Christmas Party 2017

Remember, remember, the second Saturday of December…

I love Christmas with Sierra so far.  Every time she sees something new in the house she says “Wowwwww”

For the past thirteen years we have hosted a Christmas party which is really code for an event that holds the Trivia Cup Challenge.  Spoiler: the men won yet again.  I’m not even sure if the women have ever beat the men in the Trivia Cup challenge.

Mandatory safety sign.  Mina appreciated the Arabic message I left him.

Sierra quite likes the Winter wonderland at the neighbour’s house.

Out for a walk before the big party!

Prepping for the people.

At least they put good use to the stockings!

Master Yoda hanging out with the elves.

Winner of the best photo of the party goes to Ferda!  Sierra was quite good at the party for the most part.  I find it quite interesting how she calms down and just takes it all in…like she’s assessing the situation.  However, around 8PM when it was 30 minutes past her bedtime, we realized she was ready for bed!


The greatest hostess along with a good looking man.

These two are an inspiration to us all.  They went 40 minutes on this thing and were a sweaty mess afterwards!

Sierra plotting an exit.

“The reason I’m smiling is it is less than a week until the new Star Wars movie!”

One of this year’s challenges involved stacking these nuts while using candy canes.  Neither team could accomplish it while we had the rule of ‘at least one member needs to hold the plate’.  So when the five minutes were up, we decided to allow them to put the plate on the table and attempt it.  It was quite the difficult challenge.

But the women won this one!

We blamed it on the lousy candy canes that were purchased.  Sidenote: Check out how Andre’s arm is larger than William’s head!  That is awesome.

The final challenge was going to be an exciting one as we were entering into a tie-breaker scenario.  Whoever won this challenge, won the cup!  Always an exciting time.  We end up playing a variation of beer pong which had a tic-tac-toe element incorporated into it.  One side had X’s on their ping pong balls, the other had O’s.

Bro vs. bro!

No surprise here, the men obliterated the competition and won the trivia cup (which Alex was drinking from during the time of this photo)

Great shot of us all. 

Yet another great year for a Christmas party.  Surprisingly we woke up to a few inches of snow the next morning!  I didn’t make out too bad the next morning.  Sierra slept in until 7am so it wasn’t that bad at all. 


Click here to access the Google Photo album of all the pictures.

Christmas has arrived

Sierra didn’t really care about Rudolph.

She did like the lights that Mom put up on the house.  She also got to walk around the street and see everyone’s lights.  As you can see, Ottawa doesn’t have any snow at the moment.  I have to say no snow is a bummer, but at the same time makes things a little more convenient (like when you want to take a walk around the block with Sierra).

An elf showed up in the house to help us decorate!

Here is the elf helping with some decorations.  We only broke one glass ball and then realized how silly it was to even try to have glass balls around the tree!

Master Yoda overseeing the operation.

Once again, the Vars Optimist Club arranged for Santa to visit the kids of the community and hand out some gifts.  It was a fun event with all the kids singing Christmas carols.  Note: I need to learn my Christmas carols in French!  Sierra was very appreciative to be around all the kids having fun and wants to thank the Optimist Club for putting on an amazing event.

The fun didn’t end after the Santa event…there was still the tree lighting event at the Anglican Church!  I had completely forgot about that as I cozied up in the living room with only the lights from the Christmas tree and a beer in hand.  Good thing we remembered to head out!  We love how everything is walking distance in Vars.  We hung out on some hay bales and chatted with a few people while waiting for the tree to be lit up.

There it is in all its glory.  The angel on the top even has a name…Angela!  The firefighters help put it on top each year. 

Too bad the phone doesn’t take great pictures at night.  At least you can see the great moon that was out!  It was a nice warm evening as well hovering around zero degrees.  Sierra saw plenty of action this day and conked out pretty fast when we got home around 7:30pm.  She has been waking up around 4:30am for ten minutes and going back to sleep, but she didn’t even do that last night so she must have been exhausted.


Sierra’s 18th Month

We’ve officially hit the point where we’ve realized we are taking less and less pictures of Sierra!  I was compiling them for this post and thought “Wow, we didn’t pull out the camera all that much in the past month!”  That is probably because life has settled into what I like to call ‘post-deck building/winter is coming’.  We have become lethargic and entered into a routine.  Pick up Sierra from daycare, get home, make supper for all of us, give her a bath, play with her a bit and then put her in bed between 7-7:30PM.  Nothing much photoworthy there!

Notable events in the past month:

  • We switched the car seats from rear facing to front facing.  This kind of blew Sierra’s mind the first couple of days!  She didn’t know what this new world was all about.  Now she can see the front dash stereo instead of the back of a seat!  She does have a tendency to kick off her winter boots and socks during the ride now which is always interesting when we get to our destination.  “Hey, where did her sock go?”
  • Sierra really likes helping out with things around the house.  She now helps with the dustpan and broom.  She helps put clothes in the washer and dryer.  We are starting to unload the dishwasher with her which is hilarious when we pass her a cup and she proceeds to try and drink from it.
  • She is starting to drink straight from a cup and actually prefers it!  She would rarely be drinking milk and we were wondering if she didn’t like it anymore but as soon as we took the top off of the cup, she gulped it down.
  • We are starting her on different foods in the ‘soy’ category right now and so far, so good.  We have given her soy milk with no issues and she also had a grilled cheese sandwich and some Kraft Dinner in the past few weeks.  It’s getting closer and closer to her being able to eat from our plates.  I had a good laugh last night when Vero ended up with half a meal when Sierra ate all her asparagus, mushroom and most of her rice!
  • There has been some snowfall that has come and gone, and come again.  Winter is officially here!  I’m not sure how much Sierra likes getting bundled up and riding in the car, but she’ll have to learn to tough it out on her way to daycare.
  • She gets really interested when she hears some piano or accordion music playing.  The past few mornings I have been playing Les Cowboys Fringants and some classic french accordion tunes on YouTube and she bops along and claps along.  I took a video but it doesn’t seem to want to upload to Google Photos so I’ll have to see what’s going on there.

Uh oh, looks like something bad happened with that batch of beer of mine.  I’ve read online that it can still be salvaged.  I transferred everything to a carboy and put it into the fermentation chamber and I haven’t seen anything else growing in it.

Sierra loves her ‘How to Speak like a Wookiee’ book.  She even has it in the car now so I’m pretty sure I’m conversing with Chewbacca most of the time while in the car.

Mom and Dad came up for a visit and helped finish off the rest of the deck.  It was greatly appreciated!  Sierra clearly loves hanging out with Poppa for story time.

I thought it was hilarious to see her like this so I figured I should get a video of it for historical reference.

Unfortunately when Mom and Dad were visiting Sierra got sick and then we all proceeded to get the stomach flu.  Not fun!  However, it was a blessing in disguise for Mom who had forgot her passport in Kapuskasing and couldn’t go to the United States on a trip.  If she had gone, she would have been pretty sick on the train down!

Vero and Dad working hard at putting some boards down.  They were flying that day!  After a bunch of days of rain we ended up with a really nice day to do some work.  I also remember the day before I leaned over to put a board down and my body said “Nope.  Not gonna happen.”  Then I crashed for the rest of the day with the flu.

My drill was faster.

Smashing Pumpkins!

When I bring Sierra shopping, I try to do so when I’m not in a rush so she can have some fun along the way.  She LOVED going down the freezer aisle and laughed every time she opened and closed the freezer doors.

Not exactly sure what we were doing here.

We managed to get the garage cleaned up before the winter hit.  It was the first time Sierra could walk around in there.  Granted, I’m not going to let her do that alone considering there’s still a lot of dangerous stuff…including flame! 

We decided to get some wood ready for a fire and Sierra was a great helper.

I was joking with the daycare provider that she probably had her kids raking up her lawn!  I also enjoy how there is a picture of a person under these leaves.  Is this supposed to be a creature of the woods?


I really love this photo I was sent of Nanny and Abbey making ginger snaps together.  Hopefully Sierra will get the same opportunity one day!

Vero sent me out for five bags of macaroni for a salad for Marty’s 40th birthday party.  In my head I was thinking “I’m pretty sure this is way too much.”  But then my other side of my brain said “If you don’t come back with five bags, she’s going to be upset.”  Anyhow, the first voice was correct and I didn’t have to buy club size bags of macaroni to feed an army.


Rob, Janice and Jenna were nice enough to hang out with Sierra one evening so we could attend Marty’s 40th birthday party.  Sierra reported back in saying she quite digs these people.

Speaking about the excellent party, Victor was having fun with my beer.

Not a whole lot to report back from the party other than it was a killer time and I met this hot mama.

Sierra sure loves her Cheerios.

I would also be screaming if this was chasing me around.

Google makes some funny animations.

I would hate to be the 103 year old who isn’t allowed to play with this toy any longer!

It’s a rare sight to see Salt and Vinegar chips available at Costco.  Sierra insisted we stock up.

Here’s another photo from the series “It’s not always fun and games!”

I wonder if everyone has the same issue we have in getting a decent shot of the family?

Somehow Sierra had her first grilled cheese sandwich without me there!  At least Vero filmed it for me!

This is our new game downstairs.  It’s also coupled with the game of “DO NOT TOUCH THE FIREPLACE!”

Sierra calls this one “Bob Ross, eat your heart out.”

Sierra’s first Kraft Dinner!  Saturdays will never be the same.  Or actually, I guess they will always be the same?

Winner for the most out of focus picture of the night goes to my camera.  I went to Saint-Lazare with Etienne, Alex and Alex as part of the Magical Mystery Musical Event…an event where Etienne, Mina and myself auction a night out on the town where the winner doesn’t know what they are in for.  Granted, I screwed up this years mystery and emailed the winner asking him details about the band we were going to see.  Doh! 

A recurring theme in our Mystery Events is that Etienne and I look for a hotel that has some really bad reviews.  It’s all part of the adventure!  This place did not disappoint.  We were not sure if it was better to sleep on top of the covers or within them!

I also love how we had stopped by Beau’s Brewery on the way to Vaudreuil and the guys, upon arriving said “Our craft beer is too good for this place!  We need something else!” and they showed up in the room with this.


It’s always a great time seeing Les Cowboys Fringants on stage.  This was my second time seeing them and they do not disappoint.  The crowd was super into it, the place was quite small so we had a great view wherever we went and it was easy enough to get a beer whenever we wanted.  Excellent night!

Wow, that’s a lot of people on stage!

On the way home, we had the craziest cab ride.  The cab driver cranked the tunes but the radio stations were primarily static.  So you would be sitting there listening to Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer at high volume and then have static blare into your eardrum.  The woman wouldn’t even talk to us when we asked a few questions.  As you can see by my message to the other guys in the cab, I thought it was my last night on earth.

All I can say about this motel is that I went to bed without pink eye, and somehow woke up with it.

Sierra is quite good at handling the dustpan.

She quite enjoyed the giant mittens!









Contenders for a photo on a wall

Grandma writes in: “Could you please take a picture of Sierra in portrait instead of landscape and send it to me. Make sure it is good as it is going in a frame and will be in my living room!haha.”

I can never back down from a challenge of finding a good photo of Sierra to hang on the wall!  Here are some contenders:

This girl is going to be a future pyromaniac judging by how amazed she was at flame.

This is definitely a contender to go on the living room wall.

Here’s a killer closeup.

Miss Yogurt Hand is always a classy photo for the wall.

This one is called “Mid-sneeze”

Windtunnel = Model

out of focus, kind of a wild eyed look…yup, that’s meant for the living room wall.

Instant classic!

All kidding aside, there’s really only one winner here folks.  Even my colleagues have this photo up in their office!

This photo cracks me up every time.


Wear your poppy

I’ve been working on the deck for the past week so I haven’t been outside the house all that much.  During that time I figured that it would be full-on poppy wearing season out there, but lo and behold, there isn’t a whole lot of poppies being worn around these parts.

That is upsetting me and I thought about it long and hard this morning and I realize that it’s everyone’s right to wear what they want and when they want to wear it.

But don’t you dare try and take Remembrance Day off of work if you don’t wear a poppy in the weeks leading up to it.

Happy Halloween!

The day started off quite well.

The only decent picture of Vero and Sierra.  Most of the other pictures had Sierra trying to steal her hat!

I ended up finally bringing my Trooper outfit to work!  It was a pain to do so…I had to make three trips since I couldn’t fit all the parts in one suitcase.  I’m not sure how others transport their gear in one shot…a hockey equipment bag?  It took about 20 minutes to gear up but it was cool to walk around the building dressed up like this!  Our work team really gets into Halloween each year.

Etienne, Nat and I posing in the mall.  I had a few people stop me to pose for pictures.

Getting ready for the main event!

Then the evening arrived and all hell broke loose.  Sierra was NOT a happy camper that night.  Even Mom and Dad arriving from out of town didn’t console her!  She was crying the entire way to the neighbours house.

I’m glad I didn’t go all out on her costume this year!  Her she is with her not so happy self.

We did end up scoring some good treats for her!


For historical purposes, I need to write down what happened with  my comic book experiment.  I decided to give out mini Halloween comic books this year but I failed to order them in time.  I accidentally sent the order to Vero instead of my comic guy!  Anyhow, he managed to find 50 Donald Duck comics so I thought they would be a hit.  We offered up the choice “Candy or comic?”  Out of 100+ kids who showed up, we ended up giving away 25 comics.  Quite the failure of my experiment.  However, I believe if I check out the price, a package of 25 comics are probably the same price as a 25 bags of chips so we may just switch it up next year and just give everyone a chocolate and a comic book.



Sierra’s 17th Month

We’re still all alive and well which is all we can ask for!  The month of October has been quite productive with the deck.  As of October 28th, we pretty well just need to put the deck boards on, some stairs and some guard rails.  Mom and Dad are coming for a visit this coming week so I’m hoping to get the upper and hot tub deck done along with some stairs and hopefully some rails so we can go to and from the hot tub this winter.  I haven’t even bothered looking into fixing the hot tub lift mechanism yet…that’s another project to do before the snow hits!

While Northern Ontario got walloped with some snow this past week, it’s been pretty nice here overall other than today where it’s pouring rain and expecting to have 100mm+!  That’s a little crazy.

Sierra has been doing great in the past month.  She still enjoys daycare and now has a partner in crime there to fend against the boys.  However, I think these two girls are having way too much fun as there was not one, but TWO days in the past week where they were having fun with the toilet water!

She did have a dripping nose for most of the month though.  I don’t think I’ve ever carried that much kleenex in my pockets in my life!  I was thinking of just strapping down some kleenex directly onto her face at one point.  I feel bad for the daycare provider who has to put up with that all day long.  She managed to get rid of one cold within a few weeks but then caught another a few days later!

As of yesterday, we started trying soy milk on her to see if she would have allergies to soy like she did months ago.  It’s a day later and we haven’t seen any major signs of distress but we will keep our eye on it.

The greatest Star Wars moment happened to us the other morning.  We were getting ready and I kept hearing some Wookiee roars.  It turns out that Sierra has found her book of ‘How to speak Wookiee’ and was loving the thing, even to the point where she insisted she bring it along for the car ride to daycare.  It was a proud moment for us.  Well, really me.  We all knew that.

With a kid and a deck to build in my life, I decided to skip a few steps in the beer making process and pick up a Festa Brew kit of Oktoberfest lager.  It was also my first attempt at making a lager so I hope it works out well!  I’m a little concerned that I opened up the primary fermenter and saw some green stuff growing on top but the geniuses on the internet say that this may not mean the batch is infected.  I transferred to the secondary fermentor and will let sit another six weeks and I hope it comes out fine!  If it does, I’ll probably buy these more often if I don’t have enough time to make a batch from scratch.

Speaking of beers, I tried out this excellent one that Trish brought back for me from PEI.  Two thumbs up!


No lie, I found this in a boardroom.

Danielle and Gaetan came up at Thanksgiving to give us a hand.  Here’s Gaetan’s helper.

We get a nice piece of artwork every week from the daycare.

Sierra loves when we pretend the bee is buzzing around and gets stuck behind the curtain and then comes out swarm her.  She laughs every time.

Sierra telling us about her day.

We ran out of red wine in the house so it called for desperate measures.  SURPRISINGLY this wine tasted great!

Enjoying the autumn weather

Our two saviours

I was trying out the depth effect on the iPhone.  Pretty cool!

Trying out the slo-motion effect on the iPhone

That’s one happy kid!

I love how Sierra carries everything around

Swing time with Mom

Sierra sure loves her yogurt.

Gaetan and I have this uncanny ability to have each game come within 10 points of each other.  We can’t get over how close our games end up being.

Sierra getting an early Halloween treat from Grand-Maman et Grand-Papa

Another successful Thanksgiving meal

Sierra must have told a really good joke!

Benoit, Etienne, his Dad and I went to see Roger Waters.  Best Roger Waters show I’ve seen!  It doesn’t hurt that I love their new album, but they had a really cool stage show that also looked great from our seats up in the 300 Level.

How cool is this screen?

Hanging out at the Vars spaghetti supper.  Sierra was having the time of her life running around.

Andreane dropped in for a quick visit and that was the day that Sierra figured out how to touch a person’s nose!  We spent a month trying to get her to do that.

Sierra loves splashing around.

Ms. Buckethead

Sierra was nice enough to get me an early Christmas gift!

While Mom was shopping for a few things, Sierra was trying to play hide and seek with me at Wal-Mart.

It was a great pleasure to have Nanny and Beth drop by for lunch on Saturday.  It’s not often Nanny gets around Ottawa!  Sierra took a few minutes to warm up, but then she realized Nanny was full of fun.

Sierra showing Nanny how much fun yogurt can be.

This little piggy

Surprising that we all looked towards the camera at the same time!

It’s the great pumpkin, Sierra!

She’s getting the hang of raking.

Etienne and I take a walk at work every day around the bridges between Hull and Ottawa.  It amazes me that we can still find things we never knew about.  This must have been something to transport wood down from Chaudiere Falls to the mill (which now is home to Mill Street Pub).  It was pretty amazing to see that this thing is still sitting there after hundreds of years.

Take advantage of the time outside kid because winter is coming!





Some great new albums

It’s not often I get on here and chat about stuff other than Sierra but I have to say this Fall has dumped upon me, the motherlode of good music so I figured I should let you know about some good tunes.

Sleep Well Beast

The National – Sleep Well Beast

This might be my favourite National album since Boxer.

Matt Mays – Once Upon a Hell of a Time

Matt Mays does it again with a solid rocker of an album.  He spends a lot of years in between releases but it pays off as it ‘s all killer, no filler.  Sentimental Sins and Faint of Heart are on heavy rotation right now.

Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton – Choir of the Mind

Emily Haines is generally found in her band Metric, but once in awhile she puts out a solo album (this is her second).  It’s a fantastic piece of work with piano and layered vocals.  This is stuff I would like to attempt to write.


William Patrick Corgan – Ogilala

Ok, you all know I’m a big Smashing Pumpkins fan so I’m going to add a new Corgan solo album on the list.  But it’s really good.  Stripped down piano, acoustic tunes show off how Billy is an incredible writer underneath his usual layers upon layers of production.

The Vietnam War – Original Score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (2CD)

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross – The Vietnam War soundtrack

I get excited every time a new Reznor/Ross collaboration comes out and I especially love listening to this album just driving down the country roads seeing the leaves fall.

Roger Waters – Is this the life we really want?

Could this be the best post-Pink Floyd album?  Yep.  Get it now.

Hug of Thunder

Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder

I wasn’t expecting much from the new BSS album and it blows me away.  It’s probably in their top three.

Times Infinity Volume 2 (Vinyl)

The Dears – Times Infinity Volume 2

Hey, speaking of albums that I wasn’t expecting much from and then it sneaks out with a ninja attack on my psyche and makes me want to listen to it every day for the rest of my life…



Review: Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street

When I was in my teens, I remember starting to rent horror movies.  I specifically remember renting the Halloween series (best series ever?) and watching Halloween 5 and it ended on such a cliffhanger that I had to run out and rent the sixth movie (which was kind of lame).

Anyhow, fast forward 20 years later and I still hadn’t gotten around to watching the complete Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street series.  I was also trying to start from the beginning and then I would just give up once October 31st passed me by.

I realize that Freddy is burn victim, but how do you explain those really bad teeth? 

No longer is that the case!  I decided to just dive in where I left off (like any other sane individual) and see what the series had to offer in the later films.

My thoughts on the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise

First movie was awesome, second film was horrible.  3 & 4 picked things up.  Then Part 5 and 6 got weird for me.  This is probably where everyone else clued into the fact that Freddy had become a caricature of himself and was more funny than scary.  I mean, they had him bring a kid into a literal video game where Freddy was playing the controls.  COME ON!  These films got pretty ridiculous.


Wow, this film had it all.  I was scared of Freddy again.  This was Wes Craven’s attempt at becoming meta…where he referenced the film series and had the film feel like it was in our world.  A precursor to the Scream film series where he explored our love for all things horror.  I was immediately satisfied with the conclusion of this series being A New Nightmare.

Of course, we all know that nine years later, Freddy Vs. Jason comes out and does a somewhat decent job of bringing the two franchises together, but it had some good laughs.  ‘Dude, that goalie is pissed!”

My thoughts on the Friday the 13th series

Speaking about pissed off goalies, let’s talk about the lumbering machete wielding mute called Jason Voorhees!  This series is definitely one of my faves…at least the first four films which make a really good story arc.

Then the fifth film comes around and kind of puts a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

Always a classic, easy Halloween costume.

But then they jump back and Part 6 is ok!

Then seven sucks.

The eight sucks even more.  My favourite part of Jason Takes Manhattan is that he doesn’t even get to Manhattan until about 10 minutes before the end of the movie.  What the hell!

The ninth movie should have been great.  It’s the last in the series!  Jason Goes to Hell!  This sounds like a cool premise!  Yeah no, this movie flopped.  Wow, Vero was disappointed Friday night when we spent 90 minutes watching this film.  Where I thought Nightmare on Elm Street went out on a high, Friday the 13th went out on an all time low.  I don’t even think Jason showed up in the film more than 15 minutes!  I haven’t even bothered watching Jason X which is basically Jason in space because I hear it’s even worse!

The remake was pretty decent though.

So there you have it…both series started out strong, Nightmare ended awesome and Friday the 13th kind of fizzled out.  If I had to recommend to someone the most efficient way to watch both series, I would say just watch the first four films of Friday the 13th and watch Nightmare 1, 3,4 and New Nightmare.  You’ll get the point of it all.

Now onto the Halloween series!  I ordered that set on bluray the other week and am pretty excited to dive into that again.

It was a good day

Today’s Dad’s birthday (Happy birthday Dad!) but also a day that I heard Gord Downie passed away.

Of course we all knew it was coming.

Vero was at a play tonight so it was just Sierra and I after work.  We walked down to the mailbox where I picked up my SNES Classic which we were both excited about.  It was a beautiful fall day at 20 degrees and leaves on the ground.

She made it halfway home before realizing I was using her as a pack mule.

We got home and had some supper together while I put on my favourite Hip album, We Are The Same for Sierra and I to listen to.

She didn’t put up too much of a fuss tonight, even though she’s had a cold for three weeks.  We had a fun time splashing each other with bathwater and after the bath, we laughed by putting a hat on my head, then putting a hat on her head, then back and forth forever.

All the while listening to his music.

It’s definitely not going to get any easier in life when the people we care about pass away with each season, but I guess we have just have to appreciate what we have while remembering what they gave us.

It was a good day.