Sunday, August 31, 2008

Corbin and I

Tina had to head up to Goderich to get her mom and bring her back for some more medical appointments. She was going to take both boys, but really only wanted to take one. I said, 'take Jeremy - ask Corbin if he wants to go'.

Much to our surprise, Corbin chose to stay in Windsor. That is a first.

So, Corbin spent the weekend home with me. I was not going to be much fun since my main task for the weekend was painting. I don't mind painting - it's all the prep work that I mind. I wanted to repaint the trim in the hallway, paint the patch by the front door (where a shelf used to be) and finishing painting the basement.

While I painted, Corbin watched some TV, played Playstation, spent some time on the computer and even painted a bit. I managed to squeeze in some Playstation time with Corbin.

At one point I had to do some shopping at Shoppers and get some additional paint supplies. Corbin helped with the shopping cart at Shoppers. We got a few supplies at Home Depot and then drove over to A&W to grab some burgers at home.

We watched the James Bond film Casino Royale on the Movie Network - I went back to painting after finishing my burger. After the movie was done, it was bed time for Corbin and I did some more painting in the basement.

All in all it was a good weekend with Corbin. I'm glad he didn't go up to Goderich because he didn't need to get all worked up before going to school.

Posted by Adam

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Passports for the Szymczak Boys

Since I was on vacation today and tomorrow, I decided this was a good time to get our passports. Last week, Corbin, Jeremy and I went to Wal-Mart to get our passports and I had my mom sign as our guarantor.

Today, I took Corbin and Jeremy downtown to get our passports. We left first thing in the morning. I parked in the City Hall employee parking lot (it's free for me) and we walked down to the passport office. Apparently the walk was longer than the boys are used to, since they were asking 'how much further'.

We got to the CIBC building and took the elevator up the 5th floor. It wasn't busy. Passport Canada has a good system where they pre-screen you to make sure you have all the relevant information and then give you a ticket with your number. The boys went to sit down, but sat apart from each other. Seems they weren't liking each other's company.

A few minutes later, our number was called. The friendly gentleman took the applications one by one. He noticed I worked for the City of Windsor and asked in which department did I work in. I said Planning. He said "you must know Jeff Watson". I said, I worked with Jeff for 10 years until his recent retirement. We talked some more and I signed the form and paid the fees and we were off.

Painless and quick.

Posted by Adam

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Thanks Babcia

A week sure doesn't seem like a long time - it sure went by quick.

The boys, for the most part, had a good time with Babcia. She would play with them, take them outside in the backyard or the park, and just hang out with them. She helped Tina and I by making supper, doing the laundry and keeping the kitchen clean. It worked out well for everybody.

Jeremy gave her some attitude, something about Babcia being annoying. As if we let him do whatever he wants.

Yesterday we did some shopping at Devonshire Mall. My mom got a bunch of bed sheets and pillow covers for Alex's room - she even bought the sheets Tina and I picked out. We strolled around the mall. Babcia bought Corbin some Chaotic playing cards. Later we out to Boston Pizza for an early supper.

Thanks for helping out Babcia. See you soon.

Posted by Adam

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Best Buy and Babcia

Tina was at an all-day conference where Henry Winkler was the main speaker, so after an excellent supper, the rest of us headed to Best Buy to look at flat-panel TVs for my mom, video games for Corbin, movies for Corbin and gadgets for me.

After looking at a bunch TVs, my mom settled on Sharp Aquos 32" Flat-Panel LCD HDTV. We didn't buy just yet - not a good idea to take on the train. I will buy just before we go to Brantford some time in September.

Jeremy picked a Scooby-Doo movie. I think he has all the Scooby-Doo movies available on the shelf at Best Buy, so he is going to have to look for other movies.

Corbin picked up Hamster Life for his NintendoDS. It's a game where you take care of a Hamster or two. Don't ask.

I picked up a 250 GB HP Pocket Drive to backup the laptop computer. An added bonus is that it fits into the pocket drive slot on our desktop. That means I could backup our pictures and Tina could scrap book with the laptop and pocket drive when ever we take the laptop with us.

My mother looked at MP3 players and fell in love with the iPod Nano. She wouldn't mind getting one as a Christmas present.

Posted by Adam

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Priceless Quotes

"Narnia"

Jeremy's answer to Adam's question "Where would you like to go other than Chuck E. Cheese?"


"I won't melt. I'm made out of meat"

Jeremy responding to Tina's comment about him melting if we don't turn on the air conditioning


"Of course I still stink you, you big masterpiece"

Jeremy ranting when he was mad at Mom and Dad

Posted by Adam

Jeremy's "Gotcha Day"

Happy "Gotcha Day" Jeremy.

It's been three years since Jeremy joined our family. Time sure is flying. From a quiet kid with big curly hair to a on-the-go non-stop chatting boy with short hair, Jeremy sure is growing up fast.

Thanks for coming along for the ride,

Mom, Dad and Corbin.


It's Hot

The air conditioning has been off for about 10 days.

An unbelievable run considering that it is August and this is Windsor. It's usually hot, hazy and humid but this year it's been nice. It gets hot in the afternoon, but usually there is a breeze, so we just keep the windows open night and day.

It's hot today. The temperature inside the house shot up 2 degrees Celsius in one hour. It's mid-afternoon and with no breeze, our south-facing house was getting mighty toasty.

So it was time to turn on the AC. Hopefully, I'll be able to turn off in the evening.

Posted by Adam

Friday, August 8, 2008

Successful Soccer Camp

Tina signed up Corbin for the Royal City Soccer Camp during the week after Civic holiday. It's soccer instruction in the morning, followed by lunch and swimming.

The location of the camp moved from Mic Mac Park to Lanspeary Park, a more central location for Windsor, and one that has a covered over hockey rink that can be used when it rains. The park also has an outdoor swimming pool.

Corbin did well this year. No major problems. His worker was there to assist as required. Corbin did complain a little because he had to do more work because the instructors expected more.

In the end, Corbin admitted he enjoyed the soccer camp.

Posted by Adam

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Ottawa Vacation - Day 4

Last day of the NACAC conference. Tina pulled off another amazing breakfast service. Again, she went to the conference and we headed to the pool.

One family in the pool today, but they eventually left. We spent a few minutes in the hot tub, which Jeremy loves. Back in the pool. It was nice and relaxing. Spent about a good hour in the pool.

Went up to the room, changed and then went down to Laurier Centre to check out the shopping mall. Jeremy knew the way from his previous visit with Tina. One smart kid.

We wandered around and killed some time. I almost bought the boys some Indiana Jones figures at a specialty toy store, but balked at the price. Surely Walmart is cheaper. Complete with our tour of the mall, we went back to our room to prepare to check out. Tina was already in the room.

So I called to get our van one last time - did I mention I LOVE valet parking? By time we were packed, the van was waiting right at the door, and Rob, our boys best friend at the Westin, helped us load the van. Corbin gave Rob a tip. Rob asked where we were heading, and we said Windsor. "Long drive" was his reply and said to say "hi" to St. Thomas, his hometown. One last goodbye to Rob and we were on our way home.

Because the 417 was closed, we took the scenic route down the Rideau Canal. We grabbed lunch at McDonalds and made our way over to the 416 in Neapean. It was around 12:30 PM.

The drive to Windsor was, for the most part uneventful. We did have to deal with some pop-up showers and thunderstorms, but they were short-lasting. We stopped at the rest centres as required. The drive through Toronto was typical. Lots of traffic but nothing major.

When we got to Cambridge, I decided it was time for supper. We pulled off at Highway 24 and had supper at the Boston Pizza. With our tummies full of food, we made the final push to Windsor. A quick stop at the Pilot Travel Center in Tilbury for gas and we arrived in Windsor shortly after 9:30 PM.

For a short vacation with over 16 hours of driving time, it was a great vacation jam packed with things to do and people to see. Tina was glad she attended the conference and I got to spend some much needed time with my boys. It was nice to see Steve, Pam, Owen and Laura and Sarah again. Ottawa is full things to do and see and we will definitely be back.

Posted by Adam

Friday, August 1, 2008

Ottawa Vacation - Day 3 - Part 2

This evening we drove back over to Steve and Pam's house for some pizza, beer and good old hanging out.

I thanked Steve for his suggestion about the Canadian Aviation Museum. He was right, it was cheap and the boys liked it. I also said that I loved valet parking - it's so convenient to not have to drag your kids to the parking lot or garage, especially when the valet attendants park the van right outside the door. Now that is service.

Pam ordered pizza from a nearby pizza place, using us as guinea pigs. We were fine with that. It' can't be that bad, right.

The kids played and played and played. We sat on the patio and chatted away the night. The pizza came and the kids ate inside while the big kids - us adults - ate outside. For the record, the pizza was just fine.

All good things must come to an end and we had to leave. It was getting late and everyone needed some rest. We thanked Steve and Pam for having us over, again, and that we will definitely be back.

Posted by Adam

Ottawa Vacation - Day 3 - Part 1

Tina pulled off another excellent breakfast. Who needs hot cinnamon rolls? After breakfast and showers, Tina headed off to the conference and the rest of us headed down to the pool.

The pool wasn't empty. There were a few families, which gave Corbin a chance to play with other kids. We spent about an hour before going up to the room and getting ready for the rest of the day.


The boys and I drove over to the
Canadian Museum of Civilization over in Gatineau, Quebec. Originally, I was considering taking the boys on a local bus, but then I thought about having to wait at the end of long and busy day. The van was easier and parking cost the same as the bus. It took about five minutes to drive from the hotel to the museum. Parking is underground - which is nice.

In the lobby, I was presented with an assortment of choices. Aye carumba. I settled on the Museum, the Wild Ocean IMAX movie and the Greeks special exhibition. It was just over $40 for the three of us.
The Canadian Museum of Civilization is a group of museums and permanent and temporary exhibits.

Our first stop was the Canadian Children's Museum which includes the outdoor Adventure World.
The web site suggests that you "allow three hours for a visit with children". That is an understatement. The boys could have spent the whole day just in the Children's Museum. The place is amazing.
Kids are given a passport. They find stations where they insert the proper page of their passport and stamp it. The place was filled with all kinds of hands-on exhibits from a ship to a pyramid to a market to a house to, well everything.

Located outside, the Adventure World is a wonderful bonus. Kids can go fishing, fly a plane, drive a boat or make cool crafts. When we headed outside I was faced with the dilemma of Corbin wanting to be outside and Jeremy wanting to play inside. So I left Corbin to his own devices and said we will be back in a half an hour.

Jeremy played on the ship, first cleaning the deck, then loading and unloading some cargo and finally piloting the ship. He could have spent all day on the ship. We wandered around (more like me following Jeremy) before finding Corbin outside.

Fortunately, Corbin's natural clock was working and he was heading up the walkway with a boat in his hands. Apparently, the kid who didn't like crafts, made a boat from wood, corks, straw, paper and a bottle cap, all by himself. Who is this kid?


After spending enough time in the Children's Museum, we grabbed a quick bite to eat (overpriced and poor quality). I grabbed some popcorn and we lined up for the movie. A few minutes later the doors opened and we found some seats. Wild Ocean is a story about the sardine migration off the east coast of Africa and circle of life along the KwaZulu-Natal Coast. Who knew a movie about sardines could be so exciting. It was an amazing presentation and I highly recommend it.

We headed over to the Grand Hall and the First Peoples Hall where we learnt about the history of the First Peoples (aka natives). Corbin was naturally attracted to any exhibits with weapons while Jeremy was Jeremy as in "when are we going back to the Children's Museum".

A quick run through The Greeks exhibit which contained some amazing artifacts, including jewelry that was well over 2000 years old.

Next was the Face to Face: The Canadian Personalities Hall and the Canada Hall. The boys showed some interest in the exhibits, but what caught their attention was the Justice in New France dramatic presentation. Corbin and Jeremy sat and watched the full length of the presentation, which is part theatre and part interactive. Who are these kids?

I let the boys free in the Children's Museum to let off some more energy - if that is possible. Six hours later, we were back in Ottawa, struggling to get to the Westin - traffic was at a standstill. We managed to make it to the hotel, where Rob, the valet attendant, was greeted by the boys.

We could have spent all day at the museum and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting or living in Ottawa-Gatinuea area. We didn't even get a chance to visit the Canadian Postal Museum. If you have kids, you may want to plan two days to take in the whole facility or come when it opens and leave when it closes. Parking is $10 for the day and is located underground with direct access to the museum.

Posted by Adam