Brown Bear starts to stand-up for herself

We saw something that excited and frightened us this morning; Brown Bear was sitting beside the Exersaucer, on the outside of it. She grabbed the top of it and she started to pull herself up into a standing position. She got about halfway up and then collapsed back onto her hinnie. Exciting to see her developing and growing physically but scary in the knowledge that she will very soon be walking…an entirely new stage in our adventure.

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Lovely weekend excursions to Kerrisdale and Dundarave

In our continuing efforts to introduce the twins to new neighbourhoods and see new sights, this weekend we took them to Kerrisdale and Dundarave. Both trips went smashingly well, thank you very much.

The trip to Kerrisdale was a special pleasure because Caraghand I both have ties to that part of town. I used to drive through it on my way to my distinctly blue collar work near the now long gone Eburne Sawmill. Caragh used to live in that particular part of town and attended Point Grey Secondary. So it was a sort of trip along memory lane for both of us. How lovely.

We went into the clothing shop, Hills of Kerrisdale for a look around. Unfortunately the prices for clothing were somewhat out of our range and we could barely afford to pay attention in that store. It was fun walking around looking at men’s shirts that cost $300. They definitely had a lovely feel.

After our Kerrisdale walkabout we headed back to the suburban sprawling hell we call home. It is funny to see the difference in the communities. In the burbs you rarely see people walking along the streets. When we were in Kerrisdale the streets were crowded with people going in and out of the little shops. Such a profound difference. Not good or bad, just a noted difference.

On the way home Annalie had an uncharacteristic of her meltdown. I suppose she was simply tired of being in the car seat. As soon as I got off the freeway I pulled over and took her out of the seat. Big smile through the streaming tears. Thinking okay, she’s ready to go home now, back in the seat, and back to full on screams and howls of apparent agony. A stressful and not particularly pleasant ride home.

Sunday rolls around and in the hopes that Caragh and I could have some grown up time together to talk, we decide to drive out to Dundarave. We get hungry on the way and decide to pop into Tim Hortons. As anyone knows, there is no such thing as popping into Timmies. After waiting in the drive-thru lineup long enough to collectively burn up a small cargo ship of fossil fuels we get to the speaker thing.

“I would like an egg salad sandwich combo with veggie soup, a large coffee with milk, a large double-double coffee, two sour cream glazed doughnuts and a toasted multi-grain bagel with regular cream cheese.”

The disembodied voice comes back through the ether to repeat my order.

“So that is a chicken salad sandwich, chili, one medium hot coffee, one small coffee with cream, and a box of timbits?”

At this point Annalie wakes up, let’s loose a blood curdling scream…in an act of total acquiescence to the situation, I say, “SURE!”

Back on the road, tour the new Sea to Sky highway to Lion’s Bay. No matter what you have to say about how big of a waste of money the Olympics and highway up-grades were, the Sea to Sky highway is an engineering marvel.

Back to Dundarave with Story crying basically the entire drive. As we pull into a parking spot in from of BJ’s Shoes (don’t even think it, never mind say it) Story falls asleep. So we get out, wake her up, and load her into my Ergo Baby carrier. She’s happy with her two minute nap.

Papa and Story ready for the seawall

Papa and Story ready for the seawall

Get Annalie dressed in her winter gear. She has had a good long nap but is not pleased we have awoken her from her slumber.

Annalie is not pleased

Annalie is not pleased

As you may be able to discern, Annalie is trying to figure out how to reach the gas pedal and steer the car in an effort to get out of Dodge. She was not successful quickly enough so ended up on Caragh’s back.

Caragh and Annalie

Caragh and Annalie

You can tell from this shot that she cheered right up once she was in the Ergo Baby on Caragh’s back.

And then it was off to the seawall to see the sunset. It was all very romantic other than the fact that the wind was whipping up whitecaps that delivered a fine mist of sea water onto us as we walked hand in hand along the seawall. We even got to watch the sunset as the girls howled in agony and distress. As soon as the sun had dipped below the horizon we dashed back to the car, loaded the girls into their seats and sped away. Romance be damned, it was cold.

Other than screaming and crying as we drove around this weekend it was a lovely weekend to be in city. Simply lovely.

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Want a best friend? Get a dog

Just a quick word of advise before the kids go to sleep; if you want a best friend, get a dog. I have had Jimmy the dog for nearly fourteen years and she is the best friend I have ever had. She has never been so busy that she couldn’t make time for me and she has always been happy to see me in spite of my faults and social blunders. Even when I have done things she probably didn’t approve of she didn’t question my judgement. One time I threw her favourite stick way the hell and gone down a steep bank. She looked at me with frustration but she went and picked it up.

Once when I was moving I loaded all my belongings into my truck and started driving from Prince George to Metro Vancouver. For one reason or another I took a few back roads and eneded up in Lillooet. A long, late dinner, and I was too tired to drive further. Jimmy slept in the truck, perched up on a box on top of the load. Never a whimper, or whine. In the morning as I was trying to work the cramps out of my back she clambered down, wagged her tail, had a pee and then jumped back in for another day of being on the road.

What other human would stand by your side through the years and trials and tribulations that is life? Even though I am consumed with taking care of the twins, Jimmy is always ready to go for a walk when I ask. A wag of the tail, and away we go. She doesn’t even mind if I bring a twin along with us on her walkies.

Jimmy is the only friend I have had, through thick and thin who has never judged or voiced displeasure at me. Jim Dog is simply put, the best friend I have ever had.

Jimmy greets me as I arrive home

Jimmy greets me as I arrive home

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Decisions, decisions, decisions

A serious post this morning. When you have babies, you have so many serious choices to make and you really do not know if anything you are doing is the right thing or wrong thing. And then you add in product recalls, choices around which formula to give your baby, or whether you should or should not, and crappy toys made with lead paint, pets in the house…shit.

I was reading the newest edition of Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, for a good three minutes, this morning. He writes about having a cat in the house and even in the “tall cage bed” that his son, Mr Bumby slept in. Hemingway says; “There were people who said that it was dangerous to leave a cat with a baby. The most ignorant and prejudiced said that a cat would suck a baby’s breath and kill him. Others said that a cat would lie on a baby and the cat’s weight would smother him.”

Well our cats are still scared of the twins so they make a wide berth around them. In fact the only other male in the house, my nemesis, Bubba Helios Longfellow has given up on sleeping on the bed and now accepts, with yowls of protest that wake the neighbours three doors down of course, sleeping on a cat blanket that sits over the heat vent. However, even though the cats make wide circles around the kids, Story is intrigued by these marvelous felines and tries to sneak up on the sleeping cats. Fortunately her lack of stealth provides the cats with ample warning.

But back to the serious shit. How do you know what is the right thing to do? Some people say they should be able to sleep through the night and if they don’t, let them cry until they realize that there is not help coming. Sounds frighteningly savage to me. However, getting up at midnight, three, four thirty and then six and then going to work outside the house is becoming savage in its own way.

People get at you for “falling victim to the breast feeding Nazis” or others get at you for feeding formula. One friend actually told me that he made his own formula for his kids. Once he realized what formula is he did recant that story. And then that leads to the baby food. Mushed up veggies and stuff. Make your own they say. Who has a regular diet of so many different things that they can mush up for kids? Most days we are lucky to have a loaf of bread and cheese in the house to eat. So we get those little Heinz organic foods that the twins love. Butternut squash at lunch, carrots for a snack, green beans for the farts, and mixed veggies for dinner. Thank you Mr Heinz! They even have those cute little jars with organic baby food that are becoming spice jars for when we do have our feet underneath us again and we can cook. Why not?

I suppose the bottom line is that you only do what you think is best. I also ask myself, what would Dr Benjamin Spock have said. Dr Spock, the baby doctor, not the Star Trek dude. Although the Star Trek dude might have some baby wisdom as well. It just gets to a point where you do not tell people what you are doing. Smile and laugh, and say, its all good. Because it really is.

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My missing opposing digits and some random observations

I finally figured out why I have such difficulty changing the twins diapers and also getting the girls dressed. If you look at the picture you will understand my difficulties.
My missing opposing digit

My missing opposing digit

Never mind the difficult I will be having with getting the twins dressed, tomorrow I am on my own with them. There might be an entertaining post tomorrow night.
As well, it is so cool to see Story’s two front teeth. They are getting bigger all the time and she has this silly little grin. It is so adorable. Annalie’s front teeth are laso coming in. They have broken through the gums and are pushing upwards.
Story is full on mobile in the house now. She is now able top propel herself forward. Her favourite destination? The shelf under the television where a stack of DVDs are stored. We have to look at the differently now. Annalie will be mobile in the next couple of days. You can see her dig in her toes and move her hands in front of her as she tries to figure out how to move. She will be moving around the house in Story’s wake any day now.
Fun times ahead. I think things are going to change around here.
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Foodbank Fundraiser Failure

Today we found a way to get some peace and quiet with the twins. And how is that? A drive in the car. We were headed down to the new CBC  building for the Foodbank fundraiser and the kids had been quite squeaky all afternoon.Once we loaded them into the car seats and got the car moving they both just fell asleep. And it was a deep and quiet sleep. Bliss.

But about the CBC Foodbank fundraiser, I have a couple of bottles of BC wine in a pine beetle wooden box carved with a First Nations design on it. The box and the Jackson Triggs wine is from VANOC as a commemorative thing. My idea was to drive down to the CBC and donate the wine in the wooden box to the fundraiser. The CBC could have said that they have the box and would give it to the first person who donated so-and-so many dollars to the Foodbank fundraiser.

Notice I say “could have.” Fortunately for me, I phoned on my way downtown and asked what time the fundraiser was going to be going on until. They asked why…I said why, they came back and said that they were not accepting any new items to auction. Too bad for them; I still have a couple of nice Jackson Triggs wine to drink at some point. And we went for a little drive and let the girls sleep.

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Freebies for parents

One of the things that you find out at some point after having babies is that there are multitudes of “reward plans” that you can register for in order to get freebies for your babies. The silly thing is that most of the time you don’t even know that these programs even exist. I have been stumbling across these freebie programs simply quite randomly.

The best program we have found so far is the support that Nestle offers to parents of “multiples.” What is wrong with free cans of formula? Little did we know that Heinz offers a similar program. Probably all the other baby food companies do the same thing. Problem is that once you get your baby hooked on one type of formula it is pretty tough to switch.

As well, Save-On-Foods offers a program that you can register for when you have a baby. We have not yet registered our kids for this program simply because we have not yet been into a store with the twins’ birth certificates in hand. That is typically the key piece that you have to have with you when you want to register your kids. Another rewards type program is offered through Shoppers Drug Mart. You can get bonus Optimum Points if you register the fact that you have kids.

Bottom line, search out the freebies! And, perhaps people could share the rewards programs that they have found? If you do not want to comment on this post, email your find and I will see that it is added to the conversation here. Thanks folks.

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Putting up the Christmas Lights and Ladder Safety

Funny how your perspective on life and taking risks will change once you have a couple of little babies you are responsible for. At this time of the year people all over the place are outside in the cold and wet, climbing ladders in order to put up Christmas lights. Now that we live in a house (we’re finally out of the yurt) I am no exception to this yearly ritual.

As I was out front installing the lights I would set up the ladder, climb up and then hook the lights in place from left to right. I would reach out as far as I could, at times I was sticking my left leg out in the air in order to balance myself. All so that I did not have to climb down off the ladder and move it over.

The stupid thing, well the first of many in this situation, was that I only had to climb down five rungs in order to move the ladder so that I could reach the next spot. It took all of 10 seconds to get down, move the ladder and then climb back up. So why did I start to climb down instead of doing the stupid reach? Because I remembered reading that nearly 2000 people are injured every year from falling off ladders…2000 in BC alone! And worse, seven people die each year from falling off ladders. And one more thing, serious injuries due to falls from ladders are most prevalent in the age group 45 to 60. Those are my people!

So as I was putting up the Christmas lights this afternoon I thought of my up-and-down, move the ladder as time I would not have to spend on the stair-master at the gym. And I thought about how much I love to walk and move around with my little princesses and that I would never want to jeopardize that. So be careful on the ladder. Think before you reach.

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The Political Junkie; my writing for the Vancouver Observer

I have been very busy over the last few days with writing for the Vancouver Observer. I write a column for the VO called the VO’s Political Junkie. This last weekend I covered the NDP’s biennial convention for the VO and before that I wrote a piece about the changes that Vancovuer city hall is going to make to the Olympic sign bylaw. Go ahead, and give them a read. You can even add comments if you feel so inclined.

Hopefully I will back on here tonight writing about my life with the twins.

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First dinner in an actual restaurant with the twins

Here is a pic of all of us in the Dragon Palace in New Westminster. We wanted to try going out as family and it went well. I will add more of the story later.

Stacey, Annalie, Story and Caragh at the Dragon Palace

Stacey, Annalie, Story and Caragh at the Dragon Palace

And here is the rest of the restaurant shortly before we were told we could have our meal free if we decided to have it as a take-out order.

Dragon Palace in New West

Dragon Palace in New West

We would say it was a positive experience for the twins and us.

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