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i get to see poppy!!
quinn and nate playing away

quinn, is quite the flirt. he would peek up at me and smile behind his cup. i mean look at his eyes!
quinn and nate watching quinn's "birdies" which is properly said "bawrdy"

hanging with my quinn

all in all it was a great trip. we hung out, relaxed and i enjoyed playing with my boys. i do wish that we lived closer, i would totally watch quinn. he is such a cutie.
i think i will be changing my pass word to my blog to keep the hubs out of it. ha. i did get a good laugh at his blog. it just reminded me how different we really are but some how manage to stay in tune with each other.

A Tribute To My Dad

There is always a first. And true to that saying here I am breaking into my wife's blog to finally post a thought that has been on my heart for many years.

Let me set the stage. This one particular chain of events all started last week when we bought a new van. Even though we weren’t expecting any major repairs coming up with our new van (2004 Chevy Venture) we knew there was going to be some minor upkeep.

One of the first things I noticed when taking it for a spin was that the windshield wipers would not retract completely when turning them off. Apparently (so I found out later) this was a quite common occurrence with that kind of vehicle and I gladly accepted the challenge of getting to the bottom of this.

A day later I took some time to poke my head under the hood and wanted to see what the actual cause was. My suspicion was (and a mechanic at Canadian Tire echoed my suspicions) that there was something wrong with the wiper motor. However, once I looked at it more closely I realized that it was actually the mechanism between the motor and the wipers that withdraws the wipers completely, called the wiper parking gears that was to blame.

Before I can continue I have to go into some greater detail of how Chevrolet decided to engineer the wiper mechanism. First thing you’ll see when turning on the wipers on is that they come up just about 6 inches from where they were “parked” and then continue doing their job always returning to their “un-parked” position until you turn them off when they return all the way down to their parked position. The way the mechanical aspect works is via the above mentioned wiper parking gears. This is what the mechanism looks like:

Once I removed the mechanism I noticed that on my part the little spring holding the rocker arm in its proper position had been broken off. When parking the wipers the motor actually reverses its direction and this rocker arm catches on a metal tab and activates the cam sandwiched between the metal plates. This increases the angle of the wipers and pulls them back all the way down to their parked position; pretty genius, when it works.

So back to why I’m writing this entry. Many positive things in my life I attribute to my dad and his wisdom. One particular pearl he taught me is that nothing is impossible if you set your heart to it and are persistent enough even when the situation seems hopeless.

I don’t know when I learned this particular and very valuable lesson from my dad. I don’t think he ever sat me down and taught me with those words but instead I think it came with years of observing him using his creativity to fix things, invent tools that would make his job easier and having the endurance to keep going until he found a solution to a particular challenge. Of course he taught me how to weld, cut trees, fix motorcycles, build roofs or even plant a garden, but he also taught me more subtle lessons, the most valuable ones any father could teach his son and the ones I’m most grateful for. Those are the lessons that will be passed on to the next generation and to the generations after that and become his legacy.

Anyways, I called GM to find out how much a replacement mechanism would cost and was shocked to hear that it was gonna be almost $200 bucks so I called a used parts shop and they had one for about $70 which was still a lot considering that on the part I ended up buying from them the little rocker arm and spring were heavily used and quite loose but I picked it up anyways just in case I couldn’t find any other way to fix the one that was broken.

Here is a picture of where the parking mechanism belongs: It is mounted on top of the wiper motor and then the arm which goes to the wipers attaches to that mechanism. The motor turns the parking mechanism clockwise which creates a back and forth motion via the arms that go to the wipers. These arms are called the wiper transmission (I just found that out a couple of days ago). Oh yeah, I should mention that I have never taken apart a wiper mechanism before, had no idea how it all worked so if I accidentally get some descriptions wrong that would be the reason why. But for the most part I think I figured out how it all works together to make the wipers work.
So here I was racking my brain on how to replace that little spring (see the 3rd picture). Not only was that little rocker arm less than an inch in length, but one of the first thing that happened when trying to “fix” it, the little arm came off so now I had to figure out how to re-create the spring as well as figure out how to make some sort of holding mechanism that keeps the arm and spring in its place. That was two days ago.

Today, Melanie left with our son to go for a visit with his grand parents in Halifax for a few days and I figured it would be a great opportunity to spend some quality time in my shop taking on this challenge. After having taken the part off the motor and went digging through the garbage to find the little rocker arm because I had thrown it out a couple of days ago (I wasn’t planning on fixing the broken part but rather simply replacing it). I started by welding a little angle bracket to the bottom of the wiper parking mechanism to hold the little rocker arm into place.

Now came the challenge of the spring because it had to hold the rocker arm in a very specific position so that it would catch the tab when shutting off the wipers. Here’s a picture of how the rocker arm is supposed to catch on the tab to engage the oval cam, extending the arm and parking the wipers:

But before I could get to replace the spring I ran into another problem. When welding the angle bracket, I melted a washer that held the whole mechanism together. So I figured I might as well take it apart completely and give it a good clean with a wire brush. This is what it looked like before…

…and after the cleaning:

After I put it all together I wound the spring around the rocker arm; this took a good 20 minutes or so.

I put it all together and it worked like a charm but it made a little clicking noise because of the spring in the middle picture above so I decided I wanted to clip it off but what I did not realize was that the little rocker arm was made out of aluminum and was not very strong. Because of the pressure I put on the rocker arm, just before I thought I was done for the night, it snapped in half and I was ready to throw the whole assembly into the garbage and declare the night a waste of time and or at least a partial failure. But because I did have fun so far I decided to keep going. This is what it looked like after I put it together but just before I broke the rocker arm:

I remember the many times I’d watch my dad trying to fix something just to be surprised by some other mechanical misfortune. But he always kept going when that happened and didn’t give up until he conquered that problem so I decided, since I had no other obligations, to continue as well and see what I could do about the broken rocker arm that now looked like this:

Off I went to my box of scrap metal to find a piece that was exactly 2mm thick and stronger than the cheap cast aluminum. I found a piece and traced it using the old broken rocker arm and then cut it out with the angle grinder and bench grinder.

Here was the replacement for the broken rocker arm but I still had to put it all together, re-do the spring and secure it with the washer that I had partially melted before. After it was all back together I simply had to install it on the wiper motor, put on the cover and I had successfully completed my mission.

After having spent many hours in the shop I can proudly say that I successfully fixed my old wiper parking mechanism and will be able to return the one I bought at the used car parts place. I did have to ask myself the question though: Was it worth it all just to save $70 bucks? The answer is unequoviqually "Yes, it definitely was"! Overall I probably earned/saved $15 bucks an hour for my time in the shop but it wasn’t about the money anyways, it was about the challenge and proving my dad right in that YES, anything is possible when you set your heart to it. But having saved the $70 bucks will come in handy since I can now go buy myself a tool or something else for my shop. I don’t know yet what it will be but I’m sure I will find something quite easily once I walk through the doors of Princess Auto or Canadian tire…
Dad, it is because of your persistence, patience and positive outlook on challenges like these that I dared to tackle this particular repair problem. I will always look up to you, admire you and thank God for having brought me into your family. I could go on for a lot longer, telling of all the wisdom you have taught me, but instead I will use your gentle kindness as an example to instill the same wisdom, kindness and patience into my own son so that maybe one day he will be able to look on a challenge and say: Nothing is impossible when you set your heart to and don’t give up. Dad, I love you.

boots and hat, that's how we play

nathaniel loves to wear his boots in the house
and my hat. he gets them in the morning and brings them to me to put on him

then i laugh and say "oh, nathaniel you look so cute" to which he.....

takes off his hat and gives me the "stop calling me cute" look

what can i say. i love my boots wearing, hat sporting boy :)


breakfast with the hammer

nathaniel loves his hammer. so much that yesterday morning he would only eat breakfast if he was allowed to hold it. ha. one hand held the spoon, the other the precious hammer, like father like son. i have to force chris to put down his tools. on a side note, nathaniel has gotten much cleaner eating yogurt.


my new extended sport utility van

i will not say the words....i can't....i can not believe i finally broke vehicle.....

our second car bit the dust so we finally gave in to the powers to be and joined the others who declare " i love my mini van"... i still won't speak those words. not yet, it's too soon.

i am now shaking my head in utter disbelief. how far have i come? how much have i changed? why me lord? why?.....ha.

at least we got a smokin deal on it :) 0 comments

11th commandment

sometimes when i am worn out, tired, frustrated, annoyed and simply wondering "why am i doing this?" i listen to the above song and suddenly it all seems worth it. 0 comments

wee little artist

i into'd nathaniel to painting with the encouragement of a friend who was mortified that i have not begun coloring, painting and all that jazz with the lad as of yet. what kind of a mother am i? why, i am a mother who likes to have her walls, floors and tables free of toddler markings. ha.
so, i broke down and showed nathaniel how to paint. he was quite impressed with the whole process. after our painting session, i remembered how i use to paint with water paint books. so, i spent the weekend searching moncton for these water paint books. i finally found one. chris has zero idea what i was talking about, why he even accused me of making this "water paint book" up. they did not have such things is swissland when he was growing up. but atlas, i found the book and made chris tell me that i was the most beautiful, smartest and delightful woman alive. ha. which i am by the way.


a few pics of uncle jon and nate. nate loves uncle jon and jess. he points to his picture and laughs. :)


arielle is here!!

after much anticipation veronique had her wee baby...GIRL! after 2 boys and believing her 3rd was also a boy. imagine the shock to hear the words "it's a GIRL" wheeee! anyways, carla and i dropped by for a visit. carla is our toddler director for JUMP and a real blessing to us. she has taken a lot of the load off our shoulders (joel too!) and well, nathaniel likes to kiss and hug her daughter :)

v-day craftyness with jump kids

the heat was not turned on when we arrived so i bundled nate up in chris's coat
last sat (yeah, yeah i am a week late) we had a valentine's day card making partay/cup cake decorating fun, for the JUMP kids. it was a good turn out, you know for a craft in feb. :)

nathaniel and his babysitter (who is AMAZING) he adores her.

naters and his watchers, julia (left) and lydia

nate having his snack of cherrio's

so, what do you do with a bunch of kids before it starts? why, drive each other around on chris's climbing thingy...i have no clue what that is called. i did how ever give him 1/2 the money to buy it...what ever it is...

it was a fun morning. the kids had fun and that's what it's about.
i got my wed night video's on wed and i have been watching hours of video. taking notes, calling ppl and planning for it. i can't believe how it's coming together. good stuff. i think it deserves a post of it's own...i will get around to that :)

i have no pics to post because i can't seem to find my camera :) i think nate took it.

i am in full swing with planning and prepping our NEW wed night program. it is so gonna rock. wheee. i am crossing everything that it will be here in time. the plan is to start march 11.

i have never been so busy in my life. i likes it but the down side is feeling that i am always on the go, somewhere to go, something to do, something to plan. i peek at my planner book and feel heart skip a few beats. can i get it all done? can i do all this? slow and steady wins the race right?!

nate is the funniest guy. he keeps me on my toes. he has started the "run from mommy when she calls in public game" but he seems to not understand that i don't play that game. ha.

with less than an hour left of glorious nap time and a few more phone calls to make, i will end this post. :) back to work i must go! 0 comments

the days gone bye...

anyone rember? ha!

how about...

ahhh the memories 0 comments

my 25

alright! i give in! but i am not listing it on facebook. i will be different and list my 25 on my blog. for those who have no idea what i am talking about, i shall explain. on facebook, ppl fill out a list of 25 facts about them. random, silly, odd, weird or what ever. so here i go. i can't believe i gave in.

1- i love to clean. seriously, i stress when i see dirt. i must rid my house of it.
2-steam mopping my floors is my daily reward. i adore it. there is nothing like a floor that sparkles. (chris has limited me to mopping only once a day)
3-doing laundry makes me happy. i love, folding, sorting and putting away.
4-i think baking can bring world peace. i mean really now, who can fight over fresh baked cookies?
5- i think moncton is quite brilliant. i like living here
6-my love for ice cream has caused me concern in the past.i buy it in 11 1/2 liter buckets. i eat all of it.
7-peanut butter can go on anything and everything
8-i despise winter. there is nothing wonderful about it
9-i sneak into nathaniels room late at night, pick him up and rock him (which he normally wakes up and points to the crib to be put back) and hide it from chris
10-working with kids is my passion
11-i live to travel
12- i can't stand to plan, schedule or think about the future. it stresses me
13-i have no hobbies. my attentions span is short...where was i?....
14-shopping makes me happy. finding deals make me giggle with delight
15-thrifting with a cup of coffee is fab-ou-lous
16-my passion for coffee is almost as strong as my passion for god
17-i love to smell nathaniel after a bath and i think he has the cuttest little butt
18-i have never broken a bone
19-i am secretly in love with jack bauer and i think if jesus was to come back to earth he would be like jack, just better
20-i love to read. i use to keep this a secret but i have embraced my inner nerd
21-i have to have a snack in the middle of the night, i will wake up to eat. i love eating
22-nathaniel is a gift from god. i cherish every day i have with my buddy. i would not change staying at home with him for a billion dollars. he is so much fun.
23-i met and was engaged to chris in 10 days. i left my entire family, moved across the country and was married in 9 months. best thing i ever did.
24-i have the most amazing husband in the world. i love him more today than the day i married him. he is my bestest friend. i can not imagine not having him in my life. i adore him. seriously, he is the smartest man i know.
25- everything i have is because of god. he is my all. i have lived with and i have lived with out. i will never go back to how i was. jesus is my everything. 0 comments

it's a potty partay

at the wise advise from the mom's who have gone this way before.....i have decided to intro naters to the potty. BUT not make a big deal out of it.
so how's it going then?
HAHAHAHAHA. the only way i can get him on the toilet is by bribing with cookies oh yeah and dad MUST be there. nate will not go with out chris. so everyday after work chris puts him on for a minute or so...and with raisins. ha.
nate has yet to sit on the toilet with me. boo.
i have also decided to take this attitude with the potty training.
-it's a journey NOT a competition...i will enjoy it
-he will one day be trained. i mean how many 10 yr olds wear diapers right?
-i won't make a big deal out of him not sitting on it, but i will do my "pee pee on the potty dance" for him when he does. he quite likes that
-there is no pressure, no race, no stress, i mean he's what 20 months?....WHAT? how did that happen???
-check back in a year or so to see where we are :)