22 December 2014

It was a good birthday

I have to say, Ed really put a lot of thought and effort into making my birthday quite wonderful this year.  Thank you, my loving husband, for making my birthday a very happy day.  It was all a surprise and I was quite happy to just go along with whatever Ed had planned.

First up, we headed to the Pan Pacific hotel in downtown Vancouver for a sumptuous brunch buffet.  I didn't know where we were going until we got to the hotel.  It was crazy how much food was there!  I was proud of how I resisted eating way too much.  I actually stopped when I felt full even though I was tempted to keep going.  The sea bass was amazing!  It was the highlight of the buffet for me.

There were two performers singing Christmas carols.  Sophia went on the stage they were on and danced to the tunes.  Several kids were on the stage.  It was pretty cute to watch.  There were also face painting and balloon animals to entertain the kids.  And of course, Santa was walking around handing out candy canes.

After brunch, we walked around the Jack Poole Plaza where the 2010 Olympic cauldron is located.  It was Sophia's first time seeing the cauldron and I explained to her that it was lit during the Olympic games in Vancouver.  Then she asked me if the polar bear blew the flame out when the Vancouver games were done.  Then I remembered that the polar bear blew out the flames in Sochi!  Wow, she remembered that detail from the Sochi closing ceremony.  I'd completely forgotten about it.

We went back home to decorate our Christmas tree that afternoon.  Ed had also made dinner plans for us that evening.  Again, it was a surprise where we were going.  When I noticed that it was getting dark, I said to Sophia that I felt sad that my birthday was almost ending.  She said that it can't end yet because I haven't had my birthday cake.  To which I replied that we forgot to buy a cake for me but that it was okay.  Then she ran to Ed, who was in the kitchen, and said, "Remember, Daddy, that you ordered a birthday cake for mommy and Auntie Vettie is going to come and drop it off later?".  I love how kids are so honest and pure!  I was laughing so hard but laughing silently so Sophia wouldn't hear me.  I still didn't know where dinner was going to be, though, but now I knew that the Van Dops were going to be a part of it.  And that I was going to have a birthday cake, after all.  Dinner turned out to be at Chefe Daniel, a Portugese place that Ed and I like a lot.

It was a fantastic day!  I was spoiled by my husband.  I am truly one lucky woman.  Thank you, Ed, for being so thoughtful and making my birthday very special.

The one thing that did not happen was me spending some time with my mom on my birthday.  She had a bad cough and cold, and did not want to infect us.  Before having a child of my own, I was quite self-centred about my birthday.  But after having Sophia, I appreciate 100 times more that my birthday is also an impactful day for my mom.   I should give her a "giving birth day" present!  Something to do for next year.

Another thing to note for me is how positive I felt going into this birthday.  I have not been welcoming to my past birthdays, almost cringing that here is yet another one and oh dear, I am getting older and older.  There have been birthdays when I just wanted to hide - no celebrations with friends, no big party.  I still do not like getting older but perhaps, I am getting a little more comfortable with it.  I have much to be thankful for and this year, I have chosen to focus on that instead of the number of years I have been in this world.   We'll see if the trend continues into next year...

Here are some photos:

19 November 2014

Art wall

I had one photo canvas of Sophia that I did not want to hang on the wall all by itself.  So it sat on the floor for months until Ed came up with a brilliant idea.  Hang the photo and surround it with some of Sophia's art work.  This is her art wall in her room.  My favourite is her portrait of me (upper right) for this year's Mother's Day.  She drew lots of teeth and very long hair.  Too funny.

3 November 2014

It is not okay

Sophia and I went to the play area at Brentwood Mall this past weekend.  I sat along the side of the play area as Sophia ran off to play.  A few minutes after we arrived, a little girl ran to her mom, who was seated beside me, saying "Mom, that boy yelled at me".  My heart sank when I heard the mom say "Oh, he's a boy.  Boys like to yell." Will the little girl hear enough messages like this as she grows up that she will just accept being yelled at as being par for the course?  With the Jian Ghomeshi story so current in the news now, it made me wonder how parents play a role in the fact that women do not report being assaulted by men.

Later on, Sophia ran to me to say that a boy pushed her off the slide.  I said to her that that was not very nice of the boy.  Then I heard myself say "But that's ok, just go play on the other slide".  Ouch.  So I quickly corrected myself and I said "Actually, Sophia, that was not okay.  The best thing to do is dust yourself off and try the slide again.  He if comes near you again, tell him to go away."

I don't know if that was the right thing to say but I do know that telling her that "it was okay" was NOT the right thing to say.

1 November 2014

Trick or treat

This year, Sophia went trick or treating with her buddy Gabi.  We walked around Gabi's neighbourhood and the girls had a great time.  Gabi's mom and I did, too.  Doing this with friends really does make it so much more fun.  Gabi dressed up as a butterfly and Sophia was a gorilla.

Here are some pics.  Credits to Paula, the photographer.

And after we were done, it was time to divvy up the loot.  The girls had quite a haul.

Thanks, Gabi and Auntie Paula for sharing your Halloween with us.  That was so much fun!

31 October 2014

Happy Halloween at Navarik

It was wear costume to work day today.  Thanks to Paula for lending me this pharaoh costume!  We also had a pumpkin carving contest.  My teammates were Harry and Tommy and we chose to do Shredder from the Ninja Turtles.  Harry draws really well and I was glad to be on his team.  We got second place. Yay!

26 October 2014


After our very relaxing and chill week in Maui, we headed over to Honolulu.  It was quite a shock to be back in a bustling and busy city.  I found Honolulu to be over the top.  The main shopping area along Kalakaua Ave was lined with high end shops, most of which I can't afford to buy anything from.  That made shopping not very attractive for me, plus, I never really envisioned "Hawaii" and "shopping" to go together.  It all just felt so contrived.

Oahu did redeem itself once we left Honolulu and explored the northern part of the island.  We visited the Polynesian Cultural Centre and there is so much to see that one could spend the entire day there.  I found it very interesting and I wish we had spent more time there.  The presentations at the different Polynesian villages were very entertaining.  We also went to the luau at the Center but I was not very impressed with the food, except for the roast pork, the purple bread, and guava tart.  The show after the luau, though, was excellent.  It was titled "Ha Breath of Life" and it showcased the dances from the different Polynesian islands, like Hawaii, Tahiti, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, and Aotearoa.  The fire dance at the end was fantastic.  Sophia, Ed, and I really enjoyed the show.

All of us also learned a little more about Hawaii's history.  We visited Iolani Palace and learned about the Kingdom of Hawaii, and monarchs like King Kamehameha, King Kalakaua, and Queen Lili'uokalani. We learned more about how Hawaii was annexed by the US.  The highlight for me was seeing Sophia use and listen to the audio guide all by herself.  After the tour, she asked us where the kings and queens were now and why they were not around anymore.  It's amazing how much information children can absorb.

We spent a day hanging out at Waikiki beach with our friends Yvette, Josh, and Aves.  It is an excellent beach and we had a great time playing in the water.  That was one of my favourite days during our trip.

By the end of our stay, I grew to like Oahu more and more, aside from the over-the-top commercialism of Honolulu.  The North Shore felt much more authentic and I would like to return someday and spend more time in that part of Oahu.

Both Maui and Oahu did not disappoint.  I understand now why people go back to these islands time and time again.  

Here are pics from our Oahu visit:

23 October 2014


I was not sure how I would like Hawaii. Ed and I have tended to travel off the beaten track. Hawaii is definitely a beaten track. But Maui was a pleasant surprise. It was naturally beautiful, laid back, and had an authenticity that really appealed to me. We rented a condo via vrbo, at a resort in Kaanapali. Having a condo also gave our stay a “homey” feel to it.

Sophia fared quite well during the journey to Maui. We had a transfer at LAX and the journey from our door to the Maui airport took 14 hours. Then we had to stop for groceries and dinner, so by the time we got to the condo, it was close to 18 hours after leaving our house in Vancouver. Thankfully, Sophia napped during both flights and the car ride from the airport to the condo. She was quite the trooper.

We travelled with our good friends, Yvette, Brian, Josh, and Aves, plus Yvette’s brother and sister-in-law. It’s not the first time that we gone out of town with the Van Dops but Maui has, to date, been the farthest and most tropical. We had a great time with them. Traveling with friends definitely adds to the fun factor.

We went to a beach in Lahaina that is called Baby Beach because the sand is fine, the waves are quite gentle and the water stays shallow for a good distance from the shore. Sophia was initially afraid to go into the ocean. We didn’t force her and just let her play with her beach toys on shore. She stayed on the beach all morning but after lunch, I was carrying her and I suggested we take a quick dip in the water. She clung on pretty tight for the first few minutes but then started to relax. Eventually, she stood on her own and started playing. It helped that Aves had also gotten over her fear and was hopping around and playing in the water. We played in the water for the rest of the afternoon and had a great time. We went back to Baby Beach a couple of days later, this time with some boogie boards. The highlight for me was seeing Sophia “surfing” a wave. She was playing, holding on to the bogey board and kicking her legs. But a wave came and basically took the boogie board along. Sophia happened to be hanging on so she ended up riding the wave. It was pretty cool to watch but once she reach the shore, she got off, marched out of the water, and refused to go back in. Good thing it was late in the day and was soon time to go.

Another highlight was the shave ice from Ululani’s in Lahaina. I got the calamansi flavour (that is a Filipino lime) and it was delicious. We went to Ululani’s a couple of times during our stay in Maui. Wish we went back a third time.

The pools at our resort also provided hours of fun for all of us. Sophia’s swimming skills improved so much after a couple of days in the pool.

I also rented a stand-up paddle board and went paddling for an hour or so. I actually spent more time paddling while kneeling because I found it more relaxing and enjoyable. I could just paddle and enjoy the sights around me, instead of worrying about my balance while standing up. I paddled into the wind first, for the first 40-45 mins, then I turned around and just coasted in. It was awesome! When I was halfway back from where I started, I stopped paddling, sat down and put my feet in the water to relax and enjoy the ocean. But my imagination kicked in and I had visions of sharks biting my feet off, so I put my feet on the board. I was far from shore and I thought that if a shark attacked me, nobody would likely notice. Even though the guide at the Ocean Centre assured us the previous day that the sharks around Maui do not eat people, I still scared myself. Silly! When I got close enough back to our hotel, I managed to shut off my imagination and slipped into the water to cool down. I floated there for a few minutes. So wonderful! Alas, my paddling time was done and it was time to give the board back.

On our last day, on our way to the airport, we had an impromptu lunch picnic and it was one of the highlights of my trip. We were on our way to Kihei to check it out before heading to the airport when Ed spotted Huli Huli Chicken & Ribs by the road side. He pulled over and we bought our lunch. They told us that there was a park by the ocean down the street. We found the park, I laid out my beach wrap in the shade of a tree, and we had a picnic. The chicken and ribs were amazing and the ocean breeze was so relaxing. I think when I am feeling stressed, I will close my eyes, bring back the memory of sitting in that park by the ocean, and I will surely relax. It is these unplanned, wonderful moments that make travel so rewarding for me.

And just like that, our 7-day stay was over, too. Ed and I agreed that Maui is a place we would like to visit again. Hopefully, soon!

Photos from our trip:

18 October 2014


I never tire of getting kisses from my baby girl...

Oct 2014, Waikiki Beach, HI

Kiss mommy
Jan 2013, Maracas Bay, Trinidad

5 September 2014

Camping at Lake Wenatchee

For the third year in a row, we went camping with our DIDO group of friends. We plan to make this an annual trip and has really become one of our summer highlights. I love watching the kids change year to year, and really enjoy having the time to hang out with my friends.

We drove to Leavenworth on Friday afternoon, stopping for dinner at a pizza place in Gold Bar, WA. Made it to the campsite around 7:30pm; the sun was still up, thankfully. Our friends Mon and Josh helped us put up our mansion tent. Sophia was off playing with Ethan, Maddy, Josh, Avery, and Danika. The Van Dops brought a propane fire pit, which made our evenings sitting around the fire quite fun. Camping with no camp fire just is not the same. And I actually liked that I didn’t smell like smoke.

Last year, it was quite windy at Lake Wenatchee and we didn’t spend any time swimming in the lake. This year was quite different. It was hot, sunny, and not windy. We spent most of Saturday playing and swimming in the lake. We even rented a stand up paddle board and took turns trying it out. The Van Dops also rented kayaks, and Sophia and I had a chance to paddle around for a little bit. Such a fun day.

On Sunday, we drove to Leavenworth and had lunch in town. We visited the shops and had some ice cream. Back at the campground, the kids played in the playground. We walked to the lake and the kids played fetch with Nikita. It was a nice, relaxing day.

We drove back to Vancouver on Monday, after lunch. I had a great time camping with our friends and am already looking forward to our group ski trip this winter. Thanks for Yvette for organizing! These trips make for some wonderful memories.

Pics from our camping trip:

28 August 2014

Lorico Family Reunion 2014

To celebrate my mom’s 80th year of life, I thought it would be great to get the family together and spend time with her. So last year, I emailed all my siblings to see if they would be interested. My mom, oldest sister and I live in the Vancouver area but the rest live far away. My brothers are in Edmonton and Virginia, and my sister is in Manila. My nieces, Cathleen and Camille, took over the task of planning and organizing the reunion. They did a great job! (Thank you!) Sixteen of the twenty family members were able to partake in the week-long festivities.

The festivities started with a trip to Bellevue, WA from Aug 9 to 12. We ate (a lot), went sight-seeing around Seattle and Bainbridge Island, and shopped a little. We also did a day trip to Leavenworth, WA which as a two hour drive from Bellevue. We all wore our family reunion shirt that day. Having everybody be at the same place at the same time is rare for our family and it was really such a treat to have so many of our family members together, enjoying each other.

The festivities continued in Vancouver for the rest of the week. Lots of eating and hanging out. Ed and I hosted a dinner party at our place one night. Sabrina, my niece, baked some super delicious cheese bread and cupcakes. Another day, my nieces Sabrina, Andie, and Ally went stand up paddling in English Bay. On Friday evening was the “official” birthday dinner, a 10-course banquet at a Chinese restaurant. Yes, more eating!

When I told my mom last year about my idea for a reunion, she did not seem very keen on it. She didn’t want people to fuss over her and for people to go out of their way for her. She worried about the out-of-towners spending money to come to Vancouver and using their vacation time to come here. So typical of my mom. I told her that turning 80 is a big deal and the fact that she is still in very good health is an excellent reason to have a celebration. By the end of the reunion week, as my brother and his family were leaving for Virginia, my mom said to me that she was very happy that the reunion happened. I felt very happy when she said that. She said that seeing her grandchildren have such close relationships with each other made her very, very happy.

People say that one doesn’t really appreciate one’s parent until he/she becomes a parent, too. And that is so true for me. My mom had five kids! I can’t imagine raising and caring for five kids. She was the buffer between us and our dad, who was a difficult man. She provided us with the nurturing care, which I never really appreciated until I was an adult. All I saw when I was young were the things she didn’t do. Now, I realize the many things she did for us kids and how it affected me positively without me even knowing.

My mom’s actual birthday is in October and we will have another birthday dinner for her at my place. My two brothers are flying back for that weekend to celebrate with her again. Here’s to 80 years of life and good health!

Some photos from our reunion week:

5 August 2014

Happy 4th birthday

To celebrate Sophia’s 4th birthday, we invited her close friends from daycare and a few family friends to a picnic lunch at Central Park in Burnaby. Ed gets Father of the Year award for going to the park to stake out the picnic tables at 7 o’clock in the morning! He did this because I asked a lady at the park a couple of days prior what time they came and she said 7am. Just one of the crazy things we do for our kids!

We did not get off to a fine start. Because that day was a stat holiday, the pizza place was closed. I actually phoned Panago the previous day to check whether they would be open or not and the guy I spoke to assured me that Panago closed only for Christmas. He even asked me if I wanted to place my order for pick up the next day. Well, as it turned out, he was completely wrong! I had to spend time searching for other pizza places, which cut into my prep time for the other things for the party. The the party was to start at 11am and I did not have any pizza ordered. I didn’t even know which pizza places would be open that day because if they were, they would open at 11am. I was running late and was panicked about the food. To make things worse, Sophia, feeling my stress, began to get upset and whiny. She said she didn’t want a party anymore and didn’t want to see any of her friends. Aaahhhh…. It was a real case of “too much birthday”.

Once we got to the park, I hugged her and apologized for stressing out. Ed took her to the playground in the hopes that it will improve her mood. Our friends jumped in to help. Monica and I got the picnic tables ready, and put out the snacks. Brian and Josh started phoning different pizza places to find one that was open. Luckily, Brian found one that was nearby and could deliver pizza to the park. Whew, thanks Bri! I left to pick up the rest of the food. Sophia’s mood improved as her friends arrived and they played in the playground and water spray area. By 12:30, we served lunch. Everybody had a good time. Everything worked out in the end. As it usually does.

The next day, I brought a cake to daycare for the afternoon snack.  Sophia wore a birthday crown her teacher had made for her.  Everybody sang "happy birthday", then the cake was served.  Sophia loved the attention from her friends.

I am pretty sure I will be saying “I can’t believe she’s ___ years old already” every year. Time just flies. Sophia is 4 years old. It still shocks me that four years has already gone by.

I do believe we have passed the terrible twos and threes. Now that she is four, Sophia’s mood swings are not as mercurial as a year ago. Not even close. She goes from mad to sad quicker and we resolve our battles more quickly and with less intensity.

What is Sophia like now? She is a sweet and clever girl. I love hearing her say “I love my little mama”. She wants to spend all her time with me. She is outspoken with me and Ed, talkative with people she feels close to, and reserved with people she’s not familiar with. She is pretty easy-going and has many friends in her daycare. She loves books; she loves listening to us read to her, and she enjoys “reading” the stories to us (she’s memorized the story and uses the pictures to figure out what’s going on). She knows how to spell her name. I am sometimes surprised by how logical she can be, and how meticulous she is in her ways. The sandwich must be cut this way, not that way. The raisins must sit on top of the oatmeal, not mixed in. She is a homebody, preferring to stay home and play with us or by herself (play with actual toys; she doesn’t get much iPad time). She never asks to go out and do something. She’s quite happy to just chill out with us at home. I dread the day she prefers to chill out with her friends.

Happy birthday, Sophia. You are truly so precious and we love you very much.

30 July 2014

Conference call

On Wednesday and Thursday mornings, at 8am, I have conference calls with customers.  I usually take the calls at home and so when Sophia comes downstairs for breakfast, she finds me on the phone.  She knows to stay quiet while I am on the calls.  Sometimes, she sits on my lap quietly, just listening to the conversation.

This morning, I left for work earlier than usual and took the call at work.  At about 9am, I called home to say good morning to Ed and Sophia, before they left for daycare.  As Sophia and I were chatting, she says, “Mommy, are we on a conference call right now?”.  Hahaha

Too cute.  It makes me wonder, though, is it alright for my 3-year old to have the phrase “conference call” in her vocabulary?  

25 July 2014

Shuswap Lake

Our good friends, Len and Shirley, invite us every year to spend a few days at their home at Shuswap Lake. We are always thrilled to go because we get to spend quality time with awesome friends, and we have tons of fun in and out of the lake. This year, we stayed from Friday to Tuesday, so we had three full days to relax and enjoy (less the two travel days). The weather has been quite hot this summer and the lake is quite comfortable to swim in. Len took us out on a boat ride and much to our surprise, Sophia agreed to go on the tube with me and Ed. Len pulled the tube slowly and gently, to not scare Sophia. We said it was like a bouncy castle on the water. Ed and I also took the Seadoo for a spin (yes, they have a lot of toys at the lake!) and visited the floating gas station in the middle of the lake. Sophia had a good time playing with Selena and Stephanie; they even built a clubhouse (no grown-ups allowed) in the game room, under the air hockey table. It was fun to just chill, hang out, and not feel rushed by meetings or appointments or daycare pick-up/drop-off for a few days. I definitely needed that break.

Thanks, Len and Shirley, for being so generous in sharing your home with us!

19 July 2014

Birthday card for Uncle Chris

Sophia is starting to write letters and this is the most she has written so far in one sitting. She really wanted to make a card for her Uncle Chris. I had to help her write the letter S, but aside from that, she wrote by herself. I would write the letter first on a different piece of paper and I give cue words, like "up, down, and a bridge" when I write the letter A. Then she follows "up, down, and a bridge" as she writes A on her own. So far, that has been working for her. It's been fun helping and watching her learn.

Oh yeah, happy birthday, Uncle Chris!

30 June 2014

Camping at Deception Pass

The weekend after Porteau Cove, Sophia and I went on another camping trip, this time, to Deception Pass in Washington.  We went with our friends, the VanDops.  Ed was on a boys' trip and didn't join us for the weekend.  Instead of our mansion family-size tent, we brought our (pre-kid) 2-man tent which fit me and Sophia quite nicely.  It was so nice to be able to pop-up the tent in less than 10 mins!  This was our first time at Deception Pass and we all liked the campground a lot.  Our site had enough room for the kids to run around and play.  It was just a short walk to the beach, too.  Yvette, Avery, Sophia, and I spent most of Saturday hanging out at the beach.  We also attended a junior ranger info session where the ranger talked about the different mammals that lived in the area.  The ranger also talked about camp safety and how we should not leave food out.  Ironically, when we got back to our site afterward, we discovered that critters had come for a visit in our site and helped themselves to some of the Trader Joe popcorn that I had left out.  Oops.

This was my first time going camping by myself with Sophia.  It was actually quite manageable, now that Sophia is older and doesn't need constant attention.  The only time it got super busy for me was when I packing up our stuff and getting ready to go.  Sophia was really good about staying out of the way, though, and played on her own or with Avery.

 All in all, it was a really good trip.  I'd like very much to camp at Deception Pass again.

27 June 2014

Camping at Porteau Cove

We were very lucky to have been invited by our friends, Paula and Thomas, to go camping with them at Porteau Cove.  The campground is located on the shores of Howe Sound, about an hour away from Vancouver.  It’s a beautiful spot and we were thrilled to be going.  

Sophia had her friends Gabi and Maya to play with all weekend, and they had lots of fun playing along the beach, climbing the logs, and running around the campsite.  It was fun for the adults, too, having a chance to sit around the campfire and relax a little bit.

Here are some photos from our camping weekend...

19 June 2014

I'm still here!

Can't believe so much time has gone by since I posted last.  Time is just zooming by!  I took on a new role at work in September of last year and my work load basically tripled.  I have just had to drop some things in order to keep my sanity, and unfortunately, blogging has been one of those things.  But I stay hopeful about finding that elusive balance between a rewarding and successful career and a fulfilling and happy life outside of work.

A lot has happened in the last couple of months and I will spend some time this weekend catching up on my posts.  But for today, I will post a few photos taken last weekend.

Ed, Sophia, and I went to Squamish for the Day Out with Thomas event.  The train ride was a little unexciting; watching Thomas come and go proved to be more entertaining.  Sophia enjoyed the bouncy castle, face painting, and having a photo taken with Sir Topham Hatt.  On the way back to Vancouver, we stopped at Shannon Falls to enjoy the view of the falls.

My mom-in-law and her hubby were in town for a short visit, and we enjoyed a lovely dinner with them at Bombay Bistro in New Westminster.

5 April 2014

I miss my cats

It's been a year since we gave up our cats, Bob and Neo, for adoption.  Sophia is allergic to cat hair and after she developed asthma last year (and after three visits to the ER at Children's Hospital) I knew it was time to find new homes for our cats.  I was heart-broken and twelve months later, I have to say I still am heart-broken.  I couldn't even blog about it last year because I was so traumatized.  I still tear up whenever I think of them.  And there are times when I open the door to go outside and I find myself hoping that Neo or Bob would find their way back home to our house and I would find them sitting there, waiting for me to pick them up and hug them.  I really miss them.

Nikki Forbes from Action for Animals found new homes for them and she assured me that their new families are loving and will take very good care of my cats.  That is a big comfort to me.  And I hope Bob and Neo never have to find new owners again because I am sure losing us was as traumatic, if not more so, for them as it was for us losing them.  At least we understood what was going on; they were probably very confused and scared.  That is what breaks my heart the most.

I like to think they are loved and spoiled by their new owners.  They are wonderful cats and they deserve nothing less.  We miss them so much!

Bob loved to snuggle with me in bed or the sofa.

Neo loved to lounge on the kitchen counter.

30 March 2014

11 years and counting

We celebrated big last year, being the 10 year celebration and all.  This year, our wedding anniversary celebration was pretty low key.  We went out for a nice dinner at Hawksworth.   Ed's sable fish was exquisite.  My lamb was just alright - I found the flavour too overwhelming and it was a little overcooked, I thought.  The carrot salad I had as a starter was really delicious, though.

After dinner, we went for a walk along Granville St.  We haven't been there in ages and it was fun to see the new and old establishments along the street.  For dessert, we headed to Cheesecake, etc in South Granville. It was a very lovely evening out with my hubby of 11 years.

I feel very lucky to be married to such a loving, caring and generous man.  He is an amazing father (Sophia is very lucky, too) and extremely patient and forgiving partner.  He is my biggest supporter and is always there for me, in any way I need him.  Plus, he is a really good cook!  I love you, Ed.  Thanks for being such a wonderful husband.  Happy anniversary!!!

Thumbs up for Frozen

I took Sophia to see the Disney movie, Frozen, at the theatre a few days ago.  It was her first time seeing a movie at a theatre and we made a field trip out of it.  We went to Silvercity in Richmond, bought our tickets, then went to a restaurant across the street for some lunch.  We went back to the theatre and got settled in.  The trailer for Maleficent came on and Sophia promptly left her seat and hid behind the seat in front of her.  I picked her up and got her to sit on my lap, where she stayed until the end of Frozen.

We were both mesmerized by the movie.  I liked how the story was not about getting a prince charming.  The music was really good, too, and of course the song Let It Go has been playing over and over at our house all weekend.  It was really cute how Sophia sang the song with such gusto while bathing tonight.

She has asked to see the movie again.  Good thing it is available on Optik TV.  It'll be cheaper than going to the theatre and she can play it over and over again for two days.  It'll be $6.00 well spent.

26 March 2014

A visit to the Aquarium

Sophia and I spent the day at the Vancouver Aquarium recently. I have every other Friday off work and this is my mommy-and-Sophia day. Sometimes we run errands, sometimes we have playdates, and sometimes, we go on a field trip just the two of us. This was Sophia’s first visit to the Aquarium and she really enjoyed it. She loved the Beluga whales the best. Thankfully, the sun came out in the afternoon and we were able to sit by the whale pool for a while. Sophia played on the steps while going to say hello to the whales once in a while. We were able to catch the Beluga whale show, as well as the dolphin show. Sophia is really into Kung Fu Panda right now and she got very excited when she saw the sea turtle, calling him Oogway (a character from the show). We bought a little white whale stuff toy in the gift shop as a memento of our fantastic day together at the Aquarium. She named her little whale Aurora, after the real whale we watched at the show. Afterward, we went to see the Totem poles and walked along the sea wall for a little bit.

Here are some pics from our day in Stanley Park..
Aurora, the beluga whale
Our new friend, Aurora

19 February 2014

Big White

Yay! I went skiing! Big White was really nice and I had a great time. Too bad my legs held up for only 2.5 hours.  I got six runs in (2 greens and 4 blues) during that time.  It was bliss.

We went with two other families and it was such a treat to be able to hang out with my friends for a few days. Sophia had three playmates and they kept her entertained, which meant more “me” time.

Work has been so busy lately that I didn’t really think about the trip until the day before. This was how prepared I was - as we started our road trip, I asked Ed how long he thought it would take for us to get to Kamloops. Uh, Big White is in Kelowna, he said. (Kamloops and Kelowna are about 170km apart.) No, it’s in Kamloops, I insisted. He gave me the Google maps directions. Yeah, Big White is in Kelowna. Good thing I wasn’t the one driving! Then on Saturday morning, I was getting ready to head out the door to go to the ski lodge. I had everything except for my ski jacket. I thought it was in the car but it turned out to be nowhere. Well, it was actually back home, on one of the stools in the kitchen. Ugh! Good thing there was a ski shop in Big White that rented out ski jackets. I spent $30 renting one for a couple of days, instead of $300 buying a new one.
My rented jacket
Sophia had lessons (Sat and Sunday) and she was awesome. She did the pizza stop and went down the bunny hill just fine. She started doing a few turns by the end of the second lesson. She had a bit of attitude in the beginning of the Sunday lesson but then changed her mind halfway through and wanted to ski. Then at 3:30pm, when the magic carpet stopped, she cried and cried because she didn’t want to stop skiing. Crazy kid.
Go, Sophia!
With Judy, the instructor
Practicing with Daddy
Falling over was fun, apparently
The drive home was a little treacherous. Sure am glad Ed was driving because it was stressful. The mountain road was very snowy and there was an accident ahead of us, which halted traffic at a couple of areas. We were afraid we’d have to sit there for a long time while crews cleared the road. Luckily, we didn’t wait too long. And the Subaru AWD performed well in the snowy and slippery conditions. Unfortunately, our wind shield got hit by a stone and cracked during the drive home. But I’m just glad we got home safely.
Very foggy and snowy Coquihalla Hwy

Trucks waiting to be towed uphill
I love skiing and going on ski trips with friends. We used to do this annually before we all had kids but the ski trips stopped for a few years while we waited for our little ones to get a little bigger. Now, we’ll have to make sure to get back into making this an annual get-away. It’s a wonderful way to spend a long weekend.

15 February 2014

Skiing, finally

The last time I skied down a blue or black run was four long years ago. Finally today, I got some skiing time in the blue runs in Big White. Ed and Sophia were signed up for a Dad and me ski lesson, and meanwhile, I spent two and a half hours skiing on my own. Glorious!

On our way to Big White

2 February 2014

No more thumbsucking

During our last visit to the dentist last fall, I was told that Sophia’s thumbsucking was changing the shape of her upper jaw and affecting her bite because her upper teeth were being pushed out and forward while her bottom teeth were being pushed inward.  Based on what I’ve read about thumbsucking, I was under the impression that I could wait until Sophia is 4 to 5 years old before taking specific measures to stop the thumbsucking.  But hearing that from the dentist made me start researching how we can help Sophia stop sucking her thumb.  I decided to try TGuard, based on the very good ratings on amazon.com.  
S checking out the TGuard
Sophia started wearing the TGuard during the Remembrance Day long weekend.  She wore it day and night throughout that long weekend, then wore it only during nap time and at night for the next three weeks.  From the time she started sleeping with the TGuard on, she actually stopped putting her thumb in her mouth.  And she did not complain or whine about wearing it.  Nor did she seem upset about not being able to suck her thumb any more.  In fact, she would ask to put it on when we’re getting ready to get into bed and even mastered putting the bracelet on with little help from us.  She got to put a sticker on a poster when she woke up after successfully not sucking her thumb at night or during a nap.  And as a special reward, we let her pick something that we would buy for her.  She chose a mermaid dress.  We don't normally buy her rewards but this was such a big deal that we decided to get one for her.

We are so impressed with her and proud of how well she handled everything.  She has not shown any interest in sucking her thumb since end of November and I am confident that she is definitely done with the habit.

Two months later, the big callous on her left thumb is almost all gone and most importantly, her teeth's alignment have improved considerably.  Her top front teeth have moved inward and her front bottom teeth have straightened out, too.  I am so relieved!

Well done, Sophia!  We are so proud of you!

15 January 2014

Revelstoke visit

Let's go skiing!IMG_2988Waiting for their ski gearGot her skisPutting on the skisEthan and Oma
Maddy and MonOn the magic carpetDown the hill we goLet's go againShe's liking itOur little skier
Taking a breakToo cuteDoing the airplaneShe's skiingPracticing the airplaneLet's do snow angels
Snow angelsSnow ballsShowing off our snow ballsMommy and cutieIMG_6238IMG_3041
Revelstoke, Dec 2013, a set on Flickr.
We spent a few days in Revelstoke with our friends, the Blommesteins. We had a wonderful time and it was such a treat to put my skis back on again after four years, even though I didn't make it off the bunny hill. I love to go skiing and I am glad to be sharing it with Ed and Sophia. Thank you to JME&M, Oma, and Opa for the amazing hospitality!