With Alex moving out we’ve helped out with some of the furnishings for the house. One of the things was a smaller 32″ TV. When we built the house we had to inset outlets added to the walls where we intended to mount TVs. One in the then play room, and one in the then Alex’s bedroom. Since then the play room has turned into family / video game room. Noah and Alex ended up switching rooms and I don’t think his TV has been on more than twice since then.
The TV in the family room still gets lots of use, but with his not being used we figured it would be good to give to Alex. The only problem is this leaves the big inset hole in the wall and the wall mount which would leave big holes if removed from the bolts holding it up.
We talked about covering it over with a poster, or something similar but I came up with a different plan. I figured I could build a frame or cover that could get mounted to the TV mount and use it to put a mini hoop on the wall for him. That would certainly get more use than the TV.
He already had one in his room, but it is old, it sits pretty low, and it is busted up pretty good, but he still uses it a lot. It also has to hang on his closet door which is a bit awkward.
Not long ago my Father In Law got a new bed as the old one was not great, but we decided to keep the wooden slats that the mattress sat on. They were in good shape and should work perfect for this. So I did some measurements to figure out how big it would need to be to cover the hole / TV mount, and end up being about the same height from the ceiling as a door frame.
I’m lacking a bit in the tool department and only have a hand saw, but I measured out all the pieces I’d need and marked them and took them over to a friends who graciously let me use their saw to cut them all. I came home and put them together and it turned out pretty well I think.
To go with it we ordered him a new really good quality hoop to sit there. Check out the promo video for it.
The hoop arrived today and I think it looks pretty good. Excited to see what he thinks when he gets home from school.
On October 29th I became a Grandfather! My oldest Alex gave birth to a beautiful boy Ezra. When I first found out the news that our family was going to be growing it took me a while to come around as I know first hand how hard it is to be a young parent. Selfishly I also felt I was way to young to become a Grandfather. Once again, sorry Mom for having put you through the same thing. Things are going great and I love having a Grandson to snuggle with.
Alex has been living with us but we knew that wasn’t the best long term option. They would need a place of their own. Early on we found a place that was a good deal, was safe and close, and move in ready. We jumped on it. There wasn’t a hurry though as we wanted them to stay with us at least for a while to help out during the early days and help get a good routine and make sure everyone was doing well. Since we had time it was decided we would do some painting and repair work to make things even nicer and feel more like home.
Doing this type of work is not my strong suit. I have painted some, but am not great at it, and I’ve never done repairs like the crack fill and caulking that would be needed if we were going to do things right. The original plan was to do just the two main bedrooms, main bath, and leave the rest. However once those rooms were getting close to completion we decided to add in the kitchen and living room / hallway.
For most people it likely wouldn’t have been a big job, but for me it was. As we started getting closer to move in date the pressure was on to get things finished. I felt like for a while I was spending more time there than at home. I would put in my work day and then head over there to get to work. Thank goodness for the help of my Mother again. She came and did so much, I don’t think it would have gotten down with out her. Not only did she do a lot, she also taught me how to do things well. Together we managed to get things done. The quality of the work I know isn’t up to her standards, and there were parts I wish were better, but they are certainly good enough, and better than they were.
Things have been different in our house for the last week now that they have moved out and I’m missing being able to go pick him up when ever pretty much when ever I want. But they are doing well and settling into their new home and routine and I know I’ll still get to see them lots.
I didn’t do a great job of documenting the work as it was happening, but I figured I’d share some pictures to give an idea of what things looked like, before, during, and after the work we did was done. The before pictures are from the previous owners.
Back near the beginning of August I wrote about my fitness and plans to get back into a good routine and health. Today I hit a couple milestones so I thought I would give a quick update.
My main goals were to keep my physical activities varied and not only doing one thing. For both biking and running I set some minor goals for myself.
With biking my goal was to be able to make it from the bottom of our hill to the top without stopping. On September 1st I completed that though very slowly.
Since then I haven’t done a lot of biking as I’ve been concentrating on my running. My goal was to be able to run the Valley Harvest Marathon 5K race in under 30 minutes. When I started running again in August it seemed like a long ways away. That race was this morning and I did it.
Another fun milestone that came today was when I jumped on the scale I am now down 30lbs since April of this year. That is when I started but had a few big up and downs before I finally really buckled down in August.
There is still more work to go but I’m finally feeling like I’m back in a good routine with both my eating and activity levels.
Today may youngest child turns 10 years old. That makes me feel both old and happy. I’m so proud of all my kids and the people they are growing into.
I’m sure this won’t last many more years but for now he is one of my best friends. Soon he’ll get too old and not want anything to do with his old dad. So for now I’ll take all the time I can to be with and play with him.
His sense of humour, his kindness, his confidence, and his determination, all things that can inspire me to be a better person and father for him.
Jen wrote a great post earlier as well which says things better than I do.
I was so glad the Grand Meetup didn’t overlap with his birthday this year so we could be here to celebrate with him. Thankfully the one year I was away from him on it my co-workers helped me wish him a birthday wishes.
Recently I wrote about having connections with my distributed team. Part of that was because people have assumed it must be lonely working from home without seeing people. It’s been rare that I’ve ever felt this way much because of my team but also because I have a great network of family and friends I can do things with and have conversations with outside of work.
Listening yesterday to the Distributed podcast episode with Leo Widrich, they talked some about loneliness. His recommendation was basically what I have, strong work relationships and a good support network at home. Overall the episode was really good and has given me more to think about.
Leo talked about dealing with stresses and how they build up over time. We all have ways to deal with it through auto-regulation like my go to: eating. Instead we need to deal with it through self-regulation. Having a partner or group you can talk with can help the process. This is something I need to look into more and do a better job at dealing instead of distracting myself or eating.
Lately I’ve been going through some stresses again and need to work through them, but also be a better partner for those involved in these with me and be sure I’m there to hear them and help them.
Each of these Distributed podcast episodes have been good so far, but this one has been my favourite and given me things to learn more on. I recommend giving it a listen.
Tomorrow morning I start back to work after a week off. Previously I had a bad habit of at least checking in on work a few times while I was supposed to be away. This time though I disconnected almost entirely. Not even coming into Slack to socialize with my team.
We spent most of our week in Moncton, around a three hour drive away. It was pretty close compared to some of our last few trips but it was exactly what was needed. We rented an Airbnb with close family. It was exactly what I needed.
We had a great mix of fun and relaxation. We visited TreeGo which is a ropes course is a mix of obstacles and zip lines. It was one of my favourite parts of the trip but physically exhausting. Luckily the next day we headed to the beach.
The beach is our families happy place and this beach is one of the best around. We’ve had our family pictures taken there a few times. The water is pretty warm for the Atlantic Ocean, the sand is beautiful, and the water is nice and calm. Was able to out and play with the kids, but also relax.
Out on the water with the kids playing around, the sun high and warm in the sky, I was able to lay back and just float on my back. The water blocking out most of the noise around, the water calm and warm, and my eyes closed. So extremely peaceful. The only thing that I worried about was the life guards thinking I was in trouble without moving. I could have lay there for hours I think.
This morning I went for a 30km bike ride and the the heat was intense. The last 5km were rough and extremely hot. We ended up heading to the lake in the afternoon which allowed me to to relax and rest my tired legs. I was able to float there but the fresh water is not the same as salt water which makes it easier to stay up.
It was a wonderful way to end a vacation but looking forward to lots of summer left to spend some time on the water with my family and friends.
My family likes to make fun of me because I like hats. They say I have too many and give me a hard time when ever I go to buy a new one. I don’t really have that many and most of them serve a purpose or occasion.
Recently I made a deal though that I won’t buy a new one for a year so that I could justify buying an expensive set of earphones. That got me thinking of all my hats and thought I may as well share all my hats.
Probably the biggest category of hats I have. Most are Toronto Raptors hats but there is a Michael Jordan Jumpman hat and a Basketball Canada one. As of this writing I don’t have the Championship hat it is still on its way.
Most people who know me know I love my WordPress swag. Numerous shirts, pictures, backpacks, stickers, my laptop, and of course some hats.
A couple summers ago we took in a Blue Jays baseball game during one of our trips and they are the only Canadian team in the MLB so I of course need one of their hats.
The red W hat is a Kentville Wildcats one which is Noah’s team he is playing for. We also go watch some of the seniors men Wildcat games so I needed a hat to cheer them all on with.
I have two hats for running. While I don’t run much anymore I do plan to get back into it and they come in handy for other sweaty activities as well.
These are random ones that I just happened to like the hats. I don’t have much affiliation with any of these but they looked good. All but the Puma hat are pretty old and only usually get worn when out in the yard or if I’m going to get sweaty or dirty.
These are hats from local businesses or groups.
One is from New Scotland clothing. Nova Scotia is Latin for New Scotland so a local company started up a brand of clothing around that which I really like.
TAN Coffee is one of my favourite local cafes and coffee roasters. They are the main coffee I drink here at home and used to drink a fair number from them directly before I got my own espresso machine.
The Acadia Axemen is the mascot for the local University. This is where I graduated from and we regularly go to watch the basketball teams play during the season.
There you go. That is all my hats. I don’t think they are that many. While I could likely downsize as some don’t get worn very often anymore I still like them all.
For the past few summers we have spent a lot of it on the road on a couple of epic trips. If you haven’t before you can read about those trips here, 2017 and 2018. This year though we’re going to stay close to home.
So far things have been a combination of busy and relaxing. Noah seems to be keeping things the most busy. He has baseball which is usually a practise and a game a week. So far it has been going really well. This is his first time ever playing and he’s getting better fast.
There is of course basketball. There isn’t any team basketball going on but he has I go out to the courts fairly regularly to play and he has been to a couple skills camps. The first one was put on by Danny Green who had just finished winning the NBA Championship with the Toronto Raptors. Noah got to briefly meet Danny, get his autograph, a photo, and play a quick bit of one on one with him. While there Lindell Wigginton also came one day and Noah got his picture with him and autograph as well. Lindell is from Nova Scotia and just signed a contract to play in the NBA Summer League with the Raptors. We’ve been watching him play and hoping he ends up sticking with the team.
He also had a camp which was put on by a coach of one of our local high school teams and he had some of the Under 15 Team Nova Scotia boys come out to help. Noah was the youngest and smallest one there but he loved it and learned a lot.
One hilarious moment was during a three in three game Noah was team mates with one of them who is 6′ 6″ tall. Noah setup and took a charge against the other team attacking and drew the offensive foul. Earning some respect the boy came over cheering and went to help pick him but but instead lifted him right up in the air like he was going to dead lift him lol.
Caile and Ella have been dancing as usual but less so than during the season. Ella has been trying out Hip Hop style for the first time as well. She seems to have fun with it but not sure she will do it much more.
Each nice day so far Jen has been taking the kids swimming somewhere. I’ve only been a couple times just based on the times of day they’ve gone but they want to do it as much as possible and having a blast doing it. Usually some friends or family have come along too so that it is even more enjoyable.
Yesterday we went to Halifax and played a tourist in our own capital city. We started by taking the ferry across the harbour and walked up to Citadel Hill toured around there. It’s a really cool place and part of history and has some good views of the city.
From there we walked back to the water front and had some treats at Cows Ice Cream. Some of the kids also stopped at the Freaks Lunch Box to get some candy snacks as well.
It was a fun day and it is nice to get to enjoy our local city for things like that instead of the usual trips we make there which tend to be for shopping trips, dance competitions, or basketball, which all seem to be such busy trips. Spending leisure time with friends and family was just what was needed.
If you’ve been following along at all you’ll know that basketball has been the main sport for Noah. He loves it and constantly wants to be playing or watching it. He’s tried other sports before when he was younger but none that stuck.
For a while I’ve been wanting him to try something else again if for no other reason that maybe it will make him not burn out or get tired of basketball. He had a few friends from school and basketball starting out with baseball this year so he agreed to give it a try.
We’ve been practicing for about a month now and it’s been up and down. Some nights he seems to enjoy it, others he is finding it slow and a little boring.
His team had their first game tonight, and while I think basketball will always win out in his mind, he had a good time and seemed to enjoy it. They won the game and he was up to bat twice and was walked both times. He was really excited about stealing bases and using his speed and he managed to steal second then third.
So far throwing and catching seems to be coming along pretty well but hitting needs some work. We don’t have a tee, and we have not a lot of backyard to hit in so I put together a ball on a rope for him to practise hitting. It seemed to work pretty well. You can hit it standing still so it is sort of like a tee, or you can toss it out and let it come back to you to hit a ball moving towards you.
He seems happy to keep working on it which is great. Gives us something fun to do while basketball season is out. Though there are still some basketball camps that he’ll be attending over the summer too.
I’m glad that he’s trying other sports, but also glad that basketball is still his number one.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.