Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Growth Spurt

Kai is growing up before our eyes.

His pants fit him properly now. Suddenly, we no longer have to roll up the cuffs.

His coordination is improving, no longer tripping every few steps. He can get down stairs by himself. He has yet to get airborn when he "jumps" but he's constantly trying.

His vocabulary is growing. He held his hand a few inches over the radiator in the bathroom and warned us all: "Hot."

It is gratifying and terrifying to see them grow up so quickly.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dig In

The first major session of shovelling for the winter happened this morning. I don't think I've shared this observation before: for years, I have believed that our driveway is the longest in Arkona that is shovelled out by hand. It reminds me of my days in the snowbelt of Perth County, digging and digging out a path for the tool shed doors so that we could get the snowblower out.

Thankfully the snow was powdery and fluffy today; not so good for making snow creatures, but easy to shovel. With Rei's help, we made quick work of it and went in for hot chocolate. Until the second shift in the afternoon where we cleared the sidewalks and paths by the church to get ready for Monday School.

For now, we're caught up. Until it snows again.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

An Open Letter

To the person who destroyed our snowman this afternoon between 12:30 and 3:00,

My forensic reasoning further concludes that you went out of your way to walk by our picnic table in the backyard and decapitate our humble snow man. For what reason?

We've gotten used to all manner of people walking through our backyard and front lawn. I admit it's hard for children and teens to recognize this boundary when adults of the community do the same. We'd be more open to such trespasses were you a member of the church, because after all it is their property, not ours. But my guess is you're not because you'd otherwise know, and care about, the people who made that snowman.

How do we explain to a our 3-year old that someone deliberately destroyed her creation? We chose to respond to her puzzled observation, "Oh look, my snowman is broken!" with assurance that we can make another one. Isn't it too early to teach her about anonymous, malicious intent and meaningless vandalism?

I hope you and your buddies are pleased with what you've done. Thanks to you, the town is safe. Who knows what an ungodly invasion of lumpy snow creatures hell-bent on subverting our way of life would do? Maybe cast a suffocating, all-pervasive blanket of cold and chill upon the land? Oh, wait...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Knock Knock

Kai was in fine form, performing some sit-down comedy. He's repeating Rei's favourite joke: "Knock knock"
knock knock
-Who's there?
-Hatch who?
-"Bless you!"

Friday, January 26, 2007

Winter Garden

We braved the frigid winter weather in the morning to conduct some winter gardening.
winter garden
We lasted about 10 minutes before deciding it was time for hot chocolate.

Treddzure Chezdt

Some allergy sneezing while at the farm seemed to trigger a cold, the sniffling and sneezing followed me home.

In a quest for some crayons, my mom discovered a box of odds and ends that are some holdovers from my sister. I conservatively estimated the items to be 12 years old (a good biblical number): some banana hair clips, cereal box prizes, half-completed origami projects, friendship bracelets, shoelaces, a Strawberry Shortcake hat, some doll clothing, and other miscellenea.

Needless to say, Rei was fascinated and delighted with this treasure trove of girly delights.

Closer examination of a McDonald's Happy Meal party favour showed its copyright to be ©1986. I come by my pack-rattiness honestly.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


My plan was to head to my parents' for an overnight visit for some farm winter fun for the kids, but the weather was a bit dicey. I called after getting the kids from daycare to see what the situation was there and things were fine.

The drive from Forest to Arkona was miserable: blowing snow and white outs precipitated by oncoming traffic. I wasn't too keen on driving all the way to the farm under those conditions, but buoyed by the news that clearer roads and weather awaited us, I resolved to travel just a little further before turning around and staying home.

Things eased up north of Keyser and once we got past Parkhill (and a bathroom stop for Rei), the travelling became less stressful and I could engage the kids enough to ask about their day. Zooming through Elginfield, I noted the Mordorian sky, a pall of stormy menace, from which we escaped.

Whether that's the weather we return to tomorrow, we'll find out then.

Prepare Ye

With Shelley away at a conference for a couple days, I prepared last night as much as I could for a smooth morning and drop off at daycare. The breakfast table was set, apple juice poured and waiting in the fridge, coffee maker programmed, the kids' bags packed and ready by the door, I stopped short of pouring out the cereal into their bowls.

My best laid plans didn't account for timing. Kai was cheerily awake at 4:55 a.m. He burbled happily for 20 minutes before fussing enough that I felt obligated to retrieve him. We put away some laundry and he woke his sister just before 6:00.

Even with the early start, the stormy weather slowed us up en route to daycare and we arrived at the usual time.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Our desktop PC had been acting up lately - not that we've been using it much - and I took it in for repair. Turns out the hard disk is fried; there is the slimmest of chances for data recovery.

Lost to digital oblivion are our photos (I'm going to hit up my family for the picture CDs I burned for them), my sermons (I have hard copies of most them filed) and Powerpoint worship presentations, and memories of WanCatan greatness.

For now, we'll continue as has been the usual: on the Mac laptop. I always got a chuckle out of the "Mac" and "PC" ads.
And now I'm going to back up the data on the iBook.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pizza Pape, Sow Nice

One of the nicer human interest stories in basketball tonight: Pape Sow (pronounced "Pop Soh") returned to the game after breaking his neck in the summer. Judging by the roar of the crowd, most of the fans were aware of the significance of his floor time, which is nice to know basketball is making some inroads in Leafs-obsessed Hogtown.

To make his floortime more glorious, he made the basket that gave ticketholders a slice of Pizza Pizza pizza. That, Bargnani outplaying Adam Morrison, and my man Jose having a big game, I'm almost proud to be a Raptor fan again.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Kai has been all about headwear lately: tiaras, sunhats, toques.
His hip-hop styling today reminded Shelley of someone, a TV character that Reiko watches. Maybe Rumiko's "people who look like people" will feature this likeness (although it seems to be restricted to real live people thus far).
"What's that Pocoyo? ... Yes, that boy does look like you, doesn't he? Maybe you could be friends. I think he likes dancing too."

Saturday, January 20, 2007


I was at 5 Oaks offering leadership at a “Youth and Pastoral Care” education event. During the session on “Sexuality and Pastoral Care”, commonly called “Sex in the Afternoon”, we discussed the value of using accurate terminology for body parts and behaviours and avoiding euphemisms. Of course one thing led to another ... and for 22 youth ministry folk in southwestern Ontario, the words "writing a sermon" will carry a decidedly different connotation. *giggle giggle* we are so mature.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A Likeness in Snow

Rei still insists that we not take pictures of her. Photographs of her offspring, however, are permitted:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Can o' Worms

Not meaning to tell tales out of school, but after this afternoon's Presbytery Executive meeting, I am especially appreciative of the congregations of Arkona and Ravenswood. As mind-numbingly frustrating church politics can get, it gave me a great gift of thankfulness today.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Not a Fan

Now that the weather is wintry cold and windshields are beautifully frosted, the heater/fan in our Ford Focus quit working.

While on my travels today, I resorted to using the wiper fluid to defrost the windshield only to realize that I need new wiper blades and discover that, without ambient warmth, wiper fluid also freezes on cold surfaces. A couple times I had to pull over and kleenex off a viewing portal until I could get to Home Hardware (the "Doug store") for a replacement wiper blade.

By then, the temperature had risen enough for a clear windshield and I was able to tend to the rest of my day without visible distress.

Monday, January 15, 2007

He's da Bomb, B'y

My character's name when playing Animal Crossing is "Jack" and the name of my town is "CTU". I set his birthday for January 14th, the season premiere of 24. It's a real-time game, so when I played on my "birthday" it was disappointing to find out that most of my friends and neighbours had moved away to another town (Shelley's "Arkona") and the only recognition of my birthday was a cake from my "Mom".

That did not diminish the gift that was the kick-off to another day of anti-terrorist Jack Bauer's ironically all-American life...

* * * 24 SPOILER ALERT * * *

I was initially disappointed that there wasn't more Asian villainy portrayed and we're picking on Muslims again. I was curious to learn that Canada's own Pakistani-Newfoundlander, a self-professed "Poofie", Shaun Majumder had a pivotal role as a terrorist. Indeed it was very strange to see him in a dramatically sinister role, but he carried it well and went out with a bang.
Not many natives of Baie Verte can say they nuked LA.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sharp Dress-ed Man

Trends move pretty quickly these days.
Queen Kai
We've always been on the cutting edge of fashion.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Henck the Knife

For Christmas 2005, the gift Shelley and I intended to give each other was a new set of kitchen knives. While we did browse a few places and did some research, we didn't actually get around acquiring them.

This past November 15, Shelley got a raincheck on a set of Henckels for half-price at Canadian Tire (yes, we were destined for trouble buying our kitchen ware at an automotive store). After two trips into Sarnia, a recently concluded Christmas holiday, and no phone calls from the store, Shelley happened to stop by yesterday and notice they were restocked.

To celebrate, I've been taking advantage of any excuse to slice and dice – excising crusts off sandwiches, dissecting pickles, cutting cheese...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Pan-fried Pizza

It turns out our oven is on the fritz. My first clue was the still-pasty pastry bottom of my meat pie that I had for lunch, but I was too busy cutting holes in our entertainment unit to accommodate the new TV, with audio and video cables strewn everywhere, to notice the culinary anomaly.

Shelley had to work this evening so I ordered a pizza. Our custom is to have it half-baked (yes, haha) because the time of our order is rarely the time we eat. We finish cooking it in our oven so that it is fresh and ready when we are. Tonight, that well-laid plan went astray as the top was crispy and bubbly while the bottom crust was still doughy.

The kids were keeningly hungry and so I sliced up the pizza, tossed them into a skillet, and fried the bottoms. Whose cuisine reigns supreme? Not ours, not tonight.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Say No, Sanyo

Last month, I exchanged the TV we bought in the summer. Tonight I returned it outright. The second one also had a couple patches of permanent discolouration/burnout/fade on the screen.

I pocketed the refund, drove across the street and ended up with the Toshiba 26" widescreen that I had originally scouted out, back in August. So far so good; children's shows, basketball and Nintendo are present in clear, crisp colour. I will need to reconfigure the entertainment unit's layout.

Who knew TV acquisition could be so much trouble? Is this a sign that we need to cut back? Maybe after the next season of 24 ... or NCAA basketball's March Madness ... or ... uhm, not at all.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Blue Cheese Warning

In November, when Shelley and I crossed the border for some Olive Garden, I ordered an entrée that had some gorgonzola cheese. Our server cautioned me that it had a definite blue cheesy flavour so that I was prepared for it. I knew what I was getting into and thanked her. (She, incidentally, was superb in her knowledge of menu, attentiveness to our needs and promptness; Shelley was so impressed she passed along a word of commendation to the manager).

Back to today, after picking up Little Miss Sunshine, I headed elsewhere to get another DVD related to pastoral care with youth, this one much darker and more disturbing - every parent's nightmare - Thirteen. Paying at the register, I received another Blue Cheese Warning from the cashier:

- "Is this for your daughter?"
- (Hey, maybe I look old enough to have a 13-year old daughter now!)
"No; it's for me."

- "Just so you know ..."
- "Yeah, I know. Thanks."

Caveat emptor. Buyer beware!

Little Mr. Sunshine

In preparation for an upcoming "Pastoral Care with Youth" education event, I picked up my favourite movie of 2006, Little Miss Sunshine. It was a real hardship to have to add this gem to my collection. And, coincidentally?, the story arcs correspond to the themes that will be presented (body image, mental health, sexuality)!

Lest you think it was my personal evangelizing that informed this presentation decision, let me assure you that it was the other members of the leadership team that suggested it. (Although, I was planning on following Dwayne's story as a vehicle for discussion).

Resisting temptation, I did not run through the parking lot to the car à la Uncle Frank, because we all know what happens next...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Your Backyard Friends

This morning, the local theatre hosted a fundraiser for one of the daycare centres in town showing a couple episodes of The Backyardigans on the big screen.

Reiko and I had a special Daddy date while Shelley and Kai had a date of their own at the Early Years Centre. We met up with them after the show and this time, it was Kai that fell asleep in the car on the way home.

Friday, January 05, 2007

"Lend me your ears"

Much like the Raptors, as one player goes on the injured list as another makes his way back, the kids are rotating through the ear infection cycle.

We confirmed Rei's first ear infection today, just as we administered Kai's last dose of medication. She almost fell asleep in the car during the 15-minute drive to the doctor's, and again on the way home, and once more while waiting for her prescription to be filled.

She napped off and on throughout the afternoon as she watched Dora. Funny, she always woke up whenever I turned the TV off, or changed the channel. She must take after her father and his basketball games.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Shelley's away for a Sister Day with, well, her sister and the past couple days Kai has diarrhea. (Today we went through at least 15 diapers; I kind of lost count. We were at 9 by 11:30 a.m.) Maybe it's a side effect of his medicine, or something he ate New Year's Day?

Is it too crass to suggest that it's been a crappy new year?
"I used to talk about politics, politics, politics,
I used to talk about politics but I don't anymore.
I used to talk about communism, socialism, capitalism
I used to talk about all those isms but now I'm a dad
And all I talk about is baby poo"

Monday, January 01, 2007


So we rang in the new year in typical fashion: Tostitos & nacho dip, shrimp ring, vegetable spring rolls and beverages. We played Tsuro, a simple and elegant board game of pathways, whose name reminded me of Tetsuro Shigmatsu host of CBC Radio 1's national afternoon show.

Our attempts at Mario Party 3 were foiled by the game freezing on us, twice. That was when we moved onto Tetris. When the clock ticked over to 2007, Jeffy and I were still playing the game we started in 2006 while Cheryl and Shelley watched, chatted and snacked. This too, is typical of our get-togethers. My red, dry eyes to begin the new year were not from excess drinking, but from not blinking during the 35 minutes of gameplay.

We saw our guests off after lunch and headed off ourselves to the farm for New Year's supper, chicken mizudaki and omochi, much fancier than whatever leftovers we would have had. And after all the festivities, families and friends, we're glad for the next couple days off: the holiday after the holidays.