Questions I Asked My Kids

Kids are fountains of youth and knowledge. I ask mine questions all the time while they still know it all. We leave for a short camping trip with DW’s brother, his wife, and their 4 kids in 6 sleeps. The boys are as excited to see their cousins as they are to sleep in a tent for 3 nights. We’ll be visiting the neighboring province, Prince Edward Island. Home of the fabled Anne of Green Gables, PEI potatoes, Cows Ice Cream, and an alpaca that, four years ago, scared a certain 2 year old for years.

PEI 2013

We will try to recreate this image from 4 years ago…

1. What are you most looking forward to doing in PEI?

Crash: Hanging out in the thing… the tent and trading Pokemon with my cousins. And going to Shining Waters
Bang: Roasting marshmallows (he doesn’t eat them, just roasts them)

2. Who is Anne of Green Gables?

Crash: A girl and she was in a bunch of movies but I completely forget who she is
Bang: Pime Minister?

3. How long will it take to get to PEI?

Crash: Probably about 75 minutes
Bang: 18,000 minutes
(It will take 4 hours)

4. What is something we should do while we are in PEI?

Crash: Go to Shining Waters
Bang: Ride our scooters

5. How many S’mores will you eat in 3 days?

Crash: 10+
Bang: Zero because I don’t like them with marshmallows on them

6. What is something you want to learn about while you’re in PEI?

Crash: Who Anne of Green Gables is
Bang: Being safe

7. What is something you remember from last time we were there? (4 years ago)

Crash: That I got my Cows Ice Cream shirt that said “Gangnum Cow”
Bang: I got scared by the alpaca (an alpaca was laying behind a wall and stood suddenly when Bang approached scaring him. For the longest time we kept him out of places (such as basements) by telling him there alpacas in there)

8. What will we do if it rains while we’re camping?

Crash: Me and my cousins will trade Pokemon cards
Bang: Go in the tent

9. What’s your favorite animal?

Crash: Cat because they’re stealthy and cool
Bang: Camel because people can ride on my humps

10. What country would be fun to visit?

Crash: Houston, Texas
Bang: Alberta… no wait, Newfoundland!
(Seems we need some geography lessons)

Alexander Graham Bell

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Beinn Bhreagh (I say Ben Bree-uh) Alexander and Mabel’s home

He is more than just the inventor of the telephone. He’s an expat who came not just to Canada, not just to Nova Scotia, but to Cape Breton Island. Just like me. Though he was born in Scotland, not America. He was a teacher for the deaf. I think my kids are deaf, sometimes. He was an inventor. The only thing I’ve invented so far are new ways to annoy DW. In that I am excelling.

Alec came to Canada, originally to an area near Brampton, Ontario, in 1870. This is 130 years after the British destroyed the French Fortress of Louisbourg. Once here, he continued working on methods to teach the deaf. He created the System of Visible Speech which helped deaf students learn to speak by allowing them to visualize the sounds.

Mabel Hubbard’s inability to hear inspired her father to work with those who were also deaf. He also founded the first school for the deaf in the US, the Clarke School for the Deaf. She eventually became one of Alexander’s pupils. Because she was educated in both Europe and the US she learned to speak and lip read in four language. When she was 19 and he 29 they married at her family’s house.

One story says that during arguments Mabel would turn her back on Alec so that she could not read his lips effectively making his argument null and void.

On March 10, 1876, just 3 days after receiving his patent, Bell spoke to his colleague, Thomas Watson, through his telephone

Come here. I want to see you.

Watson heard him clearly on the other end of the line. Wouldn’t they be impressed to see how far advanced his telephone is today? No wires needed. Though maybe not. Shortly after the telephone’s success, he and a partner developed a way to transmit a voice message on a beam of light. He would later say that that was his greatest accomplishment. Little did he know this achievement would directly lead to fiber-optic communication.

That wasn’t all of Bell’s accomplishments.

He created a metal detector which was successfully used on a patient to find a bullet, though the patient died. Unfortunately, the patient was President James Garfield.

He created hydrofoils – a slight combination of boat and plane.

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He worked extensively with kites. His favorite being tetrahedral (triangular pyramid) that were so big they had to be towed with a boat to gain lift.

In 1909, Bell and his associates witnessed their plane, The Silver Dart, take flight from the frozen Bras d’Or Lake, becoming the first powered flight in Canada.

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What’s even more is that we where it all happened. Baddeck, Nova Scotia. There is a museum dedicated to Alexander Graham Bell’s life and works. The boys got to make their own kite. They got to see exactly how Alec lived and taught and all that he created. They saw a life size hydrofoil. They saw the Silver Dart.  They got to see the 37 room house of the Bells (from the outside). They got to take a ride on a 67′ schooner, the Amoeba, on the lake where Alexander performed his experiments with kites and hydrofoils. On the lake of which The Silver Dart took flight.

 

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Fun Fact Bonus!

Beinn Bhreagh means “beautiful mountain”. The house has 37 rooms, 11 of them are bedrooms. It has 17 fireplaces. It cost them $22,000 1893 dollars to complete and sits on 600 acres.

 

Open Farm Day- The Alpaca Farm

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The view from the house. The alpacas are to the left of the lane.

Once upon a time, 3 year ago, we took a trip. On this trip we encountered a petting zoo which had a donkey and an alpaca in a small stable. We approached the stable to see the animals. There was a four foot wall (not a fence) enclosing the animals so when we entered the stable we couldn’t see any animals. DW was holding 2 year old Bang and they went to peek into what appeared to be an empty pen.

Suddenly, the alpaca who was laying against the inside of the wall they were going to peek into, stood up. You can imagine a two year old’s shock at suddenly being face to face with an animal who wasn’t there just a second ago.

He was traumatized and probably will need counselling as an adult and all his fears will lead to this single incident. If we wanted to keep him out of something (the basement at Nanny’s house) all we just told him there were alpacas down there. He wouldn’t even touch the door after being told this little white lie…

But then he turned three. A three year old’s curiosity is formidable. He wanted to see the alpacas in Nanny’s basement. We were busted in another lie. (see The Death of the Claw for our other big lie)

We heard a friend of ours was raising alpacas and welcomed visitors to her farm. So we went not knowing how Bang would react after his traumatizing incident with the “pop-goes-the-alpaca” of the previous summer. Turns out he loved them. The boys got to feed them, too. One of them was being greedy so Crash had hidden a carrot behind his back so he could feed it to a different alpaca. Miss Greedy Alpaca wasn’t impressed so she spit on him and knocked him down. He was okay, and we all had a good laugh.

So we went back yesterday. There were some extra alpacas! Some babies were born in January/February. The boys got to pet them. One of the babies hadn’t been sheered yet so it still was still fluffy. If you haven’t seen a baby, fluffy alpaca, I highly recommend you find one and go pet it. Alpaca wool is warmer than sheep’s wool and it’s not itchy!

We also discovered our friend got some chickens. She had three hens for laying eggs. Unfortunately, a fox or coyote got two of them. She also has 20 “meat birds”. They were a month old so they weren’t yellow, fluffy chicks any more.

We started naming them: Nugget, Shake, Bake…

You can visit her facebook page for more info and tons more pictures.

  • Alpaca wool is light but warmer than sheep wool and not itchy
  • It lacks lanolin which makes it hypoallergenic
  • Their fiber is flame resistant
  • It is water resistent, too
  • They come in 16 different colors
  • I love my alpaca socks! That`s a fact!

This Taboo Word Challenge is getting tougher! Today’s word was “that”.
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According to Plan

We made an overnight trip to the city on Monday. We had to get passports done but we had to do it in person so we could get them expedited. Plus, Crash’s had to be done in person because he’s getting another American passport they require children under the age of 16 to be done in person at the nearest US Consulate and they require you to have an appointment. July 7th was the only date open when I checked 3 weeks ago.

So we left Monday to get DW’s and Bang’s passport done at a Canadian passport office. This would be the beginning of amazing trip for two kids who don’t get out much. First, we had to ride an escalator. Bang wasn’t too sure about them. He’d never seen them before, poor soul. But after he was on, he was loving it. DW noticed that he kept moving his hand up as it slid past so she told him to put his hand on the black rail because it moved with the escalator. He was amazed.

Then came the elevator ride. They’ve been on plenty of elevators before, but none like this one. It had a tall, vertical window so we watched ourselves rise to the 15th floor. They were amazed.

An hour and half later we were back on the elevator and then back down the escalator with two passports set to arrive next Monday. Bang was looking for more escalator rides, but we just headed to the boy’s cousin’s place (technically, it’s DW’s brother and sister-in-law’s place) where we would be visiting and spending the night. The boys got to have a sleepover with one of their cousin’s in his bunk bed.

By 8:15 we were up and at ’em and back on the road to attend Crash’s 9:00 U.S. Consulate appointment. Getting into the consulate was no easy feat. It very much resembles crossing the U.S. border. We needed to prove our identities and Crash’s. Then, two at a time, we proceeded through security. He scanned our bags (or he would have had we brought any) and we walked through a metal detector. He kept our truck keys because they had a fob on them (the remote to lock and lock the doors). The boys were unusually well behaved. Crash sat and read books while Bang played quietly with a matchbox truck we had brought. 45 minutes later we were walking out of the Consulate having completed the application process. Badda bing, badda boom. Everyone’s passports were completed with no hassle!

Before leaving, the boys wanted to ride the elevalator to the top floor to look out a window so we went up to the 19th. No window in this elevator. The 19th floor was a bank and a kind receptionist overheard us looking for a window to look out and she offered to take us into the bank to a conference like room. From there we had an awesome view of the the city and harbor.

We had parked in a parking garage before going into the Consulate. Once we were back in the garage we noticed a sign that said “Please pay inside”. Slightly confused, as there was no where to pay inside the building we had gone into, we asked a few gentlemen where we should pay. Apparently, they were working on the gate that lifts up after you insert your paid ticket. He told us, “We’re working on the gate so it’ll be free for you today. Just drive down and we’ll lift the gate for you.” This made the beginning of the day a bit surreal. No hassles at either the Canada passport office or the US Consulate and now free parking in the city? Could our trip really be going this well?

Then we went to the mall and this is where the real fun began. DW needed a bathroom, but the first bathroom had a big line up and DW couldn’t wait so we headed up to the bathrooms on the 2nd floor. ESCALATOR! Upon reaching the 2nd floor, DW spotted some friends. So while we chatted with them for about 10 minutes, Crash and Bang rode the escalator like it was an amusement park ride. Up one, down the other. They did that for the entire 10 minutes.
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Of course, this is all Bang now wanted to do. Our main goal at the mall was to find burnt orange shirts for the boys to wear during family picture time when we go to visit family in the States. After a few stores and not finding anything, we opted to change colors since we found nice pastel, lime color shirts for Crash and Bang. Now we just needed to find that color for DW and I. Into Gap we went. There was a Children’s Gap attached as well and we found ourselves there even though we already had shirts for them. Good thing we went in there… we found exactly what we were looking for. AND they were 1/2 off! Win, win! So we returned the green shirts.

After lunch at the mall we headed over to another mall, more like a HUGE strip mall. They boys had gift cards to spend at Toys R Us from their aunt and Uncle and cousins. We split up, me taking Crash to look and DW taking Bang to look. Crash picked up a few small things, not wanting to spend all his money one big item. Bang apparently wanted one big item because when we caught up them he had a large marble race. He later changed his mind when he spotted a large garbage truck. Nevermind that he already has nice garbage tuck. He wanted this one. Crash found a coloring book that, according to the cover, “Comes Alive” with a free app on a tablet, a small lego set, and a Wolverine mash-up. We also picked up new sunglasses for the boys. We finally found boys purple sunglasses for Bang (his favorite color) and grey one’s for Crash. Their haul cost us a grand total of $8. Thanks Uncle B and Aunt Sara and KK and Owen!!

Then I spotted a Sport Check and I’m glad we decided to go because more hilarity ensued. We weren’t in the door 2 minutes when Bang pulls down the shorts of a male mannequin and loud enough for the surrouding area to hear says “That’s his pee pee”. We had caught Crash earlier looking up the dress of a mannaquin in a women’s clothing store. Ugh… the embarrassment!

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Things don’t usually go so according to plan for us. Our plans are often thwarted by hassles, lost luggage, getting us lost, not finding what we’re looking for or any other numerous other things to cause hiccups in travel plans. This trip went smoothly with a few lucky bonuses besides. And Bang is still telling everyone about the “moving stairs”.

Have you ever had a trip go exactly as you planned it? What were you expecting to go wrong that didn’t? 

Here I Go Again

My brother left the hotel at 3:40 this morning for his flight to Atlanta to Detroit to South Korea. All thought it’s a 16 hour flight, because of the time change he’ll get in 36 hours later than he started. He’s 13 hours ahead of our parents and 12 hours ahead of us.

Now it’s my turn. I’m on my flight to Atlanta (technically, this will get posted when get into the Atlanta airport). Unfortunately, my brother will be taking off from Atlanta at the same time I’m landing, so I won’t get to meet up with him like I did on my trip down. I’ll have a 3 hour and 45 minute layover there before flying to NY where I have a 3 hour layover before flying to Halifax.

It was an awesome trip. I tried to document some of it: the 6 legs on the trip down, the baseball game, the trip to Florida, my grandmother’s service.

I was home with my parents and now I’m heading home to my wife and kids. It was tough hugging my parents good bye. Just as it was tough kissing Crash and Bang and DW goodnight before coming. Hopefully, we’ll be able to make a trip down with the kids this summer. I really would like to see more family and give Crash and Bang a chance to see their cousins. Crash was only 3 the last time he went (he’s turning 8 soon). Bang hasn’t been to the States, yet.

Thank God for technology to help us keep in touch! Facebook. Skype. Google Hangouts. We make the most of them!

Leg 3

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Well, here I am on leg 3. I completely forgot about the time change and I panicked. My flight landed at 8 and my connection was departing at 8. I asked the stewardess if I would make my connection and she said “Yes, you have an hour.” Ooops. Crisis averted. However, we then had to wait and wait for another plane to leave our gate before we could taxi to it and finally disembark. I was off the plane and trying to get internet to let DW know I was here and heading to leg 3 safely. No luck because at this stupid airport you have to pay for wi-fi. They did have courtesy iPads so I was able to send off a quick email before being hearded on to my next plane.  Unfortunately,  I didn’t get to talk to anyone or say hi to Crash before he went to school. I was really hoping for that. I’ll have a 3 hour layover at my next leg. They just told us our  plane weighs about 180,000 pounds! Anyway, hopefully with a long layover I’ll be able to call or video chat. Oh my God! The leg room is incredible! There must be a solid four feet in front of me.
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This is going to be awesome! It’s a 2 hour flight so I’m going to watch a movie. Man of Steel or Noah? Up up and away!

The First Airport (Leg 2)

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Well, I wasn’t going to write about this, but I feel I need to. I am embarking on 3 airport journey. I have kissed my monkeys good night and I am now at the nearly empty airport to catch a few Zzzs. It’s one am. We live two and a half hours from the airport, hence the reason I’m here so early. My gracious brother-in-law rode here with me so he could drive our car back home. He’ll get back at 3 am.

My flight is at 6am. Five legs of this journey and I now have one down. My final destination of these next four legs will be my parents house. I haven’t been there in 5 years. The exciting part will be leg 3. That’s where I meet my brother who I haven’t seen in 5 years. We’ll make leg 4 together on the same flight before meeting our parents and driving the last leg.

For reasons I won’t share here, this trip has some heavily mixed emotions. First, there is the cause of the trip. My mom and her family need support and my brother and I are sure to be there to help provide it. There is also the leaving DW, Crash, and Bang for a week. I haven’t been away from them for that long ever (with the exception of DW and I being apart for 8 months while going through immigration when we were married nearly 10 years ago). I know my monkeys will be okay, but I’ll still miss them.

On the flip side, I’m going “home” for the first time in 5 years. I’ll see family I haven’t seen for 5 or 25 years.

So, you see, I’m being tugged in two directions. And I guess the best I can do is document this 3,000 mile journey by planes and cars and share it with everyone.

It is now 1:54 am and I have a prime bench to catch a nap with my bags still attached to me. Also, I am sorta giddy to get my hands on my brother’s Fival the rat Mouse stuffie!

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Photo by Deviant Art