Saturday, April 30, 2011

Candy Residue Possibly Due to Bunny

The Easter Bunny presents a bit of a moral dilemma.

Last year at Easter, I noted my discomfort at telling Scott that a magical bunny was coming into our house with candy. This year, we made few minor changes to our approach to the holiday:

1. When discussing the Easter Bunny, R phrased it as follows, "Some people say that the Easter Bunny comes in at night and hides candy in the house." I thought this was a better approach than the outright lie, although the difference will be lost on Scott, I'm sure.

2. We recorded a made-for-TV animated special with an Easter message, told through a young boy and his dog. It was made in the 1970s and the soundtrack was quite a compilation of inexpensively-produced funk music. Scott thought it was just OK.

3. We did a Twelve-Days-of-Easter-ish advent calendar, where each day Scott got to open one of a dozen plastic eggs with a note and little items to represent events in the chronology of the Easter story. The last egg was empty, to symbolize the empty tomb.

4. As is the tradition, we decorated eggs this year, but this time we bought the NASCAR-themed decorating set. I believe that was Scott's personal choice, and does not do much to emphasize the true meaning of Easter (unless, of course, there is a tenuous connection somewhere between the true meaning of Easter and stock car racing).

It was fun to see Katie enter the Easter scene this year, clutching her little basket and toddling around after the big plastic eggs that Scott would point out for her -- he got the little candies and she got the 12 large plastic eggs. It was funny that she didn't recognize the candies inside the eggs for what they were, and was more than pleased to simply play with the plastic cases they came in.

Once again, the highlight of our Easter celebration was the fantastic musical program at church that R organized. This year she conducted all the congregational hymns (with piano & organ accompaniment) and the choir number (in which I participated). She spends most of her free time organizing the music for church, and the effort makes for wonderful results.

Easter this year was one of the few sunny days we have had, and it was wonderful to enjoy the evening together with R's parents out on the back patio of their home. The alleged bunny's visit was only part of a wonderful day for our family, filled with meaning. As they say in Russia:

Иисус воскрес!
Bоистину воскрес!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scott is 4!

Originally, Scott's first soccer game was scheduled to coincide with his birthday, and for several months we have anticipated a soccer-themed party that would conclude with a real soccer game. Unfortunately, the spring has been so cold and snowy that the fields were not ready for use and the season had to be delayed one week. Rather than change our plans completely, we made our own indoor soccer pitch and made a go of it. Scott was disappointed that he couldn't play in his game, but the build-up for his birthday had been so great that he was still pretty wound up for the big day.

Before the party was to begin, he was sitting in the near-empty room on his Thomas Train couch watching Yo Gabba Gabba, holding a magic wand in his hand. Once the show was over, his nervous excitement exploded all over and I ended up getting several scratches from that wand while we checked in by phone with his Grandma W.

As each person arrived, he made sure to give a quick overview of the preparations: "I have a cake with ice cream in it and there is a soccer ball pinata in there. Come see." He went out on the lawn to greet cousin H and told him the good news about the cake. H stopped in mid-stride and said, "What the?" and then both boys giggled.

The soccer game in the basement resulted in some of the highest highs and the lowest lows of the day. The lows started on the first charge down the carpeted field, when H plowed headfirst into the wall at the other end. In an effort to cheer him up, Scott pretended to bonk himself on the head and collapsed to the ground (the routine he does to cheer up Katie). This started a trend of Three-Stooges-like slapstick routines mixed into the soccer game, followed by the loudest giggles of the day.

Pin the Player on the Soccer Ball Game

The Soccer Ball Pinata!

Scott and I made this pinata according to last year's formula, with a few small adjustments:
1) we only did 2 layers of paper mache; and
2) we painted it to look like a soccer ball, rather than an Omnidroid.
The other difference is that the kids wore a 'Big O Tires' toque as a blindfold, rather than my UColorado Buffs toque, which had previously been the designated pinata apparel, but could not be located.

With each participant one year stronger and the pinata a few layers thinner, it was destroyed by the time we had been through the batting order only once (last year I had to break it open at the end of several rounds of blindfold-free bashing by the kids). There were a few packets of Swedish Berries inside and a personalized soccer t-shirt for each of the kids. Two years in a row means that the pinata/t-shirt event is officially a tradition.

Another tradition is the discount present-shopping. Once again, we cashed in airmiles for gift cards or bought gifts second-hand to maximize our gift:dollar ratio. We probably overdid it, but that's the result of several months of birthday preparation.

With Scott's affinity for board games well-published in this forum, he received a total of 14 board games on the day (and it could have been higher had we actually given him all of the 9 games we bought from an online classified posting -- a few were held in reserve). The grandparents on both sides helped bolster the game count.

It was uncanny that Scott received a few Toy Story gifts, since he suddenly took an interest in the animated film series last week, when he was sick and watched it all the way through. Gifts with Buzz Lightyear on them were very timely.

Scott finally got the game 'Candyland.' On a trip to the Chapters Kids section of the bookstore a few months ago, I made him choose between 'Trouble' and 'Candyland' and he has ached for Candyland ever since. Personally, I think Trouble is the superior choice, and I think now that Scott has played Candyland he will agree with me, since Candyland has zero strategy involved. I will have to ask him what his opinion is.

The bike was a fun surprise for him, and was nicely complimented by a water bottle and bell from Scott's cousins L & D. Unfortunately, he hasn't felt as stable on it at home as he did in the aisles at SportChek, so we are still working on that one.

The biggest hit was probably the lightning-quick r/c car that he got from his cousins A & H & A. Once again, some misfortune there as the car stopped working before the party was over. There are conflicting reports about its untimely demise, but uncle L is known to be handy at fixing things.

The cake and its origins are worthy of a separate rant entirely, but the short version is that Marble Slab lost our custom order for a gluten-free ice-cream cake and we had to scramble at the last minute. DQ came through for us with this Rolo Blizzard cake and put the soccer graphic and message on it in about as much time as I took me to write this paragraph. The cookie bits between the two layers means it wasn't 100% gluten free, but R just made sure to eat around the offending bits.

Once the party had wound down and everyone had departed, Scott donned his new Spidey PJs to accept a Skype call from his St. George cousins, complete with guitar accompaniment and dance interlude.

The last event before bed was a visit from our home teacher & his babysitter daughter, who brought a trio of Hot Wheels race cars.

As he was heading off to bed Scott said, "I am never going to give up any more birthdays." We didn't know what this meant, but he clarified it to mean that he was never going to miss wishing other people a Happy Birthday, which he has been doing faithfully for the last month or so.

Apparently, he started to feel a bit of a post-party let-down. Once he was in bed and I was leaving the room he said, "I want to be 5 right now. When do I get to be 5?" I told him it would not be for another year, after the rest of spring, summer, fall and winter. This discouraged him a bit, but I reminded him of all the fun things that we would get to do in the spring and summer and that then it would be close to Christmas again.

Happy Birthday, Scotty! We hope you felt very special on your big day. You are such a fun little boy and we love you to pieces.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sick Of It

We are a little sick of this winter that will never turn to spring. Every time it snows we all say, "well, that should be the last one." But it never is. There is always one more, it seems.

But more than the weather, we are sick of being sick. R fired out this Facebook message a few days ago:
Going on Day 75+ straight of having sick kids. After colds, fevers, chills, croup, asthma (?!), teething and strep throat you'd think we had it all. But at our 8th doctor visit today we left with no explanation for Scott's full body rash. Will it ever end?

Scott didn't really like to talk about the rash. You could tell it made him a bit sad and uneasy. Although it wasn't itchy, he woke up two nights in a row at 3:00 am complaining that he was cold -- even though his room was just fine.

He had been on an antibotic called Amoxicillin for his strep throat, but the doctors (yes, there were two of them scratching their heads over this one) hypothesized that it was probably not an allergic reaction to the medication; rather, it was likely a symptom of a viral infection from something as harmless as a cold. After a further few days of our (seemingly endless) quarantine, he was on the upswing and reunited with his cousins for a playdate at Grandma and Grandpa's.

We are hesitant to say, "well that was the last sickness" just yet, since we have all seen what that has done to the weather this spring. Just cross your fingers for us and let's hope there's no snow or rashes for Scott's birthday party / soccer game next week.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cute baby pictures of the week

These are pictures from this past weekend, while R's sister K was up visiting from school.

Grandpa M sat down with his three smallest grandbabies -- all of them born in 2010 (Katie is the oldest of the three).

Mommy-daughter Smooches

Auntie K with her neice, baby A (the youngest of the 2010 babies)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Quotes From Scotty

Occasionally Scott says something so hilarious that I run for the nearest scrap of paper to write it down before I forget it. As a result, I have various quotes lying all over the house from the past few months, but no dates or context. I rounded up the ones that I could find and here they are:

November 2010
Discussing Hayden's upcoming birthday party.
D: "Does Hayden have to wait until he blows out his candles to turn 4?"
S: "Yes. That's the deal."
Scott is watching me try an online kids computer game with an "action" sound.
S: "You love action right? [short pause] I love action too."
D: "Was the dinosaur toy scaring the baby in Jenny's tummy?"
S: "Yes. It was so scared it was trying to climb out her mouth."
D: "When Jenny opened her mouth could you see the baby trying to get out?"
S: "No."
D: "How did you like playing with Alli & Hayden?"
S: "Hayden totally hit me."

December 2010
Lunch is being served.
S: (to mom) "Don't go crazy, Miss Highness."
D: "What time does the mailman come, Scott?"
S: [no hesitation] "Twenty-three-four."
Going out for a snowball fight. I am putting on my coat.
S: Dad, are you going to wear that?
D: Yeah.
S: You have to wear a snow hat.
D: Okay. [puts on a black toque] Here.
S: [puzzled] Is that a snow hat?
D: Yes.
S: [nodding] Oh yeah. That one is for snowball fights ... and pinatas.

Note: This totally cracked me up when he first said it, but then I figured out the connection -- the only other time he saw this hat was when I used it as the kids' blindfold to break the pinata at Scott's 3rd birthday party -- more than 5 months earlier.
Before bedtime
S: You bacon!
D: Why did you say bacon?
S: Is bacon a good word?
D: Yes.
S: What is bacon?
D: It's a food that you eat.
S: Oh yeah! I'm going to eat bacon for breakish in the morning.
D: You'll have to ask mom to make the bacon for you.
S: Dad, tell me all about it -- how to make bacon.

January 2011
Scott came into his room where I was seated on the floor for bedtime story and he stomped on my leg. I told him that it hurt me a lot.
S: [whispering] "Don't tell Mom. Don't tell her."
D: "Why not? What will she do if I tell her?"
S: [still wshipering] "She will just hit you more."
D: [stifling a laugh] "Really?"
S: [still whispering] Yes. So don't tell her."
Scott is standing patiently while I try to get the broken zipper on his winter coat to zip up.
S: "This zipper is having issues."

March 2011
Watching WALL-E (the Disney animated movie). EVE (the white robot) and WALL-E are in the elevator and then EVE uses her gun to blast the monitor that shows the "Rogue Robot" warning. Scott comments: "EVE is jumpy."

Sunday, April 03, 2011

First drawing

First Signature

His favourite letter has been "S" for about two years now, and Scott has been able to recite the letters in his name for some time now, but he had never really made an attempt at writing it ... until yesterday.

He has a little conference activity book with a spot for his name on it, and when R pointed it out to him, he just went for it and wrote his name out unassisted. Aside from the backwards "S" he did pretty well. I was impressed.

He followed it up on the next page, where R helped him make a better "C".

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Springtime in Calgary

I love this place.

We got something like 20 cm of snow in one day -- wet, heavy snow that slowed the city down to a crawl. Fortunately, we could stay holed up inside for the day, nursing colds and watching conference. Scott and I did break outside for a few minutes after lunch to go sledding at the park down the street.

The next day was perfectly clear and sunny, so we took advantage of the snowy playground in our back yard: sledding, snow forts, shovels and slides. It was quite a production to get the four of us clad in our snow gear (Katie had made off with her boots and strewn them about the house), but it was so worth it to see the kids playing in the deep, sticky snow.

Katie is really funny to watch outside because she doesn't move her feet at all. Wherever you put her is where she stays. She learned to walk indoors during the winter and has never gotten comfortable with the uneven surfaces she encounters in the wild. I gave her a little shovel and stood her next to a pile of snow and expected that it would keep her occupied for a few minutes while I played with Scott. Moments later I had to pick her up to move her within arm's reach of the snow, because she just stood there, stretching out her arm and making a pleading noise from the back of her throat.