Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Brief Prologue: Blogger has been supremely lame lately and unwilling to show Adventures of the Family G correctly in both Internet Explorer and Safari. This lameness brought me mere moments away from transferring our entire blog to a new system. Luckily Blogger got their act together in the nick of time and pulled some strings. I am just sending this out into the blogosphere to apologize to our readers and remind Google that they had better get their act together or there is going to be a mighty migration to other much more refined systems.

So we are finally at our new home and settled in!! Drum-roll are the first pics of our new house.

It has a sort of rustic-flair, don't you think? Great open window and floor plan. Lots of space for entertaining.

Just kidding. I got you there for a sec didn't I? Do you take me for the rustic type?

This is the real deal. The front of our new townhouse. Not quite as rustic...

This is a view of the rest of the complex from our front porch. Please note the close proximity to the pool/spa.

We are super happy in our new place and will be sure to give everyone the 'inside' tour as soon as I get a chance to do a little indoor photography. For those of you interested in a California get-away we do have an extra guest room available for a reasonable price. Mostly Free. But we might tax you a meal or two out.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Building Traditions Part II: Advent

What's the best way to make a child even more excited about the Christmas Season? Give them cheap little toys on each day until Christmas!

On our first Christmas together, I noticed that Ben received a festive home-made advent calendar/stocking type creation from his mom. The advent calendar was complete with little pockets for each day and had Ben's name emblazoned in red felt at the top. Each of the little pockets were fitted with a tiny wrapped package to be opened on their corresponding day. The gifts were mostly things like pencils, chocolates and even the occasional mini-Norwegian flag.
Once we were married Ben's mom figured that I could start purchasing and wrapping little gifts for my husband's advent calendar. I thought otherwise and decided that I did not have the time or patience to wrap 25 tiny gifts for my 6'4" husband. I tend to lack skills in the whole doing 'thoughtful' things department . Thankfully Ben is my better half and is extremely thoughtful. He recently purchased a Norwegian advent calendar for our own daughter. Ben took the time to put her name on the top, buy her gifts, and wrap 25 little surprises for the Lil! Now every morning we go the Lily's advent calendar and she gets to unwrap a gift. The only obstacle to the cuteness of this whole situation is that a 19 month old does not really understand the concept of 'only one each day.' We have been dealing with 2.5 mini-meltdowns each day over why she cannot open another gift. Sigh....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Building Traditions Part I: The Man in Red

We are thrilled to be in our own home this Christmas. In the past we usually camped out at our respective parent's homes on their corresponding years. That was fine and good for a while, but now that we have our own little 'elf' at home we are excited to start our own family's Christmas traditions.

Bizarrely enough, one of the first major arguments that Ben and I had while dating was concerning whether or not our children would 'do Santa Claus.' Please note: we were probably 19 and 20 at the time- we didn't waste time getting to the 'big issues,' you know about things like Santa and our future kids' names. Things that all 19 year-olds think about. Anyways, I was on the pro- Santa side being that I did the whole Santa thing growing up.My parents always told the kids in our family that they had to write out a check to Santa for the cost of all of our toys. This tactic kept us from becoming greedy little gremlins who thought that we could ask Santa for a pony and receive it without any financial repercussions. To me Santa was just a glorified toy-maker who somehow squeezed down our chimney to deliver the goods. On the other side of the spectrum, Ben's family never really 'did Santa.' Rather in Norwegian fashion Ben's family would open all of their presents from each other on Christmas Eve. On Christmas morning they would receive their stockings filled with chocolate and goodies. There was always an understanding that the gifts came from Ben's parents not a jolly fat guy in red velour.

Fast forward to 2009, we have a 19 month old and the age old argument is hanging around in the back of our minds. At this point we have decided to compromise and combine our traditions. This year Lil will be receiving gifts from her Mom and Dad (have not yet duked it out over whether that will be on 'Eve' or 'Day') and a stocking from Santa. This way she will not be the odd Debbie Downer in her elementary school class, crushing little children's hopes and dreams by declaring that 'Santa is not real.' Yet, she will also recognize that Santa is not a huge deal and focus on the fact the merry man should not be the reason that most of the world is having a giant party on the 25th. Victory on both accounts! Now we just have to put this plan in motion. We figure that we still have a couple of years to change our minds- if things don't work with the compromise their won't be any serious damage done to our child's naive little presuppositions.

P.S. If you are loving the sketchy Santa pic at the top of the page you might want to check out this fabulous holiday blog . It will definitely bring you a little yuletide cheer.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Ha, irony! So in my last post I basically bragged to all of you about how warm and toasty we were in the 70 degree December sunshine. The bragging has now officially come to an end because I am currently looking at ice on the ground and the thermometer is reading a high of 40 (4 degrees C) in the middle of the day.

Yesterday morning, Ben dashed to grab a screaming Lily (side note: that would be a good name for an emo band 'Screaming Lily,' maybe I need to channel my inner musician and start one?) and yelled down for me to grab my camera quick! What could possibly need photographic documenting at 7:20 AM? Snow! Snow that actually stuck to the ground in the balmy San Francisco East Bay.One of the huge reasons that we moved down to California was to escape cold, wet weather... hmm we are feeling a little confused at the moment! Victoria has yet to see a single snow flake and San Francisco gets a dumping? Have I mentioned that in the 18 years I grew up in the Bay Area I never once saw snow on the ground? There was occasionally iciness on cold, winter mornings but never the white stuff.

A small part of me is secretly excited that I did not have to miss out on the annual winter dusting this year... I could get used to this whole global warming thing.

There is an abominable snow-woman in this picture if you look very hard...

Shot of the backyard!

Shot of my parent's lovely neighbor's house looking all quaint in the snow.

Poor little California stone birds and seasonal flowers.... they don't know what just hit them.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy December!

This is how we spent the beginning of the Christmas Season! Basking in the warm Santa Cruz sun with the Booth family. Nothing says 'Merry Christmas' like a picnic on the beach.


I know that you have missed our smiling faces and witty banter for the last three weeks! It's OK, you can admit that there is a small hole in your heart that can only be filled by our weekly blog updates.

There are a couple of reasons for our absence in the blogosphere. 1. We are still living at my parent's after nearly a month and it just seems strange to update a blog when its main devotees live under your roof. 2. I have been lazy about downloading our pictures and blog posts sans pics tend to be dull.

We have been having a lot of fun for the last few weeks and feel as though we are on an extended visit to California. I am happy to report that the vacation-like atmosphere will soon be a thing of the past when we move into our own space next weekend! Ben is heading back up to Canada in a couple of days to bring down all of our earthly belongings. Can't wait to get on with the next chapter! Wha-hoo!

Here is the brief re-cap of the month of November... we have been going to parties the entire month!

True Friends! I had the pleasure of being a bridesmaid in my friend Catherine's beautiful wedding. I have known these two gorgeous girls since 6th grade! I am thrilled to be living a short-drive away from the TF's.

We were excited to be able to attend Canadian cousin Sienna's 3rd Birthday Party! Here is a pic of all of the party's VIP guests.

Lily got to celebrate her 1st American Thanksgiving in California! Cousin Sienna and Brian came down to celebrate too. Here is a pic of the cutie cousins having some Thanksgiving spirit with their little gourds.

Posing with their Dad's on American Thanksgiving.

Lil and cousin Forest on Thanksgiving. Not sure if she likes her cousin pushing her around...

Take that cousin Forest!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cruddy Milestone

The child has hit a milestone tonight. One that I didn't see coming... at all. After placing my toddler in bed for the night she thought that she would get up and join me downstairs. Something just clicked in that little brain and she decided that her crib would no longer be an obstacle to her will. She flung her legs/body over the side of the rail and came screaming to the door of the bedroom. The best part of all of this is that we are still at my parents for the next 3 weeks! The ironic thing is that the words ' I am keeping her in a crib forever,' actually left my lips while with a group of friends this afternoon. I eat my words everytime!  In normal circumstances people would encourage me to put her in a new 'big girl' bed, but that is an impossibility seeing as how we are currently long-term houseguests. Any suggestions on this one would be appreciated. 

Really Lil?! Your timing could not be better. Should we also try potty training and ditch the pacifer over the next 3 weeks too?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

And it Unfolds...

After a few weeks of bumming around at the Canadian inlaw's place, Lily and I have finally made it down to California. We are now bumming around my parents. Hmmm. You would think that at nearly 30 years of age there would not be a whole lot of 'bumming around' going on- especially when you happen to own a child. Ahh... but this segues nicely into our great news! We shall not be bums much longer! Ben was approved for his Greencard this morning and we just found out that we have secured the townhouse in the town of Danville. The new place is in a great little complex with a pool, playground and surrounded by amazing outdoor shopping centers. Can't wait to live the California lifestyle. Our move-in date is tentatively set for December 12th but we are praying for it to be moved up sooner. The thought of driving a rickety u-haul through the snowy mountain passes of I-5 is not super appealing.

 I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our gracious Canadian friends and family for the outpouring of love and generosity that was lavished upon us in our last days in Victoria. We appreciate the support in this next stage of our adventure. We also plan on visiting often- so you have not gotten rid of us yet. It will probably feel like we have never left!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

We're Back! Otherwise known as " Why Not to Move With a One year old"

I had no idea what we were in for. None. The last week and a half are a complete blur in my mind, compiled of sleepless nights and intensely busy days. People started asking me a couple of months prior to moving ' are you guys packed yet?' I kept answering them with a slightly irritated 'no, not yet.' I mean did they think that we'd never moved before? Try 8 times in the last 10 years (if you count college, which I do). In my naivete I did not realize that what they were really asking was 'are you prepared to move with a 1 year old?' No my friends, I had absolutely no concept of the sheer energy and will-power that was needed to move an entire home with a 1 year old in tote. I can honestly say that this is a feat that I hope never to perform again in my life. To save others from the agony of thinking that it will be 'easy sailing' to move with the friendly toddler down your hall, I would like to introduce the Top 10 Reasons Not to Move When You Own a 1 year old.

10. Real packing only happens during toddler resting periods- that means afternoons and nights. You will be watching Sesame Street at 10am, stressing out that you have hardly packed but realize that to start packing when said toddler is awake and raring to go is futile.
9. Toddler will begin to expect pizza for every meal.
8. Playing Hide 'n Seek in the moving truck proves to be a dangerous game.
7. You will realize 5 days too late that the toddler has not been bathed in a week. Whoops- is it really your little toes that I am smelling from across the room?
6. Boxes and packing tape become the toys of choice.
5. Monkey Syndrome is activated- you will find your body a continual host to a clingy, 28lb monkey, whining not to be put down.
4. Moving = extra sensitive and schmoopy toddler. Just try to leave without sneaking out- I dare you.
3. Elmo and Dora the Explorer will become your toddler's closest friends- at least for a while.
2. Toddler will start to think it is normal to keep toys, food, underwear (anything really) in cardboard boxes.
1. New location means new, extra-early wake-up time. Ugh, enough said.

  Lil and her Dad looking a bit tired from all this moving business.

Lil and I have less than a week left in Canada and needless to say we are excited to get this show on the road and start the next chapter. Overall we cannot complain- we are blessed and despite our current displacement life is good.

A little out of place for this post but thought I would post a picof Lily the Bumblebee and Cousin " Thomas the Tank Engine" Anders on Halloween. At least we got to do a little Trick or Treating amidst the moving. We had a decent candy haul this year.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ugh, Moving

Just a heads up that I will most likely be taking a brief hiatus from the blogging world for about a week. We are out of our house tomorrow and into the inlaw's place for a couple weeks.. Internet access is going to be a spotty situation, so it might be a while til I load new pics!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Fest

Our lives are currently a whirlwind of boxes,packing tape and bubble wrap. But in between the moving prep we still managed to squeezed in a couple of hours at the Fall Fest here in Victoria. Even though we have lived in this city for 4.5 years we had never actually experienced Fall Fest.We quickly figured out why as soon as we were brought up to the event site on a wagon pulled by a decrepit John Deere tractor. Small children everywhere! Toddlers grooving to the tunes on a live stage. Older children hunting for candy in bales of straw. All children completely creeped out by a clown with a hot-pink wig (oh wait, I guess that was me).

Some kids sit pretty and pose for the camera at the decorative pumpkin patch. Our child thought that she was in heaven chucking around disfigured orange balls.

Quick family shot- no smiles from the small one.

Dancing to the live tunes with cousin Judah.

Corn. The most perfect food (according to Lil).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Lil Chef

Lily is quite the helper these days- especially in the kitchen. She cooks up little surprises for us when we turn away for a moment. Do I foresee culinary school in her future?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giving Thanks the Canadian Way

One of the highlights of being in a multi-national family is the ability to celebrate a myriad of holidays! Monday we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with all of the Victoria family. As you can see I do not have any pictures from the actual meal, this is because we devoured everything before I had a chance to whip out the camera. So instead I will share a few pics from the after-meal festivities, which mostly revolved around chasing after toddlers to make sure that they did not break Grandma's porcelain treasures!

One of Lil's favorite past-times at Grandma and Far-Far's house- gathering the fake fruit.

Lil and Far-Far.

Playing the Bongo Drums with Cousin Anders. Such musical cousins!

Fish Lips. Not sure what this is all about but it is a common occurrence in our house.

Cousin Mattias and Auntie Renee hamming it up.

Grandma and Lil.

Great-Grandpa Lawrence taking a post-meal nap.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Sometimes I worry that the Lil is bored being stuck at home with us most days. But then I find her in the following predicaments and my fears are put to ease...

Nothing beats a climb to the top shelf of the pantry... really wanted to reach that package of instant rice.

The whole gang is here.

Babies and a bag of beans (bean soup that is). The other night we found that Lil had arranged both Big Baby and Little Baby on the stairs and was sitting there feeding them a bag of Bean Soup that she had stolen from the pantry.

Moving boxes. Lil is just trying to pitch in with the international move.

Back At Ya' Cousin Forest

In response to Cousin Forest's post ...
I wish desperately to hear you speak to me in a language that only we can understand! I grabbed the phone when my mom was not looking and went to dial your number, but alas I remembered that I do not yet know my numbers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

We've Got a Date!!!

I am thrilled to announce that Ben has finally received word that his greencard interview will be taking place in Montreal on November 12th!! That means we will be moving down in 1 month. Finally we can get on with this next chapter in our lives...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thoughts on Downsizing

We are in the midst of packing up our home for the big move on October 24th. The trick is going to be fitting a 4+ bedroom house into a moving truck and then arranging all of our 'items' into a new 2 bedroom home. I hope that this time period in our lives can be a great personal challenge to stop acting so North American and to put less emphasis/importance on the quantity of crap that we own.I have issues with wanting too much 'stuff' but I recognize this flaw and I am trying to nip it in the bud. Obviously easier said than done- this is coming from a girl who has 60+ pairs of shoes (most are from Ross or Target rather than Manolo Blahnik but that is still a significant amount of footwear). I am already wincing at the thought of trying to squeeze my wardrobe into an apartment size closet. I am not even taking into account Ben's stuff- he will have to fend for himself!

Just as I was feeling a bit boo-hoo and all Mother Teresa-like about purging our life of extra 'stuff' I stumbled upon a blog called Under $1000 Per Month. The blog is written by Emily, a young stay-at home Mom with two kids and another due to pop out any day. The intriguing part of this blog is that she literally runs their life and budget on the $1000 a month that her husband brings home. She takes some pretty drastic measures (in my opinion) to operate their household- a 500 sq. foot apartment, homemade sausage roll, a home garden and clothing either purchased at yard sales or handed-down from friends and family. After reading Emily's blog for a few moments it becomes crystal clear that she is not complaining about her situation, rather she is content and just sharing her journey. Living minimalistic is her choice.

If you (like myself) get the shopping bug and just want to go and start buying stuff for the rush of making a purchase, I suggest checking out Emily's blog here and listen to a fresh perspective on ridding our lives of extra clutter.

P.S. Just to clear up the confusion, we are not leaving Victoria on the 24th. Rather we are moving out of our house and in with Ben's family for a few weeks in transition while we continue to wait for our immigration paperwork.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Supporting the Boobs

Today we gathered a group together and supported the boobs (pun intended) by participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure against breast cancer. The weather was crisp and clear and the supporters came out in droves to run a 5K around the University of Victoria.

This is my third year participating in the Run for the Cure and the event always brings to focus the sheer number of people whose lives have been touched by breast cancer. Participants are given either a white shirt (like the ones that our group wore) or a pink shirt to indicate if the person is a breast cancer survivor. It is simultaneously exciting and emotional to be surrounded by people who have the names of loved ones that they are running for etched onto their race bibs. I ran behind someone who was 'running for sister Sue' for a good portion of the race. In good faith we run because we hope that through the money and awareness raised through events such as this that 'sister Sue' and even Ben's grandmother would be around with us a while longer.

Guys and babies came out to support the boobs too. Don't you love Ben's pink beret?

Renee doing some serious racing!

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Waving to the fans mid-run.

Heidi and her spandexy friend in red.

Michelle closing in on the finish line.

Mom and Lil shot. Don't be sad Lil you can run next year after you master the whole walking thing!