Toronto March break vacation

Toronto March break vacation

We’ve been waiting since Christmas to take this trip. This year we surprised everyone with tickets to see a Toronto Raptors game over March Break. This may just become new tradition. We haven’t really done anything big for March break before, but this ended up being a great vacation.

We debated for a short bit about flying but just too expensive so we did our usual road trip. We broke up the drive over a few days and were able to see friends along the way. We drove to Northern New Brunswick the first night and stayed with friends there who we don’t get to see nearly enough and we stayed on the way back as well. Next we headed to Montreal for a night.

Montreal

In Montreal we were able to meet up with a couple co-workers from my team Jupiter! They met us at the Montreal Science Centre which was fun and a good way to stretch our legs for a while.

Since we were in Montreal we figured we should have some real poutine as well. The locals humoured us and came along too. There were so many other people that I’d love to have seen a long the way but our dates and plans were kind of up in the air until the last minute. One of the benefits and downfalls of working in a distributed company, you know people everywhere, but on short trips it can be a challenge to take advantage of that.

CN Tower

Though the main point of the trip was to see the Toronto Raptors play when in Toronto for the first time as a family we had to do some of the other tourist things a well. We spent pretty much the whole day on Monday in Toronto and first hit up the CN Tower. There were some impressive views. Noah was pretty hesitant to go up and buried his head into me the whole elevator ride up, but once we were there he loved it. Even out on the glass floor jumping up and down. Caile and I on the other had almost didn’t go out onto it. Last minute right before we left we finally went out, slowly and tentatively.

Ripley’s Aquarium

We had heard from many people that the Aquarium was a must see. Everyone has really enjoyed on all the ones we have visited over the years and this one is right up there for sure.

Toronto Raptors Game

After the aquarium we walked to get something to eat at Jen’s favourite restaurant Wahlburgers. The burgers are pretty good, but it’s her love of Donnie Wahlberg and NKOTB that makes it for her.

Timing the whole day worked out really well and we made it back to Scotiabank Arena with just a bit of a wait before the doors opened. While in line we saw two people from here in Nova Scotia going to the game a well. Earlier on our way to the CN Tower we ran into one of Jen’s friends from school as well. There were other people of we knew of who were at the same game as us but we didn’t see them.

The game ended up being fantastic, though not really suspenseful. They beat the Knicks 128 – 92. Seeing an NBA game live regardless was a lot of fun and it was great to see them win.

Going into the game we were a little nervous. There were a bunch of players that we might not be able to see play. It was the second night of a back to back game which meant we were pretty sure Kawhi Leonard wouldn’t play and that was right. Serge Ibaka was out due to a suspension and both Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet had been out some games due to injury so we were hoping they would be back. Thankfully they both played, though Kyle was re-injured in the third quarter and hasn’t been back yet.

Danny Green and Pascal Siakam are both favourites in our house and being there early we were able to get down close and see them both warming up before things got underway. One of the other big highlights for me was seeing Fred VanVleet get his first ever NBA double double. He’s one of my favourite players, if you’re not familiar with him this is a great article written last year.

Everyone had a lot of fun and is looking forward to our next opportunity to see a game, maybe next March break again.

Escape Room

One of the things we talked about on the drive to do an Escape Room. I’ve done a couple on work trips, but no one else had. We tried to find one to break up one of our drive days but it never worked out. One day after shopping at the Eaton’s Centre we intended to head to the Ontario Science Centre but realized it was too close to closing time. So we were trying to find something else to do and Ella thought of an Escape Room. We found a good family friendly one we were able to book last minute.

It was a Christmas themed one where we had to help an elf save the Christmas Spirit. It was a lot of fun solving all the clues and puzzles. Everyone was involved and together we escaped the room and ended up with some snow on us as a result.

Toronto Zoo

The whole trip we were watching the weather both for our drives and because we knew we wanted to go to the zoo. We timed it well because we had a lovely day for it. It was the first day of Spring and it even felt like it.

There was weather in the forecast for our scheduled drive home though so we called the trip a day short. We hit the zoo first thing when it opened and pretty much had it to ourselves. Once we were done we hit the road on our way home.

When you find something you like, buy two

That at least seems to be what some hotel and Airbnb decorators think.

On our summer vacation in 2015 we stayed in a shifty hotel just outside of New York. I found it funny to find two pictures the exact same beside each other.

We arrived at our Airbnb last night, everything is really nice about it, but I still found it funny to see this on the wall.

Snow day repair

We had another snow day today. It started out snow and then switched over to freezing rain. Thankfully we didn’t have to go anywhere for work and with school canceled it was later in the day before I went out to shovel.

By the time I got out there the snow was pretty heavy and there was more of it than I thought. Thankfully last year we bought a snow blower for days just like today. We haven’t used it a lot but love having it when we do.

I managed to get about half way through when it stopped throwing snow. That’s your job snow blower! We finished off with shovels.

I’ve never had to do this before but I was pretty sure it was a shear pin that broke, but I didn’t think I had a spare and was too tired to deal with it. Later on after a coffee and digging through the manual I realized it had come with spare ones, so Noah and I went out to try our hand at fixing it.

Quickly saw there was one of the shear pins was missing which made me feel good. They are designed to break to prevent bigger damage. There was part of the old pin stuck and that took about the longest to get out. We put the new one in and tested it out. Still no throwing snow.

Maybe things are iced up because I didn’t clean it out after finishing earlier. So I tried clearing out all the snow but couldn’t get it all. A kettle full of warm water helped clear things out and the lab I saw the real issue. A little rock had wedges in between the body of the machine and or if the rotating pieces so it couldn’t move. I had to beat it out with a hammer. After that it was throwing the snow like new. Already for the next snow.

Snow blower repair
Old shear pin, new shear pin, pesky rock

Nick De Palma is a class act

Tonight was the final home game for the Acadia Axewomen and Axemen. These student athletes are such great role models. They have come to help run practices, run camps, and really help foster his love for basketball.

Tonight was a bit of a sad night as this was the last home game that Noah’s favourite player Nick De Palma would be in. This is his fifth year so he’ll be moving on, we will miss him, but wish him the best of luck. His kindness and willingness to help Noah and other kids is really impressive.

When helping out at camps he would stay late and play with Noah. He’d indulge him in shooting threes and even half court shots. I was never a student athlete but I remember how I was at that age and I wasn’t thinking much about other people especially other peoples kids. When I went to Acadia myself, I wasn’t a student athlete I was a mature student. Being a student itself is busy and hard, add in the responsibilities and work of being playing University sport and it is all the more impressive the time he dedicated to spreading the game of basketball.

The game tonight went into overtime, it was getting late and way past Noah’s bedtime but it was an exciting game and hopefully he’ll sleep in tomorrow. At the end of the game the Axemen came away with the win and while cheering Nick came over and asked us not to leave for a minute. He ran out back and brought out a signed jersey for Noah. He was about as proud as I’ve ever seen him. The whole way home grin ear to ear. He told me he wants to hang it on his door so when ever anyone comes they see it right away. This is after I got it off of him to get him into bed. For now we have it hanging from the TV where he can see it from bed and will be about the first thing he sees in the morning.

I’m certain this is something he’ll never forget, thank you Nick.

Ode to coffee

Ode to coffee

For Christmas this year I got a combination of presents that are my most favourite ever I think.

It is a new espresso machine and a bean grinder! I use this multiple times a day to make delicious coffee.

I made this video the other day and my brother in law suggested I added a little Ode to Joy to it, which seemed fitting.

Autumn Walks

Autumn Walks

This time of year is always my favourite, I’ve written about it a few times before. I’m certain it has something to do with where we live. The rural area with lots of agriculture makes it a bustling time of year.

The colours all around are what do it for me though. I’ve been trying to get out an enjoy them before they’re gone, because they never last long enough. Today Noah and I went for a walk through the Kentville Ravine. It was really windy and cold out, but down in the ravine surrounded by trees, it wasn’t bad at all.

Here are some pictures I took along the way.

Women: Persons under the law

Last week my middle daughter was given a project for school. She was given a year, 1929, and was told to research a court decision which was passed that year in Canada. History was far from my favourite subject and therefore not one I’m strong in, so when she first told me about it I didn’t know what decision they meant and had to look it up.

The decision in question was the Persons Case. It was 89 years ago today, October 18, 1929, that the Privy Council of England reversed a previous Supreme Court decision and officially said that Women are Persons under the law. I realize this isn’t news, but let that sink in a bit. Less than a life time ago Women were not considered persons, and a Supreme Court ruling upheld that before being overturned. 

Here is a Heritage Minute on Emily Murphy one of the women who fought for years to have this take place.

It’s hard for me to even fathom a time where that seemed acceptable. All the strong women in my life all they have and will accomplish, and they would have been considered less than a person. Yet here we are, while the law may say they are persons, can vote, own property and hold any political position, there are still so many instances and examples that prove things are still not equal.

While things have come far in the last 89 years it’s still far to slow. Women like Emily Murphy are still fighting everyday to overcome barriers put in front of them, standards which are set higher for them then male counterparts, even things as basic as equal pay. Although I like to consider myself above this mistreatment I still have far to go. If I’m honest I still leave my wife more than her share of the household or family responsibilities, things which would be seen as traditional women’s work. That is unfair, complacent, and lazy on my part. I need to do better in this and many ways.

While my daughter was going over her presentation with me that she prepared for this project I couldn’t help but think, thank goodness she isn’t growing up in that time. Then immediately my thoughts shifted to how, although she won’t have those exact struggles, she and ever other woman will still have struggles to overcome that I didn’t have to think about or even know existed.

At times the conversations around this topic are difficult and uncomfortable, but that is minor. There is still so much more I need to educate myself on and change, I encourage everyone to do the same. 

More articles and information about the Persons Case

Ed Sheeran Concert

Ed Sheeran Concert

This weekend trip has been in the plans for almost a year. Last Christmas when we found out about the concert and decided we would use it as one of our big memory presents for the kids. It was a long wait, it cost a fair bit of money, and we were all excited to get there.

The night didn’t start off the best. As it was something we were looking forward to for so long I wanted it to be perfect. When things started going wrong in my mind I may have overreacted just a bit and let things get to me. Tweeting out things like:

I might have been further ahead if I had of went to the bank, withdrawn ten, one hundred dollar bills, and then lit them on fire. Likely better spent then this train wreck I’m experiencing right now at this concert.

It started by us being a bit late, not too late, but we missed almost all of opener Anne Marie. We did hear some as we were walking to our seats. That took a while. For any of you who haven’t been to a football stadium like the Gillette Stadium, let me just tell you they are big and high, and our seats were as high as they possibly could be. Literally, the very top row and right at the corner of the stage so we could barely see anything. Only about a handful of seats in the whole stadium that would be worse than ours. They were so high and steep that once we got up there a couple kids were pretty much terrified, so we had to abandon our seats and head down. Thankfully Jen found a decent spot for us to stand and watch from. I’m obviously getting old as I would have much preferred to have a place to sit for at least some of the concert and by the end Noah was wishing for a place to rest for a bit too. But we even though we were still high up and far away, we had a good view of the stage and the screen.

You can see the arrows in the picture below that show where our original seats were, and where we ended up watching from.

You can see what our view was like from where we watched and then an arrow showing where we were from the perspective of the stage.

Luckily my mood started to change after the music started. Snow Patrol put on a good opening show even though I didn’t really expect that I’d like them very much, but my face and body language likely didn’t show my mood changing.

Ed Sheeran is a fantastic performer. The fact that he can come out on stage in front of all those people with just his guitar, a mic, and loop pedals. He’d record little bits and then loop them back over the song. He interacted with the crowd really well for having such a huge group. He seems to have a few set of comedy bits that he throws in though, but they work really well.

In one bit he talked about how there are two types of people that don’t really get into his show. One is the boyfriend who is just tagging along with his girlfriend and the second group is the super dads. He said all the super dads are doing the same thing, standing there with their arms folded saying his music isn’t really my thing, but I’m here for my family. This seemed to nail me pretty good as even some of the people standing around us started pointing at me and patting me on the back. It felt like I got called out by Ed Sheeran in front of thousands. That’s when I really clued in that I needed to snap myself out of the mood I was in and enjoy the experience.

If you want to hear the full bit, here is a video someone took at a different concert, but it’s basically the same thing.

If you listen to the video as he talks about super dads he talks about them talking about complaining about traffic getting there, the cost of beer being too high and asking if they can leave before the encore to avoid traffic leaving. I did complain about the cost of water and beer, and we did leave before the encore, but that wasn’t my idea. I didn’t mind the traffic.

All in all the concert was a fun experience and the kids really enjoyed themselves and we have some good memories and stories to keep with us. Well worth the time, money, and a little bit of frustration.

Here are a couple pictures from Instagram from the concert itself as well.

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New England night #2 ! 📸 @zakarywalters

A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on

Big Milestone Memory: House Construction

Big Milestone Memory: House Construction

This morning I had a fun memory show up in my Facebook reminders. Time goes by so quickly it doesn’t seem like it was six years ago that this was taking place.

This was a pretty huge milestone in our lives. When I was young and into my teenage years I’m not sure I would have believed you if you told me some day I’d be able to have our own house built.