January 23, 2012

Giveaway you don't want to miss!


Check out my friend's giveaway for a trendy coloured guest book or diary from Graphic Image.
You can find Janna at Swoon! Interiors for amazing interior design and ideas... and follow their unbelievable house renos. :)

January 19, 2012

Christmas Recap 2

We flew home from Vancouver on Boxing Day. The plane was half empty and we were given a set of 4 seats to ourselves. SO much better than the flight out which was packed. This allowed AJ some room to kick it out a bit.

Once we collected all our bags we headed out on the trek to reach our car. To save a few dollars we parked in an cheaper off-site parking garage which we took a "train" to. It actually worked very well. With all that we had to carry/push, AJ hung out in my Moby wrap (soooo good for trips!). He was content to just look around and take everything in. He is definitely getting heavier though... whoa.
We found our car. Which was completely DEAD.  aaahhhh  So glad we arrived in the afternoon and not late at night; it would have seemed like a much bigger deal at night. We used our Honda Roadside Assistance for the first time, and in less than an hour our battery was rebooted and ready to go. So two tow-truck calls in less than 3 days. Lovely.

We made a quick out-of-the-way pit stop in Markham to pack a few more things into our vehicle and grab a pizza...  then we hit the road for an almost 3-hour drive to Grand Bend where we planned to spend the next week of vacation. We recently bought a little place there for an escape from the city... within walking distance to the beach! I.can.not.wait.for.summer! A 3 hour drive after a 4+ hour plane ride didn't really seem appealing, but it was great to get there, fall into bed and crash. AJ miraculously slept the entire trip - perfect.

We are good friends with the last 2 owners of the little house. It's a great little place, but we set out to make it "our own"... I had paint colours chosen, and my Man was determined to use this week of vacation to paint. I was so tired from my lack of sleep in Vancouver that I wanted to just S.L.E.E.P. but we went to work... and I'm glad we did. We only did the main living area which led into 2 little alcoves. Doesn't sound like a lot, but you have to remember we had a little 6 month old who needed us too. :)

It went from this:
To This:
To This (Please don't look closely - we are FAR from professionals!):

There's still lots to do, so it will be an ongoing work in progress. I'm pleased with how the colours turned out. Just need some colour pop in artwork, accents, etc.  A step at a time.

AJ and I took a break on New Year's Eve and walked down to the Pier. It's not quite as attractive as it is in the summer months, but I love being near the water regardless of what season it is. It's just missing the "salt water" smell of the ocean. :)
We planned to stay until Monday, January 1st but our plans were changed... A very blustery wind blew in Sunday afternoon and the forecast called for snow that nigh... around 3:30pm the power went out. We had heard about the frequent power outages in Grand Bend, but hadn't thought to prepare for them. We didn't have a candle, match or flashlight! But! We *did* have our phones and laptops. We waited around for awhile to see if the power would come back on, but as the place got colder, we made the decision to head home that night instead of the possibility of spending a cold night cuddled together. ;)  Now, since we planned to go home Monday - nothing was packed or strategically placed... dishes were sitting on the counter and in the sink.  We turn the heat off when we're not there, so there were certain "anti-freeze" procedures that needed to be done for the coming months... and it was completely dark. We propped the laptop open in front of AJ to help him cope with the darkness when we couldn't sit and entertain him, then hustled around with our cell phones to do the packing, dishes and closing up procedures. Our batteries were getting very low but we made it! We had the car mostly packed when the power came back on. :) That was ok - it allowed us to do a run through to make sure we had everything. We hit the road and AJ slept the entire way home... again. Amazing.

We had something to look forward to in getting home (besides our own bed and not living out of suitcases!).

Dad was visiting in between a youth ministry weekend in Midland Ontario and a bible conference in New Jersey! We had 4 days with him and it was a great way to cap off my holidays! :)

Happy 2012 to all of you!

January 14, 2012

Backing up a bit... Christmas recap

I have many topics swirling around in my head... hard to focus for the short segments of time I get to write.  I always seem to leave too much time after holidays to recap, and then life moves on... but it just seems a little wrong to move on without mentioning our Christmas holidays - AJ's first Christmas!

AJ's first Christmas landed on the Vancouver rotation, which was nice since my sister-in-law and her husband were also going to be home from Arizona for the holidays. We only overlapped 4 days but I know my in-laws were thrilled to have their whole family under one roof. Not to mention their grandson...  AJ was certainly spoiled with love and attention!

My man had to work one day while we were there (his boss is based out of Vancouver), so I took the opportunity to have lunch with a good friend and her girls... I was pleasantly surprised when her husband joined us! I hadn't seen him in quite a while, so it was a very nice lunch. The girls were fantastic with AJ; I think they need a nephew or niece! ;) AJ was super tired, so it took all their creative energy to keep him happily entertained. For the most part, it worked!

Love this couple :)
We made it out to see my Man's Grandma twice. It was special to get a 4-generation picture to capture the memory.
Red Robin is a must for us when we go West, so we were happy to get there once for lunch. I could be shot for posting this picture, but I like to show my father-in-law's playful side. :)
Love their burgers... fries are good too! mmm... now I'm hungry. (not really anything new)

Since we're so rarely ALL together, we had family pictures taken. It was a rainy chilly day, but we made the best of it down at Granville Island.  I had fun! :) I am so pleased with Kezia's work, and highly recommend her if you're in the Vancouver area. Here's a sample.

It was my father-in-law's 60th birthday in December, so while we were all together, we had a nice belated dinner to celebrate. Happy 60th Birthday Dad! :) 

We moved the Christmas traditions up a day and did everything on Saturday. We went out for a nice brunch at White Spot, opened gifts, relaxed and ate a delicious turkey dinner. 

Love AJ's little head peaking over the chair ;)

I guess I should include one of our eventful moments of the trip. Between opening gifts and dinner, there was a nice stretch of downtime.  My Man suggested he and I go out for a bit and enjoy a Starbucks... of course I jumped and ran for the door! AJ wasn't napping so we stuck him in the carseat and headed out. There was a sunny break in the clouds and I had my camera out snapping pictures in the driveway. Somehow, while putting AJ in the van, the keys dropped on his knees unnoticed. The door shut. My man goes to open his door and... nothing. The van was locked. How convenient for AJ to somehow hit the lock button on the keys in those 2 seconds! Here we are, salivating for a latte (well, I was) and we're standing in the driveway with our poor little guy locked inside the van. No extra set of keys as we were using a friend's vehicle. 
AJ inside - looking out forlornly. Thankfully he had Sophie (the giraffe) to keep him company

Coquitlam Towing was quickly called - huge shout-out to them! They were in the driveway in less than 10 minutes. Apparently the guy flew out of his office and into the truck when he heard there was a baby in the vehicle, honking his horn all the way to the house to get there as fast as he could. We were SO thankful! AJ perfectly fine throughout all this - content to chew on Sophie. Likely wondering why it was taking his parents so stinkin' long to get in the vehicle!  

Since the towing company was so fast, we still had time to enjoy our Starbucks. Phew. Oh, Cinnamon Dolce - how I love you! 
Bonus: AJ slept through the entire outing, so we really felt like we had a date. A rare date.

See what AJ is clutching so tightly? His favorite Christmas gift - a fruit bar... no, he didn't eat it. He chewed on it, crinkled the wrapper, studied the colours, etc. He had it for days!
At 6 months, AJ was still pretty young for Christmas. He liked the lights on the tree, the colourful presents, and played with the tissue paper a bit. But he was even a bit too young to really be into that too. I noticed he was more into ripping paper this week than he was at Christmas.

He still loves to be on his feet so much, even though he has absolutely no balance. He likes to "dance" and wiggle. He kept his grandparents and aunt busy over the holidays walking around and around.

He traveled well, all things considering. The plane rides were super l.o.n.g. I'm not sure I would ever attempt that distance by myself - at least while he's so young. He slept some, cried a bit (thankfully not too much), chattered away, and... squirmed. The turbulence wasn't bad, so we were able to get up and walk around with him. Relief! He would never have slept otherwise! I had tylenol and gravel on hand in case we were torturing other passengers, but thankfully I didn't have to use it. :)

Sleep. Well, sleep was completely messed up with the time change and bed change. I was up so often with him in the night that I was exhausted. I couldn't get caught up during the day like he could. I stopped feeding him solids half-way through the week (he hadn't built up to a whole lot yet, so it was ok) because he seemed more gassy; I thought that might be waking him up... but it didn't really change anything. Even though he wasn't 100% himself, he was a pretty good guy for having everything so mixed up.  I'm so thankful for this (usually) easy-going kid we have... 

We had a great week in Vancouver - the time flew by. I know I've gone on about this before, but it makes me sad that AJ's grandparents, aunts and uncles aren't able to be in his life a little more frequently. We were sad saying goodbye since we don't have a "next date" to look forward to yet. But, if I have learned anything this past year, it's that time zips by and I need to be grateful for each moment. We were very thankful to have the time together we did have over the holidays - making memories.

(Christmas Part 2 to come: will hopefully be MUCH shorter!)