Sierra’s 27th Month

Sierra is starting to form complex sentences in her language.  ‘Yaya no num num la bas’ = Sierra isn’t eating over there?

It’s fascinating to see her string words together into difficult combinations.  For the most part, I would say that her vocabulary is primarily French (understandable considering she attends a) French daycare and her Mom speaks French to her), but she understands both languages.

I am also enjoying how she’ll be walking beside us and then say “Bye bye Dad” and I look at her and she has this mischievous grin on her face.  She likes standing still in place, waiting until we walk farther away and then running towards us.  I don’t know where she got that game from but it’s entertaining her so that’s what counts.

Sierra continues to be very shy when she enters a situation that she is not familiar with.  For example, if we go visit the next door neighbour’s house for 20 minutes, she spends 10 of those minutes slowly approaching from the edge of the lawn while I am sitting and chatting on the deck.  After 10 minutes she has crept up to me and we ease her into how safe the situation is.  I constantly say “We’re amongst friends.  It’s a safe place.”  After 15 minutes she comes around and enjoys herself.  I wouldn’t say she immediately gravitates to playing along with little friends that are around, but she does play in the general area where they are.  But…every case is different.  If she hangs out with Max, they seem to play together from time to time.  If she’s at a neighbourhood party, there are a bunch of kids, but they are older than her so automatically it’s hard to interact with kids who are faster and more agile than you.

Sierra continues to eat like a champion, although she is starting to become a little picky.  Which is fine in our books.  If you don’t want to eat the mushrooms in the dinner, no problem.  But I do have concerns with her eating an entire bowl of grapes or strawberries that are left out for everyone at the party.  On one hand, she’s getting healthy fruit in her.  But I always am concerned about whether we are teaching her bad eating habits at a young age that will continue later in life (aka, when she likes potato chips, is she going to try and eat the entire bag much like she does with all the strawberries?).  Andréane tells me there is nothing to worry about considering she’s eating healthy stuff.  I suppose I shouldn’t worry too much considering there’s a lot of other kids that have trouble eating ANYTHING!

I got an early birthday gift from Sierra and Vero.  Sierra loves opening up those gifts!  I’m pretty excited by this Tascam DR44WL portable recorder.  I’m a fan of live recordings and it’s time to start recording my own live shows (aka jamming with family).

Muffins made by Grand-Maman are a big hit in our house

Sierra has a fierce independent spirit in her.  You can’t open a door for her or she freaks out.  You can’t put peanut butter on her toast or she freaks out.  Basically…she freaks out all the time unless you let her do things.  Case in point, here’s our regular trip to the park…with her towing the wagon!

The Pope clan showed up to try out the cool tub!  It was definitely a hot few days when they were here so we all had fun in the pool.  Sierra was also trying out her water wings and she ended up loving being in the water!

Sierra with cousin AB-BEEEE.  Sierra is hilarious when she says her name.

Big kids table.

Wait, kids can play on their own without constant parental supervision?

Sierra and Abbey came with me to the park for the morning while John and Maureen heading into town.  It was very hard for Sierra to share her wagon.  I also think it was very hard for Abbey to understand how her cousin never wanted to share things with her!

Double the amount of swings = double the fun!

I’ve finally figured out how to change the in and out points for the slow-mo effect.  But…this video wasn’t privy to that knowledge yet.

Enjoying an apple snack after the park.  Man it was hot out there at that park!!  I’m still sweating a month later.

Peekaboo!

Someone loves fudge-icles

We headed down to Gaspé for a family reunion this year.  On the way down we stopped in at the Madrid 2.0 truck stop.  I have memories of stopping here as a kid sometimes (or maybe all the time?).  Here’s Sierra with the dinosaurs!

Sierra in mid-smile

We stopped into St Jacques des Leeds for a quick nap for Dad and Sierra and then headed to Thetford Mines to take Mami out for some supper! 

A quick snapshot before heading out

Here is Valerie showing Sierra how to balance things on her head!

Oncle Normand and Tante Sylvie were nice enough to let us stay over for the evening.  Here’s a photo that Sierra took of them since she didn’t want to be in a photo with them!  I have to say it turned out quite nice.

Ready for the second day of the trip!  We decided to drive to Gaspé in three days on the way down and two on the way back.  Next stop…Matane!

We ended up in Matane and it was quite cold.  I had forgot how cold living by the water can be!  I have to say I was pretty disappointed as I had planned out an evening at the motel right next to the water so I could just sit with Vero and drink some beer while we watched the sunset.  It was rainy and cold when we hit Matane.

Sierra figuring out how this contraption works.

Rain or no rain, we were excited to bring Sierra to her first ocean experience!

Always finding treasure at the beach

Looking for adventure

A rare family photo!

The most important point of this photo is to point out the sky!  The rain had stopped and the sun was coming out!  My dream evening was about to begin!

We couldn’t manage to find a spot to eat at a brewpub downtown so we just decided to pick up some St-Hubert and sit on the picnic table outside the motel.  It was a beautiful evening to do so!  Also, can I just point out that it’s hard to find something that doesn’t have french fries while you are on the road?  I was french fried out after a few days!

Say no to crack!

Having fun on the swings before bedtime

While Vero put Sierra to bed, I got to stare at beautiful vistas like this one

Yep.  It’s time to retire here.  That evening posed an interesting challenge for me.  When the sun went down, I knew I couldn’t go back into the bedroom right away or it would wake up Sierra and it’s not like we were ready to go to bed right away.  So we hung outside for awhile until it got too cold and then we settled into the car and watched episodes of Riverdale on the iPad.  It was like camping out!  Vero went and picked up some treats from the gas station across the street.  Let’s be honest…this wasn’t the challenging part.  The challenging part was trying to find a spot to take a leak after a couple of beers!  I had to nonchalantly sneak down to the beach and avoid where people were hanging out.  Don’t worry, I didn’t pee in the sand!  There was no sand.  It was all rocks at this beach.

The next morning we hit the road in search of microbreweries along the way.  I obtained a map the night before of all the breweries along the coast so it was now my quest, no…my MISSION in life to visit all of them!  That mission died pretty fast when we showed up around 10:30am at the first one on the map and it wasn’t even open until 11:30am.  Forget this!  Let’s head to Murdochville!  It was a cloudy, rainy day when we arrived in the town my Dad grew up in.  We stopped for a few minutes to stretch our legs in this schoolyard.  Vero thought the entire school was abandoned considering the shape of some of the schoolyard equipment but I’m pretty sure I saw movement inside the school.

Every school needs some punching bags!

Nanny showing Sierra how to pass a ball

Sierra and Abbey raided the garden every day for tomatoes

Dad was SUPER excited to cut up some baloney for supper!

It turned out to be my birthday when I arrived into town!  Mom made the greatest orange cake in the world

I got to hang out at the big kids table along with Mom

All I wanted to do on the night of my birthday was to jam for the fine folks at the Patterson reunion.  And jammed we did!  We had John on guitars and Captain Kahone on the kahone.  That was a surprise appearance and brought the tunes to the next level!  I even got to set up the new Tascam recording unit to try it out.  I was super upset after a three hour jam session to find out that the SD card in the recording unit was full after 30 minutes!  I was not impressed.  There was a version of Crazy Train that will go down in the history of rock and roll and when I say go down in history, I mean in legend because no one captured that moment!  The next morning I went to The Source to pick up the largest SD card I could find.  Anyhow, I felt the jam session was a good start to the rest of the week.  My voice wasn’t used to singing that much and I could feel that it got a lot easier (and sounded better!) by the end of the week of jamming.  Sidenote: Captain Kahone and the Jokers is definitely a great band name.  Another sidenote: I love playing with John.  If I lived in Kapuskasing, I think there would be a dynamic duo out every week.

The next morning we went out and explored some family history.  This was a Miller family reunion and my grandmother is a Miller.  This structure behind us was an old house that the Millers lived in and it caught fire one day and here’s what’s left to it one hundred years later.

Here’s a shot of the actual fireplace, still intact!  I have a feeling not many people know about this structure otherwise I would assume we would find the regular amount of vandalism.

Vero said that if we wanted to buy a piece of land in Gaspé, this is the piece of land to purchase!  Look at the waterfront!

This may be a contender for a new photo over our mantle

Tomato sandwich moustache

Day Two had a mini golf tournament set up at Uncle Frankie’s place.  Here’s everyone listening to the very strictly enforced instructions

Sierra getting some practice swings in.  She’s pretty good!

Our team did pretty good!  By pretty good, I mean we did pretty good at cheating.  I still can’t believe we didn’t win.  There’s definitely another team out there that cheats more than us!

Uncle Fred and Mark showing up some of the prizes from the tournament

The next day we had all the time in the world to do some activities of our own so we went for a walk down on the boardwalk with Uncle Greg and Kim and Quinn.  This boardwalk is relatively new to the area and it looks like they put A LOT of money into it. 

Uncle Greg was telling me this structure cost $1M to put up.  It does double as a projection screen which is neat!  Supposedly there is live music down on this boardwalk every week and Nanny tends to go and check it out.

Sierra checking out the teepee.

On the boardwalk…boardwalk

 

Cool graffiti under the bridge

I can’t figure out if Abbey is intrigued or scared of the lobster!

Having some fun on the swing set while we waited for our order from Joanne’s chip stand

Poppa having fun with Sierra

Sierra is definitely a fan of hats!

The race is on!

A nice speech by Nanny at the official family gathering.  We had a good feast and it was nice to see friends and neighbours show up for a party afterwards.  It was quite hot and noisy in that hall!

We got Uncle Greg to snap this family photo.  THIS is probably the contender for the mantle this year!

Sierra loves walking with us and then falling to the ground so we have to yank her back up

I’m sure I’ll eventually get a hold of the official photo, but until then, here’s a sneak peek of all the family

Sierra at the beach!  Now, it’s very important to note that this was not her first time at the beach.  That happened earlier in the morning.  While Sierra generally was waking up between 7-8am, she somehow decided to wake up around 6am and was making some noise and all I could think about was “I have to get her out of the cottage now!!”  I scrambled to get some clothes on and brought her out to the car in her pajamas and hit the road.  Half a kilometer down the road I felt the need to go to the washroom.  Where the heck was I going to go?  I decided to double back, lock Sierra in the car, go into the cottage and then come back out.  I was worried to find Sierra screaming her head off, but it turns out she was doing fine with her Cheerios!  I would like to thank my wife for packing the diaper bag full of goodies.

Anyhow, I decided there was really only one place to go that early in the morning…we were off to Haldimand Beach!  When we arrived, I had to figure out what to dress Sierra in.  I wasn’t really thinking we were going to the beach this morning.  I ended up putting rubber boots on her, some splash pants, a sweatshirt and Vero’s fedora on her.  It was a motley assortment of clothing items!  I wish I had brought my camera with me.  It was a beautiful walk along the water.  Sierra didn’t really know what the heck was going on when the waves would come and hit her feet.  She was a little scared of it at first but by the end of the walk she was getting used to it.  We found some excellent beach glass and a couple of nice shells.  She really enjoyed bringing those back and showing them to everyone.  My bucket list for the trip was officially complete at that point because I was excited to introduce Sierra to what a beach was. 

Watch out for the waves!

It was quite the windy day at the beach

Fun at the park!

Uncle Greg and Aunt Mariette moved into a new house down in Gaspé.  When we went for a tour, we spied this interesting renovation choice in the bathroom!

I’m not even sure if this contraption actually got built with the amount of brain matter working on the job

Sierra sure loves her tomatoes!  This was taken the morning before we headed home

It was a rainy, cold drive back home for the first day.  We ended up stopping into an excellent restaurant along the way.  For the life of me I can’t remember which town it was.  At least they had games to keep Sierra entertained.

Sierra is a big help at the fromagerie that we stopped in for supper.  We were all getting a little tired of french fries and St Hubert (how is that even possible?!) so we picked up some sandwiches and other assorted goodies

Squeak squeak!

Fromagerie des Basques (Trois Pistoles) had a great picnic area where we could eat their food.  Look at the storm clouds coming in!

Of course we had to treat ourselves to an ice cream after supper!

We stayed at Motel au Fleuve D’Argent in Riviere-des-Loups and we hit the jackpot again.  It had a great view of the river and a fun play area for Sierra.  Plus we had our own personal mini-cabin which proved quite useful when I had to go to the washroom and couldn’t enter into the cabin in fear of waking up Sierra!  Our typical evening when traveling consists of putting Sierra to bed and then Vero and I hang outside until the time comes to go into the car and load some Netflix on the iPad along with some beers and potato chips.  I have to say motels are quite convenient compared to hotel rooms.  Would we just sit in there from 7PM not making a sound while Sierra slept?

Look where we stopped on the way back!

As soon as we got back to Ottawa, I was on a flight the next day to London, Ontario to hang out with these jokers.  I had originally planned to head to Chicago to see the Smashing Pumpkins but they ended up adding a tour datehttps://photos.app.goo.gl/AJtMokT26TXEEjfw7 in London so I decided to hit that up with Troy and Rick instead! 

The start of an epic night!

We had some great seats near the stage.  The only issue was that certain elements of the show weren’t visible to us.  Not the end of the world considering the view we had.  Metric were great as always although they were road testing a bunch of their new songs which is always a tough sell when you are opening for a band.

There they are in all their thirty year glory…the Smashing Pumpkins! 

Here’s an example of how we couldn’t see the center screen sometimes.  Not a huge deal.  I’ll hunt down some visuals on YouTube.

Luckily everyone had a great time at the show.  I was worried since the Pumpkins usually are a hit or a miss with the casual fans.  They played for 3.5 hours (!!) and played all the hits and then some.  Rick and Troy were impressed.

I’ve seen the Smashing Pumpkins A LOT of times over the years.  Back in 1996 at the Maple Leaf Gardens, they sparked my love for live shows.  I have to say that this show was the best I’ve ever seen them.  I was shocked at how much the show moved me.  They’ve embraced what they are as a band over the past thirty years.  The past ten years have been a shocking time as a fan where Billy Corgan wouldn’t want to play many hits and wanted to forge a new path with new music.  Hey, I’m all for that…but embrace your heritage a little and give the fans what they want.  Well…they did and I would go see this show again in a heartbeat.  Hey, we even got a picture with the Zero statue at the end of the night!

 

After a night of debauchery, no one is entirely sure how this ended up in the kitchen.  I had a great time at Troy and Connie’s and we even managed to record a few songs while I was there.  Bonus!  Thanks for putting up with me!

Look at the fun Vero and Sierra were having while I was away!  Jon and Chantal’s annual corn roast was a hit!

When I got back into town we decided that we needed to see some beaches again so we went down to Petrie Island one morning.  The only issue I have with Petrie Island is that there are a LOT of geese there which leads to goose poop all over the place.  I need my salty air and not goose poop!

Family fun time!

 

 

Sierra’s 26th Month

This summer has been jammed packed.  So much so that I’m writing this recap of July around mid-August so I’ll have to scour my brain for what happened with Sierra over her 26th month.  Luckily I have photos to job my memory banks!

July was HOT across the world and when it’s hot, there’s really only one solution.  Splash pads!  We had never been to the splash pad before and I have to say this is definitely a great idea from a taxpayer perspective.  Look at the happiness on that kid’s face!

You can’t go to the splash pad and not partake in the fun.  Sierra had a great time at the splash pad but it did end up being quite cold and I think after 30 minutes her lips were blue.  Rob, Jenna and Janice came out to see us and we hung out in the park afterwards so Sierra could warm up.

On the hottest day of the summer (or one of them), a few of us headed over to celebrate Mike’s birthday.  I luckily got to hang out with the kids and the water hose.

Caesar fun day!

Relaxing by the pool.

You can create any type of game if you involve water and a hot day.

Check out this sweet ride!

Watch out!

Happy Canada Day!

In the morning we headed over to the Vars park on probably the hottest day of the year.  I’m pretty sure it was 45 with the humidity.  So…it was a little ridiculous to be out in the sun for any length of time. 

They had an awesome hose set up just spraying water into the air.

The local firefighters were on hand with some gigantic Mr. Freezies for everyone!

There’s no harm in hanging outdoors in sweltering heat when you know your friends Joelle and Alan have hooked you up with an awesome Canada Day BBQ with friends!

Check out Josh mid-cannonball!  Also, you can see Sierra in her mom’s arms.  Hilariously Sierra did NOT want to be in her Maman’s arms, but she also doesn’t know how to swim.  We would spend the rest of the summer bringing her into the cool tub and practicing.

When we arrived home we found out that there was no power in the neighbourhood and the culprit was right outside our house!  I asked the guy working there what was going on and he said that once he resets something, it’ll either be working or we will hear a loud bang and they’ll have to replace the entire unit.  20 minutes later all we hear is BANG!  Oh well….it was entertaining watching other trucks show up over the next few hours.  Too bad it was sweltering heat!  The neighbourhood was great to them though…I saw a bunch of people drop by offering water and Mr. Freezies.

Sierra having fun in our bed in the morning

The most important thing about this photo is not the tricycle, but the fact that it may be the first time I got Sierra to smile for the camera!  Hilariously she just knows how to show her teeth. 

Pouring water takes tongue concentration

Bluesfest!  Vero and I went down for three days.  Good times were had and it wasn’t ridiculously hot outside.

I was introduced to The War On Drugs at Folk Festival a few years back and have fallen in love with them.  They put on another excellent show.

I went over to see St. Paul and the Broken Bones and I was highly impressed.  This band was top notch and anyone who has the chance to see them should not pass the opportunity up!  Not my photo.

After St. Paul, I wandered over to see Jethro Tull.  As much as I am a fan of most classic rock, I never gave Tull much of a listen.  Let me tell you it’s an odd experience when you walk into the middle of a Jethro Tull concert and you see videos of dancing dwarves and a flutist on stage.  I felt like I was at a Spinal Tap concert!  I can’t say I was blown away by the show and when I talked to some fans, they also said that the band is beyond their prime.  Makes sense…they’ve been around for fifty years!  Not my photo.

I flew to London, Ontario to spend a few nights with Troy and Connie before heading to Uncle Tony’s celebration of life.  We ended up at Stormstayed Brewing Company one night where we realized we both love playing cribbage.  Troy does not appreciate losing two games in a row.

Troy and I on our second run through of ‘Back to the Sea’.  Turns out that a month later I would be sitting in the Red Room recording it in its proper form.  Thanks to Connie for capturing this!

Troy, Connie and I headed out to Kitchener to meet up with a whole lot of people who showed up to Uncle Tony’s celebration of life.  Like..A LOT of people.  I couldn’t believe the amount of older vehicles out in the parking lot.  If you were a fan of older cars, then chances are, you were there at this celebration of life.  I will miss Uncle Tony.  Even though everyone knows I have zero knowledge about cars, I do admire people with passion and he sure was passionate.

Two nicest people in London, Ontario!

When I got off the airplane in Ottawa on Monday morning I saw someone who worked in our building and then I thought “Hey wait a second!  I think my colleague Samantha is heading out to Sudbury this morning!”  I roamed the halls looking for her and sure enough, there she was waiting for her flight.

Practicing that smile!

Nat hanging out at Gainsbourg before the Foo Fighters show.

Greta Van Fleet opened for the Foo Fighters and they were quite rocking young lads.  Not my photo.

It’s not often you get to see these two out and about together!

In a crowd of 30,000 people, it was quite hard to move around.  Luckily, everyone seemed to find us.

Foo Fighters have officially achieved what I like to call the AC/DC status of a touring band.  You can go to a Foo Fighters concert, not know one song, and still come out being highly entertained.  The band gave it their all.  It’s really great to have seen them over the past 20 years and see how they have achieved ultimate rock and roll status.

30,000 people looks like this!  Not my photo.

Our friend Nat is around six months pregnant so we developed a maneuver to protect her from anyone coming through the crowd towards her.  We had all angles covered in making sure the baby and mom were safe!

The next night was a little tamer.  Mike and I saw this band called Oh Wonder in the River stage tent.  Not bad?  We only stayed for a couple of songs but people seemed to be really into them.

Together again!

Here’s my deal with Dave Matthews Band.  People love them.  I…am ok with them.  I like some songs, but I’m not a diehard fan.  I know people follow them from show to show to show.  I just can’t understand it.  I thought by seeing them in concert something would click.  It did not.  They put on an amazing show and they are amazing musicians.  But I guess I’ll just be one of those fans that don’t follow their every movement.

Last night at Bluesfest with these jokers!  It was a great three days.  I don’t think my body could handle going an entire festival any longer, but never say never.

I love how Vero begged her Dad to play a tune on the accordion (note: he doesn’t play often) but when he begged her to play the fiddle she outright refused.  How fair is that?!

Sierra somehow loves putting the fear of god in me when I’m thinking she’s going to fart on me.

Oh look!  Another sweltering day hit Ottawa and guess who was invited to play at a wedding along with his buds?  Yeah, that’s right.  We sweated our asses off with that gig!  After setting up in the morning, I returned home and got us all hats to wear because there was no way we would have survived without them.

Here’s a fine example of us sweating.

And another.

And another!  Martin’s amp literally overheated and was cutting in and out!  All kidding aside, it was a fun gig and I’m happy with how it turned out.  Plus, who can say they played music in a cornfield?!

My smoking hot wife and I.

Vero and Vero were helping out at the water stations, looking cool.

Annabel was trying to hang out at the cool kid’s table.

The next day, Evan shows up showing me some new dance moves that I clearly needed the night before at the wedding!

Heading to the park!

After a hard day at the park, it’s time for Mr. Freeze!

Slow motion videos of kids are definitely my new favourite thing in life

Big gang for supper!

Having fun in the sprinkler!  Special thanks to Danielle for coming up for a week to take care of Sierra while the daycare was closed.  Very much appreciated!

Sierra`s tradition with Maman after a visit to the park.

We took a few days off of work to hang out with Sierra while daycare was closed.  We decided to head out to Mooney’s Bay/Hogs Back for a visit one morning.

Pulling a wagon uphill is quite tricky!

Vero said that Mooney’s Bay had the largest man made park in Canada.  So we definitely had to check it out!  It has a good variety of park structures for kids of all ages…which was a pain sometimes when Sierra wished to go on one for the older kids!

Taking a break with a banana

Check out the stare down between Sierra and Yogi Bear!

I am definitely not the greatest parent to have on these rides.  I was getting motion sick just from being on this merry go-round!  Also, merry go rounds have definitely changed since the 80s.

The grilled cheese from Five Guys wasn’t the biggest hit for Sierra but the fries sure were!

Maman makes a good couch.

Is this the cupcake train?

It’s always a great day when I stumble upon Jonah and Maelle at the gas station!  Look at the amount of babies going on tour to the cottage!

Mike and Eric came over to try out the Whiskey Trail set of scotch that Mom and Dad bought for me at Christmas.  We enjoyed the trail!  We did not enjoy staying up to 2am and waking up early the next morning.

Always a sweetheart for photo with Maman

And then Dad comes along

I love how roles get reversed a lot in our family.

Sierra is learning that jumping is part of any good dance routine!

There’s that awesome smile again!  Also, don’t worry folks.  Uncle Billy won’t be rolling in his grave.  I am not buying a ride-on mower.

But we WERE eyeing up some clearance patio furniture sets.  We ended up picking this set up when we got back from Gaspé.  LET ME TELL YOU…I never knew how much a couch in my backyard would change my life. 

Having fun on the ride home

Having fun in the driveway!

Team Awesome reunited!  Nicki was back in town for a few days before moving to a job in London England so we managed to get Laura and Nat out for lunch at the same time.  To this day, this is still the best team I’ve had the pleasure working with!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sierra’s 25th Month

It’s been a busy month around here and no wonder…when summer hits, essentially everyone we know and love decides to come and enjoy the sun in South Eastern Ontario!

While the mosquitoes have been dying off in the past week, they were pretty fierce around our house over the past month.  We finished up a lot of the deck work and are contemplating if we want to invest money in a gazebo or not.  Unless a gazebo can prevent 10,000 mosquito armies from coming in, we’re not sure if it’s worth it?  We still need to think about that one.

Sierra is…an interesting human being these days.  I have heard about the ‘terrible two’s’, but I have no idea if we are in the middle of it right now, or if it’s just going to get worse?  She is easily frustrated these days and generally says ‘Pas’ (‘Je ne veux pas’) to everything.  It’s her automatic response even if she realizes two seconds later that she does, in fact, want to eat some yogurt.  Mornings are especially rough.  But hey, I’m preaching to the choir here!  Everyone goes through this!

She really enjoys going to the park, and blowing bubbles and going on her swing and her slide in the backyard.  The slide is called ‘hee hee’.  Where does she come up with this stuff?  It’s like her soother is a ‘na na’.

Words we’ve noticed in the past month:

Poppa = she’s starting to ask for her grandfather which is cool

Hee hee = slide

Pa = the park

La = lait

I’ve realized if I slow down words she can sort of piece them together.  I think this will be the key to unlocking her vocabulary a little more.

Honestly, we can’t complain one bit about her comprehension skills.  She understands most of what we are saying in both English and French which is quite incredible.

She is also starting to learn how to use the potty.  I have to admit I haven’t been doing as much research as I should be on this front so I better start figuring out what this game is all about!

Did I already post a picture of this?  Ah well, even so, I thought this was my favourite photo from her birthday.

The Al Mouna shawarma restaurant was nice enough to give Sierra her first shawarma on the house!  They were very excited to see if she would like it.  I would say she definitely didn’t like the turnips but she picked a most of it for the first few minutes.  I consider this a win in my books, but I don’t think I’ve sold her on it to the level that she loves St. Hubert.

Remember that basement flood months ago?  Well, the contractor who was going to renovate in August called us up and said he had an opening in his schedule for the entire month of June so he slotted us in!  We were ecstatic!  I was not as ecstatic when he showed up on a Saturday afternoon when I was having a nap and I proceeded to help bring in all the flooring you see in the corner of the photo.  Ha ha!  Ah well, I needed some exercise that day.  This is a photo of after we ripped out the ceiling and everything else downstairs.

While not at the levels we saw last year, this Ottawa River was still pretty high near the beginning of June.

When a kid finds some mitts in the car and wants to play with them, why stop them?

Bam!  Look at that ceiling grid!

Also, a last minute decision allowed us to take a spot in the rec room and expand a storage area!

Bam!  Another day done and look how much is getting done!  These guys were working at breakneck speed!  Honestly, they had most of the stuff done in the first week and definitely had 95% of the job complete in two weeks instead of the estimated 4.  They said at one point they had seven guys in there working!

Vero and I aren’t known for making decisions at breakneck speed but Mom convinced us (and the contractor) to put in a large door on this wall instead of the originally planned smaller door on the further wall.  It was a great suggestion!

It’s pretty incredible when you come into the house one day and find a new floor and a new ceiling and new lights all from one days’ work!  I can actually pinpoint the moment in my life where I said “Yep, I have too much going on in my life with Sierra.  There’s no way I am going to take on large renovation projects on my own any longer.”  I’m sure we can also pinpoint this moment in my life to the point where I made a horrible financial mistake?  🙂

Nat arranged to be the impartial person picking the winner of our charitable 50/50 draw.

Etienne and I had a sandwich down near the river at lunch and lo and behold, we saw this incredible tap system set up for the Festibiere!

That’s right, Sierra can be hired out to take care of flies!

I’ll have to go back in the history books to figure out when I introduced her to this Lego Animals game but she has now mastered the game whereas at the beginning it was a tough go at tapping on items on a screen.

The Buhr Clan picked up a slide for Sierra’s birthday.  We didn’t bother opening it up the day we got it…we figured we would wait a few days so she could play with her other toys.  She loves this thing!

 

If only I could convert this into a water slide one day.

Martin and I hanging out with Sierra at the park.  This was one of the first times she was trying out this particular slide.

I love how this picture captures her excitement!!

Vero and a bunch of other crazy people went to Mud Hero which wasn’t too far away from where we live.  I’m not sure if I could be convinced to spend money to jump into some mud, but they seemed to love every moment of it!

Tandreane with some birthday gifts for Sierra.

I love this photo of Abigail so much that I stole it and put it on my own blog!

I quite love working in Hull.  One of the reasons is that they come up with quirky artistic ideas once in awhile.  Look closely for the Pac-Man at the crosswalk.

We built a mobile app for Job Bank that won us a Deputy Minister Award.  Here was part of the team on their way to the ceremony.

Showing off the medal.  Someone told me it was made of pirate gold.

Sharing a drink with fellow award winner Michael.

Claude, Joelle and I went to Montreal for the day to see U2 on their Experience+Innocence tour.  Here’s Claude and I hanging out next to this guy who was clearly posing for our picture.

I was pretty amazed our elevator had a television in it.  Fast fact: I don’t stay in a lot of fancy hotels.

Members of Arcade Fire hanging out for the show.

I didn’t take this photo.

We were insanely close for the opening songs!  I love the stage layout of this tour.  It allows us to get closer to the action.

The Blackout is a blistering opening tune to get people in the mood!

I really enjoyed the part of the show where they played at the further stage and Bono adopted his Mr. Macphisto persona from the ZooTV tour.  All in all, this particular tour may be one of my favourites.  They are really playing up the concept of telling U2’s story of formation and demise (Pop album) and resurrection once again.

We ended up pretty to close to Adam when the band split up and went to the four corners of the arena.  I love how Joelle was so absorbed in getting a picture of him that she didn’t realize they had played Pride.

Definitely my favourite picture of Claude.

Definitely my other favourite picture of Claude!  We feel this one looks like someone had punched him in his face!

I definitely enjoyed this show more than the Innocence+Experience tour.  It probably has to do with the fact that I enjoy their newer album a lot more.  I also predict that this will be the last time we see them put on full out arena tours.  They deserve the break.

Future U2 fan right here!

Maman was gone for the weekend with her friends so it was time to hit the town and see what the city had to offer.  Nat, Sierra and I met up with Benoit and Cinthia as a flea market down at Lansdowne.  I have to say that Sierra doesn’t really like the backpack as much as she used to.  

Luckily she likes dragging the wagon around!

Sierra telling Cinthia how the playground works.

Sierra kind of messed up our plans.  Originally we were going to stick to our regularly scheduled nap from 1-3PM and head over to a BBQ at Clayton and Pam (neighbours).  However, she dozed off in the car and didn’t feel like a nap in the afternoon.  I knew this was  a recipe for disaster so I brought her to the park to tire her out.  It definitely worked as she slept until 6PM!

Who knew the park could bring so much joy?

Taking a break.

I’m going to assume this photo was taken after wrestling a Yeti at the cottage.

I felt my Dad skills were put to the test when trying to push two separate swings full of children over at the BBQ!  No broken bones so I must have accomplished the task.

I’m pretty sure they weren’t too impressed I was stopping their ride to take a photo.

Look who’s ready to go for a bike ride in the morning!

We stumbled upon a lemonade stand where I also purchased this year’s Halloween outfit…a cat costume!

We needed to go to the emergency room to get this thing off of Maman’s back.

Enjoying some bubbles on the new deck.

Marijo and I recording some voiceovers for a video at work.  This sound booth we found is ridiculously hot when you have two people cramped in there!  We call it the sauna.

Nanny Sybil sent some money up for Sierra’s birthday.  We felt it was quite fitting to outfit her with enough bubbles for the entire summer season!

“Turn the volume down.”  – a surefire solution to figuring out the navigation system in a new car!

I went down to Kitchener with my parents to see Uncle Tony and Aunt Lana.  We decided to stop by Nanny Ruth’s apartment and snapped this photo from her porch.

Unfortunately, Uncle Tony was too weak to see any of us.  It was nice to see Aunt Lana but it was definitely a rough time for everyone waiting to see what would happen each day.  Uncle Tony passed away about a week after this photo was taken.  I hope to write up a little more about him later, but for the time being, I can say that he was a good man and will be missed.

I brought my ukelele down as I couldn’t bring the guitar on the train with me.  Here I was entertaining Mom and Aunt Dinah one night.

A nice photo of the four of us.

While I was away, Sierra and Maman went to the Franco-Ontarien festial where Sierra had her first yummy ice cream cone.

Also while I was away, I guess Sierra had to be my backup in the house!

Ryley and I enjoying a walk.

Mom had plenty of room in the backseat after we went to Home Depot to pick up a few things.

Sierra got me a very nice photo book for Father’s Day.

Grandma showing Sierra how to use this crazy bubble wand

Etienne and Nat enjoying these neat umbrellas hung up around Hull.

Poppa and Sierra playing with some toys.

Checking out the workbench.

Ah, the hunt for the great photo while holding a child.  Nothing is perfect!

Mom, Dad and I went to the slot machines one evening.  Dad realized that if you signed up for a member card, they give you $15 to play with!  I ended up coming ahead by $9 that night, a first!  I was ecstatic considering I brought in $20 to play with.

A quick photo before everyone had to leave for the day.  Thanks to Mom and Dad for dropping in and helping us set up the basement and finish off the deck!  Without the help of others, we would be sitting on a bunch of 2×4’s that weren’t even screwed together!

Tante Anne-Marie up for a visit!

The greatest photo ever taken?  Perhaps!

Nice night to hang out.

I feel this is what a horse jockey looks like before a race.

Thanks to Anne-Marie for taking care of Sierra a few nights so that Vero and I could go out!

The morning Anne-Marie was leaving I noticed a pool of water near the sump pit.  Unfortunately the pipe leading to the outer faucet was leaking!  Are you kidding me?!  Vero and I took a look at it later in the day when Sierra was napping but we decided to call the professionals in because it was still dripping when we shut the water source off.  Better not take a chance!  It was fixed the next morning.  What a pain!  We are thinking that the increased pressure in the system over the past few months is a little too much for the older pipes which doesn’t look like to have had the best solder job done to the joints.  The person installing our heating system already had to fix four leaks!

Who would have thought a tarp drying on the driveway could be so much fun?!

Band practice for our gig at a wedding in a few weeks.

Lazing around while Mom was out for supper one night.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival

This past weekend I attended the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival which was also unofficially dubbed My 40th birthday party awesometime festival.  Yes, that’s right, I’m turning 40 this year and it was time to party it up!

I will be away at a family reunion when my birthday rolls around in August so I thought about it and with all Vero and I have had been through with the flood renovations and the heating system problems, we figured it was best to have a low-effort outing.

What better way to celebrate than to attend a kick ass festival with free concerts, manageable beer lines and great views of the stage?!

The Ottawa Dragon Boat festival has always offered up free concerts and I believe they are getting larger every year.  I have heard that it’s due to the incredible beer profits they make so don’t forget to support your local festivals and drink more beer than usual.

It was a great summer weekend of fun for four days.  I was blessed with having a lot of friends show up over the weekend and while it rained a little on Saturday (rubber boots were in tow!) and a little on Sunday, for the most part it was a perfect weekend.

I want to thank everyone who came out to make the event extra special!  Let the summer of fun begin!

I would also like to thank Anne-Marie who ended up in town for a meeting and graciously offered to babysit a few nights so Vero could come out to the festival as well.

Sam Roberts Band always puts on a great show.  According to my records, this was my fifteenth time seeing these guys.  They never disappoint!

Martin and Ryan never disappoint either.

Birthday girl Mern found these great sunglasses for me on the ground at the end of the night.  She also got me a guitar pick from the band!  Thanks!

It was a cool night out there.  Too bad Amy and Tyler were hanging out for so long and nearly froze!  They did happen upon some free Hard Rock Café t-shirts to warm their souls.

Ah yes, me without my shirt on.  So for years I have been eyeing up this one particular Sam Roberts Band t-shirt.  I love the design, but it was a little pricey with the shipping and eventually they ran out of my size so I missed out on it.  But lo and behold, they had the shirt at the merch booth this time around!  I was stoked and I told Vero I was going to buy it.  She said she would pick it up for me for my birthday which was super nice of her.

The grizzled old guy at the merch booth says he only has an extra large left.  I wasn’t sure if it would fit and he said “I’ve been working for 25 years in this business.  I can tell that this shirt will fit you like a glove!”  I can’t really deny a man with that much confidence!  I put it over my existing shirt and while I thought it may be a little tight, I figured it was due to the other shirt.

When I get back to our group of friends, I take off my shirt (in which James proclaimed “I have never seen zero hair on someone’s back before!) and when I put on the shirt, I feel it’s really tight around the arms and the chest area.  Then it dawned on Amy: “You’re wearing an XL WOMEN’S SHIRT!”  We all had a good laugh.  Vero returned the shirt and ended up with a 2XL men’s shirt which the guy assured her would shrink in the dryer.  I’m pretty sure we all know that this 25 year veteran of the merch booth is full of it, but whatever.  We’ll see if it shrinks!

The next night brought Broken Social Scene to the stage.  I was excited to see them as I had missed them the last time they passed through town and I really enjoy their latest album.  At one point I think they had 15 people on stage!

The crew enjoying the nice summer nights.  Trish managed to escape the clutches of working for the Senate and this was her first night out of her summer of fun.

As one would do after a killer night of tunes and beers, a trip to McDonald’s is sometimes in order.  I challenged Trish to order something she had NEVER had off the menu.  Thinking we would find something crazy like a chicken szechuan burger, we soon realized we had both never had the staple of the McDonald’s menu…the Big Mac!

Unfortunately, the Big Mac was a big bust.  We both weren’t impressed with the sauce and it was a pretty unwieldy burger to eat!  Way too much lettuce!  We are both quarter pounder lovers at heart.  Oh well, I’m sure my stomach enjoyed the 1,000 calories sitting in it overnight while I slept about 15 minutes after.

Killer band after killer band showed up at the festival.  I really enjoy Wintersleep and see them every chance I get. 

Here’s a great photo of the group of us who braved the elements for Wintersleep.  Vero also got me the s wetlist from the band!!

The fourth and final evening had us venture out into what I thought would be a decent evening for weather but then it started raining on us for awhile!  Talk about me being unprepared!  At least Trish was prepared with her poncho.

But lo and behold, the clouds parted and we were presented with a once in a lifetime event…a double rainbow which literally lasted 20+ minutes!  I had never seen a rainbow that long.  Coupled with Matt Mays playing one of my favourite tunes ever (Standdown at Sundown), I knew we were in for a killer night.  The mood was just right…whereas the last time I saw the band they were full on rock and roll in a sweaty room…this time the setlist was geared for those summer nights where you want a little melancholy but also a side of rock and roll as well! 

Trish and I tried to get a photo of us under the entire rainbow.  My arms needed to be a kilometer longer to get the entire rainbow.

Trish reacting to seeing a dove of peace fly by.

Truly a transcendent night.  It went from rain to double rainbows to a moon in behind the stage.  I was inspired.

Or at least I was inspired until I realized I was drinking beer and paint chips.  Ew!  I have to write Waterloo Brewery about the paint on their can.

I don’t often take a video of what’s going on, but the music was moving me so much that I wanted to capture the moment.  Enjoy!

Thanks to everyone who came out to my birthday bash!  It was one for the ages.

Sierra’s 24th Month

Vocabulary so far:

-Maman

-Da (Dad)

-Yaya (Sierra)

-More

-Mine

-L’eau

-Main

-Ba (Balle)

-Bain

-Pac (Parc)

-Tedo (Teodore)

-Bas

-Pas (Non ou “je ne sais pas”)

-Dodo = auto

-Nana (suce)

-DooDoo = ChooChoo = the train every time it passes in Vars

Sierra is loving, loving LOVING the summer that has arrived here.  She is fairly patient when we put bug spray or sunscreen on her.  I think she knows it means she’s going outside so she doesn’t put up too much of a fuss.

Speaking of putting up a fuss, it’s like the world has ended whenever we need to bring her inside, much like every other kid in the world.

I am quite excited that we finally picked up a bike trailer to roll her around in.  It’s a two seater so it’s great for her and a cooler of beer if need be.  So far we have gone out a few times around the neighbourhood.  I don’t want to go too far down the road in case she doesn’t like long distances.  I don’t think she likes her helmet though.

This was taken immediately after a spaghetti supper where I proceeded to be staring at Sierra’s sitting on a chair (generally we bring one that straps in but thought she might be able to handle a real chair) and then watched as she fell onto the floor headfirst.  Ouch!  I was not impressed with my parenting ability that night.  She seemed to be running around well but we woke her up every once in awhile that night to make sure she didn’t have a concussion.

She was loving the car that they had at the playground at the school.

We were invited over to Mike and Angele’s house for a BBQ.  It’s quite amazing to be going to some events in the neighbourhood.  No need for a car, just a stroller and a cooler of beer!  Here’s Vero having fun with the trampoline.

Sierra sure loves her yogurt.

Sierra sure loved this baseball game!

Good times at the drawing table

I went to the Bon Jovi concert with my friend Marie-Annik and some of her friends.  It was a wild night hanging out in Kanata before the show and the drive over there.  But let me tell you…Bon Jovi just can’t sing anymore.  It’s…really bad.  I don’t think I’ll be going to see him again anytime soon.

Even though Jon Bon doesn’t have the voice he used to have, they still put on a decent show. 

Talk about a blast from the past!  Back in 2003 I was helping run a youth e-consultation/advisory board at work for the youth.gc.ca website.  The group was called the Canadian Youth Connection and each month, in return for youth giving us answers to various questions we sent them, we would send out 10-20 prizes to random youth and wait and see their reactions.  I definitely remember the reactions of people saying “I picked up a parcel and it was a director’s chair!  Awesome!”  I found this director’s chair in the hallway at work a few weeks back and it brought back some great memories of working on that project.

My regular walking partner was in Mexico for a week so I recruited my friend Marijo to try and find the longest route we could within the building (it was raining outside).  I have to say we were both surprised at how far you could get using hallways…we ended up in a hotel a few blocks away!

Fun times with Maman.

This is the moment I dread the most when weekends hit…the moment when Maman brings out the berries for Sierra to eat.

Marie-Claude and Jean-Francois moved to a house in Wendover.  It was quite the day of moving boxes but I’m glad we got it done in one day (or at least I did.  Maybe they had to return for a few items).

There was a windstorm all across Southern Ontario (one where it blew off a portion of the shingles on Troy’s roof!) and this is the result in the park!  Luckily we only lost two shingles in the process.

We got to babysit Maelle one evening which is always entertaining because she shows us her latest gymnastic moves. 

The month of May is really nice for campfires as it’s warm during the day and cool at night.  I’m pretty sure we scared Maelle pretty good with our ghost stories.  I have to remember that she’s only six years old the next time and refrain from talking about killer clowns.

We went to a chip stand in Embrun for Mother’s Day.  It was actually a really good setup…small tables for little people like Sierra, some bathrooms and some great poutine!  I would highly recommend it.  If only I could remember the name! It’s the one on the way to Mike and Melanie’s if that helps?

Niam niam.

When Grand-Papa comes to visit, it’s play time!

We had an early birthday cake for Sierra while Grand-Maman and Grand-Papa were here before their trip to Spain.  In posting this, I just realized she had the same exact reaction on her birthday.  Maybe she thinks the candles are too bright?

Big fun times with big boxes

Ah, the joys of unwrapping a box larger than yourself

Sierra showing everyone how sliding works

I would like to think she looks this excited during the bicycle ride as well!  I’m not too sure about that considering I hear her yell out “Maman!” all the time and she tries to take her helmet off.

I have to say that this Schwinn trailer is quite amazing.  I don’t even feel any drag behind me on the bicycle.

Hanging (or is that smothering) Dad.

Sierra was not a happy camper that we had to go to Embrun to drop the car off at the garage.  Luckily Dong Seng was with us and we gave her a fortune cookie!

Etienne insisted we had a beer along with our caesar.  I can’t say it was a bad idea.  Sidenote:  the poutine at Pele Mele is fantastic.

Hot Maman heading out on the town!

 

 

 

 

Sierra’s Second Birthday Party

The weather was predicting bouts of rain on a Sunday morning and we feared the thought of a lot of kids running around inside the house going stir-crazy.  But the Gods of Rain held off for a day and all was not lost!

We decided to have a brunch from 10am-1pm.  1pm is generally Sierra’s nap time so we figured it would time nicely.  As you can see, the kids were making good use of the coffee table.

I swear this breakfast looks like a pirate.  The pancake pirate patch is a nice touch. 

Vero helping out Sierra with blowing out the candles.  It is still a foreign concept to her.

When rain is in the forecast, load up some Super Mario Bros.

So here’s the thing I didn’t realize about kid’s birthday parties.  When gifts come out, it’s like zombies going after a brain…utter chaos.  I’m not even sure Sierra is actually in this photo.  I’m not even sure if she got to open up an actual gift.  I think the entire event was a little overwhelming for her!

Oh there she is!  Still looking a little overwhelmed at all these gifts being given to her.

The aftermath

Marie-Claude demonstrating a very important skill that all kids need to learn.

I’m not even sure what Felix is playing with here?  Is that a fishing rod?

Trying out the new lawnmower.

Poor Sierra was handling the crowd of people too well so she escaped with Mom outside quite a bit.

After everyone left and Sierra had a nap, we spent some time outside learning the art of blowing bubbles.  Rob and Janice gave us Jenna’s old picnic table which is a great new addition to the deck!

We also tried out this water tower that Grand-Papa and Grand-Maman picked up for her birthday.  I couldn’t stop laughing at how most of the water ended up on Sierra and not on the toy.  How did I not foresee that happening?

So on Friday, I had a few tasks to do and one of them was to pick up a helium balloon.  I went to the Dollar Store at work here but I didn’t plan out the rest of the day an I realized I was heading out for a few pints after work with the team so I had to bring the balloon to the pub!  At least I didn’t lose it!

But by Sunday the balloon lost it’s steam and I had to recruit Marty and Vero to pick up another one on their way over!  But in the end, Sierra was scared of the helium balloon!  What are the odds?  It wasn’t until after everyone left that she was interesting in this thing and started having fun with it.

Having everyone over was fun as always but I have to say that I think we made a parenting mistake in having a large amount of people over for her birthday.  She’s always very shy when anyone comes into the house and it takes awhile for her to warm up to someone.  Multiply that by 30 humans coming in and I think it was a little too much for her and she was hanging around Mom for the first two hours until she grew accustomed to the new norm.  Ah well, we’re new to this parenting thing, how were we supposed to know?  I’m sure there will be no long lasting effects *insert ominous music here.*

 

Sierra’s 23rd Month

Sierra is starting to formulate words quite a bit more these days.  ‘Pas’ is either ‘je ne veux pas ca’ or ‘pas maintenant’ from what we can tell.  She is starting to call me ‘Da’ instead of ‘Maman’ which is quite the improvement.  She also has a hilarious delayed reaction of saying bye-bye.  She will literally wait until someone leaves the room until she waves and says it.  She also likes to say bye-bye to dogs walking by the house.

Other key words:

Mo = More (usually about food)

Eau = water

Nana = soother

doodoo = choo choo = train (every time she hears it go by Vars)

auto = car

 

Sierra loves it when I push her REALLY hard on the swing.

She also loves going on the swing with Maman.  As you can see, it’s finally some warmer temperatures around here so Sierra can hang out in her spring gear.

We were running around Costco one morning and ran out of time to get some food in us so we pick up some McDonald’s.  A first for Sierra!  We weren’t sure how she would like it.  She loved the fries and didn’t figure out how to eat the burger at first.  Her first bite is captured in this photo but then she picked it apart and at the bun first and a bit of the meat.

First fry!

Head start on getting the snow off the ground.

Unfortunately Cousin Troy ended up in the hospital from a heart attack.  Fortunately Sierra decided to send him a Get Well Soon card.

While packing up things in the basement I stumbled upon a Patterson Family Reunion cookbook.  Look at the photo!  Clearly Sierra gets this move from her father!

Anyone recognize what could be happening to Sierra’s feet here?  She has these rough red patches of skin primarily on her feet for the past few months.  We will ask the doctor but maybe someone out there knows what’s going on.  We’ve tried applying different creams on them before bedtime but nothing seems to fix the issue.  Allergic reaction somehow?

Hey, while we’re at it with the flooded basement, why don’t we try and deal with a hot water tank that starts dumping out two cups of water from the pressure relief valve every time we use the hot water?  As soon as we stop using the water, the pressure goes from 50PSI to 150PSI and releases water on the floor.  We’ve had three different people come to take a look and they can’t figure it out.  At the time of typing this, we’re going to get a new combination boiler/HWT to replace it all.  A shame that we can’t figure out the issue!  Ah well…everyone has $6,000 to spend on new toys, right?

Rolling, rolling, rolling out the play dough.

Giggle time!

What a fantastic t-shirt idea!

I quite loved this tribute to Jonathan Pitre and the Humboldt Broncos

We have been introducing good dental hygiene tips to Sierra over the past few months.  After the bath, she sits on the counter, gets her toothbrush handed to her and she can manage to put the cap back on the toothpaste (that was a major victory when I saw she did that!).  Generally she likes running the water and sucking the water.  There isn’t a whole lot of brushing going on.  I do brush my teeth at the same time so she can see what the actions are like.  Maybe she’s making my dental hygiene better since I haven’t brushed my teeth twice in a day since I was a kid!

My friend Alex went to Cuba so Etienne and I sent a photo of us with his fiancé to hang in their bedroom at all times.  It made the rounds around the resort.

There’s always a good time to be had at St-Albert Cheese Factory for some lunch!  Here is Maman and Sierra enjoying some poutine.

Last year we got to see I Mother Earth with Edwin back on vocals open up for Our Lady Peace.  We were blown away.  So when they decided to team up with Finger Eleven for a tour this spring, we pounced on it!  Martin, Eric and I headed out to the Algonquin College campus for a night out.  We also got the VIP package for another $20 which gave us an acoustic pre-show with all members of the bands.  I was hoping to hear some acoustic Finger Eleven/I Mother Earth tunes but they gave us some covers songs like Horse with No Name.  They also answered some questions that were sent into the radio station beforehand.  Well worth the $20!  Finger Eleven still put on a great show and I Mother Earth were fantastic as always.  They even played Summertime in the Void which wasn’t expected since it’s in the “Edwin isn’t the singer of this band any longer” era.  I would go back and see either of these bands in a heartbeat.  They still got it!

A valiant attempt at putting a t-shirt on.  Sierra hilariously wants to try everything on her own and gets REALLY UPSET if we try and help at the beginning.  But as soon as she realizes she can’t do it, she just passes it back to us.

Hanging out on the slides.

If you ignore Vero in this video, Sierra is quite amazing on this gym.

Sierra found some new shoes.

Practicing some tunes for Melanie and Jonathan’s wedding in July.  We have a hilarious track record of one of four band members forgetting/not being informed of band practice.  3 out of 4 ain’t bad.

Vero’s grandfather unfortunately passed away so we headed up to Hearst to visit the family and pay our respects.  Sierra was a true road warrior as she was fine for the entire twelve hours!  She only napped 45 minutes.  I think she was in love with all the trucks, trees and general highway activity along the way.  Here she is eyeing up the treats in Deep River.

Checking out the transport trucks in Cochrane.

Chillin’ with Maman.

Sierra was beginning to laugh at pretty much anything at Hour 11 of our 12 hour trip.

The next morning Sierra awoke and Aunt Maureen and Abbey gave her an early birthday gift.  I wish we had a photo from the other angle but I’m glad we can still see reaction from the side.  

It’s always a battle between Abbey and I.

Strolling with Sierra

Watch out for Grand-Maman!

Hanging with Hugo

Enjoying the sun with friends.  This reminds me, I need to get a lawn chair for Sierra!

While Sierra loves dogs from afar, I think Buddy and Rolo were a little too big for her comfort. Although after three days around them I feel she was getting used to them.  I mean, they are the equivalent size of a horse coming to lick me on the face.  I would be scared as well!

Checking out the stoneman!

Kicking the ball with Great-Grand Maman

Beautiful day to be outside!  

After we left Hearst we came back to Kapuskasing for a day in the sun.

Getting some Aunt time in

Kids playing together always ends up with someone crying

Abbey introduced Sierra to this swing set in Mr. Boudreau’s back yard.  Sierra was loving this thing!  I was holding onto her all along but I noticed Vero left her on it alone with Abbey later in the day.  I guess Sierra can handle herself on those things.

Look at the force they are putting into that thing!

Abbey makes a great pillow.

We stopped by Big Joe Mufferaw on the way back.  We passed by a wildfire that even caught a barn.  We’re pretty sure they closed down the highway 30 seconds after we passed the fire.

I’ve always thought Mattawa would be a nice place to retire.

 

 

Easter 2018

First off, I have to say that Vero and I won the parent of the year award at the park the other day when we were chatting with each other.  Of course, while chatting we didn’t even realize that Sierra had climbed up to a different slide, went down and ended up sitting in this massive puddle of water which was up above her legs!  Ha ha, we had a good laugh when she gives us the look saying “Uh guys?  A little help here?!”

We started the morning not by hunting eggs….but pine cones!

Maman helping gather pine cones.  Sierra hit the mother lode at one point during our journey and I’m pretty sure we stayed three days in this one spot.

That’s an interesting way to gather pine cones.

Trying out the new wheels. 

I had a good laugh when I saw this on Facebook.

Look who came for a visit!  Also, check out the sweet wings Poppa and Grandma supplied Sierra with!

The real Easter egg hunt commenced.  Luckily we had a handful of eggs that we just kept taking from her and hiding in different places.  This might be the best age for an Easter egg hunt!  Instant gratification.

I’m not sure what Tandréane is doing here…is she the Easter Bunny?

Sierra managed to pull of a good prank on Maman!

 

 

 

Sierra’s 22nd Month

I’m surprised I can find enough time to blog about Sierra’s 22nd month considering only a few days we had a flood in the basement.  We’re basically in a holding pattern at this point as people come in to assess the damage.

Sierra is still a ball of energy and love to laugh which is good times.  Although she does have a streak in her which has her turn a smile into tears at the drop of a hat.  We want to go inside after hours outside?  No way Jose!  Haha, I guess all kids are like that.

While she doesn’t say a whole lot of words (I’m pretty sure she’s just messing with me when she still refers to me as Maman), she can understand pretty much everything we ask.  A soother is ‘na-na’ which is really the only important item in her life to know the translation for.

After her bathtime she is enjoying brushing her teeth.  When I say brushing her teeth, I mean putting the brush in her mouth, sucking the toothpaste off of it, rinsing the brush and then sucking the water from it over and over again.  So…there’s minimal brushing going on.

 

Clearly she likes ketchup as much as her own mother.

Sierra is a little mystified as to where the snow has all gone.

Tyler was nice enough to host us lads over for an evening of debauchery.  When I say debauchery with gentlemen over 35 years old, it basically ends with us tired around 10pm.

Showing off her handiwork that she did at daycare

It was Victor Von Dube’s first birthday party and everyone had a great time!

Sierra helping out Mom while she took some photos of Victor eating cake.

It’s pretty nice outside around this time of year so we make the most of the park.

The ladies enjoying the campfire.

I came across this in a boardroom and thought it was hilarious.  Pasta and marshmallows!

Let’s not forget the super fun weekend with Dad where we went to Foret Larose!

Andreane and Vero went snowboarding at Mont Tremblant and supposedly had a fantastic time.  I’m excited to see a bunch of videos from that GoPro they brought with them!

A video from Mont Tremblant

Sierra showing Tandreane how to do a puzzle

The Easter Bunny visited a little early this year around the house.

It was rock n roll t-shirt day at work a few weeks back.  As you may know, I own a few so it was a tough decision for me.  I decided to go with one of my favourite Pearl Jam ones…it encompasses Pearl Jam, horror and comic books..all three things I love!

Another great day for a campfire!  It’s been a beauty month.  We have to keep Sierra fairly entertained as she doesn’t yet see the point of just sitting and staring at fire.

It’s Sugar Shack season around these parts and so we tried out a new place this year – Ferme Drouin out near Casselman.  This place was the cat’s meow.  With a few kids in tow, it was a great spot which wasn’t overly packed like some others we’ve been to…we could leave our stuff at our table, go get food whenever (the food was awesome).  It cost $25 per adult and I believe kids under 3 ate for free.  

Sierra having fun with Beatrice.

It was a chilly day (-15…well, not overly chilly!) so we didn’t bother going for the horse ride.

What kid doesn’t like visiting a farm?

Sierra trying to grab Maman a fourth helping of ‘tire’.

This place had everything!  Food, farm animals, tire/taffy and a sliding hill along with tubes!  Vero went down about three times before she insisted I try and walk back up the hill with a tube and Sierra in tow.

I thought I was being pretty clever by having the tube around my body walking up the hill!

A few months ago, I caught wind that Santana was coming into town.  It was strange because I had ZERO ticket information the morning of ticket sales and I was scrambling around looking for information.  I went onto the actual Santana site and there was a free fan club I could join and get information on upcoming tours.  Twenty minutes later I realize I can log into the site as a member and lo and behold, I had access to ‘fan club’ tickets which are tickets within the first ten rows of the concert.  Is this for real?!  Premium tickets available before the actual onsale date?  Sign me up!  We ended up with fourth row!  It was surreal to be that close.

My favourite part of the past few months was keeping our seat location a secret from Martin and Vero.  I even managed to get the tickets from the ticket booth without them knowing where we would be heading.  I did let it slip at one point that we were on the floor when I said something like “Boy, I hope I can drink this beer on the floor.”  We were all ecstatic when we saw how close we were.  We even had plenty of leg room!

I don’t know a whole lot of Santana songs but it doesn’t matter.  They put an amazing show.  A lot of old tunes, new tunes and everything in the middle.  The entire band is still in top shape!

The day after Santana I took the day off to brew some beer.  Martin hooked me up with some actual hops and I had never made beer with them so it was an interesting process.

I almost needed a bigger pot!

After many minutes of boiling, the hops had descended a bit in the pot.

We don’t like going to stores without shopping carts because Sierra loves them so much!

Sierra figured out how to clean up dust.

My second career as a children’s entertainer took flight on a Saturday morning over at Krista and Ben’s.  I had some great help from my pal Ethan who managed to strum a few tunes for me!  It was quite fun and I learned a few kids songs along the way.  I have to say, those kids loved ‘Happy’ by Pharell quite a bit.  It took a few weeks to learn an hour’s worth of tunes but I think it went over pretty well!

Elizabeth enjoyed my guitar case more than me actually playing (naturally).

Someone really wanted her picture taken.

Luckily it warmed up a bit last week so I got to bring Vero out to Foret Larose to see how wonderful it was.  Jon and Chantal came along and the kids had a fun time being towed in this sled.  Luckily the snow was pretty nice to the person towing them!

This might be the last time Sierra will ride in this backpack.  It’s getting quite tight!

Great spot for a break.

Taking a break from the madness which is a flooded basement.

Definitely one of my favourite photos from this photo series!