The Painted Suite

For the past two weeks, all of my spare time (except for the hours I somehow fit in the entire season one of Suites – thanks for the recommendation, Catherine and Nikki!) has been spent painting and painting and painting.

Our tenant moved out right before we went to Alaska, and we decided not to look for another one until we returned. We had time to list it, show it, and paint it, allowing for a September move-in.

We really wanted to paint because there are only two little windows in the place (bedroom and kitchen), and the dark colours accentuated how cave-like it was. It also happens to be all the same colours that I am slowly working on eradicating upstairs – weird yellow and cheap-chocolate brown. Not too appetizing. So I changed that!

Take a look at the before and afters!

What you see when you walk through the entry door.
B&A 2Moving forward and turning right, you enter the kitchen!B&A 1 Turning around and looking back to where you entered (the entry door is the brown one; we are still going to change that out and that’s why it’s not painted).B&A 3 Before reaching the bedroom, we have the bathroom on the left-hand side.B&A 4 And then the bedroom. B&A 5Besides the entry door, there are a couple other things to take care of, such as a few pieces of trim and hanging some shelves to get the microwave off the counter in the kitchen. But I am kind of proud of this suite of ours, and it makes me so excited to see the difference just colour can make. One day our upstairs will be changed too!

I want to say a little thank you to Nikki and John who helped with the painting, and I hope and pray that this space is a blessing to our new tenant, who moves in today!

My Challenge

I am a homebody. I always have been, and always will be. I am content to be at home. I have never felt trapped in my house, even in the middle of winter. Never have the words “I need to get out of here!” crossed my mind. Home is my happy place.

Besides grocery shopping and the somewhat rare meeting with friends and their kids, the only times I’ve brought both boys off our property on my own are the two times I brought them to the park. Literally. It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I’m being honest.

But today I am having a day where I am feeling like I wish I wasn’t the way I am. I wish I knew what to do outside of our home. It doesn’t help that I have very few interests. Window shopping and paying for attractions like a museum are not one of them.

A part of this is my friendships. I know I’ve been here in Edmonton for almost two years, and have met tons of great people who I do consider my friends, but they have all been here for much longer and have set friendships already. They have their people to hang out with. I feel like an intruder when I want to get together, so I don’t initiate.

The worst part is that I lack motivation and inspirations to change any of this. And also, it’s the way I am! Does it really need to change? When I have days like this I feel like it does.

You have my permission to read this like the pity party that it is. For now I think I will actually use our zoo passes (that we bought to does ourselves out of the house), and go see some meerkats.

Alaskan Cruise (Part 4)

Read part 3.

Nothing particular interesting happened in the last handful of days. Just a stop in Ketchikan where we did a little more walking around. We only docked in the late morning though, so there wasn’t much time before naps had to be taken. The weather continued to be beautiful and there was more deck time.

Oh, and our ship, the Zaandam? Yeah, it was christened by none other than the Olson Twins, back in 2000. That was a fun discovery!alaska part 4 (1)alaska part 4 (2)
Cruising in Conclusion

Being my first cruise, I didn’t know what to expect. Over all, I had a great time and cruising is a wonderful way to vacation when you don’t want to have to take care of your own meals or laundry. There were a couple things that felt a little strange to me:
I felt like such an intruder on these tiny Alaskan towns. Here we are, coming in on our floating resort that is pretty much as long as their main street, crowding their sidewalks and stealing their WiFi. We come in the day and leave the place deserted at night. Can’t we leave the locals in peace and let them have a balanced life? Victoria is a cruise port, but it is more of a destination for people to stay in hotels, so I never felt like the cruise ship passengers were intruding on our city. Plus, Victoria is much bigger than the ports we stopped in. As an aside, at the hotel I worked at, we could tell who was going to go on a cruise or who came off of one, just judging by their luggage! They always had the biggest, heaviest bags.
The other thing is just the feeling of…something…with the staff. They are all so friendly and great at what they do, but at the end of the day, you know they go down just a floor or two below you, and sleep in rooms more crowded than yours, not seeing their family for months on end, while we are all partying with our families, having them wait on us and serve us all this food that their families could probably only dream about. I kind of felt bad for them and wished they could experience the ship the way we did. But that is the nature of a cruise ship I suppose. The crew can’t go home at the end of the day. We all have to share the same toilet water. Maybe this is coming across different than how I feel? In any case, I loved the staff. A handful of them made it a point to remember the boys’ names and make them smile and ask where they were if they weren’t with us at the moment. They recongnized all our faces, and were always “on”.

A couple quick notes about cruising with kids:
I can only speak for Holland America line, but children who are not potty trained are not allowed in the pools or the kids club. The case may be different on say, the Disney line, where they cater to kids. Well, maybe not the pools still because water on a ship is precious. But even on a line that usually is more adult oriented, I never felt like the boys were snubbed or not thought of. If we were to go again with just our family, I would look for a line that has more amenities that my kids could take advantage of. I didn’t bring anything along for Calvin, besides some books, but there was no shortage of stuff for him to do between tennis, basketball, ping pong, and just plain running around. The boy loves his sports activities! If your child isn’t into that kind of stuff, I don’t know what you would do.

And that’s all!

Alaskan Cruise (Part 3)

Read part 2.

Our fifth day at sea was our scenic cruising day. We woke up to a gorgeous view outside our window. I guess that made the fact that the boys woke up while the first digit on the clock was still “4″ a little bit okay. Seriously, they were kind of backwards with the time. We set our clocks back one hour on the second day or something, but they kept waking up earlier and earlier. So we killed a few hours with a bath for the boys and a first breakfast before meeting everybody in the dining room for a fancy breakfast later.alaska part 3 (1)Then we all headed outside to get a full view of our scenic day. Our ship was taking us up Tracy Arm to see the Sawyer Glacier. At one point I saw a bunch of people on one side of the ship taking photos of something. I thought it was a whale, but when I went to look, it was the tiniest piece of ice floating by. It was hilarious! Kind of akin to tourists stopping on the highway in Jasper or Banff to take a photo of a common deer.
5 (40)alaska part 3 (2) After an hour or two (I really have no clue…who keeps time on a holiday, except in the morning hours when you are trying to entertain kids before the buffet opens), the end point, the Sawyer Glacier, came into view. The bow was open all day long for optimum viewing points.5 (50)The ship staff served yummy pea soup while we gazed about. Seems kind of random, especially for mid-morning, but it’s a Dutch thing? Poor Victor missed it all. But it was really funny how many random people came up to take a photo of him, because he looked so cute in his moose (or caribou some people called it) hat.alaska part 3 (3) 5 (66) For size perspective, the little dark dots are seals. alaska part 3 (4)We stood out on the bow for a good couple hours. They ship sat there for a couple hours, and turned around halfway through to allow the other side a good view as well. We were almost the last ones standing out there, once it was time to head back out. Such a beautiful place!alaska part 3 (5)5 (82)Back inside, Victor had yet another nap, Calvin impersonated the turn down towel art of the day, and then mom and dad took the boys so Tim and I could have a dinner all to ourselves. What a lovely day!alaska part 3 (6)

Alaskan Cruise (Part 2)

Read part 1.

The morning of day three found us in a little more scenic waters. We could actually see land! Alaska part 2 (1) Day three was also our first port of call. Juneau! It also happened to be the hottest day of the trip. Too bad I didn’t realize that before we left the ship! We were kind of sweltering. And the locals were complaining.

The thing about these cities/town in Alaska that you stop in is that they are tiny and the shops are there entirely for the tourists. It gets super crowded and you have to leave the main strips in order for walking on the sidewalk to be comfortable. When we did that, we came across a cute antique store! Unfortunately it was Sunday so it was closed. Fortunately, Tim found some free WiFi while standing outside the door.

Juneau is built on hills and the homes are all colourfully painted. It really is a cute place. And it would be an excellent shopping town if all you wanted was jewelry and furs. I think Alaskan cruises are more about the excursions than the actual towns you stop in. We didn’t do any excursions, and I am also terrible at being a tourist, so ports of call weren’t all that exciting for us. Mainly just a chance to get off the ship.
alaska part 2 (2) alaska part 2 (3) After a couple hours we were back on board. The following photos are a good picture of what Calvin did a lot of: walking, sitting for a moment when somebody wanted to sit for longer, and playing ping pong, or “tennis” and Calvin calls it.alaska part 2 (4)On day 4 we stopped in Skagway. It was our one real rainy day. Again, Skayway is full of tourist shops selling jewelry and trinkets. We wandered around, found a library with free WiFi, because that is super important. We spent a couple hours of the morning out there, then made our way back to the ship for lunch and naps. alaska part 2 (5) alaska part 2 (6)Read part 3.

 

Alaskan Cruise (Part 1)

We just got back into town after yet another trip to BC. This time we went for a cruise up the coast with Tim’s family. It was so much fun, and there are so many pictures, so I will split the trip up into a few parts. Here is the first part, our day of departure and the first full day.

Here we are walking up the gangway toward our ship. The excitment was mounting!
Below, Calvin is showing off his excitement for Canada flags. If you have spent much time with him since July 1, you can hear him say “Canada flag!” over and over whenever he sees one, so fast you can’t count the syllables and it sounds like an Indian accent.alaska part 1 (1)It was quite the walk down a hallway to our cabin, or stateroom. I was pleasantly surprised by the generous size of the room and the awesome window! The ledge in front provided the boys with tons of fun each morning. Calvin loved to hide behind the curtains, then jump off onto the bed. Oh, and Calvin slept on the couch that turned into a bed and Victor slept on the floor. It worked out quite well, except for the fact that there were light switches right above the couch, so we often woke up to Calvin turning those on.

alaska part 1 (2)

These photos were taken after a nap and before turndown, so don’t judge the crew’s service by these photos.

We all (except Tim who was napping or something) took an evening swim in the freezing cold outdoor pool as we pushed off from the docks.
alaska part 1 (3)Out first full day was a sea day, and we couldn’t ask for better weather. We spent the majority of the time on the outside decks. Calvin learned to relax (although he would only lay like that long enough to sigh and say “relax!”, then he was off, finding the tennis courts or basketballs.
alaska part 1 (4) And then of course the food. Always ice cream and french fries. We got quite familiar with the ice cream scooping crew members. And the rest of the food was wonderful too. alaska part 1 (5)Read part 2.

Victor: 9 Months

Victor is now three quarters of a year! He is not-so-rapidly growing out of the baby stage. Actually, he is hardly outgrowing out of it at all. I forget how old he is because he still has no teeth, doesn’t eat too many solids, doesn’t roll and doesn’t crawl. Does that sound like a 9-month-old to you?

If I’m honest, I have to say that I am kind of stunting his development on purpose (with crawling, etc. I try to feed him but he mostly just throws it up 10 minutes later). I am not encouraging him to learn to crawl or roll right now because we are a week away from a cruise, and it will just be a lot easier to not have a mobile baby. Yep. I am as selfish as I sound. :)

The last time he was measured he was in the 10th percentile for height and 50th for weight. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but the perfect cuddling proportions! He is the best baby to cuddle and loves doing it. I think he also loves eating my face as much as I like eating his!

Personality wise, Victor is quick to smile, but holds his laughs in reserves for only the rarest of occasions. Usually when he laughs it is because Calvin is laughing at him, or he is being tickled in the rib cage. But those two things don’t always work. He’s a mysterious boy, he is.

He is back to sharing a room with Calvin after a short time apart due to us moving Calvin’s mattress onto the floor but not having another to replace it in the crib. The sharing has gone fairly well so far. We mostly just have to make sure that Calvin doesn’t make too much noise when he goes to bed if Victor is already sleeping. Victor wakes up at least once during the night still and is awake for the day normally between 5:30 and 6:30, but his cries then don’t wake Calvin up thankfully.

And here he is, in a photo I took because his hair was staticky, but was rewarded with this sweet face.

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We love you, Victor!