Sunday, December 20, 2015

Winter Round-up

I feel like we are pretty busy most of the time, but you throw December into the mix and the intensity of our activities kick it up a notch. All families are thrown for a scheduling loop in the last month of the year, I think. With things like Secret Santa gift exchanges at school to keep track of, parties etc. to attend and all kinds of year end wrap-ups (plus a few extras we toss in for good measure), we give our Google calendar a work out.

Things got busy right away after Eric and I got home from Hawaii. That weekend, we jumped right back into sports, including helping Finny prepare for her final lifeguarding session, which involved a test (luckily she's already passed the dreaded treading water portion of the course...not buoyant at the best of times, you throw a brick at her to keep up for five minutes as well...and, she tells us she thought she might ACTUALLY die). She passed, as did both her good buddies (Sofie and Mila).  What we found out later was that the fever she spiked two nights earlier was the start of pneumonia (!). She was not to be dissuaded from swimming, but if I had known how sick she was getting, there would have been no celebration milkshake...because there would have been no test at all!

Three straws for three passes with Sofie and Mila

I was lucky enough to get to join Lukey's class on a field trip to the Planetarium in December, too. I was supposed to walk with them from our school, but somehow, while Larissa and I were talking in the school hallway, two whole classes escaped out of a back door (while apparently Alex and Lukey said nothing about their missing mothers). She sprinted after them on the seawall and I lamed out and drove.

We made it, in any case. It was fun hanging out with Lukey's class and I enjoyed the fact, I think I was the most enthusiastic "student" after watching the film at the end of the day there. I learned a ton! It was beautiful and educational. If only it were me that had to head back the classroom and fill a response journal...instead of Lukey, who was a little less excited to do that. He was a little more keen to skip the walk back to school and instead drive with me to Sports Exchange to get a new goalie chest protector as an early birthday present.

Astronaut Lukey
Lukey turned 9 on December 4th. Since he has a December birthday, we long ago gave up on friend birthday parties. He has a street hockey party every year in June. Instead, we focus on family. I made him a nice breakfast, then it was off to school. In the evening, we went to my parents' for a rib feast (birthday boy's choice). He opened presents and blew out the candles on this cake:

It's a Canucks cake...made with Skittles
Lukey was really happy that Uncie and Julie were around for his birthday. That was a great gift, too.

A couple of nights later, we were back at Mum and Dad's for Gingerbread Houses. It's a yearly first, we were always at Gord and Margos' in New Westminster. Then last year, we relocated to Will and Janice's. This year, we were even closer to home and instead of sharing a big house between a family, each kid got to move into their own tiny house.

Different techniques abounded. Some more sparse and tasteful, some, candy robust.

The next day, Winter Pond opened up at the Arbutus Club. The Club is probably Lukey's favourite place in the world on a normal day, but if you add a non-stop open skate, complete with perpetual service of cookies and hot chocolate and add a constant parade of hockey friends, well, we spent a lot of time at Winter Pond. There was ALWAYS someone he knew strapping on their skates. Even the girls got into it this year.

Variations on this motley crew were a permanent fixture on the ice.

Hockey takes a nice break over Christmas, but before that, Winter Pond bumped the boys from their early morning Wednesday practice on the Mini Rink. So...instead of cancelling, a dry land training session was added at the same insane time in the morning.

Breakfast with the boys after dry land
All this in preparation for the big Parent/Kid hockey game before school let out.

Lukey trying out his goalie coach's pads
It was a great game. The kids scored with a couple of seconds left to win 13-12.

I know it was a bit tough for the parents to know how hard to go against the kids...but by the end of the game, the kids were looking pretty fresh and the adults...were looking a little less so.

Lukey had a lot of fun playing out instead of in net, for a change. I'm glad the parents didn't get to put 12 past him...

And, since we had a free Sunday (well, at least it was free once the parent/kid game was done), Eric organized a huge 3-on-3 tournament...for about 160 kids. I will let him blog about that. Let's just say it was incredibly fun, but the white board in the middle of the tournament looked like this:

The last week of school finished up with me taking the kids out of school for the firefighters' union Christmas party, another missed afternoon of school to go see the opening day of the new Star Wars movie (a private screening in Richmond) and then more missed school for Molly, who got sick (a rarity for her!).

There was more sickness to the time the first weekend after school was upon us, Lukey, Finny, Molly and I were all sick.

Good thing we finally had time to relax!

Saturday, December 12, 2015


My 2015 crew taking the Claus' to a party

E- on Winter Pond

It's pretty much at the top of our kids requests each day this time of year to go for a skate on the Arbutus Club's mini rink.They do a good job of transforming what is a dull rink the rest of the year into a Winter Wonderland of snowmen and Santa's workshop and trees and park benches.

Yes there's unlimited quantities of hot chocolate and cookies....but it still surprises me that this same sheet of ice that holds so little appeal the other 11 months a year becomes this strong a magnet of attraction for the kids.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Aloha Hawaii

Eric and I did something unconventional this Fall...we planned a work/holiday trip to Hawaii. Our plan is to spend the mornings working at the condo we have rented and then taking the afternoon to explore Maui.

The only problem? It isn't easy to leave this little monkeys behind:

But, once we got onto the plane and settled in, we cast our minds forward to palm trees and sunshine. We sure miss them a lot when we are away, but thanks to the miracles of modern technology, so far we have Facetimed them twice while we were at the beach and a couple of times a day from our condo. In fact, we have even caught a few's amazing how listening to them argue over who gets to sit on the stool in front of the computer from thousands of miles away can alleviate the heartbreak of missing them...

I won't bore you (or humiliate myself) by recounting the details of the Avis/Advantage debacle of 2015, but suffice to say that our first night on the Island didn't go exactly as planned. It may or may not have involved a massive mistake by me that resulted in: a lack of a rental car, a five kilometre midnight run by Eric, a long wait in a sketchy area at 3:00 in the morning by me and then an expensive and slightly scary Uber ride. Avis...Advantage...those sound almost the same, right? See, an understandable error....

Things were looking up by the next morning. Except for the weather.

We got ourselves sorted out with a car and did a little exploring of Kihei and then hit the beach.

And once we had our car, we had to hit Costco, too. A supply run that also introduced us to these big guys. We picked up three to bring home to the kids...because those would be fun on the plane.

Did I mention that it was TORRENTIALLY raining while we were at Costco. Like, crazy monsoon rain? And that's most of what the forecast is for our trip...? Well, I did say it is a work trip. So, we should get lots of work done...

In the breaks between rain storms, we are hitting the beaches. The picture above is me at Big Beach by Wailea and the picture below is Eric at Keawakapu beach.

I hate to say it, but it is sort of my ideal...I don't love direct sunlight, but a gorgeous cloudy, warm day with a nice breeze and a spectacular view...and a book??! Pretty much perfect.

This was tonight's sunset. Can't ask for more than the best company and warm winds, can you?

Monday, November 9, 2015

E- Fall picture round-up

I definitely wouldn't call our life routine. Every week is different around here. However, we do tend to repeat things each season and this fall is no exception.

In typical Butler fashion, we clung to the final days of summer with a September trip to Kelowna to visit the Ibbetsons. While not HOT, the lake still had enough warmth to warrant a quick dip on our very short trip. We also went go-karting, paint balling and had a nice dinner with friends. Pretty good for a 24 hour vacation.

The Arbutus Club parking lot party is always a hit. However, this ride has got Finny putting some big pressure on me to up our trampoline set-up in Point Roberts.

Huge day here! Molly going off to high school at Magee. 

Lukey and I managed to get out to QE pitch and putt on a nice fall day.

Hockey season started off with an 8-0 run in Atom rep tier 3.  They've now moved up to tier 2 which will no doubt mean some losses and more goals against our little guy...but he seems up to the challenge, and rarely seems stressed. 

Finny's birthday present is always an experience and there's nothing she loves more than a good circus. Kooza didn't disappoint, she loved it! 

My favourite costume that I came across this year was Avery wearing his Split Second jersey. According to his mom it was the best day ever because he got to "go out as himself".

Soccer in November in Vancouver is not a spectator...or goalie friendly event. At least the boys are winning most of their games.

I did get a respite from the weather with a quick trip to LA for the Anthony Robbins seminar Unleash the Power Within. It was moving, powerful, cheesy, uncomfortable, fun and incredibly useful all at the same time. It's hard to explain these contradictions unless you experience it yourself.

We flew in first thing Thursday morning and were at the LA Convention centre by noon. We went straight through until 1:30am, only breaking to do the "Fire-walk" in the parking lot. Friday we went from 8:30am-10:30pm with only 1 break for 45 minutes to eat. Saturday was 9am-11:30pm and Sunday was shorter at only 8 hours. It was intense...and I'm glad I did it.

Walking back and forth from our Air BnB to the Convention Centre and a few hours on Monday were our only chance to get out in the sun...but it was a great trip none the less.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Rep Boy

There are certain times when an article of clothing feels pretty important in your life...a prom dress, first suit, first shoes...

Lukey is pretty enamoured with his rep hockey track suit right now. He wears it whenever he can, even though the pants need to be pulled up nearly to his armpits to prevent the bottoms from dragging on the ground.

It represents a lot to him...hard work, dedication, early morning practices and pride. As parents, we are pretty keen to reinforce this things too. So I will happily wash his rep suit every couple of days and I will bite my tongue when he wears it somewhere that's only semi-appropriate...because heck, it's pretty awesome when you put on something that makes you feel good!

Grusome Moo and Halloween 2015

I picked Molly up from school on Friday (Halloween) and found that she had used herself as a canvas in Art Class. Using paper towels and Modge Podge, she'd created a massive faux wound on her hand.


She took a picture (see above) and sent it to Eric, Finny and Lukey and then waited for the their concerned texts to pile in.

She got nothing.

So, she decided to try again and up the impact with her face in the picture...

Still nothing. Either her ruse wasn't as convincing as she thought or else no one cared that she had apparently impaled herself disastrously.

We never did hear from them. When she got home, she gave them a very hard time for the lack of concern from her family.

All three kids went in costumes to school on Friday...but not one of them wore the same costume the next day for actual Halloween. Molly was a spooky lady, Finny was a sugar skull and Lukey wore Eric's old man mask (which Eric has decided he no longer needs as his regular face is approaching the same effect [which I don't agree with...he gets more handsome as he ages]).

On Friday night, we picked up Lukey's buddy Mattie and drove up to Whistler for a night staying with Pat and Jeff (a huge highlight for the kids...they love Pat and Jeff) before an early morning hockey game for Lukey.

After a great win (and a great game in goal for Lukey) and a delicious snack of PureBread, we headed back to Vancouver and straight to the Arbutus Club for their Halloween party in the gym.

Then home to put our costumes on and head out for trick or treating. Lukey was a Canucks Green Man, Finny was Nastasha Wodak (a professional Canadian runner).

We hit up Douglas Park with the Forsyths, False Creek Co-op and then my parents' neighbourhood before heading to mom and dad's for dinner and candy sorting. 

Another one for the books.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Sometimes as a family, we just kill Halloween...homemade costumes and atmospheric trips to rural pumpkin patches. Sometimes Halloween kills us. Last minute costumes and nary a pumpkin to be found. Guess which one we had this year..?

No one seemed to know what they wanted to be to dress up. And our weekends were too busy for pumpkin patches (and they didn't stay open on weekday afternoon/evenings).

So, in a last ditch effort to do something considered "Fall Fun", we headed out to Burnaby Village Museum for their Haunted Village on a VERY, VERY rainy evening. These little troopers and I trudged around the spooky village and collected some candy, rode the carousel and admired the gorgeous decorations.

We got very wet. We weren't dressed up. We never did get pumpkins. But we did succeed in finding some fall fun after all.

Monday, October 19, 2015

E - For when I wonder where all the time went.

Wednesday night- fire fighting

Thursday afternoon- 3 hours coaching basketball.

Thursday night- my Police and Fire games team won a late night game by 20 points.

Friday morning/afternoon- our Delta fire hockey team played in the competitive division of a charity tournament. Playing at a higher level than I'm accustomed, and not wanting to cost our boys meant playing full out every shift for 3 games. We missed the finals by giving up the game winning goal with 6 seconds left to Vancouver fire. We did beat Burnaby though.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

School Cross Country Season Wrap Up

It was the usual chaos at Trout Lake this year...barely contained mayhem. No Molly there this year, which made me is only for elementary students.

There were over 3,000 students there to run...nuts! Below is a picture of Lukey's race. There were 307 boys in his Grade 4 race. You can see him about thirteen kids over from the right in long red socks (they were the socks Eric wore for a dodgeball competition...they have capes sewn on them!).

Lukey had a great run, coming in the top 30. He's not a runner, so he was pretty pleased with that.

Here's Finny at the front of the mosh pit that served as a marshalling area for the Grade 6 girls:

And here's a part of the start line for her race. Again, there were close to 300 girls.

Finny had a great race and came 7th. She was very happy to have her good buddy Sophie there to cheer her on and help her warm up. In fact, all was good until we ran into this zombie in the park parking lot. There was (hopefully) some filming in the area and this zombie was straight up terrifying. They should have had him chasing the kids from the back of the race and I am sure the times would have all been faster!

And as always, a trip to Dairy Queen on the way home to celebrate a job well done.

I am proud of both of the kids for going out for all the mini-meets and the big race. Carrying on the family tradition. All we were missing was Moll...