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Category - Lexi & Ashlyn

Know What I Did This Summer?

I can’t believe that the summer is over. I am going to do my best here to recap but we did a lot and I am going to miss some of the finer details forsure.

First of all CONGRATULATIONS to my parent’s who celebrated their 50 year anniversary back in July. A huge milestone for any one. Especially these days.

Happy 50th Anniversary!

Then came the “TORNADOES RULE” U9 Soccer Girls Windup. It was an absolute pleasure to coach this group of girls last year. They taught me a lot.

Next we were off to Blue Lake Ontario. Little did we know that this would be the last big trip in our “NEW” trailer. Thing was just too big to move around. I know there are manly men out there with pick-ups who probably love that sort of thing but it was a constant pain in the ass for me.

The end of the trailer started for me when it cost me a tank of gas to get to kenora. It was my plan on this trip to stop at Redden’s for gas just like have so many times before with this rig (1). Only when we arrived there, nearly on empty, Redden’s gas station was no longer there. All that was left were the charred remains so we had to turn back toward Kenora for gas. Re-arriving in town we soon realized we weren’t the only ones looking for gas in Kenora and I had to maneuver the trailer through a maze of cars in the gas station parking lot until a lane finally opened right in front of the building itself. It was a tight fit and upon getting out I realized that the outside of the trailer tires were rubbing on the curb surrounding the pump. That explains the noise I heard pulling in. Regardless I filled up and Shan and I agreed I would have to back up to avoid possibly popping the trailer tires. She guided me from outside and after several moves I was able to barely squeeze through just narily missing the Coke machine and avoiding the jackass who parked in front of the propane tank just to make my life more difficult. The same guy who clapped for me once I was finally clear. It was then as we drove off to Blue Lake for what would be our last time in the trailer, I said to Shan “I think we need to sell this sucker.”.

All that aside, and another couple of maneuvering difficulties, Blue Lake never disappoints. Especially with the Ratte’s and Morrison’s there. It’s one of our once a year places for sure.

Then it was off to Calgary to visit the Dicketts. The girls miss Sydney and Riley all year long and could hardly wait to see them. This time we decided to stop in Swift Current for a nigtht to break up the trip and I have to plug “Uncle Bob’s Diner”. It’s a great little family restaurant in Swift Current where the food is as fine as the service. In fact Uncle Bob himself took care of us personally.

We also made a detour to Drumheller on the way to Calgary. We climbed the Hoodoos and walked the suspension bridge before hitting up the museum itself. It was about $50 to walk through the museum and the girls were done within about 15 mins. It’s worth checking out but if you have kids that aren’t really interested in dinosaurs be prepared to miss out. There is a lot of interesting reading to do there but it’s also easy to lose the kids when your distracted. I would suggest doing the outside stuff and visiting the big Dino Store you pass on the way in. Save you some cash.

Easier up than down!

We hit another really cool restaurant in Drumheller called “Bernie & The Boys” where they have over 50 flavours of milkshakes and they were worth the trip. I had pistachio, Shannon had Chai, Lexi had pineapple, and Ash had blue Raspberry. The food was just ok for me.

After a dusty and exhausting day we drove the last couple of hours to Calgary. A place I can only describe as a living and breathing city. Where the Bow River flows through the city like a breath of fresh air. This time we got to experience Calaway Park where the girls got to experience their first really good roller coaster. We returned to Olympic Park to do the Luge. Bruce and Tonya had us over for a BBQ so it was nice to see them while we were in town. We don’t get to see them enough. We stuffed a lot into the first couple of days and then we were off to Edmonton for some more fun and family.

This time we booked a hotel right across from the mall. The kids had some money to spend so we took care of some shopping almost immediately before going to my Auntie Lorie’s for dinner. Crystal and Damian were staying there with the kids as well so it was nice to have everyone together. Nostalgia was in the air and being there reminded me so much of the old Sunday dinners at Granny Peever’s house. The TV tables and the kids around the TV eating supper. Except we were watching “American Ninja Warrior” instead of “Walt Disney”.

The next day we made a plan to all meet up at the Water Park in West Ed. That’s how cool people refer to the mall. I was really excited for the kids because I think the last time we were there Lexi was 4 and Ashlyn was just a baby. I was also very impressed that auntie Lorie made it out to the slides as well. The wave pool was a highlight until someone’s head smashed me in the side of my face. I honestly wonder how many concussions happen there each year. If it had been Ashlyn or Lexi we would have been hospital bound for sure. I was also impressed that the girls braved the zip line while we were there.

By the time we left Edmonton I am sure we walked the equivalent of half way home. Regardless we decided to take a trip to Banff on the way back to Calgary so that the girls could see the mountains. Shan was quick to point out that I was 27 the first time I had seen the mountains and that this was a real treat for them. Once in town we took in the local tourist shops and farmers market that was in full effect. I even ran into an old friend from my Glenwood days who was selling her art at the market. Of course we bought a really cool print and then took her advice to visit Johnson Lake where the girls and I swam at the base of a mountain. This was by far a highlight of my trip and one day I promise to return to that spot with them and re-take this photo…

Big thanks to Tim, Les, and the kids for putting us up while in Calgary. We had an awesome visit and I still owe you guys some dip. Looking forward to seeing you in Winnipeg very soon.

We made it back home to Penny and stayed in town for a couple of days before heading out to Hecla Island for one more camping trip before Shan had to get back to the grind. Oh yeah, did I mention we sold the camper before we left to Calgary? You are as surprised as the kids were but please do not scream cry at me as it will not change my mind!.

We bought a utility trailer and Hecla would be our first time tenting as a family. Besides the night we spent in the backyard after purchasing the tent. Besides the time we tried it out in the backyard and Lexi puked all over it. Hecla was awesome and it was nice to have our bikes. I did have to drive another 3 hours to replace the pedal that fell off Ashlyn’s bike on the way there but in the end it was worth it. Great campsites but the beach was pretty gross. If I am richer the next time we go I would certainly rent a couple of jet skis and get the girls out on the water a lot more.

Tenting it.

Back home and back to reality. Shan goes back to work and the girls and I spend our days with friends at the pool or playing in the backyard keeping cool. For the last week Shan went to Toronto to see Ed Sheeran and the girls and I did a different activity every day. I love having that last week with them because I really miss them when school starts again. It’s like going from having all the time in the world to having an hour at night to make sure they happy and taken care of.

Can hardly wait until next summer!

Nightmares

Those of you who know Ashlyn have likely heard me talk about her rough nights. The irrational fears that seem to come to her at night. For her privacy that is about as far as I will go into details except to say that it’s not a new thing. Shan and I have been doing our best at 2 or 3am to be patient and understanding. We’ve also done some co-sleeping but it seems to be habit building and have found the most success with mini interventions and compromise to keep Ashlyn in her own bed and feeling safe. Sometimes she just needs someone there to tell her it’s OK and there is nothing to be scared of. “Go back to sleep…” we tell her with confidence. “There’s nothing to be scared of…” I always say.

Have good dreams my girl…

I move the hair away from her eyes as they close and kiss her on the forehead and then leave her alone in her bed to sort out the rest. Some nights she goes back to sleep right away and others I don’t even know. We hope this is allowing her the tools she needs to eventually become a good little independent sleeper. On the really bad nights it takes everything not to take her into our room and comfort her, but we don’t.

Guard Dog

It’s hard for an adult to understand what fear even looks like for a child. I refer to Ashlyn’s fears as irrational because I don’t understand how she can be afraid of bugs that aren’t there, or a cartoon she watched on TV. I don’t know how real it all seems for her and how hard some nights must be for her to get back to sleep or remain “frozen” under the sheets.

Well last weekend, I got a little taste…

At 530am on Father’s day Shannon pulled me out of the most lucid dream I have ever had. She said I was yelling something she couldn’t make out and punching the headboard full force. She said I got about 3-4 good shots in before she woke me up. I had tears in my eyes and I remember exactly what the dream was about in great detail. Keep in mind the night before Ashlyn was in our room because of a bad dream. I only mention this because the night of my dream was just a typical evening in the Peever house, which brings me back to my point about rationale.

THE DREAM

The dream took place in the layout of my childhood house. I think it might be the root of my early fears and it takes place there as I revisit the idea of fear as I experienced it as a child (YES I have thought about this way too much). I vividly remember two scenes: One in the kitchen and one in the upstairs bedroom. The dream became lucid in the kitchen of the old house. We are standing beside the fridge in the dark and a burnt yellow luminescence lights the room from outside the window. I’m with Shannon but between us is Jaime Rattray (a girl I used to work with years ago). More significant is that Ashlyn isn’t there. We are scared to go outside but not sure why. There is a constant hum and movement is slow motion. Jaime hugs on me for protection and Shan is close and visibly confused like we’re not sure if we should move. The feeling is familiar, like we have been here before but don’t have answers. I think Jaime might represent Lexi for some strange reason.

Jump to next part we are upstairs in my old bedroom where from the bed I am woken up by Shannon who is worried about Ashlyn. It’s dark and she’s whispering. I am looking into the Hall just as I have many times when these rooms were occupied by my sister and I. From my bed I couldn’t see into her room but I could see her doorway where the hall meets the corner of my sight line. In the dream I know the door to be Ashlyn’s. I already feel Frozen and in slow motion. The sound waves are present and dull and we are confused just like in the kitchen. In the yellow glow of hallway I can see a clothed arm with a bare hand hovering out in front of Ashlyns door. Not moving just hovering with a long skinny finger extended, like it heard us and now it hesitates. We are not supposed to see it. It almost as if we are in shock. Shan starts to panic whisper to me confirming she sees it too “OMG it’s fucking here, it’s fucking here” and she grabs me. The hand slowly recoils at our voices but not in panic but more in realization it’s been seen. I sit up in bed to get a better look and in the yellow haze of light I can see it more clearly than ever. It’s hand goes back to it’s side and it just looks at us not moving. It’s in a suit so I can’t see it’s face. Some kind of space protection suit that is camouflaged but it’s bare hands stick out long and slender suggesting something alien. The sound waves become more intense and I cant move toward it but I’m trying. It’s hand reaches once again for her doorknob and I’m yelling “don’t you fucking touch her”

I wake up punching my head board. Tears in my eyes and a feeling of helplessness is all that remains.

I know that this all sounds very contrived, especially after I have been stewing on it for over a week. I just can’t help but think it was some kind of message. Something in my subconscious wants to protect that little girl from her own brain and feels helpless in the process. I feel like it’s a message about what Ashlyn has been dealing with at night and who knows when. The dream was so vivid that if I was her age waking up alone in her room I would be the frozen she describes when she wakes up scared. Makes me feel like I at least need to go in there and let her know she is not alone. After all, it is Father’s day at 530am!

Ashlyn is Seven

Big thanks to Pat and Carla for hosting Ashlyn’s birthday at the lake (as per her request), we had a blast!

Hard to believe this one is seven. Another great year and another birthday video. Not sure if this will work or not (you may need a Google acct) but feel free to sit through another one of these birthday videos…

   Ashlyn is Seven Video

Thunder Bay 2017

With summer winding down and Shan already getting back into school mode I thought I would take a little trip to Thunder Bay with the girls. Not only would I get some Ratte time (that was missing this summer on the camping front) but I would also get some quality time with the girls that I am going to miss so much once school starts back up.

The Ratte’s were in Winnipeg for a couple days before so we just basically followed them back to Tbay. Paul drove with me and the girls so it was nice to have 8 hours to just hang out and catch up. The girls are incredible in the car now. Usually Ashlyn can be needy but we had a little talk about how it would be harder for me to sort her out when I am trying to drive safely and she was awesome the whole way there and back. In about Dryden I gave them these LOL Dolls that I had bought a couple days before we left as a surprise. They are a chore to open up so it took them some time to sort them out and once they were all open they played in the car with them all the rest of the way.

We had an awesome visit with the Rattes. The highlight for the girls was just playing outside with the kids every chance they got. Paul has a really nicely paved driveway where they just spent hours on scooters, shooting hoops, and practicing on the wheelchair Paul had in the garage. We also took in a boat ride, a movie, the Persian Man, the park and a place called “Boulder Bear” where the kids climbed for almost 3 hours.

Paul and I got out to play hockey a couple times while I was there. It’s another world in Thunder Bay. It’s a Thursday night skate at 9pm and most of the guys are older than me. Hard guys, that do the heavy lifting at the mill all week and on Thursday nights after hockey they go to this bar called the “Wayland” to drink beers and eat pizza. We got home around 1am and although I was dreading my 8 hour drive on Friday morning I am sure it beats getting up to go to the mill. I am pudding compared to these guys and it was an honor to get to play with them even for just one night.

On the way home we made lot’s of stops but most memorable was Kakabeka Falls and our stop for lunch in Blue Lake.

   Thunder Bay 2017 Album

Otter Falls 2017

Heck Otter Falls will always have a special place in my heart. More so after this week with the “Bickerson’s”.

I have done a lot of “laking” with JD over the years. Some camping, but mostly “laking”. Some of my fondest summers were spent on a boat with that man and so I was looking forward to this one as soon as Shan booked the sites. Shan was too, imagine a week of picture perfect camping with your two brothers, their families, and grandpa all together in one place. It was just that…perfect.

Tim, Les, Syd, and Riley all arrived in Winnipeg a couple days early (from CGY) so it was nice to get a visit in before we left. Lexi and Ashlyn were so pumped to have them here that it took a couple days for it to sink in that we were all going camping together. For Shan and I it was bonus time with Tim and Les who we don’t see nearly enough since Tim cut the apron strings.

For camping Shan booked sites as close together as possible so we could all be close together. We also needed something big enough to fit Tim’s rented house on wheels. A massive motor home that he managed to park in one move! Props for that. Shan even had shirts made!

It was an awesome family weekend. The kids all played, chased frogs, swam in the lake and ate giant marshmallows from JD. We made friends with our neighbour who even took them out tubing (thanks Clint, talk about memories). The adults swam too and drank a little, and played frizknock, and ate Jos’ Louis and little fancy sandwiches. Mike and Tara took us to Rainbow falls for a day and we all just hung out at the falls. It was the best.

Definitely a weekend our family will not soon forget. Big thanks to all who helped make this one happen.

Of Mice And Men

Last year Shan and I got away to Sioux Narrows for our Anniversary. While we were there we scoped out some amazing campsites and booked them immediately for this year once they were available. They are both non electrical sites but also both on the lake and one has a little island and private beach with fire pit. We booked five days almost just to see if we could do it.

We arrived on the Monday and had a great day setting up and settling in. We got into the lake and waited for the Morrison’s to arrive. We were also supposed to meet the Ratte’s out there but they just couldn’t make it. We had a nice dinner followed by a sweet fire on the island. Despite the mosquitoes who did everything they could to shut is down. Al and I shut it down around midnight.

Monday night, Tuesday, and Tuesday night it rained like I have never seen before. It kind of hung around Wednesday during the day so we spent some time in town and then drove to Kenora to hang out and have dinner. We ate at Cabin Jack’s and oh by the way they are out of fish and you can make a better nachos at home. Fries and poutine were awesome according to Lexi and Shan said the Quazzi-dilla was a good one.

It was Thursday when Shan noticed we had house guests…or should I say mouse guests. They had chewed through some plastic bags and left a few presents in one of the drawers. Al and I picked up a couple traps in town that afternoon and we set them up to see what we were dealing with and as soon as they were set we had our first kill. Shan and Larissa went to get more traps and somehow I managed to set them up wrong. Seems the little buggers cleaned peanut butter off two traps without them going off. Sadly we didn’t figure this out until I returned from the fire at about 1am. The kids were right freaked out (and I don’t blame them) so they were asleep on the couch beside our bed. I reset the traps and we went to bed listening to the mice munch on our latest investment and it didn’t take long for the first SNAP.

I kept getting out of bed and emptying traps trying hard not to wake up the kids. At about 3am I set our last 3 and went back to bed helpless at this point. We heard the first 2 go off and didn’t budge but about 430am the last one SNAPPED and I could hear it being dragged around under the dining bench where the hot water tank sits. Shan shone the flashlight in there and I could see it looking up at me. He was caught by the tail and was having trouble getting out of there. I couldn’t reach him so Shan went to get me some tongs and while she was away I watched him drag himself and the trap behind the cupboards. That is when we called it and started packing up. We were out of there and on the road by 6am.

We figure the crazy rain we had drove them out of their nests looking for warmth and high dry ground. No idea where they were getting in though. when we got home my dad was here so I asked him to reach in and pull out the moving trap! Thing was still alive too! Dad took care of that one and then we set the traps and caught one more soon after. Nothing overnight and we spent 2 days taking the camper apart and cleaning everything. We did some steel wool and spray foam too so I hope that helps when parked. We will see at Otter Falls this coming weekend!

All in all a great week with great friends. The girls had a blast swimming, catching “crawfish”, just hanging out by the fire.

   Sioux Narrows 2017 Album

St. Malo Short Trip

Once again I am finding it hard to write. We move so fast in the summer it seems to fly by and I find myself in the last week of holidays before I know it.

We bought a camper this year so we didn’t wait long to test it out. We bought a 2009 Surveyor Hybrid off a really nice couple on Kijiji. It was the nicest one we had seen in our price range and the first time in the history of buying anything that Shannon didn’t try to haggle (that’s how I knew it was a good deal). It took a lot of figuring out and few car mods to make it all work but we are all set now. If you ever need anything hitch or tow related don’t waste you time with anyone other than Mitch’s Welding. They set me up with a brake controller that GNR would have butchered. When I couldn’t get my shank to work with the height of my trailer GNR wanted to add a lift kit to my camper for $1000 and told me that the right shank for my vehicle didn’t exist. I went to Mitch’s and was in and out in 10 mins with a new shank. They even put it together and adjusted for the height of my trailer. They are awesome there.

We started with a close trip to St. Malo just to get the feel for it. I have never towed anything like that before so I wanted to get the feel of it on a short trip knowing that our big one to Sioux Narrows was coming up. There were a few things to learn but for the most part it was smooth. A lot less set up for the hybrid but more crap to take care of like filling up with water and of course the dreaded dump before you leave. I put some strict bathroom rules in place to make sure it was a little more smooth.

As always St. Malo did not disappoint. The beaches were a little murky for the kids liking but we found the east beach a little more clear. We found the best place to play in the water was at the river on the south side of the park where people drop in their tubes. I was there with the dog the night before so on our last day we all went in the morning to play and explore. It was so nice that we decided we would likely just spend our last day down there. That was until we were walking back and Shan noticed Penny fussing over her leg. At first we thought the pests were getting to her and then we noticed the BLOOD. Lots of it running down her leg. I got her to the vet quick in St. Pierre Joly and in less than an hour they had her all stitched up. It looks as though she was impaled on a stick or something but it’s hard to know. The worst part for her is the cone she has to wear for the next 12 days. The worst for us was leaving her behind as we took off for 5 days in Sioux Narrows.

   St. Malo 2017 Album

Ashlyn is 6

Wow this girl has done some amazing things this year. Much like she coined the phrase “Danger 4” she has has assured me that being 6 will be just a dangerous. Just last night I was swinging her on the rope swing and swung her so fast that she flew off like she was trying to clear the fence in our back yard! To add insult to injury as I tried to catch her in mid flight the swing came back and smoked her in the face. Oh what will the road to seven look like?

Chewie

Welcome Chewie the Guinea Pig.

The girls have always wanted a Guinea Pig and every time we go near a Petland we are there for hours picking them all up and snuggling them for hours. The more we went the more they became attached and all of a sudden they were also very good at handling them very gently. Coincidentally one of the teachers at General Byng recently got one as a class pet and seeing the kids all pass her around made me think that getting one might not be so bad.

Also one of the kids I work with REALLY wanted one too so I decided to get myself one. This way I could bring it home and see how it goes and also have it at school for the kids and as a buddy for “Tribble”, our class pet. Long story short, this is Chewie.

I found Chewie on Kijiji for $0 and paid $20 for the cage she came in. I needed a cage anyway to bring her back and forth so it was really a no brainer. The girls love her and are starting to share her nicely (sometimes). Ashlyn wants a friend for Chewie for her next birthday so I made this cool home for them out of an old bookcase I found on Kijiji for $15. Ash helped me with the fancy lid.

I was worried about keeping Penny out but they have become really good furiends so it’s not really an issue. That was another big reason I didn’t want one at first because I though Pen would always need to be barricaded when Chewie was out playing with the girls. She still gets licked sometimes but doesn’t really seem to mind. Chewie even comes to Penny when she hangs her head into Chewies cage.

I really like these little guys. Need to clean the cage here and there but they don’t really need much. They are quiet when content and communicate by chirping ar you when they hear their food or when you pick them up. Fun and easy to care for that is forsure. Not sure what 2 will be like but we am sure to find out!