Monday, December 28, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Eve Eve

Today the kids opened up some gifts that were not for them. Mia was most disgusted to find a pair of socks, and Lucas cleverly tried to tape up the gift he opened. The unexpected outcome of this was that the kids *I think* finally got the fact that Christmas may have just a wee but more to do about giving than receiving. They spent the next part of the morning collecting unwanted toys, wrapping them up for each other and placing them under the tree with glee. I actually think they will be quite happy to open them.

Our activity for the day was swimming at Watermania in Richmond, where we witnessed a drowning and resuscitation. We were rather upset until we witnessed another and realized that they must have been simulated. I wasn't pleased. For heaven's sake, the place was crawling with kids out on the holiday break! Truth be told, I think I was more concerned than the kids. Lucas was more miffed that he had to get out of the pool where he had his eyes on a large boat to have a ride in. I suppose there was some sort of training going on, but it was a bit disheartening. Nonetheless, we had a blast in the waves and hot pools. Unfortunately the ride home, amidst yelling and screaming at each other, the fighting while I made dinner, the uneaten dinner and the wallops received during bath had me at my wits end by bedtime.

The elves have been busy bringing treats to the kids' advent calendars each morning and today was no exception. The exception has come, when at this late day of advent, the advent calendars hold notes for the elves. You see... as the kids were a little naughty today Mummy had to make a very unfortunate call to the North Pole to leave a message for Santa; as is, of course, a mother's duty. The elves took down the message with due sobriety and the children were most concerned. Thus the notes. Lucas' reads "Lucas Forgive Please" and Mia's is a drawing of Santa and a transcribed apology of sorts. We'll have to see what happens tomorrow?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Week Before Christmas

Are you watching me Santa? Aren't I being good? Will you still come? Will you? mark this down in your book please, not earlier today when I hit her, ok?

Alright, so the above picture was taken while waiting in line to see Santa, so I'm sure there was some extra incentive for adorable behavior.

Here's Mia just before her performance for her ballet class. I'm pretty pleased with how her $3.00 tutu turned out!

Mia also had a preschool party. This is her and a friend watching the (slightly inappropriate) belly-dancing performance. Lucas took so many pictures that my battery ran out. I think he liked to silver sequined bikini she was wearing... lol.

Lucas performed in the school's Christmas concert. I was amazed the kids' retention o f lyrics. He definitively does not inherit that for me, as Rib can certainly attest to!

This will be a low-key Christmas, and I'm so glad for that in many ways. We have not been frenetically shopping, and I feel relieved that everyone understands., It's really quite liberating. Today I slept in, played Lego and modelling clay for almost three hours (in our pajamas), ate pbj sandwiches and went to see "The Princess and the Frog". Delightful. I'm looking forward to quite a few more days like today over the holiday. If only my residual marking could take care of itself!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Looking like Christmas

Despite a very bad run of luck the few last weeks, there is joy and anticipation in the air. The kids are thrilled that Rob's job-loss has meant more time with Daddy at home, and Christmas looms large. Re-organizing our live smeans re-prioritizing and this is always a good thing to do. Life often finds us so busy that we don't have time to slow down and think about what we'd like our lives to look like; I'm hoping this time will give us a chance to do so. Wish us luck as we look for work and pick ourselves up off the ground...

Mia had a lovely 3rd birthday celebrated with all her friends and family. It was a great day and a wonderful way to celebrate the joyful, loving and giving child that is our daughter. (oh yes, and goofy too!)

Doesn't she look like a football player unwillingly dressed up in a dress?!

Happy Birthday Mia! We love you!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Blog Wagon - hold on to the reins

If there is such a a thing as a blog wagon, I have surely fallen off of it. I apologize but will move forward in my quest for eternal commemoration of my humble life with crazy kids, furry friends and enabling husband.

Life is ... I know you already guessed it... busy. Sometimes the wind blows in unexpected directions and I guess this last month or two has seen it blow more unpredictably than even we were expecting.

Let me recap by framing my thoughts for you. Today when having coffee with a close friend and telling her all my woes, I got around to the empty cup that currently is my blog. When I actually needed to verbalize what is what that was holding me back it was essentially these two things;

1. I feel that I musn't leave anything out. I suffer from pangs of guilt if I haven't documented, say Halloween (which I haven't) or a birthday. I fear that myself or one of the kids will look back on it one day and say hey - what was I for Halloween that year anyways... and I will feel horrible. Hahaha. I know it sounds funny.

2. I strive for optimism. When I just can't seem to muster the courage to be so, I can't seem to write my blog.

Now, at this point in reading you should be making this conclusion; Ting is feeling guilty that she hasn't written about the last month and a half, and Ting has not been very optimistic during this time period. You would be correct about both.

And so for now I will sign off. But fear not, I will be back on-line soon. I can feel it...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend

I have so very many things to be thankful for and this weekend was a joyous reminder of why life is good. This was because I really enjoyed my weekend. From start to finish I was enjoying the activities we had chosen and the people I was doing them with. What more can I have asked for?

Late Saturday Rob came home from his wine-making trip in Naramata to spend a little time with us for the weekend. With much jumpiness to their anticipation, I knew we had to get out on Saturday morning, so we opted to take the new Canada line to Richmond Centre. Lucas picked out some much needed new clothes - which I found funny since he has only very recently become even remotely interested in what he is wearing. Mia got her new ballet shoes and leotard to start dance class this week. Then we ate sushi and sky-trained it back. All good. Not long after arriving home and taking Pillo out for a bit of air and exercise, we headed to the mall to watch "Cloudy with Meatballs." I was very dubious about taking two kids to a full-length film and was anticipating much wiggling, talking, and numerous potty-breaks. But they were great! The film, not so much, but the kids loved it. I actually kind of relaxed. I couldn't even fold laundry like I normally do if we watch a movie at home!

Sunday was family thanksgiving lunch, which I planned to photo document, but couldn't because of the overwhelming desire to EAT everything in front of me. Yum. That's all I can say.

Then today we got our butts in gear and went to what I think is Vancouver's #1 top place to eat turkey sandwiches; Dog Mountain on Seymour. Rob was dubious about the hiking capabilities of the kids, but they were heroes.

It was icy and cold, but Lucas loved poking the ice and the cold only seemed to bother Rob and I! (Oh and Pillo was a bit miffed when he went for a lick of the lake!)

Lucas and I searched for faerie rings for quite a while under these mushrooms. Later when I told Rob that he and Mia had missed them, he informed me that we didn't see any faeries because we should have been looking for smurfs. I loved that Lucas gave him "the look" as if to say, "Daddy, you're a dumb - ass, there's no such thing as smurfs." Teehee.

If you regularly read this blog or know my son, then I have no need to tell you that Lucas, my nature lover, was enthralled with the fact that these whiskeyjacks (?) were happy to eat out of his hands. He admitted when we were snuggling in bed that he hadn't really believed me when I told him they would.
Mountain goats. The two of them. Yay.

(I only heard, "I hate dog mountain and I don't love hiking," a few times at the veeeery end of the hike! )

Friday, October 09, 2009

September Photo Highlights

Look at me mom - I'm warming up for the Terry Fox run, really, I am!

This was soo cute. There are two kindergarten classes in the photo. They did six laps of the field, and it was hysterical and extremely endearing to watch. Kids run funny. teehee.

Lucas gets personal with a corn snake at the Southlands Country fair. Happy Lucas.

Mia gets personal with Fancy the pony at the Southlands Country Fair. Happy Mia.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I knew it would be busy; I really did. But I didn't imagine that I would be this busy. I am essentially a moving machine and show up to teach every evening with a not-so-glamorous sweat that no one seems to understand. But it's the motion you see, the endless movement that I can't seem to quell as I find my mom-legs. Notice I said mom? I think I'm there. Elementary school is finding a way to redefine me in way I wasn't ready for. All of a sudden I am swamped in fundraising brochures, meetings, book bags, forms, and other countless details that need to be remembered. Heaven forbid I be the mom who forgot the dollar for the Terry Fox Run or didn't show up for Friday Family Reading time. My poor brain is busting from all the details of preschool and kindergarten that I must manage while still having something organized for dinner and making sure the everyone gets to where they need to be that day. Oh yeah, and then I go to work. Mayhem. An absolute shit-show. But somehow, I am doing it. Let me write a list for you;

- preschool (am)
- kindergarten (pm)
- teaching (late pm)
- parent rep for kindergarten
- duty days and art coordinator for preschool
- field hockey
- team rep for field hockey
- swimming classes x2
- birthday parties
- hubby will be departing any day for a two-week wine adventure

Ok , the list isn't that long... and I know... it's my own fault I'm volunteering to help so much, but I want to. So, what to do? Any words of advice or encouragement in the form of a comment would be greatly appreciated. I just keep reminding myself that "this too, will pass" but the reality is that I love these days. Lucas is adjusting to kindergarten well, Mia LOVES preschool, I'm happy playing hockey again, I've got nice students and supportive colleagues, my hubby helps as much as he can and sometimes I go out. It's really all good, just busy.

Photos aren't uploading right now. I'll add some later.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Savary Year Two

This year's trip to Savary Island was once again the highlight of everyone's summer. The island seems to have some sort of healing power on us as a family and we all worked out the kinks and bugs of a busy year. The lack of media alone brings us right back to the roots of our relationships and the way we relate to the time granted us in our days here. Such a pleasure as well as such a reminder to live the rest of our year in a state closer to that which fills our spirits when living in the trees and on the beaches of a quiet island.

We started our week with a visit from our friends the Witts who were sailing up to Cortes for the week. We had a crab and rib feast, plenty of wine, some ghost stories, a pitch-black forest walk and then a day of sun on the beach the next day.

(Sorry - I couldn't erase this so you get Lucas and I twice!)

Many a creature was found, loved, photographed and released. (Except for a few unlucky crabs!)

Lucas was able to cycle the hilly five kilometers across the island and we had a couple of phenomenal days at the unbelievable South Beach.

View of South Beach from the steep trail down.

The water was as clear as glass.

We caught the sunset on the aptly named Sunset trail off of Indian Point,

made new friends,

and just lazed away.

Heavenly; we can't wait for next August...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Something I love

School is out for summer. Yay! I finished all my summer school reports on Saturday night and handed them in on Monday. Although it's been a long year, I must say that as I reflect back on it, it has been incredibly rewarding. I feel so fortunate to have landed in a job where I feel capable yet challenged, needed and also appreciated.

The student population of our schools (VSB Adult Ed for those of you reading who might not know) is extremely diverse in so many ways; race, religion, age, education, and experience to name a few. The one thing they seem to have in common is a desire to learn and a true, and I truly mean "true," appreciation of the value of education in their lives. I have taught everyone from kids who failed and are trying again, professionals whose credentials don't transfer from their country of origin, those who never got the chance by choice or circumstance to finish high school , seniors who haven't given up on the need or ability to continue to learn and every type of person in between. I have been touched on innumerable occasions by the stories these people bring with them, and humbled every day by my own good fortune in life. The amount of work the majority of my students put into passing and often surpassing my classes blows me away as well as motivates me to work harder to give them the skills that will help them in their own personal quests.

And I'll tell you, do those needs ever differ. A large part of the challenge that I love is creating a curriculum that is rich enough in meaning to people from all these different places; to students trying to get into university, to second-generation Canadians, to new immigrants who would like to work at jobs requiring our system's most basic of requirements: graduation from high school. How can a nineteen-year-old Canadian born middle-class teen fathom the heartache of a man forced to flee his country with only the clothes on his back? The months of living in refugee camps? Seeing friends maimed or killed in war-affected countries? How can a young new bride of an arranged marriage comprehend the doctor who left his successful practice to start again in Vancouver; doing janitorial work by night, studying in high school by day. But more importantly, how can I make one class work for all these diverse people? How can I help each of these individuals move forward in their lives? What can I, whose own life experience and knowledge pales in comparison, give them?

I guess I only give them the best of what I can. I teach them the skills they need in a sometimes-backwards system that places emphasis on knowledge that is not always useful in real life, but necessary to get them into the colleges or universities they dream of. I try and give them the self-assurance that they can do it, no matter how tough, no matter how humiliating it feels. I give them a safe place to explore their abilities with a language either new, rusty, or weak. I treat them like friends. I respect them as adults. I learn from their stories, their laughs, their tears and their words.

And so as I begin to relax and unwind from a year of more work than I was expecting, I just thought I'd take a minute to write down why it is that I do my job and why it is that I love my job.

I think I'll print this out and frame it above my desk for next years endless hours of marking essays... !

Saturday, August 01, 2009

This is why...

This is why we spend endless cranky moments putting sunscreen on our children...

This week I had a patch of basal cell carcinoma - skin cancer - removed from my face. It is the type that is likely from juvenile sun exposure before the age of twenty. I'm blaming mine on the time we spent in Africa rather than stupidity in my teen years, but it sure has put into perspective the reasons why we protect our skin. Today I drove past Kits beach; packed with people bronzing themselves, and I cringed. I really did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

There were seven of them... and a moose.

We are just back from a long-anticipated moms-and-kids only camping trip to Manning Park. Even though several people told me I was mad to undertake such a trip (there were seven kids between the ages of 2 and 8) the trip was awesome. Great wildlife, great weather, great moms, great kids. I would even do it again!

A moose walked by our campsite. Have you ever seen a moose before? I certainly never had... and was thrilled. The photo leaves a lot to be desired, but you can only imagine the excitement and also trepidation of seven kids at seeing this guy! The deer that walked by later in the day was anti-climactic, to say the least!

Balmy breeze, bursting sun, bountiful friends... brilliant day.

Ground squirrels provided hours of entertainment for both Lucas and I. Lucas was very determined to catch one, much to my entertainment!

What's smore better than smores and friends?

Friday, July 17, 2009

God and his UFO

Lucas wants to know why God doesn't leave a crop circle when he visits Earth to make all the beautiful things. I'm considering telling him that its because God is magical... am I doing this wrong??

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Couple of Quick Trips

With only a week and a half off between terms, Rob and I decided to make good use of the time by planning a couple of trips. The first was a visit to the Okanagan without the kids. Yup. You heard that right - without the kids. This was the first time we've had a trip just the two of us since we had the little guys. Unfortunately, it was slightly spoiled by the fact that my marks and reports were due on Monday at noon and having finished teaching Friday at 7:30 - they were definitely not finished. That excuse only got me out of one wine tour :P but I did enjoy meeting the owners of Cedar Creek Winery, who also graciously put us up at Greata Ranch. We enjoyed a gorgeous afternoon under the sun tasting their wines, chatting and enjoying some splendid appies.

The next day I had the pleasure to finally meet Heidi and Michael Noble of Joie Winery in Naramata. Rob had been morel mushroom picking with them a few years back and always spoke highly of them and their endeavours. It was interesting to hear about the adventures that led them to where they are today. Again, a fun afternoon of barrel-tasting and good company.

The only photo I took was of the speeding ticket we got on the way there though. Hehehe... good tunes, no kids...

Later in the week we headed south to Larrabee State Park for a little camping excursion. The kids were in their element exploring the animals (man is banana slug slime hard to get off of hands!) They are such great campers; keen to try it all and shy of nothing nature has to offer. Lucas got himself pretty beaten up falling on barnacle-y and slippery rocks as well as totally wiping out on his bike, but he fared well. The tidal pools were amazing and we even saw a deer wandering through the campgrounds. The smores we built were also pretty damn good this time around if I may say so myself! We all came home pooped and stinking like camp fire, but it was great.

Tomorrow we start bike camp for Lucas and Swimming camp for Mia (and me!)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Strawberry Days

The marking and reports are done. Lucas is done preschool. School is ouououououttttt for... another week when I start summer term :( Ah well. We went strawberry picking today which was a dusty, sticky, funny mess enjoyed by all. Let the photos speak for themselves: