• The 2020 Holiday Special

    Sitting at home wondering what to do tonight?

    Tired of what Netflix has to offer?

    Wondering what we’ve been up to?

    Want to see inside the chaos of two parents and two young kids?

    We might have what you need.

    35 minutes of holiday fun…The 2020 Holiday Special!  Grab a drink, sit back on your couch and press play when you want to have a good laugh around the holidays!

    Joyeux Noel!

    *updated* Now with a little more Christmas traditions from Nanny Ruth at the end of the video*

     

  • Ezra’s 16th Month

    He’s getting really good at climbing up and down the stairs!  You really have to remind him to go down feet first.  I find it hilarious that sometimes he’ll throw his entire body down onto the ground two feet before the steps, swivel and scoot backwards.  I guess he’s still going feet first!

    Ezra found a new chair

    Setting up the Christmas lights before the snow hits us

    Ezra was pretty amazed with the Christmas lights.  Even as I type this a few months later (I am becoming horrible for keeping these posts updated), Vero has asked me to keep the Christmas lights on after Christmas because he likes looking at them from his bedroom window when she is rocking him to sleep.

    Sierra insisted we bring some bacon dippers along for a snack so Ezra got to hold the box for our walk around the block.

    Hanging out at the park.  Quite muddy!

    Ezra discovering how the bell works

    Everyone loves the “Where’s Ezra?” game

    Ezra decided to jump around like a frog one evening

    I wanted to find some really simple musical shows to entertain Ezra.  Why not go back to my youth?  I found some episodes of Mr. Dressup on YouTube and they are as fantastic as I remember them.  I really think about the people who are children’s entertainers and how much fun it must have been to go to work each day and come up with fun little things to do for a television audience.  Ezra seems to enjoy it.  I think he prefers The Friendly Giant a little more as there is more music in that one.

    I think this is one of the four snowsuits that we tried out with Ezra this winter before settling on one which wasn’t a pain to get him into.  I remember this being a one piece except for the boots and the ends were VERY TIGHT so it was near impossible to get his boots on.  This suit might have lasted two weeks.

    While not a mighty front yard hill, it’s enough for Ezra

    The season’s first snowman!  I’m pretty sure the bottom of this snowman still exists even after the thaw a few weeks later

    Ezra is starting to like to read by himself.  You will see him pick up a book and babble on as he is turning pages.  I wonder what things he is actually saying when he reads these out loud?

    This must be around lunch time where I refuse to go outside because I’m preparing lunch but they want to go out!

    I am sensing a trend here…Ezra likes using people as chairs!

    Storytime

    On November 28, 2020, Ezra successfully climbed onto the couch by himself.  And so starts the era of “OH MY LORD WE HAVE TO CATCH HIM FALLING OFF THE COUCH!” that all parents love.

    The snow was fun for a week and then it left us

    I feel like this is a scene out of Mario Kart

    My sister sent over a Friends themed Advent calendar for Vero.  It was pretty good!  We will re-use it for the future.

    Mario Kart

    No one can escape the Sierra monster!

    Might be the highlight of the Galaxy of Adventures line of Star Wars toys!  I really enjoy this figure.  Too bad they cancelled the line.  I enjoyed the look of these ones.

    Need to teach Sierra proper focus techniques but at least she is framing us well

    I don’t much about trees and berries and birds.  I thought it was very strange to see birds go after berries in December.  I always thought berries grow in the spring?

    Pretty sure Ezra’s brain exploded when he saw all the Christmas decorations come out

    Ah, the annual right of passage…trying to figure out how to light up the Christmas tree.

    Much like houses with pets, we had to keep the nice ornaments a little out of reach

    Christmas card photo shoot.  While we had a little motion blur, this was the one we chose for our card this year due to the excitement!

    Helping a brother out

    The start of a Grinch themed Christmas village

    Ezra really likes dancing to the house music

    Sierra testing out the camera

    Hanging out with Rudolf

    This year the community association had a drive-thru Santa gift exchange where the kids could see and wave to Santa from the car

    Ezra likes to spend time around the lights before bedtime

    Mailing the most important letter of the year…the one to Santa Claus!

    Ezra really likes his dog guitar

    Helping out with the snowfall.  This outfit was the snowsuit which worked the best over the winter

    A nice afternoon with Maman outside.  Vero tries to bring the kids out each afternoon when the temperatures are warmer.

    Years of not visiting an optometrist finally caught up with Vero

     

     

     

     

  • Sierra’s 54th Month

    Li’l tree climber

    Sierra trying to figure out what she would wear on Hallowe’en

    This kid’s costume is great and practical on a cold Hallowe’en afternoon!

    I love how the kids had to get their candy up a ladder and them come down into a bunch of leaves at our friends house!

    Searching for candy around our yard.  It felt like Easter!

    Sierra learning how to play cribbage

    Hanging out before bedtime

    Not a lot of snow for the first snowfall but enough to try out a snow angel.  Every time I write the word angel I always think of the story of Grandpa Sidney writing to Nanny Ruth and in the letter he wrote something like “Dear angle face.”  Hahaha!

    I’m not sure why we took this picture…maybe it was to say thank you to Aunt Maureen and Uncle John for sending up some cheese from Kapuskasing?  Regardless, looks like she approves!

    While I don’t think the reality was as colourful as this, it’s great to see Sierra colouring within the lines!

    A great video if you like to hear the audience cry!

    I’m not generally excited when I have to pull together items for school but when I saw that she had to build a fort I was giddy!  This would be her first fort as I never thought of building one with her!  She was quite excited about it.  I can’t recall but I’m pretty sure this was on a Friday and she kept it up all weekend.

    Learning how to play hopscotch

    We might have to book a dentist appointment sooner than later

    While she looks like she is having fun here, this was her trying to run away from me trying to take a nice photo of us at the park!

    Castor River area looks quite different when all the leaves have fallen

    Victory!

    Sierra’s first sour candy

    When working from home I try and take an afternoon walk.  I have fond memories of a few of those days where Sierra joined me so she could eat a stroopwaffel with me.

    Sierra helping me with the Christmas lights.  You know, every year that tree gets in my way more and more and I think “Why don’t I just cut this whole thing down?”

    Warming up after a cold morning outside

    I believe I sent this photo to my sister saying “I never realized how important these holes in the spatula were until I was making grilled cheese sandwiches and I could just lift them up and peer under the spatula.”

    Every time I see Sierra playing with these things I remember my Dad marvelling at how better they were compared to Legos.

    Flu shot at the doctor’s office was a big success!  I can’t remember when we started getting Sierra used to the mask (maybe months before this?) where we would say she could have iPad time if she wore a mask.  I guess it paid off since she didn’t put up too much of a fuss.  Also, Sierra is always a champ when getting shots.  Very brave!

    A month before Christmas and the drawings start!  I even entered this one in the Departmental holiday card contest.  I took a look at the other entries from 4 year olds and I have to say either a) Sierra is way behind on her drawing abilities compared to other kids or b) kids get a lot of help from their parents whereas Sierra doesn’t get much at all!  I love how she cut some of the drawing up to glue onto the page.

    Slomoslide!

    That fan that I fixed up was making a vibration noise in Sierra’s room so I finally crawled back up into the attic to figure out what I could do.  At first moving it around wasn’t doing much of anything.  It almost seemed like the vibration was coming from within.  What was I to do?  I noticed that if I really hauled upwards on it the noise stopped so I ended up putting a tie-down strap onto it and it seemed to fix it!  Not the most elegant solution but winter is coming and I don’t feel like hanging out in the attic more than I have to.  I’ve been thinking of getting more insulation in the attic and I have a feeling this unit will have to be completely moved somewhere else anyhow so I can deal with that next year.

    Cruising around

    More snow, yay!

    The San Diego Comic Con went virtual with their exclusive merchandise this year so when I saw this I knew I had to have it.  Let me tell you, this has become THE item of laughter on video conferences for work.  Whenever someone mentions something facepalm worthy I exit the scene and have this guy pop up.  It’s always a hit!  For the amount I use it for work purposes I think I should get reimbursed for it!  ;-P

    A proud moment for Sierra and I.  After many evenings of playing together (I would say Sierra played 15% and Dad 85% when things got too tough) we finally defeated Ganon.  She was super excited to save the princess.  I don’t think she understood at the beginning how long it would take to save Princess Zelda but after many evenings we finally did it! 

    We started up the first Zelda game after this and I was really hesitant to do so.  My memories of that game was a year of burning bushes looking for secret passageways and it being an overly hard game.  However, I have a tool available now that was unavailable in 1987…the Internet.  We’ve been blazing through this game and I am actually enjoying it this time around.  Sierra finds this one really difficult so I’m mainly playing the game.

    Learning the piano!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Ezra’s 15th month

    Look who likes playing in the leaves!

    Larose Forest Log

    Look at this little rock n roll dude walking around!

    Earning his keep

    He might think this is fun but we sure don’t!

    Swapping stories over an apple break

    Poppa and Ezra hanging out

    Ezra showing Grandma how cold the water can get

    Ezra looks like a deer in the headlights!

    Swapping jokes

    It’s not often we get family photos so whenever anyone is around we ask them to snap a few!  Grandma takes the best photos!

    Grandma sandwich

    Vero wanted to take a photo of this because supposedly we have a similar one of Sierra.

    Here it is!

    All Poppa is thinking is “Stop with the photos, I want some cake!”

    Here is a mess none of us wishes to clean up!

    This may look like the greatest mother and son photo but what you don’t know is that Maman just stole some food from Ezra and he’s plotting his revenge

    Picking out a pumpkin

    It was a dreary day but the company made up for it

    Vero’s school suggests doing some 15 minute exercise classes before school starts each morning.  When I first read this I thought “Yeah right, we’ll do it once and that’s it.”  Surprisingly, we all enjoy doing them in the morning, even Ezra!  It’s hilarious seeing Ezra trying to join in on these exercise videos.  The exercise video on the television is a favourite of ours from Cochon Dingue.

    Hanging out before bedtime.  At the time of typing this, Ezra typically gets to watch Passe Partout with his sister around 6PM, then a bath at 6:30pm (which he loves) and then it’s brushing of the teeth and pyjama time before a bottle, a book and then bed around 7PM.  

    He’s getting pretty good at feeding himself!  A little messy but that’s to be expected!  But most of it ends up in his mouth.

    I am not sure where he picked this up but he has been giving us the duck face once in awhile and we laugh every time he does it

    Ezra is getting pretty good at walking these days.  When he is outside it’s a different story as sometimes he just stares and marvels at the sounds around him.

    Ezra’s first time in the hot tub I believe, or maybe the second?  He didn’t know what to think of it at first but after ten minutes a smile crept upon his face and ever since then he can’t wait to go in!

    Making sure the Hallowe’en costumes fit

    Ezra hanging out on the big kids slide

    Ezra loves hiding under his crib whenever he gets the chance

    Ezra in his snack chair.  I’m not sure how Sierra snuck onto the chair with her snack though!!

    I believe it was Carleton Cards that was going out of business at my office and I noticed they were selling this rack for $25.  Now, if you know me, you know I collect comics.  I have been looking for a spinning comic rack for ages and I thought this would do the trick.  Unfortunately, it was a little too big as it was meant for calendars.  It sat in the basement for months until I finally said “Well, I might as well make use of it at least.” and put in some vinyl.  It looks quite good now!

    An early Christmas gift arrived in the form of some Kapuskoise cheese!  Thank you Maureen and family!  I pretty happy that this cheese factory really took off up in my home town.

    OH BABY, Christmas came early!  I have been on the hunt for these newly released Masters of the Universe origins figures for a couple of months but no luck until Maureen found a bunch at Wal-Mart back home!  She sent them up with Vero’s parents who came down for a visit.  We haven’t opened them yet as they will be under the Christmas tree.

    Hallowe’en was a different affair this year.  We set up a little area and invited a few friends from around the neighbourhood to come and pick up their candy.

    Spooky!  Sierra loved the spider that dropped down when you made a noise!

    Sierra was always cutting up construction paper into pieces.  One day I told her she should do something with those pieces and I showed her how if she just starts glueing them onto a piece of paper, eventually an image will appear.  In this example I started glueing until I ended up seeing a witch!

    With Hallowe’en arriving on a Saturday afternoon, we set out to pick up some candy from various friend’s houses in the neighbourhood.

    A last minute costume change for me as that morning we got the news that Sir Sean Connery had passed away.

    Picking up a candy bag

    Poor Ezra was not feeling his best on Hallowe’en.  He had come down with a fever and was very tired on this walk.  Very cranky.  We thought it might be teething but weeks later we didn’t see any new teeth and Vero figures (and confirmed with the doctor) that it was probably related to him taking a very hard hit on his teeth earlier that week and it was his body fighting off an infection.  Ouch!  Poor kid.

    Sierra wanted some help climbing up to this tree house to get some candy.  It’s quite the great view from there!

    Back home with more candy than we picked up last year!  It should last us a year as Sierra has a candy a day.

    Enjoying a campfire after picking up some candy. We told scary stories.  My scary story was the story of how one day Danielle left Gaetan and he couldn’t figure out how to make soup!  We all had a good laugh at that.

    Picking the last of the apples

    Someone got his energy back after a nap!  Here he is looking through all his candy.  Special thanks to all the friends around our neighbourhood who made our kids Hallowe’en a good one.

    Ezra making sure Grandpapa does a good job.

    A good visit with Grandmaman et Grandpapa

    Two happy people

    Hanging out with Grandmaman

    We’ve been Ezra to crawl up and down the stairs but he hasn’t been comfortable going down a lot of stairs until now.  Here he is exploring the basement and hanging out in the circus tent

    Passe Partout!

    First snowfall of the year!

    We generally send out calendars for Christmas so it’s our mission to try and snap some family photos when the snow hits so it can be used for the month of December

    Where’s Ezra?!

    Here’s a classic example of Ezra not wanting to crawl down all the stairs

    I don’t think Ezra is smelling roses in there!

     

    This video demonstrates a few things.  1) You think you’re setting yourself up for a fantastic video of him blowing a dandelion but it turns out all he wants to do is eat it.  2) It shows that he is really starting to understand what we are asking him to do.  3) Watching him try and blow on things is hilarious.

    Bath time!

    I can’t even remember what was going on here but I think Grandma was having a good laugh at the fact that Sierra was clicking on the ‘take a photo of our Facetime conversation’ while she was showing off a new hairstyle

    The Master teaching her Padawan

    Fredo!

    I had a good chuckle at this

    The last trip to the Castor River before the snow fell

    Having a snack

    Fun in Ezra’s room

  • Sierra’s 53rd month

    Sierra has become quite autonomous in some ways, and very needy in others.  She can easily wait until 7:00 appears on her clock and then she gets up and watches TV in the morning.  Her go-to shows are currently Super Monsters, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and I see some Paw Patrol or Dora the Explorer pop in once in awhile  Here I thought she was really getting into He-Man!  Those days have past.

    But she constantly needs our attention when she is doing something.  “Look at me Maman, no LOOK AT ME!”  We usually offer up the opportunity to wash the dishes so we can go play.  Somehow she realizes this isn’t the best case scenario and she leaves us alone.

    She’s also losing interest in going outside.  I can only imagine it is because it is starting to get colder outside and a few more layers have to be put on.  Let’s be honest…who WANTS to go outside in the cold compared to the heat?

    One month into school, I am impressed that she can colour within some lines and trace quite well.  A little work needs to be done on the writing department but she’s on the right track!  I am also quite excited to see what she works on each day.  This is definitely a bonus of virtual learning from home.

    Here’s a great example of what I DO NOT care for about virtual learning…there’s a lot more involvement from the parent.  I know, I know, you are all screaming that I am a parent and I signed up for all of this!  This is true.  But there’s something to be said for the amazing freeing concept of ‘I’m dropping my kids off and I don’t have to deal with them for the entire day while they are at school.”  Here we had to figure out how to build a grid for her to do an activity.  At the beginning of the school year we were scrambling the day of trying to assemble all of this stuff.  We smartened up (for the most part!) and try and get these things done the night before.

    Pretty good!

    After school is done it’s play time, everyone’s favourite time of the day!

    Look at the muscles on this kid!

    Some Saturday mornings are meant for making Halloween decorations.

    “Dad, take a photo of me on a hill.  Dad.  DAD!”

    I can’t believe we are still finding dandelions in October!

    The garden is seeing its last days but we still find a few treats.

    Is this…an apple mask?  I’m not sure.

    There’s Sierra and her friend having some fun after attending virtual school together.  While virtual school is fun, there’s a LOT less (none?) physical activity.  I shouldn’t say that…I walk by sometimes and see that they have an exercise video playing and she is dancing around.  We also do some exercise videos in the morning before school each day.  But I don’t think it’s a replacement for recess!

    I had a good laugh when I whipped this up for Carol who thought I could photoshop a shark in behind her and her father.

    This was the last time we saw Sierra after the leaf monster got her.

    Here’s an example of what I don’t like about virtual school…we had to give her a bunch of things to make car ramps and tunnels with.  That’s not an issue since I have a garage of junk.  But who would have thought that we are house THAT DOES NOT OWN A RACE CAR?  I asked a friend if we could borrow some and they replied “How many and which colours?”  Clearly they did not encounter the same issue that we did!

    This tree saw a lot of use at the end of the summer

    I decided to put up some gymnast rings as Sierra had grown enough to reach them.  It was hard for her to hold herself up for long so we embarked on some muscle building exercises

    Oh Jason, you are so wise!

    We returned to the trail that Jon and Chantal had introduced to us a few weeks ago.  Look at the size of that leaf!

    Sierra enjoyed seeing some slow motion videos of the leaves falling.

    Sierra mastering the art of putting the right amount of cheerios into a muffin…holder?  What are those things called?

    It was pouring rain and cold but Sierra insisted on dropping off a birthday gift to her friend.

    This monkey was hanging out in a tree back at this office for a few years.  My friend Trisha picked it up as she shares my love of Legend of Zelda.  I packed it up along with the rest of my belongings and here is Sierra playing with a monkey we named Kiki.

    Sierra practicing her selfie skills

    I’m not sure when this came into  my possession but I found it in my suitcase.  It is from Abitibi Canyon’s winter carnival back in 1982.  Pretty neat!

    Harrrrr

    Mom trying out her camera when they came back from Gaspe

    Sierra is pretty good at posing for photos but we all know she wants to do a silly face as well

    I swear every time Mom comes up with end up making a cake!

    Grandma hanging onto Sierra

    Setting up for Hallowe’en

    Grandma chasing after Sierra!  Watch out!

    Sierra is pretty tired after Grandma chasing her all over the place!

    Poppa looking great as always at 70 years of age

    Watching TV

    When the fall arrived I started noticing that the fan in the hallways wasn’t turning on.  Sure enough, this ventilator had seen its last legs.  It was really hard to find a replacement…one guy even told me he hadn’t seen something like this in 20 years!  That’s the problem with older homes.  After a few weeks of researching my options I followed through on one of my Dad’s original suggestions…taking the motor out and replacing it.  It was a fairly painless process after I found the part number from the manufacturer and called a place where they helped me find an equivalent.  It was fairly easy taking everything apart and reassembling and testing it in the garage but it was a PAIN putting it back because the plastic hoses just didn’t want to connect without a lot of work.  I spent a few hours more than I should.  Dad did point out afterwards I should have just moved the entire unit over a foot so I would have had more wiggle room.  Dad’s a smart guy.  I ended up hearing a rattle in Sierra’s room so a few weeks later I found out that something was vibrating INSIDE the unit.  I was not ready to take it all apart again and I found out that if I just pulled up on the entire unit the vibration stopped.  I ended up putting a tie down strap on it and  ratcheting it to a  nearby joist.  

    We set up a card table downstairs

    We were up on the roof cleaning the chimney and marvelled at the colour of this tree.  Being at home all the time has its benefits.  Generally I would work all day and get home at night and never see the beauty around.

    Picking up a few pumpkins

    This was probably the highlight of my autumn season.  Victor and company dropped by for a quick visit so I played in the leaves with the kids.  Then they were asking Victor to get in the car but he had a pile of leaves in his arms ready to throw at me…so he ran for the car and dumped them all inside!  AHAHAH, ah I had a good laugh.

    Leaf fight!

    This was equally a great photo that was sent by JF and MC.  They live in a new suburb which have NO TREES.  So now I understand why they were so excited when they saw all the leaves at my house!  They ended up taking all the leaves out of the car and playing with them in their own yard.

    Doh!  My order of hot sauce had an accident.  It looks worse than it was…only one bottle shattered.

    I need to remember to do this in the future.

    Sierra spelling names with playdoh.

    What’s this?!

    A new hot tub of course!  Installed on a very rainy day where everything was happening at once…I was in the middle of a meeting, we’re trying to get Ezra to take a nap, Sierra finished school…aye aye aye!  A lot of movement when the delivery guys first showed up.  It was raining so hard and they were behind schedule that they had to come pick up the old tub another day!

    Our new Beachcomber tub in action!  While it was a long wait due to the pandemic, we were happy to see it arrive in the autumn so we could have some fun in it before the winter hit and it would be too cold to bring Ezra out.

    Ah, the old tub which sprung too many leaks a few years back that I didn’t have the heart (or time) to go in and fix.  You gave us some great memories but it’s time you moved on.  I wonder how old this tub was…easily 20 years.  Maybe 30?

    This comic made me laugh even more after I had been playing Final Fantasy III while recovering from an operation.  There was this section where I had to grind through quite a bit.  I hate that concept in a video game.  Definition: In video gamesgrinding is performing repetitive tasks, usually for a gameplay advantage or loot but in some cases for purely aesthetic or cosmetic benefits.

    A few month into school and you can already see Sierra improving at colouring within the lines!

    Making sure the Halloween costume fits

    Sierra got to go to the park for a birthday party.  Which kid doesn’t like rolling down a hill?

    I asked if Vero planted baby carrots in the garden this year.  She was not impressed with my joke!

    Nanny Ruth made some nice clothes for the dolls

    Sierra carving a pumpkin with Maman

    Not bad!

     

     

     

  • October scary movie mini-reviews

    October is almost done which means we have a batch of horror films that we watched!

    What We Do in the Shadows poster.jpg

    What We Do in the Shadows (2014) – A mockumentary about how tough is for vampires living in present day?  5/5  This also spun off into a TV show which Vero and I find highly amusing.  Vero is also in love with the theme song for this show.

     

    The Lighthouse.jpeg

    The Lighthouse (2019) – Imagine actually taking care of a lighthouse all alone with your partner in the 19th century.  That’s a horror story right there.  But couple it with some true weirdness and this makes for a disturbing film.  Not very scary, but the sheer horror of what is happening is worth the ride.  4/5

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    Vampire Circus (1972) – For the past few years, I have been adding a lot of the Hammer Horror films into rotation as they are fun to watch.  Not overly scary by today’s standards but you get some classic vampire tropes happening here.  This movie follows a travelling circus who just happen to be vampires.  No scary clowns here.  3/5

    Happy Death Day poster.png

    Happy Death Day (2017) and Happy Death Day 2 U (2019) – The elevator pitch: This is Groundhog Day about a girl who gets killed over and over again and then tries to figure out who the killer is as she keeps reliving the same day.  The first film was pretty good but the second one definitely lost of its scary elements and went into a science fiction realm where they explained the time loop that the girl was stuck in.  It felt much like Back to the Future 2 in ways.  Not that it was a bad film, but if you’re looking for October to be scary movie month, the second one felt as a waste.  4/5 and 3/5.

    Twins of Evil poster.jpg

    Twins of Evil (1971) – Look at that poster…One Uses Her Beauty for Love, One Uses her Lure for Blood!  What a killer movie this must be!  I have to admit that this actually was one of the better Hammer films I have seen.  You have to understand that a lot of these movies from the 1970s (and Hammer productions in general) move at a much slower pace than modern horror films.  I didn’t lose interest and it made for a good late night movie after everyone has gone to bed.  3/5

    Retro Poster

    It Follows (2014) – Vero didn’t know what to expect when I told her that the movie was about a sexually transmitted ghost (seriously!) and neither did I.  But what we found was a pretty original film which was pretty scary as well.  5/5

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    It Chapter Two (2019) – Meh.  We definitely enjoyed the first film better.  I’m sure if we rewatched the original mini series we would have preferred this one but it was a slow moving beast for us.  2/5

    Us (2019) theatrical poster.png

    Us (2019) – A great movie has you talking about it for days.  This is what Us did to us.  If there was one film we would have to recommend it is this one.  I’m not even sure I want to talk about what the plot of the movie is.  Let’s just say a girl ends up disappearing for 15 minutes at an amusement park one night which is super stressful on the parents and in the future she is still on the edge of what she experienced in those 15 minutes.  5/5

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    The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) – I have never experienced the martial arts craze of the 1970s but I can only imagine that someone at Hammer Horror said “Hey, what if we combined a kung fu film with vampires?!” and this is what happened.  Yet another great late night, not much brain activity needed film.  3/5

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    The Vampire Lovers (1970) – When looking at Hammer Films to check out this year, I must have accidentally stumbled upon someone who really liked the erotic Hammer films and that’s how I came across all these classics.  I was going to type out the plot but honestly, what vampire movie is different?  Vampire infiltrates the village, sucks some blood and then the villagers rebel against the vampire.  I see this was the first film in the Karnstein trilogy and I’ve already seen the third film.  Maybe I can squeeze the second film in when Vero’s parents visit?  3/5

    Devil Times Five: Amazon.ca: Sorrell Booke, Gene Evans, Taylor Lacher, Joan  McCall, Shelley Morrison, Carolyn Stellar, John Durren, Leif Garrett, Gail  Smale, Dawn Lyn, Tierre Turner, Tia Thompson, David Sheldon, Sean MacGregor,

    Devil Times Five (1974) – I saw an interview yesterday where Quentin Tarentino gave this as his suggestion as a great Halloween film to watch this year.  Immediately I went to download it and I also see that immediately the bluray is going to be reissued in February.  Tarentino has quite the influence!  Vero and I watched this last night and it definitely was a fun film to watch.  1970s films definitely move at a slow pace but the last 30 minutes ramped up everything and it was quite wild to see five kids wreak havoc over a house full of adults.  4/5

    Friday the 13th (1980 film) - Wikipedia

    Friday The 13th (1980) – Not only were we watching a great docuseries about the film franchise, but the bluray set I ordered for Vero’s birthday finally came in so we watched the first film.  What we can we say…it’s a classic and has a few good kills in it.  We look forward to rewatching the series.  3/5

    Final thoughts: As of October 28, we might be able to squeeze out one more film before Halloween night.  Hopefully it’s Wolf Cop 2 which I had purchased a few years back but haven’t found time to watch.  Those types of films deserve to be watched with a crowd but since that’s impossible these days maybe we will get around to watching it.  Happy Halloween!

     

     

     

  • Ezra’s 14th month

    How cool are these pyjamas?  The Rolling Stones and it has Tour 1978 on it which was the year I was born!

    Out for a hike in the Larose Forest

    Look who is starting to hold himself up!

    He’s even getting big enough to sit in his rocking chair!

    Clearly someone wants to go outside

    Happy Birthday Maman!  

    On Vero’s birthday he took four or five steps but once the video camera came on he didn’t want to have anything to do with walking!

    Standing with the help of his sister

    Touching some leaves

    Wow, you step outside for two seconds and the baby manages to lock the parents out and your daughter is too busy watching TV to notice!

    Enjoying a swing at the park.  I’m not sure if this was the time they lost the map but I remember walking through the park and Sierra was yelling at me about something on the ground and I kept telling her not to pick stuff up.  She had a meltdown because I didn’t realize she was pointing out that they had forgot the map in the park the day before and didn’t notice it gone!  What are the odds she stumbled upon it?

    Sierra teaching Ezra how to climb up to go to the slide

    He’s finally useful at something…mowing the lawn!

    Dogpile in the box!

    If the ability to eat my yourself is measured by the amount of yogurt on your face, I would say he’s excelling at this skill!

    Searching for leaves

    You can tell it’s starting to get a little colder out in the mornings

    Silly faces

    Sierra rolling Ezra down the hill

    He’s getting there!

    Hanging out in the wooden house…or is it the brick house?  We play the three little pigs and one of us is the big bad wolf

    Showing their pride

    Tandreane with a chipmunk

    8am and Andreane is already up with the kids!  I had a good laugh one day when she went for a nap one afternoon and told me “I knew that being a parent was tough but I never knew HOW tough until today!  I’m exhausted just doing little things!”

    Ezra likes sweeping things

    Hahaha!

    Playing games at the table

    I have been going through old video cassettes to see if there is anything amazing on them.  Sure enough, I came across one that was labelled “Nintendo accomplishments”.  Did I have the foresight to record me winning some video games like Ninja Gaiden II?  Why yes I did.  Was I dumb enough to tape over them?  Yes I was.  I managed to snag a few seconds here but I was pretty bummed thirty years later to not see that footage.

    Coucou!

    Ezra really enjoys playing with this house

    Nice walk to the cemetery

    The karaoke machine is a hit in our house

    Man, Facebook has some funny stuff sometimes

    Poor coronavirus

    Sporting my new hat!  Dad gave this to me years ago and I never really got around to wearing it until now.  I quite like it even though it’s a bit tight.

    If Ezra got any closer he would have ended up being raked away

    Slow motion leaves!

    Laughing with Maman after the bath

    I feel I have failed in my mission to not use devices too much around Ezra.  I feel I did a great job with Sierra but honestly with two kids, whenever I get a moment, I whip out the phone or the iPad to check email or the news.  Ezra has grown up seeing that so I feel he’s a lot more interested in touching the iPad.  Or perhaps he associates it with his grandparents on Facetime?  Who knows.  Here is Sierra showing him a game.  It was funny to see Sierra get frustrated with Ezra not touching the right spots on the screen…if she only knew that a few years ago I was seeing her do the same thing!  Practice makes perfect!

    An excellent Roger Waters blu ray to watch.  It was really neat to hear the helicopters fly overhead at certain points with my Atmos system.

    Sierra and Ezra (and their parents) do an exercise video every morning before school starts.  I love how Ezra is really into it!

    I love this shot!

    Laughs!

    Helping out a brother

    Rest in peace Eddie!

    As much as we can, we have Sierra help out with the parenting duties

    Afternoons in the backyard are Maman’s favourite time of day

     

     

     

  • Sierra’s 52nd month

    One morning I popped Yellow Submarine in for her and I to watch.  Full disclosure:  I think I purchased this years ago and still have yet to watch the entire film!  This felt like the first time.  We didn’t get too far into it…30 minutes and then every time we went to rewatch it Sierra wanted to see the Blue Meanies take over Pepperland again.

    Sierra hanging out with some pals on a rainy day

    Check out those mud puddles!

    Sierra is quite the jokester.  Here she is putting her pull up on outside her pyjamas.  It was nice to have someone making me laugh as I was in the middle of taking care of the kids for the week on my own when Vero went back home!

    Hanging out on the rocks.  I find her shadow interesting in this photo.  It’s almost like it’s doing more movements than Sierra actually is?

    Muffins from back home

    Someone (Tante Andreane?) sent down a unicorn drying cloth which never really ended up in the bathroom but is now amongst the land of stuff toys in her bed.

    A beautiful sunset

    Watching the sunset on the front porch

    When getting a custom order puzzle for someone, keep in mind how hard it might be to finish off the all-black section on the top!

    Wow, I don’t even remember this moment!  Did Sierra and Maman hit up the ice cream stand while I was working in the basement?’

    A typical morning snack 

    Sierra was VERY happy to be able to go to the neighbour’s pool on Labour Day.  It was a wee bit chilly but I don’t think kids sense their legs going numb as much as I did.

    The next day I was smart enough to hang out on the floating mattress instead of venturing in!

    Grandma has an embroidery machine that she can do neat things like this on!

    Fetching some apples!

    As the summer wore on, we had to keep extending the length of this apple picking pole!

    I’m not sure where she got the idea from but she wanted to inspect some insects. 

    First day of class!  I’ve already written more on the subject elsewhere on the blog but we’re excited to see that Sierra has been enjoying her time.

    Part of virtual schooling involves us taking photos of her accomplishments and sending them to the teacher.  While time consuming, I have to say that I really enjoy seeing what Sierra learns in school every day.  I don’t think we will get the same experience when she goes to a different school.  She will get home and I will ask “What did you do in school today?”  “Nothing.”

    Nice stroll at Larose Forest.  We had never gone on this trail which I now dub the “Big Log Trail”.  Supposedly this log has been there forever.  Hilariously we went to the end of the trail thinking it would loop but nope, we had to backtrack all the way.  Not easy with a bunch of kids!

    I can’t remember what Jon was trying to do but it’s too hilarious not to put here.

    Sierra showing me how to play the song

    Boy, I hope that didn’t end up in supper one night!

    After the Yoda cake ‘icing is melting on his face!’ debacle, we smarted up and made a cake for Maman’s birthday a few days before!

    I went down a rabbit hole of research one night when I found out that Jimi Hendrix played in Ottawa one night and immediately after, he ran over to a spot called Le Hibou to record Joni Mitchell.  It was incredible to me to find out that some musicians of this calibre had hit up Ottawa back in the late 60s.  I then stumbled upon a book written about Le Hibou.  It is quite interesting so far.  I believe it must have been written by a local fellow as the book was ordered from Amazon but the postmark came from Cumberland!

    BIRTHDAY CAKEEEEE!!!!

    Yum in my tum!

    Sierra and Ezra made a photo book for Maman to remind her of her two week vacation this summer

    Reading some very important literature about a bear named Pooh

    Learning how to draw lines

    My favourite time of year with my favourite beer!

    Lot of apples to be picked up

    A glorious moment in any child’s life…the first time they play Legend of Zelda!

    Bring me to the drummer’s circle at Mont Royal

    It was nice to see some folks that we hadn’t seen for a few months.  Vero kept that fire roaring hot.  I also remember this was my first time really listening to Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush as it was it’s 50th anniversary.  What a killer album.

    Ha ha, here it is!  The extended apple picker!

    What other toy does a kid need when there is an empty box?

    Might need a bigger box?

    I had a good laugh at this

    Never do this in a Tetris truck!

    S for…super?

    Our neighbour’s tree has the uncanny ability of being the first in the neighbourhood to drop some beautiful leaves

    I walked into a time capsule when I entered my office building six months after I left back in March.  It was an odd experience…everyone’s stuff was just sitting there.  I did chat with Maria who was stuck there cleaning our offices for the past six months but is a pretty boring job when there’s no one there to clean up after!  I had WAY too much stuff to bring back home with me…imagine 15 years of moving offices in the same building.  I rarely brought anything home.  I even had some paystubs from 2001!  

    I did manage to sneak in a walk with my two walking buddies who met up with me when I was visiting the office.  I truly miss our walks along the river.

    What’s that on your head?  It must be Franco-Ontario day!

    Oh baby.  They have arrived!  Super7 has the Thundercats license and are churning out some great products.  This Lion-O was part of Wave 1 and they are already four waves I have pre-ordered.  It’s a costly venture at $50 a figure but I love this series so I’m going to support them in any way I can.  

    Look at the size of that thing!

    Some days we have lions riding cars

    A rare moment without the kids!  It was nice to take a walk with Vero in a part of the Glebe I had never been to before.  The area near Dr. Weiss’s offices are quite nice!

    Tandreane was nice enough to come for a visit to help us out for the first few days after my operation.  Here is Sierra and her taking in the Castor River.

    More apples!

     

     

     

  • Updates to the website

    I was getting annoyed that there wasn’t a search feature at the top of the page when I needed to search for ‘instant pot’ so I decided it was time to update my website.

    Of note:

    • Still playing around with text colours.  I’m not sure if Red colour font works on red colour background!
    • I am moving the music section to a timeline based style which is in ‘Music Archive’ which I’m quite fond of
    • Check out the music archive for a new song hot off the presses in time for Troy’s 50th birthday!
  • Thoughts on virtual learning

    We decided to try out virtual learning when Sierra started her maternelle class this year.  There were many questions on top of mind but the most poignant one was “Will this even work for our four year old?”

    In our case, virtual learning consists of having Sierra sit in front of an iPad for most of the day.  But let’s get into the actual details of her schedule:

    8:30 – 9:15am (recommended exercise videos and meditation videos which I’m assuming any parent can just blatantly skip since it’s not like anyone is monitoring us) – While I’ve never checked out the meditation videos, I have to say that I’ve been checking out the exercise videos for ten minutes and then let Sierra do whatever she wants until 9:15.  Vero sometimes even joins us in the living room to get some aerobics in!

    9:15 – 9:45 – school time!  Sierra has learned how to mute the microphone when she is not using it and she knows how to connect to the classroom via Google Meet when we are not around. Actually, a week into this, she INSISTS that she does this herself.  Generally around this time there is O Canada, the Lord’s Prayer, and some other things that I don’t pay too much attention to.

    9:45 – 10:00am – Break

    10-11am – School time

    11am – 12:15am – lunch break where I try and get Sierra outside doing stuff for awhile and then go back in and make lunch

    12:15 – 1pm – school time

    1-1:15pm – break

    1:15 – 2Pm – school time

    Then it’s all done for the day.

    It’s taken some work to adjust our schedules (our household generally ate around noon), but these are minor points to adjust to.

    After the first day, we felt comfortable that this wasn’t an utter trainwreck for our household.  Sierra generally had enough interest to listen and do some activities.  On the first couple of days, Vero and I (mostly Vero) were paying close attention via a monitor to understand what is happening and to help her understand what she needs to do.  But here we are at the end of the first week and while I do have the monitor on, it’s mainly to hear if she is calling for help…sometimes she has touched the wrong button on Google Meet and her camera has flipped, or something like that.

    School activities range from singing songs, playing with blocks or play-dough, finding an object on an image on the screen, coming up with stories surrounding an image.  I find the most fun Sierra has are with the activities that has her running around the house.  “Go and get a red object and come back and show the class!”  “Now go get a blue one!”  I was on the way to the bathroom one afternoon and Sierra zoomed by me and I said “Whoa, what’s going on?” and she said “I need to get the toilet paper!” and I thought “Boy, I’m glad I wasn’t sitting down and she came in and stole the toilet paper!”

    I’m sitting here writing this on a Thursday and I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a Thursday and everyone feels like the week has dragged on after four days, but I noticed that Sierra completely missed an entire activity and read a magazine instead.  I was furious in my head but then I realized that at the end of the day, this is maternelle, it’s not like she is going to fail out of this program, and if anything, she stayed in front of the iPad and read a magazine in front of her teachers so I just have to remove myself from the situation more and more.  If she was in regular school, I wouldn’t even realized that this stuff happened.

    Vero and I are experiencing something that doesn’t happen all too often…it’s like we are sitting inside the classroom while the teachers teach.  We can’t help to want to give assistance to Sierra in understanding the activity or not to get lost sometimes, but I have to learn to pull myself away and just let Sierra and the teachers figure out how to do this whole virtual learning thing.  I can only imagine how hard it is for the teachers to try and keep an eye on 30 four year olds via a video conference.  It’s wild.

    After the first week, I think Sierra is enjoying class, and she does seem to pay attention to most of the class.  There are a few days where she will come out and show us stuff she is making and we prompt her to return and listen to what the teacher is telling her, but we can’t really complain about this virtual learning experiment.  In our household, it’s going good.