Friday, December 30, 2005

Mr. Clean

Shelley congratulated me this morning. The house is clean. The entire house, all at one time. Usually, it's either upstairs or downstairs or specific sectors of both that are in such a state of affairs. Not since Kai arrived have we been sitting this pretty.

The carpets are vacuumed, furniture dusted, clothes washed and put away, ditto for the dishes, fresh liners for the oven elements, study is tidy (not quite organized, but navigable), floors swept and mopped, toys organized, light bulbs changed, garbage taken out ... we're ready for two more adults and two more children to join us for the next few days in keeping things pristine and immaculate.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Daddy's turn

Previously, I have mentioned that Shelley has been the parent of preference for Rei. Mommy was the only one who would hold her attention and affection while I was an afterthought.

The pendulum has swung the other way; lately she has been attached to me. An abundance of hugs, cuddles and requests for play time, books and stories sure makes it hard to break away to work. Although much of my writing happens at home, so it's very easy to get sidetracked. Not that I mind, these are the days that we'll all remember.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

10 Random Things about Me

Following moxywoman's lead, here are 10 Random Things about yours truly:
  1. Tests for malaria and parasites were negative
  2. First album purchased: Huey Lewis & the News - Hip to Be Square
  3. In four years of high school basketball, I netted a whopping 2 points (against Norwell District Secondary School, jump shot from the top of the key)
  4. Favourite Simpsons character: Milhouse Van Houten
  5. Despite a fear of heights, I enjoy spelunking. At least I think I do, my limited excursions have been enjoyable.
  6. Am prone to head injuries and ankle sprains (this is unrelated to the previous point)
  7. Literally bumped into Sarah McLachlan at Kingston's Brew Pub, 1994 (this point, too, is unrelated its predecessor)
  8. Prefer to golf by myself
  9. John Steinbeck's East of Eden was the first book to make me cry. It also fed my love of Hebrew scholarship.
  10. Card-carrying member of the Jebus Seminar ... if there were cards, or if we were organized enough to publish, or meet.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Family Feast

After church on Sunday, we tripped up to the farmstead for Christmas with my family. The kids commanded the bulk of the attention, as expected. In spite of tickle ambushes and over-sized stuffed animals (giraffe and penguin, both with belly buttons), Rei was in generally good spirits given the disruption to our schedule and the excess exposure to large groups of people. Her ongoing remark at Christmas Eve service was "Look at all the people!" It's true; I don't think she's seen the church that full before.

Kai, as usual, went with the flow, protesting when hungry and tired, but otherwise quite amenable to all the travel and commotion.

When shopping for me, alcohol, CDs and books, (not necessarily in that order) are a safe bet. To wit, my collections now include: a bottle of Glenlivet 12-year single malt scotch and a Californian Pinot Noir; CDs from The Arcade Fire, and The Violet Archers; and a book about alcohol, Konrad Ejbich's Pocket Guide to Ontario Wines, Wineries, Vineyards, & Vines.

Lunch today with great-grandma saw an overabundance of food and dessert, a couple episodes of spilled milk, and again, generally happy kids. For now it's home again, home again, for the next little while as we prepare for the arrival of the Parsons-Sheldrakes for the next holiday weekend.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

It is a Holy Day/Holiday

Oh yes, and merry Christmas to those celebrating the birth of Christ. Happy Hanukkah to those remembering the Maccabean victory over the Syrians. I'm not sure what the appropriate greeting is for the observance of Kwanzaa, but know my wishes are for the best.

And of course, the politically correct "Happy Holidays" to those merely cashing in on the commercial phenomenon of this time of year. Am I bitter? Don't get me started. But really, happy holidays.

A more uplifting family account of our Christmas will follow.

Slips and Spills

Restocking the fridge last night, as I emerged from our basement with an armful of beverages, a can of Coke dropped and began spurting and fizzing. The aftermath was a CSI-esque splatter pattern that speckled the floor (and the walls as we discovered this morning).

While mopping up and cleaning up the mess, a low blood-sugar event had me go to the fridge for a drink of juice. A tremor in my hand caused the glass to slip and while I did manage to catch the glass before it crashed, I did manage to spill its contents all over me. Hormonally upset to begin with, I slammed the glass on the counter in frustration whereupon Shelley sent me off to eat some junk food and calm down.

While heading upstairs to change my clothes, I heard a thud in the kitchen and I hurried in to find that Shelley had slipped on the still-wet floor. After getting into dry clothes, I slipped on a book that had been left on the stairs, making the last few steps a bit of an adventure.

Then, this morning during communion, while the cloth cover was being removed from the altar, the wine (grape juice) spilled. In slow-motion, we watched as the chalice tipped and tumbled, offering forth its symbolic bloodshed in a literal fashion. We still managed to commune; and really what kind of family gathering doesn't involve spillage of some sort?

It's been a half-day now without incident, here's hoping more stable times are ahead.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Gaze of Our Lives

Can't think of a witty caption; this pretty much speaks for itself.
xmas kids 05

Progress Report

With Christmas bearing down, the blog has taken a back seat. Preparations for the 24th and 25th have pretty much been completed. Our colds seem to have run their courses, we're in the merely sniffling aftermath.

Our Christmas cards were sent out this afternoon, so they'll actually be arriving during the season of Christmas (and not before). I'd like to say it's because we're so liturgically correct, but it's more due to a late-scheduled photo shoot of the kids.

While Shelley is away tonight at a high school reunion of sorts - a traditional gathering on Christmas Eve eve - I'm home with the kids and wrapped some presents tonight.

Kai is sleeping somewhat regularly now: asleep shortly after 7 p.m. and up at 6 a.m. He will squawk intermittently through the night but is able to settle himself. The other night Shelley had 6 consecutive hours of sleep and was a bit unsure of what to do with all that rest.

Rei has not ventured onto the potty since garnering herself one Rosebud chocolate and special sticker. She requests diapers and we're not prepared to press the issue. Here's hoping she decides for herself that big girl underwear is the way to go.

So that's where we are these days.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Practically ready

At the moment of this entry, Christmas Eve worship is a mere 2 days 20 hours 21 minutes 3 seconds from beginning. The surprising piece is that most of my preparation for it is done. The PowerPoint liturgy is assembled and ready to go. I just need to parcel out reading roles and turn my attention to Christmas morning.

Monday, December 19, 2005


While searching out images for Christmas Eve service's PowerPoint liturgy, I came across this evolutionary gem:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

It's all coming together

In my sermon this morning, I cited a famous quotation attributed to Goethe about chance and providence stemming from decisiveness. It seems that for whatever reason, I am in such a place where surprises and resources are flowing my way.

Shelley and I began watching Ararat on Wednesday or Thursday night but had to stop about 10 minutes in. Last night, while listening to the news on CBC Radio, a focus piece was presented on Armenia and aftereffects of the Genocide of 1915. We finished watching the movie tonight and found that it centred around that same horrific event.

Considering I also spoke about all the unknown stories of hostage-taking, terror attacks, human rights violations and abuses, during the Prayers of the People, it seems I am on a path supplemented by rushing resources and rising awareness. To what end? That, I'm not sure.

Coincidence? I preached about that as well... If I ever figure this out, I'll let you know.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

At the Maul

While bringing a couple guys into London for a youth worship service, I thought it would be nice to stop at a mall for some shopping beforehand. It was maybe not the smartest thing to do. The Saturday before the Christmas weekend at the biggest mall in London was predictably packed to the gills.

I'm glad I allocated extra time considering all that was required for procuring a parking spot, waiting for assistance in stores, standing in line to pay, and generally maneuvering through the crowd. I did complete most of the rest of my shopping - just a couple little bits left to take care of and the present pressure of the season, imposed by our consumerist culture, will give way to the spiritual pressure of crafting and presenting a meaningful religious remembrance of why we do all this anyway.

Friday, December 16, 2005


We ended up keeping Rei out of daycare today, her hoarse barking cough was not going away and the prospect of 2 hours of outdoor play at daycare would have not helped any. Undeterred, we, as a family, ventured into London to do some more shopping in the morning. As we coughed our way there, I mused that the phelgmy, percussive coughing in stereo from the back seat was a (welcome?) change from wailing.

We're big into sneezing these days as well. Rei, after a particularly moving and effective sneeze, (the power of which seemed to take her aback) re-emphasized with the word, "Achoo!" Just in case we didn't hear her the first time.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


I returned home from office hours at the church this morning to hear Shelley greet me with the words, "Welcome to Puke-a-palooza". Rei has been under the weather these past couple days; yesterday she didn't eat much of anything, this morning she ate even less. Apparently, it made little difference...

She's been much more chipper since and her appetite has returned, somewhat. Chances are good that she'll be recovered enough for daycare tomorrow. Shelley, Kai and I have another shopping excursion planned.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

You're Hired

History repeats itself. Shelley has got herself a new job while on maternity leave.

She is now the Early Literacy Specialist for the Ontario Early Years Centre for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, a fabulous job that would make use of her training and education.

She goes back to work early, on February 6. The plan is for me to go on parental leave until June, the prospect of which is greatly appealing and frightening.

It's nice that for once, our life decisions will be based on her career. Wheee!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Training Day

To celebrate Kai's 6-month birthday yesterday we initiated him to the wonderful world of sleep training.

He wailed intermittently for a long stretch of night, but never did eclipse the magic 10-minute threshold. Trying to ease our guilty consciences and justify our horrid neglect, we tossed and turned.

Add in our ongoing efforts to potty-train Rei and the colds we've been fighting off, I have to say our sense of timing is ludicrously poor.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Breakfast of Champions

The most important meal of today was provided by Honey Nut Cheerios and rice cereal. It was Kai's first taste of food.
We're hoping the surreal glow in his eyes is not a result of his diversifying palate.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Colour Bingo

Her visit to Santa's lap ended before it began, but Rei did spend the rest of the morning informing us how red, yellow and blue can make orange, green and purple.

Breakfast with Santa

I'm not a big Santa fan. Neither is Rei; she likes the idea of Santa, but actually meeting him (or his representative) proves problematic. At the Early Years Centre's breakfast this morning, I lined up with all the other obedient parents and plopped my child into a strange man's lap:
santa kai
Kai was more interested in the beard than anything else.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Chronicles of Sarnia

A smooth start to the day was not to be. The plan was take Rei to daycare, fill up on gas, wash the car, Christmas shopping in Sarnia, featuring lunch at Harvey's to scratch that fast-food itch I've had since Sept. 25.

Instead I shovelled out the driveway, eventually installed the new car seat for Kai (as he is too big for the infant car seat) and got to daycare almost an hour late. We gassed up as planned, with an unforeseen conversation about winter outer wear with a stranger who liked my jacket and thought I'd be snowboarding, futilely washed the car -- we were not even a block down the road before it was dirtied again.

Into Sarnia, where we loaded up a couple carts at Toys-R-Us and Wal*mart. Yes, we patronized the profit-grubbing megastore), but it's hard these days to argue with the convenience and prices. (No Harvey's, but I did get a Mozzaburger at A&W). Our return home was delayed while I got some windshield washer fluid.

From there it was clear sailing. Supper was an all-out endeavour: garlic mashed potatoes and grilled NY strip steak with Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon, finished with some creme brule cheesecake and swiss chocolate almond coffee.

This chronicle of our day didn't see that much of Sarnia, but the title was just too inviting to pass up.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Every Toddler Has a Price

No, we're not selling any of our kids. In our efforts to raise a critically-thinking, well-adjusted, self-confident, potty-trained citizen, we've resorted to bribes. After having peaked with a poop last week, Rei hasn't been very inclined to go on her potty despite the allure of books, a flashlight and stickers (as incentives, not as aids).

Now, a tempting tray of chocolate rosebuds awaits the successful completion of a potty visit. As well as the satisfaction of wearing big kid underwear. Who wouldn't want to go potty?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Another Year

Is it December 6th again? And still the violence perpetuated against women, on this national day of remembrance and action, continues. I fear that things have not changed much since this day last year. If anything, the memory is fading and urgency is waning.

Long before "Nine-uh-leven" became commonspeak, December 6th has been etched into my consciousness. I'll admit the actual day Marc Lepine shot and killed 14 women at a Montreal university, I was more worried about Driver's Ed and getting my licence. Montreal seemed so far away from rural southwestern Ontario. Since then, as I've allowed my imagination to wonder about the human stories that were interrupted, going so far as to imagine myself at L'École Polytechnique that evening, I regard this time as an epiphany, a call to accountability, for equality and for justice.

In the mounting hustle and frenzy of holiday preparation, I take a moment to remember...

Where am I?

Last night I had difficulty accessing the blogs I read and write. Today, I can read other blogs, but not my own. Apparently I can still create posts. Not sure what the issue is, if it's this particular machine or some bug in the blogosphere.

The worst part is I can't read your witty comments. (Unless I can get to them through Haloscan... I'll try that now). See you soon, I hope.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Another Ring around the Tree

The Christmas tree is up to Rei's delight. Lights were lit, ornaments were hung, babies kicked their legs and children jumped.

As I thought back to last year and the tree decorating, how much Rei's grown in the year past, I sighed that she had become my big girl. To which she immediately responded with a hug and the words: "my big daddy."

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Checking it out, yo

A lot of my online time has lately been spent at The Icon-o-Clash reliving the pop-culture of my youth. Set up as a Final Four format of head-to-head debate and argument, cereal endorsers and anime heroes battle it out for supreme significance.

Waste-o time, indeed. As Jeffy would urge: "check it out, yo".

Friday, December 02, 2005

Big Time

This afternoon Rei celebrated the move to a big bed (using the box spring with the mattress), complete with a big pillow.

Speaking of big-ness, Kai weighs 18 lbs 14 oz at 5½ months. His sister was 19 lbs at a year.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


The closing date for Shelley's childhood home was yesterday, but the finances were not quite in place for the buyers. Today things were sorted out and we had a mini-celebration at Shauna's apartment. There was a surreal sense of farewell as her parents venture up to the cottage tomorrow before heading to Arizona, Texas, and Florida for the winter.

Shelley and the kids said good-bye to the homestead earlier this week and it's hard to imagine Grandma and Papa (or is it Poppa? I haven't figured that out yet) so far away. It was one of those steady assurances we had, that they'd be close by. Of course they will be near at hand in thought and spirit, if not physically, we know that much. It'll take a bit of adjustment on all our parts.