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Category - Yada, Yada, Yada

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!

Summer Preview

This was a tough year at school and summer could not come fast enough.

Right out of the gates the Tim, Les, and kids are over for a couple days of just hanging out. Water fights, take out, and sleeping on the trampoline; what’s better than that? We even took in the new water park in Transcona on Sunday and it was awesome. I highly recommend it but be sure to bring your thick skin. I think 2 mins there and Ashlyn was being yelled at from across the pool for dipping her toe into the deep end. They have some really good slides for the kids and lots of seats with umbrellas for drying off. I think it was under $15 for the family too.

Took in the Massey Park Fireworks again this year. It never disappoints. It’s also nice to have Al, Larissa, and Haddon in the neighborhood now. They came over and then we just walked over. I love the community of this event. Everyone just hanging out listening to tunes and kids playing with the parents. Fireworks are always stellar and I know they collect all kinds of food and donations for Harvest. Great event.

Monday Joel had his annual Canada Day Swimfest. Always a good time over there and I think Ashlyn and Lexi were in the pool the entire time. Thanks to Joel and Jen for another great day.

Today would be our official first day of holidays. It was spent doing laundry and hanging out with kids who are already bored. Kids who would argue that Tim Hortons has a better grilled cheese than the one I make. It may have been their way of getting me to take them to Tim’s for lunch. Either way, they were sadly mistaken. We have the dentist this week and Lexi’s soccer windup on Saturday. After that it’s off to Blue Lake for a week to start off the summer of travel. We plan on taking in Calgary, Drumheller, Banff, and Edmonton. For camping we only have Blue Lake and Hecla booked so far. Should be another great summer to remember.

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!

Superman’s Song

The #metoo movement is in full force and it’s really got me thinking. So much in fact that I feel the need to voice my opinion. It’s just the view of a “life broke”, “privileged, white male” so do with it what you will.

In 1991 a band who called themselves the Crash Test Dummies (from Winnipeg, Manitoba) released the single “Superman’s Song” and I think it helps define all men in the midst of #Metoo.

“Superman’s Song”

Tarzan wasn’t a ladies’ man
He’d just come along and scoop ’em up under his arm like that
Quick as a cat in the jungle…

Harvey Weinstein is Tarzan and Hollywood is his jungle.

Women are initially attracted to his power and the security he can provide in an otherwise very unstable environment. They come to Hollywood and seek him out for what he can provide. So much in fact that they may be willing to endure certain conditions otherwise unfavorable under normal circumstances to benefit and thrive under his rule. He wears nothing but a loin cloth to meetings but he’s also the key for survival. Weinstein knows he is king and feels like he can do what he wants no matter how unconventional or abusive. Women are lured back to hotel rooms like Jane on a vine for what might seem like their own good.

In the end these women are able to regain their own sense of security and self worth and see him for the animal he really is.

But Clark Kent, now there was a real gent
He would not be caught sittin’ around in no junglescape
dumb as an ape doing nothing…

Clark Kent is every man in this scenario. The people you work with, the mailman, the guy at Starbucks making your coffee to your boss at the bank. Some have power and wealth, some have a good looks and a sense of humor, and some have a kind heart and sensibility. The fact is they are all created equal, with the same biological instinct to copulate.

“I was just borrowing a little friction from a stranger.” – Dave Chappelle.

Clark was just a guy at the Daily Planet working his 9-5 who carried the burden of a huge secret. Not that he was Superman, but that he had the hots for a co-worker and didn’t know what to do with that. Should he ask her out? Tell her she looks nice in that dress? Instead he just pushed down all his feelings like a gentleman in hopes that one day she might feel the same way.

This isn’t Hollywood. This isn’t the kind of jungle where you can just swing in and sweep someone off their feet. There’s rules to follow and as men we have to do our best to separate ourselves from the apes. The only problem is that some of us are better at it than others.

Superman never made any money
For saving the world from Solomon Grundy
And sometimes I despair the world will never see another man like him…

Superman is the ultimate example of a man that all women want, and all men aspire be. A man who treats women with kindness and respect and requires no affirmation for doing so.

Hey Bob, Supe had a straight job
Even though he could have smashed through any bank in the United States
He had the strength, but he would not…

I love this lyric. It’s symbolic of a man with all power in the world, who could use it to have sex with anyone, even Brock Lesnar if he wanted, but he would not. A super male who makes all the right choices to protect the women in his life.

Folks said his family were all dead
Their planet crumbled but Superman, he forced himself to carry on
forget Krypton, and keep going

We need to stop making excuses for our actions and have the strength to confront them.

Tarzan was king of the jungle and Lord over all the apes
But he could hardly string together four words: “I Tarzan, You Jane.”

There will always be corrupt men, just as there will always be corrupt women. I think we need to be careful not to condemn the innocent and have a responsibility to expose the guilty.

Sometimes when Supe was stopping crimes
I’ll bet that he was tempted to just quit and turn his back on man
join Tarzan in the forest…

This lyric speaks to every man’s struggle to suppress the urges that make him a man. It’s the old saying that “good guys finish last”. It’s the draw to the dark side. I can only speak for myself when I say that being a good man is work. Men love women and that doesn’t turn off. There will always be sexual ambiguity that exists between a man and a woman in any place in time. In fact there is a great scene in the movie “Beautiful Girls” that sums this up brilliantly;

“Look. The supermodel’s a beautiful girl, Will. She can make you dizzy, like you’ve been drinking Jack all morning. She can make you feel high for the greatest commodity known to man – promise, the promise of a better day, the promise of a greater hope, the promise of a new tomorrow. This particular ore can be found in the gait of a beautiful girl – in her smile, in her soul, in the way she makes every rotten thing about life seem OK…A beautiful girl’s all-powerful and that is as good as love.”

Ironically there are only two things that can bring Superman to his knees. One is Kryptonite (a made up compound nobody can really comprehend because it only comes from a made up alien colony fictionally referred to as Krypton), and Lois Lane (a smart beautiful woman).

But he stayed in the city, and kept on changing clothes
In dirty old phonebooths till his work was through
And nothing to do but go on home…

There is a sexual oppression that “good” men face on a daily basis. It’s been said that on average most males think about sex every 7 seconds. To suggest that women are powerless and that we live in a man’s world might only be one perspective oppression. One that continues to see progress over the years as well. Men have very little clout when it comes to sexual pursuit. Of course I am generalizing here but if a woman wants to have sex, in most cases, she can just goes out and get some! In a black and white world based on sex and relationships women hold all the power. It’s the kind of oppression that will never change, a gap that will never narrow.

The pursuit of sex drives men to seek out these positions of power that men in Hollywood are exploiting as sexual efficacy. To play devils advocate it’s the same proverbial thumb that presses on my back to make sure I do my part as a married man to keep my wife happy and content, take out the garbage, and make dinner a few times a week. Happy wife, happy sex life.

When the #metoo movement first started flooding my Facebook page I copied the post and changed the “women” to “people”. Some of my friends didn’t like this much. I don’t think this is a man vs woman thing at all. You would be naive to think that I have never gone out to eat with a woman and not be expected to pay for dinner just because I am a man. You would be naive to think that I am the only man to ever have a woman forcefully push my head “down there”. In fact when I was a 19 year old privileged white male I passed out at a party and woke up naked in a girls bed who I was told had sex with me. That’s RAPE right? Me writing #metoo on my Facebook page isn’t taking anything away from women, it’s embracing and applying it to all people – hell ya #ustoo.

So what’s in it for old Superman? Why not join old Tarzan in the Jungle? Because we are better than that. So many of us are better than that. Let’s all be better.

Superman, in all his symbolic glory, is a moral compass for all men to follow into the jungle at a time when women are standing among treetops, cupping their mouths and screaming for help – MEEEEEEeeeeeTOOOOOOooooo! And like animals hiding behind trees careful not to expose ourselves men and women will step out and unite to forge a path through this junglescape that leads straight to a better and utopian Metropolis.

Man, what a great tune!

* “Superman’s Song” was the first single of the Canadian folk-rock group Crash Test Dummies and came from their 1991 debut album The Ghosts That Haunt Me.

Happy New Year

It’s only fitting that I start the year off going to bed at 1am and waking up at 5am thinking about the load of laundry that I forgot about. Now I need to make one of those resolutions that people make to motivate myself to be better at finishing what I started. Or in this case, remembering what I’ve started, because that seems to be more of the problem.

In just a couple of hours now we will all be heading over to Agape Table with this years load of toothbrushes and toothpaste. Once again the support we saw was overwhelming and each year I am thankful that through the generosity of others Lexi and Ashlyn get to have this enlightening experience every year. They both take away something different I am sure but it’s something we get to do on our break for other people, which is awesome.

It’s been a shut in week with the cold weather and Lexi on the verge of Pneumonia. Poor kid is just coming out of being sick with a fever since Christmas Eve thanks to some TLC and the antibiotics. Seems someone is always sick this time of year and then it hits us all. That didn’t stop us from having an awesome Christmas though. We just had to change a few things up and adjust a little bit. We spent some quality time with family and that is what matters most.

27 Handyside Ave.

We love to spend NYE with the kids and last night Joel and family came over for dinner and we had a nice casual dinner and just hung out. It seems like we haven’t seen them in a long time when Kevin shows up talking like crazy and racing Ashlyn up and down the hall. Joel and I took a selfie at one point and looking at it really brought me back. We have been friends for 40 years! One day you’re playing C.H.I.P.S on the street on your Big Wheels and 40 years later your watching 2018 come in on YouTube after putting your kids to bed.

 

So thankful for friends and family as always. Wishing you happiness and a benevolent New Year.

Heaven Is A Better Place Today

I woke up this morning and after my shower instead of heading downstairs to find some underwear I went straight to my closet and put on my Hip shirt. I know that doesn’t sound like anything odd but I ALWAYS do shirt last, after a teeth brush and layer of deodorant so that I don’t get anything on the shirt. As I was looking through my shirts I also brushed past the shirt I had made for the last concert that reads “Here’s a glue guy, performance God…” and it was just enough to put it in my head. I walked back downstairs to brush singing “heaven is a better place today”.

I was in the movement room at work, alone, when my phone started blowing up. “Gord died…” was the first thing I read from Al and it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I just had trouble pulling it together. Then as other people started texting me it was just too much emotion. It was definitely a tough day working with kids. One woman I work with also loves the Hip and when I first met her we were both wearing Hip gear. I was the one who told her when she got in this morning and her eye’s just welled up and she went straight to the phone to call her husband. The impact of it all was just so HARD, HUGE, and HAUNTING.

I tried hard to compose myself throughout the day but it was hard. One text I received said:

“sad day – I was thinking of you this morning. Great memories – thank you for bringing the Hip into my life!”

Back to square one. I just kept telling myself that Tom Petty died just a few days ago and I don’t remember any grown men walking around the office all welled up. Pull it together man, I kept telling myself. Then I read the obituary on Maclean’s – that was a mistake.

What I realized was that it wasn’t just about the passing of an amazing man. A man I feel some kind of personal connection to that I have never met. I realized it’s about all of you. All of the people who share this music with me and the memories that pop into my head when I hear it. The concerts, the road trips, the parties, the clubs, the camping, the hockey, the socials, the weddings, the friendships…all of it.

It’s the knowledge that today is the day the music died. Literally. What I can only explain as the soundtrack to my life now has a beginning and an end. I know that the music lives on but it makes me sad to think about the flame that brought so much happiness to my life has gone dark. Knowing that I will never again sit in an arena and see Gord live weakens my will a little. I can clearly remember them all and never wanting that feeling to end. Even just sitting in my car alone and cranking it up – it could never get loud enough, no number on a dial could ever explain it.

So that’s what I did on my way to pick up the kids after school. Got lost in it.

When Shan got home we asked GOOGLE to play some HIP and opened up a bottle of wine I never thought there would be an occasion for. We drank for Gord – and then Al came over and we all drank for Gord, just as we have so many times before.

RIP Gord Downie – Thank you for everything.

Back Step

It seems each summer Shan and I decide that we need to get at least ONE house project done on our summer budget. This year it was the back step and slanting sidewalk.

Destruction of the existing back step was our first concern. I took a few whacks with a sledge and broke the hammer so Shan said I should go and rent a jackhammer. I was still determined at this point to get this done frugally so I borrowed a hammer from a neighbor and channeled all that doubt into rage and this was the result.

Even Penny looks impressed.

Post project we always go back and forth about how to attack these things. Not being “very handy” there are some things out of my comfort zone and in this case it was drilling into the foundation. I wanted to put a header on the house to attach the frame so Shan’s dad offered to help with that. I also talked to my other neighbour who suggested I bring the step out another block so that you don’t have to step off the step to open the door like you had to before. Brilliant if you ask me. So we increased the size of our header to accommodate that and JD guided me with where to put the lag bolts and how the frame would come together and attach. Big thanks JD for all the help with that.

Notice those big holes in the frame so that it can be flush with the house and the lag bolts can come through? Well drilling those is not fun unless you have a really good drill. I found that out the hard way! Shan helped me put together the frame and I think we did a super good job. Once that was done I attached it to the house and built the legs to level it out and keep it steady. We ordered a yard of 1/4 down to fill the frame and planned on using the rest for the sidewalk. Shan thought a yard was too much but it turns out it’s not.

What $100 looks like on your driveway.

Honestly at this point in the day I was done after hauling in all the 1/4 down. I figured I could finish the rest tomorrow and that is when Nolan appeared out of nowhere! He came equipped with work gloves and shovel in hand. With his help we were able to lift and level the remaining sidewalk that was slanting toward the house. That was our initial job for the summer before it grew into a new back step. Nolan really pushed me to get it done that day and in the end there is no way I could have done that without him. Also, the next time I need that done I will hire someone. I think it turned out awesome but someone who knows how to do it properly could get it done with a lot less swearing. It also didn’t help that the kids were water bombing us while we were working but it made it fun! HUGE thanks to Nolan for being the kind of friend who just shows up at your house when you are doing this kind of thing.

Here is the end result…

Still need to move the hose over.

Kinda makes me want to do a front step next year!

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!

Santa Fe XL

It’s a 2017 Santa Fe XL with 30,000 KMs and it only took 5 months to find!

Yes we will all miss the van but it was time to say goodbye. Just like the stabilizer bars, the ABS, and the engine mounts on the van said goodbye to us. The “Memory Machine” was traded in but will always be remembered. Especially the next time I need to move something big or dirty.

Shan and I have been looking for a long time for the right vehicle. It had to be AWD, with low KMs and have the ability to pull at least 5000lbs in case we ever upgrade our trailer. That way we won’t need to go car shopping again for a very long time! If I had to give any advice to someone car shopping I would say to them what people said to us “be prepared to walk”. In fact the day we bought our car we walked and the salesperson was on the phone with her manager as we were leaving and I heard her shout “they’re walking, THEY’RE WALKING!”.

In the end we were able to make a deal though and we are very happy with our purchase. It’s “the latest” as Lexi calls it and I think it will be with us for a very long time!

Blue Lake 2016

Last year we camped at Blue Lake on the way to Thunder Bay and the kids loved it. This year we asked the Ratte’s and Morrison’s to meet us there for what would be the most epic camping trip to date!

We were supposed to leave on Sunday but I received a text from Paul letting me know that they were going up Friday. I looked online and could not get the site I booked early so I figured I would just stick to the Sunday departure time. After talking with Shan we decided to pick up a different site for the extra couple of days and we rushed to get packed and ready to leave Friday morning. Seven days is officially the longest we have been camping as a family to date.

campers

Now camping with friends makes it all worthwhile. The kids just entertained themselves it seemed. Lexi was gone from the moment we stepped outside until bedtime. She played with Alyssa, did hand knitting, played games, and read her chapter book by the fire. Ashlyn has become such a swimmer this year it was hard to keep her out of the water. She also kept busy collecting worms, teasing the boys, and playing with her babues. She also loves to play with Haddon so when he arrived she was in heaven. It was such a nice trip.

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Camping tips for Blue Lake:

Firewood: The first night we arrived I bought firewood at the park like a dummy. I spent $21.00 on 3 tiny bundles that we burnt through sparingly between 6pm and midnight. I like to have fire in the morning sometimes as well so you figure at least 4 bundles a day at $7 each will add another $170 to the fire over the 6 days there. On top of the $300 we paid for the site that adds up. On the second day Paul and I drove to Oxdrift Country Store (about 20 mins past Vermillion Bay). There we met a nice lady who was selling 3 larger bundles of wood for $10. She ended up giving us 12 bundles for $35 which we burnt constantly at $3.00/bundle. Feel free to call ahead to make sure she has stock 1 (807) 937-4052.

The Poopers: At first I always liked Blue Lake for it’s flush toilets. It added that taste of home just in case you wanted to rough it and still have the dignity that comes with a flushable toilet. Of course you must bring your own toilet paper from home. This year I found it much better in the “plop toilets”. My reasoning for this is simply for the privacy it provides and the accessibility. I found myself competing for the flushers too often. Walking toward them with my toilet paper in hand and making eye contact with another camper who also has toilet paper in hand…both our pace quickening…butt cheeks clenched in anticipation just to be elbow to elbow in those tiny stalls! Not me, this year I went plopper. Just me and the clicking the of the automated light timer. Use as much toilet paper as you like in there as well because you’re not going to bung anything up.

Dogs: Bring em. There are lot’s of dogs here and as long as you keep them off the beach nobody complains. There is basically a “no dogs past this point” line on the beach but it’s reasonably close so you can bring your dog to the beach and sit a little further back with your pet and still go in the water. I also noticed several spots for them to swim off the hiking trails so that is nice too.

Busters BBQ: Just because you are camping doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself! “Busters” is a five minute drive from your campsite and guess what? It’s air-conditioned and there are no bugs inside. It was super nice on our last night to break away from cooking and eating in the heat and covered in bugs. Make a reservation though (1-807-227-5256) because we went on a Wednesday night and it was packed.