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.

Happy Ho-Ho-Ho-Holidays!

Last week, I was having a pity party because we won’t be home for the holidays. This week, I decided to do something about the melancholia: in fine North American style, I said to T-bone, “Schnookums, let’s celebrate Christmas early by opening the mountain of gifts that our families sent to us, and eating copious amounts of food.”* We are spending Christmas in India, so it seemed  necessary to open our gifts at least a week in advance – this way we have time to fully appreciate their wonderfulness. Basically, I couldn’t wait any longer and T-bone knows how to pick his battles. We started off with Christmas dinner.

I slaved all day in the kitchen to produce this.

We shut our blinds, lit candles, and put on Christmas music. Ahhh. Nothing like a little King’s College Choir and the cheapest bottle of red wine we could find. Thailand has introduced me to the concept of the “red blend.” We could almost pretend that we were in our drafty, aging house in our Canadian ‘hood. Minus the mice and the superfluous coal cellar. Just crank the AC and you have yourself a frosty Christmas.

Our meal concluded with a bowl of Christmas pudding that my mother made (and canned) in 1994. Wonder if my mother suspected that her daughter would be consuming that particular batch with her husband in Thailand in 2012. Maybe. Sometimes mothers just know.

18-years-old pudding covered in 5-minute-old bechamel/white sauce. Don’t ask me for my sauce recipe, because it was a little wonky.

Our families were simultaneously very generous and slightly bizarre. Here are a few of the gems that they sent us:

It just isn’t Christmas for a Dutch person without a chocolate letter and double salted (Dubbel Zout) black licorice. If you live in Big Tree and want to taste a strange and wondrous delicacy, drop by our room.

Feeling a spiritual connection to all my Dutch ancestors.

The best letter in the alphabet made from the best food in the world watches the sunrise from our balcony.

Apparently, this blog has reinforced the idea that Todd loves his birds, and both sides of la familia added to his swag:

Todd, your bird friends will always be there for you. No matter what.

Our mothers must have a psychic connection, because they were really on the same page this year. They decided that they would help us follow the romantic Asian trend of couples wearing matching clothes, and sent us not one but TWO sets of matching t-shirts.

Our matching lululemon running shirts made T-bone tear up. He is relieved that he will finally learn why so many females mortgage their lives to buy this gear.

Reading the inside of his new shirt “Drink fresh water and as much water as possible.” “Dang,” says Todd. “I was about to drink out of the canal, but now I will have to find a fresh water source because lululemon ordered me to.”

And one half of our second shirt duo, from International Justice Mission (IJM), one of our favourite NGOs.

And this wee gem. Now I can be a proper housewife and bake pies all day or whatever it is that good wives supposedly do.

Wow. What is it?

We ended up having a great evening with multiple sugar hits and our multiple matching shirts. Thanks very much to our generous families. Just a warning to all my blog world friends, though: don’t think that just because I’ve done a “Christmas dinner post” you will be spared the massive, massive curry-laden Christmas dinner that we will consume in India. It’s gonna happen. Just sayin’.

*Wow. That sounds pretty frivolous. Let me assure you all that we have not forgotten the “reason for the season,” and that our celebrating will be spiritual as well as materialistic.