Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lynne and Marc Hit the Big 4-0

They thought they were just going for ice cream with the grandkids. Then they went up the stairs and found themselves in a surprise anniversary party. Mom was so shocked and so emotional. She makes surprises fun. Dad had such a big a smile, too. Had it not been 150 degrees up there, it would have been the best thing ever. Fortunately, there was loads of ice cold, home-brewed root beer.

Some of the group slipped away for the afternoon to prepare everything, while the rest of us made sure to steer mom and dad over to the bakery / ice cream shop in old town Pocatello at the appointed time. My aunt and uncle happened to be visiting and they just about spilled the beans an hour or two before the event because they didn't know it was a surprise.

We held the anniversary party a few weeks early, gathering under the pretense of watching my younger brother T and his wife J participate in a triathlon in Burley, Idaho, not far from Pocatello.

Watching them compete inspired me enough to want to do the triathlon myself next year.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Falling Off a Four-Poster Bed

Great Falls, Montana, has the distinction of being about half-way between Calgary, Alberta and Pocatello, Idaho -- it's about 5.5 hours away from Calgary. Since traveling with a 2-year-old can be a bit slow and tiring, we decided to stay the night in Great Falls on our way down to Pocatello to see my family.

We stayed in the Collins Mansion Bed & Breakfast, a grand old Victorian place built in 1891 by one of the early business leaders in Great Falls.

We picked a room with two beds (mainly because it was inexpensive and available) so Scotty got his own little four-poster instead of a portable playpen.

Before putting him sleep, we pushed one side up against the wall and piled up the numerous pillows on the floor on the other side -- in the off chance that he should fall off the tall bed.

-- Which he did. In the morning we found him asleep in the pile of pillows and felt like terrible parents, since we didn't even stir. However, truly terrible parents would not have put the pillows there... and they would have pushed him off themselves.

The breakfast was just as elaborate as the beds, and much less hazardous. We enjoyed a good meal and they even brought something out for Scotty, even though he technically wasn't a paying customer.

We loved the Collins Mansion, and we would love to go back again.

Friendly Neighbourhood Spider-Man

Cool new pajamas sometimes need to be worn outside the bedroom -- especially if they are superhero pajamas.

Scotty doesn't really know anything about Spider-man, except that his older cousin A likes Spider-man a lot. That's good enough for him. Now he's a fan.

The pajamas are hand-me-downs, but they're better than any pajamas I can remember having.


A-me said...
Eman loves spider-man! He too has a pair of Spider-man PJ's. When they come of the door he immediately starts yelling SPIDERRRRMANNNNNNNNNNN!! Then he holds his wrists up and pretends to shoot things. Izzard and Eman used to have matching spider-man (Izzards idea) PJ's and she would do that.. and well Eman does everything Izzard does. :)

Have a friend who has a 2 year old who is a big fan of spider-man. I went to her house the other day and her kiddo was in the front yard in his spider-man PJ top running around. She said "you know how you would see kids running around in their PJ's at stores and you would wonder what those parents were thinking? Well.. I completely understand now. You pick your battles.. he won't take them off.. he's been in them all day. Even went to pre-school in them. I am that mom now!"

Thought it was funny :)

margo said...
so cute!

Grandma Walters said...
I think Scotty would be cute in anything!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Eye Witness Account of Idaho Bike Delivery

I decided to buy a new bike, and after considerable soul-searching, opted to order it online in the States and have it shipped to my parents' house in Idaho. I asked my mom for a full report when the bike arrived. She sent me this email yesterday:

It arrived about 3:30 pm and was delivered by a very nice, female UPS driver. She negotiated our driveway with ease--got her big truck turned around with no problem at all so she could go back down the driveway frontwards.
It came in a big, brown box with handhold holes on each side for easy movement of the box. I have not opened the box--thought I would let you do the honors. It is now resting comfortably in our garage. It is dark and cool in the garage, so it should be able to get a really good rest.
The weather is quite a bit cooler than the last few days--mid-70's as a high. Lovely day for a bike to arrive. A hawk was flying overhead a couple of hours before the bike got here--not sure if that is a sign, but it was fun to watch. I was the only one home to witness the hawk and to welcome the bike.


Saturday, July 18, 2009

All Flushed on the Bow

Aside from the mountains visible on the distant horizon, the primary feature of the city of Calgary is the Bow River and its associated waterways. The Bow River goes right through the city center and I ride my bike to work on the river pathway every day. On this particular day, I rode my bike to Edworthy Park, where the family was enjoying the hot weather on the playground and dipping a toe in the water.

Scott has the same temperature problem his old man has, which was he inherited from his mom: overheating.

You can tell by his cheeks that this boy is warm, and at the rate he's moving into that water, he's not cooling down anytime soon.

He did eventually get into the water up to his knees, but he still kept his distance from the splashing dogs... and auntie Karla.

All the cousins were there.

And Great Grandma and Grandpa W were visiting from Utah.

Fortunately for Scott and his temperature problem, when Great Grandpa W shows up from Utah, you know that there is going to be ice cream. Yee-haw.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Check Out That Horse Jumpin'

I am not just a student anymore, and I have a flip book to prove it.

You see, since graduation (actually, since the beginning of March), I have been gainfully employed as an analyst for a gas and power infrastructure company here in Calgary. Despite taking me on, this company managed to perform well enough in the 2nd Quarter of 2009 to have a company celebration at the Spruce Meadows equestrian grounds in the southern part of Calgary. Our car overheated just as we were leaving downtown, but other than that, the party went off without a hitch.

In addition to horse-jumping, a petting zoo, a Spider-Man bouncer and all the Sprite you could drink, this party had a station where you could make your own flip book. They filmed you for 7 seconds doing a goofy dance with props and then they printed out a few sheets of the individual frames and then cut them to make a flip-book. Ours was top-notch.

While I loved the flip book, Scott was more partial to the ice cream cones and the jumping horses. He really wanted a crack at the Spider-Man bouncer but I steered him away from that because there were a few bigger kids in there. In retrospect, I think it was the wrong thing to do and I feel sorry for depriving him of his Spidey-Time.

We had the radiator fan on our vehicle replaced recently, so all future company parties should be overheating-free.

Oh, the timing on this last photo was kind of unfortunate -- unless you were looking for a good rear view of a pair of riding shorts in flight. If so, then look no further.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

They’ll Let Anyone Graduate These Days

I finished the last exam for my MBA program on April 22, but my graduation ceremony wasn’t until June 11 --- about 1.5 months later. It is only fitting, therefore, that I have decided to post the pictures from the convocation ceremony in mid-July. I guess I just couldn’t wait any longer.

Some of my classmates didn’t attend the ceremony – about half of them were missing. There were times while they were reading out the countless names of undergraduate business students that I wished I had not attended. However, in the end I was glad that I took an afternoon to formally mark the completion of my degree. The speeches were nice – with people telling us how great we are and how we’ll change the world – but mostly it was nice to wear sweet robe and feel like I’d accomplished something kind of difficult.

The Masters students get to wear a slightly fancier robe with fake sleeves. You have sleeves, but you are supposed to stick your arms out the slits instead. It makes you look like you have 6 limbs… kind of. It would only fool some people though. For example, I wasn’t fooled for very long when I saw them at first.

I had some fans in the audience rooting for me (R, Scott, R’s mom). I didn’t even think of sending out announcements or anything, so I don’t think anybody really knew it was coming. Heck, if I hadn’t had an email from one the other students reminding us about a post-convocation celebration, I might have forgotten it myself. Because it’s halfway through June, most people are probably knee-deep in their new lives could potentially forget about it or pass up the opportunity for these quality photos.

Not me. I am an MBA and I am a dedicated to getting sweet pictures of stuff.

Scotty was not quite so dedicated, and hurled the cap on the ground every time we tried to put it on him. We managed to snap one decent shot just before lift-off.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Favourite Treehouse Shows

Two years ago, I had no idea about kids shows, except that Sesame Street was probably still on the air and Barney seemed a little too fruity for me. Oh, how things have changed.

Our TV is tuned to channel 70 for Treehouse TV almost all day long. Treehouse TV is the network devoted entirely to programming for preschoolers like our little man. While he is familiar with most of the programming he always had some clear favourites. So have I. My favourites have stayed pretty constant, but his have changed over time as his tastes have become a little more sophisticated.

For example, in the beginning, his favourite show seemed to be The Mole Sisters -- starring two moles who mostly giggle and roll around with the help of low-budget animation. I think they are both voiced by the same lady, so the moles are indistinguishable from each other.

I thought he would be most interested in shows with singing and dancing and lots of things to watch -- something like 4 Square -- but he seemed to enjoy the idle frolicking moles.

Besides making gorilla and owl sounds, one of Scott's first recognizeable "words" was "choo-choo", and the boy has been a train fanatic ever since. Given his love of trains, you would think he would be crazy about Thomas and Friends, that classic show about everyone's favourite tank engine on the Island of Sodor. I like the show well enough, but I have to admit that the action is bit slow, since the remote-controlled trains have limited expressive ability. Still, he loves to play with his Thomas trains, so we thought he would love the show.

However, Scotty surprised me again, opting for fare such as "In The Night Garden" (although I must point out that the Linky Lonk is basically a train, so you could argue that it's a show about a train... kind of). The star of the show is Iggle Piggle, but Scott's clear favourite is Makka Pakka, the short, chubby rock-polisher. In fact, Scott will frequently clap his hands together and say something that sounds like "makka pakka". He has also taken to making little humming or cooing sounds that he never made when he was younger. We figure it's an homage to Makka Pakka.

Now, personally, I prefer The Backyardigans over all other Treehouse programs, mainly because I think it's well produced and very, very clever. Scott doesn't care much for Pablo and friends, but he will occasionally humour me by watching, particularly if there is a train in the episode. He'll watch an episode of anything that includes a train.

A train episode is what made him a Dora fan. We noticed that an episode of Dora the Explorer was going to have a train in it, so we recorded it. He probably watched nothing but that for a few days straight. That's how he is with things he likes. He wants nothing but that until he wears it out. I think he gets that from my side of the family (ie: Grandpa and motorcycles, uncle J and remixes, etc). He also became a Diego fan, but it was Dora first -- thanks to Azul the Train (does anyone else wonder if the blue train was a ploy to win over Thomas fans? I suspect so).

With all this talk of train shows, there is one that we have left to the end -- and for good reason. This show is like a part of the family. While interest in others have waxed and waned, this one has stayed strong through it all. This one is Chuggington. We have changed diapers to this show, brushed teeth to this show... it is part of the daily routine. We have our PVR set up to tape the latest episodes every Saturday and Sunday, and I am not surprised to see that we have more than half of the 52 episodes recorded. I think we may have deleted that ones that were kind of boring, but we never get rid of any that have that superhero of the train world, Action Chugger.

The day will come when Scott grows out of Chuggington, and that will be bittersweet.