Family, Kids, Pemberton

My 12 days of Christmas

Or is it 13? Or 11? Who can tell, these days. School’s out, I take some time off work  and then all of a sudden I have no concept of what day of the week it is. It’s kind of neat.

It’s a white Christmas here and what a difference snow makes. Everything’s just that much brighter. The kids are easily convinced to go outside. And running in the snow? Waaaay more fun that running in the rain.

Needless to say, the last few weeks have been a whirlwind of wrapping things up (literally and figuratively), getting into the swing of winter and thinking about the end of 2015 by starting to make plans and hatch ideas for 2016.

Since my brain also seems to be on Christmas holiday, I’ll leave you with a photo wrap of the last few weeks.

Merry Christmas!

Day-to-day life, Family, Kids

Rainy day round up

It’s a rainy Sunday… the day has passed with staggering slowness. Another rain fall warning means even though we go outside, no one really loves it (not even the dog), and the lingering luxury of shooing everyone outside in bathing suits after a week in the sun is still on everyone’s mind.

I hate homework more than all of them combined.
I hate homework more than all of them combined.


Case in point: the eldest went to join his siblings outside… in bare feet. It took reminding him that we aren’t on holiday anymore to get his brain re-engaged.

“Mama, the air is all liquidy here…”

Those were the first words out of Anja’s mouth as we deplaned for our holiday together. It was late and it had been a long flight with lots of fidgeting (from me, too). I’d sort of mentally blocked the fact that even though I/We were on a lovely tropical holiday, I still had to parent.

Well, that’s novel.

And let’s be honest. There were days where the level of parenting was low. Like, take care of yourself and go ahead and ignore me, low. Nonetheless, we had a great time and each kid reacted a little differently to their time away.

Anja couldn’t get enough of sitting in the surf, filling her bikini with sand and… sleeping (that’s my GIRL!)

Rory spent hours diving under waves, wandering the beach seemingly aimlessly but always with an underlying purpose.

Will tested his limits (which is very much unlike him) and built things out of sand.

And me? I read books. And it was glorious.

This is a very random fact: I’ve always hated my feet. I don’t like their shape, they are usually missing one or several toenails and always, always have blisters or remnants thereof.

One evening, we were walking on the beach back from the now infamous (in our house anyway) ice cream dinner. I looked down at my foot prints in the sand and I didn’t see my own feet. I saw my mum’s. I stared for a few minutes, and realized that I can no longer hate my feet, because of who I so clearly inherited them from.


It’s a few weeks out from Ironman Arizona… I thought the feeling of scouring race calendars and making mental plans would dissipate. Well, what do you know. It’s still there and it’s rather strong.

Let the planning begin! (or, you know, continue… as it were).

Day-to-day life, Family, Kids

That settles that.

A few weeks ago, Will asked me if I was a “helicopter parent”. That basically stopped me dead in my tracks. Oh my god… is this what he thinks of me? Maybe he thinks because I made Anja wear all the armour over her onesie for her first foray into the bike park that I’m over protective??

To be fair, she didn't have to wear a full face helmet.
To be fair, she didn’t have to wear a full face helmet.

I asked him if he even knew what that meant. Sure, he said. It’s a parent who doesn’t let you do anything fun.

Right, then.

I followed this up by asking him if he thought this was the kind of parent I was (which would be odd, because generally I only some kind of vague idea of where the kids are at any given moment. They’re playing outside? Super! I hope they remembered sunscreen.)

No, no, he assured me. You’re pretty ok.

If that isn’t a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.

Fast forward to tonight. I tell the kids to go blow off some steam so I can tidy up and get ready to end the day. It’s pretty loud outside… but not tears or screams of terror so essentially, all good. I wander out onto the deck to spy on them, and… behold:

IMG_0678 IMG_0680

Asked? And answered.

Family, Kids, Random, Travel, weekend

I did what the Lululemon bag said to.

one thing a day

It’s true. There are things that scare me. One of which consists in sleeping on the ground surrounded by a millimetre of nylon, with 3 children. I’m a creature of comfort, so forgive me if I prefer to parent my children in the comforts of my home, knowing that I get to collapse into my cozy bed at the end of the day.

When friends planned a camping/biking trip a few months back, I thought little of saying YES. In fact, I kind of forgot about it until the week before — when I realized I’d have to borrow a LOT of gear and then started checking the weather like some crazy person (or like a triathlete with a race coming up).

I had mentally decided to pull the plug on the whole adventure until the morning we left… the weather looked bad, we were all tired and at each others throats. So that was when I pulled on my big girl pants, packed the truck and… followed friends up the Forest Service Road to our destination because I was sure that  1) I was bound to get lost 2) I’d get a flat in the middle of nowhere and 3) I’d get eaten by bears which fixing the flat.

What do you know – none of those things happened and we had a fantastic weekend. I even – dare I say – enjoyed the sleeping on the ground wrapped in nylon.

The riding was spectacular and hard and fun and I’m pining to go back. The kids were happy, dirty, tired and ate meals with their helmets on their heads between bike laps. My friends bent over backwards to help me manage the team and give me the chance to ride.

And at the end of it all, I was brave enough to do the drive home down the service road all alone. We only got lost once.

Day-to-day life, Kids

Riddle me this

The last few nights, we’ve been doing riddles at the dinner table. It’s pretty funny and engaging and I’ll even admit that occasionally, the kids will stump me (clearly, they’ve learned these harder ones from older kids. Ahem.)

It’s also a time when each of their personalities seem to really shine through. Anja – believe it or not – is usually quiet during these exchanges. It’s like she realizes she’s too little to get it so she just takes it all in. Will takes in each question and mulls them over with some seriousness (that, or he tries to pass of that he’s figured out the answer when in reality he knew it all along from someone else). Rory, true to form, blurts out whatever the first word is that comes to mind: “7! Blue! Crocodile! Turn left!)

Anyway, tonight? Was awesome. The tables turned, ever so slightly…

Me: “What has hands but can’t clap?”

Rory: “…”

Will: “T-REX!”

At this point, I’m pretty sure I alternately shot wine out of mine nose/choked with laughter. Because, damn if he wasn’t right.



(Clocks. The answers is clocks.)

Day-to-day life, Kids

Ratchet back the crazy, people.

In light of Anja’s highly disorganized but fun birthday party a few days ago, I thought this was pretty timely.  Her party had friends, cake and junk food, parents and beer, science activities and presents. Yep. Good, old fashioned presents that ranged from a plant – which she loved and cannot wait to stick in the ground – to a doll that she talks to like they are BFFs.

In my opinion, it was a great birthday for a 5 year old. But I’m biased and I digress.

A friend sent me this photo of an invitation given to one of her kids by a classmate. Behold:



This is a party for a 7 year old. Not a wedding, or … some other occasion where it’s appropriate to ask for money. I mean, come on. I wouldn’t even know how to respond to this! How much does Little Johnny want? Is a gift card to the Home Depot or Starbucks ok? Because I’m pretty sure no presents wasn’t his or her idea.

Maybe I’m totally wrong. Maybe Little Lisa is getting a leg up on her college savings, in which case good for her. But maybe don’t do it on the back of your classmates? Gah.

My friend is responding by not going. Which I think is brilliant.

Am I missing something? Since when has this become acceptable? Is this the new normal?

Educate me, people. Educate me.

Kids, QOTD


The birthday girl’s latest obsession is science (this is an obsession I can totally get behind).

“Do you know how scientists become scientists?”

“No, how?”

“Messes. They make lots of messes.”

I’d say she’s well on her way.IMG_8679

Day-to-day life, Kids, Pemberton

A day in the life.

I’m tired.

It’s been a long few weeks of juggling. It’s not a complaint, merely a statement. Much of the fatigue is my own doing, I’ll be the first to admit. I have a hard time saying no and every time I turn around, there’s something being added to the white board calendar in the kitchen.

Last week, I realized that our Wednesdays were kind of ridiculous. As I said to a friend, I organize large-scale events for a living. But ask me to organize my life so that I don’t have to be in 3 places at once? Right. I’m not one to over-program kids. I just tend to program them all on the same day #Fail.

As I drove/biked/walked to one location after another, I mentally chronicled my day. Enjoy (or don’t. This is actually kind of boring).

Boop bee boop bee boop be boop bee doop.. doop… doop… boop bee boop bee boop be boop bee doop…

Recognize that sound? It’s the iPhone signature ring-thingy set to my alarm. It’s 6:15AM. My first though is: “Can I have a nap today?”

The phone is in the kitchen. This is strategic: it will keep beep-booping until I drag myself downstairs.

I go, followed by Kobe (the dog) because there’s a 99.9% chance he will have jumped on the bed at some point while I slept.

Until the kids wake up, I enjoy the quiet house and read emails and the rest of the internet and drink my beloved coffee.

Then, the whirlwind starts. It’s a slow build… but it comes. Usually, Rory comes first – wrapped in a blankie. Anja’s next, having bellowed from bed asking for permission to get up. Will is always last on  school days – he’ll need some prodding to join the fray.

Breakfast. Backpacks. Review homework. Hunt for lost socks. Repeat myself a million times over to get this or that and then, 2/3 of the off spring are out the door to walk to school. I check my watch. It’s 8:15, I have a bit of a breather before the little one goes to science. We go for a dog walk – with fake baby and little pink stroller. Our pace is not quick. Worms are collected, snails herded to the safety of the side of the trail.


We get home in time to pack snacks and go to science.

Sidebar: Anja has not stopped talking since she got up. At all. It’s like a running, completely irrelevant commentary on our day.

She goes to science in the same building as the gym so I can squeeze in those treadmill intervals I’ve been dreading.

Another sidebar: I got into run gear when I got up. Otherwise, it’s just too easy to skip. Unless I’ve sweated through everything, there’s a solid chance I’ll be peeling those same clothes off at bedtime. Gross, right?! Welcome to my real life. Take it or leave it.

I get the run done with just enough time to have a powwow with my physio who happens to be there at the same time. I’ll consider that a two-for-one because even those 5 minutes make a difference. She always makes time for me and is supremely awesome.

Collect Anja, win the argument stating that I need a shower before our errands. We go home, I shower, she – of course, keeps me company. Heaven forbid I leave her side. She continues her monologue.

I check my watch. It’s 11:20. Errands and a quick lunch stop at the bakery ensue. We take the dog – today, errands on the bike must double as his walk.

We’re home by 1. I have a list as long as my arm of work to do. Dilemma: what to do with the little one? Arts ‘n craps, for now (monologuing the whole way). I’m having a hard time concentrating after 45m and anyway, she spills food colouring everywhere, so I give up and hand her the iPad. Check the calendar to remind myself how many days before Jay returns from Asia.

What’s that sound? Oh, right. QUIET.

Text message. Zumba cancelled. Can Anja come Friday instead of this afternoon? Yes! Win! That removes one of my 3 locations. Make mental note about Friday, then remember that mental notes are useless to me – white board it is.

I check the time. 2PM. I have 1 hour before we’re off again; I power through some work, diligently avoiding the piles of laundry, the messy playroom and the dishes. Also, sad dog eyes.

We’re off again. Meet Will to pick him up from dodgeball, throw him a snack and send him to soccer. High five Rory who’s at science. We’ll be back for you, buddy (mental note: don’t forget Rory).

Shit. Dinner. I check the time: 4:45PM. Mile One, my non-negotiable, go-to best-ever dinner option on Wednesdays is closed for 2 weeks for their (very well deserved) spring break. Decide to try to recreate their burgers at home. Whip to grocery store. Least favourite place.

I check the time. 5:02PM.  Oops, I’m late to get Rory. Pick him up with apologies. He doesn’t seem to care. Dodged that bullet.

Home by 5:30PM. Wonder how people who live in big cities with full-time jobs and deal with traffic do this. At least most of my commuting is by bike or foot. I bow to you. Truly.

Throw together dinner (burgers are ok but the house smells like bacon, so… win?), break up fights, send kids to trampoline in what appears to be a huge windstorm. Oh well. They likely won’t get blown away. I hope.

Will’s dropped off by friends (thank you – it really does take a village otherwise I’d burn dinner even more quickly than usual) and we have a quick dinner, reciting “Apples and Onions” and reviewing our day. Kids have showers (cue: FIGHT) and we get ready to watch “Modern Family”, my one nod to TV for them during the week; I don’t really care if it’s age appropriate or not, we like it. And I barely have to explain gay marriage. Another win.

We sink into couches, and sure enough, minutes in, the doorbell rings. Neighbours want to play. It’s like a cavalcade down the stairs.

Sidebar: Anja: “Go without me! I’ll meet you there! I’m just getting underwear!” It sounds a lot like “Save Yourselves!”

I’d say it’s quiet in the house as they play with friends in the yard, but it’s just as loud when there are 8 kids on a tramp 10 feet away.

While they are outside, I do my core stabilization exercises. And have a glass of wine. At the same time. How’s that for stable?

8 o’clock comes, the gang disperses, Modern Family gets watched, kids finally go to bed. And you know what?

So do I.

I think I’ve found the missing link in my training. How do you spell “Recovery”?


Family, Kids, Race Report, weekend

April Fools Run

We took the opportunity last weekend to zip over to the Sunshine Coast for a change of scenery, some training and the April Fools half marathon.

In the days leading up, my motivation was waning, I was tired and the forecast looked dismal. So dismal that I packed the trainer, anticipating a Saturday morning cranking out indoor miles… albeit in a new setting.

Regardless, I loaded up the ‘burb and the boys got to skip an afternoon of school which, right there, made the trip for them. Picked up Lizzie and Henry, drove onto the ferry and we were off.

Because nothing says quality training weekend like 2 moms and 4 kids!

Lo and behold, the place we got on Airbnb was awesome (I’d give you the link but that’s like giving away a good babysitter’s number so, no.) and the weather ended up being sunshiny pretty for the entire weekend.

Saturday we left the littles behind to forage for crabs on the beach and rode our bikes for a while…


Not as flat as I expected.
Not as flat as I expected.
Post-ride recovery
Post-ride recovery
Lizzie flushing the legs
Lizzie flushing the legs. Photos courtesy Will.

The next morning, we had the best laid plans for the half. You know, healthy breakfast… good sleep… solid warm up.

Instead, we ate nutella, got some broken sleep and showed up with just enough time to win the bathroom locator race (again).

Helping auntie Lizzie
Helping auntie Lizzie

We took off on tired legs, a bit unsure on how it would all go. My goal was to have fun, say thanks to all the volunteers and try not to have a disaster of an outing. Plus, we were wearing matching shirts aka our license to go at whatever pace we feel like.

1:36 and change. Mission accomplished on all fronts!


They didn’t forage for crabs alone. I’m not *that* irresponsible.


Day-to-day life, Family, Kids

My dilemma.

I’m the first to admit that I loathe the homework that the kids bring home from school.  I grew up going to a small, rural school and never had homework until grade 7. When we got off the school bus, we spent our time playing outside when the weather was good, doing who-knows-what when it wasn’t.

At this age, I don’t see much value in the homework the boys get assigned (except for reading – we do that every night because, well, it’s a pretty basic skill and we like doing it together). It’s also a bit ridiculous to me that the 1st grader has WAY more work than the 3rd grader, but that’s not really the issue here.

It’s spring now and the weather has turned for the better; the days are longer and it’s as if all the kids on the street have discovered that they have neighbours their own age. On any given afternoon, there’s anywhere from 3 to a dozen or more kids running around, playing on trampolines, zipping through each other’s backyards and just generally being kids… outside.

No, as a matter of fact I cannot name all of these children.
No, as a matter of fact I cannot name all of these children.


Herein lies my dilemma.

Should I be *that mom* who does the “responsible adult thing”, and calls them in early so that they can sit down (again) and do homework for 30 minutes, or do I ignore the stack of workbooks and teacher’s notes and let them stay outside and burn off more of the endless energy they seem to possess?

Maybe it’s my own laziness coming though, but lately I’m far more inclined to let them skip it and play outside till it’s almost too dark to see… Maybe we can save the homework for rainy days.

After all, sometimes it’s nice to be the “Fun Mom”.

Nothing to see here... Except maybe those damn abs.
Nothing to see here… Except maybe those damn abs.
After school...
After school…
I caved tonight.
I caved tonight.
This one is just going to add more homework to the pile!
This one is just going to add more homework to the pile!