Sunday, December 31, 2006

More of the Same

Even though last night started off well, Neva and Rei having a sleepover; it ended with Rei (who was still awake at 11:00) sleeping with Shelley in the home office and me on the couch. Neva woke this morning with concern, wondering where her sleepover friend went.

There was more "grocery shopping" with the toys, some "fire fighting" as well as the requisite Dora watching.

A session with some Play Foam, tiny coloured adhesive beads that can be shaped into imaginative designs and creations, brought out the OCD-behaviour in the adults trying to re-sort the kids' mixed globs of sculpture back into their component colours.

Our New Year's Eve evening shapes up to be pretty much the same as last year: playing games, listening to
Seán Cullen on the radio, and eating appetizers the entire time. The more things change, the more they stay the same. On this night of the year, we wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas 2006: Round 7

The Parsons-Sheldrakes arrived in the afternoon, Hugh with a found golf ball in hand. (One other item to mark off on my wish list as "received"). Gifts were opened in the afternoon and the kids were all abuzz with the energy of seeing each other once more and the power of Christmas unleashed yet again.

Neva's new cash register/grocery checkout toy was immensely popular, as was the "electric guitar" Rei got from Uncle Daisuke, (who might be grateful that the Boston Red Sox signed Daisuke Matsuzaka so that people could finally pronounce his name properly. Or sue for rights to the moniker "Dice"). Kai was just happy to have so many people in house to run around with.

We received Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth (now in more convenient DVD format), an Antarctic boardgame, Hey! That's My Fish, and a handcrafted stole that would be very appropriate for the season of Epiphany. We experienced the marvellous wonder that is Jeffy's sweater as he and I supersmashed each other, Mario-style, on the GameCube. Peace and goodwill to all in this season, you know.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Previous Generation

As speculated, the advent of Nintendo Wii has yielded some good buys. I joined the cool kid crowd yesterday with the purchase of a GameCube. Yes, I know it's 5 years behind the times; but I don't have the time or inclination to make it that much of a priority.

So I got picked up a GameCube Platinum with controller and Super Smash Bros. Melee for $90, buying another controller and Animal Crossing, at the Great Canadian Superstore ... (what is this world coming to? buying video game consoles at a grocery store?)

I opened it last night to find that the game that was supposed to be included was missing. Today, Shelley had some shopping to do and exchanged our things for a complete set. And now, my thumbs are a little sore.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Close Quarters

We live in big old farmhouse, and the kids cram themselves into the smallest corner of the kitchen.
close quarters
At least it hasn't taken months for Rei to start playing with her Christmas gifts.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Golden Years

Rei, sprawled out on the floor in front of the TV, gave a contemplative sigh and observed,"When I was little, I loved being a baby."

I wonder if Kai thinks the same thing. Except for his latest ear infection, I suspect he might agree.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006: Round 6 - The Tally

Driving on snowless roads to Greatgrandmother's house we go ... we were treated to another full turkey dinner for lunch. Despite Kai's cold, he was in good spirit and demeanor; Rei responded very positively to Heavenly Hash ice cream and homemade peanut butter fudge; Shelley was the one who restored the toilet to proper working order; and my contribution to the day's events was taking a nap.
* * *
All in all, 'twas a bookish Christmas. Add to the already received Eleanor Rigby, the also-requested Baseballissimo and a surprise from the kids/Shelley: Miriam Toews's summer of my amazing luck.

The philosophical What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole DVD from my brother was an apt and unexpected (and much appreciated) selection.

With the Christmas gift money received, the only bargain shopping I did today was at iTunes' Boxing Day Sale, picking up The Hidden Cameras "Awoo" and Nelly Furtado's "Folklore" for cheap. I have my sights on Little Miss Sunshine, no surprise, or maybe a Nintendo Gamecube now that the Wii is pushing the price down.

Many thanks for the gifts, I have many more outlets for waste-o under the guise of cultural enrichment.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas 2006: Round 5

After lunch, we sped through the spring-like countryside to the farm for my family Christmas. Plenty of food and drink was to be had, which the kids also enjoyed:
Xmas Joy 2006
T'is the season to be jolly, indeed.

Christmas 2006: Round 4

Shelley's sister stayed overnight (and helped us assemble the new kitchen playset we got for the kids) and of course, the night was rocky. Attuned to the worldwide restlessness of children on Christmas Eve, Kai was up at 3:30. With a houseguest in the room below his, we didn't feel justified in letting him cry himself out and spent a couple hours with him in the rocking chair.

Rei also woke up during this time and announced "she couldn't sleep". Things finally settled down at 5:30 and we all slept in until 8:00.

The lack of sleep did not factor into their determination to play with their Christmas toys.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Super Sunday

In the rare collision of calendar quirks, the fourth Sunday in Advent with Communion and the Christmas Eve service occur on the same day. After the morning services, I had 15 minutes for lunch before the dress rehearsal for the evening's drama. Once that concluded there was some more set-up and preparation in.

I managed a few hours of time with the family, including a hay wagon ride through the streets of Arkona, before heading back to the church for final tinkering, meeting and greeting.

In the end, no one set themselves on fire, the computer slide presentation progressed smoothly and the worship glitches were minor. The kids were adorable and the importance of the season was emphasized. Still, I'm glad it comes but once a year.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


While Rei declined to appear in the daycare's Christmas concert, her brother looked to make off with a gift from Santa.
Santa Heist

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I'm still alive, mostly well. It's always busy around this time of year for some reason. There're a few half-completed posts saved as drafts that I have yet to finish — maybe I'll get around to doing that. Once Christmas arrives. Enjoy the season.


Ever since we bought our TV in August, we'd noticed the occasional fade/burn spot on the screen that appeared as a bright green splotch in the top right corner.

Today, we finally exchanged the TV for a new one (same make and model) while the kids were in daycare. They didn't notice the difference.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas 2006: Round 3

I took the kids into Forest for some playtime at the Ontario Early Years Centre (and also rounding out the OEYC's attendance numbers, justifying its existence, and keeping Shelley employed), while Shelley went into London to attend a publisher's book sale. She came back with some treats: a touch-and-feel puppy book for Kai, Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go! for me, and a Wiggle songbook for Rei featuring a "digital music player" that has 20 Wiggles songs on it playback. Needless to say both kids were enraptured with the "iPod Wiggle".

We observed Christmas with Shelley's sister and her boyfriend with some chips and dip, lasagna and apple caramel cheesecake. Gifts for the kids featured a Tonka fire truck, a pink Sleeping Beauty costume (complete with "high heel" shoes), and a pyjama-set featuring a Hugh Hefner-esque housecoat. My Douglas Coupland collection now contains Eleanor Rigby and it wouldn't have been Christmas without receiving a basketball magazine.

It was a marvellous green, and browning, Christmas.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

18-month Bash

To commemorate his recent coming of age (18 months), Kai and I visited the doctor for some celebratory immunizations.
18-month celebration
His Eminence (31½-inch length and 22 lbs 2 oz weight) preferred to mark the occasion with a tea party.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hospital-ity Tour

This afternoon, the new pastor from the Bible Chapel in town and I drove into London for a whirlwind tour of the healthcare system (the cooperative venture of LHSC and SJHC). I showed him around to University Hospital, St. Joseph's Health Care, pointing out Mount Hope Centre, South Street Hospital, and Parkwood Hospital on our way to Victoria Hospital.

We met with some of the pastoral care staff, I showed him where to park and how to have his pass validated and he received/completed the paperwork for his accredited hospital IDs. Coincidentally, the staff appreciation buffet was occurring while at Victoria. I walked into the cafeteria with ID affixed to my lapel, acting as if I belonged (not for the first time that I've been mistaken for a doctor – and not to say that only doctors are "staff", although some act like it), and brought a plate of fruit and cookies and a couple coffees back to the Spiritual Care office.

It is, after all, the hospital's mandate to care for the entire person, spirit, mind and body.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bucky Ballot

My latest waste-o diversion is making my selections for CBC Radio 3's First Annual Bucky Awards. These voter-determined accolades for the Canadian independent music scene have trivially engaging categories like "Best Facial Hair" and "Band that most Resembles Itself" (Tegan & Sara would be too easy, they're identical twins after all...)

I am exercising my franchise with due diligence, attuning my discerning ear to assess the entries in "Catchiest Beat" and "Best Flow", doing my best to judge entirely on the merits of the music and not my loyalties to the artists (although it is near impossible to bring myself to vote against Joel Plaskett, Emily Haines, or Ron Sexsmith).

It's hard work voting in on-line polls!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Performance Artist

Ribbon gymnastics and sunglasses to protect against the glare of flashbulbs,
liturgical dance can't be far off ...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Santa Drives a Jetta

The kids' least favourite part of "Breakfast with Santa", an annual event hosted by the Ontario Early Years Centre in Forest, is Santa. Being mildy- to moderately-suspicious of strangers, it wasn't likely that they would approach a chuckling, overly-jolly, stranger of immense proportions. Kai, maybe; Rei, definitely not.

As we pulled into the parking lot for the event, who parked beside us? St. Nick himself! Peering into the backseat windows and offering a friendly wave, the jolly old elf terrified Rei. She insisted that she needed to be carried from the car to her breakfast. So it was with 50+ lbs. of winter-clad kids in my arms that I made my way through the parking lot and down the stairs into the Great Hall.

It didn't stop there, Santa was in the hall asking if I could have the staff close the blinds on the windows so the kids wouldn't see him before "it was time". Other children might have been impressed that their parent was on speaking terms with Santa. Not so our kids.

(And it seems that someone has gone to a lot of work to uncover the truth about Santa. Did you ask for "personal salvation" for Christmas this year? Because, apparently, we'd better or we'll reside forever on The Naughty List.)

Friday, December 08, 2006

Snow Job 2006

It's been a while since I've posted a picture. The snow and cold presented the opportunity to bundle up the kids in their winter wear; and here they are, hard at "work".
snow job
I expect a comment from Urs about child labour.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I got in to see the dentist this morning, to have my chipped tooth examined. A couple minutes of filing and I was out of the chair and back to shovelling out the sidewalks and driveway.

checking his list

Much of the holiday stress comes from expectations around gifts, giving and receiving. And I'm not really about the gifts at Christmas, despite the purpose of this post. I'm listing things I'd like (not because so many of you have asked, but it provides a central site for the flow of information). And given how long it took me to compile this list, it'd be a shame not to share it with the world, despite how presumptuous and egotistic it makes me.

CDs — My list is a little Polaris-flavoured, definitely all-Canadian:
- Final Fantasy, He Poos Clouds
- The Hidden Cameras, Awoo
- Metric, Live It Loud
- The Stills, Without Feathers

DVDs — I don't have much time for watching movies lately, but I'll make time for this one:
- Little Miss Sunshine (to be released Dec. 19)

Books — more Canadiana:
- Eleanor Rigby by Douglas Coupland
- Baseballissimo or For Those About to Rock by Dave Bidini

Other ideas:
- Wine decanter
- Golf balls

If you want to use the comments to coordinate efforts and avoid duplication, I won't check them until the New Year. Really, I won't.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cuddle Day

With Kai feeling under the weather, he spent pretty much the entire day on my lap or in my arms. While it was nice to spend the time snuggling together, it wasn't the most productive day, work-wise.

Although, remembering December 6th's Montreal Massacre (and not many seem to be remembering today – I didn't notice much media coverage beyond a passing comment), the Dawson College shooting, and all the evil in the world, some parent-child bonding seems more important.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


This week, Kai completed his 3-week transition from the Infant Room at daycare to become a full-time toddler.

He's also in the process of moving from "healthy" to "not healthy" as another coughing, sniffling cold is manifesting itself in his system.

In other changes, I had put away the barbeque for the winter; we fired up our indoor George Foreman grill for tonight's sausages.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Gosh Batman!

Tonight, on the way to bath, Rei was singing: "Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na BATMAN!" Amused, perplexed, and rather impressed, I asked her where she learned that song. She proudly replied, "At Monday School!" (Monday School is what our church calls Sunday School, except it happens on Monday after school; hence, the name).

In previous weeks, we've used the Batman grace:
"Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, thank you! (x2)
Thank you
God for
Bat food."

So she is familiar with the music. Although I don't recall ever divulging the original lyrics, she must have picked them up somewhere. It is a hypnotically versatile tune; it works for so many things – Batman, fishing, Leader.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Lately, Kai has become very pre-occupied with his bellybutton. He'll walk around with his hand under his shirt, running his finger back and forth over his navel.

This morning, he worked his arm out of the sleeve of his pyjama sleeper so that he could fiddle with his middle.

Friday, December 01, 2006

TP Clarity

Before heading into London to visit at the hospital, Shelley asked if I could stop by No Frills and pick up a few things on sale. She mentioned toilet paper, 40 rolls for $7, but when I was in the aisle, I couldn't remember the particulars.

I saw 30 Mega rolls, an equivalent of 50 rolls, (which seemed like the right amount) for $14 (for some reason, the multiple of $7 struck me as accurate as well ...) and gathering my items, proceeded to the cashier. When it came to the toilet paper, she helpfully mentioned that Royale was on sale, 40 rolls for $7. I commented, "That's probably what I was supposed to get!" to the amusement of everyone in the check-out line.

I hurried to the prominent pyramid of personal paper product (how did I miss that display?) and returned home, feeling the satisfication of cashing in on a good deal. You might say that I "cleaned up".