Category Archives: Friends

Her Work

**First Off: I want to say: Welcome Home to my friends who faced a great ordeal and now are safe and recovering. I’m so so happy that they are with friends and family. Many many other people have said it more eloquently than I could, so I’m happy to let them wax away on their behalf. But just because I do not say so much about the whole thing, my heart is nevertheless bursting for them.**

I feel like I have not spent much time on Pender lately. My course I’m finishing up to teach prenatal classes took me to Vancouver last week. I got to stay with beautiful friends and see bits of my family. But I am just not a big city girl and I was happy to return home, even if it was only briefly.

The time I have been home has seemed even sweeter. My daughter looks and smells sweeter to me. My husband, well, that is not for the blog’s ears nor eyes. The grass is vibrant green. So much so that it almost hurts to look at it because the neurons in my eyes are firing so hard…. or something. The trees are popping with blossoms and finally the garden is starting to look like a garden again instead of a giant mud hole.

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Gabrielle took a watering can to water our currant bush with it’s fuchsia flowers and I couldn’t figure out why it was taking her so long to get there. Then I realized she was watering every single dandelion and daisy along the way. By the time she got to the currant bush, there was barely a drop of water left in her watering can.

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Oh yeah, so Gabrielle’s work. She takes it very seriously. She puts the groceries away in the fridge because it is her “work.” She checks the traps in the garden for slugs every day, because it’s her “work.” Above is her filling her bucket with cedar sawdust for the garden paths because it’s her “work.”

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This work of hers is serious business. Other three year olds may believe that they play all day, but not her. Most of her life, she tells me, is working. No wonder she is exhausted by 7pm. (Me too…)

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We have this driveway near our house that is quite steep. The rain flows down it and forms puddles at the bottom. Often in the winter, the puddles are quite significant and they have become a landmark. Like, “Lets walk to the puddles and look for that frog.” The Puddles have been a landmark for Gabrielle since she was a year and a half. And among a couple of my mom friends too. We would often take our kids there when there was a lot of rain so they could splash in the puddles and we would stand on the road watching them and visiting. (The road is very quiet.)

Marc even informed me one day, that a 4 litre milk jug of water fills up a puddle if you needed to artificially make some fun.

The funny part about The Puddles, is that we have never seen a car go up the driveway. And we have played there almost daily for a year and a half. Then the house went up for sale. They re-did the driveway with these huge stones. For a while, the puddles were filled in.

Temporarily.

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The girls figured out how to dig out the puddles and they were taking the big rocks laid down for the driveway and rolling them in the mud to make “chocolate rocks.” Then a man came walking along the road and walked up the driveway!

He was probably wondering why these children were playing at his driveway. He asked us politely to put the “chocolate rocks” back when we were done.

Oops!

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We dutifully replaced all the rocks and we tried to repair the damage the girls had done to The Puddles driveway. We scuffled home and stuck them in the bath to wash off their mud and our embarrassment.

In the evenings, we’ve been going down to Welcome Bay. (Also a landmark, the beach near our house.)

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We’ve brought dinner down there and made an evening picnic out of it. It’s terrific to spend time together as a family, because it has seemed so rare lately. And this weather has been phenomenal. It reminds me that it’s only a few months of terrible weather and the rest of the year really is quite spectacular.

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I have a dozen pictures of her just like this, but she’s talking in them all so I had to decide which one was the talking expression I wanted. I’m sure her story was quite enlightening.

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Alright, I’ll admit it. We’ve just been picnic-ing everywhere.

Hallowe’en. (Yeah I’m a bit behind.)

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Hallowe’en day started off pretty normal. Piglet was hosting a tea party and invited Roo and Pokie. Tigger hogged the dainty cup and slurped the tea rudely. Typical Tigger. But we all have those friends and love them regardless.

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Then Gabrielle forgot she had to go for a drive to the store and pick up some broccoli. She fastened Pip in her car seat which happens to also double as a chinese food take-out box. And said she’d be back soon.

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Next it was pumpkin carving. Gabrielle has become quite efficient at separating the guck from the seeds. And pretending the pumpkin was a big pot of soup which needed copious stirring. Then the attention span was gone and a tricycle ride was in order.

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She zoomed.

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And she confessed that her red shoes made her go faster. I told her Red does that.

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Then the phone has a camera on it and that’s fun.

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We put our pumpkin outside with a candle. And Gabrielle informed me that the mustache actually looks more like a mouth. On a walk a couple days later, we found a pumpkin and she said to me, “Look Mommy. That pumpkin over there has a way better mustache than yours!”

Thanks Babe.

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And there were pumpkin tarts. But also, shhhhh! There was Christmas music….

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And there was a spunky little giraffe who we decided to call Gabriaffe. Gabriaffe was very fond of her tail. And candy.

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After such a long day of toiling, Gabriaffe was ready to retire.

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Unfortunately for me, my work was just getting started. After tucking her to bed, I jumped on a ferry and ended up sleepless for a bit.

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After a bit of sleeplessness from work, I am always entirely sick of granola bars, protein bars, and nut mixes. I just want some real food. A real meal with some veggies. I left the hospital and drove to my friends’ place where I stay to catch up on sleep and wait for the next ferry home, and there in the fridge was this delightful dinner just for me!

I know I talk on and on about all the support a doula needs to take care of her little one, and compensate for the days missed, but I must say it again. I am so grateful for my friends and family who support me through this. You make it so much easier to do what I love!

 

Heeey Mexico

So I have no idea how Charlotte posts a blog with pictures in Mexico. She must have connections with the Mexican internet gods. If I have any pictures in this post, know that they are not as many as I would love to show you.

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We stayed overnight in Vancouver before we came here. You can read about this a little from my mom’s blog. We were bundled up, walking in the rain with woolly hats, scarves (or as my brother says,”snoods”) thick coats and umbrellas. Gabrielle confiscated one of the umbrellas to pretend she was Christopher Robin (her current favourite) and walked the sidewalks of downtown Vancouver saying “Tut tut looks like rain.”

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Telling you about the layers we were wearing, and how we stopped for hot chocolate seems so strange where I’m sitting now.

I have a flattering sheen of sweat on me. I have cold ice water beside me that is leaving a thick ring of condensation. The window is open to try to get a breeze from the sticky humid heat in our room. Gabrielle is sleeping in barely anything and I’m scratching mosquito bites. How can this be? It is freezing this time of year. But not in Mexico. Never, in Mexico.

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In Mexico where they rarely have toilet seats on their banos and their internet doesn’t seem to allow a lot of photos uploading. When we see an ATV rumble by on the cobblestone road with a 4 year old holding onto the handlebars while a big burly man drives, we smile and say “heeey Mexico!” Gabrielle loves the bus rides where they drive over a river bed under the highway. She exclaims “take a ride on the hump of the wump of gump.” (One Fish Two Fish by Dr. Seuss if you were deprived of the reference) and she laughs and says “More More!”

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After “knowing” Charlotte on the internet for two and a half years, I have met her in person. I have touched her belly, and kissed her face and had those face-to-face eye-to-eye conversations over chocolate that I had been hoping for. It is wonderful to have a friend materialize who I wondered for brief moments if it was all in my imagination, and have her be as delightful as I hoped. Or even more so.  And her beautiful family. Eric’s sense of humour meshes with Marc’s as we listening to their hilarities over beer and tacos. And Cora. Oh there is not words for those soul-melting eyes and contagious giggle.

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I told Charlotte I didn’t think it would be possible that Cora could look as lovely as she did in pictures, but her spunky personality paired with her beauty, oh Cora. She’s adorable.IMG_20130207_071842

We’ve been playing and exploring and swimming and eating and all the good things you do on vacation.

And we have been waiting for a baby.

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It’s lovely to be here with friends. It’s so nice to have someone show us the ropes of how to get around by bus, which places serve amazing breakfast, and what is the best tequila. Now we’ve had a couple of lovely days, we’re caught up on our sleep and we’re ready for the appearance of baby!

Baby, are you ready too?

A Completely Failed Sailing Attempt and “New” Friends

Have you ever attempted sailing with a toddler? A toddler who is past her nap, in lumpy seas? Then you may have sympathy for us, or wee Gabrielle during our Saturday morning experience.

We lasted half an hour. It was a beautiful day for a sail. The winds were 15-20 knots. And our boat just loves being out there. You can almost feel her smiling as we took off from our mooring buoy with the jib taut.

Then it began.

“No lumpy ocean! Back home! No up and down! Back home now!”

So yeah. We thought, oh this could be fun. We could do this for a 3 hour sail with no napping Brie (the ocean was much too rough for a nap) or we could turn around now and try to have a pleasant afternoon.

Upon arriving home, Marc began researching multi-hull boats to quell his frustration of missing such a beautiful sailing day.

“Maybe if the boat wasn’t rolling, she would like sailing?” He reasoned. I think she’ll grow out of it. We’ll try again soon.

On the upside, we were rowing out to our dock and a sailboat was coming in. The person on the bow shouted, “Amanda? Are you Amanda?” And it was a blog-reader who lives aboard with her Twins(!!) that are the same age as Gabrielle. Then, the same afternoon we got an email from Lara on Spirit of Kaizen and they were hailing Pender for the weekend too. What fun!

We spent Sunday with the crew from Kaizen and it was lovely. It was completely refreshing to connect with people that you don’t “know” but only virtually know and now that makes all the difference. I was thinking about it last night. It’s like the internet provides this make-believe place. And in this make-believe place you have these pretend friends who post pictures, who seem to like doing the same things as you, and they are the kind of people you’d love to hang out with every day. Then when these people materialize and are just that cool, well it kinda makes my head explode.

And now that we’re entering into September, Marc has begun wholeheartedly chopping wood for our early morning fires. I cleaned out Gabrielle’s drawers and put her shorts in a donation pile. We begin leaning towards Autumn in earnest, because it is our favourite season after all. And my doula work has begun to pick up again. Yay for sweet little babies about to enter the world!

Happy September wishes to my real and make-believe friends.

A Baby Party

On the weekend we got to celebrate the anticipation of a new baby. My dearest best friend is due in August and she’s moving away from Pender in a few weeks. So we celebrate and we say “See ya soon, visit often.”

The community on Pender Island shines when it comes to food. The cupcakes (above) were made with love by Rowie who picked these flowers from her garden to garnish her cupcakes. Goodies galore overflowed from my table and the baby gifts were mostly handmade and thoughtfully chosen items from local vendors. Ya know, Pender-style!

(Theresa’s trying out her new Felted rattle and admiring some hand-knit goodies)

This blanket I was particularly excited about. Each lady from our knitting group knit a strip of this blanket and the talented Laura sewed it all together to make it a beautiful and cozy baby blanket for our dear friend.

Now, Theresa is a fixture at knit night that will be sadly missed. The funny thing about Theresa is that she has only ever knit one thing at knit night. No, let’s go back a bit farther for this little side-story.

There were groups on Pender that Theresa and I wanted to break into. We tried joining groups but we seemed to kill them. (Yes, it was us, we killed the garden group.) So we were really excited when we heard there was going to be a knitting group started with younger folks who liked to knit. It wasn’t so much that Theresa liked to knit, but she loved groups and she loved the food that groups tended to have. Theresa did her best to make knit night not so much about knitting but more about the food and the people. She invited people who didn’t knit. She “forgot” her knitting and even once forgot ONE of her knitting needles. But the other attendees were committed to knitting so that knit night remained about the fibre arts.

So Theresa succumbed. By this, I mean, she went to the Nu-to-u thrift store, purchased the largest ball of wool she could find and faithfully brought her needles and her teal fluffy humongous ball of wool. She began knitting a scarf. See, she learned to knit in elementary school (a hippy school, what can I say?) and a scarf- well she could handle that and still talk and most importantly: eat!

After a couple years of knit night, the scarf could keep the group of us warm. It is now so long that it is no longer useful as a scarf. Maybe it could be a table runner for a family of 18!

The weirdest part is that the huge ball of fluffy teal wool is not any smaller… Magic I tell ya!

Suffice to say, We will miss Theresa and her teal scarf knitting among a whole trailing list (longer than the scarf)  of other things.

Gabrielle showed up for the tail end of the party and cashed in on some goodies and a nifty hat.

I modeled a baby hat too. It was a great party.