24 December 2010

Unique Christmas Gifts

Hee hee hee! A Brian puzzle! Mom must have LOVED getting this fantastic, unique Christmas gift from her favourite son!

22 December 2010

Katy Perry Sent Me A Greeting From Santa!!!

Wow, I didn't know she cared! The kids can hardly believe it!


Christmas Party

We had our company Christmas Party at the Pacific Rim Hotel this year. Yup, the hottie in the picture is yours truly. Very dapper, what with the perfect two point pocket square and all. Oh yeah, and Judie is the one in the red dress.

Holiday Express

All aboard! It's time to roll out the Holiday Express!

Truth be told, this is another space consuming Christmas decoration taking up a valuable spot on our garage shelves. The box for this thing is massive! I don't know if it is "garden" gauge track or what.

I strained my back pulling it out and it is so massive we have to set it up in our living room around the ottoman. It is so big I can't even do a circle around our tree without the tracks spillling into the hallway! Nonetheless, the kids love, Love, LOVE it. Justin has been playing with it all morning. Sheesh. I guess as much as things change, an electric train can still captivate the imagination of a little boy.

The set is very colorful, with flashing lights on every car. Pretty good for a Costco special. We must have had this set for at least 5 years and it has become a favourite Christmas tradition with the kids...and every other little kid they invite over during the holidays!!!

There is something that moves on each car too. Santa waves from the engine, a little elf pops out of the back of the tender, the elves saw a candy in half on the Candy Dancer car, and chop wood on the Log Mill car.

My personal favourite is the Tanker car, where a little elf on a magnet spins around as if he was skating.

And Santa's toy shop is in the caboose.

Along with a jolly little...clone trooper??? OK, now I understand why Justin likes it so much. The Republic has commandeered the Holiday Express for a special mission against the Separatists.

And to top it all off, there's a Station that plays non-stop Christmas music while the Holiday Express chugs around the living room. Did I mention there is a remote control to make the train go fast or slow, forward and reverse, and make an assortment of sounds?!? Oh dear, I have a headache already. I need to go check to see if there's any rum in the house for my eggnog.

Breakfast With Santa

Brooklyn got all gussied up for Breakfast With Santa at Canada Place. Fancy dress, straight hair, the whole nine yards. The event featured perennial Vancouver kids' favourites Music With Marnie and Bobs and Lolo and I guess they threw in the Show Stoppers (a glee club) for the parents. That's an angel painted on her face...yes, they had face painting for the kids too.

And don't worry, unlike the Trudeau's, we only wear fake fur in my family.

13 December 2010

Naughty Or Nice???

Christmas Mashup - The Police v Rudolph

The kids just watched the classic puppet animation version of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" last night. This is a great mashup of "Roxanne" and the Christmas classic.

12 December 2010

H-E-L-L-O, It's Showtime!

Oh dear. Camera work by Justin. Performance by Brooklyn. It becomes semi-coherent at about the 25 second mark.

Holiday Happenings

Well, apparently I have ruined Christmas for my wife by getting a tree that's a little short and fat. I've nicknamed it Pavorottree after the fat tenor. She's facebooking about how awful it is and everything. Sheesh. So, instead of a picture perfect Martha Stewart tree, we have adorned Stumpy with multicolored lights and all the kids' homemade decorations! Hey, it is all about the kids isn't it? They had fun decorating it and that's all that matters. Since it is short and squat, they could reach most of the branhces without my help. Now if only Brooks would leave the freakin' decorations on the tree and stop playing with them!!! The other good thing about picking up our Douglas Fat from Home Depot is it came with a $25 coupon for January. The tree is basically free!

I'm sure my parents cursed me for goofing off when I was a kid when they were trying to take a picture. Thank goodness for the digital camera, or the folks at the photo-mart would have a good laugh developing the film from our house.

Justin, in particular, is a little freak. Half the time I think he's trying to replicate 80's robot dance moves or MJ's Thriller video.

The kids are pretty excited about Santa this year. Let's just say that their letter to Santa involved taking the Toys'R'Us flyer and crossing out a couple of toys they DIDN'T want.

In the meantime, Judie decided to buy a 1,000 piece Christmas puzzle to keep the kids busy over the holidays. It was a good idea except the puzzle she picked was freakin' impossible!!! We ended up doing most of it because it was far too complicated for the kids. I don't even want to guess how many hours we spent on this. Thank God it is done. Whew.

Next Saturday the Leafs are in town and we've got tickets for the game. Nothing would make the season more complete than having the Canucks kick Toronto's butts.

28 November 2010

Lights On

Well, US Thanksgiving is over, and it was a dry Sunday, so I figured it was time to put up the Christmas lights. This is an annual undertaking that I both love and loathe. On one hand, I know I'll end up falling off a ladder, cursing in front of the kids, destroying shrubbery, or electrocuting myself. On the other hand, I look forward to the look on the kids' faces when they see the house lit up for the holidays. It also marks the first step in the building excitement to Christmas.

I was very organized this year. I assembled my tools and got out the ladder before I started carting lights out of the crawl space.

Things got off to a bad start as I bonked my head in the crawlspace as I was digging out boxes of lights and decorations. Ugh. Anyway, I had neatly packed things away last year and as I pulled each string from storage, my plan of attack came together and I was eager to start. I was soon up the ladder ready to go. ARGH!!! What the heck? The gutters were full of leaves! Urgh! What a pain, having to stop to clean the gutters before I got started. Oh well, minor setback.

I set to work, meticulously lining up every single light with a clip so that they were perfectly aligned along the gutter. Believe me, squeezing every single light on a string into the plastic clips was getting hard on the fingers after awhile. I was making good progress until I reached the peak of the porch and realized my step ladder wasn't tall enough. Off to the garage to dig out a taller ladder.

It was about this time that the kids came outside and starting running around under the ladder (don't they know that's bad luck...especially with a 185 pound klutz clamouring above them?). I enjoyed the company until they started stealing my tools and supplies. For some reason it was funny to take my bag of gutter clips and chase around the yard while I was yelling obsenities from on high.
After I got my gutter clips back, I had to contend with the overgrown shrubbery to complete my gutter string. A few wobbles, a few close calls, but in the end no falls from the ladder and no blood drawn by the bushes from hell, although I nearly impaled myself on a branch. The hard part was over and the garland and lights around the doors were easy by comparison.
I was feeling proud of myself for getting everything done as I hung the wreathes and cleaned up. Empty boxes back to the crawlspace, tools to the closet, ladders to the garage. I did the grand lighting and everything looked great.

I love the OOO lips from the Garfield Christmas special. From Christmas lights to fireworks, nobody does better OOO lips. Anyway, it was only at this moment that I realized that one of the porch lights was out...AFTER I put the ladders away!!! ARGH!!! Back to the garage.

Not many new additions to the decor this year...so far! But, hey, it's not even December yet! There's lots of time to add new stuff.

I hope the kids appreciate the end result. Wow, that was a lot of work.

04 November 2010

5 Going On 15

Something tells me that when your 5 year old daughter is already straightening her curly hair and dressing in leather and boots, you should be very, very afraid of what's to come.

31 October 2010

Happy Birthday Brooklyn!!!

My little girl is now officially 5 years old!!! I can hardly believe it, she is growing up so fast.

What a cutie she has become...and she's the tallest girl in her class! Maybe I have a model on my hands...nah, she says she wants to be a rock star.

Justin, I hope your sister doesn't forget her rude little bro when she's famous!

Raking Woes

If there's ever a time of year I wish we had four seasons instead of two - Vancouver has "Summer" and "Soggy" - it would be autumn, particularly when all the leaves come down. Maybe I'm romanticizing it a bit, but I used to really enjoy raking leaves on a cool, crisp fall day in Nova Scotia. The air was so fresh and clean, and raking leaves with your brother, Mom, Dad, grandmother, aunt or whoever was always a chance to talk and have a laugh.

Trust me when I say, there is nothing less fun than raking soggy leaves. In Vancouver, you wait for it to stop raining so you can dash out and clean them up and you waste the only time it isn't raining straining your back to pile wet leaves in your bin. And man are leaves heavy when they're wet!!! It is really an unpleasant experience!!! Not sure a leaf blower would be any use in Vancouver, unless it could dry them out a bit before raking!

Even worse, my kids are still a little young to be of any real help. It usually ends up being more work when they help!!!

Oh well, at least we don't have any snow to shovel most winters. Sigh. That's another season I miss!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! My date for the Halloween sock-hop was my sweet darlin' Brooks. Ain't she cute?

Justin is hiding under the Boba Fett mask...last year he was Jango Fett, now Boba Fett. Oh well, at least he didn't want to be Princess Leia!

And speaking of Boba Fett, this freakin' pumpkin took forever to carve!!!

We carved another one quickly at the club Halloween party, where the gym had been converted to a haunted house. They had bowling with skulls, a place to make your own magic potions and fishing for rats and bats out of a witch's cauldron. The kids had fun but were too scared for the haunted house!

This little guy was a quick free form carving by yours truly after Justin decided it was too much work!

02 October 2010

Happy Birthday Justin!!!

Justin is 8 years old!

We booked the gym for an hour of floor hockey with 12 boys and wouldn't you know it, the sun is shining and it must be 20 degrees. Who knew? Oh well, you never know in Vancouver.

I'm a bad dad, I was in Seattle on his actual birthday. And just to show I don't play favourites, I'm going to be out of town on Brooklyn's birthday too!!!

01 September 2010


There's nothing quite like a long weekend at beautiful Parksville, especially when the weather cooperates. The beaches are incredibly sandy and the shallow water lends itself to searching for crabs, clams, mussels and other little critters at low tide.

Hotshot Brooks won the bouncy ball race...

...against her less coordinated competitor!

Urgh! I was so conscious of keeping the score close, Justin ended up beating me at mini-golf due to a couple of late brilliant shots!!! Revenge will be mine!!!

The weather couldn't have been any better. We even saw three deer on the way to mini-golf!

The kids loved the s'mores and log cabin after a long day at the beach!

And the parents loved a glass of red wine after a long day at the beach!

The king of burning marshmallows!

Pouty Justin on the ferry ride home. I don't blame him, Parksville is a great place for a summer getaway!

Upper Canada Village

Boy, am I behind on my blogging. Haven't even got all the pictures from our Kingston trip posted. Here's a couple from our trip to Upper Canada Village, a recreation of a typical late 1800's Ontario town. Justin thought it was pretty boring, of course, and Brooklyn sneezed from the hay and animals the whole time, but otherwise it was fun. The funniest part was the trip to the doctor's house...if you could have seen the look on Justin's face as she explained what all the torture devicies...er, I mean surgical tools...were used for!!!

A couple of freaks from the canrival!

Justin pumps it up!

Justin pushing the hay wagin to earn his wages.

03 August 2010

Museum Of Science And Technology

The best chocolate ice cream ever...according to Justin and his wealth of experience.

No, it's not the tin man, it's a Brooklynaut ready for launch!

Only in Canada would they have a snow mobile simulator at the Museum of Science and Technology.

Brooks drives an old CP engine.

Little people and big wheels!

I thought the coolest part of the museum was making bottle rockets out on the lawn, which the kids did, but apparently not. Their favourite part was a life size fibre network maze with slides and blinking lights that you could run through. Judie hogged a game machine while the kids played...lots of sad little kids running to their parents saying "aw, that lady is STILL playing the game."