Hulk Dance

Ariella has been enrolled in a preschool dance program since September at The Maritime Dance Academy. She is learning tap, jazz and ballet. She loves going each week and of course she looks precious in her dance outfit. And lets be honest half the reason that you put a four year old into a dance program is because they look so stinking cute in a tutu. At least I am fairly confident that is why Meghan signed her up.

This past Saturday was picture day. Everyone in the school gets to dress up in very fancy dance outfits. Ariella’s class got to wear these impressive white dresses that the owner got from Turkey. They had strict rules for the day. Their hair had to be done in a proper slicked back bun. They were not permitted to where any jewelry, or nail polish.  The idea as I understand it was to let the dancers natural beauty stand out.

At breakfast before Ariella and Meghan left for dance we were discussing picture day, and that she was going to get to dress up in something special. Without missing a beat Ariella asked if she was going to get to be the Hulk. I couldn’t help but laugh.

Meghan, and my sister try so hard with all of our kids to bring a touch of class and coolness into their lives. But it seems that the gravity of my geekiness is just too strong. I have successfully turned Simeon into a gamer, and Ariella is well on her way to be a big superhero/comic book fan.

I love seeing Ariella dance as a dainty ballerina but I’d pay a fair amount of money to see her tap dance as the Hulk. Someone should start a program up that offers that.

Hulk Ariella dance

Ariella Smash Gracefully!!



One Last Hurrah At Crystal Palace

A few weeks ago the news broke that Dieppe’s Crystal Palace would soon be no more. I guess I unknowingly assumed that Crystal Palace would always be with us. I along with many felt a sense of shock and loss at the thought of losing the small by fun amusement park. Crystal Palace has been such a part of my life. I remember;

Family trips when I was a child/teen

Trips away with my young group as a teen

Trips away with friends as a young adult

Taking a youth group of my own as I started as a pastor

Finally coming full circle and taking my young children

2012 was our first trip as a growing young family. Simeon was three, Ariella was one, and we had a blast. For me it was to be the first of many trips

Having fun like it's 2012

Having fun like it’s 2012

At three and one Simeon and Ariella were young to get full benefit of all the attractions. Early in the year when we thought about what our family of five (Simeon five, Ariella three, and Asher one) might do on vacation it seemed like it might be best to wait another year before we trucked up to New Brunswick. But as it turns out next year wasn’t an option.

It was now or never. We choose now.

As I walked into Crystal Palace the familiar clacking of the roller coaster and the lights flashing on the swings exploded into my mind like some sort of nostalgia bomb. I was easily more excited then the kids. I could barely wait for us to don our bracelets and get started. We jumped right in.

Crystal Collage 1

One of the things we found out this trip that we must not have noticed last time was that children Asher’s age/size can go on a number of rides if accompanied by an adult. So instead of being stuck on the side lines Asher got a taste of things too. And I have to say he enjoyed the rides quite a lot.

Crystal Collage 2I won’t lie. I wasn’t just there for the kids. I really wanted to have one last hurrah myself. Crystal Palace introduced me to lazer tag and I desperately wanted to play it there once more. We hit a small snag though, Simeon was two inches too short. I am not one that normally ignores height restrictions, but I couldn’t fathom a reason why laser tag needed such rules. So I carefully instructed Simeon to stand up as straight as he could and to walk confidently into the lazer tag zone while I stood in between him and the measuring device.

We got in.

The other ride Simeon wasn’t tall enough for was the swings. That one there really was a safety concern so I didn’t try the same trick. Meghan did however give me the nod to go ahead, and the ride operator was even kind enough to snap a picture.

Swing Daddy

I should say that the staff all day were wonderful. We chatted with a lot of the workers in the park, and at Mcginnis Landing (the restaurant attached to Crystal Palace). Everyone was pleasant, friendly and kind. But there was a touch of sadness with a lot of staff. Many had worked there for years. The manager at Mcginnis Landing had been there for fifteen years. They felt the loss more acutely than I did.

Closing Time

As the day went on we lingered. Originally we planned to wrap up our trip at 7pm. But I wasn’t ready to go. We played a round of mini-golf, took a few ‘one more’ rides, and enjoyed a few more token games. Finally as we neared 8:30 the kids put on their pjs and we all really did go on our one last ride. Meghan, Asher and Ariella took a ride on the submarine that made Asher giggle while Simeon and I took a spin on the rollercoaster.

We walked out of the building and drove into the setting sun. The day was pretty much all I had hoped for, but I am sad that there will not be another. It was a great family day trip. It was a fitting goodbye to the place that held so many of my memories.

For us Crystal Palace now is just a memory, we won’t be back before they close their doors for the last time. But there is still a little time. Perhaps you’d like to go on ‘one last ride’.

Saying goodbye to an old friend

Saying goodbye to an old friend

Please Don’t Share That

This post first appeared on Urban Parent Halifax on Tuesday August 19th which is a great source for all things parenting here in Halifax NS

Without fail every week if not more often I will check my normal social networks and I will come across a post, meme, video or blog dragging out the tired image or the poor bumbling helpless dad. Most times I just roll my eyes and keep on scrolling. But sometimes I really have to shake my head as I wonder why the person shared what they did.

Often times they are calling out their own spouse in a very public manner for trying to do something that was unfamiliar to them. I rarely see the humour in the faceflogging that takes place with person after person chiming in to say how funny this failure is. It’s like my whole social network channels their inner Nelson Muntz.


If you are considering posting something about how your silly, well meaning, but ultimately failure of a spouse messed up I would like you to consider 3 questions;

  1.  Was it one of their normal responsibilities?

In my house I am the primary cook and I am the primary grocery shopper. We do this because I enjoy cooking more than my wife does and I normally have Fridays off work to do the shopping.

My wife is a smart and capable person. We got married while we were both still in university. Because of that she never had to get used to cooking and grocery shopping for anything beyond college living.

Once shortly after we were married she did the grocery shopping for a change. To my surprise she bought a rather large package of ground pork. When I asked why she legitimately had no idea that she hadn’t bought the ground beef I asked for. To me the products look completely different. But since she didn’t normally do the grocery shopping and never handles raw meat she simply saw a package of ground meat and tossed it into the cart.

It is easy to make simple mistakes when doing something unfamiliar.

  1. How much experience do they have? 

When we get good at something it is easy to forget how hard it was at first, sort of like driving. Think back to those first few times behind the wheel. It was so nerve wracking! It took so much focus and attention. But now you jump in the car and barely give what you are doing any thought at all.

One of the things I think you should never make fun of a dad for trying to do is putting their daughter’s hair in a ponytail. Of course some of us as asking for it.

Dad getting hair ready

Mom’s I don’t think you take time to consider how much more experience you have compared to the average dad. Before you had a daughter that needed her hair put up how many ponytails did you make in your own hair? How about in someone else’s hair, like for someone you used to babysit?

I don’t know about you, but before I had a daughter that needed her hair put up I know exactly how many ponytails I tried before, zero, zip, zilch. Don’t even get me started about braids. I am still not great at putting in a ponytail, but I am learning. It takes skill to figure out how to gather up all the hair, hold it properly in one hand and twirl elastic with another.

It is easy to forget how hard something is when you get used to doing it.

  1. Do you want them to try again?

Do you remember the time when you were learning to ride your bike and you fell off, and your parents laughed and laughed at you? Than they called over all their friends to point and laugh at the poor crumpled heap you were on the ground. No? That’s probably because they wanted you to succeed and they realized ridiculing your failure wasn’t likely a great motivator.

The same people I see making fun of their partners for trying tend to be the ones that complain that their partners don’t help out around the house/in the kitchen/with the kids enough. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t make fun of them every time they try and expect them to be ready to jump up to help.

You can make fun of the failures or you can encourage their effort. You likely can’t do both.

I don’t want to sound like a kill joy. It is a good thing to be able to laugh at our mistakes. But it isn’t funny to be laughed at because of them. Maybe instead of making fun for dads who are trying you could consider posting a picture of a grumpy cat. That guy always cracks me up.

grumpy cat mornings