Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Last Post

It's been great having this space to document my parenting journey with Tristan. The time has come for me to stop blogging here and to start living a little more privately offline.

Over the past four years, I have grown a lot as a blogger and a writer. Thank you to all those who followed me and to all those who stopped by to read and comment on my posts. Thank you for your kind words and support. Although this was mainly a private blog for myself and those close to me, it was still nice to know that other people came by to read it from time to time. I hope you were able to find what you were looking for when your searches landed on my blog :)

I also want to thank you for your not so kind words. Yes, I got a few of those too! The negative comments definitely made an impact on my writing style moving forward so I want to thank everyone who cared enough to be honest with me, even if it made me feel downright crappy at first. Lol. I learned from all of you! Thank you.

Each of my top five posts had significantly more views than any other post. At No. 5, was my post "Already tired of being a stay at home mom." Many of you searched for that and found my blog. Somehow that news is reassuring to me :) I definitely like knowing that I am not alone. It's the sad truth really. We all know it is hard to be a parent but when we confess that we don't like it sometimes, people are quick to judge us. Why do we have to smile through it all when in reality we sometimes just want to run away? Don't be so hard on parents. That's something I learned when I became a parent.

My top 5 posts of all time (by far!):
  1. Our 14 month old fell down the stairs
  2. Homemade cake pops
  3. Getting a passport for baby under 3 years old
  4. Patient care at Burnaby Hospital's Maternity Unit
  5. Already tired of being a stay at home mom
The following pictures are the most recent ones of Tristan. Big boy Tristan! Thank you for visiting and take care :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Developmental update at 4 years old

I still can't wrap my head around the fact that Tristan is 4 years old. When it comes to small children, every year that goes by is astronomical! Tristan is so different and so much bigger now. As adults we may age but we are pretty much no different than we were a year ago. For kids, it really is astronomical. Throwing kids huge birthday parties may seem excessive but it's such a huge milestone that I really love doing it. Tristan's construction party was his biggest party yet! It will be hard to top that one. Parents tell me that kids grow out of the parties as well and they don't get excited about them much as they get older. Right now all the kids are so young and excited and that makes me even more excited to throw a birthday party! One day, we can all look back on all these special occasions with fond memories. The experiences are priceless :)


Showing his white teeth after a dentist cleanup.
Tristan is a little person who you can have clear conversations with. His pronunciation of letters is improving all the time. Anyone can understand him most of the time. He used to have problems saying the sound of "f" but now it's fine.

He is developing his own personality but a lot of Jean-Louis and I are in him as well. He copies us and often says "aw, man!" "that is so cool!" and "what the hell?" It's not the best thing but we don't swear (or at least I never) so you will never hear him say anything worst than "hell."

He can seriously listen to you and understand what you tell him, if you have his full attention. I had a conversation with him about how bad it is to eat things that are burned such as burned toast. I told him it tastes awful and it can also lead to cancer and cancer could lead to death. The first time I told him that it just stuck with him. He knows that I yell every time his dad eats burned toast and so when Tristan sees this, Tristan tells his dad not to eat it because he will die.

When I explain something to Tristan, he repeats what he learns to his dad. He explained to Jean-Louis how some of the African's have no money and no food to eat and that is why they have no meat on their bodies. We do not want to waste food here because we are lucky to be eating so well. That was the lesson there :)

Tristan sucks at keeping secrets. I have told him plenty to test him and so far he has only kept one or two. He blabs to his dad all the time!

Tristan's signature.

He can write his name and copy his phone number. He remembers his phone number from memory as well. He can read numbers well but he gets a few letters mixed up. He also gets French and English pronunciation of letters mixed up some times.

Tristan likes to talk. Some times there is no shutting him up. He's your typical little 4 year old! Blah, blah, blah. But it's so entertaining and he has such a sweet and innocent voice :)


Dining with him has been great lately. He is eating a bit more now but I think he is still under eating for his age. He eats everything we give him. If he doesn't like it much, he still eats it because he knows he has too. For instance, he doesn't really like bittermelon so we don't give him much but he will still eat what we give him. I love bittermelon :)

Being goofy with a funny looking carrot.

He just left his highchair this week! I know we took forever doing this but it was only because he was making such a huge mess. We don't feed him at all and he had to prove to us that he could sit at the table on a regular chair and not make a mess. This week, we had plenty of water spills on the table and on the floor :( One time it was milk too. He still wears a bib to protect his clothes. We may lose the bib soon, depending on how it goes. Then again, even Jean-Louis still wears something on his body to protect his clothes. Ahem.


Tristan sleeps from 9 or 9:30PM to 7:30 or 8AM. That is about the same as usual. He went from not napping at daycare to going back to naps. When he is home with me, he doesn't nap at all. We put him down earlier around 8:30PM or so.

Physical Development

Tristan is 37 pounds. We are looking forward to when he is 40 pounds so we can put him in a booster seat in the car. That should make things a lot easier.

Tristan is around 40 inches (or 102 cm) tall. He is finally tall enough to reach the bathroom sink to wash his hands if he tippy toes. We still have to carry him for the kitchen sink. He is also tall enough to turn on any light switch in the house. I believe at 40 inches tall, he is now tall enough to go on Disneyland rides! Assuming he is brave enough to go on them.

Tristan is wearing anything from 3 to 5 year old clothes. The 5 year old clothes need folding in the sleeves and pants but they don't look overly huge. For clothes that are 3 years old, we just let him wear them as undershirts under bigger shirts. It's cold right now so the smaller shirts are coming in handy! Since he is short, 3 year old pants are just the right length.

Potty Training

Tristan still pees in his pull up at night. At one point he went almost 2 weeks dry at night. We thought that was the end of pull ups but we were wrong. He just went 4 nights dry and then peed again. Since he is our only child, we haven't felt the urgency to push him much. Now that he is 4, we are having more conversations with him about this because he can understand more. Hopefully he will decide to stop all pull ups soon.

During the day, we can trust him to go potty by himself. He pees and washes his hands by himself. When he has to poo, we normally go assist him.


Tristan is a fun and imaginative child. He likes to pretend play and he tells crazy stories or sings funny tunes all the time. We sort of do that ourselves so he definitely gets some of it from us.

When he does something bad and we yell at him, he gets mad and tells us that he will hide under the table and never come out again. We need to control our yelling some times but he is going through a time where it is some times really hard to get him to listen and do what we tell him to do. He likes to stall things he doesn't want to do right away such as go to bed.

Tristan is a very fortunate child. We shower him with nice toys and great food all the time and I'm not sure if he is spoiled or not but some times he forgets how lucky he is. When we go to the store, he some times asks us to buy him things. I tell him that I don't like it when he asks for things and that really nice and good boys don't ask. Good boys just get things some times. I tell him it's okay to tell us what he likes and show us but don't ask us to buy it. Now when we are at the store, he grabs toys and brings it to me and says "this is really cool." See? He's learning!

Lately, we have found that he has been over opinionated and stubborn a lot. For instance, when he doesn't want to put on his coat himself and wants us to, we could be standing there arguing for 10 minutes. Sometimes we are able to convince him to do it but other times, he will throw a tantrum. Yes, a tantrum! We haven't seen these sorts of tantrums since the terrible twos. Luckily, these don't occur as often and don't last as long as the terrible two tantrums. It's still pretty awful though :(

Tantrums aside, I think Tristan is at the age where he can be a lot of fun to be with. He is mature enough to have conversations with and smart enough to rely on for help some times. He corrects us many times when we talk to him and we don't even realize we made a mistake. He likes to be useful so he helps where he can with things around the house. For instance, he helps set the dining table and this past weekend he helped put up decorations on the Christmas tree. He did break an ornament along the way though. It was the first one we ever broke:( Oh well. It could have been worst.

Tristan is very affectionate. We shower him with kisses and hugs and tell him we love him all the time and he does the same to us. His grandparents in France noticed how affectionate he was when we were in France this past Spring as well. I hear that kids grow out of this affectionate phase so I want to enjoy it as long as I can :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday Tristan!

Exactly four years ago, my life changed. I became a mom. Jean-Louis' life changed. He was a father. We were parents. Today, our baby turns four. FOUR!!! Hard to believe.

Today is the first day of Tristan's 4 year old adventure in life. We already threw him a big party but since today is his actual birthday, I couldn't help but make him something little. For the birthday picture, you know? :) Since we had plenty of chocolate cake lately, I decided to make my favorite nutella cake and use vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream on it. I took the opportunity to get rid of more Halloween candy as well. I crushed up some Halloween candy and used it as topping for the cake. Then I added a few more sprinkles. It turned into this big candy covered cake!

We upgraded him to the dinner table & used the new mat.

Upon opening this...

Um, I think he liked his gift :) Star Wars Lego with Darth Maul. We couldn't help but film his reaction. Priceless.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Construction Party for a 4 year old

This weekend we threw Tristan a construction party for his upcoming 4th birthday. It was sort of a full time job this past week planning and implementing his party. Seriously. It was also a last minute scramble to accommodate twice as many guests. We anticipated half the number of guests but then to our surprise everyone but one child accepted their invitation. Last year we had trouble getting enough kids so we invited a lot this year. I was very impressed that everyone RSVP-ed back on time as well:) You can never predict these things but you need to be ready at all times to do whatever you can! The last 24 hours before the party was a grind.

The Preparation

I spent the last few weeks here and there thinking about the party and slowly coming up with ideas. Every time we went shopping, I would browse for things that we could use for the party. I even picked up a couple of things during Halloween because black and orange were good "construction" colors. I wish I had gotten more stuff though because once Halloween came, everything was gone:( You know how hard it is to get orange and black decorations? Hard! Yellow, on the other hand, is available everywhere.

Last year was our first theme party for Tristan. When he turned 3 years old, we had a "monkey" party. It was also the first time I baked a cake for his birthday. I didn't really have the skills to do it before. Since then I had a bit more practice and now I have the confidence to bake more theme cakes and will probably never buy another one again. Lol. For this year's theme, I chose to throw a "construction" party because it is something I've always wanted to throw for him and I thought 4 years would be a good age for it. He already has a lot of construction toys, which made it perfect for using as decoration at the party :) Thanks to Pinterest and the popularity of theme parties from a lot of creative parents, there are tons of ideas out there. Construction parties are indeed very popular, but not popular enough to find supplies for at the Dollar store yet. Luckily, we were in Seattle recently and were able to grab some cool construction party supplies at one of the big stores down there :)

We had store bought decorations and I made some on my own as well. I customized them to read "Tristan 4", "Kids At Play," "Kids At Work," and "Party Zone" etc. The signs were easy to photoshop and I just used yellow and orange construction paper to print them on. They turned out better than I thought. I initially created them with a black marker but the computer printed ones were faster to create and they looked so much better! Then I went a bit crazy with photoshop and decided to photoshop the food labels, food picks, and thank-you tags as well. It was pretty straight forward and all the computer printed stuff just made everything look a bit more professional. You know how I like to pretend to be professional, right? :) Lol.

We had ton of game ideas but when we found out we had so many guests, we had to change our games at the last minute. We had three prizes for three games. We had other activities planned as well, like coloring the dump truck and building paper construction vehicles, but there wouldn't be prizes for those. It was so cool that I found so much stuff on the Internet for our construction party :)

The week leading up to the party was kind of crazy. When we realized the challenge we were up against, I just laughed so hard. I absolutely love planning parties but even I freaked out at the thought of having to plan, host, and cook for more than 30 people. Could I really do all that by myself? I ended up delegating some party tasks to Jean-Louis. I just couldn't handle doing EVERYTHING. Jean-Louis had no choice but to help me with the games. He also helped with putting up the decorations, putting up signs to direct guests to our party site, and of course driving me to the store to fetch things. For a couple of nights, Jean-Louis and I both lost sleep over the stress. Lol. The day of the party, I had to ask my parents to come by 1 1/2 hours earlier to help out. They helped with the tuna sandwiches, macaroni and cheese, veggies and fruit and they helped carry everything over to the party site. We used a bigger room in our building, which was a minute walk away.

Signs/clues to lead guests to party site.

Party Day

There were around 12 kids, including Tristan, and many more adults. There were well over 30 people at the party. My family was there too but there were only a few of them. I have never hosted such a big party or fed that many people before. Ever! We were maybe 30 minutes late, which is always embarrassing, and I realized the next day that I forgot to serve some food. Doh! Even without that missing food, I was still able to fill pretty much the entire pool table with food and that didn't include the dessert either. I guess I really do cook too much food! Haha.

Two words come to mind when I think back to our construction party: epic and chaos. It was the biggest party we have ever thrown! So much work and detail went into bringing it to life. Some times I wonder if anyone notices all the details, besides me :) The whole place was transformed into a construction site using signs, caution tape, and colors yellow, black, and orange. We went all out to create a wonderful construction party for our little boy. He loved it and so did we! I hope our guests loved it too. I overheard that one mom called me a "supermom" for cooking, baking, and doing so much by myself. Someone asked if I was a professional cook or baker so that was a nice compliment too :) I am none of those things but it's always nice that some people think I am.

The party was chaotic with kids going a little wild with balloon fights because the "entertainment department" kind of broke down for a bit. I wasn't there to conduct games and control was lost for a bit. We actually used the cowbell from our marathon to get people's attention. Lol. I had to dash off for 15-20 minutes to deal with camera and camcorder problems. If I didn't, we wouldn't have been able to film anything for the party and that would have been devastating. All that work and we can't even document it? Unthinkable. I also had to find something to blindfold the kids for the pinning game since Jean-Louis couldn't find anything and kind of tore the house apart looking. Chaos. Everyone was waiting for me! Luckily, I was at my computer and was able to check my email because one of the moms had emailed me because she lost our address. I called her right away and they came. Phew :)

We played 3 games, which we implemented in the few nights leading up to the party. We had other games in mind but they were only suitable for half the children. When we found out there were going to be so many kids, we had to change everything. Jean-Louis ended up conducting all the games during the party and did a good job :) I love team work!

Game 1 was "pin the wheels on the dump truck." This one was Jean-Louis' idea. Easy enough. He also created the dump truck. Only 3 kids were interested in playing. I think we had a lot of shy 3 and 4 year olds.

Game 2 was picture bingo. I came up with the idea of picture bingo and Jean-Louis came up with the idea of using stickers to implement the game. We had little construction stickers and we had a big enough set for each child. All the kids received a 4x4 grid, 16 construction themed stickers, and 16 plain white round stickers. They had to place each sticker on the grid in whatever order they wanted. We photographed all the stickers and then printed them big on a sheet in color. We cut out each sticker from the printed sheet and then placed them in a construction hat to be randomly picked out. Each child had to look on their sheet for the image drawn from the construction hat and then cover that image up with a white sticker. Using the white sticker was my idea :) It was a bit transparent and removable, in case we wanted to check for accuracy. But we didn't - ha! Also the sticker wouldn't shift around, unlike playing chips. All the kids were into this game so that was cool.

Game 3 was "throw the rocks (or balls) into the dump truck." Jean-Louis drew another dump truck and we stuck it to the front of a big box. Each child was given 4 balls to throw in. Whoever could get the most balls inside won a prize. Most of the kids were into this game.

We had coloring sheets and crafts but the kids were not really into sitting quietly for a long time to complete any of those. Some of the kids colored a bit. We just sent each child home with the sheets to do it themselves. We had a little TV in the corner of our party site so we borrowed some Bob the Builder shows from the library and played that during the party. Kids would come watch a bit and then leave. Some watched while they ate their food. It was fine.

Made a runner for the table so the cloth wouldn't move too much.


  • Veggies, specialty chips served with onion dip & dill dip
  • Ham sausage, bread crackers
  • Pretzel sticks (labeled "logs")
  • Veggie chips, kettle chips
Main dish:
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Tuna sandwiches
  • Samosas (only thing that wasn't homemade)
  • Pineapple, mandarin oranges, persimmons
Apple juice, other fruit juices, Orangina pop, ginger ale, Aloe vera juice

(Things I forgot to serve: black grapes, all orange cheddar cheese sticks)

  • 10 inch Construction cake (chocolate & white cake with caramel & chocolate buttercream)
  • Chocolate cupcakes, with fondant toppers
  • Lemon vanilla sugar cookies
People ate but we had so much food leftover still. I always find that the parents are a bit reluctant to eat at parties. I did indicate on some of the emailed invitations that food would be provided for everyone, including parents. The kids seemed to have likes the macaroni and cheese. The macaroni and cheese, tuna sandwiches, and onion dip were new recipes I tried for the first time at the party. They all turned out well I thought.

I was so pleased with our "cake zone." I thought it looked super cool. The hanging decorations were overshadowed by all the sweet treats though. There was too much happening in the room and I think those decorations were lost in the mix. I shouldn't have bought them :( It was one of the few things I did buy. Oh well. The lighting was also bad in the area since one of the wall lights were burnt out. We didn't know. Boo :( It was a rented room and we missed testing that out. All the desserts turned out nicely, both in the way they looked and tasted. I thought the sugar cookies were particularly tasty :) I think it's because I used more vanilla bean seeds this time. The cake was super moist and delicious. I screwed up the cut a bit when I assembled it but hopefully people got the idea :) I'll blog more about the cake on my food blog later for those who want more details. Only 5 people chose to have a cupcake instead of cake. The kids also got to choose whether or not they wanted to eat a construction cone or rock on the cake. My nephew requested the "dirt" on the cake. Lol. In my experience so far, cake usually wins over cupcake.

Messed up the 45 degree cut inside - oops!

Each child got to take home a wooden construction kit and a cookie for their party loot. I found the cement trucks and backhoes at Dollarama and pretty much bought them all. Score!

Loot gift wrapped in tissue & taped with caution tape.
"Thanks for stopping by" cookie.

We kept mess to a minimum. Nothing was damaged and cleanup was fast. The party was a success. Jean-Louis and I were so pleased and relieved after the party concluded. Omg.

Monday, November 12, 2012

An end to "mommy" blogging

I knew one day it would come. One day I would no longer feel the desire to blog about "mommying around." One day Tristan would be old enough for me to move on to other things. I mean who still wants to hear me report and document what it was that he ate or refused to eat or whether or not he still fits in his adorable French clothes? Come on. Like every family out there, we do a lot of things and we are discovering new things all the time but I no longer feel the need or desire to write about those things. We are all busy in our own way and I admit I do miss the days where I could just enjoy the moment. I'm the one that takes 95% of the photographs and records 98% of the videos. And of course I am the one that blogs and shares all of this with others. It's tiring, yo!

My final post will be about Tristan's 4th birthday party, which will be taking place soon. I've decided months ago that this would be my last post for this blog. When I first started this blog, I was very excited about parenting and I had a lot to discover and report about. This is no longer the case and over the past few months, blogging has felt more like a chore than anything else. As you could tell, I blogged a lot less and less. It took me more than one week after our first trip to Seattle to write about it! I have never delayed a post that long before! It's just not like me. I loved that in the past I felt the urgency and was anxious to report on things right away. Now, I just don't feel it :(

What will happen to this blog? I thought about deleting it all together but for now I think I will keep it up since most of my visitors arrive through organic searches. Some of my posts do provide helpful information. I plan on looking into the possibility of getting my blog printed out in book form. I remember hearing about that a long time ago and there are companies that are specialized in doing that. If you have recommendations, please let me know! :) I put a lot of work into the blog and it would be nice to read it all again one day in a hard copy.

I will continue to blog at so if you are visiting my blog because of the food or you are interested in cooking and baking, visit me over there :)

My blogging days over here are coming to an end but it's not over quite yet! I plan to post at least a couple more posts before disappearing. Tristan is turning 4 so obviously I have a lot to say about that :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A weekend in Seattle

Pike Market Place, downtown Seattle
We have never visited Seattle before. We stopped over briefly for a coffee break on our road trip to Oregon but that was it. It is kind of crazy because we have lived in the Vancouver area for 9 years now and Seattle is only a 2 hour drive away.

I'm reporting our trip late since it was a week ago that it happened. I'll write more in an upcoming post to explain why I have taken so long to blog about it.

I had a bunch of stores I wanted to visit and a list of restaurants for use to try close to our hotel. The main thing I wanted to check out downtown was the Pike Market Place. We went there and hung around for 2 1/2 hours. I couldn't believe how expensive the parking was! We parked at the City Target and the parking was $18. I made myself spend $20 at Target so that they would reimburse us for the first hour of parking. At least! Oh my gosh.

Original Starbucks, Seattle
Pike Market Place was cool. The flowers (fresh or dried) were the best buy I think. If I lived there, I would totally buy some. Everything else was kind of expensive. There were lots of cool stuff though.  We saw the original Starbucks but there was a HUGE lineup so we didn't bother.

We stayed at a hotel in the University district, which was just a 10 minute drive from downtown. Apparently, it was a hip neighborhood with lots of vegan cafes and restaurants. I knew Jean-Louis would be happy :) We had some hotel problems, having booked through Hotwire for the first time but in the end it worked out for us. We were within walking distance to the University Village, which was totally awesome. I loved that place! So many of my favorite stores were there and right next to each other too. The layout was fabulous because when you enter, you can see the stores right there, without looking up a directory.

After shopping, we dined at VeggieGrill, also nearby in the University Village. It was all vegan and we ate until we couldn't walk anymore. You could tell it was not real meat but the quality was so much better than what you could buy at the grocery store. Plus, it was so cheap! We stuffed ourselves silly for just $35. Tristan got the best deal of all for being a kid. For just $5.99, he got a main dish (Mac & Cheese), a side (sweet potato fries), a dessert (chocolate pudding), and a drink (soy milk). The service was excellent too. Once we ordered, paid for our food and sat down, I barely had time to go wash my hands and Tristan's hands before all the food arrived. They messed up brought us an extra order of buffalo wings and said we could just eat it anyway. Yay! Now these were vegan chicken strips so they were actually really filling. Big, no bones, all "meat," if you know what I mean :) It was all good. I read good things about the place but I was still a bit skeptic. Next time we are back in Seattle, we will definitely stop by again!

The main reason we wanted to go to Seattle was to visit the Museum of Flight. Jean-Louis is a plane geek and Tristan is a little boy so he would definitely love seeing planes and other flying vehicles. I wasn't that interested but if I didn't have to pay to go, then I wouldn't have mind tagging along. We got to use our Entertainment book coupon from Vancouver for the Museum of Flight in Seattle. Cool, right? I think it's the first time they included a few Seattle coupons in the Vancouver book. It was a 2 for 1 deal so I was basically free :)

The Museum of Flight was really cool actually. We got to go in several planes, including an Air Force One for the President of the USA. That's some serious perk for a President! The Museum was really big and although we spent around 3 or 4 hours there, we couldn't do much since we had to chase Tristan around. Two hours would have been plenty for our first visit but since we stayed so long, we all got a bit cranky near the end :( That weekend we went it was very crowded too since they had a Halloween event. We got Tristan to dress up in costume to join in on the fun. There were so many kids in costumes there, some ridiculously great costumes too. Surprisingly, Tristan was the only Darth Vader. There were lots of crafts and games but he wasn't too interested. Boo :( Tristan didn't sleep enough the night before and he totally crashed when we left the place. Instead of stopping for lunch, we decided to just drive straight to Bellingham for a Trader Joe's stop and then home to Vancouver. The border wait at Blaine was around 10-15 minutes, which was great. On top of that, we had a super easy customs guy. I don't think we have ever encountered such a nice and easy guy. We had a bad experience in the past where we were booted out of our car and sent inside to pay duties for things we bought. We're still sort of new at this so every time we cross the border by car I get super nervous.

We sure picked the right weekend to go over. I had a feeling a lot of people wanted to stay put the weekend before Halloween, which was why I chose to go then. Overall, it was a great trip and we got to do some serious power shopping. I got plenty of stuff for Tristan's upcoming birthday party too :) I can definitely see us going over again. Maybe when the weather improves.
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