Triplets Meet Twins

Short Day Projects

It seems my to-do list each day is beginning to greatly exceed the actual time available and with the outdoor soccer season ramping up it’s only going to get worse in the next few weeks.  Not only are both girls playing but I’m also coaching so it’s going to take up a fair amount of time. 
Now contrary to intuition which says take it easy leading into the busy weeks I do the exact opposite.  I try to think of every last thing that may potentially need doing and start fun little projects to get done now while there’s still time.  Err well a little bit more time anyways.
I’ve been keeping very busy with landscaping and getting set up for a great outdoor season and have made a few little projects.  My favorite type of creative fun project; furniture making.  I’ve made two pieces in the past month a bedside table for my oldest and a coffee table for the garage.  Yes I said a coffee table for the garage. 
I enjoy carpentry and although my skills are not the best it’s these types of little projects that will improve them.  So when the opportunity arises that I can make something I do.  They’re always small projects that aren’t going to be a big deal if they don’t work out.  That way I get to have fun creating something and if it doesn’t work out I don’t feel too bad scrapping them.  I thought I would share those latest projects.
First project I worked on was a bedside table for my daughter. I made one as the space available for a nightstand was not a standard size and I was having a difficult time finding one to purchase.  After spending some time searching for one to purchase I decided it was just easier to make one. I’m not completely happy with it as it was made from scrap wood but my daughter is and I must admit it does suit her room fairly well.
Second project of the month has been a coffee table.  My husband has a “man-cave” set up in the garage and over the winter he began to use our lawn furniture coffee table which I now want back. So onto another project, after all it is still the garage and what goes in it does not have to be perfect. Turned out well and now I have the lawn furniture back where it belongs, outside.

So there are my latest, and I can happily say I finally, finally figured out how to mitre corners properly.

Twinke Toes.

After having not run all week, I got two decent runs in this weekend.  Yesterday I ran for about a half hour and today I did the same.  Yesterday's run was going to be me pushing Allie in the single Baby Jogger but Emily decided she wanted to come along so I pulled out the Triple Jogger.  I will say it was kind of odd having the one empty seat in the triple stroller (Anna wanted alone time with Sarah) but it was easier than pushing 3 for sure!  The wind did make parts of the run challenging, though.  We did probably just under 3 flat miles in sunny, but cool conditions.

Today's run I snuck in after we put the girls to bed and before the sun went down.  Cool conditions again, but the clear crisp air was great for running.  I know I will be missing these running conditions come July!  Oh and who says running doesn't pay?  I came home 35 cents richer after first picking up a quarter and then a dime about a 1/2 mile down the same street! (Sarah rolled her eyes when I told her of my cash findings.)

Although somewhat uneventful, it was an overall nice weekend spent at home.  I have been the who has done the grocery shopping in this family since I remember (and it is something I don't mind doing).  Sometimes I go alone.  Sometimes I take all three girls.  Sometimes I take two with me. 

Today I took Allie only.  Well Allie and Elmo.  And a toy shopping cart.  Oh my was Allie a cutie pushing the little cart around the grocery store wearing her new Skecher Twinkle Toes sneaks! Allie had decided it was safest to leave Elmo in the van while we shopped.  Good idea, Allie.  Although it would have been too stinking cute if Allie put Elmo in her shopping cart!

By the way, it seems I can never do a weekly shopping grocery shopping trip without spending at least $100.  Today's total was $117.27 although total savings (according to the receipt) were $30.83!

My Characters in a New TV Animated Commercial + Facebook App!

Along with the TV commercials, my characters are also in a new Facebook app! =) This is so exciting! =) You're more then welcome to check it out! 

Thanks to all the super talented people at Snowball | VFX Studios =)

Pump Up The Volume.

A few highlights from the girls' birthday party at a local "bouncy" party place a couple of weeks ago:

ALL the kids had a blast!

My Characters in a New Animated TV-Commercial!

My characters in a new commercial for a major construction company in Israel called: 'Shary Arison'! I had the pleasure working on this commercial at Snowball VFX | Studios. I did the character design and some of the props in the commercial! I'm really excited about this! There are 2 more commercials that should be aired on the TV with my characters, I'm gonna post them once their out!

שיכון ובינוי - עיצוב דמויות על ידי עינב דרעי - חברת ההפקה האחראית על האנימציה וארט - סנובול סטודיוס - פרסומת אנימציה - שרי אריסון

Big Job

It’s been a long week and I’m feeling the burn today.  I’m absolutely unequivocably spent.  Monday afternoon ten yards of dirt was delivered.  Since then every evening has been spent slowly moving the mound to the countless low spots and places in need of fill and am I ever tired.
My backyard has never exactly been well graded in fact when we first purchased this house the yard was in some serious need of attention.  A large portion was in fact dirt, full of chunks of mud and clay. At the time our focus was on getting the interior of the house redone, bathrooms, kitchen, and what not and so we simply threw some grass seed at the problem.
I eventually added my garden and we have made small improvements as time went on.  The grading and smoothing out of the lawn itself though has been something we’ve avoided.  Last summer with such constant high heat and lack of rain the soil pulled away from the foundation of the house and left a big gap in which water pooled and so there was no more putting it off.
If we were going to get a couple of yards delivered to fix the problem around the foundation we may as well get enough to level the whole yard. It’s coming along quite well although I seriously underestimated the effort required to full fill this task. 
We are not only grading the yard but also moving around some of the major structures or areas of the yard such as the fire pit.  I’m also slightly adjusting the gardens configuration, adding trees and plants and removing a very old and very thick concrete sidewalk. 
All together it’s a rather big job which at this point I’m just hoping I get done sometime this year with my back function still in place.   Also it would be really nice to be able to get the car out of the garage.

Kind and Merciful

I have been drained beyond belief today.  This is nothing new.  But today is different.

Sarah and I attended funeral services for the brother of my sister-in-law.  He was about my age and died suddenly.  I had met J a few times and he played in my family's annual Thanksgiving day football game a couple of times, but I really didn't know him well. 

I do however, consider myself close to my sister-in-law, my brother, and my brother's children who are grieving the loss of a good man.  My nephew is especially hit hard by the loss.  J was like an older brother to my nephew.

When I attend services for the deceased I listen more attentively to the priest (or pastor) than I normally would at church. 

He spoke about God being Kind and Merciful.

I meditated on those words this morning and prayed that J's family finds peace (sometime...somewhere) in their hearts.  J's death has hit me hard, considering that I did not know him very well at all.

I cannot imagine the road of feelings and emotions which lie ahead for my nephew and niece, my sister-in-law, my brother, and the rest of the family and friends left to work through the feelings swirling about inside of them.

The Lord is Kind and Merciful.

Rest in Peace J.

100 word story

Single word prompt - Exhausted
Night had fallen hours ago faster and earlier than expected, yet I pushed on.  My back had even given up around the same time darkness fell and instead of throbbing in pain it had gone blessedly numb.  The sound of the shovel and of dirt flying back became rhythmic, scrape, whomp over and over again.  Soon it would be done just a few more feet to go. Yet the thought of what came next made me almost wish the dirt would continue on forever.  This may be exhausting but at least I didn’t need to consider what I was doing.


Ya, they can run.

Thankfully there are only two weeks of classes left in this semester. Two weeks will go by fast, but it is crunch time so I do have a fair amount of work to get done in the two weeks. Fortunately Sarah's mom helps us out with tthe girls a great deal - this gives me some time to do homework (and take care of the "honey do" list). to campus in a bit to bang out some of the assignments due in the coming days...

Sleep deprivation and a technical mishap (new Blogger format) resulted in a video not being posted a couple of nights ago so here it is...a somewhat competitve race between Allie Anna & Emily. I especially like Allie's comments.


Picture Day - Ponds

I’ve been considered adding a water feature to our backyard for some time now.  The choices and possibilities are endless however and every time we contemplate it we’re not quite sure where to put one and exactly wether we should get a fountain or a pond.  This year we are doing some pretty major landscaping and it seems to be the right time to really look at it and decide just what we'd like to put in and so I find myself looking at picture after picture of fountains and pond so I thought I'd share a few here.    



What are the odds?

Today I attended a workshop required by the state for individuals on unemployment.  The seminar/workshop went as I had expected, having attended something similar the last time I was unemployed.

At some point during the workshop, the woman conducting the seminar told us (there was @20 of us) that a few of us would be selected for some additional program.  The program would require those selected to stay a little longer today and would also require some additional time outside of the workshop.  "Individuals are selected randomly by the computer" the woman said.  I knew I would be selected.  Sure enough, my name was one of the five selected to participate in the program.  What are the odds?

(Spending a few hours of my day at a career center run by the state is not my idea of fun but I accept it and understand why the state requires unemployment claimants to attend these workshops.  No biggie at all.  I do find it interesting how other people on unemployment view this benefit, however.)

It just so happened that the workshop was conducted in the same town where my sister is currently hospitalized with pneumonia.  So I was able to spend a little time with sister P before heading back toward home.  Yes, pneumonia just like Sarah's mom had last year.  What are the odds?

Our daughter Abigail is resting in a cemetery a few miles from our home.  I pulled in to visit the daughter who would have been turning 6 in several weeks.  The back of her stone reads Our Little Angel ~  Taken From Our Arms But not Our Hearts.  Sarah and I went to the hospital in June 2006 to welcome our first child into the world.  Instead we are told she had died before breathing a breath outside of Sarah's womb.  What are the odds?

Over five and a half years ago Sarah's ultrasound technician tells Sarah and me "I see three babies."  What are the odds?

Just over 5 years ago Sarah delivers 3 beautiful girls we name Alicenne Hope, Anna Abigail and Emily Blessing.  What are the odds?

Where Summer Never Ends

There is a cabin out near the lake
Where pelicans ride the waves
The sandy beach is smooth
It feels as soft as silk
With shiny shells and colourful rock
Scattered by the tide
The days are endless
Warmth seeps into the world
Under the ever shining sun
This is a place for summer time
And a hope that it will never end

27 Hours

Sarah and I spent an extremely rare night away without the girls this past weekend. And, aside from the emotions which come with being away from my daughters, I had a very nice time.

We left the girls at Sarah's parents at about 11:00 am Saturday morning and picked them up at about 2:00 on Sunday (thanks to Sagamore Bridge contstruction). In many ways it felt like a LONG time, but in other ways, it felt short. VERY short.

I, of course am writing this post after a long, but fun day as Daddy. So...I am tired and short on time. For now I will just note some things that come to mind about the weekend.

- I love my family.

 - The Chatham Bars Inn (CBI) is a great place to stay.

- The CBI is not a place we can afford to frequent.

- I thoroughly enjoyed walking a somewhat deserted Nausett Beach with Sarah and watching the surf. At times I felt like we were back to the dating days.

- The food at CBI is tasty.

- The fried clam roll at Baxter's Restaurant in Hyannis rocked!

- I thought about my daughters a lot.

- A nightclub in Hyannis called Pufferbellies still exists after all these years (I had a couple of cold ones there back in the day).

- I'm fortunate to have parents who brought us to the Cape on vacation when I was a kid. I hope Sarah and I can do the same for Allie, Anna and Emily.

Time for bed.

The Gift Of Imagination

I was going through my regular morning routine the other day while watching my youngest who is 7 as she ate her breakfast which happened to be a bowl of oatmeal.
She was a great giant attacking oatmeal city and gobbling it up. She ate the museum and fire station, the mall and the bank, the park and town hall.  She ate every last bite with gusto exclaiming over the terror of oatmeal cities citizens and having a grand old time.
From oatmeal city she went to get dressed while asking her assembled troupe of dolls, bears and stuffies if she should wear her pink tights with this dress or her purple ones with that one.  After getting dressed she fought off a crocodile trying to eat her hair, the croc was her brush as she was brushing her hair. She then went to sit on the couch to put on her socks taking a few moments to make sock puppet friends.
Sent out to wait for the bus she zigged and zagged her way down the driveway becoming an airplane diving and climbing. She became a tightrope walker walking once she reached the ties at the end of the driveway even remembering to take a bow when she hopped off.
Then the bus came and off she went to school taking her games and imagination with her.
City destroying tendencies aside, I do love to watch her or any child’s imagination at play. I love to see the unabashed joy they have while playing such little games that require nothing more than what is at hand to play. Kids aren’t embarrassed to use their imagination to its fullest extent and I sometimes wish I could still play with such abandon and joy.
It sure would make life interesting if we all used a little bit more imagination in everything we do. I’m not talking about pretending to drive in the grand prix on the way to work which would be both dangerous and stupid, but in the silly little things.
When’s the last time you walked down the driveway as an airplane, or ate your breakfast as if you were a giant attacking a city?  I doubt that you can recall a time you did so any better than I can.
I do think I still give my imagination a work out now and again but it’s not as strong as it once was.  Like a muscle it has atrophied without use.  I will still happily skip along with my youngest much to the consternation of my oldest.  I use my imagination when I build something, when I plan out flower beds, when I imagine how to accomplish a task long before tackling it or when I write my blog.
Now these are things I do because I take joy from doing them and although they require imagination they don’t use the same type of imagination needed to play with a doll house, or talk to stuffed animals, or god forbid stomp around the grocery store like a monster.
Ok so that’s not likely to change, my dinosaur walk and gremlin laugh will stay safely within the confines of my own home but once in awhile they’ll come out to play with my kids and I’ll try to remember what a gift imagination really is.   

Working at the Car Wash

Exhausted, both emotionally and physically, I am trying to focus on getting through the next three weeks. After the last final exam of the semester, I will have almost a 3 week break before the final push to finish my MBA classes. The end is in sight! I got Allie, Anna and Emily to "help" me wash the family vehicle yesterday. Let's hope their enthusiasm toward helping around the house continues. Ya, right! Here's a clip of my little helpers working at the car wash:


It’s been a remarkably calm week, which is weird since it was also a very busy week.  I’ve stayed relatively stress free because I’ve decided to just stop giving a damn. Not about everything no, but about the little things that don’t really affect me. That irritate just because they irritate.
I’ve still been doing all my work, my chores and errands, attending meetings, doing the soccer and school thing but I’ve stopped worrying about things that are outside of my control.  I’ve realized that I always do the best that I can in everything I do and I can’t do anything more than that.
What other people do or don’t do is not my problem and I don’t have to let it bug me.  It doesn’t change my efforts or discount them in any way I can let these things bother me or I can be proud that at least I do them.   
Just as an example I’m coaching soccer this year and I began the arduous task of trying to get a response from the parents of all the kids on my team.  I sent the first e-mail of the week early Tuesday morning specifically requesting number/name preferences for jerseys.  I made it clear if I didn’t hear back they wouldn’t be getting a name (we need parent permission) and a random number. 
Now for 8 year olds the number on the back of their jersey can be of great importance to these kids. It certainly has been for both my kids and all their friends over the years. I’ve however only heard from 2 parents and the deadline was yesterday.
Rather than let this irritate me and cause me worry about the kids whose parents haven’t responded which is what I would normally do I just went ahead with my plans. Arranged to have the jerseys done with what is available to me and to hell with those who couldn’t take a minute to respond to an e-mail.
Instead of being cranky and upset about the lack of time and effort it seems some parents put into their children’s activities I’m just going to be proud that I do put in that time and effort.  I’ve said this before that I need to stop worrying about what others do but this is the first time I’ve really done it. 
I’ve finally really realized that what I do should matter more to me than what others don’t do. I must say it’s actually quite a relief.

The sun shines every day.

Today was a fairly typical day in my new role as part-time graduate student, part-time stay at home dad and part-time job seeker. It went something like this:

This morning - bring the girls downstairs, catherize Anna. Give Anna her meds. Get the girls breakfast while Sarah gets ready for work. Grammy (Sarah's mom) drives Sarah to the train station and picks me up a coffee from Dunkin' (thank you Sheila!). The remainder of the morning Grammy watched the girls while I did some homework and job search stuff.

Afternoon - fed the girls lunch while Grammy got ready to hit the road. Lunch is generally at least an hour start to finish between set-up and clean-up so it was about 1:30 when I had to think about what to do with the afternoon. It was turning into a nice day so I wanted to do something outdoors with the girls. The problem was that they had gone to the playground in the morning with Grammy so they were not eager to play in the yard right away. "Want to help me wash the car, guys?" They were on their feet in seconds and ready to go! So...we washed the van and Grammy's car and ended up spending a couple of hours outside on a great spring day. Between blowing bubbles, washing the cars, and riding bikes, the girls and I had a lot of fun.

The next 2-3 hours was dinner prep and clean-up, pick-up mommy at the train, and then bedtime madness.

Full, exhausting day for sure. But gratifying and joyful.

This clip is from Monday when the barometer reached the mid-80's. Allie is singning some song she made-up...something like "my new purple shoes"....

100 word History, Portage and Main

The intersection of Portage and Main streets in Winnipeg is one of the most well know intersections in Canada.  It is a place for celebration, protest, and reflects Winnipeg’s history. It started out as nothing more than dirt paths following along the long lines of the old river lots created by HBC.  These simple cart paths which reflect the modern placement can be seen in maps as far back as 1818. As was Winnipeg itself this intersection and its placement was determined by the rivers and their flood plains. The rivers which built this city repeated in concrete and stone.

Quick Sketches - Character Design & Development


Dear Allie,

I remember vividly the time we spent together when you were an infant. You slept relatively sound most nights and you were often the easiest to put to sleep at night after you had your bottle. "Moonie" was the name mommy gave you because of your moon-like face. We had some special moments while sharing a bedroom in your first weeks as an infant and I think that has helped us form a special bond.

It makes my heart skip a beat whenever you tell me that you missed me while I was at school and when you give me a squeeze hug before I walk out the door. Last night was especially heart-warming when you woke up while I was shutting your window. Your eyes opened, you sat-up, and a huge smile came over your face when you saw me in your room. Simply precious.

I have one favor to ask - could you PLEASE sleep good tonight? Actually, a few nights in a row would be best. I am exhausted and last night was brutal. I know you had a bad dream and were visibly upset. I understand. I really do. I gave you hugs. I slept next to you for awhile. You came into our bed too. But you didn't sleep well. At all. And either did I.

So...please try to sleep better. Thank you.


Pics from the summer-like weather we had on Monday:




Time for a Makeup Lesson

My oldest daughter came home from school yesterday afternoon wearing makeup. Not a lot, in fact I didn’t even notice until I leaned in close when she asked me a question about Pi (which I couldn’t answer) and I suddenly saw it.  An odd glimmer to her eye and a look that was not entirely her. 
I knew it was only a matter of time before this happened. It hasn’t exactly snuck up on me as she’s been asking on and off to start wearing makeup for a while now. She has obviously become conscious recently of a desire to find her own style and fashion but I’ve been putting this aspect of it off. I’m not entirely sure what I’ve been waiting for that would tell me that she really is ready to explore this aspect of growing up but I'm thinking the time may have come.  

I also can't help but think that if she is going to start experimenting with makeup I would rather it be with my guidance not in the school bathrooms.  I can’t help but think that if left to learn on her own or with just her friends for guidance that she’ll end up looking like the love child of Bozo the Clown and Lady Gaga.
She will be 13 this summer and although I have told her not until her birthday I realize that the date itself is really quite irrelevant. It has been more about waiting for a sign that she really wants to explore this and not because she see’s others doing so.  I've also been trying to ensure I wait long enough that she is mature enough to understand the message I’m trying to send.

For me that has been the hesitation it has never been about the makeup it has been about that message behind it. The media portrays makeup as being what makes you beautiful and that without it you’re not. I want her to understand that makeup doesn’t change who or what you are. That it is something to be used to enhance the natural beauty she already has and that sometimes when used wrong makeup can actually hide that natural beauty.
I want her to get the message that makeup is not a mask it cannot change who or what you are inside and that true beauty really does come from within. It’s not a cliché it’s not wishful thinking I really and truly believe that beautiful people are not made from the outside in but from the inside out and I want her to know it as surely as I do.
By her sudden rush to the bathroom to wash it off the idea occurred to me that if she is comfortable enough wearing makeup that she forgot she is wearing it I doubt it’s the first time she’s tried.  
The age limit of 13 has up until now given her a clear and easy excuse to dismiss the pressure from friends if she so chose.  My mom won’t let me is not an argument even other 13 year old girls feel they can argue against. If she has made the choice to ignore that easy excuse then she is pursuing the idea and it’s time to take a small step forward.
I realize that even if I’m unsure about the prospect of makeup she isn’t.

Right Under Your Nose.

This semester's crunch time is fast approaching and I have not helped myself out by procrastinating on a term paper and presentation which I noticed today is due in two weeks. ARGH! It is a group project, which in some ways helps but in other ways makes it more painful. If you've been in an MBA program or have done school group projects you know what I mean by "painful". At least it's an interesting topic - comparing accounting in China to US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Interesting, eh? NOT!

I had a great (although somewhat short) run today along a section of the Boston Harborwalk. It meanders through the school campus and follows the harbor past the JFK Presidential Library before reaching South Boston, Castle Island, and beyond.

In other news....I was going to write about the Little Lion crisis in our house last night, but Sarah did. can read her post for the details of last night's events. And if you are thinking "how much could this lion mean to Emily", you should watch this video of Little Lion getting washed:

Cute and Funny Things the Girls Say: Anna was drawing pictures and told me she was going to draw a picture for me to give to all my brothers and sisters. So, she went to work drawing the pictures. Emily, upon hearing Anna say that she was going to draw a picture for each of my sisters and brothers said "Boy, she is going to be busy ALL day long drawing pictures!" I have 12 siblings.

Workout Log: Ran for about 35 minutes around my school campus, which is located on Boston Harbor. Sunny and warm - @80 degrees. Tough, but much needed run.

Character Design

I'm really inspired by TF2 =) I did these today after work! =) Had a lot of fun, really put my heart and soul into these designs. It's important to mention that I didn't use any references, just used my memory and mind =) I usually never look at references when I draw, I love to use my own imagination and try to create as unique - new looking characters as I possibly can =) Anyways Had a lot of fun with these!!

A Picture Day - Stonewall Quarry

Stonewall Quarry park just north of Winnipeg provides a great outdoor day.  Picnic in the grass around the small pond, walk through the hiking paths and climb mountains of limestone, search out fossils and explore what remains from it's days as a limestone quarry.  

Different Styles

Team fortress fan art =)

Was just trying different styles with these:

Prompted Challenge - First lines

It is said that we have two instinctual responses, fight or flight, and that we cannot know which our instincts will guide us to until we find ourselves having to choose.  I for one think it’s much simpler.  It is not a matter of instinct or of courage or bravery that makes us fight rather than take flight, it is simply a lack of options. When fight or flight becomes fight or die. In the end we will all fight.

This prompt is from Sonia Medeiros at and is as follows;

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to write either the opening or closing lines of a story. Start us off with a bang or leave us begging for more. As usual, any genre will do and the word count limit is 100.

Marathon Monday.

Me to Sarah tonight: Are you taking your normal train (to work) tomorrow morning?

Sarah: Yes, why wouldn't I?

Me: Because its a holiday.

Sarah: Its not a (bleepin') holiday, its a regular work day!

Tomorrow is Patriot's Day. If you have never heard of Patriots Day, it is a holiday which commemorates The Battles of Lexington and Concord. It is only celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine and it is only a holiday for some employees (not for Sarah obviously) in Boston. It is however, a big day in Boston not only because of the historical significance, but also because the Boston Marathon is run and the Red Sox play at Fenway. I've always known tomorrow as Marathon Monday. Sarah was actually originally scheduled to deliver Allie, Anna and Emily on Marathon Monday 5 years ago, but that is another story.

So, in honor of all those running tomorrow (including my niece Lori), I have posted this clip of Allie and Emily "running" on our treadmill. I think it is hysterical. Elmo even gives the treadmill a try!

Workout Log: Local 5K route. Felt great and thoroughly enjoyed the run with temps @ 70 degrees.

Character Development

New Character