Saturday, December 27, 2008

Clean Cut Crew

The Boxing Day sale excursion yielded a shaving kit for Kai. Here we are in action:
shaving buddies

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008, Round 4

Christmas proper began with Kai's first words: "Did Santa eat his cookie?"

The smile on Reiko's face indicates that her eBay present was a hit:
the big house

After a morning of cinnamon buns and present opening, we headed to the farm for the festivities with my side of the family. The kids were appropriately doted upon by everyone, although my mom was feeling sick and spent much of the day resting in bed. On the up side, she didn't have to go to work.

The next few days shape up to beer-drinking, book-reading and wine-shopping if my gifts are any indication. Merry Christmas everyone. Again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Party Tricks

I didn't encourage them to do this. But I didn't not un-discourage them either... (how's that for a George W.ism?)
party tricks

You'll note that Kai has increased the degree of difficulty by standing on one leg.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas 2008, Round 3

Our Christmas observances begin at Thanksgiving with Shelley's cousins, continue in November with her parents before their Floridian migration, and as the 25th creeps closer, with her sister and boyfriend.

Their gifts were on the mark. Princess Reiko loved Disney's Rapunzel Princess:

And Kai has a real-life guitar of his own:
guitar man

Monday, December 15, 2008

Woody's Roundup

An ardent fan of the Toy Story franchise, Kai was the beneficiary of a pre-loved Woody toy. One of Shelley's co-workers passed along this doll (action figure?) to Kai's great delight.


And no, we don't have the heat turned up in the house; he just likes to dress as if it is. Mind over matter, perhaps. Merry early Christmas.

Friday, November 28, 2008

pre-Advent Preparations

So it's not officially Advent yet, but we've undertaken the decorative preparations for the coming Christmas blitz. My liturgical stricture has abated over the years, conceding that sometimes you need to take on tasks when you have the time and energy for them.

Reiko is perhaps contemplating the seriousness of our transgression, or pondering the true meaning of the season:
tree 2008

Kai, not so much:
stocking head

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hallowe'en 2008: Firefighter and the Fairy

Speaking of Hallowe'en, Kai actually was excited to be trick or treating. Perhaps he felt the dignity of his costumed profession required a more solemn demeanour.

halloween 2008

I think we tallied 120 visitors or so. It's hard to keep track when you're on the phone with your satellite TV provider (resolving technical troubles/advocating for financial reimbursement for our trouble) while answering the door.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First Dump of Winter

It looks like the weather is dressing up like winter for Hallowe'en this year.

winter fall 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pop Go the Wiggles

Kai's first big-ticket concert experience came tonight, courtesy of Australia's richest entertainers: The Wiggles.

They indulged the Canadian crowd with a rendition of Raffi's "Baby Beluga" and all the usual gimmicks and characters. If we played a drinking game, taking a shot every time Anthony drew attention to himself, we'd be too wasted to walk back to the car. Although his Patrick Swayze impersonation was quite clever, in a desperate kind of way.

Kai's favourite Wiggle of late, Sam, came within high-fiving distance of us. I didn't have the camera ready in time to snap a photo in his face.

As a keepsake of the night, the kids are bedecked in concert finery:
pop go the wiggles

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kai's First Photo

Our budding young photographer's first photo:
kai's first photo
"Ducks on the Avon"

The fluidity of the subjects anticipated progress set against the textured water presents a feeling of poignant reflection amid autumn gloom. The muted tones of dark birds on cool grey shades seem dreary and forlorn, but it offers a statement of solidarity and persistence in the face of emptiness. A powerful, moving piece – I look forward to great things from this artist.

You can see his sister's first work here.

Pigs and Play

I took the kids into Stratford to visit my aunt and uncle, we stopped at a park where they climbed to new heights.

kai climber 2008

rei climber 2008

Back on the farm, my dad presented them with a piglet which they approached with guarded curiosity:
pig pail

Friday, October 24, 2008

Life on the Farm

Upon my return, I headed home to my parents' farm with the kids to give Shelley a break.

They soon gravitated towards the machinery:
john deere 2

Especially Kai:
tractor kai

A ride in the combine was special treat, notwithstanding all the noise from the open door:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Free Lunch

Completing the culinary reunion tour (having already feasted on Darbar and Brew Pub), I stopped at The Wok-In on my way out of town.

It was pretty busy for the lunch hour, I grabbed a seat at a table as someone finished up. I'd ordered my standard #4 with extra spring roll, and another one as take-out for Shelley. While I waited, someone joined me at the table.

We got to talking and of course, ended up talking about church and faith, etc. where he shared his profound respect for my vocation and marvelled at my (apparent) youth. In the end, he insisted on paying for my lunch (and Shelley's supper) because the Lord has been good to him and his business this year. Thanks Andy. And thank the Lord too, I suppose.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Return to Kingston

It's a trip back to the Limestone City for the Annual Conference at Queen's Theological College. For the first time in 3 years, there were no Korean ladies at Inverary Golf Course for my pre-conference round. I was, however, able to take advantage of their 2-for-1 Mondays, getting together with a classmate of mine.

A cruise downtown showed a few changes: the once-heralded (albeit dubiously) Lino's has changed hands once again – this time LegendZ Italian restaurant, bar and grill hopes to establish itself on Princess and Division. I was sad to see that Café Max had closed and relieved that the creepy doll store on Brock Street is no longer there.

Stopping by some familiar haunts yielded some previously-used CDs completing my New Pornographers collection, beginning my Buck 65 one and procuring a pound of the Sleepless Goat Café's "Dr. Joe" coffee beans. Such are the sounds, sights and flavours of Kingston in the fall.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall Photos 2008

Leaf helmets (and we don't mean fan wear for that Toronto team that hogs all the area sports attention - says the bitter basketball fan):
leaf helmets

Pumpkin Rider:
pumpkin kai

treehugger rei

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Canada Votes 2008. Not!

Upon our return from the hotel, Shelley and I exercised our franchise and voted in the federal election. Through I had arranged to swap my vote with someone in London-Fanshawe. I'm still committed to the left-leaning socialistic side of the political spectrum; while my background in environmental biology might nudge me to the Green Party, the rest of their platform is not so inspiring.

Within our riding, the NDP had not put forth a strong showing or inclination in running a candidate (unnamed for the first few weeks of the campaign, apparently absent from local All-Candidates meeting - so was I, so who am I to judge?, and the campaign manager for another candidate in a neighbouring riding). So I was torn: if I voted NDP, it would be like the party was taking me for granted ... but did I want to strategically vote Liberal?

Moxywoman sent a link to VotePair and I saw this as a way that I could still support the NDP, vote Liberal if I had to (and not feel dirty about it) and feel as if my vote made a difference. So the upshot was that I was matched up with a voter in London-Fanshawe who re-elected the NDP incumbent and I voted Green (which I was prepared to do anyway, given that Stéphane Dion blew his chance at my vote with his comment about NDP coalitions with the Marijuana and Nudist parties).

In the green spirit (and of Ed Begley, Jr. on the Simpsons episode "Homer to the Max"), I rode my bike to the polling station to vote, powered by my own sense of self-satisfaction.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thanksgiving Holiday 2008

Foregoing the standard apologies for being swamped and non-bloggy, here's the quick skip through October:

Thanksgiving Holiday
As a supplement to the double-barrelled turkey action (beginning with Christmas 2008, part 1 with Shelley's cousins followed the next day by family thanksgiving with my folks on the farm), we went to a hotel for an overnight holiday. Shelley had a 5-day weekend and we ventured to the Best Western Lamplighter Inn for some special occasion fun.
thanksgiving 2008 swim

Kai did well in the pool until falling facefirst into the water. I caught him immediately, but he was done with aquatics after that. Reiko enjoyed herself immensely, so we may look into swimming lessons next summer. Continuing in a maritime theme, the kids tried some shrimp with supper at Red Lobster and enjoyed the experience.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Rest of the Summer

I'm not exactly sure where the rest of September went ... mind you, there were a couple weekends where I was sick with this sinus cold-headache combo that did a number on me.

Life at the churches has been busy with everything that seems to happen all at once. Reinvigorating the Sunday Schools at the start of a new year, Cemetery Decoration Day services, a special worship for the Fall Fair in Glencoe, reminded me that getting back into the routine of work might not happen until November when all the special events and occasions have passed. Just in time to get wound up for Advent/Christmas.

At one point, I had 4 distinctly different worship services in 2 days. But enough about me.

Reiko's enjoying French Immersion, coming home with new words for her vocabulary and new friends for her peer network. The new skincare system seems to be working well with her eczema and ballet class has been a hit.

Kai has taken to shirking his clothes at every opportunity, preferring to strut around in his diaper (yes, still a diaper ... we're still waiting for that cognitive turning point in his potty training). He's discovered he likes eating raw mushrooms, and while he'll pick green peppers off the neighbour's plants (with her permission, thankfully), he won't actually eat them.

Shelley has also been busy with her work and the fresh start that September represents. She's currently away at a literacy conference in Niagara Falls. Coincidentally, she is there with the spouse of one of my ministry compadres; he and I often are away together for various church functions, this time it's their turn to have some time away.

So that's the latest from our end, maybe the change in season will allow for more blogtime ... maybe I should just stop saying that, but I am a person of hope.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


When the car began acting up this morning, I knew it wasn't the ignition coil or misfiring plugs. The battery light that flashed red and the wildly fluctuating gauges (could I really have been driving 260 km/h?) prompted me to proceed directly to the garage.

With no loaner car available, and the complimentary shuttle service not extending as far the church office, I had them drive me home where I would do my work. A call in the afternoon confirmed that we need a new alternator.

Shelley's dad often says its cheaper to fix an older car than to pay the depreciation on a new one. Lately, I think we're getting to the tipping point of this fine balance. But after 8 years and 246 000 km, things are bound to wear out.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Back to School 2008

The early morning fog delayed buses, but didn't dampen Reiko's enthusiasm for the first day of Senior Kindergarten, en français. Kai has another year of daycare before he can put his Spiderman lunchbag to proper use, but it's always good to practise.

back to school 2008

Her return home was far more eventful: Reiko wasn't on the bus! I hurried to the school where we managed to figure out that the teacher sent her on the same bus as some boys that live on our street ... except those boys go to a babysitter in the afternoon in a different part of town. So Rei got a tour of Strath Vegas before being returned to the school.

Although she did knew that the bus she got on didn't have any kids (or bus driver) she recognized, she likely thought things were different now that she was in SK, French Immersion. (Not riding the bus in the morning because of the fog didn't help things any).

In the end, everything worked out. She and I went grocery shopping and got a special treat for her trouble and I made her requested spaghetti for supper.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


After a recent visit to the after-hours clinic (not for an ear infection!) to see about a flare-up of Reiko's eczema, a referral was made to an allergist/specialist.

She had her appointment today and to narrow the definition of her skin ailment, she has atopic dermatitis. Thank goodness we're not in biblical times when leprosy would be have been the diagnosis.

By virtue of her heritage and the indigent climate, this condition of dry, itchy skin is common for North American Asians. There is a good chance she'll outgrow it; and while we don't wish to accelerate the passing of time, for her sake we hope that's the case.

In the meantime, we have a new regimen of moisturizers, unguents and creams for bath, bedtime and morning.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

The end of August is upon us and recounting the past couple weeks takes us to the water's edge.

We took a trip to Shelley's parents' new cottage home on the waters of Georgian Bay for a few days of family time and an increased adult:child ratio.

Just inland from the Muskoka Lakes is Santa's Village where the admission price caught us off-guard but made us all the more determined to milk the experience for its full value. The kids and I made an ornamental portrait; what you can't see is some random kid also behind the board between Reiko and I.
holey-day picture

Our little elf enjoyed the Ferris Wheel, Boat Ride, Train Ride, Airplane Ride as well as the little dragon rocker at the playground.

Our bouncing, bubbly girl also had a rollicking good time.

After a brief turnaround time at home, we ventured to the shores of Loughborough Lake, north of Kingston to visit old friends at their new home. (While en route, we stopped at Colborne's Big Apple where Kai wondered aloud as we approached, "Will it be seedy inside?" His vocabulary is not extensive enough to appreciate the true brilliance of his question, but that doesn't mean we can't marvel at his insight).

I had to cut that visit short to attend Kairos 2008, a national young adult conference for The United Church of Canada, at the confluence of the Grand River and Whiteman's Creek. I worked as a chaplain there and was surprised by the degree that death, grief and loss formed an ongoing pastoral theme.

After many late nights and early mornings, Labour Day weekend offered some time to catch up on sleep and relax on the shores of Lake Huron for a beach day before it's back to school/work/church.
Ipperwash Labour Day

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Train Ride

One fine Tuesday morning, we got up early so Shelley could put her husband and kids on a train to London. Anticipation was high at Strathroy's train platform:
strathroy station

As the scenery sped by, Kai had a little snack of Alpha-bits:
kai train

And Reiko sipped her apple juice:
rei train

We disembarked in London, waited for Shelley to meet us at the train station and we went for second breakfast. And that was our great train adventure.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Karma at the Pig Roast

I try not to comment or pass judgment on other parents, and especially not their kids. (With an intro like that, you know what's coming).

My parents, sister and her husband had a pig roast a couple of weekends ago for some friends, leading to a disparate grouping of young, working world 20-somethings, an older set of Polish family and friends and an older group of Japanese Canadian friends and acquaintances. The only other child that was there was a 5-year old boy who wheedled and ingratiated himself into everything Reiko and Kai were doing. That I could understand and appreciate, you're looking for peers and something fun to do. I get that.

But he continually jockeyed and manipulated others to get preferential treatment and attention. (Really? You're going to supplant my kids at their grandparents' place of dotage?) One example was the issue of seating for the meal. The rain that arrived altered the plan somewhat and seeing that there was going to be a conflict about the child-sized lawnchairs that were set out, I got Reiko and Kai's chairs that we had brought with us.

Naturally, the usurper wanted one of those newer chairs, despite his heated efforts to lay claim to the now-inferior seats. He sat and watched Reiko and Kai eat their meal, whined to his father and grandmother, telling them that Shelley said he could have one of the chairs (I didn't know if she did or not, but doubted it). When he pointed me out and asserted that I said he could have one, I had to disagree because I did not ever say that. At this point, Shelley had to point out the folly of arguing with a 5-year old. But still, I wasn't going to let him get away with an outright lie.

My sister's mother-in-law has always been very good to the kids, sending along little treats and gifts for them. She was there at the pig roast and had brought them each a Kinder chocolate bar. She happened to give out the chocolate in the presence of the other boy. Everyone could see what was about to happen next, so thinking quickly she sent my brother-in-law to get some other chocolate treats that she had brought.

Out came a large, bright, purple box of chocolate treats that she presented to the other boy. It was with great satisfaction that we saw him get his just desserts: chocolate-covered prunes. Smooth move.

Dishwasher Camping

As in, camping with access to a dishwasher. Our annual "camping" get-together with refugees from the long-defunct youth leadership cult called TOC ALPHA has evolved (or degenerated, depending on how hardcore a camper you are) to a weekend of hanging out in tents in someone's backyard.

We got the full benefit of pirate ship backyard equipment, fully stocked playroom and satellite TV for the kids, and for the adults - beer fridge, hot tub, and Guitar Hero. It did rain on our parade, but the festivities continued in the spacious farmhouse.

As part of our 4-places-at-once weekend, we ducked out for a pig roast at my parents' farm but got back to our campsite in time for some Settlers of Catan.

Lest you scorn our sissy camping, I will inform you that we did pack up camp in the rain.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sunday Sabbath

So I'm currently untethered from Sunday morning responsibilities for this month. It's a bit strange, having an entire month of Sundays off. The first couple of weeks, I'm on Study Leave and then a couple weeks of proper vacation before heading to Kairos 2008 as chaplain for a national church young adult event.

Away for the pulpit for all this time, it hasn't happened before (if you don't count Parental Leave when Kai was born). My previous churches kept going in the summer, one church was in its busy season at that time with campers, cottagers and vacationers in the area. The other one continued through the summer because I was working and preparing worship for the other church anyway, and what's an extra hour or two on Sunday morning anyway?

Anyway, Sunday mornings come and I'm not in a mind-churning tizzy, preoccupied with worship content and performance. Weird. And to think that some people actually live like this all the time!

Check Engine

For many months (maybe not that long, but for several weeks at least), I've been driving with the "check engine" light on. After going to the garage and receiving only a "random misfire" diagnosis from the sophisticated computer equipment, and only expensive educated guesses (ignition coil?) to go one, I thought I'd drive the car until something really wrong happened and we could identify the problem more conclusively.

Finally, the engine light started blinking! And a chime dinged once. But I wasn't sure if that was better or worse. I called the garage but they were busy rebuilding someone else's transmission and couldn't fit me in (hopefully, they wouldn't have to do the same for me). Eventually, I got in and was told the car wasn't driveable ... whoops ... but in a couple days' time we were back on the road with a new ignition coil.

I never appreciated before how smooth a ride is without the jittery, sputtering, start/stop, herky-jerking of the engine. Or how sleek and high-functioning a dashboard can look without amber warning lights. Vroom vroom!


Before getting to the latest news, it's time for a bit of catch-up.

Reiko's first season of soccer concluded earlier this month with a couple of sparsely-attended games. What with summer vacations in full swing, and a long weekend, there were a number of absences that required multiple shifts from most players.

The first of these games, none of the kids wanted to play in the fourth quarter; they were tired and just wanted to continue snacking. For her last game, Reiko acquitted herself well, playing 3 quarters and, by her count, "touching" (read: kicking) the ball multiple times.

We missed the final tournament (can't be 4 places at once, more on that later), but when we took her uniform to her coach so it could be donated to a developing country's children's soccer program, we received her trophy (everyone got one).

Apparently the team won both their games during the tournament. Perhaps they were inspired by the absence of one of their best runners. And that was the 2008 season of The Accelerators. Vroom vroom!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer Slipping Away

Since the last entry, things have been as busy as ever. We're heading up to the new and improved cottage / summer home of Shelley's folks. I'll be back at some point with updates on Reiko's soccer season, check engine lights, having Sundays off, dishwasher camping and the kids' first train ride.

But yes, we're alive. And well.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Apple of My Eye

Amid the return from vacation was the arrival of a new laptop for work. Until now, I'd been using our personal computer and with its memory running low, I asked the powers that be and my work-life balance has a new equilibrium. Old iBook on the left, new MacBook on the right:
2 macs
I'm also between day planners right now; but I didn't have to ask the powers that be to authorize that purchase. See? The church isn't that bureaucratic.

Hostii with the Mostii

After the week of holidays and getting back to work/daycare/"normal", we had a series guests and visitors.

On Thursday, a friend that I met 10 years ago as we served as Stewards for the World Council of Churches in Zimbabwe arrived with her mother and 2 kids. They were on their way to St. Thomas and the Thomas the Train tour the next day before heading back towards Sudbury. A mutual friend joined us for supper and we caught up with each other's lives.

Friday ushered in the arrival of Shelley's parents for the weekend. Saturday, her cousins, aunt, grandmother and sister gathered for supper.

As host and hostess (hostii?), we were mostly present. Shelley went to a Mary Kay party on Thursday night, I had a wedding rehearsal and reception Friday and Saturday.

Sunday we had Shelley's mother's cousin over for supper and Monday my mom came over for Reiko's soccer game (another victory!).

Tuesday nobody came over.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Adventures in Camping 2008

This year's version of camping out took us back to Warwick Conservation Area; again with the thinking that if things didn't work out, we weren't far from home. This time, we brought reinforcements – Shauna and John were with us, another set of adults for wrangling the kids.

Things started off smoothly (if you ignore me forgetting to pack the side screens and roof of the dining tent and Shelley having to drive back for them). We got set up and began to enjoy the camping life:
camp warwick 2008

Until the bugs started biting. Still we made do with multiple applications of DEET and mosquito coils. Mind you, we aren't the most rugged of campers. Our sojourn into the wilds included sundary electronic items, and this is our idea of "roughing it" - DVDs on the laptop:
plugged in

Friday night's campfire fizzled because of too-wet firewood, but we did manage some S'mores. I slipped away mid-Saturday to assist with a wedding and returned through some wild rainstorms. The rains found us and before the night got too late, the decision was made to return to our dry homes for sleep and after allaying Reiko's fears that someone might arrive in our absence and pack up our stuff and set up their own camp on our site, we headed home. (Actually, it would be nice if someone arrived to pack up our stuff for us!)

Sunday morning was wet and drizzly, so our pack-up was a hurried stuff-everything-into-a-plastic-bag-and-cram-it-into-the-car-and-go operation. The afternoon was bright and sunny so we unpacked everything, dried it out and cleaned it and repacked it. After all that work, I'm ready for a vacation; but we did have enough fun to try and do it all again sometime. But not too soon, we just got everything put away.

In Pictures

My blogging got stuck as I tried to identify 7 songs for the currently circulating Music Meme but I will get to that later.

In the meantime, we've been making much use of our patio set:
patio set

With last week being holidays, we jam packed it full of day trips and little events. Monday was a morning playdate for Reiko and some school friends.

was a trip to Storybook Gardens where the kids posed on London Bridge:
sbg08 - ldn bridge

They watched the animals, played on the pirate ships, swung on the Ferris Wheel, and stopped for some bubble time:
sbg08 - rei bubble

And the obligatory Humpty Dumpty pose:
sbg08 - humpty

The carousel had mixed reviews. Thumbs up from Reiko:
sbg08 - rei merry

But Kai was less impressed:
sbg08 - kai merry

It was on to the nearby park and wading pool for a picnic lunch. Some swingtime followed:
big swing

And into the wading pool before heading home.
wading pool

Wednesday was a morning trip to the beach. Rei swam some more in the shallow water and Kai happily played in the sand.

Thursday we went to Sarnia where the kids and Shelley went to Canatara Park while I visited with a colleague to borrow a FireWire. It was a quick trip over the bridge to Port Huron where we did some crossborder shopping (clothes, cleaning products, and special toys for the kids - Sleeping Beauty "Barbie" selected by Rei, Diego camping lantern chosen by Kai).

The evening was a wiener roast reunion of Arkona United Church, it was nice to see everyone and showcase the kids.

We spent the weekend camping, or trying to. More on that next.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


The Accelerators of Strathroy's TimBit Soccer League notched a decisive win tonight ahead of the rain. If score was being kept, I think it would have been 5-0.

Many team members contributed to the cause with efficient striking, swarming defence, stalwart goaltending and a few kicks from players previously afraid to touch the ball. One memorable play featured speedy and sure-footed Reiko bringing the ball upfield and passing to her teammate (although I'm not certain that he didn't take it from her) who scored.

Vroom! Vroom! Vroom! Accelerators!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Arkanada Day

If two years in a row constitutes a tradition, our Canada Day commemorations began as usual with cherry picking in Arkona. Given the poor growing conditions this year, we did well to come away with as much as we did.
Rei cherry 08 Kai cherry 08

Then it was a trip to the park next door to the Manse where the kids used to play. Here's a little before (2006) and after (today):
swing kids 2006 arkona park 08

Monday, June 30, 2008

In Bloom

Getting back to routine meant taking the kids to Early Years Outreach for the morning, but our afternoon outside play was curtailed by cooler, windy weather. With all the rain we've been getting, our low maintenance garden has gone crazy:
in bloom 08

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Huron County Goodness

The afternoon saw us venture to Grand Bend's Flea Market where the kids were introduced to the marvels of second-hand treasure hunting. We purchased some local produce and confections before heading off to one more patio furniture place, only to find them closed.

Undaunted, we pressed on to Exeter where great-grandma had supper waiting. While Shelley and she cleaned up from the meal, I took the kids outside where they entertained the neighbours. All you need are some stones, dandelions and shadows.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Instead of Sermon Writing

It's Saturday night and I'm not working on worship services for the next morning! Rather it's been the back-blogging update bonanza.

After daycare on Thursday, I took the kids with me to my parents' farm for a couple nights leaving Shelley home alone. She gets some time to herself, my parents get some time with the kids, the kids get some time with their grandparents: everyone wins!

Friday afternoon we went into Mitchell to visit some adoptive great-grandparents, played in the park, visited the animals and birds at the zoo. My brother joined us for supper, and seeing as he missed Kai's birthday party because of a ball tournament, he came bearing gifts: more Cars cars.

After saying goodbye to Grandma and Papa, and one of his pigs, we came home to a rested and appreciative Shelley. Then it was a quick turnaround to head into London for some summer clothes shopping for me, some patio furniture comparing and supper at East Side Mario's (on Wonderland as Kai is quick to request, remembering a previous Daddy Day that featured playtime at Adventures on Wonderland followed by supper at the very same restaurant).

Good thing I don't have church obligations tomorrow, I'm a little tired.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Golf and Windows

In a hybrid of the previous two days, I got out for 9 holes at Caradoc Sands. I ended up golfing with a father and son who are very accomplished players. I knew I was in trouble when the son's 5-iron shot went as far as my drive did. I deduced from the Basketball Canada tattoo on his calf that he played basketball (plus his being 6'7" was kind of a giveaway).

For most of the round, I kept pace with my partners, even if the dad had a 7 handicap, which he was quick to tell me. Bogeys, doubles, I was right there. I even matched the dad's drive on hole 8 which I quietly celebrated. But that's when it all fell apart: 20 shots for the last 2 holes. So my final score was in keeping with my standard, even though I was on track for the best game of my life.

I think dad and son were glad to see me go as they "made the turn" (see? I learned some new lingo while on holidays!) and by then I was rather embarrassed.

So then it was back to window washing in the afternoon, once the sun passed over to the other side of the house – we can't have streaks! I finished up before the rain came.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Windows Wednesday

Even though I'm on holidays, my homemaking services have been pressed into service. This morning, I washed the west- and north-facing windows. While I had the ladder up, I checked on the eavestroughs/downspouts with no further action needed. The one that we know is clogged, I cannot reach. I don't know if being taller would make me a better basketball player, but it would make me a touch handier around the house.

Then I assembled the kitchen cart that Shelley and I bought as an anniversary present (yeah, it's not as romantic as last year's Mediterranean cruise ...) which took much longer than I planned. By the time I finished, it was raining and so the east- and south-facing windows will have to wait for another day.

Today also marked the last day of school for Reiko which we "celebrated" with a soccer game. She's becoming more comfortable using her non-dominant foot, adding to her potent on-field arsenal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Golf Rules

With the day dawning bright and dry, it was with great anticipation that I headed to Arkona Fairways to meet a friend for golf. It's a bit of a departure from my usual practice of walking 9 holes on my own; we booked for 18 on a power cart.

It seemed we were scheduled to tee-off before a Ladies' Day Out so while we weren't pressed to keep ahead of the pack, we were aware that 8 foursomes were behind us. The first 9 holes went rather well, once my partner got the griping about his work out of his system.

We paused for a quick bite of lunch before heading out for the last 9, though not quick enough, apparently. I guess one of the rules is you don't stop for too long "making the turn" and lose your place in line. When we got ready on the 10th hole, a cart pulled in behind us and a woman screeched at us for breaking this commandment. We had figured that if we got caught in the Ladies queue, we'd just sit back, relax (while keeping up with the pace of play) and continue to enjoy the day. I guess not.

I'm not sure what the problem was because once we got to the 11th hole, we didn't see her foursome for the rest of the day. Still, it gave us someone to blame when we duffed a shot.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Off the Clock

Because I started with my "new" churches in August, I have a couple weeks of away-time (holidays, study leave) to use before my second year begins.

So here I am with a game of golf scheduled for tomorrow, a list of household chores and a trip to the farm with the kids arranged for the end of the week. Maybe that means more time for blogging.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Back to Life

It was a tumultuous week, professionally and personally. After commemorating the death of one of the pillars of the church on the weekend. Then I dealt with the shock of a young father's sudden death, the day before his 26th birthday. He leaves behind his wife and two preschool children. As you can imagine this one is hitting very close to home.

Amid this emotional devastation there was the annual church barbeque that fed 300, Kai's 3rd birthday (that featured a party with his "neighbourhood friends"), Shelley participating in Relay for Life, having some new neighbours over for supper and various church meetings.

So this has been my recent life: grieving and celebrating, public performance and private preparation, observing the sacred and secular at once. Hence my latest absence; I'm sure you understand.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Quotations from Kai

As we head into the Early Years Outreach program: "You're the man, Daddy". Indeed, I was the only adult male onsite. All the other caregivers and staff were women and it's a pretty safe bet that when I hear the word "DAD!" being called in the crowded room, it's for me.

I had planned on taking Kai to the chip truck in Glencoe for a healthy lunch of roadside fries. Except it wasn't there any longer; I guess business wasn't so good. A disappointed Kai suddenly got very excited when he saw a transport truck with a Doritos ad emblazoned on its side: "There's a chip truck Daddy! Follow it!" We settled for McDonald's.

While changing his diaper, I commented to Shelley that he'd had a lot of poops today. His immediate response? "I didn't eat any sand!" (referring to times that we'd find sand in his diaper from his sandbox ingestion).

There was something else that was rather witty that he said, but I can't remember it. You'll have to trust me that it was a zinger.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Overdue Update

I imagine most bloggers succumb to the novelty of the experience wearing off and the updating of a blog slides down the priority list. It's taken 3½ years but that's where I am in the balance of work-life-family.

It's been a couple weeks at least since the last post. What's been going on with us?

Shelley's been busy with work, having a couple of high-scale presentations to make and tending to the greenery and landscaping. She got reacquainted with "Sex & the City" watching re-runs in preparation for seeing the movie with her sister.

Reiko's soccer skills are coming along very well. She brought the ball upfield on a few occasions and for a fleeting moment, we thought she might score a goal. We didn't expect to see this kind of progress so soon in the season!

Kai has got his summer haircut and has been looking forward to his third birthday. We had a family birthday party for him this past weekend. Although, we say he's been acting 3 for quite some time now. (I much rather prefer the "Terrible Twos" to this disagreeable stage of pushing boundaries and testing limits).

I've spent my time with church meetings and funerals. I did win Closest to the Pin at London Conference's golf tournament. During the meeting itself, I was approached about chaplaining a couple of national events, this while fending off nominations for President Elect.

As for the NBA Finals, I think I'd be cheering for Boston if it wasn't for the Red Sox and Patriots' recent string of successes. As it stands, I'm decidedly undecided. Right now, I'm more interested in the upcoming NBA draft - such is life as a Raptor fan. To rub it in, Kai keeps asking me if José is playing. I have to tell him, "No, his team didn't win so they're done playing games now." So he will randomly repeat, "José is not playing. His team didn't win."

So that's basically us, up-to-date for now. I could say that I'll try to be more diligent with my postings, but we'll see how long that lasts.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

*sigh* Kobe

WARNING: Contains basketball content.

Watching tonight's San Antonio/LA game after a 12-hour day of church office work and meetings, I have to grudgingly admit that that Kobe Bryant guy can really play. It's a delight to watch him elevate the level of his play tonight – now that it's against another team than Toronto (and his 81 points).

Yes, I was an intrigued fan at the start of his career; yes, his ego turned me off soon after; yes, his Colorado rape allegations diminished his star in my eyes; yes, I was glad to see his Lakers fall to Detroit; yes, I was glad to see Shaq succeed without him; but, damn!, he can really play.

Although, speaking of "Memories of Kobe", I'm now hungry for barbeque.

Booger Alert

For the past few nights, Kai has woken up coughing during the night. (So much so that he threw up, prompting mid-night laundry a few nights ago).

So when he called out in distress tonight, I rushed in wondering what awaited. He wailed with dismay, "I got a booger!" So with a kleenex I wiped his nose, but he wearily insisted, "No! You have to pull it!" I dispatched the offending nasal impediment post haste and he's settled back down again.

I guess this counts as "other duties as determined by the supervisor" in the job description of Fatherhood. Mmmm ... pulling boogers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Blog burst

It was high time I got around to finishing the half-started blog posts over the past week and a half. Hence the huge catch-up update (so much that I had to adjust the blog settings to display more than a week, lest the new posts get shunted off to the "Older Post" link).

My life is still blog-worthy, at least in my mind. It's just not very prompt.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tummy Trouble

Not sure what it is, but my stomach's been upset for most of the day. Haven't eaten too much or stayed vertical for an extended perioed of time (but I did manage to make some guacamole this afternoon) and I'll be heading to the "sick bed" in the guest room/home office tonight. Happy Victoria Day.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May Long Weekend

Being in my line of work, "long weekend" means very little. So it was at church this morning that someone commented on the cool, rainy weather and said how nice it was to not be camping. That's one thing you can count on about Sunday worship: not getting rained on. (Here's hoping I haven't jinxed anything!)

The afternoon yielded the typical post-church crash, some barbequed salmon steaks and asparagus, more skipping and Kai's newest word (to replace his embargoed "cookie/kooky"): "yummy".

Saturday, May 17, 2008

High on the Hog

This is one way to meet the neighbours: climb on their motorcycles!
on the hog
Anyone want to buy a Honda Goldwing? We know where one could be had.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bye, Cookie!

Kai’s newest affectation has worn thin. His constant call of “cookie” is no longer welcome in our household. It’s not so much the word itself, but his tone is rather impertinent and mischievous. So we're telling him to stop? Are we making too much of this? Are we forgetting that he's still a 2-year old (practically 3)? Maybe, but he does need to learn about limits (to our patience, namely) and not being so sassy.

At the risk of scolding one child and praising another (although not at the expense of the other), Reiko is skipping along with ease and acumen. Reaching 25 in her consecutive skip count, she's also mastered a few backwards skips too.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Yesterday, after a hiatus of 8 years, I picked up my squash racquet in earnest. After playing (and losing) a number of games with my friend Pat, I noted that the grip on my racquet was sloughing off merely from my grasp. I could blame this equipment malfunction for the losses were not the discrepancy in skill and strategy so glaring.

The upshot is that after an hour-and-a-half of squash yesterday, my butt and quads are achy and I'm moving slowly. Kai was glad to have his "guitar" back.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Got Milk?

Kai is ready for a "Got Milk?" commercial shoot. He's also ready for a haircut.
got milk?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kick Off

Rei's sports career began tonight as scarlet-clad The Accelerators dropped a "close" one to The Backyardigans. She wasn't pushy enough to get at the ball but did manage a kick or two while running amid the pack.
soccer debut

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

It was a crafty Mother's Day for Shelley. Long live popsicle sticks and glue!
mom's day 2008