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.