March 8, 2014

Georgia, the Gymnast!

Georgia and her teammates attended their first gymnastics competition in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in late February. They all competed at the Provincial 1 (P1) Argo level and did REALLY well as a team and individually.

Georgia had a rough start but did not let that faze her. She tried her hardest on all of her events and even though some didn't finish the way they had in practice she did not let that shake her positive attitude.

Her hard work netted some pretty impressive results: Georgia won a bronze medal for her beam routine! She tied for 9th on floor. And finished 11th overall, out 17 gymnasts. 


She was so proud of herself when they called her name.  We are proud of you too baby, not just for the medal, although that is fantastic, but for the hard work you put in every week at the gym and to have been brave enough to get out there to compete in the first place.


February 2, 2014

UPDATED: Pro Tips for surviving watching the Super Bowl

Photo courtesy of
I am, obviously, a sucker for the ridiculous made-up American Holidays.  Today is my second favourite; only slightly behind Black Friday.  I fully intend to celebrate this hallowed day with the sharing of artery clogging food stuffs and belch inducing beverages with cherished friends and family.  Good times!

I have been a fan of the Denver Broncos since I was in high school and let's just say the late 80's was not an easy time to be a Broncos fan. Sure, sure they made it to two Super Bowls in three years (1988, 1990) but they lost decisively in each. (Suppressed sob.) The late 90's was way better- winning 2 back-to-back Super Bowls in 1998 and 1999.

So sufficed to say I have watched more than a few Super Bowl and thought that I would offer a few Pro-Tips for how to enjoy this very American TV event.

I need to say this up front: I LOVE watching the Super Bowl! By admitting this publically it makes me a complete hypocrite any time I say I hate reality TV. The Super Bowl is the Big Daddy of reality TV. It is so cheesy that my fingers are often orange by the end of the show!

The first step  to enjoyment is to embrace the Cheese!  Roll in it! Savour it on your tongue! You MUST understand that the Super Bowl is not really about football. It is about the business of how Americans want to project themselves to the world and this is done with a 5-day advertising blitz for billions of people. And we all- everyone-  flock to it like rats to the Pied Piper. 

So take this idea, strip off the Instragram filters that are applied to this spectacle and enjoy it for the mindless entertainment it is meant to be. Here is my advice for how to enjoy the Super Bowl:
  1. In September of each year pick a team, any team, and make a wager with someone that your team will get to the Big Show. Likely, you will be wrong so be prepared to pick another team in late January of the following year. It happens; best to get over it.  Don't take it personally. If, by some odd chance, your team does make it to the end- totally take credit for having helped them along the way.
  2. My best advice is to not watch anything on TV- at all- for at least 4 days before the Super Bowl. But if you must watch TV avoid NBC, FOX and all American Sports channels. If you do you will drown in your own tears for watching the in-depth soft-focus interviews of everyone  even remotely related to the team. Soup to nuts everyone gets their turn- on both teams! There will be  30 minute special on the ferocity required to be a water-boy or towel-girl in the NFL.(Seriously, they are all PhD'd sports therapists carry towels!)  There will be a 1 hour special on the cheerleaders, with focus on one special cheerleader who has over come something significant (best guess: an eating disorder or tragic early hair loss) and will speak passionately about how her girls, God, football and the (insert football team name here)  have helped her to love herself for who she is today. There will, of course, be interviews from the latest "hero" of the NFL who was last year's bad boy/felon.  My favourite is always the 2 hour "documentary" of the aging veteran player (real age 34-38, equivalent football age 75-125) who is either retiring shortly, having his last game or is on a "come back" having never actually left the league!
  3. Turn on the TV no sooner than 1 hour before the game. With this amount of time you will see the last highlight reel for the season focusing on the two teams playing today. It will be filled with slow-motion captures, miked athletes on-field during clutch plays, crowd shots, and sit-down interviews with coaches and QBs talking about excellence, teamwork and leadership. The producers of the show guarantee you will be inspired. At about this point the entertainment level of the commercials will start to increase.
  4. 30 minutes 'til game start will get you team introductions, fireworks, coin toss and singing. Still nothing you really need to see but this is where it starts to get interesting.  Songs will be sung to glorify the State of the Union and the battle about to be fought. Most singers do a good job but occasionally someone will bungle the words. It will be funny and, generally, overly long. The good commercials start now!
  5. The game starts. Yada, yada, yada. There will be throwing and catching. Highlights will be replayed to tell you when you should either cheer or boo. Lots of commercials!
  6. Half time: there will be a very showy half time show of random current and aging pop/rock stars. It will be what people are talking about tomorrow at work- so pay attention. Half of the people in the world will criticize this performance. The other will defend it and call it "artistic albeit slightly off-key".  Whatevs- let's get back to the football commercials.
  7. Back to the Game:Yada, yada, yada. There will be more throwing and catching.  More commercials!
  8. Last 2 minutes of the game (25 minutes real time). This will last forever, no matter how the game is proceeding.
  9. Game done! Don't worry there is still another hour of Super Bowl left even once the football is all gone. The winning team will be acting like they just WON THE WORLD! They are GOING TO DISNEYLAND and politely congratulating their opponents for having LOST. We circle back to the speeches on excellence, teamwork, and leadership.
And just like that life will metaphorically return to your regularly scheduled programming... already in progress. (lights fade to black.) Waiting for next September when you pick your team.

As wool is my witness: Denver Broncos, I will always choose you!

 P.S.)  Dad, you owe me $10!  Dad I owe you $10.

November 21, 2013

Halloween 2013

The Abel Family, Halloween 2013
  Happy Halloween Everyone!
We hope your evening was appropriately frightening. This is a little late but here is our annual Halloween picture. Our costumes were celebrating Day of the Dead. The kids were skeletons and Scott and I were their Keepers. Or Grim Reapers, your choice.

Finn's face glowed in the dark and deeply resembled that face that flashes- for a split second- in the movie "The Exorcist". It was very simple yet disturbingly scary and he really didn't even know why.

This was the first version- which he found unacceptable.
He told me to redo the make-up and to, this time, not make it so shabby.
Everyone is a critic.

Georgia, the kindest and gentlest of our kids, always seems to have the best evil faces. That is a scary thought unto itself.

This was G's version the night before at a Halloween party.

Olivia had a day look AND a night look. (Beacuse we had nothing else to do on Halloween aside from re-doing perfectly good make-up.) The full makeup was her day look for school.

The day look.

We hope you had a great Halloween!

November 17, 2013

New York, New York

Scott and I checked off one more thing on our Someday List: visit New York City. Check! We travelled with our good friends and frequent partners in crime Will and Wayne. We were helping Will celebrate a landmark birthday and celebrating our own anniversary. Hilarity ensued!

The Fantastic Four acting like weirdos in an elevator
Clockwise from the top: Lumberjack, Honey Chac, Busy and Scooter

We walked miles trying not to look like tourists (fail). We saw Times Square. We were at the top of the Empire State (day) and Rockefeller Buildings (night). We walked the Brooklyn Bridge. We visited Grand Central Station and the NYC Library. We visited the 9/11 memorial. We ate every 2-3 hours- partly in an effort to replenish energy and partly so that we could sample all the city had to offer.  We saw a few shows. We bolted through some museums and art exhibitions. We rode the subway and walked though Central Park. We did a little shopping.

I actually overheard someone with a deep New York accent ask "How you doing?",  say "Forgetaboutit" and exclaim with affection "Oy, bubbe, that baby is adorable!" I honestly thought that those were stereotypes that only existed on film or TV. I was wrong.

New Yorkers were very friendly. That shouldn't have surprised me but it did. We had several offers of directions when we were clearly not sure where we were going.

But mostly we laughed until our stomachs hurt and admired, what is arguably, one of the most impressive cities in the world. I get it now. New York was awesome!

Looking downtown from the top of the Empire State Building.
9/11 Memorial, South Pool
The Brooklyn Bridge, looking towards Brooklyn
The colours of Central Park.
(I think this is the prettiest pictures I have EVER taken.)

View into the park from the Upper West Side.
Rockefeller Plaza, getting ready for Christmas
There may have a been a few yarn and comic stores visited. :)
LH Mitten admiring the view.
Hold on tight, it was a long way down!

From all of us: Thanks for the good time, New York. Until we meet again...

October 19, 2013

An Open Letter to Daddy

I alluded to our dress up event recently... Scott had a reception in Brandon as the incoming president of the Manitoba Bar Association.

Looking good, Mr. President!

Hi Daddy.

Firstly, we love you. You are a great dad! You are fun. You always make time for us, play with us and have taught all of us how to draw really well.  You take good care of us and let us eat in the living room when mom says no. That's cool.

We know that you are a lawyer even if we don't fully understand what that means. To us it means that you go to work and help people. We know that sometimes that means going to court and sometimes you do it in your office. We think it involves a telephone, a computer and a lot of paper. It also seems to involve a lot of driving. We know that you work hard for us and for your clients.

We know that you are more than just our Daddy and a lawyer. We know you also volunteer with the MBA, a group for lawyers. With the MBA you talk about how lawyers can help more people and that seems like a really good thing to spend your time on. We know that this is work that is important to you and we wanted you to know that we are proud of you.

Thank you for being a good dad and helper for others. We love you very much.

Love always,
Olivia, Georgia and Finn

Love from 3 of your biggest fans!

September 27, 2013

I love the way kids think

I took the kids shopping yesterday to buy some dress clothes. We have an event next week and, apparently, it has been a while since we have last had to dress up as a family.

Georgia was the only one who didn't get to choose her own outfit while in the store. She was at gym, so I picked for her. We all got home and I showed her the outfit and asked her to try it on. I returned to find her doing this in the mirror...

Er, she is poofing.  Right. Who knew that crinolines could be so fun?

She said that this was an "old fashioned dress that needed to be poofed up". And, maybe, in her mind this was the only way. It is certainly the most amusing way.

Finn is just being weird.

I thought he looked sharp. He thinks he looks like a cowboy because I couldn't find him a full suit in his size at the mall. He definitely will NOT be wearing the cowboy hat to our event next week.

September 14, 2013

Back to routine! Back to school!

We're back to school now and that means back to routine. Thank goodness!

The traditional first day of school picture
on the steps of the house.
Who is this good looking crew?
Olivia, grade 6. Georgia, grade 4.
Finn, grade 2.
We had a great summer but it is time to get back to work. We have a busy year ahead!

Ready, set, GO!

September 6, 2013

Of course I did.

So last weekend was all about cleaning the house. I'll expand in to the whys another time but sufficed to say the house was thoroughly cleaned- stem to stern!

I have been reading some books about style lately. The main thesis of each of these books is essentially the same but can be boiled down to few really simple ideas:
  1. Fashion can be learned but style is your own; and
  2. You need to TRY to look put together- all of the time. Every time you leave the house. No exceptions.
So we are moving beds and vacuuming under things that, clearly, haven't been moved in a long while. I look at the clock and it is time to go the store and pick up the Rug Doctor (deep cleaning vacuum) that I had reserved.

I quickly look at myself in the mirror. My hair is a mess. I am wearing slubby and filthy clothes (hey, I'm working here people). My face is bare and sweat covered. I decide that I need to take a few minutes to TRY to pull myself together before leaving the house. I argue with myself that I'll only be gone a few minutes and that I am coming back home again to work.  However, I stand firm and head to clean up.

I put on some clean clothes: a t-shirt and dressier black shorts. I find a hat- there is no help for my hair. I wash my face and put on make up, well, powder and eyeliner but that is lots for me. I even put on earrings. I look in the mirror and congratulate myself for following through.

I get to the store. I talk to several people about the machine and how it works. I sign the paperwork- holding up the line now forming behind me. I load the machine in the van and unload it again at home before I notice that the fly of my shorts is fully and completely wide open!

Of course it is.

TRYING, now, officially, requires me to look at myself fully in the mirror before leaving home. 

On the positive side at least I had put on earrings to bring the eye upward and to distract from the full view of my bright pink panties covered in little owls with glasses declaring that I was wearing my "Smarty Pants".


Note to self: invest in some solid coloured underpants without ironic sayings!

August 4, 2013

Starting Tomorrow

I ate at the Chinese place at the mall recently and had the following fortune in my cookie.
Someone at the cookie factory has a sense of humour.

I read it and immediately burst out laughing. Well, I actually sprayed Pepsi out of my nose while snorting uncontrollably but we'll just tidy that up to be "laughing". The nice couple to my immediate right were at first concerned for my health.  (No, I am not choking Mr. and Mrs. Good Samaritan but thank you for checking on me.)  But transitioned quickly to being concerned for my sanity when the spluttering and guffawing did not die down right away and kept coming back in random fits and starts over the next two minutes. (Nothing to see here folks, move along.)

I took the fortune home and tacked it to my inspiration/mood board in my bedroom for further contemplation and amusement.

The irony of receiving this quote- right now- is not lost on me. Lately I seem to be all about the "starting tomorrow I will... insert goal here". Some I have followed through on but, honestly, most I have not.

When the universe is trying to get my attention I should at least have the courtesy of trying to understand what it is trying to say. Sometimes the universe tries hard to tell you important stuff in small and subtle ways other times it can be as obvious as a three year old holding their crotch while crossing their legs and squirming while assuring you that they do NOT need to pee.

Thank you, Universe for the reminder. Message received. And, no, I do not need to pee.

For those who are interested
here is the rest of my inspiration/mood board.
Like me, it is an eclectic mix of items.

June 28, 2013

Knock, Knock Mother......

With thanks to my sister I am now the proud owner of a large metal cock.

Knock, Knock Mother Fucker

Baby Beyonce: I wonder if anyone is home?
Baby Beyonce: Hi! I'm new in town. Can we be friends?
Sally the Gargoyle: What are you? I can't even look at you; you're horrible.

Well played Right Handed Mitten. Well played.

Explaination for those who do not speak fluent Jen: 
#1) Immediately goto your favourite bookseller and purchase the totally awesome book: "Let's pretend this never happened. (A Mostly True Memoir)" by Jenny Lawson
#2) Read the book. Right now! No, I'll wait.
#3) Now goto her blog page: 
#4) Read this: Learn to pick your battles. This should bring you up to speed.
#5) You are now equipped to deal with all of the information above.

You're welcome.