Sunday, July 31, 2005


It's not that the activity in our lives has dropped off: Rei made some cupcakes, I went to the driving range, we bought groceries, introduced Puppet Jesus to the congregations, my parents and Rumiko & Kris came over, etc., etc.

I'm just too tired. Kai's on a 2-hour schedule right now leaving me overtired, overcaffeinated and overwhelmed. So when the chance comes to sleep, I'm taking it.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Pound for pound

Jebediah Springfield, founder of the Simpsons' hometown, purportedly said: "A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man".

In Kai's case, attentive nursing contributed mightily to his embiggening. Today, fully-clothed and -fed, he weighed 12 lbs. 6 oz. Of course, his spirit is noble; that's just a given.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Not so bad

Shelley finished Harry Potter, book 6, earlier this week. I finally pushed through the rest of book 5, The Order of the Phoenix. It's not as bad as I remember.

I still stand by my previous assessment that it was a lot of book without a lot of story to go with it. And it seemed like rushed filler to get to the closing out of the series. I think I was disappointed earlier because my hopes were so high. There's something to be said about expectations, great and otherwise.

Yet, with this latest reading, I appreciated the plot more and some of the character development. (I foresee Harry and Ginny romantically involved somehow. He's realizing she's not a little girl anymore...). So. Half-Blood Prince, here I come!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mmm... sleep

There was a time, not too long ago, when we could sleep through the hours of 3:00 to 5:00 a.m. Those were great times.

Monday, July 25, 2005


From last week: Rei attempting to grab some bubbles.
rei bubbles
Yes... "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, 'Pop Goes the World' by Men without Hats!"

Helpful Cheryl

Today Cheryl dropped in to be helpful. She brought supper with her (salmon, potatoes, asparagus), she assisted with our laundry, our dishes, our kids and their diapers. The timing worked well as I had a funeral this afternoon.

It's amazing how another set of adult hands can make a difference. Plus we had the added bonus of spending time with a dear friend chatting about the nature of online communication, retirement and Harry Potter. We shared blog comments in real time, almost face-to-face (it was room-to-room), and indulged in some downtown ice cream.

Everyone should have a Cheryl to visit and be helpful. We're looking forward to returning the favour.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Happy Birthday

Kai turned 6 weeks today.
kai 6 weeks
Shelley did not.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Jesus Arrives in Arkona

Another benefit of small town living is the ability to receive mail outside of standard delivery hours. As I was in the general store-gift shop-ice cream parlour-Sears outlet-post office, the clerk mentioned I had a parcel and gave it to me. And I didn't have to produce any Notice of Parcel documentation! There's something to be said for a town where (almost) everybody knows your name.

Who was inside? Puppet Jesus! Goodurs sent him my way, after I had mentioned Michelle had this amazing Jesus puppet she picked up in Vancouver. Thanks Urs, I'm going to have great fun making the Saviour pick his nose!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Burger King

As Shelley and I had lunch today at McDonald's while shopping for a car seat and some floor toys for Kai, I realized it's the 4th day in a row of eating burgers.

It's the hectic, jet-set lifestyle we've lived this past week that saw me have a Big Mac on Tuesday in Goderich; President's Choice Thick & Juicy 6 oz. burger on the BBQ at the Parsons' cottage, Wednesday; local Arkona Foodland burger on the manse BBQ, yesterday; Quarter Pounder with Cheese, today.

Who knows what culinary convenience awaits tomorrow? Shhhh... I think I can hear my arteries protesting.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Arkona Vista Social Club

It's been a whirlwind of seeing friends this week.
  • Monday-Tuesday: CCS Learning Partner Michelle + kids
  • Wednesday: University friends Jeffy & Cheryl + kids; Cheryl's mom (+ kids, technically); Michelle again + kids
  • Today: Ontario Early Years Centre; Shelley's High School friend Mary Anne + kids
  • Friday: Aunt Shauna
  • Saturday: ?
Throw in a couple visits to hospital, a couple other pastoral visits and I've become quite the social butterfly (if you consider palliative care to be a social endeavour, that is).

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sailing the Friend Ship

We travelled Highway 21 once again to see friends. This time, after 10 months, I got to see Jeffy and Cheryl in person again. Since we were last face-to-face, they've been to New Zealand and back, I've been to Winnipeg and back. Our blogs were born. Shelley discovered she was pregnant and the marvel that is our son was born.

Although it's been months and months, with only internet communication (and the occasional phone call from Hong Kong), it's heartening to pick up with dear friends where we left off without missing a beat.

It also warms my heart to think that our friendship will live on in our children. I was overjoyed to hear our Rei and their oldest, Neva, interacting as childhood friends might. As we went out for a post-supper walk, Rei called out: "Neeee-va, where arrrrre you?"

Neva responded with an exuberant, "Here I am, Reiko!" and there was much delighted giggling, yelling and chasing. This is what Kai and Hugh have to look forward to. As well as tormenting their sisters.

Here's to the circle of friends! Some others might call it a fellowship.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Boy and The Other Guy

Yesterday, we ventured north to Lurgan Beach to visit Michelle and her kids in their newly-sold house. We've convened on one other occasion and each other's identities were then introduced with little, apparent, effect. Rei kept referring to Ewan as "The Boy" and Ewan, in turn, called Kai, "The Other Guy". (Although in Ewan's defence, he had not met Kai yet).

Frequent pet interventions and a brief thunderstorm did not dampen the adventure (although we were glad we decided to bunk indoors instead of our original plan to pitch our tent as a practice run for next month's camping trip). Some child's play, adult conversation, and comfortable silences made for a lovely evening.

This morning's walk on the beach featured sand, stones, sticks, and dead fish. Water, too. But only in theory, as Rei is more of an aquatic observer, albeit an enthusiastic one, than a participant.

Our visit was cut short by my need to be back for Bible Study. Just think how much socializing I could do if I really did only work one morning a week. I blame my drive to overachieve.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Bertie Bott's

The Children's Time message in church today featured Bertie Bott's Every Flavour jelly Beans to re-present the classic "don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover/it's-what's-inside-that-counts" moral.

Muggles may not know that the Jelly Belly company makes these magical candies in traditional flavours (cherry, lemon, apple, grape), exotic flavours (toasted marshmellow, buttered popcorn), and biological flavours (booger, earthworm, vomit), as well as other delightful surprises like sardine and dirt. Many of them look alike; spaghetti, tutti-fruitti and vomit, are all similarly speckled.

After church, as I headed out the door, I overheard one of the kids say to his sister: "Hey, try this one! It's good!"

It was no surprise to then hear: "Mommmmmm! He made me eat vomit!"

There's nothing like leaving church with a good taste in your mouth.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Wet and Wild

Finally the rain came today, pouring down, torrents, sheets, buckets of it. In Sarnia, water from the streets was spilling over sidewalks, intersections were adventures. Unfortunately, today was also a family fun day planned by Shelley's work at a game/adventure/water park.

We camped under the food tent and had our lunch. I went rock climbing for the first time and did moderately well. The beginner wall was a breeze. I stalled on the intermediate wall (I blame my wet sandal) and my next attempt was thwarted by arm fatigue.

My forearms are feeling rather huge; my immense keyboarding muscles were of little use. Finishing tomorrow's sermon is going to hurt.

Hairy Pottery

While in the city of Sarnia today, we stopped to get a new bathing suit for Rei. (We left her previous one in a plastic bag at our friends' trailer site at Our Ponderosa).

As we persued the aisles, and snatching up a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, I overheard someone remark: "Oh look, the hairy pottery book!" Heck, if I saw a hairy pottery book, I wouldn't draw attention to it. Who knows how it would react when cornered?

A consequence of our book purchase today, apart from struggling to find the hours to rapidly flip through its Hogwartian tale, is that we will likely have to upgrade our collection of the previous 5 paperbacks to hardcover at some point.

Shelley gets to read it first. I have a sermon to finish/write. After which, as I wait for my turn at Book 6, I'll reread the siriusly unfulfilling Order of the Phoenix.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Blue Ice Cream

The Olde Country Store features ice cream, where a taster cone is served with a melon-balled scoop. Rei requested "blue" (bubble gum? cotton candy?) and eagerly went to task. Armed with a napkin she conscientiously cleaned up after each lick/bite, wiping her mouth, leaving a pastel blue stain on the napkin.

With surprising alacrity, she dispatched that mini-cone and proceeded to lick at the residue on her napkin. She's one who savours every moment.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


Shelley took Rei to the chiropodist today for some corrective ankle braces. He refused to fill the prescription because Rei is too young and hasn't been walking long enough.

We've talked to a couple people in the profession who decry the money-making scheme orthotics have become. So it's a relief in a way, that Rei's problem is urgent enough to require intervention at this point.

Her pronative tendencies certainly didn't prevent her from running around the park at Our Ponderosa while we visited friends camping there this week. Burgers, beers and buddies, I can always make time for that.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cleanliness and godliness

While Rei was at daycare, Shelley and I made the most of her absence. We cleaned the house, or at least tried to, until the power began to flicker on and off through the afternoon as an impotent storm failed to offer any substantial rain.

Our efforts were thorough as we dusted, vaccuumed, pulled furniture away from walls, moved other furniture, organized and sorted. We found some items that we thought lost forever: two infant nail-cutters and Mr. Potato Head's purple left arm. Our goal of an entire house that is semi-clean for one span of time seems reachable.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

One month Kai

One month later, Kai's favourite activities remain the same: eating, sleeping and pooping.
kai month
He's growing on us. 10 lbs 5 oz.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Saturday: Na zdrowie!

My dad learned a new word: Na zdrowie! (which sounds like "NAZ-drovia!" only louder. Please feel free to correct my Polish gleaned from the Internet). This oft-repeated, and increasingly amplified, phrase was the anthem of the reception; its meaning equivalent to Japanese "Kampai" and English "Cheers".

Rumiko and Kris were married in a lovely ceremony during which my meditation/sermon/message/homily/reflection received applause as I made my way back to the velvet padded God-chairs. How often does that happen? Nonetheless, it was heartening to know that it was as meaningful for those gathered as it was for me.

The reception was lovely (pork tenderloin, the entree) and the speeches very appropriate. It was one of the only weddings I've attended where the bridal party's toasts didn't consist of: "Here's to the bridesmaids/groomsmen for looking so hot/good!"

A wonderful day filled with wonderful memories, seeing many familiar faces and catching up on each other's news. Although I did forget to check and see if my striped dress shirt - striped tie combo worked.

Friday: The Voyage Home

With some misgivings about the inevitable journey back, we set out hoping for a smoother trip home.

While picking up some diapers in Midland, I drove around the parking lot to keep the soothing momentum going. Rei's cries and wails for Mommy abated when I suggested we get some snacks for the road. Immediately, she suggested a "brown donut"; you don't need a translation to know that's her way of saying chocolate Timbit.

Once again, we stopped in Shelburne for lunch and gas (only 87.9 cents/L!) pressing onward through the intermittent downpour of rain. It was a Raffi-less ride, although we did have to play the I-see-a-car, I-see-cows game to entertain Rei. Kai pretty much slept the whole way home.

A time of unpacking and repacking followed as I prepared to preach at the next day's wedding.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Thursday: Rest

I did find rest this day, although not in the catching-up-on-sleep kind. (Even though we all did manage to take a mid-morning nap).

Some time at the beach, where watching Rei play with stones and sand, as I talked to her about algae, I realized that this was restful, re-energizing time. These are the important moments in my life, of time spent with those I love so much.

Wednesday: MFGW

Despite the fact that the cottage TV is a small, rabbit-eared appliance that brings in few channels with clarity, it has been our distraction.

(Rei has discovered a new favourite show on TVOntario, "Hi-5". It's catchy and energetic and ... great for kids, I guess. Shelley likes to wonder if the actors featured in these shows ever imagined this is how their careers would turn. Crystal, age 20, from Texas, seems to wonder the same thing. Her question, #11, to them is "Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?").

So we ended up watching Scott Thompson host My Fabulous Gay Wedding. During the second commercial break, I realized I somehow knew the couple getting married. Dan, I'm sure, was in the Religious Studies course for which I was a T.A.; and Mischa was also uncannily familiar. Congratulations to them!

Tuesday: Barrie

The day dawned grey and damp. We headed to the Georgian Mall in Barrie, Shelley on a quest to find an outfit for my sister Rumiko's wedding on Saturday, me and the kids along for the ride.

I was Mr. Mom in suburbia, Rei in the stroller, Kai strapped into the Baby Bjorn carrier, wandering up and down the mall, alternately calming and entertaining the distressed and bored children. Shelley succeeded in procuring an appropriate and comfortable ensemble for the upcoming matrimonial occasion.

I had also resigned myself to the fact that I would not have much rest or relaxation this vacation.

Monday: Drive

The typical drive to the cottage is about 4 hours. This day, with kids in tow, we made it in 8.

We stopped in at the home farm to see grandma and grandpa, have lunch, and break up the trip a bit.

There was a stop at a park in Mount Forest to let Rei run off some energy and give Kai some nourishment. A few blocks later, we stopped at a Tim Horton's so their parents could get some nourishment and bathroom breaks.

We pulled over at Shelburne to try and calm a crying/wailing baby.

A park in Stayner hosted a diaper change.

McDonald's in Midland for supper.

A long day of travelling; however, we did well to resist resorting to Raffi until the last hour.

Monday, July 04, 2005

We are going on a summer holiday

We're headed for days of leisure and easy-living at Shelley's parents' cottage. Which means we're offline for the time being. And I should get back to packing.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sleepy Kaede

Kai has discovered there are people in this world who will hold him, carry him around and comfort him when troubled. Since this realization, he no longer will drift peacefully off to sleep unassisted and the night-time nursing routine has become that much more complex and lengthy.

Still, I'd rather these sleepless nights than the ones I'll have in 15 years or so.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

1 July 2005

Congratulations, Chiara & Bobo.
Bobo Wedding
You look almost as good as I do!