First off, let the record show that I found it very hard to wait until the weekend to celebrate Sierra’s birthday when her real birthday was during the week. I thought it was a great idea at the time of planning but when her actual birthday came and we had to pretend it was a normal day…yeah that doesn’t work. No worries though, we all had a fantastic birthday celebration on the Saturday where we went on a butterfly hunt, had some hot dogs on the bbq, opened some gifts, video chatted with family and had the most candy filled cake the world has ever seen!
The house had been taken over by butterflies!
Ready for the butterfly hunt
We found similar butterflies all over the neighbourhood which may or may not have been around our friends houses. With a wave of the magic wand the butterfly escape the shackles of a tie-wrap and Sierra brought them home with us.
Some important wisdom on how to make a wish was being imparted on Sierra
Sierra had some help from her trusty butterfly helpers
There was some good birthday music playing at this butterfly stop
I believe the magic words used here was acabadra. Pretty close!
On the move!
Found some butterflies across the street from our house. I have video of all this stuff but at this particular stop all you can hear is the construction work across the street as a culvert was being replaced.
There were even butterflies handing out birthday cards!
This butterfly was pretty fast against me on the bicycle. I’m thinking she was hoping for cake at the end of the journey.
Sierra had some help to find the final two butterflies
A successful hunt
That’s a lot of butterflies we caught!
A real butterfly showed up!
Happy after some bbq hot dogs
I tried a time lapse video of the cake. I think it came out great!
Our two decorators
Somehow half the icing went missing
Some friends dropped by with some gifts. Sierra is very lucky for a visit!
Even Matante dropped by!
I love how this captures every kid’s birthday when they are waiting so long for the cake to arrive. Special thanks to Victor and Annabelle for making the banner!
Happy Birthday Sierra!
Her brother didn’t forget about her birthday! Sierra was VERY excited to get some earrings. She had been asking for them for months. She was so touched by Ezra’s gift that she said “Ezra when it’s your birthday I will get you a truck. No, TWO trucks!”
Thanks to everyone who sent along some fun videos, some gifts, and some great messages for Sierra! She had a fantastic birthday!
Witch with her stick. For future reference our lawn looked quite horrible after leaving the leaves on it all winter. This was in the backyard only.
Fredo still gets some love
I’m on the best at maintaining my property but with parental leave and it being nice out, there’s a lot more time on my hands to chip away at it every day.
This hot tub hasn’t worked in a few years. Here’s a photo of what it looks like two years later and just about to leave as we are ordering a new one.
I had a good laugh when this appeared while I was changing Ezra’s diaper!
Before the leaves came in
What kid doesn’t like playing with the hose?
I get dizzy if I dance with Sierra like a normal person would so this is my new go-to move to avoid dizziness!
Star Wars Day was an exciting time for us. We went all out and it started with watching A New Hope.
Sierra and I attempted to make a Yoda cake
Was it the most beautiful Yoda cake in the world? No. But Maman was surprised when she came upstairs for lunch! Note for next time: I need to let the cake cool before icing it!
Yummy, I look
We started introducing a quiet time hour instead of a nap in the afternoon. I was very proud to see her re-enacting some lightsaber fights during her quiet time on Star Wars Day!
I noticed this buildup getting larger and the boiler guy told me just to scrub it off and keep an eye on it. For the moment I have let it as is but will keep taking photos to see if it spreads.
Learning a skill that Nanny Ruth would be proud of…writing and mailing a letter!
We drove out to Russell because I wanted to teach Sierra that you can mail a letter from any mailbox but you can only receive mail at your own mailbox. In this particular case, we had written a thank you note to some neighbours who gave Sierra a stormtrooper clock for her bedroom and a few days later we happened to be at the mailbox with those very same neighbours when they received Sierra’s letter! What are the odds?
Sierra’s new clock. She has been fascinated with asking to look at my watch each night before going to bed so we figured this was a good time to get her a clock. I spoke with a teacher friend and she said that digital is an easier concept for kids that age to understand.
That’s a LOT of brush to burn. Good thing the burn ban is finally over!
A good muddy cause and effect lesson!
An autograph from James Doohan (aka Scotty!)
Maple leaves are pretty neat when they are first growing. I have to say that I have paid a lot more attention to my environment when on parental leave.
CAN YOU DIG IT?!?!
WARRIORS! COME OUT AND PLAYAYYYYYAYYYYY
Some good slo-mo dance moves!
I must have messed up the edit points on this slo-mo video but the ending is great
We try and get the campfire going every night to burn down some brush!
Sometimes in the mornings we like our story time. We were reading Cinderella here and then I introduced her to the movie.
Sierra was a great help at washing all the windows. Unfortunately she hasn’t realized that touching the windows with her face and hands gets them dirty all over again!
I haven’t counted the number of rocks in the park parking lot but…there’s a lot!
We hit a snag at one point with ordering a new hot tub because our air conditioning unit looked to be too close to the hot tub to be safe. Bummer! We had to get an electrician in to see what can be done. In the end, we had to order a GFCI breaker for the air conditioning unit. I will take that over having to move the AC unit any day!
I was running low on kegs of beer so it was time to support some craft breweries. I tried my best to support the Ottawa breweries but they were always sold out of their product! That made me realize that they really aren’t hurting so I decided to make an order from Cowbell Brewery which have fantastic beer. Upon my second order they even emailed me to thank me for being a repeat customer! Love these guys.
After a long day with the kids Vero usually comes out and gives me a break. At one point my break took me onto the floor of the deck for a rest.
Look who came for a quick visit! This was our first visitor in two months. It felt strange and exhilirating.
Marking our territory
Exercise time! I also love how she put on my ballcap that I usually wear when on the elliptical
I think Sierra was eating some Cranberries and it made me realize that she might like to see some videos by The Cranberries! You will also see that we were playing a modified game of Splendour. She wants to play board games but they are too complex for her so I have to come up with some new rules. I believe in this version, we each have a stack of cards, then we flip them and whoever has the largest number wins a coloured gem. Then, when we are done with our cards, we pit all the coloured gems against each other in a battle arena. If she has more red gems than I do, bam, mine get beaten and she gets a point. If there is a tie we try rock paper scissors which she finds is hilarious.
Clearly Sierra is excited that we can run in the park again as pandemic restrictions have been eased
Special thanks goes to Jasco Games for this board game! I kickstarted an Evil Dead 2 board game years ago and the company stole our money and ran off somewhere with millions of dollars raised. I was personally out $100! A few years later Jasco Games comes around and says they want to make a board game and will give a copy free to all the people who got screwed over with the original Kickstarter. All we had to do was pay the shipping. It looks like a neat game. Too bad I need three players minimum to play it! That doesn’t happen during a pandemic.
The scene: It’s a Saturday, I haven’t had a beer yet and I’m chasing Sierra around the yard with a water gun. I see the neighbour bike by and I know it’s her birthday so I run to the road to spray her. Somehow my mind didn’t account for the ditch and I trip coming out of it. At one point I had flashbacks of 8th grade when I fell off my bicycle onto my face. This time I had a choice…my hands or my face? My hands got some bad roadrash. Two weeks later as I type this I would say it’s 95% healed. It was a hard first week trying to handle the baby with this war wound! I would say the neighbour will always remember this birthday greeting when I was lying on my back groaning and saying Happy Birthday!
Living with a toddler who is going to the toilet themselves sometimes has things like this happen
Stuff like this happens as well!
A neat photo of my grandfather and his friends
Look at how high she goes!
Inspecting the magnolias
After two months I finally got the secret weapon to a great sandwich!
Preparing the butterflies for Sierra’s birthday butterfly hunt
I remember this being a very hot day. Vero was attempting to work outside but I’m not sure if it worked all that well.
She was complaining she couldn’t see the laptop screen so I offered her a solution!
Here she is taking a break from work! For historical note, this was the summer where I decided to be that overweight guy walking around his yard without a shirt on, hence where Vero got her excellent shade from. It’s a freeing experience!
Vero decided she wanted the garden again so we cleaned it all up (especially after yanking out the vines that were growing near the dog house that we took down the year before) and here is Sierra helping out with the plants.
This thing took me 30 minutes to blow up!
Sierra playing Mixed Up Mother Goose. It’s a really good kids game because there are no enemies or ways for your character to perish. She’s pretty good at walking around on her own and clicking things.
Look who found Maman’s glasses.
We had a heat wave at the end of May which brought out the sprinkler!
For historical reference, my eyelid really took a beating during the heat wave. I can’t tell if it was the heat or the bug spray that had a weird effect on it. There was definitely a build up of pus in it before this. Something to keep my EYE on.
I can’t stop laughing at how excited Sierra was to dance to this ‘Olaf’s Frozen Adventure’ soundtrack. I love when she starts dancing with the measuring tape!
Special thanks to Etienne for getting me this piri piri sauce for a Christmas gift! It’s the same stuff they serve at St Hubert.
I dropped off a tiller at Mike and Melanie’s place and got to chat with them over a beer. I also got to play some soccer with Max. I can’t remember if this was pre or post me sacking him with the soccer ball. We were both a little surprised by it! He survived!
All our garden is currently missing are eight crucifixes
The piggy back ride made an appearance! It was a really hot day so we didn’t make it that far.
I pressure washed the deck for the first time. For reference, I had purchased brown tinted wood and the year after, I applied some Thompson’s clear water seal advanced edition. After working really hard on a few boards I talked with Vero and she made me realize that I may actually be stripping off the brown tint of the board. Sure enough, I think that was what I did to a few boards which is a bummer. It made the rest of my job a lot easier as I probably went through 10 boards over two hours in the morning and another 25 in about 20 minutes after lunch once I realized my mistake. I have also noticed that when it rains, these particular boards don’t have the water drops bead any longer. I may have to apply some water seal on these boards again. It was a great day to be out with the washer though…40 degrees!
I’m not entirely sure how I was introduced to the album but I would think that I must have watched the movie before. Danny definitely introduced me to the greatest time capsule from the 1970s, Dazed and Confused.
While my love of music was firmly entrenched in all things alternative, a soundtrack snuck into my life and somehow was the genesis of my love of classic rock.
Why is this album influential?
I’m pretty sure everyone in Kapuskasing owned this soundtrack at one point and why not? It was a quintessential introduction to all things classic rock. I fondly remember one Christmas break jamming the entire album with John in my basement and we laughed at how well Jim Dandy by Black Oak Arkansas came out. It is now a staple in my songs that I play for a laugh.
The first half of the 21st century was ironically devoted to diving into classic rock music. I remember downloading something called Bacoben’s Top 500 classic rock songs and dedicated my musical journey to all things from this genre.
What do I love about this album?
With the knowledge I have now of the classic rock hits, I think I really love this album because it’s a gateway to a great era of music, without spoon feeding you any of the massive hits from the 70s. There’s no Pink Floyd or Zeppelin on this soundtrack. But it has such a great selection of tunes that say “Hey, if you like this, wait until you get a load of everything else from this era.”
Does it stand the test of time?
That’s like asking if classic rock has stood the test of time. Of course!
It was 2008 and I was still taking night classes at University of Ottawa to get a degree in Communications. The majority of my classes consisted of students ten years my junior but they didn’t realize their was a thirty year old amongst them.
One evening I heard some guys raving about some new music and so I wrote a few albums down and one of them was by someone called Bon Iver.
Why is this album influential?
In 2008 I was already well past a decade of loving all things music related and I really didn’t have much time to check out new music. As in, I was Old Man Palmer not allowing new things to enter into my brain.
This album challenged me. I remember a lot of days and nights doing schoolwork and putting this album on and just not understanding it. But I was wise enough to realize that sometimes an album needs quite a few listens to unlock its mysteries and become one of my favourites.
It eventually did open up to me and I fell in love with this entire album. This album taught me I should open myself to new music and see where it takes me instead of putting up walls saying “If it’s not from before the year 2000, then I’m not really interested.”
What do I love about this album?
Once again, this entire album captures an emotion for me. It’s a pretty somber album, perfect for those cold winter days where it’s -40 outside.
Everyone’s introduction to Counting Crows was probably August and Everything After but mine was Recovering The Satellites. Randy introduced me to this album as I was learning guitar.
This is the album that prompted me to learn guitar. I still remember playing Daylight Fading a million times to figure out how to the guitar to it. I also remember that while I had been jamming and playing tunes with Randy back home in apartment parties around Kapuskasing. Daylight Fading was the first tune that I played in front of my extended family at Aunt Dinah’s and while it was a nerve wracking experience, it opened the doors to a bond between Troy and I to play guitar for the next two decades.
Where does this album stand in the pantheon of my favourites?
Still my favourite Counting Crows album and probably the best encapsulation of a depressing, depressing mood. This is the album that made me realize that I prefer albums that capture a mood instead of varying the songs on it. I point to Neil Young as an example of this…you can go from a rocking album to an acoustic album and I prefer this compared to a mix and match of songs on one album.
But has it stood the test of time? Mmm…not sure if I would put this on my top 25 albums of all time.
I have been seeing something on Facebook that has to do with talking about the albums that have influenced you over the years. I was nominated by a few people and the latest person to do was Andre and it finally made me think about what music has influenced me and what does it really mean to influence? Is it my Top 10 album list?
I don’t think so. Definition states that influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.
Wow, that’s a lot to think about when it comes to naming the most influential albums of my lifetime. Facebook doesn’t want any explanation about my choices, but damn the man, I’ll at least put up my explanations on this blog so future generations can understand why I am who I am because of my musical upbringing.
Has it been an entire month alone with Ezra and Sierra already? While some days don’t feel like they are flying by, as I type this I have to admit that it has flown by!
On a good day, Ezra has slept from 7:30 until 7AM and my day starts. I lift his blind and see his giant smile while he is standing up in his crib waiting to see what the day has to offer up. I get a hug from him and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like my kisses along with the facial hair.
One diaper change later and we are sitting on the chair with six ounces of formula and CTV’s Your Morning to start off our day. After he lets me get some food in my belly we sit around and play; passing a ball around, walking around the coffee table (he’s quite steady now and hardly falls down while navigating around a table or a couch), studying the quadratic equation.
We then start off with a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and some other goodies like a banana. At this moment in time we have been making it a point to video conference with Grandma and Poppa around this time as it’s always fun to see a kid eating food.
Then it’s just me and him until 9:30 – 10am when he takes his first nap. I really like this time because we leave Sierra down in the basement to do her own thing (usually watching cartoons). Parental leave originally had visions of bonding with a child all day long. I now realize that with two children you try and sneak those bonding moments in wherever you can before chaos erupts!
A one hour nap is typical and then he motors around on all fours playing peek-a-boo with his sister or chewing on some rubber boots near the patio door. Lunchtime is usually a long ordeal…an hour some days! Currently we try and have some grains (pasta or toast), veggies (he really likes carrots), protein (meat or beans) and sometimes some fruit. Mom is usually up for some exercise time with the kids after lunch which basically means they get to crawl all over her!
After lunch is a surprise each day…some times we go out on a bike ride with Sierra, sometime we just hang out in the living room until nap time at 2pm…it really depends on how I feel during the day. Some days I’m still full of energy and others I’m looking forward to my own nap at 2pm!
Afternoon naps seem to stretch to 1.5 – 2 hours which coincide with when Mom is done her work day and we generally go outside in the backyard until supper needs to be made.
If he is lucky, he gets to now have a bath with his sister which he has a fun time with. Sierra loves it and hates it at the same time (but only when he starts splashing her!). Then it’s pyjama time and he roams around the living room, typically crawling over Maman and then it’s bedtime where Maman still breastfeeds and then puts him down for the night.
He’s a very happy kid and is very curious. He really likes opening the bottom drawer and pulling out some silicone muffin liners and chewing on them. He does not care for the jolly jumper or other things that make him stay in one place.
We just weighed him last night and he was 20.4 pounds.
A common sight when I’m trying to practice guitar
I can’t tell if Ezra has fun when Sierra hugs him like this
On the hunt for some Easter eggs
Look at the haul!
Taking shelter from the rain
He doesn’t listen well when it comes to fetching the ball
One day even this won’t hold him back
Not the faint of heart. Pro tip: Don’t be lifting your son over your head a bunch of times immediately after supper or you’ll get some stuff in your eye and on your shirt.
He enjoyed this little doggy. It’s a shame that for some reason it doesn’t walk any more
This was taken in the era of ‘Let’s try and cram in a morning adventure before Ezra’s nap!” I realized that this was burning me out so now we generally wait and do something after lunch
Future Marvel fan
Typical after lunch exercises
I think this may have been the first bath together! Ezra is having the time of his life
Pretty sure Ezra was the p’tonk
Sierra getting help from Ezra to look for pirates through the telescope
Taking in some sun
Typical evening before bedtime
We were probably waiting for Sierra to go for a walk as we usually do on the front lawn
There was a funny transition period where he could pull himself up but it was hard for him to get down without completely just collapsing
I love technology
Who doesn’t love a Star Wars book full of sound effects?
Ezra loves that we have a small hill in our front yard
Watch out for the kiss monster!
Another kiss monster!
Going out on patrol
This is typically what Ezra and Sierra see of their grandparents while on the iPad
Because of COVID19, I have had Sierra in the house with me along with Ezra during my parental leave. It wasn’t what I was expected but I suppose everyone says that about this situation!
But there have been some interesting moments and I feel that Sierra has started to bond a lot more with her brother compared to the evenings and weekends she was limited to before. Sometimes when we leave them alone they end up playing together. When I say playing, I mean that Sierra decides to take a ball from him, or grab him when he’s trying to crawl. But there are other fun times where she plays peek-a-boo or shows him new toys and he laughs. It’s pretty amazing to see a bond form between these jokers.
Sierra has developed quite an imagination over the past year, no doubt fueled by the adventures that her parents bring her on. Whether it’s looking for pirates on our walk around the block, or jumping onto her parents bed which has magically transformed into a boat surrounded by shark infested waters, she revels in the land of imagination. Perhaps not so coincidentally we have also noticed an increase in her lying to us about certain things like brushing her teeth or other things. I sometimes wonder if the concept of lying is tied to a great imagination. In theory, we encourage a world where things aren’t really there, but she is made to believe that they are so perhaps lying is the same time of game in her head?
When she likes to help out, she helps out well: she helps sweep the floor and pick up toys. We were also noticing she was trying to figure out how to open the baby gate down the stairs so I decided I better show her in case she figures it out one day and leaves it open. Unfortunately that experiment failed miserably as she proceeded to leave it open twice over a span of a week and was punished for it but continued to do so. In the end, she currently has to ask one of us to open the gate from now on. As some wise man said in relation to his grandchildren getting in harms way…”Not on my watch!”
Sierra is transitioning from nap times to quiet times. If she is being nice, then we offer her the choice. If she’s being mean, then it’s nap time. We have also noticed that she herself decides to go for a nap during quiet time. Why not, if that’s what your body is asking for? Quiet time has been a hit or miss. One time I came into the room and she had marker all over her hands and feet and then she mentioned something about drawing on the floor!
A typical COVID19 day for her has transitioned to waking up and going downstairs to watch TV. As I type this she is excited to watch Thundercats ROAR which is a new Thundercats parody cartoon which is quite funny. It’s really neat to see her interested in things I have interest in. I also saw her with all my boxed Thundercats toys out on the coffee table. Part of me gasped, the other part of me thought “Well, why not? She likes these toys.”
All in all, there are frustrating days with her where she leaves little things on the floor for Ezra to get a hold of, and then there are great days where she helps take care of her brother. Probably pretty average for a soon-to-be four year old.
Sierra helping me take down the Christmas lights. I refuse to take them off if there is still a foot of snow on the ground.
I spied outside the patio door to find this daredevil around the outer edge of the deck!
It’s still spring which means that there are some sunny days that still require being wrapped in a blanket on the front porch.
Sierra doing some repairs on the handrail down the stairs.
There’s not many opportunities in the house to play drums considering someone is usually sleeping!
Wow, it’s really strange to see this video from April Fool’s Day. I will still working! As I type this it’s already been a month I have been on parental leave with the two kids so it’s seems like a lifetime ago that I had the laptop set up on the kitchen table.
Sierra came back from a walk and noticed that someone had put some fishies on our window for April Fool’s Day! I believe I witnessed two little friends on bicycles put these on the window.
While I work from home, I also take some time out of my day to teach the future labour force of Canada how to type. I showed her a picture of my pal Mr. Clive and showed her how to talk with him online. He was nice enough to reply with some emoticons like smiley faces. She was quite excited whenever my colleagues would write back after she typed her name. She’s getting pretty good at typing her name…Vero said she even typed it on her own the other day!
Enjoying the swing set
Doing some repairs to the tricycle
Taking in the sights of Vars from the top of the rock
Here’s Sierra helping Maman make muffins
Sierra stumbled on a DVD of Lavaleville and I told her that Maman was on it! She was quite excited to see Maman in a ‘movie’. I ended up digitizing this and putting it up on Youtube if anyone is interested in seeing Vero in a play.
Muffins are fun!
This year we couldn’t go to any sugar shacks but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t enjoy some crepes and maple syrup!
The end of an easter egg hunt
We were quite fortunate that the Easter bunny came to visit our house this year during COVID19. Turns out he’s an essential worker!
There was a birthday that was celebrated in our neighbourhood so a bunch of a cars lined up for a parade. You can’t see it but Sierra has a kazoo playing in the backseat.
Getting some lessons on how to play Rain Rain Go Away
I can’t remember if this photo was before or after she complaining of getting water inside her boots!
She was definitely complaining after this puddle!
A rare quiet moment
We had a silly walk competition
Not sure if she will make it far on this ride
Two minutes later, she has to bring it back because it’s too hard. I knew it!
Thanks to Uncle Rob and Aunt Jan there is some more music in the house
I have to get my weight training in somehow!
I have found a new card playing buddy!
Pyjama song and dance
Blowing bubbles has kept us all sane around here
I’m glad we have a kid who insists on doing some work around the yard!
More than ever, I am seeing a lot of chatter on Facebook about how we should ‘buy Canadian’ and ‘support Canadian companies’.
That’s a fantastic idea and for those who post these types of messages on their Facebook feed, I ask you to put your money (literally!) where your mouth is!
Let’s take a look at the gas stations around me. I have the choice of Esso, Ultramar and MacEwen. I always go to Ultramar because a) it has the cheaper gas compared to Esso and b) it has more pumps.
There’s a really neat website out there called Made in Canada which has a database tracking products that are Canadian. It also does its best to show you what does that really mean…is it controlled by a Canadian company, is it foreign controlled but manufactures the product in Canada, etc.
Lo and behold, it turns out that the MacEwen right next to the Ultramar is actually the Canadian owned company! So I suppose that I should drive the extra 20 metres and go wait for a pump to open at the MacEwen so I can support a Canadian company who also seems to purchase their gas from Canadian refineries.
In my case, I believe the price between the Ultramar and the MacEwen are the same so it is a no brainer. I shall go to MacEwen from now on.
But if you are driving by a Canadian owned gas station one day and they have more expensive gas compared to the American owned gas station across the street, put your money where your mouth is and support Canada even if you end up spending an extra buck when filling up a tank of gas.
For the folks up in Kapuskasing wondering which gas station they should go to in order to support Canada, that’s a little more research.
Shell is a British-Dutch owned company.
Flying J seems to be an American owned company.
Is that itÉ. Also, why is my keyboard stuck in the French mode and not giving me questions marksÉ. This is frustrating!
I suppose someone in Kap can do the next round of research and figure out if these companies obtain their gasoline from Canadian refineries or not. Until then, have fun supporting Canada!