Category Archives: Parenting

Astrid – Summer Time Fun

Vegan Ice Cream

July was a jam-packed month for us full of outdoor fun trying to stay cool but also enjoy the outdoors. We went camping at Alice Lake, splashed in the Cultus Lake Waterpark, listened to music at the Vancouver Folk Festival, and got a Science World membership. We even managed to squeeze in a trip to the hospital at the end of the month.

At the waterpark

We met up with Kelsey, Matt, Jacob and Nora for some water fun at a Chilliwack hotel and the Cultus Lake Waterpark. The waterpark was still a little intimidating for Astrid (I think it will be perfect next year), but she had a blast spending time with her cousin Jacob.


We spent a sunny Saturday at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival listening to bands from around the world. Astrid enjoyed dancing in the shade and playing in the kids area. There were a lot of great bands, but my musical highlight this year was Iskwe.

Hospital Visit # 8
We were hoping that summer would 100% healthy but after hand, foot, and mouth last month Astrid picked up another virus at the end of July. After a few days of fevers, she developed some chest congestion which triggered her asthma. She was coughing a lot one day and wasn’t able to sleep so we pumped her full of Ventolin and went to the hospital. After waiting for over an hour in the waiting room with Astrid showing no signs of breathing difficulty, we knew could have probably stayed home. When we finally saw a doctor, she gave Astrid some extra dexamethasone and sent us home without doing the full asthma protocol, which was nice. Turns out there was bad air quality in Vancouver from a bog fire in Richmond. A few days of Ventolin and she was back to normal.

Science World Explorer

Grandma got us a Science World membership for Astrid’s birthday and we finally redeemed it after Astrid got healthy again. She loves it. They have a new Wonder gallery for kids under 5 that Astrid could spend all day in. I could also spend all day playing with the giant blocks or the lego dams on the water table. Science World is only a 5 minute walk from our home, so we plan to visit frequently in the next year.

Astrid has adjusted well to the toddler room at daycare. It wasn’t an easy start – first she was sick and then when she did go back a lot of her friends were sick or away on vacation. She didn’t like me leaving her there when the only other kids were some older boys who ignored her. But now there’s a group of girls her age in the toddler room and she enjoys seeing them in the morning. She’s started talking a lot more – stringing 3-4 words together and pointing out things she sees. It’s also been noticeable in her singing. She’s been mumbling melodies for months now, but this month was the first time she would starting singing songs with words that we could understand. Her favourites are Roly Poly, The Wheels on the Bus, and a Slippery Fish.

Norquay Park

More pictures from July.

Astrid Self-Recognition Experiment

When did our sweet little girl stop being a baby and become the cute toddler she is today? If you ask Astrid, it was around 11 months old.

When we’re looking at old photos, sometimes she correctly identifies herself and sometimes all she sees is a baby. I was curious when the shift from “baby” to “Astrid” happened. So I devised an experiment.

I took 50 photos in an album and asked Astrid to identify who was in them. 25 photos were of Astrid and 25 photos were of animals, relatives, and other babies.

The photos were in a random order but here are the sorted results:

So Small Bunny Hug Astrid Kale Chewing on her spoon
Astrid – 1 month Baby – 2 months Baby – 3 months Baby – 4 months Baby – 5 months
6 Months Old Diaper Pile Big Baby 8 Months Spring daffodils
Baby – 6 months Baby – 7 months Baby – 7.5 months Baby – 8 months Astrid – 9 months
Zoom Zoom Future Artist That shirt is too big Garden Chair Astrid at Kits Beach
Baby – 10 months Astrid – 11 months Baby – 12 months Astrid – 13 months Astrid – 14 months
Pigtails Southlands Heritage Farm Chef Astrid Chef Astrid Snowshoeing with Astrid
Baby – 15 months Astrid – 16 months Astrid – 17 months Astrid – 18 months Astrid – 19 months
Repair Work Wild Hair Cardboard Fort Cutie Making Apple Crisp
Astrid – 20 months Astrid – 21 months Astrid – 22 months Astrid – 23 months Astrid – 24 months

So, around 9-11 months old she gets pretty good at identifying herself. I’d have to agree this is the point where she looks more like a child and less like a baby. I’m not sure how she identified the 1 month old photo of herself (luck I guess).

It was fun going through the photos with her. In the 2-month and 5-month photos she recognized her bunny and spoon and seemed surprised that some other baby had them. The only false positive was this photo which she thought was herself but is actually me at 18 months old.

Full album:

Diaper Pile

Camping – 2 Nights at Alice Lake

Tent
Last year we celebrated Astrid’s 1st birthday with 1 night of camping at Golden Ears Provincial Park. This year, we celebrated her 2nd birthday with 2 nights at Alice Lake Provincial Park. I think we can keep this tradition going until she’s at least 14.

Eating Marshmallows

We were very close to cancelling the trip. When Astrid got hand, foot, and mouth disease and the forecast was nothing but rain, we didn’t think it was worth going at all. But Astrid got better and the forecast improved so we decided to go for a change of scenery if nothing else. We were prepared for a disaster, but Astrid loved it and slept well. It was a great experience.

Alice Lake Playground

In many ways Alice Lake is a perfect family-friendly camping destination:

  • It’s close to Vancouver, only an hour drive.
  • The campsites are quiet, with lots of trees, a picnic table, a fire pit, and plenty of room for a tent.
  • There are lots of other families with kids zooming around on bikes and scooters.
  • There are some easy hikes from the campsite around Stump Lake and up to Edith Lake.
  • You can rent a canoe, kayak, SUP, or paddleboat if you want to explore the lake.
  • There is a great playground for little kids and an introductory mountain bike course for older kids. There are also mountain bike trails for adults.
  • Lots of space at the day-use beach areas and new picnic tables. Just watch out for the geese — they will steal your lunch!

The only downside is that it is very popular. It is practically 100% reserved all summer, so you need to get reservations as soon as they become available (3 months before the date).

Canoeing on Alice Lake Little Chopper

It was awesome seeing Astrid’s excitement discovering our campsite. She enjoyed playing in the tent and helping with the chores (like preparing food, washing dishes, and chopping wood). She kept her distance from the campfire (it was too hot for her) but she loved the marshmallows (although it did take some convincing to try the first bite). She showed us again that she’s not a water baby. Our canoe ride only lasted 30 minutes and she spent about 5 seconds in the lake. Probably for the best considering all of the geese poop.

Sleeping in the Tent

Astrid slept well at night (it was really cold the first night and we all had toques on). She wouldn’t nap in the tent (it was too much fun) but she fell asleep in the backpack as soon as we went for a hike.

Modo Boost
Our battery died on us (twice) and we had to get a boost from our neighbours, who also happened to be driving a Modo vehicle.

Monkey on my back

Full album of pictures.

Astrid – 2 Years Old

Climbing Up
It’s been an up-and-down month.

We had to cancel Astrid’s 2nd birthday party when she picked up hand, foot, and mouth disease. The symptoms haven’t been that bad, but she’s contagious right now and we didn’t want to infect all the party guests. She had a fever one night, then two days of low energy and not much appetite, and then the sores started appearing (mostly on her bum and feet). I haven’t seen any sores in her mouth, but there must be some small ones because she complains about acidic foods and cries sometimes while eating. Luckily, she’s still eating and drinking and her energy levels have bounced back in the past two days. The hardest part is now finding ways for her to burn energy while avoiding other kids.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth

On her birthday, we had a special breakfast with muffins and candles, I took her out of quarantine to check out the train engine at the Roundhouse (I hope I didn’t infect any other kids), and we had a yummy lunch at Meet in Yaletown with some of Astrid’s favourite foods – french fries, guacamole, and mac & cheese.

CPR 374

Our little girl is definitely growing up. She’s moving out of the infant room and into the toddler room at daycare (although the hand, foot, and mouth interrupted the transition). And she’s started potty training at home. We’ve had a potty since she was little, and had some early success placing her on the potty first thing in the morning. But ever since she started walking she’s refused to sit on the potty. That changed this month.

Potty with a View

Now she often refuses to wear a diaper at home (we bought her some big kid underwear) and she’s started talking more about the potty and going pee pee. I can often get her to pee in the potty first thing in the morning if I get her out of the crib before she’s been awake for too long. We’ve had a few glorious triumphs where she’s realized she’s needed to pee and made it to the potty on time, once or twice all by herself. Misses are still more common and we’ve had to clean up a lot of puddles (thankfully we don’t have much carpet), but things are moving in the right direction.

We bought a little balance bike for her. She hasn’t mastered it yet, but we’ve had a few fun days riding around on it. If we can get her to ride for more than 5 minutes, it’s a triumph. Often she rides for a few minutes and then I end up carrying the bike while she runs about.

New Balcony Play Area Framed

We cleaned off our patio and made a little outdoor area for Astrid. She loves playing out there, tearing up the flooring, and watching the dogs and bikes go by.

Happy Father's Day
A yummy breakfast on Father’s Day.

Umaluma Vegan Ice Cream
The upside of Astrid being sick – she gets to eat lots of vegan ice cream and homemade popsicles.

Emily Tries to Sleep In
Sometimes Astrid lets mommy sleep in on the weekends, but not always.

Astrid's fam
After a year away, we’re happy the Holdings are back in Astrid’s life.

More pictures from June (and a few cute videos).

Astrid – 1st Haircut

1st Haircut

We’ve been avoiding cutting Astrid’s hair for a while now. Partly because she has such beautiful curly hair and it seemed a shame to cut it; and partly because we couldn’t fathom her still long enough for someone to maneuver scissors next to her head. Well, we finally did it and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. The hairdresser at Hairloft (in the Granville Island Kids Market) was a pro at moving with Astrid’s darting head and their were plenty of distractions in the room to keep her mostly looking forward. Her hair still looks lovely and curly, and now it is much easier to comb and doesn’t tangle as much.

Cystic Fibrosis Sweat Test

So we ended up back in the hospital in May, but luckily not in the emergency ward. We went to BC Children’s for a Cystic Fibrosis sweat test. Astrid had a genetic screen for Cystic Fibrosis when she was born but with all of the breathing problems we’ve had since last winter, our doctor wanted to rule it out with a more accurate sweat test. Astrid was a champ as she calmly sat (staring at the tv) while they ran electric currents through her arm to activate the sweat glands and then covered her arm in multiple layers of plastic wrap and even a diaper. Then I had to convince her to wear all of her warm clothing and run around in the sun to get her as sweaty as possible. I didn’t do a great job but they got just enough sweat to run the test. The end result is she concussively doesn’t have Cystic Fibrosis. So that’s good news.

Sick Kids

She did pick up a bug at daycare that gave her 5 days of diarrhea. It probably rotovirus or norovirus. 7 kids in her daycare either had vomiting or diarrhea at the end of May. It even got me and I spent an awful night emptying my guts.

Pair Programming

Once she was better, she had to stay home for 24 hours to make sure she wasn’t contagious, so we got to hang out and do some pair programming together.

Temper Tantrum

Astrid has really started to push her boundaries as she approaches the so-called “terrible twos”. We’ve had a few more tantrums and it can now take 30 minutes to leave the house in the morning as she refuses to wear a diaper, pants, socks, or shoes. We’ve been trying to give her choices (“which pants do you want to wear?”), which helps but she also likes to scream “no pants!” and run away.

Over the past few weeks, she’s started to learn what the boundaries are and we’ve been conscious about being consistent in enforcing them. She also keeps us in check by ensuring we’re applying the rules consistently to ourselves. Which means that if Astrid needs to wear a hat, then so do we. If she has to wear socks and shoes to daycare, we’re not allowed to leave the house in sandals. Seems fair.

Painting with the Neighbours

During the summer months, I really appreciate how lucky we are to live where we do. We have a beautiful rooftop garden and tons of neighbours with kids. It’s awesome letting the kids run around and play together, while the adults hang out together.

More photos from May

Astrid – Chatterbox

Cutie
Astrid is talking up a storm. Her vocabulary has expanded a lot, she’s better at repeating words back, and she has a few short phrases like “Dada’s here”, “I did it”, and “I love you Mama” that she uses all the time. She’s memorized some of the words in the books we read each night and will shout them out before we have a chance to say them. She can also count up and down from 1 to 10. Sometimes she skips a few numbers above five but it’s pretty good.

Gardening with Kids

She’s an adventurous little monkey outside – climbing on everything and swinging from bars. In the house, she can now open all the doors in the house (except the front door which is too heavy) so nothing is off limits. Turn your back for more than 5 seconds and she’s found new mischief somewhere. She’s also close to being able to climb out of her crib. I’ve seen her get a leg up on the railing a few times.

Mother's Day Dress

I’m happy to report that we’ve been hospital free for 60 days! A new record. Of course that doesn’t mean she’s been perfectly healthy. Astrid had two colds in the past 6 weeks, both of which required Ventolin to keep the wheezing /asthma under control. But we’ve been able to handle it on our own without a trip to the Emergency Room, so it’s a small victory.

More Snacks

Emily spent four days in Kelowna, so it was just Astrid and Daddy for a while (with some key help from Grandma). We did pretty good on our own, but were very happy when Mommy returned. We only had one minor incident where Astrid smashed her face against a picnic table and had copious amounts of blood pour from her mouth. It was like a scene from a zombie movie. Once I washed her up and removed the chunks of food (hoping that each one wasn’t a tooth), it turned out there were just two small cuts on her lip. Astrid was up and running around and even eating 10 minutes later (tough kid).

Smashed Lip

Emily used the break to wean Astrid off of breastfeeding. She was barely feeding before, but now that she’s fully off we’re going to pick up some Vitamin D and B12 supplements for Astrid. She gets a lot of her required vitamin and minerals from the smoothie I make her every day (I like to add hemp seeds, Vega One, kale, omega oils, and sometimes molasses) but otherwise she doesn’t have a lot of D and B12 sources in her diet. Hence the supplements.

Dosa
We started a new tradition of going out for Indian food on Saturday night. Astrid loves it. She can eat half a dosa on her own.

Seawall Model

April Photos
May Photos

Astrid – Easter Egg Hunts and Tantrums

Wild Hair
This blog post is a few weeks late. After Easter we all got sick (I had the flu plus a root canal, Emily and Astrid had colds), and we’ve been nervously anticipating another hospital visit for Astrid’s asthma. But now that Astrid seems to be getting better, it’s time to recap our adventures in March.

Hospital Visit #6
We were back in the hospital for Astrid’s 6th and 7th visits for Asthma on March 9th and 16th.Ugh. We seem to spend a lot of Friday nights hanging out with our doctor and nurse friends. Hopefully cold and flu season is now over and we can make it through the summer without more emergency room visits.

Hinge Park

Even when Astrid’s been sick, her playful personality hasn’t diminished. One night she woke up coughing at 1 am and couldn’t fall back asleep. I stayed up with her and we played with lego in our moonlit apartment, read stories, and had a snack. At one point she ran into the bathroom but it was too dark to see anything. She begged me me to turn on the lights, which I briefly did blinding both of us. She ran away and came back with sunglasses for both of us. We didn’t stay in the bathroom, but we did run around the house with our sunglasses on for another half an hour before she got tired and went to bed.

Toque and Sunglasses

Astrid has started asserting her will more and beginning the dreaded toddler tantrums. She’s had a few incidents where she’s completely lost it crying and flailing about. One time she wanted to wear her toque and sunglasses and refused to take them off at bedtime. Another time she refused to put on clean socks in the morning and insisted on¬†wearing the dirty ones she found in the hamper. We’ve learned to pick our battles and to give her space when she’s freaking out.

On a cuter note, Astrid has learned how to say “I love you” or rather “I you“. The first night she said it back to me at bedtime she lay in bed saying “I you” repeatedly for 10 minutes, long after I had left the room.

Tunnel

The highlight of our month was our annual Easter trip to Kamloops to visit auntie Kelsey, uncle Matt, cousin Jacob, and baby Nora. It was great to see how much fun the cousins had playing together.

Little Chefs

Astrid and Jacob ran around the house together, learned to share toys, bounced on couches, and helped me make pancakes for breakfast. Jacob woke up every morning asking where Astrid was. And Astrid woke up asking to see the baby. She loved patting Nora on head and poking her in the eyes (amazingly she never made her cry).

Kids Table

The easter egg hunt was a huge success. With plastic eggs full of dried fruit and stickers at ground level for Astrid and Jacob to find, and eggs full of chocolate hidden higher up for the adults. Amazingly we got through the easter weekend without giving Astrid any chocolate. I’m not sure if that makes us good or bad parents.

Easter Egg Hunt

 

It took Nora a few days to warm up to us, but we became best friends by the end of the weekend.

Emily, Nora, and Me

More pictures from March and Easter.