• Ezra’s 18th month

    Ezra loves playing with his sister when she is done her school in the morning.  You can also see that he is starting to converse when we ask him questions.  Do we know what he is saying?  Nope.  But it’s fun.  You also see that they are watching the Friendly Giant which they are fond of.

    It’s a pretty exciting day when a new Star Wars shirt enters the house!!

    Ezra sure loves a game of Musical Thunderstruck

    Our typical routine has us finishing up our bath around 7PM and Ezra gets his bottle of milk before bed.  Here were the kids sneaking in a story in the living room instead of their bedrooms before Ezra headed off to bed.  Vero has a good routine with him for bed that I have learned.  First there are goodnight kisses from Sierra and Dad.  Then there’s a routine where Maman puts him in his bedroom and he tries to escape while screaming down the hall until Maman runs and picks him up.  He has a really good laugh at that.

    Then the sleepsack comes on with some tickle time so he’s laughing before settling in for the night.  As I type this there are two books on constant rotation in his rocking chair….Boots and Je t’aimes de la tete aux pieds which is always a fun one.  Then the light goes off and a little humming of a tune (my favourite is the Friendly Giant song which I know is some classical music piece that I cannot remember right now) and then put into the crib.  He is a really great little boy and sleeps through the night most nights.  Apologies to all the parents out there giving me the dagger eyes when thinking of their own children’s sleeping habits.

    I am not entirely sure why I took a photo of this mayonnaise but I may as well profess my love of it right here, right now.  My go-to breakfast these days has been a pumpernickel bagel with this mayonnaise and some tomato with salt and pepper.  Sierra is even helping me make it these days which is pretty good.  I did have to teach her the limit of three shakes to the salt and pepper as I got a LOT of salt one morning!

    Having fun before supper.  Maybe I was trying to take a photo of my new Pearl Jam shirt that I had forgotten about in the garage for a month?

    This kid does NOT have it easy in the winter.  It’s very hard to move around!

    No wonder he doesn’t like winter, look at his sister dumping snow in his hood!  Also, I have fond memories of the month of January and February when we got dumped on with snow.  I was excited that winter had finally arrived compared to the Green Christmas we had.

    Someone wanted to help knock snow off of the trees

    Warming up some cold hands

    Someone loves Dad’s hat!

    A perfect winter day – with hot chocolate and mild temperatures

    Hot chocolate was a constant request from the kids (and Maman!) this winter

    Reading

    Hockey

    Ezra loves this music machine that hangs on the fridge.  You can see he understands what we are asking him to do as well.  He’s also getting really good at being on the couch.  We only have to watch out a few times when he’s going for a tumble.

    Ezra has some strong muscles!  This was probably taken after our morning walk.  We try and get out whenever it is not too cold.

    Stopping for an icicle treat

    Ezra really likes to help me get the guitar out of the case and pass me the guitar picks and as you can see, he likes stepping on the guitar pedal below!  That thing probably won’t survive the winter!  You can also see in this photo that I am playing my 12 string which I haven’t done so in years.  I actually have downtuned it a full step which is easier on the the neck and I got a really strong capo.  I’m really enjoying the 12-string guitar these days even though I don’t have a built in tuner like my other guitar Ruth does.

    My good pal Danny built this zamboni for his rink this winter.  I thought it was the cats meow.

    Someone REALLY LOVES pushing his cart around and picking up toys.

    Looking for a toy.  We don’t spend too much time downstairs so it’s a treat for Ezra when we do go down there.

    Ezra is surprisingly stable on this GT and there have been many mornings where we go for a walk and we are pulling him on this.

    Spider-Man in the house!

    This was taken on one of the coldest weekends of the year.  We still managed to go outside a few times but it’s pretty hard to keep positive in -35!

    Ezra loves pushing the mop around

    A bunch of Ezra’s teeth finally showed up

    Riding the train

    Trying to learn Rabbit Foo Foo

    First skate of the year came pretty late in January.  Not sure if it was the best idea to bring Ezra there without a helmet.  We brought one the next time.  Not sure if he liked the ice.  It’s hard to understand the concept of slowing down on ice when walking!

    He wanted to wear this helmet around the house

    Maman showing us how to skate.  We were in awe.

    I like the look of a house that is clearly happy it’s winter.  Sleds and shovels all around, little snow hills being built. 

    I had a good laugh when I came into the room and Ezra was rocking out to Megadeth

    Nice headband

    My cousin grew his hair out so we started exchanging photos of each other to compare.  At this point I would say it’s been a year without a haircut.

    Ezra enjoys the Wookiee book

    The fortress of stools

    I had a good laugh at this.  Man I miss poutine.  I miss buying lunch!!

    Ezra now only takes an afternoon nap and once in awhile he’s lucky enough to have a lot of smiling faces when he awakes!

    Ezra is pretty ticklish

    There was a birthday in the neighbourhood so we spruced up the sled and walked by their house

    Oh, festivals

    I love this shirt

    We buried Maman in the snow!

    Someone figuring out how the camera works

    These two are pretty close

    Ready to roll Dad!

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Sierra’s 56 month

    Sierra wanted to add a new decoration to the tree

    Queen of the hill

    I wasn’t looking forward to playing with this stuff because I thought it would be gooey but it was surprisingly not!

    A hot chocolate and a stroopwafel is the best treat after some time outdoors.  I didn’t even realize that we were supposed to put it on top of our cup to soften until I read the instructions one day

    Sierra loving her new socks, scarf and mitts from Nanny Ruth

    Surprisingly these tattoos must have lasted a few weeks!

    Over the holidays I ordered a Nintendo Switch and I was trying to find some games that Sierra would enjoy.  I ended up getting a Just Dance game with a song from Frozen on it.  Not going to lie, I was tearing up a little when I saw how much she enjoyed playing video games!

    Trying out the new hockey sticks and net

    I had a good laugh at this typo from Uncle Greg and Aunt Mariette

    Snow rumble!

    Here’s a new type of Operation game where you have to get some dog food from his mouth to his butt.  It even has fart sounds!

    Who said Facebook advertising doesn’t pay off?  I saw this on an advertisement in Facebook and I thought “This thing looks incredible!”  They are stackrobats where you have to stack them up into different positions.  Very hard and very entertaining.

    Snowman

    I figure this sign must be 50 years old!  Found on the Cumberland forest trail.  I think it used to be a snowmobile trail or perhaps it actually is and was closed while we were on it

    I am a huge fan of oral histories and this book does not disappoint

    Sierra wanted me to pose with Buzz and the Octopus

    If there’s one thing I don’t like in life, it’s gooey stuff.  Sure enough we had to do some gooey science experiment for school which somehow did not work properly.  Lovely. 

    Now winter was finally here!  That bird bath had no snow on it the night before

    We were showing Sierra the old Fredo videos we had made.  She had a good laugh

    Someone snapped this lovely winter wonderland photo

    If you see bigfoot tracks around your yard, it may be Sierra

    I’m not sure what’s going on here but I think she had to construct a ski hill

    The activities for the month of January have been very ice and snow based.  Here is a hockey rink that she had to make.

    View from the comfy chair

    I think this may have been a lava lamp experiment

    Maman showing us how it’s done

    It must have been that extra push that Sierra gave me that made me bail off the GT sno racer at the end!  There is no video of the next time I went down but I didn’t make it over the jump and I ended up going straight back onto my back and I smacked my head pretty hard on the snow!  It hurt for a few days.  Ouch!

    Sierra going for the jump

    Sierra likes to make slow motion videos of eating spaghetti

     

    Windchill off of GT snow racer: -26
    Windchill on GT snow racer: – 61
    This thing can fly!
  • Ezra’s 17th month

    If you missed this bit in the 2020 Holiday Special, here it is again…Ezra laughing at me making a popping sound

    I bet Ezra thought walking inside the house was hard enough…I feel bad for him in the snow!

    Going for a sleigh ride

    I, too, have wasted hours playing ‘pick up this piece of paper’

    Ezra is getting old enough that he is able to climb up on the couch himself quite easily.  This has added some stress into the household because he likes to get near the edge and peer over.  Here is Sierra sitting next to him to protect him from doing a flying leap off of the couch

    These two get silly before bedtime

    Dress up day

    He must be copying my drunken sailor dance moves

    Waiting for baseball to start up

    One last visit to the Castor River before it gets too cold

    They found a great log to sit on

    Ezra and his snack chair.  At least we try and get him to sit in his chair to eat a snack.  At this point of the game, he can walk around the house whenever he pleases so he doesn’t sit too long in one spot

    Building some strength

    Probably watching Passe Partout before bathtime

    Look at the excitement on his face!  After this video was taken, I bring him down to play piano a lot more now

    First time Ezra ever saw a walking snowman

    Hunting mice

    I’ve been playing a lot of guitar with Ezra and this is a common sitting spot for him while looking out the window

    We checked out a trail in the Cumberland Forest on the way to Limoges (there’s actually two completely different trails labelled as the Cumberland Forest, one on your way to Limoges and one on Frank Kenny) which was a nice trek but not too many hills to slide down.

    If we put a plow on the front of this car it could clean up toys well

    Getting in the Christmas spirit

    Master Yoda teaching arithmetic

    New pyjamas from Grandma and Poppa on Christmas Eve

    Ezra loved his box that he got

    Ezra looks very impressed on Christmas morning.  “Why do I have to wear this hat again Maman?”

    Vroom vroom

    Ezra liked putting up the stickers on the window

    This is how Maman has to drink her hot chocolate on Christmas morning

    I feel this pose will be good in their teenage years

    Relaxing before the turkey preparation

    I was super upset that there was no snow on Christmas day.  But we made the most of it.  Santa had brought Sierra a jump rope so we were showing her how to use it.  I wish I had a time machine to go back to this moment and tell me NOT to do this!  I think jumping in my winter boots really messed up my hips and back for the next week.  It must have been the impact of landing really hard on my feet in those boots.  I’m glad that I’m ok now!

    It’s not often in the winter that we can bring the kids into the hot tub but if the thermometer is above zero, we go for it.  Even if it is Christmas day!

    It’s fun to bring out new toys for Ezra that we may have forgotten we have.  He really enjoyed playing on this xylophone

    Mmm boy!

    La buche de noel!

    This was a pretty neat car racing set that we let the kids open before bedtime.  That was a bad move.  We course-corrected the next day and only had gift opening anytime before supper.  Yes, this was another year where we opened up a few gifts a day across the holidays.

    Ezra giving zerberts through a shirt

    Helping shovel

    Sierra is pretty fast at pulling Ezra on the sleigh!

    Who needs a sled when you have a scoop?

    A boy and Battlecat

    Ezra trying out his new hockey stick

    Quite the interesting ice coming off the roof of the shed

    Have to brush off the car as we don’t park both in the garage any longer

    “How you doin’?”

    I was pretty pumped to get a print of this family portrait of the Hilarious House of Frightenstein as the original print run was sold out.  What a great show!

    Nowadays my day consists of hanging out with Ezra in the morning while getting some work done on the workphone.  This was probably the scene of a videoconference between Ezra, myself and a colleague

    Hill!

    Ezra’s new favourite item

     

     

  • Sierra’s 55th Month

    Look who is winning at Candy Land!

    This must have been some advanced physics class going on here.

    Icing some Christmas cookies

    Hanging the stockings

    I’m sure one day we will look at this photo and say “Remember when we had to lift Sierra to put up ornaments?”

    Advent calendar!

    Sierra testing out her photo taking skills

    Almost there!

    Not sure if Ezra knows that his face can’t go through there

    Who didn’t want a guitar at Christmas?  I remember getting a 12 string guitar for Christmas which was pretty amazing.  In fact, that came back into my possession recently and it’s my go-to guitar now!

    For years I was looking for some poseable hands for my stormtrooper costume.  I was mentioning this to a friend and he found these on Amazon for me.  They worked out pretty good!

    Glove on

    Blam!  Pretty good!  Sometimes the weight of the rifle brings the arms down but it’s pretty good!  Also, my team really enjoyed the Christmas themed trooper costume in the backyard of my video conferences.

    Sierra and Maman filling up the birdfeeder

     I love how the marshmallow dwarfs the hot chocolate.

    Having kids has finally paid off!  While I can sip on a beer, Sierra wants to assemble the Christmas cards!

    The Grinch has arrived!

    Hanging out with Rudolf and friends

    I had a good laugh at this!

    Ha!  I forgot about this one!

    Sierra has been learning about the nativity scene at school so she was telling me the names of all the people

    I was thinking with an inch of snow Sierra could walk next to me, but nope.  I’m glad I brought the sled.

    Christmas is officially on!

    New look?  Nah.  Vero wanted to see how it looked.

    Always great to have people drop by for a quick visit!

    Across from the mailbox is this house with the most amazing Christmas decorations.  The kids love seeing them.

    Christmas Eve!

    Christmas Eve always brings out Mom’s sausage dip

    Christmas morning brought me a great gift from Sierra

    Your brother’s gifts are always more exciting than your own!

    Sierra playing with her new camera

    Some kind of neat weight game where you put the number 2 on one side and then put 2 monkeys on the other and it balances out

    This was a really good whiskey from my parents.  St Pierre!  I’m glad Dad called and reminded me that I hid it in my closet months ago.

    Having fun on a new toy

    Playing a new card game

    Mom called me a few months ago and reminded me that my old Legos were still at home.  I just assumed that they were property of Kapuskasing but no, I could have them!  So they sent a few down for Sierra to play with.  It was really great to see the old Legos that I grew up with.

    We tried out a new trail in Cumberland Forest and I’m trying to remember why I was carrying Sierra at this point.  I think there were some thorn bushes that her and I got trapped in.

    We actually went far enough down the trail to find an official geocache that a friend had tipped us off on!  I didn’t think we would get that close but sure enough, there it was!  Pretty neat!

     

  • 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

    Vampirecircus.jpg

    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

    ItChapterTwoTeaser.jpg

    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

    The-legend-of-the-7-golden-vampires-british-movie-poster-md.jpg

    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!