Category - Yada, Yada, Yada

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.

Summer 2014

Fresh new look for summer. I have really been wanting to get back into blogging but seem to have hit this rut. It’s halfway between too much facebook and finding the time and peace of mind to write. Well I am back BABY! I hope.

The school year ended with a bang when I found out that I would be returning to Byng for a third year. Some of my co-workers were not so lucky so it was bitter sweet that I got to stay. On one hand I will miss a great cast of people at school and on the other it’s nice to know what I am going back to in September. It makes the summer a lot less stressful knowing I will not be moving to a new school next year.

We are in summer mode here and have already been to Rushing River in the camper for a few nights and then a stay with Auntie Barb out in Sioux Narrows. The girls spent their time in both places exploring nature and spending time in the water. It’s been amazing to see how much more comfortable they are in the water after a winter spent in the pool at the Y experimenting with their limits!

Lexi made friends with a chipmunk she named “Chippy” who actually let her pet him while he devoured multiple bags of my “Spitz”. I think he liked the Sweet Chili best. Seeing how gentle and nurturing she was with him really made me think she would do well with a pet of some kind. I will push hedgehog and see where it goes from there.

It didn’t really feel much like summer until we rolled into Sioux Narrows. We took advantage of the nice weather out there just hanging outside on the dock. 8 hours at a time we spent on paddle boards, peddle boats, water bikes, swimming, and canoeing. We raced frogs and caught turtles and watched deer in the yard out the window. Big thanks to auntie Barb for having us and playing so hard with the girls. It was one of the best visits ever.


Girls go to camp next week in the mornings and then we do a couple nights in Grand Beach. July and August will be busy with Vegas and a few birthdays. Good times ahead.

Calgary and Edmonton 2013

Christmas Break is Over?

No wait, I’m not ready yet.

This is really the first holiday Shan and I have taken together as educators. This was the big bonus for taking my EA course and getting a job in the school division. So that our family could be together at Christmas, Spring Break, Summer Holidays. Somehow it all makes sense. During the school year our kids are at day care more than they are at home. Having these holidays together really soften the blow of that reality and over the past couple weeks we have really taken advantage of just being together.


Christmas Eve we went to Nolan’s for our yearly visit with the girls. I don’t realize how much the girls have changed sometimes until Christmas Eve at the Nolan’s comes around. Last year we had a baby who wasn’t even walking. This year they are both running around bouncing off the furniture and serving fresh fruit to everyone. That night when we got home we went back outside to spread our sparkly reindeer food from Kathy across the street. She hands it out to all the kids on the street so it was cool to everyone outside spreading it on their lawn. Lexi loved that. Then we set up some cookies and milk, read “The Night Before Christmas” and off to bed.

Christmas morning Lexi was pumped when she saw that Santa had placed a new bike for her under the tree.


JD and Linda came in Christmas day to spend the night so we had a great visit with them. We saw all the Granny’s and Papa’s and even had breakfast with Nolan on Boxing Day. It was great to see everyone and to see the girls with everyone. We got some crazy news this year just after Christmas about a close friends Mom who passed on Christmas day. It really put things into perspective for me and I made sure that I gave out big hugs and pulled my people in close when saying goodbye. The funeral was beautiful tribute to a beautiful person and I am so sorry for their loss. The strength they found in each other over Christmas was truly admirable.

On the 29th Joel and Jen graciously offered up their place for our annual Christmas get together. Usually we do the restaurant thing but it was a bit late to get reservations this year so big thanks to Joel and Jen for hosting a potluck on such short notice. It was great to get out and see everyone. Nice to skate a couple times with Drew while he was here as well.

Speaking about skating Lexi has been working hard on her skills. There is this amazing little rink at Southdale just for learning to skate. It eliminates all the negative stuff that comes with learning that tends to sometimes discourage kids from learning. Things like frozen feet and testicles. It’s awesome and I have been taking Lexi as much as possible. Hopefully she remains interested and we can get out more and more this winter. I was really surprised how naturally she took to it. She was getting up all on her own the first time. So proud of her.


New Years Eve Shan and I cancelled our “plans” and just had a nice quiet night. We fell asleep on the couch watching “Pawn Stars” in our PJ’s and it was perfect.

My New Years Resolution this year is “to be more flexible”. Take that any way you want.

That being said I made another little observation at a little social gathering this Holiday Season that might influence someone else’s New Years Resolution…

Before the guitar came out!

Before the guitar came out...

After the guitar came out!

Once the guitar came out.


Friday morning my Dad picked me up and when I got in the car I looked at him and said…”let’s do this”. He dropped me off at Billinkoff’s and after a lengthy discussion about waiting around for me I told him to go and that I would be fine getting home. Once I was inside I had that feeling you get when on a big roller coaster on the way up for the first time. A mix of “did I really need to do this” and “no turning back now” all at the same time.

Dr. Billinkoff called me in and wasted no time. “Strip down to just your t-shirt, by the way my son talked me into watching the Avengers the other night…”.

“Did you like it I asked?” – “Not really, I fell asleep halfway through.”

At this point I am thinking a first appointment in the morning was genius on my part. The Doc is well rested and still in the mood for some banter. He told me to get up on the table and I was happy to find there was no stirrup situation. I wondered what dignity shredding position I was going to be in for this procedure. I figured stirrups or standing and he was just going to lie down on a skateboard like a mechanic and slide right under me. Instead it was flat on your back and I kinda felt like I was at the dentist, until he wrapped an elastic band on old one eye and tossed him to the side. Then it got weird…”your going to feel a pinch”. That’s what they always say right before a needle, except this time he should have said “it’s going to feel like your right testicle is being sucked on by a gorilla”.

He put on an episode of “Home Improvement“, the one where Tim is considering a vasectomy. I laughed a couple times during the procedure and he told me it wasn’t a good idea. I wondered why he didn’t put on “Schindler’s List” or something a little more bland. Instead all Tim’s buddies were making jokes about his manhood and holding up big hedge clippers and whatnot. It was the best worst thing I could have been watching.

Not long after the show started the Doc reached over to his desk for something and it felt like he took righty with him. I winced a little and he looked at me funny and said “you can feel that?”. He asked if I ever had issues with freezing before and told me he was going to add “another gallon”. I felt that “pinch” again. After that it was pretty painless up to the end. I didn’t even get to see the end of “Home Improvement”. The whole thing took about 15 mins. You also get a little talk from the nurse about how to take care of yourself and how important it is to drop off a sperm sample in 3 months. She said it was important to make sure I had my paperwork when I dropped off my sample because “there are a lot of hands involved in the process and things get lost”. That took me to a dirty place and before I knew it I was limping down Waterfront Drive looking for a cab.

Bosak called while I was walking home and of course he insisted on leaving work and coming to get me. This is the same guy who was building me a carport 3 days after his “V”. Thanks Paul, it seems like you are always there when I need you most.

I spent the first day on the couch catching up on “Shameless” and eating fast food. I was supposed to go to poker that night but when I got up for the first time around 7pm I think the freezing was gone and it felt painful to move. Everyone I talk to says the pain is different for everyone. Nolan rode his bike home after his! For me it just didn’t feel like a good idea to head out and be in pain all night playing cards. I even took Monday off this week. Tuesday I was still limping around a bit and getting up and down on the floor with the kids was challenging. I felt a little better this morning but there was still that dull ache and I think my jeans were a little snug around the main floor. By the end of the day I couldn’t wait to get my pants off. It’s like a catchers mitt down there. My goal is play a little hockey on Saturday but we will see.

Not much sympathy from the wife, or anyone else in the c-section club. In fact anyone who has had a baby doesn’t take too kindly to my moaning. Lexi’s daycare provider saw me limping a bit and I told her I had a little day surgery. Told her I had a vasectomy and she chuckled…”surgery” she said. Lexi told all the mom’s at playgroup that I couldn’t pick her up because I had stitches. I have no idea where that came from but they all had a good laugh.

Hoping tomorrow will be much better.

Nolans Hockey 2012-13

As you all know Porter and I reluctantly retired from the GM position of picking teams at the end of last season. This year we wanted to try something a little different with the teams so Mikey and G stepped up into the GM roles. This year they will pick their team from our list of regulars and that will be their team all year. For the most part this is how it went for the last couple of years anyway except for a couple small changes each week. The changes this year will come in the form of spares, negotiations, and trades.

I think this is going to be fun but who knows…it might suck. Feel free to let me know and if enough guys just hate it we can always go back to the way it’s always been (which I always love anyway).

No More Time…

No more time to smell the flowers.

School has started and it’s been nutty around here. Shan and I are both at new schools and the girls are getting used to full-time daycare. I am so proud of them for adjusting so well. This weekend you could really tell how much they were missing us so we made sure to keep them close to home.

So far I am really liking General Byng. There are some big challenges there but the staff is amazing and I am looking forward to a great year.