Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Great Negotiator

Littlest is always trying to get a better deal.  And her response to any request is always the same: How 'bout dis.

Me:  Time for bed.
Her:  How 'bout dis.  Five more minutes.

Me:  Go pick out a book to read before bed.
Her:  How 'bout dis.  Five books.
Me:  How 'bout dis.  Two books.
Her:  How 'bout dis.  Three books.

Me:  Put your dishes in the dishwasher.
Her:  How 'bout dis.  We have some ice cream first?

Are you starting to see a pattern here?  The thing is that she is so cute when she says it, we have all started saying it.  Let's do 'bout dis...let's do 'bout dis...

Last night, she was done her spelling words before supper, had already read her take home reading book and had a shower all by 6:15.  I told her she could watch TV for half an hour if she wanted.  Guess what she said.  'How 'bout dis.  15 minutes.'  I laughed .  I told her half an hour was more than 15 minutes.  A big grin came across her face.  'You just made my evening,' she said.

I aim to please.  Later.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Happy 39th Julie

Today is the 39th birthday of my beautiful wife, Julie. She keeps joking about how old she is getting. I hope she's just joking anyway, because that would make me really old! 

However, if Julie were able to retire today, I'm sure she would have no trouble finding things to do. She loves to create and would have no problem doing that full time. Colouring, painting, sewing, crocheting, making stained glass projects.  I'm sure if she had more time, the list would be longer. She sees the beauty in something old or plain and brings it out.  She has chalk-painted an old desk and turned it into something beautiful. She redid an old church door and made it into a headboard. Every year she sews the kids (and me!) pj pants. She has made a wonderfully snuggly blanket for curling up on the couch. And she has created many gorgeous stained glass pieces.  Here are her hands at work, doing some of the things she loves:

Some day she will have more time for these things, but in the meantime, her hands are busy helping people.  She is great at her job, and has helped countless people during her time as a sonographer.  But even though her hands are great at taking pictures, it's her heart that is her real gift.  Much like crafting, she sees the beauty in everyone.  She truly believes in the 'care' part of health care and people know it when they see her.  She is compassionate and empathetic and a great listener.  So I hope she carries on doing what she's doing for a long time yet.

Perhaps her kind heart is because she has a heart for Jesus.  As a parent, the greatest thing you can pass onto your kids is your love of Jesus and Julie is doing that.  All three of our girls see how their Mom lives and are following in her footsteps.  

So if you see Julie today, wish her happy birthday and let her know 39 isn't old.  She has a lot left to give this world.  She's just getting going.  Later.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Shaming, feeling old, and power ballads

Hello.  Is it me you're looking for?
Sorry about that.  But now that you're humming Lionel Ritchie, let me say welcome back.  It has once again been forever since I've written anything.  Summer has come and gone.  Even fall has come and gone.  But in my defence, fall only lasted 4 hours this year.  A few nights ago Julie asked me if I was ever going to blog again and I said that the longer I went, the harder it got to get back into the swing of things.  So much has happened that I don't know where to start.  She told me to just start.  So here I am, just starting.

One of the children came home with an art assignment the other day.  She was supposed to make four curvy lines down a piece of paper and then connect those lines with curves (essentially looking like some segmented worms).  She was then supposed to colour all her segments with shading to make it look like these four worms were three dimensional.  She was busy going about it, when I noticed the instructions and what she was doing.  She was colouring with markers and there wasn't a whole lot of shading.  I attempted to show her what the assignment was supposed to show and she didn't like it.  Oh well, I tried.

Everyone in our house is into colouring, so I thought I would join in too.  One day in Michael's, I spotted an adult colouring book called the 'Hipster Colouring Book.'  It looked like something I could get behind, so I picked it up.  A few nights later, Julie and I were colouring after the kids went to bed.  I know what you're thing - we are pretty wild and crazy.  Anyway, this is what I created:

The next morning, I was eager to show off my handy work to the children.  They all oohed and aahhed appropriately.  One commented on the hat and how it looked curved and how I did that.  I said it was by the way I shaded it.  The one with the art assignment said it looked really cool.  Then she paused, cocked her head to the side a bit and looked at me.  'Wait a minute!  Are you trying to shame me?!' Not me.  I would never do such a thing.

I guess I've been alive long enough now that some of what the kids take in school as 'history' was stuff I lived through.  One came home talking about the Quebec ice storm.  Oh yeah, I said, I remember that.  We then talked about it a bit and I asked if she knew what year it happened in.  I honestly didn't think it was that long ago.  She said, 'I'm not sure.  I think it was in the 1900's.'  Boom.   Talk about feeling old.   She said it 'nineteen hundreds' the way we talk about the 1800's or 1500's.  Turns out she was right.  1998.  The good old 1900's.

Speaking of the 1900's, I've been educating the kids on some power ballads from the '80's.  I'm not quite ready for them to hear all of Warrant's or Poison's songs, but some are okay.  Middlest has taken a liking to Heaven, by Warrant.  Littlest likes Poison's 'Something to Believe In.'  The other day after listening to it, she asked to see what the singer looked like.  Not wanting to shock her too much, I pulled up a fairly recent picture of Bret Michaels.  'Hmm,' she said, 'pretty handsome.  But not as handsome as you Dad.'  Take that Bret.  I guess every rose does have its thorn.  Later.  

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Annie and her three very different boys

Almost seven weeks ago, Julie's parent's farm cat, Annie, had kittens. Annie has a pretty good life. She has a house on the deck, food and water, and is in close proximity to the treats. But she lived on her own for a while before being adopted and hasn't lost her killer instinct. She can bring down birds and gophers. 

So when it came time to deliver, Annie did not choose the safe confines of her deck house. She secretly burrowed in under an old mower. After much searching (and Annie diverting), the den was eventually found. But it was tough to see how many kittens were back in there. After careful observation, it was believed there were three babies. But then they were gone! Annie had moved them. Again, she didn't want to give up the location, but the new nest was discovered under a pile of fence posts. They made a couple more pit stops before all arriving on the deck one morning. Annie was ready to share her family (and some of the feeding duty!).  

Somewhere along the way, Julie's parents decided that since there were three cats, each grandchild should get to name one. That takes some ... courage? The kids couldn't blindly name them though, they needed to know the sex. Papa determined all were boys. 

After seeing pictures, the girls all decided on names, but the news had to be delivered in person. So we made the trip to the farm and after six weeks and six homes, the kittens were named. 

Biggest chose one that was all black. Black from head to toe. Like one certain Sith Lord you may or may not have heard about. Yes, the first kitten is...Darth Vader. 

He looks pretty menacing. 

Middlest chose the kitten that was black and white. She, being interested in unicorns and rainbows and everything cuddly, chose a slightly softer name. Meet...Fluffy. 

Littlest had a kitten that was mostly black but has two white spots on its underside. And in typical Littlest fashion, she picked something totally random. Meet...Justin. 

There was one brief moment of panic when I heard, 'Justin is a girl! He has boobs!'  All cats have boobs, I replied. Whew. Crisis averted. 

So there you have it. One mother. Three sons. Three very different names. Thanks Nanny and Papa. Later. 

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Sarah, Johnny, 1D, Corey and sugar bugs

Over the past month or so, I've started listening to songs with the girls before bed.  We'll say our prayers, get snuggled in and then listen to a relaxing song or two, depending on the time.  If it's two songs, we each get to pick one.  This actually started with Littlest.  One day she wanted to listen to a Sarah McLachlan song.  If you knew me in the '90's when I was going to the Lilith Fair festivals, you would know that this is a weak spot for me.  So we spent the next several nights drifting off to sleep while Sarah sang about being in the arms of an angel.  Pretty relaxing.

Eventually the other girls caught wind of this and they wanted in on the action.  I was filled with shock and awe and pride when the first song Middlest ever wanted to listen to was 'Boy named Sue.'  Maybe not the most relaxing, but she asked for Johnny Cash!  How could I refuse that.  It all worked out when I played her some Sarah after.  A few days later she asked to hear 'Perfect.'  Without missing a beat, I said, 'One Direction?'  Why do I know that?!

As time goes on, I'm having to dig a bit deeper into my musical vaults to find calm and soothing songs.  My sister would be happy to know that there has been some Corey Hart lately and that he has been pleasantly received.  Except for a few years of teenage denial, I've always liked Corey Hart.  I even owned Boy in the Box.  After that, my sister bought all his albums, so there was no reason for me to.  But I do have his greatest hits on CD and now on iTunes.

After Littlest and I listened to 'Chase the Sun' one night, she wanted to know what he looked like.  So I showed her the album cover.  Then she wanted to know what he looked like when he smiled (she felt it was a very serious picture).  So we did a quick google image search.  As it turns out, I don't believe Corey Hart smiled during the eighties.  He was too busy perfecting the brooding look I guess.  We did find a picture from 2011 with a slight smile, but definitely no teeth.  Littlest then decided that he must be a very serious person.  She said, 'I wonder why he doesn't smile more.  He should.  I smile all the time.'  I replied, 'Yes, yes you do.  And I love it.  Goodnight.'

I don't want to name any names for this next story, just so I don't embarrass anyone.  This way they can all deny it.  We were laying there listening to the smooth sounds of 'Never Surrender', the child with her eyes closed and me rubbing her back.  Then a hand came up to her face, a finger came out, gave a little poke in her nose and then went into her mouth.  I snickered.  'Having a little night lunch?' I asked.  She wondered what I was talking about and I told her what I witnessed.  Then she giggled a bit and closed her eyes again.  We laid there a few more minutes and then she asked, 'Dad, do boogers have sugar bugs?'  There's a question I didn't ever anticipate answering.  Looking back, maybe I should have answered yes, it might have been a deterrent.  But then it probably would have meant a trip back to the bathroom to brush teeth again.  I simply giggled to myself, said no and kissed her forehead goodnight.  Later.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

I sure miss saying goodbye to you

There are a lot of songs out there, especially country ones, that deal with death and losing someone. Until you are faced with that situation, they don't stand out as much. 'Over you', 'I drive your truck', 'Drink a beer', were all just good songs until we lost Dad. Since then there have been many nights walking the dog that I have cried a bit while listening to these and other songs. 

There are some songs that aren't specifically about dying that strike a chord too. 'Hasn't hit me yet' comes to mind. There is another one by an east coast Canadian singer that goes like this:

'Winter came a bit too soon, 
I sure miss saying goodbye to you.'
- Seasons by Andy Brown

It seems like a weird thing to miss, but I do. Whenever anyone of us would leave mom and dad's, he would always come outside to see us off. Weather didn't matter. Middle of winter, he would get dressed up, come outside, wave and stand there till we were out of sight.  Even near the end when it obviously wasn't easy to manage the stairs, he still came out. It was something that was important to him.  I don't think I'll ever stop missing that. 

Today is Dad's first birthday that he's not here to celebrate. Last year we were still able to enjoy a big party with him. This year we're left with the many memories we have. Waffles. Music. Stories. A good beer. The way he put everything in God's hands. The way I would call him and ask what he was doing today and he would always say 'nothing.'  Then we would talk for twenty minutes or half an hour about nothing. 

I made waffles on the weekend and Biggest helped me. We dirtied three bowls, folded in egg whites and listened to Johnny Cash and Johnny Horton on vinyl. Making new memories and keeping old ones alive. 

Happy birthday Dad. I miss you. I'll see you again. Later. 

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Saskatoon, fools and fun dad

Last weekend we had the opportunity to go to Saskatoon. We had some appointments scheduled for Friday and then stayed over till Saturday. It's always nice to go back and reconnect with friends. We went and hung out by the river for a while. Walked on the train bridge. Watched the pelicans. Saw a beaver. Posed for a picture. 

We came home Saturday evening and went to church Sunday morning. Now most of my funny stories here involve the girls but I have to tell one from Sunday school. I teach grade 5 and 6 boys so it is often interesting. The story talked about a man storing up stuff here on earth and God called him a fool. I asked why God called the man a fool. The first response I had was, 'Because it's nicer than calling him an idiot.'  True. Not quite what I was looking for, but true nonetheless. 

This came in the mail this week too:

My awesome wife ordered it as soon as she saw 'chewbacca mom's' video online. It is pretty awesome. I surprised a couple of coworkers with it as well. 

This weekend Julie is in Phoenix with her cousin, so it's just me, the dog, two cats and three girls. I'm doing my best to make it a fun weekend to they don't miss mom too much. We started by getting slurpies after school yesterday. That was followed by hotdogs, chips and pop for supper. Yum yum. 

This morning we went swimming. There is only one indoor pool in Lloydminster for about 30000 people. It has a water slide and a wave pool that goes off once every hour. I checked last night and the Saturday hours are 9-9. Perfect. Everyone was up well before 7, so we had no problem making it there by 9:30. We were the only ones in the pool! We left around 10:30 and still the only ones! 30000 people and not one other person at the pool except us (and a couple geriatric people swimming lanes).  It was strange indeed. 

From there we headed outside to a family fun day in the park. 

There were horse carriage rides. Here is the view from the cockpit. I sat beside a nice old fellow who told me about his 14 miniature horses (and two babies) and the nice weather this year. Last year's ride was incredibly hot and the yer before that it snowed!  Early June in Canada I guess. 

There was also a petting zoo. I use the word zoo loosely. A bunch of animals and kids crammed under a tent would be a more accurate description but I don't think it would look as good on the sign. And who can resist a good goat? 

There was also a train ride. And by train ride I mean a bunch of barrels on wheels pulled by an atv. But again, doesn't sound quite as good. Nevertheless, it was one of the highlights of the day.  The older two said they were happy to ditch me for 5 minutes. I didn't have the heart to tell them that the feeling may have been mutual. 

And did I mention there was free cake?!

We rounded off the day with a movie and fairly early bed time. Now it's just me and the hound dog, chilling on the bed. It's hard work being fun dad all day long. One more day to go though, so I guess I better rest up. Later. 

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Victoria Day

Today is back to work after a nice, relaxing long weekend. We've been celebrating Victoria Day for quite a while now, and it's fairly routine. Unless you're six of course. Then you have all sorts of questions about why we get the day off, who queen Victoria was, when her birthday is, when she lived and died. 

Julie and I weren't that familiar with all these stats either, but a quick Google search showed she died in 1901 and was queen of England and also empress of India for a while. Wikipedia also shows a nice portrait of her. It was generally concluded by the girls that the queen was not the best looking individual to ever grace the throne. 

That didn't stop Littlest from celebrating the day though. 'We celebrate her birthday even though she wasn't very good looking,' may or may not have been overheard. She also made everyone a picture for the occasion complete with the funny crown piece on her head. 

Keep in mind, Littlest is just learning to read and came up with this all on her own. So if you need some translation from her phonetic spelling, it's Victoria died queen birthday. Pretty impressive I thought. 

So there you have it. It's always a good idea to know what you're are celebrating if kids are involved. And also important to celebrate the less attractive monarchs too. Later. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Biggest gets Baptized

Deciding to move from Saskatoon to Lloydminster almost two years ago was one of the hardest things we have done as a family.  We really had no intention of leaving until an opportunity presented itself.  We prayed about it a lot and door after door kept opening for us.  We really felt like God was telling us this is what we were supposed to do.  It was hard on all of us to leave our jobs, schools, church and friends behind.  

One of the first things we did after moving was find a church.  We felt an immediate connection to FBC here and have been going there ever since.  We are all growing in our faith here, but the blossoming of the girls has been amazing.  They all love to go to church.  I started teaching Sunday School during the first service of the morning this year, so Biggest comes with me for that and then attends the second service with Julie and me.  I'm pretty sure I didn't pay that much attention when I was ten, and I'm definitely sure I never took notes during sermons.  But she has a journal that she brings every week and diligently listens and takes notes.  It is pretty amazing.

About a month ago, Biggest came to us with some questions about baptism.  She talked with Julie and then with me and we found places in the Bible where it talked about it.  Then she decided that she would like to be baptized.  My initial thought was that she was too young, but listening to her talk, we knew she was ready.  We asked our pastors, she took a baptism class and she was ready to go.  

Julie's parents, my mom, my brother and his family as well as Biggest's best friend from school were all there to celebrate the occasion.  Then, just before the service started, two couples from Saskatoon showed up to surprise us.  It was pretty awesome.

While waiting to go in, Biggest told Julie that she couldn't stop smiling:

Talking with Pastor Ryan and still all smiles:

Getting ready:

Taking the plunge:

Still smiling:

A big hug:

There are still plenty of days we all miss Saskatoon.  But then there are days like this when you know you are exactly where you are supposed to be.  The theme for Sunday School this month is contentment:  learning to be happy no matter what you have.  Today's lesson was about focussing on what God has given you today.  If we spend too much time looking back at what we used to have and how things were, we will miss what God has given us now.  And I don't want to miss the gifts He's giving us now, because He is doing some pretty amazing things.

And there was cake too, which is always a reason to be thankful:


Star Wars and Mother's Day

I have a friend at work who is a bigger Star Wars fan than me.  Crazy, I know.  It just so happens that his birthday is on May 3.  How could the biggest Star Wars fan I know miss having his birthday on May the fourth by one day?!  It really is a cruel world.  (Just to clarify for any non-geek types out there - May the fourth has become Star Wars day because is sounds like 'may the force' as in 'may the force be with you.')  It also happens that this friend loves tacos and his birthday is two days away from Cinco de Mayo.  So we decided to celebrate these three days with one big Star Wars/taco/birthday party at work.  It was pretty awesome.

Here is the Star Wars shaped snack mix:

The taco bar all set up:

And the birthday boy showing us how it is done.  A taco inside of a taco:

Julie decided to celebrate Mother's Day this year by getting two wisdom teeth carved out two days before.  Needless to say, there were no big brunch plans.  The girls were still able to shower her with their gifts that they made at school.  Their home-made gifts really are special.  Biggest had a picture frame with four holes in it that she filled with pictures and sayings.  One said, 'together, we can do hard things,' which is one of Julie's mantras.  Middlest's card even said, 'I hope your mouth isn't too sore,' and she had some very stunning portraits drawn.  It must have felt like looking in the mirror for Julie.  Littlest had a canvas with a handprint on it so we would always remember how small she was.  Pretty awesome stuff.  

The day before Julie had her oral surgery, she took the time to paint all the girls' toes:

With this being the long weekend and us not being the camper-type, we decided to have a movie night this evening.  We finally got around to watching 'The Force Awakens' with the girls.  Julie and I had seen it in the theatre, but the girls still hadn't seen it.  As I was getting ready and putting the movie in, Littlest asked if Yoda was in this one.  I said that no, he wasn't and that he had died in the last movie.  Then she said, 'That's too bad.  I miss the old days with Yoda.'  Yeah, me too.  Later.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Piano, pie, Pepsi and love

Another month has almost passed by yet again.  We just finished another year of music festival last week.  All three girls played piano - Littlest one song, Middlest two songs and Biggest played three times.  It was a long and stressful week for all involved, especially the parents.  I think it is harder on us to sit through it all sometimes than for the kids.  My mom was able to come and hear each girl play once.  Last year Dad was still able to make it...his last trip to our place, he was able to hear the girls play.  Littlest wasn't taking lessons then yet, so he never did get to hear her.  She still talks about him lots though.  Even tonight as we were praying, she was thankful that Papa was in heaven.  Then I asked her if she missed him and she said yes.  I asked her if she remembered talking to him on the phone a lot during his last year and she said yes.   Then she wished they had phones in heaven.  Me too.  

Well, that train of thought took a bit of a detour.  On a cheerier note, we celebrated Pi day and work this year.  We ordered in pizza pie and three of us made pie.  March 14 is a great day.  Here is a shot of our handy work.  The middle one in cherry, made by me - my first attempt at pie crust.  It turned out really well, if I do say so myself.

One evening this month, Julie was out and Biggest was at a sleepover.  Littlest went to bed, so Middlest and I settled in to watch Survivor.  There wasn't much Pepsi left, so I had a drink right out of bottle.  Middlest looked at me with longing eyes and I could see she wanted some of that too.  So I let her.  Momma's away, and look what happens.

We then settled in for our date night.  Except that each time I said it was a date night, she said it wasn't a date.  'Let's just call it a Daddy-daughter awesome night,' she said.  So that's what we went with.  No date.  Just an awesome night.

A few days later we had some salad for supper.  For some reason, Middlest couldn't get enough.  (She's usually our pickiest eater, so if she was into something healthy, we weren't going to get in her way.)  After about 4 helpings, I told her to just finish it out of the bowl.  That opportunity proved too much for Littlest to turn down.  So they both dug in and finished it off.

I haven't had a good Rosie story for a while.  Some days she is pretty excited when we get home.  A couple days ago when I came home she was especially revved up for some reason.  She was going crazy and trying to jump up on me.  I put my leg up to stop her when she proceeded to wrap her front legs around my leg and make some pretty unladylike moves with her back end.  'Rosie!' I said sternly.  That's when Middlest walked in and saw her 'hugging' me.  She said, 'Dad, she's loving you!'  Yeah, something like that.  

I was doing some laundry last night when Biggest wanted to learn how.  That's a lesson I will gladly teach.  So I told her that the first step was sorting and making sure everything is turned right side out.  This is the step that takes the longest.  I'm not sure how they do it, but all three girls are able to get undressed with all their clothes below the waist still attached to each other all inside out.  Pants inside of underwear and socks inside pant legs.  This is the most frustrating and time consuming part.  Finally she said, 'Now I see why you are always yelling at us to put our clothes right side out.  I'm actually starting to get annoyed with myself.' I call that a parenting win.

Julie has been playing in her stained glass a bit more lately.  She started making some suncatcher wind chimes.  They look really cool and make a nice sound coming in through the window.  Here is one of the finished products.  

That was taken on a beautiful day.  We have had a few really nice days, but still have some cool mornings.  This morning was one of the chilly ones.  The wind was really brisk, so the girls decided they should take a page out of the penguin playbook and huddle up to stay warm while waiting for the bus.  Heads in, butts out. 

It's nice when they look out for each other.  Later.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Middlest is 8

Facebook notifies me almost daily of my 'memories' - posts that I've made years ago on this day.  Today I received a notification that on this day last year I finally got around to blogging about Middlest's birthday.  I guess I should get at this year's now before the month is over.

On March 7, Middlest turned 8.  I know it's cliche, but time really does fly.  She wanted to have her party at the gymnastic club that she had it at last year and also the same place Littlest had her party last month.  Simple enough.  As you recall, we almost had to cancel Littlest's party because of sickness.  Well, we did have to cancel/postpone this one for real.  The morning of the party, Middlest woke up early with a stomach ache.  Being the understanding guy that I am at 4 in the morning, I told her to go back to sleep.  Shortly thereafter, the puking started.  (Note to self:  pay attention when they say their stomachs are upset.)  We were able to get a hold of everyone and postpone the party for one week.  We didn't even lose our deposit.

Here she is on her actual birthday with the carrot cake and cream cheese icing that didn't make it to the party.

Here we are, one week later than planned, but still having fun.  There was an extra foam pit that recently opened.  The kids had a blast jumping into it.

Walk like a crab.

Littlest attempting to crawl out of the foam blocks.

I chatted with the guy in charge and found out the pit was six feet deep and made for all sizes.  That was all the encouragement I needed.  I got in line with the kids and had my turn.  Julie later told me that when I was getting ready to go that the gymnast in charge started piling up the blocks where I would land 'to make it soft for the big guy.'  He did a good job, because it was a soft landing.

My expression may say otherwise, but it really was soft.


It was quite hard to get out of though.  The kids seemed to have a much easier time with that part of things.

So instead of two days early, we celebrated our middle child 5 days late.  But I would say it was worth the wait.  

Middlest is still as much of a bookworm as she was a year ago.  She is playing piano and busy getting ready for the festival next month.  She is nearing the end of grade 2 and excelling at everything.  She marches to the beat of her own drum and definitely has her own sense of self.  Her fashion sense is loud and animal printed.  The more patterns worn together, the better.  She loves unicorns and often tells stories of how they live on the moon with their friends, the fire dragons.  Did I mention her imagination is fairly healthy?  She is crafty and creative.  She's a good sister and looks out for her little sister when we're not around.  When we are around, there is some normal sibling bickering and her displeasure is easily heard from anywhere in the house.  She continues to love and follow Jesus and enjoys church on Sunday and doing her 'God time' sheet that she brings home from Sunday school.  She received a bible for her birthday and has been reading it.  

There are many times when the girls make we want to pull out what little hair I have left.  But there are more many more times that they fill me with pride or that they just make me laugh.  They are all pretty great kiddos.  Later.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

I don't like balls...and other stories

I'm not sure how I still get surprised by some of the questions or comments that come out of the girls' mouths, but occasionally I do.  It just so happens that over the past week or so, each girl has caught me pretty much speechless.  Let's go in order:

Littlest received a mermaid doll to play with in the bathtub for her birthday.  She was busy playing away in there one night before bed when the usual call came: 'Daaaaaddd!'  You would swear it was a life threatening problem judging by her persistence.  'DDDAAAADDD!!'  Okay, okay, I'm coming.  When I got to the door, she asked me, 'How do mermaids pee?' Hmm.  That's something I don't think I had ever pondered before.  I said that I guessed they just went in the water the way fish do.  'No, how do they pee?  Where does it come out?'  Now I have definitely never pondered the exact anatomical make-up of a mermaid.  She was holding up her Barbie-sized doll, slowly turning it and looking for some sort of clue.  Finally I said that they must have holes in there somewhere, you just can't see them on the doll.  She seemed satisfied with that.  I call that a win for dad.

Middlest is going to go to camp for the first time this summer.  It usually fills up, so we had her registered already and she received her letter in the mail this week saying she was accepted and what to bring.  I was making supper and she was reading me the list.  Swim suit, towels, shoes, flashlight, Bible, sleeping bag...etc...personal hygiene items.  She stopped, looked up and asked, 'Dad, what are personal hygiene products?'  I told her they were things like a tooth brush, hair brush, deodorant.  She got a relieved look on her face and then started to giggle uncontrollably.  She said, 'That's good.  I thought that meant tampons!'  Then we both started to laugh.  'That's what the box says!' she said.  Julie later pointed out that the box says feminine hygiene products.  She was close.

Biggest brought home a note from school about an after school baseball camp they were offering.  Knowing she had no interest in this, I told her that I signed her up.  That's when she said, 'Dad, you know I don't like balls!'  I almost blew my mouthful of milk right out my nose.  Balls.  She had to say more than one.  Couldn't have said, 'I don't like ball.'  I then asked her if she didn't like any balls.  She replied, 'Nope.  Soccer balls, basket balls, dodge balls, baseballs.  I hate them all!'  All right then.  Later on that evening, she was talking about a friend of hers who is in figure skating and was previously in gymnastics.  I asked her if she felt her life was lacking because she wasn't in any organised sports.  Then she said, 'Dad, you know I hate sports!'

So there you have it.  Know where your mermaids pee.  I mean really know where they pee.  Leave your hygiene products at home (for now).  And just say no to balls and sports. Later.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Littlest turns six!

Let me start off by saying that I know I have a lot of stories to tell from the past six months.  But maybe I need to just start writing about the here and now and go back and fill in the holes.  Today I am writing about the birthday party that almost wasn't.

Let's go back to last Sunday.  Biggest was feeling quite under the weather,  She was hot and cold, had a fever and chills, would wake up in the night covered in sweat and then icicles later on.  Needless to say, she spent a couple of days at home.  Julie had the sick kid duty for those first two days.  Middlest was next to fall victim to the Kroeker plague of 2016.  Littlest held on the longest, but she missed some school too.  But by Friday, everyone was feeling pretty much back up to snuff.  The youngest two still had a cough, but nothing too serious.  That is why I was surprised when my cell phone rang just after lunch on Friday.  There was no one on the other end, but I recognized the school number.  I called back and talked to the school secretary and she said that I had a very sick little girl there - just threw up as a matter of fact.  Oh no!  My first thought was Littlest.  She has been known to cough so hard that she pukes.  I asked if it was her and the secretary said she thought so.  So as I was leaving work and heading to the school, I was talking with Julie and we decided to call of Littlest's birthday party for today (Saturday).  Julie texted all the parents that had replied and told them we would reschedule.  Then I pulled up to the school and saw biggest sitting there.  I couldn't believe it.  It turns out that she had a migraine and threw up.  So Julie did some quick damage control and the party was back on.  Whew.

We rented a local gymnastic place here in town and let the kids rip around and go nuts for an hour.  As it turns out, the plague wasn't specific to just our house a a few kids cancelled because they were sick.  In the end, it was our three girls, three boys and one girl from Littlest's class and one boy's older sister who stayed and hung out with our older girls.

Here is Littlest on the rings.

And just looking like her adorable self.  The hand in the background belongs to a boy who refused to be in the same picture as a girl.  

Here is Middlest building a fort.  Take note of the blue cylinder she's holding and the red one at the front of the picture.  I've got a story to tell about them.

I thought I would get in on the aerial act too.  That balance beam is at least a couple feet off the ground. 

I decided to help build a fort with walls and a roof.

Still building...before the mayhem ensued.

Get ready to roll your sister.


Littlest's turn.

Having three girls, I forget how crazy boys can be.  Eventually I started chasing them around and they liked being caught.  Then they decided to fight back.  That's when I would fall down and be bludgeoned with the big foam cylinders I pointed out earlier.  To be honest, the physical beating was expected.  The verbal barrage of names hurled at me was not.  It started with 'you can't catch me old man' and then when I was laying down taking a break, 'hey big butt!'  Later one boy grabbed my cheek and called me chubby cheeks.  Then came a stream of food-based names:  taco face, cucumber, banana and chicken finger.  Can't say I've ever been called any of those things before.  Lastly, came 'big baby.'  I was worn out and my self esteem was knocked down a notch or two by the time it was time for cake.  (Not to mention I am kind of an old man and was reminded of that when I needed to take some Robaxacet when we got home.)

Here is Littlest and her cake (made by Julie):

And the whole crew minus two boys that wouldn't come out from under that table for a picture.

I'm partied out, but her actual birthday is tomorrow.  It should be a bit more subdued though.

It's still hard to believe that our youngest is six.  I know I am biased, but she's a pretty neat kid.  She has an incredible sense of humour and is always coming up with a good one-liner.  She is kind and considerate, is a good friend and loves her sisters.  She loves her puppy and is often on the floor with Rosie hanging out, or holding hands with her having 'paw time.'  She loves Jesus and comes up with some pretty insightful things while we're praying.  I guess that's why Jesus says we need the faith of a child.  She still talks about her Papa in heaven and how she will see him some day.  Our girls all go to a Catholic school, so lately she has been ending her prayers with 'Lord hear our prayer.'  Then she tells me to say that too.  All in all, she's pretty awesome.  Happy birthday Littlest.  We love you.  Later.