Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Aspects of November Life

I forgot to post about Halloween! Months ago, Callum randomly decided he wanted to be Boba Fett (and if I have to tell you that Boba Fett is a bounty hunter from Star Wars, you obviously don't have any 3 year old boys in your life), but I told him it was too hard to find the costume (or too expensive!), so he happily settled for a Clone Trooper. I have to admit that I didn't even think about a costume for Max. Next year.

Although Max puts a strain on my abilities to control my emotions, he can be very entertaining. He has a bit of a shoe fetish, though not his own shoes. We find Max in this type of get-up quite frequently:

The basement Suite we are renting doesn't have a bathtub, so Callum and Max get to play in the shower. It isn't particularly water-efficient, but they actually have fun in there.

Jeff and I now have this recurring problem - every night, at least one of us falls asleep as we put the boys to bed. It makes it difficult to talk to or even see each other when we're konked before 9pm - we're just so tired all the time these days!

I mentioned we visited Kim and Sven's place on the coast. Here are some pics (and Callum decided to be Mr.Funny Man the whole time):

Ever since September, when I told him it's too cold to go to the beach, Callum has been hoping for snow. When we got it last week, he was so excited! We were all dressed up in our snow gear and went out to play before breakfast.

Max spent most of the time in this position, as the snow came up to his thighs and couldn't walk very well on his own:

Callum, on the other hand, was in winter wonderland heaven:

When we finally came in for breakfast, it was hot chocolate, pancakes, and some screening of the Toys'RUs catalog:

After a couple days, it warmed up enough for the snow to get sticky so we could build a Snowman. Callum decided to call him Connor (don't ask me why).

We have decided that Christmas this year isn't going to be hectic. Let's see how well that pans out. Jeff says we should have all the new exterior framing, all the plumbing, electrical work done before Christmas.... Ha ha ha ha ha... Oh, I mean, Ho ho ho ho...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Minivan, Walmart, Processed Foods...

We've been living in the suburbs for nearly 2 months now and I think I really dove in to the lifestyle! I forgot to mention in my last post that we bought a minivan and on my first day driving it, I took the boys to Walmart to buy a bunch of processed foods! So, after a few weeks of hauling the kids around in the Dodge Caravan, in and out of the car seats, eating Kraft Dinner and hot dogs on a more regular basis, hearing Jeff leave for work before the kids are even out of bed because his commute is much, much slower, and trying to remember the last time I pulled out the stroller to actually walk anywhere... One might ask, "How do you like living in White Rock?". Funny enough, though, I like it. Maybe it's the house renovations that keep me excited and certainly busy enough.

I don't really have any photos to post today since I haven't pulled the camera out much, but lots has been going on that I will review in point form, for the sake of recording family life:

- All the demo work, including the roof, is done and all new interior framing in the house is pretty much complete. We're pretty happy with our framer, Bartek.

- We finally got Building Permit application in, without the front entry addition.

- Bartek actually asked me if I wanted to do some architecture work for another project he is doing - the renovation of some Law Offices. I met with the clients and put together a quote, not really knowing if I even wanted to the job or not, but it turns out that they may need a registered architect to do it anyway. Too bad, but not really.

- Our Board of Variance meeting was on Wednesday and we got approved to do the Front Entry addition, so now we need to finish up the drawings to ammend our permit application.

- My Dad is currently working on our kitchen drawings so that he can get the cabinets built before he goes in for hip-replacement surgery on Dec.17th.

- Our windows have been delivered and I really hate them, but that's what we get for what we paid for them, I guess. I was quite annoyed that Jeff didn't order any screens for them either, but these dumb windows need a dumb little opening, etc... Nevermind, I'm being dumb.

- Callum is in "Sportball" on Mondays that he loves, Preschool Tuesdays and Thursday that he likes and next week he starts Skating Lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays. I'm registering him in a lot since it seems that he watches more TV and plays on the computer since we moved here, I guess because we spend more time in the basement suite we're renting and there isn't much else for him to do since his toys are all Max's now. I have to say that lately Callum is pure joy to have around, generally, as he complains very little, doesn't fight back when Max attacks him, does what I ask him without telling him a million times, and even compliments me on the food I make for dinner!

- Max is a handful! He loves to wrestle with anyone who will let him and thinks the funniest thing in the world is when his Mom is angry with him (which makes him Mom even more angry, of course). He is horrified everytime I drop Callum off anywhere - both because he doesn't want to be separated from Callum but more so because he is very social and wants to stay with the other kids too. He is a dancing machine and laughs a lot, though I often think he'll be some kind of musician since he is constantly making noise, often humming or singing. He hasn't started talking at all yet and doesn't seem particularly interested in trying since he manages to get what he wants through grunting and screaming.

- Jeff and I are, of course, preoccupied with the Blackburn house renovation but we hardly see eachother at home. I mentioned already that he leaves so much earlier that we really only see him briefly in the evenings before the kids go to bed and we usually fall asleep while reading CAllum his bedtime stories. We're going to have to get better at planning "quality time" together, just the 2 of us and with the boys.

- Oh, and we are currently frustrated with our cell phones! I guess we will be getting a land line when we move into the house as the reception here is maddeningly retarded!!!! (And I've decided I want an iPhone, but our contract with Rogers is a heavy burden we bear).

- We visited our project/Kim+Sven's place on the coast on Remembrance Day last weekend and it looks SOOOO awesome. Exciting.

That's all I can think of for now. As an end note, I include the photo below from a wedding Jeff and I went to in August. They had one of those funny photo booths with costume apparel:

Monday, October 25, 2010

October is flyin' by.

Last weekend I was at a course Friday to Saturday, so Jeff took Callum with Scott, Sam and some cousins to the Pumpkin Patch. Looks like it was fun.

Otherwise, besides getting plumbers, window manufacturers, electricians, structural engineers, and framers into the house for quotes and work, there has been a lot of passing the kids off to other family members while we do more demolition. Callum and Max already know their cousins quite well, but their relationships will be even stronger by the time our renovations are done!

We've hired a framer who is raring to go, so his guys came and removed all our stucco and siding. There is still plenty of demolition to be done (will it ever end?), but here are some pics from this past Saturday (Thanks Scott for all your help! And Sam for watching the boys!):

I managed to step on a screw that penetrated my foot pretty deep and I have no idea when my last tetanus shot was, so if I don't update my blog ever again, I guess it means I have fallen victim to my own stupidity of wearing RocketDog shoes on a construction site!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bye Bye Love! Demolition Begins!

I guess it's been over a week now since we packed up our downtown home and said goodbye to Vancouver! As I drove the moving truck full of our stuff along the highway away from the city, I have to admit to shedding a tear or two (or maybe actually bawling my eyes out, but I have been a bit emotionally unsteady lately). Suburbs, here we come!

We moved into our basement suite (which is probably more square footage than our downtown condo, but only 1 bedroom and no bathtub), and settled in rather quickly, with the help of my sisters and Mom to unpack.

After a week of organizing, we enlisted the help of family and friends to begin demolition on our dump! We spent Saturday clearing out the excessive amounts of crap that was left behind from the previous owners.

My nephew Sam organizing the chemicals, electronics and recyclables:
My sister Kami getting acrobatic in the basement:
My Dad taking care of the job no one else wanted to do, the bathroom:
My friend Emily's husband Mike removing the animal-pee soaked hardwood flooring:
My brother Scott removing various type-writers, 8-track players, Mcdonald's toy collections, and other ancient technologies from under the stairs:
This is the bin at only 11:30am, so you can imagine how full it was by the end of the day:
It's Thanksgiving Monday today and Mom's making Turkey dinner at 5:30 tonight, so we better get going at removing more flooring and tackling interior walls!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Messy, moving, monster Max

It seems an impossible task to get a picture of Max since he is constantly on the move, as the shot above shows.

Jeff and I are exhibiting minor stress in our own ways during this turbulent month and I feel particularly neglectful of the boys - too much TV. Hopefully we will be able to focus on them more after the move in less than 2 weeks. We managed to find a place to stay in White Rock - a 1-bedroom basement suite with no bathtub, so it should be an interesting few months. We also managed to rent out our apartment (which turned out to be more difficult than we had anticipated, so we are much relieved that's taken care of).

Yup, less than 2 weeks before I say Goodbye to my urban life and say Hello to, to, um, well, I'm not really sure what life will be like out there. Sigh. Well, I borrowed my sisters minivan the other day and managed to parallel park it on the first go, so somehow I feel like I can handle any suburban task ahead of me! Soccer Mom, here I come!

Friday, September 10, 2010

First Day of School!

Since we are still living in Vancouver and Callum's Preschool is in White Rock, Callum, Max and I get to to commute to White Rock twice a week for September to Callum's school! And since we still have only one vehicle and Jeff needs it for work, this involves taking the Skytrain, which the boys don't really mind that much.

My Mom picked us up from the end of the line and then we borrowed her car to get to White Rock. All-in-all, about a 2-hour commute! I'm still glad we are doing it, though, since I didn't want Callum to miss his first day at Preschool.

I have to say, I have been feeling rather bursting with pride of my boys lately - Callum really is a great big brother and Max seems to be 1.5 years going on 3.5 years old. Let's see...

Callum participated in 3 separate weeks of Day Camp over the summer, so I think this really helped him gain alot of independence - carrying his own backpack, going to the bathroom without help (except with his button), inviting new friends to play with him and not being shy. He does tend to have his stubborn moments, when he has his heart set on something that he can't have (for example, after Daycamp one day he wanted to go to the park with his friend Noah, but we already made plans to go to Grandma and Grandpa's, so he was grumpy the entire drive there and for about half an hour after we got there he hid beside the house!). He is beginning to understand, though, that he has control over his emotions, so he comes to me and says "I'm trying real hard to be happy, Mom, but it's too hard!" The other day I was surprised at what a big boy he was when he was in his room for a while and came out changed out of his pajamas and into his clothes without me even asking him, then we were at the park and he was pumping on the swing all by himself, he shared his snack with Max without me saying anything, he went up and introduced himself and Max to another kid , then when I had to run to catch Max, Callum noticed I had to leave the stroller behind so he grabbed it and brought it to me. There are a few things we seems to avoid doing himself, however - if I want him to eat a meal before 2 hours has gone by, I better spoon it into his mouth or it will take forever. He has a mild obsession with Star Wars and I'm afraid computer and video games are already a favorite pastime that I need to decide how to deal with. Hmmm.

Max, my little troublemaker, is still quite a handful. I really took for granted how clean Callum has always been when he eats since Max is a disaster. He really doesn't understand why he can't do everything that Callum can do, so he gets frustrated when he can't climb up the side of the couch or when his food rolls off his spoon, or when I drop Callum off at Day Camp he really doesn't understand why he can't stay too. He is SO anxious to join Callum in Nursery at church, so I am counting down the Sundays before he turns 18 months. He still only has his front teeth, 4 on top and 4 on bottom, so I think he is teething now, actually, which would hopefully explain some of his moody behaviour lately. He talks pretty much non-stop - we think it is some obscure Asian dialect that someone somewhere would understand, but certainly not us. If you count "rrroooaaarrrrr" as a word, then I guess that would be his first word since he uses it every time he plays with a dinosaur toy. If Max hears the faintest sound of music with a beat, you will see him show off his moves - this kid sure can dance which makes me laugh and laugh!!

Speaking of Max, actually, he really needs to go down for a nap, so I better help him out (and if there's anything Max is good at, it is going to sleep, if not staying asleep).

Monday, August 30, 2010

Big news X 2 !!!

Our family has had some exciting things happen, well, 2 major things anyway.

First of all, I had mentioned a couple weeks ago that we put a bid on a house and it turns out that we got it! We own a house in White Rock! Well, it's more of a dump of a house than anything, so we have been getting very little sleep the last 2 weeks as we try to design the renovation plans, get quotes for the work from subcontractors and secure financing that would cover the renovations. Anyway, we have a significant project ahead of us and September is going to be really crazy as we prepare for it: we have to finish/fix several things in our condo, hold an open house for our condo to rent it out, find temporary housing in White Rock while we gut our house, buy a second vehicle (since living in White Rock won't be quite as pedestrian as my life downtown),
commute to White Rock twice a week for Callum's Preschool, pack up the condo and then move! Fun and exciting, eh?

To give you an idea of how serious our renovation project will be, here are a few pics of the current state of our "beautiful new home":

Now, the second (and far more exciting) thing that happened just this weekend involves Callum, my not-so little baby! After a total of about 20 minutes of practicing, over 2 days, Callum can ride a pedal bike!! He tried a few times on Saturday and got pretty frustrated, but then I tried again yesterday and he is a Superstar!! No kidding, he is riding alone, starting up himself and mastering the pedal brakes - I am so proud of him (and he is so proud of himself too)!!

And of course, now that Callum just wants to ride his Lightning Mcqueen pedal bike, Max has free access to the run bike, which he is very, very happy about. I think his little legs need to get just a little bit longer before he"ll be keeping up with Callum, no problem.

And last week we were able to go down the street to watch the PNE parade, which was actually quite impressive, though Max wasn't sure he liked the giant balloons.