Monday, 30 April 2012

A Weekend Away

Sydney and I just got home from a fabulous weekend away in Seattle with cousin Mel.  I love shopping in the states.  Before Syd was born, I would drive across the border at least once a month to hit up all of my favourite stores that never found their way to Canada.  I became the resident expert on where to find deals on amazing things in the state of Washington! 

I especially love factory outlets and had been dreaming about visiting the Seattle Premium Outlets for months, so my cousin Mel and I decided that we would plan a girls weekend away to shop in Seattle and did we ever have a great time!

We left early on Sunday morning, headed straight to Target at Bellis Fair and loaded up on all the staples there before driving on to Burlington.  Sydney fell asleep just as we arrived at the outlets there, so Melanie and I took turns shopping and sitting in the car with her, hitting up the Carter's kids and Osh Kosh outlets for some very cute clothes for Sydney and Melanie's niece Kaylee. 

By the time Syd woke up we were all getting a bit hungry, so we headed to the Olive Garden for a delicious lunch.  Sydney loved it there, happily munching away on their amazing bottomless bread sticks and a yummy bowl of macaroni and cheese that tasted like homemade! 

We rolled out of Olive Garden, stuffed to the gills and drove to our hotel, the Tulalip Resort and Spa.  What a lovely hotel this is! I had stayed here several times before but had forgotten how fantastic the rooms and amenities are here!  Sydney was so excited to go swimming, so as soon as we checked in we threw on our bathing suits and headed to the pool for a quick dip before heading to the factory outlets for a quick shop before they closed for the evening.

On the way home we stopped off at the Walmart and Mel picked up an amazing bottle of wine for us to share that evening.  We got back to the hotel and hunkered down for the night, snacking and enjoying our wine, playing with Syd and watching TV. 

At about 9:00 it was becoming evident that Sydney didn't want to miss a minute of the girls weekend and was staying up late, so we ordered room service and ate a late dinner together!
The food arrived on a rolling table, complete with a vase of flowers and teeny tiny bottles of condiments, it was all very fancy.  We rolled the table in between our beds and sat in our jammies, feet dangling off the bed, eating our dinner.  It was awesome!  Syd thought that it was quite cool that she could eat french fries in bed!  Mel and I kept giggling to each other that this was so much better than eating out, being able to dine in our pajamas was awesome!

We all eventually dozed off and woke up to a leisurely morning together.  After getting ready and checking out of the hotel we headed off to IHOP for breakfast and then back to the factory outlets to do some serious shopping!  I have been on a mission to get my wardrobe back into somewhat decent shape, so I hit up the Banana Republic outlet while Mel took Syd for a ride around the outlets in a little red car cart that we rented from Customer Service.  I ended up coming out of the store with a heap of clothes and jewellery and picked up a couple of pairs of shoes for myself too, it felt great!

We headed home after a quick stop at the Panda Express for take-out to bring home for dinner tonight and enjoyed a fun evening with Paul.  Sydney was very happy to see her Daddy, I think she really missed him!

It was such a nice treat to get away for a couple of days and to do some shopping.  I am so happy to have come home with some great clothes for myself and really enjoyed the girls time too!  Sydney was such a good girl the whole time away too, I hope that this is the first of many shopping trips to the states that my girl and I will have together!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Curry Night

Last night, one of my Mom friends, Harv, invited the Dunbar group of Moms over for a late night curry fest at her beautiful new home in Kerrisdale.  Harv and her husband bought a 108 year old home in the heart of Kerrisdale and renovated the inside to completely meet their needs.  It is such a beautiful mix of old and new and has such amazing character, we so enjoyed the tour through every nook and cranny of this amazing house!

All of us arrived at Harv's place after putting our kids to bed for the night, so by the time we all arrived it was well after 9:00.  We drank wine and enjoyed the most amazing Indian street food that Harv had prepared for us.  She also drove all the way to Surrey that morning to a relative's restaurant to bring us some world famous spinach stuffed naan bread.  It was to die for!

We chatted and drank until we were so hungry we could hardly stand it, as the amazing aroma of homemade curry cooking away on the stove filled the house.  We filled our faces with incredible chicken curry, rice, naan bread and eggplant bharta.  I was so full that I literally could hardly stand up when dinner was done!

It was so so fun to have dinner with the Moms, we had such a wonderful visit together.  I love how I get to know more and more about everyone's history and lives every time we get together.  Our friendships that started on the mutual ground of having babies roughly the same age, are being woven together through all of these wonderful experiences that we are having together.  It is awesome.  I love having a group of Moms in my neighborhood that I can call my friends!

Special thanks to my very pregnant friend Lori, who has selflessly been our designated driver to these events for the past eight months....we owe her more than a few rides and bottles of wine once that baby's born!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Lunch with Sarah and Emma

What a full and fun Monday Little Miss Syd and I had today!  I have been on the hunt for a new housekeeper ever since the one that I loved so much fell and broke her leg while snowboarding.  This morning, I was scheduled to have the sweetest girl from the UK, with a ton of experience cleaning professionally, come by at 9:00am for an interview.

Now, given that Sydney is usually up at 6am, it shouldn't be a stretch to be dressed and ready to answer your door by 9:00am but this morning seemed to evaporate and I was running with my hair on fire to get out of my pajamas and look at least semi-human before this gal arrived.

I have to admit, that I had secretly decided that I was going to hire this lady either way, based on her experience and the polite manner in which she communicated by e-mail.  That was the plan, until she failed to show up for her interview with me at all this morning.  I angrily looked at my pajamas in a heap on the bedroom floor, thinking that I could still be cuddled inside of them, and for a moment even contemplated putting them back on, but decided that she wouldn't get the better of me and we'd get on with our day!

So I took Sydney off to gymnastics.  She was an absolute firecracker today!  Totally did not want to follow the circuit, just wanted to jump like a maniac on the trampolines and perform numerous death-defying feats on the other pieces of equipment.  Not sure what got into her today but it's nothing short of a miracle that we didn't leave without a major head injury!

We hustled home from gymnastics to meet up with our most favourite friends, Emma and Sarah for lunch.  Sarah is one of my best mom friends.  She and I have had such similar experiences with our girls, we definitely have an affinity for each other and what's so awesome is that our girls do too!  Emma and Syd play so nicely together, they rarely scuffle over toys and sincerely enjoy each other's company.  It's so awesome.  They were both perched in booster seats at the kitchen table for lunch today and were laughing and giggling almost the whole way through the meal!  Not sure what was so funny, but they clearly had an inside joke that was cracking them up!

After lunch, my Mother's Helper Eryn came over and played with both the girls for a while and Sarah and I sat and had a pot of tea together in the kitchen.  About five minutes in to our tea Sarah looked at me and said, "Do you know that in the two and a half years that I've known you, this is the first time that we've ever had a chance to be alone without kids, husbands or other Moms around?"  It seemed funny, seeing Sarah and I are so close, that we had never done anything just on our own!  I'm thinking we'll have to plan a special time out, just she and I, to make sure that it happens again!

Sarah brought me a gorgeous bouquet of orange and yellow tulips today.  They looked so bright and spring-like in my kitchen, brightened up the whole room!

Emma brought Sydney a very special treat too, a box filled with mini cupcakes from the Cupcakes shop on Broadway.  Sydney is the hugest cupcake fan, she was only too thrilled to get this box of treasured cupcakes today, she could hardly wait to finish lunch so that she could devour a few!

We spent a long, leisurely afternoon together visiting and playing with the kids, it was so nice to not have to rush off to be anywhere and to have some concentrated time together!

Sydney and I ended our day off by going to our second Mom and Tot yoga class late this afternoon.  Sydney is starting to participate more and more, today she was dancing around and rolling and unrolling her yoga mat all throughout class.  It is great fun!

Check out the decorating that Syd did around the TV this evening while we were eating dinner, she was quite proud of herself!

So all in all a great start to the week!  Nothing like a full and busy Monday to get things rolling!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Happy Birthday Kaitlyn Bunny!

This afternoon Sydney and I went to her little friend Kaitlyn's 2nd birthday party.  Kaitlyn's Mom, Liz, did a bunny themed party, it was sensational!  From the moment we walked through the door there was such a fun and lighthearted feeling about the party, it was such fun for both kids and adults alike!

Little Kaitlyn was dressed up as a bunny, complete with giant ears and a pink tutu.  I kept trying to get a great shot of her, but she just kept hopping away....

Liz had the most amazing spread of food out, everything from homemade quiche and meatballs to sushi and meat and cheese platters!  I could have stayed and snacked all afternoon!  Delicious!

Kaitlyn has a few favourite songs and activities, so midway through the party, Liz rallied the crowd and had all the kids and adults do Ring Around the Rosie and sing some of her favourite songs.  It was great fun seeing all the kids participating!  Syd was so sweet holding hands with her buddies Weston and Beatrice for Ring around the Rosie!

The party ended off with a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday and the kids devoured not one, but two, delicious homemade bunny cakes, which were none other than carrot cakes!  Perfect, and so in keeping with the theme!

It was such a fun afternoon visiting with friends and playing together!  I even ran into a couple of moms that I knew from my prenatal fitness class and we are going to try and get together so the kids can play in the next short while.

We came home from the party with the sweetest handmade bunny gift bag, a pinwheel and helium balloon.  The bags were strung up with twine and paperclips as you walked in the front door and made an absolutely adorable garland!  The bags even included our own ball of twine and mini clothespins so that we can create a craft at home.  Sydney and I will have to spend an afternoon creating something fabulous with them!

Happy Birthday Sweet Bunny Kaitlyn!

The End...hee hee

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Lunch with the Birthday Girls

This afternoon the group of Dunbar Moms got together for a lovely lunch to celebrate the birthdays of three of the Moms in our group:  Sally, Erin and Lori.  We met at Seasons in the Park, a fantastic restaurant in the heart of Queen Elizabeth park that is one of my favourite places to dine.  The food, service and views are always amazing and we had a lovely afternoon of laughing and visiting and eating tasty food!

We decided to do something a little different for birthday gifts for the gals and made up baskets full of fun things for each lady.   I volunteered to get the baskets together, it was a fun project this week shopping and putting the baskets together.  I did two wine baskets for Sally and Erin and a David's Tea basket for Lori who is expecting a baby shortly and won't be drinking much wine over the next short while!

The girls loved their baskets, it was so lovely to do something so special for them!  I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful group of moms in my life that live right on my doorstep!  There have been many times that we have had to lean on each other to watch our kids for a quick minute, or help us out in a pinch, and it is so comforting knowing that we have such amazing friends so close by who are always willing to help out!

Seasons in the Park always makes something very special for their birthday guests and today was no exception!  They brought a beautiful platter of dessert to the table for us to enjoy after our meal!  It was delicious!

It was a lovely afternoon with the moms and a nice break after a long week!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

It Takes a Village

I was thinking today about that saying "it takes a village to raise a child."  Since the day that Sydney was born, I have to admit that I took very seriously my responsibility to sustain her in every way possible.  I literally never wanted her to leave my arms for the first few months of her life, I even hated putting her down to nap or sleep at night!  I really didn't give much thought to needing anyone else but me and Paul to raise our daughter, foolishly thinking that we would be enough for her.  I couldn't have been more wrong. 

Sydney is so blessed to have so many wonderful people who love her dearly in her life.  She really has won the love lotto!  Every friend, relative, teacher, mama, they all add so much to her life experience.  We are richer for having so many amazing people in our lives!

Sydney and I have a very strong bond.  Up until very recently, she would often cry or run to look for me if I left her sight for even a minute.  While I love that we are so connected, I have to admit that this gets very exhausting sometimes.  I can't count the number of times I have been sitting on the toilet in the bathroom with her crying hysterically outside the closed door because she can't see me.  No amount or reassurance from Daddy or anyone else that I will be out in a minute, will calm her until she sees my face.  She is a Mommy's girl in the truest sense of the word!

Recently, I have noticed that Sydney has been talking to me about things that I haven't ever heard her talk about before, nor introduced her to.  The other day she was going on and on about a "banana phone"...when I asked her what it was, she just kept telling me all about her banana phone in her cute toddler lingo.  A couple of days later we were at school and one of her little buddies from class put her banana up to her ear and said "I'm talking on my banana phone."  Oh....she heard it at school...why do I think this is going to be one of many times that she learns something at school that I know absolutely nothing about!  My little girl is growing up, learning things from all sorts of people besides me.  The village around us is lending a hand in teaching my little girl new and different perspectives and ideas.  It's amazing!

This week has been busy in many different ways.  I had a lovely evening out with the girls at Maryna's house yesterday.  Maryna is an up and coming jewellery and fashion designer and invited us to her home for wine and appys and to see some of her latest creations and shop in the comfort of her home.  It was so fun!  Today, I donned my scrubs and went to the office to help Paul with a surgical patient for the first time in a long time!  

Sydney has been away from me more than usual this week between those two events and being on her own at school and with Nadine, my Mother's Helper.  I have been so proud of her as she bravely has shed not one tear upon seeing me leave and has been such a good girl for everyone who has had a hand in watching her this week.  It truly has taken a village to raise my child this week and I think it has been so good for her!

A couple of fun things from this week:

I asked Sydney to choose one piece of fruit to put in her backpack to take to school today.  I turned my back for a minute and when I turned around I found that she had emptied the entire fruit bowl into her backpack.  She wanted to take every piece of fruit that we had in the house to school for snack today!  It was very cute!

While I was shopping this week I picked up the sweetest outfit for Sydney for next spring.  All of the Easter dresses were on sale at Gymboree so I got her this very cute tulip dress complete with matching purse and shoes which I will tuck away and pull out next spring for her to wear to the Passover Seders.  She absolutely loved the shoes and purse, I let her play with them today and then stashed them away in the back of her closet when she was sleeping! 

I got this music box for Sydney this week, she absolutely adores it!  When you wind it up, the ladybugs on top spin and spin until the music stops.  We have played it a thousand times this week, it is her new favourite toy!

It has been a full and fun week with my girl!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Sydney's First Yoga Class


I love yoga.  For years when I was working downtown, a couple of lunch hours a week, I would sneak across the street to the YWCA and do an Ashtanga Yoga class.  I always returned to the office feeling so peaceful and calm, it was the perfect stress relief on a crazy busy day!

When I was pregnant with Sydney I found a tiny yoga studio a couple of blocks from my house that offered prenatal yoga classes.  The studio could only fit about six people so it was always a very intimate and quiet time. Many, many times since Syd has been born, I've thought back to that tiny studio and the time that I had to reflect on this new baby that was coming and everything that was changing with my body.  It really was such special time, even though at the time it seemed like simply a good idea to stay limber while I was pregnant!

Since I had Sydney, I haven't been to a single yoga class.  I always had good intentions of finding a Mom and baby class before she could walk, but never did.  By the time I got my act together and wanted to find a place where I could bring her, she was toddling around and was no longer welcome at Mom and baby yoga.  I had sort of resolved that yoga was one of those things that I was going to have to give up for a few years until Syd was in school and I had some consistent time on my own.

That was until just recently when I discovered that my friend Christina is teaching a Family Tot yoga class at our local community centre.  I was only too thrilled to sign up and today Sydney and I went together for the first time.

Zach and his girlfriend Miriam, got Sydney this fabulous yoga outfit from Ivivva Yogawear for her second birthday. Everything was a size 4 and miles too big for Syd, so I tucked it away in the back of her dresser thinking that I'd pull it out in a year and a half or so. 

I pulled the outfit out for today's occasion, Sydney's first yoga class.  She looked so adorable dressed in her yoga shirt (dress!) tights (not so tight...) and hoodie!  I quickly snapped a picture with my iphone and texted it to both Zach and Miriam to show them how sweet Syd looked in her little yoga outfit.  She, of course, had to add her own special flare to the outfit so she pulled a skirt on over top of the leggings and put on a woolly winter toque before she was ready to head out the door!

Christina's class was so fun!  She had such a clever and fun way of incorporating the kids into the classes with cheerful music, props and simple instructions.  She created such a fun, safe and inviting atmosphere, you could tell that the kids felt happy and safe and free to have fun!  After class I asked Syd what her favourite part of the class was and she said "the bean bags."  We had so much fun working on our balance trying to balance bean bags on different parts of our bodies.  It was one of my favourite parts too!

I loved having the chance to practice a few poses, it made me itch to get back into a regular practice again!  And as an added bonus, this muscle in my low back that has been tugging at me for a few weeks seems to have worked itself out during today's class, I feel as limber as a gazelle!

Syd and I are looking forward to going to Christina's classes once a week for the next few months!  My girl should be a regular yoga guru by then!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Some Time With My Honey

This afternoon my Mother's Helper, Nadine, came over for three whole hours to watch Sydney so that Paul and I could spend some much needed time together.  I was a bit worried that Syd was going to act up when both Paul and I left, but she didn't even flinch when we walked out the door.  She was far too excited to get downstairs to her playroom so that she and Nadine could have a tea party and eat one of the special cookies that I told her she could have for the occasion!

Paul and I were olympic walkers before Syd was born.  We would literally walk for hours and hours a week for exercise, we especially loved being down by the ocean and along the beaches.  When Syd was a baby, it was pretty easy to continue our walks as she was happy to be bobbing along in her stroller for hours on end, but since she's become mobile her tolerance for stroller time has diminished considerably!

So this afternoon, while we had the chance, and the weather was great, we went for a long walk along Point Grey Road.  It felt so great to get some exercise and to be able to have a completely uninterrupted conversation together.  Ah, the little things in a relationship....We walked for a full two hours and still had an hour to sit and have a coffee and share one of Vancouver's most amazing cinnamon buns at Grounds for Coffee.

It was a lovely afternoon together and Sydney had just the best time ever with Nadine too.  It was great for everyone!  I came back feeling like a new woman and so glad to have the chance for Paul and I to reconnect.  What a treat!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Happy Birthday William!

Today was Sydney's friend William's 2nd birthday.  His Mom and Dad threw him a fantastic party at the Douglas Park Community Centre.  They had the team from Sportball BC come and do an hour of structured activities with the kids. 

The kids had a fabulous time playing soccer, running and jumping and playing with hula hoops.  It was so fun to see Sydney try some new activities for the first time today, we will have to sign her up for the Sportball weekly activity in the future!

William loves trucks and so his Mom, Michelle, not only carried the ball theme throughout the party but she incorporated all things transport related for her little man.  Check out this amazing cake that she made for him with no formal training at all!  What talent!

The kids had such fun today, it was really nice for all of the Dunbar gang to be together and enjoying each other's company.

Michelle sent each child home with a hand stamped, individualized loot bag filled with a balls, Sydney got a pink football which was most popular!  She also got a little Tonka truck, some stickers and some painting pages all tied together with a helium balloon to take home!  I, of course, didn't make it out of the parking lot without accidentally letting go of Sydney's balloon...I have the worst luck with helium balloons lately.  Poor Syd has been in tears three times in the past two weeks as I've accidentally let them go or they've sailed out the open sunroof of our car!  So sad!

Today was such a beautiful day, the sun was shining and we were out and about in capris with no socks and jackets, I loved it!  We took a trip to the garden centre at the Home Depot today and picked up some new boxwood trees to plan in some planters in our backyard along with some river rock to cover the bed that they sit in.  It looks so fantastic!  Paul painstakingly worked this afternoon along with Sydney and I to get it all together and the end result was so beautiful and neat and clean.  I love that when I look out over the backyard while I'm doing dishes that this is now my view!

So all in all a great day and a wonderful way to start our weekend.  Looking forward to a great Sunday with my family!