autumn leaves

The foliage around the city is BONKERS right now. The weather has been bright & clear for the past few days so we’ve been able to get out and really enjoy it before everything turns into wet brown yuck.

on cars and mud, or, Nicky is two!

For the most part, I really love having a car-free life. We live downtown and both work within walking distance from home (some of more than others, haha #oneroomcommute) so Taylor and I don’t ever really miss his old car. Well I assume he doesn’t, I myself have never owned or driven or even learned how to drive a car so it’s not something I think about much. But we don’t have to pay for a car or parking or gas or maintenance, which is obviously a big bonus. It also makes us more mindful of when we DO use cars; Taylor has memberships with a few different car sharing services, but before we book one we usually do a cost/benefit analysis. For example, we always used to take a zipcar when we went to Ikea, but the money we spent on the car was money we couldn’t spend on other things (like… stuff at Ikea). Last year in the summer I figured out how easy it was to get there by transit (it’s literally one train and one bus) and obviously it takes longer than driving but it’s so much less expensive! Plus any time we can avoid installing carseats YET AGAIN is a good time for us.

Now there are obviously times when a car is the only option, this summer’s day trip to Alice Lake for instance. And using car shares, especially on the weekend and double especially if you need to fit in a whole family including two car seats, means you can lose spontaneity. We usually have to book the car several days in advance, and once you pass the cancellation window come hell or high water or inclement weather you are taking that car trip! This worked in our favour for Alice Lake and we had a beautiful clear sunny day. Nicky’s autumn birthday excursion? Not quite so much.

Originally I was planning on throwing an at-home party for him and inviting his little friends, but then I thought about it and I have multiple toddlers here making a mess all week, do I really want that on the weekend too? NOT SO MUCH. Instead I decided we should go on a family excursion out to a farm for like… autumn activities. I picked Maan Farms in Abbotsford, about an hour’s drive from downtown. We never do this kind of classic fall family activity so I figured this was a perfect idea, but we’d definitely need a car for this one. I checked the weather forecast and it had Nicky’s birthday sunny and clear, so Taylor and I went ahead and made our plans. Then we watched as each day the forecast got worse and worse.

Hope springs eternal though, and rather than cancel his birthday and pay for a car we then wouldn’t be using. we pulled out everyone’s rain gear and packed a bag of towels. His birthday dawned grey and wet and I was a bit worried we’d all have a miserable time but as it turned out, it was kind of perfect? The rain meant the farm wasn’t busy, so we had all the attractions pretty much to ourselves, and while two of my three kids ended up slicked in mud from head to toe, they were also waterproof from head to toe (god bless Mountain Equipment Co-op). I had my camera but it was so wet that we couldn’t really take many pictures so instead of posing, we just had fun. Even Symphony, who can be somewhat of a difficult teen at times, had a blast.

In fact, Symphony was on cloud nine because she got licked by a goat in the petting zoo.

Taylor tried one of these pedal karts and when he sat on it his rainpants pulled down in the back and all the water went straight down his behind.

Nicky was OBSESSED with the pumpkin patch, we had to go in it twice and he wanted to bring home every gourd he saw. It was too muddy for pics though so here he is in the corn maze (also muddy).

This is the ONLY picture of me (other than a selfie with the birthday boy I posted in my instagram stories) from the WHOLE DAY, someone else needs to step up and take some pictures sometimes, maybe a person whose hobby is photography, I’M JUST SAYIN’.

After we got home we had our neighbors down for a some cake & presents. I baked the cake the day before, a 3-layer funfetti cake with cream cheese frosting.

It was a big hit (I think it’s safe to say I’ve been fully redeemed as a baker), as were Nicky’s gifts: a Green Toys car carrier truck, a Little People zoo train, and a plush surf van (finally a toy car he can have at bedtime!).

In the end I’m so glad we just sucked it up, went out and got wet and muddy, and I think everyone else is too! (Which also bodes well for the CHRISTMAS family activities I’m planning…)

last day

In the spring of 2004 Symphony’s dad decided he wanted a dog. He had a bunch of ideas about getting… a Doberman Pinscher I think? But then the internet led him on a spiral (the way that it does) and he ended up on the site for a small, local rescue. There was a picture of a litter of puppies they had available for adoption: three cute puppies and one goofy looking idiot. When he contacted them he was told all the cute puppies were adopted but if we were interested, the goofy idiot was still available. As it turned out it was just a bad picture, and a flattering cover photo in a community newspaper led to hundreds of calls to the rescue from people interested in the last puppy. Only a few people were selected to meet the dog, and in the end it came down to a family who lived on a farm with acres of room to run, and us.

They picked us. The dog picked us. The dog was Dougal.

Today is Dougal’s last day, and this afternoon we are saying goodbye to the best dog, the handsomest dog, the best singer and gate-jumper and garbage-eater. Dougal loved biting cardboard, running, and people, and he hated other pets getting attention, skateboards, and having his feet touched. He was the best loved. He was our dog. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye Dougal. Dougal, the dog we found on Google.

comedy of errors

Back in June I started doing yoga. I’d backed the Gathre yoga mats on Kickstarter in like… February so I figured I should actually start doing yoga, right? It was the logical thing to do. So a few times a week in the afternoon when the kids were napping I’d put on a Yoga With Adriene video. This was when I was having a lot of anxiety after Georgie’s attack and doing yoga really helped with that. I wanted to keep it up over the summer but unfortunately with Sym and Gwen off school it just didn’t work out. They would be out in the living room during nap time because little kids were sleeping in their rooms, and the constant commentary and need for attention was just not conducive to yoga.

Thankfully they are back at school now, and my kickstarted mats arrived the first week of school so it was like… serendipity! I figured I could do yoga three afternoons a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) and still have time to do all the work and housework and everything else I need to do each day. Usually I’ll do a video that is 30-40 minutes, but yesterday someone’s child (cough*mine*cough) dumped out a ton of milk all over the dining room at lunch. I had a bunch of extra cleaning and mopping to do so had less spare time during nap and chose a quick, 15-minute workout instead.

Now recently I’ve been making a real effort to go to bed at a decent hour instead of staying up late and falling asleep on the couch watching Unsolved Mysteries. As it turns out, if you go to bed earlier it’s easy to wake up earlier. WILD I KNOW. So I figured I could get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning and do this quick, 15 minute flexibility workout every day. Every day! (Every weekday I mean). I was getting up at 7… ish so even though I’m really not a morning person 6:45 wasn’t outside of the realm of possibility for me. I went to bed by 11:30 last night and I was so confident that I’d wake up early enough I didn’t even set an alarm. And I was right, I woke up on my own at 6:05 this morning. I thought that might be a little TOO early so I stayed in bed until about 6:30… and that is when it all started to go wrong.

Last night before I went to bed I’d rolled up the living room rug so all I’d only have to unroll my mat and I’d be ready to go. HOWEVER my dog sometimes has overnight accidents in the house, so I had to walk out slowly and carefully in case of dog messes on the floor. Also, Gwen and Nicky were awake and playing in their room with the door slightly ajar so I couldn’t turn on any lights that might shine down the hallway. So. Hunting for dog mess in the dark. Cool. I used my phone to remotely turn on the lights in the playroom, which shone enough into the dining room to illuminate a scattering of poops on the dining room floor (the one I mopped yesterday afternoon…).

I hopscotched over them to get to the foyer, grabbed a poop bag and quickly picked up the mess. Of course now I had to get back to the front door to throw it out, but I couldn’t exactly tell where the poops had been and I didn’t want to step on any poop remnants before mopping. I had the brilliant idea of walking around the other side of the dining room table and cutting through the living room to get to the door, so I did just that. Which is when I stepped in a puddle of piddle.

I had to wipe my foot dry with my pajama pants, strip them off and hop to the door to toss out the poop bag in my underwear, and then hop back to the bathroom to wash my foot. I wiped up the pee and put on some clean pants, and then I had to mop the dining room, still in a mostly dark apartment because I didn’t want to alert the kids to my presence. They are basically like the ear monsters in A Quiet Place so this all had to be done in silence as well.

Finally at about 6:50 the floors and myself were clean and ready. I put out my mat, turned on the video, and that was when Nicky started screaming. I don’t know if the low volume of the video was enough to let him know I was up, or if he’d just had enough of playing in his crib, but his yelling was not conducive to a peaceful yoga experience so I had to pause the video, get him up, change his diaper and plonk him and his sister on the couch because I was GODDAMN DETERMINED TO DO MY FRIGGING YOGA OK. So I did, and it was not great, because Nicky kept sitting on me and bringing me objects (he says “here you go” and then he throws a phone or a jar or a pair of underpants at me) and Gwen, bless her heart, always wants to gives hugs and kisses. But in the end I still did it, and I’m gonna do it again tomorrow, although I think I should probably get some headphones.


I was having a ton of trouble finding a basket to hold these mats that met my exact specifications for height, size and price, and then I realized I ALREADY OWNED IT. This used to hold the wooden blocks in the playroom, so I moved them to a shorter, wider basket and now everything has a place. I LOVE things having a place.


Ol’ Milky Eyes. This guy is getting pretty old, we thought he was like 14 but he’s really almost SEVENTEEN which is very ancient for a dog, even a small one..


Part of the reason I have trouble getting out of bed is because IT IS A LITERAL CLOUD. I finished up painting my bedroom a few weeks ago (well, mostly, I skipped the wall behind the bed because I didn’t feel like unscrewing my headboard from the wall and anyway the whole thing has curtains covering it) and it is SO NICE no longer having a half-painted space (which it has been since we had the floor replaced like a year & a half ago? YIKES).


I did a quick refresh to this corner of the playroom recently; I switched out the black brackets on the mattress shelf/Moomin poster with some white ones, painted the wall behind the left side of the kitchen (actually only part of it because I ran out of paint after finishing my bedroom), put some long Ikea picture ledge shelves on that wall to hold wooden puzzles and other ~aesthetic~ toys, and also screwed some pieces of foam core board painted to match the walls behind the two open arches of the play kitchen to stop Nicky from throwing literally every toy in the house behind it. His jumpsuit is a hand-me-down from Gwen, it’s completely impractical but completely adorable.

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!

spider babies

note: there are no spider pictures in this post

Last night after her shower Sym came to tell us that a spider’s egg sac had hatched int the bathroom, which is now full of tiny, pale spider babies. They don’t seem very smart as about half of them have migrated into the shower so I’m not sure they are very long for this world. In the meantime I’m loathe to kill them myself so we have to check out toothbrushes/hairbrushes/towels/etc for spiders before we use them. It is… not ideal.

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.