Sunday, February 28, 2010

It's hard to believe it's already over

Way to go, Canada! It was an exciting hockey game today, with Canada taking the Olympic gold medal in overtime. Even though it was such a close game, I was sure we had it when there was less than a minute left in the game and the score was 2-1. I couldn’t BELIEVE it when the US team scored a goal in the last 30 seconds! I found myself literally biting my knuckles during overtime but thank goodness for Bobby Lou’s saves and Sid the Kid’s winning goal! It was an intense game, but great to see Team Canada receiving their gold medals.

We could hear a lot of cheering and horn honking going on outside, so we got Andrew sorted and went out for a walk along the sea wall. It was buzzing out there, and we weren’t anywhere near where all the main action was! We took Andrew to the little park nearby and he had fun playing on the swings, slide and checking out the rest of the playground.

We didn’t stay out long because we wanted to get home in time to get some stuff done and have an early supper before the Closing Ceremonies started. I made tacos and they were very yummy if I do say so myself. Andrew loves tacos, a boy after my own heart =) It’s James and my favourite meal to make – not that we have them all too often, but they’re quick, easy, delicious AND healthy. Anyway, Andrew loves the veggie ground round we use in the tacos and he likes to feed it to himself. It’s so cute to watch him eat, the way he savours each bite. And if some food gets stuck on his chin but near enough to his lips, he’ll try to use his top teeth to get it to go into his mouth. ADORABLE!!

The Closing Ceremonies were so-so. We haven’t talked to anyone yet who really loved the show…It was OK but I guess it’s hard to beat the Opening Ceremonies. I don’t know…It was very hit or miss I think. Some aspects of it were good…most people we talked to didn’t like the cliché bit, bringing out all the stereotypes about Canada in a really big and animated form. I kind of liked that part myself, although I can understand why it was also a tad annoying. As soon as they said they were going to do a tongue in cheek bit about the stereotypes against us, I said to James there are going to be beavers in there somewhere! I wasn’t expecting them to be so humungous though! LOL It was maybe ridiculous but come on, it was fun! The only one I don’t recall seeing in the mix was an igloo. But other than that, pretty much everything was there – maple leaves, hockey, canoes, lumberjacks, Mounties, beavers…

Call us old, but we weren’t too enthralled with the musical performances. It was cool, though, that there were a lot of big name performers and all of them were from Canada. I don’t know that I personally would have chosen K-OS to finish the ceremonies with, but maybe that’s just me…And the dancers – they were talented, but so 80s in style, it just didn’t seem very ‘2010 Winter Olympic Games’ to me, but maybe I am just being picky. I also had a bad headache (I don’t think it’s from the new pillow though, I actually found it pretty comfortable last night!) so maybe I just wasn’t into the whole thing near the end of it.

It was a little sad, the moment they shut off the cauldrons, especially seeing the one outside the convention centre shutting off. It really finalized it all for me. I can’t believe that after all the talk for YEARS about us winning the Olympic bid and the Olympics coming to Vancouver and blah blah blah…2010 seemed so far off, as if it was worlds away. And now it is over and done with. Wow! But all in all it was an incredible experience and I am so proud of all the Olympic athletes, especially our Canadian athletes. We did amazing – We got the most golds out of all the competing countries! We ended up with 14 gold, 7 silver, and 5 bronze, for a total of 26 medals. Not too shabby, if you ask me!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pillow talk

Today we went out in search of new pillows and a new comforter. We found the pillows but the blanket will have to wait. It was way too insane downtown. We tried going into The Bay, but then I remembered that the elevators are in the Olympic store zone – which if you ask me wasn’t very well thought out. We’d be able to bypass the line up to get to the elevator but just to get to the spot to do that would have taken forever. Stupid, stupid! I am kind of looking forward to getting our city back.

I like the new pillows, though I’m wondering if they might be a bit too ‘soft.’ They really sink in when you put your head down on them but maybe that’s a good thing as my last one was too firm and I was starting to get slight headaches. I’m blaming them on the pillow, but really who knows. It’s difficult picking out a new pillow because it’s not like you can really test it out in the store. Yet it’s something you’re going to rely on quite a bit. I don’t like to spend a lot of money on a pillow, even though I do tend to agree with the statement ‘you get what you pay for.’ I just feel like it’s such a gamble, spending big on a pillow. How do you know if it’s going to be the right firmness etc? Anyway, I guess it won’t be long before I’ll know if I picked a good one or not.

We took Andrew to Salathai for lunch…we were hoping he would sleep through it actually, but wouldn’t you know it he woke up the moment we were seated and started to cry. I thought we should just leave because I don’t think it’s a good ‘family’ restaurant in terms of people being OK with a crying baby all through their meal. But as long as one of us held him, he was actually pretty good. It definitely wasn’t an ideal situation but it could have been worse. A guy came up to us part way through and said that hearing Andrew cry made him miss his kids, because he’s here doing police security for the Olympics and has been away from his kids for a month. It’s hard to imagine missing that sound…I love hearing Andrew laugh and ‘talk’ but I could do without the fussies! lol

Oh, a cute thing my mom taught him when we were on the island was, ‘What does Santa say?’ and Andrew says, ‘Ho ho ho!’ He usually only does 2 ho’s but sometimes he makes it to 3. My mom got him doing that in 10 minutes and now every time you ask him what Santa says, he does it. Clever monkey! I want to teach him how to do I’m a Little Teapot next.

We’re having a lazy Saturday night, James had a nap so now I’m taking a little time to myself. Tomorrow is the big game, the finale to the Olympics. I can’t wait, I am sooo hoping Canada takes the Gold. Then there’s the Closing Ceremonies to look forward to. So it looks like the Olympics will be taking over our lives tomorrow, and then we can resume regular programming!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Olympic fervour

Tonight we went out to have a look at the cauldron at night. It’s all lit up blue and looks blue-tiful! lol Seriously, I love it. Not enough to stand in line for HOURS to get up to the level above it to look down, but enough to want to stand there in the pouring rain and just stare. It really is breathtaking. I love the sound it makes, the burning of the flame. Even in the rain it gives me a cozy feeling that’s hard to explain.
I am really surprised by how into the Olympics I actually got. I was so dead set against it, seriously I was all over the idea of protesting – not that I was planning to do so myself, because, well, I just wasn’t going to do that. But I was very negative about the whole thing. Till the day of the Opening Ceremonies arrived and I just felt the excitement. It’s almost as if you could smell it in the air! I watched more Olympic television this past few weeks than I’d like to admit. I couldn’t help myself!
And Canada has done so amazingly well, I’m proud of our home country =) The other countries have done well also, but I’m enjoying the little bit of nationalism here. I feel like ‘as Canadians’ we tend to be too polite and totally modest. We don’t tend to be very patriotic and I’m glad that we’re not annoyingly into ourselves (because too much patriotism comes across as obnoxious) but it’s nice to be proud of where we’re from.
Go Canada Go!

It’ll be nice to see the city get back to normal, but it’s been a once in a lifetime experience hosting the Olympics here. Definitely a memorable time. And now spring is right around the corner!

I’m feeling optimistic tonight =)

UPDATE: We just won the men's hockey game against the Slovaks - YES!! Can't wait till Sunday's big game...Let's go for GOLD Canada!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Finding perspective

I love my mom. She’s a wonderful person, so kind, caring, gentle, generous. She is such a giving person, she has a big heart. Never once in my life have I felt unloved because she always reminds me how much I mean to her. She has always been a best friend in my life. We’ve always been very close.

I think that makes it all the more difficult dealing with the fact that she is severely depressed. It’s hard watching her go through this, the issues of self-hatred and absolute sadness. It’s hard because I know how deserving she is of happiness, and yet she can’t seem to see it.

Her depression isn’t a new thing. She’s suffered from it her whole life. It really came to a head when her father died and a lot of things from the past seemed to come to the forefront. That was 1994, and the next couple of years would prove to be very difficult ones. In 1996 her grandmother (who she was very close to – as was I) died and that was also a hard time. A hard time when things were already still so shaky from a few years previous. A lot of therapy did help and there were years where I felt like my mom was doing fairly well. But never has she been more happy than not, if that makes sense. The heaviness has always been there, it has always been easy for her to stumble and fall back into feelings of despair. It has been a pattern her entire life and it just seems that over the years, facing certain issues and dealing with life in general has become more and more of a challenge for her.

It has of course always affected me, but I guess I see it more (and perhaps a bit differently) the older I get. Now, having a child of my own, I have a whole different perspective on things, too.

I’ve been having a really hard time trying to piece everything together lately and figure out how I feel about it all. I don’t generally have a lot of time to just sit and think and reflect and ‘come to terms with’ and all of that. I sort of live in this whirlwind of making sure Andrew is happy and we play and go out and have experiences and my number one priority is making sure he’s fed and content. It might sound simple enough but it takes up a lot of the day. I can’t be sitting down to talk or write or just think some of the times when maybe I need to, because Andrew demands the attention. And so he should – he is a toddler on the run after all! Experiencing life through fresh, innocent eyes.

Which grounds me, and makes me see things through a clearer lens. I love that he is so eager to explore the world and learn. His excitement draws me in, and I feel that I am a much happier person now that he’s here, because he makes me see the brighter side of things. I want him to be happy in life and I don’t see how he can be if I project the world as a negative place. I also am realizing more and more how much of a waste it is to be unhappy when it really isn’t necessary to be. No, I don’t have my whole life figured out. Yes, that does stress me out sometimes – as someone who likes things organized and scheduled to some degree. I wish I knew what I was going to do with my life besides what I’m doing right now. That stresses me out sometimes. We still have a LOT of student loan debts to pay off, and when I’m a stay-at-home mom I’m not making any money myself to go toward that. That stresses me out sometimes, especially since I stopped getting EI in December and I’m noticing the change in our bank account as a result of that already.

These things do worry me, but I also know that none of it is the end of the world. We will make ends meet, and eventually I will go back to work and hopefully I’ll be able to do something I enjoy. It might not be my dream job, but I can figure this all out as we go along. I could look at the negative aspects to my life but I am choosing not to dwell on them because the good stuff is far more important to me. I have a wonderful family, I live in a great city in a safe neighbourhood in a beautiful apartment. I have food in my belly and so does my baby. We don’t have a ton of money but yet we’re still able to go out and do things. In some ways I don’t like that James is the sole provider of money right now, but at the same time it can’t go unnoticed how special and important it is that I am raising Andrew and also taking care of our home. Being a stay-at-home parent is a full-time job and then some! It’s unfortunate it pays nothing (in terms of money, that is) but that’s the way of it. More on this topic later, as I recently had a disturbing conversation about these issues that I think warrants discussion…

But anyway…I guess what I’m saying is that none of us are without our concerns, but life isn’t meant to be all rainbows and blue skies. In fact, we couldn’t even have rainbows without rain, hence the name ‘rain’bow! So…

I’m kind of all over the place with my thoughts here but I guess that’s the nature of trying to siphon through one’s own thoughts and feelings about a topic that runs so deep and has no easy solution.

How do you go about coming to terms with the fact that even if it’s possible for your loved on to do BETTER, it’s just a given that they’ll never be TRULY happy? It’s hard to figure that one out. I think that’s what I struggle with the most in all of this.

To be continued…

Our small space

I’m so tired, the boy is really exhausting me. He’s so high energy it’s ridiculous.

Since I’ve been at my parents’ house, he’s been sleeping in the bed with me. His internal clock always goes off between 7-8am…I of course would prefer the latter end of that but it’s usually closer to 7. He sits bolt upright and makes a little noise to wake me up. I open my eyes and he grins at me and starts whipping his head around to look at everything. What can I get into first, is what I figure he’s thinking. Then he starts standing on the bed, then flips himself down, and starts the process over.

He gets a diaper change and then plays around with the cupboards in the bathroom while I use the washroom, put my contacts in, etc. In some ways I wish we had a bigger space at home but in others I want to remind myself that a small space can be good for containing a baby. He gets into everything and of course wants to run around everywhere…at least at home I know where he is no matter where he goes because it’s such a small space. If I’m in the bathroom, he’s generally going to be in the living room and it’s just a quick pop of my head around the doorway to see what he’s doing. I prefer that to having to lock him in the bathroom with me and clean up the mess he makes after he takes everything out from under the sink while I’m getting ready.

It’s also nice just having everything on one floor. Here at my parents’ I just change him in the family room or wherever is convenient, but if it was home I’d be wanting to keep his diaper stuff in his room and use his change table etc. I’d hate to be having to take him upstairs every time we needed to do a change or whatever. So as much as I know space will continue to be an issue when we get home (especially after spending a week and a half in a 4 bedroom house!), I have to remember the conveniences of it!

I want to find the time soon to do some more organizing though. Maybe this weekend James can take Andrew out for a bit without me so I can get some things done that are impossible to do when the boy is around. If I’m doing anything, he has to be right in there ‘helping’ and it makes any job take ten times longer than it actually should.

I want to weed through our stuff and get rid of things. It’s hard because without having a vehicle, it’s not always easy to actually get the stuff we want rid of out of the house. But it’s time to do it. Any amount of space would be glorious to free up! I have the motivation to do it, now it’s just about finding the time (and a bit of energy wouldn’t hurt!)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ballet update

I decided to scan some old photos while visiting my parents and going through old things. Interestingly, given the post I wrote recently about my experience with ballet , I found pictures from those performances.

I asked my mom if I ever mentioned to her how upset I was that I was chosen to be a spider instead of Little Miss Muffet. Apparently that’s all my parents heard about from the time I found out till the time our performance was complete. I was both angry and upset that I had to play a spider and it only added insult to injury when my spider legs fell apart just as I was going on stage.

Oh well…it was an experience nonetheless!

I was a spider when I was 5, Strawberry Shortcake when I was 4:

Here is the group shot of all of us spiders and Miss Muffets. I blacked out the other girls' faces for their privacy...but hopefully you can still get a sense for the prim and properness of the girls in front, most especially the twins in the middle. Even my mom mentioned when I was discussing it with her that they got under my skin for being so delicate and graceful (or at least in THEIR minds they were that way!) ;P

I'm glad I came across these little gems!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A wish for your life

Dear Andrew,

I hope so much that you are able to find peace and happiness in your life.

When your father and I were contemplating whether or not to have children, we had to weigh the pros and cons of bringing another person into the world. It can be difficult out there, bad things do happen. We had to decide whether or not we thought the good times would outweigh the bad – otherwise, what’s the point, right?

Obviously we decided it was (and is) worth it to live, that the good times should and can be plentiful beyond the bad (and I will do everything in my power to help make sure it is that way for you). Yes, you will face hardships. It’s guaranteed as part of living. But you can look at those times as challenges. Things you have to face for whatever reason (and I personally believe there generally is a reason for things) but that can help to build your character and make you stronger.

Please always remember how much you are loved. Remember that it takes less muscles to smile than to frown, so smile often! I want you to be happy and to enjoy life. Don’t dwell on things too much, don’t get into a pattern of feeling guilty over every little thing. I’m not saying you should be too selfish or not feel bad if you deliberately hurt others (which I would hope you wouldn’t do, anyway!) But just don’t feel like you need to feel bad all the time because you’re somehow not worthy of love, devotion, care, attention. Like you’re not worthy of living a happy and fulfilling life. Because you are. You have been loved so completely since the moment you were conceived and you always will be loved. You’re a wonderful and special person and lots of people will love you in your life, but guaranteed your mom and dad will always wish the very best for you.

I may not have all the answers. In fact, I know I don’t. But I do know that life is too short not to enjoy it as much as possible. Be kind to yourself.

I love you with all of my heart.

Love, Momma

Friday, February 19, 2010

So much weight

I’m feeling trapped and a whole slew of emotions right now. But very, very trapped.

I feel like so much is put on my shoulders that probably shouldn’t be. I feel like so much is expected of me and I have to take on way more than I can handle. I feel like I’m going to explode in the present, though I am remaining as calm as I can.

I just about called 911 and I was going to do it, too. It wasn’t just a threat, I would have done it. But she insisted that I not. However I feel torn because moments before she convinced me not to, she told me that she’s going to kill herself, that IS what’s going to happen and that’s just the way it’s going to be.

So what am I supposed to do? Have such threats been uttered before? Yes. More than a couple of times. But does that make this any less serious to me? No. You know why? Because the situation has only escalated over the years and it’s worse now than it ever has been.

I yelled to her as she was on her way out the door that something has to change and it has to start NOW. She slammed the door in response. Does that send the message that she doesn’t want to hear it? Is she listening? Will she make changes for herself?

If things continue on the same way they are now, it’s not realistic to expect all to be well, not even close. I’d say ‘plain and simple’ at the end of that sentence, only there is nothing plain nor simple about this situation. Issues stem deep, people are in their own ruts, have their own versions of things. It’s very complicated, as these types of situations tend to be.

I’d flee the scene, only I was basically told that if I wasn’t here, she’d have killed herself already. Upon me saying how frightening that is to me, it was changed to not killing but rather cutting and other destructive behaviour. Oh great, that makes me feel better.

Sigh. I don’t know what to do. The biggest problem I have, I think, (I don’t know for sure because my mind is quite foggy with all that is going on, trying to process it) is with not wanting to take sides. I love them both and they may both have faults but they’re also both very special and important to me. I feel like I have to be there for her more because of her fragility but I can’t disown him, you know what I mean?

I feel really sad and it’s further complicated by Andrew. Because I don’t want him seeing certain things, and also I can’t just go do whatever (like escape in a sense, like I’m doing now) most of the time because I am responsible for him. Not to mean I want to get away from him, but it’s hard to just go sit quietly and try to collect my thoughts etc when I’ve got him wanting to read books and play and so forth.

It’s so freaking insane here right now. I feel this sense of loss that really makes me feel down in the dumps. It’s hard to explain.

I don’t like to post like this – in the heat of the moment so to speak and when my mind isn’t clear. I also do my best to be more positive on my blog because I’d prefer to remember the good things and have as much recorded that I’d want to look back on as possible. But sometimes this stuff needs to be vented, and this is one of those times.

Besides, as much as this is something I'd love to be able to forget, it is very clear that it is something that will haunt me forever. Call me dramatic for saying so, but it can't be denied.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's time to purge

I feel blah.

In some ways good, just kind of emotional(ly drained).

I’ve been going through old stuff in my closet at my parents’ house. Since I’m spending a bit of time here (a week-ish), I’ve decided to finally take this opportunity to do a purge of my old stuff. I’ve gone through my junk and treasures numerous times and scaled back but it was always a rushed job and I never properly organized anything. I don’t have much, other than a box of stuffed animals (that Andrew can play with when he’s here) it’s just one big bin that I have to go through. It might not sound very daunting, but to me it is. It’s pretty much all papers – old journals, school work, report cards, letters, greeting cards, pictures and so on. It’s all stuff that brings back memories, good and bad. A lot of the stuff is like, awww I remember when…But there are other things that cause my chest to feel heavy. I am getting rid of those things. Why hold onto things that harbour bad feelings?

Sometimes I resist getting rid of things from the past because once they’re gone, there’s nothing left. But at the same time, some things are just better left forgotten, you know?

It’s hard because I have to go through each and every sheet of paper and decide which pile to put it in. Which means I have to actually read it all and that’s where things get conjured up for me.

BUT it’s just the one bin and I CAN DO THIS! I feel really good about purging because this has been weighing on my mind for years. Not that I’m constantly thinking about it, but you know those things you really want dealt with but keep putting off…This is one of those things for me and I’ll feel so much better when I’ve got it all scaled back to just the important things.

Update: I have since spent a lot more time on the job and it’s almost done. A box full of stuff to get rid of and a lot of garbage and recycle. I’ll be glad when it’s out of the house, once and for all.

But I can’t deny that while I’m happy about what I’ve accomplished, it’s also sad going through old things. Some of it made me smile, even laugh. But some of it was like UUUGH. Why did I hold onto that for all these years?!

And some of the notes from a certain person in my life…I knew their troubles had been getting worse and worse for some time but it’s sad when you read things from, for example, 1996 and see that things were already bad then. It upsets me that now things are even worse, when if things had been approached differently back then, they could be better now.

But I guess everything happens for a reason. I had a number of notes from friends in around the time an old boyfriend and I had broken up, saying things like ‘Chin up, it’s fate and one day you’ll know why this had to happen’ blah blah blah. It’s funny to me now because the person means nothing to me and obviously I’m so happy that my life led me to where it did because I have the husband I always dreamed of (loving and wonderful) and the perfect baby boy – what more could I ask for?!

I’ve been trying to think along those lines – that there is no point in having any regrets whatsoever because every moment in time has brought me to where I am and how could I possible want to be anywhere but here? It’s hard to believe that just one snapshot of life being different in the past could have meant a completely different future (and therefore present).

My dad was saying last night that he and my mom couldn’t afford the house they really wanted to buy when they got married so they ended up in the place I knew as home for the first 8 years of my life. Their ‘dream home’ would have meant going to a completely different elementary school and I got to thinking how my whole life would have gone in a different path had we lived there instead. I’d have grown up with a different group of friends and although I’d still have ended up at the same high school, my experiences up to that point would have made me a different person.

I’d hate to have to live through different dimensions because as great as it is growing up, it’s also extremely hard and I don’t particularly want to have to go back and do it all again! But imagine if you could watch your life like a movie and see it go along different paths, just to know how it would all turn out depending on your circumstances.

Who knows, if something was really meant to be above all else, maybe it would happen regardless of the path at the beginning. Maybe those choice moments would still be the same, so nothing else would really matter. Who knows for sure, but it’s interesting to think about!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Will you be mine?

On Sunday (Valentine’s Day) we took Andrew to the playground to run around. He absolutely loved it. He went on the swings and did lots of giggling the higher we pushed him. He went on the slide and ran around, curiously watching the other kids play.From there we walked along to Stanley’s Pub & Grill and we were able to sit outside (that’s how mild it was, sitting outside in February to eat at a restaurant that doesn’t have outdoor heat lamps!) It was great, James and I shared a veggie burger and Andrew had some fries (and banana that we brought for him, oh yes and goldfish cheese crackers).
He likes to mimic us so he wanted to dip his fries in ketchup, but the ketchup happened to be very vinegary (even we were having a hard time with it). So he screwed up his face and then had to dip the fries in SOMETHING so we let him dip them in a glass of water. He was quite pleased with himself each time he dipped. I told him when we’re sitting outside that’s one thing but he’s not dipping fries in a glass of water when we’re inside a restaurant. I don’t want to start him on bad restaurant manners!!

I had a Granville Island Winter Ale – the first beer I’ve drunk in over 2 years! Crazy, I know!

After the restaurant we took Andrew to the aquarium. We figured it would be insanely busy with tourists but it actually wasn’t too bad. Definitely busier than when I take him during a regular week when we’re not hosting the Olympics, but not as busy as it gets in the summer. We took Andrew to the children’s play area and he had an absolute field day! He was loving it and James seemed to really enjoy watching him play there. So much so that when the 4-D Experience was starting up in the little theatre next to the play area, James told me to go ahead and watch it, he’d stay with the boy.
We tried to watch it with Andrew once a few months back but it’s really not a good show for a small child. It’s 4-D, which means that beyond wearing 3-D glasses, you get spritzed with water, poked in the back, etc during the show. It’s not good for a baby since they don’t understand why they’re suddenly getting hit in the face with water at random moments. He bawled so much in the first 5 minutes the time we took him, we had to leave and decided we’d try to catch the show on our own some other time.

It’s definitely cool and worth seeing but I do think it could use an update. This coming perhaps from having just recently seen Avatar…which was 3-D but can you IMAGINE what it would be like in 4-D?! Probably way too intense but whoa would that be something!

There was a 4-D Experience that James and I saw when we were in Amsterdam. It was very much like propaganda, trying to sell Holland in a very cheesy way (haha, cheesy, - no pun intended considering we went to Edam!) I remember it being cool despite being over-the-top trying to sell the country, there was even one part with a field of tulips and suddenly you could smell them, it was beautiful.


At the aquarium Andrew pinched a boy’s nose and stole a little chair thing from another boy…but other than that he was good around the other kids. lol He’s definitely got a strong personality. It’s always the bigger kids that he bullies and none of them ever fight back…I kind of wish they would – maybe he needs to be put in his place?! If he keeps getting away with it, how will he ever learn?

After the aquarium, we walked home and Andrew fell asleep along the way. It’s no surprise given how active he’d been all afternoon!
It was a wonderful Valentine’s Day – full of fun family moments, which is what a day of Love is all about!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What could have been

Sometimes I wonder what I would have done in life if I’d been pushed more when I was younger. Not to say that I can’t still do things that interest me – it’s not too late for everything – but there are some things that, let’s face it, just aren’t going to happen now.

Some kids are thrown into every ‘extra curricular’ imaginable as a young child. They’re in gymnastic, learning to play the piano, t-ball, soccer, other sports, dance. The list goes on.

When I was four years old, my parents put me in ballet lessons. At the end of the first year, we did a performance as Strawberry Shortcake. (Yes, I was around when Strawberry Shortcake first came out). We have the performance on VHS (to date myself a little further – I can just hear Andrew asking one day not all that long from now, What’s VHS?!) and it’s so pathetic it’s cute. None of us really knew what we were doing, and forgive me for having forgotten every ballet term besides maybe the pirouette but we all just kind of stood there and occasionally pushed our toes out forward or to the side. I was in particular quite sad in the performance. It was so cute watching a bunch of 4 year olds on stage with puffy hats and strawberry dresses that it didn’t matter what we did, really, but I remember watching the VHS a few years ago and being horrified by myself. I just kept looking down the line of other girls to remember what to do, as if I hadn’t been present for a single lesson and was learning it all for the first time up there on that stage.

That stage with the bright, scary lights. The lights so bright that we couldn’t make out any of the faces in the crowd. I remember walking out on that stage and realizing I had no idea where my mom and dad were, even though I knew they had to be out there. Thinking to myself, all these people are watching, Elizabeth, don’t screw this up! Well, maybe I didn’t think those thoughts exactly but it was definitely along those lines. I felt this intense pressure to perform and I think that’s what caused me to clam up and not remember the steps.

The next year was Little Miss Muffet. I remember enjoying the class – up until the day that the teacher told us who would be playing Little Miss Muffet and who would be playing the spider. There were 8 of us, so there would be four of each. I was on the list of spiders.

I hate spiders.

I actually remember, at 5 years old, my heart just sinking at the thought of having to play a spider. Why didn’t I get chosen to be a Little Miss Muffet, I thought to myself. But even at that age, looking around the room at my fellow dancers, deep down I knew why. There were those girls in the group, the natural performers even at age 5, the ones whose every step was graceful, pretty little faces with soft blond hair framing them. I remember there was a set of identical twin girls and they were so keen to be dancers that they tippy-toed around as if they were born to walk as ballerinas. I was secretly happy the day I overheard our dance instructor telling them that it actually wasn’t a good idea to walk around like that on a regular basis and that it would do more harm to them than good if they kept it up.

The spider costume was made up of black tights and a red leotard with sequins made to look somewhat like a spider web on the front (my aunt made mine for me). The spider legs were my own arms and then 3 on each side were attached to the leotard and strung together with thread separating each one, my arms being the top two legs. So when I lifted my arms, the other legs would move around like a real spider would look.

I was trying to make the most of it and thought it was pretty fun after all to have all those gangly legs…until about 30 seconds before we were set to go on stage to perform. The threads attaching one of my spider legs came apart and it just so happened to be the one right under my arm, which meant that all 3 legs on that side fell limp at my side. I told the woman who was helping us get ready to go on stage but there wasn’t enough time to do anything about it. She told me to just hold the thread and do my best to keep it from falling. But it was hard to do that and remember what I was supposed to be doing, too. I remember going out there, once again the lights so bright that I couldn’t make out the crowd, yet knowing all those eyes were watching. I gave a face, like, yes, I know my legs are broken and it’s pathetic but there’s nothing that can be done.

I just wanted to cry and run off stage and never look back but I stayed and we did our performance and everyone clapped. We were only 5, no one was going to blame any of us for a screw-up.

All through that year I was so excited because the next year would be tap dancing and I’d always wanted to give that a try. But when it came time to enrol me for the next class, I decided I didn’t want to do it. I remember my parents telling me I had to make up my mind that day whether I wanted to or not and I thought about it for a very short time before saying No. They kept saying, are you sure, are you sure? And I was adamant that I was. I would have loved to do the tap dancing if it wasn’t for the performance at the end. I couldn’t stomach the idea of having to get up on that brightly lit stage once again to show a room full of people what I had learned. The stress of it all took away from the fun for me.

And that was fine, I didn’t have to do it. But I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had. What if my parents pushed me a little harder and said I should do it and gave me a hundred reasons for why. I might have discovered that it wasn’t so bad or got used to it or at the very least by that time been made 100% sure that it wasn’t for me before quitting after the second try.

I don’t blame my parents for not pushing me more – they were forced to join clubs and do things they didn’t want to do as kids and I think their approach came from having been resentful of that growing up so they didn’t want to do the same thing to me.

And with all of this, I’m not saying by any means that I would have become some sort of famous ballet dancer if I’d kept up with the classes. But who knows if I would have branched off into other types of dance, who knows what I could have done or what interests I might have had. Instead I have this memory of having quit something before I ever really went anywhere with it.

I will have to remember all of this when it comes time to enrolling Andrew in activities. I don’t want to force him to do something he really doesn’t like, but I always want to make sure he knows how important it is to give things a try and to not give up too easily.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Action in the city

We had a big day today, lots of walking around, checking out the excitement in the city. It started off when we looked out the window to see W Georgia all blocked off with police cars, police getting their shields on. Suddenly hundreds of protesters came down the street, intermixed with lines of officers. A lot of the protesters were dressed completely in black, including masks for anonymity. It was really creepy to me. A line of them were carrying a ladder, which they would use to fend off the officers if it came down to it. I’d never seen anything like it so close up!

We were getting ready to head out to see the cauldron lit at the convention centre, so we decided to boot it and go check out the action. It was crazy. Police with shot guns drawn, people getting arrested, a lot of yelling. It all made me very angry. Angry at the protesters, not because of the Olympics. As it turns out, they also vandalized The Bay downtown by breaking windows.

These people are protesting the Olympics because of the high cost and the fact that the money could have been better spent. The message doesn’t sit very well when they’re causing a lot more money to have to be spent on their stupidity. Who do they think will be paying to repair the damage they caused to The Bay? Who do they think is paying for the sheer number of officers that had to be present for their demonstration? I am all for peaceful protesting or having a voice but they definitely overstepped the bounds today.

After checking that scene out for a few minutes, we headed to the sea wall and walked to the convention centre. It’s too bad the cauldron has to be fenced off, it’s a bit tacky for picture ops, but I guess it’s understandable that the public (some people, anyway) couldn’t be trusted without the fencing being there. It was neat to see it regardless. I don’t know if it was just my imagination or what, but it felt as if I could feel the heat from the flames on my cheeks!

There was also this interesting art display thing where they’re apparently showing short films or something daily, we might go check that out some other day. The structure intrigued us – it was made from cargo bins (or whatever they’re called), it was quite interesting.

From there we went to Robson area and it was truly buzzing. We saw the zip line, which was insane. No way would I do that but it did look pretty cool and I enjoyed watching other people have fun with it! There were tons of people around, the streets blocked off to traffic so you could walk on the road and even that was pretty packed, but it didn’t seem to be quite as busy as I’d anticipated. It was busy but maybe it was just my mood, usually crowds make me tense and angry but I was there to enjoy whatever so I didn’t get frustrated at all. Everyone seemed pretty happy and enjoying themselves so there wasn’t anyone to be annoyed with! It was a good vibe.

We ended up having some lunch while Andrew napped in his stroller. We went to the Noodle House Express I think it was called, it was pretty good, and nice to sit for a few and have a bite to eat. Then we checked out BC Place area and wandered to David Lam Park where the big Coca Cola concert place is. The line up looked too crazy for us, given we’d already been out quite a while and Andrew would be wanting out of the stroller soon, it just didn’t make sense to wait in line to go in. We wanted to take him to the kids play area at the park (not in the Coca Cola place, but beside it) but it was raining too hard and he’d have got soaked so he didn’t get to roam free as I’m sure he would have liked.

Went through Yaletown on our way home, I stopped into a dollar store there that I like and ended up getting Andrew some Canucks booties for $5! What a steal!

We stopped at Hotel Vancouver on the way home to use the washroom and let Andrew run around a bit. He was charming people right left and centre. One woman said she didn’t want kids but he made her want to have one! James had him doing tricks like saying, ‘Andrew, do baby yoga!’ and he’d get into his pose. One guy came up to me and said he will be amazing when he goes to school and that he’s such a great boy. LOL It’s so sweet the way people are affected by his charms!

Daddy packed him on his shoulders most of the way home and more people were smiling at his cuteness. He had his Canada Olympics sweater (a gift from his great uncle) so he was looking pretty darn cute and patriotic.

We came home and I was sure he’d want to nap (or hopeful, since both James and I were totally beat from all the wandering about) but no such luck. After Andrew had a nice warm bath and was all cozy in his pj’s, James went for a nap and I was SURE the boy would nurse and nap but nope…he was raring to go! I guess because for the most part he’d been cooped up in his stroller the whole time we were out, so he hadn’t got his energies out. He was even kicking his legs while he nursed! LOL He did lots of playing and running around the apartment. At one point he got his basket of books down from by the tv and took them all out. I said, ‘Andrew, put the basket on your head!’ and he did right away. Then he put it back on the floor and I said, ‘Why don’t you get in your basket?’ and he did! It’s hilarious how much he knows, I mean seriously, how does he know what that means already?! He can’t speak at all yet he knows so much of what we’re saying, it’s crazy. I told James that we’ve got to start really thinking about what he hears us say because he probably understands more than we think he does.

James slept for 2 hours and then I was so zonked, I had to go in and wake him up to take over so I could sleep. I had hoped Andrew would nap with us so James wouldn’t have to get up but nope, he was still insanely energetic, jumping on the bed and just raring to go. While I slept, he discovered the kitchen witch hanging from the lighting (in the kitchen, obviously! lol) and apparently would cry if James didn’t hold him up to it to look at it. I hope he forgets about it because my arms will get so sore if he starts a routine of having to be lifted up to see the kitchen witch all the time!

He’s out cold in his crib now, exhausted from hours of play time. What a boy!

It was a fun day and it’s not over yet. We’re very ambitious today and heading out again soon for a little more excitement!

Olympic Fever

OK, not really. I don’t have Olympic Fever. But I definitely enjoyed the Opening Ceremonies. In fact, after getting home from seeing Arnold in the Torch Relay in the morning, I was really feeling the whole Olympic vibe. I put CTV on and watched more of the relay and listened to the news about all the goings on in the city. An impromptu Barenaked Ladies concert, a zipline running over Robson Square, thousands of people milling about on the streets. It was an exciting lead up to the Opening Ceremonies, I must say.

It was sad to hear about the tragic death of luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. What I found terribly disturbing was that they actually broadcast his last run at it, and his crash. There was a warning that the video would contain disturbing images but I honestly didn’t expect to see the actual accident taking place. Not only is it completely unnecessary for the public to see that, but imagine how awful it would be to be a friend or family member of the young man and to forever have that image implanted in your brain. I hate the media’s love affair with shock-value. It’s so disrespectful when it comes to someone’s life being taken.

That of course took away from the excitement of the games, but at the same time is sort of par for the course. Not that it was expected and it in no way makes it any lesser of a tragedy…but seeing the ‘sport’ of luge-ing…it looks like an accident waiting to happen. How anyone could willingly do that is beyond me. I hope the other lugers aren’t too nervous tomorrow and that this event was just a fluke accident that will never happen again.

That being said, I want to get back to happier times…The Opening Ceremonies really was amazing. I can’t decide what I loved most about it. I really liked the tree sequence when Sarah Mclachlan was singing…also the part with the whales, where it really looked as if they were swimming along and water was coming through the blow holes…I loved that Rick Hansen brought the torch out and that whole sequence of having a number of different people as torch bearers before Wayne Gretsky went with it at the end. I so wish we’d gone out for the fireworks, we could see some of it reflecting off the buildings across from us and it looked amazing, the way a fireworks show should be. But I don’t regret not going out for it because it was pouring rain and there’s no way I’d have wanted to bundle Andrew up for that!

Speaking of which, he was really good while we watched. He napped in my arms for the beginning part, then mostly played through the entire thing. I was entertaining him while also watching the show but it worked out well. He didn’t get fussy till it ended. Oh and he absolutely loved listening to K D Lang sing!

Oh, also the tap dancing was pretty amazing, I loved all the maple leaves. The whole thing was great really. I could have perhaps done without the opera and that guy who sang at the end but to each his or her own and really, it was good to have a diversity of performances. Oh and I could have done without the commentator, to be honest I thought he was a tad annoying at times. But all in all, it was amazing and I’m so glad we watched!

Phew, OK, that concludes my Olympics banter (for now)!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Vancouver 2010

Despite the fact that I knew the Olympics were coming to Vancouver, I haven’t really posted anything about it (till now). Mostly because I’ve been bitter about it, a believer that the billions of dollars spent on this 2 week event could have been put to much better use in the city. If I’d had a vote, I most definitely would have given it a big fat NO.

But the Olympics are here, whether good or bad. I know people who are sticking to their guns, arms crossed over their chests, blinds closed, not venturing out to get a taste for what it’s all about. I thought all along I would be one of those people, but when all is said and done the way I see it is, it’s happening and we’re paying for it, so why not embrace it at least to some degree? Andrew and I will still escape to the island in a few days to get away from it all for a while, since we don’t really need to be here for the entire duration. But I must say, it doesn’t hurt to get out there and feel like you’re a part of something. And given it’s the biggest event ever to be held in Vancouver – EVER! – it’s actually kind of amazing to be witnessing some of it first hand.

The other day when James got home from work, he casually mentioned that some co-workers had said Arnold Schwarzenegger would be carrying the Olympic torch through Stanley Park. I was immediately intrigued by this and said I wanted to see that happen! I got all caught up in it and even when I found out that he would be carrying the torch at 7 in the morning, I still wanted to go.

Last night we were humming and hawing about it because it came down to actually deciding if we were going to go, and let’s face it, getting up at 5:30 in the morning (at the absolute latest) to get ready when you have a baby who gets up several times through the night doesn’t sound like the greatest of plans. We would stand to lose a good 3 hours of sleep! We decided we’d set the alarm and see how it went…(if it was raining, for example, we might not bother).

When the alarm went off at 5:30, James put it on me to decide whether or not we would go. I went for it. (It wasn't raining!) I was a tad grumpy but we actually managed to get ready and be out the door in just over 20 minutes.

We ended up getting to pretty much the perfect spot in the park and indeed we saw The Governator in the relay. Where we were situated we didn’t actually see him carrying the lit torch, as it was coming up after him and then a little further down he would get the ‘torch kiss’ as they’re calling it. We did see that happen, but more from afar. But we did see him up close, he was maybe 10 feet away from us if that! I ended up only seeing the back of his head, I may have seen him straight on but it all happened so fast. I saw Gordon Campbell (the Premier) so I knew Arnold must be near him and that’s when I spotted the back of Arnie’s head, which looked EXACTLY like him, because, well, it WAS him! It was a cool moment, silly as it might sound.

We got a really good spot, there was just one row in front of us at the fence thing they had set up, but just before Arnold walked by, people started swarming the area and it became like a mosh pit. It really pisses me off the way people get in crowds, and it’s why I avoid them where possible. We could have all had a fine view, there was no reason to do what they did. One girl tried to put a huge camera in front of my face so she could get a picture but I pushed it out of the way and said Not Gonna Happen! Call me a bitch if you want to, I don’t care, we were there first! I was actually having to push backwards with all my might (I’m not exaggerating) in order to not fall forward, that’s how hard everyone else was pushing from behind me. It was bizarre. Luckily Andrew was on his Daddy’s shoulders – minutes earlier I was holding him in my arms and I don’t think it would have gone well if I’d been holding him in those conditions. Momma Bear would have been freaking out protecting her cub!!

It was pretty cool and I’m so glad we saw it, it was a once in a lifetime thing for sure. I was a little ticked that people were so keen on Arnold that they didn’t pay any attention to the person who was carrying the torch TO him, but I don’t know, I guess that’s to be expected, I mean it was The Terminator after all!

Andrew had fun, at first he was just in the stroller but I wanted him to get in on the action so I took him out, and I’m so glad I did or he’d have probably felt claustrophobic from all the swarming!

People from Coca-Cola were handing out Canada/Coke flags (sounds tacky and disgustingly commercial, which it was and is but what can you do) and Andrew was LOVING holding it and waving it around. He was quite smiley, which was great to see. He hadn’t been too pleased either about being woken at 5:30, but it was worth it for all of us.

We ended up seeing my s-i-l there with the bulldog and we went to another area and saw the torch go by another time, I got a great picture that time since there weren’t nearly as many people around (I imagine they were all still trying to follow Arnold!)
I could go on and on about all the downsides to the Olympics, but I’m not going to. I even have the Torch Relay on tv right now, and we’re going to watch the Opening Ceremonies on tv tonight. I’m not a huge fan of the Olympics and there aren’t that many events that I would want to see...It’s a nuisance having it be so busy in the city, but it’s also very exciting. It’s all how you choose to look at it, right? It’s here and it’s underway and there is a buzz that you can feel in the air.

Here’s hoping Canada takes many Gold medals!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's under YOUR fridge?

How often do you clean underneath your fridge? Or take everything out of your fridge, do a proper wipe-down of the interior, before putting everything back (that’s deserving of it)?

I feel like I don’t do this nearly often enough. Occasionally I’ll do a good clean of the inside of the fridge but very rarely do I pull the fridge out and clean underneath it. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

When we were moving from our last apartment, I had to do this job as part of the checklist of what needs cleaned before you hand in your keys. It was pretty grotesque what I found under there. I’m not even going to describe it here, it was that bad. I vowed that in our new place, I’d be more diligent about the cleanliness of our fridge and surrounding area.

But about two weeks after we moved, I got pregnant! And it wasn’t long after that I was faced with severe morning sickness and other pregnancy issues (not handling smells well, tiredness, etc) that kept me from the chore of cleaning under the fridge. I did clean the inside of it at some point, I think shortly before Andrew was born, (and I've done it since then) but what I’m getting at here is that due to the circumstances, I wasn’t keeping up with my ‘desire’ to keep up on this task.

Then the boy was born and honestly, when was I going to find the time or the energy to do it once he was here?!

Today, would be the answer to that question! LOL At the end of this month it will be 2 years since we moved into this place. Considering that, the state of the under-fridge wasn’t actually all that bad. But it was still pretty gross. How DOES so much dust collect under there, anyway?!

I had everything out of the fridge so it wasn’t heavy moving it, other than the fact that glass was being dragged and broken into little bits as I moved it. Just over a year ago, when I was really pregnant, James sent me out to get him some ginger ale (yeah, should have been the other way around, I know, but it’s a long story! LOL) and he ended up dropping one and it shattered all across the kitchen floor. Obviously some of the glass had made its way under the fridge. As well as a splattering of the beverage itself, which was caked with fuzzy dust bunnies – oh the joy! But honestly, it wasn’t as bad as what I found under the fridge in our old apartment, so it wasn’t so bad.

Andrew was such a good boy while I got that all cleaned up. Or so I thought! As it turns out, he had got a hold of the brand new roll of paper towel I was using to mop up some of the grime, and he had taken great pleasure in piece by piece ripping the roll of paper into little bits, which he then scattered across the living room carpet and into the front hall.

I’m beginning to realize: the quieter the child, the more likely it is they are up to no good!

My clever monkey

I’m on the lookout for some sort of small, plush toddler chair. I had Andrew’s old high chair (the one that’s just a seat meant to be attached to a regular chair) on the floor and he immediately went and sat on it to watch tv! Since then he has taken to sitting on a cardboard box (that the GD Tass order came in!)
If I put his umbrella stroller in the living room while I get things sorted for an outing, he sits on that.
He’s obviously telling me something. Mommy, I want a chair that’s my size! I looked at Sears, The Bay, and went to Toys R Us online.

Why is it always the way that when you decide you want something, you can’t find it anywhere? I even tried Craigslist and there’s nothing! Oh well, the cardboard box will do for now…I’ll keep my eyes peeled for something more plush and aesthetically pleasing! lol
Andrew is cuter than ever. Each and every day he gets cuter, just when I think it’s not possible for him to be any more amazing than he is now. His newest thing is ‘baby yoga.’ He gets into this ‘pose’ that looks like a yoga pose and I’ll say, ‘Baby yoga!’ and now if you say that, he’ll get into that pose. Then he grins because he loves it when he does what he’s told and gets praised for it. I know, I have to enjoy that while it lasts!!
He knows where his head, ears, tongue, knees, legs, and toes are. He points at each one. He will go fetch his balloon, Elmo toy, Tiny Tad. If I say, ‘Andrew, where’s your dump truck?’ he’ll go point at it and sometimes start playing. He of course knows the cats. And his books. I was reading 'Five Little Monkeys' to him today (after I asked him to go get it, and he went and got the right book out of his whole basket of books!) and when I said, 'No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed!' he shook his finger, because I sometimes do that when I'm reading it. He has a Canucks monkey attached to his bedroom curtain, and if you say, ‘Where’s your monkey’s nose?’ he goes right over and touches the monkey’s nose! He is freaking adorable and clever. If only he was as clever about sleeping through the night, but hey, you can’t have it all!!!
I just love him so much. I love to watch him sleep in my arms, especially after his night time feed and he’s fallen asleep for the first time of the evening. I usually hold him for a little while before transferring him to his crib and I just love to see him sleeping so soundly and happily in my arms. I think how he is only 13 ½ months old, and I wonder how it is that he didn’t exist before that. How could it be that I ever lived a moment of my life without him? How did the world exist before Andrew? I don’t even know how the earth turned without him! But then I guess it just means that the world is a better place now that he is here. And everything worked before because he was always meant to be with us, we all just had to wait till it was his time to arrive!
I’ve always had a sappy side to me, but with Andrew I am just absolute mush! I can’t help it.

(Who could blame me?!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

New template

I found this awesome blog template online...Still working on tweaking it to my liking but I am loving it! Why didn't I do this before?!

Anyway, stay tuned, I still want to work on it but have to find the time to do so!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Out enjoying the sunshine

My life is in a total rut right now. But how can it not be, right? I can’t exactly ‘mix things up’ – the boy needs routine!

I wouldn’t trade having a baby for ANYTHING in this world, but I will say to those of you who don’t have kids and have absolute freedom – don’t take it for granted! Enjoy it while you’ve got it! Relish in the fact that you only have to look out for yourself and can do whatever you feel like, to some extent at least. Once you have a child, all of that changes.

That being said, I do love my routines with Andrew. Its been sunny the past few days so I’ve been taking him to the park and he’s loving it so much, I can hardly wait till spring and summer when it’ll be warmer for being outside longer.

Yesterday, after being at the park for a while, we went to the aquarium. Andrew walked most of the way there from the park, which for a boy with such short little legs, was quite a feat (feet – haha!) We saw a seal show and Andrew enjoyed playing in the kid’s area.

Today we went and got some pictures developed at Black’s – which I highly recommend. They’re way cheaper than LD’s. While we waited for the hour to pick up the pics, we went to Sears and The Bay - didn't buy anything but checked out the toys for fun - then went and had a strawberry Julius and mexi fries from Taco Time. After picking up the pics, we went and saw James, had lunch in his work lunch room. Andrew had fun climbing on the couch and playing with the phone cord in there!

Now we’re home and the rest is history. Boy is napping and Mommy is contemplating doing the same…

Monday, February 08, 2010

A birthday recap

My birthday was nice – my mom took Andrew and me to White Spot for lunch. Boy was fussy till he caught sight of 2 kids at a table nearby – from there on in he was mesmerized by them! It’s so cute how babies/kids flock to each other, like they just know they’re part of this secret club.

The afternoon was fairly uneventful, but then James and I got to have our date night. I had SO been looking forward to going out just the two of us. We decided to try out a new restaurant that opened up a few blocks away. Every time we walked past it we would comment on how funky it looked. We went a few days before my birthday to take a look at the menu and make a reservation.

So when we arrived on my birthday, I was a little surprised when they asked us what kind of table we’d like. If you make an advanced reservation for 2, wouldn’t you think they’d have a table in mind, and for that matter ready for your arrival?! We said we wanted a booth. We thought the whole restaurant was what you could see from outside but it turns out there’s a whole back room, which is where the manager led us to. (Which, I might add, he did so after ONLY looking at James to say ‘right this way’ – as if I didn’t exist). We get to the back room and while it was nice, it didn’t have the same funky/romantic/lounge feel as the area at the front. But whatever, it was still nice and I hadn’t given it that much thought by that point. Until he seats us at a booth for 10 people and proceeds to clear 8 place settings while we sit there awkwardly waiting for him to leave. Oh and then he hands James his menu and then me. Call me old fashioned, but isn’t it kind of standard that the lady gets her menu first?

Anyway, so he leaves and we’re sitting so far away from each other and it’s not AT ALL how I pictured our date night. I had it all in my mind that we’d be sitting in a booth in the front enjoying the atmosphere of the lounge. I was a bit rage-y, not like birthday-zilla or anything but James could sense my disdain for the manager and where he sat us. Then James noticed how interrogative the lighting was at this particular booth. It just didn’t feel right to either of us.

So finally, rather than just putting up with it, we asked to be moved to the front and luckily there was still a booth available so we were moved. I’m so glad we were able to do that because otherwise I think the night could have gone sour. From there on in it was just how I had hoped it would be. We shared our meals – James got a mushroom ravioli that was seriously to die for, and I got a Pad Thai that was deliciously spicy. We ended up switching after a few bites because we liked each other’s meals better than our own, though they were both really good. Not huge portions for the cost but it was quality over quantity for sure. We were there for over 2 hours, had some yummy drinks and even a cheese plate for dessert!

When we got home my mom said she was surprised to see us already, even though we’d been out for about 3 hours by that point. She was having so much fun with Andrew! He was such a good boy for his Gramma. Just after we got home, my bro and s-i-l got here and brought cheesecake. It was so good – there were 8 slices of cheesecake, 4 different flavours, so we were able to sample a bunch of different types.

All in all it was a great day. My parents got me a gift certificate to one of my favourite clothing stores, a pair of pj’s, socks, a new travel mug (which I asked for!), a keepsake birthday cupcake thing where you can blow out the candle (hard to explain, but really cute!), and a few other ‘30’ theme gifts.

Andrew got me a very pretty pair of silver earrings with amethyst stones in them – I was very impressed with his purchase! =) A beautiful keepsake for Momma’s 30th birthday. And James got me Michael Jackson’s ‘This is It’ dvd and the 2 disc cd as well. I watched it last night and I love it. Still missing MJ, I still sometimes can’t believe that he’s gone.

My bro and s-i-l got me tickets to see Michael Buble in August, so I’ll be going with my mom, I’m quite excited about that!

I also got moolah from my grandma and some lovely Body Shop stuff – a new line called Love Etc that smells sooooo nice! And my aunt and uncle got me a pretty top, bath stuff and a bottle of champagne.

How spoiled can one person get?!

I’m very lucky, that’s for sure.

Then on Saturday my dad came over for the day so we all hung out before my parents had to leave for the last ferry home. James and my dad and I took Andrew to a nearby park and he was totally in his glories. He was running around, LOVED the swing - the higher he was pushed, the more he giggled. It was so cute to watch him play. Yesterday we got together with my aunt and uncle and went for a nice walk along the sea wall, which Andrew slept through. The weekend went by so fast, as it always tends to do, but it was good nonetheless.

I wish James had more time off though, it sucks being without him all week. The boy is napping right now…Of course he is, or I wouldn’t be able to sneak in time to write! It’s so sunny so we really should go somewhere today. I’m so tired and feel lazy and don’t want to do anything but I should probably do my best to shake that and get out there. Andrew loves excursions! We’ll see where the day takes us…

Friday, February 05, 2010

First day as a 30-something

My mom came over for my birthday. I didn’t want to go to the island because we’ll be going over in a little over a week and travelling with Andrew on the ferry is SO exhausting so I didn’t want to do it so much in a row. I had told my mom not to worry about coming over, that we could do a birthday celebration once we’re on the island, but she insisted on being here for my big day.

She’s never not seen me on my actual birthday, and with turning 30 she really wanted to see me. Which now, being a mom myself, I can understand. Having birthed Andrew and now having it in my mind and heart how absolutely beautiful and special his birthday is, it will be a sad day when he no longer spends it with his Momma! Which undoubtedly I know will happen…Daughters probably tend to see their moms more on their birthdays than sons…although I could be totally wrong on that. But in my family that seems to be the way of it – my brother doesn’t tend to see my mom on his birthday anymore.

So I’m 30…as of 7:10 this morning! I don’t feel any different than I did yesterday…I don’t have to break out the walker just yet ;)

I guess it’s all too much for Andrew – he went down for a nap at 10am! Far earlier than his usual. He’s such a sweet boy.

Last night I went out with my mom, bro and s-i-l for one last hurrah in my 20s….Also to go to the lounge at the hotel nearby, since as off 11 last night it was closing down for the duration of the Olympics. Since we love it there, we thought we’d take advantage of the ‘last night.’ It was fun – good drinks, conversations. I wish James and my dad could have been there (and Andrew, in 18 years when he’s legal! LOL) but it was fun nonetheless. Great to be out since it’s such a rarity that I get to do that. I’ve been making more of an effort lately to try to get time out without Andrew though – it’s important to do that. I feel like I’m abandoning him when I detach myself from him even just for a couple of hours but I know I KNOW that it has to be done for the health of myself but also for him, because he really shouldn’t be so attached to me that he can’t be away from me at all!

And he seems to be doing well without his Momma…not sure if that should make me happy or sad! Haha. But he fell asleep earlier than his usual – I think James said he fell asleep at like 9:30 or something…when his ‘normal’ currently is 11-12. And I was certain he’d be up soon after I got home for a feed since he hadn’t breast fed since 5pm. But nope, not till 3am! I couldn’t believe it. It’s good, it’s good! Sure a teensy part of me was like why isn’t my boy waking up to get Momma cuddles?! But at the same time I was breathing a sigh of relief to get to sleep a little bit before having to be there for him.

At the lounge we pretty much know all the staff. My mom told B she was over because it was going to be my birthday…well he had a trio of desserts done up for us to share and it even said Happy Birthday in chocolate around the plate! Like how Andrew got his cheesecake done for his birthday as a present from the staff. They are so good to us there.

So nothing eventful has happened birthday-wise yet. My mom is staying in the guest suite here in our building but she must still be sleeping because I haven’t heard from her yet! I got a text from my s-i-l welcoming me to the 30-something club! And of course James was the first to say Happy Birthday. He told Andrew it was Mommy’s birthday so give her a kiss and Andrew leaned over to my mouth. How sweet is that?! It’s so funny because when he first learned about kissing, for some reason he would open his mouth up wide and stick his tongue out and his kisses were very sloppy. Now I ask for kisses ALL the time, I swear I am asking him to kiss Momma like every 5 minutes! LOL And so he’s taken to just leaning in toward my mouth but he barely even does anything more than that, because he knows I’ll give him a kiss, he doesn’t really have to move his lips. LOL He is way too cute.

Did I mention he has blown kisses a few times?! Super cute. And he has totally got the high five down pat, it’s priceless!

I’m glad my mom did come over for my birthday. It’ll be nice not to just be on my own with Andrew for the afternoon, and I am soooo looking forward to a romantic dinner out just my husband and me!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

30 years young

So I’m turning 30 in 2 days.

No longer a twenty-something!

Not quite sure where all those years went. But, looking at it with optimism, I’ve still got plenty of years left to enjoy. I’m happy with where I’m at turning 30. I could look at it as some huge crisis that I’m ‘getting old’ or whatever but seriously?! There’s always going to be someone who’s older than me! And 30 isn’t very old when you look at the average human life span =)

In fact, I’d like to think my 30s will be my best years yet. I have pretty well accomplished everything I had wanted to by the time I was 30. I found the love of my life while I was still in my teens (18), got my degree in Criminology in my 20s (26), got married to the love of my life shortly after (27), and was adamant that I wanted to start a family by the time I was 30 – preferably with baby being born by the time I was 29. Well, Andrew was born just a little over a month before my 29th birthday.

In my twenties I moved a couple of times (Burnaby to West End, West End to Coal Harbour). Travelled – to numerous places in Holland, California, went to Seattle, New York, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, US Virgin Islands, the East Coast of Canada.

When I start to write things down, it actually seems like I did a lot this past decade! When you’re living it and it’s all happening over the span of those 10 years, it doesn’t feel like quite as much. But yes, I’d say I’ve accomplished a lot in my 20s, and I look forward to what my 30s will bring.

James and I had a conversation last weekend about the importance of ‘planning’ your decades. He seemed to think it’s a good idea for a person to have a list of goals for each decade to work toward. I agree – although I struggle with it somewhat, since I think it’s really hard to know what you might want to do as the years go on. How I feel now might be very different from how I feel at 35, for example. But of course nothing has to be set in stone!

At this point in time, my main goals for this decade are as follows:

If Andrew is to have a sibling, this of course must happen this decade! I’m thinking Baby #2 should arrive sometime around March or April 2012…Or thereabouts!! I know in my heart of hearts that I want Andrew to have a sibling. But I do feel like crashing on the floor and sobbing uncontrollably in fetal position at the mere thought of having another child at this point in time! LOL It just seems like such an overwhelming task, caring for two very young children at once. It’s tiring enough with just the one. I’m definitely not ready for a second yet, but that’s OK because I don’t have to be! It’s something to think about for the future, and in the meantime I get to enjoy my sweet baby boy as a singleton!

Another accomplishment I’d like to see happen this next decade is to use my degree in some way, shape or form. I don’t see it as a waste of time or money (even if we will be paying off my student loan debt till the end of time…) because it helped shape who I am and taught me a lot of valuable things. I would still like to see a bit more benefit from it though. Work wise, it would be wonderful to do something linked to my degree, something following my interests so I’d feel like rather than wasting my time at some job I hate, I’d get the chance to be productive in a field I enjoy. If the degree doesn’t happen to coincide with work, however, I definitely would like to use it in my writing.

Which brings me to my next goal…I’d really like to write something in my 30s that is worth publishing. I’ve started a lot of things but never close to the point of finishing. It might be in the later part of the decade, if I don’t start getting my act together soon, but it’s definitely a goal of mine to write something publishable before the decade is over.

I also – in the next year most likely – want to have a better idea of where we want to live longer term and make a move to a bigger place. We’ll still be renting, because let’s face it we don’t have the means to purchase. BUT that’s OK – renting is fine, we just need more space than what we have here! We’re thinking most likely we’ll be heading back to Burnaby for the longer term. We love it downtown but it’s way too expensive and the spaces we can afford are so small. A 2-3 bedroom townhouse would be just the ticket for our needs! I love our place here and will be sad to leave it for sure, but I look forward to moving in the not so distant future.

That’s about it…Oh and of course I’d love to take Andrew to Disneyland once he’s old enough!!!

Those are my general goals for the next decade (not to mention the obvious ones – to be healthy, happy, etc!)

But for now, I will relish the fact that I am still a twenty-something for the next couple of days =)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

One tired Momma

I am never too thrilled when the monitor goes off, Andrew in full fledged cry mode. But it’s not as bad on nights when he has a quick feed, drifts back to sleep, and willingly goes back to his crib. This is not one of those nights unfortunately.

No, this is instead one of the all-too-frequent nights of him feeding, falling back to sleep, but as soon as I put him down in his crib he wakes with a start, sits up, freaks out if I don’t pick him up again.

Then he’ll fall asleep immediately in my arms, but if I try to put him down again, all hell breaks loose.

He’ll sleep on the couch beside me (as he’s doing now) but in the crib on his own? Noddachance.

It’s so frustrating for me because I end up feeling so beat by mid-morning/early afternoon. Yesterday we had swimming in the morning and while he napped when we got home I felt sooooo draaaaiiiiiined physically, I couldn’t do a damn thing. I napped for about 20 minutes but the problem is I have a hard time sleeping during the day, even though I’m so dead tired. It’s a vicious circle for sure!

It’s not like I don’t muster the energy to still do things. I play with Andrew, we go on our little outings, I maintain order in this place and get done what needs doing. I made a very delicious (if I do say so myself!) homemade lasagna for our dinner, AND whipped up a batch of cookies!

But I still really feel the ‘tired’ and it’s getting to be too much sometimes. By 4pm I am so wiped that I start to feel desperate and count down the time till James gets home. Which doesn’t mean I am then off the hook and can go rest – since Andrew seems to get extra clingy/needy after supper time and even though James might say I could go nap, it rarely actually happens because I can’t sleep through Andrew beating at the bedroom door (he bangs his head against it when he knows I’m in there!) or crying out etc.

It’s just a big help to know James is home and can help distract Andrew or help get him bathed/ready for bed/play with him so I can gulp down a coffee in hopes for a bit of an energy boost, although it never really lasts for long (the energy boost, if any).

I never thought I could feel this tired. If I could just get a proper nights sleep on a semi-regular basis, it would make a world of difference. Running on an hour here, an hour there feels like it should be a newborn schedule but not a 13 months schedule. I just don’t know what to do. I leave him crying for a solid hour…Other babies will cry themselves to sleep and then form a new pattern of just sleeping through the night. But clearly that’s not the way it works for my boy. He cries harder and louder the longer he’s left to his own devices. I can’t stand listening to it over an extended period. I really don’t know what to do to get it through his head that sleeping through and letting Momma rest during the night means she’ll have more energy through the day to do fun stuff!

It’s 4:30 in the morning now and I’ve had about 2 hours sleep. 3 hours till James is up to leave for work and it all starts over for me again. That leaves so little time for me to sleep and recharge. Guess I’ll try to trick Andrew back into his crib so I can at least get what little sleep time in that is left for this night…

Monday, February 01, 2010

A peace building approach

As I know I’ve mentioned before, it’s hard to find the time to both write about Andrew and his daily activities/cuteness AND write about the goings on in my own brain – other interests and tidbits of info that don’t totally involve the boy.

But I’m going to do what I can to make the effort to show the world that I am still ME, Elizabeth, a woman with interests, thoughts, concerns, desires ALL HER OWN…not just regarding the wee babe. He is always going to be tied to me and my decisions and a lot of my interests will naturally be linked to him. Which is fine, the way it should be. But I don’t want people to think that I have completely lost myself.

It’s easy to get lost behind ones own child, as it feels natural to not only put them first but just plunk them there on a pedestal and make everything all about them! And for me it was impossible NOT to do that for Andrew’s first year. And most days still for that matter (hey, cut me some slack, he only just turned 13 months yesterday!)

BUT not to sound selfish, I have to find time for things that are more ‘me’ centered…Perhaps there is a better way to word that, as I don’t see how anything in this world could feel more me centered than my boy. But you know what I mean, right?!

I still have certain passions and interests, and concerns about the world. Since bringing new life into the world, I have more interest than ever in exploring things and seeing the bright side where possible. I also have more concerns than ever, since I’m not just selfishly seeing how the world impacts me, but rather thinking longer-term into the future of how things will affect Andrew and perhaps even his children, and theirs, and so on.

One of the interests o’ mine that I really want to delve back into is my background (if you can call a bachelor’s degree a ‘background’?!) in Criminology.

As you might know if you’ve read my blog(s) over time, I found my passion in Restorative Justice while working toward my degree in Criminology at SFU some years ago.

The idea of a kinder, more human(e) approach to justice appealed to me from the moment I learned what a restorative, or peace-making approach entailed.

To bring people together in the form of mediation, to help people’s voices get heard, to have the whole process of a crime and healing be humanized – right away I thought, These are all components of a form of justice I can stand by!

Peace building isn’t just reserved for crimes, either. It’s a way of life. It’s smiling at people when you walk past them on the street, or at the very least not averting your eyes where possible. It’s being kind to others, recognizing that their story is different from yours. Realizing that everyone is on their own path, on their own trip so to speak, that things happen for a reason. Being empathetic, compassionate, caring, as understanding as possible. Working toward a better world, being as harmonious as possible.

It’s not all flowers and rainbows and it doesn’t work in all situations. But I do think it’s a good way to structure your core, your values and beliefs. I want to teach Andrew to be kind toward others and to realize that not everyone has the same opportunities. Not everyone is loved the way he is used to being loved. It doesn’t excuse a person’s behaviour if it causes them to act out – people still have to be accountable for their actions – but it’s important to hear their side of things too and understand where they’re coming from.

But going back to a restorative approach to crimes in particular, I definitely stand by the idea that it IS possible for wrongs to be righted – not forgotten, not fixed entirely, but made better for the purpose of closure and better understanding of why things happened the way they did. It’s not just an idea but rather has proven itself to be effective in numerous cases.

The important thing to remember being that it can only work if all parties are open to it. You can’t have a one-sided mediation. Everyone has to want to work together, and for the right reasons.

(More on this topic later).

Me time!

(Written yesterday)

This weekend I not only had 3 hours of ‘me’ time, but also a date with my husband! Both totally rare events, and much needed.

After a big grocery shop on Saturday, James took Andrew out for a couple of hours. I was going to stay home, get a few chores done, putter about, maybe do some writing. Then I thought, NO WAY, I’ve GOT to get out of the house. If I’m at home I get into these ruts of the things I end up doing and I knew I’d do silly things like steam mop the floors and start some laundry – all things that needed doing, yes, but also things that could wait.

So I got in touch with my bro and s-i-l and we went out for drinks. I pretty much never see them anymore sans Andrew so it was nice to go out and have more ‘adult’ conversations. Not that I don’t love getting together with them and the babe, since I want them to have a strong relationship. But it sort of felt more like old times, where we used to just hang out and chat and have a little fun.

I ended up staying out for 3 hours! Which isn’t a long time, but for me it feels like it. It’s funny because I noticed my bro and s-i-l had no real concept of time – they could be out till whenever. Yes, they’ve got their bulldog to go home to, but she can be on her own longer than a few hours if need be. Whereas despite that I was having a great time, I felt compelled to start checking the time near the end there, because I was worried Andrew would start getting fussy. I know my boy well – just as we were getting up to leave, James called to let me know that Andrew was crying for his Momma!

Then today James’ bro and gfriend babysat so we could go see Avatar in 3-D. James had already seen it (with his bro) and wanted me to see it. So it finally happened. I now know what all the hype was about! And I can honestly say, I had it built up to be pretty spectacular because of what everyone was saying, and it definitely lived up to the hype. I loved it. There were a few parts here and there (more near the beginning) where I was concerned it was going to flounder, but then it picked up and everything pieced together and I felt so emotional when it was over. I even shed a few tears! LOL I just felt like I needed time to process it all. I want to go live in that world.

It was great to have a bit of time to do other things than just parent. I was happy to get home to Andrew through, I did miss him while we were out.

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