stanley park in july

Some pics from when Taylor & I took the two little kids for a walk through Stanley Park. We’re lucky to have the park within walking distance of our house and I love wandering the trails in all seasons. This time we hit the Rose Garden, Beaver Lake and Prospect Point. Gwen walked the whole way with only minor complaints which was honestly impressive, and Nicky was also mostly cheerful; he did have a small meltdown from being in his stroller too long but we let him run around on a few trails with his sister and then he was golden.

alice lake

Last Saturday Taylor & I took the kids up to Alice Lake in Squamish. We’d never been but it’s only about an hour from downtown and was very recommended as a great family-friendly lake. I’d wanted to leave really early (remembering my childhood lake trips when my parents would make us leave at like… 7am so we’d get there before it was busy but also before it was warm? I loved those trips though!) but even though we were highly organized and had everything ready to go we hit a minor setback as we were about to leave and discovered the cat had pooped in one of Nicky’s shoes and peed on? under? another pair. We ended up not getting to the lake until just after 11 but at that time there was still plenty of parking as well as good spots on the beach.


The weather was literally flawless. Originally I’d wanted to go the previous weekend, but we had a birthday party (or so I thought, the birthday party was actually on SUNDAY which I didn’t discover until I’d brought the girls all the way out to a suburban play gym but that’s another story) but the weather was not great that day so it worked out for the best.


Nicky still hates car rides and screamed most of the way up, only to fall asleep less than 10km from the lake! On the way back he was pretty tired out and fell asleep quickly, but woke up once we hit traffic heading over the Lions Gate Bridge back into the city and screamed the rest of the way home. This has caused us to reconsider some of our other summer plans…


He also hated his floatie & being put into the lake (although he was happy to walk out into the water fully dressed, including shoes) but he quickly realized that unlike his carseat, the otter float was FUN and he was happy to be pushed around the swimming area for most of the afternoon. Both kids wore Puddle Jumper life vests.


This is my first new bathing suit since 2012 and I’m kind of obsessed with it? It’s sold out but this top and this bottom are similar to what I have.


Gwen was OBSESSED with the idea of getting a float but weirdly it was hard to find one appropriate for her age? Everything was either for under threes (like Nicky’s otter float) or like… 14+. Initially we got a donut-shaped one but the hole was much to big for her so in the end we found her this cute popsicle that worked a lot better (and I inherited the donut). Also: a couple days before we picked up a $20 foot pump that inflates AND deflates from Canadian Tire and I highly recommend one.


Taylor’s trunks are also from American Eagle. I’m so mad I didn’t get a pic of Nicky’s suit because it is tone-on-tone YELLOW with pineapple slices and completely adorable! Hopefully I’ll remember next time he’s in it.


Symphony stayed on the blanket reading and snacking the whole time, which is kind of her perfect day I think? She’s not super big on going outside and doing activities so I’m just happy she came with us.


Gwen is already asking to go back to the lake THIS weekend so all in all this day was a success!

a minute

As in, it’s been one. May was such a trash fire of a month, it seemed to drag on FOR EV ER (seriously, why was it so long????) with more and more shitty things happening. After the stroller was stolen we all got sick and missed work, two of my current clients gave notice, and then near the end of the month Georgie was viciously attacked by a big dog in the park; she’s fine now but she definitely could have been more seriously injured, and as it is I had to spend over $1200 in vet bills after a huge section of the skin on her back where she was bitten went necrotic and had to be cut away and Frankensteined back together. She honestly could have died and I myself am so traumatized I had to go to the doctor for anxiety medication.

Now that we’re in June (DEEP June) I’m over dwelling on all these negatives (which might just be the meds talking but OH WELL).

School is almost over for the summer and I have two whole months of no drop-offs and pick-ups to worry about, and in addition to my single and double strollers my neighbor leant me a triple she had in her storage room (a gesture I very much appreciate but at the same time WHERE WERE YOU IN SEPTEMBER). Once school starts up again Gwen will be in the first grade and I’ll be dropping her off and picking her up outside the building- no more dragging three toddlers up and down endless flights of stairs every day!

I already had a meeting with a potential new client to fill the space left by the people who are leaving that went really well.

I’ve been doing some cleaning and sorting around my & Sym’s room and found some treasures, like the rest of my collection of Lvnea perfumes, some Fool’s gold and a grow-your-own cat grass kit, which I’m sure Mark Fluffalo will appreciate.

Georgie’s back was shaved by the vet and she looks a mess so this week I have an appointment for her to get her first haircut at the groomers in her whole life (ten years!) so watch this space for an all-new Georgie coming soon. I definitely prefer the look of a fully-fluffed Pomeranian but again, I’m trying to be positive about it.

Gwen lost her first tooth and has a second loose one.

The little kids have become OB SESSED with My Neighbor Totoro and watch it twice a day (no shame in my mommy game), and it’s honestly such a sweet and gentle way to begin and end our days.

I’m hoping the rest of this month will continue to be calm, cute & drama-free <3

sunset beach

Sunset Beach last Saturday.

Gwen asks to go to the beach every sunny day, and honestly, it’s so close WHY NOT go all the time? This was Nicky’s first visit to the beach since he started walking and he had a blast running around int he sand, throwing rocks, and getting windblown. Whenever he got tired he’d climb up in his stroller and sit and stare out to sea. Gwen really wanted to build sandcastles but the waves were so cold and choppy and we didn’t bring any towels, so we didn’t go down to the water. Next time though! I know I say I’m going to take the kids to the beach all the time every year, but this year I REALLY mean it.

this week

This week. THIS WEEK MAN.

You know the saying that like… comedy is tragedy plus time? So many things have gone awry this week that it’s ALREADY funny, and the week isn’t even over. No need to wait for the tragedy to become comedy when your life’s disasters are on a 24-hour news cycle! Fair warning: a lot of the things that went awry involve a great variety of bodily fluids. The amount of time I spent this week cleaning up pee and poo and puke…!

But we’ll start with me. Last week I bought myself some new baking sheets. I wanted to make cookies for the Thursday Treat (it’s A Thing now) this week, but all my old, crudded up baking sheets were different sizes and thicknesses, so it was almost impossible to figure out cooking times. I just wanted baking sheets that were the same size and the same thickness that would conduct heat in the same way. I’ve finally figured out my oven’s quirks (after only 11 years in this apartment): it runs a little hot, especially on the right side. So I have to rotate whatever I’m cooking laterally halfway through in order to achieve a consistent bake, or roast, or whatever. ANYWAY. I got these new baking sheets so I threw the old ones away. However when I was carrying them to the door, I dropped one. On my foot. No big deal, right? Except the way I was carrying it, it hit my foot on one corner. If it had landed flat, or one the edge I’m sure it wouldn’t have been so painful or dramatic, but all the weight of the thing concentrated on that one corner was just beyond! I’m sure there are mathematical calculations you could do with the weight of the sheet and the height from which it fell to figure out the psi or whatever, but all I need to know was that it HURT. I hobble-ran around the house yelling the kind of nonsense non-swears you yell when you are around little kids: “FRIBBIN FRABBIN JACKALOPIN FLUFFERNUTTER!!!!” The top of my foot swelled up like a gross ballon and started to bruise almost right away. It’s been a few days and the swelling still hasn’t gone down completely and the bruise is spectacular and encompasses the entire dorsal area (yes I googled that so I wouldn’t have to say “top of my foot” again). It goes from arch to arch, toe to ankle, purple and green and yellow. It’s quite a treat.

It’s worth mentioning that this is the same foot that developed plantar faciitis last summer, but I don’t have pain from that anymore because acupuncture cured it? I’m a believer now.

Ok. So. The other thing? I swear to god it’s been one kid or another, one animal or another with the bodily fluids ALL WEEK. It’s mostly blurred together into a haze of scrubbing and wiping and rinsing and sanitizing and washing. Nicky’s hair still smells pukey (after MULTIPLE washes!) and I have never been so goddamn happy to have in-suite laundry in my entire life. It’s also really brought to the forefront my & Taylor’s different parenting styles: when a toddler is barfing and screaming and barfing my go-to plan is to just hold them in place where they are (be that in a high chair, in front of the fridge or next to the front door) until they finish barfing so you only have to do crime scene cleanup in one spot, while Taylor’s natural instinct is to grab them and run? where? the bathroom? I’m not really sure, and I don’t know that he does either.

It’s also worth mentioning that I have an old baby wipes box of latex gloves to wear when I’m changing the daycare kids’ diapers (as per health authority regulations) and WOW have they come in handy this week.

Thankfully out of our family only Nicky has gotten sick (so far…). I think it’s actually been a few years since we’ve had a vomitty disease that’s stricken multiple members of the family, which is kind of incredible considering. Just in case anyone else gets hit we’ve all cancelled all of our weekend plans to have sleepovers, go snowboarding, and do Korean foot-peeling masks with our sisters. Ballet class is still on for now; we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, if no one gets sick I guess I can spend this weekend working on my endless closet-rearranging scheme. So far I’ve emptied my craft closet, sorted out a bunch of old paint cans from the kitchen closet, and put some crackers where the paint cans used to be. Soooo it needs a bit more work.

The acorn is actually a candle jar; the netting over the bottle was from a package of garlic? I think? Or maybe shallots. Either way it’s repurposed. Also I just realized now that the diamond pattern of the net matches the diamond pattern of the acorn top matches the diamond pattern on the wooden coaster, and yet I had them grouped together? The subconscious mind is WILD.

When we went snow tubing I sunburned my lips and for WEEKS nothing helped to heal the dry, peelly, chapped and PAINFUL mess. Last weekend in desperation I went to Sephora and spent TWENTY-TWO DOLLARS on this Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm. I said that if it didn’t completely heal my fried lips in ONE DAY I was returning it, and guess what? IT TOTALLY WORKED. I started using it on Saturday afternoon and woke up Sunday morning completely restored, goddammit. So if your lips are dried, fried or generally a wreck I recommend this. You’ll love it, and I’m sorry.

This week’s Thursday Treat: brown butter & toffee chocolate chip cookies. I wanted to try a new recipe so I googled “best chocolate chip cookie bon appetit” (I’ve had really good luck with recipes from them) and this was the result. Ironically (?) this recipe ACTUALLY comes from a baking blogger from Nanaimo, BC, which is 12 minutes from my hometown of Nanoose Bay. WHAT R THE ODDS. My grocery store didn’t have any Skor bars but it did have bags of Skor toffee bits so I used 80 grams of those, and 50% cacao chocolate chips instead of dark chocolate wafers (i… dk what those are). These came out delicious, and I got to use my new baking sheets! I also used an ice cream scoop to measure the batter for the first time and why? have I not always been doing this? You should do it too; my scoop is from Crate & Barrel and it works great.

Nicky is no longer drinking formula at all, so this week I washed and cleaned our beloved baby bottle machine so we can sell it, and with the counter space freed up by its absence I spent a glorious afternoon rearranging the kitchen. The toaster and bread box are with the coffee maker in a breakfast-slash-sandwich zone. The coffee maker is next to the sink so you can refilled its water reservoir easily. The stand mixer is closer to the stove which makes sense because most things you mix, you also need to cook. The space makes so much more sense now and is so much more ~visually open~ (sorry). I need to get a second or bigger utensil holder and I want a different breadbox; there’s nothing wrong with our current one but the steel doesn’t go with my current ~aesthetic (again, sorry) and it has a big dent on the top where someone (me…) dropped a jar of salsa on it the first week we had it. I would love one that was wood or white, but I also want a drop-front and a flat top so I can store stuff on top of it. The same one we have now comes in white, which would be perfect EXCEPT it’s not really available here? You can get it on UK sites for £31, but here in Canada I can only find it from sketchy resellers for $160, or $100 + $60 shipping. So the search continues.

OH! As part of the kitchen & pantry project I made labels for all my salts this week! Except this isn’t all of them, I need to get more of these jars (from the dollar store) for the rest of them. I have the labels all ready when I do though

You would never guess this guy has barfed over one hundred thousand times this week.

snowy day

I had a surprise day off today, probably the last in a while, so I decided to make the most of it and take Nicky out for an early morning snowy day walk. For some reason late February snow always surprises me but I think it happens here pretty frequently so idk why that is! It’s actually snowed like three times in the past week but today is the first “real” one.


Nicky staying cozy in his stroller with the weather shield on!


This week’s Thursday treat was cupcakes, at Gwen’s request. I used this recipe for white cake, but halved to make 12 cupcakes. I topped them with this cute Fairy Tale sprinkle mix from Sweetapolita and they were a big hit with all the kids.


This boy loves his apples.

spring is springing


this famous Skinnytaste bagels


Nicky’s fave lunch right now: peanut butter sandwiches cut into “coins”


it was my birthday this week


dolly slumber party

Spring is starting to happen outside, and inside I’m getting a little bee in my bonnet to do my version of spring cleaning, which mostly involves rearranging things. Right now I’m obsessed (OBSESSED) with turning my kitchen closet into a pantry, which means I’d have to move all the tools and brooms and cans of pant into what is currently my craft closet, and move all my craft supplies… where? What I really want to do is put proper storage in the hallway and have my craft supplies there. Unfortunately I can’t afford to buy a bunch of cabinetry at the moment but I also haven’t been doing much crafting so I might just put it all in some big Rubbermaid bins temporarily.

What else? I’m very keen to finish painting our bedroom, and to repaint the hallway which assaults my eyes daily with its grotesque yellow paint. I need to put up all the art I took down when I painted the living/dining room as well as some in the little kids’ room. Speaking of the little kids’ room, last weekend I finally mostly finished sorting out and organizing the toys, which had been in a messy jumble since we had the floors done (last spring…). I need to get some storage for under Gwen’s bed to sort out the last of it still but it’s already much better.

I’ve lost track of how many teeth Nicky has now. They keep popping through in batches, and he’s been miserable, but I think he’s very very close to being done? The four dreaded molars he’s been working on since he turned one (FOUR MONTHS AGO) have mostly popped out (at last check he had three) and in the meantime his canines have appeared as well. This means he’s started sleeping through the night again (occasionally) so Gwen is sleeping through the night in her own bed (occasionally). Of course nights like that (of which last night was one) mean we have mornings like I did today, when they both wake up much earlier than normal. Nicky hollered me out of bed at 6:15 and when I brought him out to the living room I found Gwen already there, watching Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron.

Tomorrow is another early morning, as I have the second of three spine injections at the pain clinic out in the suburbs at 7:10am. I’m definitely not looking forward to it but best to get it out of the way and have the rest of my (long) weekend free!

cinnamon rolls

Today for post-Lego Club treat I made Sym and Gwen cinnamon buns. I love them but YIKES if they aren’t a lot of work (the buns, not the children…). I’ve used this recipe before but always refrigerated them unbaked overnight and finished them in the morning, so this was my first time making them straight through. Even with the 2 rises it basically ate up my entire afternoon. It was alllllll worth it though, because they really are the best.

contentedness

the busiest body

I’ve been taking medication for my degenerative disc disease for a week now and it’s honestly amazing how much of a difference it’s made already. It’s such a relief to get up in the morning and be able to just… get up. Easily, and with (almost) no pain. It’s incredible! I have an appointment to see the pain management specialist on Saturday afternoon for an information session, after which I can get a steroid injection into the ol’spine right away if I choose (I probably will choose).

On Monday Gwen was off school, and I serendipitously had a surprise day off work. I absolutely relish these opportunities to spend a weekday just me & the kids; it’s no secret that my dream would be to trade my work-at-home-mom life for a stay-at-home-mom one, so any chance to pretend that’s the case is a treat. We didn’t do anything special, just ran a few errands before lunch and then had a lazy afternoon at home. Nicky napped, I made fresh pasta, and Gwen took a long-overdue bath. It was exactly the day I wanted.

Days like that used to make me feel sort of desperate and sad, like it doesn’t happen often so I would always know it was just a one off, but somehow it doesn’t feel like that anymore. I’m feeling satisfied and at peace with work, something that pretty much corresponds exactly with how many kids I’m looking after who scream all day (which right now is zero). So while I still dream of being able to quit my job and focus solely on my own kids, working feels a little less like work lately, and a lot more like fun ❤️

let them eat cake

Gwen has Lego club after school on Thursdays, and since I can’t pick her up (I need to be home for the daycare kids’ pick ups) Symphony walks her up the hill. Sym goes to her dad’s on Thursdays so it’s not exactly convenient for her, and after such a long day Gwen is pretty tired and grumpy. Because I don’t have to go to the school it leaves me more time to do things around the house, and what better way to spend it than baking a treat for the girls when they get here? I’m hoping to make something every week but I’m notoriously flaky so we’ll see how it goes.

This week I made a peach sour cream coffee cake, adapted from this recipe. I just substituted the cup of raspberries with a cup of peaches cut into raspberry-sized pieces. I added 1 tbsp of whole milk to the batter because it was SO dry and thick I knew I wouldn’t be able to spread it out in the pan properly, and 3 drops of white food colouring to the icing because the vanilla made it a little too similar to the colour of the cake & almonds and I wanted some contrast!

I chose this cake because it is topped with sliced almonds I’m on a quest to use them in as many ways as possible. A few months ago I was at the grocery store and for some reason I needed sliced almonds. They happened to be on sale but some of them were marked incorrectly and it took three different store employees to figure out which almonds were what price. As a thank you to me for not being rude about it they insisted I take a large-size bag of almonds for free, so now I’ve got almost half a kilogram of them. I never made whatever it was I’d wanted them for in the first place, and now I’ve completely forgotten what it was, so every time I open the cupboard this unopened bag of sliced almonds was just sitting there taunting me. This cake only used 1/4 cup so any suggestions for sliced almond heavy recipes would be much appreciated!