Sierra at eight months

Hey ho!  Let’s go!

Another month has crawled by (ha!  I just caught that pun).  I feel that February has been the month of the deep winter slumber.  Every night when Sierra would go to bed, I didn’t even want to watch much TV.  I just wanted to curl up and read a book.  I am feeling that spring is in the air so I’m coming out of that funk.

But who can really be in a funk when you have Sierra crawling around the house all the time!  It is exciting times for the family and also a little stressful as the 12 month mark approaches and we are looking for daycare.  Sierra is still babbling away and has a good hearty laugh when you fan her face during a diaper change, or when the kiss monster (aka Maman) appears.  She is also starting to pull herself up whenever she can which is the precursor to madness, I’m sure.

Onto the photos!

Sierra sure loves her mom’s dog slipper.  Actually, she is quite intrigued in dogs.  We were over at Rob and Jan’s place the other day and she couldn’t really figure out what the heck the dog was.

Sometimes I only see these photos as I am posting them and have to come up with the story behind them.  This photo was taken before an epic snowball fight started between mother and daughter.  This was Vero’s starting shot.

Then Sierra retaliated.  Good shot!

No love lost after a snowball fight.

Two teeth!

Wow, I have no idea where this photo was taken!  This looks like a suspect high school locker room.  Sierra has some wild adventures during the day!  Actually, this is probably the locker room at the swimming pool.  Sierra supposedly quite enjoyed it!

Start them young.

I can’t actually tell if she likes this goop or not.

We went out to the Vars carnival which very cool.  There was a great spaghetti supper at the school and then we trekked over to the park for a bonfire and FREE beavertails!  Unheard of!  What a great community we live in.  There were a lot of kids running around having a good time.  It wasn’t too cold out either so we managed to stay for an hour before Sierra had to go home and be fed.

Baby strollers and bonfires.

Check out this Beavertail on a STICK!  This was a great idea.

Here is her favourite spot in the house under the coffee table.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Vero begged me for a new background on her cellphone.  I put this on it.  Damn.  I look good.

Max dropped by with an 1/8 of a cow we had purchased.  Thanks dude!  Sierra and him played along quite well.  Too bad I don’t have a good photo of the two of them.  Maybe Mike does?

Model fathers.

I love how I just noticed that Sierra is pushing the doll around the house!  Driving Miss Daisy!

We figured we had another 15 years until she started driving.

Sierra got her very own transmogrifier!!!

Oh, Calvin and Hobbes, how I love thee.


Changing the circulator pump on the hydronic system

I wake up on Monday morning and find it a little cool in the house.  No matter, I’ll eat my breakfast and hit the elliptical.  The floor is a little cold to me when I’m doing my pushups.  No matter, I figure it’s just something I’m not used to.

Then I go have a shower and when I hop out I think “Dang, these tiles are colder than usual.”  I check the thermostat and sure enough, it’s set for 72 and it’s sitting at 66.  Aww man!  What a way to start the Monday morning.

I go downstairs to inspect the damage.  The boiler is working fine and I’m getting hot water which is a good sign (the boiler heats both the radiators as well as the indirect water heater in the house).  So for some reason, there is no hot water going through the radiators.  I check the house for any leaks and see nothing.  I stare at the array of various pipes heading in and out of the furnace.  I consult our good friend Mr. Google.  At the end of the research, I’ve determined that if no hot water is going into the entire house, there is a circulating pump out of whack.  Considering I have two that feeds the radiators and I know I changed one of them a few years ago, I figure it’s the other one that’s the culprit.  That’s my hunch at least.  If it’s something else, Lord knows what the heck it is.

I call up a well known plumbing supply store in town and ask if they have the Bell and Gossett NRF-22 in stock.  They do not but they say that they have the equivalent of the Grundfos up15-58fc.  Sounds good to me!  I ask what time they are closed that day and I head into town with the knowledge that my baby woke up shivering in the night and Vero had to take her into bed for the night.  It is my mission from up high to get this thing working!

It’s a 20 minute drive for me to get into town and when I get there, I’m pretty bummed to find out that the part isn’t even in stock!  Clearly, this is my fault as I didn’t explicitly ask “Do you have this item in stock?”.  I guess me asking “Hey, what time do you close?” and “I’m on my way in.” has nothing to do with an item being in stock.  The client service person tells me the equivalent pump is coming in tomorrow so I get her to put one on hold for me.

I drive home and realize that I really need to figure this problem out today.  So I start looking for other plumbing supply stores.  After an hour of calling up random shops from Google Maps, I stumble upon another one and they have the equivalent in stock!  Bonus!  I head back out to pick up this pump.  Irony was shining on me as the supply store was literally across the street from the other shop I had gone to.  If I had just stopped, looked around the street and saw a giant “Plumbing Supply” sign, I could have saved myself a trip.

No matter, I walk in, grab the pump, make sure that it’s the same dimensions and the bolt pattern is correct.  All matches up and I head on home.

Taking the old pump off of the hydronic system turns out to be a slight mess.  I had shut off all the valves in the system and opened the drain valve and nothing came out.  Thinking that for some reason that maybe there was no water in that part of the system anymore, I figured the only thing I could do is take the old pump off.  Of course, water starts spraying everywhere (which I expected) so the bucket was taking in a LOT of water.  After awhile it finally subsided and I was thinking that I must have drained way more than what was in the pipes surrounding the pump.  I looked a little closer at the entire system and after peeking my head up into the suspended ceiling, I realized there was another valve to shut off and that valve was the water intake valve which was constantly pumping water into the system if it’s missing!  Ha ha, no wonder there was a lot of water coming out.  It never would have ended!

With that, I take the pump off and notice that the bottom pipes are still full of water.  I realize that the drain valve must have been clogged all along so I take a coat hanger, jostle it around and sure enough, a load of sediment comes pouring out all over the place and the system is finally drained.

I work at putting the new pump in and then it dawns on me. 

It’s NOT the equivalent pump.  Sure, it fits good, but the wiring is different.  My old model allows for daisy chaining…a set of wires into the pump and and a set of wires out to power the next pump in line. 

This pump only had one inlet for wiring.  As if!!!

I call the store back and they say the pluming guy is on lunch break.  Instead of waiting for a call back, I figure I might as well bring the old and the new pump into the store so they can see what I’m dealing with.  Trip #3 into town and it’s now 2PM and no heat in the house.  My anxiety is starting to raise.

I get to the supply shop and explain my predicament.  The instruction manual does explicitly say that there are certain models that allow for two wiring inlets but the guys at the shop have no idea what model that is.  They suggest I try and just cram all these wires into the same hole.  So now I have to get six wires down one hole.

With no other options, I head home feeling defeated.  I call up Dad to act as a sounding board and he agrees that it *should* work since it’s just tying wires together to power another pump.

After a few more hours of wiring hell, placing the pump in, turning the water back on, having water leak from the pump, taking the pump off and realizing there was some sediment that had rusted onto the pipe that I had to file to get a smooth surface, putting the pump back in, having another leak due to me not tightening it up enough….I flicked the breaker and waited for magic to happen.

It didn’t happen.  There was gurgling sounds from the boiler and I could tell that the water heater was getting heat but not the radiators.

I felt defeat.  What a day.  It was ridiculous.  Here I was trying to get heat for my wife and baby and it just wasn’t working.  Vero suggested we call an HVAC guy.  There really was no other option.

I checked the wiring, I checked everything else.  Everything *should* be working. 

Defeated, I started cleaning out the storage room so the HVAC guy would have a good spot to work in.  Vero came in and chatted with me and out of nowhere, when I was at my lowest point, I hear the click of the circulating pump come on and everything comes to life.  I have no idea why it takes so long to come to life, but it did.  Maybe there was an airlock in the system, maybe it has to reach a certain temperature in the indirect water heater first…I don’t know.

But the thing works now.  I was in shock for a few hours and didn’t realize what I had accomplished until later that evening.

I felt like a golden god!  Yes, I still have an issue where the wiring to the pump is so bulky that I can’t put the cover over it…but I’ll just duct tape the hell out of it.

All in all, I’m happy now, but it was a frustrating day.

Crawling up a storm

Wow, we have officially hit the brick wall in taking photos of Sierra.  I just checked Google Photos and there are just two pictures taken in the past month by me.  Perhaps Vero has some on her camera that I will have to nab.

Well, without much to show you, here’s an animation of Sierra crawling.  I am really enjoying how Sierra is a machine that motors around the house on all fours.  I believe this is much more fun than say…when she figures out how to walk and then that will just lead to bloody noses and head bumps!

In the morning when I get up with her (which is the weekend), I get her out of her crib and put her on the floor and then walk out to the kitchen to get a bottle ready for her.  It’s up to her to follow me and she’s usually pretty good at motoring down the hallway to find me.  At this point, she doesn’t exactly come to me if I call to her…but if I ignore her for a bit, she decides it’s time to come closer to me.

She is also tugging on our pant legs whenever she is near and she is trying her best to stand herself up with the help of objects like the coffee table.  The development of a kid is fascinating as you can see them working it all out in their brain and I know one day it will just click for her.

Until then, I will enjoy the sound of two hands and two knees slap slap slapping the floor, motoring down the hallway.  She’s especially a fan of the bathroom so whenever she senses that the door is left open, she hightails it to that room!  It’s hilarious.

Sierra at Seven Months

Sierra will hit the eight month mark in a few days so it’s a good time to reflect on how she has changed in the past month.

The most important things that have happened in the past month are something called two bottom teeth and the ability to crawl!

In fact, on January 23rd, Sierra managed to finally figure it out.  I would say it was about three weeks of tough mapping of new neural pathways in order to get to this point.  At the beginning of the month, she was pretty good at sitting up herself and scooting around in reverse.  But moving forward was an enigma.  I always assumed it was because the floor was too slippery with her PJs so I bought some foam pads.  Then I took her PJs off to see if she would get more of a grip on her knees.  Nothing was a knock out of the park, but it was close.  You could see her figure it out.

Then Vero said that as soon as I walked in the door, she was crawling!  It was quite amazing to see her figure it out.  I don’t even think she knows what’s going on with this newfound mobility.  She has taken a small step into a larger world.

Anyhow, onto the pictures because we all know that’s what you are here for.

On New Year’s Day, we headed over to Melissa and Jeff’s to show off Sierra.  That’s not true, we went to see Felix!

Sierra started crying when she first saw Jeff which was very abnormal for her.  I think it’s the glasses.  But she got over it pretty quickly.

Clearly Sierra loves Tante Carole and Oncle Michel!

Sierra loves playing with the strings on my sweatshirts.  She has a tendency of yanking them out completely when I’m not paying attention!

Sierra likes reading and when I say reading, I mean eating the books.

She hasn’t met a food she doesn’t like.

Happy Birthday Danielle!  Here is Sierra in the jolly jumper after we moved it outside the pantry.  She loves it!

We tried out the Instant Pot for the first time to make some pulled pork.  I would say that other than the sauce not being thick enough, it was a great success!  Too bad I bought pork shoulder the week after for when we had guests over.  It was hell to pull it apart and it was quite fatty.  Stick with the pork roast.

Sierra’s first taste of an apple.

Sierra had a friend over for some play time.  She is a girl who lives a few doors down.  Imagine if this will be the first picture of lifelong friends (or enemies, dunn dunn dunnnnnnn).

I came home and Sierra yanked the hat off my head!

Sierra trying to figure out crawling. 

My friend Etienne trying to hide in the woods on a beautiful day in Ottawa.  It’s great to walk down near the Ottawa river at lunch.

We tried out my new snowshoes on a beautiful day of -5 degrees.  We checked out the Vars cemetery trail and surprisingly ran into another couple out there.  That’s a first!

Winter is fun!

Maelle dropped by to see Sierra and when I say see Sierra, I really mean she wanted to play Barbies with me downstairs.

Uh oh.  This was how Vero found Sierra after a nap.  Time to lower that mattress in the crib if she can sit herself up!

Vero and Sierra went to the movie theater one day for the ‘Stars and Strollers’ day.  Vero told me that the cinema has change tables and stuff set up for parents with babies to go watch a movie together.  They had a great time and Sierra was blown away by the large screen!

We started preparing for the renovation on the basement bathroom.  We are hoping to eventually have a new shower, new wainscotting, new ceiling, new paint and hopefully a natural gas connection for a dryer.  We’ll see if we can get all that done while my parents visit in March.

Vero always knows how to get Sierra laughing.

Abigail taught Sierra this trick over the Christmas break!



Vinyl exchange

For Christmas, Etienne, Benoit and I decided to put a little spin on a gift exchange and we decided to exchange vinyl records.  While I collect some vinyl records, I have to say I am not in the same league as Etienne or Benoit.

We met at Le Troquet last night for the exchange.  Unfortunately for me, I ended up buying Benoit a Barbarella soundtrack which he had picked up two weeks ago, but no matter, I would like it for my collection so I ended up with my own copy!

Etienne ended up picking me up this album from Plants and Animals.  I love listening to bands that are new to me and upon first spin, it was a pretty good listen.

Benoit ended up picking me up the latest Lisa Leblanc album.  It is primarily (all?) English songs compared to her usual french albums.  I am excited to give this a spin as I had caught her playing a fierce version of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades at Folk Festival a few years back.

Etienne surprised Benoit and I with our very own copy of the Reverb Syndicate’s Odyssey album.  Our friend Mike plays in this fine, fine group of musicians and I have to say, this is my favourite album of theirs.

All in all, I would have to say that the vinyl exchange was a great success and a fun after work event with Etienne and Benoit.

Working it at 6am

With Sierra sitting around the seventh month mark, I know what’s coming down the line…it’s called daycare.  With daycare, I’m assuming the days of waking up at 6:45 are over and I’ll have to start waking up earlier.

You know what that means…it’s time to train myself to wake up earlier!  Faithful readers of this site will remember my crazy plan of weaning myself off of sleep when Sierra’s due date grew closer.  No more sleeping for 9 hours…I started going to bed later and later so my body could grow accustomed to less sleep.  Well, it’s time to get back on that horse again!

This time around, I’m waking up 45 minutes earlier but I figure since I have a few months until Sierra goes to daycare, I may as well make good use of that time…so the unimaginable has happened and I am watching Star Trek: The Next Generation while on the elliptical each morning.  I never thought I could do anything physical in the morning, but here I am and I have to say it isn’t too bad at all.  Plus, hanging out with my friends of the starship Enterprise is a good way to start the morning.

Sidenote: I’m loving when I stumble upon an episode that I have never seen before!  I’m on Season 4 and it’s happened twice so far.  It’s a fantastic feeling when you get to see something you’ve never seen before.

I’m sure when Sierra hits up daycare, this time with the elliptical will be non-existent and be replaced with feeding her and clothing her and all that jazz…but for now, time to take advantage of it.

Wintersleep and work Christmas party

Friday offered up some fun times all around in the form of a brutally cold day, coupled with the annual work party AND a Wintersleep concert at Bronson Center!

The morning started off with a (final?) visit to see Marie-Eve who managed to get a job back in the place she calls home…les Iles-de-Madeleine.  While we were thinking flowers would have been a nice going away gift, we realized that a pretzel really shows a person how much you love them.  We wish you well Marie-Eve!

Best going away gift ever?  Perhaps.

Dana was nice enough to hook us up with a parking spot at her apartment building next to the Bronson Center so we dropped the wheels off there after getting a bite to eat at Mucho Burrito.  On the way back we were laughing maniacally at the thought of offering up a burrito as a gift in the gift exchange.  Imagine!  Then we decided upon a smoked meat platter and while everyone was joking in the car, I realized that I could not pass this opportunity up to pull such a great prank.

But then Etienne dropped the hammer with the greatest idea of a gift.

That’s right, I walked over to St. Hubert in -30 degree weather and picked up a quarter chicken meal and wrapped that up for the gift exchange!

Etienne and I were giggling all the way back to the office.  Imagine receiving that as a gift!  Ha!

Andrée was the lucky recipient of the gift!

I don’t know who brought these sunglasses to the ‘Christmas in July’ party, but they provided hours of entertainment for Clive and I. 


After some rocking good times as the Christmas party, Nat, Etienne (who magically grew hair) and I headed to the Bronson Center to catch the Wintersleep concert! 

Now, for everyone who has been to a Bronson Center concert, let me ask this question…when did they change it so there is a large floor area with beer being served?  That is awesome!  We ended up getting there super early because I have fallen victim to showing up late to the Bronson Center and getting really bad seats in the past, but that wasn’t the case tonight with the giant floor area with Beau’s beer on tap!

As always, Wintersleep put on a fantastic show.  Their new album is killer and you need to pick it up.

Damn, we were pretty close to the action that night.  Unfortunately, the sound in the Bronson Center sucks large.  I never remembered it being that bad before.  Etienne even walked around the entire theater trying to find a better sounding spot and it was impossible to find.  Bronson Center, you are great in some ways, but kind of horrible in other ways.

It was fantastic night out with friends and Wintersleep brought their best to Ottawa!

Meanwhile back home, Vero and Sierra were nice enough to let me go out while they had loads of fun that night!