Category: Family

French Dora

A long time ago, or at least it felt that way, there was a rumor going round that when Dora the Explorer was going to be shipped up to Canada, that instead of Spanish she would have to speak French.

As it turns out, this wasn’t the case. She’s still speaking Spanish(and wearing shirts that don’t fit). But thinking of it now, I really wish she was speaking French. If that were the case, then Liam would actually know a useful language in Canada.

See, because of Dora, he does in fact speak some Spanish, and uses it in the right context.

He’s said Gracias to me more than once in place of Thanks. He knows that the ball goes arriba when he throws it, and eventually comes abajo.

Sometimes things are the colour rojo instead of red.

It’s cute and all, don’t get me wrong. And because I watch so much Dora with him, that I know what he’s talking about. It’s just that, if it were French, it would be that much further along.

We tried Ni Hao Kai-Lan for a little while, but it just didn’t take. Chinese would still be more useful than Spanish. At least around here.

Now, if he moved to Spain or Mexico, well, that’s different…


Disney Here We Come!

Our flights are booked, the condo is booked(and deposit paid) and we’re totally geared up for visiting the sunny land of Florida!

I’ve been to Disney World twice; once has a kid(9 or 10) and 7 years ago with a group of friends. Not sure which visit was more exciting 🙂

We’re going in April, sort of on the line between the busy and moderate season. It won’t be stinking hot, but a heck of a lot warmer than it will be here. While we’ll be in Orlando for about 10 days, I know we won’t spend the entire time at Disney(as that would cause a stupid fortune). I think there will be a fair amount of random visit time and hanging around the pool time.

The geek in me is trying to find a bunch of fun apps for my phone that would ‘help’ us while in Orlando. There are a few fun map apps for Disney, and Lego Land(more research is needed here…). I’m also thinking of the best way to travel to the US with my iPhone and not getting charged an arm and a leg for data use. I’ll have to call Virgin to see if/how much it will cost to unlock the phone and then I can get a local sim. Sure my number will change, but so what, it’ll be short term.

Actually, just found out that it’ll cost $75 to get the phone unlocked, but only if I’m off contract. There’s a place downtown that’ll do it for $40, so guess what 🙂

Overall, I’m stupid excited to go, more so because I’m the dad his time so I get to see all the cool reactions that Liam will have to things. Not to say that I won’t have any cool reactions, but I think mine will be to his.

Big Boy Room


Last night, we upgraded Liam’s room to 2.0:Big Boy. He has a twin mate’s bed(apparently captains beds have additional storage at foot), a proper dresser and we’ve moved out the crib and change table. The transformation isn’t complete(ok, we’ll call it 2.0 beta) as there’s some decoration still needed, but functionally, it’s upgraded.

And he slept in the bed last night with no wake ups. I think this is because some time ago we removed one side of his crib and replaced it with the bed guard, and kept that bed guard on the new bed, so he’s used to it. While he went to bed a little later than usual last night, there wasn’t much of a fight with the new bed(he’s been a little difficult to put down lately).

I have to admit that it’s now a little odd to go in there. For over two years it was the baby room, where we rocked him to sleep, changed diapers, fed him, and now it’s a little space for him to play and sleep in. We might move the train table up there, but we’re still on the fence as it’s an easy thing for him to play with on the main level, and it doesn’t take up too much space.

The next thing to do is arrange the basement as a play/work out area for all of us. We want to partially finish the basement and make a little zone for his kitchen and other toys so that he can hang out with Mom and Dad as they exercise. Or just hang out and have fun.

So while I miss the babies room, I’m looking forward to hanging out in the little boys room.

Indoor Activities

It’s Winter, and that means it’s cold and there’s a lot of snow. The snow wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for the cold. And the cold is always bad.

I mean, I like the cold, as I can do things to combat the cold. I can always put on more layers. But that wind can be really biting. Really really biting. And I can only cover my face so much without, well, without wandering accidentally into traffic.

And it’s a little worse for Liam as I have to bundle him up a little more. Not to the point where he can’t walk or anything, but it does make it more difficult.

So it’s Winter, and we want to make sure he get’s enough exercise. Now, in terms of outdoor activities in Ottawa, they’re limited to(at least at his age) to walking and snow shoveling(of which he loves). Walking is frustrating as he needs to take is ‘bike’ with him, which is a three wheeler that doesn’t travel in the snow very well. Or the sled, and then he just wants to sit, which isn’t a great form of exercise(just ask his Dad).

So we got him a year pass to the local FunHaven. I think it might be he only FunHaven, but just in case it isn’t ill specify that it’s the local one.

If you’ve never been, FunHaven is this cool place that’s not far away where Liam can run around and be a two year old. It’s split up into multiple activities, all of which you would have to pay for separately. The nice thing is that there’s no entry fee, just a fee for the stuff you want to do. Liam likes Ballocity. It’s a huge three level platform play place with air cannon ball shooters and a couple of big slides. Off to the side is a play kitchen and a little play house thingy. Liam likes it all. Mom and Dad like the big comfy chairs for the parents. We have a blast in there every time we go and it tires the heck out of him, which is good. However, it also costs $12 every time, so the thought of a $100 all you can play pass was pretty appealing. Also, considering that we were there 3 times that week alone(between Christmas and going back to work) it should pay for itself pretty quickly.

Before making this decision though, we did check around for cheaper options, and one of the local rec centers does have this play hour thing, but it’s during the day(not so helpful) and only for an hour. So FunHaven it is.

It’s pretty easy to amuse a toddler, but almost never cheap 😉

Resolutions and all that

Yes, it’s that time again where we all sit down and write out a bunch of stuff that we want to accomplish this year. For some of us, it’s really a retelling of things we didn’t get done last year, but we’re really really sure we’ll get done this year.
I am no exception.
In past years I’ve made lists, plans, goals, you name it. And sometimes it works out. But for some goals, it really doesn’t.
The usual goal for me is the weight loss. It’s a struggle at the best of times and this year will be no different. However, I think the reason of the goal will be a little different this year, and therefor might actually get done. See, we want another child this year, but need to get ourselves a little healthier in order to do this. So it’s not just for us, it’s actually for someone else, and that might make it work.
Another goal is to read more. I had this goal a few years back but made it too ambitious for myself. And I had no plan. This year I’ll make it a little easier and have a better plan. I want to read 4 books this year. Doesn’t seem like much, but for me it is. I managed to read two last year, and it felt good. I have two tiles picked out already:

  • World War Z
  • Anathem

I know, I still haven’t read WWZ but I really meant to 😉
But if you have suggestions for two more books, please feel free to suggest. I’ll be honest when I say I’m more likely to read sci-fi and horror than fantasy, but I’ll take all suggestions. And since the plan is to read on the phone, I don’t think I’ll do any graphic novels. Not that they count for this goal 🙂

There are other things that I want to get done this year, some are more creative than others. I’m trying to broaden myself(as he mentions loosing weight *ba doom boom*) and live a little more. Get out of the house some more, get everyone out of the house some more. We’ve freed up some finances so that opens a few more doors for us.

I’m also(like many) to kill some bad habits and create some new good ones. One way to do this, at least I hope, is through HabitRPG and it looks both simple and fun. It’s a basic RPG, and when you get things done, you get XP and gold(in which you can buy rewards) and if you do a bad habit, or delay things, then you loose HP and eventually die. Not sure what happens when you eventually die, but it looks fun(not the dying, the overall thing).

So that’s it for now, I’ll try to keep up with how my habits and everything are forming, but let’s be honest, I’ve said that in the past 😉

I am not a Handy Man

I think the title pretty much says it all. There are many times I like to think I’m a Handy Man, and all those times prove me wrong. I think I’m more of a ‘brute force’ kinda guy. But, I keep trying, and one day, one day, I just might be handy.

Sunday was not that day.

Our kitchen tap has been leaking for, well, just over a year. When Tara and Liam went off to BC last year, I was in charge of fixing it. Well, I didn’t. And it’s been an annoying little leak since then.

About two months ago I finally got around to taking it apart and swapping out all the washers. While this was a bit more of a job than I expected, I got it all back together again, and, no leaks!

For one whole day.

Then it leaked even worse.

It was somewhat manageable and it stayed that way until we could find a replacement faucet on sale. Eventually we did.

And it sat and sat until I could get around to actually installing it. Now, I knew that it wouldn’t necessarily be super easy. I mean, I had to get the old one out first, and god knows how long it was there.

Sunday rolled around and I started around 1pm. I emptied everything under the sink, crawled in, and saw the nut I needed to loosen. It was about 2cm thick and almost warn into the wood around it. I tried, I really really tried to get this thing to move. All the wrenches I had were too small. I resorted to vice grips, but just couldn’t get the leverage that I needed to get the damn thing to move.

“Think think think” I thought.

Well, if I could get the top portion loose, I could likely get the nut loose. Good plan!

So I disassembled the faucet and tried to move it. Nope. Not budging. How about the chrome thingy under the faucet and over the sink. Yea, if I could get rid of that, the rest would be easy.

Hack Saw the to the rescue! I sawed and sawed through that damn thing, knowing it was hollow, it couldn’t take that long.

And it didn’t really. I got both sides off and it sort of got loose. But the nut underside still wasn’t doing anything. And I still couldn’t get that leverage.

“Well” I thought to myself “it’s time for a new tool”. And that’s what I did. I popped out to Home Hardware, grabbed an adjustable wrench, and returned home. Got back under the sink and tried again.

Not much more success. In fact, pretty much the same result.

I stood up, looked at it, and my lovely wife called me into the other room for a break. It was about 3pm.

With a little food and drink in me, I got back to it. This time I took the wrench and tried to move what remained of the faucet. It moved. It twisted, and I think this was going to work. However, I had to pop out for dinner.

After all that, and getting Liam to bed, it was back to the faucet. I was committed at this point as there was no way to reset.

When I twisted the top, the bottom was also moving(which makes sense) so I would have to remove the hoses. I started to do that, and suddenly found out that the shut off valves didn’t fully shut off. In a hurry I found the main shut offs. This is useful for future use I’m sure.

Got the hoses off, and twisted the top enough so that the nut could be loosened by hand. Not the copper tubes were in the way, and the nuts there were corroded on.

Brute forcing it this time, I just snapped the buggers off. That worked really well.

Got the old faucet off, and in 10 bloody minutes installed the new one. 10 minutes. 4 hours to get the old off, 10 minutes to get the new on. Of course.

And at the moment it doesn’t leak, but the pressure isn’t all that great. I think that’s the unit and I might be able to adjust that.

But no, I am no handy man. I’m just too foolish to give up or call someone Smile

Christmas Party

Today we had the whole gang over for our Christmas party. It was a good opportunity to see everyone in one place. It’s not something that we really get to do that often.  There was a fair amount of work put in to get it all sorted and done, but it’s effort that’s well worth the….effort. Hmm.

People started showing up at 1 and the party pretty much just started itself. It was good to see people catching up with each others lives, seeing what’s new and generally just getting along like no time has passed at all. That has to say something about people that have been friends for so long. No matter what, time just doesn’t matter. But you can’t let too much pass by. Which reminds me, I have catch up with some long distance people.

Everyone brought food, and we made food, so there was lots of food to be had. And people didn’t eat as much as they should have, and we actually had to send some home with people, as we didn’t want to eat all the remaining stuff before we head to Vancouver. I would be a peach on the plane if I did…

Once everyone caught up, we dove into the gifts. And boy was there a pile of them to go through. It was a lot of fun watching the kids just dive into these gifts. The paper was flying and the giggles were abundant. Even the adults got a few things. Steph made everyone some ornaments; either angry birds or star wars. Both were very cool.

We had planned to make Ginger Bread houses, and just never got around to it. Mind you, by this time all the kids were hopped up on sugar and probably wouldn’t sit still enough to actuallty make it through. But they were having a ton of fun regardless. Tara and I set up this play area for the kids in the guest bedroom, of which Alice and William spent the most time. In fact, the were even in bed together. And if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re 3 and 2.5, we would be worried. But really, they spent the most of their time giggling. It was really fun to listen to, and partake in.

In the end, everyone left with gifts, food, and excellent memories.