Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jorja's last day of Grade 1

This has been a week of some nasty weather.  On Monday evening, the power went out at about 5:00pm (it's a good thing I was BBQing) and didn't come back on until midnight.  It was still fairly nice at our house at five (hence the BBQing), but by sevenish, it was pretty nasty.  Thunder, lightning, hail.  Some of the bigger hail I've seen in a while.
The girls were all a little freaked out and scared, but the worst was Jorja.  Her little imagination must run wild sometimes I think.  We got them all calmed down and to bed, but Tuesday wasn't much better.  Jorja was supposed to go on a field trip to the swimming pool, but apparently they cancel all field trips when there is a tornado watch on.  I'm not really sure why - the pool was indoors, and they let them play outside at school anyway.  Speaking of playing outside, Jorja's class got to play in the spray park which is on the school grounds.  Except Jorja that is.  The poor thing was so worked up about the tornado watch that she didn't want to be outside.  She stayed in with the Grade 2 class and read her book.

I'd like to say the weather was better by Wednesday, but my fence wouldn't agree with you.  Wednesday was the day for wind warnings, and my fence got flattened in the process.  Oh well, what can you do?  It could have been worse - I saw a lot of trees down too. 

I was off work Wednesday, so I drove Jorja for her last day of school.  Here she is right before it began. 

Slightly wind-blown but we made it.  Her day was alright - she had mass in the morning and an assembly in the afternoon.  When it was time to leave at the end of the day, I think the finality of it hit her.  The kids were filing out of the room and the teacher was saying goodbye, some were giving her hugs, some parents were saying thank-you.  All fairly typical until Jorja came along.  She was in tears by the time she got to the door.  She hugged her teacher with the kind of feeling and emotion you see in airports when people are saying goodbye.  Her tears were now flowing in full stream and she was sobbing.  They hugged for a while and her teacher whispered words of encouragement and praise in her ear.  It was all I could do to keep myself together.  We made our way back to the car and headed for home.  I sure hope her love for school and learning continues thoughout her life.  Her report card was no surprise either - she's a rockstar.

I was off work again today, so we went to pick up the pottery from Jorja's party.  It turned out really well - such a cool idea for a party.
This afternoon while CeCe was napping, we took the baby monitor into the backyard and did some gardening.  (Is June 28 too late to plant tomatoes and cucumbers?  I guess we'll see.)  Before we could plant, there was some weeding to do.  I showed the girls what plants to pull and they went at it.  The was not complaining or whining about it at all.  It was just the opposite actually.  They were really into it.  Too into it.  Jorja would pull one, hold it up and exclaim, "Look!  I got the root!"  Not to be outdone, Ginny would do the same, "Look at the root on this one!"

It was nice to see their enthusiam for what most deem a chore.  After a while though, I realized if I was going to wait for the euphoria and reaction after every weed, we were never going to get anything done.  I got out the hoe and took care of the rest.  We got the vegtables planted and even found a couple of earth worms.  The girls weren't squeemish at all about picking them up.  Mind you, they were wearing gloves.  Still impressive I thought. 

I'm home alone with them again tomorrow, and for some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to take them all for haircuts.  Even CeCe.  Well, they're getting pictures taken later in the day, so that's why the haircuts.  Should be interesting to say the least.  Later.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jorja's early 7th birthday party

We had Jorja's birthday party this weekend.  It's not really for another month, but we thought it would be easier to get kids together before school was out.  We held it at a pottery studio in town so the girls all got to paint a piece of pottery.  We don't have the finished products yet, as they had to fire them in the kiln first.  I'm curious to see what they all came up with.  They have a special party room, where all the birthday kids get to put their hand prints on the wall.

As you can see, she was pretty pumped about that.  Julie also made all the girls a gumball necklace.  She found the idea on Pintrest (which I am told is a necessity).  They ended up being a lot of work, but they looked great and the girls all liked them.  One thing I never envisioned though, was just sucking on the gumballs.  Both our girls started out with eight nice, shiny gumballs and now some are missing, but the ones that are still there all have their finish sucked off.  Just didn't see that one coming.  Oh well.

CeCe is really starting to get in touch with some of her bodily functions.  Yesterday she woke up from her nap and came to the door of her room and yelled over and over again, "Daddy, I'm stinky!"  Why she always chooses to tell Daddy's she's stinky is a mystery.  I'd be happy if she told Mommy.  Anyway, I went to get her out of her room, and asked her, "Did you poop?"  She replied, "Yeah, right there."  And then turned around and patted her butt.  As if I didn't know where to find it.  Thanks CeCe.  Then today as we were getting out of the car for church, she reached her finger into her nose a pulled out a big booger.  "Here you go.  Booger," she said as she held it out to me.  What was I going to do?  I took it off her finger and said thank you.  "You're welcome!" she replied cheerfully.  Manners too.  What more could you ask for?

It was a really nice day out yesterday.  We were all outside in the late afternoon playing in the backyard.  I got the hose out to water some flowers.  Ginny came running over and asked me to spritz her.  I did and she squealed.  This brought CeCe over, and she wanted some too.  So I gave her a little spray and she yelled too.  Soon it was more, more, more.  What started out as a little flower watering turned into a four-year old running around in her underwear and a two-year old running around in her diaper having a great time.  CeCe would run through the stream and then come out and yell, "Too wet!  Too wet!"  Then she'd be right back in there. 

 You gotta love summer.  Later.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Father's day and catching up

It seems to have been a while since I've written again, so maybe I'll start with today and work backwards as far as I can remember.

Jorja had her last skating lesson tonight.  It's pretty amazing the progress she made in 10 lessons (5 hours on the ice) compared to the one time we tried to go as a family this winter.  Bambi no more!  As she was getting ready and I was tying her skates, Ginny was asking about girls playing hockey.  I said that of course girls could play hockey.  She said that mostly boys do and I said that lots of girls do too.  Jorja said she didn't like hockey.  "What do yo mean, you don't like hockey?!" was my response.  She said, "Well, I like watching it, and playing with you.  I like skating and maybe figure skating, but lots of people on the other team...and lots of people on my team, **scrunches up her nose and shakes her head**, not my thing."

Ginny had a soccer game last night.  One of the few this year that hasn't been rained out.  I'm sure the poor kid has only got to play half her games.  She has one more on Sunday and then the final game is next Tuesday.  Then we are done all the lessons for now.  No piano, no music, no soccer, no skating.  What are we going to do?  Hopefully we get less rain than the rest of this spring and we can bike more.  I've really got to get Jorja biking with no training wheels.  The last time we went out didn't work so well.  But Ginny did really well with the training wheels - she could pedal and steer this time - quite the improvement over the previous time.

Sunday was Father's Day.  I got to sleep in and had an awesome breakfast.  It wasn't in bed because it was deemed too messy for that.  But it was definitely worth getting up for.
Cinnamon raisin cream cheese stuffed french toast...soooooo good.

I was spoiled with crafts and pictures from the girls.  Jorja decorated a 'koozy' for me (goes around cans to keep them cold) at school.  She told me I could use it for a pen or pencil holder, or I could put my beer in there.  Can you tell where I work?  I'm sure she told her teacher that too.  Oh well, it can't be any worse than my coworker whose daughter told her teacher that her mom drank beer for a living.  Kids.

Julie got me a Star Wars tshirt, and ice cube tray that is in the shape of Han Solo when he is frozen in Carbonite (how cool is that?!) and a little microscope that plugs into the computer with a USB port so you can see your stuff on the screen (how super cool is that?!!).  Yes, I know I'm a geek. 

I've got a great family and great kids and I'm proud to be their Dad.  It was a great day all around.

On Saturday we went to a BBQ/pool party put on by one of the doctors Julie works for.  Jorja was at a birthday party, so it was just Julie, Ginny, CeCe and me there.  The girls loved the pool and even got their faces painted.  One tiger and one kitty.

I'm not sure what happened last week from Monday to Friday.  Julie cam home a week ago Sunday, so that was awesome.  We all missed her and the girls were super excited to see her at the airport.  So was I.  Later. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Flying solo

This is my last night at home alone with the kids.  Julie left early Wednesday morning for a work conference in Halifax.  It's been a fairly long haul, but we made it.  All is quiet upstairs, I just finished watching the hockey game, and now I'm avoiding laundry.

The girls all did pretty well.  There were times of tears here and there, but all in all, they held things together.  Things are different now than used to be.  We both have iPhones now, so we are able to FaceTime.  Yes, the girls actually got to see Julie each night before they went to bed.  When I was a kid, that kind of stuff was science-fiction.  So that helped anyway.  By tonight they were getting pretty starved for some Mamma time though.  The three of them trying to crowd around the phone screen and all talk at the same time proved to be a little much.  Oh well, they miss their Mom.  I miss her too.  The airport tomorrow afternoon should be fun.

It rained all day today.  Not a great Saturday.  It varied in intensity, but never stopped.  We went to the library this afternoon - we had to do something to get out of the house.  Jorja was out of books to read anyway.  Then we stopped at the pet store before picking up some pizza and coming home.  CeCe was fascinated with the gecko today.  We would leave the glass window she was watching it through and look at something else.  I'd turn around and she'd be back there, "Gecko, gecko!"  Jorja was fascinated with the lizards when she was young too.  Weird. 

Oh well, I guess I should get some laundry folded.  Later.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Happy birthday Dad

Today is my Dad's 69th birthday.  It's funny how perspective changes over the years.  When I was a kid, I would have thought that was pretty old.  I remember one year when we were kids, Candace I bought Mom and Dad piggy banks that were shaped like old people and said 'retirement savings' on them.  What were we thinking?  They were only in their 30's at the time.  They never said anything, but looking back, I wonder what they thought.  Last week, a young guy at work made a comment that something stunk like 40-year old sweaty man.  I said, 'Pardon me?!'  As I turn 40 this summer, it seemed a little offensive that that was his definition of old.  Anyway, 69 seems pretty young to me now. 

I hope when I'm 69, my kids have the same kinds of memories that I have of my Dad. 

He was always there for us.  We all played hockey, and when it was -30 outside, the temperature in some of those small town rinks was the same.  I remember coming off the ice almost in tears because my toes were so frozen.  He would take my skates off, blow in them, and put my feet in his armpits as he crouched down in front of me.  That was the warmest spot for cold feet, he said.

He had a couple of pieces of advice too.  One was, "Don't ever start a fight, but if you get into one, make sure you finish it."  I guess being a good Mennonite, I took the first part of that to heart pretty well, because I never have been in a fight.  Another was, "When you are at someone else's house, you eat what's on the table."  I've done a pretty good job of this over the years as well.  There was one time I remember I couldn't do it.  Dad used to do some custom bailing for some old bachelor farmers and I would help sometimes and occasionally we went in for a meal.  One day we went in and there were two large pieces of tomato on my plate.  (I HATE tomatoes.)  I looked at the plate with terror in my eyes.  I gave it a real effort.  I made it through the first chunk with a lot of whatever there was to drink and stuffing some other food in my mouth at the same time.  Eventually I couldn't take it anymore.  I gagged a little bit.  I didn't think I was going to make it.  It was at that point a fork came over, stabbed the remaining culprit on my plate and it disappeared into Dad's mouth.  You wouldn't believe the relief that came over me.

He used to recite random song lyrics at times too, and then chuckle.  I never knew the songs, but as I've gotten older, I think I've identified them all.  He used to say, "I drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry."  I didn't know what a levee was or what song it was from, but it always made him laugh when he said it.  Imagine my surprise the first time I heard American Pie.  Another was, "I Got Stripes - Stripes Around My Shoulders, I Got Chains - Chains Around My Feet."  Again, I had no idea that was Johnny Cash until much later in my life.  I find myself singing song lyrics from my youth to the kids too.  I hope that before they think I'm weird, they get some good memories out of it.

His work ethic always amazed me too.  From the barn to the field to the bush, he always led by example.  Growing up in the city, my kids will never have to experience the same kind of work I had to, but I hope I can still instill the same values in them.  Always give it your all.  If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right.  Finish what you start.  We spent a lot of hours together in the barn and cutting wood to burn in the wood stove.  I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed every minute of it at the time, but looking back, they were good times.  I also learned that certain language that was not acceptable in the house, was okay in the barn. 

One of Dad's favourite ways to escape is to fish.  He used to get away once a year with my uncle and some friends.  I remember the first year I was old enough to come along.  We were in the boat and I went to cast.  The whole rod, reel and line came right out of my hand an went straight into the lake.  I was surprised how fast a fishing rod sinks.  I was devastated, but Dad just looked at me, smiled and said, "Don't worry about it.  We're fishing."  That was one place to just forget about everything and relax.  I got the chance to fish with him and my brother one weekend last summer.  We didn't have a boat and we didn't catch anything, but it didn't matter.
Happy birthday Dad.  I love you.  Later. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

CeCe steals the stage

It appears summer may be here.  It felt like in on Friday and Saturday anyway.  Jorja came home from school on Thursday asking if she could stay at school for lunch on Friday.  A lot of her class and her teacher were going to have a picnic under a tree.  It's always a hassle packing the other two up twice for the lunch time trip on Fridays so I said sure.  The rest of us took the opportunity to pick Julie up from work and have our own picnic down by the river.  CeCe and Ginny thought that was pretty neat.  Who am I kidding?  So did Julie and I.

We ended up having another picnic on Saturday too - this time all of us.  We're not quite prepared for summer though.  Ginny came home with a dozen mosquito bites and CeCe and Julie have pink shoulders.  Time for the sunscreen and bug spray I guess.

Today was Ginny's final music recital for the year.  We ended up getting there fairly early, so we had front row seats.  Our proximity to the stage gave Ginny enough confidence to go up there all by herself.  Well, she had the courage to go by herself, but CeCe thought she could use some help.  Half way through her first song, CeCe made a break for it.  Yup, she barrelled her way right up onto the stage right in front of Ginny.  She felt she fit right in.  Heck, by the second song, she was picking up on the actions too.

Yes, there is no stage fright there!  Later.