A New Challenge!

Posted by Ian On June 5, 2009

I'm pleased to announce that I have started my own little company - mare ad mare, which is latin for 'sea to sea' and part of the Canadian motto (check the cover of your new passports). Our goal will be to build a fresh new brand of clothing for Canadian (and wannabe Canadian) girls. I will be using this blog, much as I have in the past - to continue showing people around the globe (over 50 countries now!) what it's like to be a Canadian girl, tracing the footsteps of our 3 girls as we explore more of this great place we call home.

Un petit baiser

Unique shirt for Canadian girls

'Gimme a little kiss' - says it all. Now for big girls! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.


Fall shirt for Canadian girls

A big pile of leaves for you here! As a Canadian summer turns to fall, the leaves change colours and then fall off the trees. Kids rake them up and play! So go on, Jump into Fall with this Orange T. Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Pass the Marshmallows!

Summer shirt for Canadian Girls

Summer in Canada is the time for camping, camp fires and of course - Marshmallows! Get ready to go roast some in this summer yellow T. Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.


Spring shirt for Canadian Girls

After a long Canadian winter, spring can never arrive too soon! Pull on this Spring Green T and go planting girls! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

It's not ALWAYS cold in Canada...

Winter shirt for Canadian Girls

How many times have you had to tell someone that it's not always cold here? Well, sometimes it is cold - but to make your point, grab this little winter blue T and let them know that it's not just snow and ice up here all the time! Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Un petit baiser

Unique shirt for Canadian girls

'Gimme a little kiss' - says it all. Girls, grab this little white T, and go get your kiss ;-) Check www.mareadmare.ca for more details. All designs copyright of mare ad mare.

Being a dad to 3 girls - it hasn't been easy, but it's not the mass disappointment that this commercial makes it out to be...

Hey 'dad' come up with a better answer - and faster next time! You're making me look bad.
As he's bumbling for the words, trying to come up with some pseudo answer to not break her heart - he actually does... Cuz by taking that half second or two, he's said all he needs to, indicating to her that she's really a second class kid to him cuz she isn't a boy. He's insulting himself, and other dads that are more than happy to have girls! And I'm a little pissed at McCrappy's for even putting a commercial like that out there - not that they're going to lose much business from me.

My friends say it's karma exacting some measure of revenge on me for not being a little angel when I was younger... but having these kids has changed my life completely, and having all girls has given me a very different perspective. I'm not saying that I don't want to be traveling 85% of the time again when they're all teenagers, but at the same time - I get to learn new things, and not have to try to live my life vicariously through a son, pressuring him to do the things I never got to do... and I'm not going to be forcing any of the girls to be my 'designated boy'. Not that there's anything wrong with boys - we had a name picked out from the beginning - just never got to use it, and I wasn't going to have FOUR girls ...

Pricesses and Divas
And just because they're girls - doesn't mean they have to be princesses or DIVAS (hate that word). My girls get in there, get their hands dirty when they need too. They love to help me out with whatever I'm doing - gardening, fixing the car, working on the rec room...etc They like biking, canoeing, skiing and camping - just like I do, so what's the problem? I guess for big hockey/football/baseball guys - their dreams for producing the next franchise player isn't going to happen - so maybe that's where that McD's dad stumbles for a second...

Of course, my girls are in Dance, and yes - dress like little princesses/divas while on stage - and this weekend they're back at competition. Emma had her first solo this morning, after being selected very late in the season to get a solo - she's learned her entire routine in little over 2 weeks! She did great - so proud that she made it all the way through very well, and ended up with a great score!

Going where no man has gone before...
Of course that's not true - there are tons of great dads out there that will do anything for their daughters - just watch So You Think You Can Dance. There was one dad last night whose chin was bouncing all over the place - trying to fight off the tears! (now that was funny)

However, there are a few things that I probably would not have done in my life had I been the father to 3 boys, instead of 3 girls - like being in the 'Daddy Synchronized Swim' for Rebekah's team when she was younger (yes - we looked EXACTLY like that SNL skit with Martin Short...). And I definitely would not be doing what I will for the first time this weekend - at a competition no less - being part of the parents dance number!

Here's a small hint as to what I'll look like come sunday...

But there's nothing wrong a little fun, and it's a challenge just like any other, and if you're not challenging yourself and having fun - what are you doing?

Took a break from the basement last weekend to take care of some overdue gardening and yard work. And as a break from the basement today (making good progress though) - I'm catching up on my blog by writing about the garden...

Victoria Day
Known to most as the May two-four weekend, I had to check up on the actual relevance of the day after the girls asked... figured it had to do with the former queen (why we celebrate this I have no idea), turns out it's for the former Queen (Victoria) and the current Queen. Yiippee.

It's always been the first weekend to start planting gardens and/or prepping the cottage and/or going camping for the first time of the year. Typically it falls around May 24th, and the two-four is for the case of beer that is usually consumed during the weekend. (per person or is that just me and my friends?)

We did gardening - check out the makeover!

The girls love planting vegetables, so we went out shopping at the local nursery (which they thought was going to be some baby place). We picked out some tomato plants, cherry tomato plants, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, beans - and some hops! Was told by a friend that hops grow great up here, and I make beer - so maybe I'll be able to use them...

Hanging Tomato Planters
We wanted to try to use the hanging tomato planters (as seen on TV) but couldn't find any, and didn't want to wait to order - so found some instructions on how to do it yourself. All you need is a plastic planter, some planting fabric, drill (to make the hole) and a place to hang it.
Check it out the quick how-to with the girls!

I'll let you know how well it actually works - later...

4 inches of land... really.
My neighbour came over and pointed out that the garden was 4 inches beyond the property line. I had simply extended what the previous owner had put in, and thought nothing of it. For some reason, he HAD to have this land back.

Now along the side of his house, he's planting a garden that goes all the way to the edge of my propery line, and every time his kids (or unlicensed daycare kids) run-by, they run through our garden! I'm TRYING to be the good Canadian and turn the other cheek... (don't salt his garden - don't salt his garden...) but now I'll have to put something up to stop that.

Isn't it fun living in the burbs?

About 15 years ago, Sara celebrated Rebekah's first birthday - then found a present of her own, she went out and met me! I was out celebrating too - my birthday.  Ever since then, Rebekah and I have been sharing birthday parties.

Rebekah is 16!

Except this past weekend... to celebrate #16, Sara and Rebekah went to Toronto to visit a friend, and go shopping! I got to stay home with the other two and work on the damned basement - and work on the gardens.  yay for me (no really - it was good!)

You'll like them until they become teenagers...

That's what one of the guys at work used to tell me...  He had girls too, and told me - one day you're going to wake up, and you're not going to really like 'em much anymore! (in a heavy southern drawl) 

Not sure WHEN it happened, but it HAS happened - probably over the course of the past 5 years, where we dragged her from country to country, all while I was travelling 70% of the time.  Being away so much during her formative years, probably didn't help...  Of course I still love her - but she makes it very difficult sometimes.   

And of course I'm that dad who thinks she wears too much makeup, clothes are too small, has too much perfume on, room is always a mess...grrrrrrrrrrrrr.  But i'm slowly trying to adjust... I have two more girls, and will have to do it all over again...so better get used to it.

It wasn't always that way, we spent a lot of time together when she was younger.

The younger years...Ottawa

Here we are at the Rideau Canal, getting ready for a skate - I think she was maybe 4!  

There she is... at age 5, getting ready for her first day of school when we lived in Vanier.  When she was even smaller than that, I used to take her to the parks all the time - and she would play, but lots of times - just sit back and watch the other kids.  But she never wanted to leave, and used to throw a huge fit - I'd have to bribe her with gum, just to get her into the bike seat! (something I would never do anymore with other two...older, wiser...)

Always had the attitude though.  We'd get called in by the teacher at every school she went to... talks too much, disrupts the class...   
But somehow still managed to get good grades.

Richmond, VA

When we moved to Richmond, her teacher had the nerve to tell us her class was full of perfect little angels - til Rebekah came in to disrupt the mix!?!?  In a later year, she did a pro-gay marriage report (her own idea) and was lectured by her teacher about why her opinion was wrong! WTF Richmond...

But she always outgoing - went around selling rocks door-to-door our first day there, and helped us get to know the neighbours!  I'm not sure how she'll remember of Richmond, other than the shopping.  

Then we moved to Dresden.  She was 12.  Probably not the best timing...  She had new found freedom, and could take the light rail system to school and all over the city - something that you couldn't do in Richmond.  We wanted her to explore, and get to know another culture - but she took it a little too far - too fast.  Don't need to go into all the gory details, but I can tell you that at one point - I did pull off her 9 foot high double doors to make sure she didn't slip out...

After a little tough love, it finally did settle down.  She was able to make some great friends - like Alexandra here, whom she misses a whole bunch, and wants to go back to visit.   She was able to pick up German pretty well, and loved hanging out at Subway of all places.

It was a difficult 2 years for us in Germany, but I think she will look back and have good memories of Germany - she liked the euro style of living, don't think she's much for the suburban crap that we're in now.

Back to Canada...
So coming home has been a bit of a challenge.  Going to high school in the country (while living in the city ... I don't get it either), has been boring for her I think, after living abroad and seeing/doing so many things.  Luckily she was recently accepted to Glebe, so will be bussing it downtown for school - you might think I'd be worried about that - but after what happened in Germany - it's all tame in comparison.  Not that I think she's an angel by any means, but I don't think she wants to repeat those mistakes.

I blame living in Richmond for this next video clip.  Nobody in Canada (other than the Catholics) does Cheerleading.  I still don't get why she liked doing it - seems so out of character for her.

She works a lot now, and isn't around very much when she isn't.  Doesn't want to have much to do with us... she has little interest in the things we do with the other two, and I can see why - she's not 6 anymore.

She's 16... and wants to drive my car.

Happy Birthday kid.
Another report from the front lines of being a Dance Dad...
The girls had a dance competition last weekend, actually - the weekend before last...(i'm REALLY behind!) right here in Ottawa with CANDANCE, and did amazing!
When we first arrived, we had heard some of the scores the ELITE dancers were getting and it seemed we were in for a rough weekend...but it turned out pretty good for Meghan and Emma.

Emma's first competition!
This was Emma's first competition, and was really excited to be going up with her Tap and Jazz group routines.  She was the one that got to scream out the 'Ready...And!' to get the rest of her team set to go, and off again.  They did really great, bringing home gold awards (btw - it goes bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond) and first place in both, and Emma brought it!  Sorry, no pics... or vid... but she had the biggest smile on, and had sooooooo much energy in both routines.  So much so, that following the competition, the Studio director offered her the chance to do her own solo at the next competition - which is only a month away - 99% of the time, they start learning the routing in September and have MONTHS to practice...  She was very happy, and really excited.  She's had one lesson now on the routine , and has been practicing daily.  She loves it so much.

Diamond Meghan
Meghan had a great weekend too, racking up platinums and firsts in all of her group items and a few diamonds in the large group routines too.  The big one for her this weekend, was her Novice Jazz solo.  She was the ONLY ONE in the Sunday morning session to get a diamond award!  Later at the overall awards, we were half-expecting her to get an overall award for her routine, only to find out that  a 17 year guy had a diamond routine later that afternoon...and he won the overall.  Rigged.  ;-)

Overall - a great weekend for the girls.

After the dust cleared...
Not the dance dust, the basement.  I'm finally making some progress.  Had my dad down for the week to help put up drywall.  It wasn't exactly smooth - I'm no pro with framing, wiring etc... so found a few things that I won't do next time!  Basements are a pain, in that nothing is square.
Different heights, walls are rounded, pipes and ducts everywhere - makes it challenging.  But the drywall is 90% done, and I'm actually taking a breaking from the sanding to write - too much dust, can't see or breathe!
Through the magic of me not publishing until I get some new vid ready - here is where I'm at:

Tonight I'm going to head over to a friends to tell him not to do what I did, as he starts work on his basement...  Seems in our 20's, we helped each other move every year or two - now we help each other drywall.

There better be beer there...

Puppy vs Salami
One last thing, found another clip I had made awhile ago with our cocker spaniel.  I like to - let's say - challenge her at times.  No cruelty, just for my own amusement ;-)
You'll see...

    About Me

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    It's not about the money you make, the toys you have, the clothes you wear - it's about the life experiences you go through, the challenges you face and the stories you tell... Having just moved back to Canada (after almost 8 years in the U.S and Germany), we have lots to show our girls and our friends around the world about Canada. We're going to be telling our stories, hope you enjoy our adventures. Mare ad Mare means 'sea to sea' and we want to show the world, from Sea to Sea - this is what it's like to be a Canadian Girl!