Friday, 29 June 2012

Let the Summer Begin!

It's finally the last day of school for Lori, which hardly seems fair since the kids got out two weeks ago. That doesn't matter though, because now we can get on with SUMMER! To be honest our plans for this summer are still a little shaky, but I know that we're going to have some great adventures. We kind of have to. I was looking back at last summer, and we have a lot to live up to!

Last summer was just so much fun...

Girls on surfboard

We had perfect weather...

...and then we didn't...

We discovered Butterbeer...

...Union Square...

...and food service at baseball games.

We visited Las Vegas with our friends...

...and stayed in some amazing hotel rooms.

And of course there were concerts...


...and more concerts.

Truth be told, sometimes last summer things just seemed to be passing by too fast... while this summer we may be planning on laying around a little more...

...I'm sure we'll still find lot's of exciting things to do. Here's hoping you do too.


This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby and Friday Daydreamin at R We There Yet Mom. If you didn't get here from one of those sites, you should really go check them out. There's people there who are still going at full pace all summer long. They won't tease me though. They've been raised to show respect to their elders.

Written by Steve Pratt

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Summer Movie Struggle

There's lot of things that our family looks forward to in the summer. Obviously there's the traveling, but there's also the weather, the freedom to do whatever we want (which mainly involves sleeping in) and, of course, the movies. We don't make it to the movie theaters a whole lot during the school year, but when the summer comes around we start making up for lost time. Drive-in movies, IMAX theaters, really run down discount cinemas...wherever we go we're on the lookout for someplace to catch up on the movies we've been missing.

Of course the summer has it's own batch of blockbuster films. From late May right through August, Hollywood rolls out all of it's big name movies in an attempt to lure those of us with a little extra time on our hands into their imaginary worlds. Unfortunately there's no way we can see all of them. Even with our summers free, our movie-going time still has it's limits, so when we do finally get an opportunity to take in a show, everybody tries to make a case for seeing the movie they want to see. This can lead to some awkward moments as we block up the lines at the local multiplex, so in order to speed things along, I'm going to present to you each of our summer movie choices. Let us know which ones you'd like to see, and you might just be casting the deciding vote on one of our outings.

Leeds - Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

You won't get much of an argument from me as I found the first two movies in this series pretty funny, but this is kind of a throwback choice for her. She's moved on to follow in her mother's footsteps with an obsession over superheroes, but I guess once you've invested the time to read the book, you want to see how the movie turns out. By that logic I should be lined up somewhere already just in case they make an Archie movie.

Second choices - Spiderman, Brave, Ice Age: Continental Drift

Neve - Brave

Hmmm...a movie about a strong-willed red-haired girl who's good at archery? How is my daughter not getting royalties from Pixar for this movie?  This is the most likely choice to get unanimous consent as we've all enjoyed everything else that Pixar has put out. Plus, in our spare time we all like to practice our Scottish accents. "Guid mornin! Hou ar ya? Glad ta heer it."

Second choices - Madagascar 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift, Katy Perry: Part of Me

Talon - The Expendables 2

I believe it's some kind of teenage law that you have to pick a movie if Chuck Norris is in it. Even if he wasn't though, this is probably the movie that's going to have the most explosions, the most action sequences, and the most property damage. That's kind of the golden trifecta for teenage boys.

Second choices - Spiderman, Dark Knight Rises, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer

Lori - Magic Mike

Look, I'm not happy that Hollywood can just rip off the story of my college years, then simply change the name of the lead character from Steve to Mike to avoid splitting the profits with me, but apparently that's the way the movie industry is run these days. This of course has zero chance of being chosen as a family outing, but somehow I doubt that Lori will have problems finding some friends to go to this movie with her. However many times they decide to go.

Second choices - Magic Mike x2, Magic Mike x3, Magic Mike x4

Steve - Dark Knight Rises

I'm not as big a Batman fan as some of my friends are. Some of them are already making plans to be at the first showing for the new movie. That seems a little extreme to me, but the last Batman was awesome, and I'm really kind of curious to see where they go with this one. That and the fact that they have the best movie poster ever, even if it's not actually an official one.

Second choices - Rock of Ages, The Bourne Legacy, The Campaign 

So what are you planning on seeing this summer?

Written by Steve Pratt

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Begging for the Blue Fairy

Welcome back to Wordless Wednesday, where I try and tell you a Disney related story based on a random theme that our fearless host Deb comes up with. This week she's chosen the letter 'B' as our theme. A few weeks ago we did the letter 'A'. I think somebody has been practicing their alphabet!

The problem with this week's theme is that I've already written about a lot of my Disney 'B' experiences. I've written about being on a Disney Boat. I've written about being Broken down on Space Mountain. I've even written about Blocking your sister at a Disney castle. I thought that maybe I'd told you all of my 'B' stories, but then I remembered one I haven't shared with you. It's the story of my greatest struggle when it comes to Disney, my biggest frustration, and my arch-enemy. It's the story of the search for....

The Blue Fairy.

About ten years ago, Disney and McDonalds partnered up to celebrate what would have been the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney's birth by releasing a special 100 figurine set of Disney's most beloved characters. These figurines were the toys in the Happy Meals at McDonalds, and you got one with each meal ordered. That meant that in order to collect all 100, you were going to have to go through at least 100 Happy Meals. You know what kind of hero you are to your kids when you tell them that it's Happy Meals for lunch and dinner for the next little while?

At least at the beginning you are. The catch was that the toys came in blacked out bags, so even if you had somebody on the inside, you couldn't request a certain toy with your meal. This meant doubles, and lots of them. I'm guessing that over the course of the summer we bought almost 250 Happy Meals, and eventually, over time, the randomness of the math worked out and we collected most of the characters. Except for the Blue Fairy.

No matter what we did, we couldn't find the Blue Fairy. We tried changing which McDonalds we went to, we tried feeling through bags for the proper shape, and we even tried staking out McDonalds play areas looking for anyone who might stumble upon the elusive fairy, but we had no success. Eventually my kids revolted and refused to eat any more Happy Meals, so I had to buy the Blue Fairy on E-bay (which I probably should have done in the first place, since she was only $2.99). To this day any suggestion of stopping at McDonalds is met with groans, and to be honest I'm not sure if any of my kids have ever watched Pinocchio all the way through.  I got my full set of figurines though, and my kids got their own version of "The House of Mouse".

This post is a part of Wordless Wednesday over at Focused on the Magic. If you didn't get here from there, you should really head on over and check out some of the fantastic people that hang out there on Wednesdays. Most of them probably had a stockpile of Blue Fairy figurines. If only I'd known them back then...

Written by Steve Pratt

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Tips For Booking A Hotel

I missed a day of writing yesterday. Did you notice? Nah, even my wife didn't notice. Truth is, everybody is so insanely busy at this time of year that I could run through town in a flaming pink tutu (either a really bright pink or a tutu that's actually on fire...take your pick) and barely get a second glance from anybody. The reason I missed yesterday however, was that I figured it was time to get some hotels booked for our vacation that starts next week. Yes, I'm a bit of a procrastinator. Just ask my wife who 17 years later is still waiting for the "richer" part of our wedding vows to kick in.

I've got it done though, so I thought today I would share some tips with you for getting hotels booked. It doesn't sound like a hard thing to do, but believe me there's plenty of places you can go wrong. I know because I've gone wrong at almost every place possible, and even a few where it was impossible. So in the spirit of helping you avoid screwing things up to the level I'm capable of,  here are my tips for getting your hotel booked:

#1 - Book the hotel in the city you're headed to.

Seems like common sense doesn't it? Amazingly however, when I started looking for hotels in Miami, I found some great deals in Chicago, Seattle, and a particularly strong deal in Norway. Once when I was looking for a hotel in Los Angeles, I booked a hotel in New York because it was just that good a deal, and I couldn't bring myself to not book it. Of course I had to cancel it later, but for a week I was able to brag that I snagged a four star hotel in Times Square for $79. Nobody ever asks if you're actually going to New York when you tell them about the deal you got, they just congratulate you on your find.

#2 - Book refundable rates

This is especially important if you're going to book hotels in cities that you're not going to. I am very much a "grass is always greener" kind of guy, and I'm sure that the next great hotel deal will show up in my e-mail the second I book a non-refundable rate. It's gotten to the point where Lori won't even ask which hotel we're staying in until the day before because she knows it might still change. I'm not actually that bad, although I will confess to downloading the Hotel Tonight app on my phone, and some of those "tonight only" deals look pretty good.

#3 - Look for promotions

The one thing that will get me to make a hotel booking and stay with it, is a great promotion. This time while we're in Florida, we're chasing the Radisson Big Night promotion where if you stay one night in a Radisson hotel (avg. price in Florida of about $100) they give you enough points for a free night anywhere else in the world (avg. price in Paris of about €350) and they have three brands you can do this with. Fortunately the Radissons in Florida are fairly nice, but I'm pretty sure I could convince Lori to stay just about anywhere if it meant a free night in Paris. Of course, I have no trip to Paris planned, and we'll probably end up using the points somewhere else, but let's keep that between us. Besides, it's possible that one day I'll be looking for a flight to Portland and I'll find a great deal to Paris. Might as well have the points ready just in case.

#4 - Have a budget in mind

I gave myself a budget of $500 for the eight nights we needed in Florida, and I was doing pretty well at sticking to it, but on occasion I've been known to get distracted by shiny things. In this case, when I say shiny things, I mean the Four Seasons in Miami. Or the Mandarin Oriental in Miami. Or the Fountainebleau Miami Beach. Each of these hotels look amazing, but just one night at them would probably blow my hotel budget for the entire trip. That doesn't mean that I didn't try to work it in though. If we spend one night at the Four Seasons, and then the next six nights sleeping in the van in their parking lot, does that count as spending a week at the Four Seasons?

#5 - Consider the amenities

For most people, these involve questions like "How is the pool?", "Is Wi-Fi included", and "Do you have a free breakfast?" Our family enjoys these things, but they're trumped by the question "How far is the nearest outlet mall?" I may keep my kids happy by booking a hotel with a nice pool, but they're getting older and pretty soon they'll be off to university. When that happens, I'll be left at home with Lori explaining why ten years ago I booked the hotel with the lazy river instead of the one next to the Disney Character Warehouse. I don't need that kind of grief in my golden years.

This post is a part of Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippycups and Walkingon Travels. If you didn't get here from there, you should go check it out. There's people there who can give you some actual tips on how to book hotels when traveling. Although when they tell you they spent a week at that all-inclusive resort, make sure they don't mean in their van.

Friday, 22 June 2012

What You Really Think at the White House

Despite our being Canadian, one of the things we were really looking forward to seeing on our recent trip to Washington was the White House. I don't really know wasn't like I was expecting to wander around the halls and bump into the president or anything, but it just seemed like it would be a really cool thing to see.

And it was. When you stand out front of the White House and look across the lawn, it sets your mind wandering. You know you're in a historical location, and if you listen, you'll probably hear people saying things like "Wow, that's where the President lives!", or "It's smaller than it looks on TV." These are the kind of things that people say out loud, but it's not what they're thinking. What they're thinking is the same thing I was thinking, and the same thing that almost everybody who stands out front of the White House thinks...

"I could make that."

Seriously, for the home of the most powerful man in the world, that's not a very high fence, and once you get over that fence, there doesn't really seem to be a whole lot stopping you from getting to the front door. Now I'm sure this isn't a good idea. I have no doubt that there's a lot more security on the grounds of the White House than it looks like. There's this guy for example....

He might be facing the wrong way at the moment, but even my catlike reflexes probably aren't quick enough to make it to the front door before he turns around. I might be able to make it to the fountain, but who knows what they've got stored in there. It's those kind of things that make it interesting though. Once you're over the fence, you really have no idea what's going to happen. 

Now I'd like it on the record, specifically for any Secret Service members who happen to be reading this, that I never did try and make it over the fence. As usual, the mere fact that I thought it was a good idea tipped me off to the fact that it was probably a horrible one. Besides, I was there with Lori and she never lets me do anything that fun stupid. I think I've accomplished my goal though, as from now on you'll never be able to stand in front of the White House gate without wondering which route Steve was planning to take, and if one day in the future you see a news story about somebody jumping the fence at the White House, you're going to smile. You might also want to clear the history on your browser. Having this page in there just might make you an accomplice or something.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby and Friday Daydreamin at R We There Yet Mom. If you didn't get here from one of those sites, you should really go check them out. There's people there who know which side of the White House fence they're supposed to stay on, but I'll bet you they've thought about making a run for it too.

Written by Steve Pratt

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Mickey's Greatest Accomplishment

For a mouse, Mickey has himself a pretty impressive list of accomplishments. He's got theme parks all over the world. He stars in movies, on TV, and has made the occasional foray onto Broadway. There's even an entire Disney Cruise Line sailing the high seas bearing his image. Mickey has indeed done very well for himself.

If you were to give me five minutes alone with him though, and a chance to ask a single question, I wouldn't ask about any of that. There's plenty of people in the world who could teach me how to be successful in business. Some, although not many, have even been more successful than Mickey. No, if I only have one question to ask of the world's most famous mouse, I want to know about his greatest accomplishment. The one thing he's done that nobody else has. The thing that astounds every one of us, and makes him a true innovator of epic proportions.

How? How, how, how, how, how, have you kept Minnie by your side for 84 years without having to propose to her?

Seriously Mick (Can I call you Mick? I feel like I've spent enough time at your house that it should be OK by now.), what's your secret? 84 years! I know some women are more patient than others, but you've hit the gold mine! I think back to when I first met my wife and I only managed to hold out three months before asking her to marry me, and even that was really just a formality since the church was already booked and the guest list pretty much written (both without any input from me I might add). Somehow I can't imagine the suggestion of "Hey, let's hang on 84 years and see how this shakes out." going over all that well.

Of course, even though it's impressive you've managed to hold out 84 years, I'm really not sure what the hold up is. You guys maintain a residence in California, so I'm pretty sure that you're already qualified as a common-law couple in the eyes of the State. Maybe there's some deep, dark, secret reason that you're not married. Maybe it's not your choice at all. Do Minnie and Pluto not get along? Does Minnie get a little creeped out when you wear your Fantasmic outfit all over the place? Or is it that nobody wants to see what kind of bachelor party Donald would throw for you? I think we're all in agreement that an outing like that just couldn't end well.

Whatever the reason, I just want you to know that we think you make a great couple. Married or not you guys are a true inspiration for those of us who are a few years behind you. Mickey, it's so cute to see you still get all excited whenever Minnie's around, and the way you give her all your attention, even when there's a multi-million dollar business to take care of, is just adorable. Minnie, you're obviously some kind of saint to wait so long for Mickey, but you're so patient and loving that I don't think anybody has any doubt that you guys will always be together. Besides, nobody rocks a polka-dot dress like you.

Well, almost nobody.

This post is a part of Wordless Wednesday over at Focused on the Magic. If you didn't get here from there, you should really head on over and check out some of the fantastic people that hang out there on Wednesdays. Most of them can probably rock a polka-dot dress just as well as Minnie. Well, maybe not Mark. I'm not sure he could pull it off.

Written by Steve Pratt

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Top Five (or Ten) Things I Learned While Camping

Two nights. That was it. In all I spent just over 48 hours at camp last week, barely enough time to fall behind on my chores at home or lose track of the Euro 2012 soccer tournament. For my first time at camp though, the learning curve was steep.

See, I'm not much of an outdoorsman. I knew going into this trip that I would be solidly out of my element, but I looked at it as a chance to experience something different...learn something new if you will. In that aspect, I certainly wasn't disappointed. I came home from this trip having learned far more than I ever did in any 48 hour span of sitting in a classroom. I'm just not sure that I have any real-life uses for these lessons, so I'm going to put them down here in the hopes that they might be helpful to some of you. Do with these teachings as you will, but please, remember the sacrifices made to share this knowledge.

(If you're wondering why it says "or Ten" in the title, I learned way too much to fit into one post, so lessons 6-10 are posted on the More Kids Than Suitcases Facebook page. Don't miss valuable tips about brownie eating wildlife, collapsing canoe seats, and the dishwashing shift you want to avoid.)

#5 - There's Cell Service in the Strangest Places.

I was warned that there was no cell service at the camp we would be staying at, but about half way through our first hike of the trip, we came upon a clearing and my phone started beeping from incoming messages. Yes, I'm that guy who has his cell phone along on the hike. I also had my wallet and car keys with me. I told you, I'm not an outdoorsman. A quick bit of shuffling around (thus forcing everybody else to hike off the trail to get around me) led to my finding a place in the middle of nowhere that had five bar cell reception. Of course that exact spot involved straddling a pile of moose droppings, but that seemed like a small price to pay for the ability to check Facebook. I did feel a little bad about holding the hike up while I tweeted out some pictures though.

#4 - Don't Lean Into Corners in a Canoe.

It works everywhere else in life. If you're riding your bike and you want to turn right, you lean right. Same thing with a skateboard, a scooter, or even a jet-ski. Canoes however, seem to have their own set of rules. It would have been nice if somebody had shared these rules with me, although since everybody else seemed to know these rules, I can only assume that they covered them while I was on Facebook in the middle of the wilderness.

#3 - It DOESN'T matter how cold the lake is. It DOES matter how cold the shower is.

I don't really understand this one. The same kids who happily spend hours in a lake that is being fed by water from a glacier, to the point of losing feeling in their extremities, will complain bitterly when they're the last people to the showers in the morning and the bathroom water has dipped below 80°F. Personally, I found the shower temperature to be too hot, but then again I wasn't crazy enough to go swimming in melted snow. I'll confess that the water trampoline did look tempting though. If there'd been a hot tub joining land and the trampoline, I might have given it a go.

#2 - Campfire songs have actions, which apparently everybody knows except me.

I didn't expect to know the songs. I spend as little time as possible around campfires, so being clueless when it came to the lyrics was an expected condition to find myself in. Still, I wasn't expecting to spend my time listening to songs about a moose named Fred who drinks juice in bed (at least it rhymes). Apparently he's pretty clumsy too because he gets a lot of it in his hair. Equally surprising was finding out that there's actions to go along with the juice-spilling activities of said moose. I'm getting the feeling that people who frequent campfires have a lot of spare time on their hands. Time they could be spending making me S'mores.

#1 - If you're tired enough, the comfort level of the bed isn't really important.

I'll be honest...the bed didn't look promising. I got the bottom bunk beside the door, furthest away from the fireplace. When I dropped my bag on the bed for the first time, I was greeted with a "Whack" as opposed to a nice, soft bouncing sound. Mix in the 11 boys who were sharing the cabin with me, and the signs weren't really pointing towards me getting a decent amount of sleep. What I didn't factor in though, was the complete exhaustion that comes from trying to keep up with teenagers for 16 hours a day. In my youth I'm sure I would have played all day and then come back to the cabin and complained about the hardness of the mattress. At my age however, I don't even remember my head hitting the bed, never mind whether or not the mattress was missing a pillow top. As a chaperone this probably wasn't the ideal situation since traffic could flow freely through the door without my supervision, but really as long as the kids sneaking out or the squirrels sneaking in didn't wake me up, I was perfectly fine with it.

Written by Steve Pratt

Friday, 15 June 2012

Crazy Camp Conversations

I'm back! I've officially survived being at camp with 55 Grade 6 kids and I've returned with only a few bruises, a little less ego, and a whole new perspective on what my daughter's day to day life involves. Surprisingly, it's an improved perspective. The complete chaos that I expected from taking that many pre-teens into the wilderness was certainly there, but as a group of kids I was immensely impressed with how funny, supportive, and genuine they all were.

Most of all though, I was blown away by how inclusive they were. I'm grateful that my daughter goes to a school where socializing outside of your normal circle of friends isn't a hard thing to do, and it's a great credit to her classmates that pairing one of the cool kids with a straight A student for an activity was never a cause for any conflict or concern. Pairing my daughter with a boy on a canoe trip however, was a cause for great concern, especially when they insisted on paddling more than 20 yards from shore. I really need to get a better zoom on my camera.

Trying to stay out of Dad's camera range
Now it's all behind us though, and everybody can relax and look back. My daughter will remember the trip as a fantastic time spent with her classmates before they all move to a new, bigger campus next year. The teachers will remember the trip as a chance to say goodbye to their students, many of whom they've known since they started school there several years ago.

And me? I think the proper answer is that I'm going to remember the experience as a chance to watch my daughter interact with her peers in a natural setting. That's what I probably should say, and I'm sure it is something that I really will look back on with great fondness. Truthfully though, the moments I'm going to remember most from camp are a little bit stranger than that. It may have been wonderful to see everybody getting along so well, but I was still in charge of a cabin of Grade 6 boys. The mind works in very mysterious ways, but sometimes you have to wonder if it's working at all...

The Canoe Question:
We had a little bit of bad weather on our second day at camp, and for a little while they had to limit us to indoor activities. Inevitably, a group of boys came up to me and the conversation went like this:
"Can we use the canoes?"
"Nope. It's still raining."
"Why does that matter?"
"Well when it rains, the canoes fill up with water, and eventually they'll sink."
"If we turn them over can we use them?"
It took a lot of willpower to not send them out onto the lake on upside down canoes.

The Release Request:
We were playing a game where the kids would try and sneak across the camp in the dark without being captured in a beam of light from a flashlight that the parents were wielding. One of the boys that I captured in my light pleaded with me not to send him all the way back to the start and made an offer for his freedom:
Boy: "Will you let me go if I can name all the provinces?"
Me: "Sure, I'm a reasonable man. Go ahead and list them."
Boy: "OK, know what, never mind. You got me."

Snap, Crackle, Pop:
I'm sure this doesn't come as a secret, but in a cabin full of pre-teen boys, flatulence is the highest form of humor. One morning a particularly long emission came from one of the boys in a top bunk and before the complaints could drown it out a lone voice came forth; "Dude! That's the sound Rice Krispies make when you pour milk on them." Breakfast was ruined for a lot of us that morning.

Head-ing to the Zipline
At one point during the week I found myself as the assigned parent supervisor of the zipline. I assure you that my only qualifications for supervising this apparatus are my age and my ability to follow directions, so when child after child came up to me and asked if it was really important that they wear the helmet, I knew that the required response was "Yes". One child however, had further questions.
"Do we have to wear the helmet to use the zipline?"
"Yes, it's important."
"You're ziplining through a forest. What happens if you hit a tree?"
"I won't. What if I promise not to hit a tree with my head?"
"Oh, well if you promise, that's OK then."
Side note: Grade 6 girls have no appreciation for sarcasm, but have a remarkable ability to squirm past you once they feel permission has been given. Only my death grip on the back of her sweater kept the girl from zipping down the course sans helmet.

I Don't Want to Know
Sometimes only hearing part of the conversation, is WAY to much information. I left the cabin early one morning to beat the rush to the bathrooms. On my return, I walked into the cabin just in time to hear one boy explaining to another "I didn't mean to pee on the floor. I meant to pee on you!". I'm not sure how many years of grown-up experience you need under your belt to have the proper answer to such a comment ready to go, but I assure you I haven't reached that number yet.

This post is a part of Friday Daydreamin at R We There Yet Mom. If you didn't get here from there, you should really go check them out. There's people there who might actually know what to say when walking into the cabin half way through a conversation. I kinda doubt it though.

Written by Steve Pratt

Monday, 11 June 2012

We're Taking Our Talents to South Beach...

Dear Texas:

Seriously, it was this close (picture small gap between thumb and forefinger), but just like last time, somebody swooped in and stole your thunder at the last minute. It's almost like the universe doesn't want us to come see your part of the country. I really have been trying to make a trip to The Lone Star State happen, and I had resigned myself to spending some of our travel miles to get there, but there seems to be other suitors willing to go that extra mile to lure us in their direction. In March it was Washington, D.C....

This time it's Miami.

OK, technically it's Fort Lauderdale, but that's close enough. You see, while you wanted over $200 per person each way to come to Texas, Delta was (and still is in many cases) offering $97 flights from Seattle to Fort Lauderdale. Sure the times are ridiculous (Anybody have suggestions for something to do during a 3 hour layover in Minneapolis at 3:30am?) but for half the price, we're going twice as far, and that's the kind of math that I can relate to. Certainly more than my wife's math, which says that for half the price, we can buy twice as much. That kind of logic I just don't get.

Don't despair though Texas. We've put far too much effort into planning a visit to you to let it all go to waste. I still want to see the Alamo, I still want to ride the waves at Schlitterbahn, and I still want to take a spin a bull (Which I could probably do at any bar in town, but how much cooler does it sound to say "I rode a bull in Texas"?). It may not be happening for us in the first part of July, but there's no way that fate can keep us apart forever. We will get to your state eventually, but maybe you could have a word with the airlines about what they're charging to come to your part of the country? A decent airfare sale would really help to hurry things along.

Looking forward to that day.

Yours Truly,

More Kids Than Suitcases

On an unrelated note; I'm leaving in about an hour to go and supervise a Grade 6 camping trip for the next three days. That means that:

#1 - This site isn't going to be updated for a couple of days as apparently there is no internet or cell service at the camp we are going to. It's possible that by day 2 I may have decided to take matters in to my own hands and build a cell tower or dig a trench to run high speed internet cables to our location, but these things take time, and even in the best case scenario the download speeds would probably only approach 2mbps. We're talking ends of the Earth type terrain here.

#2 - Let's face it; Me, the wilderness, 50 or 60 Grade 6 kids....this may actually be the last time you hear from me again. If it is, let me say that it's been a pleasure having you along for the ride. I'll make sure that the funeral details are posted here since I assume that you'll all want to attend. If a few of you could bring a dessert, that would be great, but make sure you don't give it to Lori or it will just end up getting hidden in the back of the fridge.

Wish me luck, pray for me (and under my leadership, you might want to throw in a few prayers for the kids), and hopefully I'll see you all later in the week.

Written by Steve Pratt

Thursday, 7 June 2012

A Summer of Sisters

It's tough dealing with sisters. I should know....I had more battles with my sister when I was young than I can count, even with my straight A's in math. For all the grief I got from my sister though, it seems to me that it's even worse when you've got sisters dealing with sisters. Having two daughters means that I've seen some fights that HBO would be proud to present as one of their feature bouts. Mike Tyson may have been mean, but Holyfield would be lucky to only lose part of his ear if he came between my two brawlers.

That's one of the amazing things about traveling though. Without all the other interferences in life, our girls seem to get along much better. When we're off exploring, the only thing to fight about is who gets which bed, and since my kids can sleep anywhere, even that debate is usually solved pretty simply...

sisters on bed

It seems that without their other friends around, my girls hold on to each other just that little bit tighter...

sisters on teeter totter

And are more willing to help each other out when things get too deep....

sisters in pool

So this year I'm going to truly appreciate our summer vacation, and I'm going to pay a little extra attention to how willing my girls are to get along and share while we're traveling...

sisters sharing drink

Because soon enough summer will be over and my youngest will have to beg for her sisters attention again.

girl pretending dog

Or maybe she's just begging for a S'more. Yeah, actually that makes more sense.

This post is a part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby and Friday Daydreamin at R We There Yet Mom. If you didn't get here from one of those sites, you should really go check them out. There's people there who actually got along with their sisters. They should probably go back and apologize to their brothers though. Us brothers always got blamed for everything.

Written by Steve Pratt