Friday, November 30, 2012

The Netherlands: Elephant and Cat


Postcards from NienkeH from the Netherlands.

Bring on the holidays

This year has been such an incredible mess of stuff that I thought there would be no way I'd be ready to deal with the holidays...I wasn't looking forward to December. I was looking forward to Christmas, but I wished everything would look after itself. Or you know, the elves would move in. Or something.

But this little lady had been counting down the days to December because on December 1 she gets to start her advent calendar (more on that later), we get to turn on the Christmas music and get the Christmas books out. And later this month we're doing some fun stuff, my parents are coming to visit and of course, December 25 comes complete with family, turkey dinner, other good food, and SANTA!

And today I woke up and I realized, I'm ready. I can't wait to start making cookies and goodies and seeking out gifts and wrapping them and sending cards and and and...

Happy last day of November...can't wait to see you Christmas season 2012!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I broke my own Christmas rule...

J desperately wants it to be Christmas last week, but at our house we have December 10 Christmas rule. It's leftover from when we were kids and my cousin's birthday was December 10. Once she had her birthday the Christmas lights outside could be turned on.

I've tried to keep that rule since we've had J for decorations with December 1 the day for music and books and other small Christmas stuff...

But this year I caved. I loaded the Christmas music back onto the iPod (I took it off in January because it was driving me nuts when we'd put it on random or genius and we'd get lost and lonely Christmas songs tossed in...) and we sat at the table and she made Christmas "cards." Some of you are getting them, so you'll see what I mean soon. I told her she can't give them out until after December, but she's ready...

She was home sick on Friday and while she's not 100% better today, she was definitely suffering from cabin fever and I figured we were better off having a quiet day with early Christmas carols than a day full of temper tantrums. (We did go for a walk - four blocks was enough to exhaust her...)

The bonus for me? I got a pile of Christmas cards written which means less time in December writing cards and more time doing fun stuff like baking and watching Love Actually.

I was grinchy and not happy with how quickly Christmas arrived on the heels of Hallowe'en this year, but after our quiet carol and cards session this morning and some advent calendar planning with Alex this evening, I'm super excited for December 1. And since it's only a month until Christmas, I'm not feeling one bit guilty about it!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Is it the time of year?

My blog has been quiet. Very quiet. Not because there is nothing to write about, but I just haven't been writing about it.

And today I realized, I'm not the only one!

Some of my favourite blogs, some of my friends' blogs, they've become quiet(er) too. Some are still posting, just not as regularly and some, like me, seem to have stopped...maybe it's the busy time of year?

We'll see what happens here...blogging was one of the things I enjoyed doing that I could cram into an half hour at the end of the day after J went to sleep. Maybe once the pregnancy related fatigue eases up a bit, I'll be back? Or maybe not, because that might just morph into new baby related fatigue...I guess we'll see...

I hope all you silent ones are well and just too busy! I miss you!

Monday, November 19, 2012

The purple-with-black-polka-dots cat

18. Make J's Hallowe'en costume

Last November 1, J announced she would be a cat next year. And for the next twelve months she talked about being a cat. So, October rolled around and I decided we better get moving on her costume. That's when she told me she was going to be a purple cat with black polka dots.

So we took a little trip out to Richmond and got some fuzzy black fabric and some purple fabric. J already had a purple headband and purple leggings, so we picked up a purple shirt and we were set.

Her tail and the belt to tie to her were easy to make - I just sewed two tubes - one I closed off at an angle and stuffed and the other I ironed flat and attached the stuffed tail to it.

I cut a bunch of different sized circles of the black fuzzy fabric and randomly sewed them onto the purple shirt.

That was the easy part.

The next night I made the ears...which weren't difficult, just a bit time consuming because I had to punch holes in the cardboard and then lash it to the headband. It took a couple of tries to get it right. Then I covered them with purple and tacked black insides on.

purple polka dot cat

Hallowe'en morning J was super excited - not only did she get to wear her awesome costume, but she got to have cat make-up and sparkly eyes. Of course now she'd like to have cat make-up on everyday!

bye bye kitty
Leaving the kitty at daycare - this kitty loves her puppy

We took the traditional Mulvi Hallowe'en dinner over to Fiona and Jess's and then J went trick or treating in their neighbourhood. Check out the loot - that's from maybe two blocks...more than enough for J!

checking out the loot

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Beluga Grads

When I was a kid, Raffi was one of the children’s singers we listened to a lot. And when we had J, she got to listen to a lot of Raffi too. For a long time she would not watch anything on TV…and then we borrowed a DVD of a Raffi concert from the early 80s from the library. And what do you know? She would sit through the whole thing! Eventually she added the songs from The Sound of Music to her TV watching repertoire and making dinner became much easier for me!

So, when we heard Raffi was coming to town, we decided we better get ourselves some tickets. So that we would not have an overtired little lady, we didn’t tell her she was going until after nap time the day of the concert.

who's that

Seated two rows in front of us were Alex’s brother, niece and dad…it turned into a real family day out (we did know they were coming too, we just didn’t know how close our seats were to each other)

excited about raffi

J had a blast – she loved singing along and we kept losing her in the crowd of groupies pushing up against the stage and dancing in the aisles.

raffi, it's raffi!

J's only complaints about the concert were that it wasn’t long enough and that something happened to Raffi – he was older than in her DVD! Oh, and he had a chair on stage, but he stood for the whole concert. Apparently he should have taken a seat or removed the chair!

The concert was awesome for the parents too – many of the adults in the audience were raised on Raffi and there were at least as many grown ups singing as kids (possibly more)! Raffi even played a special extra verse for the Beluga Grads…“Grown-up beluga, oh, grown-up beluga, sing a song of peace, sing with all your friends, we need to hear you”…it is a beautiful addition to an old favourite!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Why we need a yard

I could come up with a million reason why I want a yard and so could J – somewhere to play outside without having to get all sorted out and walk four or five blocks, a place to make mud, a place to plant fruit and veggies and flowers, a green space right outside our door to enjoy coffee in the spring and summer mornings…I could go on and on. (Can you guess which things J wants to do??)

At the end of our little trip to Victoria, J and I caught a plane from Victoria to Kelowna for a family thing and Alex, who had to work, drove home to Vancouver. J and I stayed for a few days and she was a big helper for my mom and dad.

little helper

She discovered my mom had two rakes, so that she could have one (HA!) and she spent the entire afternoon outside with my mom raking the yard.


She wasn’t too impressed on our last morning there though. It had been windy the night before and all her hard work raking was gone – the trees had dropped even more leaves!
And now, she has one more reason why we need a yard – she needs to rake!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekend Escape - Victoria

19.8 Go on 10 "adventures"

Our world has been a bit crazy lately. And by a bit, I mean it's insane. So Alex and I decided that we'd take a few days off work and daycare and get out of Vancouver and have a little adventure and some rest. Well, we managed to have some adventures...and we did get a little rest too!

Early Thanksgiving Monday we drove out to the ferry terminal to start our little vacation. While we waited for our ferry to arrive so we could board, we did a little browsing in the terminal building.

morning coffee
J is a true Vancouver girl with her morning "coffee"

We checked out the awesome candied apples - Thanksgiving turkeys and spooky Hallowe'en creatures. J and Alex would have had them as their second breakfast...

gobble gobble candied apples

spooky candied apples

We had a reservation and because there was very little traffic, we were one of the first cars on the ferry. We had an awesome view from the car deck!

beautiful day for a ferry ride

We did go up to the passenger decks and took J outside to see the view.

windy ride

We waved at the ferry going in the opposite direction - can you see J's Auntie K. on the ferry? We waved hard because she's there (maybe...she was in Victoria for the weekend, running in the marathon)

here comes auntie k

Once we docked in Swartz Bay, we decided we were hungry, so we made a stop in Sidney-by-the-Sea for a lunch of, what else, fish and chips. We also picked up a few postcards for J's penpal. Then it was off to Victoria and Beacon Hill Park. J slept most of the way and was quite excited when we got out of the car and we were at the petting zoo.

what's that?
What's that???

llama llama no pyjamas
Llama Llama no pyjamas

hangin' out
Hangin' out

miniature pigs
Miniature Pigs

petting the goats
Petting the goats

i'll brush you and make you beautiful
"I'll brush you and make you beautiful" (and if she had hair accessories, I'm sure the goats would be wearing those too!!!)

bug glasses

After a long time at the petting zoo (and some very thorough hand washing) we decided that we should find the playground and burn off some energy. J had a great time at the playground, racing around like crazy. We went to our hotel, dropped our things off and went in search of some dinner. J was a trooper and walked 1.5 kilometres to dinner at a yummy Italian place called Fiamo.


We arrived early, before the dinner rush, and had a lovely meal. It was so good. J was thrilled with her spaghetti and meatballs and the waiter couldn't believe how good J was and that we'd brought our own entertainment for her while we were waiting for food (colouring stuff and little Robert Munsch books).

spaghetti and meatballs

We loved the atmosphere and decoration in Fiamo almost as much as we loved our soup and pasta. Check out the bike on the wall...just a taste of the decor.

bike on a wall

After we stuffed ourselves, we went in search of ice cream (fine, gelato) because J declared it wasn't a "real" adventure if we didn't eat ice cream. We ended up having gelato both evenings and J had ice cream at lunch the second day and she just couldn't believe her luck because she "already had ice cream the day before." It didn't take much to convince her that we could have some special treats when we were on vacation!

it's not an adventure without ice cream

Alex loves gelato, so he had no argument with gelato on consecutive days. Alex ate gelato at least twice a day when we were in Rome for our honeymoon! Not sure how this compares....

gelato alex

The "Christmas" building...aka the Parliament building. Apparently any kind of light display automatically means Christmas lights...

parliament building

The next day we left the camera at home, but we managed to take in an IMAX movie, J did every gallery of the Royal BC Museum (her favourites were the special map exhibit and the old street) and we went for a long walk. We picked out books at Munro's Books, because what trip to Victoria is complete without a visit to Munro's? We capped day number two off with dinner with my friend Andrea at Rebar. YUM! More good food and some excellent company.

It was a great little break for us - and yes, there was some rest...when you have a four year old who you make walk 4+ km a day, a daddy used to working the morning shift, and pregnant mommy, everyone is ready to fall into bed by 8:00!