the end is hopefully near


Me prancing away from anything that DARES to go wrong for the rest of the month.

The end of the year I mean, because I am READY to move on! I was hoping for an easy breezy December but I guess 2018 just couldn’t let us go without a couple more setbacks…

First of all, in early November I FINALLY replaced my very, very, very old phone with a new model. It was great at first but after a couple of weeks the accelerometer & proximity sensor crapped out (how??? why???), which disabled a lot of features and also basic functions, namely the one where when you hold the phone to your ear during a call the screen goes to sleep so you don’t accidentally hang up on people! This was very frustrating and after spending half an afternoon on the support chat I was informed the phone needed to be replaced. Unfortunately I couldn’t exchange it through my cellphone provider at the store because it was 3 days past their return window so this morning I had to ship it back to the manufacturer for repair? Replacement? idk, I just want a phone that works, and for now I’ve had to switch back to my old phone which only has about an hour of battery life left at a time and it tends to die unexpectedly. This morning when I was out with the daycare kids it died at 60% battery and I couldn’t even get it to turn back on until I got home and plugged it in! It’s not great! And ‘m going to be stuck with it for 5-15 business days.

Second, my dishwasher, my very old and decrepit dishwasher that is at least third-hand and pre-dates my relationship with Taylor and also me even living in this apartment, the one we almost replaced a year ago, has finally died. Seems like when we tried getting a new one (about which I will be forever bitter) we had the right idea, because over the past few days it started having a new and very uncool problem in that the start button didn’t work. Like I can select a wash cycle and a delayed start and all the other buttons light up when I press them, but I can’t make it go. Taylor did some research and it could be one of about three different problems, all of which would require replacement parts, and some of which we can’t get because the machine is so old. So I’m pretty loathe to spend money on it, especially when it doesn’t ACTUALLY wash the dishes well. It’s just really frustrating because between my family and the daycare kids we go through a lot of dishes and because of the daycare kids, the dishes need to be sanitized. Without a dishwasher with a sanitization setting I have to sanitize all my dishes in bleach solution, and it’s going to take me months to save up for a new dishwasher so like… these next few months are going to be loooooooooooong. I have two different dishwashers picked out for when I CAN afford one, the first is the cheapest one you can buy that has sanitization (need) and the second is the cheapest one you can buy that has sanitization, hidden controls and a stainless steel tub (need, want, want). SO I’m really being practical here, since last year splurging on the fancy, expensive, highly recommended dishwasher was such a disaster.

Finally, yesterday I was doing some laundry and my washing machine started making a weird noise. Not a loud noise or a thumping noise, a kind of quiet whiny noise, like a small car engine that won’t turn over. I was like NOT ANOTHER PROBLEM but thankfully I had accidentally turned the water temp to warm/warm instead of cold/cold and the hot water was turned off! This was because the other week Nicky threw up all over his bedroom and I stuffed all his bedding, some stuffies and the bedroom rug all in one load. The rug is just a flat woven roadway play mat which I had washed before, but only ever by itself. Having it in with everything else caused the washer to go super unbalanced and it shimmied the whole stack around in my laundry closet. I moved it back (not easy as it is a washer & dryer stack that is very heavy) but I didn’t realize the wiggling and jiggling had cause the hot water hose to loosen just enough to start dripping down the wall. The drips somehow got under the vinyl flooring planks and for a few days we had mystery liquid oozing up between the planks whenever we walked down the hallway. I eventually figured out what was up, shut off the water, tightened the hose, dried everything I could dry and waited out everything I couldn’t. Luckily we have heated floors so once the leak stopped it dried in about a day or two, but GOD. ENOUGH ALREADY.

this season

The last three weeks…

After Halloween it was the girls’ birthdays, which are just three days apart in early November. For Sym we had her dad’s family over for cake (she requested triple chocolate) and presents the weekend before, and then on her actual birthday I took her out for ramen and a movie, which has become our go-to mother-daughter activity. On Gwen’s actual birthday we had a feast of Chinese food followed by strawberry pie (her request and something I’d never made/she’d never had?) and on the following weekend had a bunch of her little friends over for a unicorn-themed party. We bought a bunch of decorations and supplies in like… February, added a crêpe paper streamer rainbow wall, a mini ball pit (an inflatable pool filled with crush-proof balls from Amazon, our small kiddie pool needed 400 balls so if you do this plan accordingly) and a HUGE mylar unicorn balloon. I made funfetti cupcakes and pretty much just let the kids run wild.

For all the birthday cakes this year I’ve used recipes from The Stay at Home Chef and they’ve all been fantastic

Once the birthday season ended I had a week’s reprieve of doing nothing and now… it’s Christmas. I like to put the tree up bare for a few weeks to let the kids get used to it before adding decoration, with the idea that they won’t go crazy and trash all the ornaments. This has always worked, by the way, until Gwen and now Nicky. Last year Nicky broke so many ornaments (shatterproof DOES NOT equal toddlerproof!) I ended up stocking up on clearance ones after Boxing Day but I can’t remember exactly what he wrecked and what I bought so it’ll be a fun surprise in a couple weeks when we decorate. So anyway I put the tree up last weekend, as well as some lights around a couple of windows and a few bits & pieces on the sideboard.

Due to all the endless emergency vet bills we had this year Taylor and I are in a pretty tight financial situation, so we’ve elected not to exchange gifts (which is killing me bc my love language is buying you stuff and having stuff bought for me) and focus on the kids instead. I’m really hoping for some fun family outings and as redemption for last year’s multiple cookie disasters, successful cookie baking! Sym and I got a head start last weekend with these ginger molasses cookies which I HEARTILY recommend.

Some other things I’m looking to make happen during this last season of the year:
1. I need to make myself some new slippers as mine are a wreck. I’m slowly formulating an idea for some bootie-style slippers with a sheepskin insole, wish me luck on this!
2. I am DESPERATE to finish painting. The hallway, playroom, and kitchen are all still half-done, and the foyer (which was the first room Taylor and I painted in this apartment in like… 2007) really needs a refresh. Owing to my tragic finances this will def not be done this year except for maybe the hallway since I think I have white paint left for that, and mayyyyybe some medium grey part of the foyer (because who doesn’t want endless half-painted rooms?).
3. SPEAKING OF MY FINANCES I’m changing the structure of my client fees in a way that I hope will help sort things out; wish me luck on this too.
4. FINAL FINANCIAL BIT but hey why not check out my etsy shop if you are looking to treat yourself or someone to a little sparkle this holiday season! There are currently rolling strikes with Canada Post but I can provide price quotes for alternate carriers or just like… order early! And often!

This is one of the prettiest things I’ve ever made IN MY LIFE and I’m honestly shocked it’s still available?

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.