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
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.
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
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
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?
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!
As most of you know I have one of these videos for every birthday the girls have ever had. It’s amazing to look back on just how much they have changed over the years and how much fun we have had as well. WARNING this is 20 mins of Lexi-lash and is intended for family who might miss some of these gems.
OK we’re late getting started this year but the toothbrush/toothpaste drive is underway. Once again this year our family will be handing out toothbrushes at Agape Table during our Christmas break. It may not be the 1000 we advertise but we will do our best to get as close to that as possible. Lexi and Ashlyn are looking forward to doing this again and for that reason alone I know we are doing something really good here.
So, if you have a new toothbrush or toothpaste from a recent dental visit please let us know and we will make arrangements to pick it up. One toothbrush is one person so every one counts. If we don’t see you between now and then…have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We went strawberry picking at Boonstra Farms this afternoon and got to taste what strawberries taste like when they move across plants and not trucks. We filled 2 baskets while Ashlyn filled her face. It was a great day just to be hanging outside really. We did the petting zoo before we left and then stopped for ice cream on the way home. We tried to hit up the “Spotted Cow” on North Main but was surprised to find out it isn’t even there anymore? So we hit “Scoops” on Main where Ashlyn discovered “Tiger, Tiger” for the first time!
OK, everybody knows I am not a huge fan of the fruits and vegetables food groups. Sometimes I will set a good example for the kiddies at dinner time but it’s not uncommon for me to skip the greens when making my plate. The kids have called me on it before asking mommy “why doesn’t daddy have to eat the vegetables?”. That’s when I tell them a little story about when I was their age…
Well you see children, when I was just a little boy growing up I ate soooooooooo many vegetables that when I got older I didn’t need to eat them as much. If you eat all your vegetables now you can be the same as daddy.
I truly believe that. But I also know that my body needs that green rodent food to function so this year we planted a garden! There is something wonderful about eating food you grew yourself. It tastes so much better. So I built these garden boxes, shoveled a bunch of soil, and Shan planted us some seeds. We went to Mandy’s Greenhouse for our seeds and plants because she is one of my favorite people, and because I made her website many years ago. She gave us so much awesome info while we were there too.
Now I have been fussing over these plants for months now and tonight we got our first taste of the lettuce we planted. We made this awesome garden salad and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed watching the girls eat it too, seeing as they don’t usually touch leafy greens. I think they wanted to try it too, mainly because we grew it ourselves. I can hardly wait to try the rest of what we planted. What have I become?
You don’t make friends with salad.
It’s hard to believe this is my littlest one. She has had another amazing year with lot’s of big firsts…like a brand new daycare, nursery school, soccer, and dance. This video shows that sense of humor you possess and the amazing little girl you have become. This is mainly for family that’s why it’s so long!