Category - Yada, Yada, Yada

Happy New Year!

It’s 2015 and we are all healthy…today. It was a rough break as far as being sick goes. First Lexi almost 2 weeks straight leading up to the break, then Ashlyn picked up an ear infection. Right after Christmas day it started with Shan and I and we are just starting to feel human again. It was the first time Shan and I have been down at the same time and I can tell you it wasn’t easy with the kids. Pretty sure on the first day they watched 6 movies and everytime they needed something Shan and I just looked at each other like I don’t think I can make it.

We didn’t let that get us down. Christmas was awesome.

It started with – Lexi wasn’t feeling great that day but stepped up to help us deliver all the brushes and paste we collected for Agape Table. It was a truly humbling experience for me and I am sure as the tradition continues the girls will get more and more involved. Watching Lexi walk around with her Santa sack asking people if they wanted their own toothbrush for Christmas warmed my heart. Can hardly wait to do this again next year.

Christmas morning the kids were up bright and early for rip fest. Santa brought Lexi her Pogo Stick and Ashlyn got her baby and her very own copy of “Emma’s Wings”. Lego was also a big hit with Lexi this year so I am excited to see her interested in that. We also go the girls balaclava’s to wear under their hockey helmets and when Ashlyn opened hers up Lexi said “oh look another ninja mask!”.

Christmas Day we all went up to see Grandma before coming back to our place for Christmas Dinner. Just before dinner we had a visit from a group of Christmas Carolers which I thought was a really neat touch. The girls were awe watching them sing. They were raising money for kids in the Philippines so we tipped well hoping they will be back next year!


Celebrated New Years with an extra Nolan’s Hockey on Christmas Eve and some Chinese Food with the Barthel’s. Good times. Big thanks to Nolan for the fireworks on the front street. I am sure my neighbours were impressed. We made it until almost 9pm before putting the girls to bed and then Shan and I almost saw 11:30pm before calling it! So close this year.

Lot’s of love in 2015, I think it’s going to be a doozie.


This Christmas

This Christmas is coming fast and it’s always a time that seems to hit me hard. Not sure what it is about this time of year but I really seem to put a lot of thoughts together. They’re not bad thoughts per say just thoughts, and lot’s of them. It’s a time where I want the people I care about to know how much I care about them.


Shan and I are lucky to have 2 weeks at Christmas to appreciate our girls and celebrate another year. We have always talked about something we can do to teach our girls about what Christmas is all about. We are not God fearing people so I don’t mean the whole bedtime story that the Church delivers on Christmas Eve. Nor do I want to focus too much on Santa, his list, or his “Elf On The Shelf”. I don’t really want to teach the kids about Christmas at all…I want them to FEEL what Christmas is all about.

This year was born. Nolan has been talking to me for years about all of the things he does for Agape Table and I have always wanted to help out too. I was looking at their website and noticed that other people are helping out where they can too. I was really inspired by the campaign Great West Life did. They wanted to “knock the socks” of Agape’s list of most needed items. So I checked the list this year and noticed that Toothbrushes and toothpaste were topping the list. I figured it would be super cool to ask people for extra toothbrushes they had around the house and then go to Agape on Christmas Break with the girls and hand them out to people who need them. The girls loved this idea and they have been counting and sorting them as they come in. So far we are well over 1000 brushes and nearing the same amount of paste! The response has been overwhelming.

Don’t get me wrong, my girls will still be spoiled at Christmas but they will also get to meet some people more excited to see a little girl with a toothbrush than sweet Santa himself. They will also spend lot’s of time with family, see their friends, and feel a rush of deja vu as they sit down for another Christmas dinner.

Visiting Grandma

My Grandma suffers from dementia and has been placed in an constant care facility. I have been up to visit a few times but it doesn’t feel like I am visiting someone I know. She seems to know who I am by the way she waves at me when I come in. She may be waving at me or the guy she knows that brings her strawberry Menchies. She never says my name anymore but she talks about people in the family. Lexi came with me today and Grandma talked about Marcy being outside and cousin Tracy was in the attic. She couldn’t remember Lexi’s name but introduced her as her granddaughter. In between mouthfuls of frozen yogurt she told us stories about the baby in the office and how she was going home today.

I love seeing her and I know our visits are limited but I feel so depressed in that building I can hardly stand to be in there. It’s a scene out of the Walking Dead with Zombies wandering about, slowly and sure footed, staring blankly ahead. Contained only by and elevator they can’t manipulate on their own. It’s down button covered by a piece of plexi-glass with a small hole drilled in and lined up with the button. Lexi watched a nurse use a straw in the hole to call the elevator and summoned it herself on our way out but to it’s residents a complex puzzle.

I sit amazed just watching. Today they gathered around a TV to watch some vintage Barbara Streisand movie. It was just like when Rick was stuck in the tank and zombies all zeroed in on him. Then when the elevator opened and we stepped out a few heads tuned into us and one was Grandma. From our table I watched as some walked patterns and others slept in chairs not even waking up to cough. One came to us immediately, drawn to Lexi like a poppy in a field of grass. One who walked a pattern yelled from the hallway “SHUT UP!” and then just hobbled around keeping to herself, not saying a word. It looked difficult for her to get around but she didn’t stop moving the entire time we were there. Eventually she passed our table closely and as she passed whispered softly and without looking at me “your child is beautiful”. Her back was already to me as I said “thank you…”. She went on walking aimlessly as if all these bodies were empty just bumping off one another completely unaware of each other.

Another lady with a walker came over and sat down right beside me. She said “It looks like your little girl likes this movie.” “Yes”, I said. Then she said “I’m just going to sit here next to you and when this is over you can get me outta here!”

Not long after that a lady in a wheelchair came over and couldn’t get by the walker. When she went to move my grandma became agitated and yelled at her that it wasn’t her walker and to leave it alone. She seemed really annoyed. I wondered how often she was in these conflicts. Another lady who really seemed to have her wits about her wheeled over another really agitated lady who pointed a finger sort of in my direction and asked me if I was her brother. I was confused at first and just shook my head NO and he asked the lady pushing her what I looked like but before she could answer she said “it’s not him, he would be hugging me right now if it was him…it’s not him…” – I had no idea what to say but my heart broke for her. I hoped he was coming.

When it was time to leave I put on Lexi’s jacket and told Grandma we were heading out and she said “OK let me grab my coat”. I explained she couldn’t come and Lexi pushed her back in front of the tank with the others. I pulled her up in her chair again to straighten her up and we hugged and kissed her goodbye. Lexi called the elevator with the straw like magic and as the door closed in front of us she waved again with Lexi’s paper gold medal in her hand.

A woman who worked there stopped me on the way out and asked my relation to my grandma and I told her. She said to me “she’s the best! Has she always been so funny?” – “More than you know…” I told her, “more than you know!”.

I looked for her in the window on the way out because she used to like watching the people come and go but I don’t think she could get there on her own. I wondered if she was in there today, I mean really in there.

Happy Thanksgiving All

Man where did that long weekend go? I had a really short week too but it flew by.

Last Sunday when I got back from hockey Lexi on the couch with her leg elevated so I knew something was up. I didn’t have to get much closer to see one of her toes veering off to her right. It was clearly broken. It happened on my parents watch too and I felt so bad for them because that stuff is going to happen no matter what but they felt so bad about it. Apparently Lexi was goofing off on my exercise ball and went feet over tea kettle and smashed her foot on the TV stand. This was after being told several times not to touch that ball. Karma has no age limit obviously.


So I took her to the walk-in Monday morning and after some x-rays (and a second opinion) they sent us to Pan-Am to see a “specialist”. They suggested Children’s but I don’t want to sit in emergency with that respiratory thing going around. Just my luck we would be sitting in there waiting to have a toe looked at and we pick up something worse. We chose Pan-Am and it wasn’t too bad. Lexi would not give up the toe for freezing so with my help and one other nurse the doctor chose to “set it” without. I will never forget the sound of that scream but it was over quick and I was so proud at that moment. She calmed right down and walked out of that place on her own. It was awesome. We went to visit Nolan at work (where she always gets spoiled) and then out for a nice lunch. I would have done anything for her that day and it was nice to just have some Lexi time. That happened on Monday and Tuesday when I came to pick her up at daycare she was wearing her boot and running around the gym like a nut.

Saturday night was Vanessa’s social so we were out for a late on. I think we got home close to 2am and I was up with the kids around 7:30am. I didn’t drink a thing (thank God) but I am still feeling the affects. Just can’t do that anymore. The social was good and being at the TYC (Tijuana Yacht Club) brought back some doozie memories. Like the night Mike’s sister seduced me on the dance floor there. Good times. If that wasn’t nostalgic enough I ran into Juan Portilo there who I haven’t seen since the “Boogie Nights” era. He still has the moves he’s just a little more reluctant to let them out. Joel met me there and we mostly watched the Jets get spanked by the Sharks and a couple of girls spanking each other on the dance floor. It was a great night and I think Vanessa and Tristan did good on the night. I know they got my PS4 money.

Sunday night we went to JD and Linda’s for an impromptu Thanksgiving Dinner. I met Shan and the girls after hockey and then Mike, Tara, and the kids arrived shortly after. It was a nice visit and I was very thankful for getting in a turkey dinner Gladys would have been proud of…ketchup and all. What I really wanted was a hot turkey sandwich but figured I should class it up some.

Today we tested Ashlyn again at the movies. We went to see “BoxTrolls” and I was surprised at how well she did considering it wasn’t a great movie for her age. It was a bit dark. She said she liked it but I think she feels compliant because I gave her such a hard time the last time we went to the movies and she was intolerable. She fell asleep near the end of the movie and I can’t say I blame her. Overall she was awesome.

Last Week People

What a summer! Probably one of the best ever. We did whatever we wanted to this summer and it meant that sometimes we got home from the lake just in time to pack up and do it all again. No complaints from these lake girls!

The summer went like this: Rushing River, Sioux Narrows, Grand Beach, Vegas, The Rattes, Epic 40th Bday, Great Woods Park, and one last stint at Grand Beach because we liked it so much. We tried to stuff the 2nd last week with as much camping as possible. GWP is one of those spots we hit every summer. The water was really low but we set up in the river and the girls played in the water for hours. Eryn and the kids came out on the Wednesday so Lexi and Ashlyn were thrilled to have their friends out there. Mike and the kids also came later in the day for a quick swim and a campfire so that was awesome too.


We were back on Thursday for Shan’s Norwex Party and then Al and I headed back out Friday with Ashlyn and Haddon. We set up camp and hit the sack after a campfire with the kids. At about 4am we wake up to our camp being trashed by a bear. It takes off as soon as we scramble but the dining tent is trashed and I have to go out and retrieve the cooler and put it in the van. He came back a couple more times looking around for more and we just kept trying to get a visual on him and he would just keep vanishing. It was a little unnerving with the kids in trailer. The girls came up on Saturday and despite the rain we hit the beach and made another fire. Joel, Jen, and Mike came up for the fire and stayed pretty late despite the downpour. It was epic. Packing up the next day in the rain…not so much.


Shan and I went out last night for our 8th anniversary and we were talking about how much we have done over the last couple of months and how lucky we are to have this time with the girls. I wonder what they will remember most? Going back to work next week will uncover all that I have taken for granted this summer forsure!

Summer Camp, Great Friends

Girls have been busy this week with camp in the mornings at Island Lakes School. It is the first time we have put Ashlyn into something like this but she always came with me to pick up Lexi last year and always wanted to stay so we thought we would give it a try. She did pretty good. I don’t think she said much but she follows directions well and it gave Lexi a chance to earn her big sister stripes. I would hang around in the mornings just until things got rolling and as soon as I told Ashlyn I was leaving she would go right to Lex and grab on. Lexi took good care of her I could tell.

Thursday we picked the girls up early at camp and went to meet up with the Argathal Barthels in Portage. We all picked up a Groupon to the Splash Island Water park. I heard some people talking about this place being some new attraction for the kids and I wanted to check it out. It was just OK for me dog. It’s an old outdoor pool with a couple bigger slides and a kiddie pool. No way I would make that drive and pay the $25 for a family. Get way more bang for your buck at Kildonan Park.

That being said we had a blast there with the Barthel’s. And you know what is good about that drive to Portage? Passing Nick’s Inn on the way there and stopping on the way back for burgers and Greek poutine. Not my favorite burger place but high on the list. The milkshake made the right way brought it right up there. Super fun day.

On the Friday afternoon after camp we took the girls out for Ashlyn’s first bus ride. Seemed like she really enjoyed being on the bus. Honestly it would have been cheaper to take the car but the girls had fun. It was $5.10 each way and all I had was paper money. The first guy just told me to put it in the ticket taker. It’s all digital now and I had no idea where to put the money! The Second driver was pissy and stopped me when I tried to do what the first guy said. “COINS ONLY” he said. Nothing much has changed in the hiring department since I was there I guess. Communication was tip top.

Today we started the day at Cole’s birthday down the street. He had the coolest Star-Wars cake ever. It’s so nice to have good friends on the street and the girls had so much fun playing there. Cole will also be in Lexi’s kinder class next year so it’s nice to see some kids from our neighborhood are going to the same school. It should make things easier for her.


From there we went Mike’s place for his 40th. As always Tara went all out with the signs, the food, the cake, and just for Mike…the candy bar! It was a great spread and as always it was nice to see everyone. The girls played non-stop with everyone’s kids. It was super nice to have all the families out all in one place. Happy 40th buddy, hope you had a memorable night.


Kid Stuff

Took a couple good pics while we were at Kildonan Park the other day. It’s a great place to hang out for an afternoon and we didn’t even hit the pool area. We hung out at the Witch’s hut and then a part of the park I had never even seen. Place is huge.

What are some other cool places to hit up with the kids this summer? Running out of fun stuff to do.

Where the Parents at?

Round 1 – The Play Structure

Let me just say for the record that I don’t consider myself to be an example of what a parent should be. I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old and I am still learning what it means to be a “good parent”. Especially in this day and age with all the digital distractions and yoga pants it’s understandable for a parent to make mistakes and drop a few balls. So I can’t really tell you what what a stand out parent looks like…but I sure can spot the shitty ones.

It seems to happen to me all the time too. That, or I am just way too over sensitive to what is going on with my own kids. It seems that every time I am in a public place lately I feel like I am in a crime scene and I am the only one who can see it happening. Like my kids are playing and I am just standing there starring at one infraction after another with my jaw wide open. I feel like I can’t say anything either because I don’t want to freak out my own kids. Sometimes I will lean over and from the side of my mouth whisper covertly to another “good” parent…

“Hey, that kid has no socks on…you see that?”

I have actually told other people’s kids that “we go DOWN the slide, not UP”. “WE” being those of us who follow the rules. I don’t know how many times my kid has slid down into another kid coming up the slide and taken a knee to the face.

“Oh and by the way you need socks on to play here.”

It’s a lot harder for un-parented kids to climb the slide without socks. McDonald’s has a big sign in their Playland and the first rule is: No shoes allowed. Number 2 is: You must be wearing socks. Either most parents don’t read the sign and just know #1 or they don’t care. I think they don’t care. When I read that the first thing I think of is there must be some kind of cleanliness issue there. Kids in sweaty sandals now in bare feet in a place where other kids are crawling around on their hands and knees seems like a bit of a concern. Especially in a place where you are eating before or afterward.

I read an article one mother wrote about how bothered she was when an employee at McDonald’s interrupted her free wi-fi session to tell her that her kids needed socks on the Playland.

I asked her specifically why, since it’s June and it’s hot and who really carries socks around for 5 little kids in the middle of summer anyway except for those anal, uptight, Type A moms we don’t want to know? She said it’s a Health Department issue and they could be shut down. I told her that’s not true. What is it about kid feet that is any grosser than kid hands? And have you taken a look at the nasty McD’s floor lately? Any socks worn there would have to be burned afterward.

I wonder how she would feel if she went to order her Big Mac Combo and noticed that none of the employees were wearing shoes? Well it’s not like they were making the food with their feet. Well after all it is summer, why should anyone wear socks and shoes at work?

I really enjoy reading great parenting advice from a mother who becomes annoyed by the “snotty little girl” who can read and follows adult direction. You really should read the full article to fully enjoy the candor of her personality. It shines in her writing.

Round 2 – The Splash Pad

We went to the splash pad the other day and they have this little slide there for the kids to enjoy. It has a few stairs to get up and it usually accumulates a line of eager beavers who can’t wait for their next turn to plunge. Ashlyn is three and can hardly wait in line to get her teeth brushed at bedtime so I saw this as an ample opportunity to teach her about line-ups. So I stood on the stairs and when she would come running up I would take her little hand and move her behind the person at the back of the line. I would remind her gently that we have to wait for our turn and she was to go right after so and so. She seemed to get this right away and pretty soon I was just standing there and making small adjustments.

Meanwhile the whole time I am teaching this concept to Ashlyn, another little girl figures she can just bypass the line. She would go right to the top and just squeeze in. The lifeguard asked her a couple of times to go to the end of the line and even physically brought her there. To her credit she was maybe 2 going on 3 and didn’t really get it. Mom was just standing at the edge of the pool texting and encouraging with an occasional wave. Her daughter would also hang out at the bottom of the slide after her turn and the lifeguard would be yelling “MOVE PLEASE, YOU HAVE TO MOVE”. Mom just stood there.

My point is this…you may not be the best parent in the world but if you are out in public you should at least try and fake it. Put in a little effort, the other parents would appreciate it.