Pandemic Living

Much like the last 3 and half years of our lives, the pandemic has been a wild ride.

Some photos from our family photography session

I’ve been baking with a sourdough starter for the last 4 years, but during the pandemic, I found a real passion for all varieties of baking. I’ve been baking pies (thanks for the pastry lessons Grandma Martin!!), cakes (cheese, sponge, upside down), buns, rolls, specialty bread, naan, pitas, cookies, bars, scones, muffins, cupcakes, etc. The twins wake up on the weekend and say to me “what you making today?”. I think a big part of the joy comes from watching their excited anticipation and enjoyment while eating. I also love making something sensational out of just a collection of ingredients. I find baking a perfect balance between science and art. These past few months I have been honing my pie/pastry making skills, and in December, I am going to tackle French pastry (think bourbon cream puffs and peanut butter eclairs).

Kyle turned 40 in October and I had the pleasure of making him a feast- hot and sour soup, ginger “beef” venison, Szechwan prawns, and of course, cake (triple layered blue berry lemon with cream cheese icing)!

Running with our younger dog (Luna) has been a big part of my pandemic life. Running calms my mind, grounds my soul, and works my body. I have actually managed to lose some weight (yes, even with all the baking mentioned above…). This summer I also fell in love with golfing and started doing yoga again. I joined a Wednesday night ladies golf league, we had a fabulous time, it really filled my bucket.

I think one of the more precious aspects of the pandemic is the intimate family time- just us. The pandemic has provided a memorable timeline for our children’s development (pre-pandemic, pandemic, and one day, dare I say, post pandemic). Ewan has had a huge language leap (before the pandemic he only spoke in single words, now full sentences). Every day for a week straight, Ewan woke me up singing the lyrics “Miss Mommy Miss Mommy, I love you I love you” to the tune of Farah Jacques, is there anything sweeter? Yes, he calls me Miss Mommy. He calls Kyle Miss Daddy. Eileen and Ewan are engaging in more cooperative and imaginative play, which is so fun to watch … until it turns into unmanageable, wild animal kingdom monkey business. Lately, they have been going “deer hunting” and making “mommy elk noises”.

One morning in October Eileen and Ewan got up at 5:00 am, we were both too tired to get up with them, so we let them play unattended. Well, they opened the freezer ate 4 chocolate cupcakes with icing and a tub of vanilla ice cream.

Last week Ewan wiped his own bum for the first time ever!! I remember at the beginning of the pandemic going potty was a family affair!

Last week when they saw the Amazon delivery guy they yelled ‘Santa’, not because he was delivering parcels, but because he has a long white/grey beard. I don’t know why, but I found this absolutely entertaining, the metaphor is too perfect, the delivery guy was definitely less than impressed though.

Ewan got a very stylish hair cut in September, he was so thrilled.  He decisively picked the hair style himself. 

We spent Thanksgiving at the vineyard harvesting grapes and celebrating each other. Cousin Bowen turned 5, and we had a party!

They dressed as ghosts for Halloween, and had a blast!! So much candy! Eileen’s pumpkin is on the right and Ewan’s on the left.

Potty Training

We boot camp potty trained the twins the weekend of September 20-22, 2019. The program worked like a charm for Ewan. It took him 24 hours to figure it out. He has had very few accidents since. Eileen on the other hand… she is a little more defiant and wants to be in control. She often has accidents (even still), but she also has successes. We are taking it one day at a time 🙂

Swimming!!

Sportball ended last weekend and swimming started this weekend! The twins had a blast swimming! We learned to float on our back and front, blow bubbles, kicked our legs, glide, jump into the pool and climb out. We sang songs and played with toys. Eileen was laughing and smiling as we floated by the instructor, the instructor commented on how well she was doing, I replied this is their first time ever swimming/being in a pool. The instructor was shocked, she thought Eileen had been through lessons before! Go Eileen!! Ewan was a bit unsure at first but he quickly started enjoying himself. He loved jumping and blowing bubbles. We are in lessons for the next 7 weeks, the lessons will be the same every week, the idea is to build on these core skills.

*edit- the twins went swimming once before (January 2018) at my friends pool in her apartment building.

Halloween Festivities

The twins went to our Highwood Community Association Party on Saturday (which I organized with another volunteer, Michelle, in the community). Eileen and Ewan had a great time! Ewan spent an hour at the craft table and Eileen ran around and danced. On Sunday my friend Cassandra came over and helped the twins carve their first pumpkin. Eileen and Ewan scooped out the seeds and drew on the faces, Cass and I carved them out. Picture speak louder than words, so enjoy.

We didn’t go out trick or treating last night because I had a curling game. Next year!

I was the garden to his gnome
Eileen was jealous Ewan’s costume came with a hat, so she took his
Kyle was the safari guide to her zebra
Ewan’s pumpkin
Eileen’s pumpkin

Sportball!!

The twins started sportball this weekend (runs for 6 sessions). It’s a Canadian wide organization. Today’s class was about basketball. Each week they focus on a different sport. Eileen is a natural athlete. She did so well, she sat and listened to the instructions, followed through, waited her turn and worked on the skills (and did well). Ewan had a good time running around and playing, but he wasn’t focused or interested in the skill development. It was very interesting to watch the twin’s completely different experiences/engagement. Both had a great time, I can’t wait for next week. I think it’s fantastic!!

Vancouver Island July/Aug 2019

We got to spend another summer vacationing on Vancouver Island with my family. Visits to the Island are necessary for my sanity. I miss living there and being with my family so much. My pieces of my soul live in the ocean and my heart on the island 💜💜

on the plane ride there, the first time the twins had their own seat!

This was a special year because my cousin, Jim, wife, Liz and kids Ben and Jill were also visiting at the same time! We had all the Shivas cousin’s children together in one place!

Grady, Bryce, Ewan, Jill, Eileen, Hunter and Ben
Climbing up the hills at Uncle Bill’s property
Sliding down the hill

we spent time at the beach and at the local playground. Kyle picked lots of wild blackberries, and we went to a U-Pick blueberry farm.

Blueberry U-Pick
Jill and Eileen
Blackberries Kyle picked for the kids
playing at the park
Grandpa Shivas and Eileen
classic Eileen
Playing at the beach
as I said in my previous post, fishing was good!
At the Cabin, Grandma’s diet plan…. Eileen and Ewan would eat her breakfast every morning.
Happy to be in the boat!

Fish Fish Wawa

Fish and Bus are the words of the summer! We went to the cabin at the end of July (22-30) with Grandma and Grandpa Shivas. Eileen struggled while we were there because she was cutting molars, wasn’t sleeping and there wasn’t anywhere to run (lack of physical activity). But mostly Eileen was in pain from cutting molars. We were there for 8 days and the fishing was great. We came home with 10 salmon. Every time the boat came back to the cabin the twins would climb onto the tall chairs underneath the window and point excitedly yelling gibberish with the recognizable words Fish, Wawa (wawa is water), Boat, Mommy, and Daddy (depending on who was in the boat). The twins very quickly learned the word fish. They would point at the fish in the boat cooler, on the fish cleaning station, and then again at home when Kyle was preparing the fish for the smoker. Fish Fish Fish.

Poor Eileen… this was her mood most of the trip. This or melting down crying. Poor girl was in a lot of pain. But look at her long legs 🙂
FISH!

At the cabin we set prawn traps for fun (it is not prawning season in July). We were averaging about 12 prawns a trap. The first time we pulled the trap up, Eileen charged forward and tried to poke the prawn in the eyes while saying “eyes”. Ewan was a little more cautious.

At the end of August we went to Vancouver to visit family (Aunt Heather, Uncle Peter, Oma, brother Loren, sister in law Vicky and cousins Madeline and Bown). During our visit we went to the Vancouver Aquarium with Loren, Vicky, Madeline and Bowen. The twins were entranced with the Aquarium. We bought them two stuffies (sharks) from the gift shop. On the drive back to Port Coquitlam (Loren and Vicky’s house) they were moving the stuffies through the air repeating Fish Fish Wawa. It was so cute! Still at home they move the sharks through the air saying fish fish wawa.

in awe at the Vancouver Aquarium

Buses are the new favorite thing! All summer every time a bus drove by, the twins would yell BUS over and over. We did a bit of driving in Vancouver, and there are a lot of buses, so we heard the word bus continuously! We had two toy buses that were handed down from a friend. I give them to the twins mid August…. oh my goodness. They sleep with the buses (and stuffed sharks). They wake up saying ‘where bus?’ Grandpa and Grandma Shivas bought west coast T-shirts for the twins. Ewan’s t-shirt has a picture of a bus on it. He asks to wear the bus shirt every morning. When he is wearing the shirt he walks around pointing at the shirt saying ‘bus’.

We will post more details about the Vancouver Island and Vancouver trips later….hopefully.

Early Summer Time June 2019

The kids are forever changing and growing. They are so adorable.

Ewan’s cast came off on June 9. He was a very good sport throughout the whole experience. He was frustrated from time to time, but he handled it really well.

Eileen is doing funny facial expressions that are hilarious. She stretches her face and makes her eyes wide and then slowly moves her head. She also has funny walks, stomps and lunges. She is having a good time!

We just implemented 2 minute time outs for biting, hair pulling, hitting etc. They have to stay in the corner for 2 minutes and then apologize “say sorry” or hug their sibling. Yesterday Eileen was in a 2 minute time out and afterward we walked over to Ewan, I prompted Eileen to say sorry. Ewan came right over, very eager for his apology or hug. Eileen stared at the ground not saying anything. I kept repeating ‘say sorry”, Eileen continued to stare at the ground, Ewan excited with anticipation. Finally I said “Eileen give your brother a hug to say sorry”. As soon as I said hug Ewan lunged forward and hugged Eileen. He couldn’t wait any longer for his hug! It was soooooo cute.

The whole family went to Freezer Burn Music Festival the weekend of June 21-24. We had a blast! We pulled the kids around in the wagon visiting all the theme camps. The kids danced a little which was really cute.

Eileen and Ewan love watching The Wiggles show. First week of June we noticed that Eileen was imitating the dancers on screen…so cute. She can do the cold spaghetti/hot potato dance. This week Ewan started doing the dance. Double cuteness overload

On Canada day we went for a hike/walk at Lower Kananaskis Lake. The kids walked 4 KM.

Vocabulary is improving. A Speech and Language Pathologist came to the house and provide tips and tricks to jump start their language development. Eileen definitely has more words than Ewan, but Ewan’s imitation skills are really starting to develop.

Breastfeeding has come to a end. We stopped last weekend. The kids weren’t really interested anymore and I wasn’t going to force it (not at this age at least). We missed a couple of days during the last two weeks of June, and then we just stopped all together. It was a good run! Hopefully their immunity is strong!

We bought the kids a used bouncy castle! They love it! Eileen loves jumping. They love the outdoors, playing with bugs, water, climbing, exploring, pulling up plants, and running around.

The key to happy children and successful parenting is food- food they like!