A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to visit some good friends on Keats Island. Keats is one of the smaller islands in Howe Sound, just a short boat ride out of Horseshoe Bay. We took the water taxi out there bright and early in the morning, making the trip in just 30 minutes. Aiden was afraid of the trip, as we knew he would be, but he really pulled through and kept himself calm. Damien listened to Raffi most of the trip to quiet his squirming (he is so not a lap child).
On the island, we enjoyed visiting two different beaches to search for crabs, play in the sand and enjoy the gorgeous weather. We spent some time with our friends, had a relaxed lunch, and later came home via BC Ferries, first taking a trip into Langdale then back into Horseshoe Bay, allowing us to have dinner on the ferry.
This was the first time both kids have been out of our house for a full 12 hours without any down time anywhere inside, so they were quite overtired. Next time we attempt a full-day outing, particularly one that involves a lot of new experiences (stressful for little ones) and lots of walking, I’ll brink Aiden’s blanky. Poor guy needed some down time! Anyway, both kids fared well and it was a great adventure!
Aiden celebrated his 3rd birthday back in October at Gymboree. Aiden will happily tell you how he “likes to go to Gymboree all the time,” so we felt like it was a great place to celebrate his birthday with his friends. With so many friends, parents and siblings, it was great to have a place where they could run around. Gymboree parties can be themed, so we chose to make a “train” theme. Teacher Dallas (whom Aiden adores) and Miralia both helped to pull off an amazing train-themed party.
We kept the flow of the party pretty loose, involving elements of the train-lesson from the Play & Learn class as well as free play. To my surprise, Aiden was eager to do parachute time as well. We had the group there for 2 hours, giving the kids time for free play as well as enjoy lunch & cake.
Although lunch was logistically difficult for us (we had to order the pizza a day before & reheat it since no pizza place is open until after 11am!), the party was a hit! I absolutely love planning parties, so I was so excited to cater to Aiden’s train theme. I created a ‘snack train’ out of old shoe boxes based on some inspiration on Pinterest, bought co-ordinating decor, and printed off a few train-themed elements. I was hoping to create some train tracks with painters tape outside the door, but the rain & lack of time derailed my efforts.
Aiden’s Babby put together this amazing train cake for his birthday too! What a hit that was!
Aiden recently paid a visit to one of the City of North Vancouver’s Fire Departments for a little tour. Most fire departments offer free tours for kids and the firemen we see at the cafes often say to just drop by for a visit. Well, we finally took them up on the offer! Luckily, a fireman was able to show Aiden and his friend around the fire station for a while.
Aiden got a little shy at the fire station (which he often does for a few minutes in a new situation), so he didn’t sit behind the wheel of a fire truck. He got inside a couple of the trucks, had a good look around, and got to see a firetruck pulling in and then going out for another emergency job. He was a little frightened when the fireman pulled the air horn on one of the fire trucks (he has auditory sensitivities – his ears hurt with loud noises) and that kind of soured the end of our visit.
Aiden has subsequently talked a lot about the visit and how he didn’t sit in the firetruck; from past discussions of this kind, it seems to be his way of talking through his fears so that he can overcome them next time.
It was great to be able to show Aiden the fire station and all the details behind one of his favourite vehicles (according to Aiden, all sirens we hear are firetrucks).
Despite the fact that I can barely move anymore, I decided to throw a little Easter party. I don’t consider Easter a major holiday of any kind, but it was a fun opportunity to get a little crafty. I love organizing parties of any kind!
Aiden was the perfect age this year to appreciate the fun of an Easter egg hunt. I didn’t really play up the ‘Easter bunny’ aspect, as I could care less about whether he buys into this particular mythology or not (and yet I’m sensitive about Santa?), but instead focused on making the day fun.
We made some coloured eggs the day before (BTW, the dye is not super toddler friendly), as well as some cupcakes, and on Easter we laid out various chocolates and some little toddler-friendly surprises in the courtyard. I don’t really see the point of presents on Easter (where the heck did that come from?), but I wanted some non-chocolate goodies, so we put out bubbles as well as big eggs with stickers and whistles and animals that grow from pellets. The toddlers just wanted the chocolates, of course.
While Easter did create a few moments of tension (I want a cupcake! More chocolate!), it was well worth it. Aiden loved the Easter egg hunt and has continued to be sad that we can’t do it again. Sometimes we hide things around the house now just so he can ‘hunt’ for them.
I think Aiden’s really going to get into scavenger hunts this summer!!