squelch beach

I didn’t mean for these trip-to-the-island posts to drag on for quite so long but I had some serious chaos around here last week and just didn’t have time to get to this, the final post. On our last day we went up to a beach on what my research tells me is Craig Bay (although I’m sure my mom will correct me if I’m wrong) but I like to call SQUELCH BEACH. The tide was out and the place was a serious mudpit, but in a good way? The wet sand was covered in crabs and periwinkles and oysters and even jellyfish. Gwen loved it, as soon as she got down to the sand she took off her shoes and just headed out to sea. The dogs also had a blast, and were very wet, muddy and smelly very quickly. Luckily (?) we trapped ourselves on the wrong side of the creek when the tide came in and had to walk back the long way round through the forest, which gave the dogs time to dry off and Gwen time to become very tired, so she fell asleep in the car on the way back to my mom’s.

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That little pink speck is Gwen.

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There is also a little pink Gwen-speck in this pic, although you probably can’t even see her. She just went for it.

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06 georgie & gwen in the water

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The tiniest crab in Crabville, it’s basically invisible.

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When we got back to my mom’s I threw these in the trash, rip shoes.

09 dogs in the rocks

10 gwen on the rocks

11 kichou on the shore
At one point I lost sight of Kichou and had a panic that I’d have to call Taylor and be like “I lost your dog in the ocean, sorreeeeee.” Thankfully he’d just gone to explore a nearby resort, not the world under the sea.

12 gwen walking close

13 gwen walking far

14 honeycomb rocks
There were loads of these cool rock formations but unfortunately most were COVERED in goose doody, making them very unphotogenic.

15 zoe & chris on the bluff
My sister and her boyfriend, who were excellent travelling companions.

16 slime sluice
The aforementioned resort’s artifical waterfall, christened the Slime Sluice.

17 gwen on the blackberry trail
She discovered blackberries on this trail and we ended up wayyyyyy behind the others.

18 horsetails

19 dome spider
the woods were full of these weird dome-shaped spiderwebs

20 trees & sky

21 gwen sleeping

blackberries

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The last time Gwen went to the Island was back in October, and it was kind of cold and rainy. Even though there were a few showers on Saturday, it was mostly quite warm while we were there. Gwen had a lot of fun tramping around my mom’s property, exploring the forest and the garden and especially the blackberry brambles. Once she realized you could pick & eat them right off the branches it was like GAME OVER, MAN. She spent most of the weekend with purple staining her hands and face (and clothes…).

hometownward bound

Originally I’d planned just one post about this little getaway, but I have too many pictures and it would be obscene to cram them into one post. Like, you would all hate me & get a cramp in your scrolling finger. So while I settle back in to my regular life of cleaning the house and dishes and laundry (SO. MUCH. LAUNDY. I was so good at not overpacking this trip but between us Gwen and I had a full load of super-filthy clothes from just two and a half days away. How???) here are the pictures from Friday only.

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That little white cluster on the right of the horizon is Vancouver.

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The sky is so big over the water.

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With no Taylor on this trip I had to be my own photographer

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This past weekend Taylor and Sym were both going to be away so I decided to take Gwen over to Vancouver Island to visit my mom. Originally I’d planned a trip for the whole family later this month but my recent financial setback kind of scrapped that plan. I still really wanted to make it over there so I decided that rather than sit around my apartment alone all weekend, I’d get out of town.

Since I don’t have a car (or a driver’s license…) I had to walk on the ferry with the stroller and the little dogs, which was a super daunting prospect. I invited my sister ZoĆ« and her boyfriend Chris to come with, to help and also because they are cool and fun. Taylor booked a zipcar and drove us out to the ferry terminal on Friday night and we were on our way! We actually almost missed the ferry because they didn’t have any sort of announcement for foot passengers with dogs boarding the ferry, so we missed our opportunity to board before the cars and had to wait until after all the big trucks and busses had loaded. It was a huge hassle because the vehicles park so close together there weren’t a lot of places where the stroller could fit through, so at times I actually had to lift the stroller, with Gwen in it and the carseat bungee-corded to the back, over people’s cars (with the help of a VERY nice BC Ferries worker, don’t think I could have lifted it by myself).

They have a creepy little pet area on the upper car deck (which is annoying since we had to walk onto the lower car deck) but it was tiny and there was a large, mean, VERY AGGRESSIVE dog in it already, so the helpful worker showed us some weird little seats on the other side of the car deck instead. Considering she’d had no real dinner and was up past her bedtime, Gwen was really well-behaved, which was a blessing (and was not repeated on the return trip).

I used to take the ferry back and forth so much, and would spend most of my time on the passenger deck, and I guess I got used to how beautiful the trip is. Being stuck on the car deck with the dogs (tbh I don’t see why they couldn’t have a pet area on the upper outdoor passenger deck, like don’t even get me started on this) kind of forced me to spend a lot of time gazing at scenery, because there wasn’t anything else to gaze at. It really is amazingly stunning here.

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happy day

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This is the most on-theme outfit I could get Gwen to wear; I said to Taylor the combination of robe-as-daywear and insane bedhead was giving me Baby Lebowski vibes and he replied that all she needed to complete the look was a virgin White Russian. So like. Milk.

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Happy Canada Day! I’m off all this week so it kind of doesn’t feel like a holiday for me? Taylor is taking Friday off instead of today (or last night, since his shift starts at midnight) and Sym is spending the day at her dad’s, so it’s just me & the babe this afternoon. We might go to the fireworks tonight, it depends on Gwen since they will be starting well past her bedtime and if she’s grumpy we aren’t going to bother. My only real Canada Day plans are to make a couple different flavoured syrups, having tacos for dinner, and remaking the banner I was working on yesterday that Gwen cut in half at some point before I woke up this morning.

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My July calendar page is up now, you can download it here.

waffles & sprained ankles

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eating dinner in the pediatric examination room

Last night Taylor and I got to celebrate his special day by taking a fun trip to the emergency room at St. Paul’s Hospital (I keep hearing all this noise about plans to move the hospital out of downtown and I hope that never happens, it is very convenient having the hospital half a block away). Earlier in the day she fell off one of the dining room chairs and as the afternoon progressed she went from walking on the edge of her foot with her toes curled under, to walking on her knees and refusing to even stand up.

The hospital was a super fun adventure as Gwen’s highly developed sense of STRANGER DANGER meant she started screaming and howling BEFORE the doctor examined her leg. It wasn’t really possible to tell what sort of pain she was in so she had to have her leg x-rayed. Of course she didn’t want the x-ray technician (who was SO NICE AND PATIENT) to talk to/look at her either which led to more howling. She wouldn’t lie down or hold still for the x-ray, so in the end both Taylor and myself had to lead-apron up and hold her leg in place while trying to keep our hands out of the shot.

In spite of this they were able to get what the needed and with no apparent fractures or deformities she was diagnosed with a sprained ankle. The doctor told us it should heal quickly and that within 24 to 48 hours she be back to her regular self (although if she’s not we should bring her back in). So far today she seems to be doing really well; she was standing at the door when I got her up this morning and she’s been walking on her feet and even twirling, running, and climbing (including up onto the very same chair she fell off yesterday, why must you do this, baby?).

Even though we were fast tracked at the ER we still got home quite late and so we skipped bath, instead giving her a bottle, brushing our teeth (she likes us to brush while she brushes) and going straight to bed. Gwen’s bedtimes have thankfully become less of a struggle recently. She likes to sit up in bed and have us read her a book or two before we turn off the lights and close the door. She usually cries for a minute or two but then falls asleep without problem. She won’t let us tuck her in and stays sitting up while we leave, but if we check on her in the night she’s always fixed up her bed and tucked herself in. She still sleeps through the night just fine and has even been sleeping in a little in the mornings, waking at 7 or 7:30 instead of 5:30 or 6.

PS Taylor’s Father’s Day wasn’t just about the hospital. In the morning her got presents: Campfire Cologne and Canoeist Beard Oil from the Sanborn Canoe Company, and a new pair of sandals to replace the ones Georgie chewed up. I also made him a special brunch of homemade waffles with fresh blackberries, raspberries (regular & golden), whipped cream and lemon-wild rose syrup, which tragically didn’t thicken enough but was still delicious.

bear creek

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While we were in Kelowna over the long weekend we went hiking in Bear Creek Park. It was implied to me that it would be an easy breezy stroll, and I guess maybe it would have if we weren’t the crazy people pushing a stroller up narrow, steep trails! Although it was safe it was a little nerve-wracking at times, but in the end COMPLETELY worth it for the gorgeous views.

went away|came back

First of all, thank you everyone for the incredible response to the Sara M Lyons + Unicorn Parade banners that Sara and I released last week! I sold out of the Whatever Forever banner in about fifteen minutes, and Sara has just one left in her shop. We both have some Out of this World and Best Buds banners still available so please visit shop.unicornpara.de or shop.saramlyons.com to get one of your very own.

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Gwen’s flamingo swimsuit is from Old Navy

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I actually have a degree in taking pictures of scenery through the window of a moving car.

For the long weekend Taylor and I packed up Gwen and the little dogs and headed up to his moms’ place in Kelowna. Since both of us were off work Friday (I’d booked it as a vacation day but as it turned out I had no kids coming, what a waste!) we planned to leave early in the day and avoid traffic, but due to certain circumstances we didn’t actually leave the house until about 1pm. It took us two and a half hours just to get out of the city and across the Fraser Valley, ugh. After a quick visit to Hope to buy snacks and to enact a complicated standing-up diaper-changing maneuver on a screaming toddler in a truck-stop bathroom we made good time the rest of the way and arrived at dinnertime.

Saturday was beautiful and sunny and Gwen was up bright and early at 6am and ready to hit the backyard. She spent some quality time with the water table and then after breakfast we headed out to go hiking in Bear Creek Park. Back at the house Gwen had a very short nap (she’d fallen asleep in the car briefly and non-nap time sleeps always mess up her nap). She spent most of the rest of Saturday playing with water in the backyard and watching her fave shows with her grandmas while Taylor and I ran some errands.

At bedtime we started to have some problems. She’d gone down easily on Friday night but Saturday night it was a HUGE struggle to get her to sleep in her bed. In fact, I never did. At her grandmas’ she sleeps in a crib in a spare room but since she can climb out of cribs it only took about five seconds after we closed the door before she turned on the light and started knocking to be let out. Taylor had some work to do so I tried myself for an hour to get her to bed in her room, but it just wasn’t happening and I was so tired and stressed out that I was starting to get mad, so in the end I let her come lay down with me in the other bedroom. Of course, she still didn’t go to sleep- she stayed up goofing around for at least another hour before settling down to what would be a long, nearly-sleepless night for Taylor and I.

Sunday morning Taylor’s sister came over with her three kids for a little visit, and after they left we tried giving Gwen lunch and putting her down for a nap again but it was just more of the same as the night before, she wouldn’t stay in bed. We tried both the crib AND the actual bed in the room but there was no way. Taylor and I had already decided that if she wouldn’t nap we’d have to leave early because all of us were pretty much at the end of our ropes, emotionally. It sucked because leaving early meant missing out on more time with Taylor’s family and a barbecue I was really looking forward to, but the alternative was a toddler on the brink of a constant meltdown and two even more exhausted adults making the drive back the next day. So we quickly packed up all our stuff (forgetting only Taylor’s tablet and notebook) and headed out.

As soon as we put Gwen into her carseat she got MAJOR sleepy-eyes, and I think she fell asleep before we’d driven 50 feet. She slept all the way to Merritt, two hours away. After she woke up she was mostly good the rest of the way, only making a serious fuss when she needed her diaper changed, again in Hope and again a complicated standing-up endeavour, this time in the back seat because it was raining and I didn’t want to get out of the car. We drove through rain- and thunderstorms until we reached the sun in Metro Vancouver, again arriving just in time for dinner. We were a little worried that Gwen would be difficult to get to bed again but she went straight to sleep without a problem and didn’t wake until 7am.

Since we still had the rental car for another day we made a quick trip to Ikea this morning to snag a couple items we forgot on our last trip, a pair of waterproof mattress protectors and a second duvet for Gwen’s toddler bed. as well as a new sheepskin for her room. We had to chuck out her old one because SOMEONE’S little dog peed on it, and we ended up getting a fake (ie WASHABLE) one this time. Since we were saving money on the sheepskin ($15 vs $40) we also picked up a cute rack for Taylor’s hats, a frame for a poster he ordered last month and some 600lm LED lightbulbs for our bedroom. I’m OBSESSED with these bulbs; they last for basically ever and make CFLs look like the literal worthless trash bulbs they are. I buy a few every time I go to Ikea and plan on eventually replacing every CFL bulb in my house with them.

Beach Bunny

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Growing up my family always had an Easter egg hunt, well really more of a general candy hunt. We each would get a basket of treats, a chocolate bunny, a paper egg filled with goodies, and one of those big chocolate eggs with Smarties inside (I’m talking Canadian Smarties here, not the candy that is called Smarties in the US, those are Rockets, NOT Smarties, get it together US tbh). They’d all be hidden around the house and to make sure it was fair my mom assigned colours to each of us. Our treats would be marked, usually with a ribbon in our colour- mine was blue.

With Sym I was never able to do that because when she was two we got Dougal, and big dumb dog = not hiding chocolate all over the house. Instead we’d just give her a basket full of treats, and for the past couple years that’s what we did with Gwen as well. This year Sym spent the weekend at her dad’s so it was just Gwen, and I decided to try doing a little Easter egg hunt with her. Sunday was so sunny and nice that instead of staying home we took everything down to Sunset Beach and had a little Easter celebration there.

Taylor went down to the edge of the beach near some rocks and hid everything while I took Gwen further along the seawall and then doubled back. We got there early enough that it wasn’t very busy yet so we didn’t have to worry about stranger kids finding Gwen’s stuff. She had a lot of fun searching for all the toys and candy hidden in the rocks and plants, especially once she realized just what was in the plastic eggs- Mini Eggs, aka her fave thing ever. She shoved about a hundred (actually more like eight) in her mouth at once and just drooled nasty chocolate drool all over herself. SO GROSS, GWEN.