, but this is the pacific coast, so I can't expect miracles.

The hub and I took our child-free trip to Ottawa and Montreal last week.  My good god, was it lovely to sleep in, dine after 6pm, talk in full sentences, walk without a stroller, not have to answer to "Mama" 450 million times a day, stay up past 10pm and genuinely get re-acquainted with myself and my hub.  Those trips remind me how important it is to get away and have some one on one time with your partner.  It was nice to have time to give each other the attention that we often neglect to do when we are juggling in our very own circus at home.   All this aside, by day four I was clambering to get home to see my babies and see if the grandparents were still alive.  We talked to them everyday, but I wondered just how much of the truth we were getting from them.

We returned to a clean home (god bless my dear mother) and 2 happy kids (and by all accounts - happy grandparents).   We've had a good week getting back into the swing of things.  We hit the water park yesterday and had a picnic.  What could be a more fitting welcoming for summer?

My garden is in full swing as are the flowers in our yard.  I just keep thinking that we're finally getting our yard (front and back) in good shape and we'll move next year.  Booo.  Who knows.  I certainly don't know what's going to happen.  I'm definitely enjoying all the little moments with my gals.  It feels to good to be out there exploring the world with them.

As for my grown up activities, well, I've started running again.  All my clothes are tight and my weight is at an all time high. Sigh.  This sucks, but sitting around eating more Nutella isn't going to help. I'm aiming for 3 days a week right now.  I'm also on a huge reading kick.  I'm flying through books every week.  Some of my latest and greatest:

Beauty Tips From Moose Jaw
Born with a Tooth
Between Interruptions 
To Hell With All That: Loving and Loathing our Inner Housewife

Currently reading:
The God Delusion
Radical Homemakers
Parenting Beyond Belief

It's been a rather eclectic bunch lately.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  I find the book on parenting from an Atheist perspective rather interesting as we are discussing sending the girls to Jewish school.  Ahh, imagine the discussions we'll be having in our house! Interesting times ahead.

I'm off to the garden before the little one wakes up from her nap.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

baby turns one

My baby turned one yesterday.  My youngest is now toddling around the house and beginning to say words.  Who replaced my baby with a toddler?  Thank goodness she is still ripe with rolls and squeezable cheeks so she stills feels like my baby - although a very big one.  My sweet girl is such a big monkey.  We are in awe over her size.  She delights in eating and I'm happy she has such a veritable appetite.  I know those rolls won't be around forever, so I love to wrap my arms around her and hold her tight.  Holding onto time is what it feels like.  If only.  She is the most snuggly little girl and I take full advantage of that every chance I get.  In fact, I snuck into her room last night and picked her up and held her in my arms in the rocking chair.  I know these days are numbered...

in Mama's old jumper

in Papa's arms

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

peek a boo

So very delicious. I just want to munch on those cheeks.  She's a real delight these days.  Even though she's completely a destructor. Destroying everything in her path.

Today I lunched with work pals.  It was lovely to see everyone and the inevitable question "when are you coming back?" arose.  Well, I guess, when I have a job offer, but what I really wanted to say was, "not for a while."  Oh how would I love to have the summer with my girls.  We are going to expand the lawn so we can put in a paddling pool.  We are going to plant a garden, have picnics, go to the pool, the beach, blow bubbles, run through the sprinklers, play hopscotch, and eat popsicles in the sun.  We have so much to do.  They have so many smiles to share with me.  I want to be there for every single one.

I woke up this morning knowing that it was going to be a productive day and it was.  I cleaned, cooked, lunched and even organized the garage.  My main goal for that last task was to locate the karaoke machine and I was successful.  I can't wait to rock out with Annie.

I felt very put together as I went for lunch.  I remembered everything for Lila (lots of food, bib, water, diapers etc.).  I even managed to put on make-up and comb my hair.  As I walked into the restaurant feeling very accomplished, I suddenly ran my tongue across my teeth to discover that furry early morning feeling.  Shit - I forgot to brush my teeth.  Ah well, perfection sucks.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

west of west

The hub and I are enjoying the last hours of our trip to Tofino.  We arrived Friday morning before noon and have been enjoying every second of R&R.  We're staying at our favourite place Middle Beach Lodge.  It's so stunningly beautiful and such an incredible place to lay low.  We've been laying so low that we decided to forgo the BBQ salmon dinner being served at the lodge last night for another night of pizza delivery and a movie.  I know it sounds so lame, but the pizza is awesome and well, who can beat pizza and a movie in bed listening to the ocean?

My folks are on kid duty and I've been checking in about twice a day.  Damn  - I sure miss my little girls.  I can't wait to hear Annie yelling for us as we unlock the front door and then see Lila's big smile.  It sounds like they have been having a ball with my folks.  I can only assume the grandparents are sufficiently tired and will sleep soundly tonight (off duty).

We've gone on some amazing walks on the beaches.  We are planning on hitting Long Beach on our way home this morning.  It's been so much fun to be alone with Drew.  We've been for long walks in the dark, been adequately loopy and laughed a lot.  It's been so important to remember who we are as a couple.  Yeehaa for this little getaway!