Been a while – Merry Christmas 2016

So we had some big events the last little while and since it’s been way too long since I actually updated here I thought at least a short list of some things would be nice. However it’s been so long, that I can’t pretend to remember everything.

After my surgery I was up and about fairly quickly and although in the 3 years since I have had a couple of instances where the nerves have been caught for the most part it’s been OK. I definitely have slowed down at the gym but in large part to the fact that my diet changes have kept my weight  under control without the need for massive caloric expenditure. It’s been a very long time since I had any sugar or grains, 8 years I think and it’s just how I live now. Nicole passed her 40th birthday this year, and Fiona turned 50 which is really freaking me out. Nicole and I were supposed to be going for a big trip  for her 40th but due to financial restrictions and a lack of time we have postposned for the time being. It’s also going to be our 10th wedding anniversary next year and my 50th the year after so there are plenty of excuses to take a big trip somewhere when we get some time and money together. Elyse is growing like a weed, she is pretty much at 4ft tall now. She lost her first tooth this week and at school is impressing with her reading skills and won the empathy award for her class this year. She has been in and out of gymnastics class, taking some with Nicole and some with the rec groups while also doing swimming in the summer (lots of use in Cuba!) and skating in the winter. The saddest development over the past few years is the passing of Nicole’s mum, Barb. She had a long battle with COPD and depression over the last few years and although she always put on a brave face it was obvious that it was taking a toll on her. In late November she passed away and the whole family came out for the funeral in Cobourg. It was a wonderful send off for her, she was so obviously loved by everyone who knew her. John has been dealing with it very well from what I can tell, I don’t really know or want to think how I would handle losing Nicole at this point. Nicole herself has been very strong, it has been a very long and stressful situation for her to be in and as people have said to her so often it’s best that it’s over and Barb’s suffering is done.

Another sad piece of news that is ongoing is that Sarah, our boss at Evolution Gymnastics has been diagnosed with cancer. It was a sudden discovery and a couple of weeks after the initial diagnosis she has been told it’s stage 4. She is fighting hard and has a lot of support and we both hope that somehow she is able to pull through.

I would like to say that I will be updating more on here, it would be such a great way to keep track of Elyse’s progress now she is in grade 1 and starting to develop a real personality and friendships with her school mates. Sadly I don’t have enough time, I barely am keeping up with my own blog with work being so busy and now coaching 16 hours a week with the Provincial group. But we will do what we can. The first tooth was a big deal, unfortunately the dentist seems to think she’s not brushing properly… at 6 she has 2 cavities so we have to do better… All in all life in Ontario is moving along and if things at work develop like they have been promised I hope the new year will bring some new responsibilities and some financial benefits.

Merry Christmas everyone, and a happy new year.

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Back Surgery 2013 -Updates

I have opted to use my workout site to update my recovery from surgery. The link is:

http://p90x.iamcanadian.org

Or you can click HERE

Maybe this is an indicator that I am trying to update too many sites to be effective. Having a few weeks off work may give me time to figure out how to manage my personal, workout, family and gymnastics sites.

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Summer 2012 Update

The big news of the summer has to be Elyse and her potty training escapade. 3 days of training and it was out of the diapers and into the big girl underwear. It really was a remarkable transformation, and vindicated the feelings I have always had that seeing 3, 4 and 5 year olds wandering around in diapers is just wrong. Nicole found a system online thanks to a friend from Momstown called the 3 day potty trainer. As per usual, it’s hard not to gush about the small things that she is doing on a daily basis which are as entertaining for us if not anyone else. Her latest thing was to jump off the couch last night to stretch with Daddy in the living room as I got ready to go into the garage to do my lifting session. But the majority of the summer has been the delight with which she says “I pee toilet!” after she finishes and now, with even more conviction ” poo toilet!”. As for the training itself, it was pretty straightforward, the first day was filled with accidents all over the place but she got the idea very quickly and by halfway through day 2 she was already hooked on the idea of asking to go. This was completely due to Nicole saying “tell Mommy if you have to go peepee, OK? About a thousand times. Well ok, not literally, but every 5 minutes or less for 12 hours straight would make it aroung 150 times! I stayed off work for day 3 but I didn’t even have to remind her to ask me, she just declared ” Daddy, pee toilet!”. The pooping part took longer, but after a few tearful accidents where we found a small golf ball of poop in her underwear she started to get the hang of that too. Unfortunately she still tends to want to go several times before she poops, I am guessing as time goes along she will get used to the urgency of that part also.

The latest news is her return to Gymnastics but also her starting to take swimming lessons. We have only had 2 but already she is getting more used to taking the shower (which she hated). I have to think that it’s something she has picked up from Nicole, not wanting to get her hair wet, since it seems that whatever you do, however innocuous, children will pick up on it. She seems to like the pool, although she shivers the entire time and the few times that we have had the chance to go in a hotel pool she has really enjoyed herself. For me this is great news on many fronts, not only is she learning a life saving skill but she is starting to share my love of the water too. I remember quite vividly when I was younger, I guess maybe 5 to 9 or so that my Dad would take my sister and I down to the baths for swimming on the weekend. I can still picture the whole event from the lobby of the pool with it’s super wide staircase leading to the balcony and snack bar to the tiled change rooms with the open showers. I also remember being amused by the ankle deep wading pool entrance that you had to go through to get to the pools, which is something they don’t have here in Canada. Those are some great childhood memories, and not only because we got to get 4oz of sweets afterwards, chocolate covered peanuts for Fiz and chocolate covered raisins for me but because it was something that I just loved to do and we did it together as a family. I just hope that Elyse continues to enjoy swimming as much as I and I will try my best to make sure she gets the chance to swim whenever possible.

 

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Vegas 2012 day 2

Up pretty early and decided to try Hash House A GoGo for breakfast. There used to be only one here but now there are several. We went to the one in Imperial Palace since it is right across the road from the Mirage and right next door to Walgreens. The food was pretty good I would give it an 8 only because the price was a little high, $40 for two breakfasts. However the food itself was very good. I got a skillet of corned beef hash, Nicole got a skillet of chicken and asparagus scramble with over medium eggs. I will attach photos once we get home, but for now I would highly recommend the restaurant to anyone looking for a hearty breakfast with good fast service and clean atmosphere.

 

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Vegas 2012 day 1

I knew today was going to be weird, I had a gymnastics competition to go to at 1:30 pm and a plane to Vegas already a planned for 7:30pm. It was going to be difficult making everything work but the first piece of news that led me to believe it was going to be a great day was my athlete had a rest rotation at the end of her competition meaning I was going to be able to leave a little early. She did well which was a relief and I was happy for her since it was her first competition in two years due to injuries. I left the competition early and picked Nicole up at the hospital. Even with the traffic we were 2.5 hours early for the plane so we spent our time eating pepperoni sticks and gross plastic cheese strings. I tried to get out seas changed because the airline had us one seat behind the other, I wwasn’t able to get the first flight changed but we swapped seats with a helpful passenger anyway. The second flight was swapped to get us next to eacable and not only that but we had one of the few rows with only 2 people which was amazing! We had to swap planes in Detroit and I have to say that detroits new airport is amazing. Clean, modern, it has a monorail and a really cool underground tunnel that is like a mini Fremont street! We didn’t have to wait long for the plane to board however once we pushed back from the gate we were told there was an error on the dashboard and we would have to return. We sat at the gate while the engineers rebooted the plane and we were on our way only 75 minutes late. They managed to make up lots of time and we landed in Vegas only 35minutes late. Nicole saw some wonderful thunder and lightning storms from the plane windowwand although the turbulence was disturbing I thint delta did a great job at getting us there. The same cant be said for air Canada and Sonia and Darren who, once we landed in Vegas, we found out had missed their plane due to strike action and wouldn’t be there!!! We took our $35 taxi to the mirage and waited in line to check in. Nicole had sent me a website that had claimed if you give the front desk staff a $20 when you check in that you can get a room upgrade so I thought it was worth a try and when we got to Jon at the front desk I gave him my visa, a $20 and my license and he was happy to upgrade us to a tower room with a strip and pool view on the top floor! I was honestly surprised that it worked but it was really worth it. After our lucky day I was honestly exhausted so I went to bed while Nicole went to the casino for a drink and a slot play. I have to say it was a pretty amazing day of good luck, good timing and good decisions, just too bad that our friends didn’t have such good fortune with their flight.

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It’s all kinds of hot here

We are having an unseasonable warm spell here in Toronto. As the clocks sprang forwards the temperature went up. It’s now March 15 and today it’s going to be 21 degrees out and not only that, it’s going to stay that way for the next two weeks so they say. This is my kind of winter! We are pretty good with the daycare dropoff now, Elyse isn’t crying at all, in fact she has learned to give us both a kiss and a hug and get her papers out for some serious colouring time. Apparently she has developed a friendship with a little girl called Alaya who is a couple of months younger than her. The supervisors say that they have a wrestling game they play out in the yard which by the sound of it seems more like a hugging contest to me. When we drop off Elyse in the morning Alaya is always smiling and giggling as she sits down, it’s the cutest thing!

Also on the cuteness front Elyse has learned the value of holding hands and the other morning when we were getting her ready she got her shoes on and reached out for my hand and said “Daddy?”. Moments like that are why you have children, it was priceless. They have been taking colour pictures each day of the kids wearing different colour outfits, so on yellow day all the kids had to wear yellow and they are making a rainbow of all the pictures. That’s what those pics at the top are.

For a while there she was happy to eat eggs with me in the mornings, now however it’s pretty much “NO!” to everything. Once she has said no, she will mostly eat whatever it was you were offering but for the time being toast and yoghurt are her breakfast staples and of course, a banana. Nicole and I are trying to arrange a vacation for us to Vegas, Sonia and Darren are already booked and wanted us to go with them. It’s a $1500 trip though, so maybe we will have to skip it. Nicole is going to Florida in April for work and with my coaching, competition weekends and her birthday April looks pretty busy. I am going to need to find a babysitter for Nicole’s vacation time so I can coach and go to my competition, I think it’s time to bring in the grandparents again! And speaking of grandparents, Mum and Dad are supposed to be coming over in May for a couple of weeks which will be great because I think they are here for Elyse’s  second birthday which would be great timing. It’s really nice to be coming into spring so early, I have already cleaned up the garage and changed the oil in the car so I am getting a good and early start on the warm weather. I think this year I will have to make a bigger effort to clear out the garage, we can really use the space both for summertime DIY and winter car storage. Even though I only used the snow blower once this year, I had the car in the garage a few times and it is a tight squeeze.

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Foreboding and The Best Valentine’s Gift

I wrote this on Groundhog Day:

Elyse got sent home from daycare the other day with a fever, so Nicole spent yesterday at home with her. She seemed fine today and we took her to class as per usual this morning. She has been trying to say more words now and she does understand a lot. If you ask her if she is done or if she wants some more she gets what you mean and replies accordingly. She knows where the garbage is and what to put in it and will even do do it herself. She is starting to grasp the idea of nose blowing but still is only a wiper not a blower. And speaking of blowing she has some hot scrambled egg the other day and when I blew on mine to cool it down she immediately picked up on it and did the same. Instant learning, very cool. She also had gymnastics last night which she appears to be enjoying although it’s a little disconcerting when I am laying on the floor teaching my bootcamp participants to do crunches with heavy dumbbells directly above their faces and suddenly there is her giggling face staring down at me.

Less than 3 days later I was stricken with foot and hand and mouth disease. My last post covered that nightmare and so it’s on to Valentines Day and my own sense that even though I don’t agree with the day at all there are 2 factors at play. First, it’s my birthday in a week and I don’t want to tick anybody off. Second just because I don’t agree with it doesn’t mean I should make my wonderful wife suffer. So I did what any decent man at this time of year would do and I bought her 2 Cadbury Creme eggs after all, nothing says I love you more than a creme egg does it?

I put the measuring chart up in the basement and we now have documented proof of how fast Elyse is growing. She has grown about an inch in a month according to the wall in the kitchen where I marked her with pencil but that’s not the official mark any more. Nicole measured her by taking her picture against the chart, I think that’s the best way to do it, along with a little marker to show the date.

Elyse went to daycare today with her red Hello Kitty shirt on for Valentine’s Day and she looked so adorable. I am sure that the pictures will be up on Facebook tonight so check it out. I will post one here once we get them off the camera so you can all see how cute she really is.

 

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Foot and Hand and Mouth Disease. It’s Not Just For Kids (and it’s not Lupus).

I am pretty much never sick unless I am sick. I am not a hypochondriac or easily put off by sickness. In contrast I am fond of hospital stays and love going to the doctor. It’s safe to say that if I think there is something wrong, then there is definitely something wrong. This time though I think I had a perfect storm of 3 things go against me this past weekend that have resulted in me being basically quarantined at home. There is no delicate way to say it, I have foot and hand and mouth disease. Apparently it’s pretty common in Canada and most people get it when they are kids and get over it. It is infections by saliva and other body fluids but not by touch so I am told. Elyse got a fever last week, that was probably her getting the thing and then getting over it. For me, it was a little different, let me just go over what happened.

Thursday I went to get beef at the butcher. I also asked him to grind some pork for me for pickup on Friday. I didn’t touch the frozen beef at all, just let it thaw in the fridge. Friday I picked up the pork and went to gym to coach. I was fine, nothing really wrong just tired after a long week. Nicole had taken Thursday off with Elyse since she got sent home with a fever the previous day. After coaching I cooked some of the beef and pork and has some for dinner. I admit one of the beef pounds was greyed throughout and I was a little suspicious but it smelled fine. Saturday morning I got up early with the baby but wasn’t feeling great at all. I was hot, feverish and I thought maybe the beef had been off a bit. My stomach was upset but I also had a sore throat which confused me. I also noticed that I was starting to get my face rash again which I usually get when I am sick or stressed. I think it is seborrheic dermatitis as it comes and goes (this is also what the OH lady thinks).  By mid morning Saturday I texted Nicole that I had a fever which ranged from around 101-103 on our crappy thermometer.

The weekend didn’t get any better. I was lethargic, unable to move much to do anything, Nicole put it down to my weekend sickness that she perceives I get every weekend in order to sit and watch football and not help with the baby. Besides the underwhelming support of my family I tried to work out Saturday and it went OK but I was tired, had a hard time breathing and was unable to swallow properly. As Sunday rolled around I was up early with the baby again but wasn’t able to do much. My face now looked like I had a fight with a cheese grater I was unable to eat anything because my throat was just too painful and swollen and my stomach was still hurting. I tried to explain this to Nicole but she still insisted I was playing it up just to be lazy for the day. Little did she know I had a REAL disease! Sunday was pretty bad but Monday was worse. My hands now were extremely painful and I had developed small red dots under my fingertips. They were not raised at all, just under the skin but it felt like I had burned my fingers on a hot pan. They were starting to itch in addition to the tactile pain and I was truly falling apart. Not only that, I went to coach boot camp only to find that my feet also were extremely painful as if I had taken a walk on a hot beach and burned the soles of my feet. I had put hydrocortisone cream on my face and head where the rash was and it was a little better but I still looked like the inception for the zombie apocalypse. Coaching was OK, I was tired from not eating but I made it through. Monday morning I couldn’t swallow at all, Tuesday morning was about the same. My face was slowly recovering and I was starting to look human again but the dots on my fingers were getting worse and my arms were now splotchy also. I booked a doctor’s appointment and poured another gallon of cream on my face.

Wednesday Nicole and I dropped Elyse off at daycare and like a holy grail on the door is a sign – FOOT AND HAND AND MOUTH INFECTION. Long story short I went to Occupational Health, they took a look at me and told me to go to a clinic immediately were the nice young Asian doctor told me I had it. At least it wasn’t Lupus, it’s never Lupus. I am not sure what part the beef played, if any. I am not even sure that I didn’t have a cold on top of everything but what I do know is that this was the sickest I have been in a while evidenced by the massive outbreak of grossness on my face which made me look like I fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. Luckily for you all I got pictures which I have put into a little gallery for you to see…

 

 

 

 

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Pigtails

Elyse is now at the point where she can tolerate things in her hair. Nicole bought her some baby hair ties and so today for the first time she went to school with pigtails. Of course it was adorable! Last night I taught the latest installment of my bootcamp class which was a tough one. This morning I do feel a little sore, but not as sore as I do when I take 2 days off… Lately I have been helping Sophie with her new workout system, she and her husband are trying to get into P90X but like me she has back issues. She has a challenge finding a place for her chin up bar which for me is an unavoidable and critical piece of the program. Along with her, BK at work had also tried to get on the P90X bandwagon, I even loaned him a pair of dumbbells but apparently it just wasn’t enough. His newest thing is to get a gym membership… sigh.

What about the new car? My coworker recently ordered the same vehicle for his family and even though his wife gets to drive it every day he loves it. I have to admit that even though I was a committed Jeep driver, this Ford Edge has been the best car I have ever owned with the exception of my beautiful Eagle Talon. It’s huge inside, rides really well, has handled the snow and ice well so far even though we have not had a winter storm as of yet (and it’s almost the end of January!). It may sound odd but the best thing about it is the automatic tailgate. I can’t tell you how many times that has helped moving groceries into and out of the back. The only problem is that it only just fits in the garage with no room to spare. I may have to modify my workbench at the back of the garage to earn a little room back there. The Jeep had enough room that I could get around it to the other side of the garage with the door closed. Not so now, there is zero room to spare.

As for work, Nicole is working on replacing the helpdesk software and I am currently moving people off our remote access system and onto the Cisco ASA that I installed not too long ago. Work is OK, it’s shitty not getting cost of living raises since we are dropping further and further back each year, and we see the nurses with their union jobs getting all the money, it really makes me sick especially since they are taking regular jobs on the back of their union salary and therefore making way too much and taking wages away from the rest of us. Canadian health care, gotta love it.

Last night we had a visit from a giant raccoon who somehow managed to climb all the way up the deck and onto the upper level. He was scratching around at the back door and when lightning and I turned on the outside light and the curtains there he was, just sitting there. He was enormous, easily bigger than lightning and once I knocked on the window he ambled across the deck, ckimbed up onto the railing and turned around and glared at us. Then, very stealthily for a fat rodent he climbed head first down the 4×4 and out of sight. I was completely gobsmacked that he had managed to get up there in the first place and then to see him head down the support was unbelievable. I had an afterthought that I maybe could have spared him some food but the last thing I need is families of raccoons partying into the night on my deck.

 

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Allergic – Welcome To 2012

Nicole went for allergy tests today, apparently she is allergic to the cat the most! But also she is allergic to all the usual outdoor stuff, trees, ragweed, grass etc. We are still no closer to understanding why she breaks out occasionally with spinach but I am betting it’s because it is processed with something else or is grown in an area where there is a lot of allergens present. Anyway, it means Lightning can’t grow ragweed in the house any more.

I tried to make a NYR that I would write here more often, since it’s only Jan 20th does that count as keeping my resolution? We had a terrible time in Switzerland over Christmas health wise, I mean it was great to see the family and for them to see how big Elyse is now but the fact that we were all completely wiped out by whatever Elyse let loose on us was not great. We didn’t really do very much, in fact Dad was in bed for a couple of days which I cannot ever remember happening and Fiona went back to England and promptly spent the next 2 weeks recovering! Elyse thank goodness was much better on the plane ride back, it’s just too bad that was the one where she would wake up ready to party at midnight! We got searched at Pearson, something that has never happened to be but since I had an amazing parking spot by the door and there was a 25% discount for the holidays I suppose it all evened itself out.

I am still posting almost every day on my fitness site and teaching a bootcamp class at gymnastics to a group of 4 mothers and siblings plus my girls. It’s been a real joy to do actually, lots of prep work but really something that I have enjoyed doing. We are about 10 weeks away from competition and the girls have just started to learn their floor routines and beam routines. It’s been hard finding time to do it especially with Elyse around but Nicole has done a great job as usual. In fact, Nicole is so good that she got a special reward at work for being such a standout! Way to go Nicole!

Elyse is not speaking yet however yesterday I could have sworn that she said please and thank you after I prompted her. I hope they are teaching her that much at school. She is eating and sleeping fine most of the time but of course is plagued by sickness from all the other kids. Nicole cut her bangs the other day, saving us $25 on a haircut and I think doing a better job! Elyse is also in gymnastics as you can see, although it’s not very challenging and she prefers to run over to my bootcamp class I think she is enjoying being all crazy in the gym!

I sold my old rims off the Jeep yesterday for $350 which is a nice little bonus. I will use the money towards something boring I am sure like bills or daycare but every little bit helps. Mum and Dad are helping with daycare costs which is a huge relief, it will give us a chance to dig ourselves out of the hole we seem to be in perpetually. I recently was able to save us $130 a month off our TV, internet and phone bill so that will also assist.

That’s the update for now, I will try to get here at least once a week to post something if not more.

 

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