Astrid: Resilient

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Creekside daycare
Astrid is now in her 3rd daycare in less than a year. She’s now spending her days at the Creekside Child Development Centre. It’s our dream daycare, so hopefully she’ll be there until she starts school in 4 years. It’s a fabulously run group daycare (think Club Med for little kids) conveniently located across the street from where we live. Like most well run daycares in Vancouver, they have a really long waiting list. We added Astrid to the list before she was even born. Since most new spots go to siblings of existing kids, we’re lucky we got in.
Creekside daycare

It’s an awesome facility and the teachers are excellent. It’s well structured but also flexible to the kids’ needs. They have a schedule that includes walks outside, circle time, meals and snacks. They are much more rigid about food and regulations than our previous daycares – we’ve gotten lots of feedback on the food we pack for Astrid – grapes have to be quartered, not just halved, no dried fruit, and sunbutter sandwiches must be clearly labelled so there’s no worry about nuts. The check-in procedure every morning includes hand washing, shoe changing, sign-in sheets, and food and diapers placed into very clearly labelled bins. We’ve been pleasantly surprised that they have no problem using cloth diapers and feeding Astrid the vegan food we provide.

For the first two weeks there were tears during drop-off and pick-up, but otherwise she transitioned very smoothly with no problems napping, eating, or playing with the other kids.

2 Person Crib

New daycare means new germs. Astrid has been sick with colds for the past 2 weeks. Her cold has moved to her chest and she often has a rasping cough at night that sometimes keeps her up. Luckily no fever. We’ve been treating her cold with steamy baths, a humidifier while she sleeps, warm water with honey, and herbal cough medicine before bed. Hopefully she gets better soon because we’re flying to Mexico in 2 weeks.

BC Children's Hospital Emergency

A few weeks ago, Astrid ended up in the hospital. She was playing at the dining room table and dancing on a chair like she often does. They’re heavy chairs, but she managed to rock it far enough that it tipped over. She was crying for a while and couldn’t put any weight on her right foot. After talking to the nurses hotline, we took her to the children’s hospital. By the time we went through triage, Astrid was already in a better mood and was limping around the waiting area and exploring. When a nurse came by to check her out, she said her foot seemed fine and they wouldn’t do an x-ray but we could wait another 2-3 hours if we wanted to see a doctor. We figured sleep would be more helpful, so we went home. She had a slight limp that lasted for a week and we ended up taking her to our family doctor, but he quickly dismissed us letting us know that if anything was wrong she wouldn’t be putting any weight on the foot. Classic first child over-reaction on our part.

Dosa Factory

Last Saturday, I was curious if Astrid was getting enough nutrients. She’s always been slightly above average for weight and height and she’s never shown any sign of a nutritional deficiency, but I thought it would be interesting to track all of the food she ate and compare it to the recommended diet. If I was more concerned, I would have tracked it for a full week and averaged it, but tracking a single day was enough work. In one day there were 24 foods to track and calculate nutritional information for. Here’s a summary of my big spreadsheet:

Recommended Actual (Nov 25)
Calories 1000-1300 1375
Fat 35-40% of calories 41% (66 g)
Carbohydrates 50-55% of calories 48% (157 g)
Protein 10-15% of calories 11% (44 g)
Vitamin A 400 mg 700 mg
Vitamin C 60 mg 175 mg
Calcium 500 mg 315 mg
Iron 5.5 mg 5.5 mg

The calcium value was little low, but otherwise her diet was pretty good, and completely vegan. What she eats varies from day to day, but she consistently has breast milk twice a day and 250 ml of smoothie. The smoothie is perfect for cramming in nutrients. I like to add kale, Vega One protein powder, omega oils, and hemp seeds to ensure she’s getting lots of healthy fat, protein, and vitamins. Peanut butter and sunbutter are the other nutrient dense foods she often eats.

Astrid has now learned the concept of ownership and has become very forceful about enforcing it. In the morning, she loves to bring Emily and I our shoes, jackets, and cellphones. It’s cute and almost helpful. But she gets very upset if anyone other than the owner tries to take something. I think this is the start of her “that’s mine” phase.

More pictures.

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Astrid: Little Cupcake

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Feeding Myself
Astrid and I survived 3 days without mommy. When Emily asked if she could go on a work retreat, I knew we could handle it but I was still a bit nervous about looking after Astrid on my own, keeping her amused all day on Sunday, and handling bedtime without boobs. Luckily Astrid was in a great mood and we had no problem substituting Daddy’s Milk (recipe below) for breast milk for a few days. I also got some much appreciated help from the Grandmas who made dinner and helped look after Astrid on Monday night, and Emily left us with a fridge full of leftovers so I didn’t have to cook anything from scratch.

Granville Island
A few weeks ago we had a great visit with Uncle Sean, Auntie Brittany, and Grandma Bev. Astrid enjoyed showing them her wildling side.

Trick or Treat
For Halloween, Astrid dressed up like a cupcake (Emily was a baker and I had diarrhea – scary stuff). She went trick-or-treating for the first time, visiting some of the apartments in our building. She enjoyed getting treats to put in her bag. Although, we’re mean parents and ate all of her chocolates.

2017-11-10 18.15.31
Astrid is more interested in advanced toys now. She likes playing with her building blocks, especially the little Lego parcel that she places in a mailbox. She also loves her train set and zooms them around the house yelling “Weeeee”.

Slam Dunk
Astrid has completed her second swim class (Duck) and starts Sea Turtle next weekend. She’s not the biggest fan of the water, but she’s getting more comfortable in it. Even at home, she’s enjoying bathtime more than she used to.

Astrid and Maya

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Photoshoot with Rochelle Elise Photography

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Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography
For Astrid’s 1st birthday, we decided it would be good to get some high quality shots of the whole family. Good photographers are in high demand in Vancouver, so it wasn’t until August that we were able to schedule a photoshoot with Rochelle Elise, who does amazing work with families.

We really enjoyed working with Rochelle. It was challenging finding a time where the lighting would be good (Rochelle prefers to shoot at dawn and dusk), Astrid would be awake and in a good mood, and the weather would cooperate. The day of our photoshoot, it rained in the morning and cleared out the forest fire smoke that had been overshadowing Vancouver for weeks. We lucked out.

Here are some of our favourite shots that Rochelle captured (all images are courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography).

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Courtesy of Rochelle Elise Photography

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

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Southlands Heritage Farm

To celebrate Thanksgiving and the beautiful fall weather here in Vancouver, we took Astrid to Southlands Heritage Farm to visit the pumpkin patch. Southlands is a bizarre neighbourhood in the south-west corner of Vancouver, with mansions on giant acreages, horses, and active farms.

Southlands Heritage Farm

Astrid wasn’t a fan of the horses. In fact she was terrified of them, which is odd because she’s usually fearless. But we had fun in the pumpkin patch, playing in the straw pile, and watching the goats.

Southlands Heritage Farm

We rode the Skytrain most of the way there (to Langara-49th) and biked back along the Arbutus Greenway. It was our first chance to bike most of the Arbutus corridor. What a great route. Nice gentle grade and busy with cyclists, walkers, strollers, runners, and people of all ages.

Biking the Arbutus Greenway

Astrid fell asleep in the chariot and slept for most of the way home, which included a pit stop at the Kitsilano Farmers Market.

Biking the Arbutus Greenway

Emily showing off the 15 km we biked today. The Arbutus Greenway is too new to be on this bike map.

Biking the Arbutus Greenway

We ended the day walking around the Olympic Village and enjoying a beautiful sunset over False Creek.

Thanksgiving Sunset

Astrid: Social Butterfly

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Photo Beams
Now that Astrid has mastered walking, her brain has moved on to learning how to communicate. It’s been scary how fast she’s progressed. Her physical milestones (like rolling over, crawling, standing, and walking) were gradual progressions that developed over weeks. But communicating has been a sudden mental leap.

Hands Up, Baby Hands Up
She only has a few formed words (‘hi’ and ”more’ are the latest), but she understands a lot and uses baby sign language and other gestures to clearly communicate what she wants. For example, if I say ‘Astrid, do you want to play outside?’, she will run and grab her shoes and sit by the door until I help put them on. When she’s hungry, she often stands next to the fridge yelling ‘more’ and pointing her fingers together (in baby sign language). She also understands (and usually follows) simple commands like “bring this to mommy”, “drink water”, “sit”, and “no, don’t touch”. Although when we say ‘no’, her frequent response is to laugh and wag her finger at us.

Astrid and Mom

Astrid is extremely extroverted and sociable. I’m not sure who she gets that from. She loves running up to people and giving them hugs. When they leave she either waves good-bye or blows kisses. It’s amazing watching the joy she brings to random strangers.

New Lunch Bag
Her favourite games right now involve collecting small trinkets from around the house and putting them into boxes or bags. It’s hard to keep track of my toothbrush and keys. She’s also (finally) interested in her books. She grabs a book, sits on her little chair, and flips through the pages mumbling gibberish to herself.

Astrid is loving her new daycare. I think a lot of her communication leaps can be attributed to the new environment with good caregivers and time with older children.

Stuck Under the Stroller

We had one small cold this month and a week of bad, infected diaper rash. Other than that, she’s had a great month. She transitioned to one nap a day (usually from 12-2), sleeps well at night, is a full of energy when she’s awake, and eats like a champ.

Climbing

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Astrid: Summer Fun

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Picnic at Kits Beach
We’ve been taking advantage of our hot, extremely dry summer with plenty of trips to the parks and beaches.

We spent one weekend up in Kamloops visiting Kelsey, Matt, and Jacob. Astrid had lots of fun playing with her cousin.

Spray

Backyard Bath

Kamloops Beach

Bullying her big cousin

We took a day-trip to Buntzen Lake to play in the sand and do a little hike.

Bucket Head

We’re lucky to have many outdoor options close to home. Hinge Park has new swings. Creekside Park has an amazing new playground. And Granville Island has a fun splash park.

Hinge Park

Little Rock Climber

Teacups

Granville Island Splash Park

Astrid loves playgrounds. She’s mastered coming down slides on her stomach.

Last week we transitioned Astrid to a new daycare. Her previous care provider is going on vacation for 2 months, so we were forced to find a new spot (the joys of home-based daycare). Our new spot is a little bit farther away (10 minute bike ride) and Astrid will now be mixed in with a bunch of older kids, but we’re hoping it will be good for her development.

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Vancouver’s New Vegan Quarter

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Umaluma Vegan Gelato
Chinatown is home to Vancouver’s newest cluster of vegan restaurants. Located just a 10-minute walk from where we live, it’s made for a tasty summer. Within a block of Main and Keefer there are 4 new plant-based shops that have opened in the past year. Vegan pizza, gelato, and everything else you might want is now conveniently located in the heart of the city.

Kim Jack Il

Virtuous Pie lead the way when it opened its doors last September. Their pizza is amazing, with inventive combinations of toppings. My favourites are Kim-Jack (with kimchi and jackfruit), Stranger Wings (spicy cauliflower wings), and Curry Mile (butter chickpea curry).

The success of Virtuous Pie has lead to a number of other plant-based shops taking root in the neighbourhood this summer.

Vegan Supply Store

The Vegan Supply Store, an established online retailer, opened their first physical location on Pender in July. Their little grocery store is full of all the staples and treats to help anyone on a plant-based diet. Our favourite products so far are the Earth Island VeganEggs (I was skeptical, but they make a tasty scrambled egg alternative) and the huge selection of nut cheeses.


Umaluma Vegan Gelato

Umaluma is just across the street from the Vegan Supply Store, and Vancouver’s first dairy-free gelato shop (although I’m not sure how it differs from plant-based ice cream). They have over 15 flavours! Hazelnet, mojito, drunken cherry, macadamia chocholate – we’ve only tried a few but they’re all excellent.

Kokomo
And finally, Kokomo on Gore. This relaxed little cafe serves up salad bowls (including a tasty kale caesar) and soft-serve Cocowhip. The food was excellent. The Cocowhip was good, but it can’t compete with the gelato a block away.

Astrid: Walking Wrecking Ball

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Our little girl is now walking. She’s a terror on two legs, chasing after cats and smashing into walls. She was a mischief maker before, and now she’s getting into all kinds of trouble. As a proud dad, it’s a joy to watch.

Blankie

She loves running around the house with little treasures in her hands (often tubes of toothpaste). She’s getting steadier every day, but she still falls a lot. Her crashes often look epic, but they never seem to discourage her. She just bounces back up and keeps running around.

Soon after Astrid started walking, we were in a small Indian chaat restaurant, eating bhel puri and samosas. Astrid was happy sampling all the dishes (making us proud parents) and running around the restaurant. Luckily we were the only ones there.

I was walking around with Astrid when she started running toward Emily, who was eating golgappa puri (the small puff balls that you pour tamarind sauce into) off of a cafeteria tray. Before Emily could move the food out of the way Astrid grabbed the edge of the tray, causing it to flip. The tamarind sauce made this perfect arch into the air and landed directly on Emily’s forehead. It was tragic but perfect comedy.

As Emily towelled up the puddles on her chest and lap, Astrid sat giggling. Our little mischief maker.

Little Cyclist

10 days before she started walking, she went for her first bike ride. When she’s older, she’ll be able to proudly proclaim she could bike before she could walk, even if it might be a stretch. She had a giant smile on her face the whole time, so we can’t wait to get her a balance bike.

Who Loves Folk Fest?

July was a good month. With our first camping trip, a day at Folk Fest, picnics in the park, and lots of popsicles to beat the heat.

Apples

Drum is Calling

Hose

Swinging

Flowers

More July pictures.

Golden Ears – Astrid’s First Camping Trip

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Alouette Lake Selfie

Astrid’s first camping trip was a mild success. We came close to making a midnight getaway with the tent strapped to the car roof, but we were glad we stuck it out.

We went camping on the July long weekend in Golden Ears Provincial Park. We only stayed for one night because because reservations were hard to come by when we booked 2 months ago, but that ended up being a blessing in disguise.

Tent

Astrid had fun during the day, but had a hard time sleeping in the tent. She wouldn’t nap (thank god for Ergo naps), struggled to fall asleep at night, woke up at 11:30 pm, and cried on-and-off for 2 hours. We were close to bailing, but once she finally settled down, she slept until 8 am the next morning. It was cold overnight, but Astrid was bundled up and warm in the tent.

Getting Ready to Camp

Camping with a 1-year old is a lot different than the camping trips we are used to. We needed a bigger tent, a car accessible spot, and a lot more stuff (like diapers, toys, and a cooler). We spent more time in and around our campsite than we normally would and our big tarp came in handy as a play surface for Astrid.

Food time

Golden Ears was a good spot for a first camping trip – close to Vancouver (only a 1-hour drive), with some nice hiking trails, a beautiful lake, and a family friendly campground that was pretty quiet (when Astrid wasn’t crying). The only downside is the beach has no sand – only rocks and goose poop.

Creek Hiking

It was nice to spend so much time outside in nature. We split our time between the beach/picnic area, doing small hikes in the forest (often while Astrid napped in the carrier), and hanging out at our campsite. We even had an adventurous, off-trail “shortcut” down a stream that involved a lot of fallen trees and bushwacking.

Adorable

Astrid had a rough night, but enjoyed the rest of the trip enough that we are looking forward to going again next summer. By then Astrid will be walking and able to explore more. Maybe we’ll try 2 nights for her 2nd birthday.

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