Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday - Growth Patterns

Nathan: 39" 37 lbs
Corwyn: 38" 31 lbs
Feet: very different widths, almost same lengths

Monday, April 23, 2012

Soccer Mom

The boys started soccer the week before last. It's been going about as expected when you get a large flock of 2 & 3 year olds in a field.

For my guys, this is their first class of any time. For some of the kids, the parents put them in the day they turned 2. Conformity Compliance and ability to follow direction varies from kid to kid, week to week, no matter the age they started 'organized' sports.

The first week, as soon as we got to the field, Corwyn took a ball and began dribbling it down the field. Nathan started to do the same thing but then gave up and tried to leave (out the gate and on the way home). While carrying him back in, I noticed Corwyn had made it all the way to the other end of the field. I thought this was a good sign. But then he left his ball there and came back. And he didn't want me (or anyone to get the ball, he wanted it left there).

Then class actually started. Nathan stayed interested for 5 minutes in the 'airplane' practice (foot on ball, run around ball etc). Corwyn almost stayed interested, then Nathan dug into the snacks and he went to join them. The first 30 minutes of that 45 minute class was spent with them snacking. But then an activity caught their eye and they mostly participated with the part of the group that was also participating for the rest of it.

Despite this, I approached week 2 with some optimism. Rather than let them take 30+ minutes to walk the 10 minutes to the Community Center, I brought the wagon. No tired kids at the start of this one. And it was better. Corwyn loved almost any of the activities that involved an actual ball. He loved when they all rushed the goal with the balls. Nathan liked running to me and back to the coach and to me when they practiced that. Nathan got in a snit about something and wandered down the (fenced in) field and Corwyn really got into catching Mommy's tail (a shirt tucked into my pants). Luckily Auntie S had show up with her dog Bishop to the class and took care of Nathan who happily 'walked' the dog back to me.  Overall, it was a huge improvement and I think will get better each week. They are still not 3 and they are where they should be developmentally. I admit having two of them is harder than for the other families who often have two parents present with one kid and trying to get him/her to participate, but we're doing okay.

I got them soccer balls so they can 'practice' if they want to. They need to learn to carry the ball safely so it doesn't roll into the street though and we're still working on that. And if any of my local friends want to come take them to the field across the street after work or on weekends to do so, please do. (hint, hint, hint)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Lego Store

On April 15, 2012, Vancouver made it onto the map, the Lego map that is. I had to visit.

The store opened up in Oakridge Centre at 41st and Cambie, conveniently located on the Canada Line. The mall has two anchor stores in The Bay and Safeway. As a Lego competitor, there is still a Zellers which will be come a Target in the next year or so. Otherwise the mall has a mix of stores, many specialty so the Lego store will fit right in. It couldn't have gotten a better place in the mall directly opposite the open kids play area.

The store is bright and nicely laid out. I was greeted as I walked in and encouraged to get a VIP membership (more on that later). I was also told about the 'Girl' Lego, but I'm not going to get started on that.

I think my head whipped around in every direction several times before I started at one corner and worked my way around the perimeter before moving in to the inner displays. It looks like they have a good selection from each of the current themes available and even some of the just 'bricks' sets. Each theme area had a display of a selection of sets put together giving you a better idea of what is in the boxes. There was a small selection of non-building set type of collectibles including watches, an alarm clock, mini-figure display cases and key chains.

The back wall had one of the features that will set the store apart from even the biggest toy store. It had a brick wall. This had domed filled drawers with just bricks. There were different styles and  different colors.  Some were fairly common bricks but in a less common color. Some were hard to come by bricks. For others, they may be common, but there may not be enough in a set to do everything you want. You get what looks like a cross between a giant frozen drink cup and a bucket and fill it up with what you want. If you bring the cup back for a refill, you get a discount. I saw many cups being filled and dumped and repacked in ways that make me think of Tetris to ensure that maximum space is used. I'm hoping that they rotate the stock periodically.

The next thing that set the Lego store apart from a 'regular' store is the custom mini-figure area. For 12.99 you get three totally custom built mini-figures in a special package made just for them. The possibilities are endless and there is nothing stopping you from mixing and matching themes of people. I poked around in here for a bit and will be back for sure. I think I would have made (at least) one three-pack but I foolishly went on a PD day and there were so many kids having fun that I didn't want to interfere (well, I wanted to but knew better).

There were a couple of small build areas with more than enough blocks to keep the kids at them busy.  The staff member who was restocking the brick wall, would take the bricks that left the wall and didn't make it into cups and dump them into this play area. This was probably much more efficient than sorting those tiny pieces out. It also exposed the builders to some of the bricks from the wall that they may not have seen.

The Technic section and Duplo section were fairly small. The store overall wasn't huge, but it makes good use of its space. I suspect they will change the focus of their stock based on their business in the first few months.

Because the boys are still in the Duplo range, for this first visit, I limited my block purchase to that grouping. I bought one of the sets aimed at girls. It adds bricks of different colors to their collection. And they got a turret to boot. (They have already built a few castles since the set came home 2 days ago). And for myself, I think I showed really good restraint and only got a key chain. I will go back, both with and without the kids. When I bring the kids, I will be prepared to buy what they pick so it's likely it will be close to their birthday (less than 6 weeks away). As they get older and we go back again (and again, and again), it can be to add things to their Christmas and Birthday lists or to pick gifts for others.

While the store opened on April 15, the grand opening isn't until May 4. There will be a 3 day building extravaganza. I don't know if we'll go. I'd love to but would really need someone else to come with us. The boys are past the stroller stage but getting them there and back on transit plus in a crowd by myself may be a bit much. I will try though. You can find more details at Lego Grand Opening

Online and in store, you can sign up to be a Lego VIP. The membership will allow you to accumulate points and convert them to Lego savings. Of course I signed up.

I have a LOT of Lego. No one really understands how much until I show them. As they get older, it will go to the boys, starting with the bigger pieces and moving onward. I am so happy both love Lego (Duplo) so much. There isn't a day that goes by that it's not played with. As they start to use some of my Lego, we'll know more what their interests in it are (I have lots of basic bricks, city type sets and castle sets). And of course there will be new themes that come out and new brick styles that we will need to add. I can't wait.

If you love Lego or love a Lego lover, you will enjoy the Lego store.

This review was done by me. No on asked me to do it. I was not compensated in any way. I did it for my love of a product and a selfish hope that the specialty store that just opened up stays open for a very long time. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What's eating you?

Or rather, what do you eat?

Based on the doctors recommendations for Nathan after his emergency room visit, he's gone dairy and gluten free. This means that the home is dairy and gluten free {gf}(although my caregiver brings her own food and there is often gluten but rarely dairy). So by default, Corwyn is also gluten and dairy free (although I don't freak out as much if we're out and he gets a hold of something). I admit that because I eat lunch at the office, I was not kept to the same restrictions.

This has opened up a whole new adventure in cooking for me. Before, their favorite go-to meals if I didn't have something ready was pb sandwiches, plain bread or mac n cheese (really healthy I know). Mac n cheese is totally out. I've tried the gf and dairy free kinds and neither will even go near them. Happily, they've stopped asking for it. Bread is a different story. I'm trying to find a good (easy) gf bread recipe but no luck so far. The local grocery and health food stores carry them, but they are almost 7 a loaf (and its a small loaf). They eat much less bread now. Luckily their breakfast stayed mostly the same, oatmeal with fruit. It changed in that I buy the slow cook gf oatmeal now instead of the inexpensive instant, but I don't mind the extra time in the morning.

I cook lots and lots and lots of soups. They like most of them, but some I end up eating all of. They also like rice with the veggie-they-currently-approve-of and chickpeas so again, they get lots of that. And sushi rolls. Every night, when I walk in the door from work, Corwyn greets me with 'buy sushi? buy sushi?'. Sushi is a Friday thing but he wants it daily. On days when I have no idea what to make for dinner or little time, I'll make an exception and get some. There is a combo at the local place with 8 rolls of yam and avocado and 8 rolls of tofu and avocado for 6.50. And happily Corwyn eats all the first and Nathan all the second. Why happily? Because the yam is breaded and Nathan can't have the breading. So it works out perfectly.

I have now discovered 'flours' that I had no idea existed. Some are obvious like oat or rice flour but then there is coconut and sorghum (what the heck is a sorghum anyway). I've borrowed some cookbooks from the library  and any I found overly useful I've since bought. I make muffins 2-3 times a week now.

I've also been 'forced' to do lots of reading on the subject and everywhere I turn I'm reading more and more about the problems associated with eating the wheat that we have around in this generation (I already know all dairy ones, but I have a cheese addiction). As of last week, I've gone gf myself. Actually for the short term, I'm going totally grain free (no rice, oats etc) just to zap my body into a healthy zone. I'm also sugar free too (including things like honey, agave etc) and hope this is a more permanent thing. In a week, the pain in my knees has decreased by about half (I'm holding out for the other half) and I have more energy and generally feel better (that I lost 6 pounds doesn't hurt either).

I'm not sure where this will go, but I am committed to doing what is necessary to keep Nathan healthier and if giving up certain foods will do that, then so be it.

Here are some pictures to prove that I'm not starving them or giving them only boring, bland food (although coming up with a gf, dairy free Easter was a challenge).

Wordless Wednesday - Playground Fun

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Shhhhh - I don't want to jinx it

I think we may be done with pull-ups at night now too. But then again, I may be speaking too soon.....