Saturday, 26 September 2009

Down at the shore

We had a nice do-nothing Saturday planned until Kristal called at the crack of 11 offering up the idea to go birding at the park down the road from us. This is the time of year that the turkey vultures gather, circle around a bit and ready themselves for their annual migration across the strait - how could we resist!

We saw some orcas go by as well (and on the drive home a big ol' black bear ambled across the road in front of us):

Thursday, 24 September 2009


In her own time, she shines!

This past spring Effie first met the climbing wall at our nearby Adventure Camp and couldn't get past the harnesses and helmets she would have had to wear to join in the climbing. So she watched, taking it all in, storing it up.

Monday morning we talked - did she want to go, it was the climbing wall scheduled for today's session? Yes. We go. Yes she wants to put on a harness & helmet. Yes she climbs the easy wall - about halfway - a couple of times. Then the groups change sides and we are on the team climb trying to get 4 kids up a pole to the tiny crow's nest platform. Four other kids volunteer first. Effie watches. One kid drops out, and Lindsay, our phenomenal instructor, encourages Effie to join the lineup, saying she doesn't have to climb, but can just hold the space and see. Effie watches. A couple of other kids try, get partway, then want down and out of the whole enterprise. Effie watches them get boosted up on an adults shoulders and reach for the first staple. She decides she'll give it a go. Lindsay calls me over to man the belay rope as Effie has requested. Effie gets manhandled up onto Lindsay's shoulders and boosted up the pole. She reaches the first staple and goes up a couple more, looks down, and says she's done. But she doesn't unclip, she wants to watch and wait. A couple more kids get partway and then are done. A little monkey named Hannah finally makes it up the pole and waits on the platform. Effie wants to try again. A different parent boosts her up, and she gets about the same distance up before coming back down. She watches another couple of kids get partway, then come down and unhook. She tries again. This time we can see she wants to go higher but can't quite find handy staples to move to, so Hannah's mum suggests starting at a different spot on the pole where the staples are placed more like a ladder, the route Hannah took.

Effie comes down and moves around the pole and gets hoisted up again. She gets to the wooden part and stops, waits, thinks, listens to the suggestions and encouragement being called up to her. It isn't clear to any of us whether she wants to go higher, but she isn't asking to come down, she's just waiting. Eventually she moves up the ladder one rung. And waits again. She does this about 4 times, waiting each time, giving no indication how far she is wanting to go. At one point her rope gets caught and she has to let go with one hand to free it. The wooden ladder part leans out from the pole so making that last move up and over onto the platform means leaning back and feeling like you're going to fall off. Lindsay uses the rope to boost her a bit for the last push and Effie gets onto the platform. I am crying, everyone is cheering, and Effie later admits she was so scared she almost cried herself.

She was one of only 6 kids in the entire group who reached the platform. She inspired all those watching and got lots of shout outs in the closing circle. Her own contribution to the circle was that she was proud of making it to the top. But since then she has not really wanted to talk about it at all. Her process is so internal. But when she is given space and the freedom to use it when she is ready, man, she can really blow you away!

Steven manned his camera to take shots at both the climbing wall and the pole... woo hoo:

Sunday, 20 September 2009

We all live in a...

Well, it was a bummer that Pucky got called away to work all weekend but at least he left his Beatles Rock Band behind (and his family). The Weirdos had a massive weekend of jamming...

Weirdos Rock Band

Have a sunny day

Saturday, 19 September 2009

And they shall be known by the name...


The vessel with the pestle holds the brew that is true

As far as birthday cakes go, so far Ferg has had ice cream cake, butternut squash spiced “Jet Ray” cake and two pumpkin pies:

Ferg got an RC vehicle more conducive to our hilly and rocky environs:

Then, Effie got the same one.

Then Ferg broke his.

In non-related news... the hilarious vessel/pestle; brew/true; dragon/flagon scene: The Court Jester

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Happy Birthday

The Goose is six today! Long live The Goose!! Me and a selection of people Fergus holds dear (and visa versa) made a happy birthday movie for him. Thank you selection-of-people-Fergus-holds-dear! My apologies to those who, thanks to my own lazyness, didn’t get a chance to contribute. And for those who tried to contribute but only made it as far as the cutting room floor... do better next time eh!?!

Happy Birthday Fergus

Friday, 11 September 2009


Happy Blahblahblah: In case anyone is wondering, it is awfully difficult to sing the Happy Birthday song to someone seventy times - even when you are given a solid four days to perform it in. We gave it a good shot Grannie, but as Effie and Mini’s scorecard clearly shows, we came up approximately 35 versions short!


Playing Make 'n' Break with Grandma

Birthday week has begun...

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Rip it up

Without much fanfare, Fergus has developed - over the past 6 months or so - this love of making little tokens for people. He is very sneaky about it. We’ll show up at birthday parties and out pops a small drawing or a little cut out guy or even a homemade lego creation. Each item has great significance to him, is well thought out, is crafted under a shroud of secrecy, and is presented (or not) in the most coy manner imaginable.

While in Penticton this past weekend, Ferg received some gifts in honour of his upcoming birthday. From his cousins Mini and Phi (and their parents) he got a notebook, some stickers and a special pen and when he opened the presents he immediately tossed the notebook at me since it was, rather rudely, concealing a horde of candy at the bottom of the bag. But later that night he became devoted to drawing a picture in his new book, a picture that appeared to require several drafts to get just right. Ferg made a point of not allowing any of us to see what he was up to and - to get us off his scent - he told us it was “just a drawing of some aliens and spaceships and people fighting and stuff”.

In the end, what he drew was a picture of Mini complete with stickers, her name and his signature “F”. Here’s the result:

And here’s the normally camera-dodging Fergus asking me to take a picture of him recreating the act of drawing a picture of, and for, Mini:

The next day he cut out his drawing and at one point seemed determined to present it to his cousin. Not ten seconds later however, he either got self-conscious or consumed by shyness or in some way the drawing no longer met to his approval, and he ripped it in half and crumpled the pieces into a ball (I later presented it to Gini with strict instructions not to ever let Ferg see that it had been rescued).

Final product or no final product, I think the fact that Ferg wanted to make something so genuine for his cousin is rather telling. In fact, just moments before we headed for home, he presented Mini with a couple of silver stars stuck to some paper and cut from his notebook (perhaps they signified a “job well done” - she was on lunch break from her first day at a new school). Like his Dad however, his presentation (or plating) skills may need some, shall we say, refinement.

On this particular trip, Fergus even appeared to enjoy playing and relaxing with his younger cousin Phi.

Of course, this is something that he would not currently admit to.

Monday, 7 September 2009

At the beach

...where the peach is:

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Dogs, cousins and chimney pots

Some more pics from our vaca with G&G, siblings and cousins...
Eff with new puppy Maybe and (not new) Jack

Cullan, Tiki

Jamesie, Cullan

Cullan and the Greek Orthodox salt shaker

Scenes from a visit


Grannie's birthday cakes (people know how to bake in this family)...


Friday, 4 September 2009


On the eve of our scheduled 8 hour car-ferry-car trip to the Okanagan, Fergus spilled his milk. This, or something similar, happens every day at our house - to the point where it is no longer reasonable, fashionable or otherwise to cry over spilt milk. A shrug, a wipe, some proactive cries of “it was an accident” and the whole scene is over and done with. On this occasion however, the bevie landed smack down on his portable DVD player, the inner workings of which soaked up all the milky yumminess and ceased working almost immediately.

Our kiddos like the movies. They are crazy for books and nuts about outdoor adventuring, but... they do like themselves some serious screen time. And as much as I enjoy the idealistic notion of the four of us playing “I spy”, admiring the countryside on long distance road trips, and maybe even singing us some Guns n’ Roses, ye olde portable DVD players come in mighty handy when the getting from A to B seems dull and monotonous from the cheap seats. So having just gotten 483 DVDs out of the library and having planned the trip to within an inch of its life in order to satisfy Mr. Fidget Wonkham-Strong back there, he goes and renders his player deceased... demised... expired... passed on... shuffled off 'is mortal coil (lovely plumage though!). I admit, I screamed a tiny bit when it happened (never a proud parenting moment when your offspring turtle under the cushions of the couch). Anyway, we all need to spend the wee hours of a night once in a while mopping up, blow-drying and draining liquids out of electronic equipment.

But sometime in between said spillage and lengthy road trip, Eff and Ferg came up with a plan - a detailed itinerary of dvd player sharing, craft constructing and colouring. A very cute moment for the memory banks.

Unnecessary however as it turns out, since his machine somehow miraculously fired up the next day and we ended up having Curious George dueling with Robin Hood Men in Tights on the ride up.

But cute nonetheless.


Well, the forecast was for crap weather on this our first non-shoulder-season trip to grannie and grandad's, but the storms have held off long enough to allow for us to get some pooling in today ::