The Blog Post of 2020

So, it’s been almost a year since we last posted, we have missed sharing so many precious memories. I’ll test my memory to see how many quirky personality moments and other memories I can recall.

First off, Christmas 2019- We had a full house and lots of great food! Both sets of Grandparents and Auntie Diana and Jeremy were here. The twins had a great time with all the family around. Eileen insisted her two grandmas tuck her in at night. Christmas morning was sensory overload for the twins, they couldn’t get passed opening their stockings because they had to play with every new toy.



Around Christmas time Eileen’s speech was progressing, but Ewan’s was still quite delayed. Over the last year, his speech delay caused a lot of frustrated moments for him not being able to express his needs. Ewan’s most common thing to say around early-mid 2020 “it not working” he used this phrase for everything. In April we were walking by a fence that ended, he pointed at the fence and said “it not working”. Then, around March, he woke up during the night to poop, but when the poop would not come, he came out of the bathroom and said “mommy, it not working, the poop not working”, oh it was adorable. Now his most common response is “right now” or “because right now”. I think this is his default response because he doesn’t have the words to express himself in more detail. When he is asked a question he just responds with “right now”. We have been working with a Speech and Language Pathologist, and even though his speech continues to be delayed, he is making improvements.

Eileen is very adventurous and brave, so around October 2019 Kyle and I started to be serious with her- never touch the oven/stove, never stand up in the tub, never jump off the toilet… well, she started using the word ‘never’ instead of ‘no’. She walked around the house telling Kyle and I ‘never’.

Both Eileen and Ewan would call Monkey’s ‘Ooh ooh ah ahs’ instead of saying Monkey, which is way harder to say! Ewan used to say elephant (really fast) and make the trunk action with his arm and say ‘brrrrr’.

Often when we asked Eileen a question she would say ‘yano’ and we would also have to respond, ‘is that a yes or a no’.

November 2019- the twins walked around going “rawr” while making clawing motions with their hands. Sometimes Ewan would take it a bit far and Eileen would cry, I think he just did it because she would react. Areas of the house became ‘safe’ and being picked up by mom and dad was the safest place :).

One Friday night in January 2020 the twins pulled all the furniture out of their room (which was a favourite pass time- moving cribs, toy boxes, tables, play kitchen etc) and started throwing what they could lift out the front door. Animals!!

Both Eileen and Ewan like to pack their backpacks full of toys, put hats and sunglasses on (while in their PJ’s) and walk around the house saying “bye bye, bye bye”. When you ask them where they are going, they stop and say “ummm maybe…hmmm Home, I am going home”. It is so cute, they look like little hobos with all their worldly possessions, walking around saying “bye bye”. I have a video and I watch it all the time.

Making choo choo trains became an obsession. For about 8 months straight every piece of furniture (including pillows, stuffies, blankets, etc) that could be moved was arranged into a line, or continuous path, and was called a choo choo train, our floors are sooo scratched because of it. It was an absolute obsession, and if you broke the train, Ewan especially, would go into full on melt down mode. Then one day in June they just stopped

At the end of January 2020 we transitioned the twins into full size twin beds. Ewan was waking up in the middle of the night crying and screaming, without the words to tell us what was wrong. We thought if he wasn’t in a crib, he could get out of bed and show us what he needed before getting to the point of incoherent inconsolable crying. November 2019- January 2020 was full of sleepless nights, Ewan would wake up kicking and screaming for an hour straight, multiple times throughout the night. It was hard. It was almost like he was having night terrors. He would talk to you, but you couldn’t say or do anything to calm or soothe him The transition into big beds went well, and his night terror episodes slowly morphed into asking daddy to tuck him in and sleep with him. Much calmer. Then after day light savings time in March everything unraveled. We couldn’t get the twins to stay in bed and go to sleep. Every night was a 2 to 3 hour bedtime power struggle. It didn’t help they share a room, so they play off of each other. We came to dread bedtimes. We never left each other alone during bedtime, it was a two person job and it was hard to endure, awful, difficult, tested our patience etc. Kyle and I had no time to ourselves because by the time we got the children to bed it was time for us to go to bed. Finally in July of 2020 we reached out to a sleep consultant and she gave us some tips and tricks, which worked almost instantaneously. Now bedtimes are 0- 30 minutes.


Around mid February 2020, Eileen and Ewan were chasing and stabbing each other with forks, so we took the forks away for a while. Well, one Friday (at the end of February) after school Eileen came home with a plastic fork and waved it in Kyle’s face and said ‘this my fork, my fork’.

Easter 2020 was nice, it was just our nuclear family, the weather was cold so we had a fire and watched movies, made a craft, and made ham, potatoes and key lime pie (I think this will be a new Easter tradition!)



The twins turned 3 years old on April 22. We discussed what kind of cake they wanted in the month leading up to their birthday. Finally, Eileen decided on banana cream pie, when I said the words banana cream, her eyes went wide! She knows all things cream are delicious (cream cheese, whipping cream, sour cream etc) and she loves bananas. After she decided on banana cream pie, she pointed at Ewan and said, “What Ewan have?” HAHAHA, she is a riot. The birthday was great. The four of us spent the day together enjoying the yard and learning to ride a push/stride bike. They opened presents, ate pizza and banana cream pie (which I made), and a fire truck came by and honked the horn singing happy birthday over the loud speaker. A low key pandemic birthday.



Ewan is an AMAZING dancer, he moves his entire body and head. Whenever he gets really excited about something (usually food) he jumps up and down and claps his hands while shouting “yea!!”. He also sideways shuffles throughout the house.

Eileen counts 1, 2, 6, 11, 18…


Favourite food- pizza, cheese, french fries, crackers, dates, bagels, cereal, apricots and ice cream. We have relaxed the low sugar diet…. still no juice though. Favourite movie- Minions. Favourite TV show- Wiggles, Horsey show (Spirit Riding Free), and Paw Patrol. Favourite song- Baby Shark, and One Green Jelly Bean. But really, it’s just Baby Shark all day, everyday! They march around the table singing along. Ewan especially loves Baby Shark. He puts his fists in front of his body and moves them in circles around each other, while marching and singing.



Summer of 2020- lots of camping! Ewan and Eileen met wild horses, they walked right through our campsite. We went to McLean Creek, Porcupine Hills and Lake Koocanusa and are planning to go to Drumheller and Little Elbow. Sleep and naps are always a bit hit and miss while camping, and when we were driving back from McLean Creek, Eileen looked out the window in a whiney voice said “I want cheese and mountains”- me too girl! We flew on an airplane (with masks!) to Vancouver Island to see Grandma and Grandpa Shivas. We spent 8 days at the cabin fishing and relaxing. This year the twins were much easier to take care of at the cabin. My mom was a rock star taking care of them every morning so we could all go fishing (on top of cooking and cleaning!). Eileen and Ewan had lots of cooperative, imaginative and interactive play. They made boats out of foam pieces, drove dump trucks and rode horses. They were much more interested in the ocean, boats, wildlife, fish, crabs and prawns. We picked blueberries in Courtenay, and Ewan ate his body weight in blueberries during the 2 weeks visit.

Both Eileen and Ewan started saying Tanks (Thanks) and Sorry for everything. Tanks mommy, sorry mommy….it’s adorable. Even when saying “don’t throw rocks at people” they reply in this sweet tone “tanks mommy” (mostly Ewan, but sometimes Eileen) Ewan gives these really big, pronounced “yup” and “ok”. He is a very agreeable little dude. Ewan is so sweet, cuddly (especially right after the bath), smiley, helpful, empathetic, quiet, and kind. Eileen is so independent, smart, observant, strong willed, outgoing and loud. They are very different people. But they are also best friends. Ewan would follow Eileen blindly off a cliff. Ewan readily shares everything with Eileen, whereas Eileen assess what is the best choice and then gives the other to Ewan (she takes the bigger piece of cheese and gives the smaller to Ewan). Eileen sometimes calls Ewan Ewee, and Ewan pronounces Eileen Eieen. Eileen is quick to blame Ewan for everything “Ewan did it”. She is also quick to call Ewan over to show him something cool/new. They are getting along so much better these days. If I am sternly talking to Eileen about something (don’t leave ice melting on the counter), Ewan always says “me too”. I will turn to Ewan and says, “you too Ewan, don’t leave ice melting on the counter” and he smiles and runs away. He just wants to always be included. When we go on road trips he says, “I come too?”, “yes of course Ewan, we wouldn’t go anywhere without you”- he smiles.

Eileen is still obsessed with hats, shoes and figuring out how things work. She will sit and unscrew screws from the play table. They both still love school buses and going on ‘lion hunts’ and making safe spaces from the lion. They also call the woods and pathways “lion caves”.

Eileen continued to have accidents (although often she would pee herself on purpose when she didn’t get her way) from September 2019 until July 2020. She did have accidents when we were travelling in July/August. Ewan has been pretty much potty trained since September, with very few accidents. He even stopped wearing a pull up at night in March 2020. Despite being potty trained, they still like to pee anywhere and everywhere. They also both really like being naked, and are often naked all weekend at home.

We got Ewan’s hair cut in June 14, he is such a handsome boy! He spent minutes looking at himself and smiling in the mirror. When we were on the Island this summer Ewan told me about his “owie bug bite on his face” (his hemangioma), he said “but it not hurting”. That’s the first time he has mentioned his hemangioma.


Oh, and by the way Eileen and Ewan, we are in the middle of a world wide pandemic, coronavirus rapidly spread throughout the world and took the lives of a lot of people. We were in a lock down from March until June 2020. Even now, August 2020, people are very cautious. We have to wear masks and wash our hands all the time. 2020 has been an odd year, one mom and dad will not easily forget. You didn’t see your friends or go to the park. We didn’t socialize or meet new people.

I am just happy to finally type some words on this blog. Sorry for the radio silence!


Vancouver Island August 2018

We just got back from a two week trip to Vancouver Island where we spent most of our time at the Shivas fishing cabin.

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Janet Eileen & Ewan Overlooking Nootka Sound
Janet Eileen & Ewan Overlooking Nootka Sound

Shivas Cabin with Low Cloud
Shivas cabin with low cloud

Heading out fishing
Heading out fishing

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Continue reading “Vancouver Island August 2018”

Babies First Swim

Yesterday the babies went swimming for their first time! My friend has a pool in her apartment building, so it was really low key and casual. Both Eileen and Ewan remained very calm and unfazed by the whole experience. They kicked their legs and splashed their arms around. They didn’t smile a whole lot, but I think they were just taking in the experience.  We can’t wait to go again!

Kyle, Eileen, Ewan and Amanda Swimming
Kyle, Eileen, Ewan and Amanda Swimming

Ewan, Eileen & Janet Swimming
Ewan, Eileen & Janet Swimming

Janet, Ewan & Eileen Swimming
Janet, Ewan & Eileen Swimming

Thanksgiving in the Okanagan

For Thanksgiving, we braved the longest drive with the twins yet and made our way to my parents vineyard in the community of Kaleden in the Okanagan valley in British Columbia. What is normally an eight hour drive became a nine hour drive with the twins but all things considered it went remarkably well with only two feeding breaks and minimal crying and the fall foliage made for a very scenic drive through the Rockies and then the valley.

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The view from mom and dad's deck, thanksgiving 2017
The view from mom and dad’s deck, thanksgiving 2017

Continue reading “Thanksgiving in the Okanagan”

Camping at Jasper National Park

All summer Janet and I had been planning a big week long camping trip to Waterton National Park for early September as neither Janet nor I have ever been, despite the fact that we keep hearing such glowing reviews. Unfortunately, the night before we left, the Kenow wild fire began to threaten the park and the entire area was put on a voluntary evacuation alert. So, late the night before we were supposed to leave we had to figure out a new destination, and with most of BC on fire, and bits of Alberta, this was no small feat. Because we had a whole week we wanted to go somewhere that wasn’t right on our door step, but at the same time we didn’t want to drive too far with 4 month old twins. We eventually landed on Jasper National Park.

The next morning we loaded the babies into the cab of the truck, the dogs into the bed, hooked up the tent trailer and hit the road, and what a road it was! The Icefield Parkway between Banff and Jasper is simply spectacular. I can’t think of another highway I’ve been on with so many incredible mountain views. At times you literally drive along alpine meadows as you pass by glacier after glacier. Unfortunately the entire area was inundated with smoke from one of the many fires in BC so visibility was extremely limited, at times we couldn’t even see the mountains immediately beside us, none-the-less, it was a drive to remember. Luckily for us, the babies handled the 5.5 hour drive really well (which hopefully bodes well for our upcoming 10 hour drive to the Okanagan).

Ewan in his camping attire
Ewan in his camping attire

We spent the first day settling in to our campsite at Wapiti campground and hanging out at Pyramid Lake near the Jasper town site. Janet did some paddling with Luna and enjoyed the smokey views while I hung out on the beach with the twins.

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Ewan working on his tan at Pyramid Lake Beach
Ewan working on his tan at Pyramid Lake Beach

Janet and Luna on Pyramid Lake
Janet and Luna on Pyramid Lake

Unfortunately, because of a bit of a miscommunication, and a misunderstanding about how the campsites at Wapiti campground are booked we ended up having to move from one campsite to another on our second full day! This was further complicated by the fact that rain was forecast for the entire day and we didn’t want all of our stuff, ourselves and our babies to get wet so when Janet woke up early and saw that the campers in our new campground had left early, and the rain had not yet started, we sprung into action and took down our camp, took down the tent trailer, moved over 3  sites, and set it all back up again in about 2 hours, with two babies in tow all before the rain started. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself!

Wapiti Campground
Wapiti Campground

The change in weather cleared out the smoke, but also brought with it cooler temperatures and a lot of rain. This was further complicated by the fact that all of us were sick with a pretty nasty respiratory virus. This was the babies first bad cold and we had to work hard to keep them warm and dry. With day time highs of 12C and lows of 2C for a few days in a row, a fire ban, and lots of rain, this was a lot of work. To make matters worse we were faced with one problem after another with the tent trailer. First our batteries failed, then we blew a fuse, then a lead on the thermostat broke and with no wire strippers and no soldering gun, we were pretty much out of luck on that front. We cuddled Eileen and Ewan all night every night in an effort to keep them warm which Ewan enjoyed, but Eileen prefers to sleep in a starfish position and would often bitterly complain about being cuddled with a shrill cry. There was one night when Ewan’s breathing was so laboured we seriously considered taking him to the local emergency room, and/or cutting the trip short.

Ewan and Eileen in Wapiti Campground
Ewan and Eileen in Wapiti Campground

Ewan and Eileen Keeping Warm in the Tent Trailer
Ewan and Eileen Keeping Warm in the Tent Trailer

Despite all these challenges we toughed it out and managed to enjoy ourselves. We were really impressed by the shear number of children friendly hikes, lakes and wildlife in our immediate vicinity. The park is huge and we saw only a tiny portion of it, but that small portion was packed with interest.

We hiked Malign Canyon which was particularly stunning although we did end up getting completely soaked (but managed to keep the babies mostly dry under our rain coats) from the considerable rainfall.

Janet in front of a spring in Malign Canyon
Janet and Ewan in front of a spring in Malign Canyon

Malign Canyon Waterfall
Malign Canyon Waterfall (one of many)

Blue Water in Malign Canyon
Blue Water in Malign Canyon

Malign Canyon
Malign Canyon

Malign Canyon Waterfall & Bridge
Malign Canyon Waterfall & Bridge

In 5 days we saw 9 lakes not including a handful that we drove by on the highway and Janet paddled on 3 of them, and we weren’t even on a mission to find lakes.

Kyle and Ewan above the third lake in the Valley of the Five Lakes
Kyle and Ewan above the third lake in the Valley of the Five Lakes

Janet overlooking the Fourth Lake in the Valley of the Five Lakes
Janet overlooking the Fourth Lake in the Valley of the Five Lakes

Fourth Lake in the Valley of the Five Lakes
Fourth Lake in the Valley of the Five Lakes

Mika Overlooking Lake Annette
Mika Overlooking Lake Annette

Janet Paddling on Lake Annette
Janet Paddling on Lake Annette

Kyle and Ewan enjoying the view at Annette Lake
Kyle and Ewan enjoying the view at Annette Lake

Kyle Paddling in Edith Lake
Kyle Paddling on Edith Lake

Janet Paddling on Edith Lake
Janet Paddling on Edith Lake

We saw deer, a black bear, lots of interesting birds, loons, trout, and tons of elk including this brute that we saw right off the highway, I think he might be the largest I’ve ever seen in person.

Wapiti (Elk)
Huge 8×7 Wapiti (Elk) – no zoom

While the drive home was not smokey as the drive up had been, it was shrouded in cloud which at times provided no more visibility than the smoke. We did manage to take in a few impressive views on the drive home despite the clouds and rain though.

Janet Below the Athabasca Glacier
Janet Below the Athabasca Glacier

Our Truck and Trailer Below the Athabasca Glacier
Our Truck and Trailer Below the Athabasca Glacier

Alpine Meadow along the Icefields Parkway
Alpine Meadow below the Athabasca Glacier along the Icefields Parkway

Atmospheric Mountains of the Icefields Parkway
The Crowfoot Glacier along the Icefields Parkway

Atmospheric Mountains of the Icefields Parkway
Atmospheric Mountains of the Icefields Parkway

Atmospheric Mountains of the Icefields Parkway
Atmospheric Mountains of the Icefields Parkway

Drumheller

On August long weekend (August 4-7) Kyle, the babies and I joined Auntie Diana and Jer out at Drumheller for the weekend. They have a plot of land in the Hoodoo campground with a trailer permanently situated on the land.

Diana and Jer cooked us wonderful meals all weekend. We played yard Yahtzee and Farkle.

This was my first time seeing the Alberta badlands. We took the babies for a walk around Hoodoo Provincial Park.

Janet with Hoodoos Looming Above
Janet with Hoodoos Looming Above

Kyle and Luna at Hoodoo Provincial Park
Kyle and Luna at Hoodoo Provincial Park

Hoodoos
Hoodoos

Kyle and Janet and the twins above Hoodoo Provincial Park
Kyle and Janet and the twins above Hoodoo Provincial Park

Luna is always watching out for the babies and likes to sleep in front of them.

Luna sleeping in front of babies in Drumheller
Luna sleeping in front of babies in Drumheller

We spent some time sitting in the Red Deer River to cool off, during which time, Mika caught a fish right out of the river and ate it.

Luna sitting in the Red Deer River
Luna sitting in the Red Deer River

Janet and Ewan sitting in the Red Deer River
Janet and Ewan sitting in the Red Deer River

The babies enjoyed some time on the grass

Eileen and Ewan on the grass
Eileen and Ewan on the grass

EIleen rocking out
Eileen rocking out

On the way home we stopped by Horseshoe Canyon to admire the view

Horseshoe Canyon
Horseshoe Canyon

Meeting Great Grandma Eileen & the West Coast Maclean Crew

For labour day weekend Janet and I packed up the babies and hopped on a flight to Vancouver to spend some time with our family there and most importantly, so that the babies could meet their great grandmother, my Oma; Eileen’s namesake.

This was the babies 3rd flight on the way out and 4th on the way home and to date they have been excellent flyers (with a little prep work from mom and dad).

Click on images for a larger version.

Airport Check-in
Airport Check-in

Unsurprisingly, Heather no longer has Wayne’s crib given that he’s now 30-something and we couldn’t exactly take our baby boxes on the plane so some creative thinking was in order. The result: suitcases make for a pretty decent baby bed!

Suitcase Bed
They didn’t actually share a suitcase, that would be silly

Aunt Heather and Uncle Peter graciously hosted us for the weekend and organized a visit at Oma’s place for us all. As always, they also made sure there was lots of excellent food to eat as well.

Oma was so happy to meet the babies and it was really lovely to hear Oma showing off her great grand-babies to her friends. The babies were definitely popular with the other residents and staff there.

Oma with Ewan, Eileen and Madeline
Oma with Ewan, Eileen and Madeline

Everyone took turns holding the babies.

Loren and Vicky with Ewan and Eileen
Loren, Vicky and Madeline with Ewan and Eileen

Wayne and Ewan
Wayne and Ewan

Heather and Peter with Eileen and Ewan
Heather and Peter with Ewan and Eileen

Madeline and Ewan
Madeline and Ewan

Bowen and Eileen
Bowen and Eileen

Vicky, Madeline and Bowen with Ewan and Eileen
Vicky, Madeline and Bowen with Ewan and Eileen

It was so great to have my Oma, my brother Loren and his wife Vicky and their kids Madeline and Bowen, Vicky’s mother Ping, my cousin Wayne, my aunt and uncle Heather and Peter and Janet, Ewan, Eileen and I all together in the same place at the same time.

The Whole Crew
The Whole Crew

The babies had a great time as did the rest of us and we are looking forward to the next time we can all get together.

No consents were obtained for sharing any of the photos above, if you have any concerns, please let me know. Better to ask forgiveness than permission… right?

Island Time!

Kyle, Eileen, Ewan and I just spent 2 weeks on the island visiting family and fishing.

The twins were amazing travelling. They didn’t make a peep of noise on the plane ride there or back (Ewan had a little 30 second cry once we landed in Calgary- but I can relate!!).

My immediate extended family (cousins, aunts/uncles- basically sisters and second parents 💜💜) got to meet and snuggle babies.

It’s been decided these babies are water people! They loved it at the cabin and on the boat. In fact when we were home they seemed to be upset spending time inside. Just like their parents and grandparents they are outdoorsy people.

Eileen started sleeping 4-5 hours in a row at night. Ewan still wakes up frequently though. All the change and travel didn’t effect the babies one bit. They are born travellers 😀

The trip was wonderful, I miss the island so much. I really wish we could move there.

Aunt Liz, Eileen, Uncle Dave and EwanHunter, Ewan, Grady and Eileen Uncle Bill and EileenSandy and Eileen Grady and Eileen. Grady told Alli the next day ‘I love the babies’ – Awe!!!
Aunt Liz, Ewan, Eileen and Hunter

on the boat fishing on grandpa’s new boat – named Island Time. They were immediately dubbed good luck charms as Kyle caught a fish in the first 20 mins of their first fishing adventure.

The first fish the twins witnessed being caught


This is Heidi (Katie’s baby girl). Gina, Heather, Katie and I spent the day together. It was absolutely fantastic spending time with my childhood besties. We’ve been friends for a looong time!



Gina pregnant with twins holding twins!!

Babies’ First Camping Trip and Hike

On June 29th to July 2nd when the babies were about 2 months old,

we took the babies out west of Bragg Creek for their first camping trip to what is probably my favourite campsite within an hours drive of the city, Little Elbow Provincial Campground.

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This was the first time we took the twins out of the house for more than a few hours and it couldn’t have gone better. They slept really well in our tent trailer and they absolutely loved being in the great outdoors.

On our second day we took them for a hike up Nihahi Ridge which also went really well. We took a break around 4/5ths of the way up to feed the babies on the side of the mountain.

Our good friends Sarah and Levi joined us on the second day with their 1 year old Piper and Levi and I went for a walk down to the Elbow river so that he could get a little fishing in.

The trip really couldn’t have gone better and gave us an idea of what we could look forward to for the rest of the year as we take these babies on one adventure after another (aside from the 4am epic tandem puking session on the 3rd night but I guess it would have been too much to expect that there wouldn’t be at least one challenge to overcome).