Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Pattern of Baldness

Katie was born with a dusting of brown hair that swirled and spun into the most interesting hairline -- she has a cowlick on one side and a swirling crown on the other, fairly similar to Scott. Sadly, just like Scott she lost all of the hair on the top of her head, leaving only the hair on the sides and back: male pattern baldness.

Normally, you would expect the hair loss to follow the opposite pattern, since a child spends so much time reclined in a car seat, a swing or a crib. I've seen lots of kids with bald spots on the back of their heads. Sure, Katie prefers to sleep with her head cocked to the right, but she whips her head all over the place during her waking hours. In addition, she can rock the house during "tummy time" -- she lifts her head like a champ.

Still, Katie has not been doing any headspins, so we figure the hair loss must be genetic, especially since Scott's hair did the same thing. In Scott's case, his hair grew back thicker and darker where it had fallen out, giving him a fabulous widow's peak. Perhaps Katie will follow suit?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shopping with Mr Anonymous

Yes, he picked his own outfit to go to the grocery store ... at night. Apparently he prefers to view the world in 3D.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

More Igloo Analysis

We did our big igloo camp last weekend and we put multiple construction methods into practice (preliminary tests were in January).

I wasn't able to be there the first day, but the group built several quinzees and part of an igloo. The area had seen quite a bit of variation in temperatures and the snow was very sugary as a result and hardly wanted to stick together when they tried using the igloo kit. In fact, they found the blocks of the third row were collapsing in place and they gave up on the structure in favour of quinzees. However, the so leaders were too aggressive in hollowing theirs out and it collapsed on them before it was ready. one leader slept in the foundation of the igloo while the other crammed himself into his car for a poor night's sleep.

My arrival the following day with a fresh batch of blazer scouts renewed the group's waning enthusiasm for igloo-building. This corresponded nicely with some afternoon sun that made the top layer of snowy soft and sticky.

We managed to build the rest of the igloo In about 75 minutes, working with just two people for much of the time. We were almost incredulous that the device worked so well -- the snow seemed to defy gravity.

With the top closed off, our inside man had to dig his way out with a shovel. We found that there was about 6 feet from floor to ceiling in this igloo, which was 8 feet in diameter across the floor. There was enough space for about 6 or 7 people to sit comfortably in a circle along the inside walls, and the light from outside showed through the walls enough to light the interior reasonably well.

Although I was pretty jazzed to spend the night inside our new igloo, I gave up my place to the boys who had laboured to build the foundations the previous day. Since they didn't block off the entrance when they went to bed, they found it wasn't any warmer in there than it had been in their quinzee the night before. The big difference for them was how much space they had to move around without rubbing up against a wall of snow and ice.

Instead of sleeping in the igloo, I spent the night in this elegant quinzee, which we expropriated from two scouts. They were each a foot shorter than your average leader, so we spent a few minutes hollowing it out before we settled in. The evening temperature was about -4C when we went to bed at 10:30 pm, and my thermometer in the quinzee read about +6C or so, which is several tons better than the -20C that I experienced the previous year sleeping in a tent by myself. I had a thicker sleeping pad (with no leaks!) and a bivy sac. I found it so warm in there that I didn't have to zip up my mummy bag past my chest (the bivy sac kept things pretty airtight as it was.

The next day, we were able to get seven of us on top of the igloo before the roof collapsed.

We didn't try out the Eskimold blocks on this trip, since the snow had been poor and this method seemed obviously inferior to the Ice Box kit. However, on Saturday Scott and I gave it a try in the front yard, with snow that was bordering on slushy because of the warm weather.

The sticky snow produced results much better than we'd seen with the sugary snow earlier in January. Scott and I were able to build up a decent-sized wall in about 10 or 15 minutes. We couldn't really go any higher without an additional helper to keep it from, so we left it at 3 rows. Two days later the wall collapsed because of rapid melting. Scott was sad at first, but then I told him to run over and kick at the rubble and that made him happy again.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Green Sludge is Good For You

Recently, one of our favourite afternoon snacks has been a green smoothie. Scott loves to help. First, he heaps several fists full of spinach into the blender with a cup of water to help blend it.

We follow that up with a banana, some yogourt and whichever frozen fruits and berries we have on hand. Scott loves to help by eating the strawberries and mangoes out of the package and pressing the buttons on the blender. The strawberries change the colour of the sludge from a vivid green to something a bit more pink.

You would think that a green drink loaded with spinach would taste a bit nasty, but the banana manages to shroud most all of the spinach taste without crowding out the berries. It's a fantastic drink and much better than munching on a bag of chips in the afternoon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

which day is yours?

This is the conversation-starter Scott used with me at the dinner table tonight. I wasn't sure what he meant but once it was translated to me by R I responded that I had had a good day today.

I reciprocated: "How was your day, Scott?"

"I had a bad day today," he said. I was a bit surprised by his response, but then he elaborated. "I was a Bad Guy today."

He has recent obsession with Bad Guys. He's seen them in Disney movies and thinks they are 1) cool and 2) fast runners. He pretends to be a Bad Guy by tearing around the house at top speed. I think this hardly qualifies him as a supervillan.

Instead, I think it demonstrates how much he's growing in understanding and sophistication. He went on for several minutes about his day and what things he had done. Look at those big blue eyes! What villainy could hide behind eyes like that?


Monday, February 15, 2010

The Kids


Very suddenly something changed in my speech a few weeks ago. In conversations I started referring to "the kids".

Surreal. I almost try to avoid saying it because it sounds fake.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sunday Best

Katie may bear a striking resemblance to her older brother, but they certainly dress differently.

She looked very cute in her church dress last Sunday -- in a look that Scott really couldn't pull off. The ladies at church were lining up to hold her, giving R's back a deserved break.

You wouldn't guess it from this awkward pose, but she is remarkably good at lifting her head up. Almost from day one she has been able to throw her head around so powerfully that she can nearly roll herself over.

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This particular skill seems to run the family -- it was Scott's first great talent.

I should really try to compare them less but it's hard not to do it. I will probably just mention how much Scott loves to wear this hat.

No, he does not wear it to church. But it goes everywhere else.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Crime Scene Investigation

There is now a hole in the wall in our hallway the shape of man's shoulder. The authorities are investigating, and they have shared several pieces of evidence with us.

The Crime

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C (photo by smudgy-fingered individual from Exhibit B)

Witnesses who live downstairs from the incident have reported hearing sounds making a circular pattern around the house -- the sounds estimated to be running footsteps of an adult accompanied by the sound of plastic wheels powersliding across linoleum and hardwood surfaces. To date, the authorities have not laid any charges in connection with this incident, but a lady carrying a baby sent out several stern looks of disapproval.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Cheap zoo

It smells just as bad but it costs way less.

Sometimes you just have to get out of the house. Otherwise, your 2-year-old might get bored with his toys and decide to wrestle his newborn sister. Tonight we bought a castle-shaped birdhouse, some red spraypaint and a bag of birdseed.

Monday, February 01, 2010


They said Katie was a little yellow after she was born so she could use some more of the vitamin D that the sun has to offer.

How can anyone resist the cuteness?