Category - Yada, Yada, Yada


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.


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.

More Photos

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.

Hip Summer

Summer holidays have officially started.

This summer is being dubbed the summer of the Hip. When the fan club pre-sale started we were all online trying our best to get tickets and luckily I think we got everyone covered one way or another. While I was trying for Winnipeg, Shan was getting seats in Calgary. Looking forward to taking in that show with Tim and Les and then following the band back to Winnipeg for likely the last time we will ever see them live. Pretty sad to think about really.

Brey had the great idea to get some shirts made up with our favorite Hip quotes as a tribute. This inspired me to really listen to some Hip in the past couple weeks and memories flooded in. I also realized I hardly ever really listen to music anymore. I mean, it’s on in the car and in the kitchen when I’m making dinner or cleaning up. It’s on my computer right now but I’m not really listening am I? One night last week I slept in the basement and just put the Hip on random and really listened. I forgot what that was like to be honest and vowed to do more headphones this summer.

If a song can’t save us then nothing can

I am looking forward to a slow paced summer of camping, good friends, and really listening to The Tragically Hip.



a person who commits a crime or some other wrong.

synonyms: wrongdoer, miscreant, offender, criminal, culprit, villain, lawbreaker, felon, evildoer, delinquent, hooligan, hoodlum;

It’s OK to be a man. Not all men are bad, or have done bad things. It’s OK to love women, to think they can be smart, beautiful, and strong all at the same time. All the while, still a man.

My feelings on this sparked during a family life class for grade nine boys. I was an adult in the class working with a specific student and they had split the class into boys and girls. Each group watched this video that basically showed the many ways in which men objectify women. It was a good hour and thirty minutes long of this is how men treat and think about women.

I think not. At the end of the video I had male students approach me wondering if anyone really thinks like this anymore. It was as if they felt bad for being male. A malefactor perhaps. Like they were already guilty of treating women poorly by association and still only in grade nine. I wasn’t privy to the girls class but I am sure it made them feel victimized and a second class gender. A seed planted that men are the enemy and a progressive chip placed on their shoulder they will need to work harder than most men to shake off.

It also made me really question gender politics in my own life. I always knew women had it rough in some cultures but surely in Canada and the US women and men are treated fairly. I hate to say equal because, let’s face it, men and women are not equal biologically and for that reason there will always be inequality. I thought that feminism started as a movement toward equality and found that today it’s more of a right wing turn toward demonizing the male gender.

I came across this article on Buzzfeed Canada about the Jian Ghomeshi verdict titled I Hope The Ghomeshi Verdict Makes You Fucking Furious. It’s written by female writer Scaachi Koul and it really made me wonder how many women in Canada and the US really feel a deep rooted resentment toward males. Let me preface this by saying I didn’t follow all of this in the news. From what I understand of it the ruling was based on lack luster evidence and the word of the girls against Ghomeshi. I have no sympathy for Ghomeshi and if he hurt any of those women in any way I hope he gets his. Thankfully it’s not up to me and thankfully it’s not up to Scaachi Koul because it’s evident throughout the article that she’s on a manhunt for not just Ghomeshi, but men in general.

First she attacked the judge claiming that women knew what the verdict was going to be right from the start “because the (justice) system wasn’t built for us (women). It was built for the men it protects, the ones we try to expose.” She refers to the judge as “a cartoon sheriff from the ‘50s”.

Huh? Currently in the US 93% of incarcerated inmates are male. To further those stats I looked at the offenses committed and sex offenses ranked 4th on the list of reason convicted out of 13 possible offenses.

Although my favorite quote, and the whole reason I am writing my thoughts on all of this, just so I won’t forget this beauty of a statement…

Let your body crack wide open and fill the world with your anger because anger gets shit done. Male anger is turned against women and our heads are smashed against walls and our bodies are shaken and bruised; female anger activates and shoots up into the sun and forces change.

Yes, let’s promote anger instead of truth and rationale! Not Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails, kind of anger but sugar and spice and all things nice kind of anger because that’s what little girls are made of.

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You can also read a more unbiased report on the verdict.

Winter Update

Ok, we have been hiding from you winter.

The kids have been busy with school and activities. Lexi is doing gymnastics (at Panthers) and dance this year. She is built for gymnastics and I am always impressed at her strength and natural ability. She tries hard and has fun there so what else can you ask for. I sometimes think she needs to be challenged more and the instructors look like they would rather be texting but I know I have a knack for the negative so I look past. Friday nights after a long week topped off with gymnastics Lexi looks forward to what I like to call “Foot Rub Fridays” before bed. Lex is also losing teeth like mad. Four this year already and one more on the way so that is exciting for her. I can’t stand watching Shan wiggle them out for her.

bday-baconWe just celebrated Lexi’s 7th birthday and this year she chose Montana’s for her family dinner. It was a good time watching her stand on her chair with the horns on and I got to pack in the all-you-can-eat ribs. Nolan also showed up and brought the birthday bacon too! Win win.

For the friend birthday we decided on a pool party so we booked the Canad-inns a little late and had all the girls out. Last year one of Lexi’s besties had to move and I was able to track her down for the party. It was really cool to see Lexi’s face when she saw her…and the hug, it was one of the best hugs I have ever seen. Big thanks to everyone who helped out that day and Michelle for doing all the hair after!


Ashlyn is busy dancing and back in swimming. We called last minute for the swimming and ended up at Bernie Wolf pool. I’m not a fan but Shan says we are just there for a few months and it’s better than nothing. The instructors there make Lexi’s instructors look like Richard Simmons. I do see improvements in the pool though. At Lexi’s party Ash was fearless on the water slide.

Ashlyn is also adjusting to the morning routine much better now. I think pre-school is making her less anxious and daycare this year is gold. We love her there. Saying that though next year we will have just one drop off and pick up at the school and that will be so much easier. After playing most of the day Ashlyn likes to come home and have some alone time. She takes care of her babies still and has been getting into the lego lots lately. She also loves coming for walk with Penny and I which usually turns into her climbing up and down the snow banks filling her boots with snow!


I am ashamed at how long it’s been since I have written. My new years resolution was to “do what I want” as much as possible. I know that sounds selfish but mostly it means to find time to do things I enjoy like writing and listening to music. I don’t mean the kind of listening you do in the car or while your cleaning the house. I mean really listening. I think it also goes hand in hand with not putting up with unacceptable shit and giving zero fucks. Wouldn’t you know just like every other get ripped NY resolution I have had it’s February and I’m just getting started!

Shan and I have been walking the dog lots. She does the morning and I go in the evening. It’s one of those things that is hard to get up for and hard to keep your pants on for at night. Between dinner, and getting the kids to bed there is no down time until 8pm. Penny is a high energy breed (we have decided part Ridge Back) and really needs to get out and run when she can. She is really turning into an awesome dog. She still has her things (like jumping up) but she is really good off the leash now and can chill out a little more at night now. She is a champ at the dog park and sometimes at night we meet up in the field to play with her friend Eva. So nice that she is so awesome with other dogs.


Shan and I are getting away usually once a week too. Shan is playing soccer and I have the usual Nolan’s Hockey Sunday nights. Missed 14 weeks this year already with a pulled groin but have been playing the last 4 games and feeling much better out there. We are also both really involved in the Parent Council at Lexi’s school and taken on roles in the new inclusive playground development project. It’s another thing to add to the pile but we really love this community and want the best for all the kids who go to school here.

We did some really cool stuff this winter on skates and toboggans but now it’s time for the snow to go away. The kids are already talking about camping and we are already making plans and dreaming about what a summer might look like without house painting to do! Can’t wait, and I promise to post again before the snow comes back!

Penny Peever the Rotti Retriever?

Most of you have met, or at least know that we have a new edition to the family. Since Vegas passed in January we have really missed having a dog around and have been kind of looking. After visiting with the Rattes this summer and being around their dogs it really hit home how much we wanted our kids to have a dog back in their lives too.

“Penny” was actually Apple but after much deliberation and a small poll orchestrated by Lexi it came down to Princess Dusty Face, Turtle, Seabass (Nolan) and Penny. Penny won.

We found Penny through the good people at the Brandon Humane Society. We knew we wanted and puppy and after many visits to the Humane Society here in Winnipeg we found that most of the dogs there were older and that puppies that did come in went quick. So we made arrangements to visit Penny’s litter and quickly fell in love with all of them! Shan even wanted to take home their mother (who looked a lot like Vegas) just from seeing her picture!

Penny seemed to stand out as a gentle pup and she made an instant connection with Lexi. Shan and I picked her up on our way back from Fargo on August 7 and she has since adjusted to her new home and family. We are still house training a little bit (the basement seems like a challenge) but she has had zero accidents upstairs in days. We even took her on her first camping trip and she did awesome in the camper. We are regulars at the dog park and she does very well off the leash and socializes great with other dogs. We have been working a lot on sit and stay commands and she is learning fast. She loves her walks and when she uses up all her puppy power she sleeps through child mauling and our crazy day to day. At night and when we are out she finds solace in kennel which she seems to really like at times just to have some alone time. I was worried about the nights but she sleeps solid through the night and seems ready to get up when we are. She walks right to the door to goes outside for a poop so she is learning. I think if we let her she would save it all up for Nolan’s grass just like the other night.

Best of all she is awesome with the kids. Ashlyn still needs to get comfortable with her but it’s not uncommon for us to find Lexi curled up with her on the floor petting her while she sleeps. Or fake sleeps perhaps.

YMCA Problem

Saw this in the Lance today and I was mortified. Not only because I have already written about how much I have to police other people’s kids at the Y on Fermor, but also that the Lance won’t or can’t write where this happened. “A fitness centre on the corner of St. Mary’s and Fermor.”; Grow some balls and just say at the YMCA on Fermor wherein lies an unsupervised play area where people are encouraged to leave there kids unattended while they work out. It’s not the first time either.

I also love the placement of the YMCA paid advertisement that nicely finishes this piece with…

“We never met a kid whose potential we couldn’t see.”

You could start by seeing that the play area is monitored at bare minimum periodically. I am sure one of your minimum wagers or bubbly volunteers could pop a head in there once every 10 mins to make sure everyone is wearing socks, the appropriate age, or not being molested. Please.


Parents don’t bring your kids with you to work out. It’s cruel, like leaving them in the car on a hot day with the windows rolled up. Bad stuff can happen. If your going to the Y watch them like a hawk or make sure someone else is. For God sakes bring some socks for them.

Yikes It’s August

This summer is flying by and it’s our own fault. We started right out of the gates with a trip to Thunder Bay to see the Rattes. We camped at Blue Lake on the way and I have to say it certainly lived up to the hype. The campsites were awesome, the facilities were awesome, the water was awesome, and the sunsets left us speechless (well some of us). Besides Lexi busting up her face on a giant candy necklace and the cost of camping these days it is certainly on our list of places to visit again!


Once we arrived in Thunder Bay it really hit me how much I was missing Vegas on this trip. Bella and Simba (Ratte dogs) made it clear how much I was missing the dog love this summer. As always we had an amazing (too short) visit with Paul and Melissa. Paul and I got to play some hockey together and our families got to do a little camping out at Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Big thanks to Simba for protecting us from that skunk and taking a huge ass blast of spray for the team. Driving you home and cleaning you up at 2am was the least we could do! We spent our last day visiting at Kakabeka Falls where we got some great family shots of all the kids. It was so nice to get all of the kids together this summer. they have all grown so much, and so fast. Big thanks to Paul and Melissa for being such great hosts, we had an absolute blast.


On the way home we stopped by the cottage in Sioux Narrows to break up the trip. Luckily we got to spend some time with family up there and just relax for a couple days. Josie and Ella left a big impression on our girls and Shan and I got to spend some quality time with Heather, Troy, and Auntie Barb. A great couple days at the lake but even though I had lot’s of fun with the girls in the water I sure missed chasing Vegas off that dock!

When we got home it was time for Ashlyn to have another small eye surgery. Nothing worse for a parent than seeing their child in pain. She was amazing through all of it and recovered beautifully. Who would have thought 10 days with no swimming could be so tough on a child! Thanks to everyone who wished her well.

We talked a little more about getting a dog this summer and it wasn’t long before we were reaching out to a rescue in Brandon. We took the girls on a day trip to see the pups and instantly fell in love. You can expect a new addition to this family before the summer wraps.

Speaking of new additions…HUGE congrats to Joel and Jen who welcome Kevin William Grant to their family. I could not be happier for them and look forward to sharing this new chapter with them. Hard to believe Joel and I have been friends since we were five years old. Now we are both married with kids and still close as ever. Seems like only yesterday we were jumping ramps on the front sidewalk on Handyside. Now this…


This week we just got back from our second visit to Sioux Narrows. This time was more of a Ramsay reunion to celebrate the life of Shan’s grandparents. In what might have been the most beautiful ceremony I have ever witnessed the family said goodbye in the middle of the lake on a barge. To see all of Ramsay siblings and generations of children that grew up spending summers at that cottage all together for this moment really put a lump in my throat. So glad to be a part of it.

In between painting the house and everything else Shan and I are off again this weekend to Fargo for a couple nights just the two of us. It will be nice to catch up with my wife. The following weeks when we get home will be filled with painting, birthdays, camping trips, and potty training!

Positive Approach

I feel like I have been carrying so much weight these past few months. No, it’s not that Five Guys kind of weight (well that too) it’s life weight. Things revolving around work, money, the kids, my wife, my family, and the future. Lot’s of things that I feel like I can’t control…things that are controlling me. I’m working hard to take some of those things back and it’s really started with being more positive about things and distributing that life weight.

One article I read that really made sense to me was The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by blogger and author Mark Manson.

In my life, I have given a fuck about many people and many things. I have also not given a fuck about many people and many things. And those fucks I have not given have made all the difference.

The more I read, the more it made sense. As a parent I am constantly doing my best to ensure that my kids give less fucks.

What we don’t realize is that there is a fine art of non-fuck-giving. People aren’t just born not giving a fuck. In fact, we’re born giving way too many fucks. Ever watch a kid cry his eyes out because his hat is the wrong shade of blue? Exactly.

Someone took away your toy? Not what you wanted for dinner? Other kids not sharing? You got called a bad name? It seems from birth we start building or should I say tearing down the emotional intelligence to D.G.A.F.

If you are offended by the word “fuck” you may not enjoy this article. I sure did.