Sunday, August 28, 2011

The 24-Hour All-You-Can-Drink Milk Cafe is Now CLOSED (Could Somebody Please Tell Alaina?)


Alaina and I are both in denial when it comes to some aspects of her growing up.

We are all for her advanced verbal skills, her willingness to try new adventures,


her desire to use the potty, even the little bits of big-kid culture she learns from Janae, like how to be a proper princess


or how to color in the lines with markers.


But Alaina being my last child, I have to admit I am not in a hurry for her to lose all of her baby traits--and she is holding onto a few of them, herself. For example, she still loves the snuggly (which I pulled out of the closet the other day),


and I don't mind carrying her in it once in a while (long legs dangling and all).


Alaina also sleeps best in our bed (following after her brother, who slept between Jason and me until he was in kindergarten), and I am happy to have her there (I think I even sleep a little better, myself).


Then there is the issue that divides us: the not-so-small matter of trying to wean Alaina. This is a part of her babyhood that I am ready to leave behind us. Alaina, however, is not.

Over the past few months, I have managed to teach Alaina that she is only allowed to nurse at home, and--more recently--only at bedtime and naptime.

While Alaina hasn't liked these changes, she has adapted.


My newest goal--and the most urgent--has been to close down the all-night milk cafe. I have followed the advice of countless parenting books by explaining to Alaina that just as all of us need to sleep at night, the milk also needs its rest (weaning a toddler allows the advantage of reasoning with the child, right?).

Before I started on this new phase of our mother/daughter relationship, Alaina was waking up 3-5 times a night for a drink. Now, after two weeks on our new program, she wakes up 3-5 times a night to be told the milk is sleeping and to be handed a sippy cup of water . . . and then hear a song, have her back rubbed, or just simply cry her eyes out.

At the first sign of daylight (approximately 5 a.m., in case you were wondering), she says, "It's morning?" and then asks for her milk.

And after this, we can tackle the afternoon nap nurse, and then the nurse at bedtime.

I think there is a lot to be said for weaning at 12 months, even though the B.C. nurses' federation recommends breast feeding "until age two and beyond."

I guess none of us would be too happy to hear that our favorite restaurant closed down, or that the bottomless drink we'd ordered had suddenly become non-refillable.

Still, this can't go on much longer.

Could somebody please tell Alaina?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our Summer Reading Club Medalists


The summer reading club is something I look forward to every year. The library brings in some great science, music, and magic shows


. . . they have stuffed animal parades, puppet shows, and special story times.


My kids even have a good time, once in a while.


This year Ben and Janae got a bit of a later start than usual on the reading part of the club. This was evident a week or so ago when they were waiting in line to get sticker #6 (out of 7) on their cards and the librarian rang the sleighbells (normally reserved just for storytime) and proclaimed, "Attention everyone: these kids just got their summer reading club medals. Let's give them a big hand!!!" She shook a pair of plastic clapping hands together to create the sound of applause, and the two children beamed with pride.

My two fumed with jealousy.

"I wish we were getting our medals," Ben complained the rest of the afternoon.

Over the next week Ben and Janae were ON TASK. They did their reading, recorded their books, and--day by day--got more excited about Thursday when they, too, would have their reading cards completed.

We went to the library that morning and received the awards.



Forty-nine days of reading 20 minutes or more!


This year--in addition to the medals--the kids each got a coupon for a free spaghetti dinner at the Spaghetti Factory.


Ben and Janae wore their prized medallions and enjoyed their victory dinners.


Just another reason to love the library :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

These Kids Go WAY Back

While Anita and her family were here, I thought it was kind of cute that Janae spent so much time playing with her cousin Tyson.

Janae is used to boys (spending a lot of time playing pirates, Star Wars, etc. with her brother), and always seems to do well in situations where she ends up playing with boys, as opposed to girls.

Occasionally I've even thought that her fiesty personality might go over better with boys than girls (since boys tend to be a bit more easy going and less emotional).

But yesterday as I was looking at some old pictures with Ben, I realized it actually goes even deeper than that.

Janae and Tyson actually go way back.

(This picture was taken after they'd both fallen asleep during a walk with Grandpa.)

It was fun to look at some of the other life-long bonds my kids and their cousins have formed.

Ben and Tyson

Ben and Jill

Ben and Trevor (or is it Tyler? It's hard to ever be sure . . . )

And we've all seen these three grow up together.

Alaina is off to a good start, too.

I wish I had more pictures of all of the different combinations!

It kind of makes you wonder what this group will look like in a few years, doesn't it?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Grand Finale


For the past few weeks, we have had my sister Anita and her family visiting from Los Angeles. One of the first days Anita was here, we made a list of fun things to do in our area. Day by day, we checked off the items.

With up to 11 children at any given moment, we played at parks, ate ice cream, visited farms, saw movies, built in the sand at beaches and lakes,


shopped at the mall, had picnics and barbecues, swam at the swimming pool, went for bike rides and walks, made up songs and games, told stories, started a Harry Potter movie marathon, splashed at the water park, climbed mountains,


found waterfalls, and even walked through tunnels.


It might be exaggerating to say that we left no stone unturned and no cave unexplored, but not by much!


By the time we got to Anita's last day, we were having trouble thinking of something to do.

We finally decided on a visit to Stanley Park . . . something we hadn't done yet!


We saw the ocean and the flower gardens,


rode the train,


and had our picnic.

Afterwards, though, something still seemed to be lacking.

Then we went to my mom and dad's house for dinner, and I realized what it was. We still hadn't ALL been together yet!

When my sister Sheri and her family joined us, we were all there with our mom and dad. We got my dad to take a picture with all the families.

It is not every day we can get a picture like this


or this,

or even this!


(I think we got a little carried away . . .)

And after the big group shots, the older girls and I couldn't resist going out into the back yard for . . . more modeling pictures :)


At the end of the evening there were lots of hugs and tears. We will miss all the togetherness! It is wonderful to have so many fun summer memories, though, and--of course--all the pictures :)