Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How much does a tooth weigh?

All things told, Kai has been very happy and content despite his teething.
Kai tooth
His toothsomeness is 20 lbs 4 oz; 28½ inches long.

Monday, January 30, 2006


After weeks, months, of speculation, Kai cut his first tooth this afternoon. Up until this point, we wondered if each bout of fussiness and crankiness was him teething. Turns out you don't need to have a reason.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Catch up

Professionally, the last half week was spent continuing my preparations for parental leave and the wave of annual congregational meetings.

Personally, our lives have taken various directions:

Kai has taken to rolling around on the floor in a prelude to crawling, completed the baby cereal trinity (rice-oatmeal-barley) and continues to babble joyously. There is a baby bald spot developing on the back of his head where he makes contact with the mattress/floor when on his back.

"Once upon a time" has become an integral part of Rei's days. We've developed an ongoing story about Princess Reiko and her 5 magic ducks who could fly through the air, swim in the water and waddle on the ground. They go on grand adventures like picnics in the woods, sports day at the beach, and tree house parties. We've since named the ducks Beaker, Taylor, Weber, Quaker and Wingy. Who knows what other plot developments await?

Shelley has entered the puzzling world of Sudoku, won a few more Ebay auctions (LeapPad toys and children's clothes).

I've made some travel arrangements to Toronto convents and coastal cities in the coming months.

We observed Family Literacy Day on the 27th (founded in 1999 by ABC Canada, a trivia nugget that seemed to help Shelley land her job). The past week also saw haircuts for everybody.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Calm before the Storm

Look at us so happy together.
happy together
Maybe it's a good thing we don't have a picture of the not-so-happy bath time... I much prefer to remember this moment at the close of day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Faux Spam

A few days ago I checked my Hotmail junk folder which contains all messages from addresses not stored in my address list. Wading through all the emails about mortgages, match-making, anatomical and biological enhancements, and medical bargains I saw a message from "Sarah" titled "will you marry me?" Before I deleted it, I thought "That's a new one..." and didn't think too much more of it.

Today, checking my Gmail account, I saw a message from Ursula that told me our good friend Sarah was getting married and wanted me to conduct the ceremony. She also wrote that Sarah sent an email to my Hotmail account. Oops.

Also in my Gmail inbox was a message from "Sarah" titled "will you marry me?". This time I opened it and found things to be just as Ursula reported.

Pending approval from the Sessions of my churches, I will be marrying Sarah in a month or so.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Keith's Superbowl

Election Day in Canada and I know that in the Kootenays, Keith is hunkered down in front of the TV blustering and gesturing at the screen. His passion and engagement with the unfolding story will be rivalled only by football fans in Seattle and Pittsburgh in a couple weeks' time.

I recall a Learning Circle in Winnipeg where he was up most of the night watching results of a provincial election. At least the time zone shift works in his favour this time.

Kobe's Big Night

I don't often blog about basketball, knowing that much of my readership could really care less. But I have to vent about last night's "show" by Kobe Bryant who scored 81 points against the Raptors.

I was a casual Kobe fan in the early years of his career, intrigued by his lineage and potential. These days I roll my eyes and shake my head, turned off by the out-and-out selfish play. Sure, the great ones elevate their game to new levels. The truly great ones make their teams better.

Steve Nash credited his teammates for his MVP season last year (and he's doing it again in Phoenix). Of course you know if Stevie Nash went off for 81, I'd be ecstatic. Kobe's reputation for being a ball-hogging, prima donna really does colour my perception of him. The most frustrating thing is that he is that good.

Would I be so bitter if Kobe blasted off against another team? Admittedly, no; but I would still be just as disgusted. I couldn't turn off the TV, despite the game getting so bad. It was morbid fascination to see exactly how many points he'd finish with, and wonder how such a well-played Toronto first half could be for naught (winning by 17 points late in the 3rd, only to be blown out by Kobe - losing by 18. Ugh).

In fact, there were better basketball moments to watch yesterday: Ray Allen's buzzer-beating 3 against the Suns; Andre Igoudala's last-second floater; and Detroit holding off Houston.

For me, the appeal of basketball is team play - that even the most insignificant player can contribute to team success. Gauging responses from other players in the league, Ric Bucher reported that someone asked Dirk Nowitzki if he could top 82. "I don't think that would be good from a team standpoint," Nowitzki said. Exactly.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Crossing the Generation Gap

This afternoon, we travelled to Exeter for supper with Shelley's grandmother. After a scrumptious home-cooked meal, we ran our digital camera through the TV input. Watching herself on the screen, Rei always gets very animated.
Then it was time for Lawrence Welk. Rei was transfixed, jumping to the music and clapping on cue. It was heart-warming to see the common bond forged across 3 generations, to see Rei and her great-grandmother create a memory.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Morning Fog

The lastest incarnation of our morning routine has Kai waking up in the early morning, anywhere from 5 to 6 o'clock. He is nursed and one of the parents takes him downstairs and spends quality time (read: keeps him busy and quiet) until he tires, roughly 90 minutes later, and is ready to finish his slumber.

This morning, I was roused mid-dream (the roof was falling at a church, the orchestra was safe in the basement, we headed downstairs, Jon A was looking for a piece of lined paper) to carry on where Shelley left off. She was too tired to finish the shift, gave me the update on time awake, the diaper situation, and location of his blanket.

Bleary-eyed, muddle-headed and effectively still asleep, I toted him around as he fussed and fretted. Figuring he was hungry (because why would Shelley get me up to only put him back to bed?), I prepared some rice cereal as he wailed. Shelley returned and suggested maybe he was tired. Indeed he was, but I was unable to interpret his standard cues, or make the mental connection to his needs.

It would be quite safe to say that I am not a morning person.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Nothing but the Tooth

Today was dentist day as Shelley and I had our annual cleaning/checkup; it was Rei's first visit to the dentist, strictly as an observer and no looking at her teeth. If she is familiar with the place, people and procedures involved, she won't be as freaked out when it actually is time for her appointment. So the theory goes.

Rei peaceably entered the premises, we've been building up the whole experience for a few days to prepare her for something new. The toys in the waiting room were a hit, and the trepidatious walk past the reception counter to The Chair went fairly smoothly. The only hitch came when it was time for my X-rays and she had to leave the room while radioactivity blitzed the space.

The hygenist ended up picking her up and taking her out into the hall (I knew how well that would go over, but our attempts to peaceably convince her were bearing little fruit). Once that trauma passed, she sat on The Chair with me, playing with some blocks, as my dental trauma was about to begin.

In truth, I don't mind trips to the dentist. I enjoy flossing (Shelley thinks that makes me weird) and would really prefer to floss my own teeth while reclined on The Chair. Cavity-free, Rei and I went home with new toothbrushes safely in our pockets.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Green - good poo

WARNING - contains biological references that may not be suitable for the dinner table.

In one of my undergraduate biology courses, we studied the animal nutritive practice of coprophagia, which, not to be indelicate, is the consumption of feces. We know that dogs do it, exactly why is unknown.

Rabbits do it as well, by contrast we are well-versed in their motivation. Their digestive systems cannot fully process a vegetarian diet so another helping of the same food which has been "pre-processed" maximizes the nutrient uploading. It has been observed that there are two forms of solid waste from rabbits: green pellets that are re-consumed immediately; and the familiar rabbit pellets that are waste with no further food value.

To help me remember this quirk of nature, I taped the following study note to my residence room wall:
Green - good poo
Hard, brown - don't eat

Needless to say it was quite the conversation starter (or stopper) and I kept it posted long after that exam had passed.

All this to inform you that Kai has expanded his palate to include peas.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Any Given Sunday

Fortified by ibuprofen and cough suppressant, because I have managed to catch another cold, I ventured out into the world to tend to the workings of church during the weekdays. The morning was a windshield-wiping drive to the school where I mentor a boy in Grade 5, through Big Brothers, except the buses had been cancelled. I hadn't heard anything on the radio, nor had many of the teachers and staff.

I checked in with my buddy's teacher and headed off the church camp to drop off the LCD projector we borrowed for Christmas Eve service. I contemplated visiting the rest home but remembering my state of health ventured home on a now-slick road. Many other motorists were driving half-on-the-shoulder for better traction. After sliding past my turn, I did the same.

After some lunch, I sent a few emails, made a few calls and then off again to Bible Study, attend a meeting in Sarnia (roads were merely wet by then) and to have coffee with someone inquiring into ministry as a career (who is wondering about the difference between the diaconal and ordained streams). In lay terms, it was a churchy day today (11 hours worked, if you're keeping track).

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bauer 24 ...

... is how I would customize any hockey jersey that I would wear. Not that I plan on purchasing one. Dressing in sporting uniforms as an expression of fashion is not one that I would make. (My Woodeden Easter Seal baseball jersey being the exception, the one with "Star 69" on the back).

All this to say how excited I am to see that Jack Bauer is back in furious fashion on Day 5 of 24


after the assassinations of David Palmer (it only took 2
½ minutes to elicit my first gasp of shock) and Michelle Dessler (a few minutes later), I was heartened to see that Chloe and Edgar would last a little longer.

Once Prison Break returns, Monday nights are going to be off-limits.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Gift

It's uncanny. Shelley has the ability to see actors on TV or in a movie and be able to pinpoint other films or shows they've done. She places minor role characters and guest stars with great facility, I don't mean Michael J. Fox was in "Spin City" and "Family Ties". Well, yes he was, but her knowledge is more esoteric.

The latest example is Michelle Nolden as the astronaut sister of the love interest in Men with Brooms that we're watching on TV right now. Shelley says, "Wasn't she in an episode of CSI?"

Sure enough, I do some digging and find that she also had a guest role on CSI: Miami, episode 411, "Payback", as the survivor of a sexual assault.

Is it any wonder that I married her? Plus she's an Ebay winner, new owner of 4 cute handbags.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Days are getting longer

Entering the new year, having bid the winter solstice adieu, our biological clocks self-regulate for the shortening nights and lengthening days. There is no accounting, however, for toddler time adjustments.

Our day began at 4:15 a.m. with Rei being awoken by blowing winds and rattling windows. Kai was up around 5:30 which is about usual now for him. We rotated naps throughout the day which was complicated by a birthday party. It was for the 1-year old daughter of one of Shelley's friends from high school, who will be moving to Calgary shortly. So it was a reunion gathering and goodbye rolled up in one event.

Rei did well, playing on her own and engaging all the other children (6 girls + Kai) in a civil and polite manner. She did refuse to share her Care Bear which she brought from home because one of our gifts to the birthday girl was a Care Bear ("Wish Bear" maybe? I don't keep track; it was green...)

The weather tonight is calmer; ideally, that will translate into peaceful slumber.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Tea Party

At yesterday's meeting of the Ladies' Association, Ms. Reiko poured tea prior to the adoption of the agenda which included items regarding Pooh Bear, quacking like ducks and playing with beach balls in tents.
tea party
At one point, I thought I heard her say "half-sugar", which is how I order my Tim coffee: "milk and half sugar".

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Who's happy about being 7-months old? Doesn't he light up a room?
7 month Kai
Enough with the cutesy questions, we're all loving life these days.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


One of the benefits of "working only one day a week" (ha ha. no really, it's that funny. and original) is the relatively open schedule for the week. Yesterday Shelley wondered about a little trip to do a bit of shopping. This morning I re-arranged a couple things and off we went to the outlet mall/big box cluster in Cambridge for a family day.

We found a little something for everyone at Old Navy (like a chocolate brown casual sportcoat for $15, marked down from $55!) picked up a few more somethings at the Roots factory outlet store and lunch at Montana's. It was our first restaurant meal as a family of 4 that wasn't fast food.

The kids held up well considering the extended travel and change to their routine. It was quality time that filled with bargains galore. It was a good time of week to go; there was little in the way of line-ups and clothes were still neatly folded and arranged so we didn't have to pick through piles of disarray. I wonder how it would be on a Sunday morning...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Thrill Is Gone

WARNING: contains obscure baseball references. Proceed at your own interest.

Hearkening back to my teenage years of rabid baseball fanaticism, I was reminded that time does pass and we do move on. *sigh* It's official: Will "the Thrill" Clark is out of the Hall of Fame. His heroics in the 1989 NLCS and steady career numbers were not enough to garner the votes to keep him on the ballot. Granted I never expected him to make it, nor do I think he deserves inclusion, the news just brought on a wave of nostalgia for the late-1980's.

He was my favourite player, topping my list when he played 1B for the San Francisco Giants. From my store of internalized trivia: born March 13, 1964 in New Orleans ( 6'1", 190 lbs), bats and throws left-handed. Middle name: Nuschler. #22 - which is why that was my basketball number.

Those were the days. Being a Giants fan in rural southwestern Ontario has never been easy. Not it's ever been a terrible hardship (except for the time BJ Birdy grabbed my hat and pretended to stomp on it at an interleague game in Toronto. Jays lost. See BJ? Instant karma). Although these days, being a Giants fan anywhere is trying to say the least.

Farewill, thanks for the memories.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Wheeling and Dealing

After much contemplation and investigation, Shelley has got herself an E-bay account. Somewhat leery of PayPal's request for banking information, she consulted with Jeffy who's been known to buy and sell various items.

She did sign up for an account and told me that PayPal would be calling us to verify her information and intention. No sooner did she say this than the phone rang. If it wasn't so comical it would have been creepy ...

Now if you happen to see any lots of children's clothes up for auction on E-bay, don't bid on them.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Thievery in Children's Programming

It seems that Hi-5 has been supplanted by a new favourite show. "Dora the Explorer" with her adventurous desire to help others, her ever-useful backpack and trusted monkey sidekick has become the TV diversion of choice.

In fact, it has been a few days now that requests for Hi-5 episodes were repeatedly made. These days it's Dora. Although Rei is quite fearful when Swiper the Fox tries to meddle with the quest by pilfering needed objects like soccer balls and boats.

What is it with sticky-fingered characters in kids' shows? Swiper the Fox is a pest. In Hi-5, Jup Jup the lovestruck creature of Kimee frequently interferes with her endeavours by eating her food or taking her supplies.

Is it mandated that children's programming must teach lessons about theft and criminal activity? It's bad enough that they introduce the idea of monsters to our innocent ones. Or maybe our kids should watch less TV.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Alone in a Crowd

We hosted the annual Christmas gathering of Shelley's university housemates, and their romantic partners, today. For the city dwellers (London and Toronto), it was a quaint retreat to a rural wonderland. I suppose our lifestyle is quite different from the hustle and flow of urban living.

Given the influx of guests, Rei was reticent, preferring to play on her own in the kitchen, in the study or in the playroom, not wishing to engage the large group dynamic in the living room. She was happy to talk about her toys in one-on-one instances, but says as much herself that she is shy. She comes by it honestly, I'm the same way. I've only learned to play the part.

Kai, on the other hand, was content wherever he was and whomever he was with, for the most part. Just give him a thumb to suck or something to chew and he's happy.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Test Run

Shelley went to London today for a semi-annual "Sister Day" to mark a birthday, leaving me at home to care for the kids. This will be a practice run for parental leave next month; the only difference being not worrying about a yet-unfinished sermon.

Although I have big plans for this evening after the kids are in bed: spicy marinated pork chops, maybe some Steam Whistle or Pinot or Cab-Merlot, while watching basketball (and if that proves unwatchable, "House of the Flying Daggers" on DVD).

Before I get too ahead of myself, there's this afternoon to get through, as well as supper and bath time. And sermon writing, of course.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Wide Eyes, Wild Hair

He looks a little stunned by his coif.
wild hair wide eyes
Or maybe it's the flash of the camera - or the news that he weighs 19 lbs. 11 oz.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Local History

Shelley and I watched the made-for-TV movie "One Dead Indian" tonight based on the Ipperwash occupation and the shooting of Dudley George. Needless to say it is a contentious issue around these parts, what with the Public Inquiry going on at the community centre amidst spray-painted swastikas in the parking lot.

For our own enlightenment, we watched. We tried to match what we've heard locally with the televised version. It was amusing to see local places depicted (the film was shot near Montreal): Ipperwash Provincial Park, the souped-up local OPP station, the emergency room at Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital and we tried to guess which restaurant/coffee shop the officer was patronizing.

It was also surreal to try and imagine a life-and-death drive to the hospital, likely along the very roads that I might use to get to the churches on Sunday. I suppose we have a better idea of what happened September 6, 1995; and I suppose we'll never really understand or know all of what took place.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sharing the Brain

In our university days, Jeffy, Cheryl and I joked about "sharing the brain". It seemed that the three of us were of the same mind, following the same obscure trains of thought, far too often. When Cheryl first met us, she commented that she needed a handbook to keep track of all the inside jokes Jeffy and I shared. It didn't take too long before she was part of the hijinks and claimed part ownership of the brain.

We did modify our system to allow for the person writing an exam to make use of the brain, sometimes ending up with a two-brains-for-three-people distribution. But you get the point.

After all these years and despite geographic distance, it seems we continue to share the brain. Compare last night's entry (finished and posted this morning) with Jeffy's also posted this morning.

And yes, while I do share the brain with dear friends Jeffy & Cheryl, it is with Shelley that I share my heart. (Everyone altogether: Awwwwwww).

Monday, January 02, 2006

Games without Frontiers

With two other children in the house, there were many instances of pretend play: having tea, medical check ups (and operations - yes, Neva is a physician's daughter), construction work, marching band parades, and other expressions of imagination.

With two other adults in the house, many board games were played (in addition to the previously posted Mario Party) :

- Heck Meck
- CSI: The Board Game
- Settlers of Catan
- Pictionary

Hmm. The list looks shorter when written down than the hours of the evenings spent rolling dice and doodling California raisins. Much fun was had and Jeffy didn't win all the time this time.

Dance Party

Every buddy dance now!
Dance Party

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Of Monsters, Mario, Music and Munchies

We welcomed our dear friends Jeffy and Cheryl and their kids Neva and Hugh (a.k.a. "The Dude") to our place to recommence our annual tradition of spending the New Year's transition period together. The house was running on toddler energy, as we negotiated agreements on sharing, taking turns, and using manners.

Jeffy's verbatim account of December 30th, 2005 of Neva introducing the thought of child-eating monsters in our house to Rei. No surprises how that turned out.

As is our custom, we played Mario Party (version 7 on GameCube). I, as Mario, did not fare well, being sent back to the start numerous times, courtesy of warp pipes and Bowser cannons, losing coins in duels and Bowser interference, even losing my only star late in the game. Yes, I'm throwing a self-pity party because no one else would feel sorry for me.

The soundtrack for our evening was CBC Radio - The National Playlist (heartened again to hear Stars at #1) and Sean Cullen's comedic New Year's Eve special (featuring the dropping of his pants at midnight).

And we ate throughout the night. Many hors d'oeuvres were prepared and consumed, including the obligatory shrimp ring. Happy New Year!