Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Screen Time

We don't have a video game system, but Scott really loves to go to Kizi.com and play all the free kids games there. He often needs a bit of help from us to sort out the way a game should be played, since his reading skills are still a bit limited. However, it is surprising how well he can navigate the site and how he is developing a sense of how the game interfaces are laid out and where you probably should click to play, replay, continue, etc.

If he had his druthers, Scott would stay on-line all day playing these games, so we have to limit his time. However, he often suggests TV or playing gaming apps on a smartphone as an alternative. R has landed on the concept of "screen time." There is a general limit on how much screen time he should have in a day, and beyond that he has to find other means of entertainment. That's when the board games often come out. Once he gets into a board game, then he wants to play that game every moment of the day. Recent favourites are Sequence for Kids, Uno, and Mega Bloks Race Car Builder.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Katie Turns Two Part III

[From Jan 20, 2012]

The final stage of the birthday was back at home, where we had pizza, opened presents, ate dessert and watched Planet 51. Katie can finally stop stealing Scott's backpack because Grandma & Grandpa W got a bumblebee backpack that is all her own. She can fill it and her new purse with her phone and her new Polly Pocket dolls. Happy Birthday Katie! You are such a little doll and we absolutely adore you!

Opening Presents

New Backpack

K & K

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Katie Turns Two - Part II

[From Jan 20, 2012]

For Katie's actual birthday we went out bowling -- just our family plus auntie Karla. We now save on shoe rentals for R every time, thanks to the shoe mix-up last time we went. Just like last time, Katie was super-enthusiastic about playing with the bowling balls, but she found it difficult to wait for her turn. For the first half of the game we battle to keep her from bowling everybody else's turn, trying to find ways to occupy her while she waited for her next ball. We were so successful at our diversions that we spent the second half of the game campaigning for her to come back and bowl her balls. In the end, we just let her do her thing and Scott bowled for her. He could bowl all night if he had the chance.


Katie Bowling

Ball Retrievers


Katie Watching for Bowling Balls

The Scores

In the end, the award for highest score goes to auntie K, while the prize for cutest baby goes to Katie. Moments like this give me waves of anticipatory nostalgia -- I think about how I will miss having my little kids once they are all big and grown. Babies, please don't grow up.

Katie & Dad

Friday, January 20, 2012

Katie Turns Two - Part I

We celebrated Katie's 2nd birthday with the family in Calagary a few days early at the usual Sunday evening gathering, since several would be unavailable on the actual day. With Christmas memories only a few weeks old, Katie knows exactly what is meant by "presents", although she still gives a bit of blank look when you mention "birthday".

Sadly, my camera battery died just as we were lighting the candles, but uncle Ross came through with a shot from his phone of the big moment. Gluten-free brownies & ice cream!

Fun with Cousins

Katie & Alli

Katie and Adalia

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Hockey Experience

We signed up Scott for community soccer this week, and I have the autumn registration dates for community basketball in my calendar (in fact, I plan to be his coach). We held off on t-ball this year, but he'll probably play next year. People at work ask me if I'm putting him in hockey and I just shrug my shoulders. I don't know much about playing ice hockey. I can hardly skate. However, I can't deny that I enjoy a good brawl -- and that's exactly what we got when I took the kids to see the SAIT Trojans play the Clippers of Briercrest College and Seminary on Saturday afternoon.

We were only there for the 3rd period, but we saw 3 goals and 3 fights. There was such a steady stream of misconducts being handed out, there were four or five SAIT players in the penalty box at once (in addition to the 2-3 others who were booted altogether). I warned Scott prior to the game that the players might get into a fight. He originally misunderstood that they were REAL FIGHTS, as our "fights" at home are essentially play-wrestling. I think he was a bit shocked (and delighted) at the savagery of a real-life hockey brawl.

Scott locks onto any sports contest with absolute focus. Katie thought it was interesting, but she mostly focused on operating the folding seats. She gave the most alarmed looks every time they blew the horn. It was good that we only went for one period, because she was probably not going to last much longer.

In the end SAIT totally dominated, which was good for Scott, since he always cheers for the red team.

For the sake of balance, we are going to sign Scott up for an afternoon floor hockey class. That's my kind of hockey -- all of the fighting with none of the skating.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Family Photo of 2012

[From Jan 1, 2012]

The first day of 2012 couldn't be any better, as we attended the missionary farewell of one of R's Ottawa girls whose family recently transplanted to the Calgary area (she's heading Boise Idaho), and then lounged around at their house for a while eating fabulous food.

Our thanks to Grandma Christensen for the photo. Too bad I am sitting so close to the camera. Perhaps I will go back with photoshop and try to make myself a few sizes smaller.

Is it just my imagination, or am I slowly morphing into my father?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Christmas Card Catastrophe

Yesterday we received a Christmas card from my aunt and uncle in Illinois, and while they are known for their lively family photos, this card was remarkable for another reason -- because nearly a quarter of it had been bitten off by a mail-sorting machine. Poor Jennika took the brunt of the damage. Fortunately, we were at the wedding last December so we have some less-mangled pictures of the newlyweds.

The USPS put the remains of the card into a "We're Sorry" envelope and sent it along to us. I checked for the postmark date and realized that it didn't make it far enough through the machine to even get postmarked. So, if anyone wants two US stamps, let me know. I can steam them off and send them to you. Just send me a self-addressed envelope, postage paid.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Big Boy Bedlam

We were given a free Big Boy Bed, but we weren't sure when to put it in service. Since we are moving at the end of the month, the most practical thing to do would be to switch beds during the move, upgrading Katie from crib to bed in the deal. However, it seemed to us that moving to a new house and new room would be a big enough change that it might be nice for the kids to have a familiar bed, so we might hold off.

Well, R was out for the evening when our friends dropped the bed off, so I just went with the flow and set up the new bed in Scott's room, since it was obvious that's what he really wanted. My job as Dad is to be predictably unpredictable.

Of course, Katie was just as enthusiastic as Scott about the new bed... and the flashlight that somehow made it into the proceedings (I think I mentioned something about about getting a mattress from the attic and Scott rushed off to get a flashlight, but I found the mattress in the basement instead). Of course, when someone has a flashlight, the lights HAVE to get switched off, regardless what kind of photos Dad is trying to take.

With the ensuing bedlam that alternated in darkness and light I eventually gave up trying to get a staged photo of the two kids snuggled up in bed and captured them as they truly are:

This last photo was actually taken in the dark with a flash. Apparently, that's what Scott looks like when the lights go out.