Monday, December 27, 2010

Am I the only one who thinks that kids toys are a bit too secure in their packaging? Declan and Rhys were both the incredibly lucky recipients of overly indulgent family members this year. Since they are the only nephews on our side they are definitely a little spoiled with toys. The fun part is getting these toys out of the boxes and in playing condition.

I don't remember it being this difficult in the past to get a truck out of the packaging. Now you have to pull it out of the box, take off all of the garbage ties and then make sure that any accessories are also untied. It doesn't seem that difficult but I swear it is awful!

I am convinced that the toy companies have a sadist who's entire job is to devise evil ways to secure toys in their boxes. This year I actually encountered the toy that is screwed into it's box! Ridiculous! I didn't realize that I would need a tool box to get Lightning McQueen out of the plastic!

It is all worth it in the end once you see the kids faces and watch the way they hit each other with the toys. The way their eyes sparkle with tears, the way their screams pierce the Christmas morning quiet. Ahhh there is nothing like it.

Kidding aside, Christmas morning was fun. Declan was excited about every present that he received (even the clothes). Due to his lack of a vocabulary, Rhys only managed "Wow!" every 5 minutes or so. It was exactly what we wanted for the boys on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The House that Santa Claus Forgot.

So the decision has been made. No Christmas on Dundurn Street for the Carrolls this year. To be honest now that we have made the decision to stay out of the home until after Christmas I feel a little liberated. I don't feel the pressure to get in and try and make it perfect. This way I can make the most of Christmas and still celebrate with my family. I am just sorry that it took this long to get here.

So I have finally dusted off the Santa hat and am filling myself with Christmas cheer! Grabbing Christmas by the throat and squeezing all of the goodness that I can out of it in the last couple of days before the Fat Man arrives.

The problem at this point is that I don't feel prepared. I don't feel that I have had the run-up that most people do to December 25th. I haven't seen all of the shows that I wanted to see, listen to the music that I wanted to hear or take the time to just look at the Christmas tree that we put up last week.

In the end I have to admit at least we have each other. We are healthy, happy and doing well. Come the New Year we will back in our home and in all aspects that home will be better than the one that we left.

I want to thank everyone who has expressed their concern over the last 3 months. It is wonderful to know that so many people care about how things are going with us and have reached out to me at my gigs, when I am out and about or via email to find out how things are going. We are doing just fine and looking forward to a Christmas that we certainly won't forget any time soon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rush Hour Insanity

I don't know how many of my friends take the GO to or from work every day. If you do you may be one of the madding hoards that run off the train to get to your car. I was fascinated by this when I first saw it and admit now that I find it annoying more than anything.

How hard is it to open the second door to get down the stairs. Apparently almost impossible, because for the first 20 or so people only one door is opened and they all crush to get through it.

It got so insane a few weeks ago that I actually watched a women fall while running in heels and take 3 people out. I AM NOT JOKING.

All of this to get to their cars first so they are not waiting to get out of the parking lot. I have actually asked Andrea to wait for me at the WalMart parking lot instead of the GO Train one because it is easier to get out of and there is less chance of the car getting hit by some lunatic trying to get out a minute faster.

Having said please enjoy my poem below:

Ode to the GO Train Runner (on departing the train during Rush Hour)

Oh, Runner how you GO.
When the doors open and you dash,
Hopefully avoiding the clash,
That will ultimately happen.
I envy you your determination,
To be the first,
Possibly the worst of the lot.

Oh Runner how you GO.
The bell has barely begun,
And still you run, you run.
No time to open the other door,
Push your way through,
You'll be second no more.
First to the stairs,
Who cares who you shove?

Oh Runner how you GO.
Racing the tunnel and braving the hoards,
Checking others into the boards.
The clip clop of your heels
Like the hammer on steel,
Ringing out through the concrete below.
Take care not to fall,
If you do it shall all be in vain.

Oh Runner how you GO.
The goal's almost in hand.
You are the first,
The fastest in the land.
As the keys slip into the slot
Sit comfortable and warm with the thought
That you end your ride with a run,
Now the wait in your car has begun.

I am sure that I don't need to remind anyone that this poem is a fully original work and is protected by international copyright laws. As such if it is copied or reproduced without the express permission of the creator (ME) I will prosecute you to the full extent of the law.... or ask for a chocolate bar as compensation.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


We were so close. We were supposed to get the keys back to the house on Friday with all of the cleaning and touch ups completed. That was not the case. They have been able to clean about 1/2 the house so far and there are still areas that we are not satisfied with. This has lead to no end of frustration for us as the new furniture was set for delivery and it was too late to push it back for a day or two.

I don't want to sound ungrateful or anything because the company that has been co-ordinating the renovations to our house has been pretty good with everything; they have been willing to work with us and have answered our questions with speed and courtesy. It's just time to get home. We haven't even done anything Christmas-y as of yet really. There is no tree, no lights, no decorations up, nothing... and it is starting to get me down.

As of now even if we get the keys by Monday or Tuesday we are stuck in a situation where we need to still sort out all of the stuff and try and get the place back to normal before we can really bring the boys back and make sure that it is safe. Like I said... Frustration.

More than anything I want to sleep in my own bed, sit on my own couch and watch my own television. We have been incredibly lucky with the support that Andrea's family has given us but in then end we need to be home.

I know that it will happen soon. I just wish that things were done and we were officially back home.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Conundrum

I want to thank everyone who has given me feedback regarding my blog. I haven't been as diligent as I should be with updating it but I am trying hard to do so. Please don't hesitate to send comments in the blog itself either!


In continuing with the holiday theme I am wondering what everyone is getting their kids this year? I have been having the hardest time trying to figure out what to get Rhys because he really just plays with all of the toys that we have for Declan. Anyone got any hot leads on the must have toy for 16 month old boys? So far we have purchased some toy cars and some clothes but I am really lost here.

It's funny to think of some of the hot toys that have come and gone over the years! I remember when the Cabbage Patch kid phenomenon came and went back when I was a kid. Both my sisters got them one year for Christmas and I swear my parents/Santa were seen as heroes for that Christmas. Tickle Me Elmo, Furby and Robosaurus all come to mind not to mention Atari 2600, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega, Playstation et al.

It must have been so much easier when we were kids. There were only a handful of toys out there that were must haves and I think expectations were a bit more manageable. In this day and age it is pretty much expected that kids are going to get what they want no matter the price which is kind of scary.

I am terrified thinking about the day that Declan or Rhys ask for something that I think is unreasonable. Am I going to break their hearts on Christmas Morning or will I crack?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

So I guess it was inevitable. The time of the year has come again for the Christmas Cartoon to rear it's head. Tonight the Grinch is on and I for one can't wait to sit on the couch with Declan and watch this classic.

Last year we tried it but I think he was a bit too young still. So we will try again this year with The Grinch, Frosty, Rudolph and Charlie Brown.

I get sentimental at Christmas and think about sitting on the floor of my parents house in Dundas. We would have our baths and sit in front of the fire to dry off while watching Mickey's Christmas Carol or How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

These memories always seem to carry me into the season. I remember the storm windows in our bedrooms had three or four little holes in the frame that were covered by a piece of wood that was able to be removed. I would lift it up in the cold of the winter and breathe in the sharp air, watch the crystals form on the windows and write my name on the glass.

We would either go to the tree farm to pick out our tree or the lot but it was always a Scotch Pine with big spiky needles. These years my parents have moved to a different type of tree and whenever I see it I think that they are being traitors to my memories. How odd.

These days we have created our own Christmas memories. We decorate the tree, fake out of necessity because of specific allergies, and I watch Declan's face as the lights are turned on. This year will be interesting because Rhys will be much more mobile and will begun to feel the excitement that we do.

Hopefully this year we will have time to make Christmas as special as it can be for the boys. I am looking forward to reading Twas the Night Before Christmas and being surprised by the presents. And if we are lucky maybe having some snow on the ground for a Christmas Day toboggan ride!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

We Could Be Heroes

Declan and I were playing yesterday and he pretended that one of his toys was going to fall. I reached out and caught it and told him that it was safe. He immediately got off of his chair and gave me a hug and told me that I was his hero. Aside from the obvious dust I had in my eye it got me to thinking. What happened to our heroes from when we were young?

Most kids see their Fathers as a hero when they are young. I was certainly no exception. My dad was big, strong, rode a motorcycle and could fix pretty much anything. I wanted to be just like him in so many ways. I am pretty sure the only reason that I took machine shop or welding was so that we had something to speak about.

When I hit my 20's things changed. I started to see my Father in a different light. I started to see where he was vulnerable, when he was being stubborn, or when he was just plain wrong. That doesn't mean that I didn't still see him as one of my heroes, it just meant that instead of the infallible superhero he was my Dad.

For better or worse that is how I see him now. I see the man who when I graduated grade 8 drove me to our class after party on the back of his motorcycle and waited for me while I drank pop and ate pizza with my classmates, I see the man who was crushed by a car and was told he would never walk again without a cane, let alone have children and play soccer again. I see this man and realize that he is still just a man and he has made mistakes and showed poor judgement at times as well. But I remember the awe that I was always in when I watched him split firewood in the backyard with one swing of the axe when I was a kid, or fix the car with the ridiculous amount of knowledge that he had.

In many ways I realize now that he is still my hero. I have learned from him who I want to be as a Father and also some of the pitfalls that I am going to try and avoid.

I see in my boys some of the awe that I must have had with my Dad growing up. I am going to continue trying to earn that look.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


One of the things that I have always looked forward to doing with my boys is taking them to events. Seeing the excitement on Declan's face the first time that I took him to see Bob the Builder was amazing. What a feeling. Since then we have been to a Ti-Cats game, many hockey games with his Poppa and 3 Monster Jams. The Monster Jams are probably the most fun though.

The build-up to a Monster Truck event is hilarious. The whole SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! and GRAAAAVE DIGGERRRRR! hoopla is great on the radio and a lot of fun to mimic. When I showed Declan the tickets and told him what they said his eyes went wide, his mouth dropped and he got so excited! We really got him going this time. He remembers the fun he had with me and Uncle Robbie at Monster Jam in the Roger's Centre back in the February.

This time we were joined by Jacob and Grandma Shirley. Grandma being the uninitiated when it comes to the whole Monster Jam phenomena. We grabbed a light lunch at the Honest Lawyer and then walked back through the Market in Jackson Square (quick aside: what a vibrant feel that place has in such dismal conditions) and out the doors to Copps Coliseum.

Suffice it to say we had a great time. The boys were well behaved and the spectacle of cars being crushed for our viewing pleasure never gets old. Glad that I had my ear plugs and Declan had his ear protection because those things are LOUD! Grave Digger gave us what we wanted to see as did the Quad Bikes and the Motor Cross jumpers.

Can't wait to go see it again at the Roger's Centre in January with Uncle Robbie! I swear having boys is the perfect excuse to be a little boy all over again!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So about year ago I decided that I wanted to get back into playing soccer. I have always loved the game and was considered pretty good when I was younger. Now, I figure that I am about 2 years out from playing Old Timers soccer and I wanted to get my feet wet by starting in a league that is relatively chill.

Enter Average Joe Sports. What a great idea! This is a league that is made up of people like me who haven't played in a long time, if ever. I have been playing for about a year and I have to admit I love it. I have a great team and have even had the chance to play with Declan's Godfather Robbie.

I admit that some mornings are more difficult than others. I have had a handful of days where I have been stiff getting out of bed. This morning was the perfect example. I have developed a heel spur as well as some pain in my knees and they were both acting up. I think that I am officially old! Oh well, it's worth it.

One of the best feelings that I have had playing soccer so far has been hearing Declan shouting from the stands for me and the team. I have fond memories of watching my Dad play when I was a kid and having my sons there watching me is such a lovely feeling.

Heck, I have even scored a couple of goals since I have been playing. Not bad for a guy who spent his whole childhood playing defence and never really crossing mid-field!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Got around to the house on Friday with my Dad to finish demoing our bathroom. Andrea and I have decided that since no one is living in the house right now we might as well work on a couple of things that have always kind of bugged us. The major thing is getting the bathroom on the main floor redone. We have always wanted to do this and the quote that we got was a bit higher than we wanted. To drop it down I offered to demo the bathroom to get it ready for the framing and new work.

My Dad and I have pretty much got it done and the room is bare. The only problem at this point is the one wall needs to come down. The plaster is crumbling which is going to back for a pretty rotten and dirty job. Oh well, we do what we must.

Once it is done it will look great. We are going to have in floor heating and a nice tub and shower combo. It will be like a whole new house when you consider that we also have pot lights going into the living room and the upstairs bathroom is being repainted with a newly re-glazed bathtub.

All in all the inconvenience has been massive but I am starting to get excited about the changes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

When The Flood Calls You Have No Home You Have No Walls...

So we are currently homeless. Well not quite homeless but our home is totally uninhabitable. The toilet tank ruptured in the upstairs bathroom while Andrea and I were at work and the whole house was flooded. This happened back on September 21st.

Since then I have watched our possessions be classified as savable or not, our first floor be demolished and Declan cry as he realized that we had no walls. The most upsetting thing was laying in bed with him and Andrea while he sobbed that we had no couches, no TV, no ceiling and no walls. He told me that he was trying to be happy but he was just so sad. How can a 3 year old have those worries? Heartbreaking.

I have also felt the unbelievable support of Andrea's parents through this as they open up their house to a family of 4 for an unknown amount of time. They have patiently allowed a 3 year old to crawl into their bed at 4 in the morning almost every day because he loves to be in there with his Grandma and his Papa.

I miss my home. I miss life the way it was. I will say though that Declan doesn't watch as much TV as he used to, and we eat dinner as a family almost every night. The added support that we receive has been invaluable. I don't know how we would get through without it.

On the home front the construction has begun and things are progressing. We have decided to also renovate our bathroom since no one lives in the house currently. With the help of my Dad and Jacob we ripped out the old bathroom on the weekend and are going to finish the demo tomorrow. The new bathroom should be amazing and I am really looking forward to having heated floors!

We have had to replace almost all of our electronics because our TV and Computers were totalled. Luckily I had backed up the laptop months ago and also had the iPod which had all of our pictures on it up until a week before the flood. With a $30.00 program I was able to save all of those pictures and transfer them to our new laptop. Thank goodness because it would have been a disaster to lose the boys first years.

Dealing with Insurance is generally not a lot of fun but we have been pretty lucky. The adjuster that we have has been pretty helpful in explaining the process which is really half the battle.

We hope to be home no later than the end of the year and may be in as early as Christmas. Fingers crossed.

I will try and update as I can.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring is just around the corner and we are slowly beginning to warm up. I can't believe how big Declan and Rhys are now! I honestly believe that Rhys is going to be taller than Declan by a couple of inches. I look at my boys and cannot imagine my life without them. I see how Andrea is with them and her neverending patience is such an inspiration. If I had an ounce of the patience that she has I would be a whole different man.

We purchased a jogging stroller yesterday with the money that we made from trading in baby clothes and toys. I am going to make a serious effort to get out for a jog a few times a week in an effort to get into better health. Baby steps I know but I want to do it. Playing soccer again has reminded me how much I used to enjoy a good run. I can't wait for the outdoor season to begin in May!

Speaking of that, we have enrolled Declan in outdoor soccer which is going to be a blast! He is at the point where he wants to play all the time and just loves kicking the ball at the goal. I hope that we can keep that passion in him. I also hope that in about a year Rhys will be kicking the ball around with him as well.

It kills me to see how Rhys reacts to Declan. As soon as Declan comes into the room Rhys just stares at him and wants to reach out to him. So incredibly adorable. I hope that this continues because I want them to be there for each other.

All in all things are going very well!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Big Update

It has been a while. Life has been incredibly hectic for us but I am finally going to put fingers to keys and get up to speed. Christmas has come and gone, winter has been fairly mild and there has been a definitely lack of snow. I am slightly upset by this as I have not had the opportunity to get Declan on the tobaggan that I bought last year. All in good time I guess.

Rhys has become such a beautiful little boy. He is now laughing and giggling all the time and his smiles are absolutely adorable. Like his brother, this kid is going to break hearts. He is now 6 months old and from what I remember about Declan this is about the time that he will start gaining the features that will distinguish him from other little Winston Churchills.

I have been having a blast with Declan lately. Monster Trucks are his new favorite thing. His Godfather and I took him to Toronto to see Grave Digger a couple of weeks ago and he has not stopped talking about it. We had an amazing time!

For Christmas Declan was given skates and a helmet. In my family none of us ever learned how to skate. It just wasn't something that we were interested in. I find now though that I want to be able to take my kids on the ice... so I bought some skates. I have been out on them once so far and I didn't fall. I was absolutely terrified but I started to get the hang of it. I am sure that with time we will get it going. Nothing is funnier than seeing a 32 year old man skating like a 4 year old while he is being passed by 6 year olds who are racing.

Andrea and I have the boys in swimming lessons again which is nice. The pool we go to is heated which is great at this time of the year! They are in the same class so Andrea and I can switch up the boys throughout if we want. Declan really enjoys being in the water and is getting really good! Can't wait to have him in Lake Huron this summer!

We had our first night out without the kids last night and it was great! Andrea and I went to Toronto to meet Victor and Shannon at North 44 for Winterlicious dinner. The food was fantastic and the conversation and company was first class. I love that we can do that once in a while and just wish there were more opportunities to see them and catch up.

This was also the first time that Rhys had gone without Andrea's breast milk for more than 6 or 7 hours and both he and Andrea were itching for a feeding by the time we got home. I figured that I would get about 6 hours sleep before waking up for work. Unfortunately, at around 1:45am Rhys threw up EVERYTHING that he ate. What a mess. It took about 15 minutes to clean him, the bed and Andrea up. Poor kid. Poor Mummy. Nonetheless, it was certainly worth it and it definitely didn't put a damper on our night.

That's it for now. More to come soon!