she took over the iphone

last saturday, we had a belated 10th birthday dinner celebration for chaeli. my family came, as well as chaeli’s godparents, auntie ada and uncle hoa.

throughout the evening, i saw from the corner of my eyes, ada and chaeli busy posing for photos using ada’s iphone.

she sent me those photos by email later, adding a series which she found on her phone when she got home. they were ALL of chaeli – dozens of selfies.

iphone self-shots

taking over her godmother’s iphone


this is so typical chaeli.


talking politics, environment and Twilight with a 9 year old

it’s been difficult to blog lately. the start of school is always a big transition from the slower pace (well, slow for us) summer days.

thankfully, chaeli has been making it quite easy on us. there’s a noted level of maturity in her. she’s always been good at doing her homework but there’s been less encouragement from us so far, as she takes fuller responsibility for herself in this department. also, she’s been working really hard to get as much done at school (unlike past years where her need to socialize won out on the daily battle).

i’m interested in her school curriculum as after the parent-teacher meet and greet night, i got a glimpse of what they will be studying this year. one really big plus is their science studies, which will be focusing on the different types of natural environments.

chaeli’s just getting into the BBC documentary, blue planet (she’s a big fan on anything to do with marine life) and as we were also recently given a free copy of planet earth (with the added help of david suzuki’s nature of things series), we’ve been discussing the importance of maintaining habitats for animals. she is questioning why the government is allowing for these beautiful areas of nature destroyed for oil, wood and other natural resources. she is questioning if the government, then, are just very bad people – good question. not at all easy to answer as they are included in the accountability of promoting businesses that are increasing the risk of endangered species and loss of habitats, but are not the only ones involved in these decisions.

the conversation i had with chaeli yesterday, boiled down to the fact that people, naturally, have the ability to be greedy. some more than others.

overall, we’ve been trying our best to try to explain to her some of the realities of this world we live in (with even a question of whether or not we’ll ever be successful at enabling a colony on another planet one day when we destroy planet earth).

anyway, i’m hoping to continue to teach her about the importance of ecosystems and some of the symbiotic relationships commonly found that affects all living things on our planet.

another interesting subject will be her in-class novel study. they will be tackling tuck everlasting. the teachers have admitted they find this quite a challenging book for this age group to be added to the curriculum. i did some online research and while the age group for this novel is from 9-12, most people say it is probably an easier read for 11-13 years old.

so, to help chaeli, i’ve ordered the trade paperback version and will read the book myself. the aim is to elicit a discussion about immortality – and whether it is a blessing or not.

and speaking of immortality, chaeli’s been asking to watch the entire twilight series – of which she is also asking if she can read the books as well. so, yesterday, i let her watch the first two movies – she is hooked. i’ve read some people stating it is not appropriate for a 9-year-old to read the twilight series and normally, i would agree. if she wants to continue reading the books, i’ll most likely stop her at breaking dawn until she is a teen. throughout her reading and watching the movies, i’ll have some serious discussions with her about healthy relationships (with the added bonus of our first conversation on immortality; noting to her this is a topic she will be discussing in class while reading tuck everlasting – whatever helps).

i actually think it’s easier to have this type of discussion before girls go into the obsessive, boy-craze phase. you actually get a grasp of their true attention before you lose them to hormones and all hell breaks loose.

back from our summer vacation

as what is becoming a tradition every year, we plan our summer vacation during doug’s regularly schedule 7 days off between his 24 shifts at his fire station. until he gains more seniority we most likely won’t be seeing his vacation time in the summer months. so for now, we will continue planning our small vacation get-away between the last 7 stretch of days he has off (friday to thursday).

this year, we went to awenda provincial park for a 4 night camping trip. we lucked out on beautiful weather, aside from one night of thunderstorm, which started after we went to bed and ended before we got up. the pitter-patter of rain hitting our trailer actually gave me the best deep sleep i’ve had in months.

as always, it was too short. i wished we had a full week up there – it was just such a beautiful place to be.

i will devote a whole photo-blog post soon. for now, i just wanted to share chaeli’s success at mastering riding a two-wheel bike with no training wheels or any help from us.

in fact,  we tried and tried to help her last summer and beginning of this spring. most times, nothing really resulted aside from frustrations (on both our parts) and tears.

just two weeks ago, actually, she fell, with bike, on her side after doug tried to help her learn how to ride.

while at our campsite, just an hour and a half away from dinner time, she got it! chaeli used the slight slope along the dirk road to allow gravity to do it’s work while she learned, first, to just go down the small decent while practicing balancing (her feet were off the pedals and close to the ground ready to touch down when she needed to.) every now and then, doug and i would quietly glance over (making sure she did not see us because she really wanted to be left alone to figure it all out) and i would hear doug chanting, “come on… you alwost have it… just a little bit more…”

soon enough, she started to peddle. first just a few rotations, then peddling non-stop all the way down the road. the lady across from us saw and clapped – it was pretty clear what chaeli had accomplished.

my mother-in-law kept on insisting to doug that we need to hold on to the back to make it happen. i had told doug months ago, “no… not always. the only way i learned was when everyone stopped trying to help and just let me be.” apparently, the apple does not fall to far from the tree.

i beamed with pride. not just about chaeli’s success… but that she is very much like me when it comes to learning something new. just leave us be – give us space – and we’ll catch on.

here’s a video of her riding just 15 minutes after mastering both feet on the pedals:

VID-20130821-00050 a video by shyeyes on Flickr.

mother & daughter breakfast and manicure


manicure - nail arti took chaeli out for breakfast at this neighbourhood restaurant. the place has really old decorations which looked like it was last designed back in the 80’s only the person decorating it was still stuck in the 70’s. if that makes any sense.

but lots of people come back to this place to eat. i definitely wouldn’t say it’s a great place for lunch and dinner. but for breakfast? perfect. if all you want is the traditional eggs, bacon, sausage, home fries and the occasional pancake or two, this is the place to go.

the service is fast and the price is great. everything was prepared well. chaeli’s scrambled eggs, choice of 2 breakfast sausage or ham or bacon, 1 toast and a generous amount of home fries came to $3.99. my 3 eggs, 2 toast, 3 bacon or sausage and home fries, came out to $4.99.

afterwards, we went next door to the nail place. i treated chaeli with a kid’s manicure (which is only just some filing and nail polish. they always seem to do a great job with chaeli. with me? it’s a hit or miss. my one hand looks great. the other? 3 nails have ‘nail polish bubbles’. i don’t really care because i go to get my cuticles fixed, my nails filed down and smoothed over, any work around the nails (i have very dry skin) and of course, the pampering. but the actual nail polish work, well, i’ve had better. the problem is the one place i go to with B, is not in our area. all the places around our area, you won’t find anything less than $15.  but that place B introduced me to a couple of years ago is only $8. i really have to make an effort to go there more often. true, it’s far. but a subway ride plus 1 street car transfer might be well worth it. especially to have brunch/lunch at one of the many delicious places to eat around the area.

and as far as that place may be, they have given me the best manicure ever! outside the more posh and expensive spa’s i’ve been to, this place truly does quality work.

but we had shopping to do for a bbq-pool party tomorrow and for when my parents come over for dinner monday night over the civic holiday. i just wanted to stay local.

either way, chaeli loved her nail polish choice – plus they do a little art work for free for kids 11 and under. she was tickled pink!

nostalgic summer days


tomorrow will be the last day of july. and like other summers, only as each year passes, it seems to get worse and worse, i feel almost an anxiety attack hovering over my head, ready to strike at any moment as i stop and look at the first half of our summer and think, yes, as always, where did the time go? and then i look ahead for our month of august and it almost makes my stomach churn knowing it will all be over with a blink of an eye.

a blink of an eye. it use to be just an expression to me. now, the saying holds so much more…

summer patio 2005

hanging out on our patio – summer 2005

we went out for dim sum with friends this past weekend, then hung out in their backyard as our kids played. it was nice – the kids have not seen each other for about half this year so they were doing what they needed to catch up on lost time.

my friend asked if i’ve gotten use to doug’s routine. and the answer is that i truly have. summer time is actually just a little harder because of the 8-9 weekends, we only get him for 4 weekends. at the same time, chaeli and i have gotten use to hanging out when he’s on shift.

and it’s been a lot of fun. we hang, we talk, we eat out, we shop and on the occasion, we get our nails done. on rainy days, we stay in and watch movies – from pixar to superheros to even romantic comedies  (PG rated ones, of course).

i need to slow down. stop and relax. it’s the only way to enjoy the rest of the summer.

well, that and weekend (and some weekdays) gin and tonics.