Otter Falls 2017

Heck Otter Falls will always have a special place in my heart. More so after this week with the “Bickerson’s”.

I have done a lot of “laking” with JD over the years. Some camping, but mostly “laking”. Some of my fondest summers were spent on a boat with that man and so I was looking forward to this one as soon as Shan booked the sites. Shan was too, imagine a week of picture perfect camping with your two brothers, their families, and grandpa all together in one place. It was just that…perfect.

Tim, Les, Syd, and Riley all arrived in Winnipeg a couple days early (from CGY) so it was nice to get a visit in before we left. Lexi and Ashlyn were so pumped to have them here that it took a couple days for it to sink in that we were all going camping together. For Shan and I it was bonus time with Tim and Les who we don’t see nearly enough since Tim cut the apron strings.

For camping Shan booked sites as close together as possible so we could all be close together. We also needed something big enough to fit Tim’s rented house on wheels. A massive motor home that he managed to park in one move! Props for that. Shan even had shirts made!

It was an awesome family weekend. The kids all played, chased frogs, swam in the lake and ate giant marshmallows from JD. We made friends with our neighbour who even took them out tubing (thanks Clint, talk about memories). The adults swam too and drank a little, and played frizknock, and ate Jos’ Louis and little fancy sandwiches. Mike and Tara took us to Rainbow falls for a day and we all just hung out at the falls. It was the best.

Definitely a weekend our family will not soon forget. Big thanks to all who helped make this one happen.

Goodbye Grandma

“You are loved.”

That is what I wish I could have said to you before you left us. Before you were taken from us again. I hope that the love a person gives to others in their own life comes back to them tenfold. That way I can be sure your jar is full, that you’re taken care of. I don’t know anyone who has loved more than you. I hope you know how much your love meant to me.

The time we spent as kids at grandma’s house will be with me forever. I loved nothing more than falling asleep on your living room floor watching “Matt Houston”, “Knot’s Landing” and staying up late enough to see who shot J.R. on “Dallas”. In the morning we made cinnamon buns and drank the weird tasting orange juice you always had in the fridge. In the summer it was Pic-A-Pop and you took us to the pool and “Pete’s” for a special treat. In the winter you tied my skates and warmed me up with kid tea after a full day of hockey on the outside rink. I’m pretty sure I ate your spaghetti 1400 times over countless weekends and each time you seemed more happy to see us. Not just me…but Marcy, Tracy, Kristy, and Jody. But I was always your favorite grandson.

When Mom was sick you were there to take care of us. I remember you walking me to birthday parties and breaking up street hockey games to get me in for dinner.

Once I was old enough I started riding my bike to the Dudley house. Mostly just to get a reaction out of you and chat over tea. Not long after that I was mobile and we could go to lunch, shopping, and take in the odd movie here and there. Erin came into my life and you were like a second grandma for her. I loved seeing you with her.

Every person who came into my life got to meet you. Al especially, he loved that you always him David from “Roseanne”.

If you would have asked me what I wanted to be back when I was a little boy running around eating dandelions and turning off grandpa’s TV I probably would have said “hockey player” or something like that. Instead today I find myself helping kids working as an EA just like you did at Grosvenor School all those years ago. I’m a lot like you and for that I can’t thank you enough.

You always had a special love for Shannon and my girls. Words cannot express how grateful I am that Lexi and Ashlyn got to spend even a short time with you. They love their great granny very much.

You will be missed dearly.

Penny Peever the Rotti Retriever?

Most of you have met, or at least know that we have a new edition to the family. Since Vegas passed in January we have really missed having a dog around and have been kind of looking. After visiting with the Rattes this summer and being around their dogs it really hit home how much we wanted our kids to have a dog back in their lives too.

“Penny” was actually Apple but after much deliberation and a small poll orchestrated by Lexi it came down to Princess Dusty Face, Turtle, Seabass (Nolan) and Penny. Penny won.

We found Penny through the good people at the Brandon Humane Society. We knew we wanted and puppy and after many visits to the Humane Society here in Winnipeg we found that most of the dogs there were older and that puppies that did come in went quick. So we made arrangements to visit Penny’s litter and quickly fell in love with all of them! Shan even wanted to take home their mother (who looked a lot like Vegas) just from seeing her picture!

Penny seemed to stand out as a gentle pup and she made an instant connection with Lexi. Shan and I picked her up on our way back from Fargo on August 7 and she has since adjusted to her new home and family. We are still house training a little bit (the basement seems like a challenge) but she has had zero accidents upstairs in days. We even took her on her first camping trip and she did awesome in the camper. We are regulars at the dog park and she does very well off the leash and socializes great with other dogs. We have been working a lot on sit and stay commands and she is learning fast. She loves her walks and when she uses up all her puppy power she sleeps through child mauling and our crazy day to day. At night and when we are out she finds solace in kennel which she seems to really like at times just to have some alone time. I was worried about the nights but she sleeps solid through the night and seems ready to get up when we are. She walks right to the door to goes outside for a poop so she is learning. I think if we let her she would save it all up for Nolan’s grass just like the other night.

Best of all she is awesome with the kids. Ashlyn still needs to get comfortable with her but it’s not uncommon for us to find Lexi curled up with her on the floor petting her while she sleeps. Or fake sleeps perhaps.

Happy New Year!

It’s 2015 and we are all healthy…today. It was a rough break as far as being sick goes. First Lexi almost 2 weeks straight leading up to the break, then Ashlyn picked up an ear infection. Right after Christmas day it started with Shan and I and we are just starting to feel human again. It was the first time Shan and I have been down at the same time and I can tell you it wasn’t easy with the kids. Pretty sure on the first day they watched 6 movies and everytime they needed something Shan and I just looked at each other like I don’t think I can make it.

We didn’t let that get us down. Christmas was awesome.

It started with – Lexi wasn’t feeling great that day but stepped up to help us deliver all the brushes and paste we collected for Agape Table. It was a truly humbling experience for me and I am sure as the tradition continues the girls will get more and more involved. Watching Lexi walk around with her Santa sack asking people if they wanted their own toothbrush for Christmas warmed my heart. Can hardly wait to do this again next year.

Christmas morning the kids were up bright and early for rip fest. Santa brought Lexi her Pogo Stick and Ashlyn got her baby and her very own copy of “Emma’s Wings”. Lego was also a big hit with Lexi this year so I am excited to see her interested in that. We also go the girls balaclava’s to wear under their hockey helmets and when Ashlyn opened hers up Lexi said “oh look another ninja mask!”.

Christmas Day we all went up to see Grandma before coming back to our place for Christmas Dinner. Just before dinner we had a visit from a group of Christmas Carolers which I thought was a really neat touch. The girls were awe watching them sing. They were raising money for kids in the Philippines so we tipped well hoping they will be back next year!


Celebrated New Years with an extra Nolan’s Hockey on Christmas Eve and some Chinese Food with the Barthel’s. Good times. Big thanks to Nolan for the fireworks on the front street. I am sure my neighbours were impressed. We made it until almost 9pm before putting the girls to bed and then Shan and I almost saw 11:30pm before calling it! So close this year.

Lot’s of love in 2015, I think it’s going to be a doozie.


Vegas Baby

OK, Shan hates when people ask me “how was Vegas?” – I usually go on a rant about taking the bus in that heat, how the Luxor can’t take a reservation, and just an overall lack of WI-FI. Truth is we had a great time with great friends and the city is something you have to see at some point in your life. I loved the people from all over the world I chatted with while sipping whip cream drinks at 9am playing poker tournaments each morning we were there.

We ate and drank like kings from “Ramsey’s Burgr” and food as far as the eye can see at the “Spice Market Buffet”. Also had an amazing lunch at a place outside Caesars Palace called “Serendipity” worth visiting for their frozen hot chocolate. I even went Lone Wolf one day and took auntie Barb’s advice to check out the In & Out Burger just off the strip. I was talking to a local in front of me in line and he told me to order “Animal Fries”. Apparently there is some kind of secret menu they don’t advertise but is still available if you ask for it. Don’t let anyone tell the shake is something special there though. Also the place was packed to the balls and although the food was good and cheap it still wasn’t worth the 30 minute wait in line. Glad I went though if that makes sense, it was something I had to check out.

Do’s and Don’t in Vegas

  • Groupon like a savage before you leave. Spice Market Buffet has a great one, or at least they did.
  • fly direct.
  • Take the bus or cab to a supermarket off the strip and buy a bunch of water, fruit, snacks, for the hotel. Price of a bottled water at the hotel was $4.
  • Wear comfy shoes. There is a lot to see and everything is further than it looks.
  • Walk indoors whenever possible. Most of the hotels are linked by skywalks and trams.
  • Cabs can be hard to get at night at the busy places like the MGM. Walk across to the Flamingo and get a cab no problem.
  • There are $45 poker tourneys throughout the day. Good way to extend the playing time and down some drinks on the casino.
  • At the Luxor the big $20 drinks you buy at the casino for the refills are not allowed in the pool area. There is another $20 cup you need there. You can avoid this by taking the plastic cups from the pool and two-fisting those on your way in.
  • Careful flushing the toilets at the Luxor.

Shan and I went to this show called “Zombie Burlesque” at the MGM. It was the best show we saw on the trip and I would highly recommend it to someone heading out there.

It was so good to see Mel and Jeff too considering we haven’t seen them since our wedding. Joel and Jen met them for the first time and it was like we had all been friends for years. Jeff even said how much he enjoyed meeting Joel and Jen and just how easy the whole trip was. A trip I will truly remember for a long time.

Of course we missed the kids while we were there and after almost a week away it was great to reunite with them. Huge thanks to Gerrie for looking after the girls and making it possible for us to go on this adventure. It was awesome and overwhelming all at the same time.

Calgary and Edmonton 2013

First Sleepover

They both even use the “spitting paste” to brush their teeth. A couple times they butt heads a little bit but for the most part Lexi was a great host and even gave up the pink cup to her friend. Ashlyn worked so hard to be noticed it was almost sad at times. I fixed a bed for the girls and Ashlyn came running down the hall with her blanket and barged right in. She had no interest in the movie so she passed the time poking Lexi’s friend and trying to steal her stuffy! It was adorable. The girls slept great in the living room and didn’t wake up until almost 8am.