Tag Archives: the kids

Dress up day and appropriate drinking

This week the kids spent some time at a friend’s house and made some masks. This morning they dressed up with clothing appropriate to their costumes. Madeline is a cat; Olivia is a bat; and Luke is a pumpkin.


With lunch, they decided that they should drink something appropriate to the animals they were dressed as.

Madeline, being a cat, wanted milk.

Olivia, being a bat, wanted to drink something red like blood, so she chose cranberry juice.

Luke, being a pumpkin, wanted iced tea, which is brown and is therefore, in his own words, “worm poop juice”.

Of course. He keeps them in a box.

Conversation I had with Luke and Madeline tonight:

Luke: How big is God?

Me: I don’t know. It’s hard to say.

Madeline: He’s bigger than the universe.

Marc: In a sense he is, I suppose.

Luke: Who is God?

Marc: Well, he’s the creator of the universe and the whole world.

Madeline: And he created you and me.

Luke: How did he make me?

Madeline: Out of dirt.

Me: Yyyyyyyyyes.

Luke: How did he make our face? How did he make our eyes?

Marc: I don’t know. I’m not sure how God created everything.

Luke: I know! He had a box with eyes. And they had names on them, so that he could put them in our face.

Easter Weekend (so far)

Last night Linea and I led our annual Maundy Thursday service at the church.  It was quite an intimate affair this year, with only 11 people in attendance.  We left the service in silence as a symbol of the continuity between it and the Good Friday service.

Of course, most people won’t stay silent for the rest of the evening.  Dixie went off to Sobeys to get some groceries, while I ordered pizza from the church for her to pick up on the way home.  I went to Futureshop and purchased the new Tragically Hip album on a whim (along with another one on sale).  Almost bought the new Neil Young album as well, along with a couple of remasted early U2 CDs, but resisted both.

As I sat in my car, idling in the parking lot, and opened the new CD (I always open and listen immediately) I made a momentary connection with Jesus’ disciples, who scattered after he was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane.  A group of us Jesus-followers had just gathered to commemorate the Last Supper and the new command to love each other and then we scattered into the world, back to our normal lives of TV and eating and drinking and shopping.  It seemed for a moment like such an incongruity to go just go on about our business as usual after that service.  But, I thought, tomorrow we collect ourselves again at the Good Friday service.

In the mean time, Dixie and I had our long put-off Thursday evening date: pizza, junk food, a couch, and two hours of NBC sitcoms.  Yes, incongruous.

My intention was for at least one of us to go to a Good Friday service (I hadn’t looked into whether there were any children’s programs at the multiple services in town).  It seemed like I would be going to St. George’s Anglican (my biannual tradition, it seems) for their service, but a miscommunication turned into an at-home Good Friday service with the kids.  At first I was bothered by this, because I foresaw a “service” with the kids as a futile endeavour, doomed to failure.  And I was right, to a degree–there is only so much that a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old in particular will pay attention to.  Plus, all the kids were cranky and whiny and disobedient most of the day.

That said, historically the kids have not participated in any sort of Good Friday anything, so it was a good thing to tell them the story again and provide a little context for the weekend.

We showed them an Easter video, then went to the dining room where they coloured some Easter-related pictures (we have tried desperately to avoid the bunnies and chocolate theme over the weekend–we did a chocolate egg hunt earlier in the week to get that out of the way).  I then told them the story of Jesus and his disciples in the garden, Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion (using this).  

This was followed by the kids singing along to the Veggietales Easter album.  Here’s Madeline reading (!) the lyrics and singing along (although I’m pretty sure she knew most of the words already, but she loves reading, she says):


And here’s Luke colouring:


And here’s Olivia putting marker lids on her fingers:


Then one further craft: three crosses made out of popsicle sticks, which we intend to put up somewhere in the yard.  I added the “This is the king of the Jews” sign to one of the crosses and Luke insisted that one of the crosses should have a sign with his name on it:

Three crosses

The morning reached a crescendo some time after this, when the two younger children were screaming at the tops of their lungs in anger over something , while Bob and Larry sang “I Know That My Redeemer Liveth” in the background.  It was kind of funny.

More pictures here.

And for lunch: poffertjes! Here’s a photo set of the preparation and consumption of poffertjes. They’re kind of like pancakes, but not. It was a tradition to have them for supper on my birthday. This was my first time making them myself.  Here’s the end product:

The end product

After lunch: naps, homework, relax.  Tonight: a game with Dixie maybe and sermon preparation.

Grace Like a Child

We have quite a bit to learn from our kids, I think.  Jesus was on to something when he said, “Let the children come to me . . . for to such belongs the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:14, ESV)

I’m thinking now of last month’s one night camping trip with the kids.  My patience with the children has been wearing very thin lately, but I had imagined a nice relaxed time with them—no hurry to do anything in particular, no place to be—but for various reasons it didn’t turn out that way.


Looks idyllic, doesn’t it?

Thursday morning—the morning I met The Sex Patrol Kid—I took the kids out fishing.  As great as the picture looks—and as much as I had imagined it just as idyllically—much of my time was spent getting frustrated at Luke (it’s easy to forget that he’s only 3) and yelling.  Afterward, I felt quite defeated, like a failure.  I’ve apologized to the kids a lot lately—more out of fear that I’ve scarred them somehow than anything else (well, also because I was sorry).  Luke got a big hug after fishing.

After we went fishing we phoned home to Dixie.  When Luke got on the phone he talked excitedly to Dixie about what we had done so far.

“And we went fishing with Dad!” he shouted into the phone.

The boy was excited.  Apparently my angry outbursts were already forgotten by him.  Kids are resilient and forgiving.  They are fine examples of showing unconditional love.  I wish we adults could be the same.

Why does the kingdom of God belong to the children?  Because in their best moments they are able to live the kingdom un-self-consciously—in some respects, unwittingly—and without reservation.  Adults are not, for the most part, able to do that.  Not naturally, anyway.

Bed time

Isn’t bedtime supposed to be a special time of the day?  A time of cuddling with your children, telling them stories and singing them quiet songs, and then tucking those precious little yawning gems snuggly into their beds?  Isn’t that how it’s supposed to go?

Why is it that in our house bedtime is the time that Angry Marc comes out to play?  Before we had children, do you know how often Angry Marc would appear?  Rarely.  He’d maybe make an appearance when there was injustice afoot, or perhaps when someone was making repeated false accusations in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  At all other times—which was most of the time—Even-Keeled Marc ruled the day.

One of the reasons Angry Marc rears his ugly head is that bedtime looks more like this: disobedient children ignoring the quiet song, getting mad at each other, fighting, not listening, refusing to go pee and put on their pajamas, then not staying in bed and going to sleep, when all I want is some peace and quiet, kids rested for the next day, and some time to ourselves.  That’s an acceptable desire; but—God!-–am I getting tired of walking away from their bedroom regretting whatever disciplinary action I have just taken and then coming back later and staring at them teary-eyed, touching their soft faces, maybe saying a little prayer.

There’s got to be a better way to be a father.

. . . and Luke’s out of his bed again.


Took the kids to Kidsfest today.  Well, Dixie took them and I met up with them there.

I hate to be Mr. Negative, but most of the time there was spent waiting.  20 minutes in line for cotton candy and popcorn; 20 minutes in line for inexplicable balloon hats; 5 minutes in line for the bouncy castle; 3 minutes in line for hot dogs (which, at $0.50 apiece, with $0.25 soft drinks, was actually quite the steal of a meal); 10 minutes in line for face painting.  So, out of the 1.5 hours I was there, 1 hour of it was spent waiting.  Wow.  I hadn’t put the numbers together like that until just now.

But the kids had fun.  I guess they played some games before I got there.  And they jumped in the bouncy castle.  And they got a hug from a snake.  And they got their faces painted.  And they got cotton candy, hot dogs, candy, pop corn and balloon hats.  Can’t really complain, now can we?

Not sure what was going on with the face painting.  The first girl available to paint the kids’ faces didn’t look to be much more than a couple of years older than Madeline, but she had a volunteer shirt on, so . . . Madeline’s face turned out fairly well.  Luke’s, on the other hand, looked a little like the paint was discharged from a shotgun.  But he’s young enough for it to not make a difference.  His face was painted and he was happy.  Had it not been painted, he would have been happy too.

In Holland, when I was the kids’ age, they would have a carnival in a field a block away from our house.  Do you know what I remember from those carnivals?  The smell of cigarettes and the Heineken beer coasters from the beer tents.  That is all.

It’s a good memory.