Friday, 30 April 2010

The week past

Effie's new art class "whimsical faces and far away places" is pretty darn cool. Some of her recent drawings/ mixed media:

Ferg hangs out at the beach during art class. Not a bad gig:

Effie now has her own room (she was ready for it six months ago):

It received a lot of vacuuming the first couple of days...

Today, Fergus decided to ride a two wheeler for the first time:

Too cocky for one's first day? (short clip)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Game on

I think it has been well documented here that Fergus is very rarely still. He moves about when he sleeps and when he eats, he runs most of the time instead of walking and usually he kung fus his way from living room to kitchen. The exception is when he is watching a movie, playing a video game or working in Club Penguin, Webkinz, etc on the computer, as then he is generally in one place (also: on the potty... but that’s a subject for a separate post!).

His “screen time” (hate that term) kinda grounds him/ gives him time to recharge. Though we guide him of course, he mainly figures out for himself when he needs to do what. Just like how our kids will consume candy and cereal one day and plates of fruit and veg the next, they flip from sedentary to active not necessarily on a daily basis but as their bodies inform them over the course of a longer period of time.

So I suppose, given their erratic schedules, our kids fall in the category of 88% of children and youth who are not meeting Canada’s guidelines of 90 minutes of physical activity a day. This stat comes from an Active Healthy Kids report released today - predictably labelled a Report Card on Physical Activity - in which they give Screen Time an “F”. The report indicates that Canadian youth are accumulating 6 to 7 hours of screen time per day and that high screen time is associated with reduced academic achievement and high-risk behaviours such as smoking, drinking and sexual intercourse!?!!?!?!?!

The report goes on to list a number of ways to rectify the “screen time problem” including having parents implement household rules and removing TVs and computers from a children’s bedroom. The last one is especially funny since Effie finally got her own room just this past week... a room that comes with a tv and a computer.

Screen Time is but one of twenty key areas that received crappy marks in the report. For example, schools are reprimanded for not actually implementing their physical activity policies and the federal government gets a failing mark for an inadequate level of financial investment. But of course, what made the news headlines? Screen time and video gaming in particular!

I’m happy to say that I enjoy Fergus’ love of video games, though he’s not exactly passionate about it (yet). Interestingly, I could say the same thing about his enjoyment of soccer, rollerblading, hide-n-seek, sawing trees... Ferg has been building his own levels in Smash Brothers lately. It’s really cool to see him doing this and although he seems far more interested in the making than in the playing, his creativity produces some interesting and challenging courses. He gained some level-building experience in Little Big Planet, back before Mitchel and KJ moved to silicone valley and of course now he’s saving up for the appropriate LBP supporting gaming system (ps3). Meanwhile, he played his first game of Halo recently up at MattSamandNoah’s!

Anyway, I’m not really trying to defend our activities so much as to highlight how, once again, blanket statements like “limit screen time” get fed to society as the gospel truth. Although, I guess if you sit at a desk all day you do need some rules to help guide you... barump-pump!

All this is just an excuse to link to some more positive commentary on gaming from Kelli. Yeah, computers and gaming sure screwed her family up! Clicky Clicky.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Condimently Named Larvae

It’s caterpillar season again. This year we hope to have a better butterfly to death-by-starving ratio (though it was splendid to see “Ketchup”, at least, take flight last spring). The kiddos have gone as far as to name all of them and they swear that they can somehow spot the difference between one ugly one inch caterpillar and the one next to it (names include: Mustard, Relish, Tiny, Tiny II, Smart, Mousey, Bugsy...).

Our little beasts are picky eaters and require a diet of either comfrey or thistle. However, my various thistle eradication projects have served the property well (at the expense of the caterpillar) since we could find but one measly plant on our walk last week.

Our search for thistles produced this quote-o-the-week from Fergus:
“Dad, don’t worry, we’re not lost. I’ve been on this trail before with Finn. I know it like the back of my head.”


Stick, caterpillar, poo:

Thursday, 22 April 2010

BBQ'd Bread

When your oven blows... eat more salad! That or start testing out how much the bbq can handle.

Gillian and Ferg monitoring the temperature for the bread:

Not bad looking (great tasting though!) but some more temperature testing is required.

In the year 2346...

...the aliens will wonder what's with all these purposefully placed tree branches all over the place.
Yet another "fort" has popped up...

Ferg's sticky note art

Heart Compass:


Mommy and Me:

Friday, 16 April 2010

Darling, it's all for you...

For the past few months Fergus has held onto the desire to one day be the backup goaltender for his favourite team, the Phoenix Coyotes. He’d be the guy on the bench with the hat on.

The other night he came to me with another idea (perhaps his job when the NHL is not in season): “Dad, when I grow up I’m going to be just like you except I’m going to work at a store and be the guy who helps people find the right aisles.” In addition, he informed me that - as a family member - I would have the privilege of going into the back of the store with him to check out all the boxes and stuff.

Fergus is really working hard on grasping this whole “working for a living” concept. He seems fascinated with why people have to go to work and that you can choose what you do in life. During our conversation the other night he wanted to know all about every job I had ever had and then asked me if I had ever been fired. He seemed a bit surprised and upset to hear me say that I had not, so he moved on to asking me if I had ever screwed up.

Of course I told him I had done so, many times, and proceeded to inform him about the summer I worked for the forest service fire protection office. I was up in a helicopter picking sample cones off trees (for some reason!) when we spotted some smoke coming from the base of a group of trees. I was asked to mark the tree with a roll of paper so that the suppression crew could more easily locate the site later on. So I chucked the roll out the window. As we flew away the pilot looked back at the tree and then informed me that we should swing around and do it again… and “this time let the roll unfurl!”

Fergus and I laughed and laughed (of course, for his purposes, I embellished things a little by saying it was toilet paper as opposed to cash register tape).

For now, Ferg is readying for his future in the Ice Capades...


Effie loves the strawberries… however, she is forever incapable of simply washing and then eating them like the rest of us. Instead, she puts each berry through a complicated ritual involving de-stemming, dicing and some strange macerating process while utilizing (possible hyperbole alert!) 1 sieve, 17 bowls, 3 knifes, 4 cutting boards and 8 drying towels. This leaves everything in the kitchen stained and me grumpy. I love her enthusiasm but, you know, self expression can be so darn messy!?! Then, the other night, she surprised everyone with a batch of meticulously prepared chocolate dipped smothered strawberries! In an instant she was once again our hero (though she did offer that the callebaut Belgian white chocolate she was forced to use was not quite up to snuff).

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Bizaroo Game

And just like the NHL, this sport appears to allow fighting! Best quote: "Pause game, goalie has to bend stick":

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Three Ski Vacation Videos

Trip up to Apex & sledding

First ski day

Second ski day

Downloading Effie's camera

From the backseat on the ride home from the Okanagan:

Effie's Spinach:

Do you like my hat?

Unbelievable! The family that has at least ten practice egg hunts each year actually forgot/ did not have time for a hunt on Easter this year. Anyway, some recent pics...

The cousins all looked at the camera at the same time :: Mini's 10th birthday...

A fine party hat:


Back home, an outdoor art project spontaneously broke out with neighbor Felix and his dog Lucy (woops, got some jimmy-crack-butt in that photo):

Scoob and Eff built a fire:

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Same old Goose

Ferg was relatively keen to get his hair chopped off and is very pleased with the job his Auntie Jamesie did. He loves his new do and the rest of his family is happy for him of course but very sad as well. The funniest thing is that every minute or so he wipes his phantom hair out of his right eye. My vote to maintain this "Flock of Seagulls" look, however, got nixed:

Ferg watching "Cloudy Meatballs" live from Santa Clara, CA via iChat:

Cousin Cullan with Effie:

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Up in the valley

We left the wintry weather behind for the city yesterday but not before some more play in the snow. The kids spent nearly every daylight hour outdoors taking advantage of the first snow they've seen all season. They were more than ready for continued skiing but, like with skating, they managed to discover this new phenomenon right at the end of the season...

The cousins playing Headbandz (20 questions):

I think this means she's "sizzlin":

Ferg and Phi both enjoy some serious quantities of screen time:

Effie hanging with Mini's rat Jenny despite the fact that we continually reminded her that she does not like rats:

Late night stories with Grannie:

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Moving on up

Here's Ferg with boots on at nine a.m. - ugh! It did take him a couple more hours however to get in the right "frame of mind" for skiing today so Effie and I got an early start on things.

Interesting subculture, this whole skiing business. Our "wet coast" ski fashion, for one thing, was a little behind the times. Even this guy looked cooler than us:

Ferg's first run of the day - a bunnyhill practice session:

Gini and Effie on our first ever chair lift:

At the top of Apex: we were promised "Spring skiing"... brrrrrr (apparently last week it was t-shirt weather in Penticton):

Goose quickly getting the hang of things:

The snowplow, ie: the slowing down maneuver, was the last thing Fergus learned. Here he is not slowing down - man that boy's got a thirst for adventure:

The sun came out for our last run of the day:

Ferg and Eff lovin' it:

Done for the season: