Death Valley hiking trip

I have always loved deserts after my Joshua Tree trip years ago. I find the stark beauty of it amazing. To start off the year right, a hiking trip to Death Valley is just the ticket! Death Valley in California has the highest recorded temperature on earth (62 Celsius) in the summertime. It is dry, hot, desolate, and beautiful. The starry sky at night is unbeatable here, with the milky way clearly visible.

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Update on Josh learning to ski

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about Josh’s first skiing lesson and my mommy fail. (Anita, thank you for reminding me that refusing my son’s pizza request will turn him into a serial killer.) Josh has since finished his series for 4-session camp at Cypress, and has not turned into a serial killer. Yet.

When we were in Whistler this week, he requested that I take him skiing.(!!!)

Of course I was happy to oblige, and took him up the chair lift before he could change his mind. I also told him how awesome skiing is, because you get to eat a special skier meal. He got chicken strips, fries, juice and a chocolate pudding–things that are special treats at home–all at once. He was pretty stoked.

I am not ashamed of bribing for enthusiasm.

We spent two days on the hill, and he was improving by the hour. By the end of the second day, there were sections on the hill where I couldn’t catch up to him.

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Year end tradition

Since Savanna was just over a month old, we’ve been coming to Whistler after Christmas for some family time every winter. It’s a great time to be away from our daily routine, and just focus on having fun and spending time with the kids.

 

One of the things the kids love the most, is being tossed onto the king size bed for a soft landing. It is now kind of a daily routine here that they request me to take photos, and Cliff to toss them.

This year, however, Josh’s weight has gotten to a point where Cliff had a hard time tossing him. So now Josh gets to jump from the dresser to the bed by himself. They become a sweaty mess with the jumping, giggling non-stop, and thoroughly enjoy themselves.

This reminds me that when we first started staying at this townhouse, the kids were obsessed with the stairs at this place. (They are stairs-deprived, growing up in a one-level apartment.) But this year they seemed to have lost interest in playing on the stairs. I wonder how many more years they would be interested in jumping from the dresser to the bed.

(No children were harmed in the making of these photographs.)

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Does everyone else have this figured out?

Lately, a few incidents made me question my parenting choices, and really made me admit (again) that I don’t have my shit together.

This week, Josh brought home his very first report card from school. While I think of my baby as this smart and intelligent little being, his report card was mostly “meet expectations”. That, to me, translated to “average”. Whether that is the correct translation or not, it was an awakening moment for me to see someone else’s perspective of him.

We read books at home with Josh on a daily basis since he was a baby, hoping to cultivate a fun learning environment. But we haven’t done anything to push Josh to read and write on his own beyond the pace given at school.

I keep thinking that I’ve been pushed so hard academically since a young age, that it really took the joy out of learning. Would I be a different person if I had a carefree childhood without going to Kumon math and tutoring sessions everyday of the week? But if I never had all that pressure, would I have done any better or worse with my life?

Yesterday, Josh had his first skiing lesson. I dropped him and his friend off, then went to my own humbling skiing lesson. I went back to pick up Josh and his friend from their lesson 3 hours later. It had snowed heavily the entire 3 hours. I was tired and cold, and I just wanted to get home. Josh said in a whiney voice, “I want pizza.” I said, first, stop whining, and second, no, we have snacks in the car and we’re going home. He bursted into a full on wail.

I was on auto-terrible-mommy-pilot mode. I told him to take a deep breath, and we’re going home. Zero sympathy for the fact that he had a rough time learning to ski, zero love for his red and frozen hands and likely empty stomach. Instead of taking a breath like I asked him to, he cried harder. He continued to cry, with tears running down his red cheeks and snot running down his nose, lips, and down his chin.

In that moment, I felt like I was caught in a dilemma that tested me. On one hand, I wanted to kneel down and give him a big hug and make all the shitty-ness go away. On the other hand, I wanted him to toughen up and suck it up. Learning things can be hard, but that’s just life. I learned to snowboard by spending countless hours on my butt, being cold and miserable. Nothing came easy and nobody coddled me. But is that really how I want my son to feel?

I have no strategies planned out for raising these kids. I just know that I want the world for them, but I don’t want them to feel some of the shitty-ness I felt. So as I sit here, starring at the cursor blink on my screen, trying to figure out what I’m trying to write, I realized all over again that I don’t have my parenting shit together.

Josh’s first skiing lesson

Yesterday Josh had his first of 4 skiing lessons at Cypress. Before the lesson, he was very excited before the lesson, playing with his skis and boots and goggles at home. I took Josh and his friend Darcy up the mountain for their lessons.

3 hours later, I went back to pick them up. Darcy wanted to stay and ski longer, and Josh had had enough. Josh ended the day in tears. This morning Josh told me he didn’t like skiing very much.

If you have little kids who ski, can you please assure me that this will get better/easier?

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Baby forever

Savanna

Ever since Savanna was a tiny baby, she would point all her fingers like this when she’s carried upstairs after falling asleep in the car. I remember taking lots of photos of her hands like this.

Now that she’s three, she still does the same thing. There are not very many baby-ish things left about her, but this still makes me smile and think about her baby days.

Sometimes I ask her, “Savanna, will you be my baby forever?” She’ll humour me and say, “Yes, Mommy. Goo goo ga ga.” That funny girl.

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