"Jabin"

The Classic Question

"If you had to choose, would you marry Ginger or Mary Ann?"


My jaw dropped in surprise, then laughter, as I realized my seven-year-old had asked the question.

This summer has seen a resurgence in the popularity of "Gilligan's Island" in our house, and the boys are about halfway through the third and final season of the show. I never watched this show as a kid, so most of the episodes are new to me, too... well, kind of. It didn't take me long to realize that the show used the same two or three plot lines on a heavy rotation and none of the characters ever changed. And it was less than a week before I was beyond done with the ever-loving theme song. And stereotyped, one-dimensional quaint and charming characters.

At any rate, the boys have been loving it, and as long as they stick to their max limit of two episodes a day, I can handle it.

But I never did expect any of them to come up with the hypothetical "Ginger or Mary Ann" question... at least, not yet.


As it turns out, all the men-folk of the house, except Noah, voted for Mary Ann. (Well, also except Levi, who abstained from the vote.) I am glad. Noah gave his reason as "she's pretty."

Yes, she is, but I was relieved to hear that the votes for Mary Ann had a few more supporting reasons. Among them:
  • She's pretty, too.
  • She's nice.
  • She can do more than bat her eyelashes.
  • She can cook, and sew, and clean, and do stuff outside.
I can just never figure out why Ginger didn't convert her glittery, slinky gowns (WHY was she wearing that dress on a "three-hour tour?" when it is meant for a night on the red carpet? Does the woman not own a good set of designer cigarette pants, or anything?) into something much more practical and ripped-off within the first week of being stuck there. And knock the heels off her shoes. In fact, almost everything about that woman irritates me.

I am a strong admirer of the practical, as well as the beautiful. And every time she tries to manipulate a man into doing things her way by tickling his cheeks with her false eyelashes, I want to smack her.

(Aside: Also, I want to know how Mary Ann and Gilligan (the designated laundry-doers most of the time) managed to keep everyone's clothes so immaculate for three years on an island with no power or detergent. Seriously, I want their secret. No one ever gets so much as a worn cuff! Ahem. End aside.)

So, I guess I cast my vote with the majority: Mary Ann. Except I don't want to marry her. I bet she and I could have been friends, though. :-)


More Jabinisms

Yesterday, while we were waiting in the van, Jabin says to me, "Mom, why did you decide to go to the doctor and stop laying babies?"

After chuckling, then explaining that I could still have babies, but Daddy couldn't, I asked why he was wondering. It turns out that he still wants a sister.

"Where would she sleep?" I asked. "All the beds are full."

"She can sleep in the addition, by the paper recycling."

Wow. I bet she would be thrilled.

"I don't think that's going to work, bud," I said.
---------------
As Jabin was making himself a little dessert after supper tonight, slathering butter and blueberry jam on his English muffin, he said, "Sometimes I wish that when I go to heaven, I could take some blueberry or strawberry jam or something special to give to God."

"That would be really nice," I chuckled. "I bet God appreciates that."

"Yeah, but I can't," he added.

"Yeah, 'cause you can't take anything with you," Noah interjected.

Wow. I don't know whether to be more thrilled that my kids get that "you can't take it with you" concept already, or that my seven-year-old wants to give God a present when he dies. :-)

Either way, I love it!

The Wonder of Wire

Last week for History we were studying ancient Greek art and architecture. As a project to go along with it, I had the boys make a wire-frame sculpture. They did a pretty awesome job, I have to say.

Jabin's ("He looks like Junior Asparagus," I commented.):

DSC06674 adj.psd

Jude's (He ended up having to add a support and a wire for the sword. It kept "wilting."):

DSC06682.JPG

Noah's (like an egghead ninja!):

DSC06692.JPG

DSC06693.JPG

Extra Something-or-other

As Jabin was working on the good copy for his English writing assignment a few minutes ago, he remarked, "I need a new paper."

Jude, who was finished his morning work and was goofing off in the living room, exclaimed, "You need a new finger?!"

"NO! Paper!" Jabin corrected him. After a moment, he added, "If I had another finger, I'd be an alien!"

Hee hee.

Hitting the Mark

Sometimes I love the days when the kids and I are running around town doing errands. The prolonged periods in close proximity in the van with not much to do but talk and think often prompts the most interesting, and most memorable, conversations.

Yesterday was one such day. On our way into swimming lessons after lunch, Jabin pipes up, "When I grow up, I'm going to be a fighter. And my weapon is going to be a bow and arrow."

Snapping out of a reverie on my own (which was in a completely different sphere of thought--itinerary, or knitting patterns, or some such thing), I wondered where he might have gotten that from.

"Like Hawkeye?" I asked. My kids have seen the new "Avengers" movie at least five times. Hawkeye is one of their favourite characters from the show.

"Yeah, and Legolas," he replied. Now I was catching up. After our semi-annual holiday tradition of watching the entire, director's-cut Lord of the Rings trilogy (which Jabin and Noah got to participate in for the first time), Jabin had declared Legolas to be his favourite character. I guess he was still chewing on that.

I didn't want to point out the near-complete lack of reality in anyone using a bow-and-arrow for sniper or other soldierly work these days, but Jude did, instead. After some discussion amongst the boys about how archery was primarily for hunting game, and how Hawkeye's amazing arrows weren't really real, Jabin said, "Well, I can use it for hunting, and fighting. Then I can shoot a deer or a moose for my family."

"Good plan," I said, smiling. "You can make sure your family has food for the winter."

"Yep. And I think one of my kids will say he wants to be just like me!"

"I bet he will." There are definitely worse goals to have. :-)

Going Green

Jabin had a green birthday.
Jabin promptly named this guy "Normy".

It was inundated with piggies.

He's barely taken this hat off since (2 weeks, now).


Mom makes him take it off at meals, though. :-)


I still have two baby piggies to go. The hat was made using a combination of the tutorials found at Obsessively Stitching and Tracy's Treasury.

Who knew it would be so much fun being green? :-)

Pillow Fight

When Jude was born, one of his baby gifts was a child-size body pillow covered in flannel decorated with ducklings and cutesy ladybugs. It soon became one of his favourite possessions.

This pillow has gotten a lot of use over the years.

As moral support when learning to put on socks:

As a dance mat, before Wii was invented (Daddy's shoes make it even better):

As a surface long enough to accommodate a brotherly moment of bonding:

When Jabin got old enough, he became quite attached to the pillow, too. (Noah, not liking confrontation, chose to stay mum on the subject.)

The mutual attachment soon became a source of constant friction--both between the two boys, and on Mom's and Dad's nerves. Finally, after years of this, and various "systems" to try and get the boys to share it peacefully that all failed miserably, I had had enough. I went to the fabric store, bought some flannel and quilt batting, and using some muslin I had at home made not one, but two more body pillows, plus pillowcases for all three. (No sense leaving Noah out--when the prospect of having one of his own arose, he was duly thrilled.)
 

Finally, a truce. And we are ALL happy about it. :-)
 

Change of Season, Change of Pace

This past week, our Indian Summer made the full transition into Early Winter with freezing temperatures and two days of snow. This weekend, the mercury has hit +10 again, melting away most of the white stuff, but I know it is only a very temporary reprieve before winter begins in earnest.

... a reprieve that we are making full use of to finish our yard clean-up and other last-minute outside chores to prep for winter.

Jude has been driving us crazy for the last few months with comments of, "I can't wait for it to snow!" and "I wish it was winter already!" Given the brevity of our Northern summers, this has irked Jason and I, and we usually retort with, "Six months a year isn't enough for you?"

On Friday, as the kids and I were driving away from home in a snowstorm, Jabin said, "When it's summer, I want it to be colder. When it's winter, I want it to be warmer."

"Do you know what the secret to happiness is, buddy?" I asked him.

"What?"

"Being content in whatever circumstances you are in." Then I explained what "contentment" is.

"Oh," he said, in that "clear as mud" tone of voice.

I guess that's a lesson we all have to learn in our own way. Sometimes, we re-learn it over, and over, and over.

Yesterday, I was surprised by a restless feeling.

"If we were in Red Deer," I commented to Jason, "this is the kind of day where I'd say 'Let's go to the mall and people-watch and have coffee.'" I think I just wanted to get out of the house, see something different, feel the crispness of the air and the bustle of a busier place. However, after seven years in Peace River, I don't get the yen for that much anymore--I'm out of the habit, I guess.

Well, since that wasn't an option, and since we wouldn't pile into the van for a two-hour trip to Grande Prairie just to have coffee at the mall, I did some digital scrapbooking instead. I managed to complete six layouts, working backwards from the present. That, plus the ones I've already completed in the last few weeks (I've been going through a miniature "scrapbooking phase") means that I have done all the photos back to mid-August already. You never know--maybe I'll actually get a whole year done digitally and print a photobook when Shutterfly has their year-end sales. That would be different. :-)

Well, I better go tackle those afore-mentioned outside chores. Here are the layouts I did yesterday:







Unreasonable Blessings

Sometimes I feel blessed beyond reason. As in, I'm not sure for what reason I am so blessed... but I am grateful.

Jason has been on holidays since last Wednesday. Originally, we had been planning on taking a trip out to Abbotsford for a wedding, then down to Seattle to see my brother for Thanksgiving. We weren't the only ones who were disappointed when we had to cancel due to budgetary constraints. However, Jason had been saving up his time off, and we had several fall projects that needed doing, so he took the holidays anyway.

For the most part, I have continued to do school with the kids during his holiday, as he has been outside cutting and splitting wood most days. He has also helped teach the kids at times, which has been fun for them and for him. Today, as I napped to try and kick the final vestiges of a cold that just won't die combined with the monthly cyclical low that leaves me drained of energy, Jason took over the morning subjects completely.

By afternoon, bolstered by my nap, I was able to teach the kids science so Jason could take advantage of the gorgeous weather and get back outside. As part of a lesson on evaporation, the kids did a watercolour painting. Two of the three made pictures for me that said "I love you."

"And this is me hugging and kissing you," explained Jabin.

I am so blessed by my family.




Confidence

This morning, I had the boys working in the garden with me while I harvested potatoes. They were snipping ripe stalks of volunteer oats that had grown up among them, thanks to the chicken-litter-fertilizer I had used this spring.

Suddenly, with no precursor, Jabin pipes up, "If I were a superhero, my name would be 'Genius Jabin'."

Chuckling, I asked him why.

"Because I'm so genius," he replied.

Completely logical. And with phonetic alliteration, if there is such a thing. Why did I even ask?


The Days are Just Packed!

We started summer almost a week early in our house, having Jude skip the last few days of school (mostly "party time" anyway) so we could spend eight days in central Alberta, visiting family for the most part. The holiday was a nice mix of "busy" and "relaxed", with plenty of visiting throughout.

My brother even came up from Seattle area for the second weekend, so although most of the visiting was with Jason's side of the family this time around, I got to see my immediate family lots (since we were bunking at my dad's.)

The reason we chose that week, instead of the following one, is because my boys all had swimming lessons back here in P.R., starting at 10 a.m. on July 2. (Weird, considering it was a holiday here.) We made it in time, although Jude missed his first day, as he and my niece Kayla (who had come home with us for the week to visit) both woke up on Monday with a horrible cold. That cold has since made the rounds through everyone in our family except Jason, with me being the most recent victim. I have been feeling the effects all this week, and have now got it reduced to the slightly-sore-throat-and-lots-of-nose-blowing stage.

Thursday (the 5th), the last day of swim lessons for the week, we split from Peace River as soon as they were done to head back down to Red Deer, dropping Kayla off on the way out to my dad's again. Jason didn't come along this time, as he really didn't want to go on a 20-hour-in-4-day drive, no matter how beautiful the scenery. Our destination was Emerald Lake, B.C., by Friday afternoon, where my cousin Stephanie was getting married at 3:30.

DSC05456 web.jpg
Emerald Lake, B.C.

DSC05362 web.jpg
Walking down the "aisle" at Emerald Lake Lodge.

We made it with time to spare, and I got to visit with members of my mother's side of the family that I haven't seen in ages, including my cousin Michael and his family. Despite the fact that he has lived far away from me for most of our lives, I have always maintained a pretty good friendship with him (probably helps that he is my only cousin that is my age). His wife is a complete sweetheart whom I befriended as soon as I met her at their wedding reception years ago, and whom I hadn't seen since. (I always wish we lived closer together anytime I get to spend any time at all with those two.) And meeting their daughter Juanita for the first time was a joy.

The next day, my boys went kayaking for the first time EVER in some boats brought up by friends of the family and generously shared with all the guests present. The three of them went out together in a larger boat at first, coached along by Mr. Dalk in the basics of rowing, etc. They went a long ways across the lake before coming back.

DSC05423 cropped.jpg
Our three big boys on their maiden voyage!


Then Jude and Noah each took solo voyages, a watchful adult in a kayak close by. Unfortunately, when Noah went out, all the smaller lifejackets were in use, so he was figuratively "swimming" in his. Fortunately, the boats were surprisingly stable, and he managed it like a pro! I was so proud of my boys. (And a little proud of myself for not going all maternal and not letting them go.)

DSC05429 web.jpg
Jude on his solo trip.

DSC05460 web.jpg
Noah going solo!

DSC05381 web.jpg
Three crazy, amazing boys!

We had intended to take the short hike from Lake Louise up to Moraine Lake on our way up toward Jasper to camp for the night, but while the boating was going on, the aforementioned nasty cold bug hit Noah--he was suddenly in no condition for hiking. (This one comes on hard and fast.) So, my mom (who was coming up to Peace River from the wedding with us, having just flown up from Arkansas and driving out with her parents), the boys, and I packed up and hit Hwy 93 north. We did make a quick stop for the 10-minute hike to Peyto Lake. Since this was my boys' first time in the B.C. Rockies, I wanted them to experience it as much as was still possible with an "invalid" in the group. Unfortunately, Mom and I had to take turns carrying Noah the whole way up and back. It was a sacrifice we were willing to make to ensure the other two would get to enjoy a close-up with some of the amazing beauty we were driving through instead of just barely acknowledging it through the window.

The first night in the mountains (by Emerald Lake), I set up the tent with just the boys. It's an eight-man "mansion", as far as tents go, and although fairly easy to set up, I was quite glad that Mom was there the second night to help. Since this was my first camping trip of any kind for four years, I was also glad the the only thing I really seemed to forget was a flipper for the French Toast. In fact, being "out of practice" actually meant that I bought enough food to feed an army, so there was no lack of anything except ice to keep it cold.

On Sunday morning, we debated on our day's activities as we broke camp. We had to be back in P.R. by that night, as the boys still had swimming lessons the next morning. Noah was not doing a lot better (having experienced the bug myself now, I know why), so we thought that we would try to make one short stop at a place called "Jasper House" on our map, and that was it, disappointed to put off the planned stop at Miette Hot Springs for another time. Unfortunately, we somehow missed the sign that would have taken us off the highway to whatever that attraction may have been, so decided to take our own "pit stop" at Fiddle River, just before leaving the National Park. We pulled over beside the highway and hiked across the scrub and rocks to dabble our toes in the glacier-fed stream (COLD!!). Jude was brave enough to stand in it up to his ankles. It sure felt good on the sunburn I had collected the day before, and on that 30 degree day it was a wonderful refresher.

DSC05496 web.jpg

DSC05513 web.jpg

DSC05503 web.jpg

The rest of the trip home was uneventful, which is good... Well, except for the yearling bear that ran across the highway right in front of us south of Fox Creek. We grazed his backside--but Mom said he still trotted off using all fours, so I'm hoping that that fact, and the lack of damage to my bumper, means that he would be fine--and much more wary of roads and vehicles! (Okay, I guess hitting a bear is kind of a big event!)

Elk through window
This fellow was having a snack beside main street in Jasper as we were leaving. This is right through our van's side window!

The boys finished their swimming lessons yesterday, with Jude and Noah both passing to Levels 5 and 4 respectively. Jabin gets to repeat Level 1 for the third time, but not for lack of effort. Considering he actually had a fear of putting his head underwater at the beginning of this school year, he's doing alright. Once he lets himself relax a little more, he'll just take off with the swimming. For now, he's enjoying the journey.

Which is exactly what I've been doing for the last three weeks. I have to admit, though, I am really looking forward to next week--no schedule, and hopefully the heat wave we've been experiencing this week will have slackened. (I'd only wish for a little slackening--'tis hard to keep the tin can I live in below 30 degrees when it is 35C+ outside. However, summer is usually so short here, I don't want to complain about the heat too much!)

What a great start to summer.

DSC05519 tweaked web.jpg
Fiddle River, AB

Know It All

Noah, just finishing up Grade 2, was working on "exploring division" today, a basic introduction to the topic. Jabin, the all-knowing first-grader, had already finished his subjects for the morning, and was helping Noah separate buttons into groups.

"Guess what, Mom? I'm helping Noah with his math," Jabin announced.

"Okay," I smirked, (trying not to do it too openly.)

"Don't worry, I'm not telling him any of the answers, even when I know them."


Hee hee. Okay...