Tuesday, July 31, 2012

They do

I love weddings. They are such a great reminder of the power of love and family.  Today we went to my sister-in-law’s wedding.  And it was just lovely.
We even remembered to get a family photo!
My girls were flower girls. Malia was so excited about her ‘job’. She had been a flower girl once before when my brother and sister in law got married…so she was the veteran here.

We figured it would hit or miss with Tea.  She would either be a rock star with her flower girl smile pasted on for the short walk down the aisle or play drama queen.

Sadly…she chose the latter.  Deciding to clutch on to the nearest grown up and play shy…all the while that little grin that we know all to well…was playing on her lips.

Malia was perfection…as we expected. She not only led the other flower girls down the aisle but then took her seat and sat quietly through the service.  She absorbed everything - the music, the words, the kiss…

Littlest needed a little bit more attention but between the snacks, toys and my iPhone she managed to make it through the service without causing a scene.  A minor miracle…

Since I was in charge of keeping my youngest occupied and preventing her from disrupting everything I wasn’t able to lose myself in the ceremony as much as I would have liked.  But the little bits I did catch made me think about my own wedding day 13 years ago. 

We were so young…just 22...when we said I do and it feels like a complete life time ago.  But I remember the feeling of entering the chapel for the first time and seeing him waiting for me at the altar.  And I could see that same feeling echoed on my sister in law’s face.

I could feel their excitement and joy as they exchanged vows and…just like that…it was done…they were husband and wife.

After that there was nothing left to do except dance the day away...so we did.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Keep the noise down (Monday Listicles #10)

At this very moment I have about 5 partially formed blog posts in my head…one of them all about the lovely wedding that we attended on the weekend. But I’m having trouble fidning the time to get these down on paper…they require too much time and thought.

Today’s Monday Listicles topic however is blissfully simple…and fun.  Exactly what I needed this Monday…

10 Most Annoying Sounds…with a little help from my friends at YouTube:

1. The constant hum of fans – ceiling, bathroom, stovetop or otherwise.  Drives me nuts!

2. Whining.  Of any kind…but recently the 3 year old variety has been topping my annoying list.  Especially when she’s hungry every 5 minutes.

3. Crows.  Oh. My. God.  Just shut up already…especially at 5am on a Sunday morning.

4. Sid the Science Kid...and his parents…and his grandma…and especially his friends. I'm looking at you Gerald.

5. “Your call is very important, please stay on the line and our next representative will be happy to help you.”
I found this picture on a website with the heading – “On hold advertising – turn your hold button into a sold button.” Uh…not so much.

6. Little annoying yappy dogs. We have an older lady in our complex with two such dogs that she always seems to be walking right around the time I get home. I really can’t stand them.

7. The dryer buzzing.  Because that means the load of laundry is done and I need to fold it and put it away.

8. The dentist’s drill.  Especially when used on my very back teeth and it sounds like the noise is actually coming from inside my brain.

9. When commercials come on and they are about 10 times louder than the show was.  Why do they do that?  Extra loud commercials won't attract my attention…they attract the mute button.

Apparently the FCC is on to these perpetrators now and is looking to stop this annoying practice. Thank god!

10. When I accidentally grind the gears on my car.  It sends a shiver up my spine every time…the worst!

Thanks Stasha for another great list.  See you next week!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dear Poppa...

My oldest came home from summer camp with something very important to show me.  Her little face was so serious as she came to sit in my lap with a piece of paper.

"We could write a letter to anyone we wanted." she said as a preamble.

Then she handed me this:

She chose to write her letter to my lovely Poppa who died before she was even born. I immediately choked up and pulled her into a big hug.

"He would have loved you so much." I said.

And that's the truth.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Decisions, Decisions… (Quotable Bits #11)

"Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.”
~ Keri Russell (aka Felicity)  

We are currently faced with a dilemma in our house.  A dilemma of the most welcome kind.  Our oldest darling daughter has too many activities she is passionate about and for the life of us we can’t figure out how to pick the top 1 or 2 to pursue.

On any given day her preference will change…today she may be into dance with the ultimate goal of competing on So You Think You Can Dance. Contemporary is her favourite.

The next day she is all about Musical Theatre and aspires to act and sing the role of Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera.  Preferably at the Royal Albert Hall.

And then just as quickly she will change her mind again and decide she wants to be an interior designer and sits down to watch Design Star with paper and pencil ready to create her own White Room design.

We’ve already gone through phases where she wanted to be an author, artist figure skater, swimmer, soccer player and cake decorator. And undoubtedly she will change her mind many more times.

But what to do now that she is 6 and ready to start pursuing something with a little more seriousness?  How do we go about picking just one?

I know she can always decide to go in a different direction…I have no intention of becoming one of those stage mothers and forcing her to stay in something she isn’t happy with.

In fact one of the reasons we have waited until now to put her into “real” classes rather than just community centre ones was that we didn’t want to take the fun out of it.  We wanted her to enjoy it still…not feel like she was in constant competition.

I think…in the end…we will leave the decision to her and deal with whatever comes of it.  This is about her finding her path and purpose.  It’s a pretty big job but ultimately she is the only one that can decide what makes her happy…

As for our youngest daughter…right now she is passionate about whatever big sister is into.  More specifically…getting in the way of her sisters pursuit of said activity. 

I think we have a few years yet to figure out her path.

One step at a time please.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sharing the Birthday Spotlight (Monday Listicles #8)

This week's Monday Listicles topic (compliments of Robbie at Fractured Fairy Tales) is birthdays.  That’s all the thought starter help we get…make a list about birthdays…so many options!

If you have read my “About Me” section (and based on my Blogger stats not many have…but I forgive you) then you would know that I share my birthday with not one but two family members.

Growing up I used to be so annoyed at having to share the spotlight on my special day.  (I am a Leo after all.)  But now that I am much older and wiser I think it’s awesome.

So here is my list of the top 10 reasons sharing my birthday is totally fan-freakin’-tasic:

1. At least TWO and sometimes THREE different kinds of birthday cake.  Enough said.

Sometimes its a heart shaped cake like my 19th...

...and sometimes it's awesome homemade cupcakes like my 32nd.
2. Family will always come together to celebrate three birthday’s on the same day. Hard to opt out of such a big celebration.

3. Birthday present one-up-man-ship. Actually this is something I just wish will happen one day. Pipe dream.

4. You get to make jokes about someone being your birthday present and how you didn’t get a receipt and there are no refunds or exchanges. Every year…same joke..same laughs.

5. Sharing the building anticipation as the big day grows closer…counting down is better when it’s a shared experience.

6. Scope and scale of celebration is bigger than if you were only celebrating one person.  More people are invited, more booze is consumed and more fun is hand.

7. Having a picture of me and my cousin taken on the same day every year for most of our lives. Priceless.

8. Always knowing the EXACT age difference between me and my fellow birthday sharers. 4 years older. 32 years younger. Simple math makes me happy.

9. I don’t need Facebook to remind me when their birthdays are. No “sorry I missed your special day” messages required here.

10.  Hmmmm…can’t think of one more…so Top 9 reasons it is.  There are no rules here…

There you have it…another Monday Listicles in the books.  And I am now pumped at the fact that my special 1/3 of a day will be here in just 16 sleeps.

Happy birthday to me (us)!

Power of Advertising

I work in marketing so I know how hard it can be to create an ad that makes an emotional connection with people as well as a lasting brand impression.

And with the London 2012 Olympics coming up - and bringing with it huge television audiences - companies are bringing their A-game and debuting some incredible (and expensive) ads.

Ad week recently did a feature on 9 of the best Olympic ads so far and some of them are pretty amazing.

The ad they have the top of the list is called "Best Job" and here is what they had to say about it:

The frontrunner among sappy spots is top sponsor Procter & Gamble's undeniably compelling 
homage to moms. After all, they do buy a lot of paper towel and laundry detergent. 
(Agency: Wieden + Kennedy Portland)

I must admit that I wasn't expecting much substance when I pressed play.  I was wrong.  By the end of the ad I had put myself in the place of each mother they featured and had tears in my eyes.

Being a mother truly is the hardest job in the world...but I think we all can agree it is also the most rewarding. And it is that simple fact that this ad is based on.

Well played Proctor & Gamble...well played.


Friday, July 20, 2012

High Five for Friday (#4)

The past few weeks I have been dragging myself through the week with the promise that eventually it would be Friday.  And to that end I have really needed the boost of my High Five as a reminder about all the fun things that had happened that week.

Today…I need this High Five more than ever…what with the return of the rain and all the news coming out of Colorado following a mass shooting at a midnight movie showing...I'm feeling a little depressed. My hubby was at a midnight movie last night and even though the shooting in Denver was more than 1,000 miles away – the fact that my husband was sitting in a movie theatre just like the victims in Aurora makes it hit home a little bit more.

So I need a pick me up…to get me out of this funk brought on by senseless violence and a darkening sky. Here we go:

1. Sunny Evenings at the Beach.  After several attempts of trying to connect with friends for a night at the beach we finally made it happen…and it was awesome!

2. Physical Exertion.  After missing several weeks of my workouts due to crazy schedules and back spasms I finally returned this week.  I am sore all over but it feels so good.

3. Theatre Dates. Our girls LOVE Mary Poppins so when I heard the Broadway show was coming to Vancouver I knew we had to take them. Malia loved it – she sat riveted through the entire show.  Téa is still clearly a little too young.  We took turns with her in the lobby watching on the TV screens.  Lesson learned…still a great night!

4. Sunday’s at the Farmers Market. Our local farm market runs every second Sunday and this weekend was the first time we had made it down there. It was windy and was threatening to rain but that didn’t stop us.  We checked out every stall and the girls loved all the options.  We bought fresh blueberries and a loaf of rosemary & lemon bread.  Delicious!

5. New furniture. For months it had been apparent that the girls needed a new dresser.  They were still sharing the change table and it was not enough.  So hubby and I decided that the best move was to give them our old dresser and buy a new one for ourselves. We have a giant new IKEA store that just opened so we made our first trip there.  After several hours of lunching, wandering and riding in carts we took our purchase home. And by 1:30 the following morning the furniture moves were complete and the new dresser assembled. Once it is accessorized properly I will post a picture.  For now I will use the image from the IKEA website - and of course the obligatory shots of kids in carts:

I seriously love it...brightens up the room so much!


Once again this high five has lifted my spirits and I am ready for the weekend! 

Hooray for Friday!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Having it all…

I have written before about striving to achieve work/life balance and what a struggle it can be. And the more I strive to get to the ultimate goal of being everything to everyone while still being happy myself the more and more I think that it is actually a myth.

I recently read this article in the National Post – sent to me by a friend – and there were a few key paragraphs in particular that I really liked:

“…having it all is a myth — for both genders. If “all” means being your child’s primary caregiver, having a top-flight career and nurturing a happy marital relationship, then it’s not only women who fail to attain this elusive goal, it’s men too.

There are only so many hours in the day. Choosing to be the primary breadwinner means spending more time at the office than at home. Choosing to stay home with children temporarily shifts your career to second gear. Choosing to become a parent impacts your relationship with your spouse: less couple time, less sex and less romance.

Men and women may make different choices, but the result is the same. Neither gender can be full-time parent, full-time provider and full-time partner all at once; in other words, neither gender can “have it all,” at least not simultaneously.”

What I liked about this perspective is that it puts men and women in the same boat.  Which I never really think about.  I have always said that being a working mother is the hardest job on the planet but never thought about the fact that men that have to make the same choices.

That said, I definitely think it’s easier for men. They are not expected to stay home at all and when they do it’s like they have made the biggest sacrifice EVER!  Too funny…

I also think that women are wired differently.  If you go on to read the rest of the article it talks about surveying working parents and finding that it was then women that did a majority of the child care even if both parents were working.  And…they said they liked it!

Ahhh…we can be martyrs sometimes. 
In the end I say you can only do what you can do. If you have to work (or want to work) and as such are away from your kids for 40 hours (or more) a week…then simply try to make the most of the time you do spend together. Make every little moment count.

That’s pretty much all anyone can be expected to do.  

And even though I wasn't able to be with my kids as much as I'd like...they have both turned out to be pretty cool kids.  Even if I do say so myself.

2 months old               |                6 years old
8 months old               |                3 years old

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Friends (Quotable Bits #10)

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
~ Elbert Hubbard

I must admit that I have no idea who Elbert Hubbard is.  But boy did he (she?) nail the concept of friendship.

I was filling out my passport renewal application form the other day (wishful thinking that I might actually need it) and was asked to provide two references that were not related to me by blood or marriage. It got me thinking about my network of friends and how lucky I am to have so many long lasting friendships.

My longest is with my dear friend Aubrey (also known as Bella Lime).  We met in grade 3 and became instant friends.
Aw...weren't we cute.

It was a friendship that continued even after I moved away…we finally lost touch around grade 7.  We ran into each other once just before I got married - we exchanged phone numbers but for some reason neither of us called.

Then about 6 years ago we were reconnected by – what else - Facebook.  Miraculously we were living just a few blocks apart.  We met for coffee and it was like no time had been lost at all.  Even though in actuality it had been almost 20 years since we had seen each other.

And so because it doesn’t feel like we lost any time when it asked on my passport application how long she had known me I put 27 years. Crazy.

Writing down that number made me realize how many friends I have managed to keep in touch with over the years.  And how those friendships reflect my life’s path.

I have friends like Aubrey that I met in elementary school and some from junior high and senior high. Friendships with colleagues and bosses alike from first jobs, second jobs and recent jobs. And I have my newest network of ‘mummy’ friends – both online and in real life. Finally…I have family members that are more than friends…they are the sisters that I never had.

It is truly amazing to me that these relationships – all built on different foundations – have stayed so strong over the years. Some are much more active than others…where I see them once a week or more. With others we can go months without speaking and when we finally meet up it’s like no time has passed at all.

These are the friendships where a code of mutual understanding is required.  Understanding that there is to be no judgment or hurt feelings if a significant amount of time passes between meetings.  Understanding that just because our lives got busy doesn’t mean we aren’t still important to each other.

With hubby occupied with the great apartment renovation of 2012…I have been spending more time than ever over the past couple of weeks with my friends.  Sometimes I am escaping from my mummy duties for a girls night out. Other times I have been arranging playdates with my friends and their kids. No matter what the location or context I am increasingly grateful for the presence of these amazing women in my life.

They make me laugh and make me cry.  They come to me for encouragement and then offer it right back. They know when to back off on a subject and when to press me on something.  They let me moan and groan and feel sorry for myself and then gently remind me that my life is actually pretty awesome.

They also – like dear ol’ Elbert says – know all about me and still love me.  Love me despite my many faults and idiosyncrasies. Love me even though they know the bad things about me.  Love me even though I love to dish it out and (sometimes) have a hard time taking it. (I’m working on that…still)

Each has their own area of advice expertise…some are experts on multiple areas.  No matter if my problems or challenges are related to work, relationships, parenting, decorating, clothes, health or one of my many other areas of worry…one of my friends will have it covered.

I am truly blessed…and I only hope that I am able to offer the same comfort back to my friends that they offer to me.

So to all you lovely ladies in my life…and you know you are…thank you.  For everything.

I cherish you more than you could ever know…

Seems appropriate to bookend this post with another quote that I love:

“Friends are the family that you choose for yourself.”
~ Edna Buchanan

Monday, July 16, 2012

Thanks… (Monday Listicles #7)

This week’s topic is really wide open with just the simple thought starter of 10 Thanks. And after running through several options on how to tackle the subject I wound up just starting to write...here's what came out:

1. Thanks to my kids for repeatedly reminding me of the importance of patience! I especially like it when you team up together to really hammer the lesson home.  That really shows how much you care.

2. Thanks to my friends for always being there – especially on Monday nights when you make watching The Bachelorette so much more fun. (Go Jef Go!)

3. Thanks to summer for finally showing up. And bringing flip-flops, evenings at the beach and bbq's with you.
I need a pedicure!
4. Thanks to the lovely ladies at Spirit Nail (just one) for helping get my feet ready for summer at a very reasonable price. I must admit I was concerned the first time you broke out the Dremel power drill on my heels but clearly I needed it. And based on the picture above I will be visiting soon.

5. Thanks to my friends with kids for reminding me that I am not alone in all my child-related challenges.  It’s nice to know that we are all in this together.

6. Thanks to PBS for your amazing weekend morning line up that lets hubby and I sleep in at least until Super Why is over.

7. Thanks to my wonderful network of family babysitters for helping me handle the stress of childcare during the summer for the first time.  Special shout out to my mum for offering to come to MY house this morning and bringing a Tim Horton’s steeped tea with her.

8. Speaking of that…thanks to Tim Horton’s for making an amazing cup of tea that I can drink without the hassle of removing and disposing of the tea bag.  Gold star for you.

9. Thanks to the first person that decided to try rum and coke together.  It’s awesome…and so are you.

10. Finally…thanks to my hubby for just being him.  Sometimes he drives me crazy…just like I do him…but as we approach our 13th wedding anniversary I know that while our lives may have changed tremendously at his core he is still the guy I fell in love with in grade 12. And he can still make me laugh like no one else can.

Thanks Stasha for the great thought starter this week…a very optimistic start to the week.

Friday, July 13, 2012

High Five for Friday #3

Well...I don't think I can stress enough how happy I am that it is Friday.  Like in a thank the lord, I need a break, is it 5 o'clock yet kind of way.

Clearly this week has kicked my ass... But...that doesn't mean that there weren't good times too.  So here is my high five for this week:

1. Sunny Days. Finally the sun is back and all this vitamin D is making me fall in love with Vancouver all over again.

2. Ice cream. At the end of a rough day my good friends Ben & Jerry helped me recover.

3. Fun at work.  We had a staff ball hockey tournaments and bbq lunch today. A great way to cap off the week.

4. Free Starbucks. This lovely ice cold Cool Lime Refresher sure did hit the spot. I'm pretty sure it tasted better because it was free.

5. My Nana. She may be getting a little crotchety in her old age but I love her dearly and truly cherish our weekly dinners. This week she hosted us in the private dining room of her 'assisted living facility'.  And then gave the girls a ride on her walker. Who says you can't live it up at 89?

 And there you have it...another H54F in the books.

A few more hours and I will be sitting on the beach with my family and some good friends kicking off what I am determined will be a truly awesome weekend.

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mean Mummy Voice

It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Too much going on…not enough down time…too many moments where I have been feeling sorry for myself rather than feeling thankful for what I have.

There are a lot of reasons for this - stress at work, hubby not being home (for good reasons) and my kids choosing to test their boundaries - and as a result my mean mummy voice has been getting a real workout. 

It pretty much all came to a head tonight…when everything was a battle…and my kids seemed to have permanently lost their listening ears.  I threatened to take away privileges like TV and playdates they were excited about.  I gave them time outs.  I sighed loudly and told them that I was officially out of patience.

Nothing worked.

And after coming into the bathroom to find the floor covered in bath water - after repeatedly warning them to be careful - I pretty much blew my top.  In a door slamming, wish-the-windows-weren’t-open-so-my-neighbours-couldn’t-hear-every-word kind of way. It wasn’t pretty…

In the aftermath I took a few moments to compose myself and then we went through the process of finishing the baths, drying hair and getting them in to PJ’s in an awkward silence. The whole time my guilt was growing and I knew that I needed to apologize.

So I did. At bedtime I hugged them and - fighting back tears - told them that I was sorry for yelling at them.  That I was so very sorry we had had such a rough night.

Little one was quick to forgive - likely because she had already forgotten her role in any of the trouble this evening. She just nestled her little head in my shoulder and told me she loved me. Then ran off to play…

For my oldest it wasn’t quite so easy.  She told me she was sorry too…that she knew she hadn’t listened and that she hadn’t been a good big sister.  That killed me.  I felt tears stinging in my eyes as I hugged her tightly and told her that she is an amazing big sister. That she should never think otherwise.

And then she asked me - with a little quiver in her voice - if I still loved her.  Man…that hurt.

I am not a perfect parent…have never pretended to be…but I never ever wanted to be the kind of mother that could ever make her child feel like she wasn’t loved.  It was - to say the very least - an incredible eye opener.

Of course I reassured her the best I could and I know I was successful.  We hugged and she kissed me on the cheek and told me she loved me too. And that I was the best mummy in the world.

And so my kids have taught me another valuable lesson.  It was a tough night but it’s over now.  They are in bed - after a few re-tuck-ins - and I have turned to my blog as therapy.

Writing this all down makes it real…makes me accountable for my actions…and will serve as a reminder that my words and actions have an significant impact on my kids…even more so than I may ever have imagined.

I am a big believer in the edict that “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” and I will be mighty strong after this.

After tucking the girls in and pouring myself a rum and coke that was more rum than coke - I put a quick note on Facebook.  It said simply “Remind me again…kids are a blessing right?”.

It was a move that was purely self-serving (especially since I hadn‘t fessed up to the fact that I was completely in the wrong) but I was looking for reassurance from my mummy friends. Reassurance that every mother has these moments.  And I got it.

Because of course I am not alone.  We are all human.  We all make mistakes.  And no matter how much I may feel sorry for myself.  No matter how many times I might wish that I had more time for myself rather than having to put my kids first all the time.  No matter what…I wouldn`t change this for anything. 

Not for anything.

Phew…confession complete. Feels good.

Tomorrow is a new day and since I cant do anything to change was has happened I will instead put my focus on making it up to my girls.  With lots of fun, hugs, reassurances and - most likely - way too much ice cream.

That should make us all feel better.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bye-Bye Babies (Quotable Bits #9)

“I would have given anything to keep her little. 
They outgrow us so much faster than we outgrow them."
 ~ Jodi Picoult (from her book My Sister's Keeper)

The other day the girls were playing on our front deck and I heard Malia tell her sister to get on the back of the tricycle so she could drive her around.  Immediately my mind flashed to a picture I had taken last summer of them doing the same thing.

I grabbed my iPhone (god I love that thing) and rushed out in the hopes of capturing the same moment in time...one year later.

Amazingly...I was successful. And when I was able to finally compare the 2 photos side by side later that day I was truly blown away by how much my 'little' girls had grown in just one year.

Where did my babies go?  Heck...forget babies...where did my toddlers go?

I am a big fan of the freedom that has come with my kids growing up - no diapers and no naps is a truly beautiful thing - but I don't like the feeling of being helpless in this process.

We can't stop the progression of time. And as much as I joke about putting bricks on my girls heads...this is a part of their lives that I have absolutely no control over. And if you know me - even a little bit - then you know I don't like not having control.

I told Téa the other day that I was not okay with her growing up. She laughed at first but then her little face got so serious as she took my face in her hands. "Don't worry mummy," she said. "I will always be your baby no matter how big I get."

I cried of course. And she laughed at me and ran off having no idea the impact her words had.

I'm not saying I am going to go all "Love you Forever" on my kids and become the creepy mum that brings a ladder to her middle-aged child's house in the middle of the night, crawls through the window, and rocks them while they are sleeping. (Man...that book really does creep me out)

But I know that there will always be times that they will need their mother. Just like there are still times I need mine. And I will always be there for them. 

No matter how old they are if they are sick I will offer to bring them ginger ale and popsicles and worry until they are better. I will always offer my shoulder for them to cry on and open my arms to comfort them. And I will probably meddle a little too much and not-so-subtly steer them in the direction that I think is best for them. Because that is what unconditional love is all about.

My girls made me a mother and now define a huge part of who I am. And that scares the living bejesus out of me. It's a huge responsibility and I just hope I am up for the task. Because there is no getting out of this one.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Enjoying the little things

As I climbed into bed last night I felt completely content.  I was exhausted – the result of a busy weekend and yet another post-midnight bed time – but I was happy.

The weekend had been filled with all the little things that make me smile. Family barbecue’s, trips to the park, outdoor wading pools, indoor swimming pools, ice cream & hot dogs, rum & cokes…the list just goes on and on.

And a major part of this happy feeling can be attributed to the sun.  Simply put the whole house has been happier since the sun finally decided to grace us with its presence.  We are slowly being reminded of why we live here and how much there is to do in the city when its sunny.

As hubby has been spending quite a bit of time renovating his sister’s new apartment we very much cherish our family time.  So on Friday night we kicked the weekend off with an ice cream treat and a trip to the Circle Park.

Park time is one of the best ways to tire out my kids…they were exhausted by the time we got home and fell asleep quickly and without too much protestation.

Hubby and I decided to check out if Netflix had anything new to offer and I literally screamed with excitement when I saw that the documentary Senna was now available.  I am a huge Formula 1 fan and had heard amazing things about the movie but hadn’t been able to find it anywhere. 

It lived up to all the hype.  Check it out even if you aren’t an F1 fan...such great insight into the sport and the life of one of the best drivers of all time. 

Saturday was our day without Daddy – so as he headed off to the world of priming and painting – the girls and I were en route to the library.  Last week the girls were proud to get their very own library cards and start their “Summer Reading Passports”.  This week they needed to get their first weekly sticker.

First stop at the library was the children’s librarian to get their coveted stickers.  At her desk she had a ‘guessing jar’ filled with wine gums.  Malia wanted to enter her ‘guess’ and whatever big sister does little sister must do as well. This jar was packed full of wine gums…I figured there had to be at least 75-80 in there.  Malia guessed 100 (not bad) while Téa thought about it for a while before deciding on 4. I’m not expecting a congratulatory call anytime soon.

I love the library.  I have so many memories of going there when I was a kid and checking out piles of books every week. And much to my delight my girls are looking like they are going to be voracious readers themselves. After settling on their piles of books (I had to cap them at 10 each) they each wanted to do the self check out all by themselves.

Post library we hit up Old McDonald’s for lunch and then drove into Vancouver to one of our favourite parks. It’s near our old house and is the kind of park where both girls can play without needing a boost up or a push or a hand down.  And I can see the whole park no matter where I am standing.

There is also a very mysterious looking staircase at the back of the park that my girls have always shied away from…until now. Malia insisted on seeing where it went and little sister happily followed.  We climbed up the few overgrown stairs and found a walking path with a few interesting tree stumps on the sides. Of course if you asked the girls they would say we found an AMAZING WONDERLAND!

In the AMAZING WONDERLAND it was required that we sit on the interesting stumps, examine ladybugs and play "he loves me, he loves me not." And we obliged:

He loves me!

Finally it was time to leave the park and head home to host some family for an impromptu barbeque. I love these get together's with family…where what you are eating is unimportant (hot dogs & salad)…it is all about the company and the conversation.  And both were fantastic. We sat on the porch chatting and drinking until almost midnight…

Malia wanted to make sure everyone knew where the BBQ was.

Sunday was family day - Daddy was home! - and the girls wanted to go swimming.  Our kids are major water babies…they love to swim. Our local pool had been closed for 2 weeks for renovations and they were in major withdrawal.  We had a lovely time.  The pool was practically empty (a major rarity) so we had lots of space to move in.  Malia started diving for rings and the look on her face when she was successful was awesome. She was so proud.

After swimming we headed over to my in-law’s for a birthday party.  They have an amazing backyard…it’s the same backyard where my husband and I fell in love in a hammock. The girls got back into their swimsuits and played in a wading pool.

Then we took a break from the water to walk around the perimeter of the yard that my father-in-law has turned into an enchanted forest - complete with faces on the trees - for his grand daughters that he loves so much.

What summer backyard party wouldn't be complete without watermelon?  Even better...sneaking some kisses while your child is distracted by said watermelon?

Hours flew by like minutes and it was time to head home. After a long day (weekend) spent in the sun it was an evening to relax.  Pizza and Mr. Popper’s Penguins was the perfect prescription. (yes…I did that on purpose).

While the family relaxed at home I headed to the movies to see Magic Mike.  It was cheesy, it was predictable and I loved every minute of it. So much fun!  The perfect way to cap off the weekend.

Phew. No wonder I was exhausted but content.  This was another one of those amazing weekends full of these little moments that remind me how good I have it.  A weekend that reminded me to be thankful and enjoy the small things.

Let’s do it all again next weekend!