Thursday, December 31, 2009

out with the with a new resolution.

So I have decided to revive the blog. I am even debating trying to post something every day, a fair whack of that will have to be photos though, because I am just not that talented to write something daily.

So to all two of you who read this blog, hold onto your hats!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Things to learn at soccer camp...

Ethan just finished a week at soccer camp. He didn't love it, but he thought it was ok (I think being in the scorching sun had something to do with it). Funny how a few weeks ago he dreaded swimming, but in the last week when it has been stinking hot he can't wait to go...

At any rate, he did well. He learned a few new tricks:

He went after the ball (most of the time)

Most importantly he did have a smile on his face

Ethan's fondest memories of soccer camp though is what he learned from his peers. His much older peers...

He is now teaching Nick and Renee all about farting from the armpit. Oh joy.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My 20 year grad reunion - and a flashmob...

I am working on a post for my 20 year grad reunion that I went to recently. In the meantime, here is a hammerpants flashmob to get you in the mood.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Jon & Kate plus 8 trainwreck

Honestly, I don't even know where to start with this family. I first blogged here about the reality show that everyone seems to be talking about.

I started watching Jon & Kate plus 8 when we finally got cable TV. I was fascinated with how a family could handle SIX babies. All at the same time. Oh, and twins thrown into the mix too. I remember when we had to deal with all night feedings, no sleep, sheer exhaustion, and that was with only three kids, and it was never all at the same time.

At first it was really interesting. I could see that they got alot of help and free stuff, and that is great. I couldn't even fathom the cost of six kids in diapers. Wow.

After it became more that just a two hour special, and turned into a weekly show, I still watched. The "little kids" as they call them are the same age as Nicholas, so I could relate somewhat. Ken and I are asked often (although not so much lately) if we watch Jon and Kate. Ken is Chinese (Jon is half Korean) and Kate is Caucasian, so maybe that is why people assume we watched the show. Either that or my three kids acted like there were eight of them sometimes...

I did get fed up with watching awhile ago - what bothered me most then was the way Kate treated Jon. I couldn't believe the way she yelled at him or sometimes treated him worse than the kids. Now what bothers me is the fact that they (and I think it is more her than him) seem to be pimping out their kids for money. Yes, the kids are cute, and yes, the lure of $$$ per episode must be tempting. But what happens when the kids get older? What happens when they google mommy and daddy and see all the crap that has been put all over the internet. Those kids have had no say in the matter of being on reality tv, and the fact that the cameras have almost been there since day one makes this way of life for those kids normal to them.

So tonight is the episode where they talk about "life altering decisions". Speculation is that divorce is on the horizon. I wonder if they will pull the plug on the show and try to repair what is left of the relationship? Likely not. But stranger things have happened.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

toilet training officially delayed - probably forever.

I thought toilet training the third time around was going to be a cakewalk. And since the first two human beings I had to toilet train were boys, I figured that with a girl it would be easy.

Renee showed signs of being ready quite early on. She was thrilled when I got her a princess toilet seat. Yes, I know I said I'd never cave to the boy/girl stereotypes, but she picked the toilet seat out, and if she was happy to pee on a princess, I was happy to oblige.

We took the family to Disneyland in April. We left Renee behind. And before you think I am the meanest mommy in the universe, I'll have you know that Renee was spoiled ROTTEN by grandparents while we were away. AND my mom had her almost potty trained. I was thrilled. I don't know what she was bribed with, but whatever it was it worked. Until a couple of weeks ago when I royally 'effed things up.

I was in the bathroom trying to fix my hair, and Renee wandered in telling me that she had to pee on her princess toilet. Just as those words escaped her tiny little mouth she discovered a spider lurking on the wall. She had a little two year old freak out and asked me to "put the 'pider outside NOW". Most days I have a thing about killing spiders, I just don't do it. I'll catch them and put them outside. But on this particular day, I was in a rush, and when a two year old has to pee, you'd better get to it right now. So I grabbed the spider and without thinking, put it IN THE TOILET. Renee freaked. And screamed. And freaked a little more. And refused to park her ass anywhere near a pink princess or a castle that was within 10 feet of a toilet.

I think she'll be in diapers until she is 10. Shit.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is gray the new black?

I met a woman the other day while watching Nicholas at his swimming lesson. I can honestly say that she is one of the most interesting people I have met in quite awhile. She was born and grew up in the Dominican Republic, spent her 20's living in New York where she met her husband. They moved to the state of Georgia, and now live here in the lower mainland. We chatted about anything and everything, and I find myself really looking forward to seeing her each week.

On Tuesday we had a really interesting conversation. I showed up to swim lessons in a ball cap. It is one of the coping mechanisms I use to hide my gray roots. D asked me where I got my hat, and mentioned that she needs to buy some. I wondered why the heck she'd want to cover her gorgeous locks (and they are beautiful) and she proceeds to take her hair clip out and show me her gray roots. She asked me to take my hat off so she could see my gray. It soon became a comparison of our re-growth - which was pretty much the same. The main difference between the two of us is that she is 10 years older than me. She then told me that she is going to stop colouring her hair and grow it out. She also told me about this website.

Now I must admit, the thought has crossed my mind. I am so anal about what I expose my kids to, and yet I put all this chemical crap in my hair to hide the plethora of gray. My gray hair stared to sprout when I was a teenager, but back then I could just pluck it out. In my 20's it got increasingly more plentiful, and that is when I started to colour my hair on a regular basis. After I get my hair coloured (or do it myself) I love it. For about a week. And then I can see the regrowth. By six weeks it is blatantly obvious that my true hair colour now is more gray than brown.

I started to look online for women with gray hair. Many were stunning. Look at this woman's before shot:

And now the after:

This lady is one of youngest I found online - she is only 45. And I am sure that she had alot of help to look this great, but still....she is gorgeous. The only problem with what I found online was that none of the woman who decided to go gray were in their 30's. Most were in their early 50's.

I have three main issues with going gray - the growing out process (UGH), looking like my kids grandma, and the reaction from Ken. I casually mentioned it last night, and he is not keen in the least. For now it is on the back burner. But who knows how long that will last.

One of the first things mom said to me when I saw her today was "when are you going to start posting again?". I am assuming that she has been getting a bit of flack from the relatives in New Zealand. Oops.

Since the last post, the boys each had a birthday. The cakes that the amazing Mel did will be given their due attention in posts yet to come - suffice it to say that she is so talented that she could be a regular on Ace of Cakes.

Alot has happened around here - but none of it earth shattering. I have been making a bit more of an effort in the garden - beans, cukes, tomatoes, cabbage, leeks, lettuce and onions. I do have some strawberries, but with the plethora of hungry bears in these parts, the fruit is just a pipe dream. I have SO much to learn in the garden department, and I really regret not paying more attention when I lived with my grandma when I was in my 20's. She had everything imaginable in her yard, in fact the only stuff she bought at the store during growing season was meat. Everything else was out of the garden.

I have been working again at night - teaching a couple of courses online. It basically gives us a bit of extra cash so that I can stay home with the kidlets until they are older. I was so lucky that I was able to take a leave of absence from my "real job" until Renee is in school. It really was a no brainer making that decision once I started trying to find affordable, good daycare for three kids. It is hard though - most nights I am working until midnight, and all I want to do is just flake out and let my brains ooze out my ears. Hence the lack of updates.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

No time for flickr mom, this will have to do.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, my mom was an airline hostess.

She is not one of the ladies pictured above, but her uniform wasn't much different than these - I remember when I was 12 trying on her uniform and it didn't even cover my ass. My mom is shorter than me, but holy hell those uniforms were short.

I am sure that the flight attendants today do things vastly different than the "hostesses" back in the day. I have been on some flights where the service wasn't much better than crap, and other flights that were downright fantastic. Being a safety geek, I ALWAYS pay attention to the safety announcement, but I notice that most people don't. Well, this guy fixes that....


Friday, March 20, 2009

Crappy Customer Service

One of my biggest pet peeves is really bad customer service. In the past week I have come across it more times than I can count, and it damned near drove me nuts.

Today, I phoned my old hairdresser to "try" (you'll see why that is in quotes a bit later) make an appointment to get my hair done. I haven't been to this hairdresser in over a year. She is fan-freaking-tastic, which is a problem because she books a couple of months in advance, and I usually have to cancel appointments I have made far in advance because something always comes up (usually a birthday party, or a practice of some sort for one of the kids that gets scheduled after the appointment is made). At any rate, I thought I'd try again to see if she can fix my lid.

So when I call, I ask the girl who answers the phone if Irene works on Tuesdays. I figure that she would have more availability during the week than on the weekend. The receptionist says "I don't know". So I ask her if she can find out. She goes to check, and then comes back to tell me "I don't think she works on Tuesdays". So I then ask her when Irene's next available appointment is. And she tells me "Oh, Irene is REALLY booked up, I'm so sorry". At this point I am not to impressed, and I really wish I had something witty and snarky to say like "Do you expect me to jump through the phone and check the appointment book myself"? But no, I just say "well that's been helpful" and I hang up.

Stuff like that just drives me nuts. I honestly am thinking of phoning my old hairdresser and telling her what happened (she is the owner of the salon). Of course, I might just phone again a bit later, hoping to get someone else and actually getting an appointment!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I blinked. And my baby turned two.

It was at about this time two years ago that I was in a hospital BEGGING for drugs as I was in intense labour with Renee. I always thought that by the time kiddo number three came along that the whole delivery and birthing thing would be a breeze. How wrong I was. She was by far the hardest and most painful to deliver - but oh so worth it.

As I was leaving the hospital, the midwife mentioned that if she hadn't seen me actually give birth to Renee she'd swear I was leaving the hospital with the wrong baby. Those asian genes sure give the pool a good shake up.

The midwife came by the house a few days later to check up on us. If I had known how awesome having a midwife was, I would have done it with all three kids. The care was out of this world. Nick wanted to be weighed next - he thought that weighing Renee "old school" was about the coolest thing ever.

Of course, grandpa had other ways of measuring Renee - unconventional for sure, but effective.

With two big brothers, it sometimes was pretty tough work being the baby (and only girl).

And that hair! It was wild when it was dry, curly when wet, and RED.

Right from day one she has tried to keep up with her brothers

Even when it comes to eating, she will not be outdone. EVER. She is her mother's daughter.

I am slowly learning how to do her hair - when she lets me....

Often though, she'll just do her own thing.

Happy birthday sweet girl!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It's been a rough couple of weeks

I've been a bit light on the posting, partly because I am up to my eyeballs in marking, and partly because I have got at least one of my kids glued to some part of me for most of the day.

The roughest part of the last couple of weeks though is that a good friend of mine lost her husband - he was only 39. She has two young kids and is still trying to comprehend how she is going to go on without him. They were an amazing couple - always together. He worked mostly at night, so during the day he was with the family. In fact on the day he had his stroke she told me that they had such nice day together and I think she is really happy to hold onto that special memory.

Today was his funeral. It was hard. So so hard. He was so young - he has two small kids. We are all still trying to comprehend why.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I knew it was too good to be true.

As I was coming home from picking Nick up from preschool yesterday I was thinking how nice it was that the last patch of snow in our front yard (you know, the snow from the snowstorms from LAST YEAR) just melted. We just had a few really nice sunny (but chilly) days, and I thought that we had all the white crap behind us.

Well mother nature had other ideas. Big fat huge fluffy flakes fell yesterday afternoon, well into the night. My poor poor flowers. What makes this even harder is that we are supposed to be in New Zealand right now, sunning our butts on a beach, and attending the wedding of a very close family friend. Not too sure how Renee would have made out on a 15 hour flight though!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A little snippit from each of them.

Ethan walks in the door from school and the smell of home baking just about knocks him over. He runs into the kitchen, and asked what I had baked.

"Banana bread" I told him.

Ethan: "Is it the healthy stuff?"

Me: "Yes"

Ethan: "It smells awesome, but if it is healthy, I don't want any."

(he did finish all his broccoli at dinner though)


I was picking Nicholas up at preschool the other day and he saw a sign with a tow truck towing a car on it.

Nick: "Mom, what does that sign mean?"

Me: "If someone parks there for more than 10 minutes, the tow truck will come and tow them away."

Nick: "Do they tow you away to a better parking spot?"

Me: "No, they tow you to a special parking lot far away and then you give them money to get your car back."

Nick: "I want to be a tow truck driver when I am a big boy!"


Renee was chomping on a piece of celery when she bit her tongue. She screamed, but was upset at the fact that her mouth was still full pulverized celery. So I put my hand under her mouth and told her to "spit it out". And she did. All over my face, all over my shirt, and all over my pants. I wonder where she learned that from.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Flowers

Not your typical shot, but here is are a couple of the flowers from the bunch I got from Ken recently. The one below reminds me of a sea anemone. I almost expect Nemo to be coming out at any minute...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My present to myself

necklace, originally uploaded by sassyanna.

A few months ago while cruising through my friend Erin's blog, I came across a post she did about a woman on ETSY that makes personalized necklaces. Even though I am not much of a jewelery person, I fell in love with the idea of this and went ahead and had one made for myself. I got it a few months ago, but in my usual lazy posting style, just haven't mentioned it yet.

The ETSY site (birthdesigns) is closed for awhile - she is busy having baby number four and I guess the necklace making has been put to the back burner for a bit. If you want to have a look at her other stuff though, she does have a webpage here. This particular necklace is the mother's circle, front toggle version. My photo doesn't do it much justice.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super(toilet)Bowl Weekend

I was in the other room when I heard a mad dash, a skidding stop, and a sound of a tidal wave hitting the lino in the kitchen. I ran across the house to find Nicholas dazed and a bit confused, and most of the kitchen covered in vomit. The first thing out of his mouth was:

"mommy, aren't you so proud of me for throwing up in the kitchen and not on the carpet?". Indeed I am.

We had a discussion a few months ago about good places to throw up, and not so good places. Toilet bowl? Best place. Kitchen floor? Next best place. Carpet? Terrible place. So my sweet wee middle child, while snuggled deep in the couch under a few blankets had the wherewithal to dash about 20 feet to spray my kitchen with vomit. He hit almost every surface (I am sure that had something to do with something I should be remembering from Physics 12), but at least they were non-porous, non-carpeted surfaces.

I didn't get off scott free though. About 15 minutes later I started. Thankfully I made it to the bathroom. That night was hell (compounded by the fact Ken was out with a few friends and had no idea of the mayhem he was missing out on at home).

The next day Ken spent the day looking after a sick wife and a sick kid. The two non-sick kids thought they had hit the jackpot because the tv was on ALL DAY. On Treehouse. Ken also found the time to install a brand new toilet in our bathroom. And that night, he spend the better part of the evening christening it. With puke.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

So, what were you doing on January 20th?

When my kids are older, and they ask me what I was doing on Obama's inaguaration day, I can tell them that I had a pretty amazing day. Highlights:

Went to the Canada passport office to get passports for the youngest two. Fully prepared to be there all morning waiting to get them processed. I was in and out of there in half an hour. Sweet.

Spent the next couple of hours in a coffee shop reading a book. Drinking far too much coffee. No kids. Heaven.

Since I was in downtown Vancouver (and it was a beautiful day) I decided to go to the only store that sells shoes big enough to fit me. I found a pair. ON SALE.

Met Ken for lunch. We had sushi. It was awesome.

Drove home - not alot of traffic.

Booked our trip that we are going on with the kids in April. Got a great deal through a great agent who gave us a few extra perks. The kids will love it - they don't know about it yet.

So that was the goings on on the big day in these parts. I would have LOVED to be a part of the crowd in DC, but through an online friend who told me about this link (thanks Jeannie!) I could have a look at what I was missing out on. It is amazing, and a bit scary all at the same time. Just imagine being about a mile back from the action and still being able to see someone up close and clearly online. The guy who captured the shot did it as follows (this is copied from his web page):

I made a panoramic image showing the nearly two million people who watched President Obama’s inaugural address. To do so, I clamped a Gigapan Imager to the railing on the north media platform about six feet from my photo position. The Gigapan is a robotic camera mount that allows me to take multiple images and stitch them together, creating a massive image file.

My final photo is made up of 220 Canon G10 images and the file is 59,783 X 24,658 pixels or 1,474 megapixels. It took more than six and a half hours for the Gigapan software to put together all of the images on my Macbook Pro and the completed TIF file is almost 2 gigabytes.

So here is the web page where you can find this amazing photo - enjoy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

If you have some time to spare

Carrot Time
Originally uploaded by Back in the Pack
Check out this flickr site, especially her videos. I came across these as I was reading one of my favourite bloggers, Dooce.

The kids have been entertained, and now the "when are we going to get a dog" whining has started. I am so tempted to go to Youtube and download video of someone picking up dog crap (I am sure it won't be too hard to find). Maybe I should forward said dog crap video to my neigbour, who still doesn't get it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chocolate and sushi - what a combo.

So the amazing Mel has done it again - here is the birthday cake she did for me this year. All edible and all delicious. I just might have to eat a piece of sushi with my coffee in the morning.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

So if the car makers can get it, why not the porn stars?

At first I thought this was a joke - but apparently not. As Nicholas would say "You have GOT to be kidding me".

Monday, January 05, 2009

All that white crap has to go somewhere.

So now we wait for the big melt.

We had snow, then ice, then the ice melted with that wee bit of sun we got a few days ago. Then more snow. Now rain.

So all the snow on the roof is slowly starting to slide off (this chunk hasn't fallen yet)

Last night with a big BANG a huge chunk came off the roof and it broke our outdoor metal table. I didn't like the table much, but I sure am glad that there was no-one standng near it when it happened.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The REAL cost of a Wii.

So Ken and I were chatting about getting a Wii (it sure would have come in handy while I was housebound and snowed in during 10 days over school holidays!). I am hesitant because I don't want to be playing video games all day. I am not too worried about the kids - as long as they get to play a bit every day they will be happy. Ken tells me that Wii fit will help me get into shape, and there is stuff on there that we both could do to improve our health...

As we were discussing the pros and cons (Ken is very pro, I am not quite there yet), Ken innocently says to me

"Anna, because the TV is so old, we'll need to get a new one so the Wii will work".

Hmm...anything for a new huge flat screen that we don't need (at least until the current old box craps out). And then he says

"If we spend all that money on a new TV, we'll have to get a stereo system as well".

Uh huh.

"And if we have HDTV, then we really should subscribe to HDTV through the cable company so we get full value".

"Oh, and what do you think about Blu Ray"?

So this new Wii, along with a Wii fit is really going to cost us almost $2000. Don't think we'll be getting a new Wii anytime soon.