Sunday, 21 August 2011

Weekend Adventures

When I was pregnant people often asked me whether I had a preference for a boy or a girl.  We opted not to find out before the baby was born, and I loved the feeling of anticipation for the moment the doctor says "it's a...", but I couldn't say I ever really had a preference exactly.  I sort of always imagined having a girl because since I am a girl and it's all I've ever known it was my comfort zone, and I just didn't really think beyond that. Also, let's be honest, the aisles of pink in the baby stores just always totally got my "awww" juices flowing.  But almost as soon as I knew I was pregnant I had this feeling I was going to have a boy.  Something in my gut told me not to paint the baby's room pink just yet.

Turns out I was right, and baby boys rock!  My boy has taught me so much about letting loose, taking chances, and indulging in wild (and often messy) fun.

But this weekend I had a very special treat because I got to babysit my good friends baby girl all day on Saturday.  Jake loves moving, he loves being busy and taking off on new adventures.  There is so much to do and see and explore and dig up that there often isn't the time to just snuggle up to mama for a long cuddle.  So this weekend when I had a girl that was content just to quietly play with her toys by my side, and turned herself into me for a long leisurely cuddle just because she felt like it, I settled back into our couch with her and just soaked it all up.  She even fell asleep on my shoulder at one point, can you imagine!  she just wrapped her arms around my neck, burrowed her soft head into my neck and passed out.  I was in heaven.  Plus I got to dress her in pink summer dresses and cute flowered sun hats.  I now have a new understanding of the old truth "every child is different." It is amazing sometimes just how large those differences can be.

But all differences aside I still love my boy best, and spending the day with him and his daddy today reminded me again how awesome a life with boys is.

This morning we rode our bikes to the play ground on Granville Island, and of course as I was packing our day pack I completely over looked the fact that Jake would be more interested in the adjoining water park.  So, we arrived with a dry toddler.... 

....and left with a toddler sitting in his bike seat wearing only his diaper and his helmet, and a back pack full of wet clothes.

I had more foresight in the afternoon when we went for an afternoon mystery trip to Deep Cove. The weather was hot and muggy and the beach was just calling Jake's name.  Fearless as ever he b-lined it straight into the water where he happily watched boats coming in and out of the harbor, and collected rocks in his buckets.

One day. Two adventures. Four outfits. Three happy Boyds.

Mama and Jake taking a 30 second rest. Make that 15 seconds.

Another pretty darn good Sunday with the guys.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Boats and Bikes

Yesterday was a very memorable day for me.

The office where I work had our annual team building excursion.  Normally, every year when this time approaches I feel an odd combination of both excitement and reluctance.  I am excited because it is a break in the ordinary, something different to pull you out of the mundane office life, but the reluctance is there too because it often disappoints as a "team building" experience, and I always came home feeling like we totally missed the point.

But this year, was different.  This year was AWESOME.  The activity planned was just amazing, and for the first time ever each member of our office was totally into it.  I was looking forward to this trip for days in advance, I couldn't wait.  I felt like I used to in elementary school when our grade 4 class had a day long field trip planned to the aquarium or science world.   

This year we went on a sea scape outdoor adventure.  We divided our 10 person office into two teams of 5, each group piling into a little 6 person boat before taking off to ocean waters in pursuit of the items and questions on our scavenger hunt.  We spent 3 hours racing around on the wide open waters, buzzing over giant waves left behind monstrous passenger ferries and hard working tug boats. We discovered tiny islands, and hidden coves. We bobbed along with lazy seagulls and laughed at curious seals that popped their heads up at the sound of us approaching.  We each took turns driving the boat, some of us more cautious then others, and worked together to find all the answers on our crinkled and salt stained sheets of paper.  When we all got back to the marina we shared stories over ice cold drinks and fresh crunchy french fries. It was team building at its best.

But the part that struck me most was just how gorgeous this part of the world is.  Too often I take for granted the raw beauty of the environment around me, but today as I was zipping around in our little boat I just couldn't imagine any place in the world more spectacular than this. The west coast of Canada is wild and magical, inspiring and rich with life, but most of all it is home.  My home. My family's home. And I love it.

Moving on... tonight my bike finally made it home from the fix-it shop with brand new tires, tuned up chains and gears and a shiny new child's bike seat affixed securely behind my own. We could barely inhale our dinners fast enough before strapping on our helmets and mounting our bikes for an early evening family ride along the beach to watch the sun as she made her dissent for the day.

Jake loved it.  He took to his new monster helmet like he'd been wearing it all his life.  And as I peddled along the sun heated asphalt with his daddy hot on our tail he cheered us on shouting "Go! Go! Go!"

Our first family bike adventure was officially a success, and I am already looking forward to our next trip out.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The Big Red Truck

A few days ago, Jake and I went to a small festival in our neighborhood.  There was ice cream, face painting, a fishing post, and outdoor play toys are far as the eye could see.  Somewhere between tasting his first doughnut and eyeing the face painting station suspiciously we got word that their was a fire truck parked just across the street. I've never seen a kid ditch a doughnut so quickly....

He sat in the front seat and got touched the big wheels.  The friendly firemen even let him crawl around the cab like he owned the place.  He circled the truck about 3 dozen times with grin on his face that stretched ear to ear. If I could guess I would say it was the best day of his life so far.

Needless to say we never did get around to the face painting. 

Monday, 8 August 2011

The days before Monday

Sometimes Monday mornings are a real kick in the teeth. The endless week looms ahead, the promise of two precious days off is so far away it seem like a dream, and a strong and steady caffeine infusion offers the best hope for getting this first long and grumpy day over with. 

This was one of those Mondays for me.  I woke up late (too late to shower), I forgot my sunglasses on the brightest day we've had all year, and my wallet on the day I needed a decent latte more than ever.  I was happy I managed to brush my teeth and kiss my baby before running out the door.

I just knew from the start it was gonna be a long one.  But on these tough, out of sort Mondays, I always fall back on one thing, the memory of the two little glorious days before it.  And oh how glorious our last weekend was. We packed Jake up in the car and headed south to visit his great grandfather for a family slumber party, and it.was.amazing.  The sun shone, the flowers bloomed, the conversation was fun and comforting.  Whether he was running around the garden searching for new adventures and discoveries, wading through sand bars with his super cool Uncle Jon, or sitting on the porch with his GG watching his dad and uncle duke it out over an intense game of Bocce, my boy had no problem finding ways to entertain himself.  The world was his oyster, and all I had to do was sit back and let him go discover it.  

Chillin' on the patio
This guy spent a good 45 minutes escorting his GG's walker up and down the ramp.  

So I chose to survive this Monday on bad instant coffee and flashbacks of this perfect weekend: sipping out of cold glasses on colorful patios, making up for lost time with family members we've missed for too long, playing silly card games until all hours of the night, stretching out on perfectly manicured lawns to drink in the sun. Laughing together. Eating together. Being together.

Hello Gorgeous
Just thinking about it gave me enough gas to get on with my day, and around noon I found myself doing something I wouldn't have thought I would do when I got up this morning.  I broke out in to a fit of giggles thinking back to a little incident involving strawberries, peanut butter and good intentions.

Playing Bocce
Keeping track of any cheats

Yes, those two little days, where time flies far too quickly, are the best part of my beat-the-monday-blues regime. And today just thinking about them made it all better.



 Good night Monday, see you next week.
Even the car had a good weekend

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Cow bells and Alphorns

This past long weekend we celebrated the Swiss National holiday by traveling up to a local mountain top, eating bratwurst, listening to some folk music, and camping over night with about a trillion mosquitoes and some other brave hearted Swiss.

I have been doing this since I was about 2 months old.  My parents would pack up our family tent and schlep my sister, myself and my brother up to a local rustic chalet in the woods to celebrate the country of their birth and their nationality.  I have decided to continue the tradition with my own son, since it is after all a part of his heritage too.

At first I was nervous about camping over night in a tent with a 16 month old while accordion music blasted away nearby well into the night, but my worries turned out to be needless because Jake handled it like a rock star.

My boy is Swiss.

And lovin' every minute of it!

He stayed up late listening to traditional Swiss folk music, giggling, clapping and shaking his bootie to the beats until dark.

He cuddled up with his Oma and leaned into her as she whispered Swiss rhymes and songs into his ears. He ate rye buns, and sampled bratwurst and nussgipfel, but made a pass on the potato salad. Then when his heavy eyes could take no more he crashed in our tent as the sounds of alphorns lulled him to sleep.

And the best part is, we get to do it all again next year.