Monday, December 31, 2012

Vacation time

We are off tomorrow morning (very early) for some fun in the sun!  We can't wait.
Aside from my total fear of flying (made slightly better with the use of Ativan) I am really, really excited.  We are gone for two weeks and my folks are joining us for one week - mom, if you read this, you are welcome to stay longer!!  The pull out couch is big and Lolo doesn't take up too much room :)

Will post pics when we get home.  I am going to try my best to keep my fear of flying from Loic and will keep my panic on the inside when possible.  Wish me luck!  Oh and I am also hoping that my newly able to crawl baby will be ok sitting still on the plane.

-E

Friday, December 28, 2012

A very merry Christmas

We had a lovely Christmas.

We hosted dinner here on the 23rd for 15 people, had brunch on the 24th with Rob's brother and family, opened gifts at my parent's house Christmas morning and had dinner at our good friend's house on the 25th.  It was just the right amount of busy.

Loic really loved all of the parties and, of course, his gifts.  He was spoiled by everyone and got a lot of new play mobile, some lovely pj's and a very nice dinosaur hoodie.  He also got some kinex - which he loves - and of course, Santa came through and brought him his Hungry, hungry Hippo game.  Some classic Loic lines from the past few weeks:

When opening a box of lego from us he said, with enthusiasm "Wow!  I knew I wanted this!!"

When we went to see Rob's new job site: "I am so pleased!"

He said one day to Rob and I at dinner: "I have a really busy life, and I have good energy"

He cracks us up all the time that boy!

Maelle enjoyed trying to eat wrapping paper, trying to eat cardboard and her new riding zebra toy from Grandma and Grandpa.  She has a fever today and we went to the Dr to rule out an ear infection before our flight next week.  He seems to think she will be fine by then, fingers crossed.

I will put up some pics soon.

-E

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Arborist Exam Results...

...are in, and I passed!  I am now a Certified Arborist, which is great.  I was pretty sure that I did not pass one section but it looks like I am all good.  Phew!  I studied a lot for this exam.  You need a 72% overall to pass but you also need at least that in each section, so you can't do well in one and not another.  I am pretty happy to be an Arborist now, I have to wait for my actual percentages but for now I am happy to have passed and to have my professional certification.

Now, don't ask me to actually climb a tree any time soon, but, I can write you a great arborist report.  I might try for the tree risk assessor designation next but am going to take a "break" next year to focus on my RPBio designation - I have one year to write my paper, but, I now have the necessary data, my topic and a mentor (thanks again Dave, I really appreciate it).

We went to see Santa this week and Loic loved it!  Maelle, predictably, stared at him and then burst into tears when I put her on his lap.  Very cute none the less - I will put up a pic soon.

Tomorrow we are having a big dinner here for family and friends, it will be a lot of fun!  I am doing a Ukrainian dinner with the help of the people coming.

-E

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Preschool

Loic no longer goes to preschool.  I am pleased with how they reacted to the situation after the fact, but the day of the event, I was horrified.  I did get my post dated cheques back and my deposit, as well as an apology, so we will now move forward.

Next up - we need a daycare for Loic for 4 days a week starting mid-March.  Back to the daycare drawing board!

This morning we woke up to snow, which was super exciting for Loic, so we decided to walk down to the coffee shop to get a coffee and a hot chocolate.  I put the baby in the Ergo and got Loic suited up in his snow suit and off we went!  We had a great time, it took us an hour and 20 min to do the short walk to and from the coffee shop because Loic was having such a good time playing in the snow :)  He also sat and drank his hot chocolate in the coffee shop like a good boy.

Tonight: gift wrapping extravaganza at our house after the kids go to bed!

-E

Monday, December 17, 2012

Cupboard crock pot chili

I didn't have anything planned for dinner tonight - my meal plan for last week ended last night - so I looked in my 'pantry' (aka a small modified Tyler-proof closet) to see what I could make for dinner.  I had a few things so I decided to make some crock pot chili.  I am not a chili fan, but Rob is, so I gave it a shot.

Into the crock pot I put:

- one can of diced tomatoes, with the liquid
- a large handful of whole cherry tomatoes
- one can of Hot Rotel (I am now all out!  A trip to target is in order)
- one onion, diced
- one clove of garlic, diced
- one can of rinsed white kidney beans (rinse well to get the gummy stuff off)
- one package of ground beef which I browned in a frying pan first
- salt and pepper
- chili powder ( a tablespoon or 2 maybe)
- a teaspoon or so of brown sugar
- oregano
*I would have put in some other diced veggies but was out*

I think that was all I put in there.  I turned it on high for 6 hours and it was good.  Very spicy, they don't lie when they call a can of rotel hot!!

I served this with apple slices and cheese 'toast' (made on thin pizza shells) to help dull the spice!  Loic didn't like it, I don't blame him it was spicy, so he had some cheese toast, apples and left over tortellini.

Tomorrow - an update on the preschool drama.  Hopefully a good update involving the return of my money and some closure.  I got the apology today which was nice.

-E

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Fun in the Snow

I was going to do a post about how I got all mom-angry and pulled Loic out of preschool last week, during the Christmas concert no less, but decided to do a fun post about the day we had today!  I sent the preschool an email and will update next week when I am hoping to get my post dated cheques back and my deposit.  We shall see.  No one puts my kid in danger and should expect not to hear about it.

Today we started out by decorating the tree and the mantel, both of which look lovely.  We then decided to take the kids and the dogs up to Hollyburn for a hike in the snow.  Loic, Tyler and Toby had a blast in the snow.  Maelle had fun too, although she was in the Ergo so other than looking at the snow didn't do too much of anything else :)  We hiked for an hour and Loic fell asleep briefly in the car on the way home - it is a lot of work to walk in the snow when you are 3.  The dogs ran and ran and ran and are now asleep on the couch.  They are so funny on this hike - they run ahead and back and ahead and then dart into the deep snow chasing squirrels (real and imaginary).

Here are some pictures of the fun we had today.  We are planning another trip back soon; if it isn't rainy we might go up there again on Christmas Eve with some hot chocolate or something.  We are debating spending the $80 to go up Grouse Mountain but might wait a year, we just can't decide.  Loic loved the snow today and it was free :)


We put both kids in a snow drift for some pictures but couldn't get them to sit together at the same time
Snow baby!!


Snow Loic!  Rob threw him into the snow bank and Loic thought it was quite funny


Snow black lab!  And a snow terrier in the background
We have been taking the dogs on this trail every year to enjoy the snow


Loic smiling for the camera.  Kind of.

Oh and yesterday we made a Gingerbread House!  Well, we bought a kit and put it together then decorated it.  Rob made a back deck, a hot tub and a front path while Loic and I decorated the house (Maelle watched from the safety of her high chair).  Pretty sure we wouldn't win any awards with our house, we had Loic eating every second candy as we went along :)  He also asks every few minutes if he can eat the house yet. 

The other side of the house says LOIC

We are getting ready for the big party we are hosting on the 23rd and since Loic is no longer going to preschool I am now going to have to find him daycare starting in mid-march.  He was going to be staying at the same place he was at for preschool but that isn't going to happen now.  Oh well, I will work on it next week and if I don't have any luck, will have to really get moving on it once we get home from Hawaii.

(Barb maybe you can just move to Vancouver until Loic is in kindergarten?  We will pay you!! :)  Or Jody, we can pay you too!! )

-E

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crock pot chicken tacos!

I made this for dinner tonight and it was so very, very good (and so very, very easy!)

In your handy crock pot put:

- one onion (sliced thinly)
- about 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- one can of Rotel mixed with one package of taco seasoning

Turn on high for a few hours and then voila - seasoned chicken perfect for tacos!

I served the above chicken mixture with:

-soft tortillas
-shredded lettuce
-sour cream
-jalapeno monterey jack cheese
-tomatoes
-yellow pepper, sliced

So, so so good!

-E

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our kids are adorable (really adorable)

The following are some pictures from my iphone - I say it every single day, our kids are so cute!


Eating homemade pancakes for the first time!  This kid likes to eat!!


Also enjoying pancakes in his pj's - he looks so grown up all of a sudden


Smiling reindeer :)


Cheeky monkey at the BHA open house on Dec 2nd


Baby in the car, waiting to go for a hike in the rain last Thursday
Look at her little teeth!  Ack, so cute


Loic and his new Play Mobile guys 'helped' me bake cookies yesterday
(Loic likes two parts to baking cookies: dumping flour in the bowl and eating chocolate chips.  Oh, and eating the warm cookies)

In other news, baby can now almost always sit up on her own and rarely falls over anymore.  She can also go from lying down to sitting up on her own and she is *so very close* to crawling.  

Tyler is still naughty although the microwave stayed on the counter today (we need to figure out how to secure it to the counter).  Toby is doing well.  He is still super quirky and still hates the rain/great outdoors but he does enjoy our hikes when it isn't raining.  And Arthur, oh Arthur, is fine.  He is still on a lot of heart medication and still pees in the house.

We are looking forward to Christmas!  We still have to decorate the tree, mantle and hang some decorations in the kitchen.  I have one more item to can for gifts this year (so crafty) and one more thing to sew.  I need to start earlier next year - I would like to make more gifts next year for friends and family.

-E

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dog shaming pics

We like looking at the funny dog shaming pics from the pet shaming website so thought we would take some of our own!!  Tyler gives us a lot to work with...


Toby is pretty well behaved except we just noticed that he sometimes decides that he just doesn't have to go outside in the rain...


So funny!!!

-E

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Naughty Black Dog (again) and cute Reindeer

We adopted Tyler over 9 years ago and during those 9 years we have had one safe place to keep things away from him in the kitchen, our microwave.  Well, we also have the fridge but for over 9 years have used the microwave for all baked goods, fruit (he has an interest in apples and kiwi fruit) and other odds and ends that normal people can keep out on their counters.  I don't even remember what it is like to leave something on the counter!!  Tyler will never change so we just learned that if we wanted it kept safe and not eaten, food had to be kept in the fridge or microwave.

I learned last month that food is not safe in the big drawer unit we have either (remember the birthday carrot cake that got eaten out of a heavy, closed drawer?  Thanks Tyler).  I also learned that cupboards are not safe - he once at one Liter of salmon oil that he got out of a closed cupboard at our old house - so food is not kept in out kitchen cupboards either; we use a big closet that is set up like a pantry.

Back to today.  We had dinner at my parent's house and when we got home we found our microwave, which has been in the exact same place since we moved in 2.5 years ago, on the kitchen floor.  Uh oh.  Microwaves tend to not like being thrown on the floor by black labs.  Now, while part of me would have loved to have seen him actually push the microwave onto the floor, I am also annoyed that we have now lost the only place to keep stuff!!  He didn't succeed in his goal tonight though, the microwave wasn't open and there was nothing in there tonight anyways.

Now I guess we will have to use the fridge for all foodstuffs - no counter, microwave, drawers, cupboards.  We talked about using the stove but it looks relatively easy to open to us.  I am thinking we should get a lock for the fridge now before he figures that one out.  If he does, we are in a lot of trouble.  He does keep life interesting that naughty black lab!

Onto the Reindeer portion of this post.  I took about a dozen or so pictures of these two today but this is the best I could do.  Maelle was either trying to eat her antlers or his and Loic was too excited to sit still AND look at me at the same time:


Two giggly little Reindeer 

We got our tree today too - we have it on the deck right now but it will come in soon to be decorated.  Loic is pretty darn excited about Santa this year which is really neat to watch.

-E


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Delicious recipe and Sew Crafty

I think that I have posted a recipe for Turkey burgers before, however, the ones I made tonight were very tasty and I want to remember what I put in them.  I also baked them instead of frying them and they turned out really, really well.

Ingredients

- 1 small package of ground turkey (I bought the leanest available)
- 1 small onion, diced
- salt and pepper
- a few tablespoons of peanut sauce (I think it was a satay sauce)
- a few teaspoons of Soy sauce
- a few teaspoons of Thai seasoning (I just use a spice blend I bought at the grocery store)
- about 1/4 cup of bread crumbs
- one egg

Mix the above together in a bowl, form into patties (1 made 4) and place on a greased baking sheet.  I baked them at 375 for about 20 minutes and they were so good - moist and tasty.  I served them on brown buns with some mozzarella cheese, cucumber, lettuce and spicy mustard.

Now onto the crafty phase of this post!  My mom and Aunt are really, really good sewers.  Like, really good.  My mom showed me the basics this summer and while I am a bit of a slow learner, I am getting it.    I need a lot more help with patterns but I am getting the sewing basics at least.  Jody has loaned me her sewing machine (thanks Jody!) which is awesome.

I made a little baby girl dress this summer (I made two, my first attempt was a bit...free form) and cut out another one to make for a friend and tonight I finished it!  I found the pattern online for free and once my mom made one and showed me how to make it, I was set :)

Here it is:


(Never mind that it took my mom less than an hour and it took me over two, on my third dress....it is still cute)

Oh and I also made a neat baby gift for you Erin!  Sorry, no picture!  But it would REALLY help if you would just find out what you are having.  Thanks.

Next craft: canning.  Sabrina taught me how to can this summer, we made two kinds of jam and salsa, and I am going to can some neat stuff for Christmas gifts.  We shall see how I do on my own!  I am quite confident in the kitchen so I am thinking that canning is going to be something I really enjoy doing.  Soon I need Rob to build me a giant pantry like my Aunts - hers is a thing of beauty.  And if the world ever ends, we are heading to Campbell River because I am pretty sure they have enough meat, fish and canned goods to last us for about 10 years.  

-E

Friday, November 30, 2012

Such a good baby

Today I took Maelle for her 6 month vaccine (late, I know).  She didn't even cry!  She was sitting there smiling at the nurse and while she did stop smiling, she didn't cry when she got her shot.  What a good baby.

The nurse said she was lovely (I knew that already).

Today is the last study day for my exam.  Rob finished the floor project last night so tonight he gets to....quiz me on my exam material!  Fun times on a Friday night!  It reminds me of the days where I would be studying for exams and he would help me by quizzing me on the material.

-E

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It is a big difference

Studying before kids and after kids are two very, very different things.

Before kids I would set aside giant chunks of time to study and while I was distracted (mostly by my dogs, laundry, cooking) I was free to study as I wished.  And eat when I was hungry.  Now?  Totally different ball game!  A much better ball game mind you but harder to study :)

Oh my gosh I have no free time to study.  And when I do, I am tired.  Like, really tired.  Today I managed an hour when baby napped this morning and Loic was at preschool, an hour before dinner when Jody watched the kids (Rob was knee deep in flooring) and an hour after the kids went to bed.  I am done.

All of this aside, I feel mostly prepared for my exam on Saturday morning.  I want to do well and feel like I am prepared so I am hoping it all pays off for me.

Wish me luck.  Think good tree/knot/biology/rope/safety/soil/water/species/planting/pruning/assessment/fertilizer/random vocabulary thoughts for me on Saturday morning please!!

-E

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A fun Day

Today the kids and I went to the Aquarium to visit Jody on her last day there.  We had a really fun time and we were invited to her lunch, which was nice to be a part of :)

While Loic can be trying at times, mainly when he is tired, he is a total joy to have out and about.  He was happy as a clam at the aquarium and we took in a show and did some crafts and had a fun lunch.  Baby didn't take her morning nap and instead just hung out in the Ergo, taking in all the fish.  She didn't make a fuss at all though, such a good girl!

Our new tenant moves in on Saturday so naturally Rob has ripped out the flooring he recently put in down there.  Aghrhhhh!  I know it has to be done but it is stressing me out.  Speaking of stress...my ISA exam is on Saturday.  Oh fun times.  I am going to finish this post and hit the books.

I shall leave off with a great photo of baby that my Dad took.  She seems quite skeptical of Grandpa these days but at least she didn't burst into tears when she saw him last!  She just gives him quite the look:


"I am keeping an eye on you Grandpa!"
(She is so frigging cute)

She was sitting on the bed and she alternated between staring at my Dad and staring at his reflection in the mirror :)

-E


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Slow Cooker dinner

Erin, did you get yourself a slow cooker yet?  You will need one for when baby comes!

I had a few packages of beef short ribs in my freezer and didn't know what to do with them.  I am busy studying today while baby naps (I can hear her now...she is teething so naps are a bit short for my liking this week) and Loic is spending the afternoon with my mom so I decided to put some short ribs in my slow cooker for dinner.

I had a small package so I put them in the slow cooker with:

- half an onion, sliced
- about 1.5 cups of beef stock (just used the powdered stuff with hot water)
- a few generous splashes of Worchestier sauce
- a splash of ketchup
- salt and pepper on the meat (I was generous)
- some garlic powder
- a few spoonfuls of brown sugar


***Edited - these were tastier than I thought they would be!!  And were really good served with brown rice and a green salad**


We shall see what they taste like!  They smell pretty good already.  I will serve them with brown rice or potatoes and a salad.  Loic is eating at my parents house, he isn't a fan of beef yet but likes all other meats.  Funny kid.

-E

Monday, November 26, 2012

A big thank you

To:  Jody and Jess, who walked both Tyler AND Loic at the park this morning and who brought me home a much needed study coffee :)

To: Baby Maelle for being a rock star at napping yesterday when I had a study date with Jen, she slept for the whole thing!  Good baby.  Today she took a great morning nap and a shorter than normal afternoon nap but I can't complain, she is great at napping this girl.

To: My folks (mainly my mom :)) for taking Loic for the whole afternoon and for tiring him out!  He could barely eat dinner and was fast asleep at 7:00 tonight.  AND for taking him again tomorrow afternoon, he sure loves those outings.

To Loic: This no nap time is taking some adjusting for all of us - we do like the flexibility during the day and the early bed time, but the random end of the day freak outs are not quite as awesome.  However, he is still generally very funny and easy going so we can't really complain!  And the early bed time is good for studying this week.

To: Rob - even though you are out all night tonight :) you are a very big help when I have to study and are a very, very awesome Dad.  And you helped me study last night without saying "I don't understand why you don't get this" which (ahem, Organic Chem) does not tend to go well for you.

I leave you with a picture of Loic and Lucy.  Lucy is Jody's parents dog (another LA rescue dog from the same shelter as Paco) and she feels that laps are always for sitting on, even when said lap is a 3 year old chatty little boy, and even when said little boy happens to push you off of his lap!


Lucy says "Any lap will do!!"
:) (Jody took the photo)

-E

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tired tonight (and a Dino)

I am studying for my arborist exam - it is on Dec. 1st at 9:00 am.  There are 16 parts (chapters) to know and while I really enjoy some of them, like the plant biology and construction chapters, I am not a fan of ch.16  which is titled "Climbing and Working in Trees".  This chapter requires you to know about all of the knots and climbing equipment and how to cut and lower limbs out of trees; not my forte.  I have to pass each section and need 72% overall to get my ticket.  I think you can repeat sections if you fail specific ones (here is looking at you ch.16!) but that is not what I want to do.

Loic is tired today too - he had a really fun day and then had a fit and dinner and fell asleep before 7:00.  I think the week without napping has caught up with him!

I am off to study "Rigging" and found an online tutorial which should help.

I shall leave you all with a photo of Loic's favorite dinosaur, the Ankylosaurus.  We have one named "Hank":


I will be a better blogger tomorrow but for now, if anyone has any arborist exam words of wisdom please let me know!!

-E


Saturday, November 24, 2012

The best tenant ever

Jody has moved out :(

She has lived with us since September of 2010 and her living in our basement suite has been hands down the best experience for our family and her too (I hope!).

I know I have written about it before, but we are going to miss all of the dinners upstairs, the breakfasts,  the back yard play dates, the dog walks, the coffee shared on the couch or in the yard and the other fun times.  We have loved having Abby and Ryan live downstairs too, they are great dogs.  Loic *loves* Abby which makes us laugh because there is a very clear don't pet Abby rule in place!  I think living with a baby and toddler has taught Ryan that kids drop a lot of food :)

Jody loves my kids like they are part of her own family and I will always be grateful for her friendship.  I love how Loic asks her to come up "just for a little visit" or says "Can I go downstairs to say Hi to Aunty Jody?"  I know she isn't leaving us for good but it the end of an awesome chapter in our lives and it is hard.

We wish you good luck on your next endeavor and you had better spend a heck of a lot of time over here now that you don't live one flight of stairs away!!  Remember, no need to call, just come on over - your place at our dinner table is always waiting for you.


Loic and Jody in the pool in LA at her Grandma's house - September, 2010


Jody with baby Loic in MR (he looks tired!)


Jody and Loic on Grouse Mountain, April, 2010 (I think?)


Jody eating...something....in agility class one night :)  Must have been the summer either 2010 or 2011
ha ha ha ha!


Jody with baby Maelle, April, 2012

-E

Friday, November 23, 2012

Ahh 3 year olds and a meatloaf recipe

Today I was all set for a battle at preschool.  The last two times we have dropped him off he has cried and told us he didn't want to go; he stops within minutes and has a great time once he gets there.  Today, he said "Bye Mama!" while he ran in, dropped off his bag and proceeded to talk his teachers ear off about what was on his shirt.  Ahh the ever changing mind of a 3 year old :)

He does seem to be out of his funk today, which is nice and makes him a heck of a lot nicer to be around!  While I am struggling a bit with the lack of an afternoon nap, he is going to bed much earlier and faster than when he was still napping.  And I will confess, he has watched a few movies this week which gives me a chance to study while the baby naps.

MEATLOAF - can be very tasty and not bland.  I make a very tasty one with sausage meat, however, it is fattening and not at all good for you.  I made this recipe up and we loved it.

Here is a very easy meatloaf recipe for you to try:

Ingredients:

- 1 normal sized package of ground beef (I used some from the last steer we bought)
- 1 package for frozen chopped spinach, thawed and excess moisture removed
- 1 onion, diced
- a few teaspoons of dried mustard
- salt and a lot of pepper
- one egg
- about a 1/4-1/2 cup of bread crumbs

1. Saute the onion until soft in a frying pan with a small amount of oil
2.  In a large bowl add in the other ingredients
3. Add the cooked onion to the large bowl and mix well
4. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray
5. Use your hands to make round "balls"of meatloaf - my mixture made 8 and place them in the muffin tins.
6. Bake (I think I baked mine at 375) until cooked, I didn't time it but since they were little it was less than an hour.

I served these with brown rice and steamed cauliflower (aka white broccoli in our house) and they were good.  Making them in muffin tins means you get the slightly roasted outside and a lot of flavour inside.  I will make these again.

-E


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Skating, napping, preschool

Skating Day 3: Rob came to go onto the ice with Loic.  While Loic did spend the whole class on the ice this week and didn't cry, we aren't sure skating is for him at this point.  He can stand up for a second or two but is happy to just sit on the ice in his snow pants :)

Napping: afternoon nap is still gone.  This is trying for me because I have been using that time to study for my ISA exam (Dec 1st, OMG).  However, he goes to bed now at 7:30 or so and falls asleep very quickly so I get an hour or two of study time after the kids go to bed.  Tonight Rob walked Tyler so I stayed behind to study.  This blog post is a study break.

Preschool: Loic loved preschool up until last Friday.  We think he is going through a phase where he realizes that I stay home with Maelle and he therefore doesn't want to stay behind anymore.  The teacher that I really like told me today that by the time I was back in my car he was happy as a clam so go figure.  He told me he had a great time at preschool and that he "only cried for a minute but I don't know why" when I dropped him off.  Ahhhh 3 year olds.

Maelle: has 3 teeth, still adorable, still totally happy.  NOT a fan of avocado but I don't like it either so I can't really blame her.  Loves bananas, peas, apples, pears, squash, sweet potato, tiny bites of pasta with pesto, cheerios, baby cereal, yoghurt (has only had a little bit so far) and baby mum mums.

Loic: seems to be dealing with the lack of nap well and is slowly returning to his old happy self.  He had a play date this afternoon at our house with my MR friend and her little boy and the two boys had a great time playing with playmobile guys and playing tag.  Yesterday I let him watch the movie "Brave" while I studied and tried not to get sucked into the movie myself!!

More pics coming soon and a meatloaf recipe I invented that turned out very well; it was fast, easy AND much healthier than the one I normally make because I omitted the sausage meat and it is full of onions and spinach.  Yum.

-E

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Teeth!

Maelle got her first tooth on my birthday.  She quickly got the second bottom tooth and today one of her top teeth has poked through!

This baby is so good, we can't even tell that she is teething!  I remember with Loic all of the days we gave him Tylenol because of his teeth and this baby just doesn't complain.

Short post tonight, I went to the coffee shop to study once the kids went to bed and then took Tyler for a walk.

-E


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nice black lab covered in stickers

Tyler is a very nice dog.  Today he got caught in a 'sticker crossfire' when he decided to sit next to Loic, who was playing with a pile of stickers.  These aren't great photos but I was laughing while taking them:


Stylish!


Loic decorating his black lab


Bad picture but they are partners in crime :)

And then there is Toby....
He has taken to sitting in the baby chair, which is in the bathroom, whenever he can.  He even likes it if you turn it on!  So funny.

Our house would be boring without these dogs!  And much cleaner.  And would have much less hair floating around.  And less pee (thanks Arthur).

-E

Monday, November 19, 2012

Barnston Island

I would have taken some pictures today but it was so very, very rainy and windy out.

Today the kids, Tyler and I met our friends Erin, Ezra and dog Emma at Barnston Island!  We went to visit Teepee, Erin's pony, in the field he has been vacationing on for the past few months now.

We have never been to Barnston Island and I imagine it is lovely when it isn't pouring.  I put Maelle in the Ergo and Loic and Ezra walked until they got too wet and then they rode in the Chariot stroller.  The two dogs had a BLAST running around.  There are not a lot of cars there and the road is really flat so we will have to go back when it isn't so rainy.  Tyler actually seems slightly tired tonight.

We walked about 2 km to see Teepee and then walked another 2km back to the mini free ferry.  It is tiny and takes about two or three minutes to ferry people across.  We walked on and left our cars on the 'mainland' side.

I think Loic had a good time, he and Ezra sure like each other and sang funny songs and ate crackers in the comfy Chariot :)  The baby was awesome - she didn't complain once.  I got soaked and my umbrella slowly broke apart as we walked.

Here is a pic of the tiny 'ferry' from online from a very sunny day, Loic thought it was great.


I am now frantically studying for my Certified Arborist Exam which is on Dec. 1st - ack!  11 Chapters done, 5 to go....then a massive review.

-E


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Party! And *another* nap update

We crashed Jody's work party last night - it was a "come dressed as your most awkward phase" party!  We had a good time.  I put the kids to bed and walked downstairs armed with the baby monitor :)


I made my own T-Shirt ring!!  I used to have one :)


Jody don't leave!!  We are going to miss you!!

Nap update - part 3 (I think).  Loic has had a rough few days and we are not sure why.  It all started on Friday morning when he got really upset when I left for class and then was even more upset when Rob tried to take him to preschool.  He then got upset when Rob left him with my mom.  Fast forward to this morning when he decided to say some terrible things to me, his mother.  I am pretty sure I didn't react "correctly" and then proceeded to spend 30 min crying in the car.  Fun times with a 3 year old I guess.  He has never, ever acted like this and I am wondering if it is because his sister is getting to be mobile and talkative and the attention is being split between them.  Who knows?  All I know is that I put him down for a nap today for both his benefit and mine.

-E

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Sitting Up! And answer to the nap question

Maelle is sitting up!  She can do it for quite a few minutes at a time, however, when she gets excited or sees something else she wants she tends to fall over backwards to get to another toy.  Silly baby.  The pictures are of her playing in Loic's room; we tend to play there quite a bit for some reason.


Just iphone pics but adorable non the less


Adorable!!  I could just eat her up she is so cute

Jess asked me why I was so strict about naps.  I am so strict because if kids and babies don't nap properly, life is not worth living for the rest of us!  It seems counterintuitive, but the more kids sleep, the better they sleep.  I used to think that if a baby was really tired they would sleep well but that just isn't the case.  Sleep begets sleep.  So, at our house, we stuck to pretty rigid nap times for Loic and it worked really well for us.  He now doesn't nap in the afternoons - he is swimming with Rob right now - but goes to bed by 8:00 at night.  He was still napping really well most afternoons, but, bedtime was getting later and later, which is a sign that it is time to cut out that afternoon nap.

I am not strict about Maelle's morning nap because it tends to happen while we are out and about.  I am, however, strict about the afternoon nap because that nap will continue until she is over 3.  She will drop the morning nap when she is around one or one and a half.

Hope this answers the nap question Jess!!  I was naive about nap times until I had kids and boy did I learn quickly how much kids need proper naps!

-E

Friday, November 16, 2012

School is over

And it was awesome.  2.5 years of work done, and 23 new friends.
I am so thankful for the opportunity.

-E

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Napping

If you know me in real life, you know that I am strict about nap times for my kids.  I am not really strict about meal times or schedules unless it has to do with sleep.

Maelle currently naps in the morning  for an hour or two and this nap usually happens in the Ergo when we are out doing things or when I am walking the dogs if Loic is in preschool.  If we happen to be home she naps in her crib; she is easy that baby of mine!

Today might be Loic's last nap...and I am not ready!!  I love the fact that both kids sleep at the same time in the afternoons.  Maelle usually sleeps from 1:30 or 2:00 until 4:00, and Loic has been napping from about 2:00 or 2:30 until 4:00.  However, he has had an increasingly hard time going to bed and last night was awake until 9:30 so it is time for his naps to come to an end.  It is good timing because my last class is tomorrow (a whole other blog post) and I no longer need that time to do homework.  

He is such a good, kind boy that Loic.  Instead of napping we are going to a quiet hour in his room, which he is good at.  He will sit quietly and read in there when I make dinner and I know that he will do well reading instead of napping.  Now, if he is exhausted of course he can take a nap, I am just going to play it by ear from now on and if he isn't tired, he doesn't need to nap.

Wish us luck!  I am looking forward to the earlier bedtime for him.  He is growing up so quickly. 


Baby Loic napping with my mom and Arthur at our old house in MR


Baby Loic on a swing


Baby Maelle in a swing - I can't tell if they look alike or not!

- E

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Skating, Day 2 & and a couch lab

Well, today went slightly better than last week.  Slightly.

He had to wear skates that were much too big (I already called the rec centre to ask why, for a toddler class, they only have one pair of skates for rent that would fit most kids) but I am not sure skate size was much of an issue!

I handed him over to the instructor who skated him out for a minute then plunked him down on the ice with some dino toys.  He sat on the ice playing for about 15 min, never standing up, then started to cry and crawl off the ice.  So he was skated off and spent another 15 min watching his cousin skate.  His cousin wouldn't get onto the ice until then so they essentially traded spots during the half hour lesson.

I did manage one picture though!


See?  He is actually on the ice this week!  Maybe by week 5 he will stand up?


Proof that Tyler thinks he is a chihuahua 

-E

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fun Outings

Yesterday Rob took Loic to Science World while I stayed home with the napping baby.  They had an awesome time.

Today, I took both kids to the Aquarium and Loic had another great day.  We met Jody there and we were having fun at the 4D show until the baby got sprayed with water AND got a blast of air to her face while she was nursing - these are part of the show features - but they did NOT go over well with baby!  Oh well, I can take just Loic another day to see it.  He still loves the bats and the sharks.

Both kids are napping and I working on homework for class Friday (and writing a quick blog post at the same time).  Friday is my last class and then end of my 2.5 year BCIT program.  We are supposed to come up with a 4 minute thank you talk and I am starting to think about how I can say thanks in 4 minutes for such a great program.

I will put up some more recipes this week!

-E

Monday, November 12, 2012

After over 3 years...

...Toby has started to like Loic!

Toby has always been wary of kids.  He has never bitten anyone, however, he looks uncomfortable around them and we are always very careful to monitor interactions between Loic and Toby.  For the most part, Loic only pets Tyler and doesn't go near Toby or Arthur.  Toby spends a lot of time on the back of our couch like a cat or under our duvet so it isn't a huge issue.  And I am not worried about him in general, I just know that he doesn't like to be cornered or pet by kids for any length of time.  Again, he hasn't bitten but we want to keep it that way.

For the past month or so Toby has taken to sitting on or under Loic's bed while I read Loic stories.  Tonight he went under the covers, like he does on our bed.  I didn't let him stay there once story time was over but I did have a hard time convincing him to leave!

I am not sure why he likes to sit on Loic's bed all of a sudden but Loic is always so happy when he does and pets him very, very gently.  I am always right there and Toby looks relaxed but I won't ever trust him alone around kids.

Rob managed to get a picture:


Maybe Toby wants to be one of the (many) stuffed animals on Loic's bed?
Very cute.

-E

Sunday, November 11, 2012

FUD!

When I was little we had "Family Unit Days" aka FUD days (the D seems a bit redundant but FU Days sound terrible!!)  Today we had a FUD day here.

This morning Rob got up with the kids (yay Rob - you are Awesome) and I slept in until...9:00.  So wonderful.  Rob took Loic to the Remembrance Day Ceremony at Victoria Park and I stayed home while Maelle napped and had breakfast with Jody.

**As an aside, we are going to miss Jody terribly when she moves out this month :(  The last two and a bit years that she has lived in our suite have been amazing and wonderful.  We love having her join us for dinner a few nights a week, for weekend dog walks and breakfasts, for iced coffees on the lawn every sunny Monday and for all the other fun times**

Jody and I hiked the dogs up Dempsey before lunch today in the rain/snow.  The dogs sure love that hike!  We had Tyler, Toby, Ryan, Abby and Emma's Cooper with us.  According to my fitness App we burned just under 300 calories on that hike - felt like more because it is straight up a mountain and then straight back down.

When both kids napped this afternoon, Rob relaxed inside and I gardened in the pouring rain.  I put 4 blueberry plants out in the back garden temporarily - we still need to plan the front garden reno - and I hacked back the neighbours grape that is encroaching on the front yard.  I also did some much needed raking and cut back a bunch of perennials.  Fun times in the rain!

We went and visited friends before dinner and ate take out Swiss Chalet.

Rob is currently watching the creepy nightmare creating "Walking Dead" while I half listen and half watch - I get nightmares if I actually watch that show!!

Tomorrow we don't have anything planned either which is really nice for a change.  Next weekend is going to be very, very chaotic.  My last BCIT class is Friday and we have a birthday party, Rob has the scotch event, and a football game and I know there is more planned I just can't remember it all!

-E

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Long weekend

No pictures today, just a quick note.
We are having a nice long weekend - today I held Jeff while Michelle gave him his winter haircut and then met my BCIT paper team to do a photo shoot for our big project.
We have no plans (!) tomorrow and will spend it as a family :)

-E

Friday, November 9, 2012

'Exersaucer' (aka a box) fun!

Rob and I were playing with the kids and a box the other night, the kids were taking turns in the box, and we were looking at the baby in the box and we thought "Isn't this a very, very cheap version of an exersaucer"?  And indeed it was!  She is going to be walking soon enough and she likes the box so no need for an exersaucer in this house!!


Baby in her 'Exersaucer' I mean Box :)


Big Brother in the box

I tried to recycle the box yesterday but Loic told me it was his favorite toy....who needs fancy toys when you can play with a box?!  I have vivid memories of playing with giant fridge sized boxes when we were kids; I will have to find one for Loic to play with.

-E

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Skating, Day One

I was planning on taking a picture of Loic in his skates at his first skating class but his first class didn't exactly go according to plan.  My cousin and I signed Loic and her little boy up for classes a few weeks ago because we thought they would like to go together.

When we got there, Loic was excited to skate, put on his skates and helmet and marched over to the ice where the two instructors were waiting.  They handed the kids a chair each to hold onto and Loic took two steps before falling over backwards, hitting his head (thank god for helmets!) on the ice.  That was all she wrote - he got off the ice and wouldn't go back for anything.  A few nice parents asked him to go with them (I had the baby in her carrier and couldn't go myself) and Loic politely told them that no, he was NOT interested.

Oh well!  We shall see what he does next week...he liked watching the other kids but was not going to go onto the ice today.  He is normally so keen to try anything that I was taken aback by his total refusal to try, but, he did scare himself and I completely understand.  He is also just 3 - it is early to start and he was one of the youngest kids in the class.

At one point I said "You need to learn how to skate so you can play hockey!" because he says he wants to play hockey and he very calmly said "No thanks - I don't need to play hockey anymore".  Poor kid!  At least hockey isn't a necessary life skill :)  Right Rob?!

-E

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Comfort Food

Erin, these are easy and tasty recipes for you to try.

A few days ago I made the Pioneer Woman's Corn and Cheese Chowder and it was very, very good.  I followed her recipe but used frozen instead of fresh corn and only one type of cheese.  I also served it with a green salad and a loaf of sourdough bread instead of bread bowls.  Delicious.

Pioneer woman chowder

I also made some vegetarian bean and sweet potato chili in my slow cooker.  I got the recipe out of the province and it was really tasty.  I made a few edits and it turned our just fine.


Slow Cooker Mixed Bean and Yam Chili

Preparation time: 20 minutes - it was really, really fast to prepare
Cooking time: 6 hours
Makes: a lot!!  I have a big slow cooker and it was full
Note: This recipe is designed for an oval slow cooker with a 5-L capacity or more. 

2 (19-oz or 540-mL) cans bean medley, drained, rinsed and drained again **I used two cans of white kidney beans and it was great**
1 (28-oz or 796-mL) can crushed tomatoes
1 (28-oz or 796-mL) can diced tomatoes
1 cup (240 mL) vegetable stock **I used one cup of water because I didn't have any veggie stock**
1 cup (240 mL) fresh or frozen corn  **I used frozen**
1 large yam (about 3.2 oz or 375 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-in. (1.3cm) cubes
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) oregano
1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste
sour cream or thick yogurt, to taste (optional)  **I served it with sour cream**
1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh cilantro or slice green onion  **I used green onions because I hate cilantro**

Place all the ingredients, except salt, sour cream or yogurt and green onion, in your slow cooker and mix to combine. Cover and cook on the low-heat setting for 6 hours.  **I used the high setting because on low mine wasn't even warm after an hour.  I did one hour on low and 5 on high and it was great ** Taste the chili and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Ladle the chili into bowls. Top, if desired, with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Sprinkle with cilantro or green onion and serve.

Enjoy!

-E

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

'The Border Edition' or 'How to get yourself in trouble'

Yesterday, Jody, Jess and I took the two kids to the states for the day to do some shopping (grocery for me) and to have lunch.  We had a great time until I thought I was going to get arrested at the border when we came back to Canada.

Let me back up slightly.

While at the Mall on our last stop, we walked by some riding toys for kids.  I would have let Loic have a turn but none of us had $0.75 to put in the machine.  Loic took this well but commented a few times that we "had no money".

Fast forward to the border.  We were on our way BACK into Canada and the Border guard asked me where my notarized letter was giving me permission to take the kids to the states without their Dad.  Now, I have never been asked this question before even though I have flown with Loic to the states without Rob and have also driven across the border with the kids alone quite a few times.  I also know it is a rule and it is a good one, I just have never really bothered with the letter!  Oops.

So, we get to the border, keep in mind I was taking the kids back into Canada to their father, and the guard asks me for the letter.  I said I didn't have one so he then...asked to talk to Loic.  Big gulp on my part.

We rolled down his window where Loic proceeded to tell the man, about 20 times very quickly, that "We have no money!" "My Aunties have no money!" "We have no money!"  He wouldn't even let the man talk!  At this point I tried to tell the super lame story about the riding toy but the guard didn't seem to care.

The guard then asked Loic: "Do you know where your Dad is?" to which Loic replied, sounding quite concerned: "I don't know..." while tilting his head to the side.  Awesome.  At this point I nervously said: "Ha ha ha!  Of course you know, he is at his job site!"  The border guard must have taken pity on us, and realized we were going HOME and he let us through.  Phew.

-E

Monday, November 5, 2012

Very Bad Dog (VBD) aka Very Smart Dog (VSD)

Yesterday I baked a carrot cake from scratch to take as my Dad's birthday cake to dinner.  I made it in two cake pans and when the cake was done and cooling, we decided to take a trip down to Maplewood farm to let Loic run around.

So, knowing and living with Tyler for over 9 years, I needed a place to put the cakes.  He is a notorious counter surfer and we have learned not to leave ANYTHING on the counter.  Jody used to think we were just really, really tidy until she learned it was all because of Tyler!  Some of the things he has eaten in the past include:

- 1 Liter of salmon oil (was in a shut cupboard above the washer and dryer)
- 1 kg of milk bones (also in a shut cupboard)
- 1 very large, raw pumpkin
- all sorts of tupperware, cardboard and other storage containers - empty yoghurt containers are a favorite
- a tray of cinnamon buns (was on top of the fridge)
- various loaves of bread, bagels etc.
- more but I can't remember right now!

So, I think for living with him for 9 years and having had quite a few roommates, we have done quite well!  There is no training him out of this so we had to train ourselves.  Stuff stays in either the fridge or the microwave aka the dog storage units.

Back to my cakes.  There were two so one cake went into the microwave, as per usual, but there was no room for the second one.  I decided to put it in a large, hard to open drawer that has never had food in it before.  In it went and off we went to the farm.

When we came home, the drawer was open, the cake was gone and the VBD/VSD was looking...bloated.  Smart dog opened the drawer and ate my cake!  I proceeded to bake another cake...

"I am SO Naughty"

Tyler is lucky he is so nice!  And there is no point in getting mad at him after it happened, he wouldn't know why I was mad.

Lesson learned; drawers, cupboards and the counter are NOT safe.  Until he learns how to open the fridge and the microwave those are the only safe places.

-E

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Dad/Grandpa!

Happy Birthday Dad!!  We hope you have a good day (and we will see you for dinner tonight).


Grandpa on his birthday two years ago!  
Ha ha - love you Dad!

Tomorrow is our day trip to the states with Aunty Jody and Jess; should be a fun day!

Loic and I are working on our wildlife blog post - will be all about his favorite animals.  We will also showcase Carys's favorite animal: the dung beetle.

-E

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Maelle is 7 months old!

Happy 7 months baby!

Maelle is still the easiest, happiest baby.  She now sleeps from about 7:45 or 8:00 at night until somewhere between 3:00-5:00 am when she nurses for about 10-15 minutes and then goes back to bed until between 7:00 and 8:00 am.  We can't complain about that!  She goes to bed in her own bed and usually goes back there after she nurses but sometimes she spends the rest of the night in our bed which I love.  She would sleep the last bit of the night there more often but she fidgets in our bed and sleeps much better on her own.

She is now interested in her food - she loves Cheerios and can now pick them up with her fingers really well and also eats about two meals of baby cereal and fruit or veggies every day.  She still nurses like a total champ too.

She is getting ready to crawl now.  In the past two days she has been able to get up onto her hands and knees into the crawl position - she usually then proceeds to roll on her shoulder and roll across the room but she is almost there.  She can sit unsupported for only a few moments, but is getting better every day.

Where does the time go?!

Baby when she was two weeks old....awwwwwwwww

This is what she looks like in a bathing suite:


Ack!  So so SO CUTE!!!

We took her and Loic swimming at the West Van pool a two weekends ago and she really loved it!  That is a great pool, warm and very kid friendly.  The pools in North Van are too cold for skinny Loic :)

-E

Friday, November 2, 2012

All I want for my birthday...

My birthday is next Tuesday, November 6.  I will be (gasp) 32 years old.  Other than feeling old and responsible - I have two kids, three dogs a husband and a mortgage - I feel pretty much the same as I did last year.

I have one big wish though.  I would like our friends to the south to do the right thing and re-elect Obama on my birthday.  Is this too much to ask?!  I don't think so.

I was in class all day today and then came home and took the kids to the park because Loic was bouncing off the walls.  I then had a lovely shopping trip where my mom bought me some new and very needed new clothes for my birthday!  Barb sent me some money for my birthday too so I spent that - thanks Mom and Barb!!  I really, really need a wardrobe update and it helped a lot.

(As an aside, if anyone feels like signing me up for "What not to Wear" I will happily do it)

Upcoming posts:

- Maelle turns 7 months old tomorrow!
- Halloween pictures
- Family birthday dinner for my Dad and I this Sunday, I am going to try to remember to bring the real camera this time
- Dog updates
- Our upcoming day trip to the states with Jody and Jess to do some shopping and to have a birthday lunch!  The kids are coming too :)

I will leave you with a picture of Loic and Aunty Jody eating a giant chocolate pancake last week.  Ahhh Aunty Jody - we love you!


I love how much Jody loves my kids, it makes me so happy

-E

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A post a day

My goal: a blog post a day for the month of November.  We shall see if it works!!!

Last night Loic and Rob had a great time trick or treating; the dogs on the other hand, were not impressed.  They are really frightened of the fire crackers and since we live near a school, the kids were out in force on the field blowing things up.  There are still some going off today, I hope it ends soon.

I will post some pictures of our little monkey and our little lamb (and our pirate friend Jody!) from last night soon but will leave off with a picture I took of Maelle this morning as we headed out for our walk with the dogs.  She is adorable.

- E

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sausage stuffed peppers

Tonight's dinner was a keeper so I am writing it down to remember it.

Sausage and rice stuffed bell peppers

5 bell peppers (I used red, yellow and orange ones)
1 onion
1 package of spicy sausage meat (I had to use links, I used 5 and took them out of the casings)
About 3 cups of cooked brown rice
I can of Rotel, excess liquid drained off (I bought it in the states and new I would use it!)
2 cups of frozen corn kernels
Mozzarella cheese
Salt and Pepper
Oil

1.  Cook the rice.  The recipe I adapted used white rice but I liked the brown in this dish.
(When I had Gestational Diabetes I realized that I have a tough time with white rice so I don't make it much anymore)

2. Dice and saute the onion in a bit of oil.  When onion is soft and translucent, remove it from the pan and set it aside.

3. Cook the sausage (remove it from the casing first) and crumble it well.

4. Once the sausage is cooked, add the onion, corn (frozen is fine), 1 can of Rotel and the cooked rice to the pan.  Cook for another 10 minutes or so until the corn is warm and the excess liquid cooks off.

While the pan of corn, sausage, Rotel and rice cooks, heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the peppers in half from stem to bottom, clean out the seeds and place on a baking sheet.  Salt and pepper the pepper halves and place them in the oven for 10 min to start to cook.  After ten minutes, remove the peppers and spoon the sausage mix into them until they are heaping full.  Bake for 10 min at 400 degrees then remove from the oven and add mozzarella cheese to each one, bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese melts.

I served these with sour cream and they were very, very tasty.  We have left over mix and we will have it in wraps tomorrow for lunch with cheese, lettuce and sour cream, salsa would be good too.

Enjoy!!

-E


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Patch 2012!!

We did our fourth annual trip to the Pumpkin Patch today!  It is still awesome and still very odd.  We met our old neighbours there and the kids had a great time.  They have some awesome displays in the wooded area and a ton of pumpkins and they still have all of the farm animals and the tractor rides.  A great deal for $4 a person!!


This is our attempt at getting a picture of both Maelle and Loic anywhere near pumpkins.  Not a success!!  She was tired and he was ready to go home.  Next year!


My "I can't smile when I am told to" child :)


The not so politically correct "Indian" display...


Our awesome tractor ride


Happy Loic

It was so very cold out today but it was lovely and sunny out too.  Maelle napped in the Ergo for most of the visit - unlike our first visit there with baby Loic when we showed him everything - we just chased 3 year old Loic around today and let Maelle nap.  Ahhh second babies :)

-E