Friday, November 30, 2012

Trimming the Tree

We have always had a "real tree" for Christmas. We alos spend many of our Christmas holidays at someone else's house, leaving our tree to dry out and die. This year we ventured in a new direction and got an artificial tree.

I have to say, I was shocked at how full and fabulous this tree was. In previous years I have taken branches that were lost from trimming the height of the tree and grafted them in to fill the gaps in our less-than-perfect free-range trees.

The kids were absolutely thrilled at every discovery in the Christmas storage boxes. Katie could hardly part with the Dora ornament and unicorn ornament that had been give her by our friends the Dustans in past years.

Scott went to bed wearing a Santa hat.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Charlie Brown & Dancing Blankets!

Most kids these days don't know much about Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang. Well, not our kids. Scott knows that Charlie Brown wears a yellow shirt with a black zig-zag stripe and likes a red-haired girl. He knows that Charlie Brown has a dog, but he really struggles to remember the name: "Shaggy? Snappy? What is it Dad?"

Through Katie's weekly preschool class (which is provided free in the community), we have been able to get some free tickets to various events lately. We took the kids to see hockey (Calgary Hitmen at the Saddledome) and volleyball (UofC Dinos), but then we really scored big -- tickets to the live musical production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" downtown at the Epcor Centre.

I am sure I would not have considered buying tickets to take the kids to this show, since Katie is so young and there's a high likelihood that we would end up in the foyer instead of watching the performance; however, I am so glad that we went. Katie struggled a little bit, but she stuck it out through the whole show and Scott just loved it. We had an extra ticket, so we brought our niece Alli along, and I think she really liked it too. How often do little kids get to go to the theatre?

The Martha Cohen Theatre is quite small, holding only 386 seats with two balconies that are very close to the stage. We got to sit on the front of the 2nd balcony and had a perfect, unobstructed view of everything.

The highlight was probably when Linus' blanket started to dance around the stage on its own, and is then joined by 5 more blankets in the colour of each character's shirt. How appropriate, given that Katie was holding her own little blankie the whole time.

After the show we were invited to meet the cast and have our programs autographed. Scott was hesitant at first, so I had to give his program to "Lucy". However, he loosened up and all three kids got colour-matching signatures from each of the characters.

I think Scott will remember Charlie brown for a long time to come. It's hard to say if Katie is old enough, but if she develops a love of theatre later in life, we will attribute it all to this experience.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Scott has turned into a total craft-fiend. His very favourite things to do are:
1. Build things with Lego
2. Make crafts & colour pictures

Lately he has gotten into Artzooka, a CBC program that shows kids how to make crafts out of household recyclables. He was particularly excited about making this jet pack out of bottles, duct tape and aluminum foil. He zoomed all over the house for the next few days.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chinese Worker

When your son tells you what his dream job is, it is probably best not to laugh--

S: Dad, do you know what I want to be when I grow up?
D: What?
S: A Chinese worker.
D: Bahahahah!
R: I think he means that he would like to have job where he gets to travel to China.
D: Oh. Sorry Scotty. That sounds pretty cool.

This conversation happened a few weeks ago. Then last night we went to Parent-Teacher Interviews and while we waited for our turn to speak with the teacher, Scott showed us his visual journal, where he does a fill-in-the-blank statement and then draws an accompanying illustration.

One one page of the journal was the statement: "When I grow up I want to ..."
Scott's teacher had helped him fill it in with "Work in China." He had another page that was a list of things about him (favourite colour, family, etc), and in a similar blank he had put "Work in the big buildings like my Daddy and work in China."

I think I need to ask him to explain the rest of the story. Where did he get this idea? Probably not from reading headlines from the news. Is it because he likes to watch the Chinese-themed kids show "Ni Hoa Ki Lan"? A mystery.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fancy Anniversary Dinner Chez Nous

As I left the house on the morning of our 12th anniversary, I found a note hanging on the doorknob to the garage door. In it was an invitation to dinner, which would begin at 5:00pm. I didn't know where we were going, but I made sure I was home on time.

When I came in the door I was greeted immediately by Scott, clad in a faux-tuxedo apron and a menu. He wanted to know what I would like to drink. He had his instructions and he planned to carry them out to the letter. I had my choice of juice, milk or sparkling cider. I chose the latter, which added 2 smooches to my bill.

We had a 3-course meal by candlelight at our kitchen table, and Scott was the waiter. He was very enthusiastic about serving the food, although I was on my own to clear away my dishes. Katie was sad that she didn't get a fancy apron, so she wore her ballerina tutu on top of her clothes.

Katie indulged us by taking a quick photo after our meal. As noted, I owed the proprietor several kisses. R went off to get the babysitter and I tried to balance the demands of both children (Scott wanted help with his Lego and Katie wanted to keep using the camera) while I got changed into a suit.

We met up with R's granparents, parents, her brother, sister-in-law and brother-in-law to attend the Calgary Temple and go to the sealing room to participate in proxy sealings on behalf of some relatives of Prussian descent that lived in Kitchener, Ontario over a century ago.

What a great evening! Happy 12th Anniversary!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jumbo Snowman

Scott had been begging to build a snowman, and Saturday afternoon lined up perfectly with some warmer weather, so we went to work. I showed him how to start with a small ball and roll it up large enough for a snowman. I got a little carried away, and it was all I could do to get the mid-section lifted up onto the base. Heavy stuff.

Scott was a bit disappointed that the carrot-nose and the rock-features kept falling off the face. I suppose it would be easier with a slightly larger carrot. Eventually, Katie woke up from her nap and the pair of them puttered around in the back yard for the better part of an hour.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CFA Charterholder

I passed the last of three exams in 2011, but I didn't get the charter until I had reached 4 years of industry experience, which was in 2012. I attended a dinner for all new charterholders in Calgary and really enjoyed looking back on a whole year of NOT studying for the exam.

Quotes from the Long Weekend

S: That was pretty crazy, Dad.
D: You're crazy.
S: No, you're crazy.
D: Actually, you are the crazy one. I checked.
S: What?
D: I went to the library and I asked them. They said it was you.
S: Did you really go to the library?
D: No.
S: We went to the library with Mom, but we just got books there.

K: Go Gabba-Gabba! Go Gabba-Gabba!
S: Why is she saying Go Gabba-Gabba? It's supposed to be Yo Gabba-Gabba.
R: She thinks that's what it says.
D: Katie, say Yes.
K: Yes.
D: Say Yohss.
K: Yohss.
D: Say Yo.
K: Yo.
D: Say Yo Gabba-Gabba.
K: Go Gabba-Gabba!
D: Good try Katie.

Singing (routine performed at least daily)--
K: A B C D E F - Diapers! Hahahahaha!
S: Good one Katie. Listen to this- A B C D E F G H I - Pants on your belly!
K: Hahahahaha! A B C D E F - Belly pants!
Both: Hahahahaha!

After hanging the outdoor Christmas lights--
K: Look! Missmiss lights!
D: Katie, say Christ-mas.
K: Missmiss.
K: Missmiss.
D: Good job Katie.

In the car--
S: Mom!
R: Shh. It's quiet time.
S: Mom, Katie fell asleep.
R: Okay, that's good. But it's still quiet time.
S: Then I am going to just think about Jesus.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

First School Photos

Picture day came and went at Scott's school back in September. We received a order form from the school asking us to select which poses they should use for the session. We went for the ones that seemed the most natural. We even planned out what he should wear. On the big day, R put him in his light blue shirt and his black v-neck sweater, spiked up his hair and sent him off to school, curious what kind of pictures would come back. She figured he would manage to grind his head into something within minutes, and the sculpted hair would revert back to neutral.

In the end, the hair was immaculate. The picture turned out very cute, even though he isn't smiling. He looks so grown up and so tiny all at the same time. We ordered the high-resolution version of this photo for sharing and printing. We also selected the low-resolution version of his "natural pose" just because it was so unnatural, yet it captures Scott caught between the pose and a forced smile. Love it.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Birthday Suit

You may find it shocking to hear that I went to church in my birthday suit:

Yes, I wore shoes when it came to actually leave the house. R helped measure me up for this suit, which was custom fitted and shipped to me in time for my birthday. It showed up 4 days before the big day, but I showed significant self-restraint in handing the box over to her to hang up the suit until Sunday.

Scott was very excited to wear a poppy to church in anticipation of Remembrance Day. I was going to wear the one with the Canada flag pin in the center until he saw it and decided that it was meant for him. I figured that he was safer with that style of pin anyway. The regular poppies are an accident waiting to happen when combined with a very active child. I used a pair of pliers to put one on Katie's church dress, bending the sharp end of the pin back on itself 3 or 4 times.

As usual, I shared the birthday limelight with our nephew Hayden, who turned 6 the same week. However, since we were gathered on my actual birthday, I successfully lobbied for pumpkin pie. Delicious.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Magic Carpet Costume Day

Katie is not in a daily preschool program, but she does attend a weekly preschool-type program put on in the community, called "Magic Carpet." Several of the people that attend happen to be her cousins or our friends from church, so she feels really comfortable there and enjoys all the songs and activities. When we went to the dance at Scott's school, she probably thought we were going to her Magic Carpet class, so she was a bit disappointed that none of her friends were there. Well, finally the big day arrived and she was able to put on her costume and go see her friends.

She really loves to wear her princess costume. We ordered it online back in September and we showed her the picture to see if she liked it. She really liked it, so we said that we would buy it for her. For the next 2 weeks she asked every day about "my pink dress". She had a hard time understanding the mechanics of online commerce.