A snow at Night

I’ve got 17 minutes while my video Crash and I recorded this evening finished rendering so I can get up on the channel. Crash wants it on his channel, too.

Anyway, Bang is off to a sleepover at Nanny and Pop’s house. The snow is flying here and we’re supposed to get 4 inches tonight and another possible 12 inches tomorrow night. The winds were calm so I suggested to Crash, “Lets take the drone for a fly.”

“But it’s dark and snowing!”

“So. It’ll be alright. There’s no wind.”

The grin he gave me nearly split his face in two. First, we were going to fly the drone. Second, it was slightly risky because it’s dark and snowing. Good father/son times. Excluding severe weather,  wind is our biggest enemy with this toy. Since there was none, we strapped on the GoPro (which doesn’t mind extreme weather) and took off.

It was calm enough that I fairly comfortable handing the controls over to Crash. Allowing a 9 year old to manoeuvre a done that doesn’t have GPS capabilities isn’t highly recommended. He didn’t do too bad. I was there to coach him. His only mistake was that he kept throttling down too fast so he kept “bouncing” it off the snowy ground. Fortunately, it was only falling from a few feet. No harm done and he got to experience handling the controls.

I got some neat video at the end, but because I had forgotten to wipe the snow off the camera on the last bounce there wasn’t much to see. You can just barely make us out through the snow crystals clinging to the lens.

Anyway, this little toy of ours has become something he and I can do together. Granted, the battery only lasts about 10 minutes… it’s still time together. After our flight, it was snack time, teeth time, then read time. We’re on chapter 29 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – another us time moment that we both look forward to every night. Now I’m looking forward to spending a few minutes with DW before we both crawl into bed between our new microfleece sheets.

Click here to see the drone in the snow at night video…

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The Daily Elf

It’s after midnight. I didn’t turn into a pumpkin. Or a fruitcake.

DW and I just spent the last 4 hours wrapping presents. It was going okay until one of the elves became ever so slightly inebriated. You can tell by his wrapping.

And DW’s snorting laughter at him. Good times. We’re not done yet, but the rest will have to wait.

As for our elves… they had a little fun behind the Christmas tree. And no, they weren’t inebriated.

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My Two Buddies

Some people love ’em.

Some people hate ’em.

I’m a love ’em sorta dad. Since today is December 1st we made sure to haul out the Christmas decoration yesterday. Fortunately, the boys were home from school. Not because of the two inches of snow we got but because it was an in-service day for the teachers.

We began the day by buying snow boots. It’s amazing how fast feet grow between March and November! Then we played in the snow. Bang and I built a snowman. The snow was so wet and heavy that he ended up crushing himself (the snowman, not Bang). He was mad because he couldn’t figure out what to use for eyes. Crash attempted to snowboard down the driveway. The snow was so wet and sticky that he did more scooting than boarding. He got mad and stormed inside because he was “frozen”. I told him to “let it go. let it go. Don’t hold it back any more”.

Anyway… back to where this was going…

Where were we going, again?

Oh yeah… Christmas decorations. The boys and I hauled the stuff up from the basement. The Fisher Price Little People nativity scene is erected. Bang likes to pretend it’s a train and pulls baby Jesus all over the house.

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Yes. That’s a wise man where the Angel should be.

The “winter scene” is arranged on the bookshelf.

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All the beautiful angels are watching over the cozy house and the 3D printed snowmen.

Both boys homemade and schoolmade handmade decoration are up. I’ll share these in the days to come. These are the special pieces. They’re irreplaceable. They are priceless items that could never be replaced because they’ll never again be the age and size they were when they made them. Unless I find a Delorean and 1.21 gigawatts.

The lights were put in the window and the Christmas tree was put up. Mind you, it wasn’t decorated because of a SNAFU (I love that spellcheck doesn’t underline that word). It’s weird how you when you unplug the Christmas tree in January all the twinkly lights are shining happily. Yet, when you plug it back in in December half of them burned out. WTH? How do they burn out when they’re not plugged in? I have one guess.

The elves did it.

You see, we have two mischievous elves who LOVE Christmas lights. They return to our house with joy and excitement every year when they see our lights beckoning them. So if you’re looking for elf ideas or just a simple reminder to move them (right Anxious Mom?) you’ll find that here. As I did last December, I’ll have my regular post plus an Elf update. I already have a few idea for Woody and Elfis. Crash found them at 5:45 this morning. Bang woke at 6:30 and came bounding down the stairs to find them. To be honest, I’m as excited as the boys to see these two back in action.

The magic is working.

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Elfis in the penguin cup because Bang stuffie at night is a penguin. Woody is in a Moose cup because he has an uncle who has called him “MOOOOOOSE” since he was born.

 

 

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?

The Joys of the Chaos

Have you ever had so much to do at any given moment that you felt there was no way in hell it would get done? You know you had to leave at such and such to make it without being late. While scrambling to get it all done, you know there are only two options. Option A, leave without being properly prepared. Option B, slow down, don’t forget anything and accept the fact that you’re going to be late. Option C (an option you didn’t realize existed until it was too late) continue at the mad pace your on but ultimately forget something. Hopefully, not one of the kids. Or your spouse. Or worse yet, your lunch.

That’s what happened at house this morning. Anyone who has to get kids ready for school in the morning knows this struggle all to well. It is real. Last night’s snow didn’t help our situation. It was the most exciting two inches Crash and Bang had ever seen. The first “real” snow always is. Nevermind school, they couldn’t wait to get out to play in it. So excited that Crash made oatmeal for breakfast at 6 am, put in the freezer to cool off and forgot about it. I found it an hour and half later while getting ice for water bottles. Thank God, too. He would have been awful hungry come lunch time!

Fortunately, every on in our house is capable of dressing themselves now. Bang now gets himself dressed immediately after waking up. Knowing that I was substituting today, I got myself ready immediately after eating breakfast. Sorry, WordPress, you gotta wait until after school (or recess and lunch). Then it was down to pack three lunches – Crash’s, DW’s, and my own. Then chaos arrives and threw the proverbial wrench in my gears.

I’m all for the kids going out to play. I’m even more all for going out to play with them. What I’m not for is going out before school. Normally, Crash would help get ready – I’d pack his lunch, but he’d pack his backpack. This morning, he just couldn’t wait to go out and ride his snowboard down the hill in the fresh powder. Can’t blame him, I wanted to be out there, too. Unfortunately, he neglected his morning duties. Then Bang went out to play, too. This would have been all fine and dandy except that I had to stop the scramble and help him get on all his snow clothes.

They weren’t out long before traipsing back in. Lunches were being packed. Water bottles were being filled. We were nearly ready. Mostly. Bang needed his medicine (last of his antibiotic to heal his double ear infection). Bang needed his puffers. While DW administered those, I finished lunches. Finally, ready to head out the door, chaos tapped my on the shoulder and laughed.

Crash’s backpack still wasn’t packed like I asked him to do. He argued about wearing snow pants to school (his only argument was that it takes too long to put them on and he misses recess to which I told him to learn to dress faster. Duh). This required him to take off the boots and coat he had already put on. Bang was getting his coat on. I was getting my boots on. DW had started the truck so it could thaw and running like a blue arsed fly looking for her snow boots. I told her where to look in the basement, but she pulled a me and went looking and couldn’t find them fast enough. I ran down and got them. Came back up to pack Crash’s backpack. Meanwhile, the four year old is now the only one ready with hat, coat, mittens, and packed backpack standing outside waiting.

Finally, sitting in the truck, DW asks “Did you get my water bottle?”

“Nope.” And back into the house I go.

“It’s in the back of the truck,” she hollers into the house. That explains why I can’t find the damn thing. She forgot that she remembered to grab it.

Back in the truck she asks the second question, “Did you get my lunchbox?”

“Yes, but I forgot mine,” I respond with a growl and probably rolled my eyes so far back I could see myself think.

“I got it. It’s in the back of the truck.” And off we go, with a quick stop at Nanny’s to drop off the antibiotic because she will be picking Bang up from school. DW drops all three off at school (it’s great having the three of here at one time).

Ten minutes later I get paged to come to the office where the secretary tells me, “Your wife called. You forgot your lunch in the truck.”

Shit. Guess I’ll consider myself lucky if that’s the only thing I forgot.

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Giving credit where credit is due. 

 

L is not for …

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L is not for lawn. It’s still 90% buried in the snow.

L is not for lawnmower. Sure, it might be spring. But here in Atlantic

No lawn here. Nothing to mow... move along now.

No lawn here. Nothing to mow… move along now.

Canada, Mother Nature likes to be temperamental. The snows didn’t start until February this year. Last year, it started in November and lasted until April. We got the same amount of snow as last year, just

over a 3 month period instead of 6. So I won’t be needing the lawnmower for another month.

L is not for ladybugs. See the above and you’ll understand why.

L is not for lucky or lottery. We won’t be winning it any time soon. Our last ticket had 2 out of 25 numbers. Not even close. Not even on the same continent as close.

L isn’t for any of that stuff. Here’s what it could be for…

L is for laughing. Who doesn’t like to laugh? Especially during ticklefests. Bang likes to crawl and lay on our lap and tell us, “run and tickle”. No need to chase him, he’s in our lap. So we tickle away until he tells us to stop. Then tickle again. Then stop. Then tickle again and on and on and on goes the game. Tickle me, don’t tickle me.

L is for lefties. Both boys are lefties. Crash eats, writes, and kicks with his left. This makes life interesting because this causes some of his numbers and letters to be backwards. No matter how much we practice with him 5’s, 6’s, S’s, g’s and a few other random letters still come out backwards when he writes. Bang will be the same because he does everything lefty; eat, write, throw, hit, and kick. Weird, because both DW and I do everything with our right.

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L is for loud. If it’s not their voices it’s their crashes and bangs. If it’s not their crashes and bangs it’s their games. If it’s not their games, it’s their music for their “dance party”.

L is for leaches. That’s what our two boys are. That’s how they get so much energy. They leach it off their mother an I. That would explain why we’re so low on energy and they’re so high.

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Bang on top of the snow bank this morning

My parents are going to be making a trip up this summer. They’re thinking of coming in August. I’m thinking this would be the best time because the snow should be gone by then. Even the boys are sick of the snow and they’ve loved winter and being outside. Now Bang wants a giant vacuum to suck up all the snow and make it summer. I don’t blame him.

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.