Thursday, January 31, 2013

Scott's First Suit

Scott always wears a jacket and a tie to church, but he's never had a proper suit. He has a pretty swanky black velvet blazer that looks fabulous, but now it is getting small and he has also been a bit jealous that a boy in his Sunday school class has a suit. He sees me and and the older boys wearing suits and he wants in on the action.

I found a pretty sweet solution. For Christmas I ordered him a blue blazer from Old Navy that is intended for a school uniform. Then I got him a pair of uniform blue trousers to match ... Well, they almost match. The whole set was about 25 bucks and he was over the moon about it.

He wore it for the first time the Sunday after we got home from our trip. If only he could figure out how to work with buttons. Once we get him dressed in this stuff, he can't get himself back out of it.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Date Night: GhostBusted

I left to work early in the morning and found this cute little ghost hanging from the light switch with an invitation to go to dinner theatre for our January date night. How sweet. There was a sucker inside the ghost, so that was also sweet.

It turns out that R had arranged a double date with her parents to the Jubilations Dinner Theatre to watch the show "Ghostbusted", which was essentially an 80s nostalgia musical loosely related to Ghostbusters, chock-full of your favourite chart-toppers from everyone's favourite decade.

The show was set primarily in a grand old hotel, and all the waiters were supposedly dressed to match the theme and acted in character. It seems to me that they were simply dressed in whatever Halloween costume they could find. I was glad that our waiter (named Gunther) was not quite so obnoxious as the male waiter who was dressed in a long white beard, wore an ill-fitting wedding dress, and climbed up the wall behind us during the main course of the meal.

The food was actually quite good and they took great care of R's gluten-free requirements. Rather than feeling like a second-class citizen, she felt like she had even more choice and better options that then rest of us. I was just happy that they brough out my pop in what was essentially a medium-sized pitcher with a straw.

The show was a lot of fun. I was shocked that I had never heard of this place before. We will definitely be going back.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Winter Practice at the Driving Range

Following on the success of our ski outing to Canmore, Scotty and I rented skis at the University and went over to the city-run Shaganappi Point Golf Course where you can x-country ski during the winter months. They have a simple circuit around the driving range where you can practice your skills without too many obstacles -- aside from a steep hill or two.

Scott really liked going down the hill, but he found it a bit challenging to climb up the backside of the hill, especially in this one spot where it gets quite steep. He worked on his herringbone step, but it was hard for him to maintain the position while he stepped with such short legs. In Canmore he let me help him up the hill when it got tough, but here he decided he was going to be completely independent. I marveled at his persistance when he fought against the slope for about 5 minutes straight -- climbing a step, sliding back, climbing a step, falling down, tears, repeat.

I tried to stay well clear of him and hold my tongue, looking off toward the fabulous view of downtown to help him feel more relaxed about it. Finally, after what felt like 10 minutes of struggle, I stepped in behind him and held up a hand to make sure he didn't slide backwards, also helping him to his feet when he fell. He resented my interference, but once we got past that one little spot he was off up the rest of the hill by himself, so I think he should count it a victory.

He took an emotional bruising and he was very frustrated at times, but he never gave the slightest sign of giving up. Scotty is a tenacious boy.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I Keeping This Daddy

Katie loves to give hugs. Plus, she makes these happy chirping sounds -- adorable. Several times lately she has wrapped her arms around my neck and said, "My Daddy. I keeping this Daddy."

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Katie Turned Three!

Holding up one finger is pretty easy -- a baby could do it. Holding up two fingers is a bit trickier -- but manageable. Holding up three fingers is hardest of all -- it's a complicated mess of thumb and fingers. Fortunately, they don't give that job out to just anyone: You have have be three years old to do it.

Katie's birthday fell on a Sunday this year and we had lots of time for her to practice her fingers and to open presents and eat cupcakes and beat a pinata and all the fun things you get to do on a birthday.

Originally, Katie had told us that she wanted a "Dora Mermaid Birthday" party. We weren't quite sure what to do with that, but then it changed. She wanted a princess birthday. What a novel idea. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?

My primary duty is pinata construction, and I wasn't sure what to do with Dora Mermaid except maybe slap a printed picture of Mermaid-Dora on our standard balloon-shaped pinata. However, with the princess theme, I ventured into the unknown and fashioned a castle-shaped pinata from a cardboard box. I cut out the side panels, leaving just the edges of the box to provide shape to the papier-mache covering. A little purple spray-paint and we had ourselves a pinata.

What should you put in a castle-shaped pinata? You should put in t-shirts with tiaras printed on them! Everyone gets their name included on the shirt. Boys get to trade tiaras for swords. It's hard to be sure, but it seems that the inclusion of swords on the shirts prompted the boys to playfight like maniacs for about an hour afterwards. It was total craziness.

Katie requested cupcakes with purple frosting. She has a Dora picnic book where they eat cupcakes with pink frosting, so I guess she still retained some Dora elements in her birthday. The cupcakes were gluten free, delicious, and purple.

Happy Birthday Katie!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Flaming Hair and Snowy Skis

Scott has been begging to go skiing. We can see the C.O.P. ski resort from several spots in our neighbourhood and once he sees the lights turn on over there, he knows that the season has started. I looked into some lessons last year but we never made it happen. This year I was exploring possible ski trips and heard from a co-worker that he had been able to take his whole family out x-country skiing with rentals and lessons for about a 1/3 the cost of an alpine trip. His kids are the same age as ours, and he said that they loved it. Well, that sealed the deal. We made plans to go at the first opportunity.

The weather was perfect for our trip up to the Canmore Nordice Centre: sunny and hovering near freezing. We arrived before our schedule lesson time and took advantage of the sledding hill, which is free to use. They use a grooming machine, so it's really nice, plus they added a few gentle rollers on one of the runs that Scott really liked. Katie went with Mom & Dad a few times and then she was ready to fly solo. Tons of fun.

Our family lesson was great, although Katie warmed to the idea very slowly. We practiced falling down and getting up and then we went back and forth in the training area. For one of the drills you had to put a bike tube around your waist, with a rope tied to it, which you used to pull the instructor (Charlie) behind you. Scott managed to pull Mom and then he even pulled Dad. Charlie said that Scott was a natural. Mostly, I was impressed with how tenacious he was, showing no reservations or discomfort about trying to move around on a slippery surface with ungainly planks strapped to his feet. Katie didn't really want to wear her skis, but she walked back and forth with us to be part of the action.

Eventually we graduated to the steeper grades, and we learned how to climb up hills and ski back down. Scott loved that part and long after our lesson was over he was still going up and down that hill -- he essentially bawled when it was time to leave for dinner, and wanted to know when we were coming back.

We had dinner in Canmore at the Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company, which has been a favourite spot in the past, thanks to its gluten-free offerings and its kid-sized stone oven replica complete with plastic food to play with. The kids coloured pictures while we were waiting for our pizza and Katie leaned a little too far over the candle holder. Suddenly her was on fire! I quickly smothered the flames with my hand and there was no damage done -- aside from a few scorched strands on top and an unpleasant smell of roasted hair. Katie cried a little bit because all the excitement had scared her, but she was fine. The guys at the table next to us were pretty excited as well, as they had witnessed the whole thing.

It was a very successful day and we look forward to doing it all again -- the flaming hair notwithstanding.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Looking Pretty

Katie has a lot of patience when it comes to looking "pretty". She will sit contentedly on the bathroom counter for as long as it takes to style her hair or paint her toenails. For Christmas she got lots of new hair clips and some fancy nail polish, and she is very excited about it all.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy 90th Grandma!

Great Grandma M had her 90th birthday and each family took turns celebrating with her. The kids made her some special birthday cards by painting pieces of paper that Mom then cut out into letters. It is so fun that we live just a few blocks away and we get to see Great Grandma & Grandpa every week at church or out walking the neighbourhood.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Friday, January 04, 2013

Dad vs. Food: Twenty Napkin Burger

When we were gathered in Utah for Brad's wedding, Luke and I ended up watching an episode of "Man vs. Food" where the host attempted to eat the Sasquatch Burger, which was about as big as a watermelon. He failed in his attempt.

Shortly after we returned home from our trip, I got a text from Luke that he had attempted a similar feat by ordering the "Twenty Napkin Burger" from a local restaurant called Craft. He did not succeed in finishing it, but he admitted that he had upsized his fries to a poutine (adding cheese curds and gravy) and that didn't help.

My boss took us all out to lunch on one of the first days back from the Christmas break and he said he'd give $5 if I finish this burger. That was all the prodding I needed -- in reality, I was just happy that he would bankroll the $26 menu item.

The burger is composed of a very large pretzel bun, two 8-oz patties, plus 4 oz of bbq beef brisket (which makes a terrible mess), plus bacon, plus cheese, plus a little slider burger on top as a garnish. They use a chopsick instead of a toothpick to keep it all together.

I cut the burger into quarters and went to work. It was very delicious until late in the 3rd quarter, when I hit a wall. It was a bit of a struggle to finish, especially since most of a beef patty had managed to hide in the 4th quarter.

But I finished. And I claimed my $5 and another eating title to add to my timbit-eating victory that I recorded last year (and won a tax receipt worth $1700):

My secret was that I broke the timbits in half and dunked them in water before eating them.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

No More Diapers!

Katie no longer wears diapers. She always tells me that she is growing up and that she's a girl (or a toddler) and not a baby. Well, here is the proof -- she is officially potty trained.

She got to drink loads and loads of yummy juice and had to sit on the training potty every few minutes to try, and then suddenly it worked! She got a little treat (a marshmallow) and a sticker every time she used the potty. Pretty soon, she had amassed quite a sticker collection. Scott was also involved, getting a sticker of his own every time she was successful. He was her unofficial coach, helping her get some toilet paper and encouraging her along.

She wears "big girl underwear" all day (with Dora pictures on them!) and "princess night-time underwear" for sleeping (pull-ups). Aside from a few minor incidents (like when she was so wrapped up in playing a computer game that she didn't heed the call), she has been doing great. She even got to go play in the Kiddie Corral at the Co-op grocery store, which is reserved for kids who are potty trained.

Way to go Katie!