Three weeks off

I must have been so annoying when I was chortling with delight – I really hate that word, so I use it now – about my three weeks of summer vacation. But it’s now over and I’m back to my full work schedule, too “9-5” instead of 1.5 hours less each day.

I made my first Post-It note schedule to illustrate how things don’t go according to plan, sort of.

Week 1

Saturday Not a “vacation” day but the first day after the last day of work was a fun one!

  • Beaconsfield Park (Slocan), a park MY looked up online and we all head to despite returning to East Van later the same day. Some play at the playground before converging on the basketball court.
  • PNE afternoon with my sister and family and NPY’s sister and family – I made no issue with Kiddo’s requests for food (lemonade, corn dog – was gonna anyways – cotton candy – I didn’t get my Dole Whip though), i.e., not the cost of it or anything
  • Tried birria taco that I heard about on IG
  • Ride tickets were sold out but BIL’s friend spoke to a manager and got some vouchers good for one ride for one person. Kiddo chose to try bumper cars with me and both did and didn’t enjoy it.

Sunday

Monday What a way to start off my official vacation days but to be home with both kids. Kiddo is done with summer camps and Baby’s skin flare-up couldn’t be ignored and with spots all over her body, I thought daycare would send her home so kept her home.

  • Day at home with the kids because of Baby’s skin flare-up
  • On hold with doctor’s office to get an appointment, then simultaneous medical appointments in the afternoon for both kids
  • Dinner: maple salmon & garlic butter cascarecce & mushrooms – I always feel better about myself when I’ve fed the family some fish

Tuesday

  • Day 2 with both kids
  • L’ecole Bilingue playground for 2 hours, followed by McDonald’s lunch
  • Introduced Kiddo to Perler
  • Dinner: pork jowl S&B  (Japanese) curry (no photo)
  • Community centre registration opened and secured music lessons for Kiddo

Wednesday A FREE DAY, or so it seemed. Just that Baby was back in daycare and Kiddo and I had a whole day to spend together.

  • Bike ride to Yaletown – the usual food stuff: Urban Fare lunch, Mister Nanaimo ice cream sando for me, double oreo ice cream for Kiddo
  • The David Lam playground was so dingy and anticlimactic after the previous day’s playground hang – Kiddo was really clingy to me
  • Bombay Sapphire Gin art installation appreciation while enjoying ice cream
  • Dinner: Black & Vegan taco pasta + shrimp (was getting old/freezer burn)

Thursday

  • Drop off Baby with grandparents – should I be watching her because I’m off? No! I wouldn’t get anything
  • Spontaneous tennis practice session at Rupert Park – it was the first time I’ve played with him and he went to tennis camp back in July. We played until I said it was raining too hard.
  • Chez Christophe – Kiddo declined the pastries and choose a macaroon but after a taste, he couldn’t resist the cheddar rosemary pull-apart croissant
  • Coquitlam Ikea run – I was super-disappointed by certain items being out of stock but it was fun while Kiddo was amenable and we were exploring every room like we were visiting someone’s house. We had lunch there: two kid meals – mac ‘n’ cheese and meatballs, slice of Daim cake.
  • Dinner at SIL’s – Kiddo was keen to play with his cousin(s) and thus leave Ikea when I was pretty done too.

Friday

  • Costco run with Kiddo – made the intelligent decision to forgo savings on bulky Kleenex and Bounty we take forever to use and annoy the heck out of me – also, it was one of those brilliant visits where I didn’t buy any meat that needed to be frozen. I loathe having to buy the meat for the meat-eaters and then be the one to deal with portioning it.
  • After not getting a toy at Ikea, I got Kiddo his “back-to-school” toy – it wasn’t on sale, but it was a three-part Lego set so it could be spread out. Win!
  • Baby had an in-person doctor’s appointment so I had to take her out of daycare early and bring her

Week 2

Saturday

  • Morning hang with MY sans NPY that ended up at the North China Creek playground
  • NPY was preparing to emcee at the celebration of life of a friend which I couldn’t attend because of lack of childcare
  • Kafka for coffee and treats – pistachio brown butter financier all the kids loved, as MY puts it, her kid loves everything that comes from me!
  • Walked Kiddo to the sleepover he wouldn’t be staying overnight for – got to be nosy and see his friend’s home and chat with the dad
  • Which meant walking home and on the way were Dollarama & Sungiven & Dollar Store with More so I hit them all up
  • A Sushi California dinner for just me and Baby looks like the following. Yum. I was super stoked to be able to bring back about a dozen pairs of chopsticks and they were gratefully accepted.

Sunday

  • Deep Cove kayaking with Kiddo and SIL/BIL and their school-aged kid – the MIL/FIL watched the toddlers and at one point wanted to come to Deep Cove too and it would not have nearly been as nice since they would run out of things to do
  • Post-kayaking cas’ lunch at Honey’s Doughnuts – I merely got some soup for me and a PB&J sando for Kiddo and donuts of course and the bread was so excellent I’m so pleased with that decision
  • Cates Park hang for the kids – it came to my purview from this list of Vancouver area playgrounds with a view
  • Toddlers were still napping so dads played some bball and I showed Kiddo about the convenience of playing tennis against a wall – we played “doubles style” where I stood behind him and got the balls he could not
  • My cousin is one of the owners of Nancy Go Yaya which is opening soon in Chinatown. They had an ice cream and drinks pop-up at their location and it was a good opportunity to catch up with my cousin and try out their condensed milk soft serve (YUM) and have it in a float with 100plus (a fizzy Singaporean sports drink)
  • Dinner: Mushroom papardelle – papardelle is just magical and cooks so well and elevates any pasta dish

Monday

  • After that packed weekend, chill …. Even though Baby was at daycare, we didn’t really venture out.
  • Instead, I looked through thousands of Lego to find Spiderman Mech pieces so Kiddo could re-build his Spiderman Mech to accompany the three new Mechs that came in the Costco pack
  • Dinner: made orzo risotto because I had the time – topped it with mushroom ragu topping because of having the other portion of mushrooms and it was a recipe still fresh in my mind and it was so tasty!

Tuesday

  • Had both kids while NPY was working from home – I tried to get Baby to get on her balance bike but made the mistake of bringing Kiddo out with his scooter and she only wanted to be on his scooter. Meanwhile, MY’s toddler is getting the hang of walking her bike every day.
  • During nap: Chinese school registration & New Town bakery run
  • Dinner: Rotisserie chicken rice (no pic)

Wednesday

  • NPY basically told us not to waste the “last nice days” and get out of the house and his way
  • On our way to the subway station, we came across the completed Voxel Bridge Biennale installation and had a little bit of photgraphy fun and Kiddo’s first taste of AR – it’s supposed to represent and teach you about blockchain which I don’t know either so I told him it’s like being inside a computer
  • Skytrain & Seabus (Kiddo: “I love things that move”) to North Van – September 1 was the first day where Translink was allowing kids under 12 to ride free – we had McD’s lunch, explored the Shipyards area and sought out a playground, the last of which had a great view but disappointing play structure
  • To perk up our day, Ernest Ice Cream where I tried out their s’mores ice cream sandwich and Kiddo had a scoop of ice cream
  • Dinner: all veggies – General Tso cauli & Veg Soul Food veg broth braised SH bok choy & roasted potatoes – of course Kiddo like sweet General Tso and was that the time we first heart him suggest I can have a restaurant because he so liked it?

Thursday

  • Drop off Baby with in-laws with a small twinge of guilt that I don’t keep them both with me all day because I’m off. It was sparked by MIL’s characteristic surprised with the responsibility when she answered the door and saw me there.
  • After dreaming about it all summer, I got Kiddo on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) with me. It’s my first – but not last – summer getting the Windsure five-rental pass for the price of four rentals because I fairly easily managed to use up four of the passes. The first session I went on was at noon and – holy – winds of 10 knots. The second session, I used two passes for me and NPY and at 9:45 it was super calm we went far out and touched a cargo ship! So I knew to get Kiddo out early for calmest waters and no real harm (loss of money) if we bailed for any reason. We almost ended up with a hardtop SUP which are smaller and less stable but they inflated a spare one for us and we did spend the hour out. Kiddo was more actively paddling than I believe he had been in the kayak and it was a great experience. He wanted us to follow the sparkling water and I ended up having to fight the headwind back. I counted strokes aloud and thought I would have to paddle 100s of times but it was just 60 strokes to get back to calmer waters.
  • I had never been to so we visited kidsbooks.
  • And White Spot was right across from kidsbooks and next to where I was parking so we went there. Indoor dining! But such an easy lunch with Pirate Paks for kids.

Friday

  • It became a goal of mind to complete the Stawamus Chief hike when Edna put it in my mind. She has a 6yo, too, and ventured to guess it’s do-able for that age and her 6yo isn’t like a weekend hiking warrior or anything. Recently they got two used Clek Oobr car seats and the boys were so silly in the backseat but also entertained each other.
  • Pretty quickly I questioned if it was a good idea. Edna kindly lent us much needed hiking shoes. First we ambled through the woods because we parked in the Shannon Falls parking lot (deliberately) and then up stairs that took you up feels like 10 storeys. Then the endless rock stairs punctuated by actual stairs. Since I was always the last one, I felt helpless when Kiddo climbed ahead and was leader. It felt like too much to mind my step and to worry about Kiddo’s steps up ahead. Coming down had its horrors and my heart stopped a few times when I saw him slip. I even started sliding down an angled tree trunk we were scrambling over. We had to scramble down a big rockface and then all those rock stairs again. I tried not to say “be careful” because it seems useless to me: be careful of what! And I certainly didn’t want to put fear or doubt in Kiddo’s mind my saying, “- or you’ll fall!” So I kept to telling him to watch his steps and to grab onto rocks and roots for support. He got so tired of hearing me say it and snapped that he knew his abilities. Only after we were done the hike, I explained how I felt helpless and so I was using my words, and he understood.
    It was in total some 14,000 steps according to Google Fit and that translated to 11.3km for the Conqueror challenges Kiddo and I are trying to complete!
    HUGE accomplishment for the kids but very frightful for me! I’ll do it again next year!
  • Something like five days in a row but much deserved ice cream from Alice & Brohm that I didn’t know about the last time we passed through Squamish and picked up beer for NPY and Edna from Backcountry Brewing
  • Fortunately NPY was walking home from work and passed by Wabukuro and picked up dinner because we were so late returning – such elegant bento boxes!

Week 3

Saturday

  • A family walk in a new direction, to Long & McQuade to show the kids some instruments (get some culture on) and start inquiring about renting before buying for Kiddo’s upcoming music lessons
  • Rainy day means a trip to the Kits No Frills with underground parkade

Sunday

  • Nothing much of note except we went to SIL’s for dinner – I was a touch sore

Monday

  • Labour Day holiday Monday
  • Made nut&seed butter cookies with some slightly expired nut&seed butter. So good.
  • Went to nearby Emily Carr where NPY convinced Baby where I could not, to get on her balance bike and start walking around with it. It’s heavier than newer models like what MY purchased for her daughter. Followed by basketball at the court between Email Carr and the building housing O2E Brands. And the logical conclusion is to have Tim’s food (for the kids, like grilled cheese and chili) and Steve’s Poke for Kiddo and the adults. There was also a BOGO deal for poke for back-to-school week.
  • Dinner: a winner recipe from Vegetarian Chinese Soul Food, Dad’s steamed eggs with tomatoes and it was such a comfort food meal with MIL’s Taiwanese braised pork alongside

Tuesday

  • One last day with the two kids for a stretch and so I took them to Maplewood Farm, so easy to get to in North Van and amusing enough for them. I didn’t bring my own bird feed and that’s just as well, it’s dusty and takes time to use up. But I brought kale and after we queued, we fed it to the rabbits and guinea pigs with great success. It was Baby’s first visit to the farm and she was tentative but not too shy. We went to the adjacent playground of course and the McD’s for lunch. It has been nearly a week since the last visit!
  • NPY got Baby to sleep again after her mini early nap and Kiddo and I went to Chapters to get a couple of books and catch BOGO at nearby Chatime during their anniversary celebration
  • It was Kiddo’s first Mandarin class via Zoom at the Kindergarten 1 level. It was chaos with the new teacher such that it made me miss the previous teacher!
  • Dinner: Korean spinach soup because both kids all day and Mandarin class

Wednesday

  • Kiddo was back to school for one hour which meant that a mom and I had the ability (for the first time) to go for coffee and we checked out The Mighty Oak. Since we both had the day off, the kids could play on the playground for as long as they wanted but we basically capped at 90 minutes then it was time to get lunch which we decided could be together. We ended up at Taishoken because Ramen Butcher was closed.
  • I couldn’t push off going to T&T when it was right next door and Kiddo was game but we also bought and assembled “Lego” which he understands is just for display. I haven’t been so involved in assembling “Lego” as much as I did for this structure.
  • Dinner: with the extra time I had with Baby in daycare, I made a veggie-full marinara I saw Erin Ireland post – cabbage, carrot, broccoli with nut cream

 

Thursday

  • Kiddo’s first full day of school and I dropped him off before dropping Baby off with grandparents. No guilt there because I had a full day planned and it was my last full day of my summer vacation
  • Went to Costco first and had to go to the Still Creek location because the Smart Living Steam Mop kiosk was there. MIL got her years ago at the PNE Showmart and I guess it hasn’t died on her. SIL didn’t see it at this year’s PNE Showmart but we learned from her about the Costco kiosk. Ron kindly answered my questions and added some more tips.
  • Then swung by Kanadell which I learned has recently renovated. I dropped off a couple of melon pan with MY and in our catch-up, also caught up with their cousin Tim for the first time in a while
  • My big goal was to Konmari my clothes and while it wasn’t the biggest purge, I did get rid of some 66 pieces of clothing and bring some awareness to which direction I want my wardrobe to go in
  • Dinner: watercress soup with watercress and chicken purchased the day before from T&T

Friday

  • Friday had my last few hours of vacation as I was back online at 1 p.m.
  • After drop off, went to a Hustle class and then delightfully solo trip to Paragon Tea Room to try all these things new to me: their Thai milk tea, and the Haisai! treats

On this day..