Lovin’ the summer!

This has been a really nice week, we have had lots of sunshine, swims at the pool, playdates, parks and water play in our backyard; the typical summer week!

While Jess has been playing in the zebra pool or sandpit, I have been able to tidy up our vegetable garden, which is really coming on well.  Right now we are at the end of the baby spinach, I should really pull it out and sow some more, and are just starting to pick lovely Snow and Sugar Snap peas, broad beans and green beans.  The slugs have gone but unfortunately the aphids are onto the broad beans, does anyone have any cure for this?  I have been squirting them with a dish soap mix, but after a day or two they come back.  Flower report – the peonies came and went all too quickly, it seems like they lasted a week as the rain hit them hard.  Now we are enjoying our day lillies, roses, poppies, dogwood trees all in bloom.

We were lucky, Mark was supposed to have been up north with work Monday – Wednesday, but it was cancelled.

On Saturday we went swimming at Hillcrest pool, it’s such a great place, with outdoor and indoor pools, and now the new cafe which has delicious ice cream amongst other treats.  It was a hot day, at 24 degrees, it felt like a 30+ day in Sydney, so weird.  Sunday was a bit cooler, I think we did some house stuff and maybe a park with Jess.  Monday we had a lovely lazy day, catching up on housework and went for a walk and to a park.  Tuesday was quite hot again, and we met our friend Tara and her two at the local outdoor pool, New Brighton, where we had a great swim and delicious fish and chips in the park.  Jessie has definitely a water baby, and did scare some of the other pre-school mum’s that we met there, as she was swimming underwater by herself, next to me.  Wednesday we caught up with Geeta and her two, Micah and Anya.  Thursday we had some errands and a park visit, and today we are packing and tidying up as Jess and I are leaving for the cottage in Ontario tomorrow, where we look forward to have lots of Smith time at the lake.

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Summer has finally arrived!

Yeah!  After a wet first of July, Canada Day, weekend, we have had 1.5 weeks of pure sunshine, and we love it.  The temps have been around 22-23 each day, celsius that is, and it is really nice.  We have had lots of fun getting outdoors and enjoying the sun.  We had a  lovely day at Granville Island waterpark with Tricia and Liam, they have lots of water sprays and even a waterslide that is free for everyone!  I think Jess is a bit young for that, but maybe if she is keen we will wait for Grandpa to go with her.

Jessie went to Haydn’s 3rd birthday party, he is a friend from our gymnastic class.  She looked very pretty in last years birthday party dress, although it was a bit shorter on her.  You can dress the girl up, but the skinned knees and her tomboy ways still show through…

Mark and I took Jess to the Burnaby Village Museum on the rainy long weekend, she liked the carousel and of course an ice cream!

We are very lucky to have park supervisors, from our local community centres, set up at various parks with water activities and an arts and crafts table.  Clinton Park is great, it has a wading pool open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and Jessie really liked the arts and crafts table, painting, glitter and little pom poms to stick on coloured paper, she thought it was great.  Garden Park last Friday was also fun, they had a spray park open, and Jess made a monster puppet from a paper bag.  Did I mention these were free, and open all July/August during the summer vacation, and only 5 blocks away?  It is a great service to the community.

Jessie also loved going to ‘Music with Marnie’ music and movement classes with her friends Alex (+ Nicola) and Micah (+Geeta).  Marnie is a bit of a legend here, she is a talented children’s performer that holds concerts for kids, plus runs music classes, she comes from an early childhood education and musical background and the kids adore her.

We had a lovely day at Jericho Beach with Geeta, Micah & Alex, and Nicola & Alex, the kids loved it.  Jessie is very happy with water and sand.  I still can’t get used to going to the beach without taking your swimmers, it just doesn’t seem right.  The water is frigid, ok to put your feet in, but that is about it.  We also had another day with them plus Tricia and Liam at Maple Grove pool, it is our favourite outdoor pool in Vancouver, just for kids, and lots of green lawn around the pool to set up your blanket and picnic.

Mark is doing well, he has had a couple of short trips with work in July, one to do stream gauging in the Similkameen Valley, and another mine up past Prince George, and the rest of the time he has been in the office, which is a change.  This week he is going p to a new mine for three days, to Blackwater, which is up past Prince George.  Jess and I are getting ready to go to cottage on Saturday for two weeks, to spend some quality time with the Smith clan, and lots of lazing in the lake.

Jess has really liked her ‘korklova’ (pavlova), click on the link below.

Jess eating her ‘korklova’


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June fun in the sun

Stop the presses: this is the last blog entry on my iWeb website. Please update our new blog address to:


The current wordpress website is being built and improved upon, over the next few weeks you will see quite a change. I am quite peeved at Apple for discontinuing their iWeb product, which is how I produce this website/blog. As of July 1st, 2012, this website will cease to exist, hence moving to the new site.

This month we have had some fun times in the backyard, Jess just loves getting dirty and wet in the sandpit and blow up pool.

Jess and her new outdoor table next to the sandpit.

Where’s my lunch?

We also went to Bowen Island for the day for Father’s Day, and did a really nice hike, Jess and Dad were having some snuggles on the ferry.

Jess and Dad on the hike

Jess loved ‘fishing’ in the pond

Jess too pooped to walk, taking a ride on Dad’s back

We reached Killarney Lake, it was quite scenic, although drizzling

We loved our tacos and ice cream on the pier before catching the ferry back to Vancouver.

To see all of the June 2012 photos click here to go to our Kazmarks Flickr page.

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May sneak preview of summer!

We have been enjoying the start of summer immensely, as we have had 2 weeks now of sunshine days, no rain. Unfortunately we are in for at least a week of rain starting later today, and of course this is the long weekend, and most importantly outdoor pool opening weekend! Yipee! Yesterday was nice, sunny and a high of 17 degrees C, not really ‘hot’ but warm enough to spend 2 hours at Hillcrest outdoor pool, and an hour inside on the lazy river and hot tub.

Mark is in the middle of a 4 week work trip up to Mt Milligan, a mine in northern BC. He takes an hour flight to Prince George, then 4 hours in a bus to the site. It’s a new mine, not running yet, still in start up mode. There is no town there, it’s quite remote, just a ‘camp’ of containers which are now offices, bedrooms, cafeteria etc. It was supposed to be a 3 week trip, but they asked him to stay an extra week. This might turn out in our favour, as Mark may now be able to have the last week of July off, and join us at the cottage in Ontario. There is so much work on for his company right now that they are not approving any vacation until October, as summer is their busiest time with so many people in the field. As my friend David always says, ‘it’s good to be employed’, there is no shortage of work in mining and hydro power projects. Also, he has now passed his Professional Engineering exam, and handed in his work experience report. They are just waiting for all his references to come in then will assess him for his ‘P. Eng’, hopefully it comes soon!

Jessie and I have been enjoying our backyard, getting the veggie garden ready and planted, playing in the sandpit, both of us mowing the lawn and having playdates. All of our friends, obviously apart from our neighbours, live in apartments or a boat, so its nice to have them over to share our outdoor space.
Our backyard in April…

Our backyard in May… we love the trees all with their lovely green leaves…click here to play the video on YouTube

Jessie’s new bubble lawn mower is a big hit, it lets me mow the lawns with my little helper fully occupied and happy, click here for the video

She loves the pool and playing with her water toys

She loves ‘reading’ mummies or her books to her friends, click here for the video.

Liam and Jess loved the Vancouver Aquarium, we have been enjoying our membership, I think I went weekly for about a month, now it will be probably every two weeks.

BFFF – Best Fairy Friends Forever, Jess and Maegan are loving their ballet class – click here to see the video on YouTube

The vegetable garden is coming along nicely, Jess helped me plant lots of seeds – coriander, scallions/spring onions, Peaches and Cream and Sweet corn, cucumbers, zucchini, mixed lettuce, basil, parsley, snow peas, sugar snap peas, green beans, sweet potato, potato, broad beans, spinach, butternut squash and jack-o-lantern pumpkin (for Halloween). Everything has come up now except the ones in italics.

I am very grateful for good friends, as Mark is away, my friend Kristen gave me a fantastic birthday present – Jessie minding, allowing me to have a lovely patio lunch at a seafood restaurant, Monks, then an organic facial, with my friend Michelle. It was heavenly. I still look forward to the odd times I can:

– leave the house with just a purse – no snacks, change of clothes, water bottle, bubbles, wipes, crayons etc. in our diaper backpack
– listen to the CBC radio in the car instead of kid music or stories
– wearing pretty shoes instead of my sneakers, flip flops or Birkenstocks
– put on a skirt, some make up and jewellery
– have some ‘alone’ time, I arrived early and was able to read some of the Globe and Mail newspaper while sipping a lovely NZ Sauv Blanc

Don’t get me wrong, I love my time with Jess, but it certainly is nice for a break, where I feel like an independent adult again.

There are now more photos to our albums, click here for April and here for the May albums.

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all! Yes it is a few days late, but we had a really good four day weekend, the Easter bunny was very kind to us, and in true North American style we celebrated the holiday with lots of crafts and activities.

On Good Friday we went to Creekside Community Centre (Olympic Village) for their annual Easter egg hunt. The weather may not be the greatest here in Vancouver (occasionally we will get 3 months in a row of rain everyday) but I just love our community centres, without them we would be lost. They have holiday breakfasts/egg hunts etc. for all occasions. This Easter Egg Hunt was amazing, $3 per kid, and the staff had done an amazing job of setting up all sorts of activities for 0-5 year olds, including an appearance by the Easter Bunny himself! There was the Easter Egg hunt, easter bunny skittles, an easter egg hunt plasma car obstacle course, Easter bunny toss, the usual playgym toys – slide, bricks, tables, gym mats, craft tables – cookie decorating, stickers on plastic easter eggs, and a giant tweety bird jumping/bouncing castle. The kids had a blast, we went with Liam and Tricia, Alex and Nicola, I was lucky enough to have met them in our mum’s group, and we still meet up quite often.

Liam the fireman and his damsel

Jessie on the egg hunt

Jessie got to meet the easter bunny, then went up another two times to get more eggs!

Jessie liked coloring our eggs with natural food dyes, then loved eating coloured hard boiled eggs for breakfast each morning last week.

Liam and Tricia came over for Easter Sunday breakfast and egg hunt at our place and our neighbour Nadia’s house. The Easter Bunny was very generous to the kids and adults this year!
She now likes hard boiled eggs.

The excitement of the Easter Egg hunt!

We have had some nice sunny days as well, spring really is here, well at least sometimes. Jessie and Maegan on our swings

Aunty Leah and Jess

Life is still good with a wet bum! Some girls like purses, some like watering cans.

Mark’s work had a social club afternoon at the skating rink, Jessie’s first time on skates!

Spring update – yes the cherry blossoms are now out, as are the magnolias, the daffodils, and the tulips are just starting.  Our one tulip in the front garden is now out.

This is the other end of our street, the cherry blossoms are gorgeous.

Vegetable garden update – we have now prepared and planted one of the five panels of our vegie garden with broad beans and spinach seeds. We have lots of other seeds to plant, but some have to wait until the frost zone has lifted, which I think would be mid May.

Jessie’s new sandpit, it was a project that Mark and I did yesterday after his exam. Not sure that we chose the right spot though, as it’s under our clothes line.

Mark has been head down, bum up, studying hard, as his Professional Engineering exam was today, and he now has to hand in his practical experience report. It will be a huge relief to both of us when he has this milestone done and dusted! I now have sympathy for my girlfriends whose partner is studying. At least Mark’s is only for a short period, about 6 weeks, the end is in sight. This is one of the reasons why our blog hasn’t been updated for nearly a month, plus we had a week without wireless internet, plus Jess has now given up her midday naps, or I have stopped forcing her to sleep by taking her for a stroller ride. I do like the earlier, easier bedtime, but not the whiney, grumpy, ratty, tired toddler for the two hours before bedtime. Also another milestone is reached, she is now pooping in the potty and toilet, not the diaper. She has been toilet trained since last August for pee, when she turned two, but refused to do a number 2 in anything but a diaper/nappy. Now we have success, with the help of two bribes – chocolate and she gets to watch a Dora/Diego TV show. She has smartened up though and now wants to go several times during the day to get more rewards… ahhhhh the life of a toddler…

To see all the photos from April on flickr please click here

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Spring has Sprung!

Spring has slowly started to emerge in Vancouver! The daffodils are mostly out, crocuses, and some azaleas too. Our front garden has some of the little bulbs out, and the daffies are about to flower.

This week has been good for us, Jess has a minor cold, a runny nose and a cough at night, but I don’t think it will develop into anything. It is the first week of a 2 week Spring Break, so most of our classes are not on, so we have had some nice playdates. We met up with Nicola and little Alex, and Geeta and Micah, who were part of our mum’s group, at the giant sandbox, and the kids had a ball. On Friday we went to the local mall and Jessie got a haircut, just a trim, and some new passport pictures done, as we need to renew her passports as the first ones only last three years. Boy is it easier taking a photo of a 2 year old rather than a 2 month old! Wednesday we still had swimming, we were supposed to be part of a gymnastics display for the local morning TV show but unfortunately we slept in. Monday we went to Hillcrest pool in the morning for a swim,

and Jody, Aoife and Angus joined us. In the afternoon Mark met us at the Fairmont Hotel for High Afternoon Tea, which we counted as dinner.

Cheese! Jess likes her tricycle.



Jess and Julia like the swings


Ice cream time!



Our daffodils out the front nearly in bloom.


Our front garden to the side



Our peonies are just emerging, the red shoots in the centre.



Our front garden has lovely bulbs coming up, and the roses are shooting.



The daffodils in the back garden are in bloom

Lovely daffies…




Mark has been home and working in the office, unfortunately he has too much work in the office, and had to spend all weekend working, which is annoying for both of us. We still managed a nice breakfast yesterday at our favourite spot, Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe, which was fun. Jess and I took our neighbour Julia, who is 4, to the park yesterday, then we played again at her place after our nap. As our nap turned into 3 hours, we had our first ‘family movie night’, and watched Tangled last night. It was a take on Rupunzel, which I didn’t realise was so dark, as per most fairly tales, with babies being stolen, men almost being hanged etc. Jessie liked it tough, and sat through the whole movie on the couch snuggled with either Mark or myself, minus the last ten minutes when she was playing with her toys.

This week is more playdates with friends, and a meetup with my ‘Aussie Mum’s in Vancouver’ group, which you will hear about in the next blog. Mark leaves tomorrow morning for 11 days away, which I am not looking forward to.

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Another day in the office for Mark…

We have had another fun filled week here in Vancouver, with lots of indoor and outdoor activities. Mark was away Monday – Wednesday with work, up past Kamloops, on his hydrology side, taking stream gauging’s and snow pack surveys, which he quite liked as it involved lots of ski-dooing across interior BC.

Jess, Liam, Tricia and myself went to Jericho Beach and Spanish

Banks on Sunday for a walk, Liam brought his bike, he is so fast!

Monday we went to the gym with Leah and Maegan. Tuesday we found a great spot, it’s an indoor beach volleyball centre, with 5 sandy courts set up, just for kids by day complete with toys! Tuesday night we had our book club at our place, which is always nice catching up with friends without kid interruptions!

Wednesday was a lovely snow day, so we had a play in the morning before swimming lessons, then our mum’s group met at the local bowling alley for kids disco bowls.

Thursday was our gym day, I had a lovely swim. Friday was gymnastics and Jess had a dentist appointment. On Saturday Jess enjoyed going to ballet with Mark, while I had a luxurious hour or two to myself at home, and of course did house cleaning! Then Leah

and Maegan came over for a play and dinner. Today we went for breakfast, Mark went towork, then Jess and I met our friends Yolanda and Mason at Squamish for a fundraiser event, she loved the bouncing castle, balloon animals and games.

Even though we had snow this week, it does feel like spring is approaching, and today the daffodils came out.

Bulbs are up in the front side garden, but no flowers yet

Various bulbs and our new red peonies are coming up

For more photos from this week click HERE.

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