Eight.

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Today my baby girl turned 8. I can’t believe how fast time has flown.

Raising kids is scary. It’s so easy to mess them up. So easy to let them down.

So far everything about her tells me that I must be doing something right because she is without a doubt the sweetest, kindest, gentlest soul in my world.

Her joy and laughter is infectious and her love of life is inspiring. She is fierce and strong and I can’t wait to see where she goes in life. And what she will teach the world.

I will always be here to stand behind and walk beside you. And I promise to never, ever hold you back.

Kid Speak: World Flag

10yo: Mummy, why isn’t there a flag for the World?

Me: Well, flags are how each country represents themselves. Plus, I’m pretty sure you couldn’t get all the countries to agree on what the one flag would look like.

7yo: That’s stupid. It would just have the world on it. Because we are all a part of it.

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So I’m thinking maybe we should just let the kids be in charge for a little bit and see what happens…

 

 

 

May 2016 in Photos

It’s amazing to me how much we cram into every month.  How many special events we are lucky enough to attend.  How many school assemblies and soccer games we go to that cry out to be photographed. And that’s not including the little moments that we try to capture.

I can’t possibly write blog posts on every single one – although I wish I could – but I can (usually) manage to at least take a few pictures.  And so I have decided to do a monthly post where I can include images from all the special moments from the past month.


Works Yard Open House:

Every year the City of Richmond invites residents to come and tour the city works yard. Employees are on hand to answer questions and explain what their department does. There are tons of fun activities for kids and my girls just like the idea of hanging out at Daddy’s work for the day…


A Night at the Beach:

One night we found ourselves with nothing on the calendar – how rare is that? – and an itching to get out and just “do something”.  So we packed up a blanket and the beach toys and drove to Garry Point Park to do some digging in the sand. Great way to spend an {almost} summer evening…


Jumping Ditches:

As a kid I remember Richmond having ditches everywhere.  It was a right of passage to learn how to jump over them – especially the really wide ones! – without {almost} falling in. Most of the ditches have been filled in now but there are still a few.  We found ourselves near one and the girls showed me they have earned their ditch jumping badge. Bonus: they had a zipline swing too.


Plane Watching:

Coming home from a birthday party one Sunday night the girls begged for me to stop at the “world park”. It’s actually called Flight Path Park because it’s right under one of the main runways at YVR. We stopped and watched the planes…and little one did some meditation because…well…because that’s what she does.


Billy Elliot:

I was given four tickets to see the Arts Club production of Billy Elliot and I had the idea that we would go as a family.  When I called to book the seats I mentioned bringing my 7 year old and the lady paused and said “you know there is a lot of bad language in this right?” Clearly I didn’t – nor did I realize the movie was actually rated R (!) – and so I had to leave the youngest at home with daddy and take my 10 year old and my mum and aunt in their place.  There was some questionable language but that was easy to overlook with how good the production was. So much fun.


Random Awesome Moments:

Giant camping chairs & hot dogs for dinner at Costco. Novel writing on the front lawn. Being silly at the dinner table. Figuring out how a cordless phone works. Showing off your monkey bar skills.

These are the moments…

May was pretty awesome. You got some big shoes to fill June…

 

A Day at Wesbrook Village

One of the best things about living in Vancouver is there is no shortage of places to go and things to do with the kids. You can hike up in the mountains, spend the day at a waterpark, head to the Aquarium or Zoo, or explore one of the many nature or animal sanctuaries.

So many options but…not so many that are close by to where we live. They are all – for the most part – a 45-60 minute drive away.  And when your kids are asking “are we there yet?” every 5 minutes it feels like a lot longer.

That’s why it’s such a score to find a kid-friendly area with lots of activity & food options that is within a 30 minute drive.  You find that and you go back…again and again.  And that’s what we found at Wesbrook Village. This new(ish) community development is located near UBC at the edge of Pacific Spirit Park and has so much for families to do when they are there.

I like to think of us as early adopters of Wesbrook because we discovered it around 3 years ago – when it had newly opened. My girls were begging for frozen yogurt and google told me the closest Menchie’s was located in Wesbrook Village – about 25mins away.

Our drive there was quick and scenic – most of it along South West Marine Drive. When we arrived I was so pleased to find free parking (!) and we set out to explore. What we discovered was an area that had much more to offer than just frozen yogurt.

I took this picture that day – post Menchies – the girls spent a good 40 minutes running around this fountain. Who needs an awesome playground when you have this?

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Since that day we have been back many times – most recently for their Kids Day event in April. It was my youngest daughter’s birthday so she was pretty pumped about all the fun activities and special deals they had planned.

We had a great time and got to discover many new additions to the area that we hadn’t already experienced.

Like taking a walk on the trails through Pacific Spirit Park. We were lucky on Kids Day to have a guide to teach the kids about what they see and experience in the park…but even without a guide its a lovely place to spend some time.

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Then there was Biercraft. I never would have guessed that this restaurant was kid friendly but it was. My kids loved their meals off the kids menu and hubby was pretty happy to be able to get a nice flight of craft beers to go along with his…

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One part of the Village that we are already very familiar with is all of there amazing outdoor spaces. There are 4 playgrounds at Wesbrook Village so lots of options. My girls always lean towards Nobel Park (at the south end) because of the big climbing jungle and the river that they can jump over and splash in.

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seriously…how pretty is that?

So next time you’re looking for somewhere to hangout with the kids that close to the city I highly recommend checking out Wesbrook Village.

Maybe we will see you there…

Three Phrases Parents Really Need to Stop Using

One thing I’ve noticed in the ten years since I’ve become a parent is that parents really like to tell other parents how to be parents.

Some of this advice – while not solicited – is well warranted. Some of this advice is passed on from well meaning place.

And some of this advice is simply given to give the giver a sense of serious superiority.

The common thread I have found that connects all of the advice giving and parenting banter is the continuing need to justify what has been said. To back up where the wisdom comes from. To validate. But why do we need the validation?

I say we don’t. I believe that we can change the tone of our conversations with each other by simply eliminating a few key phrases from our vocabulary. So here – in no particular order – are the 3 phrases I believe parents need to stop using:


Don’t get me wrong I love my kids…but…

I am pretty sure all parents are guilty of saying this one. And guilt is the driving factor behind it. We shouldn’t feel the need to add this preamble when we want to talk about how tough being a parent is – because it is tough. And it’s also human nature – however wrong – for us to want to share our negative experiences more than our positive ones.

When it comes to the ups and downs of raising children I totally understand why we want to share the negatives more. It’s because we crave understanding. We need others to say that this too shall pass. We need to gather hope from other parents that have been where we are.

I think it’s time we owned up to that need with out adding the caveat about loving our kids. For the most part we know that the good outweighs the bad here. That we didn’t make a huge mistake having kids. So drop the preamble and let’s get right to the part where we tell each other its all going to be okay.


It’s not that I’m complaining but…

Stop right there because I know where this one is going. You are about to complain. And I for one believe that you should never lead off a complaint by saying you are not complaining.

As parents – hell as people! – we have a lot to complain about. There is always something that isn’t going our way. Someone that is letting us down.  And so please…feel free to complain about said things. Let me commiserate with you. Let us suffer in this together.

Let free your complaints…and let’s start calling a spade a spade.


I’m not saying I know better but…

Let me guess…you do it differently and find it works better for you. I knew it! Parents, can we just stop with this one? Like really.

I don’t mind you sharing with me how you might choose to do said thing – be it sleeping arrangements or food prep or breastfeeding or discipline or whatever – but please don’t be so naive to think that your way is the best way for everyone. Just…no.


Parenthood is a club with millions of members. There is no crazy initiation ceremony required, there is no application review process.

This not-so exclusive club has members from all over the world and from all walks of life – and sometimes the only common thread we have between us is that we produced offspring.

So let’s stop the sugar coating and the prefacing of the things we say to each other. Parenting isn’t easy…and none of us are doing it perfectly. But if we can own our imperfections and find support in each other it’s going to make the experience a lot more enjoyable.

I’m not saying I know better…but…

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Double Digits

My oldest child turned 10 last week.

Double digits. A big milestone in her young life. One that I had been fixated on for several weeks considering the momentous nature of the transition from single digits to doubles. Something you only do once in a lifetime and she had now done it.

I thought about when I turned 10 and what it meant to me. It meant freedom and responsibility as I finally got my own key and could come home from school on my own.

My daughter didn’t get a house key for her birthday. I’m not quite ready for that yet. Well…more precisely I’m not sure she’s quite ready for that. We both have some work to do there.

But as the morning of her birthday arrived and I woke her up as I usually do – this time with the addition of a “happy birthday” kiss – I realized something.

The 10 year old girl looking up at me sleepy eyed and smiling was no different than the 9 year old girl that I had tucked in the night before.

And all the stress and pressure of the big transition to double digits melted away and I understood that I had worked myself up over nothing.

Yes she was – technically – now one year older than she had been the day before. That was something that was going to happen every year no matter how hard I tried to stop it.

But age – as they say – really is just a number. No matter what her age she is going to be the person she was destined to be with a little help from us along to the way to keep her on the right path.

And right now she is a sweet, sensitive, often stubborn, always kind, book loving 10 year old. Next year I know that number will change to 11 – that is a certainty. But the bigger question is what words will be used to define HER one year from now.

I can’t wait to find out…

Happy Birthday to my firstborn. The girl that made me a mother.  My preemie daughter that showed so much strength and will from her first breath and still shows that every day.

I love you.

Birthday Weekend Fun

It was a whirlwind weekend full of birthday fun…and I am one tired mama after all this excitement.

Saturday morning started out with the birthday girl coming into bed early and innocently asking about “presents?”

I had asked her a few weeks before what she wanted for her big 7th birthday and was totally expecting a request for toys…specifically Shopkins. But no…she surprised me by saying all she wanted was a locket that had a picture of her and her sister in it. (sniff…gulp…how sweet is she?)

When we opened presents she was quite happy to find she had gotten exactly what she asked for:

She wore it with so much pride…I loved it. After a quick breakfast it was off for a day of fun at Wesbrook Village (you can read the post about that here) but these pictures kind of tell the story too:

Then home for more gifts! This time it was a fairy garden from her Nana, Nanny & aunt…

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How cute is that?  The fact that a couple of fairies moved in the next day – closing the door behind them – delighted her to no end.

And then we ended the day with dinner at her choice of restaurant. Hello Cactus Club…

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After such a long day we were all pretty pooped…and ended it off with a family movie night. The new Star Wars being the unanimous choice.

And that was it…for the actual birthday. The next day it was all about her birthday party. My girl took a great art class at 4 Cats art studio last fall where they worked with clay. And she decided then that she wanted to make clay Shopkins for her birthday. So that’s what we did.

For me – it was the perfect party – an hour of crafts that I didn’t have to do (but the kids loved) and then 45 minutes of pizza & cake and we were done.

Plus…the 10 girls at this party were SO well behaved…I mean really…it was kind of crazy how easy peasy the whole thing was:

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Okay…one April birthday in the books. Now to get ready for the next one on Friday.

Phew…is it May yet?