Friday, December 30, 2011

Eleven Memorable Moments of 2011

Yes, I am aware that it is Friday.  I've been so lazy in holiday mode, and I'll be honest, it feels really good to ditch the schedule.  Oh, and then Barfy McPukerson struck again.  But this week's Listicles topic (yes, yes, that's Monday Listicles, if you are really keeping track) was an important one.  And I am a huge proponent of looking back, reflecting, and taking stock.

We've had an incredible year, and there is no way it would all fit into one little post.  But here are a few of the things that came to mind when I started brainstorming my memorable moments from 2011.  Many of them are blog-related.

1. We took Lilah for her very first haircut.
She was a little nervous.

2.  I celebrated my first bloggiversary.

3.  I held my baby's struggling body while she went under general anaesthetic to have her blocked tear duct unblocked. Thankfully, the surgery was successful and did not need to be repeated.

4.  House of Lilahbility released its second annual Spring Style Guide.

5. I proved to the world (well, okay, to my blog readers, anyway, which I admit is a miniscule fraction of the world's population) how much my daughter actually resembles me as a toddler, though people are forever informing me she looks just like her daddy.

One of these photos was taken in 1981, and one was taken in 2011 on Hipstamatic for iPhone.

6. I was floored and honoured to be nominated for Vancouver Mom's top 30 Vancouver Mommy Bloggers and I went to my very first blogging-related event.

7.  I joined Twitter.

8.  I made a few people cry with this slideshow.

9.  I beamed with pride when my baby turned two, when my hubby got a prestigious award for his hard work and a promotion in the same month, and when  I received my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

10.  I ran for a cure for a fourth time, this time as part of Team Bloggers for Boobies.

11.  I met up with some online friends for a little something we dubbed The Mother of All Tweetups. All the beauty, talent, and downright sparkle at that one little restaurant table just about took my breath away.   It was a little like a blind date, but the good kind, where you start to envision a lasting relationship. 
Just three of the six lovely ladies I was fortunate enough to get together with - Lisa, Bruna, & Stasha
A few of the ladies, who happen to be more organized and less lazy than I, have already broken it down.  You can read more about our blind date at Bits of Bee, Schwartz Chronicles, and Bees With Honey.  Stasha took a lot more photos than I did, but I think she might be holding them hostage until we all commit to a date and time to do it all over again.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Ghost of Blogging Past

It's been almost two years since I started Lilahbility - can you believe that?  I know for you, dear readers, it probably feels like two decades ago just yesterday.  Thanks to Mommy2Cents and Chosen Chaos and their Ghosts of Blogging Past Linkup, I am going deep into the archives to bring you one of my very first posts.  I tend to cringe a bit when I read old posts, but I'll take one for the team.  I know, I'm a giver.  You're welcome.

BWS tips button
Here's what I posted on February 13, 2010: 

 No Use Crying Over Spilt Milk

Whoever invented that idiom was probably male and obviously had never had the pleasure of hooking himself up to a breast pump. Pumping is the bane of my existence, but a necessary evil if I am to enjoy any independence from my li'l Lilahbility.

Every drop of breastmilk is precious, and spilling some of the hard-earned liquid has always, at the very least, elicited a swear word or two from me, if not tears. (Okay, the tears were more during my extremely hormonal early postpartum days, but still!) I now understand why one dad I know refers to the stuff as "liquid gold."

Around 9:30 every morning after Lilah goes down for her first nap of the day, the familiar sound of the pump can be heard around our apartment- in fact, that's what's playing in the background at this very moment! Shhhh... can you hear it? Suck-suck, slurp-slurp, they're playing my song!

Personally, in one pumping session, I can only pump a quarter to a third of what Lilah takes during a big feed. That means three or four days of pumping for one measly bedtime bottle.

Bagging, labelling, freezing, and counting my store of milk in the freezer has become almost a compulsion for me. All is right with the world if I have 40-50 ounces stored up. Any less than that, and I start to get a little edgy. Those little plastic bags in the freezer are the key to my freedom!

So now are you really going to tell me not to cry over spilt milk, Mr. Idiom-Maker-Upper-Man?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Holiday Lights

Apparently, some members of the family are less easily impressed than others...

Happy last Wednesday before Christmas!


and then, she {snapped}Live and Love...Out Loud

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Inside the Actor's Studio

This week for Monday Listicles, Bridget has decided to take us Inside the Actor's Studio with the following questions.  So, let's get right down to business:

1. What is your favorite word?

2. What is your least favorite word?

3. What turns you on?
Intelligence, caring, generosity, charm, a sense of humour, and devilish good looks. (In other words, my husband.)

4. What turns you off?
Ignorance, bigotry, hatred.

5. What sound do you love?
Lilah's giggles.

6. What sound do you hate?
That high-pitched whine that old TVs and computer monitors give off.

7. What is your favorite curse word?

8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
It's a toss-up between professional athlete (I'm thinking MMA fighter) and photographer.

9. What profession would you not like to do?
Anything involving cleaning public toilets.

10. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
You've lived your life exactly the way it was meant to be lived. Now come on in and join the party.

Go visit Stasha for more Monday Listicles entertainment!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Enjoying It While It Lasts

You know how, when ever you are in a stage of life that others - friends, family, and strangers alike - have been through before, they feel the need to offer unsolicited advice?  Like when you're planning your wedding and everyone has an opinion about how things should be done.  Or when you're pregnant and  get trapped in an elevator with a chatty elderly woman who tells you to "sleep when the baby sleeps." My particular "favourite" piece of advice is, "Enjoy it while it lasts."  This piece advice is one-size fits all.  It can be used in any situation and on any occasion, and it is just pessimistic enough to make the most blissfully unaware among us sit up and take notice.

Though I have a certain amount of disdain for this piece of advice delivered in this fashion, and I try not to dole it out myself, I have to admit, it is a well-used saying for a reason.  I squandered many a precious moment of Lilah's babyhood stressing myself out over details that I barely remember now, and that I won't remember at all years down the road.

It does get a lot easier not to sweat the small stuff with a couple of years of parenting under one's belt.  And at this time of year, especially, I aim to do a lot more enjoying and a little less stressing.  Lilah has gone through some absolutely lovely phases in her lifetime, and at almost two-and-a-half, there are some difficult moments, but there are many more beautiful, perfect moments that I want to savour. Here are just a few of the things that I am "enjoying while they last":

  • Helping - Helping Daddy make lasagne, helping Mommy vacuum, helping to unload the dishwasher, helping bake cookies... girl loves to help!  Of course, Lilah "helping" means everything takes at least double the amount of time it normally would, but we definitely would not want to discourage the urge to help at this early stage!
  • Cleaning up - similar to the above, Lilah can easily be convinced to clean up her toys, especially with the aid of the "clean up" song.  I'm working on teaching her the other verse of the song, but for now, we hear "Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share" over and over.  And over.  For as long as it takes for all the toys to get cleaned.
  • Mama's girl - This is gradually changing.  Until recently, I was her go-to person for everything.  But now she is learning who to turn to with a particular request.  But I am still her number one when she needs comfort.
  • Hugs and kisses - These are doled out on request.  And sometimes even spontaneously, when I'm lucky.
  • Honesty - Girl hasn't quite figured out the subtle art of lying.  Manipulation yes, but lying, not so much.  She's like Jim Carrey in "Liar, Liar."  Ask her a direct question, and she is bound to the truth.

All of these two-year-old traits?  I'll take 'em.  And enjoy them while they last.

Let's BEE Friends

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where the Heart Is

When the Listmaster herself asked me to pick this week's Listicles topic, I couldn't have been more thrilled.  I thought hard about what would help me get to know my fellow listmakers better, and the topic I came up with was "hometown."  Home is where the heart is - isn't that how the saying goes?

I grew up in metropolitan Toronto, but I consider Vancouver to be my home.  Upon visiting my sister while she lived in Vancouver and was attending the University of British Columbia (UBC), I fell in love with the city and had a strong intuition that this is where I, too, would go to university.  Being as I am six years younger than my sister, by the time I ended up at UBC in 1998, she had moved on.  But I made a life here and started to grow roots.  Even before I met the Hubs in 1999 (which of course sealed the deal), I had decided that I wasn't going anywhere.  This was the city for me.  And here are just a few of the reasons why:

1.  The mountains.  Which are visible from most parts of the city and are very handy for helping the directionally challenged (like, say, moi) find North.

2. Ocean and beaches.  There is a quote on my Lululemon (a company which, by the way, was founded in none other than Vancouver) water bottle that reads: "Live near the ocean and inhale the pure salt air that flows over the water. Vancouver will do nicely." Amen to that!

3.  The outdoorsy feel to the city. With such easy access to local mountains and to Whistler/Blackcomb, you can't swing a cat around here without hitting someone who skis or snowboards. Not to mention the mountain bikers, kayakers, and surfers. It has always been important to me to raise my child in a city that reveres outdoor activity.

4.  It is metropolitan enough to have culture, arts, entertainment, great shopping, and most any variety of restaurant your heart desires, but not so large as to be cold and uninviting.

5.  You may have heard that it rains a lot in Vancouver.  This is true.  But that just means there are plenty of opportunities to perfect the art of puddle jumping.

6.  Vancouver summers are (almost always) well worth, the long, wet, grey winters.

7.  The cherry blossoms in spring.  Hard on the allergies, but easy on the eyes.  Absolutely magical.

8.  You just never know when you are going to discover a secret garden.

9.  The Vancouver Aquarium.  This is something I discovered only since having a child to entertain on wet days, but it is one of the city's many gems.

10.  Simply and truly, the beauty of this city will sweep you off your feet.

Monday, December 5, 2011

When I Look at You

When I look at you, I see:

Pure love; mine and yours.

Sweetness, laughter, and innocence.

Sharp intelligence.

The adoration in your eyes - often undeserved, I fear.

Wisdom and insight far beyond your two and a half years.

Fierce determination.

A keen observer.

So much of myself, it is almost frightening. 

My tendency to let things get under my skin.

Your daddy's sense of humour and reason.

Simultaneous tenacity, shyness, and strength.

A performer.

My baby; my pride and joy.

So much beauty I am nearly blinded its brilliance.

BEE Beautiful You

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Monthly Recap: What I learned in November 2011

Sunday is quickly drawing to a close and you know what that means... Monday Listicles time again!  This week Stasha has asked us to share our Christmas wish lists.   Well friends, I must already be pretty spoiled because there isn't much I want for myself this Christmas.  So I'm going to go wild and give you a different list.  Because I'm a rebel like that.

And even though I'm breaking the rules (and this wouldn't be the first time, either!), the Grand Master of Lists has done me the great honour of allowing me to select next week's Listicles topic. So, here it is: tell us about your hometown. You can interpret that however you like.

Now, with that little piece of business out of the way, I'll come clean and admit that the real reason this list is off-topic is that I haven't yet done my November recap, and, like any mom, I like to multi-task where I can.  So my listicle this week is ten things I learned in November, inspired by Amber Strocel's monthly learnings.

1.  When you open a new package of contact lenses, it's a very good idea to throw out the old ones, lest you end up with two layers of lenses in your contact case and almost make the mistake of putting them both on your eyeball.

2.  It's pretty awesome when your two-year-old suddenly starts playing by herself for stretches of 10 minutes at a time.  But by the same token, don't expect her to be able to do that on command.

3.  Seeing your little one caring for and smothering her baby dolls with kisses can actually bring tears to your eyes.

4.  A long weekend getaway with good friends who also have a two-year-old can be just what the doctor ordered.

5.  Lilah is now at the perfect age for us to do mini-trips together - like to Vancouver Island to visit my aunt and uncle.  We can share a room without night wakings (though our girl is a rather loud sleeper!), and she adjusts to new situations fairly adeptly.

6.  Chocolate chip cookies inside of brownies a la Bakerella? Yes, please!

7.  Feist gives an incredible live performance.  Seriously, not to be missed.

8. Life with a toddler is highly unpredictable (okay, I already knew this, but I was reminded of it once again this month).  Just when you think you know how yours is going to react to a particular situation, they throw you for a loop.  Lilah sat quietly and perfectly still while having her hair cut.  Who'da thunk it?

9.  Similarly, when you think you know how your child is reacting to meeting Santa, you will be wrong.  The situation can change from minute to minute.  While we waited in line, Lilah was at first excited to meet the big jolly guy.  Then, when we got near the front and watched the children in line in front of us, she totally balked.  As I tried to haul her out of the mall-provided car stroller, she hooked her feet under the front lip of it and loudly cried, "No, I don't wanna!"  Once I calmly explained that Mama would be there the whole time and convinced her to let me get her out, we approached Santa with some trepidation.  But this guy was good, and asked for a high five to break the ice.  Once he explained that if she sat on his lap for a picture, he'd give her a candy cane and a colouring book, she gladly climbed into his lap, and even half-smiled for the picture.

Predictable? Me? Never!

10. I received my blue belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and was reminded of the wonderful feeling of achieving something you have been working towards for a long time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Photography Tips from Captain Canada

If you've been following along for even a little while, you've probably figured out that I am slightly obsessed with digital photography.  I am the first to admit that I am very much a beginner, but recently, I have been getting some really positive, warm and fuzzy comments on my photos.  This could be because A) people are just blowing smoke up my ass really supportive or B) my photog skillz have actually improved since I first received my DSLR as a gift from the Hubs.  Perhaps the answer is a little from column A, a little from column B. 

Whatever the reason for all this positivity, I want to tell you about my secret photography weapon.  For the last few months, I have been listening the Two Hosers Photo Show, a weekly podcast created by two Canadians (ie. hosers) to help amateur photographers go from taking so-so photos to really understanding their camera's capabilities and getting the best possible photos out of their digital SLR.  One of those hosers just happens to be the photographer (and Daddy) behind Lisa's blog, Schwartz Chronicles, and today I'm excited to be hosting Captain Canada himself.  Today he's here to offer a few tips on making your holiday photographs the best they can be:

My name is Adam (A.K.A. Captain Canada on my wife’s blog) and like Amanda I truly enjoy photography. More specifically I love taking pictures of my kids. I am a father of two young children, Sarah is four and Jack is two. Like a lot of parents I got into photography with the desire to take nice pictures of my kids. Or at least that’s what I told my wife, to justify all the future photography purchases I planned on making.

What began as a hobby quickly turned into a passion for learning how to make my pictures better. A good friend of mine (Al Attridge), who happensto be a professional photographer, helped me a lot with various tips and insights as I progressed. Once he realized my dedication (and nerdiness), he suggested we create a podcast devoted to helping new DSLR users figure out how to make better photos. We chat photography with a dedicated weekly focus in a very casual light-hearted way.

With the holidays just around the corner, I thought I would provide a few tips that might help you take better pictures this season.

1) Get an external flash. With the weather getting colder and sundown coming earlier, be prepared to take most of your pictures indoors. With less light available to work with you are going to use your flash a lot. I don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble but the pop-up flash on your camera is not very good. An external flash with a head that swivels should be on everyone’s holiday wish list. You will see an immediate improvement in your pictures.

2) Look for interesting light. This could mean using window light to illuminate the children’s faces as they open presents, or maybe strategic placement of a string of Christmas lights as the kids help trim the tree. Al took this picture last year of my daughter Sarah.

3)  Colour coordinating group photos. Sometimes just getting my kids dressed can be deemed an accomplishment, but when it comes to family photo taking coordinating matching colours and creating contrast from the background can make your holiday photos pop. I took the picture below for a few  friends in Steveston.

4) Make it happen. Sometimes a great photo just happens; your child decides to take their first few steps and you just happen to be holding your camera. Sometimes you can coax it a little. If you live in Vancouver, VanDusen Gardens is spectacular during December and catching the pure joy of the kids on the Stanley Park Christmas train is a great photo opportunity. If you don’t live in Vancouver, then maybe you should consider moving.

5) Take your pictures at magic hour. The first hour after sunrise, and the last hour before sundown, are great times for taking pictures. With the sun low in the sky you can use it to illuminate your subjects with its nice warm glow. You won’t have to worry about the shadows that might disguise those cute cuddly faces. If you decide not to buy the external flash, this is your bread and butter. 

Thank you, Adam, for sharing these valuable tips.  We already have our Stanley Park Christmas train tickets - now we'll have to go check out VanDusen Gardens as well!

If you are the proud owner of a DSLR camera but you find yourself shooting mostly in the camera's automatic modes, you need to check out The Two Hosers Photo Show.  Seriously.  You'll be amazed at how listening to two hosers talk about photography (well, not just any two hosers, but these ones specifically) can really improve your knowledge and your outcomes.  And possibly even your life.  (Witty banter?  Hells, yeah!)

The podcast is free and can be downloaded from or, better yet, subscribe to the whole shebang on iTunes and get new episodes as soon as they are posted.  If you want to stalk check out more of Adam's pictures, go visit Lisa at Schwartz Chronicles, and tell her I sent you.  You can also find the hosers on Twitter and on Flickr, where podcast listeners are encouraged to participate in weekly photo challenges.  So, what are you waiting for? Go out there and get shooting!

Let's BEE Friends
Also linking up with Bruna because,
hey, we're all friends here!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Wednesday of Few Words: How to Relax

1.  Fill your belly.

2.  Find somewhere warm. The mantel above the fireplace will do nicely.

3.  Channel your inner cat.

Happy Wednesday.

Black and White Wednesday

and then, she {snapped}Live and Love...Out Loud


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