Thursday, December 30, 2004

We got the Co-op Townhouse!

We will be moving for the Feb 1st, 2005. I'm so excited - we will have 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, single car detached garage, actual WINDOWS to look out of and a dishwasher! All that will make the moving headache so worth it!

I should get outside more

Cold and clear
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

I took the twins for a walk in the stroller outside the other day while the older M's were with Gail.

It was so beautiful outside. Even though it was so cold there was ice all over the roads and sidewalks even at 3pm. I really need to make the effort to get outside more often.

Of course with 2 children instead of 5 - getting out for a walk was MUCH easier!

Double trouble

Double trouble
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Watch out - here comes trouble! Now that they are getting over their ear infections - these two are into everything! Maddy caught them trying to climb up the stairs.

Dis is YELLOW!

Dis iss YELLOW!
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

It was a rare occurance - Maddy had me all to herself for several hours. Michael and Melissa had gone swimming with Grandpa. The babies were napping.
So we broke out the new paints from Auntie Gail.

These are "SmArty Paints" and are the perfect paint set for toddlers. It's ingenious really. The water goes IN the brush and each brush is color co-ordinated to 4 primary colors of paint.

It's the first time Maddy has managed to paint without making a huge mess of the water for rinse the brush and/or getting all the colors mixed into a muddy brown.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

New Loft bed for Michael - Thank you Eliza!

New room set-up
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Auntie Gail's friend Eliza sent this loft bed over for Michael. Gail and David brought it over yesterday before taking taking Melissa, Michael and Maddy to the aquarium.

However - the bed did not arrive with instructions or a photo of it set up - so it took Allan (with occasional help from me) almsot 3 hours to get it set up. The process was slowed down considerably with twins crawling around the room during set up.

Michael is thrilled to be up even higher then he previously was on the the top bunk. Melissa is equally thrilled to now be ON the top bunk.

Even Maddy is pretty happy to have moved off a matress on the floor onto the bottom bunk. Maddy's old mattress fit nicely under the bottom bunk for "guests". It also has the nice benefit of taking up most of the space under the bed meaning less toys and clothes will end up under there.

So a big THANK YOU to Eliza!

Look what Michael won!

Look what Michael won!
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Our older three children entered a Christmas coloring contest at Fleetwood library last week.

Much to my surprise (because who EVER wins these things!) - Michael WON the contest in the 4 year old category!

Grandpa took him today to pick up his prize. Wich was books! I should have guessed! As another winnter wasn't able to be reached at all - Michael came home with 2 new books!

"The Elephant's Child" by Rudyard Kipling and a book about "SHARKS". We read them both before quiet time today. Melissa was "astonished" by the amount of spanking in the Elephants child.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas morning stockings!

Maddy behind her stocking
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Melissa came out first and started squealing and calling for Michael and Maddy to come quick and picking up a twin to drag into the living room. Pulling out her art supplies she enthused "this is JUST what I wanted!".

Michael didn't really remember - but figured out pretty quickly that there was LOOT inside.

Maddy is hiding behind hers. She didn't know what to do with it at first as we haven't done stockings here for the past year or two.

Megan's first stocking!

Megan's first stocking!
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Megan figured the stocking out pretty quickly. She's pulling out a pair of plastic Marachas.

What do I do with this?

What do I do with this?
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Maribeth didn't know what to do with her first ever Christmas stocking!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Warm but immobilized!

Warm but immobilized
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

It's a good thing they twins were ready for a nap! With the new parkas from Auntie Gail over their L.L. Bean fleece buntings - there was no way those twins could move. Even their arms stayed stuck straight out! It was beautiful today - but very cold and windy.

On the trail again

Melissa drags sibs into a group hug on the trail
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

At Green Timbers Park. This time I was the only token adult in the group. It was a beautiful day and we all had a great time walking, playing "pooh sticks" on the bridge over the creek and, of course, feeding the "not so terrorist ducks".

This photo speaks volumes as to the group dynamics between our older three M's!

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Funny Baby

Funny Baby
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl

Maribeth is a little clown. She has great swings of emotion from really, really excited to extremely upset. The twins are really awake and really happy right now at 11:55 pm. That's what a nap in their carseats on the way home gets us!

This is the first photo where her tooth is really visible. More photos on her and Megan taken in the last 15 min or so on our Flicker site.

Megan dancing on the table

Auntie Gail with Megan
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

.. with some help from Auntie Gail.

We all went to the Filipino church Christmas party tonight. The kids really had a great time racing around. The twins wanted to get in on the action - but kept scavenging food off the floor everytime we put them down on the ground.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Farewell to the Volvo

My SIL Gail has a 1983 Volvo that used to belong to Allan's dad. She has been letting Allan drive it most of the time for the past year and was going to gift it to us this month as she's moving to PA. But earlier this week it died on Allan and he had to have it towed into the shop.

The shop called to let us know that they had discovered what the problem was and that they had not fixed it yet, but Allan missed the message on his blackberry so we went in this morning to pick up the Volvo. After waiting for 30 min for the shop to open for the day we got the diagnosis - the wiring harness was "completely rotten": it would be expensive to reapir and a problem the owner of the shop said he didn't want to fix as it wasn't worth it on that vehicle. Now you know when a car repair shop doesn't want to do the repair and charge you for it - then that really is the end the road with a car (and probably a sign of an honest repair shop owner too).

Allan was leaning towards wanting to fix the problem anyway as he's quite emotionally attached to that car. So I had to speak up and let him know that there was just no way that was financially feasible. Especially with the very real possiblity of getting into a co-op townhouse in the next couple months. So Gail will be arranging for the scrapping of the Volvo in the very near future.

Even with the co-op rates being so below real market value - our rent will still go up $200/month plus we will be paying Hydro (runs $75 - $100/month on average) and our own cable internet. So adding that into our budget doesn't allow for a 2nd vehicle at all, even without counting in trying to save up for Allan's trip to the Phillipines with his Dad in April, moving costs (we'll have to rent a truck this time for sure and possibly hire movers), and we still have a bit left to pay off on his Dell Axim X50v. Though I'm am still very glad Allan has that "toy" because it's made life a lot easier for me as well.

Fortunately - the co-op we interviewed with is in Cloverdale - near Langley where Allan works so taking the bus or bicyling to work would not be nearly the ordeal it is from where we currently live. So being a 1 vehicle family would be more do-able from that location.

Housing Co-op

Housing Co-op
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

A number of people including Allan's co-workers and a public health nurse had suggested we look into co-ops. So back this past fall - we went on the
Co-operative Housing Federation of BC's website to see what co-ops were accepting applications for the waitlist.

We got a call 2 days ago from one of the co-ops we applied to interview for a 4 bdrm townhouse that will be available Feb 1/05. This is the co-op we were hoping to get into!

The interview went well - we were told as far as they were concerned we were a "good interview". But we won't know until sometime in the next couple of weeks. They have to do credit checks, income verification, interview the other 3 people and then membership committee takes their recommendation to the board of directors.

We are in a good spot as applicants are considered in order of application unless another applicant has a more urgent need. We are the first applicants out of four so stand a good chance of getting in.

They liked that Allan could do landscaping as they really need people for that and I am willing to be on finance committee (which is the hardest to fill). We didn't mind as they only require 4 hours per month (beyond caring for your own yard area).

The yards aren't 100% fenced off but have dividers between units. We didn't see the one that's up because they couldn't get a hold of that person - but showed us through another 4 bdrm - apparently they are similar. Some of the features:

- single car garage that doesn't go through to the townhouse.

- Tiny "office" room downstairs near entry big enough for desk/file cabinet/shelf (Allan likes that): though we're not sure if this is or isn't in the unit that will be available as it's not in all the units

- 2 bathrooms(woo hoo!): downstairs has shower, upstairs tub/shower

- 4 small bedrooms upstairs

- washer/dry hookup upstairs

- galley kitchen - small space but has dishwasher and it is a space easy to gate off from small children

- separate dining area off living room

- living room is pretty big and has sliding doors to yard area

- on leaving we would be responsible to re-paint or have unit repainted white

- has dishwasher/fridge/stove/hot water heater for appliances - all replaced/repaired by co-op (w/d is own responsibility)

- all well maintained - playground on the site

- 4 block walk to public school

- if we went over the income cap for the co-op (I believe it's around $62,000 so we have a ways to go for that) then they take the amount we go over the cap, multiply that by 30% , then divide by 12 and add that to the base monthly payment. They don't kick you out.

So we will hear back by the end of Dec and are really hoping and praying that we get this as financee of our landlords brother wants to move in here before the wedding in the spring and will move in as soon as we can move out.

So we shall wait and see.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Melissa ballerina

Melissa ballerina
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Melissa's last ballet class for the semester was today. It was the "recital" class for parents, friends and family to come watch the kids. Unfortunatly - 2/3 of the class didn't show! So it was just Melissa and 2 other little girls.

Melissa did just beautifully and the younger children sat relatively quietly until the last 10 min or so. The more active the twins get - the harder it is for them to sit through a ballet class in the stroller. I'm a glutton for punishment though - I've signed Melissa up for Ballet II starting in January.

Coats, coats and still more coats!

Melissa LOVES her new coat
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

Melissa is thrilled with her new coat from Auntie Gail. It's very new, very pink and very much in style and Melissa is very, very happy with it.

Maddy's had a sizing mix up and will have to be exhanged for a large size. But Maddy still has a brand new coat to wear. Grandpa showed up today with new coats also for Melissa, Michael and Maddy (all matching blue and red with attached mittens) also!

Though Melissa's and Michals are on the small side and will probably be outgrown by January. But all that means is that when the twins hit size 3 - they will have matching coats in probably still excellent condition. The twins coats from Auntie Gail are a bit big still but with the way they are growing - they should fit them soon but may still fit into them next winter.

Plus my parents bought fleece lined shells with wind/rain pants 2 sizes too big for the older three M's. So thanks to all our extended family - our children have their coat needs taken care of for some time to come!

The Return of Attie Gail!

The Return of Attie Gail!
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

After 2 months away - "Attie Gail" has returned to Vancouver. I was sleeping when she arrived but the happy screaming and screeching of AUNTIE GAIL woke me and probably half the neighborhood up.

Adding to the excitement her return - Auntie Gail had brought new winter parkas for all of the children. Michael's is down and black. The girls all have synthetic but in pink (of course!)

Sunday, December 12, 2004

No "Skipping Christmas" here.

Melissa and our tree
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

The new movie "Christmas with the Kranks" is based on a John Grisholm novel "Skipping Christmas". Having read the book, I'm going to wait for the movie to come out on video.

I was inspired by the book to try and "simplify" our Christmas - but the kids, Melissa in particular - have been resisting me at every turn.

After putting out our ratty artificial tree out on the curb for "reuse weekend" and then having our landlord spray pesticides onto our small live Blue Spruce from last Christmas - I vowed to save $ this year by omitting the Christmas tree.

However that vow was short-lived. The vow of "no tree this year" has been rescinded in the face of a pleading 5 year old. To Melissa's great joy - we now have another live Christmas tree: this year a Serbian Spruce. After the festivities, it will be planted here in our landlord's yard as it is already getting too big for the pot.

I just couldn't bring myself to get a cut Christmas tree that will last only a few weeks; during which it dries out in a long, slow death while dropping needles all over the rug and then have to be disposed of after Christmas.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I Need Poison Control on Speed Dial

I had the number on a magnet, but irony would have it that the same imp who ate all the gummy vitamins also made off with my Poison Control magnet so I had to call 411 for directory assistance:

Auto-attendant: "For what city please?"

Me (speaking clearly): "Surrey"

Auto-attendant: "Do you want a goverment, residential or business number?"

Me (slightly exasperated): "I have no idea."

Auto-attendant: "I'm sorry, I did not get your selection. Did you want a goverment, residential or business number?"

Me (now really exasperated): "I SAID I HAVE NO IDEA!"

... and so on until the machine finally gave up and turned me over to a live person.

Meanwhile Melissa is giving Maddy the scare of her life:

"Maddy, OH NO!! You are only supposed to eat ONE vitamin. You are going to get sick and die now. You are going to get so sick that you will die and then you won't be here any more!"

Maddy starts wailing, "NO - I don't want die!"

Melissa calls Michael, "Michael we have to pray for Maddy so she won't die."

Fortunately for Maddy Roo - the Poison Control center informed me that the vitamins didn't have iron and not quite enough Vitamin A to warrant a trip to the ER; but I still had to give her a bottle of milk and was informed that she likely will have an upset stomach and diarrhea.

The odd part is that it is Maribeth who is now spitting up and crying here at 2am - not Maddy.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Twins Turn 10 Months This Week!

Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl

It's hard to believe that the twins are almost 10 months already. Time as flown by, yet at the same time, these have been the longest 10 months of my life!

Megan and Maribeth visited the Neonatologist on Friday for a follow-up appointment. Megan is 17 lbs 6 oz and is 3 cm taller than Maribeth. Her head circumference is actually 1 cm SMALLER than Maribeth's. Though I forgot both the numbers for length and heads. Maribeth is 14 lbs 10 oz (with a VERY full bladder/bowels). She blew out her diaper afterwards. So it is likely she is closer to the 14 lbs 4 oz she weighed in at last week at our family doctor. Maribeth is still right on the 3rd percentile for adjusted age & weight. That is down quite a bit from the last appointment at 6 months (where she was just under the 10th percentile line). Her curve overall has been just under/over/at the 3rd percentile since before birth. So doctor thinks she is doing just fine as she seems happy and healthy.

The girls have cereal 2x/day and usually either a pureed fruit and/or a veggie plus a few cheerios and some of whatever we are having at suppertime if they are awake. Maribeth has about 4oz formula in the evening, and breasfeeds other than that: probably about 4 times in the day and once in the middle of the night. Megan is about half formula/half EBM at this point in bottles except for being nursed once in the middle of the night. She still won't nurse when awake.

The doctor has stopped Zantac completely for Megan and dropped to bedtime only for Maribeth. He also recommended switching Megan to a follow-up formula instead of a starter formula as she is eating quite a lot of solid food. We need to keep up with the Vitamin D drops over winter. We can drop the iron drops for Megan entirely (as long as she is eating iron fortified cereal and drinking iron fortified formula), but will continue with Maribeth for now as she doesn't eat enough cereal a day to get her iron in.

Both girls are: picking things up with a pincher grip, crawling, getting themselves to a sitting position, pulling to standing, and Maribeth is cruising on furniture. They now have just barely enough hair in to put a little barrette into and one bottom tooth each!

The Dr. said that from looking at what they are doing - he expects BOTH girls to be walking within the next 6 weeks! ACK!!!! I'm NOT ready for that!

Both are babbling and have some words: Megan says: mama, dada, baba. Maribeth says: Mama, UP, Baba. We were told that developmentally they have caught up with their actual age - we can consider them normal 10 month olds!!!

We will need to bring the twins back in about 6 months for another follow up just to check on how they are doing with language, walking and also he wants to follow up on Maribeth's blood pressure. I forgot that number too - he said she was at risk for having problems with high blood pressure. Also she still has a heart murmur - but he said it was a harmless one. He does not plan on taking off her "tail" at the point as it doesn't seem to cause her pain at this time and when she's sitting it doesn't make contact with the surface.

Oh, and there will be no green Milupa spoon for our girls. The next batch of Milupa boxes have no free spoons. The quest for the green spoon has ended unsuccessfully.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Melissa Loves parties

Melissa loves parties
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

You can tell from the grin. Maddy and Michael took a while to get into things - but soon were racing around with all the other screaming children. The take from night's bash includes 4 noisemakers, 3 party hats, 5 balloons (only 3 of which made it home), one paper bag of candy, 2 figurines, 3 whistles and a small top. Plus 5 hyper - sugared up children. It took until 10pm to get all five to sleep.

Children's Choir Practice at the party

Children's Choir
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

It's been a weird weekend to say the least. The universe or at least my FIL and church members have conspired against us.

We now have 3 enthusastic members of the Filipino church children's choir. Practice after church, practice at Aunties Sat night and practice at baby Martins first birthday party on Sunday night. Between costumes, a real "show" to be in and a party invite to boot - how could the kids refuse?

We have been handed a CD of the program, sheets of paper with lyrics for the kids to learn and a daunting practice and performance schedule all over the GVRD over the next 4 weeks ending in the final performance for the Filipino church on Christmas Day.

Allan and I are both a bit blindsided - but hey - at least I got out of actually sewing the costumes myself. An "Auntie" measured the all three at the party tonight. Allan is sworn never to reveal that I actually can sew and do have a sewing machine.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Baby in the Basket

Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

I had to post this photo of Megan in the basket of clean laundry fresh (warm!) from the dryer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Maddy wants "...'nilla please"

Tonight I took Maddy Roo grocery shopping. Just the two of us. This is a very rare occurence around here. Michael was sent to bed early due to a missed nap and the resulting very bad behaviour. Melissa was closeted in "Grandmommy's room" working on reading. Allan was feeding the fussy twins Milupa mixed cereal with fruits. This was not going well as the twins are creatures of habit and rice cereal with formula is the normal bedtime snack. Fruit is only for breakfast, don't you know? Strained veggies for lunch, finger food for supper, and rice cereal before bed. No other sequence will do.

So Maddy and I went off to the store to buy more rice cereal with infant formula. And before you ask, Milupa because I am attempting to "collect all" the Milupa baby spoons that come in the boxes. I'm now locked into an eternal quest for for the elusive green spoon. So far we have 3 yellow spoons, 2 red spoons, 2 blue spoons, but no green spoon.

To my absolute surprise - Maddy chattered a blue streak the entire ride.

"Look at the moon, in the sky, la luna, like la luna on my blanket that Auntie Bethie sewed and knitted for me .. It's dark out, no kids outside to play with in the dark .. there is 'nother car out there in the dark, look .." This was puctuated every so often by "We get 'nilla please? We going to 'nilla store?"

The chatter is amazing because until a couple of months ago she barely talked at all. I have been trying to work with her some daily, she has several sessions one-on-one with a person from UBC who is doing a study on language acquisition and then Grandmommy's visit here has meant some added attention.

However the "nilla" request puzzled me. I kept asking what "nilla" she wanted and from where and got only the puzzling answer of "nilla from the nilla store".


Urged on by Maddy's continual chatter and her requesting things by name - our trip for baby food turned into a $100 shopping expedition including 4 new sippy cups for Maddy, 2 cartons of ice-cream, a candy bar for Maddy, hot dogs, juice and other favourite Maddy Roo foods.

Still the "nilla" request continued. She agreed it was "vanilla" that she wanted but NOT vanilla cookies, vanilla ice-cream, or vanilla extract. While walking by the coolers of chilled pop - she started saying "want that 'nilla" again while appearing to point at bottled Starbucks Mocha Frappacinos.

"That's not vanilla - that's coffee," I said and pushed the shopping cart forward.

She was quickly distracted by the huge Christmas decoration displays already up ..

"Want that snowman .. Want that Santa .."

Now letting her pick food was one thing - but buying her Christmas decorations was just not going to happen and I told her so. She didn't fuss over it though - just gave me a "well at least I tried" kind of look.

We got in line, paid for the groceries and then I handed over the Aero bar which Maddy immediately started munching on - still chattering. I just had a harder time understanding her with her mouth full of chocolate.

As we drove home - a chocolate covered Maddy started pointing, grinning ear to ear and squealing, "Nilla store, dat de nilla store! Nill PLEASE."

The "Nilla store" was the drive through Starbucks! Maddy wanted a vanilla steamed milk!

The Season is Coming

So we went to Starbucks and got me a decaf mocha and her a vanilla steamed milk and "not too hot." It wasn't too hot this time and she downed over half of it before we got home - then generously split the rest with Melissa.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Maribeth in the Jolly Jumper

Maribeth spent some time in the jolly jumper this evening. The jolly jumper we have hangs in the doorway and not on a frame, so the lighting is a little difficult here because she's "between" rooms. I knew that using the flash wouldn't work well so I tried an old trick - putting a piece of white paper in front of the flash as a makeshift diffuser. I got some interesting results.

Twins at 9 Months

Teething Twins

Teething Twins
Originally uploaded by Allan & Cheryl.

You can't see it in the photo - but Maribeth cut her first tooth yesterday. It's obvious from the way they are chewing on everything - that more teeth should be popping up any day now!

Other notable milestones - both girls can get themselves from crawling, to sitting, and pull to standing and are starting to attempt climbing - their first climb - from the floor onto Maddy's mattress and from there they are working on climbing onto Melissa's bed.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Autumn Colours

Today was the last day we were to have sunshine for a while, so despite a rough night last night with the twins vomiting and Cheryl's stomach not feelling so good either, we decided to get out the door.

The kids really wanted to get out to Bear Creek park so that is where we went. The afternoon light made for some really great photos.

Bear Creek Playground

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Grandmommy Jean got to go with Melissa to ballet class today and got a couple of snapshots of our budding ballerina.


Saturday, November 06, 2004

Tous Ensemble

Today we packed up kit and kaboodle and went to church. If you ever decide to have more than the stastical 1.8 children, I highly recommend having extended family available to help.

With my dad, step-mother, mother-in-law, Cheryl, and myself there to chase small people, this was one of those few times where the adult to child ratio was 1:1 or better!

Mothers and Daughters

All of Us

This coming year, I am planning to accompany my dad to the Philippines for a family reunion. He is very excited that I am going, but even more so that Michael will be coming along. My dad is very much looking forward to introducing his grandson to everyone as "Biray". Biray is the name of our "clan", my father's mother's people, and the Edwin family is only one of many.

I myself am getting more excited as this year winds down and long slide to next April begins. This will be a rare opportunity for me to connect with my history and heritage on a first-hand basis. I have met aunts, uncles, and cousins here in North America, but since my birth and emigration, I returned only once to the Republic of the Philippines, when I was 13, to visit.

These experiences are becoming more important to me as time passes for a number of reasons:

My dad is now approaching the age my grandfather was when he passed away. My grandfather died the year before I was born, so he never knew my dad to have any children. My dad has at least had the last few years to see my own children born and grow into young people with defined personalities. My children too have had a chance to know my dad and who he is as a person, though the memories will be buried deep because they are so young.

My Father's Father

My father is also one of my few links to my extended family and my heritage. Most of my dad's family are still in the Philippines and those who went abroad are scattered far and wide. (Those of you who are out there that we call family, one of the reaons Cheryl and I post here is with the hope you will respond.)

My Grandmother's Funeral

I grew up Canadian, speaking English (and a little French), and watching HNIC on tv. My parents speak different dialects, neither of which is Tagalog, and we were never taught any of them. My connection to Filipinos in general is diminished.

Of course this trip cannot possibily make up for 30 years of living here, but I am hoping that with my dad's help bridges can be built and that Michael and I can be a part of the family he had to leave behind so many years ago.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Autumn Leaves

I am going to be closeted into meetings all this week, so I really won't get to enjoy the end of autumn's glory like Cheryl and the kids did today.

Autumn Adventurers

I heard that they were having such a good time that Cheryl had to resort to a ruse to get them to leave the playground.

Cheryl: "It's time to go kids!"

Chorus: "Awwwwww! We're not ready to go yet."

Cheryl: "We have to go because we're going to be doing a leaf craft at home today."

Chorus: "A craft! Yay! With leaves!"

I am told that the children collected leaves with great enthusiasm and told everyone they met on the way back, "We're taking these leaves home to make a craft!"

I got to see their handiwork on the fridge this evening and it was very good indeed.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Rocking Horse

Cheryl tells me that I missed something this evening as I am working late, late into the night on my other writing.

She left Megan with Melissa and Michael in their room and when she came back they had put Megan on the rocking horse!

If it was me I would have had a heart attack, but Cheryl coolly and calmly took pictures of the obviously happy Megan.

Twins at 9 Months!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Lakeshore and Golden Wood

As of today clocks here in North America rolled back an hour and the precious hours of daylight we get in this latitude dwindle ever faster.

Friday night we had one of the first of our autumn storms. The wind howled for hours around our door and yesterday morning there were branches down and drifts of cedar scales (needles?) on and around our van.

All of which is a long and roundabout way to say that we escaped again this weekend to the out of doors to soak up the last of Autumn's light.

We drove out to Alouette Lake again, intending to walk the 1/2 mile trail down to the beach from the parking lot, but the road was closed because the bridge over Gold Creek was 'under repair'. Disappointed, but not deterred, we went instead to the regular day area and walked everyone down to the boat ramp.

Alouette Lake Again

Gail says she likes this photo!

And this one too!

Boat Ramp

When we got down to the shore the wind came up and I took out my pocket parafoil. The older 3 M's helped me fly it, but Cheryl sat down with the twins, who had their first introduction to our local geology.

Twins on the Ground

The wind came and went in fits and spurts - strong at times then dying away to a whisper - with the kite still waaaay out over the water! Eventually I decided it was time to wind up the kite cord because it just didn't look like the wind was going to co-operate. My 'kite' helpers disappeared as quickly as the breeze and I had to pull in the kite myself.

Kite Helpers

I was in the midst of this process when Cheryl called over that the twins were starting to get cold - not to mention quite dirty from the sand and gravel they were attempting to ingest. So we packed up kit and kaboodle and hiked back up to the van.

The Golden Wood
It was on the way home, still feeling unsatisfied about how much we had actually walked, that Cheryl suggested we take the kids round to 'the duck pond', meaning Green Timbers Urban Forest, near where we live.

The Golden Wood

The forest itself is the public part of a forestry research station started many years ago when 'the city' was far away and the surrounding sections were either Crown lands or farms. The intervening years have brought urban life much closer and now the forest is an island of nature in the middle of our city.

In the Wood

Because the park was originally used for research (like the UBC Research Forest that we visted a few weeks ago), it has a lot of different species of trees, shrubs, etc. Different parts of the park are designed to recreate different habitats in our province. So as you follow the trails you can find yourself in different parts of B.C. every few minutes.

BC Habitat

Cheryl decided to take us off the beaten path around the pond and instead we investigated some trails that we haven't been on in quite a while. The kids thought this quite adventurous and commented that the grassland part of the park we were walking through was like the African plain. Madeleine and Michael spent a minute or two pretending to be lions and leopards. As Cheryl was pushing the stroller through the wet squishy grass, I imagined a covered wagon of the pioneers.

High Plain

The pond itself is a man-made water feature about 1/2 hectare in area that the ducks who migrate past every year have taken quite a liking to. In light of this I find it ironic that the local bird society people waggle their fingers at us for feeding day-old bread to the ducks while proclaiming that we are "making the ducks dependent on human sources of food." I want to reply, "So, what did they do before this man-made pond appeared?"

Pond Creatures