Thursday, January 31, 2008

Reunion: Pigs and Socks

Reiko and I went to get the mail after school today and to our collective delight, there was a package from Kingston. Inside was her Piglet stuffy friend who had been left behind in an all-pink princess bedroom and some handknitted Christmas socks.

Rei's glad to have her friend back and Shelley and I will be glad for our tailor-fitted socks when the big storm comes tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sign of the Times

You know it's time to update your blog when your 90-something grandmother-in-law is asking if the amaryllis picture is posted yet.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ear Ye, Ear Ye

Reiko's turn. Shelley took her to the after-hours urgent care clinic where her ear infection was confirmed and prescribed. Kai will be eyeing up her banana medicine out of habit.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Back to Normal

After the Christmas holiday rush, a string of funerals, a book club engagement and international hosting duties, today was a return to routine. This meant a Daddy Day with the kids and going to Glencoe Early Years Outreach program. Even though the CBC Radio 3 podcast of the R3-30 was not available for the car ride, we still had a granola bar snack and pointed out the various agricultural landmarks.

For the ride home, it was lunch in the car (peanut butter and jam sandwiches with crusts cut off). We all know how kids are creatures of habit. Or maybe it's their parents.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Great Grandma's Green Thumb

Shelley's grandmother is known for her proficiency and facility with cultivating African violets. Amaryllis also benefits from her skill.
amaryllis 2008
I was going to make some witty reference to Audrey or a bastardized Diff'rent Strokes "Wha'choo talkin' 'bout, (Ama)ryllis?" but decided it would be lost in transcription. You can, however, see Shelley's new glasses.


With the permission of my current churches, I attended Arkona United's final worship service before they close for good at the end of the month. It was nice to see everyone again, but not for the reason of the occasion.

While it's frustrating to see a full church for the farewell (and the natural question, "what if this many had shown up on any given Sunday?") I was gratified to see that there was only one pew of people that I didn't know or recognize. Elsewise, I would be "what-if'ing" my 7 years there.

Reiko noted that she could now wash her hands in the bathroom without standing on the stepstool and remarked with delight, "And Daddy didn't have to go to the front of the church for anything!!"

Walking past the manse, Rei and Kai were overcome by nostalgia and didn't want to go to our new home, crying for their old home. It's kind of fitting though, the need to move on and journey forth from one home to find another.

Be well, friends of Arkona United. Shalom 'til we meet again.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


I had arranged for a tour of the Korean students to see Uncle Tom's Cabin, so that meant an earlier departure from the church. So after a late night of laundry and catching up with my billeted friends, it was back on the road.

There was a quick turnaround after the drop off so that I could be home in time for Shelley to get to her Saturday morning workshop and for me to get Reiko to dance class on time.

At least I wasn't also running out to Forest for a now-cancelled church event where I was going to be the theme speaker. Because then I think my head would have really and truly "asploded".

Friday, January 25, 2008

Milk and Honey

The churches are hosting a mission trip of students from South Korea. In light of the fact that this is one of their only rural stops in their two week stay in southwester Ontario, I looked into some unique experiences that would reflect the local ethos.

The itinerary: pizza lunch from one of the local businesses (featuring a bacon double cheeseburger pizza), a trip to a honey farm and meadery, followed with a visit to a state-of-the-art dairy farm. The smell proved to be a unique sensation; just think if I took them to a pig or poultry farm ... City kids, they're so fun.

The group led us in evening worship at the church, featuring multi-media liturgy (always a favourite of mine, even if I obsess about the littlest details), dance, drama, traditional Korean song and folklore. Pat Morrison would be proud.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Still Unpacking

In advance of some billets from South Korea arriving, I did some more organizing and unpacking in the guest room/office. Yes, we've been in our new place for 6 months or so, but there's a lot still wrapped up in boxes.

I assembled a new bedframe for the guest bed, we re-configured the layout and I continued to find places for papers and files. Here's hoping our friends find it homey.

Monday, January 21, 2008

More Potty Talk

Tonight, Kai pooped. In the potty. There was much rejoicing.

Before bed, we recapped our day and praised Kai for his achievement. He replied very matter-of-factly, "You're welcome Mommy."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fun and Games in Church

The youth groups at the churches had a Games Night tonight. I showed up with Blokus and Carcassonne (Settlers was with one of Shelley's co-workers) seeking to add some variety to the standard Monopoly/Life/Scrabble fare.

I did a bit of church web work, cleaned up from my Children's Time story, and got back to the group in time for some Blokus. Even though it was my game and having played a number of times, I was still pleased to have been able to divest all of my tiles in all 3 games tonight.

Now, if only I can find a way to incorporate board games into Sunday morning worship or the regular work routine ...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Happy New Ear

Kai has his first ear infection of 2008. With our family doctor off on Fridays and his the clinic fully booked, we spent much of the day in the ER. The kids did well to wait patiently (pun honestly unintended) until our suspicions were confirmed by a medical professional and the prescription written.

We emerged from the hospital with our morning plans shot, but on the road to recovery and well-stickered by the friendly staff of the ER.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ill Effects

It's likely not because of Sunday's church of chill, but our family has a cold. Time for fluids and rest.

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Good Book

I was invited to be the special guest speaker at the Glencoe Book Club meeting, with the tantalizing offer to speak about anything I wanted.

Given such a blank slate, I heeded the advice of a mentor who related how he would use opportunities like this to teach what a minister does during the week. So, like him, I walked the group through my other Bible (read: dayplanner) giving a behind-the-scenes look at meetings, on-call hospital chaplaincy, and tending to real estate details.

We didn't discuss an actual book but I garnered the names of some worthy authors to keep in mind.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Temperate Memories

The furnace wasn't working at Appin for church this morning. It reminded me of the time at Ravenswood when the furnace was on the fritz on a particularly frigid morning.

We elected to move downstairs and have worship in the church basement which was a marginally cozier locale. That reminded me of winters at Arkona when we moved to worship to the basement trying to reduce heating costs.

It would have been a good time for a hellfire and brimstone barnburner. And that would have reminded me of my teenage super-fundamentalism.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Splashdown v. 2.0

As Kai likes to introduce this story: NEWSFLASH! He peed in the potty tonight for the first time!

Of course, I missed it. While the kids were doing their duty before bath time, I was tidying a few things in the kitchen. Upon my return to load him into the tub, I saw a splash of liquid in the potty's pot.

So we celebrated with much ado. I'm not sure that Kai knew what all the fuss was about; but for him, any excuse to dance and cheer is a good one.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Back to It

Since New Year's, I had to cut my holiday short by a day to tend to 2 funerals in 4 days with a Sunday morning sandwiched in the middle. I'm just now getting somewhat caught up enough to update here.

What's new with us?
Kai has become quite interested in matters of toilet use and enthusiastically sits on his potty. So far, he's only been going through the motions. Nothing of substance has passed.

Reiko had left her Piglet stuffed toy at the Parsons-Sheldrakes; she hadn't noticed until they called informing us of his abandonment. After a couple tearful bedtimes, she's moved on. He'll be arriving in the mail in a few weeks' time.

After a fortnight of holidays, it was tough for Shelley to go back to work. She picked up her new glasses yesterday, that's where her Christmas money went.

I got a new iPod nano, that's where my Christmas money went. Boys and their toys, you know.

Be it Resolved

So much for my good intention to be a more diligent blogger - like in the good old days when it was fresh, exciting and new. (A similar phenomenon manifested itself in my sermon preparation: there used to be a solid stretch of time when it was fully written and scripted by Friday night. Shelley misses those days).

I've also resolved to drink more tap water and finish books that I've started. This takes aim at a large number of churchy and theological books in my office but it also means Salman Rushdie and The Satanic Verses, Ann-Marie MacDonald and As the Crow Flies and, ugh, James Joyce and Ulysses are on my radar.

By rights, I should also include The Bible. I'm sure over the course of my training and career, I've read it in a patchwork fashion. We'll see how cover-to-cover goes. Leviticus might be as much fun as Ulysses.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


A few quotations from our time together that didn't really fit into the flow of the blog posts:
* * *
Neva: "Which house is more fun: yours or mine?"
Reiko: "Uhm. I think yours is; it has balloons."

* * *
Jeffy, after sampling his improvised seafood sauce substitute (ketchup and wasabi): "That tastes pretty close." And a couple seconds later: "Much too hot."

* * *
Neva: "Kai looks like a baby. Except he can talk."

2008 snowflakes falling

Morning went better, what with everyone having a better night of sleep. As has become our mini-routine, games and indoor playtime with toys filled the morning. Apparently, some winter weather was forecast for Eastern Ontario. The snow just kept on coming.

The highlight of the day came with the afternoon: after shovelling out the driveway, it was to the backyard for some snow fort construction. Picture two over-achieving fathers with a couple grocery bins and a shovel. The kids had fun too.

Evening was catching up with The Amazing Race 12 and some Blokus and everyone to bed at a reasonable hour. Just another thrilling, rip-roaring year in store for us, if this first day is any indication.