Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A drawer full of shoes

I was playing cars with Rueben in the library this morning when he decided to get up and take a walk into the front entryway where he quickly discovered the new dresser that Ethan and I had build the previous afternoon. I watched as Rueben gave it a once over. He opened the bottom drawer and was delighted to find an amazing treasure, a drawer full of shoes and slippers! What a find. He promptly began to empty the drawer of its contents, flinging shoes over his head in amusement. Finally, he had conquered the drawer... it lay bare before him. Then he decided it was time to put all the shoes and slippers back in the drawer. He put every single shoe back in the drawer and when they were all put back, he closed the drawer, looked at me with a wide smile, and started clapping.

"Did you see what I did, mom? I discovered a drawer full of shoes, emptied it all out, and then put them back in. What an accomplishment. That was the first time I've ever found a drawer full of shoes. And I took them all out and put them all in, all by myself. I'm so great. Aren't you proud of me? I wonder what else I'm going to find today."

Ah, life's little wonders. Sometimes people ask me what I do all day, since I'm a stay at home mom. They ask if I ever get bored being at home. How could I be bored when I get to witness my kids discover, learn and experience things for the first time. So today, I watched my son empty a drawer and fill it up again. It might sound boring. But I also witnessed the joy and sense of accomplishment on his face. I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


We all have those days, every once in a while, where nothing goes the way we planned. I was woken up this morning a little too early after a late night to my almost 4 year old saying in a whinny 7am morning voice "mommy, I'm huuuuungry". So, bleary eyed, we stumble downstairs and I start making oatmeal and a humongous cup of coffee. Nothing like feeling a sense of accomplishment after a long day, so over breakfast, I decided to create a little to-do list for the day. (And yes I do mean little as compared to the wall sized list I had going 2 weeks ago of which I accomplished all the tasks. Maybe size does matter).

My list was as follows:

laundry (it goes on every list I make cause it's never fully finished, but I check mark it anyway)
mop floor (this one is futile with drooly Rueben in the house)
tidy kitchen
make curtains for Rueben's bedroom
file the stack of papers cluttering up the kitchen counter
hang shelves in bathroom
clean out fridge
mow the lawn
put out garbage, recycling, lawn clippings for collection

OK, so it might seem over ambitious, but if it's all timed right and orchestrated correctly, it could be done. Start the laundry in the morning, tidy the kitchen after breakfast, file the papers when I put Rueben down for his nap. Mow the lawn while Ethan is watching Blue's Clues then get him to help me put up the shelves. Clean out the fridge just before getting reading to cook dinner, and then put out the garbage and mop the floor after the boys are in bed. It's a massive balancing act, and I think I could actually pull it off... except this is me we're talking about.

There is just too much laundry to do it all in one day and I didn't account for the pile of clothes that were on top of the dryer as well as the ones inside it. So folding everything takes some time. On to the kitchen where I had to empty out the dishwasher before I could load it up again. The pile of papers has been relocated to the landing on the stairs where I'm sure they'll sit for a few weeks before I bother to bring them all the way upstairs. I actually did drag the lawn mower to the front of the house to mow the wheat field we have growing out there, but to my dismay, the mower is out of gas. So on to hanging shelves... if only Andrew would put my tools back where they belong, maybe I could get something accomplished. Yes, I'm blaming Andrew, only because he doesn't read my blog so he'll never find out! The way this day has been going, I'm probably going to order in tonight, or make yam tempura, which is just gonna mucky up my tidy kitchen. And by the time the boys are in bed, it will be time for me to drink a beer and watch So You Think You Can Dance? Who wants to mop the floor after a day of misfires anyway? Don't want to get myself all motivated to do stuff at 9:30pm when I should be winding down for bed. So the two things on my list that get check marks are putting out the garbage and laundry - which didn't get past the first load I put in this morning, I guarantee. I'll be sure to tuck this list into the recycling bin so I can start fresh for tomorrow. Top of my list will be... have fun with the boys.

At least that is something worth doing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sushi Adventures

Don't these rolls look amazing?? I gotta say I'm really impressed with myself because they tasted just as good as they look. After gobbling them all up, Ethan said to me. Now can we make tempura? Ha ha... yeah... Need to do some research for that one to happen. Check youtube for some great how-to-roll and how-to-prepare-rice videos.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 2: In Transit

August 21, 2009. Travel day.

What a long day. Our wake up call at 6:30 came way too early. Ethan and I headed downstairs for cold buffet breakfast while Andrew and Rueben slumbered in bed. We all made our way over to the train station which lucky for us was right across the canal from our hotel. (score one for good planning). We catch the Thalys train to Paris - Gare Nord. Slept off and on with Rueben while on the train. Gard Nord was a bustling station full of people. Andrew was accosted by Gypsies while I bought metro tickets. While standing in front of a subway map trying to best figure out our route, and older man on a bicycle explained to us it would be much easier for us to get to Gare Lyon by bus because we had so many suitcases and the stroller. He walked us to the bus stop and even helped us on with all of our luggage. He was such a kind, helpful man. I'm glad we ended up taking the bus because it finally hit me that we were in Paris when we passed by the Bastille monument. We arrived at gare de Lyon train station with time to buy some overpriced baguette sandwiches and to find our platform. Another 3 and a half hours on the train and finally we arrived in Geneva. We were greeted by Roger, Josette, Sylvain, Marie-Jo, and Florence at the station. Hugs and kisses and 'oh-la-las' ensued. After circling the car park 3 times to find the exit, we were finally off on our way home. We cross the border into Annemasse. The lay of the land is starting to come back to me as we leave the city and climb up into the hills of Lucinges. The girls have equipped us with baby products and an array of child car seats and we are left to shower and rest up for yet another sleepless night. Oh the joys of jet lagged children.

traveling from Amsterdam to Geneva via Paris

The platform in Geneva

Our home for the next 10 or so days

The view from our place

French country charm

Day 1: Amsterdam

August 20, 2009. Noon.

We pause at the hotel for a moment to dump our luggage and catch a breath, and then we head out for a walk around town. First thing that comes to mind is that I've never seen so many bicycles in all my life. They are everywhere. Amsterdam is definitely not the European town I thought it would be. In many ways, it reminds me a lot of Vancouver. The smell of pot lingers in the air as we walk past 'coffee shops' and the people are laid back both in attitude and dress. We wander the streets and find ourselves in the Dam Square. Andrew and the boys enjoy a rest by the canal outside Anne Frank house while I go inside to visit the museum. It is both moving and unsettling to be walking through the very house and rooms where she and her family hid during the Nazi invasion. She had plastered pictures on the walls which were still intact and markings on the wall where Otto Frank had measured the heights of his daughters were still visible. Seeing Anne's original diary was very interesting as well. I can't imagine being holed up in such tiny quarters for over a year with nothing but a skylight in the attic to let in daylight.
With only one day, we don't have any time to visit museums housing works by Dutch masters Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh. We do however have time to stop in a small cafe for lunch before making our way back to the hotel. A restless night is had by all but especially Ethan who copes with jet lag by playing with his hot wheels until 3am...

Nap time in the Dam Square.
Lunchtime, nap time.
Anne Frank House.


IN TRANSIT - August 19th 2009

Hard to believe that it was almost a year ago that the boys and I boarded a plane to Europe. Rueben was only 7 months old and now he's walking and almost talking! I kept a travel journal with the intention of blogging about each day of our journey. Well, 10 months later and I've finally uploaded my pictures so I can begin to share our travels with you.

It all started with a smooth and uneventful 10 hour flight to Amsterdam. The boys were great throughout the entire flight until we began to land, where Rueben screamed the entire time. Then 2 minutes after landing, Ethan brought up a lovely surprise for the cabin crew to clean up. Customs took 3 hours and the adventure began as we made our way to the train station to catch a train to the town centre. Amid the hub-bub of a metropolitan train station, we managed to get tickets and find the right platform, but due to our rusty navigational skills, we got on the wrong train. With the help of some friendly locals, we got off the train, found the right one, made our way to the Amsterdam central station and arrived safely to the A-Train-hotel at noon.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I like games. I enjoy uncovering clues and deciphering riddles. I also like technology and gadgets. So how cool is it that the classic treasure hunt has been merged with technology to create something called geocaching. Using a GPS device, you can treasure hunt in your own backyard. So, how do you get started?

Go to www.geocaching.com and register for the free basic account. Then you can enter your postal code or your coordinates and get a list of the nearest geocashes in your area. The hunt is on! Once you find a cache, usually some kind of box, you can sign the log inside and exchange something for one of the treasures you find in the box. The website has tutorials and a wealth of safety tips and information.

The best thing is that they are all over the place. Literally right under your nose. There's even one at Lilly's haunt, the clayton dog park!

So, who wants to geek it up with me and go on a techy treasure hunt? I think it would be a great activity for kids, and kids of all ages.