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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our Olympic Experience so far ... Part III

Go here to read Part I and here to read Part II. Thanks!

It's been a crazy week since I last posted. Stomach flu ripped through here and left me and our two older girls chewed up and spat out on the side of the road! Greg got a Gold Medal for Best Father!! Yesterday was Marley's 6th Birthday and later today is her birthday party (a Soccer Party) so there are lots more posts to come! For now let me continue my Olympic story with Greg and my night out at the Canada vs. Switzerland game last Thursday (Feb 18th) ...

Grandma came over from Victoria (yay Grandma!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!) to look after the girls so Greg and I could escape for the game and ??? Being the good citizens we are, we "followed the rules" and used public transit to get downtown. We had some time so we wandered the streets of downtown soaking up more of the atmosphere. I know I've talked before about the sea of people wearing red but it was especially pronounced that day. I think most of the crowd was going to the game or planning to watch it in a bar somewhere! Even the buildings were getting into the spirit! I took this picture because I think it looks cool - it's actually cleverly disguising a construction site but ... hey, if it works, why mess with it?!

After a quick look at the line up outside Germany House (Greg wondered if he could sneak in a quick pint - nope!), we followed the signs through security to the "holding pen" outside GM (er, excuse me, Canada Hockey) Place. I say "holding pen" because the long convoluted route we were forced to take to get there made me feel like we were cattle! Anyhoo .... Here's a pic of Greg with the cleverly altered signage! (Under the blue banner with the Olympic rings on it is the "old" signage - GM Place.)

Once they let us in we got dinner (and ridiculously expensive beer for Greg), found our seats and watched the warm up. First Switzerland came out ...
... then Canada!

Proof that we were there!!

They had this guy doing interviews with various old hockey greats and I had looked up at the monitor to see him chatting with Stan Smyl and Lannie MacDonald. Out of curiousity I glanced around to see where he was filming and lo and behold he was in the box right behind us! (See him through the crowd of rabid hockey fans?! No?!) Then he and his crew came and did another little spot while standing right beside us! So I snapped these pics - our brush with "celebrity".

I also tried to get a picture of the "sea of red" but it doesn't do it justice. Seeing as the Swiss were also all in red and white the arena was a sight to behold!

Here are a few pictures of the game itself
... puck drop ...
... some random action in our neck of the woods ...
... the scoreboard at the end of regulation play - off to OT!
After a nail biting OT period we went to a shoot out. TALK about stressful!
Phew! Pulled it off - time to celebrate!
... but not so much if you're the Swiss Coach.

Once we cheered out throats hoarse we heading off to find something fun to do. We went to Livecity Vancouver instead.
Honestly, I'm glad the wait to get in was only 25 minutes because it was pretty much a bust once we were in! Here I am in front of our lovely Canada Pavillion (/tent!!)
After another 25 minute wait (during which time we got to watch Canada get awarded a Gold Medal at a medal ceremony - on the big screen) ...
... we got stand in yet ANOTHER line! Yay!
This time there was stuff to look at along the way like this Bobsled ...
... then the REASON  for the line was revealed. THE STANLEY CUP!!! So we got our picture taken with it. Greg had already had that honour at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Ontario but I had not. Now I am truly a Canadian ... I have touched the Stanley Cup! Snort!!

We rounded out our evening with a wander down Hamilton Street again - a VERY different place than the one we visited a few days earlier with the girls. I forgot to get a picture of the activity but let's just say it was a block party like no other. It also made us regret the decision to stop at the Flying Wedge. If we'd known about the food kiosks ... then off to Waterfront to a) check in on the lineup at Germany House (still too long) and b) see the Olympic Cauldron. Oh, and the rings in the harbour.

Well, there you have it. Finally! Sorry for the long winded post and multitude of pictures but there is just so much going on around here right now! I feel like I need to share it all!! We returned home to three sleeping girls - one of whom was on the couch and had only been asleep a few minutes. LC was most unhappy about being booted out of her room so Grandma (and Grandpa who flew in from Ottawa that night) could have a bed to sleep in too. It's really making us wonder how she's going to handle 10 days in Hawaii in her Pack'n'Play! Yikes!!

It's now past midnight, the party is long over and my parents have left too. It's time to say good night Blogland. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

LC is 11 months old!

I couldn't let this day go by without acknowledgeing my youngest turning 11 months today. I took all these pictures at the rink today while Marley was in her skating lesson. LC really wanted to get out on the ice too!

LC is a going concern these days - emphasis on GOING! I took video footage of her walking today but it is trapped in my camera, darn it! As soon as I figure out how to download it to my laptop and then upload it here, you'll be the first to know. She still prefers to crawl but it starting to gain confidence standing on her own and taking a few steps towards a near target. I get sneaky (hmm ... I think I do that a lot) and make that "near target" a MOVING one!

These next pictures will have to  do until I can release the video from my camera. You can sort of get the idea that she walked towards me as I snapped pictures!

She hasn't grown any new teeth since I last posted about them - so the sum total right now stands at 5. Two up top and 3 down below. I've started weaning her from breastfeeding as well. I'm kind of feeling a bit torn. She is our last baby and I kind of don't want to give it up but then she either wakes at 3AM for a feed or "gently" chews on my nipple and I remember why I started weaning her in the first place!! She quite happily takes whole milk from a bottle or sippy cup but still whines when she's tired and only I will do. I think the tap is starting to run pretty dry though so she's going to have to adapt soon!
She still lives up well to her nickname of "trouble". The other day I was preparing dinner and she quietly opened one of the cupboards, took out a box of Ziploc bags and emptied it! She just looked up at me with this totally angelic look like "what are you so upset about Mom? I'm only learning about in vs out?!" Yup! That's our little Trouble!
She loves Marley and Paige too and will follow them around the house wanting to play. They don't always WANT a baby following them around so the inevitable fights ensue but ... that's life, eh? It's only going to get worse for all of them before it gets better!
She is a darling little girl and we are ever so glad she came into our lives!
Happy 11 month Birthday Sweetheart!!

Our Olympic Experience so far ... Part II

To read Part I go here.

After Greg and Marley's Mountain Adventure, we laid low on the Sunday. Greg had a Flex Day on the Monday so after Kindergarten we took the girls downtown to soak up the atmosphere. We drove into Vancouver and parked near Oakridge Mall where we caught the sky train into Yaletown. After wandering through Italy House (hmmm ... all I can say is I'm glad I didn't stand in a line up) and seeing the huge line up for Live City Yaletown, we started wandering towards The Bay as I wanted to try to get into the Olympic Store. Hamilton Street was closed to traffic and had various booths/kiosks set up. Along the way we came across the Yahoo storefront so we went in to check things out. They were offering free hot chocolate which is an instant hit with our kids so we stuck around. While the girls drank their hot chocolate, Greg stood in line to get our picture taken. They had 3 "studios" set up and lots of Winter props to use. Once your picture was printed you could pin it to these giant letters Y-O-U they had set up. Maybe the pictures will explain it better ...

Greg and the girls heading down Hamilton Street.
Yummy Hot Chocolate Goodness!!

Hamming it up!

Always the poser - this is (obviously) the O from YOU but I did not get a picture of the whole word. Our picture is tacked up just to the right of Marley's foot.

Here's a close up of it ...
Funny story about this picture ... Paige WAS being quite cooperative in the "I'll allow you to take my picture today" department but for whatever reason decided that she did NOT want to have her picture taken by Yahoo. She also did NOT want to wait over to the side while the rest of us got our picture taken so she tucked herself in beside me and hid behind the flag that I was holding up. The young man taking our picture was quite concerned that she was hidden but we reassured him that was what she wanted and to go ahead. So he took a shot and when he said he was going to take a second one I decided that enough was enough and Paige really needed to be in the picture too so when he got to 3, I lowered my side of the flag and ... Voila! A Family Photo!! Sneaky of me, eh? Sometimes you've just got to out think the 3 year olds in life!!

Once we left there we continued on towards The Bay - and we found a sneaky way to get around the hour and a half line up to get into the Olympic Store. Here it is ... head into the store with your child in your stroller (this will ONLY work if you have a stroller and kid - or a wheel chair) and head upstairs to any other floor. We went to the 5th floor where the International Olympic gear is sold (I was tempted to buy something GB!) Then when you have finished shopping/browsing, find the elevators and tell the operator you need to get off on the Main Floor. He made some sort of comment like "I'm only doing this because you have a stroller" which puzzled us until the doors opened on the main floor and we realized we were suddenly (and totally by accident) INSIDE the Olympic Store. Oops! Shucks Darn!! But then Karma did her thing to me and Paige desperately needed to go to the bathroom which of course meant LEAVING the barricaded area and subsequently fighting with the security Guard to be allowed back in to join up with Marley, Greg and LC. That basically killed any shopping bug I had and we made a quick exit into the fresh air!

A reviving walk down Granville street stopping to let the girls climb and be photographed in the following shapes helped restore equilibrium.

I just love Marley's reaction in the background, don't you?! And this last one ... well, apparantly I needed to "commit to it". Let's just say that perching precariously on two milk crates while total strangers hold up your daughters makes it a bit hard to "commit to it"!

We took in a street entertainer and then wandered to Robson Square. The line for the Zip Line (which looked AWESOME) was insane so we just "checked things out". Greg found a play area and we let the girls run wild for a bit, then we went down to the rink before heading back to the skytrain and home.

Here are some pictures of their fun.

A nice shot of Greg and LC.

Even LC got into the rink (once it had emptied out a bit!)

Greg taking a picture of LC in the rink ...
... and the picture he took!

It was a fun afternoon capped off by enormous portions of Sushi thanks to Samurai Sushi on Cambie. What could be better?

That's all for this installment. Sorry for such a long post but I really wanted to post lots of pictures for family out of town or overseas. If you are reading this please feel free to leave comments - I'd love to know you've been by!

Stay tuned for Part III, coming soon ...

Our Olympic Experience so far ... Part I

*** I started this post on Saturday morning and life (this time in the shape of the stomach flu) got in the way until today. Better late than never, right? ***

As you all no doubt know, we are smack in the middle of the Winter Olympics here in the Lower Mainland. The build up over the past 8 or so years has been unbelievable but I've got to say, walking around downtown the other night with the absolute SEA of people wearing Canada's colours and clothing, I never imagined it would be this big!! I had one of those moments, as Greg and I were getting ready to head into town to see Canada play Switzerland in Men's Hockey, where I just stopped and said out loud "this is the freaking OLYMPICS!!!!" How cool is that?!? The mass displays of partiotism are a sight to see. I've always felt all warm and fuzzy about the country that Mum and Dad chose to emmigrate to all those years ago and enjoy wearing red on Canada Day but this surpasses anything I've ever experienced! Or thought I'd experience! (Don't worry though, bagpipes, kilts and rugged, windswept, bleak, heather covered hills still give me goosebumps too!!)

Our Olympic Experience started with watching the Torch Relay come through Ladner - read about it in my post here. That was on a Tuesday and the Opening Ceremonies happened that Friday. Did you watch the Opening Ceremonies? We did and Wow! Amazing! What a show! Well, except for the Olympic Cauldron snaffu ... oh well.
The next day Greg and Marley had tickets to watch the Women's Free Style/Moguls up at Cypress. Greg was unsure whether the weather would allow the event to go on, but they set out none the less, bundled up for any eventuality. They had bus tickets from Lonsdale Quay and since his sister lives at the top of Lonsdale Ave, they parked there and bussed down to the Quay. Paige had been invited for a playdate with her cousins so I was left with only LC for the day. What a feeling! To only have one child to worry about is positive freedom! But I digress.

Let's see some pictures, shall we?!

Marley and Greg had to walk a fair ways from the bus stop at Cypress to the venue ...

 this is taken at about the half way point.

And then this is heading through the security area - you can see the course a bit better now.

Once through, the Qualifying races were first - this is taken during that time. A bit wet, no?

Apparantly Marley spent most of the time down in the snow, playing. I don't think she actually watched too much of the racing! But hey, she had fun and that's what counts!

In between Qualifying and the Finals, Greg and Marley stood in line for the cafeteria for an hour and a half!! At least they had some company! Here is a picture of Marley with her favourite Olympic Mascot, Miga.

And then she got big hugs from Quatchi too.

The Finals were even wetter than Qualifiers, if that's possible!

The only picture of Greg (along with Marley) is unfortunately blurry but just to prove he was there too I am posting it!

Last but not least is a foggy picture taken on bus home - another hour and a half wait for that too! I think someone had a fun day with her Dad on a Grand Adventure but is about 30 seconds aways from crashing right here!

They arrived back at Greg's sisters REALLY late - almost midnight - so they spent the night. Which meant I had almost a full 24 hours with only one child to take care of! You'd think I would have slept well but I really missed my brood and kept waking up! They arrived home safe and sound (if VERY tired!) and we went out to the ABC Restaurant for a Valentines Brunch together to celebrate our reunion after such an adventure.

Marley is clutching the $20 Miga doll that Greg gave her because she was such a trooper! I'm glad he did that because after I heard about the waits for food and busses and after clueing in that their tickets were not for the grandstands but for general admission which meant standing around for HOURS in the rain and cold, I was SO proud of her! She is growing up so fast and is so good natured! I don't think I could have acted any better!! Way to go Marley!
Oh, and way to go Canada too - Jennifer Heil won a Silver Medal that night!