Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Driven to Desperation

The past few days Kai has been sleeping like a baby: waking himself up after 30 minutes, alternating between cooing and cranking (requiring us to hold him, walk with him, or offer a finger to suck), finally drifting off again before waking himself up after 30 minutes. In a 24-hour period, he'll sleep 3 consecutive hours, the rest of the day and night is off and on.

So our adventures today began at 1:00 a.m. with a mid-night feeding. Then he just wouldn't/couldn't go back to sleep. Shelley and I snuck in half-hour naps while the other tended to his fussing. I was up for the day at 5:30, he was frantically miserable so I resorted to bundling him up and taking for a ride in the car. As loathe as I am to emit greenhouse gases (some may argue this point) and use gas that's $1.03+ per litre, this morning I was open to anything.

We drove to Forest where I stopped for a coffee and some Timbits for the family. I took a long and winding road home; we were in the car for the better part of an hour. Kai was awake the whole time. At least he was quiet, calm and content.

Today has been more of the same: half-hour dozes with attentive doses of parent care in between. This better be a phase because I'm not sure how much longer we ... can ... keep ... up ... Zzzzz.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Illin'

Every since I was a school boy, I would get sick in the last week of August. Something about the changing season, or the impending school year, seems to trigger an immune response. Usually it was bronchitis. This morning it was sore throat, stuffy nose and headache. Good thing I was shaking everyone's hand on Sunday morning...

Monday, August 29, 2005

Homestar Runner Re-mix

My regular patrol of NMC often bears much (musical?) fruit during sermon writing evenings, but this noontime find of a remixed theme song reminded me of how long it's been since I'd visited my leggy friend, Homestar Runner. To my delight, I noted 2 new toons and a Strong Bad email. Ev'rybuddy! Ev'rybuddy!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Looking East

Over the past couple of days, Shelley and I have been talking about my holiday time next year. We're thinking about St. John's, Newfoundland. It's been 7 years since our time there and it would be nice to reconnect with some folks.

I'm already thinking ahead to Gordon's fish & chips, Quidi Vidi micro-brewed beer, 0.5% and 1.5% milk, delicacies such as flipper pie and scrunchions. Shelley's been busy online pricing flights, car rentals and accommodations; she thinks she should have been a travel agent.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

High-rise Shorts

Getting Rei up from her "quiet time" this afternoon, we were treated to this sight:
tummy shorts
She's proudly telling me her shorts are on her tummy!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Can I Cut in?

After a close-fought game of Carcassone online at BSW with Jeffy and Urs, we contemplated one more. Urs left to make a phone call and suddenly a person named "Wristshot" joined him/herself to our game, and then asked if it was OK. I'm not clear on online chat/game room etiquette but it seemed a bit rude ...

Jeffy and I made a pact on the sidelines that we'd help each other out as best we could (without making it too obvious to Wristy) and it appeared we were going to be in trouble. The interloper managed to garner beneficial tiles at beneficial times, leaving us worried.

One of Wristy's cities was expanding in the north, with no discernible means for either of us to ingratiate ourselves within its bounds. So being a bit miffed to begin with, and with a streak of cutthroat bastardo developed through many games with Jeffy, I did my best to sabotage that city by placing a tile that would make its completion near impossible.


That was my nasty play of the game and my reward was a end-tile cloister that won the game for me. "You know how it is with nuns ..."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Diaper sighs

Kai is climbing the Huggies ladder, fitting comfortably into size 2 diapers. Our friend Paula gave us a pack of size 4s left over from her kid to use when Kai is big enough. We accidentally opened them today to use for Rei (she's a Huggies 5). Intrigued by the colourful animal design, she wore one of the too-small diapers. Thankfully, no size 5 poops occurred.

Such are the blogs of parents: stories of diapers, poops, and near misses.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A Matter of Interpretation

The other day, Rei had one of her many trips and tumbles. She came crying to me for a cuddle and comfort. Wondering if it was a stubbed toe, bumped head or scratched knee, I asked her where she hurt herself. She pointed and answered: "In the kitchen."

Monday, August 22, 2005

"Is that your title?"

FYI, I was at UWO checking out some books to prepare for a course at QTC today using my GBC (Guest Borrower Card) when the librarian asked me, "Is that your title?"

Apparently, "(Rev.)" came up on the screen when she scanned my card. When I confirmed it was, she marvelled, "But you look so young!" Tell me about it. We exchanged the usual social pleasantries about youthful appearances. Once again, I refrained from my mind's reply, "I'm old enough to bury you!" and I took my books and ran.

As I made my exit, I overheard her say to her colleague that she thought maybe I was using someone else's card. What a felony: impersonating clergy to borrow books from a library! Were that the case, you'd think I'd have loaded up on communion wine instead. Or goosed the Pope. Or married an inter-species couple.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

NAHPI

It's August 21; where has the summer gone? Back-to-school sales abound and Hallowe'en will be here before we know it.

As I was driving to church this morning, I was thinking about the Live 8 concerts and how that's all over and done with. Ending Poverty Now seems to have faded with all other noble philanthropy.

Which is why I chuckled when I came across North American Halloween Prevention Initiative (NAHPI) featuring the talents of indie darlings The Arcade Fire, commercially alternative Beck, nouveau-Maritime Sloan, engagingly quirky Feist, Can-metal-punkers Sum 41, and hilariously funny David Cross, among renowned others.

This noble effort to rid society of the Hallowe'en scourge, a harvest festival whose sole purpose is frightening children into sugar highs, is a pointed parody at the likes of "Do They Know it's Christmas?" and their patronizing, Western-centrism.

Enjoy the trick, it's a treat!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Church Blog

Something I've debated about for a long time has finally come to pass. I've launched a church blog to expand its ministry, share information and invite input from its members. Of course, you're welcome to visit and comment as always. I don't intend to cross-post any entries, my weblogs have different functions and purposes, but I may on occasion be tempted to take care of two blogs with one post.

I've got some more preparation for tomorrow's service, so I better get off the computer and down to business.

Possession is 9/10s

It is Rei's chair.
Kai chair 2
Her brother is making a move on her turf.

Friday, August 19, 2005

OK Computer

Shelley heard Rei saying: "Look at what I'm doing!"
rei computer
We looked. This is what she was doing.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Bloggable?

Today was a full day, beginning preparation for Rei & Kai's play date with some Shelley's former co-workers' kids, tending to office hours at the church, going to Sarnia to pick up some resources for worship/Sunday School, stopping in on a couple libraries, visiting a few people in hospital, meeting with the new coordinator of the YMCA's YIELD program and returning home for the supper, bath and bed routine.

Some time ago, Jeffy mentioned a
T-shirt with the caption: "I'm blogging this." Since Loves & Joys began, I've been living my life each day, wondering what I might write about/comment on. Despite the day's volume of activities, I don't know what else there is to say. I guess blog entries are like sermons -- they can't all be winners.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Church on the Green

I went golfing with someone from the church today. I was a little intimidated because I knew he is a regular golfer and course champion. I'm glad to say I didn't embarrass myself.

Thankfully, we didn't keep score. He had some comments about my swing (which I invited) and things straightened out toward the end. At hole 15, he marvelled that I outdrove him by 100 yds, (he mis-hit) and made par. Had we kept score, I won that hole.

There's something to be said about playing to the level of the "competition"; it was one of my best games in recent memory. There were a good number of somewhat straight, long drives. I made some decent approaches and pitches (including one lucky bounce and roll off the cart path). My putting leaves much to be desired, but I made a good one to end on. All in all, I played well enough to want to play again.

And we even talked a little church, as we sat in his private cart and drank some drinks. It certainly would be a different crowd on Sunday if I managed to include a round of golf as worship.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Like a Weed

No, this is not an invitation to smoking pot. It refers to the rapid growth of our bouncing baby boy. At Kai's 2-month check up today, he weighed in at 13 lbs. 15 oz. For those keeping track, that almost 5½ lbs in 9 weeks. He's also grown 2½ inches in that same time span. He'll give Rei a run for her money on the basketball court.

Monday, August 15, 2005

3000 camping words

On the way to:
Ice cream ...
baby row
... Sleep
kai tent
... Cleanliness
rei wash

Sunday, August 14, 2005

We're Crazy

Tent camping with a 2-month old and a 2-year old? Crazy. While the night hours were sleep-filled and peaceful, it was the awake times of tending to camp duties, child care and socializing with friends seen once-a-year that got to us.

Friday Night
It rained. We arrived in the afternoon and set up camp. The dining tent required some guesswork and deductive reasoning to assemble. (The instructions are lost and unavailable online).

There was a quick excursion to the beach with Rei and friends where she played in the sand and admired the water from afar. It came time to head back which did not suit her idea of a good time, so I had to carry her back to the campsite, literally kicking and screaming the whole way. There were many amusedly sympathetic glances from other parents as we rushed by.

We got settled back in and began the supper process when the rain came. A torrential storm that blew from all directions, through the mesh walls, soaking everything we rushed under previously mentioned dining tent for safe keeping. It passed relatively quickly, as summer storms do, and some of us had to relocate our tents.

Saturday
There was hot sun in the morning which dried things out quite nicely. Another beach excursion ended with Shelley carrying Rei back (without histrionics this time) for the entire return trip.

It rained. This time, we had a warning from Jon, whose PDA/Blackberry had access to the Environment Canada website. Earlier that day, I expressed my admiration for Jon's "I am not a Geek: I am a Level 12 Paladin" T-shirt.

With Rei having quiet time in Aunt Shauna & John's tent, Kai strapped into the Baby Bjorn, I zipped up flies, put soakables into the car, and waited for Shelley to get back from the shower (now there's irony). We hunkered in our neighbours' bunker - their dining tent with impenetrable sides - watched the rain, watched the kids and drank our drinks.

In the evening, Rei had a meltdown (from overtiredness and an ice cream cone sugar high) as we put her to bed. She wanted some lotion for her skin (we have a variety of unguents and salves for her eczema) but I didn't want her to squeeze it out of the bottle herself, anticipating a great gooey mess. She wanted cough medicine. She wanted to take a cup of milk with her to bed ... When we didn't give in, she wailed and screamed and kicked and howled.

Kai was not settling well either, crying and refusing consolation.
Such situations are stressful and frustrating enough without the public forum of our peers or a fully-booked campground. Eventually, they both crashed from exhaustion. We just wanted to spend time with our friends around the campfire.

The evening campfire was cut short. By rain.

Sunday morning
It rained. The campground (at least our section) was without hydro and water. I haven't seen Shauna run as fast as she did for the Porta-potties arrival. We hurriedly packed up as best we could, while cobbling together some food for Rei and keeping a watchful eye on her wanderings.

We trooped off to a "family" restaurant in Blenheim for breakfast/brunch. Our car arrived first and as I scouted out seating, the server peevishly told me she didn't know about a party of 12 with children coming in, that no one called with a reservation. I civily explained we got rained out while camping and thought we'd support a local business, a decision made 20 minutes beforehand. I civily refrained from added, "If you don't want our money, I'm sure Tim Horton wouldn't mind our dollars."

On the whole, our camping weekend was not a terrible experience. I did get to showcase my Homer Simpson Springfield Chili Cook-off T-shirt to an appreciative crowd. We have many great memories and stories from our time. But the tale is more entertaining when there is great hardship to endure and towering obstacles to overcome. But seriously, next time the kids are going to the grandparents.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Desperately Seeking Courage and/or Sanity

Our simple entry-level car is Tetris-packed to the hilt and we're off again. Our holiday antics continue with a camping trip to Rondeau Provincial Park in an annual gathering of friends and their kids. The forecast calls for rain all weekend.

We're either brave or crazy.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Today: Residue

We returned home from the cottage after a fairly uneventful trip. We have a good sense of where the good parks are for diaper changes, feedings and running off excess energy.

In our absence, the dryer was fixed (as suggested by the trail of laundry lint by the walkway). So what does one find underneath the dryer of a minister's house? Curiosity overcame disgust and I dissected the big mass of lint, granules and dust:

10 dryer sheets - no surprise
13 buttons
16 safety pins
51 paper clips - really? that many?
2 combs - not ours
3 guitar picks - again, not ours
6 bread/milk ties
2 clergy collars - one may be mine, I'll keep both
5 plastic dress shirt collar inserts - those are mine, I'll admit
14 nursing pads - Shelley knew they were around somewhere
1 bank card - belonged to the previous occupant of the manse
1 MedicAlert bracelet - I've been looking for that for a while now

Money: $20.04
1 ten dollar bill, 1 toonie, 1 loonie, 15 quarters, 25 dimes, 10 nickels, 29 pennies. Plus some currency from Dominica that I have yet to convert.

It's great to be home.

Wednesday: Wedding Crashers

As hoped, Shelley and I got away for a night of frivolity and nuptial hijinks: we went and saw Wedding Crashers and got exactly what we expected. Standard character clich├ęs, plot true to formula, and gratuitous nudity required silencing my inner skeptic. Still, an enjoyable and pleasant diversion.

Vince Vaughn was in fine form, brash and blustering (although I don't think I'll ever see him top his performance in Swingers, maybe it was the novelty of the Vaughn hyperdrive). I've always been indifferent to Owen Wilson, I remain so.

There was a pleasant surprise to end the evening (Shelley mocked my delighted astonishment), as The Weakerthans ushered us out of the theatre to their "Aside". Clutching our mammoth bag of popcorn, we headed back to the cottage, to our children.

Tuesday: Blah

We were glad to have company at the cottage. I took a turn for the nauseous [ed. note: that should be "turn for the nauseated" - thanks Limey Jer] in the afternoon; Kai didn't sleep much all day, requiring hours of soothing and walking. So it was nice to have grandparents handy for help.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Cottage Life, take 2

Off again for holidays. A few days at the cottage with Shelley's parents should be more restful than last time. 4 adults : 2 kids, seems to be a good ratio. Maybe Shelley and I might even be able to get out for a date night, perhaps a first-run movie in a cinema! Wouldn't that be novel?

The car is mostly packed, we're about ready to go. I anticipate lunch in Listowel, although stopping in Shelburne would not surprise me.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Iron Man

There has been a large pile of clean, but wrinkled, cotton shirts on the home office floor. They've been there for weeks, maybe months. Tonight I ironed them while watching The Simpsons and The Family Guy. 10 shirts. 1 hour. Oooh what a night.

I'd like to say the office is clean now, and that would almost be true. Regardless, the fabric quotient has decreased significantly.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Birthday golf

I used my birthday gift of 9 holes of golf today. Seems like I peaked as a golfer back when I was 31... I hit 5 trees, lost 4 balls, used 3 mulligans and most embarrassingly, almost hit two members of the congregation (to my credit, I did yell a hearty and distinct "Fore!").

I let a couple of kids play through (I'll be generous and say they were 12-years old; they easily would have outplayed me). I'm rather glad they didn't see my ongoing humiliation at Hole #9 where I had to invoke my personal forgiveness clause of stopping count after 10 shots.

Yeah, pretty much the only thing that went right was the bike ride there and back again.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Tom Sawyer's Porch

A couple members of the church came by in the morning to paint the porch this morning. With the weather being what it has been, (and a steady stream of pies being brought to the church for a Cattlemen's function), I was reminded of those warm, lazy times of Mark Twain's American South. My inner monologue had a field day with Tom Sawyer:

"The Parson's real particular about this porch, seein' as it's out front on the street and all, where's everyone's gonna see it. It best be done right. The Parson's real particular about it; not anyone who's fixin' to paint would be welcome. I reckon only the righteous could do the job..."

And that's how I got suckered into doing the trim work. I sure's done a mighty fine job, though.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Hogwarts and Hi-5

Maybe I'm not getting enough intellectual stimulation these days to keep me from fixating on two recurrent themes. One I don't mind so much: Harry Potter and his wizarding chums; the other, Rei's favourite TV show, the insipidly catchy tunes of "Hi-5".

I've had dreams of Dumbledore's Army and Ron Weasley being frantic about something or other. Although my sleeping soundtrack at my laying down, and rising up, has been the frustratingly upbeat, "Hide your eyes and count to 10 / Ready or not, I'm gonna find you again ...".

With my luck, Hi-5 will be performing on the soundtrack to the Harry Potter movie. That'd be enough to send me Round the Twist (where Bronson enters a peeing contest; and loses!).

Iron Chef Arkona

Chocolate battle!
iron chef
"Fukui-san, it appears that our challenger is attempting to bake our theme ingredient into cup-shaped cake confections ..."

Monday, August 01, 2005

Kai chair

A comfy chair, colourful things to look at, and a vibrating seat.
kai chair
He doesn't seem convinced.