Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Maggie

Meet my niece:

Is she not the most gorgeous child you have ever seen (apart from mine, of course)?


and then, she {snapped}Photobucket

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Travels, Part 2

The second leg of our trip out East took us to Ontario's beautiful cottage country.  The weather forecast for the week was mixed, but it ended up being sunny every. single. day.  Which was just the Vitamin D I needed after the distinct lack of summer we experienced on the West coast in July.

My sister and her brood joined us from Boston, so Lilah was rarely without a playmate, in contrast to the quiet of the Nova Scotia leg of our trip, during which she had to amuse herself solely with adults and nature (oh, okay fine, and the occasional DVD).

It was a fantastic week.

There was spray park-ing,


This little cricket got stuck between the two glass panels of the sliding door.  Poor Jiminy!
Mugging for the camera,

Hanging out on the dock enjoying the late afternoon sun and the slight breeze off the lake,

And of course, jumping.  Lots and lots of jumping.

Our attempt at recreating last year's photo.  Should I be embarassed that I'm wearing the same bikini again?
Lilah could not be convinced to get into the lake by any means of entry, airborne or otherwise, so she spent a lot of time watching her older cousins have at it.

She did, however, do some dryland training.  (Possibly in preparation for next year?)

But by far the highlight of our entire trip was the family bonding time.  I can never get enough of seeing Lilah enjoy and be enjoyed by her grandparents.

A girl and her grandad.
Can't wait to do it all again next year!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Four Years and Counting

Four years ago today, the Hubs and I tied the knot.  It was an amazing, overwhelming, fulfilling, stunning, intense, joyous, emotional, incredible experience, and I am happy to say that the feelings that were so palpable that day are still very much alive and kicking, even if sometimes muted by the demands of everyday life with a toddler.

In honour of our anniversary, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and link up with Natalie at Mommy of a Monster & Twins for Down the Aisle

To me, this photo just sums up that "Phew, we did it!" feeling.  The formal part was over with and now it was time to relax, mingle, eat and drink.  We had our guests throw rose petals instead of rice or confetti and I love how our photographer caught them mid-air as well as strewn on the floor. 

The picture was also taken right before my friend's older brother decided to form a handful of petals into a hard, compact little ball and whip it at me as hard as he could from close range (which, sadly, didn't get caught on camera).  So there's that.

To my dear Hubs: happy fourth anniversary!  I'm usually pretty wordy and enjoy heavy over-use of adjectives (see first paragraph above), but today I can sum up our marriage pretty succinctly: it just works.  And that joy that our photographer captured in this photo?  I still feel it, and much, much more.

Let's BEE Friends

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: Travels, Part 1

I am both blessed and cursed to have family spread out all over North America.  It means we have places to stay and people to visit, but it also means Lilah sees her grandparents and some of her cousins only a of couple times a year, at most.

Two weeks ago, we packed up and headed to the other side of Canada.  The first leg of our journey was spent with my mum and her husband on the Fundy coast of Nova Scotia.  Their neck of the woods boasts the highest tides in the world, and the scenery is equally striking and severe.  Sadly, the special charger for my camera battery neglected to cross the country at the same time as we did and didn't catch up with us until the second leg of our trip, so there were many lost photo opportunities.  But I was able to capture some of the many highlights from our week spent in this gorgeous part of the country and will share them here:

 My mum's bountiful and lovingly tended garden and greenhouse.  

Especially the picking (and of course eating) of large quantities of raspberries.  They are best fresh off the bush and we (read: Lilah) truly made the best of the plentiful supply!

Carrots were also fun to harvest.

The eating... not so much, judging by this face:

Throwing rocks into the ocean.  Always hit, no matter what coast or time zone we happen to find ourselves in.

Hot tubbing. 'Nuff said.

Oh, and did I mention the scenery was pretty spectacular too?

More photos from the Ontario portion of our trip to come.

Until then, happy Wednesday.


Monday, August 22, 2011


Sistah in the ruby slippers really knew what she was talking about - there's no place like home.  While I really didn't want our vacation to end, it is a relief to be home. To just be.

The trek home was a little hairy. Our flight was delayed and we were confined to the airplane far longer than anyone should be with a two-year-old, and Lilah was not the same well-behaved child she had been on all the other flights we had taken.  She was a crazy maniac for most of the flight, prompting me, on more than one occasion, to look over at the Hubs and say, "Whose kid is this?"  I nearly lost my marbles.

But walking in the door to our condo on Saturday night I felt my load lighten. Phew, we made it!

Sunday was spent outside with our incredible neighbour-friends; a perfect reminder of what we are so lucky to come home to.  And even now, as I look around the apartment at bags half unpacked, exploding with clothes, and toys strewn around the living room after getting re-acquainted with Lilah, I feel the peace that accompanies a good homecoming. I am sure it won't last long, as the to-do lists get longer, the unfolded laundry piles up and the idiosyncracies of our small, cramped space start to get on my nerves again.

Today we woke up to buckets of rain, typical of Vancouver in the fall, winter and spring.  Usually in mid-August, this would have me feeling all "woe is me", but today I took it as an invitation to spend time at home, unpacking and falling back into familiar patterns.

Home has its own distinct scent, and its own special feel.  And tonight I am drinking it in.  Yes, it's good to be home.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Blue Skies

We're back from an incredible two-week vacation, the second half of which was spent with this as our view/pool/playground:

Morning sky on Lake Muskoka
I mean, seriously, how lucky were we?

Stay tuned, more vacation photos to come!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Good Neighbours, Great Friends

I'm not sure what was happening with the water in our condo complex in the summer and fall of 2008, but a whole lotta babies were conceived, and now there are at least half a dozen children around the age of two milling about in our courtyard at any given time of day.  They have begun to travel in a pack, and it won't be long before their plans for world domination are complete.  In the meantime, we simply sit back, relax, and enjoy the chaos. I'm not sure Lilah realizes how lucky she is to have so many wonderful, adorable playmates in such close proximity. 

I, on the other hand, being the wise and sage adult that I am, realize how special this is.  To be able to step outside our back door into a huge backyard that comes complete with same-aged playmates is such an incredible bonus, and it has kept us in our tiny ground floor aparment far longer than we intended to stay (well... that and Vancouver's insane housing market).

Before Lilah came along, we mainly stayed within the confines of our patio, not realizing what an incredible resource we had just beyond the gate.  These days, that gate is like a magic portal for Lilah, opening up to a world of adventure, play, and friendship.  But it isn't just the children who have formed strong bonds (and when I say strong, I mean, in some cases, almost sibling-like, as evidenced by the sibling rivalry these kids sometimes display). The parents have also become close, and the Hubs and I now count some of these amazing people among our inner circle.

As we often have to reassure inquisitive strangers:
"Nope, not twins.  Not even related, though they sometimes fight like siblings."
This is the type of friendship that is effortless.  All we have to do is run across the courtyard and knock on the door - or in Lilah's case, stand at the threshold to their patio, rattling the gate and screaming their child's name.  Yes, these friendships were borne of convenience, but they are solidified by the discovery of similar values, common beliefs, and shared experiences.  Every time we run across the courtyard to borrow a cup of sugar (and yes, that actually does happen), or offer last-minute babysitting services,or decide that we are too lazy to cook and we should all just order sushi together, we are raising our village.  The very same village that turns back around and helps us raise our children.

These are the kind of friends who don't judge your parenting when your kid is having a rough day and lashes out at theirs; the kind you feel comfortable leaving your child with at any given moment; the kind who could and would, if necessary, seamlessly and gently discipline your child  in your absence.  (Also the kind who would drop everything to courier you the charger for the special lithium battery for your beloved D-SLR camera while you are vacationing across the country.  Yes, this actually happened too.  Forgetting it at home was not my proudest moment.)

This isn't the first time I have written of the sense of community we have found where we are living, and it won't be the last.  I feel so incredibly lucky to have stumbled upon such good neighbours, such great friends, and such a supportive parenting community, all in one fell swoop.

Let's BEE Friends

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Backwards

This is what happens when Daddy is in charge of helping Lilah into her swimsuit:

When I laughed so hard there were tears rolling down my cheeks, the Hubs was all, "Wha?  What's so funny?"

Monday, August 15, 2011

When I Am Me.

Inspired by Be Enough Me, I started thinking about when I am most me.  That's a hard thing to define, given that there are so many different definitions of me.  What side of me shows depends on the specific situation in which I find myself at any given moment. There is a lot of me in my job, working with young children as a speech therapist, and of course I pour almost all of my me-ness into parenting Lilah. 

But one thing that is just for me is my martial arts practice. I am so very me when I am riding a wave of endorphins and sweating it out alongside my classmates.  Perhaps it is because, through martial arts, I get in touch with my more macho side; the side that doesn't feel the need to deflect a compliment and walks with a bit of a strut; the side that is less inhibited and more self-assured.

It is incredibly liberating to set aside many of the expectations of my gender for a short time.  As I change out of my own clothes and into my gi (uniform), I also shrug off much of my femininity and the social "obligations" that accompany it.

While the number of women joining various martial arts seems to me to be increasing, the ratio of men to women  is still far from equal.  Now that I have moved up to an intermediate level Jiu Jitsu class, there are fewer women to partner with, but I really don't mind being a female in a mostly male class in a decidedly male-dominated sport.  There is a certain code that is followed by martial artists, male and female alike.  Humility is valued, everyone starts from the bottom and works their way up, and it's best if you check your ego at the door, but that doesn't mean you need to indulge in self-deprecation so as not to appear too cocky (as women so often do).  Because self-confidence is just as valued as humility is. 

In my Jiu Jitsu class, I take great pride in holding my own against 200 lbs (give or take) of sweaty man.  If I can just last a full round without being submitted, I feel I have accomplished something. As I gain skill and confidence, there are more of those moments when I am able to leave behind the self-doubt and just be. 

In my Muay Thai class, I am often the only female out on the sparring floor.  And again, I kind of like it that way; being able to hang with the boys.  They usually take it easy on me for the first minute or so.  But once I have landed a searing leg kick or slapped them lightly across the face with my foot, they start to view me more as an opponent and less as a girl.  And that is my moment of truth. 

That is where I find a whole lotta me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: Stepping Out from Behind the Lens

If you've been following along, you may notice something different about today's photos: I am actually in them. 

I am almost invariably behind the lens, but I have recently made a resolution to (force myself to) pass the camera to the Hubs more often.  Otherwise we will end up with a family photo album skewed so far in the Hubs' direction that he looks like a single parent.  And I will regret having so few photos of Lilah and me together.  My reluctance to relinquish the camera stems from two main factors: 1) I am a control freak of the highest order, and 2) I am not terribly comfortable in front of the camera.  But I am working on both of these things.  So, with a little luck, some self-discipline, a cooperative Hubs, and some flattering lighting, you may be seeing more of me from now on.  (Lucky you.)

These are from a moment in time when I was feeling magnanimous, and presentable enough to step out from behind the lens for a few minutes.

Are you camera shy like me, or a total poser?  Do you prefer to be in front of the lens, or behind it?


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