Sunday, March 11, 2018

Danika has been lobbying VERY hard for a dog these days.  When she began asking (pleading) 2 years ago, we put her off and bought her a hamster instead, thinking it was a passing interest.  It wasn't.  She's been spending all of her free time researching breeds that would meet our many needs (hypoallergenic, low shedding, good companion, good with small animals and children, etc) and could star in a debate team with her many points on why a dog is a good choice for us.  She asks what we (not just her) would love about having a dog, trying to get all of us invested in the idea.  So we've agreed to revisit the issue in a year's time, when she is ending elementary school and will be home sooner in the day. In the meantime, I took Danika and two of her friends to the SPCA yesterday to look at the various types of animals - sadly, most of the dogs were large breeds that people found they were unable to handle. A pit bull cross is not the dog for us either! We ended the afternoon with a tea party at a playground, because 9 year old girls still like to swing. On the drive home, Danika explained to me that a dog would be even better than Teddy.  No offense to Teddy, and she will still love Teddy, it's just that she will love a dog differently, because even though she keeps hoping Teddy will come alive, unlike when she was younger she knows now that's impossible.
Spring is coming!

Monday, March 05, 2018

More goecaching yesterday, this time on Mt. Tolmie.  We were on a roll.  Now only 197 to go. 
And  although there are no photos, I can confirm the Guide trip was fun.  They watched movies on the bus. They played games. They played in the snow and built toboggan runs.  They went snowshoeing and snowtubing.  Unfortunately an errant piece of straw on the tube hill poked Danika's eye shortly before coming home, but the optometrist prescribed some eye drops to prevent infection and said she'd be good as new shortly. 

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Danika is away at Guide camp this weekend, building snow caves and snowshoeing at Mount Washington.  Their trip was a little more luxe than the Scouts, as they took a charter bus and camped out at the Vancouver Island Mountain Centre.  I dropped her and her friend Sophie off at the bus on Friday afternoon - Sophie said she was a little nervous about the bus, wondering if it was possible for it to fall off the mountain.  Danika said she preferred not to think about any of the bad things that could possibly happen but probably wouldn't.  She's not home for a few more hours, but I'm sure the trip was great.
Logan and I went out for lunch at a Korean restaurant after martial arts class yesterday (where he had popcorn tea, stirfry and green onion pancake!). Then we took advantage of the sunshine and tried geocaching, using an app on my phone to identify the location of the cache.  We didn't have any luck with our first attempt near Cattle Point, but we did find 1 near the little blue bridge on Keats Street and another at Browning park.  The photo shows the container we found in Browning Park, tucked in a tree.  You open the container, sign a little log with your name and the date, and then return it to its hiding place. Apparently there are over 200 in Victoria alone - 2 down, 198 to go.
Plus I thought I'd share a photo of my Friday night wine and cheese - a glass of malbec, a creamy blue, a chevre, and a farmhouse cheddar rubbed with espresso and lavender. Heaven.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

This past weekend flew past, as they tend to do, especially when there are evening activities planned.  On Thursday evening, Danika and I attended the annual Doncaster school Bingo night for what I believe was the 6th year in a row.  Danika was “99% certain” she was going to win a round this year.  To our consternation, that pesky 1% odd came true and we left without a prize, just like the previous 5 years.  Obviously we are going to have to play a lot more cards next year if we are going to win, since that will be our last opportunity. On Friday, Daniel and I had tickets to a Jim Cuddy (of Blue Rodeo fame) concert at the McPherson Playhouse – it was a fabulous show.  Logan was home packing for an early Saturday morning scout trip to Newcastle Island near Nanaimo and there were a couple of calls looking for camping gear.  He wasn’t impressed we weren’t picking up until we explained it’s difficult to answer a call in a concert and they should really be reserved for emergencies. That trip went well – they explored the outside of an old mine shaft and honed up their orienteering skills.  While he was cooking supper in a foil packet over a flame, we dined with friends whose 4 year old was over the moon to have Danika all to herself.  On Sunday Danika had a friend over to play (they created mazes out of Jenga blocks for Tiny the hamster) and later set up an Animal Jam telephone date with Grace.  It must have been fun because they were chattering away for well over an hour….amazing considering neither girl usually says much on the phone! Throw in some laundry, and coop cleaning, and vacuuming and somehow I ended up at Monday morning. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Last weekend, I was hanging out in a school gym, with about 20 older guys and 2 boys.  Logan saved up money for over a year and bought a remote control (RC) plane in January.  Afraid he’d crash the thing on his inaugural flight, I found an RC plane club in town, which operates an RC airstrip close to the airport.  Turns out this is complex and serious stuff. One of the club members in particular has been extremely helpful, setting Logan and his friend Everest up with a computer simulator so they could learn some basic flying techniques before testing their aircraft, and sharing all kinds of other information.  Turns out outdoor flying is a fair weather sport, when the winds are calmer and the airstrip isn’t under water.  In the winter, they fly Styrofoam models inside, hence the school gym, which they rent on Sunday afternoons. They also have a buddy controller so the boys can operate some but not all of the controls until they are ready to “take the wheel” on their own.   There is a safety committee and it sounds like some sort of operator certification.  The club doesn’t typically have junior members, but they are figuring out how to accommodate the boys.  To demonstrate interest in the club, they are encouraged to attend monthly meetings as well, where they hear about operating budgets and monthly reports, see other members talk about their planes in a “show and tell” format, and listen to guest speakers from places like NavCan (radio control towers) and former Snowbird pilots.  Logan now knows more about flight mechanics than I ever plan to, and there are engineering aspects to building and repairing the models – there’s a lot of educational value to the hobby.   For the parents, there’s a lot of driving, and hanging around waiting. But isn’t that the case with a lot of parenting?!

Monday, February 19, 2018

There's been a cold snap across the country this week.  The thermometer dipped below 0 here, even as the crocuses and daffodils are trying to bloom.  It wasn't raining though, so we bundled up and did a family walk around the golf course on Family Day.  There was also a lot of crafting going on over the long weekend.  Danika learned to make paracord bracelets in Guides, so we ordered a kit from Amazon so she could make more at home. And there was a trip to Michael's as she wanted window art paint. This seems to have replaced the many, many batches of slime she was obsessed with perfecting this month (you have no idea how much money I spent in glue, finally buying a 1 litre jug of it at Walmart).  Little kids on our street have been happy to receive her cast-offs.  With Valentine's Day, there were 26 paper hearts to cut out and attach lollipops to, a task she actually enjoys, whereas Logan was happy not to have to participate in a card exchange this year.  I didn't have a slime or paracord photo, but I did have one of Danika crafting unicorn horns, and some candles that she hand-dipped and poured into candle molds.  She was home with a bit of a cold, so I suggested she look through a science kit and come up with a project to occupy part of her afternoon.  Trust her to find a science project that is really a craft - however, creating and then burning a candle also demonstrates how solid wax becomes liquid, which hardens back into a solid and then becomes gas as it is burnt. What she really liked though was creating the perfect shade of blue.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

It was a glorious weekend on the slopes at Mount Washington.  Since Dan was in Montreal, the kids and I drove to Courtenay on Friday where we took a long dip in the heated outdoor pool and then enjoyed a delightful supper of ramen noodles (it’s the kids’ favourite travel food). We were up very early Saturday morning, drove up to the hill, rented equipment and were on the lifts at 9. We got in a full day of skiing, graduating from the Hawk to the Whiskeyjack chair, where everyone did a great job skiing down Coaster, a blue run.  It was unseasonably warm and drizzling, so the snow conditions were very different than the powder the kids were used to.  While it wasn’t icy, the snow was a lot faster than last year and both of the kids did a really good job of staying in control and doing lots of turns. They took a private lesson together, because that just works so much better than me trying to tell them how to ski, and it also gives me a chance to scope out runs that are suitable for us to ski together when the lesson is over.  By the end of the day, we were soaking wet from the drizzle – fortunately the Old House Hotel has dryers! Rain was forecast for Sunday as well, and it didn’t look promising heading up the mountain at 8 am.  Except we broke through the low-lying rain clouds and the ski resort was basking in sunlight.  Not only that, but it was bright and sunny on the slopes for the entire day.  We met up with Leah and Piper and skied together for a few runs, including Piper’s very first ski off a chair lift.  After lunch, they headed home and Danika went to ski school.  There were some blue runs off the Sunshine chair Logan was eager to try and Danika wasn’t quite ready for – she generously volunteered to go to ski school on her own so he and I would have the opportunity to try those.  It was a golden afternoon – skiing in the sunshine on a beautiful mountain, on great snow.  We had 2.5 hours and we made the most of it.  Logan doesn’t like to stop and chat on the runs – we pick a route at the top and we ski without stopping all the way back to the lift.  We skied Fantastic and Rainbow 6 times before taking Linton’s Loop back over to Danika.  He rocked those runs, which were on the steep end of the blue spectrum, making steady controlled turns all the way down.  In the back of my mind there’s always a niggling worry that they’ll get out of control and there will be an injury (which is why I keep taking them to lessons), and frankly, it’s a lot of work and money to get out on the ski hill, but as we floated down Rainbow with big grins on our faces, it was a perfect moment.  Plus Danika’s lesson went well and we all drove home noodle-legged and happy.