Things I Do (With Gritted Teeth) for the Love of My Kids

As parents we make a lot of sacrifices for our kids. We give up hobbies, change careers, and succumb to the fact that we may never sleep again. But as they grow older, the sacrifices change and we take on new tasks that we despise. But we do them willingly (with gritted teeth) for the love of our children. Here’s my list of 10 things I do just for them:

1) Rainbow Loom

This one wins the award for “wish it was my idea/wish I didn’t buy one” toy of the year. When I had first heard of it, I thought it was brilliant. Finally, a toy that taught dexterity, creativity, and encouraged quiet play! Little did I know, that little loom would result in my spending hours of my life (which I will never get back), weaving elastics and attaching c-clips to a never-ending sea of rubber jewellery.

2) Music

Gone are the days when I could listen to my own playlist. Now my stereo consists of Katy Perry’s “Roar”, Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” and “Let It Go” from the Frozen soundtrack, on repeat upon repeat upon frickin’ repeat.

3) Transformers

I actually loved Transformers when I was a kid. But now that I’m a parent, I despise the little robots. Is it just me or are they impossible to “transform”? Lawd help me…

4) Lego

Another childhood favourite that has come back to haunt me. What happened to the pile of colourful pieces that could be combined in limitless ways? Nowadays they come with a short novel of assembly instructions. They say 5+, but should really indicate the 30+ age requirement for patience and assembly.

5) Reruns

I hope you like your child’s favourite show or movie, because if you’re not at the stage yet, be prepared to watch that show/movie again, and again, and again, and again, and again…and again….

6) Meals

As the sole chef in my household, I’ve had the pleasure of cooking whatever my taste buds desire….until recently. Now I have to make the choice between making food I love, or making food my kids will eat. There is no middle ground on this one.

7) Uppies

I’m a big fan of snuggles and hugs from my littles, but I think at a certain point, it’s time to stop the pick-up requests. While they love to be picked up and coddled every once in awhile, my back doesn’t love the uppies. If only I could implement a “must be less than 30 pounds to ride this mom” rule.

8) Singsong

It starts as an occasional tune hummed to your baby in the rocking chair, and before you know it, you have developed a full-blown syndrome. The Mommy Singsong Syndrome, that is. I can’t say that I totally hate it, but it is definitely embarrassing when you catch yourself doing it in public.

9) Polly Pockets

At first sight, I thought they were cute little dolls. And then we brought some  home, and I was introduced to quite possibly the worst time and patience sucker known to parents of girls. Try dressing a pile of 30 Polly Pockets as fast as possible, and tell me you don’t want to drink a bottle of wine when you’re done.

10) Fix it?

This applies especially to toys with batteries. That loud, obnoxious toy that someone gifted your little one has finally quieted to a whisper, and eventually stopped moving. And you thank your lucky stars that the beast is dead. And then you hear in that sweet little voice that you just can’t resist, “mommy, can you please fix it?”

Rainbow Loom

Carpal Tunnel anyone?

What do you do for your kids with gritted teeth, just because you love them?

10 Things I Love About #Vancouver

Vancouver, BC Canada – where you can swim in the ocean and ski on the mountains on the same day. Where you can enjoy four seasons of weather. Where beautiful people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds can live harmoniously. Where foodies, outdoor adventurists, artists and shopaholics have a plethora of options to satisfy their passions.

I was born and raised in the most beautiful city in the world. Here are just 10 of a million things that I love to do, see, and enjoy in and around my beloved city by the sea:

1) North Shore Hiking

There are so many beautiful hiking trails in and around Vancouver. My family enjoys strolling through the forested outdoors of the North Shore as often as possible.

 

Hiking Vancouver
2) Local Mountains

Only a 30 minute drive outside of Vancouver, there are several local snow-topped mountains to choose from, where you can ski, snowboard, toboggan, or just take in the sights.

Mountains Vancouver
3) Granville Island

The earlier years of my childhood were spent living right in the heart of Granville Island, possibly the most beautiful of Vancouver locales. A community of artists, artisans, and chefs, it’s easy to get lost in the culture and beauty of this little “island” by the city.

Granville Island Vancouver
4) Science World

A unique architectural structure nestled in the heart of the city, this destination is a must for families, filled with fun, adventure, and science – fun for the whole family!

Science World Vancouver
5) Ambleside

The best place to take a family walk with your dog – a serene stroll through trees and onto a path that runs along the water’s edge. This is a special place for my husband and I as we’ve visited it regularly for the 12 years (and counting) that we’ve had our Dalmatian. This is where he proposed to me.

Ambleside Vancouver

6) Boating

One of the best ways to enjoy the sights of Vancouver is by boat. Our family spends as much time as we can on the water.

Boating Vancouver
7) The Beaches

Vancouver is known for it’s beautiful beaches, are there are plenty to choose from in and around the city. Our favourite is the beach at Cate’s Park in North Vancouver – the perfect spot to spend the day with the family.

Beaches Vancouver
8) Apple Picking

Only a short drive out of the city, you can enjoy a taste of the country. There are a few farms that offer apple picking, pumpkin patches, and family fun. A great way to spend a quiet day outside of the city.

Farm Vancouver
9) The River

Steps from our front door, we are so fortunate to live beside a beautiful river. This is the perfect place to take a cool dip, and sit back and relax amongst our natural surroundings.

River Vancouver

10) Capilano Suspension Bridge

Another must for a family day outdoors is the Capilano Suspension Bridge – where you can stroll through forested trails, and take in the breathtaking views as you cross a bridge suspended 70 metres (230 ft) above the Capilano River. There is so much to see and do here, it’s no wonder this is a top tourist destination in Vancouver.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Vancouver

What is your favourite thing to see/do in Vancouver? 

Linked up for Monday Listicles

Au Revoir Printemps

Spring was an action-packed season for us, and while we’ve had some very special moments during the rainiest of rainy seasons, I’m ready to welcome Summer with open arms. So to say farewell to Spring, I’d like to pay homage by featuring 10 of my favourite photos taken last season:
Love my tiny boy in his giant boots and “cape”
PDA caught on camera by my 6 year old
My little superhero turned 3
Love how her passion for dance shines through in this photo
A special mother-son day in my favourite Vancouver neighbourhood – Granville Island
My beautiful little girl turned 6
Symbolic of the weather we had in Raincouver this Spring
A quiet moment shared by siblings
Post-dinner fun on the beach in Harrison Hot Springs
Summer prep – nothing welcomes the summer months like a homemade lemonade stand!

Goodbye my beloved Spring, you won’t be forgotten.

Now bring on the sunscreen, shorts, tan lines, picnics, boat rides, and ice cream. Bring on the Summer!

Linked up: Monday Listicles.

Back To Reality

After returning home from our very first family vacation, we’ve spent the last week adjusting to old routines, recovering from stomach bugs, and getting used to the soggy weather. We’ve gone from flip flops to rainboots, shorts to pants, and sunglasses to raincoats – an ajustment that has been especially difficult for my little toddler. After a week of sleeping in the same room, spending time together 24/7, we’ve returned to school, daycare, work, and the changes haven’t been easy.
 
Because of my love for Instagram, I thought I’d give you a summary of our last week in pictures, because it’s just more fun that way.
 
On Sunday morning, we were here:
 
 
And on Monday morning, it was back to the lovely weather in Raincouver:
 
 
We went from walking to the breakfast buffet on our cruise, to trudging through the mud puddles to school.
 
 
On Monday afternoon, my little guy was sent home with a fever. After a quick assessment by Dr. Mom (and a little backup check by the doctor at our local clinic), it was determined that he had an ear infection and a viral stomach bug. That would explain the airport puking session! So on Tuesday, he stayed home sick with his mama.
 
 
Fever-free, and feeling better after some antibiotics for his ear, my little guy returned to daycare the next day. And that night, his big sister started vomiting,  and a bad fever flared up. It was her turn to stay home with mama (thank goodness I’m a WAHM now!).
 
 
Friday and Saturday were spent on the couch, with lots of fluids, crackers and snuggles. And while it’s never fun seeing your little ones sick, I also had another worry on my mind. I had received a stern email from my daughter’s ballet school, reminding me that there was low tolerance for missing rehearsals for the Nutcracker. She had missed a class before our vacation, and 2 more while we were away. If she missed one more practice, she was out of the recital.
 
A weekend full of snuggles, meds, and healthy snacks, and on Sunday, she was back to her normal self (phewf!).
 
 
 
 
She danced like a pro, and afterwards, it was time for a little time outdoors!
 
 
 
Cabin fever, stomach bug, and drama free – we’re finally back on track. We’ve settled back into our regular routine, and are happy to just spend some quiet time at home. Flips flops and shades a distant memory, we’ve finally adjusted to our regular footwear.
 
 
Happy to be home, and thankful for healthy kids.
 
What have you been up to for the past week?
 
Linking up with the lovely List Master for Monday Listicles.

Falling for Autumn at Cates Park

The crisp air, the crunchy leaves, cozy sweaters and coffee and Baileys, how could I not fall in love with Fall? Our family jaunt on this beautiful autumn day was to my favourite park on the North Shore, Cates Park.
 
While we’ve visited this lovely park several times since moving to the Shore, we had never discovered this little trail that leads to several beaches and a small secluded playground.
 
 
 
 
 
 
By far my favourite Fall pic
Once my little guy was finished exploring and tossing the crunchy leaves around, we headed towards the beach, where my girl searched for little treasures amongst the seaweed.
 
 
 
 
When our bellies began to rumble for some lunch, we headed up a stairway which led back to the trails. My girl insisted that she help her little brother.
 
 
 
 
 
Cates park is home to a large playground, a beach with concessions, and the lovely trails that we explored today. A must visit if you’re looking for some free family fun!
 
How are you enjoying the first days of Fall with your family?
 
Linking up with The Listmaster for her Monday Listicles meme.

10 Things My Parents Did Right

I wouldn’t be the person or the parent that I am today if it weren’t for my fabulous parents, so I was excited when I saw that Lisa from The Sprog chose “10 Things My Parents Did Right” for this week’s Monday Listicles topic. I could probably come up with 1,000 things my parents did right, but I’ll settle with the top 10:
1) They chose me to be their daughter – this is definitely the best thing they did 🙂
2) They have always been supportive of my hobbies. From my love for dance, to my desire to play piano, to my dreams of taking acting classes – they made it happen, and they supported me through each class I took.
3) They taught me the importance of working for what you achieve. They didn’t just hand things to me when I asked for them, they made me work for what I wanted. If I wanted to borrow the car, I had to wash it and put some gas in the tank. Working for what I wanted made me appreciate the privileges that came as a result of my hard work.
4) They didn’t expect perfection, but they did expect me to do my best. I wasn’t expected to bring home As on my report card, but I was encouraged to try my hardest, and my personal successes were always celebrated.
5) They have always been loving towards each other, and have shown me through their relationship what to look for in a husband and in a long-lasting marriage.

6) My parents fed me healthy foods, teaching me to take care of my body. I wasn’t allowed to have fast food or sugary cereals (except for on special ocassions), and thanks to them, I have never had a cavity in my life!

7) They let me choose my own path in life. Instead of trying to push me to do something that they wanted me to do, they allowed me to explore my options, and to make my own decisions on what I wanted to do with my future.

8) My dad taught me these 10 important things that have shaped the person that I am today.

9) And my mom taught me these 10 important things that have shaped the person that I am today.

10) By having wonderful parents who have taught me how to live, how to love and how to grow, I have in turn become a parent who is hopefully doing all of the same right things for my lovely little ones.

My parents and I at a 70s-themed birthday party – no, my mom doesn’t really have an afro

Sound Bites (Monday Listicles)

I’m so happy to be joining in on the fabulous Monday Listicles meme once again after a short hiatus. The Listmaster has tasked us with listing “10 sounds that drive you bonkers”. While I’d love to write “the sound of my children whining” 10 times, I thought I’d be a little more creative.

10 things that make my ears ache:

1) The radio ads for Ikea. I’m sure he’s a very lovely person, but these ads are played so often, and the voice just doesn’t please the ears. They say that some people have the face for radio. I’d like to add that some people have the voice for print.
2) The sound of someone blowing their nose. It forces upon me a visual of all of the snot projecting into the napkin, and makes me dry heave a little bit.
3) Whining. I’m sure I won’t be the only one with this on my list, but I couldn’t create a list of sounds that drive me bonkers without this doozy of a sound.
4) The sound of heavy metal bands like this one doing a soundcheck while I’m at the office. It shakes my desk, and the throaty screeching voice freaks me out!
5) Nails on a chalkboard. Another obvious one, but my list wouldn’t be complete without it.
6) The radio ads for The Bay. Another person who I’m sure is very lovely, but with a voice best suited for print.
7) The sound of someone clipping their nails. Each snip snip makes me shudder.
8) The sound of a metal fork dragging along a plate. Cringe city!
9) While my dog is very lovely, the sound of her bark drives me nuts! Nothing makes my head spin like the repetitive barking of my dog, especially when it’s for no good reason, and when it wakes up the children.
10) My own voice. Hearing it on an answering machine or in any form of recorded playback nauseates me. I think I sound like a man. Or maybe even like her.
What are some noises that really drive you bonkers? Make a list and join in on the listicles fun!

10 Things I’ve Learned From My Father

1) “Don’t take any wooden nickels” When I was in high school, he said this a lot. At the time I just rolled my eyes and thought he was crazy, but it makes sense now. Don’t let anyone take advantage of you – don’t let them convince you of something that is not as it seems.
2) Patience is a virtue. When he first came into my life, I was difficult – it was challenging to accept a new parental figure after having spent several years as the only person in my mom’s life. He was patient with me. He didn’t push me to bond with him, he just waited patiently, and when I finally came to him, he welcomed me with open arms.
3) You have to work for your freedom. He taught me how to drive, and when I was ready to sit behind the wheel without supervision, he didn’t just give me the car whenever I pleased, he encouraged me to earn the privilege. If I wanted to borrow the car, I washed it or put in some gas before it was returned to him. This taught me to respect and appreciate the opportunities I was given in life.
4) The heart is capable of so much love. When he came into my life, he had two biological children of his own. It took awhile for me to let him in, but he has always loved me and treated me as one of  his own. Eventually, in my adult life, he made it official and formally adopted me. Since then, he has taken in several foster children, and has shown them just as much love as he has shown to us.
5) Do what you love. Like me, he has done many things in his professional life. He has always encouraged me to follow my heart, and has never passed judgement when I’ve decided to switch my educational focus in school, or later, to change my career paths.
6) Don’t sweat the small stuff. He has always approached life with a level head. I have never seen him blow up in frustration, or stress out over the little things.
7) Lead by example. He has taught me how to find a balance between hard work and family time. Not through explanation, but by living it every day, and showing me how it’s done.
8) Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There have been things that I haven’t initially seen as beautiful – a painting or an old rundown house that he has just purchased. But he has always proven me wrong, explaining the beauty in the painting, or fixing up the house into the most perfect home for his family.
9) If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. He has taught me to keep my head up if I don’t succeed the first time. That it takes a few misses before you hit the target, and once you do, it’ll be worth the wait.
10) What to look for in a husband. They say daughters will end up marrying their fathers, and I’m so fortunate to have found someone who encapsulates all of the same qualities and values as my father – who can provide the same lessons to our children that I was so blessed to learn.

 

Home

It’s where my heart is.
Where family unites.
Where comfort is found.
Where I begin and end each and every day.
This is my home.

Linking up with my favourite weekly meme Monday Listicles

An Hour In A Day

5:30pm: I drive up to my house, weaving through excitedly bouncing kids, and a trotting dog, who is barking her welcome at me as I arrive home from a long day at work.
5:35pm: Kiss my kids, the hubs and the pups, kick off my shoes, and rush up the stairs to prepare dinner for four.
5:40pm: Kids come running into the kitchen, finished with their outdoor play. 4 year old is frantically chatting while setting up her stool so she can observe my dinner-making process.
5:45pm: Two year old is running circles around my body as I shift and sway from countertop to stove, to fridge to cupboard, and back to the countertop once more. He stops running and wraps his arms and legs around my calf. I now have a permanent 30lb weight on one leg.
6:00pm: “Dinner’s almost ready! Can you please get the drinks ready and set the table?” I call out to my husband as I tuck my hands into a pair of ragged oven mitts. The children rush to the dinner table and sit with hands folded.
6:10pm: I call to my hubby again, “DINNER is ready, can you PLEASE get the drinks!?” I shake the oven mitts off my hands and rush to the porch, to find the hubs chatting with a neighbour on the front lawn. I shake my head and prepare the drinks and set the table. The kids are now chanting for drinks, their voices getting louder and louder with each repetition. “milk! Milk! MILK!”
6:15pm: I plate the dinner and place each meal in the appropriate spot at the table. As my husband’s plate hits his spot, he swirls into his seat, ready to demolish the food in front of him. I begin the tedious task of encouraging my kids to eat their food. “Take 3 bites before you have a sip of your drink please.”
6:20pm: The hubs has gobbled down his entire plate of food, I have eaten 1/4 of my meal, and my kids have managed to eat 1-2 bites each. “Take 3 bites, and not another word until you do please.” I mutter to my chatty 4 year old, who is altering from singing a song in a high-pitched squeeky voice, to giving an intimate play-by-play of a story to which I cannot follow.

6:25pm: My two year old has taken his third bite of his dinner and spit it onto the floor where my dog eagerly scurries to goggle up the waste. “Time out.” I say in a firm voice, and shuffle him to his time out spot.

6:30pm: I’ve finished my dinner, and am clearing my dishes while hubby supervises the children, who have almost finished half of their meals. I drag my feet to the washroom and begin to run the bath. As I squeeze bubbles into the warm water, I hear a scream from the other room, “NO BATH TIME. NOO!!”
Only an hour until the youngest is off to bed, and still so much to do…

My little dinner helper, all suited up in her chef hat

Linking up with the super-fabulous listmaster for Monday Listicles
And also joining Mothering Moments for her clever little meme An Hour In A Day

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