Thursday, March 30, 2006

Maple Syrup...mmmmm

Yesterday we went on our annual Cabane a Sucre day trip with the Carrefour. Clara and Leo both enjoyed it for the most part. Leo had a few rough moments, they usually involved being restricted in some way. When he was able to run freely he was having a great time! Clara also had on and off moments. She was insanely jealous of the balloons some parent's bought for their kids and she and Chloe had at least one tiff on the bus that was revisited over and over during the day. But honestly, overall it was a great day. Check out Leo's face when Marc gave him his first taste of tire on the snow. After he'd licked the stick clean, he looked at Marc and said "again" as clear as day!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Playing a serious round of "The Madagascar Game" with Noah and Mariella

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Leo is a chatty boy these days. Every day I notice he's said (or tried to say) something new. The most consistent and useful word in his current vocabulary is "this". It is generally accompanied by a pointing finger and is repeated until "this" is either acknowledged or presented to Mr Chatty-Pants.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Marc and I got to spend some one on one time with the kids today. He and Leo went to a special Papa-enfant morning at the Carrefour while Clara and I went to the skating rink at 1000 De La Gauchetiere. She's been showing an interest in learning how to skate all winter. We saw two outdoor rinks in NYC and she begged both times to give it a try. Based on my one skating experience with Marc I knew I'd be the one teach our girl how to skate (Marc's feet are too weird to fit in skates) so this morning seemed like a great opportunity.

She was so excited all morning. I had no idea how it would pan out, I mean I haven't skated since before she was born! We rented skates and I'd brought along her bicycle helmet. Clara's little size 10 skates were just plain cute. I got her all laced up and ready to go not even thinking about our first challenge - walking. She wobbled and giggled but got her balance pretty quickly so we headed up the stairs to the rink. To be honest, the first 5 minutes were awful. I didn't think there was any hope, she was all over the place, I was holding her up and her legs were flailing every which way. But bit by bit she reigned in her limbs and started to figure out how to keep her balance. We used the push bar for awhile and then Clara decided she wanted to try just holding my hand. Next thing you knew she let go and took a few tentative steps on her own! All I can say is I'm astounded at the amount of progress a kid can make in an hour.

Here is a photo essay of our morning:

Chanting: "I'm going skating, I'm going skating"

Getting the hang of it

Using the hand rail

I can do it...

Sort of!

And here is the fruit of her labor. Sadly I haven't figured out how to turn video around so just tilt your head to the left and click on the picture below :)

Friday, March 17, 2006

Leo said "more" for the first time yesterday. Well, he said "moe" but his intention was clear. He pointed at a bunch grapes while jumping up and down holding his empty bowl chanting "moe, moe, moe." How ironic, I was just telling Natasha on Wednesday that Leo doesn't really ask for food yet. I guess he heard me.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

What do you do on a beautiful, sunny, warm Spring day in New York? You play! That is just what we did on our last day of a wonderful vacation. We hit Central Park and joined the locals climbing, sliding and swinging. Clara perfected the big girl swing and can now propel herself back and forth with a very proud and concentrated look on her face. I love the pictures we took with the city in the background, I believe Marc instructed both kids to say "King Kong" while getting their pictures taken. By the way, only Clara complied.

One, two three, GO!

Higher and higher

When we started getting hungry for lunch we headed to the Upper West Side to get a bite. Because the temperature was a balmy 22C we opted to sit on a terrasse. We were not the only ones with that idea, the service extremely slow but we had so much to look at and talk about that waiting for our burritos at Harry's was no biggie.
Waiting with a smile on her face

After lunch we walked through Central Park and went looking for the Alice in Wonderland statue. We found it alright, covered by monkey children who had just been let out of school! We spent quite a bit of time watching Clara climb all the "paths" of the statue. Simple pleasures :)
Clara being spotted by Papa

Leo on the Mad Hatter
Once we were pretty well played out, Marc and I decided to swing by FAO Schwarz one last time to buy each of the kids a new toy/souvenir of their vacation. Clara got a Thomas the Tank Engine and Leo got a new wooden puzzle. They were both thrilled with their new loot and I think they do remember the trip through the toys already. It also gave them something new to play with on the train ride home.

Ah yes, the train ride home. Well, if you ask Clara about it she will just tell you in a jolly tone, "I puked on the train." She will not tell you about the 4 movies she watched, or the nap she took, or the time she spent playing with Leo on empty luggage shelves, or the hour and a half we spent at the border. All in all the ride home was fine. Though, without the lure of a vacation and the excitement of a new city to discover it did get long. Leo did much better though, he took a second nap which made all the difference in the world during those last hours. We also made the quickest getaway on record for a family of four. We were just about the first people off the train and since we knew where we were going we hopped in a taxi and found ourselves at our doorstep in no time. Home sweet home.

Oh, and when I asked Clara what her favorite part of the WHOLE trip was she said "playing in the closets with Leo!"

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Day 3 in New York was all about transportation. In the morning we took the subway for the first time (we only had problems exiting with the stroller) to the Staten Island Ferry terminal. We hopped on the ferry with New Yorkers and tourists alike, looking forward to getting a view of the Statue of Liberty or, as Clara referred to it "the statue of the lady holding something". The ride on the ferry was invigorating, it was windy but sunny and we got a fabulous view of the statue. We got to Staten Island, disembarked and then reboarded the ferry for the return ride back to Manhattan. Not only did we get to see Ms Liberty all over again, we also got an impressive view of Lower Manhattan.

After our ferry fun we walked around the financial district of Lower Manhattan. Marc got to see his beloved Stock Exchange and we got up close and personal with the bronze bull near Bowling Green.

By the time we were finished rambling around the business sector Clara and Leo were pretty pooped, we'd been on our feet all day (well, Leo had been on his butt all day) and in the end fate sent us home. We thought we were going to take a quick walk around Greenwich Village but, somehow we missed the subway stop and ended up back in Midtown near our hotel... like I said, it was fate.

Day 4 in the city was another 100% kid day. We had plans to meet another family I know through APU at a Luncheonette around the corner from the Manhattan Children's Museum. And oh what a day we had. Brunch was fun with Christine, Hugo and their 3.5 year old twins Daniel and Abby and the museum itself was some serious kid entertainment. There was an Alice in Wonderland exhibit and a Dora the Explorer exhibit so the kids were thrilled. Leo especially loves Dora and the music from her show. He could be found pressing buttons that started various Dora songs all afternoon!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

We are HERE!!!

Yes, rail weary we arrived at Penn Station, NYC on Sunday evening at about 10pm - 2hours later than we were scheduled to arrive. The train ride was mostly good but Leo was in pretty bad shape for the last couple of hours, he was just so very, very overtired and frustrated by having nowhere to run and play. Clara was a superstar from start to finish - she read, coloured, played imaginary games, made a special New York City necklace, and watched movies on the laptop. Honesty, she had an amazing attitude for practically the whole 12 hours.

Clara and Leo watching a DVD on the Laptop. Unfortunately, Leo didn't like wearing earphones so that calm quiet scene didn't last too long

The real kicker was the taxi ride from Penn Station to our hotel, after trying to get him to sleep for over 3 hours, Leo finally passed out as we drove past Times Square. The arrival at the hotel went quite smoothly except for the cab driver who tried to drive away with our luggage! He stopped pretty quickly after Marc and the bell boy started yelling after him!

Day 1 in NYC was great fun. We took our own walking tour of MidTown and the two major toy stores; Toys R Us in Times Square and FAO Schwarz. Believe it or not we didn't buy a single toy. We did ride the giant indoor ferris wheel at Toys R Us and enjoyed story time at FAO.

Playing on the giant piano at FAO Schwarz

Can we go on pleeeease??

Papa and Clara enjoying the ride

What did we see... Tiffanys, the Ed Sullivan Theater, Hello Deli, Rockefeller Center and the skating rink, Times Square with all the tvs, lights and tickers, Broadway, and so much more I'm sure but I just can't recall.

Day 2 in the city was a vist to the Central Park Zoo. It is a wonderful little place, just enough to see without exhausting the little ones too much. While we were in the zoo itself, you never would have know you were in the middle of Manhatten with 5th Avenue just meters away! Clara and Leo both enjoyed the freedom to run around in relative safety. They checked out polar bears, seals, goats, pigs, turtles, and much more.
A happy family in Central Park

Clara the Bunny

Mama the Turtle

We went back to our hotel mid afternoon to relax, Clara and Leo played and played in the enormous walk in closets for ages. They loved those "little rooms." Over the course of the week Leo hid in a closet several times, sitting in the corner with a huge grin on his face just waiting to be discovered!

In the evening we decided to check out a theme restaurant near Times Square. Wow, Mars 2112 was pretty over the top. Both kids loved it though, Leo was fascinated by a mute alien that danced around the restaurant while we ate. I wish I had caught the look on his face while he watched this strange creature bound around... eye brows were furrowed and mouth was open wide!
Leo on Mars