Thursday, April 26, 2012

Battle Force Five Birthday

Scott discovered the Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 TV series sometime last year and it has been pretty much his #1 favourite thing in the world ever since. It was the basis for his Halloween costume and most of his birthday wish list. When discussion turned to a theme for his party and cake, of course he chose BF5 -- a perfect fit for the 5-year mark.

According to our slowly-evolving house protocol, 5 years is the birthday where you first get to invite friends to come. However, the number of guests is limited 5, increasing in lockstep with your age to a probable cap of 10 or 12 (to be determined). Scott's list of close friends mostly included his cousins, but he did invite two boys from his class at church to round out his Battle Force team.

Originally, I was going to make a pinata to look like the blue "fuser" that they use in the show to blend two vehicles together, but I wasn't sure exactly how to make a dodecahedron (12-faced polyhedron) from papier mache such that it would still break at the hands of small, blindfolded children. When it came time to actually make the pinata, Scott showed little concern for its shape, and was more concerned that it have a BF5 logo on it. Well, round pinatas happen to be a specialty of mine, and I have access to a colour printer...

Last year's soccer pinata only lasted one round in the ring, but this year's model (which had two layers of spraypaint and one layer of automobile clearcoat) lasted three full rounds against our heroes before cousin Alli brought it down, just like 2011. Given her 2.5 year lead on the group, she can swing the pool cue with considerably more strength. Actually, she was pretty much the only one who could handle the ungainly pool cue very well at all -- when we moved we lost the much shorter stick that we used in previous years (it was a 18-inch section of wooden curtainrod).

The vanquished pinata yielded up its treasures of Hershey's Kisses and tshirts, each shirt representing a different character from Battle Force 5 (with the exception that the three girls all had pictures of the lone female member of the Battle Force team). Of course, Scott got the red shirt depicting Vert Wheeler, the leader.

Clad in their new shirts, the group set out for general mayhem in the back yard until it was dinnertime. Fortunately, this was one of the few days in the later part of April when it didn't rain.

Being the birthday boy, Scott had the privilege of choosing the dinner menu. He opted for macaroni and cheese, and I don't think any of his guests had aught but praise for his choice -- with the exception that one of his cousins seemed to shovel more on the floor than in her mouth. Watermelon and garlic bread rounded out the feast.

Between dinner and dessert, we played a quick game in the basement -- a dancing version of musical chairs, of sorts. There were a number of towels on the floor, and kids were to dance to the Battle Force 5 theme song until the music stopped, then find a towel to stand on. Each round a towel was taken away, but no players were eliminated. Instead, they had to cram more and more kids onto fewer and fewer spots. The dancing was excellent.

The penultimate event was the cake, and every member of the group vied for a piece with the coveted number five on it -- for reasons I simply cannot explain. I cut the slices as small as possible to give everyone a piece of the action, and afterwards realized that I had grossly overestimated their appetite/patience for eating ice cream cake when there was serious playing to be done. Witness reports indicate that Katie ate the most, since straps locked her firmly into her chair for the duration.

Presents! The final event. The funniest moment was probably when Destin was pulling the items out of his present to give to Scott and stopped short when he pulled out a package of small finger lights, saying, "Um, I think these are for me." It took some coaxing to convince him that the lights should actually go to Scott (it helped that Scott promised to give one of the lights to Destin).

Happy Birthday Scotty! We can't believe you are getting so big. We just love you to bits, boy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Peace Bridge

I had to work late one night this week, so R and the kids met me downtown for dinner. The weather was surprisingly nice, so we ventured beyond the indoor playground at Eau Claire Market to explore the newly-constructed Peace Bridge across the Bow River near Prince's Island.

From a distance, the bridge looks like a Chinese finger trap. When you get closer, you immediately realize that nobody has fingers large enough to get trapped in there, so it's really not that big a deal.

Katie relished the opportunity to get out and run, wiggling her diapered bottom in the most adorable fashion. She stopped running a few times so that she could climb up and down some stairs, and she asked R to hold her for a quick break near the end, but the rest of the time she was working hard.

We stumbled upon a game of cricket that was underway, and Scott could hardly be dragged away from the action. He asked tons of questions about the way the game is played, and I was essentially useless to answer any of them. I admit, it was fascinating to watch them run towards the batter and throw that wild windmill pitch they do. It's amazing that they get the ball anywhere close to their target.

A beautiful evening out with the family... and injury-free.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tough Weekend for Scotty

Crash on the driveway
We had just come back from ordering Scott's birthday cake at Dairy Queen and the kids were playing on the driveway for a few minutes before bedtime. Scott tired of coasting down the driveway on Katie's new training bike, so he had switched to her little toddler buggy thing, eventually turning it around to ride it backwards. That's when things went badly.

When he went down the curb the buggy stopped short and Scott flipped forward, smacking his face on the asphalt before he could raise his arms up to break his fall. I think it was just as painful as it looked, because he immediately began to scream. He had scraped some skin off his forhead and it looked like he had scratches beside his nose. I continued to examine him as I carried him into the house and was relieved to see that his mouth and teeth seemed fine.

I sat him on the kitchen counter near the sink and we wiped away the dirt with a cloth and I could see that he had a bit of blood in both nostrils, but his nose wasn't really bleeding. He was really, really sad about getting hurt, but it seemed that he was alright. We gave him a tylenol and some frozen yogurt, let him watch a cartoon and then daubed him with Polysporin before putting him in bed.

Incident at Church
Aside from several prominent scrapes on his face, Scott seemed fine the next morning. He complained a bit about his stomach, but that seems to be a daily occurrence lately (he says something about his stomach almost every night before bed). I guess we should have paid closer attention. After a lunch of chili and yogurt tubes, Scott was settling into playing cars in front of the pew at church, when suddenly R noticed him get up from his knees and sit on the pew.

Part way through the first verse of the sacrament hymn, I heard R calling my name. I looked over to see the tail end of Scott vomiting violently onto his lap and the floor in front of him. I had hardly registered what was happening when he wretched again with unbelievable power and distance (I found out later that the spray cleared the back of the pew ahead of us and landed on a little boy sitting there). I yanked off my suit jacket and reached out to pick him up when he let fly with his last salvo, right into my chest.

I carried him out to the bathroom to start cleaning up the mess. Fortunately, he had emptied the reservoir, so there were no further outburts. In fact, once purged, he was surprisingly chipper and even started cracking silly jokes there in the bathroom. Before we went home, I returned to the chapel briefly to get my jacket and car keys, but first rolled up my sleeves to hit the most of the chili stains.

This was the second time I had worn that shirt, having just pulled it out of the package earlier in the week. We can now consider it well broken-in. Once at home, I removed my tie and threw it in the garbage -- I had never really liked that tie anyway.

Before we left to church I had noticed a chili stain on the side of Scott's white shirt. I had him wear his black blazer to church so that the stain wouldn't show (that is a classic Dad move, if there ever was one). Well, the chili stains still showed, since they were now all over the front of the jacket, shirt and tie he wore.

Poor Scotty. What a weekend. Hopefully the scratches start to heal a little bit before his birthday party.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Soccer: Opening Day 2012

We had opening day for the 2012 soccer season. Living in a different community, we were part of a different soccer association, playing at a field just down the street from our house. This year soccer started one week earlier than last year, and it was colder and snowier than 2011, but they still didn't cancel. Scott had on his hoodie and his sweats under his jersey and shorts, so he wasn't cold, but those of us on the sidelines were wrapped up in blankets. We brought Katie's little trainer bike to occupy her on the sidelines, but she spent most of the time crying because she didn't want to wear her toque or mittens. Then she started crying because she was cold and wanted to go home. R and Katie spent the second half of the game in the warmth of the car.

Scott was a tenacious defender and chased down the ball whenever it came near his team's net and booted it away down the field. He didn't score, but he often started the charge that resulted in a goal. He also provided non-stop commentary to his coach about his activities. Once he kicked a really long one nearly the length of the field and his coach said, "Nice long kick, Scott." Instead of following the play, Scott turned around to face his coach and started explaining, "I can kick the ball over my dad's head." Several times I heard him discussing the game with members of the other team. The conversations distract him a bit, but mostly he is focused on the play and really enjoys the action.

When the game was over he was a bit sad, thinking that his team had lost. I told him that they don't actually keep score, but if they did his team still might have been the winner. He said that they had to cheer for the other team and the end, so he thought that maybe the other team had been the winner. He'll get used to the way things work.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cousins Weekend in Kalispell

Since there are three birthdays within 5 days in April, we decided to head down to Kalispell to celebrate with the Montana cousins. Grandma and Grandpa joined us, turning it into a mini-reunion weekend.

We had a little birthday party with three sets of candles on the cake. We also managed to heave a good number of rocks into Echo Lake. Scott followed older cousin C around like a shadow, but also had a lot of fun playing with those closer to his age. In the occasional instance when there was noone immediately available to play with him, he experienced a certain amount of panic. Fortunately, Beez would usually step in and help him out by volunteering to watch him play a computer game or something like that.

Beez was also Katie's good buddy during the visit. Katie could often be found by herself, just going up and down the stairs or opening and closing the door. However, at least as often, you could find her playing with Beez, who seemed to have limitless patience and enthusiasm for the things that interest a 2-year-old.

Uncle C disappeared Sunday evening for over an hour and noone was quite sure where he went. Finally he emerged from one of the bedrooms. Apparently, he had crawled between the bed and the wall to get a pillow off the floor and had fallen asleep there.

Cousin C brought out his arsenal of AirSoft weapons, hoping to have a war of some kind. Unfortunately, none of us have any guns and there were very few zombies in the region to defend against, so he had to settle for some dramatic photos with his biggest gun. This boy's interest in military hardware reminds me of a guy I knew when I was a kid...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quotes from Easter Weekend

Following an emotional episode-
D: See, Scott? Asking nicely is always better than crying.
S: ... And better than punching.
D: Uh, right.
S: 'Cause punching is always bad.


On the subject of bedtime prayers-
S: [whispering] I said thank you for our bodies. Last night I said thank you for the Earth.


At the dinner table-
S: [hands out to each side in questioning manner, palms facing up] Is the Easter Bunny even Real?
D: What do you mean?
S: Is he really alive?
D: Are you asking if the Easter Bunny is dead?
S: No. I mean, is he real -- like can you see him?
R: I've never seen the Easter Bunny, but I know there is always a basket and candy on Easter Morning.
S: Okay.


S: You can close the door because I have my own light in here.
D: Okay.
S: ... And it's brighter than that light [points to ceiling]. It's glowing like Jesus.


On the subject of getting a computer for his room (which previously I said will not likely happen, since we are more likely to put any new computers in the main room)-
S: If all the rooms in the house except mine were filled all the way up with computers, where would you put another computer?
D: Probably in your room.
S: Right. [obviously pleased]


Getting ready for church-
S: Look at my backpack, Dad.
D: Cool. It has a pin on it that says, "I am a Child of God."
S: Now good guys can see that and they will know that I'm a child of God and a good guy and they won't try to hurt me... because bad guys don't have that pin... because bad guys don't go to church, unless it's a bad guy church. Right?


Sitting in church, listening to the speaker, who mentions the name "Jesus"-
K: [in a very loud voice] Jesus?! Jesus Christ!!


At Grandma & Grandpa's house, after soaking his socks by playing outside-
S: I need my shoes! My feet are colder than snow in your mouth!
D: Snow in your mouth?
S: Colder than your whole body in snow!


S: Dad, wouldn't you love it if you could play every day and not have to go to work to get money?
D: Yes, that would be great.
S: And if the policeman came and gave you money, you wouldn't have to work and you could play the whole entire day with your whole entire kids!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Weekend at the Zoo

Since I got to go to the ski hill hill all day on Friday, R got the day off on Saturday while I went to the zoo with the kids for the Easter Eggstravaganza... which was sponsored by the Nestle chocolate company. Basically, you lined up at various little tents for free candy as you made your way through the zoo. After watching Scott pound back several large Aero Eggs I decided to skip the rest of the tents and go see the hippos and elephants... and geese.

When it started to snow on us we took refuge in the sweltering heat of the butterfly sanctuary. Once things improved, we ventured back outside and Scott won a bubble-blower with some impressive bean-bag tossing. The bubbles turned out to be the highlight of the visit, and Katie ran her heart out chasing them across the field.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Good Friday at Grandma's

The dads went away with Grandpa to the ski hill for the day, and the moms gathered the kids at Grandma's for an Easter egg hunt, colouring eggs and other fun activities. Apparently, once Katie found her first foil-wrapped chocolate she was less interested in searching and more interested in eating. Fortunately for her, there was a profit-sharing arrangement in place, where each grandchild was allocated a fair share of the spoils. I believe they all got the same amount, so on a candy-to-body-weight basis, Katie scored quite high.