Month in Review

reviews

Did you see it? I’m not talking about the Broncos beating the Panters. The Broncos were the “underdogs” so naturally I was rooting for them. Sorry Panthers. There, I talked football.

But I wasn’t asking if you had seen that football game. I was asking if you had seen where January went. I had it a minute ago, but I don’t know where it is now. (If my mother  and DW had a nickel for every time they heard me say that they’d have A LOT of nickels) Here we are in the second week of February with another blizzard bearing down on us this afternoon and into tomorrow and I nearly forgot to do my month in review.

January saw the birthday of my DW (dear wife, darling wife, dreamy wife) and it saw the construction and Mama Nature’s demolition of an igloo eight days later. It also saw the 1st birthday of my blog!

Anyway, on to the stats. The meat of the matter. The juice in the box…

January ended with:
1,502 views. That’s exactly 70 more than December. That’s the first time I’ve topped                                 1,500. Next stop 2k.
447 visitors. That’s a drop of 43.
29 posts. That’s 19 less because December go two posts a day thanks to two Elves.
573 likes. This is down 134. Again, those Elves are screwing with my numbers.
518 comments. This is up by 113!

Besides my hompage with 199 views last month, Life’s Too Short To Waste Time Matching Socks was in the lead with 66. Sunday Share came in with 60 views. Epic Awesome took the bronze with 51 views. The Value of A Teacher still leads overall with 500 views. But Life Before/After Kids is still my favorite.

The most visitors were from the US, UK, and Canada, respectively. Thailand you were close fourth!

December ended with 295 WordPress followers. That’s a gain of 42. So close to 300! Keith GarrettSamantha JamesVinnieh, and Kaan are my latest four followers. Will you be next? (Hint: you don’t need a WordPress account AND you’re email is kept confidential. Not even I am shown your email address).

Lastly, my top 6 commentors were:

Ann of Grubbs-n-Critters
Elen of Elen Grey | Deep in B-ville Writing Over the Garage
Anxious Mom of That’s What Anxious Mom Said
Tiffany of kismaslife
Faraday’s Candle
Pieter of Ah Dad

Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read. You really do make this blogging thing a whole lotta fun!

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2 weeks ago

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Today

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Whatever Snow Does In Summer

I’m sure we’re all familiar with that snowman song. Not Frosty. The other one.

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♪ ♪ I’ll be doing whatever snowmen do in summer ♪ ♪

A couple weeks ago I wrote this post about an awesome igloo we spent two days constructing. It fit 7 kids comfortably. It was tall enough to stand up in, too. It was the igloo that would withstand Mother Nature until she unleashed her spring thaw in March.

She laughed at us. Eight days later the roof collapsed in 7 (42) degree weather and rain. To our credit, this one lasted eight days longer than the one we built last year. That one collapsed in less time than it took to build. Again, thanks to the rain. Rain in January? In Canada? Really weird.

But, like Mother Teresa said, “If you build an igloo, it will get rained on and collapse. Build anyway.” (or something to that effect*)

It stood like a sentinel day and night. Softening a bit in the sun and freezing again by night. Until Mother Nature brought in that 7 degrees. I knew it was coming so I attempted to build up the south wall – the wall that received sunlight all day. What I didn’t know was that the temps didn’t drop at night. Unusual. It was a steady 7 degrees for two and half days. AND two nights!

Guess which part collapsed. The south wall. Technically, it was the upper part of the south facing wall and roof that fell in, and the tunnel door.

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Here’s our happy igloo all finished.

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Here’s our sad igloo 8 days later.

They are calling for two more 7 degree days this week. It won’t look like this after tomorrow. We built it anyway. Rebuilding will be moot. More like futile.

It was a glorious igloo. We had high hopes for it. However, Mother Nature worked against us. She’s so temperamental lately.

It was so quiet in there! Snow is an awesome insulator, by the way. Even compacted into a snowball, there’s still a lot of air in there.

Did you know it takes about 100 droplets of water to make a snowflake?
Did you know that snowflakes typically have six sides?
Do you know who Wilson Bentley is? Born in 1865, he is one of the first known photographers of snowflakes.

We’re not going to let this dampen our spirits (just our gloves, snow pants, and socks)! There’s still the steepest hill in town. Even Bang was having a blast on today. That is, until he got tired of walking back up. He wanted pulled back up hill on his sled. Lazy arse thought he was a king!

Crash got his snowboard out and acted out his nickname. I acted out his nickname, too. Standing on a board we’re not attached to and picking up serious speed down a steep hill is a perfect formula for some good crashes. UnFortunately, there is no video of said crashes. Especially of that one time I crashed into DW at the bottom of the hill. Sorry hon! (♥ That just proves how strongly attracted I am to her ♥)

Mother Nature may have collapsed our igloo, but she didn’t melt our enthusiasm for fun!

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Thank you Bill Watterson for my all time favorite. We have this print hanging at our house.


 

*Sidenote: It wasn’t Mother Teresa who wrote “The Paradoxical Commandments”. Keith Kent did in 1965 and it goes as such: 

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

 

Surviving Winter

Canada. Winter. They’re synonymous.

Here in Maritime Canada, we had our first big snow fall last Wednesday. 15 cm worth (6 inches for anyone not on metric units). It was enough to cancel school. At about 10 am the skies cleared and it was a beautiful, gorgeous day.

It was one of those kinds of days where you almost don’t need  a coat. Even if you are out shoveling snow. One of those kinds of days when the snow is perfect for rolling into giant snowballs. Perhaps for a snowman?

Nope. Not in my backyard.

We go big. Igloo big.

Like a good relationship, like a strong building, an igloo starts with a solid foundation. I start rolling snowballs and I roll them until I can’t roll them any more. If I’m lucky, I can time the end of the roll so the ball is precisely where it needs to be to complete a circle of ginormous snowballs. Balls big enough to make Frosty jealous.

Except, when I decided to “go igloo big” I went too big. This igloo was on par to be a mansion. An estate. Rival the White House itself. So we scaled it down a bit to country cottage size.

It’s still big. But, like I keep telling Crash these days, “If you’re going to do something, do it right so you don’t have to do it again.”

Unfortunately, our perfect snow only lasted so long. After a few hours of rolling snow, the snow started to dry, freeze, and not stick together. That’s when I got a clever idea (they don’t happen often). I got the cooler, filled it with snow, packed it down nice and tight, flipped it over, and out slid a mostly rectangular block of snow. However, even with cleverly shaped blocks, the third layer collapsed not once, but twice.

Knowing the future can work to your advantage. We knew another storm was coming Saturday. So we put our igloo on hold, crossing our fingers that
A) it didn’t completely collapse before Saturday and
B) that Saturday’s snow would be good for building igloos.IMG_4720

That storm came Saturday evening and it came with a vengeance. We woke Sunday morning to 25-30 cm (a foot) of snow. Imagine shoveling snow for 2 hours with your significant other just to clear your driveway! We loved it. Lazy arses Crash and Bang stayed inside drinking hot chocolate and not killing each other.

After we shovelled, Crash and Bang joined us. They did the “Neste Plunge” off the picnic table and cleared some snow from in front of the igloo. DW and I resumed work on our estate. Block by block. Not quite as easy as Lego, but it worked. Finally, the fifth layer closed in the roof. It’s tall enough for DW and I to stand up in together. It’s long enough for us to lay down, too.

The next step will be to build the tunnel door. That’ll be a cinch with our new building blocks. The last step will be to throw snow on top of it to close in the little gaps. Solidify it. Bolster it. It’s the first time we’ve built an igloo at the start of winter. Like the electric blanket on our bed, here’s to hoping it lasts all winter!

*Side note – Crawling into a preheated bed on a cold, blustery, winter night is akin to putting on clothing straight from the dryer.

Here is an excellent page all about igloos. Have you ever built one?

Some backyard fun

IMG_6075Okay, so that’s not the backyard. Obviously. That was our view of the door to get to the backyard. Once we were all dressed and done playing on the frosty window, we ventured outside. The storm dropped about ten of snow us. It had been really windy which made drifts that were closer to three feet. Anyway… we had to shovel off the steps and walkway to the house before we could even think about shovelling the driveway.

IMG_6118That’s the finished product. Not outstanding by any means. But when you have to shovel the bottom three times it’s a ton of work. As usual, just as I was finishing along come the snow plow and blocks our driveway again. That would be Bang at the bottom to give a little reference.

IMG_6106Technically, this fungi  fun guy wasn’t built from the snow of our last storm. He was built a couple of weeks ago and long since gone to play in the great snow fields in the sky. Carrot for a nose, raisins for eyes and strawberry lips. The birds loved him after he left us.

IMG_6114This is the snow after our last storm that gave us ten or more inches. I shovelled a path across our yard so we could get to the bus stop. It’s about two feet here. It was dry, fluffy snow with a layer of ice at the bottom. We were ice skating on our backyard before the snow came. I tried to get a decent picture of our backyard, but it just won’t turn out right. Our whole backyard is now full of paths like this. We play path tag. The snow is too deep to walk through. But the paths are perfect and they’re now plentiful. I even had a to dig a path down the small hill to go sledding because it just wasn’t working otherwise.

iglooAgain, this was before the big storm, about the same time Frosty the Snowman was built. This was for DW’s birthday! She was out for her run so I took Crash and Bang out to play in the snow to discover the sun had melted it into perfect sticky snow. So we started building an igloo. We built an impressive one last year so, of course, I had to go bigger and better this year. This was the final result. It was tall enough for DW and I to stand up in together. Actually, all four of us could stand up in it! . DW joined in after she got back from her run and well all was said and done it had taken us five hours to build. Then it started raining. I think the rain collapsed it faster than it took us to build it. It was fun to build. Too bad we didn’t get to play in it. We were all pretty disappointed. Hopefully, we’ll get another chance to build this icy estate before winter is over. There’s another eight inches predicted for Friday. I’m just thankful Crash and Band love being outside regardless of the season or the temperature.