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!

 

 

Basement flood

Monday morning I awoke at 5:45am and I’m standing in the bathroom and I can hear some water.  A lot of it.  Oh no.  What’s going on down in the basement?

I rush to the basement and lo and behold, it’s bad.  It’s not two feet of water bad, but there are things floating around!

Now, in my hazy memory, I think I ran over to see what was going on at the sump pit.  And that my friends, is the dumbest thing I could have done.  In the heat of the moment, and the sluggish still-asleep brain, I had forgotten the #1 rule about approaching water…there could be electricity involved.

I started taking some photos after calling the insurance company.  This was taken after I managed to suck up most of the deep water.  Now all that was left was the surface stuff and whatever was under the laminate.

Luckily, I am here to tell the tale, but I have to tell you, I’m very upset and shocked with myself that I wasn’t thinking straight and I could have died going into that situation.  I still can’t remember if I had ran back up to Vero first to wake her up (sidenote: she thought there was a guy with a gun in the house with me screaming ‘VERO!  VERO WAKE UP!  Man, what a way to wake up!) and hauled on some rubber boots.  I’m not even sure if rubber boots would have saved me if I was wading in two inches of water and some electricity ran through it.  Maybe someone can let me know.

At first, I didn’t think there was much water over in the guest bedroom.  Then I noticed that when I stepped on the laminate you could see some water rise up in this crack.  Sure enough, when pulling it all off, there was some water under the floor.

Either way, I’m still a little shaken by the event after the fact and how I could have potentially be dead by now.

ANYHOW, let’s get back to the less morbid part of the story…the discharge pipe of the sump pit was gushing water upwards and outwards.  As in, I got a face full of it when I opened up the door to the pit.  Fantastic!  I remember unplugging the pump and assessing the situation.  Standing in two inches of water and water coming down onto my head meant that there was water all over the sump pit room.  I managed to bring in a new (spare) pump in and attach everything back together again.  After drying the electrical plug I fired it back up and everything seemed to be working fine again (as fine as standing in two inches of water could be).

Next up…how to get rid of all this water quickly.  I couldn’t find the spare portable pump I use to empty the hot tub so Vero suggested the shop vac.  Pro tip everyone: remove the air filter if you want to use it on ‘wet’ mode, otherwise it just stops when the bucket is half full and even at that, it has a really hard time pushing all that water through a filter!  I had to consult a youtube video to figure that one out!  After that, I’m not sure how many times I filled and dumped out the shop vac but at one point I wasn’t standing in two inches of water anymore.

Here’s what the place looked like after a day of work.

Now I can take a step back and analyze the situation.  Who do we call?  Well, we call JF of course who had two floods in the past five years!  He recommended we give the insurance company a call and they’ll arrange to have some emergency crews to come on out and give us a hand.

Sure enough, that’s what I do and those guys were here in about 30-60 minutes (timing is a little hazy writing this three days later).  Either way, their help was much appreciated.  Especially since I noticed the pump sometimes not running well and I was thinking the problem was not the pump at all.  After some tests, the project manager and I determined it was the check valve that must have been busted.  At least the problem was solved!  Now onto the cleanup.

The guys found some black mold under the laminate flooring around the TV.  Ewwww…how long have we been breathing that stuff?!  It’s interesting to see that years ago, they painted the floor as you can see the paint is flaking off now.

The rest of the day was spent tearing up laminate flooring, moving furniture and ripping off trim.  Note that Vero and I did help out but the majority of this work was done by the awesome emergency cleanup crew.  These guys were top notch.  They also put in these huge fans and dehumidifiers to suck the moisture out of the basement for the next 72 hours.

I hope our parents like what we did with their room.

It’s interesting to see what process occurs when a flood happens.  For everything bad that people say about insurance companies, they sure have their stuff together when an emergency occurs.  Within five minutes of me calling my insurance company, the emergency cleanup crew calls me and sends a team out.  Then I get a visit from the ‘field insurance adjuster’ that afternoon around 4pm to take a look around and take photos.  We also get a call from the insurance adjuster walking us through the steps and sending us some emails with information.  The next day we get a visit from an electronics technician who will test out a few thing around the house that may have touched water.  Tomorrow they will send over some people to cut out the ruined drywall.  After that…who knows what will happen but I’m assuming it’ll move into the renovation phase of fixing the basement.

It’s been a killer few days and unfortunately, it’s not like the end is near.  A basement doesn’t get renovated in a day (much like Rome).  We are lucky enough that it wasn’t sewage that had backed up so we can’t complain too much.  Of course we didn’t have it as bad as others do.  But it is a jarring experience and sometimes we find it very hard to absorb all that has happened.

I’m sure I will come up with a ton of tips so you can avoid situations like these yourselves.  I’m sure I’ll be adding them to this post.

  • I guess I should point out that this can happen to anyone…not just people who live in the country.  Inform yourselves about what can happen in your own basement even if you live in a suburb like Orleans.  Here: read this handy handbook this Friday night if you want to avoid a situation like this.
  • Try as you might, you can have a lot of backup systems in place, but they may not cover every scenario imagined.  Try your best and don’t be afraid to spend some money to get to a point where you are comfortable with every eventuality.
  • Keep important documents up high!  We were extremely lucky that the water did not enter the storage room.  There are two important things close to the floor in that room…our filing cabinet with important documents and my X-Men comics.  🙂  I now realize that I should arrange my comics not in alphabetical order but in order of value!
  • Don’t be a fool and rush into a situation involving water without dealing with electricity first.  Seriously.  Dumb mistake.

 

Pearl Jam poster sold

The other day I decided to bring a Pearl Jam poster into work because I’ve been running out of room for posters in my own house.  Why not spread them out into my massive office space?

This is a cool poster from 2010 and the PJ community were having a ball when Ames Bros. released it.  I mean, what’s not to love about this poster?

Anyhow, I brought it into work where a few people were interested about it in general, some people were indifferent and clearly I was in a team of people who weren’t fanatics like myself.  Sidenote: find new friends who love Pearl Jam.

Over the weekend I start thinking about the poster and remember that it was pretty hot on the resellers market.  I checked on Ebay and had a moment of instant regret when I realized that I had left a hot seller of a poster in my open cubicle where thousands of people had access to it!

Luckily, I come in on Monday and it’s still there.  I quickly take it back home and came to decision that if I sell this, it could pay for my trip to Chicago this summer.

Slap it up on Ebay and a week later, it sold for $1,200+.  It was exciting to see the bids climb up over the past week (as any Ebay seller knows).  Sure, I’ve sold video games in the past and have gotten excited when they creep up past $100 but this is a whole other world.  This will help pay for the flooded basement we are in the midst of dealing with.

Super fun time weekend with Dad

Vero went to Mont Tremblant with her sister so that left Sierra and I all alone for the weekend.  This took a lot of mental energy.  Not to handle the situation, but to ensure it was the greatest weekend she has ever experienced in her life!  Much preparation is needed for such an event.  I can’t just have her hang around the house all day long and consider that a ‘super fun time weekend with Dad’.

First stop, Larose Forest!  Google Maps led us astray a little bit and I ended up on a road which is closed during the winter.  I only clued in when I ended up on what can only be described as an ATV trail.  Luckily, my parental senses took over and made me realize I should just backtrack and go check out the parking lot with a giant P7 sign.  Sure enough, we found a lot with three entrances…one for a hiking trail, one for cross country skiing and another up the road for dog sledding.  There wasn’t even any need for the snowshoes that I packed which was a bonus!

The first part of our trek was underwhelming.  But about 300 metres down the path, the actual forest appears and it was like something out of Middle-Earth.  This wasn’t some Vars cemetary path riddled with birch trees…this was something else!  What a fantastic path.

We only encountered two cyclists during our trek for an hour through the woods.  Luckily there are some signs which pointed me towards a lone picnic table in the woods.  Sierra is unfortunately in a tight squeeze on the backpack so it was good to get her out of it and take a break (read: 30 pounds on my back is quite heavy!).  Here Sierra is enjoying a snack while getting really excited any time she heard a bird chirping.

Hanging out.

After our break she still wanted to walk around.  We ended up encountering a bridge which she thought was quite incredible.  She ran up and down the bridge a few times.  Then I realized our trek out of the woods would take us about 6 hours if I let her stare at every branch we encountered so I put her back into the backpack.

I like this picture.  It only took 40 tries.

When we exited the path and were walking up to our car, we heard quite the chatter down the road.  After listening for a few seconds I realized it could only be the sounds of many dogs barking!  There must be some dog sleds up ahead!  We walked down the road and sure enough, we encountered about a dozen vehicles with dog sleds next to them.  I had never seen that many dog sleds in my life.  Sierra was having the time of her life.  I ended up chatting with one of the women there.  Turns out that they pay a membership fee to have the trails groomed and so they go every weekend they can to train the dogs on these trails.  Must be a really interesting group to be part of.  Sierra was not too happy when I decided to head back to the car.  I’m pretty sure I found teeth marks on the security straps of the backpack as she was trying to chew her way back to seeing all those dogs.

Luckily I found something else to distract her with.

If Vero notices some tree sap on Sierra’s jacket, this is where it originated from.

Sierra trying to get one last look at the dog sleds before leaving.  All in all, the Larose Forest was a great success and I can’t believe it’s been there all this time and I only went to visit now!

After lunch and an afternoon nap we headed to the St. Laurent mall so I could look at some frames to hold some comic artwork in.  Unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock so I decided the only way to salvage the situation was to bring Sierra to Toys R Us.  My favourite part was when she found a house set that she already has back at home.  I managed to snap this photo in the split second that the box decided to jump out at her.

Toys R Us…the ultimate daycare?

The next morning our plans for visiting Ethan and Ellie for a morning music session fell apart so I had to rack my brain for something else to do.  It was a beautiful morning once again and the sun was out so we decided to go for another walk.  This time we went back to the Vars cemetary path.  There’s no picnic table in the middle to have a snack at, but it’s a nice path nonetheless.  I didn’t need the snowshoes which was a bonus. 

Another great snack in the woods.

When we got off the path, I knew I needed a break in a few hours (aka, I needed Sierra to nap) and the only way to do that is to make sure she expels some energy!  She walked most of the way home.  However, as any true adventurer knows, you don’t have a time limit when there are wonders around.  Here is Sierra taking a look at an eaves trough making some noise.

One driveway later she encountered a mud puddle!  There was no shortage of things to discover in the span of 20 meters.  It was going to be a long walk home!

My favourite part of the walk home was that at one point, she looks at me, proceeds to sit down on the pavement in the middle of the street and then lie on her back.  I had a good laugh at her.  Clearly she was pooched!  I threw her back into the backpack and we headed home.

In the afternoon I was racking my brain for what we could do, but I saw that it was sunny out and hovering around zero degrees so we decided to have a campfire.  It was a great idea until two minutes into it when she wasn’t having any of it.  I brought her around on her sled for a few laps and when she finally convinced me to leave and go inside, Vero, Andreane and Danielle had arrived home.  The super fun time weekend with Dad had officially closed!  I hope she had fun.  I sure did.

 

 

 

I miss Lost

More specifically, I miss watching shows in a world where on-demand didn’t exist.

Now, before you and tell me that I’m crazy, of course I prefer the on-demand world.  I was one of the first people out there figuring out how torrenting works so I could download the latest episodes of Lost on my computer so I wouldn’t have to rush home from whatever I was doing in order to catch the latest episode.  On-demand is a fantastic addition to our lives because it allows us to live our lives a little more.

However, at the same time, it has taken something from us.  It has deleted the ability to have a collective experience surrounding a cultural event.  Say what you will, but I’m saying that the tv series Lost was a cultural event.  Much like when a new Netflix series drops unexpectedly and everyone jumps into the zeitgeist of How to Make a Murderer or Stranger Things.  It gets people talking…but not for long.

 I am re-watching Lost right now with Vero.  It’s an exciting time for me because I get to watch the show knowing what will happen, but I also get to see Vero’s reaction at all the mysteries that need solving and remember (fondly) how I was asking the same questions along with my friends.

That is the problem with on-demand television right now.

Television production concept. TV movie panels

Instead of your friends getting together one night for dinner and saying “Yeah, what’s up with that monster on Lost?!”, the conversation veers more towards “Have you seen Stranger Things?  Isn’t it awesome?”.  That’s where the conversation ends when talking about the newest, greatest TV series out on Netflix.  We basically get to share and compare a few notes on how we think the TV series is great, but that’s it.  We don’t get to dive into details like “OMG, what is Character X going to do about Situation Y?!”  There’s no concept of the water cooler talk where we discuss specific mysteries.  Because…the mystery has already unfolded over a 10 hour series which you probably binged-watched over the weekend.  The moment is gone and was captured in your mind for 30 seconds until you put on the next episode.

Network TV still subscribes to the model of one episode per week so we haven’t completely lost the concept.  But in an on-demand world, it’s hard for me to find people who have watched the same exact episodes at the same exact time as me.

Me: “Did you see the new Star Trek Discovery episode?  SO GOOD!”

Colleague: “Oh no!  I have not.  I will catch up.”

Fast forward the next week, I’ve already gone past that moment in time and never think of bringing it up again.

Nat: “OH MAN, it’s crazy what happened in the latest episode of Rebels!”

Me: “Wait, I haven’t seen it.  Let’s all pause our talk.”

I’ve essentially killed the conversation because it’s not like Nat is going to come back and say “So…what did you think?”  Nat has already moved onto another series that she wants to talk about.

I miss Lost…and I’m glad to be re-watching it with Vero because it brings me back to the time where it’s exciting to talk to someone about what is going to happen in the next episode.  Of course, in an on-demand world, we just hit play and watch a new episode.  But at least those few minutes in between are interesting and gives me a glimpse back to a more interesting time to watch TV.

Sierra’s 21st Month

I don’t know about you, but spring is in the air around Ottawa.  It’s quite rare that we have consistent above zero temperatures near the end of February.  Perhaps we’ll be out on the bicycle by mid-March!

Sierra is loving life outside and enjoys going on the slide as much as she can.  I think it upsets her when we do arrive from the daycare and we go straight indoors because it’s too dark/cold outside.  But for the past week it’s been neither so we get to have some fun outside with her for a few minutes before heading inside.

Speaking of having fun outside, I have to say the hot tub has been getting some good use in the past month.  I have to say that I don’t really care to venture out in -20 degrees unless a friend is with me goading me on.  But when it gets to -5, no problem convincing me to sit in the tub and stare at the moon!

The daycare that we drop Sierra off to has someone come in to give little notes on how Sierra is doing.  Today’s note said something like “She likes to play independently, but also tries to have fun with the other kids as well.”  I noticed the same thing when we were at a birthday party last week.  She likes keeping to herself and playing with some toys.  Granted, it all comes down to the age factor as well…the kids at the daycare are at least a year older so they are able to run around a lot easily.  But it does gives us a glimpse into what sort of person she will be.

At this point, we don’t think she has any allergies at all which is completely different than a year ago.  We are very happy with everything we have tried in the past month.  She even ate some peppers and didn’t react at all.  We do notice a little rash that appears on her legs and little feet from time to time so we’ll have to keep an eye on it.  Perhaps it’s a form of eczema.

She babbles a lot more these days and it almost seems like she is forming sentences of non-sensical words.  She does has a few key words for items: Aye is yes.  Na na is her soother.  Maman is pretty well everyone she sees!  It’s funny…she knows I am Dad, but she doesn’t call me that at all.  I wonder where kids pick up different words for items?

She has always loved to hear music and starts bopping around in her carseat when a good tune comes on the radio.  I’m starting to now get her to choose the album to listen to.  I typically show her the Arcade Fire ‘Everything Now’ album and she says “Aye!”.  She really the tunes Everything Now and Put Your Money on Me.

We bought a new sleigh off of Kijiji.  Turns out that it was our neighbour selling it!  We are enjoying it so far but unfortunately the back runner cracked when Sierra fell off so I’ll have to see if that’s salvageable at this point.  I have to say it’s getting impossible to bring her for a walk on the street with this thing considering the lack of snow!  Luckily we have trails near us.

Vero and Sierra going for a lap around the track we snowblew in the backyard.

Was I telling you all about my new parka?  It is the cats meow but near of February, it’s impossible to wear outside without sweating off 20 pounds!

Oncle Claude and Aunt Mary dropped by for a visit and Oncle Claude taught Sierra a new way to be entertained.

While it takes Sierra a few minutes to warm up to people visiting, she hit it off instantly with Aunt Mary!

We thought it was hilarious that she wanted to wear the scarf like this for her ride.

The learning tower is in good use each night around suppertime.  Here Sierra is helping out Maman with some muffins.

We thought this was a hilarious sign on the bus.

Mom and Dad came down for a visit for a few days to help finish off the suspended ceiling in the bathroom.  Surprisingly the renovation went off without any major complications!  We must be finally learning.  This is a photo of us enjoying a spaghetti supper at the Vars school.  Sierra sure loved her spaghetti but Dad and I had to scoop up a whole bunch that she had left on the floor!

Mom and Dad made this table set for Sierra.  Here’s Dad and Sierra building some puzzles.  Sierra is pretty good at them…you can ask her to find the cat and she’ll find the pieces and put them together.

This photo reminds me of Vero and her friend Vero.

Vero and Mom took Sierra over to the Vars carnival while Dad and I worked on the bathroom.  It was a pretty cold day so there weren’t too many people around.  All the more room for Sierra to play!

Sierra sure loves the swingset.

Grandma taking Sierra for a ride.

Sierra practicing for the inverted Skeleton competition for the Olympics.

We just happened to be downtown during Winterlude so we walked around and enjoyed the balmy weather.

It was a great day to check out the ice sculptures because it was during the middle of the week so there weren’t many people around.

I thought this was a neat use of lost mittens.

I love going to check out the ice sculptures each year.  It’s pretty incredible what they can accomplish!

Check out the beer glass Mom and I found at Michael’s!

Not to be outdone by Mom’s future Christmas gift!

Mom and Dad made us a Newfie ugly stick!  Supposedly if you go and listen to some music in a pub in Newfoundland, chances are, you can find a few of these lying around that you can use to make some noise.  Pretty neat idea!  

A smiling competition.

Yes, this was the best picture out of the forty that we took.

Hey, you come to this website to get some life tips once in awhile…here’s one for you.  If your Mom makes you some slippers that need to be thrown into the washing machine and then into the dryer….have her actually read the instruction instead of suggesting that we just boil them for awhile and stink up the entire house!

Etienne and I checking out a new path around the Ottawa river at lunchtime.

Once in awhile we have a bee show up in the house that we just can’t seem to get rid of!  At least Sierra seems to enjoy its company.

Sierra going to town on this chime xylophone.

Mike and Melanie were nice enough to invite us over one Saturday afternoon for a campfire.  Maxime and Sierra had some good times out in the snow.  I managed to really bang up my knee that day when jumping into the snow…Ottawa has this wicked type of weather which leaves layers of ice in the snow.  So basically when I jumped in, it felt like my knee hit an ice rink.  It’s still oddly sore a month later when I kneel down.  I guess it’s just repairing itself?

Kids having fun.

I’m not entirely sure how Mike managed to position himself like this in the snowbank but it looked hella comfortable!

Sierra telling Vero and Melanie a story.

Max and Sierra were enjoying the wagon ride.

Time to start using a fork kid!

It’s rare that we manage to snap a photo of each other!

Sierra had a great day at daycare for Valentine’s Day.

Probably the first time we ever gave Sierra a candy.  She seemed to like it!  Num num!

I now have competition for the St Hubert sauce that Vero decides not to finish eating.

Sierra helping us put up safety straps on the dressers.  She really loves working with tools and understanding how they work.

Sierra and I enjoying a drink after a hard day of work.

I have no idea why she does this, but I find it hilarious that Sierra is mesmerized with these plates that appear in department store floors!  She always stops for awhile to investigate them.

The long walk home.

My colleague Yoon asked me the other day “Can we bring our kid into work on Monday?”  “No, why?”  “Because it’s family day and the daycare is closed!”  Vero and I didn’t even clue into this considering public servants in Ottawa don’t get family day off!  Luckily I was able to take it off.  Sierra and I started the morning off taking a walk in the woods which was quite the trek considering we had to blaze a trail ourselves!  She’s also getting to the limit of what this backpack carrier can handle.  I had a good laugh when I noticed she was licking my jacket.

After having a nap in the afternoon, we sat down and played with the play dough that Grandma had made us.  Still as salty as a I remember!

Mark the date and time.  Sierra now really likes TV.  Specifically, she loves watching Full House.

We went for a birthday breakfast for Jona’s fourth birthday.  Man, that kid got a lot of awesome toys I want to play with.  Unfortunately for him, he burnt his fingers on one of those candles that sparkle.  You know how it has that piece of steel near the bottom?  Yep, he went for it.  While everyone felt bad at the time, I managed to get it on video and we are going to look back and think how awesome it is that we captured that moment.  Hey, it’s like the old saying goes…it’s not a party until someone burns their flesh!

You can’t go for a walk in Vars without stopping at the swing set.

Seriously, how awesome is this photo that Vero snapped?!

I managed to go downtown to see The Dears at Club 27 (home of the old Zaphod’s).  No Mistakes in Space (killer name!) opened and they were quite great!  The Dears, of course, did not disappoint.  It’s cool to see them in play in a small club like this…they last played at the National Arts Center so I had no idea if they would stick to that size of venue or not.  I went there alone but stumbled into Evan and Erica along with Erica’s parents so that was a welcome surprise.  The show was great, the crowd was great, everyone was having a great time.  I especially enjoyed how there is really no backstage so they band has to weave through the crowd to climb onto the stage!

Another grand event in my fortieth year!  I finally managed to go to Di Rienzo’s for a sandwich!  Let me tell you…it was immense.  I could only eat half of it.  I couldn’t comprehend how much meat they put on this thing for $7!  It was a great eat and great value, but I have to say I like the bread selection more at La P’tite Epicerie down the street for my work.  But that’s not to say that Di Rienzo’s is bad.  I would go back any day!  It’s a sandwich institution!

Even though it’s not the most in focus photo, it’s the one with the most spirit!