Ezra’s sixth month

Life has become infinitely better with Ezra as he no longer screams at us in the evenings!  This guy is a genuine happy camper!  Who knows what was making him uncomfortable for those past months…babies are human beings in development so you never know if they are having stomach issues, growing pains, or something else altogether.

For historical reference I should outline what a typical day is for him (from my point of view…I’m sure Vero can add a lot more details!).  Ezra still doesn’t sleep through the night so every 2 hours Ezra moves from the bassinet to the bed to get a feeding and then put back into the bassinet.  Vero tells me that he could be feeding for a long time since he’s half asleep!  There have been a few nights where he sleeps from midnight until 5am but those haven’t been the normal routine.

From midnight until 9 or 10 o’clock he goes through the routine of sleeping and eating and then arises from his slumber in the late morning.  Then he’s all smiles wondering what the world has in store for him.

A typical routine for him during the day is to feed and then hang out in his jolly jumper for awhile.  If we hang out near him and interact with him he can last an hour in there.  If we are around the room doing other things he may want out of there in 15 minutes.  At this point it’s all about moving him to different stations of interest…jolly jumper, toy area, hanging from the ceiling fan, etc.

After an hour he sometimes gets cranky which is the queue to put him in his crib.  Sometimes he goes down well, sometimes it’s a struggle. Sometimes he sleeps for an hour, sometimes twenty minutes.  I have this weird trick where when he’s in his sleep sack and I hand him the soother I make him fight for it a little so when he sucks that thing in he seems to fall asleep 80% of the time!  Maybe it’s because he had to work for it?

That’s basically our routine for the most part.  We’ll try and get him outside if it’s nice and he dozes off in the stroller or on us.  We’re pretty happy he’s not screaming his head off much anymore and is coming into a routine!

He also loves playing peekaboo right now and it’s a good game for Sierra to do with him as it doesn’t involve touching him.

“And this is when artificial intelligence became too smart for the humans and when Skynet was born.”

Ezra showing me how to eat a slice.

“Ah, Sunday morning when I can hang out with the kids, watch some TV, check the weather, realize it’s the year 2020 and these are the kind of alerts we are getting!”

“Look ma, no hands!”

From the looks of it, Ezra isn’t too impressed with Passe Partout.


PJ time.

I was showing Ezra some Pearl Jam videos that evening and teaching him how to stage dive off of my neck.

Spinning around

Vero and Ezra got to see Dr. Doolittle one afternoon

After a walk

Obligatory family photo when Ezra is awake

This is what we see when we got out on a cold day


Etienne was wondering if it was a good idea to walk onto this ice jam.  This was taken before he attempted it.  He was a good soul.  I’m kidding!  He wimped out.

Sierra helping out

Sometimes Ezra helps me type out things while I’m working from home

Hanging out with Grand-papa while they were visiting before their trip to Thailand

This is a photo of Vero having some real cheese for the first time in months.  She gave up dairy and lactose products before Ezra was born in case he had the same issues as Sierra.  She has been eating some cheese products and Ezra doesn’t seem affected by it which is great!  Also, this leads to having a very happy maman!

Winterlude kicked off on a beautiful winter day so we decided to check out the festivities at the Governor General’s residence.  It was pretty neat and we’ll go again!  They had different booths set up with food from different cultures and they had different winter activities (like curling and skating) set up.

Here’s a nice shot with the Ottawa river in the background.  I’m sure all Gaetan could think about is “I can’t wait to get out of the cold and get to Thailand!”

We got to sneak over to the Superbowl party hosted at Alan and Joelle’s place.  Good food, great friends and I was in a kitchen that had a brand new dishwasher which has never been fully connected.  Just when you think you’ve seen everything…

I love how the lighting in this photo shows us what Alex will look like in twenty years!

Fans of Grandpapa et Grandmaman

Saturday night fun times!

A day shy of six months, we tried some oatmeal.  Can’t say he was a huge fan but he seems to be coming around a week later.


Review: The Trews at Rideau Carleton Raceway

Vero’s parents are in town and they offered to babysit so we went searching for a good night out.

A good night out came in the form of the Rideau Carleton Raceway’s Superbowl party….for $40 you get two free drinks, a pound of wings, a $20 voucher to play the slot machines and most importantly…a concert by The Trews!

It’s been awhile since we have seen the The Trews but once again (at no surprise), they kicked some serious ass.  Man these guys rock!

I remember years ago seeing Alice in Chains at Bluesfest and lamenting the fact that they only had a one hour set.  But then they proceeded to blow me away.  Just pure rock for 60 minutes straight.  It changed my view on the one hour concert slot.

The Trews were no different…Vero commented that they were just piling on all the hits one after another with no time in between.  They got a job to do and they were sticking to it!  It was fantastic!!!

John-Angus even strutted up onto the top of the bar while soloing.  How much more rock and roll can you get?

And hey, I even managed to record the thing on iPhone which is turning out to be a trusty recording device.



Sierraspeak: Socks at the beach

Sierra brought some Nanny Ruth-made socks to the daycare and we didn’t see them at the end of the day.  We didn’t even see them for an entire week.  They ended up in someone’s backpack.

(On Day Four)

Me: Today we have to keep looking for your Nanny Ruth socks.  They have to be somewhere.  We can’t lose them.

Sierra: Maybe they are at the beach?

Sierra’s 44th Month

Whoa, it’s already the end of January?  Where has the time gone?!

We’re really happy that the weather has changed for the better and we actually have some SNOW around Ottawa these days.  But it’s touch and go sometimes.  Hovering around zero degrees brings forth the freezing rain and currently everything is quite icy.  Did I ever tell you how much I hate freezing rain and ice?  It doesn’t let us play outside!

But at the same time, we have been walloped with some good snowstorms so the forests are full of snow and the front yards as well.  Snowmen have been built, sleds have been used and Sierra is learning how to shovel snow!  She also is smart enough to know that once she feels she’s done, she just lets me finish the job.

Sierra continues to be quite hard headed and not listening to what we have to say.  We will have to nip that one in the bud soon enough!  I think she’s just complacent…”No TV?  It’s ok Dad, it’s ok.”

A typical routine with Sierra starts with some oatmeal in the morning, brosse, brosse, brosse les dents and getting dressed.  Sierra LOVES dresses these days.  She is quite upset if she doesn’t have a clean one to wear.

We then get into the car (usually with a baby or Froggie in tow) and arrive at the daycare.  She knows to take her boots off, hang her jacket up and put her shoes on.  Lately she hasn’t been hugging or kissing me goodbye which is fine.  She used to have a hilarious routine which I swear would expand each time.  The last time she hugged me the routine was give a hug, kiss on one cheek, kiss on the other, kiss on the lips, rub each others noses, give one high five, give another.  Quite the routine!  But nowadays she’s content with going to play with her friends.

Speaking of her friends at school, I suppose the class will be divided when September hits as we are going to be registering Sierra for kindergarten next week!  That shall be fun.  Registration that is…I’m not sure if I’ll be happy when the next level of parenting comes our way…PD days, making lunches, homework!  Actually, I hear that the school she is going to doesn’t give out homework so we will see how that works out.  I suppose kindergarten probably doesn’t usually have homework to begin with.

I can’t remember the name of this place we went to at the EY center…the Garden of Lights?  Palace of Lights?  The entire family headed out and I had a bonehead moment when I arrived with the tickets I had ordered the night before and the ticket taker said “But sir, these tickets are for YESTERDAY!”  That’s what happens when you are on holidays…you get your days mixed up!  Luckily a quick visit to the customer service desk allowed us to go in.

It was a fun activity to bring the kids to.  It was probably not the regular admission of $40/adult but Vero had scored a family pass from a friend which brought the price down significantly.  We needed to get the kids out and do SOMETHING considering freezing rain had kept us indoors most of our holidays!

During flu season this is what we all loved to see happen!

I can only imagine that Grandma is teaching the kids how to play a game.

Sierra showing Poppa how to play Connect Four


Fun sled times!

A trip to school one morning

Vero got to go out with some friends one night while I just left the kids alone in their bedrooms to fend for themselves.  Vero, I’m kidding!

I smartly asked if we could bring a friend along to the park with us (aka, I wanted them to do all the work)

It was quite icy in the park so I was showing the girls how much fun they could have rolling down the hill.  They had so much fun that they decided to continue on flat land!

This would be Sierra’s second haircut.  Her first one was a year before at the hairdresser but she didn’t want to go so Maman decided to do it herself.

This photo was taken on January 5th.  It was the last day of us opening Christmas gifts.  It started out quick but Sierra (or us?) lost interest after a few days and Sierra was happy with what she had so we didn’t push her too much on opening gifts.  

Princess Sierra

I love how I didn’t realize my finger was holding the button down for so long.  Google made a hilarious collage of essentially the same photo.  I never get tired of the walk down by the river across from the Parliament buildings.

I can’t even remember the reason for this photo.  I would like to think that it was because Sierra chose my outfit but we all know that I probably put this on myself because I am very stylish.

I took back all my comments about Ottawa weather when I noticed this temperature forecast for Kapuskasing!

A big moment in Sierra’s life…her first attempt at playing an adventure game on the computer!  We were playing a remake of Space Quest II that had just been released.  I was showing her how to use the mouse to move the character around a room.  Her first attempt was decent.  She kept clicking the mouse buttons which would change the cursor’s function so sometimes she couldn’t walk around.  But it’s a good skill to teach her.

Hanging out at the park one morning

We will have to send this to Paul and Ringo one day!

And Maman says she doesn’t like computer games!  Here she was showing Sierra how to play Donald Duck’s Playground…a favourite of Maman and Matante Anne-Marie!

Sierra was nice enough to shovel the porch after a big dump of snow

We went out to Larose Forest and found some friends were heading there at the same time!

Other than the focus being off, I’m glad we got a shot of all of us out for a walk.  We had gone down a trail I wasn’t familiar with so we decided to come back the way we came in case it took us somewhere where it would take us hours to get out.  Poor Sierra’s hands were hold so she was anxious to leave.  We bought her some different mittens after this excursion so we are hoping they will do the trick on future treks.

I think this is called an ice jam?

Mom and I have been playing Carcasonne on the iPad.  I send her these victory shots from time to time after I win a game.

The snowbanks are getting high around the daycare so Sierra likes to climb them.

Vero and I are starting to eat less meat (after we watched a documentary called Game Changers) and this was Vero’s attempt at cauliflower wings.  I have to say I enjoyed them a lot more than I thought I would!

Sierra was quite well hidden during hide and seek!

I believe this may have been the second time Sierra had ever been on skates.  We assembled this skating aid that morning and decided to take it out for a spin on a very mild day.  I have to admit that I feel quite useless when it comes to teaching her how to skate because I don’t even know how to skate!

Fun in the snow!

The snow was incredibly sticky that we built the largest snowman known to man!

Frosty lives!  I love how the previous Frosty’s scarf and toque were buried in the snow and ice and I had to chip it out to use with his reincarnated form.


An end of an era: live Smashing Pumpkins recordings

I remember back in college my roommate Scott got high speed internet.  What was this marvel of technology?  Now kids, if you didn’t know about dial-up internet, I recommend going to ask your parents right now what the sound of a modem dialup tone sounds like.

I didn’t really think too much about high speed internet at the time.  I was a student, I didn’t have a lot of money so I was fine with the dialup internet that was provided to students of Algonquin College.

Until I stumbled upon the New Smashing Pumpkins Audio Archive (NSPAA).  There it was…every concert they was ever recorded.

Scott was nice enough to let me use his high speed internet connection to download thousands of MP3s of Pumpkins concerts.  It was mindblowing how much data was coming down the pipe to me.  I remember burning them to CDs since I didn’t even have enough room on my hard drive to hold them all.

Years later when high speed internet was commonplace, I went about a quest to upgrade the audio quality and get FLAC or SHN files for all the concerts they had.  People thought I was insane.  I remember a very specific comment from my cousin Shawn who said he was fine listening to a really good concert from a touring cycle, but to listen to every concert…that’s madness!

You know what?  He was right.  I mean, when did I actually go and listen to every concert?  I listened to a LOT of them, don’t get me wrong.  But when I stumbled upon really good ones, I just kept listening to those instead of the hundreds of others.

Fast forward years later and I’m moving some files around today and I notice I have a ton of Pumpkins concerts hidden in a folder on my hard drive.  I sat there looking at it and realized that there was really only one thing I needed to do.

Delete them.

We are at a point now that we have the Live Music Archive and sure enough, every Pumpkins concert (or nearly every one of them) is available to stream or download.  So…barring the nuclear apocalypse hitting us and wiping out all the Pumpkins recordings on the Internet, I freed up a ton of hard drive space.

It’s strange…hours and evenings of my life has been wiped out in a fraction of minutes.  All because the Internet has become increasingly convenient over the years.  Heck, you can now stream television shows instead of downloading them.  Mindblowing!

And so I leave this memory…listening to one of the greatest recordings of live Pumpkins history; Vancouver 1997.

2020 Pearl Jam on tour!

Just got word today that I scored tickets to see Pearl Jam in Ottawa and Quebec City!!

I have to say I’m really impressed with the way the fan club tickets went this time around.  It’s a lottery system but this time around they managed to get a LOT of tickets from Ticketmaster.  There are rumours that they may have got the entire arena for fan members and once the presale was over, the remaining tickets go to the public.

If this is the case, I agree that this is a great method to sell tickets.  If you’re diehard enough to have a fan club membership then why not get some guarantee that you get tickets before the rest of the world?

Back to the subject at hand, it’s going to be a good year!

Ezra’s fifth month

There’s been a lot of evenings with screaming.  But Vero points out that this has diminished in the past few weeks.  Perhaps we have turned the corner and all will be good in the world?

Vero was talking to me about how her and Ezra had a staring contest for ten minutes the other day and that’s when she fell completely in love with him.  She also likes how he knows how Maman doesn’t like to give kisses on the lips so he is now moving her head when she comes in for the kiss.

But he sure is a Guy Smiley these days.  He’ll smile at anything!

Sierra has been asking to sit with Ezra when she watches television before heading to bed.

He’s getting quite photogenic!

Ezra is super excited for Santa to arrive!

This is a typical sight after having a bottle.  About 15 minutes later he starts to cry sometimes.  Maybe he’s bored with me?  A typical two hour cycle with me consists of waking up, getting a bottle, hanging out for 45 minutes playing and then trying to put him down for a nap for an hour.  Generally he will last for 20 minutes, but if we’re lucky, he will sleep for an hour.  That’s the general two hour cycle during the evening.

Maybe this was the staring contest Vero was telling me about?

Ezra enjoying some Christmas films.

Guy Smiley!

Hanging out near the campfire.

Hanging out waiting for a burp

Sierra helping Ezra open up his stocking

Ezra is a chameleon!

A walk around the block on Christmas Day

Hanging out!

Ezra is quite shocked in this Christmas Day photo!

Ezra opening up a gift from Sierra

Sierra personally picked out BB-8 for Ezra as a Christmas gift.  He quite likes it!

Hanging out with Aunt Maureen

Lots of love from Grandma


Li’l Santa and Poppa

Poppa telling Ezra about his trip from Kapuskasing

We’ll have to start teach Ezra how to wink like his sister.

Swiper the fox dropped by to swipe some lunch

Everyone showing Ezra how to play with his new toy

Dad was probably watching Frozen for the hundredth time

“Take the picture so I can get some eggnog!”

Chances are, everyone was watching Frozen.  

I love how I show up in this photo as well.

You can only imagine how many takes it took to get one good shot!

Ben, Krista and the kids came over for a winter wonderland visit.

It’s rare to see these two out of the house!  At least it’s rare to me.

While cleaning up some Christmas items Vero found a card for Ezra from Nanny Sybil

Heading out for an adventure

Ezra is staring to get the hang of the jolly jumper.  He’s quite content for 5-10 minutes and then he wants out.

Beauty day for a walk near the river!  I never get tired of this path.



How fit am I compared to the years before?

As you know, for the past few years I  have decided to change my lifestyle little by little to try and be more fit.  I’m not one for those ‘dive in and change your entire lifestyle’ diets or routines because I feel they don’t stick.  At least they don’t stick for me.

In the past year I was concerned at some back spasms I had when I was throwing Sierra up and down in the air and I have embarked on some strength training which I have failed miserably at when Ezra has taken up my time in the evenings.

But now things are looking up and he seems to not need to be held to fall asleep on the couch so maybe I will slowly get back into putting him on the couch, getting him to sleep, slithering off the couch myself and doing some exercise while rewatching The Mandalorian (best show ever).

Anyhow, this post isn’t about what I didn’t accomplish, it’s about what I have accomplished!  Let’s take a look at what Fitbit has shown me over the years.  I love stats and what better stats to look at than from the Palmer machinery.

Its always reassuring to see that I met and exceeded my goal of 10,000 steps per day.  Here is a comparison to years past:

2015: 10,599

2016: 12,284

2017: 12,289

2018: 12,215

2019: 11,381

But in the grand scheme of things you can see my trend has been falling since 2016.  Something to keep my mind on.  I still take walks at work during my breaks and at lunch but I haven’t gone on the elliptical as much in the past year as I have transitioned more to strength training and taking care of Ezra.

Active minutes may be the more interesting item to track because it tracks everything I do, not just steps.  Fitbit defines active minutes as when the activity you’re doing is more strenuous than regular walking, which includes everything from a brisk walk to a cardio workout or run.  The Centre of Disease Control recommends 20-30 minutes for adults each day.  I’m quite pleased in seeing that I have averaged 102 minutes a day.  Note that I love averages somehow hides the fact that some weekends that number sits around zero!

2015: 50

2016: 87

2017: 113

2018: 110

2019: 102

What’s interesting to see is that in 2016 I was walking an average of 12K+ steps but my active minutes were quite low.  This is when I started realizing that just taking walks wasn’t doing enough to strengthen my heart (which is my ultimate goal here).  If I go on a elliptical I need to make sure I have it set up to work my heart more and in this particular case, achieve a higher number of active minutes.

The calories burned is an interesting chart but I have to say that I don’t input my calorie intake (aka food and drink) into fitbit much these days.  So I’m not sure what I can discern from staring at the fact that I burned 3,407 calories per day on average.

2015: 2,408

2016: 3,328

2017: 3,484

2018: 3,525

2019: 3,407

Looking at the overall trend we can get some different perspective.  It looks like I was burning more and more calories over the past few years until this past year where I dipped back down.  This follows a similar trend on the number of active minutes I was achieving.  So…steps aren’t everything folks!

9km a day on average seems like a lot!  It also is the average distance walked over the past five years.  That’s interesting considering my step count has fluctuated but my distance hasn’t really changed.

My ultimate goal is to have a strong heart for the eventual day when I have a heart attack.  I’m basically building up my fortress wall to withstand any attack and with minimal damage.  Why?  Well, I’m not ready to leave this earthly plain anytime soon considering I have a few kids who needs to hear some good jokes.

From runningmagazine.com: Resting heart rate (RHR) varies from person to person but usually falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute (BPM) in most individuals. Athletes however, and particularly endurance athletes, are known to have a significantly lower RHR, usually between 30 and 50 BPM. A lower RHR represents greater (and more efficient) overall cardiovascular fitness. This means that the heart needs to contract fewer times to deliver sufficient volumes of blood to the body.

2015: 62 bpm

2016: 57 bpm

2017: 58 bpm

2018: 58 bpm

2018: 58 bpm

So I guess I’m not an athlete but I’m also below what the resting heart rate generally falls at.  I guess I’m happy with that!  I’m not entirely sure how much of this is due to my exercise vs. my genetics but I’ll take whatever life serves me.

This is a snapshot of what my cardio fitness is TODAY.  Good to very good…I guess I should strive for very good?

The ultimate goal is to have a strong heart but a good secondary bonus is always to have a lower weight on the weight scale.  The weight chart actually tracks my weight since the beginning so it’s interesting to see how everything was looking.

Here’s a photo in the summer of 2015.

August 2016

July 2017

August 2018

August 2019

It’s interesting to see how I look over the progression of weight loss and gain.  The cheeks and beergut definitely are the target areas for weight gain on the Palmer!  Not a big deal though.  Did you see the other charts in this entire post?  It’s what is inside that counts and it looks like I’m a fine specimen of a human being.

I really enjoyed seeing how the Fitbit has tracked my fitness over the past five years.  It’s an interesting snapshot of of life spanning from 36 to 41 years.  Here’s to many more!

Instant pot: turkey chili

This recipe is a complete cheat considering I put in a jar of vegetarian chili from “recipes in a jar”.  This isn’t a meal from scratch!

That being said, here’s the recipe for the next time I have a jar handy.

one jar of vegetarian chili

one large can of diced tomatoes

3 3/4 cups of water

2 cups of diced turkey we had leftover from Christmas.

I set the manual high for 22 minutes but the next time I will do it for 30 minutes,  the issue is that there are dry beans in the jar which take a lot of time to cook.  It was t horrible but if you’re used to the texture of a kidney or black bean the timer will need to go longer.

let cool down for 15 minutes and then vent.


here’s the ingredients in case I don’t have the jar next time and I want to try and make it from scratch.

Good start of the year

I know the year is going to be a good one when after I set up Sierra with a bowl of oatmeal and Dora the Explorer she comes running into the office saying “I want to give you a hug because I love you!”

This got me thinking that all the things I do for her are finally starting to click inside her brain and all this effort I put into parenting is finally paying off!


Then she realizes she wanted Cheerios instead of oatmeal and proceeds to have a meltdown.