Visitors!

It has been a social coupla weeks around here! Not that I’m complaining – I was on the verge of becoming a hermit. If you are wondering how it is possible to be a hermit when you share your days with an adorable lump of baby, let me assure you, it is possible. As much as I nag her, Zoe absolutely refuses to engage in meaningful conversations, or ask ME how I’M doing. Sometimes I feel like she doesn’t even know that I exist. Or that she exists. Or what “existence” even is.

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Why won’t that woman stop yapping already?!

But all that changed when Zoe’s subjects grandparents came to pay homage to her visit us. Granny and Grandpa were a very welcome addition to our daily routine, and it didn’t take them long to acquire that grandparent-ly touch. They soon became pros at doing things for Zoe that even her ever-loving parents would never attempt, such as reading the same story thirty times in a row while simultaneously bouncing her on a fitness ball followed by ninety-nine ten million verses of “99 bottles of beer on the wall” (but with ‘milk’ substituted for ‘beer’ to make it age/interest appropriate).

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More bounces, Grandpa! MORE, I SAY!

They also ran errands, made sure we were fed, and babysat. And sometimes they babysat so we could feed ourselves. In retrospect, I’m not sure this was the best idea, because Todd and I clearly have no boundaries when it comes to calorie consumption. I’m pretty sure I gained a Zoe-worth of weight while they were here.

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As long as you look guilty, the calories don’t count, right?

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And these calories don’t count either, because it was a birthday present.

And for dessert, they provided medical care for my feet. I’m not the sharpest tack in the box, and while I’ve managed to avoid cutting Zoe’s toenails too short, I haven’t extended the same courtesy to my own poor li’l nubbins = ingrown toenail. Since I’m a hypochondriac, I was on the verge of going back to my OB/GYN and letting him refer me to an orthopaedic surgeon, but then Todd suggested that I let his mom – a nurse – help me out. At first, I thought this was too big a favour to ask of anyone, but then I remembered that she used to work for an organization that provided healthcare and more importantly, footcare, to Calgary’s downtown homeless population. Some of her patients literally wore the same pair of socks and shoes ALL WINTER (I say this from experience – I worked there, too). So I asked her to take a stab at my poor, weary, but fairly clean toe.

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Uh…ouch. Ha. Aha. Ouch. 

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Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (hyperventilation, not laughter. Ps: white socks in bottom right corner courtesy of Gramps the Champ)

She fixed the problem, but only after I almost passed out from the trauma of it all.

Partway through Granny and Grandpa’s visit, my Aunt Jeanette and Uncle Jack swooped in for a visit during their gallivant around SE Asia. It was a treat to see them, and my uncle was extremely pleased that he got to hold Zoe before her grandfather (his brother) did. Unfortunately, he was too busy cackling with glee to pose for a photo, so here is one of Zoe cackling instead.

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She thinks escaping her swaddle is the height of wit.

And today, all the visitors are gone, and it’s back to the g-r-i-n-d for us. Not sure how we’ll manage now that we have to look after our own meals and our own toes. Not to mention that Zoe’s expectations for entertainment have been raised exponentially. Maybe if I discuss “existence” using 99 bottles of beer as a metaphor, both of our needs will be met.

 

Todd doing toddly stuff

T-bone and I are still separated by *sniff* the Pacific Ocean, so we chatted on the phone last night. Our conversation went something like this:

Todd: “My Dearest Love, you know that I support your blogging habit. However, I have always secretly felt very hurt that you do not feature more photos of me in your posts.”

Me: “My One and Only Angel, thank-you for sharing your true feelings with me. I would be happy to rectify this situation.”

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“She left me out of her blog. Again. I can’t take it.”

Or something like that. This conversation must have been fabricated divinely inspired, because I have a few photos of Todd’s trip to Canada that I have been wanting to share. There’s nothing I like more than a blog post with three sections – it just seems so … complete – so here are three typical toddly activities.

1. Todd really enjoys doing strange and/or risky stuff, and life with my family provides endless opportunities for this. Arguably, marrying into my family was the single most strange and risky thing that Todd has ever done in his life. As for my family, they still can’t believe their good luck that someone as normal as Todd willingly joined the clan.

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The Vooys men meet Todd:
“Ooh. What is it?” “I think it’s a man.” “Don’t let him get away!”

During this visit, Poppity Pops was particularly excited to share his latest hobby with his strapping (relatively) young son-in-law: scything the grass in the green belt behind my parents’ house. The city was just takin’ too darned long to mow it, so Poppity Pops took matters into his own hands.

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Hmmm…. this photo gives me the creeps but I can’t figure out why…

Good thing Todd comes from Strong Mennonite Stock, because there was a serious amount of grass that needed attention, and Poppity Pops was relentless.

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Just ten more acres, T-bone.

Strangely enough, scythes do not include baskets that catch the clippings, so while Todd scythed, Poppity Pops scooped up the clippings with his bare hands, and hucked them in a nearby field. Teamwork at its finest.

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Todd finally snaps: “I married your daughter! Isn’t that enough?!”

After the scything endeavour, my mother gave Todd a haircut as a reward. Todd couldn’t bear to be separated from his favourite nephew, Ezekiel The Prophet Dog, so my parents groomed them together:

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The family resemblance is really quite striking

2. Todd really enjoys channelling his voyageur side wherever he finds himself. Due to the insane flooding in the Calgary area, we weren’t able to get out on the river during this trip, but Todd comforted himself with the next best option: gunnel wars. This nifty game has three steps. First up, enjoy a Canadian beer that doesn’t taste like warm canal water.

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This ain’t no Chang.

Second: find yerself a life jacket that allows you to be both safe AND stylish:

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Success!

And finally, intimidate your opponent with your sheer animal prowess:

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May the studliest life jacket win!

3. This last activity is pretty self-explanatory. Eating schtuff is perhaps the most important toddly activity of them all, and the man does it with panache and extreme joy.

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Well, T-bone, I hope that you find this photo essay of yourself to be adequate, but if you are still unsatisfied, have no fear: I promise that as soon as I step off the plane in Bangkok, I will document your every waking move with my camera and you will never have to feel left out of this blog ever again.

Momalot Hits Thailand

Last Thursday, at 3am, the woman who personally spawned the miracle otherwise known as me entered the world Bangkok. She arrived 5 hours past her due date, which isn’t bad, considering how far she had to come.

Same gene pool and same penchant for light brown pleather purses

Corrine, aka ‘Momalot’, is one spry old(er) lady, but she hasn’t had the chance to do much travelling yet – turns out that raising 5 children is a bit of a drain on the ol’ free time.  We were really excited to be her tour guides on her first trip to Asia.

We started by introducing her to our favourite activity: eating.

Momalot’s arrival coincided with Songkran, the Thai new year celebration. This is a time of good luck and blessings, which sounds nice, except that luck is publicly expressed by throwing cold water on people in the streets, and smearing chalk/talc on their cheeks. This is fun on a hot day, but it gets a bit tiresome after awhile.

This is one blessed woman

After a few days of hiding in our apartment, we set off for Koh Chang, an island 6 hours from Bangkok.

Momalot made sure to wear a lifejacket for safety, as well as her favourite facial expression

No one accosted us with water or chalk when we got off the ferry, and we thought that we were finally home free. Unfortunately, our friendly island neighbours had other ideas. As our song-taew (open air shuttle) raced through hair pin turns, group after group of people heaved buckets of freezing water into the back of the vehicle, soaking us and all our stuff. What a friendly custom.

Trying to regain her composure with a little light music

It seems that the wettest part of Songkran is now over, and we are enjoying relaxing by the ocean. Momalot has promised to write a guest post for this blog – I have a feeling it will focus on Thai toilets, so get excited for a photo diary of ceramic bowls. What can I say – good taste runs in the family.