Way more snow than usual
Walking to Work
For three and half years, I worked at Capcom
in Burnaby. December 2nd was my last day at my old job and
December 5th was the first day at my new job - downtown! I
now mostly walk to work so I'm trying to bring a camera to take
photos of things along the way. My walk starts with taking
Nara to school so there are sometimes things to see along the way.
After dropping Nara off, I walk over a bridge to get
downtown. I mostly walk over the Burrard Street Bridge which
is a mess of construction. This year it snowed so sometimes
the Granville Street Bridge is a better option.
On my way home I mostly walk over the
Granville Street Bridge. The snow days have made for "rare
views" - parts of the city that aren't normally blanketed white.
Visiting Jericho Sailing Center
Our weekends are pretty busy right now with
Chinese class on both days. When I do get some time to get
away, I don't want to spend all the time driving - close
destinations maximize daylight time. Jericho Sailing Center
has a nice dock and usually lots of birds floating by.
I didn't really appreciate how Vancouver has different birds in
the winter and summer (and during migrations). I was
surprised to see a Horned Grebe fishing by the dock - in the
summer, I've only seen the pied-billed grebe. A small
(compared to our larger gulls)
Bonapartes Gull was also nice to see
floating on the water looking for handouts.
Do You Want to Build a Snowman?
Most years, the snow in Vancouver lasts a
few days and is gone - if you want to take a photo of snow, you
really have to take advantage of the day. It snowed this
morning so we decided to go out to the park to build
snowmen! The kids have good winter gear (we hope to go
skiing over Christmas) so they could play outside without getting
I probably should have brought a longer lens and shot from further
Nara is in grade 1. I don't remember a
Christmas performance last year when Nara was in Kindergarden, but
to our surprise we got invited to a Christmas Performance just
after school opened in the morning. The three grade 1
classes were combined together to make a dancing and singing
performance that lasted about 20 minutes. It was nice to see
lots of kids trying to be synchronized.
Haircuts are a great time to get
portraits. The lighting isn't bad, the kids are generally
happy and they can't go very far because they are in a booster
seat and trying to behave well for a stranger. It helps that
our hairdresser gives the kids pocky so there are always extra
Last time Claira took a handful of hair trimmings and put them in
her mouth. This time I was quite happy to see that she
didn't repeat the stunt. Kids do learn pretty quickly and
have a decent memory.
There was a time when both kids had
Gymnastics class at the same time in different studios in the same
building - photo day was a mad rush from one studio to the other
to get a few good photos in the last 10 minutes of class.
Now that they are separate days, there is more opportunity to get
a good photo. Of course, if all Nara wants to do is superman
slides, that's pretty much all you will get photos of.
Claira's class is younger and more
structured. They start with a "Ta Da!" and receive a
ribbon. Then they get about 10 minutes to do what they want,
but they still follow the circuit, moving from station to
station. Given the big smiles, I think Claira is really
happy someone is watching. It probably also helped that she
saw Nara's class the night before so she had some idea of what was
Photographing a kid doing gymnastics in such a way you can show it
on the internet is a bit of a challenge.
VanDusen Christmas Lights
There are lots of Christmas lights
opportunities in Vancouver - VanDusen, Bright Nights at Stanley
Park, The Christmas Market downtown and this year there is
"Enchant - a Christmas Maze" along with hundreds of smaller places
that have lights set up. The weather has been heavy on rain
and snow this year but I was still surprised that the line up at
VanDusen wasn't long.
New to me, this year they had a carousel. There is a
carousel at Butchart Gardens so the kids know it's a fun
ride. We were fortunate with out lineup placement so that
the kids were seated on the outside.
I've been to Vandusen at least a dozen
times - in the daylight I know my way from anywhere to anywhere,
often using shortcuts. I'll admit, at night with trails
blocked off, I had a hard time figuring out how to get
around. The kids really wanted to see the mermaid and the
Octopus (a favorite from last year) but once we were on an outer
trail, we were kind of stuck going all the way around.
Slot Canyon at Sombrio Beach, Vancouver Island
I stumbled onto pictures of a canyon near
Sombrio beach that can be described as a "slot" canyon. My
parents had the kids (we were in Victoria) so Helen and I got in
the car and drove an hour and half out to the beach to go on a
wild goose chase. Helen made me do more research before we
left - basically follow the trail down to the beach, taking the
left at the fork. Once you get to the beach, turn left
(south) and walk another 20 minutes. You will see a small
creek draining into the beach - follow it up and you find a short
Making Gingerbread Houses
One of the gifts the girls got for Christmas
were gingerbread house kits - graham crakers cemented with icing
into a basic house shape and more icing and candy to decorate
it. This is a time sensitive gift - you want to consume it
fresh. We snipped the corners off the ziplock bags and very
quickly the kids had ideas how to decorate.
I don't know how exactly the icing works
that it sets up when exposed to air, but not all the icing even
got the chance. Claira was done decorating first and figured
the remaining icing could just go directly into her mouth.
Nara follow very soon afterwards.
Skiing at Grouse
Last year we took the kids for a day of
skiing at Cypress. It was a herculean effort. Renting
the gear off mountain, finding parking, moving the kids in boots
to snow, finding no good hill to learn on, paying crazy high lift
tickets we didn't get to use. The real kicker was that the
kids asked us for lessons next time. Well, it's next time
and we booked lessons and Grouse.
Nara is 6 and Claira is 4. Nara has two instructors for 6 kids
and they basically roam the mountain. Claira goes to "skiwee"
where they have their own building and a small army of
instructors. Nara was fitted for boots and skis the first day
and keeps them for all four days. Claira gets new boots and
ski's every day. Nara is dropped off at the bottom at 7:45,
pick up at the top at 11am. Claira is dropped off at the top
of the mountain and 9:15, picked up at 11:45. It's quite
workable, but it does take some juggling.
The weather was quite different each day. The first day was
fog and snow. Another day we got a clear morning but it was
colder and windy - hard on little kids. Because Nara was part
of ski-school we got to go up on the first gondola and sometimes got
to catch beautiful sunrise light.
Claira started with a "Never Ever" purple bib. Her second day
(and every day after) was a yellow "Learning to Turn" bib.
Claira started with the gentlest of slopes. The
snow kept falling all morning and it was sticky - sometimes Claira
would just freeze in place mid descent because the snow would decide
to adhere to her ski's.
Nara's class finished before Claira's so I would pick her up and
take the sleigh ride over to the skiwee area to pick up
Claira. Nara could practice on the little bunny hill and after
Claira's class was finished, she was allowed to borrow her gear for
another hour so we could all play together.
made great progress. Claira's classes were cut short (the
building "lost power") on the last day, but the mountain was kind
enough to give her credit for a make up day in February. Nara
had a good time in class (her instructor was also in French
immersion school) and was pretty good at skiing by the end of the
I was a little tired of the 5:45 am wake up's, but it was a
productive and memorable way to spend the holidays.
Tags: Grouse Mountain(10), gymnastics(9), haircut(6), VanDusen(3), sunrise(3), snow(2)
People: Nara(25), Claira(25), Helen(3), John(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2020 to 2005 > December 2016
Last Modified Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 at 18:25:00 Edit
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