Sunday, February 26, 2006

Insight into summer fashion...

Our resident diva was caught on tape, checking herself out in the bathroom mirror. Not unlike the early-millennium hip-hop trend of letting your boxers hang out, (that deal's got to be done with now, isn't it?), Emily can be found sporting the telltale swimmers sticking out of her bikini bottoms. It's a good look.

We went swimming tonight. I think that this activity is the one thing we - as parents - do to be good parents as opposed to doing because we like it. Our kids like swimming, and we figure that they do need the practice, but we really do dread the preparation that goes into getting out of the house and the whole family changeroom thing that happens after swimming.

This outing did provide some form of entertainment, however. It wasn't as dramatic as Tawny's visit to the pool a couple of months ago (see her blog in Day to Day Douglas) but it was interesting. Emily was really enjoying her post-swim shower. The water must have been quite warm because we noticed that she was beginning to turn an off-human shade of red. Cue the off-turning of the water. Cue beginning of Emily-fit.

She was mad. To make matters worse, David was already dressed and ready to be a pest. He started to tease her... that was a mistake. It - literally - took the two of us to stop Emily from attacking David. She was chasing him - in close quarters - with her mouth open, but her brow furrowed. Teeth flashing, she wanted blood.

After CaraLee corralled her, Emily began to take out her frustrations on her mommy. She's quite a piece of work. However, a bowl of perogies later... she's cute again.

Girls are weird.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

the Sneezer...

Argh! It's too bad that this video is so dark...
It all started with Emily accidentally sneezing all over CaraLee when she was changing her diaper. (CaraLee was changing Emily's diaper... not the other way around.) CaraLee laughed and told her not to sneeze all over her. Being Emily, she smiled and sneezed again... and again... and...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

REAL love...

Now that we've opened the Pandora's Box of our relationship for the world to see, I figured I'd balance the image of our marriage with some reality. Take a regular day... say today. I opened my email Inbox to find the following items. (see above picture) Shortly thereafter, I received an MSN instant message (just in case I missed the ELEVEN items my wife had sent for me to deal with. It looked something like this:

CaraLee's reply to my witty comment was, "...only took you 12 years."

Single guys... doesn't this make you want to run out there and get married?

Truth is, CaraLee knows that the only way I ever remember to get stuff done is when it's on my computer at work.

Thank goodness for technology?

The Pratt Family website...

Steve & Lori are friends of ours from Kelowna. Sheesh... they've been there for about 10 years and I still have trouble saying that they're from Kelowna.

Our memories with them stem back to the days of all-you-can-eat Godfather's Pizza and cheap movie Tuesday. They're pretty much the most generous people you'll ever meet. They have an open door policy at their place in Kelowna - which we haven't taken them up on enough times - and even took us to Disneyland before we all started having kids. (I can still remember that steak dinner at the Granville House...)

Steve is currently on retainer for my fantasy sports questions. We've been playing sports pools since forever.

Steve and Lori seem to be in Vegas about as often as they're at home. This explains how they can afford Aladdin as a babysitter. The other three - by the way - in the picture are their cool-named kids. Talon, Nevada & Leeds are the living demonstration of who wears the pants in the family... at least when it comes to naming the kids.

In closing, I know that you'll enjoy visiting the Pratt Family blogsite because: a) Steve's Christmas letters are always great bathroom reading for the month of December and, b) I just visited the site for the first time and it's a great read.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Tribute to my Wife...

Well, it's Valentine's Day. That day where everybody rushes to get flowers and gushes emotionally in their Hallmarks. I do it... well... not the flowers thing. CaraLee and I have an understanding. I understand that all CaraLee would see is dollar signs if I were to buy her flowers on Valentine's Day. Instead, I usually like to get her a card and write a bunch of really mushy stuff in it. The thing with me is, I don't like people reading any cards that I've written in that aren't addressed to them. (I write cards for specific people, not for the whole room to share.) That's a post for another day, though.

This year, it's different. CaraLee will probably be mortified by this, but I'm going to do it anyways. I'm going to write - and post - a tribute to my beautiful wife.

CaraLee and I met long before I was interested in "settling down". When I finally discovered her though, I knew that I had to be sure because CaraLee deserved respect - even as a high school kid. I'm not one for remembering dates and special occasions, but - with her - I remember the "official" date that we began our relationship. On May 29th, 1991, we carved our initials on a tree down the road from her house. There was no looking back...

A little less than 2 years later, we were sitting in the same seats at a Vancouver Canucks game (at the Pacific Coliseum) where we had our first date. I remember thinking that it was a bit of a nuisance taking a girl to a hockey game... there were so many of my friends who would enjoy it more. On this night, March 20th, 1993, we were engaged. (Nothing says "getting engaged" like beating the New York Islanders.) This set the wheels in motion for the longest engagement in history...

On July 9th, 1994, we were married. On a recent date, we tried to remember significant moments from the ceremony and reception. CaraLee did well (sooprize, sooprize...) but I was better at recalling world events from that same time. It was a good time of life... the Nucks went to the Stanley Cup final, only losing to the Rangers in game 7. Brazil won the World Cup in a shootout with Italy. Oh yeah... and we got married.

Marriage was much different than I had expected, and not necessarily for the better. While this doesn't sound like much of a tribute, it is... just wait for it. The honeymoon period was nothing like it was advertised to be. The first couple of years are all about learning to live with one another. Long story short, married life gets way better with time.

Most people know about CaraLee's intelligence, wisdom, thoughtfulness and gentleness. (I separated intelligence & wisdom on purpose.) CaraLee was a brilliant student. Having been with her from high school through university graduation, I figured that her success was mainly due to high discipline and work ethic. As time went on, I realized that it was more than that. She truly is brilliant. CaraLee's wisdom is supernaturally-inspired. Even though she's only in her early 30s, CaraLee is often the target of advice-seekers of all ages. People truly respect her rational, down-to-earth ideas. I say "supernaturally-inspired" because her wisdom comes from a deep relationship with God. CaraLee takes "devotions" to a new level. Each night - before we go to sleep - we read. I enjoy my mindless novels while she'll actually claim to enjoy books about prayer, child-rearing, and being a better wife. All of this contributes to God's gift of wisdom in her. People also know her to be very thoughtful. CaraLee isn't one to give a quick answer just to keep a conversation going. If she doesn't have anything to say, she doesn't say anything. Sounds simple enough, but there are many of us (me) who could learn from this lesson. Finally, CaraLee is gentle. People who spend time with my wife leave with a feeling of peace. It's like everything is right in the world, or that there is hope. I don't know if it's a compliment to be compared to your mother-in-law, but this is a quality I had only seen in my mom prior to CaraLee. (But my mom is still stronger than CaraLee. She can lift big couches.)

The CaraLee that most people don't know is the one I get to enjoy. Where so many "marriage-experts" laud the virtue of compromise in a relationship, so few people make that choice to be flexible. I have seen my wife look introspectively and make life changes in order to make our relationship better. Where most people want to be right, CaraLee wants peace and harmony.

CaraLee is an amazing mother. When I look at the positive qualities in my kids, I can't help to realize that there's a definite source for those strengths... and they ain't in my genes. Both David and Connor are so bright. They seem to pick things up with such ease, but I know that the foundations were set when CaraLee reads to them, sings to them, prays with them and generally spends time with them. When I see my beautiful daughter, it's a forgivable slip to call her CaraLee... the greatest compliment she'll be given.

My wife truly is my best friend. We've traveled through Southeast Asia, Europe and down the west coast of the U.S. Even now, we're planning our trip to the Caribbean and I wouldn't want to do it with anybody other than my wife. Spending time with CaraLee is like being plugged-in. I feel recharged and ready to face the rest of the world.

This Valentine's Day I want to honour my wife. She has honoured me for almost 15 years. I love her more today than I did the day we were married. I am ecstatic about spending the rest of my life together with her.

Monday, February 13, 2006

The 4-legged monster...

Anybody who has ever met Emily has trouble believing that she has a "dark side". What people fail to realize - however - is that she is, indeed, female. When the moon is full, or the stars align, or whatever, she can be quite the piece of work.

On this occasion, it was time to go to bed. CaraLee attempted to dress her in the white-with-pink-things sleeper, but quickly found out that it was too little. So, we took it off... enter the monster.

Emily was unhappy to say the least. We couldn't quite put our finger on the reason for her unhappiness and nothing seemed to help.

Finally, after dressing Emmers in her cozy, purple sleeper, CaraLee figured it out and realized that Emily still wanted to wear that original, tight-fitting sleeper. Because it didn't reach to her toes, this is how she ended up going to bed.

I remarked at how it made her look like she had 4 legs. Then, while she was still recovering from her fit, I thought it was picture-worthy. Long story short, this is how she went to bed last night.

Visiting Jamie Oliver!

Now that we can go outside without a snorkel, it's adventure after adventure for us Buzzas. After Emily's nap on Sunday, we hopped in the Buzzamobile and headed over to Port Moody for a walk through Rocky Point Park and a jaunt over to visit Auntie Anne.

Along the way, Emily enjoyed her freedom as we ran through the trails which skirted the inlet. The salt water air was the perfect tonic to wake our sleeping prince, Connor - who fell asleep on the ride there. David was running about 100m ahead of us the whole time until he came to a field lacrosse game. While he was disappointed at first - they were playing on the field which we had planned to use for soccer - he gathered himself together to sit down and enjoy watching the game between South Fraser Valley and the Coquitlam Adanacs.

Then, we crossed the street to Auntie Anne's place. Smiling and waving at us from her 6th storey deck, was the Auntie herself, holding her new pup, Jamie Oliver. We wound through the labyrinth of elevators and hallways to find her apartment. Then we saw him... the perfect little puppy we'd heard so much about. The picture above pretty much describes our visit. Each of our kids took a turn petting the sleeping beauty - Emily spent a long time squatted down in front of the puppy.

Anne is all "read up" on Labradors, so Jamie Oliver is in good hands. This also bodes well for our goal of a summer-puppy! Anne has passed on the name of a breeder in Maple Ridge whose dog is due to have puppies for this summer! Woo-hoo! Fingers crossed! Now we just have to get Emily toilet-trained... should be interesting.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Canadian Idol hopeful...

The biggest critic of the singers and judges when Matt Kennedy was "representin'" Port Coquitlam and Northside Church at last year's Canadian Idol was our boy, David. He would step out of the house and onto our porch to show the neighbourhood what a real Canadian Idol looked like. His vocal licks and smooth moves fed his self-assurance. Today, he had his chance to "put it all out there"...

David, Joshie and Caleb took the mics shortly after Connor's - very cute - tribute to HIS Valentine... Grandma. (He spoke into the mic and told the church congregation that Grandma was the one he wanted to show his love to, then he took his big, paper heart over to her. It was very cute.) David's part in the song came right off the bat. I've got the tail end of it on video, but I'll have to attach that a little later. (I'm having trouble uploading it.)

Then Joshie & Caleb took over. To put it mildly, Joshie rocked the mic. He was awesome! He belted it out and played the crowd like a total rock star. It was completely worth sneaking to the front (on stage) to be the obnoxious parent-photographer.

The Adventurers...

The bold adventurers braved pricklebush and puddle to trace a trail from the Uncle-Marc-and-Auntie-Natalie bridge, (not the Auntie Tawny bridge), all the way to the neighbourhood park.

It was like a rite of passage, a metaphorical journey into manhood for these cousin-brothers. Feeling completely independent - though tracked by their dads - the boys bushwacked for about half an hour before arriving at the park.

However, the fun had just begun. Us dads decided that more adventuring was needed. We went where no man had gone before... Jackson Farm. The neighbouring farm was a beautiful scene of rolling hills and fallen trees. After carefully scaling the barbed-wire fence (Uncle Ryan's pants were the only casualty) we trudged through the woods until we came to the clearing. There, our little vetrinarian - Conbo - discovered a nest of hibernating "callipitters" when a large chunk of bark fell away from a fallen tree. As he and Caleb were harvesting the creatures, Connor's cousin accidentally squashed one. Connor was crestfallen.

The rest of the trip consisted of bouncy rides on the fallen tree, finding massive chunks of ice, and a double-soaker for poor Caleb.

The boys are so fun to watch as they see so many things for the first time. It was another great adventure.

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