Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Heat is On

Summer kicked in full-on this week, which is pretty typical timing -- June is often cooler and cloudier, and then at some point within a week of Canada Day, the switch gets flipped and summer arrives. I liked the mellow June weather for riding and gardening, but I love the heat too -- we were already at the beach this morning to eat breakfast and lounge by the water before it got busy.

This afternoon most of us were back to Sunoka to swim and hang out with the Duecks, and then we all convened up at their place for a feast. Reeeeally felt like summer; still 29 degrees at 11:23pm as I type this.

We had a great weekend with Bill and Sam, hosting a party of 19 on Friday and enjoying a warm summer evening with great people. Nine of the attendees were kids under seven, and they happily ran around the yard until way past their bedtimes. The rest of the visit was mostly spent hanging around the yard too, just kicking back.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ella's Moods

Ella's drawing and writing are taking off together. She launched into this one unprovoked, and I thought it was wonderful. The words: yawning, sleeping, surprised, angry, smiling, silly, sad, excited and happy. So expressive!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

So, my first Father's Day with these three shnerps. I did wish my own dad a happy day, but in my eternal narcissism, my reflections this year were all about me. An old friend and I were discussing the idea of "becoming" over the past few weeks -- that concept is usually applied to adolescents, as if that's the only time you're really becoming anything -- but we were thinking about how we've grown and changed as adults. This is what I wrote:
"I've become a dad -- that blows me away some days, because not only would I not really have predicted it, I also couldn't have known how much it would become my identity (or that I'd be ok with it when it did). But when I try to conjure up a picture of my life, and my sense of purpose right now...I'm a dad. And a husband, but with young kids even that role is secondary. Seven years ago, it was all about me, but now it seems I'm defining myself most by my relationship to those I love.

You asked about life for us these days. It is a good life. My only real criticism is that it is too myopic, too inward-focused...but I think that may be partly due to this life stage, when it really is about creating the foundation for our family over the next couple of decades. My hope is that we expand our sphere of influence and experience as the kids get older, rather than just plodding onto the treadmill of consumption and endless soccer practices."
Being on parental leave is amazing because it represents so much time (relatively, anyway). Time to play, to hang out and just be around the kids. It's been greatness. I've apparently been only taking photos of the kids and flowers these last couple of weeks...

Ezra has been a frequent target: with Tannis, and again, getting into Grandma's birthday cake, hanging out in the playhouse, in black 'n white and looking cherubic.

He's finally recovered from a nasty cold that made him the worst roommate ever, and he's sleeping "normally" again. Lots of clinging and whining and moaning, but also more independent play and smiling, happy times when he's being a total monkey. He pulls up on everything, threatening to walk away...climbs the slide on his own, and tries to eat anything within his grasp...but spits his real food at me when it doesn't measure up.

Ella is embracing summer, spending most of each day outside: breakfast on the dock, practicing soccer, laughing, enjoying the rain, finding treasure and hamming it up. She's gentle and fun and creative -- always willing to help out, and happy to do her own thing for hours at a time. Maybe she can teach Ezra that trick some day.

Ivy got to break me in on this whole fatherhood thing almost seven years ago -- as the vanguard of this trio, she'll probably keep breaking me in through the tough stuff of the next ten years. As Grade 1 winds down, she's been more tired and tense at times, but usually recovering quickly and starting up something creative and fun. Some photos: showing off her henna, also enjoying the rain, looking like a seven-year-old supermodel, and flashing those baby blues.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


If you're with someone and you answer your phone when it rings, you're explicitly telling the person you're with: "No matter who this is on the phone, they are more important to me than you are."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Fisher King

Although I had gone into the video store specifically to get something I hadn't seen before, 20 minutes of searching yielded nothing fitting that description, so I got this old favourite. I thought it might be right for my mood, and I was right. It's shmaltzy and over-the-top at times (it is Robin Williams after all, and his character is explicitly deranged, giving him even more license to be ridiculous), but it's still got impact where it counts. I like stories of transformation, where people have legitimate obstacles to overcome, and although The Fisher King is perhaps a little too tidy in how everything wraps up, it's also got a real human warmth that I will continue to appreciate.

In other news, I'm a week into my two-month parental leave, which is really just too awesome. The weather's getting nice too. I baked bread this morning, spent lots of time reading with the kids (Ivy was sick this week), got my hands dirty in the garden and just relished not having to do too much.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Single Dad

Tannis is having a dreamy weekend at mountain bike camp and the rest of us are holding the fort here. It's been a great weekend, but I have new respect for single parents (or parents with spouses who don't get much help with their kids). I got lots of help, and it was still pretty intense. A few notes for posterity:
  • Ezra has never gone a night without nursing at some point. We now know that two bottles (1am and 3:30am) also does the trick -- the nights haven't been a big deal.
  • I took the kids to the farmer's market in Penticton yesterday morning. We had a blast, also hitting the art gallery and a fun feast on the patio at the Dream Cafe.
  • Ella, Ezra and I had a two-hour nap yesterday afternoon. Seriously. Ivy read quietly instead (the kid apparently doesn't need to sleep).
  • Nice play session on a warm, calm evening at Peach Orchard Park.
  • My mom hung out with us Friday afternoon, watching the kids after Tannis left and before I was done work. Dad popped by yesterday afternoon, kicking me out for a bike ride while he watched the kids. So I did get some breaks after all...
  • Friday night we did a bit of gardening and farting around the yard before bed. My thumbs are green like crazy.
  • Today my folks took the girls out for lunch, and Ezra and I hung out here. When they got back, I scooted out for another quick bike ride and they tidied our house. I'm not kidding. That's love. Oh, and Mom brought me these ridiculous Thai wraps with the smoothest, most decadent peanut sauce ever.
  • Tonight the Hildebrands generously invited us to join them down at Peach Orchard for a campfire and supper. The kids ran wild and a good time was had by all. I'd say that Tannis missed out, but she was mountain biking in Rossland, so...
  • Pre-weekend, we had a couple of great social engagements -- the Hildebrands (with Lorne's folks from Altona) had us over for Mennonite feast with verenkti on Wednesday (think Lorne likes his new backyard?)...and my good friend Cassandra from Vancouver visited us on Thursday, bringing fancy cheese and wine to share while we gabbed happily for a few hours. Despite playing with the camera for half an hour, we didn't manage to take any photos with us in them. Duh.