A Birthday and a Party

On Friday, Victor’s birthday, Tim was able to take a flex day and we spent the entire day together. Victor woke up a one-year-old, and we got to enjoy a yummy crepe breakfast together.birthday collage 1 After that we headed out to Prairie Gardens adventure farm. There was lots to do there, with multiple playground areas, hay mazes, corn mazes (way past their prime, however), and other random tidbits. birthday collage 2 birthday (7) birthday collage 3 We even managed a half decent family photo via timer!birthday (11) That afternoon we hung out at home and made some cupcakes for the birthday party the following day.birthday collage 4 And then on Saturday, the party! It was a nice, intimate affair, with a small handful of friends.birthday collage 5 And of course, cake! birthday collage 6A pair of wonderful days to celebrate our baby boy!

One Year of Victor

Today is Victor’s first birthday! As one might expect, the months have flown by like they were mere days. I can’t have been a mom of two for a whole year already! But here we are. And here are a pile of photos of him as he has grown these past 12 months, with some Calvin snuck in there too. :)Victor 1 Victor 2 Victor 3 Victor 4 Victor 5 Victor 6 Victor 7 Victor 8And here he is this morning, with his birthday crepe.14-10 (5)

I’m Back!

I’ve actually been back for almost a week now. Back to normal life with no big trips planned for any time soon. Unless Christmas is soon! Our time in BC was wonderful! The boys and I spent the whole time on the mainland at my parents’ house. There were a couple weddings we attended and also Thanksgiving. The whole time was well spent with family, friends, and good times. Here is a quick glimpse of what we got up to.

My boys, the splendid travelers. Though not perfect, they did quite well on the short flight.

My boys, the splendid travelers. Though not perfect, they did quite well on the short flight.

We spent time in the backyard, at the park and hanging out inside.

We spent time in the backyard, at the park and hanging out inside.

We also got to spend some good time with my siblings, nieces and nephew. I love that Calvin is now old enough to remember his cousins and have tons of fun with them!

We also got to spend some good time with my siblings, nieces and nephew. I love that Calvin is now old enough to remember his cousins and have tons of fun with them!

I also hung out with some old friends, who come with new friends for my boys!

I also hung out with some old friends, who come with new friends for my boys!

We had a couple outings, like going to the States and treating the boys to some Edaleen Dairy ice cream.

We had a couple outings, like going to the States and treating the boys to some Edaleen Dairy ice cream.

Since we didn't go to the island this trip, I was glad we were able to spend some time with Tim's family when they came to Abbotsford for a wedding.

Since we didn’t go to the island this trip, I was glad we were able to spend some time with Tim’s family when they came to Abbotsford for a wedding.

We had our extended family Thanksgiving dinner at the cabin. It's always wonderful to catch up with my own cousins and see how their babies are growing.

We had our extended family Thanksgiving dinner at the cabin. It’s always wonderful to catch up with my own cousins and see how their babies are growing.

Stay tuned for a couple more posts I need to catch up on!

These Days

Since we’ve last spoken, Victor has done so much growing! At 10 months he finally started to crawl! I love it! It’s so cute to see his little tush up in the air. He has also learned to wave, pull himself up (only in the tub, but still), and eat food. Prior to this month he had an aversion to any kind of puréed texture foods and would only nibble on solids before spitting them out. Now he actually swallows, and doesn’t throw anything up! He loves fruit, cheese and yogurt. I think he is trying to make all the dairy farmers in his family tree proud. There are a lot of them. We are still waiting for some teeth though. He is still all gum.

On the move!

On the move!

In the past month he has also learned to sleep without being swaddled, and can be put down while still awake. Actually, he has to be since he doesn’t fall asleep while nursing anymore. We also are at one nap a day for him already. He was waking up at 5:30 every morning, so I had to do something about that.

Calvin is talking more and more every day, forming funny little sentences, and growing taller and taller every day. I think he is in need of all new pants for this fall! Recently we did a little TV detox for him. He got really used to watching shows while I was painting the suite, and when it was done, it was an easy habit to fall into to keep him occupied. But I was realizing that it just made him extra grumpy when he wasn’t watching. The first couple days without TV were pretty hard. But he got used to it after a few days. He still asks once in a while, but we keep it to a Friday evening movie and maybe a short YouTube video here and there. He is generally happier all around without watching much of it.

Mr. Daddy Head

Mr. Daddy Head

Over the past month we have spent lots of time at the zoo. Calvin loves being able to run wherever he wants, and especially likes the train.

Looking toward the fall and winter, I am trying to come up with ideas to get us (mainly Calvin) out of the house. Last winter he was still little enough to be fine with staying home, but I think this year it will have to be different. We have our zoo pass which I will be using, as well as a library card. I have also been told of a couple other indoor things I may look into getting passes to.

Rawr!

Rawr!

Toilet training will also happen sometime in the next couple months. I think. I am not looking forward to it. Normally my parenting style is just to do whatever makes sense to me, whatever my mind comes up with. I don’t read parenting books or look up different methods for things, but I think that may change for toilet training. I have no clue how it’s going to work, and that frightens me a little! But once it’s done, I will be back to just a single diapered bum. Hooray!

Our cutie patootie.

Our cutie patootie.

We also have a couple trips coming up. This weekend I am taking the boys to Regina. All by myself! I am going to go visit my friends from Victoria who joined us in the prairies earlier this year. It will be interesting to see how an 8 hour + trip will work with no Tim, but it will be fine. The main thing I learned from our road trips earlier this summer was that Calvin does better with fewer things to occupy him. Contradictory to everything everybody says, he does not do well with a ton of different activities. He just gets frustrated and throws them around. And I am not stopping the car every half an hour to pick up his toys. I will bring some books, maybe a Mr. Potato Head, and that’s it.

And then in October, we are going West yet again. This time the boys and I are flying out for a cousin’s wedding. Tim will join us the following weekend for Thanksgiving and another wedding. I think flying with they boys will be just fine, especially since it is such a short flight. My approach to flying with kids is to keep it simple. I am not bringing a stroller or the kitchen sink. I will bring my diaper bag with a couple snacks, books and diapers. What else do you need? Nothing! I’m not sure why parents complicate their travel plans by bringing everything they own. I suppose one thing I have going for me is that most of what I need my parents have, so that makes things easy.

Something about the height of the tub side allows Victor to pull himself up.

Something about the height of the tub side allows Victor to pull himself up.

But now, this week, I have a project in the kitchen I am trying to finish, meals to get organized for Tim while I am away, and other miscellaneous to-do items.

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!