Wednesday, 18 January 2017

#arewespeakingthesamelanuage

The number sign, the pound symbol, the sharp sign. It had all these meanings before it's current incarnation. The #hashtag. I still use it as a number sign. Sasktel asks for the pound symbol after my password when I'm checking my messages on the phone. (The land line phone that is if you want to talk archaic.) And the sharp sign has always been in music. But the kids now know it as a hashtag. Don't get me wrong, #ilikeagoodhastagasmuchasthenextguy but there are other things in life. 

So the other day I was helping Littlest practice piano. This is her second year and it's getting to be festival season, so her teacher gave her a fairly difficult song which had some new stuff in it. 

 

She looked at it and said, 'Dad, why does the F have a hashtag in front of it?' It's a sharp sign honey, a sharp sign. Play the black key. 

#whathastheworldcometo

Speaking of that, let me talk a bit of hockey. I've been watching a bit more this year, mostly because the Oilers are competing again. I've never stopped watching playoffs or big tournaments, but the regular season has been a bit depressing for the past few years. 

The girls could really care less about hockey. Littlest still likes spending time with me, so she will snuggle in next to me when I'm watching and feign interest. A couple of nights ago, Middlest came and sat down next to me as I was watching. This was just after I told her to get her teeth brushed and get ready for bed. She put her fine art of stalling to use and pretended to be interested. The Oilers were up 3-0 at that point. She said, 'So they're pretty much winning eh?'  I said that they were now, but there was still half a game left. Then she said, 'They could get one of those things...you know...where the other team doesn't get any goals.'  You mean a shutout, I replied. She shrugged her shoulders, 'What?  I don't know hockey!'  I believe shutout is a fairly universal term. You don't know sports, not just hockey. 

The girls have also been trying to show some more interest in my hockey games. They ask me who we play and if we won and if I scored.  We played last night and got beat, mostly because we only had six players. I told this to Biggest and she asked, 'And how many players are on the field at once?' Five. And it's ice, not a field. 

#iguesstheyretrying 

Later. 

Friday, 6 January 2017

Year end wrap up

It appears we are into a new year already so I guess I should wrap up the last one. We've had some ups and downs, highs and lows, but it's been a good year. 

Julie and I celebrated our fifteen wedding anniversary in November. It was a gorgeous day back then - nice enough for a few outdoor photos. Here we are, sitting outside the Bes. (On a side note, we were married so long ago that our pictures weren't digital.  Developed from film by our photographer in her dark room.) 


And 15 years later, we were able to return for a night alone when some great friends offered to take or girls (and dog!) for the night! Here is the view from our room. 

 

The weather was weird this fall. Even for Saskatchewan. We had a huge snowfall in October and then it left for most of November. There was a slight bit for most of December and I managed to get the house decorated for Christmas on the last nice weekend before the deep freeze set in. The kids has two straight weeks of indoor recess at school before the holidays. Those poor, poor teachers. 


December was filled with school Christmas concerts, a piano recital, two adult Christmas parties and one kids party. Julie's company puts on a party for all the kids and it's always a lot of fun. Santa makes an appearance as well. 

 
 
We went to church on Christmas Eve, sang songs by candlelight and then came home to open presents. The girls all wore their Christmas dresses. 

 

Just before Christmas, Rosie gave us quite a scare. She seemed a bit off one evening and then quite a bit worse by the morning. We took her in to the vet and she ended up spending three nights there on IV antibiotics fighting a nasty infection just under her skin on her belly. But we got her home on Christmas Eve - the best present we could ask for. 

She was still too sick to go to a kennel, so we loaded her up and headed south to Julie's parents place for a few days of fun, visiting and eating. Here is CeCe telling Poppa a story. Or is it the other way around? 

 

The older two girls read the Christmas story. I really treasure time with family. As I get older and now this being my second Christmas without my dad, I realize how special these times are. I like to sit back and take it all in and appreciate it. I think that's why my favourite verse from the Christmas story is 'But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.'  I just imagine the scene there - she just had a baby (our saviour no less!) in a stable, shepherds came and worshipped and had stories of angels. And Mary found a minute to just take it all in. 

 

Nanny had a special treat for us all too. She dug her accordion out a little while ago, did some practicing, and played some awesome Christmas carols for us. 


Every year we have a wiener roast too. It started being out in the hills after a day of sledding. But the past two years have not seen enough snow on the hills to slide down, so we had it in the yard and ate in the shop. There may not have been that much snow, but there was still a nasty wind chill. 

 
 
 

We still got the quad out for a bit and pulled the sleigh around the yard. The girls would have gone a lot longer but the driver got cold. 

 

Then we came home to enjoy a few more days at home before going back to work. My mom, my brother and his daughter came for a visit, so that was nice. 

Here is a picture of Julie wearing her Christmas scarf, Christmas socks and working on a Christmas puzzle. All next to the Christmas tree. 


I got a crokinole board for Christmas and the girls all enjoyed learning how to play. Some pretty intense aiming going on here. 

 

I guess that's about it. It has been a good year. Biggest was baptized. Middlest went to camp for the first time and had an amazing experience. Littlest accepted Jesus as her saviour. Julie and I celebrate 15 years of marriage. What an incredible gift from God. So as the sun sets in this year, I look forward to 2017 and all that God has in store for us. Happy new year! 
 

Later.  
 
 

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Great Negotiator

Littlest is always trying to get a better deal.  And her response to any request is always the same: How 'bout dis.

Me:  Time for bed.
Her:  How 'bout dis.  Five more minutes.

Me:  Go pick out a book to read before bed.
Her:  How 'bout dis.  Five books.
Me:  How 'bout dis.  Two books.
Her:  How 'bout dis.  Three books.

Me:  Put your dishes in the dishwasher.
Her:  How 'bout dis.  We have some ice cream first?

Are you starting to see a pattern here?  The thing is that she is so cute when she says it, we have all started saying it.  Let's do this...how 'bout dis...let's do that...how 'bout dis...

Last night, she was done her spelling words before supper, had already read her take home reading book and had a shower all by 6:15.  I told her she could watch TV for half an hour if she wanted.  Guess what she said.  'How 'bout dis.  15 minutes.'  I laughed .  I told her half an hour was more than 15 minutes.  A big grin came across her face.  'You just made my evening,' she said.



I aim to please.  Later.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Happy 39th Julie

Today is the 39th birthday of my beautiful wife, Julie. She keeps joking about how old she is getting. I hope she's just joking anyway, because that would make me really old! 

However, if Julie were able to retire today, I'm sure she would have no trouble finding things to do. She loves to create and would have no problem doing that full time. Colouring, painting, sewing, crocheting, making stained glass projects.  I'm sure if she had more time, the list would be longer. She sees the beauty in something old or plain and brings it out.  She has chalk-painted an old desk and turned it into something beautiful. She redid an old church door and made it into a headboard. Every year she sews the kids (and me!) pj pants. She has made a wonderfully snuggly blanket for curling up on the couch. And she has created many gorgeous stained glass pieces.  Here are her hands at work, doing some of the things she loves:






Some day she will have more time for these things, but in the meantime, her hands are busy helping people.  She is great at her job, and has helped countless people during her time as a sonographer.  But even though her hands are great at taking pictures, it's her heart that is her real gift.  Much like crafting, she sees the beauty in everyone.  She truly believes in the 'care' part of health care and people know it when they see her.  She is compassionate and empathetic and a great listener.  So I hope she carries on doing what she's doing for a long time yet.

Perhaps her kind heart is because she has a heart for Jesus.  As a parent, the greatest thing you can pass onto your kids is your love of Jesus and Julie is doing that.  All three of our girls see how their Mom lives and are following in her footsteps.  

So if you see Julie today, wish her happy birthday and let her know 39 isn't old.  She has a lot left to give this world.  She's just getting going.  Later.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Shaming, feeling old, and power ballads

Hello.  Is it me you're looking for?
Sorry about that.  But now that you're humming Lionel Ritchie, let me say welcome back.  It has once again been forever since I've written anything.  Summer has come and gone.  Even fall has come and gone.  But in my defence, fall only lasted 4 hours this year.  A few nights ago Julie asked me if I was ever going to blog again and I said that the longer I went, the harder it got to get back into the swing of things.  So much has happened that I don't know where to start.  She told me to just start.  So here I am, just starting.

One of the children came home with an art assignment the other day.  She was supposed to make four curvy lines down a piece of paper and then connect those lines with curves (essentially looking like some segmented worms).  She was then supposed to colour all her segments with shading to make it look like these four worms were three dimensional.  She was busy going about it, when I noticed the instructions and what she was doing.  She was colouring with markers and there wasn't a whole lot of shading.  I attempted to show her what the assignment was supposed to show and she didn't like it.  Oh well, I tried.

Everyone in our house is into colouring, so I thought I would join in too.  One day in Michael's, I spotted an adult colouring book called the 'Hipster Colouring Book.'  It looked like something I could get behind, so I picked it up.  A few nights later, Julie and I were colouring after the kids went to bed.  I know what you're thing - we are pretty wild and crazy.  Anyway, this is what I created:


The next morning, I was eager to show off my handy work to the children.  They all oohed and aahhed appropriately.  One commented on the hat and how it looked curved and how I did that.  I said it was by the way I shaded it.  The one with the art assignment said it looked really cool.  Then she paused, cocked her head to the side a bit and looked at me.  'Wait a minute!  Are you trying to shame me?!' Not me.  I would never do such a thing.

I guess I've been alive long enough now that some of what the kids take in school as 'history' was stuff I lived through.  One came home talking about the Quebec ice storm.  Oh yeah, I said, I remember that.  We then talked about it a bit and I asked if she knew what year it happened in.  I honestly didn't think it was that long ago.  She said, 'I'm not sure.  I think it was in the 1900's.'  Boom.   Talk about feeling old.   She said it 'nineteen hundreds' the way we talk about the 1800's or 1500's.  Turns out she was right.  1998.  The good old 1900's.

Speaking of the 1900's, I've been educating the kids on some power ballads from the '80's.  I'm not quite ready for them to hear all of Warrant's or Poison's songs, but some are okay.  Middlest has taken a liking to Heaven, by Warrant.  Littlest likes Poison's 'Something to Believe In.'  The other day after listening to it, she asked to see what the singer looked like.  Not wanting to shock her too much, I pulled up a fairly recent picture of Bret Michaels.  'Hmm,' she said, 'pretty handsome.  But not as handsome as you Dad.'  Take that Bret.  I guess every rose does have its thorn.  Later.  

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Annie and her three very different boys

Almost seven weeks ago, Julie's parent's farm cat, Annie, had kittens. Annie has a pretty good life. She has a house on the deck, food and water, and is in close proximity to the treats. But she lived on her own for a while before being adopted and hasn't lost her killer instinct. She can bring down birds and gophers. 

So when it came time to deliver, Annie did not choose the safe confines of her deck house. She secretly burrowed in under an old mower. After much searching (and Annie diverting), the den was eventually found. But it was tough to see how many kittens were back in there. After careful observation, it was believed there were three babies. But then they were gone! Annie had moved them. Again, she didn't want to give up the location, but the new nest was discovered under a pile of fence posts. They made a couple more pit stops before all arriving on the deck one morning. Annie was ready to share her family (and some of the feeding duty!).  

Somewhere along the way, Julie's parents decided that since there were three cats, each grandchild should get to name one. That takes some ... courage? The kids couldn't blindly name them though, they needed to know the sex. Papa determined all were boys. 

After seeing pictures, the girls all decided on names, but the news had to be delivered in person. So we made the trip to the farm and after six weeks and six homes, the kittens were named. 

Biggest chose one that was all black. Black from head to toe. Like one certain Sith Lord you may or may not have heard about. Yes, the first kitten is...Darth Vader. 


He looks pretty menacing. 

Middlest chose the kitten that was black and white. She, being interested in unicorns and rainbows and everything cuddly, chose a slightly softer name. Meet...Fluffy. 


Littlest had a kitten that was mostly black but has two white spots on its underside. And in typical Littlest fashion, she picked something totally random. Meet...Justin. 


There was one brief moment of panic when I heard, 'Justin is a girl! He has boobs!'  All cats have boobs, I replied. Whew. Crisis averted. 

So there you have it. One mother. Three sons. Three very different names. Thanks Nanny and Papa. Later. 


Thursday, 23 June 2016

Sarah, Johnny, 1D, Corey and sugar bugs

Over the past month or so, I've started listening to songs with the girls before bed.  We'll say our prayers, get snuggled in and then listen to a relaxing song or two, depending on the time.  If it's two songs, we each get to pick one.  This actually started with Littlest.  One day she wanted to listen to a Sarah McLachlan song.  If you knew me in the '90's when I was going to the Lilith Fair festivals, you would know that this is a weak spot for me.  So we spent the next several nights drifting off to sleep while Sarah sang about being in the arms of an angel.  Pretty relaxing.

Eventually the other girls caught wind of this and they wanted in on the action.  I was filled with shock and awe and pride when the first song Middlest ever wanted to listen to was 'Boy named Sue.'  Maybe not the most relaxing, but she asked for Johnny Cash!  How could I refuse that.  It all worked out when I played her some Sarah after.  A few days later she asked to hear 'Perfect.'  Without missing a beat, I said, 'One Direction?'  Why do I know that?!

As time goes on, I'm having to dig a bit deeper into my musical vaults to find calm and soothing songs.  My sister would be happy to know that there has been some Corey Hart lately and that he has been pleasantly received.  Except for a few years of teenage denial, I've always liked Corey Hart.  I even owned Boy in the Box.  After that, my sister bought all his albums, so there was no reason for me to.  But I do have his greatest hits on CD and now on iTunes.

After Littlest and I listened to 'Chase the Sun' one night, she wanted to know what he looked like.  So I showed her the album cover.  Then she wanted to know what he looked like when he smiled (she felt it was a very serious picture).  So we did a quick google image search.  As it turns out, I don't believe Corey Hart smiled during the eighties.  He was too busy perfecting the brooding look I guess.  We did find a picture from 2011 with a slight smile, but definitely no teeth.  Littlest then decided that he must be a very serious person.  She said, 'I wonder why he doesn't smile more.  He should.  I smile all the time.'  I replied, 'Yes, yes you do.  And I love it.  Goodnight.'

I don't want to name any names for this next story, just so I don't embarrass anyone.  This way they can all deny it.  We were laying there listening to the smooth sounds of 'Never Surrender', the child with her eyes closed and me rubbing her back.  Then a hand came up to her face, a finger came out, gave a little poke in her nose and then went into her mouth.  I snickered.  'Having a little night lunch?' I asked.  She wondered what I was talking about and I told her what I witnessed.  Then she giggled a bit and closed her eyes again.  We laid there a few more minutes and then she asked, 'Dad, do boogers have sugar bugs?'  There's a question I didn't ever anticipate answering.  Looking back, maybe I should have answered yes, it might have been a deterrent.  But then it probably would have meant a trip back to the bathroom to brush teeth again.  I simply giggled to myself, said no and kissed her forehead goodnight.  Later.