Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What does a Christmas tree need? A Dinosaur riding a reindeer!

and of course, blocks...

Holly's Spoken Word Art

"I got Dinosaurs On
I got Pants On

"It's a Starfish
Hello Starfish
What are you doing?
I'm doing Oh Canada"

Friday, December 17, 2010

One Week To Go

So with a week to go before Christmas let's see how I've done so far...

  • 30% of Christmas cards sent out
  • 70% of presents bought. Alas, several of them were bought online and now I get to play the "will it make it in the post before Christmas" game.
  • The tree is up!
  • This year Mum and I will be making perogies* for the first time. We're hoping we've figured out the recipe from watching Nanna adding a "dollop of this" and a "pinch of that". Family recipes are very hard to write down.
  • I've actually managed to get quite a few hours of work in this month, so hopefully I can actually do some relaxing and have some"off" time during Christmas.

*Polish potato and cheese dumplings

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I'm trying to get my Christmas cards in the post in time for them to make it by Christmas, and I am sure I'm already too late. But today, for the first time, I am addressing an envelope to just my Nanna and not my Grandpa. Even though he passed away a few months ago, it was this act that really made it hit home me that he is really gone. How I feel can only be a mere hint of how my Nanna must feel this Christmas. To lose your partner of 65 years must leave a hole that nothing can fill.

It is times like this that the distance between continents seems greater than ever.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

School's Out!

Well I survived my first class at BCIT, Technical Writing Style. There was a lot of work for a six week class, but I don't really feel I learnt that much. However, I did really well on all my assignments, so I guess that means that I learnt that my writing skills are already pretty good.

I'm not certain if I'll continue with the program next year. I suspect the Technical Communication program at SFU is better. However, SFU charges university prices, and considering I still have a massive student loan debt, I don't really wanna add to it. I may just pick and choose the courses I feel might benefit me, without the need to complete a particular diploma or certificate. Hell, I might even take some small, freelance writing jobs to gain experience.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Additional Accidental Photography

On a related note, I wanna send a shout-out to "the Dude". He's a good friend who works for apple designing OS for the iphone. Thanks to my whinging and his listening, you can turn off "delete apps". Now, when I finally get my ipod back from Holly, all my apps are there instead of random blank spaces. The apps are never in the same order as when I gave the ipod to Holly, but finding them keeps my mind limber, right?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Discovering First Person

Over the past few weeks Holly has started speaking in "first person". It has been interesting watching Holly's developing language skills. When she first started talking she referred to herself as "baby". Then she started saying "Holly" to mean herself. More recently she had been referring to herself in the second person. When she wanted to use a spoon she would say "feed yourself", meaning herself. I guess its because she spends so much time with me talking to her and asking her questions. She often says things in question form. She would finish her bottle of milk and say "Are you finished little milky, OK".

But just this past week she's started using "my", "mine" and "I". Now she says "I am finished little milky".

I can't believe how quickly she is growing up.

More Accidental Photography

The new ipod has both a rear-facing and forward-facing camera. Now Holly can accidentally take photos of her face and feet.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What a week!

Wow, things have crazy busy in the last week. We had our good friend Rob visiting from California and staying with us. It was great to spend time with him, but it meant more time partying and less time working on things I needed to get done, like the major project of the course I'm doing right now. The project was already hampered by the fact that my class partner was a lovely, but severely English-deprived, woman. There is a prereq for the class of English 12 at at a C+ level or higher, but it's pretty much on the honour system that your English is at that level. Anyway, I did manage to get the first draft of my project in, though two days late.

Besides making it to the club the weekend before last, we finally held our first big party at our new place; the long awaited "Jaime's 30th". It was a great turn out and everyone seemed to have fun, but alas I failed by eating nothing before the party, drinking a few cocktails a little too quickly and then spending the later parts of the evening on the bathroom floor of our ensuite (thank god we have two bathrooms in our new apartment). The next day I spent dying a thousand deaths and swearing off alcohol forever.

I have managed to get in a few hours of work in here and there, but no where as many as I mean too. I am hoping for a big push in hours next month, but who am I kidding, it's Christmas.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holly's Accidental Photography

Holly loves my ipod touch. I have a wary eye towards children and too much media, but I accept that the ipod has been a godsend in certain circumstances. A 15 hour flight back to Vancouver, dinner in a nice restaurant and the occasional ten minutes of peace are valid reasons to give Holly the ipod. And there are some great educational apps. The Intro to Math by Montessorium is great, though a little above Holly's abilities right now. And a lot of the words games are great. However, it's certainly something she would spend far too much time using if I let her use "mummy's phone" as she calls it. She also has an annoying habit of deleting all my apps :(

But the funniest by-products of her use of the phone are the photos she accidentally takes using the built in camera. She usually just repeatedly hits the camera button to hear the sound it makes, but then we end up with a series of photos of Holly's knees and feet.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

And...we're back

So it turns out that in order to be a writer all you have to do is put letters on paper (or screen) in an order that pleases people. Having neglected this blog for too long, I have decided to resurrect it just at a time when I should be doing something else. I have recently begun a Certificate of Technical Writing at BCIT, in an attempt to carve out a career for this post-archaeology me. I have homework to do! The old me would have used her stock-standard procrastination tool of solitair, tetris or bejewelled. But the new me will waste time by using my writing skills to create prose that will earn me no money, gain me no grades and generally be read by no one.

I used to have a blog call Shanathalas, which was pretty much my musings and a place for me to broadcast the amusing things I found on the internet. But now we have facebook, and twitter...and stumbleupon and last.fm..whatever the hell that is. So I started another blog about life as a parent and pretty much what the three of us are up these days. And I was pretty lame at keeping up at that. So in the spirit of renewal I hereby rename this blog "Noisy Penguins" in honour of Holly's regular and insistent request to see this video.

Now I know, blogs aren't cool anymore. Generally words aren't hip unless they utilize less than four letters, 50% of which must be "fail", "win" or "bieber". But I need to get into a habit of writing on a regular basis, and as I gave up my Nanowrimo attempt on November 2nd having written exactly zero words of my magnum opus, a blog is probably just my pace.

So in summation (see that? technical writing :) my blog will have updates on the family, recipes, general musings, and more crap I find on the internet. And there may be some fail and win and cute kitties.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Today Holly Learned...

That she doesn't need a tissue when she can just rub her nose on mum's shirt.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Today Holly Learned...

That cherry blossoms don't taste anywhere as good as they look.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You turn your back for a minute...

shick, shick, shick...shick, shick, shick

I heard that noise for about for 30 seconds before I turned around to see that Holly had gotten ahold of a small container of baby powder and was shaking it all over the floor with glee. I don't use baby powder very often (only when I'm reusing gloves for colouring my hair), so I guess this was the first time Holly had encountered the material. When I finally discovered the carnage she had made, she ran off giggling, leaving a trail of powdered footprints in her wake.

Naturally I went to grab the camera, returning to find her rolling around in the powdered mess. I could stop her or I could take photos of her. I chose the latter.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Holly on the Swings

Thanks to Charlie for taking this video on her iphone

Sunday, April 11, 2010

All the Words Holly Can Say*

Mamma, DaDa, baby, goal (Ice Hockey), shoe, star, copt (Helocopter), kitty, koo (Kangaroo), ball, fishee, tree (which applies to tree, plants and aquatic plants), book, bird, toes, peas, straw (strawberries), cheese, cheeries (Cheerios), Nana, blue, socks, cow, soon (Spoon), buba (Bubbles), bear, peng (penguin), Wawa (water), Pretty, boat, shee (sheep), cay (cake), dee (dessert), tee (teething ring), cah (carrots), cello, bah (Balloons), bath, Srah (Our friend Sarah), poo, bye, dass (dance)

I think it's a lot of words for a 13-month old. Amazingly, she doesn't just mimic words, but seems to understand their concepts as well. Today is Holly's friend Luke's 1st birthday party, and as I was putting out a dress for her to wear she pointed at it and said "pretty" and smiled. I have never described that object as pretty, but she knows what it means.

She's just on the verge of being able to say "Plane". She has a picture of it in her word book. She points to it and then points up in the sky, as to say "that's where the plane is".

If I say bath, she runs to the bathroom to get ready for her bath. If I say helicopter, she gets excited and runs to the window saying "copt". While we were having breakfast I was talking to Jaime and said "penguin" (as in I wish I could get that penguin shaped waffle-maker) and Holly said "peng" and pointed to the penguin that was on the bib she was wearing. And today I made the mistake of saying "Nana" (a word she's just learned) and she ran to the front door because she thought we were going to my mum's place. She was very disappointed when I told her mum is away for the weekend and we weren't going there.

I suppose it's natural that she'll be an early bloomer in the talking department; Jaime and I are real talkers and I never shut up.

* List soon to be out of date

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Holly Just Said...

"Poo Poo Baby"

She wasn't lying.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Emerging from the Plague House!

There's a nasty bug that everyone in Vancouver seems to have at the moment. I can only speculate that everyone thrown together in mirth during the Olympics must been a nice vector of infection. Poor Jaime came down with it first during the Olympics and was sick for over a month. Cough, cough, cough, poor guy. He had to take almost a week off work.

Then Holly came down with it too. Her first ever cough (she's had a few head colds before). To make it worse, she came down with it the afternoon after having her 12 month inoculations for Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chicken Pox, Meningitis and Pnuemo. So the poor baby was miserable with a cough, fever and general aches, and then ten days later she came down with mild chicken pox symptoms, and then a few days later, Measles symptoms. She was a very unhappy baby.

Then I came down with it and ended up in hospital with asthma-like wheezing. It was awful; it really was. It took ages for us all to get over it; However, we are all better now.

Coincidentally, I was selected by a Mum's blogging group to try a bunch of new HydraSense* products for babies with colds. They sent me a bunch of saline, and this new nasal aspirator for clearing baby's blocked nose. As Holly did not have a blocked nose, I couldn't really give it a try, though it does look like this would work a lot better than the old bulb-syringe method. However, the saline was great for her sore nasal passages. It obviously made her feel better, as she would actually let me squirt the water up her nose.

Anyway, lets hope that's all our sickness over with for a while.

*Full disclosure: I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central and received a Mom Central gift pack to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Holly

Our little girl has turned One-Year Old! Unbelievable! I cannot believe its been a whole year since Holly popped into the world.

We would have loved to have had a big party for her birthday, but the tininess of our apartment meant just a small gathering. However, it was great, especially as Holly had her favourite three little pals, Maite, Poppy and Luke, there with her. They tucked into a big bowl of cheerios while the big people enjoyed the birthday cake.

And while we were exhausted by the little get-together, Holly was energised! She was buzzing even after everyone left, so much so, that she decided that that would be the day she would take her first steps! Sure enough she managed three or four steps on her own. And now there is no stopping her. By the next weekend she could walk clear across the living room and now she's more of a walker than a crawler. We even had to go out and buy her some new walking shoes.

Her talking has really developed as well. She's got at least about 10 words in our language, but talks constantly in her own. And she understands us very well too. She can't say "no" yet, but sure knows how to shake her head "no".

Her manual dexterity has improved immensely as well. She can now push shaped blocks through the correspondaing shaped holes. Annoyingly, she can unscrew the lids off containers, prompting a whole new level of babyproofing.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nothing says "I Love You" like Birds of Prey

For Valentine's Day this year I arranged for a rather unconventional activity; a Falconry Workshop. Both Jaime and I have been fascinated with the art of falconry for yonks through our mutual love of both Medieval Arts and Birds. Vancouver has a fabulous medieval martial arts school, Academie Duello, and they have a falconer in residence.

We spent several hours learning the theory of falconry, before we got a chance to handle these beautiful birds. Sabre is a Gyr Falcon, and Cabal a Harris Hawk, but my favourite was Mistral, a Peregrine Falcon. She was a little skittish at first, but seemed to really warm to me.

In the afternoon we had the opportunity to take the birds down to local park and let them fly. Luckily, it was a bright sunny day and the birds seemed to really enjoy going for spin.

The course was really fun, and I was very impressed by the instructor's professionalism and respect for the birds.

Now that we've done the course, we can come back and work with the the birds on a regular basis.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Here Comes the Five Ring Circus

So the Torch is here; The Olympics start today. Its certainly brought out the passion in folks; some love it and some hate it. I have friends who have personally carried the torch, and I have others going in the Anti-Olympics protests. My feelings lie somewhere in between. I am happy for the athletes, and interested in watching the hockey, figure skating and skiing events (on TV of course: I can't afford to actually go to a game).

However, I am upset at how much two weeks of sport is going to cost. The cost of living in Vancouver has gone up massively. We have least affordable housing in the world. The budget overrun for the games is something like six billion dollars. We're already suffering from cutbacks in Education, Healthcare and Housing, and if the province is now bankrupt, it's things like Holly's public schooling that's going to suffer.

Security sounds like it will be a nightmare, so it's well good I'm not going to any games or having to commute to work during the events. I do worry about us being a terrorist target, though I hope those fears are unfounded.

I hate to sound like a Cassandra, but seven years ago I thought it was tenuous to have the winter Olympics here as we don't always get a good snowfall. Ironically, the past six years have been great for snow in the winter. Right now, everywhere in the Northern Hemisphere is coated in unprecedented amounts of snow. And here? it's like spring! I've never seen the flowers bloom this early, and they're trucking snow to Cypress for the skiing and snowboarding events there. My wish for the weather? That it doesn't rain the whole time. Vancouver is wonderful, but the rain can be dreary.

Still, it's lovely to see so many people from around the world visiting us here in Vancouver. Its great to see such patriotic spirit. Let's hope Canada does better this Olympics than the last.

So it's true, we're paying for the them, we might as well enjoy them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Eleven-Month Update

One month shy of her first birthday Holly is just amazing. She is transforming from a baby to a toddler, and I am terribly behind in an update. Holly has grown in leaps and bounds and now can:
  • Stand unsupported
  • Clap her hands
  • Stand unsupported WHILE clapping her hands!
  • Point: she's mad for the pointing. If she sees something super-exciting she points at it with both index fingers and cries out a big arrrrwwww!!!
  • Talk. She's got a decent use of Mamma, Dadda, and babby. She also growls like a veloceraptor.
  • Walk while supported. She getting great at this and looks ready to start taking steps on her own. Her biggest hindrance is her habit of walking around on tippy-toes like a ballerina. Once her heals hit the ground she'll be off like a marathon runner.
  • Eat lots of things. While she doesn't eat great amounts of anything, she likes almost everything, with the exception of squash. She even loves cauliflower, broccoli and spinach.
  • Chomp! She now has three teeth (two bottom, one top) and the other top one is close to coming through.
  • Turn pages of books. She loves books both for their words and pictures (and sometimes taste).
  • Dance. She loves music and will bounce back and forth to the beat of music she likes. She is her father's daughter
  • Unfortunately, she has also figured out how to turn on the TV, remove articles of clothing and put objects in the toilet.
Her favourite things are bright lights, trees, people, books, music and cuddles. She's had a rough patch with the sleeping ever since we came back from Australia, but we're working on it, and she seems to be getting better at sleeping through the night once we finally get her down.

Most of all, she's a happy baby. She loves smiling, laughing, and playing with her friends. She even enjoys going out for dinner! She's the bestest bubby ever and we love her so much.

PS: I forgot to add that she has learnt to high-five!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010